Wednesday, April 27, 2005


If It's Thursday, This Must Be Los Angeles

On the road again, but this time for fun. Headed to LA for Midgie's Birthday...catching a play and just loafing....Will attempt to post late on Thursday...

In Defense of "Judicial Tyranny"
The religious right's court-unpacking scheme

A plea for reason...from Reason...alas, reason is in short supply these days....


A Cattle Truck that Flies....

Airbus A380 lands after making aviation history

The funny thing is, that when the A380 goes into service sometime next year, it will be able to seat roughly 550 people, but the boarding areas at the airport will still only have seating for about 50 folks....but perhaps airports could arrange the boarding area to resemble a cattle yard, cause who are we kidding...unless you're in business class (and I never am..sigh) flying sucks.

good news is that Boeing's 787 is taking the lead in the market.


Plunging Headlong Into Crisis

Republicans Refuse Offer On Judges
Democratic Plan Sought Withdrawal of Some

Well, one can always hope. But it looks like Senator Frist's task master James Dobson and those other angry, but in control types on the far right won't back down. Apparently, no vote on the Nuclear Option is scheduled this week....and I don't think Frist will call for it until he knows he has the 51 votes....But if Frist & Company couldn't even get a bare majority on the Federal Marriage Amendment (a gimme vote as few will punish a politicians for voting against gays)...then changing an important part of the Senate tradition may be more difficult. Rumor has it Frist still needs up to 10 votes...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


The GOP Legacy of Debt

A big hole.

We have a huge budget deficit problem. Just how bad is it? Well this years projected deficit should come in around $421 billion dollars. That's a big number. So big in fact, that it would be impossible to eliminate it by just cutting spending. You see the federal budget can be roughly divided into three categories: discretionary spending, defense/interest on debt, and entitlements (Social Security/Medicare). Discretionary spending is just about everything you can think of, highway funding, student aid, agricultural subsidies, etc. This segment of the budget is roughly $400 billion dollars a year. Defense/Interest on the debt, is also roughly about $400 billion. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is a dedicated budget item..meaning congress has no authority to reallocate these funds...this segment is roughly $1.3 trilllion. So, that leaves the options rather limited. We could eliminate all spending except defense and entitlements, or eliminate defesense spending, or cut entitlements by roughly 1/3. Either way the choices are crippling and the deficit number will grow in 2017 when the Social Secuirty IOUs start coming due.

Thank goodness we're being governed by a party that's concerned about things like fiscal prudence....sigh...


The GOP Legacy of Debt

A big hole.

We have a huge budget deficit problem. Just how bad is it? Well this years projected deficit should come in around $421 billion dollars. That's a big number. So big in fact, that it would be impossible to eliminate it by just cutting spending. You see the federal budget can be roughly divided into three categories: discretionary spending, defense/interest on debt, and entitlements (Social Security/Medicare). Discretionary spending is just about everything you can think of, highway funding, student aid, agricultural subsidies, etc. This segment of the budget is roughly $400 billion dollars a year. Defense/Interest on the debt, is also roughly about $400 billion. Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is a dedicated budget item..meaning congress has no authority to reallocate these funds...this segment is roughly $1.3 trilllion. So, that leaves the options rather limited. We could eliminate all spending except defense and entitlements, or eliminate defesense spending, or cut entitlements by roughly 1/3. Either way the choices are crippling and the deficit number will grow in 2017 when the Social Secuirty IOUs start coming due.

Thank goodness we're being governed by a party that's concerned about things like fiscal prudence....sigh...


Social Security Reform: Near Death

Bush to Tour With DeLay

With only 35% of the public allegedly support the President's 'plan' to fix social security, what's a guy to do? Apparently, someone had the great idea to add Tom Delay to the Social Security tour. I'm guessing that the administration is shooting for approval ratings on their handling of social security in the low single digits. A huge step backwards....Social Security reform is on life support, and not surprisingly, the GOP is refusing to pull the plug....,2933,154591,00.html


An International Veto of U.S. Economic Policy?

Bush Goes Begging

Bush, Saudi Fail to Reach Deal to Lower Gas Prices


No Compromise on Moral Crusades

Frist says maybe, Rove says No

Anyone who watched Justice Sunday shouldn't be surprised that Rove is backing off talk of a Senate compromise on Judicial nominees. Despite the talk of wanting to work with Democrats, the all or nothing approach is on par with just about every other proposal that's emerged from the administration. You are with 'em or you're against them. I think a compromise, as is being widely reported would be a good thing, long overdue in these polarized times. But I just can't look at James Dobson on the other radical clerics and see anything but the basest fundamentalism, that of itself doesn't accept questioning of its tenents. One can hope none-the-less.

Rove: Bolton will be confirmed; judges deserve vote

Monday, April 25, 2005


My First Seder

Norwegians, Elephants and Jews...oh my!

Thanks to the generosity of my good friends E&F, I participated in my first ever passover dinner on Saturday. It was actually quite enjoyable and gave me some new insights into Judaism and of course got me thinking of my favorite movie ever...The Ten Comandments.

The dinner was very nice, and the hosts chose to use a children's Seder service so as not to go on for too long. The crowd was pretty diverse too, with even a Swedish contingent. AM read the prayers in Hebrew, the EF would read them in a thickly (and wonderfully) Swedish accent. So much fun, such great fellowship!

Thanks E&F!


If It's Monday, this must be....Detroit, Atlanta

On the road again..

On the road again for most of the week. snacking in DTW on my way to Altanta, then back to DC tomorrow and off to LA (Thurs to Sun) and then back to Detroit (Mon-Tues.) then hopefully done for a while. Postings will be at odd times this week due to travel, but will be happening none-the-less.

Thanks for your understanding....

Friday, April 22, 2005


Weekend Reading:

Tilting Toward Theocracy

Something funny is happening here in DC, many of my lobbyist colleagues (from a broad spectrum of right and right leaning organizations) seem to be feeling the same level of disgust as Elephant that the so called republican revolution has gotten so far off track, it's draped itself in the mantle of the far right (Dobson, Schafley, et. al) and is moving so much to the right many of its ideas and policies are more akin to the far left. Anyway, the underlying importance of this is that trade associations (groups representing all sorts of interests from businesses, to private clubs, to home builders) are suffering from absolutism fatigue. Trade associations pump money into issue advocacy and campaign contributions in support of Republican or Democratic proposals that would be helpful to their constituencies. But the approach by the White House - you're only a friend if you support us, without question, on everything, is alienating many. As a result, our collective enthusiasm for supporting this current crop of leaders is waning as fast as the 2006 elections are approaching. Hello Majority Leader Reed.

Anyway, this week's weekend reading is an advanced requiem for the judicial filibuster, just in case the mad plans of Senator Frist prove successful.

Senate GOP Closer to Showdown With Dems
Republicans are moving the Senate toward a final confrontation with Democrats over the blocking of President Bush's judicial nominations, even as internal polling shows that most Americans don't support their plan to ban judicial filibusters.

Filibuster and Cloture
Using the filibuster to delay debate or block legislation has a long history. In the United States, the term filibuster -- from a Dutch word meaning "pirate" -- became popular in the 1850s when it was applied to efforts to hold the Senate floor in order to prevent action on a bill.

What about the values and traditions of our democracy?
The Senate is considered the greatest deliberative body in the World. It's a truly painful concept if you job, like mine, requires you to pay close attention to what's going on, but it's role is critical to the checks and balances that are fundamental to our democracy.
(Third posting down)

Senate GOP Sets Up Filibuster Showdown
Moving the Senate closer to a historic confrontation, the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee yesterday endorsed two of President Bush's most controversial nominees to federal appellate court, and Democrats vowed once again to use the filibuster to block their confirmation.


I Hate Northwest Airlines....

Northworst Airlines: My Tale of Woe

Ok, granted, I’m lucky enough to travel for my job and see interesting places and rack up some frequent flier miles. I’m also lucky that I can book a ticket to go to LA for a long weekend. But after my experiences with Northwest Airlines this week, I now have no doubt as to why they are in such a financial mess. Short answer, they really don’t give a darn about their customers. He’s my tale of woe:

I’ve had a busy couple of months at the office. Middgie, EIE’s professional skeptic, calls me to tell me she has next week off and I figure it’s a good time to fly out to LA. So, I use my frequent flier miles on America West to book a ticket from DC to LA, departing on Thursday, 4/28 and returning on Monday, 5/2. No problem, all handled on-line and it took about five minutes.

But alas! I forgot I have to fly to Detroit on Monday for an early morning speech on Tuesday, May 3 and my ticket (already booked on Northwest) departs before I’m scheduled to return from LA. So I call America West to try to change my return flight. The agent is polite and lays out all my options. I could use more miles to fly back on Sunday in first class (I don’t have enough miles) or 1) I could skip my scheduled return flight, take a credit for that, and book a new flight back on Sunday..for about $299. I say great and that I’ll consider it, but look for another flight that may be cheaper.

So, I go online and find that Northwest has a red eye on Sunday (arriving Monday morning in Detroit) for $198. Cool, I book that flight and figure that I can still use my return ticket from Detroit to DC for Tuesday, May 2. Unfortunately, the only seat available is the dreaded middle row seat. However, the website seat map shows that nearly all the seats from the exit row to the bulkhead (13 or so rows-about 30 seats) are empty but reserved for “Elite Status” members. Hmm….

I had a similar situation with Northwest last week on a flight to Atlanta, I called an agent and asked if I could be seated in a forward row (still coach mind you) with the understanding that if a higher priority passenger needed the seat, they could bump me back to the middle seat. She politely obliged. I decide to try this tactic with the agent last night for my red eye from LA to Detroit..after all, I’ve already booked (and paid for) nearly 30,000 miles of travel this year on their airline and will become an elite flier later this year. I offer the same conditions, if a flier with higher priority needs the seat, they can bump me back to the middle. But the agent is an a## and not only tells me he can’t do it, but that the other agent who helped me would be disciplined for moving my seat on the Atlanta flight. In addition he was putting in a request to the system to move me back into the middle row on my Atlanta flight. Grr….Worse, he even tells me that they’d rather have those seats empty than to provide them to non-elite fliers. In case they get a lot of handicap or elite fliers. (Yeah, 30 wheel chair bound folks are gonna take next Sundays red-eye).

Well the red-eye flight is still the best deal by far, so I book it (online, not through the moron agent) accept a middle seat and hope for the best. Now, I only have to call Northwest this morning to tell them that I won’t need my DC to Detroit flight on Monday, but that I’d like to retain the return trip. The new agent tells me that this isn’t possible as the ticket is a roundtrip. He’d be happy to change it for $300 for a one-way ticket. Double GRRR. (although this agent was polite). So, I cancel the entire ticket and book on one-way flight from Detroit to DC on Independence Air ($49!).

I can’t imagine that my experience with Northwest is unique. Road warriors probably need to change their flights all the time (and unlike my office, they probably pay unrestricted fares that are 100s of dollars more). But seriously, would a little flexibility kill them? I mean I understand keep prime seats open for the really expensive ticket holders, but I even conditioned my request on availability and said they could always down grade me if they needed to. Alas, they don’t care…they are Northworst Airlines. But perhaps this is why America West, Southwest and Jetblue are profitable. They have more flexible ticket policies and flatter fare structures. They also are all profitable, whereas Norwest Airlines is on track to loose $2 BILLION dollars this year. I no longer wonder why.

Northwest Airlines 1Q losses double

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Happy Birthday to My iBook

One year, No Problems

A year ago, my toshiba laptop got some kind of bug and would randomly shut down for no apparent reason and in the process corrupted all my music files. Having fallen in love with my iPod, I decided to make the switch and purchase an Apple Laptop. To save some bucks I purchased my computer on Ebay and got a pretty good deal. Now, one year later, all I can say it that my iBook laptop has delivered the computing experience I've imagined, but until now have been denied.

The most impressive aspect of having my iBook, is that there have been no problems transferring files from my office PC onto my mac for things like powerpoint presentations and large word documents (at work I get to write long treatises on things like tax-exempt exciting as it sounds!).... Anyway, probably the best tech purchase I've made, and one you should consider when your current computer is on its last legs....


GOP Needs to Get Back to Basics

Spending, Economic Stewardship, Defense...

Despite the fact that the GOP is focused on killing the filibuster, steriods, and other aspects of the culture of life, it still seems that most Americans, including Elephant, would like to see the GOP turn their efforts know..things the government is supposed to care about rather than all this divisive stuff. Traditionally, the GOP could wallop Dems on issues related to the economy, but with the horrible track record of the last five years, some (Mr. Santorum?) may be a bit nervous heading into 2006. Of course as that time approaches, the GOP can always roll out the gay-marriage boogey man and set up some orange alerts to get the vote out.


The Far Right: Influential, but not yet in total control

Social conservatives after Terri Schiavo Following their own path

ETHICAL issues are not the only ones raised by the tragic battles over Terri Schiavo. The determined effort by Congress and the president to try to save the Florida woman has pushed two political questions to the fore. One, posed by secular Americans and many more Europeans, is that old chestnut: have religious fundamentalists taken over the Republican Party? The other, raised by nervous Republicans, is its apparent opposite: is the conservative coalition beginning to crack up?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Congress: Back to Priorities

Congressional panel announces hearing on NFL steroid use

Well, now that the Terri Schiavo nightmare is over, Congress is turning its attention back to important national priorities...You think, great...the GOP led Congess is focusing on high energy costs, ways to curb the ever growing power of the federal government, cut spending, make our intelligence agencies more effective, investigating POW torture.... NOPE! They're getting ready to expand their steriod inquiry into football...


The Republican Revolution: Never has a revolution cost so much and delivered so litte.


Federal Judges: The New Gays

DeLay criticizes Supreme Court Justice

Seems that the GOP can't do anything right. Tom Delay is out attacking Reagan appointed justice Anthony Kennedy for allegedly 'relying on international law' in his majority opinion to ban the death penalty for minors. (Remember a few weeks ago, Delay was all over this Schiavo thing because of the Sanctity of Life....ahh moral clarity!)...Anyway, I think Delay is full of it. I've downloaded a copy of the court's decision (The case is ROPER, SUPERINTENDENT, POTOSI CORRECTIONAL CENTER v. SIMMONS) and can be found here:

A cursory scan of the case seems to indicate that Justice Kennedy relied primarily on a host of State court precedents as well as the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for his opinion. I'll print it out and write a summary for tommorrow's postings. But remember, Delay is fighting to retain his post as Majority Leader...and it's always a good strategy to create a crisis to distract attention.

Seems to me that Judges are the Gays of 2005. Kill, ban em', burn em'....


You Can be the President...

I'll be the Pope!

Words from one of my favorite Prince songs...but that's beside the point. Since everyone else is giving their two cents (or shekels) about the new Pope, I guess a short blog on this is compulsory or something. Pope Benedict XVI....I don't have much to say. I'm not shocked at the choice, I mean, your talking about an institution that took 400 some years to apologize to Galileo for Pete's sake. Frankly I don't know enough about this man to comment appropriately, I'm just disappointed he didn't go with a more modern pope name, like Pope Chandler or perhaps Pope <+O, or even Pope XJ7.20....

More on this next week. I know many of my Catholic friends and family are a bit nervous though....

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Dear Lord!

A New Food Pyramid

America has an obesity problem. The solution, revamp the ill concieved food pyramid to encourage healthier eating.

The new pyramid is so much easier to understand....just read this simple discription...

concerned about steadily expanding waistlines, the government on Tuesday flipped the food pyramid on its side, added a staircase for exercise and gave consumers 12 individually-tailored models for improving their health and eating habits.
All I can say is dear lord! The republican revolution was supposed to end this nonsense, but then, after the filibuster is gone the new clerics that will control the government will just tell us what to eat....I'm thinking Mana from heaven.

The Republican Revolution: Never has a revolution cost so much and delivered so little.



OKC: Ten Years

Let us not forget

I can't believe that today is the sad, ten year anniversary of the OKC bombing. I stunning wake up call that in addition to the threats we face from the outside (Islamo-fascists), we have our own set of enemies right here at home. They are still out there... I guess in these turbulent political times, I can at least be thankful that (for now) the radicals who want to gut our democrat traditions in the Senate, haven't resorted to blowing up buildings (although they seem ready to impale judges). But then, they have the ear of the Senate Majority Leader.

I hope I'm not pulling a Ward Churchill, I love America and think that a vociferous debate between the left and the right can result in good policy for the millions of us in the increasingly angry middle. What I'm not so sure of, is that a few of the more radical elements (FCR, CWA) really want to find the middle ground and would preferr creating a Christian version of Iran.

For a week, let us ignore the Michael Moores, the Ann Coulters, Al Frankens and Bill O'Rielly's and talk to each other about what really matters and find solutions that work, rather than solutions that polarize and enrich politicians on both sides.


DEFCON 5: One Week to Nuclear War

Enjoy your democracy...while it lasts

Got an inside scoop from the Senate today. Staffers are reporting that Senator Frist will unveil his all out assault on the filibuster next week. I'm puzzled as I really doubt that a majority of moderate Republicans (McCain, Collins, Snowe, Chaffee, Hagel) would go along with it and doubt that Senate Giants like John Warner (who values tradition) would join the fray. Perhaps Senator Frist is bringing it up, as promised, for his noisy group of radical right supporters (Family Research Council, Concerned Women of America, etc.), but I doubt it.

I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about the rationale for eliminating the filibuster of judicial nominees, and I concluded that the motivating factor is not the supposed blocking of a mere 10 nominated judges. As I've mentioned before, Bush's success record with court nominations is stunning, 95% of his nominees have been approved by the senate, and only 10 or so rejected. The battle is much deeper and more sinister I'm afraid. In short, I think the GOP leadership is front loading the battle for the next Supreme Court nominee. The radical supporters of Frist and company, with a taste of success from their Gay-Bashing amendments, see a future battle over the most fundamental right in America, the right to privacy.

Why privacy? Well, first off, the right to privacy, at least according to the Supreme Court is penumbral, that is, it is a shadowy right created by the bill of rights that guarantees personal autonomy in a whole host of areas, like contraception, private sexual behavior, abortion, associational rights and such. It's this fundamental right that continues to anger the radical right and since they cannot prevail on constitutional or legislative bans on things like birth control, gay rights and abortion, they need more radical action, and that action is to overturn the line of cases (Duarte, Casey, Lawrence, Roe) that led to the development of the right to privacy. That's there goal, and it should scare the bejebus out of true conservatives, as it would open the door to unlimited federal intervention into the social lives of its citizenry. Of course if that doesn't work, then we can always resort to violence against judges....


Conference A Success

Three Cheers for Me!

Well, my conference ended today and it was well recieved by my members. Got some good praise from my Board of Directors and am tired, but happy. Now I can focus my time in the office (at least for this week) on googling.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Monday Update

So very, very sleepy!

Ok, it's 5:30 pm and I've been up since about 5:00 am getting ready for my conference which is today and tomorrow. All is going well so far, speakers showing up, attendees seem happy and the tour of the Capitol building went well.

On the political front, things seem to be going ok. I'm still angry that a bill that's important to my industry now requires 60 votes due a Republican filibuster threat (I don't mind the filibuster, but it seems kind of sad that on one hand the GOP is trying to kill this important tool and on the other hand using it to kill a very probusiness bill...)..but anyway, we're still a democracy today...

Friday, April 15, 2005


Political Correctness Run Amok!

Zoo Wants Chimpanzee to Stop Smoking

Gosh Darn those anti-smoking facists. I wonder if the Chimp holds the cigarette in his toe-thumbs?



Immigration Bill Filibustered

Irony of all ironies. An immigration bill, important to business, was offered on the Senate floor yesterday as an amendment to a larger bill. A handful of GOP Senators have blocked the amendment, threatening a filibuster and forcing a cloture vote.

The bill is supported by a large coalition of business interests, including my office, but heaven forbid we should let in more Mexicans, even if they are legal, hard working and needed.


Conference Time

Monday and Tuesday

Postings will be light (if any) on Monday and Tuesday as it is time for my office's annual conference. Members of my association are coming into town for two days of meetings and I'll be swamped and offsite for two days. Perhaps so weekend musings.


Weekend Reading

Tulip-mania edition

Well, it's springtime here in DC in a major way. The Nationals won their home opener, the Cherry blossoms are out and the tulips I planted last fall are in full bloom. After months of hanging out indoors, it's time to go out into the world and enjoy...but first do your weekend reading...

China's People Problem
Problems recruiting and retaining workers, particularly skilled ones, are raising the cost of doing business in China.

October 1, 1968: Filibuster Derails Supreme Court Appointment
In June 1968, Chief Justice Earl Warren informed President Lyndon Johnson that he planned to retire from the Supreme Court. Concern that Richard Nixon might win the presidency later that year and get to choose his successor dictated Warren's timing.

Law Trumps Life
How the Right went wrong in the Schiavo case: Life is not the ultimate public value for most Americans. Law is.

Tulip Bulb Mania
Could a mere tulip bulb be worth $76,000? It is if people are willing to pay for it! It may sound preposterous, but this is exactly what happened in Holland in the 1630’s.


Yes, we discussed this yesterday

Frist Likely to Push for Ban on Filibusters
Failure Risks Conservatives' Ire; Success May Prompt Legislative Stalemate

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Mass Arrests Begin

Dragnet grabs 10,000 fugitives

If only they'd included the liberals and the gays (oh wait aren't those the same?) we would have achieved a more perfect union. No word yet on if Mr. Gonalez will be torturing these folks.

(Seriously, maybe this is good, maybe it's not so good, but mass arrests coming on the heals of calls to destroy the judiciary make me a little nervous)....


Slouching Toward Facism

The Nuclear Option: They're Actually Going to Attempt It!

Gillespie to Help Sell ‘Nuke’ Plan

This should quell any rumors that the GOP threats to undo the 200 plus year tradition of the filibuster in the Senate is mere rhetoric. The RNC has hired former GOP Chair Ed Gillespie to oversee the communications effort in the lead up to the battle to eliminate judicial filabusters. I path that is ill advised and could trigger a constitutional crisis (does it require 51 votes to succeed, or as the Senate parlimentarian has indicated, 67 votes). Of course if it is the latter, the issue may go to the courts, which will only give the GOP more leverage in their quest to eliminate the judiciary.

Remember, President Bush has gotten confirmation of 95% of his nominees. Where's the crisis that would require the Senate to abandon the filabuster rule that helps foster consensus in the Senate (vs. the 'mob rule' of the House?)?...I don't know. The leadership of the GOP seems bent on continuing to undermine the insitutions that help make this country great and limit federal power. I'm not just ashamed, I'm livid.


Delay Hates The Constitution...

apologist/Moonie Paper (the Times) interviews Delay

Just what does the GOP stand for anymore? Fiscal restraint? HA!, Limited Government? HA! HA!....I'm just not so sure anymore. Oh, I'm not rushing out to mixers mind you, but rather slowly drifting away from this bunch of power hungry, civic values hating bunch of radicals that are attempting to undermine some of our most important institutions and traditions in our federal government.

This little quote from Tom Delay in today's Washington Times (Owned by the Rev. Moon) clinches it for me.

Mr. Dinan: You've been talking about going after activist judges since at least 1997. The [Terri] Schiavo case gives you a chance to do that, but you've recently said you blame Congress for not being zealous in oversight?

Mr. DeLay: Not zealous. I blame Congress over the last 50 to 100 years for not standing up and taking its responsibility given to it by the Constitution. The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them. (Emphasis added)

OMG! This is Eric Rudolph/Randall Terry kind of stuff. First off, the Establishment Clause is found in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution which was ratified on December 15, 1791. It reads:

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of peech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The nick-name of this clause is the separation of church and state. That 'wall of separation gets its name from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to a group of ministers who were concerned that the government's support for a particular form of Christianity would be detrimental of a thriving and diverse community of Christian churches. The language of the letter follows:

To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more & more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorized only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to
restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in {opposition to his social duties.]

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

(signed) Thomas JeffersonJan.1.1802.

A more modern, and eloquent rationale for the purpose of the establishment clause can be found in the words of Justice Harry Blackmun...who said:

"When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some." Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in the Lee v. Weisman ruling, 1992.

That's it, right there people. It's not that the founding fathers didn't want religion as part of civic life, they didn't what the government to say that "Snake Handling" is the official religion. It's counter to the all men are created equal. So when Mr. Delay talks about putting God back into government, it begs the question of which God? The evangelicals? The Lutherans? The Unitarians? The Moonies?

And just what does "Establish" mean for purposes of the First Amendment? Reasonable people can have different interpretations of that. It's the role of the courts to hash that out and that's what they've been doing for the last two hundred or so years. It's not always pretty, but as we debate things like prayer in school, manger displays and so forth, we're really trying to define what "Establish" means.

Mr. Delay's "Know-nothing" attitude about the Constitution is alarming, but sadly part of the dangerous rhetoric the GOP has adopted. If they succeed, America will more closely resemble China, or more appropriately Iran than it does the land of the Free.

Again I ask, who really hates America?

Tomorrow...Why Does the GOP Hate Privacy?


Oh, this makes much more sense

Fast-Food Finger May Have Been Bitten Off by Leopard

Ever since a 39-year-old Las Vegas woman claimed she found part of a finger in her bowl of chili at a Wendy's in San Jose, Calif., police have been trying to solve the bizarre case.,2933,153439,00.html


Eric Rudolph...

Yeah, I might kill you, but at least I recognize the right to privacy

Below is a summary of a statement by accused terrorist/murder Eric Rudolph. Like the recent critics of our judicial system, Mr. Rudolph adheres to a higher law. His thoughts are inciteful, and should serve as a warning as a faction of radical republicans push a similar agenda in Washington.


The Connecticut Compromise

Conn. Recognizes Civil Unions

Connecticut is on its way to become the first state to recognize civil unions without the decision being forced by a court order. So much for the activist judges forcing this issue on the states....

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


More on the Revolution...

In Contempt of Courts

Michael Schwartz must have thought I was just another attendee of the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference. I approached the chief of staff of Oklahoma's GOP Senator Tom Coburn outside the conference in downtown Washington last Thursday afternoon after he spoke there. Before I could introduce myself, he turned to me and another observer with a crooked smile and exclaimed, "I'm a radical! I'm a real extremist. I don't want to impeach judges. I want to impale them!"



Another Disciple of Randall Terry

Eric Rudolph to plead Guilty

Well, it looks like our own little home grown terrorist is going to jail for life. Eric Rudolph murdered two people in the many bombings he conducted in and around Atlanta in the 1990s. The kind of intimidation and threats that Operation Rescue is known for. (Although to be fair, they just harass people...and haven't been convicted of murdering anyone..although they were sued successfully for a campaign of intimidation in federal court). Anyway, this is the type belief system that's driving the war against an independent judiciary. Keep that in mind.


Judicial Tyranny? What Judicial Tyranny?

Florida Circuit Court Judge was Elected

Just another littel factoid about the Schiavo case for you. Despite all the ranting an raving by the far right that Ms. Schiavo was 'killed by unelected judges', the truth is that Judge George Greer, who presided over the trail court cases, was elected to his office by the voters of Florida. He was first elected to office in 1992, was reelected in 1998, and most recently in 2004.

Just thought you'd like to know. Besides, whose gonna elect the 'council of elders' that these folks want to replace the judiciary with? Members of the congregation? Signs from God?


Tall Buildings In Virginia? I say yes!

As long as it's not in the District, I think it's a great idea

Close on the Horizon, Plans for Taller Rosslyn


Sad Morning

Porch Cat Hit By A Car

One of the nice things about my new neighborhood is that I have a mother/daughter cat combo that live under my porch and move between my and my neighbors house. Mom and Tigger (feral, but both 'fixed') pay the neighbors and me back for feeding them and providing them with shelter by leaving the occasional mouse or bird in front of our doors.

Sadly, last night, little tigger was apparently hit by a car. Nothing messy, but her little body was resting along the curb. Worse yet, Mother was sitting by her side, alive, but visibly disturbed. Just this weekend the two were wrestling on the front lawn. Part of life, I know, but still very sad. The neighbor isn't taking it well; she's sitting on her porch crying.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Delay is only part of the problem...

GOP Agenda Being Obscured by Crackpots

I hate to revert to name calling, as I don't believe it actually strengthens one's argument, but rather belies an emotional under current that may blind the author to more reasoned, and more persuasive language. But I just can't seem to get my mind around the 'family values' crowd who are advocating (at least) the gutting of the judiciary branch and (at most) the establishment of a "Christian" theocracy in the United States.

It's often said that democracy is the worst system of government save all others, and nothing could be more true. Our system is not perfect, but over the long haul it trends to fairness and justice. As a student of the law, I've been most impressed by the continuing effort by justices at all levels, to find the appropriate balance between issues of freedom and equality, privacy and disclosure, and government power and autonomy. It's an intricate debate that I wish I could convey to you instantly in a link or something. This balance has been played out in precedents set out in federal and court decisions over a period of nearly 200 years.

Are the courts always right? No, they are human institutions and as such will manifest the same human failings that plague all other institutions. But no branch of government has the capacity to approach the myriad of individual disputes, and apply a consistent, yet flexible out come, as the legal system in the United States (and Britain, Canada, and Australia)....And even on the worst day, I'd take my chances in court, rather than have my personal dispute handled by politicians.

Even worse is the call from the haters of our judicial system that we need to adhere to a higher law. This 'natural law' argument has deep roots, and was the primary justification for the Declaration of Independence. The use of natural law, was a device by which to argue a contrived legal basis for our separation from England. It's evoking a higher power led an air of credibility to an act that otherwise was on shaky legal footing. And don't be fooled by the frequent references to God in our countried governing documents. The Founding Fathers were products of the age of reason, which was sharply critical of religion and embraced principles of science, reason, and logic. But they were shrewd and knew that evoking these concepts would help transmute their reasons for independence to a larger audience.

But as noble and eloquent as the use of natural law concepts were by the Founding Fathers, we should make no mistake that it is the language of revolution and its results have not always been as enlightened. This same concept of a 'higher' law is the basis for Islamic-fundamentalist dictatorships that once thrived in Afghanistan and still oppress peoples in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other nations. At its worst, natural law, is the higher power who precepts can only be interpreted by the priests, mullahs, mandarins or others. As we've seen with this whole culture of life silliness it is far from consistent. (e.g.- Life is sacred and the govt. shouldn't have the power to take it, unless of course the life is that of a convicted criminal-even if a child, a suspected terrorist, native American school children or more lately, the so called activist judges.)

Which gets us to the general issue of the separation of Church and State. It was put in our constitution, not to protect government from religion, but to protect religion from government and the inevitable ugliness of politics that are inherent to governing.

These folks should not be silenced however. Their ideas, as they are shouting them out so bitterly lately, should be given a full hearing. I think what they will find is that most Americans, while embracing God (in whatever form), don't want James Dobson or Phyllis Schafley making decisions on who they can marry, if they can have access to birth control, if a single parent can hold a government job, and if a jury of their peers, rather than a council of elders...can assist them in deciding disputes.

The GOP has squandered four years of power catering to these folks, but there is still time for them to leave a positive imprint on this country in terms of lessening government power, balancing the budget, reforming immigration, fixing social security and spreading democracy and freedom. The problem is that they have yet to focus on their strengths.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Culture of Life Update: It's OK to Kill Kids

Talk about Hating America...

Dude, I just don't understand the so-called religious right of the GOP...and as a life-long Lutheran and graduate of a Catholic Law School, that's saying a lot. At the far right meeting last week on how to cow the judiciary, (Some conservative bloggers are calling them wingnuts, but I won't go that far...besides they're really zealots). Anyway, their biggest beef is with Regan appointee Anthony Kennedy. His to ban the death penalty for minors.

Money quote:

Phyllis Schlafly (A family values advocate who's disowned her gay son), doyenne of American conservatism, said Kennedy's opinion forbidding capital punishment for juveniles "is a good ground of impeachment."

Confused? Me too.

But it gets better. Some at this little affair want to abolish the concept of legal precedent, a concept adopted from England and one that assures clarity and consistency in legal opinions. According to one of the conference sponsors, Michael P. Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, we should

"block judicial power by abolishing the concept of binding judicial precedents, by allowing Congress to vacate court decisions"

Jeebus! I know the legal system can be messy, but the turning over disputes to the political process and the legislature seems to be a way of guaranteeing even less equitable outcomes. If one factors in people like Majority Leader Delay, then justice would be given to those who raise the most for the GOP, whose apparent ethical lapses don't seem to ruffle any feathers in this bunch. Our system has worked fairly well for over two hundred years and it's shocking..SHOCKING, that their are actually people out there advocated we move to a judiciary system more like China's.

The patients are running the asylum people, and the leaders of the GOP have no one to blame but themselves. They turned these zealots loose on us and now they are actively advocating undermining our most important democratic institutions (the Senate's filibuster, the independent judiciary, government accountability). They may rail against the liberals for 'hating America', but after reading the comments from these folks, I'm hard pressed to say that they don't hate America too.


Delay Watch

Majority Leader Under Fire

Wow, there is so much going on with Tom Delay right now it's really hard to keep up. His relationship with lobbyist/con-man Jack Abramoff should be enough to do him in, as is the general loathing of this man by a lot of GOP Congressman that I know. But, again, I'd be surprisded if the House dumped Delay over the scandals that currently surround Trent Lott, they'll find some pretext to do it, better to avoid the substance of the criticism...

Republicans air concern over DeLay


Tiger Wins!

Tiger Woods Wins His Fourth Masters

I only caught the highlights of Mr. Woods come from behind victory...but good for him. Also, it was nice to have a Master's not plagued by protests. By the way...a little factoid here...

Number of all male clubs in the United States: 16
Number of all female clubs in the United States: 13,000 +

And I'm not talking garden clubs or things like that...I'm talking golf and other recreational facilties like city clubs and fitness clubs.,2933,152983,00.html


What to Make of This?

I'm not sure, but as I've said the past, the U.S. could pretty much tell everybody to slag off as we we're the only really large market to sell their goods. But in relative terms that is quickly not becoming the case. China and India are focused on growth...we're obessed with process (court appointments), gays and evolution....

India, China to Form 'Strategic Partnership'

Friday, April 08, 2005


Weekend Reading

Cherry Blossom Edition

Ok, after a long, cold spring in DC, spring has hit us out of nowhere and the city is awash in color from all the cherry blossoms, tulips, forsythias and locals red faced frustration with tourist packed metro trains. Not that this has anything to do with the selection of readings below....

Deficits Don't Matter? You need us and we need you

America and foreign central banks are locked in a codependent relationship: America is addicted to spending, and the banks can't stop throwing money at it in order to keep their currencies down. This is unhealthy for both parties, say the IMF and the World Bank. But is there any political will to change it?]

Hearing No Evil:Rosy visions of the PATRIOT Act

This week, Congress manages to wrench its eyes from the muscular physiques of professional baseball players and turn to mundane matters of national security and civil liberties.

How To Kill a Country

The Sad Story of Zimbabwe: (This story is over two years old, but gives you an idea of the problems facing the people of Zimbabwe. Things have only gotten worse and the Vatican allowed this monster to attend the Pope's funeral.)

History of the Cherry Trees in Washington, D.C.

The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as gift of friendship to the United States from the people of Japan. In Japan the flowering cherry tree or "Sakura", as it is called by the Japanese people, is one of the most exalted flowering plants.


Joys of Home Ownership Cont: Apoplexy

Disturbing Land Without A Permit

Ok, well I've gathered more information on the problems with my little home improvement project. It appears that the problem was not the fault of the contractor, but rather an overzealous city inspector. Here's what transpired.

As part of the contractors work on my basement, I asked them to extend a downspout drain way from the house to mitigate water seepage. So yesterday they dug a small trench from the downspout about ten feet into my back yard. The 'trench' is about 6 inches deep near the house and less than an inch deep at its terminus. It runs for about ten feet. Now keep in mind that the water simply drained over this area in a sheet prior to my digging ans was absorbed by the grass that I had planted last fall. (and prior to that is just ran down the hard packed clay that was my yard.)...

So anyway, a city inspector stops by my property (and you can't see the 'trench' without entering the yard) and issues a citation for "unpermitted land disturbance activity." What the heck is that? I mean I've dug deeper trenches to plant tulips and the water isn't going into a storm drain or my neighbors property.

Meanwhile a block from my house the city had to repair a broken water main and they left piles and piles of sand that are clogging the storm drains....but I get the citation. Needless to say, I'm appealing solely on principle here. I'll keep you posted.


Joys of Home Ownership Cont: Apoplexy

Disturbing Land Without A Permit

Ok, well I've gathered more information on the problems with my little home improvement project. It appears that the problem was not the fault of the contractor, but rather an overzealous city inspector. Here's what transpired.

As part of the contractors work on my basement, I asked them to extend a downspout drain way from the house to mitigate water seepage. So yesterday they dug a small trench from the downspout about ten feet into my back yard. The 'trench' is about 6 inches deep near the house and less than an inch deep at its terminus. It runs for about ten feet. Now keep in mind that the water simply drained over this area in a sheet prior to my digging ans was absorbed by the grass that I had planted last fall. (and prior to that is just ran down the hard packed clay that was my yard.)...

So anyway, a city inspector stops by my property (and you can't see the 'trench' without entering the yard) and issues a citation for "unpermitted land disturbance activity." What the heck is that? I mean I've dug deeper trenches to plant tulips and the water isn't going into a storm drain or my neighbors property.

Meanwhile a block from my house the city had to repair a broken water main and they left piles and piles of sand that are clogging the storm drains....but I get the citation. Needless to say, I'm appealing solely on principle here. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Joys of Home Ownership...Cont..

Permits..We Don't Need No Stinkin' Permits

Ok, the basement repair people have been tearing apart my basement all week. The floor now has a trench around the perimeter of the basement wall. The workers did a surprisingly good job of minimizing damage to the drywall and tile...and I was getting excited to have this project completed tomorrow.

But today came a new twist. Despite the many representations by the company that they would take care of any permitting issues involved in this project, the local building inspector stopped by this afternoon and shut the project down because there was no permit! GRRRRR!!!

So now, I have a trench around the walls of my basement, no idea when the process will be completed and it's supposed to rain tonight.

Again I beg the question...what's so special about home ownership?



First they came for the gays...

Next on the list...

Wright, part of a Christian conservative movement that began pushing for the
amendment last year, said amendment supporters may now turn their attention to
other issues such as gambling, evolution and abortion.



House GOP Should De-Thrown Delay

Paid Wife/Daughter $500,000, with no record of work

Funny that the same week the Senate hammers nonprofit charities for lax oversight and governance practices that it should be revealed the Majority Leader Delay potentially abused the system by paying his wife and daughter $500,0000 for 'fundraising activities." I remember a time when the party (although Tom Delay has always been a problem in this respect) was concerned about things like ethics. Mr. Delay holds power not out of respect of his house colleagues, but rather by his sear political cunning that increasing appears to involve acts of questionable legality. None of the members I worked with held him in high regard. But the GOP would be reticent to let him go under a cloud of ethics charges, so they're probably looking for any other pretext to boot him out. They should hurry up about it.

DeLay blasts media over report of payments to family


GOP Schiavo Memo Not Forged

Some one please tell the Moonies over at the Times!

Well, it turns out that the memo discussing how the GOP could capitalize politically on the Terri Schiavo situation was written by a GOP staffer after all. Talk radio and some in the party had 'speculated' that the Dems. really wrote the piece. But, sadly, it turns out it was a staffer for Senator Martinez. This type of internal memo-ing and analyzing goes on all the time on every issue, but Martinez's problem is that it was leaked.

Counsel to GOP Senator Wrote Memo On Schiavo

Was the Schiavo memo a fake?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005



You'd Think They'd Book Ahead

Ok, I'm sitting here cooling my jets in Newark. My flight from DC to Newark was delayed an hour because apparently someone forget to request a take off slot from air traffic control. To make matters worse, I missed my connection by 5 minutes. Bummer. However, when I politely requested a pass to the President's Club, the staff graciously complied and now I'm sitting here looking out at the NYC skyline as jumbo jets take off for parts unknown. Only problem is that I now get into Rochester at 11 PM.....and I'll miss the Amazing Race!


My Diet of Worms

Now remind me, who really hates America?

Liberals, it is often opined, hate America. This critique, although possibly true in part, is more of a truism than a truth. Some factions of the far left do have a disdain for capitalism and the use of America’s military power. On the latter topic there are many fine examples of how America’s foreign policy has gotten us into trouble. (You know, like how we used to support Sadaam Hussein and such). But in general, most of the people I know on the left love America as much as anyone else. Yes they have the Ward Churchhills and the Micheal Moores, but we have the Tom Delays, John Cornyns, Sean Hannities and Ann “Eva Braun” Coulters. What’s become more and more apparent to me over these past weeks is just how much hatred of America and our system of government there is on the right. If you want to find out who hates America and its values today, you need look no further than my former party-The GOP.

In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen a stunning call for revolution, but a revolution that would greatly expand the federal government, not control it.

President Bush and Members of Congress pass “Terri’s Law” in an attempt to override multiple decisions of state and federal courts on the lawful decision of Ms. Schiavo’s husband to remove her feeding tube.

In response to their Judicial rebuff on this matter, many pundits and decision makers called for both the President and Governor of Florida to ignore the law and seize Ms. Schiavo. (Ten years ago talk about the government seizing a persons spouse would have triggered marches by the militias).

In response to Ms. Schiavo’s death Tom Delay, a leader of the House, threatened judges and accused them of being terrorists. “You will pay a price for this”

Senator Cornyn from Texas excuses the murder of judges by saying it’s a result of their decisions. (Of course Mr. Cornyn doesn’t support murdering judges…yeah right).

Despite having 95% of his judicial appointments approved (a record), the President and Majority Leader Frist are attempting to neuter the filibuster rule in the Senate. One of their judicial nominees practiced law for five years without a license.

So my question is…who really hates America?


What did I tell you?

Congress takes on Judiciary, Baseball, Porn...

So much promise five years ago when both the Presidency and the Congress came under control of the GOP. Better management of government, limited federal power and more accountability could have pushed our country even further than the incredible run we had in the 1990s. Instead, they've taken us into record deficits and expanded the federal power in to our bedrooms, hospital rooms and now our televisions. Thanks for nothing GOP.

Key lawmaker calls for criminalizing TV indecency


Oh Rochester!

If it's Tuesday it must be...Upstate NY!

Heading out of town this afternoon for a meeting in Rochester, NY. Reminds me of the Warner Brothers cartoon with the mouse Jack Benny and his butler Rochester. (Which upon greater reflection seems a bit culturally insensitive)....but anyway, will be back late Wednesday so if there are no postings tomorrow, it's 'cause I can't find no internets signals....


Was the Schiavo Case A Set Up?

Tragic Case and Hoopla Preceed Fight to Repeal Filabuster

You know, sometimes timing is everything. Could the timing of the Terry Schiavo controversy have been any better for the GOP as they prepare to gut the democratic tradition of the filabuster?

With all the conferences (see post below) calling on total elimination of the independent judiciary, it seems to set up the elimination of the filabuster as a more 'moderate' proposal.

Here we have a small, but motativated base of radicals calling for extensive curbs on an independent judiciary and what better way to do that then by eliminating the mechanism that requires concensus in nominating federal judges. Why is the filabuster important? Read my post from November right here...

What about the values and traditions of our democracy?

Alas, politics here in the Nations Capitol is becoming more and more Orwellian/Attwoodian.


ABA Fights Back

Well, at least the law profession isn't sitting idly by while the politicians work to undermine our legal system. Of course if your say Tom Delay, and likely to have to go before a court for your many, many ethical violations, perhaps railing against the judges isn't the best idea. Anyway, here's an email I got from the ABA President....

Dear Elephant:

As members of the legal profession, I know you share my concern over the public's misunderstanding of the judiciary's role and the politically motivated criticism of the judiciary stemming from the Terri Schiavo case, and are equally alarmed about the murders of Judge Lefkow's family members in Chicago and the attacks at the Fulton County Courthouse in Georgia. The circumstances of these tragic events require careful analysis, thoughtful leadership, and measured response. The American Bar Association has long held the preservation of judicial independence as one of the most important Association goals. These recent events have elevated the urgency of that commitment among the ABA's leadership. In the past several days, I have issued public statements condemning the violence against our judiciary and the gratuitous and vicious public attacks on the dedicated men and women who are our country's judges. During my speaking engagements, I have taken the opportunity to call for a change in tenor when the national discussion turns to our justice system.

Regardless of how one feels about the specific circumstances of the Schiavo - or any - situation, the role of the judiciary is clear. Federal and state judges are charged with weighing the facts of a case and following the remedies set forth in the law,
responsibilities they carry out valiantly and with great dignity and sensitivity.
It is vital that the legal community address the current atmosphere in which our legal system operates, in what can only be called a decline in civility and respect toward our justice system. Too often judges are characterized as political tools and the justice system merely an offshoot of politics, and not the independent leg of our democracy that they are. Efforts to address the problems of courthouse security have been initiated by the Judicial Conference of the United States and the National Center for State Courts, and I have approached these organizations as well as a number of entities within the ABA to determine where and how we can best contribute to resolving problems faced by the nation's courts and judges.

The Association is committed to promoting the importance of judicial independence. The four entities that comprise the ABA Justice Center: the Judicial Division, the Standing Committee on Judicial Independence, the Standing Committee on Federal Judicial Improvements, and the Coalition for Justice work tirelessly to develop
resources, initiatives, policies, and programs that support our justice system,
our judges, and our courts. Information on each of these entities' initiatives
can be accessed through the Justice Center's Web site at

Thank you for your continued support of the ABA, the legal profession, and the judiciary. As the voice of the legal profession, we must not allow those among us who would do harm, in any form, to destroy the very freedoms our legal system is entrusted to protect.

Robert J. Grey, Jr.
American Bar Association

I'm sure Mr. Delay and Senator Cornyn have already put a hit out on Mr. Grey.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Senator Cornyn: Apologist for Terror

I'm so proud to be associated with a party that spews this venom


"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.

Yup, the shootings in Georgia aren't a result of a desperate criminal act, it's a result of judges (horror of horror) applying the law in a variety of heart wrenching and difficult cases. Is Mr. Cornyn an apologist for such vicious acts? Is he upset that a majority of American's don't support the blatant politicizung of Ms. Schiavo's condition for their own advantage? Does he want to do away with the judiciary so that the rogue elements who now control my party can pass laws with a minority of support?

Who knows, but you should ask him yourself, his email is:

Or if your intersted in more information on overthrowing our judicial system, you may want to consider attending this meeting....(I think there motto is: You can't spell Judicial without Jew...)


Changes Afoot!

Pardon My Progress....Or Lack There Of....

Perhaps it was the fact that I lost an hour of sleep this weekend, but I've decided to make some changes to the appearance of EIE. A brighter color scheme to induce you into thinking that even though my insights aren't that bright, at least my webpage is....So, enjoy the new set up and please bear with me as I perfect the display. A new and better blog for a new and better America....


What's this all aboot....

What they don't tell you about Canada

Well, we all know our neighbor to the north is a little smug and a wee bit anti-american. But what don't hear a lot are the shortcomings of its state run health care system. We do hear a lot about how great it is to live in a country like Canada that has a 'single payer' system, but rarely do we hear about the wait lists for procedures or the folks who actually cross the border into the evil empire (the USA) to get treatment. Just something to keep in mind next time some snooty Canadian gets 'all up in here' with you about how great things are in Canada. (Which of course begs the question, if things are soo great in Canada, why does 75% of them live within 100 miles of the U.S. Border...wink).....

Doctors lay out guidelines for wait lists


Big Brother Bother....

High-tech passports coming; complaints already in

...What's generating controversy is a computer chip that will be in a passport's back cover. It will contain all the information now printed on the first page of the passport, including name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality, passport number and a digitized photo.

You know, it'd be so much easier if they just implanted the chip in our heads....


Change, Yes, Change!

A TV news sea change as Koppel steps down

Hmm...Does "Sea of Change" for TV News mean that some sixty-something-snooty-white-guy I don't watch will be replaced by some fifty-something-snooty-white-guy I don't watch...that is groundbreaking isn't it!

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Life, Dignity, America

The Pentagon's Secret Stash
Why we'll never see the second round of Abu Ghraib photos

Remember the rules of the "Culture of Life"

1) A women in a chronic vegetative state deserves dignity, and the state should seize her contrary to her legal guardian's wishes and about 25 court rulings
2) 9 Native American youth, killed in a school shoot requires no comment by the President.
3) Prisoners in Iraq, who may or may not be terrorists, can be tortured, abused and killed.

The images, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, depict "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." After Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) viewed some of them in a classified briefing, he testified that his "stomach gave out." NBC News reported that they show "American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys." Everyone who saw the photographs and videos seemed to shudder openly when contemplating what the reaction would be when they eventually were made public.

And the media and Congress does nothing.


Hurray! Things Suck!

Gasoline Prices Expected to Break Records by Memorial Day!
March Payroll Growth Much Lower Than Expected!

This Fox news article says gas prices may exceed $2.50 a gallon by Memorial Day, but that's ok because another article reports that we don't have any jobs.... But the good news is that now that Congress is done voting on Terri's law, they can go back to hearings on steriods and porn. It's Bush's ownership society voted for him, you own it...,2933,152247,00.html,2933,152172,00.html


The Joy of Home Ownership (Con't.)

Hey, I don't remember a waterfall down here?

What happens when you buy a 90 year old house in one of the hotest real estate markets in the country? Well, first off you waive inspection, then you move in to find that your basement has a water leakage problem. (DC got four inches of rain yesterday...I have a small puddle in the basement)

The workers are arriving tomorrow to put in a french drain or something. All I know is that I had to take all the stuff out of my basement today (which includes my media room, so I have no television!). The good news is that the repairs will be mostly covered by tax returns and what not. The bad news is that I can't tile (and thus move my stuff back down) until the cement cures...which they tell me is about 30 days. So, I'm sitting at my dining room table surrounded by all the crap that supposed to be in my basement.


Friday, April 01, 2005


Schiavo Requiem

Battle for Conservatism

Andrew Sullivan has a great summary.

Schiavo and Republicanism
A Battle for the Soul of Conservatism


That Wasn't So Bad

Just finished my speech, it went well. Another speaker at my session was an expert in extreme sports. The funny thing was, she is a 60 plus year old women from Iowa who bore a striking resemblance to Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith show. None-the-less, her presentation was incredibly interesting.

More later...but for now, I'm off to another session.



Speech in two hours...I'm so not ready

Ok, cutting short the moring postings to go over my speech one last time. Normally, when I'm on the road I'm speaking to a lay audience, so preparing for the speech is does not involve getting up to speed on the many technical details of case law. But I'm sure I'll be ok. Of course if things go badly, I can always pull an Ashley Simpson and do a little jig, then run from the room!


Congress Turns to Real Priorities

Congressional Panel Summons Tagliabue

Well, as the hububaloo over Terri Schiavo dies down, Congress is getting ready to turn to real priorities. What you may ask? Energy costs? the deficit? the falling dollar? No, back to steriods in sports.,2933,152123,00.html


Erring on the Side of Life

A presidential commission said Thursday that "the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments"



Living Wills

Who Decides on End of Life Issues?

Time magazine, generally a magazine I loath, does have a good chart of who has legal authority to make end of life decisions (for now). Notice that a majority of states give the decision making to the legal spouse (one of the many acknowledgements of the bond between husband and wife), only Texas (oh the irony!) takes the decision away from the family. But, alas, legislation has already been introduced in Congress to strip states of the ability to decide disputes in this matter. As I joked last week, under the new moral clarity, marriage rights take a back seat to the culture of life. (Not to mention the endless number of politicians that capitalized on this family dispute, adding to the animosity and bitterness)

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