Tuesday, September 27, 2005

SCOTUS Buzzing

is for Karen Williams -- at least that's what they're hearing over at Red State.org blog. Keep in mind though, that rumors and mis-information were rampant before Pres. Bush announced John Roberts nomination. This could easily be more of the same.

There's not much information readily available about Judge Williams. However, I did come across this article from her local paper, the (Orangeburg, SC) Times and Democrat:

Did You Hear? Karen Williams mentioned for open U.S. Supreme Court slot

By NANCY C. WOOTEN, T&D Features Editor

Orangeburg's own federal appellate court judge, Judge Karen Williams of the Richmond, Va.-based 4th Circuit, has been mentioned as a possible replacement to retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor by respected news sources.

Justice O'Connor, 75, appointed as the first woman on the court in 1981, said Friday she will retire upon the naming of a successor. President George W. Bush will nominate a replacement and thereby affect the future direction of American law.

Because Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 80, who suffers from thyroid cancer, had been expected to retire, short lists of possible successors had been prepared earlier in this week. When O'Connor made her announcement, those lists, as well as new ones, made their way onto wire reports, Web news sites and blogs.

Judge Williams was named on the CBS News Midday Report Friday as one of three women on a list prepared after the O'Connor announcement.

Greg Stohr, a reporter for Bloomberg.com, an online news service, reported that the departure of the court's first female justice may put pressure on Bush to nominate a woman to accompany the only remaining female on the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The list of possibilities Stohr provided, in addition to Judge Williams, was Judges Edith Jones and Edith Brown Clement of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Susan Black of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit and Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington.

Judge Williams also was listed on campaignline.blogspot.com among eight female judges whom President Bush might choose to fill the seat. On the University of Pittsburgh's Law Web site, known as jurist.law.pitt.edu, Judge Williams is listed as a potential Bush nominee in a mini-Guide to future Supreme Court appointments obviously written before the O'Connor announcement.

Williams is the former Karen Johnson of Orangeburg. She married Charles H. Williams, son of the late state Sen. Marshall Williams, and graduated from Columbia College. The Williamses have four children and four grandchildren. After teaching school, she graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law and practiced in the law firm of Williams and Williams. At the proposal of U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, Williams was nominated to the appeals court by President George H.W. Bush, father of the current president. She has remained very active in the Orangeburg community as a member of First Baptist Church and various civic organizations.

Most news sources expect President George W. Bush to nominate a judicial conservative, and the Fourth Circuit is known as the most conservative of the appeals courts. Two other Fourth Circuit judges, both males, had been on the short list prepared when Rehnquist was expected to be the first to retire: Judges J. Michael Luttig and James Harvie Wilkinson III. Now that O'Connor is retiring, the pressure to appoint a woman will be greater. The past six Supreme Court nominees have come from one of the Circuit Courts of Appeals. Judge Williams is the only Circuit Court appointee of the senior President Bush who is under 55.

The World's Shortest Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl "Will you marry me?"

The girl said, "No".

And the guy went fishing and hunting, played golf a lot, drank beer, rode his motorcycle whenever he wanted to, and lived happily ever after.

The End.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Belatedly Honoring a Hero

Saw a mention of this on Power Line linked from the Mudville Gazette, which, in turn, led me to a link to this story posted on Free Republic. This is a great story and well worth the time to read it.

After long campaign, Jewish veteran
will finally be honored by U.S. military

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 14 (JTA) — On Sept. 23, as Tibor Rubin enters the White House, generals will stand at rigid attention, President Bush will rise, and then he’ll drape the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for gallantry in combat, around the neck of the 76-year old Holocaust survivor and Korean War veteran.

Rubin and a legion of supporters have waited almost 55 years for this moment of triumph of camaraderie and persistence over bureaucratic lethargy and the prejudice that embittered the lives of so many old-time Jewish GIs.

Oddly, Rubin still does not know precisely which of his wartime feats met the Medal of Honor criterion of “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, in actual combat against an enemy armed force.”

He guesses it might have been the time he secured a retreat route for his company by single-handedly defending a hill for 24 hours against waves of North Korean soldiers.

Or it might have been any of the other actions that earned him four recommendations for the Medal of Honor by his commanding officers or fellow soldiers, two times for the Distinguished Service Cross, and twice for the Silver Star.

Had he received all those awards, he would have become the most decorated American veteran of the Korean War. What he actually got were two Purple Hearts for combat wounds and a 100 percent disability.

Rubin, known as “Tibi” to his Hungarian childhood friends and “Ted” to his army buddies, was born in Paszto, a Hungarian shtetl of 120 Jewish families, one of six children of a shoemaker.

At age 13, Rubin was transported to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, where he was liberated two years later by American troops. His parents and two sisters perished in the Holocaust.

He came to the United States in 1948, settled in New York and worked first as a shoemaker and then as a butcher.

“I was a handsome dog in those days, and the ladies who worked with me always brought me lunch,” he reminisced fondly.

In 1949 Rubin tried to enlist in the U.S. Army, both as an assumed shortcut to American citizenship and, he hoped, to attend the army’s butcher school in Chicago. He first flunked the English language test but tried again in 1950 and passed, with some help from two fellow test-takers.

In July of that year, Pfc. Rubin found himself fighting on the frontlines of Korea with I Company, 8th Regiment, First Cavalry Division. There he encountered the terror of the company — First Sgt. Artice Watson.

According to lengthy affidavits submitted by nearly a dozen men — mostly self-described “country boys” from the South and Midwest — Watson was a vicious anti-Semite who consistently “volunteered” Rubin for the most dangerous patrols and missions.

Rubin’s bravery during such missions so impressed two of his commanding officers that they recommended him three times for the Medal of Honor. Both officers were later killed in action, but not before telling Watson to initiate the necessary paper work to secure the medals for Rubin.

Some of the men in Rubin’s company were present when Watson was ordered to put in for the medals, and all are convinced that he deliberately ignored the orders.

“I believe in my heart that First Sgt. Watson would have jeopardized his own safety rather than assist in any way whatsoever in the awarding of the medal to a person of Jewish descent,” wrote Cpl. Harold Speakman in a notarized affidavit.

Toward the end of October 1950, massive Chinese troop concentrations crossed the border into North Korea and attacked the Americans. After most of his regiment had been wiped out, the severely wounded Rubin was captured and spent the next 30 months in a prisoner-of-war camp.

Faced with constant hunger, filth and disease, most of the GIs simply gave up.

“No one wanted to help anyone. Everybody was for himself,” wrote Sgt. Leo Cormier Jr., a fellow prisoner.

All except Rubin: Almost every evening, he would sneak out of the camp to steal food from the Chinese and North Korean supply depots, realizing that he would be shot if caught.

“He shared the food evenly among the GIs,” Cormier wrote. “He also took care of us, nursed us, carried us to the latrine . . . He did many good deeds, which he told us were ‘mitzvahs’ in the Jewish tradition . . . He was a very religious Jew, and helping his fellow men was the most important thing to him.”

Survivors of the camp credited Rubin with keeping 35 to 40 people alive, and recommended him for the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star.

Sgt. Carl McClendon, a soldier saved by Rubin, wrote: “He had more courage, guts and fellowship than I ever knew anyone had. He is the most outstanding man I ever met, with a heart of gold. Tibor Rubin committed everyday bravery that boggles the mind. How he ever came home alive is a mystery to me.”

For some 30 years after his discharge, Rubin lived quietly in a small house in Garden Grove, Calif. with his wife Yvonne, a Dutch Holocaust survivor. The couple reared two children: Frank, an Air Force veteran, and a daughter, Rosalyn.

Rubin finally got his American citizenship in 1953. He tried to resume his old job as a butcher, but crippling afflictions traceable to his war wounds forced him to quit.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that Rubin’s old army buddies started protesting the army’s inaction in recognizing the man who had saved so many of their lives. They were soon joined by others.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced a special bill on Rubin’s behalf in 1988. Former Rep. Robert Dornan (R-Calif.) pleaded for recognition of his constituent. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and former Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.) kept harassing the Pentagon.

The Jewish War Veterans have championed Rubin’s cause for many years and at one point collected 42,000 signatures on a petition presented to President Reagan. But nothing appeared to penetrate the wall of bureaucratic indifference.

Then, in the mid-1990s, the U.S. military, now a model equal-opportunity employer, was forced to revisit its record of discrimination against minorities during World War II and the Korean War.

Responding to criticism that the military consistently had squelched recommendations for high medal awards to minorities, the army, navy and air force started to review their old files.

In 1996 the Pentagon belatedly awarded Medals of Honor to 21 Japanese-American and other Asian-American veterans, and eight to former African-American servicemen who were institutionally segregated during World War II.

Congress passed a bill in 2001 providing for a review of selected Jewish veterans, known as the “Leonard Kravitz Jewish War Veterans Act.” Kravitz, the uncle and namesake of rock musician Lenny Kravitz, was killed manning his lone machine gun against attacking Chinese troops during the Korean War, allowing the rest of his platoon to retreat in safety.

Kravitz was recommended for a Medal of Honor, but the award was downgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest decoration.

A year later, under the terms of the Kravitz bill, a list containing the names and wartime records of 138 Jewish veterans was sent to the Pentagon. All the men listed had received the service cross from one of the military branches. The exception was Rubin, though his file was the thickest of all.

Rubin is the 15th Jewish recipient of the Medal of Honor since it was instituted during the Civil War by an Act of Congress signed by President Lincoln, according to archivist Pamela Elbe of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.

“It would have been nice if they had given me the medal when I was a young handsome man,” mused Rubin. “It would have opened a lot of doors.”

Nevertheless, ex-Cpl. Rubin is deeply impressed that high brass now address him as “Mister” or “Sir” and that he will have an escort of a major and a master sergeant on his way to Washington.

Furthermore, when he wears his medal, tradition requires that even five-star generals salute him and that the president of the United States stand when Rubin enters a room.

He is bound to get a lot of salutes at the White House, and later that day in a ceremony at the Pentagon hosted by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Rubin is allowed to invite 200 guests for the White House ceremony, and among them will be the survivors of his old company and their families. There also will be relatives, but Rubin doubts that his cousins in Israel will be able to make it.

When Rubin was interviewed three years ago, he told this reporter, “I want this recognition for my Jewish brothers and sisters. I want the goyim to know that there were Jews over there, that there was a little greenhorn, a little shmuck from Hungary, who fought for their beloved country.”

Times have changed.

“Now,” Rubin said with a self-deprecating laugh, “It’s Mister Shmuck, the hero.”
Homeowner thwarts break-in with handgun
Two suspects left with gunshot wounds after N. Ky. incident

By Sheila McLaughlin
(Cinicinatti) Enquirer staff writer

Two burglary suspects were hospitalized Saturday after a 79-year-old homeowner said he opened fire on them after they broke into his residence.

The men, whose names were not available, were listed in serious and fair condition at University Hospital in Cincinnati, a nursing supervisor said. They were flown by medical helicopter after the pre-dawn shooting.

Gayle Martin, who lives alone, said he was awakened shortly before 5 a.m. by the sound of his back door being battered. He grabbed his .357-caliber Magnum handgun and went to check out the noise. He said he saw two men and figured they were going to rob him.

"They were in the house. They had just broke in. I didn't let them get any farther," Martin said. He started shooting and the men ran from the house. Martin said he did not recognize either man.

Sheriff's deputies arrived at Martin's house after receiving a 911 call from the residence at 4:55 a.m. They found the suspects, suffering from gunshot wounds, after searching the area.

Grant County Sheriff Randy Middleton called Martin lucky. "He's very lucky. They probably would have killed him."

Middleton also said Martin's marksmanship was impressive. "He's a good shot," he said.

Neighbor Nancy Collins, who has lived on Ellen Kay Drive for 30 years, said break-ins in the somewhat rural neighborhood are uncommon. "I felt safe on this street until now," she said.

She described Martin as a "very nice gentleman," who "stayed off by himself."

Deputies have not filed any charges in the case.

"We probably won't, because they were trying to break into his house," said Middleton.

Six hours after the shooting, Martin said he was feeling lucky that he wasn't hurt.

"I'm still a bit shook up," he said.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Just. Go. Away.

Away Team to Captain Picard: "Captain, we've discovered a flux in the time space continuum. An earthling named John Kerry is trapped in it and still seems to think it October 2004 and he has a chance to be president of the United States. We're trying to release him from this time warp, but he doesn't seem to want to leave."

Long Run
by Michael Crowley

Only at TNR Online
Post date: 09.23.05

Remember John Kerry? It's been a busy week for the 2004 Democratic nominee. On Monday, Kerry delivered a long speech at Brown University blasting the Bush administration's inept response to the Katrina disaster and just about every other thing it's laid a finger on. Two days later, Kerry gave a floor speech in the Senate declaring his unsurprising opposition to the John Roberts nomination.

Make no mistake: Kerry designed these to be attention-grabbers. His staff hyped both of them relentlessly. Four e-mails from Kerryland popped into my inbox before and after his Brown speech, which Kerry aides billed as a "major address." Meanwhile his Roberts speech was garnished with no fewer than six e-mail alerts, a pace that might embarrass some Viagra spammers.

And the net result was ... well, not much. Kerry's "major address" was ignored by The New York Times, while The Washington Post lumped it in with a similar anti-Bush speech delivered by John Edwards. His Roberts broadside earned only fleeting mentions in both papers. No one seemed very interested. Even bloggers didn't pay much attention. (New York Times columnist David Brooks did use the occasion to slam Kerry as a cheap partisan--hardly the attention Kerry wanted.)

So it goes with John Kerry these days. Had 60,000 Ohioans voted differently, he would now be leader of the free world. After the election it seemed possible that Kerry would soldier on as the voice of national Democrats. Yet in a matter of just months he's gone from the face of his party to another face in the crowd.

It's not that Kerry isn't trying. Kerry has done anything but slink off into a post-defeat hibernation the way some other recently vanquished presidential nominees--Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, even Al Gore (remember the beard and the European vacation?)--have done. Well before this week, Kerry was traveling the country campaign-style to promote a children's health care plan he has, at least for the moment, made his top priority. Even as I write this, I see from the latest Kerry, Inc., email that the senator is touting another new plan to fight global AIDS.

No, Kerry seems hell-bent on redemption at the ballot box in 2008. You can see it in his strident attacks on the Bush administration, which he laid out in rhetorically goofy fashion on Monday:

Brownie is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq. What George Tenet is to slam dunk intelligence, what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad. The bottom line is simple. The "we'll do whatever it takes" administration doesn't have what it takes to get the job done. This is the Katrina administration.

You can also see Kerry's '08 ambitions in hints dropped by his political operation, which has never shot down speculation that Kerry would run again. As The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos wrote, Kerry's Katrina speech "had the air of a major political moment," surrounded as he was by his family and several top aides who "scrutinized his performance from the front row somewhat like the judging panel on 'American Idol.'"

And you can see it in that most reliable barometer of political activity: fundraising. As of August 15, Kerry's leadership PAC had raised around $750,000 this year, second only among his potential 2008 rivals to Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, who has practically declared his candidacy.

Yet while the political world hangs on every word from Hillary Clinton's mouth, and Joe Biden seems to be getting more airtime than Anderson Cooper, no one appears terribly interested in what John Kerry has to say anymore.

It's not just the media--it's Democratic voters, too. Kerry placed second in an August CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll which asked Democrats whom they preferred as a 2008 nominee. That doesn't sound so bad until you consider the numbers. Kerry finished with 16 percent, while the front-runner, Hillary Clinton (of course), had a whopping 40 percent. And Kerry was barely ahead of John Edwards, who placed just one point behind him. A June Fox News poll yielded similar results.

And it gets even more ominous. Kerry is especially unpopular within the world of netroots Democrats--the blog-based crowd who nearly lifted Howard Dean to the Democratic nomination and whose influence over the 2008 primaries will only be more powerful. The bloggers and their acolytes are still trying to figure out which candidates to promote for the next presidential nomination. But at the moment there seems to be no groundswell for the last nominee. In a summer straw poll conducted by DailyKos.com, perhaps the Grand Central Station of netroots liberals, Kerry finished with a pathetic 2 percent--putting him behind the likes of Biden, Virginia Governor Mark Warner, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, and the estimable "No Freakin' Clue." (Wesley Clark finished a clear first with 34 percent.) Meanwhile in another recent straw poll over at the Kos-like site MyDD.com, Kerry tallied just 3 percent among 14 Democrats.

None of this should come as a shock. Kerry was never an inspiring candidate. He overcame Howard Dean at the last minute in large part because he could afford to give his primary campaign a huge loan. His feeble response to last summer's swift boat attacks revealed his clumsy political skills. Everything good about the Kerry campaign--its phenomenal fundraising, the passions it harnessed--derived mainly from Democrats' Bush-hatred, not from Kerry himself.

In the midst of Kerry's typically windy John Roberts speech, he paused and looked up to the Senate rostrum. "Mr. President, how much time do I have left?" Kerry asked. "The gentleman's time has expired," came the reply. And so it has.

Updated Blog Settings

I changed my blog settings today. Anyone who checks the comments to posts may have noticed a lot of deleted comments. That's because those aren't comments, they're a pernicious sort of spam where some mutt posts a comment to a post, something like "great blog, stop by and visit my blog sometime" with a link to some porn or other site hawking some useless garbage.

I've been otherwise occupied recently and haven't posted much. But, I was relaxing today, reading some articles and posted three of those articles to my blog. I stepped away for less than an hour and when I came back, there were comments to all three posts. You guessed, three spam comments. Argh. :-(

I did some checking in the blogspot user guides and figured out that you can enable "word verification" -- that screening system where you have to input a word, number, alpha-numeric sequence in order to post a comment. I usually find these things annoying, but now I see why they are a necessary evil.
More on the Next Nominee

Another piece on the next nominee from the Journal's court watcher, Manuel Miranda:

The liberal debate is simple because, to put it bluntly, Democrats lost the 2004 election and then they lost the filibuster in May. Their debate is not over Judge Roberts's merits. In fact, even the best liberal opposition to Judge Roberts first concedes that he is excellent, and then it reveals its true concern: whether Chief Justice Roberts will rule their way on this or that. Often, the ideologue's goal is put in colorful language such as "He will turn back the clock." What liberals mean by that, of course, is that they fear that George W. Bush's nominee might move the clock at all beyond the hour at which they peaked, circa 1973.

Even so, liberals know that Judge Roberts will have been confirmed a week from now. They know that the fight is now all about the next nominee. They also know that they have only one approach left: to intimidate Mr. Bush and defeat him even before he makes the next selection.

Time for the Porkers in Washington to go on a Diet

From Opinion Journal:
Cuts for Katrina
Internet activists and some GOP lawmakers seek to slash pork to pay for reconstruction.

Sunday, September 25, 2005 12:01 a.m.

Recently we suggested that cancellation of $25 billion in pork projects--euphemistically known as "earmarks"--in the recently passed Highway Bill would be a good first step to offset some of the cost of rebuilding the infrastructure in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.

The idea of a pork-for-reconstruction swap had already been denounced as "moronic" by a spokesman for Don Young of Alaska, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and proud father of the now-infamous $223 million "bridge to nowhere" near Ketchikan. Since then the White House and Congressional Republican leadership have been acting as if the cost of Katrina relief should have no impact on the course of an administration that has presided over the fastest growth in discretionary spending since Lyndon Johnson.

But thankfully, a grassroots Internet campaign and a handful of House GOP conservatives have refused to give up on the idea that spending cuts should be found to defray the estimated $200 billion federal price tag for hurricane relief. In the Senate, John McCain is proposing a similar pork-for-Katrina swap.

The Internet campaign picks up on the idea of revisiting the earmarks in the Highway Bill. A Web site called Porkbusters (www.truthlaidbear.com/porkbusters.php) helpfully lists these projects by state and directs readers to the appropriate Representatives and Senators to ask what they would cut. Around the country a flood of letters to local newspapers has echoed the theme.

And if revisiting the Highway Bill is too much to ask, how about a one-year moratorium on all non-defense earmarks for fiscal 2006? Rep. Ron Lewis (R., Kentucky) proposes just that in a "Dear Colleague" letter dated Monday. Other suggestions include across-the-board spending cuts at federal agencies of 2.5 cents on the dollar and delaying the introduction of the Medicare drug benefit by a year. Last week members of the House Republican Study Committee--led by consistent spending hawks such as Mike Pence, Jeb Hensarling and Jeff Flake--announced "Operation Offset" and a list of specific options to find savings in the budget.

White House flacks have been sending out emails claiming the new spending is mandated by a 1988 law called the Stafford Act. But the idea that somehow the government is on automatic pilot and that expenditures cannot be restrained by Congress or the President is irresponsible and even insidious. It is a basic principle of Constitutional law that no Congress can mandate expenditures by a future one. And while the Stafford Act does suggest that temporary infrastructure repair after major disasters is a federal responsibility, it does not justify why 41 states should receive Katrina aid and it certainly doesn't relieve Republicans of their fiscal duty to identify offsetting cuts.

The startling bottom line on Bush administration profligacy is this: At $22,000 per household, federal spending is at an inflation-adjusted post-World War II high and set to go still higher soon as the Baby Boomers start drawing Medicare and Social Security. Reforming those entitlements will be tough enough. And voters will have good reason not to want to entrust that task to a party that can't even admit the wastefulness of bridges to nowhere in the wake of the new century's worst hurricane.

Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Get Ready for the Next Round

Don't forget -- now that John Roberts nomination is pretty much a done deal -- that Pres. Bush will soon be making another nomination to the high court. While the Dems did their best to smear Roberts, his record and his intellect enabled him to getting dragged through the mud. Be sure, however, that the Dems will work all that much harder to trash the next nominee -- if for no other reason than to vent their frustrations on not being able to lay a glove on Roberts.

Here is an excerpt from a piece in the WSJ's Opinion Journal:
But the next confirmation is another matter. In selecting a nominee, one factor the White House must weigh is who would have the best chance of surviving what is sure to be a fight and, probably, a filibuster attempt.

Read the whole article here.

Poster from Today's Support the Troops Rally

'Nuff said!
Dems "Expending Their Energy Jumping Through the Ever Smaller Hoops of an Ever Kookier Fringe"

Another good Mark Steyn column in today's Chicago SunTimes (by the way, Steyn's column alone makes it worth buying the SunTimes instead of that useless liberal rag, the Chicago Tribune).

Here's an excerpt:
If you watch the TV news, you'd still think Cindy Sheehan was an emblematic bereaved army mom, rather than a pitiful crackpot calling for Bush to pull his troops out of "occupied New Orleans." Her Million-Moan March washed up in Washington on Thursday to besiege the White House. As the Associated Press put it, "Sheehan, Supporters Descend On The Capital." There were 29 supporters. Can two-and-a-half dozen people "descend" on any capital city bigger than the South Sandwich Islands'? Surely her media boosters were cringing with embarrassment at their own impotence. Since its star columnist Maureen Dowd got the hots for Mrs. Sheehan's "moral authority," the New York Times has run some 70 stories on Cindy -- and every story they ran attracted another 0.4142857 of a supporter to her march on the capital.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Power Line Smack Down
Power Line has a great point on the media obsession with how the Dems will vote on Judge Roberts -- WHO CARES!!

"This whole Supreme Court nomination story has gotten a little weird, with everyone in suspense over whether the minority Democrats will approve Bush's nominees. Who cares? Since when does the Senate minority get to establish the critieria for Supreme Court nominations? When Clinton nominated Ruth Ginsburg in 1993, do you remember any discussion of what she would have to do to satisfy the Republicans? No, neither do I. (In the event, she did nothing, and they voted for her anyway.) The reality is that Roberts will be confirmed whether he gets a single Democratic vote or not. For all their furrowed brows and mangled metaphors, the Democrats' self-appointed role as the Court's gatekeepers is a joke. If they want to control who gets onto the Court, they have to go back to winning elections."

Steyn Spanks Liberal Senators

Flawless Roberts holding Dems scoreless

September 18, 2005


Ever since prolonged attendance at "the world's greatest deliberative body" during the Clinton impeachment trial, my general line on the U.S. Senate has been to commend the example of New Zealand: They had a Senate, and they abolished it.

But, until that blessed day, I'd have been quite content for the John Roberts confirmation hearings to go on for another six months, couple of years, half a decade, until the last registered Democrat on the planet expired in embarrassment at the sheer maudlin drivel of it all. It was obvious on the first day about 20 minutes in -- i.e., about halfway through Joe Biden's first question -- that the Democrats had nothing on Roberts. But they're game guys and, like the fellow in a tight spot in a caper movie, they stuck their right hands in their pockets, pointed them through the material and pretended they had a real gun in there. By the second day, their pants had fallen down, but they bravely stood there waggling their fingers at the nominee and insisting they had enough firepower to blow his head off.

New York's senior senator, Chuck Schumer, began with some observations about Judge Roberts' "troubling" record on "the issue of civil rights." Ah-ha! "Many of us consider racism the nation's poison," he said sternly. And then he dropped the big one: Twenty-five years ago Roberts had inappropriately used the word "amigos" in a memo.

I yield to no one in my disdain for Schumer, but at that moment my heart went out to him. If I'd been president, I'd have declared his mouth a federal disaster area and allocated $200 billion so FEMA could parachute in a reconstruction team to restore his tongue to its previous level of toxicity.

Alas, two days later the watery gush that had transformed Schumer into his own devastated wetland had still not dried up. He'd pretty much abandoned the racism angle of the inappropriate "amigos," though he trotted out some boilerplate about how it reflected the "misguided" and "cramped view of civil rights professed in the early Reagan administration." But by Day Four, he'd moved on to "the question of compassion and humanity," telling the judge that he had grave concerns about "the fullness of your heart.''

And what was Exhibit A for the heartlessness of Roberts? Well, back in the early '80s it seems he wrote this memo containing the word "amigos."

Oh, dear. With enemies like Chuck, who needs amigos? Whatever happened to the party's fearsome forensic skills at "the politics of personal destruction"? Granted, blathering on about how, if the other guy doesn't agree with your views, he must be deficient in "compassion and humanity" is a lot of baloney even by mawkish Dem standards. But, if you're going to twitter about the fullness of somebody's heart, why get Chuck Schumer to play Senator Oprah? He has the shifty air of a mob accountant, even with every intern on his staff holding onions under his eyes. Likewise, sneering at Roberts' life of privilege may be a smart move, but not if you entrust it to Dianne Feinstein, one of the wealthiest women in the galaxy.

But, like Lord Cardigan's 13th Light Dragoons facing the Russian guns at Balaclava, onward they rode into the Valley of Death -- or the Valley of Continuous Cable News Coverage, which boils down to flogging your dead horse through a Valley of Living Death. As Lord Tennyson wrote:

"Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do & die"

Well, OK, scrub the "theirs not to make reply" bit. The senators were making reply before Roberts had said anything. Indeed, they seemed reluctant to let him get a word in. Asking 25-minute questions is a sound strategy if you've got chapter and verse -- "In 1958, you were dismissed from an old folks' home in Cleveland after the food-poisoning deaths of 11 residents; in 1963, you were fired from a boys' summer camp in the Adirondacks for inappropriate touching; in 1965." -- but here the interrogators had nothing. And, in that scenario, your best shot is to ask short questions and give the guy all the time in the world to answer in the hope that he'll wander carelessly into some infelicitous subordinate clause. Hey, he might even use the "a" word again if we get real lucky, amigo. But these guys seemed to be locked into some anything-you-can-bloviate-I-can-bloviate-longer contest of their own, a nightmare reality show of Senatorial Survivor where none of 'em ever gets voted off the island.

The champ, of course, is Delaware's Joe Biden, whose laborious regular-Joe routine -- hey, how ya doin', ol' buddy, ol' judge, let's talk baseball -- is only marginally undermined by his apparent unfamiliarity with whatever working-stiff metaphor he's employing: Quizzing Roberts on America's national pastime, Clueless Joe managed to get the Strike Zone wrong.

I love the Biden shtick. Remember the Alberto Gonzales confirmation hearings? "We're looking for candor, ol' buddy," scoffed Joe. ''I love ya, but you're not very candid.'' Years back, when he ran for president, Biden was tripped up for plagiarizing the then British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. Now he's plagiarizing the interrogation routines from ''NYPD Blue.'' I'm sure they'll keep that "I love ya, buddy" line when he and Dianne Feinstein sign on for their new good cop/bad cop routine in the dinner theater revival of Hill Street Blue State. ''C'mon, buddy, you know I love ya, but you don't want me to bring the broad back in, do ya, amigo, hey?''

Meanwhile, despite retinues larger than the average Gulf emir, few senators seemed engaged enough by anything other than their own emoting to order their minions to rustle up some questions on judicial philosophy. We're now told that most Dems will vote for Roberts in order to give themselves some bipartisan cred before they Bork the president's next nominee. That sounds like feeble spin to avoid getting flayed by the Moveon.org types.

But maybe it'll go better for 'em next time. Or maybe it'll just be another rote slog through "troubling" stuff no normal person or his amigo cares about. Or maybe Bush will nominate Marcel Marceau so the bloviators can talk over the nominee to their hearts' content, hammering away with the Gone-With-The-Windy speechifying until they collapse momentarily exhausted and Marceau does three seconds of his man-feeling-his-way-round-the-inside-of-a-box mime before the infuriated Biden interrupts: ''C'mon, ol' buddy, gimme somethin' to work with here. You know we love ya, but buy us some peanuts an' Crackerjack, amigo.''

Better luck with the second nomination, senator. As they say in baseball, two strikes, you're out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Work vs. Prison

IN PRISON: You spend the majority of your time in an 8x10 cell.
AT WORK: You spend most of your time in a 6x8 cubicle.

IN PRISON: You get three meals a day.
AT WORK: You only get a break for 1 meal and you have to pay for it.

IN PRISON: You get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK: You get rewarded for good behavior with more work.

IN PRISON: A guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK: You must carry around a security card and unlock and open all the doors yourself.

IN PRISON: You can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK: You get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON: You get your own toilet.
AT WORK: You have to share.

IN PRISON: They allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK: You cannot even speak to your family and friends.

IN PRISON: All expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work required.
AT WORK: You get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON: You spend most of your time looking through bars from the inside wanting to get out.
AT WORK: You spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON: There are wardens who are often sadistic.
AT WORK: They are called supervisors.

IN PRISON: You have unlimited time to read jokes on the computer.
AT WORK: You get fired if you get caught.

Now get back to work!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Anything Bad That Happens Is Bush's Fault -- Does This Include Incompetent and Corrupt Local Officials?

Good article today on the 'Blame Bush' rants from the Washinton Times via Power Line:

The vultures of the venomous left are attacking on two fronts, first that the president didn't do what the incompetent mayor of New Orleans and the pouty governor of Louisiana should have done, and didn't, in the early hours after Katrina loosed the deluge on the city that care and good judgment forgot. Ray Nagin, the mayor, ordered a "mandatory" evacuation a day late, but kept the city's 2,000 school buses parked and locked in neat rows when there was still time to take the refugees to higher ground. The bright-yellow buses sit ruined now in four feet of dirty water. Then the governor, Kathleen Blanco, resisted early pleas to declare martial law, and her dithering opened the way for looters, rapists and killers to make New Orleans an unholy hell. Gov. Haley Barbour did not hesitate in neighboring Mississippi, and looters, rapists and killers have not turned the streets of Gulfport and Biloxi into killing fields.

The drumbeat of partisan ingratitude continues even after the president flooded the city with National Guardsmen from a dozen states, paratroopers from Fort Bragg and Marines from the Atlantic and the Pacific. The flutter and chatter of the helicopters above the ghostly abandoned city, some of them from as far away as Singapore and averaging 240 missions a day, is eerily reminiscent of the last days of Saigon. Nevertheless, Sen. Mary Landrieu, who seems to think she's cute when she's mad, even threatened on national television to punch out the president -- a felony, by the way, even as a threat. Mayor Nagin, who you might think would be looking for a place to hide, and Gov. Blanco, nursing a bigtime snit, can't find the right word of thanks to a nation pouring out its heart and emptying its pockets. Maybe the senator should consider punching out the governor, only a misdemeanor.

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Your Tax Dollars Not at Work

"I once thought there was too much poverty for private charity to make much of a difference. Now I realize that private charity would do much more—if government hadn't crowded it out. In the 1920s—the last decade before the Roosevelt administration launched its campaign to federalize nearly everything—30 percent of American men belonged to mutual aid societies, groups of people with similar backgrounds who banded together to help members in trouble. They were especially common among minorities. Mutual aid societies paid for doctors, built orphanages and cooked for the poor. Neighbors knew best what neighbors needed. They were better at making judgments about who needs a handout and who needed a kick in the rear. They helped the helpless, but administered tough love to the rest. They taught self-sufficiency. Mutual aid didn't solve every problem, so government stepped in. But government didn't solve every problem either. Instead, it caused more problems by driving private charity out. Today, there are fewer mutual-aid societies, because people say, 'We already pay taxes for HUD, HHS. Let the professionals do it.' Big Government tells both the poor and those who would help them, 'Don't try.'... When you rely on the government to help those who need it, you don't practice benevolence yourself. You don't take responsibility for deciding whom to help. Just as public assistance discourages the poor from becoming independent by rewarding them with fixed handouts, it discourages the rest of us from being benevolent. This may be the greatest irony of the welfare state: It not only encourages the poor to stay dependent, it kills individuals' desire to help them."

—John Stossel
One of Them is Very Wrong About Something Very Important

"The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can't both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn't fit the real universe. Consequently, with the best will in the world, he will be helping his fellow creatures to their destruction."

—C. S. Lewis

Hurricane Katrina

A Flood of Bush-Bashing
By Debra Saunders

It is only a matter of hours now that, after any catastrophe anywhere in the world -- a tsunami, a hurricane, a terrorist bombing on the London tube -- Bush haters find ways to blame President Bush. Hurricane Katrina? Bush haters have pointed their fingers at global warming, the war on terror, the Bush tax cuts, the national dependence on oil -- and in every category, Bush is the root of the evil.

Forget nature. George W. Bush is more powerful.

The German environment minister and U.S. enviro Robert F. Kennedy cited global warming as a cause for the hurricane. It doesn't matter if data show, as James Glassman of TechCentralStation pointed out, the peak for major hurricanes came in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Columnist Molly Ivins criticized Bush for cutting $71 million from the New Orleans Corps of Engineers -- even though the levee that broke had just been upgraded.

Are National Guardsmen in Iraq? Yes, some 35 percent are, but more are in Louisiana, and nearby police and firefighters can pitch in.

Bush haters who want to appear less rabid than their quick counterparts wait a whole day or so. Thursday, The New York Times editorial page hit Bush for delivering a bad speech about the hurricane's aftermath, for grinning while he spoke and for asking Americans to donate cash but not asking them to sacrifice.

The day before, the paper opined, "This seems like the wrong moment to dwell on fault-finding, or even to point out that it took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation."

It's not as pithy as some of the other anti-Bush slogans, but here's an idea for a T-shirt slogan: "Clinton vacationed at Martha's Vineyard, and nobody died." Others have lighted on left-leaning targets.

They blame residents of New Orleans for living in a city built largely below sea level. They fault homeowners who live near the beach. Of course, industries like shipping and tourism exist because of those locations. When you think about it, every locale has its hazard, be it hurricane, blistering heat, blizzard, earthquake or tornado.

Some blame families that did not heed the call to evacuate -- including families that didn't have cars, money or places to go to.

On the right, there is triumph in how the left should be held accountable for America's failure to build more refineries -- as the hurricane damage drives up the price of gasoline.

Some gloat that if the left had allowed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's oil supply would not be an issue. And what about all those liberal Californians who drive SUVs?

Say what you will, but all of the above arguments are a luxury. Alabama families are dredging water from their living rooms. In the Big Easy, women have had to wade through the nasty liquid clutching a few belongings.

And for them, the big issues were: Where do I go? What will I do for work? Where is my dog? Did my neighbor make it? How long will I have to sleep in a shelter? Do I even want to go back to the town that I call home? They aren't stranded because of politics, SUVs or climate change. They are stranded because a planet that graces us with sunshine and warmth also makes storms.

They are stranded because a powerful storm cut a swath through their universe. They thought they could handle it. They survived Camille, or some other storm, and they thought they'd be better off at home. They wanted to be near their families and their pets.

They never knew it could get this bad. They had made the same choice before, and it worked for them.

This time, what worked before failed. At times like this, Americans need to help each other.

Copyright 2005 Creators Syndicate


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