Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Furor over Mier's Nomination Continues...

In this CNN article, More Controversy over Miers, I found this delightful quote from John Hill Jr., "a Democrat who was chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court from 1985 to 1988 and served with Miers on the Texas Lottery Commission."

"We actually know Harriet Miers; I hope that still counts for something, somewhere," Hill said. "I'd trust her with my wife and my life."


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Widespread Bashing of Miers' Nomination

There has been some brutal commentary on the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court over the past few days, and I've been perusing Slate gleefully to try and get a hold on what people are saying.

Bruce Reed quipped, "Who says George W. Bush can't be a uniter? Shortly after Bush nominated Miers, the left, right, and center joined in marveling at the underwhelming mediocrity of the choice."

Ralph Nader was interviewed on Oct. 4 by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on the subject of Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court.

"You know, Amy, in the Congress, if a staff member of a senator or representative engages in political activity during election time, that person can be prosecuted. So that's why the staff members of Congress people take a leave of absence, they drop their public salary, and they go out and push for the re-election of their senator or representative. But unfortunately, a number of years ago the Democrats and the Republicans got together in the Congress and said, ‘We’re going to make an exception from that law for the executive branch, for cabinet officials and for top White House officials.’ But that exemption required that accounting be established, clearly delineating the time, for example, Karl Rove spent in the White House making calls to re-elect Bush or spending materials and resources to re-elect Bush and the time he spent on government business as special assistant to the President. He didn't do that. And so, Harriet Miers is, in effect, by not answering those letters, is covering up for Karl Rove."

And then Ralph zings Democrats: "And if the Democrats don't raise that issue in the confirmation hearings, they will continue their record, as a whole, with some luminous exceptions, as a whole, of being a party that is spineless, gutless, hapless, clueless and now leaderless."

Ronald Cass (Co-Chair of the Committee for Justice, former Dean of Boston University Law School) defended Miers' lack of experience: "The emphasis on judicial experience seems to me very misplaced. We've had quite a few judges in the history of the Supreme Court who had no judicial experience previously. You mentioned William Rehnquist. The list also includes Earl Warren, Felix Frankfurter, Louis Brandeis, Harlan Fiske Stone, John Marshall, and a number of the greats of the Court. So I think he has made a choice of somebody he knows and trusts and values who by all accounts should be a very sound and solid Justice."

Casualities in Iraq

I think it's hilariously sick how lately CNN has been headlining the number of American troops killed in Iraq every day, as if troops haven't died there every day since March of 2003. (Five have already died today.)

I found a website, called Iraq Coalition Casuality Count, which breaks the casualties down into time periods, US/UK/other coalition casualties, non-hostile casualties, etc. (I bet the non-hostile casualties are very underreported.)

So far? At least 2139 coalition casulties, 1941 of them Americans.

Anti-war.com reports 14755 wounded American soldiers, but estimates there are as many as 15000 - 42500.

How are the Iraqis faring? Well, the Iraq Body Count estimates any where from 26,323 to 29,653 reported deaths by reputable sources.

Guardian story on Iraqi civilian deaths
Short Guardian article on the death of Rowand Suleiman

The Funniest Thing Ronald Reagan Ever Did

Before beginning his weekly radio address on August 11, 1984, Reagan was joking around when he did not think the microphone was on, and said the following:

"My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

You can hear a MP3 of the recording here: http://radio.about.com/library/reagan_bomb.mp3

Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Miers nominated to the Supreme Court

When I heard the announcement over CNN video, I gasped with surprise. Bush nominated a woman? That was a great PR move - replacing O'Connor with another woman makes it seem like he wants to include a woman on the Court, that he is concerned for womens' voices and issues.

So then I looked up some info on Ms. Harriet Miers. One of the most notable things to mention first is that, much like John Roberts, little to nothing exists that gives the public a clue as to how she feels about hot-button issues like workers' rights, abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, etc. She has no paper trail OR judicial record - she's never been a judge. She is a longtime close friend and confidante of the President, supposedly very loyal and devoted to him.

In an interview with Democracy Now!, Nan Aron, President of the Alliance for Justice, (a national association of public interest and civil rights organizations), said this:

"But, having said that, little is known about her views on critical issues like environmental protection, worker protection, civil rights, and it will be up to the Senate – In fact, it will be critically important for the Senate to get as much information as it can about her record.

One last thing is – very, very disappointed that the White House refused to disclose any of John Roberts's memos that he wrote as the political deputy while he served in the Solicitor General's office during the Bush administration. It was Harriet Miers, in fact, who refused to share his records with the public or the Senate and, of course, now that she is the nominee, she will be able to hide behind their refusal to share information now about her. She has helped create the precedent that will allow the White House to essentially not cooperate with the Senate, and so, we are all looking to the Senate to conduct a full and thorough inquiry and to get as much information about her views so that the Senate and the American people can decide whether she is deserving of this very important seat on the Supreme Court."

I fully expect her to block all inquiry and to be elected without us having a clue about how her vote might swing. And that is terrifying.

Now that Roberts has already been locked into the head position, we really need someone on our side to fill that empty spot. If Miers turns out to be anti-choice, I have a feeling that I'll be becoming much more involved in active protesting for pro-choice issues.

It was really rather clever, choosing Miers- both conservatives and liberals are very upset now, because no one knows what to expect from her. Already however, conservatives are beginning to get antsy, alleging that Miers donated to Democrats, and that she isn't a clear conservative, and therefore undesirable.


CNN: Bush Picks White House Counsel for Supreme Court

Village Voice: Democrats, Rejoice: Right Says Wrong on Harriet Miers

Monday, September 12, 2005

Rehnquist dies; Pro-choicers begin wigging out.

When I saw on CNN.com that Rehnquist died, I flipped out. This is a horrible development -- two spots on the Supreme Court for Bush to fill with conservatives. Possibly conservatives who want to overturn Roe v. Wade. That absolutely unnerves my little pro-choice ass.

Hurricane Katrina's devastation rages on in the news every day. The class/race issue is finally hitting the fan, and about time. Four days ago, I wrote, "I can't stop looking at the photos coming in now, all the photos from and of the helicopters rescuing people on the roofs of house and supermarkets -- some of them old, some of them so young, some of them disabled, so many of them black. Hardly any whites. Guess most of the whites were able to clear out. All the people with money and cars.

These people -- thousands of them -- have been waiting for buses to come take them away since Tuesday and there is no food or water. Hardly any cops. No food, water, medicine. Two babies were born in the Superdome. Mothers with toddlers with exhausted faces, their babies looking stunned. It hurts so bad to see this photos. It's the bite of photography, how powerful it is, why it is so important. Here I am bitching about gas, waiting to go out to a party tonight, ignoring my homework while a few states away, there is such an outpouring of pain and agony I can't understand it.

There's a picture of a big, kind-faced black man, holding a tiny baby, while he drapes a blanket over the body of an eldery man, slumped over in a chair in the median. In the background hundreds of black people are camped out, waiting.

Why is President Bush on "Good Morning America?"

I find the characterization of looters disturbing. I find disheartening the fact that people are forgetting the thousands outside New Orleans that are suffering. I think that Bush and the administration declared a "zero tolerance" policy on looting while thousands of people were stranded without food, water, medicine was ABSURD. (See Matt's journal entry on the perception of white and black looters.)

Quotes and Links - Hurricane Katrina

Comprehensive Katrina Timeline

I am stunned by an interview I conducted with New Orleans Detective Lawrence Dupree. He told me they were trying to rescue people with a helicopter and the people were so poor they were afraid it would cost too much to get a ride and they had no money for a "ticket." Dupree was shaken telling us the story. He just couldn't believe these people were afraid they'd be charged for a rescue.
-- CNN's Drew Griffin in New Orleans, Louisiana

As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta. Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers. Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.
--Lisa Robetta, Salt Lake Tribune

In a reflection of what has long been a hallmark of Mr. Rove's tough political style, the administration is also working to shift the blame away from the White House and toward officials of New Orleans and Louisiana who, as it happens, are Democrats.

"The way that emergency operations act under the law is the responsibility and the power, the authority, to order an evacuation rests with state and local officials," Mr. Chertoff said in his television interview. "The federal government comes in and supports those officials."
In interviews, these Republicans said that the normally nimble White House political operation had fallen short in part because the president and his aides were scattered outside Washington on vacation, leaving no one obviously in charge at a time of great disruption. Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush were in Texas, while Vice President Dick Cheney was at his Wyoming ranch.

Cheney and the rest of the White House didn’t care much about how Iraq would be rebuilt following the American invasion. That was the boring part. They just assumed it would be easy. Rebuilding an entire region of the United States following a natural disaster? Dick Cheney doesn’t seem to have much interest in that either.
-- Aaron Kinney, Salon.com

Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?
-- Gandhi

Sunday, July 24, 2005

London Police Say "Oops, Our Bad?"

I had heard that an innocent man was shot and killed by London police as a terror suspect before he was cleared, but I didn't know that they pinned him to the ground and shot him five times in the head with horrified onlookers watching.

This shoot-to-kill policy they're advocating is very frightening. Instantly I thought about the potential for abuse...

Article from the Independent

AP article from Yahoo

Second article from the Independent