October 31, 2005

Light Blogging This Week

I will be traveling for most of the week and, as such, will only be able to blog occasionally... yet more business travel!!!

October 30, 2005

David Brooks On The Democratic Reaction to Scooter Libby

From Drudge Report (thanks Drudge - good to not have to pay for access the New York Times):

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald did not find evidence to prove that there was a "broad conspiracy to out a covert agent for political gain. He did not find evidence of wide-ranging criminal behavior. He did not even indict the media's ordained villain, Karl Rove," writes David Brooks in Sunday's NY TIMES.

"Leading Democratic politicians filled the air with grand conspiracy theories that would be at home in the John Birch Society."

"Why are these people so compulsively overheated?.. Why do they have to slather on wild, unsupported charges that do little more than make them look unhinged?

Brooks quotes from an essay written 40 years ago by Richard Hofstadter called "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." Hofstadter argued that sometimes people who are dispossessed, who feel their country has been taken away from them and their kind, develop an angry, suspicious and conspiratorial frame of mind. It is never enough to believe their opponents have committed honest mistakes or have legitimate purposes; they insist on believing in malicious conspiracies. "The paranoid spokesman," Hofstadter wrote, "sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms -- he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization." Because his opponents are so evil, the conspiracy monger is never content with anything but their total destruction."

Brooks summarizes: "So some Democrats were not content with Libby's indictment, but had to stretch, distort and exaggerate. The tragic thing is that at the exact moment when the Republican Party is staggering under the weight of its own mistakes, the Democratic Party's loudest voices are in the grip of passions that render them untrustworthy."

I have been somewhat reluctant to comment on the Scooter Libby indictment. After all, it really is not much of a story.

Scooter Libby testified before a grand jury. The prosecutor found that testimony to be inconsistent with the testimony of several other witnesses. As such, the prosecutor indicted him for perjury, etc.

For about two years, the Democrats have discussed the "criminality" of the supposed outing of Valerie Plame by the evil Republican administration. Yet, two years and a grand jury later, there has been, in fact, no indictment for the original crime being investigated - and there will not be.

So, how exactly does the Scooter Libby indictment further the Democratic agenda? I sincerely doubt it will . . .

The indictment does make the Bush administration look bad, however, that will only be temporary. Most people will likely forget all about the indictment within a couple of weeks.

Contrary to many Democrats' beliefs, this will not lead to a further discussion on the Iraq War. The alleged false testimony had nothing to do with Iraq or Joe Wilson's Niger expedition.
Most likely, the Democrats' elation about the indictment is nothing more than the feeling of payback. The Republicans dogged President Clinton with "special prosecutors" throughout his entire presidency for various crimes.

Business Trips Suck

Sorry for the long absence.

I went to Phoenix, Arizona for a real estate law conference. I am really no fan of traveling - not sure why, but it could have something to do with being away from my family and otherwise being "out of my routine". Yes, I am quite the creature of habit.

Anyways,the conference itself was rather boring, but Phoenix was really a nice city. I could definitely see living there one day.

Anyways, I will be back to normal blogging today.

October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers Has Withdrawn Her Nomination

National Review Online has posted Harriet Miers' letter withdrawing as a nominee from the Supreme Court. The letter can be found here.

Fantastic.

October 26, 2005

A Take On Political Correctness and Race

From Ace of Spades:


Pure racism.

No, I don't mean the anti-white bigotry of Spike Lee. Who gives a shit.

I mean the ineffable condescension and embarrassing patronization of white people who hear a black person saying something so fucking jackass and feel the need to treat them as either children or retards by saying, "Why, yes, that's a cute little idea you have there, Scamp."

Again: this "honest discussion about race in this country" the liberal media and lefties are always talking about must procede with honesty in both directions. And that means that, yes, once in a while a white liberal might have to dare to disagree with a black person.

To his face.

Imagine such a thing! Treating black people as equal adult citizens whose most idiotic notions should be branded as such.

And maybe black people with more "reasonable theories" than Spike Lee has could be a little more forceful about telling him he's a moron.

Barbershop was a cute little movie, but it did big business because of that one ad where Cedric the Entertainer basically said a bunch of things that black people privately knew (to wit, OJ was guilty as sin, and, illegal or not, Rodney King deseved a few smacks in the head) but were afraid to say out of a misguided sense of racial solidarity.

Racial correctness-- it's got to go too, if we're to have this "honest discussion" that everyone claims to want. It makes it hard to have "honest discussions" when some are parroting racially correct jackassery.

Amen.

We will never be able to move racial relations forward in this country unless we can deal with such things as the disaster in New Orleans in an honest manner. What happened in New Orleans was tragic as many people - both white and black - died or lost all of their possessions. Hurricane Katrina was clearly color-blind. Unfortunately, black people were disproportionately affected because New Orleans is disproportionately populated by black people. While, the federal, state and local governments were thoroughly unprepared to deal with a natural disaster of such magnitude, however, we must remember that hurricanes are not man-made and the devastation that occurred was race neutral. The idea that white people blew up the levees as part of some conspiracy to kill the black people is disgusting and totally unsubstantiated by any evidence.

Can you imagine the media uproar if, for example, a white film maker decided to make a movie which portrayed a group of blacks destroying the New Orleans levee in an attempt to visit devastation upon the white neighborhoods of New Orleans? The screams of racism coming from the left and the black community would be absolutely deafening. The mainstream media would give no credit to such "wild conspiracy theories" and would likely dismiss the film maker as being a racist and absolutely loony.

Why the double standard? Political correctness. The very misguided thought being that blacks, who are a minority, continue to hold a unique status as a victim due to America's shameful history of slavery/racial discrimination and whites must continue to attone for the sins of their previous generations (regardless of the fact that slavery has not existed in over 140 years, racial segregation ended decades ago, the Jim Crow laws are gone, affirmative action programs in the public and private sector now discriminate against white people, and racial discrimination is aggressively fought on federal, state and local levels). As black people did not have any form of political power or a special place in our national political conversation for decades, political correctness overcompensates by giving special credence to their views - no matter how inaccurate, disturbing or ridiculous. In essence, political correctness says that no one should utterly dismiss the views of black Americans. To do so, would be akin to racism by not allowing blacks to participate in our national debate.

Aside from political correctness, it is clear that liberals hold a very misguided view of racism. My aunt, who is very liberal, once tried to explain to me the prevailing view of liberals on whether a black person can be racist. According to my aunt, a black person cannot be racist as they have no particular political power to impose their views on others or to racially discriminate against the "majority race". This theory is so asinine, that it really defies any sort of logical analysis. Essentially, it confuses "racism" (prejudice based upon race) with "racial discrimination"(discriminating against a person or group of persons based upon their race). One can be racist, but not have the ability to discriminate against other races.

Finally, Democratic politicians and black activists groups have a special interest in feeding these conspiracy theories to black people. In order for the Democrats to continue to win the black vote and black activist groups to continue to be funded, they attempt to demonize President Bush and to label the Republicans as racist. The Democrats' strategy is to blame all black problems on a Republican Congress and Republican administration - never, of course, discussing the Democrats shameful role in the Jim Crow South or the fact that these same problems existed during under the watch of Democratic Congresses and administrations. Think about it. For example, is poverty among African-Americans a new occurrence? No, of course, not... the African-American community faced this same problem during the Carter and Clinton administrations.

Can we overcome these problems to have an honest national conversation about race? I hope so. We have come a long way over the past few decades.

October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks - RIP

This is sad:

Rosa Parks, a seamstress from Montgomery, Alabama, who would not give up her bus seat to a white man in 1955, died Monday at the age of 92. Historians mark the date of her quiet-but-revolutionary act as the start of the modern civil rights movement in the United States.

Her impact on the United States was tremendous and, in my opinion, she was truly an American hero.

Al Franken Is Becoming More Deranged

Brian Maloney of the Radio Equalizer has a transcript of Al Franken's segment on the David Letterman Show. On the show, Al Franken jokes about executing President Bush for treason. (See the Political Teen for video). I didn't find the jokes to be very funny, although, I admittedly am a supporter of the President. It is somewhat disturbing that Al Franken and the Democrats think the execution of the President would be funny.
Michelle Malkin discusses Al Franken's latest promotional video for his new book. In the video, Al Franken "kicks a man potraying a conservative reader in the groin, smashes a stool over his back, and grins as another man playing one of Franken's fans cracks a bottle over the conservative's head." Michelle further comments: "The real joke is that Franken's staged assault inadvertently exposes and underscores the truth about the Bush-deranged Left. Over the past few years, we've seen frightfully Franken-esque intolerance, violence, and hatred spread from the moonbat fringes to the liberal mainstream to the top echelons of the Democrat party."

My question is this: when exactly did it become acceptable to villify your political opponents to such an extent that you are actively joking about their imminent execution? I know that political discourse in the U.S. has become increasingly hostile and passionate lately. However, this just seems to be a bit too extreme.

There are many individuals in the Democratic Party that I do not like - for example, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Nancy Pelosi, etc. However, I have never - nor will I ever - advocate or joke about the necessity of their execution.

The following is a round-up of some other commentary on Al Franken's latest antics from my fellow Republican bloggers:

Moonbat Monitor remarks: "In the video, Franken "jokingly" kicks a conservative, smashes a chair on his back, and then the man is "jokingly" struck in the back of the head with a bottle, while "jokingly" attempting to whore his new book. All this anger and violence coming from the guy that "jokingly" stated that Libby and Rove will be executed. Folks, this guy has completely lost it. Stuart Smalley needs to find a shrink. Does anyone think for a second that if Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter pulled a stunt like either of these that the MSM would cut them any slack at all?"

A Little More To the Right comments: "All this type of behavior does is (a) feed the group of fringe left-wing lunatics who already think this way, and (b) ensure a victory for a Republican President in 2008."

From News Busters: Hmmm ... Violence against those with whom you disagree?Question: Would a Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly ever get away with a publicity video like this without an "outrage" in the liberal media? (Not that they would ever produce anything similar to this, but to pose the question ...)News about this violent skit comes on the heels of this Newsbusters post by Brent Baker which reported that Franken joked on the Late Show With David Letterman about the execution for treason of Rove, Libby, and President Bush.Is a theme of violence emerging in Franken's work?

From Don Surber: "Oh that Franken. I remember when he was funny. But then again, I am an old man. A very old man."
From Jewpublican: I am not sure there is any other explanation. The compassionate member of the left is calling for the execution of people that have not even been charged with a crime? Sure there is something to it if Karl and Scooter are guilty, but saying that the President should be executed for Treason is asinine. He tried to parse his words so carefully that he could be be accused of threatening the president but he did manage to come off no more sane than Cindy Sheehan? What little credibility he had has flown out the window.

From Political Teen: "Look, I don’t think Al Franken was being totally serious, however I don’t think he was joking. From what has spewed out from his mouth in the last few years, none of it disproves what he said on Letterman last Thursday. There is something that disgusts me more than Franken’s comments and that is the hypocrisy from the left. Do they not remember the fit they threw when Bill Bennett made the “aborting the black fetus’” comment? It wasn’t even his opinion, but a quotation from the book, Freakanomics. At least Bennett has a record that shows he is not a racist, but the complete opposite."

George Galloway Lied to Congress

The darling of the anti-war and anti-American left, George Galloway, reportedly lied before a US Congressional committee:

George Galloway, the British MP, was last night accused of lying by a US Congressional committee when he testified earlier this year that he had not received any United Nation food-for-oil allocations from the deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

In a report issued here, Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman and his colleagues on the Senate Subcommittee for Investigations claim to have evidence showing that Mr Galloway's politicalorganizationn and his wife received vouchers worth almost $600,000 (?338,000) from the then Iraqi government.

"We have what we call the smoking gun," said Mr Coleman, who will send the report to the US Department of Justice and the British authorities. The MP could face charges of perjury, making false statements and obstructing a Congressional investigation. Each charge carries a possible jail term of five years and a fine of $250,000.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.... I have a feeling that Mr. Galloway, a British citizen, won't be spending any more time at anti-war rallies or speaking at American colleges. Good thing we have an extradition treaty with Great Britain!

Evidently, George Galloway has issued a challenge the U.S. to charge him.

Update:This is from his website:

The Respect MP George Galloway has thrown down a challenge to the US Senate homeland security committee to charge him with perjury and "I'll see you in court".

Galloway said that he was prepared to fly out immediately to the United States if Senator Norm Coleman, who heads the committee, was prepared to bring charges. The MP has just seen a press release from the committee which alleges that he gave "false and misleading testimony" on May 17. "I deny that absolutely. As I've said a thousand times, I've never benefited personally. Let Coleman bring these charges and I'll rebut them totally."

Good. I am sure that the U.S. Attorneys Office will gladly oblige him!

October 23, 2005

Howard Dean's Latest Tirade Against Republicans - Compares The Republicans to the "Ayatollahs" in Iran

Howard Dean has now called the Bush administration the "most corrupt administration" since Warren Harding:

LEWISTON — The Bush White House is the most corrupt administration in U.S. history since President Warren G. Harding's, said Howard Dean during his first visit to Maine as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Dean's comments Saturday came as top White House advisers are being investigated for their roles in the outing of a CIA operative and Tom DeLay, the former second-ranking Republican in the House of Repre sentatives, faces conspiracy and money-laundering charges....

The most corrupt administration??? Was he asleep during the Clinton years? Does he remember:

- Monica Lewinsky and the other countless allegations of sexual harrassment and improper behavior.

- Paula Jones case. Clinton commits perjury, obstructs justice, is impeached, and eventually disbarred from the Arkansas bar.

- Johnny Chung, who was a Democratic Party fund-raiser and frequent White House guest of Bill Clinton, illegally channeled Chinese military money to President Clinton and the Democratic Party.

- Al Gore is caught fundraising in a Buddhist temple.

- FBI Filegate.

- Whitewater.

- Global Crossing.

- President Bill Clinton pardons Mark Rich. After the pardon, it is discovered that Mr. Rich's ex-wife is a major contributor to President Clinton and the Democratic Party.

I could go on for a long time.

Corruption is not exactly a good issue for the Democrats. As I have said on numerous occasions, corruption exists in both political parties - Republicans and Democrats. Does Howard Dean really want to make this the central issue? After all, Republicans can play the same game.

See NoAgenda.Org for a useful summary of Democratic corruption.

For my previous posts on the latest examples of Democratic corruption, see the following posts:
Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part III
Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part II
Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part I

Additionally, Howard Dean compared Republicans to the Islamofacists in Iran:

Dean said Republicans should not have interfered in the Terri Schiavo right-to-life case."I'm tired of the ayatollahs of the right wing," Dean said. "We're fighting for freedom in Iraq. We're going to fight for freedom in America."

Yeah, that makes sense... insult over half the country. Great way to expand the base and appeal to moderate swing-voters that might be Republicans. A tad over the top don't you think?

Why Miers' Support of Private Sector Affirmative Action Programs Does Matter

Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio icon and fellow blogger, has come out in support of the Miers nomination.

In response to the revelations found in the Washington Post yesterday that Harriet Miers was an advocate and supporter of racial quotas,racial preferences and racial set-asides while President of the Texas Bar, Hugh Hewitt "blows off" those concerns. Essentially, Hugh Hewitt argues that, since Harriet Miers was the head of a private organization and not a governmental entity, that this support is irrelevant to questions of constitutional law (i.e., whether or not a Justice Miers would believe such actions, if taken by government, to be constitutional):

I see many on the web are exercised about Harriet Miers' support for affirmative action in the private setting of support for resolutions of the Texas Bar urging quotas in hiring at private law firms. It is not a policy with which I would agree either, but it also not a matter of constitutional law, unless under Brentwood the action of the Texas Bar in urging private firms to set strict goals has converted into a state action. Don't know what Brentwood is? Or the state action doctrine? Not many people do. But those that don't ought not to be confusing ConLaw with the private decisions of private firms while arguing that this policy makes Miers suspect on Bollinger. Now, if she supported a soft line on the Bollinger cases, that would be a legitimate area of concern, but not the Texas Bar resolutions.)

As a preface to my response, let me say that I respect Hugh Hewitt and he has every right to his opinion.

Hugh Hewitt could not be more wrong.

It is true that the Texas Bar Association is a private entity and not a governmental body. As such, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments would not be violated by such actions.

However, it is useful to keep in mind the following:
  1. Conservatives are not upset at Ms. Miers' support of racial quotas, preferences and set-asides on the basis that she previously supported something that would violate the strict terms of the Constitution. Rather, conservatives are upset because she supported something that is fundamentally wrong and offends the underlying principles behind the Equal Protection Clause.
  2. While the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection guarantees might not be at issue, the federal government has enacted statutes that make private discrimination illegal. Affirmative action is admittedly reverse discrimination. As a Supreme Court Justice, Ms. Miers would be placed into a situation where she would be ruling on the legality and propriety of various private sector affirmative action programs under these statutes. If she was an ardent supporter of such programs previously, what would lead us to believe that she will not be predisposed to rule in favor of such programs? Wouldn't it be logical to assume that she would still consider diversity, by itself, an important (and possibly compelling) interest?
  3. Americans know little about Ms. Miers' views on the issues that will be before the Supreme Court. Why shouldn't we view her previous support of such programs as an indication of how she would rule if the issue were before the Supreme Court? After all, we have no judicial record to the contrary... Isn't this what supporters of Miers have also done? The supporters of Miers have latched onto the notion that she is an evangelical Christian, who does not believe in abortion. As such, the religious right and anti-abortion groups have been told to support the nomination because she would likely vote to overturn Roe v. Wade or otherwise restrict abortion based on her private political beliefs. Yet, we have nothing in her public record that would otherwise prove she would translate these private political beliefs into a vote in favor of restrictions against or an outright ban on abortion. She has never sought a governmental ban on abortion as far as I have seen. So, clearly, aren't the pro-Miers people attempting to translate her private political beliefs into an indicator of what her future judicial decisions would be?
  4. The Supreme Court is divided on the propriety of affirmative action programs. Ms. Miers could represent the swing vote in favor of such programs. As such, those that are concerned about the continued existence of affirmative action programs have every right to be concerned that a supporter of such programs has just been nominated to the Supreme Court.
  5. The legality of affirmative action programs now hinges on whether the programs can meet the strict scrutiny test. Put simply, an affirmative action program may only be implemented to achieve a compelling interest. If Miers supports affirmative action programs and the goals of "diversity", then she could easily vote in favor of such programs by finding that diversity represents a compelling interest. Clearly, if she is an ardent supporter of affirmative action programs, then she would believe that diversity is a compelling interest.
Jonah Goldberg takes issue to Mr. Hewitt's remarks as well:

Piffle. If reports are to be believed Miers argued -- along with her old bar association, pro-affirmative action chum and pal, Alberto Gonzales -- that the White House shouldn't oppose racial quotas aggressively. Instead the White House punted by arguing a narrow aspect of the law and lending little to no support to the anti-quota side. In other words, she did in fact take a soft line on the Bollinger case, which Hewitt admits would be a legitimate reason for concern.

(Or at least that is the charge that many with first hand experience have made. And this White House, as far as I know, has not attempted even once to dispute it.)

So let us concede that her views in this area constitute a legitimate concern. In this context, i.e. we are already legitimately concerned, we find out that Miers was an aggressive supporter of quotas on as the head of a state-affiliated agency (the Texas Bar). We find out she used all of the language, set all of the policies and took all of the positions consistent with a conventional establishmentarian, go-along, get-along, country club Republican on racial quotas and affirmative action. But, alas, if we can't debate the Brentwood decision with Hugh adequately we have no claim to concern about this at all. Why? Because such a policy has nothing to do with "ConLaw." This strikes me as piffle-squared. How a reasonable person could read the Washington Post story yesterday and then with a straight face say it's not a disturbing indication of how she'd vote is beyond me. If Miers had been found out to have been a virulent racist in the early nineties, do you think the argument that those views were irrelevant to how she'd vote would hold water?

I might add that as we don't know jack about what Miers' view on ConLaw is, we have to go with what we know. And what we know is that Miers agrees with the logic of quotas and affirmative action as a moral good. That's troubling enough, even if you buy Hewitt's magical high wall between Miers' constitutional views and her personal views. But let's assume Hewitt is right and this has absolutely nothing, one way or the other, to do with constitutional law. Fine. But as a simple matter of morality, we know that Miers is convinced of the pro-quota side.

So now Hugh is telling us not to worry about her private political views, they are meaningless (even as she pushed the White House to go soft on Bollinger). Meanwhile, Miers' supporters have been arguing for two weeks that Miers is privately opposed to abortion and that should be good enough indication about how she'd vote on Roe. So which is it? Why should we believe Hewitt that Miers will keep her private views to herself (even though she hasn't in the past) on race, but she'll take her private views on abortion to the bank?

Harriet Miers Involved In A Shady Land Deal

This is disturbing:


Texas officials paid Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' family more than $100,000 for a small piece of land in 2000 _ 10 times the land's worth _ despite the state's objections to the way the price was determined, Knight Ridder Newspapers reported Saturday.

The three-member committee that determined the price included Peggy Lundy, a friend of Miers, and property-rights activist Cathie Adams, Knight Ridder reported. They were appointed to the panel by state District Judge David Evans, who had received at least $5,000 in campaign contributions from Miers' law firm.

The land in question was part of a parcel in west Dallas owned by Miers' mother, Sally; Harriet Miers had the authority to represent her mother's interests. Texas needed the northeast corner of the parcel to build an interstate highway off-ramp.

According to Knight Ridder, the land _ which was part of a large Superfund pollution cleanup site _ was valued at less than 30 cents a square foot. But the panel recommended paying nearly $5 a square foot for it.

The price was later reduced from $106,915 to $80,915, but Miers has yet to return the $26,000 difference to the state, said the story by Jack Douglas Jr. and Stephen Henderson.

"Nothing indicates that Miers sought out the judge or engineered the appointments to the panel, but there's also no indication that she reported the potential conflicts of interest in the case or tried to avoid them," the story said.

It quoted an unidentified White House spokesperson as saying that Miers considers the case a "straightforward condemnation matter" and did not know the details of her law firm's donations to Evans.

Yet another problem with the Miers nomination. Many nominations for various governmental positions have been nixed by such ethical lapses. How will the White House respond? Most likely bury its collective "head" in the sand. This White House is, in fact, one of the most stubborn we have had in a long time (which, of course, on many issues has been a very good thing)

Does Harriet Miers Have Enough Votes To Be Confirmed?

Evidentally, Senator Schumer does not believe she does:

A Democrat on the Senate committee that will consider Harriet Miers' nomination said Sunday that President Bush's Supreme Court choice lacks the votes now to be confirmed, saying there are too many questions about her qualifications.

"If you held the vote today, she would not get a majority either in the Judiciary Committee or the floor," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D- New York. On the 18-member GOP-controlled committee, "there are one or two who said they'd support her as of now."

But the committee's chairman, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, rejected the notion that Miers' nomination was in trouble. Specter said most senators are waiting for the hearings before making up their minds "There are no votes one way or another," he said.

Miers, a longtime Bush confidante who has never been a judge, was nominated to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The nomination has troubled some conservatives who say it was a risky choice because Miers was a blank slate on issues such as abortion and gay rights.

Democrats, too, have expressed concerns about whether the current White House counsel could sever her close ties to Bush and rule independently once she were on the bench.

Normally, I would say "consider the source" - Chuck Schumer wants all of President Bush's nominations to fail - but, clearly, this nomination is in trouble (as well it should be). After all, if Bush had done this correctly, the conservative votes would be a lock...

October 22, 2005

Harriet Miers Supports Racial Set-Asides, Quotas

I oppose the Miers nomination.

It is more than clear that Harriet Miers is unqualified. Moreover, it has recently become apparent that she does not exactly share many conservative views. Finally, it is evident that she supports something that is, quite frankly, offensive to the Constitution itself.

According to the Washington Post, Harriet Miers actively supported affirmative action, race-based quotas and reverse discrimination:

As president of the State Bar of Texas, Harriet Miers wrote that "our legal community must reflect our population as a whole," and under her leadership the organization embraced racial and gender set-asides and set numerical targets to achieve that goal.The S upreme Court nominee's words and actions from the early 1990s, when she held key leadership positions as president-elect and president of the state bar, provide the first window into her personal views on affirmative action, an area in which the Supreme Court is closely divided and where Miers could tip the court's balance.....To some conservatives, the types of policies pursued by the Texas bar association amount to reverse discrimination. ...

Miers, the first female president of the Texas bar, vowed in her first interview with the Texas Law Journal as president to "be inclusive of women and minorities." During her tenure, she championed the cause of increasing the number of female and minority lawyers in the bar's own leadership ranks and in law firms across the state, writing that "we are strongest capitalizing on the benefits of our diversity. "Miers was a believer in mentoring programs, but during her tenure she and the board of directors went further, passing a resolution urging Texas law firms to set a goal of hiring one qualified minority lawyer for every 10 new associates. The directors also reiterated support for a policy of setting aside a specific number of seats on the board for women and minorities..."Those are quotas," said Roger Clegg, the general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative group opposed to affirmative action. The fact that Miers "did not create the quota systems but only perpetuated and endorsed it doesn't make it less disturbing," he said...

John Yoo, a conservative law professor at University of California at Berkeley who served as deputy assistant attorney general during President Bush's first term, said the fact that Miers did not object to the policy "is another worrying sign that her real views on the kind of issues she'll decide on the Supreme Court are not as conservative as President Bush suggests." "When you start setting numbers like that, you can call it a goal or anything else, but it smells like a quota," he said. "The message is pretty clear -- you are encouraging hiring based on race."...

Martin Redish, a professor of constitutional law at the Northwestern University School of Law, said Miers's actions a decade ago, while not definitive, are telling.

"While it is by no means clear how she would vote, it sounds as though she would be amenable to the use of, if not quotas, racial preferences," as a way to achieve diversity, he said.

Read it all. The article goes into detail of her support for racial quotas and racial preferences while serving as President of the Texas Bar Association. For my views on Miers' stand on affirmative action, see this post:

Affirmative action programs actively and unashamedly discriminate against members of one race in favor of another race - thus, offending and trampling upon the fundamental principle of "equal protection".

Affirmative action programs are based upon the theory that past discrimination by the majority race against certain racial minorities justifies currrent discrimination against the members of the majority race. Essentially, these programs are nothing more than "payback" to the minority race for past discrimination by the majority race. As Justice Antonin Scalia correctly opined in Adarand Constructors v. Pena, the concept of a "debtor race" is not compatible with the Constitution's focus on individuals and individual rights.
Jonah Goldberg, one of my favorite columnists, has now officially declared that he is against the nomination of Harriet Miers:

My official position on Miers has been to criticize the selection, but give her the benefit of the doubt until the hearings. In other words, bad pick but she's the nominee so let's give her a shot.

No more.

After reading this story I'm officially against Miers. I'm with the Editors , Will, Frum, and Krauthammer.

It's not just that Miers was in favor of racial quotas -- we'd pretty much known that for a while. It's the fundamental confirmation that she's a go-along-with-the-crowd establishmentarian. The White House says that her enthusiastic support for goals, timetables and quotas at the Bar Association says nothing about her views on government race policies. Yeah, right. She simultaneously thought what she was doing was great and important while also believing it would be unconstitutional if the government did the same thing.

The White House says she's an unchanging rock of principle. Uh huh. So have her opinions held constant since the early 1990s? Or have they shifted with the wind? If she's a rock, I don't want her. If she's a weather vane, I don't want her.

I just don't want her.

Start over.

I agree.

October 21, 2005

Hypocrisy

Well, it didn't take too long for Republican critics of Harriet Miers to become hypocritical. From The Hill News:

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) are calling for the White House to turn over internal documents related to Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers’s service as White House counsel, breaking with Republican colleagues who say the boundaries of executive privilege must not be pushed.

Perhaps anticipating Republican demands for internal memos, White House staff members yesterday told Senate GOP staffers that the White House will provide evidence illuminating Miers’s legal thinking in action.

Both lawmakers are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will begin confirmation hearings for Miers the week of Nov. 7.

Graham’s and Brownback’s push for greater disclosure will give Democrats political leverage should they ask for memos and other documents shedding light on Miers’s work within the Bush administration’s inner circle. It would take only two Republicans to defeat Miers in committee, although that would not prevent the nomination’s automatic discharge to a floor vote.

Democrats were unable to persuade the Bush administration during the summer to turn over documents related to Chief Justice John Roberts’s service as deputy solicitor general in the administration of George H.W. Bush.

So, are executive priviledge and attorney-client priviledge important or not? Evidently, only if the Democrats are asking for the documents. What hypocritical assholes.

When the White House refused to turn over documents related to Chief Justice John Roberts' service as deputy solicitor general, I agreed with the overwhelming number of Republicans, who argued that such a move would be a clear violation of both priviledges. Hopefully, the White House will ignore this request and other Republicans will talk some sense into Senator Graham and Senator Brownback.

Don't get me wrong - I am all for seeing the nomination of Harriet Miers crater. However, let's not be hypocritical in the process.

More Air America Ratings News

Air America's ratings are in the toilet in Washington D.C.:

Air America, the liberal talk network carried on WWRC-AM (1260), went from bad to nonexistent. After WWRC recorded a mere fraction of a rating point in the spring with syndicated shows from the likes of lefty talkers Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo and Stephanie Miller, Arbitron couldn't detect a measurable listenership for the station this time around.

Ouch. The part I especially like is the "Arbitron couldn't detect a measurable listernship for the station this time around".

October 20, 2005

African-American Voters and the Republican Party

The San Diego Union Tribune makes the same point I previously made here:

African-Americans ought to realize that, while their loyalty to the Democratic Party is commendable, it's also self-destructive. The single best road map for losing political power is to be simultaneously taken for granted by one party and written off by another. Sadly, that seems to be the case with African-Americans. They're taken for granted by Democrats and too often written off by Republicans.

Harriet Miers Nomination - A Truly Bipartisan Disappointment

From the Washington Post:

The top two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday complained about the written responses they received from Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers this week, and warned her to expect tough questions from Republicans and Democrats alike when her confirmation hearing begins Nov. 7.

Barely concealing their irritation during a 35-minute news conference at the Capitol, Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and ranking Democrat Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) called the lobbying on Miers' behalf "chaotic," and said the answers she provided Monday to a lengthy questionnaire were inadequate. "The comments I have heard range from incomplete to insulting," Leahy said.

They sent Miers a three-page letter asking for more detailed responses in several areas, and Specter said he has asked the Bush administration for more documents concerning her work as White House counsel. Specter said Miers must provide "amplification on many, many of the items" included in the first questionnaire....

Announcing plans to start the hearing Nov. 7 despite Democrats' request for more time, Specter told reporters: "This is going to be an unusual hearing where I think all 18 senators are going to have probing questions." The panel has 10 Republicans and eight Democrats.

The two committee leaders -- both of whom voted to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice last month -- said they are bothered by accounts of telephone conference calls in which supporters of Miers reportedly have assured conservative activists that they will be happy with her political views on abortion and other subjects.

"I think it's been a chaotic process, very candidly, as to what has happened, because of all of the conference calls and all of the discussions, which are alleged in the back room," Specter said. "We're looking into them."

At yesterday's news conference, Specter appeared to be annoyed with Miers on several points. He said his staff gave him a "big binder" of legal cases she had handled in private practice, but "she gave us a skimpy little group" of material describing those cases in response to the questionnaire's request for details of her most important cases. "No reason we should know more about her cases than she does," he said.

Specter said he remained perplexed by a disagreement Monday stemming from his meeting with Miers in his office, after which their accounts differed on what the nominee had said about Supreme Court rulings that preceded Roe .

In dealing with 11 Supreme Court nominees, Specter said, "I've never walked out of a room and had a disagreement as to what was said." He smiled politely as Leahy said, "I've never known him to make a mistake on what he heard."

Yep. This nomination is still not looking good...

It gets worse. Evidently, Harriet Miers is already screwing up her answers to constitutional questions:

Meanwhile, several constitutional law scholars said they were surprised and puzzled by Miers' response to the committee's request for information on cases she has handled dealing with constitutional issues. In describing one matter on the Dallas City Council, Miers referred to "the proportional representation requirement of the Equal Protection Clause" as it relates to the Voting Rights Act.

"There is no proportional representation requirement in the Equal Protection Clause," said Cass R. Sunstein, a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. He and several other scholars said it appeared that Miers was confusing proportional representation -- which typically deals with ethnic groups having members on elected bodies -- with the one-man, one-vote Supreme Court ruling that requires, for example, legislative districts to have equal populations.

Not a good sign.

Quite frankly, I do not like what I have heard as far as her views on affirmative action and abortion. While I would like to see the nomination pulled as a result of her stand on these issues, however, I do believe her views on specific issues should not be a litmus test. I do, however, believe that she must be qualified for the job. What do we know about her qualifications? Not much.
As a result, I have, unfortunately, little confidence in Ms. Miers' qualifications for this job. Let's look at what we do know:
  1. Clearly, her mistake on the Equal Protection Clause was ridiculous and revealed that she has much to learn in constitutional law. More important, however, it revealed that she is not careful and evidently had no understanding of the issue. One would think that, if Ms. Miers were a good lawyer, she would have researched her answer to the issue and would have therefore avoided her error.
  2. Ms. Miers has never been a judge, however, that certainly is not a requirement or prerequisite for becoming a good Supreme Court Justice. While I wouldn't count her lack of judicial experience against her, it does not advance her cause.
  3. Ms. Miers was the first woman hired by Locke, Purnell, Rain and Harrell. Big deal. An individual's gender has nothing to do with whether she is qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. The fact that she was the first woman to join a particular firm says more about the backwardness of the firm she chose to work for than it does about her.
  4. Ms. Miers worked for a large, prestigious law firm. This means nothing. I am a partner of a large, prestigious law firm, however, I will be the first to admit that my firm has, at times, made mistakes in hiring (and election to partnership). Law firms do not always hire the best and the brightest. There are, after all, many people who get jobs because they are politically connected, have books of business, or are otherwise friends with other members of the law firm.
  5. It is unlikely that she dealt with any constitutional issues while employed for her law firm. Typically, cases with constitutional issues are not cases that large firm litigators will accept.
  6. Ms. Miers was the first female president of the Texas Bar Association. Big deal. An individual's gender has nothing to do with whether they are qualified for a job. Moreover, at most, this shows that Ms. Miers is politically connected. Individuals are selected for such positions because they are, in essence, popular amongst their peers - not because they are the best lawyers in a given state.
  7. Ms. Miers ran the Texas Lottery. Need I address this? It has nothing to do with being a Supreme Court Justice.
  8. The National Law Journal names her as one of the nation's 100 most powerful attorneys and one of the nation's 50 top women attorneys. This is impressive, I guess, however, doesn't this have to do more with (a) where she practices law and (b) who were here clients? In other words, if she were not a White House Counsel and had not previously been a female managing partner of a huge law firm, would she still be one of the "most powerful" attorneys? I don't know. I guess it depends on what criteria they used....
  9. Ms. Miers was the managing partner of a prestigious law firm. Does this make her qualified? I would argue that the answer to that question is "not necessarily". It is certainly an admirable accomplishment. However, it is not necessarily an endorsement that she was a good attorney. The election to managing partner is more often than not a reflection of the fact that the person (a) has a big book of business, (b) plays corporate politics well or (c) is good at running a business. In fact, a person, who is elected managing partner of a large firm, spends very little time practicing law. Rather, they spend the majority of their time running the law firm as a business and participating in client development activities.
With respect to her qualifications, however, do not misunderstand me - my complaints are not that she graduated from SMU as opposed to Harvard or Yale. I do not share Ann Coulter's sentiment that the Supreme Court Justices must only come from the Ivy League. I have faced or dealt with enough lawyers from Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago and Northwestern to know that such schools produce just as many incompetent or unsuccessful lawyers as the lesser tier schools. Any practicing lawyer will tell you that school pedigree does not turn someone into a good lawyer. I cannot count the number of associates from Ivy League schools have turned out to be such huge busts at my firm. I have found that it is more important to have meaningful work experience.
It looks like Ms. Miers was chosen because she was a political crony. If this is true, and she turns out not to be qualified, then I am really disappointed.
As a lawyer, nothing frustrates me more than unqualified political cronies being placed on the bench. I have learned to accept it at the lower court levels as an inevitable byproduct of our political system. However, I always have had high respect for all of the justices on the Supreme Court - even those that do not share my political views (for example, I respect Ruth Bader Ginsburg's qualifications and intellect - even though I feel she more often than not reaches the wrong result). It is very unfortunate that cronyism is now reaching the Supreme Court.

October 19, 2005

Bill Clinton - Terror War Can Only Be Won By Sharing Our Wealth

Bill Clinton gave a speech, which was very revealing as to why he allowed Al Quaida to become strong, train and plan for 9/11 on his watch. Evidently, he has absolutely no real understanding of Islamic terrorism. Moreover, he does not believe in killing or jailing terrorists (Maybe this explains why he refused to take Bin Laden when offered by Sudan in 1996). What is his solution? World socialism and charity:

TORONTO (CP) - Western nations can defuse the terrorist threat that looms over wealthy countries by sharing their prosperity with the half of humanity that feels the system "is rigged against them," former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Tuesday.

Security policies alone will never thwart the destructive ambitions of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Clinton told an audience attending a motivational seminar in Toronto. "We have no excuse now for not building a world with more partners and fewer terrorists," he said.

"We cannot kill, jail or occupy all of our enemies, we cannot have a security policy only." Clinton, in Toronto during a speaking tour of three Canadian cities that ends Wednesday in Calgary, spoke of his vision of a more secure and equitable world. "We have to find a way to reach out to the half of the people in the world who think we don't care about them and, in fact, that we've got the system rigged against them," he told the audience, many who paid as much as $1,300 to attend the day-long event.

"Unless we can do this we can never hope to build a world totally free of terror, or dangerous weapons, or human conflict."

This is utterly asinine.

Al Quaeda does not kill Americans and other westerners because we are rich and they are poor. For example, 9/11 was committed by men that were, if anything, middle-class.

Rather, Al Quaeda believes that all infidels (i.e., all non-believers or non-Muslims including all Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists, etc.) must be converted to Islam or killed. Put simply, the motivation for their acts of terror are not related to the issue of wealth.

Americans could give every penny they had to Al Quaeda and it would not change the fact that the Islamic terrorists view us as an enemy of Allah.

I guess that Clinton ultimately believes that if you can't beat 'em, then bribe 'em.

Senator Barbara Boxer Debuts Novel

According to the Washington Times, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer has written a novel. As once would expect, the novel features saintly Democrats and snake-like Republicans:

Sen. Barbara Boxer's debut novel has yet to be published, but it already has created a dark and stormy night for Republicans. They're mostly villains in "A Time to Run," a suspense tale penned by the California Democrat. The New York Times questioned Mrs. Boxer's portrayal of Republicans as "snakes" and Democrats as "saints" in the book, which chronicles the adventures of a diminutive redhead who assumes her husband's Senate seat after he is killed, then tries to foil the nomination of a conservative woman to the Supreme Court.... Indeed. Mrs. Boxer -- who opposed the nomination of conservative Judge John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice of the Supreme Court and questions Harriet Miers' qualifications to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor -- has had to answer to critics who wonder where fiction stops and agenda begins. The discord was fueled by advance materials and sneak peeks at the 320-page book, published by San Francisco-based Chronicle Books. "You need to be the conscience of the liberals, even if you're only a voice in the wilderness," an aide tells Sen. Ellen Fischer, the book's very Democratic heroine.

There was no official comment from Mrs. Boxer yesterday. "We're under orders not to talk about the book," said her spokesman, David Sandretti. In an interview with the Times on Sunday, however, Mrs. Boxer acknowledged writing the book "with a point of view," adding that as a party, the "Democrats have virtuous goals." Mrs. Boxer told Publishers Weekly last month that her novel was "definitely a struggle between liberals and conservatives, and knowing that I wrote the book, you can imagine who wins the day." In an Associated Press interview, she described the timing of her book as "almost unbelievable." ...

Sundry reviews are already crabby. "Suffice it to say, this effort reads more like a cross between a bad romance novel and a soap opera script. The Congressional Record might be more entertaining. And it's free," noted the Sacramento Bee, which obtained an uncorrected proof of the novel last month but was prohibited from quoting directly from it.


I was going to write something scathing, but I figure that I will likely do no better than the Sacramento Bee!

October 18, 2005

Jeanine Pirro Seeks Campaign Donation from Hillary Clinton and Hillary Inadvertently Declares for 2008

Jeanine Pirro's campaign staff screwed up in a rather amusing way:

ALBANY, N.Y. -- This is one check that definitely won't be in the mail. In an Aug. 19 fundraising letter, Jeanine Pirro told potential supporters of her race to unseat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, "I cannot win without your support."Pirro sent one of those appeals to:

Hillary Clinton
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500-0030

That, of course, is the White House where Clinton used to be first lady.

The Pirro letter came to light just three days after the Westchester County district attorney reported raising $438,555 for the three-month period ending Sept. 30 in her bid for the GOP nomination to challenge Clinton's 2006 re-election effort. Clinton reported raising $5.3 million.

"No wonder Ms. Pirro raised so little money," quipped Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson on Monday.

Too funny.

Senator Clinton, however, made her own mistake. She inadvertently declared for 2008:

Well, Since beginning her campaign on Aug. 7, Pirro has been arguing that Clinton is really interested not in winning re-election to the Senate, but in running for president in 2008.

Or, as Pirro wrote in her appeal to the Hillary Clinton of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: "You and I both know the U.S. Senate isn't Hillary's real goal."

Wolfson said the letter was forwarded to Clinton's Senate office.

Pirro campaign manager Brian Donahue said the fundraising appeal was sent because someone registered the information on Pirro's campaign Web site.

"Who knows, it could have been Hillary Clinton herself, doing a Freudian slip during a commercial break on the `Ellen DeGeneres Show,"' Donahue added.

During a taping of DeGeneres' show last week, Clinton was asked, "So you are preparing for 2008?"

"I am," Clinton quickly responded, before catching herself. "No, no, no. I am preparing for 2006."

The fact that Hillary Clinton is going to run for President in 2008 is the worst kept secret in Washington. I cannot say I really blame Hillary Clinton for running for re-election when she knows that her ultimate goal is not to complete her term. There is something to be said for job security.

With this being said, I agree with Jeanine Pirro's strategy of reminding the citizens of New York that Hillary Clinton's ultimate goal is not to serve the state of New York. Hillary Clinton does not want to be the junior Senator from New York. Rather, she wants to be President. If re-elected in 2006, she will be striving to end her term four years early. During the two years before the presidential election, Ms. Clinton will be running all over the country campaigning for another job. She will not be in D.C. for any length of time (anyone remember how many votes Senator Kerry missed during the campaign). She will not be working full time on issues important to New York. Instead, she will be focusing on the needs of the citizens of New Hampshire, Iowa, etc.

Hurricane Katrina Evacuees Use Federal Assistance Money For Alcohol and Strippers

UPI reports that federal assistance money is being abused by Hurricane Katrina evacuees:

BOURNE, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Hurricane Katrina evacuees using federal assistance money are living the high life with alcohol and strippers in Massachusetts, the Boston Herald said Tuesday.

The newspaper's investigation recorded "a virtual parade of evacuees from a bus stop in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Falmouth to nearby liquor stores.

"Some emerged and openly swilled from brown-bagged containers, while others poured booze into jugs or plastic cups and casually sipped drinks at the Wal-Mart bus stop."

At a Mashpee strip club, a dancer named Angel told the newspaper she had done several lap dances for evacuees, who tipped her $5 each time.

Since the Sept. 8 arrival of the original 235 evacuees, Gov. Mitt Romney and the Legislature approved a $25 million emergency aid package to feed and house the evacuees at Camp Edwards on Otis Air Force Base.

As of mid-September, the Red Cross had also given out another $25,000 in debit cards for victims sent to Massachusetts after the storm slammed Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Aug. 29.

Glad to know our tax money is being spent wisely. Thanks Assholes for exploiting the good will and trust of the American people.

How Dirty Harry Got A Movie Deal

Check out this post.

Seems like good advice for those wanting to break into the movie industry.

Berkely Cancels Its Veterans Day Ceremony

Berkeley has canceled its Veterans Day ceremony due to a dispute over the selection of Bill Mitchell, who is the co-founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, as the keynote speaker:

Berkeley's Veterans Day ceremony, scheduled for Nov. 11, was abruptly canceled on Monday because the volunteer organizing committee split over the political content.

At issue was a proposal by the chairman, singer/songwriter Country Joe McDonald, to have Bill Mitchell, a co-founder of Cindy Sheehan's organization, Gold Star Families for Peace, as the keynote speaker.

Mitchell's and Sheehan's sons were killed in Iraq the same day.

Some committee members worried that Mitchell would inject an unwelcome note of partisanship into the event, which has been scrupulously non-political in years past.

"If you want to have an anti-war rally, count me in," said Linda Perry, an aide to City Councilman Laurie Capitelli. "But not on Veteran's Day. It's neither the time nor the place."

Edwin Harper, adjutant of the local Disabled American Veterans chapter, which has participated in past Berkeley Veterans Day observances, threatened that his group would pull out. "They have the other 364 days and 23 hours to make their political point," he said. "This one hour should be reserved for honoring veterans, period."

McDonald, backed by other members of the committee, disagreed, saying that not permitting Mitchell to express his point of view would be tantamount to censoring free speech.

"Their position was that no matter what he said, because he was a member of Gold Star Families, he wouldn't be allowed to speak," McDonald said. "I've been doing this for 10 years, and this is the first time content and affiliation ever came up for discussion. I was shocked to find this kind of narrow-mindedness in my own hometown, in Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement."

Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin.

Veteran's Day is, quite simply, a day set aside to honor those persons that have served in our nation's military and have thereby risked all to safeguard our country. A commemoration of Veteran's Day should not be used for political purposes or to further any other agenda.
Why politicize the event by inviting a prominent anti-war protester to give the key note address? I mean, seriously, does anyone at Berkeley believe that Mr. Mitchell would avoid espousing his views of war or Iraq? No. Of course not. Mr. Mitchell was selected because some of the organizers did, in fact, have an agenda... i.e., to use this particular venue to protest the Iraq War.
Would Mr. McDonald agree with a committee decision to have Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush or Condi Rice give a speech in which they spoke of the importance of the Iraq War? No. Of course not. I am sure that he would likely be one of the first to scream about the inappropriatenesss of "politicizing" the event.
Would Mr. McDonald still be shocked by the "censorship" of free speech if the committee had actually refused to use a pro-war speaker as the keynote speaker rather than refusing to allow an anti-war speaker to be the keynote speaker? No, I am sure that he would be silent on the issue.

Oliver Willis - Time For A Change In Black Leadership

Oliver Willis has an interesting take on the black leadership in America:

I think it's past time for there to be a changing of the guard in black leadership in America. People like Farrakhan, Sharpton and Jackson are no better than hustlers, bigots, and crooks. There are hundreds of black leaders who believe in improving the lives of black Americans, and America in general, but the media keeps giving time to the Axis of Irrelevancy.

I agree. There are likely thousands of more credible black leaders, who are more accomplished, less polarizing and could do so much more for their constituents than Farrakhan, Sharpton or Jackson.

However, I would go further than a mere change in leadership. I honestly believe that African-Americans would be better served if they would put their vote in play more effectively. Currently, about 90% of the African-American vote has gone to the Democratic Party. Yet, what exactly have the Democrats done for the African-Americans lately??

Lately, Ken Mehlman and the Republicans appear to be willing to bend over backwards to win the African-American vote- are the Democrats? I am not so sure about that. The African-American constitutency is a lock for the Democrats, so the Democrats need not work for the votes.
Rather than urge each of the political parties to be responsive to African-American needs, the current African-American leadership is focused on demonizing Republicans and getting the vote out for the Democratic Party. By following such a strategy, you guarantee two things: (a) Democrats will take your vote for granted and (b) the Republicans will feel that outreach to African-American community is futile, so why take their interests to heart?

Regardless of whether African-Americans end up voting Democratic or Republican, why not make that political party earn the votes?

Lileks on Mohamed ElBaradei

James Lileks has an excellent column in which he explores legacy of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and latest Nobel Prize recipient:
Which brings us to its latest recipient: ol' see-no-evil Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. This is like giving the surgeon general the Nobel for medicine after bird flu depopulates North America. Let's look at ElBaradei's highlight reel:

Completely whiffed the Libyan nuke program. Failed to notice that Iran had a secret nuclear program going for a fifth of a century. (You can hardly blame the U.N. types — it was secret, after all. I mean, it's not like you can barge in and say, "What's all this, then?") The IAEA also didn't have a clue about A.Q. Khan, the wannabe Bond villain who ran a nuclear Wal-Mart for rogue states. ElBaradei would have been better off sending Mr. Magoo to ferret out Khan's network; at least Magoo would have tripped over something.

As is the case with any stopped-clock technocrat, ElBaradei got one thing right: Iraq was not on the cusp of exploding a nuclear device. You remember the war-justifying lies of the president: We must "attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs" because an Iraq untrammeled by sanctions "would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years." Lies! Lies!

Well, ahem: Those were spoken to the nation by President Clinton in 1998, describing his justified, if unsuccessful, attempt at regime change. Clinton was correct — unless you think Saddam unbound would have called up ElBaradei and begged for forgiveness. Bless me for I have sinned. It has been six months since my last inspection.

Incidentally, some are worried that Chavez might want to buy nukes from Brazil, if it starts making them again. Surely that's just crazed right-wing nonsense — but if true, fear not! The Nobel prize-winner will be all over that like yellow on yellowcake. It is yellow, isn't it? That's not just a name? In any case, better you should worry about free markets causing tsunamis. Thus endeth the sermon. Go, and sin no more.
My thoughts exactly.

October 17, 2005

Harriet Miers Would Vote to Repeal Roe v. Wade?

According to John Fund's column in the Wall Street Journal, religious conservatives were assured by two close friends of Harriet Miers that a Justice Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade:


It might, however, have been part of another discussion. On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe.

The call was moderated by the Rev. Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association. Participating were 13 members of the executive committee of the Arlington Group, an umbrella alliance of 60 religious conservative groups, including Gary Bauer of American Values, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation and the Rev. Bill Owens, a black minister. Also on the call were Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court and Judge Ed Kinkeade, a Dallas-based federal trial judge.

Mr. Dobson says he spoke with Mr. Rove on Sunday, Oct. 2, the day before President Bush publicly announced the nomination. Mr. Rove assured Mr. Dobson that Ms. Miers was an evangelical Christian and a strict constructionist, and said that Justice Hecht, a longtime friend of Ms. Miers who had helped her join an evangelical church in 1979, could provide background on her. Later that day, a personal friend of Mr. Dobson's in Texas called him and suggested he speak with Judge Kinkeade, who has been a friend of Ms. Miers's for decades.

Mr. Dobson says he was surprised the next day to learn that Justice Hecht and Judge Kinkeade were joining the Arlington Group call. He was asked to introduce the two of them, which he considered awkward given that he had never spoken with Justice Hecht and only once to Judge Kinkeade. According to the notes of the call, Mr. Dobson introduced them by saying, "Karl Rove suggested that we talk with these gentlemen because they can confirm specific reasons why Harriet Miers might be a better candidate than some of us think."

What followed, according to the notes, was a free-wheeling discussion about many topics, including same-sex marriage. Justice Hecht said he had never discussed that issue with Ms. Miers. Then an unidentified voice asked the two men, "Based on your personal knowledge of her, if she had the opportunity, do you believe she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?"

"Absolutely," said Judge Kinkeade.

"I agree with that," said Justice Hecht. "I concur."

As I have mentioned before, I am pro-choice but I am terribly uncomfortable with abortion. To characterize my position, I believe abortion should be safe and legal, but only used in very limited circumstances.

Abortion is not a "hot button" issue for me, but I can certainly understand how this will play to those that are moderate to liberal on the issue. NARAL and NOW will be going ballistic with this news. The Democrats, who had previously been fairly accepting of the nomination, may indeed balk.

October 16, 2005

White House to Reintroduce or Relaunch the Harriet Miers Nomination

Great. Evidently, the White House - in what can only be described as a ridiculously inept and completely misguided attempt to salvage its recent Supreme Court nomination- decided that it wants to take a mulligan on the Harriet Miers nomination. No. I know what you are thinking and, unfortunately, President Bush is not nominating someone else. Rather, the White House plans on "reintroducing" Ms. Miers to the American public and its nervous political base. Put simply, they failed to manage a somewhat basic public relations task, so they want a do-over:

Get ready for a whole new Harriet. After a disastrous two weeks, White House officials say they hope to relaunch the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court by moving from what they call a "biographical phase" to an "accomplishment phase." In other words, stop debating her religion and personality and start focusing on her résumé as a pioneering female lawyer of the Southwest. "We got a little wrapped around the axle," an exhausted White House official said. "As the focus becomes less on who she's not and more on who she is, that's a better place to be."

So, as the White House counsel begins her formal prep sessions this week for a confirmation hearing that's likely to start in early November, President Bush will hold a photo op with former chief justices of the Texas Supreme Court who will testify to Miers' qualifications and legal mind. The White House's 20-person "confirmation team" will line up news conferences, opinion pieces and letters to the editor by professors and former colleagues who can talk about Miers' experience dealing with such real-world issues as the Voting Rights Act when she was a Dallas city council member and Native American tribal sovereignty when she was chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission.

After enjoying the 78-to-22 confirmation breeze for Chief Justice John Roberts, congressional Republicans are now sweating the Miers vote count and tell TIME that it could be as low as 52--embarrassing but still good enough for a lifetime appointment. Lawmakers and staff contend that during her first round of courtesy calls, Miers had anything but a commanding presence, looking more like a prom date next to the confident Senators. Republicans said she seemed unwilling or unable to answer questions about whether she viewed particular cases as important precedents and said she offered little beyond banal chatter.

This is stupid.

Democratic "Culture of Corruption"? - Part III

In honor of Howard Dean's declaration that the Tom Delay indictment proved some sort of a "Republican Culture of Corruption" exists, I present part III in my examination of the "Democratic Culture of Corruption".

Former Representative Frank Ballance, a Democratic state legislator, has been sentenced to prison:


Former Rep. Frank Ballance was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison for conspiring to divert taxpayer money to his law firm and family through a charitable organization he helped start. Ballance, 63, a longtime state legislator before being elected to Congress, has until Dec. 30 to turn himself in, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle ruled.

Ballance also agreed to repay $61,917.25 and to forfeit $203,000 in a bank escrow account in the name of the John A. Hyman Memorial Foundation. The forfeited funds will be returned to North Carolina taxpayers, prosecutor Dennis Duffy said.

"I want to apologize to my family and all the people I represent for what, I call them mistakes, but they were violations of the law," Ballance said in court before he was sentenced....Ballance resigned from Congress in June 2004, citing ill health, without completing his first term.
Before then, between 1994 and 2003, he channeled $2.3 million in state money to the nonprofit Hyman Foundation he operated to help poor people fight drug and alcohol abuse, according to a 51-page indictment the government filed in September 2004.

Ballance forged the foundation director's signature on state money requests and diverted foundation money from the Vance NAACP to pay a $15,500 legal bill in a criminal case and more than $69,000 in rent to his church, which housed the foundation's office, according to the indictment.

In many cases, Duffy said, Ballance hid the financial trail by moving money from the Hyman Foundation to another nonprofit or charitable group before it wound up benefiting family or supporters. Ballance also used his legislative position to intimidate state employees to look the other way when the Hyman Foundation failed for years to provide an accounting of how its funds were spent as required by the state, Duffy said.

As mentioned before, corruption exists on both sides of the aisle. To Democrats, I, once again, say, "do you really want to get into this argument?" There really are no winners to such an argument in politics.

Hat Tip: NoAgenda.Org.

Previous posts:

Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part II
Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part I

October 15, 2005

Notice

Blogging will be light this weekend. We have family in town.

Have a great weekend.

October 14, 2005

Democrats Debate the Use of "Hitler Comparisons" at Democratic Underground

Over at the Democratic Underground, the Democrats are now defending their comparisons of President Bush with Adolf Hitler. The following is a sample of the idiocy:

wtmusic: Good essay on what has always bothered me about so-called Godwin's Law, which states, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. Once such a comparison is made the discussion is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress." By banishing references to Hitler we also make the tacit assumption that it could never happen again, that society has progressed to a point where such a regression is unthinkable. But it's not only learning the lessons of history, but reminding ourselves of them from time to time, and drawing parallels through self-examination that will give us any realistic chance of preventing history from repeating itself.

zidzi: I see no reason not to "reference hitler" since it's a true analogy. hitler as verboten is senseless.

radwriter0555: It's all confusing. But I stand by my assertion that bush and his evil cabal are indeed hitler and the nazi regime reincarnated and come to life. Don't like my assertion? Not enough bodies for you? Not any human skins used for lampshades (that we know of) for another 'test'? Too bad, put me on iggie and put your head back in the sand. Bush is the new hitler. 91101 was reichstag. Iraq was Poland. Iraqis are Jews. Gitmo is Dachau.(no ovens? oh well, there are still too many parables)

McCamy Taylor: Same can be said about guns. Except the word "Hitler" doesnt kill.

liberal N proud: When someone complains about comparing bu$h to Hitler. I come back with maybe he should stop doing Hitler like things.

DistressedAmerican: I Do Not Think Nazi Or Hitler Are Great Analogies (Too Specific).However, the broader term Fascist fits the bill quite nicely!

radwriter0555: Apparently we have to wait for more atrocities and a higher body count anda LOWER moral reckoning. Can you imagine? Who did people compare hitler to in the 1920's? At least we have a barometer of sorts.

RandomKoolzip: So the second the first roof beam is put in place in the first concentration camp, THEN it'll be safe to use the comparison, but not a second before?

Susang: They are not going to be concentration camps the next time. History may repeat itself, but it usually has the good taste to alter the story just enough to keep us jumping. That's why analogies to Nazi Germany and Hitler just don't work (for me). There just won't be another situation like that. It's already happened, we're on guard for it. Whatever happens will happen in far more insidious, unexpected ways, while we're busy looking for Nazis and concentration camps. In my opinion, it's already been happening, right under our noses.

ChavezSpeakstheTruth: There are definately parallels, no doubt.But I disagree. I think there is too much collective memory to allow for that. I mean do you think we'll be building concentration camps for the Muslims?

Solomon: Fuck y'all. America is the new Nazi Germany. You wonder how German citizens went along with it? They probably objected to people comparing Hitler to Genghis Khan.

Absolutely disgusting.

October 13, 2005

A Note On Banning IP Addresses

FYI - I have no problem with receiving comments from anyone - even those I vehemently disagree with...
However, I do draw the line at comments that include incendiary, personal attacks. I draw the line at commenters that are doing nothing but throwing fire bombs at other commenters. I draw the line on commenters that are not interested in having a legitimate discussion or even considering an opposing view point. Bottom line... I attempt to avoid trolls at all costs.
When confronted by a possible troll, I will allow the person to comment as they please. I am interested in hearing the opposing view point, and my mind is fairly open on most, if not all subjects. Besides, most of the regular commenters can typically take pretty good care of themselves. However, if the possible troll crosses the line one too many times, I simply exercise my right to ban their IP from posting further comments.

Democratic "Culture of Corruption"? - Part II

Hillary Clinton's former finance director, David Rosen, was previously indicted on charges of filing fictitious reports that mistated the amount of political contributions made for a political fundraiser for the Clintons.

The indictment charges David Rosen with four counts of filing false reports with the Federal Election Commission. The charges focus on an Aug. 12, 2000, dinner and concert supported by more than $1.1 million in "in-kind contributions" – goods and services provided for free or below cost. The event was estimated to cost more than $1.2 million.

Rosen is the second figure involved in organizing the soiree for Clinton to become entangled in legal problems as a result.

Aaron Tonken is currently in prison for his role in organizing the event – a tribute to then-President Bill Clinton and starring Cher, Patti LaBelle, Sugar Ray, Toni Braxton, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Bolton, Paul Anka and Diana Ross.

According to the Washington Post, Hillary Clinton knew the real cost of the event:

"Who knew?" turned out to be a $1.176 million question. Federal law enforcement officials eventually confirmed that the gala, night of a thousand egos -- when Cher sang "If I Could Turn Back Time," the president cried for the cameras and con artists hobnobbed with the most powerful couple in the world -- cost somebody at least $1.176 million to produce. Yet Hillary Clinton's joint fundraising committee eventually reported that the gala cost just $401,419 in donated goods and service....

[Gala co-host Peter Paul] and [Hollywood charity fundraiser Aaron Tonken] each had much the same answer: Everyone closely involved in the gala, including the Clintons, had to have known. Tonken even claimed that he'd once buttonholed Hillary Clinton at the back of a van on the campaign trail and, in an effort to impress her, bragged about all that had been spent on her behalf.

So, Howard Dean - do you still want to claim that there is only a "Republican Culture of Corruption"?

Hat Tip: NoAgenda.Org.

Previous posts:

Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part I

The "Occupation" of Palestine... By Egypt: Egypt Is In Charge of Palestinian Authority

For years, the Palestinians have complained about Israel's supposed "occupation" of Palestine. Israel has now pulled out of the Gaza Strip. It looks like Egypt is now occupying Palestine and has taken over the Palestinian Authority:

GAZA CITY — Egypt is taking effective control of the Palestinian Authority, according to PA officials.

The sources said that over the last few months leading up to the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Egypt has dominated several key areas of Palestinian government, particularly those affected by the pullout.

They said Egypt approves PA decisions regarding the deployment and training of Palestinian security forces, security operations and policy, development projects and senior appointments, Middle East Newsline reported.

"They are in every facet of the [Palestinian] Authority in Gaza," a PA source said. "It is correct to say that major decisions are not taken without Egypt's approval."

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the sources said, consults with Egypt on virtually every issue. They said Abbas relies on Egypt to restrain Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as protect him from rivals in the ruling Fatah movement.

The sources said Egypt's control over the PA increased significantly in wake of the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip on Sept. 12. They said Egypt now controls both sides of the 14-kilometer border with the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has been given control of both the PA airport and sea port, the sources said. They said Egyptian personnel would supervise and operate the PA airport at Dahaniya in the southern Gaza Strip as well as the sea port south of Gaza City.

"There's an understanding between President Mubarak and President Abbas to jointly operate the international airport," PA Information Minister Nabil Shaath said.

Cairo has also sent government personnel to man critical facilities in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian officers have been directing PA security operations.

"Abbas cannot use the security forces against Hamas or Jihad without Egyptian permission," another source said. "He could threaten, but everybody knows that the authority remains with Egypt."

I wonder if the Left will be denouncing this occupation anytime soon? Will Cindy Sheehan and the various anti-War groups, who blamed terrorism on Israel's occupation of Palestine, come forth to denounce Egypt?? Probably not. After all, for all of the years that the leftist groups denounced the Israeli occupation of Gaza, they have been silent of Syria's occupation of Lebanon. It is not a problem, evidently, unless the Jews are responsible... hypocrites.
It Abbas truly has the backing of Egypt, then the Palestinians cannot plausibly argue that Abbas does not have the strength to take on Islamic Jihad and Hamas or that further Israeli concessions are necessary to improve Abbas' standing among the Palestinians. Yet, I am sure they will continue to do so.

On the other hand, the United States pays Egypt $2,000,000,000 a year in aid (essentially to cease hostility with Israel). It is about time we got something for the money we give them... why don't we put pressure on Egypt to reign in the Islamic militants in Gaza and the West Bank?
It would not likely work because Egypt has no interest in a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestinians. The Palestinians have been living in refugee camps for years because none of their Arab brethren will assimilate the Palestinians into their respective populations. Rather, the Palestinians remain a great diversion for Arab leaders. Instead of discussing the terrible economies, corruption and lack of freedom in Arab lands, the Arab leaders have invested big time in stoking their peoples' anger over the "Occupation of Palestine". For years, Egypt allowed or turned a blind eye towards the smuggling of weapons into Gaza from Egypt by Palestinians for use in the Intifada. There has been some speculation that Egypt itself has actively participated in the arming of the terrorists.

Thanks to the VFW

It looks like the Left does not have the monopoly on idiot protesters:

CHELSEA — God spoke with the roar of revving motorcycle engines during a protest Tuesday by six members of a Kansas church that believes God is punishing the U.S. for protecting homosexuals by killing soldiers overseas.

Chelsea residents, however, believed God spoke on their behalf as the engines of more than 100 Veterans of Foreign Wars motorcycles drowned out the voices of the Westboro Baptist Church members who were allowed to protest from 1-1:30 p.m. before the 2 p.m. funeral services for Staff Sgt. John Glen Doles.

The protesters were escorted by police from the Chelsea Police Station to and from the protest site at the corner of Sixth and Vine streets a half block away. They left immediately after the protest, said Chelsea Police Chief Kenny Kelsey.

Chelsea’s main street was lined with American Flags in honor of Doles, who was killed when he and five others were ambushed by enemy fire last week in Afghanistan. He was laid to rest with honors in a small cemetery southeast of Chelsea. . . The bikers succeeded in keeping the protesters out of sight and sound of the Doles family but for anyone else close enough to see their brightly colored signs spoke loud and clear: “GOD IS YOU OR ENEMY; GOD HATES THE USA; GOD IS AN AMERICAN TERRORIST; TOO LATE TO PRAY; THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS; YOU’RE GOING TO HELL; GOD HAS SPOKEN IT’S NOT A BLESSING IT’S A CURSE and AMERICA IS DOOMED.”

No matter what your agenda is - protesting a funeral is absolutely classless and inappropriate

Yom Kippur

Blogging will be light as I have been at services and, of course, spending time with my family. For my Jewish readers, l' shanah Tovah!

October 12, 2005

Mainstream Media Essentially Ignores Suicide Bomber Attack In the U.S.

Mark Davis has an excellent column today on limited coverage by the mainstream media of the suicide bomber that detonated himself outside an Oklahoma football stadium:




Imagine a man with a bomb strapped to his body making his way into a packed football stadium, reaching his seat and blowing himself up.
There would be a heavy death toll in what would be the first successful terrorist act on U.S. soil since 9-11.

Jolting us back to memories of the Oklahoma City bombing, this would obviously be a massive headline in our ongoing war on terror. One would think attention would be heightened even further if such a story were to occur again in Oklahoma.

Well, there's reason to believe it nearly happened, and it was indeed in Oklahoma, making the paltry coverage of the story unfathomable.

On Oct. 1, as the Oklahoma Sooners hosted Kansas State in front of 84,000 fans, University of Oklahoma student Joel Hinrichs III blew himself up outside the stadium.

There is evidence that he sought to enter the game and was turned away by security after refusing to allow his backpack to be searched. Some minutes later, that backpack, containing the chosen explosive of shoe bomber Richard Reid and the London subway bombers, exploded, killing Mr. Hinrichs as he sat on a bench.

There have been some dutiful print and broadcast accounts of this event, all leaning heavily on the favored establishment take – that this was a troubled young man who sought only to kill himself, simply doing so in an offbeat way.

Oh, really?

Well, what if the young man had a Pakistani roommate? What if he had been spending time at the Islamic Center of Norman, Okla., once frequented by "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui? What if the warrant used in the search of the bomber's apartment had been sealed by federal authorities?

What if explosives had been found in that apartment? What if the young man had tried to purchase ammonium nitrate, the chosen explosive of Tim McVeigh, at a Norman feed store days earlier?

That's a lot of what ifs, and they range from the confirmed to the unconfirmed. But the parts we do know – the Pakistani roommate, the attempted fertilizer purchase, the veil of secrecy around the investigation – should be enough to cast doubt on the simplistic "troubled young man" theory favored by, among others, OU's nervous president, David Boren.

Mr. Hinrichs' father told me his son was not the type to join radical causes and would not want to hurt anyone. But his son's chosen method – blowing himself up in a public place – would seem to cast doubt on his concern for his fellow man.

As for the terrorist angle, Mr. Hinrichs is now the subject of understandably intense scrutiny, virtually none of it from the mainstream media. You might think the story fizzled because there was, in fact, no death beyond the bomber. True enough, but I'd suggest that if a raid revealed some radical plan to bomb an abortion clinic anywhere in America, the suspects would be household names by nightfall without a single fuse lit.

Something about the nature of this event has swallowed almost whole the normal curiosity one would expect from the usual sources.

Is it political, because acknowledging a terror threat on our soil might bolster President Bush's war logic? Is it economic, out of fear of scaring people away from football games? Is it geographic snobbery because it didn't happen on either coast? Or is it a PC fear of seeming to lunge toward a jihadist angle?

One would think that this would have received tremendous coverage. A suicide bomber detonates outside a crowded football stadium.... it boggles the mind. Yet, instead, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News decide to focus on a single murder in Aruba. I don't buy the explanation that the coverage was downplayed because no one else ended up being injured or killed. If the networks are concerned about ratings, my question would be - why? A terrorist attack on U.S. soil is not a common everyday occurence. A terrorist attack on U.S. soil is much more important to the lives of T.V. viewers than what happens in Aruba. Surely, viewers would tune in.
While I don't expect the media to necessarily cover all suicides, the method of this man's suicide suggested that he was attempting to take others out with him. Moreover, investigations have revealed many incredibly suspicious circumstances and actions taken by the suicide bomber before he died that, once reviewed together, would lead to the inevitable conclusion that this was not just a suicide. Rather, it was clearly an attempt to commit an act of terrorism on U.S. soil.

We were fortunate that the bomb detonated prematurely. We should take this as a learning experience.

If this happens again, however, you can bet that the mainstream media will be one of the first to blame the government for not alerting U.S. citizens to be aware of possible suicide bombers or otherwise, how to take precautions against such attacks.
For more on this, see Michelle Malkin.