Monday, October 31, 2005

Sam I am!

President Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court today. Alito has served on the 3rd Circuit here in Philadelphia for the past 15 years. Are you Conservatives looking for red meat? Are you Liberals looking for a paper trail? Alito's your guy!

Fake flu shots - what's next?

Exxon-Mobil employees in Texas were given fake flu shots last week. Hopefully their fake health insurance covered the expense.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Harriet goes, Scooter goes, Karl stays

So much for the Harriet Miers nomination. And now that Scooter Libby has been indicted, can Karl Rove be far behind? This from MSNBC:
“Mr. Libby’s story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true. It was false,” the prosecutor said. “He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter. And he lied about it afterward, under oath, repeatedly.”

Bush referred to Libby as someone who worked tirelessly for Americans. “He served the vice president and me through extraordinary times in our nation’s history,” Bush said.
Extraordinary times? I'll buy that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cindy vs. Hillary

Now that Cindy Sheehan has come out against Hillary Clinton for her pro-Iraq war vote, will that mean Rush and Sean and their ilk will support Cindy? Or Hillary? Hm, decisions, decisions.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Miers twisting, Stevens hissing, Iraq counting

Been away for a while. Did I miss anything? Was Harriet Miers confirmed yet? Did Ted Stevens start breathing again after his hissy fit on the Senate floor, after another Republican had the gall to point out that all Senators need to cut out some pork, such as Alaska's bridge to nowhere? And did Diebold get the contract to count Iraq's votes? Just wondering.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Miller: I forgot who told me about Valerie Plame

Apparently poor Judith Miller lost both time and memory while in jail. Editor and Publisher reports that the New York Times reveals in its Miller expose that:
Among other things, the 5,800-word article discloses that in the same notebook that Miller belatedly turned over to the federal prosecutor last month, chronicling her July 8, 2003, interview with I. Lewis Libby, she wrote the name "Valerie Flame." She surely meant Valerie Plame, but when she testified for a second time in the case this week, she could not recall who mentioned that name to her, the Times said. She said she "didn't think" she heard it from Libby, a longtime friend and source.
Maybe she heard it from Dan Rather. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Staged Iraq troop interview - so what's new?

Lots of controversy over President Bush's carefully choreographed interview with well-rehearsed soldiers in Tikrit. But what do you expect from a guy who walked around soldiers with a fake turkey? And it's not really different from a reporter slipping a question to a soldier who questioned Rummy about Humvee armor a few months back. The main difference being that the reporter's question demonstrated a concern for the well-being of our troops (even if it was prepped, it was still a valid question, a point missed by many neocons), while Bush's screened Q & A demonstrated a concern for Bush's sinking poll numbers. Gobble. Gobble.

Miers must go - NR

Still more on Harriet Miers, this time from National Review:
They say that she is pro-life. (Her campaign to get the ABA to stay neutral on abortion lends some credence to that avowal, and qualifies, but does not erase, the impression that she flees controversy.) They say that she has a strong evangelical faith. But neither being pro-life or an evangelical is a reliable guide to what kind of jurisprudence she would produce, even on Roe, let alone on other issues. Indeed, the fact that her supporters have had to resort to such weak defenses — and, worse, to pleasant generalities about her kindness to her colleagues and name-calling about her critics’ alleged sexism — is perhaps the most distressing evidence that no stronger arguments are available on behalf of this nomination...

The rule of law is based on the making of arguments and the giving of reasons, not on sentiment or group loyalty — which is the basis on which Miers’s defenders want us to support her.
Not quite the type of background that Democrats should really be supporting, either.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

What do campaign finance law violators and litterbugs have in common?

California doesn't have the resources to punish either one.

Tom DeLay was indicted twice last week for campaign finance violations, but in California, the office that investigates fraud is under-budget, under-staffed and not likely to get more of either anytime soon (just in time for the Gubernator's re-election campaign, too). The San Diego Union-Tribune has the story.

More on Miers: from the right

George Will drops these tidbits on the Miers nomination:
It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.

He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.

Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court's role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.
Ouch. Better watch that base, Mr. President.

Control Room II - DC

A few months back, I reviewed the movie Control Room,which was a behind-the-scenes look at both Al-Jazeera and the US Central Command in Qatar on the eve of the Iraq War. One of the central figures in the movie was a press liaison named Captain Josh Rushing. Rushing has left the Marines to pursue a career with...Al-Jazeera. USA Today has the followup story.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Terror Alert - Super Duper High

New York City is now on super duper terror high alert. The subway has been targeted, which should make for an enjoyable Friday commute. As far as the public knows, the US has not suffered a terrorist attack on our soil since 9/11. Is this the result of:
dumb luck?
aggressive anti-terrorism?
the war in Iraq and Afghanistan?
or something else?
Makes you wonder. And how will "victory" in the war against terror be defined? Given how the government has provided only a nebulous definition of "terror" - who knows?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Stealth II - No Paper Trail

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'll quote Pat Buchanan, who was rather articulate in criticizing Bush's choice for the Supreme Court:
What does it tell us that White House, in selling her to the party and press, is pointing out that Miers “has no paper trial.” What does that mean, other than that she is not a Rehnquist, a Bork, a Scalia or a Thomas?

Conservative cherish justices and judges who have paper trails. For that means these men and women have articulated and defended their convictions. They have written in magazines and law journals about what is wrong with the courts and how to make it right. They had stood up to the prevailing winds. They have argued for the Constitution as the firm and fixed document the Founding Fathers wrote, not some thing of wax.

A paper trail is the mark of a lawyer, a scholar or a judge who has shared the action and passion of his or her time, taken a stand on the great questions, accepted public abuse for articulating convictions.

Miers would be the first non-judge appointed to the Court since the recently departed William Rehnquist was nominated from Nixon's Justice Department.

Miers - not rabid enough?

President Bush selected Harriet Miers to be his next Supreme Court nominee, disappointing conservatives who were hoping for a more known quantity. That is, known to be a reliable conservative. So, this will be viewed either as a crony pick or another olive branch to Democrats. Not really satisfactory to those hoping Bush would lean in the Scalia/Thomas direction of the court and pick a firebrand.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ice Ice Baby

...and still more on truckers hauling around FEMA ice, to the tune of $100 million.

William Bennett: from the horse's mouth

"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down."
- William Bennett, on his radio show "Morning in America"

"A thought experiment about public policy, on national radio, should not have received the condemnations it has."
- Bennett, in a statement from his website

"But people need to follow the argument and the argument I was making here is entirely plausible. The causes of crime are very complicated. But there is a very big literature, as you know, about single parenthood in crime, about race in crime, and about poverty in crime. And we've been talking about all these things lately in the context of New Orleans and other things. "
- Bennett, on Hannity & Colmes

Make of these comments what you will. One would think that a "professor" employing the Socratic method on a national radio broadcast would use some sort of mental filter before making an argument even he described as morally reprehensible.