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Wednesday
Oct052005

I'm Hoping Ted Stevens Would Be Worth as Much as a Fish

Given this story, I'm wondering how much the federal government would pay me to paint my house to look like Senator Ted Stevens.

Wednesday
Oct052005

Defeatism in Defense of the Constitution is No Virtue

Not for the first time, my friend Mark Tapscott is bringing a fresh approach to a discussion, in this case, the Harriet Miers confirmation debate.

Mark says Miers isn't the issue, the "weak-kneed Senate GOP leadership is":

...while I sympathize mainly with those who believe Bush has missed an historic opportunity by not nominating a Brown, McConnell or Luttig, it appears to me most everybody is missing the fundamental point.

That point is this: As long as the Senate GOP leadership refuses to confront head-on the Democrats' abuse of the filibuster and end it, the Democrats have a veto if they choose to use it. And choose it they will for any nominee short of one with an undeniably perfect record - John Roberts - or one with no record at all, Harriet Miers...

...Put simply, with Frist and the Senate GOP leadership, we get a Roberts or a Miers. There is no in-between.

Two Robertses would have been better, but another fundamental point is missing:

Why don't we let the Senate liberals vote down our best candidate? It's not like we don't have more.

I ask you: Who wins if the Senate Democrats filibuster one well-qualified originalist nominee after another?

The answer: America, the American people, the court and conservatism.

Such a strategy would result in: 1) the educational value of a national debate about why the filibusters were occurring (philosophical differences), and 2) the eventual confirmation of a well-qualified originalist, because there are more qualified candidates than the left can possibly filibuster.

Just ask the Federalist Society.

Yes, by the cautious standards of Washington politics, my prescription is a high-risk strategy, but is it a higher risk than to one to the nation of nominating and confirming an unknown? Not on your life (or, rather, not on the lives of one million little babies annually who need us to be right on this so that they might be born).

And, yes, I know we would be going into battle with the Republican Senators we have, rather than the Republican Senators we wish to have. But after the third or fourth successful filibuster, if it actually came to that, the words "Republican primary" would start to resonate pretty strongly amongRepublican Senators.

Even if Ms. Miers is 100 percent solid philosophically and intellectually, as President Bush says and very likely truly believes she is, he can't know -- because she can't know -- how well she would be able resist the media vilification and public pressure that gets put on any prominent public figure. However, there are solid, intellectual originalist candidates who have been in the arena (in Teddy Roosevelt's immortal phrase), and, as such, have been tested.

To repeat, tested. Not, "I've worked with her for ten years so trust me on this, why don'tja?"

I think it was and remains a great and possibly permanent loss to the nation that Robert Bork never joined the Supreme Court. But that loss was magnified by the fact that the justice we got instead was Anthony "Swing Vote" Kennedy -- a man, I remind everyone, who was said at the time of his nomination to be a sure vote for overturning Roe v. Wade because, by all reports, he is and was deeply religious and a member of a pro-life church.

(Gee, I think I've heard that phrase somewhere else recently.)

At the risk of being derided by "GOP-Uber-Alles" crowd, including bloggers who post that there is a direct correlation between length of service in the conservative movement and defeatism (the reverse actually is true -- good grief, folks, look around once in a while), let me share that I was on Capitol Hill (and working hard on these issues) when Judge Bork was defeated. I was outside the Senate waving a "We Love You Clarence" sign (and doing other things) when Clarence Thomas was drafted into what became the precedent that conservative Supreme Court nominees must be pure as the driven snow (my illusion to the color white is intentional; the Senate treated the conservative Clarence Thomas more harshly because of his race) while liberal Presidents can debauch interns in the White House and lie about it under oath. I was working on Supreme Court nominations when George W. Bush was still drinking and getting rich off baseball. And -- as I am not the issue -- literally millions of movement conservatives, in one way or another, were there, too, writing letters to Senators, donating to conservative candidates and groups, educating their fellow citizens, running for office, and more. Some of them were even studying and practicing constitutional law so that, at some future date, when a God-fearing, Constitution-respecting President needed good candidates for appellate courts, there would be good candidates to choose from. So I, and I know others, don't particularly care for the notion that we in the conservative movement have to sit still and take whatever George W. Bush throws at us, or that he and we together (I do believe Bush is with us in his heart) have to settle for unknown nominees for no greater reason than fear the left may win a round or two in the Senate.

I say to the GOP-Uber-Alles crowd: It is not those of us who think we can do better than a stealth candidate who are the defeatists.

It is those of you who are afraid to fight for the Constitution.

In his clarion call of conservatism, Barry Goldwater declared that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Could defeatism in defense of the Constitution be any different?

Addendum 1 (10/5/05): One of the White House talking points on Ms. Miers is that because Miers has served at the President's side for 10 years, she fully understands and is dedicated to his focus, perspective and goals. That argument reminds me of this quote...

For seven and a half years I have helped the President conduct the most difficult job on earth.

...from this speech.

We all know how that turned out.

Addendum 2 (10/5/05): Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor has an on-the-nose piece in the October 6 edition on conservative reaction to the Miers nomination. Chaddock captures the sentiment very well.

Noteworthy quote from Paul Weyrich: "I can tell you that ... the grass roots are just heartbroken by this nomination."

Ms. Chaddock says that, prior to the Miers nomination, the White House gave "key conservatives... a list of three names, including [Miers'], and asked for comment. For the most part, there wasn't any."

I think the White House needs to expand its list of key conservatives, and pronto.

Tuesday
Oct042005

Professor Bainbridge: Not Trusting Bush

I wish I disagreed with Professor Bainbridge on this.

Tuesday
Oct042005

Pardon Us for Noticing

I read this essay in the American Thinker after hearing Rush Limbaugh read part of it on the air today.

When Rush read it, this section lept out at me:

There is a doom-and-gloom element on the Right which is just waiting to be betrayed, convinced that their hardy band of true believers will lose by treachery those victories to which justice entitles them. They are stuck in the decades-long tragic phase of conservative politics, when country club Republicans inevitably sold out the faith in order to gain acceptability in the Beltway media and social circuit.
I think the timing is off here.

Conservativism was NOT in its "tragic phase" when O'Connor and Kennedy were appointed. It was NOT in its "tragic phase" when Souter was appointed.

What it was in was its "making bad Supreme Court appointments" phase. True, that phase started earlier (much earlier) but most of us are not stuck in the Eisenhower era, or an earlier one.

Just how many Kennedys, O'Connors and Souters are we supposed to put up with before noticing that the presidents conservatives elect often seem to have bad judgement in making Supreme Court nominations?

It seems to me that quite a few of the folks who complain that the Right isn't thrilled about having an unknown as a nominee are doing nothing more than complaining that we've noticed a trend here.

However, changing the subject somewhat, once I read Thomas Lifson's piece, another part of it caught my eye even more:

Ms. Miers embodies the work ethic as few married people ever could.
Good grief! I was a workaholic before I got married -- or so I thought. Before I got a husband and children, I didn't even know what work was.

Tuesday
Oct042005

Energy Hog: A Bad Play Then, A Worse Play Now

Thoughts from Peyton Knight:

On July 15, 1979, Jimmy Carter delivered what became infamously known as his "malaise" speech. That evening he peered out into family rooms across the country, and lectured Americans for their "self-indulgence and consumption." Carter intoned, "We've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose."

Of course, Americans weren't to blame for the energy crisis. They hadn't done anything wrong. The "material good" that was most important to them was a simple tank full of gasoline -- such a thing being necessary to work, produce, and feed their families. They weren't "longing for meaning," they were longing for a leader who recognized America's growing productivity and accompanying thirst for energy. They weren't to blame for the energy crisis, and they knew it. They let Carter know it shortly following his speech.

Regrettably, the Bush Administration seems to be reprising this broken play.

Yesterday, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman unveiled a new government mascot dubbed "Energy Hog." The creature lives at www.energyhog.com. A quick trip to the site reveals its creators' clear intent. Americans need to be shamed, perhaps even humiliated, into giving up basic daily accoutrements because an energy crunch is looming.

The front page of the site displays eight, grotesque, cartoon hogs, and a profile of each reveals that hog's energy sin. Ivanna Hamm's sin is "lots of hot liquids." Sammy Swine is to blame for using "old, broken-down appliances." Freddie (who lacks a clever last name) is guilty of harboring "high-class chandeliers" and light bulbs. There's even a Kelvin Bacon who has a dastardly penchant for setting the thermostat in his home to a personally-desired temperature.

Soon, the Energy Hog will be popping out in newspapers, billboards, radio, and television. Bodman is also urging Americans to drive slower to save gasoline. Fifty-five miles per hour, to be exact. Slower than the maximum speed on many interstates and highways. This is a solution to our energy woes?

Hurricane Katrina revealed the very delicate balance between America's energy supply and energy needs. There is little or no room for error.

Yet, it has been thirty years since an oil refinery was built in America. Over that same period, our gasoline use has increased 25 percent. Arcane environmental laws and the strict ideologues that exploit them have crippled our nation's ability to meet its growing need for fuel. America simply must increase its refining capacity.

Now is a time for leadership, and real solutions to what has become an embarrassing situation for the world's lone superpower. Instead, we have a cartoon hog.

Tuesday
Oct042005

Access to Consumer Products a Fundamental Right?

From Reuters:

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who became internationally known for his campaign a year ago to legalize gay marriage, said on Monday he considered wireless Internet access a fundamental right of all citizens.
At the rate this guy is going, I would not be surprised to see him proclaim my children have a fundamental right to have a puppy.



When David Almasi shared this Reuters article with me, I at first thought it was a parody. Now I just wish it was.

Monday
Oct032005

Black Conservatives Speak on Miers Nomination

As promised earlier today, Project 21 has released a variety of comments on President Bush's handling of the historic opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court justice to replace the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor.

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.