Archive for May 2009
Sonia Sotomayor, eh?
So what do we know about this person? Well, it’s coming in from all over cyberspace. Sometimes I love the internet – it ensures that if people want to hide from the truth, it won’t be that easy.
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life." – Sonia Sotomayor, UC Berkley 2002
My guess – She would not find this image at all offensive, and may even wonder why I would:
OK, Obama gave us an Identity Politics pick – he told us he was gonna do that. what else?
All of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with Court of Appeals experience because it is — Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law, I know. (laughing) Okay, I know. I know. I’m not promoting it and I’m not advocating it. I’m — you know. (laughing) – Sonia Sotomayor, Duke 2005
Hmm…political activist with no adherence to what the Constitution actually says, but rather, what she wants it to say. Again, another Obama expectation.
Even liberal judges, such as Jose Cabranes, who is a Clinton appointee, also from the Second Circuit called her out for attempting to bury a case that had significant constitutional questions (Ricci v. DeStefano). Without getting into the details here, Cabranes called Sotomayor out for her legal trickery as part of the dissent of the 7-6 decision in Ricci. SCOTUS is expected to hear and perhaps rule this case next month.
Okay, so she’s deceptive too. Typical, based on her profession.
The New Republic, a liberal publication, had these comments:
The most consistent concern was that Sotomayor, although an able lawyer, was "not that smart and kind of a bully on the bench," as one former Second Circuit clerk for another judge put it. "She has an inflated opinion of herself, and is domineering during oral arguments, but her questions aren’t penetrating and don’t get to the heart of the issue." (During one argument, an elderly judicial colleague is said to have leaned over and said, "Will you please stop talking and let them talk?")
So she’s a hot-head, legal bully, and one of these masters of the screech that believe that the louder and more obtrusive her opinions are the more they will be accepted and validate her position. I really hope she doesn’t do the side-to-side head bob thing when presenting legal briefs.
Interestingly, 80% of Sotomayor’s District Court decisions have been overturned by SCOTUS. So, when you have a generally right-leaning but centrist court overriding 80% of the decisions by a judge, it stands to reason that her decisions are left-wing radical.
Oh, I guess despite her annoying way of presenting opinion, it eventually gets overruled. That makes her out of step, kinda like the president that appointed her. Makes sense.
So, to sum up so far what we know of Sonia Sotomayor – a hot-headed bully who is full of herself, not very smart as a judge, a racially motivated activist who believes in setting policy from the bench, and who is out of step with all but the most radically liberal of her judicial colleagues. And she’ll probably get in, given the power base currently in the Democrat favor.
But I’m not that bitter. Why? Because she’s replacing David Souter, another horrifyingly shocking liberal. Remember, it was Souter who believed in a wider use of eminent domain and almost lost his house over it. (Kelo vs. New London) So, we’re trading in one crazy liberal for another. It’s zero-sum.
Again, whatever. Sotomayor is a shoe-in. Unless they find out she’s a tax cheat or something…no wait, scratch that. We like tax-cheats now.
However, we also saw a ray of light, today.
Today, California’s Supreme Court decided in a 6-1 decision that Proposition 8, which made heterosexual marriage to be the definition. And while it did not invalidate the 18,000 homosexual marriages out there, it did uphold the will of the people, that they have the absolute right to amend their constitution as they see fit. The California Court didn’t inject its opinion on whether they thought homosexual marriage was right or wrong, but whether the people had the right to amend their own constitution and enumerating that line between a constitutional amendment and a constitutional revision.
The Court didn’t agree with the appeals of the homosexual community. Instead, they affirmed that the people have the right to amend the constitution through the initiative process.
So in the end, we actually win today. Prop 8 stands as law, as the people have decided twice now and we get a new liberal idiot judge in place of another.
Zero-sum plus a win equals a win.
I think I just heard a liberal say, “whatever”.
Most of what is crossing the national wire to me is pretty boring; it’s the same old song and dance. We’re constantly assailed with idiocy from the Main Stream Media. So, in sweeping the local newspapers and feeds, I find little gems like this one that, to me, are far more interesting, because of the scope, there’s little attention drawn to it and little to no concerted effort to do a Public Relations cleansing of the facts. In other words, what journalism should be.
Turns out out, the small town of Conneaut, Ohio, which borders Lake Erie and is in the far north east corner of the state, population 13,000, has a website operator named Katie Schwartz who is being drilled by the City Manager because of her website. The City Manager, Bob Schaumleffel, Jr. sent a Cease and Desist letter because, on the surface, it was because he didn’t want Schwartz’ website to be confused with the official city website, which is currently being overhauled. However, while citing competition with the defunct city website, Schaumleffel went political, ranting about about personal attacks against him and his administrative team. Schaumleffel went on to send a Cease and Desist letter which city council not to rescind to Schwartz over all of this.
Schwartz is a young professional, with degrees in Marketing and Business. She arrived in Conneaut about 18 months ago and was dismayed over the lack of business advertising. EverythingConneautOhio.com has been online for three months now and fills the hole very well as a business portal and online meeting center. She has a forum, a blog, uses Twitter, and has worked to be true to the name. But what is most remarkable this is her level of activism into improving her town’s economic climate. She’s using a private, free-market approach to help increase the quality of her town. Once again, we see private industry doing something that the government bureaucracy was unable or unwilling to do.
Schwartz’ website is a business, but it is a private site and has the same protections as any other private site. Just because Schwartz has done a good job marketing it and positioning it to be more of an online hub for the folks in Conneaut doesn’t mean that she has to be totally agreeable with the current administration of the city. Schaumleffel showed his hand by ranting on about receiving personal attacks as the result of her site.
In briefly looking over the site, I didn’t find anything overly critical of the City Administration, but I did see two topics out there that might create some stir. First, a topic about televising the council meetings on the local cable channels, definitely a plus for those who advocate for an open and transparent government. Second was the wisdom of having a City Manager versus an elected Mayor. A little more research showed that the previous city manager resigned abruptly last year, which leads me to believe this may be a topic of increasing interest in Conneaut. And with a private website in place to facilitate communication among dissidents, issues can pick up steam quickly.
But Schaumleffel doesn’t seem to be to keen on this site and has told her to cease and desist and take all information relating to the municipal offices down. In reviewing the information, it contained who the City Manager and Council members were and how to get a hold of them. So why did three out of the seven on city council and the city manager believe that it was inappropriate to list this information? Such information hardly competes with the official city site but it has put a burr in Schaumleffel’s saddle.
Personally, I hope Schwartz tells the City Manager to go pound sand. He has no right to dictate what Schwartz posts on her site. She has not at all purported her site to be the official city site and nothing on the site is slanderous in any way. But yet, local government is censuring her over her efforts, just because the City Manager doesn’t have the chops to deal with being criticized as a public official.
Bob, being criticized is part of being in office. Put on your big boy pants and just roll with it. Or, even better, try listening to your citizens, the way government should work.
Good work, Katie. Hang tough!
We eschew the one thing that will work because it’s based on morality, saying, "it will never work" while claiming that this spending madness will actually make a difference.
Well, it’s a two-fer from the National Institute of Health, a duo that sounds so outlandish, that I was thinking one would have to be drunk to make this stuff up, but after the one about Hugo Chavez’ new cell phone I’m far less shocked:
So why are we dumping $2.6M to make sure prostitutes in China and $400,000 to make sure gay men in Argentina are drinking responsibly? What, we don’t have enough gay and drunk people here in the USA to invest money to make sure they are? What do we care what prostitutes in China do? How does it benefit America to study the habits of drunken gay Argentines and their tendencies towards risky sex?
Personally, I could care less whether the sleaze of China or Argentina gets HIV or not. A little more clean and moral living will easily stave off HIV, but instead of teaching these…people…to not get drunk and have sex with everything that moves, we subsidize their activity with research to help them to do it safer, with less consequences. We eschew the one thing that will work because it’s based on morality, saying, "it will never work" while claiming that this spending madness will.
But the Institute seems to think this is worthwhile American government spending. For some reason, Dr. Xiaoming Li believes that the study in China will benefit America with the findings. You know, I may be off my rocker here, but if we want to benefit America with research, let’s do the research in America?? Duh. What nation is the National Institute of Health talking about here? Duh. How about we take care of our own first?
Do you need an answer to the question of why gay men in Argentina engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk? Here it is: Since alcohol is a depressant, it reduces the brain’s ability and predisposition towards inhibition. Gay men who go to these places aren’t looking to just “go out with the guys”; they’re there to hook up with a like-minded fellow. Add alcohol to the mix and suddenly the risk factor goes up as the blood-alcohol level goes up and the inhibitions fall like a normal day on Wall Street.
Need a real world example? Go to any American club at about 1am (and particularly ones near big college campuses or military installations). You’ll see drunk men going after any and every woman in the place. After being in the military and seeing some of the ‘escorts’ that my fellow barracks inhabitants would bring back for a nightcap, well, let’s just say they didn’t care too much about aesthetics or what they could pick up – as they would be in the Troop Medical Clinic to get checked out about a week later.
Anyway, back on topic. Granted these spending programs were allocated under the Bush Administration, so my attack here today isn’t aimed at ObamAd, Inc. However, this is a yet another clear example of just wasted government spending, regardless of who voted for it or who is letting it continue. Of course, this kind of thing goes under the media’s radar, so the public won’t see it. And that’s $3M that we’ll never see again, dumped right into the cesspool of China and Argentina’s red light districts so we can study what we really already have learned over and over again.
It would seem that Texas started something that is resonating in more states throughout the Union. Turns out that more states now are passing resolutions declaring their sovereignty under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Oklahoma picked up the banner as the second state and over the last week, we’ve seen
In Tennessee on May 4th, the State Senate voted unanimously under Senate Joint Resolution SJR0311, (31-0) to affirm Tennessee’s 10th Amendment claim of state sovereignty. The resolution now goes to the State House for consideration. Ohio has also just introduced legislation into their House. Identified as SCR13, the legislation has much of the same wording as the Texas resolution. And as of Monday, Louisiana became the fourth state to pass resolutions in both of their chambers to affirm 10th Amendment sovereignty. Like Tennessee, Louisiana lawmakers approved the measure unanimously in both their State Senate and House.
So, overall, six states have popped up on the radar with referenda to declare sovereignty. What does this mean in the great scheme of things? Not much yet except a symbolic desire by a handful of states that the federal government has and continues to overstep its authority by exercising powers that should be left to the states, namely, anything that is not enumerated by the Constitution.
But there is also something more here. If more states begin to sign onto this, perhaps the question of the actual interpretation of what Enumerated Powers as defined in the Constitution means.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. – Amendment IX
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. – Amendment X
1. There are some who believe that the 10th Amendment doesn’t preclude Congress from doing anything that is forbidden by the first eight amendments. These people are often statist in nature, looking to add more government controls to the current system.
2. The conservative opinion, and the one that, to me, fits the context of history and what is actually written in Amendments 9 and 10, states that if a power is not delegated to the Congress by the constitution, it is reserved to the states or the people themselves.
Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) has, since the 104th Congress, introduced the Enumerated Powers Act which is designed to make law the second opinion that I’ve mentioned here, that every act of Congress must underscored as something allowed to it by the Constitution. It’s never been passed, but many of the tenets of the Act have been incorporated into the House Rules.
This one would be very scary for Democrats because they would not, by fiat, be able to do things that they want to do, such as bail out auto companies, spend money on pork projects, or institute a nationalized health care system. Of course, this Act will never get passed, since it would mean that Congress would have to vote itself a serious limitation to its own powers (sort of like Congress never voting on measures like term limits for members of Congress or payment limitations – all of which would be supported by the Founders in some measure).
But the Act and states declaring sovereignty does one remarkable thing – it tells Washington that the States believe it is overstepping its bounds of Constitutional authority. If the federal government keeps pushing, there is liable to be more push back.
Let’s hope that happens. Congress needs some wing clipping.
This report, released by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center is the first of its kind: a comprehensive indexed look at the states of the Union that are more free or less free based on the laws that they passed, economic policy, regulatory freedom and personal freedoms.
While there isn’t as direct correlation in my mind over red state/blue state/free/not-so-free, as is noted in this NewsMax article, it would seem that the liberal states have a tendancy to swing towards less free than more conservative states. For example, Colorado shifted blue over the last couple years, politically, but is the #2 freest state according to the report. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, New York and New Jersey, heavily Democratic, are also the lowest ranked in overall freedoms. Conservative states are generally more interested in regulating choices relating to morality while loosening up on fiscal policy. Liberal states are the opposite.
This report gave pretty low freedom marks across the Bible-belt and the #1 score to a solidly blue state, New Hampshire. So while the NewsMax report makes the assertion, it’s not a direct correlation (notwithstanding that most states in the union shift red-blue-red again in short periods of time)
Read this report and give it your own informed opinion. It’s good stuff, nonetheless!
Well, the Carrie Prejean thing is all done and she will remain Miss California USA.
This entire last month has been an amazing firestorm events for this young lady. From being fried by “Judge #8″ and ripped by his hate-filled and incindiary comments, to images that were released of her in violation of professional confidence, to the cultural backlash that ensued from it all, Miss Prejean has gone through more harsh weather than people twice her age. She has held herself well, shown grace to those who deserve less, and done so in a remarkable way that would make any parent proud.
Donald Trump, today, held a press conference to announce the fate of Miss Prejean and to take questions about all that has happened. It would seem that there was hours of conversation between the Miss California organization, Trump, Prejean, her parents, and other decision makers. This conservative is glad to see that common sense, understanding, and wisdom ruled the day. Emotions were put into check and the facts were made known. In the end, we arrived at the right conclusion here.
There are those who still will criticize Prejean for her beliefs. Of course, if you don’t want to know someone’s beliefs, don’t ask about them. There were those who will blast her about modeling photographs, many of which had no business being published. Prejean’s more gracious than I would be. I’d slap that dude with a lawsuit so fast it would make his head spin.
Did Prejean inject her own bias into the question, taking opportunity to be politically active on the national stage? I don’t think so. Did she answer the question she was asked? Not explicitly. Was she treated unfairly for her response? You bet she was.
The exact question here from Judge #8 was, “Vermont became the fourth state in the US to legalize same sex marriage. Do you believe other states should follow suit? Why or why not?”
How would you answer the question? Would you say, “it’s up to the states to decide?” How about a personal opined answer of, “I believe or don’t believe in same-sex marriage.” She was asked “why or why not” which to me, implies personal opinion. When put on the national stage, there’s no telling how one of us would react or answer to a question that tagged an issue that is controversial and politically charged.
Judge #8′s reaction the next day on his blog made it very clear that the question was not because he wanted to assess a contestant’s composure or ability to answer a tough question. It was based on a hidden agenda. Both Prejean and Trump acknowledged this, Trump even noting the low marks given by Judge #8, who is very much a strong advocate for gay marriage and makes no qualms to be an activist (“He’s doing his thing”, Trump said.). Prejean disagreed with him and for that, she was penalized. It was uncertain that Judge #8′s scores threw the Miss USA title out of Prejean’s reach, but it certainly offered her no help.
The thing to remember isn’t whether Prejean had to answer a tough question – it was whether those questions arise out of a dutiful sense to agenda or an assessment of composure when asked a hard question. That, to me, seems to be the point here. I don’t think the question was particularly tough for her, since she gave her answer quickly. She understood that there would be people who would not like her answer and she did disclaim that her answer was not to cause offense. And she gave her answer, unashamed and with confidence.
America is a land of diverse opinion and belief. The beauty of America is that our law allows people to believe as they will and to voice those opinions as they will. Prejean said some very wise words that I believe would be in keeping with the Founders. She noted that people should stand for what they believe, not be afraid to voice their opinion, and especially not let anyone deprive you of your opinion, just because it makes them uncomfortable.
A couple of weeks ago, Governor Rick Perry of Texas announced a bill that would declare Texas as a sovereign state of the United States. While this legislation seemed to have little effect on the reality of things, it did get people talking (before this swine flu thing came along and scared the crap out of people for no reason, but I digress)
Not to be outdone by their neighbors to the south, the Okies have also begun steps to declare their sovereignty as well. Ten days ago, the Oklahoma state legislature passed a sovereignty bill which got the stroke of Governor Brad Henry’s veto pen. However, the Oklahoma House decided that Gov. Henry is out of step, passed a veto-proof measure (in the form of a Concurrent resolution), 72-22, and now has shipped it off to their Senate where it’s expected to pass.
I previously commented on this topic, so I won’t rehash my thoughts on the 10th Amendment, except to say that the Founders never intended for the Federal Government to grow as large or get as powerful as it is. The Federal Government, both under the Bush Administration and now under the Obama Administration has sought to increase its size and scope in ways that are far beyond its constitutional mandate. In short, the States run their territory and the Federal Government manages issues where all the states are concerned. But it does NOT up to the Federal Government to determine what is in the National interest – that’s a job for the States. While this may be a bit difficult to understand, the point is, the national interest is determined by the States and the People, not by the Federal Government.
I wonder how many states will step up and start telling Washington to stop interfering in State business. Currently the Federal Government has overextended its arm over the banks and the auto industries. Liberalism seeks to center power and rule over people, giving to their need and creating dependency. States like Texas and now Oklahoma don’t particularly want to be controlled by Washington. The last time the Federal Government tried that, it ignited a civil war.
Well, Arlen Specter departed the GOP last week and those of us who were wishing him “Happy Trails” (not really, but you get the point) now have something at which to chuckle further.
It would seem that, despite the promises by Harry Reid for Specter to retain his seniority on Senate committees, he’s been kicked to the bottom of the Democrat pecking order on all but one of the committees on which he serves.
Did you ever see the old computer game, You Don’t Know Jack? Remember that feature in the game involving the big screw? Well, when you wanted to screw your opponent by making him’her answer a question that you thought was impossible, so he would embarrass himself and flush ridiculous amounts of fake cash down the hopper, you would press a button during the game. To visualize, the game would depict this ginormous screw, cranking into your opponent’s name in almost a painful sort of way.
BTW – The game is still a fun one to play. Go play it if you need some stress relief.
Well, Arlen, here’s your sign, buddy. Hope life with your new friends fares better than this first week. But given that Democrats will crucify anyone to get ahead, you should be in good company now, right?
(btw – the image is my first attempt at graphic work with GIMP.)
America doesn’t need to be remade; it only needs to go back to the principles to doing what actually brings prosperity and security. We don’t need a new approach. We need to do what we’ve already seen work everywhere it’s genuinely tried – true social and fiscal conservatism.
For many months now, the Grand Ol’ Party has been in disarray, damaged by its inability to stand up for the convictions that brought it into power back in 1980 and again in 1994. During the Bush 41 and 43 administrations, the GOP sacrificed its principles, a little at a time. The GOP began to grow government, instead of shrink it. It began to become “OK” with abortion and gay marriage. It began to acquiesce to financial madness and fiscal irresponsiblity, in order to satisfy a handful of vocal objectors.
We watched in shock and horror as the Dems took back control of the House and Senate in 2006 and how they strengthened their hold in 2008. We also watched as an unqualified, socialistic empty suit took the helm as President. The Dems are poised to seal the deal now that the power hungry Arlen Specter, jumped from GOP to Democrat, thus labeling himself as he always was and that diaper-wearing dumbkopf blowhard, Stuart Smalley, aka Al Franken, took the last two chairs and ensures that our party is silenced in the operations of the Federal Government for at least a couple years.
Then the finger pointing began. We accused John McCain of not being conservative enough, so the “holier-than-thou” conservatives stayed home instead of coming out in droves against Obamania. We accused Sarah Palin of being too conservative and a painted lady, a last ditch effort to score some points
The point is, we all blew it.
We got comfortable. We let our guard down and the Dems rushed in like a flood. Now we have to sit back as liberals, homosexuals, and godless socialists have their way with our country. And for now, we do so, hoping that they don’t wreck the country too badly, don’t start throwing us Right Wing extremists (you hear that, Napolitano?) into jail for hate crimes, and taxing us into oblivion to pay off anyone in the world who wants a free abortion. We sit back now and hope we can give our children a truly Godly education and hope the State doesn’t come in and take our kids when we stand up, ready to arm ourselves in the face of oppression. And we hope that, as Obama relaxes our defenses in the face of a bitter enemy who wants revenge for everything in the world that they don’t detonate a nuclear weapon in Kansas City.
Not only did we let our guard down, we allowed our message to get watered down. We started saying instead of limiting government wherever and whenever we can, we started making concessions. We started allowing little government programs pop up. And kind of like the one little dandelion in your yard that is too much trouble to uproot, we left it alone. Then two more appeared. Then three. And suddenly, a good deal of our government budget is spent on entitlements and programs. Pork projects sprung up all over and we didn’t do anything to stop them until there were so many that it was too late to make an effective stand.
It’s not his fault, her fault. It’s our fault. We did this to ourselves.
So how do we fix it? We go back and look at the Reagan playbook again, update for today’s landscape, and start winning elections.
First, we all owe God and the Founders a deep, bitter apology for our sin. Many of us refused to stand up when the time came. Many of us said, “it’s not our problem, we’re too busy”. We squandered away our victories and apologized for our affluence. God blessed us and we tossed it into the trashcan as we took things for granted. We started thinking of ourselves better (and so became careless) when it came time to build upon the foundations that Reagan helped us to see.
Second, we need to pick ourselves up by reinvesting in our roots. We need to get away from this ‘move a bit to the center so we get more support’ and stand up for our principles. In 1980, Reagan’s landslide came because he held his principles and the moderates came to agree with Reagan (or disagree with Carter).
Third, we work the grassroots. We talk to our friends and neighbors about conservative principles and more importantly, we weave them into our daily lives. We live the message we preach. (sound familiar, Christians?) We learn to communicate in the 21st century
There’s been all this clamor as of late about getting past Reagan and getting on with the business of the party. Do you want to stop mentioning the name, “Ronald Reagan”? Fine. I’m alright with that. And I’m sure Reagan would be alright with that, too, since he surely didn’t believe it was about him, but values and principle. But that doesn’t mean we forget the principles of Reagan.
So, as we put Reagan in the rear-view, let’s put the principles of conservatism in the front-view and strive for the ideologies that have always made this country great. Let’s start getting back to the principles of limited government as well as limited government involvement in people’s lives. Let’s tell the government to stay out of our health care, stay out of our private sector and leave the economy the heck alone. America doesn’t need to be remade; it only needs to go back to the principles to doing what actually brings prosperity and security. We don’t need a new approach. We need to do what we’ve already seen work everywhere it’s genuinely tried – true social and fiscal conservatism.
We can stop saying the name Reagan, just as long as we never stop doing the fundamental principles of Reagan-style conservatism.