Thursday, December 30, 2004

Of Tidal Waves 


Sir Edmund Burke: "Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other."

And sometimes, not even then.

The last great tsunami in the Indian Ocean was a century ago. A modern warning system was thought a luxury, when thought of at all. It will now be built.

On Feb. 26, 1993, a group of Iraqis & others bombed the World Trade Center. It may as well have been a century ago.

And it was not just a bombing--they put cyanide in the bomb, hoping to kill additional thousands with poison gas. Five people and a pregnant woman were killed, for a total of seven. The bombers hoped to tumble one building into another, bringing both of them down. Seven murders, seventy thousand attempted murders and a WMD event...and nobody even got the death penalty; Scott Peterson should complain.

Yet we never spoke of "2/26". After all, "only" seven people were killed. Our timorous, sleepy response to 2/26 (and other attacks) made 9/11 inevitable. Mandatory, even. We refused to learn from example.

The War in--and, yes, for--Iraq is no elective war. It is mandatory. Not only that, it was mandatory years and years ago.

The levels of death and destruction that the terrorists intended--and still hope--to inflict on America in 1993 and 2001 are equal in scope to the carnage we now see in South Asia. Forget again at your peril.

Are you "experienced"?

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas... 


...and to all a Good Night!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Taking Stock of the Nuclear Option 

The Framers understood super-majorities:

"And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present." And "...being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives."

They also understood micro-minorities: "...and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal."

Now let's look at the nomination provision:

"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint...Judges of the supreme Court..."

Both treaties and Justices require Advice & Consent--but treaties alone are singled-out for a super-majority vote. Therefore, a Justice's nomination requires only a simple majority vote. I don't see another way to read that.

"But," you say, "the Senate is in charge of its own rules." Let's take a look:

"Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member." (Notice there is yet another, tho' unrelated, specific super-majority requirement in the sentence.)

The Senate may determine the rules of its proceedings, yes--but it may not contradict the Constitution in doing so. And that is exactly what a filibuster on justices does.

The Senate can no more insert a 60-vote super-majority requirement into the Constitution for a Justice's nomination than it could ban Irishmen from the floor during debate (Note to self: insert Teddy Kennedy drunk-joke here).

This is a desperate and odious practice, resorted to by Democrats in recent years only, after it slowly dawned on them they were doomed to permanent minority status by their unpopular ideas. And these aren't even real Strom-Thurmond-peeing-in-a-jug-while-keeping-one-foot-on-the-Senate-floor filibusters.

The Judicial Filibuster--not its abolishment-- IS the Nuclear Option.

Getting rid of this anti-Constitutional monster is merely de-proliferation.

Steyn Is Back... 

...and he's got a License To Krill!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

G.K. Chesterton 


"The mystery of Christmas is in a manner identical with the mystery of Dickens. If ever we adequately explain the one we may adequately explain the other. And indeed, in the treatment of the two, the chronological or historical order must in some degree be remembered. Before we come to the question of what Dickens did for Christmas we must consider the question of what Christmas did for Dickens. How did it happen that this bustling, nineteenth-century man, full of the almost cock-sure common-sense of the utilitarian and liberal epoch, came to associate his name chiefly in literary history with the perpetuation of a half pagan and half Catholic festival which he would certainly have called an antiquity and might easily have called a superstition? Christmas has indeed been celebrated before in English literature; but it had, in the most noticeable cases, been celebrated in connection with that kind of feudalism with which Dickens would have severed his connection with an ignorant and even excessive scorn. Sir Roger de Coverley kept Christmas; but it was a feudal Christmas. Sir Walter Scott sang in praise of Christmas; but it was a feudal Christmas. And Dickens was not only indifferent to the dignity of the old country gentleman or to the genial archæology of Scott; he was even harshly and insolently hostile to it. If Dickens had lived in the neighbourhood of Sir Roger de Coverley he would undoubtedly, like Tom Touchy, have been always "having the law of him." If Dickens had stumbled in among the old armour and quaint folios of Scott's study he would certainly have read his brother novelist a lesson in no measured terms about the futility of thus fumbling in the dust-bins of old oppression and error. So far from Dickens being one of those who like a thing because it is old, he was one of those cruder kind of reformers, in theory at least, who actually dislike a thing because it is old. He was not merely the more righteous kind of Radical who tries to uproot abuses; he was partly also that more suicidal kind of Radical who tries to uproot himself. In theory at any rate, he had no adequate conception of the importance of human tradition; in his time it had been twisted and falsified into the form of an opposition to democracy. In truth, of course, tradition is the most democratic of all things, for tradition is merely a democracy of the dead as well as the living. But Dickens and his special group or generation had no grasp of this permanent position; they had been called to a special war for the righting of special wrongs. In so far as such an institution as Christmas was old, Dickens would even have tended to despise it. He could never have put the matter to himself in the correct way -- that while there are some things whose antiquity does prove that they are dying, there are some other things whose antiquity only proves that they cannot die. If some Radical contemporary and friend of Dickens had happened to say to him that in defending the mince-pies and the mummeries of Christmas he was defending a piece of barbaric and brutal ritualism, doomed to disappear in the light of reason along with the Boy-Bishop and the Lord of Misrule, I am not sure that Dickens (though he was one of the readiest and most rapid masters of reply in history) would have found it very easy upon his own principles to answer. It was by a great ancestral instinct that he defended Christmas; by that sacred sub-consciousness which is called tradition, which some have called a dead thing, but which is really a thing far more living than the intellect. There is a dark kinship and brotherhood of all mankind which is much too deep to be called heredity or to be in any way explained in scientific formulæ; blood is thicker than water and is especially very much thicker than water on the brain. But this unconscious and even automatic quality in Dickens's defence of the Christmas feast, this fact that his defence might almost be called animal rather than mental, though in proper language it should be called merely virile; all this brings us back to the fact that we must begin with the atmosphere of the subject itself. We must not ask Dickens what Christmas is, for with all his heat and eloquence he does not know. Rather we must ask Christmas what Dickens is -- ask how this strange child of Christmas came to be born out of due time.

Dickens devoted his genius in a somewhat special sense to the description of happiness. No other literary man of his eminence has made this central human aim so specially his subject matter. Happiness is a mystery -- generally a momentary mystery -- which seldom stops long enough to submit itself to artistic observation, and which, even when it is habitual, has something about it which renders artistic description almost impossible. There are twenty tiny minor poets who can describe fairly impressively an eternity of agony; there are very few even of the eternal poets who can describe ten minutes of satisfaction. Nevertheless, mankind being half divine is always in love with the impossible, and numberless attempts have been made from the beginning of human literature to describe a real state of felicity. Upon the whole, I think, the most successful have been the most frankly physical and symbolic; the flowers of Eden or the jewels of the New Jerusalem. Many writers, for instance, have called the gold and chrysolite of the Holy City a vulgar lump of jewellery. But when these critics themselves attempt to describe their conceptions of future happiness, it is always some priggish nonsense about "planes," about "cycles of fulfilment," or "spirals of spiritual evolution." Now a cycle is just as much a physical metaphor as a flower of Eden; a spiral is just as much a physical metaphor as a precious stone. But, after all, a garden is a beautiful thing; whereas this is by no means necessarily true of a cycle, as can be seen in the case of a bicycle. A jewel, after all, is a beautiful thing; but this is not necessarily so of a spiral, as can be seen in the case of a corkscrew. Nothing is gained by dropping the old material metaphors, which did hint at heavenly beauty, and adopting other material metaphors which do not even give a hint of earthly beauty. This modern or spiral method of describing indescribable happiness may, I think, be dismissed. Then there has been another method which has been adopted by many men of a very real poetical genius. It was the method of the old pastoral poets like Theocritus. It was in another way that adopted by the elegance and piety of Spenser. It was certainly expressed in the pictures of Watteau; and it had a very sympathetic and even manly expression in modern England in the decorative poetry of William Morris. These men of genius, from Theocritus to Morris, occupied themselves in endeavouring to describe happiness as a state of certain human beings, the atmosphere of a commonwealth, the enduring climate of certain cities or islands. They poured forth treasures of the truest kind of imagination upon describing the happy lives and landscapes of Utopia or Atlantis or the Earthly Paradise. They traced with the most tender accuracy the tracery of its fruit-trees or the glimmering garments of its women; they used every ingenuity of colour or intricate shape to suggest its infinite delight. And what they succeeded in suggesting was always its infinite melancholy. William Morris described the Earthly Paradise in such a way that the only strong emotional note left on the mind was the feeling of how homeless his travellers felt in that alien Elysium; and the reader sympathised with them, feeling that he would prefer not only Elizabethan England but even twentieth-century Camberwell to such a land of shining shadows. Thus literature has almost always failed in endeavouring to describe happiness as a state. Human tradition, human custom and folk-lore (though far more true and reliable than literature as a rule) have not often succeeded in giving quite the correct symbols for a real atmosphere of camaraderie and joy. But here and there the note has been struck with the sudden vibration of the vox humana. In human tradition it has been struck chiefly in the old celebrations of Christmas. In literature it has been struck chiefly in Dickens's Christmas tales.
In the historic celebration of Christmas as it remains from Catholic times in certain northern countries (and it is to be remembered that in Catholic times the northern countries were, if possible, more Catholic than anybody else), there are three qualities which explain, I think, its hold upon the human sense of happiness, especially in such men as Dickens. There are three notes of Christmas, so to speak, which are also notes of happiness, and which the pagans and the Utopians forget. If we state what they are in the case of Christmas, it will be quite sufficiently obvious how important they are in the case of Dickens.

The first quality is what may be called the dramatic quality. The happiness is not a state; it is a crisis. All the old customs surrounding the celebration of the birth of Christ are made by human instinct so as to insist and re-insist upon this crucial quality. Everything is so arranged that the whole household may feel, if possible, as a household does when a child is actually being born in it. The thing is a vigil and a vigil with a definite limit. People sit up at night until they hear the bells ring. Or they try to sleep at night in order to see their presents the next morning. Everywhere there is a limitation, a restraint; at one moment the door is shut, at the moment after it is opened. The hour has come or it has not come; the parcels are undone or they are not undone; there is no evolution of Christmas presents. This sharp and theatrical quality in pleasure, which human instinct and the mother wit of the world has wisely put into the popular celebrations of Christmas, is also a quality which is essential in such romantic literature as Dickens wrote. In romantic literature the hero and heroine must indeed be happy, but they must also be unexpectedly happy. This is the first connecting link between literature and the old religious feast; this is the first connecting link between Dickens and Christmas.

The second element to be found in all such festivity and all such romance is the element which is represented as well as it could be represented by the mere fact that Christmas occurs in the winter. It is the element not merely of contrast, but actually of antagonism. It preserves everything that was best in the merely primitive or pagan view of such ceremonies or such banquets. If we are carousing, at least we are warriors carousing. We hang above us, as it were, the shields and battle-axes with which we must do battle with the giants of the snow and hail. All comfort must be based on discomfort. Man chooses when he wishes to be most joyful the very moment when the whole material universe is most sad. It is this contradiction and mystical defiance which gives a quality of manliness and reality to the old winter feasts which is not characteristic of the sunny felicities of the Earthly Paradise. And this curious element has been carried out even in all the trivial jokes and tasks that have always surrounded such occasions as these. The object of the jovial customs was not to make everything artificially easy: on the contrary, it was rather to make everything artificially difficult. Idealism is not only expressed by shooting an arrow at the stars; the fundamental principle of idealism is also expressed by putting a leg of mutton at the top of a greasy pole. There is in all such observances a quality which can be called only the quality of divine obstruction. For instance, in the game of snapdragon (that admirable occupation) the conception is that raisins taste much nicer if they are brands saved from the burning. About all Christmas things there is something a little nobler, if only nobler in form and theory, than mere comfort; even holly is prickly. It is not hard to see the connection of this kind of historic instinct with a romantic writer like Dickens. The healthy novelist must always play snapdragon with his principal characters; he must always be snatching the hero and heroine like raisins out of the fire.

The third great Christmas element is the element of the grotesque. The grotesque is the natural expression of joy; and all the Utopias and new Edens of the poets fail to give a real impression of enjoyment, very largely because they leave out the grotesque. A man in most modern Utopias cannot really be happy; he is too dignified. A man in Morris's Earthly Paradise cannot really be enjoying himself; he is too decorative. When real human beings have real delights they tend to express them entirely in grotesques -- I might almost say entirely in goblins. On Christmas Eve one may talk about ghosts so long as they are turnip ghosts. But one would not be allowed (I hope, in any decent family) to talk on Christmas Eve about astral bodies. The boar's head of old Yule-time was as grotesque as the donkey's head of Bottom the Weaver. But there is only one set of goblins quite wild enough to express the wild goodwill of Christmas. Those goblins are the characters of Dickens.

Arcadian poets and Arcadian painters have striven to express happiness by means of beautiful figures. Dickens understood that happiness is best expressed by ugly figures. In beauty, perhaps, there is something allied to sadness; certainly there is something akin to joy in the grotesque, nay, in the uncouth. There is something mysteriously associated with happiness not only in the corpulence of Falstaff and the corpulence of Tony Weller, but even in the red nose of Bardolph or the red nose of Mr. Stiggins. A thing of beauty is an inspiration for ever -- a matter of meditation for ever. It is rather a thing of ugliness that is strictly a joy for ever.

All Dickens's books are Christmas books. But this is still truest of his two or three famous Yuletide tales -- The Christmas Carol and The Chimes and The Cricket on the Hearth. Of these The Christmas Carol is beyond comparison the best as well as the most popular. Indeed, Dickens is in so profound and spiritual a sense a popular author that in his case, unlike most others, it can generally be said that the best work is the most popular. It is for Pickwick that he is best known; and upon the whole it is for Pickwick that he is best worth knowing. In any case this superiority of The Christmas Carol makes it convenient for us to take it as an example of the generalisations already made. If we study the very real atmosphere of rejoicing and of riotous charity in The Christmas Carol we shall find that all the three marks I have mentioned are unmistakably visible. The Christmas Carol is a happy story first, because it describes an abrupt and dramatic change. It is not only the story of a conversion, but of a sudden conversion; as sudden as the conversion of a man at a Salvation Army meeting. Popular religion is quite right in insisting on the fact of a crisis in most things. It is true that the man at the Salvation Army meeting would probably be converted from the punch bowl; whereas Scrooge was converted to it. That only means that Scrooge and Dickens represented a higher and more historic Christianity.

Again, The Christmas Carol owes much of its hilarity to our second source -- the fact of its being a tale of winter and of a very wintry winter. There is much about comfort in the story; yet the comfort is never enervating: it is saved from that by a tingle of something bitter and bracing in the weather. Lastly, the story exemplifies throughout the power of the third principle -- the kinship between gaiety and the grotesque. Everybody is happy because nobody is dignified. We have a feeling somehow that Scrooge looked even uglier when he was kind than he had looked when he was cruel. The turkey that Scrooge bought was so fat, says Dickens, that it could never have stood upright. That top-heavy and monstrous bird is a good symbol of the top-heavy happiness of the stories.

It is less profitable to criticise the other two tales in detail because they represent variations on the theme in two directions; and variations that were not, upon the whole, improvements. The Chimes is a monument of Dickens's honourable quality of pugnacity. He could not admire anything, even peace, without wanting to be warlike about it. That was all as it should be."

Food For Thought Police 


Gainesvillesun.com : "Still, many have questioned Hardee’s approach at a time when airlines say America’s growing waistlines are hurting their bottom lines, costing them more in fuel."

Then perhaps airlines should sell their tickets by the pound, just as Hardee's does.

"The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington-based advocate for nutrition and health, dubbed the Thickburgers "food porn", [calling] "the Monster" the "fast-food equivalent of a snuff film."

'Food porn'? No. No, no; THIS is food porn (and there's plenty more where that came from). Let's get our terms straight, shall we?

And who could possibly be against "science", especially in the "public interest"? Well, Beaker, for one.

Besides, the Supreme Court has ruled that snuff films may well constitute "the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life". Fries with that Justice-Burger?

"At a time of rampant heart disease and obesity, it is the height of corporate irresponsibility for a major chain to peddle a 1,420-calorie sandwich," the center said.

Funny; I thought selling ICBM technology to China was 'the height of corporate irresponsibility'--but maybe I was wrong; maybe it IS hamburgers. But wouldn't it also be "the height of corporate irresponsibility" if they sold you two regular burgers instead of just one Monster Burger?

Whatever happened to that, you know, "personal responsibility" thing? It's supposed to come right after that pesky "freedom" thing, isn't it? What's next; warning labels?

Noted Food Critic, George Orwell:

"This kind of thing is by itself sufficient to alienate plenty of decent people. And their instinct is perfectly sound, for the food-crank is by definition a person willing to cut himself off from human society in hopes of adding five years on to the life of his carcass; that is, a person out of touch with common humanity."

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Page 23 


"Even though these pioneers of empire desired to hack out their own destiny without interference, they were repeatedly sucked into wars of Europe's making. Between 1689 and 1815 England and France fought each other seven times--about 60 years of warfare in a period of 126 years. Four of these wars...were waged while the Americans were still colonials. Even today the tourist may visit the dungeons at Nantes, in France, and find carved on the walls the names of Massachusetts fishermen who had been captured during the intercolonial wars. There could hardly be a more forceful reminder that America was then a part of Europe."--A Diplomatic History of the American People, by Thomas A. Bailey, Stanford, 1958.

Armor Hot-Dogs 


...let's talk about some real Americans and what they need to get their job done. First, our panel of experts:

Sgt. Missick at A Line In The Sand:

"One more thing I would like to add is this, not one soldier present asked questions about why we were here, or expressed the sort of anti-war sentiment that Michael Moore led some to believe was prevalent in the military. Rather, the concern was about ensuring we would be supplied with all necessary equipment to accomplish the mission and return home safely. Let there be no doubt, this was not a hostile crowd eager to catch the Secretary of Defense off guard by grilling him with questions he has never had to answer. This was a group of truly admirable American's and patriots, receiving confirmation from the man who controls the Department of Defense, that we have the full fledged moral, financial and logistical support, to accomplish the mission."

2Slick shares this take:

"I have no doubt that one of SPC Wilson's superiors told him to go through a scrap yard to get more vehicle armor. There's nothing wrong with this- resourceful soldiers are always looking to improve on their equipment, weapons, fighting positions, etc. What SPC Wilson might not be aware of (at his level)- is that all vehicles that drive north into Iraq are required to have "level 3" armor protection. If a vehicle does not meet this standard, it will not be driven up north- it will be carried on a flatbed truck. Once in Iraq, armored vehicles are used for driving off post, and unarmored vehicles are used for driving around on post. This policy is put out to each unit's commanders well before the unit even arrives to Kuwait. The leaders are then charged with disseminating this information down to the soldiers. Obviously, this process of "information dissemination" doesn't always happen like it's supposed to- and so we have uninformed soldiers (who think they're going to drive into Iraq in unarmored vehicles) taking shots at our nation's most powerful leaders. It happens all the time, and it's another reason why America is such a unique country. There are many places in this world where a soldier would not survive asking such a question."

FroggyRuminations relates a similar experience:

"The highlight of the session was something that I will remember as one of the coolest moments I have ever witnessed in my life. At the time, the Navy was drawing down post-Gulf War, and there was a 15 year retirement option available to sailors. A Chief stood and told the CNO that his wife, another Chief, had recently died of cancer. He went on to say that he was at 14 years, six months of service and had two chidren at home who were mourning the recent loss of their mother. The Chief said that his unit was scheduled to deploy soon, and that although he had requested to stay home to care for his children, his CO refused and was compelling him to either deploy or leave the Navy. Once again, there was a pall in the room, but this time the air was thick with derision and scorn for a CO that would do such a thing. The CNO once again asked this Chief to point out his CO in the crowd, and with a snap of his fingers he dispatched another aide to start heading in his direction. While the aide was enroute, the CNO said, "Chief, you're retired." The audience immediately erupted with cheers and applause that did not relent for several minutes."

..."It's unfortunate that the MSM was there to record this very common occurrance just so it could be blown out of proportion, but this will be forgotten as soon as the Scott Peterson jury decides to give Scotty the needle."

I won't opine on the politics of this (but if I did, I hope it would sound a lot like Mike's take. heh.)

I just want those who are defending me & mine to have what they need to win and live to tell the tale.


p.s. Want to help?

Holiday Dilemmas Solved! 


How 'bout Buttafly's handy George W. Bush Conspiracy Theory Generator?

Here's a sample:

"George W. Bush had Michael Jackson arrested so that Ann Coulter could conquer The French." In their dreams--Ann's in no mood to do the French any more favors.

And speaking of holidays and conspiracies (they go together like fruitcake and the dumpster behind the 7-11, don't they?), let me just add that Kwanzaa is a Commie plot by seg-guh-gationists to f*** the Black Man out of Christmas.

Thank you.

(via Common Sense & Wonder --not responsible for the contents of this post.)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

He's Mad As A Hatter 


Welcome to Bill "Mr.Mxyzptlk" Moyers' Alternate Reality Show & Retirement Party:

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee. We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."

First, FoxNews is "the biggest story of our time"? Even if you throw in talk radio, the Wall Street Journal, the NYPost and bloggers, that's a stretch. Okay--maybe bloggers.

Secondly, the MSM created Fox by their willful refusal to tell the story straight. Fox's newscast is reasonably spin-free, though certainly their opinion shows tilt right. But even if you disagree, Fox hasn't engaged in manufacturing documents, manipulating photographs and inventing quotes, all of which, and more, have become MSM hallmarks.

And notice his claim that there are only two types of media: a conservative media and a mainstream media; Liberal Media--what Liberal Media? That's the verbal version of the Soviet airbrush.

According to Rev. Bill, if CNN fails to begin each news broadcast by demanding that Don Rumsfeld be publicly drawn and quartered on the White house lawn, then somehow CNN is just an apolitical commercial enterprise. If only.

Having NPR, PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, the NYTimes, the LATimes, the Washington Post, etc. on his side just isn't enough for Moyers. No, what really ticks him off is the fact that conservatives can actually talk back now--Heaven forfend!

Let me suggest, Bill, that if one is losing the Battle of Ideas despite the unrelenting assistance of the MSM, perhaps it is due to the quality of those ideas (and that assistance!)--and not because of a Vast Right-Wing Media Conspiracy.

Slow Onset Bush Dementia (S.O.B.-D.) is an ugly, ugly thing to watch--worse even than the 'Sudden' variety, I think.

Update: Steve H., too, will miss Miss Moyers.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, January 17, 1995

JUSTICE THOMAS, concurring in part and concurring in the judgment.

"I agree with the majority's conclusion that strict scrutiny applies to all government classifications based on race. I write separately, however, to express my disagreement with the premise underlying JUSTICE STEVENS' and JUSTICE GINSBURG's dissents: that there is a racial paternalism exception to the principle of equal protection. I believe that there is a "moral [and] constitutional equivalence," (STEVENS, J., dissenting), between laws designed to subjugate a race and those that distribute benefits on the basis of race in order to foster some current notion of equality. Government cannot make us equal; it can only recognize, respect, and protect us as equal before the law.

That these programs may have been motivated, in part, by good intentions cannot provide refuge from the principle that under our Constitution, the government may not make distinctions on the basis of race. As far as the Constitution is concerned, it is irrelevant whether a government's racial classifications are drawn by those who wish to oppress a race or by those who have a sincere desire to help those thought to be disadvantaged. There can be no doubt that the paternalism that appears to lie at the heart of this program is at war with the principle of inherent equality that underlies and infuses our Constitution. See Declaration of Independence ("We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness").

These programs not only raise grave constitutional questions, they also undermine the moral basis of the equal protection principle. Purchased at the price of immeasurable human suffering, the equal protection principle reflects our Nation's understanding that such classifications ultimately have a destructive impact on the individual and our society. Unquestionably, "[i]nvidious [racial] discrimination is an engine of oppression,". It is also true that "[r]emedial" racial preferences may reflect "a desire to foster equality in society," ibid. But there can be no doubt that racial paternalism and its unintended consequences can be as poisonous and pernicious as any other form of discrimination. So-called "benign" discrimination teaches many that because of chronic and apparently immutable handicaps, minorities cannot compete with them without their patronizing indulgence. Inevitably, such programs engender attitudes of superiority or, alternatively, provoke resentment among those who believe that they have been wronged by the government's use of race. These programs stamp minorities with a badge of inferiority and may cause them to develop dependencies or to adopt an attitude that they are "entitled" to preferences. Indeed, JUSTICE STEVENS once recognized the real harms stemming from seemingly "benign" discrimination. See Fullilove v. Klutznick, (STEVENS, J., dissenting) (noting that "remedial" race legislation "is perceived by many as resting on an assumption that those who are granted this special preference are less qualified in some respect that is identified purely by their race").

In my mind, government-sponsored racial discrimination based on benign prejudice is just as noxious as discrimination inspired by malicious prejudice. [*] In each instance, it is racial discrimination, plain and simple.

* It should be obvious that every racial classification helps, in a narrow sense, some races and hurts others. As to the races benefit-ted, the classification could surely be called "benign." Accordingly, whether a law relying upon racial taxonomy is "benign" or "malign," (GINSBURG, J., dissenting); (STEVENS, J., dissenting) (addressing differences between "invidious" and "benign" discrimination), either turns on "whose ox is gored,'" or on distinctions found only in the eye of the beholder."

Do you find that to be an "embarrassment"? I don't. But Sen. Harry Reid does.

Reid has a funny sense of embarrassment. When Justices cite as dispositive rules written by unelected European bureauracracies--unelected by Europeans, let alone Americans--Reid feels no chagrin. When courts rule that the Constitution allows babies being born to be stabbed with pitchforks, he seems non-plussed. When Justice Kennedy starts quoting Shakespeare to tell society it has no right to stop computer-generated child-porn, no eyebrow is raised. When Sandra Day O'Connor repeatedly adds 2 + 2 and gets 593,186.007, why, that's just Living Math.

But Clarence Thomas is an "embarrassment"?

Reid is no racist in the classical sense, but proceeds from a racist assumption; black people must be liberal or they're illegitimate. He's okay with Scalia; you see, white folks can be either conservative or liberal--but not black folks.

This is also pure politics; Thomas would probably be Chief for many more years, as he is younger than Scalia. And would show black people that there is life after escaping the Gummint plantation. Can't have that.

Harry Reid isn't even fit to fill Tom Daschle's $700 size 5 AA philosophical penny loafers.

And Clarence Thomas is a Constitutional Giant in a land of Lilliputian legislators.

Update: Before I annoint anyone to anything, let me note that William H. Rehnquist is still the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, a true patriot who has spent most of his life in service to our nation. For that, we thank the Chief.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Manufactured News Network Presents  


Our Promise to You: "No Sentence Fragments!"

*Great Leader/Great General/Respected General/Murdering Pig, Kim Jong Il of North Korea has reportedly gone into seclusion, mourning the death of his very favorite concubine. We here at MNN offer our condolences to the Carter family.

*Sen. John Kerry was informed by accountants today that he still had 15 million dollars in his campaign account. In totally unrelated news, close friends say that Kerry is considering proposing marriage to himself.

"John spent a lot of time with himself on the campaign bus this year, and the two of them have grown really fonda' one another," said one friend. "In fact, during the final days of the campaign, John wanted to give a major policy speech in favor of same-self marriage, but his self argued that voters would not understand 'the Love that Dares to Use the Exact Same Name'. John's position was sort of "Who are me to judge?", but his self argued, correctly, I think, that America was still a nation of bigoted sui-phobes, thus saving John from a even more disastrous loss. That shared experience brought them closer together than ever."

Another friend added "John swore he would never work another dinner party from the cabana. I don't think this pending engagement is because he finally has a little money of his own; I think it's a question of 'first-loves'--they never really die, do they?"

Should Kerry pop the question, and his beloved self accept, the happy single/couple is/are expected to split his/their time between residences on The Isle of Man and a vacation efficiency condo in Mirror Lake, New York.

*House Shrinking Minority Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Friday, pledging to work with the Administration. "We've been humiliated once again. We've been chastised by the voters in yet another election cycle. Well, we've heard you, America, and Democrats now stand humbled, and ready to work with President Chimpy McBushitler."

Pelosi, always the astute political observer, also said that it was purely a coincidence that Democrats had lost hundreds of offices since the Clintons took over the party, and that she looked forward to a Hillary! candidacy in '08.

*In Sports News, slugger Barry Bonds raised his hand and testified before a grand jury that he had no idea that his trainer was giving him steroids and Human Growth Hormone. Several jurors expressed some doubt however, given that the hand that Bonds raised was, after all, growing out of his forehead.

*In News News, NBC spokesbabe, Ms. Libby Ruhl-Baez reassured Nightly News viewers that, while it was replacing Tom Brokaw with Brian Williams, the network would continue to occupy its market niche as the "A-Smidge-Less-Nakedly-Biased-Than-The-Other-Networks" network.

"For example, unlike all the other liberals we were considering for the job, Mr. Williams actually has a sense of humor. Why, just the other day, he compared bloggers to "someone in a bathroom with a modem." Now THAT's funny! Anyway, we took that as a contract demand and installed a modem in his private Executive washroom, along with a clause that allows him to appear on-camera in his pajamas," said Ruhl-Baez.

"And he's one of the very few life-long NASCAR fans who believe V-8 engines should be outlawed. Viewers should look for things like Mr. Williams asserting that El Nino is caused by man-made pollution, even though there will be nothing in the report that follows making that claim, let alone proving it."

"In short, our viewers will still be able to get their usual spin--but with only half the guilt! As if liberals needed something else to feel guilty about," she said, somewhat guiltily.

*In Entertainment News, critics have challenged the historical accuracy of Oliver Stone's new movie "Alexander: Queer Eye for the Ancient Guy".

"Dramatic license is one thing," panned movie critic I. L. Seton, "but claiming that Alexander and a shadowy group of Macedonian and Persian advisors killed JFK in order to pursue the Peloponnesian War is, well, it's just wrong. Oliver Stone is a Carpathialogical liar."

*And finally, in Weather News, Hey; it's winter! What did you expect?

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