March 14, 2003

Since the GOP caucus in both houses of Congress is currently whiter than a Jim Ladd playlist, it ill-behooves them to spend a great deal of time speculating on the motives of Senators opposing Miguel Estrada. It's not only unseemly, it looks desperate, and it convinces none of the people they're trying to sway. A much more reasonable defense for their position is that the filibuster is anti-majoritarian; however, because their own hands are bloody in this matter from the practice of "blue-slipping" Clinton's nominees (a practice that only works if the threat of a filibuster is present), it is not totally surprising that they are hesitant to use that argument.

As I noted yesterday, one way to end this predicament is to compromise: renominate (and confirm) a significant number of Clinton nominees to the appeals courts, in exchange for ending the practice of filibustering judicial nominees. In the meantime, this press release, issued by the notorious consigliere for Clarence Thomas, C.Boyden Gray, makes a pathetic effort to argue that the Democrats are motivated by anti-Latino spite, but instead only shows that the President does, on occasion, nominate people with superlative qualifications. In other words, if you have a nominee who has practicing law for six more years, and has a full decade of experience as a law professor, is not being plugged for the Supreme Court by ideologues within the Administration, plus has done everything else the other nominee has done in his professional career, it is not unreasonable to treat that candidate with greater deference.
Now that Elizabeth Smart has been found, do you suppose Samaki Walker might be the next missing person to turn up?

March 13, 2003

Must have been something in the water: Trent Lott apologized for past GOP mischief on judicial nominations, following the second unsuccessful cloture vote on Miguel Estrada. Well, it's a start, but actions would speak louder. How about if Bush were to renominate two of Clinton's picks in each judicial circuit. In exchange, the Democrats would agree not to use the filibuster on Bush's other picks, including any future Supreme Court nominee. Giving up two nominees per circuit would gut any attempts to pack the federal courts with ideologues, while allowing otherwise qualified conservative picks a chance to be approved.

March 12, 2003

Having stalled the momentum of Miguel Estrada's march to the Supreme Court, the Democratic minority now senses blood. Today, filibuster leader Harry Reid of Nevada blocked five more nominees from coming to the floor, pushing aside the view that the Democrats were not going to challenge other ideologues when their time came. Speaking of Estrada, Nat Hentoff has finally found a beneficiary of affirmative action he can support....

March 11, 2003

When Kirby Puckett made the Baseball Hall of Fame a few years ago, one couldn't help but wonder whether his public relations mojo impacted the voting. He had solid but not spectacular numbers, had a couple of big playoff games (incl. a game-winning homer in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series), and was a perennial All-Star, but the same could be said of many other players who are not in the Hall of Fame. We (the fans) were told about the "intangibles" he brought to the game, and off-field "contributions" to the community. He even won a Roberto Clemente Award one year, given to the baseball player who best exemplifies the Pirate great's service to the public, as well as being enshrined in something called the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.

Well, as it turns out, he was an even bigger fraud than Joe DiMaggio; a violent misanthropic abuser who couldn't have been more different than his image. According to Sports Illustrated,
Puckett’s ex-wife, Tonya, divorced him in December, barely a year after she told police that he threatened to kill her during a telephone conversation. Over the years, she told SI, Puckett had also tried to strangle her with an electrical cord, locked her in the basement and used a power saw to cut through a door after she had locked herself in a room. Once, she said, he even put a cocked gun to her head while she was holding their young daughter.
His abuse of his family was matched by the contempt he showed for others. According to one of his mistresses,
they were together when Puckett said he had to leave to visit a sick child who was waiting to meet him.
“That’s great, you get to make that kid’s day,” (she) told him. “That must make you feel good.” But she said Puckett just snapped back at her.
“I don’t give a s---,” he said. “It’s just another kid who’s sick.”
Puckett, who declined to be interviewed for the article, currently faces charges that he assaulted a woman in the men's room of a restaurant last year.

The case of Kirby Puckett is as a clear a case as any of the perils of judging people by how they come across in public, rather than their objective accomplishments. When Puckett was elected to Cooperstown, there was much discussion about how his numbers were inferior to those of Albert Belle, who was on the verge of shutting it down, yet no one conceived that a "bad guy" like "Joey" could make the Hall: too abrasive, too vulgar, too mean. Puckett, on the other hand, was practically viewed as a saint, both on and off the field. Ironically, Belle turned out to be less of a lowlife than the man who made the Hall.
It's nice to know that grown-ups are in charge: the person most likely to be appointed our satrap in Baghdad next month was the same incompetent bureaucrat who bungled the USS Cole investigation. [link via SKimble]
I need a "Freedom Kiss"! Our very special leaders in Congress have just ensured that the whole world won't simply hate us, but laugh at us too. If there actually is a fifth column in the decadent enclaves of the Blue States, where can I enlist?
His guest columnist this week exposes the "real" Neal Pollack. What a bastard !!

March 10, 2003

Sources are now denying that Gwyneth Paltrow will be getting married soon to the poor man's Liam Gallagher, Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin. Damn it; that's a marriage you just know would last forever. I wonder if there's any truth to the rumor that Gwynnie is going to take up acting again.
My long-awaited, oft-delayed article in Off-Wing Opinion is finally up. It's on the St. Bonaventure basketball team, and what I feel has been unfair (and even racist) criticism of the team.
It seems that Senate Democrats were not simply misinformed in their filibuster of Miguel Estrada; according to this commentator, they were positively evil. Oh, well, bring on the next nominee. There's no rest for the wicked.
This weekend I made yet another attempt to include a box for your comments. I really enjoy using the feature on other blogs, and it will be a chance to get your feedback on what I post. Also, the program I'm using, SquawkBox, allows me the option of removing the tag. So, let me have it !!
Cry havoc! and let slip the Dogs of War: Adam Felber takes apart William Safire like a child pulling the wings off a butterfly.