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


SCOTUS Rules Against the President In Hamdan [UPDATED]

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.

As expected, the Court ruled 5-3, with Justice Kennedy joining the liberal block and Chief Justice Roberts recusing himself. In a sharply worded dissent Justice Thomas got it about right:

The court's willingness, Thomas said, "to second-guess the determination of the political branches that these conspirators must be brought to justice is both unprecedented and dangerous."

But, never fear, one of the Justices gave the President an out:

from Breyer's concurrence: "Indeed, Congress has denied the president the legislative authority to create military commissions of the kind at issue here. Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary,"

Anybody want another election-year issue for Congress? If it's framed right, this one is tailor-made for the GOP to corner the Dems into siding with the Belgian Parlaiment and the ACLU on the side of terrorists, or to give the President the authority he needs to deal with the detainees.

I am also reminded of Merryman, ex parte and the example of another controversial President . . .

UPDATE: As if on cue, Nancy Pelosi calls the decision a "triumph", and muddles reality (in a way ONLY Nancy Pelosi can) with this statement: "[this decision is] a reminder of our responsibility to protect both the American people and our Constitutional rights." Somebody on her staff ought to remind her that these people are not Americans and are not entitled to "our" rights.

SCOTUS Affirms Legislatures' Rights To Draw Districts

The decision is here.

. . . because appellants (read: Democrats) have established no legally impermissible use of political classifications, they state no claim on which relief may be granted as to their contention that Texas' statewide redistricting is an unconstitutional political gerrymander.

Moreover, the Court held that legislatures can redraw districts as often as they want, not just once every ten years in conjunction with the census.

I wonder if that might open the door to re-assessing the Colorado redistricting from 2002? And it certainly gives a good reason to work hard to take back the state legislature this time around.

My Letter to My Representative

Rep. Beauprez--

I have been very proud to be represented by you in Congress, and I wish you the very best in your quest to be Governor.

Regarding Resolution 895, I am dismayed and appalled at the lack of courage shown by the House GOP in not specifically naming the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. When the revelation of this program--in conjunction with the other damage done to the National Security by a growing list of stories about classified programs--ends up getting Americans killed, does the GOP really imagine that the two Times would be similarly reluctant to assign specific blame?

The House should summon the fortitude to hold the two Times specifically accountable for their roles in giving away important national security programs. Please take the lead in amending Resolution 895 or in proposing a competing resolution with real bite.

Feel free to copy this. I think a caucus that is unable to summon the fortitude to call a traitor out by name is also unable to expect me to get excited about helping get them elected.


A Matter Of Priorities

So glad the Senate has time for this.

Mind you, I love the flag as much as the next guy--I stand, and everything when it goes up.

But the flag is a pretty pointless symbol if our elected officials can't muster the courage to defend the country against misguided and arrogant members of the press and the bureaucracy.

One day of Senate debate on this--that's about all it would have taken to get through a Sense of the Senate Resolution on the NYTimes.

Senator Frist, get in touch with the mothership, please.

And, just in case you're curious, here's the roll call on the Flag burning thing. Note: Senator Salazar voted 'yes' on this one. Ah, the difficult middle . . .


A Word Or Two On The Story Of The Day

The blogosphere is all a-flutter about the New York Times publishing of the SWIFT program which has successfully tracked terrorist financial transactions over the last fve years. And I'm sure it will get pretty worked up tomorrow about the Times revealing the contents of a plan for drawing down American troop levels in Iraq by the end of next year.

And you know what? It should be all a-flutter.

But a couple of words: first, I was travelling yesterday, and had a lengthy layover in Dallas Airport. And, sadly, the only thing on the airport TVs was CNN. And you know what? In the three Headline News loops I saw I never saw the story come up. Not once. So if this really was such a big story why wasn't CNN piling on? Sure, there was the terror arrests in Florida that helped, but CNN has never been one to let a real news cycle slow down its agenda. And while I'm sure that terrorists read the Times piece with great interest, it's interesting that this story is not likely to make a huge domestic impact.

And secondly, it's time to start putting the blame for the continuing War on the War where it at least partially belongs: on the shoulders of the administration. Let's be honest, as conservatives, we were all very happy to point out that blame for 9/11 fell on previous administrations for their tepid response to terror attacks past. So, to be fair and consistent, we must also acknowledge that the continuing attacks on the war effort by the press are, at least in part, due to the lack of response by this administration to previous attacks. Starting with the reporting of the charade that was the 9/11 commission, followed by reporting on secret CIA prisons (yet to be found), failure to report on Iraqs WMDs, the report about the telephone intercept program, the data mining--there have been plenty of violations of classified materials and government secrecy. But not a single high-profile investigation, not one prosecution, much less any convictions to help send a message to both the press and the bureaucracy.

When a child behaves badly, blame is rightly placed on the parents; if the press and the bureaucracy--and the Democrats--choose to act like ill-mannered children, then the grown-ups need to act accordingly. By not doing so for five years, the Bush administration has all but given carte blanche to its enemies to pursue whatever course they want to to thwart and obstruct the administration's efforts to keep Americans safe.

It's time for the grown-ups to step in and bring a halt to War on the War. Before someone gets killed.

Back From Vacation

I'm back. And a jolly good time was had by all.

And, just as an observation, once you calculate all the restaurants, all the landscaping, the engineering, the planning and creating, the background music, and all the other little touches all over the Disney World properties, is it possible that there is no greater single concentration of talent anywhere in the world than in Kessimmee, FL--specifically the Disney World properties?

Everywhere I looked, every little bit of background music, every bit of food and drink--and all before we even got to the rides--was impeccably done. And there were some in our party who thought the place had slipped a bit since we were last there.

A word of advice to graduates: if you don't really know what you want to do with your life, and don't feel like wasting a year or two of college trying to figure it out, get a job or an internship with the Disney Corporation. Learn about doing things right, and it really won't matter what field you choose to apply that training to.


Checking Out

Going on vacation. Not likely to post. Stay in touch with the other members of the Alliance.

Have a nice week.

Disneyworld, HERE WE COME!!!!


Election Analysis

In case you missed it, RedState has a pretty good analysis of the state of play for the Senate this Fall. Their conlusion:

Just to make it easier to keep score at home, these ten seats currently break 6-4 for the GOP, so, yes, Republicans need to win more than half of them to avoid losing ground, while the Dems need to win at least nine of them (all ten, unless the one GOP winner is Chaffee and he switches sides) to retake the Senate. There's also a few other races that may not be competitive but will require the frontrunner to break a sweat, like VA (Allen-R) and AZ (Kyl-R), maybe NV (Ensign-R), and in Dem primaries Joe Lieberman and Daniel Akaka, although Lieberman should win even if he loses his primary. FL, NE, ND and WV remain the GOP's big recruiting failures, where potentially competitive races got away from us.

Their analysis seems pretty right, to me. The key to me, however, is the section I highlit. In Florida, Katherine Harris is as weak a candidate as we've got anywhere; NE should have been Tom Osborne's seat, but he decided to challenge an incumbent Republican governor (and lost); North Dakota and West VA are beyond my expertise, but I agree that these are sad missed opportunities for the GOP.

Nonetheless, it does look a bit more optimistic that the GOP will hold--maybe lose a couple, but not power--especially if Iraq and the economy keep going the way they're going right now.


Three Investigations

Two coming to a merciful end with little accomplishment, and one with a reasonable recommendation to save my favorite school a little embarassment.

--Karl Rove will not be indicted. So much for Fitzgerald. Maybe it could be recognized just a little bit that of all the leaks in the last three years, few have had LESS real impact on the world than the Plame Fiasco. And the Left deflates . . .

--Duke Rape Case Falling Apart. But it all seemed so legitimate all along. Mike Nifong needs to get spanked down by a higher authority for this fiasco.

And in the win column for the good guys:

--Ward Churchill should be fired, concledes panel. Or, at least, so concluded the majority of the panel. Kinda reassuring that a group representing the University is still capable of a rational decision.

You Mean This Whole Growth Thing Works?

From Investor's Business Daily via Instapundit:

Aided by surging tax receipts, President Bush may make good on his pledge to cut the deficit in half in 2006 — three years early.

Tax revenues are running $176 billion, or 12.9%, over last year, the Treasury Department said Monday. The Congressional Budget Office said receipts have risen faster over the first eight months of fiscal '06 than in any other such period over the past 25 years — except for last year's 15.5% jump.

The 2006 deficit through May was $227 billion, down from $273 billion at this time last year. Spending is up $130 billion, or 7.9%

But I thought. . . well, hasn't the press and the Washington establishment been saying . . . but the deficit is a runaway train that only gets worse every time Bush et al cut taxes.

You know what it is? Democrats are pathologically incapable of recognizing cognitive dissonance, so news like this has no power to shake their foundation like it should.

Maybe those Senators on the wrong side of the Death Tax vote last week should take a moment to rethink their position.

Interesting Read From An Unlikely Source

I almost never read the sports page anymore. I just don't have time. Besides, I get almost all my news online now, and that definitely tilts towards the "news" news and not the sports news. But today was a little different--I was in class (yes I'm taking some school this summer--thus my light blogging last week), bored, and the sports page was just sitting on the table behind me, so I read it.

And I ran into this most interesting article by The Post Sports columnist Terry Frei. Definitely worth the whole read, but I'll give you what got my attention:

I quibble with the widely espoused view that a major driving force in modern journalism is a "liberal bias." Rather, I concede that a more common phenomena is the rush to stake out "sensitive" positions and the accompanying quest to be perceived as enlightened, and that's not necessarily the same thing as a "liberal bias."

Not NECESSARILY . . Got that?

Actually, the rush to be sensitive, to be perceived as enlightened, is a quality held almost exclusively by "liberals." But, whatever. . .

He goes on to document the actual results of the allegations at C.U. football--that is, NOTHING--draws a contrast to the coverage of the Ward Churchill incident (more on this in a moment), and draws a nice little circle around the Duke Rape Case.

His point? The rush to be "sensitive" has caused an indelible scar on the reputation of C.U. and cancelled an entire season for Duke while permanently trashing the reputation of three young men with, apparently, no cause whatsoever.

So maybe in this process, somewhere, it should occur to these "sensitives" that they should be a little less careless about convicting peole in public--if so "sensitive" let's try not to just ruin people all willy-nilly.

Is there perhaps, a lesson in here, somewhere? Wait--it'll come to me. Hadi . . . Hami . . . Riditha . . . . No, seriously, it'll come to me.


And, By the Way . . .

Ding, Dong, the #%%&*! is Dead!!

And the best part of all of it was that Zarqawi was alive to see the Americans, to know what had happened to him, and to have Americans attempting to preserve his sorry life. Not exactly living by the same standard of mercy as the terror leader lived by.


Stray Thoughts


A Denver judge gave Marc Holtzman a spot on the Aug. 8 Republican primary ballot Friday, even though the courts have yet to determine if he has enough valid signatures to qualify for the primary.

The decision by Denver District Judge R. Michael Mullins gave Holtzman's gubernatorial campaign a boost, even though Mullins said that if he is disqualified from the ballot, any votes cast for him will not be counted.

So while Holtzman has been spending all his time for two weeks fighting just to get his name on the ballot--maybe--and guaranteeing that Bob Bauprez has to spend time and energy on the primary, Bill Ritter has managed to out-fundraise both GOP candidates combined for the last two months, and he picked up the endorsement of some Republicans who supported Ref C last fall. Great.


The proposed ballot initiative would prohibit illegal immigrants in Colorado from receiving all taxpayer-funded public services except those required by the federal government - K-12 education, emergency medical care and assistance in the event of a public safety emergency.
Defend Colorado Now did not outline exactly what services would be prohibited, choosing instead to leave that decision - and how the measure would be enforced - to the legislature.
But in a 4-2 opinion, with one justice abstaining, the Supreme Court ruled Monday the proposed constitutional amendment violates a requirement that ballot questions deal only with one subject [emph. mine].

In the majority opinion, Justice Alex J. Martinez wrote that the measure asks voters to approve two subjects: decreasing taxpayer funds for medical and social services, and restricting "administrative services" such as registering a vehicle or filing property deeds with the county recorder.

To put it just right:

The Colorado Supreme Court embarrassed itself Monday by apparently letting its political predilections determine an important decision. . . .

The court really had to reach to find that second subject, prompting us to conclude it worked backward from the finding it wanted instead of forward from the arguments made.
The court killed the proposal despite approving virtually identical language two years ago without dissent. That proposal never made the 2004 ballot because sponsors couldn't gather the signatures in time.


The Colorado Department of Education has served notice on 19 teacher-training programs that it's time to bring their curriculums into the 21st century.

Two programs, at Adams State College and the University of Northern Colorado, which were up for reaccreditation this year, were told that they would get only a one-year, conditional approval rather than the usual unconditional five. And the private University of Phoenix was turned down entirely . . .

Once upon a time, the University of Northern Colorado was THE teacher training school in the region, and it still enjoys an outstanding reputation--not to mention that it still turns out a sizable portion of the new teachers in Colorado every year.

Which means a sizable portion of the new teachers every year are unprepared for their profession. Which means nothing, in the real world. But in the education world, it means no chance of being dismissed for doing a poor job, coupled with the "mistakes" being victimizing a whole generation of students.



Mexico 3, Iran 1


I wonder if Vincente Fox insisted that the Iranians allow 3 of Mexico's players to play on their team and get equal playing time and equal pay?


So Much For THAT Strategy

As of this posting, 12:39 am on Wednesday morning, with 42% of the precincts reporting, Brian Bilbray has over 49% of the vote, while Francine Busby is sitting just below 45%.

Right up front, let's just stipulate that it's still early, I suppose. A lot can happen between now and sunrise. BUT, let's just say that this holds up, because most of the time, if this were the margin with this percent of precincts reporting, the Democrat would have been declared the winner. This seems to point out two obvious things as we look towards the Fall:

1. "Culture of corruption" is a pretty limited strategy

2. Immigration--both the good and the gaffes--IS a major issue, and one that Republicans cannot afford to get wrong.

I will be very curious to see the exit polls tomorrow, as well as seeing what the turnout was for this election, as that was also supposed to be a point in the Dems' favor this Fall.

Updates as available.

UPDATE: 1:19 am, 51% reporting: Bilbray 49.66%, Busby 44.84%

UPDATE: 1:46 am, 66.2% reporting: Bilbray 49.69, Busby 44.89. Wondering when this race is going to be called.

UPDATE: 6:34 am, 96.2% reporting: Bilbray 49.48, Busby 45.28. Game over, this seat remains Republican. And, once again, Howard Dean demonstrates his value as party chairman.


Right Idea, Wrong Approach

As the Senate began debate on the amendment barring same-sex marriage, the president summoned supporters to the White House to hear his plea that marriage "not be redefined by activist judges." The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has legalized same-sex marriage, and courts in other states have nullified voter-approved referendums that would ban it.

I believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman. I believe marriage is a Sacrament, instituted by God, affirmed by Jesus, and not particularly subject to the whim of judges in the state of Massachusetts or any other state.

However, the Constitution has granted the right and duty to decide licensing details to the several states. And it is in that forum that such decisions should be made--not Congress.

If the Senate were really interested in this issue, it would dedicate this week to passing a long slate of judges out of committee, to the floor, and through confirmation, rather than alter the Constitution to deal with this one, limited issue.


Something Unserious

The Colorado Rockies have been a very pleasant surprise this year. The young guns were producing runs, the home-grown pitching was stringing together quality start after quality start, and the team seemed to be finding ways to win games in the clutch.

But with tonight's loss the team falls back to .500 for the first time since the first week of the year.

Not bad from this bunch. 54 games in (schedule-wise one-third of the way home to 162), and on the first game of June (calendar-wise one-third), this team is sitting on a .500 record. Certainly better than anyone had any right to expect.

In case you haven't been paying attention. There's more to Colorado sports right now than a quarterback with, um, shall we say, temper issues.


Time To Leave The Windmills Alone

I have been reluctant to join my fellow Alliance members in calling for Marc Holtzman to withdraw from the race for the Republican nomination for governor (see here or here or here). Partly because I understand what a tremendous investment has already been made in the campaign, and partly because I like Marc. The one opportunity I've had to meet him was an eye-opener for me--here was a very bright, passionate, and articulate man who was using some cutting-edge technology to supplement a campaign that had all the appearances of being extremely professional. And while I never endorsed either candidate, I was hoping for a high-level, vigorous debate that would serve to make the party stronger.

But I believe the time has come for Marc Holtzman to graciously bow out of the race and put his full weight behind Bob Beauprez.

This, following today's announcement that the Secretary of State of Colorado has rejected Holtzman's petition to get on the primary ballot on the basis of falling short in two of the seen congressional districts.

In and of itself, this is not a killer blow--Holtzman has five days to appeal, and it seems quite plausible that some of the rejected signatures were simply not matched up to correct addresses and county locales.

But this is not in and of itself. The campaign itself has gone through enormous difficulties with personnel, did not reach the 30% threshold in the state convention, which would have guaranteed him a spot on the primary ballot, and was asked by a sizeable contingent of GOP activists to step aside. This all adds up to more than just a killer blow--he is, essentially, buried at this point.

The campaign always seemed a bit . . .Quixotic . . . in nature. Marc has never held elected office, and other than among D.U. alums, is not exactly a household name in Colorado. And while there is a certain charm to the underdog, there is also something sad about refusing to notice reality, and something potentially very harmful to continuing this campaign.

However, I still believe Marc Holtzman has a lot to offer Colorado. He should start working within the Party to implement some of his ideas about youth movement, and to fundraise and oherwise assist GOP candidates to take back the state legislature, which could do a lot to move his fiscal ideas forward. He could build his name and reputation, maybe hold some lesser elected office, and poise himself for another run at the Mansion in four or eight years.

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