October 31, 2008

Jesus returns to middle school ruckus

He recently celebrated his Bar Mitzvah

Are you John McCain's Secret Santa?

If so, please give him a dictionary of American English.
vindicate \ vb -cated; -cating 1 : AVENGE 2 : EXONERATE, ABSOLVE 3 : CONFIRM, SUBSTANTIATE
McCain v. Language

Rick Davis escapes Earth's gravitational pull

Campaign flack's spin velocity warps time, space
Obama is running out of states if you follow out a traditional model. Today, he expanded his buy into North Dakota, Georgia and Arizona in an attempt to widen the playing field and find his 270 Electoral Votes. This is a very tall order and trying to expand into new states in the final hours shows he doesn't have the votes to win.
Via Talking Points Memo.

I feel for the guy

Whoever he is, the astute individual behind the always thoughtful and entertaining blog Playground Politics, is planning next Tuesday to write in the John Sidney McCain of circa October 1999 (age 63), together with a competent vice-president of his own choosing.
The problem is the Republican Party and its complete lack of constructive ideas for governance — ideas that don't involve fetuses, the Bible, or who your neighbor is sleeping with.
Amen to that, except those are the things I love best about the GOP.

The federal courts redux

Here is a considerably more sober analysis of the situation in the federal courts presented to the next president than the hysteria served up by Federalist Society co-founder Steven G. Calabresi.

Some of the broader highlights:
If John McCain were elected president he would have a much greater opportunity to move the Supreme Court further to the right than Barack Obama would have to move it back to the center.

Obama would likely have a greater opportunity to shape the federal appeals bench if elected president, however, because of the current makeup of those courts.

A study found that an Obama presidency could potentially raise the number of Democratic appointees from 44 percent to 58 percent and significantly increase the number of appeals courts with Democratic majorities.

The study also points out the significant reward from potential appointments to the appeals court bench that a McCain presidency would reap, with the number of Republican appointees rising to a virtually unprecedented 74 percent, as well as likely control of all 13 courts of appeals.
Exactly as I said, that is precisely what Calabresi's hysterics demand.

Incidentally, Prof. Wohl mentions 13 courts of appeal, whereas I had enumerated 12. The thirteenth is the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, whose jurisdiction is based in subject matter rather than geographical region. That jurisdiction is nationwide.

Er ... what?

Palin Fears Media Threaten Her First Amendment Rights
"If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations," AK Gov. Sarah Palin told host Chris Plante, "then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media."
Now that there is a novel theory of the impending totalitarianism (if you can manage to make any sense at all from it). But I'm pretty sure the First Amendment is a bulwark against government restrictions on freedom of the press, not a guaranteed protection from the press.

It also, as it happens, guarantees from abridgment Barack Obama's (and Sarah Palin's) freedom peaceably to assemble (i.e., associate).

I think it's fair to say by now that AK Gov. Sarah Palin is hardly in a position to dissect Barack Obama's descriptive and uncontroversial observations on some of the Civil Rights-era Supreme Court caselaw.

eta: Andrew Sullivan is less kind: "Yes, she is that dumb."

Alaskans in denial

The latest being GOP Senator Ted Stevens, who reportedly claimed at a candidates' debate in Anchorage, "I have not been convicted."

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I understand "convicted" and "found guilty" to be interchangeable terms. And they don't call those papers he's filed with the court "post-conviction motions" for nothing.

John McCain, radical Democrat

They think it's the perfect time to radically reduce defense spending? What are they thinking?? — AK Gov. Sarah Palin
Why not just ask him:
I am cutting billions and billions out of defense spending, which are not earmarks. — Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

Another liar for Palin-McCain

Just this past week, we saw what Barack Obama said about judges. He said, 'I’m tired of these judges who want to follow what the Founding Fathers said and the Constitution.'
No, he didn't. Not even close.

Previous, related lies.
Previous, related hysteria.

Blowing every time they move their teeth

A fine editorial in the Washington Post this morning, on the subject of the Palin-McCain campaign's "increasingly reckless ad hominem attacks" against Illinois Senator Barack Obama:
Our sense is that Mr. Obama is a man of considerable intellectual curiosity who can hear out a smart, if militant, advocate for the Palestinians without compromising his own position. To suggest, as Mr. McCain has, that there is something reprehensible about associating with Mr. Khalidi is itself condemnable — especially during a campaign in which Arab ancestry has been the subject of insults.
Much as I said yesterday. The Palin-McCain gang are a pretty pathetic bunch, if they cannot engage the views of Prof. Khalidi but rather are reduced to not only fabricating his own associations but erecting even more tenuous fabrications on top of those, in particular Senator McCain's comparison of Khalidi to "neo-Nazis."

Their entire campaign is simply an appeal to fear and ignorance.

More from Juan Cole.

Bill Bennett: "Wrong and ugly"

Greg Laden has a little clip from CNN's Situation Room, wherein host Wolf Blitzer asks former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile whether North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Kay Hagan "made a mistake" in attending a fundraiser hosted by this outfit:
You know, Wolf, there are a lot of believers — I'm one of 'em — and there are people who just don't believe in the existence of a god. I don't know why because clearly there's strong evidence that there's a god. But I believe that you serve all the people, not just those who profess to have faith but those with little or no faith. That's how you convert 'em.
Uh huh. "Clearly." Sure there is. If there was, then Donna Brazile wouldn't need to rely instead on this "faith" she's talking about.

Meanwhile that gigantic sanctimonious buffoon Bill Bennett claims Republican Elizabeth Dole's teevee ad, which suggests that Hagan is an atheist, is comparable to the guilt by association tactics the Palin-McCain campaign has been deploying against Barack Obama.

Except those suggested associations are with terrorists who murder people in cold blood, and Bill Bennett is too clueless to realize he's just devised his own even more absurd guilt by association fallacy.

Nice work, genius.

October 30, 2008

Frivolous lawsuit of the week

According to this New York Times blog, Democratic candidate for the United States Senate Kay Hagan has filed a lawsuit against her rival, incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole, because Dole ran an ad designed to suggest that Hagan doesn't believe in a God (which god or gods, the ad doesn't specify).

Which is funny, because I thought that to prevail in a libel action, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had diminished — not enhanced — her reputation. If I were Kay Hagan, my response would have been along the lines of, "And your point is? This is America."

Instead, Kagan asserts angrily, for Dole to imply that she's an atheist is "despicable" and indeed, "the lowest of the low." Well!

It's exactly what the Framers envisioned: a contest over a federal public office has become a holy war between a pair of pious frauds.

John McCain, champion of small business

McCain teevee spokesmodel Tucker Bounds, responding to Barack Obama's 30-minute campaign ad aired last night, quipped:
As anyone who has bought anything from an infomercial knows, the sales-job is always better than the product. Buyer beware.
Rick Petry, president of the Electronic Retailing Association, is decidedly not amused:
The fact is, infomercials have been used by not only start-ups with unique products, but successful brands such as Kodak and Mercedes Benz, even the U.S. Navy.
To charitably paraphrase Jon Stewart's characterization of Tucker Bounds during his interview of CNN's Campbell Brown the other night, Tucker Bounds is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Via Marc Ambinder.

The right-wing insane-o-sphere

Pamela Geller is the craziest rat in the shithouse.

h/t Sadly, No!

Don't tase me, Rick!*

Sleazy McCain innuendo encapsulated.

By the way, CNN's Rick Sanchez, criticism of Israeli foreign or domestic policy does not in itself make one "anti-Semitic."

In fact, Palestinians are Semites. Literally.

* Rick Sanchez gets tased.

Joe the Nü-Country Star

God help us.

Yet another Palin lie debunked

AK Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday said Sen. Barack Obama has ties to Rashid Khalidi, a Columbia University professor who she said is "a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization." — CNN.com
But see:
What everyone acknowledges is that Rashid Khalidi was an adviser to the Palestinian delegation to the 1991 Madrid talks. That delegation — to a person — could not have had any formal affiliation with the PLO. Israel regarded the group as terrorist and its laws banned contact with its members; then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir made NOT being affiliated with the PLO a condition of Israel’s agreement to participate.
JTA - Jewish and Israel News

Khalidi's organization, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, conducted regular public opinion surveys in the West Bank and Gaza with financial support from various foundations and from the International Republican Institute, an organization that promotes democracy around the world.

Senator John McCain was the IRI chairman when it gave $448,873 to the research group in 1998, according to IRI's tax return. Under McCain's leadership, the IRI gave at least $838,494 to Khalidi's group in 1988 and 1999, according to the IRI's tax returns.*
The Jerusalem Post

Khalidi called Palin's remarks an "idiot wind." Touché.

The larger question, of course, is why shouldn't Barack Obama have an association or even a friendship with someone who has been critical of U.S. foreign policy toward Israel and in fact harshly critical of Israel's own policies. The Palestinians have legitimate grievances, to say the least, and the U.S. is a constant broker among the parties.

Best he makes himself aware of those views, as opposed to adopting the daft anti-intellectual posturing of somebody like Sarah Palin.

* "I think the McCain boomerang yesterday landed somewhere between their nose and their forehead." — Obama aide Robert Gibbs

Richard Posner, palling around with terrorist pals

John McCain's obsession with Barack Obama is such that he can barely complete a sentence without mentioning the latter's name.

In fact McCain and his schlemile running mate's lies and fallacious attacks against Obama have become so desperate McCain is running robocalls in his home state of Arizona, where the race is tightening, just not in the direction his goofball mandarins want you to believe.

Back in June, at the Palin-McCain dead-enders Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes rag the Weekly Standard, an author even attempted smears against Senator Obama on account of the eclectic Chicago neighborhood he lives in. (Senator McCain inhabits at least seven different posh neighborhoods, so he's harder to pin down.)

Meanwhile* at the New Republic, a corrective and entertaining riposte to the Weekly Standard's ill-informed blather penned by another resident of Hyde Park. Obama actually lives in Kenwood, according to the comments to the article left by fellow residents, one of which relates an anecdote from a former constitutional law student of Obama's, who had to call the professor to reschedule an exam:
The phone call was at 3 a.m., by the way. He sounded very alert. He asked me whether the call was about national security or the economy right off the bat.
Chicago's Libertarian Liberals

Richard Posner, incidentally, is a widely respected judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and professor of law at the University of Chicago who also lives in Hyde Park.

* Notice that the New Republic uses the day/month/year date format, just like they do in Marxist dystopias such as Sweden.

October 29, 2008

Universal Plumber*

"He’s a fellow Alaskan, and he’s a fellow military man [sic] who served our country proudly," Ms. Palin said. "I'd like you to meet him! Please welcome Joe the Plumber!"
Evidently he is none of the above.

* Apologies to Buffy Sainte-Marie by way of Donovan.

She took godless money

That godless Presbyterian church elder.

Obama's latest plot to destroy America

It's not overstatement to describe Steven G. Calabresi's op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday as "hysterical."

Calabresi is a professor of law at Northwestern University and a co-founder of the Federalist Society, which is — depending on who you ask — a gathering of high-minded, scholarly lawyers and students or the insidious vehicle for a far right-wing Borkian nightmare.

The good professor is concerned about a Barack Obama presidency, in particular Obama wielding the constitutional power to make lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary.

How come? Because this one time Obama remarked that in considering the résumés of prospective judicial nominees, he would take into account relevant life experience along with academic and professional qualifications.

In other words, he might eschew the purely pointy-headed Ivy League intellectual elitists that political conservatives love to deride. Better a judge with good qualifications and a working knowledge of the society of individuals whom her decision making is most likely to affect. A horrifying prospect, alleges Prof. Calabresi.

This is a bad thing, says Calabresi, and offers as his own nightmare scenario the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, one of the 12 regional appellate courts a step below the U.S. Supreme Court. And because the Supreme Court accepts fewer than 100 cases each year, the courts of appeal are generally the last stop for federal litigation.

The D.C. Circuit is especially important because its jurisdiction is the seat of national government where much of the wrangling over federal legislation takes place, in particular corporate and regulatory litigation. For example, that dealing with environmental protection. In that context, Calabresi is frightened that Obama's judges will favor America's fields and streams over the Great God Mammon.

But what Calabresi doesn't mention is that of the 13 judges currently sitting on the D.C. Court of Appeals, 10 were appointed by Republican presidents. And he's terrified that Barack Obama will upset that balance [sic]. Ultimately, his desire is that conservative Republicans will completely line the federal benches with righteous Federalist Society disciples in perpetuity.

He is equally hysterical with respect to the U.S. Supreme Court, seven of whose nine current members were appointed by Republicans, and suggests that the next president may be faced with as many as four vacancies.

The two Democratic appointees, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, often side with the so-called liberal wing of the Court, but not always. Two other Republican appointees, John Paul Stevens and David Souter, often side with Breyer and Ginsburg.

A third Republican, Anthony Kennedy, is considered the "swing vote" but has outraged conservatives with his positions on a few beloved hobbyhorse/obsessions like homosexuality, abortion, and federal underwriting of the favored religion, Christianity.

While they're generally pleased with the remaining four Justices, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and relative newcomers Chief John Roberts and Samuel Alito, the latter's predecessor, Sandra Day O'Connor, was yet another Republican appointee who often disappointed social conservatives with her heretical opinions on the aforementioned topics.

So what the FedSoc types are seeking is essentially do-overs on Stevens, Souter, and Kennedy, and the retirements of Stevens and Ginsburg are to provide those opportunities.

In short, the Federalist posse, through compliant Republican administrations, wants to control the appointment of every single federal judge in the country and if the U.S. electorate doesn't allow it to do so then — get this — "nothing less than the very idea of liberty and the rule of law are at stake." He also claims that Obama's judges will surely facilitate a "mass freeing of criminal defendants."

What sensationalist, fearmongering rubbish.

It isn't Barack Obama's fault that the GOP screwed up on Stevens, O'Connor, Souter, and Kennedy, not to mention earlier Republican Justices like the "radical" Earl Warren and Harry Blackmun, a Nixon appointee and notorious author of Roe v. Wade.

One of Senator John McCain's last ditch desperate attempts at maintaining the Republican Party's control of the White House is to warn against a Democratic monopoly on both the executive and legislative branches of government and yet here is Calabresi overheatedly advocating for Republican control of all three.

George W. Bush, a willing and self-satisfied Federalist Society accomplice himself, has had his eight years to bend to its whims.

It's time for that to change.

More: Prof. Calabresi's Lexis-Nexis bill is past due.

October 28, 2008

Sarah Palin is a shameless liar

Plain and simple:
"Senator Obama said that he regretted, he regretted that the Supreme Court hadn't been more radical and he described the Court's refusal to take up the issues of redistribution of wealth as a tragedy," said AK Gov. Sarah Palin. "And he said that he also regretted that the Supreme Court didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers [sic] there in the Constitution, that's a quote."
Desperation, I can understand. Lying, not so much.

But it was bound to happen.
The audience, which packed Penn State University's Recreation Hall, roared [approvingly] at her remarks.
What a sad, sad state of affairs.

Nation of masochists

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, conducted in mid-October, showed voters preferred Barack Obama to John McCain on taxes by 14 percentage points.
Marginal increase to halt McCain's incessant hectoring

Palin a boon to economy

The Canadian economy, that is:

TransCanada announces $390m Q3 net income

Meshugganah Joe

Obama means "the death of Israel" — Joe the Plumber

Even a Fox News host is appalled.

Gableman panel empaneled

After a false start.

Reportedly, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is planning on challenging the constitutionality of the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules provision he stands accused of violating:
A candidate for a judicial office shall not knowingly or with reckless disregard for the statement's truth or falsity misrepresent the identity, qualifications, present position, or other fact concerning the candidate or an opponent. A candidate for judicial office should not knowingly make representations that, although true, are misleading, or knowingly make statements that are likely to confuse the public with respect to the proper role of judges and lawyers in the American adversary system.
Emphases added.

This means Gableman will have to show that the above Rule (SCR 60.06(3)(c)) operates as an abridgment of free speech under the First Amendment, which is applicable to the States through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Gableman, despite having been narrowly elected nearly seven months ago, continues to speak through his campaign manager, Darrin Schmitz. Schmitz appears to claim that because each and every individual sentence in the contested advertisement is "truthful," so therefore is the overall communication conveyed by the ad.

Thus I suppose if I tell you that the moon is made of green cheese, it must be true because there is a moon, there is cheese, and there are things that are green, out of which other things can be made.

My question is, how many Gableman votes was the ad's alleged "truthfulness" responsible for. The panel may not reach that question, but it seems pretty much dispositive to me.

It certainly was intended to sway voters.

Alaska, Marxist paradise

A few weeks before she was nominated for vice-president, AK Gov. Sarah Palin told a visiting journalist that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.”
John McCain is a progressive-tax Socialist also.

October 27, 2008

McCain on federal judges

"Our nation needs a new direction — different from the path pursued by the current administration," writes Senator John McCain today in the National Law Journal. So what's going to be different? McCain promises to "appoint strict constructionist judges."

Whatever that's supposed to mean, it's exactly the direction pursued by the current administration: "I would pick people who would be strict constructionists," quoth George W. Bush. Not different.

As for his own current rival, McCain says of he, "Senator Obama's judges would coddle criminals." McCain offers no elucidation, but presumably this is a reference to Obama's apparent opposition to federal mandatory minimum sentences.

Mandatory minimum sentences remove discretion from the sentencing judge who is faced with a case-specific set of facts and mitigating circumstances that simply may not warrant the imposition of the minimum sentence, which is mandated by statute.

That's not how justice is done, and that's not how judges should be forced to do their jobs.

Senator Obama is certainly not alone in that opposition, and Prof. Douglas Berman, at his Sentencing Law and Policy blog, links to a 21-page compilation of conservative judges voicing their own reservations (to say the least) with mandatory minimum sentences.

Somehow I wouldn't expect John McCain to accuse Frank Easterbrook or William Rehnquist or any of the dozens of other federal judges and prosecutors cited of "coddling criminals." But consistency would demand it, if that is the basis for his accusation against Obama.

Lack of consistency aside, what's especially amusing is that in the very same NLJ piece, Senator McCain pledges to de-politicize the Justice Department, whereas demonizing his opponent for the crime of opposing mandatory minimum sentencing and "coddling criminals" is about as cheap as political pandering comes.

I guess McCain doesn't do irony either.

With zero precincts reporting

U.S. Senate Dems are filibuster-proofing.

Righties in un-Warren-ted tizzy

At the popular legal issues blog Volokh Conspiracy this morning, law professors Orin Kerr and David Bernstein discuss Barack Obama's 2001 interview with a Chicago radio station, over which the right-wing is currently foaming at its collectivist mouth.

The latter are led by Matt Drudge, whose headline attributing to then-State senator Obama the view that it's a "Tragedy That 'Redistribution of Wealth' [Was] Not Pursued by [the U.S.] Supreme Court" is completely unsupported by Obama's own statements.

Nowhere does Obama say, as a predictable plethora of conservative bloggers are alleging, that the Civil Rights-era Warren Court should have taken a more active role in economic policymaking, or even that he's "disappointed" that it didn't or "wished" that it did, as at least one local yokel falsely claims.

Prof. Bernstein asks — rhetorically, if you will:
Are people so stupid as to not recognize that when politicians talk about a "right to health care," or "equalizing educational opportunities," or "making the rich pay a fair share of taxes," or "ensuring that all Americans have the means to go to college," and so forth and so on, that they are advocating the redistribution of wealth? Is it okay for a politician to talk about the redistribution of wealth only so long as you don't actually use phrases such as "redistribution" or "spreading the wealth," in which case he suddenly becomes "socialist"?
Because one hears the identical sentiments from Republican politicians, including from presidential candidate John McCain, that well-known champion of nationalizing financial institutions.

Nevertheless, expect conservatives to try and make a huge deal out of this interview, which is more the thoughtfully considered historical observations of a constitutional law professor than anything else.

Prof. Bernstein's post also contains a link to the entire 54-minute conversation, as opposed to the edited snippets advertised by Michelle Malkin and the rest of the other well-practiced onanists.

eta: The McCain campaign gets in on the misrepresentation:

"Barack Obama expressed his regret that the Supreme Court hadn't been more 'radical' and described as a 'tragedy' the Court's refusal to take up 'the issues of redistribution of wealth.' No wonder he wants to appoint judges that legislate from the bench," said McCain economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin.

These are brazen lies. Obama neither expressed any such regret nor described any such tragedy. Holtz-Eakin is truly desperate. What we have here is a senior McCain adviser taking his cue from addlepated conservative bloggers in full comprehension-deficiency mode.

Comical or pathetic? Both.

October 25, 2008

Sweden, it's HELL ON EARTH

Reporter: You may recognize this famous quote: 'From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.' That's from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?
Joe Biden: Are you joking? Is this a joke?
Reporter: No.
Joe Biden: Is that a real question?
Reporter: That's a question.
Joe Biden: Ha ha ha.
"He really got angry," sez an incensed local wingnut. Actually it's all he can do to keep from cracking up. Game, set, match — Joe Biden.

Faux News laughably calls those "tough questions." I call them "moronic questions" recited from a Sarah Palin stump speech cue card, but Biden easily addressed each one of them anyway.

h/t Wonkette.

Obama's latest challenge

It will be very difficult for Obama to win more than about 397 electoral votes. — Nate Silver
Also, that whole antichrist thing.

Palin's pipeline back in the news

Isn't this something:
Palin Pipeline Terms Curbed Bids

Gov. Sarah Palin's signature accomplishment — a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 — emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a [Canadian] company with ties to her administration, an Associated Press investigation shows.
Sounds mighty familiar. This here blog, September 12:
A more significant aspect of the story is the second thoughts some Republican legislators in Alaska seem to be having for the process by which the State went about selecting the successful licensee, TransCanada Corp. of Calgary.

As I mentioned earlier [September 8], and the New York Times article isn't clear about, TransCanada was the only bidder. That appears to be at least one Alaska legislator's concern:
Lyda Green, a Republican and president of the State Senate, voted for Ms. Palin’s Alaska Gasline Inducement Act [AGIA] but said that in the interim, it has not "shown itself to be open and competitive, and it is a very expensive risk."

"I regret the vote now," she said last week.
In other words, the AGIA had the effect of excluding every potential bidder except for TransCanada.
Where's my damn Pulitzer.

Real Real Gone

Also from Politico, the GOP "goner list."
Van MorrisonReal Real Gone
James Brown said 'When you're tired of what you got try me'

Palin is "going rogue"

Politico's Ben Smith has a very interesting story this morning about the machinations evolving within the Palin-McCain campaign.

It all makes perfect sense. Palin is a massively ambitious person with national aspirations well beyond her current role, which is supposed to be as a McCain surrogate, essentially. But she's chafing at the restrictions imposed on her activities by McCain's inner circle.

Who could blame her? Even I'm sympathetic.

Things are going sour and Palin needs to protect herself from the taint of McCain's disastrous tactics cum strategy. The only problem is she's said a lot of idiotic things when afforded the opportunity.

Recently, after being asked by NBC's Brian Williams what she meant by "preconditions" in her attacks against Barack Obama's views on foreign diplomacy, she didn't have the slightest clue how to respond and simply retreated to her standard fearmongering boilerplate about "those who would seek to destroy America."

The GOP base of True Believers may love her to death and she's undeniably got an abundance of political skill but her alleged grasp of substantive questions is so comically shallow it's difficult to imagine her surviving a Republican primary in 2012.

More: She is a diva.

Lynching the messenger

Ashley Todd, the caucasian female McCain worker who fabricated a resonant tale of having been beaten, sexually assaulted, and disfigured by a six-foot-four black male Obama supporter, hasn't forgotten her GOP talking points, telling Pittsburgh police: "She was upset with the media for blowing this into a political firestorm."

October 24, 2008

Sarah Palin: Autism expert

This afternoon, AK Gov. Sarah Palin delivered what was billed by her handlers as a "major policy speech" directed at children with special needs.

Less than two weeks ago Sarah Palin's running mate and mentor, Senator John McCain, had referred to "children who have autism. Sarah Palin knows about that better than most."

In her speech, Palin took pains to mock a federal research grant devoted to studying fruit flies, a.k.a. Drosophila melanogaster.

Just about everybody knows that scientists use fruit flies in genetics work because of their short life spans. Therefore, numerous generations can be observed within a relatively short period of time.

And, of course, anybody who knows about autism better than most would understand that it has genetic components. Fragile X syndrome, for example, which is an inherited genetic condition with a close connection to human mental impairment, including autism and other severe cognitive disabilities.

In fact, according to the National Fragile X Foundation, it is the leading known cause of autism. Sarah Palin actually said this today:
You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France.

I kid you not.
And here is what researchers at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta announced last March:
Scientists using a new drug screening method in Drosophila (fruit flies), have identified several drugs and small molecules that reverse the features of fragile X syndrome — a frequent form of mental retardation and one of the leading known causes of autism. The discovery sets the stage for developing new treatments for fragile X syndrome.
I kid you not.

eta: Not surprisingly, PZ Myers noticed too.

I'd be pissed too

If the hairstylist was making double my salary.

Spreading the wealth to voucher schools

While he makes clear he's not urging you to vote against the presidential candidate who would seek to destroy Western civilization as we know it, Marquette law professor Rick Esenberg has contributed a generally functional overview of some recent United States Supreme Court opinions to that redoubtable conservative "think tank," the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.
In the area of the religion clause[s] — the constitutional guarantee of the right to the free exercise of religion and the prohibition of government establishments of religion — the Court has moved toward a more permissive view of the inclusion of religion in programs and forums sponsored by the government. It has, for example, upheld the provision of vouchers for use in religious schools.
The upholding Prof. Esenberg refers to is found in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, where a majority of the Court held that the redirection of federal funds to private sectarian schools in Ohio was constitutional because the function of choosing each school resided with the funds' recipient rather than with the government directly.

In other words, the government gives you someone else's money, and if you personally decide to spend it on tuition at Dr. Dino's 6,000-Year-Old Earth Middle School and Creation Science Museum, then that decision is of no concern with respect to the First Amendment.

Conservatives adore this judicial outcome, untroubled as they need to be by the blindingly obvious "spreading the wealth around," a socialist mechanism which otherwise drives them to distraction. It's an instructive lesson in situational morality, if nothing else.

McCain spokesman hyped fake assault story

This is rich. Only 11 days of increasing desperation to go.


Palin/Bachman [sic] 2012

"I heard Commentary and Dissent merged and formed Dysentery."
— Woody Allen

Tales of two McCainiacs

Ashley Todd:
Police said the McCain campaign volunteer told them she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night.*
Charles Fried:
Chief among his reasons for endorsing Obama "is the choice of AK Gov. Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis."
Wise counsel.

* "If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator Obama, not because they are racists, but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee." — an executive vice-president of Fox News, allegedly employing some manner of logical reasoning

McCain camp stays on message

$33k for 14 days of hair and make-up, or three times what his numero uno foreign policy adviser is worth. Res ipsa loquitur.

McGee sentencing today

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's most excellent Proof and Hearsay blog has links to both the defense and the federal government's sentencing memorandums, if you're into that sort of thing.

October 23, 2008

Newt goes nuts

Newt Gingrich says Saturday Night Live should be sued for "slander" and compares it to "Polish state news media." I agree SNL may be liable in tort, not for defamation but for fraud or at least negligent misrepresentation, because it bills itself as a comedy programme.

Newt, on the other hand, is funny as all hell.

Socialist mavericks

"Now is not the time to experiment with socialism," AK Gov. Sarah Palin, suddenly become an expert in economics and political science, lectured a gathering of Pennsylvanians today.

A few hours earlier, Alan Greenspan, who is presumably as expert in economics as they do come, described to a House committee his recent experiments with capitalism:
Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity — myself especially — are in a state of shocked disbelief.
"This crisis," he added, "has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined."

What Greenspan means is that he underestimated base human greed and trusted billionaire bankers to be responsible to the polity in the deliberate absence of fair and meaningful regulation and oversight by the people's elected representatives.

One of the effects of Greenspan's experiments in capitalism is that the federal government was forced to partially nationalize those same banks, an experiment in socialism that Palin's running mate, Senator John McCain, championed and supported.

McCain obviously thought it was time for an experiment in socialism.

And if it works, and if the investment is returned and pays dividends to the investors, remember how both McCain and Palin made the experiment into a dirty word and one of the accusatory centerpieces of their failing campaign, the campaign that McCain temporarily "suspended" to forward an experiment in socialism.

Conservative Republicans continue to warn ominously against the socialization of health care and fret over the very well-off paying a couple of extra points in income taxes while the federal government continues with its nationalization of the mortgage lending and insurance industries, about which they are largely silent.

Strange priorities, and deceitfully rendered.

At least it only cost $155.00

Wisconsin AG's election suit tossed

Great reader comment:
God will have the last word. That judge with a little 'j' will have [to be] Judged and spend the rest of eternity in flaming pain. Van Hollen is a man of God. If Van Hollen wanted this law suit it is God's Chosen Will. Let this be a lesson to all those that challenge God's Chosen Messenger: J. B. Van Hollen !
It's not nice to threaten judges.

Palin's clothes are 'focusing accessories'

There is a distinction in federal election law between contributions made to political parties and individual candidates. It's been reported that AK Gov. Sarah Palin's $150k shopping spree was funded from general Republican Party coffers, as opposed to from Palin-McCain donations, since the latter are disallowed for "personal use."

Even so, the expenditures were apparently disclosed as "campaign accessories," which is a mighty broad category. It seems to me practically inevitable that somebody is going to challenge the use of political contributions to purchase bracelet sleeve jackets and knee-high leather boots for the candidate's personal use.

Which is why GOP lawyers are already preparing their defense:
"There is absolutely nothing wrong with the expenditure, as long as it is 100% focused on the campaign," former Reagan administration attorney James V. Lacy said. "If they need to spend that money in order to keep her clean, clothed and focused because she is on the road 24/7, then that's an appropriate expenditure."
Clothes, you see, also have ineffable properties apart from the mundane. I wouldn't necessarily dispute that suggestion but it stands a good chance of getting lost in the translation to legal argument.

Nevertheless, suggests another lawyer, the receipt of funds from the Party coffers by the campaign might itself be considered a campaign contribution, in which case the purchase of personal items with the said funds would be verboten.
"And if it was a contribution, then it could not have been used for buying clothing," said Lawrence F. Noble, former general counsel to the Federal Elections Commission. And "if it is covered [as a personal-use expense], the argument that we were going to give it to a charity doesn't help."
And Senator John McCain, who has famously taken up a number of questions related to campaign finances, had this to say in 1993:
The use of campaign funds for items which most Americans would consider to be strictly personal reasons, in my view, erodes public confidence and erodes it significantly.
Depends on what your definition of knee-high leather boots is.

October 22, 2008

Under the bus you go

GOP pulls the plug on MN nutcase
"[Teh librulz r] motivated entirely by their hatred of me and my conservative beliefs." — Michele Bachmann
It's probably too much to expect one of these self-crucified martyrs to someday stop mistaking bemusement and comedy for hatred, which requires far more energy than this goofball deserves.

Elwyn Tinklenberg '08


"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said Palin-McCain spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.
"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending $150,000 in one month on pantsuits and blouses," said Palin-McCain spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

Michael Chertoff, gaffe machine

The Secretary of Homeland Security and former Bush-appointed federal judge who helped author the USAPATRIOT Act can't be too fazed by Joe Biden's weekend remarks, which are otherwise sending Republicans into Gamma-9 paroxysms of self-righteous outrage:
"Any period of transition creates a greater vulnerability, meaning there's more likelihood of distraction," Chertoff said in an interview yesterday. "You have to be concerned it will create an operational opportunity for terrorists."

The risk is the same whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain is elected president on Nov. 4, he said. That comment undercuts McCain's argument that the U.S. would be more in danger of an attack if Obama, 47, wins.
McCain garners coveted al-Qaeda endorsement

So Obama's Hamas endorsement is now a wash. (And yes, that is a link to a NewsMax "story" using WorldNutDaily as its source.)

Citizen's arrest

While I don't condone criminal or tortious activity, this video of a woman attempting to handcuff Karl Rove is mildly entertaining. It also features the Turd Blossom relating an adult diapers joke.

Boxers or briefs? Depends.

And I'm sure John McCain can handle the ribbing, after having quipped that Janet Reno is Chelsea Clinton's father.

Palin out-drama queens Joe Biden

Every few hours it seems, the Palin-McCain campaign desperately adopts a new tactic, evidently as none of the others are working.

The other day it was procuring Joe the Plumber his 15 minutes of notoriety on the Fox News Network's 21st century version of Hee Haw, The Mike Huckabee Hour.

Now it's seized on some characteristically dramatic remarks delivered by a certain Joe the Senator at a fundraising event in Seattle over the weekend.

Needless to say, Delaware Senator Joe Biden's premonitions have already been grossly misinterpreted and abused by his veep hopeful counterpart, AK Gov. Sarah Palin.

In an interview with CNN consisting for the most part of her standard stump speech blather, Palin cast Biden's warning as a conditional syllogism: If Barack Obama is elected, then there will be an international crisis.

But that isn't what Biden said at all. What he was saying, in typical Bidenese, is that whenever a new American president is installed, there will be those who seek to "test his mettle," as Biden put it.

And the new president that is about to be installed, according to Joe Biden, is Barack Obama. It was an observation based in historical experience and would apply to any freshly minted administration, including one presided over by John McCain.

Nor was Biden suggesting that electing Obama as opposed to some other candidate will cause an international crisis, which is what the Palin-McCain gang is attempting to make him say.

In fact the AK Gov. said so explicitly, in reviving the ridiculous objections to Obama's stated willingness to engage in diplomatic talks with so-called hostile regimes, a policy perspective endorsed by five former U.S. Secretaries of State.

Palin claims, nonsensically, that doing so would "validate," for example, the prior shenanigans of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and furthermore precipitate whatever crises Biden was alluding to.

While there are definitely puzzling aspects to Biden's more specific propositions that warrant explication, Palin either didn't hear or didn't understand what he said. Willfully or not, who knows.

And she's certainly in no position to criticize Barack Obama for being an "untested" president. So is Palin, and so is John McCain.

October 21, 2008

McConnell running for his life

"There are people from all over the country on the political left who would love to see the leader of the Senate Republicans defeated," Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told a crowd of about 40 people in front of the Green County courthouse.
True story!
"The guy running against me, if he was successful, would be a rookie," McConnell said. "Do you want to send Kentucky to the back bench with little or no influence?"
Hell yes. I hear that guy is a reformer and a maverick also.

Impending demise of $500m KY porkfest blamed on "the left"

John McCain spreads the wealth around

Look, here's what I really believe, that when you are — reach a certain level of comfort, there's nothing wrong with paying somewhat more. But at the same time, that shouldn't be totally out of proportion. There's some countries such as Sweden where it doesn't pay anything to work more than six months a year. That's probably the extreme.

But I think the debate in this country is more about tax cuts rather than anything else. And frankly, I think the first people who deserve a tax cut are working Americans with children that need to educate their children, and they're the ones that I would support tax cuts for first.

— Senator John McCain, Socialist.

Even J. Danforth Quayle knew his place

Speaking of the Constitution, AK Gov. Sarah Palin believes the vice president of the United States "is in charge of the U.S. Senate."

Even worse, she told that to a third grader who had asked, "What does the vice president do?" And once she's "in charge of the U.S. Senate," AK Gov. Palin thinks she "can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes."

Much like John Nance Garner, vice president under Franklin Delano Roosevelt for eight years, who during that time cast a grand total of three tie breaking votes.

Unfortunately for AK Gov. Palin, she isn't running for high office in Italy but actually hopes to be elected vice president of the United States in two weeks, which may or may not be enough time to figure out what the job entails.

Not that that matters terribly, since it appears AK Gov. Palin's current ceremonial role is one of preventing John McCain from becoming president of anything.

The Framers in their wisdom

The Framers in their wisdom limited the House of Representatives to two-year terms and indeed, that is the only federal body where the original Constitution provided for direct election by "We the People."

That's because the Framers weren't completely sold on democracy, and they had a pretty good idea what sort of yahoos and kooks the people might install to the House and that two years would be more than enough time for the said yahoos and kooks to inflict their idiocy on the polity before getting turfed out in due course.

Last Friday, a wildeyed fruitcake from Minnesota called Michele Bachmann demonstrated the wisdom of the Framers when she told Chris Matthews that Senator Barack Obama "absolutely" holds "anti-American views" and demanded the press perform a "penetrating exposé" into her own Congressional colleagues' treasonous affairs.

Now today we have Robin Hayes (R-NC), who informs us that "Liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God." And then lies about informing us thusly.

Anyone in search of the real East Coast elitists need look no further than the Framers of the United States Constitution.

October 20, 2008

Scalia: Activist, illegitimate

An amusing item in the New York Times today about some criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Second Amendment decision:
Two prominent federal appeals court judges say that Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in the case, District of Columbia v. Heller, is illegitimate, activist, poorly reasoned, and fueled by politics rather than principle.

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard A. Posner, in an article in The New Republic in August, wrote that Heller’s failure to allow the political process to work out varying approaches to gun control that were suited to local conditions "was the mistake that the Supreme Court made when it nationalized abortion rights in Roe v. Wade."
That's exactly what Justice John Paul Stevens said.

'Atrocious and unacceptable'

That's what AK Gov. Sarah Palin calls offensive comments made against her allegedly "socialist" nemesis, Senator Barack Obama.

And that would be the same AK Gov. Sarah Palin whose election campaign is dispatching telephonic robo-messages suggesting Obama himself is a terrorist, which musn't qualify as offensive, presumably.

As for "palling around with terrorists," that's also fair game:
There’s been quite a few associations and events and meetings and discussion [sic] and emails and calls.
Really? Do tell.

October 17, 2008

GOP unlikely to prevail

In Ohio, on an arcane question of election law.

To wit, whether Congress, through the Help America Vote Act of 2002, has authorized the federal courts to enforce the desires of a private party, in this case being the Republicans.

Short version: Republicans lose their bid to direct Ohio's conduct of State election procedure.

Thus spake SCOTUS (and not just Justice Stevens; the entire Court) in reversing Tuesday's en banc decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Howard Bashman has the links.

October 16, 2008

Hip Fleeings

h/t Dan Cody.


Joe Sam the Not a Plumber

Thanks a lot, John McCain:
Mr. Wulzerbacher’s notoriety has raised the ire of Tom Joseph, business manager for Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics, who claimed that Mr. Wulzerbacher didn’t undergo any apprenticeship training.

"When you have guys going out there with no training whatsoever, it’s a little disreputable to start with," Mr. Joseph said. "We’re the real Joe the Plumber."

Mr. Joseph said Mr. Wulzerbacher could only legally work in the townships, but not in any municipality in Lucas County or elsewhere in the country.

"This individual has got no schooling, no licenses, he’s never been to a training program, union or non-union, in the United States of America," Mr. Joseph said.
Toledo (OH) Blade.

As things stand, Mr. Wulzerbacher wouldn't be able to touch a stick of pipe on a union construction site, not even Sarah Palin's.

Asked and answered

I voted with President Bush over 90% of the time, higher than a lot of my Republican colleagues. — John McCain

The last eight years haven't worked real well, have they?
John McCain
See also: Married to the mob.

Updating the Palin CV

Energy. She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America. — John McCain

Children, precious children who have autism. Sarah Palin knows about that better than most. — John McCain

McCain's judicial bafflegab

So John McCain claims he would not apply any "litmus test" to a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

Traditionally, what "litmus test" in this context has signified is support for the holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that, among other things, largely removed the regulation of abortion from the purview of the several States.

"I'm a federalist," McCain told us last night, which means he favors a scheme whereby certain medical procedures are available in one State and forbidden by the next. And maybe available but subject to onerous restrictions in yet others. Nobody knows, or can know.

In order for patients to navigate this scheme, it's not clear whether McCain's health plan pays travel expenses. But it is certain that when it comes to women's health specifically, women are entitled to a special, derisive — even sneering — "air quotes" edition.

John McCain is opposed to evaluating the résumés of prospective judges according to their ideology, he says.

He criticized Barack Obama for voting against the last two Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito — although McCain said Breyer, who was appointed in 1994 — because "they didn't meet [Obama's] ideological standards."

Except John McCain has ideological standards too. It's just that he calls them qualifications. And among those qualifications, McCain informs us, is support for Roe v. Wade.

And any prospective Justice of the Supreme Court who has expressed support for Roe v. Wade is disqualified, according to McCain.

But no, Senator McCain doesn't have any litmus test.

October 15, 2008

Obama: At least as radical as a Puritan

Melanie Phillips, who is a British journalist that strikes me as more than just a little bit wacky and possibly even mildly deranged, published an item in The Spectator today, drawing on some articles by a Stanley Kurtz that appeared in the National Review Online.

Apparently Kurtz's project is to unearth what are purportedly the most outré, leftist "radical" scribblings he can find and attempt to somehow attribute them to Barack Obama by hook or by crook and by any means necessary, as we used to say back in the Hashbury, man.

Phillips gravely intones:
Kurtz dug out a chapter in a 1990 book called After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois in which Obama sketched out how radical black churches could be harnessed to help radicalise the black population.
I don't know how much digging it took, because the entire chapter is available on the internets right here.

Further to Phillips's overheated paranoias, it's true that Obama does suggest involving churches in community work, e.g.:
This means bringing together churches, block clubs, parent groups and any other institutions in a given community to pay dues, hire organizers, conduct research, develop leadership, hold rallies and education cam­paigns, and begin drawing up plans on a whole range of issues — jobs, education, crime, etc. Once such a vehicle is formed, it holds the power to make politicians, agencies and corporations more responsive to commu­nity needs.
So radical, one can barely stand it. Who knows where Phillips came up with the "radical black" prefix for Obama's churches. Extracted wholesale from that storied East End London fog, presumably. Elsewhere the descriptor Obama employs is "prominent black," and refers to "young and forward-thinking pastors."

Do those sound like Jeremiah Wright to you? Nor I.

And are "radical" and "prominent" the same things? According to these learned scribes, that would appear to be the case. Clearly none is the manner of church of which either Phillips or Kurtz might approve, and isn't that just so dreadfully lamentable for each of that pair of Eurocentric elitist media honkeys.

If either of these characters believe that the Obama chapter is representative of some brand of dangerous radicalism, then neither of them get out much, that's evident enough.

But they sure can work a guilt-by-association fallacy in a pinch.

Bible warns of Obama

"He’s neither-nor," said Ricky Thompson, a pipe fitter who works at a factory north of Mobile, while standing in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store just north of here. "He's other. It's in the Bible. Come as one. Don't create other breeds."
"It's in the Bible." Good answer. I hate to break it to these poor souls, but there's no such thing as white "racial heritage." Even Ricky Thompson comes from the Olduvai Gorge, which is in Africa.

If McCain wants to bring it up tonight

This is what I'd tell him:

Yes, thanks. I know who he is. I know now what he did, when I was eight. I've condemned it, and I'll condemn it again. I have no idea what his current attitude to those activities is. You and your people tell me he's "unrepentant," I believe that's the term you use.

Since you obviously seem to know one whole hell of a lot more about him than I do, I'll take your word for it.

But it's not my job to expect or demand repentance from anybody, and I certainly never talked to him about it. I sat on a couple of boards in Chicago a number of years ago. We were all working at trying to improve education there.

Chicago is a big city, with a lot of challenges. There were nearly four dozen people on those boards. The main thing I knew about any of them was that we were all working toward some common goals.

Maybe they did some bad things in their past as well. That's their business, and that was not among my concerns during our association. I'm not an FBI agent, or a cop.

And maybe you've gone and done background checks on all those people too. I don't know. And I wouldn't really care all that much, to be perfectly honest. I guess I've just got more important things to worry about than you do and I'd rather talk about those things.

And I think the American people would rather talk about and hear about those things as well. As a matter of fact I'm sure they would.

But if you want to talk about Bill Ayers, if that's the sort of thing you find important, then be my guest. I'm just not interested, thanks.

October 14, 2008

Country First

John McCain knows, in his gut, that he put somebody unqualified on the ballot. He knows that in his gut, and when this race is over that is something he will have to live with. He put somebody unqualified on that ballot and he put the country at risk, he knows that.
So says "prominent Republican political consultant" Matthew Dowd, peering, Putin-like, into Senator McCain's soul. Gut, or whatever.

I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even I could see that the AK Gov. was an unmitigated disaster from the get-go. I still find it difficult to believe that anybody was even halfway impressed by that ridiculous speech at the Republican National Convention.

But that's nothing. How can anybody in good conscience support as a potential vice president — president, in fact — somebody who, when faced with a legislative report finding an abuse of executive power by way of a statutory violation, blithely claims she was cleared of all wrongdoing by that same report. That's pathological denial.

It's a mystery to me. Had to have that "Family Values" ticket, I guess.

How's that begging working out for ya

Poll Finds Attacks by McCain Turn Off Voters

Hip beggings

Reuben Lee, not Roscoe Mitchell

Bruce Murphy's column in the current issue of Milwaukee Magazine contains some useful thoughts on the multiplying travails of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.

Except Murphy makes reference to "child molester Roscoe Mitchell." That should be Reuben Lee Mitchell. Roscoe Mitchell is a jazz saxophonist from not too far south of here, and a member of the great and legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago. Not a child molester.

For that reason alone, I hope the error gets fixed tout de suite.

eta: And fixed it was. That was quick! Cheers.

Art Ensemble of ChicagoTheme De Yoyo (1970)

October 13, 2008

Palin questions supporters' courage, honor

At a campaign event in Virginia today:
Scores of people on the outer periphery more than 100 yards from the stage could not hear. "Louder! Louder!" they began chanting, and the cry spread across the crowd to Palin's left. Some pointed skyward, urging that the volume be increased.

AK Gov. Sarah Palin stopped her remarks briefly and looked toward the commotion. "I hope those protesters have the courage and honor to give veterans thanks for their right to protest," she said.
Who needs Tina Fey, when parody is redundant.

eta: An instinctual Kulturkampf automaton.

Police: Man didn't belong in dumpster

Others may be inclined to disagree.

FL Gov. will "try" to help McCain

If he has time.

Time better spent at Disney World, evidently.

McCain to end abuses of power

By anointing a veep who abused her power.

"Republicans don't do irony." — TPM commenter

Gableman grievance has merit

Unlike the United States Constitution, which places only a requirement of "good Behavior" on Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Wisconsin a "supreme court justice ... must be an attorney licensed to practice law in this state."

Because of that State constitutional provision, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman's investigation by the Office of Lawyer Regulation might be even more troublesome for him than is his concurrent inquiry with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission.

While removal from the bench is by far the most severe disposition that may result from the Judicial Commission's activities, the OLR, depending on the circumstances of its investigation, can petition the Supreme Court to suspend Gableman's license to practice law, the granting of which petition would render Gableman ineligible to serve on the court (or any State court, for that matter).

Gableman's campaign consultant, Darrin Schmitz, calls the grievance filed with the OLR "frivolous." Unfortunately for Schmitz, it's his own objection that's without any merit because the OLR would not have appointed a special investigator unless "there [was] sufficient information to support an allegation of possible misconduct."

In other words, the Office of Lawyer Regulation has already made a determination that the complaint against Gableman has some merit. Otherwise the OLR would have closed the matter had the grievance not "present[ed] sufficient information of cause to proceed."

But why a Republican "campaign consultant" is still speaking on behalf of a sitting State Supreme Court Justice is anybody's guess. After all, it's consulting with Republican operatives that got Michael Gableman into this latest pickle in the first place.

eta: Gableman merits Howard Bashman's blawg.

October 12, 2008

Not the best choice of words

McCain to "whip" Obama.

More excitement for Gableman

Already facing possible discipline from a Judicial Commission complaint, state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman is now also under investigation by the Office of Lawyer Regulation for long-distance calls to campaign fund-raisers and donors from his office when he was a district attorney.

Madison lawyer Paul Schwarzenbart has been named special prosecutor by the Office of Lawyer Regulation in the case.

In all, 60 calls went from Gableman’s office to Republican campaign offices, [former Wisconsin Republican governor Scott] McCallum fund-raising staff, and McCallum donors in the weeks before Gableman hosted a June 2002 dinner for McCallum, records show. Most of the calls were brief, but some lasted 15 minutes or more.

McCallum appointed Gableman to be Burnett County circuit judge two months after the event.
Another Gableman investigationJournal-Sentinel

The latest Sarah Palin embarrassment

We learned this morning that Iraqi officials are saying Senator Obama tried to make a secret deal with the Iraqi government and he apparently wanted this action delayed, some more strategy delayed, that would reduce troop numbers until the next president takes office.

Obama apparently tried to undermine our government's official efforts to reduce troops in Iraq. — AK Gov. Sarah Palin
But the truth is:
Obama "never, ever discouraged us not to sign the agreement," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.
This is not exactly news, but since it's now moved from Jake Tapper's blog to CNN, hopefully Sarah Palin's laughably false accusations of treason will receive the attention they warrant.

Sad and lazy clowns

This morning on his popular teevee programme Sunday INCITE!, host Charlie Sykes predicted that once Barack Obama gets elected president of the United States and the "elite mainstream media" finally gets around to investigating Obama's true connections with such figures as William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, the people who voted for Obama are going to be upset.

Seated alongside Sykes was a member of the "elite mainstream media," Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran. Sykes didn't blame McIlheran directly, but he should have.

Because the best McIlheran has been able to come up with are hyperlinks to the crazed "Corner" bloggers at National Review Online and his own unsupported ditherings that Ayers and Obama are intellectual soulmates of identically radical disposition.

So long as McIlheran isn't out applying shoe leather to the pavement in Chicago, which is only an hour's drive from his office, he's just as responsible as anybody for Charlie Sykes's sad disappointments.

October 11, 2008

Hinderaker vs. Reality

Conservative blogger John H. Hinderaker reports from Philadelphia's Wachovia Center, where AK Gov. and "hockey mom" Sarah Palin dropped the puck this evening at a Flyers game to deafening boos:
It sounds like Palin got a warm reception.
The New York Rangers quickly potted four unanswered goals.*

John Hinderaker previously called George W. Bush a "genius" and compared him to Sir Winston Churchill.

* Final score: Rangers 4 — Flyers 3 — Wachovia $200m

Twenty years in the pew

Rick Warren: Who are the wisest people that you know that you would rely on heavily in an administration?

John McCain: I think John Lewis. He can teach us all a lot about the meanings of courage and commitment.

John Lewis: I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. Senator McCain and Governor Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division.

John McCain: I call on Senator Obama to immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and divisive comments.
Right. It's all Obama's fault. McCain is off his rocker. Two days ago, John McCain actually got down and hugged a man who literally "begged" him to take his campaign further into the gutter.

McCain god bigger than all the Obama gods

Rev. Arnold Conrad offered a prayer that seemed to urge divine intervention to prevent Barack Obama from winning the presidential election — and cast the outcome as a referendum on differing religions.
There are millions of people around this world praying to their God — whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah — that [McCain’s] opponent wins for a variety of reasons.

And Lord I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you would step forward and honor your own name in all that happens between now and Election Day.
McCain will need more than prayer in Iowa. I'm not certain that I've ever heard a preacher express concern for his god's "reputation."

Rice palling around with former terrorist

Senator McCain unclear on details.

Jörg Haider ist tot

In a Volkswagen.

An immensely narcissistic designer FascistDaily Torygraph

Official talking point/red herring issued

Conservatives receive marching orders from their Leader:
AK Gov. Sarah Palin responded [sic] to a reporter’s shouted question about whether she did in fact abuse her power. Palin shook her head and said, "No."

She added, "And if you read the report you’ll see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member. You got to read the report, Sir."
That is neither responsive nor relevant.

Palin attorney struggles with language

Sarah Palin's lawyer doesn't seem to know what a disjunction is:
Thomas Van Flein says the finding that Palin violated the ethics act is flawed because she received no monetary benefit from whatever actions she and her husband are accused of.
Except a violation doesn't require receiving any monetary benefit, that's why the statute reads "personal or financial benefit."
He cited several prior ethics investigations. "The common thread of all of these Ethics Act cases is money and the use of a government position to personally gain," Van Flein's statement says.
Then those cases are distinguishable, as we say. Financial benefit is not a requirement, and it wasn't an issue in this instance. Personal benefit was the issue, and personal benefit isn't the same thing as financial benefit, obviously, according to the statute.

It may be one or the other, otherwise the statute would read "personal and financial benefit."
"Here, there is no accusation, no finding and no facts that money or financial gain to the Governor was involved in the decision to remove Monegan," the governor's attorney says. "There can be no ethics violations under these circumstances."
That's just completely false. Of course there can.

Furthermore, the finding that AK Gov. Palin violated the public trust has little, if anything, to do with Monegan's dismissal. His dismissal was addressed in one of the report's other, separate findings.

October 10, 2008

Report: Palin violated public trust

Otherwise known as abuse of power:
The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust. — Alaska Statutes § 39.52.110(a)
Note to "strict constructionists": any effort.
The Court never convincingly explains its departure from the natural meaning of [the statute]. Instead, it institutes the troubling rule that “any” does not really mean “any,” but may mean “some subset of ‘any,’” even if nothing in the context so indicates; it distorts the established canons against extraterritoriality and absurdity; it faults without reason Congress’ use of foreign convictions to gauge dangerousness and culpability; and it employs discredited methods of determining congressional intent. Small v. United States, 544 U.S. 385, 406 (2005) (Thomas, J., dissenting).
Shorter Thomas (and Scalia): Any means any.

Report to the Legislative Council (.pdf; 263 pgs.)

The factual and legal support for the finding that AK Gov. Sarah Palin abused the power of her office can be found on pages 48 through 68.

Some of the early reporting on this is poor. For example:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) — An Alaska ethics inquiry found that Gov. Sarah Palin, the U.S. Republican vice presidential candidate, abused the power of her office by dismissing the state's public safety commissioner, a report released on Friday said.
That's incorrect. The firing of the public safety commissioner was within her power, and that firing was not among the "any effort[s]" referenced in the AK statute Palin was found to have violated.

Palin is a pretty sad case

We learned this morning that Iraqi officials are saying Senator Obama tried to make a secret deal with the Iraqi government and he apparently wanted this action delayed, some more strategy delayed, that would reduce troop numbers until the next president takes office.

Obama apparently tried to undermine our government's official efforts to reduce troops in Iraq. — AK Gov. Sarah Palin
These would appear to be serious charges — perhaps even of treason — despite the typically incoherent nature of the first paragraph.

And where did Palin come up with these allegations? From the Washington Times, which in turn relied on some misbegotten fantasies that appeared earlier in the New York Post, long since debunked by everyone present during the original discussions.

And yet we're advised that it's unlikely the absolute nadir of Palin-McCain campaign desperation has quite been achieved.

October 9, 2008

Who wouldn't want to own a bank

An unidentified man appearing at a Palin-McCain event in Waukesha, WI appears to have the current Republican administration's number.

"I'm mad, I'm really mad," he shouted at John McCain. "It's the socialists takin' over our country."

While the man may have thought he was referring to Barack Obama, he could just as well have been talking about President George W. Bush. A pair of Bloomberg financial reporters compare and contrast:
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown opted to spend $87 billion to partly nationalize at least eight British banks.

Yesterday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who crafted a more complicated $700 billion plan to buy financial firms' bad debts, signaled he may follow and invest directly in banks.

Brown, who spent years shedding Labour Party policies that called for nationalizing the "commanding heights" of the economy, won plaudits from bankers and even rival lawmakers for the rescue plan.

Paulson doesn't rule out more direct measures to help banks once he sets up a new office to run the rescue and hires fund firms to help manage the assets.

"It is the policy of the federal government to use all resources at its disposal to make our financial system stronger," Paulson said yesterday in Washington. "We will use all of the tools we've been given to maximum effectiveness, including strengthening the capitalization of financial institutions of every size."

Brown described his move as one others will want to follow. "We have led the world today," he said.

Glenn Hubbard, a former chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush and now dean of Columbia Business School in New York, agrees.
In other Obama news, General David Petraeus expressed positive support for the U.S. engaging in diplomatic talks with the Taliban.

Members of the Taliban, you may recall, are not only enemies of America, they're the enemies of civilization as we know it. And that's not much of an exaggeration, if it's an exaggeration at all.

My fellow prisoners, will John McCain now mock General Petraeus's foreign policy views, just as he did those of Barack Obama?

One never knows, given that he's changing his position on just about everything else from day to day, and even from hour to hour.

AK Supreme Court hands McCain a defeat

By upholding a lower court ruling issued last week, which effectively slam-dunked the Republican plaintiffs on a variety of jurisdictional and State constitutional grounds (ten claims, all defeated).

A positive outcome for the McCainiacs would have required a blatant and egregious violation of the separation of powers doctrine by way of what would have to be a truly astonishing interference by the Alaska judiciary into the business of the State's legislature.

All in a day's work for a professed "judicial conservative" like John McCain, perhaps, but the AK Supreme Court wasn't buying it.

This means that a special committee of the Alaska legislature will likely release the written report of its investigation into abuse of power allegations against AK Gov. Sarah Palin tomorrow.

That would be the very report the Republicans have been laboring to suppress. Could be a spot of trouble in store for the ol' pitbull.

James "Hip Beggings" Harris

Infamous Milwaukee nut-right blogger and motivational speaker James "Hip Musings" Harris turned up at a Palin-McCain event in Waukesha, WI this afternoon "begging" McCain to crank up the fallacious guilt-by-association sleaze against Barack Obama:
A local African-American conservative talk radio host named James T. Harris also brought up what he called Obama’s "soft spot," which he said included "ACORN," "the good Rev. Wright," and other "shady characters that have surrounded him."

"I am begging you, sir," Harris said. "I am begging you. Take it to him."
Socialists taking over our countryMSNBC.com

According to another acolyte present, Harris initially was behind several hundred others waiting in line to enter the venue, but was whisked to the front by observant McCain operatives, and CNN aired a clip of the blogger standing within a few feet of McCain. Begging.

Because he feels sorry for him?

Referring to Tuesday night's town hall style debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, AK Gov. Sarah Palin noted that McCain had originally sought more such face-offs.

"Barack Obama said no," Palin said. "Now I think we can understand why."
6,000-year-old Earth to Palin:
Overall, 56% of those surveyed who watched said Obama did a better job in the debate, compared with 23% for McCain.
I don't blame Obama for rebuffing McCain's "town hall" debate bait. Why would Obama let McCain run Obama's campaign, when McCain's own campaign is pretty much a thoroughgoing disaster.
O God, we are in a battle that is raging for the soul of this nation. You, O God, have raised up Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin for such a time as this. Help them, O God, to keep taxes and spending low.*
But it's too soon to say that they haven't got a prayer.

* Bet you didn't know YHWH's a Reagan disciple too.

Ode to Sean Hannity

Aping urbanity
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Faking humanity
Journalistic calamity
Intellectual inanity
Fox Noise insanity
You're a profanity

John Cleese