November 30, 2001

Judging the Senate

I'm drafting my response to Rafe. Keep checking this permalink.

UPDATE: After five days, it's finally here.

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George is Dead... Miss Him, Miss Him, Miss Him

George is dead - miss him, miss him, miss him.

Posted by wasylik at 04:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Another Great Hosting Deal

Kevin Whited tells me that he gets a great hosting deal, too, from Your-Site Virtual Server Solutions.

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November 29, 2001

Cutting Off the Nose

Sorry to hear that yet another company has cut off its vital parts. Quick, someone, get this man a job!

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Judicially Vacant Arguments

UPDATE: I've read Rafe's response and I'm working on a rebuttal to address his logical errors, statistical omissions, and - ahem - lack of context.

Rafe accuses Rush Limbaugh of being "a lazy thinker or a liar and card cheat" and then goes on to commit those same crimes himself:

Is a Republican accusing a Democrat of blocking federal court appointments? Could this be possible? The Senate Judiciary Committee was famous for blocking Clinton judiciary appointments throughout Clinton's Presidency. In fact, the degree to which Clinton's appointments were stonewalled was legendary.

Sorry, Rafe, but just because a story is famous or legendary doesn't mean it's true. I pointed out the rank hypocrisy of Senate Democrats just a few days ago. Now that they are in power, they have completely failed to live up to the standards they set for Republicans, let alone match the pace that Republicans set for themselves.

Rafe continues,

Limbaugh points out that nearly half of the judges currently on the federal bench were appointed by Clinton -- Clinton was President for the past 8 years! Where's the context for this factoid? The year after Reagan left office, how many of the spots in the judiciary were Reagan appointments?

Clinton had 374 confirmed judges, only four less than Reagan, and the second-highest total ever, according to the Free Congress Foundation. Does that sound like a vacancy crisis to you?

To add a little more context, in three-plus terms, Roosevelt only had 197. Nixon's term-and-a-half only gave him time for 231 confirmed judges. Context enough for you?

Leahy hasn't even been the chair of the Judiciary Committee for 6 months. The fact that the federal bench has so many empty seats falls squarely at the feet of the Republicans who refused to consider Clinton's appointments by either delaying their consideration or rejecting the appointees before they came to a vote.

Before the Democrats even came to power in the Senate, Senator Tom Daschle threatened Bush's judicial nominees, saying, "We just won't allow the vote." Rafe, would you consider that blocking nominations? Wouldn't that mean, that at least in this instance, that Rush is right and you are flat-out wrong? Oh, and by the way, Senator Leahy believes, "Any week in which the Senate does not confirm three judges is a week in which the Senate is failing to address the vacancy crisis." By Leahy's own standard, he should have arranged for SEVENTY-EIGHT confirmations by now. So far there have been about three.

So Rafe, were you lying, dealing from the bottom of the deck, or did you simply not bother to check your facts?

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November 28, 2001


Is it my imagination, or is cornerhost one of the best web hosting deals ever?

Link from genehack.

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November 26, 2001

Rubik's Cube Online

This is pretty cool - a Rubik's Cube you can play online. I forget where I saw the link.

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The Representative from Woman?

I doubt many people disagree with the proposition that women should have a significant say in forming a new Afghan government. The big question, though, is... how? As is, it will be difficult to figure out how to craft a new Afghan regime from all the tribes and regional factions. Who will represent the interests of "Afghan women?" Are we presumptuous enough to think that every woman in Afghanistan has a single, unitary interest that is the same as all other women? Even if some agent exists that seems to represent the concerns of a large percentage of Afghan women, does that entitle us to ignore the concerns of the rest?

I don't have any easy ansers to these questions. But advocates like Senator Clinton don't even seem to realize the questions exist.

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November 22, 2001

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope that you, too, are surrounded by abundant blessings and the love of friends and family.

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November 19, 2001


Over the last two years, I not only have used the word lambaste but I've also been known to use the word impugn and quote people using the word jocular. Now, I refer you back to the weblog with the labile label:

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Two Years in the Hole

Old School.

I've been blogging for two years now - since November 19, 1999. Since then I have seen the dawn of a new millenium, gotten married, done a little traveling, worked as a contract drone, attended SXSW where I met a bunch of cool folks, gotten a new job, quit that job, and finally opened my own firm.

The next two years promise even more dizzying activity. Imagine me living the American dream complete with picket fence, 2.3 kids, and a minivan. Scared yet?

Not me.

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November 18, 2001

Web for Taliban Dummies

First it was Osama posing with Bert, now it's gag instructions for building a nuclear bomb. Any minute now, Northern Alliance troops will discover papers in Afghan tribal languages warning that the West is coming to harvest the kidneys of Afghan children and leave them in bathtubs filled with ice.

A word of advice to the terrorist brain trust: All future research projects should start with

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There is a Season, Turn, Turn, Turn

This has been the most upsetting college football season I've ever endured, mostly because my expectations were so much higher than the unfolding reality.

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November 16, 2001

Daschle: We Just Won't Allow the Vote

Just so you understand that the Democrats in the Senate are fully aware of their hypocrisy, heed Tom Daschle's words of early May:

We just won't allow the vote.

Even when the Democrats were still in the minority, they intentionally obstructed confirmations. Now that they're in the plurality... well, maybe the President has a point about military tribunals.

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Federalist Society - the Cabal Convenes

Last night I attended the 15th Annual Convention of the Federalist Society - what some liberals actually call "the conservative cabal" - to hear Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao speak.

Cheney opened up with a bang. He said of Saturday Night Live comic Darrell Hammond, who does frequent Cheney impersonations,

He's got the mannerisms down, he's got the voice pretty well, but he'll never quite capture the real me. You see, you just can't fake charisma.

That line, of course, brought the house down. But then Cheney turned to more serious issues, the current war against terrorism and the historically unprecedented failure of the Democrat-controlled Senate to confirm Bush judicial nominees.

In 1998, there were only 85 vacant judgeships, a rate of about 10%, according to the American Judicature Society. President Clinton had only offered nominations for 41 of those posts, and then had the nerve to use his State of the Union address to lambaste the Senate for its supposed inaction. Senator Patrick Leahy famously intoned,

Any week in which the Senate does not confirm three judges is a week in which the Senate is failing to address the vacancy crisis. Any fortnight in which we have gone without a judicial confirmation hearing marks 2 weeks in which the Senate is falling further behind.

Now that Senator Leahy is in charge of scheduling those hearings, how is he handling the crisis?

Today, there are 107 vacancies in the Federal courts -- 75 in the district courts and 32 in the appellate courts. And as of today, only 4 of the 29 judicial nominations sent to the Senate since early May have had a hearing. Only three have been confirmed.

That data comes from an August 1, 2001 column by the Free Congress Foundation's John Nowacki. Not much has changed since then - the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, for example, currently has nine judges, one of whom is about to retire. There are sixteen seats in the Sixth Circuit. That means we will soon have a vacancy rate of 50% for a single appellate court. The President has nominated six candidates for these seats, but the Senate has not had a single hearing on any of them. Unthinkable!

The rank hypocrisy of the Senate Democrats on judicial nominations must end, and must end now. As soon as the Senate resumes a normal schedule, it must immediately move to hearings on these nominees and floor votes as quickly as can be scheduled. Anything less is a betrayal of the nation and a deprivation of justice to its citizens.

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WTO Invades

The World Trade Organization has flexed its legal muscle to shut down Jonathan Prince's well-known parody site at The WTO claims trademark and copyright infringement, and has persuaded Jonathan's web host service to shut the site down. I have a feeling this is just beginning.

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Military Tribunals

The Bush administration recently defended the President's order to try suspected international terrorists before military tribunals, provided they are not citzens of the United States, without the benefit of the "principles of law and the rules of evidence" that govern ordinary criminal trials.

Even former prosecutor, current Congressman, and conversative torch-bearer Bob Barr reacted angrily:

[I]t seems their attitude is, 'Well, that wasn't enough so we're going to take more,' I'm not sure we can ever satisfy the federal government's insatiable appetite for more power.

Vice President Dick Cheney said of the as-yet-undetermined people who might be tried by secret military courts:

They don't deserve the same guarantees and safeguards that would be used for an American citizen going through the normal judicial process.

Why don't "they" deserve protection, Mr. Cheney? Is it because they are non-citizens? Is it because we have already presumed them guilty before trial? Either answer is unacceptable.

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Forces arriving in Kabul disocvered Taliban instruction manuals on how to poison children and assemble bombs: "A dose equal to seven seeds will kill a child."

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November 15, 2001

Can Anyone Explain Why Oliver Wants to Go Naked?

Oliver asks:

Can anyone explain to me a valid reason Bush is still caught up in his missile shield beyond the usual graft for the defense industry? It certainly wouldn't have helped on 9.11, if it even works.

Been there, done that a month ago.

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Texas Got Shafted

Donnie sez: Texas got shafted in its most recent re-districting plan, released by three federal judges. As opposed to the last judicially-drawn map, this one protects all current incumbents and preserves a Democratic majority in its House delegation despite a strong Republican lean for the state as a whole.

I don't understand why judges are drawing Congressional districts in Texas; it's a political process and should be handled by political, not judicial, officers. Apparently Texas law provides that the judges have to step in only when the legislature fails to do thier jobs.

I've got a better idea. If the Texas legislature can't come up with a map, they lose their jobs. Period. Anyone in Texas want to take that up as a referendum?

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November 14, 2001

Not all DC Bloggers are Communists

Not all DC bloggers are Communists. Check out the decidedly conservative bent of the Beltway Bloggers.

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Hasner for Representative

My good friend and law school classmate Adam Hasner is running for the state house in Florida. His web site is none too descriptive of his platform, but if you're in Delray Beach, drop him an e-mail and he'll be happyto explain everything to you.

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Squirrel Nipples

Squirrel nipples? Kinky.

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November 12, 2001

Veteran's Day

Yesterday was Veteran's Day, even though we "celebrate" today by taking a day off work. Our fellow citizens in uniform have made tremendous sacrifices to preserve our liberty; one either understands that or doesn't. If you do, take some time to contemplate today how precious peace and freedom are, and how rare it is that any person can have both for any length of time.

If you don't, ask yourself why.

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Recount: BUSH

Recount: BUSH. Dozens of news sites have reported the story, but none quite like the St. Petersburg Times.

The study has confirmed yet again (how many times? I've lost count!!) that the right man was sworn in. As if there was any doubt left.

If one wants to "count all the votes," as liberals have chanted since last November, the result remains unchanged:

The consortium asked all 67 counties what standard they would have used and what ballots they would have manually recounted. Combining that information with the detailed ballot examination found that Mr. Bush would have won the election, by 493 votes if two of the three coders agreed on what was on the ballot; by 389 counting only those ballots on which all three agreed.

There are some scenarios under which Gore might have been declared the victor, but that just goes to show you how close the results were. One could have picked a president by picking a different standard for what did and did not constitute a "vote" - something we still don't agree on today.

The one thing that is certain - everyone who cared about the election results will spin the media consortium's conclusions to suit their own needs. Yes, me too. If you're not taking me with a grain of salt already, you haven't read the label.

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November 10, 2001

The Neglected Stepchild

Some Florida Democrats think minorities are too stupid to vote:

"For whatever reason, minority voters have been shown to have more difficulty voting on the punch-card technology. I don't know why the pattern is that way," Sancho said, adding that now that the state has done away with punch cards, voter education needs to be strengthened. "It's been the neglected stepchild of the election process."
...Democrats and minority leaders learned something. It's important not only to get blacks to the polls but also to help them understand what to expect.

Does that even need translating?

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November 09, 2001

The Few Privileged

When I first read this, I thought, "WTF?!?!?!" Then I thought about it a little more and calmed down. The Justice Department has decided to listen in on calls between those in prison and their attorneys, in order to prevent detainees from using their lawyers to further acts of terrorism. Liberals have assailed this as a violation of constitutional rights and a revocation of the attorney client privilege. The plan is neither, although it is certainly unsavory.

Lesson one: Attorney-client privilege is not a constituional right; it is a rule of evidence excluding those conversations from court. In order to apply, the attorney and the client must have a reasonable expectation that their conversation is confidential. No one can seriously tell me that anyone has a reasonable expectation of privacy on a prison phone. First of all, every other call made from a prison phone is monitored, and lawyers know that. Second, any phone which is in a place where others can hear either end of the conversation - other inmates, guards, etc. - is by its very nature not a private phone. With no reasonable expectation of privacy, no privilege attaches. Even if there were a reasonable expectation of privacy, the attorney-client privilege does not prevent other people from attempting to listen in - it merely prevents anyone from admitting the contents of the conversation into court. So, to those who say that the Justice Department has "revoked" the attorney client privilege, you're flat-out wrong.

Does this new rule implicate the constitutional right to counsel? Only if you think the constitution guarantees you the right to speak to your lawyer on the phone as opposed to in person. As long as one has the opportunity to retain a lawyer (or be represented by a public defender) and confer with them in person from time to time, the right to counsel has been fulfilled.

So... most of what you'll hear from the liberal left is simply hysteria. Sure, it may be a bad political move, but there's nothing illegal or unethical about the new rule.

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The Death Tax Must Die

While sitting in an estate-planning seminar, I recently thought of another reason the death tax should die, and found that others have already reached the same conclusion. The death tax, like many other taxes, discriminates against gay and lesbian couples. Los Angeles tax attorney Afshin Asher puts it succinctly:

The laws generally do not recognize the same rights and privileges for same-sex couples.

Another commentator, Stephen Miller, sees the opportunity for politics to make strange bedfellows, in his article entitled An Economic Agenda for Gay Couples."

How about a gay political movement that tells conservatives they'll have our support for repeal of the "death tax" and for private Social Security accounts, in return for support on some of OUR civil rights issues? Now there's an original idea on building alliances that just might produce tangible benefits in the here and now.

Note to Miller: See Pink Pistols and Log Cabin Republicans for examples of gay activists who have found common ground with traditionally conservative thought and broken the chains of how they are expected to think.

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Economic Recovery?

Is an economic recovery around the corner? Consumer sentiment suddenly shot up at the same time wholesale prices dropped a record 1.6 percent over the last month.

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November 08, 2001

Virginia Elections - 2001

Patrick Ruffini analyzes the Virginia elections. Virginia isn't, even under Warner, Dem country anymore.

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November 07, 2001

Creative Labs Disc Detector

When Creative Labs Disc Detector gets nuked by the newest beta version of WinAmp, follow these steps:

First, you will want to ensure that Disc Detector is enabled. Click the Start button and then Settings, Control Panel. Double click the Disc Detector icon. The box next to Enable Disc Detector should be checked. If it is not, check it and then click Ok.
If this fails to fix the problem, uncheck Enable Disc Detector. Click the Start button and then Find, Files or Folders. If you are running Windows ME or Windows 2000 it will Start, Search, for Files or Folders. In the Named field type MEDIADET.LOG. The Look In field should say (C:), if it does not click the down arrow and select the (C:) drive. Click Find Now or Search Now. Delete the file named Mediadet.log by right clicking on the file name and selecting Delete. Now reopen Disc Detector. Recheck Enable Disc Detector and click Ok.

Worked for me.

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November 06, 2001

I Voted

I voted.

Today in many neighborhoods across the country, schools and churches and civic centers are set up in celebration of America’s great experiment. Even in the wake of national tragedy and even in times of war, Americans have the right to go to the polling place and choose how they want to live their lives and how they want their leaders to act on their behalf. Not everyone exercises that right - today, as the precinct worker instructed me to review my choices prior to pressing the VOTE button - "Ever since last year, we ask everyone to review their choices…" - there were only a handful of people around. But I went, and I voted, because that is the single best way to reaffirm that Americans are different from everyone else, but that we are not that much different from the way we were before September 11. The government of the United States is still run ultimately by the people.

I voted for every Libertarian on the ballot. In these troubled times as Americans struggle to figure out how to best defend ourselves, it is crucial for us to remember that if we fail to defend our liberty first, the rest is ashes and sackcloth - an empty promise no longer worth defending. I sent a message in the best way possible, better than a letter or a phone call, to our elected leaders that if they fail to defend our liberty I will choose to fire them and hire someone who will. I will continue to vote this way until the people we elect actually do act to protect our liberty. Then I will still vote for those who so act, regardless of party affiliation.

I sent a message today, to our enemies and to out leaders, that America is still strong, and that I want to keep it that way.

I voted. Did you?

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November 05, 2001

U.S. v. Emerson

Somehow I missed this: On October 16, the United States Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit) issued a ruling in United States v. Emerson. The court conducted a lengthy analysis of the Second Amendment - the right to keep and bear arms - and whether it enumerates an individual right or a collective right. After analyzing prior court decisions and the text of the Second Amendment itself, they concluded:

... It appears clear that "the people," as used in the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, refers to individual Americans....We turn now to the Second Amendment's preamble: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State." And, we ask ourselves whether this preamble suffices to mandate what would be an otherwise implausible collective rights or sophisticated collective rights interpretation of the amendment. We conclude that it does not.

Sarah Brady, phone your office.

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Bookmark: little green footballs.

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November 03, 2001

Los Angles: Smog King

Officials expect that Los Angles will re-take its rightful title as the smoggiest city in the nation for 2001. Of course, liberals blamed Bush for Houston's problem even though it is clear that Houston's climate and geopgraphy play a significant role in its air quality levels. Do you think the liberals will blame California Governor Gray Davis for the porblems in Los Angeles? Don't hold your breath. More likely, they'll continue to misrepresent the issue, as they did for the Presidential campaign:

In some ways, calling Houston America's smoggiest city misrepresented the relative quality of air in the two cities. Los Angeles' air is worse than Houston's in other categories. But ozone is the primary pollutant of concern and therefore gets more attention, officials said.

Look for a continued liberal smokescreen on air quality in Houston and Los Angeles.

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