Friday, May 28, 2010


Even though this doesn't apply to me...

Hillary Clinton in a classic:

"The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues [America currently does] — whether it's individual, corporate or whatever [form of] taxation forms," Clinton: 'The rich are not paying their fair share' - Ben Smith -

A way to avoid paying your “fair” share? Take a deduction for the donation of your used underwear.


Turning to sports...

I don’t normally call for a manager to be fired in midstream but…if I see Cla Meredith as much as change his sitting position in the bullpen while a game is still on the line, I will be buying first-class tickets on the bandwagon to get rid of Dave Trembley. There is nothing more discouraging than knowing – absolutely knowing – that the pitcher your manager has just summoned is going to screw it up. I mean, you just know it…and you can’t understand why the manager doesn’t know it also.

To refresh: Cla Merdith on Sunday - 10th inning, two outs - comes in when Simon comes up limping. 4 pitches later, game over as he serves up a no-doubt-about-it homerun to Josh Willingham.

2 pitches and 4 days later, that same Cla Merdith serves up a bases-clearing double to Oakland’s Kevin Kouzmanof and the 5-4 lead (again with two outs) he was brought in to protect became a 5-7 deficit.

This is the second time this season that Dave Trembley, for no apparent reason, has remained locked in on a pitcher (see Michael Gonzalez – 3 appearances, 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA) when even a casual fan could tell the pitcher was worse than useless for the situation. This has been a horrible season in a string of horrible seasons – the visage of Cla Meridith walking in from the bullpen is simply salt to our wounds.

Side Note: How unappealing is the field for this weekend's Lacrosse Final Four in Baltimore? I am now an avid Cornell fan.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Just another example of how awesome He is

Anne Kornblut’s article reads more like she is the President’s agent, looking to get her client a raise: When duty calls, President Obama has to put his holidays on hold

Poor guy.

“But Obama's schedule has been even more fluid than other presidents'. That is in part by design, as he seeks to prove that he is more adaptable and attuned to crisis than his immediate predecessor, who failed to rush to the scene of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.”

Let’s see: Oil Spill begins April 22nd and the President does his obligatory fly-over and meet-and-greet: May 2nd. Alternatively, Hurricane Katrina is downgraded to a Tropical Depression on August 31 and the less-adaptable and less-attuned President Bush visits the Gulf Coast September 1.


It’s All about Prioritizing

This, of course, is getting some prominent play: U.S. police chiefs say Arizona immigration law will increase crime

“Arizona's law will intimidate crime victims and witnesses who are illegal immigrants and divert police from investigating more serious crimes, chiefs from Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia said before meeting with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to discuss the measure. Counterparts from Phoenix, Tucson, San Jose and Montgomery County [sigh], among others, joined them.”

Of course, just by being here illegally, illegal immigrants increase crime…you know, because their very presence is a crime…hence the adjective “illegal”…is any of this registering?

As to illegal immigrant crime victims, well, one way to reduce crimes against them is for them not to be here. More generally, do we want to make this a de facto policy of the State? How far should we extend absolution on criminal behavior to victims and witnesses? As a defense attorney, you can damn well bet that if I am aware that a witness against my client is here illegally, I’m going to try to get that fact out (just as I would try to discredit any witness of whose criminal behavior I am aware) matter how pious our politically-appointed police chiefs are on the matter.

Finally, did these police chiefs really claim the law would “divert police from investigating more serious crimes”? Really?

First, that is just plain ignorance of the law as it clearly reads that a check on immigration status can only happen AFTER being lawfully stopped on a different matter. [Ed. Note: It does seem the most serious flaw of this law is the need that it be read.]

But secondly, I revert back to…Really? They’re making that claim now? They are worried about diverting police from “more serious crimes” NOW???

Do they mean “more serious crimes” like this?

“The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is set to run from May 24 through June 6, 2010. The mobilization, expected to involve more than 10,000 police agencies, is supported by $8 million in national advertising funded through Congress and coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The ads, which will air in English and Spanish, generate awareness of the increased enforcement efforts and the increased chance of getting a ticket if you are not buckled up. Ads will be aired on television, radio, and online.” U.S. DOT Targets 45 Million Americans Still Not Buckling Up

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Connecticut AG (and former Harvard Swim Team Captain grad) Richard Blumenthal has bared his soul and delivered a tearful apology for earlier comments suggesting he had military service in Vietnam.

Okay, I made up the bit about it being tearful…I may even be making up the part about it being from him. What we actually got…well, we didn’t actually get it, the Hartford Courant got it…was a statement from his spokesperson…well, it was really just an email and…anyway, you have to love the opening:

"At times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves…”

“At times when I have sought to honor veterans…”

Roll that phrase over in your mind a few times.

Doesn't it read as if perhaps Richard Blumenthal thought Vietnam veterans would be “honored” if a person of his ilk (did I mention he went to Harvard) would so deign to be associated with them?

Side Note: In 1973, being in the military wasn’t cool and having been in Vietnam less so. So, while he was at Yale Law School then, how many times do you think Mr. Blumenthal mis-spoke about his time in Vietnam…or that he even mentioned his "pride" in his service (he was still in the Reserves)?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Next Year, Why Not Just Give Them an OSHA-Approved Ladder

Navy plebes have smooth climb up lard-free Herndon Monument
"A plebe reached the top of the obelisk Monday afternoon in two minutes, five seconds. No one was injured. No one even got particularly dirty. The sense of collective letdown might have been captured best in the words scrawled onto one midshipman's T-shirt: "Where's the grease?"

"Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, the departing academy superintendent, instructed the midshipmen not to grease the obelisk this year."

As a Naval Academy graduate, Adm. Fowler should know better but then again, he also later earned a Masters Degree from...Harvard.

Side Note: "Herbert McMillan, a 1980 graduate, put it this way in a 2008 account in The Washington Post: "We're going to send these guys to war but they can't climb a monument because they might get hurt? Come on."

Herb is also an excellent Republican candidate to represent the Annapolis area in the Maryland House of Delegates. and on Facebook

...and yes, that was his son Hall playing football at Holy Cross a few years back.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Is Iran a Distraction From Arizona?

All month, this Administration has been all “wee-wee’d up” over an Arizona law they had no hand in drafting and for the most part have not even bothered to read. But I guess since they’re all Ivy Leaguers, they nevertheless have had no problem identifying multiple ways that that law could be misused.

Meanwhile, on a matter that they were directly involved in drafting and that clearly involves the most important job of any federal Administration:

“U.S. officials also acknowledged that a loophole slipped into the language of the draft Security Council resolution on Iran would exempt a Russian-Iranian missile deal from a proposed ban of major arms sales to the Islamic republic.” Moscow makes gains in Iran deal as U.S. lifts sanctions against Russia

We’re supposed to be trying to negate Iran’s nuclear ambitions and our wunderkinds at the UN sign off on a Russian-Iranian missile deal? Here’s what they’re calling a “loophole”:

Yet it also emerged Friday that the draft includes a loophole that would exempt a 2005 Russian deal, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, to sell Tehran five S-300 surface-to-air missile systems capable of intercepting ballistic missiles and aircraft, making them particularly valuable in the event of an Israeli air attack.”

(Sigh) Had I dropped out of ROTC after my first Monday drill, I would still have more experience in the military than the President, Vice President, Secretary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice collectively. If nobody was familiar with the purpose of a “surface-to-air” missile system then perhaps someone should have asked…or at least googled it.

It gets better:

“Although the resolution does not formally outlaw the sale of such missiles to Iran, it does call upon states to "exercise vigilance and restraint" with regard to them, according to a U.S. official. "It's worth mentioning that Russia has not transferred the S-300s," the official said. "That's not to say they couldn't do it tomorrow. But they haven't done it."

Why is that worth mentioning? If they had already transferred the S-300s, what would be the purpose of putting in a prohibition on the transaction?

Further, the NY Times reports:

“Another senior official, who is involved in the discussions but not authorized to be identified, said the administration would have liked to have banned the S-300 sale but believed it had an understanding with Russia not to proceed with it.”

We’re going on an “understanding” with the Russians? So…just to put things in perspective then, this Administration is apparently more trusting of the Russians than of Arizona to do the right thing. But, as Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff (CA) observed:

On the S-300s, he said, “It’s hard to understand why they would insist on that if they weren’t intending to deliver.”

But proving again that there is no issue or problem that can’t be reduced to mere platitudes by this President:

"The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times. Countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials…" At West Point, Obama offers new security strategy

Viewing the recent actions of China with North Korea as well as Russia, Brazil & Turkey with Iran, do you think he was going for irony? Perhaps the Obama Administration would have better luck – and display more passion – if they worked instead on a UN sanction's resolution against Arizona.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Quick Hits - Saturday May 22

Maryland's Attorney General Doug Gansler, talking about the new Arizona law:

“Clearly it's not constitutional for a state government to be charged with the enforcement of federal laws," Gansler, in an interview on Thursday, said….”

Who’s “charging” Arizona with enforcement of federal law? Left unsaid (as usual) is any mention of exactly what part of the new law runs afoul of our Constitution. Now were Arizona to make up its own rules for citizenship, then Mr. Gansler would have a point but since it doesn’t, his comments are irrelevant.

…unless maybe he thought the interview was about the expansion of the Medicaid program mandated by the new so-called health care reform law.

Obama says diplomacy, military go hand in hand

“The U.S. must shape a world order as reliant on the force of diplomacy as on the might of its military to lead, President Barack Obama said Saturday as he outlined a foreign policy vision that repudiated the go-it-alone approach forged by his predecessor, George W. Bush.”

Go-it-alone? Is AP writer DARLENE SUPERVILLE suggesting that President Obama has had more success in forging international alliances? That contributions from other nations’ to our Afghan efforts are on the upswing? That perhaps our influence at the UN is now at all-time high? That “vision” more closely resembles an abdication by a man clearly not comfortable with doing foreign policy once he steps away from the Teleprompter.

Clinton says North Korean attack on ship will not go 'unanswered'

Obviously we’ve got our best people on the problem:

“…said a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue…."The hope is that this was a one-off action," he said, adding that North Korea has a long history of violence against South Korean targets.”

I dunno – I’m no expert but “a long history of violence against South Korean targets” kind of suggests to me that this wasn’t a “one-off”.

Friday, May 21, 2010


The Quintessential Tom Friedman

Let’s say you think the world needs a parody Tom Friedman column. Dutifully, then, you set out to create one. At a minimum you know you need to throw in the following elements:

• A display of a man-crush on Barack Obama,

• A gratuitous slap at George W. Bush,

• An example of just why the Chinese are awesome,

• A painful analogy or simplification to make it more comprehensible to the rest of us     and

• At least one reference to a past bit of Tom Friedman brilliance.

Or you could save yourself the trouble and just link to his May 18th column: Obama and the Oil Spill.

Let’s review:

• Man-crush on Barack Obama:

“To the contrary, Obama’s team has done a good job coordinating the cleanup so far. The president has been on top of it from the start.” [huh?]

• Gratuitous slap at George Bush:

“President Bush’s greatest failure was … his failure of imagination after 9/11 to mobilize the country to get behind a really big initiative for nation-building in America.” [actually this is just the start of his rant against the former President]

• The Chinese are awesome:

So today, gasoline costs twice as much at the pump, with most of that increase going to countries hostile to our values, while China is rapidly becoming the world’s leader in wind, solar, electric cars and high-speed rail.”

• Painful analogy or simplification to make it more comprehensible to the rest of us:

No, the gulf oil spill is not Obama’s Katrina. It’s his 9/11 — and it is disappointing to see him making the same mistake George W. Bush made with his 9/11.” [a two-fer]

• At least one reference to a past bit of Tom Friedman brilliance:

“I suggested a $1-a-gallon “Patriot Tax” on gasoline that could have simultaneously reduced our deficit, funded basic science research, diminished our dependence on oil imported from the very countries whose citizens carried out 9/11, strengthened the dollar, stimulated energy efficiency and renewable power and slowed climate change. It was the Texas oilman’s Nixon-to-China moment — and Bush blew it.” [another two-fer…or two-and-a-half -fer if you count the China mention]

Ahh, the “Patriot Tax”, he laments what might have been:

“Had we done that on the morning of 9/12 — when gasoline averaged $1.66 a gallon — the majority of Americans would have signed on.”

Umm okay, maybe…but the far-thinking Mr. Friedman didn’t suggest the “Patriot Tax” until October 5, 2003. And the initial impetus was to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq before we got around to using any excess funds on “other good works”.

As to all the good the tax would have done, well, all of Europe is a high fuel tax zone and places like Spain have spent billions on alternative energies. And today, as a result of all that feel-good kind of stuff, the EU imports over 70% of its fuel (it had been below 60% in 2000), the Euro is tanking and Spain has an unemployment rate of 20% to show for all its investments in the future of energy.

Mr. Friedman’s disappointment in the President is actually a point in the President’s favor.

UPDATE: Welcome Corner readers. Thanks to Jonah Goldberg!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The DOJ Reading List

We know they haven’t bothered to read the Arizona law and now, apparently, no one down there can even be bothered to read their own memos:

Memo from 2002 could complicate challenge of Arizona immigration law

“The 2002 opinion, known as the "inherent authority" memo, reversed a 1996 Office of Legal Counsel opinion from the Clinton administration. "This Office's 1996 advice that federal law precludes state police from arresting aliens on the basis of civil deportability was mistaken," says the 2002 memo, which was released publicly in redacted form in 2005 after civil rights groups sued to obtain it.

“Office of Legal Counsel documents do not have the force of law but carry great weight within the executive branch and are considered to be the Justice Department's official position on a legal or constitutional issue.”

But, deep thinkers that they are, I’ll bet they can all quote their Niebuhr.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Del. man charged with faking his way into Harvard

(Admit it - you see that headline, you think "Joe Biden")

I've been in a kind of piling-on-Harvard mood lately so this feeds the feelings perfectly. Think how you'd feel if you had been rejectd by Harvard, only to then read that this, shall we say, non-diverse individual makes up a few crdentials and voila , he's a bona fide Johnny.

What They Say I:
"There is no formula for gaining admission to Harvard. Academic accomplishment in high school is important, but the Admissions Committee also considers many other criteria, such as community involvement, leadership and distinction in extracurricular activities, and work experience. The Admissions Committee does not use quotas of any kind. We rely on teachers, counselors, headmasters, and alumni/ae to share information with us about applicants' strength of character, their ability to overcome adversity, and other personal qualities--all of which play a part in the Admissions Committee's decisions."

What They Say II:
"This year the Committee will admit a small number of transfer students who present a clearly defined academic need for transfer, supported by both a proven record of achievement at the college level and strong faculty recommendations."

"Adam Wheeler, 23, of Milton, Del., was admitted to Harvard and became a student in 2007 after he falsely claimed he had earned a perfect academic record at Phillips Academy in Andover and had studied for a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, prosecutors said Monday."

Speaking of prosecutors, it seems Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's Attorney General and a Democrat seeking to replace the (finally) retiring Chris Dodd in the US Senate, has kind of stepped in it:

Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History (NY Times - May 17)

If you’re unfamiliar with the Conn. AG, here’s a short blurb to help you out:

"Blumenthal -- the highest Democratic vote getter in the state -- graduated from Harvard College (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude), and Yale Law School, where he was editor of the Yale Law Journal.

...or so he says.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I guess technically it's not a corporate expenditure...

So I'm perusing NRO and there on the side, under Ads by Google I see:


Meet Barack Obama

See how this leader from an amazing background will shape U.S.'s goals

 It takes you to a site that describes itself thusly thusly:

"This site delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture. It is produced by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs."

Follow the link on the page to the Obama Today page. Compare and contrast it with the Organizing for America site run by the DNC (as a continuation of the Obama campaign site). Seriously, the only thing missing seems to be a Donate Here button.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I guess bringing up Gitmo would have been kind of awkward.

Not exactly a Stop-the-Presses story:

No breakthroughs in US, China human rights talks

“A senior U.S. official said that the two-day meeting lays groundwork for more regular talks to soothe an irritant in relations between the two world powers.”

To soothe an irritant? Who knew the Red Chinese (can I still call them that?) were so caring? Our side was represented by Michael Posner who is assistant secretary of state in charge of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (and if I ever knew we had such a Bureau, I had long since forgotten). Apparently one of the key responsibilities for such a position is to apologize to foreign powers (when the President is not available to do it himself) for whatever guilt-inducing matters have caught the State Department’s attention.

“Posner said in addition to talks on freedom of religion and expression, labor rights and rule of law, officials also discussed Chinese complaints about problems with U.S. human rights, which have included crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.”

Did he say this with a straight face? Does anyone (I mean, apparently outside our State Department and the White House) really believe that Red Chinese officials have given – EVER – even a nanosecond over to concern about our poor and homeless? Remarkably, though, it gets worse:

“He said U.S. officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to ask about a person's immigration status if there is suspicion the person is in the country illegally.”

I admit my first reaction was a kind of weary I-give-up; it has so far proven impossible to underestimate this Administration.

I’m going to be charitable and assume the description of what the law “requires” is an expression of the ignorance of AP writer Foster Klug (and his editors) and not the Holderesque musings of Mr. Posner. That said, I would still mock such diplomatic naiveté even if I witnessed it at a Model UN conference. Does this Administration really think bad-mouthing to a foreign power a state law modeled explicitly on federal law is a winning strategy?

This, unfortunately, portends a disturbing new trend in our diplomatic efforts. As between Israel and the Palestinians, the main hindrances to fruitful peace talks should obviously be seen as Palestinian in nature. That is, until President Obama hands them the issue of Jerusalem settlements to revive their flagging obstructionism. Similarly, a Chinese diplomat who suggested bringing up the Arizona law as a potential sticking point would no doubt have been reassigned to work a North Korean posting. They then had to be flabbergasted (and grateful) when we brought it up instead. Can’t we come up with some kind of Diplomatic Miranda whereby we advise our wunderkinds that they are under no obligation to raise new issues in a deliberate effort to make us (or our allies) look bad – particularly those issues about which they are obviously clueless.

Except for possibly the North Korean border, I’m guessing China really doesn’t have much of an illegal immigrant problem. Many of the reasons they don’t should have been the main thrust of these talks. But, instead, it’s just another layover on our non-stop apology tour.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Aaron Sorkin Inciting Violence?

Aaron Sorkin in the Huffington Post (H/T BOTW):

“... so if it were me, I'd re-direct my anger to the real problem. The honest-to-God, no kidding around, small-minded, mean-spirited, hysterically frightened, pig-ignorant bigots who don't think homosexuals are fit to get married, adopt children or fight and die for their country. ... Those people aren't in the backwoods of Idaho, they're in Congress. Fight THEM. I'll help.”  Now That You Mention It, Rock Hudson Did Seem Gay

Now with an overwhelmingly Democratic House and Senate making up Congress, I can only conclude that he is referring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for their lack of leadership on these issues. While I obviously don’t agree with these two on many matters, I find this call to violence against them appalling and I categorically denounce it. Further, I will note that President Obama has publicly announced his opposition to gay marriage and, despite his near 16-months as Commander-in-Chief, has done nothing about gays-in-the-military. So, when Mr. Sorkin resorts to such vicious name calling against those who don’t think gays should be allowed to marry or be in the military, well, I think that’s just being disrespectful to our President.


Dear Old Harvard

Were Diogenes alive today, I doubt his travels would take him anywhere near Harvard Square. Anyone following the nomination news of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is no doubt now familiar with her November 2004 decision to disallow military recruiters from using the law school’s Office of Career Services. That act of courage lasted all of 10 months  (September 2005) at which time the Harvard Crimson then reported that:

“Harvard Law School will actively cooperate with military recruiters this fall, despite the Pentagon’s refusal to sign the school’s nondiscrimination pledge, Dean Elena Kagan announced last night.”

Not hard to guess why:

“In an e-mail to students and faculty last night, Kagan wrote that the Pentagon had notified the University this summer that it would withhold most federal grants to Harvard unless the Law School’s career services office gives aid to military recruiters.

Harvard receives more than $400 million per year in federal grants.”

But this isn’t just about Elena Kagan – this is about Harvard being Harvard:

“Meanwhile, University President Lawrence H. Summers said in a statement last night that Harvard will file a friend-of-the-court brief today urging the Supreme Court to invalidate the Solomon Amendment, the statute initially passed by Congress in 1994—and subsequently modified—that allows the secretary of defense to block federal funds to universities that restrict military recruiters’ access to students.

“The Law School and the University share a deep and enduring commitment to the principles of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons,” Summers said.”

And as a testament to their “deep and enduring commitment to the principles of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity for all persons”, they marshaled all the resources of this fine university in reaction to such horrific stories as this, also from 2005:

Arab gays face hormone treatment, prison
UAE mulls punishment against dozens arrested at mass gay wedding

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - More than two dozen gay Arab men — arrested at what police called a mass homosexual wedding — could face government-ordered hormone treatments, five years in jail and a lashing, authorities said Saturday.

Meanwhile, the
 “Dubai Initiative (DI) was formed in 2004 when the Dubai Government approached the Belfer Center [at the Kennedy School, Harvard University] with the opportunity to advise and assist them in the establishment of the Dubai School of Government as an academic, research, and outreach institution in public policy, administration, and management for the Middle East.”

Of course, when news of the terrible treatment of gays in Dubai became public, Harvard immediately disavowed anything to do with the Dubai Government.

Ha! Of course not!! I said it was Harvard. No, the project continues to this day. Nor is that the extent of Harvard’s involvement with Dubai; Harvard Medical, also in 2005, “established the Dubai Harvard Foundation for Medical Research, which will provide funding for medical researchers from the region. Researchers will likely focus their studies on public health issues such as diabetes that afflict the Middle East.”

And to attach to such prestige, all Dubai had to do was ask nicely:

“Harvard’s program in Dubai—HMI’s largest and the only one with a land team—was launched in 2003, after members of Dubai’s royal family approached Harvard, asking for their collaboration on the project.”

So we see an interesting contrast in Harvard’s behavior: Dubai asks for help and Harvard goes halfway around the world to give it; our military asks for help and Harvard goes to court.

But of course there is one principle underlying all three of these matters. Can you guess what that is?

And please don’t all shout “Money” at once.

Side Note: Correlation or Causation? For years Dubai was a high-flying money center in the Mideast. But, a few years hanging around with Harvard and…: Dubai economy seen contracting in 2010


Elena Kagan - 0 for 1

From the President’s announcement of Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court:

“Last year, in the Citizens United case, she defended bipartisan campaign finance reform against special interests seeking to spend unlimited money to influence our elections. Despite long odds of success, with most legal analysts believing the government was unlikely to prevail in this case, Elena still chose it as her very first case to argue before the Court. “

…which may have been behind “most legal analysts believing the government was unlikely to prevail in this case.”


E.J. Dionne is easily impressed

I’m in Poland for a few weeks but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been following the Elena Kagan story. Thursday’s E. J. Dionne piece is an excellent foil to express some thoughts on Ms. Kagan. He highlights one of her apparently rare forays into public controversy:

“And paradoxically, one of the reasons I admire her involves a question Republicans are raising on which I disagreed with Kagan.

“In 2003, a group of law schools went to court asserting their right to deny military recruiters access to their campuses because the "don't ask, don't tell" policy discriminated against gays and lesbians. When she was dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan signed amicus briefs supporting the schools' contention; they eventually lost their case in the Supreme Court.”

Delightfully understated, Mr. Dionne. I might have instead compared the extent of their loss in the Supreme Court to the smackdown of the French in WWII but, unlike the French, these learned law professors were actually trying; their filings and arguments a supposed serious attempt at putting into practice what they teach.

So yeah, they lost (8-0) but Mr. Dionne still manages to find some good faith in their noble efforts. Recounting a chance encounter with her several years after the Court defeat, he raises that issue:

“Several things about her response show why she will make an excellent justice…Third, she made a superb argument based on a careful balancing test: Yes, in a free and democratic society, the military should be able to recruit on campuses, but university officials have an obligation to maintain policies that protect groups that are part of their student population from discrimination. At Harvard Law, Kagan struck this balance by allowing recruiters access through a student veterans group but not through its main career office.”

Of course, as most outside of Harvard Law were aware, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that had them all aghast was not just some arbitrary military policy, it reflected an Executive Order that was amplifying a Federal law. And that would be a Bill Clinton Executive Order amplifying a Congressional Bill that emanated from a Congress controlled by the Democrats. One can only imagine the reaction of her fellow HLSers had the proposed recruiting ban extended to the entire federal job factory, particularly Congress, the White House and DOJ.

…or if it had courageously decided to avoid hiring those who were part of the homophobic administration that signed onto such a policy – you know, people like Elena Kagan.

Finally, Mr. Dionne passes on her pious intonations about having to “Protect groups that are part of their student population from discrimination.” Please – the entire Harvard community is a result of Harvard’s own discrimination. And once there, for example, participation in Harvard varsity sports necessarily involves some discrimination, much of it tied to physical characteristics. [Further, when the NFL has come looking for a few good players (and Harvard has had a few recently), nobody at Harvard gets too worked up when its female athletes are summarily ignored.]

And the military has long “discriminated” against a whole host of people that are probably part of the populace at HLS including: the too fat, too short, too old, too tall, most foreigners and, of course, avowed communists. But gays are the cause de jour so that’s what they focused on as a (no doubt hopefully) cheap gesture of “solidarity” with an important faction of the coalition. But, of course, as soon as the price of poker went up (i.e. a potential loss of federal funds), these “principled” academics couldn’t fold quick enough. Such is the strength of conviction of our next Supreme Court Justice.

Side Note: Mr. Dionne expounds on why he didn’t agree with the law schools’ stand:

“… But I also argued at the time that the growing separation between the military and other parts of our society, particularly its most liberal and elite precincts, was a major problem for the country."

Umm, okay – but for what it’s worth, two phrases I never heard while in the Navy:

“Wow, tough situation, we could really use a Harvard man now.”
“Before I make any decisions, I'd like a Yalie perspective on the matter.”

Friday, May 07, 2010


An Original Intent To Obscure Original Meaning

Joseph Ellis, noted author of Founding Brothers and a history professor at Mount Holyoke, steps outside his areas of expertise and tries to play legal commentator in today’s Washington Post.

He succeeds only in displaying his remarkable ignorance of his chosen subject.

Entitled Immaculate misconception and the Supreme Court , the misconception is of his own making, botching as he does the theoretical underpinnings of the best minds on today’s Supreme Court.

“The doctrine of original intent rests on a set of implicit assumptions about the framers as a breed apart, momentarily allowed access to a set of timeless and transcendent truths. …

“Any professional historian proposing such an interpretation today would be laughed off the stage. That four sitting justices on the Supreme Court -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito -- claim to believe in it, or some version of it, is truly strange. We might call it the Immaculate Conception theory of jurisprudence.”

Yeah, you might call it that…and you shouldn’t be surprised if all four justices named then agreed with you. Professor Ellis is obviously confused as to the difference between “original intent” and “original meaning” – the latter being the term more closely aligned with the originalism we hear so much about.  Justice Scalia especially would be surprised to hear of anyone attributing the sin of “original intent” to him; his scorn for the parsing of legislative history being fairly well-known among those who pay attention to such stuff….a group which apparently does not include Professor Ellis.

Also laughable is his attempt to use Thomas Jefferson to bolster his irrelevant argument:

“If we were to put the doctrine of original intent on trial, the most eloquent witness for the prosecution would be Thomas Jefferson. Here is what he wrote to a friend in 1816:

"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did beyond amendment. . . .”

Again, who disagrees? The Constitution clearly outlines a methodology for amendments of which Mr. Jefferson was well aware; after all he had been an important voice pushing for a Bill of Rights. But to suggest that, were he still alive, he might be leading the charge against the judicial philosophy of Justice Scalia et al reflects a willful blindness to the real life Thomas Jefferson. He was a leading figure in the fight against a National Bank precisely because it was not in accordance with the original meaning of the Constitution and his Kentucky Resolutions certainly do not reflect a cavalier attitude towards the words of the Constitution.

I’ve read Founding Brothers and was impressed with the scholarship therein. It would have been nice had Mr. Ellis applied those obvious research skills toward a better understanding of some more modern day figures before publishing a hit piece more worthy of the Huffington Post.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Quick Hits: Israel, Spain and Arizona

Just browsing through the Washington Post:

Indirect Mideast peace talks made trickier by Jerusalem housing projects

“When the Obama administration launches indirect peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, as early as this weekend, it faces a much more complicated landscape than the Clinton or Bush administrations, especially in Jerusalem.”

Poor Barack Obama – he has to clean up the mess created by whichever foreign affairs neophyte got it into the Palestinian mindset that new settlements in Jerusalem should be a deal-breaker.

Decline in world markets prompts fears of Greek 'contagion effect'

Here’s Neil Irwin reporting for the Washington Post:

“It leaves countries like Spain, the largest and most economically significant country in the path of the storm--at the mercy of global investors operating under the twin pressures of fear and greed. And it even can be true for countries that have managed their government debt responsibly--Spain has less debt relative to the size of its economy than the United States or Britain--if investors' views of their likely future deficits or ability to roll over debt shift.”

No banner announcing this as some kind of analysis so I can only conclude that Spain is indeed just some hapless victim of international greed and mindless fear. And for an example of just how responsible Spain is with their debt: Downgraded Spain decides to shelve worthless enviro-energy projects


La Raza organizes boycott of Arizona to protest immigration law

Now for those pressed for time, a good rule of thumb is to place yourself on the opposite side of race-baiting whine groups like La Raza.

"No conferences. No travel," said Janet Murguía, president of La Raza. "We are looking at major events with big visibility, and we're asking all people to consider whether any purchase of goods from the state would further this unjust law."

So in other words, they want you to stay away from hotels, golf resorts,  convention facilities – you know, the kind of places most likely to hire illegals. Desired result: business drops off...then layoffs ensue, illegals lose jobs, go home…oops sorry La Raza, I’m with you on this one.

Meanwhile, Post writer Krissah Thompson exhibits her lack of reportorial skills with this lazy observation:

“The law at the center of the debate, S.B. 1070, has given Arizona's police broad power to stop people on suspicion of being in the state illegally.”

Of course she provided no backup for such a claim probably because, well, the law does no such thing...which a quick reading of it would have so informed her. Remarkably the online story even includes a link to the text. In brief, the law mirrors current Federal law and is, in fact, more restrictive on questioning potential illegals. So, I think, to be consistent, La Raza should organize a boycott of the whole US.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Lest We Take This "Free Speech" Thing Too Far....

Over at Concurring Opinions, a virtual symposium is surrounding a paper by Deborah Hellman, a University of Maryland Law (my alma mater) professor. Reading its title - Money Talks But it Isn’t Speech - you can probably guess that it seeks to challenge “…the central premise of our campaign finance law, namely that restrictions on giving and spending money constitute restrictions on speech and thus can only be justified by compelling governmental interests.” This is all in the wake of Citizens United although Professor Hellman certainly doesn’t limit her proposals to just corporate and labor union behavior. [And should you not be familiar with the Citizens United case, don’t feel bad; noted constitutional scholar Barack Obama is apparently unfamiliar with it also.]

The paper is some 38 pages but I think it fair that I ‘sound bite’ it with this quote:

If a constitutional right depends on a good that is distributed via the market, then the right must be understood to include the right to spend money to exercise it. If a constitutional right depends on a good that democratic decision-makers have determined is not to be distributed via the market, then the right ought not to be understood to include the right to spend money to exercise it.”

One of CO’s regulars, Frank Pasqualle, introduced the topic to the site thusly:

In the wake of the sweeping Citizens United decision, Hellman has returned to first principles in her article…”

Well, let me also return to ‘first principles”.

Many of us don’t recognize “free speech” as a “constitutional” right (alternatively, the right to counsel may be so described). This is because the First Amendment doesn’t give me the right to free speech; instead, it merely guarantees that Congress shall pass no law “abridging” that right. In other words, I have it as an unalienable right, with or without Congress…and I’ll be damned if I want to look toward such “democratic decision-makers” for an explanation of my distribution rights.

Further, the idea that introducing money into the discussion somehow modifies our freedoms is seemingly putting form over substance. Why should Bruce Springsteen be unable to give a $1,000,000 to the “This Time Hope for No Change” re-election campaign of President Obama but be allowed to headline a campaign fundraising concert that brings in the same amount? If we remember John Locke’s excellent observation that we all have a property interest in ourselves then money as a stand-in for our labors makes the idea of regulating its use in our political process seem at odds with the underlying ideals of our personal liberties. (Our governments certainly recognize this concept as bartering services are considered taxable events.)

I take very seriously the impetus of our Constitution as being an expression of consent of the governed and that our government is one of enumerated powers. I find it particularly distasteful therefore when politicians – oops, sorry - “democratic decision-makers” seek to find perceived loopholes within the document as an excuse to further regulate us (see, e.g., the constant misuse of the Interstate Commerce clause)…especially as, invariably, such regulations will primarily benefit the already in place “democratic decision-makers.” It is even more disheartening when such learned people as Professor Hellman (whom I’ve met, talked with at some length and genuinely like) act as further enablers of such regulatory impulses.

Okay, this brief rant is over. I will now mull the wonders of leftist ideology whereby the federal government is considered well within its authority to limit my spending on a constitutionally protected right like speech while concurrently justified in forcing me to spend more money on a potentially unwanted product like health care insurance. Of course, from their point of view, the limits of the former would prove useful in muting my opposition to the latter.

There’s a lot more to react to within her paper as well as to the comments of the other posters (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. ) and I encourage you to read them.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Thank you, Mr. Mayor

Does anyone doubt that the arrest in the attempted Times Square bombing is something of a bitter disappointment to many…I mean insofar as it wasn’t of some white dude:

Bloomberg later told CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric that the suspect behind the bombing attempt could be a domestic terrorist angry at the government who acted alone.

"If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that. Homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything," he said.”

After the perfunctory yadda-yadda about innocent-until-proven-guilty, I note the arrested was a US citizen, albeit Pakistani-born and was headed to Dubai. At the risk of stereotyping, I’m going to speculate that it wasn’t the individual mandate that was fueling any anger on his part.

Side Note: Ms. Couric got some other great insights from the Mayor:

“There is no evidence here of a conspiracy, there is no evidence that it's tied into anything else. It looks like an amateurish job done by at least one person," he told Couric.”

…thus, I guess, ruling out the less-than-one-person job.

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