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Monday
Oct032005

Hugh Hewitt: Conservative Camps on Miers

Hugh Hewitt on some of his fellow conservatives being disappointed in the appointment of a Supreme Court appointee whose views on the Constitution are largely unknown, as headlined on Townhall.com:

The Miers nomination is turning into a Rorschach test dividing conservatives into the camp that understands governing for the long term and those that are so emotionally fragile or contingent in their allegiance that anything they (1) don't understand or (2) disappoints in any way becomes an occasion for panic and declarations of irreparable injury.
What about emotionally-fragile conservatives who understand governing for the long term? Where would they stand on Miers?

The issue is not the character of the critics but the beliefs of the nominee. About which we know little.

Addendum (10/4): ProfessorBainbridge's post on Hugh Hewitt's take on movement conservatives and the Harriet Miers nomination is extremely through and highly recommended. I wish I had written it.

Addendum #2 (10/6): The Paragraph Farmer is worth reading on this.

Addendum #3 (10/6): John Rabe says:

Hugh Hewitt keeps claiming that true conservatives don't understand that President Bush is governing for the "long-haul." No. It's Hewitt who doesn't understand conservatism. Fighting these battles and setting a vision, even against difficult odds, is governing for the long-haul. Expedience always reaps only a short-term benefit.
Also, his post here really sums up the feelings of many conservatives.

Addendum #4 (10/6): I just got around to reading the transcript of the Hugh Hewitt-Stephen Bainbridge debate on Harriet Miers on Radioblogger, and its got the best line I've seen yet encompassing the conservative criticism of Bush's decision to nominate a stealth candidate. Quoting Abraham Lincoln speaking of General George McClellan, Professor Bainbridge says of Bush:

I gave him this great army, and he won't use it.
As history records, it was only after Lincoln replaced McClellan with a fighter (U.S. Grant) that the North won the war.

Monday
Oct032005

Leftie Latinos Vy for Quota Slots

This is what happens when you play diversity politics (from the AP):

President Bush's decision to make White House counsel Harriet Miers his second Supreme Court nominee upset Hispanic groups that had hoped to see the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

"President Bush has again ignored highly qualified Latino judges, attorneys and law professors who could serve the nation ably on the United States Supreme Court," said Ann Marie Tallman, executive director of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, after Miers' nomination was announced Monday...

"The failure of this administration to nominate a Hispanic judge to the Supreme Court is a slap in the face to all those highly qualified Hispanic judges that dutifully serve on our federal courts across the nation," said Raul Yzaguirre, former president of the National Council of La Raza. "Our community continues to contribute to the greatness of this nation and yet, we are ignored for a vital role on our third branch of governance."

When you play interest-group politics, no one is happy, and no one wins.

Monday
Oct032005

On Harriet Miers: Women Preaching, Dog Walking

The White House distributed information on Harriet Miers today that contains these passages:

* Like Justice O'Connor, throughout her career, Ms. Miers has been a female trailblazer.

* In 1972, Ms. Miers became the first woman hired at Dallas's Locke Purnell Rain Harrell. In March 1996, her colleagues elected her the first female President of Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell, at that time a firm of about 200 lawyers. She was the first woman to lead a Texas firm of that size.

* In 1985, Ms. Miers was selected as the first woman to become President of the Dallas Bar Association.

* In 1992, she became the first woman elected President of the State Bar of Texas. Ms. Miers served as the President of the State Bar of Texas from 1992 to 1993.

Things like this set my teeth on edge. While I acknowledge that the picture painted is one of an intrepid, intelligent go-getter, the "Oh look! A woman achieved something!" tone reminds me of Samuel Johnson's 1763 quote:
Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.
Have we achived nothing since then? Can we not get beyond the notion that a successful female is an object of wonder and awe and simply discuss qualifications?

Such as the nominee's views on, oh, I don't know, maybe the Constitution?

Johnson, in another context, said of some individuals of good character and worth who nonetheless by temperament were undeserving of meritorious positions: "A cow is a very good animal in the field; but we turn her out of a garden."

I want to know: Is Harriet Miers a star of the field, or of the garden?

Monday
Oct032005

Manny Miranda on Miers

From MSNBC:

Only minutes after Bush appeared at the White House Monday to announce the nomination, Manuel Miranda, a conservative strategist and former aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist issued a scathing statement: 'The reaction of many conservatives today will be that the president has made possibly the most unqualified choice since Abe Fortas, who had been the president's lawyer. The nomination of a nominee with no judicial record is a significant failure for the advisers that the White House gathered around it.'

While cautioning that 'the president deserves the benefit of a doubt,' Miranda added, "Something has been left unachieved by the Miers nomination. A Republican president has yet to erase the stigma of the (1987) Robert Bork hearings and the David Souter nomination. The nomination of Harriet Miers has not rid us of the repugnant situation that a jurist with a clear and distinguished record will not be nominated for higher service. The nomination did not rid us of the apprehension of stealth nominees.

It would be nice to get the verb "bork" out of the dictionary, or at least get it relegated to "archaic" usage status.

That won't happen if the presidents elected by conservatives find ways not to fight.

Harriet Miers may be great, for all I know, but it would be better if we didn't have to guess.

Monday
Oct032005

Project 21 to Address Miers Nomination

Project 21 members have actively debated judicial issues and nominations iin the publoc square since the group was founded in 1992.

Today's nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court will be addressed by Project 21 in a press statement later today, after Project 21 members have a chance to think through their views. (Project 21 members: If you have an opinion, and want to be quoted, call or email the office.) I will be interested to see if the members all tend to agree with one another (and, if so, what that opinion is) or if opinions are all over the map. (My own opinions are all over the map, and I'm just one person.)

Project 21's Mychal Massie was quick with an opinion on the nomination this morning, so I'll share it:

Our Constitution reserves the duty of selecting justices to the president, and President Bush promised the American people he would select individuals who honored the original intent of the Constitution's authors. We are hopeful that, having served at the President's side for a decade, Harriet Miers would help him fulfill this promise.
He also had a comment for the Senate:
It would be our hope that those who have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution would honor that oath by fulfilling their responsibilities in a way that is both civilized and consistent with what our Founding Fathers envisioned.
More Project 21 opinions to come.

Sunday
Oct022005

Europe Not Christian

The Prime Minister of Turkey's says Europe's decision over the admittance of Turkey into the EU will determine the continent's future:

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Europe would squander the chance to overcome longstanding Christian-Muslim suspicions if it stepped back from its commitment to full membership for Turkey.

"This is a test for the EU," Mr. Erdogan told members of his ruling Justice and Development party in a regular Sunday address. "The EU will either decide to become a global actor or it must accept that it is a Christian club."

Nope. Niall Ferguson has the depressing reality. Europe isn't Christian and it hasn't been for decades.

Some Christians do live there. That's about it.

But from your lips to God's ear, Mr. Erdogan.

Friday
Sep302005

There Is No Joy in Greenville

...Rep. George Miller has struck out.

Friday
Sep302005

Journalists Aren't Special (One More Time)

If it is OK to not talk to a prosecutor because you are a journalist who wants to protect sources, so that later on you can (maybe) do some good deeds, would it be OK to not talk to a prosecutor if someone paid you not to, as long as you gave the money to charity?

Friday
Sep302005

What Was Bush Doing on SunDay?

Even if increased output from the Sun is causing global warming, as Duke University physicists report, won't lefties just find a way to blame George W. Bush (and ExxonMobil) for the Sun?

Thursday
Sep292005

Bugs, Songs and Global Warming

The National Center's Peyton Knight admires Barbra Streisand:

Is there no bottom to the well of the talent possessed by Barbra Streisand? The singer/actress/director/wannabe political hack is adding "weather prognosticator" to her repertoire.

Over the past weekend, Ms. Streisand declared to ABC's Diane Sawyer: "We are in a global warming emergency state and these storms are going to become more frequent, more intense."

Sounds pretty serious. What can we expect in the future, Ms. Streisand?

"There could be more droughts, dust bowls."

(You can't say she didn't warn you. )

Streisand says all these weather events can be avoided quite easily. All America has to do is cripple its economy by signing (like Europe) and adhering to (unlike Europe) the Kyoto Protocol.

According to Streisand, "I mean, for the United States not to be part of the Kyoto treaty is unforgivable."

Streisand's wisdom comes on the heels of a similar scolding from Britain's chairman of something called the "Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution," Sir John Lawton.

Sir John, a zoologist with special expertise in the population, ecology and eating habits of animals without backbones, puts a hugh priority on spreading his global warming views to physicists who dedicated careers to climate science.

Referring to Hurricane Rita before Rita's landfall, Sir John opined: "If what looks like it is going to be a horrible mess causes the extreme skeptics about climate change in the U.S. to reconsider their opinion, that would be an extremely valuable outcome."

Perhaps sobered by the prospect that Rita might -- as was considered possible at the time -- destroy a major U.S. city, Sir John took pains to be respectful of these PhDs, referring to them as "the climate loonies in the States."

Sir John, also known as a bird lover, also said of the "climate loonies": "I'd liken them to the people who denied that smoking causes lung cancer."

Thankfully, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield stepped in yesterday to put the lie to the real climate loonies.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Mayfield explained that hurricane intensity is a matter of cyclical weather patterns, not global warming, saying "Hurricanes, and especially major hurricanes, are cyclical," said Mayfield. "We'll have a few decades of really active hurricanes, and then inactive periods, followed by active periods again."

Perhaps feeling the need to correct the budding climatologist and her ideological counterpart in the mother country, Mayfield left no doubt in his prognosis: "So I think that this activity that we're in can be explained without invoking global warming. And the bad news here is that we are in this active period, and the research meteorologists tell us that it may last another 10 or 20 years," he said.

But will the diva and the knight bachelor believe him? After all, Mayfield can't possibly know anything about the weather. His experience with bugs and high octaves is minimal. He's just a professional meteorologist.

Thursday
Sep292005

Is the Fifth Amendment a "New Entitlement"?

I'm watching C-SPAN right now, and that's what some Members of Congress are saying.

Here is the backstory.

Addendum: Following the debate referenced above, the U.S. House voted earlier today in favor of the Threatened and Endangered Species Reform Act (TESRA) by 229-193, after first rejecting, 216-206, a proposal by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) that would have weakened property rights protections in TESRA.

Among the emails I've received on this today:

Re: Is the Fifth Amendment a "New Entitlement"?

From the backstory:

Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife are also decrying the notion of compensating small landowners when government takes their property.

The Sierra Club is advocating, effectively, the taking of someone's home if one of their members walks past your property and espies a "yellow-spotted-three-legged-toad" on your lawn, even if same happens to be only hopping by, and as if that's not already over the top, they wish to do so without compensation to the homeowner?

Between this craziness and "Kelo" there is no such thing as a "home" in the USA anymore, it's merely a house and only a fool would buy one -- rent it instead and let the landlord take the hit when the moonbats come knocking. Unfortunately, that's where they really want to go ultimately, isn't it? -- all government owned housing and a daily ration of rice for the masses.

I was born too late, those that died in the early 60s and prior, are surely turning over in their graves.

Mark

Tuesday
Sep272005

Disabled Children and the Guillotine

A former deputy mayor in Britain, a retired doctor, has been excoriated for allegedly saying disabled children would be better off if they were guillotined.



The doctor, Owen Lister, explains to the BBC, somewhat convincingly, that his words were taken out of context.



Read the links for the story and judge for yourself. Note also, in the first link, the doctor's remark about socialized medicine in Britain: "We have 5,800 people waiting to go into hospital in [the English town of] Swindon. A percentage of those will die as a result of waiting too long."



The U.S. health system may have its problems, but long waiting lines to get into a hospital are not one of them.

Friday
Sep232005

Charles Rangel Turns Fire Hose on Bush

The New York Sun is reporting that Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), compared President Bush to infamous segregationist Bull Connor at a Congressional Black Caucus event September 22, to "wild applause and cheering":

Comparing President Bush to the Birmingham, Ala., police commissioner whose resistance to the civil rights movement became synonymous with Southern racism, Rep. Charles Rangel said yesterday of the president: "George Bush is our Bull Connor."

Mr. Rangel's metaphoric linkage of Mr. Bush to the late Theophilus "Bull" Connor - who in 1963 turned fire hoses and attack dogs on blacks, including Martin Luther King Jr., demonstrating in favor of equal rights - met with wild applause and cheering at a Congressional Black Caucus town hall meeting, part of the organization's 35th Annual Legislative Conference...

Other participants in the event, according to the Sun, included Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Senator Barak Obama (D-IL), former entertainer Harry Belafonte, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

Project 21's response is here.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee represents Houston. I'd have thought she might have been too busy helping constituents yesterday to attend a hate conference, but perhaps I am being too hasty. Maybe she was there on hurricane-related business: Lobbying to get Hurricane Rita renamed after an ethnic minority.

The Sun article says the Congressional Black Caucus event was a four-day legislative conference. Other participants included Rev. Al Sharpton and former Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD). Cindy Sheehan also was present, perhaps attempting to prove that no black legislative conference is complete without a speech from a white woman who has no legislative experience.

Friday
Sep232005

CO2 Science: Global Warming Good in Asia?

Could global warming have benefits?

Climate alarmists predict global warming will increase human death rates, and nary a heat wave occurs but what they are quick to blame any concurrent excess deaths on the high temperatures associated with it. Much more deadly than hot weather, however, is cold weather; yet climate alarmists typically ignore the excess deaths that are caused by low temperatures, even though they are far more numerous than those caused by high temperatures. How do we know? Because a multiplicity of scientific studies reveals such to be the case, as demonstrated by the results reported below for different parts of Asia.
Read the entire piece, by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide, here.

Hat tip: TownHall.com.

Thursday
Sep222005

Katrina Rescues: Ft. Belvoir Soldiers in New Orleans

The Fort Belvoir (VA) Eagle has an article today about the work of the D.C. National Guard rescuing Katrina victims.

This is the unit whose activities have been chronicled in blog posts by Joe Roche here, here, here and here.

By the way, the "Spc. Annelie Roche" quoted in the article is the "Lili" of the blog posts -- Joe's wife.

Thursday
Sep222005

Heritage Foundation: Saving $40 Billion

The Heritage Foundation has a plan to save $40 billion federal tax dollars annually while helping seniors afford prescription drugs.

Wednesday
Sep212005

New TESRA/ESA Reform Analysis Posted

Those who are following the TESRA/Endangered Species Act debate may be interested to know that The National Center just posted a new press release on provisions of the ESA bill the Resources Committee will be taking a look at later today.

This press release is far from a complete analysis, but adds detail to what we posted on September 19.

Tuesday
Sep202005

Katrina Rescues: Dedicated Soldiers of the National Guard

Joe Roche has sent another email relating the experiences of his wife, Lili, who (as a member of the DC National Guard) is part of National Guard rescue operations in Louisiana:

The soldiers are showing amazing motivation and endurance. You and everyone should be extremely proud of our military women and men who have put on such an incredible and great effort to turn around the disaster situation in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Someday, when the politicization and debate of the issues are forgotten and old, I think history will record this whole operation by the military as amazingly fast, effective and life-saving.

And specifically of the Louisiana National Guard soldiers she has met and befriended, she says, "these people irregardless are holding their head high and moving forward even when their future is completely obscured by the world around them."

Kellogg, Brown & Root, better known as Halliburton, is doing amazing stuff at Naval Air Station New Orleans. Just like in Kosovo, Baghdad, Khandahar and everywhere else our soldiers deploy to harsh conditions, KBR (as we call them in the military) has rushed in and set up huge dining facilities, brought in comforts and standard-of-living improvements, and made life on base in New Orleans far more better than it otherwise would be with the huge arrivals. One facility they set up is "like hundreds of tents long, huge!" She said they have good food and a lot of variety. They have also set up and facilitated the arrival and assembly of many many other things that are improving conditions there for the soldiers.

Soldiers and other military-related units are continuing to arrive at a very fast and large pace. She said that a couple nights ago, a huge convoy of flat-bed trucks pulled in late, and the soldiers had to initially sleep on the flat-beds because of the size and logistics of their arrival. Nonetheless, there are areas that are "tent cities" on base for housing the soldiers.

There are also some nice New Orleans eateries setting up on base. Biker Bob's is apparently one of the favorites. They have set up and are now feeding soldiers, the contractors, and everyone else on base at a huge rate every day all day long. I think their place was wiped out in the hurricane's aftermath, and so they have set up ad hoc on base to help and support the rescue and relief efforts of our soldiers.

The New Orleans' SportsBar near the base has also set up on base a place to feed and entertain them.

Wal-Mart is also on base giving away free stuff that she said is helping a lot.

These are nice things because the heat and humidity returned last week with a vengeance. Lili said that when she walks to the DFAC, her uniform is soaked and dripping with sweat. Her unit and others have also had to do an increasing number of Medivac missions for military contractors who get sick from the infections, viruses and toxins in the city.

She said, however, that life there is getting into patterns and routines that are important and good for the soldiers. This all helps bring peace-of-mind, keeping morale up, and aiding in personal recovery in between missions, and all this goes to facilitating better and better performance.

The water was being drained out of the flooded parts at an amazingly fast rate. Something like a billion gallons of water an hour, I think she estimated? One machine is pumping something around 21,000 gallons a second! I have to admit that this is beyond my ability to comprehend.

She did say that when she and the other soldiers go running, their lungs feel like they have been in a smoking room because there are so many pesticides, sprays and maybe even a few toxins in the air.

She told of a wild account when a C-130 flew just 150 feet in the air over the city spraying stuff around. Her unit's helicopters were tasked with following and monitoring its mission.

She has done some neat side-missions too, such as last week when she drove up to Baton Rouge in a convoy to drop off the vehicles her unit had taken to deploy down to New Orleans. She and the others picked up dinner from some of the good places in Baton Rouge, then flew back in the Hueys to New Orleans and fed the others.

With routine and relaxation coming to the base for the soldiers, she said that despite the huge pace of operations and arrivals, it feels quieter there. They are bracing themselves for the anticipated mayhem from when the residents of the city start returning in droves. Right now there are some New Orleans residents and, of course, Louisiana National Guard living on base with them who she talks with and befriends. She said, "everyone, it seems, is tired of hearing about the hurricane but they seem willing to tell me their personal stories."

The LA NG have some of the most heart-wrenching stories because many of them are from the most stricken parts of the city and Louisiana, and they have next to nothing left. These soldiers ran from their houses with just the bare essentials to get to their units, and have deployed all this time not knowing what is going on with their homes, families and belongings. One commander told her it took two weeks for him to locate his grandson who had been left at a hospital in New Orleans. Many of the LA NG have traumatic family and home situations going on that they are nonetheless coping with as they continue to do missions and perform for their military units. I find this inspiring and amazing.

Another one whose extended family has lost their houses, jobs and everything else, is solely taking care of them because as a LA NG, he is the only one with a job. Despite all this that would probably overwhelm anyone else, he did many vital things to facilitate and do his part for his unit at the start of the operation. Now, however, because of a bad heart, his unit has had to let him go. In despair, he told her, "New Orleans is dead, it will never be a great city again...at least in my lifetime." ...In an email from Lili, she describes this soldier's plight in more detail, which I'll forward after this.

Another LA NG commander described how "some of the young people in his unit had just gotten married and were finally just now getting their feet on the ground in a difficult city and moving out of their poverty only to lose everything" because of the storm and flooding.

Nonetheless, the military missions continue, setting up what is emerging as one massive gargantuan enterprise that is going to do amazing things over the coming weeks and months. Again quoting her about the LA NG she is with, "these people irregardless are holding their head high and moving forward even when their future is completely obscured by the world around them."

With humility, Lili is fails to say this about her unit too. (I/we will point out!)

That is all.

Monday
Sep192005

"TESRA" Endangered Species Act Reform Update

Regular visitors to this blog, let alone our website, are unlikely to have missed our criticism (for example, here and here) of the policy implications within the draft of House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo's "Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act," TESRA for short, that has been circulating these last few months.

The TESRA legislation is a proposed reform of the Endangered Species Act.

Earlier today, Rep. Pombo (R-CA), Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Greg Walden (R-OR) and George Radanovich (R-CA) introduced the legislation (go here for the Resources Committee press release annuncing this, which includes links to the legislation as introduced).

National Center staff members have been briefed on the contents of this new version of TESRA and are encouraged by some of the changes that have been made. A comprehensive analysis is needed before The National Center releases a more specific review, however, a few promising developments are worth noting:

  • TESRA no longer includes "invasive species" regulations;
  • TESRA now appears to have good potential to provide solid private property rights protections.
  • The National Center is in the process of conducting a thorough analysis of this new draft and will issue a more in-depth statement very soon.

    In the meantime, this blog at least would like to commend the more than eighty public policy organizations (see here and here for copies of coalition letters raising concerns that were sent to Rep. Pombo in June and September), and individuals too numerous to name, who joined together to publicly address policy concerns raised by the first draft.

    Some who opposed criticism of the earlier draft of TESRA claimed constructive criticism was pointless; that Congress never listens to citizen concerns. Apparently, their pessimism was unwarranted.

    Monday
    Sep192005

    The Other Club: The North Side

    The Other Club posts some pictures of the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, and wonders who is truly to blame for hangnails.