March 08, 2003

Over at Condredge's Acolytes, I have my takes on the first schools to gain entry to the NCAA Tournament, among other things. If anyone would like to contribute, please feel free to let me know.
Since I started blogging last April, I've tried to keep a diversified blogroll, one that reflected a wide spectrum of opinion. Since I'm an unabashed liberal, most of my links are to like-minded sites, but I have always been on the lookout for good conservative bloggers. What I look for in a conservative site is an ability to raise and present an opinion that I may disagree with, but which still forces me to engage that opinion; to wit, a certain civility of tone. I'm not looking for right wing versions of Smythe's World, or blogs that are obsessed with Howell Raines, Bill Clinton, or the patriotism of anti-war demonstrators.

Anyways, one of the best blogs, liberal or conservative, is Volokh Conspiracy, a collaborative site led by the noted law professor, Eugene Volokh. His legal takes are challenging, and often convincing, and would be a conservative I would whole-heartedly support for a Supreme Court nomination. Everyone who blogs might like to copy this passage and live by its philosophy. If you don't visit his site at least once a day, you're wasting time at the office computer.

March 07, 2003

I missed the press conference last night, as I had another engagement to attend to, but one critic in particular wasn't following the same obsequious script that the rest of the press corps seemed to have been reading. Tom Shales observes
Have ever a people been led more listlessly into war? It's tempting to speculate how history would have changed if Winston Churchill or FDR had been as lethargic as Bush about rallying their nations in an hour of crisis. There were times when it appeared his train of thought had jumped the tracks.

Occasionally he would stare blankly into space during lengthy pauses between statements -- pauses that once or twice threatened to be endless. There were times when it seemed every sentence Bush spoke was of the same duration and delivered in the same dour monotone, giving his comments a numbing, soporific aura. Watching him was like counting sheep.

Later, he speculates that the President might have been "medicated", whatever that means; I might have taken that same medication myself awhile back. All in all, a disaster.
Comparatively speaking, filibustering Estrada was the hard part. The contemptuous renomination of Priscilla Owen should be handled with the same deliberate speed by Senate Democrats. [link via TalkLeft]

March 06, 2003

Pity, that we spend so much time in designing the new $20 bill, and have not thought to remove the repugnant slaveholder and war criminal whose face is on it.
On this date, nearly equidistant between 9-11 and Election Day, 2004, George Bush now trails "unnamed Democrat" in this poll.
As expected, the GOP was unsuccessful in their cloture attempt this morning on the nomination of Miguel Estrada, 44-55. This defeat was completely avoidable for President Bush, who could have easily picked up the five necessary votes had he either released the legal memos Estrada wrote in the Justice Department in an edited form, or prepared summaries of the positions Estrada took in those memos. Asserting a variation of work-product privilege made it seem like they were trying to hide behind a technicality to prevent his opinions from going public, and his wing-nut friends did him no favors.
Some nuggets of crap from America's worst sportswriter...speaking of which, I will have my next article up on Off-Wing Opinion later today, on recent developments in college hoops.

March 05, 2003

I'm sure most of you have heard about the man who was arrested in an Albany, New York shopping mall this week for wearing a "No War in Iraq" t-shirt, then refusing to leave when asked (there is some dispute as to whether he was aggressively proselytising his views on the issue; see here for the actual complaint [linked via Volokh], and the supporting affidavit, which makes it seem as if the man in question, a 61-year old attorney, was merely defending the views expressed on his shirt in public, as opposed to getting in anyone's face, passing out leaflets, etc.). In any event, the mall owners, while perhaps having a legal right to do so, look like narrow-minded idiots, and I strongly suggest that any visitors to Smythe's World who live in upstate New York (where are you, Danyelle Price?) consider boycotting this mall until its owners are made aware of the fact that "freedom of speech" is not simply a constitutional right.

However, I have a hard time taking MWO seriously when it refers to those events as "fascistic", especially since it was only two weeks ago that it attempted to spread the rumor that Miguel Estrada was gay, without any evidence or proof.
Speaking of Orrin Hatch, it seems that he has a rather cozy relationship with the pharmaceutical industry, particulary with the makers of the diet drug ephedra, linked recently to the deaths of athletes Steve Bechler and Corey Stringer. More to the point, his son Scott Hatch is one of the principal lobbyists for the manufacturers of ephedra, at a time when the Utah Senator is not only the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman but has also played a leading role in sponsoring legislation to make ephedra and other dietary supplements free from regulatory oversight.
According to the Los Angeles Times,
"among other things, the Utah Republican co-wrote the 1994 law that lets supplement makers sell products without the scientific premarket safety testing required for drugs and other food additives. That law has proved a major obstacle to federal control of ephedra. For its part, the supplements industry has not only showered the senator with campaign money but also paid almost $2 million in lobbying fees to firms that employed his son Scott.

From 1998 to 2001, while Scott Hatch worked for a lobbying firm with close ties to his father, clients in the diet supplements industry paid the company more than $1.96 million, more than $1 million of it from clients involved with ephedra.

Since Scott Hatch opened his own lobbying firm last year in partnership with two of his father's close associates, the firm has received at least $30,000 in retainers from a supplements industry trade group and a major manufacturer of ephedra. Both clients came from the old firm.

Sen. Hatch said the new firm, Walker, Martin & Hatch, was formed with his personal encouragement. He said he sees no conflict of interest in championing issues that benefit his son's clients. Neither Senate rules nor federal laws forbid relatives from lobbying members of Congress.
There may be a good reason for ephedra, or other dietary supplements, to be treated differently than other drugs. How anyone can say with a straight face, that having a son or spouse of a Senator directly lobby Congress on legislation does not create a questionable appearance is stupefying.

March 04, 2003

Like many other opponents of the nomination of Miguel Estrada, I pretty much roll my eyes everytime I hear the standard attacks on my position. There is probably no member of the U.S. Senate, with the possible exceptions of Trent Lott or Jeff Sessions, who has less credibility in calling someone else a racist than Orrin Hatch. If a President is going to use the ideological views of the judge as the sole criterion for nominating him, than of course Senators may critique that position, and if necessary, use any and all means necessary to defeat that nominee. The last thing this country needs is another Lawrence Silberman or David Sentelle. And frankly, I don't care if there is a shortage of judges on the appellate courts. As far as I'm concerned, it's a lifetime position, with a good pension and access to special interest perks that would be the envy of most politicians, so maybe working forty-hour weeks is an acceptable alternative.

But I have to admit, this is good: according to Marvin Olasky, the opposition to Mr. Estrada is not based on partisanship or bigotry, but on the fact that a cadre of "neo-marxists" has captured the Democratic Party. This pundit believes that "Estrada, like Clarence Thomas, infuriates liberal interest groups because he challenges the neo-Marxist ideology that now dominates the campuses that Democrats revere." The "long march through the institutions" having been successful, the forty-odd members of the minority caucus in the Senate are actually a communist front, a real-life "Fifth Column" that threatens to sabotage our society from within by exercising its Constitutional obligation to provide advise and consent on judicial nominations.

My question is, how was our plot compromised? Who told?
This isn't an Onion article, but should be.
I know this is an Onion article, but you just know this will happen at some point.
The Democrats are going to the mattresses Thursday on the Estrada nomination.
This doesn't have much to do with anything, but I came upon this whilst doing a Google search of a high school classmate, Ben Sherwood. It's a particularly nasty review of a book he wrote a couple of years ago, and his response thereto.
Triumph of the Will: I've read this Jim Pinkerton column twice now, and I still don't know whether he's being serious or attempting satire (ie., the references to "Carlyle"). If it's the latter, he's a f*****g genius, comparable to Charles Baudelaire, Neal Pollack, and "Michael Kelly". [link via Atrios]

March 03, 2003

Dog Bites Man, Part 2: Who'd've thunk that on the same day the Clippers fire their coach, a grand jury would indict half the government of Compton. And those are just the local authorities; the federal government also has a pair of investigations which involve even more serious allegations.
Dog Bites Man, Part 1: Let's see, the Clips have had Paul Silas, Gene Shue, Jim Lynam, Don Chaney, Gene Shue (again), Don Casey, Mike Schuler, Mack Calvin, Larry Brown, Bob Weiss, Bill Fitch, Chris Ford, Jim Todd, and now Alvin Gentry. That's fourteen (14) coaches the Slumlord has run out of town. DJ should get his resume out immediately.
The worst blog posting ever, according to Ted Barlow.
Interesting Times has a different perspective on the arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
One of the guiltier pleasures about the Estrada filibuster has been to see the Washington Post whine about the tactics of the Democratic Party, especially Charles Schumer. Two weeks ago, the now-predictably conservative paper attacked the Democrats for even asking questions about the assumed ideology of Estrada, and had the audacity to quote Lawrence Silberman, one of the more odious of Reagan's appointees to the Federal Court, as its principal source. After the laughter stopped, the Post, perhaps chastened, has now come out with an editorial saying that the Democrats weren't aggressive enough in questioning Estrada the first time, and arguing that
The question at stake in the Democratic filibuster of Mr. Estrada's nomination ultimately has nothing to do with race or with Mr. Estrada's allegedly inadequate answers. It is simply whether a conservative president can reliably place on an appeals court a qualified conservative against whom no serious complaint has been made.
Of course, the ultimate rejoinder to that silly argument, is "TOUGH S***". Or perhaps it would be useful for Democrats to remember that the conservative President in question wasn't elected by the American people. For that reason alone, opposition to his efforts to impose his ideological views on the federal judiciary is not only appropriate, but a patriotic duty.
I knew Irina was up to no good !!