Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Regarding Deep Throat

One of Richard Nixon's biographers doesn't believe the "Deep Throat" mystery is over, but Ben Bradlee, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward are confirming it.

Bradlee, Bernstein's and Woodward's top editor, said Tuesday that he didn't learn Deep Throat's name until after Nixon resigned. In 1972, neither Bernstein nor Woodward had celebrated their 30th birthdays. At the time, neither was particularly experienced. Given the importance of the story, shouldn't their editor have checked their sources?

Writing in her autobiography, the late Post publisher Katherine Graham wrote (page 471, March 1998 paperback edition) of the Post's Watergate coverage:
From the outset, the editors had resolved to handle the story with more than the usual scrupulous attention to fairness and detail.
Yet, even by this standard, young reporters were not required to reveal the name of a key source to an editor? (Graham writes in her 1997 autobiography that she still did not know Deep Throat's identity.)

In what to me is another curious passage, Graham writes (page 483) that on January 15, 1973 she asked Woodward to tell her Deep Throat's identity:
It was also at this lunch that Woodward told me he had told no one the identity of Deep Throat. "Tell me," I said quickly, and then, as he froze, I laughed, touched his arm, and said that I was only kidding -- I didn't want to carry that burden around.
In her situation, wasn't "that burden" her responsibility? What if 29-year-old Woodward had been an early Stephen Glass? And while Graham then relates that Woodward did tell her he would give her Deep Throat's name if she pressed, he also, she said, "was praying I wouldn't press him." Why?

It strikes me as curious that the Post's top leadership believed they should trust young reporters while the young reporters were not required to trust their top editor and publisher.

Is the Post run this way today?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:27 PM

Monday, May 30, 2005

Jeff Jarvis Profiled

In a Washington Post profile by Howard Kurtz today, blogger Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine shares his proudest moment.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:23 PM

Sunday, May 29, 2005

EU Grounds Flying Fortress

Speaking of the EU, here's another reason not to like it:
A World War II Flying Fortress cannot make a flypast at a tribute for America's war dead [May 30] because of barmy EU insurance rules.

Sally B, Britain's last flying B-17, was due to take part in the Memorial Day event at the American military cemetery at Madingley near Cambridge.

Thousands of American airmen laid to rest in the cemetery's graves once flew in B-17 bombers and of the 45,000 US air crew who lost their lives over Europe in WWII most took off from British bases.

But thanks to Brussels, much-loved Sally B, is now in the same insurance category as a passenger jet.

This month the new aircraft insurance rules sent her annual premium soaring 50 per cent by an unaffordable £25,000 and she has been grounded ever since.

Sally B, which is operated by a charity and based at the Imperial War Museum's aviation collection at Duxford, has already been forced to miss Victory in Europe commemorations in Southampton.

It costs £300,000 to keep her airborne each year and she is paid an 'appearance fee' for flypasts.

If she does not fly again soon, her operators fear they will have no choice but to sell her to American collectors.

Their spokesman Sean Maffett said that Sally B had flown on Memorial Day for the last 30 years. He said it was "ironic" that she had now been grounded by Brussels bureaucrats.

He said: "It is quite extraordinary and ironic that this year because of European bureaucracy, which would not even exist but for the B-17, Sally B will not be flying.

"Even when Sally B is on training flights from Duxford, she tries to fly over the cemetery at least once because it means so much to anyone there to look up and see her...
Read the entire article, from Britain's Life Style Extra, here.

A tip of the hat to Dr. Eamonn Butler of Britain's Adam Smith Institute for alerting me to this story in a blog post he wrote on the excellent Adam Smith Institute Blog. Butler's post on the Flying Fortress is accessible here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:15 PM

If I Were French I Wouldn't Ratify It Either

From an essay by Timothy Garton Ash in the May 30 Guardian:
For the French to say no to Europe is like the English saying no to beef or the Russians saying no to vodka. Or perhaps like the heart saying no to the body. Yesterday the French did not just say no to a particular, cumbersome constitutional treaty, despite the fact that its main architect was a Frenchman. They said no to what the EU has become since the fall of the Berlin Wall. No to a much-enlarged EU where France is no longer in the driving seat. No to the prospect of Turkish membership. No to Anglo-Saxon-style economic reform: deregulation, free-market liberalism, Thatcherism imported via Brussels. And, of course, no to lupine Jacques Chirac, and the Parisian governments and elites they feel have failed them...
If I were French, I wouldn't have ratified it either -- though not to avoid "Thatcherism." Thatcherism works, but the EU is doomed to failure.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:34 PM

Eddie Albert: War Hero

In a post on the Chicago Boyz blog, James Rummel told me something I didn't know about actor Eddie Albert, who died May 26.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:30 PM

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Heritage Policy Blog: Social Security Options

The Heritage Policy Blog has an interesting post on Social Security:
The Hill reports that Clinton-era Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin met with House Democrats yesterday to advise them on the Social Security debate.

His advice was simple, reports the Hill:
Putting out a Democrat plan on Social Security would be a horrible mistake because right now it's the president's principles against our principles, Rubin said, according to a Democratic leadership aide. The aide added that Rubin told his party colleagues that it would be hard to win a battle of specifics.
Telling, isn't it?

And the message that his audience took was a bit strange:
Another leadership aide said, "From a political standpoint, he said, hold firm because you have a difference in principles; their principle is a privatization plan, ours is not to add to the deficit, and there's not a whole lot of room for compromise."
Not adding to the deficit is an admirable principle. Carried out fully, it would mean cutting benefits around 2017, when the Social Security trust fund bonds begin to come due. Alternatively, it could mean raising taxes then or slashing other spending...
Read the rest of the Heritage Policy Blog post here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:22 PM

First Amendment's True Guardians

Via the always thought-provoking Tapscott's Copy Desk, I learned that several of my favorite bloggers have started a new group blog dedicated to "highlighting bias, rumor and falsehoods that have been creeping into military coverage under the guise of objective news."

I liked the sentiment in this sentence in the new website's "Purpose" post:
As much as journalists feel that they are the guardians of the First Amendment, its true protectors are standing watch in Iraq, Afghanistan and places no one will ever hear about.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:26 AM

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Conservative Comics

Michael King highlights a cultural first.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:41 AM

Chris Matthews v. Nan Aron

Barbara Ledeen of the Senate Republican Conference is circulating a transcript of a Chris Matthews/MSNBC interview with Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice. The Alliance for Justice is a leading organization working with Senators opposing the confirmation of "extremist" judicial nominees.

In this interview, Aron defines "extremist" -- and manages to make liberal Chris Matthews, by contrast, look like a conservative.

The following is an excerpt of the interview, with some of the parts I found most noteworthy in bold. I've provided a link to entire interview at the beginning and end of the excerpt for those who wish to read it in full context.
MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews Transcript
May 24, 2005

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about -- do you believe -- let me just go to what I think might be just sort of a paradigm here. If the president were so nominate Associate Justice Antonin Scalia for chief justice, then bring in his attorney general in, who has already passed the Senate muster, for associate justice, would that be an extraordinary nomination?

ARON: Based what we've read of his record or Alberto Gonzales' record, I think that there would be extraordinary circumstances. And I certainly think the Senate would filibuster.


MATTHEWS: So, you would ask for a veto? You would ask for a filibuster against that?

ARON: We certainly would.

MATTHEWS: Against Scalia?

ARON: We certainly would. Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: Scalia was approved by 98-0 to be put on the court. And he served all these years. Why would all of sudden become an extraordinarily bad proposal?

ARON: He has a record on the Supreme Court of extremist, of holding -- upholding laws that hurt people, of denying ordinary Americans their rights and protections. I think, if he's elevated to chief, I think that there would be an outcry, an outcry.

MATTHEWS: OK. He`s extraordinary?

ARON: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: How about Clarence Thomas? Is he extraordinary?

ARON: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I think he's someone on the Supreme Court that doesn't even believe in...


MATTHEWS: So you would filibuster -- is there anyone you can think of who might be picked by the president for the Supreme Court if there's an opening this summer who doesn't fit your definition of extraordinarily bad and therefore requiring...

ARON: Sure. I think if -- if -- if President Bush were to elevate Sandra Day O`Connor, that that nomination wouldn't constitute extraordinary circumstances. And I think she would probably be confirmed.

MATTHEWS: Or Kennedy? Or Anthony Kennedy?

ARON: I don't think Kennedy is even is within the running.

MATTHEWS: Why not?

ARON: But I think if -- in fact, if he were selected, that he, too, just like Sandra Day O'Connor, might be confirmed.

MATTHEWS: And, if it's Souter, you would put bells on your feet, right?


ARON: Well, yes.

MATTHEWS: I don't think that's likely.

ARON: But I don't think it'll happen.

MATTHEWS: So, in other words, you -- I`m trying to define what this means.

Well, let me ask you this. You've got seven Democrats there who all come from pretty moderate states. I noticed. I was going down the list of Ben Nelson, Nebraska, hardly a left-wing hangout. You've got Lieberman from Connecticut, which could be somewhat liberal on this issue of abortion rights. You have got Pryor from Arkansas, Byrd from West Virginia. You`ve got Landrieu from Louisiana. You've got Salazar from Colorado, Inouye from Hawaii.

Hawaii and Connecticut are the only really liberal states represented by these deal-makers. Does that concern you, that the Democrats have found a way to avoid dealing with the abortion rights people, have people deal who don't represent the liberal states?

ARON: No, because I think a nominee will be examined based on his or her entire record. And I think, at the end of the day, if that record is one of extremism, if this candidate...

MATTHEWS: On abortion

ARON: ... is against individuals rights...

MATTHEWS: What -- what -- what -- how do you define extremism?

ARON: Well, if there's a nominee who is tapped for the seat who opposed to Roe vs. Wade, that would constitute...

MATTHEWS: That's an extremist?

ARON: Absolutely.

MATTHEWS: But a person who is for Roe v. Wade is not an extremist?

ARON: No, because Roe vs. Wade is great, a landmark precedent, just like Brown vs. Board of Education.

MATTHEWS: But there are three members of the Supreme Court right now who would vote against Roe v. Wade if it was an open question? Are they extremists?

ARON: On that issue, they certainly are. But abortion isn't...

MATTHEWS: Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist are extremists?

ARON: Absolutely. Absolutely. And if Thomas or Scalia were to be elevated to the chief justice position, we at the Alliance For Justice and other organizations around the country...


MATTHEWS: Let me get some legal history here. Roe v. Wade came in, in '73, right?

GRAY: That's correct.

MATTHEWS: So, we didn`t have it before then.

GRAY: Right.

MATTHEWS: So, everybody who was on the Supreme Court before '73 was an extremist, by this definition, because they weren't Roe v. Wade? They didn't believe a woman had an inherent right to an abortion.

GRAY: That's correct.

MATTHEWS: You say that's true?




MATTHEWS: Well, what do you mean by extremist?

ARON: You've got a completely different court today than you did in 1973.

MATTHEWS: No, I'm asking a question. You're saying that, until 1973, the United States Supreme Court was inhabited by extremists, because they didn't support the woman's right to choice. They didn't find in the Constitution this inherent right to privacy, this penumbra of privacy which allows for a woman to make that choice.

ARON: We are looking...

MATTHEWS: They were extremists, therefore?

ARON: We're looking for individuals who are respectful of people's individual rights and liberties.

MATTHEWS: ... respectful. I'm asking about constitutional questions here.
The transcript continues. You can read it all here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:09 AM

Future Malpractice Alert

Via Overlawyered and Kevin, M.D., we learn of medical residents with learning disabilities who have filed lawsuits, demanding that the medical profession accomodate their disability.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:00 AM

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Meanwhile, Iranian Mullahs Continue Pro-U.S. Lovefest

CNN headline: "Syria Halts Cooperation with U.S."

How could anyone tell?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:30 PM

Nice Stem Cell Bias, Voice of America

This Voice of America (?) report is headlined "U.S. Lawmakers Hand President Bush Defeat on Stem Cell Research."

It begins:
In a challenge to President Bush, the House of Representatives has approved legislation by a vote 238 to 194 to expand federal government funding for research using embryonic stem cells. House action came just days after a new advance in stem cell research in South Korea, which many lawmakers say underscores the need to intensify stem cell research in the United States...
President Bush has pledged to veto this particular stem cell legislation. Therefore, assuming this stem cell bill makes it to the President's desk, it won't become law unless Bush's veto is overridden. That takes a two-thirds vote. So far, proponents have only 55 percent of the House votes cast.

So Bush won.

To be fair, in paragraph 14, some distance below the headline, the article does mention that proponents failed to achieve a veto-proof majority.

The article also gives arguments in favor of the bill higher placement in the text, including the lead paragraph and paragraph three. Reasons for opposition to the legislation do not appear until paragraph four. Overall, sentences favoring the legislation accounted for 310 words; opposing it, 256.

The article also struck an unintentional lighter note by referring to Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney as "he."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:47 PM

Monday, May 23, 2005

Great Moments in Minority Rule

Underlying the fondness for the judicial filibuster is the scantily-disguised philosophy that the minority knows better than the majority.

Husband David has considered this philosophy, and found it wanting:
To hear Senate Democrats talk, you'd think that only majorities are capable of tyranny. That seems to be the general thrust of their argument for maintaining the judicial filibuster.

But history is littered with examples of tyranny by the minority -- examples that prove tyranny is no picnic, regardless of who the tyrant may be.

Here are just a few of the most spectacular examples:

South Africa: Under the apartheid regime, non-whites were barred from voting in general elections; they were required to carry identification cards wherever they went; they were told where they could live and where they could travel; they were prevented from using certain public amenities; and they were routinely abused by the white-run police force -- despite the fact that they accounted for more than three-quarters of the nation's population.

Iraq: After seizing power twice through military coups -- once in 1963 and again in 1968 -- Iraq's minority-run Ba'athist party ruled Iraq with an iron fist until deposed by the U.S. military two years ago. In 1988, for example, Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime used nerve agents to kill an estimated 100,000 Kurds. The Ba'athist Party is made up principally of Sunnis, who currently make up about one-fifth of Iraq's population.

U.S.: To stop the Civil Rights Act of 1964 from becoming the law of the land, Southern Democrats filibustered it for 57 hours before a sufficient number of votes were lined up to invoke cloture.

Burundi: Burundi's Tutsi-run government exterminated as many as 200,000 Hutus. Tutsis are an ethnic minority making up only about a sixth of Burundi's population, while Hutus are the ethnic majority making up more than 80% of the population.
There's no automatic virtue in minority rule.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:47 PM

Nice Bias, AP

From the lead paragraph of an AP op-ed news story:
WASHINGTON May 23, 2005 - In a dramatic reach across party lines, Senate centrists agreed Monday night on a compromise that clears the way for confirmation of many of President Bush's stalled judicial nominees, leaves others in limbo and preserves venerable filibuster rules.
From the American Heritage Dictionary via, "venerable" is defined as:
1. Commanding respect by virtue of age, dignity, character, or position.

2. Worthy of reverence, especially by religious or historical association: venerable relics.
Thanks, AP, for telling us what to think about the filibuster rule, but we're smart enough to think for ourselves.

Addendum: P.S. to anyone not certain the AP's lead paragraph, above, is biased: Does the following paragraph seem biased?
WASHINGTON May 23, 2005 - In a dramatic reach across party lines, Senate centrists agreed Monday night on a compromise that clears the way for confirmation of many of President Bush's venerable judicial nominees, leaves others in limbo and preserves filibuster rules.
Bias-wise, what's the difference between the two paragraphs? Answer: No difference -- except the AP would never print the second one.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:13 PM

Cliff Kincaid: Abolish Public TV and Radio

Cliff Kincaid says:
In a front-page story on May 2, the New York Times accused the new Republican chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of "aggressively pressing public television to correct what he and other conservatives consider liberal bias..." That was in the first paragraph. If you got to the 22nd paragraph, continued back on page 19, you found that the CPB chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson, was insisting that the programs it supports and funds adhere to the federal law requiring objectivity and balance. That law was passed back in 1967 and has been flaunted by public TV and radio ever since...
He also says:
What's needed is a congressional effort to de-fund public broadcasting. In a 500-channel universe, public broadcasting should survive on its own -- if it can.
I agree.

Read it all here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:48 PM

Catherine Crier: Filibuster Fight is About Creating a Theocracy

Catherine Crier seems to believe that the battle over the "nuclear option" is actually a fight over whether the U.S. becomes a theocracy:
The Senate filibuster fight between Republicans and Democrats is not over the majority's attempt to put more conservative judges on the bench. Contrary to their mantra -- that liberal 'activist' judges have taken over the courts -- the nation has had a majority of Republican appointees on the federal bench and Supreme Court for generations. No, this is a fight over a very specific judicial ideology that the far right wing of the Republican Party wants ensconced in our courts...

The real fight is not over the lower courts in the federal system, but instead, the ultimate prize -- the highest court in the land. There is no question that President Bush will have the opportunity to appoint several justices to that Court during his second term. He has made his ideological preferences clear. Conservative justices aren't enough. He wants jurists of a particular persuasion. They must satisfy the requirements of fundamentalist Christians, with a willingness to roll back the clock to a time where children prayed to Jesus in public school, gays were back in the closet and women were forced into back alleys.

Those with different religious beliefs, (forget those with none at all), are dismissed entirely. Those who assert they are moral without believing in the Scriptures, verbatim, go straight to Hell.

If we want a Theocracy in this country, then ignore the assault on our nation's judges. If you believe in the Republic that our Founding Fathers bequeathed, then prepare to battle for the one remaining branch of the government that has not yet been co-opted -- the federal Judiciary.
I read her post four times in an effort to be sure she really means this. It seems too extreme to be her real view, so I urge my readers here to read the whole thing for yourself to judge for yourself if I am accurately describing her views in this piece.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:34 AM

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Strengthen The Good: Tom Family Education Trust

This month's Strengthen The Good charity is the Tom Family Education Trust.

Please take a minute and read about this single Mom of 13 children, 11 of whom she adopted, many with handicaps or a serious disease.

The Tom Family Education Trust has been set up to help these children pay their college expenses. Please donate if you can (we did), but, even if you can't, please read their inspiring story.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:35 PM

Saturday, May 21, 2005


From William F. Buckley on the "nuclear option": "Really, you would think the Republicans had proposed to topple the Statue of Liberty."

Would the left mind that?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:33 PM

Friday, May 20, 2005

Former Senators on the Filibuster

Five former Senators have sent a letter to Senate leaders Frist and Reid on judicial nominations:
May 20, 2005

Senator Bill Frist, M.D.
Majority Leader
S-230, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Harry Reid
Democratic Leader
S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Frist and Senator Reid:

For 214 years, the United States Senate has been referred to as the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body." Since before any of us served in this hallowed chamber, it was a bastion of civility, dignity, honor and respect.

And though we may have disagreed on public policy, members always recognized that the Senate must preserve its bipartisan pedigree. That is why it is so disturbing to us that current members of the Senate have not been able to resolve the current debate over judicial nominations. Just as troubling, we regret that the chamber's debate has degenerated into a series of partisan attacks, grounded in willfully disingenuous and misleading justifications for delaying and denying votes on judicial nominations.

The current tactic of withholding a vote on a president's judicial nominations is an unprecedented rejection of Senate tradition. The claim that the Senate filibuster of judicial nominees has been an accepted parliamentary tactic is plainly false; an overt distortion of the Senate's responsibility to give the president advice and consent on his nominees.

The constitutional option is not the ideal way of guaranteeing that the president's judicial nominees receive the votes they deserve. However, barring the minority's willingness to restore 214 years of precedent and tradition, it is a far better option than allowing the minority to hijack the chamber and deny the Senate the opportunity to fulfill its constitutional obligations.

The Senate must be allowed to function in a way that allows it to fulfill its constitutional obligations to the country. Denying votes on these nominees not only forces the Senate to abandon its duties, but tears at the very fabric of our great republic.


Fmr. Senator James Buckley
Fmr. Senator Slade Gorton
Fmr. Senator Zell Miller
Fmr. Senator Paul Laxalt
Fmr. Senator Fred Thompson
Thanks to Barbara Ledeen of the Senate Republican Conference for sharing this.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:43 PM

Janice Rogers Brown: Role Model

Project 21 has just issued a press release praising Justice Janice Rogers Brown and calling Brown a "role model of American achievement."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:57 AM

Extremist Judicial Nominees

Salon has a new article posted Friday listing the "extremist credentials" of seven Bush judicial nominees. The article's first complaint:
An assessment of the nominees' records suggests that all consider government regulation a central problem, while they view private enterprise and property a bedrock constitutional right.
Meanwhile, a document a tad older than the Senate filibuster rules says:
No person shall... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Would Salon's editors consider James Madison deserving of a straight up-or-down vote?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:40 AM

News Flash: Senate Divided

A page one story by Dan Balz in Friday's Washington Post says a small group of Senators "working to avert a historic showdown over President Bush's judicial nominees" are attempting to "codify the principles of trust."

"Trust" is not a principle; it is a belief. If the Senators have justifiable trust in one another, it need not be codified. If they don't, it can't be codified.

As the article continues, it seems that Balz agrees. These Senators aren't getting anywhere, says Balz: ", rather than language, is at the heart of the impasse."

Uh huh.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:08 AM

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Look at Senate Staff

The New York Times has an interesting look at some of the Senate staffers working on the filibuster rules change debate.

Apparently, one of the top GOP Senate rules strategists learned his craft in part by watching Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV).

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:43 PM

Gregory Kane on Janice Rogers Brown: Two Uncle Toms Are Better Than One

Baltimore Sun columnist Gregory Kane discusses the Janice Rogers Brown nomination in a (very frank) way, raising points I haven't quite seen anywhere else:
Black folks have so much invested in hating [Supreme Court Justice Clarence] Thomas that seeing him depicted as a handkerchiefhead, a lawn jockey and a shoeshine boy moved us in ways that more serious and important stories couldn't. Hating Thomas has been cathartic for most of us.

That's why we should be the ones demanding that the Senate confirm Brown. Because if one shuffling black conservative-Uncle Tom-handkerchiefhead-Sambo-house-nigger on a federal bench has been good for us, imagine what TWO can do.

And don't listen to the naysayers like Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a sister who wrote that Brown "does not belong on the federal bench." Tucker didn't argue that Brown was unqualified...
Read it all here.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:53 PM

Top Five Reasons Senate Democrats Oppose Ending Partisan Judicial Filibusters

From husband David, who says he is writing only slightly tongue-in-cheek:
The top five reasons why Senate Democrats oppose an end to partisan judicial filibusters:
5. Tom Daschle, we shall avenge you!

4. To preserve the right of out-of-the-mainstream politicians to define which judges are out of the mainstream.

3. To protect the principle of separation of powers by separating the majority from its powers.

2. We might need filibusters again to stop pesky civil rights legislation.

1. To preserve America's long tradition of one man, one-and-one-quarter vote.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:11 PM

Noble History of the Filibuster

The noble history of the filibuster:
Filibusters were particularly useful to Southern senators who sought to block civil rights legislation, until cloture was invoked after a fifty-seven day filibuster against the Civil Right Act of 1964... The record for the longest individual speech goes to South Carolina's J. Strom Thurmond who filibustered for 24 hours and 18 minutes against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
(Yes, the word "noble" in the title is sarcasm.)

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:05 PM

Black Activists Praise Priscilla Owen

Project 21 members have thoughts about Justice Patricia Owen:
Priscilla Owen is one of the finest jurists in the country. The fact that she has been forced to endure more than four years of public humiliation and character assassination is appalling. While her antagonists have tried to portray her as outside of the mainstream, quite the opposite is true. She is precisely the type of jurist our Founding Father intended to see in our courts. - Mychal Massie

Priscilla Owen is among the most respected judges from Texas. Not only was she overwhelmingly supported by the voters, but she enjoys the respect and admiration of her peers as well. - Michael King

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:12 AM

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Five-Second Rule


I thought the five-second rule was the law of the land.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:11 PM

David Bellamy Challenges Global Warming Orthodoxy

Husband David has some thoughts on a recent news item:
You ever wonder why environmental groups walk in such lock step on the global warming theory? Maybe it's because they censor colleagues who disagree.

The Sunday Times (UK) reported last Sunday that Professor David Bellamy is about to be forced out as figurehead of two leading environmental organizations, Plantlife International and the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, because he refuses to believe in human-induced global warming.

Bellamy, a former botany lecturer at Durham University, is the author of over 40 books and more than 80 scientific papers on the ecology and the environment. He has written and presented over 400 programs for the British Broadcasting Corporation and Britain's Independent Television. This work has won him the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' Richard Dimbleby Award.

His environmental work has earned him the Dutch Order of the Golden Ark and the United Nations Environmental Program's Global 500 Award, among others.

In January, Bellamy told the Royal Institution in London, "Global warming is largely natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can't be fixed... The climate change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models which do not prove anything."
The Sunday Times article is worth reading in its entirety.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:31 PM

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Shape of Days: Web Typography

This essay could have been written by many [hyphen] but wasn't.

Jeff did it justice.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:46 PM

Majority Leader Frist: Unreasonable?

A quote from today's Hotline:
"It appears that the Majority Leader cannot accept any solution that does not guarantee all current and future judicial nominees an up-down vote."

-- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, on the Senate floor, 5/17/05
A quote from the U.S. Consitution:
[The President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for...
I'm just guessing, but I think than when the Founders wrote "advice and consent," they were thinking of -- I know I am going out on a limb here -- a vote.

I don't have to take a position on any particular nominee to know that we elect Senators to vote. If the public does not not like the nominees who are approved (or likes ones who are not approved), the public can let the Senators know the next time the Senators run for re-election.

Ultimately, the public speaks -- which is how it should be.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:41 PM

Monday, May 16, 2005

Funding PBS

An argument against the existence of PBS:
An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, ask questions and be skeptical. And just as a democracy can die of too many lies, that kind of orthodoxy can kill us, too.
This quote comes from Bill Moyers, who, strangely, thought it was an argument in favor of government-run news broadcasting.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:41 PM

Star Parker Nails it on Social Security

Black leader Star Parker on Social Security:
The simple truth is that the Social Security system needs to be replaced with one in which American workers retain their own money and invest in their own retirement accounts. Our task is to devise a plan to let workers opt for personal accounts. And, in the meantime, we must tap our resources to meet existing obligations to current retirees. That's it. Clear and simple.
Addendum 5/24/05: Blog of Doom thinks we're wrong.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:04 PM

Yukos Verdict

Voice of America seems to be of two minds in its story today about a verdict in the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky of the Russian oil company Yukos.

The story's headline reads: "Russian Businessman Found Guilty of Fraud, Tax Evasion."

The story begins: "A Moscow court is expected to find the former director of Yukos Oil company guilty of charges including fraud and tax evasion."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:50 PM

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Pity Poor Fairfax County

While parts of the U.S. are reeling after the Pentagon's announcement of proposed base closings in their areas, some lawmakers in Northern Virginia are complaining because a local base, Fort Belvoir, is gaining 18,000 jobs.

One of the lawmakers, Fairfax County, VA Board Chairman Gerald E. Connolly, a Democrat, says the Pentagon and federal government should "provide resources to help localities absorb the impacts that they are creating with these changes."

Senator John Warner of Virginia (R-VA), and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), are said to be working with Connolly to get the federal government to pony up hard cash -- and lots of it -- to help Fairfax County deal with the hardship posed by these new jobs.

Based on its median household income of $81,050, Fairfax County, Virginia is the second-wealthiest county in the U.S.

The median household income for the U.S. is $41,994.

Addendum 5-16-05: Virginia can't seem to decide what it wants. Check out this May 8 AP story, Virginia Working To Keep Its Military Bases Off Closing List:
(AP) - Virginia's robust military community is on edge, awaiting release of the Defense Department's list of bases that it wants to be closed or consolidated.

A commission appointed by Gov. Mark Warner has spent nearly $2 million building a case to the Pentagon to preserve -- or even expand -- the military presence in the state when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission makes the first cutbacks in 10 years.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is to let his choices for downsizing be known by the end of this week, a Warner spokesman said. 'We've been focused on this ... date for two years,' said David G. Dickson, executive director of the Virginia Commission on Military Bases. 'People are ready to get to it.'"

The commission has been working under the Defense Department's premise that up to 25 percent of military installations would be close or consolidated, but Rumsfeld said last week that only about half that number would be affected.

Even so, Virginia has a lot to lose...

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:20 AM

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Rep. Robert Wexler on Social Security: The System is Sound, But Insolvent

Speaking of Rep. Robert Wexler, he seems to be of two minds about the soundness of the Social Security system.

From Rep. Wexler's website's Social Security page, paragraph one:
First, let me assure you that Social Security is a sound program.
From paragraph two:
Any attempt to create separate individual accounts for Social Security will only drain the current system, thereby bankrupting the system sooner than expected.
Note to Congressman Wexler: If a system is expected to become bankrupt, it is not sound.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:41 PM

Be Fair to New York Plan

A Democratic Congressman is following Dan Rostenkowski's advice and proposing a Social Security rescue plan.

The Congressman is Robert Wexler, who represents the 19th District of Florida, containing parts of Palm Beach and Broward counties. According to the Population Research Center, Palm Beach County has on a percentage basis more residents over 64, 23.2%, than any other county in America. Broward County is fifth, with 16.1% of its residents over 64.

So I guess it isn't hard to figure out why Rep. Wexler is interested in Social Security, and apparently isn't buying into the "Social Security isn't in crisis" rhetoric so popular among other liberals.

It might also lead you to think Wexler might be tempted to avoid proposals suggesting reductions in future Social Security benefit increases, and grasp instead for tax increases on the non-retired.

In this supposition, you would not be surprised.

Wexler's plan consists of a tax increase for workers earning over $90,000 per year. Specifically, Wexler would have the government take 3 percent of income over $90,000 directly from the employee and "tax the employer" 3 percent of the employee's earnings over $90,000.

Other merits of the plan (if any) notwithstanding, so-called "taxes on the employer" are a scam. It is a trick played by the government on the people. Employers hire an employee only if they believe that employee's workplace contribution is worth what it costs to pay him. Whether the employer pays the employee first, and then the government takes the money, or the government takes the money before the employee even sees it, doesn't matter much to the employer. Money is money. But many employees think their taxes are less because they never see the money they earn that is paid to the government directly in so-called "employer's" taxes.

As I said, a government trick designed to deceive taxpayers.

(Next time you visit the website of a liberal "ethics in government" group, see if they have any documents advocating elimination of deceitful "tax on employer' scams. If you find any, email me, please.)

While I'm on the topic of unfairness, here's another thing I think is unfair: The value of a dollar is not the same everywhere in America. $90,000 does not go very far in Manhattan, compared to how far it goes in Kansas (and pretty much everywhere else). So Congressman Wexler's proposal, generally speaking, would hit Manhattanites harder than nearly every other American.

I'm not a New Yorker, never have been a New Yorker, and probably will go to my grave never having lived in New York, so I have no conflict of interest when I ask you, dear readers: Is this fair to New Yorkers?

So with all due respect to Rep. Wexler, who at least -- nearly alone among national Democrats -- is willing to offer suggestions for solving the Social Security crisis, I suggest the rest of America stand shoulder-to-shoulder with New York and tell Rep. Wexler: Thanks -- but no thanks.

Instead, let's be fair. Let's enact a flat rate federal income tax and solve the Social Security crisis with personal retirement accounts.

We could call it the "Be Fair to New York Plan." I presume Hillary will love it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:22 PM

School Bus Driver Strands Children

This story no doubt sends chills through many parents.

Fortunately, no children were hurt -- or lost.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:37 AM

Friday, May 13, 2005

Filibusters: A History

Blog readers might find this document, being distributed today by the Senate Republican Conference, of interest:
Dates Democrats Want to Forget

The year the U.S. Constitution was ratified without the filibuster as part of it

The year the Senate was originally constituted with rules that permitted a majority vote to end debate

The year that the filibuster became theoretically possible through an inadvertent rules change

The year that a filibuster was used for the first time to block legislation

The year that a "cloture" rule was adopted to control legislative filibusters

The year that the Senate rules were changed to extend cloture to all debatable matters, including nominations

The first time a bipartisan filibuster was used to deny a judicial nominee an up-or-down vote. But the nominee, Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, did not have majority support, and was opposed by one-third of his own party. He withdrew his nomination shortly after the failed cloture vote. In contrast, every one of the filibustered judicial nominees in 2003 and 2004 had majority support.

1977, 1979, 1980, 1987
The years in which then Senate Majority-Leader Robert Byrd employed the constitutional option in order to limit minority and individual Senators' rights

2003, 2004
The years in which partisan filibusters were used for the first time to deny confirmation to a judicial nominee with majority support. Ten nominees were blocked from getting up-or-down votes due to the filibuster

The year the Senate will restore the 214-year tradition of up-or-down votes on every judicial nominee with majority support
Thanks to Barbara Ledeen of the SRC for sharing it.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:07 PM

Senate Judicial Filibuster Showdown Nears

The Senate showdown on judicial nominations draws ever closer. Majority Leader Bill Frist's office released the following statement today:

Upon completion of action on the pending highway bill, the Senate will begin debate on fair up or down votes on judicial nominations. As is the regular order, the Leader will move to act on judge nominations sent to the full Senate by the Judiciary Committee in the past several weeks. Priscilla Owen, to serve as a judge for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Janice Rogers Brown, to serve as a judge for the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, will be the nominees of focus.

The Majority Leader will continue to discuss an appropriate resolution of the need for fair up or down votes with the Minority Leader. If they can not find a way for the Senate to decide on fair up or down votes on judicial nominations, the Majority Leader will seek a ruling from the Presiding Officer regarding the appropriate length of time for debate on such nominees. After the ruling, he will ensure that every Senator has the opportunity to decide whether to restore the 214-year practice of fair up or down votes on judicial nominees; or, to enshrine a new veto by filibuster that both denies all Senators the opportunity to advise and consent and fundamentally disturbs the separation of powers between the branches.

There will be a full and vigorous Senate floor debate that is too important for parliamentary tactics to speed it up or slow it down until all members who wish have had their say. All members are encouraged to ensure that rhetoric in this debate follows the rules, and best traditions, of the Senate.

It is time for 100 Senators to decide the issue of fair up or down votes for judicial nominees after over two years of unprecedented obstructionism. The Minority has made public threats that much of the Senate's work will be shut down. Such threats are unfortunate.

The Majority Leader has proposed his Fairness Rule: up to 100 hours of debate, and then an up or down vote on circuit and Supreme Court nominations. Further, the Fairness Rule would eliminate the opportunity for blockade of such nominees at the Judiciary Committee. And finally, it will make no changes to the legislative filibuster.

If Senators believe a nominee is qualified, they should have the opportunity to vote for her. If they believe she is unqualified, they should have the opportunity to vote against her.

Members must decide if their legacy to the Senate is to eliminate the filibuster's barrier to the Constitutional responsibility of all Senators to advise and consent with fair, up or down votes.


Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:59 PM

FBI Files: Confidential

Allow me to add my voice to those condemning the action of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid when he made allegations that the FBI file on Judge Harry Saad contains damaging information about the judge.

Senator Reid must be aware that FBI files contain raw material (unconfirmed allegations) and that Judge Saad himself is not in a position to defend himself, as he would not know what is in the file nor who made the allegations. In short, Reid has made an unanswerable smear.

I have no idea what is in Judge Saad's FBI file, but it would take a lot more than knowing there is uncomplimentary information in it for me to draw a negative conclusion about the judge's character.

Like many people who live and work in the D.C. area, I have been interviewed by the FBI when people I know, or neighbors, have been appointed to governmental positions or sought to acquire security clearances. On at least two occasions within the last few years I have been interviewed about people I have never met and who I would not recognize on the street because they live in our neighborhood. On both occasions, as part of the interview process, the individual was described to me so that I might have some idea if I had ever seen or talked with them. I had nothing negative to say about these people, but what if I had, based on a physical description, misidentified someone and honestly confused them with a person I know something negative about? In an honest attempt to be helpful, I would have shared that information with the FBI. And, presumably, that information would be in their file forever afterward. They would not even know it, and they could never defend themselves against it. Yet the allegation would not be fair, even though I would have meant no harm in sharing it.

Senator Reid owes Judge Saad an apology.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:03 PM

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Claudia Rosett Peels an Onion

This Claudia Rosett article on NRO begins...
When Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) last year compared the United Nations Oil-for-Food scandal to "an onion," he had just one thing wrong: The more you peel, the bigger it gets.
It has more good lines, but read it for the facts on how Saddam Hussein targeted his bribes to officials of nations with seats on the U.N. Security Council.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:44 PM

Huffington's Toast

I know the rest of the blogosphere already is recommending Huffington's Toast, but I want to add my kudos anyway. Whomever is writing these parodies is very talented.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:20 PM

Shoes for Iraqi Kids Update

Blonde Sagacity is updating progress on shoes and more for Iraqi kids.

7,000 donated pairs of shoes -- wow.

Go here for photos of soldiers giving the donated supplies to kids, and here to help.

Here's a copy of a thank-you letter I received from the U.S. soldier in Iraq who started it all, just for sending over some of my kids' gently used shoes. I still find it amazing -- this soldier, Lt. Eric Sloan, is not only defending our freedom abroad, and organizing a kids' charity in his spare time, he's even sending handwritten thank-you notes to people who helped his project in only a small way. We should be sending him the thank-you notes.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:05 PM

Yalta Revisited

I love this Yalta post by Professor Bainbridge.

Dittos on this one from the Paragraph Farmer.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:53 PM

Monday, May 09, 2005

On Mother's Day

Jeff Harrell shares a Mother's Day confession on his Shape of Days blog.

Nobody's perfect, Jeff. Nobody.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:45 AM

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Leon Aron: 2008 Presidential Election Will Be Key how we judge Russia.

In this op-ed in USA Today, Leon Aron puts the Putin presidency, pluses and minuses, in perspective. Aron's conclusion: The 2008 presidential election in Russia will be key: "Any underhanded efforts to secure the outcome contrary to the will of the people -- such as the actions taken in neighboring Ukraine -- will not only mean the end of U.S. partnership, but will also turn Russia into an international pariah."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:44 PM

Friday, May 06, 2005

Europe to Moscow: Apologize

From the Boston Globe:
Reuters - Baltic nations urged Moscow on Friday to apologize for five decades of Soviet occupation, hours before the arrival of President Bush on a trip to fete new democracies and the 1945 victory over the Nazis.

In Brussels, the European Union sided with the three Baltic countries against the Kremlin by saying that the collapse of the Berlin Wall, rather than the defeat of Nazi Germany, marked the "end of dictatorship" in Europe...
Fat chance Putin would have this kind of integrity, but it is nice to see the truth spoken -- with the EU chiming in on the right side, no less.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:49 PM

Army Pay: AWOL

My niece's husband is serving his second tour of duty with the U.S. Army (3rd ACR) in Iraq. I thought I'd share with blog readers an e-mail she sent to her Congressman, Rep. Joel Hefley, on Thursday about a little difficulty he is having: The Army isn't paying him.

I'm not usually one to criticize the U.S. Army (no doubt this is in part because I have never been in it), but I do think it is not too much to ask that we actually pay our combat soldiers.

Our niece is doing fine. She has income from her own job and she and her husband, married just one year (long-distance first anniversary), have no children. But, as she told me on the phone tonight, she's worried about the Army wives who have small children and no income except their Army pay.
Dear Sir:

My husband is currently serving our country in Iraq as of the beginning of March 05. We were due to get out in Feb but we were "stop-lossed." I am not sure if you are aware of this but the system that they have is so unorganized that they somehow OUT processed him at the end of April and back dated it for February 28th and took back all the money they had paid us in March and mid-month April, and gave us a "no pay due" for the end of April.

So my husband is in Iraq not getting paid and from what I hear from him, unable to get anything accomplished over there to resolve this, and it all has to be taken care of over here, which I am trying to do.

Although they've been willing to give me the money in advance until this is resolved, I still feel that someone should be aware of this since half of our troop has ETS dates for this summer. I can't imagine how much more of a hardship this would be for a family with kids or already in financial distress.

I cannot express how disappointed I am in our "system." If you are unable help us, please help the other servicemen who are over there putting their lives at stake.

Please feel free to contact me at the provided telephone number...
My niece says Rep. Hefley's staff was quite sympathetic on the phone today, but it is too soon to say if they can/will help. She also was similarly complimentary of Senator Harry Reid's staff (her husband is a Nevadan).

I know we don't pay our soldiers much, but we surely could do better at making sure they actually get their money. Maybe this is one problem that actually could be solved in a bi-partisan manner.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 AM

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Labor Unions, Social Security and the Law

UPI's Peter Roff is reporting that the Bush Administration isn't taking a certain type of labor union intimidation lying down:
The AFL-CIO has been at the forefront of the effort to derail President George W. Bush's plan to add personal retirement accounts to Social Security. In fact, the country's preeminent labor group has gone so far as to organize -- not workers, but demonstrations -- outside the offices of financial-services companies and brokers like Edward Jones and Charles Schwab to pressure them to drop out of business groups and coalitions working toward reform of Social Security.

Now, in a counterstrike, the Bush administration has issued a letter warning that unions that use the financial power of their pension funds to influence corporate decisions on reform may be violating the law.

Responding to what it called reports that union officials have suggested "plan trustees could make decisions on the hiring and firing of plans' service providers based upon their opinions on Social Security reform," the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration reminded the labor group in a May 3 letter that the use of pension-plan assets for political purposes likely violates the Employee Retirement Income Security Act...

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:04 PM

Bad Guys Won World War II?

From today's Washington Post:
As troops march past and planes streak overhead, President Bush will assume his place in the reviewing stand on Red Square in front of Lenin's tomb, marking the 60th anniversary of the Soviet victory (emphasis added) over Nazi Germany...
Nice of the Soviets to win that war for the rest of us, no?

To be fair, the sentence above quoted above ends with this: event that also ushered in decades of totalitarianism for half of Europe.
So I guess the Post, while crediting the Soviets with the victory in World War II, isn't happy they won it.

Or something.

Strangely, the rest of the piece is pretty good. (Maybe writer Peter Baker's simply been listening to too many Russians. Some of them tend to underestimate the contribution of the western allies in defeating the Nazis in World War II.) The article notes, for instance, that the Bush Administration has tried to convince Putin to denounce the Stalin-Hitler Pact, but Putin has declined. Baker writes: "Putin described [the Stalin-Hitler Pact] this year as merely an effort by Moscow 'to ensure its interests and its security on its western borders,' and the Kremlin told the Americans he saw no need to renounce it."

I bet the Poles just love Putin.

Appropos of nothing, I'm wondering how many Czechs liked Hitler in September, 1938.

Addendum: If the topic of this post interests you, check out Peter Baker's follow-up report in the May 6 Washington Post, which begins: "Russia issued a testy rebuke of President Bush yesterday on the eve of his departure for Europe, denying that Moscow had forcibly occupied the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in 1940..."

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:03 AM

Congress' Top Ten Bills Since 1955

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call compiled a panel of Congressional scholars and asked them to name the ten most significant bills approved by Congress over the last fifty years.

The newspaper says the scholars, who included Joel Aberbach of UCLA, Scott Adler of the University of Colorado, David Boaz of the Cato Institute, David Brady and Morris Fiorina of the Hoover Institution, Lee Edwards of the Heritage Foundation, Allan Lichtman of American University, Burdett Loomis of the University of Kansas, David Mayhew of Yale, Bert Rockman of Ohio State, Steven Smith of Washington University, Rick Striner of Washington College, James Thurber of American University and Eric Uslaner of the University of Maryland, "reached a clear consensus" on the top five bills, but then diverged wildly.

The top ten (with parenthetical notes from me to identify a few of the bills younger readers might not recognize):

1. Civil Rights Act (1964).

2. Voting Rights Act (1965). (Roll Call opines that this legislation "made possible America's turn to the right on economic, social and foreign policy since the 1980s." Really?)

3. Medicare and Medicaid Acts (1965).

4. Federal-Aid Highway Act (1956). (Creation of the Interstate Highway System.)

5. Economic Recovery Tax Act (1981). (President Reagan's signature tax cuts.)

6. National Defense Education Act (1958). (Federal education aid bill sold on the notion that it would help the U.S. best the Soviets.)

7. Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964).

8. Amendments to Immigration and Nationality Act (1965). (Removed national-origins quotas for immigrants, boosting legal immigration.)

9. Clean Air Act Amendments (1970). (The feds claim authority over states on environmental policy; era of command-and-control environmental rulemaking begins in earnest.)

10. Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996). (Welfare reform. It took three tries by Congress to get President Clinton to sign it. Change of heart or election year politics? Few wonder.)

The Roll Call piece also notes that Congress has approved approximately 28,000 bills since 1955. It does not estimate how many of them we really needed.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:49 AM

Monday, May 02, 2005

The FEC and Bloggers

The Washington Post brings us this objective article on "crack[ing] down on bloggers who write about politics."

I counted 11 paragraphs in favor of a federal government crackdown on those nasty bloggers who apparently still believe in the First Amendment (naughty, naughty bloggers) and six opposed.

The six paragraphs citing arguments opposed to the crackdown, of course, were the last six paragraphs of the article.

Meanwhile, an article expressing concern (by "some observers," natch) that the Washington Post does not carry a disclaimer citing its political affiliations was nowhere to be found...

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:58 PM

Global Warming Censorship?

Pejmanesque is on the case.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:55 PM

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Cupertino Teacher Update

The Cupertino public school teacher who was banned from distributing documents written by America's Founding Fathers because of their religious content has won a round in federal court.

A federal judge has dismissed the school district's attempt to get a dismissal of the central claim to the teacher's case, in which he states he was treated differently because he is a Christian.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:13 PM

Ryan Balis: Airbus Isn't Green

Ryan Balis has a piece in the Houston Chronicle, among other papers, asking the question: Is Europe's new government-subsidized Airbus A380 super jumbo jet environmentally-friendly?

And, if not, why are European leaders on our case about Kyoto?

Addendum: Professor Bainbridge has an entirely different, but interesting take on the Airbus A380.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:56 PM

Everything I Know Is Wrong: 2005 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators

Everything I Know Is Wrong is justifiably plugging the Pacific Research Institute's 2005 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators.

For ten years now, the Pacific Research Institute has provided this report card on environmental progress. I read it every year.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:46 PM


By way of the Daou Report, which I read nearly every day on Salon for a summary of interesting posts on various blogs, I learned of this post on Ankle Biting Pundits:
You aren't going to believe this (OK, maybe you will). French union workers are demanding to be paid for the extra 1 minute 52 seconds per day that management has asked them to work...
Commenters to the post seemed mostly hostile, and supportive of the French union workers.

There's more to the story than this brief treatment suggests (see the International Herald Tribune for how the controversy came about), but my own take on it is that anytime a person finds himself worrying that he might give away two minutes of labor without getting something for himself in return, that person may have a character problem.

To my way of thinking, doing one's best for one's employer, within reasonable bounds and taking universal human frailties into account, is a moral duty. Likewise, with the same caveats, employers should try to do the best they reasonably can for their employees. It ought to be a matter of pride on both sides.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:44 PM

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