Saturday, April 30, 2005

Hispanic Assimilation, The Corporate World, and Illegal Immigration

In this editorial, Ruben Navarrete, a writer I enjoy, notes that regardless of any action or inaction by government, business is catering to the growing U.S. Hispanic population:

Still, some people I know bristle at all the attention being paid to Latino consumers and what they see as an attempt by companies to make special accommodations for what is now America's largest minority. Others worry about anything that might help Latinos put off the assimilation process, and ask why the country's institutions should change to suit Latinos and not the other way around.

That line of thinking hits a dead end on Madison Avenue. Eager to get their chunk of a market that is estimated to reach $1 trillion a year by 2010, the country's most successful companies have no qualms about speaking the language of the Latino consumer.
Navarrette's right, of course; business generally has no sense of morality or right or wrong. The business world is like animals or plants in the natural world: It does what it does because it's designed that way. Cats chase and kill mice and birds; ivy climbs on the wall; weeds grow wherever they can; and business caters to customers it thinks will buy its products. Thus we see Spanish language TV and supermarket here in L.A. catering to Spanish-speaking customers and selling products you'd see in any Mexico City supermarket.

So I think it is both unremarkable and insignificant that American corporations are catering to the Hispanic market. It would remarkable if they did not do so. Such corporate behavior is only a symptom of the problem: An influx of foreign language and culture that is probably unparalleled in world history.

But I think Navarrette's wrong to dismiss so blithely that "
others worry about anything that might help Latinos put off the assimilation process." This is worth worrying about, because in the United States we are seeing something entirely new in immigration patterns.

It's important to recognize, I think, that Demographic shifts have been going on for thousands of years. If you lived in Palestine during Jesus' time, for example, you would probably speak Aramaic in daily conversation. If you were a merchant or were well-educated, you also spoke Greek, because that was the lingua franca of the time. There were no monolithic cultures; Jews were living in the surrounding Roman provinces, and non-Jews living in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Roman culture influenced everything from the arthictecture to the coinage people used to the legal system to the rules of commerce.

In other words, cultures and languages are not static or confined to one region; they move, mix with others, and evolve. Even the USA changed markedly during the massive immigration that occurred during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

What is different now is that the influx of new peoples (Hispanics) and a single language (Spanish) is not only massive, but the pressure for immigrants to assimilate is dramatically reduced. When someone came here from Lithuania in 1890, for example, letters were the only way to communicate with family and others back home. When you left home, you really left.
Now there is free e-mail, cheap telephone service, Spanish-language television and radio, fund transmittals, air travel, and so forth. When a modern-day immigrant to the U.S. leaves home, home is never really very far away.

Despite all this, my personal view is that American culture is powerful and overwhelming for those who come here to stay. I know scores of children of Hispanic immigrants who, as first-generation Americans, speak English first and want to succeed in American society. Mexico or Honduras or Peru are their parents' homes, not theirs..

So our language and our way of life should survive and simply evolve to add more Hispanic elements. Nothing wrong with that; I enjoy Cinco de Mayo parties, pinatas, and Hispanic culture generally. But I sometimes wonder. If anything is going to prove me wrong, it will be uncontrolled illegal immigration. That's why we have to deal with the problem in a way that is hard-headed but not hard-hearted; smart but not xenophobic. It's worth watching the phenomenon carefully.

Meanwhile, those who keep talking about a reconquista should re-think that foolish notion, and those who want to round up ten million people and deport them need to get their heads out of the clouds as well.

Soapbox session over! Much more Hedgehog blogging on this subject here.

Friday, April 29, 2005

A Revised Format for CBS News

Hugh Hewitt, someone who is himself making a difference in the news media, asks how CBS should revamp its news format in order to regain the trust of the audience. Here's what I would do with the CBS news format if I were emperor of the news world:

  • Hire Brit Hume or someone like him as the anchor of the show. John Roberts' entire demeanor eerily reminds me of Dan Rather. Seriously, would CBS hiring Hume not make a huge statement? Of course it's probably impossible because of Hume's contract with Fox, but remember, I'm the emperor of the news world here; impossibility is not an issue.
  • Turn the show into an hour-long program. Why not? Emporers can order such things. Show Fox you're serious about taking them on.
  • Put on a panel, as Hugh suggests, toward the end of the show that is something like Hume's panel on Special Report. Have some solid conservatives on the panel. One-up Fox by having a rotating panel of six members, several of them from remote locations who are not based inside the beltway, or in New York, or Los Angeles.
  • Have regular guest editorials like NPR does, and alternate between lefty and righty commentators. (They must be true adherents to their"side" of the debate; no countering a Harry Reid with a John McCain; and Kevin Phillips should never see any air time.)
Those steps would be fun to see and would make a difference. I might even start watching CBS again.

UPDATE: Other fine ideas for fixing CBS are posted at Hugh Hewitt's site here.

Senator Barbara Boxer

Sons of the Republic posts some interesting new information about Senator Boxer (I still wince when I say or write those two words). Worth reading!

Every now and then I try to convince myself that our junior senator deserves to be taken seriously. Then I find myself recalling that when Ms. Boxer was a member of the House of Representatives, she used her alloted time during the debate on the first Gulf War to read, on the floor of the House, the words to the pop song "From A Distance:"

From a distance, the world looks blue and green
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
and the eagle takes to flight.

From a distance there is harmony
and it echoes through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.

From a distance, we all have enough
And no one is in need.
There are no guns, no bombs, no diseases,
No hungry mouths to feed.

From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They're the songs of every man.

God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.

From a distance, you look like my friend
Even though we are at war.
From a distance I cannot comprehend
What all the fighting is for.

From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land.
It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
It's the heart of every man.

God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.

It was both embarrassing and fascinating to watch at the same time.

More on The Israeli Withdrawal from Gaza Settlements

In this post below I commented on an editorial by Tom Friedman of the New York Times, in which Friedman discusses the Gaza settlement withdrawal. He concluded with this remarkable comment:

[T]his withdrawal is a threat to the Jewish religious nationalists. Their goal
is not peace, but to conquer Israeli society with their messianic vision and
biblical map. They killed Mr. Rabin for getting in their way and have threatened
to do the same to Mr. Sharon. Some of these settlers will not go down quietly.
Well, frequent guest poster and honorary Hedgehog Ralph Kostant has some thoughts about Mr. Friedman's summation:

Tom Friedman has stooped to slander in his attack on the Israeli settlers and their supporters who oppose unilateral disengagement in Gaza. Are there extremists among the settlers and their supporters, who might attempt violence against Prime Minister Sharon? Very possibly, but those extremists number more than a few hundred amongst the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of opponents of Sharon's policy. Indeed, Ariel Sharon himself won his office by expressly opposing the policy of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza advocated by his Labor Party opponent, Amram Mitzna. The leaders of the settler movement, including the rabbis whom Friedman would have us believe are a bunch of Jewish al Qaeda mullahs, have responsibly called for only non-violent civil disobedience in opposing the removal of the Gaza settlements.

Friedman has imported into Israeli politics the same tactics used by abortion rights advocates against the pro-life movement, whom they portray as a league of clinic bombers and doctor murderers. Have there been incidents where abortion clinics have been bombed, and abortionists threatened or even murdered? Tragically, yes. But no one can fairly argue that those crimes are representative of the pro-choice movement as a whole. In short, this is another example of the left-wing McCarthyism.

There is one huge group of religious fanatics involved in the debate over removal of settlements, but that group consists of the supporters of Sharon's policy, not its opponents. They display unquestioning, quasi-religious support of settlement removal, despite the disastrous experience of the Oslo Accords, and all of the evidence that Israel is setting itself up for a repetition of the Oslo fiasco.

In the case of Oslo, like the present situation, opponents of Prime Minister Rabin's policies were portrayed by Rabin's government, the U.S. State Department, and the liberal Jewish elites in Israel and the United States, as enemies of peace and religious fanatics. All of the evidence--and it was unrelenting--that Yassir Arafat and the PLO were only using Oslo as a tactic toward the ultimate goal of the destruction of Israel--was ignored in favor of blind faith that all would come out well if Israel only gave peace a chance.

Arafat would advocate peace in his English speeches, but then call for the end of Israel in his Arabic ones. The Palestinian broadcasting system and the Palestinian school curriculum, established under the auspices of the Oslo Accords, spewed forth anti-Israel provocation, including the crudest, boldest anti-Semitism since the end of World War II put Joseph Goebbels out of business. When opponents of Oslo (including such "religious fanatics" as Natan Sharansky and Benjamin Netanyahu) would point to these phenomena and urge caution, the pro-Oslo fanatics would insist that Israel must make even more concessions to the Palestinian Authority, in order to prop up Arafat and appease the "Arab street."

This attitude only ended after the eruption of the second intifada following Clinton's failed Camp David conference, at which Prime Minister Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian State on upwards of 90% of Gaza and the West Bank and sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Arafat 's response was to flatly reject the offer and insist on the Palestinian Arab right of return, a code phrase for the end of Israel as a Jewish State.

Then the scales fell from the eyes of the Oslo supporters, including even Tom Friedman, who wrote that henceforth he would only give credence to speeches that Arafat made in Arabic.
Perhaps the best epitaph to Oslo was given by the late Faisal Husseini, a member of Arafat's governing council, in a May 2001 interview with an Egyptian newspaper, just before his death from a heart attack. Husseini, who the Israeli Left had always held up a a model of Palestinian moderation, explained that the entire Oslo peace process, from the PLO perspective, had been a "wooden horse" (his words) like that used by the Greek Army to conquer Troy. It was designed to allow the PLO to return from exile and establish a military force inside Gaza and the West Bank. The ultimate and only acceptable objective, he stated, was Palestinian sovereignty from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Interested readers may read this translation of the entire Husseini interview.

Has anything changed? Palestinians are already portraying the Israeli withdrawal as a Palestinian military triumph, proving the efficacy of violent resistance to Israel. The commander of the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli intelligence are warning that the Palestinian militias are smuggling huge quantities of arms, including rockets and mortars, not only into the Gaza, but also into the West Bank. They are predicting that immediately after the proposed withdrawal the Palestinians will renew warfare against Israel. Only this time, the terroists will be launching their rockets and mortars from the heights of the West Bank at the thickly populated urban heartland of Israel, and from northern Gaza at the Israel's strategically critical port facilities and oil terminals in the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon.

And what is the reaction of the Sharon government, the State Department and the liberal Jewish elites in the U.S. and Israel to these warnings? When they do not simply ignore them, they respond that these far-reaching concessions, and even more, are necessary in order to prop up the government of PLA President Mahmoud Abbas and placate the Arab street. Who are the blind religious fanatics?

Note to Cutler: Recent demographic research has indicated that the so-called demographic argument for withdrawal may well be bogus--the population increase among Palestinian Arabs has been greatly overstated and the relative percentages of Jews and Palestinians in Israel, including "occupied" Gaza and the West Bank, has in fact remained constant over the past 15 years.

Ralph Kostant

The End of The Fairness Doctrine: The Liberation of The Conservative Voice

Dan Henninger's Wonder Land column in today's Opinion Journal is an excellent summary of how we got to where we are today with the blogosphere and talk radio. Excerpt:

The conservative media ascendancy chronicled by Brian Anderson [in his new book, "South Park Conservatives" --Ed.] has driven many liberals nuts. The liberal media-advocacy group FAIR wants a new Fairness Doctrine to repair "broadcast abuse." Just months ago, FAIR cited "the immense volume of unanswered conservative opinion heard on the airwaves."

What goes around comes around, I suppose. Conservatives would say they're now using radio, TV and the Web--all of it free from political control--to give as good as they got from the 1960s onward. For years, they claim, liberal managers in broadcasting, journalism, publishing and academia marginalized them. Were conservatives imagining that?
Read the whole thing!

Laura Ingraham Returns

During this morning's "fitness episode" I tuned in KRLA here in Los Angeles and lo and behold, what familiar voice did I hear but Laura Ingraham's? She was calling in to her own show, which is being guest-hosted by Dan Patrick of Houston. Apparently she had been on most of the show's three hours.

She said she is doing well and that her surgeon gave her the good news that the cancer had not spread to her lymph nodes. She starts radiation therapy soon and hopes she does not need chemotherapy because "it will really mess up her highlights." (Laura's sense of humor is obviously unfazed by her health issues.) The surgeon needs to go back in next week to get a little more cancer that was detected in one of her ducts.

Anyway, this is great news. I enjoy Laura's show every weekday. She's kind of like a younger sister who's great to hear from daily. Occasionally she gets a little strident and I need to switch to NPR for 10 minutes, for a break and to remind myself why I listen to Laura and others like her. But she's a great presence on the radio dial and I'm glad she's doing so well.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Illegal Immigration: The Deepening Divide

This appears to be an authentic photo of an-advertising campaign that is irresponsible at best. The photo first appeared on the web site for Americans for Legal Immigration, ALIPAC.

I am posting about the above billboard because it is such a clear manifestation of the short-sightedness that plagues public discussion of illegal immigration in America. Both extremes in the debate seem overly emotional, implacable, and either uninformed or unaware. That's a combination that makes life very difficult for any politician (or blogger!) who attempts to propose a solution that might actually succeed.

The billboard above brings all this to the surface. It reportedly appears somewhere along the 605 Freeway in the greater Los Angeles are here in California. I heard a radio news report about the sign this morning, so I assume the photo is not a hoax.

UPDATE: The billboard is indeed authentic, as this Los Angeles Times story confirms.

The advertisement is for a local Spanish-language TV news program. "Noticias 62" means simply "News 62," and "Tu Ciudad. Tu Equipo" means "Your city. Your Team." As you can see, in the middle of the Los Angeles skyline, the billboard's creators have dropped in the famous Angel of Independence monument from Mexico City, and of course they have crossed out "CA" and replaced it with "Mexico."

How charming. And what a thoughtful, responsible contribution to an important debate!

I recognize that this billboard is very likely a product of the, shall we say, whorish element of the advertising profession. Presumably, some bright-eyed admen and adwomen thought they were coming up with an idea that would provoke lots of discussion and get lots and lots of attention. Well, they certainly have accomplished that. Still, the word "irresponsible" comes to mind to describe this advertisement, no matter what the motivation for it was.

All that aside, I concede that the billboard is somewhat useful, in that it highlights the extreme elements in the often-depressing debate over illegal immigration: The nativists and the immigrationists.

The Nativist Element

On one extreme, the folks at the ALIPAC web site are going ballistic. But what else can we expect? Residents of Southern California see Hispanic immigrants everywhere, Spanish spoken everywhere, and an unfamiliar culture encroaching on their homeland. They see hospital emergency rooms overflowing with people speaking Spanish and pretty much using the hospital as a primary care health clinic; proliferating Hispanic gangs; and growing numbers of semi-literate Hispanic teens who know only conversational Spanish (they can't read it) and have very poor English skills. The schools here in Los Angeles have doomed most of those kids to a life of limited possibilities.

I personally believe we need to deal with the reality of immigration and I've made no secret of my support for the immigration reform principles President Bush has advanced. I also admit that I am perhaps more accepting of Hispanic culture than many, having lived in Central America in my youth and still speaking fluent Spanish. (I am about as "gringo" as they come, ethnically.) Even so, I'm convinced we need to normalize, or get control over, the illegals now here. In other words, we need to know who's here. We also need to control the borders-- not just make token efforts to do so. I've blogged a great deal about all that in the following posts:


Getting into The Country And into The White House

Immigration And The National Interest: Where Should Conservatives Stand?

The Illegal Immigration Debate Continues

The Immigration Debate Rolls On: The Vietnamese-American Community's View

Illegal Immigration: The Issue The GOP Simply Must Get Right

Immigration Addendum: Tamar Jacoby Thoughts

Some Responses to Comments (So Far) on Illegal Immigration

Immigration, Carrots, Sticks, and Fences: Let's Talk Solutions

Just When You Thought The Immigration Debate Here Was Quieting Down for A While

The Minutemen

About Those Minutemen


The problem is, the nativist element doesn't want to hear any of this. They immediately shout "amnesty!" when they hear Bush talk about guest workers. Many in this group also love to refer to illegal immigration as an "invasion," which is where the Minutemen movement comes from. (It is not an invasion, and using that term is about as responsible as the billboard above.) Seemingly, the only "solution" that will satisfy those folks is deporting every illegal now here and sealing the borders. As satisfying as that solution may be to some, it is a very foolish and unrealistic approach.

The Immigrationist Element

This is the group that screams "racism" every time anyone wants to stop illegal immigration and get a handle on those who are here (as the Bush principles advocate). Here's a sampling of what this group adds to the debate:

  • Unceasing calls for bilingual education, despite its proven failure;
  • Bumper stickers that show someone urinating on a "Migra" vehicle (that's the Hispanic nickname for the Immigration and Naturalization Service);
  • Mexican flags everywhere (I don't mind pride in one's origins, but can't we just be Americans?);
  • Ceaseless and careless talk of "La Raza" ("the Race," or the Hispanic ethnicity);
  • Reckless discussions of a "Reconquista," or "re-conquering" of California-- certainly a fine way to win friends and influence people in your new country! This also gives credence to the nativists who warn of an "invasion" (see above).
The GOP's Dilemma

All this makes the world an interesting place for solution-minded Republicans. If you actually propose a serious solution, you find the nativist element of your party on your back. They are emotional, scared, uninformed, and their minds are made up -- a terrible combination. And they are not going away.

But if you do nothing, you hand an issue to the Democrats. Then the fun begins.

Think about it: Unless this logjam is broken, look for Hillary Clinton to have a "triangulated" approach to immigration reform. She'll try to outflank Bush on the right by excoriating him and the Republicans for making little progress. She'll propose a middle-of-the road solution that is not too different from Bush's. She'll try to scoop up centrist voters who are concerned about illegal immigration but are repelled by the right-wing nativists' approach. (And yes, that approach is indeed repellent to the majority of Americans.)

I'm not sure how to find the way out of this briar patch, but I believe the best approach is for someone like President Bush, who is not running for office again, to press his principles, take some heat, and educate the public. He has a good outline for a plan, but it needs the tenacity and steadiness that he has brought to the war on terror. If he can find it in him to lead on this issue, we still have a chance to get past this without tearing the party and all the border states apart.

UPDATE II: More about this subject at PoliPundit and at Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE III: A key paragraph from the L.A. Times story:

Stuart Fischoff, who teaches media psychology at Cal State L.A., said the billboard was like "sticking a finger in your eye" to immigration reformers. "The joke here is, 'We're taking back California,' " Fischoff said. "Underneath the joke is part of the truth."

InstaPundit Excoriates the New York Times

It's an unusually brisk slap-down, and a thorough one at that. Follow all the links here.

It's interesting to see the Times' decline. As recently as 1996, I used to purchase the New York Times regularly because its news pages would give me a pretty straight-up account of what was going on in the presidential election campaign. (The L.A. Times has already gone into the tank for agenda journalism and its news stories could not be trusted.) Now the Grey Lady seems to be every bit the Democrat tip sheet that the L.A. paper has become.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Something for My Catholic Friends

A spiritual variation on Eggs Benedict.

Laura Ingraham

I listen to Laura almost every day on my drive to work, so I am not sure how I missed this news, which was posted on her website:

You know I hate Drama Kings or Queens, but I am asking for your prayers today and for the forseeable future. On Friday afternoon, I learned that I have joined the ever-growing group of American women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As so many breast cancer patients will tell you, it all came as a total shock. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who love me--my family, a wonderful fiance (if he thinks he's going to get out of marrying me because of this little blib, he's sadly mistaken!), my friends, and my church. I am absolutely blown away by how helpful and kind everyone has been--including total strangers who have experienced the same rollercoaster of emotions. The sisterhood of breast cancer survivors is inspiring. I am truly blessed. On Tuesday I will have an operation and within a few days will know more about the future. I am hopeful for a bright future and a "normal" life (well, scratch the "normal" part). Anyway, people have gone through much worse, and I know I'll obliterate this. I am thanking you in advance for your prayers. You are my family. And remember, I'll be back sooner than you think.

Prayers are easy to give. I know she'll get many, and she has mine.

Filibustering on Ideology

Hugh Hewitt tells us what he would say to the Republican Caucus if he were a senator elected in '02 or '04. Let's just say I agree.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Quote of The Day

David Broder in today's Washington Post:

Voters placed Republicans in control of the White House and the Senate, and
while the opposition still has a constitutional role to play, at the end of the
day that function has to be more than talking important matters to death.

Well, one would think so.

What The Senate Republican Policy Committee Is Saying about Judicial Nominations

I just now received this memo by e-mail. It is self-explanatory and is very much "hot off the press:"

Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 10:04 AM
Subject: The Constitutional Option -- RPC Policy Paper April 25, 2005
To: Persons interested in judicial nominations
Fr: Steven J. Duffield, Senate Republican Policy Committee (Jon Kyl, Chairman)
Re: New Policy Paper: The Constitutional Option

The Senate Republican Policy Committee has released a new policy paper, The Constitutional Option: The Senate's Power to Make Procedural Rules by Majority Vote. This paper examines the constitutional and historical basis for the Senate's power to define its practices and procedures, and examines how this constitutional power relates to filibusters of judicial nominations. This policy paper will be distributed to all Republican Senators and made available to them in the Republican Cloakroom.

The paper is attached, and is likewise available at The executive summary is copied below.
Steven J. Duffield
Judiciary Policy Analyst/Counsel
Senate Republican Policy Committee
347 Russell Senate Office Building
202.224.2946 Fax 202.224.1235
Executive Summary

· The filibusters of judicial nominations that arose during the 108th Congress have created an institutional crisis for the Senate.

· Until 2003, Democrats and Republicans had worked together to guarantee that nominations considered on the Senate floor received up-or-down votes.

· The filibustering Senators are trying to create a new Senate precedent — a 60-vote requirement for the confirmation of judges — contrary to the simple-majority standard presumed in the Constitution.

· If the Senate allows these filibusters to continue, it will be acquiescing in Democrats’ unilateral change to Senate practices and procedures.

· The Senate has the power to remedy this situation through the “constitutional option” — the exercise of a Senate majority’s constitutional power to define Senate practices and procedures.

· The Senate has always had, and repeatedly has exercised, this constitutional option. The majority’s authority is grounded in the Constitution, Supreme Court case law, and the Senate’s past practices.

· For example, Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd used the constitutional option in 1977, 1979, 1980, and 1987 to establish precedents that changed Senate procedures during the middle of a Congress.

· An exercise of the constitutional option under the current circumstances would be an act of restoration — a return to the historic and constitutional confirmation standard of simple-majority support for all judicial nominations.

· Employing the constitutional option here would not affect the legislative filibuster because virtually every Senator supports its preservation. In contrast, only a minority of Senators believes in blocking judicial nominations by filibuster.

· The Senate would, therefore, be well within its rights to exercise the constitutional option in order to restore up-or-down votes for judicial nominations on the Senate floor.

Filibusters of Judicial Confirmations: What Are The Stakes?

How do you feel about this prediction from Laura Ingraham, who is very unhappy about GOP squishiness on the judicial confirmation controversy?

The frustration felt by many GOP voters has created a unique,
once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for conservative politicians. For the first time
in decades, we have no clear front-runner for the next GOP nomination. For the
first time since George W. started his presidential campaign in the late 1990s,
there is no clear standard-bearer for conservatives to rally round.

If a senator or governor can seize this moment, and create the
type of bond with conservatives that Bush created during his nomination battle
with McCain, that person could be on his way to the White House. If no one steps
forward, and conservative voters increasingly watch their party kowtow to the
McCains, Hagels, and Chafees of the mushy middle, then those voters will
disengage from this party, meaning that the mainstream press will enjoy covering
the elections of 2006 and 2008 a lot more than they enjoyed the election

I am generally not one to accept predictions of political doom over a single issue, but this time I think Laura has a point. Why? Because there are so many center-right Republicans who parted with money and donated time to support getting rid of Tom Daschle and other Senate Democrats, and who did so for the express purpose of clearing the way for Bush-appointed judges to be confirmed. Now, with a 55-45 majority, the Republicans are waffling and are still being beaten in the public perception war by the Chuck Schumers and Teddy Kennedys of the Senate. This is at best disappointing and at worst infuriating. (I feel both emotions at any given time these days.)

The issue of judicial confirmations is important both viscerally and intellectually.

Viscerally, because we hate seeing the will of the people frustrated twice: first, by judges who consider themselves legislators, and later, by politician who want to prevent judges with a more conservative and less activist philosophy from being confirmed.

Intellectually, because we know the harm that can be done to our legal system and our society if the liberal activist judges continue to get their way.

An example: The Boy Scouts of America (an organization dear to my heart) continues to exist because of a one-vote majority in the U.S. Supreme Court. Boy Scouts of America v. Dale involved an adult whose position as assistant scoutmaster of a New Jersey troop was revoked when the Boy Scouts learned that he is an avowed homosexual and gay rights activist. Four justices of the Supreme Court were willing to hold that there was no Consitutional barrier, under New Jersey’s public accommodations law, to requiring the Boy Scouts to allow Mr. Dale to remain an adult Scout leader. The other five justices, of course, held that to do so would violate the Boy Scouts’ First Amendment right of expressive association.

Regardless of how one feels about the appropriateness of that Supreme Court decision in Dale, it is remarkable to say the least that a cherished American cultural institution like the Scouts could hang by such a thread because of judicial action. Like many Americans, I am very uncomfortable with that state of affairs and so I worked hard to pave the way for President Bush to appoint judges who would not monkey around with such institutions. That's one reason why many others like me and I are so dismayed at the Senate Republicans' apparent softness on this issue.

At this point the best thing we can do is "raise Cain" with our Senators. Here's the contact information for all of them. Also, read confirmthem to stay on top of what is happening.

Today's SoCal Bloggers' Alliance Links on This Subject:

Sheep's Crib has the roundup, in case I've missed anyone.

Holy Coast


UPDATE: Beyond the News has set up very convenient way to e-mail the five wobbly GOP senators on this issue. You can polish off a separate message to all five at once. Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for the lead.


If you're a conservative or neocon or even an open-minded liberal, you really should visit VietPundit often. That blog is so well-written and brings such an interesting perspective to the blogosphere that I consider it a regular must-read. I was looking for a particular post that might be a good sampling of what VietPundit offers, but it's all good. Visit there and scroll around. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

On The "Cheapening" of Marriage

I am an avid InstaPundit reader but disagree with Glenn Reynolds 30% of the time (roughly proportional to the percentage of his posts with a truly libertarian bent on social issues). This morning Glenn just happened to repeat an argument that is increasingly irritating to me. It's not his argument, necessarily, he's just repeating it with apparent approval:

Brian Anderson's South Park Conservatives (which I've now finished) notes that campus conservatives seem to split with middle-aged ones on the question of gay marriage, not least because they've seen so much marital hypocrisy from their parents' generation. As one student observes, heterosexuals have already done plenty to cheapen marriage.
"Heterosexuals have already done plenty to cheapen marriage." Undoubtedly true, but what conclusions do we draw from that? I want to blog more about this later, but for now I'll just observe that simply because we as a society do a poor job of honoring marriage is not an argument that marriage should be further dishonored, or that the concept of marriage should be altered fundamentally. It's the flimsiest of arguments, like saying, "Well, the Washington Monument is really falling apart and we have done a poor job of caring for it. Let's tear it halfway down, paint it blue, and change its shape." Maybe not the best analogy but I'll bet you get my point.

Dennis Prager has written passionately and convincingly about this. I've yet to see anyone (including the InstaPundit) come up with a well-made argument in opposition. Prager's stinging conclusion:

[W]hile most divorces are terribly sad, divorce itself no more undermines the institution of marriage than car crashes undermine the institution of driving. In fact, the vast majority of people who do divorce deeply wish to marry again; painful divorce has not undermined marriage even among those who have divorced.

There may be honest reasons to support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples. The argument that heterosexuals divorce a lot is not one of them. It is, in fact, demagoguery.
As Glenn might say: Indeed.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Krauthammer Gets The Judiciary Controversy Right

At least I think he did-- right here.

If You're A Marine, What A Bad Day Can Be Like In Iraq


Villainous Company posts a fine account of events last week for India Company. Highly recommended.

For civilians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, encounters with some islamofascists can be grim. A dark story is told here.

Another Heroic Marine: Captain Brian Chontosh, USMC


A story about Captain Chontosh originally told by Bob Lonsberry has been making its way around the Internet, mostly by e-mail. This is the official Marine Corps version on which Lonsberry's story is based:

While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone. He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position, enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy. He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack. When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.

Some have claimed this is an urban myth. Not so, says Snopes.

Captain Chontosh won the Navy Cross for his actions. The Navy Cross

was established by an Act of Congress in 1919, is the naval service's second highest award and may be awarded to any person who, while serving with the Navy or Marine Corps, distinguishes himself/herself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. To earn a Navy Cross the act to be commended must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual highly conspicuous among others of equal grade, rate, experience, or position of responsibility.

On 6 May 2004, Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh of Rochester, N.Y., received the Navy Cross "for extraordinary heroism while serving as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 25, 2003."

Just thought you should know.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Senator Stan Laurel (John Kerry) Is at It Again


Blogfather Hugh Hewitt reports that John Kerry decided to attempt public profundity again, this time on the floor of the United States Senate. As nearly as I can tell, Senator Laurel was talking about the judicial filibuster issue, but he seemed to want to wrap up a bunch of lefty grievances together. A sampling:

It is not up to us to tell any one of our colleagues what to believe as a
matter of faith. I can tell you what I do believe though. When you have
got tens of thousands of innocent souls perished in Darfur, when 11 million
children are without health insurance, when our colossal debt subjects our
economic future to the whims of Asian bankers, no one can tell me that faith
demands all of a sudden that you put the Senate into a position where it is
going to pull itself apart over the question of a few judges. No one with those
priorities has a right to use faith to intimidate anyone of us.


After several reads, I think I get it. I can almost hear the Senator's lilting voice intoning those words. I can see in my mind's eye the sincere, resigned look on his face as he sadly shakes his head and holds forth on what those despicable Republicans are up to now. His message, interpreted:

With all the serious problems in the world, how can they force us to spend time on the trivial matter of our absolutely unprecedented routine use of the filibuster to prevent a floor vote on highly-qualified federal appeals court nominees? And besides, the only legitimate use of "faith" in politics is by Democrats, and only when we use religious faith's existence to smear those very judicial nominees, or when we define "religious faith" as something completely relativistic, entirely personal, and essentially meaningless, so that it demands nothing of anyone-- except perhaps support for liberal social policies.

Oops. When you say it like that it doesn't sound very convincing. It really sounds more like . . . well, it sounds like a 9th-grader's impression of Stan Laurel.

UPDATE: Comments from the SoCal Bloggers' Alliance:
Blogotional has a devastating paragraph-by-paragraph critique of Kerry's blather.

Holy Coast has some thoughts about the National Council of Churches and similar organizations.
Okie on the Lam (perhaps the most beautifully-designed site I have seen) has a wonderful and whimsical take.
Sheep's Crib has a Laurel and Hardy take on the Kerry comments. Don't miss this photo! And more here.

Mere Orthodoxy gives tips on taking action.

UPDATE II: From RealClearPolitics:

The first thing Democrats should do is to stop putting on such ridiculous expressions of public piety. If I hear John Kerry or Howard Dean quoting the Bible one more time I swear I'm going to puke. To win votes Democrats don't
have to try and pass themselves off as deeply religious, they just need to
stop being actively hostile toward people who are.


UPDATE III: The Best of The Web Today has further trenchant and smile-producing thoughts on Senator Laurel's bloviations.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Tale of Two Chinook Helicopters in Afghanistan

Hedgehog-approved blog Sons of the Republic has a great post today for those who, like me, appreciate constant reminders of the sacrifices being made by brave Americans and their families so that we at home can sleep peacefully in our beds at night.

Latest Amendments to California Euthanasia Bill

AB 654, California's proposed euthanasia statute (also called the "assisted suicide" or "physician aid-in-dying" law, depending on who is describing it) is moving along through the State Assembly. It was just amended yesterday, and the amendments tell us a lot. Protections are weakened and burdens on institutional health care providers like hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices are reduced. But-- and this is an important "but"-- the changes are only wonkish tweaks that do not change the bill's impact at all. Apparently no serious opposition has been mounted yet. I cannot believe that will continue for long.

The PDF version of the bill is here. The significant changes are:

  1. Removal of the courts from the process. In the prior version either a physician or a court could decide whether a person is capable of making his or her own health care decisions. Now only a physician would have that authority. This is a most interesting development in light of the judicial circus that occurred in the Terri Schiavo case. As a policy matter, one wonders whether resort to the courts should be foreclosed altogether. How confident can we be that leaving that decision to a single physician is in the patient's best interests?
  2. Healthcare facilities are no longer required to designate a qualified representative to witness the patient's request for life-ending medication. This probably something industry lobbyists requested in order to reduce the involvement of their employees in such sensitive and potentially controversial matters. I can't blame them.
  3. Patients requesting life-ending medication must be made aware of alternatives to suicide, such as hospice care.
  4. The patient must self-administer the lethal medication dose.
So the bill proceeds. You'll find more background on AB 654 in my previous post here. I hope the public debate on this bill will begin soon. I cannot imagine that Governor Schwarzenegger will sign this bill, but in any case the public ought to be fully aware of what is going on well before AB 654 is on the governor's desk.

Sharon and The Gaza Settlements: Who Are The Good Guys in This Fight?

I'm on a business trip today so can't blog much. The new Pope is all over the blogosphere and the MSM, so I'll toss out something else just for variety's sake: Thomas Friedman's column today in the New York Times. Friedman's always interesting and I agree with him about half the time. This column, misleadingly entitled "Rooting for The Good Guys in The Middle East," focuses on Ariel Sharon's "360" on the Israeli Gaza settlements, so it is by definition controversial. These paragraphs caught my eye:

The Jewish settler movement in Israel has always been a minority. The
Israeli majority went along with it - as long as there was no price. But now the
price has become inescapable.

"There is something quite stunning when you think about it," the
Israeli political theorist Yaron Ezrahi remarked. "Three Israeli prime
ministers, [Yitzhak] Rabin, [Ehud] Barak and Sharon - all of them army generals,
two from Labor one from Likud - all came to the same conclusion: that the
occupation was unsustainable [from the point of view of] Israel's national
defense." As a result, they all shifted from focusing on "wars of necessity to
focusing on a peace of necessity," Mr. Ezrahi added. Mr. Sharon doesn't want to
explain this about-face publicly, in part, I assume, because it suggests
weakness - that Israel can't keep doing what it has been doing, and knows it.

But this withdrawal is a threat to the Jewish religious nationalists. Their
goal is not peace, but to conquer Israeli society with their messianic vision
and biblical map. They killed Mr. Rabin for getting in their way and have
threatened to do the same to Mr. Sharon. Some of these settlers will not go down

I am no expert on this subject, but Friedman's statements above (including the zinger about "Jewish religious nationalists") are striking to me for their blithe acceptance of certain "articles of faith" of the anti-settlement view. I'd be interested in reader's comments.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - Pope Benedict the 16th

I am not Catholic but recognize the Roman Catholic Church's influence throughout the world, especially the heroic contributions of Pope John Paul II. Now that Cardinal Ratzinger (of Germany!) has been elected pope, it's important for all of us who care about Christian religious values and their impact on mankind to know what the new Pope thinks.

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt, we have the English translation of Cardinal Ratzinger's homily as the cardinals prepared to enter the conclave to elect him. My favorite excerpt:

We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.
Here's the full text:



At this hour of great responsibility, we hear with special consideration what the Lord says to us in his own words. From the three readings I would like to examine just a few passages which concern us directly at this time.

The first reading gives us a prophetic depiction of the person of the Messiah - a depiction which takes all its meaning from the moment Jesus reads the text in the synagogue in Nazareth, when he says: "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing" (Lk 4,21). At the core of the prophetic text we find a word which seems contradictory, at least at first sight. The Messiah, speaking of himself, says that he was sent "To announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God" (Is 61,2). We hear with joy the news of a year of favor: divine mercy puts a limit on evil - the Holy Father told us. Jesus Christ is divine mercy in person: encountering Christ means encountering the mercy of God. Christ's mandate has become our mandate through priestly anointing. We are called to proclaim - not only with our words, but with our lives, and through the valuable signs of the sacraments, the "year of favor from the Lord." But what does the prophet Isaiah mean when he announces the "day of vindication by our God"? In Nazareth, Jesus did not pronounce these words in his reading of the prophet's text - Jesus concluded by announcing the year of favor. Was this, perhaps, the reason for the scandal which took place after his sermon? We do not know. In any case, the Lord gave a genuine commentary on these words by being put to death on the cross. Saint Peter says: "He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross" (1 Pe 2,24). And Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Galatians: "Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, 'Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree,' that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (Gal 3, 13s).

The mercy of Christ is not a cheap grace; it does not presume a trivialization of evil. Christ carries in his body and on his soul all the weight of evil, and all its destructive force. He burns and transforms evil through suffering, in the fire of his suffering love. The day of vindication and the year of favor meet in the paschal mystery, in Christ died and risen. This is the vindication of God: he himself, in the person of the Son, suffers for us. The more we are touched by the mercy of the Lord, the more we draw closer in solidarity with his suffering - and become willing to bear in our flesh "what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ" (Col 1, 24).

In the second reading, the letter to the Ephesians, we see basically three aspects: first, the ministries and charisms in the Church, as gifts of the Lord risen and ascended into heaven. Then there is the maturing of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, as a condition and essence of unity in the body of Christ. Finally, there is the common participation in the growth of the body of Christ - of the transformation of the world into communion with the Lord.

Let us dwell on only two points. The first is the journey towards "the maturity of Christ" as it is said in the Italian text, simplifying it a bit. More precisely, according to the Greek text, we should speak of the "measure of the fullness of Christ," to which we are called to reach in order to be true adults in the faith. We should not remain infants in faith, in a state of minority. And what does it mean to be an infant in faith? Saint Paul answers: it means "tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery" (Eph 4, 14). This description is very relevant today!

How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking... The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14). Having a clear faith, based on the Creed of the Church, is often labeled today as a fundamentalism. Whereas, relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and "swept along by every wind of teaching," looks like the only attitude (acceptable) to today's standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an "Adult" means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth. We must become mature in this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith - only faith - which creates unity and takes form in love. On this theme, Saint Paul offers us some beautiful words - in contrast to the continual ups and downs of those were are like infants, tossed about by the waves: (he says) make truth in love, as the basic formula of Christian existence. In Christ, truth and love coincide. To the extent that we draw near to Christ, in our own life, truth and love merge. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like "a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal" (1 Cor 13,1).

Looking now at the richness of the Gospel reading, I would like to make only two small observations. The Lord addresses to us these wonderful words: "I no longer call you slaves...I have called you friends" (Jn 15,15). So many times we feel like, and it is true, that we are only useless servants. (cf Lk 17,10). And despite this, the Lord calls us friends, he makes us his friends, he gives us his friendship. The Lord defines friendship in a dual way. There are no secrets among friends: Christ tells us all everything he hears from the Father; he gives us his full trust, and with that, also knowledge. He reveals his face and his heart to us. He shows us his tenderness for us, his passionate love that goes to the madness of the cross. He entrusts us, he gives us power to speak in his name: "this is my body...," "I forgive you...." He entrusts us with his body, the Church. He entrusts our weak minds and our weak hands with his truth - the mystery of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the mystery of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son" (Jn 3, 16). He made us his friends - and how do we respond?

The second element with which Jesus defines friendship is the communion of wills. For the Romans "Idem velle - idem nolle," (same desires, same dislikes) was also the definition of friendship. "You are my friends if you do what I command you." (Jn 15, 14). Friendship with Christ coincides with what is said in the third request of the Our Father: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". At the hour in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus transformed our rebellious human will in a will shaped and united to the divine will. He suffered the whole experience of our autonomy - and precisely bringing our will into the hands of God, he have us true freedom: "Not my will, but your will be done." In this communion of wills our redemption takes place: being friends of Jesus to become friends of God. How much more we love Jesus, how much more we know him, how much more our true freedom grows as well as our joy in being redeemed. Thank you, Jesus, for your friendship!

The other element of the Gospel to which I would like to refer is the teaching of Jesus on bearing fruit: "I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain" (Jn 15, 16). It is here that is expressed the dynamic existence of the Christian, the apostle: I chose you to go and bear fruit...." We must be inspired by a holy restlessness: restlessness to bring to everyone the gift of faith, of friendship with Christ. In truth, the love and friendship of God was given to us so that it would also be shared with others. We have received the faith to give it to others - we are priests meant to serve others. And we must bring a fruit that will remain. All people want to leave a mark which lasts. But what remains? Money does not. Buildings do not, nor books. After a certain amount of time, whether long or short, all these things disappear. The only thing which remains forever is the human soul, the human person created by God for eternity. The fruit which remains then is that which we have sowed in human souls - love, knowledge, a gesture capable of touching the heart, words which open the soul to joy in the Lord. Let us then go to the Lord and pray to him, so that he may help us bear fruit which remains. Only in this way will the earth be changed from a valley of tears to a garden of God.

In conclusion, returning again to the letter to the Ephesians, which says with words from Psalm 68 that Christ, ascending into heaven, "gave gifts to men" (Eph 4,8). The victor offers gifts. And these gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Our ministry is a gift of Christ to humankind, to build up his body - the new world. We live out our ministry in this way, as a gift of Christ to humanity! But at this time, above all, we pray with insistence to the Lord, so that after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, he again gives us a pastor according to his own heart, a pastor who guides us to knowledge in Christ, to his love and to true joy. Amen.

Judicial Confirmation Filibusters: Playing by The Rules

I think the essence of the judicial confirmation battle has been lost in all the rhetoric. This is about politics, and governing the Republic, and playing by the rules that make up that Republic. We are, after all, a nation ruled by the law, not by men. Stripped to its bare essentials, the idea of America is that we all have a chance to decide on what the rules will be and how they will be applied. In short, it's called politics.

Too many on both sides of the judicial confirmation filibuster issue are claiming that one side or the other is involved in a dastardly attempt to win by illegitimate means. To hear the Democrats, one would think the Republicans are attempting to corrupt the Constitution and send streams of brownshirts into the streets to terrorize decent citizens. (And no, I am not exaggerating by much. Just read up on Senator Byrd's recent bloviations or Senator Boxer's embarrassing screeches.)

Republicans have been less guilty of overheated rhetoric, but some (Tom DeLay comes to mind) have made it sound like godless Democrat judges are conspiring to ruin the country. (I do think they are ruining the country, but not maliciously.)

We have a way to settle these debates: It's called convincing people through the political process. The different approaches the Democrats and Republicans have taken to that process say a lot about each party. Democrats are hiding behind the filibuster because they know they will lose, and they are resorting to over-the-top, disingenuous rhetoric to justify their cowardice. Republicans simply want a vote on the nominees. (That's because the Republicans know they'll win, but that's politics, folks-- you get enough people to vote for you, and you can accomplish a lot of things!)

In that regard, Mort Kondracke, Executive Editor of Roll Call, has written a terrific piece, which you'll find here. It's the fairest, most realistic analysis of the judicial nomination filibuster issue I have seen yet. (Thanks to ConfirmThem for the link.)

Kondracke notes that while everyone is talking about legislative tricks, "what's amazing about this whole process is that so little attention has been paid to the nominees themselves."

Think about that. How much do you really know about the judges President Bush has nominated? Probably more than the average person, since blog readers tend to follow public affairs closely. But we have not seen much about the judges' individual qualifications, or their supposed sins and shortcomings. The Jonathan Turley op-ed linked below is the only recent summary I have seen in the MSM.

So what's at work here? Kondracke nails the answer:

In the case of Bush's nominees, Democrats have scarcely tried to mount a campaign on the merits. The quick, now-routine resort to the filibuster suggests that Democrats don't think they can muster convincing, substantive arguments that the nominees are extreme.

In other words, rather than try to win the debate out in the open, the Democrats are resorting to procedural maneuvers -- the filibuster-- in order to avoid having a real debate at all. In considering the "nuclear option," the Republicans are responding with a procedural maneuver of their own. Kondracke again:

Technically, the "nuclear option" is parliamentary sleight of hand - substitution of a majority vote on a ruling from the chair to effect a rules change that would normally require a two-thirds vote.

But which is worse: altering Senate rules by parliamentary maneuver, or inducing the Senate (by filibuster) to abandon its constitutional duty to "advise and consent" on presidential nominations?

The filibuster is a Senate tradition, not a constitutional mandate. The Constitution provides that each Congressional chamber should write its own rules. It doesn't say what they should be or how they should be established.

No one is trying to steal or corrupt anything. Both sides are just playing by the procedural rules. Maddening as that process can be, it's what we have to work with.

So why don't we just have a debate on the judges? It would certainly not be uncharted territory for the Democrats. Remember Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991? As Kondracke recalls, "The process wasn't pretty. The nominees were misrepresented as throwbacks to the era of Jim Crow and back-alley abortions. But arguably, character assassination is preferable to systematic vaporizing of Senate procedures."

The Republicans are on the right side of this one. They want the Democrats to put up or shut up. If any of these nominees are so bad they should not be confirmed, then Senator Schumer and his colleagues on the Democrat side of the aisle should be able to shame a few Republicans into voting no-- like they did against Bork in 1987-- and defeat those judges' nominations. That they are unwilling to make that attempt speaks volumes about the true weakness of their position. So if the Senate rules need to be changed to force the Democrats out of hiding, then so be it.

SOCAL BLOGGERS' ALLIANCE UPDATE: Sheep's Crib has all our posts linked here.