The Spectacle Blog

Five Years Ago: Judges

By on 5.9.06 | 10:17AM

Five years ago today, President G. W. Bush unveiled his first batch of 11 appellate court nominees, which originally was hailed for its (collective) tremendous qualifications, its diversity, and its seeming avoidance of ideological hard edges. He even included two holdover nominees from Bill CLinton, including the semi-controversial Roger Gregory, as a gesture of goodwill to the Dems. Later that month, six more appellate nominees were added to the mix. Around the same time as those six others, though, Sen. Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP, giving control of the Senate to the Dems -- and suddenly, what had seemed like a wonderful start on judges turned into partisan warfare led by liberal Dems intent on smearing any nominee they could. Of those first 11, Miguel Estrada was eventually harrassed into withdrawing, a number of them were harrassed for years before confirmation, and Priscilla Owen was positively abused by the Dems until finally confirmed as one of the few good results of the "Gang of 14" deal last year.

Kappes Back?

By on 5.9.06 | 8:21AM

It appears, as Prowler said yesterday, that Stephen Kappes, former CIA deputy director of operations, may return to Langley as deputy director if Gen. Mike Hayden is confirmed as DCI. This will be an (expletive deleted) disaster.

Let us remember that Kappes is not just a symbol of CIA failure, he's been an increasingly important party to it. Kappes was with the CIA from 1981 to 2004. He rose through the CIA bureaucracy during the era of its greatest failures. On his watch, the CIA failed to predict the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the downfall of the Soviet Union, the terrorist attacks beginning in 1986 and up through 9-11. And while he was in very important positions - though we know not his involvement - the CIA created the Wilson/Plame sham scandal and leaked incessantly in the manner political to damage the president and thwart his policy. Kappes is a dedicated part of of the failed CIA bureaucracy that will resume prominence and control under Hayden.

Moussaoui’s Mess

By on 5.8.06 | 8:50PM

Not sure that Zacarias Moussaoui has actually seen where he will be staying, but we imagine that if he has, that was probably was drove him to think twice about his admissions.

We would imagine that life behind a SuperMax prison's steel doors is far less appealing than the comparative comfort of, say, San Quentin or even Guantanamo Bay.

CIA Rumblings

By on 5.8.06 | 6:04PM

We're hearing what others are hearing: that almost certainly if Gen. Michael Hayden survives confirmation that his deputy will be former CIA deputy director Stephen Kappes.

Kappes resigned rather than deal with the Porter Goss's deputies, particularly Dusty Foggo, who resigned earlier today.

If not Kappes, then the White House will turn to other longstanding CIA hands who have left recently. You get the picture. Why is Kappes high on the list? His ties to the human intelligence networks the CIA had been building up over the past four years.

BTW: This Foggo story will not be going away any time soon, but Democrats should be very careful where they tread. This one may be the story that turns the public opinion tide on them.


By on 5.8.06 | 4:32PM

Reader Fa'ul bin Qatiq, a.k.a. Paul Kotik, writes that our TV coverage is a little thin:

After all that chatter about the President living in a bubble, I'm surprised TAS is missing the opportunity to, uh, comment upon an actual man living in a bubble. He's been in a  transparent bubble filled with water for the last week, on the public plaza at Lincoln/> Center/>/>, NYC. The lunatic magician David Blaine. UBL's sister and numerous A-List Hollywood celebs have come to worship. Seems the Left admires some people who live in bubbles. It's a huge media event -- buzz is it killed Tom Cruise's opening of MI  III here in Manhattan/>/>.

Catholic Censorship Envy?

By on 5.8.06 | 3:54PM

Over at Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin, George Mason law prof, claims that Catholic cardinals have censorship envy over the Da Vinci Code:

As senior Conspirator Eugene Volokh has warned, one of the dangers of censoring "offensive" speech is "censorship envy." If one group is given the power to suppress speech offensive to it, others are likely to press harder to get the same privilege for themselves. As Eugene points out in the post linked above, many of the European Muslims who sought to suppress the Mohammed cartoons were partly motivated by the fact that many European countries ban Holocaust denial and other anti-Semitic speech.

Fund On Target, GOP Out?

By on 5.8.06 | 2:49PM

John Fund's column this morning at OpinionJournal is right on target: Republicans are at serious risk right now of losing their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, but they may, just perhaps, be saved by the obnoxiousness of the Democrats who would replace them. The American people may have tired of Republican rule in Congress, but that doesn't mean they are eager for rule by the Democrats.

The following paragraph from John, repeating a widely reported story, sets the scene for why the Democrats may yet bail out the GOP: