On John Roberts …

… I had a long post thought out in my head, but I’ve got to get to work soon and I need to get some laundry started, and a cycle of dishes and …

MoveOn.org doesn’t like him, calling him a “right wing corporate lawyer and ideologue for the nation’s highest court instead of a judge who would protect the rights of the American people.”

But the Right doesn’t like him that much either – Ann Coulter called him a “Rorschach blot” in a post filled with her typical angry rant.

Lee has a well-reasoned response to Coulter, “See, what Coulter and so many other members of the conservative movement is not a judge who will refrain from judicial activism, just one who will be activist for causes the conservatives happen to believe in. In other words, legislating from the bench is perfectly acceptable in their eyes, just as long as the legislation isn’t geared to the left.”

Andrew Sullivan has a couple of pro-liberal views on Roberts.

I haven’t made my mind up yet, this is all just giving my brain things to chew on.

from Sully

At the bottom of his post, Andrew Sullivan wonders, “If we kept our heads against the Nazis, why can we not remain sane and moral against today’s fascists?” I would put forth an possible answer — when you couple righteous anger with the power of the presidency and the belief that you walk in God’s footsteps and hence can’t do wrong … well, you’ve created a monster. Read the whole thing.

genocide

(Snuck home between deliveries …)

A coworker who shall go unnamed made a comment today regarding the London bombings and the possibility that Islamic extremists were behind it: “Turn the middle east into glass, kill all the Mohammedian fuckers.”

I find it frightening that a Jew would advocate genocide on a geographical, racial, or religious basis, particularly considering that just over sixty-years ago Jews themselves were the targets of a racial and religious based genocide.

I’m fairly certain this coworker made those comments in the heat of the moment. But I’m also certain that there are a lot of people who feel that genocide is the answer, and they’re usually the same people who are the first to point out Hussein’s cruelities and mass-executions.

His comments made me sad. What makes me sadder are the people who actually think genocide is the answer.

Partisan Switchery-roo

First let me say that tonight was a crappy, horrible night. It started out great, F., our sixty-year old driver, had to go do music for a commercial, so there were only two of us driving. Hooray, lots of money! Nope, because not only was it slow as hell, but tips were absolute shit. I was very tempted to write a nice long post mentioning by address the people who live a solid 14-mile round trip from the store and literally never tip and want their change back despite the fact that they live in a McMansion and can afford to spend enough cash to keep their H2 fueled and ready to go.

(Actually, it occurs to me that their H2 is why they can’t afford to tip me at all).

In any case, I was listening to the Ron Smith show on WBAL. He had a left-leaning guest on the show — this guy has been on before, but I can’t remember his name. Anyway, what I found interesting was the arguements that the two were making about the Karl Rove leak.

Ron Smith was arguing for prosecution of Rove, and the liberal commenter’s concern was the protection of Rove’s identity. I mean, it really just surprised the hell out of me, y’know? A conservative — although he’s a libertarian/conservative not a whore-to-the-religious-right conservative — arguing for the indictment of Karl Rove, and a liberal arguing for his protection?

(I mean, yeah, the lib was arguing not so much for Rove as much as the reporter/confidential source privlige).

(My spelling is atrocious).

In any case, I was just like, “Wow.”

(Because, really, that takes some principle … because, really, what lib wouldn’t want to cheer when faced with the prospect of the President’s chief political advisor getting locked up on a charge of treason?)

coast guard deteriorating

I don’t quite understand how the President can say he’s serious about homeland security. I don’t understand how when, in a time of supposed war, this nation can afford tax cuts that could be used, for among other things, increased port security through a coast guard fleet that isn’t having a record year for mechanical failures.

Key members of Congress, maritime security experts and a former top Homeland Security Department official say that the fleet is failing and that plans to replace the Coast Guard’s 88 aging cutters and 186 aircraft over the next 20 years should be accelerated.

“This nation must understand the dire situation in which the Coast Guard now finds itself,” says Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, chairwoman of a Senate Coast Guard subcommittee. She favors replacing the Coast Guard’s “deepwater” fleet — the ships and aircraft capable of operating far offshore — over 10 to 15 years.

The Bush administration wants to increase the amount of time it will take to replace a fleet that’s among the oldest on the globe — older even than fleets owned by nations such as Algeria and Pakistan. The “deepwater” replacement program, conceived in 1998 as a $20 billion, 20-year plan to replace the fleet, could be increased to 25 years under a White House plan.

The strategy would save the government money in the short term. The White House budget office declined to comment.

Snowe calls the idea a “violation of common sense” amid mounting concern that terrorists will try to sneak weapons of mass destruction into the USA through a port.

Hey, why defend ports from terrorists when you can give tax breaks to your best campaign contributors, right?

souter, delay, and boxers

The story of a private developer looking to use the recent Supreme Court ruling to take Justice Souter’s land away from him has raced across the blogosphere. Quite correctly, there’s a lot of anger about this court ruling, and its well deserved.

Right Thinking’s Lee writes,

I’d love to see it happen, but I’m not going to count on it. Though I can’t think of anything more appropriate, except to have his land stolen so that a Wal-Mart Supercenter could be built in its place.

But as satisfying as it is to read about the proposed siezing of Souter’s land, the demolishment of his house, there is another aspect to consider. Remember when Tom Delay, following the Schiavo ruling, threatened judges? Although the judges followed the law, he threatened violent retaliation against them, and was soundly criticized for it … including by me. Boston’s Carpundit quotes Randy Barnett: “Retaliating against a judge for the good faith exercise of his duty is. . .a bad idea.” Carpundit also opinions,

…retaliating against a judge for construing a law is an especially odious kind of retaliation. Much worse than a mere retaliation for an official’s action, it is an attack on one of the key underpinnings of our society of laws: judicial review, the rule of law itself. Is it mugging Scalia? No. But it isn’t less wrong.

There is something the government could do, of course. They could pass a law saying something like, “Private land can only be seized for a neccessary public good.” I.E., a school or a highway. Of course, Congress would rather pass a law about how you shouldn’t wear boxers colored like the American flag.

peachy keen

This is what happens when you don’t bother to plan for a scenario that isn’t “best case” …

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Sunday he is bracing for even more violence in Iraq and acknowledged that the insurgency “could go on for any number of years.”

Defeating the insurgency may take as long as 12 years, he said, with Iraqi security forces, not U.S. and foreign troops, taking the lead and finishing the job.

How long would the insurgency have lasted if the Bush Administration hadn’t rushed to war, and had planned out a plan of action for after the invasion? Of course, no one knows. I do know an old saying that seems to hold some wisdom which shouldn’t have been needed, “When you fail to plan, you plan for failure.”

Or in this case, you plan for a lot of dead people.

UPDATE:

In a similar vein, while it’s apparently to much to ask our President and his assorted advisors to plan ahead for what to do after the invasion, they seem to be good about planning ahead to blow shit up.

THE American general who commanded allied air forces during the Iraq war appears to have admitted in a briefing to American and British officers that coalition aircraft waged a secret air war against Iraq from the middle of 2002, nine months before the invasion began.

If those raids exceeded the need to maintain security in the no-fly zones of southern and northern Iraq, they would leave President George W Bush and Tony Blair vulnerable to allegations that they had acted illegally.

HT: Rox Populi & Shakespeare’s Sister

alone time fun

After yanking their heads out of their collective asses, officials at the Justice Department realized that hanging drapes over half-naked statues was only preventing pre-adolescent boys from fantasizing about having sex with the afore-mentioned statues, and wasn’t really the answer to the alledged crumbling moral values of early 21st century America. After removing the drapes, and wanting to turn their attention back to the War on Terrorism, those afore-mentioned officials than proceeded to flog every medical marijuana user in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

In other news, this artwork – while certainly a representation of the crumbling moral values of early 21st century America — is pretty cool and should be printed out and proudly displayed in your home. If you’re willing to look at the little pictures and ignore the big one, it could even be used for alone time fun. However, that would be tremendously creepy.

hold the President accountable

Kevin Drum in The Washington Monthly

The message from these memos is is pretty clear: the administration didn’t have any postwar plans. They figured they’d invade, mop up, and then leave.

Of course, the memos were written in 2002, so normally we’d simply assume that serious planning was done at a later date. However, the evidence indicates that the Bush administration never took postwar planning seriously, and the Downing Street Memos provide yet another data point to back this up.

Here’s the timeline: in March 2002 no one had thought about the aftermath. Four months later, in July, postwar planning was still nonexistent. In August, General Tommy Franks “essentially shrugged his shoulders at what to do once Baghdad fell” — and Donald Rumsfeld shrugged along with him.

Six months later, on February 28, 2003, Paul Wolfowitz gave his infamous testimony to Congress in which he suggested that postwar Iraq would be relatively peaceful and wouldn’t need very many troops for very long. On March 16, just before the war started, Tim Russert asked Dick Cheney, “Do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?” Cheney said no: “I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.” Four days later the war began.

On May 2, one day after George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech, senior military planners in Baghdad said cheerily that they figured they could draw down American troop levels to 30,000 by fall. That same month, 400,000 Iraqi troops were disbanded with no thought given to what should be done with them. By summer the insurgency was in full swing and the administration had nothing but a wildly shifting set of ad hoc plans to deal with it.

The Bush administration never seriously considered what to do with Iraq after the war, and never had a clue that they would be facing a long, difficult insurgency. All along, they just figured they’d install some kind of friendly government and then get out.

Andrew Sullivan, writing a response to the Drum piece …

I assumed that this vital war would have enough troops to succeed and that there was a detailed and smart plan for the post-war. I was wrong.

Bill Clinton lied under oath. And that was wrong, and illegal, and as a result, he was impeached.

But Bill Clinton’s lie didn’t get close to two thousand Americans troops killed.

The Bush Administration rushed this country to war, clearly with the pipe dream that everything would be peachy keen in Iraq after the invasion. I’d like to tell you a story about an invasion of another country, whose 60th anniversary was just a few weeks ago. It was called D-Day, and it was a massive amphibious invasion along France’s Normandy coast designed to liberate the nation — and eventually, the continent — from the oppresive Nazi regime,. Do you know what kind of reaction the Allied planners planned for from the French? They planned for the worse case scenario … the French standing toe-to-toe with their German conquerors and fighting the Allied troops. They planned for the worse, and got the best.

Yet in the arrogance of the Bush Administration, it’s just the reverse — plan for the best, and scramble around like a chicken with no head when things wind up very much for the worse.

Thousands of people – Americans, Allied Troops, innocent Iraqi civillians – have been killed because the Bush Administration couldn’t possibly believe that things wouldn’t work out as they did during their daydreams. This is completely unacceptable, and it’s about damn time that people were held accountable.

It is past time to impeach President George W. Bush for gross incompotence.

Update:

For those of you who don’t remember seven years ago, yes, in fact Bill Clinton was impeached.

time to sleep on it

USA Today:

The cremated remains of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who died after her feeding tube was removed in March, were buried Monday in a Clearwater cemetery.

The burial failed, however, to bring a close to the Schiavo saga. Instead, acrimony flared anew, with her parents complaining that they were not notified beforehand about the service.

At one point, I think I actually had some sympathy for Schiavo’s birth family. That evaporated when one of her parents said, in an interview, that even if she’d left a living-will, they still would have opposed pulling her proverbial plug. That evaporated sympathy turned to disgust when, even after the autopsy revealed that she was, in fact, a veggie, they still continued to accuse Michael Schiavo of abuse and maintain that Terri would have revived.

Now I just feel sad for them. They put Michael Schiavo through hell. They used their daughter as a tool, not for what was best for her, but what was best for them. Are they really surprised they weren’t invited to the funeral? If I was Michael Schiavo, I wouldn’t feel one bit comfortable with them around.

Check out this comment by their lawyer:

“Obviously, that’s a real shot and another unkind act toward a grieving mom and dad,” Gibbs said.

The grieving mom and dad who accused Michael Schiavo of abusing and raping Terri, if I recall their accusations correctly. Y’know, no offense to her mom and dad, but they’ve done plenty of unkind stuff themselves, and a hell of a lot more of it, to boot. Gibbs is right – that is a shot right across their effin’ bow, but he’s wrong in that he tries to play it as they don’t deserve it. Sorry, they do.

don't pee on that flag

This is disturbing

The Senate may be within one or two votes of passing a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the U.S. flag, clearing the way for ratification by the states, a key opponent of the measure said Tuesday.

“It’s scary close,” said Terri Schroeder of the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes the amendment. “People think it’s something that’s never going to happen. … The reality is we’re very close to losing this battle.”

Congress regularly has debated the issue since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Texas flag desecration law in 1989 and its own Flag Protection Act the next year. But until now, it has failed to muster the two-thirds vote needed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before states try to ratify the measure.

Next week, the House will vote on the amendment for a seventh time. If history is a guide, it will pass for a seventh time. That’s when the spotlight switches to the Senate, where the amendment has always died.

But this time may be different. Amendment supporters say last year’s election expanding the Senate Republican majority to 55 has buoyed their hopes for passage. Five freshmen senators — Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and David Vitter of Louisiana — voted for the amendment as House members and plan to do so again.

They will be joined by at least five Democrats who have co-sponsored the resolution, including Dianne Feinstein of California and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Both are up for re-election next year.

Not all senators have publicly declared their support or opposition.

In 2000, when the Senate last took up the matter, 63 voted for the amendment, four short of a two-thirds majority.

“We’re going to have deeper support for this, and the intensity is growing,” Thune said Tuesday, which was Flag Day. “There’s momentum.”

Norm Ornstein, a political analyst at the business-oriented American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, says he expects “a cliffhanger.” He says Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is eager to bring up the issue, and some Democrats may be too nervous to oppose it.

Scenes of foreigners burning American flags may be common on TV, but such desecration is rare in this country. The Citizens Flag Alliance, an advocacy group that supports a constitutional amendment, reports a decline in flag desecration incidents, with only one this year.

Still, “it’s important that we venerate the national symbol of our country,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the amendment’s chief sponsor. “Burning, urinating, defecating on the flag — this is not speech. This is offensive conduct.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee may not hold a hearing until around the July Fourth holiday, and a floor vote hasn’t been scheduled.

University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato is skeptical about the amendment’s prospects. “They may come close,” he says, “but I would put good money on the likelihood that, once again, it won’t be sent to the states.”

If it is, though, “it is almost a foregone conclusion that the states would ratify” the amendment, says John Vile, a constitutional law expert at Middle Tennessee State University and editor of Encyclopedia of Civil Liberties in America.

Every state legislature has passed resolutions urging Congress to send them a constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. Still, such resolutions aren’t binding, and “that doesn’t necessarily mean it would pass in the states,” says Heather Morton, of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A poll released last week by the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center in Nashville found 63% oppose a flag amendment, up from 53% last year.

“Clearly, more Americans are having second thoughts about using a constitutional amendment to” instill respect for the flag, said Gene Policinski, the center’s executive director. “Many Americans consider it the ultimate test of a free society to permit the insult or even desecration of one of the great symbols of the nation.”

Let’s all remember how the government disposes of old flags: they get burned. What’s the difference between the government burning a flag and a citizen? When a citizen burns the flag of the United States, its in protest.

From Congress’ point of view, this isn’t about protecting the flag, this is about restricting how citizens may protest the government. Let’s remember that this country was founded on, among other things, the basic principle that protesting an unjust government was an acceptable thing to do. Don’t let our government decide how we can or can’t protest against it.

pot, meet kettle

It was a little funny to watch CNN last night and see G. Gordon Liddy criticize Matt Felt, aka Deep Throat, for not going through the proper authorities to rat Nixon out. Let’s remember that G. Gordon Liddy served time for his illegal actions in what would become known as the Watergate scandal … what right — y’know, aside from the obvious ones that we all have — does someone who participated in illegal back channels to try to circumvent a legal process, have to critique someone for leaking information to reporters in an attempt to circumvent a different legal process?

Talk about the pot and the kettle.