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Friday, October 21, 2005

Judge, Your Honor, Send Me To The Lectric Chair

I found this one on Volokh.com:

Bloomberg has the scoop on one of the more unusual criminal law stories I have heard recently:

A 27-year-old man demanded extra prison time because he wanted to honor his basketball hero, Larry Bird.

A lawyer for Eric James Torpy reached a plea agreement with Oklahoma City prosecutors for a 30-year jail term on two charges of shooting with intent to kill and one count of a weapons violation, District Court Judge Ray Elliott said in a telephone interview.

Torpy then insisted on getting 33 years to match the uniform number Bird wore when he led the Boston Celtics to three National Basketball Association championships during the 1980s, Elliott said.

The judge on Oct. 18 accommodated his request. "He told his attorney that Larry Bird was his long-time hero, and that if he was going to go to prison he wanted to go down with that number," Elliott said.

Thank God my hero is Robert Parish. He wore 00. While I have claimed John Havlicek No.17 was my hero, for sentencing purposes it is Parish.

Purple Fingers: The Positive Developments In Iraq

Mike Taylor discusses VDH on Iraq:

In another amazingly logical article, Victor Davis Hanson provides a succinct account of what is going right in Iraq and the Middle East. Please note the use of the present tense in that first sentence. Yes, things are going well in Iraq right now, even as we speak. Although you wouldn't be able to tell that from MSM reports. More on that later.

What is going right in Iraq? Let's review:

-- There have been two very well-attended elections in Iraq. Not rigged elections, not a farcical set of candidates "approved" by the ruling dictator but real honest-to-God elections where Iraqis are choosing self-rule. Turn out has been better than here in the United States, and no one threatened to gun me down if I went to vote here in Ridgefield, CT!

-- Approximately 200,000 Iraqi men are enlisting in security forces to expel foreign terrorists (these terrorists are incorrectly called 'insurrectionists' by the media, including Fox News). Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden may dispute that actual number but the reality is that Iraqis are not being deterred by drive-by bombings at police recruiting stations. They continue to get in line. Whether it's to get a good paying job or protect their homeland, a substantial number of Iraqis are setting themselves against terrorism.

VDH:

"The result is that, incrementally and insidiously, Americans are less and less in the position of being the cop, swat-team, or battalion that Iraqis see daily as the providers of their order and security. As in the case of fewer visible diplomats, so too fewer observable soldiers shift the onus onto the Iraqis to solidify - or lose - their gift of democracy".

-- Although I'm not in a position to observe this, Hanson claims that some European and Asian countries are becoming more eager to participate in Iraq's re-construction. Perhaps the upcoming third Iraq election will open the floodgates and we'll see wholesale and above-board efforts by countries that were content to let America spill blood to make Iraq a more stable environment in which to trade. You're welcome, world.

-- Schools are open, women have new rights, the economy is ramping up, oil is being pumped and sold, radio stations and newspapers are springing up across the country... Does that sound like a quagmire to you? It doesn't to me either. I guess you have to be a left-wing Kool Aid drinker to deny that anything good like that is happening in Iraq.

-- Saddam is having his day in court. Hanson points out that Saddam is getting a fair hearing, something he denied so many Iraqis, Kurds and Kuwaitis. What effect will Saddam's trial have on the rank-and-file Iraqi? My bet is that it will be on the same level as "Sic Semper Tyrannis". I am certain that most Shiite Iraqis thought the day would never come that Saddam would get his just desserts. That day is here.

In sum, Iraq never was, never was going to be, and never will be "George W. Bush's Viet Nam" despite what corrupt and self-serving fat heads like Michael Moore, Jane Fonda, Ted Kennedy , Dick "Turban" Durbin, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Cindy Sheehan, Sean Penn, Joe Wilson, and others of a like mind have claimed. Dopes all.

VDH:

"Most of us tragically will forget many of the American soldiers who courageously fought, died, and gave the Middle East its freedom and us our security. Purple fingers, not overloaded American helicopters taking off from the embassy roof, is the future of Iraq."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

-- Mike Taylor

Pull Miers and Debate Originalism

I agree with Charles Krauthammer that the Miers nomination was an attempt to backdoor liberals with a person with no paper trail to attack that Bush knows has a conservative (but maybe not an originalist) judicial philosophy. The "face saving" out for Bush is the subpoena of her papers regarding advice and conversations she has given her number one client- Bush.

Then,

The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.

Hence the perfectly honorable way to solve the conundrum: Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives, the Senate expresses appreciation for this gracious acknowledgment of its needs and responsibilities, and the White House accepts her decision with the deepest regret and with gratitude for Miers' putting preservation of executive prerogative above personal ambition.

Just as I want to see 50 states honor their citizens' opinions on policy matters, I want 100 senators to publicly advise us where they stand on consitutional interpretation. So, Bush should just pull Miers and nominate a Bork-type judge. Let the nominee's candor on the crucial issue of judicial intyerpretation be discussed, debated and mocked in the public square. We do not need justices deciding cases on policy, end-result analysis. That is for the legislature. I think there is a Senatorial majority for that philosophy. I think there is a national consensus as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Lost Trait: Open-mindedness

Don Boudreaux describes a particular quality of a friend, economist Hugh Macaulay, who passed away recently. As Boudreaux says, it is a rare quality. It is one we should aspire to obtain especially in these "volume too high, courtesy too low" times we are experiencing. He writes:

I can still see him nodding his head, telling someone with us at lunch or at our monthly book-club meeting that "that's a goooodddd idea!!"

And Hugh found lots of ideas to be good. At first, I thought he was just being kind when he expressed his admiration for some idea that struck me as mediocre, for I knew that he easily and immediately perceived the difference between ideas that are banal and those that are worthwhile.

But I learned that Hugh possessed that too-rare quality not only of interpreting each person's statements in the very best light possible, but also of extracting genuine insights from others' statements even if those of us who uttered these statements never realized the depths of our insights until Hugh explained them to us.

This is called being open-minded.

Judicial Philosophy, Not Policy Preference, Matters

In her soft-sell way, Ann Coulter criticizes the choice of Miers as justice ofr the SCOTUS. Coulter outlines the need for a SCOTUS justice with a judicial philosophy that supports originalism and its structure that the term "Constitutional" means what it says. Coulter writes how it is erroneously believed that the SCOTUS decides on laws as a legislature does and:

so many citizens – even conservative citizens – seem to believe the job of a Supreme Court justice entails nothing more than "voting" on public-policy issues. The White House considers it relevant to tell us Miers' religious beliefs, her hobbies, her hopes and dreams. She's a good bowler! A stickler for detail! Great dancer! Makes her own clothes!

That's nice for her, but what we're really in the market for is a constitutional scholar who can forcefully say, "No – that's not my job."

We've been waiting 30 years to end the lunacy of nine demigods on the Supreme Court deciding every burning social issue of the day for us, loyal subjects in a judicial theocracy. We don't want someone who will decide those issues for us – but decide them "our" way. If we did, a White House bureaucrat with good horse sense might be just the ticket.

It is not the policy opinion of the justices that matters because they do not decide policy according to the framework of our constitutional government. Policy is for the people to decide. This allows for a law to be tested in a given state. It can be easily changed if it does not work. When the SCOTUS decides an issue, it cannot be changed so quickly if it turns out to be a disaster. The idea is that flexibility exists among the states to try things on for size. Only if the law before the Court contravenes a portion of the Constitution, can the Court overrule a law. That is how the framers outlined the process. And a nominee's position on any given policy is less relevant than whether the powers and strictures of the Constitution matters.

Ice Cream With Social Conscience

Tax cutter, but not calorie cutter, Stephen Moore relates in the WSJ his recent pilgrimage to the Mecca of ice cream, Ben & Jerry's. While coping with the steady bombardment of tributes to the goodness and social conscience of the company's founders, Moore followed his libertarian instincts. He was "free to scarf" a pint of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch and ponder the possibility of a class action by ice cream eating fatties against these successful entrepreneurs. Why does their ice cream taste so good? It is because of the high cream and fat content that people cannot deny themselves.

When the company shelves leftist propaganda, it follows the principles of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman to make the product consumers so love. Writes Moore:

Meanwhile, their factory is a monument to the efficiencies of capitalism and technological progress: Several dozen giant computer-operated machines churn out hundreds of thousands of cartons a day. I half expect the massive energy-gulping freezers to be solar-paneled or powered by green-friendly windmills, but no, they use lots and lots of conventional electricity. It turns out that if you want really good ice cream, you just have to tolerate a little more global warming. That's a trade-off that I personally am willing to make.

I am not a fan of B&J's ice cream. No, I do not deny myself pleasures due to opposition to their politics. I just go for the traditional flavors vanilla and chocolate produced by B&J's cheaper copmpetitors. Of course, you can toss in some crushed oreos and some M&Ms to liven it up. Call me a neo-conservative.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Will There Be A CD Coming From This?

Bush is about to have lunch with Bono to finish up their discussions begun in July at the G-8 summit in Scotland. The White House press secretary, Scott McClellan said:

"Both share a deep commitment to combating AIDS, preventing malaria and expanding trade to lift people out of poverty."

Bush is preparing to win him over by doing the Cher part in "I Got You, Babe".

State Armed Conflicts Are Down Per Study

Here's something the MSM won't report.

The News.Telegraph reports in World is a safer place despite people's fears that:

[T]he number of conflicts between nations, civil wars, battle deaths, coups and genocides has been falling steeply for more than a decade.

The first Human Security Report, written by academics led by Andrew Mack, of the University of British Columbia, cites popular notions that war is becoming more common and deadlier, that genocide is rising and that terrorism poses the greatest threat to humanity.
"Not one of these claims is based on reliable data," it says. "All are suspect; some are demonstrably false. Yet they are widely believed because they reinforce popular assumptions."

The authors say there are 40 per cent fewer armed conflicts than in the early 1990s. Between 1991 and last year 28 wars for self-determination began but 43 were ended or contained.

The stats do not include the Iraq War that can have caused as much as 27,000 deaths combined of Iraqis and Americans. Of course, Saddam's (and his boys, remember them?) regular torture and murder of Iraqi citizens would not make the international war meter.

I wonder if the 3,000 dead from the WTC are included. Or the various victims of Islamic terrorism. Wasn't that part of an international war? Or was that just a "cry for help"?

Citizen Self-Defense: No Casket Needed

Civilian Gun Defense blog reports how an armed citizen in Houston protected himself during an attempted armed robbery. 3 men tried to rob an unnamed homeowner.

"The man had popped up out of his trash can sort of like a jack-in-the-box. The homeowner had a gun on him also. The homeowner fired, striking the suspect in the garbage can several times," Houston Police Department Homicide Division Investigator Kevin Carr said.

That suspect was pronounced dead inside the garbage can. The other two attempted robbers fled the scene on foot.Police said they do not plan on filing charges against the homeowner.

However, officers are not sure if the homeowner had a permit to carry the gun he used in the shooting.

Here in NJ the homeowner would be in trouble.

Dean Calls them "Merlot Democrats"

Jonah Goldberg claims that Howard Dean has taken to labelling Democrats as "Merlot Democrats" and Republicans as "Reliable Republicans". While the Democrat leaders try not to appear elitist, the Kerrys, Kennedys and Deans cannot help themselves. I bet if you polled Americans, a good 40% would not know what Merlot is. And upon learning what it is, they would be offended at the snobbery. Fred Sanford and friends used to drink boujolais because it sounded "classy".

It speaks further about their prejudices to think that reliability is a negative word when describing political leaders.

Admission: I happen to like merlot and order it when I do drink.

Admission 2: After a few drinks, I try to redistribute wealth, raise taxes, increase spending and deny terrorism exists.

Admission 3: If I drink too much of it, I try to arrange Million Something Marches, scream at people wearing leather and switch to eating tofu.

Admission 4: When I am plastered on merlot, I forget all history, economics and look for American-Indians to deed my house to.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

NY Terrorism Leakers Are Caught and Punished

The NY Daily News reports, two federal employees have been stripped of their security clearance for leaking the terrorism warning that eventually provided NY's rich and famous the news before the mayor gave the general warning. But, the good news is they got 4 orchestra tickets each for any Broadway show of their choosing. Or is that part of the punishment?

Where Are The Serious Liberals?

From Andrew "Skip" March:

So I'm listening to Senator Chris Dodd on IMUS. He is telling us that things are going pretty well in IRAQ with the recent vote on the Constitution and that we ought to start getting our troops out of there. There are only a few thousand insurgents and that doesn't justify our present troop presence.

Wasn't it not to long ago, like a few months ago, according to Democratic Party leadership that:
-The insurgents are winning
-IRAQ is a failure
-We don't have enough troops to fight the insurgents

As I listen further to Senator Dodd, he comments that the Iraqi's may not be able to handle the security situation and there fore we need to get out quickly, like start after the first of the year. I am trying to follow the logic here and there is none!

Whoops, he just said that the Bush Administration lied about Iraq...it doesn't stop does it.

Neal Phenes responds:

We keep looking for a coherent, logical argument from the opposition to the President. Besides hearing claims against conservatives/Bush/Republicans about lies (believed and developed by many throughout the world), morasses (that keep moving towards Constitutional democracy), corruption (that ends up much less than the hoped-for next Watergate), fiscal irresponsibility (with no offer of spending cuts except where securiy may be weakened), tax cuts for the rich (ignoring the prionciples of supply-side economics), lack of care for American workers (as free trade increases our growth and job creation).

Where is there a thinker among the opposition to Bush?

As Herman Cain writes, all we get is EDR.

Extreme deceptive rhetoric (EDR) is a tactic often employed by well known liberals to grab headlines and applause lines. Liberals enjoy speaking in EDR because speaking the truth about the issues and their positions usually causes them to lose support. EDR makes logical, grown-up debate on the issues impossible, which is exactly the liberals’ intent. This type of rhetoric promotes racial tension, class warfare and a public uneducated in basic economic literacy. Sadly, many of these stupid and inflammatory statements are not being made by stupid people.

In the past there was pro-liberal bias in the MSM but, according to Tony Blankley, there was some substance to their reports. He writes:

Oh, for the good old days. Then, at least the media cared about the substance of our proposals -- even if they lied about them. (Of course they also calumniated the personalities of conservative leaders, but that was only part of the coverage. We should have been grateful.)

Today, big media has lost interest in policy substance almost altogether. Analyses of major policy announcements are viewed, almost exclusively, through the prism of polling numbers.

And even in the face of the Dan Rather humiliation, the MSM fetes him for some kind of "courage" in pursuiing stories with fabricated documents. Oh, but the truth of the story is present even if there is no proof, right? Brent Bozell writes:

One year after the credibility of CBS News collapsed over their use of fake memos against George W. Bush, lame attempts to rehabilitate CBS seem to be everywhere. Dan Rather is now telling anyone who will listen that after defending the report, then apologizing for it, he now thinks it's true again. Al Gore is suggesting Rather was demoted because the all-powerful White House was angry. At a ceremony for the news and documentary Emmy awards, ABC's Ted Koppel and MSNBC boss Rick Kaplan scrambled like the King's men reassembling Humpty Dumpty. But the eggy mess remains.

Where are the serious thinkers and writers?

Skip adds:

......The Democratic Party is now reviving the lies and fabrications of the Bush Administration about reasons for going into Iraq........now that democracy and other geo-political success have been achieved and can't argue that it has been a failure. Frank Rich was on shortly after and using the same talking points that Dodd was using. I now watch IMUS to keep track of Dem Party talking points and, by he way, fabrications.

...and then he went off on Rove and Libby without an ounce of factual info.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Kennedy Tries To Save Stranded Fishermen

Drudge posts this link: Sen. Edward Kennedy Helps Rescue Fishermen.

Alleged Insurging Rebel Militants Of Non-Specific Ideology

Mark Steyn shows how MSM reporting on the Nalchik, Russia attack that left over 85 dead could never say the new "Voldmort".

In " Media utters nonsense, won't call enemy out ", the press calls the Muslims: "Insurgents", "Militants", "Rebel Forces" or just "Rebels". That leads Steyn to call them "Insurging rebel militant forces" or "alleged insurging rebel militants of non-specific ideology". NPR carried on a long interview with a Russian geopolitical academic type. Only at the end did the interviewee mention the word "Muslim". Writes Steyn:

the NPR gal leapt in to thank him and move smoothly on to some poll showing that the Dems are going to sweep the 2006 midterms because Bush has the worst numbers since numbers were invented.

Are these people reporters? Or does newspeak now require a translation book in order to learn what is going on in the world? We have seen Watergate onanism destroy the press. At least the White Sox are trying to live in the present.

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