Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sotomayor and discrimination

By Michael J.W. Stickings

SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein has conducted a study of all of Sonia Sotomayor's "race-related cases," 96 in total that were before her on the court of appeals. And what he concluded was that "Sotomayor rejected discrimination-related claims by a margin of roughly 8 to 1." In decisions involving race, she "disagreed with her colleagues" only four times.

Now, this doesn't tell us much. Each case should be examined individually, on the merits, because what really matters is not whether she rejected discrimination claims but whether she was right to reject them.

Still, what is clear is that there is simply no evidence, based on the record, that she is an "outlier" in terms of discrimination (again, she voted with her colleagues the vast majority of the time). Indeed, as Goldstein writes, "[g]iven that record, it seems absurd to say that Judge Sotomayor allows race to infect her decisionmaking."

I'm not sure "infect" is the right word to use here. There may very well be times (and cases) when not racism but a sensitivity to race and racism (perhaps based on one's own experienes) should be included in one's decision-making. And it may well be that Sotomayor was wrong to side with her colleagues on some of these cases. Perhaps, either in general or with respect to specific cases, she and her colleagues were overly insensitive to claims of discrimination.

In other words, it is not proof of a sound legal mind, or of being right, that one generally rejects discrimination claims. Instead, it could be proof that the system, and the judges within it, are not adequately sensitive to discrimination.

Still, Goldstein's findings do effectively refute the (discriminatory) claims of Sotomayor's critics on the right -- and there are many of them -- that she is racist, and that she allows her own identity as an Hispanic woman to shape her legal opinions. Of there, there is simply no evidence at all, and, to the contrary, if there is actual evidence of anything, it is that she is very much like most other judges on the federal benches, for better and for worse.


Bookmark and Share

What we want from Netanyahu

By Michael J.W. Stickings

In response to Hillary Clinton's statement that the Obama Administration "wants to see a stop to settlements -- not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly asked this of a "confidante":

What the hell do they want from me?

I realize that an Israeli hardliner like Netanyahu might be somewhat confused over America's often confusing -- and often contradictory -- policies towards Israel, and it's not always clear what "they" want, but the answer to the question is pretty clear to me:

Your resignation and retirement from public life.

I still think that a hardliner like Netanyahu would be in a better position to sell a peace settlement to Israelis than, say, a Labourite reformer, insofar as a hardliner would be able to appease the religious and militaristic far right, as well as convince it of the efficacy and justice of retreating behind its original borders and accepting the creation of an independent Palestinian states, and I once thought that Netanyahu himself would eventually win the Nobel Peace Prize for being the architect of such a peace settlement, but it's just not clear to me, as an outsider, that Netanyahu is the right statesman at the right time.

No, it is clear. He's not.

What is currently troubling him is Obama's hard line against Israeli settlements. What is clear is that Netanyahu and those who share his hard-line views are, whatever their confusion, out of step with Obama and the new line in Washington, with the firm determination to establish peace at long last.

That Netanyahu doesn't get it is an indication that, in the Age of Obama, the world has passed him by. He might as well just step aside and let those who do get it guide their country towards a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

The Reaction in review (May 29, 2009)

This week's Reactions that deserve a second look:


By Creature: "An honest Republican" -- Creature credits GOP Senator John Cornyn's stepping up against the right-wing attacks on Judge Sotomayor.

By J. Thomas Duffy: "Top Ten Cloves: Possible reasons Obama and Sarkozy didn't invite Queen Elizabeth to D-Day ceremony" -- Duffy puts up another of his very funny trade-mark count-down lists.


By Carl: "No! Racism doesn't exist anymore!" -- Carl cleverly examines the case of the woman who falsely claimed to have been abducted in order to take her daughter to Disney World, in light of raging Republican claims of racism against Judge Sotomayor.

By Mustang Bobby: "Making a federal case out of it" -- Bobby cautions against what might happen to the cause of marriage equality if the case, taken on by famed attorneys Bois and Olson, goes to the Supreme Court.

By Capt.Fogg: "Citizens United against democracy" -- Fogg shares his experiences with Republican operatives' so-called opinion polls that are obviously biased from the get-go.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "And so the vicious right-wing smear campaign against Sotomayor is in full swing" -- Michael surveys the campaign, encourages Dems to stand firm, and predicts that Judge Sotomayor will get a "relatively easy (and deserved) confirmation."


By Carol Gee: "Female justice" -- This post surveys the blogosphere and corners a bit of Republican flack about the SCOTUS nomination.

By Frankie Sturm: "Barack Obama is the LeBron James of the Democratic Party" -- From the Truman Project, our guest writer illuminates a very interesting big switch
towards President Obama in the public's opinion regarding national security.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Petraeus backs Obama on Gitmo and torture" -- Michael notes that General Petraeus joins another Republican, Colin Powell, in defending President Obama's stance on interrogation techniques and closing Guantanamo.

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Obama's brilliant Sotomayor pick" -- This very thoughtful and thorough post lays out all the reasons the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor is such a hit with reasonable people, and such a target for the right wing smear campaign that has already begun.


By Carl: "Troubling blind spot" -- Carl's great post sheds light on the full history and evolution of the nuclear problem with North Korea, laying the blame where it belongs, at the feet of the Bush administration.

By Boatboy: "Amazing what one word can do" -- Well written and interesting
, Boatboy's clever post brings good perspective to the assumptions of Weekly Standard's conservative Sam Shulman's piece on traditional vs. romantic marriage. See also Michael J.W. Stickings: "Another new low for anti-gay bigotry among the neocons."

By Capt. Fogg: "Kiss our American asses, world!" -- To quote, " . . . it's just another rabble rousing attack on a president who has the honesty to say that we have often of late been perceived as arrogant and we've often been unfair to those who disagree and that others have likewise been unfair to us."

By Michael J.W. Stickings: "Photos of the Day (Memorial Day edition)" -- "Photos of two of the most stunning, awe-inspiring places I've ever been," says Michael.

Creature Feature: By the numbers -- "65" - the percentage of Americans who still look favorably on their new president; "47" - the percentage of Americans who rated the choice of Sotomayor as "excellent or good."

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Craziest Conservative of the Day: G. Gordon Liddy

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A candidate for craziest conservative of the day each and every day, Watergate felon and celebrity conservative G. Gordon Liddy jumped on the anti-Sotomayor smear campaign with this doozy:

Let's hope that the key conferences aren't when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.

And that was after he referred to Spanish as "illegal alien."

Yes, I expect such sexism, racism, and nativism from conservatives like Liddy, but what we mustn't overlook is that Liddy himself is extremely popular. He's just not some wacko outlier. And his assault on Sotomayor mirrors what other conservatives have been saying about Sotomayor.

The popularity of Liddy, and of his views, and, in this case, of these views on Sotomayor, a distinguished jurist who just happens to be a Hispanic woman, says a lot about conservatives and conservatism today.

And it makes me wonder how any self-respecting woman is a conservative, or a Republican, given that this sort of bigotry is so popular on the right and throughout the GOP. The same goes for any self-respecting Hispanic -- or any self-respecting person generally.

For more, see Jill over at Feministe, as well as Eli at Firedoglake, Yglesias, Skippy, Larisa Alexandrovna, and Blue Gal.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, May 29, 2009

Clueless Republicans

By Michael J.W. Stickings

HuffPo: "GOP Hispanic Strategists Stunned, Outraged By Sotomayor Attacks."

Umm... they do know they're Republicans, right? They do know what party they belong to? I realize the anti-Sotomayor smear campaign has been ugly, but how could they not have seen it coming?

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Raping for freedom

By Capt. Fogg

Somebody must be running a little bit scared since the Commander Guy has put away his toys and has entered the stage, making excuses about torture.
It's legal and I did it to protect you, he said in Michigan last night, and perhaps many of those people who decide they're "conservatives" and therefore trust whatever the Republican government says, will buy the story despite their pretended anti-government stance. "I'm from the government and I'm here to inspect your hamburger meat" scares the hell out of them, but "I'm from the government and I rape and murder women and children to protect you" slides down the throat as easily as the Flavor-Aid in Jonestown.

To be up-front about it, I think the experiment is over and democracy lost, but as a cynical observer of our national hypocrisy I'm anticipating a great deal of entertainment if and when
the statements of General Taguba and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are graphically depicted to the public as irrefutable proof. I truly want to see the Decider reduced to justifying the sodomy of little boys to "protect" us. I want to see him justify his love of war and conquest with unscrupulous cowardice. I want to hear Cheney justify shoving light sticks and batons up the rectums of crying and screaming teenagers as "saving lives." Of course, they've already done that, but they've portrayed it only as making horned and bearded terrorist devils "uncomfortable" and the man who delights in shooting tame birds laughs at our squeamishness.

I want to hear Rush and Ann tell us that American prison guards were justified in
forcing oral sex on captured Muslim women "because they might know something" and we all know they wanted it. I want to hear the lot of them giggle at these pictures. I want to hear them tell us that Iraq was not justified at rising up against us for these acts alone, costing us thousands of lives.

No, we didn't torture anyone, but when we did, it was legal because we make the law and the Geneva convention doesn't apply because old women and boys don't wear uniforms and besides Geneva is in a foreign country when the men are all girly Liberals and Festus, Missouri would long since have become a Taliban stronghold if we hadn't. You may laugh or cry or sputter like a Republican, but that's been the argument.

Did Bush and his henchmen actually save my life in his chambers of horror? If so, my life is worth nothing and your life and your honor are worth less than nothing if you defend it.

(Cross-posted from
Human Voices.)

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share


By Creature

That's the percentage of Americans who still look favorably on their new president. It's also a number that represents a slight increase from the prior three months. This puts Obama in the same league as Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan at this point in their presidencies. Not bad considering this was the month Republicans, led by the Cheney family, supposedly went on offense over national security and Gitmo. Not bad at all.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

An honest Republican

By Creature

No really, there is one (stop laughing). It's Sen. John Cornyn and he's stepped up to call the recent attacks on Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor "terrible." In response to Gingrich and Limbaugh Cornyn goes on to say:

"Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it's appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong," he said.

Yes, wrong. And while having Cornyn step up is a good start, it's a only a start. It's time for the rest of the GOP and the media to stop taking Sotomayor's quotes out of context and give her the respect a judge of her caliber deserves. I always expected the ugly to come out over any Obama pick, but this week's display has been worse than expected.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Top Ten Cloves: Possible reasons Obama and Sarkozy didn't invite Queen Elizabeth to D-Day ceremony

By J. Thomas Duffy

News Item: Left Out of D-Day Events, Queen Elizabeth Is Fuming

10. If she comes, that means all those crazy, drunken, British soccer fans would probably show up as well

9. Worried that the Queen would host a dinner, and, ...Well ... The English food thing...

8. Sarkozy didn't want to hear another lecture about his wife

7. If she came, they would both be dragged back to the Queen's hotel, to play a game of cricket on her Golden Wii

6. They've already heard all her Dunkirk stories, and couldn't bear another "Spirit of Dunkirk" speech

5. Afraid the Queen will be expecting another gift- a bevy of iPhone Add-ons

4. They've already heard all her Winston Churchill stories

3. Rumors were Susan Boyle was going to come along, and sing 'La Marseillaise'

2. If the Queen brings her son, Prince Charles, then there's a major "ear" thing to deal with

1. Obama and Sarkozy wouldn't agree with Buckingham Palace, and promise not to tease Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with the "Nudge, Nudge, Wink Wink" routine

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"No! Racism doesn't exist anymore!"

By Carl

Um. Yeah. Right.

A Pennsylvania mom found in Walt Disney World after claiming she and her 9-year-old daughter were abducted by two black men and stuffed into a car trunk, tricked a co-worker into giving her their identification.

Bonnie Sweeten used a co-worker's driver's license and presented it as her own when she bought an airline ticket and flew to Orlando, Fla. on Tuesday, Henry said, adding Sweeten also used the license to check into the Grand Floridian Hotel at Disney World.

Jillian Jenkinson said Thursday on CBS' "The Early Show" that Bonnie Sweeten's request to use her identification to fix a discrepancy on her 401(k) "seemed innocent."

First of all, how stupid is that?

More important, how racist is it that a woman claims to be abducted in a small town in two men from Philadelphia who drove a Cadillac and are black???

Sweeten is from Feasterville, PA. Population: 6,500+ Percentage minority (black and Latino): 4.5%

Do the math. That's 300 black and Latino residents in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

Income: $58,000. 70% of Feasterville is family units, and the average age is 36.1 (older than the national average). So we're talking about people who have laid down roots.

You'd think a rear-end accident and an abduction might have attracted someone's attention, particularly if they involved strange minority men in a car too expensive for most residents (who probably would opt for an SUV, like Sweeten did).

Yet, Sweeten, like
Susan Smith before her, opted for the "scary black man" tale to cover her own self-indulgences. At least in Sweeten's case, the child is alive!

But, no, there's no more racism in this country, no siree! Indeed, it's the scary black man who is racist! And his Latino "wise woman" appointee! But the rest of us? Oh no! Butter wouldn't melt in our white hoods mouths!

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Making a federal case out of it

By Mustang Bobby

Two unlikely allies -- Theodore Olson and David Boies, who last faced off over Bush v. Gore in 2000 -- are working together to take California's Prop 8 to federal court.

“Ted and I, as everybody knows, have been on different sides in court on a couple of issues,” said Mr. Boies, who represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, the contested 2000 vote count in Florida in which Mr. Olson prevailed for George W. Bush. “But this is not something that is a partisan issue. This is something that is a civil rights issue.”

The duo’s complaint, filed last week in Federal District Court in San Francisco on behalf of two gay couples and formally announced Wednesday at a news conference in Los Angeles, argues against Proposition 8 on the basis of federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

In the end, the two lawyers suggested, the case might take them, again, to the United States Supreme Court. While neither man claimed any special connection to the gay community — they are working “partially pro-bono,” Mr. Olson said — both said they had been touched by the stories of the same-sex couples unable to marry in California.

“If you look into the eyes and hearts of people who are gay and talk to them about this issue, that reinforces in the most powerful way possible the fact that these individuals deserve to be treated equally,” Mr. Olson said at the news conference.

“I couldn’t have said it better,” said Mr. Boies, patting Mr. Olson on the back.

While I appreciate the sentiment and I am grateful to have such high-powered voices raised in support of marriage equality, I can't help but wonder a couple of things. It's not as if this is the first time someone has suggested going through the federal courts to challenge the host of federal rules and laws -- including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- that have been enacted over the years. But a lot of the gay-rights groups have learned something from watching what happens when laws governing such things as civil rights or abortion rights have been dealt with through the federal courts rather than at the local or legislative level. It hands the opponents of such rights the cudgel of "outside agitators" or "activist judges" which makes for screaming headlines and talk-radio resentment against the all-powerful federal government riding roughshod over states' rights, and in some cases it would tear up years of grassroots efforts by people who have been working to craft local acceptance or overturn state laws.

Such a suit also runs the risk of being lost. Popular opinion may be shifting towards acceptance of marriage equality, and several states such as Maine and Vermont have passed laws to make same-sex marriage legal, but in front of a still-conservative Supreme Court, the outcome could be different. Mr. Olson, however, seems to think that the Court could be persuaded.

Mr. Olson seemed confident that the makeup of the Supreme Court was right because of the presence of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, pointing to two cases in which gay rights groups prevailed — a sodomy case in Texas and a constitutional ban on local antidiscrimination laws in Colorado — in which Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. “We studied this very, very carefully,” he said, adding that it was difficult to tell clients, “‘Why don’t you go back and wait another five years?’”

That may be, but two things come to mind. First, the example of Roe v. Wade shows that just because the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that a woman's right to choose was in the Constitution, the ruling obviously did not end the debate or the lawsuits. Neither, for that matter, did Brown v. Board of Education end school segregation in 1954. An argument could be made that the Supreme Court in both cases actually set back the causes they were supposed to help by fueling resentment against the federal government and its sledgehammer approach. The same thing could happen with marriage equality. Second, and this is showing a bit of tin-foil-hat paranoia, it occurs to me that the motive behind this suit could be to force the issue into the docket of the Supreme Court with the hope that it will lose, thereby setting back gay rights. I hasten to add that I am not accusing either Mr. Olson or Mr. Boies of conspiring to destroy the case for marriage equality by feigning to help it, but I can't help but wonder where they were when Prop 8 was on the ballot a year ago.

The lesson of Roe v. Wade is that sometimes it's better to work to win your case on a person-to-person, state-by-state level rather than get a sweeping pronouncement on a federal level. If there are federal laws that need to be repealed such as the Defense of Marriage Act or enacted such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), then let us work to do so through the legislative process. If the states can provide for marriage equality, then let's work at that level rather than a cookie-cutter/one-size-fits-all approach, and not provide the anti-gay forces with the ammunition to battle against judicial rulings (and with irony working on all cylinders, go to court) and claim that "the people" had no say in the matter. It may take a little longer and be harder to achieve than hoping for a 5-4 ruling from the Supremes, but no one can say that the fight isn't worth it.

(Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


By Creature

That's the percentage of American's who rated the choice of Sotomayor as either "excellent or good." 33% weren't too happy with the choice and another 20% had no opinion. As ThinkProgress notes, that's the second highest net positive rating when compared to the last four nominees. Not bad for a racist, rice & beans eating, dumb, emotional, anti-American, temperamental, activist judge. Go Sonia.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Citizens United against democracy

by Capt. Fogg

Some days it doesn't feel like it's worth getting up. I was hoping to sleep late this morning, but I was awakened at 8:01 by the phone and being too groggy to check the caller ID which would have told me it wasn't anything I should answer, I picked up.

Of course it was yet another seditious Republican hate group calling itself Citizens United trying once again to vilify the president by conducting a "brief poll" which of course consisted of a minute's hysterical rant by David Bossie ( who brags about having investigated the Clinton Administration and has written vituperative and not too factual books on Al Gore and John Kerry) about how Obama is destroying America and heaps praise on Limbaugh and Fox News. A fulsomely perky female voice returned and asked me which is more damaging for America:

  1. Obama's massive tax and spending increases,
  2. or his inexperienced, naive and weak foreign policy agenda?
Well, I won't mention my reaction to the cheerful little twit . I was not my usual kind self, and there were questionable expletives amongst my lecture about forced choice questions and dishonest polls and dishonest politicians attacking Democracy, I must say, but I'm sure she had me down as choosing one of the above despite my tirade about Bossie being a seditious enemy of all I hold dear.

Like everything else about the Republican sleaze machine, it's based on deception anyway and their "polls" have no actual validity. Of course I wasn't my usual kind self to the folks representing Newt Gingrich or his "poll" of leading questions last week either. Fake polls seem to be the way to get us, exhausted by the 18 months of hysterical telephone opinion shouting, to participate. Everyone wants his opinion heard: not everyone is smart enough to realize he's being used.

Newt, surprisingly, is no friend of Bossie. According to the Washington Post, when he was fired from his job as an investigator working for Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee in 1998, Speaker Gingrich said to Burton of Bossie's behavior:
"I'm embarrassed for you, I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee."

Indeed, even George H. W. Bush said of Bossie:
"We will do whatever we can to stop any filthy campaign tactics"

and W, himself no stranger to sleazy campaign tactics and not known for his sense of shame, asked his supporters not to support him as well.

But such is the fever of Obama Derangement Syndrome that this turd has again floated to the surface of the cesspool and who knows, perhaps will emerge from your telephone while you're trying to catch up on your sleep or eat your dinner or watch TV of an evening. But why wait?

If you have time on your hands today, try calling 866-635-8661 and ask Citizens United about their opinion of people who try to undermine our government "in time of war" or perhaps throw any of their other nauseous accusations back at them. Tell 'em Fogg sent ya. Tell them you're taking a poll.

Cross posted from Human Voices

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

And so the vicious right-wing smear campaign against Sotomayor is in full swing

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The invaluable Media Matters is right: "Conservatives react to historic Supreme Court nominee by smearing Sotomayor as 'racist,' 'bigot'."

It's Dear Leader Rush (spewing venom with every last ounce of his being); it's Glenn Beck (full, as usual, of mind-boggling glennbeckery); it's John Yoo (taking time off from defending torture to torture the truth about Sotomayor); it's Mark Levin (one of the more reprehensible voices in right-wing talk radio, which is saying something); it's Ramesh Ponnuru (a somewhat smarter conservative than the norm, but hardly immune from conservative nonsense); it's Newt Gingrich (who, like Limbaugh and others, is playing the racist card, calling Sotomayor herself a racist, presumably for being Hispanic); it's Tom Tancredo (in his usual nativist mode; he probably thinks Sotomayor should be detained and deported); it's Karl Rove (asserting without any evidence whatsoever that Sotomayor is "not necessarily" smart); and it's so many more (like National Review's Mark Krikorian (complaining, in true nativist fashion, about the Spanish pronunciation of her name).

As I put it yesterday, the opponents of Sotomayor's nomination are going with a kitchen sink approach here, vomiting up any and every smear it can make up and hoping something sticks. (And why wouldn't something stick, what with an all-too-eager media establishment making sure these lies get equal time and lapping up all the right-wing smears it can get its hands on with enthusiastic glee (if there's a "liberal media," as conservatives claim, it's only liberal to the extent that it liberally fertilizes the "news" with conservative manure).

Let me go back to Newt for a moment. The media love him (why else would they give him such an extraordinary amount of airtime?). And, with Limbaugh, he's leading the charge against Sotomayor. Consider what has led him to call her a racist:

  • In a 2001 speech, Sotomayor said this to a Hispanic group in Berkeley: "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
  • In response, Newt tweeted this: "Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.' new racism is no better than old racism."
How is this racism? What Sotomayor was saying was that her experiences matter, that they contribute to a fuller appreciation and understanding of what might come before her as a judge. As Greg Sargent explains (via Sullivan): "Read in context, it's clear that Sotomayor was merely saying that it’s inevitable that a judge's personal race-based and gender-based experiences will impact judging, particularly in race and sex discrimination cases." (The White House has already "hit back" at Newt.)

It's too much to expect right-wing partisans like Newt and Rush to take context into account, and so it comes as no surprise that their smears depend heavily on taking everything out of context. And there will certainly be more of this to come.

Thankfully, though, it seems that Republicans in Congress -- those who have their political survival to consider, who must answer to the American people, and who must at least be somewhat responsible -- likely will not go all-out against Sotomayor. (That is, Senate Republicans won't -- and they're the ones that matter. The generally more extremist House Republicans likely agree with Rush and Newt and the rest of the smearers.) As Politico is reporting, "the GOP plans no scorched-earth opposition to her confirmation as a Supreme Court justice." Which is good and promising news, if true.

Ultimately, it looks like the smear campaign will prove ineffectual and fizzle out. Sotomayor is a smart, qualified nominee -- she's no Harriet Miers (another line of attack against her) -- and there just isn't a reasonable case to be made against her.

But conservatives will continue to try -- and will continue to take things out of context, to make things up, and to hurl the kitchen sink at her. As long as she and her supporters stand firm, which they (we) are, there shouldn't be much problem repelling the right's ugly smear campaign and guiding her towards a relatively easy (and deserved) confirmation.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2 + 8 = 5

By Carl

Only in America is
being a baby factory profitable:

Jon and Kate Gosselin's marital misery sent their TV show soaring off the charts Monday night.

But before they start enjoying themselves too much, they might also want to consider this: If their marriage slides under the bus, it will very likely take their TV show with it and they will have to find another job.

Besides raising eight kids.

Yeah. The cynic in me says ol' John here (I have never watched the show, but I feel stupid calling him by his last name) banged his little hottie with dollar signs lighting up his eyes.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that the Discovery network actively sought out a woman who could, um, be a co-respondent in the divorce.

In the old days, this used to be called "procurement". Now it's called "marketing".

Ratings for this first episode were more than double the final episode of last season.

So the Gosselins took a page out of the
Loud family scrapbook.

Undoubtedly, they bit off more than they could chew. I'm sure the novelty of raising sextuplets (are you listening, Octomom?) and two other children wore off quickly, but the bucks rolled in, even as the audience wore thinner.

But this entire episode speaks to American culture: how bland are our lives that we would rather spend an hour watching a young family changing diapers than deal with our spouses and children?

Changing. Diapers.

Or climbing a tree on some remote island just so you don't have to face the challenges of being "voted off"? Or racing through the streets of Rome looking for a clue to the next destination? Or...

It's amazingly sick and twisted, to my mind at any rate, that the best that TV networks across the spectrum can present to us is someone else's life.

They protest that it's compelling drama, that these are real people, and that they are cheap and easy shows to make.

Until you realize they are as scripted as soap operas or even bad talk shows like Jerry Springer. And then the illusion, the same illusion that drives pro wrestling and game shows, vaporizes. Reality sets in, and you realize that you've been hoodwinked into watching one long commercial.

There was one reality show that I not only liked, but watched obsessively:
Mad Mad House. (episodes here)

Here was not only a parody of reality TV done right, it was an actual reality show. Yes, it was scripted, to be sure, but here's the thing: there were no heroics, no safety nets. Real people, a cross-section of "average Americans" were forced not to deal with their shortcomings in terms of being overweight or out of shape or less than perfect.

No, they were exposed to an entire new spectrum of lifestyles: naturism, voodoo, witchcraft, primitivism, and even vampirism.

It was "Fear Factor" but without the ick factor. And there was no audience selection, or "democratic" booting out. Your hosts were your prosecutors, judges, and jury, as well as often your defense attorneys.

None of this "
AT&T helped select the winner." There were few if any product placements. It was about finding the person with the most open mind...who could also be tough enough to survive all the backstabbing antics behind them.

And frankly, it was compelling. I like watching uncomfortable people deal with a situation that, while not threatening or harmful, forces them out of their cozy little superiority complices and into dealing with other people as equals.

America needs to learn that lesson over and over again.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Female justice

By Carol Gee

President Barack Obama, according to The Washington Post, made the "riskiest choice on his list who embodies his criteria." Deciding the night before he announced is pick, he chose Judge Sonia Sotomayor from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York, to be his first nominee to the SCOTUS. In my opinion he made a magnificent nomination who will be confirmed within the reasonable time line he has proposed to the Senate. And many Republicans have already set a predictable howl about the possibility of Judge Sotomayor replacing Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court.

GOP knee-jerk reactions -- David Corn wonders if Sonia Sotomayor will
split the right by musing, "With his new Supreme Court pick, Obama gives GOPers a choice: Tick off social conservatives or alienate Hispanic voters." Corn's post quotes, among other right wing sources, Wendy Long, of the "Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative outfit." Long has been all over the tube in recent hours spouting her hateful rhetoric about the President's nominee. At Firedoglake, bloggers took a look at Republicans such as Orin Hatch, already spoiling for a fight about this, even though he has already voted to confirm her to two previous judicial appointments. Eli ventured:

a verbatim transcript of the GOP's deliberations on whether or not to aggressively attack Sotomayor and risk (further) alienating Hispanics and women:


Empathy misunderstood by some -- Another of our favorite Republican reactionaries, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), worries that Sotomayor may allow'undue influence from her own personal race, gender,' " Think Progress reports. Rush Limbaugh, naturally, wants her to fail. John Yoo snarkily writes that "empathy triumphs over excellence." Other Republicans have mistakenly pointed to how many times Sotomayor has been reversed by the Supreme Court conservative wing. But not all Conservatives/Republicans have lost their heads.

Maintaining perspective -- But conservative
Andrew Sullivan questioned Tom Tancredo's description of Sotomayor as "a racist." And conservative writer Mark Halperin of Time Magazine, states unequivocally that Sotomayor will have "smooth sailing," and is "headed to easy confirmation." Daily Kos' David Waldman posts about what the Senate vote might look like. My perspective at this exciting time is that Sonia Sotomayor is the best qualified person by experience the President could choose, and perhaps even the best pick to rebalance the this group of too many white male Supreme Court justices. And the Republicans will not defeat her, no matter what they say or what they try.

(Cross-posted at Making Good Mondays.)

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Barack Obama is the LeBron James of the Democratic Party

Guest post by Frankie Sturm

Frankie Sturm is communications director at the Truman National Security Project and a free-lance journalist. This piece originally appeared at The Huffington Post.

Barack Obama is the LeBron James of the Democratic Party. At least when it comes to national security. Republicans have dominated Democrats on the security question for decades, but according to a new survey by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, President Obama is relegating that long-standing Republican edge to the history books -- for now.

Obama's personal numbers on national security are mind-boggling. Although derided by his critics as a naïve idealist in a dangerous world, 55% of the public believes President Obama is increasing American security. More than 60% of respondents approve of the president's handling of Afghanistan, Iraq, piracy, representing America abroad, leading America’s military, fighting terrorism, and improving America's standing in the world. Most shocking -- voters give Obama higher marks on national security (64%) than on overall performance (58%).

President Obama's cachet has redounded to the Democratic Party as a whole. After suffering a 10-40 point gap over the last forty years, Democrats are now statistically tied with Republicans when respondents are asked which party is better for national security. In terms of working with allies, increasing respect for the United States, and "foreign policy," Democrats enjoy large double-digit margins over Republicans.

Nevertheless, we're better off keeping the champagne on ice. These results warrant little more than cautious optimism. Republicans tower over Democrats on "ensuring a strong military" by an overwhelming 18 points. In terms of patriotism, Republicans carry the day by 17 points. Moreover, it's unclear whether positive perceptions of Democrats have a solid foundation outside of President Obama's own popularity. While 46% of respondents have a favorable opinion of Democrats (it’s only 28% for Republicans), President Obama gets 59%. So we really don't know where Democrats' popularity stops and President Obama's begins.

That's why Barack Obama is starting to look like the LeBron James of the Democratic Party. The Cleveland Cavaliers have finally put together a strong enough
supporting cast to bring an NBA title within the realm of possibility, but it still took a 3-point buzzer beater from LeBron for the Cavs to claim victory over the Orlando Magic in game two of their ongoing playoff series. A win is a win, but for the long-term prospect of the Cleveland Cavaliers -- and the Democratic Party -- this is a problem.

Political gains that are heavily dependent on a single personality are easy to reverse. George W. Bush was America's most popular man for almost a year after 9/11. When his stock fell, so did that of the Republican Party. On the flip side, once the public comes to associate a political party with a particular issue, it's hard to disabuse the notion. Republicans have instant credibility on taxes and keeping the military strong. Democrats are easily trusted on education and the environment. Now that the two parties are tied on national security, the battle for issue ownership on that critical questions begins in earnest.

But Democrats also need to build their own brand as a party because, popularity aside, President Obama needs it. Watching the Democratic Senate vote 90-6 against allocating funds for the closure of Guantanamo Bay was an exercise in embarrassment for party and president alike. The criticism that President Obama has not outlined a real plan for shutting down Gitmo is perfectly legit; the spectacle of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid parroting Republican talking points on "releasing" the detainees is not.

Such incidents strengthen the popular notion that Democrats are fickle and lack clear beliefs, which is arguably the chief reason why Democrats have fallen short on national security for so long. After all, if a you can’t follow through on an issue that has motivated your party (such as closing Gitmo) and stand up to a little political heat, how are you going to stand up to al Qaeda or Iran? For the American public, the answer to that question is very simple: you're not going to stand up to them, so we'll go with the other guy.

Popular presidents transform parties and redefine political eras. FDR did so for the Democrats in the 1930s, while Reagan did the same for Republicans in the 1980s. President Obama and the Democrats of today have a similar opportunity to transform the age-old perception that the Democratic Party is not to be trusted on national security. So far so good. But so far isn't good enough.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

The poor oppressed white male

By Creature

I can't possibly sum up all the conservative stupid surrounding Obama's pick of Sotomayor that has already been unleashed (I'll let TPM and Steven Benen take of that), but sufficed to say that none of the criticism has anything to do with the her mostly moderate and fair legal opinions. From the right's reaction so far, it's clear that being a white male in America is very hard indeed and that any hint of ethnicity is clearly an advantage to be exploited. Maybe this is why John Boehner keeps so tan.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Hardin, the new Gitmo?

By Michael J.W. Stickings


The tiny town of Hardin, Montana, is offering an answer to a very thorny question: Where should the nation put terror detainees if the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is shut down by the end of the year as President Obama has pledged?

Hardin, population 3,400, sits in the southeast corner of Montana, in the state's poorest county. Its small downtown is almost deserted at midday. The Dollar Store is going out of business. The Hardin Mini Mall is already shut. The town needs jobs -- and fast.

Hardin borrowed $27 million through bonds to build the Two Rivers Regional Correctional Facility in hopes of creating new employment opportunities. The jail was ready for prisoners two years ago, but has yet to house a single prisoner.

People here say politics in the capital of Helena has kept it empty. But the city council last month voted 5-0 to back a proposal to bring Gitmo detainees -- some of the most hardened terrorists in the world -- to the facility.

"It would bring jobs. Believe it or not, it would even bring hope and opportunity," Greg Smith, Hardin's economic development director, told CNN.

Jobs. Hope. Opportunity. With so many of America's elected officials cowardly trying to pass the buck, the good people of Hardin, Montana are admirably stepping up to the plate to address this pressing problem.

Now, I'll admit, I wouldn't want hardened terrorists (and there ought to be fair trials to determine which ones are truly such terrorists and which ones aren't) in my community, even in some Supermax prison, but, then, I wouldn't want to live in a community with such a facility anyway. But what's so admirable about Hardin's proposal is that it makes sense for Hardin. So if the people of Hardin want to take on this responsibility, why not let them? They've volunteered. And it may just help them pull themselves out of their economic malaise.

But will it happen? Probably not:

The state's congressional leaders have lined up against the plan. "Housing potential terrorists in Montana is not good for our state," Max Baucus, the state's senior Democratic senator, wrote to Smith. "These people stop at nothing. Their primary goal in life, and death, is to destroy America."

Well, that may be true, if somewhat of a simplistic exaggeration -- they're human beings, after all, not super-human monsters, and the matter of who they are and what they want in life is far more complex than Baucus suggests -- but "housing" isn't really the right word for what would be done to them in Montana. That makes it seem like they'd be put in halfway houses and let out on furloughs. They wouldn't be housed, they'd be, as they are now, incarcerated in what would surely be turned into a super-maximum security prison. And whatever their primary goals, it would be awfully difficult for them to "destroy America" from behind the walls and bars of that prison.

Of course, it isn't just up to Hardin. Many others, and not just Baucus and his colleagues in Congress, will have to weigh in. And it may very well be determined that moving the detainees to Hardin just isn't a great idea. But it should at least be taken seriously, not least because no one else seems to want them.

Hey, if it could really bring hope and opportunity to this depressed part of America, why not?

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

The people's car company

By Creature

I hate to say it, but at this point it probably would have made more sense to bail out the auto-workers directly and let the auto companies fail. Taking a 70% share of GM is too much in light of their dysfunction. Maybe GM and Chrysler will come out stronger, but history is not on their side.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Petraeus backs Obama on Gitmo and torture

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As HuffPo's Sam Stein reports, Gen. David Petraeus, that darling of the warmongering right (at least when he was devising and leading the Iraq Surge), has come out in support of Obama's positions on Gitmo and torture.

Interviewed on Radio Free Europe this past weekend, Petraeus noted that he has "long been on record as having testified and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention." He also stated that he approved closing Gitmo "in a responsible manner."

As Stein points out, this is a significant boost for Obama. Along with Colin Powell, who also spoke in defence of Obama on Sunday, Petraeus is another high-profile military leader (and Republican) who disagrees with Cheney, and with the many on the right who agree with Cheney, on two key national security issues.

Will the right-wing smear machine now unleash its fury on Petraeus? Will it seek to take down one of its heroes?

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Obama's brilliant Sotomayor pick

By Michael J.W. Stickings

John Dickerson is right. The Sotomayor pick checks all the boxes.

Notably, of course, Sotomayor is a Hispanic woman -- if confirmed, she'll be only the third woman on the Court, and the first Hispanic. But what her right-wing critics, and conservatives generally, don't get, given their knee-jerk impetuosity, is that the boxes don't all have to do with her demographic identity, and certainly not with affirmative action. As Dickerson notes, she's also bipartisan, experienced, liberal, and smart, with a broad "legal range" and an impressive, uplifting biography.

In short, Sonia Sotomayor is, in a word, qualified. And that's what matters most here.

As Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, put it at HuffPo:

Judge Sotomayor has a long and distinguished career on the federal bench. She has been nominated by both Democratic and Republican presidents, and she was twice confirmed by the Senate with strong, bipartisan support. Her record is exemplary. Judge Sotomayor's nomination is an historic one, and when confirmed she will become the first Hispanic Justice, and just the third woman to sit on the nation's highest court. Having a Supreme Court that better reflects the diversity of America helps ensure that we keep faith with the words engraved in Vermont marble over the entrance of the Supreme Court: "Equal justice under law."

That's exactly right. And, indeed, diversity is a key virtue. It's not that Obama has nominated just any Hispanic woman, or a Hispanic woman just to check off those boxes. Rather, he's nominated a supremely qualified one. That she is a woman, and Hispanic, is a bonus -- a double bonus. It is essential not just to have solid (perhaps great) legal minds on the Court (Thomas would be the notable exception), but to have different perspectives as well. The fact is, contrary to what the fundamentalists of the right believe, there is no one right way to interpret the law, no absolute right and absolute wrong. On the contrary, constitutional law is a world of nuance -- as the law is generally. Judges (and lawyers and legal scholars as well) bring not just their bookish expertise to the job but also who they are, their experiences in the world. And the fact is, one's experiences (and perspectives) are shaped not just by one's education and career but by one's race and religion and gender and sexual orientation and every other element of one's identity. And so it matters that the nine judges on the highest court in the land reflect America, even if they do not perfectly represent it, even if they are not, and are not supposed to be, the people's representatives. Besides, no one is suggesting that there have to be, according to some plan, a certain number of women or Jews or gays on the Court. All we are saying is that diversity matters -- as long as it is not achieved at the expense of overall expertise.

The right is already slamming Sotomayor as an affirmative action case, of course, but the fact is, opponents not just of Sotomayor but of liberal (or non-fundamentalist) nominees generally would use this argument against any woman and any Hispanic -- indeed, against anyone who isn't one of them. They prefer their while men, after all, men like Roberts and Alito, and when someone like Thomas is nominated, a black man, it's fine as long as, and only as long as, the nominee is one of them ideologically. This is yet another example of the shameless hypocrisy of conservatives.

Right now, though, just hours after the announcement, Sotomayor's opponents (and, really, Obama's) are going for a Kitchen Sink approach for their smear campaign: She's an affirmative action case, she's a crazy leftist, etc. What they're hoping is that something, anything, sticks. Take Dear Leader Rush, for example, who predictably spewed his venom all over Sotomayor, calling her a "hack" and a "disaster" and Obama a "racist" and otherwise dismissing her, hatefully, as an unqualified loser: "So she's not the brain that they're portraying her to be, she's not a constitutional jurist. She is an affirmative action case extraordinaire and she has put down white men in favor of Latina women."

Well, what did you expect? Others on the right, notably those in Congress, may soften their rhetoric a bit, but do not doubt for a moment that Limbaugh's multi-pronged assault on Sotomayor is the standard conservative line on Sotomayor. It will be swallowed in full and regurgitated ad nauseam over the next few months.

For more on the early conservative response to the nomination, see Think Progress. One conservative, the Committee for Justice's Curt Levey, has compared Sotomayor to Harriet Miers, which is both insulting and stupid. National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru, makes the same idiotic comparison. While some are playing the affirmative action card (as well as the identity card: Republicvan Sen. James Inhofe, for example, is suggesting that Sotomayor's race and gender unduly influence her -- but, then, if that's true, do they not also unduly influence Inhofe and his white male agenda?), the dominant line of attack seems to be the completely unfounded accusation that Sotomayor is "not the smartest," as The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes put it. Conservative won't get very far trying to tear apart her intellect, or supposed lack thereof. But, then, they also won't get very far implying that women and Hispanics shouldn't be on the Court -- and, as Dahlia Lithwick puts it, "by attacking her as too darn human."

The most idiotic comment I've come across so far comes (via TP) from Barnes's colleague Michael Goldfarb: "[O]n the issue of diversity, Obama seems to have the views of a 21-year-old Hispanic girl -- that is, only by having a black president, an Hispanic justice, a female secretary of State, and Bozo the Clown as vice president will the United States become a true 'vanguard of societal ideas and changes.'" (WTF? There is absolutely zero basis for this. Not that that ever stops conservatives from vomiting up every last ounce of poison to support their partisan agenda.)

Meanwhile, back in reality, Sotomayor's confirmation should be fairly easy. Why? Again, because she is, before all else, qualified. And because Obama made a brilliant, "inspiring" pick.

As Greenwald puts it, and I concur (though of course I have my questions, and there are questions she will need to answer), "this seems to be a superb pick for Obama." (Make sure to read Glenn's post in full -- though I must disagree with his assessment of The New Republic, which, however much involved in the early smear campaign against Sotomayor, is, in my view, a bastion of thoughtful liberalism. Yes, even Jeffrey Rosen, one of her critics at TNR, supports her enthusiastically.)

Stay tuned. We'll have much, much more on the Sotomayor nomination going forward.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Troubling blind spot

By Carl

The Bush administration's singleminded focus on Iraq blinded it to some
pretty ugly things going on in other parts of the world:

North Korea has fired two more missiles, hours after the UN Security Council unanimously condemned its nuclear test, South Korean reports say.

The Communist state fired two short-range missiles off an east-coast base, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing an official.

The move came as UN diplomats began work on a resolution to punish North Korea for its underground nuclear test.

Translation: When John Bolton warns George Bush you're doing it wrong, U R Doin It Rong!:

In 2002, our intelligence community definitively judged that the regime was working on an industrial-scale enrichment program. Since then we have little new information, reducing the confidence level, but not changing the substantive conclusion, that the North Koreans "have and continue to operate a uranium enrichment program" – as Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell testified in February.

For the Bush administration, however, the lack of new data is an excuse to ignore the entire issue of uranium.

On plutonium, the administration seems content to seek vague statements from the North that "account" for the amount of this fissile material we think it has extracted from its Yongbyon reactor's spent fuel rods over the years. Administration briefings reveal little or no interest in how many plutonium weapons exist; whether there are other plutonium-related facilities hidden in North Korea's vast complex of underground facilities; and what the North's weapons-manufacturing capabilities are.

Proliferation? Perhaps the Bush administration's most wondrous act of magic is to make that problem disappear. The State Department argues that North Korea may have proliferated in the past, but that's all behind us. How do we know? The North Koreans have told us.

Remember this gem of a meme?

Under the final terms of the Agreed Framework approved in October of 1994, Clinton agreed to provide the "Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea" (DPRK) with two light water nuclear reactors and a massive allotment of oil. The U.S. agreed to ship 500,000 metric tons of oil annually in response to the North's pretense that the energy-starved backwater had developed the nuclear facility to generate power. These shipments have cost taxpayers more than $800 million to date - a bargain compared with the $6 billion spent on constructing the nuclear reactors, which now empower North Korea to produce 100 nuclear bombs each year.

All these measures failed to quell the North's atom-lust.

Odds are you won't hear a peep from the right about Bush's complicity in the further development of nuclear arms by the North (absent Bolton's now-year-old OpEd), rather than correctly point out that, of the "Axis of Evil", only Korea had any hopes of developing a nuclear armament program AND legitimate targets to lob them at.

Means, motive, opportunity, the classic tripod on which to hang a conviction in a criminal case apparently holds no weight in the realm of the right wing. We striked out at the country with the least means, the lesser motive, and practically zero opportunity and rattled sabres at the country with slightly more means, slightly more motive, but even less opportunity.

And did nothing about the guy in the ski mask holding a gun at the bank teller window with an open sack.

Smart. Very smart.

What could have been handled six years ago is now looming as a pandemic of pandemonia. The same logic used to invade Iraq could just as easily have been applied to Korea, all the way to the feeble excuse of bringing an international criminal to justice and freeing his citizenry.

Indeed, that charge more applied to Kim Jong Il than to Saddam Hussein. Hussein, at least,
never starved his own people, despite gassing large numbers of them.

But now we have what we have, as Strindberg so aptly put it.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Amazing what one word can do

By Boatboy

Sam Shulman at The Weekly Standard has an interesting little rant about how Same Sex Marriage advocates are hijacking "romantic marriage" to advance their cause, and how marriage as an institution is really all about extended families, fertility and controlling protecting women.

As Mustang Bobby says over at Bark Bark Woof Woof, Wow. Just wow.

For me, Shulman's money quote is this:

When, in spite of current enthusiasm, gay marriage turns out to disappoint or bore the couples now so eager for its creation, its failure will be utterly irrelevant for gay people.

Given that Shulman also says this:

The entity known as “gay marriage” only aspires to replicate a very limited, very modern, and very culture-bound version of marriage. Gay advocates... are replicating what we might call the “romantic marriage,” a kind of marriage that is chosen, determined, and defined by the couple that enters into it. Romantic marriage is now dominant in the West and is becoming slightly more frequent in other parts of the world.

... the chief issue he seems to have is that marriage for love -- gay or straight -- is a fad, foisted on us by the Romantic movement, and destructive of civilisation in the long run. The fun I have is what happens to the first quote if "gay" is removed from the line:

"When, in spite of current enthusiasm, marriage turns out to disappoint or bore the couples now so eager for its creation, its failure will be utterly irrelevant for people."

Read like that, it's much clearer how divorce became so prevalent in our society: if "romantic marriage" has failed, and those who entered into it have become disappointed or bored, naturally terminating the disappointing or boring endeavour becomes more attractive.

Yet somehow, despite an easy progression from society's boredom with "romantic marriage" to the current divorce statistics as a measure for how transient "traditional marriage" has become, it's not "romantic marriage" that is the problem for Shulman, it's that Teh Gay is trying to own the concept - when in his reality marriage is really all about The Clan, The Sex, The Ownership and The Babies, and Love and Romance have nothing to do with it. That one word -- "Gay" -- has become so powerful to Shulman that it can rewrite all of the history of modern marriage, overwrite Shakespeare, Austen, Bronte, Shaw et al, and totally dismiss the simple fact that "romantic marriage" is far more a construct of the straight world than the gay one and that LGBT folks just want a piece of what hets have had a monopoly on for the last three hundred years at least.

Just one word. That's all it takes.

Wow. Just wow.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

When moderate is the new left

By Creature

Sotomayor is a left-wing radical the same way Obama is. That is, they're not. If conservatives can't honestly admit this, then there is no point in engaging them.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Not over yet

By Creature


The national Case Shiller index for the first quarter, also released Tuesday, also showed a 19 percent decline compared the first quarter of 2008, the biggest drop in the index’s 21-year history. The national index covers all United States houses.

It's hard to imagine that, at this point, we are still in "biggest drop" in history territory, but we are.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Another new low for anti-gay bigotry among the neocons

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Check out Isaac Chotiner's takedown of one of the worst anti-same-sex-marriage arguments ever, a piece of idiotic drivel by one Sam Schulman, a thrice-married hypocrite, bigot, and moron.

(I can't reduce Schulman's argument to a nutshell. Suffice it to say that it involves incest, licit/illicit sexuality, and "the kinship system," or relations with in-laws. Yeah, it's really, really stupid.)

And where did said drivel appear? Why, in the pages of The Weekly Standard, of course, that neocon rag, a vehicle for all sorts of Kristol-approved nonsense.

(Once upon a time, the neocons used to be a fairly smart bunch, even if you, like me, disagreed with them. But what has happened to them of late? -- and by that I mean over the past couple of decades. Well, they became partisan hacks, for one, and they gave up serious intellectual curiosity/research for ideological certainty, for two, and they morphed into yet another outpost for extremist conservative Republican groupthink, for three, and, for four, they expanded their burgeoning empire well beyond Bill's dad Irving and his former socialist buddies at the CCNY to include the Sam Schulmans of the world. What an embarrassment. Still, as Isaac notes, "[t]here is something nice -- refreshing even -- about a single article that incorporates everything you despise in a certain worldview." So thanks for that, Bill. Even with outright drivel, you've performed a valuable service.)

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

By Creature

As Mustang Bobby informs us below, Sonia Sotomayor is Obama's pick to replace Souter. Her back-story is very impressive and, before conservatives begin to whine, let's remember she's a George H.W. Bush appointee. Of course, in today's Republican party, George H.W. Bush would be considered a liberal, so I'm not so sure Bush senior's role in her rise will sooth Rush and Newt much.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

It's Sotomayor

By Mustang Bobby

This is from MSNBC:

President Barack Obama tapped federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court on Tuesday, officials said, making her the first Hispanic in history picked to wear the robes of a justice.

If confirmed by the Senate, Sotomayor, 54, would succeed retiring Justice David Souter. Two officials described Obama's decision on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement had been made.

Administration officials say Sotomayor would bring more judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice confirmed in the past 70 years.

A formal announcement is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. ET in the East Room of the White House.

Obama had said publicly he wanted a justice who combined intellect and empathy — the ability to understand the troubles of everyday Americans.

Democrats hold a large majority in the Senate, and barring the unexpected, Sotomayor's confirmation should be assured.

If approved, she would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the current court.

I'm sure the wingnuts have a full barrage lined up and ready to fire -- Joe Scarborough was citing her "far-out" rulings this morning -- but that's what they've been gearing up for since before Souter announced his retirement: they were going to be against anyone President Obama nominated just as an autonomic response. And there have been the threats of a filibuster by some Republicans, who have conveniently forgotten that just a few years ago, when Samuel Alito was nominated and the Democrats muttered about blocking his appointment, they termed filibustering a judicial nominee as unconstitutional. But that now that there's a Democrat in the White House, it's perfectly acceptable. Rail on, supercilious twits.

I'm guessing, based on her confirmation to the federal bench in 1998, that she'll be confirmed by more than 80 votes in the Senate.

Bio of Judge Sotomayor here.

HT to TPM.

(Cross-posted from Bark Bark Woof Woof.)


Bookmark and Share