My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Just Another Popular Uprising

In case you can't quite make them out, the two figures at the center of this press event are the Rev. Al Sharpton and Cindy Sheehan.

"As this quiet moment is interrupted by the clicks and flashes of three dozen press photographers, Cindy Sheehan is comforted by Al Sharpton and one supporter . . ."

Something About Glass Houses And Stones . . .

Wal-Mart announced Monday that it will donate $1 million to the Hurricane Relief efforts.

Remember the last time Wal-Mart was in the news? That's right--when the National Education [read: teacher's] Association announced a boycott of Wal-Mart because of its anti-union policies.

Tell me--what grand efforts has the NEA made to offer assistance and relief to the victims of Katrina? According to the Louisiana Department of Education, some 135,000 students are now without schools to go to for the foreseeable future; what has the NEA done to help?

Well, except, of course, make absolutely certain that the teachers are well protected.

Don't get me wrong: I think teachers deserve as much protection as anybody. It's just that it seems staggeringly hypocritical to chastize an organization that is SO generous for its positions on COMPLETELY NON-EDUCATION RELATED ISSUES while not bothering to jump into the fray on an issue that would clearly be within its purview.


America At Its Best

Just a few images of Americans doing what Americans do--coming together in a time of tragedy and need to lessen the blow.

And One For The Snarky Environmentalists--CORRECTED (thank you, Linda)

[In the original version of this post, the University of Colorado Environmental Studies professor was identified as "Roger Wielke"; his proper name is Roger Pielke]

In the wake of Katrina, all the usual suspect are, of course, jumping up and down on the graves of those killed saying "global warming did this!!" But, as with most environmental pronouncements, the science behind such claims is somewhat . . . lacking.

In fact, the science is actually contrary to that conclusion. From a paper by University of Colorado Environmental Studies professor Roger Pielke:

The paper concludes that with no trend identified in various metrics of hurricane damage over the 20th century, it is exceedingly unlikely that scientists will identify large changes in historical storm behavior that have significant societal implications, though scientists may identify discernible changes in storm behavior. Looking to the future, until scientists conclude (a) that there will be changes to storms that are significantly larger than observed in the past, (b) that such changes are correlated to measures of societal impact, and (c) that the effects of such changes are significant in the context of inexorable growth in population and property at
risk, then it is reasonable to conclude that the significance of any connection of humancaused climate change to hurricane impacts necessarily has been and will continue to be exceedingly small.
[emphasis mine]

This is important because this paper is actual SCIENCE--that is, it studies observable phenomena in the context of their occurence, and makes an effort to correlate those occurences to variables in the environment in which they occur. Quite a different thing from the computer simulations and "models" in use by the environmentalists.

Not To Be Petulant, But . . .

I wonder where in the world all the wonderful, caring, compassionate, superior peoples are who are trying desperately to get aid and assistance to the disaster-ravaged regions of the American Gulf Coast.

It seems to me that us selfish, egomaniacal, self-centered, cold, and arrogant Americans with our brutish, violent military had boots on the ground providing technical, logistical and humanitarian assistance to hostile governments within hours of the tsunami.

So, where are the great efforts to offer assistance to us in our time of need?

Of course, it goes without saying that those same superior SOBs who criticize our efforts are in no position to lend assistance themselves because their economic policies have left their countries without the wiggle room to give much in foreign assistance, and those same policies have left a 'military' or humanitarian infrastructure with nowhere near the ability to muster meaningful assistance.

But I find it curious that I haven't seen one headline about a foreign leader calling up the President to offer condolences and assistance, nor do the Canadian or United Nations websites even mention the disaster or relief efforts underway.

This Is An Important Question . . .

Which finds a way to avoid the obvious answer.

Paul Campos asks the following in his Tuesday Rocky Mountain News column:

As the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, an obvious question should be asked: Why has al-Qaida - the name given to the loosely affiliated terrorist network inspired by Osama bin Laden - not launched even one follow-up attack within the United States? Even more surprising is the fact that no Islamic terrorist organization of any kind has carried out such an attack on American soil since then.

Campos then provides three possible answers: one, the terrorists are in the planning phase of a devestating attack; two, that they are unable to launch a major attack, and underestimate the effect that a series of small attacks would have on the public; or three, that there simply aren't functioning terror cells in America at this time due to our response to 9/11. He concludes that this third possibility is the likely answer. This theory would seem to be backed by Occam's razor - the logical principle that the simplest explanation that can account for all the available facts is generally best.

Of course, there is a fourth possibility which Campos ignores: that, lacking an indigenous Islamicist presence, such foreign fighters as pulled off 9/11 are OTHERWISE OCCUPIED in Iraq. And that, after all, was the whole point of an agressive approach to fighting the War on Terror--fight them there so we don't have to fight them here.

So far, so good. (knock on wood)

Wilful Ignorance

The WaPo leads off this morning with an attack at the FDA vis-a-vis the morning after pill:

. . . As recently as last March, the FDA commissioner, Lester M. Crawford, implied as much at his confirmation hearing: "The science part is generally done," he said when asked about the approval process for Plan B. "We're just now down to what the label will look like." He also promised two senators, Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), that a decision would be made. According to some at the agency, drafts of the approval letter were under discussion.

Then, late last Friday afternoon, Mr. Crawford announced that the agency would delay approval once again. Citing "novel regulatory issues" and "profound" policy questions, he said that the new application required further study and public comment.

With this statement, Mr. Crawford not only broke his word to two senators, but he also put the agency at risk of losing its credibility. In recent months critics have accused the FDA -- which is required by law to make decisions exclusively on scientific and legal grounds -- of falling victim to outside political agendas.

The Post then goes on to cite the arguments of critics who, basically, say the Religious Right has leaned too hard and the FDA and the FDA has caved in.

Never mind that only this month we've learned that Health officials are investigating whether there are any links in the cases of four California women who have died since 2003 of massive infection after taking the so-called abortion pill, RU-486, and a follow-up drug.

Is it possible--just possible--that the FDA may be taking a little closer look at at abortofacients to see about the possibility of complications? Just possible? Note, of course that the Post says nothing about THAT in their editorial.

Likewise, is it also just possible that it is actually the Left that has politicized this whole debate to the point where the science of abortion gets ignored and women end up paying with their lives? Just possible?



What else can you do but pray?

Here's something you can do--

American Red Cross is looking for help manning the phone lines for the next several days. Denver locals can call 303-607-4750 for more information. Or to donate to the cause, go to the website for the Mile High Chapter of the Red Cross, and follow the link.


MSM Fails

Earlier today, I posited that the MSM had an opportunity to cover the dueling protests in Crawford today with a fairness and balance reflective of the balance of the population. Instead, what we seem to have gotten is ambiguity and obfuscation.

From the AP:

Several thousand people descended on President Bush's adopted hometown Saturday, most in a cross-country caravan for a pro-Bush rally and others to support an anti-war demonstration led by grieving mother Cindy Sheehan.

Bush supporters gathered for an event marking the culmination of the "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" tour, which started last week in California. The crowd of about 1,500 chanted, "Cindy, go home!"
[emphasis mine]

From the NYTimes: the AP story--it didn't even warrant coverage from the Times' staff writers.

From the WaPo, on page A03:

They arrived in thousands from all corners of the country, asserting their right to protest in the name of war and peace near President Bush's ranch. . .

Chief Donnie Tidmore, head of the seven-member Crawford police force estimated that 8,500 protesters had descended on his town.
[emphasis mine]

From the LATimes: so far, just the AP story, though the Sunday morning edition is not out yet.

Now, I'm pretty sure that the biggest number I've heard from the Sheehan camp is several hundred protesters, so even if 1,500 is the right number for the pro-Bush rally, that's significant. But take a look at the number Chief Tidmore cited--8,500. And the AP story admits that most of the protesters are there for the pro-Bush side.

Which leaves several questions:

:which number is right? or, most likely, is the number somewhere in between?
:what, exactly, is most? is that 55%-45%? 70-30? 85-15?
:is most of several thousand really 1,500? 'Cuz to me, "several" means at least 4, so "most" would have to be at least 2,000 . . .
:why does this protest not even warrant a staff reporter from the Times? did they have their own person on site for Cindy Sheehan?
:is page A03 really the best place for this story?

I went to the websites for the Waco Tribune and the Dallas Morning News, and didn't find a story there, other than the AP, so the local reporting doesn't seeem to be any more effective than the national reporting. Though, in fairness, their morning editions are not yet out, so it is hard to pronounce yet.

I'm looking forward to seeing real coverage of this event somewhere. I expect it--like Able Danger, Swiftboat Vet, and RatherGate--will get much better coverage somewhere in the blogosphere than anywhere on the MSM.

Freudian Slip?

The Denver Post lead editorial this morning is about the seeming rush NOT to be governor, noting the recent denials of candidacy by Mayor John Hickenlooper of Denver and the dropping out of Rutt Bridges. But in the course of making a tongue-in-cheek argument for former Mass. governor William Weld to run for governor, it slips through this little feaux pas.

Weld would be perfect here. He's a proven tax-cutter, and this is a celebrated tax-cut environment. He's a moderate Republican, just like Ken Salazar. Even better, he's never taken a controversial stand on Referendums A or C or D, or any other issue in Colorado history. That would make his campaign a lot less messy.

Yep, just like Ken Salazar. Other than that whole Ken-Salazar-is-a-Democrat thing.

Makes you wonder if the editors just missed that, or if they were taking a little swipe at their old friend Ken Salazar.

And making the argument that he's a tax-cutter in a celebrated tax-cut environment? Yeah, other than that whole Ref-C-$3 trillion-tax-hike-which-isn't-a-tax-hike-but-is-great-for-the-state thing.

But at least it was good for a morning chuckle.

MSM, Here's An Opportunity

This one-stoplight town of 700 residents near President Bush's ranch braced for thousands of visitors Saturday, most in a cross-country caravan for a pro-Bush rally and others to support Cindy Sheehan's anti-war demonstration.

More than 3,000 people were expected at the school football stadium for the culmination of the "You don't speak for me, Cindy!" tour that started last week in California. . . .

Meanwhile, hundreds were expected at Sheehan's camp for a somber Saturday ceremony honoring soldiers in Iraq. The protest, which has swelled from dozens on weekdays to about 1,000 the past two weekends, will end Wednesday.

Now, let's just see if the balance of the coverage reflects the balance of the populations present in Crawford. Anybody want to take bets?

Speaking of Doing Something Right . . .

(courtesy Hugh Hewitt)

If you haven't made your way over to Michael Yon's website to read the gripping account of a recent Marine firefight, you must get over there immediately. Do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect $300.

Not only is Michael Yon doing some very good reporting from a theater in which good reporting is as scarce as good sushi, but the stars of the story are young men of astonishing courage and clarity who really should make every American proud.

Catch 'Em Doing Something Right

Again, in this week's Sports Illustrated, I find a small story about an athlete and an organization who gets it--who does something good for the community or one member thereof. Unfortunately, I cannot find a link to this, so I'll write it out for your consideration:

In the midst of an Aug. 3 game against the Braves, Reds first baseman Jacob Cruz spotted what he thought was a brawl in the rightfield bleachers. "Then you realize it's not a fight," he says. "And then there's a stretcher and someone getting arted off. Then stories start trickling down." The unfortunate story, in this case, was that 49-year-old Reds fan Spencer Brock had died of a heart attack while with his six-year-old grandson, Antonio. Reds officials, realizing the boy was suddenly alone, invited Antonio into the clubhouse, where he talked to players after the game until his mother picked him up. But, says Cruz, "that's not the kind of memory you want him to have of a ball game." So Cruz began taking donations from his teammates, and last week he brought Antonio back to the park for another game--and gave him an electric scooter, a Sony PSP and a ball and glove.

With so much of the news from the world of sports being dominated by doping and Terrell Owens getting his 3 minutes on SportsCenter every night, I just thought we could all use a quick tale about an athlete who uses his position to help somebody out. Way to go, Mr. Cruz and the Cincinatti Reds.


THIS Is How You Make A Case

Two strong arguments were made yesterday for the importance of keeping on keeping on in Iraq. The first was a brilliant piece of analysis from Powerline's John Hinderocker:

One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties. The D-Day invasion was one of the greatest organizational feats ever achieved by human beings, and one of the most successful. But what if the only news Americans had gotten about the invasion was that 2,500 allied soldiers died that day, with no discussion of whether the invasion was a success or a failure, and no acknowledgement of the huge strategic stakes that were involved? Or what if such news coverage had continued, day by day, through the entire Battle of Normandy, with Americans having no idea whether the battle was being won or lost, but knowing only that 54,000 Allied troops had been killed by the Germans?

How about the Battle of Midway, one of the most one-sided and strategically significant battles of world history? What if there had been no "triumphalism"--that dreaded word--in the American media's reporting on the battle, and Americans had learned only that 307 Americans died--never mind that the Japanese lost more than ten times that many--without being told the decisive significance of the engagement?

Or take Iwo Jima, the iconic Marine Corps battle. If Americans knew only that nearly 7,000 Marines lost their lives there, with no context, no strategy, and only sporadic acknowledgement of the heroism that accompanied those thousands of deaths, would the American people have continued the virtually unanimous support for our country, our soldiers and our government that characterized World War II?

We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to state the obvious: being a soldier is a dangerous thing. This is why we honor our service members' courage. For a soldier, sailor or Marine, "courage" isn't an easily-abused abstraction--"it took a lot of courage to vote against the farm bill"--it's a requirement of the job.

Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present.
(emphasis mine)

And the second great argument was from what has become a surprising source: the President of the United States.

There are few things in life more difficult than seeing a loved one go off to war. And here in Idaho, a mom named Tammy Pruett -- (applause) -- I think she's here -- (laughter) -- knows that feeling six times over. (Applause.) Tammy has four sons serving in Iraq right now with the Idaho National Guard -- Eric, Evan, Greg and Jeff. Last year, her husband Leon and another son, Eren, returned from Iraq, where they helped train Iraqi firefighters in Mosul. Tammy says this -- and I want you to hear this -- "I know that if something happens to one of the boys, they would leave this world doing what they believe, what they think is right for our country. And I guess you couldn't ask for a better way of life than giving it for something that you believe in." America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruetts. (emphasis also mine)

It's about time the President got out in front of the argument a little bit. One question: why wasn't Tammy Pruett brought down to the Ranch the "meet" with Cindy Sheehan? Of course, there's probably a dozen reasons, but I ask that rhetorical question to make a larger point: Where the Hell have the President's PR people been for the last four weeks? Why haven't these arguments been made already by the President and his surrogates? It seems so patently obvious that this line of reasoning is irrefutable, yet the GOP acts completely bumfuzzled whenever the Left makes Vietnam comparisons or screams their rants before a rapt media.

Breaks are good--everybody needs to take a little break now and then. But the stakes are too high to leave it to bloggers--no matter how effective or influential--to make direct, pointed, and sometimes undiplomatic arguments on the President's behalf.

Let's hope yesterday's speech was just the beginning of the PR offensive.


Taking a Big Cut

I like George Will. Sure, he takes a certain elevated grasp of the English language to understand; and, sure, sometimes he wanders into cul-do-sacs of his own prose that need the other side of the roadmap to come back out of. But more often than not, he sees things as they are with as much clarity as anybody in the punditry business, and expresses his observations with acerbic wit reminiscent of Frasier Crane (except, of course, George Will has been around a lot longer . . . but I digress).

Tomorrow's offering is no different. Here is my favorite paragraph:

It [the GOP] is showing signs of becoming an exhausted volcano. Regarding Iraq, it is mistaking truculent asperity and tiresome repetition for Churchillian wartime eloquence. Regarding domestic policy, intellectual anemia has given rise to behavioral patterns not easily distinguished from corruption, as with the energy and transportation bills. Yet the Democratic Party, which by now can hardly remember the far-distant past when it was a volcano not of molten rhetoric but of serious thought, seems preoccupied with the chafing around its neck. The chafing is caused by the leashes firmly gripped and impudently jerked by various groups such as MoveOn.org that insist the party adopt hysteria as a policy by treating the Supreme Court nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. as a dire threat to liberty.

From the right side of the plate, a smash right back down the pitcher's gullet at the ineptness with which we wield a majority, and from the left, a high, lazy fly ball that inevitably finds the bleachers in right field in Wrigley, and there's nothing the pitcher or the right fielder can do about it.

From Farce to Ass (pardon the French)

I saw this in this week's edition of Sports Illustrated (I can't find the link right now):

CANCELED by Georgia football fans, a campaign to pay for the father of a Boise State player to travel from Iraq to Athens, GA, to watch the teams play on Sept. 3. Several members of an Internet message board for Georgia fans took up a collection to raise $2,700 for Dan Miller, the father of Boise State guard Tad Miller, after reading about him in a newspaper. (Dan is a retired police lieutenant who's training police officers in Baghdad.) But NCAA compliance officers at both schools quashed the idea because the payment would violate NCAA rules that bar athletes and their families from receiving special benefits from fans or boosters. "Makes no sense to me," said Sam Hendrix, the Georgia fan who launched the campaign. "It just hits me that . . .[the NCAA has] lost touch with reality."

A couple weeks ago I blogged about the silliness of the NCAA barring the use of "offensive" Native American mascots--but only for the playoffs--and ended by saying "George Orwell, phone home." And that was before I even knew about the presence of "compliance officers" at each school. Is it just me, or does that remind anybody about the old "political officers" that the Communist Party put on every naval boat and in every unit and organization of the old Soviet Union.

I tell you what: I used to think it was ridiculous for young student-athletes to skip a free education to turn pro as quickly as possible. Now, with all the garbage that this NGO rains down on the student-athlete and the programs, I'm not at all sure I would ever ENcourage a young man with professional-level ability to play in college. Get your money up front, come back for your education later when you don't have a full-time job (playing sports) to maintain and a "compliance officer" breathing down your neck.

By the way, that sure was a nice thing those Georgia fans were doing for an athlete from an opposition team. I might just have to root for the old Bulldogs this season.


And Speaking of Hypocricy . . .

Why is it that the "No More War" and "War Never Solved Anything" crowd are the ones most likely to resort to violence in a political campaign?

An Air Force officer accused of vandalizing bumper stickers supporting President Bush has been reassigned to a non-supervisory position, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Alexis Fecteau faces criminal mischief charges for allegedly blacking out Bush bumper stickers on cars at Denver International Airport and then spray-painting an expletive over them.

Add this to the lengthy list of violence against GOP campaigns and campaign workers during the 2004 election cycle, while not seeing a single credible example of violence on behalf of the GOP, and you have to ask yourself . . .

Which is the party of free speech, open debate, and a battle of ideas? And which is the party most similar to totalitarian regimes in its violent stifling of opposition?

Spare Me

The Left is all a-twitter again; this time because of some stupid remarks made by Rev. Pat Robertson. To refresh--or is it, to rehash:

On Monday, Robertson said on the Christian Broadcast Network's "The 700 Club": "We have the ability to take him (Chavez) out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

In reply, you have here, here and here to go for all the grandiose moral outrage you can stomach. And this, all from the American Left, that grand and august loose debating society which cries "opression" any time anyone says anything remotely in disagreement with their so-obviously superior moral positions.

Now, before going any further, let me reiterate that what Robertson said WAS STUPID! You know, other than that whole "Thou Shalt Not Kill" and "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord" thing, I'm pretty sure Robertson is speaking exactly for the entire remainder of the Religious Right. But let's keep perspective: Robertson is a FORMERLY influential person who still has his ministry but also a substantially diminished access to persons in power.

And, just for grins, let's roll the tapes:

"John Wilkes-Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr, where are you now that we need you?" the piece had asked.

U.S. President George W. Bush was targeted for assassination by Marxist rebels this week when he visited the city of Cartagena, a Colombian official said Saturday.

The man who has confessed to throwing a live grenade at President Bush during a rally in Georgia's capital says he hoped to kill the U.S. leader, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Or this:

All of which garnered exactly ZERO outrage from the Left. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

It isn't that what Pat Robertson said wasn't wrong--it was. It's the selective outrage from those who would assign that Wrongness to the entirity of the Right on the basis of one marginal figure's rantings, while not even noticing the same rantings from their own camp, that drives me nuts.

Get a fuctional moral compass. Until then, we'll police our own, thank you.

A Reasonable Discussion of an Unreasoned Fear

Al Lewis, the business riter for the Denver Post, has written an interesting column today. In it, he does something rare and strange for the mainstream media--HE TALKS TO AN EXPERT. And, in so doing, very smartly shoots down fears of high oil prices leading to massive inflation.

The Producer Price Index, which measures prices before they reach the consumer, was up 1 percent in July. And the department's Consumer Price Index, which measures how much consumers pay at the retail level, rose 0.5 percent in July.

Those seem like big spikes against a backdrop of 2.5 percent annualized inflation, but they are nothing compared with the double-digit inflation Americans came to fear in the 1970s. . . .

In the 1970s, the Fed flooded the world with dollars to soften the shock of high gasoline prices.

But we ended up with too many dollars chasing too few goods - the classic definition of inflation.

Today's Fed is doing the opposite. It's raising interest rates - thereby tightening the money supply - and allowing consumers to take the shock.

I'm no economist, so I appreciate that Lewis was able to put the whole problem in terms that a person whose understanding is limited by his exposure to high school economics class.

I would also say that, even if inflation is not a byproduct, gas prices are still a major shock to the average American's system, and a large part of the President's falling approval ratings. Now is the time for him to get out in front of the problem and propose market-based solutions to this problem--solutions like building nuclear power plants to alleviate the cost of heating homes, like building a few more refineries to increase our capacity for creating more oil, solutions like finding our own sources of oil to decrease our exposure to world-wide spikes in fuel demand.

And solutions like increased incentives (read:funding) for initiatives that would permanently end our dependence on the internal combustion engine.

Yes, folks--I'm a big proponent of the end of the internal combustion engine. But not because I believe human activity is a threat to the environment (for the record, I think that until the science behind the global warming debate gets more scientific, I'm going to remain agnostic), but because I think our long-term dependence on oil is a threat to both our economy and our national security.

If I had any skills as an inventor or engineer, I would be dropping my current job right now and devoting all my energies to coming up with an alternative to the IC engine. The person who can do that will be rich beyond their wildest imagination!! And will have struck a great blow for the common good.

Again, I say, it's time for the President to get out in front of this debate. He seems to be getting the lion's share of the blame for the problem--until he proposes a solution, there will be no way to shift that blame.


The End Of That Debate

Scientists for the first time have turned ordinary skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells -- without having to use human eggs or make new human embryos in the process, as has always been required in the past, a Harvard research team announced yesterday.

The technique uses laboratory-grown human embryonic stem cells -- such as the ones that President Bush has already approved for use by federally funded researchers -- to "reprogram" the genes in a person's skin cell, turning that skin cell into an embryonic stem cell itself.

Of course, there is still the question of whether ebryonic stem-cells ever develop into useful therapies--so far, all they're good for is creating tumors--or whether this is the most efficient expenditure of federal money. But if Michael J. Fox can simply go donate some of his own skin to create a treatment for his Parkinson's, this is one political football that just has no air left.

Another Box: 108 Box 45: JGR/Pro Bono (14)

Having gotten so much grist for the mill out of my previous assignment, I wrote the Generalissimo to get another box. He complied by assigning me Box 45.

Again, I find this largely useless. Some interesting stuff about NASA/Lockheed labor relations, which got handled with very little involvement from the White House. A complaint from a South African national about his victimization from crime in New York City, which Roberts bumped over to Justice. And a few other meaningless sort of "we have no objections from a legal standpoint" type of things.

But there is this:

Tom Minary has written Mr. Baker to urge him to have the Federal Bureau of Investigation launch an investigation into the "worst criminal fraud bribery and conspiracy scandal in the history of our country." That is, of course, the grain drying shrinkage schedule scandal . . .

Anybody who, upon having a job in the White House at a relatively young age, has the presence of mind to mock the typical Washington histrionics about crap that sounds like a toungue-twister to the rest of the country deserves whatever job he is qualified for--including Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.


RE: Box 9—John G. Roberts--UPDATED

So tonight I participated in the great “Adopt A Box of Docs” experiment started by Hugh Hewitt, in an effort to inform, through bloggers, the general public of what is in the latest document dump by the White House. I was assigned—by Generalissimo DuaneBox 09 JGR Chadha re: District of Columbia. And, lo and behold, what did I learn about John Roberts?

Zip. Zilch. Nada. Squat. Bupkus.

Just to give you an idea what this box was about, here is my rough table of contents:

Pp 1-10
memo from Stanley Harris, U.S. Attorney for D.C., to William Tyson, Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, detailing his objections to a proposal which would transfer primary prosecutorial responsibilities for the District of Columbia from the U.S. Attorney’s Office to a Local Prosecutor

P 11
Other supporting arguments

Pp 12 – 19
Memo detailing provisions for reimbursement of the federal
government by the District of Columbia for prosecutorial activities in the District, with list of attachments

Pp 20 – 47
Aforementioned attachments, every single one of which predates the Reagan administration, and thus John Roberts

I sincerely hope that every single one of these boxes of documents contains information of this value. A vigorous debate on the value of increased self-determination in the District of Columbia in which John Roberts appears to have not participated at all would be most useful in determining his fitness to sit the Supreme Court.

Of course, other documents will surely be more interesting. But every minute that Ralph Neas’ goons have to spend sifting through non-germane esoterica such as this is a minute well-spent by Ralph Neas’ goons.

UPDATE: Apparently, Dafydd got assigned another box 9, dealing with a similar subject matter, and with a decidedly more Roberts-intensive list of contents (in that it actually contained a memo by John Roberts). Read his take on his box here.



I got a letter today. This, in and of itself, is interesting; but what makes it moreso is the author of said letter: Senator John McCain.

A couple months back I e-mailed the good Senator (along with about 55 of his colleagues) arguing that the judicial filibuster deserves to be overridden, and he should honor the efforts of all those out here who worked tirelessly to elect a Republican President along with a Republican Senate. So this was his response--and, by the way, I'm not certain of the propriety of reproducing his letter in full, so if someone out there with a better grasp of blog etiquette has a comment, please do so quickly:

Dear ______________

Thank you for contatcting me to share your views regarding the filibustering of judicial nominees. I appreciate the opportunity to explain my position.

I support the President'sjudicial nominees, and I agree that Senate Democrats have too often used the filibuster to prevent the full Senate from exercising its responsibility to either confirm or reject his nominees. Recently, I and thirteen of my colleagues, seven Democrats and seven Republicans, agree to support an up or down vote on three of the President's judicial nominees who had previously been filibustered, and to resort to the filibuster only in the most extraordinary circumstances.

As of this writing, our agreement has paved the way for a successful confirmation vote on six nominees, including William Pryor, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. I am confident that the vast majority if not all of the Presiden's pending nominees to the federal bench who have been denied a confirmation vote or threatened with a filiubster as well as future nominees will receive a vote on the Senate floor thans, in large part, to our agreement and to our seven Democrat colleagues whoe good faith has been evident in their most recent votes to end the filibuster on the judges identified above. I would respectufully suggest that conservative critics of our agreement suspend judgment on the effect of our agreement or our motives until after it has been further tested in upcoming confirmation votes. It has clearly worked quite well thus far, and I anticipate it will continue to do so.

Senate rules specify that a two-thirds majority of Senators is required to chang a Senate rule. That has been the practive here for many, many years. The "constitutional" or "nuclear" option would have changed the Senate rule on filibusters with only a simple 51 vote majority. I opposed trying to change a rule by breaking another rule. In the past, Republicans have felt it necessary to use the filibuster to block a Democratic Presiden's nominees. We did not use the filibuster to block President Clinton's judicial nominees because we successfully prevented many of those nominees from coming to the Seante floor for a vote or from even receiving a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Please know that ayone who claims Republicans haven't prevented Democratic nominees who had the support of a mafority of Senators from receiving an up or down vote on the Senate floor is simply not telling you the truth. We have blocked nominees and in many instances we have had good reason to do so.

Someday, I hope none too soon, Republicans will again be in the minority and a Democrat will be elected President. I am not prepared to surrender a minoity right to restrain future Democratic Senate majorities and future Democratic presidents. Nor do I think it wise to chane Senate rule by freaking a Senate rule and perhaps encouraging a future Democratic majority from doing the same thing in debates on judicial nominees, other executive nominees, or even legislation. Having said that, I also believe the filibuster should be used only sparingly. I think the agreement we achieved has restored that discretion and sense of responsibility to the debate, making it clear the filibusters should only be emplyed in "extraordinary circumstances." Obviously, future nominations will further test our agreement, but the record so far is encouraging.

thank you for making me aware of your concerns.


John McCain
United States Senator

I don't know exactly where to start with this. Maybe with the smug self-congratulation: while it is true that six new judges have been approved by the Senate since this agreement, it is also surely true that these six would likewise be judges today had the "constitutional option" been invoked. Perhaps I could start with the subtle pessimism in his assessment that the GOP will not always be the majority: while that is likely true, it has been a long time since the Dems commanded both a ten-vote majority in the Senate and the White House. The thwarting of such an obvious majority seems the more egregious sin than the opposition by a majority. Or, I know, how about the wilful naivete with which he credits the Dems with a future reluctance to invoke the "constitutional option"?: Nor do I think it wise to change Senate rule by breaking a Senate rule and perhaps encouraging a future Democratic majority from doing the same thing . . . Does he honestly think that the Dems would not invoke the "C.O." at the first whiff of a filibuster?

Actually, I do share Sen. McCain's bright assessment of the current situation vis-a-vis judges; at the moment, the GOP does have the upper hand. But I also think the John Bolton fiasco needs to remind us that the Dems will not have second thoughts about going down the filibuster road in the future if they think nobody's looking.


RE: Cindy Sheehan

I have deliberately refrained from commenting on the spectacle of Ms. Sheehan in Crawford. Partly out of respect for her son's service, partly out of sympathy for her grief, and partly just because she seemed such a sad, rather pitiable figure.

But the longer this goes on, the more it seems clear to me that she has made herself a willing tool of both a very adroit PR campaign and a very complicit media. So I will, by way of commentary, simply remind Ms. Sheehan of the wisdom of William Shakespeare.

From Henry V, Act IV, scene 1

So, if a son that is by his father sent about merchandise do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a servant, under his master's command transporting a sum of money, be assailed by robbers and die in many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant's damnation: but this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services. . . Every subject's duty is the king's; but every subject's soul is his own.

Ms. Sheehan, your son CHOSE to go to Iraq--twice--to fight for a cause he believed in. Your grief at his untimely death gives you some standing to speak out, but please serve your grief with the same honor with which your son served his country.


Whose Job Is This?

Once again, we get a little bit of good economic news today.

This year's federal deficit will come in smaller than originally predicted, budget forecasters projected Monday, settling in at $331 billion, well below the $412 billion deficit record in 2004.

The surging revenues — July's tax receipts were the nation's highest in history for that month — and a steadily growing economy forced the Congressional Budget Office to lower its projection from last September, a month before the 2005 fiscal year started. At that time, the non-partisan CBO, charged with doing budget analyses for Washington lawmakers, estimated the deficit for 2005 would be $348 billion.

The CBO predicts a $314 billion deficit for the budget year starting Oct. 1.

Couple this with the following:

--Nonfarm employment grew by 207,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was
unchanged at 5.0 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Depart-
ment of Labor reported today.

--A year earlier, the number of
unemployed was 8.2 million and the jobless rate was 5.5 percent.

--This followed job gains of 126,000 in May and 166,000 in June
(as revised)

--Employment in professional and technical services increased by 23,000 in
July. Over the year, this industry has added 211,000 jobs.

--Average weekly earnings increased by 0.4 percent over the month to $543.58.
Over the year, both average hourly and weekly earnings grew by 2.7 percent.

--The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in June, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

In other words, jobs are up, wages are up, inflation is basically flat, and the budget deficit is shrinking.

So who can explain this:

The Rasmussen Consumer Index dropped three points on Monday to 102.6. That's the lowest level in twenty-one months (since October 28, 2003).

The Index, which measures the economic confidence of American consumers on a daily basis, has fallen nearly fourteen points over the past week.

Certainly, some of this is due to the rising price of gasoline. I have to admit, $2.30 for a gallon of gas is enough to make me cough every time I go by. But ALL OTHER INDICATORS ARE STARTLINGLY POSITIVE, except for consumer perception.

So, again, my question is WHOSE JOB IS IT to get the good news in the spotlight and hold it there? I know the media (all-Sheehan-all-the-time) is at least partly culpable, but for Chrissakes there is this whole bully pulpit thing. Let's get this stuff out there!


Horse to Camel to Mule

Have you heard this one? What do you get when you ask a committee to put together a horse? A camel.

What if that committee is a high-profile political commission? A camel with a bum leg and saggy humps.

What is this thing that the 9-11 Commission has turned out? I would submit: a mule.


I think we always knew that the commission was going to be nearly crippled by the political intrigue that was going on so publicly during the hearings. But I don't think anybody thought that the commission was going to be thoroughly corrupt.

Which is what it now appears to be.

The news of the commission's choosing to leave the information out of its report that they got from the Able Danger team brings into question ALL of the rest of the report.

But as much as I'd love to keep bagging on the commission, I have nothing useful to add to the already excellent coverage by Powerline, Captain's Quarter's and others.

So what I'm able to add to the coverage is this quick overview of the coverage of this story in the major papers tomorrow morning.

Remember, it was just this afternoon that the spokesman for the commission admitted that the commission had gotten briefed by Able Danger twice.

So, here's where the story appears tomorrow (today):

WaPo: page A09, 9 paragraphs
NYT: nothing
USAToday: unclear--online edition carries AP story from 1:30 this afternoon
WashTimes: unclear, though it does carry the AP story

Now, compare that to the non-stop coverage that the major papers gave to the much less useful or incendiary August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing, and you get an idea of where the media has chosen to lay its cards.

By the way, some on the right have already started to lay all of the blame for this at the feet of Jamie Gorelick and Rep. Hamilton. And to be sure, they deserve some blame--she as the motivation for the coverup (oops--did I use that word?) and he as the Dem vice chairman of the commission. But if this information got to the commission--as it now appears to have--then the whole commission is culpable, Republicans and Democrats alike.

I guess it just goes to show the underlying corruption ingrained into the Washington mindset.


Huh. We Might Have Been Even Dumber Than We Thought

More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

Now, let me interject a little skepticism: a Congressman and an anonymous source right off the bat. Okay--let's not drink the cool-aid just yet on this one.

In the summer of 2000, the military team, known as Able Danger, prepared a chart that included visa photographs of the four men and recommended to the military's Special Operations Command that the information be shared with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the congressman, Representative Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and the former intelligence official said Monday.

The recommendation was rejected and the information was not shared, they said, apparently at least in part because Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas. Under American law, United States citizens and green-card holders may not be singled out in intelligence-collection operations by the military or intelligence agencies.

I wonder if that information was not shared because everybody ran into this giant wall that Jamie Gorelick helped construct between intel and law. Just wondering.

Now, it's entirely possible that even knowing Atta and the other men might not have brovided us with the edge to stop 9/11.

But don't you think the odds might have been better?

The Measure Of A Man

My father was fond of quoting to me the old adage "you will be known by the company you keep." I'm sure there was an original attribution to that quote somewhere, but Dad never included it, so I am similarly unable to.

At any rate, it seems to me that that adage very comfortably mutates into "you will be known by those who refuse to keep company with you." Or worse, those who willingly, knowingly, and blatantly lie to besmirch you.

Given that, I would say we know very well the quality of John Roberts.

From the National Abortion Rights Action League ad now running in a number of markets around the country:

Announcer: "Seven years ago a bomb destroyed a woman's health clinic In Birmingham, Alabama."
Lyons: ""The bomb ripped my clinic. I almost lost my life. I will never be the same."

Announcer: ""Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber."

Lyons: "I am determined to stop this violence, so I'm speaking out."

Well, NO, he did not file any such briefs. In point of fact, the brief he filed (as the third signatory below Ken Starr, Solicitor General, and Stuart Gerson, Assistant Attorney General) never even mentions the convicted clinic bomber (since,of course, the bombing referred to did not hppen until eight years later), nor does it refer to any so-called fringe groups other than Operation Rescue. The bulk of the argument is based on whether the Court should apply the "Ku Klux Klan" statute to the activities of Operation Rescue. The amicus brief set out to argue the following:

1. Whether a conspiracy to deter pregnant women from obtaining
abortions involves the kind of class-based animus required by 42
U.S.C. 1985(3).

2. Whether obstructing access to a medical facility deprives
out-of-state patients of their constitutional right of interstate

It made its way--through logic, facts and the law--to the following conclusion:

In sum, defining the class as "women seeking abortions" does not
further the analysis, since petitioners conduct demonstrations for the
purpose of stopping clinics from performing abortions, not to injure
women because of their gender. Even if women are a class protected by
Section 1985(3), defining the relevant class in terms of an activity
in which women alone can engage does not prove that petitioners'
intent is invidious. The fact remains that abortion is a medical
procedure that fits into a category all by itself, and it is for the
purpose of bringing that singular procedure to a halt that petitioners
hold their demonstrations. That intent does not satisfy the animus
requirement of Griffin and Carpenters v. Scott.

In other words, "women seeking abortions" are not a protected class of citizens under federal law, so the federal system has no jurisdiction in this case.

But even more than that blatant lie is the complete distortion of the outcome of the brief. By a 6-3 split the Court agreed with the side Judge Roberts wrote on behalf of--AND THE PROTESTERS AND THE BOMBER WERE STILL PROSECUTED because existing state laws were more applicable to the case and adequate to the prosecution.

What is startling about this is how even the President of NARAL is distancing herself from the overt purpose of the ad, while still managing to spout lies and distortions. So spake Nance Keenan:

I want to be very clear that we are not suggesting Mr. Roberts condones or supports clinic violence. I’m sure he finds bombings and murder abhorrent. But still his ideological view of the law compelled him to go out of his way to argue on behalf of someone like Michael Bray, who had already been convicted of a string of bombings.”

First of all, you're right that you're not SUGGESTING that Roberts supports violence--YOU"RE OUTfreakin'RIGHT SAYING IT! And he did not go "out of his way" to argue--he was doing his job, being asked by the President through the AG's office under the supervision of the Solicitor General to write a brief!!

The real question for Keenan el al. is this: if your case against Roberts is this weak, and your grasp on the "Right to an Abortion" is so tenuous, that you have to resort to such blatant lying, THEN DOESN"T THE WHOLE OF YOUR POSITION VIS-A-VIS ABORTION AMOUNT TO AN INTELLECTUAL HOUSE OF CARDS? Isn't it time to give up the game, when you HAVE to cheat to even be on the field?


Nothing Serious

Not much to get exercised about tonght, but I was able to spend a few minutes this afternoon watching a tape-delay broadcast of NFL football.

For those of you from outside the Denver area, you have no idea what a hopeful sign this really is. With the NHL strike, this has been a long summer without professional sports . . .

What about the Rockies?

Like I said, long summer without professional sports.

So, as the Broncos begin to get closer to playing, and the nights start cooling off a little--

By the way, if you've never been in Colorado in autumn, you are missing something wonderful. We may not be as colorful as our Appalachian brothers, but our days are very warm, our nights are quite cool, and it's all very Camelot-ian.

--there is actually a local diversion worth following.


The End Is Near--But Only In The Playoffs

As if political correctness wasn't rampant enough on college campuses; now the bureaucracy has decided it needs wider latitude over the governance of mascots.

The NCAA (search) banned the use of American Indian mascots by sports teams during its postseason tournaments, but will not prohibit them otherwise.

The NCAA's executive committee decided this week the organization did not have the authority to bar Indian mascots by individual schools, committee chairman Walter Harrison (search) said Friday.

Nicknames or mascots deemed "hostile or abusive" would not be allowed on team uniforms or other clothing beginning with any NCAA tournament after Feb. 1, said Harrison, the University of Hartford's (search) president.

This is just mind-numbing. Beyond the whole stupid PC thing, let's just look at the logical consequences of such a thing. Come January, 2007, let's all look forward to the National Championship Game between the Florida State . . . Sentinels? . . . and the Utah . . . Ukeleles? . . And for the highlight films for such an event, would editors have to go back through all the tape and blur out any reference to the real names? And how far does it extend? For instance, would the marching Bands have to get new uniforms to remove the logos or lettering that referred to the original mascot?

And for that matter, why stop at American Indians? I'm sure there are thousands of people who were affected by the recent hurricanes that have struck the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama, and elsewhere--will the Miami Hurricanes have to change their name? But only for postseason?

George Orwell, phone home.


Good Writing

I always appreciate good writing. And when that good writing is directed at paying tribute to our fighting men and women, all the better.

Today's example is from this week's Sports Illustrated, penned by Steve Rushin (link unavailable at this time). I'll give you the conclusion--you should seek it out to read the rest of it.

And he goes by often. Rooney, who flies six days a month for the Air Force, holds a day job with a golf company that owns a course in Michigan, where he was playing last week on vacation. "Now I play without fear," he says. "I know golf is not life and death."

Funny how life works. Two college golfers aspire to greatness. One goes on tour and performs heroically under pressure. And the other becomes Tiger Woods.

What Dobson Really Said

You know, the thing that means so much to me here on this issue (embryonic stem cell research) is that people talk about the potential for good that can come from destroying these little embryos and how we might be able to solve the problem of juvenile diabetes. There's no indication yet that they're gonna do that, but people say that, or spinal cord injuries or such things. But I have to ask this question: In World War II, the Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind. You know, if you take a utilitarian approach, that if something results in good, then it is good. But that's obviously not true. We condemn what the Nazis did because there are some things that we always could do but we haven't done, because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality. And you remove ethics and morality, and you get what happened in Nazi Germany. That's why to Senator (Senate Majority Leader Bill) Frist (R-TN) and the others who are saying, "Look what may be accomplished." Yeah, but there's another issue, there's a higher order of ethics here.

Again, a mistake to invoke the Nazis.

But he is NOT calling doctors who do such research Nazis; he is NOT calling Bill Frist "Hitler"; he is NOT calling Michael J. Fox or Christopher Reeves' widow "Goebbels" or "Goering". His point is to demonstrate the dangers of any line of scientific inquiry absent ethics and morality.

He could have done this without the Nazi reference. But such a stark statement does remind us of the worst things that humans are capable of, even when in pursuit of the "greater good."

Just because we CAN do a thing, it does not necessarily follow that we SHOULD do a thing.

Kettle, Meet Pot; Pot--Kettle

The local Lefty outlet has sent out a press release, which reads thus in part:

On his radio broadcast yesterday, James Dobson compared stem cell research to Nazi atrocities. Using the suffering of millions at the hands of the Nazis for his personal political gain was beyond the pale, even for Dr. Dobson.

Now, let me say first, that I am an advocate of the "Rule Of Hitler-isms"--once you resort to comparing anything to Hitler or the Nazis, you've pretty much given up the reasonable high ground in any argument. And, to be fair, I also have not heard or read Dobson's comments--I'll get around to that later.

But let's just for a moment compare this outlet's past record of reacting to "using the suffering of millions at the hands of the Nazis for his personal political gain" to this, shall we?

On Dick Durbin comparing the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo to the Nazis:


On Robert Byrd comparing the Constitutional Option with regard to the judicial filibuster to the tactics used by Hitler:


On Rick Santorum (Republican) invoking the Nazis to make a rhetorical point re: the faux outrage of the Dems vis-a-vis the judicial filibuster:

I'm sure it sounded good at the time, but I really don't get it. Oh, wait a minute, it's some kind of majority-uber-alles thing.

Crap, now I'm doing it...

On MoveOn.org holding a commercial contest, one of which entries faded the picture of Bush into the picture of Hitler, calling the two the same:


On Judge Guido Calebresi saying Bush rose to power in much the same way as Hitler or Mussolini:


On Al Gore calling the use of blogs and other new media similar to the Brownshirts (Nazi political enforcemnent troops):


Do you see the pattern?

NOBODY should be invoking the name of Hitler or the Nazis to make any sort of comparison to the political maneuverings in 2005 America. NOBODY!

But spare me the selective outrage. It's laughable, and silly, and. . .well . . .

SO symptomatic of today's Democrats.


Common Sense Which Is Bound To Spur A Lawsuit

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, which represents the heads of police departments in the United States and across the world, has issued new guidelines saying that officers who confront a suicide bomber should shoot the suspect in the head.

I'm sure that the ACLU will be out in short order decrying this as "vigilantiism" or "racially biased against Muslims" (in the same way that the death penalty is racially biased) or a violation of "Due Process." There will always be something the nags and ninnies want to sue over.


What Are The Odds?

. . .that I would agree with BOTH Washington Post editorials in one day?

The first, related to Iraq:

. . .the announcement yesterday that they intend to finish the draft document in time for the parliament to approve it by Aug. 15 -- a decision that partly reflects U.S. opposition to a postponement -- is extremely good news. As the Iraqi elections in January proved, positive steps taken toward a permanent, legitimate government boost the morale of those Iraqis who want to live in a peaceful society . . .

And the second, vis-a-vis John Bolton:

having thwarted the usual process under which the Senate gets to vote on a president's nominee, it takes a bit of chutzpah for Democrats now to cry foul at Mr. Bush's decision to exercise his other option. . .

An ambassador who lacks the explicit support of Congress speaks less securely for the nation than one who enters the U.N. Security Council with the Senate's blessing. But, again, whose fault is that? Democrats had every chance to muster the votes to defeat the nomination; they couldn't do it. If Mr. Bolton is now heading to New York without the Senate's imprimatur but with a figurative asterisk beside his name, that's only because, having failed to defeat him, a minority refused to lose gracefully.

That which I highlit could be the epitath of the Democratic Party, circa 2005.

The Sort Of Judicial Philosophy I Could Support

. . . “judges must be constantly aware that their role, while important, is limited.”

“They do not have a commission to solve society’s problems, as they see them, but simply to decide cases before them according to the rule of law,” . . .

So wrote Supreme Court nominee John Roberts in a response to the Senate Judiary Committee questionaire.

By this one answer he declares a humility before the Constitution and the system set up by the founding fathers, and a sense of restraint with regard to the application of Constitutional principles.

THAT is what I want in a judge.


This Is Out There, Even For The NYTimes

The New York Times Editorial Page seems to be channeling all sorts of insider information and ability to discern motivations out of thin air. Check this one out:

If there's a positive side to President Bush's appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations yesterday, it's that as long as Mr. Bolton is in New York, he will not be wreaking diplomatic havoc anywhere else. Talks with North Korea, for instance, have been looking more productive since Mr. Bolton left the State Department, and it's hard not to think that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's generally positive performance in office is due, in part, to her canniness in dispatching Mr. Bolton out of Washington.

Well, at least she's getting credit for "canniness." Pretty impressive how the Times can divine her motivation for that move. By the way, where has Bolton been? Last I checked, he's been hanging out around the Senate a lot, and actually plans to keep his primary office at the State Department, rather then at Turtle Bay.

But then--THEN--it gets positively laughable.

But the appointment is, of course, terrible news for the United Nations, whose diplomats have heard weeks of Senate testimony about Mr. Bolton's lack of respect for their institution and his deeply undiplomatic, bullying style of doing business. Senator George Voinovich, the Ohio Republican who became one of Mr. Bolton's strongest critics, said yesterday that he planned to send the new ambassador a book on how to be an effective manager. It couldn't hurt, but this may be the first time a world superpower has used its top United Nations post as a spot for the remedial training of a troublesome government employee.

Yep, the man who laid the groundwork for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and who has been crucial in many internal Washington debates, is nothing more than a troublesome government employee. And if ANYBODY is in a position to give advice on management, it would certainly be George Voinovich.

Perhaps the Times should be more forceful about asking about remidial accounting personnel at the United Nations.

Iran Is No Threat . . . Yet

A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.

My question is this: why, after all the time it has spent tearing apart our Intel community, is the MSM willing to buy into, and thus, report, something coming out of that community?


On Bolton

President Bush bypassed Congress Monday and appointed John Bolton (search) to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

This is not really news. I think everybody and their mother knew that this was coming. What I like is the style: the first business day of the Congressional recess, early in the morning, two or three days after a new eruption of "controversy." This is the President, as has become his style, saying "to Hell with you, obstructionists--this is what I want to do."

Very good style.

Plame: Who's Who Among Double Top-Secret Super Agents

I can't take any credit at all for this, but I found it hilarious. So, if there happens to be anybody out there who reads me but doesn't read Captain's Quarters,(first of all, what's wrong with you?) get you browser over here as quickly as possible.

Some Story, No Story, Whatever--They're Trying

Some outlets were reporting today the the Iraqis were going to ask for an extension to get their Constitution written. According to Dexter Filkins and Joel Brinkley, that's not right--they're committed.

Under intense American pressure, Iraqi leaders agreed Sunday to finish writing the country's constitution by the middle of August, raising the possibility that they will leave unresolved some of the fiercest disagreements over the future of the Iraqi state.

The 71 Iraqis empowered to write the constitution turned down a proposal to extend the Aug. 15 deadline by six months, an extension that some Iraqis contend is necessary to help bridge the vast differences that still divide Iraq's Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

Among the most divisive issues are the rights of women, the role of Islam and the scope and reach of Kurdish self-rule.

These are pretty touchy issues, to be sure. I suppose, if it took James Madison and George Washington three months, plus the Federalist Papers and that whole ratification thing to get our Constitution, it should take these guys, who have a recent history of Saddam and God knows what other history before that, a little while to get their thing done, also.

But these guys got a taste of Freedom on January 31st. I don't expect they'll be pushing away from the table any time soon.

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