ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Saturday Morning Reading

Some key items that everyone should check out.

Terrorist in our Midst
Terrorist (or Pilot Enthusiast?) arrested (and held without bond) in Memphis, TN. *Memphis....mmmm, Rendevous ribs....* Oh, and did I forget to mention illegal alien from Egypt? Check out Michelle Malkin as well.

Elections in Afghanistan & Germany
Meanwhile Afghanis and Germans head to the polls. Gateway Pundit & Afgahn Lord are covering Afghanistan. From what I've seen, the ballot is extremely complicatd (several thousand candidates) and they're distributing ballots to the more remote regions of Afghanistan via donkey. Needless to say, if things go well, you're unlikely to hear about it, so as usual, look to the net for news.

With regard to the German election, it seems that Schroeder's SDP is still languishing in the 30s and can only beat a CDU/FDP coalition with a left-wing coalition of the SDP, Green, and the Left Party (which is a bunch of former commies). Only after these 3 parties are put together does Schroeder come close to Merkel's CDU/FDP percentage of the vote. The media seems to be pushing for a grand coalition government (with the SDP and the CDU sharing power), but this is just idiotic. Here's a telling quote from Schroeder:

He urged supporters of his left-of-center Social Democratic Party to bring out any undecided voters they know.

"Think about bringing grandma and grandpa with you _ but only if they're going to vote for the SPD," he said.

As I've said here and here, I think Schroeder and his SDP are toast and this clearly is the statement of someone who is desperate. With 11.5% unemployment, the industrious Germans surely want a change and even more leftist policies isn't likely to intice them. If they do pull out an upset, it will only be because they're including the most extreme elements of German politics in their government. BTW, the FDP is similar to the Lib Dems in the UK (centrist party between the CDU and the SDP), so a coalition government between Merkel's Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats would mean a slightly right of center party.

SUV's and the Sierra Club
It seems that the Sierra Club believes in personal choice regarding SUVs, just as long as you're a member of the Sierra Club or at least some left-wing lunatic who used to be a right-wing lunatic.

Hurrican Katrina
Rush Limbaugh pointed out on Friday that Mary Landreuaauix (D-LA) knows how to get buses going within 45 minutes to get people where they need to be... just as long as it's election day. It's a shame the the Democratic pols who were "leading" the city in preparation for the hurrican didn't put those skills to work. If only Sunday, August 28th was an election day, many lives might have been saved.

The United Nations
And last, but certainly not least, Mark Steyn takes a look at the UN in all its glory.
Possibly they carelessly assumed it was just the usual nickel’n’dime UN corruption — like the child-sex rings and drug cartels that operate out of pretty well every peacekeeping operation. But the point is, while it may have happened on Kofi’s watch, he wasn’t watching, so that’s OK. Like OJ promising to hunt down the real killers, Mr Annan and Mme Frechette are committed to staying in their jobs and redoubling their efforts to spearhead the reforms the UN vitally needs. As the media ‘talking points’ distributed by the secretary-general to his underlings put it, ‘It is time to focus on the important reform agenda’ because ‘the inquiry’s findings underscore the vital importance of proposed management reforms’. And if we say ‘vital’ and ‘focus’ and ‘underscore’ often enough, this whole thing will fade away and it will be back to business as usual.

I, too, am in favour of Kofi Annan staying on, not just till his term expires in December 2006, but for five, ten years after that, if he wishes. If I was as eager for UN ‘reform’ as its supporters claim to be, I’d toss Kofi to the sharks and get some new broom in to sweep clean. But if, as I do, you believe 90 per cent of UN ‘reforms’ are likely to be either meaningless or actively harmful, a discredited and damaged secretary-general clinging to office is as good as it’s likely to get — short of promoting Didier Bourguet, the UN staffer in Congo and the Central African Republic charged with running a paedophile ring. A UN that refuses to hold Kofi Annan to account will be harder to pass off as a UN that represents the world’s ‘moral authority’, in Clare Short’s blissfully surreal characterisation.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Friday, September 16, 2005

A Poke at the Public Eye

Jay Rosen has an excellent post at PressThink. It's an open letter to CBS regarding the launch of their new weblog thingy, the Public Eye. Frankly, I think they are still too self-centered to understand the power of the net and the blogosphere.

On January 10th of this year I suggested at my blog that CBS News “could publish on the Internet (as transcript and video) the full interviews from which each segment that airs is made. All interviews, every frame. Even the interviews that were not used.” The Web makes it doable and it would help with transparency, I said.

Six months later Larry Kramer told CJR Daily: “We’re going to be offering up what used to be considered just work product… there’s no reason we can’t allow our users to see the whole thirty-minute interview if they want.” The Web makes it possible and it would help with transparency, he said.

See how we complement each other?

Transparency Will Change You

“If you’re looking for a journalism professor to render absolute verdicts, this probably isn’t the place to be,” Vaughn wrote in his first post at Public Eye. Well, I’m a journalism professor, and here is my verdict: Transparency will absolutely change you, and it already has. If you don’t change with it, you will lose.

We sometimes forget that the sad events at CBS News a year ago began with an act of transparency. After broadcasting its report (called “For the Record”) Sixty Minutes put the Killian Memos on the Net. That’s how the whole thing started.

People of CBS News, the Net knows more than you. The chances are fairly high that a given producer at CBS would not know enough southern history to grasp what Senator Trent Lott was actually saying when he praised Strom Thurmond’s 1948 campaign for president. The chances of the blogosphere not knowing this background are zero.

“The sheer number of blogs, and the speed of response, make errors hard to sustain for very long,” writes Andrew Sullivan. “The collective mind is also a corrective mind.”

Now we are met in happier circumstances, launch week for Public Eye. Instead of an ombudsman, a weblog and staff to create a dialogue that acts like an ombudsman. Good idea. It worked well here, narrowing the differences between the National Review’s media blogger, Stephen Spruiell, and CBS News.

It didn’t work so well here. Tuesday, the CBS Evening News ended with an heart-warmer (a guy who loves ducks.) Public Eye jumps in with a question: “With such an overwhelming amount of news about Hurricane Katrina—most of it depressing—when and how does a broadcast decide that it’s time to include something unrelated and upbeat?” Listen to the answers Hillary Profita got:
PE spoke with Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, senior broadcast producer for the “Evening News,” about how the decision to include Blackstone’s piece came about.

“It is two weeks plus after the hurricane,” said Ciprian-Matthews, “and we felt like it was the right time to do something else. That kind of feature was uplifting and didn’t detract from hurricane coverage and it just felt like the right time to do that.
I think the inclusion of the work product that is used to develop the final piece is encouraging. But their answer to the question about "Why do this story now?" just shows how the MSM can frame a story to influence its viewers. They say there is no bias, but after 2+ weeks of doom & gloom and scorn surrounding hurricane Katrina, they decide to put a puff piece on... These editorial decisions have an impact - and it is difficult for those editorial decisions to be unbiased.

Now, if they would just admit it and increase the transparency, not only of the background used to produce the stories, but in their editorial decisions as well... Transparency is the key. I mean, everyone who visits this blog knows that we're part of the vast, Rovian cabal... we don't hide that fact - why hide something that you're proud of?

;-)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

"End the Military Occupation of New Orleans!" says Cindy Sheehan

Drudge has posted a blurb that LGF (Little Green Footballs) has a quote from the irrepresible Cindy that the US should get out of New Orleans. How perfect is that? It has created such a stir that LGF has overloaded and I can't get on. You are just going to have to find your own way over there where then traffic jam clears.

God bless the Lefty Moonbats, what would I write about without them?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

The Cause de Jour - MoveOn.Org

The Cause de Jour - MoveOn.Org (Oooops, used a French term, sorry.)

Well, they're on to the next cause. Don Quixote had nothing on these guys. So many windmills, so little time.

We Need a Katrina Commission

Senators, including moderate Republicans, are deciding whether they support a Katrina Commission modeled after the 9/11 Commission this week. We need a really big number of people to stand up and show support for the Katrina Commission. President Bush will address the nation about Hurricane Katrina on Thursday. We'll start delivering the petitions to Congress starting Friday morning so senators and representatives will hear what you think the very next day.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

The "Vision" Thing breaks through in the Bayou

First, a little business... The Architect has asked me to pass these around. Now, back to our regularly scheduled post. ;-)

Wow.... As Dick Morris said on Fox last night, this reconstruction effort could be Bush/Rove's Meisterspiel. It could seriously damage the Dems' chance of ever carrying a southern State again... and, if it goes successfully, other cities and regions in the country might ask, "Why not implement similar measures in our jurisdiction?" Again, the devil is in the details... and if the program does not align itself with Bush's ownership society principles or "compassionate conservatism," there'll be no difference between the effectiveness of the Katrina Relife, the WPA, and the War on Poverty - it'll be a boondoggle. Even Paul Krugman has concerns about turning over all this federal funding to the State & Local pols on the Gulf Coast. Of course, Krugman's "concerned" every @#$^ing day and, as a prime example of someone suffering from B.D.S, he'd be against anything Bush proposed.

But read this text of an interview with a hurrican victim in Houston from ABC.. H/T Ace of Spades. (If you'd like to see a snippet of video, go to Newsbusters.)

eynolds elicited reaction from the group sitting in chairs: “I'd like to get the reaction of Connie London who spent several horrible hours at the Superdome. You heard the President say retpeaedly that you are not alone, that the country stands beside you. Do you believe him?”

Connie London: “Yeah, I believe him, because here in Texas, they have truly been good to us. I mean-”

Reynolds: “Did you get a sense of hope that you could return to your home one day in New Orleans?”

London: “Yes, I did. I did.”

Reynolds: “Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?”

London: “No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in. They should have been on their jobs.”

Reynolds: “And they weren't?”

London: “No, no, no, no. Lord, they wasn't. I mean, they had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people.”

Reynolds: “Now, Mary, you were rescued from your house which was basically submerged in your neighborhood. Did you hear something in the President's words that you could glean some hope from?”

Mary: “Yes. He said we're coming back, and I believe we're coming back. He's going to build the city up. I believe that.”

Reynolds: “You believe you'll be able to return to your home?”

Mary: “Yes, I do.”

Reynolds: “Why?”

Mary: “Because I really believe what he said. I believe. I got faith.”

Reynolds: “Back here in the corner, we've got Brenda Marshall, right?”

Brenda Marshall: “Yes.”

Reynolds: “Now, Brenda, you were, spent, what, several days at the Superdome, correct?”

Marshall: “Yes, I did.”

Reynolds: “What did you think of what the President told you tonight?”

Marshall: “Well, I think -- I think the speech was wonderful, you know, him specifying that we will return back and that we will have like mobile homes, you know, rent or whatever. I was listening to that pretty good. But I think it was a well fine speech.”

Reynolds: “Was there any particular part of it that stood out in your mind? I mean, I saw you all nod when he said the Crescent City is going to come back one day.”

Marshall: “Well, I think I was more excited about what he said. That's probably why I nodded.”

Reynolds: “Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?”

Marshall: “No, I didn't.”


Reynolds: “Good. Well, very little skepticism here. Frederick Gould, did you hear something that you could hang on to tonight from the President?”

Frederick Gould: “Well, I just know, you know, he said good things to me, you know, what he said, you know. I was just trying to listen to everything they were saying, you know.”

Reynolds: “And Cecilia, did you feel that the President was sincere tonight?”

Cecilia: “Yes, he was.”

Reynolds: “Do you think this is a little too late, or do you think he's got a handle on the situation?”

Cecilia: “To me it was a little too late. It was too late, but he should have did something more about it.”

Reynolds: “Now do you all believe that you will one day return to your homes?”
Voices: “Yes” and “I do.”

Reynolds: “I mean, do you all want to return to your homes? We're hearing some people don't even want to go back.”

Mary: “I want to go back.”

Reynolds: “You want to go back.”

Mary: “I want to go back. That's my home. That's all I know.”

Reynolds: “Is it your home for your whole life?”

Mary: “Right. That's my home.”

Reynolds: “And do you expect to go back to the house or a brand new dwelling or what?”

Mary: “I expect to go back to something. I know it ain't my house, because it's gone.”

Reynolds: “What is the one mistake that could have been prevented that would have made your lives much better? Is it simply getting all of you out much sooner or what was it?”

Mary: “I'm going to tell you the truth. I had the opportunity to get out, but I didn't believe it. So I stayed there till it was too late.”


Reynolds: “Did you all have the same feeling? I mean, did you all have the opportunity to get out, but you were skeptical that this was the really bad one?”

Unnamed woman: “No, I got out when they said evacuate. I got out that Sunday and I left before the storm came. But I know they could have did better than what they did because like they said, buses were just sitting there, and they could have came through there and got people out, because they were saying immediate evacuation. Some people didn't believe it. But they should have brung the force of the army through to help these people and make them understand it really was coming.”

London: “And really it wasn't Hurricane Katrina that really tore up the city. It was when they opened the floodgates. It was not the hurricane itself. It was the floodgates, when they opened the floodgates, that's where all the water came.”

Reynolds: “Do you blame anybody for this?”

London: “Yes. I mean, they've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do.”

Reynolds: “All right. Well, thank you all very much. I wish you all the best of luck. I hope you don't have to spend too much more time here in the Reliant Center and you can get back to New Orleans as the President said. Ted, that is the word from the Houston Astrodome. And as I said, when the President said that the Crescent City will rise again, there were nods all around this parking lot.”

Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson complains on TV that the federal funds won't be going to the right people, despite Bush's promise that state & local officials with lead the rebuilding effort (and that they should rely on local businesses and entrepreneus for the work). One wonders whether Jesse is just upset that the federal money isn't going to "community action groups" such as this. If the Katrina effort truly does improve the socioeconomic position of the poor in the Gulf Coast through principles of ownership and entrepreneurship, this is a direct assault on the future of Jesse Jackson's racket.

Oh, and for more insightful commentary on Bush's performance last night, check out this example of Bush Derangement Syndrome. (If Clinton had given out an 800 number, we'd be talking today about how brilliant and compassionate he was...)

*** See Ace, Wizbang, Newsbusters, and PoliPundit

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Signs that you're suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome

You hear the President give a laundry list of initiatives to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, from $5k to each individual for job training to free travel to return to your home to a new reconstruction effort that will be the largest in the country's history - All with an estimated pricetag of $200 billion. Not since the New Deal has such federal largesse been committed to a project.

If you're a liberal and you're against this plan, you are clearly suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. If Bill Clinton gave that speech on Thursday, it would've been hailed as one of the greatest momnents in US political history. Admit it... It wasn't the message or the policy that you didn't like - it was the messenger.

As a fiscal conservative, I shudder at the corruption and waste that is likely to accompany this project. However, it is a worthy effort, as long as it provides a hand up and not a hand out - giving the poor and disaffected a foundation upon which they can build and participate in the new American century. Let's hope that entreprenuership and private enterprise take this opportunity to revitalize the region. Let's hope that the most corrupt State in the Union does something correctly for a change. Given the state & local performance in the face of the crisis, I'm not confident.

By the way, MSNBC cut to Rita Cosby in one of the hardest hit sections of New Orleans. She turns to a sheriff and asks him (and I quote) "What was the most disappointing thing you heard from the President tonight?"

Nah... that's not a slanted question.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Boss is at It Again!

From our good friend at the Democratic Underground:

NY Times: Karl Rove in charge of Katrina Reconstruction Effort
Posted by WillYourVoteBCounted
Added to homepage Thu Sep 15th 2005, 03:49 PM ET

Who's in Charge? Karl Rove!
By Dan Froomkin

All you really need to know about the White House's post-Katrina strategy -- and Bush's carefully choreographed address on national television tonight -- is this little tidbit from the ninth paragraph of Elisabeth Bumiller and Richard W. Stevenson's story in the New York Times this morning:

"Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort."

Gee, it just as well might be Satan running the show! Sheesh...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Senator Tom Coburn for President!!!

He just ripped one of the public witnesses a new one! Susan Thistlewaite from Chicago Theological Seminary had a huge pin stuck in her pomposity. What a great job by the junior Senator from Oklahoma.

The witness had been extremely shrill in her choice of words, while moderated in her tone, as she said Judge Roberts did not share the American Dream (her interpretation of it of course, but not said).

Coburn pointed out to her in kindly but tough terms, such comments are in themselves un-Christian. She had pretended to judge the nature of Robert's heart, a thing Jesus specifically told believers not to do. He said he was stunned at the testimony. He said it all in the gentlest fashion, like Jesus telling someone to go and sin no more.

Her response was so weak as to be pitiable. She knew that the senator had her right where she lived. Oh the shame of the hypcrite!

The guy was great.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Schroeder's SPD is Toast, Part II

Well, it looks like the CDU/CSU might be losing steam, although the numbers still point to a significant defeat for Herr Schroeder. My Part I of "Schroeder's SPD is Toast" post is here. Whoever wrote this news story provides a typical leftist perspective. Oh, wait... source is Agence France Presse. (Of Course!):

Merkel gathers advisors to salvage German election campaign
Wed Sep 14, 8:24 AM ET

BERLIN (AFP) - German opposition challenger Angela Merkel huddled with her closest advisors in a bid to get her election campaign back on track against a resurgent Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

After holding a clear advantage for much of the election campaign, Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats have seen their lead slashed in half by Schroeder's Social Democrats with just four days to go until Sunday's voting.

Merkel now risks seeing her hopes of forming a coalition with her preferred partners, the Free Democrats, evaporate.

In a campaign dominated by the economy and tax, Schroeder has apparently succeeded in scaring undecided voters away from the Christian Democrats by homing in on controversial proposals for a 25 percent flat tax rate made by Merkel's shadow finance minister Paul Kirchhof.

Merkel's meeting with her campaign team was expected to focus on calls for her to replace Kirchhof, a former constitutional judge.
[...]

Interesting that any flat tax proposal, along with any general cut in tax rates, is always tagged with the qualifier "controversial."
A poll released on Tuesday showed the Christian Democrats' support holding steady at 42 percent but gave the Social Democrats (SPD) 33.5 percent, confirming that Schroeder has made a lasting dent in his challenger's lead.
I suppose that if you start in the cellar, any improvement will be seen as a great climb up the ladder. Going from 18% down to just 9% down is an improvement, but he still has a long way to go to be able to create his coalition of the Leftists and form a government over the CDU.
But the Emnid poll for N24 television also predicted that Merkel's chosen coalition would score the same 48.5 percent as an alliance of Schroeder's Social Democrats, their current partners the Greens and the Left Party, an amalgamation of former communists and disgruntled Social Democrats.
Good to know that the commies are still a strong constituency 16 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall!!

However, all three parties are currently ruling out such a coalition.

Merkel told a rally in Stralsund in the former East Germany on Tuesday that only her chosen coalition could bring a political upheaval and reduce the country's stubbornly high unemployment rate of 11.4 percent.

"We urgently need a political change in Germany. You will only get that change with the CDU/CSU and the FDP," Merkel said in a feisty speech.

Schroeder himself told a rally in Potsdam outside Berlin late Tuesday to ignore the opinion polls which showed he was still up to nine points behind.

"It is not they who will decide, but we when we go to the polls on Sunday," Schroeder said to applause from the crowd of 9,000.

Neither leader mentioned the possibility that the election will produce an unwieldy grand coalition of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, with Merkel at the helm of what could be a deadlocked government and Schroeder in political retirement.

In my recent travels abroad, I had the chance to discuss this election with someone who will be voting in it... and let me tell you, the Germans have had enough of Schroeder and it's unlikely that he'll pull this one out, despite all of the hopes & dreams of journalists in Europe and around the world.

test
Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
showing his soft and cuddly side
as he gives a speech about the Fatherland


***UPDATE***
And Hugo Schwyzer, (read his bio!) provides some interesting insight into the race:
[...]
The gender dimensions to the election are interesting. The conservative candidate is Angela Merkel, 51, from the once-Communist east. She's a physicist, married to a chemist, and she has never had children. As the LA Times describes her:

Merkel's ascent met with sexist attitudes, bringing scrutiny to her fashion sense as well as her politics in a nation where only 7% of top managers in major companies are women. She wears off-the-rack dresses; her hairstyle (blunt bangs) and lipstick (muted) became the stuff of tabloid fascination. The conservative Die Welt called her frumpy and suggested a makeover.

On the other hand, Gerhard Schroeder, the incumbent Social Democrat and, to my mind, a thoroughly decent and moderately leftish figure, is (like your scribe here) married to his fourth wife. As Fred Vincy relates, Schroeder's wife has attacked Merkel for being a childless woman. Fred links to this Yahoo news story:

Doris Schroeder-Koepf, 42... said (Merkel's) career path had left her out of touch with the daily experience of most German women.

"Merkel's biography does not embody the experience of most women," Schroeder-Koepf, a former journalist, told Die Zeit. "They are concerned with how they can have a family and a job, whether they should stay home for a few years after the birth, or how they can best raise their children."

Merkel has refused to be drawn into the issue, stating only that her lack of children was not a conscious decision.


Sigh. What's a good left-wing profeminist to do when the fourth wife (twenty years younger than her husband) of the progressive incumbent smears the thoroughly admirable lifestyle of the educated, childless, yet conservative candidate? While I have no desire to see Merkel win the election and move Germany towards a more pro-U.S. foreign policy and free-market economy, I'm so appalled at Schroeder-Koepf's remarks that I'm half-pulling for a Merkel victory.

I am aware, however, of how impossible it would be for a childless physicist in her fifties to ever be nominated for president by the Republican party in this country. Childlessness is, I think, still an unforgivable flaw in conservative women candidates for American higher office. Then again, Condi Rice may prove me wrong in 2008.

Yes, what is a profeminist to do? Stick to one's principles?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Understanding Judicial Ethics... Not!

I was just coming back from getting a haircut, both of them, when I hear the top of the hour news on FOX Radio.

Talk about disillusioning.

What does the news reader say?

(Paraphrasing) Judge Roberts continues to refuse to provide answers to Senators' questions. This is followed by a sound bite of Biden asking if the American public didn't have a right to know what a prospective judge thought about the critical issues of the day. There was no bite of Roberts' response.

This was on FOX!

The only conclusion you could draw was that Roberts was refusing arbitrarily to answer question to which American had a "right" to an answer.

As said in Full Metal Jacket, "Great God and Sweet Sonny Jesus... what is you major malfunction... did your mother have any children that lived?"

For the last time, NO THE PUBLIC DOES NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW HOW A JUDGE WOULD RULE IN ADVANCE.

Pass the valium

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Signs that the Dems have lost their way on Roberts

They can't even convince the St Louis Post-Dispatch that Roberts is a rabid right-winger. Sure, the Post gets in a low blow or two in this editorial, but it saves its biggest criticism for the ineffectual and impolite Senators with a D after their name.

U.S. SUPREME COURT: John G. Roberts Jr. as the anti-Bork
09/14/2005

JUDGE JOHN G. ROBERTS JR. all but clinched his confirmation as the nation's 17th chief justice on Tuesday with spare, lawyerly, mainstream answers about the role of the Supreme Court. Judge Roberts' cool demeanor, leavened with humor, contrasted sharply with the impolitic badgering of some Democratic critics on the Senate Judiciary Committee considering his nomination.
[...]
The most combative exchanges came between Judge Roberts and Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Joseph Biden, D-Del. Both challenged Judge Roberts to explain memos he wrote during the Reagan administration advocating a stingy view of civil rights laws.

The Democratic senators scored points on substance but did so in such a self-righteous and exasperating way that few spectators likely noticed.

At one point, the committee's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., reproached Sen. Biden for cutting off Judge Roberts after the senator told Judge Roberts that he could "go ahead and continue not to answer."

Although Sen. Biden was rude and ineffectual, he had a point. As a young Reagan administration lawyer, Judge Roberts had written that courts should not give "heightened" scrutiny to laws discriminating against women. Judge Roberts claimed Tuesday that the word "heightened" in his memo had been misunderstood and that he actually thinks courts should give closer scrutiny to gender discrimination. The answer was unpersuasive.

Later, Judge Roberts said his narrow view of the reach of federal anti-discrimination laws at colleges merely reflected Reagan administration policy. When Sen. Biden pointed out that he had written he had "strongly" favored that narrow interpretation, Judge Roberts admitted he did think the Reagan approach was correct. Later still, Judge Roberts couldn't think of a single civil rights position he had taken as a young lawyer that he now realized was wrong.
[...]
Judge Roberts entered the hearings with everyone agreeing he is a brilliant lawyer and effective Supreme Court advocate. On Tuesday, he came across as a pleasant anti-Bork. That should be enough to win him the center seat on the Supreme Court bench.

I would say that the Post-Dispatch would have difficulty explaining to its readers the difference between "heightened scrutiny" and "closer scrutiny" regarding gender discrimination, so I'm not sure their claim that Roberts' answer was "unpersuasive" is... well... persuasive.

And, surprise, surprise... Roberts hasn't become a race- or gender-obsessed judge since working in the Reagan administration, preferring that the law treat all of us not on the basis of race or gender, but as equal citizens.

Well, congrats to the new Chief Justice... I think both the Left and the Right are unsure as to how he'll rule on any given issue. I don't think he's going to be a justice in the mold of Thomas or Scalia, so Bush has let the Right down in that regard. But, he's not the boogeyman that the Left is trying to make him out to be. Unfortunately for the Left, they haven't kept their powder dry during the Bush presidency and almost anything they proffer is now regarded as the deranged rantings of an extreme fringe element. Either that or it's regarded as unserious blather.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Pledge of Allegiance Unconstitutional

Oh boy, here we go... Trial court in the world famous 9th Circus has gone and done it this time. The last time around a similar decision from the 9th Circus was reversed as the plaintiff lacked standing. Well, apparently they found a proper party this time. Let's wait and see what the Supremes do with this one...

From the AP:

Judge: School Pledge Is Unconstitutional
Sep 14 2:20 PM US/Eastern

SAN FRANCISCO

Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was ruled unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge who granted legal standing to two families represented by an atheist who lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."

Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.
Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Update:

I must have missed the memo! The Boss is always thinking!

From Instapundit:
September 14, 2005
KARL ROVE MUST HAVE ARRANGED THIS: Just as John Roberts is being quizzed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, another court declares the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.

Walmart is rich! Let's sue them!

A lawsuit was filed (in California of course) against Walmart alleging that they failed to "meet its contractual duty to ensure that its suppliers pay basic wages due; forced them to work excessive hours seven days a week with no time off for holidays; obstructed their attempts to form a union; and, made false and misleading statements to the American public about the company's labor and human rights practices.

From the article:

Walmart maintains a Supplier Standards Agreement with its foreign suppliers that incorporates adherence to its corporate code of conduct as a direct condition of supplying products to Walmart. By incorporating the code of conduct into the supply agreement, it creates a contractual obligation enforceable by the workers supplying to Walmart, who are the intended beneficiaries of the code's worker rights provisions.

Umm.. Ok, so let me get this straight, Walmart, a giant retail store in the US:
  1. Maintains a Supplier Standards Agreement with its suppliers. No surprise there, I'm sure lots of companies do that with their suppliers.
  2. That Supplier Standards Agreement is a contract.
  3. That contract binds Walmart to an obligation to the employees of that supplier.
Huh?

Now I've never been in law school, but I seem to remember something about a 3 test issue with whether something is a contract or not. Offer, consideration, acceptance. Where does Walmart do that here with the employees? It seems to me that they only have a contract with the supplier, which probably maintains that if the supplier doesn't live up to Supplier Standards, then Wal-mart will no longer accept them as a, you know, Supplier.

This smells like a total shakedown to me, and in a just world, the employees would simply lose their job, because, you know, the supplier would no longer be a supplier, since the supplier couldn't live up to their Standards.

Let's take it a step further though, if as the article maintains its the Standards Agreement that binds Walmart to the employees that were allegedly wronged, then a remedy for future actions (and for other companies) would be simply to not have a Standards Agreement. This in fact will cause conditions for these foreign workers to worsen, since now no company in their right mind would have a Standards Agreement that a supplier might not live up to.

More from the article:
The other class of Plaintiffs will be employees of California businesses which have been harmed by Walmart's unfair labor practices, including Wal-Mart's false representations regarding compliance with its code of conduct, and which as a result have lost business and/or a competitive financial advantage. Within this class are also trade unions members who were forced to make wage and benefit concessions to allow their employers to try to compete with Walmart.
So not only is Walmart being sued because someone didn't live up to standards that Wal-mart set as a condition for being a supplier. It's being sued because it was too successful, and its competitors workers had to take pay cuts. Walmart should countersue the unions for demanding wages that increase the cost of the labor pool.

More:
This class of plaintiffs will bring their claim under California's Unfair Business Practices Act, Section 17200.

And if Section 17200 allows such a suit to come to fruition, then California has truly become the anti-business state.

Still More:
The workers are represented by Terry Collingsworth, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based International Labor Rights Fund, and Los Angeles area co-counsels Dan Stormer of Hadsell and Stormer, and Paul Hoffman of Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris & Hoffman. This legal team recently represented Burmese plaintiffs who sued Los Angeles-based Unocal corporation for using forced labor during the construction of a natural gas pipeline in Burma. The suit was settled earlier this year when the Burmese plaintiffs accepted a cash offer from the company that Business Week estimated to be in the vicinity of $30 million.
So its just another shakedown for the plaintiff's attorney's. I think they may have bitten off more they can chew with an opponent such as Walmart. My understanding is that they rarely settle cases, preferring rather to go to trial.

One can only hope that this is thrown out before it ever gets to trial.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Roberts Confirmation Hearings

I have my lawyer hat on today, and it has been an interesting morning.

The first thing that struck me was that Teddy was not lit up like a Christmas tree. His usually florid complexion revealed a period of abstinence and resulting normal skin coloration to which most of us are not accustomed. He even made sense once allowance is made for his liberal orthodoxy. The exchange with Roberts was intense but civil and fairly well reasoned. A pleasant surprise. (We'll see how Teddy does AFTER lunch.)

Biden? Well, Biden was Biden. He comes over as friendly and reasonable and then slips in the knife. It's vintage Biden, Uriah Heep with hairplugs. For those of us who have watched him over the years his total lack of sincerity is no surprise. He is the sort of man who would be detested as an executive officer by the commanding officer. You just can not trust anything about him, neither his words nor his demeanor. (Can't help but wonder who he will plagiarize next.)

Lahey? I'm not sure what to say about Lahey. He is nothing if not consistent... consistently nasty.

The Republicans are BLAND. Arlen (Single Bullit) Specter is just hopeless as a leader. I can not believe he was ever a prosecutor. Were I on one of his juries I'm reasonably certain I would have slept through the trial.

Grassley, only slightly less tedious than Specter.

I find myself wishing Fred Thompson was sitting with the Senators rather than behind Roberts.

It is a worthy exercise to watch these proceedings.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

The Road to Serfdom

Recently finished reading Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. It's amazing how relevant it still is today, despite being written by Hayek in the midst of World War II. Well, Larry Kudlow points out that there's a call for significant government planning in the reconstruction of New Orleans, ignoring the verdict of history that economic planning inevitably results in inefficient use of resources and an increase in pain & suffering. The power of the free market is precisely due to the fact that it is made up of millions of individual choices and we all know the old adage that two heads are better than one... well, a million individuals acting in their own interest are better than a single technocrat pushing for their bold vision of a new New Orleans.

I was amazed at the glee of Tim Russert on Meet the Press on Sunday. His mouth was watering at the prospect of a Rudy Giuliani or Colin Powell planning the design of the newest American city. Inevitably, whatever bureaucrat is tasked with such a massive task, they will be pulled in multiple directions by special interests, looking to get the federal, state, and local government bankroll their pet project. Surely the public's interest would be better served if the public were to make the millions of decisions that would be required to reconstruct the new New Orleans.

As Larry Kudlow points out... No new New Deal for a new New Orleans. Let's create a tax free enterprise zone for the region and watch the unencumbered free market at work.

When will the "planners" realize that they are causing more harm than good? What American citizen wants their future to be dictated by some technocrat that can be swayed by any number of special interests?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

HP Job cuts in Europe

HP is cutting 5,900 jobs in Europe, as part of its global restructuing effort. It looks to be over 1/4th of the HP French workforce. How does the socialist French mayor respond?

France's Deputy Labor Minister Gerard Larcher said he will meet HP executives Friday to discuss the planned cuts, vowing to "make sure the company takes all its responsibilities toward the employees concerned."

Michel Destot, the Socialist deputy mayor of the southern France city of Grenoble - where HP has one of its French plants - said the layoffs were "unacceptable" and demanded that HP managers also meet local politicians to discuss scaling back the job cuts.

If I were HP I'd pull them all out, then see how unacceptable that was to Destot. He certainly isn't making it an acceptable environment to add jobs.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Monday, September 12, 2005

Zogby - Tough Questions

Well, John Zobgy apparently isn't that bright... he doesn't want to believe his own polling.

Bush Still Beats Kerry: What Am I Missing Here? (187 comments )

In our new poll, every president since Carter defeats Bush. But Kerry still loses to Bush by one point. What am I missing here?
(Of course, John's polling going into 2004 election was way off as well, but we'll assume for the sake of discussion that these numbers are accurate.) Some others are offering suggestions to him as to what this poll might mean.

Well, I think it's instructive to look at the results of the poll. Here are the numbers, George W Bush versus all other presidents since Carter (and a haughty, French-looking Senator who by the way served in Vietnam and unsuccessfully ran for President).
Bush vs Dems...Bush vs GOP
Bush vs Clinton...Bush vs Bush (41)
44 - 46...34 - 41
Bush vs Carter...Bush vs Reagan
42 - 50...20 - 59
Bush vs Kerry
48 - 47

First, note that W doesn't do well against his Republican predecessors. I have to say that I agree in the case of Reagan - despite W's response to 9/11 and his ambitious plan to change the face of the Middle East, his unwillingness to hold the line on federal spending has been a concern for me. Fortunately for W, the Left's insanity has kept me from even considering them as a possible alternative. It's also interesting to note that Reagan trumps all of the former Presidents, the protests of the MSM notwithstanding...

But notice that Bush barely losest to Clinton who (according to the adoring press & the Left) is one of the greatest Presidents in recent history. It seems that Clinton still isn't able to eclipse the 50% that dogged him throughout the 90s. And Carter's performance is such a distant memory that most respondents probably think of him merely as the guy that builds houses (and coddles dictators).

Why did Zogby stop at Carter? Why no Ford, Nixon, or LBJ?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Schumer on Roberts

Watching Chuckie Schumer on C-SPAN 3 right now... I hope the Dems go all ballistic and try to tear John Roberts a new one. Roberts is no Bork... not in the sense of judicial philosophy. No, the main difference is that Roberts is photogenic and Schumer/Kennedy/Leahy et al are not. This undoubtedly will hurt the Dems with the security moms & NASCAR dads that might catch only a blurb on TV or read a story in the paper.

Schumer wants Roberts to answer every single question that he submitted to him. Schumer has essentially said that he won't vote for any conservative justice, regardless of his or her competence. He said that both Scalia & Ginsberg view themselves as fair justices, but the way they rule on cases is extremely different. (Duh!) Apparently, to Schumer... Scalia is not a fair judge.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler