Monday, October 31, 2005

The Fall of France?

Via Little Green Footballs, the International Herald Tribune reports on an amazing quote from the French Interior Minister:
Sarkozy says that violence in French suburbs is a daily fact of life.

Since the start of the year, 9,000 police cars have been stoned and, each night, 20 to 40 cars are torched, Sarkozy said in an interview last week with the newspaper Le Monde.

That is astounding. It's just, un-frickin-believable. 9,000 police cars have been stoned? 20-40 cars are torched, as in fireball destroyed, every night? If this were happening in an American city like New York, there would be chaos on the streets. The international media would call NYC a war zone, and the citizens would probably flee in panic.

France is in the fifth straight night of violent riots by Muslim youths. The violence has started to catch the attention of the MSM. I wonder if this riot is part of the ordinary, 20-40 torches per night and we're only now bearing witness to it, or if it is in fact the beginning of something more sinister and dangerous. I wonder if we're seeing the beginnings of the inevitible Fall of France to the Islamists? Hopefully not, but I have no faith in the French government to do something about these attacks. I notice that in the MSM reports relating to the recent riots, the Interior Minister keeps having to defend himself against charges he's being too brutal, instead of being left to do his job:

French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy defended his tough anti-crime policies on Monday after a fourth night of riots in a Paris suburb in which tear gas was fired into a mosque during evening prayers.

Sarkozy vowed to investigate the tear gas incident and repeated his "zero tolerance" policy toward violence that began when two teenagers were electrocuted to death after clambering into a power sub-station while apparently fleeing police....

Opposition Socialists said the disturbances were proof Sarkozy's tough policies were failing. "We need to act at the same time on prevention, repression, education, housing, jobs ... and not play the cowboy," former prime minister Laurent Fabius, who also has presidential ambitions, told Europe 1 radio.

My prediction? Even if Sarkozy does succeed in quelling this riot, it will be too late. There will be more. France is seriously screwed, especially because those socialists aren't going away. Read the rest of that news report. The socialists want to "understand" the "problems" of the rioters. The fools. The failure of Europe will result from the immobile presence of leftist political parties incapable of dealing with reality. And when they fall, all they will do is cry out, "we didn't know...." Yes, you do. You've been told before. You just didn't listen.

Prior Post: The French Have a Little Problem on their hands...


Anyone remember that Looney Tunes cartoon when Daffy Duck portrays Superman? His name in that episode is STUPORDUCK! I always laugh whenever I see it, because during the cartoon he gets increasingly crazy whenever he yells out his name: "This looks like a job for Stuporduck" later is loudly exclaimed, "This is a job for Stupor-duck!!!" Finally, towards the end of the cartoon, he slathers the name yelling it loudly: "THIS IS A JOB FOR - AAAAAA - STOOOOOOPERDUCK!!!!"

I had to think of that when I saw this post by Professor Bainbridge.

(with thanks to the Stuporduck website for the sound links)

The French have a little problem on their hands...

It seems that Radical Muslim Islamists aren't taking too kindly to the benefits of what remains of Western Civilization in France. "A police union spokesman says a Paris suburb is seeing 'civil war.'"

Youths hurled rocks and set fire to cars in the northeastern Clichy-sous-Bois suburb of the French capital, where many immigrants and poor families live in high-rise housing estates notorious for youth violence....

The violence began four days ago among residents of Clichy-sous-Bois over the deaths of two teenagers believed to be of African origin who were electrocuted while fleeing police.

This article by CNN is perhaps the greatest notice the MSM has paid to this story yet. It should come as no surprise to any of us that France will experience the greatest attack from the Islamists. Theodore Dalmypre predicted as much in his City-Journal article from 2002:

Unless it assimilates these millions successfully, its future will be grim. But it has separated and isolated immigrants and their descendants geographically into dehumanizing ghettos; it has pursued economic policies to promote unemployment and create dependence among them, with all the inevitable psychological consequences; it has flattered the repellent and worthless culture that they have developed; and it has withdrawn the protection of the law from them, allowing them to create their own lawless order.

No one should underestimate the danger that this failure poses, not only for France but also for the world. The inhabitants of the cités are exceptionally well armed. When the professional robbers among them raid a bank or an armored car delivering cash, they do so with bazookas and rocket launchers, and dress in paramilitary uniforms. From time to time, the police discover whole arsenals of Kalashnikovs in the cités. There is a vigorous informal trade between France and post-communist Eastern Europe: workshops in underground garages in the cités change the serial numbers of stolen luxury cars prior to export to the East, in exchange for sophisticated weaponry.

A profoundly alienated population is thus armed with serious firepower; and in conditions of violent social upheaval, such as France is in the habit of experiencing every few decades, it could prove difficult to control. The French state is caught in a dilemma between honoring its commitments to the more privileged section of the population, many of whom earn their livelihoods from administering the dirigiste economy, and freeing the labor market sufficiently to give the hope of a normal life to the inhabitants of the cités. Most likely, the state will solve the dilemma by attempts to buy off the disaffected with more benefits and rights, at the cost of higher taxes that will further stifle the job creation that would most help the cité dwellers. If that fails, as in the long run it will, harsh repression will follow.

But among the third of the population of the cités that is of North African Muslim descent, there is an option that the French, and not only the French, fear. For imagine yourself a youth in Les Tarterets or Les Musiciens, intellectually alert but not well educated, believing yourself to be despised because of your origins by the larger society that you were born into, permanently condemned to unemployment by the system that contemptuously feeds and clothes you, and surrounded by a contemptible nihilistic culture of despair, violence, and crime. Is it not possible that you would seek a doctrine that would simultaneously explain your predicament, justify your wrath, point the way toward your revenge, and guarantee your salvation, especially if you were imprisoned? Would you not seek a “worthwhile” direction for the energy, hatred, and violence seething within you, a direction that would enable you to do evil in the name of ultimate good? It would require only a relatively few of like mind to cause havoc. Islamist proselytism flourishes in the prisons of France (where 60 percent of the inmates are of immigrant origin), as it does in British prisons; and it takes only a handful of Zacharias Moussaouis to start a conflagration.

UPDATE: (hat tip to Ringo the Gringo) Daniel Pipes predicted this as far back as October, 1995.

Bush Nominates Alito

He's done it:

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday nominated Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

While many Republicans praised the judicial nominee, Democrats wasted no time in publicly blasting him as "too radical."
Screw the Democrats. They were going to do that anyway.

Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to that of conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered. Some at the White House have taken offense to the nickname.
FOX News Supreme Court analyst Tim O'Brien said while Alito's ideology may be similar to that of Scalia's, he is an independent thinker and should not be labeled as another Scalia.
But "he is a friendly, easy-going guy and that certainly will help him in this confirmation here," O'Brien said.
I don't know why they'd take offense to the name. It's a great compliment.

NRO's Bench Memos has continuing coverage. David Bernstein at Volokh notes that if Alito is confirmed, it will be the first time in the nation's history that a majority of Catholics are on the bench. I'm sure that, once that fact becomes known, it will make the abortion-worshippers go ballistic, and will bring up another institutional inquisition on the nature of religion/judging, all designed as a mask to make sure that pro-life believers are not on the Court.

Scott at Powerline notes: "We're about to get the fight over Constitutional principles that conservatives have looked forward to for years."

UPDATE 1: Professor Bainbridge notes that Alito "is everything Harriet Miers was not: An experienced jurist. Prosecutorial and government experience. Relatively young (55). Stellar educational credentials (Princeton and Yale). A committed conservative whose track record..." Good point. Also, he's a man. Bush didn't cave in again to the demands of the diversity crowd and nominate another woman merely because O'Connor's seat is held by a woman. The Prof. notes that Alito wasn't his first choice, but nevertheless is a solid candidate and should do much to unite the base. I agree.

I think that some of the more overzealous headline writers among the MSM wouldn't be engaging in hyperbole regarding Bush's second term if he had picked a solid choice for the Court in the first place, instead of Miers. But, in a month's time, assuming Alito is confirmed, Bush should be in a much better place politically than he was last week.

UPDATE 2: Captain Ed notes that "55, has the possibility of providing 20-30 years of jurisprudence on the Supreme Court, meaning that he and John Roberts have a real opportunity to turn the court back from its decades-long flirtation with supplanting the Legislature and turning itself into a strange American version of the Iranian Guardian Council." I couldn't have said it any better myself, Captain Ed. And he's right in noting that the Democrats blew their chance at getting a moderate on the bench (one nearly hand-delivered to them by Bush, though). I wish Alito was younger, like Luttig, but nevertheless he's a stellar choice.

The only thing that remains to be seen is whether the Republican Senate will hold the front and confirm this man. Michelle Malkin has a big rundown of blogger posts and notes (via Jason Smith) that Bill Frist said on FoxNews that "If the Democrats are looking for a fight, we'll be up for the fight. We won't back down... We're gonna get an up or down vote on the Senate floor and if the Democrats want a fight, they'll get one." A-frickin'-men. We should do everything to offer support to those Senators who are willing to go to bat for this nominee. If Alito is defeated, it will be because of the Republicans, not because of the Democrats.

UPDATE 3: An update on the Senate numbers for confirmation: "Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, fired back Sunday, saying that if the Democrats staged a filibuster against Judge Alito or Judge Luttig because of their conservatism, "the filibuster will not stand." Captain Ed predicts about 30 Democrats as opposed to Alito, but that a filibuster would be unsuccessful because of his disarming personality. Perhaps. He also notes that in order to protect a genuine liberal, Judge Stevens (85 years old), the Democrats will want to save their defense of a "liberal seat" for the time when it comes and won't waste their ammo on Alito. I disagree. They need to fight Alito for the same reasons that conservatives wanted him or Luttig or anyone other than Miers: to present to the American people their vision of Supreme Court jurisprudence. The Democrats will fight, but they will lose.

UPDATE 4: Reaction from other Catholic Bloggers (will be updated throughout the day): Amy Wellborn has an open thread, & Mirror of Justice has discussion on Alito's case background. Rich Leonardi also has been posting on Alito. Mark Shea now posts his thoughts.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hugh Hewitt jumps the shark..

Would a conservative write an opinion piece for the NEW YORK TIMES? Maybe. But would it include this line?
"This triumph of the conservative punditocracy will have lasting consequences, and I hope my fears are misplaced."
You know, for a guy who's supposedly a right-leaning talk show radio host (a job that is quintessentially for conservative pundits), that quoted sentence is incredibly ELITIST. Fears of a conservative punditocracy? Who the hell in their right mind would fear that? I guess only people like Hewitt are allowed to talk. And this is the man who argued that opposing Miers was wrong because it was elitist. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Moreover, the NYT piece he writes drips with sanctimonious false outrage that the opposition to Miers was.... mean-spirited. It's like suddenly Hewitt has adopted all of the talking points of the left. The fact remains, Miers was seen as unqualified by many, but even worse, she had no prior experience in constitituional jurisprudence and there was no evidence at all she would be an originalist/textualist like Scalia. In fact, there were multiple indications she'd be a wishy-washy liberal.

Hewitt has officially jumped the shark.

This Washington Post article is pretty fair in describing the broad-based opposition to Miers. And Jonathan Adler in NRO's Bench Memos deconstructs Hewitt's other complaints.

I think it's wise to move on, not to gloat, and to get onto the business of confirming an originalist, conservative judge. But we should do well to remember that politics is merely a means to an end. People like Hewitt, who value power and appearance over principles and substance, are useless because when push comes to shove, they abandon the fight. Need we any more testiment to that than the fact that now he's bashing conservative pundits in the friggin' New York Times?

One of these should be the next Justice...

Charmaine Yost has a roundup (with pictures!) of the top individuals under consideration for current Supreme Court opening. I think almost any of these candidates would be great. But the younger, the better, obviously. Michael Luttig, Edith Jones, and Michael McConnel stand out. Janice Brown would be a great pick also.

It's a shame more vacancies aren't open.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

For the Record...

I'm feeling very relieved that Miers withdrew. It makes me wonder if the time is ripe to ask for other things I've been wanting for a long time now. So, for the record, I'm praying for the following objects:
  • A lightsaber (red or green will do).
  • A customized Batmobile that also transforms into a stealth fighter that can fly through outer space (which is equipped with missiles, lasers, etc).
  • Customized black kevlar armor that also doubles as a space-suit, with a rocketpack attached so I can fly whenever I want.
  • A hidden fortress.
  • Lots, and lots, of money.

That should do for starters. Oh, and I need all of this for, um... my job. Yeah.

Who to nominate...

Now that Miers is gone, who should be nominated?

There are many names out there, but why not just ASK Justices Scalia and Thomas their opinion on who would be a good choice? I'm sure they've reviewed countless decisions by judges across the country and can predict with good certainty who would be an originalist/textualist.

But barring that, the President should do a thorough search now. He should really think hard about this. Justice Roberts is a competent judge and knows the Constitution very well, but it's still a guess if he'd be a judge in the mold of Scalia. This time, the President must not fail. He really, really, really should take his time on this one, and think hard about who to pick.

Frankly, I'm not wedded to one single candidate like Judge Brown or Luttig. I've heard those names before, but the only person I know I could be satisfied with right now is Robert Bork. Hey - why don't they ask BORK who a good choice would be? That's an idea... In any event, I have no pre-selected replacement for Miers. All I want is the most solid, conservative, originalist candidate in the entire friggin' country right now. Basically, I want Scalia's role model.

Captain Ed says: "Now can we nominate a candidate whose qualities and track record presumes we control the Senate?"

Amen to that.

Holy Moly...

Miers withdraws her Supreme Court nomination...

More from FoxNews & CNN.

Michelle Malkin has a blog roundup: "What a relief. Sad, pensive, what-a-waste relief. Not happy-joy-joy relief."

I for one am really surprised. I didn't think it would happen this early. Wow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

RNC, are you listening?

Looks like Ken Mehlman didn't get that nasty email I sent him when he last requested cash from me. I got a postage letter from the RNC in the mail today:
"Dear Mr. XXXXX,

I've written you several times since January but our records show that you have not renewed your RNC membership for 2005."

Oh really? I wonder why the heck I'd let that lapse...
"Perhaps our letters have crossed in the mail or you may think your continued commitment to President Bush and our Party is not needed now that the 2004 campaign is over."

Or, perhaps I think you're a hack willing to shrill for an administration that's sending a liberal to the Supreme Court and is spending like a sailor more drunk than Ted Kennedy...
"Mr. XXXX, your continued support is needed now more than ever. Liberal Democrats are determined to derail our President's second term initiatives and will do whatever it takes to win."

Liberal Republicans seem to be derailing the second term just fine without the help of the Democrats, Kenny.
"Democrats and their liberal special interest allies are continuing the vicious negative attacks and outlandish charges that marked the 2004 presidential campaign. They have rejected the Bush victory and the votes of 62 million Americans."

At least they know how to do their job, bub. The President and the Republicans, however, are feckless crapweasels. Why else would they fail to cut pork, nominate a feminist liberal to the Supreme Court, threaten conservatives with retaliation, and call us names?
"The RNC must be able to get our positive message of reform past this bitterness and anger and build momentum for the President."

How about you apologize for calling us sexist elitists first. It might to a bit to assuage the bitterness and anger. Idiot.
"Your continued support as a Sustaining Member will keep our grassroots network strong and growing. And your generous gift today will help the RNC expand our communications program to promote our agenda and recruit strong candidates who share our principles and goals."

You mean candidates like Lincoln Chaffee, liberal wuss from Rhode Island who didn't even vote for President Bush? Who's currently facing a primary challenge from a more conservative Republican, Steve Laffey? And who you're supporting against Mr. Laffey's challenge by running ads against him? Give me a friggin' break.
"That is why I urgently need you to renew your RNC Membership with a contribution of $100, $50, or $25 to counter the liberal Democrats' smears and delaying tactics. We must lay the groundwork today for the 2005 state elections and the crucial mid-term elections in 2006"

Again with the liberal Democrats... Frankly, the only thing the RNC stands for at this point is holding power for its own sake. I'd never give to a bunch of liberal Republicans, which is what you are. I oppose the Miers nomination. You guys, on the other hand, have no problem with her support for racist quotas, feminist lunacy, and complete lack of grounding in constitutional interpretation. Tell you what... I'll CONSIDER donating to you if you do one of the following IMMEDIATELY:
  1. Begin impeachment proceedings against Justices Ginsberg, Kennedy, Souter, Breyer, Stevens... and what the heck, O'Connor also. For not knowing the first damn thing about reading a Constitution (or, even worse, probably knowing and not caring because they're all too damn drunk with power). It'd be nice if they're thrown off the Court, but if not I'd still congratulate the effort for the mere fact of showing a spine against our Black Robed Masters. Oh, and while we're at it, DUMP MIERS and appoint someone better. Like Luttig, or frigging Robert Bork for that matter...
  2. Pass a constitutional amendment ending lifetime appointment of Justices, ending or severely restricting judicial review, and limiting the terms of all members of Congress.
  3. Pass a constitutional amendment protecting unborn children, a balanced budget amendment, a line-item veto amendment, and a defense of marriage amendment.
  4. Rebuild the Twin Towers, taller and with anti-aircraft weaponry on the rooftops.
  5. Convince Adriana Lima to marry me. (work safe, I think)

That's it. Should be easy enough for you gentlemen. Get to work.

UPDATE: More from Michelle Malkin on how Miers is so embarrassing because she can't turn in her homework on time. And Baseball Crank has a bunch of good questions for self-appointed Hack, Hugh Hewitt.

FURTHER UPDATE: Amy Wellborn also says that it's the straw that broke the camel's back, just like Prof. Bainbridge, Captain Ed, Rob Dreher, NRO's Ed Whelan, and Redstate's Pejman.

Conservative Rebellion....

Well whattya know? Bush is worried that he's losing the conservative base:

In a speech to the Economic Club of Washington, Bush said lawmakers should make tax relief permanent and restrain the spending appetite of the federal government. Bush's message was designed in part to ease the worries of conservatives that the Republican Party is not doing enough to control spending and cut the deficit.
Color me unimpressed.
"Bush's remarks came as congressional Republicans are advancing a budget implementation bill to curb federal spending by as much as $50 billion over five years."

50 billion over 5 years? That's only 10 billion a year. That's PATHETIC. The administration has increased spending by 18 bagillion zillion dollars since taking office in 2001 anyway. But what good is this kind of rhetoric when they can't even end the bridge to nowhere pork project? Trust me, the Republicans ain't cutting anything from the budget. Forget about it. They're too damn timid.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Catholicism and Islam...

I've seen some strange things, but I've never seen a person who professes to be a faithful Catholic claim that the religion is essentially the same as Islam. This person, with a demonstrable persistence in falsely maintaining that Pacifism is the end-all-be-all of Christianity, was bound to come up with other falsehoods in time.

Chris Sullivan is now claiming that Islam and Christianity are exactly the same. On a thread over at Disputations involving an entirely different matter, Chris Sullivan writes in the comment boxes:
As Islam proclaims there is only one God, and he is the God of salvation, it follows that Islam is a path to God's salvation.
Those Qu'ran passages which seem to deny the trinity need to be read in the context of the book's frequent use of the plural in refering to God and it's depiction of the Gospels as "holy books" (the trinity is clear in the Gospels despite what Mark Shea thinks).
Islam belives Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead. To do that justly Jesus must know everything everyone ever did and their mental state at the time. Only God can know this.
The clues are all in the Qu'ran but one needs the key to unlock them. Her name is Mary and the Qu'ran has an entire chapter about her.

He continues in more posts:
"There is nothing in the Qu'ran which isn't reconcilable with the Christian faith, although, as with the bible, it's possible to come up with "first impression" interpretations which are erroneous.To understand the book, you need to go to the key, Mary."

And later...
"My views on Islam cannot be a heresy because no Pope or Ecumenical council has ever pronounced dogmatically that Islam is incompatible with the Catholic Faith or made any negative assesment of the Qu'ran."

One wouldn't think that a Ecumenical council would be necesary to state that the Sky is Blue either. Anyway, in response to the incredulous nature of these comments, one commenter suggested that Chris Sullivan couldn't possibly be suggesting that Christianity and Islam are at bottom one religion. Chris's response?
"They are. If you go right to the very bottom, but few dare go that deep, down through the dark night led by the mediatrix of all graces."

I understand what "they are" means, but I don't know what the hell he's talking about when he says that "if you go right to the very bottom... down through the dark night..." Sounds like a new Batman movie or something.

In any event, this is the most ludicrous thing I've seen yet. Obviously Islam is only tangentially related to Christianity, in the sense that Islam was derived from Christianity as well as certain pagan traditions which influenced Mohammed. Yes, Islam professes to believe in the God of Abraham. Islam reveres Jesus as a prophet, but explicitly says Jesus is Not the Christ, that he is Not God, that he explicitly did Not Rise from the Grave on the Third Day. Muslims explicitly, absolutely, 100% reject the Ressurection. In fact, the Koran explicitly says that Jesus was surely not killed on the Cross:
That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah"; but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;- And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he (Jesus) will be a witness against them. (surah al-Nisaa'; 4:157-159)

"For a surety they killed him not." According to Islam, Christ DID NOT DIE, but was merely transplanted to Heaven like Elijah. And if Christ did not die, he could not die for our sins, and he could not be ressurected. And, as St. Paul says in his 1st letter to the Corinthians, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is in vain."

Christianity is Not Islam, period. And it is disgraceful that someone could think they're the same. I don't know what kool-aid Chris Sullivan is drinking, but this is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard him say (and that's me trying to be nice about it, which isn't easy). If this isn't heresy, then I don't know what is.

UPDATE: I think that one can understand how Chris Sullivan came to this deluded view through his clue on how Islam views Mary. Islam proclaims Jesus to have been born of the Virgin. Well, that's fine, but it doesn't change the fact that according to Islam Jesus is NOT the Christ. He is Not God, and still Did Not Die and Was Not Ressurected. And thereore, Christianity is NOT the same as Islam. Sheesh...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

How to Talk to Abortion-Worshippers

You have a child with Downs Syndrome. You're at some dinner party with some smarmy, self-absorbed pseudointellectual when this happens:
At a dinner party not long ago, I was seated next to the director of an Ivy League ethics program. In answer to another guest's question, he said he believes that prospective parents have a moral obligation to undergo prenatal testing and to terminate their pregnancy to avoid bringing forth a child with a disability, because it was immoral to subject a child to the kind of suffering he or she would have to endure. (When I started to pipe up about our family's experience, he smiled politely and turned to the lady on his left.)

In an article in the Washington Post, Patricia Bauer talks about her daughter Margaret and how there is an assumption that their family owed a duty to society to abort Margaret merely because she has Downs Syndrome.

I wouldn't merely have "piped up" to that Ivy League director of ethics (why is it that every "ethics" program is led by unrepentant believers in murder and other crimes? Want to know who's evil? The people involved in "ethics" programs). Shame is the best feature of public life, and I would've gotten loud and asked that jerkoff if he really believed that Margaret should've been "terminated." (kind of brings new meaning to the phrase: hasta la vista, baby) People expressing such thoughts in public, with snide superiority, deserve to be put in their place and firmly corrected. Who would care about causing a scene when you're sitting next to a man who outright says you have a duty to kill your children because they don't live up to HIS expectations? I'd get very loud, and very mad.

Ms. Bauer also writes:
Many young women, upon meeting us, have asked whether I had "the test." I interpret the question as a get-home-free card. If I say no, they figure, that means I'm a victim of circumstance, and therefore not implicitly repudiating the decision they may make to abort if they think there are disabilities involved. If yes, then it means I'm a right-wing antiabortion nut whose choices aren't relevant to their lives.

Frankly, these women who ask that question deserve to be slapped in the face (in the old fashioned sense of social disapproval of reprehensible conduct). It's none of their damn business. But if slapping them is a bit extreme, how about point-blank asking them: "WHAT do you mean by that? That Margaret should've been aborted?" Showing anger at such an offensive question might rattle some of their loose brain cells into perhaps thinking that maybe their assumptions aren't right about abortion after all. Who CARES if they think you're a "right-wing antiabortion nut"? It's more important to repudiate their assumptions about abortion, period. That they ask the question in a tone unconcerned about the child, only concerned with their own personal vanity, is all you need to know.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Doubters tend to doubt themselves....

A good discussion over at Amy Wellborn's blog about the Da Vinci Code and how the author has no doubt in the "evidence" that the Catholic Church is built on lies. The conversation moved along to the basis of belief and doubt, and I noted that Pope Benedict said that doubt in athieism is common among the most hardcore athiests/agnostics. In his book, "Introduction to Christianity", he writes:

"No man can lay God and his Kingdom on the table before another man; even the believer cannot do it for himself. But however strongly unbelief may feel justified thereby, it cannot forget the eerie feeling induced by the words 'Yet perhaps it is true.' That 'perhaps' is the unavoidable temptation it cannot elude, the temptation in which it, too, in the very act of rejection, has to experience the unrejectability of belief."
Doubters in the existence of God are eventually going to doubt their surety in their own athieism at some point.

Hugh Hewitt's Hackery...

Hugh Hewitt seems to have many fans in the blogosphere, but his hackery on the part of the Bush Administration is really causing him to make STUPID arguments. He has been making a real dumb one for a while now: that evangelicals will be upset if Miers isn't confirmed and will stay home on election day, thus, the critics of Miers should shut up if they don't want Republicans to lose.

He makes the argument here, here, here, here and here. (do a search for "evangelical" since many of those posts contain lengthy discussions of other topics)

His argument is weak and in effect he ends up proving that Bush's nomination will imperil the Republicans in the next election. Sure, MAYBE Evangelicals will stay home on election day. But it's much more likely that the base, mad over the broken promise to appoint Justices like Scalia and Thomas, will sit out the election. There seems to be no hope that the Court will ever be fixed, and thus no reason to vote Republican (the Court rules over so much of our lives that having the Democrats in charge means little difference, especially since the Republicans aren't conservative these days to begin with). Hewitt actually seems to be playing up the identity-politics of evangelicals, courting their influence in pressing for Miers' nomination merely BECAUSE she's an evangelical (as opposed to being a good lawyer, like John Roberts).

Hewitt says:

Look. Some elections are very close. Some, like the 2000 Senate contests in Washington State and Missouri, or the 2002 contest in South Dakota are decided by handfuls of votes. It doesn't have to be an epic departure of an entire cosntituency to cripple crucial races. Playing with fire over nominees --and especially attacking those who at least deserve the benefit of the doubt and at best deserve a strong and determined defense-- is terrible politics.

The response will be that "the base" cares about judges --of course they do. They cared enough about Bush's nominees to get very active in 2002 and 2004 on that issue. Now the critics are saying Bush has lost his way and is losing the issue. These critics aren't just refusing to dance with the one that brought them, they are denouncing the idea of even having traveled to the ball in his car.

Exactly, Hugh. Elections are close. Playing fire over nominees IS terrible politics. Which kinda makes you think - what the HELL was Bush thinking playing fire over this nominee? Moreover, his response has backwards logic. It's not that the Critics are refusing to dance with Bush, who supposedly brought THEM to a ballroom dance. No, Hugh. WE elected Bush. We brought him to the dance. We're the ones driving the car. Bush is along for OUR ride. He's OUR person we hired to to the job WE saw fit. If WE don't like it, HE and his Republicans can take a walk home from the ball.

Hugh therefore sees that the argument cuts against him, but he fails to properly respond to the charge that "the base" that cares about judges will be the tipping point in the elections, and not that evangelicals will. I should also note that it's likely that evangelicals probably overlap to a large degree with "the base" that cares about judges and that they, again, probably don't give a fig about identity-politics.

Moreover, it seems unlikely that Republicans, supposedly against affirmative action and identity politics, would suddenly vote in droves for the Democrats or stay home merely because an unqualified evangelical cipher was defeated for the Court. There are plenty of other evangelicals that Bush could've nominated that are conservative and publicly committed originalists.

Frankly, all the discussion I've seen about people sitting out the next election are Catholics mad that Bush missed an opportunity to regin in the runaway Court. And now we must apparently wait another 20 years or so before a swing-vote opportunity opens up to shift the Court to the right. With Harriet Miers an unrepentant believer in diversity, she moves the Court to the left, away from the people and away from the Constitution.

Miers is no Match for Coulter...

Ann Coulter concisely details the arguments against Miers' nomination.

Ah, but perhaps you were unaware of Miers' many other accomplishments. Apparently she was THE FIRST WOMAN in Dallas to have a swimming pool in her back yard! And she was THE FIRST WOMAN with a safety deposit box at the Dallas National Bank! And she was THE FIRST WOMAN to wear pants at her law firm! It's simply amazing! And did you know she did all this while being a woman? ...

Which brings us to the other enraging argument being made by the Bush administration and its few remaining defenders — the claim of "elitism." I also don't know when the Republican Party stopped being the party of merit and excellence and became the party of quotas and lying about test scores, but I don't like that development either.

The average LSAT score at SMU Law School is 155. The average LSAT at Harvard is 170. That's a difference of approximately 1 1/2 standard deviations, a differential IQ experts routinely refer to as "big-ass" or "humongous." Whatever else you think of them, the average Harvard Law School student is very smart. I gather I have just committed a hate crime by saying so.

The LSAT is a good measure of rational intelligence, but it's not a good measure of common sense. That's why you can find so many liberals at top-tier schools who spout complete nonsense with perfect English. They end up convincing themselves that you can defeat al Qaeda, for example, with law enforcement techniques. Or that a local government seizing a person's home to give to a corporation that bribed the city council is a perfectly constitutional thing to do. I work with plenty of people who attended Harvard (my firm heavily recruits from the ivy leagues), and, speaking as a non-ivy leaguer, they are no better than most from a top 25 ranked school (mine was in the top 25, but was not an ivy league). Many of them are unrepentant leftists. Still, without a doubt, on average a person attending a higher ranked school will be smarter than someone from a mid or lower ranked school.

My problem with Miers isn't that she didn't attend a better school, but that she has no demonstrable judicial philosophy (let alone one consistent with Scalia or Thomas). She also has no record outside of school which would demonstrate her skills as a lawyer. Being a hack for the Texas Bar Association is certainly not a qualifier (it's idiotic that certain people would suggest that it is). Hugh Hewitt's snide references to elitism are really wearing thin, and his constant suggestion that her religion is equal to having a conservative jurisprudential philosophy is just stupid. There are plenty of conservatives who, plainly speaking, couldn't tell you the most basic meaning of the Establishment clause if they tried.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Our Defense Policy is Run by Wimps...

This is outrageous: World may have to live with nuclear Iran - US Study. The ongoing concern of a nuclear Iran has led several analysts covering this issue to declare defeat without even stepping up to the firing line:

'Can the United States live with a nuclear-armed Iran? Despite its rhetoric, it may have no choice," concluded the report by Judith Yaphe and Air Force Col. Charles Lutes, which was released on Thursday.

The potential for rolling back Iran's program, once it produces a nuclear weapon, "is lower than preventing it in the first place and the costs of rollback may be higher than the costs of deterring and containing a nuclear Iran," they said.'

Read that second paragraph closely. The potential for "rolling back" Iran's program AFTER it produces a bomb is lower than PREVENTING it in the first place. But then why does the report then conclude that PREVENTION is impossible? I thought the entire context of Iran's nuclear ambitions were focused on prevention, and never rollback. Rollback is a non-option when dealing with nukes, because the nukes are the spears that prevent any possible rollback option at all. Everyone dealing with Iran has been focused on prevention. But the authors of this report aren't even hanging their hopes on prevention:
"Nothing in the intervening four years has diverted Tehran from the "systematic pursuit of nuclear technology that could contribute to a weapons program," the new report concluded."

Perhaps because having the Euro-weenies offer them bribes for playing nice has only made them conclude that the West is full of prissies. Britian has flatly ruled out a military option on Iran, making the US and Israel the sole countries possibly willing to hold out the threat of a strike. Iran has correctly concluded that, given the international opposition to the Iraq war, it can wait out the clock on its nuclear bomb while the Western countries argue amongst themselves.

On the threat of a military strike, the report concludes the following:
"...the U.S. researchers warned that a U.S. or Israeli pre-emptive military strike likely would rally Iranians around a religious fundamentalist government in Tehran that they might otherwise want to replace, spur new attacks by Iran-allied groups like Hizbollah. "

So OBVIOUSLY we shouldn't do that. But since it earlier noted that Iran hasn't been deterred by anything attempted by the West to date, it probably will not be deterred at all. Hence, we have to live with a nuclear Iran. But don't worry, says this pathetic report, because:
"On living with a nuclear-armed Iran, the analysts said Tehran was unlikely to use its nuclear capability unless facing an overwhelming threat and while it might become more assertive in the region, superior U.S. capabilities could probably deter significant mischief. "

A country run by fanatical muslims who want to destroy the United States cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons, period. It should be the #1 security priority of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. That means we get in covert ops to destroy the facilties, we engage in active promotion of democratic opposition in Iran, or we engage in a full-blown pre-emptive strike or let Israel do it.

Iran with nukes is a nightmare scenario. That effectively gives the bomb to the terrorists. There is no distinction between Iran and "terrorist groups" anyway. Their policies and goals are one and the same. Iran has not been subtle in its rhetoric:

Iran’s new hardline president launched a blistering attack on America and its allies at the United Nations last night as he fiercely defended his country’s right to nuclear technology.
“Let me be blunt. State terrorism is being supported by those who claim to fight terrorism,” Mahmood Ahmadinejad said in a thinly-veiled tirade against the West at the UN General Assembly.
Mr Ahmadinejad proposed that unnamed third-party countries could be allowed to share in Iran’s nuclear programme, an offer that is too vague to satisfy the country’s critics....
Broadening his verbal assault, he also called for “foreign occupation forces” to leave Afghanistan and Iraq and even raised questions about who was behind the September 11 attacks.

This is a terrorist leading a terrorist country that is doing everything in its power to acquire nuclear weapons it has no problem sharing with other terrorists. Anyone willing to live with this scenario doesn't appreciate the threat or is too deluded to understand it.

Iran must be stopped, right the hell now.


It is raining cats and dogs today in New York. I'm reminded of this article by Michael Rubiner when the weather was just as bad several years ago (reprinted in full below because it's behind the stupid TimesSelect firewall thingy, and besides every other blog posted it in full when he originally wrote it):

Wednesday in New York: Rain. Heavy at times. Followed by periods of precipitation.

Thursday: Lingering showers throughout the day. Chance of rain 800 percent.

Friday: Moist. Damp. Sodden.

Saturday: Rainish. Showery. Precipitacious.

Sunday: Light rain followed by heavy rain followed by pouring.

Monday: Unseasonably rainy in the morning. Uncharitably rainy in the afternoon. Unconscionably rainy in the evening.

Tuesday: Endless showers broken up by occasional flooding.

Wednesday: Remember "Waterworld"? Like that, only with more rain.

Thursday: Not sunny. The opposite of sunny. Just forget about sunny, O.K.?

Friday: Clearing just long enough for you to make weekend plans. Followed by obscene amounts of rain.

Saturday: Take a wild guess.

Sunday: Incessant, spirit-crushing rain. The kind of rain that makes it futile to get out of bed in the morning. The kind of rain that seems as if it will never end. And guess what? It never will. Ever. Do you understand?

Monday: Please go away.

Tuesday: Ample, brilliant sunshine throughout the day. Wait - did I say sunshine? I meant rain. Really hard rain.

Peggy Noonan on Miers...

Peggy Noonan has a great article on Miers. She also has good advice:

And next time perhaps the White House, in announcing and presenting the arguments for a new nominee to the high court, will remember a certain tradition with regard to how we do it in America. We don't say, "We've nominated Joe because he's a Catholic!" A better and more traditional approach is, "Nominee Joe is a longtime practitioner of the law with considerable experience, impressive credentials, and a lively and penetrating intellect. Any questions? Yes, he is a member of the Catholic church. Any other questions?"
That's sort of how we do it. We put the horse and then the cart. The arguments for the person and then the facts attendant to the person. You don't say, "Vote for this gal because she's an Evangelical!" That shows a carelessness, an inability to think it through, to strategize, to respectfully approach serious facts--failings that, if they weren't typical of the White House the past few months, might be called downright sexist.

You are the BEST Governor EVER! EVER!!!!!!

Who wrote this sentence: "You are the best governor ever--deserving of great respect!"

Gnat, or Harriet Miers?

(no offense to Gnat, who unknowlingly is among the blogosphere's brightest stars).

I should mention that every morning, after I come into the office, I grab a cup of coffee and read Lileks. I wonder if he knows that his musings are read as wake-ups to Wall Street attorneys? He's very funny and I appreciate his amusing reports on his daughter. Gnat rocks.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Even though the Democrats are worse, even though if he weren't re-elected crime would probably skyrocket, and even though no one else has a chance in hell of winning...

I can't vote for Bloomberg when he keeps doing crap like this.

UPDATE: Here's an excerpt from the article, since to read it you have to register on the Post's website.
Mayor Bloomberg is coming out big for the gay vote — hiring a homosexual former Democratic candidate who made waves by featuring his boyfriend in a campaign ad, The Post has learned.
Failed Manhattan borough president hopeful Brian Ellner signed on last week with Bloomberg's campaign to handle outreach to gay and lesbian voters, sources said.
Ellner's recruitment is part of the Republican mayor's plan to snag a significant portion of the gay vote, even though Democratic rival Fernando Ferrer has already lined up endorsements from numerous gay groups.
Last month, Ellner, who is openly gay, aired an unusual TV spot during the borough president's primary contest, which was ultimately won by Assemblyman Scott Stringer, that was the talk of the city political world.
"I'm Brian Ellner and this is my partner, Simon," Ellner says as the commercial ends and the two men face the camera arm in arm.
That was believed to be a first in the city for a candidate.

My problem is not that he wants people with a same sex attraction to vote for him, but that he's causing scandal by promoting the openly gay lifestyle. Bloomberg picked this guy, and this guy only out of all others, because he was openly gay (and not that he happened to pick a qualified man with same sex attractions).

Monday, October 10, 2005

Miers is Not a Conservative...

Read the emails that Michelle Malkin is getting. One in particular stands out for me:
There are some claiming that those of us opposing the Miers nomination are elitists. Not only is the claim simply wrong, it shows that those using the claim aginst us have no good arguments in favor of the nomination and are resorting to name calling. You know your opponents have lost the argument when the best they can do is call you names.
I was one of the grass roots volunteers working my butt off for the President's reelection. Among those I worked with on the campaign, there was no issue that was more important than appointing the absolute best people to the Supreme Court. Never once did I hear a list of elitist qualifications or anything of the sort. The discussions always centered on picking candidates in whom we could have confidence and fight for.
It feels like I've gotten kicked in the teeth, and the guy who kicked me, along with his best buddies, are telling me I'm a jerk for not enjoying it. What's worse is that I think they actually believe I am a jerk for not enjoying it.
Michelle also notes that Polipundit has changed his mind about Miers, and is now opposing her nomination:
Since her nomination was announced, I’ve said that Harriet Miers should be confirmed to the Supreme Court, despite her unexciting qualifications, because she’s a conservative. Information that has come out over the last week has caused me to believe she is not a conservative. So I’m changing my position: Harriet Miers should not be confirmed by the Senate.
On Roe v. Wade, I have no doubt that Miers is a rock-solid pro-lifer. If this were the only issue that mattered, then Miers would have my full support.
But there are any number of other issues before the Court, foremost among them the racial discrimination that goes on in the name of affirmative action. On these issues, Miers would at best be a squishy liberal like Justice O’Connor.
David Frum at National Review has been blogging a lot on Miers recently (probably to keep up with Professor Bainbridge), and notes that Miers has a devotion to the ideal of "diversity." He also posts some reader email which is very illuminating. An excerpt:
I voted for Reagan in 1980 and have voted Republican ever since, I knocked on doors for Coleman and Rep Kennedy here in Minnesota. But today I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in Bush's selection. She is a solitary workaholic like Souter, and even though I am a Evangelical Christian, I find it patronizing to have the White House and Hewitt sell her on her religious devotion. I want the sharpest legal mind available for the Court.Sen. Graham told those of us who object to the nomination to Shut Up. Ok, will; I will also stay home for the midterm elections. I feel the GOP establishment is holding its voters, you know, the folks who put them in power, in contempt.

Redstate summarizes the Sunday talk shows involving Miers, which involved, among others, Pat Buchanan, Senator Lindsey "Shut Up" Graham, Gary Bauer, and Senator Chuck Schumer

John Hawkins over at RightWingNews posts the results of a poll he conducted among right of center bloggers. It's not good news for Miers, but whether it will make a difference is another matter entirely. Scroll down for further commentary on Miers and elitism, and for an excerpt from an article which notes that Miers unliaterally watered down the President's message on Christmas because she thought it was offensive (again showing a disturbing attachment to "diversity").

After writing an article in the Washington Post on the right-leaning blogosphere's reaction to Miers, Captain Ed has an update noting that while lack of GOP support could damage Miers, Democrats might drag her across the finish line because she's the best they could hope to get. But this means that the Democrats would have to gamble on her position on Roe v. Wade as well, which is something they might not be willing to do.

A Devastating Article on Miers...

John Fund writes on the Wall Street Editorial Page:
I have changed my mind about Harriet Miers. Last Thursday, I wrote in OpinionJournal's Political Diary that "while skepticism of Ms. Miers is justified, the time is fast approaching when such expressions should be muted until the Senate hearings begin. At that point, Ms. Miers will finally be able to speak for herself."
But that was before I interviewed more than a dozen of her friends and colleagues along with political players in Texas. I came away convinced that questions about Ms. Miers should be raised now--and loudly--because she has spent her entire life avoiding giving a clear picture of herself. "She is unrevealing to the point that it's an obsession," says one of her close colleagues at her law firm.

Fund gives numerous examples of Miers' unfaithfulness as a conservative. After detailing the notorious history of the "trust me" excuse used by Republican Presidents over the past 50 years which resulted in 7 liberal appointments to the Court, Fund notes that:

Ms. Miers's record is one of initially supporting a conservative position and then abandoning it. She started out backing a plan to redistrict the City Council that had received the endorsement of two-thirds of Dallas voters in a 1989 referendum. When it appeared that plan would lose a court case on account of its alleged effect on minority representation, she backed a plan for single-member districts supported by liberals. "I formally debated her on the issue," recalls Tom Pauken, a former chairman of the Texas Republican Party. "She was a liberal then. I don't know about today, but in the last week all the liberals who've been on the council have been singing her praises."....

After giving her effusive praise, her friends are a little nonplussed when asked if she is a conservative. "She is a person of great integrity," says Ms. Spaeth. "I have never had a political conversation with her." While many of the Bush judicial nominees she has helped shepherd to confirmation are affiliated with the Federalist Society, Ms. Miers herself has been ambivalent about the influential conservative legal group. In 1990, she almost anticipated how much of a lightning rod the group would become to the left. She testified in a court case that she would not join the society because "it's better not to be involved in organizations that seem to color your view one way or the other for people who are examining you."

I would read Frum's article just for the grim history of failed Republican appointments to the Court. You end up thinking "it's happening again." It's almost as if it's a curse or something. Given the history, it is unfathomable that defenders of the President think we owe him any trust on this issue. We certainly do not. The President has made his choice, but he must live with it. And so Miers should be defeated or withdrawn.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Narnia is safe, it seems...

Amy Wellborn notes that Barbara Nicolosi has seen the first movie of the Chronicles of Narnia, the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and she gives it a big thumbs up.

Most important in Ms. Nicolosi's report is the fact that she compares it to Peter Jackson's version of the Lord of the Rings. I remember when the Lord of the Rings was being produced and the fans for the most part were so giddy that they didn't care if any changes to the plot were being made. As if their glee for the opportunity defeated any reason for wanting the opportunity in the first place (gee, kinda reminds me of the Miers nomination), many fans simply didn't care if entire characters or the plot were re-written by Jackson. When specific changes started to filter through to the fans, such as Arwen's proposed expanded role, Purists rightly went ballistic, and Peter Jackson eventually cut some of his changes out. Still, while certain parts of the trilogy are enjoyable and faithful to the book, the changes make the movies as a whole unwatchable to me.

But Ms. Nicolosi notes that "contrary to Peter Jackson's agenda-aversion manhandling of Tolkien's classic, here, the tone of LW&W is as close to the book as probably could have been achieved. All the lines the Christians are worrying about are in there. All the scenes you want to see are here and lovingly rendered. So everybody can relax and get ready to enjoy..."

Awesome. I can't wait to see it.

More on Miers

More evidence is brought that Miers is not a conservative:

In the Corner, Stanley Kurtz links to a report on Miers showing her "progressive stances" as a legislator. He correctly notes her disdain for the Federalist Society as an indicator of her true feelings on jurisprudence.

On Bench Memos, in a post that has gotten attention throughout the blogosphere (see here, here, and here), Richard Garnett expands on Miers' disdain for the Federalist Society and says that if true, it seriously undercuts her claim to be a conservative.

National Review has been doing a good job. But no one seems more out in front of this issue than Professor Bainbridge, who has been blogging a storm about Miers. He compiles all of his criticism to date in a long blog post, mentioning the Wall Street Journal piece I linked to below, and linking to all of his other posts on the matter.

UPDATE: Now the Democrats are defending Miers from conservatives. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Friday, October 07, 2005

It's not Personal, It's Strictly Business...

Everyone quotes that line from the Godfather, but it's usually only the readers of Mario Puzo's book who know that the author was using that phrase cynically, because the business of killing a man's father will always become personal. So it's never business, it's always personal.

Is opposition to Miers personal as well? That's what Daniel Henninger says in today's Wall Street Journal editorial page.

However, this news account of the President's celebration of William Buckley and National Review's 50th anniversary seems to suggest that, so far, it remains just business. For now.

Should Miers be Defeated?

The question facing all conservatives doubtful of President Bush's selection of Miers to the Supreme Court is: should we work towards defeating her? Several prominent columnists are saying YES to this question. Charles Krauthammer thinks so, noting that "
The issue is not the venue of Miers's constitutional scholarship, experience and engagement. The issue is their nonexistence...

Constitutional jurisprudence is... by definition, an exercise of intellect steeped in scholarship. Otherwise it is nothing but raw politics. And is it not the conservative complaint that liberals have abused the courts by having them exercise raw super-legislative power, the most egregious example of which is the court's most intellectually bankrupt ruling, Roe v. Wade ?

Although the Constitution is a plain document, the meanings behind many of its words are heavy with historical meaning. Take "establishment of religion," as an example. Many people today, because of the cultural weight assigned to that phrase by the Supreme Court, think that "establishment of religion" means that the government cannot display a Christmas Tree at all or without appropriate "secular" balancing displays (such as a plastic reindeer or frosty the snowman). People think this, of course, because the Supreme Court said as much in Lynch v. Donnelly and Allegheny County v. ACLU. In those two cases, the Court held that the display of religious symbols by the government would only be permissible if the context is clear that government does not "favor" religion. Thus was born the "plastic reindeer rule."

The last time I checked, I don't think the Constitution mentions plastic reindeers. But it does mention "establishment of religion," which is a very specific thing and of which the Framers had intimate knowledge. England had an established religion: the King was the head of the Anglican Church. In England, there were vicious laws against practicing Catholicism or any other unapproved form of Christianity. This is the reason the Pilgrims left for the new world, to be free from government persecution. Notably, however, the New England colonies didn't shirk from establishing their own government-selected religions. The idea at the time was that if you had a different religious belief, you would move to a different area of the country (Rhode Island accepted nearly anyone as they were fiercely independent, and Maryland was originally for Catholics). The Framers did not want the newly created Federal Government to wipe out those established religions in the various states, which is why the First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. States at the time were free to continue operating their established religions, and did so long well into the 1820s.

It is this kind of historical perspective in understanding a phrase of the Constitution that originalist jurisprudence demands. Does Miers posess any of that? Who can say? Given the important of avoiding another Souter (an outright flip to the left) or a Kennedy, O'Connor, or Blackmun (gradual but consistent shift to the left), we cannot gamble with this nomination. But the President and Miers' supporters ARE asking us to gamble. So should we come out and demand her nomination be withdrawn, or urge her defeat? Powerline says no. Professor Bainbridge hasn't said anything definitive yet. Captain Ed says he bases his support on Miers only to avoid a destructive party schism. And of course, Hugh Hewitt thinks that we're all a bunch of idiots for even suggesting the possibility of defeating her (or something like that).

Of course there's always the possibility that Miers will be the next Scalia. But I wouldn't bet on it. Right now, I hope she withdraws herself after a poor performance before the Judiciary Committee. The Democrats are going to vote in favor of her unless they get spooked by her pro-life opinions. But barring that, the Democrats know that she is malleable given her lack of any jurisprudential philosophy, and that is probably the best they can hope for. If Republicans are forced to vote in the Senate on her nomination, I think they will probably vote to confirm. The only chance at defeat is before the Committee hearings, or during them. Which is why people are making noise now, because as the clock ticks, it becomes too late. At this point in time, by continuing to criticize her without saying what we'd want, it's almost an implicit argument for her defeat (which is why Hugh Hewitt was so upset over the uproar to begin with).

Very soon, I think those who want Miers to be confirmed, for whatever reason (like to avoid a split in the Republican party - a split which is just as likely if she IS confirmed), will soon drop the issue. Those who want Miers defeated will continue to criticize her, and force her defenders to respond. Whether this affects any of the Republican Senators is another matter entirely.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Every day I take the subway...

After a while, this sort of thing doesn't faze you. But it's only a matter of time.

It's two for two so far...

As much as Buchanan has riled me in the past (especially concerning his opinions on Israel), he is dead-on when it comes to Miers.

For those who didn't catch it, here's Buchanan's first Miers column.

What can be done?

Professor Bainbridge, no fan of the Miers nomination, asks a good question:

I have the distinct impression that the Democratic Party sees the liberal blogosphere as being inside the tent, while the Republican Party views the conservative blogosphere as being somewhere between an irrelevance and a minor nuisance. Maybe this is true, at least in part, because many prominent "conservative" bloggers (Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, Stephen Green, and Eugene Volokh spring to mind) are not exactly stalwart Republican party loyalists but rather libertarians (or whatever) who put routinely put their principles ahead of party interests. Alternatively, maybe the Democrats have just decided to follow Lyndon Johnson's advice about keeping your critics inside the tent peeing out rather than outside the tent peeing in.

In any event, all of this raises the question of how those of us in the conservative blogosphere can elevate ourselves into the category of genuine problem as opposed to mere nuisances. I'm open to suggestions.

Although the liberal blogosphere readily identifies with Communists, Anarchists, and other loser parties, the discussion never centers around third parties when it comes time to vote. They ONLY vote Democrat. The Professor rightly notes that many prominent non-left bloggers are libertarian (he should not identify this universe as the "conservative" blogosphere, since frankly many of them are not conservative. I'll call it the right-leaning blogosphere). It is not uncommon for the discussion in the right-leaning blogosphere to often note the vote for a third party. Also, many prominent libetarian bloggers do not share the same interests as conservatives and so don't blog often about conservative issues like being pro-life. The right-leaning blogosphere includes many Warbloggers who support President Bush in the War on Terror, but who couldn't care less about abortion, the size of government, gun control, and other conservative issues. So the right-leaning blogosphere is split, while the liberal blogosphere is, well, liberal.

Even more importantly than that, however, the liberal blogosphere has been very focused on party-building activities like donating to specific liberal Democrats, which has the effect of moving the Democratic party left. Many of the and the Daily Kos people were involved in fundraising efforts for specific liberal candidates. No comparable effort in the right-leaning blogosphere existed (President Bush was the only candidate, and no Senate or House races faced recognition). Therefore, there was no comparable effect of the right-leaning blogosphere pulling the Republican Party to the conservative side. Also, given the libertarian or single-issue nature of many in the right-leaning blogosphere, there is no party-building efforts across the board. To suggest that the right-leaning blogosphere is mainly Republican is absurd. And even though prominent liberal bloggers wanted to wage war on the Democratic National Committee, they were going to do it AS DEMOCRATS, meaning they were doing it to move the party to the left.

So, to answer Professor Bainbridge's question - how do we become a problem? First, as I did, tell the RNC and Ken Mehlman to quit asking for $$$$$. They're not getting a dime from me until they get the message loud and clear. Every piece of mail I get from them has gone in the trash for months. Second, I'll be more than happy to donate to any conservative involved in a primary fight against an incumbent Republican. Third, I would encourage conservatives to quit listening to certain people telling us that we have to shut up and toe the Republican Party line, and instead listen to committed conservatives who are devoted to victory.

It's easy to become a problem to the Republicans when you also remember that by agitating on the political end you'll also be helping in other areas also.

UPDATE: Professor Volokh, a libertarian, sympathizes.

FURTHER UPDATE: As I mentioned on Prof. Bainbridge's blog, with regards to money, it's not enough that conservatives give in general. It's WHO you give it to. Give it to conservative primary candidates taking on incumbent Republicans. Don't give to the RNC. Don't give to Republican PACs. Those things are incumbent protection rackets that don't give a crap about conservatives, and only care about Republicans. There's a difference. Using money in politics is like going fishing. You gotta lead with the bait.

This is what happens when you mess with the base...

Say you're a pro-life Republican Senator, and were elected among other reasons for your strong support of the pro-life cause and the hopes that your influence in a majority party will be instrumental in advancing that cause. And for a while, your support is solid. You're hated by all on the left, which is always a good sign.

But then, you support a VERY militant pro-choice Republican who is also running for re-election to the Senate. You also work hard to knock down a credible pro-life challenger to that Senator. And when the pro-choice Republican wins, you support him in his efforts to lead up the Judiciary Committee in the Senate. With that power, the pro-choice Senator exerts his influence to pressure the President of the United States to nominate someone to the Supreme Court who is not openly conservative and at the forefront of the battle over the Court. The President nominates a complete blank slate.

What will people in your state think of your efforts? Well, apparently they've had it with you.
Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey Jr.'s lead over Sen. Rick Santorum has grown even larger in their U.S. Senate race, according to a poll released Thursday.

The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,530 Pennsylvania voters showed Casey leading the two-term Republican incumbent by 18 points, 52 percent to 34 percent, in the 2006 race. That compares to a 50-to-39 percent lead in a July poll by Quinnipiac...

Casey, a Democrat and the son of a popular late governor, has maintained a low profile and done a limited number of media interviews.

Casey isn't even campaigning and Santorum is losing. This is what pissing off the base will do. Yes, there may be other factors at work, especially since Pennsylvania voted for Kerry in the last election. But it will be a miracle if Santorum wins this. Casey claims he's pro-life. There are probably a lot of disgruntled pro-life Pennsylvanians who are thinking that Santorum made a big mistake when he supported Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey, and as a result we are now dealing with Harriet Miers.

It is a fact of life that the base, upset over Miers, will not be enthusatically voting for the Republicans in 2006. Supporters of Miers and the President, despite compliaints about it, had better accept it. Just as people disappointed with Miers' nomination have to accept that she's the President's pick, people supporting her have to understand that there will be consequences that result from it. They cannot browbeat conservatives into voting for the Republican party forever, especially when they feel they're being used.

Update on clean-up...

I'm going to be testing out some new blogger templates today. This white-on-black has got to go. But I'll merely be replacing it with the standard Blogger templates, unless anyone web-savvy enough can send something along that looks nice. I have no idea how Haloscan will react to all of this and what will happen to comments, but hopefully it will be fine.

FURTHER UPDATE: Apparently, if you direct-link to the older posts, Haloscan comments won't show up on them. I have no idea why. The comments are there if you read the posts from the main page. This glitch doesn't appear to occur on new posts, though.

FINAL UPDATE: I figured it out. I had to republish the entire blog. That takes care of that!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

File under "What the...?"

Python Explodes After Eating Alligator

The python was found with the gator's hindquarters protruding from its midsection. Its stomach still surrounded the alligator's head, shoulders, and forelimbs. The remains were discovered and photographed Sept. 26 by helicopter pilot and wildlife researcher Michael Barron.

I'll bet that python didn't figure the gator would have the last laugh.

Religious Test...

Captain Ed over at Captain's Quarters makes a great point about the use of religion in the nominations process of Supreme Court candidates. He notes a Washington Post report that the White House is trying to calm conservatives rightly concerned about Miers' lack of qualifications by noting that her religion would be an appropriate proxy for determining how she would vote. The Post says:

Hecht and other confidants of Miers all pledge that if the Senate confirms her nomination to the Supreme Court, her judicial values will be guided by the law and the Constitution. But they say her personal values have been shaped by her abiding faith in Jesus, and by her membership in the massive red-brick Valley View Christian Church, where she was baptized as an adult, served on the missions committee and taught religious classes....

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino declined to comment on Hecht's recollection yesterday but said President Bush did not ask Miers her personal views on abortion or any other issue that may come before the court. "A nominee who shares the president's approach of judicial restraint would not allow personal views to affect his or her rulings based on the law," Perino said.

Some religious conservatives have expressed deep dissatisfaction with the Miers nomination, grumbling that she has never taken public stands on hot-button social issues. But her friends point to Valley View as evidence that she is cut from conservative cloth. They say she's not a "holy roller" who flaunts her religion on her sleeve but she lives her faith as a born-again Christian...

Captain Ed rightly notes that if conservatives are supposed to be assuaged by Miers' faith, as an appropriate proxy for her voting patterns she would have as a judge, it flatly contradicts the stance taken by the White House in the Roberts nomination. Recall, the Administration rightly noted that questioning Roberts' Catholicism should be off-limits. Everyone was upset that Senator Schumer was proposing what some believed would be an unconstitutional religious test on actual, believing Christians. So why now should conservatives switch gears and suddenly accept Miers because of her commitment to her faith?

I'll admit that Roberts' strong Catholicism was a huge plus in my mind. But his obvious qualifications and his demonstrable wrestling of constitutional issues in his work during the Reagan Administration was a far bigger factor than his religion. And I think that Captain Ed is right that by opening up this subtle hint to conservatives, it also opens the door to Schumer and others like him who would use religion as a cudgel to bash prospective nominees. That cannot be allowed to happen.

None of this would be an issue if Miers was sufficiently qualified. Moreover, the leap of logic the Administration is asking conservatives to make only goes so far. Miers is an evangelical Christian. Fine. MAYBE she'll vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Maybe, if we make the assumption that her personal religious preferences would be the foundation of her vote instead of any reasoned constitutional analysis of the numerous faults of Roe. But how will she vote on federalism matters? Commerce clause matters? How would we be able to use her religion as a proxy to gague her philosophy of constitutional jurisprudence in matters wholly unrelated to religion? This proxy of her religion really doesn't satisfy at all, if one thinks about it. And it opens the door to a bigger attack from a sinister Senator in the future.

Slouching towards Gomorrah file....

Today the Supreme Court is considering whether the federal government has the ability under the Controlled Substances Act to prohibit doctor-assisted suicide in Oregon. Libetarians and federalist-minded conservatives would LOVE to see Oregon's law upheld, especially since the rationalization for Congressional authority of the Controlled Substances Act is the commerce clause.

Dozens of spectators gathered outside the court before arguments began, waving signs supporting the Oregon law. "My Life, My Death, My Choice," read one sign. "Who should decide? Me" said another.

"Oregon ought to be proud of having taken the first step," said one of the law's supporters, Rowland Cross, of Arlington, Va.

I wonder how the culture-of-death liberals on the Court will weigh their obvious desire to support the so-called privacy choices of Oregon's supporters, with the balance of upholding the commerce clause in all its glory?

Clean up...

Yes, I have a blog, but getting used to the intricacies of it all will take time. I'll add links later on. Haloscan comment boxes are also here and hopefully will work well (I had a little trouble installing it last night). So within 24 hours, everything should be running smoothly.

Everyone should read this.

George Will's new column about Miers:

The money quote:
The wisdom of presumptive opposition to Miers' confirmation flows from the fact that constitutional reasoning is a talent -- a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest. It is not usually acquired in the normal course of even a fine lawyer's career. The burden is on Miers to demonstrate such talents, and on senators to compel such a demonstration or reject the nomination.

This is idiotic...

From the AP:

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' footprints on contentious social issues suggest a moderate position on gay rights, an interest in advancing women and minorities and sympathy for anti-abortion efforts. Judging from the Smith & Wesson she once packed, she favors gun rights, too.

Miers' years as a corporate lawyer and White House insider have produced a record so scant that court-watchers are picking through 16-year-old Dallas city council votes and the like to divine how she might come down on constitutional matters.

This is what the nominations process has come down to: playing detective. Instead of a nominee who has a principled stand on how to interpret the Constitution, which we could question to determine the degree to which such principles would be applied, instead we have to figure out if Miers' enrollment in the "jelly of the month club" would determine how strictly she would apply the commerce clause. Lovely.

The AP goes on to report that Miers owned a gun, donated $150 to a pro-life group, met with gay activist groups, and that the root causes of crime were "poverty, lack of mental and other health care, inadequate education and family dysfunction." (Of those, I think the one that has the strongest basis in reality is family disfunction.)

The AP calls Miers an "anti-abortion moderate." In their worldview, those words must seem contradictory (since all the chattering classes know that moderates are always pro-choice). This article screams code words to the liberal left that Miers is a nominee who will move to the left once confirmed. If she's moderate enough on certain matters like gay rights, theories of poverty, and an interest in advancing minorities and women, then the left can conclude that in 5 years, she'll be a solid vote to declare gay marriage a fundamental right, that interventionist policies to advance the poor are constitutional despite property rights or the commerce clause, and that affirmative action quotas are ok.

Miers is no Scalia.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Aggressive Conservativism...

With the debacle that is quickly becoming the Harriet Miers nomination, and the pathetic failure of the Administration to send up a bold, open, public conservative as a nominee, I figured instead of writing a million comments in a lot of diverse blogs, I'd be better suited to start my own and take things from there.

As anyone who knows my frequent comments on other blogs, I think that a bold, up-front, unapologetic conservativism is the best sort of politics for the nation. "Compassionate Conservativism" is a disgusting, pathetic term that inherently apologizes for the very nature of traditionalist ideology. I think that a lot of the discussion is too focused on maintaining Republicans in power without properly assessing if Power has merely become an end instead of a means to do good. I think that too much of the discussion is improperly conciliatory to incorrect conclusions. I think that in the face of unrelenting attacks by the crazy left that many conservatives have succumbed to blindly rallying around the Republican flag instead of questioning whether a proper intellectual attack is being undertaken to destroy the Left and better promote our ends in the political arena.

While certain people have in the past seemed to assume that in their comment boxes I shrilled for the Administration, the Miers nomination proves to me that Republicans are advancing a passive form of conservativism at best, or not advancing it at all. Either way, I intend to call them on it. Bush was a hero after September 11, 2001, but he has his faults and I hope that by pointing them out he can correct himself.