Having been to Yogyakarta, I'm not at all surprised to see death tolls climbing rapidly. The city is surrounded by a massive sprawl of flimsy-looking shanties, and the earthquake made thousands of people's homes collapse on them while they slept. If you're feeling charitable, the Red Cross is aiding the relief effort.
As promised on the Hugh Hewitt Show last night, here's the link to the great speech by Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama on the massive problems with the immigration bill. If that doesn't convince you to start yelling at your senators, nothing will.
And as to Sessions, as they say in my old neighborhood, 'dis guy is da real thing. Is it too early to think about Allen and Sessions as a twofer in '08? Not in my book, it's not.
WASHINGTON, May 26 - Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, F.B.I. Director Robert S. Mueller III and senior officials and career prosecutors at the Justice Department told associates this week that they were prepared to quit if the White House directed them to relinquish evidence seized in a bitterly disputed search of a House member's office, government officials said Friday.
Mr. Gonzales was joined in raising the possibility of resignation by the deputy attorney general, Paul J. McNulty, the officials said. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. McNulty told associates that they had an obligation to protect evidence in a criminal case and would be unwilling to carry out any White House order to return the material to Congress.
The potential showdown was averted Thursday when President Bush ordered the evidence to be sealed for 45 days to give Congress and the Justice Department a chance to work out a deal.
Via this link at Amy Ridenhour's National Center Blog, I discoverd that Bizzy Blog does excellent reporting on the (infamous) Kelo vs. New London "eminent domain" (property seizure) case. Well worth a read. Also, Donkey Cons has good reporting on an excellent event put on by the estimable Bradley Foundation, namely on a question about whether there is now a "conservative elite that is similarly out of touch" as the liberal elites have been for so long. For those to whom the abortion issue is paramount, Abortion Watch links to a moving series of filmed interviews.
I'll be subbing for Hugh again today (6-9 pm on Salem Radio Network). We'll have the Beltway Boys -- Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes -- Larry Kudlow, Asst. Sec. Def. Peter Rodman on China, TAS columnist John Tabin on the Congressional office search and lots more. Hope you can tune in.
Though there was plenty nonsense to go around (a few times) in Washington this week, let's review the good news:
-Hayden confirmed. (I share Jed's concerns, but am pleased that partisanship did not trump excellent qualifications and the President's prerogative.)
-The absurd Spanish-American war phone tax is no more, after the Bush administration finally gave up the fight. (Via Taranto)
- The economy surged ahead at 5.3 percent in the first quarter, according to revised numbers. Still the Chicago Tribune whines "lower than expected."
-Gas prices are down in Northern Virginia. And by down, I mean by 2 to 3 percent.
Could be worse...
Okay, this is in some ways a repeat of my earliest reactions to Hastert and company yelling bloody murder about the PERFECTLY LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL SEARCH of Rep. William Jefferson's office, but now that I see that Hastert is claiming the ABC report amounts to FBI payback against him for his temper tantrum on the search, it's worth saying again: Mr. Speaker, please, uh, stop speaking! On legal grounds, you are embarrassing yourself and your whole institution; politically, your yelling has been doubly disastrous (first because it takes the focus off of Jeff -- as Jefferson is commonly known in person, and second because it actually puts the GOP on the defensive again because the yelling itself is so deservedly and hideously unpopular). And now to charge the FBI with a political leak based on this whole shouting match does even more to tie the alleged investigation of you with the investigation of Jefferson in the public mind -- which harms not just you, but your whole caucus, because the public does see you as the titular head of, and as representative of, the entire congressional GOP.
Even the New York Times Arts page is finding it difficult to defend the snotty Dixie Chicks. The classy Reba McEntire is publicly teasing them. The Chicks have responded to the backlash by casting all of their critics as rednecks:
The Nashville establishment is not politically monolithic. The most depressing thing about this whole episode is the way the Dixie Chicks have conflated politics and culture, Bush supporters and "rednecks." The unintended implication is that only sophisticated city folk oppose the war in Iraq, and only "rednecks" support the president....
The Dixie Chicks are still a joy to hear, and they'll have plenty of fans no matter what. The Nashville game is hard work; it brings out the best in some singers and frustrates others. If the Dixie Chicks don't want to play that game, that's certainly their prerogative. But they might at least acknowledge that they've been playing it for years, and reaping its rewards. And they shouldn't be too surprised if some fans jeer - angry, but also disappointed - as they walk off the court.