Stil Alive, Just Busy

•July 18, 2009 • Comments Off on Stil Alive, Just Busy

I’m still coblogging at Ace of Spade HQ. I just haven’t had as much time for blogging, which means I haven’t been double-posting over here.

To be honest, once you miss the first three or four it becomes easier to let the next dozen go. I’ll try to do better this week, but definitely click over to the HQ to see my latest stuff.


Cap and Tax: How Much Will It Cost Us?

•June 23, 2009 • Comments Off on Cap and Tax: How Much Will It Cost Us?

Earlier today I wrote that the President told an outright lie and failed Econ 101 when he claimed that only polluters would be paying the energy tax. Now, via PowerLineBlog comes this map showing how much the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill will cost:

Click for a larger image.

Consumers and taxpayers will be on the hook for millions of dollars under Waxman-Markey’s allowance formula. Except in places like California (which incidentally emits the most greenhouse gases of any state), where folks will see a benefit. I’m gonna enjoy having you guys paying my electric bills, chumps!

John from PowerLine gets it mostly right:

Waxman-Markey would be a very stupid bill even if it were true that 1) the earth is getting warmer, 2) human activity is mostly responsible for climate changes, and 3) a warmer earth would be a bad thing. Given that all three of these premises are false–we cannot, in fact, control the weather–Waxman-Markey is a suicidal monument to human folly.

More than that, there is no evidence that Waxman-Markey will alter emissions levels enough to even be noticeable globally. While U.S. emissions are not tiny, they are a drop in a bucket compared to natural source emissions of greenhouse gases. Cap-and-tax does nothing except hamstring our economy and make environmentalists feel good. Honestly, I’d rather spend millions doing the opposite.

More: And if you’re into this kinda thing, Newt Gingrich talked about cap and tax on the Hugh Hewitt show today. You can catch a stream or a podcast here.

Obama Press Conference Follow-up

•June 23, 2009 • Comments Off on Obama Press Conference Follow-up

I managed to watch most of the presser online and just wanted to highlight a few outright lies.

(1) When the President claims that cap and tax will be paid for only by polluters, implying that it will not have an impact on the economy, he fails Economics 101. Polluters, aka producers of goods and services, aren’t going to magic up the money to pay for cap and trade out of nowhere. That money will be felt by consumers (and by every entity in the chain of commerce between the first cap-and-taxed company and the consumer). Prices will rise. The President’s intimation that they won’t is an outright lie.

(2) Obama stated that healthcare is “the primary driver of federal deficits.” This is an outright lie. In fact, in 2008, the federal government spent $600,121,000,000 on healthcare (Medicare, Medicaid). That’s 20.4% of the $2.93 trillion spent last year. By contrast, the government spent $615,256,000,000–20.9%–on social security. The government spent $607,863,000,000–20.7%–on national defense.

Perhaps the President meant that healthcare will become the primary driver of federal deficits if Congress passes his $1 trillion plan (although, the spendulus gives it stiff competition, counting interest payments).

(3) As I expected, the President tried to claim that he had not reversed himself on Iran by adopting a firmer stance. It’s true that he is trying to have it both ways–condemning violence for us, but hoping that Ahmadinejad will see his tepid response for what it is. As expected, Obama used his favorite phrase “As I said last week” to claim that he hasn’t changed his stance in response to criticism. The fact is, his statement “last week” came on Saturday–long after most of the Western world had already condemned the Iranian government and long after Congress and many Americans had condemned the President for being chill with brutal dictatorship.

(4) This last is just because I’m a little punchy. But Obama claimed once again to be a “former smoker.” That must be a new euphemism for “one who smokes not every day and not around family” because that’s what he said immediately after claiming to be a former smoker.

Aside from Obama’s lies, he engaged in typical political exagerations throughout. It was especially egregious when he feigned ignorance about the effect a public healthcare option would have on private insurers.

The only other noteworthy moment I saw was during the last question when he talked about Iran failing to live up to “international norms of freedom of speech; freedom of expression.” Helen Thomas, Harpy-emeritus of the White House Press Corp, screeched from off camera and off mic: “What about the Iraq photos?!?!” I assume that she’s referring to photographs of dead troops and abuses at Abu Ghraib, which the Obama Administration (like Bush 43) has been loath to release.

Oh yeah: His Arrogance Obama, First of His Name, Master of All He Surveys and Muncher of Fine Arugula snotted that “Congress can do what it’s going to do” but that “I’m the President, and I’m going to run my office the way I see fit.” He was responding to quoted criticism from John McCain. It was a reprise of his earlier sneering “I won” delivered, apparently, whenever McCain’s or Bush 43’s names come up.

Obama to Hold Emergency Press Conference

•June 23, 2009 • Comments Off on Obama to Hold Emergency Press Conference

When I say “emergency” I mean this wasn’t exactly planned. The President knows he’s slipping and tomorrow’s infommercial might not be enough to rally support for more big spending. So he’s going to loosen the lid today:

President Barack Obama will throw his weight behind legislative bids to reform healthcare and cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions on Tuesday in his fourth White House press conference since taking office.Obama, who has focused his first five months as president on trying to end the recession, is likely to discuss his plans to create jobs and stem unemployment, which economists expect will hit 10 percent in coming months.

The presser starts at 12:30 Eastern. Obama is expected to talk for a bit and then answer questions for an hour.

Here’s what I expect we’ll see:

1. “Healthcare is a crisis.”
2. “Global climate change is a crisis.”
3. “We must reach out to Iran, but as I said last week I support peaceful protests and condemn violence.”
4. Teleprompter.

Note that he didn’t actually say #3 last week–not ’til Saturday, anyway–but he’s very fond of re-writing his own speeches. As for the teleprompter, at his last presser he was mighty embarrassed to be caught using one not just for the speech, but also to answer questions. Will he be brave enough to go without his binkie?

Stick with the HQ, we’ll have more later.

The Objection to Sotomayor Is Not About Affirmative Action

•June 1, 2009 • Comments Off on The Objection to Sotomayor Is Not About Affirmative Action

Megan McArdle is a smart journalist. She’s great on many economic issues. And she should be; she went to the right schools. But she’s also a libertarian. And like many libertarians–especially libertarian journalists–she’s always eager to show off how much she is not a Republican to all the Lefty friends she made in those schools. She does this usually by misrepresenting the Republican positions or just outright lying about them.

I’ll be honest, I stopped reading Megan back in September of last year when she embraced Trig Trutherism and wrote how impressed she was that Governor Palin relieved her daughter of the “burden” of raising Trig. So I wouldn’t have seen Megan’s post on Judge Sotomayor except that Instapundit linked it. I’m glad I saw it though because I expect it reflects the next stage of the Democrats’ defense of Sotomayor’s race- and gender-biased attitude.

Megan entitles the post “The Problem with Affirmative Action.” As expected, she entirely misses the point of our objection to Judge Sotomayor. And for extra Lefty cred, she implies that we’re all racists at the same time. She writes (and the italics are all hers):

HL Mencken once defined Fundamentalism as “the terrible, pervasive fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun“. I’ve been thinking of this a lot watching some of the attacks on Sotomayor, but I’d frame the critics as suffering from the terrible, pervasive fear that some brown person, somewhere, is getting away with something.

Posit that everything the critics say about Sotomayor is true; that indeed, everything they say about affirmative action is true. Is this the biggest problem facing America? Is this the biggest problem facing America from Sonia Sotomayor?

…Making race, or racial politics, the central complaint, makes it seem like your biggest policy priority is making sure that not one minority in the land gets anything they don’t deserve. But hey, we all get things we don’t deserve. I’ll go further: almost all of us get something we don’t deserve as a result of our race, including white people. Perhaps even especially white people.

If you don’t believe it, ask yourself why repeated studies show that resumes with identifiably black names get fewer interview offers than identical white resumes. Being identifiably black hurts your chances worse than having a felony conviction. Even if you want to argue that an identifiably black name is a socio-economic marker for a certain kind of parenting, an argument I find pretty dubious, are you really willing to argue that black kids should be permanently barred from employment because their parents have dubious taste in names? Well, go ahead, I guess, but I’m going to find it hard to take you seriously when you complain about affirmative action because it undermines our fantabulous American meritocracy.

Sonia Sotomayor is not manifestly unqualified to be a Supreme Court justice, so focusing on affirmative action is completely irrelevant. You can argue with her politics or her legal judgement, and hey, I’m all ears. But the affirmative action complaints aren’t advancing our quest to find out whether or not she’d be a good justice. They’re just alienating the people you want to convince.

I’m not sure which people Megan thinks we are alienating and I’m not particularly interested in why an affirmative action complaint we aren’t making is alienating them. Perhaps if Megan would stop repeating misrepresentations of Republican objections people would stop being alienated by them.

I’ll tell you what Megan’s real problem is. She has the terrible, pervasive fear that some Republican, somewhere, is giving a “brown person” a hard time. It never even occurs to her that there might be a reason for that aside from skin color. That’s how Judge Sotomayor’s race becomes a shield from scrutiny as Megan goes off on Republicans and affirmative action instead of the real issue.

Do I believe that Judge Sotomayor was picked because of her gender and ethnicity? Absolutely yes and so does every other person on the Left and the Right that’s written about it. Am I objecting to her nomination because of her gender or her ethnicity? Of course not. Her gender and ethnicity have nothing to do with whether she will make a good justice, but Obama is hardly the first to have made his selection on grounds other than merit.

So I’m going to repeat this for people like Megan who think that the fuss is because a “brown person, somewhere, is getting away with something.” That’s not it. The problem is that Judge Sotomayor appears to have the bigoted belief that some ethnicities and genders are better suited to judging than others. And that bigoted belief would be inappropriate in a Supreme Court justice no matter the ethnicity or gender of the person who holds it.

It’s not that there will be more diversity on the bench. Whatever it is that diversity brings–alternate modes of analysis or unique foundational assumptions or whatever–difference qua difference is okay. But that’s not what Judge Sotomayor said. She didn’t just say that we need Latina judges because there are differences in the conclusions reached by a wise Latina and wise white man. Rather, she said that she thinks we need more Latina judges because the wise Latina’s conclusions will be better than the white man’s. That’s bigotry.

If a male judge had said we need more men judges because they make better decisions than women judges, we would rightly call it sexism. And we would question whether that judge can set aside his sexism behind the bench. We would wonder if his sexism extends not just to the the role of judges, but to other situations including any case which comes into his court. The objection to that judge being elevated to the Supreme Court would have nothing to do with his sex, but everything to do with his sexist beliefs.

Like I said, Megan McArdle is a smart journalist. But she’s wrong about this. The “problem of affirmative action” is not the problem Republicans are worried about when it comes to Sonia Sotomayor. Megan would do better to address our objections than to shoot down strawmen of her own creation. She says she’s “all ears” if we’d just argue with Sotomayor’s legal judgment. Well, here it is: I think Sotomayor’s belief that a a wise Latina will, by virtue of her gender and ethnicity, come to better conclusions than a wise white man is a fundamental flaw in her judgment which should disqualify her from nomination to the Supreme Court.

Granholm Visits White House, Stirs Supreme Court Rumors

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on Granholm Visits White House, Stirs Supreme Court Rumors

God help us, the fact that Jennifer Granholm’s name can even be mentioned in the same breath as other potential Supreme Court nominees is a bad joke. But, somehow she’s on the list and she’ll be at the White House tomorrow, which is leading some to wonder since TOTUS said he wanted to make the announcement this week or next.

Allah eeyores:

Granholm has distinct weaknesses as a nominee, but probably no fatal ones. She has no prior judicial experience. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) withdrew his support for her, though one would expect him to back her if Obama actually nominated her. Moreover, Granholm has had tax problems, though at this juncture that seems more like a prerequisite for Obama than a disqualification. Besides, with the Senate Republicans already lowering expectations that they are planning any major political fight, Obama has a relatively free hand.

She’s a graduate of Harvard law and former Michigan A.G. Her most well-known job, however, has been Grand Destructor of the State of Michigan. She’s been governor there for the state’s precipitous slide into poverty and ruin.

Honda Insight Panned

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on Honda Insight Panned

For your lunchtime reading enjoyment, how about a snarky review of Honda’s newest hybrid?

Much has been written about the Insight, Honda’s new low-priced hybrid. We’ve been told how much carbon dioxide it produces, how its dashboard encourages frugal driving by glowing green when you’re easy on the throttle and how it is the dawn of all things. The beginning of days.

So far, though, you have not been told what it’s like as a car; as a tool for moving you, your friends and your things from place to place.

So here goes. It’s terrible. Biblically terrible. Possibly the worst new car money can buy. It’s the first car I’ve ever considered crashing into a tree, on purpose, so I didn’t have to drive it any more.

It gets better. Some of the comments are good too.

Thanks to alexthechick.

Incidentally: I have nothing against hybrids so long as they work well. And aren’t subsidized out the wazoo. And aren’t driving like grandma in front of me all the damn time. Also, hybrid drivers appear to be much more prone to putting retarded stickers all over the back.

But I don’t have anything against hybrids. In fact, if I could afford the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, I’d get one. (I have a thing for SUVs since one saved my life once.) Since I can barely afford my monthly metro pass, however, I’ll just admire from a distance.

And in related news: Obama will announce new emissions standards for cars tomorrow. The new standards will “harmonize” (read: replace?) CAFE standards with the EPA’s greenhouse gas standards. Or something. The Governator will be on hand for the announcement, hopefully while weeping over the failure of his budget props out here.

While I’m thinking about the props: Someone asked me how I planned to vote. There are no difficult choices here:

  • Prop 1A — State Budget. Changes California Budget Process. Limits State Spending. — No; it requires a tax increase.
  • Prop 1B — Education Funding. Payment Plan. — No; requires increased spending.
  • Prop 1C — Lottery Modernization Act. — Yes; I have nothing against idiots buying more lottery tickets and no problem dedicating that money to paying down debt rather than schools.
  • Prop 1D — Protects Children’s Services Funding. — Yes; this is simply moving money around, but will help balance the budget (this year) without a tax increase.
  • Prop 1E — Mental Health Services Funding. Temporary Reallocation. — Same.
  • Prop 1F — Elected Officials’ Salaries. — Very very yes; prevents salary increases for certain elected officials when there is a budget deficit.

Newsweek’s “Counterintuitive” Business Strategy is to Cut Circulation in Half

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on Newsweek’s “Counterintuitive” Business Strategy is to Cut Circulation in Half

As Robert Stacy McCain puts it: “‘Counterintuitive’ Is the New Stupid.” The idea is to discourage resubscriptions until total circulation drops. The magazine is also raising prices. What kind of crazy shit is this? R.S. McCain explains:

Meacham [Newsweek’s editor], an admirer of the Economist, is fashioning a serious magazine for what he calls his base, with a heavy emphasis on politics and public policy.

Right. You’re going to turn a mass-circulation news magazine into some sort of highbrow policy journal . . . weekly! And then watch the money roll in! If this isn’t the stupidest business strategy in the history of journalism — that’s a pretty tough competition — it’s certainly in the Top Five.

Notice that Meacham’s idea is to publish a magazine resembling a magazine that he likes to read. Call it the Narcissus Reflecting Pool Theory of journalism: If the top editor admires a certain publication, then trying to imitate that publication must be a good business strategy. What you are doing, therefore, is producing a publication for your own editors, rather than for the readers.

This isn’t as crazy as it sounds at first. It’s rather expensive to print magazines and deliver them. Meacham’s making a couple trade-offs. He believes the cost reduction for printing and delivery will be greater than the reduction in ad revenue. He’s also hoping that by re-casting Newsweek as a high-brow weekly he can grab some high-brow readers who will pay $6 at the newsstand.

Will it work? Doubt it. The Great Recession is teaching advertisers all kinds of great and terrible things about print media.

NY Times Spiked a Story on Illegal Obama-ACORN Coordination During the Election

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on NY Times Spiked a Story on Illegal Obama-ACORN Coordination During the Election

Big surprise. The NY Times’ “public editor” laughs it off as an unverified story about merely “technical violations of campaign finance law.” It was unverified, though, because as soon as it looked like there was some truth to the story and after they had scheduled an on-the-record interview about it, the editors killed the story.

The insanely laughable excuse, according to the source: “”it was their policy not to print a game-changer for either side that close to the election.”

Bullshit. It was and is their policy to get Democrats elected. Nobody believes for a second that the Times wouldn’t have tried to verify the story if it had been about John McCain breaking campaign finance laws. And it’s probably better than 50-50 that the failing newspaper have run a story like that about McCain–carefully couched in the “questions have been raised” mold–even if it couldn’t get anyone on the record.

There’s more on this over at PowerlineBlog.

Go Figure: Tax the Rich and the Ungrateful Bastards Leave

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on Go Figure: Tax the Rich and the Ungrateful Bastards Leave

There’s a must-read op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal; the gist is that states that tax the rich to make up for their budget mismanagement tend to drive the rich away. The result being the states don’t actually get the taxes they want AND they end up economically weaker. A taste:

Here’s the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people. It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states.

And the evidence that we discovered in our new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, “Rich States, Poor States,” published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before. The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, we found that from 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas. We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.

There are a lot of little jewels buried in there so go read the whole thing.

Congressmen Demand ‘Biofuels’, Science Be Damned

•May 17, 2009 • Comments Off on Congressmen Demand ‘Biofuels’, Science Be Damned

For this to make any sense at all you have to take it as given that Global Warming is going to KILL US ALL and that as a result the EPA is tasked with making decisions to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, that’s bullshit we can thank Congressional Nincompoops like Republicans Michael Rogers [AL-3], Thomas Latham [IA-4], Steve King [IA-5], Jerry Moran [KS-1], Samuel Graves [MO-6], Adrian Smith [NE-3], Robert Latta [OH-5], Frank Lucas [OK-3], Glenn Thompson [PA-5], and Robert Goodlatte [VA-6] for.

Thanks to idiots like these, who are really in it for the subsidies that biofuels production brings to their districts, the Democrats get to claim that they’ve launched a “bipartisan” effort to correct “unreasonable restrictions placed on the biofuels industry.”

In a nutshell, the EPA in 2007, after enabling legislation by Congress, issued rules about how to count the greenhouse gas emissions produced during the production of biofuels. One of those rules required that the agency consider indirect land use when calculating the emissions associated with biofuels. But it turns out that if you calculate emissions in this manner, biofuels actually produce more emissions than plain old gasoline.

The Democrats (and greedy, faithless, pathetic worms like Republican Frank Lucas from my former district in Oklahoma) have an easy solution: we just won’t count indirect land use! Science be damned, they want biofuels and they’re not going to take “no” for an answer.

So we’ve got confidence games piled on confidence games. These guys have federal agencies busy counting greenhouse gases when indications point to global cooling for at least the past ten years with an ever-dawning realization that the giant heatlamp hovering in the sky might just have something to do with temperatures on Earth. And now the geniuses have decided to game the situation they created: apparently greenhouse gases produced directly have a different supposed effect on global warming than those produced indirectly.

As Insty likes to say (paraphrasing), “I might be inclined to believe this global warming stuff, if only its loudest supporters actually acted like there might be a problem.”

Judge Orders Boy to Have Chemotherapy Over his Religious Objection

•May 16, 2009 • Comments Off on Judge Orders Boy to Have Chemotherapy Over his Religious Objection

Kids Stun-Gunned at Prisons’ Take Your Kid to Work Day

•May 15, 2009 • Comments Off on Kids Stun-Gunned at Prisons’ Take Your Kid to Work Day

Heh. I have trouble getting worked up over this because it seems like the stun-gunning was consensual. Also hilarious:

A total of 43 children were directly and indirectly shocked by electric stun guns during simultaneous ”Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day” events gone wrong at three state prisons, according to new information provided Friday by the Florida Department of Corrections.

Also, a group of kids was exposed to tear gas during a demonstration at another lockup.

Three prison guards have been fired, two have resigned and 16 more employees — from corrections officers to a warden — will be disciplined due to the incidents that unfolded April 23, said DOC Secretary Walt McNeil. An investigation is ongoing.

None of the children in any of the incidents required medical attention or was notably harmed, McNeil said. He said the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 17, were all children of prison officials.

Be honest now, when you were a kid you would have thought it was pretty cool to get stun-gunned on a field trip, right?

McNeil repeatedly stressed that the stun-gunning only happened at three of the 55 institutions and that it wasn’t part of a widespread practice. Still, he acknowledged that it was ”logical” to assume other children had been shocked on other take-your-kids-to-work days.

So far this year, none of the devices have been used on the 100,000 prison inmates — only the children of DOC workers.

Come on, now, that’s funny.

Obama Overstated Commitment from HealthCare Leaders?

•May 15, 2009 • Comments Off on Obama Overstated Commitment from HealthCare Leaders?

This wouldn’t be the first time somebody sat down with the President and came away thinking something completely different about the meeting than him. Remember Poland and the missile shield? And all those Obama staffers who thought the President was saying one thing until he decides to “clarify” their “inartful” statements later? It happens because Obama talks in generalities, without any idea what he’s committing himself or others to.

Now it’s the healthcare industry.

Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending. Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies’ trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.

After meeting with six major health care organizations, Mr. Obama hailed their cost-cutting promise as historic.

Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.

Who is more believable? Obviously, Obama has a pattern of doing this to people. There’s also this weaksauce reply from the White House:

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said “the president misspoke” on Monday and again on Wednesday when he described the industry’s commitment in similar terms. After providing that account, Ms. DeParle called back about an hour later on Thursday and said: “I don’t think the president misspoke. His remarks correctly and accurately described the industry’s commitment.”

Silly Nancy-Ann. The One does not misspeak. Lesser mortals mis-hear his divine messages.

FL Appellate Court Holds that FL Courts Must Recognize Out-of-State Gay Adoptions

•May 14, 2009 • Comments Off on FL Appellate Court Holds that FL Courts Must Recognize Out-of-State Gay Adoptions

File under culture war:

In a decision released yesterday, the Florida appeals court held that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution requires Florida courts to give “exacting respect” to the adoption decree of a Washington court. The decision is here (PDF).

The case doesn’t break new ground; it just drives home the issues we will all likely be grappling with as gay families become more common.

When they lived in Washington in 2000, lesbian couple Kimberly Ryan and Lara Embry each gave birth to a child and then adopted the others’ child. Four years later, after they’d moved to Florida, they split up but agreed to joint custody. Ryan later married a man (guess she was bi) and in 2007 attempted to prevent Embry from having any contact with her (Ryan’s) biological child. Embry sued to assert her parental rights.

Ryan argued that the Florida court should not recognize the adoption judgment of a Washington court because it is the public policy of Florida to prohibit adoption by gays. Florida has had a law for over thirty years which prohibits gays from adopting. The trial court agreed with Ryan, relying on the adoption law, and dismissed the case. The appellate court reversed and remanded.

The appeals court is correct. The U.S. Supreme Court has been clear that while state courts do not have to defer to the laws of sister states, they must give “exacting” respect for the judgments of sister states’ courts. This was the original purpose of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, which explicitly mentions “judicial proceedings”. Under the Articles of Confederation, the state courts had been rather cheekily ignoring their sister states’ judgments by allowing local residents to skip out on the adverse judgments of out-of-state courts. The Full Faith and Credit Clause put an end to that.

Here, the appellate court notes that the Washington adoption decree is a court judgment and so, regardless of the public policy of Florida, must be given full faith and credit. The ruling goes into effect in thirty days unless Ryan moves for rehearing.

Incidentally, last year the Florida gay adoption ban (that was relied on by the trial court to determine Florida public policy) was declared unconstitutional by a Florida court. The court held that there was no rational basis for discriminating against gays wishing to adopt, in part because state law allowed them to be foster parents. The plaintiff there was fairly sympathetic; he’d been the kid’s foster parent for four or five years and then wanted to adopt him. That case was appealed and is still pending.

Rumors of the GOP’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

•May 14, 2009 • Comments Off on Rumors of the GOP’s Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated

Moe Lane posted this over the weekend, but I only saw it last night at the Corner and PowerlineBlog. He compares the voter trust numbers for the top issues from just before the election to now:

As you can see, compared to last fall, fewer voters appear to trust the Democrats on all but one issue (government ethics which is a WTF issue anyway). This isn’t an isolated observation. This week was the third week in a row where the GOP led the generic congressional ballot.

Legacy media keeps writing “consciousness raising” articles on the death of the GOP with headlines like “Is this the end?” “How liberal will the New GOP get?” and “Far Right Extremists Shrink their Party Down to Nothing.” All of that is bullshit.

The two party system is quite self-sustaining. If a party has a problem, it adjusts over time. For example, Democrats got the crap kicked out of them on gun control in the late 1990s. Yesterday, 26 Democrats voted to allow concealed carry in national parks. They adjusted.

If it is true, as the legacy media claims, that the Republicans are out of touch on the issues, the GOP will adjust (no matter the howls of the purists, either). But looking at the numbers I don’t think it’s a sure thing at all that the GOP is losing on the issues.

Dems Cry Foul: “The CIA is Out to Get Us!”

•May 13, 2009 • Comments Off on Dems Cry Foul: “The CIA is Out to Get Us!”

Idiots. As the infamously leaky CIA demonstrated over the past eight years, the intelligence agency is out for itself more than any other objective. That means prioritizing protection for its agents, analysts, and methods, above partisanship. The Democrats thought the CIA was an ally against Republicans and they were happy to encourage it’s embarrassing tendency to leak. They were right about the means, but wrong about the objective:

The CIA has long been on the receiving end of harsh rebukes from Congress — on intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq, on secret prisons abroad and on the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects. But with the release of records showing that it briefed members of Congress along the way, the CIA has effectively put lawmakers on the defensive.

Intelligence officials insist it wasn’t intentional and have not taken responsibility for publicly releasing the documents.

Asked for comment about the Democrats’ charges, CIA spokesman George Little said only that the CIA “understands the importance of a strong relationship with the Congress, which in our democracy, conducts oversight of secret intelligence activities.”

But another U.S. intelligence official went further, noting that the records of the congressional briefings were “prepared in response to a request from Congress.”

Intelligence Committee member Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) said it appears that “members of the committee or their staff were not in any way involved in [the release of the document]. It appears to come from the executive branch itself. … I think it’s unbelievable.”

A top congressional official who has participated in the briefings added: “I think the agency wanted to get this out, quite frankly.”

The 10-page document, which was prepared after an April 20 request by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), lists 40 instances in which the CIA briefed members of Congress between September 2002 and March 2009. But they provide a vague description of the briefings, giving just enough information to fuel claims that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top officials have long known about waterboarding and other tactics but did little to stop the techniques from being used.

Congress hung the CIA and its contractors out to dry. Of course individuals and the agency itself are going to hit back. I’d say it’s likely that the average American is more likely to believe the CIA than Congress, especially since San Fran Nan has so obviously been lying about what she knew and when she knew it.

Democrats who were so eager for “torture commissions” may not be so eager now. Republicans already fessed up to supporting harsh interrogations, which are not torture. Pelosi and her fellows, who spent the last four years lying about their involvement, are not eager for the truth to be widely known. Which means that with a little leak the CIA will have made this whole issue go away.

Consider the arrogance of the Democrats, who thought they could use the CIA like a punching bag, secure in the knowledge that the CIA would never dare punch back. What the Democrats failed to consider is that the CIA believes that it should be setting national intelligence policy. That makes it the natural enemy of Congress and the White House, no matter which party is in power.

Still Waiting on the Truth About the Terror Force One Fly-by

•May 11, 2009 • Comments Off on Still Waiting on the Truth About the Terror Force One Fly-by

Ann Althouse’s commenters have the goods (and prove once again that there’s more combined sense and knowledge among a host of commenters than there is in any one journalist or blogger).

It boils down to this observation: the photo released by the White House, which is so obviously snapped as a souvenir by one of the escort pilots, cannot possibly be the reason for the flight. The Friday afternoon sacking of the White House military liaison was meant to shut people up and give the White House press corps a reason to let the whole thing go.

See the sunlight reflected off the window in the upper right? The edge of the cockpit in the lower right corner? This is an amateur photo, not the product of a professional photo op.

Abortion at Notre Dame

•May 11, 2009 • Comments Off on Abortion at Notre Dame

The upcoming issue of the Weekly Standard has the best treatment of the Notre Dame situation that I’ve seen. The author recognizes that for Catholics this isn’t about politics–or not just about politics. It’s about what it means to be a Catholic institution.

What all these critics of Glendon share is a sense that Catholic unhappiness with Notre Dame must be about politics. “There is a political game going on here, and part of that is that you demonize the people who disagree with you, you question their integrity, you challenge their character, and you brand these people as moral poison,” Fr. Kenneth Himes, chairman of the theology department at Boston College, complained to the Boston Globe. As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal noted, this was the same Fr. Himes who in 2006 wrote the faculty a letter objecting to an honorary degree for Condoleezza Rice–a letter that read, “On the levels of both moral principle and practical moral judgment, Secretary Rice’s approach to international affairs is in fundamental conflict with Boston College’s commitment to the values of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions and is inconsistent with the humanistic values that inspire the university’s work.”

You could cut the irony with a knife: It’s only demonizing when conservatives do it. Still Fr. Himes joins Douglas Kmiec, and America, and Commonweal, and the administration of Notre Dame, and most of the newspaper columnists who’ve weighed in on the controversy, and a surprising number of conservatives. They all look at the Notre Dame protests and think it must be about politics. Bad politics or good politics, take your pick. But politics all the way down.

As it happens, they’re wrong. Politics has very little to do with the mess. This isn’t a fight about who won the last presidential election and how he’s going to deal with abortion. It’s a fight about culture–the culture of American Catholicism, and how Notre Dame, still living in a 1970s Catholic world, has suddenly awakened to find itself out of date.

The role of culture is what Fr. Jenkins at Notre Dame and many other presidents of Catholic colleges don’t quite get, and their lack of culture is what makes them sometimes seem so un-Catholic–though the charge befuddles them whenever it is made. As perhaps it ought. They know very well that they are Catholics: They go to Mass, and they pray, and their faith is real, and their theology is sophisticated, and what right has a bunch of other Catholics to run around accusing them of failing to be Catholic?

But, in fact, they live in a different world from most American Catholics. Opposition to abortion doesn’t stand at the center of Catholic theology. It doesn’t even stand at the center of Catholic faith. It does stand, however, at the center of Catholic culture in this country. Opposition to abortion is the signpost at the intersection of Catholicism and American public life. And those who–by inclination or politics–fail to grasp this fact will all eventually find themselves in the situation that Fr. Jenkins has now created for himself. Culturally out of touch, they rail that the antagonism must derive from politics. But it doesn’t. It derives from the sense of the faithful that abortion is important. It derives from the feeling of many ordinary Catholics that the Church ought to stand for something in public life–and that something is opposition to abortion.

This is the calculation that the Notre Dame administration failed to make. Take it as a given that it would and will ignore the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which instructed Catholic institutions not to honor individuals who act to support abortion. The university has always held itself apart–it is, after all, the most prestigious Catholic university in the country–surely the rules don’t really apply to it. The administrators recognized the prestige attached to a visit from the Historic President and, well, damn the rest. Catholicism can wait for tomorrow, right?

To be honest, this isn’t unexpected. Catholicism itself has been mainstreaming for forty years. Vatican II gets blamed a lot, but the USCCB went above and beyond in its accommodation to divorcing Catholicism on Sunday mornings from Catholicism the rest of the week. Relaxing instruction and expectations in “core” Catholic institutions, including at Mass and in religious education, is something all Catholics are used to by now. (This was hilariously and accurately parodied with Dogma’s Buddy Christ.)

No bishop has spoken up to support Notre Dame, but the Notre Dame administration is probably thinking: “I didn’t leave them, they left me.” The administration is not wrong. The USCCB has decided that it has come this far, but no farther. Will its late-recognized authority be recognized? I doubt it:

A better place to make all this public might have been the Sacred Heart University dinner this spring, which honored the pro-abortion activist Kerry Kennedy. Or the Xavier University commencement, which is honoring the pro-abortion political strategist Donna Brazile. Or the University of San Francisco graduation, which is honoring the pro-abortion district attorney (and prominent Proposition 8 opponent) Kamala Harris.

For that matter, the fight should have been held in April, when Georgetown University accommodated President Obama’s handlers by covering up the IHS, the monogram for Jesus, on the wall behind the rostrum when Obama spoke on campus. You’d think this really would mark the end for Georgetown. The school typically shrugs off criticism of its lack of Catholicism by proudly declaring its “Jesuit Tradition,” but the IHS monogram was the symbol for the Jesuits that St. Ignatius Loyola himself chose when he founded the society in the 16th century.

Read the whole thing.

Outbound in the Houston Ship Channel

•May 10, 2009 • Comments Off on Outbound in the Houston Ship Channel

Timelapse video of an itty-bitty tanker on its way out to sea. It’s a gorgeous trip.

0:40 – 610 Bridge
0:54 – Lyondell Turning Basin
1:10 – Crown Bend
1:44 – Jesse Jones Bridge (aka Beltway 8 bridge, aka 2 dollar bridge)
2:13 – Battleship Texas (on the right, mostly unlit)
2:17 – Lynchburg Ferry Crossing
2:20 – Peggy’s Lake
2:37 – Baytown
2:46 – Fred Hartman Bridge
2:58 – Morgan’s Point
From then on it’s Galveston Bay.

This is a Panamax tanker–that is, the largest tanker that can make it through the Panama canal.