Saturday, July 09, 2005

Let's Have This Fight

E. J. Dionne editorialized in WaPo Should a temporary majority of 50.7 percent have control over the entire United States government? Should 49.3 percent of Americans have no influence over the nation's trajectory for the next generation? Those are the stakes in the coming fight over the next Supreme Court justice. The much-maligned "outside groups" preparing for battle over President Bush's choice deserve credit for openly acknowledging this struggle for power.... That means that the most important questions for senators to ask a nominee have to do with his or her philosophy. It is preposterous to rule such questions out of bounds. It's also hypocritical.

Would EJ feel the same if a Democratic President was about to nominate liberal judges/
Paul @PowerLine blogged because President Bush obtained 51 percent of the vote in 2004 ("a temporary majority," Dionne calls it), he should not control the entire United States government for the next generation. This argument fails at several levels. First, the confirmation of one, two, or even three Supreme Court Justices by a president whose majority is temporary is most unlikely to confer control of the Court for a generation.
The Dems were always famous for over exageration.
The Court is like an archeological dig. Most (but not all) presidents leave one or two judges of their choosing on top of the prior layers, and together these layers comprise the Court for a while. The real question is whether President Bush will become the first twice-elected president (in my memory, anyway) not to leave Justices of his choosing on the Court. Second, Dionne's argument fails the same test that trips up nearly all Democratic arguments on this subject -- it was never applied when Democrats were in power. Did anyone suggest that President Clinton could not appoint liberals to the Court because he had failed to obtain a majority of the votes
No, as indicated earlier
(I guess Dionne should call Clinton's margins "temporary pluralities")? Did anyone say that Kennedy should not be permitted to appoint liberal Justices? Not that I recall; and if someone did, that person was ignored as Dionne should be. As always, the Democrats want to change the rules for no other reason than that the shoe is on the other foot. There are two plausible ways our democratic society can go about selecting Supreme Court Justices. Under one approach, the party in power is able to place Justices on the Court who are in tune with its general philosophy about judging.
This is the one provided by the founders when they wrote the Constitution.
Because Justices tend to stick around much longer than parties are able to stay in power, this approach yields an ideologically diverse Court, but one which should (but right now probably doesn't) reflect about a quarter of a century's worth of public opinion. The other model is to make the selection of Justices a truly collaborative effort between the two parties, in some fashion. These days, this approach (if it could produce nine Justices) would yield a Court full of non-descript moderates and difference-splitters.

The former approach is the one we have always used. How well it has worked is subject to debate. But there's no reason to think that the latter approach would work better, especially since the Democrats never advocated it until they started losing elections semi-regularly, and the Republicans have never advocated it. In any event, the Republicans shouldn't embrace a rule change that so transparently is designed to deny them the fruits of electoral success.

Dionne is right about one thing -- the Democrats should focus critically on the judicial philosophy of Bush's nominee[s]. And nominees should answer questions about their philosophy to the extent that prior practice (e.g., the confirmation hearings of Ginsburg and Breyer) warrants. But Democrats should not investigate the private lives of nominees. For example, they should not investigate what films a nominee rents, as they did with Robert Bork. And Dionne is completely off base in suggesting that Democrats do this only because nominees don't reveal enough about their philosophy. First, that's no excuse; second, the Democrats slimed Bork even though everyone had comprehensive knowledge of his philosophy.

Democratic Senators should also vote against nominees whose philosophy they (as opposed to Nan Aron and Ralph Neas) find too extreme. But they should not deny any nominee an up-or-down vote, and Dionne makes no attempt at an argument that would justify doing so. Finally, if/when they embark on their filibuster, the "temporary" majority party should exercise its right to change the Senate rules and put an end to the obstruction.

Ed Whelan blogged The basic question Dionne ought to be asking, of course, is of a very different nature: Should five justices be free to invent “rights” that have no legitimate basis in the text or structure of the Constitution and to deprive 300 million Americans of their constitutional power to set policy on those invented rights?

The Left seeks to entrench its agenda in the guise of the “living Constitution.” It wants justices to make up rights that aren’t in the real Constitution and to ignore rights that are. So-called “conservative extremists,” by contrast, recognize that the Constitution leaves the vast bulk of important issues to be decided by American citizens through their representatives. And, although the Left often asserts that “conservative” justices are as “activist” as “liberals,” it cannot even allege instances of judicial imposition of substantively conservative results that are remotely comparable to the Court’s broad-ranging — and patently illegitimate — imposition of the Left’s agenda over the last several decades.

PoliPundit blogged So I guess we should all just forget about that election thingy. I’m sure Dionne would say the same thing if Kerry had won, and Democrats - rather than Republicans - had gained four seats in the US Senate in 2004. Right? Right?


Stem Cell Legislation Is at Risk

WaPo reported Promising but still unproven new approaches

They are talking about Adult Stem Cells, which have surprised researchers by living a lot longer than they expected.
to creating human embryonic stem cells have suddenly jeopardized what once appeared to be certain Senate passage of a bill to loosen President Bush's four-year-old restrictions on human embryo research. The techniques are enticing to many conservative activists and scientists because they could yield medically valuable human embryonic stem cells without the creation or destruction embryos.
I.E. without killing embryos.
Embryonic stem cells are coveted because they have the capacity to become virtually every kind of body tissue and perhaps repair ailing organs, but they are controversial because days-old human embryos must be destroyed to retrieve them. "The new science that may involve embryo research but not require destruction of an embryo is tremendously exciting," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said recently. "It would get you outside of the boundaries of the ethical constraints." But because the value of these new scientific methods remains speculative, they have complicated the political calculus in the highly partisan Senate, which could take up the issue as early as next week.

Jo Fish blogged Yeah, "unethical research" on blobs of cells. As opposed to the extremely ethical position of allowing patients to suffer with diseases and failing organs that might be replaced with by the fruits of that "unethical research".
No it is about saving patients by using their own stem cells, rather than murdering embryos get stem cells.
So I guess it's the Christo-Fascist "Ethical Death of the Living" vs The "Unethical Research" on blobs of cellular material about to be discarded and destroyed. Ahhh, I get it now.
Yes the baby killing abortionists get such pleasure taking future life that they want to ignore the possibilities of Adult Stem Cell research
Orrin Judd: blogged Do supporters of the legislation really need to make the symbolic statement that the lives of others should be sacrificed for their own benefit, even if other methods that aren't immoral are available?


'Big Heart'

Yahoo! News reported U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid urged President Bush on Saturday to say "no to the far right" and nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court someone who will rule with "an open mind and a big heart." "We need an independent thinker who will follow the Constitution, not a knee-jerk conservative crusader who will march in lock-step to the tune of partisan pressure groups," Reid of Nevada said in his party's weekly radio address.

Which is it?Do you want an open mind (someone to think for themselves) or a big heart (a bleeding heart liberal?) Do you want an independent thinker (who will make up laws never passed by a legislature) or someone who will follow the Constitution (which is what Bush said he was looking for).
Kathryn Jean Lopez blogged ...only if he has a "big heart." That's Harry Reid's requirement for the Court. And don't get me started on his "open mind" requirement. (I know there's a cartoon scene ready-made for that one.) Harry Reid clearly wants Barney for SCOTUS

Hrairoo blogged Harry Reid and the other democrats want a Supreme Court nominee with "a big heart." I would prefer one with a large brain.


Defense Contractor Treats Reservest Poorly

Palm Beach Post reports Defense contractor Pratt & Whitney and two other companies agreed Thursday to pay a Delray Beach Army reservist $30,000 when they did not give him back the job he left when he was called to active duty in the Middle East. John W. Brainard, 61, was a retired major in the U.S. Army Reserve in April 2002 when was called to active duty. He spent four of the next six months in Kuwait, conducting military intelligence. He returned to Palm Beach County on a Friday in October 2002 and went to work at Pratt & Whitney's north Palm Beach County jet propulsion plant the following Monday. He had been a contractor at Pratt & Whitney — a division of United Technologies Corp. — dealing with a variety of issues, including the company's real estate holdings. Brainard found his desk was still there, but not his job. He declined the company's offer of part-time work at much less pay, he said. Brainard complained to the U.S. Department of Labor, which referred the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office. In agreeing to pay Brainard $30,000, Pratt & Whitney, EDF Company Inc. and ADP TotalSource Inc. denied violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (to see a PDF of the law, click here, but said it would be cheaper to settle than to contest the matter. The act requires employers to rehire workers whose absence from the job was caused by their military service. Employees are legally entitled to return to their old jobs or to new, comparable positions. Brainard said he was satisfied with the resolution of the case, because he wanted acknowledgement that "I wasn't treated as prudently... as they should have treated me on my return."

USERRA provides that,

  • if the period of service was less than 91 days, the person is entitled to the job he or she would have attained absent the military service, provided the person is, or can become, qualified for that job. If unable to become qualified for a new job after reasonable efforts by the employer, the person is entitled to the job he or she left.
  • For periods of service of 91 days or more, the employer may reemploy the returning employee as above (i.e., position that would have been attained or position left), or in a position of "like seniority, status and pay" the duties which the person is qualified to perform. (Section 4313)
It certainly does not seem to me that an offer of part-time work at much less pay meets the requirement of "like seniority, status and pay", and it seems paraticularly inappropriate for a Defense Contractor to treat a returning reservist like this.

Hat tip to The Florida Masochist


Yahoo News Blog

Yahoo! News has launched its first blog, a London Bombings blog. It supports comments and Permanent Link, but no TrackBack. I don't know whether they plan future blogs or not. This one seems a bit late, but I guess better late than never.

Hat Tip to Steve Rubel


Support London Bloggers

Chris Greenfeather blogged Head over to Elephant In My Coffee to sign their tag board that they'll be sending to bloggers in London.



CNet has started blogging. They have permalinks and comments, but no trackbacks.

Hat tip Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger


Holding Big Stories

E&P reported Cleveland's Plain Dealer Editor Doug Clifton says the Cleveland daily is not reporting two major investigative stories of "profound importance" because they are based on illegally leaked documents

An investigative reporter should not have to depend on illegally leaked documents to write a story for him; he should find out the facts for himself.
-- and the paper fears the consequences faced now by jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Lawyers for the Newhouse Newspapers-owned PD have concluded that the newspaper would almost certainly be found culpable if the leaks were investigated by authorities.


Condemnation Not Enough

Arab News reports The barbaric terrorist attacks in London yesterday were condemned by all civilized nations. In addition to condemning the atrocities, Muslim and Middle Eastern leaders were among the first to send messages of support, sympathy and solidarity with Britain. Words of condemnation and solidarity are fine and great in their symbolic value, but they are not enough unless backed by practical measures in cooperation with Britain and the rest of the civilized world to defeat the evil forces of terrorism.

To win the war against terror, and it must be won, we need to understand the terrorists’ strategy and tactics. First they need a motive, second an operational capability to carry out attacks, and third an aim. The last is almost impossible to identify in the case of Al-Qaeda, since it is not clear what constitutes a strategic “victory” for them. Unlike the IRA, the PLO, or ETA, who want recognition and are ready to decommission arms for political gain, Al-Qaeda’s strategy is terror for the sake of terror. And their aim is to destroy our way of life and what our democracy represents. Hence while the IRA for example gives warning before bombs designed to cause maximum disruption and economic harm go off, Al-Qaeda’s terrorists have no respect for human life. It is important, when fighting terrorists, to address the three areas of their tactics. And it is important to get the balance right between the three (removing the motives, depriving terrorists of operational capabilities and denying them the chance to claim success by changing our way of life). It would be meaningless to deploy heavy military tactics against terrorists in a way that would increase anger and animosity and create more terrorists.
I would not worry about that. We can kill them faster than they can grow new ones. If there is an obvious military target (like the training camps in Afganistan) they should be targeted.
For example while the war in Afghanistan was successful in destroying Al-Qaeda the war in Iraq has created more anger.
Perhaps, but the anger is not because of the use of force, but the fact that the Iraqis seem to like the idea of Democracy.
Britain, which still enjoys the support and admiration in the Middle East and Muslim world, must work hard not to lose this support; but it is also the duty of Muslims to join the alliance in fighting terrorism. Muslims countries suffered from Al-Qaeda’s terrorism long before London bombs, and it is important that political leaders, clergy, Arab and Muslim commentators make an unequivocal statement condemning terrorism in all its forms. It is not right to call a suicide bomber a “shaheed” or martyr, just because he supports a cause those commentators and clergy consider just or right. Murder is murder, as one respected Muslim scholar after another told me yesterday, quoting from the Qur’an (“Who he destroys one human soul destroys the whole of humanity”). Thus they must declare that any attack on civilians, or even on off-duty soldiers is an act of terrorism. As millions of Muslims congregate for Friday prayers today, I hope the message from their imams will be clear in condemning terrorism and ruling that Islamic teachings forbid killing. It is also important that commentators and media here in Britain do not fall into a trap of giving the terrorists a victory by deepening a division between Muslims and the rest of the community. Most importantly, terrorists should not be allowed to force us to change our way of life. Yesterday several commentators in the Middle East admired the bravery and the calm of the British people as they went about their business, and many recalled Sir Winston Churchill’s spirit that defeated the Nazis, saying the same spirit would prevail and defeat terrorism. One Muslim Arab friend e-mailed me a message of solidarity in the name of his colleagues in his newsroom saying, “We stand shoulder to shoulder with Britain, as an attack on London is an attack on all Arabs, London is and will remain, the capital of the whole of Middle East and the capital of the free world.’’ Let’s prove him right.


Leading Cardinal Redefines Church's View on Evolution

NYT reported An influential cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, which has long been regarded as an ally of the theory of evolution, is now suggesting that belief in evolution as accepted by science today may be incompatible with Catholic faith. The cardinal, Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, a theologian who is close to Pope Benedict XVI, staked out his position in an Op-Ed article in The New York Times on Thursday, writing, "Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not." In a telephone interview from a monastery in Austria, where he was on retreat, the cardinal said that his essay had not been approved by the Vatican, but that two or three weeks before Pope Benedict XVI's election in April, he spoke with the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, about the church's position on evolution. "I said I would like to have a more explicit statement about that, and he encouraged me to go on," said Cardinal Schönborn. He said that he had been "angry" for years about writers and theologians, many Catholics, who he said had "misrepresented" the church's position as endorsing the idea of evolution as a random process.

Sounds to me that he is endorsing Intelligent Design
One of the strongest advocates of teaching alternatives to evolution is the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which promotes the idea, termed intelligent design, that the variety and complexity of life on earth cannot be explained except through the intervention of a designer of some sort. Mark Ryland, a vice president of the institute, said in an interview that he had urged the cardinal to write the essay. Both Mr. Ryland and Cardinal Schönborn said that an essay in May in The Times about the compatibility of religion and evolutionary theory by Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, suggested to them that it was time to clarify the church's position on evolution. The cardinal's essay, a direct response to Dr. Krauss's article, was submitted to The Times by a Virginia public relations firm, Creative Response Concepts, which also represents the Discovery Institute.


Saturday, July 9

This Day In History

  • 1540   England's King Henry VIII had his 6-month-old marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, annulled.
  • 1776   The Declaration of Independence was read aloud to Gen. George Washington's troops in New York.
  • 1816   Argentina declared independence from Spain.
  • 1847   A 10-hour work day was established for workers in the State of New Hampshire. It’s now down to eight hours, minus time for breaks, lunch and general goofing-off...
  • 1850   Zachary Taylor, the 12th president of the United States, died after serving only 16 months in office.
  • 1872   The doughnut cutter was patented by John F. Blondel of Thomaston, ME.
  • 1878   The corncob pipe was patented by Henry Tibbe of Washington, MO.
  • 1910   The first airplane to fly a mile in the air did so this day with W.R. Brookins of Atlantic City, NJ at the controls.
  • 1947   The engagement of Britain's Princess Elizabeth to Lt. Philip Mountbatten was announced.
  • 1974   Former Chief Justice Earl Warren died at age 83.
  • 1982   A Pan Am Boeing 727 crashed in Kenner, La., killing all 146 people aboard and eight people on the ground.
  • 1986   The attorney general's Commission on Pornography released the final draft of its 2,000-page report, which linked hard-core porn to sex crimes.
  • 1992   Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton tapped Sen. Al Gore of Tennessee to be his running mate.
  • 1995   The Grateful Dead played their last concert, at Soldier Field in Chicago.
  • 1997   Boxer Mike Tyson was banned from the ring and fined $3 million for biting opponent Evander Holyfield's ear.
  • 2001   A court in Chile ruled that Gen. Augusto Pinochet could not be tried on human rights charges because of his deteriorating health and mental condition.
  • 2002   The Senate voted to entomb thousands of tons of radioactive waste inside Yucca Mountain in the Nevada desert, rejecting the state's fervent protests.
  • 2002   The baseball All-Star game in Milwaukee finished in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings when both teams ran out of pitchers.
  • 2002   Academy Award-winning actor Rod Steiger died at age 77.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1927   Ed Ames (singer: group: The Ames Brothers)
  • 1938   Brian Dennehy (actor: Cocoon, 10, Presumed Innocent, First Blood)
  • 1947   O.J. (Orenthal James) Simpson
  • 1956   Tom (Thomas J.) Hanks (Academy Award-winning actor: Forrest Gump)
  • 1976   Fred Savage (actor: The Wonder Years)


Friday, July 08, 2005

Blogs seen as powerful new tool in U.S. court fight

Reuters reported Political groups preparing to battle over the first U.S. Supreme Court nomination in 11 years have a powerful new tool -- Internet blogs -- to spread information quickly and influence decision makers without relying on traditional media. Web logs likely numbering in the dozens provide a way for the thoughtful and the passionate to publish their views. Politicians are taking notice as they prepare for the first high court nomination fight since the Internet became common in American households. President Bush has yet to name a replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her retirement last week. With the vacancy and eventual nominee comes intense debate over the court's future. "A key part of our strategy is reaching out to the Internet community," said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Blogs and similar forums have been around since the early days of the Internet, but only in the last year have they begun to have an impact on public opinion and lawmakers, congressional staffers and bloggers said. A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project said that 7 percent of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the Internet have created a blog or web-based diary. Reid and other political leaders now hold conferences with bloggers in the same way they meet with traditional press. "I think they are instrumental in getting information out and deconstructing spin," said Eric Ueland, chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican. "They are much defter and swifter than the mainstream media," he said, adding that blogs are also "very clear in their philosophical and idealogical leanings."

We don't even have a nominee yet, however I have already posted several items about the subject.


Man grabs girl's arm – now he's a sex offender

WorldNetDaily reported A man who grabbed a 14-year-old girl's arm to chastise her after she walked in front of his car, causing him to swerve to avoid hitting her, must register as a "sex offender," the Appellate Court of Illinois has ruled. Fitzroy Barnaby, a 28-year-old Evanston, Illinois, man was prosecuted for attempted kidnapping and child abduction charges following a November 2002 incident in which he nearly hit the teen with his vehicle. The girl testified Barnaby yelled, "Come here, little girl," when he jumped out of his car and grabbed her arm. She broke away and called authorities. Barnaby says he was merely trying to lecture her for her carelessness. The trial jury accepted Barnaby's version of the story, but found him guilty of unlawful restraint of a minor – a sex offense under Illinois law. As a convicted sex offender, Barnaby is required to be listed on the state's sex offender registry and must keep authorities informed of his place of residency. He also isn't allowed to live near schools or parks. The Illinois Sex Offender Information website, operated by the Illinois State Police, lists those in the registry, along with their photographs and home addresses. Trial Judge Patrick Morse ordered registration reluctantly, acknowledging it was "more likely than not" Barnaby only intended to chastise the girl. "I don't really see the purpose of registration in this case. I really don't," Morse said. "But I feel that I am constrained by the statute.".... The appellate court agreed it was "unfair for [Barnaby] to suffer the stigmatization of being labeled a sex offender when his crime was not sexually motivated," however it sided with the state's attorney who argued it is "the proclivity of offenders who restrain children to also commit sex acts or other crimes against them." "It is [Barnaby's] actions which have caused him to be stigmatized, not the courts," reads the decision.

Normally I dont report items from WorldNetDaily, because sometimes they are not really accurate, but this time three bloggers I respect Professor Stephen Bainbridge, Patterico, and Danny Carlton (aka Jack Lewis) have posted about it.

Professor Stephen Bainbridge blogged Sorry, but basic statutory construction teaches that if a literal construction of the words of a statute is absurd, the act must be so construed as to avoid the absurdity. Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457 (1892).

Patterico blogged The Professor characterizes this as an exercise of “basic statutory construction.” For those of you who don’t know, statutory interpretation doctrines, sometimes referred to as the “canons of statutory interpretation,” have developed organically in the common law, and lay down a series of prescriptions, such as “eiusdem generis,” which instructs that hen a general word or phrase follows a list of specific ones, the general word will be interpreted to include only things of the same type as listed.

The problem is that even the most settled and noncontroversial canons are problematic. Various scholars (and judges, such as Alex Kozinski, in his article “Should Reading Legislative History Be an Impeachable Offense?” 31 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 807 (1998)) have attacked them as self-contradictory and imposing no real restraint upon the judges called upon to examine statutes.

What’s worse, Professor Bainbridge doesn’t rely upon one of these non-controversial ones, but rather one introduced in Holy Trinity Church v. United States. This case purports to be about discovering “legislative intent” behind the enactment of a statute. However, as Justice Scalia rightly notes in his book A Matter of Interpretation, legislative intent is simply “a handy cover for judicial intent.”

Danny Carlton (aka Jack Lewis) blogged There are two very serious problems with this outrage. One, children will die, because people will be afraid to help, lest they too be labeled a sex-offender. Second, the title of sex-offender will become less and less the serious label it is now, until it may very well become an anachronism. The result will be that real sex-offenders will become empowered by the overzealous idiocy of courts like these.

My question is, if this is a recent decision by the Appellate Court of Illiniois, why isn’t it listed at


SCOTUS Question of the Day

K. J. Lopez blogged on The Corner In the last half hour the new rumor that is keeping political geeks awake: Rehnquist and Stevens resign tomorrow. (Up until a little ago, the buzz was Renquist, as I noted in Bench Memos.)

ProfessorBainbridge blogged Is John Paul Stevens still enough of a Republican to let his successor be chosen by a Republican President?

That would be fantastic


Islamofascism: The Next Step

La Shawn Barber blogged Before I post my thoughts on the London attacks or Islamofascism in general, I want to solicit your views. In light of yesterday’s attacks, what are your theories and ideas about how to defeat or least contain global terrorism? As you reply, it may be helpful to consider one or more of the following:

  • Terrorist cells in America: The necessity of racial/religious profiling of Arabs/Muslims
  • Muslim internment vs. rounding up suspicious Muslims only vs. status quo of doing nothing
  • The futility of the Patriot Act in light of the continuous flow of illegal aliens into the U.S. (pro- and anti-Patriot Act sites)
  • Mosques in America: Does the U.S. have intelligence on which mosques radical Muslims frequent?
  • War in Iraq: How effective (or ineffective) is it?
  • War in Iraq: Ground war vs. air power
  • Saudi Arabia connection
Each of those could well serve as the topic of an entire post all by itself. At the time I am posting this, she has gotten 31 comments (mine was 31). My comment was based on an earlier comment by Waidmann. Since I see the hotlinks did not make it through LaShawn's commenting software, I am reposting my comment here:

I disagree with Waidmann when he says there is no teaching (in the Qu'ran (or Koran)) to point to that would restrain them, no behavior on the part of their Prophet they could use as an example of getting along, etc. There are many. We are all "People of the Book", whether we call that book the Torah, or the Holy Bible, or the Qu'ran (or ahl al Kitâb) Surat Al 'Imran, 64 (Qur'an 3:64) says "O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God."

Surat al-Baqara, 136 (Qur'an 2:136) says Say ye: "We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them.

According to their faith God has pointed out in the Qur'an (Surat al-Ma'ida, 82 (Qur'an 5:82) ) "You will find the people most affectionate to those who believe are those who say, 'We are Christians.' That is because some of them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant."

In fact, it is my understanding that the true meaning of jihad, or struggle, is the struggle within one's self to do right.

There are certainly things within the Qu'ran that tell of wars and conquests that have happened in the past, just as there are things in the Old Testment of our Bible that report such things, but Jesus tried to teach us a different way.

Jesus is even recognized in the Qu'ran as a Prophet. Surat aal-E-Imran, 45 (Qur'an 3:45) says Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah; and Surat aal-E-Imran, 3 (Qur'an 3:3) says It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong).

Those causing the violence ignore all of the above quotes, and many more, from their Holy Book, and we need to encourage reasonable Muslims to confront them what the Qu'ran really says.


And this is why they did it

Amir Taheri editorialized in Times Online There is no way to reason with the terrorists, but the thinking behind their actions is perfectly clear. The first question that comes to mind is: what took them so long? The answer may be that in the past four years the British authorities have succeeded in preventing attacks on a number of occasions. David Blunkett, who was then Home Secretary, was often mocked for suggesting that this was the case. It may take some time before the full identity of the attackers is established. But the ideology that motivates them, the networks that sustain them and the groups that finance them are all too well known. Moments after yesterday’s attacks my telephone was buzzing with requests for interviews with one recurring question: but what do they want? That reminded me of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker, who was shot by an Islamist assassin on his way to work in Amsterdam last November. According to witnesses, Van Gogh begged for mercy and tried to reason with his assailant. “Surely we can discuss this,” he kept saying as the shots kept coming. “Let us talk it over.” Van Gogh, who had angered Islamists with his documentary about the mistreatment of women in Islam, was reacting like BBC reporters did yesterday, assuming that the man who was killing him may have some reasonable demands which could be discussed in a calm, democratic atmosphere. But sorry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock

Just like EVIL always does.
and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you. The ideological soil in which alQaeda, and the many groups using its brand name, grow was described by one of its original masterminds, the Pakistani Abul-Ala al-Maudoodi more than 40 years ago. It goes something like this: when God created mankind He made all their bodily needs and movements subject to inescapable biological rules but decided to leave their spiritual, social and political needs and movements largely subject to their will. Soon, however, it became clear that Man cannot run his affairs the way God wants. So God started sending prophets to warn man and try to goad him on to the right path. A total of 128,000 prophets were sent, including Moses and Jesus. They all failed. Finally, God sent Muhammad as the last of His prophets and the bearer of His ultimate message, Islam.
Then what about the Bahá'ís, which is is based on the revalations to Bahá’u’lláh who was born in 1817.
With the advent of Islam all previous religions were “abrogated” (mansukh), and their followers regarded as “infidel” (kuffar). The aim of all good Muslims, therefore, is to convert humanity to Islam, which regulates Man’s spiritual, economic, political and social moves to the last detail. But what if non-Muslims refuse to take the right path? Here answers diverge. Some believe that the answer is dialogue and argument until followers of the “abrogated faiths” recognise their error and agree to be saved by converting to Islam. This is the view of most of the imams preaching in the mosques in the West.
Such dialog is good. Perhaps it will result in them recognizing that we are all "People of the Book" (or ahl al Kitâb) Surat Al 'Imran, 64 (Qur'an 3:64) says "O People of the Book! Let us rally to a common formula to be binding on both us and you: That we worship none but God; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than God." and that regardless of whether we call that book The Torah, or the Holy Bible, or the Qur'an (Koran), as Surat al-Baqara, 136 (Qur'an 2:136) says Say ye: "We believe in Allah [God], and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them.
But others, including Osama bin Laden, a disciple of al-Maudoodi, believe that the Western-dominated world is too mired in corruption to hear any argument, and must be shocked into conversion through spectacular ghazavat (raids) of the kind we saw in New York and Washington in 2001, in Madrid last year, and now in London. That yesterday’s attack was intended as a ghazava was confirmed in a statement by the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe, an Islamist group that claimed responsibility for yesterday’s atrocity. It said “We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid (ghazava) in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.” Those who carry out these missions are the ghazis, the highest of all Islamic distinctions just below that of the shahid or martyr. A ghazi who also becomes a shahid will be doubly meritorious. There are many Muslims who believe that the idea that all other faiths have been “abrogated” and that the whole of mankind should be united under the banner of Islam must be dropped as a dangerous anachronism.
And they are right.
But to the Islamist those Muslims who think like that are themselves regarded as lapsed, and deserving of death. It is, of course, possible, as many in the West love to do, to ignore the strategic goal of the Islamists altogether and focus only on their tactical goals. These goals are well known and include driving the “Cross-worshippers” (Christian powers) out of the Muslim world, wiping Israel off the map of the Middle East, and replacing the governments of all Muslim countries with truly Islamic regimes like the one created by Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran and by the Taleban in Afghanistan. How to achieve those objectives has been the subject of much debate in Islamist circles throughout the world, including in London, since 9/11. Bin Laden has consistently argued in favour of further ghazavat inside the West. He firmly believes that the West is too cowardly to fight back and, if terrorised in a big way, will do “what it must do”. That view was strengthened last year when al-Qaeda changed the Spanish Government with its deadly attack in Madrid. At the time bin Laden used his “Madrid victory” to call on other European countries to distance themselves from the United States or face similar “punishment”. Bin Laden’s view has been challenged by his supposed No 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who insists that the Islamists should first win the war inside several vulnerable Muslim countries, notably Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Until yesterday it seemed that al-Zawahiri was winning the argument, especially by heating things up in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yesterday, the bin Laden doctrine struck back in London.
I dont think the al-Zawahiri doctrine or the bin Laden doctrine is winning anything. BinLaden killed 3000 on 9/11, and lost an entire country as a safe haven. Almost 4 years later he kills maybe 100, and I preict it is going to make the British support us in the War on Terrorism even more. In Iraq progress is being made on writing a constitution, and the jihadists have now had to resort to killing Egyptian envoys, which is going to get the Egyptian secret service against them as well as everyone else.
James Joyner blogged If their history is any guide, though, the Brits will not choose the course of appeasement. They tried that once, quite briefly, and did not like the results.

TheAnchoress blogged Terrorism did not begin with and will not end with the presidency of George W. Bush…it may not end in our lifetime. But our enemies would as soon kill us as look at us and if they could slaughter 38,000 instead of 38, they would do so with relish. An enemy that looks only to kill the infidel or die trying is an enemy that will only be defeated if they are convinced that they will never win. And if the cultures that produce these enemies can get a sense of hope that they are not damned to lifetimes under religious or secular tyranny, perhaps they will stop producing them.

Betsy Newmark blogged Amir Taheri explains what it is that the jihadists want. And it is not something that we can bargain with them about or appease them to stop from killing us.


Let the Olympics be a memorial

Polly Toynbee wrote in the Guardian Horror, exactly as foretold. All we didn't know was that 7/7 would be the date. Every Londoner imagined this over and over in every rush-hour train and crowded bus, glancing warily at one another, eyeing packages and bags. Only a matter of time. After Madrid's 10 terrible blasts during their election, how could London escape? "When not if", the head of counter-terrorism said long ago. Tony Blair himself echoed those words, "When not if". So throughout the election we waited and feared, but it never came. There were only black alerts on public buildings, no sinister terrorist "chatter" detected by security services. So maybe our intelligence services really were able to listen and prevent calamity, it was hoped. It began to feel almost safe.... What bitter irony and terrible perfection of timing this was, just as London celebrated its glorious, unexpected Olympic win. Many thought the Olympic bid impossible because of Britain's part in the Iraq war. Surely Paris would win, with most of the world anti-war, anti-Bush and hostile to Blair? But on Wednesday in Singapore it seemed that anti-British feeling was fading. Live 8 gave us back some moral fame. Anti-war voters here were warming to Labour's bold attempt at rallying the world for Africa and climate change.... But maybe now the bombs will give the Olympics an established pride of place in the national psyche, setting aside the usual "Nothing works" (even in the Evening Standard). The Olympics may now turn into an iconic memorial for those who died and were injured yesterday.

I am happy that Britain got the Olympics, and I hope that they can keep it safe from terrorists, but I hope that the response of the British to what happened on 7/7 will cause them to focus even more directly on the threat of terrorism, and that we will see less of the inane comments that I omitted in my extract of Ms. Toynbee's article.
Scott Burgess blogged To be perfectly honest, I don't really want to discuss the bombings, but it seems unavoidable, really. There's no point in summarising news reports, or rehashing some of the more obvious responses, like George Galloway's. I'll just focus on a couple of reactions that caught my eye. We are, of course, used to seeing much nonsense in the columns of Polly Toynbee, but one of her statements today quite literally made my jaw drop:
"George Bush is the one person who could and should have felt beholden to give a good response to this disaster, in support of his ally. But with typical inadequacy it was beyond his imaginative grasp to be extra magnanimous either to Blair or to the world in his offers on climate change, aid and trade. What a fine contrast it would have made to the bombers if this had redoubled the west's determination to do the right thing. It would not be giving in to terrorism, but denying it the oxygen of justification."
It's hard to know how to react to this. My initial thought was something along the lines of: "When did she write this? How long did she think it would take for Bush to modify administration policy on three major issues? How many hours was she willing to give him?" But the truly extraordinary thing is that he had, in fact, just done what she so bizarrely accuses him of not doing! From the Guardian, in an article headed Bush concedes ground on climate change (subhead: US adds its name to communique acknowledging human role in global warming): "Amid signs that the bombs had galvanised the summit into action, George Bush offered Europe a tit-for-tat deal on trade and conceded ground on global warming" Perhaps Ms. Toynbee did not see that article. I will call it to her attention, and I fully expect her to praise Mr. Bush for his imaginative grasp in providing so fine a contrast to the bombers. I look forward to bringing her retraction to your attention.
Dont hold your breath waiting for her retraction, unless you look good in blue.


Muslim council condemns 'evil deeds' in Britain

WT reported Muslim leaders in Britain yesterday were swift to condemn a series of deadly bomb blasts in London and they appealed to Britons not to single out their community for reprisals. The leaders also made an unprecedented appeal to the estimated 1.7 million Muslims living in Britain to tip off the police about who had carried out the bombings.

I wish the Muslims in the US had been as quick to condem the terrorists in 9/11 and as Muslims in the USA to work with the police.
"These evil deeds makes victims of us all," the Muslim Council of Britain said. "The evil people who planned and carried out these series of explosions in London want to demoralize us as a nation and divide us as a people. "All of us must unite in helping the police to capture these murderers." That same appeal was made by the leadership of Europe's largest mosque and cultural center. "We call on the Muslim community to be fully cooperative in this situation, so we may all live in peace and harmony and continue to make London the vibrant, tolerant and peaceful city it is," concluded a statement from the London Central Mosque, whose golden dome rises above one of London's major landmarks, Regent's Park. Other Muslim groups, dismissed by the establishment Islamic representatives as a hard-line fringe, during recent years have expressed public support for al Qaeda, but have avoided giving open backing to terrorist attacks against Britain itself.

Captain Ed blogged In contrast to the reaction of American Muslims after 9/11, when organizations like CAIR spent far more time declaring themselves as victims rather than working constructively to fight terrorism, London's Muslims wasted no time yesterday decrying the bloody attacks on Britain's civilian transportation systems. The British Muslims may sing a different tune for a couple of reasons. First, London has always welcomed Muslims due to its extensive colonial experience with them, and their numbers give them a significant role in British politics. Four Member of Parliament are Muslims from London. Also, one of the stations attacked yesterday (Aldgate) serves a primarily Muslim community. The al-Qaeda attack either didn't take that into account or it simply didn't matter to the terrorists, a revelation that some Muslims might take to heart. However, many Muslims in Britain will now look for an inevitable "backlash" against Muslims. Some in the Washington Times article get quoted as warning people of it already. They want to head that reaction off before it picks up steam and forces Britain to start massive deportation efforts for those Muslims that have not established legal residency in the UK. In the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks, one can be certain that Parliament will entertain that as a security solution, and they want to pre-emptively act against it. The key here is the call to cooperate with law enforcement by supplying tips pointing to the bombers. That message never clearly came out from Muslim groups in America, which seemed much more concerned about fighting law-enforcement and intelligence agencies and loudly proclaiming every perceived slight to their rights after 9/11. It sounds as if their British cousins have a better grasp on how to act as citizens in the aftermath of terrorist attacks.


Friday, July 8

This Day In History

  • 1663   King Charles II of England granted a charter to Rhode Island.
  • 1776   Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence to a crowd gathered at Independence Square in Philadelphia.
  • 1839   American oilman John D. Rockefeller was born in Richford, N.Y.
  • 1853   An expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.
  • 1881   The first ice cream sundae was served -- by accident. Druggist Edward Berner of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, couldn’t serve the desirable, but scandalous (not allowed on the Sabbath) flavored soda water that a customer wanted. Mr. Berner compromised and put ice cream in a dish and poured the syrup on top (chocolate syrup was only used for making flavored and ice-cream sodas, at the time). Voila! An ice cream Sunday! (The spelling was later changed to ‘sundae’).
  • 1889   The Wall Street Journal was first published.
  • 1891   Warren G. Harding married Florence K. DeWolfe in Marion, Ohio.
  • 1907   Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first ''Follies'' on the roof of the New York Theater in New York City.
  • 1919   President Woodrow Wilson received a tumultuous welcome in New York City after his return from the Versailles Peace Conference in France.
  • 1986   Kurt Waldheim was inaugurated as president of Austria despite controversy over his alleged ties to Nazi war crimes.
  • 1987   Kitty Dukakis, wife of Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, revealed she had been addicted to amphetamines but had sought help and was drug-free.
  • 1994   Kim Il Sung, North Korea's communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.
  • 1995   Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu was arrested in China and charged with obtaining state secrets.
  • 1997   The Mayo Clinic and the government warned the diet-drug combination known as ''fen-phen'' could cause serious heart and lung damage.
  • 2003   Twenty-nine-year-old Iranian twins joined at the head died following surgery in Singapore to separate them.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1908   Nelson (Aldrich) Rockefeller (U.S. Vice President under Gerald Ford [1974-77], Governor of New York [1958-73]; died Jan 26, 1979)
  • 1948   Kim Darby (Deborah Zerby) (actress: True Grit)
  • 1949   Wolfgang Puck (chef: formerly of Spagos in Los Angeles)


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rehnquist Resignation Watch

Confirm Them blogged To follow up on the Novak column, I just got off a conference call with some insiders in Washington. The buzz up there is not just on the bombings, but also on William Rehnquist. A Supreme Court source says the “writing is on the wall” that the Chief Justice could resign at any time. A White House source and a Senate source concur.

The speculation is that Rehquist is a team player, but he is also the Chief Justice of the United States and head of the third branch of government — he’s not fully prone to waiting for the timing of another branch of government. At the same time, the thinking goes that if the Chief goes now, it throws more confusion into the process and might actually make things a bit easier for the White House, which is something the Chief might be interested in helping facilitate. Prior to O’Connor resigning, the thought was that Garza would be a possible replacement for O’Connor. The renewed speculation is that Garza is in the mix as is Cornyn. While Gonzales has not been taken off the list, signs are starting to point to Gonzales staying where he is. The President very much wants a Hispanic on the court and Garza makes logical sense. and would send a strong signal if he were picked as Chief Justice. Scalia and Thomas, I’m told, are not even in the running.
I am sorry to hear that Scalia and Thomas are not even in the running for CJ
Likewise, private polling as well as the Gallup poll indicate that the American people are trending toward the White House on the issue and away from the Democrats who, according to the private polling in particular, are already presumed to be against anyone the President picks — no matter how credible. I’m told that a private poll is making the rounds that clearly connects the “pledge of allegiance” decision from the 9th Circuit to the types of judges Democrats are more likely to favor and the public in general is least likely to favor. The White House, by all accounts, is keeping the lid on tight and is also in this to win. If Rehnquist does step down soon, Karl “The Dark Lord” Rove just might be in a strong position to bring order out of chaos and victory out of confusion.


Search Yahoo Via Text Messaging

MobileMag reported Yahoo! SMS is very easy to use. All you need to do is type 92466 (which obviously spells Yahoo! on most keypads) and then your query and send it as an SMS. Other than that, you can set shortcuts on your phone for frequently fetched information such as WiFi hotspot finders, weather, stock quotes, daily horoscopes, dictionary, and zip and area code look up. SMS Messenger is also available for most users. Expansion of the Yahoo! Search on Mobile devices has also been announced. With access to the relevant and comprehensive search results from your HTML-capable mobile devices. is a WAP 2.0 (xhtml) search tool for translating full Web pages to fit on consumer phones.


Web users get savvy to spyware

San Francisco Chronicle reports Fears of computer viruses and other invasive software have caused a profound shift in how people use the Internet, including which Web sites they visit and e-mails they open, according to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey found that 81 percent of Internet users say they no longer open e-mail attachments unless they know the contents are safe.

Good advice, and I let Norton check all of the attachments before I will even consider opening them.
Nearly half, 48 percent, said they have stopped visiting certain Web sites to avoid unwanted programs downloading onto their computers. The Pew study affirms largely anecdotal evidence of many Internet users taking serious measures through the years to protect themselves from the Web's dark side. But the findings also illustrate the unfamiliarity some people have with certain kinds of invasive software and their failure to read the fine print. For example, the survey found that 73 percent of people don't always read user agreements, privacy statements or other disclaimers before downloading or installing programs. By quickly agreeing to the terms, users may unknowingly download an unwanted program.
I must admit that I quickly agree to terms, but I really doubt that a program with bad intentions is going to be honest about them, and admit what it is going to do in a license agreement.
That may include spyware, which tracks which Web sites a user visits online and transmits the information back to a central source. Adware, another kind of program, does much of the same thing and bombards users with advertising. Such programs often come bundled with other software such as online games, file-sharing programs and screen savers. More than three-quarters of people said they already had a good idea of what spyware is.
They should use Spybot
Just over half were as familiar with adware, the study found.
They should use AdAware


Claim: Egypt's envoy in Iraq killed

CNN reported Egypt's top envoy to Iraq, Ihab al-Sherif, has been killed, according to a Web posting Thursday attributed to al Qaeda in Iraq. "...We, the al Qaeda in the land of the two rivers, announce that the verdict of God against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been executed, praise be to God," the statement said. Islamic militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi heads al Qaeda in Iraq. The statement was posted on a Web site commonly used by the group to make statements.

al-Zarqawi must really be stupid. He is trying to run an insurrection in a country he is not even from, and he kills innocent citizens of that country, and announces that the Iraqi military is his enemy, just as are the Americans, and now he decides to get the Egyptian secret police after him also.


Conservative court

Robert Novak editorialized in Chicago Sun Times Conservatives who have spent more than a decade planning for this moment to change the balance of power on the Supreme Court are reeling from blows delivered by two dissimilar political leaders: Edward M. Kennedy and George W. Bush. Sen. Kennedy has succeeded with the news media in establishing a new standard of ''mainstream conservatism'' for a justice. President Bush has put forth ''friendship'' as a qualification for being named to the high court. Bush is by far the bigger obstacle in the way of a conservative court. While Kennedy's ploy presents a temporary problem, Bush's stance could be fatal. The right's morale was devastated by the president's comments in a USA Today telephone interview published on the newspaper's front page Tuesday: ''Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine. When a friend gets attacked, I don't like it.''

If they are such good friends, perhaps Bush knows Gonzales better than others might think they know him.
Bush is a stubborn man, who sounded like he might really nominate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in the face of deep and broad opposition from the president's own political base.
Or maybe he just does not like some friends talking bad about another friend.
Adding to the tension is word from court sources that ailing Chief Justice William Rehnquist also will announce his retirement before the week is over. That would enable Bush to play this game: Name one justice no less conservative than Rehnquist, and name Gonzales, whose past record suggests he would replicate retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on abortion and possibly other social issues. Thus, the present ideological orientation of the court would be unchanged, which would suit the left just fine.... Gonzales trial balloons were shot down on the right, but that has not stopped leaks from the White House. If a Rehnquist vacancy now is thrown into the mix, will Bush be tempted to temporize by naming one conservative and one non-conservative? If he nominates conservative Justice Antonin Scalia as chief justice and thus creates a third confirmation, will he think he has escaped by saying he has named two conservatives? No such maneuvers will make Gonzales acceptable to the Bush base.

What I would like to see him do is nominate two conservatives, and bump Thomas up to CJ (Thomas is younger than Scalia), and say that if they all get in with out a lot of fuss, Gonzales will be his pick when the next opening comes up, but if the first two conservatives receive too much trouble, he has plenty of others, more conservative to pick from.

Orrin Judd blogged Funny how the Right doesn't think W owes Blair the Kyoto treaty but he does owe them their choice of nominees.

PoliPundit blogged This is depressing:
The national survey of 1,000 adults found that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t name a single current U.S. Supreme Court justice. Departing O’Connor was the best-known justice, named by 25 percent of Americans. Close behind her was Clarence Thomas, mentioned by 21 percent. No other justice was mentioned by more than 10 percent of the public.


Thursday, July 7

This Day In History

  • 1846   U.S. annexation of California was proclaimed at Monterey after the surrender of a Mexican garrison.
  • 1865   Four people were hanged in Washington, D.C., after being convicted of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.
  • 1898   The United States annexed Hawaii.
  • 1920   A device known as the radio compass was used for the first time on a U.S. Navy airplane near Norfolk, Virginia.
  • 1930   Construction began on Boulder Dam on the Colorado River.
  • 1946   Italian-born Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized as the first American saint.
  • 1954   Elvis Presley made his radio debut as Memphis, Tenn., station WHBQ played his first recording for Sun Records, ''That's All Right.''
  • 1958   President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska statehood bill.
  • 1969   Canada's House of Commons gave final approval to a measure making the French language equal to English throughout the national government.
  • 1983   Eleven-year-old Samantha Smith of Manchester, Maine, left for a visit to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov.
  • 1987   Lt. Col. Oliver North began his public testimony at the Iran-Contra hearing, telling Congress that he had ''never carried out a single act, not one'' without authorization.
  • 1990   Martina Navratilova won a record ninth women's singles title at Wimbledon, defeating Zina Garrison 6-4, 6-1.
  • 1999   In the first class-action lawsuit by smokers to go to trial, a jury in Miami held cigarette makers liable for making a defective product that causes emphysema, lung cancer and other illnesses.
  • 1999   President Bill Clinton became the first president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to visit an Indian reservation as he toured the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
  • 2003   A federal judge approved a settlement fining WorldCom $750 million for its $11-billion accounting scandal. Hilary Lunke won the U.S. Women's Open.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1860   Gustav Mahler (musician, composer, music used in 1971 movie: Death in Venice; died May 18, 1911)
  • 1906   Satchel (Leroy Robert) Paige (Baseball Hall of Famer: pitcher)
  • 1919   William Kunstler (defense attorney)
  • 1922   Pierre Cardin (fashion designer)
  • 1927   Doc (Carl) Severinsen (trumpeter, bandleader: The Tonight Show Band)
  • 1928   Vince Edwards (Vincent Edward Zoino) (actor: Ben Casey)
  • 1940   Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) (drummer: group: The Beatles; singer: It Don’t Come Easy, Photograph, You’re Sixteen; actor: Candy, The Magic Christian, Blindman, Caveman, Give My Regards to Broad Street; married to actress, Barbara Bach)
  • 1949   Shelley Duvall (actress)
  • 1959   Jessica Hahn (model: Playboy; scandal subject [w/PTL’s Jim Bakker])
  • 1980   Michelle Kwan (Olympic Figure Skating Champion)


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

So Who Are the Activists?

NYT reports When Democrats or Republicans seek to criticize judges or judicial nominees, they often resort to the same language. They say that the judge is "activist." But the word "activist" is rarely defined. Often it simply means that the judge makes decisions with which the critic disagrees.

That is not correct. Activist means a judge makes a decision based on what he/she thinks the law SHOULD BE. A judge should evaluate see just evaluate whether a law conflicts with another law, or whether there is something in the Constitution which the law is in conflict with.
In order to move beyond this labeling game, we've identified one reasonably objective and quantifiable measure of a judge's activism, and we've used it to assess the records of the justices on the current Supreme Court. Here is the question we asked: How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress? Declaring an act of Congress unconstitutional is the boldest thing a judge can do.
It may be bold, but that is the primary job of the Supreme Court, to see if a law is consistent with the Constitution.
That's because Congress, as an elected legislative body representing the entire nation, makes decisions that can be presumed to possess a high degree of democratic legitimacy.
I wish laws passed by Congress did posses a high degree of democratic legitimacy. However it is the job of the Legislature to pass laws. That is NOT the job of the Judiciary. All the Judiciary, particularly the USSC, should concern itself with is whether the law is Constitutional or not.
In an 1867 decision, the Supreme Court itself described striking down Congressional legislation as an act "of great delicacy, and only to be performed where the repugnancy is clear." Until 1991, the court struck down an average of about one Congressional statute every two years. Between 1791 and 1858, only two such invalidations occurred. Of course, calling Congressional legislation into question is not necessarily a bad thing. If a law is unconstitutional, the court has a responsibility to strike it down. But a marked pattern of invalidating Congressional laws certainly seems like one reasonable definition of judicial activism. Since the Supreme Court assumed its current composition in 1994, by our count it has upheld or struck down 64 Congressional provisions. That legislation has concerned Social Security, church and state, and campaign finance, among many other issues. We examined the court's decisions in these cases and looked at how each justice voted, regardless of whether he or she concurred with the majority or dissented. We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.
Another way of looking at it is that the legislature has started passing unconstitutional laws, and the liberals are willing to let them be inforced, but the consertatives believe they are inconsistent with the Constitution.
To say that a justice is activist under this definition is not itself negative. Because striking down Congressional legislation is sometimes justified, some activism is necessary and proper. We can decide whether a particular degree of activism is appropriate only by assessing the merits of a judge's particular decisions and the judge's underlying constitutional views, which may inspire more or fewer invalidations. Our data no doubt reflects such differences among the justices' constitutional views. But it even more clearly illustrates the varying degrees to which justices would actually intervene in the democratic work of Congress. And in so doing, the data probably demonstrates differences in temperament regarding intervention or restraint. These differences in the degree of intervention and in temperament tell us far more about "judicial activism" than we commonly understand from the term's use as a mere epithet. As the discussion of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement begins, we hope that debates about "activist judges" will include indicators like these.

Orin Kerr blogged I addressed this argument in a 2003 essay in Legal Affairs in response to a closely related claim by Cass Sunstein. Sunstein claimed that the Rehnquist Court was more activist than the Warren Court because it had struck down more federal statutes than the Warren Court.

Tom Maguire blogged The results may surprise you, unless you happen to know that Prof. Gewiritz is a Lieberman Democrat, and you keep in mind that the Times volunteered to run this. In any case, I question both their definition and their methodology. First, an activist judge may be viewed as one who considers the Constitution to be an impediment to the sensible, well-intentioned proliferation of laws and regulations by both the courts and the Congress. The Gewirtz standard seems to set the court against the Congress, but in a different definition, Congress will fullfill its institutional imperative to expand its power, as will an activist court - the expansion of Federal power does not need to be a zero-sum game between the Court and the Congress. In which case, a "conservative" judge would be one who defends the Constitution against both the Congress and activist judges. As to methodology, Clinton's veto pen shielded the liberal justices for eight years - for example, the Federal ban on partial birth abortions vetoed by Clinton and signed by Bush has not yet come to the Supreme Court. (And let's remember the Dems controlled the Senate for much of 2001/'02.)


Dell to hire 1,000 workers in Oklahoma

CNET News reports Dell is expanding its customer call center operations in Oklahoma City by adding 1,000 new employees and erecting a new building, the company said Tuesday. Plans call for a new 120,000 square-foot facility, which is scheduled to open by March 31, 2006, the computer maker said. It will be a mirror image of Dell's existing plant on the Oklahoma River.

The additional 1,000 workers will consist mostly of salespeople but will include service technicians and managers. Dell said it needs extra hands on deck to deal with an influx of public-sector and corporate accounts, as well as the need to resolve technical questions regarding servers and storage. The plans represent an increase in its hiring projections; in July 2004, the computer maker had planned to hire between 250 and 500 employees in the area. Four months later, the company increased its employment projection to 700.

This is good news, especially for OkCity


Wireless Networking

Lee Pang brought to my attention this information about the dangers of Wireless Networking and a possible solution.


Wednesday, July 6

This Day In History

  • 1483   England's King Richard III was crowned.
  • 1535   Sir Thomas More was executed in England for treason.
  • 1699   Pirate Captain William Kidd was captured in Boston, MA and deported back to England.
  • 1777   British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga during the American Revolution.
  • 1835   John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, died at age 79.
  • 1854   The first official meeting of the Republican Party took place in Jackson, Mich.
  • 1885   French scientist Louis Pasteur successfully tested an anti-rabies vaccine on a boy bitten by an infected dog.
  • 1905   John Walker’s fingerprints were the first ones to be exchanged by police officials in Europe and America. Law enforcement units in London and St. Louis, MO completed the exchange.
  • 1917   Arab forces led by T.E. Lawrence captured the port of Aqaba from the Turks during World War I.
  • 1923   The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed.
  • 1928   The first all-talking movie feature, ''The Lights of New York,'' was previewed in New York.
  • 1932   U.S. Postage rates went from two cents to three cents for first-class mail.
  • 1933   Baseball's first All-Star game was held at Chicago's Comiskey Park. The American League beat the National League 4-2.
  • 1944   Fire broke out in the main tent of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford, Conn., killing 169 people.
  • 1957   John Lennon met Paul McCartney at a church in Liverpool, England, following a performance by Lennon's band, the Quarrymen.
  • 1989   The U.S. Army destroyed its last Pershing 1-A missiles at an ammunition plant in Karnack, Texas.
  • 1997   The rover Sojourner rolled down a ramp from the Mars Pathfinder lander onto the Martian landscape to begin inspecting soil and rocks.
  • 1998   Protestants rioted in many parts of Northern Ireland after British authorities blocked an Orange Order march in Portadown.
  • 1998   Singing cowboy star Roy Rogers died at age 86.
  • 2001   Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen pleaded guilty to 15 criminal counts and agreed to give a full accounting of his spying activities for Moscow.
  • 2003   Liberian leader Charles Taylor accepted an offer of asylum in Nigeria.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1747   John Paul Jones (American naval officer of the ship Bonhomme Richard, in battle against British frigate Serapis: “I have not yet begun to fight!”; died July 18, 1792)
  • 1909   Andrei Gromyko (Russian leader: Soviet Foreign Minister; Soviet President; died July 3, 1989)
  • 1918   Sebastian Cabot (actor: Family Affair)
  • 1923   Nancy Reagan (Anne Robbins-Davis)
  • 1924   Darrell Royal (College Football Hall of Famer: coach: Univ of Texas)
  • 1925   Merv Griffin (singer: I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts [w/Freddy Martin’s Orchestra   1949]; TV host: The Merv Griffin Show; game show developer: Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy; hotel owner)
  • 1927   Janet Leigh (Jeanette Morrison Reames) (actress: Psycho)
  • 1927   Pat Paulsen (comedian: The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour)
  • 1931   Della Reese (Delloreese Patricia Early) (singer; actress: Touched by an Angel)
  • 1935   Dalai Lama (Lhamo Thondup) (14th Dalai Lama: Nobel Peace Prize winner: Tibetan spiritual leader)
  • 1937   Ned Beatty (actor: Deliverance, Homicide, Hear My Song, Friendly Fire, The Guyana Tragedy, Superman, Rudy, The Toy, The Silver Streak, Radioland Murders, Network, Gray Lady Down)
  • 1946   George W. (Walker) Bush (43rd President of the United States [2000- ]; married to Laura Welch Bush [twin daughters: Barbara and Jenna]; governor of Texas [1995-2000]; managing partner of Texas Rangers baseball club; son of 41st U.S. President [1989-1993] George [Herbert Walker] Bush)
  • 1946   Sylvester Stallone (actor: Rocky series, Rambo series)
  • 1952   Shelley Hack (actress)


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Let the Senate Advise

Teddy Kennedy editorialized in WaPo Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement gives President Bush, elected by a divided nation that has become even more divided, a unique opportunity to unite us by choosing for the Supreme Court someone who can win support from a broad bipartisan majority in the Senate and whom the vast majority of Americans will be proud of....

And if the Democrats in the Senate can be as reasonable as the Republicans were when Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer
Andrew McCarthy wrote in National Review blogged The Washington Post ridiculously offers Ted Kennedy as judicial sage.... If anyone really wants to know why the MSM is fading fast, consider one of the most recent classic examples: The decision by the Washington Post to run an op-ed by Ted Kennedy, of all people, about how we need to avoid the rank partisanship of a "divisive battle" over a new Supreme Court justice to replace the departing Sandra Day O'Connor. About how President Bush needs to be more like — are you sitting down for this? — President Reagan in wisely choosing a nominee to the high court. We would need to dig up Yasser Arafat for an op-ed on fixing the "peace process" to concoct something this rich.
ROF,LMAO (rolling on the floor, laughing my a$$ off)
No one on Planet Earth is more singularly responsible for the poisonous state of the confirmations process than the senior senator from Massachusetts.... The Framers' actual vision is the antithesis of Kennedy's depiction. The Framers thought the Senate should have no part of the nomination process at all. And they made this abundantly clear in several ways. First and foremost is the plain language of the Constitution, which draws a bright line between the two powers that are at issue (and that Kennedy disingenuously conflates into one by ignoring the first): nomination and confirmation. Explicitly, the Constitution provides, in pertinent part, that "he [i.e., 'The President'] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... judges of the Supreme Court" (see Art. II, Sec. 2, Para. 2) (emphasis added). Literally, the president alone does the nominating; only after the nomination is made does the Senate offer its advice and either consent or demur. Plainly, the "advice" part of "advice and consent" cannot conceivably have been meant, as Kennedy claims, to include review by senators of a pre-nomination list of "prospective nominees." It is the nomination that triggers the advice function, not the other way around. Not only did the framers elucidate this by very unambiguous language. They also placed the clause in Article II, which enumerates executive powers. Thus, the unadorned prerogative to nominate is a unilateral presidential power. It was not, as Kennedy asserts, "envision[ed]" by the Framers as a shared power. To further make the obvious explicit, one of the greatest of the Framers, Alexander Hamilton, provided explanations of the Framers' thinking in The Federalist Papers. "It will be," he wrote in Federalist No. 66, "the office of the President to nominate, and, with the advice and consent of the senate, to appoint. There will, of course, be no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves choose — they can only ratify or reject the choice he may have made." (Emphasis added.)


Russian Astrologer Sues NASA Over Comet

AP reports NASA's mission that sent a space probe smashing into a comet raised more than cosmic dust - it also brought a lawsuit from a Russian astrologer. Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday.

This is absolutely stupid.
A Moscow court has postponed hearings on the case until late July, the paper said. The probe's comet crash sent up a cloud of debris that scientists hope to examine to learn how the solar system was formed. Bai is seeking damages totaling 8.7 billion rubles ($300 million) - the approximate equivalent of the mission's cost - for her "moral sufferings," Izvestia said, citing her lawyer Alexander Molokhov. She earlier told the paper that the experiment would "deform her horoscope."
I think something deformed her mind, but it was not something NASA did.
NASA representatives in Russia could not immediately be reached for comment. Scientists say the crash did not significantly alter the comet's orbit around the sun and said the experiment does not pose any danger to Earth.


Bush, a Friend of Africa

Left wing Nicholas Kristof editorialized in NYT Those who care about Africa tend to think that the appropriate attitude toward President Bush is a medley of fury and contempt. But the fact is that Mr. Bush has done much more for Africa than Bill Clinton ever did, increasing the money actually spent for aid there by two-thirds so far, and setting in motion an eventual tripling of aid for Africa. Mr. Bush's crowning achievement was ending one war in Sudan, between north and south. And while Mr. Bush has done shamefully little to stop Sudan's other conflict - the genocide in Darfur - that's more than Mr. Clinton's response to genocide in Rwanda (which was to issue a magnificent apology afterward). So as the G-8 summit meeting convenes this week, focusing on Africa, it's worth acknowledging that Mr. Bush, and conservatives generally, have in many ways been great for the developing world. At their best, they bring a healthy dose of hands-on practicality to their efforts. The liberal approach to helping the poor is sometimes to sponsor a U.N. conference and give ringing speeches calling for changed laws and more international assistance. In contrast, a standard conservative approach is to sponsor a missionary hospital or school.

I.E. the Liberals want to talk about it, the conservatives want to do something to help.
One magnificent example is the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, where missionary doctors repair obstetric injuries that have left Ethiopian women incontinent. Liberals also often focus on changing laws, but in a poor country, the legal system is often irrelevant outside the capital. Sudan, for example, banned female genital mutilation back in 1957; since then, the practice has expanded steadily. Sure, lobbying for better laws is important, but it's usually much more cost-effective to vaccinate children or educate girls.
Again, liberals talk, conservatives do.
Nobody gets more bang for the buck than missionary schools and clinics, and Christian aid groups like World Vision and Samaritan's Purse save lives at bargain-basement prices. Liberals may also put too much faith in aid itself. What Africa needs most desperately are things it can itself provide: good governance,
Such as GWB's desire to spread democracy
a firmer neighborhood response to genocide in Sudan, and a collective nudging of Robert Mugabe into retirement. Plenty of studies have shown that aid usually doesn't help people in insecure, corrupt or poorly governed nations.
But the liberals ignore those studies
Indeed, aid can even do harm, by bidding up local exchange rates and hurting local manufacturers. All that said, in the right circumstances aid can be tremendously effective, especially in well-governed countries - Mozambique is an excellent example. And Mr. Bush's new push to help Africa is smartly designed, targeting problems like malaria and sex trafficking, where extra attention and resources will make a big difference on the ground. Mr. Bush's signature foreign aid program, the Millennium Challenge Account, is off to an agonizingly slow start, but is shrewdly focused on encouraging good governance and economic growth. The first grant went to Madagascar, a well-run country, to clarify property rights there. This isn't sexy, but nothing would help the poor in Africa more than giving them clear title to their land so they could secure loans and start businesses.

Lorie Byrd blogged Nicholas Kristof’s latest column devolves into a plea for Republicans to call for President Bush to stop being “selfish” and stingy. He also includes claims that more African girls will die because of President Bush’s policies on family planning and that more Africans will die of AIDS because of Bush’s policies on condoms. Before that part of the column, though, Kristof gives Bush credit for doing more than Clinton did for Africa and makes some excellent points about the differences between liberal and conservative approaches to humanitarian aid.


Are MSDN Blogs Useful?

Mikehall blogged Here's some questions for you...

  1. Why do you read blogs, and more specifically, why do you read Microsoft blogs ?
  2. Has your impression of Microsoft as a company changed from reading blogs and viewing MSDN Channel 9 or the video podcasts from MEDC/TechEd content ?
  3. Should we (Microsoft bloggers) translate the content we produce on the blog into technical white papers or support knowledge base articles rather than posting to the blog ?
  4. Have you seen Microsoft make product design decisions based on feedback in the community/blogs ?
  5. How about bug fixes, have you seen any bug fixes, or power toys created directly from your community/blog feedback ?
I'm interested to know whether this is a useful way for Microsoft to share information with you, our customers...

If you have some ideas on this, comment on his post here. If you are not familiar with MSDN Blogs, check them out here

Rick Segal blogged The most important aspect of all of this is a new way to communicate with people that you might ordinarily either not know about or have a hard time getting to. This isn’t an invitation to just dump random technical support questions on employees of any company who starts blogging. Ignoring that detail, blogs are amazingly good ways to ‘talk’ with people about the larger issues with respect to products, services, etc.... I’ve noticed, for example, a number of bloggers on particular products that actively engage with the folks in the comments section regarding features and thoughts about what needs to get accomplished. Also, information on how products are being used by you are particularly valuable to product leads..... That to me, is the real beauty of Blogs and all this open media stuff. You can get to this guy and he wants to hear from you. In fact, as a general rule, people who are blogging will talk with you. They do listen, do react, and do care. General rule, exceptions are out there. The edge you can get when it comes to using, understanding, getting value from your suppliers, partners, etc, is to seek out those that are blogging because they are the ones that generally care the most and will be very interested in what you have to say. Standard rules of being nice, lucid, etc, apply. Over time, this will become “normal” but for now, jump on it. Seek out bloggers, they are the best first contacts you can find.

I believe the MSDN blogs can be very useful ways for people to share ideas with developers. I just wish more companies would do what Microsoft has done.


Tuesday, July 5

This Day In History

  • 1811   Venezuela became the first South American country to declare independence from Spain.
  • 1830   The French occupied the North African city of Algiers.
  • 1865   William Booth founded the Salvation Army in London.
  • 1865   Tthe United States Secret Service was created. At first, the agency was only responsible for protecting against the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. In 1901, following the assassination of President William McKinley, the Secret Service began protecting the President of the U.S. The scope of responsibility for the Secret Service has grown enormously over the years. This arm of the U.S. Treasury is now also responsible for guarding the White House, the Executive Office Building, the Treasury building and annex along with all the billions of $$$ stored in its vaults.
  • 1935   President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act, which authorized labor to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining.
  • 1940   Britain and the Vichy government in France broke diplomatic relations.
  • 1946   The bikini made its debut during an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris.
  • 1948   Britain's National Health Service Act went into effect, providing government-financed medical and dental care.
  • 1956   Elvis Presley's first commercial recording session took place, at Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn.
  • 1989   Former National Security Council aide Oliver North received a $150,000 fine and a suspended prison term for his part in Iran-Contra. The convictions were later overturned.
  • 1991   Regulators in eight countries shut down the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, charging it with fraud, drug money laundering and illegal infiltration into the U.S. banking system.
  • 1997   Martina Hingis, 16, became the youngest Wimbledom singles champion in 110 years as she beat Jana Novotna in the women's final.
  • 2001   President George W. Bush named veteran prosecutor Robert Mueller to head the FBI.
  • 2002   Baseball hall-of-famer Ted Williams died at age 83.
Happy Birthday To
  • 1801   David Farragut (Civil War Union Navy Admiral: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”; died Aug 14, 1870)
  • 1810   P. T. (Phineus Taylor) Barnum (circus showman; passed away Apr 7, 1891)
  • 1853   Cecil John Rhodes (diamond tycoon; founded Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University; the African country of Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe] was named after him; died Mar 26, 1902)
  • 1902   Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (American diplomat: U.S. Ambassador: U.N., Viet Nam; died in 1985)
  • 1904   Milburn Stone (actor: Gunsmoke)


Monday, July 04, 2005

If Ax Falls on Roe, It May Also Split GOP

Yahoo! News reported Social conservatives relish the idea that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation from the Supreme Court has moved them one step closer to their goal of outlawing abortion.

Much as I might like to see abortions either outlawed, or at least reasonable restrictions applied. I know that one, or even two, new Supreme Court justices are not going to produce that result. Even if Roe was overturned (which unfortunately is not likely), it would just turn the matter over to the states, and at least the blue states would probably still permit it.
Liberals are vowing to fight any potential successor who would, unlike O'Connor, favor overturning Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 ruling that affirmed a woman's right to end a pregnancy. But the political irony that few on either side readily acknowledge — but many are pondering — is that Roe's demise could transform American elections by crippling the conservative political majority that opposes abortion and by giving new life to hobbled liberals who support the ruling's preservation.
The only new life it would result in, would be lives of the babies that were not aborted.
That the 32-year-old landmark decision could be overturned seems a distant possibility. Justices who believe the ruling should stand hold five seats on the nine-member court, even with O'Connor gone. But the prospect of progress toward overturning Roe — and the realization that President Bush could have at least two chances to make transformative appointments to the court
One of whom would replace a Chief Justice that is not in favor of abortioin
— has exposed a disagreement between conservatives who want abortion criminalized and pragmatic Republicans concerned that shifting the issue from the courts to the ballot box would lead to massive GOP losses. Of particular concern is the party's fate in closely contested battlegrounds such as Ohio, Florida and Michigan, where the resurgence of the abortion issue could alienate moderate voters who have helped Republicans make gains on all levels. "Smart strategists inside the party don't want the status quo changed," said Tony Fabrizio, chief pollster for the 1996 Republican presidential campaign of Bob Dole. "This may cause Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger — who are strongly committed to being pro-choice — to flip or to push for a third-party movement," he added. "If they did outlaw it, it would ultimately turn the Republican Party into a theocratic-based party
That is the stupidist thing I have ever read.
rather than an ideological party, and the party would necessarily start shedding people."

Jayson @PoliPundit blogged I laughed out loud while reading this example of liberal cognitive dissonance from Peter Wallsten of the left-of-Pravda Los Angeles Times. No, a complete Fisking really is not in the cards. For that would take up too much bandwidth. But, having said that, I can’t help but marvel at the “affirmed a women’s right to end a pregnancy” spin. Sorry, Chomsky, but Roe did nothing of the sort. To the contrary, Roe imposed, by federal judicial fiat, a mandate under which the individual states were precluded from deigning, through their own legislative processes, to criminalize abortions. But nice try, Sparky. More to the point is the extent to which the article projects gloom and doom for the GOP if Roe is overturned (which it eventually will be), and the issue whether or not to outlaw or to restrict abortions is returned completely to the domains of the individual states. What I find amusing is how . . . well, you know, everything seems to portend gloom and doom for the GOP in the media’s alternative reality.

Patterico blogged I said this yesterday, but it bears repeating: Justice O’Connor’s retirement isn’t about abortion. But it is about reasonable restrictions on abortion. The retirement of Justice O’Connor does not, by itself, endanger Roe v. Wade. But it does raise the possibility that states may be entitled to pass sensible limitations on abortion, like strict parental notification, longer waiting periods with real informed consent, or — most importantly — a ban on partial-birth abortion. Because such reasonable restrictions are quite popular, look for newspapers to mention them only in passing. The strategy of leftist abortion activists is to push the panic button on Roe v. Wade itself, and their surrogates at the nation’s largest newspapers understand and will support this approach. Rather than portraying the issue as a chance to allow real restrictions on abortion, the newspapers will portray the issue as a simple case of the basic right to abortion hanging in the balance.