Tuesday, January 31, 2006

State of the Union

I liked the speech. The State of the Union is generally a few nice thoughts and a laundry list of to-do items (Instapundit has a roundup here). I think the President tried to be conciliatory and the Democrats were not. I think it made them look bad, such as when they applauded the failure of Social Security reform. Once again, their biggest claim to fame is obstructionism, not accomplishment.

Over the past several years I have been disappointed with some things the President has failed to accomplish, and I think it is due to a Republican Congress that has failed to back him up. I am hopeful that some of the more important initiatives (Social Security and Immigration) will get some substantive work. I also love the idea of the Line Item Veto and the permanence of the tax cuts.

I think the energy part was interesting. The focus on alternative forms of fuel does not signal a departure from efforts to drill in ANWR. Those are more immediate needs, whereas alternative fuels will fill future needs. We will see how this shakes out over the coming months.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Shadegg on the rise? Part Deux

From Hotline Blog, more news on the House Majority Race.

Far be it from me to question the integrity of our elected representatives, but even Rep. Blunt's 94 public endorsements are not set in stone. It is a secret election, and representatives initially wooed by Blunt prior to Shadegg's entering the race may not regret their endorsement. When Blunt seemed to be headed for an easy win, it may sends to hop on the bandwagon. With blogospheric sentiment growing in favor of Shadegg, many reps may now have a candidate they prefer, albeit one they will have to wait to support publicly until a possible second ballot. That doesn't mean they will wait to support him privately where it counts- with their vote! I hope they will.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Illegal Immigration

It has received a lot of coverage in the news lately, ranging from the border incursion that Bear wrote about to the discovery of a well-designed 1200 yard tunnel from Tijuana to San Diego. All of this indicates that we have a great deal more to do before we resolve our problems with illegal immigration.

Instapundit highlights the issue ahead of Tuesday's State of the Union Address:

IMMIGRATION REMAINS THE "SLEEPER ISSUE" in U.S. politics, but I just got a press release from Time suggesting that it may not sleep much longer:
Almost two-thirds of Americans (63%) consider illegal immigration a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem in the United States, according to a TIME Poll. The majority (74%) believes the U.S. is not doing enough to secure its borders. . . .
TIME’s Poll shows that half (50%) of Americans favor deporting all illegal immigrants back to their home countries (45% oppose). Three-in-four (76%) favor allowing illegal immigrants in the U.S. to earn citizenship if they learn English, have a job and pay taxes. . . . Meanwhile 700,000 undocumented immigrants from around the world continue to enter the U.S. each year, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
I favor making legal immigration easier -- essentially under the guidelines above -- but I also favor much stricter enforcement against illegal immigration. Which, I think, puts me pretty much on the opposite side of the issue from the Bush Administration

I share Bear's sympathy for the hardworking people that come to America in order to provide for their families down south. Nevertheless, my respect for the rule of law and displeasure with the poor enforcement of U.S. border security trumps that sympathy. I do believe we can still welcome those seeking a better life, but do it legally, holding all people accountable when they break the law of the land.

Sobering News

I was saddened to hear that ABCNews anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were injured in Iraq by an IED. We give the mainstream media a lot of criticism, and it is well-deserved, but Woodruff and Vogt put themselves in harm's way to provide a valuable service. They should be commended for their bravery and I hope they recover. According to the ABCNews story linked to above, they both have head injuries.

Although the MSM is tainted by bias, their superior resources are still an important part of how we get the news.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sticking it to Fidel

On my other blog, Spanish Phrase of the Day, I've included some thoughts on Cuba and the World Baseball Classic.

Romney Watch Part V

The Washington Post has a brief bit on Mitt Romney, who spoke to reporters about a few issues:
  • He is unsatisfied with the Medicare Drug Benefit because it did not include any reform of the current systems. I agree with that criticism.
  • He presumes the President has obeyed the law in the NSA issue.
  • The Abramoff scandal is a non-starter for most Americans- afterall, doesn't everyone know politicians are crooks?

It seemed like a solid interview. No bombshells, and I like Mitt.

For all things Romney, check this site out: Patrick Ruffini's 2008 Presidential Wire.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

CNN stays in the gutter

Does cnn.com have any idea how repulsive their video links are?
From a news story about the tragic deaths of seven children and their grandfather.
(Watch as news of the deaths proved to be unbearable -- 1:18)
Previously, they used this type of link in the mining tragedy.
(Watch relatives weep over 'a miracle taken away' -- 3:21)
I hope this is simply an oversight; a computer generated headline or something. But it comes across a some sort of obsene voyerism of others pain. Just sick.

Crazy old Lady

From the Drudgereport, apparently President Bush avoided calling on reporter turned liberal hack Helen Thomas. And with good reason, judging from her childish questions.
"I wanted to ask about Iraq: 'You said you didn't go in for oil or for Israel or for WMDs. so why did you go in?' "
She also had another question at the ready, just in case, this one about the president's contention that a 28-year-old wiretapping law known as FISA is out of date, which prompted him to order the National Security Agency to conduct a secret electronic surveillance program that Democrats contend is illegal. "You keep saying it's a 1978 law, but the Constitution 200 years old. Is that out of date, too?"

No Helen, the constitution isn't out of date, you are.

Google Caves to Commies

Michelle Malkin is running a list of altered Google logos attacking it for agreeing to censure search requests in China. China has long showed, along with other despotic regimes, that if you control the press, you can control the people.

Go to her site to see other entries.

The Truth about "In Justice"

I am referring to the ABC drama, advertised in promos mentioning the many people wrongly convicted of crimes on a frequent. Immediately upon hearing that, I knew something was amiss, but shrugged it off as more Hollywood moralizing of Tookie Williams-type cases.

In today's New York Times, Joshua Marquis, president of the National District Attorneys Association, rebuts the premise of the show in convincing fashion. Some of the highlights:
  • Roger Coleman, executed death row inmate and poster child of the wrongfully convited- DNA evidence indicates he was the likely killer.
  • Only 14 inmates have been removed from death row based exclusively on DNA evidence. Many others find relief through the established court system.
  • It is possible that the U.S. legal system enjoys a success rate of convicting the right person of better than 99%.

He concludes:

American justice is a work in progress, and those of us charged with administering it are well aware that it needs constant improvement. But nothing is gained by deluding the public into believing that the police and prosecutors are trying to send innocent people to prison. Any experienced defense lawyer will concede that he would starve if he accepted only "innocent" clients. Americans should be far more worried about the wrongfully freed than the wrongfully convicted.

I agree.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cindy on Bill

I'd heard that the ditch-protestor Cindy Sheehan got some press for blasting Hillary's pro-war vote. But apparently there's no love lost for Bill either:
And about Bill Clinton . . . . You know, I really think he should have been impeached, but not for [his affair]. His policies are responsible for killing more Iraqis than George Bush. I don't understand why to rise to the level of being president of my country on has to be a monster. I used to say that George Bush was defiling the Oval Office, but it's been held by a long line of monsters.
Don't hold your breath waiting for the MSM to report on this

Free Speech

From opinionjournal, an excellent article on the attempts to limit political speech under the guise of reform against campain corruption. It is worth the read, but very thorough (meaning long) so I'll include some highlights.

  • The irony of campaign-finance reform is that the "corruption" it targets seems not to exist in any widespread sense. Studies galore have found little or no significant influence of campaign contributions on legislators' votes. Ideological commitments, party positions and constituents' wishes are what motivate the typical politician's actions in office...
  • Scrutinize the pronouncements of campaign-finance reform groups like the Pew-backed Democracy 21, and you'll see how the meaning of "corruption" morphs into "inequality of influence" in this sense. This notion of corruption--[is] really a Marxoid opposition to inequality of wealth...
  • Without the blogosphere, Howell Raines would still be the New York Times' editor, Dan Rather would only now be retiring, garlanded with praise--and John Kerry might be president of the U.S., assuming that CBS News had gotten away with its falsehood about President Bush's military service that the diligent bloggers at PowerLine, LittleGreenFootballs and other sites swiftly debunked...
  • All this massively begs the question: Why should any American need government permission to express himself? Instead of a media exemption, blogger Glenn Reynolds sarcastically commented at a recent conference, maybe we need a "free speech exception, in which you are allowed to say what you want about political candidates without fear of prosecution by the government."
  • Howard Dean, now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in a 2003 interview railing against Rupert Murdoch: "I believe we need to reregulate the media . . . so we can be sure that the American people get moderate, conservative and liberal points of view."
The constitutionally 'protected' right to free speech has been trivialized lately with court decisions like "nude dancing, animated online kiddie porn, flag burning, tobacco advertising and cross burning." Conservatives have grudgingly accepted these offensive 'demonstrations of speech' as falling under the umbrella created by the first ammendment. Now the more important speech, the type that allows us to freely criticize and influence our government, is being threatened.
Matt 23:23

Shadegg on the rise?

I hope so. Today's New York Times reports that two influential House Republicans have publicly declared support for Shadegg in the race for Majority Leader. This justification fits with mine very well:

What we're saying is that you want someone who doesn't have to have an epiphany on reform," Mr. Flake said, "somebody who's been there from the beginning, pushing reform, and doesn't have to have an election-year conversion on the topic.


Mexican Standoff

Having lived in Mexico for two years, I feel a lot of sympathy for those who suffer hardship to travel to US for better wages. I am probably more pro-immigration than the rest of this blog. But lately I've seen stories like this, that make it seem like the Mexican government doesn't recognize illegal immigration as a problem. And when our economy is adding billions of dollars to theirs, why should they.
Some of the more isolationist pundits have called the immigration problem and invasion. I've thought that this was overblown rhetoric. But this report from El Paso makes me wonder.
Texas law enforcement officers faced off with men dressed as Mexican Army soldiers and apparent drug suspects near the U.S.-Mexican border Tuesday, after three SUVs attempted to flee state authorities, officials said...
Men dressed in Mexican military uniforms or camouflage were on the U.S. side of the border in Texas, she said...
Chief Deputy Mike Doyal of the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department said that Mexican army personnel had several mounted machine guns on the ground more than 200 yards inside the U.S. border, the Daily Bulletin newspaper reported earlier...
"It's been so bred into everyone not to start an international incident with Mexico that it's been going on for years," Doyal said. "When you're up against mounted machine guns, what can you do? Who wants to pull the trigger first? Certainly not us."
Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West, whose officers were involved in a similar incident last year, said he is certain that Mexican authorities know who was involved. After the newspaper reported on Mexican military crossings earlier this month,
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the report was overblown and most of the incursions were just mistakes.
The Mexican government's lack of respect for our sovereign territory certainly doesn't make me comfortable with their arguments against tougher border security.

Castro Angered at Ticker

I don't know who the U.S. diplomats in Cuba are, but I like them. Last year, the U.S. embassy in Cuba set up a huge electronic display featuring the number of Cuban dissidents that had been jailed.

This year, the embassy has an electronic scrolling message board, nine feet wide which runs across 24 windows, declaring anti Castro messages to the Cuban people.

Check it out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


This is wrong on so many levels and directly contradicts much of the pro-choice arguments.

At least she used the word "baby" instead of "fetus

I don't like Joel Stein...

...but I am glad that he is honest. As he says in yesterday's L.A. Times:

I don't support our troops...I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition.

Like I said, I'm glad that he is honest about it- however, forthrightness doesn't mean you are right. Stein makes a few particularly bad arguments:
  • Speculating that members of the Armed Services are ignoring their morality by serving in the war.
  • Mentioning the body armor issue, which servicemen and women have clearly explained is not as clear as the war's critics claim.
  • That members of the service were tricked into serving in the Iraq War. Has he ever met a member of the Armed Services?
  • Citing Kosovo as a "good" war and Iraq as an example of American imperialism. Should we compare the outcome of Kosovo to the emerging developments in Iraq?

His piece is glib and meant to be funny, but in reality he exposes himself as a straightforward but ignorant Lefty.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A few notes

From today's Washington Post:
  • Republicans raised twice as much money as Democrats last year and have more than 6 times as much in the bank. Despite Democratic efforts to bridge the gap, the current deficit is the largest in 10 years.
  • Neither Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, or Condi Rice intend to run for President in 2008

Supreme Decision

Right Wing Pundit is not a blog written by insiders. We are a couple of guys with a higher-than-normal interest in politics, and hopefully a better-than-average grasp on the situation. That being said, our readers are mostly friends and family, and we try to pass on information that we think is important and timely.

This article by James Taranto in today's Opinion Journal is an excellent example of that kind of information. As a person with a job and family, I don't have hours to think about Supreme Court cases and their significance. Moreover I am not a lawyer, so my ability to opine is also suspect. I liked the article and its explanation of the significance of the Court's recent unanimous decision to send an abortion case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, back to the Court of Appeals. Taranto also provides historical context, looking at how 2000's Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board was treated similarly for perhaps the same reason.

Both rulings seem politically motivated, but not partisan. I hope, as Taranto seems to think, that the ruling represents "judicial statesmanship" and respect for the institution.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Iran's Nuclear Ambition

I welcome these statements from Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz:

Israel will not be able to accept an Iranian nuclear capability and it must have the capability to defend itself, with all that that implies, and this we are preparing.

Strong words, but justified considering Iran's overt threats toward Israel, a state that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad doesn't even believe should exist. The diplomats want their day in the sun, and hopefully that will be successful. I don't trust Ahmadinejad- I think he is a terrorist and will use the time created by diplomatic intervention to his own ends. More power to the Israelis.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Afternoon Roundup

On this great Friday, the 25th Anniversary of the First Inauguration of the late, great Ronald Reagan, there are a few items that have caught my attention:
  • The Inclusion of Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. I have commented on this in my other blog, The Spanish Phrase of the Day, and it is an issue with clear policy implications. I think this decision went the right way.
  • France's pledge to use nuclear weapons on states that supported terrorism on French soil. This is interesting news, and it exposes an issue worth consideration. I mentioned in a previous post that one reason to attack Iraq prior to its attainment of nuclear weapons was our loss of true nuclear deterrence- that the U.S. would not have the guts to retaliate in kind if it meant the death of many civilians. This is why smaller nukes may be an important part of our arsenal, and seem to be something the French have adopted. Interesting bit of strutting by the French. I'm not sure if they'd back it up.
  • This interview between Jim Lehrer and Harry Reid is amazing! Reid is the biggest disappointment I have had in some time. When he replaced Daschle, I thought his religious background might moderate his liberalism. I was 100% wrong on that front. Go the this transcript and read the section entitled Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Just read it. What a joke!
  • I read this article by Rep. Roy Blunt, candidate for Majority Leader of the House. I was unimpressed. My response is, "Yeah Roy, but what have you done for me lately?" I want someone more detached from the spending ways of ol' DeLay.
  • Peggy Noonan has a roundup of her own, on the state of the GOP and the mainstream media.
  • Finally, check out this devastating look at the Iran Situation on Winds of Change. You have to read the whole thing. It is really something to think about.

WaPo Shuts Down Blog

Check this out for a lesson in liberal civility and discourse:

The Washington Post shut down one of its blogs Thursday after the newspaper's ombudsman raised the ire of readers by writing that lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to the Democrats as well as to Republicans....

In her Sunday column, ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote that Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties," prompting a wave of nasty reader postings on post.blog.

There were so many personal attacks that the newspaper's staff could not "keep the board clean, there was some pretty filthy stuff," and so the Post shut down comments on the blog, or Web log, said Jim Brady, executive editor of washingtonpost.com.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Don't Fall For the "Truce"

Yes, I did put scare quotes in the title. Anyways, the very notion that Al-queda will somehow live up to any truce is comical. The very fact they are offering one now reveals that they are in dire need to actually regroup and recordinate. Letting off would be a huge strategic blunder. Giving Al-Queda a chance to regroup would be akin to letting Hitler regroup before D-day.

Some of you might remember that Al-queda offered a similar truce back in 2004, however, it was only extended to Europe at that time. Human Events Online sums it up nicely:

"The train bombings in Madrid on March 11, 2004, killed 191. Three days later, Spaniards voted out the pro-war government and voted in the anti-war Socialists. The incoming prime minister vowed to promptly pull out Spanish troops from Iraq. Spain's reward? On April 2, 2004, Spanish authorities found a 22-pound bomb on a railway track between Madrid and Seville. And, later that year, in October, Spanish authorities foiled a plot to blow up their National Court, Spain's center for prosecuting terrorists. So much for Osama bin Laden's "offer," made a month after the Madrid train bombings, for a "truce" to any European country that stops "attacking Muslims" before a three-month deadline."

Anyone who actually believes that Al-queda will live up to a truce that will protect this country is delusional.

Simply put, we cannot afford to make a deal with the devil. And I mean that quite literally.

On a side note, after reading the Bin Laden transcript, I'm left to ask, does the DNC mail him the talking points or is it purely coincidental?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Republican Party Reform?

I can't speak for Bear or J-Red, but Lowdogg is ready to endorse a candidate for the House Majority Leader in Washington- John Shadegg.

Rep. Shadegg has written an excellent editorial in today's Wall Street Journal that highlights my major concerns with the Republican Party in Washington:
  • Dramatic increases in spending, demonstrated by the increase in legislative earmarks from 1,439 in 1995 to nearly 14,000 today.
  • Abandonment of Balanced Budget principles. I understand fighting wars cost money, but Congress should at least pretend to be upset by their growing expenditures.
  • Abandonment of the "Reform Party" mantle.

I am hoping for the end of DeLay-era laxness in the Republican Party. Good luck to Rep. Shadegg.

IMAO In My World

I'm a huge fan of Frank J. at IMAO, especially when he is cranking out his features (In My World, Know thy enemy). He got married a few weeks ago, but the funny remains. Check him out.

Here's a great segment:

Bush changed the channel on the TV. Gore was on screen giving a speech. "Bush needs to be investigated to see if those NSA wiretaps are illegal... which they were!" Gore thrashed his arms around in threatening fashion. "Gore-bot has determined Bush is threat! Gore-bot destroy! Bush is ruining America... the same as iPod Nanos! Those are a conspiracy to control our brains!"

One of the hobos on the street corner watching him coughed.

"How dare you interrupt me!"

Bush chuckled. "Somewhere sits an unopened bottle of meds prescribed to Albert Gore."

Condoleezza Rice entered the room. "Are you watching TV?"

"I'm watching the news and not cartoons this time! Honest!"

Condi turned off the TV. "Nagin and Gore count as cartoons. You need to confront Iran about their nuclear program."

T-shirt Ideas

Opinionjournal has a very good piece on how celebrities get so manipulated by death row inmates. For those out of the news, Roger Coleman was convicted of raping and murdering his 19 year old sister-in-law. He was executed in 1992, despite his claims of innocence. some of his last words: "An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight." (He was probably correct, but I don't think he was thinking of some store owner killed in a hold-up, or a carjacking victim. Last week, DNA testing proved Coleman's guilt, befuddling anti-death penalty activists.
I really enjoyed this quote from James McCloskey of Centurion Ministries ("who had spent nearly two decades trying to prove murderer Coleman's innocence")
How can somebody, with such equanimity, such dignity, such quiet confidence, make those his final words even though he is guilty?

What? You're surprised that a murdering rapist is also a liar?!

Anyway, I got to remembering the whole save Tookie T-shirt thing J-red posted about a while back.
Picture this...
A simple black T-shirt, with the words Save Tookie in white print across the front. On the back, in similar print the words:
In Formaldehyde.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

John Stossel Nails It

My wife and I watched 20/20 the other night and libertarian reporter, John Stossel had an excellent broadcast on American public schools entitled, "Stupid in America." (written article here) (click on the link to read the whole article and make sure to view all three video segments-you have to see it to believe it.)

He basically reveals how lack of competition and accountability, as a result of Teacher's Union's are stifling the American education system and robbing students of an education.

The most memorable line from the whole broadcast came from a Florida teacher who succesfully sued to prevent the Florida version of school vouchers. She says:

"To say that competition is going to improve education? It's just not gonna work. You know competition is not for children. It's not for human beings. It's not for public education. It never has been, it never will be." -- YIKES. Can you believe this women actually teaches students?

Other classic scenes were shots from the New York City teacher's union rally at Madison Square Garden. It looked like one of those Tony Robbins, inspirational speaker events, with the union president wearing a headpiece microphone, moving all over the stage, chanting slogans to thunderous applause.

You must read the article link above and watch the video segments as well. This was one of the best 20/20 segments I have scene.

No Speech for you!

Many people have heard of the Soup Nazi, made popular by the television show Seinfeld. Upon arrival at his establishment, patrons were required to state their order succinctly, not deviating from the Soup Nazi's established rules. Failure to comply resulted in banishment from his delicious soup stand. Liberals in San Francisco have created his brother, the Speech Nazi.

A Roman Catholic group in the Bay Area paid for advertising on public transit that challenged the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. Some area residents don't like it:

I couldn't believe BART would allow something like this. Why are they doing this?


They're calling for the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, which will lead to the slaughter of women...

James Taranto covered this is his Jan. 13th Best of the Web, pointing out that what BART (Bay Area Regional Transit) was doing was allowing free speech.

Why are Liberals so bent on suppressing conservative viewpoints? Do they realize how untenable their positions are when confronted with fact? Maybe they just like being the Speech Nazi.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dems Shoot Blanks

Mark Steyn has a great column, pointing out the ridiculousness of the dems behavior during the Alito hearings:

The last time they had a Supreme Court nominee to hang upside down in the Democrat bondage dungeon was the John Roberts hearings. And at least, when hatchet man Chuck Schumer professed himself "troubled" by the "fullness" of John Roberts' "heart," the crack oppo-research guys had uncovered an "inappropriate" use of the word "amigo" by Roberts back in the early '80s.

But, with Sam Alito the worst they come could up with was that he might have been around some other guy who might have used the word "amigo." Not back in the early '80s, but in the early '70s. ...

The media did their best to neutralize the impact of this pitiful spectacle, with expert commentators on hand to assure us that smart fellows like Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden were only going through the motions for the sake of all that MoveOn.org fund-raising gravy. Don't worry, Ted and Chuck and Pat are way too savvy to believe this junk. Thus democratic politics reaches a new level of circular hell: The spin is that it's only spin.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Alito-mania Redux

Sam Alito has received glowing praise from judicial colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Clinton appointee Maryanne Trump Barry had this to say:

He is a fair-minded man, a modest man, a humble man. And he reveres the rule of law.
If confirmed, Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. will serve as a marvelous and distinguished associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

This goes back to a previous post about judicial qualification. Case closed. Michelle Malkin has more on her excellent site.


You may have heard that Judge Alito's wife was driven to tears by the harshness of the Democrats' questioning. It was a tender moment, not lost on those of us in America that still have souls. Some angry Libs were very unkind, calling it a PR stunt, or making cruel personal comments about Mrs. Alito (as reported by Right Wing News). I know those people do not compose the entirety of the Democratic party, but their existence should give decent Democrats pause.


As Alito seems destined for confirmation, Senate Democrats were trying to slow the process down. Their opposition to such a qualified and scholarly nominee would seem to have implications down the road. Knowing that anyone he picks would be welcomed by the left with vituperation, Bush might be inclined to pick another Roberts or Alito if the opportunity presents itself before the end of his term. As Daniel Henninger explains in today's Opinion Journal piece, 'Borking' as means of preventing conservative judges from joining the High Court may be a thing of the past.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Owing to the Democrats inability to make any progress in their attempt to prevent the Alito nomination, it seems an opportune time to look at another avenue of liberalism- feminism. I don't mean the kind of feminism that values women, celebrates their unique abilities, and seeks to include them in substantial ways. I mean this kind:

As long as Bill Clinton supported abortion rights, affirmative action, and federal child care, it didn't matter that he was a sexual predator.

And this:

...we can't destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage.

Both are found in a book reviewed by Melanie Kirkpatrick, an editor at the Wall Street Journal. The book she reviews is called Women Who Make the World Worse, by Kate O'Beirne. It seems like a worthy effort.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


It has been a fun day for political junkies. First some of the lighter stuff:
  • Blogger Daniel Drezner is holding a contest to see what is the stupidest comment by a member of the Judiciary Committee. This is a fantastic idea. The Senators on the committee are a little too pleased with their own voices.

Proving that he is a crappy lawyer, Chucky Shumer tried to tie up Alito on his personal views on abortion. Captain's Quarters has a transcript that reveals the difference between the left and right on issues like this. Many conservatives would be willing to allow the abortion issue to be settled by the individual states. Some legal experts think Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided precisely because it took control of that issue away from the states, even though it was an area seemingly granted to them by the 10th Amendment. Shumer tries to batter Alito using the Constitution, but his dreadful inability to differ between the explicitly mentioned freedom of speech and the implied right to privacy used to justify the Roe decision work against him.

It is also a part of a broader issue of concern to me. It is reasonable to believe that most people are called upon to do things in the course of their occupation that they may disagree with. Sometimes it is a matter of company policy, other times issues of law. Judges in particular are required and expected to administer the law and protect the Constitution even if it differs from their personal viewpoints. Therefore any examination of a judge's qualifications should be based on his or her professional ability to accomplish that task, and not on their personal views. Furthermore, so what if Alito is in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade? What is so wrong about that. Liberals are so wrapped up in the absolute 'rightness' of their views that they think anyone who disagrees is unworthy of high office. This article in today's Opinion Journal has some relation. Heather Mac Donald writes:

The Samuel Alito hearings will demonstrate the end result of law schools' political myopia.

If the Dems idea of mainstream looks like Shumer, Biden, and Kennedy, extremist isn't such a bad word after all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Government by Bureaucrat

Michael Barone, in usual excellent fashion, excerpts an interview with James Risen, the New York Times reporter that broke the NSA wiretap story. As Barone says, "He presents an interesting theory of governance."

Risen makes it quite clear how he thinks the government should be run. Elected officials like the president and vice president and top presidential appointees should sit quietly in their chairs. They should not meet, at least not very often. They should wait for career government employees—"the experts who understand the region"—to "forge a consensus." Policy should always be kept "toward the center," regardless of what the American people or their elected president think.
So that is the New York Times's idea, or at least this New York Times reporter's idea, of how democratic representative government should work. Unelected bureaucrats should rule. If the policies produced by their understanding of the region should produce September 11, they should still rule. Elected officials' jobs are to sit in their chairs, to meet infrequently if at all, and to accept the decisions of the unelected and for the most part unremovable bureaucrats.

Its not all that surprising. We already know that the left favors judicial activism, the very antithesis of Alito's feeling that a judge should have no agenda. Why not bureaucratic legislation? Entrenched bureaucracies cost money and are part of why we failed to anticipate an event like 9/11. Risen's sentiments are undemocratic, and frighten me much more than any wire-tap ever has.


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Sam Alito- Victim

In keeping with J-Red's post about Durby, James Taranto at Opinion Journal hit it on the head in yesterday's Best of the Web:

Hearings opened today for Justice-designate Samuel Alito, beginning with endless hours of windbaggery from Senate Judiciary Committee members. Poor Alito is forced to sit still for all of it. If Alito were a terrorist, Sen. Dick Durbin would compare himself to a Nazi.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Yikes, Durby gets a vote?

As noted below, the Alito hearings began today, and just when you thought you couldn't hear, to modify a Talmage quote, any more "inaccuracies so many in words so few," Senator Dick Durbin (D-Al Queda) gave his opening remarks.

While one would have to spend days to counter all of Durbies innacurracies, I would like to emphasize something he said which sums up today's liberal jurisprudence.

Basically, Durbin said that the requirement for any Supreme Court nominee is whether he or she will restrict freedom or expand it. He even said that a justice should vote to expand freedom even if there is nothing in the Constitution to support such a ruling. ---YIKES!

Sorry, Durb, the role of the justice is to follow the constitution. If the constitution allows expansion, so be it, if not, you're out of luck.

These types of comments reveal that to the left, the consitution is nothing but puddy in their hands, which can be molded to fit whatever agenda, idea or principle they think is expedient. This my friend, leads to the rule of judges, not the rule of law.

I shudder to think that a person with such a huge fundamental misunderstanding of the consitution actually gets to vote on the nominee.

The Alito War Begins

Today's New York Times editorial page includes op-ed's by 6 individuals, each with 5 questions for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. I like the cross-section of persons selected, and think most of the questions are interesting. I don't know that Alito should have to answer any of them as a test of his worthiness to serve on the Court.

Yesterday's NYT included a really stupid editorial with this line: "...the Senate has a duty to delve into the many areas in which Judge Alito's record suggests he is an extremist." This is just the start of a wonderful piece. From the definition of extremist found in the American Heritage Dictionary: One who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm, especially in politics. Lets look at the editorial piece-by-piece, and see if we agree that Alito is an extremist after all.
  • Abortion: The Times writes that Alito has worked to overturn Roe v. Wade. According to a 12/18/05 ABC News Washington Post poll, 40% of Americans polled think Abortion should be illegal in most of all cases. That is a higher percentage of Americans than voted for Bill Clinton in the 1992 Presidential Election! Democrats would never call his supporters extremists, would they?
  • Presidential Power: The NYT brings in the wiretapping issue even though Alito has nothing to do with it. They imply that he would support such an operation. Seeing how the legality of the issue has not been established, and Alito himself has made no statement, this argument falls flat. Furthermore, according to a Rasmussen Poll, 64% of Americans support the President on the wiretap question. As to the issue of intent of the signer of legislation vs. intent of the legislation's author, I really don't see the radical argument carrying any weight.
  • Congressional Power: The editorial claims that Alito is seeking to limit the power of Congress. Is this such a bad thing? Particularly when the limitation on Federal lawmakers empowers state lawmakers? Alito expressed a view that supports the idea that state governments should make some of these decisions. The NYT would have you believe that he thinks no law should be passed with respect to either of those questions. That is simply untrue. Maybe he's just been reading a little thing called the 10th Amendment.
  • One Person, One Vote: The Times takes the reapportionment issue to mean that to question the court's rulings on the matter is to question whether "One person, One vote" is a worthy goal. Even some people in favor of abortion rights question the Constitutional merits of Roe v. Wade. Why isn't it possible to do the same with regard to reapportionment? Questioning past rulings is no indication of extremism.

The Times is reaching on this one:

Judicial nominations are not always motivated by ideology, but the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito certainly was.

So what? It is the president's prerogative. If Alito is ideologically pleasing and well qualified, which he is, then that is the President's good fortune, and our's as well. As to whether Alito is an extremist, I don't think we have to spell it out any further.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Lobby Love

The title of my post harkens to a song written by friends at BYU as freshman. Based on the song 'Tainted Love,' it lamented the unfortunate displays of affection that we were sometimes subjected to in good ol' Jean Fossum May Hall. Today I am writing about a different kind of Lobby Love, once often less public and possibly more repulsive.

You may have heard about Jack Abramoff, the super-lobbyist turned felon. His guilty plea promised the naming of names in criminal corruption cases, presumably involving members of Congress. This has led to a lot of talk about reform. Michael Barone wrote a piece in Opinion Journal and it provides historical perspective on the lobbyist issue:

The Washington lobbying community goes back a long way. The First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the right of the people . . . to petition the Government for a redress of grievances": Lobbyists, like the clergy and the press, are a profession protected by the Constitution.

I'd bet that few Americans are aware of that fact. Love them or hate them, lobbyists will always be with us. The Abramoff scandal and its expected fallout have impelled some politicians to action, as Byron York explains. The expected public outcry over Abramoff's misdeed will lead the inevitable push for reform. But reform may not be necessary:

After all, it is already illegal to bribe officeholders and defraud your clients, as Mr. Abramoff has admitted doing. It's already illegal to accept bribes, as Mr. Abramoff's plea agreement suggests at least one member of Congress has done. No reform is needed to prosecute that.

It is likely that reform bills will still be proffered, and some version will pass. This may not be a good thing. This book by Instapundit author Glenn Reynolds and another looks at how post-Watergate reform led to undesirable outcomes. Looking at the Congressional knee-jerk reaction to things like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, there is little reason to think that this time around will be any different.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Some wounds heal slowly

I like to visit Apple's movie trailer website. I usually check it every week or so to see what new movies are on the horizon. A few moments ago I watched one for a movie called Flight 93. I had no idea what it was about, but immediately noticed that one of the first lines, said by an unseen speaker as we watch a radar screen, mentioned "United Airlines." Immediately I thought, "Movies never mention real airlines- they always make up fake ones. Then I remember Flight 93, one of the four planes crashed on 9/11.

I felt a chill as I watched and listened to the trailer. I felt like I wasn't ready for it. Like it was too soon and the wounds of 9/11 are still too fresh. I lost no family or friends that day. I was in Utah, far away from this incidents, but I think we were all wounded by it.

Movies have been made of tragedies before. Titanic immediately springs to mind. But often those movies are about accidents. Perhaps the follies of man influenced those events, but 9/11 was an act of cold and calculated malice, and that day there was no happy ending. There were heroes, but part of me doesn't want to see that on screen. If I had to make a decision about whether to see it today, I don't think I would. I just don't think I'm ready.

I would be fascinated to know what others think about this.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

He could. Go. All the way!

One of the better sideline reporters is football today is Lynn Swann. He is known primarily for his involvement over 9 years with a Pittsburgh Steelers team that won 4 Super Bowls. He may give up his commentator role for a position that he could really run with- Governor of Pennsylvania.

If Swann wins the Republican nomination and beats incumbent Ed Rendell, he would be the first black governor of Pennsylvania. It is telling that among blacks reaching positions of prominence in government and politics, a significant percentage are Republicans- Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, and Colin Powell, among others.

Something to think about.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

CNN hits new low

About the only thing I liked about CNN was that they had James Earl Jones do the "This is Headline News" thing. Today I saw the following link in the middle of this story:
(Watch relatives weep over 'a miracle taken away' -- 3:21)
This shows poor taste at best, but it seems more to me like depraved indifference.

On Leaks

The National Security Agency leak story has captivated a certain audience in the U.S.- the mainstream media. There are Americans that are upset about it, but as polls have shown, most of us approve of a program that tries to head off National Security threats BEFORE they happen. This is the big leap that the Left has difficulty accepting. The New York Times tries to justify their obession in an editorial. Some points:
  • I agree that information obtained without a warrant should not be used in a criminal trial. I don't care as much about using it in a trial as I do preventing a crime from taking place. If wiretaps used to obtain prior warning of a crime prevent that crime, than I am satisfied. Wiretaps, as used by the NSA, are meant to be a preventative measure. As such the warrant issue doesn't matter that much to me.
  • I think that the NYT did not violate the law by publishing the report. In my opinion it was a poor decision, and politically motivated. That does not have bearing on its legality. I also think the timing of their decision to publish was motivated by money. The issue of timing is one that was raised by the NYT's own Public Editor, Byron Calame.
  • I think the individual that leaked the information should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. The law seems to demand that and the Times tries to deny it, however they were among the most enthusiastic supporters into the Plame kerfuffle, a scandal that never was. If you recall, no one has been accused of the alleged crime that is being investigated. The wiretapping story seems a clearer case of serious misbehavior.

The Times' motives in the leak story are base. The timing of the story is suspect. The individual that leaked the information violated the law.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


The problem with the judicial confirmation process is that its politization causes soundbites to trump substance and misinterpretation to conquer context. In today's New York Times, a former Solicitor General under Reagan, Charles Fried, puts two controversial memos into proper perspective.

I find Mr. Fried's argument convincing, and it provides support for perception of Alito as a dispassionate jurist.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Prejudice (Follow-up)

A while back I linked to a WSJ editorial by Ted Hayes, a black Republican from L.A. It is now available for free on the Opinion Journal site. Check it out.