MrSpkr's random thoughts . . .
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Polipundit takes a dangerous view . . .
Tit for tat political indictments will be the death knell for our democracy. If there is true illegal activity, by all means, prosecute. If, however, you are only interested in prosecuting as revenge for their prosecution, then you have lowered the level of institutional respect and integrity for everyone.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
He Deserves More . . .
but this is a good start:
The facility of the United States Postal Service located at 57 West Street in Newville, Pennsylvania, shall be known and designated as the `Randall D. Shughart Post Office Building'.Who?
Sergeant First Class Shughart, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. . . . Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel . . .After their third request to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life.
Godspeed, Sgt. Shughart. Rest in peace, and thank you for your service.
This is very disturbing
Police violently disperse a "rave dance party" being held on private property, in Utah. Apparently, the police also took pains to keep people from videotaping the raid.
This bothers me quite a bit. I'm not a raver -- it's just not my thing. Loud music and dancing until 4 in the morning is not my idea of a good time (frankly, I'd rather be playing (a) with my wife (grin); (b) with my kids; (c) with my kids' X-Box (grin); or (d) blogging. But the fact I don't enjoy an activity does not make the activity illegal.
My neighbor (and carpool buddy) likes these sorts of parties. He DJ's some of them, and makes rather psychedelic string art designs (hard to explain, but cool looking) that he takes as decorations for the party. He then stays out until the wee hours of the morning, dancing and partying.
That's his thing, and I have no problems with it.
The local constabulary released a statement one week after the event. The Sheriff asserts rave parties are bad because at rave parties, "a large amount of drug use and underage consumption of alcohol occur. In addition reports of sexual assaults, overdoses, firearm violations, vehicle burglaries, and numerous individuals drive from the party under the influence of alcohol and or drugs."
Interesting. Are there drugs and alcohol at these gatherings? Almost certainly. But the same can be said of (a) any high-school football game; (b) the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade; (c) any NASCAR event; (d) any college football game; (e) any professional football game; (f) any high school prom; (g) the presidential inauguration; (h) you get the idea . . .
That doesn't make those things illegal in and of themselves. The way to deal with illegal drugs and minor's in possession is to infiltrate the crowd and make arrests, not bar the event.
Are there sexual assaults? None were reported -- and Utah County didn't find any sexual assaults, firearm violations, or vehicle burglaries. They found one kid they claimed had overdosed on ecstasy, but local hospitals could not verify that this girl had been admitted or treated.
Look, I'm all in favor of the war on drugs -- but this kind of broad sweep was stupid, and likely violated the participants' constitutional rights. Although the sheriff's office is claiming that the group lacked a permit (required for gatherings of more than 250 people for a period of time longer than twelve hours), concert promoters not only claim they obtained the proper permit (and gave the permit number), they correctly point out that the raid occurred at 11:30 p.m. -- two and a half hours after the rave began, and more than nine hours prior to the twelve hour deadline). The Sheriff counters by noting that the concert guys had (a) leased the land for a 24 hour period of time and (b) obtained a health permit for 24 hours.
Poor argument, IMHO. First, I would guess that between setting up the event, holding a nine-hour party, then tearing it down and cleaning up, one would NEED a 24 hour period of time. That does not mean that more than 250 people will be there for more than 12 hours.
Second, I would be willing to wager that one cannot obtain a health permit from the county for shorter periods of time.
It is also interesting that they arrested security personnel at the concert for possession of drugs. The police do not dispute that the security personnel had confiscated the drugs from party goers; they state the security guys should have immediately called the police. This is part of our ridiculous "no tolerance" culture regarding some forms of behavior. Frankly, I'd rather my kids attended a party with security who TOOK THE DRUGS AWAY FROM OTHER ATTENDEES than to attend a party where there was either lax or no security.
Think of it another way -- under this logic, parents shouldn't confiscate drugs from their kids, because, by doing so, the parent can face drug charges for possession.
Some may question why I, as a conservative, would be against law enforcement here. Simple --- I hate bullies. Always have. I hate stupid bullies even more.
And stupidity and bullying seems to be the modus operandi by these law enforcement officials.
The scariest part of this story is . . .
that the four criminals, err, accused are juveniles -- which means that their names will not be released, and their records will be expunged in less than ten years.
Why have we as a society abandoned accountability?
Speaking of which, where are these boys' parents? There needs to be a little accountability there, too . . .
Gates of Vienna: Visualize Industrial Collapse
Chilling reading in the ongoing war of civilizations.
Monday, September 26, 2005
New Blog Roll Links!
A few new guys on the blog roll tonight.
First up, The Therapist -- a hilarious site worth a daily visit. Any man who can come up with a T-Shirt slogan like "Cindy Sheehan is to grieving mothers what Rodney King is to black motorists" is worth reading. Besides, if you're reading the drivel I post, you NEED therapy.
Next is Fifth Street Truths, a relative newcomer to blogging, but a fellow father of four with some good old fashioned ideas about how to raise his family. He'll make you think.
I've been reading "Just Some Poor Schmuck" for a while. A retired Vietnam veteran, conservative, and insightful commentator, I like his blunt, get to the point style. Where else are you going to see a slogan like "When the Democrats talk about respecting the law they don't mean themselves, they mean everybody else. They're special."?
The Political Teen is a great site to check for videos of your favorite moonbats losing it.
Spoons is a local Dallas guy, very conservative and very willing to call a spade a spade when certain Republican presidents forget their base.
Finally, Iowahawk is a good satire site for a regular laugh at the lunatic left.
Welcome, guys, and thanks for the good times thus far.
SURE it was just a sociological experiment.
Italian vacationers admiring the view from a fairground Ferris wheel at the Munich Oktoberfest got more than they bargained for when a porn shoot suddenly began inside their cabin, authorities said on Friday.Right. If there was any sociological research going on, it was the impact cash from a cheesy "reality porn" movie had on college kids.
. . .
Unable to stop the shoot, the Italians informed local police, who promptly arrested the actress and her crew, a political scientist and a 25-year-old student.
"They said they weren't doing it for commercial reasons but that they wanted to see how visitors would react," police said.
Hugh Hewitt advises the DSCC staffers
And doesn't do too bad of a job.
I particularly liked the part about "don't let a hometown lawyer advise you on what to do."
Truer words were never spoken.
Friday, September 23, 2005
TV Weatherman retires to wear his tinfoil hat full-time
Seriously, this guy is just bizzare:
Since Katrina, Stevens has been in newspapers across the country where he was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying the Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.Ummm . . . oka-a-ayyy.
Check out his website, Weatherwars. It looks like he is serious about this stuff:
A battle in the skies is waged daily. Some battles are won and others lost. We yet know not which. For years this massive global project has been under way, but only now is it making it to the forefront of the consciousness of those with curious minds. These open minds know that every belief system fails; and only fails, under the weight of new truthful information. This is how progress is made, slowly and often only with the passing of a generation of humankind.Wow. He is similarly modest about himself:
I am just the first of a very bright group of individuals who have to look at information that is of varying reliability and quality on a day to day basis. draw conclusions from that data, then present those conclusions of that data to very large audiences.
'Nuff said. Invest in Alcoa if guys like this keep popping up.
Everyone needs 'em.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Governor Blanco reads my blog!
or at least picks up one of my ideas.
"Rita has Louisiana in her sights," Blanco said. "Head north. You cannot go east, you cannot go west. If you know the local roads that go north, take those."Me:
As for those who refuse to leave, she said: "Perhaps they should write their Social Security numbers on their arms with indelible ink."
it might come to a point that putting our names and social security numbers in permanent ink on the inside of our wrists or arms might be important for subsequent identification if we all die.
GREAT Movie quiz
In Excel format.
Imagine all your favorite movies. Now, imagine them with the actors' digitally excised from the film -- leaving only their clothes.
This quiz presents sixty movie scenes in which there are no people -- only clothes -- and asks you to name each one. How good are you?
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Why I don't practice law in Oklahoma.
Shut up, Arlen.
Specter is not doing a good job of showing his gratitude to Bush and others who held their noses and supported his last run for the Senate against a strong conservative challenger.
Or for those Senators who supported his bid for Senate Judiciary Chairman, despite vigorous grassroots opposition (including my own.)
Now, he's trying to tell Bush (PUBLICLY) to leave Sandra D. on the Court a little longer. The only possible reason would be to squeeze one more series of rulings (the Court opens its Fall session in October) based on Sandy's "how do I feel today" judicial philosophy.
Specter can still be removed from the chairmanship. If he torpedoes a qualified nominee, he should be.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
This case will end up before the the Supreme Court
The issue: can a private group, such as the Club for Growth or maybe MoveOn.Org (the main organization, not the political action entity which is nominally a "separate entity") get involved in political campaigns without registering with the federal government (and accepting the donation limitations set therein)?
President Bush's re-election campaign and the sponsors of the 2002 campaign finance law sued the FEC last year, accusing it of failing to enforce the law and crack down on soft money spending, particularly in the presidential race. Those cases are pending in federal court.So we go after a conservative group for what reason? To show that we are being fair and unbiased?
The 2004 election saw the emergence of several partisan groups created by political activists to continue spending five- and even six- and seven-figure contributions after the new law imposed tough donation limits on national parties and congressional and presidential candidates.
Please spare me the excuses.
Under the law, the national parties and federal candidates can no longer raise corporate and union donations in any amount or unlimited donations from any source, and such money isn't supposed to be used by anyone trying to influence a federal race.So why hasn't there been a significant investigation of George Soros, who literally spent tens of millions of dollars to attempt to oust Bush in the 2004 campaign?
The current state of campaign contribution laws is abominable. The more Congress tries to regulate these organizations (who are, by the way, engaged in POLITICAL SPEECH -- which is supposedly protected by the First Amendment -- the more those organizations learn to re-organize and find ways around the technical limits of the law. Meanwhile, some individuals and organizations find their Constitutionally protected "rights" no longer exist. They are threatened with substantial monetary fines and potential imprisonment, all for merely engaging in political speech.
We had a revolution about this kind of governmental activity once.
Regulating political speech thusly is not only contemptible from a moral standpoint, it is also pointless. Those who wish to engage in political fundraising and campaigning WILL find a way around the artificial limits set by congressional incumbents (who might also have a small interest in limiting the funds competitors can access). The only effect Congressional laws will have is to further obscure the source of the campaign funds.
The best solution is the simplest: remove all campaign finance limits. Let anyone spend whatever amount they desire. The only caveat is that the candidate or organization MUST, within 24 hours of receiving the donation, post the name, address, contribution amount and occupation or industry of the donor to a central database which will be instantly and fully accessible to the general public.
Full disclosure is the cure to the perceived ills of too much money. If trial lawyers want to donate millions to the Democrats (and they already do), great! If oil companies want to hedge their bets by funding both sides (and they already do), great!
Just let the public know so that we can make informed decisions about the politicians' motives, okay?
Monday, September 19, 2005
Sherman's little invention saves the day . . .
Dinocrat has an interesting post regarding Bill Burkett and the forged "Rathergate" memos. Burkett wrote a rather nasty editorial in the Online Journal, a Leftist online newspaper, in which Burkett said things like "George W. Bush, you may be the president [sic]. But I know that you lied." and "Your command profile, sir, is that you are a liar." Burkett's bio describes him as "one of the sources for information in the Michael Moore's film "Farenheit [sic] 911."
'Nuff said about Mr. Burkett.
Dinocrat then inaccurately states
Much of the information about Rathergate continues to be available online, with one important exception, the actual piece that Burkett wrote for Linda Starr and Online Journal that appeared on August 25. It has disappeared entirely, as this link demonstrates. All that we have now are remnants of the piece . . .Problem is, that ain't quite true due to the wonders of the Wayback Machine.
The Wayback Machine found Burkett's inane article with no problems. If you'd like to take a gander, it is here.
Not that the fact you can still read it online takes anything away from Dinocrat's primary point: the Leftist propagandists at the Online Journal deliberately removed the article from their database, presumably to disassociate themselves from a discredited article, argument and individual.
Not even that makes much sense, though -- I mean, take a look at this article from September 24, 2004, trying to connect George Bush to -- no kidding -- the Kennedy assassinations.
I can't see how they think they might be any less credible with Burkett's rantings than they are without them.
Didn't Travolta and Cage . . .
do a mediocre action movie about this?
I seem to recall it coming out during law school . . .
When they outlaw knives, only outlaws will . . .
be able to carve their haggis.
A UNITED Nations report has labelled Scotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America.
Why, how can this be? I thought America was the land of unmitigated violence and lawlessness. Why, Americans own guns, you know . . . and sometimes they even shoot them for fun!
The attacks have been fuelled by a "booze and blades" culture in the west of Scotland which has claimed more than 160 lives over the past five years. Since January there have been 13 murders, 145 attempted murders and 1,100 serious assaults involving knives in the west of Scotland. The problem is made worse by sectarian violence, with hospitals reporting higher admissions following Old Firm matches.And these enlightened Europeans have the temerity to talk down to American "fundamentalist" Protestant Christians?
Wow. Well, how are the Scots reacting?
David Ritchie, an accident and emergency consultant at Glasgow’s Victoria Infirmary, said that the figures were a national disgrace. “I am embarrassed as a Scot that we are seeing this level of violence. Politicians must do something about this problem. This is a serious public health issue. Violence is a cancer in this part of the world,” he said.
Oh. I see. I guess all the real Scots have already emigrated to America.
No self-respecting Scot would crack off a lament more appropriately suited for weepy liberals.
I'm just surprised he didn't find a way to suggest that it was all "for the children."
In any event, the local law enforcement sees a way to solve the problem: ban knives and alcohol.
Detective Chief Superintendent John Carnochan, head of the Strathclyde Police’s violence reduction unit, said the problem was chronic and restricting access to drink and limiting the sale of knives would at least reduce the problem.Yeah. Like that will work.
Britain dealt with a similar issue in the 1990s when they decided to ban guns after a lunatic went on a rampage at a school. That didn't work very well.
So why should knives be any different?
Friday, September 16, 2005
Times to Charge for Access to Columnists - Yahoo! News
So now the NYTimes wants bloggers to pay for the privilege of Fisking the Times' self-righteous and often factually inaccurate columnists?
Easier to ignore them, IMHO.
P.S. Due to viral problems (the computer's, not mine), no posts from home last night. I'll see if I can get it this weekend. For those trying to follow the Congressman Jefferson story, I have some interesting new facts to share.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
I had drafted a lengthy followup to the prior post on Congressman William Jefferson, focussing on the Nigerian and Ghanan connections.
Unfortunately, MSIE ate my post.
I'll give it a shot late tonight.
Thank you to all the visitors from Polipundit, and to Polipundit Lorie Byrd for the link!
Reason No. 783 that I am glad I am not a woman:
The headline says it all: "The Beauty Products from the Skin of Executed Chinese Prisoners."
Makes the absence of stray cats and dogs in areas around Chinese restaurants seem positively unremarkable by comparison.
Hat tip, Digital Brownshirt.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Joe Biden acknowledges my observation . . .
but fails, as is par, to give me credit.
The acknowledgement? That the Senate hearings are little more than a Kabuki dance, as I observed two days ago.
Joe needs to pay closer attention.
It shouldn't be that difficult. After all, he is his own favorite subject.
I'll keep the box, Monty -- you can have door number three
What is Congressman Jefferson hiding?
On Friday, Sept. 2 -- five days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast -- Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee . . . used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings -- even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops.It gets better.
Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News that during the tour, Jefferson asked that the truck take him to his home on Marengo Street, in the affluent uptown neighborhood in his congressional district. According to Schneider, this was not part of Jefferson's initial request. . . Jefferson went into the house alone, the source says, while the soldiers waited on the porch for about an hour.And it gets better, still.
Finally, according to the source, Jefferson emerged with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck.
Jefferson said the trip was entirely appropriate. . . "This wasn't about me going to my house. It was about me going to my district," he said.Tell me another story.
But wait -- there's more.
The Louisiana National Guard tells ABC News the truck became stuck as it waited for Jefferson to retrieve his belongings.Okay -- so here is the situation. A prominent Democratic politician essentially takes military resources and diverts them to his personal use in order to get to his home in the flood damaged area. He then forces the military to wait for an hour while he goes inside his home, alone.
The soldiers signaled to helicopters in the air for aid. Military sources say a Coast Guard helicopter pilot saw the signal and flew to Jefferson's home. The chopper was already carrying four rescued New Orleans residents at the time.
A rescue diver descended from the helicopter, but the congressman decided against going up in the helicopter, sources say. The pilot sent the diver down again, but Jefferson again declined to go up the helicopter.
After spending approximately 45 minutes with Jefferson, the helicopter went on to rescue three additional New Orleans residents before it ran low on fuel and was forced to end its mission.
"Forty-five minutes can be an eternity to somebody that is drowning, to somebody that is sitting in a roof, and it needs to be used its primary purpose during an emergency," said Hauer.
Then the truck gets stuck, so they send a chopper carrying four other flood victims to pick him up. He refuses not once, but TWICE to board the chopper.
Why would he do that? Let's look at the facts -- the chopper had people on it already, and, rather than landing, it sent a rescue diver down to pick up the Congressman, who had a large box of personal possessions from his home.
I'd guess that the diver told him there was no way to take the box aboard the chopper, and so the Congressman refused to go. I mean, I can't think of any other explanation that fits the facts as well as that (Marcus Aurelius, anyone?).
So what could possible have been so important? ABCNews has a hint.
Authorities have recently searched Jefferson's property as part of a federal investigation into the finances of a high-tech firm. Last month FBI officials raided Jefferson's house as well as his home in Washington, D.C., his car and his accountant's house.Wow. That sounds pretty suspicious, don't you think? But, no worries -- Congressman Jefferson has assured us that he did nothing wrong.
Jefferson has not commented on that matter, except to say he is cooperating with the investigation.
Last week, Jefferson set up a special trust fund for contributions to his legal defense in light of the FBI investigation. A senior federal law enforcement source tells ABC News that investigators are interested in learning if Jefferson moved any materials relevant to the investigation. Jefferson says he did not.See -- he says he did not remove materials related to the investigation.
Well, before we jump to any conclusions, let's see what the investigation REALLY entails, okay?
On the same day that federal agents executed search warrants on the New Orleans and Washington, D.C., homes of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, the FBI also raided the Maryland residence of Nigeria's vice president, seeking evidence of possible payments to officials in that African nation. A State Department official confirmed the Aug. 3 search of the Potomac, Md., home of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his wife, Jennifer. The agency referred all questions about the raid to the Justice Department, which declined to comment.Oh my. We aren't talking about some sort of Martha Stewart-esque insider trading deal. We are talking about an American congressman being investigated for trying to bribe foreign officials. This sounds an awful lot like ABSCAM.
A source familiar with the investigation said subpoenas show agents were looking for records showing whether Jefferson, D-New Orleans, paid, offered to pay or authorized payments to officials in the government of Nigeria or Ghana.
The subpoenas, described to The Times-Picayune, seek documents related to Jefferson's dealings with Abubakar and the vice president of Ghana, Alhaji Aliu Mahama. Jefferson returned from a five-day visit to Ghana in mid-July, about three weeks before the FBI raided his homes.
The subpoenas focus in part on a telecommunications deal Jefferson was trying to engineer in Nigeria over the past year, according to documents and those familiar with details of the investigation.
Let's dig a little deeper, shall we?
According to a Washington Post story quoted by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "the operation had been in the works for a year and was investigating whether Jefferson pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars from business deals. The Post reported that agents found a large amount of cash in Jefferson's freezer."
I'm sure there will be claims this is racially motivated -- I mean, this guy is the first black Congressman from Louisiana since Reconstruction -- but I heard the same thing about Marion Barry, who was guilty as hell.
Here, I strongly suspect that Congressman Jefferson wanted to get into his house to seize documents and other evidence regarding his involvement in bribing foreign officials (such as the VP of Ghana and the VP of Nigeria) in a technology company deal. Officials found thousands of dollars stored in Congressman Jefferson's freezer.
As I said earlier -- this smells a LOT like ABSCAM. It is noteworthy that the federal grand jury investigating this matter was formed in suburban (and largely white) northern Virginia (apparently Jefferson has a shell company there) rather than in the minority-majority areas of Washington, D.C. or New Orleans, where Jefferson maintains residences.
That tells me the FBI and DoJ are seriously looking at prosecuting. They have to know it is a politically sensitive case because Jefferson is a prominent black politician (the first black elected to Congress from Louisiana since reconstruction). The Feds are also confident enough not only to conduct a series of raids on a sitting congressman's homes and offices, but also to raid the homes of a Nigerian diplomat -- something rarely seen in diplomatic circles due to the powerful nature of diplomatic immunity.
Look for this story to be buried in the mainstream media, while stories about Tom DeLay's associates get prominent coverage.
But the MSM is fair and balanced, right?
Hat tip, Instapundit for the initial story.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Althouse: The Roberts confirmation hearing.
Ann Althouse did a great job finishing up a blogging of the Roberts' hearings.
I had intended to finish tonight -- I don't know why, since my sound card is broken.
I can tell you, however, that Joe Biden actually looks somewhat impressive as long as you don't have to listen to him.
Sick, sick, sick people -- I hate hearing of child abuse
There is no excuse for this.
Sheriff's deputies found 11 children locked in cages rigged with alarms in a north Ohio home.
The children, ages 1 to 14, were in cages in the walls of the home in Clarksfield Township, 50 miles west of Cleveland. They had no blankets or pillows.
The kicker? All 11 kids were adopted.
Sharon and Mike Gravelle are adoptive or foster parents for all 11 children, officials said. The Gravelles don't have a listed phone number.
These kids were placed in this home by the government (I would guess -- it is possible they adopted from private orphanages, but I rather doubt it). The government supposedly did home studies and child welfare investigations prior to placing the kids in these . . . individuals' . . . custody.
And yet, despite all the background checks, and supposed protections for the children, we have eleven kids who were apparently treated like animals at a kennel.
Reminds me of an old, sad, but true joke:
Q: What are the nine scariest words in the world?
A: I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.
Posing a question . . .
This weekend is my high school's 20th reunion.
I hadn't planned on going -- high school was a very ugly period in my life, generally because of family issues -- and I wasn't all that interested in the concept of seeing so many people from that time in my life. It's not that I had a problem with those people in particular -- it was more that I've spent a lot of time trying to forget things from that time in my life, and I was distinctly uncomfortable with the possibility of some of those old demons returning to haunt me again.
I did sign up at Classmates.com a while back. Why? Who knows. But I did.
About a month ago, I got an email about the reunion. I've joined a chat group, though I have yet to actually post anything, for the group.
Tonight, I joined a photo group for the reunion. The person running it said she remembered me from high school, which I found interesting. I remembered her name, but didn't remember what she looked like until I pulled my old yearbook down.
Now, I'm toying with the idea of going. Money for the trip (300 miles each way) would be tight, and it might be hard to make accomodations this late in the game, but it might be worthwhile.
Or maybe I shouldn't. I just don't know.
Lords I hate being this indecisive! Any advice in the comments would be appreciated.
Live Blogging Roberts Hearings are on C-SPAN3 on the web
In case you want to listen in.
I'll have it streaming in the background and will report anything of importance.
**And it begins.**
Judge Roberts brought his children. Apparently, he though ahead this time and asked Senator Specter if he could introduce his family at the START of the hearings rather than later on. That's good, given that Jack Roberts doesn't have much tolerance for long, boring (to any but us political junkies) hearings.
Everyone and their dog gets a ten minute opening statement. Specter notes that many historical hearings have been held in this room -- from the Titanic, to Watergate, to Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas hearings. Way to set a positive tone, Arlen!
Just as an aside -- the young lady sitting behind and to the right of Senator Specter REALLY should consider wearing a little make up tomorrow -- or getting some sun or tanning. She looks a bit like a famine victim.
Specter throws out the obvious question on the "right to privacy" and Roe v. Wade. He also takes umbrage at conflicting and inexplicable decisions of the Court, noting in particular the recent conflicting "Ten Commandment's" decisions banning Kentucky's version, but allowing Texas'.
Senator Leahy now speaks. Leahy has not gone a single minute without casting out the shadow of Katrina, stating that Katrina, poverty, and despair all justify governmental power. Shockingly, it appears he is also linking racism to Katrina.
Sigh. Now Leahy's stating (rather than singing) the Preamble to the Constitution. (Anyone in my generation knows how hard that is, particularly in light of the old Schoolhouse Rock commercials).
Leahy is setting the grounds for attacking Roberts if he takes an originalist stance. He is discussing the history of the Constitution, and particularly the issues of Native Americans, slaves, and women voters.
Hmm. Now Leahy is calling the Judiciary "the most isolated of the three branches of government." He claims that "the People" have no effective oversight of the Judicial Branch.
I guess he's never heard of the Legislature's right to remove a member of the Judicial Branch for misconduct, or the right of Congress to limit the jurisdiction of the Court, or to limit the Court's funding. I also guess he's never heard of the Executive Branch's ability to decide who sits in the Judicial Branch, and whether to enforce judicial decisions.
A tribute to Rehnquist. Then, to business.
Hatch decries the politicization of the judicial nominating process. Citing past precedent, he notes that the nominee can and should refuse to answer questions regarding how they might decide cases. Hatch has the following quote from Senator Kennedy on the 1967 nomination of Thurgood Marshall: "We have to respect when any nominee to the Supreme Court defers comments on any matters which are before the Court or likely to come before the Court."
Senator Edward Kennedy.
Here we go. Kennedy cites the idea that "all Americans are created equal." He then cites Katrina as teaching us all that many Americans are "left out and left behind." He states that too many have sacrificed too much to turn back the clock on social progress. He is, in essence, lecturing Roberts to not be a racist.
I suppose being a drunken serial philanderer, on the other hand, is okay. Just don't be a racist, okay?
Kennedy tells Roberts he must show he has demonstrated a commitment to the Constitutional principles that have advanced fairness, decency and equal opportunity in our society. In other words, Kennedy is more interested in outcomes than in anything else.
Kennedy thinks there are real and serious reasons to be deeply concerned about Judge Robert's record. Kennedy questions Roberts' commitments to "equal opportunity" and "to the bipartisan remedies we have adopted in the past."
Dear lord. Kennedy makes it sound as though Roberts and Bush plan on sneaking out late at night to mug poor disabled transgendered black lesbians in the Projects.
Senator Chuck Grassley.
Grassley notes -- Roberts is the first nominee of the Internet Age. It is an interesting new paradigm. Will the Internet heighten the bar to the point of unattainability for such nominees?
Grassley cites Chief Justice Marshall: "The duty of a judge is to state what the law is, not what it ought to be."
Nice job, Chuck.
Senator Joe Biden.
Biden tells me something I didn't know -- Roberts is a registered independent.
Biden is also a much smoother speaker than I remember him being. Dynamic, and worth watching.
Anyway, here we go. Biden is concerned by threats to a "national consensus" of a fundamentally important debate on rights to privacy and the power and scope of the national government.
At least this time, Biden is citing those whom he quotes.
He wants to know whether we will have an ever increasing protection for human dignity, or whether those protections will diminish. Biden says he thinks we need INCREASED protections of individual rights -- and cites to problems around the world (as opposed to any problems here in the United States).
Can anyone explain to me why suppression of individual rights in, say, China, would support an expansion of individual rights here in the Untied States? Why is it relevant?
Biden is trying to flip the problem of activist judges onto the Republicans. He states that Tom Delay has been unsuccessful in getting his agenda enacted through laws, and so Delay and others are now trying to stack the Court to get their agenda put through.
Excuse me? That is precisely what the Left has been doing for the past forty years.
Biden just told Roberts that, were Biden to vote based only on Roberts' record, he'd vote no -- but Roberts has a chance to explain his papers and his vote.
What a joke. As though Biden would even consider voting for Roberts. Biden is running for President in 2008 -- there is new WAY he would alienate the Democrats' leftist base by casting ANYTHING other than a "no" vote.
Senator Jon Kyl:
Kyl reminds his colleagues that this is not a political office. Anyone else think this is a waste of breath?
Sorry, but I think this is all merely a Kabuki-play, with no real meaning.
Senator Herb Kohl.
The Democratic line here is that they represent "the people." Funny that they seem to ignore the will of the people on so many of their policy grounds.
Senator Mike DeWine.
Sees this as a time for a conversation about the Constitution. No, really, that's what he said.
DeWine is trying to get back in the good graces of his Ohio constituency. There's a lot of red meat for the conservative base ("The Supreme Court's job is to decide cases."; etc., etc.). Anyone else think his son's primary defeat might have "put the skeer into Senator DeWine?
He also seems to think Justice Byron White was a swell guy. He refers to him quite often.
Senator Diane Feinstein.
Sorry, have to take a break first. This could get ugly.
. . .
Okay, I'm back. DiFi is apologizing in advance to Roberts' family for her being very rude.
She says there is no question that Roberts is well qualified. Then why do I have the feeling that she is going to vote against him?
Oh -- because he might take a more restrictive view of Congress' powers.
Dear Lord -- "As the only woman on the committee", DiFi feels she has a special burden and responsibility to make sure and protect women's rights and privileges.
Because, of course, none of the men on that committee give a rat's rear end about women. Only a woman can understand women's rights, and only a woman can protect said rights.
In short, DiFi thinks she is the "token female" member of the committee.
This reveals the mindset of the modern Left.
Ahh -- I'll give DiFi props for honesty. She has come out and admitted that she sees it as her responsibility to vote against any nominee who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
DiFi has gone over. Her time limit, that is.
She went over the edge of reason long ago.
Senator Jeff Sessions.
No surprise, Senator Sessions' constituents have told him they do not want activist judges who legislate from the bench.
Senator Sessions is quaint -- he wants unbiased judges who rule according to the law, rather than their own personal policy preferences.
Senator Russ Feingold.
Senator Feingold "truly does admire his record and impressive career."
BUT . . .
Senator Feingold is very concerned about whether people will consider the Senate "undignified" for investigating a nominee. Amusingly enough, he says the process "is not a game."
Tell that to your supporters, Senator Feingold. They think it is the greatest game of all.
Note: Okay -- live blogging over -- I have a conference call to attend. More tonight -- after the kids are in bed.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Umm, guys, this is just a wee bit illegal, isn't it?
The New York Times is reporting:
Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.Umm, excuse me?
No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.
Setting aside that whole pesky 2nd Amendment and 14th Amendment issue, let's look at this logically. You want people who have been forced to arm themselves for survival over the past two weeks because law enforcement was either unable or unwilling to do it's job to roll over, surrender their weapons, and trust the same slack-jawed, corrupt police department to help them?
Why on earth would the citizens of New Orleans want to do that?
The guys at the Volokh Conspiracy have a good debate on the legality of these actions.
More changes to the sidebar
I've noticed that the sidebar links keep growing, and growing, and growing, so I decided a little organization might be in order.
I've grouped the links according to my perspective of the sites. Your mileage may vary.
I'd also like to welcome the indomitable Ann Althouse, a conservative law professor in the wilds of socialist UWis-Madison, and a woman far smarter than I will EVER be, to the blog roll.
Also, send some love to The Digital Brownshirt, whose ideas about modern liberal political thought are so similar to mine that it actually frightens me.
If you guys know of other sites I can check out, please let me know. I'm always looking for more good blogs.
P.S. Why doesn't Blogger's spellchecker recognize the word "blog"?
Friday, September 09, 2005
Coolest Headline Ever!
Suicide Grasshoppers Brainwashed by Parasite Worms -- and it's true.
Check out the photos. This might explain why we have so many dead grasshoppers in our pool.
Been tied up
at work the past two days -- should resume blogging this evening or Saturday.
In the meantime, ask yourself this: if Katrina hit your neighborhood, and, for whatever reason, you were not able/chose not to evacuate, what do you think you would need to stay alive and healthy for six days until rescued? Presume your house was not damaged, and your house was not flooded, but that you were unable to obtain supplies or relief from any external source. Count on water and electricity being gone throughout this period of time.
Part two of this question: Do you have those things in your house right now?
For me, it would be (1) six day supply of bottled water for six people; (2) .45 Colt semi-auto with two boxed .45 ACP; (3) six days supply canned food for six people; (4) shovel or entrenching tool for toilet facilities; (5) personal hygeine items, including soapless antibacterial cleanser, feminine hygeine products for MrsSpkr and TeenSpkr, towels, and deodorant -- lots of deodorant; (6) bug spray -- lots of bug spray; (7) am/fm radio; (8) cellular phone, fully charged; (9) matches; (10) cheap flashlights; (11) batteries for all the above; (12) first aid items; and (13) a black permanent ink sharpie marker.
Why the marker? Simply put, if we are ever trapped in such a situation, it might come to a point that putting our names and social security numbers in permanent ink on the inside of our wrists or arms might be important for subsequent identification if we all die.
Morbid, unsettling and distasteful? Yep. But there will be thousands of folks in New Orleans who are pushed into unknown or pauper's graves because their bodies cannot be identified visually (or there is nobody left to identify them).
And no, I don't have all those items right now -- but I will have this box prepared by the end of the year. We'll make reviewing and updating this kit part of our holiday traditions.
Enter your list in the comments section.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
A true Jacksonian-American
both before, during and after Katrina.
Read the story.
Oprah loses it.
After taking a tour of the now-empty Superdome (guided by New Orleans' Mayor Nagin), she has concluded that the people who were stuck in the Superdome are owed an apology.
I can agree with that. I mean, the city could have provided busses to evacuate these folks before Katrina hit, but didn't.
The City could have stocked adequate food and water supplies for the expected number of people, but didn't.
The City could have provided emergency sanitary facilities (like, say, port-a-potties) to serve the evacuee's needs, but didn't.
The City could have provided ADEQUATE SECURITY for the facility, but didn't.
The City could have FOLLOWED ITS OWN HURRICANE DISASTER PLANS, but didn't. (Warning - PDF file).
The City could have REQUIRED RESIDENTS TO EVACUATE, but didn't.
The State could have decided not to drag it's feet in making decisions, but didn't.
The State could have pre-positioned National Guardsmen at the Superdome, but didn't.
The State could have requested federal assistance earlier, but didn't.
The State could have turned control of state national guard units over to the feds earlier, making coordination of relief efforts smoother, but didn't.
The State could have declared martial law and required evacuation prior to the hurricane's strike, but didn't.
FEMA could have actually administered things better, but didn't.
All of these things are failures for which people deserve an explanation, an apology, and some accountability.
BUT that's not who Oprah thinks needs to apologize.
Nope, she says:
"I think this country owes these people an apology," Ms. Winfrey said. "It makes me so mad!"Good Lord.
People in this country have been opening their pocketbooks in record numbers. People across the country have gone further and opened their homes to evacuees.
Here in Texas, we have opened our local schools, universities and community centers, not only to provide shelter, but to provide education and recreation to the evacuees.
Even the Texas Bar Association has gotten in the act, allowing displaced attorneys from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi to practice law in Texas without a local license -- something I have never heard of a state bar association ever doing. State bars tend to be very restrictive, and do not allow non-members to practice in their state (even if they have been admitted to another state) absent either application and admission or a motion for limited admission to practice law in one specific lawsuit (pro hac vice admission) with a local attorney as co-counsel.
But the "country" owes an apology.
Shut up, Oprah. Take your touchy-feely brand of liberalism back to Chicago. You obviously have NO CLUE what this country has already done, and is continuing to do, to help these people. Instead, you are simply doing what Sean Penn and his ilk have done in the past week-- attempting to cash in on other people's misery with a nifty photo opp.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Goodbye, Little Buddy!
Bob Denver has died.
I grew up watching Gilligan's Island every afternoon. I'm sorry to see yet another of my childhood icons pass.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Denver Foundation, whose mission is to help the handicapped in Bob's home state of West Virginia.
Rest in peace, Little Buddy.
Why we fight
Fighters loyal to militant leader Abu Musab Zarqawi asserted control over the key Iraqi border town of Qaim on Monday, killing U.S. collaborators and enforcing strict Islamic law, according to tribal members, officials, residents and others in the town and nearby villages.These people want to impose their intolerant murderous religious barbarism on the world. They believe their actions are not only blessed, but required by God.
Residents said the foreign-led fighters controlled by Zarqawi, a Jordanian, apparently had been exerting authority in the town, within two miles of the Syrian border, since at least the start of the weekend. A sign posted at an entrance to the town declared, "Welcome to the Islamic Republic of Qaim."
Witnesses in Qaim said Zarqawi's fighters were killing officials and civilians whom they consider to be allied with the Iraqi and U.S. governments or anti-Islamic. On Sunday, the bullet-riddled body of a young woman dressed in her nightclothes lay in a street of Qaim. A sign left on her corpse declared, "A prostitute who was punished."
Residents said insurgents in recent weeks had begun enforcing strict Islamic law, burning shops that sold CDs and a beauty parlor, and lashing men accused of drinking alcohol. They said Zarqawi's fighters were killing government workers but had spared doctors and teachers.
There is no reasoning with such people. There is no bargaining. There is no "peace with honor" outside of a peace that results from the elimination of one side or the other.
There is no other way.
Monday, September 05, 2005
New links at right!
A few overdue updates to my blogroll.
First is Katey's Kafe, a great blog from the Philadelphia area. She's active in the comments here, and I'm glad to have found her stuff.
Next, Wizbang! Kevin Aylward's blog on culture, politics and current events is a must-read that should have been listed here a LONG time ago.
Polipundit is just that -- a political version of Instapundit. Worth your while for conservative political commentary. A daily requirement for any conservative political junkie.
Finally -- moxie! First lady of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, hostess of the Cheny-Halliburton-Evil Dominion talks, and all around snarky gal.
Bill Whittle makes me look like a piker . . .
and I write FOR A LIVING!
Read "Tribes". Learn it, accept it, and know that I for one agree whole heartedly -- and am glad to have one such as Bill in my tribe.
Ahh, the unbiased media . . .
how I love them. The headline on Rehnquist's death?
"Judge's death allows Bush to find radical Right-winger"
If only, if only.
At least Roberts is now the nominee for Chief Justice. Now, let's get Janice Rogers Brown, a bag of popcorn, and some suitable beverages and sit back to watch the Left implode.
Hat tip, Polipundit.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Chief Justice Rehnquist has died
at age 80.
God rest his soul.
Bush now has a second Supreme Court vacancy to fill. There haven't been two simultaneous vacancies on the Court since Rehnquist's appointment by President Nixon.
More blogging on this later. Off to church now.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
More moonbattedness on display
Randall Robinson swears that the Hurricane Katrina disaster proves how racially biased America is because nobody came to help black folks in New Orleans, and that those folks "have begun eating corpses to survive."
Of course, he cites not a single source. I suspect he is making it up, or "heard it from a friend whose cousin knows this guy who's girlfriend's halfbrother's cousin's next door neighbor" or something similar.
Of course, verifying the allegation is not nearly as important as throwing it out there in order to forward the racist liberal agenda or to attack Bush and the conservatives.
Jesse Jackson has joined this chorus, blasting Bush for not appointing black folks to head up the disaster relief because. He thinks there should be some sort of racial set aside because so many of the folks trapped in New Orleans (a black-majority city) are black.
Heaven forbid he direct his anger at a city mayor whose failure to do things like provide poor citizens free bussing to higher ground before the hurricane struck.
No, the race card is better red meat for race mongerers among us. It is sad that David Duke, the racists at Stormfront, and Jesse Jackson all sound alike.
It's pathetically sad.
Dallas area officials have issued an Amber Alert for a 16 year old girl and her young baby.
They believe the infant's father has abducted the pair.
Jasmine is described as blond, approximately 5 feet tall and 115 pounds.
The vehicle license plate number is W84-XZB. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Mesquite Police Department at 972-216-6759.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Georgia's Governor has a great idea . . .
He's lifting the state excise and sales tax on gasoline.
That's an immediate price cut of $0.115 per gallon price cut.
More state governors should follow his lead.
It seems my prior post
struck a never with a foul-mouthed liberal lacking the intestinal fortitude to identify himself.
He calls me a "Republican heartless bastard" presumably because I support our President who has spent "billions on Iraq" but want to discuss whether and to what degree we should rebuild New Orleans.
He then suggests I relocate to Iraq.
Let's take this point by point. "Republican heartless bastard?" Well, I dunno about Mr. Anonymous, but I live in one of the most Republican states in the union, Texas.
We have opened up our public facilities, our schools, and even our homes to help our neighbors. Churches, businesses and civic groups around the state are opening their doors and pocketbooks to help our neighbors.
As for my family, well, I've given up my lunches for the next month and have donated that part of our budget (not "fast food lunches" but "bring from home lunches") to Feed the Children. This weekend, my wife and I are taking a day away from each other and away from our four children (who desperately need some mom and dad time now that both Amy and I are working) in order to volunteer in relief efforts. My older children are brainstorming ways they can help, too.
But I'm a heartless Republican, so that stuff doesn't count, right? Maybe I should be like Robert Kennedy Jr. and try to score cheap political points off the hurricane.
Maybe I should be like some of the moonbats on the Democratic Underground who think the South deserves this for supporting Bush? Think I'm exaggerating?
This guy says he flirted with the idea of starting a campaign to boycott relief efforts and fundraising drives because Louisiana was a "red state" that voted for Bush. In his own words:
A large part of me still believes that many of these W-worshipping numbskulls deserve to suffer and to die. They brought it on themselves. Let them look to Jayzuss for aid: It's time they stopped leeching off the more productive blue staters.He changed his mind when he realized that
The hardest hit were the blue state folk living among the red state maniacs. New Orleans, we should note, went heavily for Kerry.Apparently, he sees no moral problems with this position.
And that's why we must help. Although it was very tempting to say otherwise.
How about this guy: I won't contribute to Katrina. His rationale?
I'm sick of footing the bill for George W. Bush and the rest of his so-called compassionate conservatives. It's been well-documented over the past two days that there were all kinds of warnings about what could happen to New Orleans and that the levees designed to keep out the water were sinking or uncompleted.So, the flooding is George Bush's fault.
Never mind the fact the levee that failed was upgraded just two years ago. It's still Bush's fault.
Heck, he probably passed a law requiring people to live in a flood plain. He probably manipulated leaders over the past 40 years (since Hurricane Betsy) to adopt and maintain a policy of only building flood control levees sufficient to deal with a Category Three Hurricane (Katrina was a Category Four, almost Five).
Or maybe I should just pity people who suggest this is all Bush's fault, or that Republicans are to blame for Katrina.
They obviously have a lot more problems than Katrina's victims will ever face.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Can we please suspend Habeas Corpus now . . .
and shoot these armed hooligans on sight?
How many more people get to be robbed, raped, beaten or killed before we decide that the thugs behind the violence need to be dealt with?
Hastert makes some sense
but it won't matter. People will insist on rebuilding New Orleans even if it doesn't make much economic sense.
Fox reports Fats Domino is missing
Apparently, he decided to ride out the storm. One At 76 years old, perhaps staying to ride the storm out wasn't the brightest idea. His home is underwater in the 9th Ward, one of the hardest hit areas.
His manager in Nashville is reportedly "frantic."
UPDATE: Fats Domino is alive and well in Baton Rouge. He was rescued a day ago.