Thursday, October 13, 2005

Miers Is Done, Part MVCIX

Now comes

I don’t know if by mere quotation I can fully convey the relentless march of vapid abstractions that mark Miers’s prose. Nearly every idea is vague and depersonalized. Nearly every debatable point is elided. It’s not that Miers didn’t attempt to tackle interesting subjects. She wrote about unequal access to the justice system, about the underrepresentation of minorities in the law and about whether pro bono work should be mandatory. But she presents no arguments or ideas, except the repetition of the bromide that bad things can be eliminated if people of good will come together to eliminate bad things

Please, for the love of God, withdraw her.

Miers Is Toast, Part III

Now this.

I'm sorry, but I would take a Zoroastrian (named Vilma, even) who has a Constructionist/Originalist background over a Christian with no verifiable constitutional philosophy. This is exactly what I was afraid of: The White House is in full pander mode and it is going to come back to haunt them.

Spare the hearings and withdraw her now. Pick a qualified candidate and have the debate in the public square over the role of the Court in American life.

More Gore Bore

Oh yeah, Al is running.

"I have absolutely no plans and no expectations of ever being a candidate again," told reporters after giving a speech at an economic forum in Sweden.

Easy there, General Sherman, don't be too unequivocal. Is this new version of Al the "Dickens Gore", who like Pip is waiting to have his great expectations thrust upon him? Is Howard Dean Magwitch?

"We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us," he said, referring to Iraq. "We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families."

You have to give him credit; a swipe at Iraq and class warfare in the same breath. He's still got it. Of course, Gore would have put Iraq in a "lock-box" and how can you fault him for that? The Clinton-Gore foreign policy was such a resounding success, wasn't it?

"We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media. We would not be routinely torturing people," Gore said. "We would be a different country."

I can't embellish on this forehead-vein-throbbing rant. There was also the old global warming riff as well which I am sure was especially well received in balmy Sweden.

Here is the best way to tell if Gore is running: his weight. In 2001 Gore could have had his own zip code, he has slimmed down considerably since then. If he drops another 20, bet the farm he is running.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wednesday's Non-Onion Satire

All right, funny is funny. Go here for a theory on Bush's nominee for Alan Greenspan's replacement.

This Just In From Syria...

Syrian Interior Minister Ghazi Kenaan has committed suicide, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency. Kenaan, one of several Syrian officials who has been investigated for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, apparently shot himself in the head six times in his office.

Bashar Assad was unavailable for comment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Gore Is Running

Just when the prospects looked less than exciting for the Republicans in 2008, rumblings have been emanating from that seemingly inexhaustible font of outrage, Al Gore. In a recent speech the former Vice-President laments the "grave danger" faced by American democracy, and no, he is not talking about George Soros' attempt to buy the 2004 election. His talk has all of the hallmarks of the beginnings of a Nixon-like comeback, which is bad news for Democrats.

Watching John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Al Gore, all of whom feel that they are somehow entitled to an eight year stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, fight it out in the primaries will be a sight to behold. Even more intriguing will be the political calculus used to determine each candidate's positions on the issues and this will most certainly benefit Mrs. Clinton, who is bright enough, and opportunistic enough, to triangulate between Kerry's Leftism and Gore's Lunacy. The icing on the cake will be witnessing the fourth Horseman, Governor Dean, try to deal with this Hydra of self-centeredness and political vanity. The biggest losers if this comes to pass are the second tier candidates, like Wesley Clark, because there just won't be enough oxygen in the room for him and others like him.

Kerry and Gore are each a joke in their own way and the Democrats learned from the likes of Adlai Stevenson not to re-nominate damaged goods, although with an eight year hiatus from the political scene, again reminiscent of Nixon, Gore has a much better chance. But both Gore and Kerry, like the Republicans, underestimate Hillary Clinton at their peril. She is going to be an amazingly charismatic campaigner and, more importantly, a disciplined one as well.

The Republicans do not have a very strong group of prospective candidates for the 2008 election, although Giuliani and McCain have the star power to make it a race against whomever the Democrats nominate. (I support Rudy.) Now if the far-Right will only let them get through the primaries and happily accept half a loaf rather than no bread at all.

Monday, October 10, 2005

George Will Is Pissed

And he has every right to be. This article expresses what many conservative and libertarian Republicans have been feeling in the last several years, a time in which, disturbingly, the G.O.P. has held the executive branch and both houses of the legislative branch. The money quote:

(Tom) DeLay, who neither knows nor cares any more about limited government than a camel knows or cares about calculus, probably will never return to the House leadership, and might even be voted out of the House in 13 months.

The Republicans may be heading into a winter of discontent and largely one of their own making.

Why Bush Can't Win

After being excoriated over the slow federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the media is distorting the attempts by the Bush Administration to develop a plan to deal with an outbreak of the Avian (H5N1) Flu.

Yes, such an outbreak would be a global pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen since 1918, but isn't it prudent to begin developing plans now to minimize the spread of the virus? This is what the Bush Administration is trying to do and such an effort should receive immediate and unqualified bipartisan support. But alas, that may not be forthcoming. Welcome to Washington.

From the NYT article:

The plan outlines a worst-case scenario in which more than 1.9 million Americans would die and 8.5 million would be hospitalized with costs exceeding $450 billion.

It also calls for a domestic vaccine production capacity of 600 million doses within six months, more than 10 times the present capacity.

On Friday, President Bush invited the leaders of the nation's top six vaccine producers to the White House to cajole them into increasing their domestic vaccine capacity, and the flu plan demonstrates just how monumental a task these companies have before them.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration's efforts to plan for a possible pandemic flu have become controversial, with many Democrats in Congress charging that the administration has not done enough. Many have pointed to the lengthy writing process of the flu plan as evidence of this.

Clearly, we need more vaccines. But what are the specific objections the Democrats have to a plan that is still being formulated? In the above-referenced "worst case scenario" the military would have to become involved and it would likely require quarantines, some of which may be in higher density and lower socio-economic areas. Will irresponsible charges of racism be invoked if that is the case? (The same will be true, to an even greater degree, in a relatively racially homogeneous and densely packed cities like Tokyo, Seoul, or Mexico City.)

As far as the writing process of the flu response plan, this is not something one does on the back of a cocktail napkin. Every major cabinet position in the government would be involved, as well as overturning or suspending the Posse Comitatus Act. Formulating a plan is going to take longer than a Christophe haircut. The fact that our occasionally syntactically challenged President held forth on this subject in a reasoned and eloquent fashion in his press conference is a sign of how seriously he takes this threat. The action our government takes may come not a moment too soon.

Gratuitious Shot of the Day

The injustice and indignity continues; Professor Paul Krugman is again passed over for the Bank of Sweden's Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. He obviously wasn't critical enough of Bush. Oh, wait, that is for the Peace Prize. Sorry.