And they are still 11 games out of first place. They won their eighth game in a row tonight against the Brewers.
If I were a Democrat running for federal office, I'd be making the same points Randy Barnett does. These are spot on criticisms of the Bush administration's approach to the War on Terrorism. While any reasonable person could understand why the Bushies chose the avenue for which Barnett criticizes them, the errors Barnett identifies are perhaps the biggest by this administration on this front.
Alien combatants have no constitutional rights; therefore, they have no constitutional right to be present at trial. On the other hand, protecting the security of the American people — which is what classified information is all about — is the number one obligation of government. So by what law does an al Qaeda killer's purported right to be present outweigh the American people's unquestioned right to have the government protect them (by, for example, not providing the enemy with sensitive intelligence)?
It could only conceivably be Geneva's Common Article 3 — an international law provision the court had to twist beyond recognition to give the enemy its benefit. That fuzzy language talks about providing "judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people." OK, but who says all "civilized people" would opt to elevate a homicidal maniac's right of access to the government's most sensitive information over the government's obligation to protect its citizens by withholding intelligence that may help those trying to kill them do just that?
Many people are opining that Democrats, some of whom are celebrating the Hamdan decision, may rue the day this decision came down. See this from Jonah Goldberg:
Well, here you have Nancy Pelosi saying the decision was not only a "triumph" but that “Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirms the American ideal that all are entitled to the basic guarantees of our justice system."
If you were running for Congress as a Republican, wouldn't you be tempted to run that quote over pictures of the 9/11 hijackers and the World Trade Center crashing down? Hamdan makes national security and terrorism a central issue of the Congressional elections, again.That's good news for the GOP, I think.
Time will tell whether Goldberg's analysis is accurate. The Court has essentially thrown this question to Congress. Now over the next few months expect a debate on what powers Congress should give the president in this arena. I suspect that Congress will essentially give the president everything he wants. Are the Democrats willing to oppose this at price of appearing soft on terrorists? I suspect not. Giving the president wide latitude in prosecuting foreign terrorists is both good policy and good politics.
While Professor Schaff and I have been busy talking about judicial review, our friends at CCK have been attracting attention to themselves. David Newquist posted a note on the site that is reprinted by Mr. Heppler below. I reproduce here two of four paragraphs.
In totalitarian societies, it is a practice to criminalize those who protest by committing acts against cherished symbols. The state rages against the desecraters, while it desecrates the values of freedom, equality, justice.
And if the flag in fact represents what this nation has become under George W. Bush, well do you really want to salute it?
Now I think Professor Newquist gets totalitarianism wrong. Totalitarian symbols are not to be "cherished," they are to be feared. And it is absurd to compare what would happen to someone who defied such a symbol in such a country, and what would happen to a flag-burner in the U.S.
On the other hand, I agree with Professor Schaff (and I assume with Newquist and all the folks at CCK) that an anti-flag burning amendment is a bad idea. I note that both Senator Thune and Senator Johnson voted for the amendment. I do not think that either should be held in contempt for that vote, much less the millions of ordinary Americans who wish to see the flag defended because they love it.
With regard to David's ultimate paragraph, it does strike me as a rhetorical question and as such cannot be taken for a clear statement of his opinion about "what this nation has become." So I think the criticism of him in this and other blogs is a bit unfair.
I don't have a problem with Catholics.
I have a problem with the guys who wear the collar and the fancy robes.
I have absolutely no respect for an organization that looks the other way to sexual molestation for decades and then decides they are going to tell their members to vote "values" or they are going to hell.
One anonymous commentator at SDWC makes this shrewd retort:
I don't have a problem with Jews. I have a problem with the guys who wear the funny prayer shawls and the fancy yarmulkes.
Had Chad said the above, he would be swiftly condemned as an anti-semite. And rightly so. But say the same of Catholics, and it is ok.
Anti-Catholic bigotry is the last acceptable form of religious discrimination. No one would make a movie about evil homosexuals, evil blacks, evil Jews, or evil Muslims, but it is okay to make a movie about evil Catholics (hello, Divinci Code).
Anonymous is surely right about what would happen if the tables were turned, but again I think that this is somewhat unfair. Chad does seem to be directing his criticisms against the Church rather than against Catholics as such, and that is fair game even if his criticism is off the mark.
I am unaccustomed to defending the Daschlistas, so I will relieve the stress by making this comment. I have no problem with any of them as people. I am sure they are fine and patriotic fellows. I do not say the contrary. I do object to their persistent tendency to call virtually anyone who disagrees with them idiots, or scoundrels, or both. And in fact, it is not necessary to disagree with them to get the brush. Here is Chad on yours truly.
One item of note, I see Ken Blanchard -- college professor -- still doesn't know if guaranteed access to pre-school education is a good thing.
Northern State University in Aberdeen must be proud.
Any wavering, any sign of doubt, any insufficient cheering of the party line, that is something to be ashamed of. Can one believe that a college professor actually questions whether an extraordinarily expensive social program is really worth the cost? It is an interesting view of higher education that the Daschlistas apparently hold. No doubt when they are in charge all public university professors will hold exactly the right views. Tom Daschle must be proud.
Opposition to the abortion ban has gotten Pine Ridge tribal chair Cecelia Fire Thunder impeached. Rapid City Journal reports:
The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council voted 9-5 Thursday to impeach the tribal president for proposing an abortion clinic on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Cecelia Fire Thunder survived two earlier attempts to remove her from office since she was elected in November 2004 as the tribe's first female president.
This time, the issue was over South Dakota's new abortion ban that does not include exceptions for rape or incest.
After Gov. Mike Rounds signed the bill, Fire Thunder vowed to work to open a Planned Parenthood clinic on the reservation, beyond the reach of state law.
Will Peters, a tribal council member who filed the impeachment complaint, said Fire Thunder didn't have the tribal council's approval to pursue the project.
"The bottom line is the Lakota people were adamantly opposed to abortion on our homelands. The president was involved in unauthorized political actions," he said after the vote, which came after two hours of private deliberation.
For a full story, see Friday's Rapid City Journal
From the Minot Daily News:
Three nuclear protesters arrested Tuesday at a Minuteman III missile launch facility west of Garrison when they unlawfully entered the area, remain in the McLean County Jail in Washburn Wednesday.
The three, Greg Boertje-Obed, 51, and Michael Walli, 57, both military veterans from Duluth, Minn., and Carl Kabat, 72, a retired priest from St. Louis, made their initial appearance in Washburn Wednesday afternoon before South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick.
McLean County Sheriff Don Charging said the three are being charged with criminal trespass and criminal mischief, both Class A misdemeanors, and bond was set at $500 each. He said the FBI is involved in the case and federal charges are pending.
On Wednesday, Col. Sandra Finan, commander of the 91st Space Wing at Minot AFB held a news conference for local media regarding the incident at the missile site.
The space wing operates, maintains and controls 150 Minuteman III missiles in underground launch facilities in northwest and north-central North Dakota.
The missile site that the three men entered is located about 30 miles west of Garrison and just northwest of the White Shield community in McLean County. The site is about 75 miles southwest of Minot AFB.
Finan said the three individuals unlawfully entered the Echo-9 missile launch facility at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.
“The individuals used bolt cutters (to cut the lock) to gain access to the site. Once inside, they attempted to destroy government property using hammers and by posting graffiti,” Finan said. More specifically, she said they “took a hammer and beat on some of the external components, then they sprayed graffiti in several different locations and hung some signs.”
Michelle Malkin has more.
After the resignation of Sioux Falls city councilor Darrin Smith, the city
council must choose a person to take his place. Joel Rosenthal is advocating
Also, a reader has sent this analysis of the city council situation:
The Argus Leader reported today (6-27-06) that Michelle Erpenbach is being considered for appointment to the Sioux Falls City Council recently vacated. She is the wife of long-time Daschle operative and state director Steve Erpenbach, who also used to be an Argus Leader reporter. Erpenbach is being supported by Councilor Vernon Brown, who was supported for Mayor by Steve Erpenbach, according to the April 2nd Argus Leader. The same day, the Argus reported that Steve Erpenbach was a donor to Vernon Brown, who is now promoting Michelle Erpenbach be appointed to the city council. Now that the council is rid of Daschle operatives like Darrin Smith and Howes, why they'd want to bring back more partisanship seems crazy.
Here is one of those stories that confirms what you always suspected. From the Wall Street Journal:
In this year's summer show at London's Royal Academy of Arts, "Exhibit 1201" is a large rectangular tablet of slate with a tiny barbell-shaped bit of boxwood on top. Its creator, David Hensel, must be pleased to have been selected from among some 9,000 applicants for the world's largest open-submission exhibit of contemporary art. Nevertheless, he was bemused to discover that in transit his sculpture had gotten separated from its base. Judging the two components as different submissions, the Royal Academy had rejected his artwork proper--a finely wrought laughing head in jesmonite--and selected the plinth. "It says something about the state of visual arts today," said Mr. Hensel. He didn't say what. He didn't need to.
In other words, a sculpture produces a "finely wrought laughing head," and puts it on a wooden base. In transit to the judges, the sculpture is separated from the base. The judges think they are looking at two works of art, reject the actual scupture and award the base it was supposed to rest on.
Anyone belonging to London's Royal Academy of Arts is entitled to citizenship in the Confederacy of Morons.
SD War College is making the point that some "Republicans" who are changing party were never really Republicans to begin with, but only pretended they were so they could get elected in Republican-leaning South Dakota:
They're choosing to leave the tent because they know there's no way they could have gotten elected by running as a Democrat. So, they simply discarded that "D" letter behind their names which rendered them unelectable and ran as an "R" (while still holding the same views) only while it suited their need to be in office. Now that the election is lost, they can quit pretending.
Josh Trevino explores the historical parallel between the "netroots" and the John Birchers.
The American left today is not quite in the position of the American right circa 1960. But it is suffering nonetheless, having been in slow decline for the past quarter-century. Even when it wins the Presidency, it loses the Congress: and even when the President is the inept, uncommunicative George W. Bush, it still cannot make a dent in the ascendancy of its enemies. The end result of this is a group of Americans, identifying as members of the left, that is strikingly similar to the conservative movement of a generation past: inchoate, angry, and prone to “irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.”
Be sure to give the whole thing a read.
Russia is getting serious on terrorism: "President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's special services to hunt down and 'destroy' the killers of four Russian diplomats in Iraq, the Kremlin said."
Rep. John Murtha (D.-Pa.) appears to be suffering "Daschle-itis," a figurative disease which makes entrenched incumbents become national celebrities and, in the process, risk alienating the voters that put them in office.
Since seizing his party's anti-war mantle, Murtha has become a great draw for Democratic fundraisers, helping his party boost its prospects for a congressional takeover. Naturally, this helps his party-leadership bid as well.
But at the same time, his outspokenness made him a huge target for the Internet right. His district went for John Kerry with only 51% in 2004. What originally seemed like a long-shot bid by Diana Irey (R.) to unseat Murtha has taken on new credibility as she raises money from the Internet and as Murtha makes more and more outrageous statements.
David Newquist, Democratic candidate for the state legislature, questions whether the American flag is even worth saluting anymore:
A flag is a symbol. It symbolizes our history, our aspirations, our values. Of course it is upsetting to see someone desecrate our national symbol. But the Bush administration would like to get the nation in a raging furor, while it quietly erodes, undermines, and desecrates our Constitutional rights and protections.
When the New York Times published a story on tapping into international financial transactions, the Bushites railed that the newspaper was endangering the nation and that the 3,000 people killed during 9/11 were being violated. Of course, they never mention the 2,500 of our finest troops sent to slaughter in a war that the Bush administration cannot find a reason for.
In totalitarian societies, it is a practice to criminalize those who protest by committing acts against cherished symbols. The state rages against the desecraters, while it desecrates the values of freedom, equality, justice.
And if the flag in fact represents what this nation has become under George W. Bush, well do you really want to salute it?
Both South Dakota Senators voted for the flag amendment yesterday. The Supreme Court of course some years ago ruled that burning the U.S. flag is protected under the First Amendment. There is the adolescent "who are you to tell me what to do" argument against the amendment by folks such as Ryan Sager over at RCP. But of course we have all sorts of limitations on speech rights (e.g., defamation, "fighting words," time, place and manner restrictions, etc.). It is not nuts to say that a nation has the right to protect its sacred symbols from desecration. At the same time I think the First Amendment gives very broad protections to political expression. So, I find myself agnostic as to whether flag burning is protected by the Constitution. I see solid arguments on both sides. But until there is a rash of flag burnings that undermine public order, I don't see a need to amend to Constitution.
Prof. Blanchard and I took advantage of a special offer here in Boise, and if the theater manager was correct, we were among the first people in the nation to see Superman Returns tonight. I can give it an enthusiastic thumbs up, and I believe Prof. Blanchard agrees with me. The characters are by and large well developed (certainly the Man of Steel is) and the story line, while having some holes, is quite compelling. The film has a nice blend of character, action, and humor. It is a surprisingly funny movie. I have my quibbles with the film (e.g., it could have used one more round of editing) overall it is a fine superhero film, perhaps just one notch down from the Spiderman films. Go see Superman Returns.
Update: PP has seen Superman. I also saw Cars last week and give it a hardy endorsement.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works says the Associated Press report of Al Gore's new movie "raises some serious questions about AP's bias and methodology" and takes them to task for claiming that scientists have applauded Gore's movie. Excerpt:
The June 27, 2006 Associated Press (AP) article titled “Scientists OK Gore’s Movie for Accuracy” by Seth Borenstein raises some serious questions about AP’s bias and methodology.
AP chose to ignore the scores of scientists who have harshly criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”
In the interest of full disclosure, the AP should release the names of the “more than 100 top climate researchers” they attempted to contact to review “An Inconvenient Truth.” AP should also name all 19 scientists who gave Gore “five stars for accuracy.” AP claims 19 scientists viewed Gore’s movie, but it only quotes five of them in its article. AP should also release the names of the so-called scientific “skeptics” they claim to have contacted.
The AP article quotes Robert Correll, the chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment group. It appears from the article that Correll has a personal relationship with Gore, having viewed the film at a private screening at the invitation of the former Vice President. In addition, Correll’s reported links as an “affiliate” of a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that provides “expert testimony” in trials and his reported sponsorship by the left-leaning Packard Foundation, were not disclosed by AP. See https://www.junkscience.com/feb06.htm
The AP also chose to ignore Gore’s reliance on the now-discredited “hockey stick” by Dr. Michael Mann, which claims that temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere remained relatively stable over 900 years, then spiked upward in the 20th century, and that the 1990’s were the warmest decade in at least 1000 years. Last week’s National Academy of Sciences report dispelled Mann’s often cited claims by reaffirming the existence of both the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. See Senator Inhofe’s statement on the broken “Hockey Stick.”
Gore’s claim that global warming is causing the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro to disappear has also been debunked by scientific reports. For example, a 2004 study in the journal Nature makes clear that Kilimanjaro is experiencing less snowfall because there’s less moisture in the air due to deforestation around Kilimanjaro.
From today's edition of my hometown paper:
With both South Dakota political conventions now in the book, voters can step back and seriously begin taking stock before casting their ballots in November.
One of the biggest surprises, and disappointments, of the weekend was the Democratic Party’s failure to come up with candidates for major constitutional offices. The party of Herseth and Kneip (the last two elected Democratic governors) failed to nominate candidates for state treasurer, state auditor and secretary of state. That’s simply unacceptable.
The Democratic nominee for governor, Jack Billion, is likely the strongest the party could put forward. He’s smart, experienced and personable. But he’s a long shot, at best. His choice of a virtual unknown as his running mate, Eric Abrahamson of Rapid City, was questionable, as was his premise that Gov. Mike Rounds has taken the state in the wrong direction.
Billion also has cited “family values” as a campaign topic and if that includes the abortion issue, our view is that it cuts both ways. As local delegate Dave Mitchell said to his fellow Democrats over the weekend in Huron: “There is no consensus in our party on this issue. We’re divided right down the middle.”
Still, Billion could resonate with voters if he offers some practical solutions to low pay, not only for teachers, but for employees in general, and provides a plan that would foster economic development in out-state South Dakota, which largely has been left behind as the Black Hills and I-29 corridors prosper.
Republicans have their own problems. Pro-abortion advocates are doing their best to tag the GOP with an “extremist” label, and PUC Commissioner Bob Sahr’s decision to not seek re-election because of unspecified and unproven accusations left a bad taste all around. Sahr insisted he could refute the rumors. He should have — and stayed on the ticket.
With July 4 coming up fast, voters will have four months to get up to speed. Given that the ballot will be laden with all sorts of issues, in addition to the candidates, we all will have to pay close attention.
It looks like Ward Churchill is being fired, very slowly, by Colorado U. From the Denver Post:
Churchill's half-baked opinions gave him national notoriety and sent local politicians into fits. But it was academic misconduct, not unpopular speech, that did him in at CU. It's important to note, as DiStefano did Monday, that Churchill is not being dismissed for his contempt for the Sept. 11 victims, whom he compared to little Eichmanns.
CU officials understood from the beginning that Churchill should not be punished for challenging public opinion, no matter how tempting it may have been.
"Faculty members from this institution and others across the country enjoy the freedom of expression that is the foundation of what they do in their scholarly pursuits," DiStefano said. "A university is a marketplace of ideas - a place where controversy is no stranger and opinionated discourse is applauded." Significantly he noted that the right to academic freedom was not in question in Churchill's case.
Earlier this month, a majority of CU's research misconduct committee called for Churchill's dismissal, agreeing with an investigatory group that concluded the ethnic studies professor intentionally falsified research, plagiarized and ghost-wrote articles that he used as references to prop up his own shoddy research. The review panels wisely separated unpopular speech, a protected right, from academic malfeasance, which isn't protected.
And that is exactly what ought to happen. One wonders when the Daschlistas over at CCK will catch up with the Denver Post.
A few years back there was talk of brining a turkey processing plant to Aberdeen. For lots of reasons the plant went to Huron. Now there is talk of a beef processing plant in town. That would go along witht he Super Wal-Mart and, I understand, an expanded Target. Some voices in Aberdeen once again are complaining about the price of progress. The same people probably complain about the exodus of young people from our area. I say bring on the new businesses and opportunities. A solid economy is built on a firm foundtion. No one thinks these kinds of ventures are where an economy should end, but they might be where an economy starts.
Why support Joe Lieberman for Senate? Because Barbara Streisand is supporting the other guy. It is clear that Ned Lamont is a true man of the people:
Lieberman is facing the toughest challenge he's had since wining his Senate seat in 1988, a Greenwich millionaire cable company executive named Ned Lamont who is tapping into an anger from both local and national Democrats at Lieberman for taking positions at odds with the Democrat orthodoxy. The liberal blogosphere has made defeating Lieberman one of its chief causes of 2006, poring in thousands of dollars to Lamont's campaign and constantly bashing Lieberman, especially for his fervent support of the Iraq War and standing as the strongest Democratic supporter of President Bush's policies there. Even celebrity Democratic supporters, like George Soros and Barbra Streisand, have donated to Lamont's campaign.
Rural Bruce resident Larry Rudebusch, 45, said today that he is campaigning as the Libertarian Party's candidate for South Dakota's at-large seat in the U. S. House of Representatives.
In a news release this morning, the family farm operator announced his campaign theme: "It's Time to Work the Problem." Explaining further, Rudebusch said his campaign "will focus on the single factor which has been identified from history to be the root cause of the serious problems facing South Dakota and this nation. That single factor is this nation's monetary system."
Putting the nation's public and private debt at more than $26 trillion total, Rudebusch cited the need for "monetary reform to restore public control over the nation's money supply," adding that "it is imperative that this nation stop using bank debt in place of real money. History teaches that this is the only way to reduce our debt and tax burdens and end financial dependence on government."
He also noted that through public control over the nation's money supply, "the six-decades long farm crisis can be brought to an end."
HT to SD War College.
Did you know that South Dakota Republicans are a "bunch of Nazis" and "facist" [sic]? That according to a Democrat reader of Clean Cut Kid. For more on the left's constant use and abuse of comparisons to fascism, see this which notes how the editor of Harper's compared Trent Lott to "Reichsmarshall Hermann Goring" and thinks the war in Iraq was a "test market for a reconfigured American political idea matched to Benito Mussolini's definition of fascism." Of course, you cannot forget this comment from the editor of South Dakota's biggest newspaper:
"If Hitler were alive today, he'd have his own blog."
A delegate to the South Dakota Democratic convention says that Todd Epp, press secretary to Governor candidate Jack Billion, was "browbeating and pressuring delegates" last weekend at the Democratic convention in Huron:
I would like to remind Mr Epp that after it approved the "Unity Resolution," the Democratic Convention also approved stronger language regarding the same issue. And this happened even after Mr Epp and other political operatives had spent the better part of two days browbeating and pressuring delegates to vote his way.
What Mr Epp mischaracterizes as "a few Democrats" was in fact the majority. Regarding a vote on the issue, Mr Epp challenged us to bring it on, if we had the votes. Guess what: We did, and we got a stronger resolution to accompany the "Unity Resolution"--although it would have been preferable to have debated the issue more openly and honestly, instead of being treated like a rubber-stamp Duma for the party elite. And while it wasn't as forceful a statement as many of us would have liked, it was much stronger than Mr Epp would have endorsed--so perhaps he ought to be less smug when taunting us lowly rank and file members of the party. From his lofty perch we may appear to be merely the Great Unwashed, but we're the dedicated workers his candidate needs in order to win. He might win a few more people to his cause if he avoided flipping us the rhetorical bird at every opportunity.
CU Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano has announced his decision to dismiss Ward Churchill after an investigation exposing academic fraud:
I have carefully reviewed the Report of the Investigative Committee, Professor Churchill’s responses to the Committee, and the Recommendations of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct. I have met with and obtained the separate input of Provost Susan Avery and Todd Gleeson, the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. I met with Professor Churchill and his attorney, David Lane. After conducting the due diligence I felt was necessary, I have come to a decision regarding the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct pertaining to Professor Ward Churchill. Today, I issued to Professor Churchill a notice of intent to dismiss him from his faculty position at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
The Ward Churchill case as been interesting to follow. I've agreed with Steve Bainbridge and Glenn Reynolds who both think he shouldn't be canned but rather rigorously criticized because of his screed praising the deaths of the 9/11 victims (This line applauds the deaths: "If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it"). Bainbridge wrote:
This is one of those occasions when those of us on the right need to suck it up and echo the line famously attributed to Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." We do not remain true to our values if we are willing to say "free speech for me, but not for thee," even if that is what Churchill likely would say if the shoe were on the other foot.
He's right. If we start firing the Ward Churchill's of the academic sphere for speech, than there is nothing holding the left-wing faculties back from firing right-wing professors for much less offensive statements. Protecting Churchill from termination for his speech is good principle and good practice.
But this all speaks to his views and comments about September 11. The charges of academic fraud (pdf alert) and falsifying his ethnic background take this discussion of termination to a new realm. He lied about his scholarship and his racial affiliation in an attempt to build credibility as a scholar and public intellectual speaking on the behalf of American Indians. With this being the case, he ought to be disciplined or fired. A lot of this reminds many historians, including myself, about the Joseph Ellis affair a few years ago at Mount Holyoke. Ellis is the author of several books about the Founders, but fabricated the fact that he was a high school football hero, a paratrooper in Vietnam, and embellished his role in the civil rights and antiwar movements. He was suspended from Mount Holyoke for a year without pay and stripped of his endowed chair. Check out Peter Hoffer's Past Imperfect which covers the controversy. Of course, none of this really misinformed his students on important historical events, but he was rightly disciplined for reprehensible behavior in a scholar.
The same standard must apply to Ward Churchill, which DiStefano has decided is the correct path. It would seem to me that the charges against Churchill are much more serious than those brought against Ellis (Ellis is a Pulitzer Prize winner and a first-rate historian, with no charges of plagiarism on his record but does share a fabricated background). As I stated above, this standard must apply across the board regardless of a professor's viewpoints since academic dishonesty is culpable whether it's done by left-wing or right-wing ideologues.
BILL KELLER ISN'T VERY BRIGHT, or else he thinks you aren't. How else to explain this passage in his apologia for the Times' publication of classified information about the terrorist financial surveillance program:
Some of the incoming mail quotes the angry words of conservative bloggers and TV or radio pundits who say that drawing attention to the government's anti-terror measures is unpatriotic and dangerous. (I could ask, if that's the case, why they are drawing so much attention to the story themselves by yelling about it on the airwaves and the Internet.)
I realize that the Times' circulation is falling at an alarming rate, but it hasn't yet reached such a pass that its stories are only noticed when Rush Limbaugh mentions them.
A deeper error is Keller's characterization of freedom of the press as an institutional privilege, an error that is a manifestation of the hubris that has marked the NYT of late. Keller writes: "It's an unusual and powerful thing, this freedom that our founders gave to the press. . . . The power that has been given us is not something to be taken lightly."
The founders gave freedom of the press to the people, they didn't give freedom to the press. Keller positions himself as some sort of Constitutional High Priest, when in fact the "freedom of the press" the Framers described was also called "freedom in the use of the press." It's the freedom to publish, a freedom that belongs to everyone in equal portions, not a special privilege for the media industry. (A bit more on this topic can be found here.)
Characterizing the freedom this way, of course, makes much of Keller's piece look like, well, just what it is -- arrogant and self-justificatory posturing. To quote Keller: "Forgive me, I know this is pretty elementary stuff — but it's the kind of elementary context that sometimes gets lost in the heat of strong disagreements."
Or institutional self-importance. As Hugh Hewitt observes, at the conclusion to a much lengthier critique: "He doesn't have any defense other than his position as editor of a once great newspaper."
And the Constitution does not permit titles of nobility.
UPDATE: Austin Bay comments: "The Times, apparently, told the story because it could and because it thinks it can get away with it."
Following the Republican convention in Watertown this weekend, Bruce Whalen is busy looking for more money and greater name recognition. Rapid City Journal excerpt:
Fresh from a feel-good weekend at the South Dakota Republican state convention in Watertown, U.S. House candidate Bruce Whalen of Pine Ridge is hunting for more than a pat on the back from party faithful this week.
He needs money, too.
The GOP challenger to incumbent Democratic Rep. Stephanie Herseth is trying to reach a $75,000 fund-raising target set a month ago by U.S. Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Reynolds told Whalen and his campaign manager Lee Breard to raise $75,000 by June 30 and to expect some matching money from the NRCC if they did. As of Sunday, the campaign had reached $55,000, Breard said.
Even as the venerable Wall Street Journal indicts ethanol for contributing to $3 gasoline, South Dakota's senators have joined Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa in sponsoring an amendment to the Clean Air Act that would require the country to use more of it.
South Dakota Sens. Tim Johnson and John Thune, along with Herseth, are backing federal efforts to prod the nation to continue to ramp up use of ethanol and other renewable fuels.
Johnson, a Democrat, and Thune, a Republican, are among four co-sponsors of Grassley's Clean Air Act amendment, labeled the 10 By 10 Act.
Introduced in the Senate last week, it would require 10 percent of the nation's fuel to come from renewable sources by 2010.
Herseth co-sponsored similar legislation in the House last year.
Such a requirement would demand about 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually, according to Johnson. By the end of next year, domestic production should reach about 7 billion gallons.
South Dakota's share of that will be between 800 and 900 million gallons per year, Broin said. Yet this year, the state will have 13 ethanol plants capable of producing about 670 million gallons, and additional construction and plant expansion is planned.
I cannot help but feel a sense of irony when [Stephanie Herseth] says that "Republican officeholders have run roughshod for too long in Washington and Pierre" in an election where they failed to field candidates for half of the constitutional offices. In fact, in an observation noted to me yesterday, South Dakota Democrats have to be coming off of this convention feeling pretty bad. Because with they've now been consigned to third party status after the Libertarians fielded more constitutional office candidates than they did.
Isn't it just like a Democrat to blame everyone but themselves for their woes?
Are Republicans stingy but principled while Democrats are generous but racist?
"I wouldn't put it quite so starkly," said Stanford University professor Shanto Iyengar. He would prefer to call Democrats "less principled" rather than bigoted, based on his analysis of data collected in a recent online experiment that he conducted with The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com.
As reported in this column a few weeks ago, the study found that people were less likely to give extended aid to black Hurricane Katrina victims than to white ones. The race penalty, on average, totaled about $1,000 per black victim.
As Iyengar and his colleagues subsequently dug deeper into these data, another finding emerged: Republicans consistently gave less aid, and gave over a shorter period of time, to victims regardless of race.
Democrats and independents were far more generous; on average, they gave Katrina victims on average more than $1,500 a month, compared with $1,200 for Republicans, and for 13 months instead of nine.
But for Democrats, race mattered -- and in a disturbing way. Overall, Democrats were willing to give whites about $1,500 more than they chose to give to a black or other minority. (Even with this race penalty, Democrats still were willing to give more to blacks than those principled Republicans.) "Republicans are likely to be more stringent, both in terms of money and time, Iyengar said. "However, their position is 'principled' in the sense that it stems from a strong belief in individualism (as opposed to handouts). Thus their responses to the assistance questions are relatively invariant across the different media conditions. Independents and Democrats, on the other hand, are more likely to be affected by racial cues."
To test the effects of race, participants in the study were asked to read a news article about Katrina victims. Some read a story featuring a white person. Some read identical stories -- except the victim was black, Asian or Hispanic. Then they were asked how much assistance they think the government should give to help hurricane victims. Approximately 2,300 people participated in the study.
Iyengar said he's not surprised by the latest findings: "This pattern of results matches perfectly an earlier study I did on race and crime" with Franklin D. Gilliam Jr. of UCLA. "Republicans supported tough treatment of criminals no matter what they encountered in the news. Others were more elastic in their position, coming to support more harsh measures when the criminal suspect they encountered was non-white."
Maybe there is one advantage in being stingy: the only color that makes a difference is green. There's not enough here to put much weight on, but it should not be ignored.
The Twins are eleven and one in their last twelve games. Boof Bonser pitched 61/3 innings against the Cubs tonight, and all three Minnesota runs were driven in by the bottom of the order. Stick pins in the knees and elbows of some voodoo dolls wearing Chicago and Detroit uniforms, and hope.
I beat Schaff to this one.
BY NOW IT'S UNDENIABLE: The New York Times is a national security threat. So drunk is it on its own power and so antagonistic to the Bush administration that it will expose every classified antiterror program it finds out about, no matter how legal the program, how carefully crafted to safeguard civil liberties, or how vital to protecting American lives.
Read the rest. Here's the original Times article entitled "Bank Data Secretly Reviewed by U.S. to Fight Terror." Let us imagine that this were World War II and the New York Times ran the headline "Communications Secretly Reviewed by Allies to Fight Nazis" (referring to the Ultra intercepts) or detailed the Normandy landings the day before the invasion, as Jay Reding has written about. The consequences of printing such a story are obvious. The Ultra program allowed the Allies to target U-boats, was distributed to field commanders like Patton to aid in the ground war, helped the British learn of invasion points of Operation Sealion, among countless other victories. None of this would have been possible if the Germans had known the Allies compromised their communications.
The same is true for the current war. Inhibiting the federal government's ability to fight this war creates a far more dangerous situation for the United States. The Times doesn't care about our national security or the public interest. To them, compromising national security is merely a way to sell more papers. The Department of Justice and the Attorney General have a duty to ensure that Bill Keller, Eric Lichtblau, James Risen, and the Times are held responsible for revealing classified information and until this is done--until journalists realize they're not above the law--no classified information is safe from publication.
UPDATE: Milblogger Sergeant T. F. Boggs writes a letter to the Times: "Thank you for continually contributing to the deaths of my fellow soldiers."
The Republican convention in Watertown today has announced a new candidate for Public Utilities Commissioner to replace the vacant spot left by Bob Sahr, who stepped down after Dave Kranz and the Argus Leader ran rumors-as-news stories. Associated Press excerpt:
State Sen. John Koskan of Wood was nominated Saturday by the Republican Party to run for a seat on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
Delegates to the Republican State Convention voted unanimously to nominate Koskan after state Rep. Tim Rounds, R-Pierre, withdrew from the race.
Interest in the PUC nomination arose after Bob Sahr, a Republican who is one of the three current commissioners, made a surprise announcement earlier in the week that he would not seek re-election. Sahr said his decision was prompted by what he called untrue rumors being spread about him, and he said he could not run a campaign at the same time he fought the unspecified rumors.
The PUC nomination was the only contested race at the GOP convention. Candidates for all other state offices were unopposed.
The New York Times looks at a new encyclopedia of conservatism. Excerpt:
It has red states and blond pundits; home schoolers and The Human Life Review; originalists, monetarists, federalists and evangelists; and no shortage of people named Kristol.
Now American conservatism can claim another mark of distinction: an encyclopedia all its own.
It is a big deal, in terms literal — 997 pages — and metaphorical. Few insults have stung the movement's thinkers as much as the barb from Lionel Trilling, the literary critic, who said conservatives had no ideas, "just irritable mental gestures."
A half-century later, 251 contributors have weighed in, not so irritably, with a four-pound response.
Representative Herseth gets hammered in today's Argus Leader for being a "rat fink":
It's interesting that when the Taliban Republicans call for a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage is between a man and a woman, Rep. Stephanie Herseth supports the President. Herseth seldom disagrees with the Republican ideology, if it risks winning re-election.
Real Democrats (like the ones who vote) should stop supporting Herseth and send a clear message to the South Dakota party hacks that rat finks pretending to be Democrats aren't acceptable. Don't vote for Herseth.
She supported the budget-busting war that brings kids home in body bags, she's done nothing about the deficit spending and she supports the bloated defense budget. What in the world do Democratic voters see in this loser? There's nothing in her voting record that resembles the Democratic agenda.
Bill R. Thomas
I am in Idaho, but a couple people who are in Watertown for the GOP convention email me that there is talk that as soon as there is an opening on the South Dakota Supreme Court Gov. Rounds will appoint former attorney general Mark Barnett, who of course challenged Rounds for the gubernatorial nomination in 2002. I guess there is also talk that federal judge Charles Korneman from Aberdeen may be retiring.
This AEI piece from Jay Greene attempts to explode certain myths about education. The main myth he explodes is that schools would be better if they had more money. Greene points out that in inflation adjusted dollars we spend far more than we did 50, 40, even 30 years ago while educational attainment has, at best, flat lined. Indeed, I have seen countless studies that show that the longer students are in our educational system the worse they perform compared to their counterparts in other industrialized nations.
Greene is a bit naive when it comes to teacher pay. While, as a rule, the "teachers are underpaid" claim is an exaggeration (with exceptions), Greene tends to under-appreciate how much teachers work both during the school year and during the summer. For example, the "students" Prof. Blanchard and I will be teaching next week are actually teachers who are gaining professional development hours (and, of course, knowledge more valuable than gold).
An emailer to SDP a while back asked me to develop my claim that our education problems are with curriculum, not money. Let me address that here:
Curriculum: I know more about government and history than any other area. Text books tend to emphasize politically correct history over hard facts (see Diane Ravitch's book). We all know that History is more than names and dates. But it is not less than names and dates. When the majority of our 11th graders can't place the Civil War in the correct half century (I am not making up this statistic), then exploring the "context" of the war is fruitless. There is a controversy in Math over whether the important thing is to get the right answer (new math) or learning how to get the answer (old math). A college friend who has a PhD. in Math tells me that the problem with college students is precisely that they don't know how numbers work, therefore they cannot do high level mathematics. Their K-12 education emphasized getting the right answer over learning how math works. I also include here the idea that it is the school's job to serve as a social service agency. In South Dakota's last legislative session there was much debate over what the schools should teach about sex. I have an answer: nothing, outside of biology. We have students who cannot read, write or do math at a high enough level. They are also historically ignorant. How about we remedy those issues before they learn anything about either condoms or abstinence?
I do not claim this is the only problem in our education system. I would include low standards, teacher preparation, and federal bureaucracy as other problems.
Update: I suggest the people who filed suit read the Jay Greene article. Also, if you think education in South Dakota is underfunded (and you may have a point), I suggest a novel tactic: convince your fellow citizens. Filing suit is a gimmick and a waste of valuable resources.
The first rule of holes, when you're stuck in one, stop digging, went woefully unapplied recently in Montclair, California, just shy of where I used to live. From USAToday:
A homeowner digging for gold in his front yard said he got "carried away" and ended up with a 60-foot-deep hole, authorities said.
Henry Mora, 63, began digging 10 days ago after his gold detector reported a positive hit near his front patio. He told authorities he only intended to go down three or four feet. "I figured, well, maybe there's something down there — you would logically conclude, right? So I started digging," the semiretired musician said.
Fire officials called to the scene Tuesday found two men that Mora hired were inside the hole, using a bucket and rope to remove dirt.
If Mr. Mora is looking for gainful employment, he could do well to apply as an adviser to Senator and one time presidential hopeful John Kerry. That spry prospector is still sending up buckets of dirt in search of a winning position on Iraq. The most recent bucket spilled out a proposal for leaving Iraq within a year. Powerline reports the result:
By a decisive 86-13 vote, the U.S. Senate today rejected John Kerry's proposal for a complete withdrawal from Iraq by July 1 of next year--a completely arbitrary date that replaced the equally arbitrary date in Kerry's last proposal, December 31, 2006.
Just how deep a hole Kerry has dug himself into may be judged from this article by Kate Zernike, in the New York Times:
Mr. Kerry has found his resolve. But it has not made his fellow Democrats any happier. They fear the latest evolution of Mr. Kerry's views on Iraq may now complicate their hopes of taking back a majority in Congress in 2006. . . .
Mr. Kerry now describes the war in Iraq as a mistake, even though he once supported it. His critics say they believe the new stand reflects more politics than principle, and ignores other Democrats' concern that setting a fixed date will leave those in tough re-election fights open to Republican taunts that they are "cutting and running" in Iraq.
The Democrats' exasperation has increased in the last week, as they postponed a vote on Mr. Kerry's amendment to try to fashion a broader consensus among themselves. Democrats up for re-election asked him not to propose a fixed date. But Mr. Kerry, several Democrats said, was unwilling to budge from that idea, even though his co-sponsor, Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, seemed willing to compromise for the sake of consensus. In the end, Mr. Kerry agreed only to extend his deadline, from Dec. 31 of this year to July 2007.
Mr. Kerry's insistence on pushing ahead with his own plan has left the Democrats divided, and open to renewed Republican accusations that they are indecisive and weak — the same ridicule that Republicans heaped on Mr. Kerry in 2004, when his "I was for it before I was against it" statement about a vote on money for the war became a punch line.
I say keep digging Senator. Thar's gold in them thar pits! But don't expect anyone from your own party to help you climb out.
What is most disturbing about Zernike's article is not that the Democrats are considering the policy implications of their positions. They're politicians, after all. It's that they are considering nothing else. Unless Zernike is missing something, no one in the Democratic party seems to be asking what the best interest of the U.S. is, or what will help global law and order, or the Iraqi people. They are solely concerned with finding a policy that will help them win in November.
Update: If Kerry can't win in Providence, he can't win anywhere. This by David Mitchell, Jr. in the Providence Journal:
For 35 years I have tried to resist the cynical view of Mr. Kerry. I have tended to believe it but have tried to resist it for two reasons. First, many who were young during the Vietnam era were radically inconsistent in their political beliefs. Whatever those beliefs were, I think that we owe each other a moment of forgiveness before death or senility makes it impossible!
Second, the cynical take on one whose public career spans 40 years -- beginning with statements made as a student at Yale -- could be wrong. Wouldn't a perfect consistency more truly impeach a man's character than his being guilty of being part of his times?
Such a benign view of John Kerry's careening flip-flops these 40 years was a lot easier to defend two months ago, before he put a coda on them. First, in April, he did a sort of anniversay lap commemorating his April 22, 1971, Senate testimony with op-ed pieces in The New York Times and The Boston Globe.
These writings ended Senator Kerry's "Reporting for duty" period, of the 2004 presidential campaign, and returned him to his anti-war "last man to die for a mistake" period, of 35 years earlier. Then, on June 13, with President Bush in Baghdad, he addressed a Democratic "TakeBack America" conference with a call to withdraw American forces from Iraq by the end of 2006 -- that would be a little more than 26 weeks from now.
Sen. Hillary Clinton was willing to hear some boos from this crowd by arguing that this would not be in America's best interest. Given that the president was in Iraq as Mr. Kerry spoke, that a democratic Iraqi cabinet had at long last just been formed, that the terrorist al-Zarqawi had finally just been killed, and that most Iraqis expressly believe that a premature departure of British and American forces would be catastrophic, it is impossible not to see this latest Kerry flip-flop as transparently self-serving.
SD War College is wondering when state Senator Stan Adelstein is going to congratulate his opponent in the recent primary:
Maybe I missed it, but I have yet to notice the news story where the Senator has discussed the election and wished the opponent who beat him good luck. (Time to get on my soapbox)
Somehow I missed the article where he says "Good show. Good race. Now good luck Elli! God speed in your Senate race for November!"
If someone might point out the article where he finally exhibited good sportsmanlike conduct for me, I'd really appreciate it.
In the Mainstream coalition mailing that went out May 5th to people across the state, there's a paragraph in it that describes the organization that Stan and his checkbook founded:
"We are a bipartisan group of of business, political, religious and community leaders who are working to promote civility and reason in discourse about important issues that affect us all."
Notice that little phrase "Promote civility and reason?" So far, all three who were defeated in the June primary has talked about being verbally attacked by extremists. As opposed to voters deciding to simply choose someone else for a while. "They didn't lose the election, They were unfairly targeted by radical right wing maniacs, and everyone else stayed home" Riiiiight.
"We will promote and preserve traditional American values like the separation of church and state, individual rights, and tolerance and compassion for all."
Tolerance and compassion for all. Except those who vote against them. As I get off my soapbox, I'd just hope those who are talking the civility and tolerance talk might decide to start walking that walk.
Those darn Democrats are at it again:
NEW LAW COMING FROM CONGRESS -- AMERICANS WITH NO ABILITIES ACT
WASHINGTON, DC - Congress is considering sweeping legislation, which provides new benefits for many Americans. The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislation by Advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.
"Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and Drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in Society," said Barbara Boxer. "We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this Legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they do a better job, or have some idea of what they are doing."
She pointed to the success of the US Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees lack job skills, making this agency the single largest US employer of Persons Of Inability.
Private sector industries with good records of nondiscrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%),and home improvement "warehouse" stores (65%). The DMV also has a great record of hiring Persons of Inability. (63%)
Under the Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million "middle man" positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.
Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given, to guarantee upward mobility for even the most unremarkable employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations which maintain a significant level of Persons of Inability in middle positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.
Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Nonabled, banning discriminatory interview questions such as "Do you have any goals for the future?" or "Do you have any skills or experience which relate to this job?"
"As a Nonabled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them," said Mary Lou Gertz, who lost her position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, MI due to her lack of notable job skills. "This new law should really help people like me." With the passage of this bill, Gertz and millions of other untalented citizens can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Said Senator Ted Kennedy, "It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her adequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation."
Here's one for the sports fans. How will the region's college sports shake out now that University of North Dakota is jumping to Division I? Can USD stay in the NCC for long while most of its main competition bolts to DI? While I understand the desire of schools wanting to play "with the big boys," I hope that boosters and (in the case of public schools) voters realize how expensive it is to compete at the Division I level. It means more money for scholarships, coaches, travel, facilities, recruiting, etc. It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next couple years.