I hate to disagree with NRO's Byron York, who does great reporting on judges, but chalk this up as a very friendly and respectful, uh, alternative view to York's column today, a column that effectively downplays the Democrats' success at blocking judicial nominees and the GOP's failures to get judges confirmed. York keeps trumpeting the supposed 87% success rate for GOP nominees, but misses the most important context: That seemingly acceptable success rate is built mostly on the basis of confirmations for district court judges, while the confirmation rate for the far more important (in terms of national policy) appeals court judges is far worse. Only 43 circuit court judges have been confirmed in more than five years of the Bush presidency. Two of those were holdover Clinton nominees (including the at least semi-controversial Roger Gregory) who Bush renominated as a gesture of goodwill -- a gesture that clearly has gone unrewarded. Kuhl, Estrada, Saad, and Pickering were harrassed into withdrawing. Myers, Haynes, and apparently Boyle are in limbo.
The Spectacle Blog
In the one bright spot of the week on Capitol Hill, House Republicans, particularly Leader Boehner and Speaker Hastert, are calling the Senate's pork-laden emergency appropriations bill dead on arrival.
Strangely, some senators like Montana's Conrad Burns who call for "fiscal responsibility" still voted for the bill. It's not a contradiction if you can speak out both sides of your mouth, I suppose.
It's clear from the Capitol Hill Police reports, as well as what the officers are telling their colleagues and reporters, that there wasn't just Ambien involved in this mess. This story has the whiff of former President Clinton's infamous "I tripped over a rock down at Greg Norman's compound, nothing more, nothing less" excuse.
Kennedy's story line is that he was "returning to the House for a vote," an excuse he has used before in similar incidents with Capitol Hill Police. Now, there have been whispers about Kennedy's seeming inability to stay awake during House sessions and hearings, something you'd expect from his doddering, bloated father, not the young bloated son. And given the way some of these sessions go, who'd blame a fellow for popping a pill and taking a snooze? But still.
I find it hard to believe nearly 24 hours after the incident.
Had Kennedy staggered home, gone to bed, immediately turned himself over to cops for further inspection in the morning, and issued this excuse, fine. But the late night statement reeks of a scramble to concoct a story.
I've been wondering about a way to publish this experience, and this appears the perfect spot.
Dialysis patients notoriously have trouble sleeping, so for a while I was trying various sleeping pills. (I have since given up on all of them.) I had Ambien for a while, the weakest dose. In my particular form of insomnia, I'd go to sleep between 10 and 11 and wake up -- wide awake -- an hour later. Usually I'd kill time going out to an all-night donut shop, listening to John Batchelor in my car, smoking a cigar, till I could relax and go to sleep again.
And I had become very familiar with how fast sleeping pills worked -- I thought.
So there I am one night about 1:30, having switched over by that time to the Beeb, and I've eaten my donut and drunk about a quarter of my coffee and lit my cigar. I pull out my Ambien bottle, take one, figure to start for home in 10 minutes.
But in ten minutes, just like a switch had been thrown, my vision doubles. I was seeing literally two of everything.
Thinks I, "I better get home."
Rep. Kennedy says he was disoriented by prescription drugs, specifically the sleep medication Ambien and the anti-nausea medication Phenergran (which can cause drowsiness). Getting in front of the wheel after taking a sleeping pill, of course, is just as dangerous as driving drunk, and just as illegal. The special treatment that Kennedy got really is outrageous: Anyone else almost certainly would have had to spend the night in lockup.
Ladies and gentlemen: we are being much too understanding and lenient - dare I say liberal? - in commenting on the coverage of this latest Kennedyism. For starters, let us be grateful that no one drowned in this car wreck.
Second, let us take Rep. Kennedy at his word. He denies imbibing any alcohol before the incident. But the pharmaceutical cornucopia that may be available to him -- to smoke, snort or drop - is limited only by his imagination. Forget the breathalyzer. Let's get a real chemical workup.
Well, Rep. Cynthia McKinney has to be just ecstatic over this turn of events. We wouldn't be surprised if she was one pouring the shots of Glenlivet Patches might have been ingesting.
What's priceless is that at nearly 3 am, Kennedy claimed he needed to get back to the House for a vote. No doubt on his important tax cut amendments.
This is not the first time Kennedy has had run-ins with Capitol Hill police. What's interesting is they continue to effort coverups for the boy who couldn't drive straight.
What is it with officials covering up for Kennedys involved in car accidents? I mean, is it even possible for a Kennedy to be made to call for account for highly questionable behavior (to put it far more nicely than it deserves to be put)? Drudge is on the story, broken by Roll Call. Anybody who wants a refresher course in police cover-ups for Kennedys should read Leo Damore's "Senatorial PRivilege," the definitive book on a certain sad incident in Massachusetts in 1969.....