May 29, 2010

John Sieger is pretty good too

Dateline: Linneman's Riverwest Inn

There's got to be something impeachable about it!

Well what about obstruction of justice? Huh? Huh?
A law professor's final appearance on the Fox "News" Channel

What are they gonna say about him?

Freelance photographer: What are they gonna say about him? What are they gonna say? That he was a kind man? That he was a wise man? That he had plans? That he had wisdom? Bullshit man!

Dennis Hopper's Art Collection Video

GOP outraged at lack of nepotism in Sestak "offer"

WASHINGTON (AP) Sen. S.I. Hayakawa on Wednesday spurned a Reagan administration suggestion that if he drops out of the crowded Republican Senate primary race in California, President Reagan would find him a job.

Among Republicans seeking Hayakawa's seat are ... Maureen Reagan, the president's daughter.

Without shameless hypocrisy, what would Republicans have left.
JOHN KING: Ed Rollins to you first, have you ever tried to get somebody not to run, or to drop out and maybe entice them with something?

ED ROLLINS: We stay out of primaries, that was sort of President Reagan's goal ... our policy was stay out of primaries.
Sure it was. Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

By golly, Dick Morris* would have had Saint Reagan impeached.

Perhaps Dick Morris and his Hannity pals don't understand that presidential advisory board positions of the type reportedly suggested to Joe Sestak aren't created by Acts of Congress, which is what a violation of the relevant federal law would require to be proven.

* That's Tea Republican rich guy Ron Johnson's inspiration.

Is Ron Johnson puffing his Twitter account?

Some of Tea Party Republican Ron Johnson's 296 followers:

Okay, that last one is probably real.* And maybe Ron Johnson just doesn't want to abridge JustinBieberRu's freedom of speech.

* But likely not a disciple of Ayn Rand.

May 28, 2010

Or prohibiting the free detonation thereof

Right-wing radio host Michael Berry exclaimed: "If you do build a mosque, I hope somebody blows it up ... I hope the mosque isn't built, and if it is, I hope it's blown up, and I mean that."
That's most helpful, thanks.
"We have good people in talk radio who will tell us the truth."
— Republican candidate for Senate Ron Johnson
TPM commenter lalaland:
"Plus, can't the right let the people who LIVE there make the decisions for themselves?"

Good question, as that's supposedly the right's animating principle.

Grumps nailed that

I predict that the [Republican] Party faithful will endorse the far-right wallet of Ron Johnson ... The Light Governor endorsement will go four ballots and come down to Sykes' handpicked media darling and the guy who thinks the Humane Society is a fringe organization. At that point reality will set in and "No Endorsement" will carry the night.
This whole thing is very, very funny.

Ron Johnson is running to protect talk radio

Polling whiz Nate Silver says that unknown rich guy Ron Johnson, reported to be the official Wisconsin Republican Party-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate, is "good on the stump."

According to presentation, it's at least debatable. Of course when Sean Hannity calls Sarah Palin's teleprompted performance at the 2008 RNC convention one of the "greatest speeches in history," you know the bar is set pretty low (as in, buried) for Johnson et al.

But according to content on the stump, not so much. Here is five minutes worth of Johnson shouting the usual Tea Party paranoias about Obama and the media taking away all of his Freedoms.

(He's standing in courageous defiance outside the Capitol in Madison, with Big Government literally breathing down his neck while the fundamental Freedoms are collapsing all around.)

Remember, this is the principled First Amendment champion who was filmed with his posse tearing down the political campaign signs (i.e., "speech") of two of his Republican opponents.
[We have] good people in talk radio who will tell us the truth. Now of course liberals will try and shut these people up. They'll do everything in their power to shut these people up, so it will be our job to make sure the liberals don't succeed.*
Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Charlie Sykes ... those are the real victims in America, and their mighty Truths are under attack.

And the devoted Randian Ron Johnson, who nobly heeded Dick Morris's call for a properly credentialed "rich guy from Wisconsin," wants to be their man in the Senate. Dick sure got himself a live one.

It's going to take a lot more than Tea Party dog whistling, however.

* This blog is doing its part to shut them up by linking to Johnson's speech and to Nate Silver's link to Johnson's speech. Silver's post, incidentally, is mostly about trying to shut up Rasmussen Reports, whose own mighty Truths lie well outside the margin of comedy.

May 27, 2010

Johnson easy to paint*

As an extremist, because he is an extremist.

I wonder how many of those Tea Party Republicans whose Foundational Book is Atlas Shrugged realize that Ayn Rand's philosophy is informed by a visceral, Nietzschean hatred for what they more often preach to us as "Christian Values."

* If you arrived at this post in error, try Milwaukee's Tool Shed.

Patrick McIlheran's drooling idiocy

Simply won't stand for this slight against Glenn Palimbaugh

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's award-winning calumnist Patrick McIlheran complains that Leonard Pitts doesn't blame Democrats enough for their opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
[B]ack when King actually was marching, it wasn't political conservatives hating on him. It was Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), an ex-Klansman and the only current member of the Senate to have voted against the Civil Rights Act. And it was, by and large, Democrats who opposed the bill and civil rights.
In fact it was southern political conservatives of both parties, including Byrd and his, which Leonard Pitts clearly acknowledges:
[I]n the century after the Civil War, ... conservative Southern Democrats violently repressed would-be black voters, made a shadow government of the Ku Klux Klan, turned a deaf ear to the howling of lynch mobs and lynch victims.
You'd expect a journalist of McIlheran's stature could calculate that those 100 years extended even beyond the CRA's enactment.

(Depending on your construction of "stature," of course.)
The civil rights bill "would dictate to private businessmen who they must do business with," said ex-Mississippi Gov. J.P. Coleman. It "would further impinge on the right of private property in this country," said Georgia Sen. Richard Russell.
The latter are the corollaries to Rand Paul's recent sentiments, which were first announced to the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal, not when "left-wing talk show hosts" were "baiting him."*

Both J.P. Coleman and Richard Russell were Democrats. Russell was a powerful leader for decades in the U.S. Senate,** and a white supremacist. Calumnist Patrick McIlheran, obviously, is the drooling idiot, who doesn't even read the articles he purports to criticize.

Then McIlheran cites approvingly Bruce Bartlett, who just said:
In short, the libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul and the Supreme Court of the 1880s and 1890s gave us almost 100 years of segregation, white supremacy, lynchings, chain gangs, the KKK, and discrimination of African Americans for no other reason except their skin color.
Look, there's those 100 years again. (Speaking of the Supreme Court, who wrote Shelley v. Kraemer? FDR-appointed liberals, is who.)

So it's fine and dandy for Bruce Bartlett to point that out, but not for Leonard Pitts,*** according to the award-winning Patrick McIlheran, all because Pitts insulted poor little race-hustling Rush Limbaugh.

* "Baiting" = posing a simple question. McIlheran's contempt for journalism is usually only manifested in his alleged practice of it.

** Where he actually has a building named after him.

*** Pitts is black, by the way; McIlheran is the oppressed white man.

Kenny G finally throttled by market's invisible hand

You've butchered your last Christmas carol in this town, pal
Terror alert rescinded for Milwaukee elevators and dentist offices

George Will's man love letter to Ron Johnson

Sheesh, get a room already:
Ron Johnson ... now is ablaze, in an understated, Upper Midwestern way. This 55-year-old manufacturer of plastic products from Oshkosh, Wis., is what the Tea Party looks like. He is trim, gray-haired and suddenly gray-suited. For years he has worn jeans and running shoes to his office, but now, under spousal duress, he is trying to look senatorial — "My wife upgraded me to brown shoes."
Ron Johnson tells the poor man's Roger Angell his "foundational book" is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which is not the Foundational Book you'd expect out of a pro-life Lutheran hailing from the Wisconsin heartland. Or is it. What the hell, there was no commandment about naked political pandering (even Noah of West Bend public school board fame did a little naked pandering, come to think of it).

And Johnson thinks the tome — whose author's opinion of religion makes PZ Myers look like Francis of Assisi — is "too short,"* which is actually a pretty great line. But he also thought Terrence Wall and Dave Westlake were a couple pages too long, so he tore their campaign posters down (which he now says reporters made him do).

Johnson may be even more entertaining than Rand Paul.
Asked how much of his wealth he will spend, if necessary, [Johnson's] answer is as simple as it is swift: "All of it."
Remember: No bailouts, no entitlements.

* Its relentless, one-note tedium exceeds 1,000 pages.

Gun buff's prominence reduced to past tense

Jesus C. Gonzalez, 23, was a prominent advocate of so-called open carry ...
Emphases added. It's funny, because the newspaper made him "prominent" in the first place. Now, after they made him prominent, they say he isn't prominent anymore, he only used to be prominent.

J-S solves Habush search engine lawsuit

Misspell the other firm's proper name four times in one story.

But the Milwaukee archdiocese could retain Canon & Dunphy.

No love for ol' capper first reported the expected end to Terrence Wall's campaign early this morning.
— Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 05/27/10
But see: 05/26/10 7:43 P.M.

Damned lamestream media, scooped by an amateur.

Marquette faces an economic sanction

Lt. Gov. raises allegations of unlawful hiring practices:
[T]he university emphatically denies any allegations of 'discriminatory hiring practices' and regrets the unfortunate way in which the deferred action was announced.
I guess it would (its attorneys, more specifically).

Marquette University owes its community an explanation that includes reference to the specific writings of Prof. Jodi O'Brien it objected to and how and why they conflict with which Catholic doctrines. It has never given this explanation. Nobody should simply take Jerome Listecki's word for it,* nor that of his judicial vicar.

The Jesuit intellectual tradition advertised by Marquette demands a thorough examination of what are, in its continuing absence, nothing but subjective, conclusory assumptions and cheap innuendo.**

Prof. O'Brien is a Catholic too and her treatment by the political right in Milwaukee (that is, Listecki's constituency) has been a disgrace.

Which is to be expected, but they aren't the only interested parties.

* The chief of police in Eau Claire mightn't.

** The said judicial vicar actually compared O'Brien's professional activities to "unnecessary [medical] testing on live humans," a risibly oblique example of reductio ad Hitlerum and as such an indication of the integrity of the judicial vicar's argument, whatever it is.

Google Terrence Wall

That ain't right.

Speaking of Ron Johnson, who is best known for tearing his two political opponents'* campaign signs from the wall (no pun intended) at last weekend's Wisconsin State Republican jamboree:
Ron Johnson won the Republican nomination to run against Russ Feingold. — Dick Morris, time-traveling Wispundit
Somebody inform Dick the Wisconsin party primaries aren't until September. No wonder Morris is a valued Fox News "contributor."
[Ron Johnson is] an independent, successful businessman with great access to funding ... Please give him money.
Can the Palin endorsement be far behind?

* One personally, the other on a theory of respondeat superior.

May 26, 2010

Rand Paul a disgrace to the Libertarian Party

Judean Popular People's Front, he's over there
"He had gone from being an outsider candidate to a tea party candidate to an establishment candidate in the past nine months," said Libertarian Party Vice Chairman Joshua Koch. "It's a complete identity crisis. I've never seen anything like it." Insisting Paul is no Libertarian, Koch called Paul and his Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, "faces of the same bad coin."

Republican lolbertarian faces challenge, juggles staff

STFU, Mitch McConnell advises lolbertarian

"He's said quite enough for the time being," admonished McConnell, adding he would tell Rand Paul to spend more time talking to Kentucky voters and less to the national media.
As if the national media won't report what he tells Kentucky voters. Anyway it's all international media nowadays, Minority Leader McConnell, what with the internets and the satellite teevee. I hear they watch MSNBC in Papua New Guinea.

And while Kentucky voters get to make the call, Paul is running for a national office in a national legislature whose members craft national policy. So Rand Paul can't exactly hide, nor should he expect to.
"Well look, according to the polls that came out after the primary he has a 25 point lead going in to the general election," McConnell pointed out.
One poll, by Rasmussen, which is out of whack with other polls, and which was taken prior to, inter alia, Rand Paul's touching defense of British Petroleum's lolbertarian property rights in the Gulf of Mexico.

I'm no Kentuckian, but that State's Attorney General Jack Conway looks like a mighty competent candidate to me.

Deep down, Mitch McConnell knows it too, as he did what he could to ensure Rand Paul's defeat in the Kentucky Republican primary.

May 25, 2010

Senator moonlights as Diazepam pitchman

Said GOP Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, "[Obama] needs to take a Valium® before he comes in and talks to Republicans and just calm down, and don't take anything so seriously."
What he means is take everything except Republicans seriously.

Gun buff makes $100K cash bail

Again with the "prominent gun rights advocate" bit.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's unconcealed insistence at making this guy the face of the Second Amendment is endlessly comical.


He's not exactly Charlton Heston.

Discover Wisconsin: You're Hmong gangs

There's no place in criminal complaints for political correctness:
Mr. Boyd further stated that after the fight, they went to the Citgo gas station, at which point the Asian males pulled up in the same vehicle and started shooting. Mr. Boyd stated that he was shot in the stomach. Mr. Boyd identified the shooter as Asian, but stated that they "all look the same."
State of Wisconsin v. "Shotcaller" Yang (.pdf; 67 pgs.)

Impressive (and highly informative) piece of law enforcement work, although it appears they still have a few arrest warrants to execute.

Speaking of Gableman

Ron Johnson Sings: Odes to the New Deal
The first hire by Ron Johnson was the veteran GOP operative who put together the campaign of Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, the most disreputable figure ever to sit on the State's high court.
Quite possibly an empirically demonstrable claim.
The crude campaign of distortion was arranged on Gableman's behalf by Darrin Schmitz, who now works for Ron Johnson.
What sort of Senate campaign does Ron Johnson intend to run?

It says here he enjoys folk music and strumming the guitar, so maybe he's going to play a few of Woody Guthrie's big government numbers.

More Gableman: The court has heard enough.

Expletive demoted

Pabst Theater: Twitter

I think Mad Planet is about a tenth of the size of Turner Hall. Maybe the band's name set the venerable turners to spinning quicker.
Holy Fuck have the divine right to be profane. And with respected music luminaries Thom Yorke and Lou Reed passing on kind words about studio recordings and live performances, it’s no wonder Holy Fuck have become sought after.
Four out of five stars — (London) Times Online, 05/26/10

Video: Lovely Alien
SXSW: Red Lights

Pretty good for techno.
According to a Conservative talking-points memo obtained by Canwest News Service, one program was axed because its grant recipients included "a general radical," "a left-wing and anti-globalization think-tank" and a rock band that uses an expletive as part of its name.
PM defends Tory track record on arts — Ottawa Citizen, 08/27/08

Gableman: Innocent victim of a cruel press

Sure brings a tear to your eye, don't it.
And yes, let him do what he was elected to do.

Milwaukee's hate radio condemned

[Republican former Senate candidate Richard Leinenkugel] also blamed Milwaukee conservative talk radio hosts for creating an atmosphere of, quote, "hatred, not anger."
The poor sod, he must have had to listen to an awful lot of Charlie Sykes to come to that conclusion. Leinenkugel has my sincere condolences, but it's not all that hard to find better things to do.

Leinenkugel has since thrown his support behind this guy, who was filmed ripping down his two Republican opponents' election signs.

Noah's Volcano created the Grand Canyon

Says West Bend creationist:
A canyon similar to and one fortieth the size of the Grand Canyon was formed [by the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens].
Sure, if by similar you mean loose volcanic ash, mud, and debris is as hard as 3600 feet of sandstone, limestone, and schist aggregated over the course of millions of years. Ms. Weigand doesn't reveal the source of her dimensional calculations, but it's oft-repeated creationist nonsense and the comparisons between the Grand Canyon and the Toutle River are ludicrous. The author's husband, David Weigand, was recently elected to the West Bend public school board.

Is this the manner of "science" they want to teach up there?

For entertainment's sake, let's hope so.

May 24, 2010

Candidate apologizes for GOP miracle

A Republican candidate for Congress from Wisconsin has repented after a miracle caused a disparate assortment of Party hopefuls to post exactly the same hollow platitudes at their respective websites.

Ron Johnson caught abridging freedom of speech

To an extent not contemplated by McCain-Feingold

Tea Party Republicans Ron Johnson & Co.* tear Johnson's two Republican adversaries' election posters clean off the wall at the Republican State convention in Milwaukee. (h/t James Rowen.)

The convention endorsed Johnson, whatever that's worth. Johnson's travel coordinator told the Oshkosh Northwestern he was personally summoned to said vocation by the Son of God Himself.**

Nobody knows anything about Ron Johnson, who is apparently running for the U.S. Senate, except that he is a multimillionaire extremist who was recruited televisually by Bill O'Reilly and Dick Morris.***

Could he be a lolbertarian, also?

* Candidate Ron Johnson removes a Terrence Wall sign, Johnson's compadre reaches up and pulls down the orange Dave Westlake sign.

** You can't leave everything to the market's invisible hand.

*** Which is about all you need to know, really.

May 20, 2010

Rand Paul's lolbertarian country club

Item: "Senate nominee Rand Paul, R-KY, said he would have opposed forcing businesses to integrate under the 1964 Civil Rights Act."

Rand Paul held his victory party at the Bowling Green Country Club, which is either appropriate or not, depending on your perspective:
In 1967 the [Western Kentucky University] golf team, which had no practice course, was invited to use the facilities at the Bowling Green Country Club. Then it was discovered that the team might have a black member. The Country Club was not integrated, and the invitation came under question. Dr. Minton conferred with President Thompson and reported to the Athletic Committee "that there is no question as to how this institution stands as far as signing any agreement or any commitment that would in any way infringe upon a player's rights because of his race or color. The University would in no way approve this." The golf team commuted to Mammoth Park or used the nine-hole Bowling Green municipal course for its practice site.
Western Kentucky University by Lowell H. Harrison, p. 196.

Republican's win "depressing," says Republican

Paul offers a target-rich environment for negative advertising.

That's a lolbertarian understatement:
In short, the libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul and the Supreme Court of the 1880s and 1890s gave us almost 100 years of segregation, white supremacy, lynchings, chain gangs, the KKK, and discrimination of African Americans for no other reason except their skin color.
Ye Gods (Rand Paul must be really old).

Shirley Abrahamson quote of the day

If there was ever any doubt about this provision's textual opacity, the conclusive evidence is that the majority requires four paragraphs of judicial analysis, including two dedicated to the absence of a single comma, just to decide which words should be cobbled together to form a proper sentence.
The Chief delivers a lesson in statutory construction, ¶¶ 55-79.

Earlier: Gableman schooled.

Neumann and Walker entertain the lefties

Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor Mark Neumann* is pretty clever if he predicted his YouTubes attack ad lampooning Milwaukee County Executive and GOP rival Scott Walker would immediately turn up on every liberal website in the State.
Then Walker was barraged with negative comments on Facebook. Just 48 hours later, Walker flipped.
According to Neumann, Walker went from being a "surprisingly tough" critic of a recently notorious Arizona immigration law, to whimpering like a baby at the mutiny of his Facebook BFFs,** to asserting he'd be "comfortable" signing the Arizona bill into law (whose own governor might be less comfortable with a Milwaukee county government functionary elbowing onto her desk and stealing her pen).

Which is intriguing because a few weeks ago Scott Walker announced he'd authorize his prospective attorney general to join a Florida lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a certain provision in the federal health care reform statutes.

Walker and his cohorts insist the latter's so-called individual insurance mandate exceeds Congress's power under the U.S. Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause (even though the federal government will primarily defend the mandate as a tax).

Yet the power to "establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization" is specifically enumerated to Congress and not Arizona nor even Wisconsin. So to the extent that Arizona encroaches on Congress's enumerated power to legislate on immigration matters, the Grand Canyon State's initiative is a constitutional dead letter.

That is, among the scholarly set at least, it inspires little "comfort."

And that concern is entirely separate from the projected glut of unreasonable searches and seizures attached to attempts at enforcing the Arizona law (which some court's injunction is likely to prevent anyway, another reason not to get too "comfortable").

On the other hand, Congress's ability to impose a tax in the form of buying into a federally regulated health insurance system (there's no dispute that health care runs on interstate commerce, the regulation of which is also clearly federal domain) is a far more open question.

Fortunately Scott Walker isn't running for the Supreme Court, because evidently his "judicial philosophy" is lacking in consistency.

Meanwhile, F. James Sensenbrenner is still soliciting activist judges.

* Neumann has gone rogue, spurning the Party faithful at this weekend's State Republican debauch in Milwaukee, which culminates in Scott Walker's allegedly triumphant return from his Apology Tour of President Obama's investments in Wisconsin schools and families.

** We don't know which ones waited until they got off work.

May 19, 2010

WisDems attach catchy adjectives

Multimillionaire extremist Ron Johnson.

Nice work if you can get it.

"God is calling me to this."

McIlheran's acceptable form of bigotry

MCILHERAN: Anti-gay comments appalling:
Homophobic diatribes like McIlheran's belong in the comments section of tea party blogs, not splashed all over the opinion pages and blog space of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
They're one and the same. That's why he got the Teabag Pulitzer.

Tiger Woods ordained country club fête

This guy's going to be a real barrel of laughs.

What happens when Republicans learn Rand Paul is a military isolationist and slightly to the left of the ACLU on civil rights?

What happens is U.S. Senator Jack Conway (D-KY).

(But can eminent domain take Tiger back onto I-43 southbound?)

Gun buff captured in Sheboygan Falls

Hubing was wearing camouflage clothing when he rode his bicycle carrying an assault-style rifle and [a loaded .40 caliber] handgun [within a school zone] on Monday ...
Git in the truck.
I am for well trained individuals who wish to carry a handgun in a holster, not some young man riding his bike around like Rambo flaunting his "right to open carry." To me it seemed like he was getting a kick out of the attention and got what he deserved.
— Sheboygan (WI) Press reader spankymir

Such is the envelope of civil rights. Similarly, most people value their right to socially responsible speech, but they don't exercise it to produce dehumanizing hard core pornography, which is protected by the same bit of Constitution. They'll march against Obamacare, but they won't be picketing military funerals with Shirley Phelps-Roper.
The [S]tate constitutional right to bear arms extends to openly carrying a handgun for lawful purposes. . . . If, however, a person brandishes a handgun in public, the conduct may lose its constitutional protection.
— Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen
Gun buff.

Republicans defeated everywhere

In Kentucky, U.S. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell's handpicked successor to Republican Jim Bunning: defeated. In Arkansas, conservative Democrat Blanche Lincoln forced to contest a run-off election against a liberal. In Pennsylvania, Republican Arlen Specter running in the Democratic primary: defeated. Also in Pennsylvania, in an actual Congressional election, Republican Tim Burns: defeated, handily, in a district Obama lost in 2008.

The only thing conservatives didn't lose is their ability to spin crazily.

"I'm a new Democrat," said Harley Smithson, 51, of Baltimore, Maryland, who said he had recently switched from the Republicans. "I want to be with a party that's for something instead of against everything."

May 18, 2010

Mark Souder's personal highlight of the year

Appearing in some creationist claptrap.

The enormous hypocrite removed his YouTube video discussing "intelligent design" with his mistress for Christian teevee.

the (in)famous Mark Souder video where he discusses abstinence education with his mistress Tracy Jackson
is here.

Morality only comes from God, don't you know.

Jesus* summons Tea Republican's travel agent

"God is calling me to this," said Tony Blando, president of the Unified Catholic Schools of Oshkosh, WI.

Jesus and Dick Morris, the unstoppable sacred and profane team.

* Not Jesus the "gun buff."

Staunch family values conservative Republican

Is a grotesque hypocrite, fancy that.

Rep. Mark Souder blamed the "poisonous environment" in Washington, D.C. Yea verily, woe and shame unto those wily Beltway temptresses, who corrupt our devoted Men of God.

May 17, 2010

Thanks for reinforcing my larger point

Detroit News: Photos of Miss USA Rima Fakih posed provocatively in a T-shirt and short red shorts from a radio station contest left some in the community saddened.
Former student Susan Myers: It wasn't too difficult, after experiences like these, to understand Dr. O'Brien's classroom message about America's simultaneous obsession with and repression of sexual expression.

The celebrated firearms aficionado ...

Now he's a "prominent gun rights advocate."

The other day he was a "gun buff."

Clenis retread mints a Tea Republican

Charlie Sykes: Was there a moment where you're sitting on your couch, and you go, maybe its gonna be me. Maybe that I have, maybe I'm the guy that has to step forward and, and, and do this thing.

Ron Johnson: You know there actually was. I was watching FOX News and, uh, Dick Morris came on. He was talking about, uh, hey Russ Feingold is really, really vulnerable. Hey, if you're a rich guy in the state of Wisconsin maybe you ought to decide to run.
What a horror. I hadn't known Dick Morris could inspire anybody to anything other than violent retching. And this is the same Ron Johnson who hired Michael Gableman's campaign manager.

Scalia and Thomas move to release sex offenders

Fortunately seven other judges with more empathy stopped them.

Scott Walker is shovelhead ready

Scott Walker, a career Republican politician for going on 18 years, is now touring the area inspecting all the great stuff U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama's stimulus package has brought to Wisconsin.

But, Cory Liebmann reminds us, it depends who Scott Walker's talking to, whether or not he likes funding Wisconsin schools, tax credits for Wisconsin families' home improvements, and so forth:
One minute he tells the most rabid elements of the right wing that he will not "feed at the trough" and the next minute he is trying to take credit for programs and investments that were funded via the federal stimulus.
Come to think of it, Scott Walker is kind of a one-man stimulus project all by himself, as he's been collecting a government paycheck for nearly half his life. Mind you, he likely approves of his own funding. Surely even the Tea Party is wise to Walker's charade.

Also: Scott Walker only works part-time, calculates GOP rival

In fairness, maybe that way he does less damage.

May 15, 2010

Marquette flap recalls Josef Mengele

"Academic freedom in medical schools has its limits — that's why we don't have unnecessary testing on live animals and humans," said Father Paul Hartmann, the Milwaukee archdiocese's judicial vicar.
Maybe that's overstating the analogy by just a tad.
At Marquette, lawyers reportedly are now negotiating a settlement with O'Brien ...
Might want to get that sucker inked and notarized before you start rambling about how Dr. O'Brien's writings in sociology are exactly like unnecessary medical experimentation on live humans.

May 14, 2010

Jim Stingl combs for the dirty bits

Marquette University might think it's protecting students, but what it's really doing is spreading a message of intolerance disguised as God's will.
I always enjoy Jim Stingl.

May 13, 2010

Run for cover, America

'Now the White House has got her wearing pearls!' — Fox "News"
In other words, because we don't know [Elena Kagan's] views, let's put out hypothetical questions that imply that she might be against free speech. I mean, she hasn't come right out and said that she's in favor of free speech, so let's assume the worst through disingenuous, leading questions. Sort of like the old Karl Rove-ian push polling. Run for cover, America, Obama's Supreme Court nominee is looking to overthrow the First Amendment.
That's a fair assessment.

Journal-Sentinel calumnist P. McIlheran fears teh Liberal Fascism (a.k.a. War on Christmas). Little does he know the remarks of Elena Kagan's he alludes to (third-hand: more impeccable scholarship) were made directly in the context of legislative attempts to mitigate (actual) cross-burnings and revoltingly brutal pornography and not, e.g., the beloved judicial election-quality protected speech.

Odd, because Robert Bork examined similar questions and found no First Amendment protections, to enormous conservative Republican acclaim. Since when did the right-wing rescind Bork's beatification?

If McIlheran was intellectually honest and consistent, he would distrust — as he always does — Obama's implied assurances that he's selected a Justice as liberal as her predecessor, John Paul Stevens.

And if you don't trust Obama — as McIlheran never does — then the Court will, as a necessary consequence of Obama's false assurances, move to the right. That is, the wingers ought to be celebrating.

But like I said, if honest and consistent. So forget it.

Frightful Fascist Flashback: Obama emptied all the prisons, also.

John McAdams, obsessed with lesbians

"Lesbian ... lesbian ... lesbian ..."
This appears to confirm our [sic] inference that O’Brien was the designated lesbian affirmative action candidate for the [College of Arts and Sciences] deanship, moved forward by liberal faculty and administrators who viewed her appointment as a move toward "diversity" at Marquette.
Typically brilliant analysis by McAdams, who is a Marquette University professor of political science. If McAdams is correct, that Jodi O'Brien was offered an employment contract because she is a lesbian, then it may follow that it was rescinded for the same reason, which wouldn't bode well for Marquette's legal defense, should one be required.

Fortunately nobody takes McAdams seriously. Except P. McIlheran.

Points to ponder (Cynics ed.)

Reposted from May 3, 2009
[John Chipman] Gray managed to conduct a major law practice in Boston throughout his forty years on Harvard's faculty. His special field was real property — legal rights in land — although he had once taught constitutional law (which he abandoned because he was convinced that "there was no such thing," that constitutional law was merely politics).
— Gerald Gunther, Learned Hand: The Man and the Judge, p. 50

And he hadn't even seen D.C. v. Heller, where the Court was reduced to reading the Constitution backwards to reach the proper result.

Mark Neumann champions robust democracy

While career politician Walker revels in backroom party accolades

Kagan can be a judge but not a lawyer

According to Arlen Specter.

I would like somebody to once again ask Elena Kagan if the United States is "at war." Perhaps it's not so remarkable for a prospective solicitor general to reply in the affirmative, as Kagan did during the Senate hearings for her current position.

But as an auditioning Supreme Court Justice tasked with interpreting the Constitution, her answer will have to be, "No."

Only Congress has the power to declare war, and it hasn't.

Marquette invites ominous wrath of Jesus

Official Golden Eagles apparel now available in Nomex®
[The homosexual lifestyle is] a result of sin in the world just like any other disease. God doesn't create what He condemns! It's all about being screwed up in the head and the enjoyment of perverse sex in my opinion. Marquette better remain true to the Gospel or risk being punished by real believers. ... The lake of fire will certainly be full of those who rejected Christ!
Browsing the morning paper is not what it used to be.

eta 1: Now it's been deleted. Who knows why.
eta 2: GregJennings85 insists on memorializing the theology.
eta 3: There it was, gone again.

May 12, 2010

Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette's

Lewis Black.

Scott Walker's history of failure

Wisconsin State Representative Tamara Grigsby via Xoff

Reporter Patrick McIlheran is hot on the case

Award-winnning reporter Patrick McIlheran, who recently praised on highest hosannas two embarrassingly researched hit pieces on Jodi O'Brien's scholarship, did so without even having seen the professor's C.V., which contains her complete repertoire of publication citations.

Think about that. McIlheran, in a major daily newspaper, joined a chorus attacking Dr. O'Brien's professional reputation, without even having seen a list of her scholarly work. Hadn't even seen the titles.

Even better, McIlheran didn't do this afternoon's legwork himself, he happened across it at radio shouter Mark Belling's webpage. Also, the C.V. is three years old. There is a much more recent version, but maybe Belling didn't know how to upload a Word document.*

And after all that, McIlheran thinks Milwaukee archbishop Jerome Listecki did a good job, interfering in the two-year project of a Marquette University academic hiring committee and reportedly providing the clerical impetus to rescind a signed — by both parties, it's been claimed — contract for employment, a contract offered to Dr. O'Brien not just once but twice.

(It took the intrepid journalist McIlheran, it may be recalled, several days to properly understand what was meant by "hide the decline.")
When asked whether she was considering legal action against Marquette, O'Brien told the student paper: "I’m in conversation with the university about the best next steps. My hope is that the situation can become an opportunity for institutional learning."
That's a strategically ingenious response. No wonder they offered her the job two times.

* Mark Belling's personal avatar Rush Limbaugh didn't realize you could search .pdfs and blamed it all on the Kenyan socialist's plot.

Marquette University goes Lutheran

"My greatest fear," said the Milwaukee archdiocese's judicial vicar Paul Hartmann, is that hiring Dr. O'Brien as dean of Marquette's College of Arts And Sciences would "dichotomize reason from faith."

Whether that means Dr. O'Brien will recruit an army of lesbians or an army of lesbian atheists isn't entirely clear. But it can't be terribly mollifying to those academics within Marquette University who are both devout Catholics and supporters of Dr. O'Brien, a Catholic.

Hartmann's "greatest fear" is remarkable and strange, considering the purpose of a Jesuit education is to inculcate the reconcilability of reason with faith. At least, that's what I took away from one.
Reason is the greatest enemy of faith. — Martin Luther
JSOnline: Milwaukee archbishop Jerome Listecki raised the alarm

Here's another character pronouncing on the entire corpus of Dr. O'Brien's published scholarship after perusing one informal article on the internets, a tremendously unfair and unwarrantedly dismissive assessment. John McAdams pulled a similarly disingenuous stunt.

Its appears some of these actors are more interested in undermining Dr. O'Brien's reputation rather than directly engaging her ideas.

Vive le patriarche: O'Brien couldn't have made the point any better.
The spirited support of my colleagues reflects the inclusivity of the Jesuit mission as I have experienced it at Seattle University over the past 15 years. This mission—with its focus on excellence, faith, leadership, and social justice—has been at the center of my own evolution as a teacher and a scholar. This show of support has deepened my commitment to this mission. — Jodi O'Brien
Except Dr. O'Brien is too hip for the house, according to Mr. Listecki.

May 11, 2010

Republican: Demand courts overturn people's will

Representative democracy having obtained the wrong result ...
Sensenbrenner will depend on activist judges to defeat health care

The hypocrisy is strong with this one. And I think that's the same F. James Sensenbrenner who believes "no law" means "some laws."

Stained glass ceiling

Timely, comprehensive piece:
That review was requested by the Rev. John J. Myers, archbishop of Newark, who denounced the course [on the history of marriage] for seeking "to promote as legitimate a train of thought that is contrary to what the church teaches."
Really, non-Catholic "trains of thought" are illegitimate? The entire Marquette philosophy department must be hellbound. The alerting phrase, "an archbishop said" is a useful cue to stop paying attention.

And what human insists on being introduced as "the reverend."

Probably not even Jesus (who wasn't a Catholic either).

h/t Alicia Crowe.

Reince Priebus, lead stuntman

Jim Arndt reads a WISGOP press release so you don't have to:
The cookie-cutter introduction of "strictly interpret the Constitution instead of legislating from the bench" is probably in the response to Justice Sotomayor’s nomination.
Or culled from any random utterance of Michael Gableman.

May 10, 2010

Elena Kagan: Not enough paper

"Ms. Kagan has spent her entire professional career in Harvard Square, Hyde Park, and the DC Beltway. These are not places where one learns how ordinary people live," he said.
Big John Cornyn boned up on nominee by reading Glenn Greenwald
The Republican party chairman, Michael Steele, said today that given Kagan's opposition to allowing military recruiters on campus, "you can expect Senate Republicans to respectfully raise serious and tough questions."
Who's he trying to kid.

What you can expect is their usual petulant histrionics.

Jodi O'Brien on the Facebook

Check it out, join up.
Or, are these events based on an intervention from [Milwaukee arch-] Bishop Listecki?
Deeply troubling questions — Prof. Gene Laczniak

It appears to me we are being asked by Marquette to believe that Dr. O'Brien's provocative, challenging scholarship is inconsistent with the Jesuit intellectual tradition of provocative, challenging scholarship.

Earlier below:
Dr. O'Brien's disastrous disinvitation
John McAdams's school of scholarly scholarship
Open Forum with Jodi O'Brien
No Queer Christian Identities for Marquette

Mark Neumann confirms he's not running for God

Thanks for clearing that up
Neumann also suggested that he would not hire an openly gay staffer

You can't be too careful, you know. According to enthusiastic Mark Neumann endorser Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, lesbianism is so out-of-control in the Sooner State they only let one girl at a time into the high school bathrooms.

May 9, 2010

"Social conservative" explains gay agenda

Or is it deft satire:
"I don't know what it is about gay people. I don't know if they're born gay or if they go out to L.A. or San Francisco and they catch a disease and they become gay. I'm not sure. They have so many free thoughts out there in L.A., that you can be whatever you want to be. ... Gay people encourage gayness."
The J-S profiles Republican candidate for Congress Sean Duffy

One other thing about gay people is, they vote.

May 8, 2010

Dr. O'Brien's disastrous disinvitation

In one act you managed to insult Dr. O’Brien, the Marquette faculty and student body, and the Jesuit Seattle University.
Holy smoke. That can't be good.

John McAdams's school of scholarly scholarship

Indeed, given Sonia Sotomayor's liberal views, it would be odd if she were not a racist and sexist.
Marquette University's own nutty professor John McAdams has concocted an hilariously incoherent attack against Prof. Jodi O'Brien, the Catholic scholar and would-be dean of academics whose job offer was rescinded by Marquette this week.

Marquette says O'Brien's writings contain negative statements about marriage and family, and yesterday canceled an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "saying this was now a legal situation."

McAdams, on the other hand, is unbound by such circumspection.

McAdams claims to have reviewed "every single article" in O'Brien's bibliography and concludes mockingly that her area of expertise is in "victim studies," which is a vintage McAdams buffoonery in addition to being a crass political exercise in poisoning the well.

Incidentally I'm sure Dr. O'Brien would find McAdams endlessly fascinating in her capacity as a clinical social scientist, and it's hoped he may appear in an anecdotal "vignette" in some future "victim study" (with McAdams standing for the victim archetype, of course).

Anyway, "every single article" that is, right up until the point where McAdams (or "we," as he refers Royally to himself) admits that he "lack[s] the stomach to extensively examine this kind of literature."

You see, he's also intellectually fearless, in the Jesuitical tradition.

So since he (they?) hasn't actually examined it to any substantive degree, McAdams instead charges that Prof. O'Brien's scholarship is "mediocre" because it hasn't appeared through what he calls "top-level" publishers, none of whom he cares to enumerate.

Which is amusing because of the three articles McAdams provides ("at random" from among dozens, he says: Yeah, right) one appears in Sexualities, a journal of Sage Publications, one is in an anthology put out by Routledge, a preeminent social sciences publisher of international renown, and the third is from the Seattle Journal for Social Justice, an imprint of the Seattle University School of Law.

That's McAdams's entire case: his (their?) admittedly groundless invective, oblivious that SU ranks among the top 100 law schools.

As for Marquette Law School, which is attached to the institution McAdams is fearlessly defending against Prof. O'Brien's "mediocre" scholarship, sadly, it's unranked: Tier 3. McAdams rarely fails to entertain (the reasons for which he's most likely completely unaware), but his own credibility is in almost tragically short supply.

McAdams might have been on to something had he been comparing The Botanical Review with High Times. Except he isn't, at all.

However, McAdams's special gift for unwittingly demolishing his own rigorously crafted arguments remains second to none, top-tier.

Finally, McAdams decides the O'Brien affair is an "embarrassment" to Marquette University. On that account, he sure as hell ain't helping.

Because believe it or not, he teaches political science there.

Photo illustration: I'm huntin' wascawwy wesbians.

Pipe bombs are fun

Four men and a 62-year-old woman only wanted to blow up stuff in one of their back yards.
That would explain the screws and the drill bits.

Come Monday, the next Harriet Miers

What, run out on a rail by the Federalist Society and Jay $ekulow?
Yesterday, I read everything Elena Kagan has ever published. ... Kagan's work reminded me of Orwell's observation that, if book reviewers were honest, 19 of 20 reviews would consist of the sentence, "this book inspires in me no thoughts whatever."

Consider that Obama and Kagan joined the Chicago law faculty in the very same year, after both were Harvard Law students and members of the Harvard Law Review. (The difference between a "crony" and a "colleague" is often something of a sociological mystery.)
A quasi-scholarly concern troll.

Joe Lieberman: Politics or performance art?

He's named his bill the Terrorist Expatriation Act: TEA. So is this going to be Scott Brown's election message? Let's give Obama and Hillary Clinton the power to strip persons born or naturalized in the U.S. of their citizenship based on "association" with certain odious groups, those also selected and designated by Obama and Clinton?

Is Scott Brown insane?

"That would be pretty difficult under the U.S. Constitution," said colorful House Republican and minority leader John Boehner, who is not normally so given to droll understatement.

May 7, 2010

Open Forum with Jodi O'Brien

This video is hosted by Marquette University, a Q&A session with faculty and students and Prof. Jodi O'Brien, who is now at the hub of controversy. It was filmed at Marquette in February so she's no stranger to the area (and reportedly was house hunting in Shorewood).

Here Prof. O'Brien is auditioning for the faculty. She was a serious contender to become dean of the university's College of Arts and Sciences and in fact was offered the gig, but on account of some paragraphs she wrote a decade ago, the offer was rescinded.

She's extremely impressive. Knowledgeable, professional, articulate, engaging, and she handles every inquiry — many of which are profound — with real understanding and directness. She's also steeped in and appreciative of the Jesuit tradition of education.

It's no wonder at all that Prof. O'Brien was offered the position. She sure must have written something awfully awful indeed.

In her cover letter (.pdf; 5 pgs.) to Marquette's employment agency dated December, 2009, Prof. O'Brien is perfectly forthright about her research interests: "exploration of the social psychological processes of managing the contradiction of being Christian and homosexual."

It's sociology. They use anecdotes drawn from individual human experiences in their scholarship. Was someone offended by an anecdotal description lifted from a research paper in anthropology?

Wouldn't be surprised. Human behavior is occasionally offensive.

Moderate Republican quote of the week


Matthews: Governor Pataki, will you be the first Republican in all time to condemn the demogoguery of this ... large man on the radio.

Pataki: Okay, the Obama regime is not exactly a Nazi regime.

Tom Coburn the RINO gyno

How dare he, the ruffian.

Just the other day a Republican candidate for Wisconsin governor, Mark Neumann, received Sen. Coburn's enthusiastic endorsement.

Ask Senator Tom Coburn why does he hate The Truth.

Note to Congress:
Don't create positions that Tom Coburn has no intention of filling.

Other blocked Obama nominees include Dick Morris for Chairman of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Snail Darter Commission.

Like Michael Moore, she is a member of the NRA

At least try and keep your lies straight
Republican supreme leader Palin fails another purity test

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers funded the DNC

A lengthy profile of Haim Saban, entertainment billionaire and political heavyweight, in the current New Yorker.* A friend of mine had a kid who was three or four years old during MMPR's heyday, and whenever it came on the teevee, the kid would go freakin' insane.

* By the way, a guy from Glendale won the cartoon caption last week.

No Queer Christian Identities for Marquette

I'm no HR manager but, wouldn't you review an applicant's résumé before you offered her the position? Prof. O'Brien's CV is here. It contains more than a few hints. Turns out the cited scholarship is a bit too bleeding-edge for Marquette, which is understandable.

On the other hand Seattle University, where Prof. O'Brien has been ensconced for 15 years, is a private Jesuit institution as well.

Maybe there was another schism. Or is about to be.

On teh web: Vulgar, godless hordes swarm John McAdams's blog.

At least one faculty member believes it was placating donors that drove the university's reconsideration. McAdams is doubtless relieved Marquette rescinded its offer to the "leftist lesbian."

May 6, 2010

Sensenbrenner engages a swivel-eyed maniac

Details @ The Motley Cow.
That just embarrasses the entire State.
Swivel-eyed maniacsThe Spectator
Award-winning McIlheran loves him too.
The potty peer's usual pomposity.
Private Eye, Issue 1235.
Sensenbrenner funnies.

F. James Sensenbrenner's select committee hearing at C-SPAN.
— Four experts and one upper class twit of the year.
Witness statements here.

The Dems brought four scientists, the GOP brought ... Monckton.

"They can't even send us a real lord from the House of Lords."
— Rep. Jay Inslee

Mr. Tea

Xoff reports a promising zinger from the WI gov GOP primary.

Your honesty is refreshing

Brownie cops to just being a heckuva dick.

Epistemic closure among the anti-Obeyites

So conservatives are reacting with uncontained glee at the retirement of Rep. David Obey from Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District. Never mind he's 71 years old and has served in the House of Representatives since Woodstock. He's "running scared," they chortle, from a former cast member of MTV's The Real World.*

Yes The Fear, it is insisted, has gripped Mr. Obey. Verily it is The Fear, we are informed, that has Democrats nationwide uniformly cowering and scurrying for the closest exits (stage left, naturally). But as is frequently the case with apocalyptic Republican hyperbole, cold Enlightenment empiricism demonstrates to the contrary.

As it currently stands, more Republicans than Democrats are retiring from the House: 20 to 17. Of the 20, 12 are staying in the game and running for some other office: Six for the U.S. Senate, one for one of the other GOP-vacated House seats, and five for State positions.

(Including Rep. Adam Putnam, who is wagering that the inexorable tide of Glenn Palin's logical fallacies will sweep him to a coveted bureaucracy inside the Florida Department of Agriculture.)

As for the 17 Democrats, 11 are off to other pursuits. The remaining cohort is apparently not so enfeebled  by abject terror, and its members are challenging Republicans either for desks in the federal Senate or, in the case of Rep. Artur Davis, who has to be super-duper Southern-frightened, the governorship of Alabama.

Thus in a body containing 435 members, only three more Democrats than Republicans — the former outnumber the latter by 75 souls to begin with — are leaving to do something other than continue at contesting elections. And of those three, would even a Family Values conservative begrudge any their health or other domestic concerns?

I understand that GOP strategery relies on fear as a matter of party policy, but there's no grounds for it here.

Assuming there were, they distantly pre-exist any Tea sipping or baggering; it's certain as a massé shot across David Hume's pool table that the party in the White House sustains a Congressional loss in midterm elections so obviously Democrats are in for a challenge.

As were Republicans in 1982, when their president enjoyed 41% job approval and they lost 26 House seats. Or 2006, when they lost 30 (just a few points shy of that president's approval number).

Yet it isn't a challenge Democrats are retreating from. To be sure, a number of them are already actively clamoring to replace Obey on the November ballot, notwithstanding "The Real World," whose unique conception of reality allows for a substantial component of fantasy.

* Stay tuned for the Republican VH-1 caucus.

Nation placed on hypocrite high alert

Man from antiquity's warning went unheeded*
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
On teh web: Judge Crabb's mailbag.
Also: Local paper burns more straw, asserts false equivalence.

* It's probably not the only one, either.

May 5, 2010

Two ideas

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, and Senator Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, proposed stripping terrorism suspects of American citizenship.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg asked Congress to block the sale of firearms and explosives to those on terrorist watch lists.
They should at least regulate their sale to anybody, but, yeah, that would probably be a good idea. Except I would have thought the Cheneys had had all those rigorous systems operational years ago.

Stravinsky for the defense

[T]he [Wisconsin Tax Appeals] Commission stated, "There is no direct or concrete correlation between attending a concert and learning." This is an unreasonable statement that shows either a lack of knowledge about classical music or a misperception of what is meant by learning. To be educated in the appreciation of music is one of the pillars of a classical education. As Igor Stravinsky explained when speaking of the work of classical composer, Robert Schumann, "Schumann is the composer of childhood . . . because children learn some of their first music in his marvelous piano albums."
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue, 2010 WI 33, ¶158 (Roggensack, J., dissenting).

Justice Roggensack discovered, on balance, more educational than entertainment value in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Youth Concert Series. It's hard to disagree with that, although Schumann is not as likely to be any kid's initial exposure to music nowadays.

Of course the Commission's statement is facially preposterous.

Bruce Murphy would deny the laws of physics

"If McIlheran left his ideological cocoon for a minute ..."

Death of irony — J.B. Van Hollen edition

J.B. is the epitome of a partisan hack, no matter how much he tries to hide it. That's not to say some of his political opponents have not been equally biased on the other side.
Even more biased, I reckon.

Van Hollen declined to defend the Wisconsin domestic partnership provision because he was personally opposed to it as a matter of policy. In other words, Van Hollen acknowledged essentially that it would find a more effective defense from legal counsel hired outside his office. The additional State expense is relatively negligible.

That's a perfectly appropriate rationale and equally reasonable from a political perspective. Had Van Hollen represented the State in that case, he would have been criticized on precisely the same grounds he gave for removing himself: that his heart wasn't in it, so to speak.

Or worse, that he was engaged in an unethical act of sabotage.

It was an honest move on Van Hollen's part and liberals should be congratulating him for it, not using it to call him a "partisan hack."

Maybe he is. But not on account of that.

Enzyte doesn't work* either

Republican candidate for governor Scott Walker's new teevee ad reminds The Chief of a guy hawking penis pills to seventh graders.

* Information gathered from Wikipedia, not personal knowledge.

May 4, 2010

At a certain point, you've spent enough money

All in a day's work ...

$106.5 Million.

Gayhab doc self-prescribes a rentboy

Who Am I? LordGeorge Alan Rekers
Need I tell you that the Rentboy site is not safe for work? Unless one works at the Family Research Council, I guess.
Far more pathetic than amusing, really. Just not surprising.

More: Bigot-for-hire

Hot new litmus test

Never mind Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Will members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary demand to know whether Associate Justice Diane P. Wood will reverse Miranda v. Arizona.

eta: Call me Nostradamus.

Two things Judge Barbara Crabb never said

1. The National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional
2. The National Day of Prayer is an establishment of religion

Can we at least keep this much straight? That would be good.

Yet Kevin Petersen, Wisconsin's 40th Assembly District Republican, begs to differ in this ill-informed opinion piece.*

Petersen makes much of various presidents praying, or calling for prayer. But none of them were or are Congress, and none of them made a law (in fact they can't). So they have nothing to do with the question presented to Judge Crabb, which was "whether the statute creating the 'National Day of Prayer,' 36 U.S.C. § 119, violates the establishment clause of the United States Constitution."

36 U.S.C. § 119 is a law. A law that Congress made. Not the National Day of Prayer. And not even the fact that some presidents were inclined to proclaim it (to execute it, in constitutional parlance).

Moreover, not only did Judge Crabb not rule against any of the presidential proclamations Kevin Petersen presents, she specifically decided that the plaintiff in this case, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, did not even have legal standing to challenge them.

Petersen's strangest claim is this one:
The first Congress prayed for wisdom when forming our Constitution.
It was the Constitution (itself formed by a convention of delegates which didn't pray) that formed Congress, not the other way around.

Petersen goes on to discuss the Establishment Clause case law:
In the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education decision, the U.S. Supreme Court expanded the federal power over States and their citizens by requiring all States and governmental bodies stay neutral on the issue of religion.
Everson did nothing of the sort. As its majority expressly notes,** the First Amendment was already a restriction against the States, made so through the Fourteenth Amendment: "No State shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Therefore Everson was no expansion of federal power.

Everson does not say that all States have to remain neutral "on the issue of religion." It says an individual State must stay neutral in its relations "with groups of religious believers and nonbelievers."

A very, very different thing, and it's hard to see how it's a bad one, let alone in non-conformance with fundamental constitutional precepts, which at least imply the contentious Jeffersonian characterization, separation between church and (small-s) state.

Indeed, the Everson Court ultimately rejected the complainants' challenge, on Establishment Clause grounds, against a New Jersey law that allowed the reimbursement of parents of Catholic students for transportation costs getting to and from their Catholic schools.

(Authored by Justice Hugo Black, incidentally, a former member of the second Ku Klux Klan, no great admirers of the Romish papacy.)

More Wisconsin Assemblyman Petersen, who is himself empowered with making law if not reading it, in reference to a 1985 decision of the Supreme Court, Wallace v. Jaffree:
Alabama law allowed teachers to have a moment of silence at the beginning of class. Wallace v. Jaffree deemed the law an "establishment of religion" thereby rendering it unconstitutional.
No, it did not deem the law an establishment of religion:
[T]he narrow question for decision is whether [the Alabama law], which authorizes a period of silence for 'meditation or voluntary prayer,' is a law respecting the establishment of religion within the meaning of the First Amendment.
Emphasis added.

By all means, disagree with the Court's holding, and maybe even show your work. But it helps to accurately describe what that holding was, within the context of the actual language of the Constitution.

The First Amendment clearly prohibits more than governmental establishments of religion. Why do conservative Republicans, on the one hand claiming faithful adherence to the "plain language" of the Constitution, on the other so willfully ignore the word, "respecting"?

Conservative Republicans continuously wish to grouse about the "activist" courts reading language into the Constitution that doesn't literally exist, e.g., the "right to privacy." Meanwhile they're on much shakier ground when they deliberately excise language that does.

* In all fairness — if that's the correct word — Kevin Petersen mirrors just about everyone else who's rattled a keyboard and slapped 'ENTER' in the aftermath of Judge Crabb's decision (.pdf; 66 pgs.) last month.

** "The First Amendment, as made applicable to the [S]tates by the Fourteenth, Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105 ..." Everson v. Board of Education was simply taking direction from precedent.