Carol Platt Liebau: November 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Abortion Case Heard

Today, Solicitor General Paul Clement and the attorney general of New Hampshire argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of a statute that would require parental notification before minors receive abortions unless the young mother's life is at risk.

The issue is whether the statute -- which does have a judicial bypass option -- is unconstitutional because it doesn't offer an exception to the notification requirement when the minor mother's "health" is at risk (obviously, the life and health of the unborn baby are in serious jeopardy).

The question, of course, is what "health" means. Does it encompass mental health? And what counts as "mental health"? The fact that a girl is depressed about having become pregnant out of wedlock? And why doesn't anyone ever worry about the mental health -- or physical health ramifications of abortion?

Finally, as the Solicitor General (a law school friend of mine but also, objectively, a brilliant guy) asked the Court, "Do you invalidate 1000 applications of the statute, noting that 999 of them are constitutional?"

Disastrous Democratic Decision

Bill Kristol offers a solid analysis of the impact of Nancy Pelosi's decision to endorse withdrawal from Iraq.

It is a real political miscalculation -- for now, the Democrats have officially become the party of surrender, retreat, withdrawal. Up until now, it's the Republicans who have been split between those who are losing their nerve, and those who, like the President, are determined to stay the course.

Now, it's the Democrats who have an official split, between the lefties like Pelosi and voices of reason like Joe Lieberman, who argued convincingly in The Wall Street Journal yesterday that America can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists.

And by having finally articulated a position -- rather than just limiting themselves to criticizing the President -- the Democrats have opened themselves to criticism. Most damaging for them is the perception, vindicated by Pelosi's action today, that they're still the party of defeat in Vietnam, of the nuclear freeze, of Clintonesque avoidance of the tough decisions that protect the American people.

As a Republican, I'm grateful that they've made their position so clear.

Kudos to Elena Kagan

That's the dean of Harvard Law School -- and according to this report, she's done a lot to bring rationality and balance to the law school. It's about time; the changes are as necessary as they are welcome.

An Important Message

Over at Townhall, Lorie Byrd writes about the urgent necessity of Republicans pointing out Democrats' utter incompetence on national security -- and how it threatens America.

Check it out.

Can It Be True?

It's being reported that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to select a long time Democratic operative -- a former aide to Gov. Davis, and former executive director of the California Democratic Party and and the California Abortion Rights Action League -- as his new chief of staff.

In the linked article, former executive director of the California Republican Party Jon Fleischman notes that the appointment, if it goes through, will be interpreted as a giant "kiss-off to the Governor's Republican base."

What a mistake for the Governor. If he thinks it will incentivize the Democrats to work with him and befriend him, he's nuts. They want a Democrat and a union tool in his seat -- and nothing the Governor does will change that. Instead, he's choosing to sell out his principles and the people who worked hardest to put him in office? Amazing, if true.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Out of the Mainstream -- And Aware of It

This piece discusses the difficulties confronted by left-wing activist groups trying to prevent Judge Alito from being confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Of course, Arlen Specter's decision to postpone the Judiciary Committee hearings until January didn't help, insofar as it gives the groups more time to smear Judge Alito and distort his record. Even so, it doesn't seem that the groups are getting much traction -- and December is a bad time to try to focus widespread attention on a negative campaign.

What's interesting about the linked piece is that Minority Leader Harry Reid, along with Chuck Schumer (who takes the lead in savaging Republican nominees because of his safe Senate seat and his intellectual vanity) have implicitly acknowledged that the Democratic efforts to stymie the Alito nomination have a potentially damaging fallout for their fellow party members:

In a private session, Reid and Schumer urged the groups to show restraint when lobbying Democrats from states that Bush won in 2004 — senators from Nebraska, Arkansas, the Dakotas and elsewhere who probably will be the most tempted to support the appointment.

In other words, Reid and Schumer know their positions on these nominees is out of the mainstream -- and they're not willing to put principle above political expediency. But we already knew that, didn't we?

In any case, the Democrats realize that the issue of judges cuts in the Republicans' favor. Now who will inform the Republicans like Arlen Specter, who seem determined to "neutralize" the issue through squishy deference to the Democrats?

File This Under "Duh"

Here's a piece about a recent study reporting that sexy attire "works against" businesswoman -- or at least affects others' evaluation of their competence.

Is there really anyone who needed a study to realize this? It's profoundly sad that girls and women today are, in effect, being told that nothing matters as much as "sexiness" -- not talent, not intelligence, not character. It's not true, and those who fall for that line suffer for it, in the workplace and elsewhere.

What About the Babies?

Today, the LA Times runs a relatively flattering portrait of an Arkansas doctor who proudly self-identifies as an "abortionist" and proudly declares, "I am destroying life." That the profile was largely flattering is no surprise, given the Times' politics. What was surprising, however, was how frank the piece was about some of the women to whom this doctor is offerig "rebirth" (a fairly ironic choice of words, considering that, in order to give these women the supposed second chance at life, he takes away their babies' first).

His first patient of the day, Sarah, 23, says it never occurred to her to use birth control, though she has been sexually active for six years. When she became pregnant this fall, Sarah, who works in real estate, was in the midst of planning her wedding. "I don't think my dress would have fit with a baby in there," she says.

The last patient of the day, a 32-year-old college student named Stephanie, has had four abortions in the last 12 years. She keeps forgetting to take her birth control pills. Abortion "is a bummer," she says, "but no big stress."

Yes, well, not for "Stephanie," perhaps. One wonders if the aborted babies would agree that it's not a "big stress" -- certainly, it's a big "bummer" for them. The article also references the possibility of adoption, which certainly should be an option, especially in a country where many loving couples are desperate to find babies to adopt:

A high school volleyball player says she doesn't want to give up her body for nine months. "I realize just from the first three months how it changes everything," she says.

Well, perhaps that was something to think about before she "[gave] up her body" and had sex. But it seems that religious and moral concerns aren't too much of an issue for anyone in this equation:

For the few women who arrive ambivalent or beset by guilt, Harrison's nurse has posted statistics on the exam-room mirror: One out of every four pregnant women in the U.S. chooses abortion. A third of all women in this country will have at least one abortion by the time they're 45.

"You think there's room in hell for all those women?" the nurse will ask.

Well, that takes care of that, doesn't it? Whatever the emotional, psychological or even physical fallout from the abortion, that nurse -- and the doctor -- won't have to deal with it. The "procedure" will have been done, the check collected . . . and the patient, no longer a mother (at least to this baby), will be on her own. Very inspiring, indeed.

The feminist movement would like for all of us to believe that abortion is tantamount to a sacrament: Something that protects the "rights" of women in a society that they see as inherently misogynistic. They want "choice" -- conveniently ignoring the fact that the woman has, in the overwhelming majority of cases, already made the choice to have sex (perhaps even without protection), fully aware that a child could result.

There is an argument to be made for abortion in cases of rape, incest, life of the mother, or severe fetal malformation.

But the fact is that, for the most part, abortion isn't offering the "best" of several terrible alternatives in most cases. Rather, it's providing a (temporarily) easy way out for people who are too thoughtless or too selfish to be willing to allow a child that they created voluntarily a chance at life. I wonder what God thinks about that attitude, don't you?

A Capital "Capitol Christmas Tree"

Dennis Hastert has done something right. The Capitol Christmas tree, which had been known as the "holiday tree" since the late '90's, has now been rechristened (oops, sorry, "renamed") the "Capitol Christmas Tree."

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Liberal Praises Wal-Mart

Sebastian Mallaby picks up the implicit elitism of Wal-Mart's opponents, pointing out that poor Americans will suffer if Wal-Mart is prevented from expanding. He's dead right (and I made many of the same arguments here). Of course, it't not just elitism that spurs anti Wal-Mart animus; a lot of it's driven by the fact that Wal-Mart isn't unionized.

Seattle columnist Neil Pierce might want to check out Mallaby's piece; it's unlikely to move him, though. He sounds like one of the lefties determined to unionize Wal-Mart, whatever the cost to the poor.

Lapin Sets Foxman Straight

We covered Abe Foxman's plans to lead the Anti-Defamation League into irrelevance here.

Thankfully, Rabbi Daniel Lapin has emerged to set him straight.

It does seem amazing that, with anti-Semitism flourishing all across Europe and the Democratic Party's long-time love affair with Yasser Arafat (Bill Clinton's most frequent White House guest; Jesse Jackson's compatriot) that Foxman would take issue with Christian conservatives, doesn't it?

Don't Forget the Churchill Dinner

It's this Friday -- and "columnist to the world" Mark Steyn is this year's honoree. More information is here!

On Alito and Roe

In today's Wall Street Journal, Roger Pilon offers the most succinct explanation yet why it would be wrong to force Judge Alito to admit either (1) that he erred in his 1985 memo expressing anti-Roe views or (2) that he believes the power of precedent outweighs the importance of interpreting the Constitution correctly as an implicit condition of his being confirmed.

But it should be clear that were Judge Alito to answer yes or no to [whether he would apply the principles of stare decisis to Roe v. Wade cases], he would in effect be revealing his hand on a wide array of questions potentially before the court, including Roe. The effect, insofar as his answer would correlate with a Senate decision to confirm or not to confirm, would be to decide those cases politically, not legally, which is why he should refuse to answer that question.

In short, requiring Judge Alito to answer those questions would be to turn the judicial nomination hearing into nothing more than a political exercise in which future judicial votes are traded for present Senate votes. It would be an unprecedented reworking of the relationship between the judicial branch and the Senate -- and would completely undermine the independence of the judiciary. Which is why even liberal judges and law professors should speak out against any effort to pin Alito down on Roe issues. But on that, I'm not holding my breath.

What's Right in Iraq

Mary Laney lays it out here. And for those who still don't understand Iraq's relationship to the war on terror:

There are politicians who are using the war to try to tilt Americans to change their minds. They continually refer to Iraq as another Vietnam. It is not Vietnam. Vietnam was a black eye for America. It was a time where America pulled out due to public opinion and then watched the slaughter of the South Vietnamese people after we left. Iraq is not Vietnam. If we pull out of Iraq, al-Qaida will follow us right back home -- to New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Doubt it? Then you have forgotten 9/11 and just what happened after America failed to respond to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and failed to act when our Marine barracks, our Navy ship, and other American targets were attacked by al-Qaida.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Supporting Our Troops

Check out this magnificent slide show, and ask why The White House isn't doing something like this . . . (HT: Dan M, New England Republican).

More on Alito and CAP

Today, the New York Times runs the obligatory story about Judge Alito's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP).

As I noted here, the portrait of CAP that Judge Alito's opponents are trying to paint differs significantly with my (limited) recollections of the group. Indeed, as of 1985 (when I enrolled at Princeton), if there had been any kind of right-wing force associated with the University that had opposed minority and female presence on campus, I'm confident I'd have remembered -- not only because I was one of the co-eds, but also because my face would have burned with shame for my supposed fellow "conservatives."

What the linked story doesn't point out is that there were plenty of left wing forces on campus at the time (some within the university administration), and that CAP would have served as a useful counterbalance. Other universities have had their own equivalents -- and at present, I know of concerned conservative alumni both at Harvard and at Dartmouth (where they actually succeeded in seating some conservative alumni on the Board of Trustees).

Only in the world of the left wing interest groups, the MSM and the university would such groups be seen as inherently aberrational and illegitimate.

"Slow Joe" Biden Nailed by FNS

Neil Kinnock "devotee" and presumptive presidential aspirant Senator "Slow Joe" Biden was nailed dead to rights by the staff of "Fox News Sunday" (no transcript of this segment is available).

On his FNS appearance last week, Biden claimed that the President and Vice President had stated that Iraq posed an "imminent" threat. Host Chris Wallace challenged the assertion, but Biden insisted.

Apparently, after being unable to locate any evidence that Bush or Cheney had cited an "imminent" threat as a justification for war, FNS contacted Biden -- who supplied tape of the Vice President making the case that Saddam was a threat, but not that he was an imminent threat. Whoops.

Funny how it is with Biden and the statements of other politicians. Either he's trying to coopt them (a la Neil Kinnock) or he's trying to invent them (the nonexistent "imminent threat" claims). If (Heaven forbid) he were to win the presidency, we'd have to be keeping a pretty close eye on those White House speechwriters, wouldn't we?

And this guy has the nerve to insist that the President made deliberately misleading statements? Ah, the irony.

Thank You, CSM

The Christian Science Monitor does some of the kind of reporting that has been so sorely lacking in Iraq.

Undermining Troop Morale

The MSM may not get it, the leftist crazoids may not get it. But the American people . . . get it.

According to the Washington Post's account of the bipartisan RT Strategies poll, "Seventy percent of people surveyed said that criticism of the war by Democratic senators hurts troop morale -- with 44 percent saying morale is hurt 'a lot,' . . . .. Even self-identified Democrats agree: 55 percent believe criticism hurts morale, while 21 percent say it helps morale."

Well, obviously. Who needs a poll to understand that the intemperate, ill judged and constant criticism of the Iraq war injures troop morale? Make no mistake: Those who are part of that 55% of Democrats -- and still engage in irresponsible criticism of the President and the war -- know exactly what they're doing and what it means.

Calling the MSM to Account

John Leo does it -- and does it well -- right here.

Another example, as if one were needed, comes from today's "Meet the Press." The panel? Judy Woodruff, Eugene Robinson, David Broder and David Gregory. Nobody here but us liberals . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2005

How Times Change . . .

Kathleen Parker takes note of the litigious, pregnant teacher (referenced here), beginning her piece with this pithy observation:

What a funny world. Where once it was scandalous to be unmarried and pregnant, now it is scandalous to disapprove of another's being unmarried and pregnant.

Indeed. How interesting that, today, it's deemed perfectly legitimate to judge another's clothes/politics/habits (drinking or smoking spring to mind). The only area where none of us are supposed to exercise any judgment at all is that of sexual morality. Even when it undermines the tenets of one's religion. Even if it leads to teen pregnancy, and all the social dysfunction that follows therefrom. Even if it leads to the spread of misery and disease.

Who could have guessed that sexual mores would change so drastically so quickly: From a time when one could hold moral views and express them (but "sex talk" was off the table) -- to a time when "sex talk" is constant and graphic (but moral values are, apparently, off the table).

For Those Who Didn't Get It the First Time . . .

Charles Krauthammer outlines the reasons that the Geneva Conventions protect ordinary soldiers from torture -- and quite properly so. They don't protect terrorists; in fact, they were designed to incentivize against terrorism (i.e. the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians by un-uniformed fighters).

I'm proud that one of the senators for whom I worked (Kit Bond, R-MO) was one of the nine to vote against the McCain Amendment. It's living proof that he loves his country more than he wants adulation from the Washington establishment.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Proselytizing Teacher

No, he's not promoting religion -- he'd have been fired. Instead, a Vermont teacher is force-feeding liberal propaganda to grade school students in his quizzes. That earns him mealy-mouthed disapprobation from the principal, but quite likely nothing more. (Hope I'm proved wrong on that.)

Clearly, the teacher is a jerk. More than that, he doesn't seem to be too great at what he does, i.e. teach English. Check out the use of the word "insure" in the quoted sentence from his quiz. And then note that he should have been using "ensure" instead. Perhaps what's called for here is a little more attention to mastering the topic he's supposed to be teaching -- and a little less attention to politics, hmmm?

Boston's "Holiday Tree"

Here it is -- political correctness run amok.

What kind of loser would be "offended" by there being a "Christmas tree" -- rather than a "holiday tree" -- in Boston, especially in a country that's 85% Christian, and where 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas?

Here's the thing: Atheists, secularists and anybody else in the 4% don't have to celebrate Christmas. That's their right -- and it's how it should be in America. But they also don't have the right to take the Christmas celebration away from everyone else, cloaking their opposition to Christianity (or religion generally) in the pathetic, sniveling guise of being "offended."

No Draft Dodger

In fact, quite the opposite. How bizarre is it that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson -- almost certainly a presidential contender -- has been lying for years about having been drafted by the Kansas City A's? Recently, apparently, after "research" into the matter (what did he do, consult his memory?) he's announced that, in fact, he never was drafted. Okaaay.

Doesn't this remind you a bit of Hillary Clinton's fable about having been named after Sir Edmund Hillary?

What's with these people?

Iraq and Al Qaida

Victor Davis Hanson reminds all of us that, until such ackowledgements became politically inconvenient, there was bipartisan agreement that long standing links between Iraq and Al Qaida existed -- in fact, it was one of the justifications asserted for going to war in Iraq (and a rationale upon which 77 senators -- and a majority of Senate Democrats -- agreed).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

On AM 790 KABC 11:00 AM Friday

Just another reminder to tune in!

Bet the Poodles Didn't Laugh

The Westie in the dog show on NBC (not as good looking as Winston, BTW) apparently understands the word "chicken" in both English and French. One of the announcers piped up, "I bet he barks in English -- and rolls over in French." Tee hee.

As for Winston, he's a proud and tenacious Scotsman -- and believe me, he doesn't roll over for anyone (unless he's in need of a tummy rub).

Thanksgiving Blessings to All!

In its unique blend of the religious and the secular, Thanksgiving is, perhaps, the most American holiday of all. For someone like me, who's been blessed with so much -- wonderful family, friends, health, living in a good and God-blessed country -- surely every day should be Thanksgiving.

This Wall Street Journal piece speaks of gratitude for America -- gratitude, surely, all of us share. What a contrast to our thriving modern society the bleak outlook that greeted the Pilgrims in 1620 must have been! As for the lessons the Pilgrims learned early on, this piece expresses thanks for the free market -- the engine of liberty and prosperity.

Here is George Washington's Thanksgiving Day proclamation.

Here is Abraham Lincoln's.

I share their gratitude to God for the countless blessings and mercies He's bestowed upon us all.

Please take a moment to remember our men and women in harm's way, fighting the war on terror -- and say a prayer for them. If you care to do more, there's always Soldier's Angels.

And finally, dear readers, please know how thankful I am for you. I am grateful that you honor me -- and this site -- with your attention. I wish you and yours every blessing this Thanksgiving Day, and always.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing
He chastens, and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing
Sing praises to His name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us our God with us joining
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine.
So from the beginning, the fight we were winning.
Thou, Lord, wast at our side; all glory be Thine.

Now all do extol Thee, Thou leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation.
Thy name be ever praised; O Lord, make us free!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jane Austen Wouldn't Be Entirely Pleased

That's my conclusion after having slipped away this afternoon to see the new, Keira Knightley version of "Pride and Prejudice."

Yes, the movie did -- at times -- use chunks of dialogue from the book, which is a good thing (I'd like to meet the writer who really thinks s/he can improve on Jane Austen's dialogue). But with that one grudging bit of approbation, I had a couple of real criticisms of the movie.

First, the characters didn't look anything like the characters do in real life (those who have loved a particular book will understand what I mean by that). Keira Knightley wasn't, in my view, a convincing Elizabeth Bennett (let's set aside the fact that the book repeatedly notes that Elizabeth has beautiful grey eyes and Knightley's are brown). Jane Austen describes Elizabeth as "playful." Somehow, Knightley (in the style of many modern actresses) thinks this translates into acting "liberated," which, in the end, comes across as being unattractively snippy, "strong-minded" in the perjorative sense.

And Matthew MacFayden made a terrible Mr. Darcy -- and not just because he didn't look like the "real" Mr. Darcy (or like Laurence Olivier/Colin Firth for that matter). Rather than seeming "proud" or "reserved" (as Austen describes him), he just came across as bitter and depressed -- and then is transformed into some kind of Byronic hero, striding across a misty field in an open shirt, as though he'd somehow wandered in from a Bronte novel by mistake.

But my biggest criticism of the movie was this: The writers take liberties with the book in order to translate early 19th century behavior into what they doubtless consider to be more modern, "accessible" manners and mores. That's a legitimate choice (although one with which I disagree; I think most Jane Austen aficionados don't need to see Elizabeth Bennett shrieking "Just leave me alone!" to her family or hanging around barefoot kissing Mr. Darcy near the Pemberley fountains to understand her emotional state. In fact, sometimes there's great power in restraint -- as Austen's writing itself illustrates so superbly).

But having decided to change the characters' behavior to conform to modern mores, the moviemakers then take care to portray English country life with what they consider to be careful verisimilitude -- and thus, to modern eyes, it looks quite squalid. But the point is that it wasn't squalid for the times; the Bennetts were a "gentleman's" family, and they lived accordingly. Translated into modern terms, they'd be a comfortable, though not rich by any means, family. Given that's the case, why did the filmmakers take such care to make Longbourn appear run-down and primitive? It is, certainly, by modern standards -- but why take such care to make the surroundings look so derelict, when care was obviously taken to ensure that the behavior would seem modern in so many (sometimes jarring) ways?

For my money, the best movie made from a Jane Austen book -- hands down -- was Emma Thompson's "Sense and Sensibility." It translated the (sometimes playful, sometimes somber) spirit of the book superbly into modern terms. And one was conscious of the primitive (by modern terms) surroundings in which the characters lived -- but one didn't encounter pigs wandering through the yard, as it were. At the very least, the characters in "Sense and Sensibility" looked clean; some of those in "Pride and Prejudice" seemed in need of a good bath and a hairbrush, pronto.

A Shifting Standard

This piece outlines the instructive contrast between press coverage of Tom DeLay's so-called "ethical troubles" and those of Hillary Clinton.

On KABC This Friday

I will be sitting in for Al Rantel during his 11:00 a.m. hour this Friday, on AM 790 KABC.

The Real State of Affairs in Iraq

Max Boot elucidates. Worth noting:

The Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations just released a survey of American elites that found that 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively.

The American people and this country's long-term interests are being poorly served by the Democratic voices of defeatism, and their willing allies in the MSM.

Al Qaeda Captured on Mexican Border?

Of course, I'm partial to KABC, where I'll be filling in for Al Rantel at 11:00 a.m. on Friday.

But on KFI this morning, Bill Handel just interviewed Rep. John Culberson(a U.S. congressman) who reported that Texas border sheriffs had told him that an Al Qaeda was captured on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Just one more reason -- and the most important one! -- for some border control. Could this have something to do with the reform to the infamous "catch and release" policy?

Franken v. Scalia: Not a Close Call

Memo to Al Franken: Don't mess with Justice Scalia. His wattage is exponentially greater than yours.

Oh, and he isn't "truth-challenged" the way you are, either.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Problem Corrected . . .

Earlier today, I had turned on a "moderate comments" function -- but have discovered, thanks to my friend and correspondent Peter, that it means that none of your comments can be posted without my prior approval.

I've now undone the "moderate comments" function. But please be mindful that, although this site welcomes all points of view, comments should be free of profanity or egregious abuse -- and I reserve the right to remove all comments that don't conform to these minimum standards.

Red Fridays -- For the Troops!

Earlier today, I received an email about Red Fridays. One way the "Silent Majority" can show our support and admiration for our troops is by wearing red on Fridays . . .

For a fuller, more eloquent explanation of the practice and what it signifies, check out PalosVerdesBlog.

This year, let's make Black Friday turn red! I'll be wearing red on Friday, and I hope you will, too.

Note to Commenters

I've been receiving emails from some blog readers who are taking exception to a recent practice of some commenters -- that of cutting and pasting entire articles in the comments section.

How 'bout this for a policy going forward: Link but don't reprint; selectively quote, don't transcribe.

Thanks so much!

Take It Up With God

Shame on Michelle McCusker. I'm not saying that because she got pregnant out of wedlock -- though that's hardly a behavior that warrants warm approval.

It's because having decided to teach at a Catholic school, having accepted the terms the school offered -- that is, that each teacher must "convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions" -- and having become pregnant out of wedlock, she's now run to the New York Civil Liberties Union, because she's been fired from her job as a preschool teacher.

Everyone makes mistakes. That doesn't mean that every mistake can (or, sometimes, even should be) costless. The parents who have enrolled their children in the Catholic school in question did so with certain expectations. One was that their children wouldn't be taught by those who signified that they had ignored Catholic teaching (in this case, by having engaged in premarital sex).

The NYCLU is trying to argue that this is gender discrimination -- that schools can't tell if men have engaged in premarital sex (they actually can't tell whether women are doing so, either, if they use birth control). But, hey -- if a male teacher is found to have engaged in premarital sex, it's OK with me that he, too, be fired, especially if he promised to "convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions". Simple as that.

And as for the argument that it's "unfair" that only women can become pregnant, well, the NYCLU needs to take it up with only one party: God. But as for a school that's actually performing a much-needed service -- attempting to inculcate some sexual morality in children -- the NYCLU should leave it alone.

Kelly on Zarqawi's Bad Week

Jack Kelly's piece reminds everyone that we are fighting Al Qaida -- yes, Al Qaeda, the same people who flew airplanes into buildings on 9/11 -- in Iraq.

And still the Democrats want to talk about withdrawing.

Guess that tells you everything you need to know.

ECUSA Update

Orthodox Anglican elements from the USA to Nigeria are uniting. For more, check out this update and analysis, courtesy of Jack of Clubs.

Marking the Spot

It seems appropriate that CNN would be launching an investigation about how an "X" appeared over the Vice-president's face during his speech yesterday.

One hates to jump to conclusions -- but if anyone else has ever had an X appear over his face while on CNN, it would be nice to know both whom and when.

History of a Hymn

One of my favorite hymns (even sung at my November wedding) is "We Gather Together." The Wall Street Journal's Melanie Kirkpatrick provides a fascinating history of this magnificent hymn.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Takin' It To Teddy

Over at the Huffington Post, Teddy Kennedy (or one of his staffers, more likely) bestirred himself to offer an excrescence titled "Ten Commandments for Wal-Mart."

The piece is pretty much what you'd expect from a leftist moonbat like the Tedster (as I've written before, there's a lot to like about Wal-Mart). But the best (and most lucid) aspect of the entire post are the comments that follow it.

Commenter PerryWhite contributed the following:

Here are some commandments that the Walton family seems to have obeyed:

Thou shalt not drive off a bridge and leave the passenger to drown.

Thou shalt keep one's hands off the babysitter.

Thou shalt not keep the finances secret regarding the family oil [sic] business.

Thou shalt not go to spring break after one's 25th year.

Thou shall not hire expensive lawyers to create secret trusts to avoid paying death taxes that one's family votes to support for others.

And from KenPasadena:

Dear Senator Ted: If you ran Wal Mart, we'd have another GM on our hands. Thousands of lay-offs, devastated communities, unproductive older workers, products that no one wants to buy. On the bright side, we would sell more viagra.

What is it about Teddy that brings out the wag in all of us?

"Splitting the Difference" and the (Very) Big Lie

Michael Barone is a columnist for US News & World Report -- and one of the most respected political analysts working today.

His column today, called "The (Very) Big Lie" and focusing on Democrat charges that President Bush deliberately manipulated intelligence, is well worth reading. Yes, of course, it sets forth (in terms so clear that even a 7 year old could understand) why the whole "Bush lied" canard is so ridiculous.

But what's even more remarkable is that Barone wrote it at all. In the press, particularly when "truth telling" would involve defending Republicans, there's a marked tendency toward an "on the one hand/on the other hand" style of reporting -- an unspoken assumption that, of course, both sides are misstating the facts a little bit.

In the end, those telling the truth are disadvantaged. Just as one can't prove a negative, the truth can't be exaggerated, and so when the press "splits the difference" -- well, then they haven't told the truth.

Michael Barone has. And it's admirable.

That Green-Eyed Monster

Last week, I wrote, "It must be grating for the rest of the Post's reporters to watch Woodward engage in activity that, if attempted by others, would earn them a pink slip and a walk out the door."

Apparently, it is. The Post's ombudsman noted sourly in her column yesterday that "[Woodward] has to operate under the rules that govern the rest of the staff -- even if he's rich and famous."

Wonder how Woodward likes being on the receiving end of abuse from the press that he used to bestride?

Murtha's Op/Ed

He wants to cut and run.

Underlying his piece seems to be a bewildering assumption -- that, somehow, the Iraqi people are dragging their feet in learning how to defend their own country, and that withdrawing troops will somehow "motivate" them to get out front.

What tragic stupidity. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that if Americans withdraw, the populace will have to arm itself, and there will be the civil war that Al Zarqawi has been trying to precipitate all along. In the midst of the chaos, Iraq will become a terrorist haven.

Does Murtha not understand this -- or does he simply not care?

A Bunch of Crybabies

If Friday's debate on the resolution to withdraw from Iraq proved anything, it's that the Democrats are a bunch of crybabies, as I point out in my weekly column. After spending months abusing George W. Bush and the Republicans in the most personal terms, suddenly, they're upset that the debate's been carried to them. If they can't take that, how, exactly, would they ever stand up to Al Qaeda?

Signs of Al Qaeda's Desperation

You won't read it in the MSM. So read it here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Debate That Actually Is Simple

According to this piece in The Houston Chronicle, defense and policy analysts

find little factual support for Democratic claims that the Bush administration concocted the Iraqi threat or provided purposely exaggerated intelligence to congressional leaders.

But the White House is open to criticism for selectively interpreting thin evidence and rushing into war before diplomacy had been exhausted, they said.

So, in other words, what the experts are saying is that Bush didn't lie. Instead, they fault him for the way he interpreted the evidence and for being unwilling to continue the decade-long U.N. quest to make a maniac comply with international law (law that, incidentally, the international body showed no inclination to enforce).

Here's the thing: Interpreting intelligence is not like reading an instruction manual; it's like reading poetry. Different interpretations of intelligence are possible -- in fact, they're almost impossible to avoid. Given the evidence that they had, the Administration (and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress) decided that the threat posed by Hussein was real and that they should err on the side of protecting the American people -- not of trusting Saddam Hussein's bona fides. Note that the Clinton administration had reached the same conclusion about Hussein -- but had simply declined to do anything to reduce or confront the threat that it, too, believed to exist.

As for the "rushing to war" issue, that's simply a policy criticism, and a not-very-intelligent one at that. All of us know that President Bush waited and went to the U.N. before deciding to wage war with the "coalition of the willing" (France and others were, apparently, unwilling to do anything that would jeopardize their kickbacks under the oil for food program). The position of the US government had been regime change since 1998. Saddam Hussein showed no inclination ever to cooperate with inspections; to the extent they "worked" (and we yet may find his wmd's went to Syria), we know that to be the case because we didn't trust him.

The whole diplomacy vs. force issue -- and the rest of the policy issues -- were addressed in last year's campaign, and resolved on the day that President George W. Bush beat John Kerry. Having lost the policy fight, Democrats have tried to turn the debate into one about the President's integrity -- a deeply cynical and misguided ploy.

In the end, these "experts" have basically clarified that the only issues outstanding are differences over policy -- and that there was no duplicity at any time. So it's actually not complicated . . . it's pretty simple.

Opening Pandora's Box

Did it ever occur to the Democrats that their politicization of the war on terror could hurt them, as well as the Republicans -- not to mention, of course, the country?

At least, for the most part, Republicans have the political fortune (and the right policy) of being unified in support for the war in Iraq. To the extent that Democrats are trying to "nationalize" next year's elections, the much greater disparity in views between the "Joe Liebermans" in Congress and the "KosKidz" in the base poses a real disadvantage.

The Emerging Dem Strategy on Alito?

This morning, Joe Biden spoke about the Alito nomination -- and hinted that the filibuster was a real possibility.

If you check the transcripts, it's notable that Biden backs away from basing his criticism on Alito's presumed opposition to Roe. Instead, Biden focuses on Alito's supposed misgivings about reapportionment.

Could it be that Biden -- and perhaps Democrats generally -- have realized that their "scare tactics" accusing Republicans of wanting to overturn Roe v. Wade have become of diminished effectiveness?

That may be why Biden instead is trying to raise quasi-racial issues, asking about Alito's commitment to the concept of "one man, one vote." Are the Democrats above a little misleading race baiting? I fear not.

Al Zarqawi Reported Dead

At least one Arab television outlet has reported that Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi is dead.

That would, needless to say, be good news for the war on terror.

Update: There is skepticism on the part of military leaders.

Rules Are Rules . . .

But sometimes they're made to be broken. Here's hoping that Rex is permitted to stay with his pet, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jamie Dana.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

"Let the Iraqis Stand Up For Iraq"

That was John Kerry's message this morning on Good Morning America Weekend.

More and more Democrats have been acting as though the Iraqi troops and people are being somehow derelict. Is there some example of Iraqi cowardice -- or reluctance to "stand up" for themselves -- that we should know about?

To me, the Kerry/Democrat attitude reeks of arrogance -- especially in light of the courage demonstrated by all the Iraqis who have demonstrated braved enormous obstacles and even terrorist threats to go to the polls.

Isn't Kerry a member of the same party that insists that laws simply requiring federal ID at polling places is unduly burdensome? Anyone who thinks it's too much trouble for Americans to have to obtain federal ID in order to exercise the franchise certainly isn't in a position to act like the Iraqis are either too incompetent or cowardly to take responsibility for their own country's security.

Dishing, But Not Taking

Having lied for months, if not years, about the President and the way the war in Iraq began, Democrats are now outraged -- outraged! -- that the Republicans actually forced them to do what elected representatives are supposed to do, i.e. vote on whether the USA should withdraw from Iraq. After all, it's so much easier to complain about the war than actually having to take a position on it -- especially when the whole country might be watching.

After months of calling the President a liar, Democrats seem inordinately sensitive to charges that they are the forces of retreat -- which they are today, just as many of them were in Vietnam.

Here is an excerpt from the linked AP piece, showing the House Dems at their tolerant best:

Democrats booed and shouted her down - causing the House to come to a standstill.

Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that it was an uncalled for personal attack. "You guys are pathetic. Pathetic," yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.

Wow. That's a lot of dignity emanating from the left. Best of all is John Kerry, who ponderously intoned, "I won't stand for the swift-boating of Jack Murtha." Well, Senator Kerry, last I checked, you hadn't actually ever responded to the real questions about your war record the Swift Boat vets raised, including your Christmas in Cambodia fable.

Gotta love the left -- good at dishing it, not so good at taking it. Funny how much less they like the "personal attacks" when they're directed at them, rather than at President Bush.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Calling Their Bluff

Even the Democrats know how crazy it is to call for immediate troop withdrawal.

Oh, they'll keep doing it. But not when it comes to having to put a vote on the record.

Access to the HOV Lanes

According to the AP and AOL, a pregnant woman in Phoenix is challenging high occupancy vehicle (HOV) restrictions that exclude her from use of the highway.

Here's the perfect solution: Pregnant pro-lifers get to use the HOV lanes -- after all, they believe there are two human beings in the car. Pregnant pro-choicers don't -- so they're out of luck (and sitting in traffic).

The New Attack on Alito

The same Daily Princetonian reporter that was responsible for the Walter Murphy debacle now reports that Sam Alito was, at one time, a member of Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) (thanks to Andrew for the tip). GASP!

Here's the piece. And here's how it tries to characterize CAP:

Interviews with several alumni who were students in the 1970s paint a picture of Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) as a far-right organization funded by conservative alumni committed to turning back the clock on coeducation at the University.

Give me a break. I was at Princeton from 1985 until 1989, and I never heard anything about anyone trying to "turn back the clock on coeducation." If CAP had any bearing on coeducational policy at all, it was with regard to whether single-sex eating clubs (private institutions catering to Princeton students) should be forced to admit women. Whatever one's views on that, there was a good legal argument to be made for freedom of association (and that case was made in a well-written note in Volume 104 of The Harvard Law Review). (Note also that the "Sally Franks" who's quoted in the piece was the feminist activist who sued the all-male eating clubs; asking her about CAP would be like asking the Pope for his comments on NARAL).

As for the Prospect magazine that's referenced with bated breath in the piece, it was run (at least during 1985, before it was defunct) by Laura Ingraham and Dinesh D'Souza, I believe.

In short, members of CAP included people like Terry Eastland, publisher of The Weekly Standard and Fox legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. Note to my young friends at the Prince: In the real world, we call them "mainstream conservatives."

To the extent its members are caricatured as being scary right wing weirdos -- well, more than anything, maybe that tells you about the monolithic liberal mindsets of those doing the accusing.

Explaining How It Works

Howard Fineman indulges in some heavy breathing about how 1985 documents (wherein Judge Alito expressed doubt about Roe v. Wade) could cause potential political problems for Republicans and Democrats alike.

He notes that it's bad for Republicans to look "beholden" to their base (at least sometimes, as he adds), and for Democrats to look like culturally clueless pro-abortion zealots. But there are interesting numbers in his piece:

While voters tend to identify themselves as “pro-choice,” by a 57-34 percent majority, they are far from supporting abortion under any circumstances, and strong majorities are quite willing to support the kinds of procedural restrictions that drive pro-choice purists crazy. . . .

Democrats (and the rest of the country) strongly support certain hedges around abortion rights: parental consent for teenagers (68 percent “yes” for Democrats, 71 percent in the country as a whole); parental notification (73 and 78 percent respectively); counseling on the dangers of abortion (78 and 81 percent); notification of the husband (64 and 67 percent); 24-hour waiting period (67 and 71).

For Republicans, that's actually good news -- although Fineman, of course, wouldn't say so. But they need to make sure that the American people understand how our constitutional system works (which, thanks to too many poor quality public schools, many don't).

The message should be this: If Roe v. Wade is struck down, all that means to the American people is that they'll be able to decide what abortion restrictions are acceptable, and which aren't. In contrast, the Democrats want nine unelected justices to decide which restrictions should be put in place and which shouldn't.

In the end: Republicans trust you, the people. Democrats don't. Simple as that.

Shame on the Dems (and the MSM)

Here's what I'm talking about. Rep. John Murtha, a Democrat, comes out and says that the war can't be won as it's currently being fought. It's headlined, of course, as an elected official saying that the war cannot be won -- leading a casual skimmer of the paper (or the internet) to believe that he's insisting that the war cannot be won. Period. Shame on the MSM.

But shame on the Democrats, too. They're willing to let America lose a war -- and to let terrorists win Iraq, with potentially devastating consequences for all of us -- simply because of their virtually unhinged hatred for George W. Bush and love of political power.

Here's what the Democrats should be saying: "Though we disagree with the President about how to achieve it, we all share one goal -- victory in Iraq. And the USA is committed to making sure that terrorists are defeated and that we leave that country only when we are confident that it will be a secure and functioning state."

Ironically, such a statement would help us get out of there faster by convincing the insurgents that they couldn't win. Instead, every day, Democrats give them dribbles and drabbles of hope -- hope that makes our soldiers' jobs ever hard and victory even more difficult to attain. But the Democrats don't care -- so long as they think they can win a transient political victory.

Some leaders. How amazing -- after hearing Osama bin Laden, in effect, predict that the US didn't have the staying power to be a "strong horse" -- that Democrats would work so diligently to prove him right.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

America Needs the Patriot Act

And Republican senators Larry Craig, John Sunnunu and Lisa Murkowski need to get out of the way.

If you were a Republican senator, wouldn't you know something was wrong by virture of the very fact that the other half of your "bipartisan group" was Dick ("American servicemen are like Nazis, Communists and the Khmer Rouge") Durbin; Ken ("I believe judges deserve an up or down vote, but only until I get elected") Salazar and Russ (the only senator to vote against the 2001 Patriot Act) Feingold?

Vanity . . .

Thy name is Specter and Harkin. How about a little more attention to winning the war on terror, and a little less attention to ourselves, Senators?

Careful What You Wish For

The press has created this monster; now it'll have to live with him.

On Illegal Immigration

Linda Chavez bemoans the "demagoguery" surrounding the issue of illegal immigration, and attributes Republican gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore's defeat, in part, to his misuse of the issue.

That's fine, as far as it goes. But it's more likely that Kilgore lost because (1) he inexplicably refused to sign a no-new-taxes pledge and (2) waffled all over in a question about what he would do if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Finally, attitudes in Virginia about illegal immigration aren't necessarily generally representative because, after all, Virginia isn't a border state.

People there, I would bet, hold roughly the same views I did before I married and moved to California in 1998. For them, certainly, illegal immigration is a violation of the law (setting aside the most important consideration -- implications for terrorism post 9/11) and is therefore unacceptable; but on the other hand, inexpensive labor keeps costs down and holds greedy and overly demanding unions at bay.

It takes some experience living in a border state, where the spillover effects of the illegal immigration are felt every day (as I explained here) to really understand why the issue elicits such passion among some.

Finally, Ms. Chavez writes:

Yet most polls show that illegal immigration is way down on the list of concerns motivating most voters, and Republicans may be confusing the intensity of the small number of people for whom it is a top priority - usually about 10 percent of voters - with its overall appeal as an election issue.

But here's a nightmare scenario that all Republicans should keep in mind: Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee in 2008, running against a "Republican regular." Then, out of the southwest, a Perot-like single issue candidate emerges, running solely on border security. Certainly, that candidate can't win. But he could, perhaps, attract enough otherwise-Republican voters in states like New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and even Oklahoma that President Clinton II (elected, like her husband, with only a plurality of the vote) would be striding into the Oval Office come January '09.

That's why the GOP has to address the illegal immigration problem -- which is, above all, a national security problem! -- and the sooner, the better.

Contraception, Not Abortion?

If the science it's based on is true, Steve Chapman has a compelling argument on behalf of the morning-after pill.

Damaged Goods?

Deborah Orin writes about how Bob Woodward's revelation could damage Patrick Fitzgerald's case against Lewis Libby, perhaps even fatally.

The Washington Times, in fact, calls for the indictment against Libby to be withdrawn.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Calling All Liberal Wal-Mart Haters

Here, Jon Stossel explains it in terms even the most economically illiterate can understand. Yes, Virginia, Wal-Mart is good for America.

A Sorry Excuse . . .

So Bob Woodward has finally admitted to The Washington Post that he was told the identity of Joe Wilson's wife over two years ago -- but didn't inform his bosses at the paper of that fact until late last month. Incidentally, that's after Lewis Libby was indicted for testimony that might have been deemed irrelevant had Woodward stepped forward at the appropriate time. (No, it doesn't justify Libby in lying, if he did so. But it does reveal the needlessly harmful consequences of Woodward's decision to withhold relevant information from the investigation).

It must be grating for the rest of the Post's reporters to watch Woodward engage in activity that, if attempted by others, would earn them a pink slip and a walk out the door. In any case, it's pretty clear that Woodward is the big man on the Post campus -- how else can someone with relevant information simply tell another reporter at his own paper that he declines to participate in coverage of a big, important story, about which he has first-hand knowledge?

In the end, what seems clear is that The Washington Post, a great newspaper, was burned by the selfishness of one of its premier employees. Apparently, Woodward just didn't want to be subpoenaed -- and that's all that mattered, as far as he was concerned.

Of course, that interview he gave on Larry King, where he characterized the Plame investigation as one of minimal importance, takes on a whole new meaning; obviously, Woodward had his own reasons for underplaying its significance. And even though I agree with him on the substance, the next time I hear Woodward opine, it'll be hard not to wonder if some other, unknown agenda is motivating his opinion.

And it's interesting to remember that we wouldn't know even today about what Woodward knew and when he knew it -- except that his source burned him.

It seems clear to me that Woodward was saving the big scoop for his forthcoming book -- whatever the damage to Lewis Libby, Karl Rove, The Washington Post, or anyone or anything else. Not a pretty day for The Post or for the one-time crusading journalist of the Watergate era.

A Recipe for Irrelevance

So Abe Foxman of the Anti Defamation League has decided that it's time to take on evangelicals, rather than working with them.

How silly. As some "experts" in the linked story point out, Jewish people have little to fear from the "conservative Christian" agenda. In fact, if any truth has increasingly emerged over time, it's that people of faith (any faith) in this country have more in common with each other, whatever their denomination, than with the less religious/secular elements of their own religions.

Moreover, the qualities that Christians stress -- tolerance, respect for others, respect for religious faith of many kinds -- are precisely those that protect religious minorities, like Jews. One will recall that many of the places where Jews have suffered the worst oppression and victimization, including Hitler's Germany and Communist Russia, weren't exactly hotbeds of religious faiths. In fact, they were hostile to religion.

Foxman's turning on the Christian right seems to me to indicate that he's more about politics than religion (and, as RZafft notes below, it certainly reflects a fear that President Bush's outreach could erode the Democrats' near monopoly of the Jewish vote). It's hard not to wonder how at home Foxman (and other Jews, for that matter) feel with a Democratic party whose last president, Bill Clinton, counted Yasser Arafat as his most frequent White House guest.

In any case, by turning against those who are his natural allies on a host of issues (including Israel's security), Foxman loses the chance to actually influence the policies to which he objects, and becomes just one more liberal group decrying the existence of the religious right.

Boxer's Book: Stupendously Awful

Of course you're not surprised. But here's review, in all its hideous splendor from the intrepid John J. Miller, who actually read it. Shudder. (HT:Polipundit).

A Different View on Yesterday's Debacle

Jack Kelly disagrees with those of us who are angry over what seems like a clear retreat in the U.S. Senate yesterday.

I'm not sure I agree with him -- but, as always, his ideas are worth noting.

Democrats Emboldened

After yesterday's debacle, why wouldn't Dems be emboldened? For the time being, at least, it looks like they're driving the agenda in the U.S. Senate.

So it's no surprise that Harry Reid should suddenly express vocal misgivings about Judge Alito in the wake of news that Alito wrote 20 years ago that he found no abortion right in the Constitution. Like sharks, Dems smell blood in the water, and they'll carry it as far as the Republicans will let them. After the weakness manifested by Republicans yesterday, sadly, it's impossible to deny that the prospect of filibustering Alito gained a a whole new life.

And although Lindsay Graham, Olympia Snowe and Mike DeWine have all eschewed the use of a filibuster in Judge Alito's case, it's hard to know whether they'll view their previous positions on the ALito nomination as any more binding than their previous full-throated support for the war in Iraq and the President's strategy there -- both of which they undermined greatly with their votes yesterday.

Episcopal Secession

South Riding Church has seceded from the Episcopal diocese of Virginia.

Bush Will Bounce Back

I share Jeff Jacoby's optimism.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Politically Dumb, Too

Perhaps the Senate Republican profiles in cowardice don't care that they made Harry Reid and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi's day. But they most certainly care about their own precious political skins.

So here's something to think about. Right now, Republicans are down in all the polls, except, as noted here, when it comes to maintaining a strong defense, strong moral values, and in the war on terror.

Today's vote did nothing but move the Republicans further toward the Democrats' position -- blurring and softening the distinction that has been their greatest strength. Does anyone think the Warner Amendment would reinforce an image of a GOP voters that wants a strong defense? Or a party that's on offense in the war on terror? Not likely.

Go ahead, Republican senators -- eliminate any difference between you and your opponents in the two areas where you're actually preferred. And then see what happens next year. No fair saying you weren't warned . . . you're being warned now.

As to what the vote says about the third area of GOP strength -- strong moral values -- well, I leave it to each reader to decide. How would you describe a senator who would desert the President on a vital foreign policy issue when he's abroad, when he and his colleagues have approved of Administration policy all along -- and when he knows the President's right? There are a few descriptive phrases that spring to my mind . . . but "strong moral values" isn't one of them.

A Grave and Self-Inflicted Wound

All the Republicans in the Senate who caved to the Democrats and called for alleged "accountability" today in the war on terror have inflicted a grave wound upon themselves -- and everyone else in their party.

As this piece indicates, the vote will be spun as a defeat for everything that Republicans do (or should) care about. Minority Leader Harry Reid interpreted the vote for a compliant MSM:

"Today you saw a vote of no confidence in the Bush administration's policy on Iraq. Democrats and Republicans acknowledged that staying the course is not the way to go."

Nice going, guys. You've made Zarqawi's day.

And all for the sake of political grandstanding. Exactly what information do you need that you don't have (or can't get)? And what makes any of you think that you can run the war better than the President?

What a bunch of gutless, weak-kneed (and politically tone-deaf) cowards. In my view, Republicans should decline to support any senator for President who voted for this disgraceful legislation. That means you, George Allen -- and Bill Frist, too. Worthless and weak. Shame on all of them.

How to Lose the War (And the Senate)

Senate Republicans cave -- disgracefully. And call for seeing the President's "strategy" for withdrawing from Iraq.

The President has laid out his strategy -- it's called "victory." Senators do not help by reacting to (and thereby implicitly validating) the bizarre paranoia emanating from their political adversaries.

Go on, Republican senators. Hand a road map to Zarqawi. Tell him how long he has to hold on before America will desert the Iraqis like they did the South Vietnamese (or at least indicate that political restlessness exists to such a degree that such desertion is eventually almost inevitable). And then watch as the US loses Iraq, and is handed a defeat in the war on terror. And don't think that the Democrats will take any responsibility for their part in such a debable -- just look at how they're lying about the reasons for their vote to wage war in Iraq . . . the same war they're now working hard to lose.

Senate Republicans instead need to see that our progress in the Iraq war is better publicized and that the President is better defended from the crazy notion that he lied about intelligence to lure us into war. Above all, blurring Republican and Democratic messages on the war on terror is nothing but a sure road map to defeat -- most importantly, in the war on terror, and then, deservedly, on the domestic political front.

There is almost nothing that would tempt me ever to stay home on Election Day. But watching Republicans become complicit in losing the war on terror would be one of them.

The "Ruth Marcus" Fallacy

Here, Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post tries to rewrite history in a piece called "The Ginsburg Fallacy." She claims that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was effectively a bipartisan consensus pick pushed by Republicans for the Supreme Court -- and that "Ginsburg [is not] to liberal as Alito is to conservative."

Wrong. In support of her "consensus pick" theory, Marcus cites only . . . Orin Hatch. And the fact that Orin Hatch "pre-approved" RBG doesn't mean that he agreed with her; the fact is that Republicans haven't made pro-Roe views a disqualifying factor in considering Supreme Court nominations as Democrats have made anti-Roe views.

More importantly -- I was a Senate staffer at the time, in charge of nominations for the senator for whom I worked. And Marcus is just incorrect in suggesting that Republicans were relatively complacent about the nomination. They weren't. Almost every Republican senator knew what RBG stood for, knew how she would vote on the Court (as she has -- consistently with the left), and was unhappy about it.

In fact, some young Senate staffers :) wanted to launch a fight against the nomination. But we were told point-blank that the Republican senators simply weren't going to let it happen: The President was entitled to his picks -- even if we were adamantly opposed to all they stood for -- so long as they were within the relatively wide goalposts of American judicial thought, left or right, and had no ethical or temperament problems.

That, Ms. Marcus, is the real story of how RBG got on the Supreme Court. And when Marcus writes: "Either those peddling this conveniently muddled version of events don't remember it correctly or they are betting that others won't" -- well, she is actually describing herself, whether she means to or not.

Update: Marcus disingenuously cites the following statistic: "According to a Legal Times study of voting patterns on the appeals court in 1987, for instance, Ginsburg sided more often with Republican-appointed judges than with those chosen by Democrats." As a preliminary matter, that's one year -- out of the twelve that Ginsburg spent on the DC Circuit (1981-1993). Moreover, speaking as a former clerk on the D.C. Circuit, although it handles veryimportant and sometimes complex matters, many of the cases have to do with arcane administrative law matters, which don't necessarily implicate a judge's ideology. So even if, for one year, RBG agreed more with the Republican appointees than the Democrats, that proves little -- and don't think that the Republican senators wouldn't have known that.

Unforgivable Intelligence Giveaway

William Bennett nails Jay Rockefeller -- vice chairman of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- here.

On last weekend's Fox News Sunday, Jay Rockefeller announces that he made a trip in January 2002 and told Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria that the President was determined to go to war with Iraq.

To paraphrase what Bennett writes, What was he thinking?! That was before the President had even talked about war with Iraq. Yes, it probably is time for an investigation of what other government policy Rockefeller may have compromised or disclosed without authorization. No one's claiming that Rockefeller gave away "classified" information -- but by indicating that he was sharing his "views" so unreservedly, especially with Syria, a declared enemy of America, he certainly leads one to wonder. And it's worth asking whether such a tip-off might have helped precipitate a plan for Iraq to move some of its WMD's to Syria (a possibility that's routinely ignored).

How pathetic -- and how ugly and how disgraceful -- are the Democrats' efforts to slither out from under the votes they cast, so that they have more freedom to try to blame the President for anything that goes wrong in the war on terror.

Monday, November 14, 2005

"Deliberately Misleading", indeed!

Hmmm. Looks like it wasn't the administration that Colin Powell accused of having been "deliberately misleading" -- it was Tim Russert's replaying of his quote, where he was condemning flawed intelligence source "Curveball."

Sweetness and Light has the details.

All Right, Commenters!

Hey, everyone (or, rather, commenters to post below)! Stop maligning me! As I said, the fact is that Alito's views aren't out of the mainstream -- in fact, they are those that President Bush promised to find in a jurist. The other two considerations are those that the Gang of 14 (some of whom are tantamount to abortion absolutists)should keep in mind.

OK? So no one is "spinning" anything. Wow. You guys are harsh today! :)

Alito & Abortion

Hopefully, Senate Republicans like Arlen Specter are learning why, exactly, the President wanted hearings for the Alito nomination to be scheduled before Christmas.

The long gap between the nomination and the hearing offers liberal plenty of time to manufacture arguments against his confirmation.

Case in point: Liberals are going to go crazy over the information contained in this piece -- which notes that Judge Alito wrote, back in 1985, that he didn't believe there was a constitutional right to abortion.

But even liberals should, in fairness, consider that (1) Judge Alito's views may have shifted over time; and (2) that he may have gained greater appreciation for the virtues of stare decisis during his tenure as a judge.

But above all, it should be made crystal clear to everyone in America that believing that abortion isn't a right secured by the constitution is hardly out of the mainstream. Chief Justice William Rehnquist didn't believe it, nor did Justice Byron White -- nor has any Republican presidential candidate since 1980 -- nor, most consequentially, does a sizable proportion of the American public.

Anniversary Moment

Today is my seventh wedding anniversary. Don't worry -- I'm not going to get mushy. I just wanted to thank the best husband in the world, who makes this blog (and everything else I do) possible through his love, support and advice.

I am truly the most blessed woman in the world.

Vulgar Self Promotion Moment

I was tickled pink when one of my former colleagues on Senator Bond's staff alerted me to this -- second item.

Gore: Global Warming More Serious Than Terrorism

Unbelievable. According to Al Gore:

I don't want to diminish the threat of terrorism at all, it is extremely serious, but on a long-term global basis, global warming is the most serious problem we are facing.

What a profoundly silly remark. If some terrorist detonates a nuclear bomb in downtown Manhattan, it's going to be worse for the environment than a millennium of gas emissions or aerosol pumps -- not to mention, of course, the rather more immediately deleterious effects on human life (not that Gore seems to worry about human life all that much).

Global warming may (or may not) be a serious problem. But what Gore's saying is ridiculous. It's a little like President Bush arguing that, yes, Hurricane Katrina is "extremely serious," but what really matters is getting tax rates down so that the economy can grow.

Part of leadership is being able to evaluate and prioritize threats. Can you imagine if we were in the second term of a President Gore? We'd all have signed onto the Kyoto Protocol (so the economy would be headed into the ground), even as Osama bin Laden continued unimpeded his efforts to sneak WMD into this country.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

No Truth, No Plan

For Republicans, Howard Dean is the gift that keeps on giving. Exhibit 1: Two huge gaffes he made this morning on "Meet the Press".

Dean's agenda clearly was to try to communicate to the American people the importance of "truth telling," and to purvey the lefty fantasy that George Bush "lied." How unfortunate for Dean, then, that he started off being caught in a lie himself:

MR. RUSSERT: What did [President Bush]withhold?

DR. DEAN: He withheld--he knew, he knew that there was no connection between Saddam and 9/11 and he insisted on trying to make that case to the American people.

MR. RUSSERT: But he never said Saddam was involved in September 11.

DR. DEAN: He never actually came out and said just that. But in every speech he gave during the campaign and afterwards, he left the impression. He left the impression with 65 percent of the American people, who agreed that Saddam had something to do with 9/11.

Huh? Well, according to John McCain, more young Americans believe that Elvis is alive than believe that they'll ever get a social security check. So is George Bush "leaving the impression" that Elvis lives -- proved by the fact that some Americans believe that, too?

But that wasn't all -- Dean came right out and admitted that the Democrats currently have no plan governing the country.

DR. DEAN: Tim, first of all, we don't control the House, the Senate or the White House. We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is and we will long before the '06 elections.

MR. RUSSERT: But there's no Democratic plan on Social Security. There's no Democratic plan on the deficit problem. There's no specifics. They say, "Well, we want a strong Social Security. We want to reduce the deficit. We want health care for everyone," but there's no plan how to pay for it.

DR. DEAN: Right now it's not our job to give out specifics. We have no control in the House. We have no control in the Senate. It's our job is to stop this administration, this corrupt and incompetent administration, from doing more damage to America. And that's what we're going to do. We're doing our best.

Message to America: Don't worry -- Democrats aren't obligated to have a plan, because they're not in the majority. Just elect 'em and then, surprise! They'll tell you afterwards what, exactly, they're going to do. In a microcosm, Dean's statement exemplified the Democratic political approach: Add nothing of value, just attack and besmirch. That's good enough . . . because it's not about helping America. It's about returning the Democrats to power.

Talk about trying to convince Americans to buy a pig in a poke . . . Republicans can only hope that Howard Dean is the best the Democrats have to offer.

No wonder Dean was afraid to go head to head with Ken Mehlman.

Dishonest and Misleading

Here she goes again. Kate Michelman, Head of the National Abortion Rights Action League, that is.

I sympathize with Ms. Michelman's plight all those years ago -- left pregnant, and deserted by her husband. That being said, her equating the requirement to obtain spousal consent for abortion with spousal notification (the legislation that Judge Alito found to be constitutional) is getting a little old. The two requirements are entirely different in scope and impact.

Most outrageously, Michelman attempts to slime Judge Alito by analogizing her situation to a Pennsylvania statute that he found to be constitutional under the Supreme Court precedent at the time. But her entire argument is incredibly dishonest, given that, as Chief Justice Rehnquist noted in his Casey dissent, there were numerous exceptions to even the spousal notification provisions at issue in the case Alito had ruled on:

A woman is not required to notify her husband if (1) her husband is not the father, (2) her husband, after diligent effort, cannot be located, (3) the pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) the woman has reason to believe that notifying her husband is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her by him or by another individual. In addition, a woman is exempted from the notification requirement in the case of a medical emergency. (citations omitted)

Given that these exceptions were part of the laws at issue, how could Michelman write the following:

The only women who would be burdened were all those left in the middle — women like me, women in extraordinary and individualized circumstances that neither laws nor legal standards could possibly anticipate.?

In fact, the Pennsylvania legislation before Judge Alito did, precisely, anticipate "extraordinary and individualized circumstances". And in any case, the Pennsylvania statute at issue required only that "woman must sign a statement indicating that she has notified her husband of her planned abortion", as the Chief Justice wrote. No proof required. Hardly tantamount to Michelman's nightmarish scenario of being subjected to an "invasive and humiliating interrogation before a hospital review board."

People at the LA Times Sunday Currents have shown me great kindness, and I like them -- but I'm surprised that an opinion piece this deeply misleading and fundamentally flawed made it into the pages of the LA Times.

Batty Beatty

The incomparable Mark Steyn toys with Warren Beatty like a cat with a spectacularly dim and wrinkly ball of yarn:

Beatty, by contrast, has come up the hard way, working his way through the long, hard daily grind of Natalie Wood, Leslie Caron, Brigitte Bardot, Cher, Julie Christie, Diane Keaton, Isabelle Adjani . . . He can sympathize with the underclass: He knows how it feels to hit rock bottom -- apparently, it was Madonna's in ''Dick Tracy.'' He understands what it's like to try to make ends meet. Crucially for California, he's sensitive to the needs of immigrants: He appreciates the difficulties European art-house actresses have in finding bankable Hollywood stars prepared to go to bed with them.

Hilarious. That's why I'm going to go hear him speak on December 2 when he's honored at the Claremont Institute's Churchill Dinner on December 2.

Look to Thyself, Forrester

In a stunning display of rank ungraciousness, gubernatorial loser Doug Forrester has blamed his loss to Jon Corzine on President Bush.

Hmmm. Seems that I recall Forrester also losing to Frank Lautenberg in 2002 -- after Lautenberg was called in as a fourth quarter replacement for Bob Torricelli in contravention of New Jersey election law. And Forrester lost in a year that was otherwise very good for Republican senate candidates, who picked up formerly Democratic seats in Minnesota, Missouri and Georgia. Wonder how Forrester explains that defeat?

In any case, Forrester's probably wrong in his assessment of his latest loss, as this analysis from Michael Barone suggests:

In 2004, John Kerry carried the state 53 to 46 percent. One year later, Jon Corzine won 53 to 44 percent. Once again [as in 2001], the Democratic candidate for governor got the same percentage as the Democratic candidate for president, and the Republican candidate for governor got 2 percent less than the Republican candidate for president.

Back in 2001 during election season, Bush's approval ratings were in the high 70's. And still the Republican gubernatorial candidate lost handily. So it doesn't seem that the New Jersey governor's race is terribly sensitive to presidential approval numbers, one way or the other. In light of the Democratic scandals in New Jersey, Forrester may have expected to do better, but the fact that he didn't can't be blamed on the president.

As difficult as it is, perhaps Forrester should look to himself . . . and come to grips with the fact that New Jersey is, sadly, a blue state.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Scheer Out at LA TImes

Robert Scheer reveals that he was fired yesterday from the L.A. Times here.

A Test of Character

The Maternal Optimist passes along a revealing anecdote about the character of Chief Justice Roberts.

More On Torture

The Wall Street Journal explains why going along with John McCain's explicit ban on torture would be tantamount to unilateral disarmament in the war on terror.

And David Gelernter speaks for those of us who are anti-torture -- but who also oppose the McCain Amendment.

They're must reads.

Telling It Like It Is

Jim Wooten, associate editorial page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is hardly a conservative. But he's an honest man, and he lets the Democrats have it.

Honest people can disagree on the war in Iraq. They can disagree, too, on whether the "ownership society" vision Bush offers is healthier for the nation than one that continues to expand social programs.

But there can be no doubt that the country is not well served by this prolonged effort by Democrats to settle a 5-year-old hanging-chad grievance or to recast history so as to make presidential dishonesty something they all do, thereby minimizing the sin of Bush's predecessor.

This generation of Democrats is so tormented by memories of Florida and impeachment that they are driven to the edge of madness in search of retribution — even when it comes at the expense of undermining the war on terrorism.


Radio Tonight

For those in Los Angeles, I will be hosting Live from L.A. Weekend on 99.5 FM, KKLA. We'll be talking about politics, news, culture -- and more! Tune in, and call in at (818) 995-KKLA!

Friday, November 11, 2005

It's the Lying, Stupid

This NY Times story is headlined: "Bush Contends Partisan Critics Hurt the War Effort."

It's clear, from the text of the speech, that the headline is misleading. Here's what Bush said:

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will."

In other words, Bush wasn't calling for the cessation of partisan criticism -- he was objecting to the use of "false charges" as part of it.

But if you really think about it -- when Democrats criticize the progress we're making in Iraq, assert that foreign policy is being formulated by a cabal, when they complain about the failure to find Bin Laden or Zarqawi, when they press for a scheduled withdrawal (even when they realize this will simply give the terrorists a timetable and assurance that we're leaving whether or not the job is done) -- well, how, exactly, does any of that help the war effort?

Rove is Back

Karl Rove offered a spirited defense of the proper function of the judiciary in this speech.

One sentence in particular caught my interest: The difficulty for those who do not anchor judicial decision in the words and meaning of the Constitution is that those decisions are anchored in nothing at all.

It struck me that Rove's point here is analogous to that made by those who argue that morality cannot be detached from a belief in God. For without God, speaking through a holy text, "moral" decisions are rooted in nothing more than a set of ever-shifting preferences and trends -- based on nothing more than our own human, subjective and flawed decisions.

It's About Time

President Bush came out swinging today, finally calling the Democrats on the lies that some have been telling -- and others have been allowing them to get away with.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.

Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions, citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the president of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat and a grave threat to our security."

That's why more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate, who had access to the same intelligence, voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high and the national interest is too important for politicians to throw out false charges. These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will.

As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough.

And our troops deserve to know that, whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united and we will settle for nothing less than victory.

Read the full text here.

A Blessed Veterans' Day

O beautiful for heroes proved
in liberating strife;
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life . . .

This Veterans' Day, say a prayer for the magnificent men and women who have sacrificed or risked their lives so that America may always remain free and unafraid. May God bless them all.

What Happened in Collyfornia?

Here's my piece in National Review Online analyzing the failure of Arnold's reform agenda and offering some suggestions as to how he should proceed.

Given his most recent statements, however -- about the importance of "working together" with the Democrats to the extent of letting them participate in the drafting of his State of the State address -- it doesn't sound like he's headed down the right path (in either sense of the word).

And just one question: How do you "work together" with people who have no interest in working with you?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The All-Purpose Smear

So Senator Frank Lautenberg has deemed Judge Alito to be "insensitive". Isn't that just the perfect all-purpose smear? It sounds bad but means nothing at all -- as, in fact, Lautenberg implicitly acknowledged when he waited half a day after making the charge to even attempt to back it up.

After being forced to try to adduce facts to back up his inflammatory allegation, Lautenberg revealed that Judge Alito had offended his sensitivities by ruling in some cases against female or minority parties. Suffice it to say that the entire episode doesn't speak well for the Senator's intellect.

It's ridiculous to argue that an adverse ruling against a particular party indicate some kind of invidious dislike for a gender or minority group generally. And indeed, in the end, if Lautenberg's argument were to be taken seriously, Alito would have to have ruled in favor of female and minority parties simply because of race and gender, just to prove his own color- or genderblindness (i.e., he'd have to discriminate to prove he doesn't discriminate).

That, of course, would make him "insensitive" to the concept of "equal justice under law". And for a judge, that's the only "insensitivity" that really matters.

Hurray for the Girl-cott!

Abercrombie & Fitch -- one of the most repugnant companies out there -- was at it again. As this piece notes, it was purveying t-shirts to teenaged girls with degrading messages on them . . . stuff like "Who needs brains when you have these?" and "I had a nightmare I was a brunette."

Well, there was a backlash from teenaged girls themselves! And now A & F has withdrawn the t-shirts (they have a history of beating a hasty retreat when their sordid little departures from good taste and common sense are criticized).

Interestingly, one of the original stories about the t-shirt kerfuffle included a quote from a psychologist opining that the shirts could be "mentally detrimental" to the girls.

How silly. This isn't a "mental health issue." Isn't it enough that the shirts are vulgar, inappropriate and degrading?

Good riddance.

Missing Tom DeLay

Republicans today found themselves unable to eke out a bare majority for a package of spending cuts and policy changes -- despite having made major concessions to moderates in an effort to pick up their vote.

It's hard to read news like this and not miss the organization and discipline that Tom DeLay brought to the Republican caucus. It's also hard to understand what the holdouts are thinking when they fail to come to terms. After all, moderates have a stake in their party retaining the House majority -- a task that becomes infinitely harder unless something is done to pull disaffected conservatives back into accord with the party.

Senseless pandering -- pulling stunts like pummelling oil companies, while ignoring CIA leakers who really need to be called on the carpet, just isn't going to get the job done (if the companies have broken the law, prosecute 'em. If they haven't, then leave them alone). It's bad policy -- and it opens a "soak the rich" front in the political battle that Republicans will never be able to win.

As Michael Barone points out in his analysis of the New Jersey and Virginia elections, turnout was down generally. Low turnout in conservative areas also helped cost Arnold Schwarzenegger dearly in the California elections.

Granted, they were off-year elections -- but people stay home when they're demoralized, and right now, a lot of Republicans across the country are demoralized. It's up to the Republicans in the House to get it together; without a significant morale boost, things will look uglier than they need to, this time next year.