July 01, 2005
O'Connor leaves the Supremes
Justice O'Connor just announced her decision to resign from the Supreme Court. O'Connor, a conservative, could always be counted not to rely upon neo-con ideology and instead render a thoughtful and well reasoned opinion.
In these times when our country is terribly polarized, leaders like O'Connor, who are willing to consider both sides of an issue are desperately needed. It is unlikely that Justice O'Connor will be replaced by someone who has her strengths.
If Dubya decided to replace Justice O'Connor with a female jurist, she may be replaced by Edith Hollan Jones. She's on the short list submitted to the current administration by the Christian Legal Society. (Samuel Alito, a 3rd U.S. Circuit judge from Philadelphia, and Michael W. McConnell, on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were also recommended, as possible candidates by The Christian Legal Society.)
Judge Jones practiced law in Texas and now sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. A really ugly Title VII dissent to her discredit proves that Judge Jones lacks Justice O'Connor's capacity for critical thought and reason. Harriet Miers, another Texas lawyer, and White House Counsel would be a much better choice. Ms. Miers is widely respected by all those who know her.
But my money is on Emilio Garza of the 5th Circuit. Garzo could give Dubya the chance to name the first Hispanic justice. Alberto Gonzales, might have otherwise been in the running, but is now unsuited for nomination in light of his memo that provided that detainees could be subjected to torture without running afoul of the Geneva Convention.
June 27, 2005
I might have my sea legs, back. Never let it be said that my depressions are short lived.
It seems that Current Administration is betting that the American public cannot remember that it was men from Saudi Arabia who flew jets into the World Trade Center.
When responding to analogies drawn between this country's disenchantment with the war in Iraq and the disenchantment we once felt with the war in Vietman, Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster based in Alexandria, Va, responded, history is a poor guide when looking at Iraq and the war on terror. The key difference, he says, is that the US was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and that has profoundly affected the way Americans see their own security.
"9/11 changed the lens through which we view the world," says Ayres. "Vietnam never attacked the US, and 9/11 showed Americans what happens if we're not aggressive in going after this enemy. That provides this president far more latitude to maneuver."
Again, the men who attacked this country were from Saudi Arabia -- not Iraq.
January 04, 2005
Why so dark?
I am keenly aware that months have gone by since I last contributed to this weblog. In truth I am stunned into silence by the imprimatur of approval the outcome of the recent election left on our country's course of action for the last four years, especially the invasion of Iraq and the abuse of men we've taken into custody as prisoners of war.
Between 1845 and 1850, more than a million Irish people starved to death while massive quantities of food -- enough to prevent the million plus famine related deaths -- were exported from Ireland to England. Racism, politics, and economic opportunism drove the English policies that eviscerated Ireland. Until very recently I believed that ALL Brits -- except those that actually lived in Ireland, like Jonathan Swift -- hated Irish people and approved of the English policies that caused the Irish famine. famine. Today, I am not so sure.
I will be fifty years old before the smarmy frat boy that we’ve elected king leaves office. To borrow a phrase from my Irish ancestors “I’ll be dipped in shit” before I allow myself to spend the next four years wallowing in the impotence and hopelessness that has gripped me. But man, this darkness is hard to shake.
December 16, 2004
war without w
right wing freaks are welcome in on the fun as well
November 05, 2004
Who are these people who voted for Bush?
Timothy Burke has written an insightful essay exploring what drives the people who voted for George Bush; why the Democratic party failed to reach the majority of American voters; and what changes can be made to correct this failure.
I think Burke's essay is so good that I have quoted it's essence at length below. Do yourself a favor, though. Click here to find and read the entire text. Because of its lenght, Burke has posted it in pdf format, so you'll need to click a second time when you get to his website.
Much as I would like to think so, it’s . . . not enough to wait for four more years of failure, dishonor, and malfeasance and thing that this will make enough people come to our point of view. [T]he case was made very clearly this time that Bush and his colleagues were incompetent. More than anything else, this has fueled the despair among those of us who oppose him. Can’t they see? Don’t they know? Are they stupid? Are they blind?
What I’ve had to face is the last three days is this: a desire for competency and respect for political process is a cultural value, as surely as abortion is. My intense belief in the importance of those things is just that, a belief. More to the point, it is a self-serving belief that advances the interests of my own social class. I believe in the importance of competency, knowledge, "best practices" of decision-making because I’ve been trained to be apart of an elite that holds those things to be of importance, and aspires to them as a matter of course. I believe in those things as a way of life, as a part of self and identity, as deeply as any evangelical believes in the spiritual presence of Jesus Christ in all things.
[Bush supporters] look for a leader who symbolically summarizes and emphasizes the values and beliefs that sustain their lives within their own communities and that connect them to the larger imagined community of the nation. [They do not] have any reasonable expectation that competent governance will address the priorities and issues they face in their everyday lives. They do not think that good or bad policy can help or hurt them.
November 04, 2004
Arafat has slipped into a coma
A gravely ill Yasser Arafat reportedly slipped into a coma today. My guess is that his inevitable death will be the excuse for a rash of violence.
November 03, 2004
It's the American people, stupid
The world will now be blaming the American people, instead of the Bush Administration for all of Dubya's misjudgments. This just in from the Sidney Morning Herald.
It's the American people, stupid
By Peter Hartcher in Washington
The American people have for the first time decisively endorsed George Bush, handing him an explicit affirmation for America's most controversial war since Vietnam and a mandate to press ahead with strident foreign policy.
The President lost the popular vote in the 2000 election by half a million votes and suffered from questions about his legitimacy, but has now won it by about 3 million to 4 million votes. The result gives him over 50 per cent of all votes cast, a feat his predecessor Bill Clinton never achieved.
If his dominance of the popular vote is validated by a victory in the Electoral College, the Republicans will be in a commanding position, cementing control of the White House as well as both houses of Congress.
One of America's leading conservative intellectuals, Professor Francis Fukuyama, said Mr Bush's victory foreshadowed an increasingly tense relationship for the US and the world.
"This is very important internationally. People will say that its not George Bush that's the problem, its the American people that's the problem."
International antagonism to US foreign policy had, up until now, centred on the Bush Administration, while sentiment towards the American people was more benign. But Mr Bush's return will entrench world opinion against the US as whole.
The government that we deserve
In my despair I fear that, if the pundits are correct and the American public re-elected George W. Bush based upon his moral vision for this country, then America has gotten the government that she deserves. Like the idiots who followed the false Aslan in C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle, the American people believe that they's elected a lion but instead have returned a jackass wearing a lion's skin to the Oval Office.
I am certain that carnage lies ahead and that the images that await will be too terrible to view, except in glimpses. And I fear that the America that emerges -- after the carnage -- will neither be recognizable nor to my liking.
Fortunately, though, life need not be a spectator sport. Those of us who believe that we deserve more than a president who lies to us, who uses the weapons of war for the sake of commerce, who is willing to sacrifice lives for oil, have a great deal of work ahead for us these next four years. It may take us a few days to recover from the sucker punch that has knocked us off our feet, but we must continue to fight the good fight. We owe it to the countless men and women who gave their life's efforts and their lives establishing and preserving the freedoms Geroge W. Bush is hell bent on destroying.