Thursday, September 29, 2005

Gay Chief Confirmed

Well tally me banana. Congratulations, John. As for the CBWSTGJR, our work, it would appear, is done. Lifetime appointment, and all that . . . But perhaps not. CBWSTLJJ???


The abominable International Freedom Center (i.e., the "We Deserved It" Wing of the Ground Zero memorial) has been given the boot. It will not be there. Total victory. Even 5 years ago, the first most anyone would have learned of the IFC would have been upon visiting the completed memorial. Today, alternative sources alerted enough people to the IFC to put a stop to it even while the NYT called them un-American for trying. The Old Gray Lady is Dead. (Ding, dong).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Evan Bayh Is Smarter than This

Evan Bayh has decided to oppose John Roberts's nomination. Okay, that's fine. But Bayh also decided to tell us why:
So much essential to reaching a considered judgment about this nominee remains unknown," Bayh said in a statement. "And that is not enough for a lifetime appointment to our nation's highest court, a court from which there is no appeal, a court that is the ultimate arbiter of our most basic rights and freedoms."
The problem for Bayh is that the Supreme Court is neither "a court from which there is no appeal," nor "the ultimate arbiter of our most basic rights and freedoms." Those powers have always been, are now, and, barring calamity, will continue to be vested exclusively in the people of the United States. If the Supreme Court gets something wrong, there is a ready avenue of redress -- the amendment process.

The necessary implication of Bayh's statement is that our rights are, for better or worse, wholly subject to the whim of a 9-person oligarachy/aristocracy. And that is, well, just plain silly. How does a Senator's staff allow a Senator to say such foolish things in public? (Note the implication that a Senator, on his own, could not otherwise help himself . . . )

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sorry about That, Chief

I'm on a brief posting hiatus but can't let this go unremarked. First Gilligan, now Agent 86. Television is a funny thing. I'm 37 years old and could be these guys' grandchild. Yet it's just as if I've lost two of my dearest childhood friends. Gilligan and Max used to keep my brothers and I company during the doldrums -- Dad getting home from work, Mom cooking dinner, friends at their respective homes doing the same -- that ocurred about 5:00-6:30 each evening. And, of course, there were no other choices. You got about 5 channels, maybe 6 if you were lucky. ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and the local station that had the strange local kids-show guy on directly after Captain Kangaroo (where I grew up, it was Captain Chesapeake on Channel 45 WBFF). And having no choice was just fine. I suppose I'll really see what I'm made of when the first of the Brady kids shuffles off . . .

Friday, September 16, 2005

Would You Trust This Guy?

Looks like he's selling a used car, no?

An Elegant Circus

On Sunday, the Germans will go to the polls and decide whether to stick with the anti-American Gerhard Schroeder, or take a chance on Social Democrat Angie Merkel. Merkel has often been described as Germany's opportunity for a Margaret Thatcher. Today, the two are winding up their campaigns with stops that AFP describes thusly:
Merkel, aiming to become Germany's first woman chancellor, was to address supporters of her Christian Democrats in a giant circus tent in Berlin on Friday while Schroeder was to speak at a rally in an elegant square in the city centre.
Everyone got that? Merkel=Circus, Schroeder=Elegant. Although Merkel at one time held a commanding lead in the polls, Schroeder has managed, by means of old tricks, to close the gap considerably. Although Schroeder still trails, it has begun to appear as though Sunday could be a nail-biter. Of course, I'm pulling hard for Merkel -- Germans (and the world) need Angie.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hearing on the Gay Chief

We at the periphery of the CBWSTGJR movement are eagerly awaiting to hear our founders' views on the substance of today's first-ever hearing on the nomination of a Gay Chief Justice. In the meanwhile, the debate continues over whether Roberts will opt for a robe with gold stripes or really shake things up in cool pastels. Either is fine with me. Just, whatever you do, don't look beneath the bench.

UCI on Armstrong

The UCI, professional cycling's governing body, today said that it has received no evidence concerning the doping charges that French L'Equip has leveled against Lance Armstrong. The UCI makes plain its displeasure with this incident:
UCI said it was still gathering information and had asked the World Anti-Doping Agency and the French laboratory for more background. It also wanted to know who commissioned the research and who agreed to make it public.

"How could this be done without the riders' consent?" the UCI said.

It also asked WADA to say if it allowed the results to be disseminated, which UCI says is a "breach of WADA's anti-doping code."

"We have substantial concerns about the impact of this matter on the integrity of the overall drug testing regime of the Olympic movement, and in particular the questions it raises over the trustworthiness of some of the sports and political authorities active in the anti-doping fight," the UCI said.

* * *
UCI said it was still "awaiting plausible answers" to its requests to WADA and the laboratory.

"We deplore the fact that the long-established and entrenched confidentiality principle could be violated in such a flagrant way without any respect for fair play and the rider's privacy," it said.

UCI singled out WADA president Dick Pound for making "public statements about the likely guilt of an athlete on the basis of a newspaper article and without all the facts being known."

It also criticized the article in L'Equipe as "targeting a particular athlete."
Unless I'm way off the mark, L'Equip will come to rue its decision mount this investigation and attack. Ever since this story broke I've been at a loss to understand how L'Equip could access the samples and have them tested unbeknownst to either Armstrong or the UCI. The whole thing fails to pass the smell test. At bottom, there is indeed a scandal here. And the scandal is L'Equip and those who are complicit in its witch hunt.

Oh well, at least some good has come of this mess. It continues to look as though Lance may be in Strasbourg at the beginning of next July . . . and not as a commentator.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Whatever it Takes

[Repost from 2004 -- Some links have been updated]
I live and work in Washington D.C. During the summer and fall of 2001, I commuted between Washington and New York City. On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I had just recovered from a lung infection sparked by a particularly combative summer cold. At about 8:40 that morning, I left the Hotel Intercontinental on East 48th Street and walked toward my local office at 120 Park. I cut through Grand Central Station -- I presume I did that at approximately the time a jet flew low from north to south. I make that presumption because I know I would have noticed a jet so obviously removed from New York's normal flight patterns. I got to my office shortly after that jet slammed into the WTC. There were people running around, but I assumed it was just the standard business emergency. I began my day, checking e-mail and conducting other routine morning tasks. About 9:00 am, a face peeked in my office, creased with fear. "What's up?" I asked. "Where have you been?" she replied, "come with me, a plane hit the Trade Center."

As we headed toward a conference room, a loudspeaker voice announced that there had been a tragedy at the WTC and our building would lock down. I walked into the conference room -- located on the 24th floor of 120 Park. The room had a mostly unobstructed view to the South. I could see smoke billowing up from one of the Towers, immediately eliminating my initial suspicion that a drunk doctor had flown his single engine plane into the structure. As I stared at the smoking building in the distance, the second Tower exploded before my eyes. It knocked me back. The gasps of my colleagues stole every breath of air from the room. The television in the corner replayed the impact -- the same television that would later bring images of people just like me leaping into space from the upper floors of the towers, people just like me whose final decision was to dictate that their world would end not in fire, but in ice.

I immediately returned to my office to call my wife back in Alexandria, Va. The fear in her voice was palpable -- she did not know where in NY my office was, and was overcome with emotion when she learned I was okay and removed from the tragedy. After speaking with her for a few moments, I wondered back to the conference room. This time, the television was showing pictures of the Pentagon -- a building two miles from my home and that I pass everyday on my hellish 395 commute. The Pentagon was in flames. I called my home again, this time to make sure my pregnant wife and our 2-year old daughter were okay. As I again made my way back to the conference room where I would spend the rest of the day, I walked past a middle-aged woman, sitting behind her computer as she did everyday. I don't know her name, but I will never forget her. She stared into the middle distances, her lower lip quivered as a single tear ran down her check, leaving a glistening trail behind it.

I vividly remember that blackest of days, and the surreal days in Manhattan that followed. I was trapped for three days. What I remember most is the silence of September 12. The city was hollow, no traffic flowed. You could have napped in the intersection of 42nd and 5th. I remember that eeirie silence and it being regularly punctuated by screaming sirens heading to and from Ground Zero -- sirens that wailed all the louder for the absence of sounds of daily life.

I don't trust John Kerry to take every step to ensure that we never live through another week such as that. I don't trust John Kerry to respond appropriately in the event that it happens again. I trust George W. Bush to do whatever it takes, even if it takes measures wildly unpopular with the self-appointed custodians of virtue. As for the rest of the world and what they think we should do, fuck 'em. We'll drain this swamp with 'em or without 'em. God bless our true allies. Together, we'll fix this thing.

Bonus: I'm not alone in expressing this thought -- but then I never thought I was.

Islam Comes Clean

In a video threatening attacks, Azzam the Idiot comes clean on Islam:
Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing. At this time, don't count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion[.] We are Muslims. We love peace, but peace on our terms, peace as laid down by Islam, not the so-called peace of occupiers and dictators.
So, there you have it -- the "Religion of Peace (on Our Terms)." Good grief, that should send the tolerance pimps into a paroxysm (of training, I suppose). Azzam concludes:
We love peace, but when the enemy violates that peace or prevents us from achieving it, then we love nothing better than the heat of battle, the echo of explosion, and the slitting of the throats of the infidels.
Peace, schmeace. Let's just keep killing these dogs.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Barbarous Memorial

What on Earth is going on in my home State? The notion of commemorating the heroes of Flight 93 with a memorial in the shape of an Islamic Crescent is utterly beyond the scope of my ability to comprehend. Check out Zombie for an animated gif of the monstrous memorial. I can only ask just who and what are being memorialized here?

There is a reason that the Pearl Harbor memorial does not call to mind the Rising Sun. There is a reason that the Oklaholma City memorial does not prefigure a Ryder Truck. There is a reason the Pont du Hoc memorial bears no resemblence to a swastika. There is a reason the Holocaust memorial cannot be mistaken for an oven. The same reason -- a goddam obvious reason -- obtains here.

What is wrong with these people? As usual, Michelle's post is chock full of linky goodness.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bait for Eight

It's official, Lance Armstrong will be training with Team Discovery over the winter. It now looks as if L'Equip has shot itself in the foot with its obnoxious slurs against the Tour's greatest champion. L'Equip has hated Armstrong for one thing -- his greatness. With Lance in the Tour (which, incidentally, is organized by L'Equip's parent company) there is little opportunity for anyone else to win, least of all a Frenchman. And, good news, Lance hates L'Equip, too. Hates them enough to kill himself during another year of preparation, and more than enough to head back to France for a run at an Eighth championship.

My suspicion is that this will happen. Lance will take the lap of France in July 2006. And, mark my words, not only will he win, he will make it his most jaw-droppingly convincing win ever. See, Lance knows he can't retire, comeback, and lose. He can't even retire, comeback and barely win. If he's going to do this -- and it is now pretty clear he is -- he's going for the jugular. Sooooo. Hip, hip, hooray. The world has not seen the last of Lance. His detractors can cast some more aspersion while I and his millions of fans watch Lance dust off that rusty bike just one more time. Gonna make it shine. Yeah.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Michael on Rightalk

I was finally able to catch up with Michael Graham at his new home on Michael is live every weekday from noon to 1:00 and the show is replayed every hour on the hour. I have just two nits to pick with the show -- 1 small, 1 big, and neither of substance. First, the small nit: the show is too short. It needs to be longer. Now, the big nit: Bring back your old bumper music, now! The music on Rightalk is, as Lileks might say, crep. I know this is probably a rights issue, but surely ASCAP has some kinda deal that could lessen our suffering.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Good as Good Gets

The incomparable Bill Whittle weighs in with an essay on "Tribes." As usual, he strikes the nail on the head:
Also, unlike so many in the ‘reality-based’ community, I do not believe in a deity. For instance, I don’t believe that a single god-king can summon storms, hypnotize entire populations and be the focus for evil in the world. Many people refer to Iraq as George Bush’s war, a charge I find shockingly unfair -- to me. I voted for him in 2004, and I support that war in earnest. In future billboards, I would like to be mentioned as having Kids Die in George Bush and Bill Whittle’s War for Oil, and I expect the new crop of MoveOn bumper stickers to say DEFEND AMERICA: STOP BUSH AND WHITTLE. I’m tired of being left out of this. George Bush did not take over the White House with a six-shooter; people voted him into office with the biggest number of votes in American history. I’m one of those people, and damn you liberal cheapskate sons of bitches, I demand my equal time.
Yeah. What he said. And me, too.

Make That NOT Eating Corpses

Randall Robinson, who, despite fierce competition, carried away last week's Idiot of the Moment Award, has retracted his assertion that "It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive." Robinson's retraction states: "I had been told this was happening, but these claims have turned out to be unsubstantiated."

Apparently, for the factually-oppressed Robinson, "it has been reported," means only that "some dude told me." What a fuggin' idiot. I am laughing at you, Randall. Laughing quite hard. And I am white. Which, to you I suppose, makes me a racist.

Incidentally, we finally heard from our Bogalusa relatives on Saturday. They were hit very hard and lost most everything. My father and I will be driving a pick-up loaded with supplies down next weekend. Before we leave, I'm going to give my gun a good cleaning and top off the ammo stock.

"Character Doesn't Change . . ."

Truer words Frank Rich has never written. Of course, Rich writes about the President and his responsibility for the devestation of New Orleans in a column entitled -- wait for it -- Falluja Floods the Superdome:
AS the levees cracked open and ushered hell into New Orleans on Tuesday, President Bush once again chose to fly away from Washington, not toward it, while disaster struck. We can all enumerate the many differences between a natural catastrophe and a terrorist attack. But character doesn't change: it is immutable, and it is destiny.

As always, the president's first priority, the one that sped him from Crawford toward California, was saving himself: he had to combat the flood of record-low poll numbers that was as uncontrollable as the surging of Lake Pontchartrain. It was time, therefore, for another disingenuous pep talk, in which he would exploit the cataclysm that defined his first term, 9/11, even at the price of failing to recognize the emerging fiasco likely to engulf Term 2.

After dispatching Katrina with a few sentences of sanctimonious boilerplate ("our hearts and prayers are with our fellow citizens"), he turned to his more important task. The war in Iraq is World War II. George W. Bush is F.D.R. And anyone who refuses to stay his course is soft on terrorism and guilty of a pre-9/11 "mind-set of isolation and retreat." Yet even as Mr. Bush promised "victory" (a word used nine times in this speech on Tuesday), he was standing at the totemic scene of his failure. It was along this same San Diego coastline that he declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln more than two years ago. For this return engagement, The Washington Post reported, the president's stage managers made sure he was positioned so that another hulking aircraft carrier nearby would stay off-camera, lest anyone be reminded of that premature end of "major combat operations."

This administration would like us to forget a lot, starting with the simple fact that next Sunday is the fourth anniversary of the day we were attacked by Al Qaeda, not Iraq. Even before Katrina took command of the news, Sept. 11, 2005, was destined to be a half-forgotten occasion, distorted and sullied by a grotesquely inappropriate Pentagon-sponsored country music jamboree on the Mall. But hard as it is to reflect upon so much sorrow at once, we cannot allow ourselves to forget the real history surrounding 9/11; it is the Rosetta stone for what is happening now. If we are to pull ourselves out of the disasters of Katrina and Iraq alike, we must live in the real world, not the fantasyland of the administration's faith-based propaganda. Everything connects.

Good grief. One of these days the NYT is going to wake up and realize that Frank Rich has (with a little help) turned a once-great paper into a seething rag. So desperate is Rich to damage the President that he will, quite literally, say anything. Rich is correct -- character doesn't change. His columns stand as self-congratulatory testaments to the observation: The man is, has been, and will always be, a world-class tool.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Changing Court

The Chief is dead. My first thought is that is unfortunate Rehnquist never had a proper retirement, i.e., some time, no matter how short, to rest and reflect on a life lived without any thought of work to come. Granted, Justices have something akin to a three-month vacation between Terms, but that's not quite the same as retirement following a marked conclusion of professional life. Although I can't say for certain, the time that comes between work is probably not the same as the time that comes after work. At least it shouldn't be.

My second thought is of Rehnquist's legacy on the Court. I'd call it an unfinished legacy but for the fact that much of Rehnquist's work lies unfinished not for the want of opportunity but for the failure to grasp it. I am thinking here of Rehnquist's federalism jurisprudence and the case of Raich v. Gonzales, in which the Court held that Congress' power under the commerce clause extends to the regulation of purely interstate cultivation, sales, and use of marijuana. It's a constitutional shame that busting dopeheads turned out to be more important than re-affirming the limited nature of the power conferred by the commerce clause.

My third thought is of the replacement(s) for the position of Chief, and, more importantly, for Rehnquist's seat on the Court. Were I a betting man, my money would be on Edith Jones of the 5th Circuit for the seat and, perhaps, the Chiefship as well. We could do much worse, and we could hardly do better.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Chief Justice.

More: I completely disagree with those who believe that the Katrina situation is going to hamper the President either in terms of offering a strong nomination or getting the eventual nominee confirmed. This story is only a week old. In another two weeks so much will have happened and Mississippi and Louisiana should be well on the road to recovery. For the moment, attention is focused on the federal government. Shortly, though, attention will shift (and properly so, (cough)) to state and local leaders, particularly those in New Orleans, who failed their citizens in wholesale fashion. For Bush and his administration, my suspicion is that the flap over Katrina will quickly blow over.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Good Grief

What is it about liberals that drives them to make utter fools of themselves? This is the "smartest man in pop music?" (thanks Michelle). Geez. On the other hand, I suppose that, in the pop music world, the ability to make it through an interview without soiling yourself puts you in the running for the title.

No, Kayne. It's not that conservatives don't care about black people. We just doesn't care about you. I know it's hard, but try not to confuse the two. What an asshat.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Jumping the Shark

It's official. We saw the HuffPo's Trip to Hawaii episode begin earlier this week with RFK Jr's inane global warming post. Now, with Randell Robinson's post blaming Whitey for the descent into cannibalism of poor defenseless Blacks, the HuffPo has jumped the shark. It can't be taken seriously. Period. Here are Robinson's unsourced (surprise!) remarks:
It is reported that black hurricane victims in New Orleans have begun eating corpses to survive. Four days after the storm, thousands of blacks in New Orleans are dying like dogs. No-one has come to help them.

I am a sixty-four year old African-American.
New Orleans marks the end of the America I strove for.

I am hopeless. I am sad. I am angry against my country for doing nothing when it mattered.

This is what we have come to. This defining watershed moment in America’s racial history. For all the world to witness. For those who’ve been caused to listen for a lifetime to America’s ceaseless hollow bleats about democracy. For Christians, Jews and Muslims at home and abroad. For rich and poor. For African-American soldiers fighting in Iraq. For African-Americans inside the halls of officialdom and out.

My hand shakes with anger as I write. I, the formerly un-jaundiced human rights advocate, have finally come to see my country for what it really is. A monstrous fraud.
It's not anger with which your hands are shaking. You've just got a good old-fashioned (though apparently quite serious) case of Stupid. Sadly, it is unlikely to pass.


These words are about four days too late:"
Three hundred of the Arkansas National Guard have landed in the city of New Orleans," Ms Blanco said.

"These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets.

"They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded.

"These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will."
If I were a citizen of New Orleans, I'd cheer these words as Harry's Crispin Day speech to the troops.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Remember the Floods of 93?

For some reason, I don't seem to remember the complete breakdown of civil society when much of the midwest was underwater for a protracted period of time in 1993. I won't say anything more for fear of saying something I'll later wish I had left unsaid. Well, maybe I can say . . . nope, better not.