Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Saturday Treat From PJ O'Rourke- "The End of the Affair"

The End of the Affair
The fate of Detroit isn’t a matter of economics. It’s a tragic romance, whose magic was killed by bureaucrats, bad taste and busybodies. P.J. O’Rourke on why Americans fell out of love with the automobile.

The phrase “bankrupt General Motors,” which we expect to hear uttered on Monday, leaves Americans my age in economic shock. The words are as melodramatic as “Mom’s nude photos.” And, indeed, if we want to understand what doomed the American automobile, we should give up on economics and turn to melodrama.

Politicians, journalists, financial analysts and other purveyors of banality have been looking at cars as if a convertible were a business. Fire the MBAs and hire a poet. The fate of Detroit isn’t a matter of financial crisis, foreign competition, corporate greed, union intransigence, energy costs or measuring the shoe size of the footprints in the carbon. It’s a tragic romance—unleashed passions, titanic clashes, lost love and wild horses........

Read the rest here...

Latinos for Impartiality

Most of us have heard about the comment by SCOTUS nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor-
“‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,‘"

Many pundits have made the argument that this quote needs to placed in context of her full speech that day. You can read that same speech here, but in all honesty it doesn't really change the point she was making. In particular, the point about how she believes that "Although I agree with and attempt to work toward Judge Cedarbaum's aspiration(ed. to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law), I wonder whether achieving that goal is possible in all or even in most cases. And I wonder whether by ignoring our differences as women or men of color we do a disservice both to the law and society."

Basically, screw all that "impartiality", the law is something we can change to fit our needs in terms of identity politics, and retribution thereof.

A funny thing happened after Judge Sotomayor made her speech. Other Latino judges responded, and thanks to a diligent NRO reader, here are their thoughts-

I decided to peruse the comments delivered by the other participants in the 2001 Symposium at Berkeley, expecting to find that Judge Sotomayor's position was fairly mainstream among the presenters at an event sponsored by "La Raza Law Journal."

To my surprise, two of the judges speaking after her (she gave the keynote address the night before their presentations), rejected her relativism, her characterization of "[t]he aspiration to impartiality" as "just that"—a mere aspiration, and the endorsement of the use of "prejudices." None of the judges expressly disagreed with her by name, but given that, in her words, the "focus" of her keynote address was precisely the endorsement of prejudice, the implicit disagreement was fairly palpable and was probably obvious to the audience.

First, Judge Valeriano Saucedo of the California courts, noted that, because of his experiences, he had a certain degree of understanding to Hispanic defendants, but "[t]hat does not mean that I apply a different standard of justice, because that is wrong."

Speaking on the same panel, Judge Richard Paez (of the Ninth Circuit) was more emphatic, and emphasized that both juror and judge had a duty of impartiality. Here are his extended remarks on the subject:

"As Judge Saucedo said, we are required to apply the law fairly. I do not think that I ever have applied a different standard in judging a case involving a Latino defendant, a black defendant, an Asian defendant, a white defendant, or a multimillion dollar corporation. But, there is something about our own personal life experience that makes each of us different.

"I used to tell jurors when they entered the courtroom and took their oaths as jurors, 'You walk into the courtroom with a lifetime of experiences, and we don't ask you to suddenly forget all that experience, to ignore that experience.' I asked them if they could judge fairly the case that they were about to hear. I explained, 'As jurors, recognize that you might have some bias, or prejudice. Recognize that it exists, and determine whether you can control it so that you can judge the case fairly. Because if you cannot - if you cannot set aside those prejudices, biases and passions - then you should not sit on the case.'

"The same principle applies to judges. We take an oath of office. At the federal level, it is a very interesting oath. It says, in part, that you promise or swear to do justice to both the poor and the rich. The first time I heard this oath, I was startled by its significance. I have my oath hanging on the wall in my office to remind me of my obligations. And so, although I am a Latino judge and there is no question about that - I am viewed as a Latino judge - as I judge cases, I try to judge them fairly. I try to remain faithful to my oath.

"I think we look at conflicts from our own life experiences. If you were to look at my life - at least my professional experience - and I'll just start with that, I probably have a unique professional experience. If you looked at the federal judiciary and asked how many federal court of appeals judges are there that worked in legal services, as I did for nine years, I doubt that you would find many. I never worked for a law firm, a district attorney's office, a U.S. Attorney's Office, a State Attorney General's office, or the Justice Department. I worked, instead, for legal services for the poor. That was my professional career. And working in that environment, representing individual clients as well as litigating larger cases, sometimes impacts the way one may look at issues or conflicts. You don't shed that experience - you don't leave it behind. But, when called upon to decide a case, judges have a distinct and clear obligation to apply the law fairly and justly to the parties in the case."

Obviously, the question for Judge Sotomayor, is whether she now agrees with Judges Saucedo and Paez. In any case, Senate Republicans need to bring up Judge Paez's disagreement with Judge Sotomayor as frequently as possible.

This tells me that Judge Sotomayor is incapable of separating her desire to instill identity politics in to the rule of law from what her job requirements are as a United States Judge.

What's even scarier is that this is the best Obama could come up with for his first appointment. I'm of the opinion that Judge Sotomayor will reveal her true ideals during the nomination process, and the American public will disapprove of her desire to make identity politics a part of the rule of law in the Supreme Court.

But then again, I'm an optimist.

Janeane Garafolo Is Not Prepared To Deal With The Real Generation X

Kudos to Ms. Pierson who exemplifies what constitutes a REAL American Individual.

She isn't waiting for the government to bail her out. And Ms Garafolo is afraid of what Ms. Pierson represents.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some Old People Are More Equal Than Others

“‘I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,‘ said Judge Sotomayor........


After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters. It did not seem strange to learn that the pigs had bought themselves a wireless set, were arranging to install a telephone, and had taken out subscriptions to John Bull, TitBits, and the Daily Mirror. It did not seem strange when Napoleon was seen strolling in the farmhouse garden with a pipe in his mouth-no, not even when the pigs took Mr. Jones's clothes out of the wardrobes and put them on, Napoleon himself appearing in a black coat, ratcatcher breeches, and leather leggings, while his favourite sow appeared in the watered silk dress which Mrs. Jones had been used to wear on Sundays.

I wish I wrote this, but here is Jeff Goldstein trying to help the GOP to control the message about why Sonia Sotomayor is a bad pick for the SCOTUS-

Don’t vote down the first latina SCOTUS nominee.

Vote down the first latina SCOTUS nominee who believes it is the role of the judiciary to make policy, and that some identity groups are more equal than others — and the law will be made to say so, should she be appointed to the bench

Unless the GOP grows a spine, Judge Sotomayor will become our next Supreme Court Justice.

"Four legs good, two legs

Here's the thing Judge Sotomayor. This statue is blind FOR A REASON.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Showtime For The Obama Administration....

NKorea warns of military action against SKorea
May 26 11:05 PM US/Easter

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea's military says it considers South Korea's participation in a U.S.-led program to intercept ships suspected of spreading weapons of mass destruction tantamount to a declaration of war against the North.

The communist North's military said in a statement Wednesday that it will respond with "immediate, strong military measures" if the South actually stops and searches any North Korean ships under the Proliferation Security Initiative.

The statement, carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency, said North Korea no longer considers itself bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War, as a protest over the South's participation.

Joe Biden, October 2008-

"Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

North Korea is attempting to undo the armistice from the Korean War, which is bad. North Korea is also trading nuclear weapons technology with Syria, and probably Iran as well. This is real bad.

Hopefully the news is just more sabre-rattling from Mr. "Sea of Fire", because this is not the ideal "generated international crisis" I want Obama testing his mettle on. I suppose we will soon find out how the Administration is going to handle these things going forward, so we might as well find out now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How Many Times Did Bush Blame Clinton?

I don't remember, well, any specifically.

George W. Bush was dealt an incredibly farked up hand on 9/11. Many people may argue that he didn't do the right things after the attack. I'm not one of them; I think Bush did the impossible and kept us safe for eight years, however this is irrelevant to my point.

I've never heard anyone complain that he whined too much about what a mess he inherited from the Clinton Administration. Despite Enron collapsing, web start-ups in Silicon valley being exposed as a monetary fraud which caused the nation to have a bout with "irrational exuberance" or Bill's wag-the-dog chicken game with Iraq and Islamic terrorism, I don't remember Bush bitching about what a big mess he inherited.

I am very disappointed with the Obama administrations repeated attempts to blame our principles being shorted because of "the mess they inherited". I don't hear any recognition of the new war that our nation was pushed in to because of Islamic totalitarianism, nor any defense of our restrained response thereof. All I hear is "Bush did everything wrong, I will go in a different direction".

Obama was elected because he promised a different direction. Regardless if you feel we were going in the wrong direction under Bush, if Obama is going to lead the country, he needs to either start leading in a different direction or stop bitching about what a mess the country is in.

Well past 100 days in office and Obama hasn't changed anything.

Put up or shut up Barry. It's your mess now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering What Repairs Are Being Done To Hubble By NASA

Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF)Hubble image of the Eagle Nebulaimage of taken by Hubble that illustrates the concept of dark matter.

Galaxies from the early universe. The birthplaces of planets. Dark matter. Dark energy. Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has brought these mysteries into focus, its powerful gaze scanning the universe for the details planet-bound telescopes find impossible to detect.

Far above the Earth's surface, Hubble floats clear of the planet's light-distorting atmosphere, beaming back images that have transfixed humanity and changed the scientific world.

Hubble's triumphs continue to accumulate thanks to a unique design that allows astronauts to repair and upgrade the telescope while it remains in orbit. Repairs keep the telescope functioning smoothly, while upgrades to the instruments bring a slew of new discoveries and science.

The next servicing mission, Servicing Mission 4 (SM4), in May 2009, will be the final trip to the Hubble Telescope. Over the course of five spacewalks, astronauts will install two new instruments, repair two inactive ones, and perform the component replacements that will keep the telescope functioning at least into 2014. The effort-intensive, rigorously researched, exhaustively tested mission also involves diverse groups of people on the ground throughout the country

NASA's latest update says-

Date Released: Monday, May 18, 2009
Source: Johnson Space Center

Human hands have touched the Hubble Space Telescope for the last time. Astronauts Andrew Feustel and John Grunsfeld spent seven hours and two minutes putting the finishing touches on the telescope in the final spacewalk from a space shuttle airlock.

During the STS-125 mission's five spacewalks, Atlantis' crew completed all of the mission objectives to improve Hubble's view of the universe.

Over the course of the mission's five spacewalks, the crew added two new science instruments, repaired two others and replaced hardware that will extend the telescope's life at least through 2014. The five spacewalks lasted 36 hours and 56 minutes all together. There have been 23 spacewalks devoted to Hubble, totaling 166 hours and six minutes.

Greg Gutfield and The Evolution of the Libertarian

Greg Gutfield, host of Fox News Channel's show Red Eye, recently gave an interview/Q&A session at Reason Weekend, the annual event held by the nonprofit that publishes, where he was interviewed by Reason Senior Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward.

There are some great moments to the interview, but the interesting part for me is Mr. Gutfield's description of his political evolution from hippie-loving liberal in to a conservative, now to a full-blown libertarian. There are a lot of similarities between his story and mine, and I can understand how and why he is politically today, which are many of the same reasons I am the way I am as well.

Cool video, enjoy...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Night Feast: Garlic/Herb Chevre Stuffed Chicken Thighs

New recipe for tonight, and I got the Herb/Garlic Chevre idea from the Head Chef of the Family, my Mom. Try it out, and make sure you get good Chevre!

Garlic/Herb Chevre Stuffed Chicken Thighs

4 Whole Chicken Thighs
2 Bell peppers
1 Yellow Onions
1 Bag of Golden Yellow Potatoes
1 Bulb garlic
1 block of Soft Chevre (goat cheese)
1 Tbsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary

Dice finely one quarter of a bell pepper, three cloves of garlic, and 1/8th of the onion and mix together with the Chevre. Cut the potatoes in half and after salting and drizzling olive oil in a baking pan, lay them down, skin side up to coat the bottom of the pan. Chop up the rest of the garlic, peppers and onions and place on top of the potatoes. Take the chicken thighs, and dig out some space for Chevre behind the main bone, and then stuff the Chevre inside. Season the outside of the thighs with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Lay some rosemary around the chicken thighs and cook for about an 1:15-1:30 at 385.

Bon Apetit!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Reason # 854,265 Why The Private Sector Is More Efficient Than The Government

This is hilarious. Do you remember how the government claimed that they were going to allow taxpayers to track the money being spent from the $780 Billion Stimulus package? They even set up a website in order to let taxpayers do this- "".

Take it away Reason TV-

RECOVERY.ORG VS. RECOVERY.GOV: HOW THE PRIVATE SECTOR, NOT THE FEDS, IS TRACKING STIMULUS SPENDING IN REAL TIME, which doesn't have any details about contracts or grants yet—and won't until October 2009 or, more likely, sometime next year, long after the thrill of living is gone and a huge chunk of the $787 billion stimulus package has already been frittered away on "shovel-ready" projects such as the John Murtha-Johnstown Cambria County Airport (pop. 20 passengers a day).

Thankfully, the folks at the information-services firm Onvia stepped in and created the site, which is already on the case and showing, as much as is possible, who is getting what.

Hope! Also, change.

Friday, May 01, 2009

John Stewart Hits Bottom, Digs.

So most of you have heard about the recent post-9/11 CIA Torture Memos that were released for political purposes to satiate the leftists who helped get Obama elected.

Basically the story goes like this: about a year after 9/11 happened three bigshot Islamic fanatical terrorists were waterboarded by the various experts from the FBI/CIA/Military in order to extract information about upcoming terrorist attacks. And apparently we "tortured" these three assholes because they openly mocked and bragged about the "second wave" of attacks that were about to happen. And we were right to do so because the information gathered allowed US authorities to thwart and defuse this "second wave" of attacks. No one who cares about their own survival would rationally argue against this process. It wasn't pretty, but these assholes are still alive, and clearly the "torture" prescribed was neither disfiguring nor barbaric.

Skip forward to April 2009, as Clifford May attempts to explain the preceding story to the masses on The Daily Show with John Stewart.

Here is the meat of the interview, which if you're interested, is below. Most of it makes me violently ill.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

During this exchange, John Stewart took the clown nose off and argued the hypothetical about "protecting Americas values" to the extreme by claiming that Harry Truman was a war criminal for dropping the atomic bombs upon Japan during WWII, the key exchange comes around 5:30.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Cliff May Unedited Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Stewart reasons that "hey, we shoulda done WWII different, maybe scared the Japs with a Jerry Bruckheimer show instead of killed all these innocent people."

There aren't enough levels of wrong to detail why this particular version of historical revisionism is so idiotic and dangerous.

Thankfully, Bill Whittle of Pajamas Media helps do the heavy lifting. Watch this link for further clarification.

Realizing what a complete tool Mr. Stewart had made of himself, he decided to give a mini-mea-culpa to his adoring throngs at The Daily Show with this clip.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Harry Truman Was Not a War Criminal
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Sorry John, but your clown nose doesn't hide the fact that you made some irreproachably asinine comments that insulted the very principles that you pretend to defend through your faux-news program at Comedy Central.

You can keep digging, and the trained seals that adulate your cheap shots will continue to supply the shovels. But sooner or later you'll realize that you reached the bottom a long time ago, and if you want to be a journalist that reports the news as entertainment, whether the clown nose is on or off, you are going to have to STOP DIGGING. Eventually those trained seals will realize "who's the more foolish - the fool, or the fool who follows him?"