[star]The American Mind[star]

October 31, 2005

Schumer's Perpetual Talking Points

Someone hit the repeat button on Sen. Charles Schumer's iPod:

“Dividing the country”. Isn’t that the same exact thing he said about Justice Roberts AND Harriet Miers? Whoever is typing up the talking points at the DNC needs a crash course on how not to make the memos sound a like.

The Rosa Parks link was a tasteless touch. Nothing says politician like trying to score political points with an unrelated dead person.

"Schumer Compares Rosa Parks to Supreme Court (VIDEO)"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)

Kennedy's Pendulum

The GOP has a side-by-side comparison of Sen. Kennedy's evolving (dare one say "growing"?) opinion of Judge Alito. In the press release Kennedy went on to say:

After insisting that Harriet Miers shouldn't even get a hearing because she couldn't prove she was extreme enough, the far right has now forced the President to choose a nominee that they think has views as extreme as their own.

This only makes sense only if Alito was ideologically in synch with Kennedy when the Senate confirmed him. In 1990 President George H.W. Bush nominated Alito. He certainly wasn't a Kennedy-liberal. So it wouldn't be a surprise that Alito wasn't a liberal on the court.

Kennedy goes on saying:

After stating that he believed in a diverse bench, President Bush took the nation a step backwards today. Apparently, he couldn't find a woman or minority or a mainstream nominee that meets the litmus tests of the right wing, and instead put forth a nominee with a troubling record on the rights and freedoms important to America's families.

Without saying it, Kennedy demands quotas on the court. And he has the gall to talk about "litmus test of the right wing."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:47 PM | Comments (2)

Alito Nominated

Hooray! President Bush got his act together. Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito has been nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. The conservative spin is Alito has a first-rate mind is more qualified than Chief Justice Roberts. In a blast e-mail Ed Whelan said, " By any objective criteria, it is doubtful that there is anyone now or in recent decades (yes, not even Chief Justice Roberts) whose experience and qualifications better prepare him for the Supreme Court."

The Left and their allies in the MSM has already jumped on Alito's dissent in the Casey case. (Hmm... was the AP spoonfed this story from pro-abortionists as easily as I was fed favorable Alito quotes?) He thought the Pennsylvania legislature had the power to make wives tell (but not require consent from) their husbands they're having an abortion. He wrote,

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.

Justice Reinquist later cited the dissent in his dissent when the high court ruled on Casey.

Sen. Harry Reid wondered "if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people." How radical could he be if the Senate unanimously confirmed him? Or has he "grown" more conservative while on the bench? If so, it would be one of the first instances in modern legal history. Sen. Ted Kennedy wondered if Alito was "mainstream." GOP staffers passed out a quote of Kennedy saying, "You have obviously had a very distinguished record, and I certainly commend you for long service in the public interest. I think it is a very commendable career and I am sure you will have a successful one as a judge."

Michelle Malkin sums up the Right's pleasure in a serious nomination writing simply, "Experienced. Well-thought-of by conservative constitutional scholars. Not a diversity/crony pick. Young. This is a nominee the Right can get behind." James Joyner thinks Alito will have a semi-smooth sail through the Senate. I don't see that. Too much money on the Right and Left are just waiting to be unleashed in opposition research and tv commercials.

"Bush Nominates Alito for Supreme Court"

"This Time, Liberals Voice Opposition"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 11:28 AM | Comments (10)

Current Reading: Two Lives

Vikram Seth's An Equal Music possesed enough emotional depth to connect with me like few books have. I may never get around to diving into his massive A Suitable Boy but I am enjoying his latest Two Lives. It's a love letter to his late aunt and uncle. They both lived through the tumultuous times of World War II. War burned an imprint on both of them that would never heal. Seth honors them with a humane and personal account.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2005

Blast from the Past

This Digg post reminds me I have an Osbourne-1 sitting in my basement. Anyone want to make an offer?

"First Laptop Ever"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)


Michele has shut down A Small Victory. She'll need to focus on writing her novel. I hope we seen ASV again.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:11 PM | Comments (1)

Painful to Watch

Can the Packers please pull Ahmad Carroll? He can't cover anyone, and when he tries he's committing a penalty. Is Joey Thomas that much worse?

UPDATE: What's also painful to watch is Brett Favre treating the football like trick-or-treat candy. Hand it out here, there, and everywhere.

UPDATE II: Favre has passed John Elway for second place in all-time passing yards. But right now he could care less about any records.

UPDATE III: The Pack loses again. 1-6 and I'm dreaming of Reggie Bush in a green and gold uniform.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2005

Message from the Afterlife


Make your own Einstein picture.

[via the Commissar]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2005

Saddam Can Only Blame the Man He Sees in the Mirror

The United Arab Emirates and the U.S. agreed with Saddam weeks before the Iraq War to let him to go into exile in the UAE.

UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan made the proposal for Saddam to go into exile at an emergency Arab summit just weeks before the U.S.-led war began in March 2003.

But the 22-member Arab League, led by Secretary-General Amr Moussa, refused to consider the initiative.

"We had got the final agreement from the different parties, the main players in the world and the person concerned -- Saddam Hussein -- within 24 hours," Mohammed bin Zayed, deputy head of the UAE armed forces and crown prince of Abu Dhabi, told the UAE-based channel in a documentary.

"So we were coming to put facts on the table, and there would have been results had it been discussed," he said.

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak says in the documentary that the United States had signaled its support for the proposal.

The Arab states that refused to discuss the idea knew Saddam wouldn't remain quiet. This is the same man who invaded his neighbors and gave international weapons inspectors the run around for a decade. Saddam's weasely ways are what led to his deserved downfall.

"Saddam Accepted UAE Exile Plan to Avert Iraq War-TV"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 08:03 PM | Comments (5)

Go Old School

Target will be selling old-fashion (Yikes! I'm too young to write that) arcade cabinets.

Each unit plays 12 of the original arcade versions of the most popular Midway® games including: Defender®, Defender® II, Robotron®, Joust®, Bubbles®, Splat™, Sinistar®, Rampage®, Rootbeer Tapper™, Wizard of Wor™, Timber™, and Satan's Hollow™.

Damn it! I want Beer Tapper, not the prohibitionist version.

"Target to Begin Selling Stand-Up Arcades in November"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

Libby Indicted

Do you smell that? That's Scooter Libby as toast.

Lying to investigators and to a grand jury is a crime. Those who commit it should be prosecuted and punished. There's no need for me to defend Libby. If I did what he's accused of doing I'd be going to jail. No pity for Libby.

The indictment deals with lying and perjury. It doesn't get to the heart of the Plame story. Who told Bob Novak about Plame? Tom Maguire guesses it was Ari Fleischer. Was Plame covert? Fitzgerald said her status was classified, but there wasn't enough for him to charge Libby with that crime. Bob Woodward told Larry King that there was no damage. Libby isn't accused of talking to Novak. Libby talked to Judy Miller who, ironically, didn't write a story about Plame.

Fitzgerald's indictment of Scooter Libby. [PDF] [via Mark Klimer]

"Cheney Adviser Indicted in CIA Leak Case"

UPDATE: Cheney's office and Rep. Jack Kingston issued releases on Scooter's resignation.

Ace questions why Fitzgerald took two years to see if a crime was even committed:

And so here we are. No crime was committed BEFORE the investigation, so he indicts someone on five charges (?) for statements made in the course of the investigation.

Without an investigation, no possible crime, apparently.

That gives this a Martha Stewart feel.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 03:57 PM | Comments (14)

October 27, 2005

Carnival of the Badger #11

Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger...


Before embarking on this week's carnival you must, must open this website into another browser. It's required background music. Soon I will be petitioning the government to make it Wisconsin's official manic song. The kids at UW-Madison would love it in between detox sessions.

Mushroom, mushroom!


Dad29 takes on Aurora Health Care for their ads for a new Waukesha County hospital.

Marcus Aurelius, the Badger Blogosphere's resident Roman, gets serious with a look at how fast democracy should be implemented in the Middle East.

Lance Burri points out the difference between a politician calling for something and actually doing something about it. As a bonus (Lance must have found that 1up mushroom) things could be worse.

Dean opposed Harriet Miers. He got his wish.

Badger Blues gives us a reason why Democrats should stand up and fight.

Representative Frank Lasee wants a TABOR that really limits government spending.*

On the BorderLine highlights the writings of one of its regular posters.

The Electric Company's Paul Noonan gives us a public service announcement: talk radio yappers might not know what they're talking about when it comes to climate change.

RealDebateWisconsin is also in a giving mood and wants to help us with our junk mail.



State Sen. Chuck Chvala might have lots of time to learn the fine elements of the "Badger Badger Badger" song since he might get some jail time by pleading guilty to two felony charges. Steve at No Runny Eggs reports along with a shot at "Mr. Plea Bargain" E. Michael McCann.

Leaning Blue reports a Hurricane Katrina refugee died in a Red Cross shelter in Milwaukee. It may have been a drug overdose, but the MSM isn't reporting it.

Another item you won't find in the MSM is a proposed rule change at the Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs. Bill Christofferson provides some reporting on a bureaurcratic power play.

Random10 listened to John Edwards and found his ideas on fighting poverty lacking.

Robbie Barton found a CNN "story" about President Bush's poll numbers that didn't say anything.

Patrick the Badger Blogger notes that 2,000 American soldiers have died in Iraq for a reason. A good reason.

Bob, the Madison Freedom Fighter [I think Mad City is a lost cause. --ed] offers Cindy Sheehan some practical advice to protect our troops in Iraq.

Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger...


"To the moon, Alice!" From Sheboygan? Sounds like a Halloween prank, but tee bee points out the state is taking the idea seriously.

Aaron at Subject to Change is looking for a cause "to take on the 'evildoers.'" The weirder the better. How about helping me with the "Badger Badger Badger" song? He's also going to have the good candy for Halloween.

STB sees the bad, tacky, ugly trend of Holloween displays. They're scarier than a snake.



Next week, Patrick hosts the CoB. As for me...

Badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger, badger...

*Oops. Rep. Lasee's submission slipped through the cracks. It's now been added.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:00 PM | Comments (12)

Miers Withdraws

No more Harriet Miers to kick around:

Under withering attack from conservatives, President Bush ended his push to put loyalist Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court Thursday and promised a quick replacement. Democrats accused him of bowing to the "radical right wing of the Republican Party."

The White House said Miers had withdrawn her name because of a bipartisan effort in Congress to gain access to internal documents related to her role as counsel to the president. But politics played a larger role: Bush's conservative backers had doubts about her ideological purity, and Democrats had little incentive to help the nominee or the embattled GOP president.

No comments until I get back from the bookstore tonight. I can say Charles Krauthammer got the exit strategy right.

"Miers Withdraws Under Mounting Criticism"

UPDATE: The name game for a replacement has already started. Diane Sykes' name is again floating around.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 09:33 AM | Comments (5)

CoB this Evening

Expect the Carnival of the Badger this evening. While I'm working today I'll try to think of some special touches for the plethora of submissions I received.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:31 AM | Comments (3)

October 26, 2005

Organizing Against Miers

David Frum started up Americans for Better Justice to oppose the Harriet Miers nomination. Mona Charen, Linda Chavez, and Virginia Postrel are all on board.

They already have a commercial. The tone is good. They're not bashing the President or Miers supporters. This has the potential of really being a full-blown conservative schism. A lot will up to how Miers supporters like Hugh Hewitt respond. It's not a good sign when Hewitt writes,

The echo-chamber effect that plagued the Michael Moore Democrats last year may now be at work among conservative intellectuals who think they are seeing a rising, when in fact they are witnessing the equivalent of a cyber faculty meeting meltdown over a tenure decision, on steroids.

Pejman Yousefzadeh has jumped off the fence and opposes Miers:

So even if Harriet Miers passes through the prelude, what do we have? We have a very smart litigator who would be--and was--a very good managing partner at a large law firm who has not thought seriously about Constitutional law, issues of statutory jurisprudence or an overarching theory of jurisprudence. She will cram for her immediate hurdle before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But that is not enough to prepare her for a lifetime on the Court. For John Roberts, the Senate hearings were an occasion to show clearly to the very few who remained foolish enough to doubt him his absolute and awe-inspiring mastery of Constitutional law. For Harriet Miers, they would be an occasion to merely attain some semblance of respectability after an underwhelming rollout--underwhelming in large part because of her failure to impress even those whose own legal training is shallow at best.

And this is where I get off the bus. I don't want a Justice who is merely better than the mediocre. I want excellence. I want someone who lives and breathes the issues the Court grapples with and while Harriet Miers is an excellent lawyer, she does not fit the bill on this score.

UPDATE: Stephen Taylor takes Hewitt to task for his characterization of the anti-Miers crowd as East Coast elites.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:26 PM | Comments (10)

The Speculation Continues

An AP business writer thinks Google Base is an online classified ad service. The only people who know what it really is aren't saying much.

"Google Gives Peek at Classified Ad Service"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

A Sluggish Start

This season Desparate Housewives has been missing something. I thought it might be that its newness wore off. Marcia Cross might have it right that the characters' stories aren't as intertwined.

"I think it would be nice if we start spending a little more time together," said Cross, who plays Bree on the hit ABC series.

"I think in the first few episodes (of the second season) we weren't, but that wasn't anything sort of set in stone, it's just sometimes things just evolve," the 43-year-old actress told AP Radio recently.

Something will have to happen with the crazy guy in the basement. Maybe Susan will take a road trip to Utah to find Zack.

Did any Sports Night fans notice the music in the scene with Felicity Huffman dancing on the bar?

"'Housewives' Backlash Doesn't Worry Cross"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Washington Waits

Indictments on the Valarie Plame case are rumored to be coming. I'll say it again: Scooter Libby is toast. Not for blowing the cover of a secret agent, (A real covert agent told the Washington Times, "She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat.") but for lying to investigators. It will be a Martha Stewart prosecution where Libby will be accused of lying about a crime the prosecution can't prove happened. Or he could have lied to a grand jury which is a big, no huge, no-no.

If Libby lied to a grand jury I want to see him do the perp walk. Then I'd like to see more about Joe Wilson's self-aggrandizement and lies that started this whole mess.

"'Indictments Coming Tomorrow; Targets Received Letters Today'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:07 AM | Comments (21)

Banian on Bernanke

King goes into Ben Bernanke's idea of "inflation targeting." It may not be that different from what Alan Greenspan has been doing for years. In a later post he goes into the role of the Federal Reserve as an economics research outfit.

"Bernanke, Inflation and Targeting"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

"Jesus Was a Black Man"

Milwaukee has its share of wacky politicians. None wackier than Alderman Michael McGee. The Journal Sentinel's Spivak & Bice report on their attempt at getting McGee's side of the story on what transpired on a recent bus trip to Washington, D.C.

"Spinning Statements Can Be Hard to Follow"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:22 AM | Comments (1)

October 25, 2005

Political Loyalties

On the Miers nomination Robert at Watchman's Words asks,

When it comes to the subject of loyalty and support, who owes whom? To what degree does a President owe his supporters the fulfillment of his campaign promises? To what degree do a President's supporters owe him their support when he does not (or appears to not) fulfill those promises? Who bears the responsibility for a split in ranks--the leader or the followers?

A key principle in politics is prudence. Sometimes a political promise can't be kept because of changing situations. Maybe the reason Harriet Miers was picked was because all President Bush's other choices declined. If that's the case the President should have done some serious thinking to find a way to make the nomination process less politically charged.

A politician is selected by his constituents for his judgement. He is not a rubber stamp of the public's will. The politician shouldn't come to his decision based on opinion polls. He's in office to use his mind and mouth to do what he thinks is right. The constituents have the opportunity to judge him at election tim or if the politician is really bad by recall.

Similarly, constituents must use prudence in determining if the politician has broken a campaign promise and for what reason. The constituents have to examine whether the political, economic, or cultural environment has changed to make the promise impossible to fulfill or to drain the politician's reserve of political capital so as to make him unless in tackling other issues. Few politicians run solely on one issue. Likewise, most voters don't care only about one issue. It becomes a process of weighing the costs and benefits of addressing particular issues.

For both sides communication is key. The politician needs to convey why he's doing what he's doing in a way his constituents can accept (but not always in a way to tip off his political opponents). Constituents need keep their eyes on the politician and let him know when they opprove or disapprove of his actions. Handling this give-and-take is part of what makes politics an art rather than a science.

"Which Way Does the Arrow of Responsibility Point?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:28 PM | Comments (1)

Need Posts Now!

I'm hosting this week's Carnival of the Badger. Send me your posts or I'll have a very small carnival. They're due by Wednesday at 8 pm. E-mail them to sean--at--theamericanmind--dot--com or use this carnival submission form.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)

A Soup to Avoid

If you ever have the opportunity pass on Chunky's chicken and dumplings. The soup is bland but with an annoying bell pepper flavor. It also looks like nacho cheese dip.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

Free Web Database

Google is playing again. Google Base, a free, online database, will be announced at their Zeitgeist conference today.

Play, play, play. That's how the company seems to be coming up with new ideas. I wonder how management sorts through them to find the good stuff they think will help build profits?

"Google's Upcoming Database Service" [via Download Squad]

UPDATE: Ben Charny thinks Google Base could be an eBay killer. [via Milwaukee Blue Shirt]

UPDATE II: Google responds to the rumors:

You may have seen stories today reporting on a new product that we're testing, and speculating about our plans. Here's what's really going on. We are testing a new way for content owners to submit their content to Google, which we hope will complement existing methods such as our web crawl and Google Sitemaps. We think it's an exciting product, and we'll let you know when there's more news.

[via digg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

Trackback Spam

In the past few weeks the amount of trackback spam has really shot up. Now, it appears Jay Allen is done updating the MT-Blacklist. Too bad. Other than the trackback and comment spam MT 2.661 has been good for me. My philosophy with software is "If it ain't broke don't fix it." Upgrading for the sake of upgrading seems pointless to me. But I'm going to have to think about it. WordPress will deserve strong consideration since it's free, open source, and let's me have unlimited authors. With MT 3 I'm familiar with its weblogging interface, and it might, might let me move my template without much fuss. Maybe it's remodelling time for TAM. Rip out its guts and put on a new coat of pixels. Any thoughts?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:25 AM | Comments (5)

Bernanke Comments

When economics gets into the news I'm pleased. But the problem with talking about the Fed nominee Ben Bernanke is it goes into an area I'm not well versed in. I'm acquainted with macro and monetary economics from my undergraduate work, but I caught the Hayek bug* and have been more interested in microeconomics--especially the distribution and use of knowledge--and political economy broadly defined. Plus, I'm not fond of the wizbang applied mathematics macro has turned into.

Still, talking about the Federal Reserve and its role in the economy gets the econ gears in my head turning. Here's some blogospheric comments on Bernanke:

  • Steve Verdon considers Bernanke "more moderate than Greenspan" and sees him as a "rules" man in the "rules vs. descretion" debate.

  • Greg Ransom isn't happy. He'd prefer an Austrian macroeconomist like George Seglin, Roger Garrison, Larry White, or Steven Horwitz. I wonder if could get us back on the gold standard without Congressional action?

  • No surprise at the Mises Blog. Jeffrey Tucker isn't happy.

  • Tyler Cowen gets into Bernanke's contributions to monetary and macroeconomics.

  • Russell Roberts does his best ScrappleFace impersonation and reports that President Bush named his personal accountant to be Fed chief.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

Bush Hates Podcasters

JimK is having technical difficulties so there might not be a Starkcast this week. He blames Bush. I think it's Emily.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2005

Bernanke to be Next Fed Chairman

CNN reports President Bush will name Ben Bernanke as the next Federal Reserve Chairman to replace Alan Greenspan. Unlike Harriet Miers Bernanke won't be labled as a Bush crony. The unsurprising pick (he's been mentioned many times as Greenspan's replacement) worked at the Fed before as well as in academia. Currently he's the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.

On the plus side he's an inflation hawk like Greenspan. He's in favor of something called "inflation targeting." Here's what he told the Minneapolis Fed:

It's true that the Federal Reserve is already practicing something close to de facto inflation targeting, and I think we've seen many benefits from that. My main suggestion is to take the natural next step and to give an explicit objective, that is, to provide the public with a working definition of price stability in the form of a number or a numerical range for inflation. I believe that that step, though incremental, would have significant marginal benefits relative to current practice.

First and very importantly, such a step would increase the coherence of policy. Currently, the FOMC [Federal Open Market Committee] makes its decisions without an agreed-upon definition of price stability or of the inflation objective, and one wonders how oarsmen pulling in different directions can get the boat to go in a straight line. I think the FOMC's decision-making process would be improved if members shared a collective view of where we want the inflation rate to be once the economy is on a steady expansion path.

Second, there's a great deal of evidence now that tightly anchored public expectations of inflation are very beneficial, not only for stabilizing inflation but also in reducing the volatility of output and giving the Federal Reserve more ability in the short run to respond flexibly to shocks that may hit the economy.

Inflation expectations in the United States are better anchored than they used to be but are still too volatile for optimum performance of the economy. Announcing an actual number or range would serve to anchor public expectations of inflation more firmly and avoid the risk of “inflation scares” that might unnecessarily raise nominal bond yields.

Third, from a communications viewpoint, financial markets would be well served by knowing the medium- to long-term inflation objective of the Fed. An explicit inflation objective would help market participants accurately price long-term assets, both by anchoring long-term inflation expectations and by giving the market better information about the likely path of short-term policy as the Fed moves toward its long-term target. And fourth and finally, I think an inflation target does introduce an additional measure of accountability for the Federal Reserve, although I would put that as least important of the things I've mentioned.

On the downside he hasn't worked on Wall Street, and it might take a while for the bankers and financiers to get comfortable with the academic.

Here's Bernanke's c.v. and Princeton home page. In August, John Tamny wrote a critical article on Bernanake for National Review. "For his views on money, Bernanke has the potential to be very dangerous," he writes." Brad DeLong countered. It will be fun watching dueling economists for a day or two.

"Bernanke's the Man"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2005

Post-Game Observations

After Dante Culpepper's touchdown passes he didn't do his rolling, rolling, rolling celebration. I wonder if someone told him about John Jaggler's reporting on the source of that dance.

Ahmad Carroll didn't commit any penalties but he gave up a big touchdown pass. He's another Mike Sherman-as-GM bust.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Zilch. Zero. Nada.

That's what my weblog is worth according to Business Opportunities Weblog.

Huh? It's not like Technorati doesn't acknowledge my existence. Almost six years of writing has to be worth something...anything. I've got an advertiser. That has to mean TAM has some value. Dane Carlson needs to do a little debugging.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:14 PM | Comments (7)

A Lovely Half of Football

What's more beautiful: the Packers stomping on the sex-crazed Vikings or Vikings fans (the most fair-weather in all of sports) having to watch it?

UPDATE: Patrick "almost" feels sorry for the Vikings.

UPDATE II: Me and my big mouth. The Vikings have scored 10-straight points. Now, Ryan Longwell just missed a field goal to start the fourth quarter. We have ourselves another Packers-Vikings nailbiter.

UPDATE III: Eek! The Vikings have just taken the lead with three minutes left. Favre will need some last-minute magic since Ahman Green was on the turf gripping his knee earlier.

UPDATE IV: The Vikings win with a last-second field goal. Injuries and Vikings defensive adjustments stopped the Packers in the second half. They can't blame turnovers. Favre didn't get picked off or threw any stupid passes. They just don't have enough players to make plays. To my Minnesota readers you may begin your heckling.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:29 PM | Comments (3)

October 22, 2005

Puzzle Problems

While watching the World Series I've been working on some Sudoku puzzles. Let me tell you: I suck. The easy ones are taking me twice as long than average. Ugh!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 09:49 PM | Comments (0)

Miers Affirmatively for Affirmative Action

When a paper trail is lacking, actions are as loud as words when it comes to Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. Defenders have mentioned how she fought to stop the American Bar Association from having a pro-abortion position. They argue that this is a sign she'd vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the Washington Post we learn she had no problems with racial and gender quotas in hiring of lawyers and bar association leadership positions:

Two years before Miers became the president, the state bar had decided to remedy that situation by setting aside four board of directors seats for women and minorities. Those members are appointed by the president but have the same voting privileges as those who ran for office.

The policy, which is still in place today, came up for discussion during Miers's presidency, board minutes show. The board made minor changes, but kept the preferences intact.

Miers critic and law professor John Yoo called Miers' actions are "another worrying sign that her real views on the kind of issues she'll decide on the Supreme Court are not as conservative as President Bush suggests."

If her pro-life actions are indicative of how she'll vote on abortion cases it's not a stretch to think she'll be on the liberal, pro-affirmative action side of the court. The White House spins the news by saying Miers' pursuit of diversity was a "private-sector initiative to increase diversity, which is not the same thing as a government mandate of quotas." The problem with this spin is state bar associations license lawyers. In order to practice law in Texas you must be a member of the bar association. It's a government-granted monopoly. It's a stretch to call this a "private-sector initiative." Besides since Miers has no written record we can dig through we have to use other information to divine how she'll tackle important legal issues like affirmative action. The White House has put themselves in this corner by picking the ultimate stealth candidate.

Captain Ed admires Miers' attempt to redress generations of racial discrimination and doesn't think she's a "Quota Queen." Stephen Bainbridge, the best of the blogospheric Miers critics pulls together a George Will piece and counters Hugh Hewitt's criticism of it.

"Miers Backed Race, Sex Set-Asides"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2005

Defending Miers to Webloggers

The RNC organized a conference call of webloggers hosted by RNC Communications Director Jim Dyke and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Craig Enoch defending Harriet Miers. From reading Mark Coffey's account I'm not swayed. Agnostic I'll remain. The problem is anecdotal accounts don't cut it for me. President Bush wants conservatives to trust him that Miers will be a justice in the Scalia/Thomas mold. We have to trust Bush's judgement without reading or hearing much from the nominee herself. I don't trust Bush on this. I trust Craig Enoch even less. I know nothing about the man. How much did he work with Miers professionally? I don't know. All I know is he told webloggers (using Coffey's words), "Miers understands the roles of judges in a way that is compatible with a conservative approach (i.e., not an activist, legislative bench)." No support except his memory.

What would I need to get off my cautious fence? I would like to see some papers, essays, lecture notes, speeches, or something that illustrates her constitutional thinking. The White House has had 18 days to produce something. To say I'm disappointed is an understatement. This doesn't means only a law professor or judge would meet my criteria. Getting into top-notch law reviews isn't what I'm expecting. I just want evidence that Miers has thought about constitutional issues deeply and can explicate a conservative judicial philosophy.

"Blogger Conference Call: Craig Enoch and Jim Dyke"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 08:06 PM | Comments (14)

200 Years Ago Today...

Lord Nelson led the British Navy to victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.

"Trafalgar 200: 'England Expects That Every Man Shall Do His Duty'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

When Reviewers Go Wild

Zagat reviewers aren't always nice. Slashfood has some quotes that didn't get into their guides.

"Zagat Outtakes"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

Carnival of the Badger: Pirate Edition

Subject to Change hosts the Carnival of the Badger #10.

WARNING!!! TAM will be hosting next week's carnival. I promise no pirates, but there will probably be something just as annoying. There's a certain song in my head that would fit perfectly.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)

Praise to Feingold

The Coburn Amendment would have dropped the funding for needless Alaska bridges and pay to rebuild a Louisiana bridge damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Alaska's senior Senator Ted Stevens threatened to resign from the Senate if the amendment passed. Well, we're still stuck with Stevens and his porkbarrel ways because the amendment died 82-15. Praise has to go to Sen. Russ Feingold for voting for the measure. Russ isn't known for getting the Badger State pork. He's been too busy limited Americans' right to free speech and thinking about running for President. Still, Feingold voted the right way.

"Coburn Loses Battle of Bridges"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

Idiot, Sports-Loving Criminal

WTMJ's John Jagler found a moron who like Larry Bird way too much:

A fan of the Hick from French Lick reached a plea agreement with prosecutors for a crime spree that included robbery and shooting a gun with intent to kill. The deal was 30-years in prison. He said no. Not because it was too long.. but too short. James Torpy asked for, and was given 33-years. The reason?? He wanted to match Bird's jersey number, 33. "He said if he was going to go down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird's jersey," Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott told reporters. "We accommodated his request and he was just as happy as he could be. "I've never seen anything like this in 26 years in the courthouse. But I know the (district attorney) is happy about it." I hope Larry Bird lover and WTMJ sales representative Tom Hecker is never charged with a crime.

"I Love Larry Bird... But this is Just Plain Stupid"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:41 AM | Comments (1)

Lottery Winner Found

Even luckier than Judd Gregg was Steve West. The Oregonian told ABC News that he plunked down $40 to buy his first-ever Powerball tickets and ended up being the sole winner of the $340 million jackpot.

"$340 Million Powerball Winner Steps Forward"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

Tying One On

Ah, shoe tying. I have bad memories of learning to tie my shoes. I remember sitting on the floor in kindergarden staring at my gym shoes trying to figure out how to make a knot. I ended up just tucking them into the shoes and hoped nothing flew off during a wild game of color tag. The "bunny running around the tree" metaphor didn't work. I watched adults demonstrate for what seemed like hours in 5-year-old time. Thank god for velcro. I'm not sure how I ended up learning to tie my laces. My method ended up making a knot with two loops, "bunny ears." They're not the tightest loops, but they've gotten me this far. Even today, if someone is watching me they give me a weird look at how I do it.

"Another Childhood Milestone Reached"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 10:51 AM | Comments (3)

October 20, 2005

The Hammer Turns Himself In

Rep. Tom DeLay turned himself in.

"Now Ronnie Earle has the mugshot he wanted," DeGuerin said, referring to the Travis County district attorney who brought the charges. DeLay and his lawyer have accused the district attorney of trying to make headlines for himself.

What a grin. You'd never think this was a mug shot. He's always the politician.

Here's a question to those who think DeLay is a scoundrel: assuming he's guilty of all the crimes Ronnie Earle accuses him of does he deserve life imprisonment? Seriously, is political corruption on par with murder or rape?

"Lawmaker DeLay Arrested, Charged in Texas"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:51 PM | Comments (7)

Lucky Senator

Sen. Judd Gregg won the lottery, but he's not going to Disneyworld.

"NH Sen. Gregg Wins Portion of Powerball, to Donate to Father’s Charity"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:31 PM | Comments (0)

Bush Defends; Paper Asks for Miers Withdrawal

It's been 17 days since President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Critics are still waiting for some evidence that she would be a justice in the mold of Scalia or Thomas. At least we have a questionnaire to go through. Today, the President defended Miers by saying she is a "competent, strong, capable woman who shares the same judicial philosophy that I share." He also mentioned her real-world experience would give her a "fresh outlook." (That is Miers defenders' strongest argument.) What was fresh was no mention of her religion.

I don't want to know if she thinks abortion is bad. I want to know if she thinks Roe v. Wade is bad law. Thinking that doesn't mean one is pro-life. One can think Roe is bad law and still support a woman's right to an abortion. Overturning Roe simply means the question of legalized abortion would be returned to the states. So Miers can support a pro-life constitutional amendment all she wants. That gives me no assurance that she would overturn Roe.

In related news, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, today, asked President Bush to withdraw the Miers nomination writing,

It's not that there is so much wrong with Miers, as it is that there is not enough right about her.

Has she so much as handled a case involving the Constitution, written an article on a constitutional issue or taught constitutional law? In what memorable public debates on constitutional law has she partaken?

"Bush: Miers Will Reassure Senate Skeptics"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2005

Stick with the Original Manchurian Candidate

Those who worked on the special edition of the original verison of The Manchurian Candidate did a great job with the film. The remastering of the video and audio were outstanding. The picture was crisp and sharp. No film flaws were noticed. The sound was clear with no noticable pops or background fuzz. The film looked much like someone making a black and white film today. Cleaning up all the oldness let me concentrate on the story and acting. With its McCarthyism and Cold War overtones the picture is a cultural artifact. Still Frank Sinatra did well as the dream-tormented hero Ben Marco. But it was Angela Lansbury who stole the show as the evil mother/Communist agent who tried to use her brainwashed son to leap to power. The original movie's twists and turns and fine acting made it a much better movie than the anti-conservative, boring remake of last year.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:13 PM | Comments (5)

Jib's ID Pop Quiz

Jib noticed Wisconsin has a strange set of priorities when it comes to needing identification.

"Identification in Wisconsin"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Quacking South of the Border

We witness Dr. Howard Dean's "deep grasp" for foreign policy.

Howard Dean traveled south of the border to meet with Mexico's presidential contenders Monday, and lashed out at the Bush administration's policies on Mexico.

Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, claimed President Bush "turned his back on Mexico'' after it refused to support the Iraq war.

The former Vermont governor told The Associated Press in an interview that "a strong Mexico and a strong Mexican economy fixes a lot of the problems between the two countries, particularly immigration and narcotics.''

"We ought to have a partnership with Mexico'' Dean said. "President Bush has lost ground in the relationship.''


Dean, who insisted he didn't have a favorite Mexican presidential candidate, argued that a lack of cooperation by the White House on immigration helped create the Minutemen, a civilian border patrol group that has been guarding the U.S.-Mexico frontier to discourage illegal immigration.

The notion that Mexico is being punished for not backing the Iraq War rejects reality. President Bush's inablility to get his guest worker/amnesty bill through Congress isn't due to lack of effort. It's because a large portion of the GOP base wants the feds to get serious about illegal immigration. Dr. Dean can't even offer one concrete example of the U.S. retaliating against Mexico because of the Iraq War.

As for the Minutemen, they don't care about cooperation. They care about the lack of adequate border patrol officers along the border. They decided since the government wasn't doing its job they would. Howard the Duck tries to reach out to disaffected conservatives and grasps air.

"Dean Slams Bush's Policies on Mexico"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)

Vrakas Wins in Waukesha

Dan Vrakas beat Jim Dwyer Waukesha County Executive race. Vrakas with over 67% of the vote proved that Waukesha County is solidly conservative and Republican.

Patrick reminds us that Vrackas will have to work with Dwyer and the county board, and GBFan is so happy he went Cyrillic.

"Vrakas to Lead Waukesha County"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:46 AM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2005

Doing a Better Job than Me

My poor defense of an embryo deserving personhood demonstrates my inability to provide a convincing defense of my pro-life stance. Part of it is due to the emotions contained in the issue. The idea of millions of children being killed every year because they're unwanted is disturbing. If the unborn are people with the same right to life as any other human then legalized abortion on demand is a tragedy of historic proportions. Passion sometimes gets in the way of making a persuasive argument.

I've found an interesting dialogue among a pro-abortion feminist, a pro-abortion Christian, and a pro-life Christian. God is mentioned, but theological reasoning isn't the primary defense of the pro-life position. I don't expect anyone to be swayed. It's simply food-for-thought.

"Life and Abortion: A Pro-Life Defense in Dialogue Form"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 10:08 PM | Comments (10)

Furl's Not Sick Any More

Furl is working again. I have no idea what was wrong.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)

House Republicans' Valiant Attempt to Woo Webloggers

Michelle Malkin posted an invitation for webloggers to come to the Capitol to post and talk with Congressional Republicans about "the House Republican record of successful economic policies, their commitment to fiscal responsibility, and the details of the historic proposed budget amendment that is expected to reach the floor later this week."

It's nice to offer the invitation but it misses a couple points about weblogging and webloggers. First, who besides the independently wealthy or someone living within driving distance of D.C. will attend? Most of us who toil at this hobby obsession can't adjust work schedules with the snap of our fingers to run off to Washington. Second, in our ever-increasingly connected world distance becomes less meaningful. Through the internet and talk radio I know more of what's going on in Washington than I do in Madison. Face time with Congressmen is great, but not necessary. If the House Republican Conference is serious about dealing with webloggers they should be sending e-mails asking for interviews. (I'm waiting for your e-mail Mr. Sensenbrenner.) That's how the White House has been treating conservative talk radio to support Harriet Miers. They haven't been inviting hosts to the White House.

I give the House GOP an A for effort, but a C for not fully thinking about the wide expanse weblogs offer. They should be talking to Patrick Ruffini.

"Pork-Busting Progress"

UPDATE: My quip about only webloggers "living within driving distance of D.C. will attend" was slightly off. Matt Margolis got invited. He lives in Boston and is taking the train down to D.C. I forgot about the only part of Amtrak that's worth anything. The essence of my point remains: if the House GOP wants to reach out to webloggers they should think beyond the small portion that live in the Northeast Corridor. Outreach means going west of the Appalachians.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:42 AM | Comments (5)

October 17, 2005

Missing Out on a Winning Issue

The Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR) is a rare issue that garners such wide-spread support across Wisconsin. In a just-released Wisconsin Policy Research Institute poll the only groups that don't have a majority supporting TABOR are liberals and blacks. A majority of people in the People's Republic of Madison back limiting increased in state and local government spending. It seems like a winning issue, right? Politicians should be pushing this issue that has little political costs, right? Well, what is State Senator Glenn Grothman's most recent accomplishment? He's the man who whupped Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer because she wasn't doing much for TABOR. TABOR is Grothman's issue. Grothman put pressure on Gov. Jim "Needles" Doyle to allow fireworks to be launched near Summerfest.

The Wisconsin GOP has become very distant to voters, especially conservatives. Instead of advancing TABOR they've shrunk from the fight to limit government spending. The screams of local officials who don't want to control spending have more weight than the plight of taxpayers tired of paying more for government.

"Wisconsin Residents Favor Constitutional Amendment to Limit State and Local Spending" [PDF]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

Stem Cells Without Killing

Scientist may have found ways to get embryonic stem cells while not destroying human beings in the process. One technique takes a single cell from an embryo:

Taking off a blastomere from an eight-celled mouse embryo, [Robert Lanza] put the cell in a dish and let it grow. He discovered that if mouse embryonic stem cells accompanied the cell, it would create embryonic stem cells of its own.

The other technique changes the genetics of the embryo so it can implant itself to the mother's womb.
But because an embryo was created in this process, and then destroyed for its stem cells, it prompted objections.

[Alexander] Meissner and [Rudolf] Jaenisch, who is also affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said their research gets around this objection by making an embryo without the ability to grow into a person.

Not quite. Many pro-lifers don't define personhood by the ability or inability to attach to the womb. Many things happen in the early stages of a pregnancy that prevent the embryo from attaching. When this naturally occurs it doesn't take away the embryo's personhood. It's just a price paid from living in a tragic, imperfect world. Pro-lifers see a person from the moment of conception, that place in time where sperm and egg united to form cell with a unique genetic code. From that moment the cell is a person with a soul who is entitled to the right to life. What Meissner and Jaenisch have done is create a flawed embryo, a "terminally ill embryo" to use the words of bioethicist R. Alta Charo.

"New Stem Cell Methods Don't Destroy Embryo"

UPDATE: As was pointed out in the comments I engaged in some sloppy thinking by mentioning cloning as producing an embryo with a "unique genetic code." By definition it does no such thing.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 11:39 AM | Comments (5)

Cheney Target

Bloomberg has a lengthy article on the possibility Vice President Dick Cheney is the target of the Valarie Plame investigation. Maybe this is why Lynne Cheney told Time her husband won't be running for President in 2008.

What we see more sure of is Lewis "Scooter" Libby's indictment. He wrote a letter to NY Times reporter Judith Miller that could be construed at trying to guide her grand jury testimony:

Miller, 57, said she went to jail rather than testify because, unlike other reporters, she didn't feel Libby had given her specific and voluntary permission to speak about their confidential conversations. She relented when Libby contacted her by telephone and letter last month, saying he had always expected her to testify.

Those communications with Miller may pose legal problems for Libby. His letter to her stated that ``the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me.''

Miller wrote in her Times article that Fitzgerald asked her to read that portion of the letter aloud to the grand jurors and asked for her reaction to Libby's words. She said that part of the letter had ``surprised me because it might be perceived as an effort by Mr. Libby to suggest that I, too, would say we had not discussed Ms. Plame's identity. Yet my notes suggested that we had discussed her job.''

The Plame story began when Bob Novak mentioned the CIA operative in a column. The special prosecutor has been busy trying to get some reporters to testify while Novak has flown below the radar. He's been pretty quiet. If Libby or even Karl Rove ends up being indicted will that unlock Novak? He's the one I'm most interested in hearing.

A new interesting angle is Joe Wilson considering suing the White House after Patrick Fitzgerald finishes his work:

In an interview yesterday, Wilson said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career.

If they do so, the current state of the law makes it likely that the suit will be allowed to proceed -- and Bush and Cheney will face questioning under oath -- while they are in office. The reason for that is a unanimous 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling that Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against then-President Bill Clinton could go forward immediately, a decision that was hailed by conservatives at the time.

This issue will be dogging President Bush et al until he's out of office.

"Cheney May Be Entangled in CIA Leak Investigation, People Say" [via Balloon Juice]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)

Furl's Sick

Furl hasn't been saving web pages for me for a few days. I hope it's just a server problem or some kind of upgrade. What I hope didn't happen is someone pulled the plug. For years I had been collecting web pages for posting to TAM in its own bookmark folder in my browser. That folder had gotten unwieldly. There are easily a few hundred bookmarks in there. It's daunting wading through them looking for that one item I'm inspired to post on at the moment. Another thing is these bookmarks are tied to a single computer. With Furl I can get to them when I'm posting from my desktop machine or when I'm out and about with my notebook. Plus, readers can subscribe to the RSS feed to see what's caught my eye but hasn't deserved a full-blown weblog post. I really need to get a link to that feed permanently on TAM. What I should also do is insert the feed into a sidebar.

UPDATE: I'm using [RSS] del.icio.us now. It doesn't save web pages like Furl does did, but it's faster. Now, is there a way to import my Furl links into del.icio.us using RSS?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:11 AM | Comments (1)

October 16, 2005

The Awful Defense of Miers

John Fund brought up an incident of then White House staff secretary Harriet Miers complaining about the 2001 Presidential Christmas message being too Christian. Ned Ryun, the author of the original message told Fund, "Miers purposefully sought to dilute the Christianity of the message, thus revealing to me at least a willingness to compromise unnecessarily without outside pressure."

Now, the story may or may not be accurate. This superficial attack on Miers works because the White House has offered nothing but "trust Bush," "Miers is an evangelical Christian," and "Miers has real-world experience." She's such a stealth candidate her defenders can't even offer up a real defense. I want to continue to give Miers the benefit of the doubt, The White House has been given plenty of time to dig through her past and find a document, a speech, or an example of Miers being in the Scalia or Thomas mold. They haven't which disturbs me.

"From Worse to 'Sweet Jesus!'" [via No Runny Eggs]

UPDATE: The White House wants to step into the Wayback Machine and try Miers relaunch:

Get ready for a whole new Harriet. After a disastrous two weeks, White House officials say they hope to relaunch the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court by moving from what they call a "biographical phase" to an "accomplishment phase." In other words, stop debating her religion and personality and start focusing on her résumé as a pioneering female lawyer of the Southwest. "We got a little wrapped around the axle," an exhausted White House official said. "As the focus becomes less on who she's not and more on who she is, that's a better place to be."

So, as the White House counsel begins her formal prep sessions this week for a confirmation hearing that's likely to start in early November, President Bush will hold a photo op with former chief justices of the Texas Supreme Court who will testify to Miers' qualifications and legal mind. The White House's 20-person "confirmation team" will line up news conferences, opinion pieces and letters to the editor by professors and former colleagues who can talk about Miers' experience dealing with such real-world issues as the Voting Rights Act when she was a Dallas city council member and Native American tribal sovereignty when she was chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission.

How this will show Miers to be in the Scalia/Thomas mold is beyond me.

"Why They Can't Hit The Right Note" [via Captain Ed]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 09:57 PM | Comments (2)

Not Anti-Semitic

Citizens for Responsible Government released a press release beating up on the Journal Sentinel's Spivak & Bice. It's titled "Spivak-stein & Bice-stein" Funny? No. Too cleaver by half but not anti-semitic. It's insulting the reporters so being "so smart" they're attacking government watchdogs instead of rooting out government waste that could reduce taxes.

"Jim Sees Einstein As Just A Jew, Not A Brilliant Physicist"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Kids Killed in Bus Accident

A bus full of Chippewa Falls high school students and chaperones coming back from a band competition hit a semi. Twin Cities' WCCO has coverage.

"Tragedy for Chippewa Falls"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2005

Iraq Votes on Constitution

When Reuters says Iraq is "bloodless" that means the Iraqi constitutional elections were going well. There has been some violence and deaths. U.S., Iraqi, and allied forces have once again created a safe voting environment. Omar at Iraq the Model noticed "that no multinational forces were on the streets and the only sign for their presence was the helicopters that patrolled the skies." That's what a curfew can do. With security in place 10 million people voted including Sunnis. Even if enough Sunnis voted to reject the constitution this is still a great result. In order for Iraq to sustain a liberal regime the public must feel they are part of the process. Sunnis voting is a great sign of progress.

Check out Gateway Pundit for plenty of links and some context.

"Bloodless Iraq Vote Leaves Divide on Constitution"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005

A City's Silly Sports Obsession

Green Bay isn't listening to me. They're going ahead and turning their city into the Disneyland of football.

Green Bay's Common Council, in September, unanimously approved the renaming of the former Forward Street to Bart Starr Drive. The renaming effort was spearheaded by Sandi Campbell, who along with her daughter, artist C. McLain Campbell, are planning an outdoor monument park in the area.

Will the late Charles Martin get a statue? A lot of Packers fans still smile when he dropped Chicago's Jim McMahon into the turf in 1986. Heck, let's name something after Lee Remmel. He's been around the Packers forever, and he knows more about the team than anyone else alive. While we're at it let's put a statue outside the Green Bay Public Library in honor of the Packalope. He needs some cheering up after having his antlers barred from games.

"Street Named after Starr"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:28 PM | Comments (4)

Giving Us the Finger

The purple finger has returned to Iraq.

"A Beautiful Sight!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

"Borking" Miers

Hugh Hewitt accuses Tucker Carlson (and I presume many other Miers critics) of "borking." Uh, no.

Along with his "Bos-Wash Axis of Elitism" Hewitt is raising the rhetorical level that could cause a real conservative schism. He should tone it down. We're still friends even if we disagree on one issue.

[via Galley Slaves]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:51 PM | Comments (6)

Give Me One of Those

Sales at Japanese McDonald's have been down in the dumps since the 2002 mad cow scare. The resturant's latest attempt to woo customers is the shrimp burger, described by the AP as "a bit similar to the Filet-O-Fish, except it's filled with shrimp." It may be similar to something sold in McDonald's in South Korea.

The real problem with the chain is demographics and culture:

[T]he Japanese market is increasingly problematic for McDonald's: people are having fewer children while the population is growing older and health-conscious.

Big Macs aren't so hot when you're worried more about your cholesterol than feeding kids who grew up and moved out of the house.

To see how different Japan's McDonald's are to their U.S. counterparts check out these sandwiches I snatched from the company website:


Either the Japanese like sesame seeds for breakfast, or they like eggs and bacon on their burgers. Weird but not unappetizing. I eat steak and eggs, so I'd try them.

"McDonald's in Japan Offers Shrimp Burger"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in New Stuff at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

Miers Sounds Like O'Connor

It's been 10 days since President Bush nominated Harriet Miers. Agnostics like me are still waiting for something, anything positive about the woman. The White House has had plenty of time to offer up an argument beyond "trust us" and "she has real-world experience." (I have real-world experience. Does that make me qualified for the Supreme Court?) The Hotline is reporting that Republican activists are working behind the scenes to "derail Harriet Miers' nomination by pressuring allies of the White House to drop their support." Charlie Sykes thinks this might be a "turning point." Until someone publically switches their support for Miers or a conservative Senator announces they will vote against Miers (won't happen until her confirmation hearings) the White House has no reason to dump Miers.

Now, that bit of Miers' testimony [PDF] where she talks about the Federalist Society, the NAACP, and some group called the Progessive Voters League screams of O'Connor II. She shunned the Federalist Society because they are too "politically charged," but doesn't think the NAACP is. It reminds me of O'Connor in the Michigan law school affirmative action case where she wrote,

Access to legal education (and thus the legal profession) must be inclusive of talented individuals of every race and ethnicity, so that all members of our heterogeneous society may participate in the educational institutions that provide the training and education necessary to succeed in America.

That led her to be swing vote allowing racial preferences in law school admissions.

"GOP v. Miers"

UPDATE: Andy McCarthy wonders how Miers will get out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Assuming all the Democrats vote against her just one Republican is needed to not recommend her.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 11:21 AM | Comments (11)

National Book Award Finalists

In the non-fiction catagory Joan Didion is the early favorite with her The Year of Magical Thinking. She's been a darling of the Left and the most notable name in the catagory. Just behind is Jim Dwyer's and Kevin Flynn's 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers. The book's subject should garner judges' consideration. Other nominees are Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves by Adam Hochschild, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius by Leo Damrosch, and Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion by Alan Burdick.

"National Book Awards Names Finalists"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2005

Carnival of the Badger #9

Badger Blues hosts this week's collection of Badger State posts.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:10 PM | Comments (2)

Five Year Aniversary of Cole Attack

Eric at Classical Values remembers where he was when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed:

I remember talking about it at the time when I ate dinner with a World War II Navy veteran. He said that the attack on a Navy ship was a clear act of war, and he exploded with rage. I won't repeat what he said about the president (or what he said we should do to Yemen in retaliation, but it didn't matter to him whether the "links to terrorism" could be proven). Above all, he pointed out that Americans seemed to have forgotten the sacrifices that were made by his generation during that war. (The guy is still alive, but 90 years old, and very frail.)

While still significant realize the first attack on the World Trade Center happened in 1993. Before that Islamists took Americans hostage, bombed planes, and killed over 200 Marines in Beruit. The Islamist War has been waging years before Sep. 11, 2001. Most of us didn't realize it.

"Five Years -- and Still a Gaping Hole"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)

City-Wide Wi-Fi for Milwaukee

A company wants to beat Philadelphia and San Francisco and bath Milwaukee in Wi-fi:

A Milwaukee firm is leading an effort to create a citywide wireless computer network, a $20 million-plus initiative that could leapfrog the city to the front of a national push to create such systems, city officials said Wednesday.

Midwest Fiber Networks would construct the system at no cost to taxpayers - a key selling point for the cash-strapped city.

The firm and its partners could even end up paying the city money to lease space in the city-owned underground conduit system.

Officials could also seek free wireless access in all parks or housing projects as part of the arrangement.

"This is an exciting proposition for the city," said Mayor Tom Barrett, who has had informal discussions with the company. He said it could lead to Milwaukee being the "first American city to become totally wireless at no cost to the taxpayers of the city."

It won't be free like Google's offering in San Fran. Midwest Fiber Networks would sell access to other companies. If they use similar technology I use in my home I wonder how effective it will be getting a signal inside buildings. Walking around outside with a notebook or wireless PDA will be no trouble. Signals from street lights into homes should be fine, but getting them into commerical and apartment buildings may be difficult. Something like Verizon Wireless' wireless broadband--with faster speeds and much lower costs--may be a better long-term solution. I'm skeptical about how much it will help Milwaukee's economic competitiveness. Always on internet access will be the norm someday. Sooner is better than later. Google thinks it's a good idea to cover a city, and those guys are a lot smarter (and richer) than me. The plan won't cost the City of Milwaukee anything with the possiblity to bringing in more competition to the broadband ISP market, so I say "let's go!" Mayor Barrett and the City Council better not mess this up.

"Wi-Fi Plan May Give City a Digital Edge"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

Good Google News

Google announced Electronic Fund Transfer is out of beta. Those of you who try to make a few bucks off your websites by hosting Google ads can now have the cash put directly into your bank account.

For the rest of the world this news isn't as as big as Apple's news, this is more tangible news for me. (I'm happy with my "old" 20 GB iPod, thank you. And yes, I know EFT came out of beta last month. I just finally noticed the announcement when I checked my AdSense stats.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2005

Apple's Big News

Apple is announcing new iPods that play video, iTunes will sell music videos and some TV shows, and some new iMacs. Engadget is covering it live.

"Live from the Steve Jobs Keynote — 'One more thing…'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

Why Miers was Picked

Today, President Bush told reporters,

People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers. They want to know Harriet Miers' background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. And part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion.

Does Bush mean to say one of the reasons he picked Miers is because of her religion? Was their a religious test? I'm on the record as not caring about a potential justice's religious beliefs. For me, judicial and political philosophy trumps religion.

We learned from James Dobson today that Miers wasn't the President's first choice.

Some of the other candidates who had been on that short list, and that many conservatives are now upset about were highly qualified individuals that had been passed over. Well, what Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter, that they didn’t want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it.

So, even today, many conservatives and many of ‘em friends of mine, are being interviewed on talk shows and national television programs. And they’re saying, “Why didn’t the President appoint so-and-so? He or she would have been great. They had a wonderful judicial record. They would have been the kind of person we’ve been hoping and working and praying for to be on the Court. Well, it very well may be that those individuals didn’t want to be appointed.

Bush was insistent that a women be chosen. When other, more qualified women declined to run the Senate Judiciary gauntlet he stuck to the female criteria instead of finding a more qualified man. It would be politically more difficult to get confirmed, but many conservatives relished a fight. Bush's mistake was being so insistent on choosing a woman that he tossed qualifications aside.

Dobson still hasn't come clean. He told his listeners, "Karl Rove had shared with me her judicial philosophy which was consistent with the promises that President Bush had made when he was campaigning." What did Rove tell Dobson about Miers' judicial philosophy? All of us who will live under Miers' rulings should know her thinking process.

"Bush: Miers' Religion Key Part of Her Life"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:05 PM | Comments (4)

Scooter is Toast

Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby sure looks like he obstructed justice to me. Another instance of the cover up being worse than the crime (if any):

In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.

Libby also did not disclose the June 23 conversation when he was twice interviewed by FBI agents working on the Plame leak investigation, the sources said.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald apparently learned about the June 23 conversation for the first time just days ago, after attorneys for Miller and The New York Times informed prosecutors that Miller had discovered a set of notes on the conversation.

Even worse for Libby is the possibility he really didn't want Judith Miller to testify and allowed her to sit in jail for 85 days. If true, that's low, really low. I say Scooter's overstayed his welcome.

Tom Maguire sees nothing good for Libby in this. It's either "bad" or "really bad."

"Libby Did Not Tell Grand Jury About Key Conversation" [via Balloon Juice]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:09 PM | Comments (9)

October 11, 2005

Dobson Speaks

James Dobson says Karl Rove didn't promise him Harriet Miers would overturn Roe if she got on the Supreme Court. "Karl Rove didn't tell me anything about the way Harriet Miers would vote on cases that may come before the Supreme Court." So what did Dobson mean when he told his radio audience, "When you know some of the things that I know, that I probably shouldn't know, you will understand why I have said -- with fear and trepidation -- that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice"? What does he know that the rest of us conservatives don't?

"Miers Supporter Says White House Made No Promises"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Sen. Risser is a Boob

Charlie Sykes talked about this story today. State Sen. Fred Risser wants to make it a crime for people to express their concerns to publicly breastfeeding mothers. Some mothers like Michelle Morgan can't accept the fact that some people don't approve of what she does:

Michelle Morgan said she has run into problems trying to breast-feed her son, Ian, in public.

"A woman basically said to me that I should probably go somewhere else or make sure that I stayed covered up," said Morgan. "It made me pretty angry."

Even though public breastfeeding is legal it doesn't mean every public place is appropriate. There is such a thing as good manners. But if you go up to a mother and express your concerns (no threats or any physical) you could be slapped with a $200 fine.

In Risser's and Morgan's world it's not good enough to allow mother to breastfeed their children in public. They also require the public to sacrifice its free speech rights. Whatever happened to the Left's love of tolerance and free speech? It went out the door so people aren't offended or when some pet issue like campaign finance comes up.

"Harassing Breast-Feeding Mothers Could Lead To Fines"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:51 AM | Comments (14)

Polling Webloggers on Miers

John Hawkins polled some right-wing webloggers to gauge Miers opinion. A plurality (49%) think Miers was a "bad or terrible" pick. However, there are deep divisions on whether President Bush should continue to support her or if GOP Senators should confirm her. What this tells me is the right-wing blogosphere understands that the politics of the present is complicated. Many aren't happy with the pick. Dumping her now could be politically damaging, but letting her onto the Court could cause long-term repercussions. All this makes her confirmation hearings very important. Her responses to questioning Senators (when they're not making long-winded speeches) will allow conservatives to decide if they really want a war with the President.

"Polling Right-Of-Center Bloggers On The Harriet Miers Nomination" [via Kapitalismo]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

America's Team

The Green Bay Packers may be tied for the worst record in football they're #1 in America's hearts:

Once again this year, the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys remain no.1 and no. 2 respectively in the annual Harris Poll of the nation’s favorite professional football teams, among US adults who follow pro football. Support for the Cowboys remains the same, while the Packers support has slipped a bit from last year. Rounding out the top five teams are the New England Patriots and both Pennsylvania teams: the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Almost one-half of all Americans follow the NFL. 16% of them love the Packers. Roughly 23 million love the green and gold. I shouldn't be surprised. Just about anywhere you go you can find a bar devoted to the Packers every football Sunday.

"Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys Remain Nation’s Favorite NFL Teams, According to Harris Poll"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2005

Coolest Cat in the World

Jib's cat likes Leinies.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:40 PM | Comments (0)

Bork on Miers

Robert Bork is very disppointed with the Miers nomination. Here's the most important thing he told Tucker Carlson*:

But the other level is more worrisome, in a way: it’s kind of a slap in the face to the conservatives who’ve been building up a conservative legal movement for the last 20 years. There’s all kinds of people, now, on the federal bench and some in the law schools who have worked out consistent philosophies of sticking with the original principles of the Constitution. And all of those people have been overlooked. And I think one of the messages here is, don’t write, don’t say anything controversial before you’re nominated.

President Bush doesn't understand or appreciate all the work conservatives have done just for this moment. He isn't as tuned into his conservative base as he likes to think.

"Bork Calls Miers Nomination a 'Disaster'"

*Reading transcripts of his show is 100 times better than watching. Especially at the end when he loosens the bow tie and tries to "kick back."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:18 PM | Comments (9)

A Miers Monday

Carol Platt Liebau has been trying to keep conservatives on a even keel with the Miers nomination. She understands the criticism (something the White House is failing at) but wants a fuller understanding of Miers to come out.

Today, John Fund writes extensively about Miers non-church, Texas past (we've gotten enough of that from her White House spinners). What he found is a woman who ended up voting liberally on tax issues and airport deregulation.

I'm still waiting for James Dobson to tell us "Some of what I know [about Miers] I am not at liberty to talk about." A Focus on the Family official told the Rocky Mountain News, "I don't think there's any big bombshell that the White House laid on some, but didn't lay on others. There's nothing dealing with how she might rule on any issue, that's for sure." Then Dobson is free to fill us in, or Sen. Specter is going to tick off a lot of people by asking him to testify.

"Reasons to 'Wait and Hear'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

Mixed Metaphors

The usually amazing Peggy Noonan biffed it in her latest essay. I'm not talking about the message, I'm talking about the writing.

That having been said, the Miers pick was another administration misstep. The president misread the field, the players, their mood and attitude. He called the play, they looked up from the huddle and balked. And debated. And dissed. Momentum was lost. The quarterback looked foolish.

Ugh! Use refer either to football ("huddle") or baseball ("balked"). Just don't jumble them up into a "sports metaphor."

"The Miers Misstep" [via PunditGuy]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:27 AM | Comments (5)

October 09, 2005

Pack Pounds Saints

Eventually the Packers had to win. Very few teams go through a season without at least one win. And since the Pack isn't the worst team in football (I give the San Francisco 49ers that dubious honor) they would finally find a victory. What I didn't expect was a scoring spree. 52-3. Yikes! It was the most lop-sided win since the Packers beat the New London Diesels in 1943. An offense that worked even with injuries and players shuffled to new positions. The game hinged on turnovers. Brett Favre didn't throw any interceptions and the defense caused five turnovers including two interceptions for touchdowns. The moral of the story is simple: if you don't turnover the ball and force the other team to you stand a good chance of winning.

Now they have a bye to get a little healthy (too late for Najeh Davenport) and prepare for that other disappointment of the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings.

"Favre Puts Charge in Depleted Offense"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:33 PM | Comments (3)

And the Winner Is...

Stanley, a Volkswagen built by a Stanford University team won the DARPA Grand Challenge.

"Stanford Team Clinches Top Spot in Robot Desert Race"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2005

Grand Challenge Winner

This year's DARPA Grand Challenge actually had finishers.

Three modified driverless vehicles crossed the finish line and into the history books on Saturday after traversing 132 miles (210 kilometers) of desert terrain, guided only by laser sensors and onboard computers.

No winner was declared yet for the $2 million prize in the race, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to spur the development of driverless vehicles that one day could carry water, fuel and other supplies for the U.S. military in war zones.

Organizers said they were waiting for final race times from the three driverless vehicles that finished and two others still on the course, which would be paused overnight and restarted on Sunday.

A winner, based on travel times, would be declared early Sunday, said DARPA Director Tony Tether. "We have a winner, we just don't know who it is," Tether told reporters.

Last year, in the inaugural race sponsored by DARPA, called the Grand Challenge, every machine failed within sight of the starting line. The Pentagon decided to double the prize and hold the event again this year.

With the progress made in automated vehicles in just one year DARPA's Tony Tether thinks, "We could see [automated military] convoys deployed in as early as 5 years."

"Robot Vehicles Conquer U.S. Desert Terrain Race"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 10:45 PM | Comments (2)

Political Funnies

ScrappleFace asks, "What Would Kristol Do?"

Russ Vaughn has a poem devoted to Ronnie "My Case is Collapsing" Earle.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:30 PM | Comments (3)

Earthquake Death Toll Skyrockets

A Pakistani military official told local TV that 18,000 died in today's earthquake. This has risen from depressing to truly horrific. This makes it the worst earthquake since at 15,000 died in the Bam, Iran quake in 2003.

"Quake Kills More Than 18,000 in South Asia"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

Fallen Wall Street Star Weblogs

Henry Blodget was wrapped up in the dotcom boom, bust, and subsequent repercussions. The ex-Wall Street stock analyst (now barred from the industry) now has a weblog. He tackles his past as much as he's allow to:

The first stage of my own personal dotcom bust came when, along with many others, I stayed optimistic too long. For me, this was especially frustrating because I had expected that there would be a major reversal at some point, that the industry would follow a typical boom-bust-boom pattern and that most early entrants would fail. I got the macro pattern right, but I blew the timing. I also vastly underestimated the impact the bust would have on the Internet leaders, the technology industry, and, ultimately, the broader economy. Like most economic phenomena, these events are screamingly obvious in hindsight, and I will always regret not nailing them ahead of time.

The second stage of my fall—the one that vaulted me from a vast pool of red-faced analysts into a regrettable place in history—was a regulatory investigation into the interaction between the research and investment banking functions at Wall Street brokerage firms. In the course of this investigation, the SEC alleged that some remarks that I and my colleagues made in emails were inconsistent with professional opinions in our published research, and charged me with civil securities fraud (to read the complaint and emails, please visit www.sec.gov). Along with other parties in the research complaint, I settled the charges without admitting or denying the allegations, paid a humongous fine, and agreed to be barred from the industry.

As anyone who has been involved in a legal proceeding can attest, one of the most frustrating and painful side effects is that, except for standard boilerplate, you can’t discuss the allegations publicly. In my case, for a variety of reasons, the blackout is still in effect, and I have been unable to talk about the details outside of a legal context. I won’t be able to talk about them here, either, unfortunately, but I do want to say that my silence is not an attempt to ignore or disavow the seriousness of what happened. Everyone who listened to me in my Wall Street years deserves forthright answers to many perfectly reasonable questions, and someday soon, I hope to be able to provide them (preferably this century, preferably pre-humously).

Unlike the SEC, the blogosphere won't wait years to hand out a smack down. He's a weblogging newbie who could rise quickly.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

Pakistan Earthquake

A 7.6 quake struck Pakistan in Kashmir. (The Amateur Seismic Centre reports 7.3. Still a strong quake.) Thousands are feared dead. When will President Bush be blamed and when will Halliburton be accused of reaping profits from the dead?

Enough of the black humor. My prayers are with the victims and their families.

"Pakistani Quake Toll May be in Thousands: Spokesman"

"Hundreds Dead in Powerful Asian Earthquake"

UPDATE: The death toll has reached either 2,000 or 3,000 depending on your news source.

Adding to the global misery, 1,400 people died in landslides in Guatemala.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 06:18 AM | Comments (3)

Miller's Notes Confiscated

NY Times reporter Judith Miller gave Patrick Fitzgerald June 2003 notes from a conversation with Dick Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby. The conversation took place a month before Joe Wilson wrote his op-ed accusing President Bush of lying about Iraq's pursuit of uranium in Africa. Reuters' Adam Entous writes,

A column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times on May 6, 2003 may have been the trigger for the interest by Cheney's office, the sources said.

Kristof's column contained the first public mention of Wilson's mission in Niger, though Wilson was not identified by name. It also mentioned for the first time the alleged role of Cheney's office in seeking an investigation of the uranium deal, prompting the CIA to dispatch Wilson.

Top Cheney aides were eager to dispel Wilson's assertion that he was sent to Niger at the urging of the vice president, sources involved in the case said.

This looks like spinning went out of control. Libby wanted to make sure reporters knew the CIA was behind Wilson's trip. Did Libby state Valarie Plame worked for the CIA? Probably, but that's because it was common knowledge in Washington. Her name is in Who's Who in America. Odd for a secret agent. It just took Bob Novak a few calls and some synapses to fire to put it together.

But that might not matter. Outing Plame may not be the crime Fitzgerald uses for indictments. He might just use a good, old-fashioned espionage charge.

Conspiracy or espionage. Either way Bush and Cheney better start some quiet job searches for some post-indictment openings.

"Reporter Turns Over Notes in CIA Leak Case"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:15 AM | Comments (5)

October 07, 2005

Miers Voted for Reagan

A Drudge Report "Flash":

Fri Oct 07 2005 17:24:18 ET


The DRUDGE REPORT has learned from a senior official on Harriet Miers’ confirmation team that her political evolution began in 1984 during the Reagan revolution when she voted to reelect President Ronald Reagan.

DRUDGE sources have also uncovered Miers’ Dallas County voting file which reveals she voted in the 1988 Republican primary and also in that year’s Republican primary run-off. A senior official also revealed that Miers voted for George H.W. Bush who went on to win the ’88 Texas primary with 64 percent of the vote.

Earlier in the week controversy erupted in conservative circles when it was learned Miers had made $3,000 worth of campaign donations in 1988 to Democrats including Al Gore.

One Republican strategist said, “As more and more information comes out about Harriet Miers the more our people will understand why the President made the choice he did. Clearly more information is needed about Ms. Miers, but the information we’ve gotten so far is a significant step in the right direction and we’ve come a long way since Monday.”


This a good sign. Miers supporting Reagan is a big plus. But the Republican strategist is wrong by saying "we’ve come a long way since Monday." This is a start, and something that should have come out Tuesday afternoon. At least the White House knows the problem.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 11:20 PM | Comments (4)

Winer Sells Weblogs.com

Don't fall off your chairs. Here's something completely un-Miers. Dave Winer, weblog pioneer, is selling Weblogs.com to Verisign. That's not to be confused with AOL buying Weblogs, Inc.

Winer gives us the reasons for his sale:

The bootstrap of weblogs.com is something a bigco should not attempt, it's hard to make it go, and most bootstraps don't, and it requires trust, something an individual is more likely able to inspire than a big company. On the other hand, running a serivce that other bigco's depend on (like Google, and Microsoft, to name two) is not something a person like myself should attempt. I think Verisign is the perfect company to do it. Their name servers, I hear, respond to 250,000 requests per second at peak loads. In comparison, weblogs.com's 1-2 million pings a day seems a drop in the bucket. Further, it will require great resources to tackle the ping-spam issue, and there Verisign's expertise, not just what's visible today, but what's coming down the road, will make all the difference. I was in no posiiton to do this on my own. And belive me, the Technorait's and PubSub's, even Feedster and Bloglines, weren't helping out very much. I belive they'll respect Verisign much more than they respected me. And this deal will free me up to work on new ideas around blogging, RSS, OPML, web services, podcasting, etc. I'm good at digging holes, I have to pass off to others to make the trains run on time when the service grows as big as weblogs.com has.

Me thinks Dave learned from his problems last year. Too he still doesn't know how to admit he can be wrong.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

Miers Sounded Like O'Connor

A commenter brought this Knight-Ridder story to my attention:

In what appear to be some of her only public statements about a constitutional issue, Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers testified in a 1990 voting rights lawsuit that the Dallas City Council had too few black and Hispanic members, and that increasing minority representation should be a goal of any change in the city's political structure.

In the same testimony, Miers, then a member of the council, said she believed that the city should divest its South African financial holdings and work to boost economic development in poor and minority areas. She also said she "wouldn't belong to the Federalist Society" or other "politically charged" groups because they "seem to color your view one way or another."

Miers' thoughts about racial diversity placed her squarely on the progressive side of the 1990 suit, which was pivotal in shifting power in Dallas politics to groups outside the traditional, mostly white establishment.

The story went on to say:

Miers agreed that there were too few minorities on the council, and that increasing the number of single-member districts - thus redrawing district lines - would be one way to change that. She said the structure needed to "encourage additional African-American, Mexican-American representation on the council."

She also said that as "one of the ingredients" in remaking the council, a racial balance would be important. Miers was careful not to endorse the idea that race should be the sole or even primary focus on redistricting efforts, saying at one point that "while race is an issue, you have economic diversity, which is really the crux" of the problem.

"To be representative, you've got to deal with more than race," she said.

This sounds a lot like Sandra Day O'Connor. Not reassuring. I have a few questions for Miers: Do you think only blacks and hispanics can best represent their respective races in political offices? Would you treat the Constitution as a color-blind document? What role does pragmatism play in a relatively permanent document like the Constitution? Or do you consider the Constitution to be a "living document?"

Beldar has done a great job defending Miers' nomination. The crux of his argument is she adds "different kinds of smarts to the Court." He lists her accomplished work experience. Great, such perspective would be useful, but none of this displays her judicial philosophy. Going to church, running a big law firm, being on the Texas Lottery Commission doesn't inform us about what she thinks the proper role of government and the courts are. Even if I assume Miers is smarter than all the Justices put together if she's a constitutional liberal she shouldn't be confirmed. My problem with her is we know too little. It's been four days since President Bush announced Miers as his nominee. The White House still hasn't come up with papers or a record of some sort to easy conservatives' concerns. The University of Michigan has done more with some documents collected (via Brain Shavings). (I hope the advice-laden treat-law-as-an-art essay I picked out first [PDF] isn't representative of her public writings.)

"Miers Espoused Progressive Views as Elected Official, Records Show"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 02:35 PM | Comments (1)

October 06, 2005

Duck Hides the Salami

"Hide the salami." A Howard the Duck moment almost as good as the Dean Scream.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

Carnival of the Badger #8

Check out the posts from around Wisconsin's little corner of the blogosphere.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

I Guess I'm Chillin'

I'm in the SCOTUS edition of the Coalition of the Chillin'. Must be my agnosticism on Miers. It's hard to oppose someone you know little about. Still, I must be the most vocal and disappointed on the list.

"Carnival of The Chillin’ #4"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 09:13 PM | Comments (2)

Some Advice to the President

How does President Bush quell the restless conservatives angry with the Miers nomination? First, the White House has to start releasing evidence of Miers' intellect. Second-hand reports on her faith and her experience in Texas legal circles won't demonstrate her ability to make tough constitutional law decisions. Going to church doesn't replace an opinion on Kelo. Second, make Miers available beyond Senators. Get her on Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Hugh Hewitt. Have a panel of critical and not so critical right-wing webloggers question her. Sure, she'll do the same wiggle John Roberts did about discussing specific issues, but we'll have a chance to see how much she knows about constitutional law and her thought processes. What impressed many--including many liberals--of John Roberts was the way he presented himself and showed off his intellect. Give Harriet Miers a chance to do the same before Democratic Senators go after her.

"New Questions From the Right on Court Pick"

"Conservatives Confront Bush Aides"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 12:11 AM | Comments (8)

October 05, 2005

Trying to Ease Conservative Fears

Carol Platt Liebau wants to give Miers a chance to prove herself but understands many conservatives' concerns:

It's time that those putting Harriet Miers forward understood (1) the depth of anger among conservatives and (2) that we need more information than the general platitudes that have accompanied Supreme Court nominees like John Roberts. No, not commitments on how she would rule on cases -- but some insight as to how and why the President decided she should be the pick and why she'd be a good one.

I want to give Harriet Miers a chance. If she has to be opposed, it should be on the facts. But if she's to be supported, we need some facts on that, too.

Patrick Ruffini assumes Miers will be just fine on the Court because she goes to the right church. Funny, I thought it wasn't appropriate for Democrats to use religious faith as a measure of fitness for judges. The drum beat about her faith isn't telling me anything but she's an evangelical Christian. So what? What makes this evangelical Christian good enough for the Supreme Court?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

Cornyn Defends Miers

Sen. John Cornyn writes in support of Harriet Miers to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. He immediately attacks critics claiming they have a pro-Ivy League bias. As Augustine on Redstate.org points out most of conservatives' fave judges had nothing to do with the Ivy League. It's just an attack-the-attacker strategy.

The heart of Cornyn's argument is like President Bush's: I know and trust her.

I have been fortunate enough to know Harriet for much of her career. I know that she believes, as I do, that judges should not legislate from the bench. I know that she believes, as I do, that judges are not some sort of elite anointed to impose their preferences on the rest of us. I know that she understands that unelected judges who serve in a democracy have a limited role--to apply the law as it was written by the people's representatives. She aptly described her judicial philosophy on Monday when she said, "It is the responsibility of every generation to be true to the founders' vision of the proper role of the courts and our society." The courts, she continued, have "obligations to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution."

He told us nothing more than we already know. He didn't mention evidence of deep, thoughtful judicial thinking and no mention of a history of being interested in constitutional law. Miers backers have had over 24 hours to offer up something, anything to ease conservatives' concerns. There really mustn't be much out there if nothing has been found. That's not reassuring.

Cornyn would have been a better pick. He has a record we can examine, and he has real world experience too.

"Harriet Miers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Miers Dump

I have a load of commentary on Miers. Here it all is.

  • William Dyer, A.K.A. Beldar, talked with Hugh Hewitt about Miers' Texas legal career. Managing a big law firm is impressive. I'm not sure how that experience applies to ruling on something like Kelo.

  • Reginald Brown, who worked in the White House, counters George Will's column.

  • Time found a few of Miers' writings. The excerpts sound like platitudes, not legal sophistication. That probably wasn't the purpose of the article. Some may jump on Miers supporting the notion [PDF] that "gay men and lesbian women should have the same civil rights has non-gay men and women." I'd be concerned if she didn't feel that way.

  • The Houston Chronicle supports Miers' nomination, but doesn't offer much except for some quotes from friends that she's "very nice, and niceness gets a bum rap these days."

  • Sen. Trent Lott speaking out on Miers. He said, "I guess they thought we'd all just say 'Whoopee!' but that's not the way it works around here anymore." After Bush pushed him aside as Majority Leader you know Lott was waiting for a chance to push back.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 06:27 PM | Comments (3)

Concerns about Miers

Kevin McCullough gets the prime reasons many conservatives are unhappy with Harriet Miers' nomination:

1. They honestly feel like better people were passed over.

2. They don't feel like they know enough about Miers.

I'm sorry Kevin, but Miers being an evangelical Christian has little bearing on whether I think she should be a Supreme Court justice. I'd prefer a Satan-worshiping strict constructionist over an evangelical who believes in a "living constitution. I want a justice who will uphold and defend the constitution. Church going has little bearing on one's judicial philosphy. What I've gotten from the President and defenders like Hugh Hewitt is "trust him and his track record." Bush's track record with lower court nominees is good and is a positive for Miers. That leads me to Kevin's second point. Harriet Miers may be the most intelligent constitutional mind in America. Neither her supporters or opponents don't have any evidence either way. About what we know is the President trusts her. That's not good enough. Thankfully, the Senate will investigate, delve into her legal past, and ask pointed questions to divine her judicial philosophy. (At the same time the Democrats will grandstand and look like jerks.) The lack of a judgeship should not disqualify someone from being on the court. Neither should a lack of an academic job. (I'm not being a snob who's mad Miers didn't go to an elite school. Such accusations by Miers defenders are just run-of-the-mill ad hominem attacks. They're not pro-Miers rhetoric.) But in lieu of either we need to know if Miers has deeply considered the proper role of government and the courts. Thus the desire of a significant, serious paper trail. Running a Texas law firm doesn't replace that though it would provide the court with vital real-world experience.

President Bush didn't want a political fight. I'm not sure why. There's been no indication that Bush has governed by poll. After John Roberts' confirmation the man had momentum. Why pick someone from the second string?

I'm still a disappointed agnostic. I can't oppose a nominee I know next to nothing about. No George Will here. Yet, I can't go the Hugh Hewitt/knee-jerk route and back her. This dialogue between Hewitt and Stephen Bainbridge disturbs me:

HH: But given that...we all know that. But given that she's been nominated, what is the upside of throwing all these bricks? Do you want her to be defeated?

SB: The upside of throwing all these bricks is to let Bush know the base is getting a little tired of acts that Bush has done, that seem to me to be contemptuous of the base in some ways.

HH: Look, but Stephen, the base...

SB: And I think that we've got to start holding Bush's feet to the fire.

HH: Number one, that's a guarantee of losing ground in 2006. The base is splitting if it's effective criticism. Number two, on this position, and on the most important issue of the war, he has not moved an inch. Some people think he spends too much money. So what? It's less than four percent of GDP. But I really am amazed, and bewildered, by the eagerness with which conservative malcontents are assaulting the president on this. I think it is...I mean, I am just befuddled.

SB: And I think it's healthy.

HH: Healthy? Healthy to lose the majority in the Senate in 2006?

SB: I think it's healthy, because we don't have any other way of holding him accountable. He'll never be up for another election.

Dissent (in my case I wouldn't really call it that) doesn't mean we're abandoning the Republicans. It means many conservatives want their leaders to advance conservatism. What's good for conservatism is good for American. We're unsure if Miers advances that cause. I eagerly await the work of webloggers, reporters, and Senate investigators.

"The Case Against Harriet Miers: The Baseball Analogy"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

Kelo Allows a City to be Moved

How important are Supreme Court justices? They issue rulings that have consequences that affect every American. The Kelo decision is allowing a Florida city to move 6000 people from their homes.

Officials of a poor, predominantly black Florida town plan to relocate about 6,000 residents to make room for a billion-dollar yachting and housing complex.

The coastal community of Rivera Beach in Palm Beach County may use eminent domain, if necessary, to claim 400 acres of land for the project, The Washington Times reported Monday.

"This is a community that's in dire need of jobs, which has a median income of less than $19,000 a year," Mayor Michael Brown said. "If we don't use this power, cities will die."

The U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld the use of eminent domain for economic purposes, ruling against a group of New London, Conn., homeowners fighting a proposed corporate development.

Moving thousands of people based on government economic edict is something that happened in Communist Russia and China. We must have justices who uphold the Constitution as written and make sure government is limited like our Founding Fathers intended.

"Florida Town Plans to Use Eminent Domain"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 04:31 PM | Comments (6)

October 04, 2005

Clone Advice

Time for something non-Miers:

Just some general notes on the care and feeding of clones.

1. They will always want to dress exactly the same. It's a group identity thing. Try to get one to wear a different shirt or maybe some pants while the others are wearing shorts, and they all start screaming in this weirdly-synchronized, air-siren-like way, which is damn annoying. Since you'll no doubt have tattooed the bottoms of their feet or the back of their neck or where ever with the usual identifying barcode, what do you care? Let the idiots all dress the same. The good news is that clones apparently have no fashion sense and will be happy to wear cheap T-Shirts and denim more or less on a constant basis. Wal-Mart fashions were made for clones.


5. Tangentially related: Evil clone? Never happens. Bitter, sarcastic clone? Every freakin' time.


10. Eventually your clone will get the idea of cloning itself. You might think it's a bad idea at first -- everyone knows that a clone of clone is like a second generation photocopy, and it becomes slightly more smudged, and then next thing you know you've got a drooling idjit that looks like a mashup between you and the late Marty Feldman -- but on the other hand, by the time your clone gets this idea, you'll have realized that all your clone is good for is sitting on the couch and mocking you while it eats your food and tries to trick your wife into having sex with it. Doesn't your clone deserve to be similarly afflicted? Sure it does. Be warned, however: Your clone's clone will still want to sleep with your wife. They're just that way.

We might as well get ready for the future.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 08:24 PM | Comments (5)

OU Bombing Update

The Northeast Intelligence Network reports that last Saturday night's suicide bombing in Norman, OK has Middle Eastern connections. It's all annonymous sources so I give it little credibility especially when a terrorism expert doesn't think it was terrorism.

"Dad: Politics Had No Role in Death" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

Bush Backed Down from a Fight

Harriet might turn out to be a fine, conservative jurist. That's not my problem with her nomination. There was no reason for a stealth candidate to be selected not when there were plenty of winning candidates available. Will Malven writes,

Taking all of the above in, and giving it the proper weight, my reaction is to say she may turn out all right, but why on Earth would President Bush wish to take the chance? The President, when running for office, promised us a justice in the mold of Thomas or Scalia. Both Thomas and Scalia were known quantities when they were nominated, and were successful in their bid to be justices. This is just a case of the President trying to avoid a tough confirmation battle. In an attempt to avoid confrontation, he has capitulated to the anti-Bush forces. This is a losing strategy. It always has been a losing strategy. The enemies of freedom never treat a move of appeasement with respect; they always see it as the first step in further capitulation. They see it as an invitation to further attack. This is also a surrender to the recent trend by the Left to “Bork” any nominee who had a demonstratively originalist record.

Ticking off the political base is not smart politics, especially since conservatives were eager for a fight. A Bork/Scalia/Thomas nominee would have given the Left convulsions. They would have let loose their dirt-digging hounds and stated shouting from their virtual rooftops. Fine. Make the Democrats try a fillibuster. If the nominee were highly qualified, intelligent, well-spoken, and scandal-free the public would have accepted him. The "Gang of 14" would crumble and the Dems would lose. Now, we have an angry group of conservatives who wonder when Republicans will start acting like they're in power.

Randy Barnett, an acceptable nominee for me, writes about Alexander Hamilton thought the Constitution allows the Senate to prevent cronyism in the judicial branch.

Politically it may be best for Miers to be rejected. Then Bush can pick a more serious candidate. There's plenty of time between now and the 2006 Congressional elections to fix the damage he's caused.


UPDATE: Douglas Kmiec defends the Miers nomination by briefly quoting Hamilton. Obviously he ignored Federalist 76.

Stephen Bainbridge takes Hugh Hewitt to task for putting so much faith in President Bush. Hey, I support the man, but the guy isn't infallible. Hewitt writes, "Either you are an originalist or you aren't. If you are, you can't be arguing that Miers 'isn't qualified.'" Hewitt has no idea if Miers is an originalist or not. Not James Dobson nor Douglas Kmiec have offered evidence to what her judicial philosophy is. That's the problem with her nomination. The Right put up with John Roberts because he had Federalist Society, Reagan credentials, and is so damn smart. (For me, the jury's still out on him.) With Miers we only know she is a church-going, loyal Bushie with breasts. That's not much in comparison to other potential nominees.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 04:24 PM | Comments (7)

Happy B-Day to Me

Jay scooped me on my own birthday. That's a first for me. Yes, today is my birthday. I'm one year closer to my death. Being 31 feels no different than being 30, or 29, or 28 or.... I've considered myself over-the-hill since I turned 25. Thankfully, I'm blessed with good health, a fine family, good friends, and an interesting obsession hobby.

Today, I slept late (took the day off from work), treated myself with something new to play on my Playstation 2, and will see if the family takes me out to dinner tonight. I may even turn off the computer and finish a book.

UPDATE: Yesterday was Captain Ed's two-year aniversary weblogging. Congrats.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:55 PM | Comments (5)

Alter's Hair

I'm not shocked at Jonathan Alter's hit piece in the "objective" Newsweek as much as I am at his picture. The guy's never like conservatives. But what happened to his hair?


How long was he wearing a hair piece? These are questions that the public must know! He looks like a conehead.


"Newsweek's Alter: "Corrupt Zealot" DeLay, "Fringe" Running House"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

Public Bookmarks

Being the info junkie I am there are far more stories, essays, and weblog posts I read daily than I comment on. To get some idea of what's catching my eye here's my Furl page along with a link to the RSS feed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

Miers' Weblog

Harriet Miers is celebrating her nomination with "her own" weblog.

[via PoliPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:39 AM | Comments (0)

Hello, I'm a Social Liberal

According to this political test I'm a "capitalist." I'm right there with Thomas Jefferson and *ack* Ted Nugent. More specifically I'm a "social liberal" and an "economic conservative." The social liberal description is misleading. I think a lot of culture is crap, but I just don't want laws passed prevent people from consuming crap. How about calling me a classical liberal curmudgeon or a pro-life, free-marketer?

[via Classical Values]

UPDATE: I'm right there with Owen and Jed of Boots & Sabers. Nice company to be in.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:14 AM | Comments (3)

Agnostic on Miers

With many on the Right having fits over Miers' nomination I want to make myself clear that I don't oppose her as a Supreme Court justice. I don't support her either. This is because I know little about her. What I do question is why President Bush chose a nominee only he and a few other people know much about. I don't know if she's a judicial activist or not. The faith of James Dobson doesn't cut it for me. I scratch my head on why potential candidates with fine public records weren't chosen. The administration hasn't offered an explanation. The President also hasn't read the Federalist Papers in a while.

"Call To Coalition of The Chillin’"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 12:51 AM | Comments (2)

October 03, 2005

Bad Sign for Bush

Leftie Katie Couric and and whole bunch of people on the Right shouting "crony!" is not a good sign for your nominee.

And is it just me or does Miers look like an older version of Karen Hughes?

"Katie Wastes No Time: First Reaction to Miers Pick is Negative as Couric Raises "Cronyism" Charge"

"Bush Nominates Harriet Miers to Supreme Court"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 07:38 PM | Comments (3)

Risky Strategy

The Anchoress thinks Miers is part of a sophisticated plan:

My own prediction: She may not make it to the Supreme Court. Bush may not even intend for her to get there. She may be, rather than the “misdirection,” many expected, an out-and-out decoy, floated to allow both the liberals and the conservatives to blast her out of the water so that Bush can then put up another candidate that both left and right - after having behaved very badly over Miers - will not dare to behave badly over, again.

The risk is Bush nominated someone he really doesn't want on the bench, and have the Senate confirm her. And why try something so tricky unless you think you're politically weak (which Bush isn't)? The most important question is what is Miers' judicial philosphy? The second-most important question is does Bush want to appoint justices in the Scalia-Thomas mold? The answer to the first question will answer the second.

"Miers: Anchoress Knows-all-Sees-all"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 07:14 PM | Comments (8)

Sunstein on Miers

University of Chicago law professor scratches his head when comparing Miers to previous nominees:

She might be superb, but her record and experience certainly do not compare to those of recent nominees. She has neither been a judge nor had much experience with the Supreme Court itself. There's nothing comparable to the appellate work of Chief Justice Roberts, or the judicial and academic work of Breyer, Ginsburg, Scalia, and Bork. Even Souter and O'Connor, with their thinner records, had judicial opinions to evaluate.

On political grounds, there are at least equivalent questions. We appear not to have any sense of her general approach to constitutional law. From the public record, it was possible to give at least a rough and general evaluation of all or almost all of the recent nominees. Apparently that's not true here.

A reasonable conclusion is that this nomination should be viewed with uncertainty and puzzlement. A silver lining: The uncertainty and puzzlement should not divide people along political lines.

"Evaluating Supreme Court Nominees"
[via Protein Wisdom]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 06:09 PM | Comments (1)

What Are They Thinking?

The RNC is using the words of Sens. Reid and Schumer in support of Miers. That won't reassure conservatives.

[via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 06:02 PM | Comments (2)

Kristol on Miers Nomination

Bill Kristol also sees Bush's self-perceived weakness:

I'm demoralized. What does this say about the next three years of the Bush administration--leaving aside for a moment the future of the Court? Surely this is a pick from weakness. Is the administration more broadly so weak? What are the prospects for a strong Bush second term? What are the prospects for holding solid GOP majorities in Congress in 2006 if conservatives are demoralized? And what elected officials will step forward to begin to lay the groundwork for conservative leadership after Bush?

"Disappointed, Depressed and Demoralized" [via Charlie Sykes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 05:46 PM | Comments (2)

Unknown Miers Nominated

President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The qualifications of Ms. Miers seems to be she's a friend of G.W., has breasts, and will prevent some of the Democrats from putting up a hard fight. CBS News reports,

Reid had personally recommended that Mr. Bush consider Miers for nomination, according to several sources familiar with the president's consultations with individual senators. The Nevada Democrat had also warned Mr. Bush that the selection of any of several other contenders could trigger a bruising partisan struggle.

I didn't know Sen. Reid was in the majority, but the President acted like it. Anyway, it doesn't sound like Miers' nomination pleased Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA):
The president has selected a loyal political ally without a judicial record to sit on the highest court in the land.

Democrats and the Left were going to gripe about any nominee. So why not put the strongest conservative forward? That's what a majority party does.

What President Bush has failed to do is appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas. That's because Miers is more unknown than new Chief Justice John Roberts. She has no public track record from her years conseling legal clients and President Bush. There are plenty of qualified conservative candidates out there who's views we know. Once again, Bush acts like a weak President who doesn't want to fight Senate Democrats. Betsy Newmark writes, "That is not a position of leadership, but of bowing to pressure." Whether it is fatigue in the Iraq War or the (undeserved) criticism he took from Hurricane Katrina Bush isn't acting like a man who won an election last year and has his party controlling both house of Congress. As a caller on a local Milwaukee talk radio show said, "Conservatives own Washington." Too bad the only Republican who knows that is Rep. Tom DeLay, and he's been indicted.

We have Hugh Hewitt scolding conservative critics:

The Miers nomination is turning into a Rorschach test dividing conservatives into the camp that understands governing for the long term and those that are so emotionally fragile or contingent in their allegiance that anything they (1)don't understand or (2) disappoints in any way becomes an occasion for panic and declarations of irreparable injury.

I also note that the hand-wringers act as though a Republican president is an accident, and that there won't be any more Bush picks, nor any more Republican presidents. Keep up the carping and we might again see the Dems get close to an unbreakable filibuster margin in the Senate.

For a man who loves the collected wisdom of the blogosphere he's quite condescending. Hewitt assumes a Republican President will follow President Bush. With the weak GOP line up that isn't assure. Bush had an opportunity to put a bold conservative stamp on the Supreme Court. With Harriet "Madam X" Miers we just don't know if he did that.

Some very important voices in the conservative movement have shared their dissapointment. First, the editors of National Review:

Being a Bush loyalist and friend is not a qualification for the Supreme Court. She may have been the best pick from within Bush’s inner circle. It seems impossible to maintain that she was the best pick from any larger field. It seems highly unlikely that she will be the kind of justice who, in combination with Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, will attract additional votes by the sheer force of her arguments. This nomination was a missed opportunity.

Second, the directors of Redstate.org:

For all we know, and we know very little, Harriet Miers is the second coming of Antonin Scalia. But, we do not know. What we know is encouraging to the extent that she might be right on life issues. She did actively oppose the American Bar Association's position. Assuming that Miers is a conservative jurist, we still cannot, at this time, accept or endorse this nomination.1

Justices of the United States Supreme Court have consistently had notable careers with stints in the state judiciary, federal judiciary, government, or academia. Those picks that originate from government or from academia, usually have stellar careers and brilliant academic resumes, coupled with impressive writings often in academic journals.

From what we know, Harriet Miers is unqualified for the position. She had an impressive career of "firsts" as a female attorney in Texas, but those are not enough.


We can be convinced that Miers is stellar. We can be convinced that Miers will be an originalist willing to reject the liberal dogma of Roe. But from where we sit now, this is a profoundly disappointing nomination, a missed opportunity, and an abdication of responsibility to make sound, well qualified nominations. Whether it is also a betrayal of first principles is still to be determined.

Third, is David Frum who called the Miers nomination an "unforced error":

worked with Harriet Miers. She's a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... I could pile on the praise all morning. But there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or--and more importantly--that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left. This is a chance that may never occur again: a decisive vacancy on the court, a conservative president, a 55-seat Republican majority, a large bench of brilliant and superbly credentialed conservative jurists ... and what has been done with the opportunity?

I am not saying that Harriet Miers is not a legal conservative. I am not saying that she is not steely. I am saying only that there is no good reason to believe either of these things. Not even her closest associates on the job have good reason to believe either of these things. In other words, we are being asked by this president to take this appointment purely on trust, without any independent reason to support it. And that is not a request conservatives can safely grant.

Fourth is Stephen Bainbridge who writes, "Bush is now peeing on the movement."

Harriet Miers could end up being even better than Scalia. My problem with her nomination is, like John Roberts, we know little about her views. We have to resort to second-hand reports from 30-year platonic friends (just scroll down).

"Bush Taps Close Ally For Court" [via ScrappleFace]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

Horrific Video

Islamists strike Bali again. I hope this video is the closest you ever get to a bombing. It was taken by Australian tourist on vacation in Bali. 26 died and 101 were injured.

Indonesian police believe the suicide bombs were set off with mobile phones. Once again terrorists use our own technology against us. Funny, since they want to take us back in time to the days of Islamic empire. The technique was also good. It was simultaneous explosions. They were staggered, making them more terrifying. Scared people didn't know if there would be another then another. Multiple, smaller bombs seems to be the new pattern for Jemaah Islamiyah, the Islamist group suspected to be behind the attacks.

I wonder if some device and method could be developed to temporarily shut down cell networks in an area. That way only simultaneous detonations could happen. It wouldn't prevent deaths from the bombs themselves but it could prevent greater panic from a series of explosions.

This attack came at a time when Bali was recovering from the 2002 attack. Ron Nurwisah writes,

Last year, I had a chance to go to Bali. It was about a year and a bit after the first Bali bombings and everyone I talked to was optimistic that maybe everything was coming back to normal. Australians, who made up most of the victims of the first bombing, were already back in full force. Americans and Europeans were slowly, cautiously coming back.

This weblogger found good words from a muslim scholar rejecting the attacks. Sheik Yusuf Al-Qardawi said, "those people [terrorists] hurt Islam and Muslims with the wrong behavior they do; as the threat they pose to Islam is much more than that of the enemies of Islam who fight it tooth and nail, both in darkness and broad daylight"

What we do know is the Islamist War goes beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. It's more than just invading countries. It involves intelligence, technology, ideology, persuasion, ingenuity, and courage.

"Chilling Video Shows Bali Bombing Suspect"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2005

Oklahoma Bomb Blast

Yikes! Someone blew themselves up on the University of Oklahoma campus. I've thought for years that if al Qaeda really wanted to terrorize Americans they'd hit targets in Middle America. Knowing anyone is a target would be very unsettling. No word that this was in any way an Islamist attack, but some place like Oklahoma would harm the nation's psyche more than another attack on New York City.

"Bomb Blast at University of Oklahoma!" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 04:33 PM | Comments (3)

Fracture in the Coalition

Bad news in Iraq:

Iraq's Kurdish president called on the country's Shiite prime minister to step down, the spokesman for the president's party said Sunday, escalating a political split between the two factions that make up the government.

President Jalal Talabani has accused the Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance, which holds the majority in parliament, of monopolizing power in the government and refusing to move ahead on a key issue for Kurds, the resettlement of Kurds in the northern city of Kirkuk.

A fracturing Iraqi coalition doesn't ensure U.S. troops leaving anytime soon. This is a bigger threat to a stable Iraq than al Qaeda. But it is also an opportunity to see if Iraqi political life is maturing. If this dispute is resolved with the government still intact that's a tremendous positive. If there's bloodshed then it's a huge step back

"Iraq's President Calls for PM to Step Down"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

Marines Captured?

Al Qaeda might have captured two marines, or they might have raided an Iraqi boy's toy box.

"Al Qaeda Claims Marine Captives"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

Selling a Music Player

Apple tries to make its buyers feel cool, hip, and "with it." Dell takes the ironic dork approach mashed up into an Old Navy ad. They both represent their products well. Apple's iPods are sleek and sexy. The Dell DJ Ditty is a grey box with an LCD screen. On style points Steve Jobs' company wins hands down.

[via dapreview.net]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

No More Free Shipping

To cut costs Dell will offer free shipping only if a computer is sent to a post office. The days of free UPS or FedEx shipping are over--until competition drives them to offer it again. (Just like you can expect the auto companies to offer employee prices again when sales get soft.) Some won't like it because they get their mail home delivered and might no know where their post office is. Folks like me don't mind. I'd prefer it sent to someplace where an actual human signed off on it instead of having a delivery person leave a $1000+ box sitting on my porch or next to the garage.

"Dell Stiffs Customers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2005

Put Some Effort Into It

In a rare bit of insight (since all he really does is print tidbits he gets from calling local media types) Tim Cuprisin tells us to beware of initial reports of news stories:

A couple days ago, the column harkened back to early reports of 30,000 deaths in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

The point was to compare it to exaggerated reports from New Orleans in the early days of Hurricane Katrina. And the standing warning is for news consumers to be skeptical of early reports on big stories.

Then came Ashley Smith and her new book this week to prove the point.


Thanks to Smith's new book, we now know there were indeed "other things" involved in this tale of heroism, including offering crystal meth from her private stash to Nichols to calm him down.

Smith may still have been gutsy and all, but handing out drugs to her captor dramatically changes the story, or at least complicates it, whether or not she's kicked her drug habit since the ordeal.

And her new book, "Unlikely Angel" demonstrates how it pays to withhold judgment on a news story until time passes.

No condemnation for anyone: none for CNN's Anderson Cooper and his network to going into "angry reporter" mode; no criticism toward conservatives who used the supposed anarchy to demonstrate the harmful effects of the welfare state; not even a request to find out the true story and explain how the reporting went wrong. Ah, but that would require more effort than just paging through a rolodex to find out when a local newscaster is having her baby.

"On Further Review, She's No Angel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)