Friday, September 30, 2005

Sheehan: Opposing War, Opposing America

Charles Krauthammer has a great article on Cindy Sheehan and the anti-war movement, (Via Realclearpolitics). Nobody can break it down like Charles. Put in a few words, the anti-war movement we now see is actually a vestige of the anti-American, pro-communist movement, and they are becoming the face of those who oppose the war. Which is unfortunate, because these America haters do not speak for others who for one reason or another disagree with this war, but still love America, it's values, and its people.

I think the most effective anti-Bush, anti-war, but pro-American figure was Richard Gephardt (D-MO). He voted for the war, and when it was convenient, he stated that he was no longer happy with it, but nonetheless agreed with Bush that we needed to finish the work we began and get the heck out as soon as possible. Nobody can fairly call Gephardt anti-American. His record is too long, and his politics and character too well known. He is no Bush fan, but they are on the same team at the end of the day.

But Cindy Sheehan is different. The girl hates America. She is an obnoxious, and unfortunately fairly dim individual. Her anti-war position stems less from a philosophical disagreement with this present engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, but with armed conflict of any kind. And her disagreement with our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have nothing to do with an isolationist or pacifict viewpoint (check these rallies out--the people involved are not peaceful, but fairly in-your-face and remarkably belligerent), but rather from a belief that attacks like 9/11 are valid paybacks. Our support of the free state of Israel, our opposition of communism during the latter half of the 20th Century, our failure to sign the Kyoto Treaty, tax plans that help only the rich (read: taxpayers), our history of racial inequality...George Washington's failure to assist the French in their Revolution at the request of Edmond Genet. You get the idea.

And if the crowd that Krauthammer describes is the bunch with which one must consort in order to oppose this war, it makes Bush's camp seem a bit more appealing. Karl Rove couldn't have devised something this effective.

Nor her comments about Hurricane Rita, where she complained that the media wasn't fawning on her protest enough, so occupied they were with the hurricane coverage which actually threatened a region, and the economic assets it held which would affect the nation. Cindy doesn't get it, but no surprise there.

But on a much darker note, one thing I cannot get out of my head is the attitude Sheehan takes towards soldiers. She put this quote on the Michael Moore website when she went to New Orleans:

One thing that truly troubled me about my visit to Louisiana was the level of the military presence there. I imagined before that if the military had to be used in a CONUS (Continental US) operations that they would be there to help the citizens: Clothe them, feed them, shelter them, and protect them. But what I saw was a city that is occupied. I saw soldiers walking around in patrols of 7 with their weapons slung on their backs. I wanted to ask one of them what it would take for one of them to shoot me.


These are not the thoughts of a rational mind, but the undercurrent can't be ignored. The National Guardsmen were there to keep the peace and render aid. Cindy despised these National Guard soldiers in New Orleans for no other reason than the fact that they were part of the armed forces. Which makes Cindy's argument that she is just anti-Bush evaporate. She hates the military. And I wonder if she took the same attitude towards her son when he was still here.

Casey dressed and behaved just like those soldiers. And not only did he enlist, but knowing the risk, re-enlisted. He believed enough in his country to give his life for it. And if his mother had the same disgust for him that she had for his bretheren helping in New Orleans, what does that say for her misbegotten and clueless crusade? She despised the cause for which he enlisted, fought and died, that being the cause of freedom. She despised the nation whose uniform he wore, and she favored his enemy over his own country.

She is not the appropriate person to carru his memory. He would not have gotten himself arrested for an empty and selfish purpose. He wasn't un-American. It's a shame his mother made him look that way.

What is Trump Thinking??

For now, a lighter post about the really fun things in life.

My wife and I love The Apprentice. That would be the Trump version, not the Martha Stewart version. But Trump seems to be making some very dumb decisions about hiring and firing lately. And while some of it can be written off to keeping the show interesting, the hiring decisions leave much to be desired.

Last season Trump hired Kendra over the very qualified, intelligent and likeable Tana. Kendra came across as a ditzy and whiny 80s valley girl who expressed sshock at just about every circumstance that turned against her, dropping her jaw wide open in a brainless stare for the camera whenever she described an unfortunate turn. Granted, Tana talked down her team for the final task, and there were some pretty obvious foul ups, which killed her in the end, but her performance record throughout the season was nearly perfect.

Kendra came up at the last minute and caught some lucky breaks. But her adolescent tone and interpersonal skills showed her to be a real liability. Nonetheless Trump hired her. Interestingly, the project was an interior decorating job--small beer compared to Bill Rancic's and Kelly Purdue's skyscraper projects, and perhaps a sign as to the confidence he wished to place in Kendra. Such work was probably beneath Tana's skills, and she was probably the better for not getting a job which I thought fit Kendra's unproven and frankly unreliable leadership talents.

But last night, in what was a predictable decision, Trump fired a guy who was a very realistic contender for the winner, allowing a goofy train-wreck of a candidate--Marcus-- to live to see another day. Chris went home for no other reason than his team lost with him at the helm, on what I thought was a matter of personal preference and taste--and he brought in a guy who played a minimal role in the failure, but who seems incapable of making any meaningful contribution to his team. Trump has fired people before for making political/statistical choices about who they bring to the boardroom with them, and that certainly contributed to this firing. But the only justification I see for firing Chris (and there isn't much, as his team really did nothing significantly wrong), was to keep Marcus alive to frustrate viewers for yet another week.

Marcus is an underperformer, and perhaps was allowed to remain to present a personnel management challenge to future project managers. And to his credit, Trump remarked that Marcus was not in a good position. So he may survive solely as a sharpening stone for other contestants, rather than as a viable Trump employee in his own right.

But every management bone in me says that you dump the dead wood. And Marcus, inventor though he is, works better with his drafting table than with other people.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

DeLay Is Indicted

House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay (R-TX) has been indicted by a Texas grand jury for conspiracy in an alleged attempt to misuse campaign funds. The indictment document says what it says, the grand jury voted as it did. And if DeLay committed a prohibited act, he needs to pay the price. Period.

But let's take a look at the prosecutor, Ronnie Earle and his history. Here is a piece by Byron York, and several by Ed Morrisey at Captain's Quarters here, here, and here. It makes one wonder just how justice-oriented, rather than politically driven this prosecutor is when he is willing to funnel payments to cronies in exchange for dropped charges.

Ronnie Earle's New York Times article "A Moral Indictment" is equally puzzling, as a prosecutor charged with enforcing the law is opining in a national newspaper about the inner workings of Congress which have absolutely nothing to do with the case he was pursuing against Tom DeLay. Is it legal or is it political?

But it strikes me as unprofessional that he would comment on an ongoing investigation at a political function. And in fact it is as Ed Morrisey notes. But that's not all.

There is such a thing as malicious prosecution. That means prosecution of individuals the prosecutor has reason to believe are not guilty. And doing that in any of the states in the Union can put the prosecutor's license at risk. Because prosecution is a frightening power in the hands of individuals, and all the more frightening if the person wielding it is a political operator with political objectives in mind. It is a power that can be used to ruin lives and reputations.

And if you don't think that there is a greater political objective here, reread the NYT editorial. Earle never would have made such statements if it was all about the law and evidence. Nor would he have bothered with DeLay if he were not such a huge fundraiser for the Republican party, who did much to channel money into Republican coffers.

But all of this is irrelevant if DeLay really did an illegal thing. I look forward to the trial and pray that it is indeed speedy.

Blame Hearings Begin

The House of Representatives began hearings yesterday to determine just who blew the Katrina relief effort. First up was Michael Brown. In all, his testimony was an effort to blame everyone else. I'm inclined to follow this timeline which agrees with some of what Brown said, but passes blame in appropriate proportions, and mainly to Blanco and Nagin who should have been at the tip of the spear in protecting their people.

Unfortunately, they punted to the Feds.

Interestingly, the Dems refused to be present for the very kind of hearings they demanded. It was a "nonpartisan" commission they wanted based upon the pretext that this was the worst disaster that the U.S. has ever faced--worse even than 9/11. True enough, but the gravity of the disaster was not preventable. This was a hurricane that came ashore and was going to do the damage it wanted to. There was nothing we could do to stop it. The issue is why pre-disaster safety and evacuation plans and post disaster rescue and relief efforts were not in place sooner to avoid a humanitarian problem in New Orleans that now seems to have been improperly reported. And not to minimize the horror of the situation in New Orleans, but the disaster caused by nature dwarfs acts done by people. So the need for another wasteful commission seems unclear.

But claiming that it was going to be a political exercise by Republicans was cover, likely for fear that fact had called their bluff. The bulk blame seems to rest on state and local governments that had years of notice yet not a second of care to prepare the people of New Orleans, other than to pass out DVDs through churches on the eve of Katrina to tell residents that their local government's disaster plan was to leave them on their own when they needed it most.

If anything, the incompetence at the federal level was largely restricted to their reliance on the local leaders to do their jobs.

We'll see what happens with Gov. Kathleen Blanco today, but I wonder if Louisiana residents are questioning the wisdom of the decision to elect her over Bobby Jindal, who has proven a more than competent Member of Congress for the 1st Congressional Distrcit of Louisiana.

The Costs of Bad Reporting

From the L.A. Times no less comes this bit of true wisdom. The worst part is that people in the Superdome heard this on their radios, and it created somewhat of a panic inside, making an unquestionably bad situation much worse.

The media has been dying for a gotcha against the President, but it seems that the more they try, the more they hurt themselves, and unfortunately, the more they hurt ordinary people.

Misinformation has consequences.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

About Time

Bratton he is not. New Orleans is a mess because of the same kind of politics that made David Duke a credible force for the governor's race in Louisiana in 1991. And when one-third of the force flies the coop, that says much about the chielf's leadership, and much about the reliability and integrity of the city's police.

One only hopes that a new sheriff is indeed in town. Because these types do nothing to make major cities safe places.

Note to Nagin: if you have a brain and wish to retain your office after your completely crummy performance before during and after Katrina, please follow the Giuliani script. It may be all you have.

CORRECTION:
It was not one-third of the officers of the New Orleans police department that left after the hurricane, but one-sixth, or 250 officers of the formerly 1500 member force.

Another NYT Scoop

Here's a doozie from the New York Times. The point? Republicans dont' agree on everything, and the whiny New England liberal Republicans led by the soon to be former Senator Lincoln Chaffee (R-RI) are wavering as to whether they will support the as yet unnamed nominee. These people wring their hands over what cereal to have in the morning...please.

I'm surprised that the editors found this newsworthy, but what's probably most newsworthy is that the NYT printed a largely factually accurate article.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Fact v. Journalism

John Hinderaker posts this rather informative tidbit which leads one to the very logical conclusion that the media's reporting on the events at the New Orleans Superdome and the Convention Center were at best sloppy and unsourced, and at worst, knowing falsehoods.

But in all fairness, I'll put it this way: the media, in a truly irresponsible and unprofessional fashion reported what they knew to be unsubstantiated rumors of human atrocities at those sites. But they did it because those accounts fit the picture that they were trying to paint of the disaster, and particularly the perception they wished to create that Bush was allowing the misery to happen. But I think there is a deeper angle to this than just sleazy reporting.

Let's say that the Superdome was filled with folks from the wealthiest neighborhoods in New Orleans. Nothing but. Mostly white, middle age people. The conditions after a while would have been much the same--a breakdown in the public health system, a foul pervasive odor, unmet needs, and a facility falling apart. But would the media have reported on children being murdered and raped in that case? (Thanks to Reuters who believes anything bad which happens under "the rotors of President George W. Bush's helicopter.) Or was it somehow a more believable tale when told in the environment of low income, mainly black inner city folk?

Is this what the media thinks of Black America?

And is their plight little more than a political tool to slime a President the media-left despises?

Guilt by Association

Charles Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs.com has learned that peace rallies held by the left welcome messages of, well, destruction and hate. Good for those silly lefties.

In all seriousness, though, it's fine to object to the war in Iraq, but when you invite all sorts of whacky stuff, including imperatives to destroy Israel, the whole peace veneer comes off, making the gathering an anti-everything hate fest of people who never left the late 1960s and early 1970s. These burned-out hippies are still wanting another Vietnam to remain relevant, and in their midlife crisis, they return to Washington to scream their heads off.

But the things and people that they bring with them, really, really do make clear that this movement, such as it is, is not about peace, but about the agenda of the far left. These wierdos cannot help themselves, so steeped in their dogma as they are. They simply must come out and cloud the message, making clear that they are the same angry bunch of belligerent brats that raided the Democratic National Convention in 1968.

And thankfully, it gives context to their message.

Of course, the star of the show, Cindy Sheehan, topped of the day by doing whatever it took to get herself arrested.

Her comment was, “The whole world is watching.” But I guess the real question is, "do they care?"

Facts Are No Longer Obstacles to Reporting at NYT

Not that they were to begin with, but this article is simply mind-boggling. A NYT TV critic, Alessandra Stanley, accused Geraldo Rivera of pushing Air Force rescue workers out of the way to get himself on camera assisting a wheelchair bound woman in New Orleans down the stairs and out of her home. The problem is that the tape of the incident doesn't support any such conclusion. And no witness has yet come forth to support that account.

But tell that to Stanley and her NYT editor, Bill Keller, neither of whom want to hear anything different than what Stanley has reported.

And Geraldo is an easy target. The man is clearly a hotshot whose penchant for the scoop gets him into trouble. Granted, those qualities make him a particularly good event reporter on the scene who isn't afraid to literally get his hands dirty, but when unchecked, they have also helped to harm his credibility. Morally, he has the fidelity of Bill Clinton--he can't keep it clean to keep a marriage. And he is a bit intemperate. Being the host of the first fistfight talk show of the 1980s, popping open Al Capone's safe on national TV after much hype to reveal nothing, and reporting on the location of U.S. troops in Iraq as they were approaching various targets, prompting the unit commanders to direct him to depart from the unit and head south back to civilization where he would cause less trouble.

But it's something different to just make up a story about the guy. First, it scores no points. So, Stanley got an easy shot off of Geraldo, but so what? Second, when it seems that the hit was misplaced, and then defended against the facts, it actually generates a little personal support for Geraldo, who likely has had very little in his career.

But why bother with this defense? The facts don't support Stanley's claim. Just issue a retraction and apologize (but it appears that Stanley has a history of corrections and retractions, so perhaps she wanted to avoid one more embarrassment). But refusing to view the tape, and the editor refusing to correct a factless claim are nonsense. Perhaps this was an attempt to score a hit on Fox News and in Rather-esque form, the NYT folks believe the charge notwithstanding the inconvenient facts that tell a different and uninteresting account.

I just don't get why they don't admit an error, especially one that carries with it no significant consequence, and which may keep them out of court. And if I were advising Geraldo, I'd tell him to ignore all settlement offers and push the matter to a verdict. Because public embarrassments like this need to remain so.

And I really don't care why they did this. But it seems that the removal of Howell Raines did nothing to improve the quality of reporting at the Times, whose once-great reputation has been surpassed by that of the New York Post and the Washington Times.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Sullivan is Getting Creepy

RealClearPolitics linked to this bit of fetid reasoning from Andrew Sullivan. Father Mychal Judge died on 9/11/01 in the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Please bear in mind that Pope Benedict XVI said absolutely nothing about Father Judge. Sullivan's clever wording doesn't make it seem so, however.

Andrew Sullivan has slid further and further towards the anti-values left in order to defend the fact that he is gay, thus exposing him as a fool rather than the fairly gifted writer he is. it makes me wonder if he was ever wedded to American conservative principles in the first place, or if it was a cheap ploy to advance acceptance of the gay lifestyle.

Empty Promises Based on Empty Threats

RealClearPolitics links to this National Review article by James Robbins on the North Korea deal which is excellent, and which is similar to my tongue in cheek reaction to that "deal", here.

I was among those critical of Clinton's diplomats throughout the 90s, as I felt that they got us absolutely nowhere. History has validated our pessimism. When Kim was caught making bombs. But don't be so quick to assume that Bush's diplomats are significantly better when they laud a deal like the one currently being celebrated as a solution to the potential crisis on the Korean peninsula.

The first thing to bear in mind is that it's not a deal when the parties just can't agree as to what the agreement is. One cannot claim progress until both sides agree on the things that will be done. And it is silliness like this which further erodes any remaining confidence one might have in the diplomats.

The diplomatic corps of a major benevolent superpower is one which requires its members to have much education, intelligence and sophistication, a silver tongue, and almost no wisdom or wontons. And calling it a "deal" when a rogue nation has agreed to receive goodies from the West in exchange for for its not making weapons of mass destruction (or at least not doing it so as the other parties to the "deal" can see it) to use against free neighbors seems misplaced, when the word "blackmail" has always been a perfectly good description for such transactions. A deal is not a deal unless all sides get a real benefit. And this is about as one-sided as you get.

The one of the best things Ronald Reagan ever did was to walk away from an agreement with the Soviets in Iceland. I don't know if the folks at the State Department would have had the guts to turn down an agreement, regardless of what it was. And interestingly, the failure of that deal meant the subsequent failure of the Soviet Union. They tried to get us to stop a missile defense system. It very correctly occured to Reagan that it was an odd request for the Soviets to ask for the elimination of a purely defensive weapon system. He refused, and the Soviets spent themselves into oblivion trying to keep up with a project that by the technology of that day, was nearly impossible.

But unlike the Soviets, North Korea has nothing to lose. It is not a superpower, but rather is surrounded by them. And while China made this monster, and perhaps from time to time considers it a useful distraction for the U.S. while it does its own thing, Kim Jong Il is a positively paranoid nut who will do absolutely anything to remain in power--including tossing a nuclear device south of the DMZ or across the Sea of Japan if he thinks it works to his advantage to so.

So tell me again the value of negotiating with him?

Note To Senate Democrats: Follow Leahy

Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Reid and Biden (among others), take note.

Pat Leahy (D-VT) is nobody I would ever suggest following. He is a goofball. But I think he may have just gotten past the brain freeze from the Ben & Jerry's "special reserve" and made what amounts to a political calculation of such brilliance as to call it nearly Clintonesque. Don't look for many more of these great moments, because this is not a sophisticated man, but his announcement of his intention to support the confirmation of John Roberts and the stated reasons therefor are very clever for a guy who generally thoughtlessly trumpets causes of the unvarnished middle-age hippie sandal-wearing left of his party, leaving the fairly accurate impressions that he is permanently set on moonbat.

Note that I said "stated reasons". The reasons he offers have not the slightest bearing on why he is supporting this vote, but they are nonetheless interesting. He supports Judge Roberts because he is taking him at his word that he won't be a conservative activist. Not that conservative activism is the problem (and I invite anyone to point to a case where "conservative" judges overrode statute and manufactured law from the bench in the modern day), but it sounds good.

But Leahy has probably gotten the fact that Roberts is not the right battle to fight. So far, the "balance" of the Supreme Court has not shifted. But whether it shifts or not is not a real consideration, as it was expected that presidents would appoint judges who agreed with their judicial philosophy. This president believes that judges don't make laws, but rather apply existing law made by the legislature to the cases before them. But tell that to the rest of the Dems who let nothing go.

Had the Dems followed Leahy, they would have some cover to fight a potentially troublesome battle over a more conservative nominee. They would have dealt a gracious pass on a conservative and highly qualified judge to make more legitimate the bloodbath they are longing to fight over a subsequent conservative judge.

But because Roberts refused to answer questions about cases that may come before the court, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg did--more specifically refusing to endorse Roe v. Wade as God-inspired--Harry Reid, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy have announced their refusal to support him. And it leaves the very accurate impression that the Dems are increasingly wedded to the special interests of the left, particularly such anti-family groups as the abortion and gay rights lobbies, and anti-security groups such as the ACLU, for their lack of support of such anti-terror legislation as the Patriot Act.

This won't help them when they want to get into the mess of O'Connor's replacement. Because they appear to be nothing more than a bunch of sour-grapes old school leftists who haven't figured out that the more they take to the cameras to air their far-out-of-the-mainstream views, the more they hurt their chances to achieve their goals.

Thank God for your enemies, and especially for the fact that they are as stupid as they are.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What Isn't Art

Art has been used for millennia to communicate political and religious messages. Some loved it, some hated it, and as with anything, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which probably explains the continued existence of Madonna as a somewhat viable entertainer.

But this is not art. A suitcase bomb used to kill innocent people. A straight jacket made from the U.S. flag. A stamp with a gun to the President's head. Why do we entertain this crap? Why does this stuff get any play?

In the context of anti-American propaganda, this stuff supports the enemy.

And I suppose that a photo of Hitler might also be considered art by some. But not by American folks. Please display the stuff in Gaza, Ramallah, Riyadh, Aden, Karachi, Paris, Toronto, or some other sewer hole where such stuff is welcome.

Good Americans don't produce this stuff.

And it's not art.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Her Perfect Storm

Cindy Sheehan's family seems a brood ruined by Bush, per this Onion scoop. Perhaps it was caused by the occupation of New Orleans. If only they had listened.

Now it all makes sense!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Condom Named Clinton

Reality is better than fiction, and this bit of information is absolutely hilarious. The Chinese are naming prophylactics after the former president and his young paramour.

Just the thing Bill needed to prevent "the blue dress".

"Fear In The Newsroom"

Dan Rather just reported something almost accurately. In an speech in New York, he claimed that there is pressure, along with "dumbed-down, tarted-up" coverage created by the three cable news networks, which has created "fear in the newsroom".

Now the "dumbed-down, tarted-up" part means that news is reported as it happens with instant analysis, so there would indeed be pressures created by the realities of competition to get it right or else lose one's credibility. Hence a little bit of fear among reporters to get it right the first time. Dan knows a little about that. But he fails to understand that today's instant analysis takes us a few steps beyond the headline service which was the way of news before the advent of cable.

But cable, and especially Fox News created competition. Competition creates fear, which almost always enhances quality. And in that sense, news is indeed a business. People don't watch 3rd rate reports...another thing Dan would know quite a bit about given his network's ratings under his leadership. But Rather's dinosaur approach to news, specifically his erroneous beliefs that his ethos (which he greatly overestimated) gave him a bit more license when reporting the news and that his political biases (which he believed the rest of the nation agreed with) translated into objective truth, missed the quality mark.

Rather dislikes modern journalism because he cannot compete. He dislikes it because he can no longer get away with playing armchair politician when he should be reporting news. The dinosaurs didn't change. Neither did Dan Rather.

I wonder if the dinosaurs complained about the change in climate with all the false righteousness they could muster?

But He PROMISED!!

I am shocked at the news that Kim Jong Il, the benevolent dictator of North Korea has actually backed off of his agreement which was announced yesterday! He wants a light-water reactor, and if he doesn't get it, he will build more bombs. My reaction? Give it to him right away!

Because there is the very real possibility that he won't be happy with just the Sudentland!

In all seriousness, this whole process is hogwash.

Here is a hard and fast rule you can take to the bank: One cannot reason or bargain with ambitious dictators and reasonably expect them to abide by the terms of any agreement they sign.

Here is another maxim: If they kill their own people, they'll care nothing about killing you as soon as they think they can.

And just to clear the air of diplomatic B.S., why does North Korea continue to demand the right ti use nuclear power when part of this stupid agreement involves their receipt of energy assistance? Please. They won't stop making weapons no matter what agreements they sign.

The only way we'll see true peace in North Korea will be the removal of Kim Jong Il. Till then, any agreement with North Korea is so much wasted paper, more useful for covering the floor for puppy training.

Monday, September 19, 2005

How to Know that Hillary is Running for President

First, she's trying to get to the right of Bush on abortion by criticizing his lack of support for "family planning funding".

Then her husband launches a fairly predictable series of attacks on the Bush Administration's handling of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and other matters. Clinton is definitely intelligent enough to know that his attacks, such as they are, have little real bearing in fact. The Iraq attacks were generalized, offering little insight as to how he would have handled the matter differently. And he knew well that the hurricane comments were little more than silly blame shifting, as Bush had no power to supplant the state and local government (I believe that Clinton has read the Constitution as well).

But then he addresses the biggest issue which will face Hillary next year in her run for reelection to her Senate seat--whether she should pledge to serve her full six years. Janine Pirro (R-NY), her likely opponent, meets her on all social issues, but is a true conservative on tax, budget, defense and terror issues, making her a true threat to Hillary's aspirations. And in response to evidence that New Yorkers want a Senator who will serve out the entire term to which they are elected, indicating that the people of that state aren't as completely dumb as Hillary thinks, Pirro has pledged to serve the entire six years. Bill thinks Hillary should make no such pledge.

Forgetting the elementary conclusion that breaking a campaign-issue promise to her home state voters would be the seminal act of any presidential run of a reelected Senator Clinton and instant ammo for her Presidential opponent, failing to make it in the first place has the same effect. Failing to promise leaves her as a semi-honest candidate but with no real loyalty to the people whom she expects to return her to office, making it clear that the Senate seat is all about her, and leaving her seat largely unattended for almost two years as she campaigns. The other would start her 2008 campaign off with accusations that she is a phony, leaving her with the legendary credibility of her husband. And while I doubt that any of these things would cause her to lose New York in a presidential contest (who are we kidding, it's as reliably Democratic as California and Illinois) she cannot win the election with the cloud of arrogance and dishonesty that followed her for the eight years of her husband's administration.

The other solution, as Dick Morris suggested, would be for her to forfeit the seat. It leaves her without the gloss of being a power-holder as she runs, but it leaves her looking honest, which would be a great asset to someone who desperately needs a veneer of trustworthiness in order to remain viable.

It'll be interesting to see how she worms her way out of this one. But enjoy, as these people are masters at their craft.

UPDATE

But this from Michelle Malkin can't be good news. It's pretty well settled that Cindy Sheehan is devoid of credibility. Only the complete moonbats take her seriously. Unfortunately, those are the very moonbats upon whom Hillary will depend for any Senate or White House run.

I can hear Bill Clinton quoting Darth Vader now: "She may yet be of some use to us." Acknowledge her, acknowledge that the whole WMD thing was a result of sloppiness, with a poorly planned effort to secure the country (it sells infinitely better than MoveOn's repeated failed strategy of "lies" and "blood for oil"), we should pull out and let the Iraqis deal with their own people (another faux mantra, but one that can fly) and everyone will be happy for a photo op. Then she'll be bound and gagged and tossed into a vault at the Clinton Library until December 2008.

Nagin Needs to Use Noggin

While I understand the importance of rebuilding and repairing New Orleans, I also think that caution is probably the best approach. But Ray Nagin isn't worried about some fairly significant public health concerns.

Once again, we find local government and FEMA at odds. Let's make no mistake--the local government, not FEMA or the feds, is the one in control. People elected Ray Nagin and the City Council (or whatever it's called in New Orleans) to administer the city, including its repopulation. This power is reserved to the locals.

But with power comes the responsibility of properly advising people. And advising residents and business owners to come back to a city that cannot provide reliable power, clean drinking water, functional hospitals or emergency services is a pointless risk. It sounds bold, but it really comes out be something rather stupid.

And while the Superdome and Convention Center were human catastrophes, an epidemic caused by bacterial and other infections from an unhealthy city cannot be resolved by buses, water and MREs.

But I'll say it now: Please spare us the blame game for not rescuing the residents of New Orleans from a disease infested city or from a mayor who didn't think before he acted. The feds are not responsible for the stupidity of individuals who, return with full knowledge of but no respect for the health dangers which may await.

UPDATE:

If this is true, then why the heck is he in such a mad rush to have the people come back? And when reasonable people are telling him to pull back the resettlement, including the FEMA regional head and the President, and to make the point, they tell the press of their advice, why did he still shrug his shoulders?

Donald Trump would have fired this guy episodes ago. This is what happens when you elect a guy who has no clue what he's doing.

Elections matter, folks. This is why it's ok to talk politics...

North Korea Comes Around--Again!!

It's time to get excited! North Korea agreed to disarm its nuclear weapons program. In exchange for energy aid and other concessions, which some more pessimistic folks might call "bribes", North Korea has promised to back off of its nuclear program, little by little, as more of the concessions it demanded come in. And I am certain that we can trust the no longer renegade leader Kim Jong Il this time, notwithstanding the last time when he slightly violated a treaty insofar as he disregarded it in toto (except for receiving aid that benefited him while his people were just a little hungry and a little overworked).

And I am certain that the program will remain shut down, at least until inspections discover otherwise, whence we can begin even more talks. Which is why I recommend a very, very, very distant schedule for the resumption of inspections, and for low quality of and limited access for same. Hans Blix would be an ideal candidate to conduct them in that case. I suggest this because it will appear for a really, really, really, really long time that North Korea is really, really, really, really serious about keeping to its agreements. Makes sense.

We have now achieved "peace for our time!"

Friday, September 16, 2005

Cindy Sheehan - Stop the Aid in New Orleans

Back to this idiot again. Cindy Sheehan wants to pull the National Guard troops out of "Occupied New Orleans". Can't make this stuff up.

A few golden quotes, though:
The people in LA who were displaced have nice, if modest homes that are
perfectly fine. I wonder why the government made them leave at great expense and
uproot families who have been living in their communities for generations.

Flood...death...destruction...no electricity...no drinking water...no supplies...hello?

The rest of the post is a howler, and a real embarassment to this goofball, but here's the clincher:

One thing that truly troubled me about my visit to Louisiana was the level of the military presence there. I imagined before that if the military had to be used in a CONUS (Continental US) operations that they would be there to help the citizens: Clothe them, feed them, shelter them, and protect them. But what I saw was a city that is occupied. I saw soldiers walking around in patrols of 7 with their weapons slung on their backs. I wanted to ask one of them what it would take for one of them to shoot me.

Brilliant! Our hero closes with this bit of wisdom:

George Bush needs to stop talking, admit the mistakes of his all around failed administration, pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq, and
excuse his self from power.

She is so completely locked in her little addled leftist tunnel that she has no idea what is going on around her, and can only view things, including this disaster and the relief being given to the needy through the prism of anti-American hate.

Cindy, give it a rest. You've destroyed your own cause (and your family) and made yourself a disgrace. Go back to California and leave the nice people alone.

News From The War

My brother in law's mission in Iraq is aptly described in this RealClearPolitics article by Austin Bay.

His report to us upon arrival in the Middle East was that it was 125 degrees, with 5-15 mph winds. He described it as if he had stepped off of the plane, and into a clothes dryer. Apparently they go out in the dark of the morning to train, and then come in before the temperature gets too hot. Frank had to use three of those baby wipes to clean the desert grime off of his face before he got clean.

And we wonder why the locals sometimes hava a lousy disposition.

Keep he and his wife in your prayers, and check their blog site.

Roberts Slides Through

Judge John Roberts, in a very smooth presentation, despite the idiocy of completely unintellectual and unprincipled buffoons like Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, and Ted Kennedy is on his way to confirmation as our next chief justice. The Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from witnesses over two more days, many who will praise the Senator's qualifications, many who will express concern because he has not pledged to defend their pet political causes.

But in the end, this is a done deal. Per Schumer on O'Reilly last night, he's possibly going to vote for Roberts. But the left wing interest groups need the chance to get up and talk about "turning back the clock" and other such nonsense, which may provide just enough cover for a no vote from the entire Democratic caucus, save just a couple.

Nagin Shows a Little Swagger

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, whatever one might think of him (and I do think he did a lousy job on the front end of this disaster), may have found himself. This post from the New Orleans Times-Picayune is even better in the video version.

Nagin seems to be using the disaster as a gain for the future of New Orleans, indicating that crime won't be tolerated (as it was before and during the disaster):
The various law enforcement personnel have an impressive arsenal, containing everything from M-4s to M-16s to night-vision goggles, Nagin said. "They might even have a couple of bazookas they're saving for special people," he quipped. "So if you're coming back to this city and expecting it to be what it was before, we have a rude awakening for you."
Bazookas...rude awakenings. This is priceless, not just because Nagin is playing Dirty Harry, but because it shows that Nagin may actually be getting it. The Nagin who broke down on radio may be being replaced by a guy who is finding out the hard way what leadership is and how it's done. And make no mistake, this is a very real opportunity.

Never before has a city been emptied and repopulated like this. Which means that the local officials are controlling the who, when and how of the city's resettlement. Meaning that they are already in town and have control of the peace, making established patterns of crime all the harder to reestablish and all the easier to interdict. Which does not mean that old ways will not again set in, just that Nagin has a rare opportunity to prevent it.

If he does, and redefines the Crescent City, he'll be a hero. If he screws it up, and it turns back into a crime infested mess, we're back to the inept guy who collapsed on the radio and told his citizens well before Katrina that they were on their own in the event of a disaster.

Blanco's Mea Culpa

Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D-LA) inadvertently admitted to a hot microphone that she should have called the military in sooner to aid in the hurricane relief effort, per this Newsmax article.

Do the Dems still want their little Katrina Commission now that the local Dems have egg on their faces?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Point That Bears Repeating

I mentioned this earlier in my lengthy post about what the speech ought to contain, but I don't think that it can be repeated enough. All of the complaints about the relief effort are coming from Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular. Nary a peep has been heard from Mississippi which was actually hit worse by the hurricane and Alabama who took a violent hit, about how they were let down by FEMA and Bush.

But we hear nothing but new and increasingly desperate blame claims from Mary Landrieu, Kathleen Blanco, and to a surprisingly lesser extent recently, Ray Nagin. But one should not be surprised by that, as Louisiana is possibly the most politically corrupt state in the nation (rivaling New Jersey). This trio is only doing what comes naturally and what they have observed for years. After all, when a former klansman seems a legitimate alternative to, and can come very close to beating a corrupt and inept Democrat machine member like former Louisiana Democratic Governor Edwin Edwards, the state has some serious issues. And Senator Landrieu, who threatened to hit the President if he did anything but swallow 100% of the blame for the local disaster problems in Louisiana, and who, in a moment of what seems to be typical intemperance under pressure for her, threatened to permanently destroy her opponent in the 2002 election, is an expert at displaying typical Louisiana jackboot politics.

Not much has changed over the years. But America is not all that fond of an overplayed hand. And when it's Louisiana Democrats making all the noise, eclipsing the significant disasters in Mississippi and Alabama, one wonders why this blame game shouldn't be regarded as anything but corrupt local (and national) politics as usual.

Bush Nailed It

He didn't hit my laundry list of things below, but he hit the notes he needed to hit.

My major gripe is that he didn't challenge Congress to funnel pork projects to the Gulf Coast, but it sounds like his plans for renewal are fairly clear.

He is by no means a perfect leader, nor does he pretend to be, but he can personally project encouragement and motivate progress like nobody I have ever seen. This will also wash away all of the trouble from the disjointed response of the first days of the relief effort.

Bravo. Now let's make it happen.

What's a Pile of Manure Cost?

Apparently $49.95 per year. But whose buying?

They Share Because They Care

If you wanted one more reason to remain awake at night, here you go. Iran's former and potentially current terrorist president wants to share nuclear technology with other Muslim states. Not Middle East states, mind you, but Muslim states.

And Europe in turn offered to bribe him not to do this. Because history, especially European history, has shown us that bad guys always are placated by appeasement.

Glad we got that straight.

I'm comforted.

What A Successful Speech For Bush Needs To Include

The President has the opportunity tonight to capture the imagination of Americans about the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast in general and New Orleans in particular. Or he can come on half prepared and have people viewing it as so many encouraging words.

The guy spending time on the Gulf Coast needs to be the same guy who spoke with a bull horn at Ground Zero in 2001. And while it was certainly an easier job to rally people to return the favor to al Qaida, the moral dimension is missing. It was a mindless storm that didn't mean to do anything. It was a collection of atmospheric conditions that, like a boulder rolling downhill, hit what it hit, as storms just like it have done for millennia. But in the modern day, people like and commerce necessitates coastal life. So here's what he needs to do.

The Emotional Element
As stupid as people can be, there is nothing that makes people want to do good things than seeing others do good things. The reason why Oprah is so popular is because she moved away from the trash talk show and started making her show relevant to people who want to do good. Rather than dwelling in the problem, her show is all about demonstrating the solution in action. Bush needs to do the same.

Talk about people helping, and getting their hands dirty. Talk about people's lives changing for the better out of the storm. Talk about the hope that we are seeing springing up. Talk about what real people are doing to make the lives of others better. And make the aid component relevant to ordinary Americans who live nowhere near the area. Tell them how to be part of what is becoming a very patriotic relief effort. People want to be part of a winning team.

The Cost
This is going to be wildly expensive, and part of the pitch will be that the President wants to spend more on the Gulf Coast than we have in Iraq. But how do we pay for that?

The suggestion that we raise taxes should by now be viewed as yesterday's easy answer to any problem. Tax increases help nobody except the government, and the government, in an ironic twist, also tends helps nobody, but rather adds confusion. But boy can they blow cash.

In this environment, a tax increase, coupled with a Fed that is increasing interest rates, and astoundingly high energy costs spells economic doom. And it would be silly to presume that this president and this Congress would permit such a thing. And despite the fact that he is term-limited, Bush doesn't want to risk the success of Iraq by imperiling the economy, which would limit his flexibility in prosecuting the war.

And as noted above, the government has made an art form of hosing down problems with money. Therefore, Bush needs a plan to use the cash.

As for the means, while I would vociferously oppose a tax increase, I am willing to give as I see fit. Allow additional tax incentives to private giving to Katrina's relief effort which will loosen people's pockets. It's one less thing the Feds and states have to administer, and it can get there quicker and in a more tangible way. Allow tax incentives for businesses developing in the region over top of wreckage, and special relief for businesses hiring locals whose jobs were washed away in the storm and floods. And this may be time for our Members of Congress to tighten their belts a bit.

There are few things which grate against economic growth more than pork. Both the needless spending which often does very little to promote the general welfare, save for needed road repair and other bona fide public works and infrastructure upgrades, and the draining of real cash from the pockets of people and businesses who will reinvest it in the market need to be stopped. But this has been a known problem for years, we have railed about it for years, and a change of party control does nothing. The Republicans did zilch to stop it once they took power in 1995. But I am willing to see a few programs nixed from my district in order to be redirected to the relief fund. The President needs to demand (yes, demand) of Congress that they cut the pork and redirect their wasteful home town projects to the recovery of the Gulf states. It won't happen otherwise, as distributing pork is Congress's most important job next to establishing commemorative legislation, like declaring a "National Body Odor Awareness Week" and funding the PSAs for it.

But even if they go along with it, how do we ensure that the cash is not wasted? Big spending leaves room for plenty of fraud and abuse, and just plain careless spending. Bush needs to urge state and local leaders to formulate their own plans for rebuilding what was lost, based upon competitive bids by reputable contractors to replace infrastructure, destroyed and damaged buildings, etc. for submission to and for payments administered by FEMA, rather than being based on loose estimates that encourage waste. It needs to be run like a private construction project which, while not always perfect, or even close to it, will run better than any government boondoggle. Show us the projects, show us the bids, we'll write the checks.

The Blame Game
Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid want a commission to study who screwed up worst. Because the 9/11 Commission, made up of two chairmen who were complete dolts, mostly clueless political butt-coverers from across the spectrum, and one Commissioner who was essentially investigating herself. They did a very nice job of ignoring evidence that didn't fit the version they wanted to portray, and thinking comfortably inside the box. They didn't want to offend anyone (especially themselves and former employers), so they came up with a middle ground result that told us nothing new, criticized the poor functioning of bureaucracy, and then recommended adding a bunch more bureaucracy to fix the part that already wasn't working. Brilliant.

I am reluctant to see such a painful waste of time, money and effort, and I hope that the President continues to be reluctant to form such a body. And I have not yet heard such a call from Mary Landrieu, David Vitter, Bobby Jindal, or any other members from the Louisiana delegation (please post cites to same if I am wrong). So I can only imagine that it's another effort on the part of the leftist Democrats in the Senate to try to blame Bush for anything that ever goes wrong.

I feel fairly comfortable with the history as it has been laid out. The Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana didn't take the threat seriously until it was too late. They did not bus people from New Orleans. They did not enforce an evacuation order, and even dallied in making the order. On top of that, they stalled federal relief efforts because the Governor was conscious of her turf. But the Feds weren't perfect either. FEMA was indeed improperly staffed, and the bureaucrats tripped over one another's feet. The Director was in over his head and knew it. It was a confluence of clumsy and ineffective form over function. But it does seem that some of the more serious foul ups occurred on the local and state level. FEMA, such as it was, had little to work with when they got to Louisiana. And note that almost all of the problems are restricted to Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular. We hear only minimal gripes about bureaucratic problems out of the equally devastated Mississippi and Alabama Gulf coasts.

So if we have to drop another wad on another ad hoc committee which the Democrats pray will give them the goods to attack Bush, I recommend that we pull in people who would know best--fire marshals, police chiefs, Coast Guard rescue types, experienced first responders who know what these efforts need to include and who would be least likely to think anything political, or to suggest one more useless government office. The Dems will get their little report. And they won't like its results. Neither will some elected officials in Louisiana.

This will be yet another defining moment for Bush. He needs to sell a big thing to us and rally us to be part of it.

Hopefully the post 9/11 Bush is who we see, not the post 11/2/04 Bush whose communication skills leave him open to attack and create the impression of an indifferent leader.

**Note: I edited this slightly since my initial post for spelling, grammar and clarity which suffer when one posts on the fly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Atheists Are At It Again, The Liberal Judges Pushing Them Along

Michael Newdow, atheists and anti-religious activist who seeks to advance his religion by prohibiting you from practicing yours anywhere except in the confines of a church or the corner of your basement has just pulled a another victory with a liberal federal judge in California, who agreed that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance constitute a state endorsement of religion.

The it's on to the 9th "Circus" Court of Appeals which previously agreed with Newdow and struck the words. I expect nothing less than another win for him.

The real battle remains the Supreme Court. Hopefully we will be dealing with a slightly more conservative court by then, having replaced Justice O'Connor with a more conservative Justice. Newdow will be dead on arrival. But this is beside the point.

Newdow isn't going to stop here. He isn't worried about the Pledge. He's worried about your religion offending his irreligion. The First Amendment prevents the State from endorsing a state religion (i.e. state church) and from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The state cannot pass a law requiring church membership or attendance, just as it cannot pass a law prohibiting them. It cannot favor the Methodists over the Pentecostals, or confer greater rights to one group over another. But just the mention of "God" nowadays is taboo, because the rare atheist may be uncomfortable.

But the atheist is no more Constitutionally protected from subjective emotional discomfort by differing religious viewpoints than one is protected from having their political sensibilities offended by having disagreeing political viewpoints censored by the state. But interestingly, these two issues stem from the same Amendment. We are protected from being denied the right to worship (or not worship) as we choose. We are not protected from getting our feelings hurt, and the state can play no role in putting us in a happy safe little bubble that protects us from ideas we don't like.

But tell that to Michael Newdow and the judges who pass his political agenda for him.

'Cause Breakin' Up Is Hard To Do

Read this from Jonathan Last at Galley Slaves/Weekly Standard & one MUST follow the links. A spat between Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds.

Would that be Yoko in the middle of the photo? But no, we can't blame Wonkette.

I think it's Sullivan's way of telling Reynolds he likes him. The whole "he picks on you because he likes you" thing, you know? A libertarian like Reynolds ought to be able to appreciate that, right?

I think there needs to be a cosmopolitan somewhere with two straws in the glass.

Is a Very Dangerous Storm Gathering for the Dems?

I should be ashamed of writing the first part of this post, because it involves the very easy task of deconstructing Joe Biden's behavior yesterday towards John Roberts. But the second part is a bit more interesting, so hang with me.

Biden, breaking out his best guy-smiley game show host grin, directed almost all of his questions to Roberts about the "Ginsburg Rule" (how he would answer questions during the hearing) as opposed to Roberts' judicial philosophy. Read the whole thing (part 1, part 2) to see how two-faced Joe Biden really is. It got really cute when Biden accused Roberts of "filibustering", adding that it's only a bad thing when they do it to him (Roberts). A hint as to what's in the air in the Democrats' cloakroom, perhaps? Perhaps not. Biden is a dope whose questioning had a net zero affect.

A filibuster would likely be unsustainable, which leads me to believe that Harry Reid will counsel against it rather than have egg on his face, and risk losing the power by a rule change which Republicans have promised. And in any case, if they are smart, they will see the real battle coming with O'Connor's replacement. And while Dick Durbin and his likewise clueless followers have suggested that they won't vote to confirm Roberts until they know who is coming to fill the O'Connor seat, such is just empty talk. There is nearly nothing Roberts could say or Bush could do to make the likes of Biden, Leahy, Schumer, Kennedy, Durbin, and others vote to confirm him anyway.

So who does Bush put up for O'Connor's seat?

I've previously suggested that Janice Rogers Brown or maybe even Miguel Estrada would make great selections. They would be for-sure confirmation fights, but ones that would be very embarrassing for the overly zealous leftist Senate Democrats who reserve the worst of their rancor for minority conservatives. Mistreating a qualified self-made conservative black woman or qualified self-made conservative Hispanic man after comparatively cordial treatment of a like-minded white man like Roberts would begin to strip the already fading veneer off of the Democrats' truly cruel and cynical attitude towards minorities who disagree with them. But it's very hard to say if that is the battle Bush wants to fight.

But perhaps Bush may prefer another more shrewd angle to make the lives of the Dems even worse. Edith Clement or maybe even Michael Luttig could be appointed. The Senate would be faced with yet another qualified young attractive conservative originalist judge, whom the Dems would have similarly difficult issues filibustering given a record of responsibility, a professional demeanor through the confirmation process, and a careful playing of one's cards close to his/her vest a la Roberts, notwithstanding the moronic behavior and wasted oxygen of the Democrat stooges on the Judiciary Committee.

But the Democrats' base would see it much differently.

Because while Bush and conservatives understand the gravity of appointing the right judges to the Supreme Court and Circuit Courts of Appeals (look at the Ninth "Circus" Court of Appeals to see what happens when one doesn't treat appointments seriously), the left is deadly serious about it. Because the left's legislative agenda is not described in terms of bills passed by legislatures and signed by executives, but by case names.

Roe v. Wade did not happen because abortion on demand was the will of the people, nor is it the job of a court to be concerned with their will--that's for the legislatures. It was the will of just five people. At that time, the various state legislatures were making their minds up on the matter (some legalizing others not), per the 10th Amendment. The Supreme Court usurped that power. Similarly, Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 said that sodomy could not be criminalized by the states (after Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986 said it could). The left's "legislative agenda" is not legislative at all. It is in reality a judicial agenda because they know as well as anyone else that the state legislatures would never dream of enacting any of their proposals because they are so far out of the American political mainstream. But if unelected and unaccountable--but politically reliable--judges on the federal level can restate the law in an appellate opinion, it becomes the law of the entire land, altogether bypassing Congress and state legislatures. Hence Roe, Doe, Lawrence, Roper, and Kelo.

But without liberal activist judges and left-leaning appellate courts, the left has to live with the laws made by lawmaking bodies consisting of elected and accountable representatives of the American people who are responsive to their concerns, and thus fearful of offending them. And to them, that's not progress, but rather (and very possibly) an environment for a regression of their agenda.

And if Bush is able to appoint two judges whom the left abhors, but the Senate Dems let them go in a walk, the left will see it as a craven betrayal. The net effect will be Democrat voters staying home, certain checks being written for less than expected, and others not being drawn at all.

This presents significant problems for Democrat Senators in red states like Kent Conrad (D-ND), Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) who are up for reelection in 2006, and who may not want to upset voters who heretofore have looked the other way when it comes to their Senators' party affiliation, by playing Harry Reid's game on national TV, playing into Bush's plan for a repeat of November 2002.

One hopes it turns out this way, and that Bush actually does play his cards this shrewdly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Roberts Day 1 - The Dems Show They Have No Class

The Senate Democrats have no class. And John Roberts probably deserves a medal for sitting through a series of painful opening statements as various Senate Democrats preened for the camera.

The pandering cake goes to Ted Kennedy with this statement. He involved Hurricane Katrina, played the race card, alluded to abortion, the disabled, and the economically disadvantaged as being somehow relevant to the consideration of Judge Roberts' nomination. Nobody ever accused the radical left of being coherent. But this should surprise nobody, as Kennedy is up for reelection next year, so he needed to include all of his constituents (the race industry, wealthy poverty-pushers, the abortion lobby) in order to let them know that he is still a reliable leftist.

Pat Leahy did much the same, pimping the Katrina disaster. Perhaps Dick Cheney's directive to him last year on the Senate floor bears repeating.

The guy smiley senator, Joe Biden, showed that he has either hired outgoing Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) to write for him, or perhaps the medication had not kicked in that morning with this quote:
For we will be faced with equally consequential decisions in the 21st Century: can microscopic tags be implanted in a person's body to track his every movement; can patents be issued for the creation of human life; can brain scans be used to determine whether a person is inclined toward criminal or violent behavior?
Brain scans. Impressive. Just the quote every politician wants put next to his name. But then he adds this refreshingly frank assessment:
Judge, if I looked only at what you've said and written in the past, I'd feel compelled to vote NO.
Like anything Roberts could say, short of endorsing Roe v. Wade as the case to which he pledges hallegiancence every morning before he even gets out of bed, would change any of these hacks' votes. But the really good stuff was reserved for the man whom Hugh Hewitt calls "the new Nixon."

Chuck Schumer, king of the judicial witch hunt, probably best set the tone by these remarks:

There are those who say your outstanding and accomplished resume should be
enough; that you should simply promise to be fair, and we should confirm.

I disagree.

To me, the most important function of these hearings because it is the most important qualification for a nominee to the Supreme Court is to understand your legal philosophy and judicial ideology.

This is especially true now that judges are largely nominated through an ideological prism by a President who has admitted that he wants to appoint Justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. To those who say ideology doesn't matter, they should take their quarrel to President Bush.

I began to argue that a nominee's judicial ideology was crucial four years ago. Then, I was almost alone. Today there is a growing and gathering consensus on the left and on the right that these questions are legitimate, important, and often crucial.

Therefore, I and others on both sides of the aisle will ask you about your views.

Here is what the American people need to know beyond your resume:

They need to know who you are and how you think.

They need to assess not only the sharpness of your mind, but also the fullness of your heart.

They need to believe that an overachiever can identify with an underdog who has
nothing but the Constitution on his side.

They need to understand that your first-class education and advantaged life will not blind you to the plight of those who need help and who rely on the protections of the Constitution which is every one of us at one point or another.

They need to be confident that your claim of judicial modesty is more than easy rhetoric, that your praise of legal stability is more than mere lip-service.

They need to know above all that if you take stewardship of the High Court, you will not steer it so far out of the mainstream that it founders in the shallow waters of extremist ideology.

As far as your own views go, however, we have only scratched the surface. In a sense, we have seen maybe 10 percent of you, just the visible tip of the iceberg, not the 90 percent that is still submerged. And we all know that it is the ice beneath the surface that can sink the ship.

Wow. Sink the ship...read the whole thing. The Dems are serious about getting a pledge to uphold Roe, and to toe the line on cases which advance the leftist agenda at the expense of the Constitution. This is what they want from the Court.

But I must give credit where credit is due. Arlen Specter kept it real. He noted that these hearings are about whether this judge will be true to the law or whether he will make the law true to him. Specter got it. So did Jeff Sessions and other Republicans. A good sign.

And Roberts gets it.

But the Dems don't get that they are in the minority. They are not wheelers and dealers. They are the party out of power, and they do not represent the majority of the Senate. It is not for them to control the debate. Hopefully the Republicans have the cajones to make that abundantly clear for them.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Will Louisiana Go Reliably Red

A little population change can make a big difference in the outcome of elections. Note that since 2000, the results of the census changed the makeup of the "red states" such that if in 2004 Bush had won all of the states he did in 2000, his electoral vote take would have increased by 8. The population shifted to the south during the 1990s, and along with them went a significant number of electoral votes. This accretion of population has historically affected our electorate.

But what happens when an entire city gets shifted?

Avulsion as a change to the electorate is a rarity, but we may indeed be seeing that in Louisiana. Many folks from New Orleans have indicated that they do not intend to return to a city prone to catastrophic flooding, and many have accepted jobs in the towns where they intended to be temporarily relocated. Clearly we have no numbers on this, but it stands to reason that the majority of people aren't going to wait around for a year with nothing to do to get back into a destroyed home which will need rebuilding when they can start over in a more secure place where people are hiring.

But the result may be significant for Louisiana, which has lately been a tossup state.

Bobby Jindal (R-LA) narrowly lost the 2003 election for governor to the current embattled Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Sen Mary Landrieu (D-LA) very narrowly beat her ditzy Republican opponent, Suzanne Terrell (R-LA) in 2002 in what was a literal catfight of a runoff election where both ladies publicly displayed their ignorance and intemperance. And Bush not so very closely, but closely enough, won Louisiana in both 2000 and 2004.

The problem for the Democrats is the migration of a possibly significant proportion of the population from an overwhelmingly Democratic region, in a state where they cannot afford to lose a single vote. Most of the people who have been relocated are poor and black, which form the base of any voters for any Democrat seeking to win stateside office. And if they really do leave in droves, statewide elections could turn decidedly against the Dems.

Granted, politics is a minor concern compared to cleaning up and restoring New Orleans, but the effect that this has will be nothing less than fascinating.

Revisionist History in Iraq

It's always a great feeling to have put all of your support behind the winning team, and to enjoy--and gloat--in being right in the end. And there are few things more humbling than to have supported the team that came up short. And as often as there are "loyal" boosters, regardless of the outcome, there exist a class of turncoats. And there are few folks less welcome than the fair weather friends--both those who join your cheering section late after railing against you in the beginning, and those who turn aside when the going gets tough. And this is particularly true with the fair weather punditry on Iraq.

My brother in law tipped me off to this article by Robert Kagan, contributing writer to the Weekly Standard.

But their reaction is pretty easily understandable given the convoluted concept of nation defense that they have. Liberal columnists supported the war when it seemed inevitable, and when they thought that it would be an easy sack. I think they expected a microwave popcorn instant war that ended five minutes after it began with surrenders from all Iraqis and all terrorists in country. That's a war they can support. But wars like that never happen, and I can only recall one such bloodless revolution, known as the Anschluss. If you don't recall it, it involved a lot of swastikas replacing Austrian flags. But war is a very nasty business because bad guys don't give up easily. And the Vietnam mentality, that hard slogs aren't worth it, still pervades these still clueless baby boomers.

It heartens me that Bill Clinton didn't try to battle out Iraq. The result in Somalia shows us that he runs from adversity. And I don' think that he would have had the guts to stand up to this present conflict which, despite media reports to the contrary, is being won.

And it is tiresome and embarrassing to hear those same Clinton Administration officials down the intelligence upon which they stood to prepare the country for war in the late 1990s. But their criticism of the Bush Administration's reliance on the same data makes one wonder what the heck they were doing bothering with Saddam during their misspent eight years if they didn't believe their own intelligence. It is pure partisan poppycock with no goal other than for personal political advancement and revision of the history of an Administration that thought it could talk sense into bad guys.

But I wonder what their reaction will be when our troops leave a democratic and stable Iraq? Will we see a column by Richard Cohen saying that he was with us all along? Spare us the support. It doesn't help anyone but the image of the turncoat. And it fools nobody but him.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I'll Take "Stupid Ideas" for 800, Alex

Tim Roemer (D-IN) a 9/11 Commissioner, suggested on Fox this morning that Jimmy Carter be appointed to head the rebuilding of New Orleans. If that means that he gets in to the city with hammer and nails like he did with Habitat for Humanity, that's fine. But put Jimmy in charge of nothing.

The best thing he ever did was to become a kind man who helped poor people build their homes.

The worst thing he could ever do is direct anything.

And given this suggestion from a 9/11 commissioner, the flaws in that vaunted body's report seem to make more sense.

Yet Another Political 9/11 Memorial?

Michelle Malkin posts on what appears to be a very unfortunate design of the 9/11 memorial for flight 93 which was made especially famous for the likes of Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick and others of equal significance who gave their lives to foil the terrorists in their effort to hit another target in Washington on that day.

But the design is strangely similar to the Islamic Red Crescent, which carries roughly the same significance as the cross or the star of David as a religious symbol.

And given that the only Moslems we know of on that plane were the hijackers themselves, this design seems singularly inappropriate. And if this was an intentional design, it reminds me just a bit of this. It is tasteless to decorate a victim's grave by the murderer's symbol.

The links Michelle provides are very helpful, especially the questions posed by Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs about whether the designer of this was completely clueless or completely callous.

Hopefully this was an unintentional error, but if not, it was an act of pure crude partisanship and the designer should be exposed.

Stay tuned, as this could get interesting.

UPDATE:

Here is the actual design explanation from the website for the memorial as submitted by the architect. The part that is concerning is called the "Crescent of Embrace." Michelle has the architect's philosophy posted. In all fairness to the architect, it appears that the statement was written in 1991, bearing no reference to this project. But it probably reads better with a little Greatful Dead playing in the background. Read it yourself.

I honestly cannot say for certain that the designer intended to create a memorial that incorporated an Islamic symbol.

But to include one is like putting a statue of Hitler at the gates to Auschwitz or pictures of Stalin at the door to Russian Synagogues, or a statement of Timothy McVeigh's philosophy at the Oklahoma City bombing site.

To involve politics is to miss the point of this memorial. Just ask the WTC memorial folks whose battle to dispense with the "International Freedom Center" at the site continues. Involving politics makes it about politics of the person designing the memorial, not the people being remembered. And that kind of involvement ususally means blaming America and/or justifying the acts of the terrorists.

Spare us the politics. Remove the crescent. The memorial is about a bunch of common people who will be best remembered by their final and ver uncommon acts. They got themselves killed to save others' lives. Symbols which the enemy used to justify their actions have no place.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Note to Chertoff: Don't Talk About The Disaster Unless You Plan to Blame Yourself

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff offended a bunch of Congressional Democrats (credit to Drudge) when he had the gall to disagree with the way that the media is reporting the New Orleans disaster during a briefing. The referenced article indicates that the Democrats became frustrated and offended with the way Chertoff and his staff described the scene in New Orleans, claiming that the media's reporting provided only a "soda straw" view of the real scene.

And while you pause to ponder the truly insensitive and brutish implications of that statement, please be sure to post them, because I'm missing the problem.

Chertoff's point is that the media is presenting the worst. And who could blame them? The scene in New Orleans, especially in the first days after the hurricane, was horrendous. Nobody had ever seen that kind of thing in America before. Chertoff's point, though, was that the city was not one big Superdome or Convention Center for purposes of being an evolving humanitarian disaster. Those sites were not an accurate sampling of the rest of the city. So why does that offend anyone?

It's not that they were offended, but rather disappointed. They wanted to hear how badly George W. Bush, or at least his staff--and thereby he--had screwed it up. Failing at their attempt to pin Bush as the bad guy for not doing Mayor Ray Nagin's and Gov. Kathleen Blanco's jobs for them, they went for the throat of Michael Brown at FEMA, or Chertoff, or Rumsfeld for not getting the military in there fast enough. If they can't get Bush, they want the head of one of his Departments or Agencies. Note how loud the cries are for Brown's head. He's just the easiest target. These unprincipled partisan Democrats want to pin fault on a disaster around the Administration's neck any way they can, and they will not be satisfied with explanations that the problems, as horrible as they are, are being managed on the federal level as best as our technology and manpower allows.

The Congressional Democrats wanted to believe the media version much more than the version of the Secretary of Homeland Security who had just toured and seen the devastation so that he could help formulate a plan to correct it. And while nobody paints a rosy scenario, the Democrats' reaction indicates that this remains, more than anything, an issue of political opportunity for them. They didn't want accurate information to make decisions about aid packages, they wanted to hear nothing more than inculpatory statements by Administration officials. But like Galileo at the Inquisition, Chertoff was not able to provide the Democrats with the view of the disaster--packed with Bush Administration admissions of fault--that they longed to hear.

And one wonders what good the Democrats ever expect to do in Washington when their sole objective is not to better America and the people who elected them, but to destroy George W. Bush and his Administration. Bush will be in office a whole lot longer than the people of New Orleans go hungry and homeless. One hopes that these partisans get to approving the aid package before that. Or is it always going to be about Bush?

Roberts and Katrina - MoveOn Makes the Connection

Drudge links to a report that MoveOn is preparing to air an ad equating John Roberts with the suffering in New Orleans, in the same tradition as the 2000 NAACP commercial implicating Bush in the dragging death of James Byrd. Apparently the acid trip had not worn off before this commercial was approved by MoveOn.

As a side issue, I wonder what this says about how deeply our political discussion has sunk, such that radical left conspiracy theory and hype can form a quasi valid part of our dialogue.

That aside, and while I find this to be a repugnant display of Barbara Boxerish infantile flower child logic that is better left to conversations over a bong, I'm praying that they run this morning noon and night. Aside of wasting their money, it will show how petty and shameless these people really are, to attempt to gain political traction by using the suffering of people who are victims of a natural disaster. But this is not surprising, as taste, class, restraint and civility are qualities which those on the far left have never displayed in any significant measure.

Just as the opportunistic shots at Bush, blaming him for failures not his own in the handling of the aftermath of the hurricane, were ineffective and seen by the public as a cheap attempt to shift blame and score a free political point or two, this stunt will likewise crash just as it gets out of the gate, as this attack ad is on its face based solely in fantasy.

Thanks again to MoveOn. I never thought I'd see the day when the left would willingly do the conservatives' opposition research for them, and then pay for it to boot.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Foretelling the Disaster

My wife found this article from National Geographic foretelling the disaster of a hurricane hit on New Orleans.

Prophetic. Shame that this got missed by the people in position to minimize the human dimension of this disaster.

You know That the Hurricane Relief Race Argument Is Bunk...

...when it's advanced by this idiot. Thank God for the complete morons who tie garbage assertions like this to their own execrable reputations and credibility. It saves conservatives the trouble.

Sadness Does Not Equal Justification

Two excellent articles from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News which I found on Drudge. And then there is Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) threat to punch the President if he levels criticism at the way the local authority handled the problem. And then she proceeds to blame him for all of the problems of her state, claiming that his presence in New Orleans was a "photo op." Of course, had he avoided the "photo op", his absence would have been used to support Kanye West's charge that he doesn't like black people. Can't win them all...

The New York Daily News article makes what I think is an excellent point about how absolutely unseemly it is to play the blame game while New Orleans remains a disaster area. And while it is by all means an emotionally trying time for all involved in Louisiana, those on the state and city levels should not be able to cloak themselves in their despair, using it as both a shield from valid criticism and a weapon to affix blame to the President for political purposes. Just as Cindy Sheehan used the loss of her son as emotional cover to attack the President, we cannot clothe the state local officials' culpability within their anguish to work an exoneration. We don't solve problems or prevent future ones by allowing people who behaved unwisely to escape a frank evaluation of their actions. Loss and pain do not relieve one of responsibility.

And whatever criticism one has of FEMA (and yes, flying people to Charleston, West Virginia rather than Charleston, South Carolina is more than a detail), asking for the head of the FEMA boss (which may happen) does not mean that local heads in Louisiana will not also roll for failures that were all the work of the state and local leaders.

Because the buck stops with the leaders...and not just with the President.

Raising the Rogers Brown Stakes, Bursting the Left's Race Tolerance Bubble

Include Tom Bevan over at RealClearPolitics as yet another individual who thinks that the President may advance Janice Rogers Brown as the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

Remember, the left despises her for several reasons, but chiefly because she is a black woman who disagrees with them. And the same crude treatment which Clarence Thomas endured will be the same or worse received by Rogers Brown. Just ask Condi Rice who received treatment that fell so far below that which is acceptable in a civil society that one imagines that the perpetrators would have been tobacco-chewin' men in white robes.

But instead, it was leftist newspaper columnists who were only too happy to portray a woman more educated, more intelligent, more wise, more attractive, more respected, more influential, and more experienced in her field than they could ever pray to be, as a buck-toothed slang-talking buffoon. And Jimmy Carter, a southern man, in a very tasteless move with an unfortunate historical parallel which I don't think he caught until it was way too late, was all to eager to imply that Condi Rice give up her seat at the Pope's funeral so that he could attend. It is unrealistic to think that Carter wished to truncate Dr. Rice because she is black, but it is equally unrealistic to believe that he would have asked the same of Madeline Albright.

So when they say it's not about race (to steal a quote from Dale Bumpers at Bill Clinton's impeachment trial) you can be sure that it's about race. Check the link above for a further link to a Doonsbury cartoon where the ever open-minded Garry Trudeau refers to Dr. Rice as "brown sugar". Very little area for interpretation there.

But digressions aside, the left will see an appointment of Janice Rogers Brown as an act of war, primarily because many on the left hold very racist philosophies, whereby they tolerate blacks so long as they toe the political line. The problem is that in their often uncontrolled zeal, they forget that it becomes much easier for people to see past the mantras about concerns over the judge's qualifications for office.

Probably the best option for Bush is to allow John Roberts, the already media-inoculated Chief Justice nominee to slide through the Senate confirmation process while the Democrat Senators on the left fume and grumble because they are powerless to stop it. And just when their frustration is smoldering as he takes office, Bush can nominate Rogers Brown to replace O'Connor--which will cause much the same reaction among the left as throwing a lit match into a gasoline tank. And much like lemmings to the waterside, the leftist Democrats' zeal will likely drown them before they realize they are in too deep.

After a largely cordial confirmation of John Roberts, notwithstanding the predictably entertaining and hysterical floor speeches by the real moonbats like Barbara Boxer, the hatchet job which the Democrats will deal Janice Rogers Brown will create an embarrassing contrast, the significance of which all but the most moderate among them will miss.

Which will leave the majority of Senate Democrats having opposed all three black nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court, including Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) who was a member of the Senate for the previous two votes for black Americans nominated to the Supreme Court. Just for the record, he voted against both Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. I likewise do not expect his vote to be "yea" for a Janice Rogers Brown nomination.

It is a scandalous history that these leftists who now lead the Democrat party are writing, and it is one that should be displayed in all its filth for black Americans to see and evaluate on their own.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Where B the Rappers?

Kanye West opened his stupid mouth at the NBC relief concert and created nothing less than a disgrace at an event designed to bring out generosity. He accused the federal government of shooting black people in New Orleans and the President of disliking black people.

And Fox's E.D. Hill asked this morning where these rappers are.

West's only valid point was that many of the hurricane's victims are poor and black. True enough. Let's take a look at who buys the "music" of people like Mr. West: young, often poor, black males. How about an unbelievably huge set of donations to the disaster relief fund? Let's get the rappers together to donate by example.

Sounds like a great idea.

But will the shizzle fly with the rappers themselves?

ADDENDUM:

A few astute readers added some (in fact the exact same) statistics below. But I'm wondering what that has to with the price of tea in China. I'm certain that there is a big market for this junk among adolescent white males. But I somehow doubt that young black males are buying any Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson CDs. And if you intend to argue that those products are not heavily marketed towards the urban black youth, please feel free to make a complete fool of yourself.

The Blame Game Versus the Facts

Here's what appears to be an excellent post, via Hugh Hewitt which has compiled contemporaneously recorded news reports on the days before the hurricane, the event itself, and its aftermath. It is worth the entire read.

Facts are most revealing when compared to rhetoric and emotional accusations. New Orleans' Mayor Ray Nagin's now infamous on-air radio collapse where he blamed everyone but himself for a failed response to the aftermath of the hurricane, after the feds were already moving. The end of the timeline links to this post from CNN which includes a transcript of a conversation with Nagin and Soledad O'Brien where Nagin states that Governor Blanco wanted 24 hours to consider Bush's offer while we watched the refugees of New Orleans suffer. Nagin also tacitly admits that he had a plan that was proven not to work.

My observation would be that the locals had no real plan, and from the start of the timeline, expected the feds to come flying in to the rescue before the hurricane winds died down to prevent the humanitarian disaster that took place. But without knowledge of the city's needs as would be provided by the local government, and with the Governor delaying federal aid as a result of personal turf concerns when people were dying, the feds could only do so much.

Sure, the feds were not perfect, and there is no disputing that. But we have local governments for a reason, and they are expected to show leadership in times of trouble, not to punt. If you have any question as to how it is supposed to work, review the acts of Rudy Giuliani after 9/11--a local guy who put the feds to work for his city in a time of disaster.

The thing that stinks the most about this is that the people being blamed are the people delivering the real help. The people complaining are those who perhaps could have prevented much of this chaos in the first place.

UPDATE

Hugh has a great post which discusses more blame (this time of Condi Rice) and includes various questions which focus on the notion of federalism--the notion that the greatest powers are reserved to the state and local governments. A President can offer but cannot force help on a state that refuses it.

I'm wondering whether (and feel rather certain that) things would be different if the Louisiana Governor's race had turned out differently. Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) who very narrowly lost that race as a result of last-minute attack ads that were aired just three days before the election, has been on the scene and has displayed a good deal of leadership and strength in a time when it is sparse among Louisiana officials. He was secretary of the State of Louisiana's Department of Health and Human Services, and would likely have managed the disaster in an effective way.

But to quote Don Rumsfeld, Louisiana and New Orleans had to go into the disaster with the Governor and Mayor they had. There are consequences to us for the people we elect locally as well.

Monday, September 05, 2005

George & the Supremes

Very big weekend to catch up on. Chief Justice William Rehnquist has died. The President in a very unusual move, switched John Roberts from the successor to Sandra O'Connor to the successor to William Rehnquist. A very interesting gambit.

Bush, anticipating a Rehnquist retirement, wanted to put Roberts as Chief Justice. And now he gets his chance.

First, let's get the Democrats out of the way. I'm wondering if Roberts' elevation to Chief Justice means that this is an "extreme circumstance" under the settlement reached to confirm various federal circuit court judges. If it becomes that, each of the Republican signatories needs to switch for a vote on the constitutional option to limit cloture votes in the case of judicial appointments to a simple majority.

But it won't. Roberts is just too clean, and switching this man with whom the American people have become comfortable and the leftist Democrat senators have become resigned as an associate justice to the Chief position was a move of pure genius on Bush's part. He killed the ferocious debate which the Dems were surely going to raise over a Chief Justice appointment. The Dems really can't safely argue anything about Roberts' fitness anymore. Bush dealt them another loser of a hand.

So who's next?

Bush has another opportunity to replace O'Connor. In my opinion, and from what we know, Bush has 3 or 4 legitimate options. He can choose Michael Luttig from the 4th Circuit (which he'd love to do), and Edith Clement is an option--replacing a woman with a woman, albeit more conservative, from New Orleans, no less making her all the more sympathetic a figure--but I think Bush may use the Dems' own game on them. If he wants a woman Janice Rogers Brown is the pick. A black woman from the South who the Democrats loathe and claim writes with a poison pen--which means she disagrees with them and writes effectively to the point that it embarrasses them. She can stand up to the Schumer/Kennedy/Leahy/Durbin abuse, and the Dems, if they treat her as rudely as they speak of her, will prove themselves to the nation to be the racist independent-minded black-haters they are. Or perhaps he could appoint the first Hispanic judge in Miguel Estrada with the same effect as Rogers Brown would get.

Very hard to say what he will do. But it makes for interesting watching.