Saturday, February 04, 2006

Saturday reading

- "Indeed what is now needed is not more “diplomatic” beating around the bush but hard talk. Otherwise, we might be living a case study for future school-texts. One that illustrates the thesis that too much patience and concessions to the wrong party and on the wrong issue augment the danger that peace’s advocates attempt to avoid." George Handlery on the Iranian nuclear crisis.

- "But I think some valid correspondences still remain between the Phoney War and the period between September 11 to the present. Both are marked by an attempt to maintain a disintegrating status quo long after it became imperative to exchange it for a new model of relationships. Both are marked by miscalculation as political leaders find themselves struggling to overtake the tide of events. Both mark the end of the last boundaries between the familiar and the dark, unknown future. What did Churchill feel, one wonders, in those desperate days when he did not know the end yet went on?" Wretchard on the historical precedent for the period since 9/11 (one of his best ever, IMO)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

We are all Danes now!

How to react to cartoons?

- The Islamic way


- The American (and by extension "Western") way

We must never give in. Never. Otherwise this episode will go into history as the time when Europe lost her soul. There will be no turning back after that.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Alito Confirmed

Earlier today the Senate voted to confirm Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court by a vote of 58-42. The Democrats attempted a filibuster, but cloture was invoked and the attempt was defeated.

All Republicans except for Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island voted yes.

All Democrats except for Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia voted no.

That's about as partisan as it can get. But has it always been this way? Let's go through some recent nominees and see what happened.

President George W Bush

78 - 22 John Roberts (2005)

President Bill Clinton

87 - 9 Stephen Breyer (1994): 87 - 9

97 - 3 Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993)

President George H W Bush

52 - 48 Clarence Thomas (1991)

90 - 9 David Souter (1990)

President Ronald Reagan

97 - 0 Anthony Kennedy (1988)

42 - 58 Robert Bork (1987) defeated

98 - 0 Antonin Scalia (1986)

65 - 33 William Rehnquist, Chief Justice (1986)

99 - 0 Sandra Day O'Connor (1981)

President Gerald Ford

98 - 0 John Paul Stevens (1975)

President Richard M Nixon

98 - 0 William Rehnquist (1971)

89 - 1 Lewis Franklin Powell Jr (1971)

94 - 0 Harry A. Blackmun (1970)

45 - 51 Harold Carswell (1970) defeated

45 - 55 Clement Haynsworth (1969) defeated

71 - 3 Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice (1969)

President Lyndon Baines Johnson

69 - 11 Thurgood Marshall (1967)

In the interests of time that's as far back as I'm going to go. If you'd like to do more research yourself here's a very good site that lists all of justices in our history.

I think that the results of my little survey are pretty clear: With few exceptions, most justices are confirmed by overwhelming margims. When there were close votes there were obvious controversial issues.

Not so with John Roberts or Samuel Alito. Unless you are off in left-wing lulu land, it is intellectually dishonest to say that they are "outside the mainstream". If anything, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the most radical person to be appointed in recent years, and she was confirmed by an overwhelming margin.

Powerline sums up my thoughts pretty well:

The vote changes the "rules" for confirming Supreme Court Justices. Under the Alito rule, Senators will vote against highly qualified nominee for no reason other than that they expect the nominee to rule contrary to their preference on major issues. Under the Alito rule, the president's party, in effect, must control the Senate in order for the president to have top-notch nominees of his choice confirmed. When the the president's party doesn't control the Senate, only compromise nominees acceptable to both parties can expect to be confirmed.

Such a shame that it has come to this. Liberals will no doubt find a way to blame it all on President Bush, citing this or that. But the fact remains that to good nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, had far too many votes cast against them, and for no good reason.

The reason for all this of course is that the Democrats are being forced leftward by radical groups such as and by blogs such as the Daily Kos (Republicans are not moving righward, as the effect the right-wing blogosphere has on them is somewhat different, but that is not the subject of this post).

President Bush will likely get a chance to nominate another justice. We will see a simiar battle, with similarly unfortunate effects for our country and politics.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Here We Go Again...

“The new reality places Israel and the United States in a tough position: refuse to negotiate with Hamas, and in doing so, shun the democratic process, or negotiate with a group that has vowed Israel's destruction.” Says international editor for UPI, Claude Salhani.

Why is this a ‘tough position’? The baby (democratic principle) does not have to be thrown out with the dirty bathwater (menacing leadership). IDF Brigadier General Michael Herzog: “The fact that so many Palestinians regard the group as entirely legitimate does not mean that all other interested parties have to agree.”

Salhani again: "…However, Hamas, encouraged by its electoral victory, must show political maturity and demonstrate it can make the transition from militancy (read acts of terrorism) to joining the political process in helping build the PA.” Dream on!--We have just mounted another dead horse to ride down the “road to peace”. Let’s see if Hamas can develop the Arafatic talent of talking out of both sides of his mouth while ratcheting in arms, money, and unearned legitimacy from outside sources.

Daniel Pipes offers: “Returning to the dilemma posed by the Hamas victory, Western capitals need to show Palestinians that – like Germans electing Hitler in 1933 – they have made a decision gravely unacceptable to civilized opinion. The Hamas-led Palestinian Authority must be isolated and rejected at every turn, thereby encouraging Palestinians to see the error of their ways.” If the “international community” continues to coddle futility and turn a blind eye to ‘Palestinian’s ultimate intention of Israel’s destruction the ‘peaceful two-state’ solution will forever remain a fantasy. Professor/columnist Steve Plaut thinks it’s a foregone conclusion: “The expectation by Israel's leaders that the world will shun Hamas and refuse to fund it or talk with it is but the last in a series of delusions. By the spring, Israel will be under international pressure to make much larger gestures of goodwill to Hamas.”
-photo from Betwix