Friday, July 29, 2005

Music: Friday Random Ten

Everbody else is doing it,'s the last ten songs on the old iTunes shuffle...

"Bye Bye" Marcy Playground
"Knock Me Down" Jen Trynin
"Different Strings" Rush
"Live-In Skin" Foo Fighters
"Let it Bleed" Stones
"Scratch" Morphine
"Shine" Meat Puppets
"Straightface" Son Volt
"Kid Charlemagne" Steely Dan
"Bellbottoms" Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

BS: Jurassic Ark

[via John Cole twice] At the recent Creationist Conference...
The 2005 Creation Mega-Conference, slated from Jul. 17 to 22 in Lynchburg, Va. tackled several prominent issues facing the creation/evolution debate, such as the dinosaurs, the flood and Big Bang theory.

The six-day conference opened with a performance by Buddy Davis – a Dinosaur sculptor, author/speaker, and musician, whose keynote presentations clarified the creationist’s take on issues such as the age of the earth and fossils.

David Dewitt, Director of the Center for Creation Studies and associate professor of Biology explained in a nutshell, “We believe that Adam and Eve were real people and that God created everything in six 24-hour days.”

In “Rocks Around the Clock: The Eons That Never Were,” Geologist Dr. Emil Silvestru rejected the notion that the earth had existed for millions of years, and instead offered a six thousand year chronology: Creation, six days, Lost World, 1700 years, no big mountains, no plate tectonics, Flood, 370 days, creation of high mountains, deep oceans, sedimentary rocks, plate tectonics form continents, Ice Age, 1000 years, and Post Ice Age, 3000 years.

Flood hydrology is a belief that the flood covered the entire earth.

Dinosaurs were also explained. According to John Whitcomb, co-author of the seminal creationist book, The Genesis Flood (1961), Noah’s ark carried 1,000 different kinds of dinosaurs as well as all of the other species, and the book has sold more than a quarter of a million copies in English…

Is "ark" short for "aircraft carrier"? And how many were in Noah's freaking fleet? Ahh, I'm just being a wiseass, we all know God really just gave Noah plans for a single wooden boat — and a fucking shrink ray!!

There's more...
According to one assessment, at the root of the creationist argument is the concern that evolution undermines moral beliefs, leading to lawlessness, family breakdown, homosexuality, pornography, and abortion.

Okay, I'll grant you that learning evolution leads straight to homosexuality and pornography, but how, exactly, do either of those result in abortions?

And, finally...
“We’ll be able to show people the mounting scientific evidence that supports creationism,” said David DeWitt, the director of Liberty University’s Center for Creation Studies. “There is so much propaganda out there depicting Creationists as ignorant. We’re not a bunch of flat Earthers.”

Yeah, you're a bunch of fucking idiots.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Well, I'll likely be taking a few days away from the computer. I got my bare hand in the way of a line drive last night. Ow. Despite my best efforts at R.I.C.E. treatment, the swelling continues... I don't think anything is broken, but it's my mouse hand, so until I know nothing's wrong internally, I'll be playing it safe. We'll see what the doctor says.

And, no, I didn't make the catch.

UPDATE: Fractured hand. Just how I wanted to spend the rest of the summer—in a cast. I'll figure out how to work left-handed, but it's going to be annoying, that much is certain. Shit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Misc: I'd Like to Buy a Vowell, Please

I forgot about the fact the awful Maureen Dowd is on vacation (writing her sure-to-be horrible book) from the New York Times Editorial page. That is good enough in itself, except in her stead is the brilliant Sarah Vowell. Her first column was a few weeks back, and it was merely okay—dipping her toe in the water, I suppose. Today's column on the Electoral College is great. Not funny enough to elevate this to "LOL" status, but I read it with a great, big smile on my face.

I first heard of Vowell from NPR's radio truly magnificent show "This American Life." TAL can be, at times, the most singularly entertaining experience possible. Like a great book meets the best TV show you ever saw—except you can't see it. Find out when it's on where you live and listen. Or go to the website and listen to the archives. You'll be glad you did.

If only there was a way to hear her read her NYT columns aloud...

MORE: I went back to catch the Vowell columns I'd missed, and only one hadn't yet been sucked into the "pay to read" archive. I pasted "Moses Top Ten" into the comments. It's even better than today's column.

I also found a link to an inspired "open letter" she wrote to her childhood political hero after he died. Once again, brilliant. And there's this Fourth of July letter there too... I'd better get some work done now...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Courts: The Envelope Please...

Well, the rumors were wrong. The nominee is Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. I don't really know what to think, because there doesn't seem to be much out there about this guy. He's only been on the DC Circuit for two years, and hasn't really ruled or written opinions on the big issues. One can only assume he is pro-business and socially conservative. And Bush is full of shit when he says he doesn't have a litmus test. He must be pretty confident in Roberts' stance on abortion, because there doesn't appear to be any other compelling reason to have chosen him. Let's hope he's not awful, because he's only 50 and could be there a long-ass time.

Kinda surprised he went with a white guy.

Ezra has put together some links on Roberts.

UPDATE: If Rick Santorum has this to say...
"He's brilliant. ... He's someone who is I think obviously well respected on both sides of the aisle. At a time when circuit court nominees were being filibustered left and right, he just really sailed through his confirmation. Given that, I think the president did what he promised during the campaign. He looked for the best and the brightest and he chose someone who would meet the test, the high test, that Supreme Court justices would be required to meet."

...maybe we got a problem.

Courts: Bush To Announce Supreme Court Nominee Tonite

The White House has requested prime time coverage from the networks tonite so he can announce his pick to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. Rampant speculation all over the web is that the nominee wiill be Edith Clement.

Here is my quick take: I am relieved.

I was betting heavily on Janice Rogers Brown. That now looks to be incorrect. I really thought Bush would go Gonzales/Brown if he had two slots to fill. The one slot changes the equation. I am pleasantly surprised at this pick (assuming it comes true), because it represents a suprising lean toward the pragmatic. Clement should be confirmed rather easily (she got her current post 99-0 in 2001) and she doesn’t appear fire-breathing enough to please the demands of Dobson and Perkins. She is obviously somewhat of an unknown quantity and could become a stalking horse in one direction or the other. Bush hopes to assure righties she will come down correctly on issues of abortion, I hope she turns in to the next Souter/Kennedy.

I thought for sure the Bush administration would go further right; to please the base, and because they wanted a fight. We'll see what unfolds, but at this early stage they appear to have sacrificed on both those counts. Might be wishful thinking on my part...

Compared to Gonzales, it’s also worth considering, that Abu-to Gonzales is not really guaranteed to be any safer as a potential pro-choice pick, and he comes with the additional strikes of the torture memos and his overall Bush-toady status.

Anyone Bush picks is likely to lean away on Roe. But I believe Bush’s true priorities lie with corporate interests above all else—his pick will certainly be a corporate foil first, other matters second.

Oh, and of course we all know that Bush pushing this announcement up has nothing to do with changing the news cycle...

UPDATE: After reading this thread at Kos, it looks like she's a hard-core corporatist. Bush sold out the religious right on this pick, and went with a business friendly lawyer (surprise--she was also an oil lawyer). He's using the vagueness on Roe to placate Democrats and have her cruise to confirmation, fulfilling step one of packing the court with corporatists. And next time, he'll get to go anti-roe AND corporatist.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Politics: The Temptation of Photoshop

[via John Cole]

Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields is (rightly) getting raked over the coals for having used a photo doctored to appear more multi-cultural for her campaign materials. [Newsday link] Of course, this isn't the first time this has happened. Last year, a guy running for Governor in NJ used a photo of a Howard Dean rally as a backdrop, superimposing himself in place of Dean, and going so far as to retouch campaign signs and hats in the crowd to read "Shundler" instead of Dean. The Bush/Cheney campaign also Photoshopped-up a crowd shot to increase the military faces in the crowd.

These are three degrees of the same bullshit, and I have a big problem with this because this treads into what I do for a living. I'm a graphic designer, art director, or whatever you want to call it. I work for a college and freelance for many publishers. Part of my job (thanks to computers) now includes photo retouching and image composition. This is different than cleaning up a model's skin or even darkening OJ's. The ad agency people in each of these cases crossed a bright line. (I want to point out that in all three cases, it's likely the candidate had no idea what was going on, but as they say, "the buck stops...")

The Fields photo clearly is intended to depict an event that never happened. She never met with those Chinese faces. Period. This was done solely to misrepresent facts and make her look a certain way to the voting community. The photo is also documentary in nature, yet false. Completely dishonest and unethical, and the worst offense of the three.

Shundler's Dean fiasco is slightly different. It's difficult to tell by the shots I've seen if this is supposed to depict him at the event or merely a collage with an excited crowd as a backdrop. Either way it was fucking stupid to use a Dean photo. If anything, the Deaniacs have shown they pay attention to this stuff, and they were bound to get caught. Either way, it also is intended to portray an enthusiastic crowd that doesn't exist (not for Shundler anyway). Probably a case of an overzealous production artist putting this together, but it should never have been used. When this ad was presened up the chain there was a responsibility to point out it was a composition. Somebody in that agency should have made sure it never left the shop. It was unethical, and also a copyright violation of the original photo.

The Bush shot is an even lesser offense in the technical sense, but only egregious in practice (to me) because of their claim to/of military support. Apparently not enough support to fill the frame... Like Shundler, surely a case of a production artist doctoring the photo (slightly) to fill in the crowd, but in this case, probably never mentioning it to anyone. No real harm no real foul.

As I said, this is what I do for a living. I've worked in agencies. I've done hundreds of magazine covers and ads. I've often had to come up with artwork basically out of thin air. I'm sure at times I've cut corners, but never like this. Big agencies working on big campaigns (political or otherwise) have the budgets to pay for shoots, and/or an obligation to obtain proper permission and give credit to photographers. These were created for wide release and for clients with plenty to lose. It might sound like, to some, that these politicians are throwing somebody else under the bus. They are, and that's fine, because I hold the agency responsible.

Art: Museum or Shoebox?

Slate has an interesting piece on "When is a snapshot art?" There's a slideshow of nine of Lee Friedlander's photos. For the record, I only think four of them rise much above the level of what tumbles out of a machine at CVS. [link]

On a related note, I just want to express my dismay at the death of black and white photography (at least in the true old-school darkroom sense). Fake "B/W film" (ie: C41 process) is all you can find except at the most high-end photo stores, and now Kodak announces it will no longer manufacture B/W paper and chemicals. A real shame. Changing a digital shot to B/W in Photoshop is just not the same thing. This all but ensures that this kind of art will only be attainable as a hobby or interest to those with plenty of money to get diminishing (or imported) supplies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Politics: Save Karl Rove

I hate Karl Rove. He is a sack of shit scumbag. He is the single biggest embodiment of what is wrong with politics in this country. And that's before he even punches in for a day of fucking over what's good for the country in order to advance the political agenda of himself and his boss.

As far as I am concerned Rove was an active participant in a political hit-job that resulted in the exposure of a CIA agent. I'm pretty confidant the facts will be with me on that when this all comes out. Did Rove technically commit a crime? Probably, but not in a manner that can be proven. The law violated here is too specific in terms of proving intent and knowledge, subjective measurements that will never be successfully stuck to Rove's sweaty hide. But even if Rove skates on any and all charges, the fact remains, he did what he did with malicious intent and with complete disregard for the ramifications beyond discrediting a critic. Party first, everything else (even country) second.

Revealing the identity of Valerie Plame as a covert operative not only exposes her, it destroys a valuable CIA commodity. It undoes everything she did in her years of service at the CIA. Everywhere she travelled, everyone she met, all of her sources, narcs and contacts, blown wide open now. And what was she working on? Oh, nothing important, just stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction at a time of War, when this front is perhaps the most important one to win.

All for a political takedown—just to get even with a critic of the Administration.

So why do I want to save Karl Rove's job, unlike everyone else on the left? Well it's simple really. If Turd Blossom isn't going to be rotting in a jail cell, I want him right where he is. If he is forced to "spend more time with family" or steps aside "to avoid becoming a distraction for the President's agenda" he gets away clean. If he stays, he has to operate within the parameters of his position. Phone calls and visitors logged, at least some oversight and accountability, and a salary of a mere $157,000. Make no mistake, if Rove leaves the White House, he will be performing the same function (Bush's brain), but as a private citizen for ten times the money, and even more in the shadows. That's a fucking reward for him.

[Addition] I'm not one of those who believes Karl Rove is some omnipotent God. He might be the biggest boil festering on the ass of the body politic, but he is not perfect. He fucked up and will probably fuck up again. I'd rather those mistakes happen in the glare of the White House. Plus, Rove's true talents lie in campaign dirty work, and getting people into office. Keeping him tied to a lame duck rather than spearheading midterm elections or Republican grassroots is probably a good idea. He's out of his element, most of his actions since Bush got re-elected have backfired—more, please.

Plus, throw in the added bonus of having his stinking, scandal-infested carcass around Bush's neck for the next three years. Same thing with DeLay, keep the super-scumbags in the spotlight until the elections please...anything to help the Dems bolster the case against the corruption in the Republican Party is okay by me.

More reading: The Moose thinks Bush will never fire Rove (and don't miss this in the comments... John Cole has several threads on this, but they've mostly gone off the deep end by now...UPDATE: Cole's trying an innovative concensus-building exercise, a step-by-step statement that you agree "yes" or "no" to... has a pretty good roundup...Slate thinks "There is no moral case for keeping Karl Rove on the government payroll."... Greg at The Talent Show does the first-ever deserved evoking of 9/11... Big Media Matt ties it all back to the dickbag President.

UPDATE 2: A great post at TPMCafe about Valerie Plame. Written by a fellow CIA officer. It just demolishes the talking points of the Rove-enablers and apologists on the right. Go read the whole thing, it's not too long.

UPDATE 3 Some slight modifications and additions in the main text. Don't worry, mostly just harshening-up the language...

Monday, July 11, 2005

LOL: Hilarious Toy Rant

My kinda toy review...
...there has never been a more ridiculously stupid and insulting toy than the Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!). And this is why:

The Human Torch has no need for an "All-Terrain Vehicle"--because the last time I checked, the Human Torch can fucking FLY.

Has anyone told the Human Torch that it might not be safe to sit on top of a gas tank when one is on FIRE? Nice message to send the kids, assholes!

[...]ATVs are exclusively for assholes and rednecks. I know, this has nothing to do with the Human Torch riding an ATV, but this guy who lives down the block from me is constantly ripping around our neighborhood on one of these stupid four-wheelers--and without a helmet, no less! So basically, this is just to let him know, I think he's an asshole and a redneck...

Anger and humor—a most potent cocktail. Sigh...I need to practice if I want to be that funny and angry. At least he left it in its package, you want to make sure your pieces of shit remain in mint condition.

Oh, and this is the first-ever photo here at Mr Furious. I just noticed blogger has added that capability—could be trouble.

[thanks Ezra]

Friday, July 08, 2005

Terrorism: It's All the Muslim's Fault, Sort of...

Thomas L. Friedman has his semi-annual worthwhile contribution to world events in today's column "If It's a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution":

So this is a critical moment. We must do all we can to limit the civilizational fallout from this bombing. But this is not going to be easy. Why? Because unlike after 9/11, there is no obvious, easy target to retaliate against for bombings like those in London. There are no obvious terrorist headquarters and training camps in Afghanistan that we can hit with cruise missiles. The Al Qaeda threat has metastasized and become franchised. It is no longer vertical, something that we can punch in the face. It is now horizontal, flat and widely distributed, operating through the Internet and tiny cells.

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.

And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village.

What do I mean? I mean that the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed. Many people said Palestinian suicide bombing was the spontaneous reaction of frustrated Palestinian youth. But when Palestinians decided that it was in their interest to have a cease-fire with Israel, those bombings stopped cold. The village said enough was enough.

I have had my problems with Friedman over the last few years, he has been far too supportive of the War in Iraq for my taste, but he does raise valuable points every so often. This is one. Bush and his supporters will argue that his pursuit of a democratic Middle East is a means to this end. The problem is his bull-in-a-china shop approach. He is creating far more terrorists than he is extinguishing. That's the problem with the flypaper strategy (even it was working--I argue it's not), it assumes a finite supply of terrorists which will exhaust itself by throwing itself at our troops in Iraq.

Bullshit. If anything, Iraq is self-sustaining as far as terrorist-supply goes, and having no positive (for us) effect on the wider distribution of terrorists around the globe. Conditions in Iraq may actually be detrimental to this cause whether because of reality or perception.

It doesn't sound "tough" enough for many to concentrate on defending targets at home and taking a cooperative international law enforcement approach to combat terrorism, but I'd submit that three-plus years of only the "tough-guy" approach hasn't produced results, only terrorists.

Friedman's right. Terrorism biggest problem isn't that it's "state-sponsored," it's that it's "civilzationally acceptable" in much of the Muslim world. Bush has done far more damage enflaming that aspect of it than he has helped our cause by attacking the wrong "state-sponsor."

Media: Extra! Brit Hume a Complete Dick!

Everyone was all worked up about the this exchange yesterday by two relative nobodies at FOX about the bombings in London [link]:
KILMEADE: "... terrorism should be Number 1... I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this...
VARNEY: "...It takes global warming off the front burner. It takes African aid off the front burner. It sticks terrorism and the fight on the war on terror, right up front all over again..."

Cold and insensitive, but, I suppose, perhaps a legitimate political discussion among reptiles. But, this comment by FOX heavyweight Brit Hume, however, is just beyond comprehension [link]:
I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy."

The fact that he would even share that thought on the air is actually even worse than having it. Are these righties even human?

[tip on Hume from BlondeSense]

Bush: At G8 -- Bush Wins, World Loses

[Heard on the BBC in the car] At the G8 summit, it appears the Bush Administration has won its battle to once again tell the rest of the actually scientific civilized world to "Go fuck yourselves, and break a sweat doing it!" Of course, that's not exactly what they said on the BBC, I'm paraphrasing...

While the rest of the world's scientific community, as well as our own, have reached a consensus that global warming is an urgent problem requiring action to reduce greenhouse gases, President Jackass refuses to accept that, with some shit like, "Global warming is a long-term problem, not an urgent one, and it should be addressed when the science justifies it"

As a result, instead of requiring any industrialized country (already warming the globe) to reduce emissions, the G8's efforts will be concentrated on "helping developing countries build low-carbon economies." Great, don't do anything about the forest fire, George, just make sure no kids flick any matches into it.

Not that any of this is a surprise. We knew this going into the summit...
Document: US wants climate statement 'watered down'
Leaked draft shows Bush won't let G-8 take strong stand on global warming.

By Tom Regan |
Two weeks ago, the science academies of the G-8 countries (the world's leading industrialized nations: US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and Italy – as well as the science academies of Brazil, China and India) issued a joint statement that "called for prompt action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and warned that delays will be costly."

[...] The draft statement shows that the Bush administration is engaged in an "extraordinary effort" to "undermine completely the science of climate change...

[...] The documents show that Washington officials:
• Removed all reference to the fact that climate change is a 'serious threat to human health and to ecosystems';
• Deleted any suggestion that global warming has already started;
• Expunged any suggestion that human activity was to blame for climate change.
• Among the sentences removed was the following: 'Unless urgent action is taken, there will be a growing risk of adverse effects on economic development, human health and the natural environment, and of irreversible long-term changes to our climate and oceans.'

Of course debt relief is the major push of the summit and many speculate that the US is holding that effort up to get it's way on climate change. Naturally short-term profits trump long-term anything, and the likely result is completely unimportant or irrelevant to the Bush team...
But the Financial Times writes in an editorial that if it's true that Blair is making a deal with Bush on African relief, this would be "short-sighted but horribly ironic, since Africa is one of the principal victims of climate change."

The good news? It will only take the US three years to join the world community in earnest on this problem — once we have a new President.

Courts: Vacancy Becomes Vacuum

Rumors abound that Rehnquist will retire Friday morning. Jesus, just as I was starting to convince myself all is not lost if Alberto Gonzalez replaces Sandra Day O'Connor, we go straight from the frying pan into the fire.

If it happens, Bush gets his buddy Gonzalez and a Religious Right-pleasing extremist and he can even move Clarence Thomas to Chief if he really wants to make my summer complete. The Dems are essentially powerless to stop any of it if this many slots open up. Splitting the Republican Party was the only upside from O'Connor's resignation, now Bush will have flexibility and the ability to please all of his constituents, plus give a nod to Latinos, women and blacks.

Except when riding a bike, George W. Bush has to be the luckiest fucking bastard to ever walk the Earth.

Hmm. My money is on Gonzalez, plus Janice Rogers Brown and Thomas to Chief. There are others out there like McConnell that I know less about, but it will be harder for Dems to oppose a Latino and a black woman, so I predict it's the course Bush will take.

Links: Steve Soto's got a good breakdown, Ezra tries to make lemonade, plus Josh Marshall has a good point here, and then starts a good thread in the Cafe.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Politics: Miller Time

Billmon has perfectly summed up the "Judith Miller Goes to Jail" story. I pretty much agree with him one hundered percent.

My partisan ("tastes great") side loves her being in jail because she deserves it for her bullshit-desemination campaign in collaboration with the Pentagon that helped lead this country down the path to War. That and the fact that this whole racket is likely to protect Karl Rove who deserves something worse than jail for his impact on this country...

But the long-term, logical ("less filling") side realizes that wanting sources burned for short-term gain will only serve to empower those in government who mean us ill, and depend on secrecy for success. Just as mobsters plead the 5th, the KKK has free speech, so it is with shielding sources. Even the dirty fucking scumbags can benefit.

I got into it with some folks over at BlondeSense on this...

Please go read Billmon, he says it better than I ever could.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

BS: You Say Tomato, I Say You're Full of Shit

Listening to Rush Limbaugh in the car at lunch, I heard this beauty while he rationalizes/defends Bush making a conservative pick to replace O'Connor [note: from my memory]:
According to this Rasmussen Poll, which is pre-vacancy mind you, forty-six percent of the country, a near-majority, thinks the Supreme Court should be more conservative.

46% is a near majority? I thought John Kerry's 49% was a clear minority? that's eight points short of a split, never mind a majority. He continually stressed pre-vacancy poll results for all his bullshit too. Which tells me the numbers have shifted against him since O'Connor resigned.

Not to worry though, Rush also thinks it will take Bush three appointments to swing the court to the right. What kind of Oxycontin is he mainlining these days?

Oh, and he likes Janice Rogers Brown for the spot.

Baseball: Deford on Bonds

Frank Deford's NPR commentaries are usually pretty good, ranging from thoughtful and poignant to funny and entertaining. He's actually, to me, better suited to the three-minute radio commentary than the 700-word column. His material just sounds better than it could ever read. Today he let's loose on Barry Bonds and it's worth a listen. This one won't fall into the poignant category. [link.]

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Courts: Damn Your Eyes! Too Late!

I've started reading the blogs—you can cut the rhetoric with a chainsaw...

THE HISTORY- Think what you want about Ted Kennedy, this is a pretty good piece. Pretend someone else wrote it if you must. [link via John Cole]

THE UGLY TRUTH- A blistering post by John Cole here. Highlight:
The post then goes on to list the history of advise and consent. Which is all well and good, if you are a history major studying judicial nominees. But it matters not a whit. The rules have changed (literally and figuratively), advise and consent is now up-or-down votes, and the folks who appear to be in the driver seat of my party just don't care.

[...] I would love 'strict constructionist' or 'originalist' judges if that meant what I think it means. But it doesn't. When Dobson and the cultural conservatives talk about interpreting the Constitution, they mean they want a judge who will interpret it the same way the religious right interprets and quotes the bible- however it damned well pleases them as long as it fits the current political agenda.

If anyone really thinks Dobson and Tony Perkins care about the Constitution, they need to reassess their faculties...What they really care about is displaying the Ten Commandments wherever and whenever because we are a "Christian Nation."

They care about inserting themselves into family matters of life and death. They care about keeping drugs out of your hands, even if they ease pain caused by illness. They care about treating homosexuals like second-class citizens. They care about prayer in school and keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They care about ending abortion. They care about making divorces really difficult to obtain. They care about inserting religion into schools and ending the teaching of evolution. They care about a whole host of things, but Constitutional deference is not one of them.

It's why Cole's blog was the first place I went when finished my post. He nails it almost every time.

THE PSYCHIC- Digby reminds us why the "Filibuster Compromise" was a screw-job for the Dems.

THE FRAME- Greg at the The Talent Show makes a great point about the importance of referring to O'Connor as "moderate":
What's said now about O'Connor and her role in the court will set the stage for how the American people judge Bush's pick. If everyone has the word "conservative" drilled into their heads, the idea of replacing O'Connor with an arch-conservative won't seem nearly as unpleasant as it should. For the people who pick up on the rhetoric but don't really pay attention to things, replacing an O'Connor style conservative with a George W. Bush style conservative would be a move towards the status quo, rather than the dramatic shift to the right we all know it would be. The best defense Democrats have against a truly repellent Supreme Court nominee is to remind the American people that the Bush Administration wants to replace a moderate justice with a conservative one.

Depending on the nominee, I'd make that "replace a moderate justice with an extremist justice," but the "moderate vs. conservative" point remains.

THE HYPOCRISY- A good thread over at Kos on the truth about "activist judges." Guess what the numbers reveal...

Court: Unblemished Thoughts on O'Connor

Okay, I'm going to throw a few things down before I contaminate myself by reading anything online. I've been away all weekend and only read a few papers. And with it being a holiday weekend, not much in the order of commentary, just news pieces and articles about O'Connor and the Court. So I haven't been exposed to much of the hype and rhetoric...yet.

1. "Shocking" Anyone who says this was a shocking resignation should be immediately dismissed as an idiot. At least as far as any further thoughts about the Court are concerned. O'Connor has been widely rumored to be leaving for at least a year. Those who paid attention to actual issues during the campaign knew this. That's exactly why every douchebag TV pundit and columnist is declaring this "a surprise." They spent the last two years making fun of Howard Dean's scream, John Kerry's windsurfing and pumping up Bush, while completely ignoring issues of substance like this. It is a mild upset that O'Connor is leaving before Rehnquist, but that is because of the media's morbid fascination with Rehnquist's cancer. It's beginning to look like the only way Rehnquist leaves the bench is feet-first.

And to those on the right sure to declare that Bush gets to name whoever the hell he wants because this was on the table for the election, and Bush won, shut the fuck up. You weren't watching the same news as anyone else in the country. This was a fringe issue [in coverage] at best. Just like Social Security. Bush campaigned on one thing -- War and Terror -- and that's it. And yes, I count those two things as one thing. Kerry? His campaign strategy was as one-dimensional as Bush's, which is even worse because he was the challenger.

2. Lucky to Have Her We will be lucky to ever see another Justice like O'Connor for a long time. Not because she was the greatest jurist to come down the pike, but because she was a reliable swing vote. A true moderate. Reading up on her over the weekend, I couldn't help but be fairly impressed with her as a person and a judge. I disagreed with plenty of her rulings, but only a week before retiring she penned a tremendous dissent on the Kelo case (probably the only time in my life I will be on the same side as Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas). Moderate, thoughtful judges who take each case one at a time and operate without a clear agenda or playbook will never be nominated by either party again. Conservatives look at her as a complete disappointment. Why? Because she wasn't a complete partisan? I have no faith in anything better from the Dems either. Everything in Washington wiill be "turnabout is fair play" for years to come, ensuring, a far left nomine from the next Dem President. If everyone nominated judges like O'Connor the whole country would be better off, and both parties will continue to fail to see that.

P.S. Hardly a Supreme Court scholar, I reserve the right to completely flip on this section if I find out O'Conner actually sucked. ;-)

3. Stripsey: Is is just me or does Rehnquist look like a complete jackass with those stripes sewn on his robe? Why not just go for the "C" over the left chest like a hockey player?... [link to the lamest superhero ever.]

4. Bush's Move What will President Bush do? This is one of those classic times when I really wonder how much of a dick the President is or how much of that is misconception foisted on him by his dick VP and lackeys. At times I really want to believe he is a fundamentally good guy trying to do good things. He'll want to nominate a minority of some sort, a moderate to replace a moderate... perhaps an Alberto Gonzales? Ugh, then I remember that only after the hard yanking to the right over the last five years is a guy like Gonzales even positioned anywhere near the mainstream. I remember that after failing to get only a handful of his maniac judges confirmed (going like 205-7 or so), does Bush come back with sensible, palatable alternatives, No, he renominates every one of them, and pitches a fit. He picks Bolton for the UN.

No, Bush (and/or his handlers) is a dick. Bush will not miss a chance to dig a finger into the eye of his opponents, even though that is fully one half of the country. He will go right to the list of right wing partisans he had tabbed to replace Rehnquist, and we're supposed to roll over for it 'cause George "has political capital and he intends to spend it."

This nomination will be the mother of all wedges, and they don't want it within their own Party, the pick will be waaay right. Just like with the lower-level judges, Bush and the Republican strategists are itching for this fight. Of course, I'd love to be surprised on this, but I'm not betting on it.

5. Fuck. This sucks. Rehnquist could be replaced without screwing up the balance of the court. People (partisans) on both sides have problems with this Court because it's not reliably on their side. It's unpredictable. It's evenly divided. That's good. This country is pretty evenly divided. When the Supreme court is a sure bet for either side, it's bad for the country. Now all the narrow holds we've had over the last twenty years will go the other way. And if Rehnquist goes down too, it will be a long haul for half of us.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Links: Worth checking out

I'm off for the long weekend, and trying to beat traffic, so I'll just point to some good stuff over the last few days, and I'll be back next week.

SPIN's Greatest Albums, 1985-2005
Fascinating comments thread at the LeftCoaster
OpEd from a former Republican.
Carpetbagger on Clarence Thomas.