Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Life of the party

The Presidential candidates are starting to comment on SCOTUS' partial birth abortion ruling today, and responses are predictable. Recovering liberal Rudy Giuliani applauds the justices 5-4 decision to uphold a federal law that bans the procedure. So does Saint John McCain. Meanwhile, Obama and Edwards warned that Roe was next.

Republicans love to run as the "party of life", yet in recent years a majority of Americans favor safe, legal abortion with some restrictions. Republicans seized on partial birth abortion because, well, the name is so gruesome. The same people who have trouble feeling sympathy with a cluster of cells no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence are sure to have an emotional attachment to a late term fetus that could, theoretically, live on its own outside the womb.

Doctors call the procedure intact dilation and extraction, or IDX. Republicans tried to ban the procedure in 1995 and again later, but couldn't overcome President Clinton's veto. Congress passed another law in 2003, which was upheld today.

Politically speaking, the ruling is probably a good thing for Democrats. IDX is hard for politicians to defend to most people, and now they won't have to. It also takes away a potent wedge issue from the Republicans, who would much rather talk about collapsed fetal craniums than the President's collapsed foreign policy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

V Tech

The full horror of the Virginia Tech massacre hasn't hit me yet. I'm sure it will when the breathless survivor stories are told, and we know more about the gunman. Right now I'm too busy being disgusted by the media coverage, which included custom graphics and theme music before the bodies were counted.

Brian Williams was particularly appalling on the NBC Nightly News last night, with his fawning interviews of students and paramedics. "Virgina Tech will always be known as the site of this horrible massacre" said Williams, thus making sure the Virginia Tech will always be knows as the site of this horrible massacre.

It also bothers me that violent death by crazed gunmen happens everyday in Baghdad, but doesn't warrant a tenth of the US media coverage. Thirty-two dead students is "Another bloody day in Baghdad" the talking heads will tell us, then quickly move on to more Panda videos, or a story about Prince Harry's jilted girlfriend.

ABC News shows off its math skills.
The number of dead is almost twice as high as the previous record for a mass shooting on an American college campus. That took place at the University of Texas at Austin on Aug. 1, 1966, when a gunman named Charles Whitman opened fire from the 28th floor of a campus tower. Whitman killed 16 and injured 31.
Actually, 32 is exactly twice as many as 16. Is ABC hedging on whether to count the shooter among the dead? Strange.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mother and daughter

Mrs. Heraldblog and our daughter, Natalie, hamming it up.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Good riddance to Imus

It wasn't the government or even political correctness that brought Imus to his knees. It was the advertisers who support the show. They, ultimately, have the say, and some really big names put NBC on notice that they would advertise elsewhere if the network didn't clean house. Plus, there are more African American decision makers in the nation's major corporations.

Yeah, Imus is gone. What's the problem? On the list of pressing free speech issues, I'd put Northshore Ned's right to act like Dr. Dre alongside the right to keep and bear sniper rifles.

Gwen Ifil was dead on this morning on Meet the Press. Politicians from both sides of the aisle have been quiet about the I Man's dismissal. Over the years, Imus has hosted free speech advocates, bigots, liberals, theocrats and independents, and from them the silence is deafening.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Down the Hatch

In follow up to my Sunday Meet the Press post, I've learned that San Diego USA Carol Lam 1) never fundraised for President Clinton 2) was never a law professor and 3) has 15 years experience as a prosecutor.

On the other hand, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Confabulation) told Tim Russert last Sunday that Lam 1) was a Clinton fundraiser 2) was just a law professor and (3) had little or no prosecutorial experience.
I love a good mystery, and the mystery here is why a sitting US Senator would go before millions and tell back to back to back whoppers. I'm not talking about little white lies here, or highly questionable opinions stated as fact. Hatch's three assertions are not only false, they are demonstrably false. It's like saying Orrin Hatch quit the Klan last month to spend more time with his start-up porn business. Acutally, Hatch's lies were worse, because they don't involve proving a negative.

So why would Hatch subject himself to such exposure. Here are some explanations.

First, he thought the media would be too distracted by Britney's shiny, lumpy cranium to notice.

Second, he was just repeating the talking points that his chief of staff heard at the last GOP We-Don't-Have-A-Prayer breakfast with Karl Rove.

Three, he's advocating for Gonzales, which means he has no business sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee. And he's a liar.

h/t Josh

Update: Josh sheds more light on Hatch's prevarications. The Senator has issued an explanation for his MTP moment: Everything he said was true, except that he wasn't really talking about Carol Lam. He meant to say Alan Bersin, the previous San Diego USA under Clinton.

Bersin was a law professor with little prosecutorial experience who was appointed in 1993 because he was friends with Clinton at Yale and raised money for the Clinton campaign. So take out "Bersin" and insert "Lam" and voila, a senior-sleaze moment.

This is about what we could expect from Orrin Hatch, a former drifter/drug addict who entices young men into his apartment for sexual perversion, murder, necrophilia and cannibalism. He is an embarrassment to the country, and deserves to be clubbed to death in the prison weightroom.

Update: The above paragraph is factually accurate, except that I accidentally used Hatch's name instead of Jeffrey Dahmer's. But I still stand behind everything I wrote.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April is Poetry Month

To An Athlete Dying Young
by A. E. Housman

The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Smell the fear

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Lickspittle) is losing it on Meet the Press over the attorney general scandal, while Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy looks on.

Hatch is calling the Democratic investigation a tempest in a teapot. He admits the White House didn't handle the situation well, but insists there isn't a shred of evidence that anything untoward has happened.

Did Russert just say "Horrin Hatch"? OMG.

Hatch said Carol Lam, the former USA from San Diego, should have been fired three years ago. Other USAs weren't aggressively prosecuting pornography, or illegal aliens, or tearing the tags off mattresses. Funny that none of these issues were brought up in private emails prior to the firings.

Now Hatch says he likes AG Alberto Gonzales because he's Hispanic, and a nice guy. He is "incapable of lying."

Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy is masterful: "Sen. Hatch says Gonzales has always been truthful. Unfortunately, he was not truthful to the US Senate, and that is why he is coming back."

Stay tuned.