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Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Reminder of Who Runs the GOP

It's Roy Blunt, not David Dreier, who will be the temporary majority leader while Tom DeLay is under indictment. The telegenic Dreier was supposedly the pick according to yesterday's early media reports right after the indictment news came down. But that soon changed.

At a private midday meeting of a large number of Republican conservatives, several lawmakers argued that Dreier lacked a sufficient commitment to the conservative agenda, according to GOP officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed. In particular, some participants in the meeting said he had voted in favor of federal funding for stem cell research and against a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and favored a less restrictive policy on immigration than many conservatives.

"There was a lot of discussion in that room about, Will ... he advance the conservative agenda?" said Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., who attended the meeting and said he personally would have been comfortable with Dreier in the post.

The stem cell funding ban, the gay marriage ban, and restricting immigration: these are the issues that determined the House Republicans' leadership choice. Remember that.

UPDATE: Or maybe it's because Dreier is gay. (That would help explain his being so photogenic!) Amazing his name could even be floated if he was really living with his chief of staff last year, and amazing I missed this angle--I haven't been engaging in enough online rumor-mongering of late. Via Chimes at Midnight, which gets a much-deserved nod on the Deval Patrick blogroll.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You Can't Script October!

But you can predict that Fox will overplay any dramatic angle it will find in the 2005 baseball playoffs.

I predicted a few days ago to a friend that both the Red Sox and Yankees will make the playoffs. I say this because it just seems like it is fated, and also because I envision Rupert Murdoch pulling the strings so that this will come to pass and Fox can get the ratings boost of another exciting ALCS. Even better, we get what is essentially the start of playoff baseball this weekend when the Sox and Yanks clash at Fenway for the division title. It would be awfully nice to win the division for once, since the Red Sox didn't win it even last year when they captured the World Series title. (On the flip side, the non-division winner gets what looks like a weak White Sox team that is struggling mightily down the stretch--assuming they can even hold off Cleveland.)

I also need to commend the Blue Jays, Orioles, Devil Rays and Tigers today because they are all playing for pride and nothing else, and they still managed to beat all of the four playoff contenders in the East and Central last night.

This post is rather lame, I admit. Gimme a break, I've been sick as a dog and busy as God this week, and dog is God backwards to boot.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Arctic Action Day"

I noticed a rally down by Congress today and overheard some stuff about ANWR. It must have been part of "Arctic Action Day". The speaker I listened to for a minute pointed out that Dwight Eisenhower founded ANWR 35 years ago. Well, at least here heart seemed to be in the right place, if not her facts. Eisenhower's presidency was over in 1961 and he died in 1969--36 years ago.

Much as I would like to do so, I won't be attending the big antiwar rally in DC this Saturday since I'll be out of town Thursday-Saturday. The antiwar stuff is coinciding with the IMF/World Bank protests, so there should be plenty of activist types descending on the capital in a few days. I'm sure other blogs will cover it extensively, rest assured (though without my subtle wit and keen observation skills, but what can you do?).

Saturday, September 17, 2005

"A craven abdication of power to the executive branch"

That's what E.J. Dionne calls voting yes on the Roberts nomination, given the non-responsive testimony of this past week.

[A]s many senators as possible should vote no on Roberts -- by way of saying no to this charade. A majority of "no's," very unlikely to be sure, need not mean the end of his nomination. It would constitute a just demand for Roberts (and whoever Bush names next) to answer more questions in a more forthcoming way and for the administration to provide information that the public, and not just the Senate, deserves.

How many senators will have the guts to make that statement?

Agreed, and a point Dionne doesn't quite make here is the difference between the information available to the president and to the Senate. Does anyone imagine that the president didn't ask Roberts some specific issue-oriented questions in private, back when he was considering whom to nominate? Do you think Roberts may have answered those questions in somewhat more specific terms in the privacy of the executive offices? After all, Roberts at that point was not yet the nominee. He needed to give Bush a reason to make the nomination, and I doubt being a non-responsive prick would've gotten him the Supreme Court nod he has obviously wanted for much of his adult life.

If that's all true, then the president knows a lot more about where this nominee stands than the Senate does. That certainly sounds like "a craven abdication of power to the executive branch" to me. The judiciary is a third branch of government over which both of the other two have some power. It is not the president's private fiefdom, even though the GOP wishes it were with the constant tut-tutting over any public questioning of Roberts that is remotely relevant.

Friday, September 16, 2005

NFL on TV Bitching

The national TV schedule lists Green Bay-Cleveland as the 4:15 CBS game for Sunday. Those teams are crappy, and CBS has other options in Jets-Dolphins and Chargers-Broncos that are much mroe intriguing. Don't do this to me, CBS.

We do get two Monday night games this week, though, which should be fun. Thanks, Hurricane Katrina!

Add to that the fact that the Patriots will inevitably get bumped in DC by the Ravens game so that I get to watch journeyman QB Anthony Wright take on the porous Titans' defense--should be thrilling.

But on the good side of the ledger, again, I do get to see BC-FSU on ESPN tomorrow night. That should be good times. Can you imagine Boston College knocking of freaking Florida State? It sounds too outlandish to me that I can't really believe it will happen just yet. Hey, it's more fun than playing Temple and Rutgers, at least, so I have to approve of the ACC move so far.

One Last Krugman Column

Enjoy it before the evil "Times Select" starts charging for this stuff on Monday.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Joe Biden's Kibuki Theater

BIDEN: See, you've told me nothing, Judge.

With all due respect, you've not -- look, it's kind of interesting, this Kabuki dance we have in these hearings here, as if the public doesn't have a right to know what you think about fundamental issues facing them.

There's no more possibility that anyone one of us here would be elected to the United States Senate without expressing broadly and sometimes specifically to our public what it is we believe.

The idea that the founders sat there and said, Look, here's what we're going to do: We're going to require the two elected branches to answer questions of the public with no presumption they should have the job as senator, president or congressman. But guess what? We're going to have a third co-equal branch of government that gets to be there for life; never, ever again to be able to be asked the question they don't want to answer. And you know what? He doesn't have to tell us anything. It's OK, as long as he is -- as you are -- a decent, bright, honorable man, that's all we need to know. That's all we need to know.

From here (aside: some news organization, please post transcripts of the whole hearing in one place).

I agree with Joe Biden, for once. This entire hearing is farcical--as if John Roberts had never thought about the contitutional controversies of our day and come up with positions on some of them. The whole reason John Roberts is the nominee is that Bush thinks he's conservative. Exactly how conservative is John Roberts though? Is he so far to the right that he would be an unacceptable choice? He isn't willing to let us know.

But whatever, he's only going through the confirmation process to lead the highest court in the land for the next three decades, it's not like his positions on the issues will have any impact on American society, right? Joe Biden must be doing this only because he wants to be president, thanks for the explanation Fox News.

Swann for Governor?

ESPN is currently fronting a story on former Pittsburgh Steeler/NFL Hall of Famer/ABC sideline analyst for college football games Lynn Swann and his aspiration to become governor of Pennsylvania. Personally, I've always thought Swann sounds mildly retarded when he speaks on the TV, and I would've thought the Republicans had learned their lesson after the Arnold fiasco in California. I guess there's a great appeal to a guy who is the GOP's Next Black Hope, now that J.C. Watts has faded into obscurity after tiring of being the party's token black guy.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Opening Night Pick

Of course, I'm taking the Patriots, before this thing kicks off. I do not doubt that team any more. Maybe I'll do an NFL picks feature if I get around to it this season.

That was terrible how ABC turned the opening MNF song into a truck commercial.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Question of the Day: Associate vs. Chief

This is a daily feature I've been kicking around in my head for a little bit. It's especially useful these days since I don't have time to read lots of news coverage and figure things out for myself, so I'll just pose the questions that occur to me in the course of my cursory news intake here. Maybe someone smart and nice will answer in the comments, and without being too condescending either when I ask something really dumb.

With that introduction, here's today's question:

Does it matter at all that Bush has now nominated Roberts for chief justice, rather than associate justice? If so, why exactly?

I did read the Post editorial, which said:

In most respects, the change in position ought to signify little in terms of how senators regard Judge Roberts. The difference between the chief justice and the other members of the court, after all, is largely administrative, not substantive; all justices have only one vote.

I'm aware that back in the day, CJs like John Marshall and Earl Warren were adept at twisting the arms of the other justices to get outcomes they wanted, but I don't think much of that happened on the Rehnquist court.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Lamest Exorcism Ever

In keeping with my nom-de-blog, I feel compelled to comment from time to time on exorcism-related news. Today I'll point out that The Exorcism of Emily Rose, a film about demonic possession opening in theaters Friday, is somehow only rated PG-13. How is this possible? Isn't an exorcism supposed to be pretty scary, the kind of thing to warrant an R rating from the MPAA?

Someone at the IMDB message boards addresses this by pointing out that the trailer is misleading. The movie is apparently mostly about a court case with a few flashbacks. Why the studio is selling this as a horror flick is beyond me since the people going for gore will be pissed at being misled, and they might find the PG-13 rating fishy in advance like I did.

P.S. Happy Labor Day to all of the carpenters and factory foremen who read this blog, I'm sure there are tons of you guys.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rehnquist Should've Retired

Come on, when you have thyroid cancer, you have to realize your days are numbered and you should step aside. Thanks to his stubborness, Rehnquist has now assured that there won't be a chief justice in place for the start of the term.

Oh yeah, RIP and all that. I find it mildly amusing that all of the Democrats, in searching for something about Rehnquist to praise in their statements on his passing, have cited his defense of an independent judiciary. That shows, by implication, that there's basically nothing in the substance of his jurisprudence that progressives will celebrate. From Brown v. Board to Roe v. Wade to Bush v. Gore, William Rehnquist was on the wrong side of almost every major issue he had a hand in. I say good riddance, from the standpoint of his legal views, with all of my condolences to his family, of course.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

"George Bush doesn't care about black people!"

I have a feeling Kanye West just lost all three of his Republican fans.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Wow, I Missed that One

I just realized last night that lots of people are dead in Louisiana and that this hurricane has been a huge disaster. That's what happens when you're too busy to follow the news for a few days, I guess.

The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearing from '91 is now being aired on C-SPAN3, by the way, and it's some good viewing.