Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:16 AM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 8:56 PM
WASHINGTON, May 12 - The unusual pact that permitted the nomination of John R. Bolton to go forward on Thursday without the support of a crucial Republican senator has exposed, in a very raw and public way, the extreme pressures facing Republican moderates in a Senate that is increasingly dominated by conservatives.The piece goes on to relate the trials and tribulations of the six other Senate RINOs. Ohhh boo-friggen-hoo! I heard Voinovich's testimony on the Laura Ingraham Show this morning, and he literally sounded like he was ready for the rubber room at "2-South" at the St. Cloud hospital. He was literally blubbering and crying, wringing his hands at the prospect of a Bolton confirmation, fearing for his grandchildren. (sound clip here courtesy of radioblogger)
President Bush called the dissenting Republican, Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio, on Wednesday, the day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on which Mr. Voinovich serves, was to take up the nomination, the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said.
Karl Rove (click here for dramatic effect), the president's powerful political adviser, and Andrew H. Card Jr., the chief of staff, also called to chat with Mr. Voinovich in recent weeks, Mr. McClellan said.
And Mr. Voinovich, who has steadfastly refused to answer questions about any discussions with the White House, is hardly the only Republican who is feeling the squeeze these days.
From the fight over Mr. Bolton to the looming blowup over the president's judicial nominees to the debate over the proposal to overhaul Social Security, Republican moderates are caught in the middle as never before. As they look to the near future, to a possible vacancy on the Supreme Court, they realize that the pressures will only intensify.
"Bolton is a perfect example of putting the moderates in an impossible situation," said Senator Lincoln Chafee, the Rhode Island Republican who also sits on the Foreign Relations Committee and who agonized publicly over Mr. Bolton for weeks. "It's a no-win. Either we don't support the president or we vote for a very unpopular pick to represent us at the United Nations." (click here to read the rest...)
Like I said before, Ohio, the RNC, the U.S. Senate, and the United States of America can do a lot better than George Voinovich.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 12:11 PM
Judge upholds NY smoking bans after private Players Club sues to defend pipe ceremony
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press Writer
May 25, 2005, 9:21 PM EDT
NEW YORK -- A judge has tossed out a lawsuit brought by a 115-year-old private club that sought to strike down smoking bans so it could continue to honor its members _ who include Walter Cronkite and Carol Burnett _ with pipe ceremonies.
The Players Club is no more entitled to special privileges with city and state health inspectors enforcing the smoking bans than are pro-tobacco organizations that tried unsuccessfully to overturn the laws, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero said Wednesday.
"Individuals have no `fundamental' constitutional right to smoke tobacco," (emphasis mine) the judge wrote. "While individuals' freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech merit constitutional protection, there is no basis for concluding that the smoking bans infringe those rights."
He said the smoking bans target conduct _ smoking in certain places _ rather than speech, association or assembly, which are not regulated by the statutes.
The judge rejected the argument that the smoking bans caused a prohibition on a club tradition in which members are honored with pipe ceremonies, which involve smoking on the club's premises.
The judge suggested that the ceremonies at the club's Gramercy Park facility still might be able to occur after a substitution of "suitable non-tobacco products." (maybe they can import some of this from Vermont).
The Players Club filed the lawsuit in December 2003 after health inspectors ticketed it for keeping ashtrays behind an office desk. A telephone message for comment left with a club lawyer was not immediately returned Wednesday.
The city smoking law went into effect in March 2003, banning smoking from all restaurants, bars, offices and private clubs with paid staff and requiring the establishments to remove their ashtrays. The state law went into effect in July 2003.
The Players Club had claimed that scientific evidence of second-hand smoke's health effects was bogus and that the ban violated its rights to due process and equal protection.
Besides Cronkite and Burnett, the club counts among its roughly 700 members Angela Lansbury and Timothy Hutton.
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (10th Amendment)Hmm... must've slipped his mind. I'm not arguing against the judge's decision here. What I take with great umbrage is what the judge is using to justify his decision. Using that logic, anything under the sun or any activity that a judge takes exception with and that is not enumerated in the U.S. Constitution would be subject to confiscation or worse.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 11:35 AM
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the societal costs of smoking amount to about 15-24 cents a pack in 1986 dollars, or 27-43 cents a pack in 2005 dollars. Those costs are obviously substantially less than the taxes charged by the state and federal governments and being paid for by smokers through the tobacco settlements—amounting to 64 cents a pack in 1998. This year alone the state is getting about $200 million in tobacco settlement dollars from smokers, adding up to $1.6 billion paid into state coffers since 1998. Tobacco products are also subject to the 6.5% sales tax. “Smokers are getting reamed already,” said David Strom. “Blue Cross and the tobacco tax advocates are smoking something if they are trying to argue that smokers aren’t paying their way already. They are already paying about $1.60 a pack in direct and indirect taxes to the government per pack.”
“Compared to the high-end estimate of social costs per pack of cigarettes put out by the Journal of the American Medical Association of 43 cents a pack, smokers are subsidizing non-smokers to the tune of over a $1 a pack. Adding another 75 cents a pack is highway robbery!” said Strom.
“Hitting smokers with another tax may be the most politically popular solution to the budget impasse, but it sure isn’t fair! The average retail price of a pack of smokes is $3.81 today—adding another $.75 is highway robbery.
“Given that smokers are disproportionately lower-income, this is also one of the most regressive taxes you can raise,” Strom added. (emphasis mine)
The “health impact fee” on cigarettes also opens a can of worms; sugar, corn syrup, trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, and a whole host of other foods are known to have adverse health effects. “What next, a twinkie tax?” asked Strom.
“Given that smokers are disproportionately lower-income, this is also one of the most regressive taxes you can raise,” Strom added.Gives new (this time, real) meaning to the trite phrase, "balancing the budget on the backs of the poor," doesn't it? Pawlenty has now jumped with both feet onto the politically-popular cash cow ride via smokers with this proposed
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:19 AM
FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing KoranWhat a bunch of sick idiots. Let's have a few more Muslim riots. Let's have more people die. Let's make the recruiting lines for suicide bombers even longer. Let's have more of our service men and women come home in body bags.
Wed May 25, 2005 7:58 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An FBI agent wrote in a 2002 document made public on Wednesday that a detainee held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had accused American jailers there of flushing the Koran down a toilet.
The Pentagon said the allegation was not credible.
The declassified document's release came the week after the Bush administration denounced as wrong a May 9 Newsweek article that stated U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo had flushed a Koran down a toilet to try to make detainees talk. The magazine retracted the article, which had triggered protests in Afghanistan in which 16 people died.
The newly released document, dated Aug. 1, 2002, contained a summary of statements made days earlier by a detainee, whose name was redacted, in two interviews with an FBI special agent, whose name also was withheld, at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects.
The American Civil Liberties Union released the memo and other FBI documents it obtained from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.
"Personally, he has nothing against the United States. The guards in the detention facility do not treat him well. Their behavior is bad. About five months ago, the guards beat the detainees. They flushed a Koran in the toilet," the FBI agent wrote.
"It's not credible," chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said of the allegation regarding a Koran in a toilet.
Di Rita said the U.S. military questioned the detainee on May 14, and that the man was "very cooperative and answered the questions but did not corroborate the allegation recorded on Aug. 1, 2002." Di Rita said he did not know whether the man actually recanted the allegation.
"These kind of, sort of, fantastic charges about our guys doing something willfully heinous to a Koran for the purposes of rattling detainees are not credible on their face," Di Rita told reporters.
The documents indicated that detainees were making allegations that they had been abused and that the Muslim holy book had been mishandled as early as April 2002, about three months after the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo.
In other documents, FBI agents stated that Guantanamo detainees also accused U.S. personnel of kicking the Koran and throwing it to the floor, and described beatings by guards. But one document cited a detainee who accused a guard of dropping a Koran, prompting an "uprising" by prisoners, when it was the prisoner himself who dropped it.
"Unfortunately, one thing we've learned over the last couple of years is that detainee statements about their treatment at Guantanamo and other detention centers sometimes have turned out to be more credible than U.S. government statements," said ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer. [ED: Any surprise there?]
Former detainees and a lawyer for current prisoners previously have stated that U.S. personnel at Guantanamo had placed the Koran in a toilet, but the Pentagon has said it also does not view those allegations as credible.
In document written in April 2003, an FBI agent related a detainee's account of an incident involving a female U.S. interrogator.
"While the guards held him, she removed her blouse, embraced the detainee from behind and put her hand on his genitals. The interrogator was on her menstrual period and she wiped blood from her body on his face and head," the memo stated.
A similar incident was described in a recent book written by a former Guantanamo interrogator.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan last week said Newsweek "got the facts wrong" and Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman called the article "demonstrably false." Di Rita said last week the Pentagon had received "no credible and specific allegations" that U.S. personnel had put a Koran in the toilet.
This story is absurd on its face. What about the "similar incident" described by the former Guantanamo interrogator? Presumably Reuters refers to the recent book by Erik Saar, the only book-writing former interrogator I know of. I heard Saar relate this story on the radio, only it wasn't blood, it was red ink, and there was nothing about the female soldier removing her blouse, etc. "Similar," indeed.
This story has been marked by two features, I think: lousy reporting, and a desperate desire on the part of leftists worldwide to believe that assertions made by Guantanamo detainees, no matter how outlandish and uncorroborated, are true.
But, oh, no. Mainstream press has to circle the wagons and protect their own inside Washington, DC, and I told you to be on the lookout because we were going to see a spate of stories about how this was true anyway even though Newsweek got this instance wrong, that this was true anyway. So you read the New York Times story, "The prisoners' accounts are described by the agents in detailed summaries of interrogations at Guantanamo in 2002 and 2003. The documents were among more than 300 pages turned over by the F.B.I. to the American Civil Liberties Union in recent days and publicly disclosed Wednesday." So it's the same story, it's the same allegation by the same wacko detainee, but the press writes about it today as though it's brand-new, a new story, a new allegation when it's the same one, it's three years old and there's no corroboration for it. The only difference is that the report in which the allegation is contained has been made public, this is the report that Newsweek did not make public, that they obviously have a source on who was wrong.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 8:36 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 6:47 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 5:55 PM
You Are a Snarky Blogger!
You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of.
And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 11:15 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 6:33 PM
What did the GOP get?. Triple_A counted 7; I counted three. In any case, I have to agree with that last paragraph.
If I got it right, only 7 out of the 10 nominees on the Senate Floor right now get votes. Meaning to me, that 3 of them are still being phillibustered! So what kind of compromise was this? The Dems got what they wanted, and the GOP got squat!
The only bright spot of this whole thing is we now know the day the GOP died.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 12:35 PM
Translation of this piece: "I want to define deviancy down. I want to feel okay with aberrant behaviors, and want my neighbors to feel okay too. Just like a "living and breathing Constitution" made malleable to fit the times, the new Pope needs to bend the teaching of the Church to fit in with our whims du jour."
Habemus papam. "We have a pope."
After watching John Paul II neurologically decline and heroically suffer, the white smoke was welcome.
While Cardinals Hummes of Brazil or Danneels of Belgium would have given many of us more ecclesial hope, Joseph Ratzinger was installed as Benedict XVI exactly a month ago today. Who is this 78-year-old Bavarian theologian?
After attaining his doctorate in 1953, Ratzinger began university teaching and, at the Vatican II Council, served as a liberally minded theology expert.
The Rev. Hans Kung recruited him to the University of Tubingen. In 1968, at age 41, following campus unrest and the untidy dissent against Humanae Vitae (Paul VI's encyclical against hormonal regulation that Bishop Wojtyla, the late John Paul II, even more strongly opposed), the Bavarian professor left Tubingen and allied with Paul VI and Wojtyla.
Soon afterward, elevated to bishop and then cardinal, Ratzinger gravitated toward Augustine and away from Thomas Aquinas. It was dualism theology: the city of God and the city of man, in conflict.
He wrote, "Mankind comes to itself not through what he does but through what he accepts." And again: "Faith comes not from reflecting. Its essence consists in the rethinking of what has been heard."
The ideals of Vatican II — loosening of hierarchical authority, more internal debate and honoring of individual conscience — were gradually de-emphasized in the prelate's thinking.
His view of a less horizontal Catholicity, by which laity and bishops could counter Rome's dominance, gave way in 1968. He now criticized Kung's views as "school certitude" and instead embraced dogma that does not change.
All indications are that centralization and absolutism of the papacy will become, once again, more entrenched. This seems especially distasteful to many American Catholics who have a strong sense of democratic governance.
Moreover, the early years of Catholicism in America under Bishops John Carroll and John England were remarkably open and egalitarian.
The new pope's reign has begun with some positive gestures.
However, optimistic sentiments are dampened by last week's forced resignation of Thomas Reese as editor of "America," a long-standing Jesuit publication.
It seems "America" had a tradition of presenting both sides of a theological question. This could not be reconciled with Ratzinger's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
All in all, about 140 theologians have been variously punished or silenced under the new pope's former office. Is this any way to run a church?
The Catholic Church has suffered dark days before, notably the pontificate of Pius X.
This pope (1903-1914) led a campaign against his own theologians and imposed an Oath Against Modernism on all clerics. It took Benedict XV to bring some reconciliation to the church.
Our new pope has hinted that he too, as Benedict, will bring healing, promote collegiality and mitigate divisiveness.
However, that begs the question that Arthur Jones of the National Catholic Reporter asks: Can the sheepdog become the shepherd?
As you may surmise, I don't share the optimism of some regarding this pontificate.
However, as a lifelong Catholic, I do hope and pray that Benedict XVI will be somewhat redirected to use his prestigious role as Holy Father to really address the entire Catholic community.
I also hope he will call on his cardinals and bishops to show at least a tolerant respect to theologians and scripture scholars as they debate various theological views in their quest of God.
And just as importantly, that he call on his Catholic subjects to show sensitivity and love to each other and to other Christians despite any differences in their journeys of faith.
My grandfather was a Catholic-educated Bavarian, and he would agree.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 12:28 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 11:32 PM
There are problems on so many levels with this letter, which of course ran on the day of the week with the Times' highest readership levels. First,Dave Kleis voted against the bill, not for it. He was one of the most vocal adversaries of the bill, and has throughout his term been a champion against higher taxes in Minnesota. Which brings us to another two pronged issue. First, that the letter would have come out of the Minnesota Chamber office in the first place, and second, that the Times would print such a falsehood. At 6:15 this morning, on Dan Ochsner's show, the original story was that David Olson denied sending the letter. Later, around 7:50 am, David Olson called the show, and while not admitting that he wrote the letter, said that the letter probably came from his office. What happened, apparently, is that form letters (i.e., insert legislator's name here) went out to state newspapers, and somehow, Dave Kleis got on the list of those who voted "yes" to the tax increase. Shame on the Minnesota Chamber!. The second part of this bad soap opera is the fact that the Times, having full access to Senator Kleis' voting record, and having often reported Kleis' opposition to tax increases, didn't bother to check their facts before printing the op-ed. Shame on the St. Cloud Times! To their partial credit, the Times now has the following disclaimer next to the story on their website:
Letter: Kleis' vote on taxes sends clear message
By David Olson, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce,
On May 6, Sen. Dave Kleis voted for, and the Senate passed, a bill that will raise taxes by $1.2 billion during the next two years.
Kleis supported one of the largest tax increases in recent history at a time when the economy is fragile and Minnesotans are facing higher costs for consumer goods and rising interest rates.
Wouldn't it be nice if Kleis and the 34 other senators would have paused for a second and thought about the message they are sending to successful entrepreneurs, business owners and other folks who decide where their companies are located and where they expand their operations?
Kleis is now on record for higher business property taxes, higher corporate income taxes and the highest marginal rate for personal income taxes in the nation, which affects many small-business owners.
Businesses in Kleis' district, and throughout the entire state, will not forget this vote.
Many senators will posture this vote as the first step in negotiating a budget settlement with Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House Republicans.
Negotiations or not, the message has been sent: If you want to do your part to create jobs in Minnesota, you're going to pay more to state government for that privilege.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Information containted in this letter has been found to be incorrect. Sen. Dave Kleis did not vote for the tax bill.)But the problem with something being published in the Sunday paper, is that many folks don't read the paper again til the next Sunday. If they don't listen to the local news, or check the web site, they will be left with the erroneous impression that Kleis is turning into a tax-and-spend liberal. Both the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the St. Cloud Times owe Senator Kleis a BIG apology, and a very public one at that. How 'bout a full page ad in next Sunday's Times for starters?
What is remarkable to me is that our university is still campaigning about anonymous comments on the Times site, yet in this case not only did they expose the error and get it corrected, but that not one but three local legislators -- including the two area DFL legislators -- came up to Sen. Kleis' defense rather early in the day. But in the middle of the chat there's our Mayor Ellenbecker trying to score a political point on Pogomonster's soak-the-rich tax increase. Ellenbecker would do well to get off those boards -- he keeps adding fuel to the fire. Which, as long as he is going to stand in the middle of it, is just fine by me.
Our sincere apologies to Sen. Dave Kleis for our letter Sunday, which misstated his vote on the Senate tax bill ("Kleis' vote on taxes sends clear message.")Well, that takes care of the Minnesota C of C; now what about the Times. While the Times took the step to retract the story, an apology is lacking. Kleis' voting record is readily available. The Times has oft reported regarding Kleis' stand on raising taxes. Their not checking the sources was negligence that could very well have resulted in damage to Kleis' reputation and character. I think an out-and-out apology by the Times is in order. But I'm not holding my breath.
He did not vote for the tax increase, and we know better. The mistake was ours, regardless how it happened.
Kleis has been a longtime proponent of protecting the interests of the business community and has been a staunch advocate of holding down taxes.
We know he'd never support the bill passed by the Senate on May 6 which would raise taxes by $1.2 billion in the next two years. We regret our error.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 11:45 AM
ALBANY, N.Y. - Scores of convicted rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in New York have been getting Viagra paid by Medicaid for the last five years, the state's comptroller said Sunday.Said Hillary Clinton:
Audits by Comptroller Alan Hevesi's office showed that between January 2000 and March 2005, 198 sex offenders in New York received Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra after their convictions. Those included crimes against children as young as 2 years old, he said.
it was "deeply disturbing and runs contrary to the purpose of Medicaid, which is to provide health care coverage for uninsured, low-income individuals." Clinton, a Democrat, urged Leavitt to look into the matter, and said she would explore legislative options.The esteemed Chuck Schumer:
...said at a press conference in New York City that he hoped the issue could be resolved without a bill, but he's prepared to offer one if needed.It is said, and indeed has been proven since time immemoriam that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is just another in an unending series of those proofs. But take heart, readers on the left, Chuck & Hillary are merely following Step 10.
"While I believe that HHS did not do this intentionally, when the government pays for Viagra for sex offenders, it could well hurt many innocent people," he said.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 11:10 PM
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Posted by Leo Pusateri at 8:39 PM
Rolf Ekeus, the Swede who led the UN's efforts to track down the weapons from 1991 to 1997, said that the offer came from Tariq Aziz, Saddam's foreign minister and deputy.This has to beg a question... If Saddam had no WMDs, why the need to bribe inspectors so as to "doctor" a report to give Iraq a "clean bill of health" (something that, according to the story, was never given)? And how many of those inspectors actually took the bribe? Since Rolf Ekeus was the only one to report being bribed, one could justifiably harbor the suspicion that others were not as forthcoming; perhaps for reasons of self-interest. Anyway you put it, the sudden absence of WMDs in contradiction of a plethora of evidence that they were there, and Saddam's bribes in what appeared to be an effort to keep them from being reported, begs the real $64,000,000 question that nobody appears to be asking: Where are the WMDs now?
Mr Ekeus told Reuters news agency that he had passed the information to the Volcker Commission. "I told the Volcker people that Tariq [Aziz] said a couple of million was there if we report right. My answer was, 'That is not the way we do business in Sweden.' "
A clean report from Mr Ekeus's inspectors would have been vital in lifting sanctions against Saddam's regime. But the inspectors never established what had happened to the regime's illicit weapons and never gave Iraq a clean bill of health.
The news that Iraq attempted to bribe a top UN official is a key piece of evidence for investigators into the scandal surrounding the oil-for-food programme. It proves that Iraq was offering huge sums of cash to influential foreigners in return for political favours.
Nile Gardiner, of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, who has followed the inquiries, said: "It's the tip of the iceberg of what the Iraqis were offering. For every official like Ekeus who turned down a bribe, there are many more who will have been tempted by it."
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 8:09 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 12:15 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:00 AM
Protection of property was a major casualty of the Revolution of 1937. The paradigmatic case, written by that premiere constitutional operative, William O. Douglas, is Williamson v. Lee Optical.23 The court drew a line between personal rights and property rights or economic interests, and applied two different constitutional tests. Rights were reordered and property acquired a second class status.24 If the right asserted was economic, the court held the Legislature could do anything it pleased. Judicial review for alleged constitutional infirmities under the due process clause was virtually nonexistent. On the other hand, if the right was personal and "fundamental," review was intolerably strict. "From the Progressive era to the New Deal, [ ] property was by degrees ostracized from the company of rights.25 Something new, called economic rights, began to supplant the old property rights. This change, which occurred with remarkably little fanfare, was staggeringly significant. With the advent of "economic rights," the original meaning of rights was effectively destroyed. These new "rights" imposed obligations, not limits, on the state.Is this woman brilliant, or what? I urge all to read the entire text of the speech here.
It thus became government's job not to protect property but, rather, to regulate and redistribute it. And, the epic proportions of the disaster which has befallen millions of people during the ensuing decades has not altered our fervent commitment to statism. The words of Judge Alex Kozinski, written in 1991, are not very encouraging." 'What we have learned from the experience of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union ... is that you need capitalism to make socialism work.' In other words, capitalism must produce what socialism is to distribute."26 Are the signs and portents any better at the beginning of a new century?
"Janice Rogers Brown has a record of hostility to fundamental civil and constitutional rights principles, and she is committed to using her power as a judge to twist the law in ways that undermine those principles (emphasis mine), said Hilary Shelton, director, NAACP Washington Bureau. "For the administration to bring forward a nominee with this record and hope to get some kind of credit because she is the first African American woman nominated to the DC Circuit is one more sign of the administration's political cynicism."So, all of a sudden, interpreting the Constitution according to the Founding Fathers' original intent is "twisting the law" in ways that undermine principles? Which principles? Whose principles? You mean those "principles" that have to do with the NAACP and the Limousine Liberal Establishment's wish to make the Constitution a "living, breathing document" to be malleated at will into their whim du jour? You mean the principles of expanding the dependency class on the White Limousine Liberal plantation, creating more vest pocket voters for the DNC cause?
The report, "Loose Cannon," notes that when Brown was nominated to the state supreme court in 1996, she was found unqualified by the state bar evaluation committee, based not only on her relative inexperience but also because she was "prone to inserting conservative political views into her appellate opinions" and based on complaints that she was "insensitive to established precedent."So taking an original intent view of jurisprudence, that is, going by the Founding Fathers' intent when writing the Constitution, is somehow wrong or ill-advised?
Since May 2, 1996, Janice Brown has been an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. From November 4, 1994, she was an Associate Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. From January 7, 1991, to November 1994, Ms. Brown served as Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor Pete Wilson. The job included diverse duties, ranging from analysis of administration policy, court decisions, and pending legislation to advice on clemency and extradition questions. The Legal Affairs Office monitored all significant state litigation and had general responsibility for supervising departmental counsel and acting as legal liaison between the Governor's office and executive departments.Yep... no experience there.
Prior to joining Governor Wilson's senior staff, Brown was an associate at Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, a government and political law firm.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 4:53 PM
Don't know how thrilled I am that my alter ego is dead. But they gave me a lightsaber, so it balances out.As Dark Helmet said to Lone Star in Spaceballs, You have the ring. And I see your schwartz is as big as mine.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 1:21 PM
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Posted by Leo Pusateri at 9:38 PM
"Based on what we know now, we are retracting our original story that an internal military investigation had uncovered Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay," Whitaker said.Newsweek has taken an important first step in righting a wrong. But the task that Newsweek has ahead of itself in repairing its reputation is nothing compared to the task that is before our nation in repairing the damage done with respect to U.S.-Islamic relations. Newsweek's irresponsibility served only to breed further distrust and to fan the flames, creating an even larger pool of potential suicide bombers and others willing to die for the jihadist cause. In the midst of our efforts to create a safer world, Isakoff and Whitaker's actions served to thwart those efforts. If they truly do regret their actions, they would do well to step down from their respective positions.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan called Newsweek's retraction "a good first step" but said it could not repair all the damage that had been done.
"The report had real consequences," McClellan said. "People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged. There are some who are opposed to the United States and what we stand for who have sought to exploit this allegation."
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:23 PM
The payments were made so that Iraq could buy support for lifting sanctions against Iraq in the U.N. Security Council, former Saddam officials told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (search) investigations subcommittee.
Saddam's vice president, Taha Yasin Ramadan (search), told investigators that the allocations were "compensation for support," according to one of two reports released Monday.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 3:03 PM
"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, available on U.S. newsstands on Monday, the Reuters story said.
Newsweek, which said opponents of the Afghan government including remnants of the Taliban had used its report to fan unrest in the country, said it was not contemplating disciplinary action against staff.
"This was reported very carefully, with great sensitivity and concern(emphasis mine), and we'll continue to report on it," said Newsweek Managing Editor John Meecham. "We have tried to be transparent about exactly what happened, and we leave it to the readers to judge us."
Whitaker, however, did not say that the allegations in the story were wrong, but that the Newsweek reporters' source could not pinpoint where the source obtained his or her information. He also implied that the story had no causal effect on the recent riots in Afghanistan, in which 16 people have died and dozens have been injured(emphasis mine).
"The riots started and spread across the country, fanned by extremists and unhappiness over the economy," Whitaker wrote.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 6:26 PM
1. Plug woodburning tool in 110 volt outlet.On the outside of the box cover was a picture of a boy and girl, clad in "Leave-it-to-Beaver" attire, smiling, and carving pictures into wood. All harmless enough. Until something about it hit me. "Wait a minute," I thought. There's something missing. Not one word of "caution" on the tool, the box, the wood pieces; not one word of caution to be found. Anywhere. No "Caution, improper use of this tool may lead to injury or death," or "Danger-Fire Hazard- product may be hot, do not place tool on lap," or "do not use this toy while bathing," or "You'll shoot your eye out!" No "no warranty made, express. written or implied, as to the safe use of this product." No multi-lingual 25-page pamphlet filled with the hazards of using the woodburning tool. Anywhere. Just an electric wood burning tool, pieces of wood, and a box with instructions printed on the inside of the cover.
2. Wait for woodburning tool to heat up.
3. Begin using tool to burn designs in wood pieces.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 4:20 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 1:30 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 8:09 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 7:04 PM
Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson had been scheduled to make a stop in St. Cloud yesterday, however he cancelled the trip because of concerns over the weather. On Wednesday the Willmar Democrat had been criticized by Senate Republicans for not staying at the capital and finishing up the session. Johnson had been facing pressure to meet with Governor Tim Pawlenty and House Speaker Steve Sviggum for budget negotiations yesterday. Johnson had been scheduled to stop in Saint Cloud to promote the D-F-L budget plan for an income tax increase to fund schools.(emphasis mine)
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 3:05 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 1:56 PM
Majority rule no doubt has its problems, but they pale in comparison with those presented by minority rule. The term was unknown in 1889, but "going nuclear" can be unavoidable when a majority party finds itself caught between keeping faith with its electors and an obstinate minority that simply refuses to yield. "Czar" Reed knew that. Does Sen. Bill Frist?
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 11:01 AM
VOINOVICH: Mr. Chairman, I have to say that after poring over the hundreds of pages of testimony, and, you know, I wasn't here for those hearings, but I did my penance, I read all of it. I believe that John Bolton would have been fired, fired if he worked for a major corporation. This is not the behavior of a true leader who upholds the kind of democracy that President Bush is seeking to promote globally. This is not the behavior that should be endorsed as the face of the United States to the world community in the United Nations. Rather, Mr. Chairman, it is my opinion that John Bolton is the poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be.
All things being equal is my proclivity to support the president's nominee. However in this case all things are not equal. It's a different world today than it was four years ago. Our enemies are Muslim extremists and religious fanatics who hijacked the Koran and have convinced people that the way to go to heaven is through jihad against the world, particularly the US. We must recognize that to be successful in this war, one of our most important tools is public diplomacy. After hours of deliberation, telephone calls, personal conversations, reading hundreds of pages of transcripts, and asking for guidance from above, I've come to the determination that the United States can do better than John Bolton.
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 4:56 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:58 PM
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 10:54 PM
"It was a reasonable increase," said Sen. Paul Koering, R-Ft. Ripley, one of eight Republicans who joined DFLers to support the increase. "It's not out of line to have an increase once in a while." (ED: In that vein, it's not out of line to go rob a liquor store, as long as it's only "once in a while")Politically it was a given that this thing would go through, even among Republicans, so as to allow a chance for one and all to avoid the dreaded "voted against higher wages for Minnesota workers" attack line come election time. Good politics is good politics, even if the practice of "good politics" serves only to throw a wrench into a recovering economy.
An estimated 49,000 workers earn the minimum wage in Minnesota.
About 4,000 workers in Koering's district make $7 an hour or less, according to information from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Senate members voted in February to increase the minimum wage to $7 an hour in two years, but agreed to the lower increase the House approved Monday because Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he would sign it.
"It should happen at the federal level so Minnesota doesn't become an island," said Kleis, whose district includes about 5,500 workers who earn $7 an hour or less. "We don't need to put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage to neighboring states."But State Senator Ellen Anderson actually went so far as to state that the minimum wage passage is
"...a way that we can show those who clean out the bedpans in the nursing homes, the people who make the beds in the hotels, the people who serve us eggs and coffee at the cafe, that they are going to get a strong message from us in the legislature that we value their work" and "...that's what raising the minimum wage is all about. [ED: insert music here]"Ain't it a caution how some people can be so generous with other people's money. If Ms. Anderson values their work so much why doesn't she just leave an extra tip? Easy... because like all good liberals, she feels perfectly comfortable tipping the wait staff with other people's money (i.e. the businesses' money) rather than her own.
"Senator Anderson, by passing this bill, you said you know, you're going to pass this bill so all the hard working Minnesotans are going to have this increase...so all of those people who get up in the morning and work hard, are going to make $6.15 per hour. First of all, the market dictates that and it's already above that in the market, so that's not the caseand...
"Those who vote for this will feel good and say that they raised the wage. But you gotta remember that it's private businesses that actually pay the wage---they pay the wage based on the market, not according to the government"and (this is my favorite line),
"I almost feel like doing an amendment to say insert everything in after the enacting clause, and insert "feel good" because that's what this is..it's just "feel good" legislation-it doesn't do anything."Kleis went on to point out how after a minimum wage hike in Washington even service jobs were outsourced, and drive through orders in Washington were taken by pimply faced teenagers in South Dakota.
"...over 80% of Minnesotans think that the state's minimum wage is too low."Err...uh.. Senator Kleis--maybe Anderson's got a point. Let's not let any common sense keep a bunch of liberals (along with a cadre of 8 spineless Senate Republicans and a Republican-led House) from feeling good, right?
Posted by Leo Pusateri at 9:03 PM
Glenn Reynolds says, "psycho who?"
"When you guys win, you get to keep your money. When we win, we take your money."(MN Rep. Cy Thao, DFL 65-A)
"Teacher says, everytime a bell rings, another democrat wants to raise your taxes."-Zuzu Bailey-