Monday, June 01, 2009

D.C. Droppings -- XIV


The Republican smearing points that were prepared to oppose Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor rest fundamentally on the notion of the impartial “umpire,” created when John Roberts testified in his confirmation proceedings.

The meme fails, as any baseball fan would know. If a judge is supposed to be an umpire, calling them as he/she seems them, then I would ask a proponent of this argument to define the strike zone. The rule book is clear, but the reality is that a strike is whatever the home plate umpire says it is. (Once, the story goes, when Ted Williams was batting and the pitcher kept just missing the strike zone, the catcher complained to the ump, who replied to the effect, “When Mr. Williams thinks it’s a strike, he’ll let you know.”)

This season, the strike zone has shrunk to the size of a gnat’s ass, and a series of controversial calls—made even after looking at replays—shows that umpire’s can suck as badly as some judges.

The Sotomayor attacks are going to be downright funny. Take Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III. Please! With Arlen Specter’s traitorous turn to the Democratic Party, Sessions became the ranking minority member of the Judiciary Committee that must pass on Sotomayor before the nomination goes to the full Senate.

This is Jeff Sessions, who was defeated by the same committee for a federal judgeship because of his perceived racism. Oh, yes, Sessions is from Alabama. So if he proclaims from the dais that he is not certain that Sotomayor has a proper regard for “the moral authority of the law,” I hope the audience simply guffaws.

This, from Wikipedia, about Sessions:

Sessions' opponents accused him of "gross insensitivity” on racial issues. Sessions made a variety of comments that opponents pointed to, including remarks that he thought that the Ku Klux Klan was not so bad until he found out that some of them smoked marijuana. Sessions also had once labeled the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) "un-American," "Communist-inspired," and had said that they "forced civil rights down the throats of people." At his confirmation hearings, Sessions said that the groups could be un-American when "they involve themselves in un-American positions" in foreign policy. Sessions claimed that the remarks had been made in jest. One of those voting against him was Democratic Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama.

Coward of the Country

Dick Cheney, apart from slipping and referring to Osama bin Laden as “Obama” in a speech today, casually dropped this bombshell. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11! It was Cheney’s insistence that he did that caused 4,000 Americans to die for nothing while Osama remains at large.

My distaste for Cheney is not about politics. At one point, like most other observers, I figured him to be a conservative with a brain and a genial enough personality to be a bridge builder. But the past eight and half years have shown him to be something else.

In addition to being a coward – he didn’t serve in Vietnam because “I had better things to do” while collecting five draft deferments—he is a scapegoater. Today, he just as casually put the onus on Medal of Freedom winner George Tenet for using nonexistent facts to pursue a war that has weakened America, and farted toward Colin Powell by saying the bad intelligence was also a State Department responsibility. Coward, scapegoater, shirker and war criminal.

Thanks to Frank Rich of the New York Times for pointing us to reporting by McClatchy Newspapers that revealed Cheney’s 10 lies, omissions and distortions in that big speech last week defending torture. Read it for yourself here.

Your Morality, Not His

Again, thanks to the Times for reporting on a Web site that allows you to compare your morality against other people’s, on a liberal-conservative continuum. It was reported in the context that, duh, liberals are more for fairness than conservatives and conservatives more for established authority.

It is a free Web site, but you do need to register, purportedly anonymously, here.

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