Friday, October 21, 2005

Hey, he's only trying to help:
...imagine the hearings. First she will have to pass an implicit competency test. As case upon case is thrown at her on national television, she dare not respond, as she apparently did to Sen. Chuck Schumer while making the rounds, that she will have to "bone up on this a little more." Then there will be the withering fire of conservatives such as Sen. Sam Brownback who will try to establish some grounds to believe that (a) she has a judicial philosophy and (b) it is conservative.

And then there will be the Democrats who, in their first act of political wisdom in this millennium, have held their fire on Miers, under the political axiom that when your opponent is committing suicide, you get out of the way. But now that Miers is so exposed on abortion, the Democrats will be poised like a reserve cavalry to come over the hills to attack her from the left -- assuming she has survived the attack from the right.

The omens are not good.
Nope, they're not.
"A political blunder of the first order."
I don't have time to provide links or better research, but Senator Coburn (not sure what state he's from - see? Too busy to do homework.) tried to put together an amendment to reduce some of the pork going to certain pet projects - most notoriously, a half-billion dollar bridge in Alaska to serve 50 Alaskans. You conservative Republican government hard at work. The amendment failed overwhelmingly.

I'm planning on calling my senators - who voted against the amendment.

Not too late to sign!

Update 2006 - actually, it is now. Link's broken. But it's okay! We won!
One person I wouldn't want to be upset with me.

Her first column on Miers - October 5. She defends the charges of elitism head-on:
Bush has no right to say "Trust me." He was elected to represent the American people, not to be dictator for eight years. Among the coalitions that elected Bush are people who have been laboring in the trenches for a quarter-century to change the legal order in America. While Bush was still boozing it up in the early '80s, Ed Meese, Antonin Scalia, Robert Bork and all the founders of the Federalist Society began creating a farm team of massive legal talent on the right.

Conservatives from elite schools have already been subjected to liberal blandishments and haven't blinked. These are right-wingers who have fought off the best and the brightest the blue states have to offer. The New York Times isn't going to mau-mau them – as it does intellectual lightweights like Jim Jeffords and Lincoln Chafee – by dangling fawning profiles before them. They aren't waiting for a pat on the head from Nina Totenberg or Linda Greenhouse. To paraphrase Archie Bunker, when you find a conservative from an elite law school, you've really got something.
Her 2nd column on Miers - October 12:
There are more important things in life than being Supreme Court material, but – oddly enough – not when we're talking about an appointment to the Supreme Court. According to the Associated Press, Sen. Arlen Specter defended Miers on the grounds that "Miers' professional qualifications are excellent, but she lacks experience in constitutional law" – and Specter ought to know. This is like recommending a plumber by saying, "He's a very professional guy, but he lacks experience in plumbing."

I genuinely feel sorry for Miers. I'm sure she's a lovely woman, brighter than average, and well-qualified for many important jobs. Just not the job Bush has nominated her for. The terrible thing Bush has done to Miers is to force people who care about the court to say that.
And now here's her latest column. She feels better about Harriet Miers....NOT.
From the beginning of this nightmare, I have taken it as a given that Miers will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. I assume that's why Bush nominated her. (It certainly wasn't her resume.) Pity no one told him there are scads of highly qualified judicial nominees who would also have voted against Roe. Wasn't it Harriet Miers' job to tell him that? Hey, wait a minute ...
Well, she wasn't too crazy about John Roberts, either.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What? My autobiography isn't there?

Home sick today - aging digestive tract is rebelling.

This list is about as useless as you might think. Oh sure, they did think to add The Lord of Rings. Gone With The Wind is there, too. But no Atlas Shrugged? Well, that's okay, everybody has their own tastes....but wait a minute....


They found a spot for one of HER books?

I actually read - no, I endured "Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing," at the urging of my little brother, many, many years ago. A veritable waste of two weeks. Oh, it took barely a day to read it. I had to endure constant reminders of, "It's good! Really! It's really good! Wasn't it good? Why didn't you think it was good?" This from a man who would later think Chris DeBurgh's "Lady In Red" should be considered inspiring music.

Anyway, Are you there, God, it's Me, Margaret made the Time 100. Now, I checked with my wife - she considered it a perfectly readable book when she was 11 years old. And maybe it is (National Review Online, well, disagrees). Obviously it's superior to anything by that hack Ayn Rand. At least that what Time thinks.
Check out her blog!

(note - it's a satire)

(image 'borrowed' from her website)
The more we learn about Harriet Miers, the scarier things get. Look, I think that Roe v. Wade was bad law. I think that, given sane reflection and consideration, it will eventually be overturned. (Note to abortion 'fans' - if you want to legalize it, you should have to do it the legislative way like everybody else.)

Miers signed support for the Human Life Amendment back in Texas umpteen years ago does not impress me. Well, la-dee-da. I don't care what legislation she supports. That has minimal bearing on how well she would do as a judge. You see, judges, particularly Supreme Court Justices, aren't supposed to consider prospective laws. They're supposed to consider and rule on laws already on the books, and consider them in the light of the Constitution. And not the laws of foreign countries, by the way.

If you haven't guessed by now, I have a pretty strict view of the Constitution. It wasn't always that way. I remember going to school and learning that somehow, the Constitution was a living document - that it's meanings were subject to fresh interpretations given new perspectives and customs. It made perfect sense back then. But then I didn't hear the entire story. No one bothered to tell me about the Federalist Papers.

But it was the Living Document claptrap that made it possible for bad rulings to slip by, like Griswold v. Connecticut. That case was over a simple matter of the right to buy birth control pills, back in 1965. I don't believe in penumbras and emanations in the Constitution. But I have to tell you, if you twist words just enough, you can do pretty much anything you want. Here they fudged a questionable right to privacy out of a bad ruling, and things have gone downhill ever since.

Anyway, regarding Griswold v. Connecticut - Miers was in fact asked about that case, and did she think it was a fair ruling. Why, yes, she said, yes it was. At least that's what Sen. Arlen Specter thought he heard. She later said that she really had no position and she was misunderstood.

Back when Roberts was nominated, I recalled that the idea of putting a SCOTUS nominee in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee is a fairly new concept in our nation's history. Only in the last 30 years have nominees been brought before the committee. It simply wasn't considered necessary before. The sad spectacle of Robert Bork was probably the worst, with the Clarence Thomas hearings close behind. I really didn't think it was necessary or prudent to parade John Roberts in front of a committee to see if he was good enough - his background and reputation should be clear enough to anyone. However, Harriet Miers has proved me wrong, I think. Because there is such a thin background, because we don't know what her court persona will be, that we only have Bush's recommendation to commend her, well, we all want to see who this nominee is.

I think she's going to turn out to be an embarrassment. Her 'obvious' pro-life views will penalize her in the eyes of the Democrats, who will have to vote her down, if only to appease the pro-choice people. Senators on the Republican side MIGHT be enough to get her confirmed, but if she doesn't do well in the hearings, she'll go down in flames. If she's half as smart as Bush says she is, she might do all right. But current events don't seem to be in her favor.
Are you a frustrated conservative? Wouldn't you like your President to just act like one? Did the nomination of Harriet Miers go one bridge too far?

Then sign the petition.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The contents of Karl Rove's garage!
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is sponsoring ads in Rhode Island, defending RINO Senator Lincoln Chafee against challenger Steve Laffey. The ads themselves sound pretty childish, using a cartoon image to portray "Laffeyland Tales."

Here is my letter to the NRSC:
Why are you using NRSC dollars to attack Republican challengers? Shouldn't this money be better spent going after Democrats?

I'm referring specifically to the campaign ads sponsored by the NRSC to attack candidate Steve Laffey, who is running against Chafee.

What are you going to do if Laffey wins?


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Theodore Roosevelt Heller, 88, loving father of Charles (Joann) Heller; dear brother of the late Sonya (the late Jack) Steinberg. Ted was discharged from the U.S. Army during WWII due to service related injuries, and then forced his way back into the Illinois National Guard insisting no one tells him when to serve his country. Graveside services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery (Ziditshover section), 1700 S. Harlem Ave., Chicago. In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans. Arrangements by Chicago Jewish Funerals, Douglas MacIsaac, funeral director 847-229-8822,
If I have the opportunity, maybe I should have something like this: "In lieu of flowers, caustic conservative letters to the editor should be sent to the AJC."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

With the words, “Trust me,” Bush has nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. And everyone is scrambling to find out who this Ms. Miers is. One can certainly say that from a jurist perspective, her resume is a bit thin. Sure, she’s run a law firm. She's performed in various capacities of government, most notably as the head of the Texas Lottery Commission. Maybe she’s the stellar candidate for the job – the President thinks she is. But the more I learn about her, the more depressing it gets. Let’s set aside that she was once a contributor to Democratic campaigns, or that she has pursued feminist agendas up to only a few years ago. Rather than tell you what I think – in my words, I’ll let you read what other, more experienced pundits have to say:

First up, George Will. He’s all over Bush for his “Trust me” comment:
The president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked … whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."
McCain-Feingold is a travesty, so Bush’s nominees are not going to get a free pass on his word alone. Sorry.

Professor Bainbridge was one of the first out of the gate to denounce the nomination. His first broadside was right to the point:
1. She's 60. There were lots of highly qualified younger candidates out there who would have sat on the court for decades.
2. She has no judicial experience.
3. She has no public track record of proven conservative judicial values (what happened to Bush's 2000 promise to appoint people in the old of Scalia and Thomas?). How do we know she won't be another Souter? or Kennedy?
4. She's a Bush crony, which is an unfortunate choice for an administration that has been fairly charged with excessive cronyism (anybody remember ex-FEMA head Mike Brown?).
5. Her resume pales in comparison to those of some of the other leading candidates.
6. Why is the leader of a party that is supposedly against affirmative action making an appointment that can only be explained as an affirmative action choice?
7. And if Bush was bound and determined to make an affirmative action choice, why not go with a more experienced and qualified woman like Edith Jones or minority like Emilio Garza?
As for the last two comments, even the President has indicated that he was looking for a woman to replace O’Conner. A pretty ugly political play so far.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This is kinda cool....