The Jade Monkey

I didn't have a superiority complex until inferior people gave me one.

Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States


Happy Belated Memorial Day

Unfortunately I've not been able to get online the past couple days, but I'm terrible at these things anyway, so it's not like anyone's missing out. So I'll just say this, simply and deeply, thanks.

also happy belated birthday, to me. you can leave your my presents on the hall table ;-)

Deep Throat revealed

And yet, I really don't care. Mainly because Felt's bloodsucking relatives, who seem to have pushed him to out himself for their own self-aggrandizement and media whoring, want me to. Bob Woodward's initial reluctance in confirming the story seems to confirm that he thought keeping it under wraps was the right thing in consideration of Felt's mental accuity and his true wishes (as an aside, Woodward's still making it big, but you hardly ever hear of Carl Bernstein, unless it is preceeded by "Woodward and..." what up with that?)

The whole Vanity Fair piece is kind of disturbingly masturbatory, a semi-educated disguise of a teenage chat-dweller's "OMG ur so kewl!!!!!!!11111111oneoneone." I'd agree with Captain Ed, who is inclined to see him neither as hero nor traitor, so let's get busy ignoring this so the old man can live his remaining years in peace and his gold-digging daughter recieves not one moment of ill-gotten fame beyond what is absolutely unavoidable.

Update (6/3): CQ (6/1) confirms my initial impression. Disgusting.


"It quacks like a filibuster"

Heh. Good to see Nelson, Pryor, and Landrieu living up to their bargain (also to Landrieu and Byrd for voting not only for cloture, but confirmation for Owen). Troubling that Inouye has not voted for (or against) cloture for either Owen or Bolton. Very surprised Lieberman wasn't with them on this one.

I'm really not that concerned over this yet, though. Of course I would have preferred it to have gone through - the delay has gone on too long already, and Bolton is exactly the guy we need for the job - but a few more days isn't a big deal in my view. We have 56 votes for cloture (with Inouye and Specter not voting, and Frist actually voting against for procedural reasons noted in the link). That means, if those 3 eventually vote to end debate, we only need one more (and there are still 3 more Democrat signatories to the MOU). Democrats have encouragingly said they do not intend to stall this much longer. We'll see what that's worth next week, I guess.

So I'm still chillin'.


I'm afraid I'm in need of an intervention

Yikes, look at these disgustingly moderate positions I've taken over the past 6 months:


(although really it's more "anti-anti" in each case than "pro" and the latter two are rather reluctantly held)

Guess I'm a pragmatic idealist?

Of course, I feel somewhat vindicated in the first two instances. Specter has proven faithful to Bush and Santorum thus far, and hopefully he will return the favor to Santorum in what will be a very difficult reelection campaign. He has gotten Bush's nominations through committee as promised, and was ready to pull the nuclear trigger (which on the face is somewhat against my lukewarm pro-media-whore-McCain-deal stance). The newsweek scandal certainly hasn't taken any wind out of the MSM's critics' sails.

So is there any chance position 3 will meet with a small measure of reward as the first two have? The deal-as-cooling-agent may be its greatest virtue. It may indeed restore some desperately needed civility, and I do agree with the proposition that we should give Senators the respect of the benefit of the doubt. I do have respect for Joe Lieberman, and apart from Salazar and Byrd, I have no real objection to the other Democrats in the deal. This despite real fears that the most likely response we will get from putting trust in Democrats based on their track record is "It's in my nature."

France the buttcrack of Europe?

okay, so that's (probably) not what Chirac meant by "caboose" (see Mad Minerva for details)

but with France about to reject the EU constitution, the prospects of the European project look grim. I once said that the EU wouldn't last 5 years. Well, I wasn't too far off (about 5 years in either direction, depending on how you look at it).

Yahoo! also trumpets what on the face is a rather hilarious headline: "Constitution foes fear for France's soul". Now this prompted a dozen responses to bubble in my head ("She's dead, Jim," being perhaps one of the first) but the body of the article actually is pretty interesting.

Such are the depths of Francois Vincent's disdain for the new European constitution that he recently uttered words that have not passed the lips of many Frenchmen.

"I would rather be an American than a European," said Vincent, 63, who owns a vegetable stall in one of Paris' open-air markets. "At least Americans love their country."

Like many Frenchmen who plan to vote "no" in this Sunday's referendum, he is worried that the new European constitution will rob France of some vital piece of its national soul.

Nationalism isn't always a bad thing, as the Left would have you believe. It is not tantamount to jingoism. Perhaps even French nationalism (although they are rather exceptional in their desperate need to keep their language "pure" among other things). Of course, some of the opposition, as MM notes with shock and/or amusement, is that the EU isn't socialist enough.

And then there's this, from a supporter confident that Chirac's last minute begging will do the trick:

"The one who speaks last always wins," he said.

I don't know what to say about that: if it is a laughable statement on the speaker's fickleness, or a sad truth about same of society as a whole.

The monstrosity that is the EU constitution deserves nothing more than defeat. Brevity is the sould of wit, and all that, and the 448 articles show it's inelegance and ineptitude. I mean ours has what, 12? And who would have guessed the French would be the ones to strike the decisive blow for Euroskeptics?

Coalition of the Chillin'

Decision '08 leads the charge for those ok with the deal. I am now a provisional member, yay me!

Here's the manifesto:

Whereas we, the Coalition of the Chillin', think a lot of people are having a cow over this filibuster deal, we submit the following to our fellow Republicans, and Americans of other political stripes:

* it's sometimes better to settle things in a bipartisan manner;

* we're getting up and down votes on three very controversial appointees, and that's three more than we had before this deal;

* the Republicans may want the filibuster preserved somewhere down the line;

* the media and the Democrats would have clubbed us to death if we went nuclear, and we don't want a repeat of the '98 midterms; and most importantly,

* Frodo and Bilbo both could have killed Gollum, but didn't, and he ended up destroying the One Ring, proving for all eternity that restraint can be a very good thing, indeed.

I especially like that last one. It's healthy and wise to consider the Law of Unintended Consequences (in both this case and #4) and to equate Democrats with Gollum...and Republicans with Hobbitses. The only one I have a minor objection to is #3 - I agree with Frist that if it is wrong for Democrats to do it today, it will be wrong for Republicans to do it tomorrow, and with Prof. Crockett that it is a threat to the separation of powers. However, I don't really object to it not being banned, but in practice never used, and am not sure I disagree with the California Mafia's reading of the Federalist papers that a filibuster may be appropriate in the case of ethical misconduct (either on the part of the judge or in the form of unwarrented favoritism/nepotism/etc on the part of the president). And a Democrat president would nominate MUCH more extremist judges than Bush is falsely accused of doing, so the threat of a filibuster could become necessary and good in practice (though the soundness of the theory I still have questions about)...but if Ginsberg could get 90+ votes for confirmation, it seems unlikely that Republicans will ever be willing to get into the mud with the Democrats, despite a filibuster on such a nominee on the grounds of extremism being infinitely more defensible...nor do I harbor any illusions that Democrats would wait two heartbeats to pull the nuclear option if Republicans even threatened a filibuster. So where does that leave me? I don't know, either :P


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Even though I'm cautiously okay with the deal, that won't stop me from ridiculing the dealmakers (because I'm still very sympathetic to those that want them all hung - it stinks that we must abandon principle and sell good men and women down the river to compromise). But rather than a news story, I've decided to do so in the form of a song parody (something I'm shocked to realize I haven't done once since I started this blog). I don't know if it's a funny statement on the situation (or of my efforts) or a sad one to note that the original would be as applicable with no (or very few) changes at all.

Yeah, I forced a few things in places, cause I got lazy, so sue me. Anyway, the song came almost immediately to my mind while contemplating the issue, so without further ado, I present to you the hysterical (would you believe mildly amusing?) to balance the hysteria:

It's Comity Tonight!
(as sung by John McCain and the Feckless Wonders)

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everyone:
It's comity tonight!

Something appealing,
Something appalling,
Something for everyone:
It's comity tonight!

Nothing with nukes, nothing with votes;
Bring on the traitors, liars, and goats!

Old situations,
New complications,
Too much pretentious and polite;
Fil'buster tomorrow,
Comity tonight!

Demmies convulsive,
Judges repulsive,
Something for everyone:
It's comity tonight!

I pulled off this farce,
Talking out my arse,
Something for everyone:
It's comity tonight!

No faith in God, or pass not this gate;
Majority rules will just have to wait!

Nothing that's formal,
Nothing that's normal,
We struck a deal in dark of night;
Open up the curtain:
Comity tonight!

Preening peacock'ry,
Something for everyone:
It's comity tonight!

Mug for the camera,
This be our mantra:
Let's just hug everyone,
It's comity tonight!

Something familiar,
Something peculiar,
Something for everybody:
Comity tonight!
Something that's fraud-y,
Something that's shoddy --

Something for everybody!

Comity tonight!

Give me my way.

Let's please be meek.

She plays a RINO all of this week.

False accusations!


Hijack the Senate, fear our might!

Democrat lunatics!

Republican eunuchs!

Chronic Dumbassery!

It's antichrist-ery!










Back(stab) and forth, trade them like horse,
And save the republic, of course!
Goodness and badness,
Labels are madness --
Unless they're aimed at the "far right"!
Fil'buster tomorrow,
Comity tonight!

The Federalists on the Filibuster

See California Mafia for an excellent post (for which he may just get his Bloggers Local card back ;-)) on the founding fathers' expectations of "advise and consent". Along with Prof. David A. Crockett's argument (i.e. the Democrats are the one threatening separation of powers, not just by controlling who sits on the Judiciary, but in how they deal with Executive nominees, despite their claims that the Republicans are doing so - again proving the rule that whatever the Dems accuse someone of, they are doing themselves), this is one of the best. Too bad it's too late (despite my lukewarm acceptance of the compromise).

Also, John Podhoretz, in his continuing defense of the deal, sagely notes "People of conviction hate compromise, which is why there are so few people of conviction in politics."

Finally, a passing thought on "extraordinary circumstances" - isn't every time the Democrats filibuster an extraordinary circumstance by definition? Not because the nominees are extraordinary, but because the Democrats and their actions are. A disturbing semantic loophole, though I doubt even the Dems would have the gall to admit it publicly.

Soon to follow: the deal in song! Stay tuned!

Schubert endorses Hardberger (SA mayoral runoff)

As I expected, if Schubert was to endorse anyone. Hardberger still came in 12 points behind Castro though in the initial round of voting, so he's going to need probably close to 2/3 of Schubert's 20% to catch him, and hope most of the rest stay home rather than vote for Castro, and that the old folks who probably voted pretty heavily for him still come out without a property tax freeze initiative on the ballot. I think he has pretty good odds to make up the gap though.

My vote for Hardberger will be a vote against Castro (although it would have come even without the endorsement, as I also did not vote for Schubert).

The runoff is June 7. Vote!


After some reflection

Maybe this isn't so bad a deal after all. Perhaps it is the wobbly Republican 7 that have the Democrats in the deal by the balls, and not the other way around. They have basically forced them to confess that Brown, Owen, and Pryor are not the extremists they have been made out to be by the far left. Therefore, the filibuster of any similarly qualified nominee can be seen as a breach of contract. What the Republican 7 may have done is to force the Democrats into the open should they decide to obstruct again, and gained cover for siding with the rest of the party at a later date. Not that I think they didn't already have sufficient cover from the Democrats' unethical tactics, and not that I trust that they will do the right thing if forced into it again, but I can hope that they will. And if it is able to stamp out desertion from the squishy middle of the electorate decieved so far by the Democrats, by saying "Look, we tried in good faith, but they refuse to live up to their end," this could perhaps be better than the Byrd option now. And perhaps that is too much to hope for.

I very much still fear they have sold out our country while the Democrats stall for time and hope to make gains in Congress in 2006 (and I think it is sadly likely they will pick up a Senate seat or two), thereby gaining the ability to destroy President Bush's nominees for the rest of his term. I have to hope that the Republicans can't be that dumb, that they understand they confirmed Ruth Bader Ginsberg, more extreme by orders of magnitude (see Edward Whelan at Bench Memos) than anyone Bush has or will nominate, and that lack of turnabout will not be fair play on the part of the Democrats.

So, this deal is still very outrageous and depressing, but maybe not quite so much as I thought when the news first broke.

ETA: If the Democrat 7 keep their end of the bargain, they are to respected, and even supported. Again, I have my doubts this will happen though. On the other hand, I have to hope that there MUST be 7 Democrats who aren't extremists. Just 5 even. Is that too much to ask?

ETA2: my comment on The Anchoress' site, which is probably more succinct than this rambling (I really gotta set me a curfew :))

perhaps i just *want* to be optimistic, to believe that this is something *other* than an unmitigated disaster, that the republicans really *aren’t* that stupid, that democracy actually *does* work and voting *does* matter…but i’m holding onto the hope that the interpretation that “extraordinary circumtanes” can no longer mean judicial philosophy, and that the republican signees are keeping back the right to go nuclear in the event of a show of bad faith on the part of the democrats. holding on by my fingernails, but holding on nonetheless…for now.

and some links to other optimists (looks like I'll have me some new peeps to put on the blogroll!) (h/t The Anchoress):
* Alexander McClure at PoliPundit
* My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
* Decision '08 (I can't decide whether the moonbats' barking is really encouraging, or just annoying, but its humorous nonetheless)
* some of NRO's The Corner, including John Podhoretz

Retraction (#%@#%)

Just like newsweek, we at The Jade Monkey reserve the right to make up stories and then retract them when caught. In this spirit, our story from earlier this evening, "Democrats 'Duck and Cover' As Republicans Go Nuclear," is being blamed on a reliable anonymous source who assured us things would play out as reported . An updated story chronicling the unexpected turn of events will run shortly criticizing the feckless RINOs that have sold their constituents and an untold number of eminently qualified and desperately needed judges down the river, and their souls to the devil for 30 pieces of silver.

Democrats "Duck and Cover" As Republicans Go Nuclear

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - An anticipated showdown on judicial filibusters took a strange twist Tuesday morning when Democrats, harkening back to schoolday videos instructing them on the proper safety procedures to employ in case of nuclear attack, made an unexpected move.

When Democrats refused to grant cloture on the debate of Priscilla Owen, Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tenessee asked for a clarification of Senate rules from Vice President Dick Cheney, the Senate's presiding officer. But before Cheney could reply, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, still wrapped in his bedsheet, rushed the floor and declared that "Red Amerika is dropping the bomb! Duck and cover!"

Bewildered Republicans watched as forty-plus Democrats went diving under their desks for protection, then shrugged and went about confirming Justice Owen's nomination.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York condemned the confirmation, exclaiming, "Radical right wing Chrisian extremist fundamentalist nutjob morons that can't realize we're not attacking people of faith want little children and puppies to die of the radiation poisoning Republicans have caused today! This is the danger people like Priscilla Owen represent!"

Senator Barbara Boxer of California, speaking at the same press conference, demanded a recount of the votes of the Senators from Ohio.

Vietnam veteran John Kerry, explaining his opposition, said, "President Bush has done nothing to contain the nuclear material in the United States Senate - nothing! Is it any wonder Republican terrorists have gotten ahold of it and perpetrated this attack? I'm against the nuclear option. So against it that -- you may not know this, but I served in Vietnam -- when President Nixon gave us orders to drop the bomb in 1968, I indiscriminately slaughtered women and children that stood in my way to keep that from happening. I even got a blister from squeezing the trigger, and got a Purple Heart."

Laments over the fallout by Democrats may have been exaggerated, however, as after HAZMAT teams had cleared the area, the only real incident was that the jaws of life were required to remove Kerry's Massachusetts colleague, Senator Tedward Kennedy, from under his desk where he had gotten wedged after an accident resulting from heavy drinking ("the best thing for a hangover" the groggy Senator had slurred after rolling out of one of the cots set up in the Strom Thurmond room in the Senate house this morning).

Fake but Accurate

You think anyone in the media's gonna come to the military's defense with that reasoning concerning their explanation of Pat Tillman's death and Silver Star?

Yeah, me neither.

Dan Quixote

since i'm going in late to work today because of a bug that kept me down all of yesterday, and since Bill Bennett expects this to be picked up by others, I'll oblige...

holy cow. Dan Rather, in an interview which Bennett just played a clip from, describing the "culture" of CBS, says that they see themselves as a "magical, mystical kingdom of journalistic knights" (riding in to save the world from eeeevil, as Bennett added).

and they call Bush Manichean? sheesh.


That bridge-burning Bush...

Powerline notes the great lengeths President Bush is going to to strengthen ties with India. A billion friends to offset a tense realtion with a billion Chinese, seems good. Add to that some of the best relations we've had with Japan (by their own words), the fact that they LOVE our Prez in the Republic of Georgia (and strong support from the other former Soviet bloc nations), new allies (! still amazing) in Iraq and Afghanistan, promising changes in Ukraine and even Lebanon, a cordial personal (if sometimes critical policy-wise) relationship with Vladimir Putin (likewise with the Saudis, and functional relationships with Pakistan and others). And on down the line.

And yet the snubbing France and the United Nations allies meme persists. Sad, really.

To play devil's advocate, I am concerned with the possibility of implicit acceptance of the caste system that oppresses so many in India. That said, I think that, as well as the dishonest complaint of the lefties that Bush coddles bad guys like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan (a variation on the "Why not North Korea/Iran/whatever-dictatorship-other-tha-Iraq-that-we-can-think-of-to-complain-about" nonsense), is fairly easily dismissed. Bush's policy has undoubtedly caused major changes in some of the world's worst, most repressive societies and regimes. And it's gently prodded others into less specatacular, though by no means insignificant reforms. Such as overtures to democratic reform in Egypt, women's suffrage in Kuwait. I think the same could be said about India. You'd think the left would appreciate the nuance of different situations, different strategies.

Update (5/22): Yikes, that's what I get for writing late at night. Three or four closely related ideas each deserving to be unpacked more fully somewhat conflated in just a couple sentences. Oh well. I didn't really have any desire to rehash years-old defense at great length anyway, so it'll just have to stay in its inelegant and somewhat simplistic form.

I've seen it!

It being Star Wars Episode III, of course.

***Minor Spoiler Alert***

My verdict? Not bad. I think I liked Episode II slightly better as a movie though. I suppose RotS really was carried by a story I already cared for more than any virtue of its own (although these were not absent, in my opinion). So, the fact that I did like it having been noted up front, let's examine some of the weaknesses.

The dialogue was almost unanimously awful, but as others have said, there was little enough of it that the action sequences, special effects, and the already-known story pull the dead weight ably enough. Yes, George Lucas' flaming anti-war idiocy was quite apparent (the weak dialogue is probably a symptom of this and may serve instructive as to why Professor Tolkien abhorred allegory), but I was able to ignore it for the most part and just enjoy the ride. I don't really have much desire to speak of it politically, but since that is already the prism so many have latched onto, largely the fault of Lucas' own ignorant words at Cannes, I'll go ahead and make some mention in that vein.

Apart from the script, there were certainly other weaknesses. Everyone (Obi Wan, Anankin, Padme) being annoying, whiny little babies, for one (while we're on the subject of characters, what was with the wheezy, hunchbacked droid General Grievous?). I did get a chuckle out of Obi Wan declaring "Palpatine is EVIL!" only to follow that moments later with "Only the Sith deal in absolutes!" Moral confusion abounds in Lucas' attempt to pound a square reality into a round allegory (right from the opening scroll, with "There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere..."), in what should be (and otherwise is) a simple morality play, and perhaps this is why half of me was rooting for the Sith (see Jonathan V. Last's "The case for the Empire" - I had a supporting argument, not that I necessarily agree with the case as a whole, but I've already forgotten it), just because Lucas wanted me to see them as Evil Bushco (and Padme being a singularly unattractive and unpersuasive model of the opposition). But oddly enough, a fairly strong pro-life message may be inadvertantly gleaned (the troublesome pregnancy of Padme not only is not terminated, but in the end, of course, becomes Darth Vader's salvation in the person of Luke; the end of the Jedi is accomplished in part becasue of eugenics - the clone army; Palpatine's intentionally troublesome assertions that one could in effect be a god, controlling life and death, through the Dark Side). See The Anchoress for another example of "The Force" working in mysterious ways.

Another jarring element, although necessary for time's sake, was the compression of events. Liberty may have died with thunderous applause (one of Natalie Portman's numerous horrible lines), but the Jedi died with barely a whimper. This in part gave the last third of the movie a somewhat disjointed feeling. In another instance, it seemed almost as if Master Windu and friends were already headed to arrest Palpatine when Anakin brought them the revelation that he was the Sith Lord. Anakin's own descent into the Dark Side was not shabbily done, but in parts seemed a bit contrived. The first scene, the rescue of Palpatine and the showdown with Count Dooku, and the last, confronting Padme and Obi Wan, along with some scenes from Episode II really do a good job of chronicling it, but everything excepting the beginnng and end in Episode III is rather unconvincing in this regards.

Overall though, it was a worthy enough completion of the saga, wrapping up the story nicely. Three stars (out of four) for episode three.

Oh, and I can't WAIT for Narnia to come out this Christmas! I may be more excited for it, having seen the preview, than I was even for RotS (which for some reason, didn't have the personal build up as Episodes I and II).

ETA one more minor complaint: Anakin's "burnout" left a bit to be desired, and Obi Wan doesn't even finish him off? Not as revenge against the evil one that betrayed him? Not as a mercy to the one he loved as a brother? Odd.

but for all the quibbles, I forgot to add that BY FAR the most annoying part of the movie was the hyena guy sitting about 10 rows behind us laughing loudly and inappropriately throughout. The appropriate reaction for those moments of (attempted) levity is a quiet chuckle. Or, more likely, a groan.


10-hour workdays: now with 25% more suckiness!

Blech. Thankfully that's the last one of those for a while. Hopefully, provided my brain has thawed, I will have some funny up later tonight to compensate, in the grand tradition of Scrappleface and my "Run For the Border" story from November.


"His motives certainly weren't seditious"

So said Sec. Heller of his Michael Moore-on son last night on 24, and I'm coming to think perhaps the same is true of Michael Isikoff. Though I was ready to proclaim him guilty of reckless endangerment, inciting a riot, libel, accessory to murder, and treason, and worthy of being drawn-and-quartered and his body parts sent as warnings to the offices of CBS, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, with his head sent as a gift to Kabul for with little Afghani children to play soccer, perhaps I'm overreacting in regards to Isikoff himself.

As The Anchoress pointed out in one of the many helpful updates to her "Newsweek lied, people died" post, it was Isikoff who originally uncovered Lewinsky playing Bubba's saxophone, only to have his newsbreak scuttled by newsweek, whereupon it was picked up by Matt Drudge.

10:50PM Not to be petty or picayune, I was remembering about how Newsweek once SPIKED an Isikoff story that it didn’t like, and wondering if anyone else remembered a particular instance…and then, happily for me, before I could research it, a commenter at Captain Ed’s spelled it out for us, and For Now sent it along:

THIS Newsweek spiked back in 1998–too controversial–the
Koran item gets printed without checking.

From:Drudgereport Archive

Web Posted:
— At the last minute, at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, NEWSWEEK magazine killed a story that was destined to shake official Washington to its foundation: A White House intern carried on a sexual affair with the President of the United States! The DRUDGE REPORT has learned that reporter Michael Isikoff developed the story of his career, only to have it spiked by top NEWSWEEK suits hours before publication. A young woman, 23, sexually involved with the love of her life, the President of the United States, since she was a 21-year-old intern at the White House. She was a frequent visitor to a small study just off the Oval Office where she claims to have indulged the president’s sexual preference. Reports of the relationship spread in White House quarters and she was moved to a job at the Pentagon, where she worked until last month.

Posted by: RBMN at May 15, 2005 09:17 PM

Although his story was at least true back then, perhaps we should look at the picture as a whole and see Isikoff for what he is: a tabloidist getting off on scandal. No, it doesn't excuse him for the lesser charges, but maybe his motives weren't seditious afterall. His higher-ups at newsweek have not even this excuse however. They shot him down once because it was harmful to their guy, and could have again, had they not wanted so much for something that might reflect poorly on our troops or administration to be true. It matters little whether or not newsweek cans Izzy (and they're already circling the wagons and sticking their heads in the sand), because the problem is much deeper than one reporter.

Isikoff can keep his head, and maybe even his job. Perhaps he should be chemically castrated, though. It might cut down on the orgy of anti-Americanism.


I was Force-ed into it

Yay for Star Wars geekiness and bad puns!

(ht: Anakin Skywalker, that freaking punk I went out of my way to find only to have him turn to the darkside ;-))

I have to go to the bathroom

but I'm all out of Newsweek.

since I'm late to the party, that's all I'm going to say for now, not least of all because I'd likely start cursing if I said anymore. the media lies have gone quite far enough. from rather and the times, to cbs' relapse with twisting ken starr's words to say exactly the opposite of what he said, to this latest garbage. how has the media, ostensibly in existance to bring us the truth, become so hostile to that which it should serve? you know something's gone terribly wrong with your profession when you'll soon be replacing lawyers in jokes like "what do you call a lawyer buried up to his neck in dirt?" "not enough dirt." baldfaced libel is one thing. now they're killing people.

and, finally, at the dismal end of all things, it brings us this: BM blogging.

Look what you've done Isikoff, you little sh!t.


On the Abuse of the Filibuster (continued)

Or, On the Democrats' Stunning Hypocrisy, no. 3,489,107

It struck me the other day, while I was doing something or other that I can't remember now, and which in any event was probably too boring to be recorded for posterity, how the fight over President Bush's judicial nominations provides yet another example of the Democrats' ubiquitous two-facedness.

And that is, to be brief, as I have in the intervening days between thinking and penning lost the train of rhetorical brilliance that would have been evident had not Time Warner been in cohoots with the Democrats to squash my free speech, the Democrats' insistence that they are championing minority rights in their bastardization of the once-sometimes-proud Senate tradition/invention known as the filibuster.

We will say nothing of the preposterouness of that proposition in light of the fact that the Democrats' "compromises" to-date have been to allow White Anglo Saxon Protestant males to pass their mighty constitutional gatekeepers, while barring entry to two women (one of them African American) and a Catholic male. We will not mention the Minority Leader's laughable assertions that said African American female harbors in the apparently not-so-secret deepest darkest (indeed, blackest, if Al Sharpton or Omarosa don't object) part of her heart nothing less than a return to Antebellum Amerikkka. We will abstain from questioning his party's intentions in these regards, or from hurling labels like "racist" or "sexist" as it itself is fond of doing to any that dare oppose it's enlightened policies. No, we will not make the argument that has oft been made, and appears sadly to be more accurate every day, that the Democrats' true (or at least ancillary, but no less true) motivation in blocking these nominees is to keep African Americans on the Democrat plantation and women barefoot in their kitchen and Catholics at their altar.

Instead, we would like to examine this so-called protection of minority rights as it pertains to the judicial philosophy which they would prefer. And that is, namely, the belief that troglodytic America needs to get with the times because the proverbial "rest of the world" has passed us by. We'll leave aside the question of whether or not this has any basis in fact (i.e., whether America is truly so anachronistic as they would claim, which I do not think would be borne out) in favor of asking if we really care to be in such a damn hurry on the Road to Nowhere. Indeed, the party that now denounces tyranny of the majority in favor of it's own special brand of tyranny of the minority is the selfsame entity that haughtily proclaims that our own backward constitution must take a backseat to forward-thinking for'ners in a well-reasoned jurist's ruling, basically because it is in the minority of world opinion (or, again, at least a minority opinion of the salons in Paris et al, as that is the only opinion that really matters). The minority here must triumph over the majority because it is in the hypothetical minority elsewhere. Or something like that.

I've often said that the liberal's logic is so twisted Houdini couldn't begin to find his way out, and thus the fruitlessness of trying to argue against it. At any rate, it seems to me symptomatic of the moral confusuion that plagues the Left on a plethora of other issues, most notably abortion and capital punishment, and their attempts to ignore their own hypocrisy by claiming opposition to abortion and support of the death penalty to be hypocritcal. I myself am pretty neutral on the death penalty - supportive of it in principle, but not always in practice and only in extreme cases, just as I oppose abortion on principle, but recognize that in the rarest of cases it may be regrettably necessary - but to claim that the defense of innocent life and the condemnation of guilty life is somehow asynchronous is head-scratchingly bizarre. I agree with the new Pope that good people can disagree on a wide range of issues - the death penalty, the best way to deal with the environment, poverty, and crime, and even war, but there can be no disagreement between good people on certain issues. The Left's new tactic (in addition to the old standby of attacking the strawmen that the Right would outlaw all abortions even at the expense of the mother's life, that they want dirty air and water, that they sacrifice the poor to their corporate master Halliburton, etc) is to try to cast these as moral issues - and they are - and more important - and they're not, at least on the most fundamental philosophical level - than the social issues they the Right likes to "divide" the country on. The solutions to these other issues cannot be had or long last if the foundation is unstable; they're trying to treat the symptoms, but advance the disease (as it is symbiotic with their attempts at power). The Left tries to put the cart before the horse in this case, to claim absoluteness on issues that can only benefit from debate, and relativism on the issues that go to the very core of civilization and its defense, and which can only be confused by "debate".

To come full circle, this confusion hits into a double play on the field of reason, both in regards to judicial imposition of their politics (their only recourse since they repeatedly fail to do so at the ballot box), and imposition of their politics on the judicial nomination process. Liberalism, as always, proves itself to be logically inconsistant and philosophically untenable.

so funny it hurts

this is a little late, but I'm just reading through some of the past week's blogging on some of my favorite sites, and came accross this hilarious photographic account of the WSU graduation/protest of Washington "Governor" Gregoire by some intrepid accounting students (HT: Mad Minerva). ROFL!

Reality TV Ramblings

Survivor finale is tonight! Been a pretty entertaining season, despite (and perhaps partially becasue of) Ulong's self-destruction. I'm predicting a Tom win. Previews say the first TC is "shocking" with Ian looking "shocked." Dollars to donuts that's typical MB misdirection - Ian's not going anywhere, yet. My guess is that Tom and Jen decides to form an alliance of convenience (probably against Ian) while Ian and Katie vote against Jen (or maybe Tom, though I think in that case Jen would be in on it with them, despite a final 2 pact with Tom being a better deal). Tom will then switch his vote, Jen goes home in the expected 4th place, Tom wins the final immunity and takes Katie over Ian, and wins the million dollars.

Although, I'm not sure that Katie's chances are really all that bad as she (and I) might think. Caryn's really the only one I would see as a lock to vote against her (they never got along) although she may be miffed at Tom and Ian turning against her. Steph, despite her crying and theatrics and Tom being the ringleader of the alliance (though it was really Gregg pushing for her ouster over Janu and Caryn) probably respects Tom as another strong game player. She's his second strongest vote, I suspect. Jen and Gregg could vote for Katie, because it was Tom and Ian that orchestrated their ouster (Gregg was in the "knucklehead" club with Tom and Ian though, so who knows). Katie turned on them at the last minute, but they may accept that Ian didn't give her much choice. In the middle are Ian himself, who despite a very tight alliance with Tom has a closer friendship with Katie, and his insistence last week that he won't be stupid again (plus Tom would be voting him out in the scenario I lay out above), Coby has complained about the women doing nothing and wanting to push them in the fire, but has been just as whiny about the boys excluding him. For him, I suspect the latter probably outweighs the former. And who knows what Janu thinks (though she may side with Tom since he often tried to give her pep talks during her constant mopings). So I could see a 7-0 vote for Tom, but also as much as a 5-2 vote for Katie. Still, none of Katie's would-be votes are a sure thing at all. My guess is a 5-2 Tom win (with 2 of Jen, Ian and Coby being the dissenters).

ETA: pretty much nailed the finale! Didn't expect a couple things (the way the tie-breaker went down, Ian quitting, Katie giving such a spectacularly bad performance at the final tribal), but I got the general story arc down. Congrats to Tom, he totally dominated the game and deserved it. Katie could have made a much better case for herself, and against another opponent maybe even won, but I don't really think anything could have made a difference facing Tom Terriffic.

Also want to gloat about Romber FINALLY getting their comeuppance in their loss in the TAR finale to Uchenna and Joyce (yay!) I can't for the life of me understand how anyone likes Rob the annoying moron. I think I'll be skipping their televised attention-whoring wedding. Poor Rob...Amber gets to be the bride, but he's always the bridesmaid *snicker*

Also, what's up with The Contender tonight? I can't imagine MB would put one of his products up against the other. Maybe it'll take the week off (perhaps the double episode two weeks ago was so it wouldn't have to go up against the Survivor finale tonight?). I'm really enjoying this show. Love Alphonso, his 2 fights have been the best, both times getting me to my feet and cheering. A bit conflicted about Peter getting to come back though, and in all probability fulfilling the spolier and getting to fight in the live finale despite having previously lost - it would be like Lillian or Burton winning Survivor 7 after being voted out. My gut as to how the final 2 episodes play out is that Sergio wins choice and pits his buddy Fonso up against Peter, and the foreshadowing about it being tough to beat a guy twice comes to pass, Fonso losing the rematch (possibly Jesse or Peter wins choice and forces Sergio and Fonso against each other, Peter to fight Jesse as the weakest link, or Jesse realizing despite Peter's #3 world ranking, he's lost once and wasn't convincing in either of his subsequent wins). Sergio fights weakest link Jesse the next week and wins, meeting Peter in the championship bout.

Finally, I haven't watched but maybe 60 total minutes of AI this season (stopped watching after JPL's boot last season, except for the finale in which, despite being inferior all season long and never belonging there in the first place (mostly because of her young age), Diana outperformed Fantasia who herself was no better than perhaps the 4th best singer in the final 12), and I really couldn't care less, but this seems like the best final 3 apart from season 2 with Clay, Ruben and Kim Locke (although I think all three of them are better than any of these 3). I'm going to guess it mirrors that seaosn's final 3 too, with the good-but-overrated Bo winning on the strength of a rabid fan base, the most talented vocally, Carrie, taking a close second, and the late-charging late-bloomer, Vonzell taking third. But like the 2nd season, the difference between the 3 is so slight that any would be a worthy winner (though the gap between Vonzell and Carrie/Bo is probably slightly greater than that between KLo and Clay/Ruben).

I hate Time Warner

feel the hate peeps!

And apologies for another absence. But though my internet connestion was down again for the better part of a week, and I've been too tired the past couple days to post, I will not be deterred. Even though I was too lazy to even write down a post I'd intended to write and now will have to attempt to reconstruct an inferior version of.

While we're hatin', I'd also like to enter into evidence exhibit Z as to why I hate the NBA: in a few weeks we should be crowning Stanley Cup Champions in God's Greatest Playoff Sport, AKA the NHL. Instead, the joke of the NBA, where they can call travelling on a guy after taking one step, but not after eight, is the only thing going on. Paah.



Rockets getting smoked in game 7. 80-58 late in the 3rd. Yao's the only one who's showing up to play, while Kobe or AI seem to have tied TMac up in the locker room and stepped onto the court wearing his jersey and throwing up bricks.

Have I mentioned lately that I hate the NBA? And partly because of their asinine television schedule. I don't have cable. Having to wait a week in between games is bad enough. Death (or at least mild discomfort) to the scedulemakers and to the television contract makers (and to anyone in an executive position for the league in general).

Ditto, Rocketman

Powerline on Bush's trip to Latvia.

ETA In a post earlier this month, they also link to Victor Davis Hanson's article in Commentary entitled "The Bush Doctrine's Next Test" - a must read.

Election Update

Here's some unofficial results. Voter turnout at a pitiful 17.88%.

Caldwell did better than I expected (? at last as far as place goes, he's in 5th, but with probably even less of a percentage of the vote than I expected - one third of one percent).

Looks like a runoff between Castro and Hardberger *sigh*

Castro 41.81%
Hardberger 30.13%
Schubert 26.42%

Oldham 0.81%
Caldwell 0.34%
Smith 0.25%
Idrogo 0.24%

I'm laughing at Smith's pitiful performance (only 22 votes away from being dead last!), after I had seen one source with him polling around 8% (admittedly, this is dated). Really surprised the non C-H-S voters comprised less than 2%.

Leaning toward Hardberger in the runoff. Not because I like him better (I'm sure he's no better than Castro as far as wrongness goes, but Castro's is wrongness-cum-incompetence-and-sliminess; I think Hardberger is at least capable of running a city), but because he's old and just a placeholder. Castro could parlay the mayor's office into something bigger. Defeating Castro (once dubbed the Barack Obama (gag) of South Texas) hurts the Democrats.

But will Schubert voters feel the same? S and H have been attacking each other even harder than they have Castro (probably becasue they knew they were fighting for 2nd and a place in the runoff for now), with H claiming S is paid for by developers and S that H by trial lawyers. H has probably done a better job than S of also attacking C though, so he may be able to transition successfully from open to runoff.

We've had a mayor-turned-judge in Nelson Wolfe, now we could have a judge-turned-mayor in Hardberger.


I hate the NBA

It's by far my least favorite of the 4 major sports leagues. I've long said that the only difference between David Stern and Vince McMahon was about 100 pounds and a couple of chins. The inconsistency of the officiating makes the game all but unwatchable. I'm sure the Lakers will "win" the lottery this summer, despite their inordinate odds. I hate the NBA.

But I love my Rockets. From Rudy T and Hakeem and Clyde and Sam I Am, from the days of Clutch City and "Never underestimate the heart of a champion!" and now I love Yao and Tmac and Bobby Sura.

But I've never been a Jeff Van Gundy fan, from the days he went after Alonzo Mourning by biting his ankles, holding him so he couldn't defend himself against Van Gundy's thug's attacks. I wasn't happy when Rudy T was forced out to make way for him. But he has done a better job of getting Yao's teammate to share the ball than Rudy did (of course a lot of that has to do with getting rid of the selfish Steve Francis (whom I compare with the former general of my favorite NFL team, Jeff Garcia, in that he occasionally made some magical plays and comebacks to win games, but much more often lost them with boneheaded plays), and Cuttino Mobley). And he's done the job very well, I must admit, getting great defensive effort from the team.

So now what am I to think when a coach I have only grudging acceptance for takes on the corrupt officiating of the league? (I'm actually not willing to go so far as to say the league is "fixed" game-in and game-out, though I do think the league strongly "prefers" general "trends" in the long-term outcome, and it really only takes a few calls to dramatically affect the complexion of a game in the NBA in most cases). When it's corpulent don slaps him with a $100,000 fine and threats of being introduced to his little friend? And when my team is fighting tonight for it's very playoff life (and currently holds a 7-point lead at halftime)? If Van Gundy is telling the truth, if he's playing Woodward and Bernstein to Stern's Richard Nixon, wow what a story. Adrian Wojnarowski pens a very interesting piece at, basically saying JVG is trapped, he can't reveal his Deepthroat. It'll be an interesting summer, to say the least.

Congratulations Tony Blair

On following fellow triumvirate mates Howard and Bush in reelection! I'm extremely proud of and thankful for these 3 men for being so courageous! And I'm extremely happy - and relieved, perhaps surprised, even - that the majority seems to get it (or at least isn't so foolish as to demonstrably not get it).

(see second update below for more information. I'll add the next, most official vote tallies in this post when I see them, but for now I wanted an official "victory" thread)

ETA: Powerline's Blair thread, along with Joe Trippi's analysis that Blair was not "punished" for Iraq, as the Yahoo report and others are claiming.

And Chrenkoff reprints the letter of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to Prime Minister Blair. Also ROFL at his "Before and After" pictures a couple posts below (you'll have to go through the blogroll link, as I can't seem to directly link to his post, and I still can't figure out trackbacks)

The best case against the democrat "filibuster"

Although I'm not too happy about the necessity of the "nuclear" option to end Democrat Dumbassery (just as I'm not happy about the necessity of a constitutional marriage amendement), I must support it. It's something that should not be necessary, but since the left has taken leave of all rational thought and position, it has become necessary. And I'd rather the spineless Republicans actually make them REALLY fillibuster, rather than the weak, bastardized version they have allowed the Dems to get away with. I also was concerned that changing the rules would preclude the Republicans from doing the same to a particularly objectionable nomination in the future. But as Sen. Frist said in his Justice Sunday appearance, if it is wrong for the Democrats to do it today, it would be wrong for the Republicans to do so tomorrow. This, I think, is essentially true, although I have so little trust that today's Democrat party will do anything but stand in partisan lockstep to push through a horrible judge should they (would to God it never happens!) ever regain the majority, that a rare filibuster might occasionally be desireable and legitimate (if not for the argument I'm about to relay below).

Anyways, as I was saying, the best casefor the unconstitutionality of the Democrats' actions (beside the obvious fact that they're whiny little babies that can't face the fact that they LOST and can't always get what they want, and realize the only way to push their agenda (as it has always been) is through judicial fiat) comes from a professor at Trinity University, here in San Antonio. I can't remember where I saw the quote now (I think it may have been CQ), but basically it boils down to this:

The filibuster of judicial nominations is indefensible because it is against an action originating in the co-equal executive branch of government. Just as the President cannot forever choose to do nothing about a bill that comes to his desk, holding it off in perpetuity - he must either sign it or veto it (or let it sit on his desk for 30 days at which time it becomes decided without any direct action on his part), and even should he veto it, the legislature can still override his veto - just so the legislature has no right to carry on this farce of a filibuster.

I think that's an incredibly powerful argument, which should end the debate for any reasonable person. I haven't seen it get much play (actually had never heard it before or since the one post, which I'm trying to find so I can link to give proper credit ETA here is a Weekly Standard piece by Bill Kristol that quotes from the Trinity professor in question, David A. Crockett. Pretty sure this is where I saw it, but also still fairly certain I was directed to it by CQ or another blog) so I thought I'd forward it.

Thankfully it looks like Frist has the votes to end this. And I have an idea to make the Dems look like (bigger) fools when he does...not sure I should talk about it yet, though.

All Politics Being Not Local

Or even national...

Britain's voted today, and there seem to be conflicting reports. Heard Rush say the exit polling doesn't look good at all for Blair, but this yahoo report, filed about an hour or so ago, says Blair is still expected to win by a slim majority (of course that's been the line forever now, so this could just be a lazy regurgitated post)...

As I've said before, Blair's politics differ from my own in a number of ways, but he shares a staggering vision with President Bush, so he has my unequivocal support and I hope he wins.

Starting to knock the blogging rust off, I think/hope. Two days ago's logorrhea seems to have passed, so maybe the next post will actually be something of quality ;-)

ETA some quotes:

the snicker-worthy: "I voted LibDems, because I'm very much against the war in Iraq and against (university) tuition fees," she said.

the interesting: A win would propel Blair into the pantheon of modern British political giants alongside former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who won three successive victories from 1979 to 1987.

Which interests me because Lady Thatcher in many ways planted the seeds for my transformation from pseudo-isolationist to Bush-style idealist, which was something I would have discussed in my post-innaugural piece that never got posted because of my disappearance. I'm still considering posting it anyway, but first I'd have to find it again...

ETA2: perhaps I misunderstood what Rush was saying (I know he used the words "bad for Blair" and "landslide" but maybe he was just refering to a major reduction in Labour's majority. New Yahoo! update predicts a loss of perhaps 50% or more of their lead in seats.

All Politics Being Local

Guess I'll blabber some about the San Antonio Elections. Early voting ended today (author's note: two days ago which was when I actually wrote this, but accidentally "saved as draft" rather than "published post." Because I'm smart like that) , and Honest-to-God Voting Day is the 7th.

The mayor's race has been interesting to say the least. Frontrunner Julian Castro has been embroiled in all types of scandals, from improperly filed finance reports to Twingate which made national news (in case you missed it, he had his brother Joaquin stand in for him on a barge in the river parade during Fiesta). In addition, there seems to be the issue of a phantom push poll, which magically only Castro's campaign manager seemed to get called with (all 40+ questions of it), which he transcribed and then tried to blame the Schubert campaign for attacking the Hardberger campaign with it...but the rub is the Hardberger and Schubert campaign seemed to think the Castro campaign was behind it all (unless they concocted it between the 2 of them to damage Castro's campaign, oh the intrigue...).

And there's also been the debate over the debates - although there are 7 candidates on the ballot, only the leading 3 (the aforementioned Castro, Hardberger, and Schubert) have been allowed in the debates. I ended up voting for one of the other 4; indeed the one I suspect will come in dead last in the voting, but I liked him (as well as the other small 3) better than the big 3. Everett Caldwell got my vote. A 70-year old veteran-turned-farmer. Castro is liberal and I just don't trust him. Hardberger's also much too liberal, though I'd have much more confidence in him running the city. And Schubert's the nominal conservative in the race, but seems to have a rather limited vision. Maybe I'm trusting too much in the characterization of him from what I'm sure are liberal sources, and maybe a narrow vision is appropriate at times, I don't know. But the bottom line is I wasn't happy with any of the big 3.

The top dog among the remainders, Rhett Smith, I also felt uncomfortable with because I felt his campaign statement at the election website was too much pandering to get my Christian vote (but perhaps because he's been kept out of the debates and such, he had to go a little overboard to identify himself). Upon further review, the guy's a jackass, attacking President Bush during his completely unsuccessful attempt to unseat Lamar Smith (R) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Take this quote: "The president hides behind his religious extremism, which is inappropriate at this level of politics" and compare it to his John Kerry Christianity. It's guys like Kerry and Smith that have to keep reminding people of their religious bona-fides - because they only take them out to win votes, they don't live them.

Caldwell's statement hit the right notes in context and substantive terms, noting his support for faith-based initiatives, and his concern with teenage pregnancy rates without pandering. Unlike the lunatic secularist left that likes to portray President Bush as a radical Bible-thumper, I find his approach more consistent with Caldwell's than Smith's. He doesn't just go around yelling "Hey, I'm a Christian!" but in a substantive and thoughtful way lets his faith inform his policy.

In the case of a runoff, I'm sure I'll support Schubert over either Hardberger or Castro, and probably Hardberger over Castro (which is the unfortunate prospect I see myself facing).


The Jade Monkey Reborn!

At long last I have returned. The reasons for my absence are not exciting (mostly, I was lazy, although that was the motivating factor for the extended absence, not the original disappearance which has its blame in illness and a downed internet connection...I missed a lot - Iraqi elections chief among them - and not being able to comment disappointed/soured me somewhat, and so it got easier to not blog. Sadly, that only led to missing more big things, Terri Schiavo, the passing of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI, etc., although I did get to tackle the Nazi Pope meme in ruthless and bone-crunching fashion on a message board I frequent, and I still kept up with most things, so all was not lost. Oh yeah, and my Baylor Lady Bears winning the 2005 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship!), so we'll not go into them ;-). Anyway, as I said, missing so many momentous events was displeasing to me, so I says to myself, 'Self, we're living in momentous times, more will come, so get your arse back in there before you miss anymore, ya bum!'

So, I've been gone like a bride gotten cold feet (it's not so much that I was lazy, but that I was...uhhh...kidnapped, yeah, that's the ticket). But, I've got the bug again. We'll see how long it lasts. It's good to be back.