Monday, October 31, 2005

RNC Petition Supporting Alito

The RNC has a petition up.

Frist looks ready to fight:
"If the Democrats are looking for a fight, we'll be up for the fight. We won't back down... We're gonna get an up or down vote on the Senate floor and if the Democrats want a fight, they'll get one."
I'm very happy today. It's like Christmas came two months early.

Sam Alito Nominated to Associate Justice Spot

W has gotten tired of playing "surprise" with the nation, and has nominated Samuel Alito, a federal appeals judge who's been on most of the short lists published over the last year.

Quite a few bloggers called it for Alito over the weekend. Good job, y'all!

I'm not that familiar with Sam Alito, but people I know and trust love him. That's a good sign.

Kennedy, Schumer and NARAL are going into conniptions over the nomination. That's an even better sign.

Of course, People For the American Way is laying in on Alito.

Confirm Them says "Thank you, Mr. President.".

Ankle Biting Pundits: Bush Hits His Mulligan 300 Yards In The Middle Of The Fairway.

Slate announces the beginning of "The Supreme Court battle we've all been waiting for".

Hugh Hewitt has a poll. So far, there have been 6898 (94.7%) votes in favor of Alito's nomination.

Did I mention this is a very happy day for me?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Doom: the Movie

A group of filmmakers set out to make a movie.

They start with a story about a scientist named Dr. Betruger, who works for the research wing of a huge corporation. In the course of excavation of an archaeological dig at the behest of his employer, Dr. Betruger's research team located an ancient artifact which, it was ultimately discovered, was useful for facilitating instant teleportation from one point in space to another. The corporation's executives, thrilled at the prospects of this amazing new technology, fully funded Dr. Betruger's research activities.

Upon further investigation, Dr. Betruger found that the ancient artifact also facilitated contact with an alternate universe, a fact which he decided, for whatever reason, to keep to himself. In the course of experimenting with this aspect of the technology, Dr. Betruger personally made contact with sentient beings in the alternate universe. As a result of this contact, Dr. Betruger's mind ultimately came under the control of these beings, and Dr. Betruger began working clandestinely to open a permanent multi-dimensional portal between our universe and the alternate universe in order to allow the beings to enter our universe. Dr. Betruger ultimately succeeded in creating the portal, thereby allowing the beings from the alternate universe to cross over into our own.

Shortly after the story begins, Dr. Betruger's portal to the unknown opens up, and strange demonic creatures begin pouring out into the region surrounding the portal. Some humans working near the portal are killed by the creatures. Research and maintenance workers are converted into mindless, cannibalistic zombies. The creatures take control of the minds of nearby military personnel, who then form themselves into an evil army ready to do their new masters' bidding.

Once the portal is opened up, all contact between the research facility and the outside world is lost. At least two marines stationed at the research facility survived the initial onslaught. As the marines make their way through the facility, they learn, one clue at a time, just exactly what Dr. Betruger had been up to. They learn the horrifying evil that has consumed the alternate universe and which now threatens to consume their own. The creatures from the alternate universe are able to manipulate the marines' perceptions of time and space; the marines are facing psychological attacks as unrelenting as the physical ones, and they are not always certain what is real and what is an illusion. In the meantime, they are battling all manner of zombies, cyborgs, and other vicious otherworldly creatures bent on killing them and all mankind. Ultimately, one marine makes his way to the dimensional portal in order to shut it down and close it up permanently. Once he reaches the portal, the marine learns that it can only be closed by going through to the other side. He must pass over into the evil universe and literally go through Hell in order to close the portal and save mankind. Of course, along the way he kicks lots of evil monster ass with huge badass weapons. (Think Ash from Army of Darkness)

Oh, and the entire story takes place on the planet Mars.

And the marines are armed with shotguns, chainsaws and wicked high-tech ray guns.

Some of the bad guys throw plasma balls; others have rocket launchers for arms.

If you think you could make a kick-ass movie from that story, you must not be a Hollywood professional.

See, if you were a sophisticated Hollywood professional, you'd know to make the following changes to the story:

1. Scratch Dr. Betruger
2. Scratch the mind control
3. Scratch the ancient artifact
4. Scratch the whole inter-dimensional portal thing
5. Scratch the evil universe
6. Scratch the cyborgs, shotguns, plasma balls and rocket launchers
7. Add some other Marines
8. Add a hot scientist chick
9. Add a zombie/monster virus

As a result, you get:

A team of marines is dispatched to to a research facility on Mars to search for some missing scientists. Once they get there, they encounter a bunch of rampaging zombies and monsters, along with a hot scientist chick. With the help of the hot scientist chick, the marines ultimately learn that a virus created by a research team from a "24th human chromosome" has infected certain of the scientists and turned them into the zombies and monsters. The marines fight with the zombies and monsters, trying to keep from getting infected while preventing the zombies from reaching the teleporter from Mars back to Earth. There's a little character development. Turns out the hot scientist chick is the sister of one of the marines, and their parents died on Mars when they were young. The brother (played by Karl Urban) is something of a good guy crusader, while his boss (played by Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson) is a hardcore "by-the-book, do the job, don't ask questions" kind of guy. This difference of perspective causes serious tension when the team is faced with a decision as to what to do with a roomful of human survivors, some of whom may be infected with the zombie virus. There's even some kung fu near the end of the movie, which seems a little over the top, but is well-executed.

In other words, Doom the movie = 28 Days Later + Alien. It's not bad, but it could've been really good. I really fail to understand why they completely removed Dr. Betruger and the "evil universe" theme from the story. Dr. Betruger made for a very creepy villain in the game. The mad scientist and his "portal to Hell" are really the core elements of the game storyline and they would've added a lot to the movie. Of course, in the game, there's a lot of time to bring the story out one piece at a time, through a bunch of mechanisms. One really effective mechanism is the use of personal voice logs you find around the Mars base. One piece at a time, you get a very disturbing picture of normal Martian life steadily collapsing into complete and total chaos as Dr. Betruger secretly carried out his bizarre experiments in and around the Martian base. Incidents of minor and major psychological disturbance, hallucinations, acute paranoia and spontaneous acts of violence racked up one after another in a spiraling pattern until all hell literally broke loose. Granted, there isn't enough time in a 90-minute movie to explore all of this as fully as game designers are free to do in a 15-hour game, but the inclusion of more of these story elements would have made for a much richer storyline and a better movie.

For what it is, Doom the movie is fine, I suppose. Loads of guns, fights, zombies, monsters, scary dark passageways, a BFG 9000, the Rock and a hot scientist chick add up to a decent but not outstanding flick. Despite what everybody else seems to think, I think the Rock did a decent job of acting, just like most actors do. The last time I can remember really bad acting was de Niro trying to cry in "Analyze This." Overall, I give it a C+, or maybe a B-.

Miers Withdraws

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to the Supreme Court.

I am not ecstatic, or even happy.

I am saddened that this battle has set philosophical brothers against one another.

I am saddened that a respectable and good person, a fellow Dallas lawyer, had to go through a meat grinder.

I am saddened that the name "Harriet Miers" will for a long time be associated with cronyism and generally with individuals not thought to be up to the task at hand. I think Harriet Miers deserves better than to have that as her legacy.

I am saddened that the emphasis, on the part of those of us arrayed against her, on her human shortcomings overshadowed a career of noble and impressive service that most lawyers will never approach. As necessary as that may have been at the time, that time has now passed.

This has all been a sad and tragic spectacle, a circus of the absurd.

I'm not happy, but I am definitely relieved that this phase is over.

I'd like to think that we can come together and agree that none of that is necessary at this time, and that we can all afford to be gracious.

I call on the President to consider the pain and difficulty he has put us all though, and to exercise the utmost deliberation as he considers his next nomination.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

506th P.I.R. Reactivated for Iraq

Most are familiar with the U.S. Army's 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which was the subject of the book and miniseries "Band of Brothers".

The 506th has recently been reformed as the 506th Regimental Combat Team, and is being deployed to Iraq:
While long famous for its missions inside the military, little was known about the unit until Stephen E. Ambrose published "Band of Brothers" in 2001. The book was later adapted for an HBO miniseries.

Veterans attending the reactivation ceremony applauded when the brigade accepted the 506th flag.

"The unit's colors stay alive," said Brice Bickerton, of Clairton, Pa., a Vietnam veteran from the unit.
No doubt they will uphold the 506th's long tradition of honor, courage and sacrifice for the cause of freedom.

Give 'em hell, boys!

On Addictions...

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are addicts, and it is time we all admitted it to one another.

We have at least three addictions which threaten to drive us into an early grave if we don't get help.

The first is our addiction to petroleum. We are unquestionably addicted to petroleum, and our addiction means that we are no longer free. We are beholden to the pushers of petroleum, so much so that we turn the other cheek when the pushers slap us around. We turn the other cheek because we can't bear the thought of having to go on without our daily fix of the "black gold." We make the House of Saud and the House of Chavez wealthy just so we can go on a little longer with our sunny, oblivious little lives. The sons of the House of Saud burn our buildings down, and we put up with it because we're hooked on the black stuff. Friends, we simply must break our addiction to petroleum. There's no silver bullet, but its long since time we started listening to the renewable energy crowd and stood up to the envirofascists on nuclear energy. We need to reduce our demand for petroleum. This means we need to increase our supply of non-petroleum energy sources, reduce our overall energy needs, or both. This doesn't necessarily mean we need to live like paupers. It does necessarily mean we need to start investing heavily in technology, including but not limited to hybrid cars, solar and wind power. This should be one of our highest national priorities. Even though I am generally a libertarian, the externalities of our energy usage justify a certain level of market intervention.

Our second addiction is shiny, noisy crap from China. Don't get me wrong--I'm not at all opposed to shiny, noisy crap. I think shiny, noisy crap is wonderful, and I have a lot of it myself. What I am opposed to is China. I'm not a racist or an "America first" type. I'm actually a big believer in free trade in general and I think it can be a powerful force for liberation and development. I'm all for shiny, noisy crap from free nations, including India, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Israel or Korea, as examples. The problem with shiny, noisy crap from China is that China is run by an iron-fisted totalitarian dictatorship which is working around the clock to build a military machine capable of taking on the United States in conventional terms, and our insatiable hunger for their shiny, noisy crap is funding the construction of their juggernaut. When you buy that shiny little wastebasket from the Container Store, you're helping the Chinese government build another steel plant. They are outproducing the U.S. in steel already. They have over three times the population that we have. They are buying advanced military technologies from around the world to add to their arsenal. The time will come soon when the U.S. is not capable of challenging the Chinese military.

Our addiction to shiny, noisy Chinese-made crap brings us to our third addiction: credit. I'm not as concerned about consumer credit, though that's a concern as well. The credit I'm primarily concerned about is our national debt. If you're a slave to a credit card company, that's probably your own fault. Our elected representatives are enslaving us all to foreign nations with their freewheeling spending sprees. Although this may not be a huge problem if the foreign nation is the UK, it is a potentially huge problem if the foreign nation is a totalitarian dictatorship. In addition to the fact that we send large portions of our paychecks to China for new consumer goods (see above), we're also sending large portions of our tax dollars to China in the form of interest payments on our massive federal debt. What will we do if we find the need to challenge China on a foreign policy issue? Are our federal officials really free to act in the best interests of our nation when they know that China can call in their notes? I think our national debt is a problem no matter who holds the notes, but the fact that a totalitarian dictatorship holds so many of them should concern every American.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Should Harriet Miers Take a Litmus Test?

The linked L.A. Times editorial is 100% right on. I've had enough of "stealth nominees" and the "Ginsburg Rule".

The Senate is right to ask a nominee to lay it on the table and be judged accordingly. A judicial nominee who is unwilling to lay his or her thoughts open to the public should not be confirmed. I say, let's evolve, and let the chips fall where they may.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

On infighting...

By now, I'm sure it's clear that I'm very disappointed in the nomination of Harriet Miers.

As disappointed as I am about that, I think I'm even more disappointment at the behavior of conservatives in the wake of the nomination.

For my principled good faith opposition to the nomination of Harriet Miers, I have been labeled a "sexist," an "elitist" and a "bed wetter" simply because I believe this nation deserves a better choice and I'm willing to say so.

On the other hand, Harriet Miers has been labeled a "hack" and a "crony," both of which are undeserved and unfair perjoratives.

A reasoned internal debate on the qualifications of Harriet Miers does not even threaten to permanently weaken, much less destroy, the conservative movement or the GOP. An inability to engage in a reasoned internal debate without getting personal does.

If the President is the "uniter" he has always claimed to be, perhaps he can persuade all sides in this debate to elevate the level of discourse.

Friday, October 14, 2005

On Breaking Ranks...

There are those who say that those of us who are gunning for Harriet Miers and her boss are doing more harm than good by breaking ranks with the President. They assert that we are placing the President’s entire agenda in jeopardy, that we might even lose the Senate in ’06.

In response to such assertions, I can only ask this: what visionary conservative policy initiatives might be put in jeopardy by the President and Senate being weakened? Is there some new trade barrier, Medicare expansion, alien amnesty program, tasty pork project or bloated federal budget that we might miss out on? God forbid! Now, I suppose it is possible that Bush and his friends in the Senate have a conservative policy agenda that they’ve been keeping secret from us for the past five years or so. If they do, I suggest that this would be a damn good time to roll it out. If they don’t, then I see little practical harm in weakening this party, which has spent the last five years paying lip service to my principles while governing like Democrats.

A weakened President is a setback for the Party in the short term, but this is a game being played out over decades. There are fundamental principles at stake. These principles will hopefully live on and triumph long after we are all gone, but they’ll only live on if they are vigorously and unapologetically defended. Of course there are times you take half a loaf rather than none. Every reasonable person understands that. We’ve been accepting our little crumbs and half loaves for the past five years, on the understanding that there was a full loaf on its way. Now, our promised package has arrived. We have opened the shiny, colorful bag that was supposed to have the full loaf we were promised years ago, and discovered that it contains only a few moldy crumbs.

We probably can’t get our hands on the full loaf now. It’s been stolen and probably eaten. The only thing left to do is to make the “breadmakers” pay a heavy price. Perhaps next time they’ll think twice about promising something they don’t intend to deliver. Perhaps they’re slow learners. In that case, we’re just going to have to go through this exercise time and time again until the professional insider politicians understand that we are serious as a heart attack about this. Eventually, they will come to understand that fucking us over is seriously not worth it. Until they come to that understanding, they’re going to have problems.

I want the White House to understand without a shadow of a doubt that this nomination is unacceptable to many of the people who have heretofore been some of his strongest defenders. I want George W. Bush to cringe when he thinks back to his decision to nominate Harriet Miers.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

John Fund on the Non-Vetting Process

You may not want to read the linked article before a meal.

It gave me a very, very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Here's a taste:
"It was a disaster waiting to happen," says G. Calvin Mackenzie, a professor at Colby College in Maine who specializes in presidential appointments. "You are evaluating a close friend of the president, under pressure to keep it secret even internally and thus limiting the outside advice you get."

Indeed, even internal advice was shunned. Mr. Card is said to have shouted down objections to Ms. Miers at staff meetings. A senator attending the White House swearing-in of John Roberts four days before the Miers selection was announced was struck by how depressed White House staffers were during discussion of the next nominee. He says their reaction to him could have been characterized as, "Oh brother, you have no idea what's coming."

A last minute effort was made to block the choice of Ms. Miers, including the offices of Vice President Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. It fell on deaf ears. First Lady Laura Bush, who went to Southern Methodist University at the same time as Ms. Miers, weighed in. On Sunday night, the president dined with Ms. Miers and the first lady to celebrate the nomination of what one presidential aide inartfully praised to me as that of "a female trailblazer who will walk in the footsteps of President Bush."

The Problem with Harriet

I've read a lot of columns on Harriet Miers over the last week or so, but none of them really hit the nail on the head when it comes to my personal problem with Harriet Miers. I think I've finally come across one that does.

In the linked article, Andrew Cline points out that the "Souter Problem" is an issue with the Miers nomination, but it is not the key issue. Overall, I think Miers is likely to vote as a politically conservative lawyer from Texas would generally be expected to vote, but that isn't really the issue.

The bigger issue is that we don't know how she might approach a legal decision, and in particular, we don't know whether she would approach a constitutional decision as a judicial conservative. If she's confirmed, the core of her job will be to provide guidance to the lower appellate and district courts as to how cases on similar, but different, facts should be decided. She has never sat at a district court or appellate court bench at the federal or state level. Is that a disqualifier? I think not. Would it be preferable? Would a person who has actually been forced to apply the vague rules laid out in prior precedent be likely to have valuable insights into how a given legal standard might be improved? Generally, yes. As far as we know, Ms. Miers has never spent a great deal of time weighing the interplay of intricate constitutional issues. Intricate constitutional issues rarely come up in the kinds of matters generally handled by a downtown corporate lawyer in Dallas, Texas. Given that the most important aspect of the job of a justice is weighing these issues, would a person who has spent a substantial portion of his or her life weighing and analyzing these issues be preferable to a person who has not? Generally, yes.

This judicial conservativism issue is bigger than Harriet Miers, just like our constitutional structure is bigger than any Supreme Court justice. A judicial conservative understands this fact, but our confirmation process has made it almost impossible to determine whether a nominee is a judicial conservative. During the Roberts confirmation, Joe Biden made some good points regarding what has come to be known as the "Ginsburg Rule". Under the Ginsburg Rule as interpreted by Roberts, a judicial nominee is apparently not under any obligation to answer any question that may impact or reflect on a decision he may be asked to render from the bench. I think the Ginsburg Rule collapses into absurdity if it is applied too broadly, and I think Roberts at least ran the risk of doing so, as Biden complained of on numerous occasions. The senators are asked to vote on the propriety of the President's nomination, and I think the senators have a right to some real answers as to that nominee's thought processes. No, they aren't entitled to a specific decision based on a specific set of facts, but I think they are entitled to answers regarding, for example, the nominee's opinion as to the best and worst reasoned prior decisions. For example, if I were a senator, I'd like to know whether a nominee agrees with the Lopez decision. How does Lopez reconcile with Wickard v. Filburn? How does Raich reconcile with Lopez? Was the Kelo case rightly decided? Why or why not? What is the proper scope of the Establishment Clause? The senators and the public are entitled to know these answers. I really believe that.

If open and honest debate on a nominee's views of the Constitution makes the nomination process more difficult for the White House, I'm sorry. The President has a job to do. He has an obligation to do it well and to nominate the BEST candidates, rather than the ones who will be the easiest to confirm. Bush is in that White House because of the combined efforts of literally tens of millions of people, many of whom supported him based largely on his commitment to nominate justices "in the mold of Thomas and Scalia." That pledge can only be reasonably understood as a commitment to nominate judicial conservatives rather than political insiders. We deserve for the President to make good on that pledge. If we rallied behind him in 2000 and 2004, why does he think we wouldn't rally behind him when the rubber meets the road?


It's 3:47 am, and I can't get to sleep because I am SO COMPLETELY FUCKING PISSED OFF at George W. Bush.

A leftie posted on David Frum's blog raised a good question: Why should we expect much better from W? Isn't Harriet Miers really a judge "in the mold of George W. Bush?" I submit that's a good question. Taken at the age of 40, Miers' resume was absolutely stunning compared to George W. Bush's. Other than Harriet Miers, no one I can think of has asserted that W is the smartest person they know. Bush ran a few business into the ground before pulling together the buyout of the Texas Rangers with some money from big donors in the early 90s. What W brought to the table there was being the son of the President. Bush and the other owners grew the Rangers largely on the backs of the local taxpayers, who built their stadium for them. A few years later, W's the Governor of Texas. His number one attribute was not being Ann Richards, and she would've beaten him if she hadn't made the monumentally stupid decision to veto a concealed carry bill. In Texas. Idiot. So, Bush is smart enough to not veto the concealed carry bill. Next thing you know, he's running for President. Near as I can tell, he got the GOP nomination by virtue of not being John McCain (who is just...wierd). Then he barely wins the presidency by virtue of not being Al Gore (who is even wierder than McCain). Four years later, Bush wins a second term pretty much by virtue of not being John Kerry (who's right up there with McCain & Gore on the wierdness scale). And now here we are. From my perspective, Bush is good at giving speeches with the right conservative talking points, but awful on delivering any actual conservative substance outside of his tax cuts. The rest of his policies have either been Democrat-type policies or basic pork.

As a side note, I've heard some on the left submit the war in Iraq as an example of a "conservative" Bush policy, but foreign policy has never really been a clear left-right issue, and going to war in Iraq certainly wasn't being clamored for by the conservative base. Although vigorous retributive military action against identified enemies (e.g., WWII, Afghanistan) has long been a tenet of American conservative principles, preemptive wars of liberation (e.g., Iraq) have not. Bush took the lead on Iraq, even though others expressed serious concerns about both the policy and the strategy. Bush and Rumsfeld slashed troop deployment levels over the objections of their generals, and our troops and the Iraqi people are still paying the price. If we manage to succeed in this endeavor, we will have replaced a secular tyrant with a democratic government in a nation chock full of Islamic radicals. This may not be an improvement. If we fail, we will have replaced a secular tyrant with a new Taliban. This is definitely not an improvement.

At any rate, there is not much in the makeup of George W. Bush which would lead anyone to believe that he's a conservative president "in the mold of Ronald Reagan." He's not even "Reagan lite." If Reagan were a tall glass of Guinness, George W. Bush would be a short glass of Hawaiian Punch. I don't know who wrote Bush's speeches promising justices "in the mold of Thomas and Scalia," but I seriously ddoubt it was George W. Bush. Whether it was or not, W has conclusively established that whatever those words meant to him at the time, they meant something very different to his supporters.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Zawahiri Letter

If you want to better understand how the battles going on in Afghanistan and Iraq are connected to the global war on terrorism, you need to read the Zawahiri Letter. This is believed to be a communication from Ayman al-Zawahiri to Zarqawi. It lays out al-Qaeda's present goals and strategies in detail, and includes an entreat to Zarqawi to learn some public relations skills and nix the televised beheadings. There is, of course, always the possibility that the letter is not what it appears to be, but the experts apparently believe it's genuine.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the heads up.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

On Harriet Miers...

The sum total of the President’s message on Harriet Miers seems to be: “Trust me.”

I’m sorry, Mr. Bush, but we simply don’t have that luxury.

We trusted your father when he said “read my lips.” He repaid our trust with new taxes and a Justice named David H. Souter.

We’ve trusted you before. We trusted you to govern this nation as a conservative.

We trusted you to support free trade and open borders for our goods. You’ve repaid us with steel tariffs and trade wars with Europe.

We trusted you to support and defend freedom of political speech. You’ve repaid us with McCain-Feingold.

We trusted you to mind the budget. You’ve repaid us with an unprecedented expansion of entitlements and overall government spending.

We trusted you to appoint qualified people to manage our government agencies. You’ve repaid us with appointments of the likes of Bernie Kerik, Michael Brown and Julie Myers.

We trusted you to secure our porous borders. You’ve repaid us with unprecedented levels of illegal immigration.

We trusted you to use the lives of our uniformed men and women wisely. You have repaid us with a war that most of us really don’t understand. So far, we have trusted you when you tell us that it is the right thing to do, but none of us really know for sure. What we do know is that there were no weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqi people did not welcome us with open arms. We don’t believe you lied to us, but it is undisputed that you were wrong on both counts.

In the 2000 election, we thought we heard you promise to be a “compassionate conservative.” In 2005, we’re wondering if we misheard you. Perhaps you meant to say “incompetent conservative,” or perhaps “capitulate conservative.” And yet, despite your track record so far--a track record that would make many a Democrat proud--we have stood by you and defended you through it all. We have stood by you and accepted your abandonment of our basic principles for one reason, Mr. Bush, and that is our reliance on your promise to appoint justices in the mold of Thomas and Scalia.

Your administration has screwed up some very fundamental things, and now we find ourselves at what may be the most important decision you make in eight years as President of this nation, and you nominate your good personal friend, Ms. Miers.

It is not just that she has had a relatively undistinguished legal career, or there are so many who are much more qualified to opine on constitutional issues. It is apparent that she can win popularity contests and apparently manage a law firm and a Lottery Commission without incurring a disaster. I’ve known many popular lawyers and many big firm partners. These are not lofty qualifications.
It is not just that she has never decided a legal case in her life.

It is not just that she is your personal lawyer, which draws an understandable charge of cronyism, particularly in the wake of Kerik, Brown, Myers and others.

It is not just that there is no way for us, the great unwashed, to evaluate Ms. Miers and her legal philosophies.

It is not just that you have missed a golden opportunity to engage this nation in a vigorous debate on just what it means to be a good judge.

It is the intersection of all of these together which make your choice a baffling one. In short, what we know of her, we don’t like, and what we don’t know of her, even under the best of circumstances, couldn’t overcome what we know.

As much as we would like to, we simply don’t have the luxury of trusting your judgment on this one. The stakes are simply too high.

Surely you understand.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Contrary to popular belief, Eman was not hatched from a craggy, mysterious-looking egg discovered in the backwoods of Scandinavia.

According to the available evidence, Eman was actually born in a generally normal manner in Wisconsin, and he even has siblings.

One of these siblings is a sister known as TayTay, and she maintains her own blog (see link above).

My sister is a very devoted Christian who spends a lot time working to convince young women to not have sex. TayTay and I have in common, then, that we both spend a fair amount of time talking to young women about sex. Although TayTay and I are not necessarily cut from the same cloth, I'm very proud of my sister. More generally, she and I have in common that we're both willing to speak up for what we individually believe in. Way to go, sis! Keep sticking to your guns.

Big Stories You've Probably Never Heard Of...

Long time no post. I'm back in the blogging saddle now.

Air America Scandal:

I've written earlier about the Air America scandal. In brief, the owners of Air America arranged to have a small private charity loan just under a million dollars to the company. Air America still hasn't paid the money back. Their position is that they don't owe the money--but they are going to pay it back nevertheless--eventually. It's not that this kinda thing never happens, but when it does, you'd expect to see significant coverage of it on the regular news. This story broke months ago. Why is it that most people have never heard of this?

Chuck Schumer Scandal:

Since I've been out, staffers for Chuck Schumer have been caught engaging in what has been described as "identity theft." In brief, they acquired Republican politician Michael Steele's credit report without his permission. I'm not sure what constitutes identity theft, but apparently there are substantial federal penalties for acquiring a person's credit report without permission and/or a good reason. This story broke weeks ago. To date, almost total silence on this from regular news.

Suicide Bombing:

Finally, last weekend, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a crowd of 80,000 people. In response, deafening silence from the regular news. OK, but suicide bombings happen all the time, you say? Good point, but how often do they happen right near a crowd of 80,000--in Norman, Oklahoma? Yes, that Norman, Oklahoma. This was a week ago, Saturday night. Authorities are assuring the public that this was merely a suicide. They assure us that the bomber didn't intend to hurt anyone else and that no one else was in danger. It's pretty difficult for us to confirm or dispute any of this, since the federal government has sealed the investigation. I'm not sure what that means, but I don't know why they'd seal the investigation of the suicide of a loner who just wanted to end it all. If we'd be reassured of the facts, then why hide them? Something doesn't fit.

On the last point, many of the bloggers have been highlighting certain possible connections between the bomber and Muslims in Norman. I'm reserving judgment, and I wish other bloggers would do the same. It's not that I don't understand and acknowledge that the Islam that Mohammed created and lived was a brutal religion. It's not that I'm unaware that many Muslims practice the Islam of Mohammed's time. It's just that many Muslims--who might accurately be described as "cultural Muslims"--are unaware of this brutal side of Islam, and the Muslims in Norman may have had nothing to do with this bombing. To date, we know a few facts which could lead to a connection. We know, for example, that there's a mosque in Norman near the bomber's apartment and that the bomber's roommate was a Muslim. To date, however, we don't have any facts showing direct involvement by anyone else in this bombing or any serious evidence that the bomber was himself a Muslim. I certainly wouldn't want to be judged personally according to the qualities of all the people living and working near my home, including my roommate. I've had roommates with whom I had very little in common than the mutual need to share expenses. If there turn out to be no real connections between the bomber and the mosque, and bloggers have wrongly tarred Norman's Muslim community in the meantime, then it weakens their moral authority in the long run. If facts arise showing a connection, we can all make our judgment then.