Friday, November 18, 2005

Wheels within wheels

Time Magazine:
Woodward expressed some surprise that Fitzgerald hadn't contacted him earlier in the probe, but had high praise for the prosecutor whose investigation he has openly criticized on television. During his time with the prosecutor, Woodward said, he found Fitzgerald "incredibly sensitive to what we do. He didn't infringe on my other reporting, which frankly surprised me. He said 'This is what I need, I don't need any more.'"
How can you prosecute someone for being the first to expose the identity of a person, without any proof that the press didn't already have that information? By conceding to reporters than they wouldn't have to answer any questions about who else may have revealed information to them, he's granted them an unofficial shield and given them a weapon with which to destroy others.

Fireworks in the House

Democrats finally have pushed Republicans too far and they have come back with a resolution that will force them vote up or down on whether they want to pull out the troops now. One Republican woman read an email from a soldier in Iraq calling Murtha a coward, which received loud harrumphing and demands for an apology. Now everybody has to preface his comments with a paean to Murtha's patriotism and service, even if his pronouncements resemble those of a gaffer who's still reliving his brush with danger 30 years after the event. He may have been a warrior once, but now he reminds me of Theoden in the Lord of the Rings as he had become before Gandalf drove the spirit of Saruman from him. Face puffy, reminiscent of Ted Kennedy's, arrogant and bullying in his behavior. That's why somebody needed to stand up to him.

It's interesting to watch the games being played. They call Bush a liar again and again and when he answers, they pounce on it as mean-spirited, insulting and unfair. John Kerry feigned terrific indignation while accusing Republicans of attacking the patriotism of Jack Murtha, he of the proposal to cut and run from Iraq. I love it when he says, "I don't intend to stand for. . . another swift boat attack on the character of Jack Murtha." It always begs the question, "What are you going to do besides telling us you won't stand for it?" Nobody actually suggested that Murtha's service has been phonied up or overstated. No one has said anything about Murtha other than that his proposed withdrawal of troops is a bad idea. The Republicans called for a test vote to make the Democrats put up or shut up. The Democrats are furious. Dennis Kucinich gave an absolutely incoherent little speech that should be in a casebook on how to recognize sophistry and fallacies.

It makes me tired to watch this stuff. It's like watching a shell game, and trying to remember where the pea showed up the past 20 times. Things are set up so that they can vote on both sides of every issue. The amending process is used to force vote after vote on amendments of declining relevance. And it's very tricky for non-politicians to figure out which votes really count. That's how you obfuscate.

Here's Nancy Pelosi speaking against the Republicans' bill to cut the planned rate of increase in federal spending: "The Republicans are launching an attack on America's children and America's families, and they are also launching an attack on America's middle class. All of this to give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in our country." She hardly looks like she's been giving everything to the poor. Who would have guessed that that baggy old wrestling coach, Dennis Hastert was such a pawn of the wealthy? Pelosi looks far better off than he does. It's all such a crock that I wonder how anybody can stand being in Congress. The only thing worse would be to be a reporter in D.C. and having to start the day with that tumbler of bile they all seem to be drink every day.

Representaive Peter Hoekstra is calling for the declassification of the huge pile of records from the Saddam regime that are stored in Quttar, because we don't have the linguists available to translate and analyze them all. He wants to put them on the internet and let Iraqis and others who speak the language pore over them. I think that's a brilliant idea. It may turn over some stones that certain people at the UN and some of our allies won't like. Sunshine is a pretty good disinfectant.

Can democracy work in the long run?

Paul Samuelson gets junkmail from the AARP, like I do. He seems to react to it the same as I do.
I won't be joining, because the AARP has become America's most dangerous lobby. If left unchecked, its agenda will plunder our children and grandchildren. Massive outlays for the elderly threaten huge tax increases and other government spending. Both may weaken the economy and the social fabric. No thanks.
AARP has marketed itself as a group of senior citizens who help each other and band together for their common interests. It's not. It's a commercial venture posing as a lobbying organization.

I don't know if I'd go as far as calling it the Most Dangerous Lobby. That would be affirm that the ACLU and Sierra Club aren't just as dangerous. Personally, I think that groups like these are replacing political parties and campaign finance "reform" makes them even more powerful. Coupled with the federal bureaucracy these groups and their agents have undermined democracy and the independence of citizenship. When citizens aren't self-reliant (independent) freedoms dies as well. When things go wrong, as they did recently with gasoline prices, people don't conclude that the culprit is environmental regulation that forces us into boutique blends and prevents construction of new refineries and exploration for new sources of energy. The press blames the oil companies and people think it must be true.

We have allowed our system of public education to sink to its lowest common denominator. We have a generation who expect to retire on the wages of their children, even as people are having fewer children, and a major party playing on the ignorance and inattention of the populace to persuade them of a huge lie. We have a press which is so enthralled to liberalism that it thinks it's being fair and objective when it actively campaigns for a single party and promotes the Big Lie of the day.

We have a lot of life left in us, and we continue to live under the grace of God, but in my short lifetime, things have changed so much from what I learned as a child about what America stands for. We've endured because we were growing. Now we are without a frontier and are challenged as never before by our own prosperity. That destroyed Athens and Rome. Will it destroy the U.S. too?

Monsters from the I.D.

Charles Krauthammer on "intelligent design:"
How ridiculous to make evolution the enemy of God. What could be more elegant, more simple, more brilliant, more economical, more creative, indeed more divine than a planet with millions of life forms, distinct and yet interactive, all ultimately derived from accumulated variations in a single double-stranded molecule, pliable and fecund enough to give us mollusks and mice, Newton and Einstein? Even if it did give us the Kansas State Board of Education too.
I agree. What I would prefer is a lesson to the kids on keeping an open mind, asking questions and spotting what and what isn't proven by the evidence. Nobody should be forced to believe in religion, but neither should they be taught that faith is for idiots or that science leaves no room for it. I was always taught that God obeys the laws of the universe. Here's a quote:
For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; . . .

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
Learning goes on forever.

If only it were that.

Gerard Baker in the Times of London:
The biggest weapon in the arsenal of America’s critics is carefully selective amnesia.
The problems is that this isn't amnesia which is a medical condtion. This is cynical demagoguery, blatant dishonesty, lying to the American people through a pliant press. Harry "Milquetoast" Reid is the Grimmer Wormtongue of our time.

Baker points out the pattern that tells you this is not about principle:
most of those now recanting made a straight political calculation in voting to authorise force in the first place.

These were the ambitious Democrats who thought they had learnt the lessons of 1991. Then you may recall, the vast majority of the party’s senators voted against the first Iraq war. The arguments then were not about right but might, or America’s perceived lack of it. There was talk of hundreds of thousands of body bags. Most of the Democrats, fearing the country was still in the grip of Vietnam syndrome, wanted nothing to do with it. They wanted to be able to say afterwards “ We told you so”, and to reap the political rewards.

In the event fewer than 200 Americans died, and all those Democrats who had voted against the war were suddenly political carrion. So, confronted with a similar choice in October 2002, they did not want to be on the losing side again. If it was another cakewalk, and they had voted against it, the damage to their credibility as presidential candidates would be irreparable. Best to vote for it to burnish their national security credentials.

But it wasn’t a cakewalk. And now they’re trapped. So they resort to the defence of the coward throughout history: “He made me do it.” Most Americans have better memories.

They can't defend what they really did, so they're trying to persuade us that they were lied to. However, we were paying attention and we have the video and audio tape to show that they had the same intel, if they cared to look at it.

Headline/story dissonance

Thheadline is The new martyrs go global.

GLOBAL -- got that?

What's the article about?
THE GEOGRAPHIC spread of suicide attacks, which reached the Jordanian capital of Amman last week, tells an alarming tale: Unlike the suicide bombers of the '80s and '90s, the grievances motivating today's bombers are less concrete and more virtual and vicarious. To curb the recent spate of suicide missions we must understand this fundamental shift in the causes that give rise to human bombs.
Oh, no! They've moved from Iraq to Jordan! Run away! Run away!

That's going global? They're killing their own people in the name of Islam. They can't take on the Americans or even the Iraqis anymore, so they move next door. Zarqawi seems to lack a global vision.

Good news,

if you call that living.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bush needs an Agenda

According to Dick Morris, Susan Estridge and Al D'Amato, on Neil Cavuto's program on Fox, that's why his polls are low.

That's typical political consultant advice. They want him to take on illegal immigration, but if the answer is to build a wall on our border, Bush will have nothing to do with it, and the Dems will want to demagogue it but find themselves losing their old labor union support if they don't crack down on illegals.

Bush is embattled, but I keep thinking of this poem:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve their turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Somehow this is also a reminder that we're living in a feminist age, an age of the war against boys, and a lost of respect for bravery, standing up to evil, or fighting for the cause of freedom. No matter how this all comes out, I will always consider George W. Bush the modern measure of a Man. He doesn't have Reagan's cheerfulness and communications skills, but he knows what's important and he's the most Lincolnesque president we've had since the Civil War. FDR had it easy by comparison.

This is a time when leadership has fled the country. Bush will endure. He can't not do what he thinks is right. His presidency will be vindicated by history, but as the Savior once told an American prophet, after reciting the tribulations he had suffered, "The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" I will honor him for his vision, resolve and courage.

He has an agenda. Why does he have to keep repeating it? He has a plan, and it's working. We need to shut our ears to the Siren song of doom from the Democrats and just follow through. Our troops deserve it.

Update: You want an agenda? How's this?
What ought Congressional Republicans to be fighting for and rallying around? It isn't complicated:

Win the war.
Confirm the judges.
Cut the taxes.
Control the spending.

Twelve words. Not difficult to express, but apparently beyond the ability of the Congressional majorities to articulate and defend.
Yup. They've lost their heads, and if they don't get some discipline, they'll lose their majority.

What a patriot!

Representative John Murtha wants credit for his career as a Marine, but makes it look pretty meaningless by calling for an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. But not bring them home, just have them stay in Kuwait in case they're needed.

To add to his lack of class and fighting spirit, he rejects Cheney's criticisms of the Dems' embrace of the "Bush lied us into war!" idiocy by repeating the tired chickenhawk charge that worked so well for John Kerry. If I were in the Marines, I'd be pretty disgusted, but I can't comment since I came in too high in the lottery to be drafted.

Do these people really not believe in civilian control of the military, or are they just stupid? If anybody is acting like a chicken here, it's Murtha. He's the one who wants to run back to Kuwait and hope the terrorists won't go there, like the NVA didn't come south of the DMZ. He seems to think Korea is the perfect model for our war against terrorism.


Bill Kristol has the same reaction to the wimping out by the Republicans I did: Pathetic.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Peace in the Middle East

OK, not really. But this is a start:
Palestinians, for whom everything from economic to educational opportunities has been stifled by lack of access to the outside world, gained a commitment to have a steady flow of traffic between Gaza and Egypt, as well as permission to start regular bus convoys between Gaza and the
West Bank.
At least until the buses get blown up by Hezbollah.

For shame!

A federal court has let the BIA off the hook for being unable to account for all the funds it was supposed to be managing for Indians.
A federal appeals court decided Tuesday that it was unreasonable to require a detailed historical accounting of money the government has been managing for American Indians, saying the bookkeeping chore would ''take 200 years.''

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided with the government and the American Indians in their effort to block a lower court's order for the tally of money owed them.

The accounting had been ordered by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who is overseeing a class-action lawsuit in which thousands of American Indians claim they were cheated out of more than $100 billion in oil, gas, grazing, timber and other royalties overseen by the Interior Department since 1887.

In their appeals, the government and the plaintiffs have argued that the massive historical accounting Lamberth ordered would cost up to $13 billion - far more than was reasonable.

On Tuesday, a three-judge appeals panel agreed, overturning the accounting and calling Lamberth's decision ''ill-founded'' and an abuse of discretion that was not favored by either side in the lawsuit
I understand that the plaintiffs would not want all their potential damages dribbled away on a long expensive investigation, and I don't think it's possible to assess punitive damages against a government agency. The very least that should be done is to do away with all such trusts and the BIA and give the management to the tribes themselves.

I think a Special Master could look at matters and come up with a reasonable estimate, but at this point not much more can be done. This is what happens whenever socialism is implemented. It adds insult to injury and will shame our government forever. It sickens me.

The Horror!

John Leo details some of the cruelest tragedies of our time, unless you consider Rwanda, Darfur, carbombings, child abuse, terrorism and the treatment of Chinese dissidents. Prepare to sob.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What's wrong with this sentence?

Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.
Does that mean that it wasn't disclosed when Woodward was told about it?

I've had the feeling for a long time that the Plame Identity was known to quite a few reporters, which is why Judy Miller "can't remember" who told her and why she altered Plame to Flame in her notes. It could easily have been Plame herself, and we'd never know, because Judy would go to jail rather than tell. Let Libby take the rap, even if he's not guilty of this, he's guilty of being closely associated with Darth Cheney. And it's all right and fair because they're protecting journalistic ethics. Besides, with Fitzpatrick prowling around, who would dare speak that truth. Of course it can't be proven, but it would explain a lot, such as why Miller preferred to go to jail rather than testify, but changed her mind when she only had to testify about Scooter Libby and nobody else.

I can't find anything that says Fitzpatrick ever talked to Plame herself to see what reporters she knows or has spoken to about her job. Has she treated her identity and employment as classified?

If I were investigating a case like this, I'd want to check out Libby's assertion that it seemed like a lot of reporters knew about her before I indicted anybody. Maybe that's why he only indicted Libby for perjury, but that still strikes me as a chickenscat indictment. I would have concluded that there was no case there because of the serious possibility that some reporters knew about this, and there's no way to prove it since they'd refuse to admit it.

Update: I guess I didn't get why Woodward's revelation was such a blockbuster. I assumed that because his source was a different high level administration official, it would just mean that Fitzgerald will have to keep investigating. He'd be stupid to do so, but this just illustrates my point, above, that you can't investigate a leak when nobody in the media will answer your questions. And if they have to be excluded, what's to keep defendants from insisting that there's this vast reservoir of information out there where knowledge passes around like air and that whatever was leaked came from there? Instant reasonable doubt!

So much for protecting real classified information. You can leak whatever you want, and unless we start putting a lot of reporters in jail, you'll never get convicted. Even if bureaucrats are forced to sign waivers of confidentiality, the reporters may not accept them as truly voluntary and still refuse to reveal their sources, and once the story gets into print (or on the air) it'll be at the end of a trail of casual conversations that can't be traced.

Funny, I thought it looked more like Durbin

First, babies. Now, dogs are being used as propaganda. What's next, Santa hates Bush?

How is this stuff any different in spirit from "God hates fags!"? Do we really want Bill Clinton instead of Karl Rove?

There's an old joke about the difference between neurosis and psychosis that goes, "A neurotic builds castles in the air. A psychotic moves in." With this "Bushs lied us into war!" offensive, I'd say they're there.

A Parliament of Poopyheads

James Taranto describes the fad of putting anti-Bush messages on the clothing of tots, such as "President Poopyhead," as "pretty well captur[ing] the intellectual spirit of the Democratic Party." Politics is reaching a low we haven't seen in my lifetime.

If anybody deserves the Poopyhead label it would be Republican defectors who seem to think Bush's policies are now radioactive, such as Bill Frist, John Warner and others who pushed today's resolution demanding regular updates on the war from the White House. They already get regular reports on the progress of the war. Even George Allen voted for it. And they chose to pass this on a day when the President is out of the country.

What on earth are they thinking? George Allen understands football, presumably, so why doesn't he understand that ignoring your quarterback and running your own play is a good way to lose a game?

If they think this will shield them in the elections to come, they should remember the elder Bush's "no new taxes" pledge and how the Democrats hung it around his neck after they got him to compromise it.

I'm really disgusted today. I'm not sure I want these people representing me as a Republican anymore. Such cowardice and lack of leadership makes me ill.

Hugh Hewitt is livid, as he should be.

I hereby declare open season on RINOs.


So I watched Bloggingheads whining about their first review. Wright seems like a nervous version of Felix Ungermann while Kaus just sits there squinting at the screen. It would be just as useful without the photos. There's nothing to watch. The faces remind me of the old Clutch Cargo cartoons where the pictures remain static with only the mouths moving. The video is jerky and out of sync with the sound. Who needs this?

I only have dial-up service at home and so I couldn't watch it at all there.

Here's a suggestion: Change the name to and get some custom bobbleheads resembling Wright and Kaus and play the sound over them with their heads bobbling back and forth.

Another lie

Kerry criticizes "the aimless Bush 'stay as long as it takes' approach to Iraq" in a bit of non sequitur. "Stay as long as it takes" isn't aimless, it's a requirement. It indicates that what we're doing is on the right track. But the Democrats are counting on America's MTV attention span to sell it as a quagmire.

Someone needs to start buying ads describing the good news from Iraq, because the MSM won't tell the story. They're busy trying to work up impeachment fever against Bush, as if doing so would vindicate Clinton's behavior in the White House. Nothing will ever do that.

Harry Potter and the Gulag

Benjamin Barton says that Harry Potter's world is a dystopia, and that Rowling is a libertarian. This strikes me as the flip side of the religious people who fear the books because they involve witchcraft. Barton doesn't hate or fear the books, but his comparison of the Magical World's president to George Bush is kind of pushing it.

That this piece is even considered for publication is another bit of evidence that our academic institutions have ceased to be serious.

Has the CIA heard of this?

A new contraceptive method in Serbia:
"We attach electrodes to either side of the testicles and send low electricity currents flowing through them.

"This stuns the sperm, effectively putting them to sleep for up to 10 days, which means couples can have sex without fear of getting pregnant.

"The method does not kill the sperm permanently and it does not affect the patient's health."
I've heard of people who couldn't reach orgasm without holding onto a door knob. They could co-market these with vibrators--his and hers sets.

Maybe there'a a more benign explanation of the prissoner "abuse" reports we're getting.

The campaign heats up

Hillary! is in the Middle East trying to look "presidential," at the same time as Condi Rice meets with Jewish and Palestinian leaders. Never too soon to start putting your own foreign policy into play.

At the bottom of the news

Bird shot and killed after knocking down dominoes.

Courage in the Senate

Not! More like pantswetting.

This is Bill Frist and John Warner selling out the president and our troops. With guys like this on his side, I can see why Bush is tired.

Pray for Mohammed al-Harbi

This story deserves international attention:
Riyadh, 14 Nov. (AKI) - A Saudi secondary school teacher has been jailed for three years for mocking religion, and sentenced to 750 lashes, to be delivered - 50 a week - in the public market of the town of al-Bikeriya. Chemistry teacher Muhammad al-Harbi was charged with mocking Islam, favouring Jews and Christians and studying witchcraft, after a lawsuit was filed against him by a group of students and teachers from his school who he says were out for revenge.

Al-Harbi told Saudi newspaper Arab News in a phone interview that it was "a very cruel sentence". He said the students who reported him had all failed the monthly chemistry test and complained to the school principal when he refused to let them sit the exam again.

Al-Harbi said they were encouraged to report him by some Islamic studies teachers at the school, who were angry that he had taken it on himself to warn students of terrorism and its consequences following the attack on the Al-Hamra residential compound in Riyadh in 2003. After being appointed school activities organiser he held talks with students speaking against terrorism and hung anti-terrorism signs around the school.
We ought to make this man a hero for human rights. I nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize, even if it would place him in the dubious company of Yassir Arafat and Jimmy Carter.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Too nice for the beltway?

It's ironic that the Dems big knock on Bush is dishonesty. I think he has legitimately tried to restore civility to politics by not reacting to a lot of provocations. Of course, that was greeted with namecalling and accusations, the least of which was that he hasn't restored civility to politics. It seems like a suckers' play to even try. Nobody wants to be civil these days. Conservative intellectuals can't even be civil to their own side, let alone to their opponents, and the liberals seem determined to use profanity and personal insults because they don't have anything to offer that the voters want.

Note that even in his "pushback" speeches he doesn't name any names and he doesn't accuse them of lying, as they are doing to him. His harshest accusation is that they are "rewriting history." He gives credit to those who have consistently opposed the war.

Bush has always impressed me as a man who believes in Jesus and his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount and really tries to live by it. My older sister recently asked me what I thought of him. When I responded with that observation, she almost broke into tears, because she as felt the same thing and hasn't heard anybody give him credit. I've been critical of him at times, but I have always admired his restraint in the face of so much unfairness.

I keep hearing the complaint that the war isn't going anywhere, that he doesn't have a plan. Hogwash. We have a treasonous press corps which thinks of itself as intellectual, but it's partisan, not thoughtful. The "Bush lied!" meme entered the realm of "common knowledge" with such rapidity and with such flimsy logic, that one can't help but wonder how anybody could not question it. The press jumped on it with glee. Anybody who can watch a White House press conference and not feel the hostility and determination to discredit him at any price doesn't have a fair bone in his body.
Not even the mainstream Democrats dared make that argument, until they felt that Bush wasn't going to challenge it.

This press hostility has done more to discredit it and damage it financially than almost anything else could have. The MSM have never seemed to understand how ludicrous stories like the fake memos attacking George Bush's National Guard service make them look. Mary Mapes is still trying to salvage her reputation while only digging the hole deeper. The fact that Mike Wallace couldn't see what was going on makes me wonder if you have to have some kind of lobotomy to work for CBS. And I still haven't figured out why they are so bitter toward Judith Miller after treating her as a celebrity for years. Was it because she dropped a dime on a source, even with his permission? If they think their civic duty trumps protecting lawbreakers, they haven't convinced anybody but themselves.

Thank goodness Harriet withdrew.

Bill Sammon reports:
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, wrote that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times.

"I personally believe very strongly" in this legal position, Mr. Alito wrote on his application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III.

The document, which is likely to inflame liberals who oppose Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court [Ya think? - ed.], is among many that the White House will release today from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

In direct, unambiguous language, the young career lawyer who served as assistant to Solicitor General Rex E. Lee, demonstrated his conservative bona fides as he sought to become a political appointee in the Reagan administration.

"I am and always have been a conservative," he wrote in an attachment to the noncareer appointment form that he sent to the Presidential Personnel Office. "I am a lifelong registered Republican."
This is what PFAW and Schumer have been looking for. It ups the stakes in this confirmation hearing. Of course, it was twenty years ago, but that won't matter to them.

This will trigger the fight conservatives have been longing for. The Dems will consider it "extraordinary circumstances" and try a filibuster. The ability of Republicans to deliver their members' votes is questionable, so we might see the "Nuclear" or "Constitutional" option invoked.

Nobody has every gone to the mat on filibustering a judicial nominee. The Dems have the votes to prevent cloture, but they may not have the votes to defeat a ruling from the chair that you can't filibuster presidential nominations.

This reminds me of the reporter in Mr. Smith goes to Washington excitedly reporting that they were going to see a filibuster. We're not likely to see a spectacle like that in the film, because both sides can count votes and won't push the matter unless they have them. Nevertheless, the excitement is there. The Republicans have the votes to confirm, but there are enough of them who are pro-abortion-rights to make it a jump ball.


Bear's ecosystem

I checked my ranking and was suprised to find that I was more than a Particle of Animate Matter. I might actually prefer that to being a Crawly Amphibian, but everybody has to start somewhere, I guess. I can already feel myself slipping back into the primordial soup for reprocessing. I've been doing this since February of 2002, and I've got more posts than visitors so far.

I don't know how I'd handle success. Every time I run into my relatives they mention all the letters to the editor that have been published in the Salt Lake papers. Hardly the big time, but I always wonder how dumb I look now. Maybe I'll always feel like a crawly amphibian.

Weird ideas about Patriotism

Bob Schieffer: "Do you believe it is unpatriotic to criticize the Iraq policy?"

You know I don't think I've ever heard anybody in the Bush Administration suggest that it's "unpatriotic to criticize the Iraq policy." But accusing Bush of lying to the American people about WMD goes beyond civility, especially when you have pliable news media willing to play up everything you put out.

The fact that the critics and politically opposition have elected to pin their campaign on an obvious and scurrilous lie shows how little they really have to offer in the way of ideas or arguments.

I'm sure that Bush was hoping his fellow Republicans would have knocked this out of the park before now, but he's become the Little Red Hen asking "Who will help me explore for oil in ANWR?" and "Who will help me cut government pork projects?" His Republican "allies" in Congress are all sniveling, "Not I!" But there are some things that Bush can't do by himself, so there will be no bread, no energy independence, and probably no Republican majority or president in January 2009.

I hadn't read Ed Morrissey's post on the same thing when I wrote that third paragraph. Here's part of what he has to say:
How empty are the Democrats of ideas and long-term plans for national security? Three years later, they're still lying about their own statements on national TV to smear George Bush -- even though he can't run for election again! Rockefeller shows how lame this meme has become. It should embarrass every Democrat in the country and start a demand for new party leadership. Unfortunately, it won't, but it may finally convince the rational moderates that the Democrats have led the party over a cliff.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, on Fox News Sunday, Rockefeller tried to claim that when he voted to authorize the war it was a vote to continue to work through the U.N. Later in the pundits' discussion Juan Williams tried to get away with the same claim and Brit Hume stopped him cold. Hume is a treasure. I hope he doesn't retire any time soon.

Speaking of hate crimes

How about the crime of price gouging by oil companies? Maybe we should burn Adam Smith in effigy, and whoever that Invisible Hand belongs to.

The fact that so many politicians, including many who should know better, felt a need to haul a bunch of oil company execs into the dock and treat them like criminals makes me wonder why we bother with representative democracy. I thought the idea was to temper the excesses of mob psychology.

Funny that the thing that triggered Bush's low poll numbers seems to have been the high gas prices following the hurricanes. As though he was supposed to wave a wand and evade the laws of supply and demand.

I don't really buy into all this energy independence talk. What we really suffer from is the fact that a lot of nations are able to produce their oil more cheaply that we can produce our own and sell it to us at lower prices. Another oil embargo would cause gas and heating bills to shoot up, but the energy would still be available. If we'd had price freezing laws in effect after Katrina and Rita, the prices would have stayed the same, but you couldn't buy it anywhere.

You want conservation? Let the prices go up. we can do that and give poor people vouchers. That's Krauthammer's point.

You want to stop global warming? Put a tax on CO2 emissions by cars, power plants, etc. The Kyoto Treaty was based on central planning, when a market-based approach would have been much more effective with less of an increase in bureaucracy.

You could even give everybody a tax credit for what they paid in higher prices, and it probably would still accomplish the goal in either case.

The reason we haven't done either one should be obvious, if you watch these "gouging" hearings.

"Hate" Crimes

I've just written a letter to the editor about the annual request of one of our state legislators for a hate crimes law. As I tried to verbalize what it is that annoys me so much about this whole concept, it occurred to me to ask, "Why don't we make it less of a crime for a black or brown person to commit it against a white person?"

To say that a victim of a hate crime suffers greater humiliation than any other victim, implies that a criminal who has been disadvantaged by racism, homophobia or sexism is more entitled to violate the law against a member of the class who has hurt him.

That's why I don't like it.