People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hmmmm ...

James Taranto, writing for the Wall Street Journal, offers this blurb that makes you stop and think.
Dept. of Redundancy Dept.

The clash between the 100-mile-long iceberg and the 40-mile-long glacier near McMurdo station on the North Antarctic coast was first predicted by scientists in late December."--Associated Press, April 20 (link)
Think about it.

This Just In

Headline in this morning's Washington Post:
Economy Emerges as 2006 Issue
No kidding? Thanks for the heads-up. Here I thought, by 2006, nobody would care.

More Breaking News

Headline on the MSN homepage:
Seeing red? Study finds flaws with traffic lights.
The researchers could have come to me to learn this bit of news. I recognized the flaw long ago. Most traffic lights only have green, yellow, and red lights. What they need are green, yellow, really yellow, you'd-better-stomp-on-it yellow, you'd-better-hope-the-cops-aren't-watching-yellow, you're-going-stright-to-hell-yellow, and red.

I could have saved the researchers a lot of money, time, and effort.

You Might Be a Redneck If ...

I received one of those tear-off-the-date calendars for Christmas. It offered a "quote-of-the-day" from none other than Jeff Foxworthy, down-home comedian extraordinaire.

Today's quote reads:

Thursday 21 April
You might be a redneck if ...
You bum cigarettes from your preacher.

They say that, in order for humor to be effective, it has to be grounded in truth. In this case, there is a whole lot of truth. Believe me, Reynolds Tobacco and Philip Morris are doing just fine in these parts.

Returning To The Broken Record ...

I lit into the Republican party two days ago for coming across like they're all cowards. Which they probably are. Today, the New York Post slaps them around as well, but gives them the benefit of the doubt and simply accuses them of being duped. And rather stupid.

The White House was scrambling yesterday to get the nomination of U.N. Ambassador-designate John Bolton back on track after Ohio Republican Sen. George Voinovich got snookered by his Democratic colleagues' underhanded "delay and terrorize" tactics.

Voinovich, who hadn't bothered to attend any of the Foreign Relations Committee's previous confirmation hearings [my emphasis], apparently was rattled by the demagogic harangues by the likes of Sens. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) — to the point where he declared he suddenly wasn't prepared to vote on Bolton's nomination.

"I've heard enough today that I don't feel comfortable about voting for Mr. Bolton," said Voinovich.

Enough from the Democrats, that is.

As a result, the committee vote was put off for three weeks — which is precisely what the Democrats have been looking for since the nomination was announced. (link)
I may have been a bit hard on Voinovich the other day. I thought he had given in to the Democrats because he had lost his nerve. In fact, he may simply have been asleep throughout the proceedings. To which, the Post has some advice.
As for George Voinovich, he might consider showing up to a critical hearing once in a while before publicly demonstrating his extreme gullibility.

Gullibility. Stupidity. It's all so relative ...

The Judiciary ...Again

The law is in place to protect the most vulnerable amongst us...
The law is in place to protect the most vulnerable amongst us...
The law is in place to protect the most vulnerable amongst us.

Bill O'Reilly offers the most telling example I've ever read of a broken system in great need of repair - or destruction.
[On Tueday morning], Judge Walter Heinrich told the confessed killer of 13-year-old Sarah Lunde he would be denied bail. But last month, Heinrich released convicted sex offender David Lee Onstott on cash bond of just $100 after he violated state law by failing to register as a sex offender. So Onstott, who was convicted of brutally raping a woman, was walking around unsupervised before he strangled Sarah.

Heinrich has done this before. In June, 2003, 40-year old Mark Pickens stood before him, charged with rape and battery against a law enforcement officer. Big time accusations, right? Judge Heinrich allowed the guy's mother to post cash bond of less than $2,000 and Pickens walked out. --The cops were furious. Six months later, he raped a 39-year-old Tampa mother of two.

But did Judge Heinrich learn from that? Apparently not. (link)

In the Terri Schiavo case, where a mentally impaired woman was starved to death by court order, all the appeals courts, right up to the United States Supreme Court, deferred to one weak-minded judge - again in Florida - who was hell-bent on killing her in the most gruesome manner imaginable.

Here, a judge seemingly doesn't have any comprehension of the consequences of his actions, an attribute that you'd think would be a prerequisite for the profession. But apparently not.

Instead of standing in defense of the weakest of our citizenry, the judicial system in this country is structured to protect its lowest common denominator; awful judges making terrible decisions. To sustain and even exalt the likes of Judge George Greer and Judge Walter Heinrich. And, despite the certain contempt this closing of ranks engenders, the judiciary continues to demand respect. And fealty.

What these judges deserve is scorn. Denunciation. Unemployment.

Where It All Began

I just touched on one of the many problems with our judicial system. David Brooks, writing for the New York Times, outlines the origins of those problems, and effectively highlights how a few judges have - in effect - poisoned the entire system of governance in this country.
Roe's Birth, and Death

Justice Harry Blackmun did more inadvertent damage to our democracy than any other 20th-century American. When he and his Supreme Court colleagues issued the Roe v. Wade decision, they set off a cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness that has poisoned public life ever since, and now threatens to destroy the Senate as we know it.

When Blackmun wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that's always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn't have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.

Instead, Blackmun and his concurring colleagues invented a right to abortion, and imposed a solution more extreme than the policies of just about any other comparable nation.

Religious conservatives became alienated from their own government, feeling that their democratic rights had been usurped by robed elitists. Liberals lost touch with working-class Americans because they never had to have a conversation about values with those voters; they could just rely on the courts to impose their views. The parties polarized as they each became dominated by absolutist activists. (link)
Brooks concludes with this:
The fact is, the entire country is trapped. Harry Blackmun and his colleagues suppressed that democratic abortion debate the nation needs to have. The poisons have been building ever since. You can complain about the incivility of politics, but you can't stop the escalation of conflict in the middle. You have to kill it at the root. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, politics will never get better.
It's not going to happen and it won't.

The Grand Illusion

I mentioned earlier how the judiciary works to protect its own. And takes offense if we criticize any one associated with it. Ted Olson, former Solicitor General, exemplifies the arrogance and condescension that our judicial system exudes in a letter published in the Wall Street Journal this morning.

Lay Off Our Judiciary

A prominent member of the Senate leadership recently described a Supreme Court justice as "a disgrace." An equally prominent member of the leadership of the House of Representatives on the other side of the political aisle has characterized another justice's approach to adjudication as "incredibly outrageous." These excoriations follow other examples of personalized attacks on members of the judiciary by senior political figures.

Every day, thousands and thousands of judges -- jurists whose names we never hear, from our highest court to our most local tribunal -- resolve controversies, render justice, and help keep the peace by providing a safe, reliable, efficient and honest dispute resolution process. The pay is modest, the work is frequently quite challenging, and the outcome often controversial. For every winner in these cases, there is a loser. Many disputes are close calls, and the judge's decision is bound to be unpopular with someone.

But in this country we accept the decisions of judges, even when we disagree on the merits, because the process itself is vastly more important than any individual decision. Our courts are essential to an orderly, lawful society. And a robust and productive economy depends upon a consistent, predictable, evenhanded, and respected rule of law. That requires respected judges. Americans understand that no system is perfect and no judge immune from error, but also that our society would crumble if we did not respect the judicial process and the judges who make it work [my emphasis].

We expect dignity, wisdom, decency, civility, integrity and restraint from our judges. It is time to exercise those same characteristics in our dealings with, and commentary on, those same judges -- from their appointment and confirmation, to their decision-making once they take office. (link)

If you truly expected "dignity, wisdom, decency, civility, integrity and restraint" from your judges, they wouldn't be viewed with such disrespect today, Ted.

What you really expect is ... respect, because we both know you have a really good gig going here and you don't want the electorate messing with it.

I was taught long ago that respect is something that is earned, not decreed.

And you ain't earned it, pal.