Release The Hounds!

Welcome to the Archives of Release the Hounds! Please visit the new site--and the radio show--at http://radiohounds.com. Don't forget to update your bookmarks!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Few Notes

"The joke in Republican circles now is that if John Kerry didn't exist, Karl Rove would have to invent him." Read Deb Orin's column on the failed filibuster attempt and then ask yourself why it is that the left fringe of the Democratic party carries such weight, especially since playing to its sensibilities apparently hasn't translated into fundraising success. "Even granting legitimacy to the argument that the complete moral, financial and political corruption of Fatah was partly responsible for the Hamas victory, those who voted for Hamas did not find that organization's terror, religious celebration of murder or charter calling for Israel's destruction an impediment to their vote." Dennis Prager makes the difficult to refute point that the victory by Hamas is a defeat for many intellectuals on the left. The good question is why would one conclude that the "Palestinians as much as the Israelis want peace" other than due to wishful thinking?

Monday, January 30, 2006

What Is Wrong With These People? Chapter Whatever

The kerfluffel over the publication of cartoon images of Mohammed deemed offensive by Muslims shows no sign of petering out. Explain why it is that Muslims can refer to Jews (and other infidels) as monkeys, pigs, swine and/or dogs, and publish in their media the most offensive images of Jews (mostly) but expect redress when the tables are turned. Let me say what many think. That culture and society is truly screwed up.

Just Shut Up And Listen...Especially If You're A Member Of The Rotary Club

So you've been assigned by the big boss the job of negotiating a new deal with Widget, Inc. A company who just recently, and surprisingly has come under new control. Do you immediately make assumptions that the new management and its shareholders share the same goals, requirements, and corporate culture as you and your shareholders, and create your strategy on that basis? Or do you shut up and listen to what they have to say, not just outwardly but in an effort to read between the lines and obtain a deeper understanding of who you are dealing with and their motives? If you want to be successful, the answer is clearly the latter. Sometimes there is no greater insight gained than when you simply allow the object of your interest to be himself/itself and pay close attention to the little things that are on the periphery of your discussions. That's why I've been convinced for quite some time that the Palestinians are just plain bonkers when it comes to the issue of Israel, so do not expect rationality simply because you consider yourself to be. Case in point. The Hamas charter specifically references the Rotary Club as a "Zionist organization" inimicable to the interests of Islam and Arabs. Let's be very frank here. These folks are just plain around the bend and obviously quite prone to what would, if it was a Christian group of some sort, be called severe fits of irrationality and paranoia disqualifying them from the right to be taken seriously.

Final Vote: 96 - 3

That was the margin in favor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. In private practice, she was the chief counsel of the ACLU. Allow me to repeat myself...chief counsel of the ACLU. And again...chief counsel of the ACLU. But she was qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court and, consequently and rightly, secured the votes of the vast majority of Republican senators, many of whom were conservatives and would otherwise have recoiled from the notion of placing a clear left-winger on the Supreme Court. But she was qualified and, back when Clinton was President, the Senate observed this now quaint notion that its job was to determine if the nominee was qualifed intellectually, not politically. Therefore, no party-line votes. No ridiculous pontificating about the end of our republic as we know it. No filibusters. Now, who are the adults and who are the children here?

The West May Be Waking To The Truth

"If a slate of neo-Nazi skinheads swept to power in a European election, would you say that the voters were seeking ''honest government" and ''services"? Palestinians are not stupid, and it insults their intelligence to pretend that when they vote to empower a genocidal organization with a platform straight out of ''Mein Kampf," what they're really after is better healthcare. Islamist extremism isn't needed to fix Palestinian hospitals any more than fascism was needed to make Italian trains run on time in the 1920s. If Palestinians turned out en masse to elect a party that unapologetically stands for hatred and mass murder, it's a safe bet that hatred and mass murder had something to do with the turnout... It will now be much harder to wish away the unpleasant fact that after a dozen years of PLO misrule, Palestinian society is deeply dysfunctional, steeped in hatred and violence." [Note: and allow me to add, also much of the rest of Arab/Muslim society] Read all of Jeff Jacoby's piece.

Now, Good Liberals, Do We Simply Ignore This Kind Of Stuff?

I heard a tape of Wolf Blitzer's interview with the head of (or a head of) Hamas on the way in this morning, and was astounded to learn of another example why there is little or no hope of any sort of longterm peaceful solution in the Middle East. Since the 1940's, Arab literature has repeated the outright lie that Israel's designs are on the territory between the Nile and Euphrates rivers (i.e. from Egypt to Iraq). It is also widely believed in the Arab world that the two blue, horizontal stripes on Israel's flag depict these two rivers and symbolize this Israeli manifest destiny. Back to my point. The high ranking representative from Hamas, when asked specifically by Blitzer whether his organization accepts a two-state solution, began rambling on about the Israeli flag and this fable about the desire to turn the area from the Nile to the Euphrates into a Zionist state. It is truly frightening that entire cultures top to bottom can and do buy into demonstrably false assertions such as this. (Of course, this pathology is evident elsewhere in Arab/Muslim culture...see, "Blood Libel"). However, it is more frightening to me that so little time is spent seeking to understand who and what we are dealing with here.

All I Ask For Is Some Consistency

Bill Clinton speaks about the "outrageous cartoons against Islam." Did I miss his talk about the outrageous "art" depicting a crucifix submerged in urine, or the Virgin Mary splattered by elephant dung?

At Least They're Consistent[ly Wrong]

Here are a couple of good pieces by Tom Bevan and Michael Barone about why the Dems don't get it. Let me add my two cents. The problem with the Dems political strategery arises from the same philosophy that permeates liberal policy-making. That is, the failure to place blame, accountability and responsibility where it ought lay. Just like the cult of the victim liberal Dems seek to perpetuate, they turn that world-view inward when it comes to their own political failure. They are incapable of asking "Can it be me" or "What am I doing that's causing my problems". Instead, it must be the work of outside influences over which I have little or no control. That's a recipe for two things. Immobility and disaster.

Hearings For Politics Sake

In light of pending Senate hearings on the issue, here is a well-set out explanation by John Hinderacker at Powerline regarding the legal questions surrounding the NSA intercepts. As a lawyer myself, but not a Constitutional specialist, I can say with certitude that an analysis of the legal questions being raised require more than a passing acquaintance with American Constitutional jurisprudence. And it is abundantly clear that the weight of authority (daresay, the only precedent) supports the President. The fact of the matter is that a president can order surveillance of, for example, al Qaeda operatives abroad contacting their agents in the United States. Equally clear is that a president need not obtain a warrant to order that surveillance. More importantly, this sort of surveillance took place prior to the creation of FISA and it was clearly considered a constitutional use of the president's authority. Therefore, irrespective of what FISA says or doesn't say, it cannot take away or diminish a president's constitutional authority. And that's the point. There is no credible argument that this type of surveillance and intelligence gathering is illegal...unless of course you ignore every case that has spoken on the issue.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

What Do Joel Stein And Hamas Have In Common?

Mark Steyn combines my views re Joel Stein and the election victory by Hamas into one great commentary. I wish I had thought of that!

Dilution Of The Term "Genius" (or - We're All Geniuses In Our Own Way)

Mozart was born 250 years ago. Alan Bock writes a piece about the young prodigy and begins with these words: "The closest I have ever come to a definition of genius is a creative impulse that manages to find expression, whatever the circumstances of a particular life, in works of discovery, creativity, insight or beauty that other intelligent people find important, inspiring or transcendent." This week, Entertainment Weekly's cover photo is of Kanye West with the title "Inside the Mind of Music's Brash Genius." How standards have dropped...unless, of course, you believe we'll be listening to his "music" (or that of his peers, for that matter) in the 23d century.

"The Flame Has Been Turned Off Under The Melting Pot"

"Assimilation is the key to any successful immigration policy, and no country has succeeded in assimilating immigrants as well as the United States. Turning immigrants into Americans didn't happen by accident but was the result of a comprehensive national effort called Americanization." Read all of Congressman J.D. Hayworth's piece.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Are You A Good Stein, Or A Bad Stein? (apologies to Glinda)

The most heroic, ethically courageous, morally resolute men and women in the world today are the Americans, British, and other forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are fighting the most evil men and women currently on the world scene. The American Army soldier, Marine, Navy sailor, Air Force warrior, and Coast Guardsman fighting in Ramadi or Mosul is fighting men and women who kill children and old people for sport. The men and women of the United States military are fighting the remnants of a regime so evil that it pioneered the use of torture against children -- just for the amusement of Saddam and his family. Read another Stein's perception of the military.

They Get What They Deserve

A poll conducted in 12/05 reveals that 65% of Palestinians support Al Qaeda terror attacks on American and European targets. So is it any wonder why Hamas did so well in the recent election? Let's be honest. This is what these people support and desire. Now some of us will spend countless words describing how desperation and hopelessness has pushed them to this point. Could it be, however, that they actually believe that the infidel West must fall in the face of Islam, and that's why such a broad spectrum of Muslims have similar sentiments?

Maybe If The Men Ran With Their Eyes Averted?

How is it at all possible to live in the same society as these folks?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Joel Stein: Cub Reporter

I imagine some of you have been following the Joel Stein debacle. He's the early thirtyish columnist for the LA Times who wrote a piece that has been roundly attacked by conservatives in which he states that he does not support the war in Iraq and, consequently, does not support or honor the troops. He was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt and came across as a spoiled, child of privilege with many opinions but little wisdom (or fact-based knowledge for that matter). However, I must admit to a bit of empathy for the young lad. I, too, have questioned the tautology of opposition to the war but support for those carrying out the dirtiest of the work involved. I'm not sure you can honor a soldier's service when that service is designed to carry out an objective you find loathsome. I distinguish "honor" and support from appreciating their bravery and dedication in doing a job 99.9% of us are unfit to do. Maybe this is a poor analogy but to me it would be like being anti-abortion but "honoring" and respecting the doctors who perform them. I'm not sure you can do both.

"NSA Quiz" - courtesy of Hugh Hewitt

"When the people who built these tunnels call the people who forged those passports, will the left object if NSA listens without a warrant if one of them happens to be in the United States?"

More On Hamas Electoral Victory

Doug over at Fine Dry Wit makes the point I had internally commented about yesterday, namely that the election victory of Hamas is not a positive thing...for the Palestinians. Read Emanuele Ottolenghi's piece explaining, much better than I ever could, why that is. In a nutshell, the next time a missile from Gaza strikes Israel, or the next time a suicide bomber detonates his (or, unfortunately, her) sick self, there can be no hiding behind the canard that it was the work of a "militant faction" over which there is ongoing struggle for control. Not to become overly melodramatic, but the Palestinians, absent a sea change in their philosophy, may have elected the signatories to the death warrant of their statehood.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

How Do You Respond To This?

I had a long discussion together with a former professor and with another professor I had just met over a long lunch...of course liberals...and it was regarding David Horowitz's and his "Student Bill of Rights" idea which they find ridiculous and they ecxpressed their anger about his accusations that all academia is liberal and ideologues and what's wrong with that? yadda yadda...their defense was..."What about Horowitz's and Bush's backing by Corporate America?"...that is the common retort I hear in these discussions that the conservatives are bankrolled and "in bed" with "Corporate America" so they should not be the pot calling the kettle black...so I ask you, that is any conservative, how do you respond and defend the idea that the outspoken conservatives are just seen as "patsys" for Corporate America...how true do you think that is? I always find it hard to defend when I bother to do it.

Deadwood-The Complete First Season

If you haven't done so, and enjoy well written drama with compelling characters, watch the HBO series Deadwood. I picked up the first season on DVD and it's captivating.

Tone Deafness On The Left

*58 percent of Americans think the president should have the power to authorize the NSA to monitor electronic communications of suspected terrorists without getting warrants, even if one end of the communication is in the United States *Six in 10 say they are personally okay with the NSA monitoring their international telephone calls *53 percent majority of Americans think the Patriot Act is a "good thing" for the country while less than a third (30 percent) think it’s a "bad thing" *59 percent of Americans think the Patriot Act has helped prevent terrorist attacks, and 57 percent support extending the act As this recent Fox News poll reveals, the Dems decision to pander to their left-most (but loudest) wing moves them further from most Americans. Another example of why I'm convinced there is a God.

Hamas Wins Big

Much will be written in the coming days over this development but, as I have said before, people for the most part get the government they deserve...good, bad or indifferent. I and many others have also said that the majority of Arab/Muslims do not, and never will, accept the existence of a Jewish state and therefore would not enter willingly into a legitimate process of negotiations for a lasting peace based upon co-existence. Well, there you have it. The Palestinians appear to have overwhelming backed a group whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel, has carried out untold numbers of suicide bombings, and have said they oppose peace talks and will not disarm. Israel, the United States and the European Union have classified Hamas as a terrorist organization. Is there anything else you need to know? Richard Chesnoff's column is worth a read on this subject. Oh, yeah. And Iran vows to put Israel into an "eternal coma." UPDATE: I keep adding to this post as I come across more information. Read here for pronouncements by Hamas that "Negotiations with Israel is not on our agenda" ... "recognizing Israel is not on the agenda either now." It is disappointing that the ascendency of a group like Hamas can send "shockwaves." Why should there be any expectation (if you have been paying attention and not cocooned within your soft, liberal, anti-war, give peace a chance myopic world) that something other than what has happened would happen? On what set of facts would you support the proposition that any Arab/Muslim political organ would take a position different than that taken by Hamas? Different point, same subject matter: This is the risk run with free elections and at least some semblance of a democratic process. However, although some will say this is a rebuke to the concept of regime change and nation building, I tend to differ and here's why. Simply put, there is legitimacy to the argument that we cannot blame subjects for the acts of their dictators (case in point: North Korea) and therefore must tread lightly. On the other hand, if citizens freely and overwhelmingly elect a terrorist organization to lead them, when the sanctions are imposed, or the fighting starts, don't claim victimhood and call for sympathy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

He May Not Know Who George Washington Was, But He Sure Knows His Rights...Which Include To Wear A Skirt

The key phrase in this story is: "After consulting with the American Civil Liberties Union, the boy and his mother met with schools Superintendent..." Another great example being set by a baby-boomer parent.

I'm Switching To Dogpile

I cannot stand intellectual dishonesty and false righteousness. Google is resisting a Department of Justice subpoena for random web addresses (this has to do with legal challenges by the ACLU to the 1998 Child Online Protection Act). Similar subpoenas were delivered to Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL. Google's informal code of conduct, which presumably it is applying in making this decision, is "Don't be evil." Apparently that motto only applies within the continental United States. Google has announced it will launch its services in China...thereby requiring it to censor its search results in order to comply with the Chinese government's restrictions on free speech and exchange of information. So let us be clear here. Google is unwilling to cooperate with our government in its efforts to convince the Supreme Court that a law designed to keep pornography and sexual predators away from our children is Constitutional. However, it is more than willing to voluntarily aid and abet a Communist government's efforts to prohibit the free flow of information to its citizens. Allow me to be cynical. This is all basic Business 101. By taking the "populist" position here, Google stands to increase it's market share on the basis of its perceived "social consciousness" (don't forget, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft have all complied with the subpoena). In communist China, business could only be advanced by toeing the Party line so, voila, not so much concern for oppressive government control or intrusions. Nice.

Guess Who-o-o-o?

Hint: think Middle East + androgynous. Answer can be found here.

But My Omelet Is Multicultural

How can soup be "racist" (yes, that's what I said)? Read here and then tell me the left hasn't lost its mind. [Hat tip: Dhimmi Watch]

It Must Be In Some Way Due To The Infidel Presence In Iraq

Bomb blasts in Iran.

Diane Feinstein Articulates Abortion Litmus Test

“If one is pro-choice in this day and age, in this structure, one can’t vote for Judge Alito” These are the words of Diane Feinstein today and, you know, I respect her for them. She has gone on record as stating that, for her, there is an abortion litmus test for Supreme Court nominees no matter how well qualified they may be. Oh, she may have thrown in a few other reservations but does anyone really think that, absent those others, her position would be any different? The farcical dog and pony show will continue, but we may be coming closer to telling it like it is (as Howard Cosell would say); liberal Democrats will oppose any nominee who is not pro-choice. Period. Outside of being pro-choice, pro-affirmative action and anti-war, is there anything else the modern Democratic party stands for? UPDATE: read Ann Coulter's column about the shift in the Dems' position on abortion.

Both Parties Talk Tough On Iran

Repubs and Dems have both gone on record stating that military force is an option against Iran. The "Alice in Wonderland" aspect here is that there is talk about whether a referral to the...bum, bum, bummmmm...UN Security Council is in order here. First off, it's unlikely Russia and China will vote for anything that significantly harms their trading partner, and if they did, it would be a diplomatic slap on the wrist. So who is kidding whom here? The only way to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities is to destroy its program. Iran sits atop one of the biggest oil reserves in the world. Does anyone truly believe that its nuclear program is to "generate electricity"? If sanctions with teeth are put in place, those that hate us will be pissed off anyway, the regime won't buckle and we'll be treated with daily stories of how children are dying for lack of antibiotics and formula. Might as well get some bang for your buck and at least set them back 10-20 years.

Minutemen Denied Parade Permit

The City of Laguna Beach has denied Jim Gilchrist's "Minutemen" organization the right to march in its Patriot Day Parade on the basis that no group with a political or religious agenda is permitted. The longer version of this piece available to paper subscribers mentions that the "Laguna Beach Vigil for Peace" has been approved to march. This group has held a weekly protest against the war in Iraq.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What Do We Have Here?

[Answer: a quarter-horse]

"Walk For Life" March - San Francisco

The march drew many an over-the-top pro-abortion advocate in an effort to counter-demonstrate. A few of my faves: A few observations: Isn't advocating the stoppage of breeding a bit short-sighted (although it would put an end to a few disturbing lineages)? Also, and I know this is quaint, but isn't there another "body" involved other than your own? Finally (and more about this at a later date), there seems to have been a subtle, but clear, shift from from "health of the mother" arguments to at least a tacit admission of abortion for convenience sake only.

I Knew I Liked This Guy

John Bolton explains that President Bush will not accept a nuclear Iran. I can just imagine the anti-Bushies, anti-war, anti-nukes (?), Greenpeace joining, tree-hugging liberals having the vapors over this sentiment. "Who are we to..." they will say. Or, "The arrogance of George Bush to..." Puh-leeze! The question whether a regime that had not two months ago called for the annihilation of a sovereign nation, and who finances and trains suicide bombers to kill innocent men, women and children, and who recently held a conference to dispute the historical accuracy of the Holocaust, and who has admittedly drawn up the military plan for the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon world should be allowed to build nuclear weapons and their delivery systems cannot be approached as though it were a "lifestyle" choice. Unfortunately, we're not dealing here with the consequences of recognizing same-sex marriage, but I swear that's what these people sound like.

Canada Moves Right

Thirteen years of liberal party rule has ended in Canada. This is slightly off topic, but there is something...not...quite...right with the liberal brain (no pun intended). I've been reading and posting about the controversy over the UCLA alumni group offering money for tapes of radical comments by professors in class, with the latest being an op-ed piece in my local paper entitled "Monitoring Professors Tramples Free Speech" (no need to read that one!) and I just don't get it. It starts with the reluctance to label oneself "left-wing" or "liberal" and is further manifested in this very squishy and intellectually weak thinking evidenced by the position the left takes in this debate. How can further disseminating a professor's viewpoint "trample" his free speech rights? Why would spreading his credo to an even larger audience somehow restrict his academic freedom? Well, it doesn't. What it does, however, is cast the light of day on the guy (or gal, of course) and take his pontifications beyond his captive audience to persons who may actually be in a position to refute them. But that's typical for liberals in academe: They are not accustomed to being challenged on pretty much any political, social or moral position. When they are challenged, they have little ability to respond and, consequently, feel as though their academic freedom is being cut short. They forget that freedom of speech is a two way street.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Hate Conquers All...Especially Reason

One of the least attractive, and disturbing, similarities that exist out there are between the rantings of the left's fever-swamp-dwelling, tin-foil-hat-wearing wing, and the pronouncements of, oh...for example, Middle Eastern dictators. Bashar al-Assad proclaims that Israel assassinated Arafat, and the choir cheers. No facts necessary. Just an abiding, irrational hatred for Jews will do. The Michael Moore-wing proclaims "war for oil" or "Bush lied, people died" or "Bush is the world's biggest terrorist." Again no facts necessary. Just an abiding, irrational hatred will do.

A 7th Century Philosophy In a 21st Century World

I had previously posted about the comments by Pope Benedict re the inherent intractability of Islam to "modernize" (my word) and find its place in a 21st century world. It is the Pope's view that, because there's no way to reinterpret the Koran -- i.e., change Koranic teachings on infidels, women, polygamy, penal codes and other markers of Islamic law, it cannot find a basis upon which to co-exist with the West. I believe this is part of the most important and relevant analysis of why Islam has "bloody borders" (a phrase I believe first used by historian Samuel Huntington) wherever it appears and why the prospects of some sort of accommodative coexistence with Western cultures and religions is remote. Diane West has a great column on this today. Coincidentally, I'm currently reading "The Victory of Reason : How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success" which deals tangentially with this question but from a broader perspective.

Plantation Mentality?

"The dilemma for Democrats, liberals and the civil rights establishment is that they become redundant and lose power the instant blacks move beyond grievance and begin to succeed by dint of their own hard work. So they persecute such blacks, attack their credibility as blacks, just as they pander to blacks who define their political relationship to America through grievance. " Read all of Shelby Steele's piece about Condi and Hillary. It hits the nail on the head.

Words Of Wisdom

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight; nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety; is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better persons than himself." — John Stuart Mill Visit the site Patriotism vs Terrorism.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Honor Killings On The Rise Among Palestinians

Read this fascinating piece about the increase in "honor killings" in the West Bank and Gaza. I've written before about the problems experienced in societies that make paramount concepts of collective shame and collective honor, rather than the Judeo-Christian concepts of right versus wrong or, as Dennis Prager would say, decency versus indecency. And, of course, there is always the victim cult crowd who blames the increase in these honor killings upon Israel, but that's another story for another day.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Joke Of The Day

A fifty-ish woman was at home happily jumping on her bed and squealing with delight. Her husband watches her for a while and asks? "Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look? What's the matter with you?" The woman continues to bounce on the bed and says, "I don't care .. I just came from having a mammogram and the doctor says I have the breasts of an 18 year-old." The husband says, "What did he say about your 56 year old ass?" "Your name never came up," she replies. [Hat tip: GG]

There's A Discrimination Lawsuit In There Somewhere

Black smokers take in 30% more nicotine per cigarette than white smokers.

But If We Could Only Get Them To Talk Until We're "Blue In The Gills"

Hassan Abbassi, the architect of Iran's "war preparation plan" has said: "We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization... "

The pic above is from the conference at which the President of Iran gave his now infamous remarks about "wiping Israel off the map." Note the already broken globe at the bottom of the hourglass and take a few minutes to read this post at Regime Change Iran.

Are There Any "Moderate" Muslims?

In Egypt, a Muslim country, a group of Muslims violently attempt to prevent the building of a Christian church. Stick with me here. Islam is by far the dominant religion in Egypt. The church was being built by Christian Copts, who make up about 10% of the population, so we obviously don't have the argument of Muslim "marginalization" leading to violence. I also think it's pretty safe to assume that the understanding of Islam in Egypt must be pretty mainstream vis a vis Muslims worldwide. Yet things like this happen fairly regularly, not only in Egypt but in other Muslim countries as well (which all generally prohibit or severely restrict the practice of other religions, much less the buildings of their houses of worship). When does something like this cease being labeled aberrant and instead finally classified as emblematic? UPDATE: "It is said he was preaching murder, but he was actually preaching from the Koran itself." That quote is from the defense attorney in the UK trial of Abu Hamza defending his client against a "hate speech"/incitement to murder prosecution. Hamza said words to the effect "the trees will call out to the Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him”. The defense is that these were not his words per se but words from the Hadith (i.e. the book of the sayings Muhammadmed). OK. So we should feel better that when a Muslim cleric calls for the murder of Jews, he's "only" quoting from his holy scripture? Isn't that the problem many have (and rightfully should have) with Islam? That it's holiest words that are preached regularly today, not 500 years ago, call for this sort of thing...and more?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Basketball And Girlie Men

I'm NY Knicks fan and an attorney. However, I'm honest enough to admit that the Knicks are terrible and attorneys often deserve the reputation they have. Case in point. Antonio Davis, NY Knick forward, was suspended for 5 games for going into the stands the other night to protect his wife, who he believed was being threatened in some manner by a drunk fan. An attorney on behalf of the 22 year old fan, the son of some prominent Dem consultant, has threatened a $1 million battery and slander lawsuit against Mr. and Mrs. Davis unless the couple donate some undisclosed sum to a charity and Mr. Davis takes back his drunk comment. What a weinee. The case is no more worth $1 million than I'm related to the Emir of Kuwait. Also, please note that the battery claim is against Mrs. Davis and not her 6'9" 245 pound husband, so it would seem that the Missus made physical contact of some sort with this weinee...and he's suing her for it. Did I mention, what a weinee? Just like a liberal Democrat to look to the courts for relief rather than deal with the situation like a man.

Parent Of The Year

"He certainly didn't go to Afghanistan to do anything against America. He never fought against America. He never fired a gun at an American. " And how the heck do you know that you freakin' idiot of a parent? Of whom do I rant? Frank Lindh, father of "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh. Here's a great example of liberal parenting. How many normal people would be thrilled that their 12 year old son had taken an interest in Islam after watching "Malcolm X" and then , a few years later (what, when he was 14?), allow him to convert from Roman Catholicism to Islam, go to Yemen and become an Islamic scholar? ("It's a wonderful thing for an American kid to go overseas and study, to learn another language, to learn another religion, these are great things") And they wonder why their kid is serving 20 years without possibility of parole?

"The Girls Of Hamas"

I shamelessly nabbed this from LGF via Reuters.

If It Walks Like A Left-Wing Wacko...

"This is the equivalent of Orwell's thought police" "Ideological witch hunt" "These are conspiracy theories to help silence anyone who critiques their political ideology" What are these folks getting so exercised about? An alumni group from UCLA offering to pay cash for tapes of university profs espousing their far-left, fever swamp views during class. What is quite interesting is the notion that faithfully reporting what these folks actually say in class to their students is some form of "witch hunt" or effort to suppress "academic freedom." If I'm willing to pontificate while teaching my Applied Sciences class about how Bush = Hitler, then I'd better damn well have no problem with it leaving the classroom.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Now, If George Bush Had Made This Comment...

Jacques Chirac has gone on record as willing to use nuclear weapons in response to an attack from a terrorist state. Now, if he is using the term "state" in the conventional sense, who might he be referring to? Let's see, I think we can rule out Israel, Pakistan, the U.K. and India as posing a terrorist threat to France. North Korea doesn't have the delivery system and I don't think, despite our recent hard times, that the U.S. is planning an attack on Paris. Could this be tough talk directed to Iran?

Breaking News: "Truce" Offered By Bin Laden (Look Up Defintion of "Hudna")

A tape of a message allegedly from Osama bin Laden offers a "truce": "The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. But the operations are happening in Baghdad and you will see them here at home the minute they are through (with preparations), with God's permission," he said."We do not mind offering you a long-term truce with fair conditions that we adhere to," he said. "We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America." What to make of this? It is not a sign of strength (see, discussion of "hudna" below), but it is a sign of political opportunism by someone who certainly does not see decisive victory anywhere on the horizon. My hunch is it's an effort to further sway American (and Western) public opinion against the war in Iraq, and the war on terror generally, by offering an apparent opportunity to put an end to the hostilities and justify a drawing down of troop strength. If and when that occurs, it will be back to business as usual for al Qaeda since a truce does not achieve the objective of a world-wide caliphate. Also, and this is important but will be largely ignored, a "truce" in Islam with non-believers is called a "hudna" and is limited to a ten year period. It is offered when Muslims are in a weakened state. I can't wait to see who from the tin-foil-hat-brigade comes out first to suggest we at least "explore" this option.

***ALERT*** Major Terrorist Plot Against U.S. Thwarted ***ALERT***

Read here, here and here about Italian authorities uncovering a terrorist plot to conduct a series of major attacks within the U.S. Arrests took place in December of last year, the result of information obtained by way of wiretaps. Why has this not been reported extensively throughout the MSM??!! Connect the dots. Quite obviously because it would remind Americans that we are still at war and still facing major threats, and because the plot was uncovered through the use of wiretap surveillance not unlike that used by the NSA and being criticized by the very same media.

Would A Sock Puppet In An Appropriate Place Be OK?

I came across this awhile ago, but plumb forgot to post. Here goes. An Egyptian cleric has issued a fatwa that nudity (complete, I presume) during intercourse invalidates a marriage (to the person you are intercoursing, I presume). A problem with Islam is that there is no central authority, so to speak, and each cleric or imam is free to issue his own rulings based upon his reading of the Qur'an. However, bear in mind that, for Muslims, the reading of the Qur'an is an effort to understand the literal words of Allah (inasmuch as Muhammad, who could not read nor write, was therefore providing verbatim the words of his god), rather than to try to understand God's direction as written down by his inspired followers.

What We Need Are Better Negotiations!

What I wouldn't give for a constructive debate on Iran (or any other important issue for that matter). "Plantation Mama" Clinton knows that any responsible person must see Iran's nuclear ambitions as a global threat. However, she can't avoid playing to the far left so must bash the Bush Administration. For what? For leaving the negotiations to France, Germany and England. Tell me if I'm wrong, but whenever we (i.e. Republican administration) seeks to negotiate unilaterally, it's a sign of hubris. However, if we leave negotiations to a multilateral group, it's the wrong decision. More importantly, and the reason why you simply cannot afford a liberal Dem in the White House in these times. Does anyone truly believe that "proper" negotiations with Iran over the past two years would have resulted in it giving up its nuclear ambitions? Remember how well that worked with North Korea. [P.S. to Hillary: that was your hubby's administration along with the always ineffective former President Carter who handled that one]

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What's "The Ringer" About Anyway?

I am not obsessed with "Brokeback Mountain," honest. I just took a minute to check out a few box office stats in light of the claim that this movie, with its controversial (?) subject matter is doing so well. It has been in release for 6 weeks and grossed $30.8 million. Ignoring blockbusters like "King Kong" and "Narnia," here are stats for a few other flicks in release 6 weeks or less: "Memoirs of a Geisha" $46.5 million (6 weeks) "Fun with Dick and Jane" $92.6 million (4 weeks) "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" $ 73.0 million (4 weeks) "Munich" $32.9 million (4 weeks) "The Ringer" $31.4 million (4 weeks) "The Family Stone" $56.7 million (5 weeks)

The Bible And The Qur'an

The words of Pope Benedict, as reported by Father Joseph Fessio: "There's a fundamental problem with [Isalm reinterpreting the Qur'an for today], because he said in the Islamic tradition, God has given His Word to Muhammad, but it's an eternal Word. It's not Muhammad's word. It's there for eternity, the way it is. There's no possibility of adapting it or interpreting it, whereas in Christianity, and Judaism, the dynamism's completely different: that God has worked through His creatures. And so, it is not just the Word of God, it's the word of Isaiah, not just the Word of God, but the word of Mark. He's used His human creatures, and inspired them to speak His word to the world. And therefore by establishing a Church in which he gives authority to His followers to carry on the tradition and interpret it, there's an inner logic to the Christian Bible, which permits it and requires it to be adapted and applied to new situations."

Good News Is No News

By any chance have you seen this story reported?

One Person's "Sexual Predator" Is Another's Knight In Shining Armor

Why is the term "sexual predator" considered an incendiary one in the gay community? I ask because critic Gene Shalit has apologized for using that term in his initial review of "Brokeback Mountain." He went on to say: "I certainly had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone in the gay community or on the community itself. I regret any emotional hurt that may have resulted from my review of `Brokeback Mountain.'" How is a "community" emotionally injured by a moviegoer's perception of a character on the screen? I haven't seen the movie but if one of the characters comes across to some as a sexual predator, so be it. Remember the Bret Easton Ellis book (and then movie) "American Psycho"? That story surely cast a few aspersions on the white, heterosexual male community. I don't recall any upset over that aspect of the movie. The hypersensitive identity politicians have the right to issue notices of their aggrievment. The problem lies with the spineless who respond.

The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling...Well, It Very Well Could...

Max Boot makes the fact-based point that, despite all the hue and cry from the left over the Patriot Act, and now the NSA intercepts, there have been no confirmed cases of actual abuses or civil rights violations. Take a deep breath and think about it. The President authorized eavesdropping on communications between al Qaeda members abroad and its contacts in the United States. Presumably, Al Gore, Howard Dean and the rest would have been outraged if FDR had authorized warrantless surveillance of Nazi Germany's agents here.

Selective Outrage From The Left

In 1980, three teenagers working in a Fresno market were murdered. They were killed by a "hit man" hired by a man already convicted of a previous murder for hire who was now trying to eliminate witnesses. That man was Clarence Ray Allen and, after 24 years on death row, he was finally executed. What are the obvious observations here? Well, if he had been executed for the first "special circumstance" murder, the three teens would still be alive today. Also, I don't recall any media coverage of any "vigils" leading up to this execution ala Tookie Williams, and I certainly don't recall seeing or hearing Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or Louis Farrakhan speaking out against it. Nor do I recall that fool and former M*A*S*H star carrying on either. I guess capital punishment is only wrong when the condemned is black. [Note: Allen was Native American as far as I know]

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Those That Do Not Remember History...

I found this at Sleepy Geek and it is a reminder of what our MSM never reports, but should if it was actually engaging in unbiased newsgathering. The usual suspects (NOW, NARAL, ACLU, PETA, MoveOn.org, etc...etc...etc...) screech the same Chicken Little predictions every time and...strangely enough...these apocalyptic predictions never, ever come true. All they do is substitute the name of the most recent Republican appointee. Despite this abysmal batting average, each time history repeats itself it is reported as though it was the first time. Do you think your typical short-attention-spanned voter might think differently about NOW's hand-wringing over Judge Alito if it was also reported that NOW argued the same case against Rehnquist, Thomas and Souter? Why would any thinking person take the advice of a group that has never been right! [Note: I suspect if any women died as a result of Judge Souter, we would have heard about it by now]

The Sad Thing Is, It Doesn't Matter To Democrats

Stop the presses! Ted Kennedy, the ancient bloviating womanizer, belongs to a club that excludes women. If memory serves, wasn't he trying to excoriate Judge Alito over the same thing? Nah...couldn't be...that would be hypocritical and liberals are not known for that quality...are they?

But A Republican Parks His Car Near A Polling Place And Its On CNN

The trial of the Democratic party "tire slashers" is on the way in Wisconsin. Recall the story during the 2004 (!) presidential election where members of the local Dem party slashed the tires of vans intended to be used to ferry GOP voters to the polls. Two of the five accused are kids of prominent local Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee). Her son, Sowande Omokunde, age 26, was a Democrat campaign staffer. Two observations: I simply cannot envision Republicans/conservatives doing something like this and I'll tell you why. We believe we are right and that our opponents are misguided, ignorant and wrong. However, we don't consider them as perpetrating an evil that must be stopped by any means necessary. Hence, we avoid inflicting property damage. Why is Gwen Moore's son named "Sowande Omokunde"? He's no closer connected to his West African(?) heritage than I am to my ancient Roman. However, in keeping with the this trendiness of exhibiting solidarity with our roots, if I ever have a son I will name him "Marcus Aurelius Republicus Ottaiano."

Is It Any Wonder Why We're Raising Generations Of Illiterates

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, KS, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal. I have always known to be true the fact that kids taught in the America of 100-150 years ago were clearly more articulate and knowledgeable. If you don't believe me, take a few moments and read the letters in From Fields of Fire and Glory and then tell me most of our college educated kids have vocabularies like those of the average Civil War soldier.

8th GRADE FINAL EXAM Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.

2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no Modifications.

3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.

4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of lie, lay and run

5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.

6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.

7. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050lbs. for tare?

4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?

8. Find bank discount on $300 for! 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U. S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U. S. History is divided.

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, sub vocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of North America.

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall &Orinoco.

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

[Hat tip: Mrs RTH!]

Are You Sitting Down? It is Now Discriminatory To "Over-Promote" Minorities

A black police bodyguard assigned to protect the Duchess of Cornwall has reached a settlement with the London Metro Police for "over-promoting" him. He claimed the only reason he obtained the prestigious position was because he was black. However, because he was unqualified, it lead to his re-assignment. This will soon happen here and, quite frankly from an American law perspective, it makes sense. The argument will be that an employer is discriminating against its minority employees by promoting them even though they are not qualified in anticipation that they will fail and then be terminated or reassigned. It is inevitable.

Ben Franklin

This great man was born 300 years ago today.

A Rant Against Hillary's Plantation

As I approach the half-century mark (yikes!), I find myself becoming less-tolerant of the intolerable, and less diplomatic regarding ignorance. Hillary Clinton, speaking at an MLK Day event, compares the Republican party to a "plantation" and screams the canard about the federal government "turning its back" on Hurricane Katrina survivors. I don't know who I have more contempt for. Hillary, who I suspect doesn't believe a word of what she is saying, or her predominantly black audience who erupts into vociferous cheers whenever she, or any other Dem, reminds them of how downtrodden they are in 21st century America. OK. Today I have more contempt for the audience who, it is reported, responded with "thunderous applause" to Hillary's remarks. What losers. I cannot imagine my immigrant grandfather, who was called a "wop" and a "guinea" to his face, and who had no choice but to take work as barber, wondering when the government was going to come to his rescue. I cannot imagine the grandparents and great grandparents of the Irish kids I grew up with, waiting for someone to come to their rescue in the face of "Irish Need Not Apply" signs on most storefronts. The irony lost on the race-baiters and their willing accomplices is starkly evident. What is more "plantation" like than a group of adult black men and women gathered together to cheer the words of the big, powerful white women who has come to deliver them from their oppressive existences? Give me a break.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Death Penalty

Please take a minute to read this piece by a former death penalty opponent who has now reconsidered when a brutal murder hits close to home. She eloquently describes the transformation from the theoretical to the concrete (a journey most death penalty opponents likely haven't taken), but still ponders over the real issue of "what if...?" To me, the most interesting observation is found in the closing graph: "The jury verdict for Constantine's killer was life in prison without parole. Although he'll die in jail, there's a part of me that wishes he got the death penalty. I'm not proud of this, nor am I sure that next year, or even next month, I'll feel this way." It's interesting because I can't embrace the notion that one should feel regret or disappointment in oneself because of the belief that the killer of an innocent human being should lose his life. But that, I suppose, is where the debate starts.

Ugly-Muslimism

And to what Muslim-dominated country can a Christian go and expect accommodation of his faith? This used to be called "ugly-Americanism", the notion that wherever Americans traveled throughout the world, we expected that the local culture would provide in the manner to which we were accustomed; and it was justly derided by the rest of the world. I don't hear you.

Just Trying To Spread The Word

I'm reproducing my letter to the editor of my local rag taking issue with a characterization of Judge Alito that I've read repeatedly but which simply isn't true. If you're interested in facts, that is. "Letter writer XXXXXX ["How could Alito have justified strip search of a child?" 1/14/06] provides an example of what occurs when Democrat talking points are allowed to go unchallenged. I suspect she, as well as others who are anti-Alito, have neither read the case nor even a summary of its facts. The case, which involved the sale of illegal drugs, was called Doe v Groody and had to do with whether a search warrant had adequately described "the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." The face of the warrant identified John Doe as the person to be searched, while an attached affidavit identified an adult female and the ten year old girl in question. The adult female and the ten year old girl were not "strip searched" but instead were "patted down" by a female officer in private. Two of the three judges ruled that the attached affidavit should not have been considered part of the warrant and, therefore, the search of the adult female and the ten year old girl was unauthorized because it was technically without the benefit of a valid warrant. Judge Alito disagreed stating that the affidavit should have been considered part of the warrant. He also stated that, although he had concerns over the search of the ten year old girl, it was not the issue before the court. So, in truth this case was not in any way decided on the basis of whether the "strip search" of a minor was constitutional. Moreover, Judge Alito exercised appropriate judicial restraint in not going beyond the question before the court. Just the sort of judicial philosophy that makes for a great Supreme Court justice." The letter wasn't published.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Questions For The Doves

Iran is on its way to developing a nuclear weapon. It likely already has the ability to provide "dirty bomb" materials to terrorists. It has harbored and financed anti-American and anti-Israeli terrorist organizations, it's president has openly called for the destruction of Israel and is sponsoring a conference to examine (i.e. refute) the Holocaust. It has removed the U.N. seals from its nuclear reactors and shows no intention of allowing U.N. monitoring or oversight of its nuclear program. Israel is contemplating a preemptive strike and there is much talk about what to do with this emerging, although not yet imminent, threat. On the left, the talk runs from denial of the threat ("this is all Bush Administration b.s.") to equivalence ("who are we to prevent Iran from having nukes if we have them") to the only solution is to sit down and negotiate ("appease, appease, appease"). If you fall within any of these categories, please answer the following questions: 1. Is there any reason to not take the Iranian president at his word when he says Iran has the "right" to a nuclear weapons program? 2. Is there any reason to not take the Iranian president at his word when he says Israel must be "wiped off" the map? 3. Is the world a less safe place or a more safe place if Iran, under it's current regime, has nuclear weapon capability? 4. Describe a viable diplomatic solution that would prevent (or convince) Iran from developing nuclear weapons? [note: this excludes naive and pollyanish "solutions" such as America, Israel, India, Pakistan, etc unilaterally eliminate their nuclear arsenals so that everyone else can then follow]

And The KKK Is Holding A Conference To Examine Whether Slavery Actually Existed In North America

In another real life irony moment, Iran is planning a "Holocaust Conference" designed to examine the "scientific evidence" of whether the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews.

I Don't Get It....

I am still here in Italy, in Rome, during the one week out of the two weeks allowed a year by the government for businesses to have sales. To say it is bedlam is an understatement. I came home last night at not my normal time around 6 p.m. before shops are required to close and the lines were out the door of people waiting to get inside this clothing store. and literally hundreds were waiting outside of the famous brand stores like FENDI. At mass this morning, St. Peter's was unusually light in attendants because the locals were too busy shopping at the store sales the day before. It is unreal. What I do not get is...why would the government be so strict to regulate when businesses are allowed to have sales to just two times a year? Is this kind of regulation really helpful to their economy? It just seems so foreign to think the government is allowed to tell a business when they can discount their merchandise from everything to a cup to a car. Just weird.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Wide Awakes

Take a minute and visit The Wide Awakes.

Just Wondering

Here's something to think about. Why is it that one of the left's criticisms of endeavoring to establish a democracy in Iraq (and elsewhere in the Middle East), is that religious hardliners (read: terrorists) may be voted in is never heard when talking about the Palestinians voting for Hamas?

And Man Never Landed On The Moon

If Pat Robertson had said this (well, not the best example since he clearly has gone around the bend), the outcry would be enormous. The point isn't that some nutbag denies or tries to diminish the Holocaust, it's that it is fairly mainstream among Muslim-Arabs. I will grant you that the percentage is probably less among those in America, but I will bet a paycheck that it runs around 95% in the Middle East.

My Plural Union Includes My Goat...Will That Be A Problem?

This story reveals the disintegration of Western principles and morals on so many levels it's shocking. It is also disturbing since you can bet which religion's "polygamous marriages and plural unions" are sought to be legitimatized. I ask the question again: Why are social liberals so quick to destroy their pillars and replace them with those of another culture? Is it at all possible that perhaps we may have the better idea?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

"We Will Chop Of The Hands Of The Infidel! Death to Israel! Death To Amer...Hey, Abdul!...Stop Pushing..."

The usual stampede...the usual death toll. UPDATE: In another example of how life is often more satirical than satire, it seems the Brits had sent one of their chief constables over to the Kingdom to get a first-hand look at how “[t]he Saudi authorities have policed this massive annual undertaking with great success.” Ooops. [Hat tip: Dhimmi Watch]

"A Touchdown's A Touchdown...Right?"

(click to enlarge) The original caption for this photo was "A Blonde Moment" but since Mrs RTH! is a lovely blonde, I decided to forego it.

New IRS Form Proposed By Liberal Democrat Legislators

[Hat tip: Mrs RTH!]

Sad, So Sad

Here are quotes pulled from Byron York's National Review piece: "It's been a very, very bad day for him," said Nan Aron, head of the Alliance for Justice. By "him," she meant Alito, who had suffered, Aron said, severe blows to his credibility. "The credibility gap that existed before the hearing has become a credibility chasm," said People for the American Way head Ralph Neas, talking to reporters outside the hearing room. "Judge Alito has a profound problem both on substance and credibility grounds," said Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. I see this sort of thing often. I call it the "2+2=5 syndrome." On a larger scale, it has been known as the "Big Lie." The evidence or information is laid out for all to see, and it clearly and undoubtedly points in only one direction. However, the advocates on the losing side of the proposition will nevertheless continue to respond as though it wasn't there or, as in this case, as though it means just the opposite. The only credibility that has been compromised here is of the anti-Alito forces.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Quick Instruction On Con Law

Here's a transcript of an exchange between Senator Chuck Schumer and soon-to-be Justice Sam Alito [Thanks to Captain's Quarters]: SCHUMER: Does the Constitution protect the right to free speech? ALITO: Certainly it does. That's in the First Amendment. SCHUMER: So why can't you answer the question of: Does the Constitution protect the right to an abortion the same way without talking about stare decisis, without talking about cases, et cetera? ALITO: Because answering the question of whether the Constitution provides a right to free speech is simply responding to whether there is language in the First Amendment that says that the freedom of speech and freedom of the press can't be abridged. Asking about the issue of abortion has to do with the interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution. SCHUMER: Well, OK. I know you're not going to answer the question… For all you abortion rights fetishists out there, you have just read the debate in microcosm. There are certain rights clearly (and literally) spelled out in the Constitution such as the right to free speech (although I suspect Chuck Schumer wouldn't be so sanctimoniously in favor of another clearly and literally spelled out right...to bear arms), while others are not. That's why there is a debate over whether the Constitution recognizes and then protects certain rights. It is because they are not clearly identified and protected in the document itself. Anyone who argues in favor of abortion rights on the basis that such a right is clearly provided for in our Constitution is either uniformed or agenda-driven. Now that doesn't mean that plausible arguments cannot be made in favor of such a right. What it does mean is that the answer is not painfully obvious.

Brokeback Mountain

Quick observation. I have no desire to see this movie. I would have had no desire to see this movie even had it been a story of forbidden love between a cowboy and a cowgirl. Had it been more on the order of "Unforgiven" or "Open Range", I would have considered it even with a gay theme (although I'm not too sure how to work that into a tale of moral confusion and revenge in the Old West). So don't call me a homophobe. I'm more of a chick-flickphobe.

Tick, Tick,Tick...

Israel continues to sharpen its plan for a pre-emptive strike at Iran's nuclear facilities.

Rules Of Thumb

My rule of thumb regarding political systems in the 21st century is pretty simple: if it doesn't allow its citizens to freely leave its sphere of influence, it doesn't matter how great its system of universal health care supposedly may be. My newly developed rule of thumb regarding religions in the 21st century: if it still calls upon its adherents to sacrifice livestock in great numbers, it will not mesh well with modern societies.