July 29, 2006

After a month of the most oppressive, Global Warming-Affirmation of a heat wave I've ever experienced, comes this blessed day. It's 78 degrees in the Valley this afternoon, with just the right touch of humidity. A humid 78 degrees is the constant temperature in Heaven, I believe....

July 28, 2006

In the area of "better late than never" comes this tidbit, about an attempt to impeach U.S. District Judge Manuel Real. Judge Real consistently appears on the local list of Ten Worst Judges, and almost every attorney who appears in Federal Court on a consistent basis has a horror story about the man. As the Times Op-Ed suggests, this is the sort of thing that would be unnecessary if judges policed themselves, and/or if there was some reasonable limitation on the duration of time they could spend on the court.

July 27, 2006

I'm not saying that this is an open-and-shut case of sockpuppetry, but still, don't commit any prosecutable offenses in the judicial district surrounding LAX if you value your freedom.
As you might have been able to tell, I'm not the biggest fan of the lefty blogosphere's obsession with Joe Lieberman. There are other Democratic Senators whose voting records are clearly worse than Lieberman's, but who manage to receive a free pass from the commentariat, and the attempt to create an anti-abortion record for St. Joseph sometimes borders on the absurd. He may have voted the wrong way on My Big Issue at the beginning of the year (voting to end debate on the Alito Nomination), but then again, so did allmost half the Democratic caucus, including Daniel Akaka, who is embroiled in his own tough primary battle. His opponent, Ned Lamont, has yet to build a case for why anyone should vote for him (as opposed to voting against Lieberman). And the denunciations, eight years after the fact, of his courageous (but hardly lonely, among Senate Democrats) refusal to exonerate President Clinton for his sleazy betrayal of the charge the American People gave him, discredits the bloggers who make the argument.

But this posting by the Bull Moose exemplifies all the reasons why Ned Lamont must win. In denouncing "Joephobia" by a mythical loony left, Mr. Wittman loses all credibility in building a case for the junior Senator from the Nutmeg State. Contrary to his argument, Lieberman is being challenged not because of a "deep and obsessive loathing" of the Senator, but because a significant percentage of rank-and-file Democrats in that state no longer believe that he is representative of their views on the pivotal issue of the day, the ongoing wars in the Middle East. Wittman claims, sans supporting links, that:

The real passion of the left is the loathing of the President of the United States. The left's beef with Joe is that he believes that there should be some limits on political attacks on the Commander-in-Chief during wartime. However, it is an honorable tradition - exemplified by the late Republican Senator Arthur Vandenberg - that politics should stop at the water's edge when the country is confronted with a hostile, aggressive enemy.

The Bush Administration should absolutely be subjected to tough accountability and scrutiny. It has made many grievous errors in this war. The Bushies have too often divided the country. But, should we lose all perspective? Radical Jihadism poses an existential threat to liberal civilization. And there should be some semblance of bi-partisan unity against this clear and present danger.
Contrary to Wittman's brief, there is a nearly universal and multipartisan consensus on dealing with "Radical Jihadism" or "Islamofascism" or "pan-Arabic terrorism", or whatever it is we're calling it this week. Defeating terrorism, preventing a repeat of 9/11, and allowing democratic pluralism to ultimately flourish are goals shared by almost every thinking person in the Republic. The parties may disagree about the means to do so, but not the ends.

It is not that Lieberman believes that "there should be some limits on political attacks on the President during wartime" that has so outraged the Democrats of Connecticut. It is that he has been too often silent when it comes to subjecting the President "...to tough accountability and scrutiny." On almost every aspect of the ongoing debacle in Iraq, Lieberman has been a not-so-silent partner of this Administration, from the decisions and rationale to go to war in the first place to the barbaric treatment of captured prisoners.

During WWII and the early stages of the Cold War, subjecting Democratic Presidents to such scrutiny was certainly not a task shied away from by Wittman's paragon, Senator Arthur Vandenberg. But then again, men like Vandenberg and Robert Taft considered themselves to be part of a Loyal Opposition, members of a coequal branch of government with its own duties and responsibilities. Lieberman, on the other hand, has seemed to be more interested with being every Beltway pundit's favorite "reasonable Democrat," a Cabinet Secretary without portfolio for the Bushies.

Even more offensive, though, is the accusation that the intra-party challenge to Lieberman is based on anti-Semitism:

The degree of left hatred toward Joe sometimes betrays something deeper. One can see it on the threads on left wing web sites where they routinely refer to "Holy Joe" and charge him with dual loyalty to Israel. Anti-Semitism will often not speak its name directly, but there is a distinct undercurrent that may explain some of the irrational venom.

Anti-Semitism is certainly not a primary factor driving the opposition to Joe. But, it is there. If you seek hostility to Jews and Israel, you will find it in the same left wing blogosphere that spreads the vile venom against Lieberman.
And according to Wittman, the Socialism of Fools is apparently not limited to Gentiles:

And it means little that some of Lieberman's critics are themselves Jewish. For over three decades, the Moose has witnessed the phenomena when Jews on the left and decent leftists turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism for the "good of the greater cause." The New Left had in its ranks many Jews who were silent or even abetted this evil.
As support for this malicious accusation, Wittman cites a commenter at HuffPost, and nothing else. The argument, of course, is absurd. It is no more anti-Semitic to oppose Joe Lieberman than it is racist to oppose Al Sharpton. One can only hope that this ludicrous charge will help undermine the argument in other areas; for too long, the frivolous use of the "anti-Semitic" (or "self-hating", depending on the mother of the accused) trope has prevented any sort of rational debate in this country about Middle East policy, in much the same way that the ugly use of the term "racist" mars our ability to debate issues like welfare reform and immigration.

To put it another way, is it anti-Native Hawaiian for Ed Case to be challenging Senator Akaka? Was it wrong for Dale Bumpers to challenge William Fulbright in the Democratic Senate primary in Arkansas back in 1974? Or for Lloyd Bentsen to throw his hat in the ring in Texas against Ralph Yarborough in 1970? Of course not. If a Senator loses touch with his constituents, he will eventually have to pay the price, and the same thing is true when he consistently battles the mainstream of his own party's rank-and-file. No one has a God-given right to hold the exalted position of U.S. Senator, not even when you're the punditocracy's Favorite Democrat.
YBK, THE SEQUEL: Foreclosure activity (ie., foreclosures and notice of default) in California has more than doubled in the second quarter of this year. Although that is a slight decline from the first quarter, and California remains below the national norm in terms of foreclosures, these are frightening numbers, particularly when you combine this with skyrocketing energy costs and the percentage of adjustable-rate mortgages homeowners have in this state. More foreclosures will lead to declining home values, which will diminish the net worth of property owners, making it harder to borrow and invest, leading to more defaults and bankruptcies, as people desperately try to use the last remaining resort to keeping their homes.

Oh, and have I mentioned they changed the bankruptcy laws last year....

July 26, 2006

Hope everyone had a Happy 25th of July yesterday !!
Kos, on Ohio '04:
In 2004, there was — there were a lot of claims that there was fraud in Ohio. And for several months, people, you know, kept talking about how George Bush stole the election in Ohio. And after enough of that, I thought, 'OK, the evidence isn't there. This is being counterproductive at this point. If you have new evidence that would indicate that, then by all means, you know, share.' But the same discredited, so-called facts were regurgitated over and over again, and finally I got tired of that. I thought it was destructive. I also banned that type of diary.

And I think, in a case like that, what the problem wasn't necessarily people saying that the election was stolen. It's they were making claims that it was voter-box stealing, when in fact, I think a really strong case can be made that enough people were disenfranchised in Ohio that perhaps that was the margin of victory for George Bush. And instead of focusing on the, on the real problems in the electoral system, such as ballot-box access, having people put in felon voter rolls when they were not felons, not enough boxes in poor neighborhoods, in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods while out in the suburbs, there can be an in-and-out voting in 15 minutes.

Those are real problems. And people are still fixated on, you know, the boxes — the black boxes were stolen. That, I thought, took the focus away. And then actually de-legitimize actual conversations on voter rights issues that actually, you know, voter right violations that happened in Ohio.
Read the whole interview, from "Nightline".
Blame It On Beckham? [link via Ezra Klein]
FYI: Democratic Senators who voted in favor of criminalizing assistance to minors who cross state lines to obtain a legal abortion without parental consent: Bayh (IN), Byrd (WV), Carper (DE), Conrad (ND), Dorgan (ND), Inouye (HI), Johnson (SD), Kohl (WI), Landrieu (LA), Nelson (NE), Nelson (FL), Pryor (AR), Reid (NV), and Salazar (CO).

Bold means they are up for reelection in November, blue means they represent a state carried by Democrats in the past two Presidential elections.

Incidentally, Lieberman voted against the measure.
Pizzagasm: Why eating 'za is like casual sex....

July 25, 2006

The Samgrass Chronicles: Last month, I attended a local media function and met an English writer who was acquainted with Christopher Hitchens. He told me that Hitchens would bring a bottle of "Evian water" to his public speaking engagements, the "water" actually being an Evian bottle filled with straight vodka, and that as the debate would progress, it would be easy to spot him becoming more and more intoxicated. Here, Hitchens' "fake but accurate" defense of the Niger Forgeries this morning seems to be influenced by a generous helping of Smirnoff, washed down with a couple o' shots of Jagermeister.

July 24, 2006

Summer in L.A.: Hell is...a humid 118 degrees...with the air conditioning on the fritz.
Odds & Ends: Charles Pierce reminds us of a Senate primary where an incumbent critical of his own party was sacked by the voters...and the Media cheered from the sidelines. And has a prominent liberal blogger/author been caught sockpuppetting? Patterico builds a circumstantial case, here and here, while the blogger in question denies the charge, here.

July 23, 2006

Another reason to like Tour de France champion Floyd Landis...

[UPDATE (8/6/06)]: Retracted. Please disregard.
Sticking it to The Man: Did you know David Sirota has a book out? It's not like he ever mentions it on his website...or at HuffPost, where he puts up the same posts for people too lazy to visit his blog. Or that he uses the term "The Establishment" fourteen times in this post?