March 31, 2010

RomneyCare omnibus

Ultimate conservative ... I like mandates
In case you missed these classic performances.

Palin Said Knock You Out

Good luck with your fledgling teevee show.

Papal quote of the day

"[Former Milwaukee archbishop Timothy] Dolan has been comparing the Pope to Jesus, but as far as I know, Jesus never presided over an institution that allowed pedophiles to operate freely." — Daniel Maguire
Marquette professor calls for Ratzinger's resignation

Jesus has been largely absent from the latest controversies.

Some might argue he was exonerated during the Enlightenment, when one of the nation's founders, Thomas Jefferson, stripped him of his supernatural powers and therefore his responsibilities.

The Catholic League's Wild Bill Donohue says because victims were "post-pubescent," the problem is with homosexuals, not child predators. Last night on Larry King, Wild Bill defined post-pubescent as 12 or 13 years old. Evidently Wild Bill Donohue is as deliberately ignorant of civil and criminal law as some in the Church hierarchy.

"Canon law" having worked so effectively.

On teh web: This grisly little man.

Incidentally, John V. Doe v. Holy See (.pdf; 59 pgs.) — which concerns more priestly child sexual assault in Oregon and Chicago plus the question of whether Vatican City, despite its alleged sovereign state immunity, is liable for the tortious acts of its corporate "employees" in America — is working its way into the U.S. Supreme Court.

And then there's this one, seeking to depose* the pontiff.

* Initially, at least, only in the civil procedural sense.

Elect Scott Walker and count on more nonsense

Warns the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

On the other hand, if you're going to call a lawsuit "frivolous," you should have to explain why. Just because the J-S editorial board thinks the suit is a loser doesn't mean it's utterly lacking in merit.

Where a novel constitutional question is presented, as is the case with the health care reform bill's "individual mandate," there exists practically a duty to challenge it. Simply insisting such challenges are pure politics and "frivolous" doesn't make the question go away.

But at least they got the "count on more nonsense" part right.

March 30, 2010

Zapruder 2010

Breitblart's life among the savages.

Don't give them any ideas

Early deaths of the recipients will allow the Fund to recoup the money left in those accounts.

If x, then Bible

Where x equals anything.
Whatever scientists discover about the universe from the Large Hadron Collider, it will show that the universe is upheld by God in a consistent way. This will therefore confirm that the Bible is true.
AiG via PZM.

Ab hoste maligno defende me ...

... from the New York Times?

Might be worth attending Mass tonight.

Fetish club scandal leads direct to RNC pope

"The man seems a coward."

Hilarious expense account hijinks from the family values crowd.

Trucks carrying Scott Walker BS damaged bridge

Loads blew the dial clean off the gauge
Tea-Republican assented to construction priorities in 2007

It's noteworthy that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel would run seven paragraphs worth of third-party attestations to the alleged political brilliance of Scott Walker without once mentioning Walker's failure to dissent from the construction schedule, that the Zoo Interchange is in Walker's Milwaukee County bailiwick but outside Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett's, or the fact that Walker could have been every bit as — or more — aware of the bridges' advancing decrepitude as Barrett.

Yet Scott Walker lifted not a finger, nor uttered one word. So which set of evaluations is more germane to the Statewide responsibilities Walker seeks: the political, or the managerial. It should be the latter.

The distinct scent of Walker effluvia is familiar:
Neither Scott Walker nor anyone from his staff contacted rail equipment manufacturer Talgo to ask them to consider the Super Steel facility before the company made its decision, Talgo executive Ferran Canals told committee members.
Disappearing news.

March 29, 2010

McIlheran indicts another Milwaukee archbishop

Call it a cover-up or the naivete of the era, but either way, a lot of that blame seems to belong to then-Archbishop William Cousins, who decided to send Murphy off to live in what amounts to exile at his mother's house ...
Neither are particularly desirable options.

And given that former MKE archbishop Rembert Weakland's 'We knew molesting children was wrong but we didn't know it was illegal' line elicited guffaws even from the faithful, I guess that leaves cover-up.

This is supposed to be a defense to allegations of conspiracy.

The award-winning right-wing guy: Anybody but Mr. Ratzinger.

Flashback: McIlheran connects education adviser with NAMBLA.

Yes, isn't it just awful what these people are trying to do to the pope.

Aren't there any honest conservative columnists?

Judicial elections: What you need to know

How much money they are raising and spending.

The important stuff.

Also which judge is accused of lying to get himself elected.

"Crooks recently condemned comments by Gableman's attorney ..."

Stuff and nonsense. It's a sad day for the Fourth Estate when the Associated Press is running Badger Herald rewrites.

How Eric Cantor spent his weekend

Scouring teh YouTubez for insane naked religious people.

Via Wonkette: God's most blasé Messenger
Bonus nude/RNC/$$$: Topless dancers imitating lesbian sex
X-tra bonus Christian militia: The return of Christ in the clouds lists among its various End Times prophecy "information sources" WorldNutDaily and Jack Van Impe Ministries.

Scott Walker determined to slow traffic

Republicans demand increased spending on highway entitlements

As commuters moved briskly through the Zoo Interchange, many motorists were obliged to decelerate and read billboards placed by county exec and GOP candidate for governor, Scott K. Walker.

WISDOT said the trip from the Ambassador Hotel to the Brookfield Hooters took about 11.3 minutes at an average speed of 60 mph.

But political analysts observed that the more Walker could aggravate voters, the more likely the fruition of his ambitions. And what better way than to irritate the ne plus ultra of aggravation: road rage.

Sources said civil and mechanical engineers warned America 50 years ago that the nation's bridges would start falling down in 50 years.

Walker was believed to be planning a series of Burma Shave-inspired billboards, containing a lecture by Marquette University professor John McAdams explaining that collective bargaining was entirely to blame for the dramatic increase in construction costs since 1960.

Van Hollen defends his strategery

"This has nothing to do with health care." — Wis. AG

UPFRONT with Mike Gousha:
Gousha: [incredulously] How much of this is political?
Van Hollen: None of it.
I got your back, J.B.

March 28, 2010

Dolan of Milwaukee chided for special pleading

Holy Father smiles, waves, dismisses "petty gossip"
Man with private army not intimidated by deaf children

Timothy Dolan is another former archbishop of Milwaukee. He has a blog where he argues* — √† la Wild Bill Donohue — that everybody's molesting children and the New York Times just has it in for him:
The problem with your column, Your Excellency,** is that it makes the move that church officials always and reliably make: sure, pedophilia was bad, but the church has learned its lesson, cleaned up its act, paid the victims, and anyway, child rape happens elsewhere, too. In other words, it is unfair to focus on the crimes of the ecclesiastical hierarchy: we’re only human.

But the church does not claim to be only a human institution, except when it wants mercy; it claims to represent Jesus and his way of salvation in the world. If the actions of the hierarchy and the pope himself with respect to these crimes are measured by the words of Jesus, then the crimes, the coverups, and the special pleading that is going on as I write this, merit the following quotation:

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

I think that divine judgment has been rendered already.

Robin Darling Young
University of Notre Dame
Dolan says hey everybody, don't be so hard on the Roman Catholic Church's top shelf bureaucracy. After all, judges, doctors, parole officers — child rapists run rampant under their watches as well.

Except the judiciary, the AMA, and the department of corrections never asserted they were Christ's Own Moral Authority on Earth. None of them ever claimed to be the One True Faith™ and that all other faith (and especially no faith) was defective, less than fully human.

None aspired, by continual presentation of the corpse, to instill a lifelong sense of guilt and shame for having somehow participated in the torture and murder of a first-century rabbi. None coerced their constituencies to weekly donations for the maintenance of a pope's embroidered silk collars, golden cloaks, and marble obelisks.

None abused their trust and (alleged) authority more profoundly.

* Complete with a citation to nice touch.
** "My Excellency" would be a great title for a blog.

I am the walrus recess appointment

Republicans demand Obama ignore Constitution
Senators cited the disclosure on Thursday that Mr. Bolton had been interviewed by the State Department's inspector general in an investigation of intelligence failures related to Iraq, even though he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March that he had not been involved in any such inquiry.
Mr. Bolton now serves as a Fox News correspondent.

March 27, 2010

It's a zoo (interchange) out there

Construction detours add five or ten minutes
You bunch of whiners, get your butts out of bed earlier and deal with it. And while you're at it, get up even earlier so you don't have to shave or put on your make-up while driving.
Or both.

Knowledgeable sources suggested county exec and GOP candidate for governor Scott K. Walker engineered the rerouting to guarantee commuters five additional minutes of Charlie Sykes drive time.

Pederasts roamed, but Ratzinger was on the case

In 1981, the now-Vicar of Christ on Earth punished a priest for holding a Mass at a peace demonstration, leading the man to ultimately leave the priesthood.
The man was said to have eventually discovered Jesus.

I sure do miss those strict constructionists

"Once again the administration showed that it had little respect for the time honored constitutional roles and procedures of Congress," said Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama's foe in the 2008 presidential election.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

How much clearer could it possibly be.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that Obama's move is "another episode of choosing a partisan path despite bipartisan opposition."

Laugh-out-loud-quality hypocrisy.

Hitchens has a project for J.B. Van Hollen

Never mind the health insurance ...
What is the AG of the State of Wisconsin now going to do?

March 26, 2010

Down memory lane: GOP spurns civility pledge

Item: RNC rejects joint civility statement

Hey, remember this:
"I do agree with the spirit of intentions of ensuring our campaign does not resemble the divisive partisan fights that are not appropriate for the office we seek," Michael Gableman's campaign said he wrote in a letter to Louis Butler.

Here are the terms of the pledge signed by Gableman:

Refrain from personal negative attacks on my opponent.
Focus on the issues, records and qualifications of myself and my opponent.
Ensure the integrity of claims ["statements"?] made by our campaigns by providing supporting evidence.
Publicly repudiate dishonest negative ads made by independent groups against our opponent.

Stacy Forster, Feb. 21, 2008.

Jesus Christ did not call any Sisters

Not the best timing there, Mr. Wisconsin Bishop.

Cantor was targeted by random gunfire

Police seek married bachelor in suspicious shooting

Nice work by Fox, also.

Now targeted gunfire, that's Sarah Palin's department:
Joy Behar said the map, which features white and red gun sights drawn over districts whose Democratic representatives voted for health care, "looks like an al-Qaeda Christmas card."
Brilliant line. Al-Qaeda means "the base," so that's exactly what it is.

Statement of Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle

Dear Attorney General Van Hollen:

I have received your request for permission to file an action to contest national health insurance reform. I am denying that request. This law is an act of Congress, signed by the President of the United States. The lawsuit you suggest is a frivolous and political attempt to thwart the actions of Congress and the law of the country.
Dude, harsh.

This may not be one of them, but presidents have signed plenty of unconstitutional acts of Congress before.

While the Republican J.B. Van Hollen by all appearances is pandering, any right-wing political warmth enveloping him as a result of his request to the governor is just convenient, delicious gravy. Because underneath is a perfectly defensible legal decision to go after the constitutionality of the so-called individual mandate.

In his official role, AG Van Hollen has a duty to assess federal legislation and its potential effect on Wisconsin sovereignty. I don't expect the present challenge to be successful, but far, far brighter bulbs than I have found its premises to be strongly compelling.

[By the way, stop calling them "Tenthers." The attempt to equate reasonable attention to the language of the Constitution with some crazy lawyer in California's ravings is frankly offensive. Also, conjuring the strains of Ashokan Farewell isn't much help either.]

At a listening session in hostile territory recently (Washington or Waukesha County, I forget which), U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, who supported the federal bill, was challenged on this very point.

Feingold replied that he couldn't say with any assuredness whether the individual mandate was constitutional or not, and suggested that it was the role of the courts to make that determination.

And not just as a general principle, but in this case.

Moreover, the courts cannot undertake to reach that determination until somebody asks them to, another point Feingold stressed in his response to the listening session queries.

Senator Feingold likely won't join Florida Attorney General Bob McCollum's lawsuit,* but I bet he doesn't find the question entirely without serious merit and purely political.

* As opposed to the one he joined seeking the extension of individual Second Amendment guarantees to the citizens of Wisconsin.

Quote of the day II: Gableman edition

"Attorney Bopp's comments are irrelevant to the disciplinary proceeding ... " — Marquette professor of law Rick Esenberg
This is a unique perspective, considering the Attorney Bopp comments at issue were delivered before three appeals court judges last September during the disciplinary proceeding.

That is, they're part of the record of the disciplinary proceeding, which is slated to go before the Wisconsin Supreme Court on April 16 and they go directly to the question of Gableman's willfulness to violate the Wisconsin code of judicial conduct, precisely the manner of behavior the Wisconsin Judicial Commission alleges.*

In fact Bopp's mini-jeremiad issued forth in response to questions from the panel of judges requesting Bopp, the legal agent of Gableman, to explain the rationale behind Gableman's teevee advertisement, the very object of the disciplinary proceeding.

Perhaps Prof. Esenberg is distinguishing between Bopp's presentation on the record and his presentation to reporters after the hearing.

But not even Gableman, in his motion to recuse another Supreme Court justice from hearing oral arguments in the disciplinary proceeding, distinguishes between the two sets of commentary:
In [his separately authored concurrence], Justice Crooks condemned statements made by Attorney James Bopp, Jr. ... during oral argument before the Judicial Conduct Panel and to the press afterward.
Gableman seems to think they're mighty relevant indeed, as he's clearly out to protect his own bacon from the ill-advised public declarations of own attorney.

More specifically, he's looking to insulate himself from the perception Attorney Bopp's commentary created in a member of the tribunal before whom Gableman is to be judged, which is certainly one of the broader ironies to have emerged pursuant to this whole escapade.

Here, by the way, is a useful quote from Liteky v. United States, the sole case Gableman cites in his motion to recuse Justice Crooks:
The judge who presides at a trial may, upon completion of the evidence, be exceedingly ill disposed towards the defendant, who has been shown to be a thoroughly reprehensible person. But the judge is not thereby recusable for bias or prejudice, since his knowledge and the opinion it produced were properly and necessarily acquired in the course of the proceedings, and are indeed sometimes (as in a bench trial) necessary to completion of the judge's task.
That's Justice Scalia, writing for a majority of the Court, supposedly in support of Gableman's efforts to un-preside Patrick Crooks.

Gableman's disciplinary proceeding is currently in its third year.

* The WJC has said repeatedly that Gableman "lied."

Quote of the day

No one, not even Netanyahu, should be denied his right to an idiot relation ...
Special Relationships, by David Remnick

Recall, Benjamin Netanyahu whiled away his days as an interim private citizen appearing frequently on Fox "News" before a grovelingly simpatico Sean Hannity, yet another idiot relation.

March 25, 2010

Pontiff's annus more horribilis by the day

Too big to fail
An initial statement on the matter issued earlier this month by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising placed full responsibility for the decision to allow the [child molesting] priest to resume his duties on Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber. But the memo, whose existence was confirmed by two church officials, shows that the future pope not only led a meeting on Jan. 15, 1980, approving the transfer of the priest, but was also kept informed about the [child molesting] priest’s reassignment.
The subtext is clear.

The Vatican described the matter as routine,* which is likely not the best choice of words. If nothing else these revelations are a PR disaster, and I doubt playing the victim is going to improve things.

Wonder if he has one of those buck subsisto hic signs on his desk.

* More like poutine: "a mess."

March 24, 2010

Business model successful for 2,000 years

Their highest priority was protecting the Church from scandal
Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland said this week in an interview, "The evidence was so complete, and so extensive that I thought [the priest] should be reduced to the lay state ... "
Evidence of 200 counts of molesting deaf children, and your sanction is you can no longer perform this magic ceremony.

Forgive me, but these people are profoundly delusional.

FedSoc research assistant keeps up the good work

"You heard it here first: Oral argument April 16."
Welcome to six weeks ago.

Where was Master Suhr when William Bablitch was Randy Koschnick's primary cudgel with which to beat Shirley Abrahamson, one wonders.

Based on, of all things, a story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

First Epistle of Paul to the Baraboonians

Stupak and the nuns: A Reformation perspective
Women who wanted to ask questions at the meeting were told to write them on a piece of paper and have a man read them aloud. Some said their questions were never read.
Lutheran school principal dismissed on "doctrinal grounds"

Doubtless similarly enlightened ones.

Reporters need to read legal opinions

Or else ask somebody who has. According to the Badger Herald:
Crooks said that Bopp's comments "startled and appalled many in the legal community," and he called on Gableman to distance himself from the lawyer's views.
No, Justice Crooks did not "call on Gableman to distance himself from the lawyer's views." Justice Crooks simply observed that a recent statement of Gableman's pledging to treat "all persons fairly" did not include a repudiation of Bopp's comments. That's just a plain fact.

Justice Crooks's overarching point was that Gableman's lawyer Bopp's remarks turned up in supplemental filings to Aaron Antonio Allen's initial request to have Gableman recused from hearing his criminal appeal and the court was giving short shrift to those additional factors by refusing to order additional briefing on the matter.

A reporter should know the difference between reporting and advocacy, a particularly crucial distinction in this instance, where no such advocacy exists. Gableman also claims that Justice Crooks's observation is a "rebuke" and a "gratuitous personal attack," but neither of these hyperbolic accusations is supported by the record.

Gableman set his own table. He sure ain't no victim.

March 23, 2010

Great Moments in Teabagger Debate

The good Chief Oshkosh rounds 'em up.

At least Republican Louie Gohmert knows you can't trust the mob (his own status as an elected official being compelling evidence of that).

The Commerce Clause and the individual mandate

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, ... [t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes ... [and] [t]o make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers ...
United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8
I see our friend conservative law professor Rick Esenberg is fretting again (or is fretting still and forever, I suppose) over his bugaboo Barack H. Obama's inexorable march to socialism, so I thought I'd pull up some comments I left at his blog several months ago, on the subject of the constitutionality of the so-called "individual mandate."

It began when Prof. Esenberg's "nonpartisan" pal Charlie Sykes mocked Speaker Nancy Pelosi for stating an obvious truth: that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce, including, obviously, that related to health care, is "essentially unlimited." Prof. Esenberg, as is his wont, leaped quickly to Charlie Sykes's defense.

It was essentially unlimited then, and it is today.

Anyway ...

Esenberg: So it is incorrect to say that nobody has suggested the Commerce power as justification for a mandate.

[The initial point, which still stands, is that Speaker Pelosi hadn't suggested it. And Charlie Sykes remains a partisan buffoon.]

Okay, you got me. Mark Hall did suggest it, although he too emphasizes primarily the tax power — my point, again.

But his Commerce Clause argument is secondary and lacks the required force and finally amounts to little more than an assertion plus an unconvincing appeal to the Necessary and Proper Clause (which should be renamed the Necessary Necessary and Proper Clause because it's always necessary when your claim of Commerce Clause reach is ... reaching).

It may be that the courts will devise a rationale for approving a federally mandated commercial purchase based on those courts' own prior holdings, but it would be in effect the fabrication of a power not expressly delegated to Congress by the Constitution.

(Indeed, the courts are more legitimately imbued with the power to consecrate an unconstitutional Act of Congress than is Congress to make that particular Act in the first place, but that's still no reason to accept as axiomatic that the courts' decisions are correct.)

As Prof. Hall puts it, the question of Congress's power to regulate the commercial aspects of health care is a trivial one easily disposed in favor of Congress but for one provision: the individual mandate. And Hall indicates "the only plausible objection is that mandating the purchase of insurance is not the same as regulating its purchase."

But he doesn't engage this objection, which he just allowed was crucial; rather, he proceeds instead to address his opponents' distinguishing regulating insurers from regulating people, but that is not the proper distinction. Prof. Hall thus glides past his own crucial distinction without so much as a how-do-you-do.

Objects that are "in" commerce

The most forceful statement of Prof. Hall's argument is that the individual mandate "directly affects interstate commerce," not that it is interstate commerce, which might be enough to satisfy some of the second- or fourth-generation interpretive case law, but I don't think it survives the level of scrutiny that must be applied when one is determining whether an Article I enumerated power even exists and in particular one so coercive on the part of the federal government (Super Duper Strict Scrutiny, h/t Arlen Specter).

In any event, the distinction is not between "what" and "who" but rather between what is "in" commerce and what is not. That is, the permissible objects of regulation are only those which are "in" commerce (or so the Court has taught since Chief Justice John Marshall, a contemporary of the Framers, presided).

Before the mandated purchase takes place, there is no commerce — and therefore nothing in commerce to regulate. It is only by Congress mandating individuals to make commercial transactions that there becomes something in commerce.

So the question presents as, 'Can Congress force a private party to initiate the transaction that will bring into existence the commerce Congress may regulate.' If the answer is yes, then it's not on account of anything the Commerce Clause says.

An analogy, not perfect, but illustrative: Biology makes no claim to the origin of life; it assumes life, and that is where its study begins, and not before.

Both necessary and proper

Although it may be necessary under certain circumstances for Congress to somehow initiate the commerce it wishes to then regulate (which it can do by taxing and spending), it has avenues other than forcing — on penalty — private commercial transactions. If there are other ways to accomplish the objective, then this one is by definition not necessary.

For example, Congress can initiate those transactions itself, which is how I suggested that single-payer, universal health care would more comfortably conform with constitutional requirements (not to mention satisfy the aspirational goals described in the Preamble).

But even if the individual mandate mechanism was deemed "necessary" according to some necessarily circular reasoning, it also needs to be "proper" and I'm finding it difficult to apply that adjective, in the constitutional context, to the creation of a brand new, clearly unenumerated power of Congress (or at the least, unenumerated within the Commerce Clause).

So did I pass the Federalist Society entrance exam? (I hope not.)

Clearly unconstitutional

Somebody please shoot me if I ever use that expression.

Wait until John McAdams finds out about this

John McAdams: Comedian Bill Maher is an irreverent meanie

Wisconsin Republicans seek activist judges

Update: Dear Leader affixes Great Seal of Kenya to health bill

In an unprecedented maneuver, two prominent Wisconsin Republicans are urging the courts to strike down federal legislation enacted contrary to their own personal preferences.

The Republicans, Mark Neumann and Scott Walker, both have designs on the Wisconsin governor's mansion and its "Cadillac" medical insurance coverage. Neumann is an affluent building developer who could afford to fly to Canada for heart surgery while Walker has been cashing a government paycheck for nearly 17 of his 42 years.

Yesterday they appealed to a third Republican, Wisconsin Attorney General J. Byron Van Hollen, to take affirmative legal action with a view to preventing thousands of working Wisconsinites from gaining improved access to basic health care services which for some reason they believe is an election-winning strategery.

In so challenging the law, the Republicans would join Texas, where this month all references to the reputed author of the Declaration of Independence and incipient Frenchman Thomas Jefferson were officially expunged from history books and replaced with paeans to Phyllis Schlafly, an heroic Disco-era opponent of equal rights.

Details of the contemplated lawsuits were sketchy, but according to some reports they were related to the federal government's power to regulate commerce among the several States, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled extends only to imprisoning a cancer patient for cultivating a medicinal herb in the privacy of her own apartment.

That Court, led by the progressive titan Justice Antonin Scalia, deduced that failing to imprison her would further encourage the activities of freedom-loving capitalist farmers in Bolivia.

Constitutional experts were astonished by Neumann and Walker's public entreaties. Several noted that it would mark the first time anybody other than a godless liberal Democrat had barreled straight into federal court to overturn the will of the people as duly expressed through their democratically elected representatives.

"These Republicans are taking a strip off Madalyn Murray O'Hair's successful crusade to rid the schools of prayer," said one. "And look what happened after that: General Motors stopped making Oldsmobiles and cable teevee started showing Bad Girls Club."

"Also, the gays," he added.

March 22, 2010

CNN polls 608 Glenn Beck viewers

Death panels, Joseph Stalin unpopular, survey reveals
Interviews with 1,030 adult Americans conducted by telephone on March 19-21, 2010.

As you may [sic] know, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are trying to pass [this was pre-vote and pre-euphoria] final legislation that would make major changes in the country’s health care system. Based on what you [may] have read or heard about [or not] that legislation, do you generally favor it or generally oppose it?

Favor 39%
Oppose 59%
That's about the most unhelpfully counterproductive question you could ask in a survey as it presumes not one iota of familiarity with the very subject the respondent is being asked to speak about.

It's like asking, based on what you know of biology, did Jesus ride a dinosaur? Needless to say top-of-the-masthead commentator Charlie Sykes of the "nonpartisan" "polling" outfit WPRI finds it compelling.

CNN Opinion Research (.pdf; 7 pgs.)

Assassination Twitterer appeals for calm

Obama built a nuclear reactor with his teeth*

h/t James Rowen.

* A pretty good line, but for the incitement to mayhem.

What is the sound of one irony meter exploding

Gableman wants Crooks off of ethics case

Here's why:
Notably, Justice Patrick Crooks wrote separately to indicate that he was fully prepared to deny Allen's motion [to get Gableman off of his case], thus providing a fourth and decisive vote in that direction, had it not been for Atty. James Bopp's shenanigans as Gableman's defense lawyer during and after Gableman's hearing on ethics charges in September.
Unintended consequences.

Apparently Gableman is concerned about getting a fair hearing before an impartial tribunal, and is troubled by "gratuitous personal attacks" and "personal criticisms" which might have a tendency to generate the appearance of judicial bias against the respondent, Gableman.

Who would have ever heard of such things.

Here's my question: If Justice Crooks recuses himself from future participation in Gableman's ethics case, will Crooks thereby be denying Gableman's First Amendment right to vote in a general election for the State Supreme Court justice of his choosing?

What about the 499,636 Wisconsinites who voted for Justice Crooks?

Which way is the wind blowing today

Republican's weathervane spins clean off Akin Gump rooftop

Tommy Thompson praises health care reform bill — 10/05/09
Tommy Thompson condemns health care reform bill — 03/22/10

This is all so unfair. Tommy Thompson needs to make Russ Feingold work for this kind of material, not serve it up on a silver platter.

Earlier: Guy who isn't running

eta: Thompson can bask in 1% approval rating

March 21, 2010

Liberals stoop to attacking elderly dog who died

Always with the liberals
"These are purely political attacks from the liberals on a tough, conservative judge that they don't want on the Court of Appeals," she said.

"Nonpartisan election" = "jumbo shrimp."

Wisconsin speaker pro tempore knows

Poor Bart Stupak can't catch a break
Rep. David Obey (D-WI) says he knows who shouted "baby killer" but "doesn't see any point" in identifying them.

"I think people have a right to make a fool out of themselves every once in awhile without causing Armageddon," Obey said, when asked if the person should be admonished.
This is true. Not that it's going to stop anybody else or anything.

Still, definitely far more zanies per capita among the GOP.

No, unfortunately it wasn't Mike Pence

Arrests Inside Capitol Building

It's quite a spectacle, listening to a $175,000-per-year backbencher with the best medical insurance in the country who is eligible for lifetime benefits after only five years on the job — if you want to call it that — telling actual working people who can't afford regular doctor visits that they're helping destroy the fabric of American democracy.

March 20, 2010

Milwaukee City News

Milwaukee Police Shoot, Kill Man

MILWAUKEE — A male is passed after an officer-involved sharpened upon Milwaukee’s south side.

Police conspicuous officers went to a home nearby 9th as well as Lapham Streets before long after eleven p.m. Friday to check for a male longed for upon a transgression warrant. As officers approached a home, they conspicuous a male fled upon foot.

After a reduced feet chase, officers celebrated which a male had a weapon. At slightest a single military officer liberated his firearm. The think was conspicuous passed upon a scene.

No officers were hurt.
What the.

See also: Who's headlining Summerfest's most belligerent stages

Man spills Tea on Democratic legislator

So to speak. Order up the rabies screen, you never know.

Smiling golden flying pope

Sex abuse scandal is the gravest crisis the Roman Catholic Church has faced since Pius XII was accused of responding inadequately to the Holocaust. — Sunday Godwin Times
Crazy picture. (Click to frighten more.)

Now you see it, now you don't

Embarrassing Scott Walker paragraph vanishes

Yesterday Tom Daykin of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported:
Neither Scott Walker nor anyone from his staff contacted rail equipment manufacturer Talgo to ask them to consider the Super Steel facility before the company made its decision, Talgo executive Ferran Canals told committee members.
But this morning it was gone. Disappeared. It seemed like kind of an important point. Fortunately the alert reader Xoff preserved it.
I am a believer in letting people, both supporters and opponents, know about public meetings that involve developments that have drawn a lot of interest from our readers. — J-S reporter Tom Daykin, March 15, 2010
Huh. What a difference a couple of days make.

eta: Google cache, 19:33:50 GMT.* Maybe he decided to remove all Walker/Super Steel references and save them for a real blockbuster.

* Partly cloudy and 61 degrees F, that must have been before it started blowing and then raining and then freezing and then snowing. Don't care for this weather? Give it a few minutes.

March 19, 2010

Freedom skies alive with flying Hannitys

Wingnut v. Wingnut

All I got was this lousy Charlie Daniels t-shirt.

Scott Walker is true hero of Amtrak procurement

Former assemblyman Walker personally blessed no-bid provision
Neither Scott Walker nor anyone from his staff contacted rail equipment manufacturer Talgo to ask them to consider the Super Steel facility before the company made its decision, Talgo executive Ferran Canals told committee members.
In fact it was Tom Barrett who went to bat for the fabricator.*

But now Scott Walker is accusing Barrett of having "undercut Super Steel's bid" to assemble the equipment at Super Steel's facility.

One might expect that with a top Walker contributor on board, the chairman of Super Steel, among all the characters involved he'd be one who might have some actual hard evidence supporting the ridiculous accusations wafting lately from Walker's camp. But no.

Merely describing a fairly straightforward procurement process from beneath the tin-hatted dome of hysterical paranoia doesn't cut it.

Incidentally, Talgo's facility in Milwaukee has already secured another order for two thirteen-car train sets from the Oregon Department of Transportation (combining the purchases saves both States millions).

Ultimately, of course, it doesn't matter who supplies or assembles the rail equipment. Casually whisper the word "train" within earshot of a local conservative Republican and the froth is instantly ankle-deep.

Meanwhile New Flyer Industries (NFI.UN-TSX) of Winnipeg's share value rose by 50% since Walker accepted $25 million in federal cash to purchase more Milwaukee County buses from the Canadian firm.

(Not that there's anything wrong with that, but the Walkerite double standards on full and shameless exhibition are awfully fragrant.)

* The steel fabricator, not the fabricator of risible talking points.

We incite, we report

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel documents public "shock" at inflated parking prices during the NCAA men's basketball tournament, and then it turns out the Journal-Sentinel itself is charging just as much (fifty bucks) as anybody. Journalists also kept a close watch on the doings of a rival parking facility, to see if $75.00 would fly (it didn't).

WisDems take aim at guy who isn't running

24/7/365 campaign cycle broaches Fourth Dimension

Video via Cory Liebmann.

Republicans will say, 'This proves beyond any doubt that Russ Feingold is running scared from Tommy Thompson.' But I don't know about that. Thompson, despite his legendary profile in Wisconsin, is laden with baggage, much of which he's collected since he left the State (literally and figuratively: most significantly, the latter) to saddle up with the fondly remembered G.W. Bush administration.

For example, Secretary of Health and Human Services Thompson was cited by the Union of Concerned Scientists for rejecting a nominee — a Nobel recipient — to a department position because physiologist Torsten Wiesel had signed letters to the editor critical of Bush. (And as conservative Republicans teach nowadays, criticizing the President of the United States, well, that just isn't done in polite society.)

On the other hand it's not completely unreasonable that an individual of Tommy Thompson's entrenched position has long since lost count of how many corporations he's been serving in Washington, D.C.

Wait ... no, that's the same hand.

Feingold has been taunting Thompson ever since the "nonpartisan" (spare me) Wisconsin Policy Research Institute released "polling data" showing Feingold trailing significantly in a hypothetical match-up. WPRI, whose principals are closely connected to Thompson's career and fortunes, could scarcely contain its glee, and issued a statement for which they were "scolded" by UW Prof. Ken Goldstein, the academic-on-contract who'd collected the underlying numbers.

Comes now the result of a Rasmussen tally, showing Thompson and Feingold in a dead heat. Further, adjusting for Rasmussen's demonstrated historical propensity to skew conservative and Republican, that makes Feingold actually a polling favorite to beat not only Thompson, but also Feingold's two current (allegedly) non-hypothetical challengers Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake.

Thompson "hasn't ruled out" — as the saying goes — challenging Feingold so the WisDems campaign isn't so much one of fear but rather simply preparedness. Besides, they've got money to spend (good for the economy) and since neither T. Wall nor D. Westlake are serious candidates, they've got to spend it on something.

March 18, 2010

Kenyan socialist ignores Sundays Excepted Clause

And this is a direct affront to God — Fox "News" Network

Actually the Sundays Excepted Clause (U.S. Const. art. I, § 7, cl. 2) gives the Kenyan socialist a whole extra day to plot against America.

According to James Madison's notes, the Framers worked a lot of Saturdays during the Constitutional Convention, which was presumably a direct affront to Joe Lieberman.

CBO clears way for Limbaugh exile

Dominican Republic nice this time of year

On teh web: DHS seizes boner pill cache

AZ Republican deported to Moose Jaw


Call a podiatrist, Scott Walker's been shot

Then-assemblyman Scott Walker voted for the no-bid provision

Maybe Scott Walker's disciples are impervious, but:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is requesting that assembly of the trains Wisconsin agreed to purchase earlier this month be done at the Super Steel plant in Milwaukee. — 07/29/09

As for the no-bid provision in the Wisconsin statutes, it was fashioned under former Republican governor Tommy Thompson expressly for rail equipment destined for Amtrak service.

And the Doyle administration did do a preliminary evaluation of Talgo's competitors' products. But if they can't meet the engineering specifications required for conformance with an existing rail route, then there's not much point in asking them to submit an estimate.

Besides, Scott Walker buys buses from Canada. With federal stimulus money (which for another Republican, sets up a Caribbean cruise).

It's tough to lose a contract, but that's the invisible hand for ya.

capper with more.

March 17, 2010

RIP Alex Chilton

Soul Deep
Girl After GirlWaltz Across TexasAlligator Man
Jesus Christ

Stupak dismissed the nuns

"When I'm drafting right to life language, I don't call up the nuns." — Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Campo Santo Teutonico)
Why the hell not?

Nuns Backstab Bishops on Health Care

(Headline from a "pro-life" website)

Waterboarding finally pays a dividend

"I have decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation."

Ironic pontiff to celebrate Youth Day

Moral authority "hopelessly inadequate"
"Don't be afraid, dear young people, if the Lord calls you to the religious, monastic or missionary life," the pope said in a message issued ahead of World Youth Day on March 28.

Meanwhile a Brazilian teevee station aired a video showing an 82-year-old prelate having sex with a 19-year-old youth.

Vatican number two Tarcisio Bertone said Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church enjoys "special help from on high."
His Holiness comes under fire
Pupils used to exercise naked
Swiftly defrocked after 30 years
I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter

March 16, 2010

The Federalist Society's Obama nightmare

Remember top Federalist Society law professor Steven Calabresi's terrifying vision of "the mass freeing of criminal defendants" if Barack Obama was elected? Turns out he was exactly right!
As of January 2010, there were 1,403,091 persons under the jurisdiction of prison authorities, 5,739 fewer than on December 31, 2008, the first year-to-year drop in the nation’s prison population since 1972.
Obama let out all the sex predators! Probably the superpredators also! Wait, what? Those figures were collected from State prisons?
In the same period, the population in federal prisons increased by nearly 7 percent.
Oh. Never mind.

Pope's broham was Bobby Knight of the bishopric

Boy soprano recounts undentured servitude
"Ratzinger was extremely choleric and quick-tempered during choir practice," says Thomas Mayer, who was a student at the choir boarding school from 1988 to 1992. "On a number of occasions, I saw him get so angry that he threw a chair into our group of singers." Once Ratzinger flew into such a rage during choir practice "that even his false teeth fell out."

McIlheran indicts lawyers for treason

"They aided the enemy in wartime." — P. McIlheran

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's award-winning calumnist Patrick McIlheran, as usual, swallows whole everything he reads in the Wall Street Journal. So do you think McIlheran has inspected United States District Judge Joyce Hens Green's November 8, 2004 Amended Protective Order and its discussion of "protected information" with respect to the Guantanamo detainees' right to counsel (itself a prior determination of the District Court for the District of Columbia)?

Do you think he might wonder how and why the federal government ultimately "reached a settlement" with the Paul, Weiss attorneys?

Are you kidding? Patrick McIlheran is only a pretend journalist. Would that Reality might have P. McIlheran declared an enemy combatant.

Local paper slices on local angle

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is featuring an above-the-fold (online) report of Tiger Woods's return to golf without once mentioning the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. The item refers to every other major tournament (the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the British Open) except the one right here in Wisconsin.

Herb Kohler would not be pleased.

Crudely drawn penis raises ire at Tea summit

Further to Scoop Liebenthal's report:

Candidate "acted violently," declares former Gableman mandarin

GOPer Dan Mielke's campaign video features a shot — appropriated, he claims, from a "Fruit Films" production — of a vehicle emblazoned with a cartoon erection and the word "cock" scrawled alongside it.

Thomas's Tea outfit supports affirmative action

Anonymous minorities promoted from

"I have a black, I have a woman, two Jews and a cripple."

Republican liar is victimized by press

"[S]adly, the liberal media, intent on defending the ultra-leftist, progressive politicians in Massachusetts, are attacking me for standing up once again for family values and for rejecting this absurd court ruling." — J.D. Hayworth
Nah, you're just a liar.

"Hayworth promotes himself as the Tea Party candidate." — Politico

Naturally. On the other hand, the Massachusetts ruling was based in the State constitution and State law. Hayworth is an Arizona politician challenging John McCain so to the extent that he's seeking a federal overriding of a State court's decision, he's also a hypocrite.

March 15, 2010

Bit late for that, isn't it

Reporters concerned Glenn Beck debases Fox News' credibility

Makes perfect sense to me

"If you get divorced and remarry you can’t take communion," said churchgoer Eva Wankler, "but someone convicted of molesting children can celebrate Mass for the rest of his life."
Pontiff approved transfer of sexually assaultive priest
Pope John Paul II once called Legion of Christ founder the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado "an efficacious guide to youth."
Occasionally not the best judges of character, these popes. In the meantime a disposition on their moral authority might be withheld.

Either that or street smarts simply aren't among the divine gifts.

Hayworth caught lying again

Sure enough, Rachel Maddow this evening challenged Arizona Republican J.D. (for John David, not Juris Doctor) Hayworth on his false claim about a decision of a Massachusetts court. She asked him to — as any reasonable person might — "show me where it says that."

Snared in a metaphorical de-pantsing, the rapidly dissembling Hayworth put it down to "a disagreement," claiming he'd actually "went back and reviewed" the decision.

But insofar as the court purported to "define" marriage at all, what it did say was this:
Marriage ... bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family.
Emphases added. The language on both accounts appears to preclude all manner of hooved ungulate from participating in the ceremony under consideration (although they might well be invited guests).

You can have a disagreement about what the law means, but not about what the words read. And in this case, it doesn't say what Hayworth says it does. He's just lying. For the horses, apparently.

Whither the Recess Supervisor

Last post January 7. This is simply unacceptable.

Man on dog encounters man on horse

Hayworth, J.D. reveals details of equine consent
"You see, the Massachusetts Supreme Court [sic], when it started this move toward same-sex marriage, actually defined marriage — now get this — it defined marriage as simply, 'the establishment of intimacy.'"
To the surprise of nobody, this is false. That is not how the court defined marriage but it did make reference to "consensual adult expressions of intimacy." Among humans, specifically.

Follow the logic: Speaking about having sex with farm animals proceeds from thinking about having sex with farm animals.

Mammal named Primate of All Ireland

Pull the other one, it's got bells on it
Abuse victims' vows of silence no cover up, sez RCC Abp

On teh web: PR team toiled to rebrand Panzerkardinal

Ham and cheese on arugula

Campaign preaches ground beef, dines on prime rib

Republican Senators just like vampires

They don't show up in photographs either

Abuse hotline to curb abuse of abuse hotlines

New fraud complaints would be organically grown

GOP judge will bring legislating to the bench

For Mark Gundrum, 39, the experience that has prepared him, he says, is in writing laws for more than a decade.
Judicial candidates spar

March 14, 2010

View at your own risk

GOP House hopefuls in gay wedding contretemps

Today's WPRI-4

Headline: Thousands drawn to Tea Party
Story: Convention attracted about 2,000 people.

About 2,000 could be 1,999, which is not thousands. If about 200 attended, would the headline say "Hundreds drawn"? Only in sarcasm.

March 13, 2010

Justice Prosser delivers magic words to Tea Party

Conservative state Supreme Court Justices Michael Gableman and David Prosser, a former GOP state lawmaker, also attended.

Prosser, who's up for re-election next year, said the judiciary is under attack in the State from outside influences "spearheaded by ideologues who like activist judges who legislate from the bench."
As opposed to the ideological activists who claim they don't.
Referring to the two most recent state Supreme Court contests,* which were won by Gableman and another conservative, Annette Ziegler, Prosser said those interests "are attempting to nullify two recent [Supreme Court] elections by harassing, defaming and intimidating the winners and trying to force their withdrawal from key cases."

Further, he said, "They’re attempting to gum up future elections with requirements and restrictions that will make it impossible for a candidate to control his or her own campaign."
Good grief. I don't know who's "defaming" Gableman, but perhaps Justice Prosser might recall the facts underlying the Wisconsin Judicial Commission's complaint he'll be hearing on April 16.

The WJC's most recent filing with Justice Prosser's court, of February 10, contains the word "lie" 15 times over the space of 14 pages.

Not that the Tea Party-ers want to be reminded of those embedded elements of defamation in the code of judicial ethics, of course. Particularly with the Tea Party-ing Respondent himself in attendance.

Makes you wonder who it is that's politicizing the court. As for "outside influences," presumably Justice Prosser didn't have in mind the $100K+ that Gableman's political campaign collected from Manhattan, Denver, Arkansas,** Oregon, Florida, and elsewhere.

I have the utmost respect for the courts, for the institution. But if there are to be judicial elections then their participants must set themselves apart from and above the elections to the political branches, as befitting the special integrity of the offices sought. Lamentably, the trend recently is in the opposite direction.

When judges are found to have a constitutional right to lie, something, somewhere along the way, has gone amiss. Not because there's anything wrong with the First Amendment, but because someone has decided to stretch judicial ethics to their outer limit, where yet another judge must be put in the uncomfortable position of delivering the affirmation. Thus do the poor perceptions proliferate.

Anyway, my impression is that Justice Prosser is anticipating a 2011 challenge from Randy Koschnick — whose political presentation makes Prosser look like Ruth Bader Ginsburg — and seized on this Tea Party jamboree as an advance opportunity to out-Koschnick Koschnick.

Game on.

Also, no Tea Party is complete without the obligatory pipefitter:
"I demand less involvement in my personal life," said Defender of the American Dream Joe the Plumber, drawing applause.
Fortunately Joe is biologically incapable of producing an egg.

* Those two most recent before the one most recent, that is.
** Bentonville, AR, where Jimmy Hoffa is said to be interred.

Wisconsin professors face class action lawsuit

Fox News Channel's The Glenn Beck Program, March 12, 2010:
GLENN BECK: And now, what has happened — what's happening now? Stephani, what's happening?

STEPHANI SCRUGGS: I have seen the most amazing ideas come out of people. There's one group that I know of in Wisconsin that investigated the professors in Wisconsin to see if they contributed to climate-gate. Found that they did, and now, they're filing a class action lawsuit because public money was used. I wouldn't have thought of that.

BECK: Oh, that is great.

SCRUGGS: Isn't that awesome?
Stephani Scruggs, who is described as the national co-chair of Beck's "$9.12 project," didn't offer any further details, but the group in Wisconsin is most likely the MacGyver Institute, a "think tank."

Even more likely is that Beck's reportage is a load of bollocks. He couldn't have been all that serious, because he wasn't waving a Nazi swastika or a hammer and sickle around during the interview.

In any event, a civil complaint alleging that the professors in Wisconsin used public money to contribute to "climate-gate" would be mighty frivol ... I mean, mighty entertaining indeed.

Please don't spoil the fun: Just say no to tort reform!

March 12, 2010

Nonresponsible infallibleness

Ratzinger found a loophole. "H" went on to molest another child.
A priest accused of molesting boys was given therapy in 1980 and later allowed to resume pastoral duties, before committing further abuses and being prosecuted. Pope Benedict, who at the time headed the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, approved the priest's transfer for therapy. A Vatican spokesman said he had no comment beyond the statement by the Archdiocese, which he said showed the "nonresponsibility" of the pope in the matter.
NYTNew accusations surfacing almost daily

Always good to remember

There is a constitutional right to satire.

"It's gold, Jerry. Gold!"

Wisconsin politics comment of the day

Wisconsin voters cast ballots on appearance of the candidate. We want a governor that looks like a guy representing 5 million people not smart enough to move to a warmer climate. We want a guy that looks kind of like us only not too bright. Doyle, Thompson, Dreyfus, remember Knowles? They all have that one unique look, the look of a crossing guard. For Senator, we want a guy that looks smart, with all the college people in Washington. We want other Senators to know we're not a bunch of backward people spending weekends hunting Big Foot. It doesn't matter if the candidate could lose a debate to a worm, as long as he looks intelligent and can use the word ambiguous in a sentence, he gets elected. We all knew what was going to happen when Tommy went to Washington. Even with the appearance make-over for HHS, he didn't cut it with the high polished GOP pedigrees and was sent packing. Yes, even with the stately haircut and frame-less half-glasses, the picture of him at the swearing in ceremony looked like he should be holding a pitchfork.
Thom Carr.

Feingold on that WPRI polling "fiasco"

"As has been widely reported, WPRI is a group with strong Republican ties, most prominently to Tommy Thompson. As the Associated Press reported last week there have been serious questions about WPRI manipulating polling results so the media and voters should think twice about the credibility of WPRI's polling." — Feingold spokesman Trevor Miller
Veteran Wisconsin poll watcher Bill Christofferson notes that another Republican hopeful appears to be trending rapidly toward complete obscurity since daring to question the age of the Earth:
Bad news for Terrence Wall. In a recent Rasmussen poll, GOP Senate candidate Terrence Wall had 69% name recognition. But in the WPRI poll it had slipped to 18%. Do you think maybe someone's numbers are a little off?
xoff: We Prop up Republican Ideologues

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Political Science disavowed its relationship with WPRI in early February.

Founding father regrets Parisian vacation

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among the conservatives on the board because he coined the term "separation between church and state."*)

* More contemptible, he attempted to rescue the humanist, ethical message of Christ from its supernatural New Testament trappings.

Justice Prosser is first to court Tea Party vote

While Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Randy Koschnick "is contemplating running again in the spring 2011 election" (according to United States District Judge Barbara Crabb), Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, that spring 2011 incumbent, will break biscuits with the Americans For Prosperi-Tea crowd in Wisconsin Dells tomorrow. Other AFP luminaries include Joe the Plumber and special journalistic honoree, the local calumnist Patrick McIlheran.

Karl Rove is proud of waterboarding

Easy for him to say. He wouldn't even answer a subpoena.

Legalities Aside, with your host P. McIlheran

Just in time for his Teabag Pulitzer, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's incisive political columnist Patrick McIlheran reviews a decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and ponders how the court's unanimous reasoning would have applied to other cases:
Vermont, presumably, would be perfectly free to draw and quarter anyone not properly recycling, since cruel and unusual punishments would be available to states without hindrance.*
The Bill of Rights contains many separate provisions (MA's was a Second Amendment ruling), but it's funny because the Massachusetts court on Wednesday gave precisely that example, as if to anticipate McIlheran's award winning cluelessness:
See, e.g., Louisiana ex rel. Francis v. Resweber,** 329 U.S. 459, 463 (1947) (humane tradition of Anglo-American law requires incorporation of Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment under Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause) . . .
Sometimes you just want to feel sorry for the poor sod.

* Despite McIlheran's comical incredulity, this is consistent with the view of Chief Justice John Marshall, who was actually around in 1791.

** A better e.g.

March 11, 2010

God less than 50% sacred, Ninth Circuit rules

It's those crazy San Francisco liberals again!
In 2002, Congress' purpose in reaffirming the Pledge by enacting 4 U.S.C. § 4 was predominantly secular. The phrase "under God," when read in context with the whole of the Pledge, has the predominant purpose and effect of adding a solemn and inspiring note to what should be a solemn and inspiring promise — a promise of allegiance to our Republic.
Who ever heard of a predominantly secular God?

We Push Republican Ideas

"Nonpartisan" WPRI. Here's your invitation:*
Republican Ideas, like school choice, which didn't look as good in the last poll as the numbers WPRI decided to emphasize made it appear.
WPRI's concerns were hardly "nonpartisan":
I'm not concerned about journalists. I'm concerned about the Scott Ross types who would enjoy being able to portray WPRI's own data as showing lack of support for choice [which it did]. I know it's a pain in the ass but I’ve been burned a couple of times** and I don't need to be the one holding the gas can.
— WPRI president George Lightbourn
"Holding the gas can" is an odd metaphor for "honestly presenting a consistent array of results drawn from comparable samples." One might suspect it would have been less enjoyable to point out that WPRI's position on vouchers finds weak support Statewide than to have revealed Mr. Lightbourn's fearful partisan shenanigans.

* Includes bonus Gableman sighting.

** "You know what burns my ass?" "What?" "A flame about this high."

Unfortunate rationalization of the week

"There’s always someone out there willing to kick up dust over nothing," said pig roast organizer Rick Gorelitza.

None of them just look at him like he's nuts?

Then there's Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who styles himself as an accomplished practical joker. A classic Nelson gag: asking incoming senators just before their swearing-in ceremony which Bible verses they'll read at the ceremony and watching them blanch at their unpreparedness. (There's no such requirement, you see.) During such lighthearted moments, the senator likes to show his hand with a hearty "Gotcha!," says Nelson's communications director, Jake Thompson.
Those incorrigible zanies!

Ben Nelson's wacky jape might be put to better purpose: Anybody who thought even for a moment that they were required to recite a Bible verse to become a U.S. Senator would be immediately disqualified.

Chief exorcist validates Protestant Reformation

"The Devil is at work inside the Vatican."

h/t J. Faust.

March 10, 2010

Suffer the little children

Has this guy ever read the New Testament?

David Blaska funnies

In which a WPRI arch-partisan gets a little defensive:
David Blaska:
WPRI is not a "partisan" organization. It is conservative. And if that is wrong then how do you countenance the Havens Institute of the Rural Sociology Department?

Kyle Nabilcy:
Since there are probably more than four people reading this exchange, can I officially ask:

What the hell is the "Havens Institute of the Rural Sociology Department"? Since it seems that the department to which Blaska refers has been renamed the Community and Environmental Sociology Department, I can only assume that the "Havens" reference is equally out of date. I can't find any reference to such an entity on The Google.

David Blaska:
I'm sorry, it is the Dept. of Sociology (not rural) Havens Center.

Kyle Nabilcy:
Ah. Let's see here...

The A. E. Havens Center for the Study of Social Structure and Social Change is dedicated to promoting critical intellectual reflection and exchange.

Yeah, that sounds pretty unique to the left-wing. Good call, Dave!
The Daily Page

Incidentally the inspired scribblings of none other than the same David Blaska are featured currently at attempting to show how "on the crime issue, you can always count on liberals getting it wrong" by disingenuously caricaturing such "liberal arguments" as, "Don't trust the pigs." Mr. Blaska is described sardonically therein as "a former Democrat." Nope, ain't no partisans here, Nosiree Bub!

Prelate questions motives of victims' group

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki said he refused to meet with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests because SNAP has "politicized" the discussion of clergy sex abuse. "I'm concerned with the healing," he said. "And I'm not too sure the issues brought forth by SNAP are about healing."
There's no mention of the obvious follow-up inquiries:

According to what calculus does Abp. Listecki go about determining that "politicizing" — whatever that's supposed to mean — is not itself part of the healing process for victims of clergy sexual abuse?

Are those victims not entitled to some deference, some benefit of the doubt, when it comes to healing the wounds inflicted through and by the institution for which Listecki is now a top representative?

If it's anger pursuant to their profound sense of betrayal by the institution that leads them toward broader "political" concerns, then I would reckon they're allowed to harbor a certain measure of it.

If the JSOnline reader comments are any indication, Mr. Listecki isn't eliciting much sympathy for his own position. Which is not surprising.

Chief Justice troubled by checks and balances

[The President] shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union ...
"The image of having the members of one branch of government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering while the Court — according to the requirements of protocol — has to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling," John Roberts said.
And of the image of five unaccountable, life-tenured judges reversing decades of precedent and public policy promulgated by the elective branches aimed at maintaining some semblance of a level playing field for political participation among U.S. citizens, what.

Similar acts are usually what the Robertsonians are troubled about.

"The question whether the judges are invested with exclusive authority to decide on the constitutionality of a law has been heretofore a subject of consideration with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly there is not a word in the Constitution which has given that power to them more than to the Executive or Legislative branches." — Jefferson reacts to Marbury v. Madison

World's greediest prayer

Preacher beseeches Jesus for billions in media assets

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. — Matthew 6:6

Not like the hypocrites and the pious frauds, He goes on to say.

March 9, 2010

Slappy Ratzinger

Builds character, improves technique
The pope's brother said a slap in the face was the easiest reaction to a failure to perform or a poor performance after he took over a renowned German boys' choir in the 1960s. How hard it was varied greatly, depending on who administered it.
Please, Father, my voice is changing, I can't contr ... *thwack*

Sometimes I wonder: Is the clergy an effective intermediary between other humans and their God, or are they more of a hindrance?

Regarding pedophile priests and corrupt bishops — AP
Sexual lust, naked beatings, red wine, suicideDer Spiegel

Bizarro World Fox News host sign-off

"America ... I have wasted an hour of your time." — Glenn Beck

Shave and a haircut, two twits

GOP candidates trade barbs over extravagant depilatories

I always laughed at this. Does that make me a terrible person?

And more conservative think tank "fiasco"

Pollster dot com:
If nothing else, this episode demonstrates the increasing difficulty consumers of polling data have in identifying potential conflicts in the sponsorship and funding of public polling. Simply identifying polls sponsored by a political campaign or political action committee or conducted by a campaign pollster — something we try to do on — is obviously not enough.
Earlier: Think tank hook-up a "fiasco" for UW-Madison

The Associated Press's account is chock full of various Wisconsin political tidbits, yet at the moment the only place one might read it in its entirety is at a Boston television station's website, which is where Pollster's commentary links as well. The Wisconsin State Journal in Madison chopped the AP's 27 paragraphs down to four.

More Holocaust denial denial

Writes the publisher of the Badger Herald (not in the Badger Herald but at Madison's alternative entertainment weekly, Isthmus):
The [Badger Herald] decided to run the $75 ad for one month on its website because it trusted that people on campus and throughout the community would be able to see through its lies. (Initially the ad slipped online without being noticed as a potential problem by ad staff, but was scrutinized shortly thereafter through a process with a board of nine students.)
So, which is it?

The Badger Herald's readers are informed on the one hand that the paper decided to publicize the Holocaust denier's website beneath the header "Advertising" because its staffers didn't even know what it contained and then on the other hand subjected to a purportedly noble homily about free speech and "trusting the people."

What seems far more likely is that "trusting the people" and the rest of it was an ex post facto rationalization cobbled together after having entered into an ill-advised — unwitting, in fact — commercial contract with the Holocaust denier, who clearly won the upper hand.

Admitting to a dreadful business decision can't be that difficult.