Monday, March 28, 2005

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

She is the enthused, if not enraged, advocate for Michael Schiavo, which means she is the advocate for Terri Schavo's death. I suspect that, as a new member of Congress, she is trying to make a name for herself by appearing on as many talk shows as possible discussing the "outrage" of Congress asking the courts to review the case one more time.

It's hard to express the revulsion Schultz generates in me. Not only did she fall off the ugly tree (hitting pretty much every branch on the way down and landing directly on her face when she hit the ground), she also manages to use, in my rough estimate, maybe a can of hairspray a day to keep her mane looking nice and crystally and static and plastered firmly against her upper forehead. I was under the impression that this hairstyle died a quiet death somewhere in early 1991 along with shoulderpads in womens' suits, but Ms. Schultz must not have received that memo.

I'm not sure how she was elected to Congress, but I doubt it was political acumen that garnered her the seat. For starters, look at the public's reaction to the case: the flawed ABC poll badly misjudged the public sentiment, which is why Congress overwhelmingly passed the law asking for a judicial review. Ms. Schultz, early in her career, has thus already managed to be on the wrong side of public opinion - which is fine, if you can accomplish the feat quietly, but is not fine when your face is plastered across Scarborough, Meet the Press, Face the Nation, etc. and your demeanor is one of blustering indignation.

Secondly, her outrage is seems to be misplaced. What Congress did (the merits of which I agree with) was NOT to order Terri's tube to be reattached, but instead commanded the federal courts to review the merits of the case: a "de novo" review, I believe. What is the harm in that? From all indications, this was badly needed when one takes into account that her husband, whose position as next-of-kin resides from that title, is really not much of a husband anymore, having moved in and fathered children with another woman who he intends to marry. Couple that with the varying medical opinions of Terri's condition and recovery, and the other damning facts that have leaked out (a post on Powerline makes the case that the parents were simply outlawyered), and I have no idea how someone could oppose the review (the federalism statute is a different discussion, in my opinion, from whether the case does indeed merit a review). If Terri's wishes were to be removed from the tube, as Michael and Ms. Schultz contend, then shouldn't a review of the case bear out that decision?

At any rate, I think we can look forward to seeing Schultz joining the ranks of Cynthia McKinney as one of the embarassments of our federal government.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Who is Lance Dickie?

Besides being a hysterical lefty, the evidence for which is his claim that Congress passing the Schiavo law is "a whiff of the American Taliban," I have not a clue how this man managed to land a column on RCP. Perhaps he has pictures of the webmasters with farm animals, I don't know. Or perhaps they simply wanted to show America the inanity of the American Left as it pertains to the Schiavo case (for another example, see Dowd's column from last Thursday).

One myth that this column buys wholesale is the poll that purports to show that Americans in overwhelming numbers side with the husband. Which would make one wonder why the Senate passed this bill by unanimous consent (nary an objection from the Dems) and the House Republicans managed to strip away roughly half of the Dems voting. . .are all these Dems politically suicidal? The more sensible answer is that they intuit something the bogus poll failed to measure: the American people don't like what is happening in Florida, and the video of parents pleading on television for their daughter's life is heart-wrenching and compelling. The poll also managed to avoid telling of Michael Schiavo's new family, his new live-in fiance, his unwillingness to give Terri proper treatment, etc., facts that have since seeped out, though not via the MSM.

But what else should we expect from the half-assed media, who apparently still fail to realize that the truth, distinctly different from the "truth" they would like middle America to hear, has already gotten out and the disparity between these two versions is striking and leaves one side in the dust. . .see: the vote in Congress.

I believe the liberals realize facts, not to mention public sentiment, are not on their side in this case, which is why unimaginative fools like Lance Dickie pull out the "American Taliban" smears. If they did believe that the facts would bear out a victory in the arena of public approval, then perhaps they would incorporate a few more of them into their columns. From my count, about the only evidence Lance Dickie is able to summon in defense of his positioin is: 1) Michael Schiavo is the husband; 2) he was awarded custody by the courts; 3) GOP talking points were despicable. Of course, there were no GOP talking points, so Dickie is down to 2 facts, around which he weaves a cornucopia of logic-barren outrage.

Finally, if we're on the business of discussing "despicable," an endeavor into which Dickie has thrown himself head-first, perhaps we should examine his lecturing to the Schindler's that "My faith and beliefs and my family's experience tell me the parents have to let go of their brain-damaged daughter trapped between life and death." Really? It's your position to tell the Schiavo's how to feel about the daughter they raised and who they're desperately trying to save? What arrogance. Of course, Dickie fails to offer any further elaboration on what experiences, much less facts in this particular case, lead him to such a conclusion.

The lesson of this column is that the bar for a liberal writer is mind-bogglingly low, particularly at a shitty mid-size city newspaper (the writers employed by my hometown paper, the DM Register, further attest to this phenomenon).

Saturday, March 26, 2005

I've been dogging ESPN a lot lately

so let me just say that I think Greg Anthony might be my favorite analyst on that network. He's remarkably insightful and well-spoken, which surprised the hell out of me when you consider he went to UNLV, back when those letters were simply another way to spell "thug." Tim Legler is serviceable and Stephen A. Smith should not (if there is a just and merciful God) be allowed to come within 60 miles of a broadcast camera, but I dig Greg's work. If you could pair him and Kenny Smith (Greg's only real competition for Best NBA Analyst Award) from TNT together on one program, it would be about the only sports-discussion show I would make an effort to watch.

Having said that, most of their other analysts are doorknobs, although I exempt the NFL crew from this assessment. . .well, except for when Stuart Scott hosts, given that he manages to submarine Monday Night Countdown on his own.

"No he di-inh." Stuart, please shut the fuck up.

Bush is a hypocrite

Yes, we've all heard this before, but now this charge is being leveled against W in the context of the Schiavo case. I had the distinct displeasure of hearing the disgusting Al Franken opine on the matter on Scarborough a couple nights ago. The base of the charge is thus: in the last few weeks, a baby in Texas was taken off a respirator over the objections of the parents, a tragedy that was facilitated due to a bill signed by Bush when he was governor of Texas. I believe Franken also included a couple of cliched zings at the drug companies and big business (can't liberals come up with any other, more original boogeymen?), but it was late and I had mostly quit paying attention to whatever bile masquerading as "political insight" was coming from Franken's mouth.

Anyway, for a more comprehensive understanding of this bill and why it became Texas law, click on the link above. As usual, there is more to the story than the liberals are willing to countenance. But that doesn't surprise any of us.

ASIDE: also, is there a worse talk-show guest than Franken? On the rare times when I can stomach watching an entire segment in which he appears, he is vastly more interested in throwing mud than offering a substantial counterargument (of course, it is possible to offer a good counter-argument and heave a little dirt at the same time. . .but unfortunatley, the woefully inept Franken cannot even manage this relatively simple task). Case in point would be the Schiavo discussion Scarborough attempted to engage him in two nights ago. The question posed to Franken was thus: "Al, on your radio show, does your experience mirror mine on my show, in that most callers want to discuss Terri Schiavo?" Straightforward, huh? Not even a loaded political question. Franken, with the grace and verbal-sparring acumen more appropriate to a fifth-grade schoolgirl, ignored the question and launched into the attack on Bush that I outlined above. If this man is the savior of Air America, then I imagine the backers are questioning the sagacity of their investment, since Franken accomplishes the dubious feat of being both incoherent and remarkably unfunny. . .hardly the hallmark of a successful radio personality. Sadly, there is a certain segment of the population (in fact, I think a fair number of them live in my community) for whom this qualifies as intelligent discussion.

Friday, March 25, 2005

ex Survey says: Hall will shut door on McGwire; Bonds may get in

Note the quotes from several Hall of Fame voters near the end of the article -- that because it wasn't "illegal" at the time McGwire and Bonds allegedly used, they shouldn't be penalized and their numbers should be taken at face value.

Taking steroids without a prescription has been illegal in this country for at least 15 years. Bonds' and McGwire's conduct may not have been against baseball's rules, but that conduct was in violation of federal law. I think this is an important point, and one of which many pundits are either honestly unaware or willfully neglectful of mentioning.

Really, this issue comes down to a question of incorporation: are all activities/conduct that violates the law to be considered, by extension, violations of the rules of the game? Well, no -- there are many activities, such as speeding, that cannot be fairly said to be against the rules of baseball. But the distinction is harder to make when it comes to the ingestion of illegal drugs, especially those taken for the sole purpose of enhancing one's performance on the field. It's a question of fair notice: were Bonds and McGwire on fair notice that their illegal conduct could be considered in violation of baseball's rules of conduct, and that their illegal conduct could affect their eligibility for the Hall, or even merely their attractiveness as candidates for the Hall? Is there really an ex post facto problem when the conduct in question was against the law at the time it was committed, but the "penalties" (like Hall eligibility) are increased after the fact?

I'm of the opinion that there is no fair notice problem; however, I can at least understand the other side of the argument. But the question of fair notice/retroactivity/fair notice should be the epicenter of the debate. Those who would attempt to parse the non-juiced vs. juiced numbers of Bonds and McGwire engage in a wildly hypothetical and utterly irrelevant exercise. For example, if, as a law student here at UVa, I were to engage in some conduct that may arguably be considered cheating -- say, taking another student's outline, copying it and pasting it into another document, putting my name on it, and calling it my own because the professor does not allow outside outlines -- there would be no inquiry into what my grade on the exam would have been had I not used the outline, or whether the outline helped me on the exam. No, the dispositive question would be, "Was the conduct cheating?" Once that question is answered, punishment would be swift and severe -- expulsion from UVa Law, no further inquiry necessary.

It's as simple as that. If what Bonds and McGwire did can fairly be considered "cheating" or against the rules of baseball, as an extension of the overall illegality of the conduct, then the penalty, in my opinion, is not a question: you don't get in the Hall. That is not to say that Bonds and McGwire should be ineligible for the Hall; each voter will have to answer the cheating question for himself. But once that question is answered, in my opinion, the inquiry should be over.

Schiavo and the courts

I'd been contemplating for a couple days the essential point underlying this column by Bill Kristol: the possibility of a serious backlash against the judiciary. The Schiavo case is simply a catalyst for the discontent that has been brewing among middle America for some time, and just about came to a head several months back when the MA Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

This will be interesting to watch. I feel like judicial nominees never play much of a role in the voting of average Joes like me: there are too many other issues that command greater attention/concern (which is why I think Daschle lost for being two-faced, rather than being an obstructionist). But the Schiavo case makes me wonder if the future will be a different matter. From my perspective and given the people I've talked with, it seems like everyone pretty much agrees that the parents should be granted custodianship and Terri should be kept alive, but absolutely NO ONE can understand how the courts have constantly ruled against this end and what reasoning was employed to come to this conclusion (these are intelligent people who read the paper and keep up with the news too).

I'd welcome comments on this subject, particularly from the legally gifted (didn't someone here get a 175 on the LSAT? I mentioned this factoid to a couple pretty bright friends in law school here, and they were in awe).

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Crash of a Titan (

On Barry.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 The Daily Quickie

Infuriating. I cannot believe that there are sportswriters out there that are buying Bonds' pathetic guilt trip and shameless use of his son as a prop to curry sympathy. HE'S PISSED THAT HE'S BEEN EXPOSED -- this isn't hard to understand, and we shouldn't be slow to point that out.

I'll write more later tonight.

Rosen: LeBron needs to do more than score

I really like LeBron -- let me state that up front. But I admire this guy for having the nuts to criticize his game.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Please Cry For Me, San Francisco

Apparently, Barry's got about as much intestinal fortitude as he does hair on his nuts.

I don't know about you guys, but I feel kinda sorry for him...wait, no I don't--I hope he gets hit by a bus.

Monday, March 21, 2005

"Banal and myopic"

Such is the description of my column about Jordan.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


is all I have to say. Check out this story.

Volokh on Capital Punishment

I completely agree with the point Volokh makes. Obviously, I'm out of my league when it comes to the legal issues, but as far as the idea that "certain forms of savagery deserve to be met with. . .cruel vengeance." The punishment for child rape or mass/serial muder, for example, could be expanded to include torture and capital punishment, and I would certainly cheer each change.

This probably comes from dealing with true-blue liberals all the time (who are reflexively against the death penalty), but I have no moral objections to the death penalty. In fact, I wish it were exercised in greater frequency. . .that is, I wish child rapists got the chair too. My point on this issue is simply that some crimes are so heinous that they deserve a punishment that mirrors the degree of the crime's savagery. I know that my contention isn't capable of being proven rationally (I simply believe that certain crimes should be punished by death, because the crime is so offensive the person forfeits their right to live. . .just because), but I don't see that the other side's basic contentions (which generally take the form of "it isn't just for the government to take the lives of its citizens" or some such nonsense) are any more based in reason than mine.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Whitlock: It's because Bonds is about to pass Babe

Do with this what you will. I'll be cleaning up the remains from my head explosion.

Do I think some members of Congress are grandstanding? Uh, yeah. That's what members of Congress do; check out "Hardball" some time.

But do I think this has anything to do with freaking Babe Ruth? What the *&#$%@!???

I mean, seriously, I'm from Alabama. I've observed enough racism in my life to sniff it out fairly quickly. To pretend for one second that baseball's steroid scandal has anything to do with race -- going back to Babe Ruth! -- is to create an alternative universe. Whitlock, unsurprisingly, offers absolutely NO evidence to back up his suspicions about Congress' racist motive; he simply ties the fact of Congressional hearings to the fact that Bonds is approaching Babe Ruth, and VOILA! An air-tight case.