December 08, 2007

In honor of his final week in LA, here's a rare clip of a very young Matt Welch.

December 07, 2007

Our Tax Dollars at Work: While the 9/11 planners were able to travel under the FBI's radar, it's good to know where Hoover's Boys were really concerned--that international terrorist, Barry Bonds:
The government's priorities were on stark display in October when lead Internal Revenue Service BALCO investigator Jeff Novitzky—a man who, according to a damning May 2004 Playboy magazine profile, had lobbied various federal agencies for years to launch a steroids sting, "always with Bonds as the lure"—squeezed a plea deal out of track and field superstar Marion Jones. "To extract her confession," the New York Times wrote in a mostly flattering profile of Novitzky last month, "he used the leverage of a more serious charge from an unrelated check-fraud scheme." Getting Jones to weepily admit in public that she'd been lying all along about steroids, it seems, was more important than ferreting out her role in "a scheme to defraud numerous banks out of millions of dollars by laundering stolen, altered and counterfeit checks."
--Matt Welch, Reason.

The use of a felony check-kiting charge to induce a confession out of Marion Jones, who it should be remembered, had never failed a drug test, will always taint the veracity of her mea culpa and surrender of her Olympic records. Since her "confession" is the only supporting evidence against her, there is nothing that will prevent her from retracting it a few years down the line

There has always been more than a hint of racism in the investigation surrounding Bonds, and the rather trivial nature of the convictions so far secured in the BALCO trials indicates indicates that Welch's basic charge, that the government has been more focused on the "public shaming of athletes" than the prosecution of actual crimes, is true. And as we saw during the interminable investigation of President Clinton's relationship with an intern, that really isn't a proper purpose for government.
Mitt Romney, on people of faith, this week:
"I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims."
Pro football Hall-of-Famer Reggie White, before the Wisconsin State Legislature, in 1998:
"Homosexuality is a decision, it's not a race," White said. "People from all different ethnic backgrounds live in this lifestyle. But people from all different ethnic backgrounds also are liars and cheaters and malicious and back-stabbing." White said he has thought about why God created different races. Each race has certain gifts, he said.

Blacks are gifted at worship and celebration, White said. "If you go to a black church, you see people jumping up and down because they really get into it," he said.

Whites are good at organization, White said. "You guys do a good job of building businesses and things of that nature, and you know how to tap into money," he said.

"Hispanics were gifted in family structure, and you can see a Hispanic person, and they can put 20, 30 people in one home."

The Japanese and other Asians are inventive, and "can turn a television into a watch," White said. Indians are gifted in spirituality, he said.

"When you put all of that together, guess what it makes: It forms a complete image of God," White said.

December 04, 2007

Damn those sock puppets !!!

And with no obvious props, either....
I'm usually a big fan of Senator Boxer, at least when she's voting the progressive line and not bloviating before whatever committee she's sitting on, but this is pretty weak. Putting the ideology of an appellate nominee under close scrutiny is appropriate, since the nature of the caseload before those courts entails understanding that there is almost always more than one "right answer" to the matter before the court. It's a lesson every lawyer learns in law school, then must perfect on the second day of the bar exam when attempting to puzzle out the day-long section of the test known as the Multistate; the interpretation of the law does not typically lend itself to "yes or no" answers. Contrary to what the current Chief Justice said at his confirmation hearings, deciding what the Constitution means is not the same thing as determining whether a pitch hits the outside corner of the plate.

But James Rogan is not being nominated for the 9th Circuit or the Supreme Court. He's being nominated for a spot on the District Court. In other words, he's been pegged to sit as a trial judge on the federal court, just as he has spent the last couple years as a trial judge in the state court. Whether someone is a good or bad trial judge has almost nothing to do with what his opinions are on, say, abortion or affirmative action, since those issues almost never come up in the lawsuits that are before the court. His ability to maintain an efficient calendar, to show the proper respect to the attorneys who regularly appear before him, to assist the parties in resolving their matters without the expense and hassle of a trial, to guide the jury panel in correctly interpreting the law, and, of course, to apply the facts before the court correctly to the law: that is what trial judges do.

Whether Rogan feels Roe v. Wade was correctly decided is utterly worthless in determining if he should sit on the U.S. District Court. Even if Rogan thought that decision was the most wrongheaded court ruling since Bush v. Gore or Plessy v. Ferguson, he couldn't do a freakin' thing about it. Unlike an appellate judge, who all too often finds the answer he wants first, then looks to the law to provide him his justification, a trial judge is limited to what the facts of the case are, to the remedies the parties are actually seeking, and often enough, the ruling of the jury.

And as it turns out, Rogan's abortion and environmental positions were just a pretext all along; today's Washington Post notes that Senator Boxer still carries a grudge against the former Congressman for his role as a prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, even though Rogan has since become BFF's with the former President and future President. Which, of course, means that the impeachment is probably itself a pretext, with her opposition being more geared to thwarting the career of a potential rival in 2010.
What exactly is a member of the Christian Right doing working for a Democratic Senator in the first place?

December 03, 2007

Pete Rose and Mark McGwire are apparently too disreputable to earn election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the Veterans Committee today opened the doors to this guy. From 1990:

Bowie K. Kuhn, the former Commissioner of Baseball, is said to be somewhere in Florida, but not for spring training. In fact, a New York bank and several of his former law partners charged that he was hiding from the bankruptcy of the defunct law firm that bore his name.

Mr. Kuhn was a partner in the firm Myerson & Kuhn, which filed for bankruptcy in late December. As such, he is liable for $3.1 million in loans that Marine Midland Bank made to the firm in 1988 and 1989, along with other firm debts.

In court papers filed Tuesday, Marine Midland charged that in the last two weeks Mr. Kuhn, seeking to place his property out of the bank's reach, sold his home in Ridgewood, N.J., and bought another one in Marsh Landing, Fla. Florida law does not allow residences there to be seized in bankruptcy proceedings.

The former Commissioner and Harvey D. Myerson, a New York corporate lawyer, formed Myerson & Kuhn to great fanfare in 1988. But after a dispute with Shearson Lehman Hutton and internal disagreements among the partners, the firm collapsed late last year, and Mr. Kuhn hastily headed South.

He has remained unreachable ever since. At various times, he was said to have been in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and, most recently, Sanibel Island. ''I've been unable to get in touch with him since December,'' Mr. Myerson said yesterday. ''I can't get a telephone number for him, or address, or anything.''

Since then, "pulling a Kuhn" (ie., putting your assets into the purchase of a home in a state with an unlimited homestead exemption) has become a nifty way for the super-rich to avoid their judgment creditors; OJ and Kenneth Lay, among others, also took advantage of the loophole. Marvin Miller, who actually changed not only baseball, but sports in every country on the planet for the better by his aggressive advocacy on behalf of the Players Association, was once again shut out.

December 02, 2007

Correct me if I'm wrong, but can a real-life dictator actually "lose" an election? That seems to be a contradiction in terms....
TNR Retracts Beauchamp Story ? Not exactly, although they do say they can no longer attest to the veracity of the stories, largely because the Army has tightened the screws on their writer and he's no longer cooperating. The whole tawdry story, with gay porn actors and Yellow Elephants moonlighting as "milbloggers" and neocon magazines allowing the wife of the subject to participate in the factchecking of her husband's stories, is depressing enough, since there doesn't seem to be any dispute (even with the Army officer who investigated the matter) that the events in question happened. But the New Republic does deserve some credit for not standing by a story that they could no longer back up with 100% certainty, a big difference between the standards of the traditional media and the blogosphere.
Sex on the City: Doesn't it feel good to come up with a name for a scandal without using the "-gate" suffix?
The Brett Favre of the Blogosphere scores another T.D.: The LA Times will never be the same. Congrats, Tony.