May 29, 2009

Mancow's a Frickin' Idiot
— Ace

He got "waterboarded" by some untrained guy -- who now says he had no idea what he was doing, and just guessed based on what he read on Wikipedia.

The "waterboarding" consisted of just pouring a buttload water from a pitcher into his mouth until he coughed it up.

Mancow sprang up and declared he felt like he was drowning.

Idiot, you were drowning, you stupid douchenozzle.

That's why it felt "just like you were drowning." See how that works? Like if I pour lighter fluid all over my genitals and then ignite it, it will feel just like my hog is on fire.

And then you went out and proclaimed it was "torture" on Olbermann.

Waterboarding, properly done, does in fact simulate the feeling of drowning. But the reason Mancow -- or Girlcow, as Howard Stern used to call him -- could only take five seconds of it is that here, drowning wasn't simulated. He was really drowning.

This doesn't prove it's "torture" either way. It does, however, prove what no one previously thought needed much proving: That slapdash stunts by shock-jocks are probably not what courts would deem "best evidence."

Keith Olbermann, however, put the guy on, and is having him on again to attempt to rescue them both from ridicule.

I know it's just wrong to say this -- oh so wrong -- but I hope he fails.

By the Way: Allah asks why Mancow didn't pop up and declare it non-torture.

Um, that's easy: Because he's a shock jock and does Wacky Radio Stunts (TM) to get attention and media exposure. You get more attention by claiming something unexpected than something expected.

How often do we see the New York Times quote contrarian Republicans? "Even some Republicans support Obama's economics plans..."

On top of that, because he was such a whiny little sissy about it, he could hardly cry and make the Bad Man stop and then say, "Oh, that wasn't so bad. But I'm just a sad little girl with almost no tolerance whatsoever for discomfort, so I had to cry like a bitch to get him to stop. Despite how non-torturous it was."

Even if his initial intent wasn't to just grab headlines by acting as one of the Some Republicans Say people, once he cried like baby, he sort of had to talk about how awful it was, right? You can't cry like a sissy and then admit you're just very sensitive to discomfort.

Posted by: Ace at 12:44 PM | Comments (1)
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Army Field-Testing "Judge Dredd" Super-Grenade-Launcher
— Ace

What makes it super? Well, everything. Basically the idea is that the shooter can tell the gun at precisely what distance to air-burst the shell. So if a jihadi is hiding behind a corner, you tell the gun to set the charge off just as it passes his position, blowing it up at an angle from which he has no cover. Same deal if he's in a trench -- you blow it up just as it passes over his head.

It basically denies an enemy the advantage of cover.

Pictured: The XM 25 being tested by Master Sergeant Brian Dennehy

The way a soldier operates this is you basically find your target, then laze to it, which gives the range, then you get an adjusted aim point, adjust fire and pull the trigger," deputy program manager Richard Audette told Army News Service. "Say you've lazed out to 543 meters ... when you pull the trigger it arms the round and fires it 543 meters plus or minus a one-, two- or three-meter increment, then it explodes over the target."

By which he means: Once you lase in the distance, you can then add or subtract one to three meters, so that the shell will blow up that many meters in front or behind him.

A squad trying to neutralize an enemy fighter wouldn't have to wait until he showed himself — instead, they could just aim to a spot near him, then use the XM-25 to have a grenade explode directly there.

"For example, in Iraq we had many instances where there was a sniper firing from a rooftop and you have a squad trying to engage that target, but the soldiers couldn't get to him with the weapons they had, so they'd call in the Air Force to drop a JDAM (joint direct attack munition)," said Audette. "We can take out the target at $25 per XM round as opposed to a $20,000 to $50,000 JDAM."

It has a half-mile range, too.

I'm 99% sure this is really a successor prototype to the XM8 weapon mentioned here on the early days of the blog. So here's the old top ten for it, updated with fresher references.


Posted by: Ace at 11:51 AM | Comments (9)
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Senator Coburn Will Seek Re-Election
— Ace

He had made noises about quitting the Senate to focus on his medical practice.

Thankfully, he's decided to stand for another term.

Posted by: Ace at 10:33 AM | Comments (6)
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Is Sotomayor Racist?
— Ace

At Volokh, Ilya Somin says no:

Both Taylor and I have been very critical of Judge Sotomayor's 2001 speech where she claimed that "a wise Latina" judge will generally make better decisions than a white male one, and argued that judges can often legitimately base decisions in part on their racial or ethnic identity. I believe her position is wrong. But it isn't racist. Sotomayor did not suggest that whites are an inferior race relative to some other group or that they should be denied equal rights or relegated to second-class citizenship. Conservatives often rightly denounce overblown accusations of racism advanced by leftists. For that reason, among others, it is important that they avoid committing the same sin themselves.

What's Somin's definition of racism? Re-stating his negative as an affirmative, it appears he thinks racism is "suggest[ing] that whites are an inferior race relative to some other group or relegated to second-class citizenship."

Well, Sotomayor did not expressly contend the latter, but she sure as hell suggested the former: She believes that, "more often than not," a wise Latina will perform her job better than a white male. For no other reason than she is, in fact, a wise Latina.

(And, in fact, if you believe the former, the latter pretty much flows from it as an unavoidable consequence. But I don't need to prove that, as Somin allows that either prong of his test establishes racism.)

I'm having difficulty reading this in any manner but a flat-out assertion of Wise Latina Power.

What's odd is that just the day before Somin found Sotomayor's remarks highly objectionable, and still apparently does; and that objection is based upon the racism -- or, let us say, racial content -- of the remark:

Even if Sotomayor's claim really is limited to discrimination claims, it is still deeply problematic. It is wrong to assume that a judge belonging to a group that is often victimized by a particular type of injustice will be generally superior in deciding cases that address it. Are white male judges generally superior in hearing reverse discrimination cases such as the one Sotomayor decided in Ricci v. DeStefano? Are judges who own real estate better qualified to hear takings claims? Perhaps judges who own businesses are the ones best qualified to hear claims asserting that an economic regulation is unconstitutional or otherwise illegal. A judge belonging to a group victimized by a particular type of injustice might be less likely to reject similar claims that have merit. On the other hand, she might also be excessively prone to accept claims that should be rejected or to ignore important interests on the other side of the case. Which effect dominates the other will probably vary from judge to judge and from case to case. In any event, we will likely be better off if judges assess discrimination cases and other claims as objectively as possible, while seeking to minimize the impact of their own personal racial or ethnic backgrounds.


Finally, I think it's telling that hardly any one would defend a similar statement made by a white male judge. As legal columnist Stuart Taylor puts it:

Any prominent white male would be instantly and properly banished from polite society as a racist and a sexist for making an analogous claim of ethnic and gender superiority or inferiority.

Imagine the reaction if someone had unearthed in 2005 a speech in which then-Judge Samuel Alito had asserted, for example: "I would hope that a white male with the richness of his traditional American values would reach a better conclusion than a Latina woman who hasn't lived that life" — and had proceeded to speak of "inherent physiological or cultural differences" [as Sotomayor did later in her speech].

He does go on to say in that post...

I don't think that Sotomayor is a "racist and a sexist," nor do I think she should be "banished from polite society." However, her statement does show that she believes that judges should often base decisions in part on their personal racial and gender backgrounds. If a white male judge had said something similar, few would deny that such (or something much worse) was the import of his words. Sotomayor's speech should be judged by the same standards.

I don't get this argument from Somin -- or Taylor, who says the same thing. Both criticize Sotomayor for making "deeply problematic" racial comments, but then insist it's wrong to call her a racist. Their real problem seems to be that the term is impolite -- fine, but that's like proving up and down that a woman works as a prostitute and then saying "But we shouldn't call her a whore." Well, fine. Let's call her a paid escort. Means the same damn thing, but I do admit "paid escort" sounds nicer.

It's an ipse dixit entirely unsupported by the case they themselves are both making -- quite the opposite.

If the word itself gets thrown about too much, as both contend -- well, that's due largely to reverse racists of Sotomayor's ilk who believe and proclaim they are superior due to their race (or gender), and that those who oppose them or their belief systems must do so due to their own inferiority in "understanding" and lack of "empathy" or outright racial animus.

If they're so stuck on the word: Fine, big deal, we won't call her a "racist." We'll just say precisely what they both seem to agree with (and indeed affirmatively contend): She believes herself superior to "white males" based only upon her ethnicity and gender. I'm content with letting people decide for themselves whether that accords with accepted definitions of "racist."

Disagreements with Stuart Taylor aside, do read all of this piece, or rather all of it after his brief condemnation of Limbaugh and Gingrich for calling a woman who believes in her ethnic superiority a racist. Start at "Wehrner's brief post," about six paragraphs into it -- trust me, it's good.

Teaser: Obama's a liar.

One more thing: As Somin notes, the Washington Post and other liberal apologists are attempting to cover for Sotomayor by referring to her statement about "wise Latinas" as an "unscripted remark." An off-the-cuff remark she didn't have much time to think about, so of course maybe she just misspoke.

The problem with that? The remark was part of a speech she prepared, edited, and then delivered. It wasn't off-the-cuff. It was written in advance, considered, shaped, edited. She wasn't speaking extemporaneously at all. As Somin notes:

I would have cut Sotomayor more slack if the statements in question had been off the cuff remarks rather than part of a prepared speech delivered as a keynote address at a conference; the speech was also published in a law journal in 2002, at which point Sotomayor could have removed or clarified any part of her remarks that didn't really reflect her considered views. I would also be willing to ignore the speech if she had repudiated it at any time in the past eight years. I will even give her the benefit of the doubt if she repudiates the more problematic parts of the speech now (perhaps at her confirmation hearings). We have all sometimes made mistaken statements that we admit to be wrong in retrospect. But until that happens, I can't avoid the conclusion that the speech reveals a troubling element of Sotomayor's view of judging.

This wasn't an "unscripted remark," Washington Post. It was very much scripted. And further, it was unprompted -- it was not a quick response to an ambush question she wasn't expecting. It was something she decided on her own needed to be said, without anyone prompting her about it or "tricking" her into offering a wrong-footed answer.

She could have discussed any number of things in that speech. Among the topics she herself chose to discuss, and proclaim, was the inherent superiority of the wise Latina.

I continue to be confused by Somin and Taylor. If it's not the racism of the remark they find "deeply problematic" and "troubling," what is it?

Posted by: Ace at 10:24 AM | Add Comment
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Boy, Mack McLarty is a Lucky Guy
— Ace

All of his dealerships -- six of 'em -- remain open, while his local (Republican-donating) competition is wiped out.

Director Blue screws up the math, here, I think, in calculating the odds for this happening randomly. He multiplies the odds of any McLarty-owned dealership remaining open (.75) by the odds of McLarty's competitors being shuttered (.25 each time).

I don't think that's right, because these aren't independent probabilities. They're linked. Once you decide to keep one dealership open, the odds increase dramatically that you'll close down nearby shops. That's sort of the point of closing dealerships in the first place. If you're closing down shops at all, it's to reduce how much business they're cannibalizing from each other.

However, it is very odd that all six of McLarty's dealerships managed to make the cut, isn't it? Odds of that: Less than 18%. (.75 multiplied by itself six times.)

Taranto explains why these closings come now-- state law requires just cause for terminating a dealership franchise contract, but when the franchisor is in bankruptcy, that trumps state law and allows the franchisor to void contracts without worrying about state law or just cause.

As many point out, it doesn't really matter that most dealers could be expected to be Republican; what is critical is that virtually none of the minority of Obama-donors are being shuttered.

Yes, if a majority of the dealers are Republican-leaning, we could expect a majority of the closed dealerships to be owned by Republican-leaners. A majority of them. But we wouldn't expect virtually all of them to be.

Since most people in the US are white, one would imagine that most jobs at a company would be filled by whites. But if all of a company's jobs were filled by whites -- well, for some reason I think liberals like Nate Silver (pushing this "well most of them are Republican anyway" analysis) would get a bit suspicious that there are hidden, impermissibe factors at work.

It doesn't help that Chrysler is keeping its criteria secret. Or that many of the closed Republican dealerships would be expected to remain open according to any criteria, except for the partisan one:

Now, and this is important, Chrysler claimed that its formula for determining whether a dealership should close or not included "sales volume, customer service scores, local market share and average household income in the immediate area."

Dealer Jim Anderer told Fox News' Neil Cavuto he can't comprehend how his dealership can be among those killed: he stated that his sales volume ranking is in the top 2 percent of all dealers.

Furthermore, Anderer says explanations aren't forthcoming. "They won't tell us. They seem to be running for cover right now because they won't give us a solid explanation. They come up with all these reasons, but none of them seem to make sense... This is insanity. The government is stealing my business. And they're telling me there's nothing I can do about it... There was no process that you could put your finger on and say, 'Hey, we cut 25 percent of the lowest performing dealers.' They didn't do that. Nobody will give us a real clear explanation of the formula that they came up with."

Release the "formula," guys.

You think Mack McLarty doesn't know how to get the number of the people making these decisions or drop a mention of his importance in Democratic politics? I sorta think he knows how.

Thanks to Slublog.

Posted by: Ace at 09:16 AM | Comments (1)
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Correction: East German Spy Wasn't Convicted in Shooting Death
— Ace

I erroneously wrote that the West Berlin cop acting as a Stasi spy wasn't likely on an agent provocateur mission, as he spent "the better part of his life in jail." (My reasoning is that spies are usually pretty selfish and mercenary and unwilling to "take one for the team" in this way.)

Whether that reasoning is right or wrong, the premise I began with was wrong: Neo-Neocon alerts me to the fact he was acquitted.

Posted by: Ace at 08:46 AM | Comments (3)
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Shut Up They Explained. Leftist Union Tries To Stifle Health Care Debate
— DrewM

Officials from The Service Employees International Union are urging that the DC affiliate of NBC not run an ad opposing a single payer health care plan and a pro-reform group is darkly warning about the possible repercussions for the ad sponsors if they run it*.

The dears at the SEIU are worried that voters might be fooled by an ad they say “will be false, deceitful, and a distortion,”. One slight problem with that argument.

The SEIU has not seen the ad, but is drawing the conclusion from CPR’s record of running “demonstrably false” ads. The station has the duty to protect the public from misleading advertising, the letter argues.

If the ad is aired and does contain falsehoods, CPR could face a fine from the Federal Communications Commission, said Levana Layendecker, the online campaigns director for Health Care for America Now, a coalition pushing to create a public insurance plan.

Put aside the rank stupidity of characterizing something you haven't seen for a minute and consider the fact that a union whose members will benefit from increased government spending are trying to silence the opposition. Damn taxpayers, don't they know their only job is to work so the government can tax the hell out of them and "spread the wealth around" to union members? Silly proles, talking back isn't part of the deal.

As for the charges of inaccuracies SEIU can't back up and the threat for FCC action, I'm pretty sure this will qualify as a political ad and thus isn't subject to truth in advertising rules. This is simply an effort to silence political opposition.

Welcome to era of Hope and Change.

BTW, this isn't just any union but one that heavily supported Obama.

Might be fun if some enterprising reporter asked the President if agreed with the goon tactics of one of his biggest supporters.

Meanwhile you can see more from the anit-single payer group Conservatives for Patients' Rights at their website.

*I erred in the original post. The SEIU isn't warning the station about possible repercussions for running the ad, a pro-public insurance group is muttering about FCC repercussions for CPR.

Part of my confusion was I don't think the FCC can punish a non-license holder. The station has an FCC license but an advocacy group doesn't and as such is not subject to FCC jurisdiction. I believe truth in advertising regulations are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. Any violations of campaign regulations would be handled by the Federal Elections Commission.

Still, I apologize for the mistake.

Posted by: DrewM at 08:02 AM | Comments (3)
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Corruption at DOJ: Case Dismissed Against Black Panthers Who Intimidated Voters at Polls
— Gabriel Malor

Boy this is has been a tough week for the Obama Administration and race. As if Judge Sotomayor's comments weren't enough, the Washington Times is now reporting that the President's people forced the DOJ to drop the case against three members of the New Black Panthers. The well documented crime was voter intimidation, accomplished by threats and racial slurs.

Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.

The incident - which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube - had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.

Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago.

Now wait a damn minute. You're telling me that if three white boys had been stalking around a polling place in Mississippi throwing out the N-word and accosting voters, the Department would let it go? Of course not. And rightly so. Voter intimidation is nasty, antidemocratic. Voter intimidation on account of race? HELLO?!?

Obama's legacy: soft on race-based voter intimidation. That's right, the president has no problem just letting it slide.

More [DrewM.] Gabe and I posted this almost at the same time but he was kind enough to allow me to draw your attention to one other part of this amazing story.

How bad was the intimidation? Bartle Bull who is described as "a longtime civil rights activist and former aide to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign" said in an affidavit...

"In my opinion, the men created an intimidating presence at the entrance to a poll," he declared. "In all my experience in politics, in civil rights litigation and in my efforts in the 1960s to secure the right to vote in Mississippi ... I have never encountered or heard of another instance in the United States where armed and uniformed men blocked the entrance to a polling location."

Mr. Bull said the "clear purpose" of what the Panthers were doing was to "intimidate voters with whom they did not agree." He also said he overheard one of the men tell a white poll watcher: "You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

He called their conduct an "outrageous affront to American democracy and the rights of voters to participate in an election without fear." He said it was a "racially motivated effort to limit both poll watchers aiding voters, as well as voters with whom the men did not agree."

Based on the description of Mr. Bull, I think we can safely assume he isn't an evil Republican white supremacist. If a man with that background is appaled, I think we can all agree this was egregious behavior. Well all of us except the political leadership of DoJ.

I can't wait for Sen. Sessions to have one of those frank discussions Attorney General Holder was going on about awhile back.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 06:37 AM | Comments (21)
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Germany: Yeah Maybe We Won't Be Taking Gitmo Detainees After All
— DrewM

Turns out the Europeans want to see more good faith action from Obama and less of that hopey changey talk.

The Obama administration's push to resettle at least 50 Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Europe is meeting fresh resistance as European officials demand that the United States first give asylum to some inmates before they will do the same.

Rising opposition in the U.S. Congress to allowing Guantanamo prisoners on American soil has not gone over well in Europe. Officials from countries that previously indicated they were willing to accept inmates now say it may be politically impossible for them to do so if the United States does not reciprocate.

"If the U.S. refuses to take these people, why should we?" said Thomas Silberhorn, a member of the German Parliament from Bavaria, where the White House wants to relocate nine Chinese Uighur prisoners. "If all 50 states in America say, 'Sorry, we can't take them,' this is not very convincing."

But they are just poor innocent Uighurs who were caught up in Bush's reign of terror! Of course you have to ignore the fact they were trained in al Qaeda run camps in Afghanistan to believe that.

Naturally Obama blames Bush for all of this, just another inherited problem. Perhaps Gitmo and what to do with the detainees there wouldn't be such a problem if people like Obama hadn't spent the last 5 or so years stirring up outrageous outrage over it.

Posted by: DrewM at 06:12 AM | Add Comment
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What’s Happened To Little Green Footballs Part II
— DrewM

You may remember Part I from Wednesday night.

In a post entitled, “What The Hell Happened To Me?” Charles was kind enough to reply. I think his arguments deserve the courtesy of being taken seriously (my apologies for not getting to this in a more timely fashion yesterday).

The heart of his argument seems to me to be summed up by this statement...

Criticize policies all you like, and work to defeat politicians you don’t agree with. But wishing out loud for Obama or his Supreme Court nominees to “fail” is mean-spirited, negative, and hands ammunition to your political enemies that they will gladly use.

Again I would remind Charles that Obama wanted both of President Bush’s nominees for the Supreme Court to fail. He may not have used the word “fail” but he attacked their judicial philosophy, supported a filibuster against now Justice Alito and voted no on the floor of the Senate when their nominations came up.

That didn’t seem to hurt his electoral prospects.

I think Republicans should use this opportunity to layout their philosophy on the role of judges and the courts in our system but I do so in the context of hoping Sotomayor fails to win confirmation (though I don't doubt she will be confirmed).

If our disagreement on this point is simply linguistic then it is rather small. Charles simply wishes for conservatives to forswear using the word ‘fail’. If that is the case then what word shall we use? There’s a whole host of synonyms to select from.

However, I think the disagreement is a larger one. Look at this post Charles linked to in his response. It says in part,

The Republican Party is in reactionary denial mode, refusing to look at the real problems that cost them the last two major elections. Unless the party can find a positive message and articulate it clearly, we’re going to have Democratic presidents for the foreseeable future.

First, on one of the larger issues of the day, the so-called “stimulus”, Republicans did offer a positive message and alternative. They got rolled. You see, as the President will tell you, he won. He also won huge majorities in both the House and the Senate. The Democrats own the government. As the opposition party, the Republican party has no leverage, especially at this point in the election cycle. It is their job to point out the flaws in the Democrats' programs (which Charles agrees is okay).

Do I wish that Specter, Snowe and Collins had stuck with the rest of the Republican caucus and caused the 'stimulus' to fail? Yes because it was and is bad policy that will do damage to the country. I have no regrets about that position at all.

History shows that minority parties that lay down markers of opposition and hope their opponents fail can parlay that into later success (see the Republican opposition to the Clinton tax increases in ’92. Yes, the Contract With America was a positive values statement but it came after initial opposition and yes, hopes of failure for Clinton).

Why is it so awful to say that they hope the programs and nominees they oppose ‘fail’ to pass (wishing the for the best outcome should they pass is a separate matter).

Saying we hope that Obama’s policies fail to be enacted and his nominees don’t win confirmation is simply the logical conclusion to the role the opposition party finds itself in at times like these. To not say so is dishonest and leaves us only with the alternative of seeming to acquiesce to Obama and the Democrats’ program. That simply is bad politics and it’s bad for the country.

The people have a right to know where Republicans stand. We hope that policies and laws we think are damaging to the nation fail to be enacted. I’m not sure how that’s controversial.

Politics can be a tough game and sometimes tough words like fail are used. That brings me to my second point.

In my original post, I questioned Charles’ statement that,

Barack Obama ran on a platform of sheer positive messages. Not once did he wish for the other side to fail. You're just wrong to claim that negativity is winning strategy. One of the big reasons why Obama won was because he did NOT go negative -- ever.

I provided several links from sources not known to be friendly to Republicans such as the Washington Post and NY Times documenting several instances where Obama ‘went negative’. Unfortunately, Charles did not elect to address that in his reply.

Again, these are just a few examples of a definite change in direction at LGF over the last few months or years that lead me to no longer follow as closely a blog I once valued so much.

Posted by: DrewM at 04:28 AM | Comments (4)
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Democrats Now Urging White House to Do Something About Sotomayor's Race- and Gender-Biased Comments
— Gabriel Malor

But, but, we were told this was a nothing story!

“She misspoke,” said Lanny Davis, a White House lawyer and spokesman for President Bill Clinton. “Every day that goes by that they don’t say she misspoke and she used the wrong words ... they just feed it and give it life and give Rush [Limbaugh] and [Sean] Hannity more airtime unnecessarily.”

Said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane: “In this day and age, six or seven or eight weeks is a long time to go without addressing an issue that can potentially take on a life of its own and evolve and grow.”

As I wrote yesterday, this is an issue that can split even the Democrats, but only if we have the guts to keep pressing it. Both Democratic strategists quoted are afraid of what happens if Republicans stay on this message without a response from the White House. Because even if he doesn't withdraw her nomination, Obama is going to take a beating for this nominee.

Judge Sotomayor has openly admitted bias based on race and gender. Now, as Americans we put up with a lot of peculiarities when it comes to people's personal beliefs. But one that is beyond the pale is discrimination based on race. The judge and the White House should immediately explain why her racial comments are not disqualifying. I think we all deserve reassurance that Judge Sotomayor will be able to set aside her bias if she were to join the Supreme Court.

Not Just For Now, But For Always: There has been some talk that Republicans should not press too hard on this. My fear is that if we do not take a stand now against the racism implied in Judge Sotomayor's statement--"a wise Latina better than a wise white man"--it will be more difficult to make a stand against it later.

We need to get it into people's heads that this type of thing is not appropriate for Supreme Court justices. Judge Sotomayor's opinion is popular with many Leftists. In fact, I'm sure that the fuss has left Obama and many in the White House scratching their heads because they don't understand what we're objecting to. So I have no doubt that they will keep proposing judges and justices who hold similar views. Unless we tell them clearly in a way they're never going to forget that this will not fly. Firmly opposing Judge Sotomayor on the basis of her comments is the best way to do that.

And let's make clear where she went wrong. For Judge Sotomayor, and for many people, it is an article of faith that racial and gender diversity in institutions like the courts is a good thing in itself. Well, fine, that's not a disqualifying offense. But she took it a step further. She suggested that particular race and gender combinations are actually better than others. That is racism. That is sexism. That is unacceptable.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 03:45 AM | Add Comment
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Top Headline Comments 05-29-09
— Gabriel Malor

Friday, baby!

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 03:08 AM | Add Comment
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May 28, 2009

Overnight Open Thread
— Gabriel Malor

I'm about to turn in and I don't see an overnight thread yet. So, here ya go. Don't say I never gave ya nothing.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 07:22 PM | Comments (4)
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Queen Elizabeth Slighted Again By White House
— Gabriel Malor

Bumped. Note well she was actually a member of the Royal Auxilliaries, driving a truck (and trained as a mechanic) for the Allied cause in WWII.




So embarrassing for us. We're sorry, your Majesty! We know he's a buffoon and we're trying to get rid of him.

Indeed, she is decidedly displeased, angry even, that she was not invited to join President Obama and France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, next week at commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, according to reports published in Britain’s mass-circulation tabloid newspapers on Wednesday. Pointedly, Buckingham Palace did not deny the reports.

The queen, who is 83, is the only living head of state who served in uniform during World War II. As Elizabeth Windsor, service number 230873, she volunteered as a subaltern in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and a mechanic. Eventually, she drove military trucks in support roles in England.

While serving, she met the supreme Allied commander for the D-Day landings, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, and developed a fondness for him, according to several biographies. This prompted Queen Elizabeth, who was crowned in June 1953, to say in later years that he was the American president with whom she felt most at ease.

That's right. She actually served in World War II. Maybe, just maybe the President could properly acknowledge her contribution.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:34 PM | Comments (7)
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Craig T. Nelson: I'm Not Paying Taxes Until Politicians Take Responsibility and Begin Representing Me, and I Encourage Others to do Likewise
Update: Vid Added

— Ace

On Glenn Beck, encouraging Beck to promote the idea of a statewide California tax strike (or a national tax strike? He's not clear), stating he's seriously considering not paying taxes anymore.

He's more trying to push the idea and get a movement behind it rather than being the guy who actually does this first and gets carted off to tax-jail.

Pretty wild. I'm sure there'll be video later, which I'll post.

I had no idea he was a conservative. He's not saying he is, but he seems to be of that ilk.

I wonder what the legality of this is. I believe there are (largely unenforced) laws about agitating to defy, say, the draft; I wonder if the US Code contains any similar law about agitating for tax defiance.

Then reads the Declaration of Independence. Stuff about usurpation.

Asked if he's prepared to go to jail for this, says, "I am going to jail."


Correction: It wasn't Craig T. Nelson. It was Brian Dennehy, who played "Norm" on Cheers.

Not really. That's an in joke that started yesterday after I mentioned Brian Dennehy and people kept praising him for his work in movies he wasn't in. He was confused with M. Emmet Walsh and others, until wisenheimers started making a joke about it and started "mixing him up" with Yakov Smirnoff and Mary Lou Retton.

Posted by: Ace at 12:31 PM | Comments (12)
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Swarthy, Indonesian-Educated Man Threatens Crowd at Hotel Auditorium: "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!"
— Ace

Dropping in a terrorist joke in the headline, so maybe I'll be mentioned on O'Reilly. I mean, they didn't even call Obama "Hussein" and still O'Reilly claimed they did.

And plus, Allah wrote the same headline I would have, so I have to go somewhere else.

Obama arrogantly ticks off all of his "accomplishments' -- mostly small-bore stuff. The credit card thing? It seems basically good, from what I know of it, but generally such bills are considered housekeeping measures, not major political victories.

He doesn't mention his greatest accomplishment -- spending the once-mighty US economy into ruin.

More at Hot Air. He also didn't mention his heroic fight to keep gay marriage illegal.

Posted by: Ace at 10:29 AM | Add Comment
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San Diego County Officials Try to Shut Down Small Home Bible Study Group
— Ace

No arrests, thankfully, but an "interrogation" and cease-and-desist type letters.

A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold bible studies in their home, 10News reported.

Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

Broyles said, "The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.'"

The county employee notified the couple that the small bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of county regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and told them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"For churches and religious assemblies there's big parking concerns, there's environmental impact concerns when you have hundreds or thousands of people gathering. But this is a different situation, and we believe that the application of the religious assembly principles to this bible study is certainly misplaced," said Broyles.

News of the case has rapidly spread across Internet blogs and has spurred various reactions.

Ah. So I'm late again.

Thanks to DrewM., who plucked it off Andy Levy's twitter feed.

Outrage Withheld? Yah, I didn't really want to push the outrage button myself, not yet anyway. Bumperstickerist writes:

The article didn't mention the frequency of the "small bible studies" which leaves open the possibility that there are two bible study groups per day every day. If I'm a neighbor and there are a dozen cars parked out front of the pastor's house every day, all week, you can be damn well sure I'll be inquiring as to why.

So, for the sake of argument, the pastor could be running a de facto church out of his house.

We had a similar story a while back about a family that was forced to remove some baseball equipment from its yard and cease baseball practice for local youth. It was the heartbreaking saga about kids dreams being crushed by mean people.

Then the mean person wrote a letter saying "Look, we like baseball, but this guy has 30-40 kids over everyday, they're doing full practices, batting cages, fielding coaches, instruction, and it just.never.stops. You try living next to that for more than two weeks and see how you do. We'd like to enjoy our deck and our yard on occasion."

So, I'll withhold my Anger at the MAN until I find out about the other stuff.

The Atom Bomb of Loving Kindness writes:

You can't run a church out of your house. The guy is described as a 'pastor.' If he's a pastor, then why not have the Bible things at the church he is the pastor of? It sounds like the house is the church. I live in a townhouse. If one of my neighbors starts having 15+ people over every weekend and sometimes during the week (which makes me walk a block to get into my house) then you can bet I'll be complaining. There's liability and safety issues, too.

Ah, good point, but you don't need a church to be a pastor.

Regarding the car parking situation: Can't neighbors and the officials suggest the congregants car-pool to avoid congestion? Who knows, maybe that was suggested but the suggestion was ignored.

Headline Corrected. Right, "cops" wasn't specified. A dumb assumption on my part. Or trying to condense the headline, but inaccurately so.

More Detail: Again, from Drew. A neighbor called the authorities after his car was hit.

Pastor David Jones has been hosting weekly Bible studies at his Bonita home during the past five years. About 15 people attend the meetings, he told 10News.

Jones said a visitor to a neighbor's house called the County after a Bible study member hit the visitor’s car while leaving. Shortly after, a county code enforcement officer gave him a citation that said he needed a permit to host the weekly Bible study meetings, he said.

Doesn't really push the story one way or the other. Yeah, sucks that someone hit the guy's car, but usually that's handled by exchanging insurance information.

In the Comments: Zoning a-Go-Go! Zoning always gets people stirred up like hornets. It's a non-sexy non-red-meat topic that nevertheless generates strong passions.

I side more with the zoners. Then again, I have never owned property and so haven't been the victim of vindictive and corrupt zoning boards and asinine rules, either.

A lot of people will say a man's home is his castle, etc., and he's free to enjoy his property however he likes, but that studiously avoids the question.

If you're in your castle, and the guy in the neighboring castle is blasting Jay-Z (or Richard Marx-- whichever you believe to be worse) at all hours of the night and morning, isn't his free enjoyment of his castle infringing on your putatively-absolute right to free enjoyment of yours?

In rural areas this is less of an issue. (And yet still an issue -- you don't want a guy using his property for a pig-reduction factory, churning out smoke and the stink of burned fat, a half-mile from your residence.) But in the suburbs and especially in the cities, residences are stacked so closely on top of each other that what would be unobjectionable in the countryside becomes a nuisance.

A half-mile of physical distance reduces most noise (and many smells) to a bearable level. Plus, no concerns about parking or congestion. But the situation changes when that very-useful half-mile of physical buffer doesn't exist, when houses are mere feet from each other, or when apartments share a common wall or floor.

This is among the most nettlesome areas of the law. There is an argument to be made that zoning itself is unconstitutional, as it is a "taking" of certain rights of land use without any compensation by the government at all; but that argument has been long rejected. I think the pretext for deeming it constitutional was that it was not a "taking," but just a regulation, and further, it was a regulation that secured for you an equal quantum of reciprocal rights. Sure, you're not allowed to open up a factory in a zoned-residential area, but neither is your neighbor. Your right to open a factory is taken away, but in return you gain the right to not have your neighbor damage your property by opening a factory.

Furthermore, without zoning, in a regime of property rights absolutism, you would in fact bear the risk that your nice family residence would be rendered all but unlivable just because your neighbor decides he wants to use his house as a strip club.

And then you get into arcane discussions about the Coase Theorem.

Like democracy, zoning is the very worst of all possible regimes, except for all the others.

Posted by: Ace at 10:01 AM | Comments (4)
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Seminal Killing in West Germany, Which Prompted the Country to Move to Left, Turns Out to Have Been Work of Spy Working for Socialist East Germany
— Ace

A West Berlin cop shot a left-wing protester in 1967, setting off an outrage greater than the US experienced after Kent State and greatly empowering Germany's left. (And also providing the impetus for, and public sympathy for, its various left-wing terrorist groups.)

The shooter turns out to have been a spy in the employ of the Stasi, East Germany's secret police.

It's not (AFAIK) proven that this was some kind of agent provocateur action ordered by the Stasi -- seems unlikely, really, as the shooter wound up in prison for the better part of his life -- but even so, Germany is shocked to learn that what it had long known to be true is in fact not quite true.

Posted by: Ace at 09:43 AM | Comments (3)
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Bloomberg; Investor Predicts "Hyperinflation"
— Ace

I haven't heard of Marc Faber before, but he seems legitimate. Not saying he's the be-all end-all -- again, never heard of him -- but he's not just some crank that somehow conned Bloomberg into quoting him.

At any rate, he says he's sure hyperinflation is coming.

The U.S. economy will enter “hyperinflation” approaching the levels in Zimbabwe because the Federal Reserve will be reluctant to raise interest rates, investor Marc Faber said.

Prices may increase at rates “close to” Zimbabwe’s gains, Faber said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Hong Kong. Zimbabwe’s inflation rate reached 231 million percent in July, the last annual rate published by the statistics office.

“I am 100 percent sure that the U.S. will go into hyperinflation,” Faber said. “The problem with government debt growing so much is that when the time will come and the Fed should increase interest rates, they will be very reluctant to do so and so inflation will start to accelerate.”

Seems unlikely to me. But what do I know.

Oh: He wrote this. Pretty funny.

The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate.

If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China.
If we spend it on gasoline it goes to the Arabs.
If we buy a computer it will go to India.
If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
If we purchase a good car it will go to Germany.
If we purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy.

The only way to keep that money here at home is to spend it on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in US. I’ve been doing my part.

Posted by: Ace at 09:34 AM | Add Comment
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Harry Reid Wrote A Book And Revealed Himself To Be An Enormous Tool
— DrewM

I bet no one saw that coming, right?

Thankfully, Mark Hemingway read it so you don't have to.

While no one expects Reid to praise George W. Bush, the degree to which he is judgmental and catty regarding the former president pretty much speaks for itself. Three pages in, after lamely trying to establish his bipartisan bona fides by talking up George H. W. Bush, Reid shares this charming anecdote about his early days in the Senate: “[Former Texas senator and vice-presidential candidate Lloyd] Bentsen went on and on effusively about what a quality man President-elect [H. W.] Bush was. Then he paused and said, ‘But watch out for his wife; she’s a bitch.’ I have never had anything against Mrs. Bush, but guided by Bentsen’s crude advice, I’ve always said that our forty-third president is more his mother than his dad.”

What’s the purpose of recording for posterity a bit of hearsay defaming a woman Reid admits he has no cause to dislike? Is Reid really so petty as to insult someone’s mother? Why yes, yes he is.

And then it gets really obnoxious.

I seem to recall Democrats going after John McCain because he didn't beat up an old lady who called Hillary Clinton a bitch, though he did chastise her. Now here's the current Senate Majority Leader proudly associating himself with someone who called another first lady a bitch. Democrats will be outrageously outraged in 3-2- oh look over there, it's Sonia Sotoamayor!

It's almost like there is a double standard for Democrats and Republicans when it comes to public behavior. Who knew?

(via The Weekly Standard)

Update: Heh, I love you guys. Harry Reid, Yo Momma jokes? That's great.

Since I'm awful at that game I will simply steal IreneFingIrene's...

Reid's momma's teeth are so yellow, traffic slows down when she smiles!

Posted by: DrewM at 06:54 AM | Comments (4)
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