Monday, October 31, 2005

I am a happy man

I got what I wanted. A white, male, conservative CATHOLIC!

Sorry for the light blogging today. The new office internet policy kicked in. It filters out objectionable web sites including, I regret to day, my humble little corner of the web. If I am persistant, I can get in...but usually I get timed out.

So, between my internet fearful office, and my demanding (and very wonderful) girlfriend, blogging will be a tremendous challenge.

Set condition 1SQ. The use of the nuclear option has been authorized.

Even before President Bush announced the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States, the Dem leadership stated its intention to fight.

Talking about an Alito nomination, Senate Minority Leader Henry Reid said, "I think it would create a lot of problems." Well, any nomination by Bush was going to create a problem, unless it was a liberal like Lawrence Tribe.

Mr. Reid has already threatened to use a filibuster to block this nomination. "We are going to do everything we can" to see that the president names "somebody that's really good," Mr. Reid said.

Before 2001, there had never been a filibuster of a judicial nominee (and that includes what happened after Lyndon Johnson nominated Associate Justice Abe Fortas…a bipartisan group of senators announced their opposition and a filibuster was threatened, but no debate was ever held and no cloture votes were ever taken). Before 2001, senators never explicitly opposed a judicial nominee because of his or her politics.

The Dems have changed the rules without any votes; without any debate. The time has come to restore the rules to their pre-2001 state. The Republican leadership has warned that they will use parliamentary procedure to undo the damage the Dems have done. The Dems have threatened to retaliate by using senate procedures to block all future business in the chamber. This impasse has been nicknamed “the nuclear option.”

Well, to quote Ellen Ripley from ALIENS; “I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”


There will be much rejoicing at the Federalist Society Lawyer's Convention in Washington, DC. next week!

President Bush is nominating Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court, according to news reports, choosing a long-time federal judge embraced by judicial conservatives to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Bush plans to announce the nomination at 8 a.m. Eastern Time, the Associated Press reported, quoting White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The choice likely will mend a rift in the Republican Party caused by his failed nomination of Harriet Miers.

Miers bowed out last Thursday after three weeks of bruising criticism from members of Bush's own party who argued that the Texas lawyer and loyal Bush confidant had thin credentials on constitutional law and no proven record as a judicial conservative.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to preview Bush's remarks, said Alito was virtually certain to get the nod from the moment Miers backed out. The 55-year-old jurist was Bush's favorite choice of the judges in the last set of deliberations but he settled instead on someone outside what he calls the "judicial monastery," the officials said.

A former prosecutor, Alito has experience off the bench that factored into Bush's thinking, the officials said.

While Alito is expected to win praise from Bush's allies on the right, Democrats have served notice that his nomination would spark a partisan brawl. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Sunday that Alito's nomination would "create a lot of problems."

More analysis on this later.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My two bits worth on the possibility of a Libby indictment

It is likely that some conservative activists/pundits will try to make hay out of the fact that no one was indicted for exposing Valerie (Plame) Wilson as a CIA agent…that the indictment was only for lying to a grand jury.

As a former criminal prosecutor (albeit only for 10 months in 1999-2000) who presented dozens of cases to grand jury, I support the prosecution of individuals who are caught lying under oath to a grand jury. Let’s keep in mind that it is possible that the underlying criminal violation MAY have taken place and that Fitzgerald was unable to indict because of a lack of evidence. You end up in the situation that you know the underlying crime took place, but you just don’t have the evidence to prove it. But you DO have evidence that somebody lied to the grand jury.

I don’t know what evidence was presented to the grand jury. If Libby is indicted, we will eventually see the evidence in the prosecutor’s possession…then we can all judge for ourselves.

Everything I have read indicates to me that Fitzgerald is honest, professional and deserving of the benefit of the doubt. Based on the press reports (always dangerous to rely on), I don’t think that any crimes have been committed. But, it is possible that facts that demonstrate actual innocence may still give the appearance of probable cause that a crime was committed. It will be up to a fact finder in a criminal trial to make the ultimate determination of guilt or innocence.

But I still seethe at the fact that this is a criminal investigation of a political act. Where was the investigation when then-Senator Torricelli (D. NJ) leaked the name of a CIA agent in 1996?

The NY Times applauded that disclosure. I believe that the CIA was acting against the Bush Administration and that most of the lying in this matter was done out of offices in Langley, Virginia.

We will find out at Fitzgerald's 2:00 PM press conference one way or another.

Morning thoughts on the NY Times report that Libby could be indicted >link<

A quick note on the NY Times report that Rove is not likely to be indicted; Libby will be indicted for lying to the grand jury.

An indictment means that the grand jury found that there is probable cause that a crime was committed….this is not a conviction. It will be a major leap to go from a finding of probable cause to a conviction by a petit jury based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Remember, the defendant does not get to present a defense during the grand jury proceedings; the prosecutor is the only side that gets to present evidence. Also, we don’t know whether the indictment (if one is actually issued) was based on a unanimous vote of the grand jury.

Perjury and lying to a grand jury are notoriously difficult to prove because you cannot get inside the mind of the defendant. “I made a mistake,” “I was wrong,” or “I don’t remember” can be compelling defenses, especially in a case like this when the crime involves oral communications. The presence of written notes or emails discussing those communications after the fact can help piece together what happened, but they can also be wrong.

This strikes me as the type of case that a prosecutor would try to plea out rather than take to trial. But the political ramifications of a guilty plea may force this case to trial…and based on the information I have seen in the media (always a dangerous and unreliable source) I would guess that Libby would be acquitted.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Do or do not. There is no try. >link<

What is more important? (A) Improving the world or (B) being seen as one of the people who is improving the world?

The link above is to an excellent column by Thomas Sowell a few days ago...posted at Real Clear Politics...that discusses how many liberals have lost track of the importance of results and are solely focused on the importance of how they feel.

Many crusades of the political left have been misunderstood by people who do not understand that these crusades are about establishing the identity and the superiority of the crusaders.

T.S. Eliot understood this more than half a century ago when he wrote: "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm -- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."

I remember a discussion I had with a very liberal co-worker ten years ago about some social issue. We agreed that there was probably little that government could do to solve this problem, but she felt that "We have to try SOMETHING." Even if her proposed solution would have no effect, my co-worker felt that making an effort, no matter how pointless, was better than doing nothing at all.

My co-worker was wrong, of course. Our society and our government do not have endless resources. If we spend too much time, effort, and money on failed causes, that will leave us with less to spend on causes where we CAN make a difference.

Not every problem has a solution. Not every solution is pretty. Therein lies the danger. The activist who is really just trying to feel better about himself/herself will eagerly waste resources on insolvable problems. That same activist will avoid ugly solutions... what's the point of trying to solve a problem if you can't feel good about the end result?

When economist Roy Harrod asked one of his friends whether she thought that disarming Britain would cause Hitler to disarm, her reply was: "Oh, Roy, have you lost all your idealism?"

In other words, it was not really about which policy would produce what results. It was about personal identification with lofty goals and kindred souls.

The ostensible goal of peace was window-dressing. Ultimately it was not a question whether arming or disarming Britain was more likely to deter Hitler. It was a question of which policy would best establish the moral superiority of the anointed and solidify their identification with one another.

Thus, for too many people on the left, WHAT you accomplish is less important than HOW YOU FEEL about what you are doing. Not a good formula for actually saving the world.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Fitzgerald, the Grand Jury, and the CIA leak scandal

According to the latest news report, the CIA leak grand jury has adjourned for the day after a three hour meeting. No announcements are going to be made today.

Could it be that Special Counsel Fitzgerald is not using this grand jury as a "rubber stamp" but as an investigative tool? Not every prosecutor follows the Ronnie Earle model

We don't know what Fitzgerald and the grand jury were doing today. Was he presenting more evidence? Was Fitzgerald or his staff presenting arguments? Was the grand jury asking questions of the special counsel?

It could be that Fitzgerald wants the grand jury to take a real look at all the evidence, including the evidence showing an absence of probable cause that a crime has been committed. In that case, it is possible that the grand jury could issue a "no-bill" and the matter would be resolved.

After all the work Fitzgerald has done, and all the evidence presented to the grand jury, it would be a good day for our criminal justice system if the grand jury voted against indicting anyone in the White House and this matter were to come to a close. If that happened, then only the most psychotic anti-Bush loonie would be able to complain that this was a white wash. Sadly, there are plenty of them around.

Tax Cheats Convicted! [link]

From a report in the LA Times:

Anti-tax crusader Irwin Schiff and an associate were found guilty Monday of charges including conspiracy, tax evasion and tax fraud that could get each of them decades in federal prison and millions of dollars in fines. Schiff, 77, who argues that paying taxes is voluntary, was handcuffed and led from U.S. District Court after a jury found him guilty of all 13 charges.

I have no sympathy for tax protestors and I feel great animosity towards the fools who create bogus anti-tax arguments and lead gullible people into trouble.

The judge could sentence Schiff to up to 43 years in prison and up to $3.25 million in fines, plus unspecified sanctions for outbursts during the trial. He ordered Schiff jailed without bond until sentencing Jan. 20.

GOOD! Lock this creep away!

I remember once how a friend of mine, an attorney, handed me a book written by one of these anti-tax gurus. My friend thought the book made sense. I took a quick look and saw that it was pure nonsense.

One argument often made by these fools is that the 16th Amendment to the US Constitution, creating the authority for Congress to impose an income tax, was not properly ratified. Well, excuse me for stating the obvious, but there are thousands of decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States interpreting Title 26 of the US Code (better known as the Internal Revenue Code). If the 16th Amendment was not properly ratified, then the High Court would have ruled that Title 26 was invalid and unconstitutional long ago.

Another argument is that the federal income tax is only imposed on “citizens of the United States” and that most individuals living in the US are actually citizens of the state that they reside in.

Ok, let me put this in technical terms: BULL CHIPS!!!!!!

Title 26 Section 1 imposes the tax on the taxable income of every “married individual,” “surviving spouse,” “head of household,” and “individual.” These terms are then specifically defined in other sections of the Code. The “everyday” meaning of these terms are irrelevant; for purposes of interpreting Title 26, we can only use the definitions provided in the Code.

In the US Department of Justice press release announcing the indictment of Mr. Schiff and his partners in crime, Assistant Attorney General Eileen J. O’Connor said,

“There is no magic way out of paying taxes. If you fall for a scheme to cheat the IRS, you may lose your money to a con artist. You may wind up in federal prison. In the end, you will still owe taxes, and you may also owe interest and penalties.”

So say we all!

Morning Update...CIA is a Rogue Agency [link]

Building on my theme from last night, follow the link above to Cliff Kincaid's excellent column at discussing how the "plamegate" scandal is nothing less than a CIA covert op against the Bush Administration.

The MSM usually hates the CIA...but that agency gets love and support when its target is the hated Bush Administration.

I have a good friend who works for an NGO and provides intelligence on militant Islamist terrorists to the Pentagon. I use to scoff when my friend told me how corrupt and incompetent the CIA was. My friend told me that when it came to picking potential leaders to help in the reconstitution of the Iraqi government, the CIA (and the State Department, which followed the CIA's lead on these matters) only wanted to use individuals that they had "dirt" on...people who could be "controlled" (that is, blackmailed into following orders). The CIA actively opposed the individuals suggested by the Pentagon who were genuinely progressive and freedom minded...but also independent.

Of course, who do YOU think is going to help build a better government in Iraq? People who are hiding corrupt details of their life and act as convenient "yes" men for the US State Department and CIA? Yeah...right. It would not take long for the average Iraqis to figure out the story behind these stooges. is better for honest and independent people to take charge. They may not always do what WE want them to do, but they will have the best chance of creating a vibrant representative government in Iraq.

The CIA has played with dirty people for too long. Now it wants to hide all that dirt by emasculating the President. Time to bring in the Lysol and give the Agency a thorough cleaning.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Indictments Pending? [link]

The New York Times and the Washington Post are breathlessly awaiting the issuance of indictments in the CIA Leak/Plame affair. They want Rove's or Libby's head on the chopping block in the worst way.

If this happens, it will be a miscarriage of justice. The Dems feel that this is retribution for what the Reps did to Clinton...bull chips! This matter represents the criminality of the political process in DC. The CIA declared war on the Administration and, if indictments are issued against anyone in the White House, then the CIA wins a major victory.

Well, if the CIA pulls this off, I want the blood of the agency officials responsible for this. The CIA screwed up before 9/11 and was unable to protect us. The CIA screwed up in its efforts to monitor the proliferation of nuclear weapons. And now, during a time of war, the CIA is more concerned about fighting the Administration than it is in defeating terrorists. The CIA seems to owe allegiance only to has become a rogue agency.

The CIA officers behind this disgrace are traitors. The Dems attacking the Administration and aiding our enemies are traitors. Who can forget the spectacle of Chris Dodd hamstringing the Reagan Administration's efforts to fight the Sandinistas during the 80s...and refusing to admit the error of his ways by continuing his fight against the Administration staffers who WERE RIGHT all along!

The CIA is just protecting its turf and its hide. The Dems are maneuvering for political advantage. Neither has the best interests of this country at heart.

Why I Oppose Harriet Miers

One of my liberal co-workers asked me why conservatives are opposing Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court. He felt that she would probably be a reliable "yes" vote for the conservative point of view on the court.

This particular co-worker is one of the top analysts in my agency and is always involved in high level debates regarding agency policy. I asked him how he dealt with reliable "yes" people who took part in policy meetings. "I ignore them," was his answer.

And that is my major problem with Harriet Miers. There are only nine voices on the Supreme Court of the United States. Right now we have two conservatives (Scalia and Thomas), four liberals (Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Souter), a swing conservative (Kennedy) and an unknown (Roberts). Let's assume that Roberts is a conservative...that leaves us with a 3 to 4 split with Kennedy in the middle.

If conservatives have any hope of prevailing, they need to convince Kennedy or one of the liberals to cross over. We need every persuasive vote we can muster to sit at that table and participate in the debate. Putting a reliable "yes" person at the table means we have a 4 to 4 split when it comes time to vote...but one of our voices is going to be ignored during the debate before the vote.

I want as many influential, thoughtful, brilliant conservative voices as possible at that table during those debates. Harriet Miers has had an admirable career...but there does not seem to be anything in her background that gives me comfort that she would be a valuable conservative voice on the High Court.

The Difference is Telling

The MSM and loonie left are waiting with baited breath for Patrick Fitzgerald to issue indictments in the investigation of the "outing" of Valerie Plame. There has not been a lot of attention paid to the fact that no one is making any kind of personal attacks against Mr. Fitzgerald. There are no White House spokesmen talking about Fitzgerald's motives and mistakes. There are no conservative pundits attacking Fitzgerald.

Remember what it was like during the Clinton years? Almost from the get-go, there were White House staffers (Lannie Davis, Paul Begala, and James Carville) railing against Ken Starr and his staff. And the liberal pundits were attacking Starr at every opportunity.

It always amazes me how Democrats, members of the party that supports the use of big government to solve all of society's problems, are so quick to attack the institutions of government. Obviously they don't recognize that they damage the credibility and legitimacy of the government when they do this.

Republicans tend to be much more respectful of government and its institutions. Ok, we froth at the mouth about the usurpation of power by the courts. But we don't do anything like what the Clintonistas did.

Monday, October 24, 2005

John Fund Strikes Again! [link]

Once again John Fund delivers a hard hitting, fact filled column on the disintegrating Harriet Miers nomination.

The president trusts his instincts, and they are usually right. But when they fail him, the result can be calamitous.

That quote made a liberal reader at the Volokh Conspiracy choke, but c'mon's true. This President generally has excellent political instincts. But when he goes wrong, he does it big time. His loyalty to Ms. Miers is laudible, but the time has come when his loyalty is causing more harm to his administration AND TO MS. MIERS' REPUTATION.

"What is clear is that the same White House that says it won't listen to senators who tell them the Miers nomination should be withdrawn was highly solicitous of Senate objections to other qualified nominees. One federal judge was nixed by a powerful senator over a judicial opinion that would have been attacked by feminists. Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown, both of whom won tough confirmation battles for seats on appellate courts only this spring, were nixed by other GOP Senators as too tough a battle for the high court. Alice Batchelder of the Sixth Circuit was deep-sixed by an old Ohio political rival, Republican National Committee co-chairman Jo Ann Davidson. The White House and some senators deemed Edith Jones of the Fifth Circuit too difficult to confirm. Given Mr. Bush's idée fixe that the nominee had to be a woman, it's possible the White House allowed itself to be pushed into a corner in which Ms. Miers was literally the only female left."

The only female left? Oh c'mon! What about Megalon?! She's almost as experienced as Miers, is not a Bush crony, IS a Federalist Society member, and is a lot younger!

And if there are no adequate females left, then the President should just tighten his belt and nominate another white, straight, male, conservative, pro-life, Catholic!

Ohio Senate Race...Dem Civil War

Several months ago, Democrat Paul Hackett lost in a special race to fill a vacant US House seat in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. The MSM used the close outcome in this race as a sign that the Republican control of the House may be in trouble....the House district in question was strongly Republican.

Hackett is an Iraq war veteran (US Marine) who bad mouthed the President during his House race in speeches and online, but who also issued campaign materials to general voters that obscured the fact that he was a liberal Democrat.

The MSM missed a few important factors: First, the Republican candidate in that race had some serious problems. Second, this was a special election and voter turnout was understandibly low. Third, Hackett's supporters were relatively highly motivated and more likely to turn out to vote. A column in the Dayton Daily News written by Martin Gottlieb discussed Hackett's seemingly amazing performance. "Last time around, it seemed like everything went Hackett's way. His story came to people's attention only very shortly before the election, that is, before the Republicans had time to drive home his 'negatives.' There are always negatives, and they almost always get driven home in a long campaign."

What were Hackett's negatives? Well, he tried to have it both ways...appeal to the paranoid left, but present a comfortable face to the mainstream voters. Even if he had won the special race, he would probably been roundly defeated in the next general election.

Hackett's willingness to attack the President (and the superheated rhetoric he used) made him popular with the paranoid left and he was able to raise a handsome amount of money online. He became a darling of the MSM and the liberal left and he threw his hat into the ring to challenge Senator Mike DeWine, who is up for reelection in 2006. But now, an old-time liberal Dem from the Cleveland area, Sherrod Brown (former Ohio Secretary of State) has announced his intention to run for DeWine's seat and the liberals are torn between supporting a new, tech-savvy candidate and an old-school, liberal lion.

According to a report published Friday in the Cincinnati Inquirer, originally, Brown (who is currently a Rep. in Congress) told the press that he was not going to campaign for the US Senate and Hackett had everyone's support. But now a number of influential liberal bloggers, including Daily Kos (Markos Mouiltsas Zuniga) and Swing State Project (Tim Tagaris) are urging Hackett to back out of the race so that Brown can run unopposed. Interesting that the bloggers would abandon someone that they supported so eagerly. Perhaps one reason is because the Brown campaign has hired some of the paranoid leftie bloggers. for your comrades is one thing; but MONEY is something else!

Brown has run and won in state-wide elections in the past. He has much higher state-wide name recognition and an advantage because the name "Brown" has a successful history in Ohio politics. He also has $2.1 in campaign contributions in the bank.

Hackett is not backing down. The Inquirer's report indicates that Hackett intends to run as "the outsider against a career politician and signalled a brutal primary ahead." The Brown campaign claims that Hackett will drop out of the race. Brown has the support of the Democrat party machine in Ohio and is attempting to neutralize Hackett's online advantage. Finally, national Dem figures like Minority Leader Henry Reid and NY Senator Chuck Schumer (Chairman of the Dem Senatorial Campaign Committee) are no longer actively supporting Hackett now that Brown has announced his candidacy.

Running statewide is not easy and there are an unbelievable amount of little details that have to be handled correctly. I remember working on a July 4th parade for Attorney General candidate Betty Montgomery and watching her opponent, Rich Cordray (now the Franklin County Treasurer and currently running statewide to be Ohio Treasurer in 2006) ride in a foreign built convertible...major mistake! The campaign staff went on to talk about other stupid mistakes that the Cordray campaign made. In the end, Cordray was soundly defeated...experience MATTERS!

Challenges in Blogging

Today marks the beginning of a brave new world. My employer is instituting a new internet monitoring program. Oh joy. So I can't surf the web for news and make posts throughout the day.

I am still free to use the web during my break time, so I will do my best to download news stories during my morning breaks, compose blog messages offline, then post the messages quickly during lunch or my afternoon break.

One exception to this is Ohio news. I can access a resource about OHIO political and government news through the office intranet. So I might just focus my comments there.

We shall see what happens.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Alcohol may derail Democrat in Ohio Governor's race [link]

*****NEWS FLASH*****
*****NEWS FLASH*****

Ok, not quite a flash, since this story is over 14 hours old, but this is nearly instantaneous for ME.

The wife of the Democrat Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman (who wants to be Ohio's next governor) was arrested last night for drunk driving. Here is the report (linked to above) from Channel 4 news:

"Frankie Coleman was arrested at about 9 p.m. Thursday in Bexley and was charged with two misdemeanor charges, operating a motor vehicle while impaired and failure to control, police said."

Bexley! Whoa...that is near where I live. Heck, I could have been out for my nightly walk and run down by the lady!

"According to police, Frankie Coleman failed a sobriety test and a blood-alcohol test. Her blood content was more than three times the legal limit, NBC 4's Nancy Burton reported.

A homeowner on Cassingham Road phoned police after a car struck a truck that was parked along the street, Burton reported."

A source informs me that her blood alcohol level was 0.27; the legal limit in Ohio is 0.08 (I think)[update...0.08 is confirmed].

10TV has obtained a copy of the report which confirms that Coleman registered a point .271 with the breathalyzer test, but 10TV also obtained dash camera video from Bexley police that shows why they decided to charge Coleman.

[update...Thank you Channel 10 News for confirming THAT detail!]

"Coleman is facing three misdemeanor charges. She is charged with two counts of OVI, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and she is also charged with failure to control."

What will Coleman do? Will this torpedo his run for governor? The initial reaction from his campaign is not hard to predict...they will say that this is a private, family matter and that Coleman and his wife will need some time to get this sorted out.

"Following an automobile accident this evening, Frankie Coleman is unhurt and safe with family and friends. Mike and Frankie are dealing with the accident as a family and ask that their privacy be respected."

See, that was not hard to predict. I wonder if Frankie is going to claim that she was just "out inspecting the city?"

Sorry...that was a Columbus joke. A long time ago, Columbus Mayor Tom Moody (a Republican) was arrested late one night for drunk driving. He told the arresting officers that he was just "out inspecting the city" and that line has been a local joke ever since.

Decline of Democratic Powers...the blame falls on the pacifist liberal elites [link]

The link above is to a column you, my faithful readers, might find interesting. It discusses how the British liberal elite in the early 20th Century led to the decline of the British Empire. It also discusses the possible lessons for the US.

The liberals in England were burned out after the first world war and wanted peace. They were not smart enough to realize that there was real evil in the world that had to be fought. So, they pushed through unilateral disarmament in the late 20s and early 30s. Afterall, the "war to end all wars" had been fought and won...right?

Wrong. By the mid-30s, you had Hitler rising to power in Germany and a nationalist government rising to power in Japan. England faced the dilemma that she had enemies in two parts of the world...and not enough of a fleet left to face both threats (or even one threat adequately).

Liberals in the US may do the same thing. Force us to disarm and withdraw from the world...then find that the world has become MORE dangerous...and that we lack the military forces to protect our interests and defend ourselves.

Of course, let's not forget this little gem about anti-Americanism and anti-semitism in the UK:

I have posted this column before, but it is so good and it bears repeating. The British foul up their country by listening to the liberals, then blame the Americans and the Jews for all their problems. Lovely!

Smile for the Camera - DeLay booking photo

I have to admit, I have never seen a booking photo where the defendant was smiling like this.

You know that the Dems were planning on using this photo in ad campaigns against Reps next year. Now maybe they will think twice. It just does not make DeLay look like a criminal, even if they put the tablet with the booking number and date on it.

And if the criminal case disintegrates (as it very well may do), this whole story will backfire bigtime!

So, "Book'em Danno!"

It may be too late for damage control for the Miers nomination [link]

I am very proud to be acquainted with John Fund. I met him at Grover's Wednesday morning strategy sessions and he always has time to talk with me when I see him. You will not find a more polite and friendly pundit!

Fund's column today, linked to above, points out that there is more trouble brewing for the Administration with respect to the Harriet Miers nomination. Apparently there were shenanigans at the Texas Lottery Commission when Ms. Miers was its head. This will give the Dems a chance to make mischief and throw mud at the President:

Since President Bush passed over many legal stars to appoint his Texas friend, the battle over the Miers nomination will largely be fought over side issues--among them whether the Judiciary Committee will attempt to resurrect old Bush scandals from Texas by subpoenaing the director of the Texas Lottery Commission whom Ms. Miers fired. A spokesman for Sen. Pat Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, says he plans to explore all aspects of Ms. Miers's career, including her tenure at the Lottery Commission from 1995 to 2000.

The New York Sun has reported that Lawrence Littwin, a former executive director of the Lottery Commission, is eager to testify should the Senate subpoena him. Mr. Littwin claims that in 1997 Ms. Miers fired him after five months on the job because she was protecting GTECH, the controversial Rhode Island firm managing the lottery. GTECH had been mired in controversy for years, and in 1996 David Smith, its national sales director, was convicted in New Jersey in a kickback scheme involving a lobbyist.

Mr. Littwin has alleged that aides to then-Gov. Bush were worried that should GTECH lose its lottery contract, its top lobbyist, Mr. Barnes, would discuss efforts he claimed to have made to push a young George W. Bush to the top of the coveted waiting list for a pilot's slot in the Texas Air National Guard. (Mr. Barnes went public with those claims last year in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes.") Lottery Commission officials, including Ms. Miers, never detailed the reasons for the Littwin firing. Last week, when the Houston Chronicle asked about it, the White House replied, "Harriet Miers has never commented and will not now on what was a personnel matter."

So now the Dems will get to throw mud at Miers AND the President because of alleged misdoings at the Texas Lottery Commission. And the Dems get to re-visit Bush's tenure at the Texas Air National Guard...maybe they think they can even restore Dan Rather's reputation.

Yes, yes, Megalon...I know you read every day. But you are not my ONLY reader any more. We need to give the other readers a chance to see our daily sources of info.

Ok...time for coffee and oatmeal.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

More Agreement With Richard Cohen...what is the world coming to? [link]

Richard Cohen wrote a difficult (for a liberal) column about abortion. Here is the money quote:

Conservatives -- and some liberals -- have long argued that the right to an abortion ought to be regulated by states. They have a point. My guess is that the more populous states would legalize it, the smaller ones would not, and most women would be protected. The prospect of some women traveling long distances to secure an abortion does not cheer me -- I'm pro-choice, I repeat -- but it would relieve us all from having to defend a Supreme Court decision whose reasoning has not held up. It seems more fiat than argument.

For liberals, the trick is to untether abortion rights from Roe . The former can stand even if the latter falls. The difficulty of doing this is obvious. Roe has become so encrusted with precedent that not even the White House will say how Harriet Miers would vote on it, even though she is rigorously antiabortion and politically conservative. Still, a bad decision is a bad decision. If the best we can say for it is that the end justifies the means, then we have not only lost the argument -- but a bit of our soul as well.

I respect Cohen's honesty and courage. I have discussed abortion with many liberal friends and have heard many of them acknowledge the same points that Cohen does...but only because we were in private, no one was "keeping score," and our egos were not engaged. Cohen is making his point in public. People WILL keep score. Egos WILL be engaged. He is going to catch hell! But he is telling the truth; and the truth is not always comfortable.

The abortion issue is controversial because there are two GOOD points of view. On the one hand, you have the reverence for life and the uncertainty about when life begins. On the other, you have the fundamental concern about individual autonomy in a free society. I choose the pro-life position because I don't know when life begins and I prefer to err on the side of caution.

One point that Cohen does not address is that the decision in Roe lead to the creation of the pro-life movement and the melt-down of the judicial selection process. If the Supreme Court had not imposed its will on the entire country, the pro-abortion movement would have built its strength and would have legislatively made abortion legal in almost all of the states. Instead, Roe short circuited this process...and the outrage over the judicial usurpation of power caused a near instantaneous reaction: a powerful, vocal, and growing pro-life constituency. This in turn lead abortion supporters to consolidate their political position. The result? 30 years of ugly political warfare that has corrupted the judicial selection process.

Roe has been a disaster. The case needs to be overturned or revised so that the political process can resume its proper role in handling this crucial moral issue.

Bad Moon on the Rise ...the Miers Nomination Gets Sticky [link]

Robert Novak's column today (linked to above) suggests that Harriet Miers will probably face some very uncomfortable grilling by the Senate Judiciary Committee even IF the Republicans decide to support her.

Will the Judiciary Committee Democrats insist on putting under oath two Texas judges who are alleged to have guaranteed during a conference call of Christian conservatives that Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? Will the Democrats dig into Miers's alleged interference nine years ago as Texas Lottery Commission chairman intended to save then Gov. Bush from political embarrassment?

Will they? We shall see.

Novak them points out something that I commented on earlier this week:

To permit a conference call with scores of participants hearing close associates of the nominee predict her vote on abortion is incompetent.

* * * *

Miers remains so shaky, however, that she may not be able to survive confirmation hearings that go beyond sparring over how much of her judicial philosophy she will reveal. That is why John Fund's column in Monday's Wall Street Journal chilled the president's backers. He reported a conference call with religious conservatives Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, that indicated a lack of White House control over the process.

Fund wrote that Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, on the conference call, flatly predicted that their friend Miers would rule against Roe v. Wade. Although the two jurists deny that, I checked with two sources on the conference call who confirmed Fund's version. That raises the possibility of bringing two judges under oath before the Senate committee to grill them on what they said and what Miers told them.

No shitake mushrooms, Sherlock!

We can only hope that Miers will withdraw her name when the Dems put Hecht, Kinkeade, and some other potentially embarrassing names on the witness list for the confirmation hearings.

Whom the Gods Destroy, They First Make Mad [link]

Now Cindy Sheehan rips into Hillary Clinton. You have to love this. We all assumed that the liberals would mindlessly support Hillary because they knew she was one of "them" and that any centrist positions taken by NY's junior senator were merely postures to make herself more acceptable to Red state voters.

Well, liberals like Sheehan are mindless, but not in anyway that helps their cause. Please, let them continue to emphasize "peace at all costs." Red America will never buy into that. Blue America won't either. I may disagree with Blue America on many issues, but they are still Americans and they still have common sense.

Sheehan says that Hillary sounds like Rush (aaaahhhhh....savior of the universe) Limbaugh. I think she needs to check the ingredients of her granola. Rush's response is delightful:

"There's trouble in paradise out there on the far left extreme which has become the Democrat base."

Doesn't sound like the Dems are in paradise. If they keep this up, they will stay in purgatory for a long time to come.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

SULLA...the low down (a repost for my new readers)

So...why SULLA? My faithful reader (that would be YOU, Megalon) already knows the answer to this. But my newer readers might wonder. So, I will bring back one of my early postings.

"A famous Roman general stood poised to take the unprecedented step of marching on Rome with his legions, to purge the Senate of his political enemies and to ensure the downfall of a rival general, once more famous, now vying for command of the Roman armies. Of an old but decayed patrician family, he was famous for his conquest of foreign kings and his unrivaled luck in battle. He was ruthless, brilliant, alternately merciful and pitiless to his enemies.

The younger general’s actions sent shock-waves to the very foundations of the enfeebled Republic and led to his seizing the dictatorship of Rome; however, he would not step aside from the office in the traditional six months, but proceeded to force through legislation to recreate Rome in his own image. His name would become a byword for those who helped destroy the Roman Republic in its final years.

His name was Lucius Cornelius Sulla “Felix” – the fortunate."

Here is the Wikipedia article on Sulla:

Sulla is my favorite Roman dictator. A man who took absolute power, used it to restore the government and its institutions, then retired to private life.There are many scandalous things written about the man: that he murdered one of his lovers and also his step-mother in order to inherit their fortunes; that he was a homosexual (a dreadful crime in ancient Rome). These stories probably came from the fevered imaginations of his enemies (the few that survived)....sort of like having George Soros write a biography of George W. Bush.

I find it hard to believe that the villain portrayed in those writings would have worked so hard to restore Rome's traditions, then relinquish his power.

If you wish to read entertaining historical fiction involving Sulla and his mentor (and later arch enemy) Gaius Marius, I recommend the first three books in the "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough: THE FIRST MAN OF ROME, THE GRASS CROWN, and FORTUNE'S FAVORITES.

Big, bad, and ugly...hurricanes BLOW! [link]

Hurricane Wilma is now a scary Category 5 storm with winds in excess of 175 mph and the lowest pressure ever recorded for an Atlantic tropical cyclone.

Weather forecasters at NOAA predict that the storm will weaken in the next few days. If it heads towards Florida, as seems likely according to storm track predictions, it will probably drop down to Cat. 1 with winds just over 75 mph. Not fun, but not a killer.

I always get a sentimental feeling during hurricane season. I spent 1995 through 1999 on St. Thomas down in the Virgin Islands. I had my first initiation to a hurricane season in the tropics in 1995 when Luis, a monster of a Category 4-5 storm, churned its way near St. Thomas right after Labor Day weekend. I did not have a real web browser in those days, I listened to the radio and wrote down the latitude-longitude numbers, and plotted the storm center on a map. Luis was making a straight line towards St. Thomas and the outlook was grim. Fortunately, the storm veered north a few hours early and the island was spared the brunt of the storm (though we still had a dozen hours of hurricane force winds).

My stuff was all packed in plastic storage boxes. Since I was scheduled to fly off island for two weeks of litigation training with the IRS two days later, I just left my stuff in the boxes. Good thing! A week after I left, a small Category 1 storm named Marilyn came ashore during the evening of September 15, 1995 and devastated the island!

The ferocity of this storm was a surprise to everyone, including the Coast Guard. That was a major OOPS there!

I got back on island ten days after the storm. My apartment survived ok, but my Suzuki Samurai got a smashed hood, a broken driver's side door, and a tree limb through the windshield.

Here it is with the damage fixed...sorta. I think the dented hood adds character. Don't you just love the new door? I hand carried that door on a Delta Airlines flight back from Columbus. Such fun!

Still, I was luckier than most. We ended up going two MONTHS without electricity (and my apartment was one of the FIRST to get plugged back into the power supply) and three months without phones!

So, my heart goes out to everyone in the path of this storm (as well as to the survivors of all the previous storms that made landfall this season, especially Katrina).

Indictment Idiocy [link]

And you thought the DeLay indictment was ridiculous and full of hot air! Now comes word that a Spanish judge has indicted three US soldiers for their actions during the early days of the Iraq war.

What an outrage! It's a good thing we did not become a member if the International Criminal Court, otherwise these three HEROES would be in serious trouble. As it is, they have to be careful if they ever travel abroad...set foot into the wrong country and they could find themselves seized by the local police and extradicted to Spain to stand trial.

Fraking appeasing Spanish! They show themselves to be yellow livered cowards by responding to a terrorist bombing by surrendering to the terrorists. Now this. I still have not forgiven them for the Spanish Inquisition!

May their sins revisit them, with interest!

By the way, Pamela at Atlas Shrugs was kind enough to link to my humble little blog as a way of saying "thanks" for the heads up on this issue. THANK YOU PAMELA!!!!!!!!! I feel like I have hit the big leagues now!

Gun Control is a Dud [link]

The irreplacable John Stossel has an outstanding column today that skewers gun control. I linked to it above at

Gun control does not work. When I lived in the Virgin Islands, I lived in a territory that had strict gun control. Each and every firearm had to have its own specific permit. Concealed carry permits were almost impossible to acquire unless you were in law enforcement. The law abiding citizens were unarmed...and every crook had a gun. The only thing gun control accomplishes is the creation of a risk free work environment for violent criminals.

But how do you stop someone from smuggling firearms onto an island? You can bring them in shipping containers. Drug sniffing dogs can't find them...a gun will smell just like machine parts. Afterall, a gun is just metal, plastic, maybe some wood, and a little machine grease or oil. Here comes a container ship with 1,000 tons of machine parts...sniff away Lassie!

So, what was the result of all this gun control? Well, law abiding citizens were pretty much defenseless...and the criminals had no trouble what-so-ever getting guns. I remember a time when two young felons escaped from the lock-up on St. Croix. The kids (I think they were both teenagers) were on the lam for about 30 days. When they were finally cornered in a field, they attempted to fight off the police with handguns. Each of the teenagers had a .357 magnum in his possession when the pair was finally bagged. Whoa...that island gun control was really effective.

Stossel interviewed Judge Alex of my favorite people!

Kozinski's comments remind me of a tv news report I saw on Christmas day 1989, when the communist government in Romania collapsed. A newsman interviewed one of the rebels and asked about whether they get freedom. The rebel answered, "Well, we've got guns!"

Well said!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chomsky as the world's top intellectual? Please get me an airsickness bag! [link]

This just makes me nauseous! Chomsky is an obscene, American hating pseudo-intellectual. I don't see how anyone's knowledge about linguistics makes a person an expert on American policy.

Why couldn't he have done something useful with his skills, like J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, and give us inspiring literature that celebrates society and civilization? Instead, he wants to prove how superior he is to the rest of us by tearing down society.

This is just a sign of how the British liberals voting in this poll hate America. They probably hate Jews too.

Let's keep it in mind that it was England and France who carved up the Middle East after the First World War and created the mess that we find there today. So who the hell are they to cast insults or criticisms at us? Or at Israel?

All the news that spits...they print [link]

Obviously, when it comes to cherry picking negative news out of the election triumph in Iraq, the New York Times is not going to let itself be outdone by the Chicago Tribune or the Columbus Dispatch.

So, we are blessed with a report about the fact that it is suspicious that the Shiite Muslims in some areas of Iraq voted in excess of 90% in favor of the new constitution. Well, color me not very suspicious....these people want a functioning, representative government, not chaos and tyranny.

Just imagine how the current editorial staff at the NY Times would have reported D-Day? Or any other difficult military situation that arose during the Second World War? All you have to do is watch the History Channel when they are in their WWII cycle and you will be amazed at all the foul ups and tragic errors made by the Allied Forces during that war. If the NY Times and other papers had reported that war the way they are reporting about the Global War Against Terror, we would probably still have a NAZI regime in Germany.


The American Spectator seems to have noticed a similar trend over at AP:

Thought crime [link]

And you wonder what the educational establishment could possibly do to make teachers even worse? Check out the column by John Leo about the "dispositions theory" established five years ago by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE): Future teachers should be judged by their "knowledge, skills, and dispositions."

The key word is "dispositions." Just as some members of the ABA rated Robert Bork poorly because he lacked a judicial temperament (because ONLY a liberal can have the proper judicial temperament) now the NCATE could make it possible for schools, colleges, and universities to reject teaching candidates because of their political beliefs.

"In 2002, NCATE said that an education school may require a commitment to social justice. William Damon, a professor of education at Stanford, wrote last month that education schools "have been given unbounded power over what candidates may think and do, what they may believe and value."

* * * *

"A few students rebelled when a teacher at Brooklyn College School of Education showed Michael Moore's movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" in class and dismissed "white English" as "the language of oppressors." Five students filed written complaints and received no formal reply from the college. One was told to leave the school and take an equivalent course at a community college. Two of the complaining students were then accused of plagiarism and marked down one letter grade. The two were refused permission to bring a witness, a tape recorder, or a lawyer to meet with a dean to discuss the matter."

Isn't this just lovely?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Obviously a sign of GENIUS

Follow this link to a story about Karl Rove's messy garage. Clearly, being messy is a sign of absolute genius!

He is "the architect" who steered George W. Bush to victory four times, twice as Texas governor and twice as president. But can Karl Rove organize his own garage? Can the master of Bush's political planning figure out where to put the ladders, paint cans and cardboard boxes?

I feel - like - so know?

Dynamic interpretation of statutes....abandon hope all ye who entertain this notion! [link]

The link above leads to a 2004 article in which the writer argues that, at least in areas of the law dealing with science and technology, the federal courts should not wait for Congress to amend statutes, but should interpret statutes "dynamically" in response to changing social contexts.

Oh boy. In plain, non-Vulcan English, this means that the courts should not be bound by the clear language of statutes. I am now hunting the web for other articles on this issue.

"Dynamic statutory interpretation urges courts to abandon their role as "faithful agents" of enacting legislatures, arguing that courts should not merely discern and give effect to the intent of the legislatures, but also interpret statutes in light of changes in societal values that post-date the statute's enactment."

Now that is a truly scary idea. Imagine a dynamically interpreted Internal Revenue Code, or a dynamically interpreted ERISA? Statutory meaning would no longer be fixed. The courts would be the ultimate, indeed the ONLY, entities capable of making law. Legislation would merely be an inconvience to be casually swept aside.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

newspaper - Columbus Disgrace...uh...Dispatch

I go out for my morning walk around the block and I see the local newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch, for sale. The above the fold headline deals with the Iraqi elections. Good wannabe liberal newspaper that it is, the headline does not make reference to the positive aspects of this election: relatively low level of violence; high level of voter turnout; positive ramifications of voter approval of the new constitution.

Instead, the headline blares: "Sunnis fear the fix is in on the vote." The report is written by Liz Sly, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune...but the headline is home grown.

Yes, this is "responsible" journalism. Lets sift through all the positive news and find a negative point to emphasize. The headline might as well say, "Al Qaeda fears the fix is in on vote" since most of the Iraqi Sunni Muslims who oppose the US mission in Iraq are directly or indirectly sympathizing with the militant terrorists.

This gives me incentive to cancel my subscription.

John Fund's contribution [link]

Ok, more from Yes, I know that you, my faithful reader, go there every day anyways...but it is always possible some new person may stumble in here by mistake. So bear with me.

John Fund (close friend to Rush....aaaahhhhhh, savior of the Universe) describes a conference call made to religious conservatives to build support for the Miers nomination on October 3rd. Participating in the call were Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court and Judge Ed Kinkeade (apparently a Federal District Court Judge from Dallas). Apparently, during this conference call, Justice Hecht and Judge Kinkeade stated that they believed that Harriett Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if she was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Oy vey! This is the last thing you want anyone to say about a nominee to the High Court. People will wonder whether Miers ever expressly told anyone that she would overrule Roe v. Wade.

I agree with Fund's belief that the Republicans in the Senate will not vote to end the use of filibusters with respect to judicial nominees if the Dems filibuster Miers. This nomination keeps causing more and more pain and embarrassment to the Administration....the efforts to shore up conservatives are doing more harm than good. The Administration is not giving much comfort to conservatives and is giving plenty of ammunition to the Dems.

This nomination is more pain than it is worth. The President should allow Miers to withdraw her name from consideration and choose another nominee.

Rush on Harriett Miers [link]

Sorry about the late start this morning. I know my one faithful reader will forgive me. My office internet was not up and running until after 9am.

Rush (aaaahhhhhh....Savior of the Universe) Limbaugh has some excellent comments about the conservative debate concerning the Harriett Miers nomination over at The link above (hit the caption) takes you to the column.

I agree with Rush that this debate shows the strength of the conservative movement, not its weakness. We genuinely believe in the importance of having appropriate individuals elevated to the Supreme Court. We need a High Court that believes in the rule of law, not the rule by lawyers.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Tax Reform and Other Tragedies [link]

I went over to the American Spectator website today...lots of good stuff there.

The link above is to a column by Peter Hannaford about the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform and its coming recommendations. The short version: no major changes. Trim away some more middle class deductions; limit the home mortgage deduction; do away with the Alternative Minimum Tax. Small stuff...nothing major. And we NEED something major.

You know what I want to see? A top federal tax rate of no more than 33% and permanent repeal of the Estate and Gift (AKA Death) Tax. When I was doing my graduate law studies, my professors stated a rule of thumb that tax revenues go DOWN if the top rate is above 33%. My profs loved it when the 1986 tax reform act lowered the top rate to 28%. With a 28% fed rate, and if states could limit themselves to 5%, tax rates would be low enough that it would not make sense for the wealthy to engage in aggressive tax avoidance planning.

I had a cousin who was earning 6 figures of income in Atlanta back in 1986 when President Reagan's major tax reform was proposed. My cousin asked me what he should do. I told him to pull all his money out of deferred comp plans (paying the 10% penalty) and take as much income as he could in the years when the rate was 28%. I told him he would never see rates that low again. Better to have the money free and clear of any restrictions than stuck under heavy restrictions imposed by a tax avoidance plan.

The estate and gift tax is a trap for the unwary. The mega wealthy have a variety of ways of avoiding the tax (just look at the Kennedys and Teresa Heinz)(or better yet, DON'T look at them...disgusting creatures). Congress generally designs tax laws so that the tax avoidance techniques currently used by members of congress and their friends continue to be permitted. Did you ever wonder why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation opposes repeal of the Death Tax? Well, it is probably because the Gates have spent a small fortune creating a tax avoidance plan to keep their millions (I think that these Gates are the parents of Microsoft's Bill Gates) from getting hit by that that will have been wasted if the Death Tax is repealed.

The sock-the-rich nonsense espoused by liberals is just that...nonsense. What you really have is a tax system that does its best to keep NEW people from becoming rich...the old money is exempt.

The purpose of the tax code should be to raise revenue. Nothing more; nothing less. Let's drop all the social planning and economic incentive goals. The law of unintended consequences always comes into play and Congress never gets what it wants with these special incentives and programs. So, drop them all.

Let's use our 80+ years' experience with national income taxation to develop a tax system that is streamlined, easy to comply with (which will also make it easy to ENFORCE...what good is a tax system if it is so complex that your revenue agents can't figure out how to collect the tax?), and fair.

Ah shucks...I am a tax lawyer. I guess that means I would have to find another line of work. Well, I am willing to make that sacrifice if it is for the good of the country!

But then, my friends already know that I have a serious martyr complex. Good thing I am a NON-violent martyr!

Going Too Far [link]

Alright now, let's not go OVERBOARD in criticizing the nomination of Harriet Miers. Gerald Baker writes a column with the header: "The President’s ill-conceived Supreme Court appointment has exposed disturbing flaws in his Administration." (link provided...just click on the caption above) Baker is exaggerating the situation.

The lady has some qualifications to serve on the court. I do not believe that she is unqualified; rather, I think that there are a large number of people who are better qualified. There is serious work to be done by the justices on the Supreme Court in the coming years. I want a thoughtful, intellectual CONSERVATIVE on the Court to make certain the work is done properly.

I am not a hypocrite for looking at the politics of the nominee; while condemning politicians like Chuck Schumer who base their opposition solely on politics. Prior to 2001, the minority party in the Senate never directly based its opposition to a judicial nominee on the politics of the individual's politics. They would use procedural blocks; they would point to professional or character traits that are undesirable.

I want a president whom I have supported to nominate candidates that are consistent with the promises he made to us, his loyal supporters. Bill Clinton nominated two liberals...and they sailed through Senate confirmation. No one denied his authority (or right) to nominate Justices that matched his politics and pleased his political supporters. If Bill Clinton had nominated Robert Bork, his supporters would have been justifiably outraged. If Bill Clinton had nominated Lannie Davis (or one of the other highly partisan, attorney supporters from his White House staff) no doubt there would have been anger from his supporters.

UPDATE: David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy makes a similar point:

I am not looking for the BEST nominee...just someone who has a record of being very good. There are plenty of lists of potential nominees that would satisfy red meat eating conservatives like me and my faithful READER (who is a vegetarian...but is even more hard core in opposition to Miers than I am).

Patience Dear READER...

I have a hearing at 10:00 am. I need to make Ohio safe for fast food...or was it "safe FROM fast food?" Oh....silly questions. I will be back after the hearing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Conservative Ice Age? Watch The Video! [link]

I saw this and laughed my self silly.

Time to go to the gym.

Deadly bird flu found in Turkey [link]

And probably in Chicken and in Duck too!

Oh...I made a funny!

Must Be A Centipede Dropping Shoes For Harriett Miers [link]

OUCH! So Harriett Miers thought that the Federalist Society was too "politically charged" but that the ACLU and the NAACP were kosher. And she even belonged to a Dem oriented group, the Democratic Progressive Voters League.

Ok a person can change their allegiance...and she has been a faithful follower to President Bush for the last 15 years or so. But will she REMAIN faithful once she has a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States?

Your guess, dear reader (and it probably STILL is singular....thank you Megalon) is as good as mine.

Surprise surprise surprise! I agree with Richard Cohen! [link]

I rarely stomach the writings of leftie Richard Cohen. But, I always take a glimpse at what he has to say because sometimes there is wisdom in his columns. Today he writes that the alleged scandal over the "outing" of Veronica Plame-Wilson is a non-event, that no real crime was committed, and that Patrick Fitzgerald should wind up his special prosecutor unit and head back to Chicago. Here here! A round of applause, please!

Today's column makes the point that the leaking of hostile information in Washington, DC is not a crime. Cohen speculates that while a crime might technically have been committed, there was no intent on anyone's part for actual physical harm to befall Mrs. Wilson. Actually, a crime probably was not committed because, from the media reports I have read, it appears that the technical requisites for a violation of the relevant criminal statute were not present.

From what this not-so-humble writer has seen, it is highly unlikely that Fitzgerald will be able to prove that the principal targets on the White House staff (Karl Rove and Lewis Libby) were aware that Mrs. Wilson was in a protected category of CIA employees. Indeed, it is possible that at the time that her name was allegedly leaked, Mrs. Wilson may have no longer been in that protected category. The absence of the requisite intent OR lack of protected status for Mrs. Wilson would preclude the possibility of a criminal violation. Period. End of story.

Maybe Mr. Fitzgerald can come up with a creative interpretation of the statute that can be used to convince a grand jury to issue an indictment. But...jurors in criminal trials HATE these kinds of prosecutions. How can you find that a person is guilty of a crime "beyond a reasonable doubt" when the prosecutor needs to play "cute" in order to describe the defendant's behavior as criminal?

Food for thought. And speaking of food, it is time for my morning oatmeal.

Off The Deep End...Yet Again [link]

Just when I was worried there would be nothing to capture my interest for a posting this morning, I see this little gem of a story:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Former Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday he had no intention of ever running for president again, but he said the United States would be "a different country" if he had won the 2000 election, launching into a scathing attack of the Bush administration.

"We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us," he said, referring to Iraq. "We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families."

"We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media. We would not be routinely torturing people," Gore said. "We would be a different country."

How pathetic! Sore Loserman is at it again...badmouthing the US in a foreign country. I guess he is trying to get a Nobel Peace Prize.

Yes, if Al Gore had been president in 2001, we would be a different country and we would be living in a different world. The Taliban would still be ruling Afghanistan and Al Qaeda would be running free. Saddam would still be in control in Iraq. UN sanctions against that country would probably have been lifted by now and Saddam would probably be close to acquiring nukes. We would live in a world with all three members of the "Axis of Evil" in possession of nuclear weapons and eager to use them against a USA that is cowering in a corner behind a UN loving whine-o-crat.

Al Gore is a disgrace. If he had any sense of decency, he would not be off in a foreign country bad mouthing his homeland during a time of war. But Gore never had a sense of decency. Gore never had any sense at all. Fortunately enough voters saw through his sham appearance and voted against him. The Dems may have been able to forge and steal enough votes to make it appear that Gore won the total vote count (an estimated 4 million fraudulent or stolen votes made it seem as if Gore had more votes than Bush in 2000), but they did not do it in enough states to steal an electoral college victory.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chinese Water Torture

Another light day for day job is actually making me work for my pay check for a change. be like Pamela at Atlas Shrugs and be free to blog ALL day (children permitting).

The Harriett Miers story keeps going on. The Investigation of the Leak of Valerie Plame's name keeps going on. The DeLay indictment story keeps going on (but seems to be taking some interesting turns...the prosecutor has been subpoenaed to testify regarding his actions with respect to the various grand juries that heard the case).

Drip...drip...drip...the main stream media keeps hitting the conservatives with negative stories. And the MSM only describes those stories in a way that is hostile to the Right. You could look at the heat over the Miers nomination as a positive the Republicans and Conservatives are not acting like pod-people out of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and blindly following the lead of a higher power (aka George Walker Bush). The MSM completely misses the crazy behavior of Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, and keeps focusing on whether Rove or Libby leaked Plame's name. What WILL the MSM do if Independent Counsel Fitzgerald decides NOT to indict? Probably demand that Ronnie Earle replace him as Independent Counsel since we all know that Earle could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

I am annoyed at the charges that anyone who opposes Miers' nomination is being an elitist. No...we are just concerned about her relative lack of merit. There are many outstanding lawyers in the US who did not graduate from an Ivy League school and yet have established incredible records of success and intellectual achievement.

The Supreme Court of the United States demands intellectual excellence. I am eager to see someone who is not a Harvard, Yale, or Stanford law grad on the Court. I am eager to see someone who is not coming directly from a Court of Appeals make it to the Court. Appellate judges seem to forget that it is not easy to prove facts at trial. They love these complex, multipart tests that leave the rest of the world dazed and confused.

There are outstanding lawyers (trial attorneys, agency counsels, law professors) who have never sat on the bench and yet have impressed their colleagues with the light of their intellects. This brilliance could show through the briefs and memoranda. This brilliance could show through published articles. This brilliance could show through the relative difficulty of the tasks they have completed during their careers.

I can think of one outstanding attorney who has never served on the bench...or even argued a case at trial. Marjorie Rawls Roberts is a brilliant tax attorney who lives on St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. "Jorie" is a Harvard grad who went on to get an LL.B. from Oxford (so she is still in that elite group...but I will forgive her for that). She worked at Treasury as an attorney for several years, then moved to the islands to become Counsel to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue. After many years there, she finally moved into private practice. Jorie is recognized as one of the top tax lawyers in the world. She has published countless articles. She is highly sought after to teach CLE courses all over the world (she typically flies out to some exotic location at least once every month). If she weren't such a freaking Hillary loving liberal, I would say that she is the kind of person we need on the Court.

Time for stimulants and oatmeal!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Ouch!" [link]

Ok, I am being lazy again...but it is only 6:47 am and I have not had any stimulants yet.

I missed the Sunday talk shows. Apparently Harriett Miers did not fare too well. Even her defenders are having a rough time of it. This little blurb from THE BEST OF THE WEB at OPINION JOURNAL ONLINE deserves your attention (even though I know that my loyal reader checks OJO every day):

But one sign the nomination may be in trouble is that its defenders seem to be conceding that Miers is not a brilliant jurist. Saturday's New York Times quotes former senator Dan Coats, "who has been asked by the White House to shepherd Ms. Miers through the Senate confirmation process": "If great intellectual powerhouse is a qualification to be a member of the court and represent the American people and the wishes of the American people and to interpret the Constitution, then I think we have a court so skewed on the intellectual side that we may not be getting representation of America as a whole," Mr. Coats said in a CNN interview. [Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen] Specter, asked about that remark, laughed and wondered if it was "another Hruska quote"--a reference to an oft-quoted comment by the late Roman Hruska, a Republican senator from Nebraska, who defended G. Harrold Carswell, a Supreme Court nominee who was rejected by the Senate. "Even if he is mediocre," Mr. Hruska said, "there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren't they, and a little chance?"

Mediocre people are, of course, entitled to representation. That's what Congress is for. But the federal courts are not a representative institution, and the charge of elitism is a strange one in this context. After all, it's called the Supreme Court, not the Court of Common Place.

OUCH! This nomination is a self inflicted wound. I think that Miers was the President's personal choice. I think that he assumed it would be a safe choice when he was told by Minority Leader Senator Reid that she was someone acceptable to the Dems. The President did not consider the fact that the Republicans are tired of "stealth" nominees.

I am one of many people who believe that putting conservative jurists on the Supreme Court of the United States the most important reason for electing conservative Republican presidents. We need to restore the proper balance of power to all three branches of government and this can't happen when we have a Supreme Court that, at any time, can decide that an issue is a matter of constitutional interpretation and, as such, is to be finally determined by them.

Courts have always had the power to legislate. However, our Constitution mandated that court created laws are inferior to laws promulgated by Congress. In 1803, this structure was modified by the Supreme Court's decision in Marbury v. Madison where the high court reserved to itself the ability to make final determinations regarding how the Constitution itself is to be interpreted. In the 202 years since then, the courts have become increasingly willing to find that an issue is a matter of constitutional interpretation.

Ok, I need to shower and get to the office. I guess I was not being lazy afterall. Let me change out of my pajamas and get to work.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus Day...all HAIL to a COURAGEOUS man!

The lefties are going to have their usual rant today about the "crimes" of Christopher Columbus. Well, I think Columbus was a great hero...and not just because I am sitting here in my bed, blogging in my pajamas (actually, in a t-shirt and gym shorts) rather than sitting at my desk because it is a state holiday here in Ohio! Woo hoo!

Columbus had the courage and initiative to propose and lead an expedition to sail around the world to find a direct route to China. Instead of finding the Far East, he found a whole new world. His discovery lead to the creation of the greatest, most human rights oriented, wealthiest, most charitable, and most militarily powerful nation this planet has ever known. Imagine the HELL this planet would be without the presence of the United States of America.

The lefties HATE Christopher Columbus because they HATE the USA. Well, I HATE them. I HATE their arrogance; I HATE their stupidity; I HATE their hypocrisy; and I HATE their tunnel vision (and their willingness to ignore the horrific crimes committed in the rest of the world so that they can focus their attention on the US and Israel).

Take THAT Howard Dean, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen, Michael Moore, and the rest!

Fly On The Wall Part Duece: Revenge Of The Phantom Fly Strikes Back

There are a lot of stories to cover, but all of them have lowered in intensity to a dull roar (the Harriett Miers nomination, the UN effort to grab control of the internet, the nonsense over Bill Bennett's comments, the DeLay dilemma) so I will use this morning's post to describe the second of the two Wednesday strategy sessions in Washington, DC...the one hosted by Paul Weyrich.

The meeting takes place in a basement conference room in a small office building in northeast DC, not far from the US Capitol and Union Station (well...not far for ME, but then I am use to walking 10 miles every day...that's how I keep my girlish figure). I think the room is a little smaller than the room used for the ATR meeting. There are tables set up in a U shape and chairs all around so everyone has a seat. This is necessary because this is a LUNCH meeting and there is a catered meal set out for us, banquet style.

You walk in the entrance to the building and the first thing you encounter are the tables of food where you get your lunch. The meeting is scheduled to begin at noon and people generally arrive just a few minutes before noon since most of them are racing from the ATR meeting which is a good long distance away. You arrive, you go in and grab a chair, then you come out and pile a plate full of food. This is probably the best free lunch you are ever going to get in DC (unless you are working as a document review attorney for Arnold and Porter...and even then, the quality of food at A&P is not consistently as good).

This meeting is invitation only and Weyrich's group is much stricter about keeping the size of the crowd low. Probably 70 people attend; the seats around the table are always full and there is not much room for people to stand. It is always very crowded in there...if the fire marshal ever saw this meeting he would close it down.

Paul Weyrich (or his designee to host the meeting) sits at the base of the U and calls the meeting to order. There are fewer speakers than at ATR, and they are usually somewhat more prominent. At ATR, you have a staff member from Frist's office; at the Weyrich luncheon you have a Senator. At ATR, you have a staff member from Hastert's or DeLay' office; at the Weyrich luncheon you have a senior member of the House leadership (a person who just last week became very, VERY senior...hint hint hint). The information, however, is the same.

Looking around the room, you see that the attendees are pretty much the same people who attended the ATR meeting.

So, how do I rate the two meetings? Weyrich serves better food and his regular speakers are more prominent. Norquist is a bigger meeting, has more speakers, and always has more information. Plus, since you are not stuck behind a table with your food, you can usually socialize more at the Norquist meeting.

One final note. My invitation to attend the Weyrich luncheon ended once I left my position as General Counsel for the Christian Coalition. Grover Norquist gave me a "lifetime" invitation to attend his meetings. Needless to say, I think the world of Grover and I believe that his regular strategy sessions are a vital factor behind the conservative rise to power in the 1990s.

I generally get back to DC twice every year and I always make a point of getting in by Wednesday morning so I can attend Grover's meeting.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The BAN from UNCLE [link]

Coming soon to an internet near you, lower quality service, higher prices, and highly restricted content.

At least, that is what will happen if the EU has its way and delivers control of internet to a bureaucracy run by the UN.

Forgive me for being lazy, but my near friend Pamela over at ATLAS SHRUGS has done an outstanding job of piecing together a series of comments and commentaries on this issue:

Why is the EU doing this? Probably because the bureaucrats who work there believe that they know better than anyone how everything should be run...either by them or by UN bureaucrats. And what will a UN controlled internet be like?

Well, many of the countries pushing for UN control (such as China and Cuba) would like to stop the spread of free speech on the web. Nothing would make them happier than to see the internet become clogged with regulations and extra fees.

The extra regulations will be intended to make the system more fair and to preent the spread of inappropriate content. But, just who get to decide what content is appropriate?

The extra fees will be imposed so that wealthy users in the US and Europe can be forced to pay to provide affordable internet access in the third world) so that fewer people could afford it and use it. Yes, the UN will force us to pay more for our internet so that the less advantaged people can have web access. But don't count on seeing may free internet cafes in Shanghai or in Nigeria. Instead, much of this money will end up lining the pockets of corrupt UN bureaucrats and operatives in NGOs.

So, use it while you have it.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Set Condition 1SQ; the release of nuc-U-lar weapons against Harriett Miers has been authorized! [link]

Light least for now. I am spending the weekend north of town and going to the symphony tonight.

William Kristol has an interesting column in the Weekly Standard today stating the conclusion that the best way for the Administration to end the embarrassment and pain of the Miers nomination is for her to withdraw her nomination.

"Would a withdrawal be an embarrassment to the president? Sure. But the embarrassment would fade. Linda Chavez at the beginning of the first term, and Bernard Kerik at the beginning of the second, withdrew their nominations for cabinet positions and there was no lasting effect. In this case, Miers could continue to serve the president as White House counsel. The president's aides would explain that he miscalculated out of loyalty and admiration for her personal qualities. And he could quickly nominate a serious, conservative, and well-qualified candidate for the court vacancy."

Miers needs to fall on her sword if she wishes to spare the President additional political pain and suffering. The President can then nominate a more impressive candidate.

This battle is not just about the Supreme Court. The GOP is in a rut and it needs motivation and initiative it is going to start moving forward again. The bogus indictments against Tom DeLay, the spurious ethics charges against Bill Frist, and the fiasco over relief for hurricane Katrina (both the initial mess and the subsequent budget blowout) create a risk that Republicans will appear weak and incompetent to the American public. The White House needs to make a decisive move and the GOP needs to wage a successful effort in some area....let it be the Supreme Court.

The John Roberts nomination showed how well this process can go. It was a success for the administration and for the Republican party. The Democrats looked like partisan hacks by opposing Roberts. The Dems show their worst side when they attack a judicial nominee. The public did not pay attention when nominees to the Circuit Courts were blocked and the Dems have come to believe that this was a winning strategy. Let them try that approach with a Supreme Court nominee. The entire country will be engaged; the entire country will see the moral emptiness of the Dem's position. The entire country will wonder why a hardcore liberal like Ruth Bader-Ginsburg can receive an overwhelming vote in favor of confirmation while a comparable conservative is savaged.

Let it be so.

Friday, October 07, 2005

So...why SULLA?

"A famous Roman general stood poised to take the unprecedented step of marching on Rome with his legions, to purge the Senate of his political enemies and to ensure the downfall of a rival general, once more famous, now vying for command of the Roman armies. Of an old but decayed patrician family, he was famous for his conquest of foreign kings and his unrivaled luck in battle. He was ruthless, brilliant, alternately merciful and pitiless to his enemies. The younger general’s actions sent shock-waves to the very foundations of the enfeebled Republic and led to his seizing the dictatorship of Rome; however, he would not step aside from the office in the traditional six months, but proceeded to force through legislation to recreate Rome in his own image. His name would become a byword for those who helped destroy the Roman Republic in its final years.
His name was Lucius Cornelius Sulla “Felix” – the fortunate."

Here is the Wikipedia article on Sulla:

Sulla is my favorite Roman dictator. A man who took absolute power, used it to restore the government and its institutions, then retired to private life.

There are many scandalous things written about the man: that he murdered one of his lovers and also his step-mother in order to inherit their fortunes; that he was a homosexual (a dreadful crime in ancient Rome). These stories probably came from the fevered imaginations of his enemies (the few that survived)....sort of like having George Soros write a biography of George W. Bush.

I find it hard to believe that the villain portrayed in those writings would have worked so hard to restore Rome's traditions, then relinquish his power.

If you wish to read entertaining historical fiction involving Sulla and his mentor (and later arch enemy) Gaius Marius, I recommend the first three books in the "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough: THE FIRST MAN OF ROME, THE GRASS CROWN, and FORTUNE'S FAVORITES.

Fly On The Wall...

The news from Thursday was about the Conservative reaction to the Harriett Miers nomination that took place at the two Wednesday strategy sessions in Washington, DC. I use to attend these sessions on a regular basis and I thought that my faithful READER (that would be YOU Megalon) would appreciate knowing what these meetings are like.

The first meeting is held a conference room in the building housing the offices for Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). The conference room is about 30 feet wide and about 120 feet long. There is a large conference table in the middle of the room, rows of chairs set up at either end of the table, and chairs along the walls. There are about 15 chairs at the table itself that are grabbed by some of the more prominent attendees (though it seems that anyone who wants can sit at the table, as long as they don't take Grover's seat).

The meeting starts at 10:00 am and is hosted by Grover Norquist, President of ATR. He sits in the middle of the table facing the entrance to the room and with his back to the exterior wall and windows. My preferred seat is along the exterior wall, behind and to the left of Grover.

People start arriving around 9:30 am. There is a large coffee maker and a supply of various bagels and cream cheese set out. Staffers from various groups make their way around the room, dropping off fliers and documents on the chairs ("Kill a tree - go to the ATR meeting"). Various notables are there...I won't name names since the meeting is off the record. There are usually some correspondents from news services, someone from Senator Frist's office, someone from Speaker Hastert's office, and a represenative from the White House. The room usually is standing room only by the time Grover arrives through the side door and takes his place at the table. Then he taps on the microphone, and tells us that he has "another razzle, dazzle, fun filled, star studded, action packed show for you this morning."

Grover always starts the meeting with some opening remarks. Grover's comments are on the record; everything else said at the meeting is not (unless the speaker specifically says that his or her comments are on the record). There are typically 15 to 25 different speakers on the agenda. After the scheduled speakers, Grover opens the meeting up "for the good of the order."

Grover wears a small portable microphone; there are two larger wireless microphones that are held by young ATR staffers and given to the speakers and to members of the audience who ask questions. Every so often, someone stands in front of the closet where the receiver for the wireless system is housed and the mics cut out...then everyone shouts at the errant attendee to move.

Speakers can be individuals announcing that they are running for office, office holders discussing new projects for which they are seeking support, lobbyists looking for help from other groups, job seekers looking for work, organizations looking for employees, and visitors from foreign countries interested in learning about the American political system. The meeting usually runs until noon (though on days when the Weyrich luncheon is scheduled, people start heading out at 11:30 am in order to make that noon meeting).

There is a "no cell phone" policy that everyone ignores. One day, a speaker's cell phone went off. Without missing a beat, the man answered his phone, said, "Brittany Spears? Sorry honey, I can't talk now." And then he went on with his presentation.

Anyone hoping to become a regular attendee of the meeting has to interview with Grover. My interview was on a Wednesday morning in late 2000. I met with Grover in his office just a few minutes before that morning's meeting was scheduled to begin. We talked for a few minutes, then I followed him as we took the back way from his office to the conference room. At one point, Grover said, "Turn left here." One of Grover's colleagues, who was walking with us, joked, "This is the only time Grover ever goes to the left."

Here is a link to a report about Grover and the ATR meeting from Mother Jones magazine (I have not read it closely, but I expect it to be hostile):

Another (probable attack) piece from The Nation:

Here is a report about Norquist and the meeting from USA Today:

Here is the Wikipedia article on Grover:

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Travis County - further discussion of the latest shoe to drop [link]

Ronnie Earle is getting more negative news attention, this time from a report at Yahoo News:

I have some procedural questions. Did the first grand jury (the one that had been convened for many months to consider the charges against DeLay) consider the money laundering charges? Did they vote a "no bill?"

Next, what were the details of the second grand jury. Was this a newly convened grand jury formed just to consider the money laundering charge? Was it a grand jury formed for some other purpose that was at the end of its term (I have read several media reports that ONE of the grand juries that declined to indict was at the end of its term. Was this the first or the second grand jury)?

There are news reports that the foreman of the first grand jury was willing to vote to indict DeLay before he heard any evidence. Seems like a major problem there (though I can't remember the rules dealing with bias and prejudgment by members of a grand jury...I don't know if the rule is the same as for members of a petit jury).

Time will tell.

Smoke on the water

Back when I use to be the Jewish lawyer at the Christian Coalition (don't you love life's little ironies?), Wednesdays were my favorite day of the week. I would start off by going to the 10:00am strategy session held by Grover Norquist at Americans for Tax Reform. Then I would rush over to the strategy luncheon hosted by Paul Weyrich at Free Congress. Norquist had the better meeting; Weyrich had better food.

Anyways, it must have been fun as hell at these meetings yesterday, judging from Ralph Hallow's story in today's Washington Times and Washington Post:

Looks like "the natives" are restless! I guess I am not the only activist who feels let down.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

just me

This is my birthday! But this is not a photo FROM that day. Instead, I posted a photo from July of 2006 but I put it back here so I can use it as my profile photo. Nice and out of the way.

Travis County Follies [link]

Now we learn that Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle got a "no bill" of indictment against Tom DeLay from a second grand jury. So, rather than give up on the case, he enpaneled yet a THIRD grand jury and they issued an indictment.

I worked as an assistant county prosecutor in Delaware County, Ohio for ten months in 1999 and 2000. One of my jobs was to present cases to the grand jury. We used our grand jury as an investigative tool...we had all witnesses, favorable to the prosecution and favorable to the defense, testify. This made it slightly harder to get an indictment, but it was worth the extra effort.

Let's face it, if I could not get a 9 to 0, an 8 to 1, or a 7 to 2 vote in favor of indictment (when there is no one defending the defendant), then the case is never going to win at trial. Indeed, anything less than a unanimous 9 to 0 vote was a sign that the case had serious trouble. We would never take a case to trial if it was anything less than a 9 to 0 vote.

So here we have Ronnie Earle who forms a special grand jury to indict Tom DeLay. I don't know whether he presented witnesses favorable to DeLay or not (but I would guess not) and that grand jury issues a "no bill" of indictment. This is not good enough for Earle who has yet another grand jury formed. Earle says that new evidence cropped up over the weekend. Really? This case has been going on for over two years...what new evidence is going to crop up?

This is looking more and more like a witch hunt. And Earle is becoming an embarrassment. My guess is that he is going to try and stretch this case out so that the public will get use to the idea of DeLay being under indictment. But, if DeLay's attorney's are halfway decent, they will force Earle to go ahead with the prosecution of this case. If it blows up in Earle's face (as I expect it will), DeLay will come out looking like the victim of a massive injustice and will return to power with his reputation restored.