Patterico's Pontifications


Programming Note: Scalia on 60 Minutes

Filed under: Judiciary,Law — DRJ @ 10:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Justice Scalia will be interviewed on 60 Minutes Sunday night and, judging by these excerpts, it should be entertaining:

“People who believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush was politically motivated should just get over it, says Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia denies that the controversial decision was political and discusses other aspects of his public and private life in a remarkably candid interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, this Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

“I say nonsense,” Scalia responds to Stahl’s observation that people say the Supreme Court’s decision in Gore v. Bush was based on politics and not justice. “Get over it. It’s so old by now. The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal Constitution, that wasn’t even close. The vote was seven to two,” he says, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision that the Supreme Court of Florida’s method for recounting ballots was unconstitutional.

Furthermore, says the outspoken conservative justice, it was Al Gore who ultimately put the issue into the courts. “It was Al Gore who made it a judicial question…. We didn’t go looking for trouble. It was he who said, ‘I want this to be decided by the courts,'” says Scalia. “What are we supposed to say — ‘Not important enough?'” he jokes.”

He had this to say about abortion:

“On the abortion thing, for example, if indeed I were…trying to impose my own views, I would not only be opposed to Roe versus Wade, I would be in favor of the opposite view, which the anti-abortion people would like to see adopted, which is to interpret the Constitution to mean that a state must prohibit abortion.” “And you’re against that?” asks Stahl. “Of course. There’s nothing [in the Constitution to support that view].”

The article closes with Scalia’s advice on how to be a Supreme Court judge:

“I attack ideas, I don’t attack people, and some very good people have some very bad ideas,” he tells Stahl. “And if you can’t separate the two, you got to get another day job. You don’t want to be a judge, at least not a judge on a multi-member panel.”

That’s good advice for everyone.


Domenici Admonished in US Attorney Matter

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 8:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico reports that New Mexico’s Senator Pete Domenici has been admonished for his actions in connection with US Attorney David Iglesias:

“The Senate Ethics Committee has issued a “qualified admonition” of GOP Sen. Pete Domenici (N.M.) for a phone call he made to David Iglesias, former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, in a corruption case involving local Democrats shortly prior to the 2006 elections.

The ethics panel announced one year ago that it was taking up the case, but there was no indication until now that it had reached a decision. A “qualified admonition” has little practical impact, and it means that the panel, chaired by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), felt it did not have enough evidence to take stronger action, although it was unwilling to let Domenici completely off the hook.

Domenici has admitted that he tried on several occassions to get Iglesias fired but the New Mexico Republican denied any link between his phone call to Iglesias and the later decision by the Justice Department to oust Iglesias. Domenici later apologized for making the call. Iglesias was not placed on a list of federal prosecutors who were fired by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in late 2006 until Domenici complained to the White House.

“The Committee finds no substantial evidence to determine that you attempted to improperly influence an ongoing investigation,” the ethics committee said in a formal letter to Domenici. “The Committee does find that you should have known that a federal prosecutor receiving such a telephone call, coupled with an approaching election which may have turned on or been influence by the prosecutor’s action in the corruption matter, created an appearance of impropriety that reflected unfavorably on the Senate.”

In his own statement, Domenici said he was pleased that the case had been resolved.
Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) also made calls to Iglesias about the case, and she is under investigation by the House ethics committee. Wilson denied trying to improperly pressure Iglesias, but Iglesias later told lawmakers that he felt “sickened” the calls from Domenici and Wilson.”

Patterico and WLS have written more on the US Attorney matters and they may address this, so consider this a place-holder post until then.


Unexpected Border Patrol Recruits

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 8:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Last year, President Bush ordered the deployment of 3,000 National Guard troops to aid the Border Patrol on the southern border. The deployment ends this summer and while most of the troops are going home, some are applying to become Border Patrol agents. The National Guard troops and increased Border Patrol staffing is credited for the drop in illegal crossings in El Paso, including a 70 percent drop in March 2008 compared with March 2007.


Excerpts from Bill Moyers’ Interview of Jeremiah Wright

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jake Tapper at ABC News reports excerpts from tomorrow night’s PBS-Bill Moyers interview of Jeremiah Wright:

“The persons who have heard the entire sermon understand the communication perfectly,” he tells Moyers, according to excerpts released by Moyers’ show.

“When something is taken like a sound bite for a political purpose and put constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public,” Wright says, “that’s not a failure to communicate. Those who are doing that are communicating exactly what they want to do, which is to paint me as some sort of fanatic or as the learned journalist from the New York Times called me, a ‘wackadoodle.’

“It’s to paint me as something: ‘Something’s wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with this country…for its policies. We’re perfect. Our hands are free. Our hands have no blood on them,'” Wright says. “That’s not a failure to communicate. The message that is being communicated by the sound bites is exactly what those pushing those sound bites want to communicate.”

And what does Wright think “they” wanted to communicate?

“That I am unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ,” Wright says. “And by the way, guess who goes to his church, hint, hint, hint? That’s what they wanted to communicate. They know nothing about the church. They know nothing about our prison ministry. They know nothing about our food sharing ministry. They know nothing about our senior citizens home. They know nothing about all we try to do as a church and have tried to do, and still continue to do as a church that believes what Martin Marty said, that the two worlds have to be together. And that the gospel of Jesus Christ has to speak to those worlds, not only in terms of the preached message on a Sunday morning but in terms of the lived-out ministry throughout the week.”

I don’t know if Trinity Church is a cult but I think Wright is un-American and filled with hate speech. And if I said the things Wright said only I directed them at black people and their institutions, Wright would have every right to think I am anti-black and hate-filled, too.

Nevertheless, Wright believes the criticism was unfair and unjust:

“Moyers asks Wright what he thought when he began to see the sound bites circulating.

“I felt it was unfair,” he says, “I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue. I felt for those who were doing that, were doing it for some very devious reasons….The blowup and the blowing up of sermons preached 15, seven, six years ago and now becoming a media event, not the full sermon, but the snippets from the sermon and sound bite having made me the target of hatred, yes, that is something very new and something very, very unsettling.”

Wright thinks the things Obama has to say in his political world differ from Wright’s pastoral world:

“Wright is also asked how it went down after Obama criticized Wright?

“It went down very simply,” Wright responds. “He’s a politician, I’m a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they’re two different worlds. I do what I do. He does what politicians do. So that what happened in Philadelphia where he had to respond to the sound bytes, he responded as a politician.”

Wright adds that he’s “absolutely” never heard Obama repeat any of Wright’s controversial statements as his own. “I don’t talk to him about politics,” Wright says. “And so he had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.”

Wright’s theme is apparently that he is being victimized, presumably by a right-wing conspiracy that wants to take down Barack Obama. It worked for Bill and Hillary. Why shouldn’t it work for Barack and Jeremiah?

H/T Vermont Neighbor.


A Unique Distillation Of the Upcoming Election Contest

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:18 pm

Posted By WLS:

A caller into the Dennis Miller Show this morning had a particularly insightful view into the coming general election choice that will be before the country:

The Dems offer a witch who is a lawyer and who is married to a lawyer, or a lawyer who is married to a witch who is a lawyer.

One of those will be matched up against a war hero who is married to a hot babe who owns a beer distributorship.

How hard is that choice?

Jeremiah Wright’s 15 30 Minutes of Fame (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I know from blogging that it’s hard to stop talking once you start. According to the Chicago Sun Times, Jeremiah Wright has the same problem:

“The controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright — Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor — is speaking Monday at the National Press Club as part of a divinity conference of black church leaders. Wright’s decision to headline an event at the Press Club — open to all media — risks giving Obama’s critics more fodder, as if they don’t have enough already.

Meanwhile, PBS is touting an interview with Wright to be broadcast Friday on “Bill Moyers’ Journal.” Fresh material from Wright — no matter how well-intended — is not what Obama needs.

Wright’s Press Club talk is supposed to be about offering perspective on black churches — theology, history and politics, and the torrent of coverage stemming from Obama’s presidential bid.”

H/T Instapundit.

UPDATE: I don’t have time to read it now but ABC has excerpts from Jeremiah Wright’s PBS interview with Bill Moyers.


Opposing Views on the FLDS Case

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Current Events — DRJ @ 11:31 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Like the Elian Gonzalez and the Terri Shiavo cases, people are polarizing over an emotional story in the news – in this case, the FLDS child custody case. It seems to me there are three main viewpoints:

1. Some people approve of the State’s action because they believe the State has an interest in protecting girls in polygamous sects from underage sex.

2. Others need more evidence that underage FLDS girls were having sex with older men and getting pregnant. They don’t believe the CPS allegations and/or they don’t agree children should be taken away from their parents without clear proof.

3. Others aren’t concerned about underage sex or pregnancy because they are already pervasive in society. These persons require more evidence of neglect or abuse than underage sex or pregnancy to justify removing children from their homes.

People in the second and third groups are overlapping for now but their divisions will become more clear if the State comes forward with clear proof of its allegations. From what I’ve read about the Texas system, the State will present its evidence at the adversarial hearings on or before June 5 so we should learn more then.

Which group or groups do you fit in, and have I left someone’s views out?


L.A. Times Gives Bill Ayers a Puff Piece

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:32 am

The L.A. Times gives Bill Ayers a little unrebutted puff piece today, allowing Ayers to claim, without any opposing viewpoint, that he is being misrepresented in the media.

Ayers, of course, is the Weather Underground terrorist (now a professor who spoke fondly of bombings as recently as September 2001) who has been described as “friendly” with Obama. In February, Obama strategist David Axelrod described Obama and Ayers as friendly acquaintances:

“Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school,” [Axelrod] said. “They’re certainly friendly, they know each other, as anyone whose kids go to school together.”

This article further explains:

Ayers was loosely involved in Obama’s election as an Illinois state senator in the late 1990s, when he was introduced to local activists at a meeting in his house. He also donated $200 to Obama’s reelection campaign in 2001.

Obama served with Ayers on the board of the Woods Fund, a philanthropic foundation, for three years and shared a platform with him at two academic conferences.

The L.A. Times allows Ayers to portray his terrorist attitude as ancient history, in a piece titled Ex-radical William Ayers keeps low profile. The deck headline reads: “The Weatherman founding member, now a professor, says he wants to avoid fueling his ‘cartoon’ media image. So he won’t be discussing his ties to Obama.” And the lede reads as follows:

William Ayers, a former radical leader turned academic and school reformer, has never been hesitant to speak his mind.

Although there has been no public response from him since his ties to Barack Obama — the two neighbors served on a charity board together for three years — were referenced during last week’s Democratic debate in Philadelphia, Ayers said Wednesday that he has a good reason.

He doesn’t want to feed the flawed “narrative” out in the media, he said, one that has commentators on Ayers’ own blog wondering why someone hasn’t shot him dead yet.

“It’s a cartoon” that people are reacting to, said Ayers, a professor of education, in a brief chat at his University of Illinois at Chicago office.

There’s one little detail left out of this puff piece: just how “ex” are the pro-bombing views of this “ex-radical”? Not as “ex” as they ought to be, according to this New York Times article published, inappropriately enough, on September 11, 2001 (although the interview obviously occurred earlier):

”I don’t regret setting bombs,” Bill Ayers said. ”I feel we didn’t do enough.” Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago. The long curly locks in his Wanted poster are shorn, though he wears earrings. He still has tattooed on his neck the rainbow-and-lightning Weathermen logo that appeared on letters taking responsibility for bombings. And he still has the ebullient, ingratiating manner, the apparently intense interest in other people, that made him a charismatic figure in the radical student movement.

Tattoos can be removed, if a person really wants to do it. But why would they, when they still believe in the principles of the criminal organization whose murderous goals are symbolized by that tattoo?

How can any responsible profile of Bill Ayers leave out the tidbit that he spoke approvingly of the concept of setting bombs only 6 1/2 years ago? Or fail to speak to even one person who might have pointed that out?

But then, who said this profile was bound to be responsible? It was published in the L.A. Times.

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