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A News and Politics Blog, With a Smattering of Sports

Saturday, July 05, 2003

12:29 PM: 
The U.S. now is ahead of Canada in the U.N.'s list of the countries with the best quality of life.

I loved this little aside:

"The first time Canada was at the top of the list was in 1992 when Brian Mulroney's Conservative government was in office."
Just think how high the quality of life could be in Norway, if they would just swing away from socialism.

12:25 PM: 
Iraq attacks linked to Bush taunts

I am sure had Bush not made any such statement, there would be no attacks against our troops </sarcasm>

I always chuckle when the media is so blatently stupid and/or partisan.


11:59 AM: 
More evidence that Karl Rove thinks like I do:
"Karl Rove tried to stir up enthusiasm for Dean marchers yesterday at the 37th annual Palisades Citizens' Association Fourth of July parade along the District's MacArthur Boulevard, which always attracts plenty of politicians.

As a dozen people marched toward Dana Place wearing Dean for President T-shirts and carrying Dean for America signs, Rove told a companion, ' 'Heh, heh, heh. Yeah, that's the one we want,' ' according to Daniel J. Weiss, an environmental consultant, who was standing nearby. ' 'How come no one is cheering for Dean?' '

Then, Weiss said, Rove exhorted the marchers and the parade audience: ' 'Come on, everybody! Go, Howard Dean!' '"

I suppose since he is a tad more famous and influential than I am, I should say that 'I often think like Rove' instead of vice-versa, but this is my blog so for here, it is 'he often thinks like me'. Either way, Go Dean, Go!

(Rove also has drawn the McKinley parallel for President Bush)


11:48 AM: 
A brief glimpse at the news headlines today shows just how thankful we here in America should be about our relative stability, and about the job the administration is doing in preventing terror on our land.



Newsday.com reports At Least 31 Killed in Pakistan as a militant Islamic group storms a Shia Muslim mosque.

CNN reports at least 16 people killed in Moscow as two women homicide bombers detonated themselves at a rock festival. A passport found gives evidence that they were Chechen separatists. For some reason, the media rarely notes that the Chechen separatists are Islamic.

Seven recruits for the rebuilding Iraqi police force were killed in an explosion in Ramadi, a Baath stronghold:

Many people said they blamed U.S. forces for the explosion, but the local police chief denied that, saying he thought there was an effort to create tension between the U.S. forces and the police.

Friday, July 04, 2003

8:53 AM: 
Update on Liberia:

Fox News is reporting that Taylor has accepted an asylum offer from Nigeria.

But they are hedging and saying it 'may have a catch'- namely that there must be Peacekeepers first.


8:52 AM: 
Soon to be forgotten is Howard Dean, according to the magnificent Mark Steyn. I am surprised more people did not catch this Dean gaffe:
"As for the bus-and-truck McCain act, that got a workout the other day when Dean formally launched his campaign in Burlington, Vermont and cast himself as the outsider among a bunch of establishment drones. "It's a bit of a club down there," he said. "All the candidates from Washington, they all know each other, they all move in the same circles, and what I'm doing is breaking into the country club."

In normal circumstances, this would have been a bit of consultant-scripted boilerplate outsiderism - except that a few days earlier his son Paul and three buddies had been arrested for breaking into Burlington Country Club to steal some beer. Realising his 'gaffe', the governor shrugged to his aide, "Why do I say these things?" "


8:47 AM: 
On Fox News Channel, a report just aired that Charles Taylor has said he is willing to step down from power, but that there must be peacekeepers in place first.

At face value, I think this would be acceptable. Without his agitation, the situation in the immediate area would calm quickly, and as such there is reason to believe that such a 'peacekeeping' mission would be less dangerous than those usually are, and shorter in duration.

However, I am not sure it should be taken at face value. Once peacekeepers are in place, would that lying S.O.B. actually step down?


8:30 AM: 

Happy Independence Day!!!


Thursday, July 03, 2003

11:06 PM: 
BBC NEWS | Health | Mixed-sex human embryo created:
"In experiments using donated embryos, scientists from the Centers for Human Reproduction in New York and Chicago investigated whether healthy cells from one embryo could be implanted into a second defective embryo.


They found that, in some cases, the introduced cells do proliferate and spread throughout the chimaeric embryo.


Their hope is that having even a small proportion of cells from a healthy embryo might prevent certain genetic diseases from arising.
The 'merged' embryos were never intended to develop into children, and were destroyed after a few days."

Create life just to throw it away.

I really wonder about some people.


10:41 PM: 
Crippling Nigerian Strike Seen Ending Friday?

If so, this is good news.


8:57 PM: 
"The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro"

This is one of the most amazing speeches I have ever read.

The battle for liberty did not end with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.


8:12 PM: 
Greg Crosby: "Confucius Say 'Charlie Chan is a Good Thing'"

Chan! Chan! He's our Man. Fox, rescue his movies from the PC s..tcan!


12:54 PM: 
MATT DRUDGE:
"Chairman of Senate Intelligence Committee: News will break on Saddam's weapons program"
This story in the Lost Wages Sun gives me a different impression. To me, it does not sound like anything big is going to break. The comments quoted from Roberts are as follows.
"It's classified information now - I am urging the administration and the intelligence community to make at least portions of that public," the Kansas Republican said. "We've had some success; I'm sorry I can't go into detail about that." ...

"It's going to take some time to uncover Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, and let me emphasize the term `programs'," Roberts said. "This was a program designed to be hidden, hidden by people who knew what their fate would be if they revealed it."

"You can't dig up every rosebush in Iraq," Roberts added. "We need people who are familiar with the program to show us where they are hidden."

One possibility is that such a comment is meant to start managing expectations away from finding WMDs to finding out the details and extend of the WMD programs.

As for the information being classified at this time, that probably means that we have some informants in Iraq who could be jeapordized should the details of what we have found so far come to light. I do not read much into that; when more information is found and the identity of the source(s) can be hidden in the fog of quantity, it will come out. Just don't expect any smoking guns.


12:39 PM: 
U.S. to Beam TV Show to Iran From Washington (washingtonpost.com)
"The U.S. government plans to launch a Persian-language television newscast in Iran on Sunday as the Bush administration continues to encourage internal dissent against the ruling clerics, administration officials said yesterday."
So far so good.
The program, "News and Views," will include ... a report about the United Nations
Ack.

12:36 PM: 
In The Corner, Jonah Goldberg writes
"Hence sites like LewRockwell.com beg their readers to use the Alexa tool bar so they can claim absurdly inflated traffic numbers."
Is it true that LRC does this? I do not know, although this Google search hints that it may be so. I do not find anything wrong with it, although the idea of civil libertarians going out of their way to download software so that they can be tracked online is somewhat perplexing.

Yes, yes, I know, it is voluntary, but still. It just seems strange.


11:31 AM: 
Bush's Record on Jobs: Risking Unhappy Comparisons
"With more than two million jobs having disappeared since Mr. Bush took office in January 2001, he finds himself in danger of becoming the first president since Hoover to oversee a decline in the country's employment."
The hit the economy took due to 9/11 is completely irrelevant, right NYTimes?

11:04 AM: 
A good point.
The Yankees' recent years' domination?

11:00 AM: 
Fox softens on Charlie Chan ban:
"In the hope that this action will evoke discussion about the progress made in our modern, multicultural society, we invite you to please visit our website at www.foxmoviechannel.com to send us your thoughts on the matter.---> Fox Movie Channel will schedule Charlie Chan films based on the feedback of its subscribers."
Blogworthy. Time for some positive feedback.

I think it is ironic that the hit Japanese show Banzai is being ported to America by Fox, but Charlie Chan movies are verboten. Banzai makes Asians look like fools (but granted, they are Asians playing Asians looking like fools), while Charlie Chan was an Asian, played generally by white guys, who was made out to be sharper than anyone else. And the latter is the one that is offensive to Asians?


10:30 AM: 
Unintended Consequence?
"The great irony here is that the Yankees' very dominance may come back to bite them. By setting the bar so high, the Yankees have discouraged all but a few of the teams in their own league from attempting to compete with them. As a result, there's been a gradual migration of talent to the National League, the effect of which is that the NL has a better-than-even chance to win this year's Mid-Season Classic. If the Yankees lose Game 7 of the World Series in a closely fought contest at Turner Field or Pac Bell Park, they may have nobody but themselves to blame."
I think the Yankees will accept this downside to their recent years' domination of baseball.

8:58 AM: 
Let's not grow independent of Declaration
"On or around March 1, 2003, the government of the United States arrested a man it said was Iyman Faris, a U.S. citizen from Columbus, Ohio. Faris disappeared. No formal charges. No arraignment. No trace. Last week, the government said that in mid-April, Faris was allowed to plead guilty to plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge. Did he have a lawyer? What if he hadn't been "allowed to"? We don't know. This happened in secret, in a Virginia courtroom. He was sentenced. The sentence is secret. ...

The great columnist Jimmy Breslin is apoplectic. I don't blame him. ...

"I don't know what Faris looks like or sounds like or what he thinks and what he was doing," Breslin wrote. "He could be the worst. I don't know. Prove he wanted to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge and let him paste a picture of Osama bin Laden on the cell wall for inspiration over the next half a century. But first bring him into open court and try him."

Some people still want to close their eyes and think we can fight terrorists without infiltrating the terrorist organizations. They have no regard for the fact that we have a duty to protect those who are fighting to safeguard our nation.

I am sure Osama would just love to know how we found out about this guy.

The trick is how to craft the system so there is sufficient oversight to ensure that the government is not abusing the secrecy it needs in order to fight terrorism. But Jimmy Breslin's and this guy's calls for 100% transparency is a nice idea that went down in a crush of flaming jet fuel and crumbling concrete and steel on 9/11.

And there will never again be a good day for pretending that we can simply wish terrorists away. Made here


8:37 AM: 
I just saw Larry Sabato on FoxNews. The articles which had been posted about his Presidential 2004 election crystal ball did not capture the real gist of what he was saying.

He said the maps showing Democrats winning are the 'best case' scenerios for Democrats, if everything goes their way. Iraq turning into a quagmire. The economy tanking. And an error free campaign for the Democrats. He said even given those assumptions, he really struggled to get any of them over 270. And he did not include Dean because, while he thinks it is increasingly likely that Dean will get the nomination, he cannot see how Dean could avoid a landslide defeat.


7:20 AM: 
CNN.com - Violence mars Nigerian strikes - Jul. 3, 2003:
"Violence-marred strikes over rising fuel prices in Nigeria entered a fourth day Thursday after talks between union leaders and government officials ended without agreement."
This is a strange situation. The NLC is, like most union organizations, on the left. In the words of their current President, they are "progressives seeking change and Social Democracy". However, they have stated that the party they support will not be communist. In the most recent Nigerian Presidential elections, they supported the results that Obasanjo had won re-election, rejecting the agitation of anarchist / radical muslim challenger Muhammadu Buhari. And they support privatization of much of the Nigerian economy.

Does this general strike signal a change in tactics by the NLC and its leader Adams Oshiomhole? A quick review of the recent news indicates that the strike is being more than welcomed by Buhari, and if the NLC has changed sides, then this is extremely bad news.

The Daily Times of Nigeria reports:

Those of us who interpreted Buhari’s tantrums as the cheap antics and mere ranting of a typical defeated Nigerian politician (incurable bad loser syndrome) actually underestimated the seriousness of the situation. We did not realize the danger that this unrepentant dictator posed to Nigeria’s democratic process. From recent indications and with the benefit of hindsight, one can say with some assurance that Buhari did not really contest the Presidential elections to win but to muddy the political waters and cause confusion. He did not contest because he had faith in democracy or Nigeria’s fledgling constitutional political process ...

First, Buhari’s democratic credentials or lack of it were such that he would not have won any free and fair general elections in Nigeria. As a notorious religious fundamentalist, regional irredentist and sectional champion, it would have been a miracle if he had performed better than he did. A sectarian leader could not by any stretch of imagination be expected to secure the nationwide acceptance required to be the leader of a heterogeneous country like Nigeria.

Secondly, Buhari did not campaign in several parts of the country. He was so lackadaisical and perfunctory in his few outings that only few political watchers could have taken him seriously.

Thirdly, after losing the election, as he should have expected if he was realistic and honest to himself, he rejected the result of the elections. He criticized the entire process, his fellow participants, the umpires, everyone and everything but himself. He refused to go to the Election Petition Tribunal as demanded by the Electoral Act.

He mobilised other political parties who lost elections to gang up against the ruling PDP. He was not long before he lost the support of most credible members of his own party who now largely see him as a misguided missile and political nuisance.

Perhaps sobered by the international endorsement of the Presidential election results and the local nationwide acceptability of both the process and the results, most forward-looking politicians started distancing themselves from General Buhari, who is looking more and more like an anarchist.

(Posted on Free Republic here)

6:59 AM: 
I checked the news right when I got up and it still looks like no one knows for sure what is going on regarding Liberia.

What that tells me is that since the cable news networks kept getting 'confirmation' that the troops were going and that there was going to be a peacekeeping force, but then there is nothing substantive reported as a followup, is that someone is trying to manipulate the White House. Someone either wants to pressure the White House into sending troops by planting that it is a done deal, or they want to pressure the White House into not sending troops by generating a backlash in advance, or it is coming not from anyone in the know but from a Democrat operative wanting to give the impression that the administration is in disarray. Without knowing who is doing the leaking, it will be impossible to figure out what the motive is, or how likely the leak is true.

Whatever the case, we should know soon enough.


Wednesday, July 02, 2003

10:41 PM: 
As we head into the 4th of July weekend, will there be any big trades in baseball? (Does Robby Alomar to the White Sox count as big?) ESPN.com looks at the National and American league teams' prospects.

10:36 PM: 
Victor Davis Hanson on Iraq on National Review Online: "We are reaching a great tipping point in Iraq, where the American soldier seeks to impose security and implant freedom faster than former Baathists try to erode it. The Iraqi Street we see so often on the sidelines is watching the struggle, unsure whether to re-hang their pictures of Saddam Hussein now ensconced beneath their sofas or to come forward and join the great experiment with freedom and consensual government.
And through it all the American soldier is asked to do what no others could do — and yet does so with grace under fire. On July 4th we should remember all this and the rare breed who, thank God, are on our side."

7:57 PM: 
Dinesh D'Souza on United States on National Review Online: 10 Great Things. What to love about the United States.

Well worth the click.


6:40 PM: 
A good day for the market as Nasdaq Has Best Close in a Year.

But you can see that over there ------>


4:58 PM: 
One of the saddest realities of being a conservative is how reprehensible groups glom onto conservative arguments to advance their filth, and in so doing harm conservatives by association.

At the bottom of this page, I have a counter. The hosts of this counter, provide a service by where one can view the referring pages of hits to one's page. I noticed one such hit coming from a Google search on the phrase "founding fathers" and sodomy. Out of curiousity, I hit it to find what I would see, and found the usual mixed bag of results. Unfortunately, too many of them were sites that are flat out dispicable (The Church of Euthenasia, The National Alliance, SatanService).

One thing conservatives need to always be vigilant is not merely saying "they don't speak for me", but also saying "I reject the goals of such groups completely and without equivocation". If the National Alliance appeals to you, then you and I are not allies.


4:50 PM: 
Still nothing on the news wires to confirm the radio report I mentioned regarding Liberia. FOXNews.com has an article that puts the number much lower, between 50-75, stating that such a "fast team" is currently staged in Spain, awaiting orders.

However, I do like this:

"'We're exploring all options as to how to keep the situation peaceful and stable,' he said. 'One thing has to happen: Mr. Taylor needs to leave the country. ... In order for there to be peace and stability in Liberia, Charles Taylor needs to leave now.'"

4:29 PM: 
Reason magazine -- June 2000, Hollywood's Missing Movies by Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley:
"'There was never an organized, articulate, and effective liberal or left-wing opposition to the communists in Hollywood,' concluded John Cogley, a socialist, in his 1956 Report on Blacklisting. As former party member Budd Schulberg (On the Waterfront) put it, the party was 'the only game in town.' But even though the Communists were strongest in the Screen Writers Guild, influencing the content of movies was a trickier matter. "
This begs the question- has there been in modern times an organized, articulate, and effective liberal or left-wing opposition to communists in the Democrat party?

4:08 PM: 
On the radio, they are saying that we are going to deploy between 500 to 1000 marines to Liberia for peacekeeping. This strikes me as a mistake. If we are going in, go in to do what needs to be done (namely, take Charles Taylor out). If we are not going to do that, then send in merely what is needed to protect the Americans and American interests there, and no more.

Putting several hundred of America's finest in harms way to keep the peace (thereby keeping a thug with ties to terrorists in power) is simply wrong, and a terrible cave to foreign pressure by the administration.


2:22 PM: 
What the heck. I decided to post my article Libertarian Judicial Activism on Free Republic. Feel free to comment on it there, if you are so moved.

1:54 PM: 
Rob Morse thinks Californians are trapped in a golden state of contradiction.

Mr. Morse, Ayn Rand would have some advice for you- there are no contradictions. A is A. Or to use more trite colloquialisms, 'you can't have your cake and eat it too' and 'you reap what you sow'.

California is so expensive because California has chosen to be so expensive. The only contradiction Californians are trapped in is their stubborn rejection of conservative economics while whining about the results of liberal economics.

I admit to some satisfaction in seeing a California Democrat saying:

"Here's the idea, then. Let's cancel everything the state of California has acquired since, say, 1950, when the schools, roads and colleges were excellent and there were 5.7 state employees per 1,000 citizens instead of the current 9. 1. ... The way to go is back to the future, when Californians thought they had a future.
Bet you wished you had been listening to William F. Buckley shortly thereafter, when he said his goal was to stand atop history yelling "Stop!"

1:09 PM: 
Lynn Cheney, as noted in The Note:
"'CHENEY: Well it seemed to me to be exactly the right decision. I've been a conservative for a pretty long time. And it's always seemed to me to be a stretch, the idea that somehow government has any business in bedrooms.'"
I tend to agree, Mrs. Cheney, but the question is not if it is the government's business, but rather if the Constitution says the federal government can tell states to not have it be their business. See Thomas' dissent.

The SCOTUS should not be determining the wisdom of laws. It should be determining if they are Constitutional.


12:43 PM: 
More on Liberia:
"The current round of fighting in Liberia began three years ago as rebels began trying to oust President Charles Taylor, who won contested elections and took the presidency in 1997 after a 1989-96 civil war."
If we go into Liberia, it should be to remove Taylor, not to make a peace that enables him to stay in power. Given the tasks currently facing our military, the better option is to let the people of Liberia work things out, which the article indicates is the prevailing opinion, for the time being, of those within the administration.

12:34 PM: 
On The Corner on National Review Online, Kathryn Jean Lopez notes
"At a press conference after announcing his new AIDS inititative coordinator, President Bush said that he does not know yet if we need a federal marriage amendment. He said lawyers are still looking at the full implications of the Supreme Court ruling. He then emphasized that what he does support is marriage defined as between a man and woman."
Given that Justice Kennedy has tipped the hand of the SCOTUS regarding how it will rule on gay marriage (see below), such an amendment may be required.

12:02 PM: 

Libertarian Judicial Activism


Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down two opinions which have dismayed many conservatives. In Grutter, the majority refused to strike down the use of race in admission decisions at the University of Michigan, and in Lawrence, the majority declared that a Texas law forbidding sodomy was unconstitutional.

Much of the conservative criticism has been aimed at Sandra Day O'Connor, who voted with the majority in both cases. In Lawrence, she suggested that the law in question was "a bare ... desire to harm a politically unpopular group"; laws of that nature the court has "consistenly held ... are not legitimate state interests." Right or wrong in her analysis of if the Texas sodomy law, the scope of her legal argument is relatively narrow.

Her concurring opinion was not the opinion of the Court, however, and O'Connor did not join in the majority opinion. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion is more ambitious in scale and, as the Court's opinion, is further reaching in impact; as such it deserves more attention. Writing for the court, he states [bolded emphasis mine]:

"In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), the Court reaffirmed the substantive force of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause. The Casey decision again confimed that our laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. Id., at 851. In explaining the respect the Constitution demands for the autonomy of the person in making these choices, we stated as follows:
"These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under the compulsion of the State." Ibid.
This passage makes clear that the majority of the court, led by Kennedy, is expanding the edicts of Roe far beyond matters of abortion. As pointed out by Jeffrey Rosen in Sex Appeal, "carried to its logical conclusion, it seems to read the libertarian harm principle of John Stuart Mill into the Constitution, preventing the state from forbidding individuals from engaging in behavior that the majority considers immoral but that poses no harm to others."
"That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." - John Stuart Mill, Essay on Liberty, 1859
The allusions to Mill are spelled out clearly by Kennedy, as he wrote "This, as a general rule, should counsel against attempts by the State, or a court, to define the meaning of the relationship or to set its boundaries absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution the law protects." If one buys into the argument made by Mill should not be the point. The point is whether the Constitution, as written, embodies this principle. Is there, in the Constitution, a "right to define one's own concept" of morality, with local, state and federal governments forbidden from legislating such matters so long as they do not harm others? As Justice Scalia wrote in dissent,
"That 'casts some doubt' upon either the totality of our jurisprudence or else (presumably the right answer) nothing at all. I have never heard of a law that attempted to restrict one's "right to define" certain concepts; and if the passage calls into question the government's power to regulate actions based on one's self-defined "concept of existence, etc.," it is the passage that ate the rule of law."
The Constitution is one of the most libertarian documents of governance ever employed, but it is not a completely libertarian framework. The 10th Amendment states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." If the intent of the founding fathers to implement for the entire country the principle that Mill's theorem later encapsulated, the phrases regarding "the States" would not have been included. The wording of the 10th Amendment demonstrates that the Constitution was not written so as to give citizens "a right to define one's own concept" of the law, but rather that such was the realm of either the states or the people. The fact that laws regarding morality were commonplace in states during the years following adoption of the Constitution backs this reading of the intent of the founders.

Kennedy hints that the 14th Amendment is salient and must be considered. "These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment". But even his words highlight that the 14th does not introduce liberties, but rather introduces protections (for all citizens) of the liberties already specified within the Constitution.

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.", 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 1
Is the "right to define one's own concept" of the law one of the privileges of citizens of the United States? It was not prior to the 14th, and the 14th did not add it.

Kennedy continued, "The statutes do seek to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals." If one was to substitute the word "activity" for "relationship" would be applicable to an argument against drug use laws; why activities regarding relationships deserve different Constitutional treatment than others is not well defined, especially "absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution the law protects". Lawrence, as Scalia notes, lays the framework for the dissolution of the rule of law, at least where laws fall outside the principles of Mill.

Kennedy has engaged in judicial activism of the libertarian variety. In so doing, he struck a blow against the principles of federalism; a blow that Justices Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Stevens were all too happy to join in making. And if, indeed, there is Constitutional protection "to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education", then on what grounds are there to be laws regarding bigamy, polygamy, bestiality, and incest? This is the exact argument that Senator Santorum was making when he was recently vilified by the mainstream media. It is not that sodomy and bestiality are comparable, but rather that the Constitutional basis for laws regarding such matters is the same, and the Kennedy opinion destroys that basis.

The question is not if it is good governance for there to be sodomy laws, as Justice Thomas noted in dissent. "I write separately to note that the law before the Court today "is ... uncommonly silly." ... If I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal it. ... I am not empowered to help petitioners and others similarly situated". Thanks to Lawrence, that is no longer the case; he is now so empowered. Due to unintended (or intended) consequences, libertarian judicial activism has greatly expanded the powers and the reach of the federal government as personified by the courts, at expense of the ability of states and localities to self-govern.

For conservatives and adherents to a strict constructionism judicial philosophy, this is an obvious setback, but not one without a silver lining. As Santorum warned, such a ruling will lead to a bevy of challenges to many other laws. It does not take much imagination to apply the "right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life" to any number of laws. The court will inevitably be forced to revisit the stealth addition of Mill to the Constitution, either to repeatedly reaffirm it or to remove that fanciful addition. One such review will come regarding gay marriage laws ("personal decisions relating to marriage"). More will come after that. And since this is now the pillar on which Roe stands, such a revisitation will be welcome, especially if in the context of the absurdity of a challenge to laws restricting bestiality or incest.


8:44 AM: 
One more on Lindberg's editorial. He closes as follows.
"But increasingly, Republicans will find it convenient to repair to a 'principle' of pragmatism: These issues have been decided."
I tend to get frustrated when conservatives dismiss 'pragmatism'. As Russell Kirk pointed out in the opening chapter of The Conservative Mind
"This is an exception, however. Burke did not often leave important material influences out of consideration; he was eminently, almost omnisciently, practical. "I must see the things; I must see the men." He elevated political "expedience" from its usual Machiavellian plane to the dignity of a virtue, Prudence. "I heaved the lead every inch of the way I made," Burke once said of his political practice."
Conservatism is grounded in reality, based upon the wisdom of the ages. Pragmatism has always been a (sometimes unpleasant) necessity, and it will always so be.

That is not to say conservatives should worship at the alter of compromise. Experience has shown that if one always retreats, one ends up losing their territory.

The only answer is to use the judgement with which God graces us, to weigh when it is wise to be pragmatic, and when we are better served by drawing the line. A dogmatic approach in either direction is to surrender free will to a political philosophy, and to spurn one of God's greatest gifts (the ability to think) for adherence to a 'principle'.


8:25 AM: 
I should point out that the "Not for blind followers and not for conformists" line was aimed, mainly, at those who were demanding a conformity to a more moderate form of Republicanism, while the "Grow up, conservatives" line was aimed at those who were demanding a conformity to a more conservative form.

Goldwater knew that both sides needed each other, and that interparty squabbles that involved threats of turning away from the party merely empowered the enemies of liberty- the Democrats.


8:13 AM: 
This editorial is about the silliest I have read in the Washington Times. Picking a line to pick on:
Who now will stand up to propose that a future Supreme Court reverse itself and declare that diversity is not a compelling interest of government?

It certainly would not be anyone like Barry Goldwater. As I pointed out here, his nomination acceptance speech included no fewer than six references to the benefits of diversity and how intertwined it is with Republicanism and America.

But assuming Lindberg was sloppily adopting the language of the left and confusing the desirable 'diversity' with the undesirable 'affirmative action and state sanctioned racism', who will stand up and propose that a future Supreme Court reverse this?

That would be anyone calling for 'strict constructionists' who 'narrowly interpret' the Constitution for 'what it says'; Justices like 'Scalia and Thomas'. As it so happens, this is exactly what President Bush has been saying. It has not just been empty rhetoric, either. His Judicial nominees have been exemplary, from Estrada to Kuhl to Pryor to Owen to Pickering to McConnell to Shedd to Sutton to Tymkovich to Roberts to Boyle.

The Republican party, as frustrating as it can be at times, has backed these nominees. The Democrats have prevented many of them from taking their seats.

So who will stand up? Bush has. He has most of the party backing him. Fools like Lindberg seem to want to say "but he is not standing the way I would."

I offer to Lindberg and people like him two more passages from Goldwater. The first is also from his acceptance speech; the second from another famous speech- his 1960 address of Nixon's convention. Both aim directly at those who demand a lock-step purist approach in exchange for their support:

Balance, diversity, creative difference-these are the elements of Republican equation. Republicans agree, Republicans agree heartily to disagree on many, many of their applications. But we have never disagreed on the basic fundamental issues of why you and I are Republicans.


This is a party-- this Republican party is a party for free men. Not for blind followers and not for conformists.

And the second is more concise:
Grow up, conservatives

7:40 AM: 
Andrew Sullivan directed readers to The New Republic Online for 'Sex Appeal', a nice critique of the Lawrence decision.
"Next to the hyperbole of Kennedy and Scalia, the most convincing opinions in Lawrence were the most modest. In the same way that O'Connor offered the case for striking down the Texas law in the narrowest possible terms, so Justice Thomas gave us a dissent of eloquent simplicity. 'The law before the Court today 'is ... uncommonly silly,' he said, quoting Justice Stewart's dissent in the contraceptives case. 'If I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal it.' Nevertheless, Thomas said he was unable to find in the Constitution a 'general right of privacy,' or, as the Court called it 'the liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.' The fact that the majority didn't bother to respond to Thomas shows how little the judicial activists on the left and the right have learned from the errors of Roe. Their lack of self discipline will only fan the flames of the confirmation battles to come, whether they occur this week, next year, or in the years to come."
Always an effective debate technique: if one's opponent presents a difficult parry, simply ignore it.

7:17 AM: 
On The Corner, Andrew Stuttaford links to this picture of a communist flag being burned in a Hong Kong street protest. It is a good picture, but I think this one is even better. So is this one.

Che lives!


Tuesday, July 01, 2003

8:13 PM: 
When I see stories like this, put out by a group involved in the uprising, I wonder how much of what we are hearing about Iran is real and how much is wishful thinking.

All I know is that if civil upheaval has a chance to overthrow the Mullahs, I wish them success and pray that the rebelling Iranians suffer little in the turmoil.


8:05 PM: 
The date says July 1, 2003, but this has to be an older piece about understanding George W. Bush. It is typical Eurodrivel, but this caught my eye:
"This moral certainty may be the key to understanding Mr Bush's stance on Iraq. He believes toppling President Saddam is the right thing to do, and hang the precise reasons, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, remain elusive. Mr Bush does not even seem to care what it might do to America's standing in the world, or to its relationship with its allies."
Our standing? I think the fact that the UN wants us to intervene in Liberia suggests our standing is just fine, thank you very much.

7:53 PM: 
Every so often, I like to indulge the stereotype and become an angry conservative.

This excerpt from another outstanding National Review Online piece, this time by Peter Kirsanow on the UofM Grutter decision makes me livid:

"The evidence is irrefutable that, if race/ethnicity were not the decisive factor, few blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans would meet UM Law's admissions threshold. As noted by University of Texas law professor Lino Graglia, median GPA and LSAT percentiles for admittees to the country's most elite law schools, of which UM is one, are 3.8 and 98 respectively. Fewer than 20 black law-school applicants in the entire country meet these standards. Consequently, meeting UM Law's critical mass of black students (approximately 30 per class) is utterly impossible unless race is the overriding factor."
Emphasis his.

I am angry. Livid. How can the leaders of the black community have failed so miserably? How can they continue to back the failed policies which have made it so that in the entire country there aren't 30 black law school applicants that can meet the normal standards of the University of Michigan? In any business, a CEO with that sort of record of 'accomplishment' would be fired. In the realm of racial politics, it means more more more of the same (no justice, no peace)!

One may wonder how the black leadership and their co-dependent partners in the DNC can sleep, knowing that the policies that keep them in power are the very same that fail the black community. I look at it from a more color-blind perspective. These are Americans, being failed by charlatans who empower themselves by keeping other (black) Americans down.


6:50 PM: 
Townhall seems to have fixed their Right100. From Taranto:
It would appear TownHall has fallen victim to some sort of Internet prankster who bid up the ratings of the NSAWP in order to get it on the top-100 list. There ought to be a lesson here: Just because you're on the Web, that doesn't mean you can do without editors.


6:34 PM: 
'CBS EVENING NEWS' HITS RATINGS LOW Washington Post via Drudge via Free Republic (and now, via me).

Courage.


6:33 PM: 
R.I.P. Joe Overton. Yours was a life well lived.

5:26 PM: 
And by the way, Mr. Martin?

See below on my blog. Iraq had the weapons. We need to find them, and in so doing we'll be protecting your arse as we always do.

"When Polly's in trouble I am not slow. It's hip hip hip and away I go!"


5:24 PM: 
Lester Martin makes an interesting observation.
"So many of the political commentators [in Canada] are right of centre, the diplomat said, while Canadians themselves are in the moderate middle. There's a disconnect. Who could disagree... Most of its commentators -- David Frum, Mark Steyn, Andrew Coyne, George Jonas, Christie Blatchford, Robert Fulford, Elizabeth Nickson, Hugo Gurdon, Terence Corcoran -- slant right."
It is an interesting point, but it nothing new. Just as children rebel from their parents, papers tend to rebel from the only authority figure over them: the people. The disconnect between the Canadian people and the media is just a photo negative of the disconnect between America's predominantly liberal media (Rush excluded) and America's generally conservative public.

5:18 PM: 
I take that back. The absolute worst rating is #40. Townhall really needs to look at their list and make some changes. Pitiful.

5:15 PM: 
Worst rating: The Washington Post at #16... in a list of websites for conservatives?!?

5:14 PM: 
As pointed out in today's Opinion Journal Best of the Web, townhall.com's RightPages Right100 is interesting. One glaring omission: my own 3 day old blog. I should be on there with a bullet by now. I need to fire my publicist.

The biggest surprise? They showed modesty by not having The TownHall.com website proper on the list (although they do get their chat forum in there, at #64).

The top ten:

  1. Drudge
  2. NewsMax
  3. Lucianne.com
  4. National Review Online
  5. Jim Huber's Politically Correct Cartoons
  6. Washington Times
  7. CNSNews
  8. FrontPage Magazine
  9. Free Republic
  10. American Spectator

5:03 PM: 
What conservative does not love Mark Steyn?

He's not the perfect pundit, however. In his article O'Connor makes catchphrase law of the land, he writes

"The correct term is ''racial quotas,'' but that's too bald, too clear. So its proponents came up with the coy evasion of ''affirmative action.'' But over the years that also became tarnished. Hence the invention of ''diversity.'' "
This is not entirely accurate. The term "affirmative action" started gaining popularity thanks to JFK in 1961 with Executive Order 10925. It stated that every federal contract affirm that "The Contractor will take affirmative action, to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." I cannot speak with precision as to when 'diversity' became a buzzword, but it was not that long thereafter. Barry Goldwater's Acceptance Speech was replete with references to diversity:
And because of this administration we are tonight a world divided. We are a nation becalmed. We have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity. We are plodding at a pace set by centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse...

And beyond all that we see and cherish diversity of ways, diversity of thoughts, of motives, and accomplishments. We don't seek to live anyone's life for him. We only seek to secure his rights, guarantee him opportunity, guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed...

Thus do we seek inventiveness, diversity, and creative difference within a stable order, for we Republicans define government's role where needed at many, many levels-- preferably, though, the one closest to the people involved: our towns and our cities, then our counties, then our states, then our regional contacts, and only then the national government...

Balance, diversity, creative difference-these are the elements of Republican equation. Republicans agree, Republicans agree heartily to disagree on many, many of their applications. But we have never disagreed on the basic fundamental issues of why you and I are Republicans...

The beauty of the very system we Republicans are pledged to restore and revitalize, the beauty of this federal system of ours, is in its reconciliation of diversity with unity. We must not see malice in honest differences of opinion, and no matter how great, so long as they are not inconsistent with the pledges we have given to each other in and through our Constitution.

Mr. Goldwater realized early on that Republicans and conservatives needed to rescue the great American ideal of diversity from the race-baiting demagogues of the left.

4:17 PM: 
One side gets money from small fries, and lots of them.

One side gets money from big business, wealthy fat cats, and union power brokers.

If you are reading this blog (and I know you are) then you probably do not need me to tell you which party is which in the above. The Republicans are the party of the common man, and the Democrats of the rich special interests.

So why does this merit a blog entry? Because the New York Times is coming oh...so...close... to figuring it out.

the G.O.P. attracted almost 50 percent more contributors than the Democrats and showed a commanding edge among lower-budget donors who gave less than $200 apiece. Sixty-four percent of them gave to the Republicans, versus 35 percent for the supposed party of the people...

The public may be surprised to learn these results...

Yes, the public may, ol' Grey Lady, partly because you have been complicit in foisting false images of the parties for years.

Another tidbit:

The one category the Democrats led in was among fat-cat donors, with the party garnering 92 percent of the contributions of $1 million or more in 2002, the last year soft money was permitted.
You don't say.

3:16 PM: 
ABCNEWS's The Note mentions this about Dean, and exposes a bit of Democrat and media duplicity once again:
"'Such interviews are a political rite of passage and must-see TV for the insiders who frame Washington's prevailing wisdom. And by most accounts, Dean performed miserably. He bickered with the host, Tim Russert, evaded some questions and equivocated in response to others. Most egregiously, in the eyes of critics, he could only guess at how many U.S. troops were on active duty around the world and incorrectly estimated the number in Iraq.'...


''People watched [Dean's appearance on 'Meet the Press'] and said, 'Hey, there's a guy who admits he doesn't know the answer. You never see anybody in Washington do that,' ' said Joe Trippi, Dean's campaign manager.'"

I must be hallucinating, because I remember a minor media uproar when George W. Bush was given a pop-quiz by a local Boston television reporter, and could not name Pakistan's leader. He fumbled for it, said it was "General something", and that he didn't know.

I don't remember the Democrats saying it was a good thing and that it would help connect him with the common man, and I don't recall the media giving it the soft sell as they are doing with Dean.


2:47 PM: 
U.S. Suspends Military Aid to Nearly 50 Countries.

The one that caught my eye was Colombia.

I am not a huge fan of our expenditures of foreign military aid. However, I am dismayed that this may lead to that country being overrun by the leftists the money was going to help fight.


2:03 PM: 
Ramesh Ponnuru checks in on Justice Scalia, touching on some of the same points made here yesterday, regarding temperment and Andrew Sullivan's seeming eagerness to cast pro-lifers to the same closet he wants homosexuals to be free to exit.

He doesn't quite make the link to passion for the job of performing the Constitutional role of a Supreme Court Justice that I did, but he comes close (and writes better than me):

"Justice Scalia writes as he does precisely because he does not believe that his fellow justices are acting as 'neutral umpires.' He does not believe that the disagreement between them can be characterized as fair-minded people reasoning in good faith about the meaning of the Constitution and reaching different conclusions. He believes that some of his colleagues are busy imposing a Constitution of their own devising, and sometimes barely concealing the enterprise. Scalia has evidence to back up this view. What evidence? Well, the bitter arguments of his dissents - arguments that, by the way, very rarely presuppose, even at their most furious, the rightness or wrongness of the policies at issue, contrary to Sullivan's suggestion."

1:43 PM: 
Over on The Corner, Jonah says something I find very interesting.
"But I also think what we're really witnessing is a profound and probably permanent change in the principles of conservatism which has been building for decades.Irving Kristol, for example, was considered heretical among conservatives years ago for arguing that a welfare state which protected the neediest and the eldery was not incompatible with conservatism (a position that, ironically enough, Pat Buchanan not only holds now but considers to be the heart of his economic philosophy). According to Kristol, Social Security, for example, is hardly a threat to the values of the elderly who have worked their entire lives. "
I have had Kristol's book on my to-read list for quite some time, desiring to read for myself what the father of neoconservatism was saying so that I could compare it to what paleoconservatives say neoconservatism is. But if this paragraph is true, then the paleocon sniping at neoconservatives becomes even more difficult to comprehend.

12:45 PM: 
Freepers never forget:
"How quickly we all forget. (Posted on an earlier thread)


This is Blix's own list of WMD's and issues he highlighted, from his speech to the UN on Jan 27th, 2003, written up in the Daily News, UK., same day.


Chemicals:


Some 6,500 chemical bombs containing 1,000 tons of chemical agents and 'several thousand' chemical rocket warheads, known from previous declarations, are unaccounted for.


Inspectors found a 'laboratory quantity' of thiodiglycol, a precursor of mustard gas.


Iraq claims it destroyed its stocks of VX gas after it proved to be of poor quality. But the UN says it has evidence that the VX was 'weaponised'.


The discovery of 122mm chemical rockets may be the tip of the iceberg. 'Several thousand' chemical rockets are unaccounted for.


Iraq has repaired equipment at a chemical plant previously destroyed by the UN, supposedly for the production of chlorine and phenols.


Biological weapons:


Iraq claims to have destroyed 8,500 liters of anthrax, but has provided little evidence.


Iraq deliberately omitted to declare 650kg of bacterial growth medium. This could produce 5,000 liters of anthrax.


Missles:


Iraq has supplied Al Samoud 2 and Al Fatah missles - both with ranges exceeding the 150km limit - to it's army. These missiles are 'prima facie cases of proscribed systems'.


Iraq has rebuilt casting chambers, previously destroyed by the UN and possibly used to make missiles with ranges above 150km.


Iraq has imported 380 rocket engines which could be used for the Al Samoud missiles.


Iraq has 'illegally' imported chemicals used in missile propellants, also guidance and control systems.



Soooo, when Blix's team was doing the looking (and finding nothing), there was ample reason for the world to fear Saddam's regime, but now that Bush's team is doing the looking, there's no justification for the conflict that ensued?


Suddenly, GW has been lying and exaggerating about this stuff? Incredible!


What about Blix? Nobody stood up and criticised him when he made these claims.


The Left relies upon the peoples' inability to recall facts, even a couple of months prior, but our computers have much more reliable memories.




61 posted on 07/01/2003 12:36 PM EDT by spoiler2"

Quite.


12:41 PM: 
Joe Sobran continues his leftward slide here, asking "Did Bush Lie" and concluding, yes he did, either to himself or to everyone.


I suppose Sobran can answer the salient question, 'where is all of this, then, which Iraq admitted to having, but has not been found?'



Amazing how those who dance with the idiots at the IHR start sounding more and more like radical leftists. The Pipeline of Hatred in action.

Sobran long ago made himself into a laughing stock, but still it is annoying to see yet another person actively trying to harm our national security. Shame on him.


10:33 AM: 
Reese Witherspoon in USA WEEKEND Magazine:
"'I'm not a politician,' she says evenly. 'If I want to be one, I'll run for office. Susan Sarandon, whom I know and love, is a fantastic actress. It's her right as an American to say whatever she wants. [But] just because you're rich and famous doesn't qualify you to make political statements. I don't put my opinions out there to influence people. You have a lot of influence. And sometimes I feel it's undeserved influence.' "
With this bit of wisdom, I am much more curious than I ever thought I would be over Witherspoon's opinions. Isn't that ironic?

8:34 AM: 
William Saletan writes that John Edwards "is trying to turn the traditional politics of left and right upside down" by attempting to claim the mantle of the capitalist and paint Bush as the enemy of capitalism.

While I am always skeptical of Democrats, and always skeptical of trial lawyers, and quadruply skeptical of Democrat trial lawyers, and dodecahedrally skeptical of Democrat trial lawyers running for President, since I am an unabashed capitalist I will have to read Edwards' argument in more detail at a later time.

That does not prevent me from daydreaming ahead, should Edwards (aka The Candidate) win the Democrat nomination, to when newscasts feature him claiming that Bush is anti-capitalist, followed quickly by Bush being protested by International ANSWER and their band of roving communists


8:09 AM: 
Last excerpt. What a great article.
"Both the crowd and the speeches were so extremist that any news coverage could only help the President. I'm beginning to suspect that this is the Secretariat of the Workers World Party's secret intention; in terms of resources, publicity, and membership, they're faring far better under the Bush administration than they did under Clinton, or would under the administration of any left-leaning Democrat. Therefore, another term for President Bush is in the Workers World Party's interests; therefore Workers World Party demonstrations against President Bush are going to be as angry and militant as possible. This allows them to recruit the truly radical while alienating the nation's undecided swing voters, giving them street credibility. "



"As next year's campaign heats up, and the number of television cameras at these protests grows, the speakers are going to get angrier and angrier. The Democratic Party has put itself in this unenviable situation by refusing to denounce the Stalinists in its midst, in their efforts to generate "mainsteam" opposition to President Bush. In the future, these party hacks should take note: when you cooperate with the communists, you always get burnt."



8:03 AM: 
I should have read that FrontPage article all the way through. What a hoot!
"The Democratic Party was represented by a few supporters of long-shot presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and three identically-dressed members of "Team Barbara Lee," the radical Berkeley congresswoman..."


"No one group stood out in the crowd..."

The liberal ideal- forced diversity to where everyone is the same, and no one stands out.

Completely unrelated, but also interesting, were these paragraphs:

"Every public protest organized by the Workers World Party or any other leftist group centers on a long string of monotonous speeches, and this was no exception. No fewer than fourteen different radicals took the stage to deliver rants. A few focused on single issues, often peripheral to the main purpose of the protest. For instance, a Workers World Party event wouldn't be complete without a long harangue on Columbia, so Workers World Party-front supporter and promising new recruit Natalie Alsop used her speech to condemn the United States' opposition to the FARC, Columbia's armed Marxist drug pushers. Of course, the City College of San Francisco student was only identified as a volunteer for International ANSWER.


"Similarly, long-time Workers World Party member Alicia Jrapko was identified only as a member of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. She briefly discussed America's detention of five Cuban spies before accusing Cuban-Americans of being terrorists themselves, accusing the
population of Miami of being "good terrorists, the kind supported by the government." And speaker Azania Howse, a Workers World Party member since at least 1996 and likely back to the first Gulf War, spoke primarily about her work to protect an arts center in Oakland. Although praised by the master of ceremonies for reneging on her obligations as a voluntary, paid member of the military, refusing to fight in Desert Storm, and contacting a Workers World Party front for help deserting, Azania's party affiliation was never mentioned."

Never trust a group that doesn't tell you up front who they are. They may end up wanting to sell you Amway.


7:55 AM: 
I love when in the details, you can find evidence that commies are full of it. In FrontPage magazine.com, there is this tidbit:
"Perhaps to avoid paying elevated seller's fees to International ANSWER, the books and newspapers, including the journal of the enviro-terrorist Earth First! were distributed 'free,' with recommended 'donations.'"
Gotta love the Stalinst International ANSWER imposing 'elevated seller's fees'. Commies charging monopolistic rates. God Bless America!

7:42 AM: 
As I promised to get to, from USATODAY.com - Thomas distorts Douglass' speech:
"In the opening of his dissent in the Grutter vs. Bollinger case, Thomas quoted Douglass: 'Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! ... And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... (Y)our interference is doing him positive injury.'"
Why has this caused controversy?
"So what's missing? The words that were replaced by the second ellipsis that put what Douglass said into proper context. What Douglass said in the closing lines is: "Let him alone. If you see him on his way to school, let him alone, don't disturb him! If you see him going to the dinner table at a hotel, let him go! If you see him going to the ballot box, let him along, don't disturb him! If you see him going into a work-shop, just let him alone, — your interference is doing him positive injury.""
I see this as a tempest in a teapot. DeWayne Wickham seems to want to ignore the parts of the full quote that Thomas quoted, and focus only on the part 'missing'. This is not a case of SloMoDowd totally changing the substance of what was said by 'ellipsising' words that completely change the meaning of a passage. Did Douglass say "If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall!"? Yes. Did anything that was omitted in leiu of the ellipsis function to modify the apparent meaning of that phrase? No. Did Douglass say "And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also." Yes. Did anything that was omitted in leiu of the ellipsis function to modify the apparent meaning of that phrase?

No.


7:33 AM: 
In FrontPage magazine.com, Eugene Volokh takes on the idea that Thomas is an affirmative action nominee.
Lots of people have criticized Justice Clarence Thomas’ anti-race-preferences opinion (from Monday’s Grutter v. Bollinger decision concerning the University of Michigan Law School’s admissions policy), on the grounds that there’s reason to think that he has benefited from some such preferences.
It is interesting to compare the words in the SloMoDowd article Volokh references to the words of Clarence Thomas. So that's just what I am going to do.
What a cunning man Clarence Thomas is.


He knew that he could not make a powerful legal argument against racial preferences, given the fact that he got into Yale Law School and got picked for the Supreme Court thanks to his race.

Ignore the incoherence for a moment (make up your mind, SloMo. Is he an average or below intellect who could not merit admission to Yale without affirmative action, or is he cunning?), a difficult task I know. Now, the good Justice:
"Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall!
He is quoting Frederick Douglass there, by the way, in a manner which has caused a bit of an uproar. But I'll get to that in another post, in a moment. I just love the comparison, with Thomas arguing that affirmative action harms blacks by stigmatizing them and leaves them vulnerable to charges of not having earned their positions, and SloMo responding that Thomas is not qualified (although he is cunning) to make such an argument because he benefitted from affirmative action and would not be where he is without it.

7:13 AM: 
I have a deal to offer Godfrey Sperling. I will not underestimate Hillary, if he will not overestimate her.

This is an open deal for anyone who wants in.


7:04 AM: 
I love it when a plan starts coming together. What is happening in Iran is wonderful, but we can only hope that things don't get overly bloody before the Mullahs are out.

6:55 AM: 
Why does Yahoo! publish news stories containing fabrications? I suppose they should expect such when they give space to writers from the Village Voice.
Planned Parenthood did not demonstrate at the last GOP convention and was not active in the antiwar marches over the last year. But activists say Bush's impending approval of the so-called "partial-birth" abortion ban, which effectively outlaws abortions beyond the second trimester regardless of the threat to a woman's health.
The bill does not 'effectively outlaw' all third trimester abortions (I wish it did), and it is not indifferent to the threat to a woman's health. Any rudimentary fact checking would have caught these distortions. Rather, the limited scope bill:
The bill legally defines a partial-birth abortion as any abortion in which the baby is delivered alive until A in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother," or if the baby is delivered head first, A the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother," before being killed. The bill would allow the method if it was ever necessary to save a mother's life.
If there are any moderates who happen by and are reading this, let me ask you this. When you see one side in a debate blatently lying, doesn't it make you wonder what else they are lying about, and how many of the 'facts' they have sold to you are merely propagandist distortions?

6:45 AM: 
It's a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad world, as Buddy Hackett has died.

Monday, June 30, 2003

9:02 PM: 
I was looking forward to the Charlie Chan film festival. Oh, well.

And my kids cannot see "Song of the South".

No problem finding all sorts of wholesome and unoffensive stuff on TV though. I can just watch the Osbournes on MTV.


8:44 PM: 
Boy, I wish I had said this one first, regarding a story about how deep ends of swimming pools are becoming a thing of the past for safety reasons:
Hmm... no deep end, so the kids don't really ever have to learn to swim.


Yep. That'll keep 'em from drowning.



2 posted on 06/30/2003 8:08 PM EDT by Ramius

Quite.

8:36 PM: 
I just read Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 481 (1965). This is brilliant:
"Since 1879 Connecticut has had on its books a law which forbids the use of contraceptives by anyone. I think this is an uncommonly silly law. As a practical matter, the law is obviously unenforceable, except in the oblique context of the present case. As a philosophical matter, I believe the use of contraceptives in the relationship of marriage should be left to personal and private choice, based upon each individual's moral, ethical, and religious beliefs. As a matter of social policy, I think professional counsel about methods of birth control should be available to all, so that each individual's choice can be meaningfully made. But we are not asked in this case to say whether we think this law is unwise, or even asinine. We are asked to hold that it violates the United States Constitution. And that I cannot do."
I want to make up a bunch of postcards with this quotation, and send it to the SCOTUS (not that Thomas needs to see it, other than to make him smile), as well as the Marcupial Seven in Florida and the entire 9th Circuit.

To save ink I might even just narrow it to two lines:

"But we are not asked in this case to say whether we think this law is unwise, or even asinine. We are asked to hold that it violates the United States Constitution."


8:27 PM: 
Fellow blogger Cathryn Crawford pointed out that Justice Breyer, writing in the majorty opinion on the case that set free previously convicted child molesters, said that their ruling guarded against "arbitrary and potentially vindictive legislation."

Can someone point to me where, exactly, in the Constitution it says that there is a right to freedom from vindictiveness?

Sentences may be partly for rehabilitation. They may be partly or mostly to protect the public. But they also may be punitive. Punishment is often intended to cause anguish or hurt to the one being punished, so as to provide a measure of deterrence.

Just another fine example of a SCOTUS majority adjudicating based upon their belief of the way things should be, rather than limiting themselves to their limited role of determining what is within the bounds of the Constitution.


4:48 PM: 
I am amazed. CBS actually is reporting Patches Kennedy's hilarious outburst:
"I don't need Bush's tax cut. I have never worked a [bleeping] day in my life", Kennedy said shortly after presidential candidate Howard Dean addressed the crowd. One of those present told the Post that Kennedy then droned on and on, frequently mentioning how much "better the [Democratic presidential] candidates would sound the more we drank." The source added that he eventually "had to be stopped by a DNC volunteer."
Somehow, though, I doubt we will hear this story followed by the serious intonation of "This is Dan Rather reporting".

Courage.


4:43 PM: 
The UN wants us to intervene in Liberia.

I wonder why the U.S. media is not asking the Democrat Presidential wannabes their opinion on the matter. The answers would be interesting (and potentially useful during the campaign, which is probably why they won't be asked).

I cannot think of many better ways to vet candidates on foreign affairs, though, than to present them with real scenerios and ask how they would handle it.

I doubt they would be able to successfully duck the issue either, lest they shoot their own "Bush has no credibility" arguments in the foot. After all, if they refuse to take a stance, that means they must be comfortable with him making the hard choices without their dissent.


4:21 PM: 
The Corner pointed to this great Diana West article. I love this question she poses for Dean:
"First, how come Gov. Dean, who is campaigning on his state record, sealed his own archive? 'Well, there are future political considerations,' the former governor told Vermont Public Radio. 'We didn't want anything embarrassing appearing in the papers at a critical time in any future endeavor.'"
How special.

4:13 PM: 
Carol Mosley-Braun: You Can Call Me Al

4:12 PM: 
John Kerry: Blowin' in the Wind

4:09 PM: 
I really did not intend to be on such an Andrew Sullivan kick today, but such is life. In another entry today, he writes:
"Of course it was dismaying to hear Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist casually declare he favors writing permanent discrimination against gays and lesbians into the U.S. Constitution. Tampering with the Constitution as a way to prevent states deciding, as they always have, what constitutes a legal marriage would be an assault on federalism, an assault on gay citizens, and the equation of the meaning of the United States with active discrimination against minorities."
Does not the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence prevent states from deciding, as they always have, what are acceptable sexual behaviors within their borders? And does it not pave the way for preventing the states from deciding, as they always have, what constitutes a legal marriage? Was it not an assault on federalism?

Do not get me wrong, while I am ambivalent over if there should be sodomy laws, I completely agree with Thomas' view that the enforcement of such laws is a silly use of limited law enforcement resources. But should that not be the job of individual states (and even better, individual localities within states) to decide for their own governance?


3:55 PM: 
Obvious theme song choice for Dennis Kucinich: Tiptoe Through The Tulips by Tiny Tim (maybe to keep it in the Democrat family he can have Daschle sing a cover version).

Al Sharpton: Tears of a Clown.


3:35 PM: 
Over on The Corner, there is a bit of back and forth over Justice Thomas' dissent in the Lawrence case, and a reference he made towards an earlier decision (Griswold).

This is of interest to me, since it goes towards the argument I was making earlier regarding Sullivan.

To recap, Sullivan argues

"Ditto the arguments about the far right nominee, Bill Pryor, a man whose political language about abortion is so inflamed he has had to say to the Senate that he will simply lay it all aside if he is called to rule on the matter. No one can believe in this kind of psychological compartmentalization; and no one should trust anyone who promises it."
Keep that argument in mind, when reading from Thomas' dissent in Lawrence:
"I join Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion. I write separately to note that the law before the Court today "is...uncommonly silly." Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 US 479, 527 (1965) (Stewart, J., dissenting). If I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal. Punishing someone for expressing his sexual preference through noncommercial consensual conduct with another adult does not appear to be a worthy way to expend valuable law enforcement resources."
Justice Thomas here seems pretty passionate about the particular law in question. He does not find the law to be merely misguided, but "uncommonly silly" (which is the Griswold reference). He flat out states that were he a legislator, he would vote to repeal. But Justice Thomas is passionate about the role of the Judiciary and the role of the Legislature and the balance between them. Legislatures decide the merits of a law, and the Judiciary decides if it passes Constitutional muster.

Judges must be of a temperment to be able to 'compartmentalize' their personal beliefs from their role in the Constitutional framework. Pryor has shown that 1) he understands this, and 2) that he has done so in his previous positions.


3:01 PM: 
They say time heals all wounds. Time also has a way of fogging the memory. The U.S. fact sheet on alleged Iraqi omissions is handy to keep around to remind us, as the Democrats try to make "Bush Lied" stick.
"ANTHRAX AND OTHER UNDECLARED BIOLOGICAL AGENTS
  • The U.N. Special Commission concluded that Iraq did not verifiably account for, at a minimum, 2160 kg of growth media.
  • This is enough to produce 26,000 liters of anthrax — 3 times the amount Iraq declared; 1,200 liters of botulinum toxin; and, 5,500 liters of clostridium perfrigens — 16 times the amount Iraq declared...

CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS MUNITIONS

  • In January 1999, the U.N. Special Commission reported that Iraq failed to provide credible evidence that 550 mustard gas-filled artillery shells and 400 biological weapon-capable aerial bombs had been lost or destroyed.
  • The Iraqi regime has never adequately accounted for hundreds, possibly thousands, of tons of chemical precursors....

EMPTY CHEMICAL MUNITIONS

  • There is no adequate accounting for nearly 30,000 empty munitions that could be filled with chemical agents...

UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (UAV) PROGRAMS

  • Iraq denies any connection between UAV programs and chemical or biological agent dispersal. Yet, Iraq admitted in 1995 that a MIG-21 remote-piloted vehicle tested in 1991 was to carry a biological weapon spray system.
  • Iraq already knows how to put these biological agents into bombs and how to disperse biological agent using aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles...

MOBILE BIOLOGICAL WEAPON AGENT FACILITIES

  • The Iraqi declaration provides no information about its mobile biological weapon agent facilities. Instead it insists that these are “refrigeration vehicles and food testing laboratories.”
Where are all these? Why haven't we found them? Good questions. But they had them.





1:48 PM: 
Novak's opening there reminds me of this classic "Johnny Dangerously" bit.
"Johnny and the mothers are playin' stompit at the savoy in Vermont tonight."

1:36 PM: 
Robert Novak has an anonymous "well connected senior Republican" claiming "he has been informed" with the Supreme Court:
"Chief Justice William Rehnquist would retire and be replaced by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, with that vacancy filled by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales."
Being a conservative, I tend to favor the lessons of experience. Experience has told me that anonymous quotations should be taken with a grain of salt. Experience has also taught me that second hand accounts are dubious, and third hand accounts are even more so. Let's look at the opening line from Novak's piece, counting the places in where skepticism should creep:
"a well-connected [1) connected to who? Bush? Or someone in the Administration? Or someone who is close to the adminstration? At best, this is one level removed; at worst, three or more] senior Republican senator [2)anonymously] told colleagues [3) unnamed colleagues who either told Novak for another layer of separation, or told one of Novak's contacts which would be yet another] he has been informed [4) informed by...who? This is a double banger. It is another degree of separation, and it is also done anonymously] what likely [5) equivocation] will happen"
So we have anywhere between 3 and 7 degrees of separation, involving an anonymous Senator informing unnamed colleagues about being informed by an anonymous...someone that a particular scenerio is likely. For as useful as this is, we may have that Kevin Bacon was the source, but he wanted to hedge his bets.

11:40 AM: 
Today, Andrew Sullivan takes Antonin Scalia to task for his tone:


"What troubles me about Antonin Scalia is not so much the substance of his views (although I share very few of them) but the angry, sarcastic, bitter tone of his judgments. David Broder had a similar take last week. Part of what it takes to be a judge, in my mind, is a certain indifference to passionate advocacy, a sense of moderation, and prudence."
Passion can be offputting, if one disagrees with the direction of the passion. However, Sullivan's arguments strike me as a bit self-serving, in that he seemingly categorizes all of Scalia's passion as being towards the "culture war". I agree with Sullivan that Scalia is passionate about the culture war, but from reading many of Scalia's opinions, I have been left with the sense he is also passionate about what he perceives to be the role of the Supreme Court according to the Constitution. Frankly, that is a passion I want all SCOTUS justices to have, and I believe is sorely lacking in entirely too many of them (Justice Souter, pick up the white courtesy phone). Their job is to protect the Constitution, and thereby serve the people who are protected by it. A person who is passionate about their job will tend to perform better at their job than one who is listless.

Further, it strikes me as absurd to single out Scalia for his passion on certain fundemental issues. It is pretty clear from their opinions that Stevens, Ginsburg, and Souter are pretty passionate about their 'pro-choice' views. Is Sullivan actually arguing that since they temper their passions in their writings that they are somehow more open to being persuaded on abortion? I am highly skeptical.

This has applicability to Bill Pryor, about who Sullivan continues:

"Ditto the arguments about the far right nominee, Bill Pryor, a man whose political language about abortion is so inflamed he has had to say to the Senate that he will simply lay it all aside if he is called to rule on the matter. No one can believe in this kind of psychological compartmentalization; and no one should trust anyone who promises it."
I think it is more likely that we can trust someone who admits to their passion and claims to be able to control it, than someone who hides their passion and hopes no one finds out about it. As an out of the closet gay, Sullivan should sense this; after all, would he deny a seat on the bench for someone who is openly gay, preferring instead one who denies it? Perhaps Sullivan feels all pro-lifers should be 'in the closet'.

As for Pryor, one does not have to take his word for his ability to perform "psychological compartmentalization". He has a track record of performing his duty even when it conflicts with his passion for causes such as the pro-life movement.

How is he able to do so? It is no big secret- he has a passion for the law and the Constitution.

We need people on the bench who have that passion.


9:49 AM: 
It is not just because I am a partisan that I am deeply disturbed (a la Tom Daschle) and troubled (a la Joe Lie) about the attempts to create a political firestorm about WMD intelligence.

I don't fear these ministrations politically, at all. Jonah Goldberg does a very good job of showing just how inane, and to be blunt, stupid, this demagoguery is. The public seems to like Bush enough that this nonsense is almost certainly going to harm the Democrats more than it will him.

What worries me is how dangerous it is. As TIME.com writers Massimo Calabresi and Timothy J. Burger write in "Who Lost the WMD?",

Administration officials have a further concern about where all these questions are leading. They fear that any problem with the prewar intelligence could undermine Bush's ability to continue his muscular campaign against terrorism overseas. The Administration has argued that to counter new kinds of threats posed by terrorists, rogue states and WMD, it has to be able to act pre-emptively.
Quite. And since the Senate hearings are threatening to turn into a partisan witch hunt (see the entry on John Kerry below), this is a case where partisan politicking threatens national security.

There was no doubt that Saddam's Iraq possessed WMD. Even according to Iraq, they had significant quantities of anthrax and VX nerve gas at the end of the Gulf War; materials that Iraq could not or would not account for to UN weapons inspectors during the months leading up to the conflict. It is very disturbing that our intelligence has not been sufficient for us to account for them. But that is a completely different issue than "Bush lied" or "Bush misled". Saddam had WMD. We have not found them. We must find them or they will eventually be used against us.

Meanwhile, a partisan witch hunt in the Senate and in the media could make it that in the future, what needs to be done will have such a high political pricetag as to be unpalatable for any President.

Osama will be very pleased if the public lets the Democrats do this, just as I am sure he was very pleased when the Democrats passed the suicidal Torricelli Amendment in the mid-90s.


7:13 AM: 
The Democrats are thinking up theme songs.

During the day, I'll try to get some suggestions to them.

The first one is easy.


John Edwards"Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon

7:03 AM: 
Do you remember back when Joe Lieberman was considered "the conscience of the Senate"?

It seems so long ago:

Mr. Lieberman turned to Carol Moseley Braun and said that in Florida in 2000, "African-Americans . . . were deprived of their right to vote." Then he asked her: "What can we do to make sure that in 2004 every vote is counted?"
Shameless race-baiting demagoguery.

The modern Democrat party is an embarrassment.

But then, this has been the case more often than not throughout its long history.


6:57 AM: 
Check out this bit of tripe from the Harley Sorensen, from the San Francisco Chronicle.
In last week's column, I asked readers for ideas on how to get George Bush and his merry nation-wrecking crew out of the White House. The readers responded. I got almost 700 e-mails; about one in four offered a suggestion or two...

My favorite suggestion came from Phil, in Clifton, N.J... Phil says we should urge our "coalition partner," the United Kingdom, to investigate Bush's antics. For instance, what did he know ahead of time about Sept. 11? Did he deliberately mislead the nation about Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction? Was the real reason for the war in Iraq to provide an opportunity for Republican friends (like Halliburton, Bechtel and the Carlyle Group) to make millions repairing the damage we caused?



I would just love to see the Democrats try to play partisan politics over 9/11. That Kerry quote I just posted will be quite handy if the Democrats continue to make the case that Bush lied about WMD in Iraq. And the Halliburton charge is just silly, considering that we prevented the oil wells from being exploded (as they were in the first Gulf War). Had the goal been to give Halliburton work, we certainly could have arranged for a heck of a lot more damage to the Iraqi oil industry infrastructure.
Alvin, in New Orleans, suggests merely that we entice the inarticulate Bush away from his scripted public appearances and force him to speak for himself. Do that, Alvin says, and Bush "is bound to put his silver foot in his mouth."
One would think that Democrats would remember what happened when Ann Richards tried to deingrate Bush with that silver foot quip.
Amen, Ann. And I might add that next year might be the time for good Republicans to consider voting Democrat, just this once. A lot more than the success of your favorite party is at stake.
I offer a competing proposition. Next year might be the time for good Democrats to consider voting Republican, straight ticket, just this once. I know that most Democrats read rantings like that by Sorensen and think to themselves, "what a loon". I know that most Democrats are embarrassed by the flip-flops taken by Kerry and other Democrats over Iraq. I know most Democrats find the left wing of their party to be embarrassing. Good Democrats, vote Republican, this once. Kill the cancerous growth on your left side, once and for all. Your party, and our nation, will be better off if you do.

6:38 AM: 
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is a fairly liberal paper, but every Sunday it contains a treat; Jack Kelly's weekly column. Two nice cuts from this week's piece:
In that speech, exhumed by Wesley Pruden of the Washington Times, Kerry said the United Nations should authorize a military strike on Iraq that would "materially damage . . . as much as possible of the suspected infrastructure for developing and manufacturing weapons of mass destruction." And if the United Nations wouldn't go along, the United States should go it alone:


"While we should always seek to take significant international actions on a multilateral rather than a unilateral basis . . . we must have the courage to do what we believe is right and wise," Kerry said.


Similar statements -- essentially indistinguishable from what President Bush has said -- were made by Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt. So if Americans were "intentionally misled" about WMD in Iraq, Democrats originated the plot.

The Democrats would not be taking this disingenuous tack without confidence that the mainstream media would assist by not reporting their duplicity. Letters to the editor can help prevent them from getting away with it.

David Brooks speculates in The Weekly Standard that hatred of Bush has unhinged Democrats, who "look like they're turning into a domestic version of the Palestinians -- a group so enraged at perceived oppressors, and so caught up in their own victimization, that they behave in ways that are patently not in their self-interest, and that are almost guaranteed to perpetuate their suffering."
Quite. It is a good thing, too.

6:03 AM: 
Thanks go out to Freeper seamole for alerting me to this December, 2002 article about ties between Liberia's Charles Taylor and Al-Qaeda.
Investigators from several countries concluded that President Charles Taylor of Liberia received a $1-million payment for arranging to harbour the operatives, who were in the region for at least two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The terrorists moved between a protected area in Liberia and the presidential compound in neighboring Burkina Faso, investigators say.

Charles Taylor has to go.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

10:27 PM: 
One more line: “Franklin Roosevelt wanted to show the king and queen of England the finest music in America, he brought them to this room to hear Marian Anderson sing ‘Ave Maria.'”

10:26 PM: 
Say what you will about President Bush, but even his foes should be able to acknowledge one thing: he has some fantastic speechwriters.



Bush said on Tuesday, at a speech kicking off a month-long celebration of black music, “From the earliest generations of slaves came music of sorrow and patience, of truth and righteousness and of faith that shamed their oppressors and called upon the justice of Almighty God and praised His holy name.”


9:10 PM: 
US appears to be on the brink of sending troops to end the brutal civil war in Liberia. I am still dubious over this being a good idea, especially if it leaves Charles Taylor in power. But I mentioned earlier today- keep an eye on Liberia.

6:48 PM: 
Men whose sodomy case led to Supreme Court ruling keep low profile(Lawrence, Garner, Texas)

Understandable that they would. I am sure that the attention has been a mixed blessing for them.

I have a lot of ambivalence about sodomy laws themselves. Are they good or bad for a society? I have not concluded yet. But there are quite a few things about the whole affair I have concluded.

First, I am certain that the founding fathers found sodomy laws to be constitutional. From the founding of our country, there have been sodomy laws. Then when the 14th Amendment was enacted, the people of the day did not strike sodomy laws under the provisions of the 14th. Obviously, in their eyes the Amendment they crafted was not intending to prevent sodomy laws.

Now, just because something was constitutional does not mean it is right; that is a completely different question. This is where Lawrence is so very disappointing a decision. It shows that the Rehnquist court has developed a propensity for judging the utility of a law, and not the constitutionality of a law. If a piece of legislation strikes the majority of the nine members of the SCOTUS as being the way things should be, then they decree that it is constitutional. If a majority thinks that a law is contrary to the way things should be, then they decree that it is unconstitutional.

This is not the way things should be.