Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Clinton defense.

Does Scooter deserve to use the Clnton defense? He can't say it was only about sex, or that it was a private matter, but the suggestion that it was politically motivated might apply. That's a lot of why Clinton wasn't removed. Too many people thought the impeachment was overkill or politically driven.

The efforts to make this leak into some kind of threat to national security are pretty overblown, too, especially when the Grand Jury didn't indict on the original claim. Another point that a number of the less liberal TV pundits have made is that a conversation like this isn't likely to be the kind of thing you'd make notes of or remember very long. I've wondered why Libby was having breakfast with Judy Miller at the St. Regis Hotel, and how often that happens. Does he talk to so many reporters that he can't keep track of what he's said to any of them? If so, should he be allowed to keep his job?

I don't think he deserves to go to jail. What did Sandy Berger get for swiping sensitive documents from the Archives? This just reeks of political scandals as usual. Nobody outside the beltway and political junkies gives a hoot. Why are we wasting our time. Yes, perjury is a serious offense, but when the question was pretty trivial in the first place, such as "did you disclose the name of a woman who is married to a person making accusations against the president and the fact that she works for the CIA, when doing so wasn't a crime?" doesn't it seem kind of like an effort to justify all the money you spent investigating it.

This isn't a legal defense, but the phrase "De minimus non curat lex" comes to mind, along with the phrase, "Throwing good money after bad" and "No harm, no foul." But then, that's what Democrats kept saying about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Both he and Libby deserved to lose their jobs for the poor judgment demonstrated.

When they came for the piggy banks, . . .

But domestic violence, good luck with that, Fellas.

Uncommon common sense.

Peter Yergin, an expert on the oil industry, has some sobering things to say about our current situation, and how environmental laws and windfall profits and other regulatory meddling in business decisions will make our current gas prices look like the good old days.

Update: Via Instapundit, Paul Caron points out that the various levels of government together get more from gasoline sales than those rich, fat oil companies we love to hate. Too bad governments don't have to compete for our dollars.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Defense of the Anti-Miers Zealots

Jonathan Adler defends the worse-than-filibustering of Harriet Miers from the criticisms of Hugh Hewitt.

His defense if more than a little disingenuous, as when he argues that the arguments against her were fair and substantive. How could that be, when she wasn't give a chance to testify? They used 10 year old publications and speeches to portray her as a liberal.

Then he writes:
Second, Miers' withdrawal does not contravene the call for giving nominees up-or-down votes. No one was going to deny her a vote. There was never any threat of a filibuster or tying her up in committee.
No, they only demanded that her nomination be withdrawn, and raised money to run ads against her. They poisoned the whole atmosphere in the Senate and got GOP senators demanding copies of her work product from her time in the White House. How can he say they weren't trying to deny her a vote?
Many on the Right have long argued that a nominee's demonstrated legal accomplishments are paramount, that religion is irrelevant, that a nominee's political views (on abortion on anything else) do not dictate their legal views, that what matters is the nominee's "head" not his or her "heart," and so on.
This is more of K-Lo's claim that it's Bush's fault because he "put [his] own allies in the most untenable position possible based upon exceptionally bad decisionmaking." How can she still claim to be his ally after fomenting a mutiny?

The inevitable charge of hypocrisy

E. J. Dionne, Jr. :
When liberals asked for clarity, they were committing a sin. When conservatives asked for clarity, they were engaged in a virtuous act. Thus are conservatives permitted to alter their principles to suit their own political situation.
He's correct on this. There are a lot of conservative pundits I won't trust ever again, especially at NRO. They treated this issue as if it were a salon party where everybody vied to find more and wittier ways to undermine Miers.

Pick a little, talk a little. Cheep, cheep, cheep. Talk a lot pick a little more.

The real enemy in all of this is the viciously political confirmation process. Republicans had the chance to help do away with the way Bork and Thomas were treated, but instead showed that they prefer this kind of circus.

Peter Brown says it will hurt the Democrats anyway. I wonder what the conserva-pundits would do if Bush chose someone moderate, acceptable to the Dems. They've lost their leverage now:
Presidential allies expect him to try calming a rebellious Republican right by picking an unequivocal judicial conservative. But Democrats are likely to battle any choice designed to appease the president's right flank -- renewing Senate warfare over judicial nominations from earlier this year that had appeared to subside.

He could reach for a consensus choice in hopes of pleasing centrist Republican and Democrat senators, thus avoiding a confirmation fight. But that might open him to conservative attacks that he has abdicated his responsibilities on a crucial matter, deepening the perception of presidential weakness.
If I were he, I'd probably let them complain and let the senators sweat over trying to placate them.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Confusion to our enemies

That is the toast the Democrats will be making tonight. Hugh Hewitt has this postmortem:
The Miers precedent cements an extraconstitutional new standard for nominees. Had the framers intended only judges for the court, they would have said so. No doubt some Miers critics will protest a willingness to support nominees who have never sat on the bench, but no president is going to send one forward after this debacle. The center of the Miers opposition was National Review's blog, The Corner, and the blog, both with sharp-tongued, witty and relentless writers. They unleashed every argument they could find, and the pack that followed them could not be stopped. Even if a senator had a mind to urge hearings and a vote, he had to feel that it would call down on him the verbal wrath of the anti-Miers zealots.

It will be the lasting glory or the lasting shame of The Corner and others involved in driving Ms. Miers from the field, depending on what happens, and not just with the next nominee and his or her votes on the court, but all the nominees that follow, and all the Senate campaigns that will be affected, as well as the presidential race in 2008.

This triumph of the conservative punditocracy will have lasting consequences, and I hope my fears are misplaced. The first returns will come in the decision on parental notification statutes that will be argued before the Supreme Court in late November. Absent a miracle of Senate efficiency, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will cast one of her last votes on the most important abortion-rights case in a few years. And then the accounting will begin in earnest.
The problem of these bitter nomination battles was created by the Supreme Court's injudicious rulings on issues it should have avoided. That can't be remedied by anybody except the Court itself, but until we start appointing justices which some common sense, which I believe Harriet Miers has, these appointments will be ever more painful and bitter displays of bile. I just wish the right had been able to restrain themselves. The Republicans were right to try to restore civility when they confirmed Breyer and Ginsberg, if that spirit had remained through the past few weeks, I think we might have succeeded. As it now stands, I think the bitterness will continue.


The Miers debate reminds me of something that has seemed odd to me for a long time. To be admitted to the bar, a law school graduate must go through a cram session of several months, at the end of which he/she takes an examine consisting of a series of hypothetical fact situations which he/she then responds to in a process that would make any practicing lawyer liable for malpractice: giving a legal opinion without any research and no time to thinks about the matter.

There has been a snap judgment here without even giving the defendant a fair hearing. I hope the members of this lynch mob who have driven Ms. Miers to withdraw never have to be judged with the kind of fairness they were willing to give her.

Simply the Best

They make it sound so simple. All you have to do is "nominate the best person for the job."

But remember if we don't like who you pick, we'll shoot her down without hesitation. So go back out on that highwire and give us good leadership. Ignore all those people down there holding shotguns.

And remember, the Senate isn't really the body who decides whether your nominee is the best. It's really George Will, Charles Krauthammer and the participants at The Corner.

It's really easy. See? Just pick the best person for the job! We'll let you know if you screw up.

Tom Coburn's rising star

Is Tom Coburn becoming more powerful because of bloggers' support? It looks like it.

I looked up the "bridge to nowhere" project, and concluded that epithet is unfair. The bridge would connect the commnities around Ketchican Alaska to it's airport. Currently they have to get there by ferry. It wouldn't exactly be a bridge to nowhere, but it's still hard to justify it in terms if how many it will serve.

Who's bitter?

I, for one, am. Not because I was a great admirer of Harriet Miers, but because I believe that you should dance with the one who brought you to the dance. I don't like it when a bunch of media pundits can humiliate a president like this. If there were something tangible to support the attacks on Miers, it wouldn't bother me, but this whole thing was based on the fear that she might not be ideologically pure.

That's not what I thought America stood for.

Update: As the afternoon goes on, I'm getting more and more morose. The Corner is excusing itself with the claim that "to mier" means "to put your own allies in the most untenable position possible based upon exceptionally bad decision- making."

What kind of allies are those? The kind who desert you whenever they think you've made a mistake? As I wrote to them, "Don't ever offer to cover my back on anything!"

"Politics for us is like filthy dead meat,"

Anti-American Iraqis are holding their noses and getting involved in politics. I wonder if they'll practice pork barrel spending.

Ms. Lopez regrets

The National Review editorializes:
“We do not for a moment believe that the president will pick someone unacceptable to conservatives out of spite.”
If he does, we'll bring him down like a mad dog.

I now realize that conservatives have their own class system. If you're not part of the BosWash elite, your opinion counts less.

Much has been said about how a nominee must be "the best," but that's a loaded term, because it's so subjective and presumes that whoever is speaking know what's best.

Miers brought down

Harriet Miers has withdrawn.
The decision marked the end of one of the most contentious Supreme Court nominations in recent years, following on controversies over the naming of Clarence Thomas and Robert Bork.
This shows to me that what's wrong with this country is not just with the left. After rejecting the litmus test of the left, the right now applies its own, but adds that the nominee must also be famous among Constitution wonks, a conservative and a dazzling author. Simple competence is no longer enough. The MSM of the right is as rigid and arrogant as the liberal MSM.

I really dislike this precedent. From here on out, it's not just the left-leaning special groups like MoveOn.Org, PFAW, etc, who have to be appeased. The commentariat of the right now gets extra votes on the matter as well. I hate these tactics. They're anti-democratic, vicious and unfair. The justification for them is similar to arguing that torturing prisoners is justified by the circumstances. Perhaps worst, I no longer trust the those who call themselves conservative.

Mona Charen, one of the organizers of the effort to force Miers' withdrawal has written:
In the immortal words of Ray Donovan, Ronald Reagan's Secretary of Labor who was acquitted of corruption charges in a court of law after a prolonged trial by media, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?"
Miers might be wondering the same thing today.

Update: Mark Steyn's comments on Hugh Hewitt's program make the point that the way Miers was forced to withdraw is an adoption of the left's view of the Supreme Court. Hopefully there'll be a transcript on Radio Blogger.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The fame of Plame is getting pretty lame

Mark Levin: Valerie Plame is not a victim. I think she's the one who told her name to Judy Miller.


David Frum is on Hugh Hewitt's program explaining his tipping Miers as one of the possible picks. Why didn't he sound alarm? He was hoping that naming her would prejudice Bush against picking her, counting on his resistance to going with the pick the media think it will be.

Does that sound a little dishonest to you? Me too. Especially when you compare his first post about her with his second. The first was definitely favorable and hopeful. It certainly didn't presage the bitter denunciations that came boiling out when Bush actually nominated her.

Frum reportedly has raised $300,000 from a couple of dozen donors to run ads against Miers. That strikes me as very like PFAW and, or George Soros. He's keeping his donors' names confidential because he claims that they've been threatened with political destruction. This is really, really getting dark and dank.

Does Condi Rice have an Evil Twin?

You might think so from the eyes on a photo of her which appeared on the USAToday website. They made her look like an alien posing as a human. After it was called on it, the paper put up an un-retouched photo.

Why do they think they have to edit photos like this in the first place? Presumably they've got people sitting around with not enough real work to do.

Bush is a moderate? Who knew?

This piece by Ruben Navarrette Jr. taking conservatives to task for ever believing that George W. Bush was anything other than a "moderate," begs the question: could a real conservative get elected? Reagan is considered the quintessential conservative but he failed to control overspending and even agreed to an increase in payroll taxes. In other words, anybody you elect has to get along with the rest of the government, in order to accomplish anything. How many members of congress would pass the test as a "real conservative?"
Bush is the same person he has been since he ran for Texas governor in 1994. What you see is what you get. He doesn't spend a lot of time reinventing or repackaging himself. In fact, he prides himself on not changing his ways. What was it that he promised Republican senators about Miers? That she won't change. You see, for Bush, that's high praise. . . .

Now failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork writes in an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal that ``this George Bush, like his father, is showing himself to be indifferent, if not actively hostile, to conservative values.''

But why is that a surprise to Bork? Over all these years, where Bush stood wasn't exactly a secret. He was in the middle of the road.
Good question. The way people like George Will and the folks at National Review are attacking him now, you'd think he had lied to them. He said he would appoint people to the courts like Thomas or Scalia. He's appointed John Roberts, who is thought to be as smart as Scalia, if less disdainful of those who disagree with him, and now he's nominate Harriet Miers, who I would compare to Thomas. Thomas was chosen because he's black and conservative. He wasn't the sharpest pencil in the box, but he's been a reliable conservative vote on the court. Perhaps the ordeal he went through to get confirmed made him more firmly convinced that his conservative views are right. If Harriet Miers is like him, conservatives who are acting like the three-year-old in the grocery store checkout whose mother won't buy him the candy he wants, may be making a big mistake.

Navarette's point is well taken. Bush said he is a "compassionate conservative." That means he wants to help people who are disadvantaged in society by conservative means. Who didn't get that? Why are conservatives now acting like he was a wolf in sheep's clothing?

They're not anti-democratic;

they're just pro-Baathist Sunnis.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Anti-Miers Propaganda

Here is the source of Miers quote being bandied about by her adversaries. The Washington Post piece quotes this phrase, "our legal community must reflect our population as a whole," but the conclusions drawn from it are false and misleading. She mentions that there are not enough minorities graduating from law schools, but attributes that to the fact that there aren't enough minorities staying in school and pursuing professional education, and recommends the bar's mentoring program to reach out to at-risk minority kids in public schools. There's no mention of set asides, quotas or lowering the bar for minorities.

The Washington Post story asserts, falsely in my opinion, "To some conservatives, the types of policies pursued by the Texas bar association amount to reverse discrimination." They do not. There is no suggestion that standards should be lowered or discrimination practiced, only that aspirations should be encouraged.

What Miers advocated is what I have always considered true and acceptable affirmative action, which helps those who have been disadvantaged to achieve at the same level that other groups do. That's not the same as discrimination in favor of lesser qualified minorities over better qualified whites. It's what I've always thought conservatives should be advocating as opposed to quotas and set asides, but it's being misrepresented, and that suggests to me that those using it to discredit Miers either haven't read the piece or really are racists and don't believe that minority youth should be helped to really achieve.

The prejudice against Miers has bothered me from day one of this, and this accusation bothers me even more, because it's twisting her words to make her appear to be something she isn't. It also bothers me that conservatives who are always arguing that the MSM can't be trusted are taking this report by the WaPo at face value without checking it. The reporters quote a few conservatives and law professors who claim that the bar was engaged in reverse discrimination, but there's a crucial difference between saying "try to give more qualified minorities a chance and to help minority kids to achieve what others do; and saying lower the bar, give them opportunities without having to earn them.

Maybe that's not the kind of subtle distinction that George Will and others want her to be able to make, but it seems pretty good to me.

I wonder how many Americans have not been killed

Apparently, the left has been breathlessly watching the body count waiting to reach 2000. Of course, that's far below the casualties from the Vietnam war, and it's doubtful that this one will ever be that kind of quagmire, because we have definite goals and aren't sparing the enemy. I wouldn't mind it if we took the war to the Syrians and Iranians only to the extent of destroying their staging facilities, but I think things are going quite well.

The strange case of the NYTimes

John Podhoretz demonstrates how bizarre the behavior of the Gray Lady has been of late. And the outright hypocrisy of Bill Keller and the nasally whining Maureen Dowd in denouncing Judy Miller and smearing her with innuendo about her relationship with Mr. Libby.

And why? Well, she embarrassed all journalists by being wrong about WMD in Iraq:
The not-so-hidden truth is that Miller's critics believe that she bears some responsibility — maybe even all the responsibility — for the fact that America went to war with Iraq. Why? Because she published some articles that offered evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction — articles whose evidence turned out to be untrue. She didn't know it to be untrue, and neither did those who passed it to her. Nonetheless, she has become part of the lunatic case against the war — dragged into the never-ending BUSH LIED meme.

THERE'S something comic about this, as if Miller's coverage changed the course of history because it appeared in ... gasp . . . omigod ... the Times.

The outraged prose on this matter from writers outside the Times — like Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher and the just-out-of-the-nuthouse cases populating the Huffington Post on the Web — suggests that if only the Times had published nothing articles more skeptical of the WMD claims, it could have kept the war from happening.

Because, you know, the world revolves around the Times. The world spins and spins on its axis around a liberal newspaper of declining influence . . . whose most famous and powerful staffers now think there's great merit in devouring their own.
The irony that those who are always lecturing us on their journalistic integrity have so bought into the myth that Saddam really never had those WMD that they will denounce someone who reported the conventional wisdom at the time that he did.

Hollywood is full of liberals. Right?

Not when it comes to its actual practices. Bridget Johnson reports:
In a town full of dirty little secrets, the composition of writers in Hollywood rises to the level of scandal. Though Tinsel Town pays lip service to liberalism and equality, women and minority film and television writers get work and get paid with a disparity that is striking.
Maybe, if they weren't so busy raising money for Democrats, they could afford to treat women and minorities equally to white males.

Hannan, get your gun!

This report certainly gives me hope for the Iraqi republic. I've thought all along that success would depend upon the will of the people there to fight for their own rights and freedom.

Not their finest hour.

A new disease sweeps Great Mediocre Britain. It's main symptom is a loss of spine.

Thus sets the sun on the British spirit. Winston is no doubt hiding his face in shame.

How long have Jews lived in Britain without their sensitivity even given a thought? Maybe it's because they haven't bombed London's subways.

One more thing

I take great exception to the people behing the Withdraw Miers website using the most unflattering photo of her they could find. That goes beyond disagreement and partakes of cruelty.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Today's homily

Hugh Hewitt who's been mulling the Miers controversy over for the last week while on vacation:
I was surprised, and remained surprised, at how quickly the assault on the nominee began, and how it escalated in intensity and rhetorical excess as the weeks have passed. There are a hundred motives for these attacks, but those from my friends in the conservative movement have been motivated primarily though not exclusively by the concern that Miers will get these crucial issues wrong, and yet another opportunity to redirect the SCOTUS towards its intended role will be lost.

Does anyone among the conservatives really not believe that President Bush has a different concern? Of all the charges from the right that are disappointing, the most disappointing charge that the president abandoned his principles to promote a “crony,” The left believes it, of course, but they also believe he went to war knowing there were no WMD and at the behest of Halliburton.

The concern pre-nomination was “not another Souter.” When Judge Edith Clement’s name surfaced just prior to the unveiling of Chief Justice Robert’s nomination, there was much “another Souter” muttering. So now the president picks the anti-Souter, the person he knows best from among all the candidates, a gun-owning, anti-abortion, White House participant for all four years in the GWOT, and immediately the assault begins? Miers was compared to Caligula’s horse, and denounced by luminaries on the right as unacceptable because they do not know her. This is nothing like any reaction to a nominee in memory. And if there is any precedent for the president’s own supporters to turn on a SCOTUS nominee in such a fashion, I am unaware of it. In fact, I am trying to recall a single instance of any high profile nominee ever being treated in such a fashion by members of the nominating president’s own party.. . .

[I]t is nothing short of astonishing, that Robert Bork would lead a campaign to Bork a different GOP nominee, or that George Will would denounce anti-anti-Miers people as degraded partisans incapable of understanding conservatism.
I not just surprised, I'm repelled by the arrogance and elitism displayed by those who have jumped on Miers before they knew anything about her. What contempt they must have for President Bush! I've noted that before, as many of these same people seemed to have absorbed the view that things were going terribly in Iraq, and fretted over the size of the deficits, when they are not out of line as a percentage of the GDP, especially during a time of war.

I would have vetoed the Farm Bill and the Trans Bill, too, but then I'm not privy to the kinds of political considerations he has to take into account. I can fully understand it if Bush just believes that it's not his job to keep a rein on the members of Congress, who are, after all, elected by the public too. I would have vetoed the McCain-Feingold Bill too, but I expect that he assumed the Court would strike it down, as it should have. That's their job, not his. It suggests to me that he has more respect for other officeholders than most other conservatives. To me, that's a defensible position. Why should the President be accountable for the stupidity of the other branches?

Anyway, go read Hugh's whole post. It's long, but carefully thought out and written. It's the best answer to Miers' enemies, I've seen. (And they are enemies, adversaries, contrary to their claim to being advocates, and I consider them untrustworthy from now on.)

To add to their unhappiness and discomfort with people like George W. Bush and me, I will quote scripture:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—

Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit;

Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things.

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
President Bush is a humble man. He seeks the inspiration of God, and as far as I can see, he receives it and he has faith. I've seen him succeed again and again in the face of the opinion of the "wise and prudent." I support him.

Venezuela has kicked out Mormon Missionaries

It won't stop the growth of the LDS church there. It has been the top mission in the church, which no longer has a majority of its members in the U.S..

Shame on them.

Dear Advocates Adversaries:

I voted for George Bush, not you. What makes you think you have the right to overrule the president's power to nominate Supreme Court Justices? I'm not a great supporter of Harriet Miers. Who could be with all the disdain and denunciation aimed at her? But I believe that the President, not a bunch of self-appointed pundits and activists, is the Constitutional officer charged with nominating justices. I also feel that this process has become far too political, largely due to the failure of past justices to exercise judicial restraint and decline to insert themselves into the domain of the political branches of the government and of the states.

So shut up and let the process work.

Want to make your truck bomb more spectacular?

Make it a cement truck. All that dust makes the blast look like something seen by the Hubble telescope.

Another nomination

I wonder if the White House checked with George Will before nominating Ben Bernanke to head the Fed.

Flash: Bloggers not so powerful

According to National Journal's Beltway Blogroll:
The bottom line is that on the big issues, bloggers are batting zero. Their only significant policy claim to fame this year occurred at the Federal Election Commission. The blog swarm against that agency arguably forced it to draft a less sweeping plan for applying campaign finance law to bloggers -- but even that war is not over yet because the FEC has not finalized the rules.

Bloggers are not powerless in policy circles and actually are gaining influence. Otherwise, official Washington would pay them no mind whatsoever -- no conference calls with political chieftains, no question-and-answer sessions with lawmakers, and no other forms of outreach. But bloggers today are not as persuasive or as intimidating as they might like to believe.
Bloggers were never as powerful as most journalists seemed to think they were. Their "power," such as it is, comes from picking up on angles and stories that the liberal MSM never thought of, but should have. The big blog driven stories are things like Dan Rather vouching for obviously faked documents, Eason Jordan's paranoid statement about U.S. troops targeting journalists, etc. This is the first time those bloggers have targeted Bush and the Republicans this directly.

Man bites dog. Newspaper bites reporter!

The strange case of Judy Miller.

"I don’t recall naming the source of the tip."

Thus spake Judy Miller about who had given her "the tip I had gotten about Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger and his wife’s employment at the C.I.A."

Earlier she claimed to have forgotten the source. Come on, Judy! You remember the tip, but not who gave it to you? Pull the other one.

Meanwhile, her associates in the MSM are heaping abuse on her for such ethical lapses as getting it wrong about Saddam's WMD. As if she were the only one who ever believed he was hiding them.
They're straining at gnats. Why isn't anybody asking why she sat in jail all that time and only agreed to testify when she was not required to name any source other than Rove or Libby? That's the real mystery here, but nobody on the left or in the media seems to notice, or they're avoiding it.

Or is that why they're so upset--she's never told any of them who her real source was?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Let there be . . . quantum dots

A new device may replace the good old light bulb. Based on LEDs the new device
gives off a warm, yellowish-white light that shines twice as bright and lasts 50 times longer than the standard 60 watt light bulb.. . .

LEDs produce twice as much light as a regular 60 watt bulb and burn for over 50,000 hours. The Department of Energy estimates LED lighting could reduce U.S. energy consumption for lighting by 29 percent by 2025. LEDs don't emit heat, so they're also more energy efficient. And they're much harder to break.
Imagine. No more burnt fingers trying to change bulbs. Of course, they don't even have to be bulbs.

Hear! Hear!

I heartily agree with Dafydd ab Hugh's take on George Will's latest rant against Miers.

What's indispensable

According to Professor Charles Fried,
What is indispensable is that [Harriet Miers] be able to think lucidly and deeply about legal questions and express her thoughts in clear, pointed, understandable prose.
What does that mean? I suspect it means she should be a law professor. He cites a number of close questions faced by the courts, but never seems to recognize that they were made this difficult in the first place by judges who thought they were more capable of "thinking lucidly and deeply" than those who were elected to make decisions, so much so that the people shouldn't be allowed to weigh in anymore. The people may not be as brilliant as Professor Fried, but they are the ones who have to live in the world created by judges. Why shouldn't they be empowered to decide issues that impinge drastically on what kind of world that is?

How's this for clear, pointed, understandable prose: "specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance." I'll go with Orrin Kerr and Learned Hand, who made this point:
What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes.*
How much writing is enough, and who decides what is "lucidly and deeply thought?" I Googled "French fry case John Roberts". It returned 615,000 hits. Most of them took Justice Roberts to task (this column is typical.) for not intervening to strike down the stupid zero tolerance rule forbidding eating on the Washington subway. He wrote simply that "The question before us . . . 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 . . .."

Of course, he backed it up with cases and commented on the arguments against his ruling, but there seems to have been a firestorm of criticism calling him hard-hearted, cruel, etc. Where's the lucidity and depth of thought? I'd say that it was in the simplicity of his opinion. He followed a simple and basic rule. He considered the cases and arguments against the ruling, and disposed of them one after another. All in all it took 19 pages in the type and margins used by the courts, about 5 pages of in the type and pagination normal for a law book, absolutely terse for most federal courts these days.

I suppose conservative critics of Miers want a judge who will not only rule correctly but will dispose of all the arguments that have led earlier courts astray and smite them down with an exquisitely honed sword of rhetoric.

Not I. I just want someone who understands the principle of judicial restraint and apply it liberally. I already understand what's wrong with those cases where judicial sympathy and self-righteousness has created bad law. I'm not worried about her being another Souter. I think that her views on the role of the judiciary are pretty well shown. What hasn't been is her rhetorical skill. Why that is desirable is plain, but why it's indispensable is not.

* Read the whole thing, and note that, only 60 years ago, a great judge could openly speak of Christian values without being hounded out of office.

Miers-Miller Time

I've never watched Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz's program on the media on CNN. Today I recorded it and watched later. Coincidentally, today marks a new time slot for the show, an expansion to a full hour and a new segment featuring bloggers. Cool. Today, he had John Dickerson from Slate, John Hinderaker and Jeff Jarvis discussing the Miers reaction. Seems overdue.

I was surprised to hear Hinderaker criticizing those on the right who have savaged Miers. I had read criticism of her on Power Line and assumed all three of them had joined the attack. Hinderaker's critique of the right is a good one and welcome.

Kurtz pointed out how the Judy Miller kerfuffle mirrors the Miers one. Both are cases of a person's natural supporters turning on them viciously.

Jarvis describes Judy Miller as the Dan Rather of the NYTimes. Ouch. On top of suggesting that she start blogging, even checking out a suggested name: "So, Judy, a gift for you: is available." Double ouch.