Former Democratic Chief Counsel: Ted Kennedy Disgraced Himself
In my view (as a Democrat and former chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee), Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., has disgraced himself and our party by misusing his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to achieve self-serving partisan ends.
Kennedy was the architect of an unprecedented tactic: using filibusters to polarize the Senate along party lines thus denying the confirmation of qualified conservative judges. In Bush's first term the Senate Democrats used that tactic successfully against at least 10 nominees for judgeships on circuit courts.
Fortunately, Kennedy has failed in his partisan attempt to deny Judge Alito a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Monday, January 30, 2006
According to our Constitution, the Senate has the right and responsibility to consent or agree to certain actions by the President, and approving nominations to the Supreme Court is one of them. The job of the Senate in such cases is to determine whether or not nominees are qualified for the position, and that involves looking at the nominee’s training, experience and temperament for the position. Nominees with appropriate training and experience, and without some unusual behavior in their past, should be approved and take their seat on the Court.
A nominee to the Supreme Court should be neutral politically, neither politically liberal nor politically conservative, neither Republican nor Democrat. Political views have no place in the proceedings and rulings of the U. S. Supreme Court.
A nominee should be judicially conservative, and that is a very different thing than being politically conservative. A judicial conservative is someone who leaves ideology at the door and rules on cases before him or her according to the guiding principles of the Constitution and legal precedent, properly arrived at. A Justice is not to make laws or policies to be imposed on the citizenry through a non-representative judicial process. One who indulges in the making of laws from the bench is a judicial activist and has a liberal judicial philosophy. Justices are supposed to rule on the constitutionality of laws and policies made by the appropriate branches of government, laws made through elected representatives in the Congress, and policies designed by the Executive branch.
People of every political philosophy ought to appreciate the importance of political neutrality in the judicial system. That is the only way to avoid judicial anarchy. You might like what one political philosophy advocates, but when/if another gets “power” you might not like it so well. Better to leave politics out of the Judiciary.
The Senate passes the responsibility of the initial examination of nominees to the Supreme Court to the Judiciary Committee, a group of 18 senators, which is to objectively evaluate the nominee and either approve or disapprove the nomination based on consideration of objective criteria. Nominees approved by the Committee are then voted on by the entire Senate, and 51 votes approve the nomination.
The nomination of Judge Samuel Alito derailed the moment it reached the Judiciary Committee, when the Democrat members of the Committee, who speciously, perhaps deceptively, set out to evaluate Judge Alito not from the proper position of political neutrality, but instead from a position far to the political left.
Judge Alito indicated in his answers to questions from Committee members a conservative judicial philosophy, a position devoid of political ideological interference. That the Democrats either actually believed that Judge Alito held conservative political views, or merely used their time to disingenuously try to persuade the rest of us of that flight of the imagination, is illustrative of the degree to which they were unable or unwilling to discharge the duty assigned to them as members of the Judiciary Committee.
To those of us who were objectively listening, Judge Alito proved himself to be thoroughly qualified, not only in terms of judicial training, experience and temperament, but also in terms of judicial philosophy. He is a man who will apply the Constitution and legal precedent fairly and without extraneous factors entering into his decisions, like political ideology.
That, however, is not what the Democrat members of the Committee wanted; they wanted a political liberal to fill the Court’s vacancy.
It appears that Judge Alito will be approved and take his seat on the Court this week. We should all be thankful that this attempt to inject partisan politics into the judicial nomination process has failed, and we should make it known, in no uncertain terms, that such political chicanery is not appreciated.
Politics, Democrats, Congress, Alito Confirmation, Supreme Court, Judiciary
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
When it comes to Justices on the Court, both the radical Left and the radical Right want activist Justices who will rule according to their particular ideology. So much of the rhetoric focused Judge Alito’s imagined judicial philosophy. And some members of the Committee speculated on how he would rule on various issues, basing their decision whether to confirm the nomination on their own political preferences and whether they think Judge Alito agrees with them. You might think after watching this spectacle that the confirmation process is really just about which ideology Judge Alito embraces, and which side will win the ideological war. It should not be that.
In ideological arguments such as these there is no absolute, no right or wrong, only ideological bias. But when it comes to judicial philosophy there is an absolute. There is a position that is the appropriate position. The proper judicial philosophy eschews the political philosophy of both liberals and conservatives and instead focuses on the text and the meaning of the U.S. Constitution.
In determining whether a nominee is thus qualified to sit on the Supreme Court it is not a valid question to ask whether a nominee will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, for example, or to ask whether a nominee will vote to grant citizenship rights to illegal immigrants, or other such ideologically oriented specifics. The only valid question for a nominee is whether or not he or she is a judicial originalist: someone who will rule according to the Constitution and appropriately decided legal precedents. How could any patriotic American want anything other than someone who is ideologically neutral?
The liberals in the Senate and on the Judiciary Committee do not want an ideologically neutral Justice. For the most part, conservatives do want ideologically neutral Justices, because that is what conservatism means: adhering to the intent of the Constitution.
Monday, January 23, 2006
A majority of Americans—56 percent—said the Bush administration should be required to get a warrant before monitoring electronic communications between American citizens and suspected terrorists, according to an AP-Ipsos poll earlier this month.
One wonders just what prompts a majority of Americans—or at least a majority of those 1,000 or so polled—to believe this way. I’d say the demagoguery by the President’s enemies is responsible for a good bit of it, given that we hear, see and read about their charges far more than we are provided with the President’s reasoning and legal basis. So, we are treated to an endless stream of blowhards expounding on their wish—that Mr. Bush actually would break the law, enabling them to gain ground in trying to salvage some power in the November elections—rather than on actual fact.
“The President is breaking the law,” they pronounce, offering nothing in the way of proof, or even allowing that the issue is not a settled matter residing in that large gray area between right and wrong, good and evil, and legal and illegal. Naturally, the media jumps on this with both feet, because it’s not only a good headline, but it suits the media’s own prejudice.
So what is Mr. Bush’s rationale? "Congress gave me the authority to use necessary force to protect the American people, but it didn't prescribe the tactics," Mr. Bush said, adding that the government needs to know why people linked to al Qaida are calling into the U.S. That’s a fair question, and one that I’m darned happy someone is asking. "One of the ways to protect the American people is to understand the intentions of the enemy," the President said. Don’t you just love common sense policies?
Mr. Bush noted that Sen. Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who is opening hearings into the program, was among the lawmakers on Capitol Hill who were given regular updates about the surveillance by the White House. "It's amazing that people say to me, ‘Well, he's just breaking the law,’" Mr. Bush said, with Roberts sitting behind him on stage at Kansas State University. Here’s another fair question: "If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" Mr. Bush asked, rhetorically.
The media won’t present both sides of this disagreement, and can’t even be counted on to make sure the issue is accurately cast. As an example, it is commonly referred to as the government spying on Americans, when in fact it is the government listening in to overseas phone calls involving suspected al Qaeda operatives in and out of the U.S., and some citizens are on the other end. You might expect red-blooded, patriotic Americans, particularly those elected to serve in Congress, to be more interested in who is on the U.S. end of those calls, and why. But, no, not when an election is at hand, and when your party is desperate to win something.
"Many people surmise that one of the reasons we haven't been attacked here, is because they are being so successful at doing what they need to do to attack us in Iraq and elsewhere," Kerry told ABC's "This Week."
And that is a bad thing because …
John Kerry just doesn’t understand what is going on, does he? Or, perhaps he is just unhappy that al Qaeda hasn’t attacked the U.S. again. We certainly hope that Democrats do not want another terrorist attack on the U.S. so that President Bush’s popularity would drop, but in these days of blind partisanship that certainly is a possibility.
Mr. Bush has repeatedly said that fighting terrorists somewhere else in the world is better than fighting them in the United States. Most people agree with that sentiment. Apparently John Kerry does not.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
What brings this up for a post is yesterday’s ruling by a Maryland Circuit Court judge that the state’s 33-year-old ban on same-gender "marriage" is unconstitutional. The state holds the position that marriage is not a fundamental right but a privilege and that the 1973 law does not discriminate based on sex because both men and women are prohibited from entering into same-sex "marriage." The legal aspects of this are more than I want to get into here and now.
But discussion of the concept of same-gender (or homosexual) marriage is worthwhile.
My opinion is that if two men or two women want to have sex with each other, that’s their business, and if they want to move in together, that’s their business, too.
On the other hand, I have great regard for marriage as a cultural institution, and for its longstanding ability to hold our society together. I think the traditional family unit is a good thing for kids and for society. I recognize that there are a lot of non-traditional families around these days, but I don’t think that is any reason to change the definition of marriage. In fact, I see the disintegration of the traditional family as a decidedly negative force in society. I think our societal rules ought to discourage divorce and out-of-wedlock children. We were a stronger society a few decades ago when divorce and out-of-wedlock births were in short supply. We need to get back to that condition.
I can see that two people that are committed to each other should, out of a sense of fairness and equality, be eligible for certain “benefits” or legal prerogatives, regardless of whether they are a man and a woman, two men or two women. But when we talk about same-gender unions, and we want to call them “marriages,” I have a problem with that.
So, if we as a society believe that we ought to create some legal standing for same-gender couples, fine. But, I will strongly resist redefining marriage to include not only a man and a woman, but also two men, or two women, or a man and a sheep, or a woman and a dog, or any other combination of beings.
Call it something else; don’t call it marriage.
Opinions, either pro or con, are encouraged.
Friday, January 20, 2006
Whether a church or a cathouse, this is impressive.
It's a LEGO church.
It took about a year and a half of planning, building and photographing.
How big is it? About 7 feet by 5 1/2 feet by 30 inches (2.2 m x 1.7 m x.76 m)
How many LEGO people does it seat? 1372
How many windows? 3976
It features a balcony, a Narthex, stairs to the balcony, restrooms, coat rooms, several mosaics, a nave, a baptistery, an altar, a crucifix, a pulpit and an elaborate pipe organ.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Assisted suicide is a true moral dilemma, particularly for those of us who hold life sacred, or at least precious.
Personally, I think we ought to hold innocent life as the highest of our priorities. That means that I am pro-life/anti-abortion (with certain caveats).
I also support the death penalty.
It is no contradiction that I am pro-life and pro-death penalty. Remember, I said “innocent” life. The miscreants who get the death penalty are not innocent. They don’t deserve to live. Unborn babies are innocent; they do deserve to live.
But I digress; the topic is assisted suicide.
The ethical question is whether or not doctors ought to be allowed to help people who are in control of their mental faculties end their life if they choose to do so.
The moral question is whether we ought to make it easy for people to end their life.
If I am in great pain with a terminal illness, I think I’d like to have the option to end it all when I decide it’s time. Whether I’d have the guts to “pull the trigger” or not is another issue.
However, doctors are trained to prolong life. They are trained to diagnose diseases and conditions, and prescribe medicines, procedures and treatments to restore our health. There is a raging controversy both inside and outside the medical community as to whether doctors, as life-savers, should become life-enders.
Regular readers know well my support for George Bush. The man’s not perfect, of course, but he has a lot going for him. He’s much smarter than people give him credit for being. He’s far more honest and forthright than his enemies are willing to believe. And he has the courage of his convictions. That is what I like most about him: he determines what he believes is the proper course, sets off on it, and stays the course until he is satisfied that the end has been reached. That is a rare quality in a leader in this day and time. As it happens, I agree with his choices, most of the time.
On the other side, he’s not conservative enough. And that’s the source of my occasional irritation with him.
He isn’t minding the budget, which is normally a high priority of conservatives. While it’s true that the President doesn’t write the checks, a President has the power of the veto over a spendthrift Congress (pardon the redundancy), and Mr. Bush ought to be much more active in trying to keep spending under control.
He’s asleep at the switch on the border issue. I understand that Mexican labor has a value, and that Mexicans fill jobs that Americans don’t want and won’t do. But illegal immigration is costing millions of dollars each year in every state where illegal immigrants end up. More serious is the potential for people who are determined to do great harm to our people to sneak through the porous borders.
I believe history will regard Mr. Bush as a great president, particularly if he takes control of the budget and the borders.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
The comment was made to a post described as a "summary in pictures of the protests that occurred in Ottawa on November 30th, during the visit of Bush in Canada."
Please Help Us!!
04.12.2004 - 09:55
I beg you to relax your immigration laws to allow those from the United States whose tender psyches have been irreparably harmed by the re-election of George W. Bush, and whose peace-at-any-cost philisophy is at odds with current reality, and whose mindless hatred of President Bush has rendered them incapable of coping any longer with life here in the greatest nation on Earth, to quickly get out of here, and leave true Americans to live without their juvenile and naive influence.
The photos of Ottawa portray a city so beautiful that one would not expect to find the level of idiocy demonstrated by the protesters.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Like so many, including your truly, have been saying, the Democratic Party is out of touch with America, and if it hopes to get back in the game, substantive changes in thinking and acting are in order. Two heavy-weight Dem operatives agree:
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006
Political strategist James Carville believes the Democratic Party "has a disease" that must be rectified –- and soon -– if the party has a chance of gaining back the White House or the Congress.
In an exclusive interview with NewsMax, Carville is touting his latest book, co-authored by CNN's Paul Begala, titled "Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future." Both are savvy strategists who helped Bill Clinton earn a come-from-behind victory that brought him from Little Rock, Ark., to the White House in 1992. Later, the pair were architects of Clinton's successful 1996 re-election.
Today, they have changed roles from insider Beltway operatives to pundits who are warning that their party -– today out of power in every branch of the federal government -- needs emergency resuscitation. Surprisingly, both authors argue that the party needs to change its dogmatic thinking on abortion rights, gun control and environmental concerns.
"We think the problem with the party is anatomical," a direct result of outdated beliefs, such as that supporting health care for everyone must also mean support for late-term abortions, Carville tells NewsMax.
Carville: Democrats Have a 'Disease': "Carville: Democrats Have a 'Disease'"
The Martin Luther King Day celebration at Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network is an important annual event, a time where candidates eagerly show deference to the Rev. Sharpton, use the opportunity to attract political support, and maybe pay a little homage to Rev. King in the process. With lots of big races being contested this year, candidates and controversy were in heavy supply.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, who predictably launched into an impassioned attack on the Bush administration, got a puffball question when the questions were being asked. “I need you to tell us what distinguishes Democrats from Republicans right now,” she was asked.
Responded Mrs. Clinton, “When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run like a plantation and you know what I'm talking about..."
Nothing like a little sensitivity from New York’s carpetbagger Senator. But while criticizing her lack of good taste, you can’t criticize her moxie. It takes real courage to make slavery references in Sharpton’s House, where folks from Mrs. Clinton’s “plantation” attend in large numbers.
Republican Congressman Peter King, of Long Island, had the proper reaction: "It's always wrong to play the race card for political gain by using a loaded word like plantation. But it is particularly wrong to do so on Martin Luther King Day.Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Black Vote
Monday, January 16, 2006
Mindless acts of violence like these just defy understanding. If you want to beat someone with a baseball bat, you might at least target someone who has broken into your home, or who has done something to you to deserve a reprisal. But to beat someone you don’t know and who has never done anything to you is just vicious, stupid, intolerable, and inexcusable. "It's senseless. If you look at these kids, it was almost like it was fun and games for them," police officer Scott Russell said of the beatings.
This is the type of wanton, cruel, malevolent violence that we must take a strong stand against. Punishment for parties guilty of such behavior must be swift, sure and severe. Behavior like this is what the death penalty is for.
However, it’s a safe bet that will happen to these lowlifes will be not swift, will most likely be unsure, and definitely will not be nearly severe enough. We will likely be treated to all manner of rhetoric about how unfortunate these dopes were in their childhood. Maybe as children a priest abused them, or their self-esteem was bruised because they lost a baseball game in school, or they scored low on a test, or their mommies wouldn’t let him go out and play when they wanted to, or other such sappy crap.
The dead man’s justice will be that his attackers will live decades longer than he did, and get three squares a day in a warm, dry place, and sleep in a comfortable bed. They will have access to exercise in a gym where they can bulk up so they can attack and overpower their guards, a library with law books so they can study up on how to beat the system, and probably have access to drugs if they decide to take a trip from reality, all at taxpayer expense. This is the face of justice for violent criminals in the United States in the 21st Century.
Technorati Tags: Crime, Violence, Punishment, Justice, Injustice,
Since it's not nice to think ill of others, even of the others who yearn to behead us, we become increasingly defenseless against enemies determined to destroy our civilization. The yearning to be regarded as nice is surely the point of the growing opposition to the war in Iraq, which is morphing into opposition to doing anything about terrorists, those abroad and those among us. If we think nice thoughts, maybe they will go away.Suzanne Fields
We "make nice" when we make excuses for the tiger's violent behavior, seduced by the idea that we should correct the "root causes" of his search for dinner at our expense. We think we can change the nature of the enemy if only we understand what makes the enemy violent, foolishly imagining that we can repeal the law of the jungle with our own good intentions. We can afford to make nice once we get the tiger in a cage, but in the wild he's a predator, and we have to be aware that he's stalking us.
RIBAT, Iran -- Deep in the lawless triangle connecting Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, eight Iranian soldiers are being held hostage by a Sunni group that is vowing to kill them if Tehran does not meet its demands.
"We will chop their heads off once our deadline is over," said Abdul Hameed Reeki, chief spokesman of the Jundallah, or Brigade of God group, slowly drawing an index finger across his neck.
The deadline for the men is today.
The emergence of a fanatical Sunni group operating inside Iran's southeastern border poses a startling new threat to the country's Shi'ite clerical regime, which already faces a crisis with the West over its nuclear ambitions.
The eight members of the Iranian border security police were kidnapped last month and are being offered in exchange for the release of 16 of their captors' colleagues, who are jailed by the Iranian government.
This will be interesting to watch.
Sunni group vows to behead Iranians�-�World�-�insider.washingtontimes.com
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Another story holds that Osama Bin Laden founded Al Qaeda in 1988, along with Mohammed Atef, who was believed to have been the organization's military commander. “Al-Qa'ida,” an Arabic term that means “the base,” was established as an umbrella group for Islamic militants who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviet Army. Who knows which of these is true, or if either one is, but for our purposes, “al Qaeda” identifies the radical/fundamentalist arm of Islam, which is the usage that we are accustomed to.
What is important is al Qaeda’s goals. One source explains that it seeks to rid Muslim countries of the profane influence of the West, and replace their governments with fundamentalist Islamic regimes. Another believes that the goal is broader, and reports that in an al Qaeda house in Afghanistan, New York Times reporters found a brief statement of the “Goals and Objectives of Jihad”:
- Establishing the rule of God on earth
- Attaining martyrdom in the cause of God
- Purification of the ranks of Islam from the elements of depravity
The source also said that in 1998, several al Qaeda leaders issued a declaration calling on Muslims to kill Americans—including civilians—as well as “those who are allied with them from among the helpers of Satan.”
The essence of the United State’s problem, and indeed the problem of the entire non-Islamic world, is not so much the day-to-day activities of al Qaeda—although when those day-to-day activities involve the wanton murder of innocents anywhere in the world it is certainly important—but the degree to which all of Islam believes the “Goals and Objectives of Jihad” stated above. If only “some” Muslims hold this radical view, that is one thing, but if “most” Muslims hold that view, that is an entirely different matter. The proportion of Muslims that subscribes to these radical views, and what the rest of the Muslim world chooses to do about the radical faction determine the magnitude of the problem.
There has been an increase in Islamic fundamentalist schools in the last few years that sanction violence, and al Qaeda’s activities are being broadened into new areas of the globe. For example, sources in the Middle East say that following the completion of Israel's recent withdrawal from Gaza in September, al Qaeda has established a terrorist base in the Palestinian community from which it could launch attacks not only against Israel, but against Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well.
Since Muslims make up nearly one-quarter of the world's population, and since we in the non-Muslim world are not going to sit still for a bunch of fanatics wiping us from the face of the Earth, it is very important to know two things:
- What proportion of Muslims support the radical movement, and what proportion does not support it?
- What does the moderate faction plan to do to disarm or neutralize the radical faction?
The answer to the second question cannot be “nothing,” and must be something closely resembling taking up arms against those who pervert the Islamic religion. A moderate Muslim faction that is unwilling to stand up against the radical element and in some way put it out of business effectively means that instead of us being at war with a fanatic subset of Muslims called al Qaeda, we are at war with all of Islam, because you either subscribe to what the radicals are doing, or you oppose it. Time is of the essence. Every month that goes by without a concerted effort by moderate Muslims to halt the teaching of hate and intolerance to young Muslims, the more fanatic enemies we have to contend with, and the more difficult it will be to defeat them.
If it comes down to either them, or us, and it certainly looks that way right now, we must win.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Terrorism, War on Terror, National Security, al Qaeda, al-Quida, Islam, Muslims
Saturday, January 14, 2006
It has long been my contention that the discipline of most religions, particularly Christianity, is a good thing for society. Living life as defined by the rules of Christianity, whether or not one believes in Christ or in God, will produce a more stable, a more moral and a more ethical society than if individuals in a society follow their own rules, which may be based upon personal convenience and personal desires, and which will likely be different, one person to the next.
I have also contended that the Founding Fathers were largely religious men who understood the value of a religious society, that their references to God and a Supreme Being were expressions of their religious beliefs, and those beliefs were inherently tied into the concepts they incorporated into the design of our country, but were not inconsistent with establishing a nation based upon religious freedom that disallowed the establishment of a state religion. In other words, they believed religion was an important element in a successful society, and that a religious society could easily co-exist with a government that maintained a non-religious stance.
The following passage from Chapter V of Gertrude Himmelfarb’s wonderful book, One Nation, Two Cultures, documents that truth:
Like civil society, the polity and the law are necessary but not sufficient remedies for the disorders of society. Even as the Founding Fathers devised their “new science of politics” based upon the principle of divided powers and interests, they understood that that “science” alone cannot sustain a proper republican government. Republican government means self-government—self-discipline, self-restraint, self-control, [and] self-reliance—“republican virtue,” in short. In the absence of such virtue the best political arrangements are of no avail. “I go on this great republican principle,” James Madison said, “that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom … To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea.”
What the Founding Fathers also understood was that in a republic such virtue is intimately related to religion. However skeptical or deistic they may have been in their own beliefs, however determined they were to avoid anything like an established church, they had no doubt that religion is an essential part of the social order because it is a vital part of the moral order. “If men are so wicked as we now see them with religion,” Benjamin Franklin said, “what would they be if without it?” John Adams put it more tactfully: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” And George Washington, in his Farewell Address, cautioned his countrymen not to “indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion”: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” And then, as if to warn them that enlightenment was no substitute for religion, he added: “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Even Thomas Jefferson, who was suspected of being a non-believer, believed in Christianity as the national faith. A recently discovered handwritten history of a Washington parish recounts his exchange with a friend who happened to meet him on his way to church one Sunday morning carrying his large red prayer book.
“You going to church Mr. J. You do not believe a word in it.”
“Sir,” said Jefferson, “no nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has been given to man and I as chief Magistrate of this nation am bound to give the sanction of my example. Good morning Sir.”
Roe legalized abortion everywhere in the U.S., enabling women to end a pregnancy because, for example, they don’t like that they got pregnant, they don’t like the gender of the child or the color of its eyes, or because mom and dad didn’t act responsibly with the abundant means to prevent pregnancy, or (in a few cases) where those measures failed.
But a child, whether created deliberately in a loving relationship or in the heat of a careless moment with a hot stranger, still has the potential to be the next Einstein, van Gogh, Beethoven, Shakespeare, or Washington.
The party line is that overturning Roe would outlaw abortion, sending thousands, nay millions, of unhappily pregnant women into back alleys and butcher shops to have the undesired “things” removed from their bodies. We are led to believe that these women are so distraught over getting pregnant against their will—though not necessarily despite their own actions—that they will surely risk their lives and/or health with an unsafe back-alley procedure. Roe, we are told, protects them from that inevitability.
It is a protection without a justification. What women really need protection from is not just an unwanted child, as there are other means to address that situation, such as contraception and adoption. They need protection when pregnancy is the result of a crime like rape or incest, or when a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, or would pose a serious health hazard to her. Most people would not argue with allowing abortions in such compelling cases.
But the truth that abortion advocates do not discuss out loud is that overturning Roe v. Wade would not outlaw abortion. It would merely return the nation to the place it was 30 years ago before an activist Supreme Court found a non-existent right to privacy huddled deep within the U.S. Constitution, and hiding still deeper a Constitutional right for women to have abortions if they want to. Before Roe, abortion was a state issue, as it should be today. Instead, we have had dictated to us that every state, regardless of the wishes of its citizens, must allow abortion on demand, as legislated by the U.S. Supreme Court, courtesy of Justices Blackmun, Burger, Douglas, Brennan, Stewart, Marshall and Powell.
Whether Judge Alito secretly wants to overturn Roe no one but the Judge knows for sure. But should that be his desire, and should that opportunity present itself and a majority of the Court decide that Roe should be overturned, the world will not come to an end, and women will not be forced to subject themselves to back-alley abortions, they will merely have to find a state where the citizens have decided to allow this grisly practice.
The uproar over the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade is indeed a tempest in a teapot. It was used as an excuse to assault an honorable jurist, who properly refused to be forced by unscrupulously ideological inquisitors to discuss matters he shouldn’t discuss, and it was used to malign a man whose lack of the correct ideological agenda is what makes him unsuitable in the eyes of those inquisitors for a position he is eminently qualified to hold.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Roe v. Wade, Abortion on Demand, Samuel Alito, Alito Confirmation Hearings
Friday, January 13, 2006
I have been watching the hearings with some degree of anticipation, hoping that someone somewhere sometime would ask one question of some importance. I gave up on the third day when I realized that my eager anticipation had already turned to boredom after the first couple of hours.
I don't know how any of your readers feel about those hearings, but when I was a boy more than seventy years ago, we had a name for the people who engaged in such base shenanigans. We called them muckrakers.
A muckrake was the garden rake we used to clean the privy which was the next to final depository of all that went through either digested or undigested. We used the muckrake when a shovel just wasn't sufficient.
We had honey dippers in my time, but those were only hired by the well-heeled, folks who might have had upwards of ten dollars or more in their bank account or stuffed under the straw mattress.
The lucky boy (I can't recall any girl ever having to operate one) who was chosen to operate the rake was called a muckraker. The term was also applied to politicians who looked through the outfall to see if they could retrieve a diamond ring which someone might have accidentally swallowed only to pass it to posterity which might not have been their own. The senators, mostly democrats, (the lower case d is intentional) were doing just that. They didn't come up with even a rhinestone or a piece of paste.
What really got my gallstones agitated was that some d official (not elected) was bragging about what she called the intelligent (?) questioning by the likes of Ted, Joe, Pat, Dick, Barb, et alii. I must have missed that one, if in fact it actually existed.
The real problem with the hearings lies in the fact that within a week after Judge Alito is solidly confirmed to take his seat in the supreme halls of justice nobody will remember the questioners nor their obvious mentality.
All that will remain is for those who are on the outside looking in to bellyache about hypothetical cases (which may never come to pass) and that they did not get to pick and choose someone such as Michael Moore to sit in the seat of honor.
The rest of us will have difficulty trying to remember whose job it really is to fill vacancies on the court(s).
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Congress, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court, Alito Hearings
My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.
My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can't remember getting ecoli.
Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.
The term "cell phone" would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a "pager" was the school PA system.
We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.
Flunking gym was not an option...even for stupid kids! I guess PE must be much harder than gym.
Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the national anthem, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches.
What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.
I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself.
I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.
Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!
We played "king of the hill" on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our butt spanked.
Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.
We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked there and then we got butt spanked again when we got home.
I recall a kid from up the street coming over and doing his tricks on the stone front stoop, just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amuck.
To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that? We needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we ever survive?
NY Times: 'Illegal' Spying OK Under Clinton
Last month, when the New York Times revealed to the world that the Bush administration had a top secret National Security Agency program that monitored communications between al Qaeda terrorists and their U.S.-based agents, it strongly condemned the operation as a dangerous and possibly illegal invasion of privacy.
However, the Old Gray Lady wasn't nearly as upset over a much broader surveillance program under the Clinton administration, which routinely monitored millions of phone calls between U.S. citizens without a court ordered warrant.
In fact, the paper called the blanket invasion of privacy a "necessity" - even though it was carried out without the justification provided by the 9/11 attacks.NY Times: 'Illegal' Spying OK Under Clinton
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Media, New York Times, Media Bias, Wire Tapping
Thursday, January 12, 2006
The entire process is a disgrace to standards of decency and decorum. It seems to me that a nominee for any position, especially one with as much importance as Justice of the Supreme Court, deserves better treatment than Judge Alito has received at the hands of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. After all, if you have to stoop to innuendo and nit picking to find some way to justify opposing the nomination, you ought to just give up and admit that you’ve got nothing worthy of consideration, cast your negative vote, and leave off the nastiness. The current process is demoralizing for the nominee, and makes the Democrats look petty and silly.
The Democrats keep telling us how important this nomination is. And they are correct. From the liberal point of view, loosing a moderate like Sandra Day O’Connor certainly imperils their ability to enact their agenda, and if her replacement is a straight-shooting, non-activist, their agenda is at risk.
Samuel Alito is that straight-shooting, non-activist. Two days worth of the best the Democrats could muster hasn’t been enough to raise legitimate doubts that Judge Alito is well qualified for the position. All they have succeeded in doing is showing that Judge Alito is not qualified as a liberal, activist jurist, which is what the Democrats want and need.
It’s not sufficient for these desperate people that the American Bar Association has given Judge Alito its highest recommendation for the second time. It’s not enough that the so-called “failure to recuse” in the Vanguard case has been examined and found to be an ethics non-issue. It’s not enough that Judge Alito’s membership and participation in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton has been laid to rest as insignificant, the Democrats are still desperately trying to find something on the man. And if they can’t find anything legitimate, they’ll stoop to use innuendo, distortion, and plain old demagoguery. The harder they try, the worse they look, and the more damage they do, not only to the good Judge, but also to their individual personal reputations and that of their party.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, U.S. Senate, Samuel Alito, Supreme Court, Alito Confirmation
Monday, January 09, 2006
Not one to be dissuaded by mere facts, Mr./Dr. Dean insisted with a straight face on CNN that, "There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican.
True to form, not knowing when to quit, he continued: "This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. And we've looked through all of those FEC reports to make sure that's true." [Please see this post for more information on Democrats receiving money]
Keep talking, Mr./Dr. Dean. The Republicans gain points every time you open your mouth.
Some Americans—although I venture it’s a very small number—identify with Mr. Belafonte’s ridiculous comments. After all, in this great nation you can find a few people who will agree with—literally—anything you can think up.
But the truth is that Harry Belafonte is passé. His day has come and gone. He is a one-hit wonder. Now, trying desperately to regain some degree of relevance, ol’ Harry is Day-O-ing around Venezuela, where he is known only as a performer from America. What Venezuelans don’t realize is that Harry Belafonte is irrelevant everywhere on Earth, except Venezuela. There, he is once again relevant. He is once again alive. And he’s milking every drop.
It’s sad, isn’t it; the drastic things people will do to make themselves feel like they matter?
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Think about it: Which ultimately deprives more Americans of their rights: having a limited number of overseas phone calls monitored, or being attacked with conventional, biological, chemical or nuclear weapons?
It’s not as if George Bush interred citizens of Arab or Muslim origin. It’s not as if whole cities were placed under martial law. It’s not as if thousands, or even hundreds, of Americans were indiscriminately deprived of their rights. We’re talking about listening to a relative few overseas phone calls, not at random, but ones that are carefully chosen.
Our enemy is a smarmy, dishonest and barbaric one. It doesn’t wear a uniform. It doesn’t even have a home. It is a bunch of fanatic religious zealots to whom murder of innocent people is inconsequential, except as a means to a narrow religious-political end.
Would I be more concerned about these “buggings” in peaceful times? If the acts were illegal, I absolutely would. But in a time of war, when our demise is the goal of unscrupulous murdering fanatics, I’m willing to give the President of the United State the benefit of the doubt.
I’d far rather take a chance that a few Americans, including possibly me, might have a phone call or two monitored than to take a chance that some Muslim pervert would successfully set up an attack on U.S. citizens.
Our privacy rights are not under attack to any significant degree, and those that are trying to convince us that our rights are threatened are doing so not because they have protecting our rights uppermost in their minds, but because they want to make political hay.
What could be more foolish than to tell our enemy what tactics we are using to thwart their murderous plans? However, that is precisely what happens when government secrets about this national security process are leaked to and published by the press. And that stupid mistake is magnified each and every time some Congressional Democrat publicly keeps this non-issue alive with an ill-considered, politically motivated comment.
Add this current flapdoodle to the lengthening list of behavior by the anti-Bush faction that helps our enemies more than it helps Americans.
A recent online poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly support the President’s actions. It is not a scientific poll, and does not pretend to be. However, it involves 150,000 respondents and is open to anyone who wants to participate.
Here are the questions and results:
1) Has President Bush been justified in tapping the conversation of U.S. citizens?
Justified - 80%
Not Justified - 20%
2) Do you believe the President must have a court-approved warrant to conduct a wiretap?
Yes - 23%
No - 72%
Not Sure - 5%
3) Do you believe President Bush's claim that he undertook this action to protect America?
Yes - 83%
No - 17%
4) How would you rate media coverage about President Bush's actions?
Fair - 20%
Unfair - 80%
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Congress, National Security, George Bush, War On Terror
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Not content to fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda in Iraq, the United States has partnered with them to kidnap Iranian border guards, if you choose to believe this fantasy.
Technorati Tags: Iran, War on Terror, Mid East, National Security, George Bush, Iraq War
(CNN) -- Iran's interior minister accused the United States on Saturday of orchestrating the kidnapping of nine Iranian border guards with the help of Sunni militant groups linked to the Taliban and al Qaeda, according to a report.
"The United States, which cannot directly encounter Iran, uses such groups to carry out such acts against the country," Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi told reporters, according to state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Zawahiri Claims Victory for Islam in IraqSo, Saddam Hussein's brutal, murderous rule has been trashed, a fledgling democratic government has been set up where an Islamic dictator once ruled, and Al Qaeda's second banana thinks the radical Muslims have won.
CAIRO, Egypt — Al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, said in a videotape aired Friday that the United States' recent decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq represented "the victory of Islam."
"I congratulate [the Islamic nation] for the victory of Islam in Iraq," he said.
There are also links to some interesting related stories.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Why are singers determined to use our National Anthem as a stage upon which to prove that they are more vocally dexterous than the person who last sang the National Anthem on national television and before thousands of sports fans?
As is so frequently the case these days, I was yet again repulsed by the disgraceful performance of LeAann Rimes at the Rose Bowl. Having had the stage appropriately and professionally set for her by a talented group from the U.S. Air Force Academy that sang a musically fine and respectfully tasteful a cappella medley of patriotic songs, Ms. Rimes proceeded to show off her vocal pyrotechnics as if she was in a karaoke bar somewhere. I’ve heard more reverent versions of “Kum Bah Ya.”
Ms. Rimes, along with a disappointingly large number of other singers and more than a few sports fans, apparently haven’t a clue as to why The Star Spangled Banner is performed prior to sporting events, which is a little odd because if you ask them why the American flag is displayed in schools, government building, sport venues, and thousands of public places, there’s a fair chance that most entertainers will actually know why: It’s a symbol of our nation deserving of reverence and respect.
But the National Anthem is viewed as an opportunity not to celebrate our love and respect for the United States as a place we are grateful and fortunate to live by performing it in a dignified (and respectable) musical manner. It is viewed as an opportunity to demonstrate the singer’s command of every conceivable trill, turn, arpeggio, highest note, yodel, and vocal firework, designed more to impress the audience, to convince the doubting that they are the most nimble singer on the planet, than to show the deserved respect for their country.
Giving the girl her due, LeAnn Rimes is lovely, has a great voice, and can truly sing well. It isn’t her talent I question; it’s her taste and judgment. Those are in dramatically short supply.
Most Americans detest it when some yahoo burns the American flag, but don’t object—and, indeed, seem to enjoy—the destruction of the National Anthem when some self-absorbed entertainer thinks they can do a better job of crafting the melody than Francis Scott Key. But doing what LeAnn Rimes did to The Star Spangled Banner is comparable to modifying a photograph of Brett Favre so that he's dressed in pink lace panties and a push-up bra, or by using a magic marker to black out a couple of teeth on a photograph of Michelle Pfieffer. It just isn’t right.
A little advice for future singers who are offered the opportunity to sing The Star Spangled Banner in public: Sing the song straight and unadorned. If you can. It’s a difficult song to sing as written, spanning a melodic range that is a challenge for even talented singers.
So, if you can’t sing it as written, don’t sing it with ruffles and flourishes to cover up your lack of range, or to impress the world, just politely decline the offer to perform it in public. And if you can sing it as written, you don’t need to show off. Be proud enough of your pure vocal ability to sing the song as written, confident enough in your professional reputation to sing it as intended by the composer, and be respectful enough of your county to sing its song of praise in a dignified and musical manner.
Technorati Tags: Sports, Music, Rose Bowl, National Anthem, National Championship, Entertainment
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Reporters are drooling over what they expect to be a huge Republican scandal, and indeed it may be, as Mr. Abramoff was a robust lobbyist, and no doubt interacted with quite a few Republicans, including Tom DeLay. After Mr. Abramoff's confession, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Republican-led Congress the "most corrupt in history."
And, if you get all your information about Jack Abramoff from the mainstream media, you might expect this to be an entirely Republican affair. But Ms. Pelosi neglected to mention that the most prominent player in Abramoff's web of influence is reportedly none other than the Senate Democrat Leader, Harry Reid, who received more than $40,000. Other Prominent Democrats include Tom Daschle (more than $40,000), Richard Gephart ($32,500), Patrick Kennedy ($141,000).
From Free Republic:
National Democrat Party Affiliated Committees Received Over $1.2 Million From
Indian Tribe Clients And Lobbying Associates Of Jack Abramoff. (Campaign Finance Analysis Project Website, www.campaignfinanceanalysisproject.com, Accessed December 7, 2005; Political Money Line Website, www.tray.com, Accessed December 7, 2005; Internal Revenue Service Website, www.irs.gov, Accessed April 21, 2005)
- The Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Received Over $430,000
- The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Received Over $629,000
- The Democrat National Committee (DNC) Received Over $177,000
Incumbent Senate Democrat-Affiliated Campaign And Leadership Committees Received Over $729,000 From Indian Tribe Clients And Lobbying Associates Of Jack Abramoff*.
Campaign Finance Analysis Project Website, www.campaignfinanceanalysisproject.com, Accessed December 7, 2005; Political Money Line Website, www.tray.com, Accessed December 7, 2005; Internal Revenue Service Website, www.irs.gov, Accessed April 21, 2005)
40 Of The 45 Members Of The Senate Democrat Caucus:
- Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) Received At Least $22,500
- Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) Received At Least $6,500
- Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE) Received At Least $1,250
- Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) Received At Least $2,000
- Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Received At Least $20,250
- Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Received At Least $21,765
- Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) Received At Least $7,500
- Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Received At Least $12,950
- Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) Received At Least $8,000
- Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ) Received At Least $7,500
- Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) Received At Least $14,792
- Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) Received At Least $79,300
- Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) Received At Least $14,000
- Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Received At Least $2,000
- Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) Received At Least $1,250
- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) Received At Least $45,750
- Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) Received At Least $9,000
- Senator Jim Jeffords (I-VT) Received At Least $2,000
- Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) Received At Least $14,250
- Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) Received At Least $3,300
- Senator John Kerry (D-MA) Received At Least $98,550
- Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Received At Least $28,000
- Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) Received At Least $4,000
- Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) Received At Least $6,000
- Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) Received At Least $29,830
- Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) Received At Least $14,891
- Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Received At Least $10,550
- Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) Received At Least $78,991
- Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) Received At Least $20,168
- Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) Received At Least $5,200
- Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) Received At Least $7,500
- Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) Received At Least $2,300
- Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) Received At Least $3,500
- Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) Received At Least $68,941
- Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) Received At Least $4,000
- Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) Received At Least $4,500
- Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) Received At Least $4,300
- Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Received At Least $29,550
- Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Received At Least $6,250
- Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) Received At Least $6,250
So far, several Democrats have denied any wrongdoing, and perhaps they have done nothing wrong. But it is perhaps also true that the Republicans have done nothing wrong, either. We'll just have to wait and watch. It would be unfair and unwise to charge wrongdoing against anyone, and that’s advice Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats can well benefit from.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Congress, National Security, Jack Abramoff, Corruption
Monday, January 02, 2006
Well, that surely is as good an example of splitting hairs as I’ve seen. What happened is not in question, and there is also no question that giving up government secrets is a crime, regardless of whether you do it to help the enemy directly, or to be a “whistleblower.” If you participate in a bank robbery in order to demonstrate to the bank that its security measures are inadequate, are you a criminal or a whistleblower? But in the squishy world of Charles Schumer, a crime may not really be a crime, particularly if there’s some way to use that crime against George Bush.
Mr. Schumer is a study in contradiction. When Mr. Bush used his Presidential authority to do what numerous federal courts have already ruled Constitutional and legal, and do something that has been done by every president since Jimmy Carter, Sen. Schumer was certain that Mr. Bush has broken a law. Yet, when someone in government delivers secrets to The New York Times, well … Mr. Schumer isn’t really sure that it is really a crime.
The deftness with which today’s Congressional Democrats bend the line separating right and wrong to accommodate political expediency is stunning. Such moral ambiguity is the hallmark of the modern Democrat, who is far more concerned with petty partisan politics than with matters of national security.
Technorati Tags: Politics, Democrats, Congress, National Security, George Bush, Crime