WC Varones

Don't lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools

Leadership and compassion

Reuters: "President George W. Bush's plane swooped low over three states on Wednesday, giving him a somber view of the destruction left by Hurricane Katrina as he returned to Washington to oversee the U.S. government's response."

Overheard on the plane:

"Well, I've been on this job 4 1/2 years; I think it's time I oversee something."

"Somebody make a banner for when I land."

(giggle) "How's my somber face look?"

"The water cain't git us up here, right?"

Gimme Three Hurricanes, Hold the Cheese

-Damage estimates in the wake of Katrina now stand at $25 billion. Viewing the devastation from above, President Bush was heard mumbling, "Man, at that price I shoulda sent a few to Iraq."

-Something tells me the Hurricane will lose its luster as Bourbon Street's signature drink.

-You gotta love this: a picture of a young black man carrying bread and a case of soda gets the caption, "A looter wades through flood waters in eastern New Orleans"; meanwhile a collection of various folks rummaging through a roofless store get this: "Local residents help clean up a convenience store."

A message from Howard Dean

I got an e-mail today from Howard Dean titled "Hurricane Katrina: How You can Help"

How could I help? By supporting a $2/gallon gasoline tax to stop global warming? By writing my congressman to request a Bush impeachment? By sending a check to fund ads calling Bush a baby killer? No, it turns out an old dog can learn new tricks. Eight paragraphs from Howard Dean and not a drop of vitriol. Just a request to donate to the Red Cross.

I must be getting cynical in my old age.

This breaking news

More interesting developments in the subway wanker story below.

French protectionism

The French want to protect just a few crucial industries from foreign takeover:
The new list of sectors that the government wants to keep in French hands might include transport, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics and defense industries, the food industry and the energy sectors.

- From a WSJ article sent to me by IPFreely.

That's just about everything except personal hygiene products. Wonder why they don't want to protect that industry.

Gun control

... is a steady aim. And this guy had it.

From Ace.

Drive a Hummer, but don't eat meat.

As I've said before, you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist. Here's a new group dedicated to that proposition:

Global warming poses one of the most serious threats to the global environment ever faced in human history. Yet by focusing entirely on carbon dioxide emissions, major environmental organizations have failed to account for published data showing that other gases are the main culprits behind the global warming we see today. As a result, they are neglecting what might be the most effective strategy for reducing global warming in our lifetimes: advocating a vegetarian diet.


From Huffington Post.

2 out of 3 French people agree: France sucks!

You have to give them high marks for self-awareness:


French morale was at a record low less than two weeks ahead of the French prime minister's deadline to restore confidence in the population in his first 100 days in office, according to a survey on Saturday.

Less than a third of French people polled were optimistic about their and their children's future, a drop of 28 percentage points since the last poll in December 2004 and the lowest since the first Ifop survey for newspaper Dimanche Ouest-France in February 1995.

...the poll showed that only 25 percent surveyed had confidence in the government's battle to lower unemployment, which has stayed at over 10 percent.

From Anklebitingpundits:
In other findings, 81% reported showering less than once a week. 76% reported leaving elderly relatives to die in non-air conditioned apartments while they vacationed during the month of August. 84% thought it was acceptable to accept generous welfare benefits they didn't earn.Perhaps the least shocking result was that 98% of the respondents attempted to surrender to the pollster before questioning began and volunteered to work in armament factories for their new masters.

Subway perv identified?

The cops have received numerous tips identifying a New York restaurant owner as the subway flasher caught on camera that I mentioned yesterday.

The restaurant, called Quintessence, has the owner's picture on its web site.

At this point, it's not certain that this is the guy. But based on the comments from his partner /ex-wife ("It's not proven yet," not "This must be a mistake; he could never do this"), his failure to respond to inquiries, and the fact that the Daily News' lawyers are comfortable with publicly identifying him, it doesn't look good for him.

If you go to Quintessence, avoid the tapioca.


UPDATE: Hoyt's been in similar trouble before. From the NY Daily News:

Hoyt, 43, was arrested in 1994 and charged with public lewdness after he unzipped and flashed a victim at what was then the N platform at Manhattan's Eighth St. subway station, sources said.

He eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to two days of community service.


Several other more recent victims have come forward as well. Still want to support his restaurant, Tim?

And many European commenters seem to think that public masturbation isn't the real crime here; the real crime is prudish Americans hassling the guy. My favorite response is from Jay:

Wait, wait, I could live in a welfare state AND masturbate on the subway? What the hell am I still doing here?

I've been going around calling myself a "radical libertarian," and now I'm opposed to public masturbation??? I hope that doesn't make me part of the religious right or something!

A magic ATM

Your house, that is.

Regrets, this guy has a few...

This guy is sitting across from a woman on an otherwise mostly empty subway car. He unzips his pants and exposes himself.

Too bad for him the woman, Thao Nguyen, had a camera phone and posted the picture to the Internet. If he doesn't get recognized there by anyone, maybe one of the 700,000 readers of the New York Daily News will recognize him.

You're never too old to go straight

Moving away from his characteristic ambiguity on the housing bubble, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is making himself clear:

WALL STREET shuddered yesterday after Alan Greenspan, the United States’ central banker, warned American homebuyers that they risk a crash if they continue to drive property prices higher.

He said that the US house-price spiral had become an economic imbalance, threatening stability like the country’s trade gap or its budget deficit.

In a pre-retirement speech to fellow central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Mr Greenspan said that people were investing in houses as if they were a one-way bet, not allowing for the risk of price falls. He said “history had not dealt kindly” with investors who kept ignoring risks.


I think Greenspan has been negligent in allowing the bubble to develop, but it's nice to see that he's finally coming around. If the bubble pops after he retires next year, he'll be able to say "See, I told you so!"

More fun at John Kerry's expense

The gift that keeps on giving.

Isn't this what the UN is for?

Uzbekistan dictator gets away with mass murder.

It's probably just as well that the UN doesn't try to do anything about it. If they passed sanctions, France would probably veto any enforcement action after taking bribes from Uzbekistan.

What's the big deal?

Who cares if Iraq breaks into three autonomous regions for Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites? What's the problem with a little self-determination and local, responsive government?

Congressman charged in bribery scandal

I used to live in Randy Cunningham's district. It looks like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

He is a solid conservative in a solid conservative district. If he steps down before the primary, he'll be replaced with a solid conservative.

San Diego's a mess. My old city councilman was convicted of taking bribes from a strip club owner, and the mayor resigned over the insolvent city pension fund.

The Untouchables

That's the analogy I was looking for, but couldn't articulate:

John Bolton = Eliot Ness.

Republican straw poll

Patrick Ruffini is running a straw poll on Republican presidential candidates. Giuliani is currently the favorite declared candidate, but Condi surpasses him as a not-yet-declared candidate.

Asset forfeiture sucks

This would be the next eminent domain, except the public isn't as sympathetic to drug dealers as it is to homeowners.

Lottery winner must forfeit cash, serve 24 years in Texas.

Via Liberteaser and AlarmingNews.

George W. Bush, deficit hawk

The joy of tax cuts:

[T]ax revenues are set to grow by $262 billion, or 14% this year. They will increase as a share of GDP for the first time under this tax-cutting president.

Income taxes withheld from pay cheques account for some of the new revenues, but many of the gains are in more exotic areas. The government's take from such things as capital gains, payouts from pension funds, and “sole proprietorships” (one-man companies) should increase by 28% this year, the CBO reckons. Corporations are also making a strikingly handsome contribution to the state's coffers, paying $80 billion (or fully 42%) more than the year before. A third of this bounty seems to be due to the demise of a corporate tax break, which allowed firms to deduct up to half their investment costs from their taxable profits last year. But some $53 billion of it caught the CBO unawares, and remains unexplained.

The Economist on eminent domain

The Economist is the finest weekly news magazine in the world by far. Time and Newsweek are celebrity gossip magazines by comparison. Much of the Economist's content is available to subscribers only, but this week they round-up the eminent domain backlash story for free.

... and here's an eminent domain story that developers won't like (via the Jays).

The Bush mindset, with a wicked curve to boot

The Hon. Rev. Varones would like to see Condi take the presidency in 2008, but how about Mets ace Pedro Martinez for the new SecState or V.P.?

After being pulled by manager Willie Randolph with an 8-run lead after the sixth inning of Saturday's game, only to watch the bullpen blow that lead, Martinez told reporters, "Willie's decision was correct. It will always be the correct decision. He who has the power will always be correct. Don't ever forget that.''

I'm surprised Bush doesn't have this guy in the administration already. Sure would be easier than having all those O'Neill/Whitman/Clark/Powell conscience-bound types...

The Oddities of Racial Marketing

After AP reported that the New York Mets had hosted a sellout crowd of 51,785 at "Hispanic Night" on Saturday, I had to wonder what else was on the calendar. Is it just me, or is it hard to imagine another, similar event for a different ethnic group?

I guess the Hispanic promotion makes sense given the demographics of the game, but why should it be so difficult to pull off a special night for the other varietals? It may be difficult to market something called "Black Night" or "African-American Night"; one captures white bishops and the other has a pandering tone to it. The alternative is to try it during a day game, but "Black Day" sounds like impending disaster.

Whites are obviously out, and Asians (I'm guessing) would be difficult to bring in large numbers to the ballpark, except insofar as they enjoy the novelty of the smattering of Asian players in the majors. To ballclubs, the best Asian promotion available is simply to schedule a game against (or sign) Ichiro.

When it comes down to it, "Hispanic" seems to be a rare case of a relatively non-politicized, broad ethnic grouping, exclusive without being offputting. Find another name that you can stick in there (that is, the "___ Night" promotion) that doesn't seem patronizing, outmoded, or just plain silly, and you win a free bobblehead doll.

A final note: the Mets' own website fails to mention the ethnic event on its calendar of promotions. The official promotion of the night? "Snausages Dog Day at the Park."

The wonders of Communist healthcare

From the sports section of New York Newsday, via Ace:

Linda has been suffering for four years. But doctors in her native Quebec were telling her that they didn't know what was wrong or said they couldn't help her.

Jonathan wouldn't accept that non-news. He and other supporters arranged to mail her files, scans and X-rays to doctors in the United States.

Finally, they received a diagnosis in March. Linda had colorectal cancer and other complications, including Crohn's disease and fistula. Her diagnosis sounded ominous, but doctors offered hope. They said an operation could save her.

Then came perhaps the most daunting news of all. With surgery in Canada not an option, she needed $250,000 for an operation in the United States, an amount that may as well be millions when you haven't worked for a few years because of deteriorating health.

With surgery in Canada not an option? That line begs at least a little explanation. It's the ultimate cost control: "No treatment for you!"

Health care coverage and costs are a huge and growing problem. But anyone advocating single-payer or other hard-left solutions should look at existing socialist systems to see that there's no such thing as good free health care.

Many social democratic countries, such as the UK and Australia, have a two-tier system, where bad healthcare is guaranteed to everyone, and private insurance can be purchased for good healthcare. Canada seems to be developing a de facto two-tier system, where bad healthcare can be obtained from the government, and good healthcare can be purchased by going to the US.

Would that a President Suffer an Anchorman's Fate!

In a recent post, the honorable Mr. Varones described his joy at watching CBS' ratings go in the tank after Dan Rather botched the Bush/National Guard piece. Imagine if the public (and Mr. Varones') were to hold the same critical candle to Mr. Bush...

What did it take to destroy Mr. Rather's--and his network's--credibility? The anchor was tricked into using a false source in reporting a story whose essential truth was never called into question. It amounted to a fairly serious journalistic error, made by a man no doubt blinkered by his own political leanings. Nonetheless, it's safe to say nobody died because of it.

Compare this to Mr. Bush's deceptions, triangulations, and backtracking on Nigerian uranium, Plame-gate, free trade, etc., and one might fairly wonder why he still acts as torchbearer for the Fair-and-Balanced crowd. After all, American lives and livelihoods actually depend on this man's statements and actions.

If we raise a furious chorus against the victim of a small fraud, perhaps we can muster the integrity to also call to account the perpetrator of a much larger one.

Rubbing salt into their wounds

First the city of New London took their houses. Now it is charging them back rent for their own property... and compensating them for their property based on real estate values from the year 2000.
and compensating them for their property based on real estate values from the year 2000.

Thank you, "liberals" of the Supreme Court!

Via Captain Corruption.

Good ship CBS needs rudder

CBS News asks interns to develop ideas.

I've got one: how about let's not broadcast stories that rely on bad forgeries faxed from bitter partisan nutjobs at Kinko's shops?

Seriously, though, this is just another spasm in the death throes of CBS News. Broadcast network news is in trouble in general, as cable and the Internet offer more immediate and more in-depth information. CBS News is in extra trouble as it has demonstrated repeatedly that it is inaccurate, biased, and unfair.

I experience great schadenfreude watching their ratings sink. They brought this on themselves.

Condi #1 in Iowa poll

From the Quad City Times:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a surprising top choice for president among Iowa Republicans, according to a poll to be released today — more than two years before the state's first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Among 400 Republicans who said they are likely to attend the 2008 caucuses, Rice
received the backing of 30.3 percent. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona was second in the survey with 16 percent, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani received support from 15.3 percent. Roughly 20 percent were undecided.

Now if we can just get her to run!

Your UN at work

Via Ace: UN money used to fund anti-Israel propaganda.

Why, again, are we still funding this corrupt, incompetent, and unaccountable organization?

At least we have a good man representing us at the UN.

Understanding the insurgents

James Taranto of OpinionJournal:

A local insurgent attacked a settlement near Crawford, Texas, yesterday, Reuters reports:
Some 800 white wooden crosses, bearing the names of soldiers killed in Iraq like her son, have lined the road near the area where [Cindy] Sheehan has pitched a tent. Witnesses said they saw a truck dragging a pipe and chains drive over some of the crosses on Monday night.

Larry Northern, 46, of nearby Waco, Texas, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief inconnection with the incident, Crawford Police Chief Donnie Tidmore said.
Now, we have no truck with mischievous criminals, but at the same time it's important to understand what motivates people to do things like this. After all, one man's vandal is another's freedom-fighter. The Sheehanoids should be asking: Why do they hate us?

Think about it: If outside settlers were occupying your land, demonizing your leaders and slandering your country, wouldn't you have feelings of rage and hopelessness? Again, we're not condoning what Larry Northern allegedly did. Our point is that only by understanding what drove him to this desperate act can we put an end to the cycle of recrimination.
Thanks, Alarming News.

Bringing Lying Authoritarianism to the West...

While the Bush-Blair consortium trumpets its goal of bringing democracy to the Middle East, it's nice to see that they're not too proud to adopt in their own countries a few tricks they learned from Saddam along the way.

Here witness a Baathist-style execution and the ensuing web of deceit:

Initial police reports said the Brazilian electrician was dressed suspiciously in a heavy coat, had fled armed officers, vaulted over ticket barriers and run onto a train.

But leaked documents obtained by ITV News said CCTV footage and eyewitness accounts showed he was not wearing a padded jacket which could have concealed a bomb, and walked calmly through the station, even stopping to collect a free newspaper.

According to witnesses and statements made by police officers involved, de Menezes then boarded a train and was restrained by a surveillance officer before he was shot.


M.J. Finds Fitting Mouthpiece

In fighting his latest court battle over sexual wrongdoings, Michael Jackson this time has Mr. Gay in his corner...

Welcome to Texas

A red state welcome for blue state protestors.

Homegrown terrorists targeting Santa Monica?

This is scary: Black Muslims from prison planning terrorist attacks.

Two men recently arrested on suspicion of committing armed robberies in Torrance and Fullerton were Muslim converts who are now suspected of planning a variety of jihad-inspired terror attacks around Los Angeles, including one scheduled for September 11, 2005, KFI NEWS has learned.

Gregory Vernon Patterson, 21, and Levar Haney Washington, 25, planned to shoot up a military recruiting station in Santa Monica and at least one other civilian target, a high-ranking federal law enforcement source confirmed recently.

“The intent was to kill everyone at the target, including civilians,” the source said.



Santorum in trouble

Back in May, I predicted that right-wing nut Sen. Rick Santorum would lose his re-election bid. Now, Republican insiders are starting to agree.

Let's hope we're right. Santorum is the wrong kind of Republican. The defeat of an anti-freedom Republican will be good not only for the country, but also for the future of the Republican Party. This is the guy, after all, who thinks banning gay marriage and civil unions* is crucial for homeland security:
"I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance," he said shortly before the vote. "Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?"
HT: Polipundit.

* The bill under consideration would have banned gay marriage outright, and also would have prevented courts from granting domestic partnership benefits to unmarried couples. Presumably, legislatures would still be allowed to confer such benefits.

Huffington Post hires morons, part deux

Headline: Russell Crowe's $6 Million Phone Bill…

First line of story:
Russell Crowe is preparing to pay $NZ15.3 million to the New York hotel clerk whom he is accused of assaulting, a British newspaper has reported.
The problem? 15.3 million New Zealand dollars is not 6 million US dollars. It's about 10.8 million US dollars. HuffPo also links to this story, which refers to 3.3 million British pounds sterling, which is roughly $6 million, but nowhere near $NZ15.3 million.

Huffington Post doesn't care. They just write whatever sounds good, regardless of the facts.

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post: because it's so important to stay up-to-date on the political opinions of TV actresses.

Huffington Post hires morons to write headlines

HuffPo declares "Dell’s Earnings Lowest In Four Years."

The details of the story? "Quarterly profit climbed to $1.02 billion, or 41 cents per share, from $799 million, or 31 cents per share, during the year-ago period."

Where does HuffPo get the idea that Dell's earnings are the lowest in four years? Nothing in the news story or in Dell's earnings release says anything even remotely like that. In fact, earnings are higher than they were last quarter, and last year.

HuffPo is just making it up. If they can't be trusted to write a simple headline based on black and white facts in a news story, how can they be trusted to analyze, interpret, and deliver news stories that are more complicated or nuanced?

I hope if this was Facundo Rivera's fault that Arianna doesn't drug and imprison him again. He's got limited English! Go easy on him!

California salvation?

Gerrymandering is a major problem in California. The legislature draws districts to protect incumbents (and the incumbent Democratic majority). Because of this, almost no seats are competitive, which leads to primary voters selecting extremists in both parties who go on to win the general election. This, in turn, leads to a bitterly partisan (and nutty) legislature. As OpinionJournal points out:

California lawmakers are so adept at designing their own districts that of the 153 seats--80 Assembly, 20 state Senate, 53 Congressional--theoretically up for grabs last November, not a single one switched parties.
Governor Schwarzenegger proposed a ballot initiative to end gerrymandering, but until yesterday, it looked like the proposition would not be on the ballot due to technicalities and sloppy management by Schwarzenegger's minions. Yesterday, however, the California Supreme Court put it back on the ballot. This initiative could be the most significant and most positive development in California politics in years. You would have to be an idiot or an incumbent legislator to vote against it.


Peace train soundin' louder

Everyone jump on the peace train.

Cindy Sheehan

NY Girl has a good post on the Cindy Sheehan story, including a condemnation of the left's manipulation of Sheehan and a link to an Iraqi's message to Sheehan.

The rest of the Sheehan family responds:

The Sheehan Family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the the expense of her son's good name and reputation. The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our President, silently, with prayer and respect.

Sincerely,

Casey Sheehan's grandparents, aunts, uncles and numerous cousins.

I think the Sheehan story has gotten far too much coverage, and won't comment further. But I'll point you to these posts at Alarming News.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

This story is leaving me so conflicted!

Greenpeace complained Thursday to the Federal Communications Commission about MSNBC talk show host Tucker Carlson's praise for a [French] fatal attack 20 years ago on the environmental group's flagship.
Generally, I am pro-Greenpeace, anti-France, and moderately anti-Tucker. So I should be squarely supportive of Greenpeace's complaint.

However, I'm very pro-First Amendment and anti-FCC. So I'm leaning against Greenpeace on this issue. That and...
FCC indecency standards apply only to broadcast television, not cable and satellite networks such as MSNBC. Those standards also are intended to apply mainly to obscenities and profane speech.
So not only is Greenpeace complaining to the FCC about speech that the FCC can't, doesn't, and shouldn't regulate, they are complaining about this speech on a network the FCC can't, doesn't, and shouldn't regulate.

As much as I like Greenpeace's bold environmental actions, I can't align myself with such utter stupidity. Advantage: Carlson.

Jamie Gorelick

Jamie Gorelick, an Al Gore aide and recurring figure in the Clinton administration, is at the center of the recent Able Danger controversy. Not only was she instrumental in establishing the "wall" that prevented military intelligence from telling the FBI that Mohammed Atta was already in the US and plotting to kill us, but she was also on the 9/11 Commission that seems to have covered up these inconvenient details.

I have seen Gorelick's name in print for years, and always assumed it was pronounced "GORE-lick," which was appropriate, given that her boss was Al Gore (though it must have driven ultra-prude Tipper Gore nuts). Today, though, with her name in the news, I heard it pronounced "guh-REH-lick." Then another newsreader pronounced it "GORE-uh-lick." How is it pronounced? If she's responsible for the failure to catch Mohammed Atta before 9/11, we might want to know how to pronounce her name.

P.S. She was also vice-chairman of the thoroughly corrupt retirement cash cow for ex-politicians, Fannie Mae.

Donny Deutsch sucks

Donny Deutsch is an advertising executive who bought his way onto a zero-rating cable show.

Tonight he had motorcycle designers on the set talking by phone with soldiers in Iraq. The most interesting part was watching him stammer as he tried to get his lines out.

No relation to Citigroup's John Deutch, who still hasn't been dismissed from the board despite being caught keeping top secret CIA data on unsecured home and laptop computers.

Sweeping it under the rug

Wow... this is big news. It's possible that 9/11 could have been prevented.

Apparently, Department of Defense analysts identified Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers as a threat in 1999. Lawyers wouldn't let them share the intelligence with the FBI. Then the 9/11 Commission withheld this information from its report, possibly for political reasons.

HT: Ace.

More from Anklebitingpundits.

This is a great roundup suggesting that this is what Sandy Berger was trying to cover up when he stuffed National Archives documents down his pants.

When Jedis go bad

Yoda goes over to the dark side.

Eminent domain

Check out this cartoon.

Ace of Spades: morally bankrupt partisan hack?

Ace of Spades, who I usually enjoy reading and agree with, is wrong, wrong, wrong today:

But what can we read from [John Roberts'] pro bono efforts on behalf of "gay rights"?

I don't really know the merits of the case, so I can't comment. But I find this a little distressing, not because I don't like gays, but because gay "rights," like abortion, is a useful proxy issue. I'm not pro-life myself (well, I'm a moderate; I support abortion rights with restrictions), but I tend to support pro-life candidates, not because I support their positions on abortion, but because I know it's a useful proxy to determine how they stand on 90% of other issues. If they can stand up to the New York Times editorial page on the crucial issue of abortion, they're not likely to be shirking violets on taxes or terrorism.

Same with this gay rights issue. Again, I have no idea if Roberts was on the right side or not, but I do know he personally chose this issue and dedicated a fraction of his limited pro-bono hours to litigate the case.

Ace, you disappoint me.

If you disagree with the legal justification for the Colorado ruling, that's one thing. I think it may have been a bad decision myself.

But supporting anti-gay-rights candidates in general because it's a litmus test for conservatism is just wrong. You could say the same thing about cable censorship or teaching creationism.

If you support a morally wrong position just because you tend to agree on other issues with people who hold that position, you are morally bankrupt, and a partisan hack.

John Roberts' work on the Colorado case may have been just a case of doing his job as a lawyer, or it may have been a principled position he believed in. If it is the latter, it speaks well for Roberts' independence and fair-mindedness, but it doesn't mean he's not conservative.

A more telling, and more encouraging, indication from Roberts is his dissent in the Rancho Viejo v. Norton case. This case sheds more light on his judicial philosophy because it is his actual judicial opinion, not just a position taken when working on behalf of a client. In this case, he takes a very restrictive view of the Commerce clause, which has been the primary clause exploited by leftists for the expansion of the federal government. This ruling alone is enough to make me support Judge Roberts. A few more Justices who share Roberts' reasonable view of the Commerce clause, and we might have a reasonable Supreme Court... not to mention what Roberts would do on medical marijuana and eminent domain.

If they have to lie this early in the confirmation process...

OpinionJournal on NARAL's deceitful new anti-Roberts ad:

NARAL will spend $500,000 to frighten cable news watchers and the people of Maine and Rhode Island, home to three liberal Republican senators. The 30-second ad is titled "Speaking Out." Here's the script:

Announcer: Seven years ago, a bomb destroyed a woman's health clinic in Birmingham, Ala.

Emily Lyons: When a bomb ripped through my clinic, I almost lost my life. I will never be the same.

Announcer: Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber.

Lyons: I'm determined to stop this violence, so I'm speaking out.

Announcer: Call your senators. Tell them to oppose John Roberts. America can't afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans.


The ladies who gave Plato's "noble lie" new uses in the hearings of Clarence Thomas are at it again. NARAL is using the image of the abortion clinic bombing by Eric Rudolph to suggest that Judge Roberts would excuse such violence--even though NARAL's leaders have admitted to the press that Judge Roberts has condemned clinic violence. Indeed, the Washington Post reported last week that in 1986, when he was an assistant in the White House counsel's office, Mr. Roberts wrote a memo recommending against a presidential pardon for abortion-clinic bombers. "No matter how lofty or sincerely held the goal, those who resort to violence to achieve it are criminals," Roberts wrote.

In fact, the 1993 case whose name NARAL shows in its ad, Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, had nothing to do with Eric Rudolph or violence against abortion clinics. As a deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration, Mr. Roberts filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the Civil Rights Act of 1871, enacted to protect blacks from the Ku Klux Klan, did not prohibit peaceful pro-life demonstrators from standing outside of abortion clinics. The high court agreed 6-3, with Justices Anthony Kennedy and David Souter among the majority.

It is important to point out such a distortion as this for what it is: a lie. Yet my initial reaction was not the same as other conservatives who went on defense. Rather, it was something like this: Do it again, harder, harder--and bring your friends. Having extremist groups spend big money to win over liberal GOP senators is a no-lose proposition, especially when they have to tell lies to do so.


Then OpinionJournal goes on to suggest that NARAL's real interest may be abortion profits, not abortion rights:

In September 2002, when Democrats first blocked Justice Priscilla Owen from a circuit court nomination over a Texas Supreme Court ruling that upheld a parental notice law, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah put it this way:

I fear the opposition to Justice Owen from the abortion lobby is not at all about abortion rights, because abortion rights are not affected by a mere notice statute. The opposition to Justice Owen is not really about abortion rights, it is about abortion profits. Simply put, the abortion industry is opposed to parental notice laws because parental notice laws place a hurdle between them and the profits from the abortion clients--not the girls who come to them but the adult men who pay for these abortions. These adult men, whose average age rises the younger the girl is, are eager not to be disclosed to parents, sometimes living down the street. . . . At nearly one million abortions per year, the abortion industry is as big as any corporate interest that lobbies in Washington. They not only ignore the rights of parents, they also protect sexual offenders and statutory rapists.

Bush indictment?

"Bush indictment" is the top search right now on Technorati.

The moonbats are on the prowl!

Good for him

Hugo Chavez just says no to collaborating with US drug warriors.


Shareholder lawsuits

You know those shareholder lawsuits, where the shareholders get pennies and the lawyers get millions?

The feds are going after the biggest law firm in this racket.

It's about time!

Guantanamo whistle-blowers

Wow. This is pretty damning of the Guantanamo process, especially as it comes from military prosecutors.

HT: Old Zeke. Old Zeke is a former conservative who went to Berkeley and turned all anti-Bush. I am trying to get him to join this blog as a regular poster, but he's a bit busy at the moment. More luck in a few weeks I hope.

DEA targeting free speech

It doesn't surprise me that they're doing it, just that they are stupid enough to admit it. DEA administrator Karen Tandy on a recent arrest of an activist/publisher/seed seller:
"Today's arrest of Mark (sic) Scott Emery, publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and the founder of a marijuana legalization group, is a significant blow not only to the marijuana trafficking trade in the U.S. and Canada, but also to the marijuana legalization movement."

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery's illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on."

It's not the marijuana that really worries the DEA. It's the freedom of speech bit. Free speech is a threat to the huge War on Drugs bureaucracy that provides their paychecks. Damn the First Amendment!

HT: Land of the Free Home of the Brave.

Safe but bored

Captain Corruption writes about a subject that's bothered me a lot lately: the removal from the market of products and services for safety reasons.

It's tragic that we have to set safety standards based on the possible behavior of the dumbest members of society. Captain Corruption raises the examples of hot McDonald's coffee and misused toys.

Worse, though, is that companies and organisations are so afraid of plaintiffs' lawyers that they are shutting down operations that involve any risk at all. I spoke to a park ranger in Australia who lamented the closing of a summer camp led by Aborigines to teach children about the outdoors. Liability for horseback riding and other activities became too great, and the camp had to close.

My brother tried to go horseback riding in rural Australia when he was there on vacation, and found that most of the stables were now closed to the public. The one remaining stable would charge more than $100 for a relatively short, slow ride (galloping is too dangerous!), all due to the cost and constraints of liability insurance.

My brother, a private pilot, also tried to rent a plane to go flying. In the US, when you rent a plane from a new airport, you go up for a brief flight first with a licensed instructor, so they can make sure you know what you're doing. In Australia, however, they wanted to make him go through multiple days of flying with an instructor before they would rent him a plane. Not exactly friendly to tourist pilots on one-week vacations. If they had allowed him to fly, renting a plane would have cost double what it does in the US.

Australia is perhaps further down the safety Nazi path than the US. Australia was the first country to mandate bicycle helmets for adults. The Harbour Bridge Climb requires copious safety gear, a tedious safety lecture, and being continuously tied to the railing by safety lines. Public safety messages permeate the culture. But the US is not far behind. The Lake Powell National Recreational Area has banned jumping off rocks into the lake because some moron didn't check the depth before he dove. Yosemite National Park has "no drinking" signs on the natural springs I used to drink from as a child, because there's a tiny risk of contracting easily treated giardia. I don't want my children to grow up in a country where they can't ride horseback at full gallop through the trees, or have the thrill of a 30-foot jump into cool water.

Life has risk. If we try to eliminate all risk from life, it will be no fun at all. Providers of products and services should not be held responsible for accidents or the negligence of the consumer. We need serious tort reform now.

France

Nobody likes a bully.

HT: Polipundit.

Jerry Brown

I like Jerry Brown. I really do. But calling David Hasselhoff a "luminary" is a bit excessive. And the link he gives for Antonio Villaraigosa's bio is pretty thin.

OOPS! Now I don't like Jerry Brown any more. He's bulldozing family businesses to make way for fatcat developers.

The media ignores it, but Spitzer doesn't

Elliot Spitzer is looking into the scam where Al Franken's Air America network took money from a children's charity. Most of the mainstream media is still ignoring this story, but the New York Post isn't.

I'm glad Spitzer is looking into this, and it makes political sense too. It shows that as partisan as he is (remember Grasso/Langone/McCall?), he'll still go after Democrats if he can get headlines from it. He's got a clear path to the governor's mansion.

HT: Instapundit.

Media bias, part 2177a

Time Magazine, in the "Notebook" section on page 15 of the August 8 edition, quotes Bill Frist, and identifies him as:

Senate majority leader and an anti-choice physician...
Anti-choice? Is this the accepted, neutral journalistic term for the anti-abortion / pro-life position now?

When will we see the mainstream media label Democratic opponents of school choice, Social Security Reform, etc., "anti-choice," "anti-reform," or "anti-freedom?"

End this senseless war

... the "War on Drugs," that is.

More senseless casualties in the government's assault on personal freedoms.

All talk, no action

Well, it looks like all those lefties saying they would move to Canada when Bush won have had second thoughts.

In the days after President Bush won a second term, the number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site shot up sixfold, prompting speculation that unhappy Democrats would flock north.

But official statistics show the number of Americans actually applying to live permanently in Canada fell in the six months after the election.

What's the problem, lefties? Free health care's not good enough for you? Gay marriage isn't good enough for you? Abstention from Iraq isn't good enough for you? Legalized marijuana isn't good enough for you? What more can Canada possibly do for you? What can we in the US do to help you decide? Go on, get out of here!

HT: NYGirl.


P.S. What ever happened to the election 2000 promises of Alec Baldwin, Robert Altman, and Eddie Vedder?

Proving the value of the United Nations

Sudan rape victims get free copy of U.N. report.

Yes, it's Scrappleface... but it's only funny because it is so close to reality!

HT: Ace.

The Rude Pundit, unmasked

Apparently, he's not a professional comedy writer as I suspected. He's a writing professor at Ball State.

Yellow journalism at its worst

The New York Times is going after John Roberts' adopted children.

Free credit reports

I'm not usually supportive of federal mandates to businesses, but I like the new requirement that the credit bureaus have to give you a free credit report once a year.

I just pulled mine, and it's easy. You can view them instantly online and print them yourself.

The URL is http://www.annualcreditreport.com

There has to be a business opportunity here for chemical engineers

Italy, where the rivers flow with cocaine.

John Roberts: best Justice ever?

I told you he was cool.

How difficult is it to find a brilliant, conservative, constructionist jurist who's also supportive of gay rights? Pretty difficult, I would guess. But Bush seems to have done it: Roberts donated help to gay rights case.

Kevin Drum drums up theories about why the LA Times would write this. I'm not concerned. The news is good, regardless what the Times' agenda is.

HT: HuffPo.

Eminent domain backlash

The left-wing of the Supreme Court may like to see greedy developers taking peoples's property, but the public isn't standing for it:
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that governments had broad power to take private property to boost economic development, real-estate executives cheered.

But an unexpected backlash against the ruling stopped the cheering and threatens to derail some projects that depended on the use of eminent domain to seize property.

...

In the six weeks since the Supreme Court's ruling in the Kelo v. New London case, bills have been introduced in Congress and in more than half of the state legislatures that would restrict, to varying degrees, the use of eminent domain for private development. Delaware has gone the furthest, passing a law restricting the use of eminent domain. In Alabama, legislation curbing eminent domain for economic purposes has passed both houses and awaits the governor's signature.

Real-estate and economic-development officials are growing increasingly concerned that the backlash will block more projects, potentially causing big losses for developers and canceling long-planned projects.

...

"It's finally dawning on homeowners and small businesses that this could happen to me," says Dana Berliner, a lawyer at the Institute for Justice. Whether the Institute for Justice can take credit or not, the issue has struck a nerve with Americans. In Connecticut, where the Supreme Court case originated, a Quinnipiac University poll shows just how much the eminent-domain issue resonates. By an 11-to-1 margin, those surveyed said they opposed the taking of private property for private uses, even if it is for the public economic good. According to the poll, 89% of those surveyed were against condemnations for private economic development, compared with 8% for them. Douglas Schwartz, head of the poll, says he has never seen such a lopsided margin on any issue he has polled.
What a beautiful, bi-partisan, populist backlash against the greedheads. Ayn Rand, Thomas Jefferson, and Hunter S. Thompson are surely all smiling down upon us.

The Castle Coalition is a good source for information on the fight.

HT: IPFreely.

The Buddhist menace

I've always viewed Buddhism as a religion of tolerance and non-intervention.

Imagine my surprise, then, upon reading this:

A plan to sell 30 billion baht of stock in an initial share sale at Thai Beverages sparked a protest Wednesday by thousands of Buddhists concerned about increasing alcoholism.

Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, ranked by Forbes magazine as Thailand's richest man, wants to sell seven billion new shares in the company, which makes Chang beer and Mekhong whiskey, for the equivalent of $713 million.

Monks and students joined a crowd estimated by the state-owned Thai News Agency at 10,000 people in a march to Bangkok's stock exchange to protest against the proposal.


First Islamofascists, now Buddhofascists? What's the world coming to?

Have a Chang beer and relax, dudes!

HT: IPFreely.

Air America scam

Michelle Malkin's syndicated column will be the first time many newspapers publish anything on Air America's stealing from a children's charity.

Edward Morrisey wonders why journalists aren't jumping all over this:
We often hear journalists claim that their mission consists of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. One crucial element must therefore put powerful people under a spotlight. Some journalists say that they fight for the little guy, the downtrodden, which means that the story must include victims. Still others like investigative work, digging through arcane paperwork and doubletalk to reveal misdeeds that otherwise would never come to light, which means that a crime or at least unethical conduct would help draw interest. And finally, big money always attracts a crowd and helps audiences relate to the disgraceful actions unveiled by the reporter.

Thus, the perfect


journalistic storm would arise when powerful people victimize the poor and downtrodden, breaking laws or at least ethical constructs, by taking money meant for their benefit. That sort of story will get anyone's attention. All it takes is one reporter to tell the story, and the rest of the media will jump all over it. Right?


Maybe not.


HT: Powerline.

Borrowers beware

Bill Fleckenstein chronicles the ludicrous lengths homebuyers are going to in order to pay ridiculous prices for houses.... and the stupidity of the banks that make these loans.

Santorum vs. birth control

Senator Man-on-Dog shares his views on birth control. It's bad because it liberates women to have sex without getting pregnant. Watch the video.

Bill Richardson

I saw Bill Richardson in a cable network interview last night, discussing the Bolton nomination. He was coy about running for president, and came off as moderate and pragmatic. He also mentioned that he's been cutting taxes in New Mexico.

Richardson is still dirt cheap (3.6 cents!) on TradeSports. Buy him. He's going higher.

I can even see myself voting for him -- especially if the Republicans nominate a sanctimonious religious nut.

Santorum breaks speed record in going back on promise

Just a few days ago, I was relieved that right-wing nutjob Rick Santorum had ruled out running for President in 2008.

Now, Santorum is backing off that promise. All the more reason for us to hope for a crushing re-election defeat in 2006 that will end his maniacal power quest once and for all.

HT: Boinkette.

Howard Dean blames right-wing Court for eminent domain

Howard Dean: no longer just crazy, but stupid too.

Dean actually blamed conservatives for the Kelo decision:
"The president and his right-wing Supreme Court think it is 'okay' to have the government take your house if they feel like putting a hotel where your house is," Dean said...

Let's see... Stephens, Kennedy, Breyer, Souter, Ginsburg... definitely the right-wing of the Supreme Court. Good thing our boy Howard supports those great liberal dissenters Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist, and O'Connor.

HT: Patterico and Anklebitingpundits.

Hillary '08

Jacob Weisberg says Hillary can't win. I don't buy his argument entirely, but I like what it implies for a Hillary - Condi contest.

Finally!

It's a great morning-- John Bolton is headed to the U.N.

And some people are really upset about it.

"The abuse of power and the cloak of secrecy from the White House continues," Kennedy said. "It's bad enough that the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination. It's even worse for the administration to abuse the recess appointment power by making the appointment while Congress is in this five-week recess. It's a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton's credibility at the U.N."

I don't recall Fat Teddy complaining about "devious maneuvers" when President Clinton used a recess appointment to make James Hormel ambassador to Luxembourg... or when he used a recess appointment to put Roger Gregory on the 4th Circuit... or when he put racial bias advocate Bill Lan Lee in as Assistant Attorney General over the objections of the Senate.
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