Now hear this!Senator Edward Kennedy is dead. No, I didn’t watch the days of breast-beating and garment-rending that some political shows put on, and neither did I watch the actual funeral. I didn’t feel any need to listen to people talking about how wonderful a man Teddy was. De mortuis nil nisi bonum means “of the dead, speak no evil,” so does that mean he gets a pass for the terrible things he has done? No, I don’t believe it is a good idea to ignore the failures, bad ideas, and/or evil acts of people just because they are dead. But I am nice enough to not do it during his funeral, and I’m not going to do it here. But I will link to a Top Ten list.

And now I have finally reached this megaphone moment. Repeat my words anytime you hear someone say America should pass ObamaCare because Kennedy is dead.

Even after someone has died, a bad idea is still a bad idea.

Pass the bloated bill for the bloated dead guy!
Photo by Sharp Elbows

I just read on Drudge that the press is planning on taking another week to rake Vice Pres. Cheney over the coals for the accidental shooting of his friend. But as I see it, it’s not about the shooting, it’s all about the main stream media being jealous.

The press is cheesed because when the news was broken about the shooting, they saw it was done by some pissant little Texas paper rather than in the lofty New York Times or some other paper of like-noble bearing. Eh, Spare me the attitude, please.

Others point to the delay in reporting the news. As I see it, Vice Pres. Cheney reported the news faster than Senator Ted Kennedy reported his car accident to the police, and I see a difference between alerting the police and notifying the press. People look at the Vice President and object to his secrecy. If I had been mauled by the press as he has, I’d be giving the press the big middle finger, too.

Bottom line: this is more about the whiny press, and not so much about the actual happenings.

Addendum (2/19/2006): Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters Blog compares the media’s response between Islam’s reaction to the political cartoons and the delay of reporting the accidental shooting by the Vice President. Here’s the final paragraph:

When our media has the testicular fortitude to report on terrorists honestly, then they will have gained the moral authority to lecture any White House on censorship and the responsibility of fully informing the public. Until then, such demonstrations as we saw this week by the White House press corps only stands as a perverse monument to the media’s hypocrisy and venality.

Well worth reading the whole article.

Several news items have recently burbled to the top like shrimp rolling about in a bubbling pot of gumbo — surfacing long enough to be seen, then sinking slowly back into the pot. Or, depending on how fast the gumbo is bubbling, the “shrimp cycle” may bring it back to the surface again and again, or it may stay at the top for a spell.

OK, now I’m hungry for some yummy Cajun food.

President Bush has nominated Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Rumors flew that Judge Edith Brown Clement was the President’s pick to fill Justice O’Connor’s vacancy, and the liberals instantly mounted an attack about the President’s poor choice. Once Roberts became the official pick, the contrary liberal voices apparently crossed out Clement’s name and wrote in Roberts’. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the Washington Post pointed out that the Democrats had the same battle plans in place for whomever the President nominated:

Democrats signaled that whoever the nominee is, their three likely lines of attack will be to assert the White House did not consult them sufficiently, then paint the nominee as ideologically extreme and finally assert that the Senate had not received sufficient documents about the candidate. But Senate Democratic aides said they will focus for now on bipartisan consultation and not publicly prejudge the nominee.

Cox and Forkum do a great job of lampooning this Democrat attitude.

Liberal Dems attack any choice

I have already written about Senator Dick Durbin and his claim that Guantanamo Bay is equivalent to the Nazi concentration camps or the Soviet gulag. While that story boiled fast and furiously for days, this recent story on Senator Durbin rolled to the top and just as quickly sank out of sight. According to Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, Senator Durbin confronted President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and asked him what he would do if the law would require a ruling that would be against his Catholic beliefs. Senator Durbin says he didn’t ask Roberts that question, but Turley stands fast. “Did!” “Did not!” Although I don’t know Turley and can’t vouch for his honesty, I’d be inclined to believe his side of the story over anything Senator Dick “It’s a gulag!” Durbin has said.

So assuming this line of questioning was accurately represented, it shows that Senator Durbin views Roberts’ religion as pivotal to his confirmation. There is just one problem with asking a judicial nominee about his religion — it violates Article VI of the Constitution:

…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

This is why you won’t normally hear Senators asking a nominee about his religion; instead, the Senators will ask about the nominee’s “strongly-held personal beliefs.” Just once I’d love to hear a nominee retort by asking the Senators to define what that phrase means, exactly, and watch the Senators attempt to spin their religious test as anything but a religious test.

Speaking of nominations, President Bush’s nomination for ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, was installed by President Bush as a recess appointment. This action prompted the standard condemnation by the Left — so standard, in fact, that it was described as predictable. In his response to the President’s appointment, Senator Ted Kennedy stated the following:

It’s bad enough that the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination. It’s even worse for the administration to abuse the recess appointment power by making the appointment while Congress is in this five-week recess. It’s a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton’s credibility at the U.N.

This so-called “evading” came because the liberal Senators wouldn’t allow Bolton to have an up-or-down confirmation vote, and President Bush acted completely within his power, appointing Bolton once the Senate recessed as specified in the Constitution: “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” Senator Kennedy describes this completely Constitutional act as “devious,” but he seems to like it well enough when it is used in his party’s favor. He was quoted in the Washington Times in 1999, saying the following about recess appointments:

I have long urged recess appointments to break this logjam — this irresponsible, unconstitutional Republican leadership position which fails to give people their due and fails to meet the constitutional standard.

Matthew Hoy points out that the Democrats caused this logjam themselves by not allowing the vote for Bill Lann Lee to take place; the majority Republicans were not going to vote Bill Lann Lee into the Department of Justice. There were enough votes to pass Bolton, but not enough for Lee. But in both cases it was the Democrats who chose to dig in their heels. Predictable.

And finally, Rep. Nancy Pelosi exposed her ignorance of the Supreme Court. When she was asked about the recent decision on eminent domain, she responded:

It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It’s an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision. [emphasis mine - CM]

Oh really? These nine robed Justices speak with the voice of God in their decisions? In that case, what does the esteemed Rep. Pelosi think of other Supreme Court decisions like the Dred Scott decision of 1857 — the one that declared blacks not to be American citizens, and decided black slaves could be legally handed back to their owners even if they had escaped to free states? Or what about the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case that said it was OK for the nation to be “separate but equal,” giving the green light to “Colored Only” drinking fountains and other egregious cases of societal racism and segregation? It took the “voice of God” almost 60 years to reverse the Plessy case sanctioning segregation with the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.

Forgive me if I don’t consider Supreme Court decisions to be equivalent to holy writ.

In the spirit of honesty and accuracy, I must acknowledge that Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, not the Senate. But her wacky comments rank right up there with the rest of the Democrat Senators.

I spent this week at work in training. People from around the globe attended the training courses. One of them was Joe, a self-professed socialist from Massachusetts. While he was a fun guy, and we chatted about a number of wide-ranging subjects, our political ideologies were almost diametrically opposed. Yet we still got along fine. America is nice that way.

At one point, Joe mentioned some information he’d read about the yearly complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission. In 2000 and 2001 there were fewer than 350 complaints each year. In 2002 the number rose to about 14,000, and in 2003 it soared to more than 240,000 complaints. The stinger of this article was that 99.8% of the complaints in 2003 came from a single group: the Parents Television Council. Joe was incensed that this Christian group would spend its time and effort trying to change what was shown on TV, and he was shocked that they would be allowed such access to the FCC.

I try to avoid politics when in training, but at this point I had to chime in with a sarcastic comment: “Damn those Christians for exercising their freedom of speech!” This comment promptly shut Joe up; whether he suddenly recognized the hypocrisy of his comments or was simply irritated by my statement, I’m not sure. Perhaps it would be better for Joe to gather like-minded friends and make use of his own freedom of speech, rather than fuming over others using their freedom to express their opinions to the government. It is always a better idea to speak for yourself, rather than reflexively trying to stifle others.

Incidentally, complaints to the FCC rose to over one million in 2004. While the Parents Television Council was extremely active during that year, half of the complaints came from individuals angered over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl halftime show. Perhaps if Joe had read the entire article, he might have noticed his fellow Americans individually exercising their freedom of speech.

Exercising his own freedom of speech, Senator Byrd (D-WV) recently spoke out against the nomination of Dr. Condoleezza Rice for the position of Secretary of State. During his long rant against Dr. Rice, Senator Byrd missed the point multiple times:

Dr. Rice is responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the Administration used to scare the American people into believing that there was an imminent threat from Iraq. On September 8, 2002, Dr. Rice conjured visions of American cities being consumed by mushroom clouds. On an appearance on CNN, she warned: “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

May I politely remind the Senator from the State of West Virginia that President Bush never claimed that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat? I may? Spiffy! Here’s the salient bit from the State of the Union address in 2003:

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

Senator Byrd’s long oration before the Senate continued in the same vein. Numerous times he made inaccurate statements, or mischaracterized the statements or actions of others. I find it highly ironic that one of the loudest voices of dissent against the nomination of America’s first black female Secretary of State was raised by a former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan. But Senator Byrd was most certainly free to voice his objections to the now confirmed and sworn in Secretary Rice. He was simply exercising one of many freedoms we enjoy in this country.

Another freedom U.S. citizens enjoy is the freedom to vote for our government leaders. Iraqis around the world are also enjoying this freedom today; while the actual election day in Iraq is set for January 30, Iraqis living in other nations have already gathered to cast their vote in a three-day window. It has been many decades since the Iraqi people had a free election. Though there were elections under Saddam Hussein, they were far from free. To quote a classic video game, “When there’s only one candidate, there’s only one choice.”

Exercising his freedom of speech, Senator Kennedy (D-MA) stated yesterday that the U.S. should pull its troops out of Iraq. “It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq, but we must begin.” Since I have already reminded one Senator of the facts, here’s a historical reminder for you, Senator Kennedy: U.S. troops never left Germany after it was defeated in World War II. Here we are, 60 years after the end of World War II, and we still have American soldiers stationed in Germany. But they are not seen as “part of the problem,” as Senator Kennedy views the troops in Iraq.

Why is it that the senior Senator from Massachusetts feels such a pressing need to compare Iraq to Vietnam? “We lost our national purpose in Vietnam. We abandoned the truth. We failed our ideals. The words of our leaders could no longer be trusted,” he said. Well, there is a real similarity between the two wars. The Vietnam War was lost largely because Leftists in the United States turned public opinion against the war, and they are attempting to do exactly the same thing with the war in Iraq.

In fact, the Central Intelligence Agency’s top official in Baghdad warned recently that the security situation is deteriorating and is likely to worsen, with escalating violence and more sectarian clashes. How could any President have let this happen?

It’s quite simple, Senator. When you bloviate about how the war in Iraq was a fraud made up in Texas, you undermine our soldiers and their jobs. When you criticize everything the President says and does, you are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And when you call for a quick withdrawal, you spread the word to the murderous thugs converging on Iraq that they need only to wait us out, and they’ll be back in power.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has announced that he will fight against the coming elections: “We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology.” Congratulations, Senator Kennedy; you have just aligned yourself with a head-chopping murderer who wants Americans dead. Not just out of Iraq, but dead.

Regardless of his political stance, however, Senator Kennedy is free to speak out as he sees fit. That is a blessing of living in this great nation. President Bush has explained our national goal further: “So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” In a few days, Iraq will join Afghanistan in casting free elections.

Fifty million people to date have escaped the oppressive control of tyrants because of President Bush’s vision. Let freedom ring!

A common catch-phrase among certain crowds is “Our strength is our diversity,” or the reverse, “Our diversity is our strength.” It has become a self-evident, unquestioned concept in recent years. But is this really a hard and fast rule that we should use to govern our lives?

Certainly there are some valid reasons to seek out diversity. Lack of diversity, for instance, is one objection to cloning animals on a large scale. If one animal in the cloned herd is susceptible to a disease, then all of the animals are susceptible. One nasty contagious bug and you have lost your entire flock of cloned sheep. In this case, the flock’s diversity is definitely the flock’s strength. Does this concept apply to other aspects of human life?

The University of Michigan has hit the news twice this year regarding Supreme Court decisions dealing with diversity. The Supreme Court rulings did not make sense to me, since they tossed out a clearly-defined form of discrimination but upheld a sneaky and underhanded form of discrimination. I figure if we must have discrimination to provide diversity, it would be better to know beforehand how that discrimination will work. That may make sense to me, but not to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s opinion basically stated that the need for diversity in our society outweighed the 14th Amendment’s right to equal treatment under the law. Is diversity really that important? Will I learn chemistry better if the person sitting next to me in class is a different race, age, or gender? How, exactly, does the different skin color of the person next to me make me a better student of inorganic chemistry?

In a scene from the movie Joe vs. the Volcano, Joe’s boss Mr. Waturi asks repeatedly in a phone conversation, “I know he can get the job, but can he do the job?” Since the University of Michigan was favoring minority applicants over those with higher GPAs and test scores, the university was in essence saying that it valued enrollment of minority students more than it was concerned with their preparedness and readiness to succeed in college — that it was more concerned about minority students “getting the job” than being able to “do the job.” And yes, minority drop-out rates are greater in schools that give preference to race over ability. Do you notice the racism the University of Michigan is displaying? It is not asking for the best and brightest students. If you happen to be a minority, you are not held to the same standard as others who apply. The University believes that you cannot possibly do as well as other students, so it condescendingly lowers the bar to allow you in. Are you comfortable with the thought that the University of Michigan believes you are incapable of competing with other students because you are part of a minority group? This is racism.

I am not saying minority students are any less able, but if a school sets a standard of a cumulative SAT score of 1300 for entrance and lowers the requirement to 1000 for a specific group, then we should not be surprised to see that second group struggling with performance in school. This bar-lowering does not have to be associated with race. For instance, most prospective firefighters are required to lift a 150-pound load and carry it at least 500 yards; if that requirement is lowered or ignored for female firefighters, the end result will be a number of firefighters who could not successfully pick you up and carry you out of a burning building. Would you be comfortable with that if you were trapped in a burning house? Has a sexually diverse workplace made the firefighters better at their jobs? It has not if the basic requirements have been lowered just to promote diversity. The principle is sound — if you lower expectations, you will get less skilled people.

Since the last paragraph discusses generalities, let me use a specific example of diversity run amok. Opinion writer Michelle Malkin wrote about how discrimination in the name of diversity has affected two people. Patrick Chavis was admitted to the University of California-Davis medical school under a special quota program for minorities. Allan Bakke, who had higher scores than Chavis, was not admitted because he did not have the right skin color. Both Sen. Ted Kennedy and Jane Fonda’s ex-husband Tom Hayden stood up for Chavis and praised the decision to admit him over some other guy because of his minority status. Sen. Kennedy proclaimed that Chavis was “making a difference in the lives of scores of poor families.” And what a difference he made.

Malkin proceeds to describe the nature of the “difference” Chavis made: “An administrative law judge found Chavis guilty of gross negligence and incompetence in the treatment of three patients. Yolanda Mukhalian lost 70 percent of her blood after Chavis hid her in his home for 40 hours following a bungled liposuction; she miraculously survived. The other survivor, Valerie Lawrence, also experienced severe bleeding following the surgery; after Lawrence’s sister took her to a hospital emergency room, Chavis barged in and discharged his suffering patient — still hooked up to her IV and catheter — and also stashed her in his home. Tammaria Cotton bled to death and suffered full cardiac arrest after Chavis performed fly-by-night liposuction on her and then disappeared …. In 1997, the Medical Board of California suspended Chavis’ license, warning of his ‘inability to perform some of the most basic duties required of a physician.’”

Here is the liberal Left’s poster boy for diversity through discrimination, performing horribly. Chavis has since died, the victim of a shooting, but who knows how many people continue to suffer or who bear the scars of his ineptitude? Tell me honestly, which doctor would you choose to perform emergency open-heart surgery on you: the surgeon who was top of the graduating class, or the one who got into medical school not because of fine skills or good grades, but because of skin color or gender?

I like diversity. Without it, my life would be one boring continuous slog through sameness. I love different foods, different people, different scenery, different experiences. But this diversity comes because I desire it — there is no need for some bureaucrat to mandate it into my life. True diversity comes from the freedom to choose the best. During the years I worked for Microsoft, I became friends with team members from Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Ireland, Italy, England, Syria, Canada, and all over the United States. These talented men and women were picked because they excelled in their chosen profession, not because of their looks or background. And because the best people were picked for the job, the natural outcome was a wide diversity of people, ideas and backgrounds. It was freedom, not the underground racist cry for diversity at all costs, which made this possible.

Addendum: In November Sen. Edward Kennedy, booze-hound, bad driver, and liberal Democrat from Massachusetts said that the Democrats will “continue to resist any Neanderthal that is nominated by this president.” When Sen. Trent Lott made some off-the-cuff joking words about Sen. Strom Thurmond at his 100th birthday celebration, the liberal Left burst a major artery with outrage. Oh, the venom that dripped from leftist pens and lips as they attacked Lott for praising someone who was once a segragationalist. Oh, the humanity! So Lott, as Republicans tend to do, fell on his own sword and stepped down as the Majority Leader of the Senate.

Now we have some hateful words spoken in dead earnest, and you barely hear a comment about it. Here is a quick and dirty search I did on “Lott Thurmond” and “Neanderthal Kennedy” looking just for these issues:

Kennedy Lott
CNN 0 40+
CBS News 0 1
ABC News 0 20+
FOX News 2 20+

Notice the trend here? I thought you might.