There have been numerous efforts as of late (Michelle Malkin's effort today being the latest - and here's one from PowerLine, too) to remind Americans that the Democrats supported "up-or-down" Senate floor confirmation votes for presidential nominees when Bill Clinton was doing the nominating. This is in stark contrast to their current plans to paralyze the Senate with filibusters in order to prevent votes on several of President Bush's judicial nominees.
Many of these Democrat quotes were made in reference to Bill Clinton's 1997 nomination (and 1999 renomination) of James Hormel for the post of Ambassador to Luxembourg. It might be constructive to review the politics that surrounded that nomination.
Tuesday was the one-year anniversary of the American news media breaking the story of the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Ted Kennedy chose to mark the occasion by delivering a long-winded speech declaring that the images from the prison were "seared into our collective memory" (where have I heard that before?) and further reminding us:
Top officials in the Administration have endorsed interrogation methods
that we've condemned in other countries, including binding prisoners in
painful "stress" positions, threatening them with dogs, extended sleep
deprivation, and simulated drownings.
Of course I needn't really remind you that Sen. Kennedy is an expert on drownings, though not the simulated kind.
Incidentally, we passed a number of milestones related to Iraq recently, such as the one-year anniversary of the capture of Saddam Hussein and the two-year anniversary of the fall of Baghdad and the end of Saddam's brutal reign. Any Democrat speeches then? Didn't think so.
And there is a big anniversary coming up this weekend. It's the 30th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. We all remember the pitiful photos of South Vietnamese trying to escape imprisonment and torture (the real kind) that they knew awaited them at the hands of the Viet Cong, shoving children and loved ones aboard American helicopters ("Operation Frequent Winds") shuttling back and forth between the American embassy in Saigon and the USS Midway off the Vietnamese coast. After the fall there were thousands of refugees who fled Vietnam in rickety boats, and thousands more who didn't make it, who drowned when their boats capsized in the heavy seas.
That was probably the hardest day of my presidency for me... I think
we made a very heroic effort and did the best we could under the worst of
circumstances. I look upon it as the sadness of a retreat that I'll never
forget." Former President Gerald R. Ford
Newsweek Magazine, March 8, 1999
Remember the infamous graphic published by the New York Times last year during election season that purported to link mysterious conservative 527 groups, Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, and rich conservative financiers? The GOP responded almost immediately with a chart (which, mysteriously, was never run in the NYT or Washington Post) that outlined links between liberal 527's, Hollywood millionairs, and MoveOn.org.
Well, it seems like the chart thing is really catching on.
GOPBloggers.org has just released this little chart that gives just a few illustrative examples of Democrats who travel on lobbyist's dimes and hire their own relatives (or routinely direct government work to firms that employ their relatives), sometimes to the tune of $100,000 a year or more.
Conservatives had a good time with quotes from Democrats who opposed war against Saddam Hussein in 2003, yet who fully believed in Saddam's WMD capabilities in 1998.
In that same vein, Senator John Cornyn has started a page on his web site entitled Name That Speaker that pokes fun at Democrats whose positions flip 180 degrees when the political climate changes.
He started the page on Monday April 25 and hopefully it will be updated daily.
For a sample, here's Monday's entry:
"I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would refuse to
put an anonymous hold on any judge; that I would object and fight
against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or
supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty. If we don't like
somebody the President nominates, vote him or her down."
That's a 1998 quote from Democrat Patrick Leahy. Maybe someone should email a copy of that speech to Harry Reid. I can see the NYT headline now: "Senate Leaders On Record in Opposition to Judicial Filibuster." (not)
If Cornyn keeps this up, it looks to be pretty entertaining. Stay tuned.
Rush Limbaugh often says that if he could exchange brains with anyone else in the world it would be with Dr. Thomas Sowell. Dr. Sowell has presided over the intellectual anti-PC forces for about two decades, and he shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. His latest opinion piece was published in the Wall Street Journal today and addresses the redneck culture prevalent among both whites and blacks in the American South.
...which, according to Bart Simpson, means that he can sit around in his underwear and scratch himself.
I don't know that much about Kevin Federline, but I do know that the Spears family is from Podunkville, Louisiana. Classy they ain't. I guess it shows in her choice of husbands. First that poor hick from her hometown, and now the new posterboy for Preparation H.
And awfulplasticsurgery.com is reporting that Britney has a new set of fake boobs. Just what she'll need when she's nursing her new baby.
Remind me again why some people are obsessed with imitating celebrities?
Remember the mysterious grilled cheese sandwich purported to contain the image of the Virgin Mary? The owner believed that the sandwich was charmed because it stayed fresh for over ten years. She sold it last year on Ebay for $28,000.
Well if you missed out on that auction, you're now in luck. The sandwich's owner is now auctioning the holy griddle where the sandwich was cooked. So now you can go make your own.
UPDATE: It sold for $8100 to a phony bidder; it will probably end up going to the Golden Palace Casino, who bid $8,000 for it and who won the original cheese sandwich. Let's see ... $28,000 + $8,000 = $36,000. I'm sure that the seller can truly claim to be blessed by the sandwich. Oh well, maybe the sandwich can bring some casino-goer good luck - though deep down in my heart I know that those who gamble at casinos are sinners and are not worthy to be blessed. :-)
This past Sunday was the 35th anniversary of the successful recovery of Apollo 13. This week, a ceremony was held to honor the engineers and technicians who, with only the slimmest possible amount of fuel, electricity and supplies, managed to develop a rescue plan and bring the critically-damaged spacecraft home.
Very rarely do I ever recommend Hollywood movies as a way to learn history. But in the case of Ron Howard's Apollo 13 I'll make an exception. It's a superbly made film, 99% accurate in its depiction of the science and engineering that went into the Apollo program, and of the operations of Mission Control and the NASA staff in Houston and at Cape Kennedy. And even though we all know that the crew survived, Howard's film is gripping to the very end.
I'd also recommend Apollo 13 - To The Edge and Back, a excellent documentary about the ordeal that I originally saw on PBS many years ago. It features interviews with all the main players in the story and a detailed narrative of the entire event including a lot of rarely-seen NASA archival film. And there is astronaut Jim Lovell's autobiographical account of the ordeal, Apollo 13 - Lost Moon.
For the real space junkies out there, there is an interesting set of DVD's that contain all of NASA's archival film of the numerous launches of the Saturn V rocket. Though its technology is now over 40 years old, it is still the most powerful machine ever produced by man, and the brilliant fireball and thunderous, buffeting roar of its engine will probably never be equaled by anything man-made again.
Coming right on the heels of the tenth anniversary memorial service for the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing was the eagerly-anticipated puff of white smoke at St. Pauls that signaled the election of a new Pope.
He is Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, a native of Germany, a member of the same generation as John Paul II and - stop the presses! - a devout Catholic who will staunchly defend the Church's doctrines. How about that. Powerline says, Surprise! The Pope is Catholic!
WizBang had fun with various news outlets who referred to the Cardinal as John Ratzinger, probably a Freudian slip inspired by actor John Ratzenberger. Cheers fans can give up their hopes, though - there won't be a Pope Cliff Claven I.
Instead he is Benedict XVI, perhaps a further symbol of his commitment to traditional church teachings. I'm sure that American secularists, liberals, and "Cafeteria Catholics" (those who believe that they have a right to pick and choose their beliefs at will) are already referring to him as Pope Benedict Arnold.
Andrew Sullivan, perhaps the Internet's most outspoken Cafeteria Catholic, hates him. So what? It's like Pat Robertson criticizing the United Council of Churches. Neither side could care less what the other thinks. And yet liberal Catholics in the press continue to whine that the Catholic church "lost an opportunity" by not nominating a doctrinally liberal (read: weak) Pope.
I guess you could also say that the Democrats "lost an opportunity" to nominate Zell Miller as DNC chairman. Or that the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra "lost an opportunity" by not even considering hiring Kenny G as their permanent musical director (the job went to Wynton Marsalis). Generally speaking, intelligent people usually realize that caretaker positions are always filled by people with an overwhelming passion for the things that they will be taking care of. My previous two examples are so obvious. Why do people have such a difficult time understanding the same things about the Catholic church?
Then there is the whole Nazi thing. Again, so what? Liberals were so willing to forgive Bill Clinton and Robert Byrd for mistakes that they made in their youth. Why punish this guy now for actions based on circumstances that virtually no one in the world understands anymore.
A brief leafing through my World War II history books reminds me of two important things. First, service in Hitler Youth was compulsory. Totalitarian dictatorships are funny about things like that. Not serving in a patriotic nationalist civic organization during a time of war would have automatically branded you and your family as traitors. And we all know how the Nazis felt about traitors.
Secondly, by the time Ratzinger was conscripted, the German Army was in shambles, often loading old men and teens onto trucks at gunpoint and forcing them into combat with virtually no training and only minimal equipment. Most of these unwilling conscripts, like Ratzinger, simply surrendered to the Americans or Russians during their first encounter on the battlefield.
After his release from an American POW camp, Ratzinger put his life back together, entered seminary, and spent the last 60 years in the service of God and his Church. End of story.
Personally I believe that Ratzinger is an interesting choice because he is, like John Paul II, a continental European who lived through the horrors of World War II. Ever since World War I, continental Europe has seen the influence of the Roman Catholic church in a steady decline. The selection of John Paul II, a Polish cardinal, brought about a huge resurgence of faith in his homeland. With the recent rapid growth of Catholicism in Latin America and Africa, is it possible that the Catholic church is getting serious about reclaiming continental Europe as well, particularly in the face of low native birth rates and the growing number of Muslim immigrants?
If that is true, and Ratzinger Benedict XVI begins leading a resurgence of traditional Catholic teaching in libertine secularist Europe, the cries of today's disaffected liberals will pale in comparison to what we will hear then.