June 09, 2013

Interracial Cheerios Commercial

There's a commercial out which has really made a lot of people upset:


The "discussion" under the video became so bad that General Mills shut down the comments under the video. The discussion has resulted in an interesting Internet meme being passed around:

Interracial, mulatto, Cheerios girl

I seriously doubt the issue has to do with parents not matching. I read a long discussion on amnesty/immigration in which Mexican males were deliberately taunting anti-amnesty American men by saying, "We're here taking all of your white women, and there isn't anything you can do about it!" In the '80s, it wasn't uncommon for black rappers to say that white women were a prize and having them is a status symbol - particularly blondes. By contrast, black women in America have twice the difficulty finding mates as white women (according to a Yale study). If the woman in the commercial had been black and the man white, I doubt it would have caused much of a ruckus. What's gotten under the racists' skins and damaged their fragile little egos is that a black man has taken a white woman. Had it been a white man with a black woman, it wouldn't have made even the faintest blip on anyone's radar.

Posted by Jeff at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2012

Who Voted for Obama?

Why President Obama was Re-elected

There is a rational explanation for the President's reelection which doesn't invoke a deep or complex meaning. The only way to explain the outcome is in the simplest and direct prose: the moochers prevailed.

Obama's winning tactic was to do what any respectable man does when he wishes to have something; he bought it. From cell phones and contraceptives to food stamps and unemployment benefits, the Obama administration kept the money flowing to ensure a steady turnout on Election Day. The coup de grace was painting his opponent as a second coming of Dickens' Scrooge that was ready to cut the voters from their trust funds.

That's a good article and it's worth reading, but I think he misses the mark. I think the majority of those who voted for him are people who had jobs and feel that they aren't receiving anything in welfare.

If his argument is that without the people he describes, Obama couldn't have won, I agree. However, if all of the Ron Paul people (and others on the right not satisfied with Romney) had voted for Romney instead of staying home or voting 3rd party, Obama couldn't have won either. Also, the only two Obama voters I've discussed this with said, outright and in the first 15 seconds of conversation, that they were afraid of what Romney "was going to do to women". Take away the phony-baloney "war on women" propaganda from the Obama campaign, and Obama also could not have won.

But the largest issue, in my opinion, had to do with none of those things. I think it was racism, pure and simple. I think that a large portion of the non-whites in America are just plain sick of looking up and seeing white people sitting in the positions of power in this country - and there is no one more white than the Romneys. I think that the literal mood that these people felt when they thought of putting a white Romney into office was sullen and negative, and the mood that they felt when they thought of having non-white Obama in office was of empowerment and positive. Every argument any one of these kinds of voters would make for re-electing Obama would really be just rationalizations their feelings. It was pure, ugly, unadulterated, racism...and you can't get past that kind of irrational bigotry.

By the way, no single group has been mentioned more than women in the last vote - aka "the gender gap" - but white women went overwhelmingly for Romney, not Obama. The point being: it was minorities who went for Obama, in spite of his policies devastating their opportunities economically and hurting them more than he's hurt whites economically since he's been in office.

For some exposure to this, just watch MSNBC for a while. The business model of that station seems to be based upon an ethnic hatred of Republicans. Any darkness of skin, whether black, or Hispanic, or Egyptian, or Latino, or Arab, or Persian, or Mediterranean, etc., will be combined, whether in host or guest, with an obvious anger at Republicans and/or an accusation of Republican dishonesty or hypocrisy. Also notice that when MSNBC broadcasted the Republican national convention, that they surgically removed any minority speakers from their broadcast. Democrats are very successfully branding the Republican party as being white, male, racist, and misogynist. It's an untrue and unfair accusation - but you can't argue with success.

Posted by Jeff at 04:38 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2012

"The Private Sector is Doing Fine"



Where my vision believes in the ingenuity of the American people, his vision trusts the wisdom of political appointees and boards, commissions and czars. It's one in which ordinary Americans must get permission from people in Washington before they can buy, build, invest or hire. It's a world of federal mandates and waivers, tax credits and subsidies, federal grants and loan guarantees. It's an economy where a company's lobbyists will be more important than its engineers, and federal compliance lawyers will outnumber patent lawyers. Business models based on building a better mousetrap will give way to those that seek the right mix of government subsidies, waivers and loan guarantees. And Chief Government Officers will join the ranks of Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operating Officers in corporate America's executive ranks.

"President Obama trusts in the wisdom of government. I put my trust in the ingenuity and creativity and commitment to hard work of the American people."
--Mitt Romney

So, have you read Atlas Shrugged recently?

Posted by Jeff at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2012

My Letter to Rush Limbaugh

I'm annoyed at this extended primary season. I think it should be over, and I've just been annoyed by a letter that an anti-Romney, a friend of Limbaugh's, wrote to him expressing his intention of blaming Romney supporters if Obama beats Romney in the general election. It was enough to get me to write Rush. I doubt he'll read it - I'm sure he gets way too much email to make that possible - but, it's worth a shot. The text of the letter is as follows:

For 3.5 years I've been saying that the people who supported John McCain in the primaries in 2008 have received the Obama presidency which they so very, very richly deserve. They should have supported Romney. Romney was the conservative, McCain was the squishy moderate.

Romney hasn't changed. He's portrayed as the moderate this time only because Obamacare has become the issue and because of the obvious similarities between Romneycare and Obamacare. But that doesn't mean that Romney isn't the same conservative he was in 2008, it just means that the political environment has changed so as to enable Romney's competitors to frame Romney as a false-conservative.

You read a letter on Friday in which one of your friends planned on blaming Romney supporters if Romney loses to Obama, much in the same way that I blame McCain supporters for Obama getting the White House in the first place. But your friend is completely wrong: Romney is not akin to John McCain.

If Romney loses to Obama, the blame will reside with Rick Santorum and Santorum supporters. All of it. All Santorum is doing now is helping Obama win in the general election. It's clear that Santorum doesn't realize just how different Obama is from your standard, run-of-the-mill Democrat. He meant it when he said that we might as well vote for Obama rather than to take a chance on the "Etch-a-Sketch" candidate. Santorum is perfectly willing - no, not just willing, HAPPY - to help Obama win a second term so as to give himself an opportunity to run and win as the Republican nominee in 2016.

I think it's time to start doing the country a favor and start tearing down Santorum for his continued de-facto support of Barack Obama, and start uniting around the candidate whom we know - WE KNOW - is going to be the nominee.

Hypothetically, even if Santorum were to win the nomination in a contested contest, you'd have him winning over the overwhelming judgment of the popular voters, and that would further fracture the already fractured Republican party. Even if you don't know - KNOW - that Romney is going to be the nominee, you might think long and hard about doing what you can to prevent anyone from even WANTING Santorum to win in a contested convention.

Sincerely, a daily listener....

Posted by Jeff at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2012

Why America Wins When Romney is Elected

There are two kinds of Republican voters: 1) those who want Barack Obama defeated, and 2) those for whom defeat is not good enough: they want Obama publicly embarrassed and repudiated. Romney will never say the kinds of things that will win over group #2. Romney is an even tempered person who does not feel out of control (a lack of self-efficacy being the dominant drive behind wanting to see someone smacked down in a draconian manner). This is why Romney is having such a difficult time getting the support of the most anti-Obama Republicans.

Incidentally, that very kind of thing is why Romney should be elected. The answer to the question of how to grow the economy is exactly the same as the answer to the question of how to get rich (a subject Romney knows well) and how to win this Republican primary: slowly, one contest at a time, never making a big deal over any momentary large loss or gain, and never losing focus on the endgame.

But people want their emotions tweaked, they want over-the-top, they want an entertaining roller-coaster of emotions, not consistently dull and slow progress. That's why most people fail, and it's what Romney won't give them, and it's why America wins when he's elected.

Posted by Jeff at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

March 08, 2012

The Day the Democrats Took Over

I read this in the comments on a CNN page, posted anonymously. I think it's worth considering:

This is just a History lesson. Please don't read this if you are afraid of the truth. It is history and nothing can change it.

The day the Democrats took over was not January 22nd, 2009 it was actually January 3rd, 2007, the day the Democrats took over the House of Representatives and the Senate, at the very start of the 110th Congress.

The Democratic Party controlled a majority in both chambers for the first time since the end of the 103rd Congress in 1995. For those who are listening to the liberals propagating the fallacy that everything is "Bush's Fault", think about this: January 3rd, 2007, the day the Democrats took over the Senate and the Congress:

The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77

The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%

The Unemployment rate was 4.6%

George Bush's Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION!

Remember that day...

January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.

The economic meltdown that happened 15 months later was in what part of the economy?

BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!

THANK YOU DEMOCRATS (especially Barney) for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6% Unemployment...to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCO'S!

BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie -starting in 2001 because it was financially risky for the US economy. Barney blocked it and called it a "Chicken Little Philosophy" (and the sky did fall!)

And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac?

OBAMA

And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie?

OBAMA and the Democrat Congress, especially BARNEY!!!!

So when someone tries to blame Bush......

REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!

Bush may have been in the car but the Democrats were in charge of the gas pedal and steering wheel they were driving the economy into the ditch.

Budgets do not come from the White House. They come from Congress, and the party that controlled Congress since January 2007 is the Democratic Party.

Furthermore, the Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009 as well as 2010 & 2011.

In that first year, they had to contend with George Bush, which caused them to compromise on spending, when Bush somewhat belatedly got tough on spending increases.

For 2009 though, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid bypassed George Bush entirely, passing continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama could take office. At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budget.

And where was Barack Obama during this time? He was a member of that very Congress that passed all of these massive spending bills, and he signed the omnibus bill as President to complete 2009.

Let's remember what the deficits looked like during that period:

If the Democrats inherited any deficit, it was the 2007 deficit, the last of the Republican budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. After that, Democrats in Congress took control of spending, and that includes Barack Obama, who voted for the budgets.

If Obama inherited anything, he inherited it from himself.

In a nutshell, what Obama is saying is "I inherited a deficit that I voted for."

And then I voted to expand that deficit four-fold since January 20th."

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!

"The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living."

It may, in fact, be worth copy/pasting all over the Internet for the next 8 months.
Posted by Jeff at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2012

Consumer Confidence and the 2012 Presidential Election

Have you ever heard of the Consumer Confidence Survey? The monthly survey is conducted by an organization called The Consumer Confidence Board and provides a metric of consumer confidence called the "Confidence Index". There's an interesting correlation between the popular vote for the incumbent party in the White House and this metric. Observe:

Consumer Confidence Index and Election Results

*The Democratic party lost the electoral vote, however.

All of these indices were as of October in the years reported. The most recent index is 70.8, for February of 2012.

Now you may notice that the Confidence Index associated with a win is 100 and the highest Confidence Index associated with a loss is 87. If this were October, a Confidence Index of 70.8 would hardly give the incumbent president, Barack Obama, much reason to cheer. But what will happen in October? For a guess about that, remember that gas prices soar in the summer, whereas they're typically at their lowest around February. Higher gas prices mean higher production costs for goods, higher delivery costs, and - most important - less discretionary income for consumers. It's interesting that when oil and fuel prices increase, the products on our shelves cost more, yet we have less money to purchase them. I expect that, this summer, the only businesses which are going to do really well are the online services sites, such as adult webcam sites along the lines of "I'm Live!", will do well at all, given that they neither require fuel for the creators to produce the service, nor fuel for the consumer to get there.








Text version:

Index / Year / Incumbent Party / Win or loss of the popular vote

112 / 1972 / Republican / Won
100 / 1984 / Republican / Won
113 / 1988 / Republican / Won
107 / 1996 / Democrat / Won
143 / 2000 / Democrat / Won *
106 / 2004 / Republican / Won

87 / 1976 / Republican / Lost
65 / 1980 / Democrat / Lost
61 / 1992 / Republican / Lost
52 / 2008 / Republican / Lost

*The Democratic party lost the electoral vote, however.

Posted by Jeff at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2011

Courage and Failure

Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.

"Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself."
--Charlie Chaplin

Posted by Jeff at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2011

What is a Conservative? What is a Progressive?

A conservative is a person who is satisfied with the system and is trying to work within the system to achieve her or his own ends.

A progressive is a person who does not like the system, tends to think there is something about it which is unfair or wrong, and wants it changed.

In a democracy, the progressives must enlist the support of conservatives in order to bring about change. After all, for a system to exist and be stable, there must be and have been more conservatives in the present than progressives. The progressives have two basic tools they can use to enlist the support of conservatives: education and agitation. They can be thought of as two ends of a long spectrum.

Let's start with education. There are many ways that progressives educate. At the far end of the spectrum, they do it by getting their views to dominate at the public schools and the universities. Their positions are taught to the youth, with only token and easily handled counter argument, and these students eventually leave school and grow into society while older conservatives reach old age and die, thus changing the balance of progressives to conservatives on the issue.

Another way is for progressives to get invited onto news programs where they can present their case for change and have it viewed by even a wider cross section of society. Here the process is more difficult because news programs tend to try to balance the argument. However, if progressives can begin to dominate the news media, they can limit some of that difficulty.

Still other ways are through door knocking campaigns, handing out literature, asking for donations, and getting petitions signed. With the advent of the Internet, there are weblogs, Facebook groups, etc.

But education is rarely enough. People who like society the way it is always vastly outnumber those who want any particular change, even with the greatest degree of educational tactics. This is where agitation plays its part. The point of agitation is to get conservatives - that is, people who really don't care about the cause - to go along with the progressives' goals just to get the progressives to stop annoying them.

Some examples of agitation are: picketing, protesting in the streets, going on strike, shouting down opposition, shouting their cause during non-related activities, sit ins, destruction of private property, violence, and other "direct action" techniques. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots following the Rodney King verdict was an example of the more extreme end of the spectrum. Such agitation basically says, "If you don't go along with our progressive goals, we're going to make your life very difficult."

Terrorism is the very far end of the agitation spectrum used by progressives in their quest for change. Terrorism is the use of civilians as primary targets (as opposed to collateral damage) of violence in order to achieve a political goal. The point is for the progressives to achieve their political ends by striking fear into a population.

The Founding Fathers were progressive. Jesus was progressive. Martin Luther King, Jr. was progressive. Osama bin Laden was progressive. Barack Hussein Obama is (very) progressive.

Notice that I've been using the terms "conservative" and "progressive", not "conservative" and "liberal". The reason why is because progressive is the opposite of conservative, while liberal is the opposite of authoritarian. The reason the terms get mixed up is because they are originally used properly, as adjectives, to describe elements of the population. But once the progressive (adjective) people achieve their goals, they become the new conservatives; with their goals firmly in place, they now like things the way they are. However, people - the news media in particular - have been associating certain political issues with "the progressives" (noun) for quite some time and they have been using the word, "progressive", as a noun. Because of this, when "the progressives" (noun) are no longer progressive (adjective), it becomes difficult to rename them and associate with them a different noun.

This is what happened with the word "liberal" and we've come to a point in which the most authoritarian people in America (Democrats) are routinely referred to as "liberals". But America is, originally and by definition, liberal society. We are a country in which individual freedoms are intended to be protected from the authority of government. Our government was designed to be limited, there are certain barriers it cannot cross (The Bill of Rights) and is allowed no authority. Today it is the Tea Party which champions The Bill of Rights and limited government, while the so-called "liberals" are attempting to expand government into neary every area of our lives.

Posted by Jeff at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2011

Ages of Supreme Court Justices

As of today, April 28th, 2011:

John Roberts, 56 (Jan. 27, 1955)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 78 (March 15, 1933)
Antonin Scalia, 75 (March 11, 1936)
Anthony Kennedy, 74 (July 23, 1936)
Stephen Breyer, 72 (August 15, 1938)
Clarence Thomas, 62 (June 23, 1948)
Samuel Alito, 61 (April 1, 1950)
Sonia Sotomayor, 56 (June 25, 1954)
Elena Kagan, 51 (born April 28, 1960)

The life expectancy of a newborn in the United States of America is 78.7 years (source).

Posted by Jeff at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2011

Violent Crime and Bullying

There's an issue in the news, currently, about a father who was videotaped cheering his teenage son on in a fight the son was having with another teen over a girl:

The father was arrested for crimes associated with child abuse. But he excuses this behavior by telling us that his son was responding to long term bullying by the other boy, and his attorney defends him by saying, "He [the father] never touched the kid. ... He's telling his kid to stand up against the bully. What is wrong with that?"

Struthers [the father] said Thursday the video leaves out what led up to the fight. He called it six months of "bullying" by the other boy in a dispute over a girl.

Struthers said the video doesn't reflect that for the whole six months, he and his wife, Kimberly Anne, told their teenager: "Son, you're not going to fight."

And Philip Struthers said the portion of the video posted on the Internet also leaves out something that happened just after the fists stopped flying: the fighters shook hands.

"The boys shook hands, all of them - not just the two," Struthers said, referring to a crowd that gathered at the weekend fight in his northwest Hillsborough County neighborhood.

Philip and Kimberly Struthers spoke Thursday in the Largo law offices of their attorney, John Trevena, who said his client did not commit any crimes.

"Does a father really have to apologize for asking his son to stand up to a bully?" Trevena asked.

"He never touched the kid. ... He's telling his kid to stand up against the bully," Trevena said. "What is wrong with that?"

Well, there is a whole hell of a lot wrong with that. The issue here isn't one of merely staving off rude words or overly assertive behavior on the part of the bully, it's an issue of assault and battery - that is: violent crime. This, of course, makes it a police matter, and not merely a matter of standing up for one's self in the presence of people who are against us but otherwise acting legally.

The attorney makes a point of noting that the father never touched the other kid. Well, when your kid is a victim of violent crime - and not past tense, but the crime is actually happening - it's not the kid's role, solely, to handle the situation. It's also the role of the police to handle the situation. It's the role of any good Samaritan witnesses to also step in and help handle the situation. And it is most certainly the role of the parents of the kid to step in and defend the kid. In sum, violent crime is not the type of situation where we should invoke "tough love" and tell our fellow human beings to learn to solve their own problems.

The problem with the father is that through his actions and attitude, he's making a social and political statement, one that is (and should be) contrary to our law: he's saying that fighting (including [or, perhaps, especially?] over girl!) is not a crime, much less a violent crime, and not a situation in which the police, bystanders, and parents should get involved. He and those other bystanders stood around and cheering were treating this violent crime as if it was some kind of harmless competition, like a basketball game, and as if it is a legitimate and appropriate way for boys to solve their problems and establish their pecking order. He is tacitly saying that, in the context of male status, physical "might" should make right.

Frankly, I hope this guy gets prison time.

Posted by Jeff at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy's Death

There's something like 7,000 people who die per day in the United States. As with Michael Jackon's death, I ask myself: Is there something about Ted Kennedy which makes me more sad about his death than about the other roughly 7,000 deaths in America? My answer: No. All of that attention, every last bit of it, given to Michael Jackson's death was completely unnecessary with regard to my own personal feelings, and the same is true with regard to the attention being given to Ted Kennedy.

On the other hand: Am I glad that Ted Kennedy is no longer a senator? Hell yes. It's time to celebrate a potententially huge improvement in the U.S. senate.

Posted by Jeff at 08:20 PM | Comments (1)

March 14, 2009

Republicans are Wimps

I've said it before, but what the heck...the political climate is right to say it again:

For 8 years of President George W. Bush, the Democrats fought the administration tooth and nail. They tried to make everything that Bush did fail. Everything. And when Republicans were in the majority, they were pushovers for the Democrats. As the saying goes, it's not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts. The minority Democrats, the smaller dog, had much larger fight than the majority Republicans.

Then the Democrats won congress. And then the presidency. And now if a prominent Republican, like Rush Limbaugh, comes out and just says that he wants Obama to fail - essentially saying that he wants the Republicans to stand up to Obama and counter his moves the way that the Democrats did for the 8 years of George W. Bush's presidency, the Democrats fight back and win again; in response to that statement the Democrats have run roughshod over the Republicans and are still doing it (with the media's help). The wimpy Republicans haven't even entered the fight and they're already being bullied by the Democrats.

Ever see Gran Torino? There's that scene where the neighbor chick is out with some guy walking the streets, and some street toughs start harassing the guy and the chick. The guy keeps calling them "bro", trying to make nice. That's essentially what the Republican party has been for at least the last eight years, and especially is as the party is run by Michael Steele. And the street toughs are essentially the Democratic party. I suppose that makes Rush Limbaugh essentially Clint Eastwood's character, telling Steele and those like him, "They don't want to be your 'bro', and I don't blame them." (--Clint Eastwood's character in Gran Torino.)

I don't blame them either. Why on Earth would the fighting Democrats want to befriend wet blankets like today's Republicans?

Pathetic.

Posted by Jeff at 07:45 PM | Comments (3)

November 24, 2008

How Obama Got Elected

How Obama got elected.

 
Posted by Jeff at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2008

McCain vs Obama: Was the Iraq War Wrong?

The very best video ever made by anyone in the history of the universe...

...or pretty darned close.

 
Posted by Jeff at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2008

The Campaign Against Barack Obama...

...will begin when he is sworn in.

You watch.

If you thought America was divided before, you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Posted by Jeff at 05:17 PM | Comments (2)

September 14, 2008

Death to America

Death to America.

Some things are more important than shooting wolves out of helicopters.

 
Posted by Jeff at 06:26 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2008

Lawsuit: Is Obama an American Citizen

Clinton supporter sues Obama on grounds he is constitutional ...
Hillary Project, CA - Aug 22, 2008
Obama was born in Kenya, and not in Hawaii as the senator maintains. Before giving birth, according to the lawsuit, Obama's mother traveled to Kenya with ...

Lawsuit Filed Against Obama Claims He's Not Eligible for the ...
Cleveland Leader, OH - 5 hours ago
Philip J. Berg, Esquire, of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking a Declaratory Judgement and Injunction that Barack Obama does not meet the ...

Lawsuit claims party nominee can't be president if he's not ...
WorldNetDaily, OR - 1 minute ago
The lawsuit claims Barack Obama's eligibility is questionable on several grounds, including the allegation that he was born in Kenya to parents unable to ...

IS OBAMA AN AMERICAN CITIZEN?
Gather.com, MA - 20 hours ago
Berg claims in the lawsuit, that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii as Senator Obama claims (and we all know Obama doesn't lie). The lawsuit claims Obama's ...

A prominent Philadelphia attorney and Hillary Clinton supporter filed suit this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the Federal Election Commission. The action seeks an injunction preventing the senator from continuing his candidacy and a court order enjoining the DNC from nominating him next week, all on grounds that Sen. Obama is constitutionally ineligible to run for and hold the office of President of the United States.

Philip Berg, the filing attorney, is a former gubernatorial and senatorial candidate, former chair of the Democratic Party in Montgomery (PA) County, former member of the Democratic State Committee, and former Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania. According to Berg, he filed the suit--just days before the DNC is to hold its nominating convention in Denver--for the health of the Democratic Party.

"I filed this action at this time," Berg stated, "to avoid the obvious problems that will occur when the Republican Party raises these issues after Obama is nominated.".

Berg cited a number of unanswered questions regarding the Illinois senator's background, and in today's lawsuit maintained that Sen. Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen or that, if he ever was, he lost his citizenship when he was adopted in Indonesia. Berg also cites what he calls "dual loyalties" due to his citizenship and ties with Kenya and Indonesia....

More.

Posted by Jeff at 04:20 PM | Comments (5)

May 31, 2008

Wake Up America

Classy.

NOT.

One thing I love about this election season is that it's exposing these wackos to a country which has been largely ignorant of them and their despicable message. The more of this the nation sees, the better.

Wake Up America!
 
Posted by Jeff at 02:57 PM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2008

My Letter to the Republican Party

I keep receiving letters from Senator McCain's campaign, and from the Republican Party, asking for support and donations. The neat thing is, they always include a postage paid envelope which, until now, has always been tossed into the recycle bin with the rest of the letters. But today I came up with a better idea: I decided to compose a letter about my position on the candidates and the issues this year and to enclose it in the postage paid return envelope. I've saved my letter to my desktop, so that whenever I receive one of these mailers, all I have to do is right-click on its icon and select "Print" to easily and conveniently send the same letter back each and every time.

Here is my letter. If you like it, feel free to copy/paste it into your own Wordpad (or other document) file so that you can do the same:

To Whom It May Concern,

I assume that you are sending me these mailers because I have contributed to George W. Bush and to the Republican party in the past, specifically in the period leading up to the 2004 election. I was very motivated during that election season, as I am now. I debated in person and online with others about the issues, and I put my money and my votes where my mouth was.

This election year is no different. However, I will be staying home on election day, 2008, or I will write in an alternative candidate (which amounts to the same thing), and I argue daily for others to do the same.

To my recollection there were at least a dozen candidates for president in the beginning of this election season, with a few more Democrats than Republicans. Also to my recollection, out of all of these dozen plus candidates, Republican and Democrat, John McCain had the very worst immigration plan.

No, immigration issues are not the only issues this election season, but they amount to 51% of them. (Further, McCain is hardly representative of my positions on other issues, and certainly not enough so as to differ significantly from the candidates of the Democratic party.)

You may continue to send me these requests for support all through the election season, but when you don't receive support in return, and when I don't show up for your candidate in November, I want you to know why. Considering the choice of candidates this year, I could hardly be more apathetic about which one wins.

Disappointedly yours,

<Name>
<Address>
<City, State, Zip>

Posted by Jeff at 08:11 PM | Comments (3)

February 18, 2008

Fascists in America (and elsewhere)

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

He's definitely right about this:

"Now the problem with this is that when I start making this argument to the sort of petruli soaked hemptivist with open toed shoes and a closed mind, by the time I get to my sort of [summing up] for all of this, he's gone off to Taco Bell to get a gordita, you know, preferably a vegetarian one."

Some people refuse to learn.

Posted by Jeff at 01:06 AM | Comments (2)

January 27, 2008

John McCain

THE MCCAIN RECORD

Let us count McCain's "conservative credentials":

-he wrote the bill granting amnesty to illegal immigrants (co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy)

-he voted to give your social security money to illegal immigrants

-he voted against the Bush tax cuts multiple times (he has since flip-flopped and has campaigned as a lifelong tax-cutter)

-he routinely engages in Democratic class warfare against big companies in America

-as recently as December 2007 he admitted "he does not know the economy very well" and needed to get better at it

-he wrote the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that was declared to be an unconstitutional infringement of the 1st Amendment (co-sponsored by ultra-liberal Democrat Russ Feingold)

-he was called the "worst 2nd amendment candidate" by the president of the NRA

-wrote a bill (co-sponsored by his buddy Lieberman) imposing a massive tax on energy which, according to the Heritage Foundation, would drastically raise the price of gasoline and put many US companies out of business

-supports radical global warming legislation which involved him voting with every Democrat

-he joined forces with Democrats ("Gang of 14") to block the Senate Republican's attempt to confirm conservative, strict constructionist judges

-he joined liberals to fight against a federal marriage amendment supporting the institution of traditional marriage

-campaigning in 2000, he famously described Christian leaders as "agents of intolerance"

-he filed an amicus brief against pro-life advocates in Wisconsin

-he met with leading Democrats in 2004 to discuss the possibility of being John Kerry's Vice-President

-with most of these positions, unfortunately, McCain hasn't flip-flopped and vows to fight for these liberal causes as president

-if I wanted to elect a Democrat, I would vote for Hillary or Obama

Borrowed from here.
Posted by Jeff at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2007

Mexico Stealing America's Jobs

FARMINGTON - Utah's crackdown on methamphetamine labs is practically complete. After years of vigorous enforcement, authorities say they couldn't find any major meth labs in 2007 to shut down.

....

Meth use, however, shows no sign of declining.

....

Drug enforcers say meth bought in Utah is now manufactured in foreign markets, principally Mexico.

Breyer said he started working for the Drug Enforcement Agency at the peak of local production in 2000, and has seen the labs almost eradicated since then. His office seized a stockpile of chemicals necessary for meth production this year, but the lab was not yet operational.

....

Darned that NAFTA.
Posted by Jeff at 01:51 PM | Comments (4)

December 07, 2007

Mitt Romney on Faith in America

Mitt Romney gives a speech on faith in America.

Posted by Jeff at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2007

Fred Thompson on Immigration

Watch Fred's new commercial. He emphasizes securing our borders, enforcing the law, and rejecting amnesty.

Fred has a plan to secure America's borders and improve our legal immigration process.

Posted by Jeff at 10:30 PM | Comments (2)

May 22, 2007

Who says it's "black trash" culture?

Beneath an entry called "My McDonald's Experience" are an awful lot of responses which attempt to take me to task for using that label. I think that everyone - and I mean everyone - who has done so was disingenuous: they know that the term is warranted, just as as the term "white trash" is warranted in other situations. In fact, it's more so, because the culture of the "black trash" variety actually gets supported and defended in universities and courtrooms as a separate and equally valid culture to that of the ordinary American variety.

Until now.

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- In a new twist in American race relations, a federal court has ruled that a white teacher in a predominantly African-American school was subjected to a racially hostile workplace.

The case concerned Elizabeth Kandrac, who was routinely verbally abused by black students at Brentwood Middle School in North Charleston....

...despite frequent complaints, school officials did nothing to intervene on Kandrac's behalf, arguing that the racially charged profanity was simply part of the students' culture. If Kandrac couldn't handle cursing, school officials told her, she was in the wrong school.

Kandrac finally filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and subsequently brought a lawsuit against the Charleston County School District, the school's principal and an associate superintendent. Last fall, jurors found that the school was a racially hostile environment to teach in and that the school district retaliated against Kandrac for complaining about it.

The defendants sought a new trial, but U.S. District Judge David C. Norton recently affirmed the verdict....

...[the] compelling issue for students, parents and society is the idea that a particular group of people can be allowed to behave in a grossly uncivil and threatening way by virtue of their racial "culture."

The key legal question was whether a school could be held responsible for students' behavior. In this case, the black children of Brentwood had been given a pass for their behavior because vulgar language was considered normal for their culture.

Defense attorney Alice Paylor told jurors that the kids heard this same language at home and there was "no magic pill" to make them behave. Paylor is probably right about that, though a magic paddle might have worked wonders.

....

Let's be clear: What these children called this teacher is beyond reprehensible and could be only be construed as hostile and threatening. Here's a sample: white b----, white m----- f-----, white c---, white a------, white ho.

Other white teachers and students corroborated Kandrac's account, including a male war veteran who testified he would rather return to Vietnam than to Brentwood.

Kandrac's attorney, Larry Kobrovsky, argued that the repeated use of "white" made these slurs racists in nature. But school officials insisted that because black students were equally abusive to other blacks, the language wasn't inherently racist.

Here's what we know without question: If majority white students had used similar language toward black students and teachers, the case would have been plastered on the front page of The New York Times until heads rolled.

A black Kandrac would have a million-dollar book deal, a movie contract and hundreds of interviews to juggle. Her oppressors and those who passively facilitated her abuse would have been pilloried by the media -- their faces all over the evening news -- while the reverends Al and Jesse organized protests.

But a white Kandrac -- who faced a daily barrage of insults, who had books and desks thrown at her and her bicycle tires punctured -- was treated like an incompetent wimp....

May the rest of America now be emboldened to act decisively in the interest of students who want to learn.

Anyone now who asks the question, tacitly or explicitly, "Who says it's 'black trash' culture?", now has their response - they do, through their defense attorneys, through their atmosphere of permissibility, through the examples that they show their children in their homes. And who are they? They are the people who both: a) engage in the behavior, and b) consider "it's our culture" to be a legitimate defense of the behavior. If there is a racial component to that class of people, I'll let the readers of this post decide for themselves what that racial component is.

But who says it's "trash"? Answer: I do. And, thankfully, so did that that court.

And no, there is absolutely no racism on my part anywhere in this discussion. In order for racism to exist, a judgment of a racial nature would have to be present. But the idea that any one of us can be judged by our race is absolutely absurd, and it's only the weak mind that engages in such folly. (An excellent article on racism.) Saying that all black-skinned people are part of "black trash" culture would certainly be racist; such a statement would be saying something about the members of a race. However, calling it "black trash" culture because those who participate in that culture are (nearly all) black-skinned is NOT racist. Not in the least. It says nothing about a race, any race; instead, it says something about that particular sub-culture. (Sort of like the difference between the statements, "all animals with fur are dogs" vs "all dogs have fur"; the first says something inaccurate about all animals which have fur, and the second says something accurate about dogs.)

Incidentally, near the end of the article was echoed a sentiment that I relayed within my McDonald's Experience post:

Though Kandrac lost her job, the real losers are the children deprived of an education by the actions of a tyrannical few. And the worst racists are those teachers and administrators who denied these empowered brats the expectation of civilized behavior.

Precisely.

Posted by Jeff at 05:52 PM | Comments (3)

May 16, 2007

The Walking Talking Definition of Courage: Ayaan Hirsi

A warning for America:

With Glenn Beck.

With Bill Mahar.

On Islam - part II

Posted by Jeff at 10:58 PM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2007

Congratulations France!!!

Nicholas Sarkozy is new French Prez

I love Sarkozy

Right-wing candidate Nicholas Sarkozy on Sunday became the new French President with an emphatic victory.

Poll projections said Sarkozy had around 53 per cent of the vote against Royal's 47 per cent. Turnout was predicted at about 85 per cent.

...

People saw the uncompromising Sarkozy as a more competent leader with a more convincing economic programme....

In Paris ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) members burst into chants of "Nicolas - President" and hugged each other in joy.

On the other hand at the Socialist headquarters in the capital city, there was gloom and sorrow after the party crashed to its third consecutive presidential election defeat.

Sarkozy's face flashed up on television screens after polling stations closed at 8 pm (2330 hrs IST), signaling his victory and setting off jubilant scenes among supporters gathered in central Paris.

While exuberant Sarkozy supporters partied in central Paris, police were deployed thousands in number in and around capital to head off the risk of unrest by youths from high immigrants areas, many of whom regard Sarkozy as a hate-figure since 2005 riots.

Sarkozy, 52...is a charismatic but divisive figure known for uncompromising, even brutal language.

These are beautiful, beautiful words: ...the [Socialist] party crashed to its third consecutive presidential election defeat.

Posted by Jeff at 12:08 AM | Comments (1)

May 02, 2007

Caption: "Mexican flag over U.S. dishonored flag"

Mexican flag over U.S. dishonored flag

May 1, 2007, Chicago, Illinois

http://www.reformus.org/

Posted by Jeff at 03:17 AM | Comments (45)

April 29, 2007

So what REALLY happened? (New light on the conspiracy.)

So a section California highway has collapsed.

Proof of government lies.

The authorities are claiming that a tanker rolled over, its fuel caught fire, and the fire melted the support structure for the freeway.

Bush is Hitler!

Of course, we all know that this can't possibly be true. After all, the most esteemed scientists on Earth...no, the universe...have already told us that there's no way that the jet fuel from the planes which crashed into the twin towers on 9/11 could have melted it's support structure and caused them to collapse. So we also know that something is amiss here as well.

Could the government have set up the whole incident and blasted the bridge to make it look like the hot fuel destroyed it? Is this just another ploy to fool the witless American public into a renewed belief in the official line on 9/11?

Well...I'm not going to say, but let's not forget that it's Faux News which is reporting the story, and that's a essential fact which should give all of us pause.

Posted by Jeff at 05:05 PM | Comments (3)

April 24, 2007

Tom Tancredo is running for President

Tom's message deserves YOUR attention!

April 19, 2007

Tom Tancredo here with the latest

Dear Friends,

I must tell you how exciting this campaign has been. I am off to New Hampshire in a few hours, but I want to give you a full briefing.

Last Saturday, I headed to Iowa for another whirlwind day of activity. My Iowa Chairman is a former Marine and is treating me like a fresh recruit. He works me from early morning to late at night without any consideration for my age. But the progress is amazing. I can feel it as I travel from one town to the next.

Let me tell you about Saturday evening. The Iowa Republican party was putting on its Annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Des Moines—about a thousand people were in attendance and all but two of the presidential candidates spoke. You may have seen it on C-Span.

I spoke right after dinner telling them that our leaders—those who have been charged with the responsibility of defending our land, our culture and our sovereignty—refuse to do their jobs.

Every generation of Americans must face its test; a test passed at Valley Forge, on the Normandy beaches, and on Flight 93. Now it's our turn, I told them. That is why I'm running for president. This is our culture; let's fight for it. This is our flag; let’s pick it up. This is our country; let's take it back!

Help Tom win

The response was terrific. Even our friends at the New York Times acknowledged that "Tancredo drew some of the loudest applause of the night"!

The LA Times report was even better:

the best-received was Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado.... Without naming the three leading rivals, he hammered them for supporting moves to provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. 'However they couch their immigration plans,' he said, 'I assure you their answer is amnesty. It's always amnesty. This is our country,' he concluded, drawing a standing ovation. 'Take it back.'

We have also been getting a great response to the radio ad campaign we launched following the announcement. Folks just love the message about why I am running. You can listen to it yourself by clicking on this link: http://www.teamtancredo.org/media/iowaad.aif.

Well I am leaving for the airport now, but stay tuned. The campaign is progressing fast, and I am looking forward to giving you the full report.

Thanks so much for all your support! Have a great weekend.

Tom

P.S. We need help keeping those great radio ads on air. Can you make a contribution today? Thank you very much for anything you can do.

Help Tom win

Posted by Jeff at 11:41 PM | Comments (4)

November 09, 2006

No one is sad to see the Republicans lose

Have you noticed this?

Even the most die-hard Iraq War and/or Bush supporters aren't upset by the Republicans losing.

Granted, they're not the least bit thrilled to see the Democrats fill the vacuum left by the losing Republicans, but no one has any tears in their beer over the election.

Instead of focusing on the Democrats, almost every conservative in the media is focusing on the Republicans getting what they had coming to them: for immigration, for spending, for growing big government, for supporting social programs (medicare drug benefit, No Child Left Behind, etc.) - essentially for not being conservative.

The poor hard lefties, though. They're trying so desperately to gloat over the bodies of the conservative voters, but instead they find the conservatives gloating right along with them.

Posted by Jeff at 11:19 AM | Comments (4)

October 24, 2006

Another "Referendum" Election

Michael Steele's Real Ideas for Change.

Democrats response.

I really really really really really hope that the Democrats make a very poor showing in the elections. I really really really really really do. Once again they're obviously running on an anti-Bush platform. Let'em burn.

Some are saying that this could be like the 1994 midterm election shocker when the Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. If so, the Democrats will win by following the exact opposite strategy from that which brought the Congressional Republicans to power in 1994.

The Republican strategy, crafted by Newt Gingrich, was to spell out their stands on key issues and to promise to bring those issues to a vote in Congress. They called their agenda "The Contract with America."

It is now clear to all that this year's Democrats are deliberately avoiding spelling out any coherent policy program of their own.

Their strategy is to second-guess, denigrate and undermine Republicans instead of offering an agenda of their own. Rather than having a contract with America, they are seeking a blank check from America. Moreover, they may get it.

--Thomas Sowell

The bad news is that things are looking up for the Democrats, according to the polls.

But the good news is that all they have to do in order to fail is to not recapture either the House or the Senate. And even if they make gains, but they fail to capture both of those, then they've really tanked.

Let me tell you something. There's a USA Today columnist, and I forget his name right now. There's a columnist at USA Today who heard me say that everybody's looking at this the wrong way. The media has got everybody focused on: "Will the Republicans lose? Will the Republicans lose? Will the Republicans lose the House? Will Republicans lose the Senate?" and I said in a brilliant monolog earlier this week, "What if the Democrats lose? If they can't win in this kind of climate and environment, they don't even deserve to be a political party.

And this guy picked up on it, thinks I have a point, starts examining whether or not the Democrats have even earned the right to govern. He's a media guy. He begrudgingly acknowledges that I have a point. This whole thing needs to be turned around in terms of looking at the context. Why is it that the reporting day in and day out is always focused on Republicans lose, Republicans lose the House, Republicans lose the Senate. We really don't hear a whole lot of focus on the Democrats doing this to win back the Senate, the Democrats doing this to win back the House. What we hear are never ending stories about how people hate Republicans, and we are never told that the people of this country have anything other than total adoration and love for Democrats.

If you're to believe the mainstream press, there isn't one Democrat who's going to get one negative vote, who's going to lose an election in this race. There isn't one American who has any gripe with any Democrat. All the gripes are aimed at Republicans. Well, we know that's BS. There are 20 million of us, and we have gripes with Democrats. We're being totally ignored in this context.

--Rush Limbaugh

That would be awesome. Let'em tank.

Until and unless the vote can no longer be considered to be, in any way, "a referendum on the presidency and policies of George W. Bush", I will not vote for another Democrat. It's up to the Democratic candidates themselves to define the elections in other terms.

Posted by Jeff at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2006

Philosophy Department Censors "Patently Offensive" Speech

The Uncriticizable Leftist Religion: Government

We read:

"In early September, a Marquette University administrator removed a Barry quote about the federal government from Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler's office door because the quote was "patently offensive." .... In late August, Ditsler posted a quote by Dave Barry on his office door in the philosophy department. The quote read, "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government."

On September 5, Philosophy Department Chair James South sent Ditsler an e-mail stating that he had received several complaints and therefore removed the quote. He wrote, "While I am a strong supporter of academic freedom, I'm afraid that hallways and office doors are not `free-speech zones.' If material is patently offensive and has no obvious academic import or university sanction, I have little choice but to take note."

Source

So a perfectly respectable conservative view -- of a sort often expressed by Ronald Reagan -- "has no obvious academic import". That is itself a revealing statement about the intellectual limitations of the university concerned.

Tongue Tied

It's what this nation is becoming. And will. Unless you do your part to put it to an end.

Posted by Jeff at 11:31 PM | Comments (9)

October 15, 2006

Mark Steyn Interview

Long-time readers of the National Post will know that former columnist Mark Steyn is one of Canada's most gifted political writers, a man weirdly able to provoke laughter while forecasting the end of the world.

In his newly released book, America Alone, he argues that without vigilance and the unapologetic assertion of American force, we will all soon be living under Sharia law. And while Mr. Steyn muses in his book that he may not mind picking up a few extra wives, he worries that the rest of us may not like the system as much.

Mr. Steyn lives in rural New Hampshire with his (only) wife and three children.

LF You were born in Toronto, but live in the U.S. Are you still a Canadian citizen?

MS I'm a citizen of Canada, never been anything else....

Link.
Posted by Jeff at 05:46 AM | Comments (3)

Harry Reid Crooked?

Democratic Nevada senator Harry Reid crooked?

Interesting...:

listen or read. The scoop.

Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Republican ranks or crying "cover-up" over the GOP's failure to promptly and appropriately deal with former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and his sexually explicit e-mails to congressional pages. Reid faces too many questions about his own behavior to crusade against the misdeeds of others.

have been properly disclosed. When the property was sold in 2004, it belonged to a company formed with a long-time friend and included a parcel that once had been owed by Reid. Despite having transferred his parcel to the company, the Nevada Democrat continued to report in Senate documents that he still owned it personally. That's a breach of Senate disclosure rules, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the transaction details.

Big deal?

From Limbaugh (linked above):

Not to make a big deal out of this, ladies and gentlemen, but falsifying the report as Dingy Harry Greed apparently did is a federal crime, under Title 18, United States Code section 1001. It's a false statement for which Reid could be sent to jail, according to the statute. Now, as Jed Babbin says, "If you're looking for this on tonight's network news or on the front page of tomorrow's New York Times next to the latest Foley reveal, you won't find it." MSNBC, as I said, did a little blurb on this today, this morning in addition to the original AP story here, and let me just highlight some things that are relatively new.

"Other parts of the deal such as the informal handling of property taxes raise questions about possible gifts or income reportable to Congress and the IRS, ethics experts said. Reid and his wife Landra personally signed the deed, selling their full interest in the property to this Jay Brown's company, Patrick Lane, LLC, for the same $400,000 they paid in 1998."

Now, you buy something for 400 grand in 1998, you sell it back four years later for the same amount of money? No inflation even factored in, much less interest? Come on! Who does this?

Posted by Jeff at 02:03 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2006

The Self-Abasement of Political Correctness

nurse-uniform-lingerie.gif

I just read something ridiculous, quite by accident. Someone on a message board I frequent has just reached a milestone in a beginning nursing career. As a bit of a joke, I searched Google images for nurses uniform lingerie, and quickly found a good, if conservative, photo of a woman wearing nurses lingerie (in the photo to the left), which I intended to include in a response to the message board posting.

I clicked the image link, fully expecting that it would take me to a website which sells the lingerie. Instead, my browser loaded a page from a website called "Nurse Advocacy", which included the photo of the nurses uniform, along with text that begins this way:

January 5, 2005 -- Australian nurses have succeeded in ending advertising for a "naughty nurse" outfit sold by major retailer Bras 'n Things. However, the product remains for sale in the lingerie chain's 150+ stores in Australia and New Zealand, even though the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has reportedly called for a boycott of the stores unless the outfit is "dropped." The unsigned January 4 piece "Poster makes nurses ill" in the Herald Sun tells the basic story prior to the pulling of the ads, and gets the nurses' point across, though it also includes some condescending description of them. The Center salutes Australian nurses, especially the Australian Nursing Federation, for this campaign. We urge Bras 'n Things to retire the naughty nurse item. Read more below or click here to send our instant letter now.

Well, I clicked their link to compose a letter all right, but it wasn't exactly what they asked for. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Ms. Cheryl Williams and Bras n' Things management:

I've rarely seen anything so ridiculous as the "Nurse Advocacy" grievance about the nurses uniform lingerie. I find it absolutely absurd that you would give in to Puritanical pressures and remove a perfectly acceptable garment from your website.

Perhaps it is none of my business, as I am an American, but it seems to me that the fallout from knee jerk applications of political correctness is a growing problem throughout what we refer to the "free world". With every voluntary capitulation we make to anyone who happens to be offended by who or what we are, what we like or dislike, we only succeed in substituting their values for our own, thus abasing ourselves. This tendency toward self-abasement is having unintended ramifications for western culture all over the globe, in which we take on feelings of embarrassment for being ourselves, while other cultures (who do not share this feeling of self-hatred) move into, grow and multiply among us, with their cultures erasing western culture. Western culture is much too valuable to be lost in this manner.

Please, take a moment to stand up for who you are by re-including the nurses uniform on your website. Giving up ourselves in the face of social pressures does not provide a good example to others, but standing up for ourselves most certainly does. (You would not have had the nurses uniform on your site if you, yourself, did not approve of it prior to the impermissive and prudish outcry from "Nurse Advocacy". Are they really more fit to guide your actions than your own conscience?)

nurses-uniform-lingerie.jpg

I suggest that anyone who agrees substantially with my position should send a similar letter. In fact, feel free to copy and paste my own letter, above, from this site and into the form at Nurse Advocacy (delete their text first).

In the meantime, and in an effort to give a little bit of real economic pressure in the other direction, here is a link to nurses uniform lingerie which can be purchased from a store that hasn't given into Puritanical social pressures. They deserve your business: Surprise Him.

Actually, there are three whole pages of sexy nurses uniforms there.

 
Posted by Jeff at 03:54 PM | Comments (7)

October 06, 2006

Does anyone take the terrorists seriously anymore?

I was just reading about the latest terrorist threat against the United States, delivered by non-other than Al Qa'eda's #2 man himself, Al Zawahiri.

As I was reading about it, I realized something that's different now: I'm not concerned. Not at all. Not in the least.

A message at the end of September of 2001 would've had me very concerned.

But now? Nope.

And, yet, we're told that the terrorist threat is now larger than ever, due to the war on terror in general, and especially due to the Iraq war, with far more terrorists after the United States than there ever has been. That's probably true.

And yet, no concern.

So why no concern?

Answer: I feel protected. I know they're out there, but...I'm not scared. I feel perfectly secure.

Someone in our government must be doing something right.

It sure isn't any Democrat, though. The Democrats have tried with rigor to stop one measure of protection right after another. It seems to be their game plan.

I wonder why?

They seem to have gotten a bit of a boost, haven't they(?), from that report about recent U.S. foreign policy creating more terrorists than are being eliminated. Gee, that makes me wonder: what kind of boost would they get if we had another attack within the borders of the United States? That'd be a big failure for the Bush administration. Wouldn't it?

Wouldn't it?

Nah, Democrats wouldn't root for bad things (terrorism, poor economic indicators, high gas prices, public victimization due to moral corruption within the Republican party, etc.) to appear in the public eye just before an election. That's just silly.

Posted by Jeff at 01:02 AM | Comments (2)

September 20, 2006

No connection, eh?

CNN:

Saddam Hussein offered asylum

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against the Western powers.

Despite repeated demands from Washington, the Taliban refused to hand over bin Laden after the August 7 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, demanding proof of his involvement in terrorist activities.

However, in recent weeks, both the United States and Britain have renewed their pressure on the Taliban to expel bin Laden.

But remember...no connection!

Posted by Jeff at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)

August 26, 2006

What country was Bill Clinton Talking About?

In February 2005, Bill Clinton gave a remarkable interview to PBS's Charlie Rose at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. The astounding thing about the interview was that Clinton named a country where he felt most ideologically at home. And it's not the United States of America.

"It is the only country in the world that has now had six elections since the first election of [its president in 1997]. (It is) the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in the six elections.... In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote. There is no other country in the world that I can say that about, certainly not my own."

That last line drew considerable laughter from the primarily Leftist Hate America First crowd that dominated the Davos forum.

What country could he be speaking of? Perhaps Canada, or New Zealand, or maybe Sweden? Not quite. The nation with the guys Clinton identifies with is...the Islamic Republic of Iran.

That's on page 194 of a book by a Classical Liberal (note I am a classical liberal), Tammy Bruce, called, The New American Revolution.

It's a good book, but not a very deep book. It ranks right up there with talk radio in terms of its depth of content. If you're only firing on two synapses and don't want to think too hard, but still want valid content, skip Aristotle's The Politics or Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia for a night and give this one a read.

Posted by Jeff at 03:07 PM | Comments (3)

August 17, 2006

Do you even know any Muslims?

Someone asked me that question today. The question ranks right up there with, "Do any of you even know a racist person?"

Take the word "Muslim" and exchange it with "racist" in almost any sentence, and the sentence will still work. For example:

Most racists are peaceful. It's only the radical fringe groups who commit violence.

Always remember the above when defending Islam. Take what you have to say about Muslims or Islam, and exchange "Muslim" with "racist" and "Islam" with "racism" and see if you still agree that your argument is a good one. Would you use the same argument to defend racism?

Posted by Jeff at 04:10 PM | Comments (19)

August 16, 2006

Kissing British Butt

I was reading the BBC's "Have Your Say" which is a message board (heavily censored) where people can post comments about current issues. Today's headline question reads: "UK terror plot: Your reaction". I was struck by the number of butt kissing Americans groveling at the feet of the Brits thanking them for foiling a terrorist plot against the United States. While I am grateful for the British and Pakistani intelligence, I think instead of kissing British butt we as Americans should be asking them why they keep producing so many terrorists to begin with. Maybe if western Europe wasn't the hot bed of terrorist plotting (9/11 was planned there) then Europeans wouldn't have so many terrorist plots to foil. By the way, I sent this comment to the "Have Your Say" people but it f ailed to make is past the BBC censors. I hope it will make it past yours.

Mario Sanchez
USA

What an excellent point. And from another letter:

EUROPE: A BREEDING GROUND FOR PSYCHOPATHS

Once again the public and the media are failing to see the obvious that the latest foiled terrorists are from Europe and not the Middle East. Sure, congratulations British security for a job well done, but why are so many fanatical Muslims seeking to destroy the United States born and bred in Britain and elsewhere in Europe? There are more organized Muslim radicals in Britain and Germany than in all the Middle East. They aren't even necessarily of Middle Eastern origins. The infamous shoe bomber Richard Reid is a perfect example. Most people I talk with from Britain are convinced that Reid is the victim of the "evil, corrupt" American justice system and not the other way around. They're not even slightly embarrassed one of their own was arrested for attempted mass murder. They actually feel MORE morally superior as a result. What is happening in Britain to cultivate such inhumane attitudes against Americans? Has Marxism truly succeeded in altering the thinking of an entire people? I was treated more kindly by Muslims and Arabs in Jordan and Dubai than I was by white people in London and Germany. We can't ignore the fact that even the terrorist attack on Sept. 11 was planned in Europe, not Iraq or Saudi Arabia. It's bad enough the Europeans have a history of appeasing those they fear, but to provide the foddering ground for these psychopaths - buoyed by radical Leftist anti-Americanism - is another thing altogether. How long will we in America cover our own eyes to Europe's role in this continual deadly plot to destroy the United States? I feel helpless. Everyone seems ignorant to this, even conservatives. About the only thing I can do is spread the word and boycott all things Europe--which isn't that difficult these days considering Europe's production levels are near zero. Mr. Steyn, I wish you would shed more light on this. I know Europe is thought of as America's "ally," but with friends like Europe, who needs enemies?

J Bunn
Chicago, Illinois

And:

BRING ON THE APOLOGISTS

Yet again you prove to be the only trustworthy source of sane opinion regards the arrests of the "British citizens" who wanted to bring about another 9/11. It is actually embarrassing however that we here in Britain have to turn to somebody overseas to get this opinion. Thank god for the internet. Over here any debate on the threat of Islamic terror is so deeply and hurriedly quashed that anybody would think the authorities/media/politicians had something rather unpleasant they would like to hide.

...

I saw some graffiti on a wall last week, it said in large writing '"Islam, death religion" - within days it had been scrubbed off (almost certainly by the town's authorities). The same town has graffiti that has been stencilled on various walls, it says "Stop the war - March against War against Iran - no more war for oil". I expect this graffiti will still be visible for many years to come.

Why do the Isamicists bother blowing up planes anyway? Can't they see they've won here already?

Andy Tyrrell
United Kingdom

Many times the letters to Mark Steyn are as good or better than what he writes himself!

Posted by Jeff at 09:55 AM | Comments (4)

August 06, 2006

I wish I could vote for Feinstein

Watch Feinstein.

It's far more important to vote for GOOD Democrats than it is to vote for Republicans. When GOOD Democrats get into office they strongly influence the Democratic Party's agenda - and they set an example of what a Democrat should be like for voting population to witness.

So what is a GOOD Democrat? Lieberman and Feinstein are excellent examples. Howard Dean, John Kerry, and John Edwards are Satan and his brothers.

Posted by Jeff at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2006

Operation Let Freedom Wing

What we are fighting for:

What they are fighting for:

Posted by Jeff at 05:16 PM | Comments (2)

July 09, 2006

Where the HELL did all of these Mexicans come from??? (Please don't answer: Mexico.)

Judas PRIEST things have changed around here in the last 6 months. What the hell is going on? About six weeks ago, I went to CostCo and found the store flooded with Mexicans - most of whom didn't speak English - even the kids, 8 years old, running around the aisles out of control didn't speak English. I thought that it must be some kind of weird fluke. I mean, for months I've been noticing Mexicans more and more, but I thought I was just noticing them because they're the focus of so much news (hence interest is piqued).

Then four weeks ago, on my trip to CostCo, I noticed it again - Mexicans everywhere, but there was not quite as many as the time before. A couple of more trips, including one last week, same scenario - Mexicans everywhere.

Now yesterday there were even more! No English. Children who don't speak English. Full grown adult males averaging about 5' 5" in height - clearly not reared on healthy American cuisine. And you should've seen their clothes. Their fashion sense came right out of this video.

Something freaking BIZARRE is going on right now. This is a MAJOR change over a very very short period of time, and it's no fluke - it seems to be permanent and increasing.

PS: Okay, it's January 11th, 2007 now, and I'm starting to get annoyed at some of ridiculous comments in this thread. In response, I'm going to perform a public service. For those of you who post on bulletin boards and message boards that allow the use of avatars, he's a great one for ya:

Awesome avatar.

And here's the original if you want to use it to create your own avatar, or...whatever:

In case you're confused....
Posted by Jeff at 03:55 PM | Comments (517)

July 08, 2006

Vernon Robinson

Now this guy, Vernon Robinson, has some interesting campaign ads. He is running for congress against Brad Miller in North Carolina. Here are his ads:

That's interesting stuff. Personally, I agree with him especially on the race issue. Do you agree with the following points?

Black skinned Americans lag behind other racial groups in America in many key areas, particularly that of economic success, because racism holds them down.

Black skinned Americans lag behind because of their own lack of taking personal responsibility for their conditions, individually.

My answer is that it's both. But let's be clear about what kind of racism holds them back: it's the racism of the American Left which sets lower standards for black-skinned people in schools and the workplace, and which assigns to black skinned individuals a separate "culture" from the rest of us (see the bottom of "My McDonald's Experience", prior to the comments, for just one example of young black skinned children being severely handicapped as compared to all other races). There can be no doubt that this type of institutional racism is the single most destructive element which "keeps the black man down".

The Democrats, by the way, have a vested interest in racism. Ask yourself: What would be the effect on the Democratic party if racism completely disappeared? They'd lose half of their base, that's what. No wonder these people have such a dismal record of appointing minorities to leadership positions, and no wonder Republicans - like George W. Bush - have such a laudible record, and no wonder Democrats and welfare beggars hate Condi so much.

Posted by Jeff at 01:02 PM | Comments (2)

July 07, 2006

The New York Times and the Holland Tunnel

Well, apparently the FBI were able to stop a terrorist attack before the New York Times could expose the critical FBI methods of identifying and tracking terrorists:

Terror Plot To Flood City Uncovered
July 07, 2006

The FBI has reportedly uncovered a terrorist plot to bomb the Holland Tunnel in the hopes the Hudson would then flood New York City.

The Daily News says one of the alleged plotters was arrested in Beirut and that a worldwide search is on for other suspects.

The terrorists allegedly got promises of money and tactical support from Jordanian associates of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi before he was killed last month.

The News says the FBI uncovered the plot by watching internet chat rooms.

Still, experts say the plan wouldn't have worker because even if the explosives managed to breach the tunnel, the city wouldn't flood because it is built above the level of the river.

Senator Chuck Schumer is using news of the foiled bomb plot to remind the Department of Homeland Security of the bad judgment it exercise in cutting New York's security funding.

In a statement he says:

"This is one instance where intelligence was on top of its game and discovered the plot when it was just in the talking phase," said Schumer. "But it once again illustrates how misguided Homeland Security's allocation of funds is. How many warnings does the Department need about threats to New York until it changes its formula?"

Score another for the FBI and Homeland Security - and it's nice to see the New York Times & the terrorists on the losing end.

Posted by Jeff at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2006

Ken Lay Not Guilty?

Ken Lay's Death May Erase Conviction

HOUSTON The death of Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay will likely cause his conviction to be erased from the record, experts said Thursday.

The 64-year-old executive's sudden death Wednesday from heart disease allows his lawyers to ask the court to vacate his conviction for fraud and conspiracy in Enron's scandal that left thousands jobless and wiped out billions from investors.

...

Roma Theus, vice chairman of the corporate integrity and white collar crime committee of the Chicago-based Defense Research Institute and a former federal prosecutor, said that because an appeal was pending, Lay's convictions are abated.

"The law views it as though he had never been indicted, tried and convicted," Theus said.

Without that, the government cannot continue its efforts to seize Lay's assets through criminal courts, he said.

David Berg, a Houston civil litigator, said all that's left is a bureaucratic process in which Lay's attorneys can file court papers, with Lay's death certificate, asking Lake to vacate the convictions. If Lake complies as expected, Lay would no longer be a felon.

"His lawyers will move to set aside the conviction, and it'll be done. The slate is wiped clean," Berg said.

Ken Lay died last week, sparing him from sentencing after having been convicted of securities fraud associated with the Enron scandal. When he emerged from the courthouse after having received this judgment, he said that he believes that God works all things for the good for those who believe in Him. He had faith that all of this was for the good where he was concerned. All of the events are fitting within the realm of his statement. I'll bet that really ticks a lot of people off.

There are many different kinds of immoral and unfair prejudice. There's racial prejudice that says, "The defendant is black, therefore he's probably guilty." There's sexual preference prejudice that says, "This homosexual won't be as good of a soldier or policeman as the rest of us." There's sexist prejudice that tells an employer, "If I hire one woman, I'm okay, but if I hire two I become a full time referee." There's even prejudice against politicians which says, "All politicians are dishonest." But the most despicable prejudice of all is the prejudice against the good for being the good, the successful for being successful, the business man who does well.

Most of the fury against Ken Lay comes from this last source: he's rich, therefore he must have screwed over people in order to become wealthy. As with the black defendant, he might very well be guilty, but that's not the point; what matters to me as I write this post are the predispositions of those who judge them. Whether the issue of erasing Lay's conviction is wrong or not depends upon the details of the case. But whether that cloud is dark or not, it certainly has a silver lining: those whose internal motivation for seeing him as guilty is dominated by prejudice against the rich will not be happy. And they deserve not to be.

Posted by Jeff at 04:17 PM | Comments (1)

July 03, 2006

Truth, Justice, and the American Way II

I just read a great column. I'll give you some highlights, but you should read it yourself at the Chicago Tribune:

Is Superman in the new movie "Superman Returns" still an American?

And, if he's not an American--which he's not because in the new movie he's ashamed of the "American way"--what is he, Iranian? Has Hollywood turned the Man of Steel into some United Nations bureaucrat?

...what about Superman?

The American icon is no longer an American. He's not proud of the American way.

...

The real Superman, the pre-Kyoto, pre-Guantanamo Bay Superman, understood who he was. He fought for "truth, justice and the American way." That was his credo--even while threatening terrorists into giving up important information in time to save the day.

But in the new movie, the Man of Steel can't even bring himself to say it. Instead, a supporting character, played by Frank Langella, says Superman stands for "truth, justice and all that stuff."

...

Since Superman is so uncomfortable with the American way, expect the other superheroes to expel him from the Justice League of America just about the time the movie opens in Iran.

...

"We were hesitant to include the term `American way' because the meaning of that today is somewhat uncertain," the Hollywood Reporter quoted "Superman Returns" screenwriter Michael Dougherty as saying.

Excuse me? The meaning of `the American way' is somewhat uncertain? I think Hollywood is uncertain. They're ashamed, and prove it as often as they can, while wondering what happened to the box office.

"The world has changed," said Dougherty's writing partner, Dan Harris. "The world is a different place. The truth is, he's an alien. He was sent from another planet. He has landed on the planet Earth, and he is here for everybody. He's an international superhero."

I just want to stop here and point out what should be glaringly obvious: Superman has always stood for what's good and right. That's inherent in the statement: Truth, Justice, and the American Way. These people aren't saying that Superman has changed, they're saying - nearly quoting here - that the world has changed. So why should Superman's catch phrase change, then, if he hasn't? Clearly, they think that America has changed and is no longer worthy of Superman.

Which means he's not an American superhero. I'm sure Belgium and China are thrilled. But Superman protected our interests, once. Now, he's the world's muscle man so that Hollywood can make a few more bucks selling the movie in countries where they burn the American flag for breakfast, not in Belgium, but elsewhere.

How did this happen?

"So you play the movie in a foreign country, and you say, `What does he stand for--truth, justice and the American way.' I think a lot of people's opinions of what the American way means outside of this country are different from what the line actually means, because they are not the same any more," Harris said. "And using that line would taint the meaning of what he is saying."

I think what he really means is that he wants to sell tickets in Iran, North Korea and other places where they hate our guts.

The old Superman was an uncomplicated Midwesterner in tights and cape, made shy by Lois Lane's fetching beauty....

But now?

Look, up in the sky, it's a bird. It's a plane. Who cares? Whatever.

I have to be honest, here: I'm really disappointed at Hollywood. It doesn't make sense that I would be disappointed. After all, disappointment comes from unrealized expectations, does it not? And I clearly expected Hollywood to do exactly what they've done. I predicted it before I knew anything about it. Apparently, even when expectations are fulfilled, disappointment can come from unrealized hope as well.

Posted by Jeff at 02:39 AM | Comments (1)

July 02, 2006

Jack Murtha's Arguments

I love this, this is amazing: Someone actually credits John Murtha with sound argumentation here and posts a link to it from his weblog thinking that Murtha has actually scored points.

The "I served in the military, you didn't" argument is completely without merit. It's a non-sequitur, as it has no impact one way or another on ideas that are presented. That's why it's so frequently used: because you can't argue with stupidity. Ever. Representative Gohmert makes valid points, then Jack Murtha stands up and asks completely irrelevant questions. This is the depth of the reasoning of so many on the left.

Posted by Jeff at 04:11 PM | Comments (1)

July 01, 2006

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

Well, I won't be forking out any dollars to see the new Superman movie. A few days ago, on the 26th, I wrote on a bulletin board website:

I have no expectations of [Superman V] being any good at all.

The Christopher Reeve Superman movies sucked rocks. They were freaking stupid. In one movie, when the bad guys were creating a hurricane down a city street in Metropolis, a phone booth gets knocked over and the guy who was using the phone just keeps right on talking, now laying on his side in the booth, laughing his ass off while he's talking, as if nothing happened (or was happening around him). I suppose that was supposed to be funny, and defenders would say, "Hey, it's based upon a COMIC BOOK! It's supposed to be dumb!" I say: Mission accomplished, then.

I've seen so very very little in the way of previewing the current movie. But the choice of actor to play Superman doesn't exactly give it a boost.

Also: Truth, Justice, and the American Way. I see the politically correct, pinko culture of Hollywood distancing themselves as far as they can get from what Superman was all about. I don't think I could bear to see that at this point in time (and I don't see much point in awarding Hollywood with my dollar for doing it a disservice). We've had a rough few years - and have come out on top - but the choir could certainly use a song for their efforts.

Well, politically correct is exactly what they've made the new Superman, and politically correctness, it seems, now not only means avoiding obviously bad language such as racial epithets, but now lumps into the "bad" category any claim that the American Way is good. The very point from the beginning of Superman was that he would defend American values - such as truth and justice. The movie producers' implication is that, now, American values no longer are grouped with such desirable concepts.

Some may claim that the producers did it as a cash grab, that the audience for American movies is worldwide and some of them aren't all that happy with us right now. Perhaps they thought they'd be boycotted if Superman was tied to American values. Well, that's just the point, isn't it? Defending America requires taking the argument to America's detractors. It may offend some, sure, but others who are undecided just may think, at some level: I like Superman, I want to be like him and stand for the same values for which he stands - "the American Way". Many a youngster introduced to Superman has felt that way. But now, those who want to be like Superman will go back and learn more about him - and notice that he's abandoned the American portion of his catch-phrase. What are they to assume from his hero's judgment of America now?

A Superman movie is precisely the type of movie that I like to see. I am their target audience. I am their implied audience. I am their base. And I won't be seeing this movie. Am I part of a disorganized boycott? Well, there's an awful lot of bad reviews of the movie, and I've yet to see a good one. The reviews which hold it in the highest esteem seem to be those which simply report on the facts of the movie, without making any judgments of its worth. Consciously or subconsciously, I suspect that "...and all that stuff" is taking an effect. - and it's money down the drain.

Posted by Jeff at 12:27 PM | Comments (1)

June 22, 2006

What is a "Liberal"?

I think I may just stop using the word "liberal" altogether. I can't think of another word which twists my brain into such knots when I try to discern what people mean by it.

Part I:

There is a "classic" definition for the word which goes back hundreds of years in political literature and is still used today the world 'round.

There is also a new definition of the word which seems to exist only in the United States, and only in non-academic usage (i.e., news media, day to day conversations between ignoramuses, etc.).

The word "liberal", classically, and it seems to be everywhere else in the world other than the United States, always means the anti-thesis of authoritarian. There's a reason for this:

liberal -> liberty -> libertarian

They all based upon the root idea: freedom from the government. It's what the United States is based upon.

If you're in favor of the government being "big brother", you're authoritarian, not liberal.

If you're in favor of the government regulating businesses and having its little fingers in everything, telling us what we can do and what we can't, you're authoritarian, not liberal.

Part II:

But the new use of the term "liberal", which I'm guessing has come about by people trying to discern its meaning from context, assuming its meaning incorrectly, then using it incorrectly and thus perpetuating the error though his audience, often turns the correct definition on its head.

"Liberal", in the United States, has come to mean the opposite of conservative, rather than an opposite of authoritarian. So the rest of the world reads America's attacks on "liberals" and, owing to their adherence to its proper definition, thinks we're a bunch of Nazis. (That's simplistic, but I'm sure the confusion exists.) Meanwhile, Americans hear people in other countries talking about their "liberal government" and we, owing to our ridiculous common usage definition, think they're a bunch of freaks, when they mean something very different by the word.

liberal (adj.)
c.1375, from O.Fr. liberal "befitting free men, noble, generous," from L. liberalis "noble, generous," lit. "pertaining to a free man," from liber "free," from PIE base *leudheros (cf. Gk. eleutheros "free"), probably originally "belonging to the people" (though the precise semantic development is obscure), from *leudho- "people" (cf. O.C.S. ljudu, Lith. liaudis, O.E. leod, Ger. Leute "nation, people"). Earliest reference in Eng. is to the liberal arts (L. artes liberales; see art (n.)), the seven attainments directed to intellectual enlargement, not immediate practical purpose, and thus deemed worthy of a free man (the word in this sense was opposed to servile or mechanical). Sense of "free in bestowing" is from 1387. With a meaning "free from restraint in speech or action" (1490) liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach. It revived in a positive sense in the Enlightenment, with a meaning "free from prejudice, tolerant," which emerged 1776-88. Purely in ref. to political opinion, "tending in favor of freedom and democracy" it dates from c.1801, from Fr. libral, originally applied in Eng. by its opponents (often in Fr. form and with suggestions of foreign lawlessness) to the party favorable to individual political freedoms. But also (especially in U.S. politics) tending to mean "favorable to government action to effect social change," which seems at times to draw more from the religious sense of "free from prejudice in favor of traditional opinions and established institutions" (and thus open to new ideas and plans of reform), which dates from 1823.

"Conservative, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others." [Ambrose Bierce, "Devil's Dictionary," 1911]

The noun meaning "member of the Liberal party of Great Britain" is from 1820. Liberalism is first attested 1819.

What I am, politically, is:

* Pro-private property (anti-communal ownership of property)
* Liberal (anti-authoritarian)

Posted by Jeff at 04:12 PM | Comments (8)

Inside the mind of a lefty

A couple of entries from another weblog:

March 27, 2006:

I asked a neighbour to turn their music down at 4am this morning. The noise from his flat woke me at 2am and I couldn't get back to sleep. I had to be up for work at 5.45am.

...The noise has been getting worse and worse over the past two weeks. Trying to be tolerant, I'd let it slide. He didn't seem phased when I asked him to turn it down (politely) and there were no raised voices or big scene.... The way it was left? I thought everything was fine.

At 7am this morning he was waiting for me to leave my flat to go to work. He hid on the stair-well. He attacked me with a 8" kitchen knife. I got him off me and backed away. I called the police on my mobile. They arrived within minutes...[they] entered his flat and found the knife I described. He was arrested....

During the attack I stayed calm and did what I had to do. Thank God he shouted at me as he attacked me. I didn't see him on the stair-well. My reactions were fast. That probably saved me, according to one of the arresting officers. I'm unhurt. The man is "known to police".

He may get bail tomorrow. I'm not sure I can go back to my flat knowing he's there upstairs....

I'm cycling through anger, fear and 'what-the-fuck?' I feel physically sick.

They say that a liberal is a conservative who hasn't been mugged yet. I suppose that, in some cases, it takes more than a single mugging:

June 22, 2006:

I got a phone call from the police first thing this morning. My old neighbour was sentenced to six months in prison yesterday, with a recommendation that he serves the full term. He was also given 150 hours supervised community service to be completed on his release. My first thought was, "Oh, fuck. What about his wife and kids?"

I need to talk to someone...about this. I feel guilty about him being locked-up. The trauma I felt around the time of his (rather pathetic) knife attack has subsided. I'm still having those daft macho-bullshit thoughts; I should have taken the knife off him and shown him how to use it properly.

Somehow, today, I just can't find the words.

Posted by Jeff at 03:09 PM | Comments (1)

June 16, 2006

The Noble American Soldier and Jack Murtha

I find the idea that a person who enlists to serve this country in the military is necessarily deserving of "hero" status, or even, for that matter, deserving of respect for their choice, fallacious.

A quick digression:

The Vietnam War deserves harsh criticism, no matter what modern day conservatives say. It was noble in its purpose - it can't be faulted for that. But a military draft?! Give me a break. That's the absolute worst example of slavery: a government forcing people to either kill or be killed in its service. The very first step in defending a country is having a country worthy of being defended - and a military draft goes a long, long, LONG way toward making even America unworthy of defense.

I remember some talk a couple of years ago about Canadians building a statue to honor the Americans who crossed the border into Canada to avoid the military draft. I wish I knew where to send my $1 to support building the statue, as those people fleeing the draft were supporting the true American Way in that they wouldn't acquiesce to such a dramatic violation of the American Way. (Along side it, however, I'd like to see a statue to the tens of thousands of brave Canadians who crossed the border into America to join the American military to pursue the noble cause of the Vietnam War.)

What makes this country, America, so much greater today (in one respect) than it was in the early 70s and prior is that our military is entirely volunteer.

Volunteers for the military come primarily in these categories:

1) Those signing up to fight for the American Way: Freedom, truth, justice, capitalism (all qualities which cannot exist if any one of the others dies).

2) Those signing up to fight to protect the lives and the property of their fellow Americans, their families, and themselves.

3) Those signing up for pay, usually including college scholarships and other benefits.

4) A combination of the above.

Those whose reason is exclusively that of pay and benefits (#3, above) are on even footing with mercenaries. They're also on even footing with people who take any other kind of job - such as working for McDonald's - and are no more deserving of honor (nor less) than a McDonald's employee.

Those who sign up in order to protect The American Way, #1 above, deserve the highest levels of respect, followed by those who sign up for reason #2.

Another digression on Vietnam:

We've all heard horror stories about Americans perpetrating the worst kinds of atrocities in Vietnam, most of which are specious accusations at best. However, when the pool of fighting soldiers involves military draftees who have been forced into battle against their will, and/or of "mercenary" volunteers (#3 above) we shouldn't be too shocked when they act in a way which is contrary to The American Way (which they did not enlist to support).

I'm not sure what Jack Murtha's point in serving was, but judging his past by his recent behavior and comments, it's certainly a long shot to bet that he joined for the noble purpose of #1. But perhaps the man has changed.

Digression on the effect of the Iraq War on America:

A couple of years ago we were seeing news story after news story about how the American military was unable to reach its recruiting goals. We should remember that these goals were set, in large part, based upon past recruiting performance and past re-enlistment rates.

But the Iraq War severely impacted the number of people joining solely out of the desire for personal enrichment (#3, above), and this impacted the number of new recruits. The threat of actually having to kill or die for their country lead them to seek safer alternatives, perhaps behind the fryer at their local McDonald's. These people, with their limited passion for supporting America's ideals, were probably not going to be the best representatives for America anyway.

We also learned, as the news stories trickled out of the reluctant media, that the military was, in fact, keeping its numbers of military personnel up in spite of not meeting its recruitment goals. This was because re-enlistment rates were UP, overcoming the deficit of new recruits. Those serving the American Way in Iraq, and elsewhere, were (and are) very proud of America and were re-enlisting to continue their support of our great nation.

This change in the nature of our military personnel is, of course, a very good thing, and is one very good quality to add to the benefits column on the Iraq War's ledger.

Posted by Jeff at 03:51 PM | Comments (1)

June 14, 2006

Canadian Government Accused of Torture and Imposes Moratorium on Free Speech

Canadians are now in the news for torturing terrorists (and no longer merely with their insufferable holier than thou attitudes):

Terror suspects 'tortured,' lawyers say
Jun. 12, 2006. 07:36 PM
CANADIAN PRESS

Tiny solitary cells under constant illumination, a mere 20 minutes of fresh air daily, and beatings at the hands of guards are indicative of the "torture" endured by some of the 17 people accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Canada, lawyers for the group said Monday.

The allegations of "cruel and unusual punishment" came as the court imposed a blanket publication ban on the legal proceedings, preventing the public from learning of any further evidence in a case of stunning allegations that has captured headlines around the world.

The treatment of the suspects, accused of plotting a number of terrorist strikes in Ontario that allegedly included bombings and taking senior politicians hostage, "constitutes torture," lawyer Rocco Galati said outside the court.

"That torture includes being kept in a room that's lit 24 hours a day, being woken up every half-hour, being beaten by the guards, on and on and on," said Galati, who represents Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, a 21-year-old health sciences graduate of McMaster University.

The solitary confinement cells in which the men and youths are housed at the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton are a scant 3.4 metres by 1.8 metres, are sealed by a concrete door with only a small slit for meal delivery, and have no windows, said lawyer David Kolinsky.

Twenty-year-old terror suspect Zakaria Amara was beaten by a guard after he giggled because he felt ticklish while being searched, alleged Kolinsky, who said the guard pinned his client to the ground, drilled his knuckle into the man's cheek and said, "Is this funny?"

Many of the conditions outlined by lawyers are standard practice, said Community Safety and Correctional Services Ministry spokeswoman Julia Noonan.

"All our institutions are lit 24 hours a day," said Noonan, who added the lights are dimmed in the evenings. "For security reasons, we need to ensure that proper supervision is possible."

Twenty minutes of "fresh air and/or exercise" is also standard, and the "standard dimension" solitary cells are expressly built for "one person."

Physical abuse, however, is not tolerated by the ministry, she said.

...

Two of the terror suspects, Mohammed Dirie and Yasim Mohamed, are already in prison on weapons charges. Fifteen others were rounded up by police June 2 in a co-ordinated sweep, followed the next day by a news conference in which authorities displayed various items that they alleged were to be used in terrorist attacks.

...

Stunning allegations contained in a Crown synopsis, and shared with the media by defence lawyer Gary Batasar outside the court last week, said that 25-year-old restaurant worker Steven Chand personally wanted to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

...

...

The 17 suspects face a variety of charges including knowingly participating in or contributing to terrorist activity, providing or receiving training for terrorist purposes and providing or making available property for a terrorist activity.

...

The Toronto Star

For the record, I don't think that the Canadians have tortured terrrorists any more than Americans have, and Americans have not. But the silver lining around the cloud of such an unwarranted accusation is that it allows the Canadians to feel what Americans have unjustly been force to feel, often at the hands (and pens and word processors) of Canadians.

I love this line:

The allegations of "cruel and unusual punishment" came as the court imposed a blanket publication ban on the legal proceedings, preventing the public from learning of any further evidence in a case of stunning allegations that has captured headlines around the world.

Canada, significantly less free than the United States in virtually every respect you could possibly name, is banning the freedom of the press in order to keep the light off of their government. (Or should we say, "Kanada"? Jury's still out on that one.)

Posted by Jeff at 10:59 AM | Comments (5)

In the Glare of the Spotlight

Here are some interesting excerpts from an article about some reprecussions resulting from the movie An Inconvenient Truth, and coming from the scientific community:

Scientists Respond to Gore's Warning about Global Catastrophe

"Scientists have an independent obligation to respect and present the truth as they see it," Al Gore sensibly asserts in his film "An Inconvenient Truth", showing at Cumberland 4 Cinemas in Toronto since Jun 2. With that outlook in mind, what do world climate experts actually think about the science of his movie?

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."

Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: "Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention."

But surely Carter is merely part of what most people regard as a tiny cadre of "climate change skeptics" who disagree with the "vast majority of scientists" Gore cites?

No; Carter is one of hundreds of highly qualified non-governmental, non-industry, non-lobby group climate experts who contest the hypothesis that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing significant global climate change. "Climate experts" is the operative term here. Why? Because what Gore's "majority of scientists" think is immaterial when only a very small fraction of them actually work in the climate field.

Even among that fraction, many focus their studies on the impacts of climate change; biologists, for example, who study everything from insects to polar bears to poison ivy. "While many are highly skilled researchers, they generally do not have special knowledge about the causes of global climate change," explains former University of Winnipeg climatology professor Dr. Tim Ball. "They usually can tell us only about the effects of changes in the local environment where they conduct their studies."

This is highly valuable knowledge, but doesn't make them climate change cause experts, only climate impact experts.

So we have a smaller fraction.

But it becomes smaller still. Among experts who actually examine the causes of change on a global scale, many concentrate their research on designing and enhancing computer models of hypothetical futures. "These models have been consistently wrong in all their scenarios," asserts Ball. "Since modelers concede computer outputs are not "predictions" but are in fact merely scenarios, they are negligent in letting policy-makers and the public think they are actually making forecasts."

We should listen most to scientists who use real data to try to understand what nature is actually telling us about the causes and extent of global climate change. In this relatively small community, there is no consensus, despite what Gore and others would suggest.

Here is a small sample of the side of the debate we almost never hear:

Appearing before the Commons Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development last year, Carleton University paleoclimatologist Professor Tim Patterson testified, "There is no meaningful correlation between CO2 levels and Earth's temperature over this [geologic] time frame. In fact, when CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are now, about 450 million years ago, the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years." Patterson asked the committee, "On the basis of this evidence, how could anyone still believe that the recent relatively small increase in CO2 levels would be the major cause of the past century's modest warming?"

Patterson concluded his testimony by explaining what his research and "hundreds of other studies" reveal: on all time scales, there is very good correlation between Earth's temperature and natural celestial phenomena such changes in the brightness of the Sun.

There is much more there and it is very worth reading: whole article.

Since the movie came out, I've been thinking that it is good to have movies like "An Inconvenient Truth" because, if it's popular, it opens itself up to wide discussion which, if false, will destroy it under the light of truth.

When it's somewhat buried underground and is coming at us a tiny bit at a time, seeping into our unconsciousness under reason's radar, the dissenters can be quietly suppressed one at a time by the perpetrators of the lie. But when the lie hits big, the dissenters (independently) come out in droves, each now in their own spotlight and able to see, and support, other dissenters from the lie.

That's what happened with, for example, Fahrenheit 9/11. Of course there's definitely some "true believers" who stand behind it. They'll never go away. Even the truth can't overcome the combination of ignorance, stupidity, and a completely closed mind. (Nature will get'em, though.)

One interesting note: All of this is very much in line with the characterization of the "global warming" political movement outlined withing Michael Crichton's State of Fear:

Michael Crichton: State of Fear
Buy the Book Now

Posted by Jeff at 10:05 AM | Comments (3)

June 13, 2006

Red vs Blue

Utah, politically, is the reddest (the most likely to vote Republican) state in the nation. (In fact, it's the only state in which Bill Clinton managed to come in third behind Republican George H.W. Bush and third party candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election.)

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah residents volunteer more often and give more of their time than people in any other state, according to a national report released Monday.

The study was conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency whose programs include Senior Corps and AmeriCorps, and tracked volunteer efforts for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Some 48 percent of Utah residents 16 and older served as volunteers between 2003 and 2005. Nebraska was second with 42.8 percent, followed by Minnesota with 40.7 percent, Iowa with 39.2 percent and Alaska with 38.9 percent.

The report said that more than 65.4 million Americans performed service of some kind in 2005 alone, compared to 59.8 million in 2002.

"Overall we're doing terrific," CNCS Chief Executive David Eisner said in a telephone interview. "We seem to be having a renaissance of civic engagement."

Eisner credits the increase to a call for American service by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and to a sense of duty stirred along the Gulf Coast by hurricane destruction in recent years.

Utah is Ranked #1 in Volunteering

Now consider that fact while reading the following:

Socialism Makes People Worse

Socialism teaches its citizens to expect everything, even if they contribute nothing.

Socialism teaches its citizens that they have a plethora of rights and few corresponding obligations -- except to be taxed.

And that is why the citizens of less socialist -- and more religious -- America give more charity per capita and per income than do citizens of socialist countries. That is why Americans volunteer time for the needy so much more than citizens of socialist countries do. That is why citizens of conservative states in America give more charity than citizens of liberal states do. The more Left one identifies oneself on the political spectrum, the more that person is likely to believe that the state, not fellow citizens, should take care of the poor and the needy.

Under socialism, one is not only liberated from having to take care of oneself; one is also liberated from having to take care of others. The state will take care of me and of everybody else.

The same holds true for foreign affairs. Why did the conservative government of Spain support the American war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq and send troops there, while the Spanish socialists withdrew Spanish troops as soon as they were voted into office? Because the idea of risking one's life to bring freedom to others -- or to risk one's life for another nation for just about any reason -- is alien to the socialist mindset.

Full column.

Excerpt from an excellent video:

Your browser is not accepting the video. I'm sorry.

More on this video.

Posted by Jeff at 07:19 AM | Comments (4)

June 09, 2006

Note to Ann Coulter

No, you don't need decaf.

Ann Coulter Book

Godless.

Video interview part 1
Video interview part 2
(Give them time to load about 20-30 seconds if you have cable.)

Good job.

ps: Good job on the opinions about the political process. But, Darwin wrong? C'mon....
Posted by Jeff at 03:33 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

"Undocumented Migrants"

From FOX News:

Undocumented Migrants

AP - June 4: Undocumented migrants float down the New River with plastic bags containing their clothes in Calexico, Calif.

"Undocumented migrants"? That one is new, isn't it?

Illegal aliens -> illegal immigrants -> undocumented immigrants -> undocumented migrants.

Now they're not even immigrants anymore. They're just migrating. Like birds. And monarch butterflies.

Posted by Jeff at 05:52 AM | Comments (3)

June 03, 2006

He Meant It As A Compliment

New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, who is currently up for re-election, said the following at a videotaped speech for a college commencement:

"[New York Senator Charles 'Chuck' Schumer is] the man who, how do I phrase this diplomatically, who will put a bullet between the president's eyes if he could get away with it."
--Washington Post (link to news article no longer valid)

That's "diplomacy" from a Democratic politician. He actually said it not as a criticism of the New York Senator, but as praise. He explained that he was trying to say that Senator Schumer has what it takes to stand up to the president.

Democratic voters can, of course, be separated into two categories: Politicians and non-politicians. If you're in the non-politician category, taking note, those are the types you've been voting for.

Posted by Jeff at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2006

Making a Liberal Look Like an Idiot

I love this:

Isn't there some association to a serious medical condition when you can see the whites of someone's eyes above their pupils? One which leads to pathalogical [sic] conditions such as paranoia and dementia? I forget what it's called. But from that photo Liasson clearly has a serious case and needs medical attention soon. And no one should believe a word she says.
--A comment on the "Think Progress" weblog

 

National Public Radio's Mara Liasson

The commenter was referring to the accompanying screen capture of Mara Liasson as she participated in a panel discussion on FOX News.

Now the issue here really isn't Mara Liasson, nor FOX News, nor the story which precipitated the discussion which precipitated the comment (told best by NPR's ombudsman, Jeffrey A. Dvorkin). The issue is what this guy said and what it says about his own level of understanding about the world. One wonders if it was a right-winger portraying a mentally deficient liberal in order to help to build the impression that the term "mentally deficient liberal" is an oxymoron. Unlikely, I think. I suspect that it probably was an actual liberal. But the other liberals must be wondering, "With friends like these...."

It brings to mind a comment that I received just today (3rd comment down) on an entry which I posted 20 full months ago about President Bush, but I'll leave it to you to work out how they're related.

Posted by Jeff at 05:04 PM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2006

Jan's Boob Job (Day by Day Cartoon)

Day by Day Cartoon, Jan's Boob Job Day by Day Cartoon

Has anyone else noticed that Jan, from Day by Day Cartoon, has undergone quite some changes over the last year? At the minimum, I'm seeing a boob job, here. Overall, the effect is to take her away from her old appearance as a frail and mousy intellectual university type of bookworm character, headstrong with idealism but without experience in the real world (and thus absent of real-world wisdom). Such a position in life shows in the physical stature of the individual. But now she looks genuinely successful, like someone to look up to, someone to want to emulate, someone who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. She exudes power now, and sexual energy. What kind of thoughts does a person have which creates such success? One wonders if Chris Muir is becoming a Democrat.

Here's a photo which relates well to what I'm expressing above:

PLAY SPOT THE DEMOCRAT:

Spot the Democrat!
Posted by Jeff at 01:36 AM | Comments (6)

April 28, 2006

The unPopulist

I've just run across an interesting weblog: The unPopulist (excellent moniker). He's short on material, he rarely seems to post, even less so that I do, methinks. But it's nice to see youth, a goatee, and a clue all wrapped up in one package (how rare). And he doesn't have much to say, really, instead relying on pasting what others have said. That can be bad, but it also can be good when astute comparisons are made, such as this one he made between comments made by actor Morgan Freeman and Frederick Douglass.

Morgan Freeman:

Freeman notes there is no "white history month," and says the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it."

The actor says he believes the labels "black" and "white" are an obstacle to beating racism.

"I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says.

I'll let you visit The unPopulist to find out what Frederick Douglass said, and I'll let you figure out on your own why it compares nicely with what Freeman said (the comparison isn't exactly direct). When I saw this, I wanted to comment on it myself. I was tempted to do so unilaterally, but...credit where credit is due.

Posted by Jeff at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2006

Mother Sheehan Speaks

This video of Cindy Sheehan speaking is worth watching through to its end. It starts out poorly, I think, and seems propaganda-ish, but it improves every minute. And then BAM! - what a hell of an excellent point it makes in its later minutes. The video is between 10 and 15 minutes long and is best watched by double-clicking on the video to watch it full screen (or right-clicking and selecting full screen).

Give her a viewing when you have time.

Posted by Jeff at 01:44 AM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2006

How Does Your Representative Score on Amnesty and Immigration?

Here's a grade list for Republicans on the immigration issue.

Very interesting (as of today):

A+
Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) - 100%
Allen, George (R-VA) - 100%
Chambliss, Saxby (R-GA) - 100%
Coburn, Tom (R-OK) - 100%
Ensign, John (R-NV) - 100%
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) - 100%
Thune, John (R-SD) - 100%
DeMint, James (R-SC) - 97%
Vitter, David (R-LA) - 97%

A
Bunning, Jim (R-KY) - 94%
Isakson, Johnny (R-GA) - 94%
Talent, James (R-MO) - 93%

B
Inhofe, James (R-OK) - 80%
Sessions, Jeff (R-AL) - 80%
Thomas, Craig (R-WY) - 80%
Shelby, Richard (R-AL) - 78%
Burr, Richard (R-NC) - 77%
Hutchison, Kay (R-TX) - 77%
Santorum, Rick (R-PA) - 77%
Bond, Kit (R-MO) - 75%
Allard, Wayne (R-CO) - 73%
Enzi, Michael (R-WY) - 73%
Frist, Bill (R-TN) - 73%

B-
Crapo, Michael (R-ID) - 70%
Kyl, Jon (R-AZ) - 62%
Collins, Susan (R-ME) - 61%

C
Bennett, Robert (R-UT) - 54%
Grassley, Charles (R-IA) - 53%
Dole, Elizabeth (R-NC) - 50%
Sununu, John (R-NH) - 50%

C-
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) - 43%

D+
Cornyn, John (R-TX) - 39%
Hatch, Orrin (R-UT) - 36%
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) - 35%
Lott, Trent (R-MS) - 32%
Stevens, Ted (R-AK) - 32%
Cochran, Thad (R-MS) - 31%

D
Gregg, Judd (R-NH) - 28%
Graham, Lindsey (R-SC) - 23%

D-
Brownback, Sam (R-KS) - 16%

F
Warner, John (R-VA) - 8%
Craig, Larry (R-ID) - 6%

F-
Smith, Gordon (R-OR) - 5%
Voinovich, George (R-OH) - 4%
Burns, Conrad (R-MT) - 3%
Chafee, Lincoln (R-RI) - 3%
Domenici, Pete (R-NM) - 3%
Lugar, Richard (R-IN) - 3%
Snowe, Olympia (R-ME) - 3%
Specter, Arlen (R-PA) - 3%
DeWine, Mike (R-OH) - 2%
Hagel, Chuck (R-NE) - 2%
McCain, John (R-AZ) - 1%
Coleman, Norm (R-MN) - 0%
Martinez, Mel (R-FL) - 0%

And would you care to easily let your representative know what you think on the issue? Send a free fax to your representative.

Talk about burying your senator in paper! ('Course their faxes are probably all computerized, but...maybe not.)

Posted by Jeff at 02:14 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2006

The Twilight Zone

The open-border "scamnesty" crowd and Hollywood liberals are going beserk!

GOP Congressional Candidate Vernon Robinson has a refreshingly bold TV ad that has whipped the liberals into a hysterical frenzy! The Rainbow Coalition has demanded that Vernon Robinson take the TV ad down because, among other things, it features Jesse Jackson's mug shot.

Liberal MSNBC journalist Keith Olbermann broadcast Vernon's ad on his "Countdown" show last month and said only, "Well, I'll just let it speak for itself." Vernon Robinson's Democrat opponent has posted Vernon's ad on the left wing websites and is actually using it to raise money. One left-wing blogger wrote, "My head just exploded!" Another wrote, "It's worse than the Swift Boat and Willie Horton ads combined."

Because the spot uses a clip from "Leave it to Beaver" and the theme music from "The Twilight Zone," the lawyers for actor Jerry Mathers (the "Beaver"), CBS Television Studios, and the Screen Actors Guild contacted our campaign last week. They told us their clients are being pressured by the militant homosexual activists and the illegal alien advocacy groups to "take legal action" if we don't take down the ad. Our campaign's lawyers assure us that the ad fits squarely within the "fair use" exception for protected political speech.

Every conservative should watch this ad. You'll find a link to the ad at the bottom of this page. But before you go to it, please read the letter below from Vernon. You'll understand why the thought of Vernon Robinson's election to Congress is enough to make a liberal's head explode and why Vernon needs your support!

Michelle Smith
Robinson for Congress

Too funny.

Video of the ad.

Posted by Jeff at 02:25 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2006

Illegal Immigration: Letter to Fox News

Hello, the following message is meant for Hannity and Colmes:

On the Hannity and Colmes show Senator John McCain was interviewed and I was distressed by what I consider to have been a lack of honesty on the senator's part. When he was questioned about "amnesty" being given to "undocumented immigrants" (McCain's term) he deflected the question into the subject of citizenship and whether or not a "guest worker" program would give these "undocumented immigrants" an unfair advantage on that path. WHY, Mr. Hannity and Mr. Colmes, did you allow that?

These illegal aliens have crossed our borders into our country not to become citizens, but to live and work. THE goal for these people is to live and work here. Granted, for some of them, it may be that gaining citizenship is a goal for them, an additional goal, but its a very minor one in comparison to the primary goal of being able to live and to work here.

Now if a child steals a toy airplane from a toy store and is caught, we not only punish the child by sending him into his room, cutting off his allowance, or some other way, but just as importantly, in fact most importantly, we take the airplane away from the child so that his offense of stealing doesn't pay off in the acquisition of the airplane which he wanted. The very same principle which is behind that act must also be put into play when we catch people stealing the right to residency and the right to work in this country. TAKE IT AWAY. Send every single one of them that is caught back home and, in addition, dole out some punishment beforehand. But under no circumstances should they be allowed one more single second of un-incarcerated life in our country. And failing to do that is what we Americans refer to as "giving amnesty". (Note to John McCain - skip the dictionary definition, this is what we mean.)

Misters Hannity and Colmes, please don't allow politicians to mislead America by changing the subject from the illegals' goal of living in and working in this country to the red herring subject of their supposed goal of gaining citizenship. That's not what this is about. It never was.

--American Citizen

Posted by Jeff at 09:57 AM | Comments (13)

February 14, 2006

Ain't This The Truth

"Would you rather go hunting with Dick Cheney or riding in a car over a bridge with Ted Kennedy?" Limbaugh asked. "At least Cheney takes you to the hospital."

Well said.

Posted by Jeff at 06:24 PM | Comments (5)

December 24, 2005

The Wife of a Congressman was Involved in a Bar Fight

Wife of congressman involved in bar fight
DETROIT -- The wife of Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers has been accused of punching a woman in the eye during a bar fight.

...

The spokesman said Rebecca Mews became upset Tuesday during a birthday celebration for an attorney, who Mews says was her date. While [Monica] Conyers was speaking with the man, Mews "came over and literally started spewing obscene names," and shoved Conyers, said Conyers' chief of staff, Sam Riddle.

"This woman was obviously drunk, and the [Monica] vigorously defended herself," he said.

This story has launched quite a diatribe on Capitol Hill. John Kerry has weighed in with, "Monica Conyers should not be blackening the eyes of party goers. Her husband should be doing that." Hillary Clinton said that she stands behind Conyers defending herself, but that Conyers didn't do it in the right way. "Blackmailing behind the scenes,", said Clinton, "is much more effective". Harry Reid commented that "there's a dark cloud hanging over Monica Conyers" who "lied to get into the altercation and now she's lying to mislead the rest of us about how it started and the conditions on the ground". Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle said that Conyers should be indicted on charges of torture, noting that the event "prevented Mews from getting a second helping of birthday cake and another scoop of Haagen Daz". Further, Howard Dean has remarked that "there's no way that Conyers could win such a fight", and Jack Murtha said "she has to run away if she wants to win; it's her presence at the parties which makes her a target". He further noted that Monica Conyers is "utterly broken", and that he hopes "that this will be a lesson to her about attending any parties in the future".

Posted by Jeff at 12:19 PM | Comments (6)

December 20, 2005

Achieving Peace

I saw this on a message board:

A U.S. Marine squad was marching north of Basra when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist, badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in similar but less serious state.

The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.

The Marine reported, "I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road.

"I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein is a miserable, lowlife, scumbag, and he yelled back that Senator Ted Kennedy is a good-for-nothing, fat, left wing liberal drunk. So I said that Osama Bin Ladin dresses and acts like a frigid, mean spirited woman!"

He retaliated by yelling, "Oh yeah? Well so does Hillary Clinton!"

"And, there we were, Sir, standing in the middle of the road shaking hands, when a truck hit us."

Posted by Jeff at 09:45 AM | Comments (1)

December 07, 2005

Old Democrats, New Democrats

Great Democrats from History:

Domestic Policy:
"If you want to live like Republicans, you'd better vote for the Democrats!"
--Harry S. Truman

Foreign Policy:

Harry S. Truman, Democrat

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge, and more."
--John F. Kennedy, Democrat

Today's Democrats:

"[Republicans have] never worked an honest day in their lives."
--Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee spokesman

"The idea that the Americans are going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."
--Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee spokesman

What's different?

Posted by Jeff at 09:41 AM | Comments (2)

December 05, 2005

Shaheen, Sheehan...Whatever

AKRON, Ohio -- An Ohio postal worker faces charges after being accused of putting urine in the coffee of his co-workers.

Authorities said the co-workers caught him by setting up a video camera in their break room after they became suspicious.

Thomas Shaheen, 49, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of adulteration of food or placing harmful objects in food. He's due in court on Monday.

Shaheen works as a mechanic for the U.S. Postal Service in Akron. Prosecutors said he was unhappy at work.

His co-workers believe he poured urine into a coffee pot in a break room on July 5 and July 6. Authorities said no one was harmed.

Shaheen has been a postal employee for 11 years, Cleveland TV station WEWS reported. He is due in court on Monday.

Source.

The similarities are remarkable.

Posted by Jeff at 10:00 AM | Comments (1)

December 04, 2005

My Position on the War

This is my position on the Iraq War:

It's going great. The president has things reasonably under control. There's nothing to debate about. Let's move on.

Question: So why does the war seem to be such a hot issue?

Answer: Because the Democrats hate George W. Bush.

That's the underlying reason, anyway. It's their motive. The mechanism, however, is using the press to keep the Iraq War in the national dialogue in an attempt to bash Bush with it. That was the reason for their temper tantrum in the senate when they called a surprise closed session, and that's the motive behind Murtha's withdrawl proposal (which even he didn't vote for):

Murtha Balks at Own Proposal
Late Friday night the House took a vote on Rep. John Murtha's proposal for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. The vote was 403-3 against, with Murtha among the 403. The only congressmen favoring Murtha's idea were three far-left Democrats: Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Jose Serrano of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida. Six Dems voted "present": Michael Capuano (Mass.), William Clay (Mo.), Maurice Hinchey (N.Y.), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Major Owens (N.Y.). Best of the Web Today

And it seems to me that the majority of Americans feel the same way, no matter which side of the aisle they typically vote for. Those who are in the blogosphere need to stop defending against the minutia in the Iraq based attacks against the president, and simply start defending with their bottom line: The Iraq War is going fine. Take the heat out of the discussion, and move on.

Posted by Jeff at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2005

I Don't Want to be Un-Assimilated!

I just read this in a Hugh Hewitt interview transcript with Mark Steyn:

Mark Steyn: I'm having a low-key Thanksgiving. I am celebrating Thanksgiving in New Hampshire. You know, I said to daughter's writing teacher, that we were having a discussion about how unassimilated the Muslims were in France. And then she said, well, what are you doing for Thanksgiving? And I said well, Thanksgiving's not a big deal with us. You know, we're foreigners. And she said oh, you're New Hampshire's equivalent to the unassimilated Muslims. And I felt so bad about that, that we're having a real big Thanksgiving celebration, a traditional, all-American Thanksgiving. I don't want to be unassimilated.

Too funny. And worthwhile.

Posted by Jeff at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2005

Pull out of Iraq NOW!!!

Why do they pull this b.s.?

Murtha Balks at Own Proposal
Late Friday night the House took a vote on Rep. John Murtha's proposal for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. The vote was 403-3 against, with Murtha among the 403. The only congressmen favoring Murtha's idea were three far-left Democrats: Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Jose Serrano of New York and Robert Wexler of Florida. Six Dems voted "present": Michael Capuano (Mass.), William Clay (Mo.), Maurice Hinchey (N.Y.), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) and Major Owens (N.Y.).

They do it for the purpose of the seediest side of politics: to get the media spotlight, to control the national dialogue. What a complete and total waste of these elected leaders' time. What's really sick is that they're so conditioned that they do it without any embarrassment at all.

Pathetic.

Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today

Posted by Jeff at 02:15 PM | Comments (6)

November 18, 2005

The Worst Kind of Racism

So, I'm up watching an episode of Law & Order (the Fourteenth Season) (why they decided to offer this one up on DVD so far out of order, I don't quite know), and it's about a black skinned reporter who fabricated an interview with a wanted fugitive. The reporter is charged with killing a bounty hunter, who was blackmailing the reporter by threatening to expose his having fabricated his story. The reporter's lawyer defends the reporter, not by saying that the reporter didn't kill the bounty hunter who was framing him, but instead by saying that the reporter's actions were mitigated by the pressure that society put him under - that is, the pressure of being a black man, elevated to his prestigious position as a reporter for a major publication, not because he was qualified (which we wasn't), but because he was black.

It just makes your head hurt.

Anyway, I thought it sounded familiar and could vaguely remember a situation in which a New York Times reporter, a black skinned one, was fabricating stories...and it was obvious that this Law & Order episode was inspired by that true life story. And, I was curious, so I looked it up. What I found was this interesting page and this very worthwhile paragraph:

Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press nailed it. "It isn't that black reporters aren't as good," she wrote. "It is that they are not expected to be. ... Times executive editor Howell Raines said his white Southern guilt might have made him look the other way because he wanted a black kid to succeed. That is the worst kind of racism, to think that a black kid can succeed only with lower standards."

When we cast our votes, when we take positions on any issue involving race, that passage should be first and foremost in our minds. Be fair to people, people.

Posted by Jeff at 12:58 AM | Comments (5)

November 13, 2005

Are You Proud to be an American?

Hello,

Imagine this conversation:

REPORTER: Why do you like President Bush?

PATRIOT: Because he makes me proud of America and proud to be an American.

REPORTER: What has President Bush done in leading this nation that makes you proud to be an American?

PATRIOT: __________________.

Can you fill in the blank with (at least) one answer? Give it a shot, eh?

Thank you.

Posted by Jeff at 01:18 AM | Comments (3)

November 11, 2005

Bring it on!

So I wander over to Little Green Footballs for a quick perusal of the goings on of the day, and I'm greeted at the top of the page with this little tidbit:

The Muslim community's police and security working group report makes clear that many believe the present anti-terror regime is already excessive, and that the measures risk provoking further radicalisation of young British Muslims.

It says the proposal to make 'inciting, justifying or glorifying terrorism' a criminal offence 'could lead to a significant chill factor in the Muslim community in expressing legitimate support for self-determination struggles around the world'. It could also lead to a fear of using 'legitimate concepts and terminology' because of the anxiety of being misunderstood by authorities ignorant of Arabic/Islamic vocabulary. For instance, a speech on jihad could easily be misunderstood as glorifying terrorism, and the 'extremely thin line' between empathising with the Palestinian cause and justifying the actions of suicide bombers could not be drawn with any legal certainty.

Well, isn't that just lovely.

There's a great episode of the old sit-com, "Night Court", in which someone stole the original draft of the Declaration of Independence and was holding it hostage inside Harry's court. There are two great scenes in that episode.

One was when an FBI agent was asked how the situation should be dealt with. He said something along the lines of, "First we cut off food, water, heat, and electricity, then we wait for negotiations to break down, then shoot him."

The other began just outside of the courtroom and shots were heard fired within the courtroom. Harry and company ran into the courtroom and demanded to know what happened (transcript from a very, very old memory):

"I was attacked and compelled to use deadly force!" the FBI agent explained.

"On a mosquito!", the perpetrator holding the D-of-I reported.

"That mosquito was hopped up on drugs! It had the power of TEN mosquitoes!!!" the FBI agent responded.

Both of those scenes are good examples of how this war on terror should be conducted with regard to the Muslim community, particularly the Muslim communities in Europe: 1) Give NO ground, and 2) over-respond at every possible opportunity.

If they don't like it, they can root the bad apples from their membership. It seems very odd that the "greater Muslim community" hasn't, and doesn't, play a very significant and visible daily part in this war against terror. You'd think that, for political purposes (i.e., for the sake of appearances), they'd be falling all over themselves to participate in ending the fundamentalist "jihad".

And that's just the point: THEY aren't the least bit concerned with how they appear to the non-Muslim community which is fighting this war on terror...so why, pray tell, are we falling all over ourselves to be politically correct for the sake of how we appear to them? Because we FEAR them? We're AFRAID that they'll attack again?

That is it, isn't it?

Bush's demeanor in the beginning of this war on terror was appropriate, and now severely under-used: BRING IT ON!

Posted by Jeff at 12:15 AM | Comments (1)

November 07, 2005

Are Democracy and Islam Compatible?

Someone asked this on a message board that I frequent:

For the record I do tend to think Democracy and Isalm are at odds, and don't coexist too well, but time will tell.

It seems to me that this subject can be broken down a bit more for clarity. I don't think that anyone disagrees with you on that. Those who do disagree, or think that they disagree, are people who just haven't thought the issue through to its end.

The real issue is: Which will win? Democracy? Or what you are referring to here as "Islam"?

Those of us on the pro-democracy side of the equation say that it is democracy which will win. That is, people will choose democracy over what you are referring to as "Islam".

The issue that gets missed is that what you are referring to as "Islam" is not the only religion which is referred to as "Islam". Sure, what you are referring to as "Islam" is Islam, but your point would be much better served if you referred to it as something along the lines of radical extremist fundamentalist Islam. It is that Islam, the radical extremist fundamentalist type of Islam, which is incompatible with democracy and which will be flushed down their toilets by the overwhelming vast majority of those who are given the new choice of democracy (or dropped down their outhouses, if they don't yet have indoor plumbing).

The other kind of Islam, which is the most prevalent type of Islam, can survive well in democracy and is benign, except, perhaps, in the cultural sense. But, then, the as the current trials about getting "Intelligent Design" (ironic name) into the public schools demonstrates, the "benign" form of Christianity ain't all that great either.

Posted by Jeff at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

Paris Burns

So now they've killed an old man.

It's amazing to me that they're unwilling to stop these riots. They have a military. They have the ability to use lethal force. Yet, they don't use it. Can it possibly be true that everything people have been saying about France since WWII could be correct? Are they waiting for someone else to come and liberate them?

It kind of puts their non-participation in the Iraq war into perspective, doesn't it?

Posted by Jeff at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)

November 01, 2005

The Senate's Closed Session

There are 5 columnists whom I regularly read. They can be found in my list of columnists, at the time of this writing, located on the far right column of this page. I like each of them for different reasons, though they're all conservative politically.

Mark Steyn is arguably my favorite. He's the most well rounded of all of the columnists. His analyses of events are very colorful and interesting. The breadth of his knowledge of the facts is unparallelled by anyone, and his knowledge of history is deep and rich.

William F. Buckley is arguably my least favorite. I have to admit, a third of the time I have no idea what he's talking about. Reading his columns is sometimes like sitting down to dinner with...I don't know...the Queen of England, or someone like that, and being presented with 50 different forks, spoons, and plates, each one for a specific purpose, and not having a clue as to the protocol of their use. However, he often provides interesting insights into events which other columnists miss.

Charles Krauthammer is somewhat new to me, so I've little to say about his writing other than that I like it so far.

Then there's James Taranto, writing for the Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today. Taranto is great for when you want to see the members of the left stripped naked, their ugliness unwrapped, the make-up off, the spin gone. He must have a large staff doing a lot of research in order for him to illuminate the hypocrisy of the left's politicians, pulling statements up that they made 3 years ago which directly contradict statements they're making today, and only because the other side was under attack back then. And his sarcasm is priceless. And, what's great about Taranto, is he writes a new column each and every day.

But there's one columnist who I think stands out in a very unique and valuable way: George F. Will. While Mark Steyn seems unusually intelligent in terms of creativity, George F. Will seems to excel in the opposite: he's cold as a calculator, rigid, and logical. The man cuts through all of the hyperbole, provides none of his own, and presents arguments logically and factually. He, also, is priceless.

And George F. Will is whom I most want to read with regard to this issue with Harry Reid sending the senate behind closed doors today. But, unfortunately, his columns are few and far between.

I'd like to read Will's thoughts on the issue, because I understand it so little. It seems to me that it wasn't Reid that made the news today, but Bill Frist. Imagine that Frist had, instead of complaining about the tactic, had simply ignored it, gave the media no statement, and had gone into the closed senate session without a word. Would there be any media attention at all? Frist's being flabbergasted seems to me to be what drove the story. The leftists loved that - and the media are, by and large, leftists.

And why should anyone care? I mean, they were working on an important piece of legislation, work which was brought to halt by the decision to enter into a closed session. That's annoying. But that issue could've been presented to the media without all of the huffing and puffing about the "stunt" pulled by Reid. Instead of the story being about the "stunt" and how Republicans received it, the story could've been about Democrats wasting the senate's valuable time.

So I don't really get what the big deal is. I don't know what is going on. I don't want spin. I don't want Democrats made out to be idiots. I just want the facts, cold, and simple. What...is...going...on. I'd love to read George Will's thoughts on this. But, George Will hasn't got a column about it available.

But, so far, the best I've found is this:

Fort Sumter 2005

Posted by Jeff at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2005

Happy Columbus Day!

What an interesting fellow. Against all available evidence, he argues before the queen of Spain that the earth is only about 1/3rd the size that it really is, and that he can sail around it to reach India. She's so persuaded that she sells her jewels to finance his expedition. And Christophorus (literally, the Christ seeker) Columbus becomes the most famous lost man in history who wouldn't ask for directions.

Columbus, you rock. Your legacy is among the greatest known to man.

Posted by Jeff at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2005

Queensryche Concert Review

I just read a review of a Queensryche concert which contained the following:

The show got political at times....

When ever we heard the line "Sign of the times" Geoff would motion toward the screen and we would see rows of military caskets draped with the American flag, and shots of war, bombs exploding, dead bodies, and so on....

"Will someone please let me know if we have spun out of control" - again caskets and war scenes : "Has our captain let go of the wheel" - A shot of George Bush at the Presidential Podium with a confused look on his face....

It figures. I've always felt a strong socialist, even communist, vibe from Queensryche which has always made me feel a bit uneasy when listening to their music (not an uncommon experience when listening to Seattle bands). Mostly, I've just dismissed it as unimportant (pre-9/11, I tended to dismiss political positions contrary to my own as ultimately being benign) and have been able to enjoy them. But this has ended it for me. The best analogy I've been able to come up with to express my feelings on the issue is this: it's like going into a restaurant's lavatory to wash your hands before dinner, and seeing the chef (cook, whoever) emerge from the crapping stall and exit the bathroom to the kitchen without washing his hands. No matter what could show up on your plate, your ability to enjoy it would be fatally tainted. The only option left would be to skip the meal and dine elsewhere.

As for Queensryche, I hope they and Cindy Sheehan will be happy together.

Thanks for the review. I now know not to attend.

Posted by Jeff at 10:38 AM | Comments (11)

October 04, 2005

Goodbye Gas Guzzlers

WASHINGTON — John Mathews, who manages a Toyota dealership in San Antonio, has witnessed the day Detroit auto-industry executives said would never come.

"We are seeing people who are driving $40,000 Suburbans trading them in on $15,000 Corollas," said Mathews, whose Universal Toyota dealership competes in a state where big trucks and sport-utility vehicles rule the roads.

"The last 30 days have been unlike anything I've ever seen in the automotive industry," he said.

Buyers Shift to High Mileage Cars

Man, am I ever glad to see this.

Posted by Jeff at 02:13 PM | Comments (1)

October 03, 2005

Supreme Court Justices' Ages

Update:

This post is nearly 6 years old. For a more current list, see Ages of Supreme Court Justices

How old is the judge?

John Roberts, 50 (Jan. 27, 1955)
Clarence Thomas, 57 (June 23, 1948)
David Souter, 66 (Sept. 17, 1939)
Stephen Breyer, 67 (Aug. 15, 1938)
Anthony Kennedy, 69 (July 23, 1936)
Antonin Scalia, 69 (March 11, 1936)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 72 (March 15, 1933)
Sandra Day O'Connor, 75 (March 26, 1930)
John Paul Stevens, 85 (born April 20, 1920)

If President Bush's current supreme court nomination, White House counsel Harriet Ellan Miers, is confirmed she'll be the 3rd youngest on the court. She's 60.

Posted by Jeff at 01:40 PM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2005

John Roberts Confirmation Hearing, Transcript Pt. IV

Schumer (continued): You should be prepared to explain your views of the First Amendment and civil rights and environmental rights, religious liberty, privacy, workers' rights, women's rights and a host of other issues relevant to the most powerful lifetime post in the nation.

Now, having established that ideology and judicial philosophy are important, what's the best way to go about questioning on these subjects?

The best way I believe is through understanding your views about particular past cases, not future cases that haven't been decided, but past, already-decided cases. It's not the only way, but it's the best and most straightforward way.

Some have argued that questioning a nominee about his or her personal views of the Constitution or about decided cases indicates prejudgment about a future case.

It does nothing of the sort.

Most nominees who have come before us, including Justice Ginsburg, whose precedents you often cite, have answered such questions.

Contrary to popular mythology, when she was a nominee, Justice Ginsburg gave lengthy answers to scores of questions about constitutional law and decided cases, including individual autonomy, the First Amendment, criminal law, choice, discrimination and gender equality.

Although there were places she said she did not want to answer, she spoke about dozens of Supreme Court cases and often gave her unvarnished impressions, suggesting that some were problematic in their reasoning while others were eloquent in their vindication of important constitutional principles. And nominee after nominee, from Powell to Thomas to Breyer, answered numerous questions about decided cases, and no one every questioned their fitness to hear cases on issues raised during confirmation hearings.

So I hope you'll decide to answer questions about decided cases, which so many other nominees have done.

If you refuse to talk about already decided cases, the burden, sir, is on you, one of the most preeminent litigators in America, to figure out a way, in plain English, to help us determine whether you'll be a conservative but mainstream conservative chief justice or an ideologue.

Let me be clear: I know you're a conservative. I don't expect your views to mirror mine. After all, President Bush won the election and everyone understands that he will nominate conservatives to the court.

But while we certainly do not expect the court to move to the left under the president, it should not move radically to the right.

You told me when we met that you were not an ideologue and you share my aversion to ideologues. Yet, you've been embraced by some of the most extreme ideologues in America, like the leader of Operation Rescue.

That gives rise to a question many are asking: What do they know that we don't?

Judge Roberts, if you want my vote, you need to meet two criteria.

First, you need to answer questions fully so we can ascertain your judicial philosophy.

And, second, once we have ascertained your philosophy, it must be clear that it is in the broad mainstream.

Judge Roberts, if you answer important questions forthrightly and convince me you're a jurist in the broad mainstream, I'll be able to vote for you. And I would like to be able to vote for you.

But if you do not, I will not be able to vote for you.

Mr. Chairman, I have high hopes for these hearings. I want, and the American people want, a dignified, respectful hearing process, open, fair, thorough, above board; one that not only brings dignity but, even more importantly, information about Judge Roberts' views and ideology to the American people. I, along with all of America, look forward to hearing your testimony.

Specter: Thank you, Senator Schumer.

Senator Cornyn?

Cornyn: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Judge Roberts, let me also join in extending a warm welcome to you and your family of these hearings. As the 15th speaker in the order of seniority here, I recall the adage I learned when I first came to Washington that everything's been said, but not everyone has said it yet.

And perhaps by the time this hearing is over this week, you will have a fuller appreciation than you do now for that.

But, of course, you are a known quantity, so to speak, to this committee and to this Senate, having been confirmed by unanimous consent just two short years ago. And I want to extend a compliment to you on your judicial service. You have served with distinction in your current capacity.

While the importance of your nomination as chief justice of the United States cannot be overstated, it seems as it each new nomination to the court brings an element of drama somewhat akin to an election.

Indeed, we've seen special interest groups raising money, running television advertisements and even trying to coerce you into stating your opinion on hot-button issues that are likely to come before you as a judge, as if this were an election.

But, of course, this is not an election. And no reasonable person expects you to make promises to politicians about how you're likely to rule on the issues when they come before the court as a condition of confirmation.

Still, some in our country have lost sight of the proper of an unelected judge where the people are sovereign and where government enjoys no legitimacy except by consent of the governed.

They see unelected judges primarily as policymakers and arbiters of every pressing social issue that might arise, with the authority to dictate to the people what they think is good for us.

Well, this ideal of the Supreme Court as a super-legislature to which we might turn to give us everything that is good and stop everything that is bad is not a view that I share, nor for that matter did those who wrote and ratified the Constitution. The Constitution does not guarantee everything that is good and prohibit everything that is bad or it could have been written in two sentences. Rather, it guarantees some specific things, it prohibits some specific things and leaves the rest to be sorted out through the democratic process.

Alexander Hamilton, as you know, wrote in the Federalist Papers, which argued for ratification of the Constitution, that the judicial branch, he predicted, would be known as the least dangerous branch.

He believed that there is no liberty if the power of judging is not separated from the legislative and executive powers. Its sole purpose was to interpret and apply the laws of the land. It's role would be limited.

Regrettably, justices have not always been faithful to this constitutional design. All we need to do is to look at the Supreme Court's track record to see why abdicating our right of self- government to nine judges isolated behind a monumental marble edifice far removed from the life experiences of the average American is a bad idea.

For example, the Constitution says in part that the federal government shall not prohibit the free exercise of religion or abridge freedom of speech. Many Americans, including me, are concerned that the Supreme Court, by erecting extra-constitutional and contradictory judge-made standards in this area of the law, has effectively banned voluntary religious expression from much of our public life turning what should be official neutrality into a policy of official hostility.

To be sure, the court has been zealous in protecting the rights of those who express themselves or promote their products using violence or sex.

But voluntary expression of one's faith? Never.

Likewise, many Americans including me are baffled that the Supreme Court recently saw fit to strike down the display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky but upheld the constitutionality of a display in Texas, even while the Ten Commandments itself is prominently displayed in the chambers of the United States Supreme Court on its ceiling. Many Americans, including me, wondered what to read into the court's recent dismissal of a suit seeking to deny schoolchildren the right to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the words, One nation, under God.

A majority of the court refused to agree that the pledge was constitutional, leaving this time-honored tradition of schoolchildren across our nation in legal limbo.

And recently the court expanded the awesome power of government to condemn private property beyond all previous bounds by reading the public use limitation on eminent domain right out of the Constitution.

Justice O'Connor warned, The specter of condemnation now hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall or any farm with a factory.

On what legitimate basis can the Supreme Court uphold state laws on the death penalty in 1989, then strike them down in 2005, relying not on the written Constitution -- which, of course, had not changed -- but on foreign laws that no American has voted on, consented to or may even be aware of?

When in 2003 the court decided Lawrence v. Texas, the court overruled a 1986 decision on the constitutionality of state laws based on the collective moral judgment of those states about permissible sexual activity.

What changed in that intervening time? Did the Constitution change? Well, no.

Did the justices change? Yes.

But should that determine a different meaning of the Constitution? Are some judges merely imposing their personal preferences under the guise of constitutional interpretation?

Indeed, this was the same case, as you know, Judge Roberts, that served as the cornerstone of the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision, holding that state laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman amounted to illegal discrimination.

Let me close on an issue that several senators have already mentioned today, and that is your obligation to answer our questions.

Of course, I share with all of my colleagues a desire -- and a curiosity, really -- to know what you think about all sorts of issues. All of us are curious.

But just because we're curious doesn't mean that our curiosity should be satisfied. You have no obligation to tell us how you will rule on any issue that might come before you if you're confirmed to the Supreme Court.

It boils down to a question of impartiality and fairness. One characteristic of a good judge is that they keep an open mind until they hear the facts and hear the lawyers argue the case before them. If you pledge today to rule a certain way on an issue, how can parties to future cases possibly feel that they would ever have a fair day in court?

Justice Ginsburg, as we've heard already, one of the last Supreme Court justices confirmed by the Senate, noted not too long ago, In accord with long-standing norm, every member of the current Supreme Court declined to furnish such information. The line each justice drew in response to pre-confirmation questioning is crucial to the health of the federal judiciary.

This has come to be known as the Ginsburg standard, although it has been the norm for all nominees who come before the committee and before the Senate for confirmation.

Now, I know some of the members of the committee will ask you questions that you can't answer. They'll try to entice you to abandon the rules of ethics and the long tradition described by Justice Ginsburg.

But that should not concern you, Judge Roberts. Don't take the bait. Do not head down that road, but do exactly what every nominee of every Republican president and every Democrat president has done: Decline to answer any question that you feel would compromise your ability to do your job. The vast majority of the Senate, I am convinced, will not punish you for doing so. Rather, I'm convinced that the vast majority of the Senate will respect you for this decision because it will show you are a person of deep integrity and independence, unwilling to trade your ethics for a confirmation vote.

Again, let me say welcome to you, again, before the committee, and thank you for your continued willingness to serve this great nation.

Specter: Thank you, Senator Cornyn.

Senator Durbin?

Durbin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Judge Roberts, welcome to you, your family. Congratulations on your nomination.

The committee hearing began with the chairman telling us that you had shared the wisdom of 47 individual senators by visiting their office, some of them on several different occasions.

And many people believe that that fact alone should earn you confirmation before the United States Senate.

Twelve years ago, at the nomination hearing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my friend Illinois Senator Paul Simon said something worth repeating. He said to the nominee, and I quote, You face a much harsher judge than this committee. That's the judgment of history. And that judgment is likely to revolve around one question: Did you restrict freedom or did you expand it?

I think Senator Simon put his finger on how the United States Senate should evaluate a nominee for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench.

Judge Roberts, if you're confirmed, you will be the first Supreme Court justice in the 21st century. The basic question is this: Will you restrict the personal freedoms we enjoy as Americans or will you expand them?

When we met in my office many weeks ago, I gave you a biography of a judge I admire greatly. His name was Frank Johnson, a federal district judge from Alabama and a life-long Republican.

Fifty years ago, following the arrest of Rosa Parks, Judge Johnson ruled that African-Americans of Montgomery, Alabama, were acting within their constitutional rights when they organized a boycott of the buses and that Martin Luther King Jr. and others could march from Selma to Montgomery. As a result of those decisions, the Ku Klux Klan branded Johnson the most hated man in America. Wooden crosses were burned on his lawn. He received so many death threats that his family was under constant federal protection from 1961 to 1975.

Judge Frank Johnson was denounced as a judicial activist and threatened with impeachment.

He had the courage to expand freedom in America.

Judge Roberts, I hope that you agree America must never return to those days of discrimination and limitations on our freedom.

Now, some of the memos you wrote that I talked to you about in my office many, many years ago in the Reagan administration have raised some serious concerns about where you stand on civil rights, on women's rights, concerns that have led some of the most respected civil rights groups in America to openly oppose your nomination.

So it's important for you at this hearing to answer the questions and to tell us your views on civil rights and equality and the role of courts in protecting these basic freedoms.

This hearing is your opportunity to clarify the record, to explain your views.

We can't assume that time or maturity has changed your thinking from those Reagan-era memos.

The refusal of the White House to disclose documents on 16 specific cases you wrote as deputy solicitor general denied this committee more contemporary expressions of your values.

Only your testimony before this committee can convince us that John Roberts of 2005 will be a truly impartial and open-minded chief justice.

Concerns have also been raised about some of the things you wrote relative to the right of privacy.

We've gone through Griswold. We know what that Supreme Court decision meant in 1965, 40 years ago, when the court struck down the Connecticut statute which made it a crime for married couples to buy and use birth control. They said there was a fundamental right of privacy in that Constitution, though you can search every word of it, and not find the word privacy. But it's far from settled law in the minds of many. Forty years later, there have been new efforts to restrict the right of privacy, attempts to impose gag rules on doctors when they speak to their patients about family planning.

You saw it in the sad debate over the tragedy of Terri Schiavo, a debate that led some members of Congress to threaten judges who disagree with their point of view with impeachment.

And you can find it in the eagerness to authorize the government to pry into our financial records, medical records and library records.

Whether the court continues to recognize and protect America's right to privacy will have a profound impact on every American from birth to death.

In your early writings that we have to rely on here, you referred to this right of privacy as an abstraction. We need to know if that's what you believe.

We also need to hear your views on another basic issue and that is the view on executive power. They don't teach this subject much in law school. It's not tested on any bar exam. It's not been a major focus in many Supreme Court hearings, yet it is very important today.

Some aspects of your record, your early record, when you were an attorney for a president, suggest you might be overly deferential to the executive branch. We need to know where you stand.

Throughout history, during times of war, presidents have tried to restrict liberty in the name of security. The Supreme Court has always been the guardian of our Constitution. It's usually been up to the task but sometimes it's failed such as in the notorious Korematsu decision.

We're being tested again. Will we stand by our Constitution in this age of terrorism? That challenge will fall especially on our Supreme Court and on you, Judge Roberts, if you're confirmed.

We also need to know what you think about religious liberty. Over the past few decades, the Supreme Court has maintained a delicate yet what I believe proper balance between church and state. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said it so well in the recent Ten Commandments decision.

And I quote, At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate. Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails while allowing private religious exercise to flourish.

Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly? I asked you a question when you came by to see me, which I'm not sure either one of us could answer at that moment.

I asked you: Who has the burden of proof at this hearing? Do you have the burden to prove that you are a person worthy thing of a lifetime appointment before the Supreme Court or do we have the burden to prove that President Bush was wrong in selecting you?

Your position as Supreme Court justice, chief justice, gives you extraordinary power: to appoint 11 judges on the FISA court, which has the authority to issue warrants for searches and wiretaps of American citizens, all the way to the establishment of rules of criminal and civil procedure.

No one has the right to sit on that court. No one has the right to be chief justice. But they can earn it through a hearing such as the one which we have today.

I'd like to say that I spoke earlier about the courage of Frank Johnson. A few months ago another judge of rare courage testified before this committee. Her name is Joan Lefkow. She's a federal judge in Chicago and I was honored to nominate her.

Last February, her husband and mother were murdered in her home by a deranged man who was angry that she had dismissed his lawsuit.

In her remarks to the committee, Judge Lefkow said that the murders of her family members were, quote, a direct result of a decision made in the course of fulfilling our duty to do justice without fear or favor.

In my view, that is the only proper test for a Supreme Court justice: Will he do justice without fear or favor? Will he expand freedom for all Americans as Judge Frank Johnson, the condemned judicial activist, once did.

I congratulate you, Judge Roberts, on your nomination, your accomplished career, and I look forward to these hearings to give you your chance in the next several days, not to rely on 20-year-old memos or innuendoes and statements by those who are not part of the hearing, but in your own words a chance to tell us and to tell the American people what you truly believe.

If you believe that you have the burden at this hearing to establish why you are worthy of this, the highest ranking position of a judge in America, I hope that you will be forthcoming. If you do not answer the questions, if you hold back, if you believe, as some on the other side have suggested, that you have no responsibility to answer these questions, I'm afraid the results will not be as positive. I certainly hope that they will be positive.

Thank you.

Specter: Thank you, Senator Durbin.

I recognize now Senator Brownback and also recognize today is his birthday.

(APPLAUSE)

Brownback: Thank you very much. And this is certainly a long way to spend it. It's seeming like a long birthday.

Thank you.

Judge Roberts, as one of my colleagues was just saying, I hope we're done before my birthday ends. I welcome you to the court. Delighted to have you here, you and your family. I want to congratulate you on your lifetime of service thus far and looking forward to future service that you'll have for this great land.

I recall the meeting that you and I had in my office, as many of the members have here have as well, and enjoyed them. You said two things in there that I particularly took away and hung on as an indicator of yourself and how you would look at the courts and also what America needed from our courts.

One of the statements was that we need a more modest court. And I looked at that and I thought that's exactly, I think, the way the American people would look at the situation today.

We need a more modest court, a court that's a court but not a super-legislature, as you've heard others refer to, or is in a different role, but is a court.

And that's what it needs to be and that's what we need to have: one that looks at the constitution as it is, not as we wish it might be, but as it is, so that we can be a nation that is a rule-of-law nation.

You had a second point that was very apt, I thought, when you talked about the courts and baseball. You drew the analogy of those two together, which was apt, I thought. And you said it's a bad thing when the umpire is the most watched person on the field.

And I guess that appealed to me as well from the standpoint of where we are today's American governance, where the legislature can pass the bill, the executive can sign it, but everybody waits and holds their breath until how the court is going to look at this and how it's going to interpret it, because it seems as if the court is the real mover of what the actual law is. And that's a bad thing. The umpire should call the ball fair or foul -- it's in or it's out -- but not get actively involved as a player on the field.

And, unfortunately, we've gotten to a point today where in many respects the judiciary is the most active policy player on the field.

I was struck by your nomination and what you said when you were nominated that you, quote, had a profound appreciation for the role of the court in our constitutional democracy.

And that's something I think we all respect and we look for in what we need to do.

Democracy I believe loses its luster when justices on the high court who are unelected and not directly accountable invent constitutional rights and alter the balance of governmental powers in ways that find no support in the text, the structure or the history of the Constitution.

Unfortunately, the court in recent years I believe has gone into that terrain.

In our system of government, the Constitution contemplates that federal courts will exercise limited jurisdiction. They should neither write nor execute the laws, but simply say what the law is, in quoting Marbury v. Madison.

The narrow scope of judicial power was the reason the people accepted the idea that the federal courts could have the power of judicial review; that is, the ability to decide whether a challenged law comports with the Constitution.

The people believe that the courts would maintain their independence and at the same time would recognize their role by deferring to the political branches on policy choices.

Legitimacy based on judicial restraint was a concept perhaps best expressed by Justice Felix Frankfurter, appointed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And he said this: Courts are not representative bodies. They are not designed to be a good reflex of a democratic society. Their judgment is best informed and therefore most dependable within narrow limits. Their essential quality is detachment, founded on independence. And history teaches that the independence of the judiciary is jeopardized when courts become embroiled in the passions of the day and assume primarily responsibility in choosing between competing political, economic and social pressures.

Primary responsibility for adjusting the interests which compete of necessity belongs to the Congress. Yet courts today have strayed far beyond this limited role. Constitutionalists from Hamilton to Frankfurter surely would be shocked at the broad sweep of judicial activity today.

Just listen to some of them.

Federal courts are redefining the meaning of marriage, deciding when a human life is worthy of protection, running prisons and schools by decree, removing expressions of faith in the public square, permitting the government under the takings clause to confiscate property from one person and give it to another in the name of private economic development and then interpreting our American Constitution on the basis of foreign and international law.

Perhaps the Supreme Court's most notorious exercise of raw political power came in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, two 1973 cases based on false statements which invented a Constitutional right to abortion. The issue had been handled by the people through their elected representatives prior to that time.

Since that time, nearly 40 million children have been aborted in America, 40 million lives that could be amongst us but are not, beautiful, innocent faces that could bless our existence and our families and our nation, creating and expanding a culture of life.

If you're confirmed, your court will decide if there is a constitutional right to partially deliver a late-term child and then destroy it. Partial-birth abortion is making its way to the Supreme Court. The federal courts have thus far found laws limiting partial-birth abortion unconstitutional.

Now, it should be noted again, if Roe is overturned, it does not ban abortion in America. It merely returns the issue to the states so states like Kansas or California can set the standards they see right and just.

The principle of stare decisis will be involved. The Supreme Court frequently has overruled prior precedents, I would note. A case founded in my state, Brown v. the Board of Education, which overruled Plessy v. Ferguson, fits within a broad pattern -- evidenced since the founding of the Supreme Court, revising previous decisions.

I would note for you that, by some measure, the Supreme Court has overruled itself in 174 cases, with a substantial majority of those cases involving constitutional, not statutory, issues.

One final thought. In a just and healthy society, both righteousness and justice travel together. Righteousness, the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil, that's something that's that's written within our hearts. Justice is the application of that knowledge.

Everybody in our representative form of government tries to do both of these -- righteousness and justice -- within the boundaries set for each of us. No one branch has unlimited control. The Supreme Court has boundaries, too. There are checks and balances on what it can deal with and what it can do.

For instance, the court cannot appropriate money. That power's specifically left to the Congress in the Constitution, no matter how right or just the court may view the cause.

We all are constitutional officers, sworn to uphold the Constitution. Yet each branch has separate functions which the other branch can check and balance.

The total system functions best when each branch does its job but not the others.

We arrived at an important moment with your nomination to serve as chief justice of the United States. Quite a title.

Will you serve, as Hamilton assured the people, by exercising judgment rather than will?

By review of your many legal writings over the past quarter century, it leads me to believe that this is the case. I hope that this instinct will be proven correct during the days to come; that, you, Judge Roberts, will be confirmed to serve as the first justice among equals; and that the noble legacy of the justice that you once served will be honored. God bless you and your family.

Specter: Thank you, Senator Brownback.

Senator Coburn?

Coburn: Thank you, Senator.

First of all, I'd like to thank you and your staff, as well as all the staff of this committee. While we were traveling in August, they were laboring diligently to help prepare us for these hearings.

I also think everybody should know that Senator Brownback's entering his fifth decade, so he can catch up with the rest of us.

And, finally, I'm somewhat amused at the propensity for us to project your life expectancy. I met with you twice. And as the only physician on this panel, and one of the few nonlawyers on this panel, I find it somewhat amusing that we can predict that without a history of physical exam or a family history. But we'll let that pass.

I am a physician. And up until the end of this month, and hopefully after that, I'll continue to practice. This weekend I had the great fortunate of delivering two little girls.

And I've had the opportunity to talk with people from all walks of life as a physician, those that have nothing and those that have everything. And I believe the people in our country and in my state in particular are interested and concerned with two main issues.

And one is this word of judicial activism that means such a different thing to so many different people. And the second is the polarization that has resulted from it and the division that has occurred in our country that separates us and divides us at a time when we need to be together.

We each have our own definition of judicial activism. Essentially the court will not become an activist court if it adheres to its appropriate role and does not attempt to legislate or create policy.

There always will be and should always be checks on each of the different branches of government. Yet look where we are today. Decades of judicial activism have created these huge rifts in the social fabric of our country.

Whether we're on one side or the other, it's a tension pulling us apart rather than a tension pulling us together.

I believe we've seen federal and state legislators' responsibility usurped by the court, especially to make important decisions. And I think that is what has created a lot of the division within our country.

And I believe it's time that that stopped and a limited role for the Supreme Court -- and I think we're willing to debate as a country what judicial activism is. But we're also wanting someone who will listen to both sides of that and, in a measured and balanced way, knowing what the Constitution says and the restraint that our forefathers have written about, will take that into consideration.

I'm deeply heartened in that I've read many statements that you've made. I believe you indicate a more proper role for that of the judiciary.

And I believe, in our discussions, super-legislation -- a super- legislator body -- is not what the court was intended to be.

When I ponder our country and its greatness, its weaknesses, its potential, my heart aches for less divisiveness, less polarization, less finger-pointing, less bitterness, less mindless partisanship which, at times, sounds almost hateful to the ear of Americans.

The problems before our country are enormous. Our family structures have declined. Our dependency on government has grown. The very heritage of our country, which was borne out of sacrifice by those who preceded us, is at risk.

We are all Americans. We all want the greatest future for the generations to come, protection for the innocent and the frail, support for those less fortunate. But, most of all, we want an America that will live on as a beacon of hope, freedom, kindness and opportunity.

America is an idea; it's not competing ideologies. It's an idea that has proven tremendously successful and, when we reduce it to that of competing ideologies, we make it less than what it is.

I believe the genius of our founders is that they recognized that individual rights were derived from a creator, not a king, not a court, not a legislature or a state.

Our founders were concerned that, if our rights derived from the state or a court, they can be taken away by a state or a court.

Our Constitution enshrines this idea and gives its meaning in the rule of law. That's why it's important for us to respect the words of that Constitution. I would hope as we conduct these hearings over the next few days our tendency as politicians to be insensitive, bitter, discourteous and political will surrender to the higher values that define us as a nation.

We have an opportunity to lead by example, to restore the values and principles that bind us together.

How we conduct ourselves and how we treat you, Judge Roberts, can be a great start toward reconciliation in our country.

I want one America.

An America that continues to be divided is an America that is at risk.

Our country waits for its leaders at all levels to rise to the occasion of rebuilding our future by placing our political fortunes last and constitutional principles first and working diligently to reconcile each and every American to the freedom and responsibility that our republic demands.

May God bless our efforts.

Specter: Thank you very much, Senator Coburn.

We now move to the presenters -- Senator Lugar, Senator Bayh and Senator Warner -- and then the administration of the oath to Judge Roberts, and then Judge Roberts' opening statement.

Welcome, Senator Lugar, as the senior presenter, elected in 1976, Indiana's senior senator.

We have allotted five minutes each to the presenters.

And, Senator Lugar, you are now recognized.

Lugar: Mr. Chairman, let me first ask that a copy of my full statement appear in the committee record.

Specter: Without objection, your full statement will be made a part of the record.

Lugar: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It's a genuine privilege and pleasure to appear before you, Senator Leahy and my other distinguished colleagues who serve on this important committee.

I'm pleased to introduce the president's nominee to serve as the 109th justice of the Supreme Court and the 17th chief justice of the United States, John D. Roberts Jr.

Judge Roberts was born in Buffalo, New York, but moved at age 8 to Indiana. The Roberts family settled in Long Beach, a small Hoosier community, on the shores of Lake Michigan.

John attended local schools there in nearby LaPorte and, in 1973, graduated first in his high school class of 22, having also excelled in numerous extracurricular activities, including co-captaining the football team despite his self-described status as a slow-footed halfback. I know committee members will understand my observing that our state takes a certain pride of its own nomination by the president to lead the nation's highest court.

Simply put, John Roberts is a brilliant lawyer, a jurist with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in public service. This exceptional blend of professional and personal qualifications is especially important now, given the further responsibilities Judge Roberts has been called upon to assume on the passing of the chief justice.

I know Judge Roberts is keenly and humbly aware of the large shoes he has now been asked to fill, the more so since the late chief justice was his own initial boss when he arrived in Washington a quarter century ago.

All Americans can be grateful that Judge Roberts not only learned, but has lived, the lessons taught by his mentor and his role model. In my judgment, he is supremely qualified to carry forward the tradition of fair, principled and collegial leadership that so distinguished the man for whom he once worked and has now been nominated to replace.

Under the judicial confirmation standards that prevailed throughout most of our history, my remarks could appropriately end at this point, and the committee and the Senate as a whole should proceed to consider Judge Roberts' nomination in light of his outstanding qualifications.

Indeed, nominees almost never testified in such hearings before 1955, and the last Supreme Court justice from Indiana, Sherman Minton, was confirmed without controversy, despite declining even to appear before the committee following his nomination by President Truman.

I am not troubled by the fact that the committee hearings, including testimony by Supreme Court nominees, now seems firmly established as a part of the confirmation process. These proceedings serve a vital role in our deliberations and are a vivid course in living history for all Americans.

But it's important we write that history well. Today's Supreme Court regularly faces issues of enormous public import and attendant controversy. Many are deeply decisive, with well-funded, well- organized advocacy groups passionately committed to one or the other side and for whom the central, well-nigh exclusive focus is who wins. Media coverage in the Information Age, whether on talk radio or countless cable outlets featuring talking heads for each side, fuels both the controversy and the resultant tendency to see the Supreme Court as a kind of political branch of last resort.

When a court vacancy occurs, the confirmation process takes on the trappings of a political campaign, replete with interest group television ads that often reflect the same oversimplifications and distortions that are disturbing even in campaign for offices that are in fact political.

All of this may be understandable. It remains in my view a fundamental departure from the vision of the courts and their proper role that animated those who crafted our Constitution.

The founders were at pains to emphasize the difference between the political branches, the executive and the legislative, and the judiciary. They were concerned about the potential dangers if passionate interest-driven political divisions, which Madison famously called the mischiefs of faction, influenced their design of our entire governmental structure.

But they were especially concerned that such mischiefs not permeate those who would sit on the bench. Otherwise, they warned, the pestilential breath of faction may poison the fountains of justice and would stifle the voice both of law and of equity.

I believe that each of us in the Senate bears a special responsibility to prevent that from occurring. The primary focus of these hearings and our substantive debate and vote on the floor will be Judge Roberts and his qualifications.

But another focus will be whether the Senate, in discharging the solemn advice-and-consent duty conferred by the Constitution, is faithful to the trust the founders placed in us.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and all members of the committee for your courtesy in allowing me to introduce Judge John G. Roberts Jr., a distinguished son of Indiana, whom I believe will prove to be an outstanding chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.

I thank you very much.

Specter: Thank you very much, Senator Lugar.

We now turn to Senator Bayh, elected in 1998, previously governor of Indiana.

Senator Bayh?

Bayh: Thank you very much, Chairman Specter, Senator Leahy, members of the Judiciary Committee.

There isn't nearly enough civility in Washington today. And so when I was asked to uphold long-standing and bipartisan traditions to introduce someone from my state, I did not hesitate to accept.

I am pleased to join with my friends and our colleagues, Dick Lugar and John Warner, to introduce to you John Roberts.

John Roberts grew up in northwest Indiana and still has family living in our state. He is the proud father of two lovely children, Jack and Josie, and the husband of Jane.

At only 50, Judge Roberts has had a distinguished legal career that would make most lawyers envious. He has argued 39 cases before our Supreme Court and won 25 of them. Most lawyers are lucky to argue and win one case before our nation's highest court.

There is no question that Judge Roberts has achieved much through hard work and great ability to reach the pinnacle of the legal profession.

If confirmed as chief justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Roberts could serve for 30 or more years. During that time, the court will likely hear cases that affect every aspect of the law and American life, from civil rights to women's rights, to property rights, to states rights.

I look forward to a full and clarifying discussion of his views on these important topics and others because, for this nominee and for anyone who aspires to our nation's highest court, it is ultimately their beliefs, even more than their biography, which should determine the result of the confirmation process.

As a fellow Hoosier, I'm proud that someone from our state would be so talented and so successful to be considered for a position on the highest court of our land.

Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy, my colleagues, I am pleased to introduce to you a fellow Hoosier, Judge John Roberts.

Specter: Thank you very much, Senator Bayh.

Senator Warner, welcome back.

When you were here earlier this morning, I said you'd be recognized at about 3:20. I want to apologize for being two minutes off.

Warner: It's all right, Mr. Chairman. I'll take till (inaudible) to finish my statement and you yield back your time to me.

Specter: Your full statement will be made a part of the record, Senator Warner.

Warner: Members of the committee and Judge Roberts and his family, I find this a singular privilege in my now 27 years in this institution.

Speaking of the institution, in 218 years since the Constitution was ratified, we've had 43 presidents, and this is the 17th chief justice.

Seems to me that underscores the importance of this hearing.

Further, the Senate deliberations in this hearing, followed by subsequent floor debate, provide a unique opportunity for generations of Americans, particularly the younger Americans, to acquaint themselves with how our government operates.

And I'm absolutely confident that this distinguished committee, before whom I've appeared many, many times in these years, will comport yourself in a manner in the finest traditions of the Senate and will impart in our audience across America, particularly the younger ones, a respect for and an understanding for the institution of the United States Senate and its responsibilities. The Constitution, together with the Bill of Rights, is an amazing document, for it is the reason that our nation's government stands today as the oldest continuous, democratic republic form of government in the world today.

Indeed, most all of the other bold experiments in government have gone into the dustbin of history. Little wonder that why so many other nations are forming their governments today, patterning their government on ours.

But only if the president and the Senate fairly, objectively and in a timely manner exercise these respective constitutional powers, can the judicial branch have the numbers of qualified judges to properly serve the needs of our citizens.

For this reason, in my view, a senator has no higher duty than his or her responsibilities under Article II, Section 2.

Recently, 14 senators, of which I was one, committed ourselves in writing to support the Senate leadership in facilitating the Senate's responsibility of providing advice and consent.

In our memorandum of understanding, Senator Byrd and I incorporated language that spoke directly to the founding fathers' explicit use of the word advice.

Without question, our framers put the word advice in the Constitution for a reason: to ensure consultation between a president and the Senate prior to the forwarding of a nominee to the Senate for consideration.

I commend President Bush for the exemplary manner in which he conducted the advice-and-consent responsibility.

Now, with the beginning of these hearings, the Senate commences the next phase -- the consent phase of this constitutional process -- after the committee consideration and nomination move to the full Senate for debate, followed by a vote.

Throughout this process, the ultimate question will remain the same: whether the Senate should grant or deny consent.

Now to this distinguished jurist.

I judge his credentials to be chief justice in the same manner as I've applied to all others. Since I've been privileged to serve in this institution, I recounted there are about over 2,000 nominations that have come in this quarter of a century plus.

I can say without equivocation I have never seen the credentials of any nominee with stronger qualifications than Judge Roberts.

Some two years ago, when nominated to serve in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, I was privileged at his request to introduce him. At the time, he was relatively unknown; today, the world knows him.

We were brought together because we were both fortunate to have been partners at different times in our careers at the law firm of Hogan Hartson, a venerable firm known for its integrity and rigid adherence to ethics. Among the firm's many salutary credentials, it has been long known for its pro bono work. In fact, I'll share a personal story.

In 1960, I was an assistant U.S. attorney. Been there about four years. A knock came on my door and in walked a very tall, erect man, introducing himself as having just been appointed to represent an indigent defendant charged with first-degree murder.

We had a brief consultation. The trial followed. Midway in the trial the defendant pleaded guilty to a lesser defense.

That man was Nelson T. Hartson, senior partner and founder of this firm.

I firmly believe that John Roberts shares in the belief that lawyers have an ethical duty to give back to the community by providing free legal services, particularly to those in need. The hundreds and hundreds of hours he spent working on pro bono cases are a testament to that. He didn't have to do any of it, the bar doesn't require it, but he did it out of the graciousness of his heart and an obligation.

Those who know him best can also attest to the kind of person he is. Throughout his legal career, both in public and private practice, his pro bono work, Roberts has worked with and against hundreds of lawyers. Those attorneys who know him well typically speak with one voice when they tell that you that dignity, humility and a sense of fairness are the hallmarks of this nominee.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I take a moment to remind all present and those listening and following that this exact week 218 years ago our founding fathers finished the final draft of the U.S. Constitution, after a long, hot summer of drafting and debating.

And when Ben Franklin ultimately emerged from Independence Hall upon the conclusion of the convention, a reporter asked him, Mr. Franklin, what have you wrought? And he said, A republic, if you can keep it. And that is ultimately what this advice and consent process is all about. But while the Constitution sets the course of our nation, it is without question the chief justice of the Supreme Court who must have his hand firmly on the tiler to keep our great ship of state on a course consistent with the Constitution.

I shall follow carefully the deliberations of this committee. I will participate in the floor debate. I look forward to the privilege of voting for this fine, outstanding public servant.

Judge Roberts, I'm the last. You're on your own.

(LAUGHTER)

Specter: Thank you, Senator Warner.

Thank you, Senator Lugar.

Thank you, Senator Bayh.

Judge Roberts, if you'd now resume your position at center stage.

Judge Roberts, if you would now stand, please. The protocol calls for your swearing in at this point. We have 23 photographers -- well, five more waiting. We may revise our procedures to swear you in at the start of the proceeding, if you should come back.

If you would raise your right hand, and they've asked me to do this slowly, because this is their one photo op.

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give before this Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Roberts: I do.

Specter: Thank you. And you may be seated.

Now, Judge Roberts, we compliment you on your patience of listening to 21 speeches. And the floor is now yours.

Roberts: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy, and members of the committee.

Let me begin by thank Senators Lugar and Warner and Bayh for their warm and generous introductions. And let me reiterate my thanks to the president for nominating me. I'm humbled by his confidence and, if confirmed, I will do everything I can to be worthy of the high trust he has placed in me.

Let me also thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of the committee for the many courtesies you've extended to me and my family over the past eight weeks.

I'm particularly grateful that members have been so accommodating in meeting with me personally. I have found those meetings very useful in better understanding the concerns of the committee as the committee undertakes its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent.

I know that I would not be here today were it not for the sacrifices and help over the years of my family, who you met earlier today, friends, mentors, teachers and colleagues -- many of whom are here today.

Last week one of those mentors and friends, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, was laid to rest. I talked last week with the nurses who helped care for him over the past year, and I was glad to hear from them that he was not a particularly good patient.

He chafed at the limitations they tried to impose.

His dedication to duty over the past year was an inspiration to me and, I know, to many others.

I will miss him.

My personal appreciation that I owe a great debt to others reinforces my view that a certain humility should characterize the judicial role.

Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them.

The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules.

But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.

Judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent, shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath. And judges have to have the modesty to be open in the decisional process to the considered views of their colleagues on the bench.

Mr. Chairman, when I worked in the Department of Justice, in the office of the solicitor general, it was my job to argue cases for the United States before the Supreme court.

I always found it very moving to stand before the justices and say, I speak for my country.

But it was after I left the department and began arguing cases against the United States that I fully appreciated the importance of the Supreme Court and our constitutional system.

Here was the United States, the most powerful entity in the world, aligned against my client. And, yet, all I had to do was convince the court that I was right on the law and the government was wrong and all that power and might would recede in deference to the rule of law.

That is a remarkable thing.

It is what we mean when we say that we are a government of laws and not of men. It is that rule of law that protects the rights and liberties of all Americans. It is the envy of the world. Because without the rule of law, any rights are meaningless.

President Ronald Reagan used to speak of the Soviet constitution, and he noted that it purported to grant wonderful rights of all sorts to people. But those rights were empty promises, because that system did not have an independent judiciary to uphold the rule of law and enforce those rights. We do, because of the wisdom of our founders and the sacrifices of our heroes over the generations to make their vision a reality.

Mr. Chairman, I come before the committee with no agenda.

I have no platform.

Judges are not politicians who can promise to do certain things in exchange for votes. I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment. If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind. I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented. I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability. And I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.

Senators Lugar and Bayh talked of my boyhood back home in Indiana. I think all of us retain, from the days of our youth, certain enduring images. For me those images are of the endless fields of Indiana, stretching to the horizon, punctuated only by an isolated silo or a barn. And as I grew older, those endless fields came to represent for me the limitless possibilities of our great land.

Growing up, I never imagined that I would be here, in this historic room, nominated to be the chief justice. But now that I am here, I recall those endless fields with their promise of infinite possibilities, and that memory inspires in me a very profound commitment.

If I am confirmed, I will be vigilant to protect the independence and integrity of the Supreme Court, and I will work to ensure that it upholds the rule of law and safeguards those liberties that make this land one of endless possibilities for all Americans.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Thank you, members of the committee.

I look forward to your questions.

Specter: Thank you very much, Judge Roberts, for that very profound statement.

We will stand in recess until 9:30 tomorrow morning, when we will reconvene in the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 216.

That concludes our hearing.

Posted by Jeff at 12:35 PM | Comments (1)

John Roberts Confirmation Hearing, Transcript Pt. III

Grassley: In your questionnaire to the committee, you stated that, quote, Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability of the legal system, end of quote. I think we would all agree.

You also said that a judge operates within, quote, system of rules developed over the years by other judges equally striving to live up to their judicial oath, end of quote.

It's also true that Justice Frankfurter explained, as he explained, that, quote, The ultimate touchstone of constitutionality is the Constitution itself, not what we have said about it. Erroneous interpretations of the Constitution can be corrected only by this court. I suppose by constitutional amendment as well.

The court has done so many times, and most famously you've referred to it, the Brown case, which overruled separate but equal precedent that stood for 58 years.

So, Judge Roberts, I'd like to ask you a few questions on the issue of precedence and its value in our legal system. History has provided many examples of the dangers of government by the judiciary, such as the court's decision in Dred Scott.

Do you share President Lincoln's concerns -- and I'm going to quote here from his first inaugural. Quote: If the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court the instant they are made in ordinary litigation, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers. End of quote.

Roberts: Well, President Lincoln, of course, was referring to one of the -- perhaps the most egregious example of judicial activism in our history, the Dred Scott case, in which the court went far beyond what was necessary to decide the case.

And really I think historians would say that the Supreme Court tried to put itself in the position of resolving the dispute about the extension of slavery and resolving it in a particular way that it thought was best for the nation. And we saw what disastrous consequences flowed from that.

And Lincoln's comment about it -- and he had several comments, because even when he was running for Senate, a big part of the famous debates were, Well, this is what the Supreme Court has said. Are you going to follow it or not? And Lincoln was a very careful lawyer in his responses. And the reason it was such a problem is because he was dealing with such an overarching Supreme Court decision. They didn't even just decide the particular case. The court decided to take upon itself opining more generally on how the whole issue should be resolved. And of course, as I said, it was a disaster.

So, yes, to the extent Lincoln's criticism is how broad and overreaching the court opinion was and that that in itself presented a very difficult problem in terms of adherence to the decision, I do agree with that.

Grassley: Let me carry that one step further, beyond his quote. You now, as an appeals court judge, obviously are bound by Supreme Court precedent. But on the Supreme Court, a justice has much more freedom to re-evaluate prior Supreme Court decisions.

I'd like to explore the approach that you would take in your examination of Supreme Court precedents. Could you tell us what you believe is the appropriate judicial role, describing for us the value of precedent in our legal system?

Roberts: Certainly. And here again, we're guided by the court. It has precedent on precedents. It has cases talking about when you should revisit prior precedents and when you shouldn't. And of course some of the cases say you should in a particular instance, and others that you shouldn't.

You begin with a basis recognition of the value of precedent. No judge gets up every morning with a clean slate and says, Well, what should the Constitution look like today? The approach is a more modest one, to begin with the precedents. Adherence to precedent promotes evenhandedness, promotes fairness, promotes stability and predictability. And those are very important values in a legal system.

Those precedents become part of the rule of law that the judge must apply.

At the same time, as the court pointed out in the Casey case, stare decisis is not an inexorable command. If particular precedents have proven to be unworkable -- they don't lead to predictable results; they're difficult to apply -- that's one factor supporting reconsideration.

If the bases of the precedent have been eroded -- in other words, if the court decides a cases saying, Because of these three precedents, we reach this result, and in the intervening years, two of those are overruled -- that's another basis for reconsidering the precedent. At the same time, you always have to take into account the settled expectations that have grown up around the prior precedent.

It is a jolt to the legal system to overrule a precedent and that has to be taken into account as well the different expectations that have grown up around it.

There are different other aspects of the rules. For example, property decisions are afar less likely to be reconsidered because of the expectations that grow up around them. Statutory decisions are less likely to be reconsidered because Congress can fix it if it's a mistake.

Again, the court's decisions in cases like Casey and Dickerson, Payne v. Tennessee, Agostini, State Oil Company v. Khan, it's an issue that comes up on a regular basis and the court has developed a body of law that would guide judges and justices when they decide whether to revisit a case.

The fundamental proposition is that it is not sufficient to view the prior case as wrongly decided. That's the opening of the process, not the end of the process. You have to decide whether it should be revisited in light of all these considerations.

Grassley: Given your views on judicial restraint, can you tell us to what extent you feel obliged to uphold a decision which you found not to be based on the original intent of the Constitution?

Could you explain what factors or criteria you might use to evaluate to see whether a decision deviated from original intent, whether it should be overruled?

Roberts: Well, again, you would start the precedent of the court on that decision. In other words, if you think that the decision was correctly decided or wrongly decided, that doesn't answer the question of whether or not it should be revisited.

You do have to look at whether or not the decision has led to a workable rule. You have to consider whether it's created settled expectations that should not be disrupted in the interest of regularity in the legal system. You do have to look at whether or not the bases of the precedent have been eroded. Those are the main considerations that the court has articulated in a case like Dickerson, Payne v. Tennessee and the others. These are all the factors that the court looks at.

Obviously, a view about the case presents the question, but the court has emphasized it's not enough to think that the decision is wrong, to take the next step to revisit it an overrule.

Grassley: In your confirmation for the D.C. Circuit, you answered a question asking whether -- by another member -- whether you supported the originalist approach to constitutional interpretation by saying this, so I hope I'm quoting you accurately:

I do not have an all-encompassing approach to constitutional interpretation. The appropriate approach depends, to some degree, on the specific provisions at issue. Some provisions of the Constitution provide considerable guidance on how they should be construed; others are less precise.

I would not hue to a particular school of interpretation, but would follow the approach or approaches that seem most suited in the particular case to correctly discerning the meaning of the provision at issue, end of quote.

Could you explain what approaches you're talking about? I'm not sure, in your quote, what you're getting at. Secondly, can you give some examples? And three, I would like to know when you don't believe that the originalist approach is the right approach.

Roberts: Well, I think it's very important to define these terms. Let's take the originalist approach. I do think that the framers' intent is the guiding principle that should apply.

However, you do need to be very careful and make sure that you're giving appropriate weight to the words that the framers used to embody their intent.

I think of, in particular, the Fourth Amendment and the equal protection clause. There are some who may think they're being originalists who will tell you, Well, the problem they were getting at were the rights of the newly freed slaves. And so that's all that the equal protection clause applies to.

But, in fact, they didn't write the equal protection clause in such narrow terms. They wrote more generally.

That may have been a particular problem motivating them, but they chose to use broader terms, and we should take them at their word, so that is perfectly appropriate to apply the equal protection clause to issues of gender and other types of discrimination beyond the racial discrimination that was obviously the driving force behind it. That is an originalist view because you're looking at the original intent as expressed in the words that they chose. And their intent was to use broad language, not to use narrow language.

There are some areas where a very strict texturalist approach makes the most sense. Obviously -- the example I gave earlier -- two- thirds means two-thirds. You don't say, Well, their purpose was to apply some super-majority requirement and now that we have more senators, three-fifths will give effect to that intent. Nobody would apply that approach. You stick to the language.

In other areas, the court's precedents dictate the approach. This is not something that is purely a matter of academic exercise. For example, on the Seventh Amendment, the right to a jury trial, the court has been very specific. We have a historical approach there.

The job of a judge is to look at whatever action is and try to analogize it: What would that most be like in 1787? And if you got a jury trial for that, you get one today. And if you didn't, you don't. It's a purely historical approach.

So the approaches do vary. And I don't have an overarching view.

As a matter of fact, I don't think very many judges do. I think a lot of academics do. But the demands of deciding cases and the demands of deciding cases by committee -- either a group of three or a group of nine -- I find with those demands the nuances of academic theory are dispensed with fairly quickly and judges take a more practical and pragmatic approach to trying to reach the best decision consistent with the rule of law.

Grassley: I'm going to go to an issue that Senator Kennedy left off with regarding the Grove City case. And I have the memo that was involved in this issue before me. And I see the memo being a summary of former Education Secretary Bell's views on this issue.

But Senator Kennedy left out what your assessment was on it, and you wrote these words: As a practical matter, however, I do not think the administration can revisit the issue at this late date, end of quote. Can you tell us what your position was in this memo?

And, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to have this entire memo submitted for the record.

Specter: Without objection, it will be admitted as part of our record.

Roberts: The issue was in the Grove City case, the court had said that receipt of financial aid by students triggered coverage under the civil rights statutes limited to the admissions office, the admissions policies.

The Civil Rights Restoration Act changed that result to say that the limitation was not to the admissions office but applied more generally to the institution.

Secretary Bell submitted a proposal. He said, Well, if it's going to apply more generally to the institution, then the trigger of simply having students who received financial aid shouldn't be enough.

And the position that we took in response to Secretary Bell's proposal was, no, that we weren't going to revisit it. We had argued earlier in Grove City that financial aid was enough to trigger coverage, and we weren't going to revisit that question. The position was that coverage of the entire institution based on the receipt of financial aid was appropriate.

Grassley: So Senator Kennedy's words were not quoting you, but quoting words that Secretary Bell had in this memo. And you were reacting to those...

Roberts: Well, it's, again, 23-some years ago. But my recollection is that that was his proposal. Our response was that,

No, we're not going to do that. We're not going to change the position we had taken in light of the new legislation.

Grassley: Some outside groups have claimed that you're hostile to civil rights. Others have suggested -- in my view incorrectly -- that you have an off-the-mark view of the Voting Rights Act. I believe these allegations to be inaccurate and I'd like for you to set the record straight.

As you may know, I've long been a supporter of the Voting Rights Act. I appeared at a news conference with Senator Dole and Kennedy and some others in 1982 with that compromise that you've referred to. The Voting Rights Act has had very significant impact on racial discrimination, probably more than anything else that Congress has done since the adoption of the Civil War amendments. '

Your critics take issue with some of your memos which outline the arguments in the debate over whether Section 2 should have an effects test or an intent test.

Specifically, there was a debate in Congress over concerns that the effects test could lead to legal requirements that racial quotas be mandated for legislatures and other elected bodies.

Ultimately, the Voting Rights Act was reauthorized with a provision expressly prohibiting courts from requiring racial quotas. We were able to craft a good compromise that gave greater protection to minority voters while not requiring quotas.

Judge Roberts, could you tell us what your role was as an assistant to Attorney General Smith in developing the Reagan policy on the Voting Rights Act?

Roberts: Well, President Reagan's policy and the attorney general's policy was to support the longest extension of the Voting Rights Act in history without change.

Some in the Congress wanted to amend the Voting Rights Act, Section 2, to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in Mobile against Bolden.

And that's what the debate was about: whether it should be an intent test under Section 2 or an effects test. Everybody agreed that Section 5, the preclearance provision, which applied to jurisdictions with a history of discrimination, had an effects test and should continue to have an effects test. The debate was about Section 2 and whether it should be an intent test or an effects test.

But there was no disagreement among President Reagan, Attorney General Smith, those of us on Attorney General Smith's staff, like myself, that the protection of the right to vote was critical, that the Voting Rights Act had been extraordinarily effective in preserving that right and should be extended. The debate was solely over whether or not Section 2 should be changed.

And Senator Dole, working with other members of the Senate, crafted a compromise that resolved that dispute. As you said, it put an effects test in Section 2, put in additional language to guard against the sort of proportional representation that was certainly the concern of Attorney General Smith and President Reagan. And that was enacted into law with the president's support.

But there was no disagreement about the critical nature of the right to vote, the notion that it was preservative of all other rights. And the question was simply about how it should be extended, whether extended as is or extended with the change that was enacted under the compromise.

Grassley: My time's just about out, so I'll ask a very short question.

During your tenure at the solicitor general's office, didn't you sign on to a number of briefs that urged the Supreme Court to adopt a broad interpretation of the Voting Rights Act, its new requirements, and to require expansive remedies when states violate the act? And didn't some of those briefs take the same side as the ACLU, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law?

Roberts: Yes, it was the responsibility of the Justice Department and before the Supreme Court, of course, the Office of the Solicitor General, to enforce the civil rights laws, and particularly the Voting Rights Act, as vigorously as possible. And that's what we did.

Grassley: Thank you.

Specter: Thank you, Senator Grassley.

Senator Biden?

Biden: Thank you very much.

Hey, Judge, how are you?

Roberts: Fine, thank you.

Biden: You know, to continue your baseball analogy, I'd much rather be pitching to Arthur Branch, sitting behind you there, on Law and Order, than you. It's like pitching to Ken Griffey. I mean, you know, I'm a little concerned here that -- I'd like you to switch places with Thompson. I know I know as much as he does. I don't know about you.

(LAUGHTER)

Judge, look, I want to try to cut through some stuff here, if I can. I said yesterday this shouldn't be a game of Gotcha, you know. We shouldn't be playing a game. The folks have a right to know what you think. You're there for life. They don't get to -- this is the democratic moment. They don't get a chance to say, You know, I wish I'd known that about that guy. I would have picked up the phone and called my senator sand said, 'Vote no,' or, 'vote yes.' Whichever.

And so what I'd like to do is stick with your analogy a little bit, because everybody's used it: baseball. By the way, to continue that metaphor, you hit a home run yesterday. I mean, everybody -- I got home and I got on the train and people saying, Oh, he likes baseball, huh? Seriously. The conductors, people on the train. And it's an apt metaphor, because you just call balls and strikes, call them as you see them, straight up.

But as you well know, I'd like to explore that philosophy a little bit, because you got asked that question by Senator Hatch about what is your philosophy, and the baseball metaphor is used again.

As you know, in major league baseball, they have a rule. Rule two defines the strike zone. It basically says from the shoulders to the knees. And the only question about judges (ph) is: Do they have good eyesight or not? They don't get to change the strike zone. They don't get to say, That was down around the ankles and I think it was a strike. They don't get to do that.

But you are in a very different position as a Supreme Court justice. As you pointed out, some places of the Constitution defines the strike zone. Two-thirds of the senators must vote. You must be an American citizen, to the chagrin of Arnold Schwarzenegger, to be president of the United States -- I mean born in America to be a president of the United States. The strike zone is set out. But as you pointed out in the question to Senator Hatch, I think, you said unreasonable search and seizure. What constitutes unreasonable?

So, as much as I respect your metaphor, it's not very apt, because you get to determine the strike zone. What's unreasonable?

Your strike zone on reasonable/unreasonable may be very different than another judge's view of what is reasonable or unreasonable search and seizure.

And the same thing prevails for a lot of other parts of the Constitution. The one that we're all talking about -- and everybody here, it wouldn't matter what we said, from left, right and center -- is concerned about the liberty clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

It doesn't define it. All of the things that we debate about here and the court debates that deserve 5-4 decisions, they're almost all on issues that are ennobling phrases in the Constitution, that the founders never set a strike zone for.

You get to go back and decide. You get to go back and decide like in the Michael H. case: Do you look at a narrow or a broad right that has been respected? That's a strike zone.

So, as Chris Matthews said, Let's play baseball here. And it's a little dangerous to play baseball with you, like I said. But really and truly, it seems to me maybe we can get at this a different way.

The explicit references in the Constitution are -- you know, there's nothing anyone would expect you or any other judge would do anything about. You wouldn't say, You know, that's a really bad treaty they're voting on, so we've got to make it require 75 votes in the Senate.

You can't do that.

But again, as Justice Marshall said -- and I quoted him yesterday -- he said that Marshall's prescription that the Constitution endure through the ages -- I might add, without having to be amended over and over and over and over again -- after the first 10 amendments, we haven't done this very much in the last 230 years.

So many of the Constitution's most important provisions aren't the precise rules that I've referenced earlier.

And sometimes the principles everyone agrees are part of the Constitution or as the late chief justice -- your mentor -- said, quote, tacit postulates. He used that, as you know, in a case just before you got there, in Nevada v. Hall.

He used the phrase tacit postulates. He said that these tacit postulates are as much ingrained in the fabric of the document as its express provisions. And he went on to conclude that -- this case was about -- the case is not particularly relevant, but the point is, I think -- Chief Justice Rehnquist made this vital point and it was about state's right and language that didn't speak directly to them in the Constitution.

And he concluded that the answer was a rule he was able to infer from the overall constitutional plan.

So, Judge, you're going to be an inferrer, not an umpire. Umpires don't infer. They don't get to infer. Every justice has to infer.

So I want to try to figure out how you infer. I want to figure out how you go about this. And so let me get right to it. And I want to use the Ginsburg rule. I notice Ginsburg is quoted. I'm quoted all the time about Ginsburg: Judge, you don't have to answer that question.

I might point out that Justice Ginsburg, and I submit this for the record, commented specifically on 27 cases, 27 specific cases.

I will just speak to a couple of them here.

Specter: Without objection, it will be made part of the record.

Biden: I thank you very much.

Now, you have already said to the chairman that you agree that there's a right to privacy. And you said the Supreme Court found such a right in part in the Fourteenth amendment. My question is: Do you agree that -- not what said law is -- what do you think?

Do you agree that there is a right of privacy to be found in the liberty clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Roberts: I do, Senator. I think that the court's expressions, and I think if my reading of the precedent is correct, I think every justice on the court believes that, to some extent or another.

Liberty is not limited to freedom from physical restraint. It does cover areas, as you said, such as privacy. And it's not protected only in procedural terms but it is protected substantively as well. Again, I think every member of the court subscribes to that proposition.

If they agree with Bowling against Sharpe, as I'm sure all of them do, they are subscribing to that proposition to some extent or another.

Biden: Do you think there's a liberty right of privacy that extends to women in the Constitution?

Roberts: Certainly.

Biden: In the Fourteenth amendment?

Roberts: Certainly.

Biden: Now, I assumed you would answer it that way.

Let me suggest also that I asked -- I'm not sure whether I asked or one of our colleagues asked Justice Ginsburg the question of whether or not it would be a ball or a strike if in fact a state passed a law, a state passed a law prohibiting abortion.

And she said, That's a foul ball.

They can't do that.

Let me quote her. She said, in response to Senator -- I was going to say Brownback -- Senator Brown, when he was here, when she was up, of Colorado. She said, quote, Abortion prohibition by a state controls women and denies them full autonomy and full equality with men. It would be unconstitutional.

What is your view, according to the Ginsburg rule?

Roberts: Well, that is in an area where I think I should not respond because...

Biden: Why? You said you'd abide by the Ginsburg rule?

Roberts: Then Judge Ginsburg, now Justice Ginsburg, explained that she thought she was at greater liberty to discuss her writings. She had written extensively on that area, and I think that's why she felt at greater liberty to talk about those cases.

In other areas where she had not written, her response was that it was inappropriate to comment.

In particular, I remember her response on the Maher and the Harris cases. She said, Those are the court's precedents. I have no agenda to overrule them, and I will leave it at that.

And I think that's important to adhere to that.

Let me explain very briefly why. It's because if these questions come before me either on the court on which I now sit or if I am confirmed on the Supreme Court, I need to decide those questions with an open mind, on the basis of the arguments presented, on the basis of the record presented in the case and on the basis of the rule of law, including the precedents of the court -- not on the basis of any commitments during the confirmation process. The litigants have a right to expect that of the judges or justices before whom they appear.

And it's not just Justice Ginsburg who adhered to that rule. I've gone back and read...

Biden: Well, she obviously didn't adhere to it with regard...

Roberts: Well, I explained why she felt at liberty to comment...

Biden: Well, how's that different?

That -- I would suggest, Judge -- is a distinction without a difference in terms of litigants, the way you've just explained it. Does a litigant, in fact, said because the judge wrote about it and then spoke to it as a judge, that somehow I am being -- I'm going to be put at a disadvantage before that judge in the court?

That's a stretch, Judge.

Roberts: Well, that's how Judge Ginsburg explained it at her nomination hearings. She said she could talk about the issues on which she had written.

Biden: Did that make sense to you?

Roberts: I think it does make sense that she can be questioned about the articles that she had written, because they raised certain questions and she felt at liberty to discuss those.

I think it's something entirely different if you talk about an area that could come before the court. This is an area that cases are pending before the court and likely will be pending in the future.

Biden: Well, let's try some things she didn't write about that she talked about. Let's see if you can talk about them.

One is she talked about Moore v. East Cleveland. You're much more familiar with the case than I am.

That's a case where the city came along -- and I'm going to do this shorthand in the interest of time -- and said a grandmom living in an apartment with her blood grandchildren who were cousins, but not brothers, violated the law.

And the chief said in the minority opinion -- your mentor -- he said, The interest that grandmother may have in permanently sharing a single kitchen in the suite of contiguous rooms with some of her relatives simply does not rise to the level of a constitutional right. To equate this interest with fundamental decisions to marry and to bear and raise children is to extend the limited substantive contours of the Constitution beyond recognition.

Do you agree with his statement?

Roberts: You know, I have no quarrels with the majority's determination.

Biden: Not my question, Judge.

Specter: Let him finish his answer, Joe.

Roberts: I understand that.

And I'm concerned about ramifications in which the issue could come up. But I have no quarrel with the majority's determination.

Biden: Justice Ginsburg answered the question. She never wrote about it. She answered it specifically.

She went on to say that, and let me quote -- she said -- this is quoting Justice Ginsburg -- He goes on to say, 'History, counsel caution and restrain,' and I agree with him. He says, then -- this is referring to the majority opinion -- but it does not counsel abandonment, abandonment of the notion that people have a right to certain fundamental decisions about their lives without interference of the state.

And what he next says is, History doesn't counsel abandonment nor does it require what the city is urging here, cutting off the family right at the first boundary, which is a nuclear family. He rejects that. I'm taking a position I have all the time.

And she goes on to say -- she says, Uh-Uh. She thinks your old boss was dead wrong. She said so, and she said the majority was dead right.

Ginsburg rule: What do you think? She never wrote about it.

Roberts: Senator, I think nominees have to draw the line where they're comfortable.

(CROSSTALK)

Biden: You're not applying the Ginsburg rule.

Specter: Senator Biden, let him finish. .

Biden: I don't have much time but go ahead.

Roberts: It's a matter of great importance not only to potential justices but the judges. We're sensitive to the need to maintain the independence and integrity of the court.

I think it's vitally important that nominees, to use Justice Ginsburg's words, no hints, no forecasts, no previews.

They go on the court not as a delegate from this committee with certain commitments laid out and how they're going to approach cases, they go on the court as justices who will approach cases with an open mind and decide those cases in light of the arguments presented, the record presented and the rule of law. And the litigants before them have a right to expect that and to have the appearance of that as well.

That has been the approach that all of the justices have taken.

Biden: That is not true, Judge. Justice Ginsburg violated that rule, according to you. Justice Ginsburg said precisely what position she agreed on.

Did she, in fact, somehow compromise herself when she answered that question?

Roberts: She said no hints, no forecasts, no previews.

Biden: No, no. Judge, she specifically, in response to a question whether or not she agreed with the majority or minority opinion in Moore v. the City of Cleveland said explicitly: I agree with the majority, and here's what the majority said and I agree with it.

My question to you is: Do you agree with it or not?

Roberts: Well, I do know, Senator, that in numerous other cases -- because I read the transcript...

Biden: So did I.

Roberts: ... she took the position that she should not comment.

Justice O'Connor took the same position. She was asked about a particular case.

Biden: Oh, Judge...

(CROSSTALK)

Roberts: She said, It's not correct for me to comment.

Now, there's a reason for that.

Biden: But you're going from the...

Specter: Wait a minute, Senator Biden. He's not finished his answer.

Biden: He's filibustering, Senator.

But OK, go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

Specter: No, he's not. No, he's not.

(CROSSTALK)

Roberts: That's a bad word, Senator.

Biden: That's if we do it to you. Go ahead. Go ahead and continue not to answer.

(LAUGHTER)

Roberts: Senator, my answer is that the independence and integrity of the Supreme Court requires that nominees before this committee for a position on that court not forecast, give predictions, give hints about how they might rule in cases that might...

Biden: I got that.

Roberts: ... come before the court.

Biden: Did Justice Ginsburg give a hint when she answered...

Roberts: I'm not going to comment...

Biden: ... on the specific question?

Roberts: I'm not going to comment on whether or not a particular nominee adhered to the approach that they announced.

Biden: Well, let's make it clear: She did not. Let's stipulate: She did not adhere to the approach.

I don't have time, because we don't have as much time, but I could list you a half an hour the questions she answered, the questions Kennedy, Souter -- all of the justices almost, with one exception, answered specific questions which you're not answers.

Let me go on to my next question: violence against women. I realize it's a bit of a hobby horse for me, since I wrote the legislation. And I know people say they wrote things. I mean, I actually did write that my little old self, with my staff. And no one liked it, I might add, at first; women's groups or anybody else.

But in 1999, you said, in response to a question -- you were on a show, it was 1999, you were talking about a number of things. And you said, and I quote, You know, we've gotten to a point these days where we think the only way we can show we're serious about a problem is if we pass a federal law, whether it's the Violence Against Women Act or anything else.

The fact of the matter is conditions are different in different states. And state laws are more relevant is, I think, exactly the right term. More attuned to different situations in New York as opposed to Minnesota. And that's what the federal system is based upon.

Judge, tell me how a guy beating up his wife in Minnesota is any different condition in New York.

Roberts: Senator, I was not speaking specifically to any piece of legislation there. That was making...

Biden: Well, you mentioned Violence Against Women.

Roberts: That was the issue that had come up on the show. And the general issue that was being addressed is a question of federalism.

I think it was part of the genius of the founding fathers to establish a federal system, with a national government to address issues of national concern; state and local government more close to the people to address issues of state and local concern. Obviously, issues of overlap as well.

I was not expressing the view on any particular piece of legislation. And I think the statement you read...

Biden: Well, let me ask you...

Roberts: ... confirms that.

Biden: OK.

Judge, is gender discrimination, as you've written in a memo, a perceived problem or is it a real problem?

Roberts: The memo you talked about, Senator, I've had a chance to look at it.

Biden: I'll bet you have.

Roberts: It concerned a 50-state inventory of particular proposals to address it. Perceived was not being used in that case to suggest that there was any doubt that there is gender discrimination and that it should be addressed. What it was referring to was a vast inventory. And I was not sure if the particular proposals in each case were supported in every state of the 50-state survey that was involved.

Of course gender discrimination is a serious problem. It's a particular concern of mine and always has been. I grew up with three sisters, all of whom work outside the home. I married a lawyer who works outside the home. I have a young daughter who I hope will have all of the opportunities available to her without regard to any gender discrimination.

There's no suggestion in anything that I've written of any resistance to the basic idea of full citizenship without regard to gender.

Biden: Let me ask you a question then, Judge. And I'm glad to hear that.

Do you think that if a state law distinguishes between a right that your daughter may have and your son may have, or your wife may have, or your sister may have and your brother may have, that the Supreme Court should engage in heightened scrutiny, not just look and see whether or not it makes any sense, but take an extra special look?

You and I know the terms, but the public listening here, the Supreme Court has said since 1971, you know, when a state passes a law that treats in any way a woman different than a man, there may be a rational for it, but the Supreme Court's going to take a very close look. Not strict scrutiny, which means you can hardly every get over that bar, like race, but going to take a heightened -- they're going to look at it more closely.

Do you think that that needs to be done, the Constitution calls for that?

Roberts: Yes, Senator, I do. And I, again, always have.

The confusion is in the use of the term. There are those who use the term heightened scrutiny to refer to what you just called

strict scrutiny, which is generally limited to issues of race or similar issues.

The discrimination on the basis of gender, distinctions on the basis of gender, is subject to what the Supreme Court has called intermediate scrutiny. There has to be a substantial government interest -- an important government interest and a substantial connection in the discrimination. But the Supreme Court's equal protection analysis has three tiers now.

Biden: I understand. My time's running out. I'd love to hear the explanation of the three tiers. But let's stick to this one for just a second.

Then, explain to me what you meant, 10 years after the decision laying out this level of scrutiny, when you wrote an '81 memo to your boss. You wrote that gender, quote, is not a criterion calling for heightened judicial review.

What'd you mean by that?

Roberts: Referring to what you called strict scrutiny.

Biden: He didn't know the difference between heightened and strict?

Roberts: Well, I was about to lay it out. You said you didn't want to hear about it.

(LAUGHTER)

Roberts: Strict scrutiny is the...

Biden: I know what that is. I wonder what you meant by that.

Specter: Senator Biden, let him finish his answer.

Biden: But I have no time left, Mr. Chairman. I understand the answer.

(LAUGHTER)

The Supreme Court has three levels of scrutiny. My point was, in the context of this memo, in the context of this memorandum, the question was whether or not the court should in fact have a heightened scrutiny.

Roberts: And, Senator, the memorandum is using heightened scrutiny the way you use strict scrutiny, which is scrutiny that's limited to the basis of race.

The gender discrimination is, as you know, subject to what's called intermediate scrutiny. And that is not what the memo is referring to with respect to heightened scrutiny. It's referring to the strict scrutiny that's restricted to issues of race and ethnicity

Biden: I'll come back to that in the second round because that's not my reading of what you said.

But let me get on to another issue here, again in the sex discrimination area.

The attorney general for civil rights, a former Delawarean not viewed as a darling of the left, Bradford Reynolds, decided that the federal government should take action against the state of Kentucky. And they said that there's a very strong record that Kentucky prison system discriminates against female prisoners. And I'm going to finish my whole question. And you wrote to the attorney general that I recommend you do not approve intervention in this case. And then you set out three reasons why you shouldn't approve of it. Not that there wasn't discrimination.

You said, one, that private plaintiffs are already bringing suit; secondly, the United States argument would have been based upon giving higher scrutiny to claims of gender classification; and, thirdly, that we need to be concerned about tight prison budgets, you say.

And you go on to explain that if in fact you hold them to the same standard, they may get rid of the program for the men.

Now explain to me your thinking there. I mean, that seems to be...

Roberts: I'm sorry. What was the date of the memo, Senator? I don't...

Biden: The date of the memo was February 12, 1982. I'll give you a copy. I have to bring down a copy of the memo.

Roberts: I can't elaborate on -- I can't elaborate on what's -- beyond what's in the memo.

Biden: Well, I hope you don't still hold that view, man. I mean, if the idea that you're not going to -- that the -- that a conservative civil rights -- head of the Civil Rights Division in the Reagan administration says it is pretty clear Kentucky is discriminating against women in their prison system -- and you say, in effect, that may be, but, look, we shouldn't move on it, I recommend we don't do anything about this -- and the reason we shouldn't do anything about this is threefold.

One, a private citizen already went ahead and filed suit on this; number two, if in fact you go ahead and do this, they may do away with the system for the men because there tight budgets -- and I forget the third one. You now have the memo.

Roberts: I have the memo and see that one of the areas that you mentioned, I say that -- and this is to the attorney general, and I say the reason we shouldn't do this is because you have publicly opposed such approaches. So again, it would have been...

Biden: It was only his idea then? I mean, you were just protecting him so he wouldn't be inconsistent?

Roberts: I was a lawyer on his staff. According to this memorandum -- and again, I don't remember anything independently of this 23 years ago. But the memorandum suggests that to a staff lawyer to his boss that this is inconsistent with what you have said. Again, I guess I would regard that as good staff work rather than anything else.

Biden: I would regard it as very poor staff work, with all due respect, Judge, because it seems to me you insert your views very strongly in here.

You don't say you said this. You say, by the way, there are other reasons why we shouldn't do this.

Assume you're saying you wouldn't go this route before, But I want to give you more ammunition here, Brad (ph).

Private plaintiffs have done this. It's inconsistent with three themes in your judicial restraint effort, equal protection claim, relief of a well-involved judicial inference, et cetera. And by the way, the end result may be with tight budgets, they may do away with this.

My time is running out. I'll come back to this. I hope you get a chance to study it between now and the time we get back to the second round.

Next question. You know, I find it fascinating, this whole thing about Title IX, and whether or not -- by Title IX, you and I know what we're talking about, but for the public at large who really has an interest in all this as well, the issue was whether or not, when a student gets aid, whether or not it only goes to the admissions piece of it.

Now, you said something that was accurate, but I don't think fulsome, to Senator Kennedy. And correct me if I'm wrong. You said: Look, we were arguing that it did apply, Title IX did apply. If a student got aid, it applied to the university.

That was one of the questions, whether or not you have no application or a narrow application. And you argued that it should apply to the admissions process.

But there's a second issue in that case, and the second issue is: Do you apply it narrowly only to an admissions policy, or do you apply it to if they are discriminating in dormitories?

I got your answer on the first part: You thought it should apply, at least narrowly.

Were you arguing that it should apply broadly?

And this was before -- let me make it clear.

The district court -- I say to my friends because I had forgotten this, the district court had ruled that this only applies to admissions. And there was a question -- the chairman of Reagan's commission on civil rights said, We should get in on the side of the plaintiff here and we should appeal this to the Supreme Court or to a higher court and say, 'No, no. This applies across the board; this applies if you don't put money in sports programs, you don't put money in dormitories, et cetera.'

What was your position on Reagan's civil rights chairman, Clarence Pendleton, suggesting that we appeal the decision of the circuit court, narrowly applying it only to the admissions office?

Roberts: Senator, I was a staff lawyer. I didn't have a position.

The administration had a position, and the administration's position was the two-fold position that you set forth. First, Title IX applies. Second, it applies to the office, the admissions office...

Biden: Only to the office, right? It applies narrowly?

Specter: Now, wait a minute. Let him finish his answer, Senator Biden.

Biden: His answers are misleading, with all due respect.

Specter: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

Specter: Now, wait a minute, wait a minute.

They may be misleading, but they are his answers.

Biden: OK, fine.

Specter: You may finish, Judge Roberts.

Biden: Fire away. Fire away.

At least I'm misunderstanding your answer.

Roberts: With respect, they are my answers. And, with respect, they're not misleading, they're accurate.

Biden: I have a minute, 45 seconds.

Roberts: This is a (inaudible) dispute that was 20-some years ago. The effort was to interpret what this body, Congress, meant.

The administration position was: federal financial aid triggers coverage; it's limited to the admissions office. The United States Supreme Court agreed on both counts, and so I would say that the administration correctly interpreted the intent of Congress in enacting that legislation.

Biden: Well, let me read you what wrote in that memo. You said you, quote, strongly agreed.

Now, when my staff sends me a memo saying, Senator, I recommend you do the following, and I strongly agree, that usually is a pretty good indication what they think.

Now, maybe they don't. Maybe they just like to use the word

strongly. They said strongly agreed, usually means they agree, number one.

Number two, you went on to say, and I quote, that if you have the broad interpretation, quote, the federal government will be rummaging, quote, willy-nilly through institutions. So you expressed not only that you strongly agreed, but you thought that if you gave them this power to broadly interpret it to apply to dormitories and all these other things, that they'd rummage willy-nilly through institutions.

Seems to me you had a pretty strong view back then. Maybe you don't have it now.

Roberts: And the Supreme Court's conclusion was that that administration position was a correct reading of the law that this body passed.

So if the view was strongly held, it was because I thought that was a correct reading of the law. The Supreme Court concluded that it was a correct reading of the law.

Biden: Thanks, Judge.

Roberts: Thank you, Senator.

Specter: Thank you very much, Senator Biden.

We will recess now until 2:15.

(RECESS)

Specter: It's 2:15 and we will resume our opening statements.

Senator Graham, you are recognized for your opening statement.

Graham: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for the seventh inning stretch, too. We all very much appreciate it.

Judge Roberts, playing a little bit off of what my colleague Senator Feingold said, I don't think you expect it to be easy. And having to listen to 18 senators proves the fact that it's not going to be easy.

But I hope that we will live up to our end of the bargain to make it fair. And fair is something that comes around in September in South Carolina or it can be an idea. The idea of treating you fairly is very important to me because not only are you on display, but the Senate's on display.

And Senator Kennedy said something that I disagree with, but he's very passionate in his statement. He said the central issue is whether or not you will embrace policies, a certain set of policies, or whether or not you will roll back certain policy decisions.

I respectfully disagree with Senator Kennedy. To me, the central issue before the Senate is whether or not the Senate will allow President Bush to fulfill his campaign promise to appoint a well- qualified, strict constructionist to the Supreme Court and, in this case, to appoint a chief justice to the Supreme Court in the mold of Justice Rehnquist.

He's been elected president twice. He has not hidden from the public what his view of a Supreme Court justice should be and the philosophy that they should embrace.

In my opinion, by picking you, he has lived up to his end of the bargain with the American people by choosing a well-qualified, strict constructionist.

You have been described as brilliant, talented and well- qualified, and that's by Democrats.

The question is, is that enough in 2005 to get confirmed? Maybe not.

Professor Michael Gerhardt has written an article in 2000 called

The Federal Appointments Process, and I think he has given some advice to our Democratic friends in the past and, maybe recently, about the confirmation process that we're engaged in today.

And he has written, The Constitution establishes a presumption of confirmation that works to the advantage of the president and his nominee.

I agree with that. Elections matter.

We're not here to debate how to solve all the nation's problems. We're not here to talk about liberal philosophy versus conservative philosophy and what's best for the country. We're here to talk about you and whether or not you are qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, whether or not you have the intellect, the integrity and the character. And it has been said in the past by members of this committee -- Senator Kennedy -- I believe it's recognized by most senators that we're not charged with a responsibility of approving justices if their views always coincide with our own. We're really interested in knowing whether a nominee has the background, experience, qualifications, temperament, integrity to handle the most sensitive, important and responsible job. And that's being on the Supreme Court.

If you're looking for consistency, you've probably come to the wrong place, because the truth of the matter is that we're all involved in the electoral process ourselves and we have different agendas.

Your memos are going to be talked about. The memos you wrote while you were working for President Reagan and Bush 1, in my opinion, reflect a conservative lawyer advising a conservative president about conservative policies.

And to some, those policies make no sense; those policies are out of the mainstream. But this hearing is about whether or not you're qualified and whether or not Reagan conservatism in the mainstream.

Does affirmative action require quotas? From a conservative point of view, no. From a conservative point of view, we don't want federal judges setting the value of someone's wages from the bench. And you wrote about that. Now, some people want that, but conservatives don't.

Environmental policies: We want a clean environment, but we don't want to ruin the economy in the process. We want to be able to build levees to protect cities.

Conservatives have a different view of a lot of issues versus our friends on the other side. The election determines how that shakes out. We're here to determine whether or not you and all you've done in your life makes you a fitting candidate to be on the Supreme Court.

Before we got here, the Senate was in disarray. May 23rd of this year, I engaged in a compromise agreement with seven Democrats and seven Republicans to keep the Senate from blowing itself up. You're the first nomination that we've dealt with in any significant manner after that agreement.

There's plenty of blame to go around, Judge Roberts. On our watch, I'm sure we did things in committee that were very unfair to Democrat nominees, particularly by President Clinton. And at the time of that agreement, there were 10 people being filibustered, for the first time in the history of the Senate, in a partisan manner, that were going to be on the court of appeals.

We were in chaos. We were at each other's throats. And since May 23rd, we've done better.

The Senate has gotten back to a more traditional role when it comes to judges. And as Senator Specter described the committee, we've done some good things here on this committee and in the Senate as a whole. I hope we will take the chance to start over because the public approval of the Senate now is in the 30s. And that's not your fault, Judge Roberts; it's our fault.

We have an opportunity as senators to show that we can disagree based on philosophy but give you a fair shake. The question is whether we'll rise to the occasion. I'm hopeful we will based on the statements being made.

What is the standard for a senator to confirm a Supreme Court nominee? Whatever the senator wants it to be. And, really, that's the way it should be.

But there should be some goals, in my opinion. The way we conduct ourselves, one of the goals we should have, is to make sure we don't run good people away from wanting to be a judge.

I don't know what it's like to sit at home and turn on the television and watch a commercial about you in the presence of your wife and your kids that say some pretty unflattering things about you. That's just not a problem you've faced; I'm sure Democratic nominees have faced the same type problem.

We shouldn't, in our standard, trying to come up with a standard, invalidate elections. The president won. The president told us what he's going to do and he did it. He picked a strict constructionist to be on the Supreme Court. If anybody is surprised, they weren't listening to the last campaign.

Roe v. Wade: It divides America. If you believe in polling, most Americans would like to see the decision stand, even though we're divided 50/50 on the idea of abortion on demand.

My good friend from California has expressed a view about Roe v. Wade which I completely understand and respect. I can just tell you, Judge Roberts, there are plenty of women in South Carolina who have an opposite view about abortion.

If we were to make our votes, base our votes on that one principle, Justice Ginsburg would not be Justice Ginsburg. In her writing, she embraced the idea of federal funding for abortion. She indicated that an abortion right was based on the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

I dare say that 90 percent of the Republican Caucus is pro-life. I dare say that 90 percent of the Democratic Caucus is pro-choice. Justice Ginsburg got 96 votes even though she expressed a view of the federal government's role in abortion that I completely disagree with and I think most conservatives disagree with. There was a time not too long ago, Judge Roberts, where it was about the way you lived your life, how you conducted yourself, what kind of lawyer you were, what kind of man or woman you were, not whether you had an allegiance to a specific case or a particular cause.

Let's get back to those days.

Let's get back to the days where the Ginsburgs and the Scalias can be pushed and pressed, but they can be honored for their commitment to the law and the way they live their life.

Let's get back to the good old days where we understood that what we were looking for was well-qualified people to sit on the highest court of the land, not political clones of our own philosophy.

The reason I signed the agreement more than anything else was that I love the law.

The role of the law in our society is so important.

You take out the rule of law and you don't have a democracy.

The law, Judge Roberts, to me, represents a quiet place in American discourse.

Politics is a loud, noisy and destructive place. But the courtroom is a quiet place where the weak can challenge the strong and the unpopular can be heard.

I know you will honor the rule of law in our country and that you will be a judge that we all can be proud of.

God bless you and your family.

Specter: Thank you very much, Senator Graham.

Senator Schumer?

Schumer: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And, Judge Roberts, welcome to you and Mrs. Roberts, your parents, your family, your two beautiful children.

I join my colleagues in congratulating you on your nomination to the position of chief justice of the United States.

Now, this is indisputably the rarest opportunity in American government.

In the entire history of the republic, we have had but 16 chief justices.

But the responsibility is as great as the opportunity is rare. The decisions of the Supreme Court have a fundamental impact on people's lives, and the influence of a chief justice far outlasts that of a president.

As the youngest nominee to the high court's top seat in 204 years, you have the potential to wield more influence over the lives of the citizens of this country than any jurist in history.

I cannot think of a more awesome responsibility; awesome not in the way my teenage daughter would use the word, but in the biblical sense of the angels trembling in the presence of God.

But before you can assume that responsibility, we senators, on behalf of the people, have to exercise our own responsibility. Fundamental to that responsibility is our obligation to ascertain your legal philosophy and judicial ideology.

To me, the pivotal question which will determine my vote is this: Are you within the mainstream -- albeit the conservative mainstream -- or are you an ideologue who will seek to use the court to impose your views upon us as certain judges, past and present on the left and on the right, have attempted to do?

The American people need to learn a lot more about you before they and we can answer that question.

You are, without question, an impressive, accomplished and brilliant lawyer. You're a decent and honorable man. You have a remarkable resume. There are those who say your outstanding and accomplished resume should be enough, that you should simply promise to be fair and that we should confirm.

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

This is especially true now that judges are largely nominated through an ideological prism by a president who has admitted he wants to appoint justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.

To those who say ideology doesn't matter, they should take their quarrels to President Bush. I began to argue that a nominee's judicial ideology was crucial four years ago. Then, I was almost alone. Today, there is a growing and gathering consensus on the left and on the right that these questions are legitimate, important and awful crucial.

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

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

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

They need to assess not only the sharpness of your mind but the fullness of your heart;

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

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

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

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

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

For this reason, it is our obligation to ask and your obligation to answer questions about your judicial philosophy and legal ideology.

If you can't answer these questions, how are we to determine whether you're in the mainstream? A simple resume, no matter how distinguished, cannot answer that question.

So for me, the first criterion upon which I will base my vote is whether you will answer questions fully and forthrightly. We do not want to trick you, badger you, or play a game of gotcha. That is why I met with you privately three times, and that's why I gave you a list of questions in advance of these hearings.

It's not enough to say you will be fair. If that were enough, we'd have no need for a hearing.

I have no doubt you believe you'll be a fair judge.

I have no doubt that Justice Scalia thinks he is a fair judge and that Justice Ginsburg thinks she is a fair judge.

But in case after case, they rule differently. They approach the Constitution differently. And they affect the lives of 280 million Americans differently.

That is so, even though both Scalia and Ginsburg believe that they are fair.

Posted by Jeff at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

John Roberts Confirmation Hearing, Transcript Pt. II

Hatch: OK.

Now, the chairman and ranking member have raised some important issues, and I may turn to some of them shortly. But I believe, however, that we should start with first principles before exploring how those principles should be applied.

Many activist groups, and some of my Senate colleagues, would like nothing more than that you take a series of litmus tests, that you reveal your positions on issues and tell us where you stand.

I've been on this committee during the hearings on nine Supreme Court nominations. I voted to confirm all of the nominees, Democrats and Republicans.

As I described yesterday, I agree that this committee needs answers, but only to proper questions.

The important question is not what your views are on any particular issue. You are not campaigning for elective office. The question that needs to be answered is how you view the role of unelected judges in a representative democracy.

And I know you've said you do not have what might be described as a carefully calibrated, highly defined judicial philosophy, but as each individual case comes before you with its own unique facts and issues -- yesterday you gave us your commitment that you will approach that case within a certain framework.

Now, I am more interested in learning more about that framework, that perspective on what you believe your job as a judge really is, than I am in how you specifically implement that framework in specific cases or individual cases.

Now, this is where I do differ with some of my colleagues. I want to know more about how you get -- or how you intend to get -- to a conclusion, while some appear to only want to know what the conclusion will be, like on issues such as abortion.

Some think that judges exist to defend and promote progress, preserving the gains of the past and bringing us to a better future of equality and justice. Now, that does not sound -- to use a word you have used to describe judges -- very modest to me.

On the other hand, Senator DeWine noted Justice Byron White, appointed by President Kennedy, said that judges decide cases; and I thought that was an important quote yesterday. Yesterday you used the analogy of an umpire who calls balls and strikes but neither pitches or bets. Please help the committee sort this out by describing further the role you believe unelected judges play or should play in our system of government.

Are they charged, for example, with using the Constitution affect cultural and political reform, or does the Constitution require that this should be left to the people and their elected representatives?

How can the judiciary sit in constitutional judgment over the legislative and executive branches while still remaining co-equal with them?

If you could kind of take a crack at those various questions, I'd appreciate it.

Roberts: Well, Justice White's insight that was quoted by Senator DeWine yesterday, that judges' obligation is to decide cases, really has constitutional significance.

It goes back to Marbury vs. Madison. You know, the Constitution doesn't have any provision that says, when the judges, but the way are to interpret the Constitution and tell us what it means. What it says is that they judges are to decide cases that arise under this Constitution -- this new Constitution -- and under and new laws that the Congress might pass.

And what Chief Justice Marshall explained in Marbury vs. Madison was that, well, if we've got to decide cases, that's our constitutional obligation. We've got to decide whether, in a particular case, something's consistent with the Constitution or not.

So, we have to decide what the Constitution means. And that's what the framers intended.

So, the obligation to decide cases is the only basis for the authority to interpret the Constitution and laws. That means that judges should be careful in making sure that they have a real case in front of them, a real live dispute between parties who have actual injury involved, actual interests at stake because that is the basis for their legitimacy.

And then they're to decide that case as a judge would, not as a legislator would based on any view of what's the best policy but as a judge would based on the law. That's why the framers were willing to have the judges decide cases that required them to interpret the Constitution, because they were going to decide it according to the rule of law.

The people who framed our Constitution were jealous of their freedom and liberty. They would not have sat around and said, Let's take all the hard issues and give them over to the judges. That would have been the furthest thing from their mind.

Now, judges have to decide hard questions when they come up in the context of a particular case. That's their obligation. But they have to decide those questions according to the rule of law -- not their own social preferences, not their policy views, not their personal preferences -- according to the rule of law.

Hatch: You've explained that it's not the duty of the judiciary to make the law or to execute it, but to interpret it.

Now, I'm not naive. Sometimes interpretation is more of an art than a science. There are those who would label interpretation absolutely anything a judge might do or, two, the text of a statute or the Constitution.

But it seems to me there comes a point where a judge is using his own creativity and purpose and crosses the line between interpreting a text written by somebody else and in a sense creating something new.

Now, that troubles me since, as I said earlier, I believe in the separation of powers. If a judge crosses the line between interpreting and making the law, he has crossed the line supporting his legitimate authority from the legislative branch's authority.

Now, to me that's a very serious matter if we believe, as America's founders, did that the separation of powers -- not just in theory or in textbook but in practice in the actual functioning of government -- is the linchpin of limited government and liberty.

How do you distinguish between these two roles of interpreting and making law? And can you assure the Senate and the American people that you will stay on your side of this line?

Roberts: I will certainly make every effort to do so, Senator.

I appreciate the point that in some cases the question of whether you're interpreting the law or making the law -- that that line is hard to draw in some cases.

I would say not in most cases. I think in most cases, most judges know what it means to interpret the law and can recognize when they're going too far into an area of making law.

But certainly there are harder cases. And someone like Justice Harlan always used to explain that when you get to those hard cases you do need to focus again on the question of legitimacy and make sure that this is the question that you the judge are supposed to be deciding rather than someone else.

You go to a case like the Lochner case, you can read that opinion today and it's quite clear that they're not interpreting the law, they're making the law. The judgment is right there.

They say, We don't think it's too much for a baker to work -- whatever it was -- 13 hours as day. We think the legislature made a mistake in saying they should regulate this for their health. We don't think it hurts their health at all.

That's right there in the opinion. You can look at that and see that they are substituting their judgment on a policy matter for what the legislature had said.

So the fact that it's difficult to draw the line doesn't relieve a judge of an obligation to draw the line.

There are those more academic theorists who say, It's a question of degree. And since it's just a question of degree you shouldn't try to draw the line because it's hard sometimes to interpret the law without making the law. We should throw our hands up and say, 'Well, judges make the law,' and proceed from that.

That has not been my experience either as a judge or an advocate. My experience has been, in most cases you can see where the line is and you do know when judges are exceeding their authority and making the law rather than interpreting it.

And careful judges are always vigilant to make sure that they're adhering to their proper function and not going into the legislative area.

Hatch: Well, all of your experience has been either in the judicial branch, from your service as a clerk to then-Justice Rehnquist and your current role on D.C. Circuit, or in the executive branch, where you worked in the White House Counsel's Office, assistant to the attorney general and deputy solicitor general. In contrast, I would note that Justice Breyer brought to the court his experience as chief counsel to this committee. As many commentators noted during the oral arguments of the sentencing guidelines case, Justice Breyer seemed more than willing to defend congressional prerogatives.

Now, what can you tell us to assure the committee that your lack of experience in working in the legislative branch of government might contribute to a lack of deference to federal statutes as you review those federal statutes on the bench?

Roberts: Well, I guess the first thing I would say is begin with my opinions as a judge over the past two years on the Court of Appeals. I think they show a healthy regard for the prerogatives of the legislative branch that is appropriate.

As an advocate, I've certainly been arguing deference to the legislature in appropriate cases. Other cases, of course, I was on a different side and arguing the opposite. So I'm familiar with the arguments.

I've not only been in a position where I've been pressing arguments, for example, for the executive branch. I have been arguing cases against the executive branch and frequently arguing cases for the proposition of deference in favor of the legislature.

I guess I would just hearken back to the model I was talking about earlier of Justice Jackson, who went from being FDR's attorney general to being a justice on the court who, I think, always had a healthy regard for the prerogatives of the legislative branch.

Hatch: Well, you claimed in your questionnaire that judges do not, quote, have a commission to solve society's problems, unquote. I cannot agree more.

But this is an interesting formulation. It is worth remembering. I think that my office and your office only exist because the American people have authorized them through the Constitution. In other words, the power that you have as a judge comes from the people.

Now, that would be a fair assessment, I take it?

Roberts: Yes.

Hatch: OK. Let me explore this question of precedent a little bit more with you.

Obviously, the Supreme Court decides cases involving a range of issues and requiring application of different kinds of law, including regulations and statutes as well as the Constitution. All of these cases can set precedents which might be relied upon to decide future cases raising similar issues.

Now, what is your understanding of the role that precedent plays in these different categories of cases?

Is precedent equally authoritative in, for example, regulatory or statutory cases as in constitutional cases? As I understand it, the Supreme Court has long said that the strength of its prior decisions is related in part to the difficulty in correcting errors.

In constitutional cases, there is no external way to correct an error, except by constitutional amendment.

Now, the Supreme Court says, therefore, that precedent is weakest in constitutional cases.

Now, I have here a list of statements from Supreme Court decisions going back decades and decades to reflect this.

In 1997, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the court in Agostini v. Felton that you mentioned earlier, that stare decicis or precedent is not a command but a policy, and it is a policy that is -- and I am quoting Justice O'Connor here -- quote, at its weakest when we interpret the Constitution, because our interpretation can be altered only by constitutional amendment or by overruling our prior decisions, unquote.

In 1944, Justice Reed wrote for the court, in Smith v. Allwright, quote, In constitutional questions where correction depends upon amendment and not upon legislative action, this court, throughout its history, has freely exercised its power to re-examine the basis of its constitutional decisions, unquote.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I would like to place this list in the record if I can at this point.

Specter: Without objection, so ordered.

Hatch: Now, the bottom line is that precedent is weakest in constitutional cases. Does this distinction make sense to you, Judge Roberts? And has it, in fact, resulted in the Supreme Court overruling its previous interpretations of the Constitution with any frequency?

Roberts: The court has frequently explained that stare decisis is strongest when you are dealing with a statutory decision. The theory is a very straightforward one, that if the court gets it wrong, Congress can fix it.

And the Constitution, the court has explained, is different. Obviously, short of amendment, only the court can fix the constitutional precedents.

Hatch: Do you believe that Congress is just as bound by constitutional limits as state legislatures?

Roberts: There are different limits, of course. But, yes, the limits in the Constitution on Congress are as important as limitations on state legislatures in the Constitution.

Hatch: Well, I ask that question because some seem to argue that overturning a statute that we pass here in the national legislature is almost presumptively an example of judicial activism. I have disagreed with the court on some of these statutes. The Morrison case is a perfect illustration to me. I'm, along with Senator Biden, the author of the Violence Against Women Act, and I felt that they overreached in that particular case.

But, in any event, some believe that it's judicial activism, while turning a blind eye to the much more common practice of striking down state legislation is just an afterthought.

Now, this argument gets even more complicated when the Supreme Court uses provision actually in the Constitution to strike down that a congressional statute, but provisions not in the Constitution to strike down state statutes.

America's founders were clear that the Constitution established a federal government of few and defined powers. It cannot regulate any activity it chooses, but they only regulate in those areas which the Constitution grants it power to regulate.

Now, one familiar area is found in Article I, Section 8, which gives the Congress the power to, quote, to regulate commerce among the various states, unquote.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do not necessarily agree with the Supreme Court, as I mentioned in the Morrison case. I don't think they always get it right when saying that Congress has overstepped its bounds with respect to regulating interstate commerce.

At the same time, some have warned that we are sliding into a constitutional abyss because the court has found just twice in more than 60 years that there is something, anything, that it says the Constitution does not allow Congress to do.

Now, could you comment on the Supreme Court's duty to exercise judicial review regarding Congress and state legislatures and their enactments?

Roberts: The obligation to say what the law is, including determining that particular legislation is unconstitutional, is, as Chief Justice Marshall said, emphatically the duty and province of the judicial branch.

You and I can agree or disagree on whether the court is right in a particular case. But if the court strikes down an act of Congress and it's wrong, the court shouldn't have done that, that's not an act of judicial activism, it's just being wrong.

The obligation to strike down legislation is with the judicial branch. I think, as Justice Holmes said, it's gravest and most delicate duty that the court performs.

And the reason is obvious. All judges are acutely aware of the fact that millions and millions of people have voted for you and not one has voted for any of us.

That means that you have the responsibility of representing the policy preferences of the people making the determination about when legislation is necessary and appropriate and what form that legislation should take.

Our job is a very different one. We have to consider cases that raise the question from time to time whether a particular legislation is constitutional. And we have to limit ourselves in doing that to applying the law and not in any way substituting ourselves for the policy choices you've made.

But, as I would say, it's not judicial activism when the court do that. They may be right or they're wrong. And if they're wrong, they're wrong, but it's not activism.

Hatch: Well, thank you, Judge.

You know, our time is almost gone. We've talked about a lot of substantive things in this half hour.

I know that the American Bar Association has three times unanimously given you its highest rating of well-qualified, twice for your appeals court appointment and now again for your Supreme Court nomination.

Now, we're going to hear more from the ABA about this later in the week but I wanted to highlight one thing. The ABA examines three areas, including judicial temperament, and the ABA has laid out the criteria it uses for this. They include such things as compassion, open-mindedness, freedom from bias and commitment to equal justice. And you've come out with the highest rating in all areas.

Many people note that you've been at the pinnacle of your profession, one of a handful of Supreme Court specialists and a partner at a very prestigious law firm in Washington, D.C. And yet you have consistently pursued pro bono work; that is, work for free to help people in need in which you use your skill and training and legal talent to help others.

Perhaps that does not fit with the stereotype that some would force upon you, but it is true and it is real and it says a lot about you as a person.

In the few minutes we have left, please describe some of the pro bono work you have done, why those particular projects are important to you and what you believe your efforts accomplished.

The position that you have been nominated for is chief justice of the United States. Do you plan to use that role as a bully pulpit to encourage members of the bar to take seriously their responsibility to undertake pro bono work as you have done throughout your legal career?

Roberts: Yes, Senator, if I am confirmed I would hope to do that and, if I'm not, I would hope to do that back on the Court of Appeals. I think it's a very important part of a lawyer's obligation. I'll mention just a couple of examples.

I handled an appeal here before the D.C. Court of Appeals on behalf of a class of welfare recipients who had their benefits cut off. Our position was that the benefits had been cut off in violation of the Constitution, violation of their due process rights to notice in an individualized hearing. These were the neediest people in the district. And we pressed their argument before the court of appeals.

The first case that I argued in the Supreme Court was a pro bono matter for an individual with a double jeopardy claim against the United States; again, someone who didn't have a lawyer, and I was very happy to do that.

And I said earlier, I regularly handled moot courts for people. I did one for minority plaintiffs in a Voting Rights case our of Louisiana. I did one challenging environmental effects in Glacier Bay and another one in the Grand Canyon. In addition to those actually involved in the case, one of the pro bono activities that I'm most committed to is a program sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society and an organization called Street Law. They bring high school teachers to D.C. every summer to teach them about the Supreme Court. And they can then go back and teach the court in their classes.

And I've always found that very, very fulfilling.

Hatch: Well, thank you. My time is up.

Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

Specter: Thank you, Senator Hatch.

Senator Kennedy?

Kennedy: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

That Street Law program is a marvelous program. I commend you for your involvement in that.

The stark and tragic images of human suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina have reminded us yet again that civil rights and equal rights are still the great unfinished business of America.

The suffering has been disproportionately borne by the weak, the poor, the elderly and infirm, and largely African-Americans, who were forced by poverty, illness, unequal opportunity to stay behind and bear the brunt of the storm's winds and floods.

I believe that kind of disparate impact is morally wrong in this, the richest country in the world.

One question we must consider today is how we can take action to unify our nation, heal racial division, end poverty and give real-life meaning to the constitutional mandate that there be equal protection under law.

I believe that the Constitution is not hostile to the idea that national problems can be solved at the national level through the cooperative efforts of the three coequal branches of government, the Congress, the executive and courts.

But not every president, not every legislator and not every judge agrees that the federal government has the power to address and to try to remedy the twin national problems of poverty and access to equal opportunity. I'm not talking about a handout, but a hand up, to give all of our citizens a fair shot at the American dream.

Judge Roberts, today we want to find out how you view the Constitution, our ability to protect the most vulnerable.

Do you believe that Congress has the power to pass laws aimed at eliminating discrimination in our society? Or do you believe that our hands are tied, that the elected representatives of the people of the United States are without the power to pass laws aimed at righting wrongs, ending injustice, eliminating the inequalities that we have just witnessed so dramatically and tragically in New Orleans?

The American people want to know where you stand. We want to find out your view of the rule of law and the role of courts in our system.

That's why it is so important -- and I hope we will receive your frank and candid and complete responses to the questions we ask today.

To start my inquiry, I want to discuss with you the Brown v. Board of Education, which you have already mentioned this morning, which I believe is the most important civil rights decision in our lifetime.

In Brown, decided in 1954, the year before you were born, the Supreme Court concluded unequivocally that black children have the constitutional right to be educated in the same classrooms as white students. The court rejected the old doctrine of separate but equal, finding that it violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

In considering the issues raised by Brown, the court took a broad and real-life view of the question before it. It asked, Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though physical facilities and other tangible factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities?

So do you agree with the court's conclusion that the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race was unconstitutional?

Roberts: I do.

Kennedy: And do you believe that the court had the power to address segregation of public schools on the basis of the equal protection clause of the Constitution?

Roberts: Yes.

Kennedy: And you're aware that the Brown was a unanimous decision?

Roberts: Yes. That was the -- represented a lot of work by Chief Justice Earl Warren because. My understanding of the history is that it initially was not. And he spent -- it was re-argued. He spent a considerable amount of time talking to his colleagues and bringing around to the point where they ended up with unanimous court...

Kennedy: And a lot of work by the plaintiffs, as well.

Roberts: I'm sure.

Kennedy: First in reaching its decision, the court concluded that it must consider public education in the light of its full development and its present place in American life throughout the nation; that is that it must consider the conditions and impact of its decision in the real present-day world.

The court specifically declined to rely on the legislative history of the 14th Amendment. It looked instead to the facts and the situation as they exist in the case and in the world at the time of the decision.

Judge Roberts, do you agree that the court was correct in basing its decision on real-world consideration of the role of public education at the time of its decision rather than the role of public education in 1868 when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted?

Roberts: Certainly, Senator.

The importance of the court's approach in Brown is, of course, to recognize that the issue was whether or not the discrimination violated equal protection. And you have to look at the discrimination in the context in which it is occurring.

I know there's been a lost recent academic research into the original intent of the drafters of Fourteenth Amendment. Professor McConnell's piece suggests that it's perfectly consistent the with the conclusion in Brown. And it's also -- the very point you mentioned was an important one, that the nature of the institution of public education wasn't formed to the same extent at the time of the drafting...

Kennedy: In 1868. That's right.

Roberts: ... as it was at the time of the decision.

Kennedy: The Brown court also held that it was important to look at the effects of segregation on public education. The court determined that education was so vital to a child's development and an opportunity for advancement in society that, where the state had undertaken to provide public education, it must be available to all on equal terms. Thus, it found that the separate education was inherently unequal. So it's fair for me to conclude you accept both the holding and the reasoning in the Brown case.

Roberts: Well, the reasoning, though, I think it's important. It is focussed on the effects, yes. But the conclusion was that they didn't care if the effects were equal.

In other words, the genius of the decision was the recognition that the act of separating the students was where the violation was. And it rejected the defense -- certainly, just a theoretical one given the actual record -- that you could have equal facilities and equal treatment.

I think the conclusion, if the record had shown -- which it did not -- if it had shown perfectly equal treatment in the African American school and the white school, that Chief Justice Warren's analysis would be the same because the act of separation is what constituted the discrimination.

Kennedy: If we could move on. Now, the Brown decision was just the beginning of the historic march for progress toward equal rights for all of our citizens.

In the '60s and '70s, we came together as a Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, and passed the historic civil rights legislation that signed by the president to guarantee equality for all citizens on the basis of race, then on gender, then on disability.

We passed legislation to eliminate the barriers to voting that so many minorities had faced in too many states in the country. We passed legislation that prevented racial discrimination in housing.

Those landmark laws were supported by Republicans and Democrats in Congress and they were signed into law by both Republican and Democratic presidents.

Intelligent and dedicated attorneys in the Justice Department and in the White House and on Capitol Hill devoted their extraordinary talents and imagination and perseverance to making these laws effective.

Every one of the new laws was tested in court, all the way to the Supreme Court.

And I'd like to find out, Judge Roberts, whether you'd agree that the progress we made in civil rights over the past 50 years is irreversible.

I'd like to find out whether you think that these laws are constitutional or whether you have any concerns or questions about them.

Do you have any concerns or reservations about the constitutionality of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that outlawed racial discrimination in public accommodations, employment and other areas?

Roberts: I don't think any issue has been raised concerning those.

I'm cautious, of course, about expressing an opinion on a matter that might come before the court. I don't think that's one that's likely to come before the court.

So I'm not aware of any questions that have been raised concerning that, Senator.

Kennedy: So I'll assume that you don't feel that there are any doubts on the constitutionality of the '64 act. Do you have any doubts as to the constitutionality of the '65 Voting Rights Act?

Roberts: Well, now, that's an issue, of course, as you know, it's up for renewal. And that is a question that could come before the court: the question of Congress' power.

Again, without expressing any views on it, I do know that it's going to be...

Kennedy: Well, that's gone up and down the Supreme Court -- the 1965 act and again the 1982 act extension.

Roberts: Yes, and the issue would be...

Kennedy: I'm just trying to find out, on the Voting Rights Act, whether you have any problem at all and trouble at all in terms of the constitutionality of the existing Voting Rights Act that was extended by the Congress.

Roberts: Oh. Well, the existing Voting Rights Act: the constitutionality has been upheld. And I don't have any issue with that.

Kennedy: OK.

Roberts: There's a separate question that would be raised if the Voting Rights Act were extended, as I know Congress is considering. And those arguments have been raised about whether or not particular provisions should be extended or should not be extended.

And since those questions might well come before the court, I do need to exercise caution on that.

Kennedy: But with regards to the act that we passed, the bipartisan act -- I'm going to come back to it -- and about your position on the 1982 act -- I know you had concerns and I'm going to come back to those -- but you're not suggesting that there's any constitutional issue with that.

Roberts: Well, I'm not aware of any constitutional issue that's been raised about it.

Kennedy: All right.

Roberts: Again, I don't want to express conclusions on hypothetical questions, whether as applied in a particular case, where there would be a challenge in that respect. Those cases come up all the time and I do need to avoid expressing an opinion on those issues.

Kennedy: Well, it seems that on voting rights, with all of its importance and significance, and with the extraordinary bipartisan balance that came together on that act -- I'm going to come back to it; I know you had some reservations about it, which we will come to -- but that, as I am wondering whether you are hesitant at all in saying that you believe that it's constitutional.

Roberts: My hesitancy, Senator, is simply this: that cases do come up. I had one in the D.C. Circuit concerning issues under the Voting Rights Acts. And I don't know what arguments parties will be raising in those cases.

So an abstract question you need to know, obviously, what's the claim, what's the issue, and decide it according to the rule of law.

Kennedy: How about the constitutionality of the '68 fair housing legislation that outlawed racial discrimination in housing?

Roberts: Again, I think -- my understanding is it's been upheld. And I'm not aware of any issues that are arising under it.

I suppose if there's a particular claim presented under that statute, litigants make all sorts of arguments, and they may raise an argument that it's unconstitutional as applied in a particular case, and the court would have to decide that question.

Kennedy: Well, I was, sort of, inhaling your answer to my friend Orrin Hatch about the power of the legislature and the deference that you're going to give when the legislature makes judgments and findings, particularly in the areas of voting that we spend such an extraordinary amount of time -- the chairman was so involved in that legislation.

Let's go to the Voting Rights Act. As you know, we've had a chance to go through many of the documents that you authored during the early and mid-1980s when you worked in the Department of Justice and in the White House.

I'm interested in your views today, let me point out, but because we don't have all the documents that we'd like to have, I'm working with the documents that we do. And I want to go through those, get your reactions and ask your views today. I'm deeply troubled by a narrow and cramped and perhaps even a mean-spirited view of the law that appears in some of your writings.

In the only documents that have been made available to us, it appears that you did not fully appreciate the problem of discrimination in our society. It also seems that you were trying to undo the progress that so many people had fought for and died for in this country.

At the outset, I want to be clear that I do not think nor am I suggesting that you're a person who's in favor of discrimination. I don't believe that.

I am concerned, however, that at the time you were writing these laws and memoranda and notes, you simply did not grasp the seriousness of the impact of discrimination on our country as a whole.

Let's start with the Voting Rights Act.

Most Americans think that the right to vote is among the most important tools that they have to participate in our democracy. You do agree, don't you, don't you, Judge Roberts, that the right to vote is a fundamental constitutional right?

Roberts: It is preservative, I think, of all the other rights.

Without access to the ballot box, people are not in the position to protect any other rights that are important to them. And so I think it's one of, as you said, the most precious rights we have as Americans.

Kennedy: And you will recall that in the '60s, millions of our fellow citizens denied access to voting booths because of race. And to remedy that injustice, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of '65 that outlawed discrimination in voting.

Section 2 of that act is widely believed to be the most effective civil rights statute enacted by Congress.

In 1982, Congress took action to extend the Voting Rights Act and to make it clear that discriminatory voting practices and procedures are illegal if they are intended to be racially discriminatory or if they are shown to have a racially discriminatory impact.

It was this latter provision, the prohibition against voting practices that have a discriminatory impact, that provoked your heated opposition, Judge Roberts.

In our earlier discussion of Brown v. Board of Education, you agreed that the actual impact of racial segregation on public education and school children was perfectly valid for the court to consider. But when it came to voting rights, you rejected the consideration of actual impact.

You wrote that violations of Section II of the Voting Rights Act, and I quote, should not be made too easy to prove since they provide a basis for the most intrusive interference imaginable by federal courts, interstate and local processors.

You also wrote, and I quote, It would be difficult to conceive of a more drastic alteration of local government affairs. And, under our federal system, such an intrusion should not be too readily permitted.

And you didn't stop there. You concluded that Section II of the Voting Rights Act was, quote, constitutionally suspect and contrary to the most fundamental tenets of the legislative process on which the laws of this country are based.

So I am deeply troubled by another statement that you made at the time.

And I quote, There is no evidence of voting abuses nationwide supporting the need for such a change.

No evidence? I was there, Judge Roberts, in both the House and the Senate, had the extensive hearings. We considered details, specific testimony from affected voters throughout the country. But you dismissed the work of Congress out of hand.

Don't be fooled, you wrote, by the House vote or the 61 Senate sponsors of the bill. Many members of the House did not know that they were doing more than simply extending the act and several of the 61 senators have already indicated they only intended to support a simple extension.

Judge Roberts, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly supported this legislation. But you thought we didn't really know what we were doing.

Newt Gingrich, James Sensenbrenner voted for the House bill. Dan Quayle was an original Senate co-sponsor of the bill. We held extensive hearings, created a lengthy record. Yet, you thought there was no evidence of voting abuses that would justify the legislation -- your comment.

Do you believe today that we need the federal laws to assure that all our citizens have the equal access to the voting booth and do you basically support the 1982 Voting Rights Act that was signed by...

Roberts: Senator, you will recall, at the time -- this was 23 years ago -- I was the staff lawyer in the Justice Department. It was the position of the Reagan administration for whom I worked, the position of the attorney general for whom I worked, that the Voting Rights Act should be extended for the longest period of its extension in history without change.

The Supreme Court had interpreted in the Mobile v. Bolden case, Section 2, to have an intent test, not an effects test.

Keep in mind, of course, as you know very well, Section 5, the preclearance provision, had always had an effects test and that would be continued.

The reference to discrimination nationwide was addressing the particular point that effects test had been applied in particular jurisdictions that had a history of discrimination. And the question is whether or not there was a similar history of discrimination that supported extending the effects test in Section 2.

It was the position of the administration for which I worked that the proposal was to extend the Voting Rights Act without change. Your position at the time was that the intent test that the Supreme Court had determined was in Section 2 should be changed to the effects test, and that was the position that eventually prevailed.

There was no disagreement...

Kennedy: Judge Roberts, the effects test was the law of the land from the Zimmer case to the Mobile case. It was the law of the land. That was the law of the land that court after court decided about the impact of the effects test. The Mobile case changed the Zimmer case.

Roberts: Well, Senator, you disagree...

Kennedy: And what we were...

Specter: Let him finish his answer.

Kennedy: OK. Well, I'd just like to get his -- whether the Zimmer case was not the holding on the rule of the law of the land prior to the Mobile case.

Roberts: Well, this is the same debate that took place 23 years ago on this very same issue. And the administration's position -- you think the Supreme Court got it wrong in Mobile against Bolden.

Kennedy: No, that's not what -- I think it was wrong, but I also think the law of the land, decided by the Supreme Court in the Zimmer case, upheld in court after court after court after court, was the effects test.

Roberts: Well, the Supreme Court...

Kennedy: That's...

Specter: Let him finish his answer, Senator Kennedy.

Roberts: The point is -- and, again, this is revisiting a debate that took place 23 years ago...

Kennedy: Well, I'm interested today of your view. Do you support the law that Ronald Reagan signed into law and that was co- sponsored...

Roberts: Certainly.

Kennedy: ... overwhelmingly...

Roberts: Certainly, and the only point I would make -- this was the same disagreement and the same debate that took place then over whether the court was right or wrong in Mobile v. Bolden.

And the point I would make is twofold, that those, like President Reagan, like Attorney General Smith, who are advocating an extension of the Voting Rights Act without change, were as fully committed to protecting the right to vote as anyone.

Kennedy: Right. Could I...

Specter: Let him finish his answer, Senator Kennedy.

Roberts: And the articulation of views that you read from represented my effort to articulate the views of the administration and the position of the administration for whom I worked, for which I worked 23 years ago.

Kennedy: Well, after President Reagan signed it into law, did you agree with that position of the administration?

Roberts: I certainly agreed that the Voting Rights Act should be extended. I certainly agreed that the effects test in Section 5 should be extended.

We had argued that the intent test, that the Supreme Court recognized in Mobile against Bolden -- I know you think it was wrong, but that was the Supreme Court's interpretation -- should have been extended. Again, as you said, the compromise that you and Senator Dole worked out was enacted into law and signed into law by President Reagan. And the Voting Rights Act has continued to be an important legislative tool to ensure that most precious of rights, which is preservative of all other rights. There was never any dispute about that basic proposition.

Kennedy: Well, what I'm getting to is, after it was signed into law, overwhelmingly -- overwhelmingly by the House and the Senate -- we have the memoranda that you said the fact we were burned last year -- this is the following year -- we did not -- the fact we were burned last year because we did not sail in with the new voting rights legislation does not mean we'll be hurt this year if we go slowly on housing legislation.

What did you mean when you said that we were burned last year by not getting the Voting Rights Act?

Roberts: I think the legislative debate between those who favored extending the Voting Rights Act as is and those who favored changing the act because they disagreed with the Supreme Court decisions, the legislative judgment was that the administration's proposal didn't succeed because they had waited. Rather than coming out in favor of an extension right away, they waited for the Congress to come up with its proposals which turned out to be different than the administration proposals.

On the housing discrimination, I would note that the administration did get its ducks in a row and, in a matter of months after the date of the memo that you just read from, had its housing proposal there and submitted to Congress and it was enacted.

Kennedy: The 1988 Housing Fair Housing Act.

Roberts: The administration's proposal was submitted, I believe, months after the date of the memo that you read from.

Kennedy: Let me, if I could, go to the Civil Rights Restoration Act. In 1981, you support an effort by the Department of Education to reverse 17 years of civil right protections at colleges and universities that receive federal funds.

Under the new regulations, the definition of federal assistance to colleges and universities would be narrow to exclude certain types of student loans and grants so that fewer institutions would be covered by the civil rights laws. As a result, more colleges and universities would legally be able to discriminate against people of color, women and the disabled.

Your efforts to narrow the protection of the civil rights laws did not stop there, however.

In 1984, in Grove City v. Bell, the Supreme Court decided, contrary to the Department of Education regulation that you supported, that student loans and grants did indeed constitute federal assistance to colleges for purposes of triggering civil rights protections.

But, in a surprising twist, the court concluded that the nondiscrimination laws were intended to apply only to the specific program receiving the funds and not to the institution as a whole.

Under that reasoning, a university that received federal aid in the form of tuition could not discriminate in admissions but was free to discriminate in athletics, housing, faculty hiring and any other programs that did not receive the direct funds.

If the admissions office didn't discriminate, they got the funds through the admission office, they could discriminate in any other place of the university.

A strong bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate decided to pass another law, the Civil Rights Restoration Act, to make it clear that they intended to prohibit discrimination in all programs and activities of a university that received federal assistance.

You vehemently opposed the Civil Rights Restoration Act.

Even after the Grove City court found otherwise, you still believed that there was, quote -- and this is your quote -- a good deal of intuitive appeal to the argument that federal loans and grants to students should not be viewed as federal financial assistance to the university.

You realize, of course, that these loans and grants to the students were paid to the university as tuition. Then, even though you acknowledged that the program- specific aspect of the Supreme Court decision was going to be overturned by the congressional legislation, you continued to believe that it would be, quote, too onerous for colleges to comply with nondiscrimination laws across the entire university unless it was, quote, on the basis of something more solid than federal aid to students.

Judge Roberts, if your position prevailed, it would have been legal in many cases to discriminate in athletics for girls, women. It would have been legal to discriminate in the hiring of teachers. It would have been legal not to provide services or accommodations to the disabled.

Do you still believe today that it is too onerous for the government to require universities that accept tuition payments from students who rely on federal grants and loans not to discriminate in any of their programs or activities?

Roberts: No, Senator, and I did not back then. You have not accurately represented my position.

Kennedy: These are your words.

Specter: Let him finish his answer. That was a quite long question.

Roberts: Senator, you have selected...

Specter: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Senator Kennedy just propounded a very, very long question.

Now, let him answer the question.

Roberts: Senator, you did not accurately represent my position. The Grove City College case presented two separate questions, and it was a matter being litigated, of course, in the courts.

The universities were arguing that they were not covered at all by the civil rights laws in question simply because their students had federal financial assistance and attended their universities. That was their first argument.

The second argument was, even if they were covered, all that was covered was the admissions office and not other programs that themselves did not receive separate financial assistance.

Our position, the position of the administration -- and, again, that was the position I was advancing. I was not formulating policy. I was articulating and defending the administration's position. And the administration's position was, yes, you are covered if the students receive federal financial assistance and that the coverage extended to the admissions office. That was the position that the Supreme Court agreed with. We were interpreting legislation.

The question is: What is the correct interpretation of the legislation? The position that the administration advanced was the one I just described: The universities were covered due to federal financial assistance to their students. It extended to the admissions office.

The Supreme Court in the Grove City case agreed with that position. So the position the administration had articulated, the Supreme Court concluded, was a correct interpretation of what this body, the Congress, had enacted.

Congress then changed the position about coverage. And that position was, I believe, signed into law by the president and that became the new law.

The memo you read about Secretary Bell's proposal, if I remember it, was, well, he said: If we're going to cover all of the universities, then we shouldn't hinge coverage simply on federal financial assistance.

And the position I took in the memorandum was that, no, we should not revisit that question. We should not revisit the question that federal financial assistance triggers coverage.

Kennedy: Well, you're familiar -- I have the memo here. I have 22 seconds left. Your quote of this: If the entire institution is to be covered, however, it should be on the basis of something more solid than federal aid to the students.

I think most of the members of the Congress feel that if the aid to the universities, the tuition and the loans and the grants are going to be sufficient to trigger all of the civil rights laws, your memoranda here, If the entire institution is to be covered, however, it should be on the basis of something more solid than federal aid to the students. That's your memorandum.

Roberts: Well, Senator, again, the administration policy was as I articulated it. And it was my job to articulate the administration policy.

Kennedy: My time is up, Mr. Chairman.

Specter: Thank you very much, Senator Kennedy.

This is a good time for a 15-minute break.

...

Specter: We will reconvene our hearing. We will take three more rounds of questions so that we will go until approximately -- there will be two more rounds of questions to 12:45, and we will then break for lunch.

Both Republicans and Democrats have their policy luncheons and so we will then reconvene after lunch until 2:15. And I have been asked how late we're going to go. Let's see how it feels. We want to move ahead with the hearings, but we don't want to wear everybody out.

Senator Grassley?

Grassley: Judge Roberts, for a second time, I would congratulate you and your family on your nomination. I would also, for a second time, thank you for the time you spent in my office for me to talk privately with you several weeks ago.

I'm impressed by your record, your public service. Obviously, you demonstrate your intellect very well. And we ought to be satisfied with that.

Let me remind everybody that Judge Roberts was confirmed unanimously to the D.C. Circuit Court just two years ago by the Senate and that the ABA, the American Bar Association, has recommended him to be, in their words, unanimously well-qualified for this position on the Supreme Court.

So I believe, with everything we have seen demonstrated, you're obviously as qualified a nominee as I have seen in the 24 years that I have been on this committee.

In addition, I want to thank you for a great deal of candor you have in answering questions and giving information. The Judiciary Committee has received from you or from government agencies that you have been affiliated with, thousands of documents on your record -- thousands of documents.

And we all have combed through the documents, the briefs and opinions that you have offered to assess your qualifications to the Supreme Court.

I think that we've been provided with a vast amount of information, more than, I think, any other candidate to the Supreme Court.

This confirmation process is very important, however, not so that we can seek to obtain your commitments on specific cases but, rather, to more fully understand your approach to deciding cases.

In addition, you have been nominated to be chief justice so I'm going to be interested in some of my questioning today or tomorrow about your priorities for the federal judiciary and what you think about the administration of justice and some of those questions you might anticipate don't involve cases coming before the Supreme Court. And maybe on administering that branch of government, you could be a little more concrete on what you support and don't support.

And, of course, lastly, I appreciate your candor and thoughtfulness. Our conversation now will not only tell us more about your judicial methods but will also, I hope, educate the public on the proper role of a judge in our democratic society.

Most people who will be following these hearings will be, like me, a non-lawyer. And I think it's important that the bulk of our society, particularly those who aren't in the law, understand limits on judicial power in our system of checks and balances of government.

Judge Roberts, I believe that we should be filling the federal branch with individuals who will be fair, who will be unbiased, will be devoted to addressing facts and the law before them without imposing their own values and political beliefs fain reaching a decision.

You made clear that you agree with that. I'm not asking you, but I think you made clear that you agree with that with your umpire analogy that you used yesterday.

Our founding fathers clearly intended the judiciary to be the least dangerous branch of government.

Alexander Hamilton, in fact, in Federalist Paper No. 78 cautioned against judges substituting their own belief for constitutional intent when he wrote these words: The courts must declare the sense of the law and if they should be disposed exercise will, instead of judgment, the consequences would be the substitution of their pleasure for that of the legislative body.

I think this standard is important for all judges, even more so with Supreme Court justices. And I hope at the end of our hearings that we feel, as I'm beginning to feel now, that you share that.

So, Judge Roberts, beyond your umpire analogy, what do you understand to be the role of a judge in a Democratic society?

And I would like your reaction of a quote from Justice Cardozo on the nature of the judicial process.

And he said this, not paraphrasing but direct quote: The judge, even when he is free, is still not wholly free. He is not to innovate at pleasure. He is not knight errant, roaming at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or goodness. He is not to yield to spasmodic sentiment, to vague or unrated benevolence. He is to exercise discretion informed by tradition, methodized by analogy, disciplined by system, and subordinated to the primordial necessity of order in social life -- wide enough in all conscience is the field of discretion that remains. What do you think Justice Cardozo meant by that passage? And do you agree with it?

Roberts: I know I agree with it. Now let me figure out what he meant by it.

(LAUGHTER)

I think what he meant was that judges operate as judges when they are confined by the law. When I became a lawyer, the proclamation they read for the graduates were -- they referred to the law as the wise restraints that make men free.

And judges are the same way. We don't turn a matter over to a judge because we want his view about what the best idea is, what the best solution is. It is because we want him or her to apply the law.

They are constrained when they do that. They are constrained by the words that you choose to enact into a law -- in interpreting the law. They were constrained by the words of the Constitution. They are constrained by the precedents of other judges that become part of the rule of law that they must apply.

And that cabining of their discretion -- that's what Hamilton referred to in Federalist 78. He said judges should not have an absolute discretion. They need to be bound down by rules and precedents: the rules, the laws that you pass, the precedents that judges before them have shaped.

And then their job is interpreting the law. It is not making the law.

And so long as they are being confined by the laws, by the Constitution, by the precedents, then you're more comfortable that you're exercising the judicial function.

It's when you're at sea and you don't have anything to look to that you need to begin to worry that this isn't what judges are supposed to do.

Grassley: Well, is there any room in constitutional interpretation for the judge's own values or beliefs?

Roberts: No, I don't think there is. Sometimes it's hard to give meaning to a constitutional term in a particular case. But you don't look to your own values and beliefs. You look outside yourself to other sources.

This is the basis for -- you know, judges wear black robes because it doesn't mater who they are as individuals. That's not going to shape their decision. It's their understanding of the law that will shape their decision.

Grassley: Some legal scholars claim that when the political branches of government are slow to act, the broad and spacious terms of the Constitution lend themselves to court-created solutions.

Do you agree with this role of the court?

Roberts: I have said that it is not the job of the court to solve society's problems. And I believe that. It is the job of the court to decide particular cases.

Now, sometimes cases are brought and the courts have to decide them even though the other branches have been slow to act, as you say.

Brown v. Board of Education is a good example. The other branches in society were not addressing the problems of segregation in the schools. They were not just slow to act; they weren't acting. But that didn't mean the courts should step in and act.

But when the courts were presented with a case that presented the challenge -- this segregation violates the equal protection clause -- the courts did have the obligation to decide that case and resolve it and in the course of doing that, of course, changed the course of American history.

Grassley: Your reference to Brown would be a good time to throw in this question. Do you agree with the view that the courts, rather than the elected branches, should take the lead in creating a more just society?

Roberts: Again, it is the obligation of the courts to decide particular cases. Often that means acting on the side of justice, as we understand it --- enforcing the Bill of Rights, enforcing the equal protection clause.

But it has to be in the context of the case and it has to be in the context of interpreting a provision that's implicated in that case. They don't have a license to go out and decide: I think this is an injustice and so I'm going to do something to fix it. That type of judicial role, I think, is inconsistent with the role the framers intended.

When they have to decide a case, it may well, from time to time and in particular cases, put them in the role of vindicating the vision of justice that the framers enacted in the Constitution. And that is a legitimate role for them. But it's always in the context of deciding a proper case that's been presented.

Grassley: Judge Roberts, during the Souter nomination, I questioned -- and I did not go back and check the records just to see exactly what I said -- but I questioned, in some way, about how he would interpret statutory law.

Justice Souter responded to some of my questions by talking about vacuums in the law, specifically that the courts -- and these are his words -- fill vacuums that are maybe left by Congress.

This concept was troubling to me then and remains so today. If Justice Souter is listening, I would like to say to him: Well, you now, maybe Congress intended to leave some vacuums.

(LAUGHTER)

So I would like to know: How much filling in of vacuums in the law left by Congress will you do as a Supreme Court justice? Do you think this is the way for the court to be activists in that courts will be deciding how to fill in generalities and resolve contradictions in law?

Roberts: Well, I don't want to directly comment on what Justice Souter said. He is either going to be a colleague or continue to be one of my bosses.

(LAUGHTER)

So I want to maintain good relations in either case.

But I do think it's important to recognize in construing legislation that sometimes a decision has been made not to address a particular problem. That isn't a license for the courts to go ahead and address it because that would be overriding a congressional decision.

At the same time, as it's always the case, courts are sometimes put in the position of having to decide a question that Congress has left deliberately or inadvertently unanswered.

We see that in the issue of what remedies are available under an implied right of action when Congress has not spelled them out. The courts sometimes have to address that sort of question.

And if it's presented in a case, it's unavoidable.

But, again, I resort back to the bedrock principle of legitimacy in the American system for courts which is that any authority to interpret the law, any authority to interpret the Constitution, derives from the obligation to decide a particular case or controversy.

Posted by Jeff at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

John Roberts Confirmation Hearing, Transcript Pt. I

The text of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on John Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court, part 1:

U.S. SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HOLDS A HEARING ON THE NOMINATION OF JOHN ROBERTS TO BE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES

SEPTEMBER 13, 2005

Transcript provided by CQ Transcriptions, LLC

SPEAKERS:
U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA)

CHAIRMEN:
U.S. Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)
U.S. Senator Charles E. Grassley (R-IA)
U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
U.S. Senator Mike Dewine (R-OH)
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
U.S. Senator Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC)
U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK)
U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT)

RANKING MEMBERS:
U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)
U.S. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE)
U.S. Senator Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
U.S. Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI)
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
U.S. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)

WITNESSES:
Judge John Roberts, nominated to be chief justice of the United States

Specter: It is 9:30. The confirmation hearing of Judge Roberts will now proceed.

Welcome, again, Judge Roberts.

Roberts: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Specter: We begin the first round of questioning in order of seniority, with 30 minutes allotted to each senator.

Judge Roberts, there are many subjects of enormous importance that you will be asked about in this confirmation hearing, but I start with the central issue which perhaps concerns most Americans, and that is the issue of the woman's right to choose and Roe v. Wade.

And I begin collaterally with the issue of stare decisis and the issue of precedence.

Black's Law Dictionary defines stare decisis as, Let the decision stand, to adhere to precedence and not unsettle things which are established.

Justice Scalia articulated, quote, The principal purpose of stare decisis is to protect reliance interest and further stability in the law. Justice Frankfurter articulated the principle, quote,

We recognize that stare decisis embodies an important social policy that represents an element of continuity in law and is rooted in the psychological need to satisfy reasonable expectations.

Justice Cardozo, in a similar vein, quote, No judicial system could do society's work if each issue had to be decided afresh in every case which raised it.

In our initial conversation, you talked about the stability and humility in the law.

Would you agree with those articulations of the principles of stare decisis, as you had contemplated them, as you said you looked for stability in the law?

Roberts: Yes, Mr. Chairman, I would. I would point out that the principle goes back even farther than Cardozo and Frankfurter. Hamilton, in Federalist No. 78, said that, To avoid an arbitrary discretion in the judges, they need to be bound down by rules and precedents.

So, even that far back, the founders appreciated the role of precedent in promoting evenhandedness, predictability, stability, adherence of integrity in the judicial process.

Specter: I move now to Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Thirty minutes may seem like a long time and a second round of 20 minutes, but the time will fly. And I want to get right to the core of the issue.

In Casey, the key test on following precedents moved to the extent of reliance by the people on the precedent.

And Casey had this to say in a rather earthy way: People have ordered their thinking and living around Roe. To eliminate the issue of reliance, one would need to limit cognizable reliance to specific instances of sexual activity. For two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event contraception should fail.

That's the joint opinion; rather earthy in its context. Would you agree with that?

Roberts: Well, Senator, the importance of settled expectations in the application of stare decisis is a very important consideration. That was emphasized in the Casey opinion, but also in other opinions outside that area of the law.

The principles of stare decisis look at a number of factors. Settled expectations is one of them, as you mentioned. Whether or not particular precedents have proven to be unworkable is another consideration on the other side -- whether the doctrinal bases of a decision had been eroded by subsequent developments.

For example, if you have a case in which there are three precedents that lead and support that result and in the intervening period two of them have been overruled, that may be a basis for reconsidering the prior precedent.

Specter: But there's no doctrinal basis erosion in Roe, is there?

Roberts: Well, I feel the need to stay away from a discussion of particular cases. I'm happy to discuss the principles of stare decisis.

And the court has developed a series of precedents on precedent, if you will. They have a number of cases talking about how this principle should be applied.

And as you emphasized, in Casey, they focused on settled expectations. They also looked at the workability and the erosion of precedents. The erosion of precedents, I think, figured more prominently in the courts discussion in the Lawrence case, for example. But it is one of the factors that is looked at on the other side of the balance.

Specter: Well, do you see any erosion of precedent as to Roe?

Roberts: Well, again, I think I should stay away from discussions of particular issues that are likely to come before the court again. And in the area of abortion, there are cases on the courts docket, of course. It is an issue that does come before the court.

So while I'm happy to talk about stare decisis and the importance of precedent, I don't think I should get into the application of those principles in a particular area.

Specter: Well, Judge Roberts, I don't know that we're dealing with any specific issue. When you mention -- and you brought that term up, erosion of precedent, whether you see that as a factor in the application of stare decisis or expectations, for example, on the citation I quoted from Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

Roberts: Well, in the particular case of Roe, obviously you have the Casey decision in 1992, '93...

Specter: '92.

Roberts: '92 -- in which they went through the various factors on stare decisis and reaffirmed the central holding in Roe, while revisiting the trimester framework and substituting the undue burden analysis with strict scrutiny.

So, as of '92, you had reaffirmation of the central holding in Roe. That decision, that application of the principles of stare decisis is, of course, itself a precedent that would be entitled to respect under those principles.

Specter: The joint opinion (inaudible) after the statement as to sexual activity to come to the core issue about women being able to plan their lives, quote, the joint opinion says, The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.

Do you agree with that statement, Judge Roberts?

Roberts: Well, yes, Senator, as a general proposition, but I do feel compelled to point out that I should not, based on the precedent of prior nominees, agree or disagree with particular decisions. And I'm reluctant to do that.

That's one of the areas where I think prior nominees have drawn the line when it comes to, Do you agree with this case or do you agree with that case? And that's something that I'm going to have to draw the line in the sand.

Specter: I'm not going to ask you whether you're going to vote to overrule Roe or sustain it. But we're talking here about the jurisprudence of the court and their reasoning.

Let me come to another key phase of Casey, where the joint opinion says a, quote, Terrible price would be paid for overruling Roe. It would seriously weaken the court's capacity to exercise the judicial power and to function as the Supreme Court of a nation dedicated to the rule of law. Now, this moves away from the specific holding and goes to a much broader jurisprudential point, really raising the issue of whether there would be a recognition of the court's authority.

And in a similar line, the court said this, that to overrule Roe would be, quote, a surrender to political pressure. And added, quote, to overrule under fire would subvert the court's legitimacy, close quote.

So in these statements on Casey, you're really going beyond the holding; you're going to the legitimacy and authority of the court.

Do you agree with that?

Roberts: Well, I do think the considerations about the court's legitimacy are critically important.

In other cases, my thinking of Payne v. Tennessee, for example, the court has focused on extensive disagreement as a grounds in favor of reconsideration. In Casey, the court looked at the disagreement as a factor in favor of reaffirming the decision. So it's a factor that is played different ways in different precedents of the court.

I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent. Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability and evenhandedness. It is not enough -- and the court has emphasized this on several occasions -- it is not enough that you may think the prior decision was wrongly decided. That really doesn't answer the question, it just poses the question.

And you do look at these other factors, like settled expectations, like the legitimacy of the court, like whether a particular precedent is workable or not, whether a precedent has been eroded by subsequent developments. All of those factors go into the determination of whether to revisit a precedent under the principles of stare decisis.

Specter: A jolt to the legal system, a movement against stability, one of the Roberts doctrines.

Roberts: If a overruling of a prior precedent is a jolt to the legal system, it is inconsistent with principles of stability...

Specter: Go ahead.

Roberts: I was just going to say, the principles of stare decisis recognize that there are situations when that's a price that has to be paid. Obviously, Brown v. Board of Education is a leading example, overruling Plessy v. Ferguson, the West Coast hotel case overruling the Lochner-era decisions.

Those were, to a certain extent, jolts to the legal system, and the arguments against them had a lot to do with stability and predictability. But the other arguments that intervening precedents had eroded the authority of those cases, that those precedents that were overruled had proved unworkable, carried the day in those cases.

Specter: One final citation from the joint opinion in Roe, quote: After nearly 20 years of litigation in Roe's wake, we are satisfied that the immediate question is not the soundness of Roe's resolution of the issue, but the precedential force that must be accorded to its holding.

Do you think the court -- the joint opinion is correct in elevating precedential force even above the specific holding of the case?

Roberts: That is the general approach when you're considering stare decisis. It's the notion that it's not enough that you might think that the precedent is flawed, that there are other considerations that enter into the calculus that have to be taken into account: the values of respect for precedent, evenhandedness, predictability, stability; the considerations on the other side, whether a precedent you think may be flawed is workable or not workable, whether it's been eroded.

So to the extent that the statement is making the basic point -- that it's not enough that you might think the precedent is flawed to justify revisiting it -- I do agree with that.

Specter: When you and I met on our first so-called courtesy call, I discussed with you the concept of a super stare decisis, and this was a phrase used by a circuit Judge Luttig in Richmond Medical Center v. Governor Gilmore in the year 2000, when he refers to Casey being a super stare decisis decision with respect to the fundamental right to choose.

And a number of the academics -- Professor Farber has talked about the super stare decisis, and Professor Eskridge has, as it applies to statutory lines.

Do you think that the cases which have followed Roe fall into the category of a super stare decisis designation?

Roberts: Well, it's a term that hasn't found its way into the Supreme Court opinions yet.

Specter: Well, there's an opportunity for that.

(LAUGHTER)

Roberts: I think one way to look at it is that the Casey decision itself, which applies the principles of stare decisis to Roe v. Wade, is itself a precedent of the court entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis. And that would be the body of law that any judge confronting an issue in this area would begin with; not simply the decision in Roe v. Wade, but it's reaffirmation in the Casey decision.

That is itself a precedent. It's a precedent on whether or not to revisit the Roe v. Wade precedent. And, under principles of stare decisis, that would be where any judge considering an issue in this area would begin.

Specter: When you and I talked informally, I asked you if you had any thought as to how many opportunities there were in the intervening 32 years for Roe to be overruled, and you said you didn't really know.

And you cited a number. I said, Would it surprise you to know that there have been 38 occasions where Roe has been taken up, not with a specific issue raised, but all with an opportunity for Roe to be overruled?

One of them was Rust v. Sullivan, where you participated in the writing of the brief and, although the case did not squarely raise the overruling of Roe, it involved the issue of whether Planned Parenthood, even if it's funded with federal money, could counsel on abortion.

And in that brief you again raised the question about Roe being wrongly decided. And then I pointed out to you that there had been some 38 cases where the court had taken up Roe.

And I'm a very seldom user of charts but, on this one, I have prepared a chart because it speaks -- a little too heavy to lift -- but it speaks louder than just -- thank you, Senator -- 38 cases where Roe has been taken up.

And I don't want to coin any phrases on super-precedents -- we'll leave that to the Supreme Court -- but would you think that Roe might be a super-duper precedent in light of...

(LAUGHTER)

... in light of 38 occasions to overrule it?

Roberts: Well, the interesting thing, of course, is not simply the opportunity to address it, but when the court actually considers the question.

And that, of course, is in the Casey decision, where it did apply the principles of stare decisis and specifically addressed it. And that I think is the decision that any judge in this area would begin with.

Specter: Judge Roberts, in your confirmation hearing for the circuit court, your testimony read to this effect, and it's been widely quoted: Roe is the settled law of the land.

Do you mean settled for you, settled only for your capacity as a circuit judge, or settled beyond that?

Roberts: Well, beyond that, it's settled as a precedent of the court, entitled to respect under principles of stare decisis. And those principles, applied in the Casey case, explain when cases should be revisited and when they should not.

And it is settled as a precedent of the court, yes.

Specter: You went on then to say, quote, It's a little more than settled. It was reaffirmed in the face of a challenge that it should be overruled in the Casey decision.

So it has that added precedential value.

Roberts: I think the initial question for the judge confronting an issue in this area, you don't go straight to the Roe decision; you begin with Casey, which modified the Roe framework and reaffirmed its central holding.

Specter: And you went on to say, accordingly: It is the settled law of the land, using the term settled again.

Then your final statement as to this quotation: There is nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying the precedent, as well as Casey.

There have been questions raised about your personal views. And let me digress from Roe for just a moment because I think this touches on an issue which ought to be settled.

When you talk about your personal views and, as they may relate to your own faith, would you say that your views are the same as those expressed by John Kennedy when he was a candidate, when he spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September of 1960, quote, I do not speak for my church on public matters and the church does not speak for me, close quote?

Roberts: I agree with that, Senator. Yes.

Specter: And did you have that in mind when you said, There's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying the precedent, as well as Casey ?

Roberts: Well, I think people's personal views on this issue derive from a number of sources. And there's nothing in my personal views based on faith or other sources that would prevent me from applying the precedents of the court faithfully under principles of stare decisis.

Specter: Judge Roberts, the change in positions have been frequently noted. Early on, in one of your memoranda, you had made a comment on the so-called right to privacy. This was a 1981 memo to Attorney General Smith, December 11th, 1981. You were referring to a lecture which Solicitor General Griswold had given six years earlier and you wrote, quote, that, Solicitor General Griswold devotes a section to the so-called right to privacy; acquiring, as we have -- that such an amorphous arguing, as we have, that such an amorphous right was not to be found in the Constitution.

Do you believe today that the right to privacy does exist in the Constitution?

Roberts: Senator, I do. The right to privacy is protected under the Constitution in various ways.

It's protected by the Fourth Amendment which provides that the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, effects and papers is protected.

It's protected under the First Amendment dealing with prohibition on establishment of a religion and guarantee of free exercise.

It protects privacy in matters of conscience.

It was protected by the framers in areas that were of particular concern to them. It may not seem so significant today: the Third Amendment, protecting their homes against the quartering of troops.

And in addition, the court has -- it was a series of decisions going back 80 years -- has recognized that personal privacy is a component of the liberty protected by the due process clause.

The court has explained that the liberty protected is not limited to freedom from physical restraint and that it's protected not simply procedurally, but as a substantive matter as well.

And those decisions have sketched out, over a period of 80 years, certain aspects of privacy that are protected as part of the liberty in the due process clause under the Constitution.

Specter: So that the views that you expressed back in 1981, raising an issue about amorphous and so-called, would not be the views you'd express today?

Roberts: Those views reflected the dean's speech. If you read his speech, he's quite skeptical of that right. I knew the attorney general was, and I was transmitting the dean's speech to the attorney general, but my views today are as I've just stated them.

Specter: Okay.

So they weren't necessarily your views then, but they certainly aren't your views now?

Roberts: I think that's fair, yes.

Specter: With respect to going back again to the import of Roe and the passage of time, Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist changed his views on Miranda.

In the 1974 case, Michigan v. Tucker, which I'm sure you're familiar with, he did not apply Miranda -- without going into the technical reason there.

But the issue came back to the court in U.S. v. Dickerson in the year 2000. And the chief justice decided that Miranda should be upheld, and he used this language: that it became, quote, so embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become a part of our national culture, close quote.

Do you think that that kind of a principle would be applicable to a woman's right to choose as embodied in Roe v. Wade?

Roberts: Well, I think those are some of the considerations the court applied in Casey when it applied stare decisis to Roe. And those were certainly the considerations that the chief justice focused on in Dickerson.

I doubt that his views of the underlying correctness of Miranda had changed, but it was a different question in Dickerson. It wasn't whether Miranda was right; it was whether Miranda should be overruled at this stage.

And the chief applied and addressed that separate question, distinct from any of his views on whether Miranda was correct or not when decided. And that's the approach the court follows under principles of stare decisis.

Specter: Well, that's the analogy I'm looking for in Roe v. Wade. Might disagree with it at the time it was decided, but then his language is very powerful when he talks about it becoming, quote,

embedded in routine police practices to the point where the warnings have become a part of our national culture.

And the question, by analogy: Whether a woman's right to choose is so embedded that it's become a part of our national culture; what do you think?

Roberts: Well, I think that gets to the application of the principles in a particular case. And based on my review of the prior transcripts of every nominee sitting on the court today, that's where they've generally declined to answer: when it gets to the application of legal principles to particular cases.

I would repeat that the court has already applied the principles of stare decisis to Roe in the Casey decision. And that stands as a precedent of the court, as well.

Specter: So you're not bound to follow it but it's pretty impressive logic?

Roberts: In the Casey decision -- well, I mean...

Specter: No. I'm talking about Chief Justice Rehnquist on Miranda.

Roberts: I think in that case, the chief's explanation of why they weren't going to revisit Miranda -- it persuaded, I believe, all but one member of the court, and I'm sure it had added persuasive effect because of the chief's prior views on Miranda itself. It is a recognition of some of the things we've been talking about -- the values of stare decisis. I don't think, again, that there's any doubt what the chief -- certainly what he thought. He told us what he thought about Miranda. I doubt that those views have changed.

But there are other considerations that come into play when you're asked to revisit a precedent of the court. And those are the things we've talked about. And they're laid out, again, in Dickerson and other cases of the court: Payne v. Tennessee, for example, Agostini a variety of decisions where the court has explained when it will revisit a precedent and when it will not.

And, of course, the decisions come out both ways. In Payne v. Tennessee, the court went through the analyses. It was a case about whether victims could testify at sentencing. The precedent said no, and they overruled those.

Specter: Let me move to two more points before my time is about to expire in two minutes and 35 seconds.

There's a continuing debate on whether the Constitution is a living thing. And as you see Chief Justice Rehnquist shift his views on Miranda, it suggests that he would agree with Justice John Marshall Harlan's dissent in Poe, where he discusses the constitutional concept of liberty and says, quote, The traditions from which it developed, that tradition is a living thing.

Would you agree with that?

Roberts: I agree that the tradition of liberty is a living thing, yes.

Specter: Let me move, in the final two minutes here, to your participation pro bono in Roemer, where you gave some advice on the arguments to those who were upholding gay rights. There's a quotation by Walter Smith, who was the lawyer at Hogan Hartson in charge of pro bono work.

And he had this to say about your participation in that case, supporting her, trying to help the gay community in the case in the Supreme Court -- Mr. Smith said, quote, Every good lawyer knows that if there is something in his client's cause that so personally offends you, morally, religiously, or if it so offends you that you think it would undermine your ability to do your duty as a lawyer, then you shouldn't take it on. And John -- referring to you -- wouldn't have. So at a minimum, he had no concerns that would rise to that level.

Does that accurately express your own sentiments in taking on the (inaudible) to the gay community in that case?

Roberts: I was asked frequently by other partners to help out, particularly in my area of expertise, often involved moot courting. And I never turned down a request. I think it's right that if there had been something morally objectionable, I suppose I would have. But it was my view that lawyers don't stand in the shoes of their clients and that good lawyers can give advice and argue any side of a case.

And as I said, I was asked frequently to participate in that type of assistance for other partners at the firm. And I never turned anyone down.

Specter: My time's just expired.

Senator Leahy?

Leahy: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Good morning, Judge.

Roberts: Good morning.

Leahy: You look like you survived well yesterday.

No one doubts you've had a very impressive legal career thus far. And now you've been nominated to be chief justice of the United States. But I have concerns, as I go back over your career -- and we've had some discussions of this already -- about some of the themes in your career, some of the goals you sought to achieve using what is formidable skill.

My first area of concern involves a fundamental question of constitutional philosophy: the separation of powers. The last thing our founding fathers wanted was to be ruled by king with absolute power, and the next to the last thing they wanted was to be ruled by a temporary king with absolute powers for four years.

So we've got the political system we've talked about a great deal yesterday of checks and balances. Each of the three branches of government constrains the other when they overreach. Americans have relied on this for our fundamental guarantees of freedom and democracy and open government.

And all of us who serve, whether in the executive branch, the judiciary, as you do, the legislative, as we do, have taken a very solemn oath to uphold the Constitution.

But there have been times throughout our history when the separation of powers has been strained to its limits by presidents claiming power way beyond -- actually, almost imperial powers. So let's this focus this down a little bit more on presidential power.

Let's go to the president's power as commander in chief of the armed forces. He certainly has that power under the Constitution.

I look back to the time when you were a lawyer in the Reagan White House. You objected to a bill that would give certain preferences to veterans who had served in Lebanon between August 20, 1982, and, quote, the date the operation ends, close quote. And the day would be, as you just said, by presidential proclamation or a concurrent resolution of Congress.

And you wrote that the difficulty with such a bill is that it recognizes a role for Congress in determining the Lebanon operation. And you wrote further, quote I do not think we would want to concede any definite role for Congress in termination the Lebanon operation, even by joint resolution presented to the president. And then you explained even parenthetically that even if the president vetoed such a joint resolution, of course, Congress could override it by two-thirds majority.

I find that troubling; I'll tell you why.

Before I read your memo, I thought everybody agreed there would be only one answer to the question of whether Congress could stop a war.

Your memo suggests that Congress is powerless to stop a president who is going to conduct an unauthorized war. I really find that extremely hard to follow. And I imagine most Americans would.

I'll give you a hypothetical. Congress passes a law for all U.S. forces to be withdrawn from the territory of a foreign nation by a set date. The president vetoes the law. The Congress overrides that, sets into law, You must withdraw by a certain date.

Now, is there any question in your mind that the president would be bound to faithfully execute that law?

Roberts: Well, Senator, I don't want to answer a particular hypothetical that could come before the court, but I'm happy to comment on the memorandum that you're discussing.

Leahy: No, wait a minute. I mean, isn't this kind of hornbook law? I don't know of any cases coming before the court; I mean, this is kind of hornbook.

The Congress says to the president, You got to get out, and pass a law which is either signed into law by the president or you override a presidential veto. Why wouldn't the president have to -- charged as he is under the Constitution to faithfully execute the law, why wouldn't he have to follow that law?

Roberts: Well, Senator, that issue of -- and similar issues have, in fact, come up. There were, for example, lawsuits concerning the legality of the war in Vietnam; various efforts. And certainly the arguments would be made on the other side about the president's authority. And that may well come before the court.

Leahy: Judge, with all due respect, the cases in Vietnam were not based on a specific law passed by Congress to get out. I mean, Congress did cut off the funding...

Roberts: Right.

Leahy: ... in April, 1975, by a one-vote margin in the Armed Services Committee. I know because I was the newest member of the committee at that time -- voted to not authorize the war any longer.

But are you saying that Congress could not pass a law that we must withdraw forces?

Roberts: No, Senator, I'm not.

What I'm saying is that that issue or issues related to that could well come before the court, and that's why I have to resist answering a particular hypothetical question.

The memo you refer to -- I was working in the White House Counsel's Office then. The White House Counsel's Office is charged to be vigilant to protect the executive's authority, just as you have lawyers here in the Senate and the House has lawyers who are experts and charged with being vigilant to protect the prerogatives of the legislative branch.

I believe very strongly in the separation of powers. It was a very important principle that the framers set forth that is very protective of our individual liberty and make sure the legislative branch legislates, the executive executes, the judicial branch decides the law. And it was part of the framers' vision that each of the branches would be, to a certain extent, jealous of what they regarded as their prerogatives.

And to extent there is a dispute between the legislative branch and the executive branch, it's the job, of course, of the judicial branch to resolve that dispute.

Leahy: But your position in this memo in President Reagan's office seemed to indicate that Congress does not have the ability to end hostilities.

Roberts: With respect, Senator, you're vastly over-reading the memorandum.

Leahy: Tell me why.

Roberts: Well, because it had nothing to do with terminating hostilities. It had to do with the eligibility for certain pension benefits.

And the question then was whether or not -- who should be determining when the hostilities ceased or should cease. And there again, a lawyer for the executive branch -- not a judge who would be considering the issue in an entirely different light, but a lawyer for the executive branch -- a careful lawyer would say: There may be a problem there. Are we conceding anything by saying the legislature gets to determine when the hostilities end?

Leahy: Right. I don't think it's overreading it at all, as you suggest, to say -- when you write, I do not think we would want to concede any definitive role for Congress in terminating the Lebanon operation even by joint resolution presented to the president.

Roberts: Well, with respect, Senator...

Leahy: You're saying you don't want to concede any ability to the Congress to stop a war.

Roberts: With respect, Senator, the memorandum is about legislation for -- if I'm remembering it correctly; it was 20 some years ago -- pension benefits or certain additional pay benefits. That's what it was about.

And I suspect, if you asked any lawyer for any president of any administration whether they wanted to concede that general principle or if, as careful lawyers, they would prefer that that provision were rewritten or not in there, I am fairly confident, regardless of the administration, that a lawyer for the executive would take the same position.

Now, I am also fairly confident that one of your lawyers here in the Senate would take the opposite position.

Leahy: Let me ask you this question: Does Congress have the power to declare war?

Roberts: Of course. The Constitution specifically gives that power to Congress.

Leahy: Does Congress, then, have the power to stop a war?

Roberts: Congress certainly has the power of the purse. And that's the way, as you noted earlier, that Congress has typically exercised...

Leahy: Yes, but we know, we did that in the Boland amendment. And the Reagan administration, as we found out in the sorry chapter of Iran-Contra, went around that, violated the law, worked with Iran, sold arms illegally to Iran -- I think that's one of the axis of evil today -- to continue the Contra war in Central America. So the power of the purse -- we've cut off money, but the wars sometimes keep going.

Do we have the power to terminate a war? We have the power to declare war. Do we have the power to terminate war?

Roberts: Senator, that's a question that I don't think can be answered in the abstract. You need to know the particular circumstances and exactly what the facts are and what the legislation would be like, because the argument on the other side -- and as a judge, I would obviously be in a position of considering both arguments, the argument for the legislature and the argument for the executive. The argument on the executive side will rely on authority as commander in chief and whatever authorities derive from that.

So it's not something that can be answered in the abstract.

Leahy: You said -- your answer is that you were just talking about the question of veterans' benefits and all that after this. I would note that the memo you wrote wasn't entitled Veterans' Benefits. It was entitled War Powers Problem. I don't think I overstate it.

Now let me as you another question. We spoke about this again this morning, and I had told you when we met -- in fact, I gave you a copy of the Bybee memo so that this would not be a surprise to you.

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel issued a secret opinion in August 2002 which argued the president enjoys, quote,

complete authority over the conduct of war, close quote. And, quote, The Congress lacks authority to set the terms and conditions under which the president may exercise his authority as commander in chief to control the conduct of operations during war, close quote.

And then it took the argument to the extreme when it concluded the president, when acting as commander in chief was not bound -- was not bound -- by the federal law banning the use of torture. In other words, the president would be above the law in that regard. You did not write that memo -- I hasten to add -- but you've seen it.

And I asked Attorney General Gonzales for his view of this memo, in particular this sweeping assertion of executive power, which puts the president above the law. He never gave an answer on that and that's tone of the reasons why many had voted against his confirmation.

So, now let me ask you this: Do you believe that the president has a commander-in-chief override to authorize or excuse the use of torture in interrogation of enemy prisoners even though there may be domestic and international laws prohibiting the specific practice?

Roberts: Senator, I believe that no one is above the law under our system, and that includes the president. The president is fully bound by the law, the constitution and statutes. Now, there often arise issues where there's a conflict between the legislature and the executive over an exercise of executive authority -- asserted executive authority.

The framework for analyzing that is in the Youngstown Sheet and Tube case, the famous case coming out of President Truman's seizure of the steel mills.

Leahy: The Supreme Court held that unconstitutional.

Roberts: Exactly. And the framework set forth in Justice Jackson's concurring opinion, which is the opinion that has sort of set the stage for subsequent cases, analyzes the issue in terms of one of three categories.

If the president is acting in an area where Congress is supportive -- expressly supportive of his action -- the president's power is at its maximum. If the president is acting in an area such as you postulate under the Bybee, memo where the president is acting contrary to congressional authority, what justice Jackson said is, the president's authority is at its lowest ebb.

It consists solely of his authority under the constitution, less whatever authority Congress has. And then, of course, there's the vast little area where courts often have to struggle because they can't determine whether Congress has supported a particular exercise or not. The Dames Moore case, for example, is a good example of that.

Specter: Would you consider -- go ahead.

Roberts: I just going to say the first issue for a court confronting the question you posed would be whether Congress specifically intended to address the question of the president's exercise of authority or not.

Leahy: Well, yes, I would think that if you pass a law saying nobody in our government shall torture, I think that's pretty specific.

But let me ask you this: Is Youngstown settled law? Would you consider Youngstown settled law?

Roberts: I think the approach in the case is one that has guided the court in this area since 1954, '52, whatever it was.

Leahy: The reason I ask that, when Mr. Bybee wrote this memo, he never cited Youngstown. I think it was Harold Koh, the dean at the Yale Law School who said this was a stunning omission. I don't agree with that. The president, instead, went ahead and appointed -- or nominated Mr. Bybee to a federal judgeship.

Roberts: Youngstown's a very important case in a number of respects; not least the fact that the opinion that everyone looks to, the Jackson opinion, was by Justice Jackson who was, of course, FDR's attorney general and certainly a proponent of expansive executive powers...

Leahy: You've also said he was one of the justices you admire the most.

Roberts: He is, for a number of reasons. And what's significant about that aspect of his career is here's someone whose job it was to promote and defend an expansive view of executive powers as attorney general, which he did very effectively. And then as he went on the court, as you can tell from his decision in Youngstown, he took an entirely different view of a lot of issues; in one famous case even disagreeing with one of his own prior opinions. He wrote a long opinion about how he can't believe he once held those views. I think it's very important...

Leahy: Are you sending us a message?

Roberts: Well, I'm just saying...

(LAUGHTER)

One reason people admire Justice Jackson so much is that, although he had strong views as attorney general, he recognized, when he became a member of the Supreme Court, that his job had changed and he was not the president's lawyer, he was not the chief lawyer in the executive branch. He was a justice sitting in review of some of the decisions of the executive.

And he took a different perspective. And that's, again, one reason many admire him, including myself.

Leahy: The reason I ask -- I mean, I thought the memo was outrageous, and once it became public -- not until it became public, but after it became public, the president disavowed it and said he is opposed to torture, and I commend him for that.

Many wish the administration had taken that position prior to the press finding out about it.

But in the Jackson opinion -- and I just pulled it out here -- he says, The president has no monopoly of war powers, whatever they are. Congress cannot deprive the president of the command of the Army and Navy. Only Congress can provide him with an Army and Navy to command. Congress is also empowered to make rules for the government and regulation of land enabled forces. By which it may, to some unknown extent, impinge upon even command functions.

Do you agree that Congress can make rules that may impinge upon the president's command functions?

Roberts: Certainly, Senator. And the point that Justice Jackson is making there is that the Constitution vests pertinent authority in these areas in both branches.

The president is the commander in chief, and that meant something to the founders. On the other hand, as you just quoted, Congress has the authority to issue regulations governing the armed forces: another express provision in the Constitution.

Those two can conflict if by making regulations for the armed forces Congress does something that interferes with, in the president's view, his command authority. And in some cases those disputes will be resolved in court, as they were in the Youngstown case.

Leahy: In his book, All the Laws But One, Chief Justice Rehnquist, the late chief justice, concluded with this sentence, The laws will not be silent in time of war but they'll speak with a somewhat different voice.

He offers a somewhat different voice, of course -- the Supreme Court decision, an infamous decision, a horrible decision in my estimation, Korematsu. As we know, in that case, the court upheld the internment of Japanese-Americans in detention camps, not because of anything they had done, not because of any evidence that they were at all disloyal to the United States, but solely based on their race, as sometimes this country has legislated very, very cruelly and very wrongly solely on the question of race.

Now, the Korematsu majority's failure to uphold the Bill of Rights I believe is one of the greatest failures in the court's history.

Now, we can't -- I don't believe -- have a Supreme Court that would continue the failings of Korematsu, especially when we're engaged on a war on terror that could last throughout our lifetime; probably will. We'll always face -- we'll always -- this country, all the Western world, all democracies will face terrorist attacks, whether internal, as we had in Oklahoma City, or external at 9/11.

I just want to make sure you're not going to be a Korematsu justice, so I have a couple of questions.

Can I assume that you will hold the internment of all residents of this country who are interned just because they have a particular nationality or ethnic or religious group -- you would hold that to be unconstitutional?

Roberts: The internment of a group solely on the basis of their...

Leahy: Nationality or ethnic or religious group?

Roberts: I suppose a case like that could come before the court. I would be surprised to see it. And I would be surprised if there were any arguments that could support it.

Leahy: Let me ask you this: Do you feel that you would be able to interpret the Bill of Rights the same whether we're at wartime or not?

Roberts: I do, Senator.

I read the chief's book that you quoted from. And for someone who sits on the court that I sit on now, we famously look back to one of the first cases decided in the D.C. Circuit. It was the Aaron Burr trial. And if anything's a model...

Leahy: I thought you might mention that.

Roberts: Well, it's, sort of, a motto of our court, an opinion that was written out of that, in which the judge explained that it was our obligation to calmly poise the scales of justice in dangerous times as well as calm times -- that's a paraphrase.

But the phrase, calmly poise the scales of justice is, if anything, the motto of the court on which I now sit.

And that would be the guiding principle for me, whether I'm back on that court or different one, because some factors may be different, the issues may be different, the demands may be different, but the Bill of Rights remains the same. And the obligation of the court to protect those basic liberties in times of peace and in times of war, in times of stress and in times of calm, that doesn't change.

Leahy: I hope you feel that way. I know people have spoken of the First Amendment as not there to protect popular speech; that's easy. It's unpopular speech.

And as I mentioned yesterday, our state really wanted to make sure the Bill of Rights was going to be there before we joined the union.

Let me switch gears a bit. In the area of environmental protection, I feel that you've narrowly construed laws in the Constitution in a way to close the courthouse doors to millions of parents who want to protect their children from dangerous air pollution or unsafe drinking water, fish contaminated with mercury, foods covered with pesticides.

We all know that often the president, no matter who is president -- local governments don't do enough to protect people from environmental dangers. And we've given them protection, the Congress has.

I thought your Duke Law Journal, which many commented about in the press and otherwise, was somewhat dismissive regarding these citizen suits to protect the environment. You wrote that Congress may not ask the courts, in effect, to exercise oversight responsibility at the behest of any John Q. Public who happens to be interested in the issue.

You discount the interest that many citizens and Congress have in preserving our environment.

A few years ago you sounded very much like Justice Scalia. I know a few years ago the Supreme Court, over the dissent of Justice Scalia, ruled that a citizen living near a stream that had been polluted by many illegal discharges of mercury from an upstream company did have the right to go to court over these illegal mercury discharges. The government was not enforcing the laws.

So I ask you this: If their president or their governor fails to enforce these laws, why shouldn't individuals have access to courts where polluting companies could be made to pay for their wrongdoing? What can you tell us to assure us parents of children who are worried about this, from birth defects and all of us -- what can you do to assure us that they as individuals won't, under a Chief Justice Roberts, find the courthouse door slammed shut in their face?

Roberts: Well, one thing I would tell them to do is read the rest of the Duke Law Journal article. Because one point it makes is that environmental interests, it goes on to say, aesthetic interests, those are all protected under the law. And that one reason courts should insist that those who bring suit have standing -- that's the issue, that are actually injured -- is because standing can encompass, certainly, environmental harms.

The issue that was being addressed in the Duke Law Journal article was whether anyone could bring a lawsuit just because they're interested in the issue, or whether the plaintiffs had to show that they had been injured.

In other words, in your hypothetical, the people who are downstream from the mercury pollution, they will be able to show that they're injured and can bring suit.

The question is whether somebody halfway across the country who's not injured by that act should be able to bring suit. That was the issue in the law journal.

Leahy: But I read it also, in conjunction with your brief that you wrote in 1991, when you were Kenneth Starr's political deputy, in Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools -- now in that case, a girl, Christine Franklin, had been sexually harassed, she'd been abused by the time she was in 10th grade by a teacher and a sports coach.

The school was aware of sexual harassment but took no action. In fact, they even encouraged her not to complain.

The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education investigated; found their rights were violated under Title IX of our civil rights laws. She had been physically abused. A right to complain about gender discrimination had been interfered with. You argued that she had no right to damages for this abuse.

Now, your view was rejected by the Supreme Court. Justice White, in an opinion joined by Justice O'Connor and others, wrote that you fundamentally misunderstood the long history of the court's role in providing appropriate remedy for such abuse and that you had invited them to abdicate their historical judicial authority toward appropriate belief.

So do you now personally agree with and accept as binding the law the reasoning of Justice White's opinion in Franklin?

Roberts: Well, it certainly is a precedent of the court that I would apply under principles of stare decisis. The government's position in that case, of course, in no way condoned the activities involved.

The issue was an open one. The courts of appeals had ruled the same way that the government had argued before the Supreme Court. And it arose because we were dealing with an implied right of action; in other words, right of action under the statute that courts had implied.

The reason that there was difficulty in determining exactly what remedies were available is because Congress had not addressed that question. The remedies that were available as we explained included issues such as restitution, back pay, injunctive relief.

The open issue, again, was whether damages were available. The Supreme Court issued its ruling and cleared that up.

Leahy: But here in a case -- I mean, this is a pretty egregious case. And I'm sure you in no way condoned what happened to this young girl. It was awful. She'd been taken out of class by this teacher, brought to another room, basically raped.

And Justice White made it very clear, contrary to what you and Kenneth Starr had said, that she had a right for actions because of that abuse.

Now, do you feel that they were acting -- even though it went different than what you'd argued -- do you feel the court's opinion is based on sound reasoning?

Roberts: Well...

Leahy: Do you think it's a solid precedent?

Roberts: It's a precedent in the court. It was, as you say, unanimous precedent. It concerned an issue of statutory interpretation because it was unclear whether Congress had intended a particular remedy to be available or not. That was the question before the court.

The court of appeals had ruled one way. The Supreme Court ruled the other way.

The administration's position was based on the principle that the decision about the remedy of back pay was a decision that should be made by Congress and not the court. The court saw the case the other way.

And that issue is now settled. Those damages, actions are brought in courts around the country.

Leahy: But I wonder if we're balancing angels on the head of a pin. What kind of back pay was this teenage student going to be seeking? What kind of injunction is she going to do -- after she graduated? Would she seek that kind of injunction?

You know, as a parent -- and you're a parent, I just wonder: Aren't we saying that we'll put up a block for people who have really justiciable reasons to be in court?

Roberts: No, Senator, again, there was no issue in the case about condoning the behavior. I found it abhorrent then and I find it abhorrent now. That's not the issue. The issue in the case is: Did Congress intend for this particular remedy to be available?

Other remedies were available under the provision at issue. And the question is: Was this remedy available?

Leahy: The back pay?

Roberts: Restitution and injunction to prohibit the harmful activity -- again, the issue arose because Congress had not spelled out whether there was a right of action in the first place or what the components of that right of action should be.

Leahy: We'll go back to this in my next round, I can assure you. My time is up.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Specter: Thank you very much, Senator Leahy.

Senator Hatch?

Hatch: Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm happy to be here. And I appreciate your leadership -- you and Senator Leahy -- on this committee.

Welcome you, again, Judge Roberts, and appreciate...

Roberts: Thank you...

Hatch: And I read an interesting book over the weekend, Cass Sunstein's recent book published by Basic Books. Now, he discussed various philosophies with regard to judging. And I just would like to ask you this question: Some of the philosophies he discussed were whether a judge should be an originalist, a strict constructionist, a fundamentalist, perfectionist, a majoritarian or minimalist -- which of those categories do you fit in?

Roberts: I didn't have a chance to read Professor Sunstein's book. He writes a different one every week; it's hard to keep up with him.

(LAUGHTER)

But, you know, I think...

Hatch: I've read a number of them.

Roberts: Like most people, I resist the labels. I have told people, when pressed, that I prefer to be known as a modest judge. And, to me, that means some of the things that you talked about in those other labels. It means an appreciation that the role of the judge is limited; the judge is to decide the cases before them; they're not to legislate; they're not to execute the laws.

Another part of that humility has to do with respect for precedent that forms part of the rule of law that the judge is obligated to apply under principles of stare decisis.

Part of that modesty has to do with being open to the considered views of your colleagues on the bench. I would say that's one of the things I've learned the most in the past two years on the Court of Appeals: how valuable it is to function in a collegial way with your colleagues on the bench; other judges being open to your views; you being open to theirs.

They, after all, are in the same position you're in. They've read the same briefs. They've heard the same arguments. They've looked at the same cases.

If they're seeing things in a very different way, you need to be open to that and try to take another look at your view and make sure that you're on solid ground. Now, I think that general approach results in a modest approach to judging which is good for the legal system as a whole. I don't think the courts should have a dominant role in society and stressing society's problems.

It is their job to say what the law is. That's what Chief Justice Marshall said, of course, in Marbury v. Madison.

And, yes, there will be times when either the executive branch or the legislative branch exceeds the limits of their powers under the Constitution or transgresses one of provisions of the Bill of Rights. Then it is emphatically the obligation of the courts to step up and say what the Constitution provides, and to strike down either unconstitutional legislation or unconstitutional executive action.

But the court has to appreciate that the reason they have that authority is because they are interpreting the law. They are not making policy.

And to the extent they go beyond their confined limits and make policy or execute the law, they lose their legitimacy. And I think that calls into question the authority they will need when it's necessary to act in the face of unconstitutional action.

Hatch: Now, I know that I have only mentioned a few of the so- called descriptions of various philosophical attitudes with regard to judging.

But am I correct in interpreting that you are probably eclectic, that you would take whatever is the correct way of judging out of each one of those provisions? There may be truths in each one of those positions, and none of them absolutely creates an absolute way of judging.

Roberts: Well, I have said I do not have an overarching judicial philosophy that I bring to every case. And I think that's true.

Hatch: OK.

Roberts: I tend to look at the cases from the bottom up rather than the top down. And I think all good judges focus a lot on the facts. We talk about the law, and that's a great interest for all of us. But I think most cases turn on the facts, so you do have to know those. You have to know the record.

In terms of the application of the law, you begin, obviously, with the precedents before you. There are some cases where everybody's going to be a literalist. If the phrase in the Constitution says two-thirds of the Senate, everybody's a literalist when they interpret that.

Other phrases in the Constitution are broader: unreasonable searches and seizures. You can look at that wording all day and it's not going to give you much progress in deciding whether a particular search is reasonable or not. You have to begin looking at the cases and the precedents, what the framers had in mind when they drafted that provision.

So, yes, it does depend upon the nature of the case before you, I think.

Hatch: Well, thank you.

On the War Powers Act, I remember when Senator Heflin years ago in the Breyer hearing said, You, of course, have been here at various times. Do you have any particular thoughts concerning the authority and what ought to be done relative to this or do you have feel feelings that the War Powers Act is a proper approach to this issue?

Judge Breyer's simple answer was, I do not have special thoughts they I would think would be particularly enlightening in that area.

He did not get drawn into interpreting the War Powers Act for the committee, and I suspect that that's the way you feel as well.

Now, my friend the chairman held up a chart with a number of cases that he said relied on Roe v. Wade. In fact, if I heard him correctly, he called Roe a super-duper precedent.

Now, I'm not that a superduper precedent exists, between you and me, but have said that Planned Parenthood v. Casey, very important case, reaffirmed Roe.

But let me just ask you this: Am I correct that Casey reaffirmed the central holding in Roe but substantially changed its framework?

Roberts: That's what the joint opinion of the three justices said. It was reaffirming the central holding. It revisited and altered the framework...

Hatch: But there were only a few votes to simply reaffirm Roe, weren't there, in the Casey case?

Roberts: Well, the plurality opinion is regarded, I think, as the opinion of -- it's the opinion of the plurality, but as the leading opinion of the justices and the majority. It's one the judges look to in the first instance.

There were separate opinions that disagreed with some of the ways in which that plurality revisited Roe. It reaffirmed the central holding in Roe v. Wade, it dispensed with the trimester framework, and it substituted for the strict scrutiny that Roe had established the undue burden analysis that, hence, since the time of Casey, has governed in this area.

Hatch: Well, as I recall it, there were only a few votes, as you've mentioned, to simply reaffirm Roe. But does this suggest that Casey itself noted the troubling features of Roe and indicated that Roe's framework has not been workable?

Roberts: Well, the question of the workability of the framework is, I think, one of the main considerations that you look to under principles of stare decisis, along with the settled expectations, whether a precedent has been eroded.

That was one of the factors that the court looked at in Casey in determining, I think, to alter the framework of Roe, the trimester framework and the strict scrutiny approach, at least in the terms that were applied by the joint opinion.

Hatch: Our chairman asked if former Chief Justice Rehnquist's opinion in the Dickerson case upholding Miranda would apply to Roe v. Wade. And if I recall correctly, you properly declined to answer, but am I right that Chief Justice Rehnquist repeatedly believed that Roe should be overruled?

Roberts: That was his view, yes.

Hatch: And doesn't that mean that Rehnquist himself did not believe that his Dickerson holding should apply to Roe? Would that be a fair conclusion?

Roberts: Well, based on his published opinions, and I don't remember -- certainly he wrote in Casey. I don't know if he's written since then. So I just hesitate to ascribe views from 1992 to the current.

Posted by Jeff at 11:02 AM | Comments (2)

August 18, 2005

Stages of the Human Lifespan

The lifespan of a human (in reverse order):

  • Elder
  • Adult
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Infant
  • Fetus
  • Fertilized Egg

All genetically identical.

Posted by Jeff at 01:35 PM | Comments (10)

August 15, 2005

Responding to the "Extremist Hatemonger"

Responding to Cindy Sheehan's over the top vitriolic attacks, Iraqi Mohammad Fadhil:

I know how you feel Cindy, I lived among the same pains for 35 years but worse than that was the fear from losing our loved ones at any moment. Even while I'm writing these words to you there are feelings of fear, stress, and sadness that interrupt our lives all the time but in spite of all that I'm sticking hard to hope which if I didn't have I would have died years ago.

Ma'am, we asked for your nation's help and we asked you to stand with us in our war and your nation's act was (and still is) an act of ultimate courage and unmatched sense of humanity. Our request is justified, death was our daily bread and a million Iraqi mothers were expecting death to knock on their doors at any second to claim someone from their families. Your face doesn't look strange to me at all; I see it everyday on endless numbers of Iraqi women who were struck by losses like yours.

Our fellow country men and women were buried alive, cut to pieces and thrown in acid pools and some were fed to the wild dogs while those who were lucky enough ran away to live like strangers and the Iraqi mother was left to grieve one son buried in an unfound grave and another one living far away who she might not get to see again.

We did nothing to deserve all that suffering, well except for a dream we had; a dream of living like normal people do.

We cried out of joy the day your son and his comrades freed us from the hands of the devil and we went to the streets not believing that the nightmare is over. . . .

The mothers went to break the bars of cells looking for the ones they lost 5, 12 or 20 years ago and other women went to dig the land with their bare hand searching for a few bones they can hold in their arms after they couldn't hold them when they belonged to a living person.

I recall seeing a woman on TV two years ago, she was digging through the dirt with her hands. There was no definite grave in there as the whole place was one large grave but she seemed willing to dig the whole place looking for her two brothers who disappeared from earth 24 years ago when they were dragged from their colleges to a chamber of hell.

Her tears mixed with the dirt of the grave and there were journalists asking her about what her brothers did wrong and she was screaming "I don't know, I don't know. They were only college students. They didn't murder anyone, they didn't steal, and they didn't hurt anyone in their lives. All I want to know is the place of their grave."

Why was this woman chosen to lose her dear ones? Why you? Why did a million women have to go through the same pain?

We did not choose war for the sake of war itself and we didn't sacrifice a million lives for fun! We could've accepted our jailor and kept living in our chains for the rest of our lives but it's freedom ma'am. Freedom is not an American thing and it's not an Iraqi thing, it's what unites us as human beings.

Posted by Jeff at 07:24 PM | Comments (2)

Situational Libertarianism, Slippery Slopes, and Simplistic Thinking

The prudence of situational libertarianism should be obvious to us all. Short term encroachments on civil liberties are warranted when failing to do so presents a credible danger of still greater long term or permanent endings of our civil liberties.

In fact, short term encroachments on our civil liberties are part of every serious civil libertarian's master plan. Who, for example, would knee-jerkedly agree that it's okay to imprison an innocent man? Yet, that's precisely what we do every day in every state of the union: we arrest innocent-until-proven-guilty suspects, uproot them from their lives, and hold them until and unless they either post bail (the temporary seizure of an innocent man's property by the state), are no longer prime suspects (not enough evidence to continue to hold them), or are acquitted. The long term safety of our civil liberties has always come as a benefit from short term encroachments upon them.

High Energy Physics

There's an analogue for this in the natural world, by the way, in the form of the law of the conservation of energy. By virtue of something called the uncertainty principle, the universe is able to tolerate short term variations in its total energy, variations which disappear almost as quickly as they occur. An example of this phenomenon is of empty space being anything but empty, as matter and anti-matter pairs of quanta are constantly being created and destroyed. But I digress....

Sometimes, short term encroachments upon our civil liberties which are necessary for their long term sustainability extend beyond relatively minor encroachments such as the detaining of suspects of crimes. These situations are not unlike forsaking a healthy chemical-free lifestyle in favor of enduring short term chemotherapy to end cancer. Charles Krauthammer's current column explains:

In 1977, when a bunch of neo-Nazis decided to march through Skokie, a suburb of Chicago heavily populated with Holocaust survivors, there was controversy as to whether they should be allowed. I thought they should. Why? Because neo-Nazis are utterly powerless.

Had they not been -- had they been a party on the rise, as in late-1920s Germany -- I would have been for not only banning the march but also for practically every measure of harassment and persecution from deportation to imprisonment. A tolerant society has an obligation to be tolerant. Except to those so intolerant that they themselves would abolish tolerance.

Call it situational libertarianism: Liberties should be as unlimited as possible -- unless and until there arises a real threat to the open society. Neo-Nazis are pathetic losers. Why curtail civil liberties to stop them? But when a real threat -- such as jihadism -- arises, a liberal democratic society must deploy every resource, including the repressive powers of the state, to deter and defeat those who would abolish liberal democracy.

I tend to be a "slippery-slope" arguer, myself. I like to say that, to quote (as accurately possible from memory) an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." But that's absurd.

"Life, however, is lived on a slippery slope: Taxation could become confiscation; police could become gestapos. But the benefits from taxation and police make us willing to wager that our judgment can stop slides down dangerous slopes."
--George F. Will

Back to Charles Krauthammer and the aforementioned article. He makes his own "slippery slope" argument:

Civil libertarians go crazy when you make this argument. Beware the slippery slope, they warn. You start with a snoop in a library, and you end up with Big Brother in your living room.

The problem with this argument is that it is refuted by American history. There is no slippery slope, only a shifting line between liberty and security that responds to existential threats.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln went so far as to suspend habeas corpus. When the war ended, America returned to its previous openness. During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt interned an entire ethnic group. His policies were soon rescinded (later apologized for) and shortly afterward America embarked on a period of unprecedented expansion of civil rights. Similarly, the Vietnam-era abuses of presidential power were later exposed and undone by Congress.

Our history is clear. We have not slid inexorably toward police power. We have fluctuated between more and less openness depending on need and threat. And after the Sept. 11 mass murders, America awoke to the need for a limited and temporary shrinkage of civil liberties to prevent more such atrocities.

Our tendencies toward simplistic thinking prod us toward making judgments without thinking past the next move on the chess board; all is black and white and please don't bother us with complexities which may confuse.

Posted by Jeff at 10:55 AM | Comments (4)

August 14, 2005

Tolerance

"[Tolerance] used to be a virtue. It used to mean that even though I disagreed vehemently with your view, I treated you with respect and kindness. Now it means that I am to accept your view, no matter what it is, as having equal value in the marketplace of ideas."
--Tom Knott

Posted by Jeff at 06:52 PM | Comments (0)

The F-Word

"[F]ascism seems to have become the academic equivalent of another well-known F-word: a generalized expletive that only infrequently bears any relationship to its original meaning, though it retains the power to shock those who are unaccustomed to its overuse."
--James Taranto

Posted by Jeff at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

America Dodged a Bullet

Yesterday, while reading another weblog, I was reminded of just how important it was for President Bush to be re-elected. The weblog in question was that of Wil Wheaton, the fellow who played Wesley Crusher on Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Wil Wheaton, it seems, like most of Hollywood, is on the political left. He seems completely out of touch with how "the real world" works. Sure, his strange little corner of it is as real as anyone else's, but it's a terribly uncommon world unshared by the rest of us (I get a serious kick that his "about" page tells us that since leaving Star Trek, he "tried life as a hobo, riding the rails across the US", followed by "finding his calling" working in a "waffle house" shortly thereafter, a job which he couldn't hold and, "heart broken and disillusioned", he went back to L.A. to write books). He's been weblogging for years, it seems, and I wanted to see what, if anything, he had to say about the re-election of George Bush.

Nov. 1, 2004

I believe that we much [sic] reject George W. Bush and the direction he's taken our country. Even if we (hopefully) end up with a new president tomorrow, it will take decades to repair the damage George Bush has done in just four years....

This election is a referendum on the policies and leadership of President Bush....

Nov. 3, 2004

I'm stunned, and at a total loss for words this morning, so I'm going to borrow some words from Oliver Willis:

The amazing thing to me about this race was that Bush could be as divisive as he wanted to be, but it never penalized him. The most important things in the world were responded to with infantile answers or complete ignorance. Where he stood was clear. Simplicity wins.

Apparently, my country holds a fundamentally different set of values than I thought we did, and that scares the shit out of me. I still believe that Bush is bad for America, and though I'm virtually certain that the next four years will be an absolute disaster. Not just because we have gotten four more years of the Bush agenda, but because this election has been an enthusiastic endorsement of that agenda.

I hoped I would wake up this morning to the good news that our long national nightmare was over.

It's not over.

It's just beginning.

The truth is that a nightmare was averted. He was right that the vote was a referendum on America's actions in the previous 3.5 years, and he's right that the vote was an enthusiastic endorsement of that agenda. Can you imagine what would've resulted from a George Bush defeat?

For several years, misguided people across the globe have been denouncing America, agreeing with Wil Wheaton that the effects of America's actions during President Bush's term can accurately be described as "damage" - and damage which will take decades to repair. Now just imagine what world consciousness about America would be if George Bush had not been re-elected. He'd have been perceived as having been "thrown out of office" by his own people. Those across the globe who have been lambasting America would've had their criticisms validated by Americans themselves. America would've been seen as the self-admitted great satan of the world, a country which owes much to the rest of the world for its hubris (the lefties' new favorite word) and the destruction which followed from it. America would be seen as having been sent to the back of the world's classroom, to sit in a corner, with a dunce cap on its head, where it'd be expected to follow, from now on, the much higher and mightier moral authority of the rest of the world.

And it would be a sickening misappreciation of what's really going on.

America, including - if not especially - America under the leadership of President George W. Bush, can not only be proud of itself, but still more proud of itself than that of any other nation. Freedom still rings here better than it rings anywhere else. What passes for freedom in other previously Americanized countries, such as Canada and Great Britian, tend to be statist encroachments upon freedoms. We're seeing these kinds of encroachments on our freedoms here at home (affirmative action, for example: a requirement by the state that we shall hold a persons race to be not only important, but an indespensible measure of the man in question, tattooed from birth), but we're still far ahead of the rest of the world. America is also tremendously generous to other nations in terms of charity, America is still a leader in technological innovation, including innovations which reduce our impact on the natural environment. The list, for America - unlike most other countries - can go on and on. America is not merely good, America is GREAT. No culture has done more good for humanity than that which forms the basis of America's politics.

So just imagine what would've happened had George W. Bush not been re-elected. The whole world would be pulling America down, helped by leftist Americans themselves, and instead of Democratic childish obstructionism in the senate hampering the American agenda, the Libertarians and the Republicans would be left fighting like America's founding minutemen, to prevent the once great United States from being stamped down into the the Union of Amerikan Socialist Republics.

With the re-election of President George W. Bush, America has maintained its moral authority in the world.

PS: With regard to the quote above which suggests that George W. Bush was divisive, we should all know by now who is really dividing America.

Posted by Jeff at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

White Woman, Black Man

It'll be interesting to see how the story of a real life "Bonnie and Clyde" plays out. Here we have a black man, who was imprisoned, and a white woman, who was free to set up the means necessary for the planned escape of the man, both accused of murder in having executed that plan. It seems that as corrections officers were leading the man, George Hyatte, out of a court house, George suddenly yelled, "Shoot him!" Bullets rang out, killing one of the corrections officers, a Mr. Wayne "Cotton" Morgan. The other corrections officer managed to return fire, injuring the woman who was firing the shots, the prisoner's wife, Jennifer Hyatte. The authorities released these photos of the perpetrators:

old.jpg

The sheriff of Roane County, Tennessee said, "I would recommend death" as the penalty that they should face. I most certainly agree. When I was a child in school, I remember a teacher explaining to the class that the death penalty in my state applied whenever a murder is premeditated and/or whenever a murder takes place during the commission of another crime (in the latter case, suppose an armed robbery is taking place and someone is killed; arguably, they never intended to kill anyone, so there was no plan for a murder, thus this situation requires being addressed separately). In the case of the Hyattes, it certainly appears that both conditions took place, as the shooting was an essential element in George's planned escape.

I hope that Tennessee has a similar application for the death penalty as my state.

But there's something even more sinister about this crime. Not only did they plan a murder, and not only did the murder take place during the execution of another crime, but additionally the crime was not only against the fellow who was killed, but it was also against the state. Even if no one had been killed, we had our system of justice violently attacked and subverted. An attack against our government from the inside is no better than an attack from the outside - by malicious governments or terrorists. I would consider it to be a slap in the face to all Americans if these people receive anything less than the death penalty.

After they were caught, the authorities released these photos of the pair:

new.jpg

So I just click on a news story entitled, Mother says con's wife gullible about men. Oh lord...let the scapegoating begin. I find this lovely statement, made by Jennifer's mother, within its text:

"We realize that what she has allegedly done is terrible, but we feel the horrible man she got involved with is truly to blame for this whole situation. We also feel that he had her brainwashed from the first time they met."

Granted, the mother is probably suffering significant grief over these happenings. And the first response of nearly any mother is going to be to want to protect her child, to solve the problems, and make all of the bad go away. And given what is likely the mother's state of mind, I can't say that I blame her for saying such a thing.

But putting the grief aside for a few moments, consider that statement as (hypothetically) coming from a person who is of sound mind. If such a woman believes such a thing, I can't say that I'd be overwhelmingly surprised to find her raising children who murder. The statement is nothing else but a denial of personal responsibility. And raising a kid to avoid personal responsibility is just about the worst thing that a parent could do. Such avoidance is the primary reason for the evils that happen in this world.

The danger here is that such an argument will be used in court. Here you have a black man with a long rap sheet and a white woman who has no record at all. "He brainwashed her". What a load of crap. And, judging by the types of daytime television shows which become so very successful in America, I can see a jury of 12 nincompacs letting this bimbo off of the hook. Let's hope not.

Get over it.

Posted by Jeff at 01:56 AM | Comments (14)

August 08, 2005

Not News

I'm sorry, but this story is simply NOT "big news":

Protest Mom

Look at that...look at how many stories Google is finding for that non-news story. When people discuss leftist bias in the news, this is what they're talking about, folks. It's about the news media pushing in our faces what they want us to think is important, rather than what we actually do.

Now, I'm sure that there are some moveon.org, democraticunderground.com, Michael Moore, ultra-leftist types who think that this IS news, but these characters aren't the mainstream, nor are they the people on the right. But apparently they are the people in the news rooms.

Here - have some Cox and Forkum:

Air America and MSM Leftist Bias
Posted by Jeff at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

Embracing Mediocrity

These three quotes contain a lot in common, do they not? The first is from a...well, I suppose it's a site spoofing Communism. I say that less than solidly because, considering what an abysmal failure Communism is, and considering how cruel and immoral Communism's goals are in the first place, and considering how laughable are it's methods from the perspective of reason, wouldn't even the most serious Communist site resemble a spoof? Anyway, the following quote is from The People's Cube:

Competition is a barbaric, insensitive ritual that reeks of social Darwinism. We cannot allow the fittest to survive on our pages. Your loss is someone else's gain, and your gain is someone else's loss. Therefore, losers contribute to the society and winners take away from it. Being a winner is unethical, while a society of losers is happy and striving as a collective. In the spirit of diversity, inclusiveness, and collectivism our contests shall have no winners. Everyone is declared a loser, which in our book means an ethical team player.
--You May Be Guilty of a Thoughtcrime if....

And while you allow the whole meaning of that quote to sink in, and after reminding yourself that this came from a spoof site (while also noting the irony that it accurately describes Communism), consider the following real event:

The other day an official with a British teachers' union proposed that the concept of "failing" exams should be abolished. Instead of being given a "failing" grade, she said, the pupil would instead be given a "deferred success."
--Mark Steyn, Democrats' New Strategy: Almost Winning

Two quotes into my three quote presentation, and things are already looking pretty scary. The next quote comes from the same story as the above. Mark Steyn, master political columnist, is the first to tie them together, I get no credit for that, it's all his, but what's scary is both of these quotes describe real events - not spoofs. My point is that the type of thinking in the first quote, the one from The People's Cube, is the essence of what is going on here:

Oh, sure, you can scoff. But evidently the system's already being test-piloted in Howard Dean's Democratic Party. That's why the Dems' Congressional Campaign Committee hailed their electoral failure in last week's Ohio special election as a triumphant "deferred success." As their press release put it:

"In nearly the biggest political upset in recent history, Democrat Paul Hackett came within just a few thousand votes of defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in Ohio's Second Congressional District."

Yes, indeed. It was "nearly the biggest political upset in recent history," which is another way of saying it was actually the smallest political non-upset in recent history.

Embracing mediocrity. That's the whole story.

It's amazing that the Democratic party has any power (i.e., voters) at all.

On another topic, the rest of the Mark Steyn article is excellent as well. Here's a bit more to whet your appetite:

Hackett was like a fast-forward rerun of the Kerry campaign. He was a veteran of the Iraq war, but he was anti-war, but he made solemn dignified patriotic commercials featuring respectful footage of President Bush and artfully neglecting to mention the candidate was a Democrat, but in livelier campaign venues he dismissed Bush as a "sonofabitch" and a "chicken hawk" who was "un-American" for questioning his patriotism.

And as usual this nearly winning strategy lost yet again -- this time to a weak Republican candidate with a lot of problematic baggage. Insofar as I understand it, the official Democratic narrative is that Bush is a moron who's nevertheless managed to steal two elections. Big deal. Up against this crowd, that's looking like petty larceny. After the Ohio vote, Dem pollster Stan Greenberg declared that "one of the biggest doubts about Democrats is that they don't stand for anything." That might have passed muster two years ago. Alas, the party's real problem is that increasingly there's no doubt whatsoever about it.

Fortunately, the Dems have found a new line of attack to counter the evil election-stealing moron. A few days ago, the Democratic National Committee put out a press release attacking Bush for being physically fit. It seems his physical fitness comes at the expense of the nation's lardbutt youth. Or as the DNC put it:

"While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs."

Wow. I noticed my gal had put on a few pounds but I had no idea it was Bush's fault. That sonofabitch chicken hawk. Just for the record, "his cuts to education funding" are cuts only in the sense that Hackett's performance in the Ohio election was a tremendous victory: that's to say, Bush's "cuts to education funding" are in fact an increase of roughly 50 percent in federal education funding.

Posted by Jeff at 04:09 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2005

I Love Mark Steyn

If you're not reading Mark Steyn's political columns every chance you get, you're missing out on the most worthwhile political commentator since...since...well, since ever. Here's a taste:

[There have been] months of ever more desperate disparagement by Senate Democrats eager to nail [John Bolton]. By April, they were reduced to complaining his body language, as I discussed in The Chicago Sun-Times:

Boy, this confirmation battle over John Bolton, the President's plain-spoken nominee for UN ambassador, is really heating up. Senator Barbara Boxer, the Democratic Party's comely obstructionist, has charged that Bolton needs "anger management lessons".

I don't know about you, but nothing makes me want to hurl a chair through the window and punch someone's lights out like being told I need anger management lessons. So I was interested to hear about the kind of violent Boltonian eruptions that had led Senator Boxer to her diagnosis. Well, here it comes. (If you've got young children present, you might want to take them out of the room.) From the shockingly brutal testimony of Thomas Fingar, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Intelligence Research:

Q: Could you characterize your meeting with Bolton? Was he calm?

MR. FINGAR: No, he was angry. He was standing up.

Q: Did he raise his voice to you? Did he point his finger in your face?

MR. FINGAR: I don't remember if he pointed. John speaks in such a low voice normally. Was it louder than normal? Probably. I wouldn't characterize it as screaming at me or anything like that. It was more, hands on hips, the body language as I recall it, I knew he was mad.

He was "standing up" with "hands on hips"! Who's he think he is - Carmen Miranda? Fortunately, before Bolton could let rip with a "pursed lip" or escalate to the lethal "tsk-ing" maneuver, Fingar was able to back cautiously out of the room and call the FBI anger management team, who surrounded the building and told the deranged diplomat to come out slowly with his hands above his hips.

Well, I haven't been so horrified since ...well, since David Gest split from Liza Minnelli and launched a multi-million dollar suit for damages because she'd beaten him up. As "The Daily Show"'s Jon Stewart observed, "There is no conceivable amount of money worth telling the world that you were beaten up by Liza Minnelli." Likewise, whatever one's feelings about the UN and Kofi Annan and multilateralism, there's nothing that could get most self-respecting men to appear in front of a Senate committee and complain that John Bolton put his hands on his hips. At least, Liza allegedly beat David to a pulp. True, she'd recently had two hip replacements, so if she'd slapped her hands on her hips, she'd have fallen to the ground howling in agony, and David could have run for his life. Or, indeed, strolled for his life, given that she was overweight, barely five foot tall and a decade his senior. But my point is: even David Gest might have balked at complaining about hands on hips.

Still, in the ever accelerating descent into parody of the Senate confirmation process, nothing is too trivial. By the time Senator Boxer and co are through huffing about the need for anger management lessons, Two-Hips Bolton will be able to walk into every saloon in Dodge and the meanest hombres will be diving for cover behind the hoochie-koochie gals' petticoats before his pinky's so much as brushed his waist.

Nuts and Bolton

Posted by Jeff at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2005

The President's Health

From his last exam:

-- Facts and figures about President Bush's health, from a physical examination Saturday at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Bush, 59, was born July 6, 1946:

Height: 5 feet, 11 3/4 inches.

Weight: 191.6 pounds.

Blood pressure: resting, seated 110/64 (below 120/80 is healthy).

Pulse: resting, seated 47 beats per minute (60-100 bpm is normal for adults; 40-60 bpm is normal for a well-trained athlete).

Body fat: 15.79 percent.

Cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein 56 (goal is above 40); low-density lipoprotein 100 (optimal is below 100); total cholesterol 178 (below 200 is desirable).

Overall health: "The president remains in the 'superior' fitness category for men his age." _ summary of exam.

The president was found "to be fit for duty" with "every reasonable expectation that he will remain fit for duty for the duration of his presidency." _ statement issued by his doctors.

Since his December physical, President Bush has lost a little weight and gained a few points in his cholesterol level.

His weight fell from nearly 200 pounds to 191.6 pounds, and his body fat dropped from 18.25 percent to 15.79 percent.

His overall cholesterol level went up from 170 to 178, still well below to the desirable limit of 200.

He exercises six times a week by bicycling 15 miles to 20 miles, working out on a treadmill and an elliptical trainer, performing free weight resistance training and stretching.

The report by his doctors notes, "The president has a history of activity-related injuries ... (that) do not impact his current duties."

He enjoys an occasional cigar, gets his caffeine from diet sodas and coffee, and reports no usage of alcohol.

The report also notes, "The president has not missed work due to illness since his last physical exam."

Thanks Associated Press!

Posted by Jeff at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2005

Foolish Questions, and Very Good Answers

From the press conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard and British Prime Minister Tony Blair after today's (yesterday's, depending upon where you are) attacks:

Embarrassingly stupid question: Prime Minister [Blair], you have appealed for people to stay calm, but do you feel any sense of responsibility at all for the fact that ordinary people here in London now seem to be in the frontline in the war against terror?

Prime Minister Blair (dodging the idiotic question, giving the pinhead a chance to save face): Well I think what is important is that people do stay calm and react in the way that they have reacted so far. And the very purpose of the people who are doing this type of thing, their purpose is precisely in order to make people worried and frightened and taking responsibility off the shoulders of the people who engage in these types of acts. And we have just got to remain as we have been. I think the one thing, and the Prime Minister was just saying this a moment or two ago, the one thing that has come across very clearly over the past couple of weeks has been the impact if you like that the British attitude has had on the rest of the world, where people have seen our country react to terrorist attacks that are meant to make people frightened, and worried, and scared, and react with great dignity, and great strength and great determination that it doesn't change us, it is not going to change what we do. And therefore when something like this happens again today, and as I say I can't give you the full details of it at the moment, and the police will at a later time, our reaction has got to be the same. To react in any other way I think is to engage in the game they want us to engage in.

Incredibly stupid question asked again: Do you feel in any sense that you have put people in this position, do you feel that in a sense your policies may have put people in this position?

Prime Minister Blair gives a polite answer: Well I think I have said to you before, that I feel that people who are responsible for doing these things are the people who do them.

Question: To both Prime Ministers, what was your immediate reaction on hearing that some incidents had occurred, was it here we go again? And do incidents like this, coming just 14 days after the horrific attacks, suggest that the war against terror is being lost on the streets? And yesterday an Australian bomb victim of July 7 linked the bombings to Iraq. Does that suggest that the propaganda war against terrorists is also being lost?

Prime Minister John Howard: Could I start by saying the Prime Minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it, and my first reaction was to get some more information, and I really don't want to add to what the Prime Minister has said. It is a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here. Could I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government, and indeed the policies of the British and American government on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it has given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq; and could I remind you that the 11 September occurred before the operation in Iraq; can I also remind you that the very first occasion that Bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor.

Are people, by implication, suggesting that we shouldn't have done that? When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on 7 July, they talked about British policy, not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Melo was murdered in Iraq, a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, immensely respected for his work in the United Nations, when al Queda gloated about that they referred specifically to the role that de Melo had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor. Now I don't know the mind of the terrorist, by definition you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber, I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I have cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq, and indeed all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggest to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of the principles of a great world religion that at its root preaches peace and cooperation, and I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances, rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

Prime Minister Blair: I agree 100% with that.

Question: Inaudible.

Prime Minister Blair: No, I don't think so at all actually, I don't think so at all. I think that in the end though, I was asked this question I think it was at the press conference I had on Tuesday with President Karzai from Afghanistan, but the roots of this are deep. You know this is the mistake of people thinking this suddenly began in the past couple of years, the roots of this were deep, the terrorist attacks go back over 10 years. And the way of defeating it is to defeat it of course by security measures, but also by going after the ideas of these people, the ideology of these people, their arguments as well as their methods, taking them on and defeating them, and the best way of doing that is to show how the values of freedom, and tolerance, and respect for people of other religions and races is the best way to lead our lives.

But in the end what they want us to do is to turn round and say oh it is our fault. The people who are responsible for terrorist attacks are the terrorists, and this combination of this evil bankrupt ideology based on a perversion of Islam with terrorism, this is something that has built over a period of time, it will have to be dismantled over a period of time, but I have got no doubt at all that in the end the values that we represent are the values that will triumph.

And do you know why I say that, I say that because every time people in somewhere like Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Palestine, these causes that they try to pray upon, every time the ordinary people in those countries are given the chance to vote, they vote, and they actually prefer the democratic way of life too, and that is why in the end we will win.

Rock on, Blair and Howard.

Posted by Jeff at 11:05 PM | Comments (1)

July 18, 2005

A Defensive War Against Terrorism Will Ensure Terrorism

Time for Stoic Brits to Come Out Swinging (News link deleted - no longer valid.)

One way of measuring any terrorist attack is to look at whether the killers accomplished everything they set out to. On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida set out to hijack four planes and succeeded in seizing every one. Had the killers attempted to take another 30 jets between 7:30 and 9 that morning, who can doubt that they'd have maintained their pristine 100 percent success rate? Throughout the IRA's long war against the British Crown, two generations of politicians pointed out that there would always be the odd ''crack in the system'' through which the determined terrorist would slip. But on 9/11 the failure of the system was total.

Thursday, al-Qaida hit three London Underground trains and one bus. Had they broadened their attentions from the Central Zone, had they attempted to blow up 30 trains across the furthest reaches of the Tube map, from Uxbridge to Upminster, who can doubt that they too would have been successful? In other words, the scale of the carnage was constrained only by the murderers' ambition and their manpower.

The difference is that 9/11 hit out of the blue -- literally and politically; 7/7 came after four years of Her Majesty's government prioritizing terrorism and ''security'' above all else -- and the failure rate was still 100 percent. After the Madrid bombing, I was struck by a spate of "comic" security breaches in London: two Greenpeace guys shin up St. Stephen's Tower at the Palace of Westminster, a Daily Mirror reporter bluffs his way into a servant's gig at Buckingham Palace a week before Bush comes to stay; an Osama lookalike gatecrashes Prince William's birthday party. As I wrote last March: "History repeats itself: farce, farce, farce, but sooner or later tragedy is bound to kick in. The inability of the state to secure even the three highest-profile targets in the realm -- the queen, her heir, her Parliament -- should remind us that a defensive war against terrorism will ensure terrorism.''

It's just amazing to me how many people, after 9/11 and even until today, started whining about how well we're not locking our doors, then further to criticise our taking of the fight to the terrorists. The old battle cry, or, rather, fear of a battle cry, for these people is, "We (America) should be minding our own business!"

If we ever want proof that our education system is failing, that's it. Freedom is defined by unlocked doors. What makes it possible is an underlying philosophy of respecting the rights of others. The contrary philosophy, moral relativism, which tells us that there are no inherent rights (or what our Declaration of Independence calls "Unalienable Rights"), but instead proclaims there are only differing opinions of good and bad, pulls the rug out from under freedom and reduces it to a matter of "might makes right". What makes the philosophy of freedom different is the anti-thesis of "might makes right": self restraint; those who believe in freedom and the inherent moral rights which form its foundation will avoid violating those rights even if they have the power to do so and to get away with it. (As an example: what prevents me from stealing isn't the fear of getting caught, but my respect for the rights of the owner. It's also what prevents me from killing people just because they disagree with me.)

Here at home, it's important that we continue to teach, and to shore up wherever its enemies knock it down, the philosophy of freedom: respecting the unalienable rights of others (and while I'm not at all religious, I can't help but notice that the Judeao-Christian traditions are monumentally effective at this). That's our primary, and long term, preventative measure against "home grown" terrorists.

In the short term, while we have enemy forces outside of the country taking aim at us, we also must also improve the locks on our doors. But ultimately this is not an effective solution; we must also put an end to the need for these locks. In the medium term, that means taking the fight to our enemies and killing them, thus eliminating their immediate threat; but there will always be new enemies to take their places. So in the long term, the solution is to eliminate what allows them to continue to replicate, and that means eliminating their central philosophy, a philsophy which is counter to freedom and thus counter to respect for the rights of others.

In practice, the short term solution is The Patriot Act. I don't like it, and I suspect that you don't like it either. It's a locking of our doors, an elimination of freedoms here at home. But the alternative is death by terrorism. These "Patriot Acts" should certainly not be made permanent, as the current administration wants, but instead be given sunset dates so that they never become an excuse to avoid the medium and/or long term solutions.

The medium term solution, in practice, involves the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and probably more wars still. Every time that one of those who are out to get us, as they did on 9/11 and 7/7, is killed, that's one less lock that we need on our doors at home.

The long term solution, in practice, is the overthrow of the governments in Afghanistan and Iraq (and maybe more to come) to eliminate their poison apple underlying philosophies and then to replace them with freedom and democracy. Far from being an expendable solution, it's the only real solution; i.e., the only solution which has any chance of long term success. The short and medium term solutions just bide time while this long term solution takes place.

History, I believe, will judge President George W. Bush as one of the greats. He won't be forgotten, but will instead have a name recognized the world over, and recognized amicably, just as Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln are recognized. Those who recognize him as such today are in tune with the future.

Those who despise President Bush are, for the most part, not part of the problem, but instead are inertia which prevents the solution from succeeding sooner. But, as someone pointed out, the cold war was won without their help, this one will be too.

Posted by Jeff at 05:12 PM | Comments (1)

July 13, 2005

Islam Motivates Political Killings

This is the third of three articles which have just been published which I want to help to popularize today. I think that they're important and should be read by all. They help to define the problem which gave rise to the 9/11 bombings and have necessarily required us to enter the war on terror in self defense. These are no small issues. I encourage you, if you have a weblog, to make at least some kind of a post linking to these articles. Getting these articles into the consciousness of as many people as possible is important. These are not small issues. (Note.***) Here is article #3:

Suspect in Van Gogh Slaying Admits Guilt

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - The man on trial in the slaying of filmmaker Theo van Gogh admitted his guilt in court Tuesday, declaring he acted out of religious conviction and would do it again if given the chance.

Mohammed Bouyeri also turned to Van Gogh's mother, Anneke, in court and told her: "I don't feel your pain."

"I can't feel for you because I think you're a nonbeliever," he said.

...

"I did it out of conviction," Bouyeri said. "If I ever get free, I would do it again."

He glanced at notes, paused between sentences, and chose his words carefully. Some spectators rose to their feet as he spoke, visibly stunned by his comments.

"I shot to kill and to be killed. You cannot understand," he said, addressing police officers in the public gallery whom he fired upon eight months ago.

...

Van Gogh was a prominent critic of Muslim fundamentalism. The killer left a five-page note pinned to the corpse with a knife, filled with religious ramblings and threatening further attacks.

...

"The accused preaches a message of hate and violence," [lead prosecutor Frits van Straelen] said. "He preaches that anyone who thinks differently can be killed ... He is and remains a danger to our society."

...

Bouyeri, allegedly a member of a terrorist cell known as the Hofstad Network, is said to have attended private prayer sessions with a Syrian spiritual leader, Redouan al-Issar, who disappeared shortly before the Van Gogh killing.

...

Van Straelen said Tuesday there was some evidence Bouyeri had help, especially financial help, in preparing the killing, but there are no other suspects who can be shown to have directly participated.

...

Van Gogh, a distant relative of the artist Vincent van Gogh, was apparently targeted because he offended many Muslims with his 2004 short film "Submission," which told fictional stories of Muslim women who were sexually and physically abused.

This is what we're up against, here, people. This is not something that can be reasoned with - and it's a devastating blow against our values. This is a person who made a film about abuse against women which offended a Muslim. The Muslim, owing to his religion, decided that Van Gogh must die for offending a Muslim. That's the whole story, not oversimplified, but the whole big fat deal in two sentences.

Now, taken on its own, you might just think that's just one disturbed young man. But this attitude is rampant within a global community which is anti-American in nature - and has declared a jihad against us. Now take what this Muslim did and give it the context of article #1 and article #2 which I posted earlier. All of this is happening and it's who these people are and what they are about. And yet there are people protesting the war on terror. What is with these people?

Again, these three articles should be propogated around the Internet so that they can be read by as many people as possible. It is precisely this kind of article which should help a person to form a context within which to consider the war on terror.

Note: These articles are not re-printed in their entirety. I'm very mindful of copyrights (the rights to copy) - violating peoples' rights is not part of my mindset; these are merely "fair use" excerpts from the articles which I consider most important. I encourage you to read the articles in their entirety, and to spread them through your own means.

Posted by Jeff at 02:08 AM | Comments (5)

July 12, 2005

Are Islamic Jihadist's Nukes Already in the U.S.?

This is the second of three articles which have just been published which I want to help to popularize today. I think that they're important and should be read by all. They help to define the problem which gave rise to the 9/11 bombings and have necessarily required us to enter the war on terror in self defense. These are no small issues. I encourage you, if you have a weblog, to make at least some kind of a post linking to these articles. Getting these articles into the consciousness of as many people as possible is important. These are not small issues. (Note.***) Article #3 will be posted later in the day. Here is article #2:

Al Qaida Nukes Already In U.S.
Terrorists, bombs smuggled across Mexico border by MS-13 gangsters

WASHINGTON - As London recovers from the latest deadly al-Qaida attack that killed at least 50, top U.S. government officials are contemplating what they consider to be an inevitable and much bigger assault on America - one likely to kill millions, destroy the economy and fundamentally alter the course of history, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

According to captured al-Qaida leaders and documents, the plan is called the "American Hiroshima" and involves the multiple detonation of nuclear weapons already smuggled into the U.S. over the Mexican border with the help of the MS-13 street gang and other organized crime groups.

Al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union - including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads. In addition, documents captured in Afghanistan show al-Qaida had plans to assemble its own nuclear weapons with fissile material it purchased on the black market.

...

The plans for the devastating nuclear attack on the U.S. have been under development for more than a decade. It is designed as a final deadly blow of defeat to the U.S., which is seen by al-Qaida and its allies as "the Great Satan."

...

But the most disturbing news is that high level U.S. officials now believe at least some of those weapons have been smuggled into the U.S. for use in the near future in major cities as part of this "American Hiroshima" plan, according to an upcoming book, "The al-Qaida Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime and the Coming Apocalypse," by Paul L. Williams, a former FBI consultant.

According to Williams, former CIA Director George Tenet informed President Bush one month after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that at least two suitcase nukes had reached al-Qaida operatives in the U.S.

"Each suitcase weighed between 50 and 80 kilograms (approximately 110 to 176 pounds) and contained enough fissionable plutonium and uranium to produce an explosive yield in excess of two kilotons," wrote Williams. "One suitcase bore the serial number 9999 and the Russian manufacturing date of 1988. The design of the weapons, Tenet told the president, is simple. The plutonium and uranium are kept in separate compartments that are linked to a triggering mechanism that can be activated by a clock or a call from the cell phone."

According to the author, the news sent Bush "through the roof," prompting him to order his national security team to give nuclear terrorism priority over every other threat to America.

...

Bin Laden, according to Williams, has nearly unlimited funds to spend on his nuclear terrorism plan because he has remained in control of the Afghanistan-produced heroin industry. Poppy production has greatly increased even while U.S. troops are occupying the country, he writes. Al-Qaida has developed close relations with the Albanian Mafia, which assists in the smuggling and sale of heroin throughout Europe and the U.S.

Some of that money is used to pay off the notorious MS-13 street gang between $30,000 and $50,000 for each sleeper agent smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico. The sleepers are also provided with phony identification, most often bogus matricula consular ID cards indistinguishable from Mexico's official ID, now accepted in the U.S. to open bank accounts and obtain driver's licenses.

...

According to Williams' sources, thousands of al-Qaida sleeper agents have now been forward deployed into the U.S. to carry out their individual roles in the coming "American Hiroshima" plan.

Bin Laden's goal, according to the book, is to kill at least 4 million Americans, 2 million of whom must be children. Only then, bin Laden has said, would the crimes committed by America on the Arab and Muslim world be avenged.

"2 million of whom must be children"? See Article #1 for Islam's position on killing civilians.

There is virtually no doubt among intelligence analysts al-Qaida has obtained fully assembled nuclear weapons, according to Williams. The only question is how many. Estimates range between a dozen and 70. The breathtaking news is that an undetermined number of these weapons, including suitcase bombs, mines and crude tactical nuclear weapons, have already been smuggled into the U.S....

The future plan, according to captured al-Qaida agents and documents, suggests the attacks will take place simultaneously in major cities throughout the country - including New York, Boston, Washington, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.

...

I'm sure that we all just want all of this to go away. We want to go back to a time when domestic issues were our primary concern. We want to go back to...September 10th. But avoiding the problem isn't going to solve it. September 10th thinking is a recipe for disaster. The only way out is through.

Note: These articles are not re-printed in their entirety. I'm very mindful of copyrights (the rights to copy) - violating peoples' rights is not part of my mindset; these are merely "fair use" excerpts from the articles which I consider most important. I encourage you to read the articles in their entirety, and to spread them through your own means.

Posted by Jeff at 06:18 PM | Comments (23)

Islam: Killing Civilians is Okay

There are three articles which have just been published which I want to help to popularize today. I think that they're important and should be read by all. They help to define the problem which gave rise to the 9/11 bombings and have necessarily required us to enter the war on terror in self defense. These are no small issues. I encourage you, if you have a weblog, to make at least some kind of a post linking to these articles. Getting these articles into the consciousness of as many people as possible is important. These are not small issues. (Note.***) Articles #2 and #3 will be posted later in the day. Here is article #1:

Muslim Scholar: Killing civilians OK

Head of Islamic center in London responds to attack

Responding to questions about the terrorist attack on London, a Muslim scholar in the British capital asserted Islam makes no distinction between civilians and military targets.

"The term 'civilians' does not exist in Islamic religious law," said Hani Al-Siba'i, head of the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies in London.

Al-Siba'i, in an interview with the Arab news channel al-Jazeera, elaborated, "There is no such term as 'civilians' in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not."

Dar Al-Harb refers to the Muslim concept of the world being divided into two "houses," the House of Islam and the remaining territories, the House of War, or Dar Al-Harb.

...

"If al-Qaida indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it," he said. "It rubbed the noses of the world's eight most powerful countries in the mud."

...

Al-Siba'i finally said al-Qaida could not be ruled out as the perpetrator.

He asserted the terrorist organization controls the "war agenda" in Iraq and "imposes its policies" on the Middle East.

As an example, he pointed out that al-Qaida's beheading of an Egyptian envoy prompted Cairo to lower its level of representation in Baghdad.

Let me interrupt here to make a point: this sort of appeasement must never be allowed here. Spain appeased the terrorists, now they've been bombed again today - possibly by a non al Qa'eda group. Their appeasement of terrorism after last year's train attack has given new hope to terrorists and would-be terrorists everywhere. And here we see this Muslim scholar saying that these types of attacts control the middle east. Is this how you want to live your life?

...

Asked whether he considered bin Laden a religious scholar who issues fatwas or the head of al-Qaida, Siba'i said, "First of all, he is one of this (Islamic) nation. ... We have no clergy or a pope, or anything like this. Anyone can carry out his religious duty, even if he is by himself."

...

The host argued that the religious law assembly in Mecca at the end of last month issued a fatwa forbidding the killing of civilians.

"Should we follow it or Osama bin Laden?" the host asked.

Al-Siba'i said, "These assemblies resemble the assemblies of the church. These assemblies forbid young people from going to Iraq to fight the jihad. ... The Higher Religious Authority (in Saudi Arabia) are the ones who allowed the presence of Crusader forces in the Land of the Two Holy Places (Saudi Arabia)."

So this is the face of the enemy. They are your enemy because they are targetting you (article #2, later today, will give rise to just how significantly you may already be targetted; 9/11 may be a drop in the bucket). This is a defensive war. 9/11 was a modern century "Pearl Harbor".

Don't give up. Above all, don't appease.

Note: These articles are not re-printed in their entirety. I'm very mindful of copyrights (the rights to copy) - violating peoples' rights is not part of my mindset; these are merely "fair use" excerpts from the articles which I consider most important. I encourage you to read the articles in their entirety, and to spread them through your own means.

Posted by Jeff at 02:56 PM | Comments (3)

July 08, 2005

London, 7/7

Provoking honest responses:

Political Grapevine
'Terror' Ban

The BBC's website called the multiple explosions there Thursday "'terror' attacks and while the term may be perfectly appropriate, it turns out that using that word goes against company policy. The BBC instructs its reporters: "The word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term, without attribution."

In Israel, the BBC has repeatedly refrained from using "terrorism" to describe Palestinian suicide bombings. In 2001, the BBC declined to use the word "terrorism" to describe deadly attacks in Haifa and Jerusalem killing 26 Israelis, but did use the word "terror" to describe the Israeli response.

Posted by Jeff at 11:52 PM | Comments (4)

June 26, 2005

Proud to be a Canadian

No, I'm not a Canadian, but I'm referencing someone who is: You've just got to love Mark Steyn:

Banning flag desecration flatters the desecrators and suggests that the flag of this great republic is a wee delicate bloom that has to be protected. It's not. It gets burned because it's strong. I'm a Canadian and one day, during the Kosovo war, I switched on the TV and there were some fellows jumping up and down in Belgrade burning the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack. Big deal, seen it a million times. But then to my astonishment, some of those excitable Serbs produced a Maple Leaf from somewhere and started torching that. Don't ask me why -- we had a small contribution to the Kosovo bombing campaign but evidently it was enough to arouse the ire of Slobo's boys. I've never been so proud to be Canadian in years. I turned the sound up to see if they were yelling ''Death to the Little Satan!'' But you can't have everything.

His column on this ridiculous march to ban flag burning is a worthwhile read.

If you burn the American flag, you burn fabric. If you create a law to prohibit the burning of the American flag, you burn the freedoms for which the flag stands.

Posted by Jeff at 05:46 PM | Comments (1)

June 25, 2005

EVEN LIMEYS ARE OUTRAGED

I found the following letter, written to Mark Steyn, at SteynOnline.com (I've decided not to link directly to the page it is on, because it's a dynamic page; i.e., it's content changes almost daily). We saw a poll in this last week that showed that the leftist disinformation campaign has had negligible effects on the judgments of people at home about Guantanamo. Now we have some indication that it's not been entirely successful across the ocean, either. It's nice to see that, although they don't get the same kind of press as the much louder people of the anti-Bush freakshow, there are people over there who are as sober as those here at home who are underrepresented in the media:

EVEN LIMEYS ARE OUTRAGED
Congratulations on your article in the Chicago Sun Times about the disgraceful comments of Senators Durbin and Leahy re Guantanamo. I am British but this sort of thing makes even my weak-kneed liberal limey blood boil.

I presume these men (they don't fit my definition of gentlemen) think they are being clever and liberal and will be applauded for their vision and understanding by hordes of admirers around the world . Sadly, they might well be right about the applause, but they are morally repugnant.

I believe that true evil comes from looking at a person as having no more value than an animal that can be petted or slaughtered as mood or need dictates. I presume that was how Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and the other barbarians of history could carry out their massacres. To suggest that President Bush and his advisers and the members of the United States military are in any way comparable almost defies belief. Indeed, in his willingness to view abominations such as the Holocaust as being in some way equal to the treatment of the Guantanamo detainees Senator Durbin could be said to be near that path himself. When millions of innocent dead from the recent past are now used as a political tool to attack a President I wonder what moral sense, if any, the Senator has.

Senator Leahy was not quite as egregious in his offensiveness, but his suggestion that the United States was admired before Guantanamo was established was either deluded or dishonest. A large part of the "elite" class from the United States and around the world never have liked and never will like the United States when it does not conform to their assumption of entitlement to treat whole nations as playthings or social experiments. When an American President stands up and says that things are going to have to change in the world and has the courage to back his words with action those people are going to react with fury and hatred. I would wager good money that most of the peoples of the world who have any understanding of the United States are not her enemies if given a choice by their political and religious leaders. But the people in his own country and outside whom Senator Leahy seems to be trying to impress are only ever going to approve of a quiescent United States that lets them have their way unchecked. That was the path that led to the massacres in Rwanda on the sainted President Clinton's watch. Yet I see that he also is now climbing on the Guantanamo bandwagon. If this, plus Howard Dean, is Democratic leadership, that party is heading for political oblivion.

I am not the greatest admirer of President Bush but I judge politicians by their enemies, and on that measure I think the President must be getting a lot of things right. Senators Durbin and Leahy should be ashamed of themselves. Since they almost certainly won't be, well done to you for saying what needed to be said.

Ian Lewis
Northampton, England

I rather like one of the points made by Mark in the article mentioned above:

Last Tuesday, Senator Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, quoted a report of U.S. "atrocities" at Guantanamo and then added:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

Er, well, your average low-wattage senator might. But I wouldn't. The "atrocities" he enumerated -- "Not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room" -- are not characteristic of the Nazis, the Soviets or Pol Pot, and, at the end, the body count in Gitmo was a lot lower. That's to say, it was zero, which would have been counted a poor day's work in Auschwitz or Siberia or the killing fields of Cambodia.

I'm guessing that Mark realizes, though was too polite to point out, that "low wattage" is not an attribute only of some senators. Or, perhaps, because it was a column in an American newspaper, and he'd seen the poll also mentioned above, he decided that the low wattage contingent of America's regular voting population was too inconsiderable to mention. Let's hope it is overseas, as well.

Posted by Jeff at 08:40 PM | Comments (7)

What Truly Matters

David Gregory, a Hardball guest host, just interviewed Iraq's Prime Minister. Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Here is one very notable comment from that interview:

GREGORY: But the real question was, did you envision that Iraq would be as dangerous as it's become when Saddam was removed from power? Are you not surprised?

AL-JAAFARI: You cannot compare the time now compared with the time of Saddam Hussein. During Saddam Hussein he killed one million people. 300,000 he killed in a few days during the uprising. He used to put people in acid baths and cut people to pieces. He hacked the poor and started many, many wars. So now the situation in Iraq is much, much better than it was in the time of Saddam Hussein. This is a fact and a Reality.

I feel like waving a flag today.

Proud to be an American
Posted by Jeff at 05:32 PM | Comments (1)

June 23, 2005

Rasmussen Reports on Guantanamo

June 22, 2005--A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 20% of Americans believe prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been treated unfairly. Seven-out-of-ten adults believe the prisoners are being treated "better than they deserve" (36%) or "about right" (34%).
--Rasmussen Reports

In spite of the politically motivated lies of the left which have been invested in a massive disinformation campaign, they've convinced virtually nobody. The only people who are convinced are those who, arguably, will believe anything that slanders America and/or the current administration: the far left contingent. These are people who want us to believe it's true and therefore, as tools of the campaign, are willing to say so in polls like this one.

Nice try guys.

Posted by Jeff at 05:35 AM | Comments (10)

June 20, 2005

Ivy League Professor

But give Durbin credit. Every third-rate hack on every European newspaper can do the Americans-are-Nazis schtick. Amnesty International has already declared Guantanamo the "gulag of our times." But I do believe the senator is the first to compare the U.S. armed forces with the blood-drenched thugs of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. Way to go, senator! If you had a dime for every crackpot Web site that takes up your thoughtful historical comparison, you'd be able to retire to the Caribbean and spend the rest of your days torturing yourself with hot weather and loud music, as well as inappropriately provocative women and insufficient choice of hors d'oeuvres and all the other shameful atrocities committed at Guantanamo.

Just for the record, some 15 million to 30 million Soviets died in the gulag; some 6 million Jews died in the Nazi camps; some 2 million Cambodians -- one third of the population -- died in the killing fields. Nobody's died in Gitmo, not even from having Christina Aguilera played to them excessively loudly. The comparison is deranged, and deeply insulting not just to the U.S. military but to the millions of relatives of those dead Russians, Jews and Cambodians, who, unlike Durbin, know what real atrocities are. Had Durbin said, "Why, these atrocities are so terrible you would almost believe it was an account of the activities of my distinguished colleague Robert C. Byrd's fellow Klansmen," that would have been a little closer to the ballpark but still way out.

One measure of a civilized society is that words mean something: "Soviet" and "Nazi" and "Pol Pot" cannot equate to Guantanamo unless you've become utterly unmoored from reality. Spot the odd one out: 1) mass starvation; 2) gas chambers; 3) mountains of skulls; 4) lousy infidel pop music turned up to full volume. One of these is not the same as the others, and Durbin doesn't have the excuse that he's some airhead celeb or an Ivy League professor. He's the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Don't they have an insanity clause?
--Mark Steyn

See American Nazi, American Gulag.
Posted by Jeff at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

June 17, 2005

My Letter to Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois

Hello,

My name is Jeff ****** and I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Contrary to the norms of my fellow Utah citizens, I am not a Republican. Far from it - I oppose, strongly, much of the Republican agenda and I vote for Democrats frequently in local elections. In presidential elections, my votes vary. I did not vote for George Bush in 2000, nor did I vote for his father.

However, last year, I considered John Kerry to be the sorriest of nearly any possible candidate. He refused to take meaningful positions on any issues, obviously fearing the loss of votes. However, his record speaks for itself and I would never have considered helping to put someone like that into office. In fact, for the first time in my life, I contributed monetary donations to political parties and candidates (President Bush's campaign, and to the Republican party as a whole).

Because of this, I've found myself the target of what seems to be a never ending onslaught of Republican "junk mail" soliciting more donations. Every time I receive one of these, I become more and more annoyed. They're not only a direct detriment to my own personal enjoyment, but they fill up the landfills so very unnecessarily (which is a significant pet-peeve of my environmentalist heart). My thoughts after having received all of this mail have been that I'd never, ever, contribute to a campaign or a party again.

But now my thoughts have changed. The next time I receive one of these mailers from the Republican party, I'm going to answer it with a check. And on that day, I'm going to seek out options for sending a check with a similar amount to whatever organization is in place to oppose Senator Durbin's re-election. Obviously I cannot vote in Illinois, but as he is a United States senator, and I am a United States citizen, I consider it to be as much my duty as it is the duty of the citizens of Illinois to remove this man from office.

In my view, he should immediately apologize for his comments about America regarding Guantanamo Bay this week. The apology should contain not only a complete retraction of his previous statements, but should also be bolstered with statements which are contrary to those he made. He should not merely acknowledge his mistake, she should explicitely detail for the American public, and the world, why his statements were inaccurate. NO CITIZEN OF ANY OTHER COUNTRY SHOULD BE ABLE TO POINT TO SENATOR DURBIN'S PREVIOUS COMMENTS AS ANY KIND OF CORROBORATION FOR THEIR OWN SUSPICIONS ABOUT ALLEGED AMERICAN MISTREATMENT OF PRISONERS. Comparing the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to the treatment of prisoners under Nazi regimes and in the Soviet gulags is beneath contempt, and a sickeningly undeserved slight to America and to Americans. Senator Durbin's comments were reprehensible.

My purpose in writing this is only one: to allow Senator Durbin a glimpse into the effects his statements have. President Bush did not get re-elected last year without the support of people like me. Senator Durbin should know what effect his rhetoric has on America's population.

Sincerely, Jeff ******

Posted by Jeff at 11:59 PM | Comments (7)

Aren't You Embarrassed to be Anti-American?

Coalition, Iraqi Raid Nabs Mosul's Top al Qaeda Operative:

According to former associates, Talha never stayed more than one night at any one residence and always wore a suicide vest, saying he would never surrender. Talha gave up peacefully to coalition forces and supporting Iraqi security forces, and is fully cooperating with coalition and Iraqi officials, according to a release from Multinational Force Iraq.

Posted by Jeff at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2005

Goodbye Europe

Goodbye Europe. (This is not a good thing.)

Europe as we know it is slowly going out of business.... Unless Europe reverses two trends -- low birthrates and meager economic growth -- it faces a bleak future of rising domestic discontent and falling global power. Actually, that future has already arrived.

...

It's hard to be a great power if your population is shriveling. Europe's birthrates have dropped well below the replacement rate of 2.1 children for each woman of childbearing age. For Western Europe as a whole, the rate is 1.5. It's 1.4 in Germany and 1.3 in Italy. In a century -- if these rates continue -- there won't be many Germans in Germany or Italians in Italy. Even assuming some increase in birthrates and continued immigration, Western Europe's population grows dramatically grayer, projects the U.S. Census Bureau. Now about one-sixth of the population is 65 and older. By 2030 that would be one-fourth, and by 2050 almost one-third.

No one knows how well modern economies will perform with so many elderly people, heavily dependent on government benefits (read: higher taxes). But Europe's economy is already faltering. In the 1970s annual growth for the 12 countries now using the euro averaged almost 3 percent; from 2001 to 2004 the annual average was 1.2 percent. In 1974 those countries had unemployment of 2.4 percent; in 2004 the rate was 8.9 percent.

...One way to revive economic growth would be to reduce social benefits, taxes and regulations. But that would imperil Europe's "social model," which supposedly blends capitalism's efficiency and socialism's compassion.

Consider some contrasts with the United States.... With high unemployment benefits, almost half of Western Europe's jobless have been out of work a year or more; the U.S. figure is about 12 percent. Or take early retirement. In 2003 about 60 percent of Americans ages 55 to 64 had jobs. The comparable figures for France, Italy and Germany were 37 percent, 30 percent and 39 percent. The truth is that Europeans like early retirement, high jobless benefits and long vacations.

The trouble is that so much benevolence requires a strong economy, while the sources of all this benevolence -- high taxes, stiff regulations -- weaken the economy. With aging populations, the contradictions will only thicken. Indeed, some scholarly research suggests that high old-age benefits partly explain low birthrates. With the state paying for old age, who needs children as caregivers? High taxes may also deter young couples from assuming the added costs of children.

....

A few countries (Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands) have acted, and there are differences between Eastern and Western Europe. But in general Europe is immobilized by its problems. This is the classic dilemma of democracy: Too many people benefit from the status quo to change it; but the status quo isn't sustainable. Even modest efforts in France and Germany to curb social benefits have triggered backlashes. Many Europeans -- maybe most -- live in a state of delusion. Believing things should continue as before, they see almost any change as menacing....

All this is bad for Europe -- and the United States. A weak European economy is one reason that the world economy is shaky and so dependent on American growth. Preoccupied with divisions at home, Europe is history's has-been. It isn't a strong American ally, not simply because it disagrees with some U.S. policies but also because it doesn't want to make the commitments required of a strong ally. Unwilling to address their genuine problems, Europeans become more reflexively critical of America. This gives the impression that they're active on the world stage, even as they're quietly acquiescing in their own decline.

I'm locally optimistic and globally pessimistic. The United States, 4 years ago this coming September, took one hell of a massive slug. Some called it a "bloody nose", but that trivializes just how significant of a hit it was. It practically shut down the economy for a month, and didn't get going again for a couple of years. Many jobs were lost, and the feeling of being safe - a feeling that we really didn't understand we actually had until it was lost - disappeared. No adult in America has completely recovered from 9/11.

Still, the United States has been fighting a long hard battle since then, and we're way back up. I see the United States as being a brilliant star which just keeps getting brighter every day. However, much of the rest of the world doesn't seem to be doing all that well. "Bleak" is the word that I'd use. It's anyone's guess which way its going to go.

The middle east, at least, looks like it's going to go through some positive changes. It's already started. Democracy seems to be catching fire with little sparks here and there. Eventually, enough sparks will fly from Afghanistan and Iraq to catch the rest ablaze. It's difficult to imagine it not happening. But, even as a democracy they could self destruct.

I rarely see bad news from Australia. John Howard's near landslide is definitely a good sign. But other countries just seem to be going in the wrong direction.

I'm glad that I'm not raising children and having to wonder about their futures.

"What had once been an alleged ideal is now a ragged skeleton rattling like a scarecrow in the wind over the whole world, but men lack the courage to glance up and discover the grinning skull under the bloody rags. That skeleton is socialism."
--Ayn Rand, from The Virtue of Selfishness

Crossing my fingers for Europe....

Posted by Jeff at 06:07 AM | Comments (5)

June 15, 2005

American "Nazi"?! American "Gulag"?

I'm trying to wrap my head around some comments made by a United States senator, Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin. I found the comments on the Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today. They concern prisoner treatment at Guantanamo Bay:

When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here [at Guantanamo Bay]--I almost hesitate to put them in the [Congressional] Record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.

Now, if you're willing to think critically about what the FBI agent reported, you might come to different conclusions than the senator in question. Let's go through bit by bit:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water.

So far we have a person whose movement is restricted and who, at that particular moment in time, does not have access to a glass of water or food. This is torture?

Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more.

Now we've added a loss of dignity.

On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night.

Now we're pushing the physical discomfort. Many people in the world live with these temperature conditions, especially the heat, day in and day out. It's not torture, it's the norm where they live. And the middle east is one such area where this is commonplace - and not just the heat there, but the cold also. For you and I, assuming you're reading from the United States, this may sound bad, considering our air conditioned and heated homes, but even many of us don't have air conditioning because we can't afford it or choose not to have it. It gets well over 100 degrees where I live, and I just got air conditioning 2 years ago! To a pansy-assed American, accustomed to comforts that much (most?) of the rest of the world considers luxurious, what he's describing here doesn't seem all that bad. It should seem hardly an affront at all to someone who lives in a less economically lush environment.

Next: pulling his hair out through the night? Why? The senator is counting on your assumptions. Perhaps he's terrifically nervous because he's familiar with regimes which actually do use torture, such as Saddam's old regime, and the propaganda he's been fed all of his life about America has left him thinking that he's going to have his hands chopped off any day now. Who knows?

On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.

Okay, now they've hit on something: forcing them to listen to rap "music" (misnomer)?! Granted, that is absolutely despicable and should be stopped right away. There is just no excuse for this kind of inhumane treatment to occur anywhere in the modern world. I'm ashamed to be an American if this is what they're doing. And it's not the first I've heard of this terrible injustice:

That's it. Shut down Guantanamo. Torturing detainees with Christina Aguilera music? What a sick, twisted society we've become. We truly are no better than the "terrorists" we're fighting.
--Evan Coyne Maloney

But humor aside for a second. Take note of what it is that the anti-Bush crowd are selling as torture. There's no severing of limbs, nobody is being put on a rack and having their spines stretched, no one is forced to watch as their compatriots are chopped up with chainsaws. What is happening is that people are being treated to cold and warm temperatures for extended periods of time, they're being tied up - no, not even tied up, since that would cause blood flow problems - but handcuffed and foot cuffed up so that their mobility is restricted. They're left, essentially, lying down; no energy expended, no chain-gang. The point is not to hurt them, but to make them uncomfortable. "Torture"? You've got to be kidding.

Now as for that senator: What image of America is he selling to the rest of the world when he makes these kinds of accusations? Is it a good image? Is it pro-American? Does it say, "Wow, America is a wonderful country!"? I don't think so.

But the reality is, if you look at critically at what he actually used to shed a negative light on America, you'll find that it sheds a very good light on America. "These benign techniques," it says, "are the extent to which Americans are willing to create discomfort in their worst and most destructive enemies.

I feel like waving a flag today.

Proud to be an American

Update: I just saw this on today's Day by Day cartoon:

Torture

Timing is everything.

Update II: Now this is worth linking. Give it a read.

Update III: Another from Day by Day Cartoon

Durbin Representative of Terrorists
Posted by Jeff at 10:37 PM | Comments (7)

June 12, 2005

(Some) Americans are Idiots

Okay anti-Americans, I'm going to give you a little bit of help, here. I'm going to demonstrate to you just how stupid some - many - Americans are. Follow along....

1) Some statements are anti-American (Captain Obvious)
2) All anti-American statements are dissent against America (Captain Obvious rides again)
3) Therefore, all dissent is not pro-America or neutral

But people, like Shrillery...I mean Hillary Clinton make statements such as the following:

"I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration you're not patriotic. We should stand up and say, 'We are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!'"

Duh.

There is plenty of room - a universe, in fact - for dissent, debate, and disagreement within the walls of the pro-American point of view. Dissent IS American in the same sense as having fur is feline. But a statement, simply by virtue of being dissent, isn't automatically spared from being anti-American, any more than having fur automatically spares an animal from being a dog.

Yet, blatant and incontrovertibly anti-American statements from the likes of people such as Michael Moore will be cloaked under the guise of patriotic American by wrapping the statements within the concept of dissent. And some people are stupid enough to go along with that.

Just ask yourself how often, when pointing out anti-American statements made by someone, someone else will rise to their defense by saying that it's dissent. This argument happens every day, yet it's completely without merit; it has none, zip, zero, zilch. A legitimate argument about the patriotism of the statement wouldn't reference the concept of dissent at all (except in the special case where the statement being debated is a statement about dissent). Interestingly, those who in defiance of logic do go along with such rhetoric tend to be on the Democratic, the American political left, and/or the American liberal side of population.

I wonder why that is....

Posted by Jeff at 05:32 PM | Comments (27)

Divider, Not Uniter

Has my memory failed, or is Howard Dean THE single most divisive politician in history?

"I hate Republicans and everything they stand for."
--Howard Dean, January 2005

"This is a struggle between good and evil and we're the good."
--Howard Dean, February 2005

"[Bush voters] haven't worked an honest day in their lives."
--Howard Dean, June 2005

"The Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people. They're a pretty monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It's pretty much a white Christian party."
--Howard Dean, June 2005

Republicans love Dean because they know that he's the best player on their team, to put it facetiously. This is a guy who is driving a huge wedge between the Democrats and the rest of the world. He's making certain that as few Republicans as possible will vote for any Democrat in any election, and he's driving independents away from the Democratic party. Who, after all, wants to be affiliated with someone like Dean? Well, not the independents, but there is one group: far left Democrats. One Liz Polson put it this way:

"The fact is Dean's rants are exactly what the majority of Democratic leaders in this country are thinking. Dean says in public what Democrats say to other Democrats behind closed doors. Dean is an insightful look into the inner workings of your local liberal's brain. And this is a huge plus for the GOP. When your opposition is exposed and especially when your opposition clearly has rocks for brains and can't learn from his mistakes, it makes it easier for you to continue handing defeats to him. Howard Dean is making the job of Republican strategist[s] almost unnecessary."
--Liz Polson

I've noticed that some liberals consider Dean to be the Democratic party's answer to George W. Bush. They seem to think that Bush is at the far right, while Dean expresses the point of view of the far left. I suppose that might be true. But you don't ever hear George W. Bush making statements which offend people like Dean makes. Bush is an effective politician. You may not feel that Bush sides with your positions, but you never feel insulted by him. Dean, on the other hand, should have his picture in the dictionary next to the term "abrasive".

Update:

I have just found that Peggy Noonan has made my point two days earlier, and much more colorfully:

Knowing that, let's do a thought experiment. Close your eyes and imagine this.

President Bush is introduced at a great gathering in Topeka, Kan. It is the evening of June 9, 2005. Ruffles and flourishes, "Hail to the Chief," hearty applause from a packed ballroom. Mr. Bush walks to the podium and delivers the following address.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I want to speak this evening about how I see the political landscape. Let me jump right in. The struggle between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is a struggle between good and evil--and we're the good. I hate Democrats. Let's face it, they have never made an honest living in their lives. Who are they, really, but people who are intent on abusing power, destroying the United States Senate and undermining our Constitution? They have no shame.

But why would they? They have never been acquainted with the truth. You ever been to a Democratic fundraiser? They all look the same. They all behave the same. They have a dictatorship, and suffer from zeal so extreme they think they have a direct line to heaven. But what would you expect when you have a far left extremist base? We cannot afford more of their leadership. I call on you to help me defeat them!" [My emphasis slightly different from Noonan's.]

Imagine Mr. Bush saying those things, and the crowd roaring with lusty delight. Imagine John McCain saying them for that matter, or any other likely Republican candidate for president, or Ken Mehlman, the head of the Republican National Committee.

Can you imagine them talking this way? Me neither. Because they wouldn't.

Messrs. Bush, McCain, et al., would find talk like that to be extreme, damaging, desperate. They would understand it would tend to add a new level of hysteria to political discourse, and that's not good for the country. I think they would know such talk is unworthy in a leader, or potential leader, of a great democracy. I think they would understand that talk like that is destructive to the ties that bind--and to the speaker's political prospects.

Posted by Jeff at 05:51 AM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2005

Justice Thomas, Libertarian

From George F. Will's column on the Feds trumping the States last week:

Monson, and another woman using homegrown marijuana recommended by her doctors, sought an injunction against enforcement of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Both said they had a right to their plants under California's Compassionate Use Act. Passed overwhelmingly by referendum in 1996, that act allows marijuana use by individuals whose doctors recommend it for the relief of pain or nausea. But this law -- 10 other states have similar ones -- runs contrary to the federal statute.

The two women argued against enforcement of that law, saying that the private use of homegrown marijuana has nothing to do with interstate commerce; hence Congress has no constitutional power to regulate it. On Monday the Supreme Court disagreed. In a 6 to 3 ruling, the court held that Congress's claim to exclusive regulatory authority over drugs, legal and illegal, fell well within its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. This was predictable, given what the court said 63 years ago about an Ohio farmer's 239 bushels of homegrown wheat.

[The grain]...was raised and used entirely on Roscoe Filburn's farm. None of it entered intrastate, let alone interstate, commerce. So Filburn argued that although the 239 bushels exceeded his production quotas under the federal Agricultural Adjustment Act, they were none of the federal government's business, and he refused to pay the stipulated penalty.

A unanimous Supreme Court disagreed, arguing that the cumulative effect of even minor and local economic activities can have interstate consequences. The court said even a small quantity of grain "supplies a need of the man who grew it which would otherwise be reflected by purchases in the open market. Homegrown wheat in this sense competes with wheat in commerce." That said, clearly Congress's power under the Commerce Clause is vast enough to permit Congress to decide that the use of even homegrown marijuana can affect the interstate market.

...

Writing for Monday's majority, Justice John Paul Stevens, perhaps the most liberal justice, was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy. Scalia concurred separately.

...

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a former Arizona state legislator, dissented, echoing Justice Louis Brandeis's judgment that federalism is supposed to allow a single state to be a "laboratory" to "try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country." Her dissent was joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist....

[Clarence] Thomas, the justice least respectful of precedents, joined O'Connor's dissent and also dissented separately, disregarding many precedents giving almost infinite elasticity to the Commerce Clause. He said that the women's marijuana was never bought or sold, never crossed state lines and had no "demonstrable" effect on the national market for marijuana: "If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything," including "quilting bees, clothes drives and potluck suppers." Thus "the federal government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers."

It's pretty sad, it seems to me, that out of 9 judges, only 1 manages to recognize as valid and support the libertarian perspective.

Federal Marijuana Denials Trump State Permissions

Cox and Forkum Political Cartoons

Charles Krauthammer chimes in:

Justice Thomas: "Dope is cool."

Justice Scalia: "Let the cancer patients suffer."

If the headline writers characterized Supreme Court decisions the way many senators and most activists and lobbying groups do, that is how they would have characterized the Supreme Court decision this week on the use of medical marijuana in California. It was ruled illegal because the federal law prohibiting it supersedes the state law permitting it. Scalia agreed with the decision. Thomas dissented.

In our current, corrupted debates about the judges, you hear only about results. Priscilla Owen, we were told (by the Alliance for Justice), "routinely backs corporations against worker and consumer protections." Well, in what circumstances? In adjudicating what claims? Under what constitutional doctrine?

The real question is never what judges decide but how they decide it. The Scalia-Thomas argument was not about concern for cancer patients, the utility of medical marijuana or the latitude individuals should have regarding what they ingest.

It was about what the Constitution's commerce clause permits and, even more abstractly, who decides what the commerce clause permits. To simplify only slightly, Antonin Scalia says: Supreme Court precedent. Clarence Thomas says: the Founders, as best we can interpret their original intent.

The Scalia opinion (concurring with the majority opinion) appeals to dozens of precedents over the past 70 years under which the commerce clause was vastly expanded to allow the federal government to regulate what had, by the time of the New Deal, become a highly industrialized country with a highly nationalized economy.

Thomas's dissent refuses to bow to such 20th-century innovations. While Scalia's opinion is studded with precedents, Thomas pulls out founding-era dictionaries (plus Madison's notes from the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers and the ratification debates) to understand what the word commerce meant then. And it meant only "trade or exchange" (as distinct from manufacture) and not, as we use the term today, economic activity in general. By this understanding, the federal government had no business whatsoever regulating privately and medicinally grown marijuana.

This is constitutional "originalism" in pure form. Its attractiveness is that it imposes discipline on the courts. It gives them a clear and empirically verifiable understanding of constitutional text -- a finite boundary beyond which even judges with airs must not go.

Rock on, Justice Thomas.

Update: When I posted this, I took for granted that NO ONE would possibly consider Clarence Thomas to be a libertarian. I've seen no evidence, outside of this incident, of any libertarian thought in Thomas. But I'm noticing that people are finding this post through search engines using the keywords, "Clarence Thomas Libertarian", or something like that. Interesting.
Posted by Jeff at 07:46 AM | Comments (3)

June 09, 2005

The Great White Party

"Well, you know, in a decade as Governor of Vermont, Howard Dean did not appoint a single minority, single African-American, to his administration. I mean that's not his problem. It's a 98.5% white state. But a guy in that position isn't perhaps the best man to go around bemoaning the lack of diversity. Today, for example, a Republican judge was confirmed, who's the daughter of Alabama sharecroppers. And we have to say, why, if the Democratic Party is supposedly so diverse, why is the Democratic Party leadership apparently homogenously white? I mean the Democratic Party looks like an antebellum plantation from 150 years ago. You got the big, white owner and the white family in the big house, and thousands of black workers in the fields. Whereas the Republican Party...where's the Democrats' answer to a figure like Condoleezza Rice?"
--Mark Steyn

It's amazing that the Democrats manage to fool anyone (even the "downtrodden", uneducated people at the bottom of the economic pyramid whose ignorance they exploit for votes).

Posted by Jeff at 09:55 PM | Comments (1)

The Religion of Journalism (and the Conservative Revolution)

There's an excellent post by one Jay Rosen about The Watergate Myth and it's influence on the religion of journalism. It's a somewhat lengthy read, but it's entertaining, bordering on fascinating, and an easy read (your eyes will glide along the words like a train down mountain rails). The Watergate Myth is that reporters brought down a president, while the reality is that it was "the agencies of government itself" which explosed the truth (--Edward J. Epstein, 1974).

The Religion of Journalism preaches the faith that the role of "the free press" is to be an essential check on government:

In his excellent book, Watergate and American Memory (1992, Basic) Michael Schudson distinguishes between the scandal, which didn't change the world very much, and the myth of Watergate in journalism. By giving the warrant of history, and the mandate of heaven, to the adversarial press, and the Fourth Estate model (where the press is an essential check on government, a modern addition to the balance of powers); by telling each new crop of journalists how to be heroes and how do good; by glamorizing the underworld of confidential sources, the mythos of Watergate had very definite effects in journalism.

But the world is getting better. One Darryl McGrath wrote early this year the following:

I would tell the dean that this business does not know what to do with career reporters, the people in their 40s who realized years ago they were never going to make it to the New York Times or win a Pulitzer, but nevertheless loved chasing stories and exposing public corruption and giving a voice to the downtrodden. (Yes, I'm still that idealistic.) We are the journalists who never wanted to move into the higher-paying jobs, like editing and management or newsroom Internet technology, because we absolutely loved being reporters. But as we got older, we realized that very few newspapers wanted to pay a salary that would allow us to continue doing what we do best: report. The journalism school did little to prepare me for this reality.

A respondent, Hugh Hewitt, responded to her in his own piece about her complaint of poor pay:

In other words, it doesn't pay enough to be a professional lefty activist, er, reporter. People get bitter as a result.

Why doesn't it pay enough? Because the marketplace doesn't want that product. Will MSM's rank and file ever figure it out that their own vision of themselves is delusional? Sure, they can tell each other how noble are their efforts, how invaluable their "exposes," but the only reliable measure is the marketplace, and "professional journalism" of the MSM variety is on the ropes. The customer isn't interested. The reality is that journalists don't matter all that much --and consequently aren't paid all that much-- because ordinary Americans aren't waiting with rapt attention in anticipation of being told what to think.... [All emphasis mine. --VC]

And that's the beauty of the world today. The "lefties" lock on the media grows less and less every day, while the marketplace (that's you and me) grow less and less lefty every day. Just as heads of Marxism and Leninism were relegated to the ash heap of history nearly two decades ago, the rest of communism and its ideology is dying, like the dying bodies of headless chickens, and being forgotten.

This is new.

And FOX News is new.

And the breadth of the conservative voice in American government is new (it hasn't been seen since the 1920s).

And democracies in the middle east are new.

It truly is getting better, a little better, all the time.

Posted by Jeff at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 07, 2005

Love America, Hate America, and Michael Moore - the "True Patriot"

Here's an interesting exercise which I happened upon completely by accident: The next time you read an "I hate America" rant, or hear it on the radio, or see it on a video - or however it comes to you - and the ranter is a Canadian, or a European, or some other non-American, take note of the reasons that the America hater gives for hating America.

Then the next time you encounter a liberal-American ranting about America, take note of what the liberal rants about. Chances are very good that the items on his list are the same as the items on the non-American's list. If you pay as much attention as I pay, you'll probably find that these reasons pretty much make a standard boiler plate.

Now, if you can, accuse the liberal-American of being anti-American (maybe you'll be lucky enough to find that someone already has). While the non-American unabashedly and unashamedly proclaims loudly his hatred for America (that's how you chose him, remember?), the liberal-American rantor, whose rants are cut from the same boiler plate as the non-American, will claim to love America - and claim that the passion behind his rant comes from his love of America. And he'll do it defensively. And usually hysterically.

And both of them will tend to claim that Michael Moore is a "true patriot".

There ain't no doubt about it: Michael Moore Hates America.

People like Michael Moore don't love America. They hate it. What they love is their vision of America, an America reshaped in their image. But they can't just come out and say, "I hate America," because they know that'd be bad strategy. Americans would shut them out. Strategy. Ends justifying the means.

Posted by Jeff at 06:25 PM | Comments (4)

June 03, 2005

Michael Moore Hates America

Michael Moore Hates America

Okay, I just watched Michael Moore Hates America. It was quite worthwhile. Penn Jillette, from "Penn and Teller Bullshit" (a show I've never actually seen) made some rather long winded and very very good points about morality and right and wrong. He supported, strongly, my contention that the left is about about abandoning what's right in order to accomplish "the good" - according to their own subjective values of what's good. Consider these admonitions:

It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

The ends don't justify the means.

Those themes come up a lot in this movie.

And what a difference the movie paints, as well, between the optimistic, self-responsible, realism of the people on the "right", as compared to the pessimistic vitriol which we've come to expect from the people on the left. The movie starts out with this very theme, with the director pointing out that his parents had instilled in him the idea that he could make of himself and be anything that he wanted to be in America, and that he wants to pass that on to his daughter. But he's angry at Michael Moore...because Michael Moore has come along and told his daughter that she can't be anything she wants to be, because there are some evil, sinister people running corporations who prevent her from doing so. He then points out that Moore does the same with black skinned people, and that every black skinned person who buys into Moore's pessimism has been handicapped by Moore. And that's true.

Anyway, if you're interested, you can buy the movie from Amazon, or you can rent it from Netflix, as two options to getting the movie. It's worthwhile.

Posted by Jeff at 11:12 PM | Comments (5)

Deep Throat, Nixon, W. Mark Felt, Watergate.

Who cares.

Next....

Posted by Jeff at 04:25 AM | Comments (1)

May 24, 2005

The Filibuster Seems Saved

The Houston Chronicle:
"This Senate agreement represents a complete bailout and betrayal by a cabal of Republicans and a great victory for united Democrats," said James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, the Christian evangelical group.

Frist, however was forced to accept the deal after seven Republicans embraced the compromise and thus denied him the necessary 50 votes he would have needed to change the Senate rules to end judicial filibusters. Republicans now hold 55 seats.

And some people say that the Republicans are just a bunch of right wing religious wackos.

Posted by Jeff at 01:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2005

Pepsico's Indra Nooyi's Graduation Remarks

Pepsico's Indra Nooyi, commented on by Day by Day Cartoon

I saw today's Day by Day Cartoon and wondered just what on Earth the cartoonist was on about. I searched the Internet and found it difficult to find the remarks. Instead, I found a lot of commentary about the remarks, and it just didn't seem to me that she'd actually said anything all that bad. In a nutshell, the commentary suggested that she asserted that the rest of the world views us as giving them the middle finger - flipping them off. Well, maybe that's true. She's a major player in a global corporation - perhaps she has the experience to know. So why are people trying to kill the messenger? It occurred to me that, perhaps, she said it in a way that suggested that the United States actually is giving the middle finger, as opposed to just being perceived that way. And, perhaps, she suggested that whatever the United States is doing which translates into giving the middle finger is something that is near and dear to our patriotic hearts. It's one thing to be an honest messenger, but it's quite another to jump on board and support the message. So, I had to know - I kept up my search until I found her speech. Here it is, with interspersed commentary:

 

Good evening, everyone.

Dean Hubbard, distinguished faculty, honored graduates, relieved parents, family, and friends, it's a distinct pleasure to be in New York City this evening to celebrate the biggest milestone to date in the lives of you, the young men and women before us: your graduation from Columbia University Business School.

It may surprise you, graduates, but as big a night as this is for you, it's an even bigger night for your parents. They may look calm and collected as they sit in the audience, but deep inside they're doing cartwheels, dancing the Macarena, and practically speaking in tongues, they're so excited. This is what happens when parents anticipate that their bank accounts will soon rehydrate after being bone-dry for two years. So, for everyone here this evening, it's a very special occasion. And I'm delighted to share it with you.

I am keenly aware that graduates traditionally refer to our time together this evening as the calm before the storm. Some graduates -- perhaps those who minored in self-awareness -- refer to the commencement address as "the snooze before the booze." However you describe my comments this evening, please know that I understand. It wasn't that long ago that I was in your place. And I remember the day well. I knew that I owed my parents -- my financial benefactors -- this opportunity to revel in our mutual accomplishment. Yet, as the guy at the podium droned on about values, goals, and how to make my dreams take flight, I remember desperately checking and rechecking my watch. I thought, "I deserve to party, and this codger's cramping my style!"

In one of life's true ironies, I am now that codger. Well...I'm the female equivalent. A codg-ette, I guess. And I now understand that values, goals, and how to make dreams take flight, really are important. So being a firm believer that hindsight is one of life's greatest teachers, allow me to make belated amends.

To that distinguished, erudite, and absolutely brilliant man whom I silently dissed many years ago: mea culpa. Big, BIG mea culpa!

This evening, graduates, I want to share a few thoughts about a topic that should be near and dear to your hearts: the world of global business. But, I'm going to present this topic in a way that you probably haven't considered before. I'm going to take a look at how the United States is often perceived in global business, what causes this perception, and what we can do about it. To help me, I'm going to make use of a model.

So far, so good, I suppose, though I can't help but notice that she's really saying, "I'm worth listening to," in a passive aggressive manner. Passive-aggressiveness, it seems to me, tends to annoy people most when it slips under the radar unnoticed. People don't know why they're irritated, they might not even know that they are, but it tends to close their minds a bit nonetheless. Well, it seems to me, anyway.

To begin, I'd like you to consider your hand. That's right: your hand.

Other than the fact that mine desperately needs a manicure, it's a pretty typical hand. But, what I want you to notice, in particular, is that the five fingers are not the same. One is short and thick, one tiny, and the other three are different as well. And yet, as in perhaps no other part of our bodies, the fingers work in harmony without us even thinking about them individually. Whether we attempt to grasp a dime on a slick, marble surface, a child's arm as we cross the street, or a financial report, we don't consciously say, "OK, move these fingers here, raise this one, turn this one under, now clamp together. Got it!" We just think about what we want to do and it happens. Our fingers -- as different as they are -- coexist to create a critically important whole.

Fans of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged may wince a bit on that last line. It's awfully reminiscent of Orren Boyle saying that the steel industry must be preserved "as a whole", by which he really meant that the profitable steel companies must be made to pay subsidies to non-profitable ones. Those "critically important as a whole" arguments are usually code for socialism, and the rest of her speech doesn't do much to pull us away from that interpretation.

This unique way of looking at my hand was just one result of hot summer evenings in my childhood home in Madras, India. My mother, sister, and I would sit at our kitchen table and -- for lack of a better phrase -- think big thoughts. One of those thoughts was this difference in our fingers and how, despite their differences, they worked together to create a wonderful tool.

As I grew up and started to study geography, I remember being told that the five fingers can be thought of as the five major continents: Europe, Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Now, let me issue a profound apology to both Australia and Antarctica. I bear neither of these continents any ill will. It's just that we humans have only five fingers on each hand, so my analogy doesn't work with seven continents.

Clearly, the point of my story is more important that geographical accuracy!

First, let's consider our little finger. Think of this finger as Africa. Africa is the little finger not because of Africa's size, but because of its place on the world's stage. From an economic standpoint, Africa has yet to catch up with her sister continents. And yet, when our little finger hurts, it affects the whole hand.

Are you starting to see this "as a whole" concept starting to shape up? It's not "my" interests, or "my family's" interests, or "my state's" interests, or "my country's" interests...instead it pushes all of those aside in favor of "the whole hand". (But the "whole hand" analogy falls very flat - more below.)

Our thumb is Asia: strong, powerful, and ready to assert herself as a major player on the world's economic stage.

Our index, or pointer finger, is Europe. Europe is the cradle of democracy and pointed the way for western civilization and the laws we use in conducting global business.

The ring finger is South America, including Latin America. Is this appropriate, or what? The ring finger symbolizes love and commitment to another person. Both Latin and South America are hot, passionate, and filled with the sensuous beats of the mambo, samba, and tango: three dances that -- if done right -- can almost guarantee you and your partner will be buying furniture together.

This analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents leaves the long, middle finger for North America, and, in particular, the United States. As the longest of the fingers, it really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg up in global business since the end of World War I.

However, if used inappropriately -- just like the U.S. itself -- the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I'm talking about. In fact, I suspect you're hoping that I'll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I'm not looking for volunteers to model.

Discretion being the better part of valor...I think I'll pass.

What is most crucial to my analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents, is that each of us in the U.S. -- the long middle finger -- must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand...not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S. -- the middle finger -- sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally.

Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as part of the hand -- giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers -- but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.

I'd challenge each of you to think about how critically important it is for every finger on your hand to rise and bend together. You cannot simply "allow" the other four fingers to rise only when you want them to. If you've ever even tried to do that, you know how clumsy and uncoordinated it is.

Even though the above furthers the point that I've been making, I'm going to skip commenting on why (hopefully, that's obvious). Instead, I'll point out another message which is being weaved between the lines, and it's a message which supports the first: She's saying that the United States should not be pursuing its own interests, but instead following the example of the rest of the world.

She very cleverly words that point by suggesting that if the middle finger, the United States, is extended while the others are not, that it's us that has done it and that makes us wrong. That, in and of itself is offensive, since it categorizes independent action in and of itself as being wrong, regardless of what that action is. But what is truly clever about her wording is that it puts the United States squarely into the role of the assertive party. But there are two ways that the middle finger could find its way standing on its own: first, the way she suggests, with it suddenly extending itself away from the other fingers, but also second, by the other fingers abandoning the middle finger and closing into a fist below it. This is the way that, I think, most Americans see the international political landscape right now: the rest of the world has failed to be the friend to America that they should be, and which America deserves them to be. But Indra's comments seem to be judging right and wrong by popularity - and that's just plain relativism. It's no wonder she's stepping on toes.

My point here is that it's not enough just to understand that the other fingers coexist. We've got to consciously and actively ensure that every one of them stands tall together, or that they bend together when needed.

My point exactly. Rather than standing tall together, much of the rest of the world has left America high and dry. Australia, interestingly, has supported America very strongly, however. Australia did not leave America high and dry, but instead remained a good, true, and strong friend. Perhaps there is more to Indra's leaving Australia out of her finger analogy than originally meets the eye. Isn't it interesting that her "five continents" are the United States (in the lovely role as the middle finger), three less than "rich" continents, and Europe, which gets praised as being "cradle of democracy...[which]...pointed the way for western civilization and the laws we use in conducting global business." The European way is the right way, the U.S. is a middle finger, and the other three are significantly different culturally from the U.S. Why did she rule out using Australia in favor of the others?

Today, as each of you ends one chapter in your young lives and begins another, I want you to consider how you will conduct your business careers so that the other continents see you extending a hand...not the finger. Graduates, it's not that hard. You can change and shape the attitudes and opinions of the other fingers -- the other continents and their peoples -- by simply ascribing positive intent to all your international business transactions. If you fail, or if you are careless, here's a perfect example of what can happen:

A U.S. businesswoman was recently in Beijing, China, on an international training assignment for a luxury hotel chain. The chain was rebranding an older Beijing hotel. As such, the toilets in the hotel had yet to be upgraded. There were no porcelain commodes, just holes in the floor. Until recently, this was the standard procedure in China.

Now, 8,000 miles removed from the scene, you and I -- and most Americans -- can shake our heads and giggle at the physical contortions and delicate motor skills necessary to make the best of this situation. We're simply not used to it. But to loudly and insultingly verbalize these feelings onsite, in front of the employees and guests of the host country, is bush league. And yet, that's exactly what this woman observed.

In the hotel's bar, the woman overheard a group of five American businessmen loudly making fun of the hotel's lavatory facilities. As the drinks flowed, the crass and vulgar comments grew louder, and actually took on an angry, jingoistic tone. While these Americans couldn't speak a word of Chinese, their Chinese hosts spoke English very well, and understood every word the men were saying.

And we wonder why the world views many Americans as boorish and culturally insensitive. This incident should make it abundantly clear. These men were not giving China a hand. They were giving China the finger. This finger was red, white, and blue, and had "the United States" stamped all over it.

This, it seems to me, was a strange turn for her to take. I doubt that anyone, up until this point, in her audience had this in mind when they heard or read her speech. While she's obviously correct about the rudeness of those individual's behavior, I have a hard time believing that she put much thought into it in terms of her overall speech. Or - more cynically - that she intended it to really be what she was getting at in her speech. Surely she realizes that every country has its angels and its jerks, and that individuals in other countries meet both American angels and American jerks and assess them individually.

Graduates, it pains me greatly that this view of America persists. Although I'm a daughter of India, I'm an American businesswoman. My family and I are citizens of this great country.

This land we call home is a most loving and ever-giving nation -- a Promised Land that we love dearly in return. And it represents a true force that, if used for good, can steady the hand -- along with global economies and cultures.

Yet to see us frequently stub our fingers on the international business and political stage is deeply troubling. Truth be told, the behaviors of a few sully the perception for all of us. And we know how often perception is mistaken for reality.

We can do better. We should do better. With your help, with your empathy, with your positive intent as representatives of the U.S. in global business, we will do better. Now, as never before, it's important that we give the world a hand...not the finger.

In conclusion, graduates, I want to return to my introductory comments this evening. I observed that as big a night as this is for you, it's an even bigger night for your parents. I ascribed their happiness to looking forward to a few more "George Washingtons" in their bank accounts. While this is certainly true, there is another reason.

Each of your parents believes that their hard work has paid off. Finally! They believe that maybe -- just maybe -- they have raised and nurtured the next Jack Welch, Meg Whitman, or Patricia Russo.

Don't disappoint them. Don't disappoint your companies. And don't disappoint yourselves.

As you begin your business careers, and as you travel throughout the world to assure America's continued global economic leadership, remember your hand. And remember to do your part to influence perception.

Remember that the middle finger -- the United States -- always stands out. If you're smart, if you exhibit emotional intelligence as well as academic intelligence, if you ascribe positive intent to all your actions on the international business stage, this can be a great advantage. But if you aren't careful -- if you stomp around in a tone-deaf fog like the ignoramus in Beijing -- it will also get you in trouble. And when it does, you will have only yourself to blame.

Graduates, as you aggressively compete on the international business stage, understand that the five major continents and their peoples -- the five fingers of your hand -- each have their own strengths and their own contributions to make. Just as each of your fingers must coexist to create a critically important tool, each of the five major continents must also coexist to create a world in balance. You, as an American businessperson, will either contribute to or take away from, this balance.

So remember, when you extend your arm to colleagues and peoples from other countries, make sure that you're giving a hand, not the finger. You will help your country, your company, and yourself, more than you will ever know.

Thank you very much.

More of the same.

And here's why her whole hand analogy either falls flat, or is monumentally offensive: Countries are independent, fingers are not. That is, fingers are not indpendent in that their actions are governed by one mind which controls them all. That one mind wants to pick up an orange, and those fingers, bereft of independent thought, take orders from that mind and grasp the fruit. So the analogy either falls flat because, unlike fingers, countries are independent, or she's presenting the highly offensive assertion that the United States needs to subordinate its independence to a higher authority. And who might that be? The United Nations? Who?

Indra Nooyi deserves to be in trouble for her comments. Ostensibly, she's in trouble for saying that the rest of the world views us as giving them the middle finger. I think its far more complex (and damning) than that. This is not simply a case of killing the messenger.

Posted by Jeff at 05:32 AM | Comments (15)

May 20, 2005

Karl Rove Did It (and the essence of anti-Americanism)

Someone recently said to me:

Lesson...Satire needs to have some basis in truth to work. Blame Bush goes nowhere.

Reality:

Moscow News: Russian Villagers Blame U.S. as Lake Disappears

A Russian village was left baffled Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight, Reuters reported Friday. Though there is probably a perfectly natural explanation, some of the villagers were quick to blame the disaster on the United States.

NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo near Nizhny Novgorod looked on disconsolately.

"It is very dangerous. If a person had been in this disaster, he would have had almost no chance of survival. The trees flew downwards, under the ground," said Dmitry Zaitsev, a local Emergencies Ministry official interviewed by the channel.

Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.

The problem with Blame Bush, if any, is that it does not paint an exaggerated enough caricature of a lefty anti-American. Its attempt at satire is too close to the truth.

Liberal Reality
(Image is clickable.)

Posted by Jeff at 02:44 PM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2005

Now here's a thesaurus I would buy

Evan Coyne Maloney has pointed out a tremendous liberal bias in Roget's Thesaurus. The editors of that text clearly demonstrate a very strong political bias and an attempt at passing that bias on to you.

A new entry to that discussion comes from a reader of Maloney's weblog, professor David Clemens from Monterey Peninsula College, who proposes the following as synonyms for "conservative" and "liberal". They seem right to me:

conservative: rational, well-mannered, respectful, protective, sober, modest, patient, judicious, moral, pious, patriotic, virtuous, polite, gentlemanly or ladylike.

liberal: relativistic, tribal, hyperbolic, ends justify the means, fearful, authoritarian, do-gooder, self-righteous, utopian, dogmatic, patronizing, licentious, Orwellian.

 

Posted by Jeff at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)

April 21, 2005

Have Gun, Deputize Thyself

I like this one:

Reservist who held migrants at gunpoint won't be prosecuted

Robert Anglen
Associated Press The Arizona Republic
Apr. 21, 2005 08:57 PM

No criminal charges will be filed against an Army reservist who held seven undocumented immigrants at gunpoint this month at an Arizona rest stop.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said Thursday that Sgt. Patrick Haab had the legal right to make a citizen's arrest because the man smuggling the immigrants into the country was committing a felony and the immigrants themselves were conspiring with the coyote to commit a felony.

Arizona law allows a private citizen to make a legal arrest if a felony has been committed and the citizen believes that the person he is arresting committed the felony....

Read more.

You've got to love that one. There is, of course, more to the story. You can't just pull your gun on anyone you happen to think is an illegal immigrant. Here's the Patrick Haab defense website which was created when he was arrested.

Posted by Jeff at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2005

I like this new pope

So, a new pope has been chosen for the Catholic Church.

Frankly, I don't really give a damn. To me, he's just some character running around in a funny hat. He's a bit similar to a clown in that regard. However, there's a lot of people annoyed at his selection, or, rather, the selection of who he is, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, of Germany, to be the pope. It seems that he's too fundamental, too conservative.

Based upon what I've read so far from those who are against him, I'm rather pleased with the choice. Here's why:

As I understand it, the pope is the representative of God, not of the people. If any one Catholic, or each and every Catholic alive, disagrees with the direction of their church, then they can just stuff it. They don't get to choose, God does. Theirs is not to question why, theirs is to just buck up, quit whining, and do as they're told...by the pope.

While I don't go for this church organization thing, nor the infinitely less tenable super-human "God" thing, the situation is symbolic of reality: truth is not subject to vote. We've been living in a politically correct atmosphere in which anything perceived as a slight (such as using red ink to grade tests, or having hard drives labelled "master" and "slave") gets afforded monumental significance, the relevance of facts has been subordinated to the relevance of self-esteem, and emotions have become far more persuasive than reason (Gerry Spence, a lamentably successful attorney, actually wrote a book advocating from cover to cover emotion over reason in arguments, citing his tremendous success in court using precisely those methods).

This pope seems to be against all of that. He basically says, "You don't like it, tough." Or, put another way: Grow up.

That rocks.

"When I was back there in seminary school, there was a person there who put forth the proposition that you can petition the lord with prayer.... Petition the lord, with prayer.... Petition the lord...with prayer!

"YOU CAN NOT PETITION THE LORD WITH PRAYER!!!"
--Jim Morrison and The Doors

 

Posted by Jeff at 11:47 PM | Comments (1)

April 18, 2005

Drinking and Driving Soon to be Illegal

...in Montana.

Okay, I just assumed that it was illegal everywhere. But, apparently, it isn't. But it seems that it will be come October:

This spring's second insult to freedom-loving cowboy types was graver yet, although its implications might be hard to fathom for non-Montanans. The state's drivers, as of October, will not be allowed to drink alcohol in their vehicles. Outsiders may find this development astonishing. Drinking and driving was legal in Montana? Yes. And not only legal but rather popular. In a state that measures more than 700 miles from its southeast to northwest corners and where most of those miles consist of empty highway enlivened only by blowing tumbleweeds and the occasional bloated mule-deer corpse, a cold can of beer was viewed by some as a necessary, invigorating diversion.

That's from a Time Magazine article titled, "Why Montana is Turning Blue".

One very refreshing bit of subtext in that article is that losing freedom goes hand in hand with an increase in Democrats:

The biggest changes came just this month, however. First, in a frontal assault on the state's image as a vast frontier-era saloon where a person is free to lose his life to vice as long as he doesn't take other people with him, the legislature prohibited smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants.

That, my friends, is the essence of freedom: a person is free to lose his life to vice as long as he doesn't take any other people (or their money) with him. And that freedom is going away, primarily because of the "blue" folks.

It's nice to see Time Magazine get that right.

Posted by Jeff at 09:50 PM | Comments (3)

April 17, 2005

Who should you vote for?

Well, it's not much good to me since I'm an American, but it's interesting to see how I would fit into a political context somewhere else:

United Kingdom Vote
Who should you vote for?

How do you fare?

Posted by Jeff at 04:15 PM | Comments (1)

Corporate Abuse of Asian Workers

In more than half of Nike's factories, the report said, employees worked more than 60 hours a day. In up to 25%, workers refusing to do overtime were punished.

--Nike lists abuses at Asian factories

Those evil capitalists!

Posted by Jeff at 05:37 AM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2005

The President's iPod

The "big" news today is that someone leaked the song list of President Bush's iPod. I've found no list, yet, of what the songs actually were, and I suspect that the topic is, in the final analysis, really quite boring.

What isn't boring is what people around the world are suggesting on this BBC news report should be on his song list:

I'm a Loser, by Beck
Stephen, NY, USA

Ozzy Osbourne's "Thank God for the Bomb" would be appropriate.
Mark, Ausitn, TX

The imperial march from Star Wars
Thomas Bloxham, Birmingham

Eminem's "Criminal."
Dave, Kansas City, USA

Green Day's American Idiot.
Marianne, Harare, Zimbabwe

"Check Your Head" by Beastie Boys
Paul Serwinski, New Britain, CT, USA

I reckon he should be listening to Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On, a great song, and an apt title for him.
Buffy, Parma, Italy

How about "Let Down" by Radiohead, and a bit of "Karma Police"
Damien, London, UK

A.K.A. I.D.I.O.T. by the Hives
Andy, Richmond, Surrey

Bob Dylan's...'Hit the Road Jack'.
David Anderson, Belfast, Northern Ireland

You can beat a metal reference from the 80s. How about 'Demolition Man' by Def Leppard. Rock on, George!
Dan Oliver, Bath, UK

How about 'Glorious Fool' by John Martyn all about another old former White House resident called Ronald.
Gary R-H, Henley on Thames, UK

How about "Waiting for an alibi" by Thin Lizzy?
LA

ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart, repeat (stars and stripes) by the Manic Street Preachers, Another Man's Cause by the Levellers
Tom Stagles, Eindhoven

Nine Inch Nails, 'the hand that feeds'.
Jo, UK

How about "Day Dreamer" that sounds about right for this Chap.
Mark Ames, London

Army Dreamers by his name-sake Kate Bush. "Shoulda been a politician but he never had a proper education. What a waste..."
Chris, London

'Beautiful People' - Marilyn Manson (Antichrist Superstar). 'The Unforgiven II' - Metallica (Reload). 'The Kids Aren't Alright' - The Offspring (Americana). And, of course 'American Idiot' - Green Day
Mark, Brighton, UK

[No you won't fool] The Children of the Revolution by T.Rex
rz, NH, US

"Bedtime for Democracy" by Dead Kennedys.
Thorfinn, Hertford, England

How about Blondie-Atomic? Or the final countdown, maybe? Or even 'It ain't over till it's over'?
Joss, Bristol, UK

Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon
Maude, USA

W should listen to "The Terror State" by Anti-Flag and "eMotive" by a Perfect Circle. And a LOT of Clash might do him some good. It's a bit too late for music to save him now, though.
Holly Henschen, Charleston, Illinois

'Deliverance' - The Best of Banjo
S Mason, London

Star Spangled Banner, Hendrix. Thirty six years on and we're questioning that all American righteousness, again.
Fabio, Rome

"Where is the Love?" by Black Eyed Peas
Shawna Brown, Rochester, NY

Happiness is a warm gun - The Beatles
Paul Buchan, Johannesburg, South Africa

Surely it has to include 'Charmless Man' by Blur.
John Paine, Hampshire, UK

Scissor Sisters "Comfortably Numb".
Gary, Runcorn, UK

Poor Misguided Fool by Starsailor.
Jackson Taylor, Glasgow

Oil by Asian Dub Foundation.
Brian Hamburger, New Orleans, USA

He should listen to Black Eyed Peas- 'Where is the the love' to remind him of universal brotherhood, love and care.
Adeyanju Apejoye, Kano, Nigeria

"War?" from System of a Down
Dru, Newcastle

Surely "The Teletubbies' Greatest Hits"?
Stefan, Strasbourg, France

The Clash's "I'm So Bored With The USA", War's "Why Can't We Be Friends" and Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues"
Tricky, Aberystwyth

Good for him. How about some Celtic rock to get the blood pumping? And to all the sarcastic lefties, get off the computer and get some exercise, maybe you'll lose some weight and improve your mood.
Tim Seeley, Manitoba, Canada

Bang & Blame by R.E.M.
Joel Guerin, Ancaster, Canada

"United States Of Whatever" by Liam Lynch!
Warren, Cyprus

Us and Them by Pink Floyd.
Tony Peters, London

Hail to the thief by Radiohead
Pradeep, UK

Bob The Builder - Can we fix it?
Oli Else, Godalming, Surrey, UK

"Let's stay together" by the Rev. Al Green You cannot be angry with the world when you are listening to the R 'n' B master. And definitely "I am in love with the world" by Chicken Shed... (this was on the Princess Diana memorial album) - both these should calm him down.
Dodie, Toronto, Canada

Greenday, American Idiot!
Max Thompson, Hastings

American Idiot (Greenday) - How fitting.
Adam, Birmingham

Green Day - American Idiot. (He probably loves it...)
Martin, Manchester, England

'Why can't we be friends' by Smash Mouth
John, Dublin

Doors "Riders on the storm" or "The End" would be good for him and his bicycle ride.
Marko, Zagreb, Croatia

Green Day's latest album, along with U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb!
John Nolan, New York, NY - USA

I'm surprised no-one's posted "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears For Fears yet. Or "Hold On To Your Friends" by Morrissey. Or for that matter, "America Is Not the World".
Phil Beharrell, London, UK

War. What is it good for? Seems appropriate somehow.
T Campbell-Smith, Fareham, UK

War of course! What's it good for?
Robert, Edinburgh, Scotland

Give Peace A Chance - John & Yoko
Adrian, Plymouth, UK

Perhaps he might listen to Elgar's Nimrod from Enigma Variations.
Gregory, Aberystwyth

"Public Speaking for Idiots" audio book.
Peter Morgan, Cardiff, Wales

English for beginners!
Gerard, Dublin

Tony Blair's current favourite is Iggy Pop's "I Wanna Be Your Dog".
Tim, Bangkok, Thailand

Idiot Wind, by Bob Dylan. Need I say more?
Andrea Castellano, Brooklyn, USA

Megalomaniac by Incubus.
Nick Mitchell, Milwaukee, WI

The theme tune of The Muppet Show.
Simon S, Oxon

R.E.M. - The End of The World As We Know It.
Barry Murphy, Galway, Ireland

"It's the End of the World as we know it" by R.E.M.
H Kim, Seoul, Korea

The Bravery's album - not only a great album but an ironic reminder of Bush's past 'bravery'. And also Green Day's American Idiot: An album with both a political message and a perfect description of Bush!
Paul, Newcastle

Get Back - the Beatles.
Graham Carmichael, Dubai, UAE

I bet he also has an 'aide' push the buttons on his 'High Pod'. If Al Gore invented the internet, why do all the addresses begin with a 'W'?
Phil Dagnan, London, UK

"Know Your Rights", by The Clash, "Fight The Power" by Public Enemy, "Masters Of War" by Bob Dylan, and the entire "Nebraska" album by Bruce Springsteen. Oh, and The Dixie Chicks.
Noel Phelan, Dublin, Ireland

He should definitely listen to the people of America and the rest of the world on his iPod, because he sure is not doing that the rest of the time.
Daryl Northrop, Des Moines, Iowa, USA

He should definitely throw some Alice Cooper into the mix. Then he'll really get the "hard core" he's looking for, some really great music, and a Republican-supporting musician.
K, Montreal, Canada

Eric Clapton - Tears in Heaven.
Lester, High Wycombe, UK

How about Monkey Man by the Specials?
Islay Reid, Montrose, Scotland

Outkast - 'B.O.B.' (Bombs Over Baghdad).
R Williams, Brighton

"Breathe in...breathe out...breath in..."
Gary Varga, Eccleshall

The Emperor In His War Room - Van der Graaf Generator.
Jeremy, Hampshire, UK

I think he should have "Where's Your Head At?" by Basement Jaxx.
Larelle Read, Luton, Beds

How about John Lennon's "Imagine"? A pretty nice choice for a president with a lot of imagination...He's tearing down borders alright.
Ognyan, Sofia, Bulgaria

That's an easy one: Edwin Starr's "War".
Adam, Rickmansworth, Herts

World Leader Pretend by REM
Martin, Warks, England

Rage Against the Machine's "Killin' in the name of" is all about him. I suggest he also listen to a little Willie Nelson, preferably "What ever happened to Peace on Earth", in order to remind himself of what his Christian beliefs are really supposed to support.
Saidhbhin, Dublin

Simon and Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair; Donovan's Universal Soldier, and John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance. That should make him fall off his bike, contributing in a modest way to making the world genuinely safe for (as opposed to from) democracy.
Deborah Hubbard, Pretoria, South Africa

Just so long as it's not the Chemical Brothers, 'Push The Button'....
Dom, London, UK

Anything from the Top Gun movie soundtrack. Duelling Banjo's. Mongoloid by Devo. War by Edwyn Star Suicide is Painless (Theme from Mash) That song by Randy Newman, 'Let's drop the big one there'll be no-one left to blame us' Hard hand to hold by Willy Mason Although possibly Mr Blair should be listening to that one.
David Coyle, Perth, Scotland

That's very trimmed down, although I tried to allow for some repetition to indicate what's being favored. It's interesting to see what BBC readers have to say, most of whom probably just found the site through Google.

I suggested "Screaming for Vengeance", 'cause he ought to be.

Tim Seeley of Manitoba, Canada, you're a good man.

Posted by Jeff at 04:04 PM | Comments (75)

My Favorite Weblog

The mayor of Portland Oregon has taken a stand against blatant gender-fascism, just as he took against racism last year:

A great big Toot o' the Hooka to Portland's Mayor Potter for his courageous stand against gender fascism by refusing to endorse the Mrs. Oregon Pageant.

In a thinly veiled attack on the Gay and Transgendered Community, the pageant has now officially restricted itself to females who were born without penises and are married to members of the Opressor Gender. The same right-wing lunatics who are destroying America with their religious idealism have apparently hijacked the annual pageant and turned it into some sort of beauty contest.

This is nothing new. Last year, the mayor cut his vacation short over the pageant's new "No Mustaches" rule, which essentially disqualified 3/4 of Portland's female population.

As we all know, the darker complected women have a stronger tendency toward visable moustaches, and this blatant racism should not be tolerated!

Read more of this entry, then bookmark the site. It's worth a visit every day.

Posted by Jeff at 03:06 AM | Comments (0)

April 09, 2005

Killing Babies

Half of infant deaths in Flanders were euthanasia
By David Rennie in Brussels
(Filed: 09/04/2005)

Nearly half the newborn babies who died in Flanders over a recent year-long period were helped to die by their doctors, a new study reported yesterday.

Paediatricians in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium either discreetly stopped treating the babies or, in 17 cases, illegally killed them with lethal doses of painkillers.

"Socialism. Killing babies by the hordes.
And that's what they want for America?

"Satanic, sadistic. Insane, masochistic.
Self loathing and evil.
Massive upheaval.
The One will stand against the many.
And His light never goes out."

--from the comments, #176

Posted by Jeff at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2005

George Bush Cures Cancer

Okay, so President Bush hasn't cured cancer. But what if he did?

If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer, his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. He pursued his goal obstinately, they would say, without filtering his thoughts through the medical research establishment. And he didn't share his research with competing labs and thus caused resentment among other scientists who didn't have the resources or the bold--perhaps even somewhat reckless--instincts to pursue the task as he did. And he completely ignored the World Health Organization, showing his contempt for international institutions. Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about aids?
--Martin Peretz, editor in chief of The New Republic

Now that's hitting it right on the money, is it not? Compare:

...he has accomplished this genuinely momentous transformation [of the Middle East] in ways that virtually the entire foreign affairs clerisy--the cold-blooded Brent Scowcroft realist Republicans and almost all the Democrats--never thought possible. Or, perhaps, in ways some of them thought positively undesirable. Bush, it now seems safe to say, is one of the great surprises in modern U.S. history.... The significant fact is that Bush's obsession with the democratization of the region is working.
--Martin Peretz, editor in chief of The New Republic

Yet, you don't exactly see the people on the left singing his praises, do you?

Although the article is limited to subscribers of The New Republic, you can read quite a bit of it and with commentary at The American Future weblog.

Posted by Jeff at 04:50 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2005

Terrorism in Iraq

Terrorism in Iraq seems to be completely disappearing from the news media. It used to be that any click to Google News would result in at least one of the top stories being about a suicide bomber ("homicide bomber?") somewhere in Iraq. Then a quick scroll down to the "World" section would often yeild stories of two or three separate incidents. Not anymore, though. Now you can go days or weeks without...anything. And since Google News is based upon the prevalence of a news story in the media, this tells us something.

But what?

It seems to me that it's one of the following:

1) The liberal media has given up on its over-reporting of a phenomenon which it had hoped would bring down a president - making room for one that would share its ideology. The election is over, after all.

2) The terrorism is going away. The war is being won. "Quagmire"? "Another Vietnam"? The liberal's wish just isn't coming true. Better luck next time. (Not likely.)

Or maybe it's both.

Posted by Jeff at 06:12 AM | Comments (1)

Marry an Animal?

In the spirit of the entry below this one, I found this little ditty on yet another lefty weblog:

Colorado Legislator: Gay Marriage Will Lead to Interspecies Marriage

This should be an April Fool's joke, but it's not. Colorado state Representative Jim Welker of Loveland, Colorado (same neck of the woods as U.S. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, chief proponent of the Federal Marriage Amendment that would ban gay marriage) warned his fellow legislators, with a straight face, that if we allow gay marriage today, we'll be inviting marriages between humans and animals tomorrow.

"Where do you draw the line?" Rep. Jim Welker asked. "A year ago in India, a woman married her dog."..."A guy in Boulder tried to marry his horse a couple years ago," Welker said.

These weren't even back-room comments....he made them at a press conference supporting a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

He's right to be up in arms over such an absurd proposition, obviously, because we've seen these kinds of scare tactics from the people on the right before.

One very relevant example helped defeat the "Equal Rights Amendment" from way back in the mid-70s. The opponents challenged that if the ERA were to pass, then it'd open the door for such things as "legalization of homosexual marriages", among other things.

The liberals, naturally, cried foul: Absurd!!! Obviously no one would ever support such a thing, even if the ERA does pass!

Unfortunately, this right-wing scare tactic ruled the day, in spite of the abjectly fatuous nature of the claim. "Homosexual marriages" indeed. PFFFFFTTTT! Give us a break, Republicans...it's getting old. Really, really old.

Posted by Jeff at 01:59 AM | Comments (3)

Cox and Forkum April Fools

I'm not sure what, exactly, is April foolish about yesterday's Cox and Forkum weblog entry, but its definitely different:

gorilla-x.gif

In addition to the missing dialogue, they also opened up the comment feature of their weblog (which I have never seen opened in the time that I've been visiting) allowing for others to share their own dialogues for the characters. It was pretty worthwhile.

In my mind, the ape - the 800 lb gorilla - represents social security. It think it's bizarre to apply anything else to it. Nevertheless, most people are hung up on the Terri Schiavo thing (a subject which will be completely forgotten in about six months, while social security is going to be an issue for...well, forever), so lots of people gave it Schiavo interpretations. However, while I consider the gorilla to refer to social security, there were much more funny interpretations. Here are my two favorites:

DEMOCRAT: I love him! And marriage is our human right!
REPUBLICAN: Well, as long as you're both not gay, it's okay with me.
GORILLA: P.E.D.A. People for the Ethical Dressing of Animals.

GORILLA'S SIGN: Democrats Hate America
DONKEY: For God's Sake! That is UTTERLY RIDICULOUS!
ELEPHANT: I know...I TOLD him to lose the tutu.

Another rather fitting interpretation was, "Democrats are always screaming about something, Republicans are always responding with measured condescension, and there's always somebody/something in the middle that represents the truth." As an interpretation of the comic, I'm not sure that I agree with that bit about something in the middle representing the truth (actually, I'm quite certain that I'd disagree with it), but he certainly got the characters of the Democrats and the Republicans right.

Read more interpretations.
Posted by Jeff at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2005

Illegal War?

International law? "I better call my lawyer." Better not to. The civilised world can't depend on the legal niceties of an ersatz global jurisdiction. If the Iraq war turns out to have been "illegal", that's just another bonus.
--Mark Steyn

Mark Steyn, I think I love you.

Posted by Jeff at 03:31 AM | Comments (4)

March 27, 2005

"Liberals just don't get it" topics

So I'm cruising around the Internet reading lefty weblogs (an odd addiction, I know) and I'm starting to see a story beginning to proliferate about, again, Saudi citizens being evacuated from the United States immediately following the events on 9/11. Although no real evidence is ever given, these people (ala Michael Moore) hope that your conspiratorial paranoia microchip is well functioning, and that you'll reason through conjecture that George Bush is either behind the 9/11 attacks, or he's unwilling to punish the real guilty parties out of loyalty to his corporate greed. So now, apparently, there are some new reports (though it seems to me about previously established evidence) regarding the timelines of these Saudi departures, and the lefties think that the reports will help their case. It's enough to make you hold your head in your hand and whisper, "Not AGAIN!"

Liberals keep coming up with this "See, I we told you!" stuff as if to suggest that if only mainstream America had known what these much smarter angry lefties had known, then they'd have voted to "throw the bum" out of office. But the truth is that nobody cares except for them. They're preaching to the choir and (erroneously) congratulating themselves for being smarter than everyone else. I think it's a pretty safe bet that if any or all of this stuff had come out before the election, Bush would've won by just as great, and probably a greater margin than he actually managed. The liberal wacko rants would have, if anything, driven even more voters into Bush's tent. (Note: it's not the facts that are wacko, it's the conclusions which the lefties hope that we'll draw from those facts which are wacko.)

These people are behaving as if the vote isn't over and they didn't lose. They're like a gathering of poor sports crying and whining at the 2nd yard of a football field, screaming about the unfairness of an alleged missed call, a foul not punished, and a victory unfairly taken. But victory has been declared, the awards have been given out, the teams have showered and gone home, the spectators have left the stadium, and even the clean-up crews have snatched up the last discarded wax-paper Coke cup from under the bleachers. As these few wail on that second yard line, the occasional leaf swirls past them in the breeze.

Ironically, its moveon.org that never does. Figure that one out.

One should note that I'm not specifically referring to the blogger I linked to above, but instead to the character of the blogging on the issue in the aggregate. I actually chose to link to the weblog above because of its subdued hyperbole, rather than being overtly hysterical.

ps: I seem to have found a bug in this version of Movable Type. I copy/pasted the trackback url in the "URLs to ping" field, wrote my post, previewed it, edited it slightly, then decided that I didn't like the UPPERCASE domain in the trackback url - so I edited it down to lowercase. Upon saving the entry (publishing), Movable Type pinged both uppercase and lowercase versions of the trackback URL. The uppercase must've been stored, somehow, when I previewed the comment. I guess.

Posted by Jeff at 05:39 PM | Comments (10)

March 21, 2005

Liberal Dissonance

Ann Coulter said that if it weren't for terrorism, liberals would hate Muslims. She didn't get a chance to explain why, since she was attacked by pie throwers just after mentioning it, but I assume that what she was getting at would be Muslim treatment of and attitudes toward women. Liberals are supposed to be the "womens liberation" group, yet Muslim women seem to be the least liberated innocents on the planet.

I just visited a weblog, Clarity and Resolve, which brought this point home with the inclusion of a Reuters article highlighting a couple of instances of violence against women in Iraq:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Aamal, a ministry consultant, shot dead. Wijdan, a women's rights activist and election candidate, murdered. Zeena, a businesswoman, kidnapped, shot and dumped on a highway in a headscarf she never wore.

Their crime? Wearing western clothes, having jobs or speaking out to make women's voices heard in efforts to rebuild Iraq, plagued by relentless violence, spiralling crime and creeping religious fundamentalism.

Many have been driven into their homes, out of schools and universities and off the streets. Leading women keep a black hijab on the peg by the door to wear when venturing outside. Women who never wore the headscarf, turn to it for safety.

So, with that in mind, I'd like to contribute a bit of American patriotism, and a flippant salute to all of the Muslim fundamentalist terrorists out there:

American Patriotism

American Bikini Salute

Kathy Ireland Republican

Posted by Jeff at 05:00 AM | Comments (4)

March 20, 2005

Vitriolic Wacko Attacks Democrat

CBS News is reporting that a member of the "angry left" lost control of himself last week. It seems that the anti-Bushie is intolerant of anyone disagreeing with him about our President.

A man apparently enraged by a Bush-Cheney sticker on a woman's sport utility vehicle chased her for miles and tried to run her off the road while [holding up a sign that read, "Never Forget Bush's Illegal War Murdered Thousands in Iraq"], police said.

bush-cheney.jpg

Apparently, she responded to his behavior with a "gesture" of some kind which pushed him over the edge. His report is that the gesture was obscene, she reports that she gestured out of an attempt to figure out "why he was honking at [her] and pointing at his sign."

The woman found a police officer, reported on his license number and description, and he was caught soon after. He is now apparently charged with aggravated stalking and faces up to five years in prison. I, personally, am hoping that the judge turns out to be a female Bush voter who has also found herself the target of the far left's vitriolic intolerance.

After learning of the incident, the accused's father reportedly referred to his son as "the least aggressive person I know", a statement which, if we assume its accuracy, tends to suggest that his father either doesn't know a great many people or he hangs with a pretty rough crowd. No word is available on the father's political leanings.

Oh, did I mention that the victim is a registered Democrat? It would seem that the angry left is hell bent on ensuring that the moderates will never collectively vote for a Democrat again. What sane person would want to side with the angry left?

Posted by Jeff at 02:03 AM | Comments (2)

March 19, 2005

Why Filibusters Should Be Allowed

George F. Will wrote a lengthy editorial on filibusters. If you've questioning whether or not Republicans should press to eliminate the filibuster possibility, it may make for good reading. Here are some excerpts:

With Republicans inclined to change Senate rules to make filibusters of judicial nominees impossible, Democrats have recklessly given Republicans an additional incentive to do so. It is a redundant incentive, because Republicans think -- mistakenly -- that they have sufficient constitutional reasons for doing so.

Today 60 Senate votes are required to end a filibuster. There are 55 Republican senators but not five Democrats who will join them. Republicans may seek a ruling from the chair -- Vice President Cheney presiding -- that filibustering judicial nominees is impermissible, a ruling that a simple majority of senators could enforce.

Pretty interesting. Though you've got to wonder why Will thinks that following the procedure of law would result in something unconstitutional; it doesn't seem to me that he ever gets to that. The way he stated the case above, it seems that our system has been designed to allow a "ruling from the chair" with the support of the majority.

Some conservatives oddly seem to regret the fact that the government bristles with delaying and blocking mechanisms -- separation of powers, bicameral legislature, etc. The filibuster is one such mechanism -- an instrument for minority assertion. It enables democracy to be more than government-by-adding-machine, more than a mere counter of numbers. The filibuster registers intensity, enabling intense minorities to slow or stop government.

Good point, George. Not only does it tend to conserve the type of government we currently have (restricts change), but it protects minority interests - nearly always a good thing.

And pruning the filibuster in the name of majority rule would sharpen the shears that one day will be used to prune it further. If filibusters of judicial nominations are impermissible, why not those of all nominations -- and of treaties, too? Have conservatives forgotten how intensely they once opposed some treaties pertaining to arms control and to the Panama Canal?

As one who is often accused of being conservative myself, I find myself in favor of conserving the ability to filibuster. Remember what happened to chief Democratic obstructionist Tom Daschle?

Tom Daschle - Fired!

He was fired for his obstructionism. Let the voters and the fear of the voters compel their representatives to filibuster, or not.

The Senate's institutional paralysis over judicial confirmations is a political problem for which there is a political solution: 60 Republican senators. The president believes that Democratic obstruction of judicial nominees contributed to Republican gains in 2002 and 2004. In 2006, 17 of the Democrats' seats and that of Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont, their collaborator, are up, five of them in states the president carried in 2004.

It has been 98 years since Republicans have had 60 senators. But in the past 50 years, there were more than 60 Democratic senators after seven elections: 1958 (64), 1960 (64), 1962 (67), 1964 (68), 1966 (64), 1974 (61), 1976 (62). Republicans might reach 60 if the president devoted as much energy to denouncing obstruction of judicial nominations as he is devoting to explaining Social Security's problems. Solving those problems is important, but not as important as achieving a judiciary respectful of the Constitution.

It seems to me that many conservatives are behaving a bit vindictively over the Democratic vitriol in the 18 months prior to the presidential election. They need to stop it. Now. What made the Republicans so much more appealing than the Democrats in the last election was, I think, to a large extent their unwillingness to engage in such childishness. And that brings me to Will's final statement:

No Democratic filibuster can stop the 2006 elections. Those elections, however, might stop the Democrats' filibusters.

Posted by Jeff at 01:52 AM | Comments (6)

March 15, 2005

Happy EASTER Everyone!

Easter Bunny
(Image is clickable.)

The Political Grapevine

Palm Beach, Florida made headlines when city officials renamed all Christmas trees "holiday trees" last December. Now, some shopping malls in the city have decided to get rid of the Easter bunny. They're changing the name of Easter egg hunts to just plain "egg hunts" which will be presided over not by the Easter bunny, but by a "garden bunny."

They've lost their minds. That, and the continuing assault against Christianity has gone way over the top.

I'm not the least bit religious, and I tend to hold religious beliefs against people when I judge their intelligence. But there's something sinister about how the Christian religion is singled out for abuse. It's Easter, for chrissakes...and it's Christmas. Yes, those holidays may have their roots in a religion, but they've long ago been secularized in this country (I don't know of any Kris Kringle or egg dispensing rabbits in the bible, do you?). There is no need to change the freaking names of the holidays.

The next thing we know, we'll be referring to devil's food cake as "ethically disadvantaged pseudo-nutrition product". But it'll be lucky. By comparison, angel food cake will be demonized and ridiculed beyond belief.

Posted by Jeff at 10:54 PM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2005

Awwww, Kenny...

You forgot this one!

America's World Freedom Tour - Model

America's World Freedom Tour - Back

Posted by Jeff at 01:38 AM | Comments (9)

March 05, 2005

Bye-bye, Europe?

"Until the shape of the new Europe begins to emerge, there's no point picking fights with the terminally ill. The old Europe is dying, and Mr. Bush did the diplomatic equivalent of the Oscar night lifetime-achievement tribute at which the current stars salute a once glamorous old-timer whose fading aura is no threat to them. The 21st century is being built elsewhere."
--Mark Steyn

Unfortunately, it wasn't posted in a European column.

Posted by Jeff at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

March 03, 2005

Some Dan Rather-isms

Some highlights of Dan Rather-isms:

"The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor."
--Leading off the March 16, 1995 CBS Evening News.

"Republicans kill the bill to clean up sleazy political fundraising. The business of dirty campaign money will stay business as usual."
--CBS Evening News, February 26, 1998.

"There was no doubt Republicans in the House had enough votes tonight to pass another key item in their agenda to rip up or re-write government programs going back to the Franklin Roosevelt era. It is a bill making it harder, much harder, to protect health, safety, and the environment."
--CBS Evening News, February 28, 1995.

"On Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled House voted mostly along party lines tonight to pass President Bush's federal budget blueprint. This includes his big tax cut plan, partly bankrolled, critics say, through cuts in many federal aid programs for children and education."
--CBS Evening News, March 28, 2001.

Posted by Jeff at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2005

Hypocrisy?

__________ lied!

What do you mean, he lied?

__________ told us things that weren't true!

Well, is it possible that he was just mistaken?

Even if __________ was mistaken, he had an affirmative obligation to know that what he was presenting was factual, so he stills deserves a harsh rebuke! Besides, there's evidence that he lied!

Such as?

Motive! __________'s inaccuracy supported a conclusion that we know he wanted the population to go along with!

That's fairly circumstantial.

There's more! We know that __________ was given evidence that was contrary to his lie, yet he chose to ignore it!

We all receive conflicting information from time to time. We must sort out that which we are to consider to be the most credible from what information we have. Besides, isn't it possible that not __________, but his staff are the ones who were privy to the most contrary evidence?

He is responsible for his staff! And even if you don't accept that he lied, you must at least accept that his motive allowed him to be easily duped!

So, you're saying that behind the lie, or error, was an ulterior motive. So, on its own, apart from the error (or lie), was that ulterior motive justified?

No!

You know this for sure? Or is the jury still out on that one? Would the people of the opposite political bias agree that it wasn't justified?

It wasn't! The jury is not still out on that one! The other side who don't agree are just idiots!

Fill in the blank. Who am I talking about here?

Posted by Jeff at 11:57 PM | Comments (1)

March 01, 2005

Ward Churchill says "Right on" to 9/11

Ward Churchill says "Right on!" to 9/11, and he advocates terrorism on these audio clips. You've got to hear all four for it to become crystal clear.

So the truth is out, credible, and verified.

Posted by Jeff at 01:06 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2005

Bush's Visit to Europe

But, in the broader sense vis-a-vis Europe, the administration is changing the tone precisely because it understands there can be no substance. And, if there's no substance that can be changed, what's to quarrel about? International relations are like ex-girlfriends: if you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six - make that 10 - months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser.

I love the way Mark Steyn writes.

Posted by Jeff at 04:57 AM | Comments (2)

February 21, 2005

Ayn Rand Avatar

Ayn Rand Avatar.gif

Who was Ayn Rand?

Ayn Rand is a major intellectual of the twentieth century. Born in Russia in 1905 and educated there, she immigrated to the United States after graduating from university. Upon becoming proficient in English and establishing herself as a writer in the U.S., she became well-known as a passionate advocate of her philosophy, Objectivism. Rand's philosophy is in the Aristotelian tradition, with that tradition's emphasis upon metaphysical naturalism, empirical reason in epistemology, and self-realization in ethics. Her political philosophy is in the classical liberal tradition, with that tradition's emphasis upon individualism, the constitutional protection of individual rights to life, liberty, and property, and limited government. She wrote both technical and popular works of philosophy, and she presented her philosophy in both fictional and non-fictional forms. Her philosophy has influenced several generations of academics and public intellectuals, as well as having had widespread popular appeal.

What is an avatar

An avatar, in terms of the Internet, is the "face" that you show to the world commonly on bulletin boards and within messenger windows. If you use an avatar, people see it any time they view your message. Your avatar can be your real picture, one of the generic choices often available on bulletin boards or within messenger software, or any custom image you may choose (within the appropriate size and file size constraints).

Personally, I like fairly simple ones, so I've created this one to annoy the socialists with.

Ayn Rand Avatar.gif

If you'd like the avatar, just right click on it and save.

Here is more on Ayn Rand which is well worth reading, and the site is well worth an entry in your favorites or bookmarks: Ayn Rand Centenary

Posted by Jeff at 02:46 PM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2005

Blame Bush

Okay, here's an interesting weblog I just found:

Blame Bush

Give that one a shot.

Posted by Jeff at 07:58 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2005

California: Affecting America

Sclerosis Meets the Terminator

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria's gift to American politics and other entertainments, cannot be president because he is not a "natural born citizen," but that does not mean his political power is confined to California. This state is so big -- the economy of Los Angeles County is almost as large as Russia's -- that the continent can reverberate from what happens here, and Schwarzenegger expects much to happen in the next 10 months....

His libertarianism extends beyond the theory of political economy he encountered as a young man in the writings of Milton Friedman and beyond the exuberant entrepreneurialism of his life, to social issues. He favors abortion rights, does not care if any state's voters endorse gay marriage and has "no use" for a constitutional amendment barring that. Hence some Republicans consider him useful but not a proper communicant in the church of true conservatism. However, his conservatism, more than theirs, is the point of the spear in conservatism's primary political challenge -- defeating liberalism's attempt to Europeanize America.

Well, there's someone to watch. Secular Republicans and Libertarians are uneasy about the direction of the Republican party, even when most of them are on board because of foreign policy and domestic fiscal issues, and that's a large number of people. Most of us in the center tend to think of the religious right as being at least as nutty as the angry left. It's interesting to finally have a prominent and powerful hero in American politics.

Posted by Jeff at 12:54 AM | Comments (5)

February 11, 2005

Lynne F. Stewart Found Guilty. Her Defense?

Lawyer is Guilty of Aiding Terror

In a startlingly sweeping verdict, Ms. Stewart was convicted on all five counts of providing material aid to terrorism and of lying to the government when she pledged to obey federal rules that barred her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, from communicating with his followers. Her co-defendants, Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Mohamed Yousry, were also convicted of all the charges against them....

After a trial that lasted more than seven months, the jurors announced their verdict after 12 days of deliberations that spanned four weeks. In a case watched by lawyers nationwide, the jurors were persuaded that Ms. Stewart had crossed a professional line, from vigorously representing her client to conspiring in his followers' plans to launch violence in Egypt....

Ms. Stewart was convicted on two counts of conspiring to provide material aid to terrorists, by making the views and instructions of Mr. Abdel Rahman available to his followers in the Islamic Group, an organization in Egypt with a history of terrorist violence. She was also convicted of three counts of perjury and defrauding the government for flouting federal prison rules that barred Mr. Abdel Rahman, a blind Islamic cleric, from communicating with anyone outside his federal prison in Minnesota except his lawyers and his wife....

Ms. Stewart's troubles arose from her work over a decade to defend Mr. Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence for inspiring a thwarted 1993 plot to bomb the United Nations, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and other New York landmarks....

The jury appeared to have focused on the evidence that clearly showed that Ms. Stewart had knowingly violated the legal letter of prison rules aimed at silencing the sheik. "She thought she could blow off the rules that apply to everyone else because she's a lawyer," said Anthony Barkow, the assistant United States attorney who made the government's final argument to the jury....

There was little dispute about the central facts in the case. After Mr. Abdel Rahman was sentenced in 1996 to life in prison, his followers issued a series of threats against the United States demanding his release. Prosecutors imposed rules, known as special administrative measures, that barred the sheik, already held in solitary confinement, from communicating with anyone outside prison but his lawyers and his wife.

Ms. Stewart repeatedly signed documents in which she agreed to uphold the rules.

She brought a letter containing messages from Islamic Group members to a meeting with the sheik in the prison in Rochester, Minn., in May 2000. She received a statement from the sheik and on June 14 called a reporter in Cairo and read him the statement. The sheik said he was withdrawing support for a cease-fire the Islamic Group had observed for three years in Egypt. The group never canceled the cease-fire.

Testifying on her own behalf, Ms. Stewart said the press release was part of a legal strategy that involved provoking the government if necessary in order to keep the sheik in the public eye. Ms. Stewart said she was acting within an unwritten lawyer's "bubble" in the prison rules that allowed her to defend her client as she thought best.

So her defense is that she's bound by "unwritten rules" which contradict actual written rules. Well, that clears that up.

Posted by Jeff at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2005

Ward Churchill: Digging Deep on the Incompetent Professor

It seems that the incompetent one has cleverly abused the affirmative action ideals to his advantage:

The Truth is Tricky for Churchill

Consider: Churchill has constructed his entire academic career around the claim that he is a Native American, yet it turns out there is no evidence, other than his own statements, that this is the case.

Churchill has said at various times that he is either one-sixteenth or three-sixteenths Cherokee, yet genealogical reporting by the Rocky Mountain News and others has failed to turn up any Cherokee ancestors - or any other Native Americans - in Churchill's family tree.

Why should we care one way or another? We should care because Churchill has used his supposed Indian heritage to bully his way into academia. Indeed Churchill lacks what are normally considered the minimum requirements for a tenure-track job at a research university: he never earned a doctorate, and his only degrees are a bachelor's and a master's from a then-obscure Illinois college.

Churchill's lack of conventional academic credentials was apparently compensated for, at least in part in the eyes of those who hired him at the University of Colorado, by the "fact" that he contributed to the ethnic diversity of the school's tenure-track faculty.

His fraud gets even worse:

Thomas Brown, a professor of sociology at Lamar University, has written a paper that outlines what looks like a more conventional form of academic fraud on Churchill's part. According to Brown, Churchill fabricated a story about the U.S. Army intentionally creating a smallpox epidemic among the Mandan tribe in 1837, by simply inventing almost all of the story's most crucial facts, and then attributing these "facts" to sources that say nothing of the kind.

"One has only to read the sources that Churchill cites to realize the magnitude of his fraudulent claims for them," Brown writes. "We are not dealing with a few minor errors here. We are dealing with a story that Churchill has fabricated almost entirely from scratch. The lack of rationality on Churchill's part is mind-boggling." (Brown's essay: Ward Churchill)

But he espouses leftist ideals. That makes him smart enough and qualified enough for the job, right?

Um...right? (I mean, left?)

Posted by Jeff at 02:39 PM | Comments (1)

February 05, 2005

"Some People Push Back": On the justice of roosting chickens

When queried by reporters concerning his views on the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Malcolm X infamously replied that it was merely a case of "chickens coming home to roost."

In the early months of the year 2005, a few more chickens - along with outraged families of victims of the September 11th attacks and millions of Americans and good people around the world - are coming home to roost in a very big way within the life of University of Colorado professor, Ward Churchill. It would seem that the hateful professor is not only at risk of losing his job, but is actually receiving death threats.

Could a proponent of Churchill's "justice of roosting chickens" argue against that justice when the chickens roost on Churchill himself?

I wonder.

Posted by Jeff at 01:52 PM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2005

Libertarian, Republican, Democrat, Socialist

Okay, for those of you who are confused about political parties, here's a nice example using race to demonstrate the difference:

Democrats: Racial profiling is okay for affirmative action, social programs, etc., but is not okay for preventing crime or terrorism, such as patting down Saudi immigrants more often than little old white grannies.

Republicans: Racial profiling is okay for the prevention of crime and terrorism, but it's not okay in the business world: just say "No" to affirmative action.

Socialists: Racial profiling is okay, period, in both sets.

Libertarian: Racial profiling is never okay, period. The government must be colorblind.

Posted by Jeff at 10:53 AM | Comments (5)

January 02, 2005

New Research: Non-whites can be criminals too

Who is the Troublemaker?

Children as young as four hold racist views, identifying black people as potential troublemakers and criminals, according to shocking new research.

The only thing "new" about that research, it seems to me, is that it was conducted in Great Britian, not the United States where similar experiments have been carried out for decades. And the only thing shocking about the story is that the scientist, apparently British, actually suggests that Great Britian is behind the United States on an important social issue:

Lord Winston said the study raises new concerns that British society is "breeding a kind of racism" at an early stage in life.

"We have failed as a society to promote respect of individuals from ethnic minorities," said Lord Winston, professor of fertility studies at Imperial College London. "We should be encouraging five-year-olds to have an ethnic identity. There is a lack of respect for blacks in the Army, in the police, and we still don't have many black Members of Parliament.

"In the US, they have statues of Martin Luther King, but in Britain we do not have the same black icons. I don't want to claim that Britain is a racist society - we have a wonderful history of tolerance - but I am concerned about it."

Obviously neither "B" nor "I", below, represents my opinions on the subject (each holds views both in favor of and contrary to mine), but I thought this dialogue had just enough truth in it to be funny:

Children as young as four hold racist views, identifying black people as potential troublemakers and criminals, according to shocking new research.

Hmmm.....

Children as young as four hold waterist views, identifying water as potentially wet and slippery, according to shocking new research.

B: Don't say that! You're a waterist!
I: But water is wet and slippery.
B: Not always. Sometimes its dry and hard. Ice!
I: But ice is slippery too.
B: Only when it's wet! Don't hold the entire block of ice responsible for what that thin film of water around it does!
I: I don't. But, even according to your argument, water is potentially wet and slippery.
B: But that's not the water's fault. Whether it's hard and dry or wet and slippery has to do with environmental forces completely external to the water. It's not the water's fault!
I: So you're saying, then, that water is non-self-determinate...essentially just stupid.
B: Right!
I: And you call ME the waterist!

Posted by Jeff at 11:33 AM | Comments (3)

Michael Crichton: State of Fear

Just now, at the top of google news were two stories on the Michael Crichton book, State of Fear:

A Right Winger Attacks Global Warming

and

Interview: Jasper Girard Meets Michael Crichton

Read though them and tell me which author was sober and well reasoned and which one engaged in hysterical histrionics.

Then keep that idea in mind when you read political columns. You'll see that it fits a very strong pattern.

Michael Crichton: State of Fear
Buy the Book Now

I read it because George Will compared it to Atlas Shrugged. I understand the similarities (and there are many, some not particulary laudible), but State of Fear is not nearly as ambitious of a project as was Ayn Rand's magnum opus. I suspect that it'll rise fast, then die quickly, in part because he's probably right on his primary argument: that the current environmental "crises" exist primarily because humans feel a need to fear something, and not because any crises actually exist (in fact, he cites references to studies showing that the beginning for the term "crisis" showing up hyper-frequently in the media coincided at almost exactly the time that communism fell - with nothing left to fear from "The Cold War", humans easily fell prey to specious arguments about an impending environmental catastrophe). When humans find something else to fear (and perhaps Islamic fundamentalist driven terrorism will do), the environmental hyper-fear will fade away.

But that's not the point of my writing tonight. Instead, I was just struck by the tremendously different tone of the two writers of the above linked articles, then further by the aftershock of realizing that it fits a pattern which began at just about the time George W. Bush was elected president in 2000.

Posted by Jeff at 02:29 AM | Comments (1)

December 12, 2004

Getting the Kooks out of the Democratic Party

Here's an excellent article: Writer dreams of a 1947 Democratic Party (link to news article no longer valid.)

Beinart is bravely trying to do for liberalism what another magazine editor -- National Review's William Buckley -- did for conservatism by excommunicating the Birchers from the conservative movement. But Buckley's task was easier than Beinart's will be because the Birchers were never remotely as central to the Republican base as the Moore/MoveOn faction is to the Democratic base.

It's what I have been alluding to for months.

Posted by Jeff at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)

November 29, 2004

(The Murdered) Theo Van Gogh's Film: Submission

Submission: Part I

Watch it.

And spread it around.

Supplementary reading: Look Who Isn't Talking

Posted by Jeff at 08:16 AM | Comments (4)

November 24, 2004

Dear Courier Post Online

Dear Courier Post Online:

I'm 37 years old last October, and I'd like to comment on this statement made in your article:

Dan Rather will be remembered for his reporting on the assassination of President Kennedy and stories from the jungles of Vietnam, not a questionable report on President Bush's National Guard service, some area residents and experts said.

At my age, I never saw anything about the assassination of President Kennedy, nor have I seen anything but forgettable snippets of Rather reporting on Vietnam. However, the "questionable report" (to use the most charitable term possible) on President Bush's National Guard Service is burned into my memory.

It is also true that, while virtually everyone who still has the capacity for memory of the Vietnam or Kennedy days is fully aware of the "questionable report", most of us who still have our mental faculties know, out of the three phenomena, only of the "questionable report", and not of Rather's Vietnam reporting nor his reports on the assassination of Kennedy. Again, from your article:

"It's certainly the end of an era," said Moriarty, 48. "It means we're all getting older."

Yes, yes we are, Moriarty. And with every passing day there are fewer and fewer people remembering Rather for anything other than his "questionable report".

ps: Note to Mr. Rather - THIS is what you leave behind.

Posted by Jeff at 02:17 AM | Comments (1)

November 07, 2004

Dear Democrats

Dear Democrats,

While you think about how to do better next time, please stay true to your core values and feelings. Don't restrain your anger; part of your problem in this election was that you didn't put it out there enough. If other Americans understood how truly mad you are it would make more of an impression.

You need to try harder to make them see that you're smarter and better than your opponents. Unleash your indignation and express your outrage and they will start to get your superiority to the religious fanatics, racists and homophobes who oppose you. You've got to make the point over and over that these people are intolerant stupid hicks while you are smart, good and wise.

Face it, you're just not getting your message across. You run mild, polite candidates who can't or won't let it all hang out. If everyone understood, really understood, your anger, intelligence and moral superiority, well, things would have turned out differently.

From The Opinion Journal. The post election is proving to be as entertaining as the pre-election shenanigans.

Posted by Jeff at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

The Bitter Left

"What did you all believe in this year? Hate? Anger? You ran your own campaign, one filled to the brim with bile and acidic spittle and you wonder why you feel so black today? You were pinning your hopes on the the wish that the rest of America harbored the same intense hatred as you and would vote with their clenched fists. Now that you are left without the hoped for victory party as an outlet for your rage, you have to direct it somewhere else. If not at the candidate, then at his voters, right? What I am seeing today makes me pity you, and it's a pity tinged with disgust and should not be mistaken for empathy."
--A Small Victory (an old weblog, the entry with this quote deleted)
Posted by Jeff at 02:18 AM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2004

Impotence

I read the following on another weblog which, oddly, I can no longer find:

Many of us asked [the liberals] after the drubbing they were subjected to two years ago if they would finally come to grips with the fact that they are now the minority party and adjust their beliefs, rhetoric, attitudes, and tactics accordingly. The answer was a resounding "No!"

What will it be this time? CNN reports that Kerry 'discussed' his concern about "doing something about how divided the country is" with the President during his call a short while ago, Let's hope he starts that process in his concession speech by encouraging his supporters to get behind the President and work with him for the good of the country. We shall see. But, given all the talk about how Bush needs to "reach out" and "work with the other side" - and the complete absence of any talk about how the Democrats need to set aside their poisonous rhetoric and align themselves with the consistently expressed will of the voters - the answer is almost assuredly going to be more of the same.

Part I: Prior to 9/11, anti-Americanism really didn't bother me. I regarded those who were anti-American as being either ignorant, unintelligent, bad people, or some combination of those qualities. And I considered that to be their problem, not mine. I considered them impotent, so I took a "live and let live" sort of attitude. Why should I care what they think?

Then the planes hit. That changed everything. Suddenly, the anti-Americans' matterred. They had the ability to cause harm.

And they still matter. And the "war on terror" is what they're getting for mattering.

Part II: This last presidential campaign has mattered as well. There has been a lot of far-left liberalism thrown at the American people over the last 18-24 months. And it got pretty scary for a while there. Mattered they did, and they mattered a lot. There was a lot to be concerned with.

Then the ballots were cast. That changed everything. Suddenly, the liberals stopped mattering. They lost their ability to cause harm.

Bush is in. Daschle is out. The Senate is strengthened. The House is as well.

The emotion, the urgency, the need to care what liberals think has dropped to nearly nothing. They can now participate in the process respectfully - a dynamic which has been completely absent from their hyperbolic, vitriolic, histrionics over the past election period - and perhaps get some of their agenda accomplished, or they can be ignored. The cancer is under control.

Post November 2nd really feels good, I think. I find it odd that there are still people who: a) are still spouting their vitriolic nonsense, in spite of how ineffective it has been rendered [liberals], and b) are feeling the need to be defensive about what the liberals are saying [the non-liberals].

It's time to work together.

Posted by Jeff at 12:37 PM | Comments (3)

November 03, 2004

Why don't liberals learn their lessons?

I just visited one of my favorite liberal weblogs, and I found this little line:

Right now I am fighting despair, and losing badly. It comes down to this: if we can't beat this guy, then who could we beat? If we can't make gains in this Senate, if we can't beat Bunning and Coburn, then what do we have left to hope for?

The election wasn't all that close. The so-called "divided" America, as judged by the polls, isn't all that divided. George Bush had incredible popularity 18 months ago - the country was not divided. And George Bush did not change at all since then. No, he's remained precisely the same. So if everyone was with him, how did we get divided?

That's right: The far-left liberals (Michael Moore, Moveon.org, the candiates, and the wackos), using extremely negative campaign strategy, pulled people away from Bush and to the far left. They divided America, not Bush, and in the final analysis - as judged by the 3.5 million vote win by Bush, they didn't really divide it all that much.

I would say to Rivka, the author of the blog mentioned above, and the people who empathize with her, that what you have to hope for is that you'll eventually re-examine the positions that you've tended to hold as well as your ideology, and you'll move further, and comfortably, to the right to land somewhere near the political center.

Think I'm way out there? Keep reading:

A congressman pointed out last night (on, I think, CNN), that if you've got 80% of the people in favor of banning gay marriages, and you've got bans being passed in states all over the country, then that is, by definition, the center. So that's where George W. Bush is. Yet the media has largely portrayed this issue as being "ultra-right wing". Well, if a person thinks that, then that person is clearly far to the left.

Personally, I didn't vote on my state's gay marriage issue. I'm very libertarian in my thinking and, as I see it, the state shouldn't be recognizing gay marriage - but neither should the state be recognizing heterosexual marriage, either. The government should respect individual rights, period, nothing else. Alas, my position was not on the ballot, so no hole was punched. Equality would seem to have favored voting against the ban, but two wrongs don't make a right...that would've just dug the hole deeper.

But, I'm not wacko about it.

You don't see me out there calling our president a liar, calling him a war criminal, or using hyperbolic hystrionics to attack our representatives with whom I disagree. If I can denounce the facts, sure, but I know not to make slanderous leaps like accusing someone of lying when there is only evidence available that the person was wrong (I've probably violated this principle in the past, but it's rare; it'd be that "the exception proves the rule" type of thing, particularly since I know better than to do it and wouldn't defend my act if I did).

But I digress. What is there to hope for? You can hope that the ultra-left will stop dividing America, and that they'll move toward the center. This election season was just too excrutiating to have again.

Here's a late addition from Mark Steyn:

In their desperation, the Democrats have wound up damning a big chunk of the American people as stupid, bigoted and a bigger threat than Saddam Hussein and al-Qa'ida. This is ridiculous. As Catalano continues: "You will not be thrown in jail for the sole reason of being a liberal. Your child's public school will not suddenly turn into a centre for Christian brainwashing. Your favourite bookstore will not turn into puritan central."

She didn't add to that list of phony terrors my own choice gem from this election season, courtesy of that eminent political analyst Cameron Diaz, who advised Oprah Winfrey's viewers: "Women have so much to lose. I mean, we could lose the right to our bodies. If you think that rape should be legal, then don't vote. But if you think that you have a right to your body, then you should vote." Poor Cameron. The scary people won. She's just lost all rights to her body. Unlike Alec Baldwin, she can't even move to France. Her body was grounded in Terminal D.

As long as Democrats prefer phantom enemies to real ones, they will be increasingly irrelevant. If I were a Dem, I'd support any candidate who pledged to de-celebrify the party and disown the paranoid Left. That's the big lesson of this election: on Tuesday, the bottom dropped out of Moore's underpants.

Well said.

Posted by Jeff at 02:46 PM | Comments (1)

November 02, 2004

Okay, So I Voted....

I woke up this morning, played a bit of guitar, paid a few bills, then walked outside to head to the polls. It was a beautiful day with no snow on my lawn, but lovely snow on Mount Olympus:
Mount Olympus


I approached the voting place, an elementary school, and surveyed the overwhelmingly large voter turnout mayhem:
Voter Turnout Mayhem


After entering the parking lot, I noticed that the school was still in session...what's this nonsense I hear about schools closing for he election?
School is in session


I proceed to take my place in the long, long line to get into the building to vote:
The crowded voting line


This fellow is on his way out as I am entering...it's a bad sign...I'm told that when he showed up to vote he was only 23 years old!
Growing old in line


I get inside the building and survey the number of people ahead of me in my district - it's lookin' pretty tough so far. Do I wait it out? Or do I give up and go home?
The line to get my ballot


I flip a coin and decide to stay. Here's my ballot - it's essentially the same as the last election. Fortunately, I was not educated in Florida, so I should be able to muddle through without too much trouble:
My Ballot


After punching my chads, I take a quick photo of the near riots and carnage at the polls. There simply must be some reform of this system! It's just crazy...how could anyone manage such disorder?
People in their voting booths


Finally, I escape the mayhem and see, once again, the sight that I saw as I left my home so very very long ago (15 minutes?) as I embarked upon my journey to vote:
Mount Olympus from the polling location

Posted by Jeff at 06:27 PM | Comments (3)

November 01, 2004

Howard Dean Said It Well....

After he lost the primaries and Dean began to sing Kerry's praises, he was asked during an interview how he can take such a pro-Kerry position when, for months, he'd been blasting Kerry's positions whenever he had the chance. Dean responded that during the primaries the candidates emphasize differences so that they voters can choose between them. After the primaries, however, they emphasize similarities.

Dean also said, in a recent speech in Quebec, that if Bush wins then he'll win with 51% of the popular vote, then he pointed out that such a win means that 49% of the people were against him (he was trying to suggest to the Quebecois that just because Bush wins, that the Quebecois shouldn't be mad at America, because 49% of Americans would have been against Bush [I don't know what that's all about...are Quebecois that anti-current U.S. policy???]).

The flip side of Dean's second argument is that if Kerry wins, then 49% of the people were against him and favoring Bush. And the principle behind his first argument tells us that, following the election, regardless of who wins, we'll be emphasizing similarities.

Everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, know that Kerry just says whatever he feels he needs to in order to get elected. He says one thing to the people of Ohio, then precisely the opposite to the people of California. While this infuriates Republicans, Democrats don't care; they want him to say what is necessary for him to get elected, too. But, in the final analysis, Republicans and Democrats alike know that - in terms of the major decisions - Kerry would've done the very same things, in cases of foreign policy, as did George W. Bush.

People from Europe, Canada, and other countries might be thrilled with a Kerry victory, they may suddenly be happy with America for a short time, but in the final analysis, what they'll see from us will just be more and more and more and more and still more of the same as has come from us since 9/11.

And in terms of domestic policy, congress will thoroughly handicap all of Kerry's socialist notions. So it's no biggie here, either.

So, whoever wins:

VIVA THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT!

*Note: The only scary issue is the prevention of terrorism within the U.S. borders...while I feel as safe as is possible under Bush, I feel not at all secure about being presided over by Kerry.

Posted by Jeff at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2004

What the bin Laden Tape Actually Said

From The Middle East Media Research Institute:

The tape of Osama bin Laden that was aired on Al-Jazeera(1) on Friday, October 29th included a specific threat to "each U.S. state," designed to influence the outcome of the upcoming election against George W. Bush. The U.S. media in general mistranslated the words "ay wilaya" (which means "each U.S. state")(2) to mean a "country" or "nation" other than the U.S., while in fact the threat was directed specifically at each individual U.S. state. This suggests some knowledge by bin Laden of the U.S. electoral college system. In a section of his speech in which he harshly criticized George W. Bush, bin Laden stated: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

The Islamist website Al-Qal'a explained what this sentence meant: "This message was a warning to every U.S. state separately. When he [Osama Bin Laden] said, 'Every state will be determining its own security, and will be responsible for its choice,' it means that any U.S. state that will choose to vote for the white thug Bush as president has chosen to fight us, and we will consider it our enemy, and any state that will vote against Bush has chosen to make peace with us, and we will not characterize it as an enemy. By this characterization, Sheikh Osama wants to drive a wedge in the American body, to weaken it, and he wants to divide the American people itself between enemies of Islam and the Muslims, and those who fight for us, so that he doesn't treat all American people as if they're the same. This letter will have great implications inside the American society, part of which are connected to the American elections, and part of which are connected to what will come after the elections."(3)

Another interesting aspect of the speech is the fact that while bin Laden made his specific threat to each U.S. state, he also offered an election deal to the American voters, attempting to influence the election by these means rather than influencing it through terrorist attacks.(4) This peace offer is a theme that follows up on his April speech directed to Europe, in which he offered a truce.(5) The Islamist website Al-Islah explains: "Some people ask 'what's new in this tape?' [The answer is that] this tape is the second of its kind, after the previous tape of the Sheikh [Osama bin Laden], in which he offered a truce to the Europeans a few months ago, and it is a completion of this move, and it brings together the complementary elements of politics and religion, political savvy and force, the sword and justice. The Sheikh reminds the West in this tape of the great Islamic civilization and pure Islamic religion, and of Islamic justice..."

Posted by Jeff at 11:59 PM | Comments (2)

Try the Hip Hop Debate

Click on the six dance moves listed at the bottom of the applet:

Hip Hop Debate

When you're done, you'll get an opportunity to see who most people think won the debate. Does it match any predictors that you've seen lately?

Posted by Jeff at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2004

Presidential Vote Equation

The Ray C. Fair Presidential Vote Prediction has been updated.

Presidential Vote Equation--October 29, 2004

The predictions of GROWTH, INFLATION, and GOODNEWS for the previous forecast from the US model (July 31, 2004) were 2.7 percent, 2.1 percent, and 2, respectively. With the release of the NIPA data on October 29, 2004, all the actual economic data are available for the vote prediction. The actual values (as of October 29, 2004) of GROWTH, INFLATION, and GOODNEWS are 2.9 percent, 2.0 percent, and 2, respectively.

Given that the actual economic values are close to the values used for the previous vote prediction, the current vote prediction is little changed. The new economic values give a prediction of 57.70 percent of the two-party vote for President Bush rather than 57.48 percent before.

Happy Halloween!

Posted by Jeff at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2004

Red Sox Hero: Curt Schilling

Gotta love this:

Red Sox Hero Curt Schilling: 'Vote Bush'

ABC'S CHARLIE GIBSON: "Well, well said, Curt and Shonda. You both have certainly lifelong membership now in the Red Sox nation. It was a great thing to watch, and I think everybody -- whether they were great Red Sox fans or not -- had to admire what this team did. It was extraordinary, and one of the great stories of sport. And sport always produces such great stories. Curt, Shonda, great to have you with us. Congratulations."

CURT AND SHONDA SCHILLING: "Thank You."

CURT SCHILLING: "And make sure you tell everybody to vote, and vote Bush next week."

Source: ABC's "Good Morning America," 10/28/04

Rock on, Curt.

Posted by Jeff at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

Bush, unlike Democrats, shares values of black voters

I found this article on zogby.com to be very interesting:

Bush, unlike Democrats, shares values of black voters

No one voting bloc remains so faithful, and yet feels so unappreciated. While African Americans continue to vote overwhelmingly Democratic in presidential elections, those for whom they vote don't always feel the need to reciprocate their affection.

Black America's Political Action Committee, in its 2003 National Poll of Registered African-American Voters, found that while over 80 percent of black Americans have a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party; a full 43 percent believe that the party takes them for granted. In the same poll, only 37 percent have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party while 48 percent have an unfavorable opinion.

While Democrats have long enjoyed the steadfast support of African-American voters, it seems ironic that the Republican Party -- the party of Abraham Lincoln -- has done so little to reach out to such an important and justifiably skeptical segment of American society. That is until President George W. Bush.

Even though elected with less than 9 percent of the African-American vote, Bush, more than any other president, has appointed blacks to positions of real and meaningful power within his administration. Bush's cabinet includes Colin Powell as secretary of State; Rod Paige as secretary of Education, and Alphonso Jackson as secretary of Housing and Development. In fact, Condoleezza Rice, as national security advisor, is arguably the most powerful woman in the world.

While addressing the Urban League here in Detroit earlier this year, Bush willingly admitted he has a lot of work to do to secure the trust of black Americans. But African Americans need to recognize that it is Bush who strongly supports two important cultural issues that appear to resonate deeply within the black community -- the protection of life and the protection of marriage....

The gist of the article is that Bush is not only colorblind in his choices of people to hire into strong positions in government, but he's protective of the values of black voters while Kerry trys to destroy what blacks care about.

I now am very interested to see how the black vote will compare to 2000. Already polls are suggesting that Bush will receive twice as high of a percentage of black voters in 2004 as he had in 2000.

Posted by Jeff at 01:17 AM | Comments (2)

October 09, 2004

Rasmussen: Today is the first time all year that either candidate has hit 50%

Presidential Tracking Poll: Bush-Kerry

Saturday October 09, 2004--The latest Rasmussen Reports Presidential Tracking Poll shows President George W. Bush with 50% of the vote and Senator John Kerry with 46%. Today is the first time all year that either candidate has hit the 50% mark in our survey.

95% of the polling for that poll was done before last night's debate. If the people of Rasmussen get their butts in gear and get a new poll out within the next 2-3 days, it'd be a great measure of who benefitted most from last night's debate.

Posted by Jeff at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2004

John Edwards, You Offend Me

That little speech he gave at the end of the debate, the one where he likened America to a little light that is flickering and is about to go out. The guy spoke as if we're some third world country, our citizens desperate and hungry...and he's offering us...hope.

"Hope"?!

We don't need no stinkin' hope, little man...we're Americans. We're collossally rich by the standards of the rest of the world...obesity is one of our primary health problems, fergodsakes...we have two car commercials in nearly every commercial break...we party with Pepsi, Coke, Pizza Hut, and Dominoes because we actually have the luxury to be that lazy. We have color televisions, microwave ovens, broadband Internet, and high performance video cards to run state of the art video games which we purchase in multi-milliondollar volumes the first week that the damned things come out. We have X-Boxes, Game Cubes, and $100 sneakers on our kids' feet.

"Hope"?! Give us a break! We're AMERICANS - we MAKE things happen, we don't elect smegging politicians to make things happen for us. How dare you insult us that way, jerk?

John Edwards is sort of the "anti-Ronald Reagan". Ronald Reagan went out of his way to speak of America's virtues, made us remember of just how proud we should be to be Americans - because of who we are. John Edwards makes us out to be a bunch of limps desperate for some politician out there to reach down and give us a helping hand...because we can't do it on our own.

Someone needs to thoroughly let this guy have it live on national television. He ought to be ashamed of himself.

John Edwards...if I ever find myself near you, I'm going to wipe my feet as I leave your presence. You offend me.

Posted by Jeff at 02:09 AM | Comments (3)

October 05, 2004

What is a Flip-Flopper?

I saw this posted on a bulletin board:

Originally posted by Demogorgon
Has it ever occured to people that re-evaluating ones position is a good thing?

I find it odd that anyone could ask something so elementary, so I answered:

Yes, and it's obvious way past the point that it becomes an issue of "Duh!". It's occurred to and has been accepted by me, by virtually every Republican out there, by President Bush, by everyone. The question that you are asking is so obvious and so simplistic that everyone would agree with its implications. And yet you asked it as if to suggest that there is actually someone, anyone, who would disagree with its obvious underlying theme.

The issue isn't changing positions. [Another party on the bulletin board], for example, has brought up plenty of issues where President Bush has changed positions (demonstrating that President Bush is aware of and practices the central principle of your question, himself). Yet the charge of "flip-flopper" does not stick to Bush because changing one's decision when new information compels it is not the issue; doing so does not make one a "flip-flopper".

The issue is the type of facts which compel a person to change positions. With President Bush, it's facts that are inherent to the operations in question. That's why he's not a flip-flopper. Instead, he's just acting intelligently and responsibly.

With Senator Kerry, the facts which change his position are public reactions to his position. He takes a stand for something, loses some support from voters who don't agree with him, then he does a 180_deg turn to get those voters back. In doing so, he loses other voters, panics, then does it again! For him, the issue isn't figuring out from the facts the right thing to do and then doing it; instead, his mission is to escape criticism.

That's a flip-flopper, and that's what he is.

His biggest problem with this has been the Iraq war. Around half of the Democrats are for the war having happened while the other half are against. ANY stand he takes on this issue alienates half of who he's hoping to vote for him. That's why he's flip-flopped all around that issue and why he's been so evasive; it's also why he's attempted to focus his candidacy on the American economy.

Posted by Jeff at 05:31 PM | Comments (1)

October 04, 2004

George W. Bush's "Hard Work"

People make decisions emotionally, then they attempt to justify their decisions rationally. However, this is a self-checking process. People are passionate about being rational, so if their initial emotional decision cannot be rationalized, it'll be altered until it can. What this means is that people choose the decision that appeals to them the most which can also be rationalized. And Bush's phrase, "hard work", is a source of an emotional issue which will bolster Bush's position by creeping into the back door of the voters' thought processes.

You can divide America's workforce into two categories: 1) The working class. 2) The risking class. The irony is that the risking class works much harder than the working class (the average millionairre, for example, works 60-65 hours per week and does so for decades before reaching that economic landmark).

Now, if you were one of those people who was bugged - or even just plain embarrassed by - Bush's referring to his job as "hard work" fully 11 times during the debates, then chances are that you're a member of the working class, not the risking class.

Members of the working class do not risk (that is, their level of risk is so low as to be inconsiderable). Most members of this class hold protected positions in unions, civil services, and universities. Even in non-unionized companies, the ability of managers to fire or discipline employees is severely limited by the threat of lawsuits based upon "wrongful termination" or specious claims of racism (or based upon other protected classes).

The risking class has no such benefits. They protect themselves from risk with education, intelligence, foresight, and planning. But these are just tools in their arsenal to manage risk. The necessary condition for these people to succeed is to work really, really hard. These people get up earlier, work harder, stay more consistently on task, go home later, and work more days than the working class, and even take their work with them on vacations.

The working class tends to relate to the arguments of the Democratic party. These people see the spoils of the risking class (money), but they don't understand or acknowledge the work of the risking class.

The members of the risking class tend to be Republicans. They know the meaning of the term: deserve.

President Bush used the term "hard work" 11 times during his debate, forcing the phrase to seep into the back of the minds of those who work really hard for a living. He conveyed the message: Hey, I understand what it is that you're doing out there every day, because that's what I do: I work really hard to manage risk. (And when we acknowledge that the risk he's managing includes the risk of terrorism, we're even more humbled.)

To those with a working class mentality, Bush's repetition of "hard work" seemed like clumsy everyday language. But those who risk for a living picked up on its true implications immediately, but subconsciously. It did not bother them to hear him repeat it over and over, and it's impact did not likely weigh in on their analysis of who won the debate. Instead, it helped to solidify their good feelings about President Bush and will weigh in strongly when they make their emotional decision about who to vote for in the coming election.

ps: as a side note, isn't it interesting that while President Bush has kept up his more-than-full-time job as President while he campaigns on the side, that Senator Kerry seems to have just walked away from his duties as a senator and campaigns full time?

Posted by Jeff at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

Why Kerry isn't Getting Ahead

An interesting article:

Where's the Resonance, Kerry?

Why hasn't Senator John Kerry's newly formulated Iraq policy gained traction among voters? Even in the wake of a relatively strong performance in the first debate, and more than a week after he delivered what a majority of commentators called his most impressive address of the campaign, in which he leveled his harshest criticism to date of President Bush's performance in Iraq, Kerry's poll numbers haven't moved much.

Why, then, has this aggressive tack not paid dividends? While some pundits have attributed the failure of the new line to strategic missteps, and others have pointed to the inappropriateness of "rooting for failure" in Iraq, the simplest explanation is the most compelling: the substance of Kerry's Iraq plan is redundant, unrealistic, or just plain wrong.

That, and maybe: It's the economy, stupid!

Economy Grows at 3.3 Percent Rate in Q2

All 50 States Post Personal Income Growth

Not surprisingly, the Kerry campaign has gone into full Vietnamization mode vis-a-vis Iraq, even getting a boost from reliable ally CBS who gleefully reported on the likelihood of a reinstatement of the draft, the source for which seems to be an Internet hoax.

So the economy continues to improve, though it seems to be walking - not running - to the finish line.

Mostly, I think, it has to do with the media (as a whole, as opposed to individual outlets) overblowing the stories that it tells. For days we've been hit with articles saying: "KERRY WON!" But in reality, only a minority of those polled thought that Kerry won; the majority thought that it was either a tie or Bush won. So it shouldn't be expected to be any kind of Earth shattering event.

Posted by Jeff at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2004

What IS it about this photo?

It just seems to convey the essence of John Kerry, personally, as well as politically:

The Essence of John Kerry

Posted by Jeff at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2004

Are You Throwing Money Away?

I received this letter in the mail today from the Republican Party Headquarters:

Envelope - Money in the Mail

I've donated to the Republican party this year, which means that I've been getting one mailer right after another from them ever since, most of which I throw away because if I'm going to do anything, I'm going to do it online. Junking up my mailbox with stuff ranks low on my list of things that happen in life. Anyway, I was literally standing over my outside garbage can when I decided to open this letter, and as I did I was dropping parts of it directly into the trash. I was just planning to glance to see what was in there. This is what I found:

Letter - Money in the Mail

That's a real dollar. THAT was an attention getter, so I guess it worked.

Posted by Jeff at 06:04 PM | Comments (3)

September 30, 2004

Who Won?

I don't think either or John Kerry won the debate. It seemed like a tie, to me.

Unfortunately, since Bush has been leading by so much, he'd have to have won the debate by as much as he was leading in order to maintain his status. Instead, Kerry's achieving of a tie is going to help to raise his campaign up nearer to a tie.

Posted by Jeff at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

The Ultimate John Kerry Ad

The Ultimate John Kerry Ad

Posted by Jeff at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

Who is Dividing America?

I saw a recent article about a new aquarium in Kazakhstan where onlookers enjoy the sights of sharks and piranhas being fed. The article says that when an ox's heart is dropped in with the piranhas, about 500 of them rush over and devour the piece of meat in less than five seconds. This prompted one of the aquarium guides to remark, "We can learn a lot from piranhas, whose strength lies in their unity."

I'd be nice if the Democrats would learn that lesson, rather than polarizing the country the way they have this election season.

Just imagine the difference if they'd said, "George Bush has done many of the right things and we respect his service, but there are things than need to be done just as much if not more urgently and importantly; here's what they are and we intend to do them if elected."

Bush, of course, has kept his promise to be a uniter and not a divider. He hasn't lashed out at house Democrats, or senate Democrats, or...hell...any Democrats. He's not shown a bit of anger or resentment toward any law abiding Americans. He's been good natured and friendly - a true ideal of a good and caring politician.

The Democrats, however, have been the most politically devisive elements which we've seen in decades.

Last year the country saw George Bush with uncharacteristically high approval ratings for a president and even Democrats were suggesting that beating him would be impossible, and Republicans were predicting the end of the Democratic party as we have known it. Some were saying that this election wouldn't be a question about which president would be elected, but instead would be an election about how many legislators were going to lose their seats. THIS was what Democratic strategists had to contend with.

What they came up with - DIVIDING AMERICA - has been very difficult on all of us. But, in terms of actually giving them a chance in the election, it was an excellent strategy. It's been like chemotherapy, which sickens the patient nearly to death in order to rid the body of a cancer...except, in this case, there was no cancer, just beautiful hair that the Democrats are trying to make fall out. Kerry can't appear to be better than that because he isn't.

Posted by Jeff at 04:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2004

Bush is running against self, not Kerry

I've said that over and over and over and over and over again. But it wasn't until about 60 seconds ago that I realized that it's true for Kerry, as well:

Kerry's Knockout Punch
(Image is clickable.)

The difference is that Bush either makes the people happy, or he makes them mad. Kerry just makes us laugh.

Posted by Jeff at 10:40 PM | Comments (4)

CBS News Apology

CBS News has finally owned up to their mistake. I'm not impressed. The requisite apology to President Bush was not there. You'd think that, if they had any character at all, they'd at least include that.

From CBS News President Andrew Heyward:

"Nothing is more important to us than our credibility and keeping faith with the millions of people who count on us for fair, accurate, reliable, and independent reporting. We will continue to work tirelessly to be worthy of that trust."

Translation:

"Nothing is more important to us than our ability to influence public policy to the left, by any means necessary including dishonest reporting, and not get caught. We will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who share our ideology to more effectively mislead the public, yet retain an undeserved expectation of credibility. We apologize to our loyal viewers for having been caught this time."

Posted by Jeff at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)

Panties Placed on Your Head

Oh, lord...I don't know where this came from, but it's hilarious:

Kerry and Edwards Sue to Stop Terrorism

Posted by Jeff at 12:23 AM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2004

Bush Captures Ohio, Increases Lead

Well, yesterday I pointed out that George Bush would have to...

a) Lose Ohio,
b) Lose 50% of the "Barely Bush" category, AND
c) Fail to gain a single "Barely Kerry" state

...in order to WIN by the narrowest margin of 270 electoral votes.

Well, the new day's polls have come in and the electoral votes have been estimated. Bush has now moved Ohio into the "Barely Bush" category, making the possibility of those three things happening all the less likely, especially since we're one day closer to the election than we were yesterday.

09/18 = 211 Kerry, 327 Bush (from the Kerry supportive site, electoral-vote.com)

And there's more:

September 19, 2004: New Poll Shows Bush Lead Widening

Posted by Jeff at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2004

How Democrats Can and Will Win in November

Before I get started, take a look at the following electoral vote prediction map from the Kerry supporting site: electoral-vote.com. Pay close attention to Ohio, to the "Barely Bush" electoral vote count, to Bush's total (down from 311 yesterday), and also take note that 270 electoral votes is a win. The map will not fit conveniently within a blog entry, so you'll have to click and use your back-button (or hold down your shift-key before clicking):

September 17th's prediction from electoral-vote.com.

As you can see, Bush has 307 electoral votes coming his way according to current polls, Ohio is dead even with 20 electoral votes, and the "Barely Bush" electoral vote count is 74 votes. Also, the Republican National Convention has been over for more than two weeks, the "convention bounce" phase is over, and there's only just over six weeks left - a month and a half - before we vote on November 2nd.

After the Democratic National Convention, John Kerry suffered the first negative bounce in convention history, according to some polls. At best, he had 2 points, but that's a stretch, and it evaporated quickly. The Democrat's rationale was that we're a very divided country and that there were few people left to convince...Bush wouldn't get a bounce, either.

But they were wrong. Following the Republican National Convention, Bush's numbers went up...then up...then up...then they fell down and finally leveled off with Bush way, way ahead. Bush convinced a lot of people. And the Democrats see the writing on the wall:

John Kerry is not going to win this election.

Now here's why I asked you to pay special attention to a few things: Ohio is a major battleground state with it's 20 electoral votes, and Bush could win it as easily as Kerry. But, just suppose that Kerry were to win it; would he win the election then, based upon everything else on the map? No, George Bush is still way ahead. In fact, if George Bush were to not only lose Ohio, and he were to lose fully half of the "Barely Bush" electoral votes (37 of them) to Kerry, AND he were not able to convert a single Kerry state from the current polls to himself, Bush would still win. THAT is how significant is Bush's lead. He could lose all of the "Barely Kerry" states, he could lose Ohio (20), New Jersey (15), Colorado (11), Iowa (6), and Arkansas (5), and he'd still win the election. That's BIG. And who believes that, in these strongly contested states, he's going to lose all of that, and that he's not going to gain any of the "Barely Kerry"s?

The title of this blog entry isn't a mistake, however, because the Democrats are going to win this November. No, their candidate isn't going to win the election, but the Democrats are still going to score a win.

First note that even the Democrats tend to despise John Kerry. They were given a Democratic primary in which the ultra-leftist, "Bush=Hitler", Deaniac, very loud small subset of the Democrats set the agenda for the Democratic party. The result was one of the lowest voter turnouts in Democratic party history; few people who would ordinarily be interested in voting wanted to show up to vote for any of those guys. In fact, according to recent polls, 12% of Democrats are going to bother to get themselves down to the polls just so that they can help to ensure a victory for George Bush by voting for him. That whole platform that the Democrats have been running on, if you can even call it that, is something that they just don't like, and Democratic voters - who are primarily Clinton Democrats - aren't going for any of it, but most of them would still rather see Kerry in the White House than Bush.

So what of the Democrats, those who would very much prefer for John Kerry to win the White House over Bush? What are they to do? These are the Democrats who are now seeing the writing on the wall. They don't particularly care for Kerry, they just think that he's the lesser of two evils. And they know that he's not going to win. Well, I'll tell you what they're going to do, barring anything really dramatic that happens between now and election day: They're going to vote for Ralph Nader.

These Democrats will know that they're not "throwing away their vote", because Kerry hasn't a prayer of winning in the first place whether they vote for him or not. But by voting for Nader, they don't have to vote for either of the two big evils: Bush or Kerry. Instead, they get a unifying rallying cry to trumpet for the next four years: "Bush didn't win because the people wanted him! Bush won because Nader split the vote!!!" And the more votes Nader gets, the more potent will be their cry.

THAT is their win. You watch.

Posted by Jeff at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

Davy Crockett: Not Yours to Give

"Not Yours To Give"

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett," by Edward Sylvester Ellis.
Provided as a courtesy by US Rep. Ron Paul (http://www.house.gov/paul/)
------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Not Yours To Give", Col. David Crockett, US Representative from Tennessee

One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it.

"We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I ever heard that the government was in arrears to him.

"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but as I thought, rather coldly.

"I began: 'Well friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates and---

"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."

"This was a sockdolger...I begged him tell me what was the matter.

"'Well Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting you or wounding you.'

"'I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.

'But an understanding of the constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the honest he is.'

"'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by fire in Georgetown. Is that true?'

"'Well my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just the same as I did.'

"'It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

'What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.

'If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.

'Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this country as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have Thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.

'The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from necessity of giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.

'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'

"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

'Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'

"He laughingly replied, 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'

"If I don't,' said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'

"'No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.'

"'Well I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name.'

"'My name is Bunce.'

"'Not Horatio Bunce?'

"'Yes.'

"'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'

"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence, and for a heart brim-full and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before.

"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.

"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

'Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.'

"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

'And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

'It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'

"He came up to the stand and said:

'Fellow-citizens - it affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'"

"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'

"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'

"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. There is one thing which I will call your attention, you remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $20,000 when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

***

Col. Crockett later died defending liberty in the Battle of the Alamo, in the War for Texas Independence.

Posted by Jeff at 03:05 PM | Comments (4)

September 11, 2004

Authentic whether they're fake, or not:

Years ago, I had a conversation with my uncle about a town in (I think) Montana within which no one was paying their federal income tax - and, provided that they had no property to confiscate, they were getting away with it (no jailtime). It seems that the people in Montana at the time were so against income tax that, whenver a case came to trial, the opinion of the jurors was, "This guy is innocent whether he's guilty or not," thus no convictions.

I don't know if that was true or not, but I suspect that this issue is going to be similar. Why?

Can anyone remember serving with Bush?

"If they are forgeries, then the race is over," said one influential Democrat strategist. "Democrat officials have gotten themselves so involved in this issue that if the papers are not authentic, they're going to be blamed for it."

I suspect that, for the Democrats/liberals/anti-Bushies, and that certainly includes Dan Rather and CBS, those documents are going to be authentic whether they're fake or not.

Posted by Jeff at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2004

The Kerry Campaign Strategy

Oh, I just love this one:

Bush 'lies' show faulty character

Washington, DC, Sep. 9 (UPI) -- The Democratic National Committee Thursday charged allegations about President Bush's failure to fulfill his Air National Guard service during the Vietnam War pointed to serious character flaws that should bring questions as to whether he is suitable for the White House.

We've had FOUR YEARS of him actually IN the White House which demonstrate quite convincingly that his suitability for the White House is exemplary, many times better than his twice elected predecessor.

Yet, in spite of this overwhelming mountain of evidence about his suitability for office, they want us to focus on his guard service to determine suitability?!

Okay, now, read that line in bold again. Don't you suppose that IF they thought that those four years would be DAMNING to Bush, that they'd be focusing on them, rather than something from 30 years ago? Apparently, THEY THINK that scrutinizing the last four years of Bush's presidency will actually help Bush in his re-election campaign. And they're right!

Too funny.

Is this really the depths to which the Kerry campaign has fallen?

Posted by Jeff at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

New Memos about Bush's Guard Service

Isn't it weird that "new documents" have allegedly been found which raise questions about Bush's guard service, the very same questions which were raised during the previous year 2000 election against Al Gore??? Why are they regurgitating this old stuff that didn't prevent Bush from being elected last time?!

But that enigma is just the introduction. The real question is: Why are they so eager to re-introduce this failed attack that they're willing to fake the new documents?

I mean, this is so bad...it not only demonstrates a lack of credibility and character on the part of the anti-Bushes (Democrats? Liberals?) involved, but in addition you have to ask: Just how stupid are these people?!

Too funny. Maybe Karl Rove faked them to make the anti-Bushes look like bumbling idiots who can't be trusted. But don't we know that already?

Posted by Jeff at 05:29 AM | Comments (0)

September 08, 2004

Academic Bias (dot com)

AcademicBias.com is working to document the lack of intellectual diversity on American college campuses. Regrettably, the academic environment at most of our universities is dominated by political correctness, a view of the world that is invariably anti-free market, suspicious of the United States, and reflexively intolerant of opposing views. Because true intellectual debate is often stifled in college, students graduate woefully uninformed about the philosophical foundations of Western liberal democracy, the true workings of capitalism, and the full history of America.

You can see the short pre-documentary, "Brainwashing 101" there.

Posted by Jeff at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Fertile Ground for Kerry?

Ooooooooooooooooh! Let's see the White House dance around this one! I see some fertile ground for Kerry, here:

130,000 in Moscow protest terrorism after deadly siege

Putin rejected calls for negotiations with Chechen rebel representatives.

"Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels (Belgium) or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace?" Britain's Guardian newspaper quoted Putin as saying.

"Why should we talk to people who are child-killers?"

Differing with Putin, the Bush administration said only a political settlement could end the Chechen crisis. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said U.S. officials had met with Chechens in the past, although "we do not meet with terrorists." Additional meetings might be scheduled in the future, though none is planned, he said.

 

Posted by Jeff at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

Conversation With An Anti-Bush

I had such a fun conversation today, a conversation which demonstrated what, to me, is a significant difference between the Bush supporters and the anti-Bushes: intellectual depth.

For me, this difference has always been apparent, beginning with the Bush Lied crowd, then cruising on to the ridiculous arguments of Michael Moore:

Michael Moore

And now, as I suspect will continue to be the case for a long, long, time, I've had the most priceless conversation on a bulletin board with an anti-Bushie whom I'll refer to as "Lefty" (also as a contributor was a Bush supporter whom I will refer to as "Righty"):

From a news story: In Missouri, CNN's Dana Bash offers a "Bushism" from the president's rally yesterday. While discussing malpractice lawsuit reforms in Poplar Bluff, Bush said that "too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country."

Righty: I love the guy, I really do. He's got a great strategery. I think it was awesome that he poked fun about his grammar skills during his convention speech.

Lefty: LOL. BTW, where are all these poor doctors anyway? I don't see them in the unemployment line, nor do I see them begging on the street. Also, I usually don't see American cars in the employee spaces of their offices. And, again, you do choose your profession now don't you.

Me: Lordy. The issue of OB/GYN's not being able to practice (due to unaffordable malpractice insurance) isn't a "oh, those poor doctors" issue, it's an issue with lower income patients being unable to receive care:

Part of the problem:

John Edwards is one reason why the Regina (my wife, a physician) does not deliver babies. We can't afford the labor & delivery malpractice insurance. (Oh yeah, did I mention that my wife works in an ability-to-pay health clinic?)

We want this guy to have the spare time to work on national health care policies?

Lefty: I don't recall hearing any babies not being born due to ob/gyn's [sic] not being able to pay malpractice insurance.

One could argue that he was joking the whole time. That much seems apparent...except that such arguments are typical for the lad. If he was kidding, I must ask myself: How could anyone familiar with him tell?

It makes me glad to find myself voting with the right side of the aisle.

Posted by Jeff at 12:42 AM | Comments (1)

Why "Dumb George W. Bush" is Politically Bullet Proof

It's been speculated by pundits that part of what put George Bush into the presidency was the framing of his image, by Democrats, as a buffoon. The Democrats were so successful at making the public believe that George Bush was an idiot, that when they finally saw him in debates with Al Gore, and in spite of Bush coming across very average, he stunned the audience on the upside because they expected him to fail miserably. As a result, he shined as compared to their expectations, whereas he might've actually looked bad if they'd been expecting someone brilliant.

This election, things are different: everyone's seen actual "Bushisms" for themselves. Yet, he's still stronger in the polls than his more articulate competitor, John Kerry. Why?

Nearly everyone has encountered a parent (perhaps even one's self) who very proudly boasts about how well their small child speaks at an early age. This parent seems to associate being able to speak well earlier than other children with the child being highly intelligent. But, recall that Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was four years old and wasn't fluent in his primary language until at least age eight. One should realize that the ability to articulate thoughts does not necessarily suggest that one's thoughts are all that brilliant. Similarly, the inability to articulate one's thoughts well doesn't necessarily mean that one isn't very bright. So while we've all seen President Bush sometimes getting tangled up in his words or using poor grammar, this doesn't necessarily suggest that he's an idiot.

John Kerry is different. Kerry is very articulate when he tells us his opinion for this week on specific subject matter. However, after a while, it becomes apparent that what he articulates so well this week directly contradicts what he so articulately expressed last week on the same issue. So we know that he is either wrong this week, or he was wrong last week. Which is it? And, worse, we can see this continual flip-flopping on conclusions happening over and over again, on the same issues, months - or even years - into the past. The person who is most often telling John Kerry that he is wrong is John Kerry himself. And John Kerry listens...again...and again.

President Bush, on the other hand, tends to maintain a consistent position, only changing his mind very, very slowly on important issues, and on those rare occasions when further thought has convinced George Bush to change his mind, he's very unlikey to change his mind back again.

So the difference between President Bush and Senator Kerry is the difference between the superficial and the substantive, between the shallow and the deep, and between the apparent and the real. And everyone, whether they've put this idea into words or not, grasps this at some level in their thinking.

Anyone can stumble over his words once in a while - I know that I do it - and George W. Bush does it more often than most. But if you think that means that he's stupid, then just imagine for a moment how foolish you'd think he was if, in addition to his verbal tripping, he couldn't maintain a position on any issues any longer than can John Kerry!

Posted by Jeff at 12:01 AM | Comments (27)

September 05, 2004

The Wounds of Vietnam

Younger people, especially, need to be aware of and understand Kerry's role in the Vietnam defeat and subsequent stain on America's self-image. This is an excellent article:

Who's to blame for nation's Vietnam wounds?

...So when John McCain sternly warns the swift boat veterans of ''reopening the wounds of Vietnam,'' it's worth asking: Why is Vietnam a ''wound'' and why won't it heal? The answer: not because it was a military or strategic defeat but because it was a national trauma. And whose fault is that?

Well, you can't pin it all on one person, but, if you had to, Lt. John F. Kerry would stand a better shot at taking the solo trophy than almost anyone. The ''wounds'' McCain complains of aren't from losing Vietnam, but from the manner in which it was lost. Today Sen. Kerry says he's proud of his anti-war activism, but that's not what it was. Every war has pacifists and conscientious objectors and even disenchanted veterans, but there's simply no precedent for what John Kerry did: a man who put his combat credentials to the service of smearing his country's entire armed forces as rapists, decapitators and baby killers. That's the ''wound,'' Sen. McCain. That's why a crummy little war on the other side of the world still festers. That's why the band didn't play ''Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be'' and move on to the next item of business. Because Kerry didn't just call for U.S. withdrawal, he impugned the honor of every man he served with.

In his testimony to Congress in 1971, Kerry asserted a scale of routine war crimes unparalleled in American history -- his ''band of brothers'' (as he now calls them) ''personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads . . . razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.'' Almost all these claims were unsupported. Indeed, the only specific example of a U.S. war criminal that Kerry gave was himself. As he said on ''Meet The Press'' in April 1971, ''Yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I used 50-caliber machineguns, which we were granted and ordered to use.''

Really? And when was that? On your top-secret Christmas Eve mission in Cambodia? If they'd taken him at his word, when the senator said ''I'm John Kerry reporting for duty,'' the delegates at the Democratic Convention should have dived for cover.

But they didn't. So Kerry is now the first self-confessed war criminal in the history of the Republic to be nominated for president. Normally this would be considered an electoral plus only in the more cynical banana republics. But the Democrats seemed to think they could run an anti-war anti-hero as a war hero and nobody would mind. As we now know, a lot of people -- a lot of veterans -- do mind, very much. They understand that, whether or not he ever mowed down civilians with his 50-caliber machinegun, Kerry is responsible for a lot of wounds closer to home.

Posted by Jeff at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

Experience The Republican National Convention

Unlike that snoozer, the Democratic National Convention, the Republican National Convention has been unbelievably uplifting, encouraging, positive, optimistic, and is just loaded with reasons to be enthusiastic about America.

If you haven't watched any of it, you can pick and choose speeches to watch here:

The Republican National Convention on streaming video.

I recommend first watching Zell Miller's speech, by the way. It's truly a diamond.

Truth. Facts. And pride in being an American!

Posted by Jeff at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

Zell Miller (Democrat)!

The only thing wrong with Zell Miller's speech is that it ends!

What an excellent individual.

Posted by Jeff at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

For? Or Against?

A great many people are making the observation that people are planning to vote FOR George Bush, or AGAINST George Bush, or AGAINST John Kerry. Not surprisingly, given his record in the senate, it's very difficult to find anyone making a case to vote FOR John Kerry.

But there is more to vote FOR and AGAINST in this election than just the individual candidates, so here's a list of the prominent items in this election season which I am voting FOR and AGAINST.

AGAINST:

1) I am voting AGAINST the people who (quite ignorantly) assert that Bush is an appointed president, rather than the duly elected president. I want to see President Bush re-elected into office with such a large number of votes as to suggest a slap across the face to the "Re-defeat Bush" contingent.

2) I am voting AGAINST the governments which opposed the United States initiative for action against Iraq in the United Nations last year.

3) I am voting AGAINST the citizens of the coalition countries which loudly opposed their own countries' involvements in the Iraq war. I want to see President Bush re-elected into office with such a large number of votes as to suggest to those citizens that the United States is against them, and frankly doesn't give a smeg what they think (thanks for nothing, jerks).

4) Although these people are contained in #3 above, they deserve special mention: I am voting AGAINST the citizens of The United States of America which loudly opposed the Iraq war. I want to see President Bush re-elected into office with such a large number of votes as to suggest to those citizens that mainstream America is against them and will not allow their minority ideas to overwhelm our government (perhaps Cuba or China will?) Further, I want to pass the message: Thanks for nothing, liberals; the Cold War was won without any help from you, and so will be the war on terror.

5) I am voting against the "Bush ~ Hitler" crowd.

6) I am definitely voting against John Kerry, against his post-Vietnam service slander of the U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, against his taking a leading role in causing the U.S. to lose that war through battles at home which resulted in tremendous human rights violations in Vietnam to go unchecked which should've ended with a victory in Vietnam.

 

FOR:

1) I am voting FOR a continuation and an expansion of fair economic practices; i.e., that people may make as much money as they are capable of making in a free market, and that they shouldn't have to pay for anything that they don't, on their own, decide to pay for themselves (if they want to donate to the poor, they can; if they don't, no government will steal from them to give to the poor). ELIMINATE THE IRS!

2) Pre-war, the citizens of Iraq (and even some other countries) said such things as, "It's not the people of America we are against, we are against the American government". I can think of few statements which should be taken more offensively by an American. I am voting FOR demonstrating that We the People ARE the government - and a resounding re-election of President Bush, with as many votes as possible, would convey that message better than any other method. It was We the People who invaded Iraq, NOT a separate American government.

3) And I am voting FOR President Bush, who deserves tremendous respect for his post 9/11 decisions, and whose pre-9/11 economic policies dramatically limited the economic fallout which otherwise would've occurred after 9/11. Thank you, President Bush. You have earned our admiration and respect.

Posted by Jeff at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)

August 24, 2004

Swiftvets: "Sellout"

If you take a minute, literally, to watch the video, "Sellout", you'll see 60 seconds of a few people expressing their opinions about John Kerry's post Vietnam service activities. That's all. And, man, have you ever seen people so angry and upset over a few people expressing their own opinions over John Kerry's own words (heard in the background)?

Contrast that with an entire feature length movie, Farenheit 9/11, of out of context statements by President Bush doing precisely the same thing as the Swiftvets' ad. But do you see any outrage?

Twisted.

Are Democrats really that thin skinned?

Posted by Jeff at 09:24 PM | Comments (1)

Celebrity Egos

Just imagine if you went to work, in any job, say a tire store, and after rotating someone's tires or whatever you told every customer to vote for Bush, or vote for Kerry, or something along those lines. You'd be canned pronto, as you should. I get such a kick out of those idiot celebrities who become upset and act as if they're being censored or victimized when people stop celebrating them after hearing their political views.

Jerks.

Here's an excellent article, by the way: Dems play second fiddle to celebrity egos

Posted by Jeff at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Mark Steyn Online

Okay, I'm sure that it helps tremendously to agree with his positions (though there are a lot of people whom I agree with, though I also find little pleasure in reading their columns), but this guy's columns, it seems to me, are among the best out there.

Mark Steyn
(Image is clickable.)

"In fact, most of Bush's present difficulties come not from swaggering cowboy unilateralism but because of excessive deference to multilateralism in the run up to the Iraq war."--Mark Steyn

Posted by Jeff at 01:19 AM | Comments (1)

August 16, 2004

The Ray C. Fair Presidential Vote Equation

Ray C. Fair is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Yale University and a Fellow of the International Center for Finance at Yale. For more than 25 years he's been studying what he calls "The Presidential Vote Equation", which uses economic events to predict the results of presidential races. The average error of his equation is 2.5% of the vote. As of July 31st, 2004, the Presidential Vote Equation predicts that President Bush will receive 57.48% of the two-party votes.

Some objections were raised to Dr. Fair in an interview with New York Times' Deborah Soloman in yesterday's online paper:

SOLOMAN: In your book ''Predicting Presidential Elections and Other Things,'' you claim that economic growth and inflation are the only variables that matter in a presidential race. Are you saying that the war in Iraq will have no influence on the election?

FAIR: Historically, issues like war haven't swamped the economics. If the equation is correctly specified, then the chances that Bush loses are very small.

SOLOMAN: But the country hasn't been this polarized since the 60's, and voters seem genuinely engaged by social issues like gay marriage and the overall question of a more just society.

Note the political bias in her statement: "...a more just society."
--Jeff

FAIR: We throw all those into what we call the error term. In the past, all that stuff that you think should count averages about 2.5 percent, and that is pretty small.

Given Dr. Fair's track record, that certainly makes me feel better, as I have just been reading another website which tracks the polls of each state to learn which candidate is currently being favored to receive that state's electoral votes, then the number of electoral votes going to each candidate is reported. As of this morning, they were predicting 327 electors to John Kerry and 211 to President George W. Bush. Deborah Soloman also asked Dr. Fair about the descrepancy between his equation's predictions and the polls:

SOLOMAN: The polls are suggesting a much closer race.

FAIR: Polls are notoriously flaky this far ahead of the election, and there is a limit to how much you want to trust polls.

...

SOLOMAN: Are you a Republican?

FAIR: I can't credibly answer that question. Using game theory in economics, you are not going to believe me when I tell you my political affiliation because I know that you know that I could be behaving strategically. If I tell you I am a Kerry supporter, how do you know that I am not lying or behaving strategically to try to put more weight on the predictions and help the Republicans?

SOLOMAN: I don't want to do game theory. I just want to know if you are a Kerry supporter.

FAIR: Backing away from game theory, which is kind of cute, I am a Kerry supporter.

SOLOMAN: I believe you entirely, although I'm a little surprised, because your predictions implicitly lend support to Bush.

WHAT is she saying here? She's surprised that a fellow liberal would report the facts (i.e., tell the truth, be honest, etc.) if those facts would tend to support a non-liberal political agenda?
--Jeff

FAIR: I am not attempting to be an advocate for one party or another. I am attempting to be a social scientist trying to explain voting behavior.

SOLOMAN: But in the process you are shaping opinion. Predictions can be self-confirming, because wishy-washy voters might go with the candidate who is perceived to be more successful.

FAIR: It could work the other way. If Kerry supporters see that I have made this big prediction for Bush, more of them could turn out just to prove an economist wrong.

SOLOMAN: Perhaps you could create an equation that would calculate how important the forecasts of economists are.

FAIR: There are so many polls and predictions, and I am not sure the net effect of any one of them is much.

SOLOMAN: Yes, everyone in America is a forecaster. We all think we know how things will turn out.

FAIR: So in that case, no one has much influence, including me.

The question about the accuracy of polls was especially interesting to me given a conversation that I had yesterday with my father. He said that during a presidential race years ago, there was a very public nationwide campaign to get everyone to lie when asked to take part in a policial poll (every poll, but with special emphasis on exit polling on election day). Given that there are so many people of his generation and that these people were exposed to and many influenced by this admonition, I'm finding within myself a great deal of skepticism when it comes to polls (Howard Dean's first showing in the first primary [this is "pre-scream"] after topping the polls for so very, very long, is also instructive).

The Presidential Vote Equation's lowest prediction in recent times was 56.3% of the two-party vote for President Bush. This prediction took place in April of 2003.

Posted by Jeff at 11:38 AM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2004

The Malkin Media Diversity Test

What an odd test; 100 points is supposed to mean diverse? How, pray tell, is being a charicature of stereo-typical right-wing ideology supposed to make a person diverse?

Nevertheless, I'll take the test (found at Michelle Malkin), if only to spread the meme:

The test is taken by answering each question with either a 'True' or a 'False'. Each 'True' counts for 5 points and each 'False' counts for 0 (silly me, I'd have scored each 'True' a 1 and have given the quiz a total score of 20, but I suppose that would be too easy...perhaps the ability to multiply one's number of 'True' answers by 5 is the source of diversity among political thinkers?). Here are the questions along with my answers:

1. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life.
False. I have voted for Democrats before, and I seem to have a better track record for them being elected when I do vote for them than I have when I vote for Republicans. I voted for Jim Matheson, a Democrat, in an election in Utah one year, and I regretted it within just a few weeks of his winning.

2. I think my taxes are too high.
True. It's true both absolutely and also relatively - relative to the amount of taxes paid by married individuals with children. Let's just get a national sales tax going, eh? And without a single exception from the tax (i.e., food [especially food, since it is purchased by everyone] MUST be taxed as high, or higher, than anything else).

3. I supported Bill Clinton's impeachment.
False. That was a disgrace to the Republican party. And, incidentally, it's the reason why Clinton has remained so popular. Today, many Clintonites regard him as one of the very best presidents ever. But the truth is that they only regard him as such to spite the Republicans who hate him. Had that impeachment nonsense not taken place, he'd be a much less potent hero to the left.

4. I voted for President Bush in 2000.
False. I live in Utah, and in Utah the Republican/conservative candidate always gets the electoral votes. Utah was, for instance, the only State in the union in which Bill Clinton came in 3rd (behind Ross Perot) in the popular vote. Therefore my vote does not count at all in terms of actually sending electors to the ballot box. Instead, my vote counts as social commentary, and as such it went to Harry Browne to show support for the Libertarian party. I consider only a 2 party system to be good for America, by the way, and I don't want to see the Libertarians gain any ground. Instead, I want to see the other two parties fighting for the Libertarian votes by challenging themselves to live best to the Libertarian ideal that it is far more important for the individual to be able to pursue his goals without government interference than it will ever be for the government to assist anyone with anything.

5. I am a gun owner.
False. I am not a gun owner, but I may soon be. I simply have no reason to need or want a gun, but there is a bit of social commentary involved in owning one. That is, the more guns there are out there owned by private citizens, the more complicated would be the mess of making them illegal. And I want such a prospect to be complicated beyond anyone's ability to conceive of it actually being able to happen.

6. I support school voucher programs.
True. Wholly.

7. I oppose condom distribution in public schools.
True. Yes, I suppose that I do. I suspect that the increase in sexual activity which results from such a practice yeilds more preganancies than the lower amount of sexual activity which would result from not having that sort of thing forced upon the students.

8. I oppose bilingual education.
ACK!!! A poorly worded question. In private schools, I support people teaching in whatever language their customers (students) pay them to teach in. Public schools, however, I am against in every respect, bilingual, monolingual, or whatever. Decisions in public schools don't involve questions about right or wrong; by the very nature of a public school, everything about them is wrong. It's like asking which is the most moral way to murder someone. A public school, therefore, is ruled by whichever mob has the most influence. Further, the question doesn't (explicitely) differentiate between a school which is multilingual for the purpose of bringing non-English speaking students up to par so that they may study right along with native speakers, and a school which intends to treat a diversity of languages as equals. However, I suspect that the question was referring to the latter condition, and as such, and in consideration of my previous objection, my answer would be that I am against bilingual schools. True. (Another 5 points.)

9. I oppose gay marriage.
True. However, I don't think that I should get my 5 points because the truth is that I oppose all state recognized marriage, homosexual, heterosexual, or otherwise. The state should not be sponsoring or otherwise giving recognition to any such choice.

10. I want Social Security privatized.
True. Yes. Please. And soon.

11. I believe racial profiling at airports is common sense.
True. Common sense? Yes. Justified, not necessarily. But one should not be blind to empiracally verifiable realities just because it offends one's ideals.

12. I shop at Wal-Mart.
False. Oddly, I decided just last week not to shop there, given their censoring of popular media such as popular music. On the other hand, I've not yet verified that they actually do this, but I have heard from more than one source that if you purchase a CD from Walmart which should have adult themes on it, the CD will have words either bleeped out or changed or something to lower the rating to a PG level or below.

13. I enjoy talk radio.
True. Well, it's true when I bother listening, anyway, and that'd be confined to Rush Limbaugh, I'm thinking. It's not often.

14. I am annoyed when news editors substitute the phrase "undocumented person" for "illegal alien."
True. Well, it's true now that it's been pointed out to me. If I must endure subtle examples of editorial bias in "news" stories, then at least let them favor my own bias.

15. I do not believe the phrase "a chink in the armor" is offensive.
True. Um...duh. Who would? I suppose only morons like those who banned hard drives which are labeled "master" and "slave" in a certain city in California, I suppose.

16. I eat meat.
True.

17. I believe O.J. Simpson was guilty.
False. I don't believe he was guilty. Neither do I believe that he was innocent. I simply do not know. I do not have the facts available to make such a decision. (What an odd question. What does it have to do with the others?)

18. I cheered when I learned that Saddam Hussein had been captured.
True. Well, figuratively. I didn't actually pick up any pom-poms and shout "Rah-rah-rah! Sis-boom-bah!" But I get the gist.

19. I cry when I hear "Proud to be an American" by Lee Greenwood.
False. True. To my knowledge, I have never before heard of that song, heard that song, nor heard of Lee Greenwood. Also, the odds of any song moving me to tears are pretty slim. Nevertheless, I've just googled the lyrics and I agree with the sentiment (so I've changed my answer to 'True'). It seems, though, that the actual song title is God Bless the U.S.A., though. I must admit that I share no "God" oriented inclinations with the author, and I don't agree with his line about "And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free, and I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me". After all, that right is independed of governments. "The men" who fought to establish a government which would protect that right did not "give" it to me or anyone else. But that's nit-picking. Isn't it?

20. I don't believe the New York Times.
True. That is, in the absence of corroboration from other sources, I wouldn't believe a word.

So what's my score? 70 Is that good?

Posted by Jeff at 04:23 AM | Comments (5)

The Most Frustrating Aspect of this Election

The most frustrating aspect of this election is that no matter how bad Kerry is...

John Kerry and SBVFT
(Image is clickable.)

...it doesn't make the darnedest bit of difference. John Kerry is not George Bush, and that's all that anyone who is going to vote for him needs to know.

Posted by Jeff at 12:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004

Supporting President Bush?

"Never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence."
--Napolean (paraphrased, I'm sure)

The "Bush lied!" crowd has lots and lots of evidence that Bush was in error, but they've never presented an iota of evidence that Bush lied. Not one thing. Ever. Why is that, do you suppose?

These are people who dislike Bush and who want to believe that he lied, and they're using it as a political hot-button to get other unthinking individuals (sheep) to blindly jump on their bandwagon. But wanting something doesn't make it so, and asserting malice to a person without any evidence not only demonstrates a significant character flaw, but is also contrary to fairness and is therefore against the American spirit, thus anti-American.

As a Libertarian, I am not so much a Bush supporter as I am an anti-Bush-crowd detractor. Those people are not merely embarrassments to America, but embarrassments to humanity.

Grow up, America. Grow up.

Posted by Jeff at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

Answer Michael Moore's Question

Michael Moore has lately been asking pro-Iraq war commentators a question along the lines of: "Would you choose to send your own children to the front lines in Iraq to fight the Iraq war?" Unfortunately, I've yet to see a commentator who didn't stumble on that question. It's clear why they stumble - the misleading question is designed specifically to make them stumble. Hopefully, though, people at home will think the question through, rather than come up with reflexive answers.

First realize that there is no draft in America. Each "child" in our military is an adult who is not sent into the military by his or her parent, but instead as an adult makes a crucial decision about whether or not he or she supports the ideals of this country enough to fight for it and for them. The proper answer to Moore's question (from whoever he is antagonizing by asking it) is:

If my son or daughter were to join the military to fight for the causes of which the Iraq war is a part, I would be very proud of him or her for doing so. And if I were the commander in chief and I knew that my own child were to be part of a regiment which would be sent into battle if I were to make the decision to fight for these ideals in Iraq or elsewhere, I would make the decision exactly the same as if my child were not part of that regiment, and like every other parent I'd pray for his or her safety and be filled with the same angst shared by every other parent who has a child fighting for our freedoms.

Couldn't a similar to Moore's question be asked regarding any and every conflict in history, including WWII, the American Civil War, and the American Revolutionary War?

Michael Moore's question is presumptuous, loaded, and easy to answer accurately and contrary to Moore's motives, even if that easy answer has been difficult for Moore's debaters to immediately come up with when put on the spot. His question is designed not to encourage a deep understanding of the issues, but instead to trick people into knee jerk emotional reactions.

Posted by Jeff at 11:32 PM | Comments (2)

August 03, 2004

The Evil Plan of the Democrats

Here's an excerpt from interesting article about the social democrats:

End the home mortgage interest deduction

Democrats have been after this income tax deduction for decades. They call it a "subsidy." Now the more intelligent among us will clearly understand that allowing someone to keep more of the money that they earn can hardly be called a "subsidy." But we're talking about the more intelligent among us. These people aren't likely to be voting for Democrats anyway!

As soon as the Democrats manage to gain control of the federal government they will move to eliminate this "subsidy for the rich." They know that there will be little adverse political fallout. After all -- the mortgage interest deduction is only valuable to people who actually pay income taxes AND who itemize their deductions. Democrats have already succeeded in removing most of their core constituency from the income tax rolls --- so what is there to lose?

When the Democrats ride into power you had better be prepared to kiss that mortgage interest deduction -- and a lot more of your money -- a fond farewell.

I've not been familiar with that character before. I like the way he writes and thinks.

Posted by Jeff at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)

August 01, 2004

The 2004 Federal Election Voter Turnout

We keep seeing polls which suggest who is leading in the presidential race. Typically, they're exactly equal or the leading candidate is ahead a number of points which is well below the poll's stated margin of error. So does this mean that the actual election is going to be close?

I don't think so, and here's why: I am beginning to suspect that the voter turnout on the Democratic side of the equation is going to be low, while the turnout on the Republican side of the equation is going to be high. Now what, besides the Ralph Nader factor (which I'll put aside for the moment) would make me think that? Answer: the ultra-leftist hatred of President Bush.

We're seeing a lot of chest pounding by the Bush haters, and many of these people are those who control the media, either from the back rooms of the media corporations, or through being the actual hosts of the shows. But there is a tremendous leftist media bias in the United States. Part of this bias is the media's own attempts to portray itself as being too far to the right. Most of the rest of us watch this media and think that the country is far to the left of our own positions, and that tends to fire up the right wing side of the equation. And that factor could be huge in the next election.

Consider the aforementioned ultra-leftist Bush haters. We're seeing them in the media constantly, and they are adamant that Bush must go. When you read or hear them voice their opinions, you get the distinct impression that they are incredulous that anybody could not share their views about President Bush. They consider it so obvious and so apparent that George Bush is so bad that they are adamantly closed minded that he might be even just a little bit good. (Ask them, for example, what President Bush has ever done right; I'm guessing that if you get any answers at all, the answers will be along the lines of suggesting that he's an efficient exchanger of oxygen and carbon dioxide.)

It's part of the ultra-leftist pathology (for lack of a better word) to believe, and want others to believe, that Bush is so bad that even those whom you'd expect to be the closest allies of the Republican candidate are against him. A recent article (which I won't link here) loudly proclaimed in the headline: "Nancy Reagan to Bush: 'We Don't Support Your Re-Election' (a headline, I might add, which was not too strongly supported by the actual facts in the article). They're saying, "See? SEE?! Everyone is against him! YOU should be too!!!" And these are the opinions that the media is so fond of throwing at us through our television screens and newsprint day after day after day.

But the expressions of adamant and closed minded hatred of President Bush by those ultra-leftists is getting very old and very tiring, and not only for those on the conservative side of politics, but to the majority in the center as well.

It's interesting to see the Democratic strategists realizing that fact and trying to adjust to it. They've seen that their own party, to say nothing of the Republicans, are not part of the "Deaniac" crowd of vitriolic haters which defined the Democratic platform even before the first primary ballot was cast. They're realizing that they must court the voters whom Howard Dean denigrated early on as "The Republian wing of the Democratic party"; they realize that there's a serious risk of this so-called "Republican wing" of their own party voting against them, and they're doing everything they can to change their image. And fast.

For instance, this is their primary reason for choosing the grossly inexperienced John Edwards as Kerry's running mate: his optimism and positive outlook contrasts dramatically with the viciousness of the Democratic campaigning so far. They've also left nearly all of their anger rhetoric out of their speeches written for the national convention (though on those rare occasions when the bitterness actually does come through, the audience cheers more passionately than at any other time).

But I don't think it's going to work. The anger-mongers have had the microphones for just too long, I'm counting about eighteen months, and the three months left before the election just isn't long enough to counter that saturation of bitterness which we've all been enduring. And this is especially true since the meat and potatoes of this anger mongering (those in the general population, as opposed to the Democratic officials) are not going to keep quiet for the rest of the campaign. They can be expected to continue to keep right on offending everyone to the right of them, and that's just about everyone.

So what about those polls?

Well, these polls, assuming that their samples adequately reflect the feelings of the general population, tell us about what people currently feel, and futher most of them intend to tell us about the feelings of those who are most likely to vote. And that's their problem. Those who are the most angry at George Bush, those who are most certain that he is so obviously a bad president, are those who are most likely (I think) to behave counter to their present feelings on November 2nd. I don't mean that they are going to show up at the polls and vote for President Bush, I mean that they, in spite of their passions today, are the most likely to stay home or at work on November 2nd and not vote at all. Why? Well, to them it's obvious to everyone that President Bush is a bad president and must go. They think that virtually everyone feels the same way that they feel and that those opposed to their judgements are a relatively small contingent of right-wing wackos. When push comes to shove, in the back of their minds they feel great certainty that John Kerry is going to win the election, with their help or without it.

For those who want George Bush to win, the equation is reversed, however. What they're seeing is a media blitz of opinions which are contrary to their own, and that frightens them. While Kerry aficionados...excuse me, I mean Bush haters, as I find it difficult to believe that a substantial number of voters will be voting for Kerry as opposed to against Bush...feel comfortable that Bush will be thrown out of the White House, Bush aficionados are worried that he'll be thrown out. The very same conclusion which will help keep would-be Kerry voters away from the polls is likely to increase the number of Bush fans at the polls. And this is especially true when we note that most of the polls lately show President Bush trailing John Kerry, some by as many as 7 points.

Posted by Jeff at 03:07 PM | Comments (2)

July 16, 2004

What Will November Bring?

I have noticed some backlash at alleged "conservatives" who have spoken out in anger about the rock band Black Sabbath using anti-Bush imagery during a song entitled "War Pigs" on the current Ozzfest tour. The backlash always includes the accusation that the angered are Republicans, or conservatives, or right-wing, or pro-Bush. I disagree that this can be assumed.

An American, simply as an American, can be outraged about the attack on our president (and, by extention, on we the people), without being a George Bush supporter. A person may very well be planning to vote for John Kerry or Ralph Nader and yet be very indignant and angry about such an attack.

Think about it: Here you have a British band, Black Sabbath, during their song War Pigs, putting up anti-Bush propoganda. Isn't that a bit like an American act, say Garth Brooks or the Stone Temple Pilots, or someone, going off to Canada and hanging a Paul Martin doll on stage, or going to Spain and throwing tomatoes at a large photo of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero? I mean, where do they get off?

That's one thing that makes the coming U.S. presidential election so interesting. You've got all of these angry, bitter, hateful, far-leftists, just seething with frustration, and shouting black bile at everyone who doesn't join them in their villification of our president. Their behavior offends everyone except themselves. So the country is full of moderate Democrats, who are not far-leftist types, and who'd not only never make any kind of Bush/Hitler comparison, but who are very offended by such comparisons, who have to decide how to vote next November. Vote with the far-leftists with all of their bitterness and contempt? Or Vote for Bush? Vote for Nader? Not vote at all?

These far-leftists took over the Democratic village early in the season and they set the Democratic agenda even before the first primary was held. The result: one of the lowest voter turn outs in Democratic primary history (heck, and even I voted in it, which I've never done before).

This vote may wind up consisting of 1) a dramatically large turnout of Republicans voting for Bush, because they're offended by the behavior of the far-leftists; 2) a very small contingent of Democrats voting for Kerry, a contingent made up mostly of the far-leftists; 3) an unusually large number of non-far-leftist Democrats voting for Bush out of wanting to make a statement about what their leaders have allowed their party to become this year; 4) and an unusually large number of citizens voting for Nader as a protest vote or else staying home and not voting at all, feeling that neither the far-leftist agenda of this election's Democratic party, nor George Bush represents them.

But who knows? I think that there is only one aspect of the coming election that is predictable: the result will be a big surprise to nearly everyone.

Posted by Jeff at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2004

Political Cartoon

If you haven't seen Jib Jab's Bush vs Kerry This Land is Your Land political cartoon yet, see it - it's truly worthwhile.

In fact, pay the $2.99 for your own download of the file. It feels good to pay an artist for the joy which they bring to you. Try it, you'll see.

Posted by Jeff at 01:07 PM | Comments (6)

July 09, 2004

John Kerry's Boob Job

Did I say it, or did I say it?

Well, it was someone on the radio back east who referred to Kerry's choice of Edwards for a running mate as the political equivalent of getting a boob job, but a few days ago when John Kerry chose John Edwards as his running mate, I said that the main reason that Edwards could help the ticket is because he helps John Kerry to distance himself from the "Deaniacs" and other leftist wackos who have been offending the Democratic base since the Democratic primaries began. For review, those wackos are the Michael Moore types, the ones who have been crying, "Anybody but Bush!!!", and "Bush lied!", and "Deserter!", and all of the other expressions of bitterness and anger which, like typical childish temper-tantrums, have been driving normal Americans nuts for the last six months or so.

Now I've found an article in The Boston Herald which affirms that Kerry is trying to distance himself from the wacko crowd, a fact which certainly helps to demonstrate to those wackos that they are, indeed, wackos! And that's important, really, because we can't have these nuts actually believing that they're the sane ones and that those who think that they're nuts are just some small minority of right wingers. Heck, I even heard someone say last week, "I think that the country is going to have a serious morale problem if Bush is elected again." Right...like that makes sense...I'm sure that all of the people voting him into office will commit suicide the moment he's declared the winner because they'll be so sad that he won.

(Note: Intellectual honesty requires that I point out that my statements on a potential morale problem are only one move deep on the chessboard, and I myself can come up with significant reasons why the country could [and probably will] suffer significant morale problems if Bush is not re-elected [maybe I'll post later on this in another opinion], but I still consider my statements fair because I don't think that this person was thinking any deeper than to the potential and initial disappointment of those who vote against Bush.)

Anyway, on to excerpts from the article:

Dems down and dirty: Kerry laughs, GOP howls over obscene fund-raiser

Amid outrage from Republicans and in the press, Sen. John F. Kerry is feverishly trying to distance himself from Hollywood celebs who called President Bush a "liar" and "cheap thug" - and even made obscene references to his last name at a New York fund-raiser....

The Bay State senator's aides said Goldberg, Chevy Chase, Meryl Streep and others didn't speak for him when they lampooned the president in derogatory and personal terms.

"The views expressed by the performers were their own views," Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said. "It is not what Sen. Kerry and Sen. (John) Edwards would say, and they don't approve of some of the comments that have been made."...

The biting anti-Bush remarks came at a Radio City Music Hall event that raised an estimated $7.5 million in one night for the Kerry-Edwards ticket and the Democratic National Committee....

...spokesman Meehan said, "Comedy performers don't speak for Sen. Kerry or Sen. Edwards; they are entertainers."

Interesting, eh? John Kerry dances with the wackos when it suits him and it fills his campaign coffers with contributions, but he distances himself from those people when when he's away from them - and with the normal folks.

On that subject, here's some more quotes from the article above:

Kerry had said at the fund-raiser that "every single performer" had "conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country."...

"We have seen John Kerry take two positions on the most important issues facing our country, now we see him take two sets of positions on his own values," Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman said....

Kerry reportedly roared with laughter at many of the jokes, as did the crowd of more than 5,000. Standing on stage after singing and playing guitar with John Mellencamp, Kerry praised the singers and actors.

 

Posted by Jeff at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2004

The Score: George Bush vs John Kerry

So who is winning?

I found the following election map at msn.com (though the story associated with it was not particularly relevant, so not reflected here):

Swing States as of July 6th, 2004
Map of States for Bush, States for Kerry, and undecideds

Well, we all know (I hope!) that the popular vote doesn't mean a thing, so all of these polls which put Bush ahead, or Kerry ahead, or having them tied in the popular vote is very nearly a complete waste. What matters are the electoral votes.

With that in mind, I took the information in the map above and totalled the score for Bush and Kerry, counting the REDs for Bush, the BLUEs for Kerry, and I didn't count the undecideds at all (if they could be counted, they'd be RED or BLUE). Here's the resulting electoral votes for each candidate:

George Bush: 161 electoral votes
John Kerry: 150 electoral votes

270 electoral votes are required to win (in the likely example of only Bush and Kerry winning states).

Now this map has the most swing states on it that I've seen as of yet, which means that there's some disagreement about which states are already decided and which aren't, so I'm going to keep looking for new maps and keep counting.

Posted by Jeff at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Edwards: Neither Helping, Nor Hurting Kerry

Legal XXX is a weblog that I often find worth reading. I've attempted to comment on one of its entries, but the weblog denied me with the excuse that my comment was too long. Well, then...I'll just have to post it here....

Now I don't believe Edwards will really HURT Kerry per se, but I don't think the bounce from his perfectly coifed hair and Lionel Hutz-like smile will HELP Kerry all that much.

He is probably right that Edwards neither helps nor hurts Kerry. But what's missed from that analysis is that no plausible running mate would likely help or hurt Kerry.

The Democratic party has no platform this election, they've no central philosophy which they can point to in order to explain their actions, save one: Be angered by and opposed to anything and everything President Bush says or does. The defacto Democratic platform is, therefore: Anybody but Bush!!!

To them, the major problem to solve is George Bush. It's not the economy, it's not Iraq, it's not the war on terror, it's not health. It's George Bush. They don't need to have cogent answers for solving the terrorism problem. They don't require a tenable strategy for the economy. For them the major issue is getting rid of George Bush, and only after that's accomplished will they be interested in expending energy to solve the other issues.

George Bush is running against himself, not against John Kerry; John Kerry doesn't matter, regardless of his running mate. George Bush is what matters, and if he loses the election it's because he's inspired the ire of too many American citizens, and not because of anything John Kerry does.

That's my central position, but I'm not absolutely stuck to it. When I force myself out of that chair by asking questions such as, Well, if someone COULD help Kerry, how would they do it?, I find myself with some answers.

Posted by Jeff at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)

So John Edwards is on the Kerry Ticket

Much of what I perceive to be bad about the Democrat's platform (if you can actually call anger and a knee-jerk reaction against anything and everything that President Bush does a "platform") is softened by having the poster-boy for positive-thinking on the ticket. I'm guessing that there are a lot of Democrats, otherwise alienated by the Deaniacs and other freak wackos who have dominated the left thus far, who as a result of feeling disenfranchised would have been content to sit home on election day without voting who may now wind up poking Kerry's chad.

John Edwards' major liabilities already exposed, it seems to me, are his youth and inexperience and the naivety that he emits at 10,000 Watts during every speech he gives. People do like John Edwards, but I'm not entirely sure that he's overwhelmingly respected. John Kerry himself, during the Democratic nomination fight, complained to associates that Edwards had no right seeking the presidency after less than one term in the Senate. Assuming that Kerry really believes that, it seems difficult to accept that Kerry is putting what's best for America first when he fails to consider who will sit in his chair if Kerry were to die in office.

But while some lament the choice of a running mate who couldn't even carry his own state in the primaries, I suspect that Edwards' positive nature is just what the Democratic ticket needs to disguise its cynicism, pessimism, and anger.

Posted by Jeff at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2004

Michael Moore, Farenheit 9/11

From someone on a bulletin board:

"There sure is a lot of criticism of the movie here coming from people who haven't even seen it!!!"

So, must a person actually see the movie in order to validly make judgments about it?

I have not seen Farenheit 9/11, and I won't unless a far left liberal forks out the cash to purchase my ticket (I figure that it won't hurt for one crazy, Moore, to win a bit if another one loses for him to get it), but just as was the case for Bowling for Columbine I'm finding that there's a seemingly endless littany of people who are willing to disseminate the film into print for my review. Here's a great example:

The Review

For example, Moore states that since the end of the Gulf War Iraq never killed a single American. Well, that's the impression he wanted to give his viewers. Take a look at this exchange on MSNBC between Moore and Jake Tapper.

TAPPER: You declare in the film that Hussein's regime had never killed an American...

MOORE: That isn't what I said. Quote the movie directly.

TAPPER: What is the quote exactly?

MOORE: "Murdered." The government of Iraq did not commit a premeditated murder on an American citizen. I'd like you to point out one.

TAPPER: If the government of Iraq permitted a terrorist named Abu Nidal who is certainly responsible for killing Americans to have Iraq as a safe haven; if Saddam Hussein funded suicide bombers in Israel who did kill Americans; if the Iraqi police -- now this is not a murder but it's a plan to murder -- to assassinate President Bush which at the time merited airstrikes from President Clinton once that plot was discovered; does that not belie your claim that the Iraqi government never murdered an American or never had a hand in murdering an American?

MOORE: No, because nothing you just said is proof that the Iraqi government ever murdered an American citizen. And I am still waiting for you to present that proof.

Now, try as I might, I didn't see a single person in the theater holding an open legal dictionary, looking up the technical distinction between "killed" and "murdered." Moore doesn't go into any detail to point out this distinction to his audience, though it is obviously a big enough issue that he had decided on this semantic explanation beforehand.

See what I mean? Nowhere in the movie does he mention Abu Nidal, or the suicide bombers, or any of the other well-documented terrorist activities of Hussein's Iraq. The best argument he can make to downplay Saddam's threats is this pathetic killed/murdered semantic mumbo jumbo.

Personally, I find these printed discussions far more enlightening than the one-sided movie could ever be. If anyone mis-characterizes the movie, readers will take the author to task; you'll get both sides of the issue packed together into the crucible of reason where spin and nuance is burned off leaving only the facts and the truth behind. The "You can't say because you haven't even seen the film," argument is nothing but a cop-out used by those who recognize that their side of the argument crumbles under scrutiny. In such cases, it's easier for them to deny you the opportunity to argue than it is to debate your arguments. Remember that the next time the intellectually dishonest attempt to catch you in that trap.

PS: I found this paragraph from the link above to be hilarious:

After a while we were ushered into the theater. Seated to my left were two young men who couldn't have been more diametrically opposed to the two girls I stood behind in line. The boys smelled faintly of marijuana, most likely having indulged in the parking lot before coming into the theater. Both were Hispanic, and dressed in that sort of L.A. "gangsta chic" style that guarantees that they'll never find employment anywhere other than a car wash or the United States Postal Service.

"Yo man, that shit is so fucked up that I'm not getting to graduate and shit," said one to the other. "All these motherfuckers that like kissed the teachers' ass and shit are like graduating, but I'm totally fucked, you know?" Apparently the boys had just completed their senior year of high school, and while one was about to embark on a fun-filled career in the grocery-sacking industry, the other was being forced to repeat the 12th grade.

That's just about the most worthwhile example of people who complain about others "kissing ass" that I've ever encountered. Find a person who complains about others "kissing ass" and I'll show you clones of the two individuals mentioned above.

I'm going to be laughing about that for at least a week.

ps: Here's an excellent exposition on the half-truths found within Farenheit 9/11: Just the Facts on 'Farenheit 9/11'

Posted by Jeff at 12:37 PM | Comments (7)

June 25, 2004

George Bush vs George Bush

There is nothing to the Kerry campaign. Nothing. Kerry himself means nothing - he could be any other candidate. George Bush is running against himself in this election. It's people who want to keep him vs those who want to boot him out.

The biggest problem the Democrats face in the upcoming election is their credibility on issues of national security. It's the one issue where a sizable bloc of voters perceive the biggest difference between the parties. On any other issue, the two parties could conceivably fight to a draw, but most voters--regardless of whether they ultimately plan on voting for President Bush--see him primarily as the national security candidate.

If the Democrats want to neutralize President Bush on this issue, they have to articulate a credible vision for dealing with terrorism. But even that will be difficult for the Democrats, because their criticisms of President Bush have no logical consistency. There is no underlying philosophy on which Democrats base their critiques of the Bush Administration; instead, their rhetoric is comprised of reflexive opposition to whatever President Bush does. If you want to test this assertion in the real world, try this: next time you run across a partisan Democrat, ask whether President Bush has done anything right. Odds are, the response will contain less than one item.

The inconsistencies of the Democratic arguments against President Bush make it impossible for them to put forth any alternate vision, because anything they propose will conflict with some of their previous criticisms.

The person who authored that stated it as if it matters. But it doesn't. Those who are not in favor of George Bush don't need the Democratic candidate to give a credible strategy for the war on terror, for Iraq, for the economy, not for anything. They're interested in one thing: Get rid of George Bush. Once that is accomplished, then they'll worry about other things. They don't need anyone to prove himself better than Bush, they just take that as a given: Anyone but Bush.

This election is for Bush to win, or Bush to lose. What the other side does, or doesn't do, is really meaningless.

Posted by Jeff at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

Conservative vs Liberal

A Harvard undergrad returns home on break. The conversation at the welcome home dinner inevitably turns to her schooling.

"I've become an enlightened liberal," the English lit student declares proudly. The conversation then turns to her study habits, free time and the like.

Daughter: "Free time? What free time? I barely have time to eat. I'm working like a dog --- but I'm making dean's list!"

Father: "And how is your best friend Michelle doing?"

Daughter: "She works, but has different parties, I, uh mean, priorities. Her GPA is hitting rock bottom. She's pretty smart, but she was warned that if she doesn't clean up her act, then she'll be booted."

Father: "Now, you wouldn't want that. Why don't you go to the dean's office and offer to transfer some of your GPA to Michelle so you both can be equal?"

Daughter: "Why in the world would I do that!? I work hard. I push myself. I do what I must without any excuses. Michelle is capable. If she wanted to succeed like me, she would."

Father: "Are you sure that your English lit courses don't include a class in poli-sci? You've managed to succinctly articulate the differences between conservatives and liberals."

--Author unknown

Posted by Jeff at 08:44 AM | Comments (21)

June 24, 2004

Reagan's "Free Ride" in the Press

Some interesting things were mentioned on FOX's Grapevine this week. But, before reading it, remember that Ronald Reagan scored 49 states to 1 against Walter Mondale in the re-election:

Grapevine

Far From a Free Ride

The coverage of President Ronald Reagan after his death led some to recall him as "the Teflon president," who got a free ride in the press. But the Center for Media and Public Affairs, in a new study, finds that President Reagan received intensely negative coverage. The Center says it was two to one negative overall in his first year, with his policies doing even worse -- three to one negative. The Center also found Reagan's coverage more than 90 percent negative in his re-election year of 1984, while his Democratic challenger Walter Mondale's press was 56 percent positive. As for his second term, the Center found that Mikhail Gorbachev did much better in the U.S. press and that even as he was leaving office, Reagan's press was two to one negative.

Now THAT'S a crystal clear example of liberal media bias, where the media projects an unpopular political position in an attempt to influence the judgment of the population and, thank goodness, fails.

It also should give the Republicans a chance to breathe a sigh of relief about all of the negative attention being thrown at George Bush. It would seem to mean nothing. So remember to get out there and vote.

Posted by Jeff at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2004

Quantum Democrats

Today's Day by Day is truly worthwhile.

I read that comic and got the minor joke: the likening of the lack of logic stereotypically projected upon women with Democratic party positions. Beyond that, though, the idea of comparing Democrats with physical quanta interested me, so I obediently typed the URI into my browser and hit the enter key and my browser was whisked away to a page of rather piognant posts. Just a few posts down I found the Quantum Democrats post and, within it, this little gem:

If the Democrats want to neutralize President Bush on this issue, they have to articulate a credible vision for dealing with terrorism. But even that will be difficult for the Democrats, because their criticisms of President Bush have no logical consistency. There is no underlying philosophy on which Democrats base their critiques of the Bush Administration; instead, their rhetoric is comprised of reflexive opposition to whatever President Bush does. If you want to test this assertion in the real world, try this: next time you run across a partisan Democrat, ask whether President Bush has done anything right. Odds are, the response will contain less than one item.

The inconsistencies of the Democratic arguments against President Bush make it impossible for them to put forth any alternate vision, because anything they propose will conflict with some of their previous criticisms. Even that they'll deny, though; they'll sweeten their waffles with the syrup of nuance, the word they use to cover up the fact that they're holding several completely contradictory stances simultaneously.

Man, does that ever say it all?!

It's a consequence of the "Anybody but Bush!" mentality. You can't take the stand that anyone would be better than President Bush if Bush is doing things right. But more importantly, the "Anybody but Bush!" crowd judges President Bush's actions and policies by their pre-determined hatred for him, rather than independently based upon how well the solution fits its target problem.

I wonder how significant this issue will be in the election. It seems to me that it certainly ought to be a major detriment to the Democratic causes. After all, the Bush haters aren't going anywhere. They're going to cheer and be pleased regardless of how ineffective and unconvincing the Democratic platform gets. All they need is President Bush to continue antagonizing the liberals. The Democrats, therefore, don't have to do anything right to get loving approval from their primary audience.

The swing voters, on the other hand, that large contingent of undecideds, need convincing. They're not buying this "Anybody but Bush!" mentality. Meanwhile, the Bush administration keeps providing both consistent positions and consistant rationales for their positions. That seems like it'd tip the balance pretty significantly to me.

If President Bush loses, then, it must mean that he's enraged way too many voters.

Posted by Jeff at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2004

The "Bush Lied" Camp Takes it on the Chin

Bill Clinton: On whether BUSH was right to invade Iraq

Read the whole interview here

"You know, I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over. I don't believe he went in there for oil. We didn't go in there for imperialist or financial reasons. We went in there because he bought the Wolfowitz-Cheney analysis that the Iraqis would be better off, we could shake up the authoritarian Arab regimes in the Middle East, and our leverage to make peace between the Palestinians and Israelis would be increased.

At the moment the U.N. inspectors were kicked out in '98, this is the proper language: there were substantial quantities of botulinum and aflatoxin, as I recall, some bioagents, I believe there were those, and VX and ricin, chemical agents, unaccounted for. Keep in mind, that's all we ever had to work on. We also thought there were a few missiles, some warheads, and maybe a very limited amount of nuclear laboratory capacity.

After 9/11, let's be fair here, if you had been President, you'd think, Well, this fellow bin Laden just turned these three airplanes full of fuel into weapons of mass destruction, right? Arguably they were super-powerful chemical weapons. Think about it that way. So, you're sitting there as President, you're reeling in the aftermath of this, so, yeah, you want to go get bin Laden and do Afghanistan and all that. But you also have to say, Well, my first responsibility now is to try everything possible to make sure that this terrorist network and other terrorist networks cannot reach chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material. I've got to do that.

That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for. So I thought the President had an absolute responsibility to go to the U.N. and say, "Look, guys, after 9/11, you have got to demand that Saddam Hussein lets us finish the inspection process."

You couldn't responsibly ignore [the possibility that] a tyrant had these stocks. I never really thought he'd [use them]. What I was far more worried about was that he'd sell this stuff or give it away. Same thing I've always been worried about North Korea's nuclear and missile capacity. I don't expect North Korea to bomb South Korea, because they know it would be the end of their country. But if you can't feed yourself, the temptation to sell this stuff is overwhelming. So that's why I thought Bush did the right thing to go back. When you're the President, and you're country has just been through what we had, you want everything to be accounted for."

 

I wonder how many of the "Bush lied" camp, most notably those in Howard Dean's "Deaniac" cult of followers, will publicly recant their previous position and apologize?

Any bets?

Posted by Jeff at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2004

News Bias

While I don't think that one can adequately judge a news organization by a single headline, I do think that one can sum over typical news headlines in any organization and get a feel for their bias.

Here's a nice shot of how bias influences a headline. Note that these headlines report on the same story, but the headlines for the stories can be interpreted in polarly opposite ways politically, particularly in terms of the coming election in this (apparenly) very politically divided United States:

Google News demonstrates political bias in headlines.
Image from Google News.

Here are the links to the actual stories:

Reuters: Bush Launched Iraq Invasion Too Soon, Clinton Says
News24: Clinton backs Bush on Iraq
Washington Post: Clinton Backs Bush on Iraq War But Questions Invasion's Timing

Posted by Jeff at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

Bill Clinton Continues Support for Iraq Invasion

Just two nights ago I speculated over some glasses of wine that, assuming President Bush is re-elected, Bill Clinton would show up in the media casting wide support for President Bush and the Iraq war following the election. My reasons were 1) that each time that I've witnessed Clinton saying anything about the Iraq war, he's done so in a way that has been highly defensive of President Bush, 2) Bill Clinton, having served as President for 8 years, knows that invading was the right thing to do (I'm showing my bias here; since in my judgment the war was and is right, I'd expect the recent president to see it this way), 3) Clinton has not exactly appeared to be in John Kerry's corner, and 4) Clinton knows that doing so would be good for the country and he cares enough to do it.

Another person at the table contributed a different rationale. He said that Clinton is very much at the left and part of the anti-war crowd, but that he wasn't supporting Kerry or the left because he knows that a Kerry win this November virtually eliminates a successful presidential bid for Hillary later on.

Coming from this person, however, this rationale really made sense. Notice that it portrays President Clinton as a person with no integrity, and instead portrays him as a person who goes with what most expediently will get him the most personally. This is how this fellow sees Clinton, so it was no surprise to get this reaction from him, an unabashed Clinton hater.

But, on to the issue: It seems that Clinton couldn't wait until after the election. He's started voicing support for the Iraq war already. Here's a few quotes from CNN:

Clinton defends successor's push for war

Former President Clinton has revealed that he continues to support President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq but chastised the administration over the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.

"I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over," Clinton said in a Time magazine interview that will hit newsstands Monday, a day before the publication of his book "My Life."

Clinton, who was interviewed Thursday, said he did not believe that Bush went to war in Iraq over oil or for imperialist reasons but out of a genuine belief that large quantities of weapons of mass destruction remained unaccounted for.

Noting that Bush had to be "reeling" in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, Clinton said Bush's first priority was to keep al Qaeda and other terrorist networks from obtaining "chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material."

So you make up your mind.

And on to one more issue: Did Bush lie?

So President Clinton doesn't think so. He says President Bush was right on the money and limits his criticism to having gone into Iraq w/out waiting for the U.N.

And Vladimir Putin says exactly the same thing.

I think it would be embarrassing to be a part of the "Bush lied" camp right about now.

Posted by Jeff at 12:36 PM | Comments (6)

June 19, 2004

The Economy: Bad News for John Kerry

A recent Pew Research Center report demonstrates that of all of the issues which Democrats want to hear about, the economy is the issue at the top of the list for John Kerry supporters. The economy tops the list for 36% of John Kerry supporters, followed by 23% who place the Iraq situation at the top. Health care and jobs/unemployment each are at the top for 7% of Kerry supporters, and education is at the top for 6% leaving just 21% for terrorism, gas prices/energy, foreign policy, taxes, morality/ethics, poverty/homeless, and elderly/medicare combined.

So if the economy is what is most important for John Kerry supporters, what do the latest readings of the economy mean to them?

Well, in Ohio, one of the important swing states, unemployment has taken a dip from 5.9% in April, to 4.9% in May, and now down to 4.7% this month.

Wisconsin, another important swing state, is also doing well, having added 41,000 new jobs since last year.

Washington State, which has an unfortunate jobless rate which is higher than the national average of 5.6% in May, dropped to 6.1% in May to continue a downward trend that began last fall.

Maine's unemployment rate, 4.9% in March, already below the national unemployment rate, dropped to just 4.3% in April.

Unemployment in Nevada fell to the lowest in nearly four years down to just 4.1%.

Democrats weren't amused when George Bush recently remarked to the National Federation of Independent Business about how about 1 million new jobs have been added to the economy. "We used to hear it said that America had a jobless recovery," quipped the President. "That term seems to have fallen out of use lately."

According to that same Pew Research Report, people who are likely to vote for John Kerry because he's not George Bush outnumber Kerry supporters who like Kerry, 3 to 2. By contrast, the pro-Bush George Bush supporters outnumber anti-Kerry Bush supporters by about 3 to 1. Kerry isn't well liked, the election seems to hang upon the population's approval/disapproval of George Bush, and the Democrat's number one issue, the economy, is in George Bush's corner. Add to that the effect of secondary issues, such as the "Bush lied" rhetoric favored by anti-Bush zealots, which has been dealt a devastating blow by Vladimir Putin yesterday confirming that, prior to the Iraq invasion, Russian agents had received information that Iraq's special forces were preparing terrorist attacks on the United States and on its military bases around the world, and you get America's large contingent of swing voters - who don't like to see their president of either party dragged through the muck - becoming less and less open to the anger of the far left.

What does this mean? Well, according to the same Pew Research Report, Americans are noticing, and 51% of Americans think that George Bush is going to win the election, verses only 35% who think that Kerry will come out on top.

Posted by Jeff at 01:43 AM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2004

Press Going Too Easy on Bush

Well, the media thinks so according to the Pew Research Center.

But, before getting to that, here's some relevant information:

Real Clear Politics

Two weeks ago, the Pew Research Center published the latest study demonstrating that many more national news reporters identify themselves as "liberal" (34 percent) than "conservative" (7 percent).

While most (54 percent) consider themselves "moderate," even the "moderates" demonstrated that they had liberal attitudes on religion, gay rights and activist government.

 

Public Skeptical of Media?

The latest Gallup Poll indicates the public continues to be skeptical of the accuracy and fairness of the news media.

Fifty-eight percent of those questioned said the media were often inaccurate, while just 39 percent thought they get their facts straight.

On the question of bias, 60 percent thought the media were ideologically biased.

Of those, however, only 15 percent thought the media too conservative, while 45 percent thought them too liberal.

Thirty-six percent found the media just about right.

By the way, 48 percent of self-identified liberals thought the media just right, while 63 percent of conservatives thought the media too liberal, and 43 percent of moderates agreed.

So onto the news:

Bottom-Line Pressures Now Hurting Coverage, Say Journalists

Journalists are unhappy with the way things are going in their profession these days. Many give poor grades to the coverage offered by the types of media that serve most Americans: daily newspapers, local TV, network TV news and cable news outlets. In fact, despite recent scandals at the New York Times and USA Today, only national newspapers and the websites of national news organizations receive good performance grades from the journalistic ranks.

Roughly half of journalists at national media outlets (51%), and about as many from local media (46%), believe that journalism is going in the wrong direction, as significant majorities of journalists have come to believe that increased bottom line pressure is "seriously hurting" the quality of news coverage. This is the view of 66% of national news people and 57% of the local journalists questioned in this survey.

Now what is a "liberal bias", anyway?

What it isn't is a tendency to lie or report falsehoods. What bias is is a tendency to report stories which the news media wants to report, rather than stories which the population wants to read (or see, as the case may be).

For example:

Suppose that a large mall has been approved to be built in a previously untouched piece of (undesignated) wilderness. Suppose also that a very decisive majority of the population who will be using that mall are very excited about it; they're interested in what choices of shops are going to be avaliable, and they're very interested in what is expected to be a significant boon to their local economy.

Suppose, also, that the local newspaper is run by a collection of environmentalists that are not at all excited about the mall. Unlike the general population, all they see is a destruction of the forest, animal habitats being destroyed, and new garbage and pollution problems. Therefore, they keep reporting on these particular issues and give very limited and inadequate reporting on the facts about the economy and other issues which the population is looking for in the pages of the paper.

That is bias. Everything that the paper prints is (presumably) true, but nobody except those people at the paper care. For the population, it's as if they've picked up "Golfing Today" magazine and have found, instead of articles about golf, in depth articles about Sylvester Stallone movies.

Values and the Press

Journalists at national and local news organizations are notably different from the general public in their ideology and attitudes toward political and social issues. Most national and local journalists, as well as a plurality of Americans (41%), describe themselves as political moderates. But news people, especially national journalists, are more liberal, and far less conservative, than the general public.

So now, according to the Pew Research Center, what we have is a bunch of liberal journalists complaining because the population is ending its willingness to pick up papers which do not report on the stories which interest our population. I find that both funny and encouraging. The liberal press are paying the price through their pocketbooks, and the fact that their livelihoods and their abilities to flourish are threatened.

That is positively heartwarming.

Posted by Jeff at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2004

Are Democrats and Republicans the Same?

I've got a question here for you to ponder. First, the basis of the question:

You've probably seen the photos of protestors outside of Reagan's funeral. There were people there carrying signs that said, "REAGAN IN HELL!", and things of that nature. They weren't the only ones; there were people all across the country banding together, carrying signs, and protesting the respects paid to Ronald Reagan.

Now, with that context in mind, ask yourself: "Given what I feel that I know about the characters of Democrats and Republicans, hypothetically, if Bill Clinton were to die and similar funeral services were taking place, would Republicans all across the country be banding together and be carrying similar diminutive signs about President Clinton while loudly shouting protests?"

I'll give my answer: I don't think so. I think this question helps to define a significant difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats seem to carry around a sort of seething hate and anger within them which influences their interactions with others.

Now there also wackos out there that some people associate with the right wing. I'm talking about neo-Nazi skinhead racists, and those sort of people. But they aren't part of the right wing. These are not people who the bread and butter of the right wing accepts with open arms and says, "These are our people." Far from it. Instead, these people are associated with the right wing only because the left wing haters claim that they're right wing. These people are thrust upon the right wing by the left in order to defame the right; but the people on the right are saying, "Hey! We don't want them either!"

In contrast, these wackos on the left, these protestors out there carrying signs, Howard Dean and his hate group of Deaniacs calling Bush the worlds most dangerous terrorist and likening him to Adolf Hitler, and the nuts carrying the "REAGAN IN HELL!" signs, these people are embraced by the left.

Right?

Or have I missed an important subtlety somewhere?

More on the Democrats' response to the Reagan mourning.

Posted by Jeff at 01:20 PM | Comments (13)

June 12, 2004

Spending Other People's Money

What a strange world this is.

I saw an interview with Dick Gephardt when he was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination in which he was asked about his plan to raise taxes if he became president. The questioner pointed out that right now about 50% of the American population is paying 100% of the federal taxes (meaning that 50% of the population is paying nothing at all). Gephardt, who is certainly in a position to know such things, confirmed that 50% are paying 100% of the bills with a simple nod of his head.

Isn't it interesting that Americans live in a country where 50% of the population, who don't contribute anything, get to vote on how the other 50% of the population's money (at least some of it) is going to be spent (and not only that, but also get to vote on how much of the other half of the population's money is going to be spent)?

Is it possible that, perhaps, demonstrating the ability to make money and to increase personal wealth should be a pre-requisite to voting upon how that money should be spent? Or, at the very least, if a person is going to have some input in how the taxes are going to be spent (even by proxy, as it is in the United States through electing representatives to decide how to spend the dough), shouldn't the person at least have contributed something to the pot?

The first answer which, I'm sure, comes to most people's minds is likely to be: but that would mean that the poor don't get to vote!

Well, yeah.

But the answer to that is simple enough: If you want to vote, don't be poor. And talk about incentive, you either get a vote, or a hand-out, one or the other: choose.

Now if that strikes you as crass, that should immediately tell you that, in your heart of hearts, you don't really understand that each individual's wealth is up to him or her. Is it any wonder that the people in the lower 50% typically vote for the candidate who promises to tax the rich and provide government hand-outs?

Posted by Jeff at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2004

Rubbing Salt in the Political Wounds

Comedy Central has made a few Bush jokes as of late and I've discovered something: I have completely lost my sense of humor when it comes to Bush jokes. It's gone. Nothing there. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

I suppose that in the general case it's okay, positive even, to laugh at minor imperfections and foibles, but a minority of people have created a political climate such that there's a mean spiritedness to it. By and large, Bush jokes have become Bush bashing, rather than good natured ribbing and general fun. At that point, even the good natured ribbing takes on impolite overtones.

I can't help but notice that many Democrats are actually using over the top Bush bashing as a strategy. They are loudly rubbing salt into the wounds of those who oppose Bush's policies; take, for example, Gore's rant of a couple of weeks ago as a recent high profile example. These Democrats are deliberately trying, and trying very hard, to create a climate of "There is something wrong in America", or at least create that impression in the minds are hearts of the voters. Their hope, it seems to me, is that by creating a strong impression in the media that there is tremendous, even overwhelming, dissatisfaction in America, that America will be inclined to vote for change...of presidents.

I'm not convinced that'll happen, but it might.

People keep saying that the next election will be a very close race. I just don't get that feeling. I get the distinct impression that it's going to be a lopsided vote, perhaps even a landslide, but who it will favor is not exactly clear. I do think that the Democratic exacerbating of tensions will play a major part in whatever the result is. That strategy has just as much of a chance of backfiring on the Democrats, as a large portion of the voters will see the root cause of the dissatisfaction as being the Democrats' own stirring of the pot; they are likely to attribute whatever dissatisfaction that they feel with the Democrats' relentless overbearing complaining and posturing, rather than with what the Democrats complain about.

We shall see.

Posted by Jeff at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)