February 08, 2003
Apparently, the GOP received a bit more help than just a campaign visit by W in last year's battle to retake control of the Senate. In New Hampshire, where John Sununu eked out a narrow victory over Jeanne Shaheen in a race for an open Senate seat, an out-of-state firm was hired by the Republican Party to crank-call Democratic phone banks on election day, thereby impeding efforts to get out the vote. This writer logically suggests that this was a tactic probably useful in other states as well. To me, this story, and not paranoid fantasies about rigged electronic voting machines, is troublesome, because it shows how far the current clique in office is willing to go to seize power.
February 07, 2003
One reason to filibuster the Estrada nomination, quite beside the fact that it might work, is that it allows us to see which Democrats in the Senate are worth keeping. One member still on the fence, Mary Landrieu, is quoted here as saying that while she is impressed with his personal story, she has some doubts that he is in the "mainstream". If he is having problems getting the support of one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, someone who boasted in her recent campaign for reelection how often she votes with the President, it signifies that his nomination may be in trouble. Keep up the pressure, kids.
February 06, 2003
Life is good. I came home tonight to be greeted by a shipment from Amazon: What Liberal Media by Eric Alterman. The first page I opened to describes the early-90's editorship of Andrew Sullivan at The New Republic as being akin to "watching a middle age accountant try on a pair of nipple rings". Priceless ! Buy this book now !!
Let the games begin. The debate over the Estrada nomination has begun in the Senate, with a decision to filibuster the nominee expected some time next week. So far, one Democrat has publicly broken with the caucus (Breaux), although it goes without saying that Zell Miller will knife us in the back over the long run. If an appropriate precedent is going to be set, this filibuster has to focus on his lack of honesty before the Judiciary Committee and on his ideology, in order of importance. The filibuster is a powerful weapon, but it is also a dangerous one. This is not a tactic that we can use against every conservative judge, and we certainly do not want the precedent of having the minority party shut down the Senate every time a President nominates someone for the federal courts.
I just realized that I will turn forty in exactly eight months. When my father was my age, he was married, had four children, he was preparing to take the bar exam, had already gone through a bankruptcy, had run the Southern California operations for two presidential campaigns, been the chief assistant to the State Assembly Rules Committee, and had run for office twice (unsuccessfully). He used the occasion of the big 4-0 to quit drinking, thereby changing the life of our family dramatically. I still think about him every day, and occasionally will dream he is still with us, having rationalized that sometime after his death, his cancer went into remission and he was miraculously resuscitated. The only edges I have on my dad is that I passed the bar exam when I was twenty-six, (although, unlike him, I loved the whole experience of taking the test so much, I took it twice), and that, in spite of a lifetime of incurring debt, I have yet to file a BK. There's still time, however....
February 05, 2003
Fox News is reporting that the Democratic caucus in the Senate is set to filibuster the vote on the Estrada nomination. However, Senators John Breaux and Byron Dorgan are apparently trying to find a face-saving way to support the nominee, seeking talking points from the GOP staff of the Judiciary Committee. Drop them a line, if you will, and let them know where you come down on this.
A terrific anecdote about the wackjob who produced Then He Kissed Me and You've Lost that Lovin Feelin', in today's Altercation. How was that guy ever able to avoid being institutionalized? Sad, how some stars burn brilliantly for such a short time, only to have to live out the remaining decades of their lives (btw, the story of the actress whom he murdered is especially poignant).
February 04, 2003
For those of you too intimidated by this new-fangled web technology to send an e-mail to your Senator, you can always fax him your opinion on the Estrada vote, thanks to People for the American Way. It's easy, and you don't even have to think about what you want to say.
Apparently, the Moonies seem to think that the possibility that the Democrats will filibuster the Estrada nomination is something of a joke. The vote is scheduled for Wednesday morning...btw, Mr. Estrada was also on Ted Olsen's legal team in the Florida vote challenge, so if you liked the jurisprudence revealed in the Bush v. Gore decision, you'll just love his lifetime tenure on the federal courts.
February 03, 2003
The Senate is scheduled to begin floor consideration of the Estrada nomination tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. E.S.T. For those of you who want to bitch about the Bush judicial picks with a clear conscience, other than whining about Ralph Nader, here are some more Senators to contact: Presidential candidates John Kerry and John Edwards; Diane Feinstein; Joe Biden; and moderate Republicans Lincoln Chafee and Susan Collins. Let them know that not filibustering is not an option.
February 02, 2003
I'm involved in a rather interesting discussion over on the Eschaton board concerning electronic voting machines, and the potential they have to be abused by parties and politicians. As always, I am a skeptic when it comes to conspiracy theories, but the issues raised should not be ignored. In Florida three years ago, numerous counties did not recount the ballots after the November election, relying instead on a re-reading of the electronic tally taken that night. If the first count was wrong, or if the computer tallying the results had been misprogrammed, we won't know whom the electorate picked.
They are not wasting time over the Estrada nomination. Bush's nominee, and likely future Supreme Court pick, goes before the entire Senate on Tuesday. The Democratic response, to date, has been tepid; other than some perfunctory talk about Pickering, there has been no call for a filibuster, even though Estrada, his obvious intelligence aside, is an extremist who pals around with white supremacists and has refused to allow his legal memos be released for public scrutiny. Anyone who cares about the make-up of the federal courts for the next generation needs to act now to contact Senators and remind them that "advise and consent" is not merely a throwaway clause in the Constitutution, and that any far-right nominee put up by the President for consideration to the appellate courts must be stopped. My 1/30 post has the e-mail addresses for five swing Senators; spam 'em all.