Friday, July 22, 2005

Can you say "Big Dig"

The U.N. is asking the U.S. to finance a renovation of its headquarters in New York City by chipping in $400 million of the estimated cost of $1.2 billion. Donald Trump, "
who was called to testify before a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee on the cost of U.N. renovations, said yesterday that he had told Secretary-General Kofi Annan that he could fix up the dilapidated headquarters for a third or half of the $1.2 billion price tag that the world body has estimated will be necessary.

Trump said he has offered to take on the project for free and could get it done in half the time -- plus he would add glamorous touches such as marble flooring in the lobby.
Hugh Hewitt is playing a recording of the hearing, and is promising to have a transcript of the hearing posted by his producer, Generalissimo, at Radioblogger which is rapidly turning into nothing but one long transcript of Hugh's show. He ought to start his own blog and not tell Hugh where it is.

You've got to hear the recording, though. His description of the ineptitude of the official put in charge of the renovation as well as the integrity of New York contractors is fascinating, never to be forgotten. Trump predicts that if they leave it up to bureaucrats, they'll end up paying over $3 billion. He claims he could do it for $700,000.00. His pitch is something to behold, and it has the power of knowledge of the subject. It sounds like a cloakroom conversation, and Trump's final words are classic, but you'll have to wait to read them. Here's the AP story.

If I were a Senator, I'd be sending auditors to find out where all our other funding went before I'd give the U.N. another nickel. To heck with the U.N. building. We should put Trump in charge of the GSA!

Update: The audio file and transcript are posted at

Great moments in Op-Ed

Of all the objections I've seen to the Roberts nomination, this one takes the cake:
I am against the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court. In his remarks after being nominated by President Bush on television, Judge Roberts referred to the United States as a constitutional democracy. The fact is the United States of America is a constitutional republic. Two different meanings and two different philosophies. If Judge Roberts is a Harvard Law School graduate and does not know our form of government, then he is dangerous.
Sheesh! Where do you start with people like this?

Here's what I wrote back:
Kerry L. Ruth's letter calling Judge Roberts "dangerous" because he referred to the U.S as a constitutional democracy is just plain nuts. I don't know where this obsession with the difference between a democracy and a republic came from, but it's a distinction without much difference. No matter what term he uses, I can assure the doubters that John Roberts knows the Constitution and that the United States is a federation of separate states (First clue: Read the name!) and that the federal government is a representative democracy.
The roots of the two terms are Latin, Publicus meaning "of the people" and Greek, Demos meaning "the people." Democracy is "rule by the people." Republic means "a thing of the people." (By the way, "thing" comes from "Althing" which in Iceland, Sweden and other Nordic countries to to refer to an assembly of free men which met annually to make laws, try cases and make major decisions affecting the whole people, elect leaders, etc.)

The important point about both terms is that the sovereignty or right to govern belongs to the people, whether directly or by representation. America stands for the proposition that all people have unalienable rights, and "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Justice Roberts knows all this, and what is more, he understands that democracy is threatened by judges who arrogate to themselves the right to determine that laws enacted by democratic means are null and void, and therefore, that judicial power should be exercised very cautiously and not without a substantial consensus of the people. He should be supported, because he understands these principles and because too many previous justices have thought that their job was to determine what laws are just according to their standards, to strike down those that aren't or rewrite them to suit their own views of fairness.

He also knows that when the courts allow themselves to be used as an alternative to the political process, it results in disasters like the political fights in recent years over confirmation of new federal judges, which harm the respect and independence courts should have.

He is a man of great intelligence, learning and sound judgment and, by all reports, sterling character. He belongs on the Supreme Court.
I hope they publish it.

Press Watchdogs on the alert. Sic 'em!

In the absence of any real evidence, the MSM is busy building an image of Justice Roberts' wife as a right-wing extremist. The fact that she has been active in anti-abortion groups is red meat for the left who are pulling at the traces to go after this nominee, and the obvious inference is that he will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. He might, but if he does, it will be on a sound legal and Constitutional basis. The willingness of the courts to strike down democratically enacted laws with the excuse that someone's rights are abused has done enormous harm and created the opposite of "domestic tranquility" and harmed the basic rule of our republic: This is a republic, which means that the people govern, not a king, emperor or oligarch. The ACLU is not the government, nor is it entitled to write the law for the rest of us, no matter how much it reassures us that it only represents what all Americans want.

So Mrs. Roberts belongs to Feminists for Life. Tom Daschle's wife is a lobbyist, and President Clinton's wife parlayed her name recognition into a Senate seat. A lot of Senators' spouses are active in organizations they agree with. Should we judge them all by what their spouses say and do or assume that they can't do their jobs?

Update: Paul Mirengoff notes the the WaPo story as well. Last night on Fox News I saw a clip of protesters marching back and forth in front of Justice Roberts' suburban home. I wonder how the neighbors liked that. This is one of the best examples of the kind of nuisances that have been unleashed by our obsession with civil liberties. If there were ever a case for the right to be let alone, it should be this. I don't think Justice Brandeis would appreciate his home being picketted. I think he'd have called the cops.

The London shooting

A man was shot and killed by London police in the London subway. He was clad in a thick coat in warm weather and fled after being told to stop. The witness statement are conflicting.

Given the events of the past two weeks, I'd say the police were justifiably concerned that he might be a bomber. I don't know whether they were justified in shooting the man, but I hope the police involved are not made scapegoats. The British Muslim establishment is enraged, when they should be asking what there is about Muslims in thick coats who flee from the police that makes them suspicious. This wasn't after all just an random harassing of a dark skinned person. This guy looked and was dressed like the perpetrators of earlier bombings, and when told to stop by police, took off running.

I wonder if this wasn't exactly what the terrorists had in mind in order to arouse Muslims and intimidate the police. Some leader in the Muslim community should point out that Muslims aren't the only ones who have been hurt by these bombing and they're not the only ones who have been made jumpy. They need to point out that this is an occasion for Muslims to cleanse their own stables by helping penetrate the groups responsible for these bombing and to beware of clothing and actions that could fit the profile. When there are people around who look like you bombing mass transit, it behooves you to make it clear that you aren't one of them. You don't wear thick padded clothing in fair weather and you stop and answer question if you're told to by the police. Then if they shoot you, they have no excuse. In other words, protect yourself by demonstrating your respect for law and order. Don't expect non-Muslims to act any differently from how a lot of Muslims would if the roles were reversed.

I can only hope that the police don't have their hands tied or stop carrying firearms. If someone had challenged the men carrying concealed bombs two weeks earlier, a number of lives might have been saved. At a time when criminal gangs are killing people indiscriminately, it offends me that people complain about their liberties when the police try to do their job. Life is a more important liberty than the right not to be stopped and questioned.

What SCOTUS needs

Hugh Hewitt sees signs that the attack on Roberts will be based on his religion and his wife's activities in anti-abortion groups. If so, it will make it easier to get confirmation, because most Americans don't believe that one's religion should be a criterion for any job. There are several Catholics on the opposition team, but they can hardly be said to be letting their religion dictate their decisions, since they are all pro-abortion. If Justice Roberts is to be rejected because he's Catholic, are not Ted Kennedy and John Kerry out of place in the Senate? "Moderate" liberals will oppose Roberts, with a snooty sniff of disapproval without acknowledging reasons that sound intolerant.

I'm more afraid of the left demagoging the Hedgepeth case than I am that their suggestion that practicing and devout Catholics should be kept out of power. The religion card may work with the hard core abortion activists, but not with the majority of Americans.

Bill Kristol has penned an eloquent endorsement of Roberts based on the aphorism "It takes an insurrection to change a country. It takes an establishment to govern one." He views Roberts as the anchor of a new establishment in jurisprudence who will lead with "integrity, intelligence, humility and genuine human decency" rather than the kind of rhetorical petards for which Scalia and Thomas are famous. Those qualities, cited by an attorney who clerked for John Roberts as a summer associate at Hogan & Hartson, will make it difficult, if not impossible to deny him confirmation. I think that Roberts' intelligence and understanding of how the judiciary is supposed to function under the Constitution are the best assurance we have that he will not slide off on that leftward slippery slope over time as other conservative appointees have.

This is one of the most important issues of our time. I hope Republicans understand that and that conservatives will not screw it up by demanding another bombthrower instead of a quiet, steady and wise judge.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Read the Whole Thing

Howard Kurtz's column, that is. It's a roundup of the initial response on the blogosphere and from lobby-dom to the Roberts nomination. I think that he'll be confirmed, but not without every liberal pressure group cracking the whip over their senators. David Brooks describes what's ahead of us:
Confirmation battles have come to seem of late like occasions for bitterly divided Catholics to turn political battles into holy war Armageddons. Most of the main Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are Catholics who are liberal or moderate (Kennedy, Biden, Durbin, Leahy), and many of the most controversial judges or nominees are Catholics who are conservative (Scalia, Thomas, Pryor). When they face off, you get this brutal and elemental conflict over the role morality should play in public life.

This coming clash and carnival of viciousness is the best evidence I can think of for confirming people like John Roberts to the Supreme Court, where they will, I hope, round up the wild horses and put them back in the barn. The existence of groups who use litigation as a form of politics is dangerous to our republic. They thrive on pseudo-intellectual causes and arguments, but their real effect is to force their fews on the rest of us with authority that is practically unlimited, unless we put people like Roberts in charge. He should be Chief Justice. I hope that Bush will get a chance to appoint several more like him, gentle, patient justices who wisely and kindly refuse to use their Olympian power to nullify democracy.

"It is not our place"

John Podhoretz makes a point that deserves greater attention:
He is really better known as a lawyer and not as a legal intellectual, because he has litigated cases rather than written extensively on the theoretical underpinnings of American jurisprudence. And that may have been the fact that tipped the scales in Roberts' favor.

Intellectuals, especially legal intellectuals, tend to be a bit prickly, in part because there's so much sophistry in legal argumentation that sarcasm and disbelief often become the stock in trade when thinkers have at it. The greatest example of this in our time, of course, is Justice Nino Scalia, whose outraged opinions are almost like Mort Sahl monologues.
And David Brooks is rhapsodic in his praise of the choice.

The tendency of justices appointed by Republicans to go down the slippery slope on the left was the subject of a segment Neal Cavuto's program with Mark Levin. Levin said it's the corrupting influence of absolute power.* That may be true, but I think Podhoretz's point is more important. A justice of the Supreme Court must have a clear understanding of what the proper role of the judiciary is in our system. If he/she doesn't, it will be easier for sympathy to overcome the demands of sound jurisprudence.

Meanwhile, the battle is underway. Roberts' wife is--gasp!--active in pro-life anti-choice groups. There's also his Catholicism, as odd as that seems. Straight from the handbook of the Politics of Personal Destruction, which Democrats decry when they're on the wrong end of it, but otherwise practice with elan.

But I expect the most smoke to be generated by the French-fry Case, in which Roberts wrote an opinion refusing to infer a fundamental right to be free from restraint or to find a denial of equal protection based on one's age. This opinion has the potential to upset people to understand it, because its result was that the arrest of a 12 year old girl by the Washington D. C. Metro police was upheld. It deals with arcane legal and constitutional concepts that take a lot of explaining. Hugh Hewitt has a very good brief of that opinion. Read it. Here's the first paragraph, which is a masterpiece of clarity and simplicity:
No one is very happy about the
events that led to this litigation. A twelve-year-old girl was
arrested, searched, and handcuffed. Her shoelaces were
removed, and she was transported in the windowless rear
compartment of a police vehicle to a juvenile processing
center, where she was booked, fingerprinted, and detained
until released to her mother some three hours later — all for
eating a single french fry in a Metrorail station. The child
was frightened, embarrassed, and crying throughout the ordeal.
The district court described the policies that led to her
arrest as ‘‘foolish,’’ and indeed the policies were changed after
those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for
adults who make young girls cry. The question before us,
however, is not whether these policies were a bad idea, but
whether they violated the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to
the Constitution. Like the district court, we conclude that
they did not, and accordingly we affirm.

Larry Tribe would have ruled, no doubt, that the subway cops couldn't do that, and prescribed a change in the law to provide another option for the cops. Ted Kennedy would have bloviated until everybody else had gone to sleep or left the room and then ruled the same. While the liberal media will trumpet it as evidence that Justice Roberts approves of detaining and shackling 12-year-olds for such a minor offense as eating a french fry on the subway, they're wrong. He explicitly does not agree with of stupid laws the one that brought about the case. The real import of the case is this: " it is not our [i.e. the Courts'] place to second-guess such legislative judgments."

As Hugh notes:
This is superb opinion writing, for in an opening paragraph the judge fully and quickly explains the facts, the law, the result, and the court's dim view of the law involved, all without overstepping a court's appropriate role.

Anybody who reads the facts is repelled by what happened, but the real shame of the case lies with those who enacted the zero-tolerance policy for the subways and instructed officers to take persons into custody without regard to the nature of the violation. In fact, what Roberts' opinion stands for is that legislatures may not always be right, but they are still the legislatures whose authority is to make laws and therefore shouldn't be overruled lightly by the courts. It may be difficult for laymen to understand, but this decision is exactly correctly decided. When I started law school, we had a one-week introductory class taught by Rex E. Lee, the first dean of the BYU Law School, which focused on what he called "thinking like a lawyer." The point of the thing was that lawyers have to analyze facts and apply principles established by law, and not rush to a result they like. When the courts try to micromanage policy, they create all sorts of unintended consequences which can only be undone by more litigation. Hence the maxim, "Hard cases make bad law." Only justices who get that should be given this authority, and this case demonstrates with lapidary clarity that Roberts gets it.

The expansion of vague terms like "freedom of speech," along with the creative "discovery" of "penumbral rights" in the Constitution, like the right to privacy, has been used to defeat checks and balances and threaten democracy itself in this country. If democracy means anything, it means that the people, through the political process, decide what the rules of society should be, because the people should be allowed to decide what kind of society, within limits, they live in. That doesn't mean that society will always be totally fair to every minority. We still put pedophiles in prison. While the concept of "victimless" crime has become popular, it is not really valid. Lawyers and judges who don't get that it is not their job to engineer a society where nobody is offended, stigmatized, chilled, on a slippery slope or partakes of the fruit of the poisonous tree, etc. should not be on the bench.

This is the kernal of the whole problem with the judiciary in the past 50 years. After striking down segregation, which was proper, the federal courts seemed to acquire a taste for using the Constitution as an excuse to fine tune the policy enactments of both the federal and state governments. They have rushed in where angels fear to tread, trampling the distinction between the judicial function and the policy-making function. I don't know what the average federal judge thinks of the open warfare in the Senate that breaks out every time a new nominee is presented unless he/she is as dull as dishwater, but it is certainly distasteful to me as a lawyer. What's worse is that the reason for this disgusting spectacle is that the left is protecting the political gains it has made through all-but-untrumpable court decisions, and will stop at nothing to prevent the one thing that endangers them, justices who understand that sentence of John Roberts', " it is not our place to second-guess such legislative judgments."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Opening shots

The NYTimes follows the tone set by Schumer last night, "He's highly qualified, but . . . " The left are trying to figure out how to exact a pledge not to overturn Roe v. Wade without saying so explicitly. They need to find a way to attack him without seeming to be unamerican. So far, they're managing to look like hypocrites and demagogues. Pat Leahy piously uttered, "To fulfill our constitutional duties, we need to consider this nomination as thoroughly and carefully as the American people deserve. No one is entitled to a free pass to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. Someone confirmed today can be expected to serve on the court until the year 2030 or later." Nobody is saying Roberts should get a free pass, but wouldn't it be more collegial to give him the same respect and treatment as were given to Justices Ginsburg and Breyer? This man's academic record and his performance as a public servant and as a litigator are so widely acknowledged as to be practically common knowledge in Washington. Bush is the President, after all, and entitled to nominate justices. The Senate's role is to examine his qualifications and the quality of his thinking and personality, and if they find no great flaws, to confirm him. If the "world's greatest deliberative body" can't keep itself from circuses like the Bork and Thomas confirmation fights, perhaps it should be replaced.

Of course, the loudest Democrats won't reciprocate the respectful and polite treatment the Republicans gave Ginsburg and Breyer, but they've got quite a row to hoe. Roberts is so nice, so good at legal reasoning and communication, someone said this will be like trying to get a mob together to lynch Jimmy Stewart. But they'll try to winkle something out of him or people who know him that will shock the conscience of the nation. Expect a hue and cry over the french fry case. Larry Tribe has already raised that bloody flag, and it has demagogic appeal, which is about the only thing the Democrats have to oppose him with.

Anyway, the nomination of John Roberts to SCOTUS is brilliant from just about every angle: qualifications, politics, and PR. From what I'm reading and hearing about Roberts, I'd say he is the most important things I want a justice to be, humble and trustworthy. I won't agree with every decision he makes or position he takes, but I will trust him to know what he's doing and to follow sound legal and constitutional principles and justice. Another thing that impresses me that he seems to possess the kind of likeability and manners that can forge consensus by persuasion, principle and impeccable logic.

It sounds like Roberts is acceptable to the Gang of Fourteen which should assure a confirmation. Any Republican who would support a filibuster of this nominee ought to drummed out of the party, and have to run as an independent. What's a party for if not to organize votes to accomplish common goals? If people like McCain, Graham, Warner, Snowe, Collins, DeWine, Chafee won't support their party at a time like this, the party is better off without them.

Chuck Schumer! I mean it; chuck him

What is it about Chuck Schumer that so annoys me? It's not just his liberalism, although that generally annoys me in anybody. I think it's that he always states his opinions as if they were indisputable facts and his agenda as if he's got 90% of the population behind him. It's the outraged way he states things as though nobody should dare oppose his views. Chutzpah. Pushy. Obnoxious. Arrogant. Whining. Dishonest. Casuistic. Sneaky. Contentious. Et cetera. In short, he's a weasel. But that's unfair to weasels. He's the shameless partisan without a shred of honor, pride, principle or dignity, and he's sold his soul to NARAL.

I can never see or hear him speak without thinking of Grimma Wormtongue.

The reason I think Roe v. Wade was such a bad decision is not just that I disagree with abortion, but that it harmed the judicial system itself by granting a political victory which advocates could not obtain through political means. I think anybody who thinks it through would realize that courts should not be making policy by judicial fiat. In a democracy, decisions like whether to legalize abortion require lots of public discussion and debate. Basically, the courts violate the separation of powers when they presume to bypass the political process, which is how policy is supposed to be established. Schumer is either incapable of seeing the importance of judicial restraint or he doesn't care about democracy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Intellectual Property is PEOPLE!

OK, that's a little hysterical, but doesn't suing Google for hiring a former MS executive in China sound like it?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Don't they know how they look?

Not content to just acknowledge that they bungled this scandal, dubbed "Nadagate" by NYTimes columnist John Tierney, some high-profile newspapers are accusing the president of going back on his promise that anyone on his staff who leaked Valerie Plame's ID to the press would be fired. The problem is, he never said that. The words were put in his mouth by a questioner in the hostile White House news corps. Anybody who's watched a White House press briefing in the past four years knows how dishonest their "questioning" can be. Andrew McCarthy has an interesting list of the facts that have shown up in court filings on behalf of major media, but never mentioned to the public.

Don't these people realize how vicious and childish they look? It's as though they know they're losing credibility, but won't admit it. This kind of vendetta journalism suggests that they still believe the people will think what they tell them to think. After a string of press scandals which have made the blogosphere famous, this one seems like the biggest yet, involving as it does the AP which writes half the national news for newspapers in this country as well as the NYTimes, the LATimes, the Washington Post, the latest Axis of Weasels. Read Tom Maquire's roundup.

Brit Hume reported this evening that polls reflecting the public's faith in the president's honesty have been dropping, but Mort Kondracke pointed out the biased wording of ABC's poll, which set up the facts in a way that isn't factual. Still, I think that if more people watched the spectacle of Helen Thomas bitching at Scott McClellan and the mob scene that such "briefings" have become, they'd have nothing more to do with most of the MSM.

This really could be a test of the power of the blogosphere and conservative media. In previous scandals where only one program or newsperson were involved, the blogosphere's continuing drumbeat caused the news powers that be to cover the story after initially ignoring it. This one is a direct challenge to the media as a whole. I don't think blogger critics can force this solid conspiracy to back down, but maybe they don't really need to. They can still keep making the point, though. The tide is in their favor. People who read news from newsprint, or it might just be the readers of liberal papers, are finding other sources. I wouldn't say that a reaction to media bias is what gave Bush a three per cent victory, but if media support really is or was worth 15 percentage points, I'd worry if I were a Democrat.

So, if I had any power to sway readers, I'd tell them to monitor the blogs linked above, as well as the Weekly Standard, Best of the Web, Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit and the blogs mentioned by them.

A call for new media

Donald Rumsfeld has a piece in the WSJ (Link requires subscription) which strikes me as a slap at the MSM, without specifically mentioning them. The key is in the problems he lists. He says that government offiicials need to find a way to communicate with the public both at home and abroad.

If the media in this country were doing its job as it claims to be, there would be no need for this. The problem is that they see nothing wrong with misleading the public in matters such as the current Nadagate faux scandal and the progress in Iraq, etc. They have funneled and filtered what's going on to give us a lopsidedly negative view of everything government does, including push polling, setting up public officials with misquotes or partial quotes which change the original meaning. They keep talking about journalistic ethics without paying attention to the universal ethics of honesty, fairness and respect for other views. I don't know when the press decided that it had the right to withhold or distort information it presents to the public, but it has now gone too far.

Fox News

Instapundit linked this blog post climbing all over Fox News coverage of Natalee Holloway's disappearance. I heard some of that over the weekend, and it definitely sounded like more than I cared to know about her family's tragedy. I don't like intruding into private moments like this. I guess I don't understand how Rupert made his millions. It certainly couldn't have been underestimating the intelligence or discretion of his market.

There are two sides of Fox News. There's the Roger Ailes side which is mostly represented by Brit Hume's show from Washington, and which I record every day and watch in the evenings. The other side is the New York Post side, which is a lot of tabloid journalism. I don't watch that side very often. It's too much like CNN and the broadcast networks morning and magazine shows.

Bill O'Reilly is far to arrogant and bullying to trust. Greta VanSusteren is too much of a trial attorney.
I don't like her tendency to cover stories from the trial attorneys' perspective, although that's probably precisely why she was hired.

The rest of the shows are basically reading the newswires which is about 90% of any newspaper on national stories these days.

I said it some time ago, The blame on Plame is mainly on the dame.

But Mark Steyn says it better:
But in the real world there's only one scandal in this whole wretched business -- that the CIA, as part of its institutional obstruction of the administration, set up a pathetic ''fact-finding mission'' that would be considered a joke by any serious intelligence agency and compounded it by sending, at the behest of his wife, a shrill politically motivated poseur who, for the sake of 15 minutes' celebrity on the cable gabfest circuit, misled the nation about what he found.
I don't know much about Mrs. Plame-Wilson, but if she's in love with Joe Wilson, she can't be all that bright. I too wondered, once I understood what the background on this story was, why the CIA and Plame weren't being fried in the media for sending this joker to Niger to investigate WMD. He obviously didn't do much, and then came home and became a Democrat hitman. His greatest claim to fame is that he gave the world the "Bush lied!" meme, which never has made any sense to anybody who understands the meaning of the word "lied." The left is so frenzied in its desire to bring down Bush that it lobbied for a scandal that has blown back in the faces of two of its major organs, Time and the NYTimes. Couldn't be more richly deserved.

But wait. There's more! Steyn is at his best when he describes what we really should be worrying about other than imaginary scandals:
Here's the thing: They're still pulling body parts from London's Tube tunnels. Too far away for you? No local angle? OK, how about this? Magdy el-Nashar. He's a 33-year old Egyptian arrested Friday morning in Cairo, and thought to be what they call a ''little emir'' -- i.e., the head honcho in the local terrorist cell, the one who fires up the suicide bombers. Until his timely disappearance, he was a biochemist studying at Leeds University and it's in his apartment the London bombs were made. Previously he was at North Carolina State University.

So this time round he blew up London rather than Washington. Next time, who knows? Who cares? Here's another fellow you don't read much about in America: Kamel Bourgass. He had a plan to unleash ricin in London. Fortunately, the cops got wind of that one and three months ago he was convicted and jailed. Just suppose, instead of the British police raiding Bourgass' apartment but missing el-Nashar's, it had been the other way around, and ricin had been released in aerosol form on the Tube.

Kamel Bourgass and Magdy el-Nashar are real people, not phantoms conjured by those lyin' sonsofbitches Bush and Cheney. And to those who say, "but that's why Iraq is a distraction from the war on terror," sorry, it doesn't work like that. It's not either/or; it's a string of connections: unlimited Saudi money, Westernized Islamist fanatics, supportive terrorist states, proliferating nuclear technology. One day it all comes together and there goes the neighborhood. Here's another story you may have missed this week:

''Iran will resume uranium enrichment if the European Union does not recognize its right to do so, two Iranian nuclear negotiators said in an interview published Tuesday.''

Got that? If you don't let us go nuclear, we'll go nuclear. Negotiate that, John Kerry. As with Bourgass and el-Nashar, Hossein Moussavian and Cyrus Nasseri are real Iranian negotiators, not merely the deranged war fantasies of Bush and Cheney.
Read the whole thing. If we had any real objective media in this country, they'd be echoing Steyn and demanding to know why the CIA is working against the interests of the nation with political games instead of doing its job, and why the Democrats are acting like a bunch of disloyal hyenas standing around waiting for someone else to bring down the administration so they can run in and feast.

The Wizardy of Amazon

Friday night the news stations all had clips of reporters interviewing folks at the local bookstores waiting to get the latest Harry Potter tome. Harmless fun, but the nearest bookstore from me is about a half-hour drive. We don't even have USPS delivery to our homes here. Everybody has a P. O. Box.

I had pre-ordered a copy, expecting it to come within the week. But Saturday, there it was in a box from Amazon with big letters "Please to not deliver before July 16." My wife has first dibs.