Natura non facit saltus
Debunking the Paradigm Shifters
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Wednesday, Nov 30, 2005
Judges and Ideology
An NY Times letter from Donald M. Solomon says:
If the administration, in promoting Judge Alito's nomination, agrees that the best judges are those who scrupulously keep their ideological views out of their judicial decisions, why doesn't it nominate liberals who would adhere to that principle?Is he being sarcastic? The simple answer is that it has been tried. Republican presidents have appointed a lot of liberal judges. They just don't adhere to the principle.
Tuesday, Nov 29, 2005
Gen. Odom tries to rewrite history
Somebody sent me this TV transcript with General Odom recommending that we cut and run in Iraq:
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Worse than Vietnam?Now there is some historical revisionism. US credibility was way down in 1975. We cut off all support to S. Vietnam, and it fell to the commies. So did Laos and Cambodia. Countries didn't believe that we would keep our military promises anymore. For more Vietnam info, read here.
In this CFR interview, Odom argues that President Bush should admit the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and that Iraq will never become a liberal democracy. Odom is a fool. No American president should admit that a war was a mistake.
I am not sure that liberal democracy is possible in a Mohammedan country. It is a very ambitious goal. That was not the main reason for the war, and I am not sure that Bush ever promised a liberal democracy in Iraq.
A reader claims that I misinterpreted the above Odom quote. Odom was really just saying that USA credibility bottomed out when we sold out the S. Vietnamese, and in 1978 our credibility was increasing. If so, then Odom's argument is consistent with the idea that American credibility was severely damaged by pulling out from Vietnam. Our credibility was so low that it had nowhere to go but up. Okay, that may be right, but how does it support an argument for pulling out of Iraq?
Richard Cohen refuses to admit mistakes
Wash. Post columnist and lying Bush-hater Richard Cohen says:
Yet by the time the war began, March 20, 2003, it was quite clear that Iraq had no nuclear weapons program. All the evidence for one -- the aluminum tubes, the uranium from Africa -- had been challenged. What's more, U.N. inspectors on the ground had found nothing.Yes, the evidence for Iraqi nukes was ambiguous. There were reasons to be suspicious, such as in the Butler report. Pres. Bush wanted to take action before Iraq develops nukes. Cohen, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, and the other lying Bush-haters in the US Senate supported after seeing all of this evidence.
Cohen blames the Democrat senators for the way in which they have described their mistakes. But he doesn't explain it himself either. Instead he blames these administration statements:
As late as August 2003, Condoleezza Rice was saying that she was ``certain to this day that this regime was a threat, that it was pursuing a nuclear weapon, that it had biological and chemical weapons, that it had used them.'' ... Cheney said, ``Increasingly, we believe that the United States will become the target'' of an Iraqi nuclear weapon, and Rumsfeld raised a truly horrible specter: ``Imagine a Sept. 11 with weapons of mass destruction'' which would kill ``tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children.''Maybe Cohen now regrets being persuaded by these arguments, but he certainly had enough facts to make up his own mind, and so did the Congress. If Cohen disagrees with those Rice/Cheney/Rumsfield opinions, then he should have said so 3 years ago when the war was being debated. Now he is just falsely trying to rewrite history.
The Wash Post reports that there was another Novak involved in the V. Plame case, and says:
Fitzgerald has spent the past two years investigating whether any Bush administration officials disclosed Plame's name and employment at the CIA as part of an effort to discredit allegations by her husband, former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV, that President Bush had twisted intelligence to justify the Iraq war. Fitzgerald has not charged anyone with the crime he originally set out to prove: the illegal disclosure of a covert CIA operative's identity. Instead, he has focused on alleged wrongdoing in the course of the investigation.Here is what bugs me about this whole case. It would be bad if it turned out that Pres. Bush twisted intelligence to justify the Iraq war. I cannot find any evidence that he did, but the lying Bush-haters do make that allegation. I think that Bush had a responsibility to defend himself to the public against such charges. If that involved releasing some minor facts about Wilson and Plame that happen to be classified, then he should certainly do that. The public has a right to know his defense. Revealing the Wilson's wife role was essential to the story. It was not wrong and not criminal. It was a good and proper thing to do.
Fitzgerald cannot make a case that there was anything wrong about revealing Plame's name, so instead he indicts Libby on some minor technicalities. It is the Al Capone strategy -- justify sending someone to jail on a minor offense by suggesting that he really did something worse.
Somehow Watergate-era reporters have convinced everyone that the coverup is worse than the crime. I don't agree. Fitzgerald knew about a month of his investigation that he would never prove the crime that was supposed to investigate. Instead he spent 2 years trying to create a crime. Fitzgerald is the only bad guy here (besides the lying Bush-haters).
Monday, Nov 28, 2005
A Congressional subcommittee has proposed the Marriage Protection Amendment:
Marriage in the United States shall consist solely of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.The peculiar thing about this is that it lets the states adopt same-sex civil unions (or domestic partnerships) via a regular statute, but not via the state constitution. Usually the state constitution overrides ordinary statutes, and federal law overrides both. If the MPA passes, then the federal Constitution will say that state statutes override the state constitution under certain circumstances.
This makes no sense to me. There could be a lot of conflicts between a state constitution and its statutes relating to marriage and civil unions. The FMA will render these conflicts unresolvable.
BTW, there have been about 6 versions of a marriage amendment introduced in Congress. The version you quote is not in the current Congress. It is the version that came to a vote in the House on Sep. 30, 2004, receiving a simple majority but less than the required 2/3rds.The way I read the FMA, the purpose is for state civil union laws to override the state constitution.
Sunday, Nov 27, 2005
Lies about aluminum tubes
I just watched Sen. Joe Biden on NBC-TV's Meet The Press, and he was reciting the Bush-hater line about being tricked into voting for the Iraq War. In particular, he complained that he was misled about aluminum tubes.
Here is what Biden got from the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate:
Most agencies believe that Saddam's personal interest in and Iraq's aggressive attempts to obtain high-strength aluminum tubes for centrifuge rotors--as well as Iraq's attempts to acquire magnets, high-speed balancing machines, and machine tools--provide compelling evidence that Saddam is reconstituting a uranium enrichment effort for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program. (DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway but assesses that the tubes probably are not part of the program.) ...So Iraq was suspiciously buying high-precision aluminum tubes, and there was a difference of opinion as to the likely purpose. All of the facts and opinions were given to the Congress. Colin Powell told the UN that he sided with those who thought that Iraq had a nuclear purpose. We are still not sure, as far as I know.
This dispute was even detailed for the American public in a Sept. 2002 Wash Post story. It appears to me that the Bush administration was more open and honest about pre-war intelligence than any other. Biden is just another lying Bush-hater.
Dilbert on ID
The Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams is driving the leftist-atheist-evolutionists nuts on his blog. He says:
I propose a little thought experiment.He is trying to zero in on why evolutionists display such an irrational hatred of Intelligent Design (ID). He has a talent for suckering people into saying idiotic things.
Friday, Nov 25, 2005
NY Times tells truth, retracts
Last week, the NY Times said:
Yesterday, Libby's lawyer, Theodore Wells, pronounced Woodward's revelation a "bombshell" that contradicted Fitzgerald's assertion that Libby was the first government official to discuss Plame's CIA connection with a journalist, Judith Miller, a former reporter for The New York Times, on June 23, 2003.The next day, it published this correction:
Correction: November 18, 2005, Friday A front-page article yesterday about a new disclosure in the C.I.A. leak investigation referred incorrectly to an assertion made by the special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald about I. Lewis Libby Jr., whom he indicted in the case involving the naming of Valerie Wilson, a C.I.A. officer. Mr. Fitzgerald said that Mr. Libby was the "first known" government official -- not the first -- to discuss Ms. Wilson with a journalist.Here is what Fitzgerald actually said at his press conference:
FITZGERALD: At the end of the day what appears is that Mr. Libby's story that he was at the tail end of a chain of phone calls, passing on from one reporter what he heard from another, was not true.I think that the NY Times got it right the first time. Fitzgerald chose his words carefully, and he did accuse Libby of being the first to disclose Plame's name, not just the first known.
It has been my contention that Libby told the truth, and that Fitzgerald has been lying. We will find out at Libby's trial.
Here is another journalist, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, telling a confusing and contradictory story about Valerie Plame. She told an interviewer in 2003 that Valerie Plame's CIA identity was "widely known", but then later denied it.
Libby may call Judith Miller, Bob Woodward, and Andrea Mitchell as defense witnesses. It will appear that either they have selective memories, or that they were confused about the crucial details, or that they have been telling self-serving lies. The jury won't be likely to send Libby to jail just because his recollections differ somewhat from those of a couple of reporters.
Thursday, Nov 24, 2005
More on the WMD lies
Bob complains that the real case for war was made by Powell, Cheney, and Rumsfield, and that they lied about WMD. He suggests that I rely on Powell's UN speech for the official Bush case for war.
Last November 8, this council passed Resolution 1441 by a unanimous vote. The purpose of that resolution was to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. Iraq had already been found guilty of material breach of its obligations, stretching back over 16 previous resolutions and 12 years.Most of the speech is a technical presentation and discussion of specific evidence. I believe that Powell has retracted some of this, so I don't know what is accurate and what is not.
Powell says this about nuclear weapon development:
Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands on a nuclear bomb. He is so determined that he has made repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries, even after inspections resumed.It seems to me that Powell didn't know whether Iraq had nuclear bombs or not. He mainly has an argument that Iraq has violated Resolution 1441, and that we should not put up with the violations.
Maybe Powell overstated the evidence. Maybe some of his sources were unreliable. Maybe he didn't quote enough CIA naysayers. I don't know. But the main thrust of speech was correct. Iraq was in violation of Resolution 1441. It was up to the USA and the UN to decide what those consequences should have been.
A lot of people back in 2003 did not think that Iraq violating Res. 1441 was reason enough for war. I can understand that. Maybe they were right. But the Congress and the American public was overwhelmingly in favor of the war because of those violations and because of other reasons that just as valid today. The lying Bush-haters who claim that we were misled into war are falsely trying to rewrite history.
Wednesday, Nov 23, 2005
Princeton concerned alumni
John sends this Stephen R. Dujack article in the Princeton Univ. paper complaining about Judge Alito being a member of Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP). He says:
Even today, they lie. The Daily Princetonian reported Friday that CAP's longtime board member Andrew Napolitano '72 denies that the group opposed coeducation! This is like denying that the Catholic Church opposed abortion. Opposition to the presence of women at Princeton was CAP's central precept.
Disclosure: I went to Princeton, I knew Dujack, and I was not a member of CAP.
Princeton was all-male until about 1969. The issue during the 1970s was what Dujack euphemistically calls "full coeducation". The university was using sex-based admission quotas. I do not think that CAP opposed coeducation, because I remember it having female student members.
Dujack was an editor of an alumni magazine that competed with the CAP magazine. He sounds as if he is still hung up on an old rivalry. Why else would he complain today that CAP called something a "laughingstock"?
Now the university is run by women, and a majority of the students are girls. Male sports like wrestling were downgraded. The alumni magazine has been taken over by the university, and no dissent is allowed. These changes are debatable, and there is no reason for Alito to apologize.
Here are people complaining about a lack of corporate sponsorship for a museum exhibit on Darwin. From Not Just Another Animal
In England during the 1700s and early 1800s, few questioned the Biblical story of creation. The prevailing view was that people were created to rule over animals, "over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky."From How Old Is The Earth:
Relying on interpretations of the Bible, most people in England believed that Earth was only about 6,000 years old—not nearly old enough for countless species to have evolved.I wouldn't recommend that any company sponsor a science exhibit that takes silly and inaccurate pot-shots at Christianity. Scientists in the 1800s understimated the age of the Earth because they didn't know about radioactivity, not because they were relying on the Bible.
Tuesday, Nov 22, 2005
Scalia defends Bush v Gore
The NY Post reports:
November 22, 2005 -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the high court did not inject itself into the 2000 presidential election. Speaking at the Time Warner Center last night, Scalia said: "The election was dragged into the courts by the Gore people. We did not go looking for trouble."I think that the NY Post has distorted Scalia's quote with the bracketed phrase. Scalia probably meant to say that the issue was whether Florida's Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court would decide Gore's appeal, not the election. The election was decided by the voters, and the question before the court was whether there were irregularities that demanded some sort of remedy.
Another biography review
The Oct. American Spectator says:
In Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism, Donald T. Critchlow uses the career of the woman feminists love to hate as a lens through which to examine the neglected history of grassroots conservatism in postwar America. Critchlow combines scholarly rigor with fine prose to produce the best book ever written on this subject.
Why we went to war
As I see it, the American people supported the Iraq War for 4 reasons:
The lying Bush-haters are once again trying to rewrite history about the reasons for war. Congressmen who voted for the war are now claiming that they were tricked.
They were not misled. The war was debated as honestly and openly as any war in the last 100 years. They supported the war for the reasons given, and those reasons are as valid as ever.
If a Congressman had said in 2003, "I am voting for the Iraq War not because of the Bush-Blair arguments, but because of a secret CIA briefing that Iraq had already assembled nuclear bombs that were an imminent threat to the USA", then he could justifiably complain about his vote being influenced by faulty intelligence. But no one said that. They supported the war for the same reasons that Bush and Blair supported the war.
I was never convinced by the above pro-war arguments. It seemed obvious to me that we had no proof of WMD, and that the idea of civilizing Iraq was highly improbable. I do not know how I would have voted if I had been in the Congress. But I sure wouldn't vote for the war, and then make up phony reasons against the war later. I think that the people like John Kerry are really despicable. He voted for the war, and now he tries to deny it.
Evolution used to suppress appetite
Evolutionists often claim that Darwinism has had a huge impact on medical research, but examples are scarce, as previously noted. Here is a new Stanford discovery that credits Darwinism:
Researchers at the School of Medicine uncovered obestatin by using the principles of evolution to pick clues from data held in the Human Genome Project, as well as the genome sequencing projects for many other organisms, among them yeast, fruit flies and mice.They found a hormone related to appetite. Much of their work involved searching genetic databases, and it was simplified by assuming that more commonly occurring gene sequences were more important.
It is hard to see how any of this depends on Darwinism. Darwin knew nothing about genes. His main theory was that natural selection could explain species diverging. The scientists used a gene sequence that occurs in "humans and at least 10 other mammals". Where is the connection? I think that the Stanford scientists are just trying to push an evolutionist agenda (as well as plug some interesting research that may have commercial significance).
God of the gaps
Judicial supremacist and evolutionist Charles Krauthammer writes in the Wash Post:
Let's be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development ...No, that is not what intelligent design (ID) is. ID gives an argument that certain biological structures could not have arisen by mutation and natural selection.
If there are people who hypothesize that God might be responsible for "gaps" that science cannot explain, then what is wrong with that? If scientists cannot explain somthing, then they shouldn't object to other people proposing theories.
He then goes on to argue that whether evolution is an "unguided process" is a religious question, not a scientific question. If that is really his position, then he should be criticizing the leftist-atheist-evolutionists who insist on teaching evolution as an unguided process.
An upset reader complains:
Why are you defending ID? You describe it as if it could be a scientific theory. It is not. It is just another name for creationism that was invented by some fundamentalist Christians who thought that they found a loophole in court decisions declaring that creationism cannot be taught because it has a religious purpose.I didn't say that ID was scientific. It is more of a philosophical argument. Maybe some evidence for irreducible complexity will be found some day, but that's not my point.
I was mainly criticizing the way Krauthammer and others try to frame the conflict between science and religion. Religious beliefs about God and creation do not necessarily conflict with science.
Sunday, Nov 20, 2005
IBM VP Steve Mills wrote this for the Si Valley paper:
California is the clear leader in software engineering and development -- employing 132,200 people statewide, or 18 percent of the nation's total. Santa Clara County has the highest concentration of software engineers and developers in the nation, with more than 32,500 workers.No, their skills are not in high demand. The next day, the same paper said:
Silicon Valley's job growth remains sluggish.The laws of supply and demand work for computer programmers just like anything else. The jobs are being outsourced to India, China, and cheap-labor immigrants. College students are smart enough to see that their fellow computer science grads are not getting good jobs. It is foolish to think that some PR campaign is going to con students into chasing nonexistent jobs.
New Creation and Evolution Theory
This wacky site reconciles UFO, Bible, and evolution:
There is a new theory being discussed in the UFO community. This theory has to do with the creation of Homo Sapiens, which is the current breed of humans. It seems as though certain authorities, most of whom are speakers at UFO conferences, have solved the mystery of the missing link.They appear to be serious, but it is hard to tell.
John sends this NY Times book review which says:
John Marshall's Supreme Court declared the Georgia laws invalid, but Jackson ignored this decision.It perpetuates the myth about Cherokees dying because Pres. Jackson defied a US Supreme Court decision. There were 2 Supreme Court decisions about Georgia and the Cherokees. The Cherokees lost one in 1931, and won one in 1832. Wikipedia says:
In reaction to this decision, President Andrew Jackson has often been quoted as defying the Supreme Court with the words: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!". Jackson never actually said this; in fact, because of a legal loophole, he had no grounds for becoming involved unless the Georgia courts formally defied the Supreme Court. That did not happen, since Georgia simply ignored the ruling. What Jackson actually said was that "the decision of the supreme court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate." Jackson's opponents criticized him for failing to act against Georgia, but even if he had wanted to intervene—and he did not—he had no legal authority to do so (Prucha, p. 212).Even Supreme Court justice Breyer has (falsely) promoted the myth as an argument for judicial supremacy, as I've noted before.
Legality of mousetraps
I previously reported on a California law requiring licensing of mousetraps. Snopes says that it is an urban legend, and sent me this email:
The newspaper article you cite is inaccurate. SB 1645 only applies to those who trap nongame animals for profit (e.g., exterminators, wildlife control professionals), and common mouse and rat traps are specifically exempted from license tagging requirements. - DavidHmmm. I'm not sure. Snopes is pretty reliable.
Thursday, Nov 17, 2005
Humans and 10 foot apes
FOSSILS have been found that prove this 10ft tall ape once lived alongside early humans. ...
Woodward knew about Plame
Bob Woodward's disclosure gives more evidence that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is an incompetent hack who botched the Plame investigation and delivered a faulty indictment.
Fitzgerald's main justification for indicting Libby was given at the press conference:
In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson. ...This is reminiscent of jailing Al Capone for tax evasion; they couldn't prove his real crimes, so they over-prosecuted him on something that they could prove.
Fitzgerald's whole premise is that Libby was the source of the Plame leak. Part of Libby's defense is that reporters already knew about Plame when he talked to them. Fitzgerald's plan was to force the reporters to testify that they didn't know about Plame until they talked to Libby.
Now we know that Woodward knew about Plame before talking to Libby. Maybe others did also. Fitzgerald's statements above are false. I don't think that Fitzgerald will be able to prove his case.
The reporters will not even be telling a consistent story. Fitzgerald apparently decided not to rely on Judith Miller because of inconsistencies in her story. Here is a conflict between Wash Post reporters:
Woodward's statement said he testified: "I told Walter Pincus, a reporter at The Post, without naming my source, that I understood Wilson's wife worked at the CIA as a WMD analyst." Pincus said he does not recall Woodward telling him that. In an interview, Pincus said he cannot imagine he would have forgotten such a conversation around the same time he was writing about Wilson.Remember that it was the Wash Post that first published Valerie Plame's name, in a Novak article. Perhaps it was Woodward who approved that article, because he thought that her name was not a classified secret.
(The comments at the above blog discuss Joe Wilson's lies. You can find 10 of Wilson's lies summarized here.)
Courts have no role in fighting wars
Novak writes Just Say No to Terrorist Lawsuits. The US Senate voted to withdraw court jurisdiction over Gitmo detainees.
Court denies parental rights
The House of Reps just voted 320-91 to ask the 9th Circuit court of appeals to reconsider its recent ruling that parents have no constitutional rights in schools.
The big problem with this case is in the dicta. I might have agreed with ruling against the parents for various reasons, but not for the radical reasons chosen by the 9C.
There is a line of Supreme Court decision going back to the 1920s saying that parents have a fundamental constitutional right right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. It was reaffirmed unanimously in 2000.
In Fields, Reinhardt ruled that the parents' fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door," and that a public school has the right to provide its students with "whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise."
This is a direct attack on parental rights. This is as annoying to some right-wingers as it might be annoying to left-wingers if some court declared that the right use a condom (as declared in Griswold) did not apply in a hotel. Sure, the words "condom" and "hotel" don't appear in the Constitution, but it would be a goofy limitation on an established court doctrine.
I agree with the House. The Reinhardt opinion is offensive, and should be reconsidered. Volokh may agree with the 9C conclusion, but I doubt that he agrees with the reasoning.
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2005
Civil War legal precedent
John sends this NY Times story about an 1869 case which looks like another example of Congress successfully withdrawing jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court approving, and writes:
It's not just "another example"; Ex parte McCardle is the grand-daddy, the leading case on point, cited in the book.Judicial supremacy wasn't invented until about 90 years later. For most of American history, no one thought that the Supreme Court should be making policy as Lewis now advocates.
Bailey attacks the Pope
Ronald Bailey has these snide remarks about the Pope:
On Saturday I opened by New York Times to find articles illustrating two very different approaches that religion can take toward science. The first was a dismaying short AP story in which Pope Benedict XVI was quoted as saying that the creation of the universe is part of an "intelligent project." ...The comments point out that Bailey's book shows the DNA helix turning the wrong way on the cover.
I don't know why Bailey would be dismayed that the Pope believes that God created the universe. The Catholic Church has no objection to anything in modern science. Its position has always been that faith can never conflict with reason, and that truth cannot contradict truth.
Bailey is trying to say that the Church is wrong about evolution for the same reasons that it was wrong about Galileo. He probably doesn't even understand the Galileo dispute.
The core of the current dispute with the Church is that the leftist-atheist-evolutionists want the history of the universe to be taught as an unplanned, unguided, and random process. The Church believes that God created the universe, and that human life has a purpose. The evolutionists claim that this is a scientific dispute. It is not. It is a theological dispute.
Here is how the NY Times summarizes Kansas school curriculum changes that have infuriated the leftist-atheist evolutionists:
The changes in the official state definition are subtle and lawyerly, and involve mainly the removal of two words: "natural explanations." But they are a red flag to scientists, who say the changes obliterate the distinction between the natural and the supernatural that goes back to Galileo and the foundations of science.Notice how the evolutionists cite Galileo whenever they can. They think that there is universal agreement that Galileo was scientifically correct, and that the Church was wrong for believing in the Bible in the face of contrary scientific evidence. But the current Pope said (in 1990, before he was Pope):
At the time of Galileo the Church remained much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself. The process against Galileo was reasonable and just.I think that the new Kansas definition of science is more accurate and appropriate, and that the evolutionists should stay out of theology.
Monday, Nov 14, 2005
This WSJ blog slams the hypocritical Bush-haters. They complain that Pres. Bush won't take responsibility for the Iraq War, but they don't think that Democrats in Congress have any responsibility for their pro-war votes. They alternate between complaining that Bush used too many troops and too few troops.
Sunday, Nov 13, 2005
Judge Reinhardt, leftist extremist judge
John writes about The Supremacists:
I think the book should do more to debunk Reinhardt.Andy writes:
Yes, Reinhardt is probably the most activist judge in America. He typifies the liberal elite. We refer to him in the book as perhaps the most-often-reversed judge.The leftist supremacists are complaining about Alito, but the real judicial activists are judges like Reinhardt.
Saturday, Nov 12, 2005
NPR on ID
NPR actually had a fair story on Intelligent Design and Academic Freedom. Surprising.
Congress limits the courts
WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 - The Senate voted Thursday to strip captured "enemy combatants" at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, of the principal legal tool given to them last year by the Supreme Court when it allowed them to challenge their detentions in United States courts.This is yet another example of how the US Congress can remove jurisdiction from the federal courts. Congress's ability to pass such laws is a significant limit on judicial supremacists.
Friday, Nov 11, 2005
Genetics Fuels Race-Based Medicine
NY Times says:
In a finding that is likely to sharpen discussion about the merits of race-based medicine, an Icelandic company says it has detected a version of a gene that raises the risk of heart attack in African-Americans by more than 250 percent.Until recently, the evolutionists claimed that science had proved that there was no such thing as race.
Zulma Gasparini, paleozoology professor at Argentina's Universidad Nacional de La Plata, said the fierce-looking animal probably terrorized creatures in the Pacific Ocean in the late Jurassic era, just as the film monster Godzilla frightened the people of Tokyo in the movies.Another biologist says, "It's like a crocodile with a dinosaur head on it".
Tuesday, Nov 08, 2005
Here is a NY Times editorial about the Kansas State Board of Education:
Now the current board has narrowly approved new science standards that leave evolution in place but add specific criticisms that schools are urged to teach. Most significant, the definition of science is changed so it is not limited to natural explanations.Kansas defines science as a "continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." That is not lunacy.
Free Scooter Libby
I am sticking to my theory that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald misunderstood Libby, and that Libby will be acquitted. Nearly everyone else is saying that the indictment is rock solid, and that Libby will goto jail.
Michael N. Levy, a former federal prosecutor, just now expresses doubt that Libby can be convicted.
The false statements that Fitzgerald has zeroed in on, however, are very narrow and specific. The indictment alleges that Libby lied to FBI agents and the grand jury about several matters: stating that Russert had asked him if he was aware that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA; that Russert had told him that ``all the reporters knew it;'' and that he was surprised by Russert's statements because, at that time, he did not recall knowing that Plame worked at the CIA.As Levy explains, Libby's recollection could differ from Russert's and Cooper's for a lot of reasons. Without strong testimony from Russert and Cooper, Fitzgerald is left with trying to prove that Libby knew about Plame before talking to Russert in July 2003 (which he can probably prove), and that Libby lied when he said that he was surprised (which I doubt that he can prove).
The statement that Libby was "surprised" is based on this Libby testimony to the grand jury that he was "taken aback":
. . . . And then he said, you know, did you know that this -- excuse me, did you know that Ambassador Wilson's wife works at the CIA? And I was a little taken aback by that. I remember being taken aback by it. ... [Libby indictment, count 4]I think that Fitzgerald inferred that Libby was taken aback (or surprised) because he didn't know about Plame. But there is a more obvious explanation. Libby was taken aback because he didn't know that Russert knew about Plame, and wasn't prepared for Russert asking him to confirm or deny it.
Libby goes on to tell the grand jury:
And so I said, no, I don't know that because I want to be very careful not to confirm it for him, so that he didn't take my statement as confirmation for him.I interpret this as Libby saying that he knew about Plame, but was pretending not to know about Plame so that no classified info would be leaked to Russert. If Libby wanted to tell the grand jury that he did not know about Plame, he would have said something this:
And I didn't know about Wilson's wife, so I told Russert that I didn't know that.Fitzgerald's indictment says that Libby's testimony (quoted above) is false because "At the time of this conversation [with Russert], LIBBY was well aware that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA".
This is wacky. Libby apparently told the exact same story to FBI agents in Oct. and Nov. 2003, as he told to the grand jury in March 2004. The FBI interviews were not recorded. Fitzgerald was apparently convinced that he had caught Libby in a lie, and used the grand jury to make him repeat the lie under oath with a court reporter.
My problem with Fitzgerald is that he was supposed to investigate the criminal release of classified info about covert CIA agents, and grand juries are supposed to be used to collect info about a crime, not to entrap a witness in a perjury charge with some carefully calculated misunderstandings. If Fitzgerald really wanted to get accurate info to the grand jury, he would have asked questions like these:
Did you know about Wilson's wife when you talked to Russert? Did you know about her role in Wilson's trip? Were you surprised that Russert mentioned her? If so, was it because you didn't expect Wilson's wife to be involved, or you didn't expert Russert to know about her, or was there some other reason? Did you deliberately mislead Russert by pretending to not know about Wilson's wife?Instead, Firzgerald tries to justify his 2-year investigation by laying a trap on a trivial side issue. He even asked that the witnesses not discuss the matter publicly, so that public info will not interfere with his trap. I think that Fitzgerald should be fired for doing such a terrible investigation.
Before the indictment, people were expecting Rove and/or Libby to be indicted for leaking classified info, or maybe obstruction of justice for trying to influence the testimony of reporters.
The Times said Fitzgerald questioned Miller about a letter that Libby sent her while she was in jail. Libby assured her that he wanted her to testify, but the letter also said, according to the Times, "the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me."The LA Times similarly reported:
During her grand jury appearance Wednesday, Miller said, Fitzgerald asked her to read aloud the final three paragraphs of the letter from Libby, in which he stated that "the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me."And this AP story (in Fox News, USA Today, and elsewhere) said:
In urging her to cooperate with prosecutors, Libby wrote Miller while she was still in jail in September, "I believed a year ago, as now, that testimony by all will benefit all. ... The public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me."But here is the full letter, and it says:
Because, as I am sure will not be news to you, the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me, or knew about her before our call. I waived the privilege voluntarily to cooperate ...It is weird that the news media truncated the quote, because Libby's story is that the reporters already knew about Plame.
Alito's undergraduate thesis
Liza says Princeton discovered Judge Alito's senior thesis, from 1972 when he was a student there.
NOMINEE'S MISSING THESIS RECOVERED Alito '72 believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, adviser says ... In his lone dissent, which was not supported in a subsequent decision by the Supreme Court, ...Alito's position lost 2-1 on the 3rd Circuit, and 5-4 on the Supreme Court. The article is written to imply that Alito took an extremist position that no one agreed with.
Many observers have pointed out similarities between Alito and Antonin Scalia, the court's current arch-conservative and constructionist justice, giving Alito the nickname "Scalito." But Murphy rejected those comparisons. "Sam is his own man," Murphy said. "He'll never be 'Scalito.' And then it's a gross insult to say in the mold of [other conservative and constructionist justice] Clarence Thomas. Their IQs are so radically different ... We're not talking about someone in Sam's intellectual league."Note how Prof. Murphy, Alito's adviser, goes out of his way to insult Justice Thomas's intelligence. I think that Thomas's court opinions are the most cogently written of any of the 9 justices. Maybe he consistently hires smarter clerks. Maybe it is easier to write a constructionist opinion than an evolving-leftist opinion. I don't see any justification for saying that he has a low IQ except that there are people who expect a low IQ from a token black man. It is offensive for a Princeton professor to make such insinuations. If he thinks that Thomas has made errors, then he should be willing to say so.
Monday, Nov 07, 2005
New reviews of Schlafly biography
NY Sun book review:
Particularly when viewed through the prism of gender politics, Mrs. Schlafly's accomplishment is remarkable. While her counterparts on the feminist left took a movement of the ruling class and rendered it increasingly marginalized, Mrs. Schlafly took a movement of lumpen proletariat and brought it to the center of American power and institutions.New Yorker review:
The larger significance of events is, of course, often obscure to those busy living them out. Exactly what seemed most ridiculous about Schlafly in the early seventies—her antiquarian views, her screwball logic, her God’s-on-our-side self-confidence—was by the end of the decade revealed to be her political strength. First the ratification process for the E.R.A. slowed, then it stalled out entirely. The last state to approve the amendment was Indiana, in January, 1977. Meanwhile, five states that had already voted to ratify rescinded their approval, a move of uncertain legal force but of ominous implications. ... As it became clear that the E.R.A. was going down, the tone of the Schlafly jokes began to sour.The book is Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism.
John sends this link with the transcripts from the Dover, PA evolution trial.
The trial is over, and now idiot judge is going to decide whether 11 parents will be able to send their kids to a public school evolution class where the teacher reads a 4-paragraph statement about intelligent design. The whole thing is silly.
Invading 7-year-old privacy
About the story, Sex questions found not to violate parents' rights Phyllis writes:
When Hillary Clinton proclaimed that it takes a village to raise a child, many people didn't realize that she was enunciating liberal dogma that the government should raise and control children. This concept fell on fertile soil when it reached activist judges eager to be anointed as elders of the child-raising village.The Supreme Court has upheld parental rights many times. See: Decisions of the United States Supreme Court Upholding Parental Rights.
The weird part of Judge Reinhardt's opinion is where he says the US Constitution is evolving, and that privacy rights have evolved from family autonomy to the right to abortion and sodomy.
Sunday, Nov 06, 2005
Crier, judicial supremacist
Here is Phyllis Schlafly on CourtTV being interviewed by Catherine Crier about judicial activism. Crier says:
If the activist judges substitute their opinions for the people (legislature, this sort of thing), then how come the Rehnquist isn't activist because they've overturned more Congressional legislation than any Supreme Court in history?...Abortion was not understood very well at the time of the Constitution, and the Constitution is silent on the matter. So states could pass whatever laws they wanted on the subject. States are allowed to change their laws. What Crier is doing is trying to trap Phyllis into saying that she doesn't really want what the Constitution says, because things were different back then. It is a silly trap. Often people try this trap by saying that slavery was legal when the Constitution was written.
Crier is wrong when she denies that Roe v Wade voided the abortion laws in all 50 states. There were a few states like New York that allowed abortions, but none allowed it as broadly as the Supreme Court mandated.
Crier is also wrong to suggest that the Rehnquist court was more activist than other courts. The Warren Court was far more activist.
Vatican accepts science
Evolutionists keep treating this as news:
VATICAN CITY - A Vatican cardinal said Thursday the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.I don't know why anyone would think that this is news. The Vatican has fully accepted and promoted scientific reason for 100s of years. It opposed fundamentalism during the Protestant Reformation, and continues to oppose it today.
I am listening to Warren Beatty argue against the Arnold Schwarzenegger ballot propositions. His main argument is that the California should have passed similar laws!
Of course, it should have, but it refused. Sometimes voter initiatives are necessary.
John reports that "Samuel Alito" is an anagram for "I am a sellout." Hmmmm.
Thursday, Nov 03, 2005
Q Scott, you have said that you, personally, went to Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams to ask them if they were the leakers. Is that what happened? Why did you do that, and can you describe the conversations you had with them? What was the question you asked?It now appears that Rove and Libby had discussions with reporters in which there was reference to Wilson's wife.
One problem I have with this is that the word "leak" has multiple meanings. Some are:
We really don't know whether a leak occurred in any of these senses. The questions seem focused on a criminal leak, but Fitzgerald has apparently cleared everyone of that. We don't know whether Bush or Cheney authorized any disclosures. We don't know whether the reporters learned about Plame from outside the White House.
Libby apparently has a theory that he didn't leak Plame's identity because the reporters already knew about her. Rove apparently did not know Plame's name so he could not have leaked her name. And both deny committing any crime. So both could have told McClellan that they were not leakers.
Some people might have heard McClellan and concluded that Rove and Libby didn't even discuss Plame with reporters at all. But I doubt it. Later, McClellan is asked whether Rove told Chris Matthews that Plame was fair game, and McClellan refused to say. So McClellan seemed to be allowing for the possibility that Rove and Libby had some discussions about Plame with reporters.
When someone is accused of a crime, and gives a carefully worded denial, then I take the denial very literally. If an accused murderer says, "I did not kill with that gun", then I would assume that he is leaving open the possibility that he killed with some other gun.
"Did Karl purposely set out to disclose Valerie Plame's identity in order to punish Joe Wilson for his criticism? The answer is, 'No,"' Luskin said.This clearly leaves open the possibilities that Rove disclosed Plame's name in order to defend VP Cheney (from accusations that he sent Wilson to Niger), or that Rove took other actions to punish Wilson.
I do think that all of these characters are spineless creeps for lamely hiding behind lawyers and not telling us the full story, but I cannot find where any of them actually lied.
Wednesday, Nov 02, 2005
Bush never promised to fire Rove
It is amazing how the news media keeps repeating the same lies about the Plame story.
People say that Pres. Bush changed his position about firing leakers. They say that he first promised to fire anyone connected with the Plame leak, but later backtracked to say that he would only fire anyone convicted of a crime.
People also say that Scott McClellan lied by saying that no one in the White House was even involved. Here is McClellan's Sept. 29, 2003 press briefing. He is asked a repetitious, confusing, and ambiguous set of questions. Here is how I read what he is saying. He says that he talked to Karl Rove, but all he knows is what has been publicly reported. McClellan says that any allegation of criminal activity should be reported to the DoJ for investigation (and possible prosecution). He refuses to admit that any non-criminal activity needs to be investigated or punished. He does say:
If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.I read "it" as referring to a criminal act. He refers to the Justice Dept. over 50 times. It seems pretty clear that he thinks that a DoJ investigation is the only one that is necessary, and the DoJ only investigates criminal acts. In fact, Bush never changed his position.
People say that Joe Wilson exposed Bush's lies, but in fact nearly everything Wilson said about the story was a lie.
In short, Joe Wilson hadn't told the truth about what he'd discovered in Africa, how he'd discovered it, what he'd told the CIA about it, or even why he was sent on the mission.Here is another explanation of Wilson's lies.
The press also says that Libby told the grand jury that he didn't know about Plame until Russert told him. I think that this will also turn out to be a lie.