In response to the asinine Supreme Court ruling that greedy developers and their puppets on city councils can take people's houses, there's a movement to take Stephen Breyer's house and turn it into a park. This follows a similar proposal to take David Souter's house. I hope at a minimum this will bring legal headaches and annoying exposure to these judges, and help fuel a movement to pass anti-eminent domain laws locally and in Congress.
The "liberals" on the Court who voted for the interests of the rich and powerful over the little homeowner are Justices Breyer, Stevens, Kennedy, Souter and Ginsburg. I'm pretty sure Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg would have voted the other way, as would current nominee John Roberts. Judges preferred by Democrats are not "liberal" about anything other than abortion. Democrats have put terrible judges on the bench because of their myopic fixation on abortion, which blinds them to the serious consequences that t…
If you’re looking for “root causes” for terrorism, European-sized welfare programmes are a good place to start. Maybe if they had to go out to work, they’d join the Daily Mirror and become the next John Pilger. Or maybe they’d open a drive-thru Halal Burger chain and make a fortune. Instead, Tony Blair pays Islamic fundamentalists in London to stay at home, fester and plot.
Mark Steyn on the multiculturally sensitive response to terrorism:
Bomb us, and we agonise over the "root causes" (that is, what we did wrong). Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that "Islam is a religion of peace". Issue bloodcurdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia*, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush, Blair and Howard. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the "vast majority" of Muslims "jihad" is a harmless concept meaning "decaf latte with skimmed milk and cinnamon sprinkles". Mark Steyn has written some great stuff recently. I linked to his John Bolton piece earlier. I expect more of the same quality in the future.
Things I noticed upon returning to the US from Australia:
1. You can ride a bike without a helmet. 2. You can talk on a cell phone while you drive. 3. You can buy alcohol in a grocery store. 4. Employers will consider hiring you even if "you don't have any Australian experience." 5. You can get breakfast for less than $6. 6. Don't even bother trying to buy rounds in a pub. You'll just confuse people. 7. The bus drivers are not as polite, and won't make change, but the buses are cheaper and they have "transfers," so that you don't have to pay twice if you change buses. 8. Mexican food is a staple, not an exotic night out. 9. American newspapers, while still incredibly shoddy, seem like great reporting compared to the Australian papers which cover nothing well other than fashion, celebrities, and sports. 10. A job as a lifeguard is seen as a good way to make some money and be at the beach all summer, not as entry into a cult of local heroes. 11. Customer ser…
He gives every sign of being a careful constitutionalist--for example, as a believer in federalism and the Lopez line of cases. One signal on this point is his 2003 dissent in Rancho Viejo, in which he questioned a Fish & Wildlife Service order to a developer to move a fence from its own property in order to accommodate an endangered toad.
"The hapless toad," he wrote, "for reasons of its own, lives its entire life in California" and thus could not affect interstate commerce. This implies a less expansive view of the Commerce Clause than the current Supreme Court majority, and suggests he would have joined the four dissenters in Raich, the Supreme Court's recent decision to let the federal government overrule state laws on regulating medical marijuana.
So-called "liberals" should move away from their myopic fixation on abortion, and realize that strict constructionists like Roberts can be great frie…
The city of Boston couldn't accumulate enough land to build the gleaming new $800-million convention center it wanted on the south side of town. So the city government used its powers of eminent domain to snatch about 20 properties from private owners to provide space for the center, justifying the seizure on the grounds that the new center would boost the local economy. Today, the recently opened Boston center sits idle much of the time. First-year bookings and attendance were only one-sixth of what the city projected. Taxpayers now find themselves on the hook not only for the center's construction cost but also for its operating deficit. ...As one after another economic development scheme fails, politicians often wind up throwing good tax money after bad, and eminent domain encourages that bad habit. For instance, governments have rushed to "fix" their convention center mistakes with other nearby development that theoretically …
Odds for the Democtratic Presidential nomination, calculated from the mid-point of the bid/ask spread on Tradesports this morning: ContenderOddsHillary Clinton1.1 : 1Mark Warner8.1 : 1Joe Biden8.2 : 1 John Edwards15.5 : 1Al Gore15.8 : 1Evan Bayh15.9 : 1John Kerry28 : 1Bill Richardson 28.9 : 1 Tom Vilsack33.5 : 1Barack Obama42.5 : 1Jon Corzine43.4 : 1Russ Feingold56.1 : 1Wesley Clark59.6 : 1 Phil Bredesen61.5 : 1Howard Dean89.9 : 1Brian Schweitzer132.3 : 1Ed Rendell180.8 : 1Mike Easley221.2 : 1 Colin Powell665.7 : 1Chris Dodd665.7 : 1Pat Leahy999 : 1Harold Ford999 : 1Joseph Lieberman999 : 1
The Democrats are slight (51/48) favorites to win the election, so odds of winning the presidency would be roughly double the odds listed (without factoring in the issue that some Democrats would be more likely to win the general election than others).
Note for budding arbitrageurs: There is a structural imbalance in the market, with the totals adding up to more than 100%, meaning that buyers are over-ent…
The Coalition of the Chillin', those who maintained composure while others freaked out over the Senate's "Gang of 14" filibuster deal, are already declaring victory. They were right. Without the deal, the Democrats would have filibustered any nominee to the right of David Souter.
With the deal in place, President Bush consulted with Senators from both sides of the aisle, and got advance quasi-approval from moderates like Joe Lieberman (HT: Instapundit):
Lieberman offered reporters Wednesday three names he said could be considered without sparking a talk-athon. He would not say whether he brought them up to Rove.He said federal appellate Judges Michael McConnell and John G. Roberts were "in the ballpark," and that "people tell me" appeals court Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson is "very similar." Filibuster? I don't think so.
Great statistics here on how wasteful and destructive meat production is to the environment.
A typical pig factory farm generates raw waste equal to that of a city of 12,000 people. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, factory farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined....
Raising animals for food is grossly inefficient, because you have to put 20 calories of food into an animal to get just one measly calorie back in the form of flesh. The world's cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people—more than the entire human population on Earth....
Each vegetarian saves one acre of trees every year! More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to grow crops to feed animals raised for meat, and another acre of trees disappears every eight seconds. The tropical rain forests are also being destroyed to create grazing land for cattle. Fifty-five square feet of rain forest may be razed to pr…
I've just moved back to California after a year and a half in Australia. Some good things are afoot here.
Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing to end the gerrymandering system that has resulted in invincible incumbents and a bitterly partisan legislature. This is such an obviously necessary initiative that it should pass by an overwhelming margin -- if the unions don't stop it with a campaign of lies, distortions, and ties to the declining popularity of Schwarzenegger.
Speaking of Great Hispanic Hopes, what ever happened to Miguel Estrada, the filibuster victim? He withdrew his nomination after not getting a vote, but has not been renominated after the Senate deal on filibusters. Does he not have the stomach for the fight? Is there a skeleton in his closet? Is he just happy as a partner in a DC law firm?
I have commented before on the distorted view of Europe's media and public regarding the United States and President Bush.
In this very thoughtful post, an Englishman has changed his world view after spending time in New York:
On September 11, I thought I knew the reasons why the attacks had taken place. And it was not my fault. Moreover, it was somebody else’s fault – the US’s – and they were reaping what they had sown. But in the past 12 months I have slowly come to understand that the wordview I held was tainted by a media that sees the problems in the world (dictatorship in Iraq, authoritarianism/terrorism in the Middle East, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, global warming) as being the fault of the United States. All of this from a country and a continent that seems to have done little itself to try to redress the balance in a world which it has corrupted/manipulated to a gargantuan degree during the past 100 years. Americans are often (somewhat rightly) called insular and igno…
Powerline points to a Sun article about the possibility that the suicide bombers were duped and didn't know they were going to blow themselves up.
Powerline scoffs, but the idea sounds reasonable to me. Based on their early morning demeanor and acquaintances' descriptions of their personalities, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they thought they were just doing a trial run, or carrying explosives for someone else.
UPDATE 2: The Mirror weighs in, with an explanation of exactly how they may have been duped:
Our source disclosed: "The theory that they were not a suicide squad is gathering pace. They were the weakest link.
"We think it's possible they were told that when they pressed buttons to set off timers they'd have a short time to abandon the bombs and get away before the blast. Instead, the bombs exploded immediately."
That makes more sense than my early speculation about a trial run. HT: NY…
The Schwarzenegger story is neither a draft nor a plausible possibility. Schwarzenegger would love to be President, but a Constitutional amendment will not happen.
The Draft Condi movement, though, could work:
U.S. News and World Report’s Washington Whispers recently reported an unnamed associate of Rice’s saying she could be drawn into running under the right conditions. I agree entirely with Crystal Dueker and Richard Mason's characterizations of Dr. Rice's appeal:
Dueker says she was drawn to support Rice because of her experience in foreign affairs along with the lack of a clear GOP frontrunner. “If Dick Cheney were running, I would support him. He has the most qualifications. But since he is not running, that leaves Condi as the most qualified candidate. Diplomacy. Her work in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Kuwait has made dramatic improvements already. Condi’s fingerprints are all over that.”
They're better at surrendering, they're better at ignoring their Islamist problems, they're just generally better at being arrogant and thinking themselves better than others. And if there was a prize for electing pompous, useless politicians, France would claim the gold every time.
What about their leading edge water conservation by infrequent bathing?
But the DNC doesn't seem to get it. This e-mail comes from Executive Director Tom McMahon:
So far, thousands upon thousands of you have told the White House that our national security has no place in partisan politics. Perhaps most impressive, the response has come from all walks of life.
It's not just Democrats who are outraged at Karl Rove revealing classified information as part of a partisan smear campaign -- and President Bush's failure to take action. Independents and Republicans have joined the chorus expressing outrage at this administration.
They join Republicans like former President Bush, who called those who leak classified information the "most insidious of traitors" and former Republican Party chairman Ed Gillespie, who agreed that this leak was "worse than Watergate."
I'd like to share some of the responses we've received from a few of these folks. P…
Paul Begala is nuttier than the love child of Howard Dean and Rick Santorum: "They want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted -- that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit," Begala said. "That is bulls*** national defense, and we should say that." HT: PoliPundit.
Rick Santorum is in trouble for stupid comments again, this time for what he wrote a few years ago in a Catholic publication, where he made offensive comments linking tolerance for homosexuality to the epidemic of child molestation in Massachusetts churches:
It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning "private" moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.
This is, of course, not the first time that Santorum has said offensive and downright nutty things. The problem with Santorum is not that he says wacky things he doesn't really believe. The problem is that he actually b…
The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".
Consequently, "the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding" and its use should be "avoided", the guidelines say.
And just two weeks ago Karl Rove was under attack for observing that "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."
Bases in Europe may be necessary for logistic and medical purposes, but they certainly don't require 70,000 troops. And couldn't they be relocated to a country like Poland that is not openly hostile to U.S. foreign and defense policy?
Sunday I was at a roadhouse 100 kilometers outside of Darwin in Australia's remote Northern Territory. I picked up a local paper, the Sunday Territorian. Once I got past the riveting local news ("Record crowd at Alice's camel capers" and "A 46-year-old woman was taken to the hospital suffering hand injuries after the vehicle she was driving collided with another..."), I was surprised to see that the Condoleezza Rice Presidential juggernaut has arrived even here. Reporter Julie Hinds writes:
"From my perspective, it's just not a woman, it's just not any woman, it's this woman, Condoleeza Rice," says Crystal Dueker of Fargo, North Dakota, national co-chair of Americans for Dr. Rice (Americansforrice.com). "She's got the iron will of Margaret Thatcher."
Dueker, who's been criss-crossing the country in her Mini Cooper, says she's always running into Condistas, a nickname for Rice supporters. The article, which leads w…