« June 2005 | Main | August 2005 »

July 31, 2005

Great Sunday Evening Read

Bush Bashing Fizzles by Michael Barone (HT: Drudge)

Posted by Rick at 11:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 30, 2005

New American Warriors

New Americans: At War in Mosul (HT: Instapundit)
[Photo credit: Deuce Four; after ceremony in Baghdad]

Deuce Four's newest Americans:

Front row Left to Right
SPC Saroth Muth (Cambodia)
SPC David Floutier (England)
SPC Hugo Juarez (Mexico)
SPC Evans Martin (Antigua)
SPC Octavio Rodriguez (Mexico)

Back row Left to Right
SGT Ringsey Khin (Cambodia)
SPC Abdel Phipps (Jamaica)
SGT Collin Campbell (Trinidad)
SPC Bosco Jerez (Nicaragua)
SPC Jose Alvarado (Honduras)
SPC Moises Medina (Mexico)

These guys were dodging and taking bullets for you and me before they were citizens. May God bless them and keep them safe.

If you aren’t reading Michael Yon regularly, you are missing out.

Posted by Rick at 03:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Hugh Hewitt Exposes the Mainstream Media

Syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt reports that he has received numerous requests for interviews in the last few days from members of the mainstream media to discuss the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court:

I received a call from Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post today, requesting I call her back to discuss the nomination of John Roberts. I assumed that this is because (1)I worked with John Roberts in the White House Counsel's office for a year and (2)the big document dump may have turned up memos with my name on them which are of interest to the Post.

Hewitt goes on to say that he would have been willing to do the interview on one condition:

The subject didn't matter to me. I had my assistant call back and say fine. She could interview me. Only one condition: The interview had to be conducted on air, live, during my broadcast. Would she please call the show line at 3:06 Pacific?

I had a similar request from a New York Times reporter for a similar interview a couple of days back. I made the same offer. He didn't respond.

Amy Goldstein did respond. She declined. My assistant relayed that Ms. Goldstein didn't want her story "out there" before it ran.

Fine, I thought. But then I got to thinking: Isn't journalism supposed to be in the public interest? If Goldstein wants information from me, and I am willing to give it to her, isn't she putting her own interests in a "scoop" or an "angle" ahead of the public's by refusing to conduct an interview she thought would be useful in the first place? And isn't she going forward with a story she knows may well be unnecessarily incomplete because she doesn't like the fact that her questions and my answers would have been on the record?

I of course want my listeners to get a chance if not to see the sausage that is MSM "news" being made, at least hear it being ground fine. I had hoped to compare whatever I was able to provide Ms. Goldstein with whatever it is that she publishes on the subject. Interesting all around, no?

But she declined to conduct the interview she requested. How interesting to note that the Post is willing to use sources that insist on anonymity, but not sources that demand transparency.

My guess is the reason that these reports were not willing to conduct the interviews on the air is that they are trying to find any dirt they can on Judge Roberts to help sink his nomination. By going on the air with Hugh they would be forfeiting their greatest weapon: the ability to shape the story in whatever way suits their agenda. Hugh is absolutely right to call the media on this. It's too bad that these reporters weren't willing to take him up on his offer.

It's no wonder that the public doesn't trust the mainstream media.

Posted by Tom at 02:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Justice Breyer's Property an Eniment Domain Target

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo vs. City of New London, Justice David Souter's house in New Hampshire became a target of a developer who wanted to seize it under eminent domain. Now a group of Libertarians want to seize Justice Stephen Breyer's land. (Hat tip: Free Republic):

Libertarians upset about a Supreme Court ruling on land taking have proposed seizing a justice's vacation home and turning it into a park, echoing efforts aimed at another justice who lives in the state.

Organizers are trying to collect enough signatures to go before the town next spring to ask to use Justice Stephen G. Breyer's 167-acre Plainfield property for a "Constitution Park" with stone monuments to commemorate the U.S. and New Hampshire constitutions.

"In the spirit of the ruling, we're recreating the same use of eminent domain," said John Babiarz, the Libertarian Party's state chairman.

The plot mirrors the party's ongoing effort to get the town of Weare, about 45 miles to the southeast, to seize Justice David Souter's home. Souter's property is also the focus of a proposal by a California man who suggested the town turn the farmhouse into a "Lost Liberty Hotel."

The efforts are meant in protest of the high court's June ruling that let a Connecticut city take land by eminent domain and turn it over to a private developer. Breyer and Souter supported the decision.

If either one or both of these efforts succeed then the Justices will get what they deserve for supporting such a ridiculous decision.

Although Kelo is without a doubt one of the worst rulings ever handed down by the Court, it has also revealed in a way that matters to every single citizen the danger of activist judges. Conservatives have long complained about activistism on the bench but the issues that were involved have never had as wide-ranging an effect that Kelo has had.

Posted by Tom at 09:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 29, 2005

Fascist French!

I expect to see that headline blairing from the diaries and posts at DailyKOS once word of this story gets 'round. (HT: Drudge)

Imams and their followers who fuel anti-western feeling among impressionable young French Muslims will be rounded up and returned to their countries of origin, most commonly in France's case to its former north African colonies.

Mr Sarkozy also revealed that as many as 12 French mosques associated with provocative anti-western preaching were under surveillance. Imams indulging in inflammatory rhetoric will be expelled even if their religious status is recognised by mainstream Muslim bodies.

Those who have assumed French citizenship will not be protected from deportation. Mr Sarkozy said he will reactivate measures, "already available in our penal code but simply not used", to strip undesirables of their adopted nationality. "We have to act against radical preachers capable of influencing the youngest and most weak-minded," Mr Sarkozy told the French daily Le Parisien.

You they would be screaming if this happened in the US. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Bravo France!

Posted by Rick at 10:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Did You Know....

....that if you type "failure" into a Google search the first result you get is the official White House biography of President George W. Bush? (Hat tip: The Corner)


Posted by Tom at 06:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Frist v Embryos

Back here I noted that adult stem cells keep looking better and better, being virtually as good as embryonic stem cells, not to mention their proven track record. Well, looks like Bill Frist hasn't read that study.

Breaking with President Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said Friday he now supports legislation to remove some of the administration's limitations on embryonic stem cell research.

Frist, an abortion opponent who just last month said he did not support expanding federal financing of research on embryos, said his decision was consistent with both his experience as a physician and his anti-abortion stance.

The crux of his argument appears to be this:

The Tennessee Republican, who has been said to be eyeing a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, said only stem cells from embryos that "would otherwise be discarded," not implanted in a woman or frozen indefinitely, should be considered for research.

First of all, never say "never". As I pointed out in a diary on Redstate.org (in the first set of comments), saying "never" amounts to predicting the future, which is not a power I typically want to give to the federal government. Ask these 21 children who were adopted as embryos.

Second, this amounts to human experimentation. If you don't consider these embryos truly "human", then what are they? They certainly aren't fish eggs. And further, if they weren't human, the scientists wouldn't want them.

I don't see how someone who is against abortion can be for human experimentation on embryos. The whole "would otherwise be discarded" argument is morally equivalent to a woman getting an abortion because she didn't want to have a baby right now.

"I give huge moral significance to the human embryo, it is nascent human life, what that means is as we advance science, we treat that embryo with dignity, with respect," Frist said.

And performing experiments on them is...what, exactly?
Frist said additional stem cells should be used, so long as there was a careful process of informed consent in which the parents had decided that the embryos should be discarded, not adopted or frozen.

Ah, so "aborting" them is OK as long as the proper government paperwork is fill out. Gotcha. Now that's "respect".

Posted by Doug at 01:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"Fatwa Demonstrates World is at War with Fascists, Not Muslims"

So writes Mark Daniels. I think he's right. It took a while, but this is welcome news. Wonder if the Tancredo disciples think this fatwa was issued in response to their threats on Mecca...

Posted by Rick at 10:35 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

IRA Standing Down, Pursuing Peaceful Means

Tony Blair calls this a "step of unparalleled magnitude". I think he's right, if it sticks.

The IRA has formally ordered an end to its armed campaign and says it will pursue exclusively peaceful means.

In a long-awaited statement, the republican organisation said it would follow a democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the move was a "courageous and confident initiative" and that the moment must be seized.

This is fantastic news for the people of the UK. Some, as the article notes, are still skeptical, which is perfectly understandable. Nonetheless, an official IRA statement calling for all IRA units to "dump arms" and pursue "purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means" is a giant leap in the right direction.

Democracy's busting out all over.

Posted by Doug at 09:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 28, 2005

Ah, Good News

This is nice, with a tip 'o the hat to the Corner.

Posted by Matt at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Getting Into Their Heads (and other acts of futility)

If the bombings in Madrid and London were really because of Spain's and England's support of the war in Iraq, why then are Algerian diplomats being killed by Al Qaeda? Via Release the Hounds comes word that being a diplomat is enough to get you on their hit list. Ric reminds readers that Algeria did not support the invasion of Iraq.

This goes to further prove James Taranto's assertion (scroll down to "The Road to Baghdad") that the Iraq war would be a pretext, not a provocation, for later acts of terror. Each act of terror simply references the most recent pretext. The goal is the same, it's just that the reason for the bombing du jour supposedly changes.

What it all comes down to is that you >gasp< can't trust terrorists! It's not just that they strike at targets of opportunity, they also use excuses of opportunity as well. Asking "why do they hate us?" is an exercise in futility. They can always come up with one more thing they hate if you keep appeasing them over and over. The Twin Towers are gone supposedly in response to our military presence in Saudi Arabia. If the anti-war left had their way, we'd be out of there, but do you really think bin Laden would have said, "OK, fine, then we won't go after you any more"? (Hint: No.)

Being against a war, but acknowledging a government duly elected by the people is enough to get you killed by Islamic extremists. You can't reason with people like that, and you can't get into their heads and figure out how to calm them down. Until there's a caliphate (run by them, of course), you won't get a break.

Unless and until you defeat them.

Posted by Doug at 04:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on One

Let me make one quick addendum to my earlier comments about the One campaign. I am thankful that there are Christian aid groups working with One, and I know that the campaign is attempting to do a great deal of humanitarian work. I think that idea is on the right track, but I just can't support any calls for "first-world" nations to relieve debt without also working to develop stable democracies and market economies. Otherwise, we've not solved any problems and we've likely made them worse.

Posted by Matt at 03:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Double Standard, Alive and Well

That was Ted Kennedy then:

"We have to respect that any nominee to the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters, which are either before the court or very likely to be before the court," Kennedy said during a 1967 press conference. "This has been a procedure which has been followed in the past and is one which I think is based upon sound legal precedent."

This is now:
In his June 20, floor speech responding to President Bush's nomination of Roberts to the Supreme Court, Kennedy argued that senators "must not fail in our duty to the American people to responsibly examine Judge Roberts' legal views."

Kennedy listed a number of issues, including workers' rights, health care and environmental regulations, that he considers important.

"Each of these issues, and many others, [have] been addressed by the Supreme Court in recent years," Kennedy said. "In many of these cases, the Court was narrowly divided, and these issues are likely to be the subject of future Court decisions in the years to come."

Click here for the full story and video to back it up.

Posted by Doug at 02:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Coughenour Controversy

Thanks Josh for this thorough summary of the controversy surrounding U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour’s asinine sentencing of Ahmed Ressam (aka Millenium Bomber).

Posted by Rick at 01:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

Absitence Only Programs Ill-Conceived

Catallarchy tackles the subject of teen sex. (HT: Instapundit). I expect to be hung for saying this here, but I think abstinence-only education is an ill-conceived approach to a very basic and age-old problem - temptation.

God created us to be sexual beings and to enjoy sex within the parameters of marriage. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, this I know, but what power do I have to resist the lust of the flesh without Christ? Yet, abstinence-only program advocates tend to assume that non-Christians are equipped to combat the wiles of the devil and they simply are not.

I hope never to teach my children abstinence only. Surely I will teach my children God’s plan for marriage and sex. I will teach them that the only way to realize God’s plan for them is to submit their hearts Christ and conform their will to His. If I’ve done my job as a father, the word “abstinence” need not enter into the equation. They will understand that God’s plan is the ONLY plan that guarantees safety. If I’ve failed as a father, I pray God extend to them mercy and that they would exercise prudence and protect themselves the best *they* can.

Posted by Rick at 07:14 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Left-wing Blogs React to Hillary's Ceasefire Appeal

The Kossacks at the blog "Daily Kos" have never been a big fan of Hillary Clinton's feigns to the center. The mainstream media is now finding that out.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's call for an ideological cease-fire in the Democratic Party drew an angry reaction yesterday from liberal bloggers and others on the left, who accused her of siding with the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in a long-running dispute over the future of the party.

Long a revered figure by many in the party's liberal wing, Clinton (D-N.Y.) unexpectedly found herself under attack after calling Monday for a cease-fire among the party's quarreling factions and for agreeing to assume the leadership of a DLC-sponsored initiative aimed at developing a more positive policy agenda for the party.


The most pointed critique of Clinton came in one of the most influential blogs on the left, Daily Kos out of Berkeley, Calif., which called Clinton's speech "truly disappointing" and said she should not provide cover for an organization that often has instigated conflict within the party.

"If she wanted to give a speech to a centrist organization truly interested in bringing the various factions of the party together, she could've worked with NDN," the blog said in a reference to the New Democrat Network, with which Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas is associated. "Instead, she plans on working with the DLC to come up with some common party message yadda yadda yadda. Well, that effort is dead on arrival. The DLC is not a credible vehicle for such an effort. Period."

The post by Markos himself is here.

You'd think with the huge following of Kos visitors (over 500,000 per day), Moveon.org, Howard Dean fans, and a press that is increasingly and openly antagonistic against the right (and the Christian Right in particular), this would result in more Democrats being voted in, not less. Instead it's beginning to appear that this group of hard-leftists who keep pushing further left are simply more vocal, as opposed to more numerous. And indeed the more vocal they are, the more they alienate the folks that the DLC is trying to bring in. Is this a winning strategy? (Hint: No.)

As to Hillary's participation in this, I think it's just another bit of posturing, but if it gets her barbs from the far left it may help a potential presidential candidacy. (See here for my thoughts on that, and here for what "Stonette" Thecla has to say about her.) Could actually be a good political move to get herself in a situation like this. But, as I've noted before, if it's a political move without the actual move, then it's just pure politics. So far, not much substance. We'll see.

Posted by Doug at 01:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Why One Won't Work

A couple of weeks ago, Al Mohler posted this commentary on the One campaign.
He refers to an article by Christian ethicist Ben Mitchell, wherein Mitchell does something a lot of people seem unwilling to do; evaluate the economic realities of third world poverty. Mohler's piece is primarily a rehashing of Mitchell's argument, save for this closing line: "failure to identify the true causes of Third World poverty and thus advocate useful real solutions–like the ONE Campaign–is not just misguided, it is actually harmful. The wider public knows this to be true." Not to assume the worst about others, but if One doesn't get support (and that's hardly the case), it's not that the public has beter ideas. It's that the public doesn't care. And I'm pretty convinced of that, too. The average Joe on the street and perhaps even on the church pew, while acknowledging that their lives are busy, just doesn't care what goes in another part of the world, so long as they're safe and sound. Sound harsh? Did anyone care about women's rights in Afghanistan prior to 9/11?

I truly believe that the celebrities lending their support to One have their hearts in the right place. I believe Bono cares deeply for the people of Africa, as does Brad Pitt, Chris Martin, Tom Hanks, et al. Yet I also believe that there means of implementing change are flawed. Seriously flawed. The central tenet of the One campaign is the concept of debt relief. It's a concept that has been attempted for years, and despite all the evidence to the contrary, some people seem incapable of acknowledging that it just doesn't work. Just as there are laws of chemistry, physics and biology, there are also some basic economic laws. If there's a giant list of things that work, debt relief ain't on there.

It seems more and more Christians are developing an open, demonstrable concern for third-world poverty. This is a good thing. I share these sentiments and I'm heartened to see others make overtures towards caring for the suffering overseas. My faith in Christ compels me to care for the fatherless and the widow. Yet I am also called to do everything to the glory of God, a phrase that the Church has long understood to mean a call to excellence. Christ has not called us to mediocrity, whether in the arts or the sciences or our daily work. And when we're talking about alleviating the suffering of millions of people and accomplishing that task with billions of other people's dollars, then the burden to do the right thing is that much greater. The issue of poverty in the third-world goes beyond wanting to help. That's a prerequisite to "doing the right thing." To do the right thing, we must move beyond the idea that our concern even matters. If our concern is misdirected, or we feel that doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing, then we've deluded ourselves and harmed the people we sought to help.

Debt relief and education won't help a soul if the government that has been relieved of its debt doesn't stop borrowing money. It won't help if the governments are still corrupt, still cheating taxpayers, still refusing to allow a free press, private property, or freedom of religion. It won't help if there are no decent roads so that farmers can get to market or so that sick children can get to medicine. It won't change a thing as long as rape and prostitution run rampant. Debt relief won't help the suffering people of Zimbabwe when their government - unelected, I should add - has a systematic policy of forcing white farmers off their own land. Nothing will change in the Sudan so long as the Bashir government practices genocide. Nothing will change in South Africa so long as the government there regards AIDS as "an African problem," thereby suggesting that the rest of the world step off. We can't help Nigeria or Algeria or Libya so long as those countries are run by brutally oppressive Islamic regimes that harbor terrorists, treat women as second-class citizens and treat their dogs better than they treat homosexuals or adulterers. We can't help a country that refuses to allow some level of capitalism, wherein a man can ply his trade and farm his land without worrying about being killed on the way to the market. The One campaign might offer a temporary solution, but there is no long term hope for Africa without government reform that brings an end to widespread corruption, a change to a free market, free speech, free religion and democratic elections.

And lastly, as a Christian, it would be foolish of me to think that any serious change can come to Africa without a change of heart. I'm not above supporting non-religious aid groups. I have before and will likely continue to do so. But I must acknowledge that there is no peace and no truth outside of the cross of Christ. As much as I pray that Africa and other poverty-stricken regions of the world can find relief, I must acknolwedge that true relief is found only in Christ. I must also acknowledge that my intentions mean nothing if my plans don't work. A fisherman can want with all his heart to catch a fish, but if he is not fishing correctly, his longing is in vain. Likewise we must acknowledge that Christ's command to care for the less fortunate must mean more than tossing money at the problem and thinking that true change can come from the government and not from the heart. To pretend otherwise is extremely dangerous.

Posted by Matt at 10:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dean on Kelo

Howard Dean can't be this dumb (HT: Ballon Juice via Hugh Hewitt).

He also said the president was partly responsible for a recent Supreme Court decision involving eminent domain.

"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is," Dean said, not mentioning that until he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court this week, Bush had not appointed anyone to the high court.

Dean's reference to the "right-wing" court was also erroneous. The four justices who dissented in the Kelo vs. New London case included the three most conservative members of the court - Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the fourth dissenter.

The court's liberal coalition of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer combined with Justice Anthony Kennedy to form the majority opinion, allowing the city of New London, Conn., to use eminent domain to seize private properties for commercial development.

"We think that eminent domain does not belong in the private sector. It is for public use only," Dean said.

Someone please get a hold of Dr. Dean and let him know that the most conservative judges on the Court were in the minority on Kelo. Perhaps then he will join Leahy in offering his wholehearted support for Judge Roberts.

Dean may not be lying outright, but this quote does suggest that Dean has a penchant for making things up as he goes. He's doing a great job filling Mcauliffe's shoes!

Posted by Rick at 09:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Roberts Notes

Judicial restraint is by definition the opposite of judicial activism and I therefore await Patrick Leahy's wholehearted support for Bush's nominee.

Posted by Rick at 01:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Donna Frye - Out of Touch with San Diegans

Early returns in San Diego show liberal Democrat Donna Frye winning 42 percent of ballots cast today in a special election to replace resigned mayor Dick Murphy. Two Republican candidates split the remaining vote, with Frye likely to face former Police Chief Jerry Sanders in a runoff November. This we expected.

Not expected was the apparent overwhelming victory for Proposition A, which if the lead holds, will keep the Mt. Soledad cross as it is, where it is. As of the last newscast before bed, Prop A had 77 percent, which crushes the recently imposed 2/3 threshold.

Donna Frye has consistently voted and spoken out against the Mt. Soledad Cross. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, “Among major candidates, only Councilwoman Donna Frye opposes the measure. Citing concerns over legal costs, Frye twice voted against the transfer at City Council meetings, and she voted against putting it on the ballot.”

If Sanders is smart, he will use Frye's steadfast opposition to the Mt. Soledad Cross to demonstrate just how out of touch she is with San Diegans.

Posted by Rick at 01:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What Should Happen to Syria?

Fox News reports that Iraq exported billions of dollars of oil in exchange for arms and cash, in violation of UN sanctions. The illegal transactions began in 2000 and continued to March of 2003. In January of 2002, Syria won a 2-year seat on the UN Security Council.

Syria's ambassador to Washington pledged yesterday that his country would try to work with the United States during its two-year term on the Security Council.

"Syria will cooperate with all the members of the Security Council to achieve the noble goals and objectives of the U.N. and preserve international peace and security," said Rostom Al-Zoubi.

The Assad regime has made the United Nation in general and the Security Council specifically a mockery. What should now happen to Syria? What will happen to Syria?

What a useless institution...

Posted by Rick at 12:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2005

Keep on Shouting!

I missed it, but yesterday was Shouting into the Wind's one-year blogiversary. I met Shawna about the same time I met Mark Sides, Josh Britton, and a number of others blogging the runup to election 2004. After a year of shouting in every direction, Shawna's blog now has clear direction. Congrats Shawna!

Posted by Rick at 10:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Jon Stewart and Rick Santorum

Ann Althouse puts up some thoughts on last night's interview between Jon Stewart and Rick Santorum.

New Republic seems upset that Stewart did not batter Santorum, but Althouse says she thought the interview was pretty good.

Stewart made his points subtly, in the middle of the mushy niceness. Santorum kept talking about the "ideal" of the man-and-woman-with-children family, and Stewart accepted that ideal but asked why not include other people in that positive model even if it's a step away from ideal. He noted when Santorum equated heterosexuality with virtue and got Santorum to back away from that equation a tad.

I concur. I am also remembering Stewart's appearance on Crossfire, when he discussed how harmful the constant sniping from both sides is to public discourse. Stewart could have simply been an attack dog last night, but instead he proved his point, that people with almost nothing in common can still engage in civil conversation. It is, frankly, something the nation needs to come to understand. So I say good for Stewart!

Yes, I know The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is on Comedy Central, but that doesn't mean people don't actually get their news from the show. College students, especially, sometimes do, which is why you see politicos and authors make the trek to NY to sit with Stewart, who is a pretty smart fellow. Cute, too.

Crossposted at http://www.theclamauro.blogspot.com

Posted by Thecla at 03:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Politicians & the Press: They Deserve Each Other

Yesterday, many bloggers were talking about Jonathan Turley's LA Times piece examining the faith of SCOTUS nominee John Roberts. Leaving aside that no nominee to the Supreme Court in my memory has had to endure such scrutiny of his or her faith, and that this fixation on Roberts' Catholicism is beginning to remind me of the know-nothings, what interested most was this:

According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral.

...Renowned for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

Now, the NY Times, in what appears to be an effort to "simplify" (or, more likely, "confuse") the matter have reduced Turley's information to this:

Professor Turley cited unnamed sources saying that Judge Roberts had told Mr. Durbin he would recuse himself from cases involving abortion, the death penalty or other subjects where Catholic teaching and civil law can clash.

Not quite the same, is it? But that might not matter, at all, because aside from the Times' artless simplification, there are questions as to whether this exchange between Sen. Durbin (that paragon of restraint) and Roberts ever took place!

Betsy Newmark has a nice recap:

A spokesman for Mr. Durbin and Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, who spoke to Judge Roberts on Monday about the meeting, said Professor Turley's account of a recusal statement was inaccurate.

But in an interview last night, Professor Turley said Mr. Durbin himself had described the conversation to him on Sunday morning, including the statement about recusal.

Betsy writes: So whom are we to believe: Dick Durbin or Dick Durbin?

But wait! There is more! Jonathan Turley has now "outted" those two "anonymous sources" he had quoted in the original piece, and in this Washington Times piece he sounds pretty angry. From that story:

"Jonathan Turley's column is not accurate," Durbin press secretary Joe Shoemaker said, adding that his boss never asked that question and Judge Roberts never said he would recuse himself in such a case.
"Judge Roberts said repeatedly that he would follow the rule of law," Mr. Shoemaker said.

Disagreement also came on who leaked the exchange.
"I don't know who was his source," Mr. Shoemaker said. "Whoever the source was either got it wrong or Jonathan Turley got it wrong."
Mr. Turley, contacted by The Washington Times yesterday, said his sources were Mr. Durbin and Mr. Shoemaker.
According to Mr. Turley, he met Mr. Durbin in NBC's makeup room Sunday between the senator's appearance on "Meet the Press" and Mr. Turley's appearance on another program. According to the professor, Mr. Durbin told him the story while Mr. Turley took notes, adding that he called Mr. Shoemaker and read back his account of the meeting "word for word."
"I specifically confirmed Senator Durbin's account with his press secretary," Mr. Turley said.

Turley, hot for a scoop that could prove hurtful to a Bush nominee and willing to use an anonymous source, seems to have gotten burned.

Meanwhile, is this sad, or what? A U.S. Senator and a member of the press each calling the other a liar concerning a story which would not even be have been written, had the issue concerned someone they liked.

The state of our press and politicians. Deplorable in every way.
Crossposted at http://www.theclamauro.blogspot.com

Posted by Thecla at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Space Shuttle Returns


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Discovery and seven astronauts blasted into orbit Tuesday on America's first manned space shot since the 2003 Columbia disaster, ending a painful, 2 1/2-year shutdown devoted to making the shuttle less risky and NASA more safety-conscious.

At stake were not only the lives of the astronauts, but also America's pride in its technological prowess, the fate of the U.S. space program and the future of space exploration itself.

"Our long wait may be over. So on behalf of the many millions of people who believe so deeply in what we do, good luck, Godspeed _ and have a little fun up there," launch director Mike Leinbach told the astronauts just before liftoff.

My daughter, who has dreams of being a pioneer to Mars, likes the idea that the first Shuttle mission after this long wait, and thus a rather sensitive and scrutinized mission, is a woman. So do I.

Posted by Doug at 01:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Federalist Society

You may have heard that John Roberts, Bush's Supreme Court nominee was once a member of the Federalist Society. What does that tell us? Well, according to David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy, not much.

Posted by Doug at 01:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Key Issue in the Debate Over Roberts' Nomination

So far in the news coverage of the President's nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court, there has been much discussion about the issue of abortion, Judge Roberts' Catholic faith, and the White House assertion of executive privilege as Democrats have sought memos that Judge Roberts wrote when he was White House Counsel. But as Michael Rosen points out in his column today at Tech Central Station, the key issues in this debate are the legal questions decided in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (which I previously reported on here).

In summary, a unanimous three judge panel (including Judge Roberts) issued the following ruling:

1. Persons judged to be enemy combatants can be tried under military tribunals.

2. The President did not violate the separation of powers provision of the Constitution nor did he violate Article II of the Constitution when he ordered the establishment of military tribunals to deal with captured terrorists.

3. The Geneva Convention does not apply to enemy combatants such as those imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay as they do not qualify as "prisoners of war".

4. Even if a combatant is convicted under a military tribunal, they are still entitled to file an appeal in a civilian court.

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld sets an important precedent not because it affirms the President's policies towards terrorists but because it clearly establishes the rules for the disposition of the cases against prisoners at Guantanamo as well as others being held as enemy combatants.

As Rosen concludes in his column:

By signing onto the ruling, Judge Roberts demonstrated that he can capably confront one of the most critical issues before the Court this decade: balancing the protection of fundamental liberties against the defense of our homeland.

Which only goes to show why Judge Roberts should be confirmed quickly to the Supreme Court.

Posted by Tom at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 25, 2005

Anita Hill speaks out on Roberts

Anita Hill, who once tried to keep Clarence Thomas off the Supreme Court bench, weighs in on Bush's nominee, John Roberts. While reading this article, keep in mind these key points:

Point A: The work "bork" is a verb these days because of litmus tests on issues that the Democrats made Robert Bork take. His ability to judge cases based on the Constitution (i.e. his potential job description) was less important as his views on specific issues.
Point B: Anita Hill herself tried to sink Clarence Thomas' confirmation based on some of his earlier behavior. His ability to judge cases based on the Constitution was less important than his demeanor in years gone by.
Point C: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had she been held to the same standard as Bork by the Republicans, would never have made it out of committee. She sailed through the Senate confirmation vote.

With that, here are some excerpts from Anita Hill's article:

In his nomination of John G. Roberts for the Supreme Court, President George W. Bush has put forward a highly regarded lawyer who is reportedly a quite likable individual. Roberts' supporters and independent analysts cite a lifetime of achievement as the reason he should be confirmed.

Roberts worked in both President Ronald Reagan's and the first President George Bush's administrations before going into private practice. Republicans are counting on the fact that Democrats will have a hard time voting against someone with government and private practice experience who is widely recognized within the Beltway as one of the country's top appellate attorneys. As Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe wrote, Roberts' career reads like "a 1950s Boys' Life primer on how to prepare for the Supreme Court."

But was John Roberts chosen because he's the best choice for the court or because he may easily be confirmed? And why not choose a woman to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court? Or use this as an opportunity to nominate the first Latino to the court?

We don't know what the decision-making process was, but Ms. Hill seems to suggest that national origin or gender should trump experience and ability. This is much like Point A's issue litmus tests or Point B's bygone bad behavior being overriding concerns vs. job performance. But I think there's larger reason Roberts may have been nominated, and I'll get to that next.
Not surprisingly, the answer to these questions has to do with the politics of confirmability. One thing is certain: If nominees are selected based on the very narrow and elite credentials that brought us John Roberts, a wide range of equally qualified, more diverse candidates will never even be considered.

Here's the crux of the matter; the "politics of confirmability". The irony here is that Anita Hill is decrying the very thing she participated in. Why does George W. Bush have to nominate someone who's "confirmable"? Because the Democrats brought the "politics of confirmability" to us in Points A & B above. And while one might be tempted to paint both parties with an overly broad brush and say they all do it, please refer to Point C.

Ms. Hill goes on to complain about the groups that Roberts belonged to and the gender makeup of the Rehnquist clerks he was a part of. She's worried that those he's associated with weren't diverse enough. She speaks very little about his qualifications, and indeed says she she hopes the Judiciary Committee will determine if he indeed does have the right experience. She doesn't know for sure, but she's more worried about his background in diversity, as though judging constitutional questions is based on who you've known. I don't recall the being a criteria for the Supreme Court. What concerns Ms. Hill further is that if Roberts' background becomes the standard by which Presidents have to choose their nominees, we'll never get another Sandra Day O'Connor, or perhaps a future woman or Latino that doesn't fit the picture. Whether or not that is the case, I'll note again that it is Democrats and Ms. Hill who set this standard of "confirmability". See Points A and B. Again.

With O'Connor on the bench, the Supreme Court was the most diverse in its history. If confirmability through the Roberts "primer" becomes the rule, it is not hard to imagine a return to an all-white-male Supreme Court.

Again, diversity trumps all. I don't recall any blacks on the court when Brown v Board of Education was argued and ruled on (Thurgood Marshall's tenure was 14 years away), and yet they ruled in favor of those of a race other than their own. One doesn't have to be of the same race or gender to rule honestly and fairly with regards to that race or gender, but arguing for Supreme Court diversity suggests a rather dim view of people, and assumes that such honesty and fairness is difficult if not impossible. That's a rather cynical view.
The nomination process may have become so politicized that the only secure nomination is someone who is an ultimate Washington insider, liked by both sides. If so, it misses a chance to reflect the experiences of the vast majority of Americans. Moreover, a gold standard for judicial selection based on exclusivity appears to contradict the values of ever-expanding opportunities we espouse.

Roberts' professional endeavors represent very limited legal experiences that do not appear to be balanced by other life experiences. I hope the Judiciary Committee members will try to determine whether Roberts has the breadth of experience that will help him understand the law beyond what is sometimes a very narrow text.

I don't know enough about John G. Roberts' positions on any issues to pass judgment on his suitability for the court. The concerns I have today are directed more to the process and standards for the nomination. For if confirmability politics continue to control the Supreme Court selection process, it will likely change the face of the court for the foreseeable future.

Ms. Hill, you have yourself and the Democrat Party you allied yourself with to thank for such an outcome. If diversity is really your goal, you'll only get it by de-politicizing the process. I'd like it de-politicized as well, but because I want nominees that best fit the job, not some gender or racial profile. As the points above note, it's the Democrats you have to convince on this point.

Posted by Doug at 01:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Political Implications of the SCOTUS Confirmation Vote

This Associated Press article speculates on the possible impact that 2008 Presidential aspirations may have on certain Senators' votes when Judge Roberts nomination comes up for vote both in the Judiciary Committee as well as the full Senate (hat tip: Rich Galen). While the article is somewhat interesting it misses what I believe is the bigger story: the 2006 Congressional Elections.

Democrats will be under tremendous pressure from constiuent special interest groups to vote against Judge Roberts. However, Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Kent Conrad (D-ND) are all in situations where they may need to vote to confirm Roberts in order to appease a growing conservative electorate in their states and ensure their re-election.

Meanwhile, Republicans Lincoln Chaffee (RI) and Olympia Snowe (ME) have both angered conservatives with their centrist voting patterns. Chaffee in particular may face a primary challenge from a more conservative Republican and may feel he needs to vote for Roberts in order to appease conservatives. Ohio's Mike DeWine, who was one of the Gang of 14 who forged the deal that temporary halted judicial filibusters may also face a conservative challenger next spring and may vote to confirm Roberts to appease conservatives.

I have my doubts that Presidential aspirations will matter much in this confirmation vote. The only question remaining is how much Democrats will fight Judge Roberts' confirmation which appears to be more inevitable with each passing day.

Posted by Tom at 12:03 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 22, 2005

Proud to be a Neocon

The term “neocon” is in vouge with liberal rhetoricians and polemics, but what does it mean? I’ve yet to be slapped with the ad hominem label, but Charles Krauthammer’s comments on neoconservatism make me long for the day that I am. Josh Britton has a few thoughts on Krauthammer’s worthy article. (Britton also takes on Mathew Yglesias’ challenge of the Ginsburg Precedent.)

Posted by Rick at 05:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Francis Schaeffer vs. Me

Biting off more than I can chew.

Scroll down to the bottom paragraphs.

But here's a question and I've seen it tossed around a bit on some other blogs: I realize Schaeffer is important to Christians, but does anyone else care? Were his ideas really that valuable, and can they stand on their own terms? I'm not criticizing...I'm just asking. Anyone have a thought?

Posted by Matt at 02:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

LA Times Absurdity

Wife of Nominee Holds Strong Antiabortion Views - LA Times

A spouse's views normally are not considered relevant in weighing someone's job suitability. But abortion is likely to figure prominently in the Senate debate over John Roberts' nomination. And with his position on the issue unclear, abortion rights supporters expressed concern Wednesday that his wife's views might suggest he also embraced efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
As left-wing a rag as it is, I couldn't believe it when I saw this story on the front page of the LA Times. DailyKOS mainpage material for sure, but LA Times? Absurd.

Posted by Rick at 10:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Two weeks later: Continue to pray for London

I was getting ready this morning and first heard reports of smoke in a train station around 830 eastern time...and now there are at least 4 incidents reported.

3 London Underground Stations evactuated.

British police say 'incident' on bus in east London

Explosions reported on London Tube

Interesting information so far is that there may have been bombs that detonated but didn't explode. This would make them easier to track and greatly aid in the investigation. Hopefully this is the case.

Posted by Abigail at 09:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2005

Ecto Posting Tool

Posting in MovableType isn't as easy as I thought it would be - especially on a Mac, which for some reason cannot read the formatting buttons that come with MT. My father-in-law, who hosts Stones Cry Out on his Mac OSX server, found an article on blogging in the latest MacAddict and suggested I read it. I found an article titled, "Update from Your Desktop" which featured ecto and marsedit software to complement MT's publishing capabilities.

I chose ecto, went to their website, downloaded their program (which can also be downloaded in Windows format), and within a few minutes crafted this post. There are built in links to iPhoto, iTunes, and the program even gives you a running word count. Not to mention many formatting tools and custom HTML tags. The price is nice too - $17.95.

If you've been frustrated with posting within MT, I suggest you give etco a shot.

Posted by Rick at 11:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Leahy Logic

Run that by me again Senator?

Leahy, interviewed on CNN after meeting with Roberts, said, "We have right now the most activist Supreme Court I've seen in my lifetime. ... So I'm going to ask him are you going to be part of that same activist coalition, overturning settled law, rewriting the law yourself? And, among those, of course, is going to be Roe v. Wade," the 1973 ruling that established a woman's right to an abortion.
Prior to Roe v. Wade, there was no established “right” to abortion. With that single ruling by life-tenured, unelected judges, settled law was overturned. That Court in effect rewrote the law themselves. His own logic would compel him to conclude that the Roe Court was activist.

Posted by Rick at 07:37 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

O'Connor: Roberts is "First Rate"

Not sure if this is good or bad. Just kidding. He should be installed by mid-September. Thanks Justice O'Connor!

Posted by Rick at 05:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ginsburg Precedent

Hugh Hewitt posts the relevant quotes from Justice Ginsburg, which set the “Ginsburg Precedent.” I heard Brit Hume discuss this last night following Chuck Schumer’s press conference and wanted to learn more. Hugh Hewitt provides an invaluable service.

"I prefer not to answer questions like that; again, to talk in grand terms about principles that have to be applied in concrete cases. I like to reason from the specific case," was the response of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Patrick Leahy's 1993 question to then nominee Judge Ginsburg on which of the two religion clauses of the First Amendment was subordinate to the other.
BTW: Josh Britton has a series of SCOTUS posts and dissects Fred Barnes' puzzling comments on Roberts.

Posted by Rick at 11:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"In your face ordinations" and how to report them

Amy Welborn, providing tons of links, sounds like she is fed up to the gills on how the press is reporting on these rogue "female ordinations" which are cropping up (and the fad seems to be to do it during a day cruise - see Curt Jester's satire on it) all over the place. As Amy points out - beyond the rebellion, there are the usual Catholic bishops doing a less-than-bang-up job in getting out information. She writes:

Anyway, the issue is: how should reporters be naming and claiming this business? The KRT solution of putting ordained in scare quotes doesn't work because they are, indeed, being ordained. It's not a Catholic ordination, but neither is it when someone is ordained a Presbyterian minister. That's okay.
No, the issue is the identification of all of this and subsequent actions as "Catholic." No, they are not going to be Catholic priests after this. Sorry. And you don't even have to get very complicated about it. I can't sit here and have the members of my family vote and proclaim me as the Democratic nominee for president. Institutions don't work that way. There are, to put it simplistically, chains of command and identity which are broken here, not just because of the femaleness of the ordinands, but because of the fact that the original women (including the "bishops" who will be doing this batch) have been excommunicated. Duh.

There are actually several break-off denominations of the Catholic Church, but they all have modifiers. American Catholic Church, and so on. When they ordain, they are ordaining priests or whatever of the American Catholic Church, and they are "American Catholic" priests.

The gist of these stories is that these women will be "Catholic" (which everyone understands as a shorthand for Roman Catholic HQ in Rome, even if that's imprecise) priests and the only glitch is that they are not "recognized" as such by "the Vatican." But such is not the case, is it?

Amy is quite correct. She is, in clarifying this issue, doing what the bishops should be doing.

As a Catholic woman who has looked long and hard at the issue of women priests, I cannot, at this time, support the idea. Until women can approach the issue of Ordination without this mindset of entitlement and ego, I fear they will not be as fully productive and pastoral as they might be - and the priesthood is nothing if not a deeply pastoral calling.

It doesn’t matter how many degrees one has, or how badly one desires to ’serve full-time in ministry’. An apostolic ordination is more than mere ‘ministry’. Heavens! Anyone can serve in full-time ministry if they really want to - without ever being ordained. I’m thinking of some of the great women of our so-called ’sexist’ church who managed, without ordination, to minister autonomously and so effectively that they renewed the face of the church. Catherine of Siena counseled not only the lay men and women around her but the pope as well - while writing extraordinary treatises. Theresa of Avila managed to reform an order, to build scores of monasteries for both men and women, without waiting around for someone to tell her she could, and without insisting that her own terms be met before she could give her all. It was the same with Hildegard of Bingen, who only wrote music, plays, books on medicine and so much more, in an era where women – at least secular women - didn’t aspire to such things because the secular world was not open to it, as the church was.

And dare I point out - though none of these women spoke from a pulpit, their words still echo and reverberate - their voices were never silent. While it’s easy to label the church ’sexist’ I am not entirely certain she has earned the name. Since the dawn of Christianity, within the church, women were educating themselves and others, writing books, imagining and then building schools, hospitals, policies and procedures. These were women of unqualified brilliance who understood that their calling - all of our callings - began with ONE calling, the most fundamental: to love, and to - out of love - do that which we can do, humbly and with gratitude.

Before any such movement may be undertaken, those women looking for ordination might consider that Jesus tended to use the most humble of materials to perform his most effective work. Think mud and spittle. Think Bernadette Soubirous (who would have been the first to describe herself as ignorant) or Sister Lucia of Fatima, who never got a degree in anything, much less in theology. Full of ego and hubris, they might have made noise, demanded ordination themselves for having been such very privileged and graced visionaries.

Instead, their egos diminished - they asked nothing earthly for themselves but to “to dwell in the house of the Lord, all my days…”

True service to the Lord begins not with a “give me” but with a “please take.” Ordination cannot be at the service of anger or spite. It must contain a willingness not to scream but to dialogue, not to lecture but to counsel, and it must have a passing acquaintance with, and respect for, the notion of obedience or else it is simply - only - going on about oneself, one’s own desires.

We, all of us, must first respond to the call to love, and serve it with a willing heart and a sublimation of one’s own ego. “Not my will, but yours be done, O Lord.” Everything else comes from that.

I know that’s not a popular sentiment these days. But it was the very prayer Christ himself prayed. Shall we demand more than he?

UPDATE: Michael Liccione at Pontifications has some thoughts on another rogue Catholic woman!

Crossposted at www.theclamauro.blogspot.com

Posted by Thecla at 07:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005

Another Promise Kept

I certainly share Rick's enthusiam about the nomination of John Roberts. Great choice :)

As I've said before, any political pressure to choose a non-european or a woman was false. The best person should be the one for the job. By all accounts, John Roberts is the most qualified, intelligent, gracious and conservative choice. And...you know, he's 50 years old. So, I applaud President Bush for rising above speculation that he would bow any any of these pressures. Back during the '04 election, there was a large emphasis on the possibility that the President would be able to make a nomination to the court and that we had to give that the consideration it deserved in casting our vote. With this nomination President Bush has stood up for one of the main reasons he was re-elected.

I admit to not know much about John Roberts. But I also admit to having a weakness for the opinions of Bill Kristol. And Bill Kristol? He liked the choice and agreed that Roberts is extremely well suited for the position.

I also have respect for Hugh Hewitt's input and tonight he says this is a "home run."

I respect also Kathryn Jean Lopez who said to Hugh on his show "It's a great night."

I'm sure there will be many more bloggers, both here at SCO and all around who are giving their opinions and giving a round up of everyone else's opinion and that is great. We should continue the buzz about this because it is a definite win for the Bush Administration.

Oh, did we mention that John G. Roberts is 50 years old?

Posted by Abigail at 10:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Analysis of the Roberts SCOTUS Nomination

After watching the SCOTUS rumor mill all day, I'm pleasantly surprised that President Bush decided to nominate Judge John Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

The President wisely took advantage of his bully pulpit to present his nominee directly to the American people in a televised speech that, for once, all the networks carried. Although the rumor mill had been suggesting Edith Clement or even Edith Jones was going to be nominated, the President went against the conventional wisdom in nominating Judge Roberts rather than another woman to replace Justice O'Connor. The President also calmed fears of conservatives who were afraid that he would nominate Alberto Gonzales to the Court. In fact, the media again showed themselves to be totally out of step with reality in their reporting of the rumors surrounding this nomination.

The President also seized the opportunity to frame the debate over the nomination with his brief statement tonight. Here are the key points in the speech:

"He's an honors graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School."

Opponents of the nomination will have to be prepared to ask smart questions. Judge Roberts clearly is a smart guy.

"In his career he has served as a law clerk to Justice William Rehnquist, as an associate counsel to President Ronald Reagan and as the principal deputy solicitor general in the Department of Justice.

In public service and in private practice, he has argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court and earned a reputation as one of the best legal minds of his generation."

Obviously he already knows his way around the Court and his professional credentials are beyond question. The Left is not going to be able to argue that he doesn't have the appropriate curriculum vitae for the Court.

"After he was nominated for the Court of Appeals in 2001, a bipartisan group of more than 150 lawyers sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. They wrote, 'Although as individuals we reflect a wide spectrum of political party affiliation and ideology, we are united in our belief that John Roberts will be an outstanding Federal Court of Appeals judge and should be confirmed by the United States Senate.'

The signers of this letter included a former counsel to a Republican president, a former counsel to two Democratic presidents and former high-ranking Justice Department officials of both parties."

He enjoys support from all across the political spectrum and from a number of legal heavyweights. He's not a nominee that will easily be characterized as "out of the mainstream".

"He has profound respect for the rule of law and for the liberties guaranteed to every citizen. He will strictly apply the Constitution in laws, not legislate from the bench."

The President has said repeatedly that he intended to appoint a strict constructionist to the Court and has accomplished that goal with this nomination.

"I believe that Democrats and Republicans alike will see the strong qualifications of this fine judge, as they did when they confirmed him by unanimous consent to the judicial seat he now holds."

This was my favorite line from the entire speech. The message to the Democrats was simply this: Confirm him. Now.

Democrats will have no choice but to confirm him. If they object too loudly, they will show themselves to be the obstructionists that they truly are. The beauty of this nomination is it gives absolutely no ammunition to the Left to use in the confirmation process.

I expect Roberts to be confirmed fairly easily after a lot of shouting from the Left.

Posted by Tom at 10:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

50 Years Old!!!

50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!! 50 Years Old!!!

Posted by Rick at 09:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Britton Weighs In

Josh Britton answered my call with his maiden post at JoshBritton.com, offering thoughts on the SCOTUS buzz surrounding the two Ediths (Judge Edith Clement and Judge Edith Jones).

The Louisiana native and LSU student majoring in political communication has been a friend of the SCO almost since its inception. My wife and I had lunch with him earlier this year, before he headed to DC to serve as an intern to Louisiana Senator David Vitter. God certainly has His hand upon this young man and I look forward to the day when I can tell my friends, “I knew him when…”

Posted by Rick at 05:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Opponents to Kelo Come "Out of the Woodwork"

Who didn’t foresee this reaction to Kelo?

Alarmed by the prospect of local governments seizing homes and turning the property over to developers, lawmakers in at least half the states are rushing to blunt last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling expanding the power of eminent domain.

"People I've never heard from before came out of the woodwork and were just so agitated," said Illinois state Sen. Susan Garrett, a Democrat. "People feel that it's a threat to their personal property, and that has hit a chord."
Out of the woodwork? Nice. How many Democrats are this out of touch?

Posted by Rick at 04:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eric Rudolph: Christian Terrorist?

Eric Rudolph is certainly a terrorist. But did he inflict terror in the name of Jesus? Quoting from letters to his mother, this CNN story suggests that it is more likely that he is an atheist:

In another he refers to people who send him money and books.

"Most of them have, of course, an agenda; mostly born-again Christians looking to save my soul. I suppose the assumption is made that because I'm in here I must be a 'sinner' in need of salvation, and they would be glad to sell me a ticket to heaven, hawking this salvation like peanuts at a ballgame," he wrote.

"I do appreciate their charity, but I could really do without the condescension. They have been so nice I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible."

Doesn't the media-pushed conventional wisdom of Eric Rudolph suggest that he is a "Christian" and that his "faith" inspired his heinous acts?

Why am I not surprised that this aspect of the Rudolph story hasn't been covered by the "objective" MSM?

Posted by Rick at 04:18 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

SCOTUS Nominee TBA Tonight

Having consulted Senate Democrats, President Bush is prepared to announce his nominee tonight at 9pm EST.

The buzz is that it will be Edith B. Clement. Who? No clue. Maybe Josh Britton can clue us in.

The Note reports that she is the only prospective nominee to have been privately interviewed by the President. Check ConfirmThem for some background on Clement. Hugh Hewitt will certainly register comments later today and in the weeks ahead.

Posted by Rick at 01:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Republican Idiot Club

The Republican Idiot Club has yet another member.

Apparently following Tancredo’s lead, New Jersey Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo decided to open his mouth and expose himself as an idiot (HT: Captain’s Quarters via Instapundit):

Congressman Frank LoBiondo apologized for suggesting that Guantanamo Bay detainees were worse than Adolf Hitler because the Nazi dictator "sort of had a political rationale about what he was doing."

The New Jersey Republican made the remark on a radio talk show this past week, describing his recent visit to the Naval Base in Cuba. Muslim terrorists, he said, were more evil than Hitler.

"Hitler, in his philosophy, was, you know, he hated Jews, he was murdering Jews, and there were some people he liked. But he never went to the level that these people are going to," LoBiondo said.

Although LoBiondo retracted his comment and apologized, which is more than Tancredo has done to date, his words call into question his judgment and understanding of history.

The islamofascist agenda is supported by a political rationale and in fact one that makes more sense to a lot of Muslims every time someone like Tancredo opens his mouth. And, what did he mean when he said that Hitler “never went to the level that these people are going to”? Who elects these people? Must be these folks. I cringe knowing that they share my party affiliation.

Posted by Rick at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hug a Church Sound Engineer

If you are or have been your church’s sound engineer, you will sympathize with this post. My favorite of the list:

• 7 - the thickness (in inches) my skin must become in order to enjoy running sound
The churchgoer often has no clue what engineers go through. I often fielded competing complaints from parishioners. One pastor would say, “I can’t hear the piano.” I’d smile and turn a knob as a token gesture. Moments later, another pastor would approach me and tell me that he thought the piano was too loud.

Our services are held in a gymnasium and one particular pastor (no longer at our church) insisted upon using a completely unpredictable and rather cheap wireless headset mic. He refused to arrive early enough to sound check his mic to boot!

One service seared into my memory, he stood at the podium in front of 3,000 people and yelled across the gym, “I’m not saying another word until this feedback problem is fixed!” “Well, numbskull”, I felt like responding, “I can’t dial in the mic unless you speak and if you would have come for a sound check, you wouldn’t be in this mess!” Of course, I said nothing of the sort and instead pretended to turn dials until he gave me another signal to process and after a few awkward moments, I had him notched.

The sound booth is an often thankless ministry. You know you have succeeded when no one notices that you are behind the board. And when you fail? Well, everyone knows because you see it in their face as they turn around and give you that look. But it’s usually not one or two looks – it can be dozens or hundreds.

When I got in the record business, my head wasn’t quite on straight. Yet, God in His goodness and mercy used that time to teach me the art that quickly became my passion and outlet for worship through service following my submission to Christ. If you can take the heat dispensed by the church at its ministers of sound, I suppose you can take all types of heat thrown at you by the world.

Time has not been my friend lately, with family, work and school taking priority, but I hope to be back in that sound booth again some day.

Posted by Rick at 08:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

If Desperate, Bomb Mecca!

Congressman Tom Tancredo, idiot extreme and not only for his xenophobic immigration positions, thinks bombing Mecca in retaliation for a WMD strike on the US is an “option.”

The congressman later said he was “just throwing out some ideas” and that an “ultimate threat” might have to be met with an “ultimate response.”
Ultimate response? What, nuclear? Nuclear weapons, with a few tactical exceptions, are meant to serve as deterrents. The threat of mutually assured destruction kept the bombs from falling for almost 50 years during the Cold War. To whom was Tancredo’s threat directed? What deterring effect could the threat of nuking (or even bombing) Mecca in response to a terrorist attack on our soil provide? It might make a certain Congressman and his redneck followers feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but that’s about it.

Read Hugh Hewitt’s swift slam then head over to Donald Sensing. I agree with the pastor. Not only is the idea stupid politically, it’s immoral.

Posted by Rick at 07:03 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

More on the Plame Non-Scandal

This is some of the best analysis I've seen so far on the Valerie Plame non-scandal scandal.

So is this.

Don't miss this one, either. It turns out the CIA "outed" Valerie Plame long before Robert Novak did.

Posted by Tom at 04:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

America’s Finest City

Finest city indeed! Well, except for its politicians.

A federal jury on Monday convicted San Diego's new acting mayor and a city councilman of taking payoffs from a strip club owner to help repeal the "no-touching" ordinance at nude clubs, the latest blow to a city already awash in scandal.

Michael Zucchet, who became interim mayor over the weekend, was found guilty of conspiracy, extortion and fraud on his first business day in office. He was immediately suspended from office, his attorney said.

Councilman Ralph Inzunza, who was convicted of the same charges, also was suspended.

Mayor Dick Murphy resigned Friday and San Diego County Republican Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham announced he will not seek reelection amidst an investigation into a fishy real estate transaction. Oh, and the San Diego Democratic Party has adopted a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld (HT: Smash).

Honey, are you sure you don't want to move? There must be something in the water here.

Posted by Rick at 04:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ebonics Back in Public Discourse

Sadly, this isn’t a joke.

"Ebonics is a different language, it's not slang as many believe," Texeira said. "For many of these students Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language."
Problem: Kids aren’t doing well in school.
Fact 1: Kids aren’t proficient in English.
Fact 2: Kids prefer their street slang homegrown “language.”
Analysis: It is difficult for children to learn when they don't read or write English if lessons are prepared and conveyed in English. Teaching these children proper English from Kindergarten through High School is too difficult.
Solution: Let’s “supplement” their learning environment with ebonics curriculum.
Conclusion: We all feel better about ourselves (temporarily). Hooray!!!

This is a moral outrage. Where are the civil rights leaders?

I asked once, and I’ll ask again. When these kids graduate and find that they cannot read or write English after 12+ years of formal public education and they discover that their job opportunities are severely limited because of the false sense of accomplishment afforded them by a diploma that they likely cannot read - WHO DO THEY SUE?

Posted by Rick at 02:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Million, Million, Million Monkeys

Remember the evolutionists claim that given enough monkeys banging on enough typewriters sooner or later one of them would type out the complete works of Shakespeare? Via Dean Esmay comes the word that someone's putting that to the test.

So far a simply extraordinary number of virtual monkeys (5.67088e+47 as I write this--the population continuously expands) have typed 1 letter per second each for 5.01633e+48 virtual years, and haven't managed to get much past a couple of dozen letters of any given play.

Click here to join the effort (and become a monkey). (Isn't that de-evolution?) Fun little experiment, but seriously folks, which has a higher probability; typing out the text of all of Shakespeare's plays by chance, or lining up the atoms, molecules, proteins and such of a single cell and get the right amount of jolt to begin life by chance?

Mathematical note: A billion years expressed in the scientific notation you see above is 1.0e+09 (1 times 10 to the ninth--a "1" with 9 zeroes after it). The number of virtual years noted above is over 1 times 10 to the 48th, i.e. a "1" with 48 zeroes after it. Yes, the comparison between random chemicals mixing and monkeys typing may be a comparison of apples and...bananas, but it does help show how astonishingly remote such a chance is.

Posted by Doug at 02:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Did the Brits’ Involvement in Iraq Make them a Target?

You better believe it! It comes with the territory. When you are a leader in this world, aiming to stamp out a hideous ideology of hate that is essentially fascist in root, you better expect that you will be a target. You might as well put a big fat bulls eye on your back. The Aussie’s were hit with Bali, but stood firm. The Spaniards on the other hand were hit in Madrid and ran like cowards. The Brits, God we pray, will do no similar disservice to the world.

In the run-up to the presidential election last fall, the question was often asked: Are we safer having invaded Iraq? The answer is that it depends on your perspective.

When President Bush laid out a response to 911, he made it clear that the war would be fought with many methods, on many lands, over a long period of time, and that we would almost certainly be struck again. The savagery of the attacks against civilians in London and nearly every day in Iraq, remind us that we are combating an evil empowered by Satan himself. “But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.” The United States Government and its allies bears God’s sword against the evildoers who act in the name of their god. They do wrong and rightly should be afraid. God is not with them.

The coward shuts his window and locks his door when a neighbor screams. The heroine runs to that neighbor’s aid, even if it exposes her to harm. The Brits, under the leadership of Tony Blair, are heroes. Because of her actions, she has been harmed. God bless the UK, God bless Tony Blair, and may God strengthen us as we strive against this, the greatest evil of our generation.

Posted by Rick at 12:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush: Crime Won't Pay

Bush’s position is my position. “If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.” Since my first post on this subject, I am inclined to believe that no crime has been committed by anyone, and the “leak” (i.e., what was said to Cooper) wasn’t really a leak after all. But, that’s not for me to decide now is it? Although the hysteria from the left has died down a bit, this isn’t over. Let’s see what the investigation turns up.

BTW - Did anyone catch The Anchoress' CNN debut? It's Plame related.

Posted by Rick at 12:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005

Enemy Combatants and Military Tribunals

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit handed the Bush Administration a huge victory in the war on terror today by ruling that enemy combatants currently being held at Guantanamo Bay can be tried by military tribunal. The Court also ruled that enemy combatants such as the Al Qaeda members currently imprisoned at Guantanamo are not covered by the 1949 Geneva Convention which governs the treatment of prisoners of war.

Democrats have complained about Guantanamo Bay, our treatment of prisoners there, and the methods the Bush Administration has chosen to deal with them. Once again the President is proved right.

Posted by Tom at 11:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Blur Contiues

Last week, I mentioned the Blogometer, a site spun from the web of National Journal's, The Hotline. Today I learn of another National Journal affiliated blog, Beltway Blogroll. Danny Glover provides links to policy- and politics-oriented blogs, primarily from inside the Beltway. He also has a dedicated blogroll for legislators. The roll is short for now, but it will certainly grow.

I've noticed a spate of attempts to further blur the line between the blog and traditional media. I'm not complaining. These folks are real pros. Great stuff!

Posted by Rick at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on Animal Cruelty

George F. Will has been one of my favorite writers for nearly a decade. His work - intellectual but accessible - has been instrumental in confirming my conservative beliefs in the strength of local communities, respect for human life and small, but efficient government. Will does not idly take up a cause, so I find it encouraging that in a recent Newsweek column he took up the issuee of animal cruelty.

Based upon a recent column by Dominion author Matthew Scully, Will clearly restates Scully's initial query: why are we appalled at cruelty towards our pets but not towards billions and billions of livestock?

It's a reasonable question, even if one is a steak-chomping dog lover. The thinking continues in this post at Mere Comments. The theme in all of these pieces, particularly Will's, is this: what will you do with this knowledge that God's creatures have been abused, tortured, manipulated and barbarized at the altar of convenience and greed? I heard someone say once that it's difficult to turn away from this. I concur, and I've got three weeks of a meat-free diet to back that up. I know three weeks isn't a long time by any stretch, but I can't turn away. I may one day (soon, perhaps) develop a meat-consuming diet that is, by and large, free of the cruelty that takes place in factory farms. I draw a moral distinction between free-range beef and chicken and that of stockyards and factories, and it is indeed possible that may diet may eventually reflect that fact.

I said before, and I will reiterate. There are other concerns in the world; the defense of the unborn and the elderly, the fight against terrorism, the need to work against povery and discontent in the third world. As a Christian, my highest calling is the glory of God and I hope that through missions His name is made great throughout the world. Yet we are called to do what we can, as we can. And I can make small but noticeable changes in my own life, as a testimony to the justice that my faith establishes. God granted man dominion, to be sure, but we are not granted license to manipulate, to slash and burn, to rule however we please. Our faith calls us to something higher, and when faced with the bleak and sickening alternative, there is no turning back.

Here are two other good articles on animal cruelty, both written by conservatives: one by John Derbyshire, the other by sitcom writer Warren Bell.

(I should mention that one reason I keep posting links to pieces by conservatives is simply to dispell the myth that conservatives don't care about such things. Some don't, to be sure, but a lot of us do, and we find these beliefs to be a natural outgrowth of traditional conservative thought, which was itself born out of the Christian ethic that developed over the last two millenia. That's for a whole other post, however, so I'll hush now)

Posted by Matt at 08:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Some Thoughts on Narnia

I just walked into my apartment and turned on the television to see Jack Nicklaus walking off the 18th hole at St. Andrews after shooting a birdie. I follow the major tournaments but I'm not a golf connoisseur, and I still got partly choked up. Sheesh.

To speak on something completely unrelated, I'm halfway through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I can't fully speak on the book yet, but I've noticed something of a theme in Lewis' tale. Here it is: When all four of the children first reach Narnia, Edmund is against Aslan. He is fearful, bitter and, indeed, angry. Why? He has a direct encounter with evil. The other children are excited about the thought of meeting Aslan. Their hearts are warmed by the very mention of his name.

I think C.S. Lewis is herein suggesting that though we come to God through Christ alone, we approach Him through two different means. One on hand, some of us might be driven to the Cross by guilt, anger or even shame. We know we have done some grave wrong, and we long to have that wrong made right. We know that we have some deep-seated resentment or bitterness, and we search for someone who will relieve us of such weight. Like Edmund (and Paul!), we are kicking against the goads. On the other hand, we are sometimes like Peter, Susan and Lucy. We come to the Cross out of a sense of wonder and amazement that the great King who made the whole world would love each of us as individuals. We are awed by the love and the mercy of the Cross.

I don't think that Lewis is arguing that we are without sin. Not by any means. I think he is simply discussing one of two things. First, he may just be acknowledging the two paradigms of the Christian life. At times in our life we are drawn to our Lord by the weight of sin and shame. At other times we come to Him out of a sense of joy and wonder, wholly amazed by His beauty and grace. The second possible argument that Lewis is establishing is simply the motive of our coming to the Cross. Of course we come to Christ by His grace alone, yet we are human and I believe that the Lord makes appeals to our personality. Some of us have life experiences that would send us to the Cross with a greater sense of our frailty, others come to it by simply seeing a glimpse of the Savior's majesty and there finding something worth chasing and pursuing with all our might.

Just some thoughts on Narnia and the King. Hope you like it.

I cross-post most of my pieces of this nature, but others like this can also be found at Matt Crash!

Posted by Matt at 06:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dean Barnett penned a fabulous piece for the WeeklyStandard giving insight into the alternate “world” of prominent lefty bloggers (HT: HH). I rarely take the time to read every word of an article, but this one caught me.

I’ve made several friends from the Kos community since the election, including two with whom I am writing an article for the American Statistical Association conference next month. Friendship aside for a moment, I have to say Dean nailed it on the head with his article.

Side note.

I didn’t recognize the name, but when I got to the end of the article, I certainly recognized the blog. Dean posts at SoxBlog, a blog that I used to read nearly every day when as newby blogger. At the time, I was a bit compulsive with this blog experiment and woke up at 4am every day to read the blogs – low, medium, and high traffic blogs alike.

After a spate of Hugh Hewitt links and thousands of hits that followed (I think 50,000 of my 80,000 hits at the original SCO came from Hugh), Dean wrote me with the subject line, “Truth in Advertising.” He ribbed me a bit for not being a low or medium traffic blogger anymore, but it was all in good fun. I’m glad to see the Weekly Standard recognize Dean’s talents.

Posted by Rick at 03:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Summarizing the "Plame Game"

One of the best summation of questions (with or without current answers) in the whole Plame affair can be found here at Redstate.org. Even the liberal posters agree that it's a fair summation, even if they take issue with some of the conclusions. Worth a trip over there. The discussion following it is long, but there's a lot of good information in there as well, including a pointer to this blog post dissecting today's New York Times article on the subject. The Times virtually exonerates Rove in the matter.

Posted by Doug at 02:14 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Ebbers Should Not Go To Prison

The 25-year prison sentence for 63-year-old former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers is a tragic example of how criminal justice has failed to mature and respond creatively to differing crimes and the needs of society.

Ebbers' crimes were staggering in scope and financial impact and he should be punished severely. But we should not send to prison a retirement-aged financial and management expert—-probably a genius without sufficient moral character. Find a better punishment that is relentless, long-lasting, and difficult, but redemptive for society and for Mr. Ebbers.

We should not be using precious and expensive prison space for non-violent, non-dangerous offenders. Alternatives to incarceration, if creatively developed and effectively enforced, are a way to punish wrongdoers without punishing ourselves.

It was right for the court to take nearly all of Ebbers assets and to leave a small amount of money in his account. Instead of placing him in a prison cell because we’re mad at him, for the next 25 years Ebbers could be forced to earn little more than minimum wage, and to serve the community in a way that would use his skills, benefit the poorest of the poor in the community, and in no way enrich him or his family or enable them to prepare for retirement. This is one thing he stole from many people.

Non-prison punishments can be quite taxing, would enable more restitution, and would have a positive impact on all involved, rather than simply tossing an older man in prison to rot for the rest of his days.

There’s more information on restorative justice here.

We need to hold offenders responsible and be sure that punishment is sure and swift. But punishment is not necessarily prison. We’d all be better off if we learned that and encouraged enlightened legislators and judges to be more creative and restorative as they deal with crime and punishment.

Posted by Jim at 09:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Randomness on a Thursday Afternoon

Here's some tidbits.

- I'm excited that Tiger Woods is leading the British Open, and I hope Jack Nicklaus makes the cut for Sunday.

- I wish Patty Griffin, Van Morrison and Tom Waits would come play a show in my living room.

- This Valerie Plame business is much ado about nothing.

- Amy Wellborn had a nice thread about sad songs. I'll make a post on this later. In the meantime, do any readers wish to contribute?

Posted by Matt at 04:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Total Truth Wins Award

Congratulations to Nancy Pearcey whose groundbreaking book Total Truth has just been awarded the 2005 ECPA Gold Medallion Award for best book in the category of Christianity and Society.

This is by far one of the best and most important books I have read in quite some time. My review of the book is available here.

Congratulations to Nancy for this award.

Posted by Tom at 11:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Nipped in the Bud

The 9/11 Commission Report provided solid evidence of a budding relationship between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. No, the relationship was not yet in full bloom pre-March 2003, but a relationship it was. The war nipped that lethal relationship in the bud. The Weekly Standard provides additional evidence suggesting the relationship was tighter than we thought.

Posted by Rick at 09:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Crunchy Cons Unite!

I can't wait for this book.

I'll be sure to read it by candlelight while burning incense, listening to NPR and drinking a cup of organic, free-trade coffee with soy milk.

Posted by Matt at 04:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

What Price Freedom?

What have we got for our money? Via Beltway Blogroll comes word that Rep. Diane Watson, a California Democrat, counts the cost.

I think $200 billion for peace and democracy is worth it if we had something to show for it. But we haven't gotten peace and democracy. Instead, the $200 billion has bought us

* Over seventeen hundred Americans killed, more than 13, 000 wounded, and an unknowable number of Iraqi civilian deaths;
* A dysfunctional country that cannot move its political process forward;
* A new haven and proving ground for anti-American extremism;
* An insurgency in Iraq that has not diminished;
* A wellspring of mistrust from longtime friends and allies around the world;
* And a devastating erosion of American leadership and credibility.

Liberals like to throw money at a problem and expect it to go away. Likewise, Rep. Watson seems to think that throwing money at Iraq hasn't brought any of that, so we should cut and run. It's all a money issue. Well, it's not.

First of all, to be honest, the cost is higher than that. She alludes to it in her first bullet point, but frames it in a way to suggest that the $200 billion "bought" those casualties. That's a pretty cold-hearted view of those lives. Actually, those lives are part of the price. Is it worth it?

Did it buy peace? I guess if you think "peace" is simply the "absence of war", no, it didn't. But if you think mass graves and rape rooms are components of a country at "peace", I'd have to take a strong stand against your definition. The war's not over yet, true, but Iraqis are already seeing the benefits of being freed from under a murderous dictator. That's part of what has been bought.

Did it by democracy? I really can't think of a convoluted definition of "democracy" that would exclude what's going on in Iraq today. Instead of a dictator who represented the minority and gassed those who opposed him, you have a government that is working out its own way through debate rather than arms. It may not be moving as fast as Rep Watson would like, but it's still in its infancy, for goodness sake. Democracies don't spring up fully grown overnight in countries that have been ruled with an iron fist for generations.

Is Iraq a haven for terrorists? Yes, but it was that way long before we showed up. Abu Nidal, anyone? Cash rewards to families of suicide bombers? Not to mention that there is evidence of Abu Musab al Zarqawi taking advantage of the safe haven that Iraq provided before the Iraq war. Further examples of Iraq being a terrorist haven can be found here. We didn't "buy" this; it was there when we came, and at least now someone's working to eradicate it.

Have we lost the trust of allies and reduced our credibility? Well, if you're talking about losing the trust of France, who was doing secret, back-door oil deals with Hussein prior to the war, I'd say their reluctance to help out had more to do with that than any loss of trust. The Oil-for-PalacesFood program removed more credibility from those involved. If you're talking about the pre-war WMD intelligence being wrong, everybody was equally wrong about that, even those who now call Bush a "liar".

What Rep. Watson ignores are how much better, in general, the lives of the Iraqi people are. The good news from Iraq hardly hits the airwaves in its proper proportion. Just ask Arthur Chrenkoff, who recounts good news from Iraq and Afghanistan. There's a boatload of good to show for it, in addition to a fledgling democracy that she'd rather discount than encourage.

It's very true that the clean-up after the toppling of Hussein and installation of a democracy is taking longer than anyone would like. This is largely because of imported terrorists like Zarqawi trying to terrorize, not just the coalition, but the Iraqis themselves to scare them into renouncing this new government. So far, however, the political process is moving forward. Key milestones have been hit on time, bombings and assassinations notwithstanding. The prosperity of the nation is on the rise, sabotage by terrorists notwithstanding.

Yes, the price is high. The price of freedom always, always is. Be thankful that Rep. Watson wasn't around to decide whether or not to go to war against King George. If she'd gotten her way then, we'd still be a British colony. The cost in lives was much higher, but it was worth the price, don't you think?

Posted by Doug at 02:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Maranatha - Come Lord, and quickly

It is very disheartening, particularly for people of faith - whatever faith that might be - to see members of that faith use their religion as justification for the terrorizing of others. It is particularly disheartening to see sectarian hatred so prevalent in our own "enlightened" and "more tolerant" era.

We saw it yesterday in Northern Ireland.

We also saw it yesterday in the trial of the murderer of Theo van Gogh:

The suspect...admited his guilt in a Dutch court yesterday, declaring that he acted out of religious conviction and would do it again if given the chance.

He turned around in his chair and spoke to Anneke van Gogh, Theo's mother, who was sitting in the public gallery.

"I don't feel your pain," he said. "I have to admit I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because I think you're a nonbeliever."

"I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion..."I acted out of conviction, not because I hated your son."

That's pretty chilling. It suggests that his victim was barely human in his eyes, a mere thing, placed in his path and as easily chopped down as an inconvenient shrub.

And now, in the UK, a dubious Religious Hate Crimes bill, which is wending its way through the system has an interesting twist: The Muslims, who support this bill (Christians and Jews do not) are asking that the Koran be exempted from the bill. So...some books would be prosecutable, some would not.

I suspect - I hope - that after 7/7 Britain will stop thinking it can somehow legislate tolerance and human regard. But I must say, the Muslim request is pretty brazen. Right now there are supposedly plans being put in place, by members of the UK Muslim community, to protest the terrorism embraced by so many of their co-religionists. It will be a welcome thing to see, if it happens.

But in the meantime, the mother of all religious wars shows no sign of there ever being much hope:

Hamas will not compromise on one inch of Greater Palestine, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told an Italian newspaper earlier this week.

Speaking to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, al-Zahar said Hamas would "definitely not" be prepared for coexistence with Israel should the IDF retreat to its 1967 borders.

"It can be a temporary solution, for a maximum of 5 to 10 years. But in the end Palestine must return to become Muslim, and in the long term Israel will disappear from the face of the earth."

Asked about Hamas's intentions to carry out terror attacks in coordination with the disengagement plan, al-Zahar said Hamas has already promised not to initiate violence, and that the group's actions would be in response to Israeli actions.

"We won't disrupt the Israeli withdrawal, let them get out of here and go to hell," he said. "The problem will be afterwards, because in the hearts of every Palestinian, the liberation of Gaza must be accompanied by the liberation of Jerusalem and the West Bank."

Sigh. Dear Lord, make us one. Hurry, please.

Posted by Thecla at 01:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

Why Strict Constitutionalists?

Name that newspaper:

The Supreme Court, by its very nature, must be a conservative body; it is the conservator of our institutions, it protects the people against the errors of their legislative servants, it is the defender of the Constitution itself. To place upon the Supreme Bench judges who hold a different view of the function of the court, to supplant conservatism by radicalism, would be to undo the work of John Marshall and strip the Constitution of its defenses. It would introduce endless confusion where order has resigned, it would tend to give force and effect to any whim or passion of the hour, to crown with success any transitory agitation engaged in by a part of the people, overriding the matured judgment of all the people as expressed in their fundamental law.

Answer below the fold...

Seth Lipsky reveals that this was the New York Times disapproving of a liberal judge, Louis Brandeis, for the Supreme Court in 1916. Indeed, when you consider the Constitution a malleable bit of clay to shape in the manner the current group of 9 justices please, you indeed strip it of its power to constrain the government. In addition, as we've seen lately, legislation from the bench becomes that much more likely.

But he was confirmed. At his retirement, Judge Brandeis looked back.

[The Times] quoted Brandeis as noting that the court “has often overruled its earlier decisions” because it “bows to the lessons of experience and the force of better reasoning, recognizing that the process of trial and error, so fruitful in the physical sciences, is appropriate also in the judicial function.” The newspaper which only a generation ago had insisted the Court, by its very nature, must be a conservative body, now praised Brandeis for being aware that the Court “is not an abstraction but a vital force which gives direction to the pace and range of economic forces.” At the heart of its editorial was this sentence: “The Constitution is a living law.”

I find this a contradiction. Judge Brandeis talks about bowing to the "lessons of experience", yet proud that had "overruled its earlier decisions". That's not learning from experience, that's "trial and error", which is not the way to run a country. George Washington said the same thing this way (emphasis mine):
Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion....

Washington was admonishing the new country to be extremely careful in experimenting in governing. This was not a blanket statement to never change anything, but to "resist with care" any assault on the main principles underlying it, of which the Constitution is the major part. These days, with the idea of a "living document" and consideration of foreign law in Supreme Court decisions, trial and error rather than experience have become the order of the day, subjecting us to "perpetual change". You don't change the law or the precedent to see what happens, you should be much more sure than that before using the American people as political and social lab rats.

That is why President Bush needs to nominate strict constitutionalists to the Supreme Court.

Posted by Doug at 09:42 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Call to Mercy

I remember reading about Matthew Scully's book Dominion not too long after it came out. (see this interview at National Review) At the time I was already interested in organic farming and I knew the health benefits of avoiding fast food and other less-than-savory aspects of our consumerist culture. I started buying health food when I could, and I spend a fair amount of time and money at the health food store not far from my apartment.

A month or so ago I gave a close friend a copy of Dominion as a birthday present. I recently ordered a copy for myself; it is now making its way to my mailbox. Scully is a vegetarian and while not an orthodox Christian, he makes a plea for Christian mercy upon animals. His premise is simple: God created the earth, He has given man the responsibility to care for it and that care must exhibit some level of compassion for all living things. Priorities must be granted, of course, and Scully acknowledges that compassion for the unborn and elderly takes a greater precedence over compassion for the cow and the chicken. His challenge extends beyond human care, however, in detailing the great abuses to which we subject animals, all in the name of comfort and convenience. A starving family of sharecroppers needed to kill a deer, but no American needs a Happy Meal full of chicken nuggets.

I would not argue that vegetarianism is a moral imperative. Scripture is quite clear that it is not. Yet I would argue that our current culture of greed and impatience has drawn our focus away from the mercy and respect that we should grant to the earth. I am not sure what diet changes I will make in my own life. I have been without meat for a little while now (and I do mean little), but I look around me and I am disturbed. God's creatures - less than human, but His creation nonetheless - has been abused, mistreated, genetically manipulated and commodified as though it were ours to commodify. I have no principled moral opposition to the consumption of meat, but I look around our world of fast food, barbecue and super-sized value meals and I know, as sure as I know it is a sin to lie, to lust and to steal, that we are doing something very, very wrong.

I realize these thoughts are jumbled. Grant me time to read, to think, to pray further and I hope that I can coalesce these ideas into something stronger. It is in no way my intention to be preachy, legalistic or judgmental on the matter of animals rights, and I know there are far graver concerns (terrorism, poverty, disease, etc). I still refuse to believe that this is an area wherein we can be indifferent, to think that our own comfort and convenience can justify the abuse of our Lord's creation.

Posted by Matt at 04:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

McCain - "Up or Down!"

Drudge posted a quote this morning attributed to Senator John McCain on SCOTUS nominees:

'During the campaign, President Bush said he will appoint judges who will strictly interpret the constitution... thinking anything else is either amnesia or ignorance... elections have consequences... whomever he nominates deserves an up or down vote and no filibuster... and an up or down vote is what we will have'...
Brilliant political move...that is...if this quote is legit and McCain doesn't waffle.

Posted by Rick at 01:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Republican Coalition

Guest columnist Ed Stephan at the liberal blog, The Carpetbagger Report, discusses 19th century author Herbert Spencer, who he calls the granddaddy of conservatives.

Stephan writes:

Spencer's philosophy highlights the fundamental conflict in today's Republican Party. Business must, he says, ultimately come into conflict with both Government and Religion. For Business to triumph, Government must be reduced to its "protective functions" only — protection of life, property and contracts. He obviously opposed any scheme involving government direction of the marketplace, much less such "promotive functions" as health, education, welfare, any forms of the pursuit of happiness. And even regarding simple protection of life, he favored a drastic reduction in spending on military adventures which he regarded as nearly always harmful to Business. There should be no interference by Religion in the marketplace either. If I want to hire a prostitute, or consume tainted horse meat, or hire someone our society disapproves of … so be it; it's no one else's business what I do, so long as I threaten no else (pretty radical thinking for a conservative).

This is clearly the fundamental three-way contradiction in today's GOP — laissez faire (or "Log Cabin") Libertarians vs. neo-con (often chickenhawk) Militarists vs. parochial (and pharisaic) Theocrats. Wall Street vs. the Pentagon vs. Evangelical Fundamentalism. Greed vs. Guns vs. God. Cheney vs. Rumsfeld vs. Dobson.

Stephan presents the hope of the Democrats that these are warring factions within the Republican party, and that the conflict of these ideas will accomplish what the Democratic party cannot without ideas.

The Republican Party is a coalition of interests, although the groups’ battles are largely on the field of debate and discussion not the ballot box, because the Democratic Party presents an alternative too far a field, and the Libertarian Party is an expression of principle not a viable voting option.

The libertarians, neo-cons, and evangelicals will rally around a reasonably conservative Republican against nearly any Democrat that can be nominated with the Party's current leftist lean.

There is a fourth faction of Republicans that represent many of those currently in Washington—-the big-government Republicans. This group is odds with the libertarians, to be sure, but they are also on a course away from traditional limited-government conservatism.

This analysis also breaks down because there are a large number of libertarian-minded, national defense obsessed, moral values Republicans.

A possible rupture among the Republicans will come if the President nominates an individual for the Supreme Court who has the social libertarian impulses of O’Connor, rather than the moral conservatism of Thomas. Then we’ll see a fracture led by the evangelicals and conservative Catholics that may endanger the Republicans in the 2006 elections.

Posted by Jim at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

But what about Mr. Wilson?

For a few days now I've been working looking into information regarding Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson. My contention, in a comment to this post, was that this Plame-Leak controversy was obscuring the fact that Wilson lied on multiple occasions about the circumstances surrounding his trip to Niger to investigate Uranium sales deals with Iraq. He lied in his op-ed about what happened there and he lied to others - saying his CIA wife did not secure him the Niger mission.

Another commenter, dem, said that he never heard that Wilson had been discredited. I believe that to be possible due to the low level of MSM coverage of this story.

So, there are summaries of these facts in articles in National Review here and here as well as OpinionJournal.com.

Or, if you prefer, you can read primary source documents: the
Butler Report (from British Intelligence) and the Senate Intelligence Committee report.

Interestingly enough, on Monday night's Special Report w/Brit Hume, All-star panelist, Fred Barnes, said, "Of course Wilson's whole story has been totally discredited now." He said it so off-handedly as to suggest that it was common knowledge.

Well, apparently it's not, but it should be.

Posted by Abigail at 12:56 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 11, 2005


Reader Christi Gifford alerted us to a new blog portal and resource for homeschoolers brought to you by The Old Schoolhouse. Homeschoolers can start a free blog via this service.

Speaking of home schoolers, check out Hannah Rosin's New Yorker article on Patrick Henry College, a school that, according to the by-line, "trains young Christians to be politicians."

Great article. Apparently, most PHC students were homeschooled. Here's a sample:

At Patrick Henry, debate plays roughly the role that football does at Notre Dame...There’s no training like arguing against the best minds, and then beating them.” Referring to du Mée, he said, “Maybe one day he’ll be the one standing before the Supreme Court, arguing to overturn Roe v. Wade.”...The fact that he was homeschooled and keeps a running conversation with Jesus in his head does not seem to him a barrier. “It’s pretty normal,” he said.”
Bravo, PHC, although, there's nothing wrong with a little college football!

Posted by Rick at 10:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


What a pleasant surprise! Mystery Pollster points his readers to The Hotline's Blogometer - a blog providing narrative summarizing political talk around the 'sphere. Give it a scroll!

Posted by Rick at 10:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thank you for the invite!

Just wanted to shout out a big hello to all the members of SCO and their readers, and thank Rick and Mark for extending the invitation and then helping me manage to actually get something posted! I've long been a SCO fan, and to be part of the crew is especially exciting! Thanks for the welcome, folks! :-)

Posted by Thecla at 04:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Now, Just What Is It We So Dislike?

The last Democrat in my family of traditional blue-collar, union-dues-paying family asked me recently just what it was I so disliked about Hillary Clinton.

I told her I would answer her question when she could make me a sensible answer as to why she detests (not "dislikes" but utterly and purely "detests") George W. Bush.

Her answers were not surprising. Bush was "a moron," and "a Jesus-freak," and a "nazi," and a "gay-hater," and a "swaggering cowboy," and a "liar."

"These are not reasons, these are pretexts. Beyond the caricatures you've embraced," I stopped her, "what is it you hate, really, and why?"

She refused to try again. It was, she insisted, my turn to explain my implacable distrust of Hillary Clinton.

"Well," I began, "I think my reasons may be built upon something a little more solid than name-calling and partisanship."

"You dislike her because she is a strong, powerful woman, and you're not, " came the accusation.

"Ummm, no," I answered. "Firstly, I am not convinced she is a strong woman – she seems very propped up by an adoring press from where I sit. But I am myself a strong woman, why would I dislike that attribute in another?"

It's not the "strong woman" issue. It's not the She-Shoulda-Left-Him-for-Cheating Issue. It's not the Ice Queen Issue, the Sexism Issue or even the 60's Radical Issue (although that remains very troubling.)

It's the condescension, stupid.

It's the "you people are so stupid, you voted for that moron Bush," sniff.

It is difficult to respect someone who seems to completely disrespect you, and Hillary tends to show nothing but disdain for the suburban woman she so badly needs to have on her side.

It's not just the little-woman-Tammy-Wynette-baking-cookies remarks (remarks which, in retrospect seem to have said more about her own horrified self-awareness than anything else) that has turned me – and so many like me – off. We suburban woman have become accustomed to being looked down upon by deluded white men who think they can do without us, so those same shots coming from a deluded white woman were yawn-inducing. Same disregard, different gender.

We didn't mind Hillary so much when she wore the headband over the dirty hair, although we are happy to see her lately cleaned up and looking fabulous. We didn't mind when she took on the Health Care issue; it seemed like a prime job for a policy wonk, until her secretive tactics and final proposal scared the hell out of us. We didn't even mind that she was disinterested in the traditional hostessing duties of a First Lady. Many of us would be loathe to engage in small talk and dinner parties endlessly, endlessly.

The fact is Hillary's inability to dazzle middle class women has nothing to do with any of that, regardless of how some might happily promote the idea.

Hillary Clinton lost us, seriously lost us, when she started acting like one of us, or more correctly, when she started thinking she could make us believe that she was one of us. In truth, before she ever made us roll our eyes at her empty new "centrist" rhetoric, she lost us with those pink suits.

Not that we don't like pink, mind you. We mind that she thinks we can't see past pink.

The first brazenly pastel episode we paid attention to was the Hillary-As-Princess-Diana-Talking-Cattle-Futures stunt. Wearing a bright pink suit with black piping, Hillary hosted a cozy sort of news "meeting" (it couldn't be called a press conference since everyone, including Hillary, was seated and smiling) wherein she addressed questions about her successful foray into trading cattle futures. We listened and watched as Hillary morphed. She went from being a "brilliant" woman with a "steel trap" memory and a "hands-on" manner to being an almost bubble-headed, pinkly-smiling little woman who had nothing at all to do with the transaction that bore her name. She could remember nothing, really. "You know, I don't know anything about this stuff…the nice man took my check and the next week he brought me back another check, and that's all there was to it…I am just a simple woman, please help me," was – essentially – her answer.

All any of us could think was, "sister…if I'd made $100,000 in cattle futures in a week, I'd sure as hell know how it came about. If I'd made only $10,000, I would remember every detail."

We have never been able to forgive Hillary for that coy bit of disingenuous blather. Or for the pastels. We find it grating that she wear black in Manhattan, but pastels in the suburbs, as though we hicks cannot appreciate the sophistication of basic black, or worse, that we're so intellectually deficient that we don't realize what she is trying to do, how she is attempting to soften her image. She thinks we're so stupid that a pink suit (or a sweater thrown over the shoulders of her suit…wha????) will blind us to all of her reality.

Women outside of the coastal enclaves are media-savvy. We know when we're being played to and we find it insulting to be treated like superficial twits who can be won over by a soft-color palette and a few "aw, shucks," nasal twangs.

We're smart enough to know that Hillary is a lion, that she has always been a lion. So when she puts on the lambikin soft colors and throws the sweater over the shoulders… of her suit…it offends our sense of who Hillary is, and who she thinks we are. She seemingly doesn't realize that because we know she is a lion, her silly, soft-lit photos clatter with noisy metallic bangs of condescension. And that visual racket overpowers anything she has to say verbally.

She cannot make us believe she is one of us, because she has never been one of us. Hillary has never been a woman who worked her way through college by waiting tables or ringing up sales. She has never had to mediate between two or more squabbling children as she's driven on the Long Island Expressway hoping the sound she hears beneath her is not her muffler, falling off. She has never had to put her children with virtual strangers and hope for the best as she went off to clean an (anti-Bush, pro-Hillary) house in the Hamptons, in order to earn enough money for pre-school tuition. She has never planted her own garden with a child "helping," or stood at the fence trading ripe tomatoes with a zucchini-growing elderly neighbor. She has never rushed home from work of a Wednesday evening to start cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for 17 family members, with or without help.

And that's actually fine. Hillary doesn't necessarily have to be one of us. But if she's never had the least sort of inclination to live a middle-class suburban life, in all of its mundane moments and small glories, then she really must stop telling us how we should choose to live it. Most particularly, she should stop telling us that it takes a village to raise a child. Most of us feel quite competent to do that by our own lights, and as educated women we believe our lights are at least as good as hers.

For Hillary to win our respect - if at this point such a thing is possible – she is going to have to stop pastel-pandering to us, because we frankly cannot tolerate the presumption of naivete' that such pandering betrays. Then, she is going to have to talk to us, not at us, and she's going to have to come up with something more substantial than vague feel-goodisms about supposed "common ground" on life-and-death issues, which may (or may not) exist and which mean nothing to us if her words are not followed up with action.

She's going to have to say something true to us…because so far she simply hasn't. She has said almost nothing we want to hear.

And what do we want to hear? We want to hear that there is room in Hillary's world for women who do not wish to climb corporate ladders, who find their deepest fulfillment not in boardrooms but in the garden with the kids and the ladybugs and the loving partner. We want to hear that our sons and daughters who have volunteered to serve under President Bush in a time of war are not simpletons who have been led astray but patriots who defend a nation against an enemy her own husband couldn't be bothered to engage.

We want to hear that those of us who cannot afford to send our children to private school, as she could, can have a real option to do so if we are unhappy with our local schools. We want to hear an acknowledgement that we contribute to the economy with our cottage industries and our entrepreneurial energies, and that we contribute to our communities with our civic work, our volunteer hours and our carpools.

We want to know that when the world breaks, as it broke last week in London, she has a the capacity to do something more than merely make political hay of the issue, using the deaths and injuries of innocents to promote herself and – once again criticize the only American President who has tried to do something constructive in the face of Islamofascism. We want to see something like statesmanship over partisanship. So far, again, she hasn't shown it.

As loving mothers and compassionate people, we want to hear that "reproductive freedoms" have humane boundaries, that they don't have to include a descent into the absolute savagery that is "partial-birth abortion."

Hillary seems not to realize that this is a big issue for us, that suburban moms are not comfortable with late-term abortions. She needs to surprise us and move from talking about some pretend "common ground" to actually walking on at least that portion of the road with us. It would help us believe that she has the ability to move beyond rhetoric, which we have never seen her do. It would also give suburban women their props, recognizing that our values and concerns bear consideration and promotion, that our views are both relevant and well thought-out.

It comes down to respect. Hillary does not have to be like us. In fact, she could not be like us if she tried; she is the wrong sort of animal. She is a lion and we are Mama Grizzlies. If she is as smart as the press vaunts, she will respect us. We middle class suburban women have our own good instincts. We know when we're being dissed and we know when we're being "handled," and honey…we don't like it.

Of course, even if Hillary Clinton could do all these things, we suburban women might still be inclined to distrust her…if only because the press trusts her so unquestioningly, so devotedly, so terrifyingly. While we watch the press train their cameras on President Bush only with the greatest reluctance, and all-negativity, and we don't like it, we also understand that a press which is unable to find a flaw in a potential president is a press willing to participate in a move to tyranny.

For that reason alone my suburban sisters and I may never be able to trust this woman, not for a moment.

And my Democrat sister will never understand. Because she does not wish to

Posted by Thecla at 04:22 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Welcome Thecla Mauro

The Stones Cry Out gang is very excited to announce another new member of the fold: Thecla Mauro. Thecla has a strong writing background and will be a great addition to the team (as well as the last addition for the near future). She brings a powerful writing style, as well as a Catholic voice, to Stones Cry Out. She also adds a bit of needed gender diversity along with Abigail (because at Stones Cry Out, we are all about the political correctness).

Overall, we have been very pleased with the addition of Abigail, Doug, Tom, and now Thecla. We hope you are as well. We're still not sure where this whole blog thing is going. However, as we face an uncertain future, we do know we have the proper folks on board. Welcome all.

Posted by Mark at 04:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rove and the Leak

In a previous entry, Rick referenced this story which alleged that Karl Rove was the source of the Valerie Plame leak. While it is true that Rove spoke with Time reporter Matt Cooper, it does not appear he named Plame in their conversation according to Newsweek:

In a brief conversation with Rove, Cooper asked what to make of the flap over Wilson's criticisms. NEWSWEEK obtained a copy of the e-mail that Cooper sent his bureau chief after speaking to Rove. (The e-mail was authenticated by a source intimately familiar with Time's editorial handling of the Wilson story, but who has asked not to be identified because of the magazine's corporate decision not to disclose its contents.) Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger ... "

As Powerline points out, the fact that Rove did not specifically name Plame in his conversation with Cooper won't stop the media and the Left from trying to portray Rove as the source of the leak. The Washington Post didn't hesitate to put the story on the front page today.

Once all the smoke clears, the Valerie Plame affair will likely be seen as another failed attempt by the Left (with an assist from the media) to pin a scandal on the Bush administration that did not exist.

Posted by Tom at 11:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Lead of Love

When I was seventeen I knew everything. Really, I did. My sad little faith had seen it all. I knew the apex of the Christian life, and I knew the very bottom. I was a pro at the whole thing. I was sorrowfully wrong, of course, but then again, I was seventeen. I wasn't going to hear otherwise.

One of my favorite bands when I started college was Caedmon's Call. Here was a band of twenty-somethings, about the age I'm at now, writing about the triumphs and tragedies, all in the context of the redemptive love of Christ. I thought it was wonderful then, and still do. But now it makes sense. I had sinned at seventeen, but I wasn't, at least in any tangible human terms, a colossal screw up. Consequently I wasn't fully comprehending the confession in song like "Shifting Sand":

"Sometimes I believe all the lies
So I can do the things I should despise
And everyday I am swayed
By whatever is on my mind

I hear it all depends on my faith
So I'm feeling precarious
The only problem I have with these mysteries
Is they're so mysterious

And like a consumer I've been thinking
If I could just get a bit more
More than my fifteen minutes of faith
Then I'd be secure

My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace"

And so it goes from there.

I thought that made sense when I was just out of high school, still living at home, dating the popular girl and completely devoid of any serious care or concern. Looking back now, knowing how far I've come and how far I've yet to journey, those words resonate so clearly. When I was younger I would have never dreamed I would find myself where I am today. I certainly would have never planned out the road that brought me here. It would seem so foreign, and in a way it still does. I think that's how God uses art to guide us in a sense. I was talking to a friend the other night and we both mentioned how - as teengagers - we would have never, ever imagined that our lives would have taken the turns they have. That we would have wandered from our faith in thought, if not outright deed. That in spite of our foolishness and our wayward hearts that our faithful Lord would leave all to find us again. That our Father would wait at the gate for the prodigals to return.

But He did, and He is still waiting. Such mercy causes me to sing with new hope and joy at the promise of restoration in this life and the next.

Posted by Matt at 11:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hate Crime Victim?

We parked the car at the trolley station Saturday. My son's hands clutched the trolley ticket and I could tell he was excited. We were headed downtown to explore the aircraft carrier Midway. Three hours didn't really give the ship justice, but we had a grand time.

A bit exhausted, we piled into my 1991 Honda CRX and started to drive. The car pulled hard to the left. Flat tire.

The tire store set out to the repare the tire, but couldn't find a leak. In fact, the tire was in great shape. He told me that someone must have let the air out of the tire. Odd. At least they didn't slash it.

Well, not really odd. I have a "W04" sticker on my car.

I don't know if the sticker motivated someone to let the air out of my tire, but I have noticed a rise in verbal attacks and gestures. Sunny was recently verbally assaulted in a grocery store parking lot for her "W" sticker.

We've noticed an increase in these types of encounters, so I can't help but wonder if my tire incident was related to the sticker. Was I the victim of a hate crime from the intolerant left?

Posted by Rick at 10:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Relgious Right to Work More Quietly on SCOTUS Nomination

The religious right will allow President Bush to make his choice for a nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court without any further threats or bashing of Alberto Gonzales, we learned late last week. Although there may be some mavericks who wander off the farm, the key leaders of the conservative Christian movement whose primary passion is opposition to abortion have agreed privately that their public criticism of the President is likely to be counterproductive.

The opposition to the nomination of Alberto Gonzales is nearly unanimous among these leaders, and although they’ve agreed to hold fire, their greatest fear is that with a second opening on the court, which is likely with Rehnquist’s apparently imminent departure, they will get their original intent strict constructionist conservative on the one hand, and Gonzales on the other. That would leave the court essentially unchanged, in their view, and would leave the movement disheartened and probably on the sidelines for a number of years.

Although a minority of these leaders is anxious for a fight and are fearful that to remain silent at this point is to be unfaithful to the spiritually charged cause, they have agreed to stay in line at the urging of a number of the key leaders whose caution would surprise most observers.

Posted by Jim at 07:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2005

Hurricane Dennis Is Growing Up and So Am I

There's a hurricane coming. I'm thankful I'm three hours from the coast, but Tuscaloosa is close enough to be affected by whatever is on its way. I've been told be on guard for falling trees, downed powerlines and Lord knows what else. I've got a flashlight and a few candles, and I hope that if things get rough around here, I'll be with friends.

The thing about a hurricane is that, while it can move in any direction, it's certain. It might hit Biloxi or Mobile or Pensecola or any lovely beach town in between. It might go astray and strike New Orleans or Panama City. But almost as surely as I'm sitting here, that storm will strike land tomorrow evening. Someone will die. Someone will lose their home. Someone's life will be turned completely upside down, and they will be left wondering why. I don't have a lot of answers to that sort of thing. I've read a lot but I just don't know much about theodicy. I'm trying to correct that but if a friend lost her home in a hurricane, I could only pray for wisdom as I sought to comfort.

But that's like a lot of life, isn't it? I know certain things in my life will surely happen. At some point I will be finished with school, I'll be finished with apartment life, I'll probably even have a family. Those things are on the horizon, but they're not here. And yet they'll come. It's no comfort to know that Hurricane Dennis is heading this way, but it is comfort to know that my future is not in my hands. That's good, because I mess things up. God doesn't, though. Sometimes I get in a certain mood and find a song that fits me perfectly. I found my Caedmon's Call records the other day. Remember "Table for Two?" Derek Webb wrote it, and if you've heard it you know what it's about. I take comfort in lines like this:

"Well this day's been crazy
But everything's happened on schedule,
from the rain and the cold
To the drink that I spilled on my shirt.
'Cause You knew how You'd save me
before I fell dead in the garden,
And You knew this day
long before You made me out of dirt

And You know the plans that You have for me
And You can't plan the end and not plan the means..."

Thank goodness.

Posted by Matt at 02:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 08, 2005

Sufjan Stevens

I've been listening to the new Sufjan Stevens record a lot lately. He's got this amazing ability to pinpoint the Truth without being overly preachy. The album is titled Illinois, with all the songs about, well, the state of Illinois. The one song that has packed the most punch thus far is a subtlely beautiful tune about the serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Witness this:

And in my best behavior

I am really just like him

Look beneath the floor boards

For the secrets I have hid

That stings, and it stings deep. But it's true, is it not? When our Lord hung upon the cross, it was as much for my own white lies and quick glances at the waitress as it was for the sick murders committed by Gacy. It's a sobering thought. The Lord of all creation died for every angry word just as surely as he died for genocide. What a scandal. It's almost too much to believe, but I'm so grateful that, by grace, it's not. And I think, though it's difficult, that the more we understand our own depravity, the greater we can comprehend the joy of grace and forgiveness.

What a thrill.

Posted by Matt at 11:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is the point again?

John Nichols of The Nation was Ron Reagan's phone-a-friend after Ron was unable to hold his own against John Fund and Christopher Hitchens on MSNBC a few minutes ago. Mr. Nichols was unwilling to concede that Saddam's Iraq was a terrorist regime. When pushed on this point, he replied that he would rely on the "commission's report" which had the benefit of containing statements from the President and Vice President, he said.

Well, okay. Hitchens rightly pointed out that on any ordinary day Mr. Nichols wouldn't really care what Pres. Bush and VP Cheney had to say about anything. Moreover, if we can agree to assume that Nichols is talking about the 9/11 Commission Report, then he is implying that saying Iraq was a Terrorist regime presupposes that it was involved in 9/11.

I'm willing to say that Iraq wasn't directly involved in 9/11. What I cannot let go of is the fact that Iraq was indeed a terrorist regime.

Saddam's fingerprints (in the form of pay checks) are all over suicide bombings in the middle east, some of which have killed Americans in the past. Additionally, I would say that I don't think we should have had to wait for 9/11 to fight the war on terror. We should have been fighting it during the time of all the other terror attacks on Americans, here and abroad - [USS Cole, Beirut, the first attack on the Twin Towers - for those who forget]. I am not willing to say that Iraq cannot be connected to any of those attacks.

The war on terror is about fighting against terrorism. It sounds redundant to even define it that way, but I say it as such to try a distinction between a "war on terror" and a "war-against-only-those-exact-people-who-happened-to-attack-us-on-9/11"

Two. Different. Things.

We are fighting a War on Terror for our protection and the protection of freedom and free peoples around the world. We are not fighting this war as a knee-jerk reaction or revenge for the deaths on 9/11. It is a bigger goal with a wider scope and a far more important purpose.

Posted by Abigail at 05:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Center of the World


The center of the world for a moment is not Washington or Paris or New York, but London. Rarely do such divergent events converge on a city and a people, the British, and on a leader who grows in stature by the day, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The British have a history of resolve, or steady, stoic, unwavering backbone. At its worst it is the stiff upper lip of obstinacy, and at its best it is a Churchill-rallied island withstanding Nazi bombardment.

And now, in a two-day span, Londoners have celebrated victory in landing the 2012 Olympic Summer Games and mourned the death and destruction of terrorist horror in the Tube. All the while, UK hosting the G8 in Scotland.

At the center of it all is Blair. In response to the terror, Bair addressed the nation from 10 Downing Street, sounding Churchillian:

“When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated. When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods, we will not be changed. When they try to divide our people or weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm."

Certainly that is the nation’s historic posture and it seems to have captured the steadiness of modern Brits.

And while the most important deliberations and decisions will fall to the Gleneagles summit, where Blair is driving the agenda and probably cashing in debts from President Bush, my favorite Blair moment came earlier in the week in Singapore, remembered for Japanese humiliation of the British in WWII, where the Prime Minister personally lobbied for London and won. This is most enjoyable because it came at the expense of the French.

Here’s the NY Times account of this beautiful moment:

London organizers arrived in Singapore with their bid still the expected runner-up to Paris, the longtime favorite. But while the Parisian organizers, including Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, could often be found during the past week in the hotel lobby bar, conferring among themselves instead of lobbying for their bid, Mr. Blair enthusiastically met with International Olympic Committee members until Tuesday, when he flew to Scotland to act as the host for the Group of 8 Summit.

When President Jacques Chirac of France was quoted earlier in the week insulting British food, Mr. Blair remained the statesman, refusing to be drawn into a spat.

Day by day, the London bid appeared to gain momentum, members said, and Wednesday, the city defeated its longtime European rival, 54 to 50, on the final ballot to bring the Olympics back to Britain for the first time since 1948.

"If it hadn't been for him," Dick Pound, an I.O.C. member from Canada, said of Mr. Blair, "we'd be holding a press conference in French."

But sport is sport, although with the Olympics it also represents great economic momentum and even urban renewal, and terror is the hard reality of our day. We pray for our true allies, the British, and for the loss of any sense of innocence or protection they may have felt from extremist butchery.

With Tony Blair at the helm they are demonstrating that their heritage lives on and that when joy and tragedy collide, it is the center course of determination and steady resolve that helps a nation to endure.

Posted by Jim at 09:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005

The Call to Detachment

I left work after lunch today, sick with something. I don't know what. I'm pretty sure I just ate something that didn't sit well with me. I came home and was in bed before two p.m. I didn't wake up until five-thirty, and if I were to crawl back into bed, I imagine that I would sleep until morning. Sometimes our bodies just say "Enough!" and slow down. It feels good to rest, to find comfort on a warm bed and sleep away a tired body. It's a simple thing, really, but a necessary one.

Simplicity reverberates with me lately. Reading Bonhoeffer my mind understands the idea of the simple life, a detachment from the cares of the world rooted in the willingness to forsake all and follow Christ. My mind grasps it but what of my heart? I have a nice apartment. I have a closet full of clothes and movies and records. Do I need these things? Have I placed more importance on such trivial things than is necessary?

It would be easy to think that this desire for seperation is something passing. That, unlike Hopkins' nun, it is not a permanent thing, only a phase of life that will be remembered with sighs and chuckles in a decade. I pray it is not so. The joy of walking away is too strong, too palpable to resist. I truly want simplicity in my life. I don't want that house in the suburbs. I don't want the BMW anymore. I really don't even care about the clothes or the jetset and the runways. I don't stand in criticism of those who have those things. I just want a life without attachment to the things that call me away from the Cross, that distract me from the call of One who knows better than I what is needed in my life. If I were only supplied with a family, a garden and a few close friends, that should be enough. The rest is hassle, unneeded and unwanted. There is noise and muddled confusion in the unncessary things. Let me shake it off and strive for something higher.

But it seems so foreign. A year or two ago, even as recent as six months, I wanted all those things I say I do not care about. Is this the work of God? Can I truly live this way, no longer consumed with petty desires of status, recognition and vanity? My own faith is so reluctant to suggest this is more than a phase but I hear the Call of something better. I can rest in that. Like Bono once sang, "I will follow." Yes, I surely will.

Posted by Matt at 06:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Southern Remembrance

This isn't London related, but here's a little piece I wrote about some time spent getting in touch with my roots in rural Alabama.

Check it out.

Posted by Matt at 03:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

London Calling

About 8 years ago I was in London on a trip. A few days before we left there was a Tube strike and at midnight one night, while I was riding on the Underground, the strike went into effect and all riders were shuttled off the train at the next available station. The streets were crowded and we were left to find our way back to Oxford street. We ended up back tracking a few times - but the whole experience became an amusing anecdote.

Not so today in London.

I can only imagine the number of people that fled out of the stations this morning and how much more chaotic it was for Londoners and tourists alike. At 7:30 this morning I called a friend of mine who works at the BBC in London. She is always late for work and so I was surprised to find her in her office. Turns out today she managed to leave for work on time and was about 3 trains ahead of one of the explosions. God was certainly watching out for her and I pray she sees that in her life. She also said that Britain shut down mobile phone service to prevent the terrorists from sending detonation signals that way. And yet, I was able to get through to her. This means that if they did want to do that, they would still be able to, as long as they conducted the calls from outside the UK. I find it interesting that they could shut down mobile service at all, let alone only in such a way as to prevent outgoing mobile phone calls...?

In these situations I find the timing and dissemination of information to be interestng. Five minutes before my friend in London was telling me all about the terrorist countermeasures, a Cleveland radio station was reporting that the Underground explosions were due to a power surge in lines. In any event, things seem to be more under control now and as Jim Geraghty reported this morning: "Londoners have always been made of uncommonly tough stuff."

Also, I agree with Mark's earlier post that we should not react too quickly in terms of the stock market. It will rebound a lot sooner than we think. Some will rebound better than others and actually, from a financial perspective it will be better to find stocks now that you know will rebound well and purchase them.

But of course, I recommend praying first.

Posted by Abigail at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Prayer for London

My own prayers go out to our friends in London and around England. I pray that the English will continue to demonstrate the same bulldog tenacity that stood against the Nazis, the IRA and every other two-bit Islamic bomb-thrower over the last twenty-five years.

I also pray that believers in England, though it is an increasingly post-Christian nation, find strength and encouragement for themselves and their countrymen in these uncertain times.

Posted by Matt at 09:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Avoiding Financial Over-reaction

Loathe as I am to give financial advice to anybody, I think I'll post about it anyway. The London attacks sent US stock futures plummeting this morning and the indices have all opened down. The European exchanges are all down right now.

Although understandable, I think this is an inappropriate reaction to the London bombings. The appropriate reaction is to pray and give aid and comfort in any way possible. It is not to go sell your retirement plan. Rather than calling your broker, or logging on to sell, wait a few weeks and months to see what the real aftermath is. Nobody has any basis at the moment upon which to make what could amount to a dramatic financial decision. Hold the course. Wait for more information. Say a prayer instead.

Update: Two articles on CNNMoney online provide more analysis on this point: See here and here.

Posted by Mark at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

George Allen for President?

George Will profiles Virginia Senator George Allen today in his column and provides some insight into why the Senator may be the best candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Although the conventional wisdom has been that Senators don't stand much of a chance to win a presidential election (no Senator has been elevated directly to the Presidency since John F. Kennedy in 1960), Senator Allen also served a successful term as Virginia's governor. As recent history has shown, candidates who have previously served as governors have been more likely to be elected president.

Senator Allen has not said whether he is definitely running for President since he faces re-election to the Senate in 2006. Although he is not well known outside of Virginia I suspect he could do very well in a presidential election.

Posted by Tom at 09:27 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

London Attacks

Most of you probably know about the terrorist attacks in London by now. National Review's Corner is reporting that the casualty count is likely to go higher, based on reports they are seeing.

The Corner also mentions that "we are all citizens of the UK now."

Indeed, we are.

I am grateful to report that all of my colleagues in our London office have reported in. In my emails with one colleague, I can report that they are shocked and shaken, saddened and angered. Obviously, they have not had much time to deal with this.

Our prayers and thoughts are with those in London right now. I pray that there are no further attacks and that the human loss can be minimized.

Posted by Mark at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Nation of Young Therapeutic Deists?

George Barna has done extensive research on the faith of young America and the task of bringing children and youth to faith in Christ, which he has summarized in the book Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions.

A group of Christian leaders and ministries in the U.S. and Canada--called The 4-14 Forum-led by Barna and Awana Clubs International has been grappling with how to better deal with the task of child evangelism.

In a report to The 4-14 Forum, Barna writes:

The research reinforces one simple but profound truth, over and over again: if you want to have a lasting influence upon the world you must invest in people􀂷s lives; and if you want to maximize your investment, then you must invest in those lives while they are young. The research simply crystallizes lessons that we can observe through history and personal experience: if you connect with children today, effectively teaching them biblical principles and foundations from the start, then you will see the fruit of that effort blossom for decades to come. The more diligent we are in these efforts, the more prodigious a harvest we will reap. Alternately, the more lackadaisical we are in our efforts to raise up children as moral and spiritual champions, the less healthy will the Church and society of the future be.

The difficulty and complexity of the task has become more evident.
Researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and have written up findings from a recent study in a new book: Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford University Press).

Gene Edward Veith writes about the findings here, in an article reprinted from World magazine.

After interviewing over 3,000 teenagers, the social scientists summed up their beliefs:

(1) “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”
(2) “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”
(3) “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”
(4) “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”
(5) “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

Even these secular researchers recognized that this creed is a far cry from Christianity, with no place for sin, judgment, salvation, or Christ. Instead, most teenagers believe in a combination of works righteousness, religion as psychological well-being, and a distant non-interfering god. Or, to use a technical term, “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.”

Ironically, many of these young deists are active in their churches. “Most religious teenagers either do not really comprehend what their own religious traditions say they are supposed to believe,” conclude Mr. Smith and Ms. Denton, “or they do understand it and simply do not care to believe it.”

Another possibility is that they have learned what their churches are teaching all too well. It is not just teenagers who are moralistic therapeutic deists. This describes the beliefs of many adults too, and even what is taught in many supposedly evangelical churches.

Clearly many churches are not teaching young people the deep truths of the Christian faith. I’m beginning to fear that even evangelical churches are striving so much to be relevant to the culture and to attract seekers that they are not digging deep into the marrow of Christianity—-leaving their parishioners young and old with a thin and ultimately inadequate set of beliefs.

Posted by Jim at 07:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005

The Speech: "Your fighting sons ...they are splendid in every way"

The excerpts in this post are from this speech, known as the Old Soldiers Never Die speech, delivered on April 19, 1951 before a joint session of Congress by General Douglas Macarthur, upon his retirement and to defend his conduct of the war in Korea.

Kyle Bruns emailed me with the right answer and received the top prize of the complete satisfaction of being the first smart person to respond.

I was struck by how timely much of what Macarthur said is to modern day.

Posted by Jim at 05:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Africa’s Fate Will Be Determined By Africans

America gets a bad rap on international aid. As a nation, first we’re pressured or shamed into making massive loans to African nations, then pressured to forgive the loans, while all along being cajoled to make outright aid grants to help African children and families.

As Doug pointed out, America is the most generous nation in the world, and the American people—informed and inspired by their Christian ethic to help those in need—give more to address international poverty, hunger, disease than any other group in the world. Hands down.

Now the leaders meeting at the G8 Summit are being called on to give more, forgive more, and even make long term commitments of aid.

Americans will continue to aid Africa, both through our government’s international aid programs and largely through our Christian churches, missions, and aid organizations. But there needs to be more strings attached to aid, if Africa is ever to become something more than a continent of nation beggars.

Africa can solve their own problems in the long run, but only through deep spiritual and moral regeneration, a commitment to capitalism, the ultimate rule of law, and broadly adopted sexual ethics.

Aid must be tied to progress in all of these areas, or we will continue to be co-dependents in the continent’s cultural suicide.

The NY Times editorializes today that Africa’s fate will be determined by the eight men at the G8. That’s nonsense. Africans and the decisions they make on the fundamental foundations of their nations and people groups will determine Africa’s fate.

Posted by Jim at 08:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

An Intriguing SCOTUS Scenario

Rich Galen speculates in his Mullings column today on the possibility of three Supreme Court vacancies this summer.

Assuming Chief Justice Rehnquist retires and President Bush nominates one of the remaining Associate Justices to be Chief Justice (either Thomas or Scalia) then there would be three vacancies to be filled.

This presents an intriguing opportunity for the President. Assuming for a moment that Rehnquist does retire and President Bush wanted to elevate an associate judge, which one would he choose? I would consider Justice Thomas as my top pick. First, at age 56, he's the youngest of the justices. Second, it allows the President to make a "legacy" nomination by naming the first African-American Chief Justice.

Then, if the President wants to continue to make "legacy" appointments he could nominate Janice Rogers Brown (she would become the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court). He could also put a Hispanic justice on the court by nominating Miguel Estrada, Emilio Garza or even Alberto Gonzales (although he seems to be too moderate for many conservative groups to support).

Ethnic considerations aside, the one thing all of these candidates have in common is that they are highly respected jurists. All of them are highly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and are worthy of careful consideration.

By having three vacancies to fill at once there will be pressure on the Senate leadership to move quickly on confirmation hearings to have a full Court by October. If the Senate decides to drag its feet, the President can always use his recess appointment power to fill the vacancies until the end of 2006. By that point, the Congressional elections may provide Republicans with a larger margin in the Senate making it easier to confirm judicial nominees.

It could be a very interesting summer.

Posted by Tom at 01:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005

Congrats Rhett!

Wedding Bells for the College Director of The Quest at Bel Air Presbyterian, Rhett Smith. Rhett married a Clifton, who are long-time friends of my in-laws. Actually, I heard about Rhett's blog about the same time that Hugh Hewitt started linking to it. Small world. Congrats Rhett and take that year off!

Posted by Rick at 11:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brilliant, Just Brilliant

We'll wait and see how it plays out, but this WaPo article is encouraging.

"Based on what we've done in the past with Brown, Pryor and Owen," Graham said, "ideological attacks are not an 'extraordinary circumstance.' To me, it would have to be a character problem, an ethics problem, some allegation about the qualifications of the person, not an ideological bent."

Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), a leader of the seven Democratic signers, largely concurred. Nelson "would agree that ideology is not an 'extraordinary circumstance' unless you get to the extreme of either side," his spokesman, David DiMartino, said in an interview.

Not to boast, but those words sound strikingly like something that I wrote a while back when I called the Gang of 14 deal a brilliant political move.
The Democrats, on the other hand, spent the last few years and a tremendous amount of political capital branding fine conservative jurists Priscilla R. Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William H. Pryor Jr. as right-wing extremists. Borrowing from the language of the deal, they are by the Democrats’ own definition, the most “extraordinary” of Bush’s nominees...The bar has been set and it has been set very high. Any future Bush nominee, whether Circuit or Supreme, will have to be clearly more “extreme” than Owen, Brown, and Pryor.

I argued then, and continue to argue that we will never know whether Frist actually had the votes to go Constitutional on the obstructionist Dems. I raised this point on the air with Hugh Hewitt and he pretty much blew me off. The next day, Erwin Chemerinsky raised the exact same point and Hugh didn't challenge him on it.

At the very least, Frist was not certain that he had the votes. The deal allowed confirmation of the three most "radical", "extreme", and "right-wing" nominees.

The non-signing Democrats didn't attempt to filibuster Owen, Pryor, and Brown. If these Democrats believed these jurists were not fit for the bench, they should have bucked the agreement signed by their partisan colleagues and filibustered the nominees as representatives of their respective states and constituents. But, alas, they did not - indicating that these judges were not extreme enough in their mind for them to break with their party and take a stand on principle. To filibuster a SCOTUS nominee on ideological grounds will leave them exposed.

McCain may try to play the middle, but in doing so he will have to stand against Graham and the Republican base. Graham has issued a cue. Frist and other Senate Republicans need to run with it IMMEDIATELY.

Posted by Rick at 10:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Your fighting sons ...they are splendid in every way"

As the appeasers and 21st Century peaceniks and their liberal comrades snipe at the Administration for staying the course in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is good to consider the words of one of the nation’s great speeches. Its themes suggest not only persevering but intensifying the War on Terror and its vital corollaries.

Who will be the first informed SCO reader to correctly identify the speaker and the speech?

“Military alliances, balances of power, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war.

We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, our Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological and involves a spiritual recrudescence, an improvement of human character that will synchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature, and all material and cultural developments of the past two thousand years.

It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh." But once war is forced upon us, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end. War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.

In war there is no substitute for victory.

There are some who for varying reasons would appease. They are blind to history's clear lesson, for history teaches with unmistakable emphasis that appeasement but begets new and bloodier war. It points to no single instance where this end has justified that means, where appeasement had led to more than a sham peace.

Like blackmail, it lays the basis for new and successively greater demands until, as in blackmail, violence becomes the only alternative.”

Posted by Jim at 01:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Those "Stingy" Americans

After the December tsunami, Jan Egeland, the UN's head of humanitarian relief, called Western nations "stingy" when it came to providing relief funds. (His suggestion? The classic "raise taxes" answer.) The ~$850 million from the US government and ~$1.5 billion from private donors in the 6 months following the disaster put the lie to that.

Now comes the "Live 8" concert to raise money for poor countries. We still get ripped by the fund-raisers, but we continue to give generously anyway.

PRIVATE American citizens donated almost 15 times more to the developing world than their European counterparts, research reveals this weekend ahead of the G8 summit. Private US donors also handed over far more aid than the federal government in Washington, revealing that America is much more generous to Africa and poor countries than is claimed by the Make Poverty History and Live 8 campaigns.

And what are some of the secrets to this generosity? Let's just say that Egeland would be surprised.
[Carole] Adelman [author of the Hudson Institute report] said this transforms the picture on aid to the developing world, showing how America's stronger economic growth and lower taxation is giving indirect aid to the Third World which dwarfs the government's donations.

(Emphasis mine.) Much more money goes to developing countries from private individuals and corporations than from the government because we have more money in our pocket and can afford to give voluntarily rather than by being "charitable at the point of a gun" (i.e. you're thrown in jail if you don't pay your taxes).

And the side issue is this: America and Americans never get the credit we deserve for being giving people. But y'know, we just keep giving and giving anyway. Instead of whining, more countries ought to be emulating this.

Posted by Doug at 01:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to Shrink a Denomination: The UCC Endorses Gay Marriage

The United Church of Christ took a stand for homosexual marriage at its national convention yesterday, which the networks touted as a move by one of the large Christian denominations.

But the UCC is not large at all, and it--as well as other mainline denominations--is shrinking because of its biblical unfaithfulness. Whereas the church must open its arms to homosexuals, it cannot do so at the price of ignoring Scripture’s clear teaching against homosexuality and for marriage as a union of man and a woman.

The UCC is not among the top ten religious groups in America. And it's sinking like a rock.

Posted by Jim at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Leak

In a post below, Rick derides whomever leaked Valerie Plame to the press. Her position may or may not have been classified, but she was no field agent or spy. Ever since she was outed, she's been a liberal superstar and I have about as much sympathy for her as I do for Dan Rather.

Posted by Matt at 09:51 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 04, 2005

2nd Missing SEAL Reportedly Found

Yesterday, a wounded member of the missing four-man SEAL recon team was rescued. This morning, an Afghan provincial governor claims that a second wounded SEAL has been located and is taking refuge in a home. Afghan forces are reportedly trying to reach the SEAL. The US Military declined to comment.

I hope the governor's information is accurate. If the SEALs are alive, they are probably cold, hungry, scared to death and would covet your prayers. But they are trained professionals. I can't imagine what the family members of the missing are going through. God be with them.

Happy 4th everyone. Pray for our service men and women. Thank a vet. Do something as a civilian to support our warriors and their families.

Posted by Rick at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"Our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor"

Most know the story of how Thomas Jefferson, with the help of the Second Continental Congress, drafted the Declaration of Independence. If not, or if you simply want a refresher on the Declaration and the events surrounding it, you can find a bevy of information at the USHistory.org website. It is a fascinating story of some truly brave people who changed the world's history and, for a moment, did something far beyond themselves. Given the importance of the document, below is the full text of the Declaration, which bears reading in full, at least once a year, if not more often. A happy and safe Independence Day to all of our readers.

The Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refuted his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred. to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. --And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Posted by Mark at 04:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Comments Have Been Down

Our apologies, but it appears comments have been down for the last day or so. Comments should now be working. This is from the continuing deluge of spammers. We continue to work on a permanent fix to the spammer problem and hope that one of us (namely Doug) will be able to fix it soon.

Posted by Mark at 09:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Homespun Bloggers Radio, Program #7, released!

Yes, it's been a while, but HBR is back with some old and some new voices.

  • First, a tribute to Mike "Bunker Mulligan" Reed, an HBR contributor who passed away in June. We'll miss him very much. Juli from Dagney's Rant says it for all of us.
  • Bob James, a new contributor who write the blog CrosSwords, gives us an example of another country that is already misusing Eminent Domain.
  • Andrew Ian Dodge of Dodgeblogium brings the London report, about a Conservative Party that isn't acting all that conservative.
  • The founder of Homespun Bloggers and writer of MuD&PHuD, Tom Carroll, speak out against the Kelo decision with some concrete steps to take to protect your property.

To listen, click here. The current audio feed is a loop of show #7. Also, you can click here to download a high-quality version of the show.

Posted by Doug at 07:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 02, 2005

Prognosticating the SCOTUS Confirmation Battle

With the somewhat surprising retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor from the Supreme Court, many in the press and the blogosphere are engaging in the "let's guess the next Supreme Court Nominee" parlor game. Rather than dwell on who I think the nominee will be (although I did post a guess in a comment on this post), I'm going to go out on a limb and make a couple of predictions about what we can expect to see in the next few months:

1. Democrats will filibuster the nominee
Given the behavior of Democrats during the judicial confirmation process thus far it is a safe bet that they will find reason to filibuster the SCOTUS nominee. There's much more at stake in this nomination than any other to date. Also, Democrats will be under tremendous pressure from special interest groups such as Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, the ACLU, and other groups to filibuster any judicial nominee that the President submits. In fact, I believe Democrats made a huge tactical error by filibustering judicial nominees. Supreme Court justices have far greater influence that other members of the federal judiciary. By filibustering so many of the President's nominees to date, they've left themselves with no other option but to filibuster the SCOTUS nominee. As a result, Democrats will likely pay a high price at the polls next year.

2. The President will nominate a very conservative judge.
Since President Bush can count on very vocal opposition from Democrats, he's free to nominate a very conservative judge. Although conventional wisdom has been that the President should nominate another woman to replace O'Connor or another moderate who mirrors her judicial philosophy, President Bush can be free to nominate whomever he chooses since he knows that the opposition will be fierce regardless of the nominee.

3. The President's nominee will be confirmed.
Although the process will be bloody, Democrats don't have enough votes to sustain a filibuster and probably won't be able to muster enough opposition to any SCOTUS nominee to prevent confirmation. The only question will be how long the Republican leadership will allow the process to drag out. If they're smart, Senate Republicans will move swiftly to get the nominee confirmed/

Posted by Tom at 09:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


If it was Rove and he perjured himself before the grand jury, I hope he has a good lawyer. Regardless, if he is the source of the leak, he should hang... The political harm caused to Bush and the Republican party could be tremendous. Besides that point, the idea that he would purposefully leak the classified name of a CIA operative for some political gain is disgusting.

Posted by Rick at 01:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pi in the Sky

The wonders of the human brain:

A Japanese mental health counsellor has broken the world record for reciting pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, from memory.

Akira Haraguchi, 59, managed to recite the number's first 83,431 decimal places, almost doubling the previous record held by another Japanese.

What comes after 3.14?

Posted by Rick at 11:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

California Legislation

A few weeks back, I manned a booth at Spirit West Coast for the California Family Council. The experience was great. CFC is affiliated with Focus on the Family and seeks to educate Californian Christians about what is going on in their legislature. Similar organizations are up and running in many other states and I believe that the goal is to cover all 50.

I recieve weekly updates from CFC and plan on posting them for all SCO readers. If you do not live in California, please understand that as California leads, the nation often follows. California's issues are America's issues.

Pending Legislation this week include gay marriage and universal health care bills. A bill authorizing drivers licenses for unauthorized immigrants was passed last week and the CA Supreme Court upheld a domestic partnership law. A parental notification initiative will also be on the ballot this November. Keep reading for more details.

Homosexual-marriage bill back

When Assemblyman Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) homosexual-marriage bill failed earlier this month, he promised he would introduce it in the Senate. True to his word, Leno mimicked the actions employed by the authors of the physician-assisted suicide bill; he took a bill that had already passed the Assembly (AB 849), gutted it (removed the language), and substituted the language from his failed effort (AB 19). Normally, rules of the Legislature require that “gut-and-amend” bills must be similar in nature to the bill that is being “gutted”; in this case, the former AB 849 was a bill dealing with fish and game.

With AB 849 currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee, CFC encourages you to contact your own state senator today.

Universal health care

SB 840 (Kuehl, D-Los Angeles) recently passed the Senate on a partisan vote (25-15). Democrats voted for it and Republicans voted against it. If it becomes law, SB 840 will totally restructure the entire health-care system in California by creating a single-payer system. Senator Kuehl says the bill will reduce total health-care spending in California, thus saving money for the state. However, the legislative bill analysis states that the Senate Appropriations staff actually indicated: “In order to finance the new system, the state would redirect funds from existing health programs and, in addition, the state would need an additional amount, perhaps in the range of $100 billion." Perhaps? In the range of $100 billion? It is obvious that the proposed new health-care system will not save taxpayers money.

More troubling than the cost is: 1) concern over the quality of care if the proposed system is implemented, and 2) the lack of choice for Californians. In fact, the latest amendment (June 28) actually prohibits the sale of any health-care insurance “except for the California State Insurance System plan.”

SB 840 will be voted on by the Assembly Health Committee on July 5. E-mail committee members by clicking on their names; however, phone calls and/or faxes are more effective than e-mails.

Drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants bill passes

Senator Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) has tried for seven years to pass a bill giving illegal aliens drivers’ licenses. He claims this will make the highways safer. This year’s bill, SB 60, has passed the Senate and passed its first Assembly committee hearing by a vote of 7-5 yesterday. Democrats voted yes, Republicans voted no.

The bill was opposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the California Highway Patrol and even the state’s Office of Homeland Security (OHS). The deputy director of California’s OHS cautioned members of the Assembly Transportation Committee that passing SB 60 could hamper efforts by the federal government to intercept terrorists trying to enter the United States.

SB 60 now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee before going to the full Assembly for a vote. Now is the time to begin contacting your own Assembly member about this bill. (See contact information above.)

Domestic partnership law upheld

SAN FRANCISCO – Yesterday, the California Supreme Court allowed California’s domestic-partnership benefit law to stand. The law had been challenged by pro-family groups who claim AB 205 violates the scope and intent of Proposition 22, the 2000 initiative that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman. For more on this issue, see CFC’s press release in response to this judicial action.

On the ballot

SACRAMENTO – Under current California law, a young girl, fearful that she is pregnant, may leave campus during school hours to have an abortion – and her parents may never know. The first measure to qualify for what has become the November special-election ballot, Parents' Right to Know, would change that scenario. If this initiative proposal passes in November, abortionists would be required to notify parents before performing an abortion on a minor.

Although parental consent would not be required, parental notification could open the door to discussions between parent and child on an important issue that merits parental involvement. A 2002 Field Poll found 62 percent of California registered voters supported parental consent for abortion. A more recent national poll found 78 percent of those polled supported parental notification laws.

In 1987 the California Legislature passed legislation requiring parental consent before a young girl had an abortion. After a lengthy court battle, the measure was found to be unconstitutional in 1997 – only after a change in the court’s composition changed the decision after reconsideration of the issue.

The analysis of this proposal by the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst, estimates – based on results in other states with parental notification laws – California could experience a one-quarter reduction in abortions to minors. The same report notes that the state currently pays $2.3 for Medi-Cal abortions for minors.

For more information on this proposal, see Parent’s Right to Know.

Posted by Rick at 10:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 01, 2005

Tragic Loss in Afghanistan

I found this gripping account of the events leading up to and following the tragic helicopter crash in Afghanistan earlier this week. It has much more detail compared to other accounts, so I'm not sure about its accuracy. Keep that in mind while reading.

Check Froggy Ruminations for more. Hugh Hewitt has suggestions for how civilians can help. Hug your kids and pray with them this weekend as you waive the flag.

Posted by Rick at 08:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SCOTUS: Equal Opportunity Employer

Yes, Justice O'Connor has resigned. Did you know she was a woman? That has seemed to be a big issue for months now, like there should be pressure to appoint another woman. Well, it would be nice, but I think that the Supreme Court is the last place we should be applying Affirmative Action.

And so I make the same argument I would make at any time against this sort of thing - pick the most qualified person. (And of course, as a conservative, I suggest picking a conservative, but I assume that suggestion to be superfluous.) Mostly I'd say just try not to pick someone who will have a legacy of holding middle ground.

And while I haven't had much time to watch television news coverage since this announcement, I'm really hoping that this is taking up some of the Aruba time allotment.

However, if it has to be a woman, Kathryn Jean Lopez and the rest of The Corner are voting for Katie O'Beirne.

[And while you're at The Corner, check out some amusing reader generated Reuters spoofs. Including this one:
Justice O'Connor formerly served as a judge of the Superior Court in Maricopa County, Arizona, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio runs a jail reminiscent of the gulags of the former Soviet Union.]

Posted by Abigail at 01:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Responding to Kelo

Before we dive headlong into the SCOTUS vacancy debates, let's ask: After Kelo, what’s next on property rights?

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, already has introduced a bill called "The Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Private Property Act of 2005" Cornyn's legislation would prohibit transfers of private property without the owner's consent if federal funds were used - and if the transfer was for purposes of economic development rather than public use.

To help call for swift passage of the Protection of Homes, Small Businesses, and Private Property Act of 2005, you can sign a petition at ACLJ.

Posted by Jim at 12:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More on O'Connor

Justice O'Connor's retirement is momentous. Anytime a Supreme Court Justice retires, of course, it is a big deal. O'Connor's retirement, however, is the most important of the last 25 years. As one of the swing votes on the Court, O'Connor is largely responsible for the continued viability of the Roe v. Wade decision. Many had assumed that, if Chief Justice Rehnquist were the first to retire, President Bush would get somewhat of a "free pass" on his choice of nominees, since an ideological conservative would not change the balance of the Court. O'Connor, however, is crucial to the liberals for her votes on the abortion cases. Accordingly, liberal advocacy groups, and Democratic Senators, will be pulling out all of the stops on the President's nominee. If they sense a Roe opponent, it will be a bitter battle to the end. The five "moderate" Republicans will come under intense pressure over the next few months. Keep your eyes on them. They hold the cards for now.

Posted by Mark at 10:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Party Time

Justice O'Connor has resigned. Now the party starts.

Here's a tip to Senate Republicans:

What you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.

That goes for you, too, Senators Graham, McCain, Warner, DeWine, Hagel, Snowe and Chaffee.

Posted by Matt at 10:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Justice O'Connor Stepping Down

ABC News is reporting that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice, is stepping down. This is a bit of a surprise, since most have speculated that Chief Justice Rehnquist would be the first to step down. However, Justice O'Connor's retirement has also been widely anticipated.

I imagine there will be pressure to get a nomination in before the Court's new term starts this October. Should be an interesting Summer. We'll see how the filibuster deal holds up now. If you've left off checking Confirm Them, it might be a good time to add it back to your bookmark.

Posted by Mark at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

the One problem

Al Mohler provides a pretty good takedown of the well-meaning, but flawed, One campaign.

He makes a mistake, however, on one crucial point:

"While Southern Baptists should fervently support and encourage truly effective means to address the distress of the poor, failure to identify the true causes of Third World poverty and thus advocate useful real solutions–like the ONE Campaign–is not just misguided, it is actually harmful. The wider public knows this to be true."

The wider public knows this to be true? I'm not buying it. Call me cynical, but I don't believe the wider public cares.

Here's a good article on the issue of Christian voting. A very nice counterargument to those who think that God is indifferent about whom we vote for. The author raises some strong points, points that I've never heard any liberals adequately address.

Nothing like starting a firestorm early in the day.

Posted by Matt at 09:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I’m Glad We Have That Cleared Up

Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.'s editor in chief, said that he concluded after much reflection that, "We are not above the law."

[This as Time Inc. said] that it would provide documents concerning the reporter's confidential sources to a grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a covert C.I.A. operative, Valerie Plame.

The magazine's decision to give in to the demands of federal prosecutors followed the Supreme Court's decision on Monday to reject appeals by the agazine and its reporter, Matthew Cooper, as well as a reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller. (NY Times).

While this is clearly the right decision by Time Inc., it is not without consequences.

The ability of the media to use sources that wish to remain anonymous is paramount to the freedom and the capabilities of the press.
I was trained as a journalist and although I have spent most of my career in public relations, I have also been a reporter. Most stories with any bite to them at all rely on background, off the record, and unattributed quotes and information. If sources cannot trust that you will keep their identity hidden, much of this information will dry up.

I also understand the decision by reporters to go to jail rather than reveal confidential sources. Their word is central not only to their ongoing ability to get information from sources, but it is also part of their journalistic soul. To yield would be akin to the abortion protester getting up off the sidewalk and going home when the police arrive and threaten arrest. Their civil disobedience has a purpose beyond the parameters of any one case.

But in matters of life and death and national security, a corporation such as Time Inc. must obey the courts. Appeal it as far as possible, which they did, but when all avenues are blocked, obey the law.

I sympathize with the journalists, but if we don’t have rule of law we lose everything.

As a side note, I believe the whole anonymous source thing is out of control and in many cases has gone from a vital part of reporting to lazy even dishonest reporting. Every source should assume that a reporter will keep his or her confidence, but that in America the law is king and if the courts require a media company to disclose a source, their confidentiality will be forfeited.

Courts should exercise this power with great caution, because anonymity does allow the tongue to way, but no one should be above the law.

Posted by Jim at 08:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack