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Let the Games Begin

Filibuster blusterers face silence. Breck girl in Chapel Hill. Jesus' party affiliation. Plus much more.

5.13.05

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GOP'S LAST STAND
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell's Filibuster Busters:

It's ABOUT TIME! If anyone thinks the Democrats wouldn't drop the "nuke" ..."Perhaps I could interest you in a slightly used bridge?"

Let the games begin,
-- Doug

An excellent assessment of the pending battle. The thing I don't understand is the conventional wisdom of the "nuclear option" for what you clearly point out is a parliamentary issue. I can think of at least two options far more radioactive:

Art II; Sec 2; cl 2 -- "...but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments." Which would lead me to a conclusion that Mr. Frist could push a bill thru that makes the selection of District Court judges the permanent sole discretion of the President.

Art III; Sec 1 -- "...and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." Congress having the ability to establish, also has the prevue to reverse such entities and activities. So Congress could defund the 9th Circuit Court thereby forcing cases directly to the Supreme Court or other districts. Sadly we would still have to pay those presiding appellate judges to reside on their arise, as proscribed in the Section.

Either option would have far more lasting effects than what the Senators are preparing to squabble over shortly.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

At one time the House of Representatives had it's own brand of filibuster called the "The Silent Quorum." On January 29, 1890 Rep Thomas B. Reed of Maine, the Speaker of the House, began his tough but successful effort to rid the chamber of the notorious "disappearing quorum." If you read the story and substitute the Senate and assorted Senators names, the story becomes eerily familiar in the context of the judicial filibuster. Today the House of Representatives is governed by Reed's Rules. If Bill Frist wants a legacy, he should look to Thomas B. Reed for guidance. For those not familiar with this, Rush read it on the air on May 11 and it can be found on Internet searches and at NRO. I have been e-mailing this story out for months. It needs to get heard.
-- GMS
Media, Pennsylvania

One hopes that Mr. Tyrrell's prescient observation on the resolve of Senate Republicans to finally end this unconstitutional filibuster of judicial nominees will at last come to pass. However, as I and other readers have opined, our optimism is tempered by past perfidy on the part of the Senate Republicans' stable of presidential wannabes and gadflies. As if this wasn't enough to give us the jitters, now on the eve of this historic vote comes Ken Starr to offer an inane theory on Senate functionality. This former appellate court judge fails to comprehend the essence of Mr. Tyrrell's brilliant piece and has fallen for the Orwellian rhetoric of the Democrats. If Judge Starr is atwitter over arcane Senate rules and parliamentary power plays as opposed to the Constitution, then praytell, why is he not upset over the fact that the filibuster is not being properly exercised? If Judge Starr wants harmonic balance brought back to the Senate, then it's time for the Senate to engage in a good old fashioned 24/7 marathon until the last senator drops. Mr. Tyrrell, if indeed you are correct and the judicial logjam is finally broken, dinner at your favorite D.C. restaurant is on me.
-- A. DiPentima, Esq.
Connecticut

One thing that RET failed to mention regarding the issue of judicial nominee filibusters. No one, and I mean no one, outside of pundits and politicians cares about this issue. It is yet another distraction for the Republican administration and Congress in order to ignore the deficit, illegal immigration, out of control spending, ethics violations, tax reform, and the lousy stock market. Did I miss anything? So far this term, the Republicans have focused on 11 people: 10 judicial nominees and Terri Schiavo. What about the rest of us? The American people are waiting for the Republicans to extricate themselves from the poetry of the campaign (FMA, Schiavo, filibusters) and engage in the prose of governance (deficit, tax reform, jobs, ethics). My apologies to Mr. Cuomo and from whomever he borrowed the original adage.
-- Ben Berry
Washington, D.C.

I nearly busted a gut reading your column the issue before the current one!

Your commentaries on Spectator.org are similarly illuminating like today's "Filibuster Busters." You and I may be the only ones who think Hillary has no chance. (Of course, we're not.)

Personally, I see a comfortable 2.5 million vote victory by Condi and George Allen over Hillary and Mark Warner. This from someone who predicted two terms for George W. Bush back in 1998.
-- Michael Lee
Clifton, Virginia

Thanks to R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., my perspective has been altered, somewhat, about the Republicans' handling of judicial filibusters. For weeks now, I have accepted the notion that my party (GOP) leaders have acted like girly-men in dealing with radical liberals in the Senate, and elsewhere. I have refused to give them money, and I have made threats to withdraw from any further support of the party until the leadership gets tough with the socialists.

Here's a sample of an email I sent, this one of 30 April to the Republican National Committee Chairman, Ken Mehlman:

Ken, I've decided not to donate additional money or devote more time to the GOP until the party gets tough with liberal extremists who are currently handing us our heads. Specifically:

I want the judicial filibuster rule gone!! I want John Bolton confirmed!! I want Tom DeLay defended!! I want the same rhetoric used (without the tinge of hatred) as used by the Democrats. I want President Bush to use his bully pulpit to get tough with the opposition -- to tell the people who the liberal really are, and that they care more about their power than about their country!! I want the President to stop cozying up to the likes of Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy!! I want our traditional culture and values aggressively defended and preserved!! I want the current GOP girly-man approach discarded!! I want the GOP to exercise the power the people have given them -- and for our top officials to take on the left, including the biased media, and treat them as they treat us -- with disdain and disrespect!! Basically, I want us to start acting like we know we won most major elections in recent years, and to proceed accordingly.

Frankly, Ken, if you folks don't get tough with these anti-American, anti-capitalism, socialists, I'm going to give up on all of you, and permanently. I sincerely mean this. This past election I gave almost $4,000 to numerous GOP candidates and groups; my family and I walked door to door in our community in support of the President and the Party; I put out massive amounts of pro-Bush/GOP email to a large list of addressees; wrote to newspapers and periodicals; etc.

I honestly did my best and was very pleased with the result we saw across the country. But, I didn't do all that to have the GOP "mugged" in Washington.

These were heartfelt words, all, but in today's column, Mr. Tyrrell pointed out the GOP may be executing a larger-scale plan I've missed, which involved getting major legislation out of the way, trying honestly to find a compromise through Senators such as Trent Lott and other, and then vigorously executing the plan to end the judicial filibustering.

I just hope it is not too late and the GOP has not already lost the public relations war because of the aggressive propaganda campaign by the socialists and their helpmates in the old media.
-- A. A. Reynolds
Chula Vista, California

Fireworks in the Senate? Are you kidding? Sounds as likely as an old folks orgy at a nursing home...
-- Paul

I am a dues paying member of the Republican Party of Desoto County, Mississippi. I have emailed Senator Lott and informed him of my "concern" about his actions helping the Democrats block judges. I only hope that we have the opportunity to choose between Senator Lott and our present Governor Haley Barbour in some future primary. I know my vote will be for Haley Barbour.
-- Carl

LEGAL WORD BUTCHERS
Re: John Samples's Your Blog Will Be Investigated Soon:

A great spoof on a serious subject. What this any many other examples cry out for, is an amendment to the Constitution that requires not only that English be the law of the land, but that clear meaning be the law of English. The claim that electioneering -- the essence of free speech against the government -- can be regulated is a preposterous reading of the First Amendment.

To illustrate how far this legal bowdlerization of language can easily go, in order to restrict air rifles in Minnesota without the bother of changing the law, an air rifle is now classified as "a firearm and not a rifle." This is not a gray area of interpretation, or a penumbra; it is the exact opposite of reality.

We should call it the "George Orwell Amendment."
-- Tom Holzel
Boston, Massachusetts

HOUSE OF HAIR
Re: Shawn Macomber's Uncle John's Cabin:

Congratulations to Shawn Macomber! The article, "Uncle John's Cabin," is one of the best I've read in a long time. Very, very humorous, truthful, to the point and well written. I applaud Shawn Macomber. Keep more articles like this written and published.
-- Jerrie Harper
Texas

Hilarious! Hopefully, as an evil white rich Republican (well, an evil white lower middle class Republican), I'll never have to face the dislocation and devastation that the Edwards family has had to go thru.

In truth, Mr. Macomber has pointed his needle of truth into the center of Mr. Edwards's hot air balloon. Good O!
-- Tim Jones
Cordova, Tennessee

We should welcome former VP candidate John Edwards to Chapel Hill. He will be right at home. Several years ago the North Carolina legislature was debating the need for a state zoo. A national conservative leader from North Carolina, on hearing of this debate, said, "A state zoo? Why don't they just put a fence around Chapel Hill?"

Truths are eternal.
-- Louis Jenkins
Polkville, North Carolina

I would strongly object to Mr. Macomber's suggestion that the hungry 10 year old girl doesn't exist. I am sure that she not only exists, but also has been "channeled" by Att'y Edwards, who, I have heard, has that rare ability. It isn't the wealth that stings us regular working stiffs, but rather, the arrogance and the insultingly hypocritical way that people like Edwards assume that you and I are too stupid to see through the revolting, stomach turning dishonesty of the "two Americas" speech. How people like Edwards, Kennedy, and the rest of the idle rich democrats can be not just elected and re-elected, but lauded for their 'selfless' dedication to government service far exceeds my cognitive ability. I do not hate the rich, and I am not overly envious of them. Do I wish I were wealthier than I am? Emphatically, YES! I think that that question is one that would be answered in the affirmative by almost everyone. But please, just as the Hollywood elite ,who weep crocodile tears for the poor while they spend excessively and frivolously, these political barons like Edwards could do a great deal of good if they so chose. However, that good would have to necessarily begin with some honesty. And some respect for the intelligence of the average American worker.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

Oh the inhumanity of it all, he can sure come to my house to see how the "other America" lives on less than $1000 a month. I just feel sooooooo sorry for the poor fellow having to move and then decide which house he will be going to for the weekend. What a joke, loved the article.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Thanks for your send-up of John "Two Faces, Two Americas" Edwards. Thanks, too, for continuing to expose his embellished life.

I lived in Raleigh when Edwards and his fluffiness squeaked by and was elected senator. It'd be easier to find the needle in a Carolina haystack than finding someone who can tell you what he did for the Old North State.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

This could have been titled, "100 Acres and a Jackass."
-- Wolf Turner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

PERMANENT BOYCOTT
Re: Peter Hannaford's Pajama Game:

The first thing I do each morning is read [Michelle] Malkin and Instapundit to find out what is going on, then The American Spectator and WSJ Opinion Journal is next and last but not least Fox News is turned on to get the rest of the news....FAIR AND BALANCED. I have not watched MSM for news in several years.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

MATHEMATICALLY CHALLENGED
Re: Michael Van Winkle's Social Security Psychology:

Unfortunately, Michael Van Winkle's conclusion that the masses are growing to ignorant to understand the complexities of the dying social security program are all too real. Fifty percent of high schoolers are dropping out of school these days and millions have preceded them. We have millions of illegals that basically have the learning skills of the majority of their southern ancestors. Ninety percent of our esteemed minority in this country who continually vote Democrat, even when it doesn't benefit them, want the status quo even though the majority do not live long enough to exercise the benefit they are entitled to.

When people are so ignorant that they do not even know what's good for them, then it's time for the rest of us to give up trying and just make sure we take care of ourselves when the time comes. Government entitlements are outrunning our ability to pay for them, unfortunately president Bush does not believe in conservative fiscal values either, therefore 20 to 40 years from now the benefits these people think they are going to get will either be nonexistent are so severely reduced we really will have retirees eating cat food for dinner. I have never believed in the ability of our government to take care of me or my family, so I have been working two jobs my whole life to support my family as they grew up and my wife and I in our retirement. We are 47 years old and have accumulated over a million dollars in liquid assets toward our retirement. My wife has always worked and like I stated I have always worked two jobs and we have always been invested in the stock markets. We studied and taught ourselves how to invest and make money. My wife has a high school education and I graduated from a state college in Texas while I worked.

People in this country have gotten lazy and expect handouts. Anybody can work hard and take care of themselves and their family -- they just have to be willing to put out the effort. Thanks for the article and pray for are country to wake up before it's to late.
-- unsigned

JESUS WAS A CARPENTER
Re: Frank Natoli's letter (under "Who's Next?") in Reader Mail's Firing Offensives:

Frank Natoli misses the mark in trying to decide with which party Jesus would identify. The helping of the poor and needy are not given as group responsibilities to be paid for by confiscating money from other people but given as individual responsibilities. The Democrat way of course is to convince most people that they have no such responsibility but need to make the wealthy pay their "fair" share. After this the Democrats use the money to buy votes and many times the money is used to perpetuate poverty, unwed births and a host of other evils. It is unbelievable that Democrats can call this Christian or compassionate. It is self serving and usually a plague for the various groups they purport to help. A friend of mine says it well. Jesus is most likely not a Republican, but Satan is definitely a Democrat.
-- Clif Briner

Mr. Natoli mentions that "In the matter of giving to the poor, never mind the Protestant work ethic or creating opportunities for the poor to become rich, Jesus would be a Democrat, see 'easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven' and the parable of the widow and the Pharisee and the rejected suggestion to the rich young man to 'give up all worldly possessions and follow me.' "

Mr. Natoli may not be a member of the religious left, but he certainly shares their mistaken ideas re: "compassion." Jesus boldly stated that He came to complete the Jewish law, not destroy it. Part of that law was that able bodied people work. And that family and church (in that case synagogue) -- not government -- take care of those who couldn't care for themselves. After Jesus ascended to heaven, the Apostle Paul wrote to one of the churches that if an able bodied person wouldn't work, that person shouldn't be fed. And, parroting Jewish law, that the local church should care for widows and orphans. Neither the Jews of the Old Testament nor the Christians of the New advocated government welfare programs, or redistribution efforts thru government taxation.

Mr. Natoli mentions the responsibilities of the Pharisee and the "rich young man." That young ruler was to "give up all worldly possessions and follow" Jesus. He wasn't to lobby for increased taxes on the rich. He wasn't to donate the proceeds to the government, so that a bureaucracy could mismanage an entitlement program. Both he and the Pharisee were to give directly to those in need, both in coin and in deed. And the reference "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" has nothing whatsoever to do with the matter of giving to the poor, but rather that people who have much worldly goods will depend on those, and have little tendency to depend on God.

Again, not to criticize Mr. Natoli (at least he signed his name). He may be a flaming conservative fundamentalist right-winger like me, but typical of the religious left is the tendency to misinterpret scripture, either through ignorance or through guile.
-- Tim Jones
Cordova, Tennessee

Reader Frank Natoli wrote, "In the matter of giving to the poor..., Jesus would be a Democrat," citing some of the Savior's words relating to the conflicts between spirituality and material wealth, and to our duties toward the poor. Why do people so consistently make that mistake? High taxation, gross inefficient bureaucracies and a welter of counter-productive programs and entitlements, which are exclusively the Democrat agenda, were never encouraged by Jesus in His ministry. Even if state-sponsored redistribution of wealth actually accomplished its ostensible objectives -- which it surely does not -- Mr. Natoli needs to understand that forced giving is no virtue and that mandatory charity is an oxymoron. As far as government programs are concerned, the relevant quote would be "render unto Caesar...," but that charge was surely not a divine endorsement of the Roman Empire's domestic policies! The only way to read the Gospels is to say that Jesus took no position on the political issues of the day and regarded them as largely irrelevant to the higher calling of obedience to the First and Second Greatest Commandments. When Mr. Natoli or anyone else tries to place our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten of the Father, Full of Grace and Truth, in the same company as Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy and the two Clintons, it makes me want to be sick. Mr. Natoli ought to be ashamed.
-- Leighton M. Anderson
Whittier, California

While it is understandable to think Jesus would be more of a Democrat given the examples cited by Mr. Natoli, the reason for doing so lies less with the teachings of Jesus and more with the common understanding of what Democrats and Republicans stand for. I refer, of course, to the notion that Democrats are more pro-help the poor than the Republicans, as shown by their public policy positions. In point of fact, the difference between the Democratic and Republican positions on poverty-related issues is one of means, not ends. Both sides want to alleviate the worst aspects of poverty, but the Democrats favor using the power of the state to shift wealth from rich to poor while the Republicans favor programs designed to increase wealth, on the grounds that a) a rising tide lifts all boats, and b) the wealthier an individual is, the more personally charitable they can afford to be. Which of these policy prescriptions would Jesus adhere to? I confess I'm not sure. Jesus' references to the rich would, at first blush, seem to suggest the Democratic position, but the rich people being raked over the coals in the Gospels are the selfish, uncharitable rich. Are there any instances in which Jesus is critical of a wealthy person who is generous with their wealth simply because they are wealthy? Moreover, the state based solution is ultimately a matter of compelling people to be generous more than people giving freely. Did Jesus intend for the path to salvation to be crowded by people forced onto it against their will or by those who freely chose to be there?
-- Scott Pandich
Burlington, Vermont

ON THE RIGHT SIDE
Re: The Prowler's Clerical Losers:

Thanks for the update, it was all great news. Goodbye to those who fought Rome and John Paul.
-- unsigned

QUITE A DAY JOB
Re: Scott Seward Smith's Sleazy Stories:

"Scott Seward Smith is a writer living in New York City." And a damn good one at that. Wonderful article Mr. Smith.
-- unsigned

WITNESS
Re: Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder's Love is Blind, Deaf, and Dumb:

Kudos to Mason and Felder. For their outspoken and honest commentary regarding secular liberal Jews will vilify them and religious liberal Jews will rend their clothes and sit Shiva for them.

I've had the opportunity to tell the same facts, stated by Mason and Felder, to my fellow Jews and in every case have been chastised and ridiculed for my efforts. As a very visible figure in the entertainment world I salute Jackie Mason for his courage to speak out on these issues.
-- Howard D. Gutin, LTC, USA, Ret.

DOUBLE STANDARD
Re: George Neumayr's From Slob to Snob:

I just recently read your editorial "From Slob to Snob" stating: "One of the Washington Post's tricks of concealed bias is the phrase, "critics say." Which translated means: we here at the Washington Post want to make an editorial point on the front page, but since that's not quite kosher professionally we'll find some 'critics' or 'experts' to make our point for us.

I assume that you are referring to the same way that Fox News disguises editorial opinion. It is interesting how it is proper for conservative media to try to present opinion as "expert," but it isn't proper for non-conservative media to disguise opinion.

I agree that media should never try to disguise opinion, but that is a two-way street. Isn't it?
-- Hugh O'Neil

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