I've eschewed playing this parlor game up until now -- because frankly I find it kind of boring and speculative -- but alas, I just heard from a trusted source that there will be an announcement at 12:00 noon today that the choice has been made and the president will introduce that choice at 4:00 p.m. Stay tuned.
The Spectacle Blog
Lost amid the Roberts confirmation, hurricanes and how to pay for them, and other political shennanigans is a piece of legislation that is moving quickly through Congress that may have a huge effect on big businesses in the coming months.
In both the House and the Senate, committees are quickly moving bills through on pension reform that would accomplish a number of things, not the least of which is requiring companies to fully fund their pension accounts for retirees. This is a good thing, particularly if you are a legislator with a large district full of, oh, say, automotive or airline employees.
But critical for big businesses is the catch-up period Congress may set to get their funds 100 percent funded. Originally, there was a three-year funding requirement. Now, the Senate is considering 90 days, a huge difference, particularly if you are looking at an 80% funded pension account in the hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. That's a lot of money to come up with, even if you're a company looking at making up a two or three percent shortfall.
John Roberts gets confirmed. Judy Miller gets sprung. Scooter Libby is brewing coffee for the media horde camped out in his front yard. Tom DeLay, Learlike, is watching his children fight over his kingdom (does that make Roy Blunt Regan or Cordelia?). POTUS may toss another nominee into the mix this afternoon (note to conservatives: Larry Thompson would be a fantastic choice).
None of this matters.
Yankees. Red Sox. Fenway for 3 with a potential (and maybe gut wrenchingly inevitable?) tie-breaker at the Stadium on Monday.
Pass the anti-anxiety meds. My children are already gearing up for another round of "Daddy, you're scaring us."
Game on! Go Yanks.
The Washington Post reports today that women in the National Guard and Reserves suffer sexual assault or harassment in disproportionate numbers -- we're talking 60% versus 27%. And 11% of women have been victims of rape or attempted rape, versus 1.2% for men. These statistics are the product of a report requested by Congress in 1999, completed in 2003, and withheld until now. It also found that these rates of sexual assault are similar in active duty forces.
Charles Krauthammer builds on the devastating case against last weekend's protests in his column today:
You don't build a mass movement on that. Nor on antiwar rallies like the one last weekend in Washington, organized and run by a front group for the Workers World Party. The WWP is descended from Cold War Stalinists who found other communists insufficiently rigorous for refusing to support the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Thus a rally ostensibly against war is run by a group that supported the Soviet invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, the massacre in Tiananmen Square, and a litany of the very worst mass murderers of our time, including Slobodan Milosevic, Hussein and Kim Jong Il. You don't seize the moral high ground in America with fellow travelers such as these.
You gotta listen to today’s Hugh Hewitt Show (Salem Radio Network, ). I’ll be subbing for Hugh, and we’ve got a dynamite show lined up to talk about the Supreme Court,
I promise to be entirely envigorated by showtime.I’m spending the day at Quantico shooting machine guns with some pals and pols, under the supervision of two of my most amazing friends, ex-SEALs Al Clark and Dale McClellan. There are few things that raise my morale as quickly as firing automatic weapons.
The relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of China on Taiwan is truly something to behold. The U.S. Congress, via the surprisingly large and bipartisan House and Senate Taiwan Caucuses, deserves an enormous amount of credit for keeping that relationship strong and -- yes -- exhibiting bold and consistent leadership on the issue despite constant pressure from Communist China. That leadership has allowed Taiwan to prosper, and to evolve into not only an economic powerhouse but a free and highly modern society. Taiwan is a model, and we've done well by them.
Was POTUS having some fun with all of us today mentioning two highly rumored SCOTUS names in his speech during the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Justice John Roberts? Perhaps Rehnquist's spirit -- "That's for me to know, and you to find out" -- was in the room.
POTUS: I appreciate the Vice President being here, Attorney General Al Gonzales. I thank Harriet Miers, Counsel to the President, and members of my administration who worked on the nomination and confirmation. I particularly want to thank former Senator Fred Thompson for his leadership.
A red herring? Or a sign that in fact the nominee will be the beloved Fred Thompson?
Earlier this week, the WaPo reported that Indiana Congressman Mike Pence had been beaten up so badly by the House leadership that he would be backing off his "Operation Offset campaign to cut some of the fat in the federal budget to help fund disaster relief.
But -- as shocking as it may be -- WaPo got it wrong. Pence isn't backing off anything. I just interviewed him briefly about the WaPo story. Here's what he said:
"I would say that the reports of my demise or the demise of Operation Offset in the Washington Post this week were greatly exaggerated.
"House conservatives this week have redoubled our efforts to ensure that as we deal with the catastrophe of nature that we make the tough fiscal choices necessary to ensure that it will not become a catastrophe of debt for our children and grandchildren. Operation Offset, I believe, has commenced an important national debate both within the corridors of the Congress and the White House but also around a lot of kitchen tables all across America...
Are conservative Republicans little more than fair-weathered friends? Or are they confident enough about what they stand for that they aren't easily cowed into displays of self-destructive blind loyalty?
We see it now in the case of Tom DeLay. Is the politically ginned up campaign to destroy him, as reprehensible as it may be, reason enough for the right to fear that the conservative movement is the real target of the attack? Or is it instead simply a good time to return to conservative principles that DeLay somehow had lost sight of?
Something similar happened during the ouster of Trent Lott. The left jumped on him for a P.C. crime. Instead of defending him, many on the right exploited Lott's troubles to have him replaced with the more conservatively programmed Bill Frist. Perhaps Frist hasn't lived up to expectations, but no one is preparing to "frist" him. He's conservative enough to deserve defending. No revolving-door Jack Abramoffs in his closet.