Friday, August 01, 2003

At last, true diversity in the media. Too bad it's all at National Review. Byron York is offended by the accusation by Republicans that the Democrats who are filibustering Bush's judicial nominees are anti-Catholic, but Ramesh Ponnuru thinks they're right.

The facts that there are some Catholics nominees who have been approved and that some of the senators involved in this obstruction are nominally Catholic, do not disprove the charge. The fact is that anyone who believes that his/her religion teaches the word of God will be required to renounce his/her faith in order to serve as a federal judge.

The real problem with Roe v. Wade is that it stretches the Constitution to reach an issue that should have been left to the political process. By doing so, the Supreme Court has created a serious chasm between the Freedom of Religion clause and the Establishment clause. It has effectively established atheism and secularism as the state religion of the United States and chilled the rights of all Americans to express and discuss their beliefs freely. It's like saying, "You're free to believe and worship as you please, but if you believe in the wrong things, you may not become an appeals court judge." Questions to nominees about particular issues have traditionally been out of bounds, and rightly so. The only real consideration should be whether the person has a sound understanding of the law and is qualified temperamentally and intellectually to be a judge.

The other night I saw an ad for a PBS special about the Watergate Scandal which is inevitably called a great Constitutional Crisis. I never bought that, because Nixon got caught. The more serious crises are those that aren't recognized until years afterward, and are immensely hard to revisit.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

So, we are free to be Catholic, but if we accept its doctrine on abortion we are not qualified to become federal judges? I cannot believe that people as intelligent as Josh Marshall can make that argument without blushing. If a nominee were gay, such an argument regarding his homosexuality would be roundly denounced, but regarding religion, they can ask and you do have to tell.


Read these quotes from Steve Lopez, a columnist for the LATimes, about Gray Davis:
His problem isn't fibbing, but being a fibber with no redeeming qualities. We might be willing to give him a pass if he demonstrated a passion for anything other than fund-raising. . . .

In Davis' case, lying about a woman in a blue dress might have helped his career, because a sex scandal would at least make him look human.
(via Howard Kurtz)

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Apparently prison rape is about to become the newest cause du jour, but I don't see what can be done about it. I think it will be tough to get any of the victims to testify, and then there's the "What're you gonna do, send me to prison? " problem.

Hmm. So that's what they're calling it now. Mormons have always been accused of blasphemy because we believe that we are the same race as God and that all mankind will be resurrected rendered trans-human.

I think "the Bleat" is about the best name for a blog I can think of. "The Screed" is pretty close to it. Too bad Lileks has them both. I can think of a bunch of other good names, like "the cavillry," "phillipic," "casuistry online," but they don't connote self-deprecation the way Lileks' do. They lead one to expect something along the lines of Josh Marshall's blather (another good blog name). Cockalorum isn't bad. It probably sends a few to their Big Dictionaries, but I can't really do it justice. I'm too uneven. Sometimes it comes fully formed and clear as a bell, but other times I need a week of tweaking and that isn't consistent with the concept of blogging. Sometimes, I admit, I sound like a right-wing crazy--maybe that's what I am on some issues--but I really prefer to be able to offer some rational argument.

I don't really hate anybody. They've really got to be annoying and incredibly stupid, or both. What bugs me most is when people I know to be very bright, like Peter Beinart and Erwin Shemerinsky, or my sister-in-law and her husband go off on the latest Democrat talking points. At first, I tend to wonder if I heard them correctly, then I wonder where they get their information. It usually takes a few minutes before I come around to realizing that they are just operating on reflexive liberalism, which these days coincides with irrationality. They can justify the bigotry of senators, like Pat Leahy, who announce that no faithful Catholic is qualified to serve as a federal judge. Gotta preserve the Constitutional rights to abortion and sodomy.

I like listening to Hugh Hewitt in the third hour. He seems to get whimsical and slightly loopy, making up lies about Lileks and anybody else he knows he can rib, or whom he wants to make fun of. Politics is an important subject, but we all need a little levity about it. Otherwise, we become like Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter or Michael Savage. Let the Democrats and the mainstream media lose all rationality as they seem to be doing now. Besides ridicule is an extremely effective rhetorical device, as anyone who reads Lileks or O'Rourke knows. Sarcasm achieved its acme in the twentieth century, I think. My older brother is a master, but he's not a writer.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Hugh Hewitt is challenging the anti-Catholicism among liberal Democrats who are promising to filibuster William Pryor, even from some who are themselves Catholic. He's right This is a symptom of Satanic logic. Hear me out.

You don't have to believe in the existence of the devil to understand his logic. It is antilogic with a goal on leading away from truth rather than toward it. The modern appeals to "separation of church and state" is a prime example. The Constitution doesn't use that phrase; it promises freedom of religion and against establishment of religion. It is apparent what the framers meant by this pair of rights if we read just a modicum of history. They didn't mean that references to a creator or non-denominational prayers were to be outlawed, only that government authority was not to be legally linked to any particular church. They were very aware of the evil that had been done in the name of God when earthly power was placed in the hands of "religious" leaders, particularly in Europe and in Great Britain. They also knew that many of the founders of the American colonies had come here seeking freedom to worship and would never support a constitution that didn't guarantee that freedom. The implication of this was that tolerance was necessary, and there's the rub.

Tolerance is a concept, like bipartisanship, that is often invoked by people who don't practice it. Atheists want to veto prayer or recognition of religious traditions in public places, all in the name of tolerance. But freedom doesn't mean that one person gets to deny everybody else their own freedoms. Neither does it mean that things like drug abuse, profanity and pornography are protected by law, or that Scientology should be tax exempt. What it means is that those who contribute to society get to vote on what kind of society they want, with a few exceptions that are intended to prevent the tyranny of the few by the many. By tyranny, I mean things like Jim Crow laws, lynchings, the mobbing of Mormons, and so forth, but those are far different things from homosexuality in the media, drugs, dirty jokes and oral sex in the Oval Office.