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Friday, February 03, 2006

I've been there

Thursday, February 02, 2006

'I Hope She Drowns'
Conservatives are always writing about the strains and stresses within the Republican Party, and they are real. But the Democratic Party seems to be near imploding, and for that most humiliating of reasons: its meaninglessness. Republicans are at least arguing over their meaning.
The venom is bubbling on websites like Kos, where Tuesday afternoon, after the Alito vote, various leftists wrote in such comments as "F--- our democratic leaders," "Vichy Democrats" and "F--- Mary Landrieu, I hope she drowns." The old union lunch-pail Democrats are dead, the intellects of the Kennedy and Johnson era retired or gone, and this--I hope she drowns--seems, increasingly, to be the authentic voice of the Democratic base.

How will a sane, stable, serious Democrat get the nomination in 2008 when these are the activists to whom the appeal must be made?

Republicans have crazies. All parties do. But in the case of the Democrats--the leader of their party, after all, is the unhinged Howard Dean--the lunatics seem increasingly to be taking over the long-term health-care facility. Great parties die this way, or show that they are dying.

On the subject of political passion Tom Shales, longtime TV critic of the Washington Post and possessor of occasional eloquence, wrote a piece this week that deserves comment. I don't mean his State of the Union review, which began, "George Bush may or may not be the worst president since Herbert Hoover . . ." I mean his attack last Monday on "Flight 93," the A&E television movie on that fated 9/11 flight. Mr. Shales said it was shameful that vulgar dramatizers would "exploit" the pain of those on the flight and those they left behind. Or as he put it, he had, innocent that he is, thought it "unthinkable" that "even the sleaziest producers" would "exploit any aspect of a nightmare that the nation had witnessed in horror."
Remembering the men and women of Flight 93 isn't a self-indulgence but a duty. One senses in the Shales review the sneaky little suggestion that those who would remember, and who would tell this story (based by the way on the surviving telephone and other harrowing tapes of that flight) are in fact being political. But one suspects it is Mr. Shales who is being political. Maybe he fears those stupid Americans will get all emotional if they revisit part of the horror of that day, and go out and do something bad. Let's not speak of it lest the rabble be roused.

What a snob.

A Word of Encouragement
Acts 1:8
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.

Yesterday's verse spoke of spiritual maturity in the life of the believer. Today's verse speaks of spiritual maturity in the life of the Church. The words of today's verse come from the lips of the risen Christ himself. By these words, Jesus makes clear to his Church that revelation is an unfolding process and that it follows an orderly progression from point A to point B to point C. This is worth knowing, particularly since a crucial aspect of Catholic teaching is the idea of "development of doctrine." Some people think that is a code word for "adding new stuff to the gospel." But in fact, the Church specifically denies that anything can be added to the gospel. The difference between adding to the gospel and development of doctrine is the difference between a baby that grows extra noses and arms and a baby that grows into a man with a beard. Jesus said the same when he declared the kingdom of heaven was like a mustard seed that grows into a large plant. The plant does not look like the seed, but there is a direct continuity between the two nonetheless. The Church started as a mustard seed. But there is nothing strange about it growing into a plant. God gives the increase. Today, thank God that his Church has grown to include you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

ESPN.com: MLB - The World Series simply rocks!
37 reasons why the World Series is better than the Super Bowl. (Although #31 is somewhat painful to Phillies fans: "Joe Carter taking Mitch Williams deep.")

Football is merely a way to fill the void that exists between the last pitch of the World Series and spring training. (Less than two weeks until Spring Training!!!)

Link via Baseball Think Factory. Discussion of the article availabel there as well.

"We all know our duty better than we discharge it." —John Randolph

From last night's State of the Union address:
"In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger."

"Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies on Earth. Today, there are 122."

"Along the way [in Iraq], we have benefited from responsible criticism and counsel offered by Members of Congress of both parties... Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy."

"If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qa'ida, we want to know about it—because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again."

"[T]he Federal budget has too many special interest projects... We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements."

"The Supreme Court now has two superb new members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. And I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench."
"Every time someone tells Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that he, too, took money from Jack [Abramoff's] clients, he starts jumping up and down like Rumpelstiltskin yelling, 'This is a Republican scandal!"' —Daniel Henninger

"Al Gore announced he is finishing up a new book about global warming and the environment. Yeah, the first chapter talks about how you shouldn't chop down trees to make a book that no one will read." —Conan O'Brien

Jay Leno: President Bush gave his State of The Union address. He...[repeated] several universal truths; all people deserve to be free, democracy is good, and the most important truth—never lie to Oprah! ... Happy Birthday to Vice President Dick Cheney. Or as they call him in Washington, the Fresh Prince of Intensive Care. That's his rap name. ... Hillary Clinton called President Bush's eavesdropping explanations "strange" and "far-fetched." And if anyone has heard strange far-fetched explanations from a president, it's Hillary Clinton. She knows what she is talking about. ... At a press conference yesterday NASA announced that 2005 was the hottest year on record. It is so hot, and global warming is so bad, if the presidential election were held today, Al Gore would... still lose. ... Al Gore is writing his second book on global warming. It's called, "The Earth is Warming, My Career is Cooling."

Amazon.com: Newsradio: Complete Third Season (3pc) (Full): DVD: News Radio
It's being released February 28th!!!!! I can't wait!

Yeah, I know I'm obsessed.

History of the C family of languages
Funny, but for programmers only.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

CNN.com - Senate confirms Alito�to the Supreme Court - Jan 31, 2006
The Senate confirmed Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court on Tuesday by a vote of 58-42, a day after an attempt by some Democratic senators to block his nomination fizzled.
It will be interesting to watch the reaction from some of the liberal sites, like DailyKos, after enough Democrats voted "No" to have sustained the filibuster.

Of course, this makes a certain amount of sense. The Democrats want to maintain the right to filibuster should it prove necessary and don't want to blow it on someone like Alito who's in the mainstream of judicial thought, despite the claims of many on the Left. If the Democrats blow the filibuster on this guy, who no Republican voted (I'm excluding Chafee as a Republican) against, then the Republicans have virtual carte blnche to do as they wish.

Now, I don't believe that the Republicans would abuse that privilege. Between the media and moderates in the GOP, no true radical right-winger could get through the nomination process. So the Republicans will continue, "nuclear option" or no, to nominate conservatives who are to the right of center, but within the mainstream of judicial thought.

Ed Whelan had a good summary of the accomplishments of those who supported the filibuster:
1. Absent the filibuster effort, lots of attention would mistakenly have been focused on whether Judge Alito would reach the filibuster-proof level of 60 votes on final confirmation. If he were to fall short of that, the media would proclaim that the vote level sends a warning shot that another nominee like Alito could be filibustered. By forcing an actual vote on cloture, Kerry and Kennedy have deprived the Left of this pretend-filibuster argument. The starting point now for analysis of the politics of any subsequent nomination is that a nominee like Alito can expect to receive more than 70 votes on cloture.

2. Kerry and Kennedy have turned the wrath of the Left against those 19 Democrats (nearly half the caucus) who voted for cloture. (Byron York quotes one angry, obscene diatribe from DailyKos.) I don’t see how this is going to help red-state Democrats. If only Kerry and Kennedy could have been uniters rather than dividers . . . .

3. By using the filibuster weapon against a nominee whom the public rightly recognizes to be superbly qualified, Kerry and Kennedy have undermined Democrats’ future use of that weapon. Crying wolf isn’t a good way to build credibility. (Of course, the Left hopes to show over time that Alito is a real wolf, but I have much greater faith in the public’s ability to recognize good judging.)

Monday, January 30, 2006

I've gotta agree with JPod:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Please, please, please, please filibuster Alito a day before the State of the Union. Let the president put about four minutes into the first 10 about the efforts to deny him a simple up-or-down vote through the use of the same sort of backroom maneuvering that made it impossible for segreagationist laws to be passed in the 1950s. Let the public come to know what, exactly, a filibuster is -- so that the word can recover its properly disgraceful reputation. Exposed to the light of day in a very high-profile situation, no filibuster can possibly hold, and its failure will taint any and all future suggestions that it is an acceptable way to do the public business. Ohhhhhhhhh, pleeeeease...

OpinionJournal - John Fund on the Trail
Mr. Armey, a former economics professor, vividly recalls the House leadership meeting in late 2001 that prompted his decision to retire. Afterwards he returned to his office and wrote down his summary of how he saw the GOP Congress behaving: "We come to this town and we do things we ought not to be doing in order to stay in the majority so we can do things we ought to be doing that we never get around to doing." A few weeks later the man who was a chief drafter of the 1994 Contract with America announced he was leaving office.

Mr. Armey's departure had consequences. In late 2003, Mr. DeLay and his whip team twisted arms and held a late-night vote open for three hours to pass a costly prescription drug benefit for seniors. The year before, Mr. Armey had tried to pass a more modest benefit but he coupled it with significant reforms of Medicare that would have improved its solvency. The new bill ditched most of the reforms in favor of "demonstration projects" that then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson admitted he never expected would become reality.

The prescription drug bill may have temporarily taken Medicare "off the table" for the 2004 election, but Republicans will be bedeviled for decades by its rising costs and complexity. At current growth rates, Medicare, its cousin Medicaid and Social Security will consume a fifth of the nation's gross national product by 2020. That number represents the current size of the entire federal government.

Nor have Republicans learned much from that mistake. President Bush and the GOP Congress continue to preside over the largest expansion of government since LBJ's Great Society. Economic growth fueled by the Bush tax cuts created a 22% surge in federal revenue over the past two years. But even that flow is barely keeping pace with spending, which went up by 8% in 2005 and is set to increase by 9% in 2006. When the good times slow down, no one expects it will be easy to slam the brakes on spending.

Our Right to Security - Al Qaeda, not the FBI, is the greater threat to America.
A mere four-and-a-half years after victims were forced to choose between being burned alive and jumping from 90 stories, it is frankly shocking that there is anyone in Washington who would politicize the Patriot Act. It is an insult to those who died to tell the American people that the organization posing the greatest threat to their liberty is not al Qaeda but the FBI. Hearing any member of Congress actually crow about "killing" or "playing chicken" with this critical legislation is as disturbing today as it would have been when Ground Zero was still smoldering. Today we know in far greater detail what not having it cost us.

Critics contend that the Patriot Act was rushed into law in a moment of panic. The truth is, the policies and guidelines it corrected had a long, troubled history and everybody who had to deal with them knew it. The "wall" was a tortuous set of rules promulgated by Justice Department lawyers in 1995 and imagined into law by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Conceived as an added protection for civil liberties provisions already built into the statute, it was the wall and its real-world ramifications that hardened the failure-to-share culture between agencies, allowing early information about 9/11 hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi to fall through the cracks. More perversely, even after the significance of these terrorists and their presence in the country was known by the FBI's intelligence division, the wall prevented it from talking to its own criminal division in order to hunt them down.

Furthermore, it was the impenetrable FISA guidelines and fear of provoking the FISA court's wrath if they were transgressed that discouraged risk-averse FBI supervisors from applying for a FISA search warrant in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. The search, finally conducted on the afternoon of 9/11, produced names and phone numbers of people in the thick of the 9/11 plot, so many fertile clues that investigators believe that at least one airplane, if not all four, could have been saved.

"[E]very man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience." —George Washington

"For two years now each day has brought news of the stately wedding march—not the one in church, but the one proceeding through the state legislatures. State after state is opting for marriage, or asking their citizens to affirm it on the ballot. This is an issue that should be nonpartisan but now heavily favors conservatives and their candidates. It's an issue that appeals to Americans across the board. Racial, religious, and even some political barriers fall when life, marriage and religious liberty are on the table... It would be disappointing if President Bush, who owes his re-election to the Values Voters, were to ignore such key cultural issues as well. We really can't talk about the State of the Union without addressing the state of our unions." —Tony Perkins

"Our government has no power except that granted it by the people... It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the federal government and those reserved to the states or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government." —Ronald Reagan

"I personally believe there is no place in the federal government for a Department of Education. It is not in the Constitution. There is no mention anywhere in the Constitution that the federal government has any role in education. I believe that the federal government doesn't have a role in education. I have several members of my family, including my wife, who are teachers, who are not at all happy with the so-called No Child Left Behind bill, which I think has gone far astray from what it was even intended to do. And I would like to hope that at some point we could get the federal government out of the business of education altogether, and acknowledge that this is policy that should be decided at the state level." —Rep. John Shadegg

"One of the things that drives Republicans crazy is the media's enormous double-standard in how they cover various scandals... Skeptics can go to the Web site of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, popularly known as the House ethics committee. Click on 'historical documents,' and go to a publication called 'Historical Summary of Conduct Cases in the House of Representatives.'... By my count, there have been 70 different members of the House who have been investigated for serious offenses over the last 30 years, including many involving actual criminality and jail time. Of these, only 15 involved Republicans, with the remaining 55 involving Democrats." —Bruce Bartlett

Chafee stabs GOP in the back (again)
In response to the news that Senator Chafee will be voting against Judge Alito, I sent the following note to the National Republican Senatorial Committee:
In light of Senator Chafee's announcement that he will not support the well-qualified nominee of his own party's President and that he publicly stated he would not vote for said President and his proven liberal voting record, have you given any thought to the idea of not attacking his primary opponent for actually being a Republican? I know it's a bit much to expect you not to support an incumbent registered Republican Senator, albeit a RINO, but will you at least stop attacking someone who actually belongs in our Party?

You won't be getting a penny from me as long you act like the NRinoSC. But Mr Laffey will be.
Chafee's statement is here.

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