Tuesday, November 30, 2004

It's pretty clear that Rehnquist is on the way out. It's only a matter of time.

Seems to me that it's a very good thing for Bush that he's held on this long. If he'd retired earlier, Bush would have had to picked someone. If he'd had to pick someone in 2002, there would perhaps have been a ruling where this judge revealed his or her rabid pro-life stance, which would have alienated enough women to cost Bush the election. Now, he can appoint whoever he wants.

But my guess is it'll be someone without a record. Undoubtedly it will be someone who grew up poor and is now rich (see yesterday's post). Someone who will, perhaps like Clarence Thomas, lie at his confirmation hearing and say that he'd never really thought about Roe v. Wade, so he couldn't offer an opinion about it. That's just my guess....

Monday, November 29, 2004

I find it interesting that the president habitually seeks to surround himself with people who are now rich but started life poor. The latest example is his nominee to be Secretary of Commerce (who does what, exactly?).

It interests me because Bush himself grew up fabulously rich and among the astonishingly powerful and has, because of his connections to that world, become rich himself. It's as if he needs to prove his authenticity. This desire to prove his authenticity may also be behind his 'just a regular guy' persona that he hews to relentlessly. (Of course, he's just a regular guy who grew up rich with a huge summer home in Maine, but he doesn't mention that much....)

It's as if he really does want to implicitly demonstrate to America "Hey, yes I'm rich, but being rich isn't a crime! Look at all the people around me who got rich of their own personality and drive." It's just interesting that he never fails to tout anyone ELSE's up-from-the-bootstraps story....

Friday, November 26, 2004

I'll be honest. I don't know much about the Ukraine. The stories seem to indicate that the pro-western candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, was cheated in the voting. And Putin doesn't like him. So he can't be all bad.

BUT, I did happen to notice his right hand man, who happens to be a woman, Yuliya Tymoshenko. Ms. Tymoshenko is, shall we say, beautiful. Now I like Dianne Feinstein and Sandra Day O'Connor just fine, but they are no Yuliya Tymoshenko.....

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Well at least Ashcroft is gone. He was an atrocious Attorney General.

For starters, consider (a) his FBI did a crappy job chasing the terrorists who were in the USA before Sept. 11 (this sounds like it'll get juicier within a few days); (b) he said, before Sept. 11, that he didn't want to hear any more about these terrorists (Sept. 11 Commission Report, p. 265); and (3) he was happy to enforce the "Patriot" Act, but not against gun crimes.

America is a better place with him gone.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Why do companies outsource jobs to India? I suppose one reason is lower costs.

But another is that thousands of smart engineers graduate every year in India, while here in the US we're still fighting about whether to teach evolution. Science education in the US is terrible, as evidenced by the number of people who believe in creationism and astrology.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Iraq is, of course, a disaster.

But now consider the government's fiscal policies. Look at how the national debt has mushroomed over the last four years. This is not good for our future.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

With the Sixth Circuit's decision to allow the GOP (and Democrats) to have a person inside the polling stations, I fear that we're going to read about shouting matches, fistfights, and maybe worse in Ohio. Maybe elsewhere too. I think the Republican party should be ashamed of trying to intimidate people from voting--but with Karl Rove in charge, they're immune from shame.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The administration's 'justification' for the war in Iraq (which, though unspecified, lingered murkily in the penumbra between weapons of mass destruction and a connection between Saddam and Al Quaeda) has of course been conclusively proven false. But that doesn't stop many people from believing it, and it doesn't stop Dick Cheney from bringing it up, even though he knows it's a lie.

Strikes me that this isn't the first time we've done this. I see similarities to the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. LBJ claimed that US ships had been attacked by the North Vietnamese. Congress believed him and passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which was the legal justification for the war.
The problem was that there was no attack. US ships were shooting at nothing and then observing the explosions caused by their shots. The evidence was ambiguous then, but the administration kept insisting that the attack happened. Old myths die hard--in his generally fabulous book, MacNamara insists that the evidence was ambiguous, even though it wasn't then and isn't now.

Iraq is a roughly similar situation. In both cases, the administration took some ambiguous (at best) evidence and kept insisting it was true, parlaying it into congressional support. Even afterward, people still believe the lie. So far, we've avoided huge casualties in Iraq, but we were in Vietnam for eleven years after that resolution. Do we want to be in Iraq until 2013? I sure hope not.