Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Irony. ESL. A Plan. And Complaints!

Ann Althouse, writing in the NYT on Judge Anna Diggs Taylor and Taylor’s recent NSA eavesdropping opinion:

TO end her opinion in American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency — the case that enjoins President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program — Judge Anna Diggs Taylor quoted Earl Warren (referring to him as “Justice Warren,” not “Chief Justice Warren,” as if she wanted to spotlight her carelessness): “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of ... those liberties ... which makes the defense of the nation worthwhile.”

As long as we’re appreciating irony, let’s consider the irony of emphasizing the importance of holding one branch of the federal government, the executive, to the strict limits of the rule of law while sitting in another branch of the federal government, the judiciary, and blithely ignoring your own obligations.


For those who approve of the outcome, the judge’s opinion is counterproductive. It will be harder to defend upon appeal than a more careful decision. It suggests that there are no good legal arguments against the program, just petulance and outrage and antipathy toward President Bush. It helps those who have been arguing for years about result-oriented, activist judges.

Ms. Althouse’s blog is one of the best there is, and her editorial today is very good, as well. Kick it, Ann!

Thank you, Kathleen Parker, THANK You! For writing this article in Real Clear Politics:

"'Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).'' -- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Bush-bashing for sport has never lacked fans in the blogosphere, but questioning the president's intelligence lately has gone mainstream.

Joe Scarborough, former Republican congressman and host of MSNBC's "Scarborough Country,'' recently tossed his beanie into the ring, running a 10-minute segment titled: "Is Bush an 'Idiot'?''

Scarborough wasn't calling Bush an idiot, mind you. He was just quoting that renowned American intellectual, Linda Ronstadt. Recently, Ronstadt had commented on the president's performance while attending an international summit of heads of state.

No wait, my mistake, she made those comments to reporters and audiences while touring in Canada. But never mind. When Ronstadt talks, people listen. Citing other leading American intellectuals -- The Dixie Chicks, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Joan Baez -- Ronstadt said:

I'm embarrassed George Bush is from the United States. ... He's an idiot. He's enormously incompetent on both the domestic and international scenes.

Scarborough said he felt compelled to explore whether the president is sufficiently intellectually curious, not just because of Ronstadt, but because there have been no shark attacks all summer. No, sorry again, I said that. What Scarborough said was that even conservatives had been making comments similar to Ronstadt's, as reported last week in The Washington Post.

Is there a living, breathing Republican who hasn’t wished, at least once, that Dubya had the oratorical prowess of say, a Tony Blair? I doubt it. My Lib-Left friends make the “But he’s such an idiot!” argument when all else fails, which is often. And it’s one of the more difficult arguments to counter. I usually use the “Stephen Hawking Defense,” which is to say “Do you think Hawking is an idiot simply because he’s inarticulate?” That defense is pretty weak, as defenses go, simply because the President doesn’t have Lou Gehrig’s disease. Ms. Parker has given me another defense, another tack to take. I hope Dubya reads her piece and abandons his contrived and ineffective Washingtonian mannerisms. Just be yourself, Mr. President, and damn the critics.

There is a plan… Zalmay Khalilzad, US Ambassador to Iraq, describes the Baghdad Security Plan in a WSJ article today. Further, Mr. Khalilzad goes on to say:

It is understandable that when the American people hear of new U.S. casualties and witness the images of bloodshed from the streets of Baghdad, they conclude that our plans for stemming sectarian violence in Iraq have failed. Yet, implementation of the Baghdad Security Plan has only recently begun. Iraq's national unity government has been in office barely three months, and its ministers of defense and interior have been on the job for less than 80 days. Iraqi ministers are still hiring key staff, and they are learning to work together, under the leadership of a new prime minister. The Committee for National Dialogue and Reconciliation, charged with overseeing implementation of the reconciliation plan, was formed only three weeks ago.

Moreover, as tragic and dangerous as the ongoing violence is to our shared vision of a free and prosperous Iraq, it is not representative of the Iraqi people's sentiments toward one another. In July, a poll by the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to democracy promotion, found that 94% of Iraqis said they support a "unity" government representing all sects and ethnic communities, with only 2% opposed. Some 78% of Iraqis opposed Iraq being segregated by religion or ethnicity, with only 13% in favor. Even in Baghdad, where the worst of Iraq's sectarian violence has occurred, 76% of those surveyed opposed ethnic separation, with only 10% favoring it. The challenge of the Baghdad Security Plan and its accompanying effort at national reconciliation is to realize the overwhelming majority of Iraqis desire to live in peace with one another against the violent minority who seek to impose their vision of hatred and oppression.

This is the kind of article the American public needs to see. More, please.

Miscellaneous Moans, Groans, Bitches, and Complaints Dept: I got a speeding ticket last year for doing 30 mph in a 25 mph zone. Yeah, it was a speed trap. That ticket was the first citation I’ve received since being busted for excessive speed on a motorcycle in 1982 while in the Isle of Man for TT Week. Which, come to think of it, was another speed trap. But speed traps ain’t the bitch or the complaint. No, my complaint is the fact my insurance company raised my rates by 60 frickin’ per cent!! And there’s not a thing I can do about it, other than switch companies. I had a fairly long conversation with my insurance agent last week about this, and she confirmed my suspicions: you can’t fight City Hall Big Insurance. All you can do is switch, and you have to wait a short while before you switch, too. So: the ticket cost me $50.00. The rate rise will cost me $300.00. American Justice.

In the course of the conversation with my insurance agent, she asked “Didn’t you get my e-mail?” Uh, no. No, I didn’t. A quick perusal of my spam folder revealed the missing e-mail. Oh, Goody. Another chore to remember. G-mail is very, very good about keeping the spam out of my inbox and I’m not complaining about that. No sir, not at all. I’m just wondering how many other communications have gone missing and unanswered because G-mail thought the message was spam. Now I feel like I’ll have to wade through the spam swamp at least once a week just to make sure.

My ‘net connection has been dead-slow for the past day and a half. Dead-slow is 12 ~ 20 Kbps. I pay for a 384 Kbps connection and it just p!sses me right off to get only 10% (or less, much less) than the speed I pay for! I’ve written about this before, and the slow-down seems to happen most often near the end of the month or the first of the month. I have no plausible reason for this… I most certainly will be glad when the P-Town fiber project is completed and I’ll have a fast, reliable network connection. At Last.

So. No pic today…I’m not even going to attempt an upload given the speed I’m NOT getting at the moment. This too will pass.


  1. It is just amazing that Linda Ronstadts world views would be important enough to make the news. Only in America! She should use her great voice for more music and less politics. The latter does not make me want to buy her music. Hmm, I haven't bought any Ronstadt music in 30 years. You know, I never hear what Keith Urban thinks of Australia or what Sir Paul thinks of the UK.

  2. Lou sez: Hmm, I haven't bought any Ronstadt music in 30 years.

    I bought a "Greatest Hits" CD of hers about a year ago, perhaps less. I love her voice, hate her politics. I justified buying that CD as a "replacement" for all the Ronstadt vinyl I bought over the years but am no longer in possession of...SN2 has custody of all my records coz there's just no room for them in the RV. Ronstadt's version of "Oooh, Baby, Baby" is just SO damned soulful!

    It's a shame she can't keep her mouth shut.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.