This page includes posts from
November 14-20, 2004 in the usual reverse
order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these
I’ve been following the controversy over Senator Specter and his selection as the Judiciary Committee chair for the upcoming Congress.
Some folks argued that Senator Specter was guilty of bad judgment and worse in coming out so quickly after the general election to assert his potential power to block candidates he considered insufficiently inclined to follow Roe v. Wade and its legal progeny.
Others were more kind.
Considering the reaction to his comments by the NRO gang and other conservatives, and the eventual resolution this week by the Republican Judiciary committee members, perhaps the best that can be said is that the charges against Senator Specter were “not proven.”
What I found even more intriguing than the Republican infighting on this issue, however, was the way that my fellow Democrats at the national level are preparing for the next set of judicial nominations. Judging from an email I received on November 18, they appear to be girding themselves to continue the last four years’ tactics of dogged delay, debate, diversion, and targeted denial whenever they can.
Here’s what the folks at Democrats.org said:
Silly ol’ me--I didn’t know the Court needed protecting, at least by others.
In any event, the use of the word “fight” four times in the space of four sentences surely is a signal that the Democrats have no plans to refrain from the maneuvers that frequently marred the nomination process during President Bush’s first term.
I really wonder if that’s a good idea.
After all, the Republicans certainly seemed to have a significant advantage appealing to centrist voters in the last election, pointing out how decent judicial candidates such as Judge Pickering were given a raw deal by Democrats and their friends.
Do the Democrats still not realize how their nomination-fighting tactics backfired on them? Or is the need to placate left-leaning fundraising allies seen as more important, or at least worth the risk of further alienating the folks in the center who are doing the voting?
I don’t think it’s enough of a response to suggest that the email infers that the Democrats will limit their opposition to those nominees selected for their appeal to the Republican’s “most extreme” members. That’s a slippery slope on which no one can find a definitive resting place. Besides, this email is directed toward folks who have made contributions to the party, and among that crowd the determination of which Republicans are “extreme” is bound to overreach.
It may be still hard to accept for some, but the Democrat Party is now the minority party, seeking to peel off just enough votes to become the majority once again. Under these circumstances, a more conciliatory approach also strikes me as more politically astute. If a particular nomination is really awful, it shouldn’t be that hard to point that out, all the while publicly regretting the need to do so.
Nonetheless, what the Democrats really don’t need is to be successfully labeled as the party that just can’t say yes, no matter who is being considered for approval.
In the immediate aftermath of the re-election of George Bush, I wrote a post outlining some of the ways that the national Democrats could better understand the folks in the center, and perhaps improve their chances at convincing a few percentage points of voters to switch over to blue when the next opportunity arose.
Here was one suggestion:
I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Cathy Seipp surprised me with this segment from her most recent National Review Online column:
Her first suggestion? Glad you asked:
It's always pleasant to find oneself in such august, astute company.
Hat tip--Glenn Reynolds.
Leo Duroscher may have been correct, most of the time.
On the other hand, sometimes nice guys can finish first.
Two young men I've known for several years fit this category.
Trip DelCampo is the starting left offensive tackle for the University of Delaware's football team, and Mark Moore is a starting outside linebacker for the Blue Hens. They graduated from Cape Henlopen High School a year ahead of older daughter, who is a long-time buddy of theirs. Both boys were walk-ons for the Hens, after standout play for the Cape Vikings, and eventually earned full scholarships in recognition of their talent, effort, and contributions to the team's success.
DelCampo and Moore play their last regular-season opponent of their careers this Saturday, against Villanova. Kevin Tresolini of The News-Journal ran a great feature on them today, and I'm happy to point readers of this site to it.
Moore should also be congratulated for making the All-Academic first team, a distinction noted by the College Sports Information Directors of America's District 2.
We have some nice sunsets around here.
It might have something to do with the air pollution wafting over us from the DC/Baltimore metropolitan area, but the view is frequently gorgeous nonetheless:
This was taken shortly before 5 p.m., looking west from Barratts Chapel, in Kent County.
About 35 years ago I came up with what I thought would be a great science fiction story.
A man invents a special microphone that can detect ultra, ultra-low frequency sound. After special processing, a set of headphones could then play back the low tones, at a volume detectable to humans.
Like most inventors, especially in sci-fi stories written by teenagers, this man is a bit absent-minded. After tweaking the device for a while, he continues to wear it as he goes out into his backyard to cut down a tree.
As his first swing of the axe cuts into the maple, the man is deafened by a bloodcurdling scream coming through his earphones.
The man drops the axe, writhing on the ground in agony as he tears off the headset. He quickly understands what’s just happened--trees have feelings, and can share their pain for those capable of listening.
The newest story from our friends at PETA reminded me of this old plot.
Apparently our extra-sensitive fellow humans are embarked on a new campaign to convince the rest of us flesh-eaters into believing that fish have feelings, too.
From the animal rights activists’ perspective, this claim says all they need to support their guilt-based argument against eating salmon, tuna, snapper, grouper, shark, flounder, monkfish, rockfish, catfish, redfish--well, you get the idea.
Some of the quotes are just too much.
I don’t live in Indiana. I live on the Atlantic Seaboard, with our house about two miles from the coast. Fish are not far removed from my daily life. In fact, I usually eat fish at least once a week, and more often than that during the summer—along with crabs, shrimp, and scallops, too.
Fish are admittedly interesting and fascinating. They also taste great when they’re broiled, with a little butter, salt, pepper, and dill weed.
Neither dogs nor cats are generally accepted as potential dinners by most Americans. On the other hand, for thousands of years pigs have been generally accepted as far more intelligent creatures than either Fido or Tabby. For those same thousands of years, humans have also managed to find ways to eat just about every cubic inch of a domesticated hog.
Our dinner tonight was a delightful blend of chicken and ham over rice, for example.
I’m perfectly prepared to agree that PETA has now gone too far.
It’s fine with me if the PETA-types want to rebel against the message their own teeth could give them about humanity’s omnivorous character, and limit their own diet to vegetables. They should also stick to what’s on their own plates, and leave the rest of us alone.
After all, there’s no guilt if you can’t hear a green bean scream--but then again, maybe you're just not listening.
Hat tip--Drudge Report.
Update: Ann Althouse has a very funny take on this story.
The fun at Langley is continuing.
Other writers are also having some fun with the ongoing story of the CIA’s apparent counterinsurgency against the agency’s boss. I especially enjoyed these posts by Powerline, Roger L. Simon, Stephen F. Hayes, and Jed Babbin.
Of course, the fact that their positions are similar to those I outlined here last Saturday may have played some role in my assessment.
And thanks again to Glenn Reynolds for the Instalanche he caused with his link to that post, which drew several thousand new readers here.
This year's offerings at the Rehoboth Independent Film Festival were perhaps the best yet, especially among the feature-length movies.
Yesterday I posted my latest golf book review at Hole By Hole.
Robin McMillan’s Us Against Them (HarperCollins; $25.95) is a well-done oral history of the Ryder Cup. I thought the most interesting parts were the various captain’s descriptions of the decisions they adopted to make the best use of their players in this unusual, very popular team event.
Official small print disclaimer: This is, after all, a personal web site. Any opinions or comments I express here are my own, and don't necessarily reflect the official position of my work as a government attorney or any of my clients.
That fact may become obvious later on, but it needs to be said here anyway.
© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2004