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

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Supreme Court Not Bound By Constitution?

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens may be the most dangerous man in America. He announced (again) in a speech in Indianapolis on Monday that he was not bound by the Constitution when he searches for a legal position on matters before the court.
Stevens: Court Should Consider Other Views
By JEANINE IBRAHIM, Associated Press Writer


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Allowing U.S. courts to consider the views of other judges - including international jurists - while making a decision is a responsible practice, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said during a speech Monday.

His comments related to a March decision by the Supreme Court that ruled it unconstitutional to execute juvenile killers, ending a practice in 19 states that has been roundly condemned by many of America's closest allies.

The 5-4 decision threw out the death sentences of 72 murderers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes and barred states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes. (link)

This invites the question: If Justice Stevens feels that he's not bound by the Constitution, can he reasonably expect the citizenry to adhere to it?

Are we a nation of laws or are we at the mercy of a senile old man's Google searches?

Betrayal Is Not a New Thing For Warner

Old Zack over at Sic Semper Tyrannis reminded me of something I'd forgotten (link here).

When judicial nominee character assassination first became the Democrats' modus operandi, Robert Bork was the victim.

And it was none other than Senator John Warner, along with most Democrats, who sank Bork's much-deserved elevation to the Supreme Court.

I guess we have only ourselves to blame for keeping Warner in office all these years.

Rage On The Right

The talk radio airwaves were on fire all day today like I've never heard them. From Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh to Sean Hannity, indignation, scorn, and anger were mixed with calls for retribution non-stop.

This evening bloggers from Powerline to Hugh Hewitt are laying blame at the feet of the Republican gang of seven who betrayed their party and sided with liberal Democrats and their buddies in the mainstream media.

For an excellent compilation and analysis of the events that have transpired over the last day, I refer the reader to Human Events OnLine . Articles posted so far include:

Seven Republicans Abandon GOP on Filibuster Washington Times

Memo of Understanding on Judicial Nominations Human Events

Seven Most Wanted Senate Republicans Human Events
Find out here how you can contact GOP sellouts


Frist Says Compromise Falls Short on Key Principle Human Events
Agreement fails to assure up-or-down votes on all nominees


Reid Proudly Proclaims: Nuke Is Off the Table Human Events
Democrat leader says he offered a similar compromise to Frist


Cornyn: Signatories Must Hold Firm to Agreement Human Events
Nominees should never have been filibustered in the first place

John Warner Is On His Way Out

I just watched Senator John Warner being interviewed on Fox News with regard to the moderate Republican gang of seven, as it is now being called, surrender to the Democrats in the Senate.

I was struck by how tired he seemed, as well as disconnected.

I am now of the belief that he has no intention of running for reelection. That would explain why he ignored all the phone calls and emails from his constituents and sided - again - with the liberal Democrats.

He doesn't care anymore about opinion surveys or about serving those who elected him to high office. He's done.

Uh Oh

I have been waiting for this to occur.
I-77 tunnel to close for tests
From News-Record Staff

BLAND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has scheduled periodic closures for the night of Thursday, June 2, at the Interstate 77 Big Walker Mountain Tunnel, located between Bland and Wytheville. The closures are necessary to perform air-quality testing using new portable ventilation fans. The testing will begin
at 11 p.m. on Thursday, June 2, and extend until approximately 8 a.m. on Friday, June 3.


The tunnel’s southbound lanes will be restricted to one lane during the entire period, with traffic stopped for total closures for 15-minute periods once or twice each hour overnight. The northbound lanes will remain two lanes during most of the testing period; however, testing will require the northbound lanes to be closed for at least one 15-minute period between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. (link)
Let me describe, briefly, the topography of Bland County, Virginia. It is an isolated, sparsely populated, rugged area essentially sandwiched between two large mountains. Going northbound on I-77 out of Wythe County, you enter Bland County by going through Big Walker Tunnel, a passageway that, if memory serves, was carved into Big Walker Mountain, the mountain I live on, back in the 1970's. Continuing northbound, you exit Bland County - and the state of Virginia - in about twenty minutes by driving through East River Mountain Tunnel. They were the final legs of the Interstate 77 project back before civilization came to Bland - in the 70's. Our only way into the world, more or less, is through these two tunnels.

When either tunnel shuts down - as Big Walker did several months ago when a semi caught fire inside - havoc reigns.

These closures are not going to be fun.

I Am Not Reassured

I was on a commercial flight once several years ago that was approaching the Louisville airport. There was a bit of a crosswind and the pilot seemed to be having difficulty getting us down in one piece. We swayed left to right. The plane rolled one way and then the other. We accelerated then eased off the engines, only to accelerate again. My thought was, "This pilot must be a trainee."

The one thought that never went through my mind was that the pilot was blind drunk.
Suspect pilots could still walk, jury told
By Jane Sutton, Reuters

MIAMI (Reuters) - Two former America West pilots charged with operating a plane full of passengers while drunk may have consumed alcohol and smelled of alcohol but they could still walk and see, their lawyers told a jury on Monday.

Pilots Christopher Hughes and Thomas Cloyd were hauled off an Airbus 319 in Miami on July 1, 2002, and charged with operating a plane under the influence of alcohol. (link)
Now I'm not an attorney so don't use my advice when you go to court. But a defense that consists of, "Well, your Honor, they were certainly drunk but they could still see and even walk, though they may not have been able to land a plane full of passengers" is not going to sway a jury.

I think on my next flight I'll take time out to get to know the pilot. And check his/her breath.

Republican 'Moderates' Cave

Democrats may be psychotic but they don't hold a candle to their Republican counterparts in the Senate when it comes to cowardice.

"Moderates" have postponed a filibuster showdown - for now. This news comes from the New York Times.
Bipartisan Agreement in Senate Averts a Showdown on Judges
By
CARL HULSE

WASHINGTON, May 23 - A bipartisan group of 14 senators struck a last-second agreement on Monday that defused - at least for now - a potentially explosive parliamentary showdown over eliminating Senate filibusters against judicial nominees.


Under a compromise reached by an assortment of moderates, mavericks and senior statesmen just as the Senate was headed into a climactic overnight debate on the filibuster, three previously blocked appeals court nominees - Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor and Priscilla R. Owen - will get floor votes. No commitment was made on the fate of two others, William Myers and Henry Saad. (link)
Here's the kicker.

In addition, the seven Democrats in the deal vowed that they would filibuster future judicial nominees only under "extraordinary" circumstances. Their Republican counterparts promised to support no changes in Senate rules that would alter the filibuster rule [my emphasis] , effectively denying the votes it would take to enact such a rules change.
The Democrats give up on three nominees they'd been blocking. In return, Republicans agree "to support no changes in Senate rules that would alter the filibuster rule." So, when another of the blocked nominees comes up for a vote, the Democrats will "determine" that the nominee is "extreme" and will begin their filibuster tactics all over again, while the Republican wienies hide behind the agreement they made to not end filibusters.

And who is the point man for the cowards?
Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who was a chief architect of the deal, said the negotiators had been motivated by a mutual desire to prevent lasting damage to the Senate from a rules change.
Bullshit.

The Republicans had the votes to approve every judicial nominee and the Democrats knew it. The latter give up nothing. The Republicans gave up everything.

So typical.

The Biggest Wienie Of Them All

As I predicted yesterday, Senator John Warner was awakened from his deep sleep and was summoned to the Senate floor to save the Democrats from defeat. He did them a great service.
Efforts of 2 Respected Elders Bring Senate Back From Brink
By
SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

WASHINGTON, May 23 - In the end, it was the language of the Constitution itself and two old bulls of the Senate - Robert C. Byrd and John W. Warner - that averted a grim showdown over federal judicial nominees that had threatened to wreak lasting damage on Capitol Hill.

After weeks of seemingly fruitless negotiations between the two sides, Mr. Byrd, 87, a West Virginia Democrat who has spent more than half a century in Congress, and Mr. Warner, 78, a Virginia Republican who regards himself as an "institutionalist," met privately twice on Thursday. They parsed the language of Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Paper No. 66 in an effort to divine what the founding fathers intended when they gave the Senate the power to advise and consent on nominees. After trading telephone calls over the weekend, they drafted three crucial paragraphs.

The agreement contends that the word "advice" in the paper "speaks to consultation between the Senate and the president with regard to the use of the president's power to make nominations." It goes on to state, "Such a return to the early practices of our government may well serve to reduce the rancor that unfortunately accompanies the advice and consent process in the Senate." (link)
For crying out loud.

Warner still thinks the whole filibuster debate had to do with the proper interpretation of precedential Senate rules. Would someone please inform my aged Senator that the rules were never the issue?

It's the politics, fool.

This tears it. The Virginia Republican party would do well to send Warner into retirement and to find someone - a conservative perhaps? - to run for his Senate seat in 2008. It would be truly ironic if Oliver North stepped up to challenge Warner. After this, he'll get my vote.

But then, in actuality, any warm body has my vote if he/she runs against Warner. What an embarrassment.

Leave It To The Washington Times

The Washington Times was the only major newspaper to get the Republican filibuster surrender right.
7 Republicans Abandon GOP On Filibuster

Seven Senate Republicans bolted from their leaders last night and dropped their support for the "nuclear option" in exchange for seven Democrats' abandoning filibusters against three of President Bush's judicial nominees.

"This is really good news for every American tonight," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said moments after the deal was announced last night on live television. "This is a significant victory."

The seven Republican signers were Sens. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, John McCain of Arizona, John W. Warner of Virginia and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine. (link)
A reader once emailed me to suggest that I not cite Washington Times articles because the paper is owned by Sun Myung Moon and doesn't serve my interests well because of its association with his church.

Articles like this one, accurate and straightforward, is worth citing over and over again.

Atta Boy

Senator John Warner got what he wanted. Favorable mention in the Washington Post.

How humiliating.
The Center Holds

THERE IS NO guarantee that the cease-fire in the judicial nominating wars negotiated by 14 U.S. senators and announced last night will stick. How could there be? But the agreement by seven Republicans and seven Democrats, with Virginia's John W. Warner (R) playing a leading role, nonetheless is a great achievement. It is a demonstration, in an era of increasingly bitter partisanship, of what can still be accomplished through negotiation and the proffer of a modicum of trust across the aisle. Interest groups on both sides railed against compromise and threatened its architects; Senate leaders of both parties and the president did more to obstruct a deal than to facilitate it. The 14 senators nonetheless managed to put principle
above self-protection. (
link)
In an editorial criticizing the President, the Post praises Warner. That about says it all.

And the fact that the Post is enthralled with the Republican surrender speaks volumes as well.

Cain't have none o' that developin' 'round here

Heaven forbid we should contemplate economic development along the New River down in Wythe County. We've kind of gotten used to the abject poverty and substandard way of life you see.

Besides, the editorial staff at the Roanoke Times may want to (go slummin' and) picnic one day down at New River Trail State Park and they certainly don't want to have to rub elbows with those ... RV types.

Here's their editorial this morning.
An alarm bell rings for New River

An RV/campground project planned on its banks signals the need to protect the river before private development changes it forever.

The thought of 85 recreational vehicles parked along the New River at a Yogi Bear Jellystone Park shouldn't just be a preservationist's worst fear.

It should be a recurring nightmare for everyone.

For the sake of the state's multimillion-dollar New River Trail investment, the Department of Conservation and Recreation should discourage the Jellystone project by denying a trail crossing needed for the RV sites. (link)
I like that "It should be a recurring nightmare for everyone" line. Campers peeing in the New River! RV owners fornicating in the bushes! Children in dirty diapers unattended! Beer flowing freely! The pungent aroma of marijuana wafting through the forest! My God, they'll probably be playing their NASCAR races on the radio! And there'll be Christians among 'em! Not to mention the Bush/Cheney bumper stickers!

No. The Times editors prefer the abandoned farms, stripped vehicles, mounds of trash, and poorly clad, dirt-poor, uneducated Wythe Countians who rent hovels along the New River to be there whenever said editors drive by on their way down I-81 to West Boca on vacation.

In other words, the editorial staff at the Roanoke Times wants the banks of the New River to resemble present-day Roanoke.

I just wish they would huddle with their lord and savior, Congressman Rick Boucher, and come up with a unified message. It is Boucher, for those of you who don't know it, who has decided that tourism is going to save Southwest Virginia. And it will be tourists in them thar RV's, folks. My suspicion all along has been that Boucher and his ilk actually want to target hikers and horse trail riders, Vanity Fair photographers and wine sipping Manhattanites to the area. The elite. The upper crust.

Not them damn campers at Jellystone Park.

As far as I'm concerned, if developers could line the banks of the New River with luxury condos and a couple of Wal-Marts, we in the area would all benefit. Yeah, we'd have to put up with the riffraff; the ragtag and bobtail. And NASCAR.

But, just as you won't find abandoned farmhouses or stripped vehicles in West Boca, perhaps, if everything goes well, you'll no longer find them along the New River either.

Then perhaps, and only then, will the editorial page staff at the Roanoke Times venture out of their BMW's and mingle with us local folk.

I can't wait.

Growing Antarctica Means Globe Is Warming?

Scientists are starting to make my brain hurt. We've all read about the receding glaciers, melting, so these doorknobs ask us to believe, as a result of global warming.

You'd think, when data comes in that Antarctica ice is actually increasing in size, that they'd reverse their predictions and give up on the whole global warming hysteria.

But no. An ever growing Antarctica is the result of global warming too.

Antarctica ice cap growing, another sign of warming
Los Angeles Times


As glaciers from Greenland to Kilimanjaro recede at record rates, the central ice cap of Antarctica has steadily grown for the past 11 years, partially offsetting rising seas due to the melt waters of global warming, researchers said Thursday.

The vast East Antarctic Ice Sheet — a 2-mile-thick wasteland of ice larger than Australia, drier than the Sahara and as cold as a Martian spring — increased in mass every year between 1992 and 2003 because of additional annual snowfall, an analysis of satellite radar measurements showed.

"It is an effect that has been predicted as a likely result of climate change," said David Vaughan, an independent expert on the ice sheets at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England. (link)
Did you get that? "Uh, we knew it was going to happen all along."

Please.