July 31, 2009

God breaks promise to Man

Chronicle of unique exegeses, Exhibit A:
"I can't [seek medical attention for my mortally ill 11-year-old daughter] because Biblically, I cannot find that is the way people are healed," Dale Neumann told the jury. "If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God. I am not believing what He said He would do."
Dale Neumann for the defense, cites the Good Book

I wish I could say I found any of that the least bit surprising.

Try not to have an intelligent debate*

And that is an order. Backward, march.

* This shouldn't be too onerous a requirement.

Another Gableman ad recalled

A judge today dismissed the 29-year-old first-degree murder case against Ralph Armstrong, citing what he said were repeated violations by prosecutors of a court order concerning evidence in the case and a failure to tell Armstrong's lawyers about his brother's purported confession nearly 15 years ago.
A prior appeal of Ralph Armstrong's to the Wisconsin Supreme Court was the subject of advertising deemed defamatory and deployed by one of those so-called "family values" outfits last year in support of currently embattled judge Mike Gableman.

The teevee spot was concocted by the Coalition For America's Families and its then-"spokesman" R.J. Johnson. Johnson has been lately found laboring for the election campaign of Milwaukee County Executive and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Scott Walker.

A number of television stations refused to run the ad despite the outfit's subsequent removal of the defamatory language.

Its incendiary message even bothered Mike Gableman's enablers.

Marquette University law professor and court watcher Richard Esenberg observed disapprovingly that the ad contained a "shot of the victim's body followed, not immediately but soon, with a shot of [former Wisconsin Supreme Court] Justice Louis Butler laughing."

This is apparently a conservative family value: Portray your political opponents as deriving pleasure from rape and homicide.*

Ironically, as it turns out, the Ralph Armstrong ad was intended to bolster Gableman's repeated claims of the righteous role of State prosecutors as opposed to that of criminal defense attorneys.

Moreover, the "family values" crowd and R.J. Johnson used the Supreme Court's decision in State v. Armstrong, 2005 WI 119, as a cudgel against Justice Butler but then asserted that Butler mustn't be allowed to cite the case when discussing his own record on the court.

One couldn't invent a finer example of rank hypocrisy, which, as everybody knows, is a quality valued highly by America's Families.

* Evidently there exist voters clueless enough to believe such a thing, otherwise the suggestion wouldn't find its way into a political ad. The breathtakingly cynical political objective is to leave the composition of the State's highest appellate court up to that sort of mentality.

This approach is willingly accepted by many as a necessary artifact of democracy, yet fewer than 20% of Wisconsin's registered voters participated in the 2008 spring election that installed Gableman.

It's not clear how many of the other eight in every ten stayed away out of sheer revulsion at the process and the uses to which it's put.

Those that did have the likes of R.J. Johnson to thank.

Quote of the day

"People support me because they are sick and tired of the mainstream media acting like Nazi brownshirts and calling names."
— GOP heroine Orly Taitz

I thought the Sturmabteilungen were more into taking names.

Thanks to Stanley Winistock from Portage La Prairie for his fiddling.

McArdle glib dimwit, film at eleven

Speaking of Ezra Klein: Proving once again the relative ease with which the "philosophy" of libertarianism may be embraced.

For this they laid off Marie Rohde?

Patrick McIlheran thinks it's silly that people might want to cut back on eating meat because, well, because McIlheran really likes eating meat. And: Bet you didn't know Ezra Klein is a "nanny state" enforcer.

While other Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnists are the victims of downsizing, McIlheran remains, the victim of environmentalists.

July 30, 2009

Sanctity of marriage news

Conjugal purpose edition:
Jude Law [Who he? — ed.], who has three children with ex-wife Sadie Frost, has discovered he's expecting a fourth child with an unidentified former lover.
Could have gotten her name at least.

Orders of magnitude more troubling:
Law will appear in Hamlet on Broadway.

"Jude Law has been in everything this year." — web comment

Survey says!

Homemaker. But "college professor" is even funnier. Although I wouldn't trust any poll involving liberal Fox News viewers.

They watch for laughs, so clearly there's sabotage afoot.

July 29, 2009

Birther lunacy is a liberal conspiracy

According to professional dissembler Charlie Sykes.

It's liberals' fault that "birthers" etc. are idiots, don't you know.

A freethinking listener sizes up Sykes's advice:
National Review MSM elites, yada, yada yada, When Glen Beck and Rush* make the same pronouncement then I might reappraise my opinion. The Rinos are beginning to influence Charlie, its about time to think about storming the barricades before all hope is lost.
Even to his own biggest fans, Charlie Sykes is less credible than Glenn Beck. That must be tremendously reassuring. For everybody.

* Presumably not a reference to Neil Peart's Randian fantasies.

July 28, 2009

Fox News Network quote of the day

"This is how riots start."
Mark Fuhrman, explaining to Sean Hannity how Cambridge, MA police sergeant James Crowley was right to arrest Henry Louis Gates for — get this — "stating things" to the officer. Yes, that Mark Fuhrman.

Found a blog

WOW! I almost need a staff just to stay on top of and respond to all the misinformation and unenlightened opinions of Patrick McIlheran at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Brewtown Gumshoe

Instead Journal Communications let go Marie Rohde, a fine reporter.

McIlheran, cautious birther

It's pointless for Republicans to even ask about Obama's birth certificate, sez McIlheran, because as far as "leftists" are concerned, Article II of the United States Constitution is for "chumps."*

McIlheran just doesn't believe it's "likely" that Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, and he "suspects" the birthers are mistaken. Strong stuff.

And anyway, even if Obama was born in Kenya, the New York Times would simply "harrumph" and that would be that. Then Obama would continue the liberal fascist eugenics takeover of Islamerica. The end.

McIlheran is the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's only political columnist.

* They must take their instruction from Cheney/Bush/Yoo.

July 27, 2009

Bill Kristol: Gov't-run health care is the best

Mr. Kristol isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, is he.

Tumultuous behavior defined

The rationale behind criminalizing disorderly conduct rests on the belief that a disorderly person can provoke violence in others. Given that an inherent part of police work involves being in the presence of distraught individuals, and given that police officers are trained to maintain order, the Court concluded that police should be the least likely to be provoked [by a 58-year-old professor who walks with a cane]. Therefore, police presence alone does not satisfy the public element.
Via The Massachusetts District Attorneys Association.*

"Tumultuous behavior" is right up there with "aggravated mopery," although it's open to discussion which best describes falsely attributing information about the suspects' race to the 911 caller.

* a.k.a. law enforcement officers.

Jim Doyle: Antichrist or Pope?

If you listen to his adversaries, it's difficult to tell.

Julaine Appling, who is suing WI Gov. Jim Doyle over the alleged unconstitutionality of the State's domestic partnership provision, considers those opposed to her schemes to be "minions of Satan."

Meanwhile Ms. Appling's lead counsel Rick Esenberg, appearing on local public radio this morning, suggests the State of Wisconsin is making an attempt at "sanctifying in some sense" the partnerships.

This, evidently, in furtherance of the proposition that the domestic partnerships are "substantially similar" to marriage.

It may come as a rude surprise to many that the State is in the business of "sanctifying" in any sense any thing, least of all marriage.

But, for the sake of argument, if it really is the case that the State of Wisconsin does "sanctify in some sense" marriage and the domestic partnerships are conversely incapable of "sanctification,"* wouldn't that mitigate against a potential finding of "substantial similarity"?

Clearly. After all, it's Esenberg himself who opposes "toting up" the individual legal protections afforded by marriage versus domestic partnerships and reaching the substantial similarity determination in that manner, preferring instead a more "holistic" approach.

* They exist solely "for purposes [no] greater than the relationship itself and the self-directed needs of the individuals comprising it."

Or so we are reliably informed by both metaphysicians, Ms. Appling and Mr. Esenberg. Notably, well in advance of any such partnership having even been applied for or undertaken, let alone "sanctified."

Nice knowing you, Associated Press

Embedding links may trigger legal action — New York Times

Get me rewrite.

Your "strict constructionist" at work

Alex De Grand, at the State Bar of Wisconsin's website, describes the holding in last week's Supreme Court decision, Coulee Catholic Schools v. LIRC:
The court majority explicitly stated its decision stands on independent state grounds, precluding review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Specifically, the justices said that the "Freedom of Conscience Clauses" in Article I, Section 18 of the Wisconsin Constitution "uses the strongest possible language" to protect the right of worship free of state involvement. These protections are even more expansive than those in the First Amendment, the court added.
Never mind the highly questionable proposition that the "right of worship" includes for a judicially created exemption from answering to a lawsuit alleging a discriminatory employment practice expressly prohibited by duly enacted Wisconsin statutes.

What's remarkable here is that the opinion's author, Mike Gableman, repeatedly criticized his political opponent during last year's Supreme Court election for similarly insulating from federal review the court's 2005 decision in State v. Knapp.

I get that conservative Republicans are only devoted to their political principles when in accord with and convenient to their personal views but they could at least pretend and make it a little less obvious.

A post about the case at the Marquette Law School Faculty Blog contains this compellingly supported argument:
As the product of seven years of Catholic primary school, and the son of a longtime Catholic schools teacher, I’m convinced the Court [sic] got this determination right.
How about this one: As the product of eight years of Catholic primary school, four years of Catholic secondary school, and the son of a longtime president of the PTA, I'm convinced the court's decision is a corruption of the controlling principle announced in Rayburn v. Gen. Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, a federal case out of a Virginia court upon which Gableman (ironically) relies heavily.*

Do I win?

* Gableman determined ultimately that merely allowing the plaintiff to proceed with her employment discrimination claim — in spite of her prior successes before several administrative bodies, the circuit court, and the court of appeals — was an "'inroad on religious liberty' ... too substantial to be permissible."

If you can believe that. Gableman never explains how.

July 26, 2009

What else is new

I screwed up my facts [but] it didn’t detract from the overall point.
Who needs facts anyway. What matters is the "point."

Dear anonymous "tipster"

I'm not inclined to publish that stuff — at least, the way you've worded it — so long as it remains nothing more than rumor.

Nor will I perform the legwork you suggested. But be my guest.

Palin picnics

"If she thought it was tough in Juneau with a bunch of petty, harassing complaints, then she has no idea what awaits a serious presidential contender," said Paul Erickson, a GOP presidential strategist.
The hell she doesn't. Palin was one of the biggest liars, sleaze mongers, and rabble rousers out there.
Her biggest legacy may be putting Alaska on the national stage. "Before if you played a word game and someone said 'Alaska,' you might say 'oil' or even 'whales,'" said a former staffer. "Now you say 'Alaska': Palin."
Unfortunately for Alaska.

July 25, 2009

Stand back, kitchen sink coming through

Why people detest lawyers, Reason #4,986,210:
Defense attorney Jay Kronenwetter told jurors the efforts of the ambulance attendants or doctors who eventually cared for 11-year-old Kara Neumann might have caused her death.
Trial of "full-Gospel Christian" underway in Wausau — JSOnline.com

Compare with the Wausau Daily Herald, more bluntly:
The defense attorney told a jury this morning that doctors’ treatment plans for the girl would likely have killed her.
Big difference.

Earlier: Leilani Neumann.

GOP man wants to promote abstinence

He simply has a revolutionary way of going about it. Opposite-sex marriage: It's a sacred and timeless Republican institution.

"Reliable conservative," touts Paul Stanley's website, unironically.

UW-Oshkosh professor a "minion of Satan"

It says so right here. The psych lit refers to these as delusions, occasionally coupled with the descriptive modifier, "paranoid."

Makes you wonder whether the interior decor at 222 S. Hamilton Street, Suite 24, Madison, WI 53703* features rubber wallpaper.

"Evil never takes a vacation," claims Julaine Appling, literally [sic] demonizing her political adversaries, always a compelling strategery.

Nevertheless and for whatever reasons, many Americans willingly accept the legitimization of this particular manner of delusion so long as it's accompanied by correct citation to Bible chapter and verse.

By the same means, Julaine Appling presents herself as a "minion of Jesus Christ," engaged in eternal struggle with the forces of Darkness and Evil. In the present instance, people who happen to be gay.

Charming, isn't it. No, not exactly. More like reprehensible.

* Appling v. Gov. Jim Satan and all His minions (.pdf; 17 pgs.).

Photo Saturday

click to enlarge
Ornette Coleman, Toronto, 1984-ish

July 24, 2009

More pr0n discovered in West Bend

CNN is reporting on the ongoing kerfuffle in the sleepy hamlet of West Bend, WI, where some offended citizens wish to erect a pyre:
The Maziarkas were still fighting to have books moved, having identified 82 questionable titles — more than double their original list.
Sounds like they've got a real nose for it.
Ginny Maziarka and her husband also asked the West Bend Community Memorial Library to obtain books about homosexuality that affirmed heterosexuality, such as titles written by "ex-gays," Maziarka said.
Forgive me, but it stretches credulity that there is any such thing. I also heard they tried to turn Wilt Chamberlain gay, but it didn't take.
"All the books in the young-adult zone that deal with homosexuality are gay-affirming," she said.
What, no Bibles?

Show me 82 "gay-affirming" books and I'll show you one "gay-stoning-to-death" book. How's that for balance.

But I would hope that the adolescents of West Bend might find some gay-affirming respite in the library, at least, because they're certainly not going to find it among the community's Maziarkas.

A lot of people who call themselves Christians like to tell us that being gay is "unnatural." Is that the message we want to send to these kids, that what they're in the process of coming to realize about their own selves is "unnatural"? One might beg to differ.

That's a case of the remedy being worse than the diagnosis.

State v. Innocent man in own home

And the benefit of the doubt lies with the State of Massachusetts? Seriously? Here's the question: How come citizen Henry Louis Gates didn't arrest those police officers and take them into custody?


But, hey. It sure is a damn good thing we have Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to tell us what it's like to be a Black man in America.

Over Nancy Grace's dead body

Bring me the head of Luis C. Dobbs — SPLC

Link: That exclusive birther video.

Maybe an advertised "strict constructionist"

Might at least consider this formulation, which proceeds initially from the meaning of constitutional language rather than assuming as its starting point subsequent judge-made interpretations:
The Constitution protects religious exercise, and we decline to turn the Free Exercise Clause into a license for the free exercise of discrimination unmoored from religious principle. We therefore conclude that under the Free Exercise Clause the ministerial exception will not bar Title VII claims by ministerial employees when an employment decision is not motivated by religious belief, religious doctrine, or church regulation.
But no. Gableman's opinion overlooked it.
This is an issue of constitutional law ...
A rather important one.
... which we review de novo.
Or, as it turns out, the intermediate not-quite-de novo review. On the other hand, perhaps few might be surprised that prohibited discrimination is considered part and parcel of "religious exercise."

Julaine Appling changes her tune

As demonstrated by the redoubtable Emily Mills.

Among the legal claims forwarded by Ms. Appling's quartet of attorneys (two of whom are neither Wisconsin residents nor are they licensed to practice law here) is one that seeks to denigrate the relationships between potential "domestic partners" for failing to genuflect before "purposes greater than the relationship itself."

Evidence for the latter is said be found on a DVD produced by the "Family Research Institute" (formerly the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality — what was on their DVDs, I wonder).

It's a fascinating allegation, considering that under different circumstances, the political notion of "statism" — the idea that individuals should subjugate their self-interest to the collective goals of the nation — is anathema to so-called social conservatives.

Only when convenient, evidently.

It's not a tumor

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell recently made a speech to the Senate referring to the "bureaucrats who run Canada's health care system" and using the Kingston General Hospital as an example of the horror of Canada's health care. KGH supposedly had waits of 340 days for knee replacement and 196 days for hip replacement. McConnell also fussed that Ontario's wait time for breast cancer surgery is three months. CNN did interview Dr. David Zelt, KGH's chief of staff, who pointed out the wait times are actually 91 days for hip replacement, 109 days for knees, and that these aren't the average wait times, but the time that nine out of 10 people have had the procedure. Many have them done much faster. For breast cancer surgery, the wait time at KGH is 23 days, across Ontario it's 34 days.

Mitch McConnell also claimed on national television that a friend of a friend of a friend was allowed to die after the Canadian government refused health care to the man because he was too old.

In Canada, only the young and the healthy are allowed to see doctors.

July 23, 2009

Censorship day in the Quesosphere

"Speak your mind." We reserve the right not to publish comments based on such concerns as redundancy, incivility, untimeliness, poor writing, etc. All comments must include the first and last name of the author and a valid e-mail address.
Don't believe it.

I'd have been on firmer ground in rejecting this:

"I know it's not your thing."

Perhaps someday somebody might explain to me why not adhering to religion acts as a bar to not knowing what it is or how it operates.

Sanctity of marriage update

DATELINE: America — A 32-year-old man left his wife and eight children to take up with the 22-year-old daughter of his estranged wife's plastic surgeon. The happy couple was photographed cavorting at St. Tropez and broadcast on television, so the eight children might have knowledge of their father's whereabouts and activities.

May God (and the courts) save and protect this blessed institution.

"Goldberg is stupid."

Quoted for truth.

July 22, 2009

Gableman benefits from loopholes

Observes Cory Liebmann through his Eye on Wisconsin.

Speaking of loopholes, Gableman decided yesterday that an Onalaska, Wisconsin school's firing of a veteran 53-year-old teacher and replacing her with one eighteen years her junior is an employment practice protected as a "free exercise of religion," and that the dismissed teacher is therefore precluded from pursuing any further her age discrimination claim against the former employer.

In reversing the court of appeals, the circuit court, and several State administrative bodies, Gableman accomplished his result by selecting among precedent in other jurisdictions and retooling the legal test — or "legislating from the bench," as some might have it — against which similar claims are to be measured in future in Wisconsin.

A considerable portion of Gableman's opinion is necessarily devoted to illuminating the ethical instructions of one Jesus Christ in the context of Roman Catholic doctrine in order to ascertain whether the terminated teacher's duties were such that they qualified for an "ecclesiastical exception" — as Justice N. Patrick Crooks in dissent describes it — to Wisconsin's employment discrimination statutes.

The apparent corollary is that the Church may fire priests in many circumstances without running afoul of Wisconsin employment law.

Gableman himself is currently under investigation by the Wisconsin Judicial Commission — a secular, Earth-bound entity — for ethics violations perpetrated during an election campaign last year.

Gableman stands accused by the Commission of lying — that's the Commission's word — about his opponent to gain political advantage.

A notable conservative observer, former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and now-Seventh Circuit Judge Diane S. Sykes, characterized Gableman's teevee commercial at the heart of the Commission's investigation as a "particularly base and deceptive attack ad."

But Gableman told reporters he was "proud" of the campaign he'd run.

Irate birther has illegal birth certificate

I have a birth certificate here, from the United States of America, saying I'm an American citizen.
There is no such thing. The lady in red goes on to claim that the President of the United States is in fact a citizen of Kenya, a country in Hawaii. The woman brandishing the document, which is expressly unauthorized by the Constitution, was not immediately arrested.

In other news: Clamor grows for Millard Fillmore's driver's license

July 21, 2009

Don't get rid of MKE county exec position

Just get rid of MKE County ExecCapital Times

Science News

This is filed under "Science" at FoxNews.com:
In Hindu mythology, the two demons Rahu and Ketu are said to "swallow" the sun during eclipses. It takes the life-giving life and causes food to become inedible and water undrinkable.
So keep an eye on that life-giving life.

Eclipse will cause world violence, say astrologers

I am naive sometimes

Yesterday this guy on the street asked me, right out of the blue, "Are you alright?" Actually, I had to inquire back of him twice — "I beg your pardon?" "Say what?" — before I understood what he was saying.

"Oh ... yeah, I'm good," I replied. It wasn't until about two hours later when it dawned on me that he was asking if I wanted to buy some drugs. And not until an hour after that that I realized he probably understood my reply to mean, "Yes, I already have plenty of drugs."

So the next time someone asks me, for no apparent reason, "Are you alright?" I'm going to answer, "No, thank you." Of course it doesn't make any sense, but it satisfies all the clandestine assumptions.

July 20, 2009

GOP gets early start on Guy Fawkes Day

Scott Walker renews call to blow up county government

Thanks, God

"Joe" the "Plumber" can't get enough Wisconsin

Yet another Sotomayor mindreader

This time it's glorified blogger Ross Douthat lately of the New York Times, fabricating a pile of stuff about Sonia Sotomayor's reply to questioning last week from Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin:
In 2003, Sandra Day O'Connor upheld race-based discrimination in college admissions [in those narrowly tailored ones of a Michigan law school, to be precise] ... but only for the current generation. Such policies "must be limited in time," she wrote, adding that "the Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today."
Inventing from whole cloth, Douthat surmises: "It's doubtful, though, that Sonia Sotomayor shares this view." And why is that? Because Judge Sotomayor responded that she "hopes" instead of "expects" that corrective affirmative action policy will go by the wayside.

In fact, Judge Sotomayor referenced another case, without Kohl's urging to do so, demonstrating where it had gone by the wayside.

In addition, that is, to pointing out that AA policy is primarily the province of the country's elected legislatures, whereas the Court's role lies in determining whether those policies adequately comport with the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

That would the Court whose open position she is applying for.

Ross Douthat stopped listening or examining the transcript long before then, evidently. 'Twas inconvenient to his "point," perhaps.
What's doubtful is Douthat's ability to understand plain English, as "hope" and "expect" are synonyms and, more importantly, O'Connor's preference for the word "expect" has no legal force whatsoever.

She might just as well have written "hope," or even "dream."

Paul Krugman is off today.

Pity. Ah well, could be worse. Could be William Kristol.

On teh web: Douthat's greatest hitsRoy Edroso

US to subcontract courts-martial to Taliban

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret.), standard-issue Faux News guest

Previously on FNC: Only Osama Bin Laden can save America

Sotomayor and the Volokhians redux

Last week it was noted here that professor of law and Volokh conspiracist Ilya Somin had deployed a criticism of Judge Sonia Sotomayor that missed its mark by some considerable margin.

In a nutshell, Somin had attacked Sotomayor over the case of Kelo v. City of New London, where the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause was exercised in Connecticut to further a local building development.

Somin said Sotomayor was wrong to refer to the area in question as "economically blighted" because, Somin claimed, the Court in Kelo determined that "the area in question was not blighted" (italics his).

This isn't exactly correct, as I explained. What the Court acknowledged was that the individual properties (in contrast to Sotomayor's "area") the government had taken were not blighted:
There is no allegation that any of these properties [that is, the individual ones subjected to the Takings Clause] is blighted or otherwise in poor condition; rather, they were condemned only because they happen to be located in the development area.
Then last Thursday Prof. Ilya Somin appeared live in person before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In his prepared remarks, Prof. Somin made reference to "'blight' condemnations of the sort licensed by Kelo." Quote, unquote. This observation in turn is supported [sic] by a footnote to an earlier piece of Somin's that appeared in a 2006 issue of Legal Times.

But there was no "blight condemnation" at all in Kelo, as Somin himself had pointed out previously at the Volokh Conspiracy.

In sum, Prof. Somin had criticized Judge Sotomayor for calling something other than those individual properties "economically blighted" yet here he is — facing Congress, no less — describing the case in terms that the Kelo majority had expressly repudiated.

Except Prof. Somin never criticized himself, only Judge Sotomayor.

How does that work, one might ask. Here, let me show you it:

This made me wonder whether Judge Sotomayor was in fact recalling Prof. Somin's own prior Legal Times scholarship and I put the question to Prof. Rick Esenberg of Marquette Law School, who was leveling the same criticism against Sotomayor as had Somin.

"I stand by my statement," came his retort. Although now he's retreated to alleging merely that Sotomayor's observation "left an impression" of her misstating the case. Oh. Well, then.

It's funny, because many other conservative critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor are chastising her for misstating the law and for being unclear. How do you get to do both? Easy: assume the worst of her, obviously, and then labor mightily to discover it somehow.

Among the more egregious examples of this transparently fallacious technique (in reverse) appears at an online "debate" hosted by the conservative Federalist Society, which can be located here.

During the course of the discussion, one of the participants invokes the experience of Clarence Thomas, who had responded to the Senate Judiciary Committee's inquiries into his views on abortion by saying that he hadn't really thought much about Roe v. Wade, even though the decision came down while he was in law school.

Many observers found this claim to be at least mildly preposterous, pronounced as it was some 17 years after the Court's opinions in Roe.

Yet the Federalist Society disciples seem to be of the opinion that Thomas's remarks are themselves at worst "unclear," and therefore Thomas's words are naturally entitled to a careful and meticulous parsing weighted heavily in his favor and with personal anecdotes, leading inexorably to the preordained determination that whatever Thomas had said must have been righteous, upright, and True.

But as for Sotomayor's "lack of clarity," well, it can only be either that she's stupid or she's lying. Nope, no double standard here at all.

U.S. health care: 100% FAIL — Mark Steyn

Conservative health care "expert" Mark Steyn sez:
If you look on yourself as being part of a government health system of millions of people, getting a bedsore and dying in hideous pain is no big deal in the scheme of things.

But I look on myself as being part of the Mark Steyn health system. So if I get a bedsore and die, as far as I'm concerned, that's a 100% systemic failure.
Oh really.
According to a report from Harvard Medical School, several thousand Americans die each year from complications associated with pressure sores.
Including Christopher Reeve. And this guy.

Or is it only when Mark Steyn himself gets a bedsore and dies.

h/t Roger Ailes.

July 19, 2009

Troubled Sessions is troubled

Had you voted with Judge Cabranes, himself of Puerto Rican ancestry, had you voted with him, you could've changed that case.
Ah, but Judge Cabranes is only a Wise Latino, not a Wise Latina. Besides, Judge Cabranes was only voting to rehear the New Haven firefighters case, not to change anything about it. Who knows, he may have affirmed Sotomayor. Anyway, it isn't even clear whether Sotomayor could have changed the decision below, let alone an en banc rehearing, as she was part of a unanimous three-judge panel. She could have dissented there,* but two is greater than one.

Nevertheless: Sessions remains troubled

That's for sure.

* In which case, or course, she would have been accused by Senate Republicans of favoring "empathy" over federal law.

Please stop going forward

Where did this irritating and currently ubiquitous expression come from?
"They had added a huge amount of infrastructure to meet this demand going forward," said Jeff Mintz, an analyst.
Failure to plan obsolescence may doom world's ugliest shoeWaPo

Where else are they going to go, backwards? Sideways? "Going forward" — like "on the ground" — needs to be retired immediately.

Thanks to the natural attraction between massive objects, most things are already on the ground. We don't need to be reminded.

One Bible quote you won't hear on C Street

And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
— Leviticus 20:10*
The New Chosen — Las Vegas Sun

* "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, but to fulfil." — J.C.

July 18, 2009

Fortunately he wasn't a judge at the time

Just a district attorney.

OLR calls Gableman calls poor judgment, imprudent

Poor professional judgment: it's not the best quality in a judge.
"One can infer that at least some of these calls may have related to Gableman supporting Gov. McCallum* and the Cable [WI] fundraiser," said the OLR investigator.

Gableman told the investigator he was mindful that he could not make political calls from his office phone.
"May have related" doesn't cut it, apparently.

* The same who appointed Gableman as a judge, on the heels of what the State Office of Lawyer Regulation now calls poor judgment.

Melt all the guns. Now.

And give every one of them to local artists so they can make public sculpture. This is what I personally believe should be done. By the federal government. With Jim Doyle's help. Starting yesterday.

On the other hand, it's practically self-evident that the United States Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. And among the purposes protected by that right is self-defense.

In fact, I would go even further than have Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas and assert that the Constitution protects an individual right to peace of mind and sound conscience, and if an American insists that achieving peace of mind or sound conscience requires sleeping with a loaded handgun under her pillow in her home, then no political entity should have the power to prevent her.

Whether she ever actually needs to use it in self-defense or not.

Her right is a constitutional one, a fundamental one, a natural one, a God-given one ... whatever you like. Any of those will suffice.

So why do conservative Republicans appear to have such a hard time believing that Sonia Sotomayor is perfectly capable of separating her personal opinions from her powers, duties, and obligations as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

I have a few ideas why, none of which are particularly complimentary. However, as it has been written and so shall it be, that if you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything at all. Selah.

A blunt view of homophobia

It can only be seen as funny that demagogues give speeches denouncing men who insert their penises into other men's anuses — and then go home to insert their penises into their wives' vaginas! (One might have thought it obvious that either both of these acts are completely outrageous or neither of them is.)
Wallace Shawn
Neither, I reckon.

Also from the August, 2009 issue of Harper's (filed under "Haberdashery — The King Of Fop"), "descriptions of the attire of Oscar Wilde by journalists reporting on his 1882 visit to the United States and Canada," including:
A monster moonlight-green tie; a velvet jacket, concerning the fit of which he should have a word with his tailor; and loose trousers of subdued tint but of very self-assertive cut.
It's unclear how they could be both "loose" and "self-assertive."

July 17, 2009

Costello Summerfest YouTube

Decent quality, as far as these things go (esp. the bass):

Brilliant Mistake

She said that she was working for the ABC News
It was as much of the alphabet as she knew how to use

July 16, 2009

Funny, they weren't complaining then

Reporting from Washington ― Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts maneuvered through three days of an often-antagonistic confirmation hearing by portraying himself as a legal MLB official who would stick to precedent and never "make law." But in doing so he revealed almost nothing about the philosophy that would guide him on the high court.
An umpire in a black robe ― Los Angeles Times

And now-Chief Justice Roberts didn't have a 17-year record as a federal judge to examine (which is something few currently complaining conservatives have done, at least with respect to the question of whether or not that record comports with Sonia Sotomayor's characterizations of her judicial methodology*).

Nevertheless, Roberts's almost absurdly simplistic "umpire calling balls and strikes" analogy is often reiterated with approval by those same conservative critics. Odd how that works, isn't it.

* Sotomayor's "philosophy," in contrast to her practices as a working judge and contra the Los Angeles Times, was made abundantly clear during her testimony, and also through the hundreds of speeches she's given. The Senate Republicans, to their strategical detriment, failed to pursue her on its substance, preferring to focus instead on the so-called "racial politics" they seem to believe anyone other than their own paleoconservative political base is incensed by.

For example, during questioning from Senator John Cornyn of Texas, Judge Sotomayor described American law as a continually evolving set of assumptions and conclusions, always tentative and subject to adjustment not only by judges, but by lawyers confronting new patterns of facts with novel arguments which in turn force the retooling of the (previously judge-made) legal rules and tests which govern those and future sets of facts. See, e.g., Ricci v. DeStefano.

As Sotomayor correctly pointed out — and it's about time that someone on a national stage did — it isn't the Constitution that evolves, lives, breathes, or what have you, but rather the society to which the Constitution's often vague principles apply that evolves.

Which is, it seems to me, exactly as the Framers contemplated and predicted, hence the less-than-specific principles embodied therein.

For instance, it doesn't give examples of "speech" or "religion." Or, for that matter, examples of "arms." Few would argue that the Constitution only permits muzzle-loading rifles and broadswords.

(Maybe Robert Bork.)

That's why the United States Constitution is a work of both contemporary and prospective genius, and thus why it endures.

Not only did Senator Cornyn — himself a former State Supreme Court judge — pass up the opportunity to further engage this rather fascinating organic view of the law, he appeared visibly taken aback that anyone might actually adhere to it (although the view itself is barely controversial to most people who've given it some thought).

(P.S. Law review convention: Footnote 4x longer than post.)

Did you know?

That Milwaukee, WI was founded by a Canadian? I didn't.
In 1831, Juneau began learning English [aboot the age of 37].
I wonder if he called it "soda" or "pop," and did he mix up "borrowed" for "loaned" and vice versa.

UW a haven for wild, empathetic liberals

Obama comes from the law academia environment that I'm very familiar with [she's a law professor at the University of Wisconsin] where that talk about "empathy" is what you hear all the time. It's very normal, it's "sophisticated," and I can understand how Obama has just been soaking in that. And then when he, as a former constitutional law professor, comes to us and starts to tell us about law, I can really understand how he thought he was saying something profound and meaningful.
Huh. I think I took just about every available constitutional law class and seminar at Marquette University (a Roman Catholic school) and never once did I hear anyone say anything about empathy for litigants, or for anything else, come to think of it.

(Although I do recall a crucifix hanging in a stairwell, which I've heard is an archetypal symbol of empathy, if not a command to practice it.)

Good thing I was never indoctrinated by law professors like Barack Obama was. It must take place during their secret kulturkampfs kaffeeklatsches, and then imparted subconsciously in code.

By the way, has anybody yet explained why anyone takes the famed blogger Ann Althouse at all seriously?

Battle of the GOP Intellectual Titans

"Joe the Plumber is a dumbass." — Meghan McCain

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

It's a close call

But this morning, I'm forced to go with Jon Kyl (R-AZ) as America's most embarrassing Senator. Good grief, man. Read the opinions.

This character makes Jeff Sessions look like Learned Hand.

Never underestimate Johnny Cash

Ring Of Fire* — Try counting it (1-2-3-4) sometime.

Four verses, only two of which contain the same meter.

* By June Carter.

BREAKING: Schmitz kidnapped by pornbots

McIlheran's authorities

Oh yes. It's a straight line from community organizing to crack cocaine dealer. Community organizers use crack cocaine in exchange for votes.
American Spectator's Matthew Vadum
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's political calumnist and (mostly) inveterate hyperlinker to "good reading on the web" Patrick McIlheran has apparently given up at marshaling his own alleged "thoughts" on the Sotomayor confirmation hearings.

The other day, McIlheran quoted approvingly and at length from some nut-right knob who called Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor "a mediocrity" (how's that for irony) whose "main qualifications are that she is a Latina and a woman."

The said nut-right knob is one Matthew Vadum, who for McIlheran is an authority by way of being "American Spectator's" Matthew Vadum. It almost goes without saying that Mr. Vadum's credentials for evaluating Judge Sotomayor's qualifications are approaching nil.

He's also a bit of an idiot:

Matthew Vadum begins at 1:27

Good reading on the web. It's nice to see that the Journal-Sentinel is presenting fair, unbiased coverage of the Sotomayor hearings.

More McIlheran: Congress = Murderers.

AK poet

Wise Mama Bear

Great day w/bear management
wildlife biologists;
much to see
in wild territory

incl amazing creatures
w/mama bears' gutteral raw instinct to

protect & provide for her young;
She sees danger? She brazenly
rises up
on strong hind legs,

Don't Touch My Cubs
& the species survives

& mama bear
doesn't look 2 anyone else
2 hand her anything;

biologists say
she works harder
than males,
is provider/protector for the future

also, ethics complaint
el oso

e.e. palin

July 15, 2009

Shorter Arlen Specter

"I knew damn well my questions were too specific to elicit a satisfactory response, so now I'll just ramble away for a bit.

"Also? It was Bork who Borked Bork."

Funny thing about Senate Republicans

They're all notably absent from the room while Judge Sonia Sotomayor engages in thoughtful discussions of procedural and substantive law and the function of the judiciary.

They all want to hear about "Wise Latina," but they're singularly uninterested in what the Wise Latina actually has to say.

None of which is in the slightest measure surprising.

A Volokh preemption

Before one or more of the Volokh conspiracists tee(s) off on Judge Sonia Sotomayor's testimony this morning that she couldn't recall a decision of the courts that held self-defense to be a constitutional right — the said teeing off seeming inevitable, although it may now be too late — it's worth pointing out that D.C. v. Heller did not.

The closest Heller came to doing so was this:
That of the nine state constitutional protections for the right to bear arms enacted immediately after 1789 at least seven unequivocally protected an individual citizen’s right to self-defense is strong evidence that that is how the founding generation conceived of the right.
In other words, Heller teaches that self-defense is a purpose protected by the rights contained in the Second Amendment, but not that self-defense is in and of itself a constitutional right.

Notably, even Justice Scalia declines to apply a determinative exercise in necromancy to the cerebral cortexes of the Framers.

And, as Judge Frank Easterbrook reminded us recently, inherent or "political" rights are not the same as constitutional ones.

In fact right here in Wisconsin, we've encountered these crucial distinctions among purposes and between purposes and rights:

Koschnick completes rejection of coherence — 04/06/09

Shorter John Cornyn

"I'm appalled by the fact that the law changes, but I'm grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court changed the law in favor of the firefighters."

Another Volokh conspiracist

Some time ago, after I'd obtained my law degree, I had lunch with one of my professors, who I kept calling, "Professor."

"Will you please stop calling me 'Professor,'" he said. "We're colleagues now." "I can't help it," I replied, "I have too much respect for the legal academy's knowledge, wisdom, and objectivity."

"Well then," said he, "obviously you haven't met enough of us."

This time around, meet Prof. Randy Barnett:
One of the things we hope to learn during confirmation hearings is a nominee's approach to the constitutional protection of liberty. But in her exchange with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) about the second amendment and its potential application to the states, Sonia Sotomayor revealed remarkably little about her understanding of how the Supreme Court protects liberty under the fourteenth amendment. For example, more than once she said a right was "fundamental" if it was "incorporated" into the fourteenth amendment. But this gets it backwards. The Supreme Court incorporates a right BECAUSE it finds it to be fundamental.
I was paying particular attention to Judge Sotomayor's Second Amendment exchange with Orrin Hatch, and have written about these questions here before on several occasions.

It's true that in constitutional law, provisions of the federal Bill of Rights are deemed to apply to State and local governments — incorporated — after a finding that they are "fundamental."

That's the process, in chronological order.

By the same token, once rights have been incorporated, there's nothing wrong with saying they're fundamental, in the constitutional sense. But that's not the same as claiming that rights become fundamental by dint of their incorporation.

What Prof. Barnett is charging is that Sotomayor thinks rights are fundamental only because they've been incorporated.

During the opening moments of her exchange with Senator Hatch, Judge Sotomayor responded:
It's not that I considered [the right to keep and bear arms] unfundamental, but that the Supreme Court didn't consider it fundamental so as to be incorporated against the State.
"Fundamental, so as to be incorporated." Exactly right. In fact, I can't think of a way to put it any more succinctly.

Sotomayor is referring to her decision in Maloney v. Cuomo and with "Supreme Court" she's referencing D.C. v. Heller. Seems pretty clear to me, that finding the right to be fundamental precedes a determination of incorporation, which is what Sotomayor said.

Prof. Barnett's proffered "evidence" for his allegation:
Here is her characterization of a "fundamental right":
SOTOMAYOR: Those rights have been incorporated against the States. The States must comply with them. So in — to the extent that the court has held that...

HATCH: Right.

SOTOMAYOR: ... then they are — they have been deemed fundamental, as that term is understood legally.
And by "evidence" I mean, of course, "zero evidence."

[Edited to add, 07/16/09: Later in the hearings, presented with the same line of questioning, Judge Sotomayor said, "Fundamental, hence incorporated." So she did come up with an even more succinct means of expressing the procedural chronology after all.]

These folks are really clutching at straws here. But the worst offender continues to be Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, who has been bandying the expression "fundamental right" against Judge Sotomayor without any context whatsoever, in an attempt to make it look like she is opposed to the right to keep and bear arms.

There's no evidence of that either. In her Second Amendment rulings, Judge Sotomayor has carefully followed the precedent within the Second Circuit, which in turn is driven by Supreme Court case law.

Any suggestion by Sessions and others that she should have done otherwise is an expression of desire for "judicial activism."

July 14, 2009

Local wingnut quote of the day

There is no justification for liberals to pontificate from their lofty high horses* since they have no ability to reason or rationalize using clear thought, facts, and documentation.
I'm informed that the author of this trenchant and doubtlessly well-supported claim is not only a regular "debater" on Milwaukee Public Television, but an actual legislative aide to a State Senator.

May God, in His infinite Mercy, help us all.

h/t Pundit Nation.**

* As distinguished from their subterranean high horses.
** Don't watch the video, unless you're a sadomasochist.

A swing and a miss at Volokh Stadium

SOTOMAYOR: And [in Kelo], the Court held that a taking to develop an economically blighted area was appropriate.
There is some mildly entertaining commentary underway at the famous highbrow gun nut website The Volokh Conspiracy, related to today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

Generally, fans of The Volokh Conspiracy are — in many cases, rabidly — pre-opposed to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Assumedly because she's going to take away their guns (her and Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner, apparently).

It seems some of the Volokh Conspiracy conspiracists, contributors, and commenters are busily picking apart Judge Sotomayor's testimony in the hopes of finding a few Gotcha! moments.

For example, Prof. Ilya Somin boldly claims that Sotomayor "misstated" the holding in Kelo v. City of New London, an endlessly contentious 2005 Supreme Court case wherein the majority upheld the Fifth Amendment taking of some privately held parcels of real estate for a commercial development in Connecticut.

This attempted Gotcha! moment concerns Sotomayor's use of the word "blighted" instead of "distressed," two legal terms of art in property law. Granted, they might not be interchangeable, but the following demonstrates not so much a misstep by Judge Sotomayor as the less-than-accurate enthusiasm of Prof. Somin.

Here are the highlights of the Volokh thread:
SOMIN: [Sotomayor] incorrectly claimed that Kelo upheld a taking in an "economically blighted area." In reality, both sides in the Kelo litigation agreed that the area in question was not blighted.
First of all, one does not normally characterize the holding of a U.S. Supreme Court decision by reference to what the litigating parties agreed to. That may be interesting, but it is not controlling.

And within a slightly realer reality, what the Court did say was that the 15 individual properties the municipality had exercised its takings power over were not "blighted." That is, the Court wasn't speaking about "the area," as was Judge Sotomayor.

A more careful commenter chimes in:
ZUCH: Prof. Somin, you're nitpicking here. The Court said the area was "distressed" (or at least that the CT gummint's determination that it was "distressed" was entitled to some deference; Kelo, p. 13). I don't think [Sotomayor's] characterization of the case was fundamentally wrong, even if she didn't use the 'right' words; the exact words used by the opinion, not having the text of such in front of her. There's a fine line between "blighted" and "distressed," but the fact is that she didn't say, as you imply above, that the gummint could take land for "public use" for any reason whatsoever.
Commenter Zuch has it exactly right. From the opinion:
Those who govern the City [of New London] were not confronted with the need to remove blight in the Fort Trumbull area, but their determination that the area was sufficiently distressed to justify a program of economic rejuvenation is entitled to our deference.
Emphasis added.

The next commenter confirms and clarifies:
SHELBYC: The area was distressed, not the property itself. So as opposed to condemning "blighted" property to remove the blight, they were condemning property within an economically distressed area to help uplift the entire area. Big difference.
Indeed. Regardless of what the litigating parties agreed to.

So, what Judge Sotomayor was referring to by "economically blighted area" was not Suzanne Kelo's and the others' property, but rather the Fort Trumbull "area," which the Supreme Court had characterized as "sufficiently distressed," and for which Sotomayor had substituted the expression "economically blighted." (And note the qualifier.)

So the far more appropriate distinction is between the individual properties taken and the larger area targeted for municipal development, not so much the difference between "sufficiently distressed" and "economically blighted" (the latter distinction being practically non-existent, under the circumstances).

Is this worthy of Prof. Somin's own condemnation? Hardly.

Held: Sotomayor 1, Somin 0.

Knowing and the hypothetical white male

A (pilfered) guest post:

Judge Sotomayor may have been saying something like a juridical version of the concept of the epistemological privilege of the poor advanced by liberation theologians. The idea is that the oppressed have a special insight into the nature of and reasons for their oppression. John Yoder, for example, writes that if you see things from below, you will see them as God does.

This is just a form of standpoint epistemology, and in its modern versions it mostly originates with Marx.

You're right to say it is not racist. It's basically an empirical claim about social and cultural position, which at most tracks race contingently. To put it in illustrative Marxist terms: the servant who lives in the servants' quarters but works in the masters' house is likely to have a greater knowledge of the workings of both contexts than do the masters, whose privilege consists partly in their not having to bother with how the servants live.

People growing up in a subculture, but immersed in the dominant culture by media, may similarly have a greater total knowledge of both cultures/realities/ways of life than will someone who both lives in and is immersed in the dominant culture. To the extent that knowledge and understanding of the world are relevant to being a good judge, it is hardly outrageous, and absolutely not racist, to conjecture that one would thereby have an advantage in making all manner of judgments, including legal ones.

This rather benign duo of ideas, that knowing more tends to make one a better judge, and that (ceteris paribus) having a wider range of cultural experiences tends to lead to knowing more, is pretty clearly what Sotomayor is advancing.

She cites with approval the view that "there is a diversity of opinion because there is both a diversity of experiences and of thought"; and even the quote that has generated so much flapdoodle follows up this approach explicitly: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Of course the hacks trying to make hay with this quote see only the racial terms, and not the transparent emphasis on the role of knowledge in facilitating good judgment.

What's "that life" that her hypothetical white male hasn't lived? A Latina life? No; she's already gone on at length about how there is no such single thing. It's quite clear that she means a life of experiences that span more than just one aspect of the "salad bowl" of American cultures — the framework within which the entire speech occurs.

How big a difference the knowledge of culturally diverse experience makes is a factual matter; one may doubt that it makes much difference at all. But it's a reasonable conjecture on its face, and not racist in the least.

Shamelessly appropriated from here.

Shorter Lindsay Graham

"I certainly hope you learned your lesson today, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, that you shouldn't be such a big meanie to lawyers."

Priceless Fox News Channel label

While she was explaining they had nothing to do with each other.

Shorter Sonia Sotomayor

"Screw it, there's no point in trying to engage this Alabamian pinhead in a philosophical discussion of the unique and transitory nature of human experience versus elusive notions of so-called 'objectivity,' therefore I'll just admit I misspoke and hopefully he'll get over it."

Disclaimer: The term "pinhead" appears herein via the unsolicited courtesy of Mr. Will-I-Am O'Reilly's Faux-dichotomous teevee featurette, "Pinheads & Patriots."
All wrongs reserved © 2009

Palin's flop-ed

Profound ignorance.
At no point does Palin mention CO2 emissions, rising global temperatures or anything that's at the core of the legislation.

Instead she prefers to talk about the "mountains of oil" we sit on and our "abundant" coal and "the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil."
Surprising. Palin's expertise is normally quite feared and hated.

Wis. Sup. Ct. resolves existential dilemma

Question: Can white lead be a design defect in a product (white lead carbonate pigment, a.k.a. house paint) when the product wouldn't even be that product without white lead. Answer: Nope.

Paraphrasing Sartre, "Without lead, there can be no white lead carbonate pigment," said the court.

And, one for the conspiracists:

WMC-supported candidate affirms other WMC-supported candidate

July 13, 2009

Is Glenn Beck America's Dumbest Man?

Unfortunately for Glenn Beck, there were no questions today

Has this twit of monumental proportion ever watched a committee hearing? That praise is customary, from both sides of the aisle.

The questioning begins tomorrow. And Sotomayor is an exceptional individual. She's going to the Supreme Court, for crying out loud.

There are few more exceptional accomplishments* (if any).

* Not counting "America's Dumbest Man."

More McIlheran Funnies

Local editorialist, calumnist, and champion NRO-hotlinker Patrick McIlheran has his knickers in a twist apparently because Dahlia Lithwick penned a somewhat sardonic column at Slate over the weekend noting that Frank Ricci, the New Haven, CT firefighter whom Senate Republicans plan on calling to testify against Sonia Sotomayor, once sued his employers for discrimination.

And then later for so-called reverse discrimination. Both suits are in the public record, and in fact were reported by the press. Indeed, Mr. Ricci prevailed in both actions, so they were at least meritorious.

This is called "digging up dirt," we are told.

But the exercise has little to do with Mr. Ricci himself — certainly he has a right to object to New Haven's employment practices, and more power to him, obviously — but rather the typically incoherent, contradictory messages promulgated by the Republicans.

First, that Republicans are making a negative issue out of "empathy" against Sotomayor by trying to generate positive empathy favoring themselves; and second, that Ricci's two lawsuits evince a twinge of counterintuitive legal strategies. That's all Lithwick was saying.

For McIlheran, however, this is a "smear campaign."

Yet for all his standard manufactured outrage, McIlheran has few qualms about smearing Judge Sotomayor herself:
Sotomayor dismissed the complaint with an almost contemptuous lack of comment.
This is unadulterated nonsense, of course, and is easily debunked. Still, McIlheran continues to repeat it.

McIlheran has a track record of this sort of thing, and willingly participated in the attempted character assassination of former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler.

And, naturally, nary a squeak from McIlheran of the real smear campaign against Sonia Sotomayor launched by Gingrich and his ilk.

Waterboarding's too good for him

Well, first, with regard to Levi, I think First Dude up there in Alaska, Todd Palin, ought to take Levi down to the creek and hold his head underwater until the thrashing stops.
Hilarity ensues.

U.S. Constitution 101

Dick Cheney, the former vice president, ordered a highly classified CIA operation hidden from Congress because it pushed the limits of legality by planning to assassinate al-Qaida operatives in friendly countries without the knowledge of their governments, according to former intelligence officials.
If this is true, then anyone with an apprehension of the political principles underpinning the Constitution should be mighty troubled.

Because that the operation pushed the limits of legality is why the executive branch is supposed to consult with Congress. It's not an acceptable reason to circumvent it.

The planned assassinations may or may not have been sound policy, but my understanding is the federal government was designed to prevent this type of structural abuse.

What's less clear in the Constitution is from where the Vice President derives the power to make such a decision, unless it was undertaken during a moment when the President was unable "to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office."

I've seen typos ...

... but never in a byline.

American Thinker [sic]

Sarah Palin loves God. God loves Sarah Palin.
And that is why they hate her ... and Him.
And why she — and He — will be back.
Follow the logic:
Sarah Palin is grounded in the divine, which means, in part, that she believes, as did the framers of our constitution, that individuals [being evidently the politically correct rendering of the original, pre-universal suffrage "all men"] are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Property* Happiness."
Stuart Schwartz, Dist. Professor of Telemarketing
Wait a minute. I thought Jefferson was touring France in 1787.

* Revised for violating Exodus 20:17.

AK governor just can't catch a break

While Sarah Palin's legal defense fund has raised more than $250,000 to defend against ethics complaints, the money cannot be spent pending resolution of an ethics complaint that contends the contributions could amount to improper gifts.
Paparazzi stake out the Beehive — New York Times

Incidentally, whither the semi-retired William Safire, or some other maven, to point out to the Times editors the evolving usage of the expression "tapped," as in: "John McCain tapped Sarah Palin."

July 12, 2009

Adieu, femme fatale

Even as the breadth of [Sarah Palin's] support narrows, the intensity of the support she receives grows greater, a fatal attraction for a political party whose base seems increasingly detached from anything resembling reality. To reinforce their delusion, those folks then go around talking about how the "other side" is afraid of or intimidated by Palin's superhuman political skills.

Hardly. Sarah Palin is an erratic, intemperate politician of average intelligence and below average eloquence. If she ran for President in 2012, she would undoubtedly suffer a loss worse than anyone since Walter Mondale met the Reagan steamroller in 1984.
The Recess Supervisor (not by any means a fearful "leftist").

Ricci, don't use that number

For some reason, Senate Republicans have retained New Haven, CT firefighter Frank Ricci to testify against Sonia Sotomayor this week.

Writes Dahlia Lithwick:
Ultimately, there are two ways to frame Frank Ricci's penchant for filing employment discrimination complaints: Perhaps he was repeatedly victimized by a cruel cadre of employers, first for his dyslexia, then again for his role as a whistle-blower, and then a third time for just being white. If that is so, we should all be deeply grateful for the robust civil rights laws that protect Americans from unfair discrimination in the workplace. I look forward to hearing Republican Sen. John Cornyn's version of that speech next week.

The other way to look at Frank Ricci is as a serial plaintiff—one who reacts to professional slights and setbacks by filing suit, threatening to file suit, and more or less complaining his way up the chain of command. That's not the typical GOP heartthrob, but I look forward to hearing Sen. Cornyn's version of that speech next week as well.
More to the point:
His views on jurisprudence seem to begin and end with the proposition that legal protections against discrimination are great when they work in his favor, and unconscionable when they don't.
Kind of like the classic Republican take on "judicial activism" — you got your bad kind (liberal) and you got your good kind (conservative).

So that's why Republicans are parading Ricci: He's one of them.

In today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Senate Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III rails petulantly* against "empathy," but then highlights the fact that Ricci has a learning disability, thus collapsing his entire argument.

This could well be a very embarrassing week for Senate Republicans. My impression is that Sotomayor is smarter than all the Republicans on that Committee put together, and will probably encounter the most probing, substantive questioning from the Democrats.

For example, compare Sessions's crybaby talk with Russ Feingold's intended focus. It's obvious who the grownups are this time around.

Because a sideshow is about all the GOP can hope to bring.

* While completely ignoring her 16-year record as a federal judge, likely because it contains zero evidence for Sessions's gravest fears.

Admission 12 dollars, Willie Wade, 49 cents

Raphael's sitter has been identified as the final lover of the artist, who died when he was 37 from a fever after a night of excessive sex.
Renaissance masterpiece to visit Milwaukee

"I wouldn't pay 50 cents for the Mona Lisa." — Ald. Willie Wade

July 11, 2009

Yeah, he was respectful of Congress's role

Mr. Cheney's legal adviser, David S. Addington, had to approve personally every government official who was told about the program.
On direct orders from Mr. Cheney — New York Times

And by respectful I mean, of course, contemptuous.

Freepers react to peace symbol

Yes, a peace symbol.
Wrote site owner Jim Robinson sarcastically: "We should steer clear of Obama's children. They can't help it if their old man is an American-hating Marxist pig."
Just another day at FreeRepublic.com — Vancouver Sun

They could have simply photoshopped a Nazi Swastika.

Golf joke

Guy has this terrible slice, which he just can't seem to correct. So he decides to take a couple of lessons with the pro. "Tee one up and let me watch your swing," says the pro. So the guy does.

The ball goes screaming way right, over a fence, down a road, directly at an oncoming school bus filled with children. It crashes through the windshield, strikes the driver in the head, he loses control and the bus full of children goes rolling end over end down an embankment, completely engulfed in flames.

Back on the tee, the guy is horrified: "OH MY GOD! Did you see what I just did?!"

"Yeah," says the pro. "Here, try turning your wrist in a little."

But she hurt my widdle feewings

One of the more ridiculous conservative charges against Sonia Sotomayor is that she's too tough a questioner from the bench.

Floyd Abrams counters.

Seriously, a lawyer with feelings? No such thing. They are the world's only living heart donors, to borrow a phrase from one of them.

Humans an insatiably curious species

Our appetite for hard news prodigious. Chosen from amongst CNN.com's vast newsgathering resources, here are the most sought-after informations this morning. Number one:

Forty Xanax per day, IIRC.

Number three (and top video):

Gosh, I hope he's okay (the squirrel, that is).

Obama to legalize abortion in Malta

Douglas Kmiec went to an obscure Mediterranean archipelago and all I got were these lousy thirty pieces of silver. — 1st century t-shirt

Nationalized GM now free to build Trabants

Oldsmobile Trabants in the former East Berlin, July, 1990
Photo by the author

July 10, 2009

Local "journalistic ethics" saga continues

One of these days a debrief would be helpfulEdward Flynn

No doubt.

The saga continues, although it's now winding itself down from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's front page into the "blogs":
Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and journalist Jessica McBride traded an astounding 217 messages over four months on his city e-mail account, newly released records show.

In the e-mails, the pair proved chatty and friendly.

"Once the article is declared done, with the expectation that you won’t be ‘covering’ me in your professional capacity, I guess we wouldn’t be violating journalistic ethics (notice I didn’t make a smart remark) if we stayed connected and I received the benefit of your particular perspective," the chief wrote on Jan 6.
You sly devil, you.

Via the J-S's investigative watchdog Daniel Bice.

From the comments:
Interesting that such a right-winger only seems to be able to keep her government job and not anything in the public sector.* Ironic.
Indeed. Along with the occasional political hack work. The future of that government job remains to be seen, as Bice reported earlier:
In the next year or two, McBride will be up for "indefinite status," which is similar to tenure for academic staff members. Officials in the journalism department have declined to comment so far on the matter.
Kind of a "do as I say, not as I do" teaching position.

And: Mike Mathias chortles at the Charlie Sykes connection.

Also: A wingnut scours the correspondence for telltale erotica:
It is clear from the very early exchanges that both McBride and Flynn are (figuratively) "buttering each other up."
But alas, no Last Tango in Paris for Juan McAdams.

* Presumably the commenter meant "private sector."

Nice work if you can get it

Strolling with the one girl
Sighing sigh after sigh ...

— Ira Gershwin, from A Damsel in Distress
Sarah Palin's legal defense cost millions [sic] in, um, committed and long-since-budgeted-for government salaries:
An administrative director in the AK Governor's Office said she's going to ask the Department of Law about some other puzzling parts of the spreadsheet, including a line item that says 0.3 attorney hours added up to $10,063 in costs.
Earlier: Dear Department of Law.

Why the press isn't fair to Sarah Palin

Because it absolutely insists on reporting every single petty recrimination that she and her family willingly offer up to it.

And for all of this, naturally, the demon press is to blame.