Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Sources tell CNN that the passing of his dog Buddy in early 2002 really hit former Pres. Clinton hard. To compound matters, the death of Mr. Clinton's loveable chocolate labrador retriever remains a mystery, as well. Unnamed former WH staffers have confirmed to CNN that Buddy was strangely encouraged by Mrs. Clinton to play in the street in front of the Clintons' NY home, beginning near the end of 2001. Many WH insiders have privately stated their belief that Mrs. Clinton's directive was the result of that infamous and unfortunate episode in front of the White House.
CNN can now report that relatively soon after the untimely death of Buddy, Pres. Clinton began to yearn again for canine companionship. In addition to his affinity for dogs, Pres. Clinton's former secretary told CNN that Dick Morris also communicated his belief to Pres. Clinton that ownership of a lovable canine was a positive in polls, particularly in Red States.
Given the encouragement of Morris, Pres. Clinton reportedly approached Mrs. Clinton in late-2003 to bring another dog into the family. Surprisingly in the wake of the Buddy WH lawn fiasco, Mrs. Clinton agreed that having a dog would, in fact, help to endear the Clintons to Red State voters, and thus dog ownership would be a net positive. Pres. Clinton further prevailed upon Mrs. Clinton that ownership of female dogs would help with wooing married surbanite women in Red States. Mrs. Clinton agreed.
In a strange twist, the Clintons also opted to purchase three large female hunting dogs. Sources indicate that Pres. Clinton apparently got Mrs. Clinton's agreement to three dogs based upon his claimed intention to take up hunting in approximately Fall 2007. (The former president explained to Mrs. Clinton the need to take up his new hobby much earlier than Sen. Kerry did.)
Reportedly, both Clintons agreed that hunting dogs would appeal to Southern gun owners. Thus, Pres. Clinton apparently placed an order with an Arkansas breeder for three large, "redneck" hunting dogs; the pups arrived late last year, just as ordered.
WH sources have privately indicated that Mrs. Clinton is not pleased with the appearance of the dogs, however:
The names are reportedly a bigger problem. A member of Mrs. Clinton's press office privately told CNN: "At least the dogs he is hanging with now have four legs."
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The al-Qaeda-in-Iraq jihadi pictured above was recently apprehended by Iraqi troops as part of Operation Steel Curtain. Note, too, that said terrorist is wearing a dress, ostensibly for the purpose of "escaping detection".
Finally, note also that if said jihadi were wearing a dress in Abu Ghraib, however, it would be a great affront to Muslim culture, the "Arab Street", and to Demos and RINOs everywhere; thus, it would accordingly be "torture". (h/t Blackfive).
Monday, November 28, 2005
While presenting the conflicting viewpoints, the gist of the story was that small border towns like Penitas (that's the scrambled word in the linked story), Texas are being overrun by illegals. Also, the Chronicle reported criticism of the nonsensical policy of local police departments refusing to assist in border enforcement. This "See No Evil" policy has apparently been promoted and condoned by the feds. However, local officials in major metropolitan areas such as Houston are also loathe to crack down on illegals for a variety of reasons, both political and economic.
And speaking of political and economic reasons to oppose reform, according to the Pew Hispanic Center and the Dept. of Homeland Security, the civilian workforce is currently comprised of 4.3% illegal aliens. Isn't this about the current unemployment rate?
You know it's gotten bad if discussion of immigration has now reached Washington, even if we are approaching an election year. The Homeland Security Department is reporting that the "catch and release" policy is no more. Also, last year in Texas alone, nearly a half-million illegals were detained, an increase of 22% over the previous year. Even Hillary Clinton is talking about immigration. Note that I said "talking". Yet, if you think she would actually do anything about it, well then you are one of those uninformed voters she will be courting in '08. But you're reading here, so never mind.
While most serious proposals on the issue have come from conservative Republicans, the fact is that neither party has done much of anything on the immigration front. It's been a non-issue in Washington. Why is that?
I think we need look no farther than the awkward coalition of business interests that simply seek the cheapest labor possible (regardless of the source or consequence) and leftists who simply want new minority voters and social service consumers. This big business-big government coalition -- aka the Demo-RINOs -- is held together by its core principle of disregarding the nation for its own selfish interests. The Demo-RINO coalition also has its own grand immigration plan, a bill sponsored by Ted Kennedy and the RINO-in-Chief himself, John McCain.
Plus, with the number of liberal Demo and RINO senators, there are enough votes in the Senate to hold back any serious reform measure. So, while the debate has been raging in the hinterlands, it' s been hard to get off the hallowed ground of the World's Most August Deliberative Body.
Furthermore, unlike how the critics wish to market this important debate, race is not the issue. In fact, most Hispanics favor curbing illegal immigration.
At the core, I believe that the debate on immigration is about the following question: Do we wish to preserve and protect this nation or not? Ultimately, true immigration reform will be passed only if we engage and win the debate over the meaning and value of this nation.
To the crowd who simply doesn't care who lives and works here, America is merely a cool spot on a map. It is a place to get a job or do business (get money) or a place to receive benefits (get money). But is this all that America has become -- a free-admission version of the Greatest Show on Earth? Where all can be had and all senses are titillated at all hours, free of charge? Is this it?
If so, then we are finished. To win the ongoing national debates over immigration and (on the broader level) national security as a whole, we must know: What is America? And why is the survival of America important? In other words, why is America worth fighting for? If we, as a nation, can't confidently answer these questions, then we won't be able to stop illegal immigration.
I would submit that America is worth preserving because it is a special place, not merely geographically but rather in human history. This nation is not perfect, but it is undeniably special and unique. And if there are no requirements for entry into this nation, as with any organization or institution, then it will naturally lose its special character. Put another way, if America means everything, then it means nothing.
The good news is that the opposite is also true: When we know who we are, we will act accordingly.
Unlike other nations, America's founding charter is really a credo: All men are created equal, with certain God-given rights. Government's role is limited to protecting those individual rights.
This unique experiment in human history is worthy of protection. Still, not all Americans seem to be convinced, or at least to possess the will and courage to fight for what they know to be true.
Years ago, I had a discussion with a friend who had gone to work for Motorola. I was decrying Japanese companies that were blatantly and openly stealing U.S. chip technology. His response was somewhat ambivalent: "It's all the same world. What does it matter?" In other words, why is America so special among nations? Why does this nation's success and survival matter?
Well, maybe one can say we are the same. People are, for sure. But nations are not. Certainly, not every nation would rebuild its vanquished enemy's homeland after winning a world war. And not every nation would conquer Saddam Hussein's Iraq at the cost of more than 2,000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, and then help Iraqis set up a democracy.
Other nations might. But America does.
She's worthy of defending.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
That would be God. Indeed, this is a Christian holiday, and we remember those hearty, first New Englanders who stuck it out to make it to the first Thanksgiving. And they endured all manner of hardships to come here simply because they couldn't worship Christ as they saw fit. Amazing.
Around my house, I talk to my boys about thankfulness. Here is my "speech" that both recognize:
Every morning when you get up, you have at least three things to be thankful for:
1) Your eyes opened. Every day, indeed every breath, is a gift from God;
2) As a Christian, you are blessed beyond measure and have the opportunity to know God and live this day for Him. Each breath of each day has meaning; and
3) You are an American, and this means that you are among the most blessed people in the history of the world, just by virtue of this fact alone. You have before you the freedom and opportunity to make the most of every breath and every day. So, do it.
No whining allowed. Be thankful.
As for me, not to whine but ... it's hard to relax and eat a great Thanksgiving meal when our young troops are on patrols all over Iraq and Afghanistan as we speak. I will be thinking of them, and my family will pray for their success and safety.
And we will thank God this new generation of American warriors is carrying the torch to protect American security and advance freedom. They are the best.
Happy Thanksgiving every one.
See you next week.
Nice guys can finish first. Let's hope so, because with wins over Texas A&M on Friday and in the Big 12 Championship Game on December 3, Mack Brown’s Texas Longhorns are poised to take on USC in the Rose Bowl on January 4, 2006 for the national championship.
A lot of Mack's detractors had argued very loudly that he could not produce a team like the one he has this year: They’re good. They're fast. No, blinding fast. They're cool. They have been down late in two different ballgames on the road this year -- at Ohio State and Oklahoma State. They play defense, with an attacking style that flummoxes offenses and produces momentum-swinging turnovers. They play offense. Explosive offense. It helps to have Vince Young as QB, for sure. They make big plays almost routinely. And they play with a confidence and nastiness that reminds one of, well, the way Oklahoma used to look.
This year, Mack has been at his very best. Since he came to UT in 1998, he has been derided by some as a guy "too nice" to win. He said and did the right things. But the guy was too nice, the critics said.
Well, I am happy for Coach Brown, because I honestly saw this coming. He builds programs for the long term and in the right way. And he's far smarter than a lot of the self-proclaimed smart guys of fooball (i.e., Steve Spurrier) think.
During the last seven years, Mack has provided an effective model for building a winning organization: giving people a stake in the success, stressing a philosophy and sticking to it, leading from the front with a positive example, delegating to those who possess skills that the leader does not, learning from mistakes, and remaining true to yourself as a leader.
When Mack came to UT, he was known as a top-notch recruiter with an ability to perhaps build ties with Texas high school football coaches. Such ties were in bad need of repair in the wake of the John Mackovic era. Mack did in fact mend fences, and then he built bridges. But he did much more. He brought with him a philosophy: Recruit winners. Look for young men who have won at the high school level. Look for classroom success. Look for character, because disappointment and trials will surely come to almost all players at the college level.
Good players make smart coaches. Mack is humble enough to acknowledge this. Once he arrived, the talent began to follow. And the wins began to pile up, if not conference championships and wins over OU.
Upon his arrival in 1998, the thing he said that I just found the most incredible was his praise for UT fans. Listen, I went to school there and the fans were spoiled, golf-clappers who believed that a national championship is their birthright. A sizeable number of them were that way, at least. Mack, though, just praised UT fans and thanked them for their support. He encouraged them to "be loud, wear orange, and stay late." This was funny to me at first, because Longhorn fans just weren't the type. They are now, and Austin has thus become one of the most difficult places in the country to play.
He sought out the legendary UT Coach Darrell Royal for advice and made him welcome at all Longhorn functions and practices. All prior Royal successors had silently avoided the lurking legend, but Mack acknowledged and embraced the two-ton gorilla in the room that is DKR. As a result, the two became fast friends and Coach Royal has remained a steadfast supporter of Mack's.
Mack also sought to reinvigorate the pride in UT's long history of success, emboldening new recruits with the message that they were proudly carrying a torch borne by the likes of Layne, Nobis, Campbell, and Street.
Oh, but he was too nice to beat the smart-aleck genius from Norman -- Bob Stoops. However, that myth disappeared in a cloud of smoke this year, 45-12. The dirty little secret here was that Stoops and Co. actually had comparable and even better players than Texas. Now that Mack's crew has equalized and passed OU in terms of talent, we’ll see how it goes from here.
One of the most impressive things about Mack is that he has learned from past mistakes. No more waiting to play freshman phenoms against OU, like what occurred with Cedric Benson as a freshman. This year, frosh RB Jamaal Charles got the start and throttled OU. There is no more sensitivity regarding QB controversies, as Mack last season gave the reins to then-sophomore Vince Young, instead of alternating with restless senior and would-be transfer Chance Mock. No more holding the offensive cards to close to the vest; Mack has taken more of a role in the offense and encouraged his long-time coordinator Greg Davis to step on the gas. I mean, when you've got a Ferrari, you need to get the thing out on the highway from time to time.
Being an offensive coach, all Mack did was go out and hire two of the best defensive minds to run his defense during the last two seasons – Greg Robinson, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, and now Gene Chizik, who coordinated the Auburn Tigers’ nation-leading defense last season.
Mack is humble enough to change and he consistently gives his players, assistant coaches, and even fans the credit for the team's success. The result: “I love coach,” says Vince Young.
Mack’s crew knows how to coach, too. Often, special-teams play is overlooked, but knowledgeable observers know teams that return and block kicks well can win games that way. And such teams are well-coached. In this regard, almost everyone has heard of Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer, a very fine coach. His team’s are noted for their special-teams excellence, and in fact only one team in the past five years has blocked more kicks than Virginia Tech: That would be Mack Brown’s Texas Longhorns.
What gives me the most pride as a UT alum, though, is that Mack stresses winning the right way. UT players go to class, and there’s a reason they don’t tend to make headlines for off-field antics while enrolled at UT. Character is recruited and excellence is expected.
A few years ago, I took my boys to Austin for our annual football pilgrimage. It was a great day, as the Horns won a hard-fought game over Iowa State. We went to Chili’s for the post-game celebration/analysis. We sat down to order and there was Cory Redding, the best player on the team at the time and now a defensive end for the Detroit Lions. My boys, weary of all my leg-pulling, didn’t believe me, though. So, I took them over to prove the point. When we interrupted Cory’s dinner to say hello, he pleasantly engaged both of my boys in conversation and signed their shirts and hats. I was amazed at what a nice young man he was.
Though extremely talented, he seemed very grounded, humble, and first-class.
Like his coach.
Photo courtesy of SI.com.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
December 5 -- Finalists for Comment of the Year announced.
December 12 -- Comment of the Year announced.
December 22 -- Last post of the year.
January 3 -- State of the Blog Press Conference from the back of my pick-up at a yet undisclosed location. At the presser, the following will be addressed: 1) Name of the blog. Should it stay or should it go?; 2) Other changes to the blog; 3) Posting schedule for '06; 4) election analysis/plan for '06; and 5) still more surprises; and 6) an overall explanation of just what is going on here.
If you have any questions or comments about the foregoing ... or suggestions for the presser, I would be happy to hear them.
Update: Comment of the Year Results announced on 12/5.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Oh, my. Has the Party of FDR really degenerated to such a state? Are you kidding me? They need a new "party of" slogan, something catchy. Maybe we should rename them the "Party of Is /Isn't/Depends/Are we voting on this, or what?" .. or "Cut, no Wait" ... or "Will the last principle out the door please turn out the lights?"
Friday night's House Resolution contained the key phraseology from Murtha's, namely, the words that make the Demo/Left's heart sing: "The deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq is terminated." Come on, now. Wouldn't every Kossack joyously proclaim victory from the mountaintop to have the U.S. House vote that we should bring our troops home immediately? Have I been missing something? And don't all Ted Kennedy afficionados want to end the Iraq "quagmire" right now? I mean, if it's a quagmire, it shouldn't last one more day, right? No, I guess not.
So, are we now to conclude that the Demo objection is to leaving Iraq? Do they want to stay until Iraq is secure, just like the Republicans do? Or are we to believe that with a "rapid reaction force over the horizon" that all Demos would have voted for the resolution? Well, as of late last week, Nancy Pelosi would only say she was "intrigued" by Murtha's idea. She wouldn't say she was for it, of course. But you could sure tell she liked it. Rather, she liked it "out there", but she never imagined having to go on record on the concept of an immediate withdrawal. Oopsies.
I mean, I thought the American public was down on the idea of our troops being in Iraq? No? Oh, just the Demo base. Will some one please get Pelosi and Co. a political consultant in here?
Rhod called it, and I think he's right. The Demos are just looking for a political advantage to a drawdown that is surely coming. Complete withdrawal now is not what the Demos want ... in spite of what is routinely batted around in the rubber rooms of Kos, the DU, and their ilk in the left-wing blogosphere.
Why? Because Friday night's vote shows that withdrawal doesn't work as well politically as the constant battering of Pres. Bush. The American public doesn't want to cut-and-run like the Demos would clearly like to.
The plan by the Demos, their not-ready-to-be-viewed-by-the-public base notwithstanding, is to use the Iraq War as a hammer to weaken Pres. Bush, and by extension, Republican congressional candidates for '06.
Never mind the fact that this political strategy might get American fighting men killed.
The Friday night massacre reminds us that the Demos can't win legislatively. The can't say who they are because it is electoral suicide. This is why they hide behind procedural tricks, imagined scandals, and an unelected oligarchy of robed lawyers. They lose whenever they battle in the open arena of ideas.
Good luck, Demos, in explaining the "nuance" of your vote next November. Don't worry. We won't tell.
All of this is a good illustration of why I stay pretty optimistic. I know that eventually the Left is going to have to come out in the sunlight to face the truth and the music.
And there I will be waiting with the rest of the band.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Before I go, though, was digging through my brief case and I came across my notes of a story told to me ... by a pastor friend of mine, incidentally ... which makes it a little more humorous, perhaps. I was going to post it during the Miers debacle, but time got away. So, I will put it up now for you to ponder. Warning: Liberals will not understand. Here goes:
A bird was going to fly south. But he waited too long. When he finally left, his wings froze and he fell to the ground. He lay there dying. Then, a cow came along and crapped on him. This was a terrible experience, but the warm cow crap thawed his frozen wings. He was so happy. He was so happy he couldn't contain himself and he started singing. Then, a cat came along and, to his amazement, wiped all of the cow crap off of him. He was so overjoyed. Alas, but then the cat ate him.
The moral of the story is:
1) Not every one who craps on you is your enemy;
2) Not every one who takes crap off of you is your friend; and
3) When you are covered in crap, keep your mouth shut.
See you next week.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
You know it was bad for the Demos because "Greenjeans" Reid was whining like Capt. Kangaroo had cut his segment shortly after the speech.
Via Drudge, here is an excerpt of VP Cheney's remarks:
As most of you know, I have spent a lot of years in public service, and first came to work in Washington, D.C. back in the late 1960s. I know what it’s like to operate in a highly charged political environment, in which the players on all sides of an issue feel passionately and speak forcefully.The foregoing remarks merit a spike in the end zone.
In such an environment people sometimes lose their cool, and yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition.
And the suggestion that’s been made by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city...
Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions.
They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq’s capabilities and intentions that was made by this Administration and by the previous Administration. There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat … that he had violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions … and that, in a post-9/11 world, we couldn’t afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of WMD programs, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, who had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder.
Those are facts.
What we’re hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.
The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.
We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we’re going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.
We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us. They and their families can be certain: That this cause is right … and the performance of our military has been brave and honorable … and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.
We need more of it, too. The Bush Administration also needs to be about the business of repeatedly and accurately describing the enemy we are engaging in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond.
Update: Christopher Hitchens just grabbed the ball Cheney spiked, then pulled a Sharpie out of his sock, signed the ball, and threw it into the stands!!
Here is a sample of Miller's subtle critique of the Boxer masterpiece:
Of course, saying that A Time To Run has a few bad parts really doesn't give Boxer enough credit — the whole book is stupendously awful, from the first page to the last. As a service to you, dear reader, I have slogged my way through it, in order to share with you the worst of the worst.Hugh Hewitt poked his head out the Harriet Miers dog house to offer the great suggestion that Miller's review be read aloud. I say, try it. In fact, try it in a Starbucks in San Francisco.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Pssst. Come closer, and I'll tell you a secret: It's not fashionable in academic circles to praise Roe. Yes, it's true. Oh, they like how the case came out, all right. "Very enlightened result," they will say, "but (blushing) not sure how they did it."
You want to know what I think about Roe? I think the the decision amounts to "heavy-handed judicial intervention" that is "difficult to justify and appears to have provoked, not resolved, conflict.”
Actually, the foregoing quote is from my ideological clone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Indeed, many pro-choicers are on record in their criticisms of Roe. Take time to read the foregoing link, and then spread the word.
Ironically, the truth is that the "extremist" position on Roe is that it is a well-reasoned opinion grounded both in the Constitution and applicable precedent.
Many pro-choicers like the result. Even though I am pro-life, I understand this.
However, no matter how desirable the result may be to a segment of the population, the following truth remains: Creating a fundamental right to an abortion, wholly untouchable by the elected representatives of the people, is the sort of unprincipled act that ultimately threatens the very fabric of our representative government.
Man, Prager is hitting long balls out of the park these days on the subject of Militant Islam. Also found this gem yesterday at Real Clear Politics. The punch line: Yes, it's a good development that Jordanians are enraged by Zarqawi's latest act of barbarism. But, why only now?
I wonder: Will still others join the questioning that Prager is undertaking? And ... will Muslims respond?
Monday, November 14, 2005
"I am and always have been a conservative," he wrote in an attachment to the noncareer appointment form that he sent to the Presidential Personnel Office. "I am a lifelong registered Republican. ... It has been an honor and source of personal satisfaction for me to serve in the office of the Solicitor General during President Reagan's administration and to help to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly," he wrote.
And in case that wasn't clear enough, Alito then went on,
Man your battle stations.
"I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government has argued in the Supreme Court that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion." (emphasis added)
As for me, though, I've been here for a while. These comments by Judge Alito don't surprise me at all.
As I recall, I think what some were saying was something on the order of: If you you read (and understand) Alito's opinions, then you'll know that the Left "should be greatly afraid" of Judge Alito.
Maybe now the naysayers and the Perfect Church crowd (you know them ... "If they find the perfect church they are looking for, they better not join it; they'll ruin it.") will relax and stop listening to Arlen Specter's and other RINOs' versions of meetings with Judge Alito.
And maybe the Left will realize they have been had, too.
C'mon, Demos. This is war. Ride to the sound of the guns. Please do tell us that a judge who does not believe in abortion and thinks Roe was wrongly decided -- as do the overwhelming majority of law professors, even if they agree with the result -- can not serve on the Court. Tell us what you really believe: Don't you just think the Constitution ought to advocate a liberal agenda, even if the text does not dictate such a result? And do you deeply mistrust people with a sincere religious faith? And if you don't, great. But please come out and tell us.
Ah, but the Left loses when it explains itself clearly. We can hope, though.
Please, please tell us that the Constitution is "living", i.e., the meanings of the words change as the society changes, but that case law such as Roe is forevermore. Please do explain, if you dare.
Is there any one out there on the Left who can engage the substance? Or can it's PR people in the MSM merely hound Mama Alito, intimate that Judge Alito is a gangster, or whine that he owns Vanguard mutual funds?
The Left can't win on a substantive playing field. But we can. So, here we stand. And here we'll win.
Friday, November 11, 2005
Today, we pause to remember the nation's veterans. In particular, my thoughts are with those who have fought in the nation's wars. It is good that we remember ... and are reminded to remember. Have you noticed that people tend to forget what they should remember and vice versa? Funny.
But we should remember. Those who have been there and served, particularly those of you who have done so in wartime, have made this great American experiment a reality. For the longer we live, we see more and more evidence that the free are swimming upstream, and the enemies of freedom have many structural advantages and are constantly on the prowl. The enlightened among us have taught that as mankind advanced this would not be so. They have been proven wrong ... over and over again.
What to make of this? To remain free, this nation will have to keep producing people who are willing to put it all on the line. So, how do we produce new generations of heroes? It starts in families. It continues with friends. It continues still with neighbors. And it continues on with even acquaintances.
Veterans should tell their stories. Tell people where you served and what you did. Tell them why you served. Tell your kids. Talk to your friends. Tell people about the moments that still make you cry. Live out who you are. Speak up when appropriate about the value, pride, and honor of wearing the uniform of the United States military.
We need to see. We need to hear. And for those who are doing it already, great. Keep on doing it. We need you.
Each vet has a story to tell. I know.
When I was seven, my family was in crisis. So, I went to Arizona to spend the summer with my uncle. He was a Viet Nam vet, a Marine, a prior-enlisted company commander who did two tours. I later learned he also had two Bronze Stars and a Silver Star.
During that summer, my uncle used to wake me up early -- usually with some saying about the value of getting up early and the vice of sleeping too much -- to go out and feed the horses. He was chipper and cheerful, and he loved the Marine Corps. (Man, he still does, too.) He would read me snippets ... they often sounded strange and undiscernible at the time ... out of the Marine Corps Gazette. And then he would say, "What do you think of that, little buddy? The Marines are looking for good young men. Maybe you can grow up and be one some day." At times, I thought he was a bit corny, but I respected him. I knew that my uncle had a purpose much higher than himself and this affected me in ways I didn't fully understand at the time.
Later, when I when I was making the decision (a strange one, indeed, to my contemporaries) to go into the USMC, I recalled my uncle. His encouragement and example were big factors, along with the patriotism instilled in me by dad, that led me to sign up.
I never regretted it, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything. Actually, maybe I would have missed it but for the words and example of a vet.
See you next week.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
It is not often that I can't put into words an idea, a thought, a picture. But I struggle very much with explaining how and why the Marine Corps meant and continues to mean so much in my life. And in the nation's life, as well.
One image keeps flashing into the memory bank, so I will start here. One cool, fall Quantico day in 1989, as I was running in formation with a group of officer candidates, the sun was breaking through the trees just so. The formation was moving right along at a brisk clip, with the rhythmic crunching of feet hitting the gravel in perfect unison to the cadence. The pounding feet of the formation seemed to get louder and louder. When the pounding became almost like thunder, it dawned on me, like the bright sun of the day that had just begun: It was simply magic. This Marine Corps magic makes the whole far greater than the sum of its ordinary parts like me. Magic. That's the only way to explain it, and I could explain it only because it happened to me.
Loyalty to each other. Loyalty to country. For most of us, loyalty to God. But ultimately, there was just a fear of letting down your fellow Marines, a complete refusal to ever let that happen. This is what drives the Marines. When this belief system takes hold and finds its way into the DNA, one has magically made the transformation to become a Marine. Ordinary young men and women ... living up to an extraordinary legacy.
Like a guardian warrior-angel, this legacy goes everywhere with the Marines. It taps them on their shoulders as they go about their duties large and small, reminding them to always be faithful to the Corps and the country it serves.
Remember those that have gone before. Remember the young men fighting their way up Suribachi through murderous fire. Remember Chapultepec. Remember Viet Nam. The nation forgot those young troops, but they did not forget the nation. Remember the Marines who for 230 years have quietly gone about their duties -- whether valiant or mundane -- and have done them with excellence and pride. It goes on and on.
Never forget. And never let them down. Stay faithful.
When comparing little ol' me to that legacy -- a legacy that Marines have beaten and drilled into them at either Recruit Training or OCS -- I have always felt small indeed. Yet, I have always felt tall in the company of fellow Marines.
I marvel at today's young Marines, too, fighting alongside brave young soldiers as a new generation of American warriors makes its mark on history. I should say I marvel, but then again I don't. They are proving what many of us know. The magic lives. And if you don't believe it, spend some time with them and have your faith in America restored. Or you could check with the enemy whom they are seeking, closing with, and destroying.
And one final note here. I want to take this occasion to thank all patriots, whether they be civilians or current/former members of other services, who share the Marines' commitment to this nation. This day is yours, too.
For the heart and soul of America continues to produce and inspire new generations of Marines ... to carry and then pass the torch.
Indeed, many nations have marines, but there is only one United States Marine Corps. Happy Birthday, Marines.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Do yourself a favor and read the whole speech. And marvel at how the brilliant can make the complex simple.
When you read this, you will understand what a lot of us conservatives mean when we say we are hopeful that Judge Alito will bring a similar philosophy with him to the Court. Still, there is only one Scalia.
Monday, November 07, 2005
How could the same MSM run with this story of a troubled former Marine's lies about atrocities in Iraq? I guess it depends upon what is important. Is any one noticing?
One wonders: Did any one notice when the same MSM anxious to find American atrocities edited a dead Marine's letter home to make a political point. In case you missed it, the NY Times saw the news from Cpl. Jeffrey Starr's letter home that was fit-to-print, as follows: "I kind of predicted this. A third time just seemed like I’m pushing my chances.” However, the part of Cpl. Starr's letter that was not fit-to-print was:
I don’t regret going. Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq. It’s not to me. I’m here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live, not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators, to do what they want with their lives. To me, that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom. Now this is my mark.Is any one out there paying attention? Sure, there is. We are. I am. You are. We are, my friends, part of the very future of information dissemination in America, the West, and yes, in the world.
So, take heart. Because the more the MSM ignores the atrocities committed by radical Muslims while simultaneously peddling aggressive, anti-war propaganda disguised as news ... the more readers, viewers, and listeners will keep turning to the New Media. Thus, people will get more information, more real news, more facts, more truth. All of the foregoing will lead to more freedom. When ideas are allowed to compete in the marketplace, the best ideas win.
I am perfectly happy with such a competition of ideas. I wonder ... Is the Left? And ... what are the odds you think that Zarqawi and his ilk want free discussion of his contributions to the civilized world?
So, the MSM's continued gross malfeasance, albeit maddening, only increases the speed of its demise. Still I ponder: If a tree falls in the forest and the NY Times says it's because of an evil neo-con conspiracy to fell trees, would any one know?
The discussion eventually did turn substantive, and I thought it might be instructive to show you parts of the exchange (and perhaps some new commentary). So, maybe we have a series. Who knows? And if we're lucky, maybe JK will emerge from the shadows and comment here and "get thrown to the sharks" ... you know, stop picking on the lightweight me.
So, here is our initial exchange:
JK: Who are you? I can't seem to find your name on here anywhere. Why do you hate McCain? I'm just curious. What is your military record?
Me: I don't hate McCain. He is just a horrible senator, in my view. Check out my post re: what Blogs for McCain's Opponent is about.
So, you assume I am a Chicken Hawk? Interesting. Why don't you read "Understanding DC", linked to the upper right and see what you can learn before you start launching broadsides. I mean, aim first. That's what they taught us when they showed us how to use a weapon.
JK: Sorry bout the chickenhawk thing....didn't see you were a marine. . Just got back from Vietnam with a bunch of ex marines. Still can't find on your website why you don't like McCain. Your business but I can't understand why a vet would support Bush v McCain. I personally last year retired from the Air Force after 22 years. Not the marines but what the hell.
DC: Check out: http://daisycutter.blogspot.com/2005/05/blogs-for-mccains-opponent-launches.html. It's linked on the site at the end of the "Blogs for McCain's Opponent" blogroll.
Your point is an interesting one: So, former military should automatically support McCain? I don't think so. Why not Kerry, for that matter? I think a political judgment is far more complex than that. And, if you want to know the truth, it bothers me as a former Marine to see these politicians wearing their military service around like a billboard.
My problem with McCain is his ideas. They aren't conservative. I respect and admire his service, but this is no reason to vote for him.
And don't forget: Pres. Bush is not on the ballot any more. It's time to look ahead. McCain will be on the ballot, and he wants the Republican Party to look like the Senate's Gang of 14. Count me out.
Additional comments -- This exchange shows, I think, a large part of McCain's appeal. He is respected and considered "off limits" for hardball criticism in large part because of his service in Viet Nam. I do appreciate this about McCain, perhaps in a way that the McCain supporters don't understand. My support of political candidates does not hinge on their military service records; it ultimately hinges on their ideas. And I don't vote for a candidate who says, "Vote for me. I served." precisely because I value military service and sacrifice.
I came to believe long ago that that political office is not necessarily a step up from military service. Thus, I am skeptical of candidates who act like it is.
Friday, November 04, 2005
But the opinions do provide a key insight into the philosophy of Judge Alito. It is a philosophy that I, as a judicial conservative and Roe critic, am very comfortable with. The bottom line: I thought that Alito was a superb choice when he was announced. My review of his abortion-related decisions makes me even more convinced of my initial impression.
Stay tuned. The following post is lengthy, but I think it provides some new insights on these opinions that I predict will be a focus of Judge Alito's confirmation hearings in January.
So, here they are, in chronological order:
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1991)
Judge Alito's dissenting opinion in this case has by far garnered the most attention of any of his opinions to date. Most have focused on the result, where Judge Alito voted to uphold Pennsylvania's spousal notification provision. Yet, the SC ultimately and narrowly disagreed with Judge Alito's powerfully persuasive opinion. More importantly, the Casey dissent now provides valuable insight as to just what kind of legal reasoning he will bring to the SC.
Here is his dissent, in a nutshell:
"I do not believe that [spousal notification] has been shown to impose an undue burden as that term is used in the relevant Supreme Court opinions; I therefore apply the second prong of the two-part test; and I conclude that [spousal notification] is constitutional because it is 'rationally related' to a 'legitimate' state interest."In Casey, Judge Alito examined the "undue burden" test, as enunicated the architect of the test, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. He persuasively demonstrated that spousal notification did not run afoul of this test by comfortably citing a litany of precedents (mostly authored by O'Connor herself) to undermine the majority's conclusion. Here is a sample:
In Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, she (O'Connor) wrote that “an ‘undue burden’ has been found for the most part in situations involving absolute obstacles or severe limitations on the abortion decision.” She noted that laws held unconstitutional in prior cases involved statutes that “criminalized all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother,” inhibited ” ‘the vast majority of abortions after the first 12 weeks,’ ” or gave the parents of a pregnant minor an absolute veto power over the abortion decision. ... She suggested that an “undue burden” would not be created by “a state regulation [that] may ‘inhibit’ abortions to some degree.” (citations omitted)Of critical importance to Judge Alito, the notice provision at issue in Casey contained four exceptions. That is, a woman would not be required to notify her husband if she certified that she believed that: "(1) he is not the father of the child, (2) he cannot be found after diligent effort, (3) the pregnancy is the result of a spousal sexual assault that has been reported to the authorities, or (4) she has reason to believe that notification is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her." Absent the application of one of these exceptions, failure to make the required notice was a third-degree misdemeanor.
Planned Parenthood offered expert testimony that most battered women would be psychologically incapable of taking advantage of the fourth exception, that is, the exception for cases in which the woman has reason to fear that notification will lead to the infliction of bodily harm upon her. In response to this facially reasonable argument, however, Judge Alito showed a reluctance to accept the arguments supporting an expansive view of abortion rights. Specifically, Judge Alito seemed unwilling to accept the argument that abortion rights should remain constitutionally unfettered because of the potential for women to be victimized by abusive relationships when an unwanted pregnancy is involved:
However, the judge then acknowledged the seriousness of women's plight when confronted with an unwanted pregnancy in a difficult marriage. Yet, Judge Alito steadfastly acknowledged the limited role of the courts in such situations:
The plaintiffs failed to show how many ... married women seeking abortions without notifying their husbands are victims of battering. Thus, the opinion offered by their expert, even if taken at face value, merely describes the likely behavior of most of the women in a group of unknown size. Clearly then, this evidence does not show how many women would be inhibited or otherwise harmed by [the spousal notification provision]. I cannot believe that a state statute may be held facially unconstitutional simply because one expert testifies that in her opinion the provision would harm a completely unknown number of women.
Needless to say, the plight of any women, no matter how few, who may suffer physical abuse or other harm as a result of this provision is a matter of grave concern. It is apparent that the Pennsylvania legislature considered this problem and attempted to prevent [the spousal notice provision] from causing adverse effects by adopting the four exceptions noted above. Whether the legislature’s approach represents sound public policy is not a question for us to decide. Our task here is simply to decide whether [the spousal notice provision] meets constitutional standards. The first step in this analysis is to determine whether [the spousal notice provision] has been shown to create an undue burden under Supreme Court precedent, and for the reasons just explained it seems clear that an undue burden has not been established. (emphasis added)Judge Alito then went into a somewhat extended discussion of the rational basis test. In this discussion, he frontally assaulted feminist dogma by laying out a father's interest in the life of his unborn child. He cited a number of Supreme Court precedents to support this propostion, too. He concludes with the following quote from a dissenting opinion of Justice White: "A father’s interest in having a child–perhaps his only child–may be unmatched by any other interest in his life”.
Finally, Judge Alito then laid out his rationale for upholding the spousal notice provision while reiterating his role in this dispute:
The Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands’ knowledge because of perceived problems–such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands’ previously expressed opposition– that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion. In addition, the legislature could have reasonably concluded that [the notice provision] would lead to such discussion and thereby properly further a husband’s interests in the fetus in a sufficient percentage of the affected cases to justify enactment of this measure. Although the plaintiffs and supporting amici argue that [the notice provision] will do little if any good and will produce appreciable adverse effects, the Pennsylvania legislature presumably decided that the law on balance would be beneficial. We have no authority to overrule that legislative judgment even if we deem it “unwise” or worse. (emphasis added)What we see here is a judge, who though apparently is not a fan of abortion rights, clearly has a respect for the rule of law and precedent, and he further understands the role of the courts and legislatures in our system of government. In my view, his Casey dissent shows that he will be a judge who will not seek results that comport with his pro-life philosophy. Yet, I expect his persuasive, logical argumentation and commitment to the proper role of judges to erode Roe and other constitutional "Heffalumps" and "Woozles" over time.
Blackwell Health Center for Women v. Knoll (1995)
Judge Alito did not write this opinion, but he did join in the majority opinion. The result of the Blackwell opinion was that Medicaid funding was required, per federal regulations, for abortions as a result of rape and incest. This is about as far as many look at this opinion. Yet, there is quite a bit more to it.
Most importantly, the case was not about the constitutionality or propriety of abortions. Rather, the case was about the an interpretation of administrative law. Bored yet? Sit tight. For a great overview of the case, see Ed Whelan's post. Whelan explains:
The threshold question of administrative law that divided the majority and the dissent was the question of whether principles of so-called Chevron deference applied to the HHS action or whether instead so-called Skidmore deference applied. This question, which routinely arose in lots of cases involving review of administrative action, was unsettled at the time, both in the Third Circuit and elsewhere. Justice Scalia has been the most vigorous advocate of an expansive realm for Chevron deference, but his views lost out in the 2001 decision in United States v. Mead, which, in Scalia’s words, made “an avulsive change in judicial review of federal administrative action” by cutting back the realm of cases where Chevron deference applies. ...Then, Whelan reminds conservatives of why this case should make them happy, and conversely why this case should disturb liberals:
In sum, while this case obviously arose in a context involving abortion, the question that divided the majority and the dissent was a general threshold question of administrative law on which Alito was exactly where Scalia was. There is no basis for inferring from this case anything about how Alito would approach other cases involving abortion—other than that Alito would apply the law neutrally and not indulge his own policy preferences (whatever they might be). That is exactly what everyone should want in a Supreme Court justice. ... (emphasis added.)Thus, to the uninformed observer, this case makes it appear as if Judge Alito favors federal funding of abortions, or he "ruled in favor of abortion rights". Yet, the case actually provides evidence of similarities between Scalia and Alito on an important issue -- their dislike of excessive judicial review of legislative and adminstrative actions.
Alexander v. Whitman (1997)
This is my favorite of the four. It seems completely misunderstood and the significance of Judge Alito's brief but profound concurring opinion could be enormous, in my view. In this case, Judge Alito agreed with the majority that injury to a stillborn child was not recognized in New Jersey as cause of action. Yet, he concurred to emphasize two points that are germane to this case and also any future analysis of Roe or other cases involving the expansion of new-fangled constitutional rights via the concept of "substantive due process" flowing from the 14th Amendment. Here is Judge Alito's opinion in its entirety:
I am in almost complete agreement with the court’s opinion, but I write to comment briefly on two points. First, I think that the court’s suggestion that there could be “human beings” who are not “constitutional persons” is unfortunate. I agree with the essential point that the court is making: that the Supreme Court has held that a fetus is not a “person” within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. However, the reference to constitutional non–persons, taken out of context, is capable of misuse. Second, I think that our substantive due process inquiry must be informed by history. It is therefore significant that at the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment and for many years thereafter, the right to recover for injury to a stillborn child was not recognized. (emphasis added).
Some may not realize it, but underlying Judge Alito's opinion is likely a healthy, conservative skepticism for new civil causes of action and the ambulance chasers who hawk them.
More importantly, though, this brief opinion establishes two things about Judge Alito's constitutional philosophy that are quite important: First, he objects to failing to afford constitutional rights to any human being. This perhaps allows for the potential of granting constitutional rights to the unborn as medical science advances. Second, and even more importantly, though, Judge Alito interprets the 14th Amendment in light of what it meant to the American people at the time of its adoption. For those who don't realize the significance of this view, recall that judges in the last 30 years have found all sorts of rights (abortion, sodomy, etc.) emanating from the 14th Amendment. How these rights were there all along and escaped the sharp legal eyes of the SC jurists of yore is beyond me. Yes, I digress ... But I must ask: How many states thought of abortion or any other new-fangled "rights" such as gay marriage as "fundamental rights" when the 14th Amendment was ratified after the Civil War?
Planned Parenthhood v. Farmer (2000)
The MSM simplistically reports Judge Alito's opinion in this case as "striking down New Jersey's partial birth abortion law". It is true that Judge Alito concurred in the 3rd Circuit's opinion that did just that. But the existence of a concurring opinion should be a tip-off; there is more than meets the eye. In fact, I think there is significantly more. Orin Kerr had an excellent post on the Farmer decision.
Kerr explains the procedural background:
Judge Alito did not join in Judge Barry's opinion. Instead, he concurred, and in what appears to be an angry (in judicial terms, at least, and especially for Judge Alito) opinion, he chastised Barry for her majority opinion:
Farmer involved a challenge by Planned Parenthood to a 1997 New Jersey statute that prohibited what is popularly known as the "partial birth abortion" procedure. A panel of the Third Circuit consisting of Judges Barry, Garth, and Alito heard argument in the case in November, 1999. On January 14, 2000, while the panel was drafting its majority opinion, the Supreme court granted certiorari in a Nebraska case raising the same issue. The Third Circuit panel held its drafted opinion until the Supreme Court decided the Nebraska case on June 26, 2000. Instead of rewriting the panel opinion along the lines of the Supreme Court's new decision, Stenberg v. Carhart, Judge Barry simply added a new introductory paragraph to the opinion that she had drafted before the Supreme Court's decision and published her opinion otherwise "as is." The first paragraph of Judge Barry's opinion explains what happened:
'The majority opinion which follows was in final form before the Supreme Court of the United States heard argument in the appeal of Carhart v. Stenberg, 192 F.3d 1142 (8th Cir.1999). The Supreme Court has now issued its opinion in that case, finding Nebraska's "partial birth abortion" statute--a statute nearly identical to the one before this Court--unconstitutional. See Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 120 S.Ct. 2597, 147 L.Ed.2d 743 (2000). Because nothing in that opinion is at odds with this Court's opinion; because, in many respects, that opinion confirms and supports this Court's conclusions and, in other respects, goes both further than and not as far as, this opinion; and, because we see no reason for further delay, we issue this opinion without change.'
I do not join Judge Barry's opinion, which was never necessary and is now obsolete. That opinion fails to discuss the one authority that dictates the result in this appeal, namely, the Supreme Court's decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 120 S.Ct. 2597, 147 L.Ed.2d 743 (2000). Our responsibility as a lower court is to follow and apply controlling Supreme Court precedent. ...So, why the angst by Judge Alito in this case? First, this case again shows his penchant for addressing only the issues necessary for deciding a particular case; he clearly felt the majority was out of bounds in issuing its own opinion while the Supreme Court was considering Stenberg, which would control the outcome of the case.
More fundamentally, though, I think that Judge Alito was perturbed because he was not in the majority in the original (never issued) opinion. The issuance of such an opinion would have forced him to dissent in this case, and thus unnecessarily go on the record -- again -- against abortion rights in a high-profile case.
Query: Can you name a SC nominee who has issued two high-profile opinions advocating the limitation of abortion rights? I didn't think so.
Instead, Judge Alito issued a concurring opinion in which he followed SC precedent in striking down New Jersey's partial-birth abortion law. And the MSM, in my judgment, continues to miss the whole point.
But I am fairly sure that I don't. And the point is: Conservatives have little to fear from SC-Justice-to-be Sam Alito. But the Left? They should be greatly afraid.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
How do you appease when the objects of your appeasement seek only to destroy you?
How can a nation survive when it bemoans "tough talk" about radicals who are destroying the nation?
Where are the Muslims who are denouncing the criminals trashing Paris?
Will the forces of non-assimilation and political correctness ever learn?
Can France and the rest of Europe survive?
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
The young prosecutor (of course, Ronnie Earle didn't argue this loser motion) misses the point, which is: A judge must be free from even the appearance of impartiality. May I modestly suggest that a donor to Moveon.org, yes, the same maker of the anti-Delay T-shirts, can have his partiality reasonably questioned in this case against Delay. Judge Duncan, who heard the recusal motion, agreed.
This is simply more evidence of the weakness of Earle's case and his own ineptitude. He should not have opposed the defense motion, and he would have then been able to gain a sliver of high ground. Forever overreaching and seeking any advantage possible, he stuck to his guns.
He is going to get his head handed to him. Prepare to enjoy the ride.
Incidentally, I know Judge Bob Perkins (the now-former Delay judge) from way back. He is an old-time Demo, a partisan for sure. He was always nice to me when I covered the courthouse beat as a young reporter, though. Methinks the judge thought I was, ahem, progressive. Now, why would any one assume that a journalist is a liberal? I have no earthly idea.
Here's what I think: I think Judge Perkins probably legitimately thinks/thought he was impartial. This fact should have given him pause, though. The fact that he couldn't see how his Democrat donations and affiliation with Moveon.org appear to the public at large is evidence of a blind spot.
The Delay trial team moves on to victory.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The lesson of every contest from the 2000 election to the abandonment last week of Harriet Miers's Supreme Court nomination is that, as Michael Barone wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Mr Bush can count on being firmly, and more or less unanimously, opposed by the Democrats, and he can succeed only when he has the strong support of the Republican base".It seems the Bush Administration has awoken from its slumber to realize the foregoing. It's a good thing.
Indeed, the Left won't let the Democrats refuse to fight, even if it is the equivalent of their Pickett's charge. You have to love this. The "Move On Money Machine" is fired up and has already signed up over 200,000 people as anti-Alitos. This is what happens, Demos, when you make friends with, take money from, and yes, make up your political base with, extremists. They want payback, even if it destroys you.
So, the Left is saying that Pres. Bush "caved" the the "radical right" in withdrawing HM. This is, of course, laughable, as Schumer and Co. were sharpening their knives for hearings that were designed to embarrass Pres. Bush and cripple his presidency. Meanwhile, the Left is demanding Demo senators fight Sam Alito to the bitter end. They will fight to the bitter end all right.
Please, please, please filibuster, Demos. I know you don't want to take my advice, but I am just trying to be helpful.