Friday, March 28, 2003

Law School Softball -- Big Stuff

My co-blogger Justin and myself will be heading to the University of Virginia for the annual Law School Softball tournament. There are 108 teams currently entered from law schools as far away as San Diego, CA. Last year, our men's team did not do very well, but they intend to turn it around this year. I play on the co-rec team. Last year we won 4 and lost 2, which I think was good for a tie for seventh out of 40-something teams.

I'm optimistic that we can do better this year if we don't get rained out. UVA wins it every year, so I'll probably be reporting the result on Monday, but who knows maybe someone will get lucky and steal a couple of games from them....

UPDATE: We tied for fifth among 60+ teams. We lost to crosstown rival Georgetown. All in all, not a bad showing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Former Sen. Moynihan Has Died

May he rest in peace. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was one of the few Democrats I would have never hesitated in voting for. He was a true intellectual -- not the kind of intellectual we conservatives sneer at -- but rather, a thoughtful, passionate man who was principled to the very end.

The world will miss his wisdom and courage.
I Can't Wait to See What PETA Has to Say About This

Dolphins enlisted to locate mines in Persian Gulf

By Sarah Shiner

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Navy has deployed a key natural resource to the Persian Gulf: 75 mine-hunting dolphins. The mission of the California-based U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, as part of the Navy Special Clearance Team ONE, is to comb the waters for mines to provide safety for ships, including those containing humanitarian aid and cargo, said Tom LaPuzza, public affairs officer of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego.

Using their highly sensitive biological sonar, the dolphins locate the mines and alert handlers so that divers can disarm the explosives, he said. The mammals are incredibly effective, Mr. LaPuzza said.

"They don't miss anything," he said. "If a mine is there, they will find it. Nothing gets by them." Mines will not detonate when the dolphins swim by, Mr. LaPuzza said. They can identify small objects at great distances and note tiny differences in sizes.

That is very cool. Also, in response to the inevitable letter from PETA that criticizes this practice, I suggest the following:

Dear PETA Member,

I understand your concern for the safety of the dolphins in our program. You may be correct that in your belief that animal life is more important than human life. Accordingly, we would like to offer members of your organization the opportunity to save these dolphins from this cruel and risky work by replacing them in the field. PETA members can place their lives on the line so that the dolphins may be saved.

If you or any other member would like to volunteer, please contact the Navy immediately, and we'll get you some enlistment papers.

Sincerely,

Uncle Sam

p.s. Prior to enlisting, you may want to purchase some life insurance.

Ali G Translates this Blog

Here. Check it.

Here is a sampling from Jaime's post below:
This:

I was just watching the PBS special on George Wallace. George Wallace was the governor of Alabama who was the South's preeminent statesman for segregation and against civil rights in the 1960s. PBS showed a clip of George Wallace railing against "pinkos running around doing nothing." Sounds quite a bit like Phil railing against liberal protestors in DC, eh? Phil, check yourself before you wrickety wrickety wreck yourself.

Translates to:

me was just watchin da PBS special on George Wallace. George Wallace was da governor hof Alabama who was da South's preeminent statesman fer segregation hand against civil rights in da 1960s. PBS showed a clip hof George Wallace railin against "pinkos runnin around doin nothing." Sounds quite a bit dig Phil railin against liberal protestors in DC, eh. Is it coz I is black? Phil, check yourself before me Uncle Jamal wrickety wrickety wreck yourself.

according to Ali G.

Respec.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

French Military = Iraqi Military?

Yes, according to Gregg Easterbrook of the New Republic:

Saddam's professional army is now fighting like it doesn't plan to give up--exactly as the French fought in the early days of the Nazi attack in 1940. And that makes perfect sense: Saddam's professional army doesn't yet have to give up because it still has men and materiel. But every day it will have less of both, while every day the United States has more, as more forces enter the region. France in 1940 went from determined resistance to collapse almost without warning. This may still happen to Iraq, just not the in 48 or 72 hours that commentators foolishly predicted.

I'm not sure who should be insulted here, the French or the Iraqis. If I were either, I'd be disheartened by the comparison.

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.
More on Protesters:



I don't think the question is lazy just counterproductive and missinformed. I don't think breaking windows, shutting down businesses, stopping traffic (including emergency traffic) and otherwise invoking threatening demonstrations is something to praise. Taking thousands of police away from their normal jobs and requiring them to baby sit protesters who often become violent is not productive. It is a sign of people who cannot accept others who do not agree with them. It is one thing to write letters to the editor, hold signs on the sidewalk, wear a slogan on your shirt or pass out leaflets. That is fine but much of the liberal protests often become violent.

For a group that screams tolerance and acceptance they have had a hard time practicing that. I am sure this is a small group of people that just spend their days protesting everything- but these are the only protesters I saw near the Whitehouse this weekend. I saw no discussion let alone serious discussion (besides hey hey ho ho the fill in the blank has to go). Are we really relying on the protesters to provide a serious debate. You should have watched the senate debate or the debate we had since November 2002 or since 1991. Debate is fine but when you lose on the merits don’t turn to violence. Most of us learned not to throw fits to get our way when we were children. When talking does not work for some liberal protesters, because many disagree with them, the excuse for drastic protests is always to “get the message out.” The issues of debate are obvious to everyone without the need for citywide disruptions. Open a newspaper.

By the way, in reference to Phil’s post and presumably the one Jamie is responding to: “The Ugly (and Stupid) Face of the "Peace" Movement" for those of you who listened, I didn’t hear any protestor answer how leaving Saddam in power will bring peace to a place where almost 2 million have already died at his hands. Where is that discussion?

Monday, March 24, 2003

Striking Parallel!!

Many conservatives like to run their mouths. It's true. One drum that some of them particularly like to beat is that liberal demonstrators are lazy. Thay they ought to do something worthwhile with their time. That standing on the street and demonstrating for X cause has no merit.

I was just watching the PBS special on George Wallace. George Wallace was the governor of Alabama who was the South's preeminent statesman for segregation and against civil rights in the 1960s. PBS showed a clip of George Wallace railing against "pinkos running around doing nothing." Sounds quite a bit like Phil railing against liberal protestors in DC, eh? Phil, check yourself before you wrickety wrickety wreck yourself.

Some demonstration/protest has merit. 10 kids blocking a major intersection at rush hour to perform a "Die-In" may be assenine, immature, and counter-productive. Nevertheless, some of the peace protests have certainly been purposeful and stimulated real dialogue. So there.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Human Shields See the Light -- When Will Anitwar Demonstrators?

National Review's indispensible Corner pointed me to the following story from UPI:

A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."

Oh yeah, sure we're not viewed as liberators by the Iraqi people.

I hope that when this is over, people take note of just how wrong world opinion was, and how right America was.

Post War Iraq -- Part II

I guess this somewhat answers my question from two posts below about what would happen to lower ranking officers:

IRAQI conscripts shot their own officers in the chest yesterday to avoid a fruitless fight over the oil terminals at al-Faw. British soldiers from 40 Commando’s Charlie Company found a bunker full of the dead officers, with spent shells from an AK47 rifle around them.
Stuck between the US Seals and the Royal Marines, whom they did not want to fight, and a regime that would kill them if they refused, it was the conscripts’ only way out.

Someone please try to tell me again that the Iraqi people do not want us there.

Friday, March 21, 2003

The Ugly (and Stupid) Face of the "Peace" Movement

If you want to know why I view most of these "peace" protesters with such disdain, just listen to this.

Seriously, you need to click the link above.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online for the pointer.
Post War Iraq

I'm probably getting ahead of myself, but I've spent some time thinking about the situation that will emerge after Saddam has been finally ousted and the Iraqi military has completely surrendered. Some people have said were should rebuild Iraq in the same way that we rebuilt Germany and Japan after WWII. Ideally, this would be the case, but I see some key distinctions that will make it impossible.

First, what will happen to those who were complicit in Saddam's regime, yet chose to surrender early in the war? I'm talking about "middle management" -- low ranking officers who carried out orders of the evil Hussein regime, but then surrendered to American forces at the outset of this war. Will they be tried as war criminals? Will those who were liberated exact revenge on these low ranking officers in such a way that destabilizes post-liberation Iraq? Will it be a blood bath?

Something tells me that it won't be, but I am not sure if people will be able to forgive and forget. Controlling the revenge-takers could prove to be the greatest challenge to building a post-Saddam Iraqi democracy.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

War Has Started -- A Few Observations

1. Saddam might be dead already. If true, damn we're good.
2. Fox News is reporting that Senior Republican Guard leaders have already contacted U.S. forces in order to surrender.
3. Evil will lose.
4. Our stuff (i.e. weaponry) is way better than anyone else's stuff (outdated crap).
5. I walked through the war protesters on H Street near the White House yesterday. They smell baaaaaad. Is there some rule that says you can't protest a war and take a shower in the same week?
6. All the protestors were moved from Pennsylvania Ave. (directly in front of the White House) to H Street (about a block away) except for the crazy lady who wants to ban all nuclear weapons. If you've walked by the White House in the last 21 years, you should know who I am talking about. She has maintained her 24/7 vigil since 1981. I think she's crazy, but I have a lot of respect for her committment. Evidently, by letting her stay, so does Secret Service.
7. NCAA tournament games have moved from CBS to ESPN (owned by ABC/Disney). I wonder how that deal got worked out?
8. God Bless our soldiers. May they come home safely and undamaged.
9. God Bless the Iraqi people. May they finally be able to enjoy a life of freedom and dignity.
10. God Bless America.

Oh, and f#ck France.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

This is Too Funny

Jared

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The Range Resource – Big ranchers are ripping us off.

Cattle grazing on federal land is one of the most discouraging (and maddening) areas of natural resource law. Grazing occurs on over a quarter of a billion acres of federal land, a land area 2 1/2 times that of California. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), under the auspices of the Department of Interior, controls 180 million of these acres. Particularly in the lower 48 states, BLM land is arid scrubland. Although historically BLM lands were seen as wastelands, today it is generally recognized that BLM lands possess immense scientific, environmental, scenic, and recreational value.

Grazing on public lands is wasteful and destructive. The aridity of BLM land indicates its inherent and fundamental unsuitability for cattle grazing. Nevertheless, 90% of BLM land is operated for cattle ranches. There are three environmental consequences of this grazing. 1) 70% of western water is used to grow fodder for cattle. There are better uses for this water. 2) The intensity of cattle grazing on these public lands causes rapid desertification. The UN targeted the western US as a “major risk” for desertification. Only one other area in the world received this designation: sub-Saharan Africa. 3) Cattle tend to concentrate near the few creeks and streams that course through these lands. These areas are the most environmentally important and the most sensitive. They take the hardest hit.

Grazing on public lands is also bad economics. Between Forest Service and BLM lands, the federal government permits grazing for forage on 268 million acres of public land. Despite this huge acreage, the public rangeland provides only 7% of the beef cattle forage and 2% of the total feed consumed by beef cattle nationally. Only 2% of our beef comes from public land! All this destruction and waste for 2%!
Furthermore, 90% of BLM is controlled by large operators. These operators own in fee small base ranches adjacent to vast tracts of federal land. The value of the base ranch depends entirely upon the continued availability of federal lands. Does BLM charges these cattle barons market rates? No! BLM’s grazing fees grazing fee do not recover the cost of BLM’s direct expenses for covering even the permit program. BLM’s grazing fees are ¼ of the fee charged by private owners and 1/3 of those charged by states. Thus BLM’s grazing fees are well under the market price. In addition, BLM performs range management programs such as chaining, controlling prairie dogs, predator control programs, and herbicides. The elimination of these subsidies would more than compensate for any raise in the price of beef stemming from the reduction or elimination of cattle from public lands.

BLM has a duty to care for these lands. Congress mandated that BLM manage its lands for “multiple use and sustained yield.” FLPMA § 1732(a). This is not happening. Congress also stated that BLM “shall take any action necessary to prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the lands.” FLPMA § 1732(a). It is noteworthy that among all the land management agencies, only FLPMA has this authority. BLM is failing to achieve its mission and hemorrhaging federal funds in the process. The courts have deferred to BLM “expertise” no matter how shoddy. Judicial review of BLM decisions is nonexistent because western district judges refuse to be “range masters” and consider eliminating grazing on federal land “unthinkable.” NRDC v. Hodel (D. Nev. 1985).

History, myth, and a strong lobby have granted large ranch operators a stranglehold on public lands. Their cattle grazing wastes water, wastes money, and destroys priceless environmental resources. Ranchers argue that they know how to care for rangeland better than anyone, and they probably do. While they practice sustainable grazing on their own ranges, however, clear scientific data show that these ranch operators abuse public rangelands mercilessly. The history of public rangeland is a tragedy of the commons. It is time for BLM to do its job.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, March 13, 2003

It Makes No Difference to Me Whether Saddam Had Anything to Do With 9/11 -- He Needs to Go

I am getting sick and tired of hearing the liberal line about how we should not go to war in Iraq because no Al Queda link has been proven and no weapons of mass distruction (WMD) have been unearthed. As far as I'm concerned we don't need evidence of either to justly proceed with this war.

Why? Let me give a few reasons. How about this one:

HORRIFYING details of the torture Saddam Hussein is accused of perpetrating against his own people were revealed yesterday.

Researchers preparing an indictment of Saddam for crimes against humanity detailed evidence of torture, murder and ethnic cleansing from witnesses in northern Iraq.

Their report included eyewitness accounts of prisoners being killed by being fed through industrial shredders and children gassed in jail.

Or this one:

The star witness against the government of Iraq hobbled into the room, her legs braced with clumsy metal callipers. "Anna" had been tortured two years ago. She is now four years old.

Her father, Ali, is a thick-set Iraqi who used to work for Saddam's psychopathic son, Uday. Some time after the bungled assassination of Uday, Ali fell under suspicion. He fled north, to the Kurdish safe haven policed by Western fighter planes, but leaving his wife and daughter behind in Baghdad. So the secret police came for his wife. Where is he? They tortured her. And when she didn't break, they tortured his daughter.

"When did you last see your father? Has he phoned? Has he been in contact?" They half-crushed the toddler's feet. Now, she doesn't walk, she hobbles, and Ali fears that Saddam's men have crippled his daughter for life. So Ali talked to us.

or this one:

A witness saw Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, murder another man some years ago, before the assassination attempt left Saddam's oldest son half-paralysed and impotent.

As Uday was turning into the car park, a tennis ball came over the fence and bounced against the car of a woman he desired.

The tennis player came into the car park to retrieve the ball, apologised to the woman. Maybe there was a bit of flirting - that does happen at tennis courts, even in England.

From his car Uday watched the two of them. Enraged, he took out a wooden cosh and beat the tennis player's brains out. And then - get this - a few days later, the dead man's relatives apologised to Uday for the distress their son had caused him.

or this:

"If someone didn't break, they'd bring in the family," Kamal explained. "They'd bring the son in front of his parents, who were handcuffed or tied and they'd start with simple tortures such as cigarette burns and then if his father didn't confess they'd start using more serious methods," such as slicing off one of the child's ears or amputating a limb. "They'd tell the father that they'd slaughter his son. They'd bring a bayonet out. And if he didn't confess, they'd kill the child."

Any questions?


Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Predictions of the Far Left

I've always been amazed at how the mainstream media lets Democrats and other left wingers get away with crazy predictions of doom and gloom that wil result from following the policies decisions of Republicans and other conservatives. 3LinDC is going to attempt to track these predictions and see how they come out. Our first prediction comes from Mr. Jimmy Walter, the president of the Walden Three, a group that, among other things, wishes to impeach Secretary of State Powell. They have taken out several full-page advertisements in the Washington Times over the past few days against the war and the Bush Administration. Here is what Mr. Walter recently had to say:
Jimmy Walter, president of the foundation, said the purpose of the ads was to turn public opinion against a military campaign against Iraq.
"We are trying to create a practical utopia. And that can't be done in a world full of terrorists and a collapsed economy, which would result if we attacked Iraq," he said.

Well, I guess we'll have to see about that collapsed economy that will result when we attack Iraq.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Welcome Aboard Justin E.!

Well folks, another co-blogger among us. Mr. Justin Endres from the great state of Indiana!!

Welcome aboard, Justin.
North Korea Is a Rogue State - And Should Be Treated Accordingly

Jaime provided us with a thoughtful post a few days ago regarding the Bush administration's treatment of the North Korea situation. I won't pretend to know more about the region than Jaime, as he lived over their for an extended period of time. Nevertheless, I think his analysis of the situation ignores a basic truth: We are good. They are evil. Call me simplistic if you want, but I challenge anybody to show that I am wrong. Let me offer up some evidence suggesting that I am correct in my assessment:

In the far north of North Korea, in remote locations not far from the borders with China and Russia, a gulag not unlike the worst labor camps built by Mao and Stalin in the last century holds some 200,000 men, women and children accused of political crimes. A month-long investigation by NBC News, including interviews with former prisoners, guards and U.S. and South Korean officials, revealed the horrifying conditions these people must endure — conditions that shock even those North Koreans accustomed to the near-famine conditions of Kim Jong Il’s realm.

At one camp, Camp 22 in Haengyong, some 50,000 prisoners toil each day in conditions that U.S. officials and former inmates say results in the death of 20 percent to 25 percent of the prison population every year.

Entire families, including grandchildren, are incarcerated for even the most bland political statements.

Forced abortions are carried out on pregnant women so that another generation of political dissidents will be “eradicated.”

Inmates are used as human guinea pigs for testing biological and chemical agents, according to both former inmates and U.S. officials.

I agree with Jaime that this situation is very delicate and will eventually require direct engagement with the North Koreans. I disagree, however, in his assertion that doing so now would improve the situation. He argues that we must do so in order to build trust. My question is this: Why do we want to build trust? The North Koreans have proven time and time again that they are anything but trustworthy. Take, for example, the 1994 agreement engineered by former President Carter and the Clinton adminstration. In that agreement, we agreed to provide the North Koreans with large amount of humanitarian aid in exchange for them halting development of nuclear weapons technology. We lived up to our end of the bargain; we gave them the aid. It turns out, however, that during entire time that we were giving them billions in foreign aid, the North Korean government continued to secretly develop nuclear weapons. Now they have them, and are using them to threaten the rest of the region.

Basically, I think we need to play hardball here. Yes, the North Koreans are rattling a pretty loud sabre, but I think that fundamentally, even with the nuclear weapons they possess, they are a toothless tiger. Their belicosity stems from their realization that their country is starving and soon will implode. I say we step back, let them become more and more desparate, and eventually, they'll realize that it is a lot more fun to be friends with America than enemies.
More on Estrada

I agree with Phil that politically it may be desirable just to let the Estrada nomination [or lack of] play out until the D’s feel the heat from their delay. However, it started me thinking about the debate. I noticed the Senate was thinking about the debate as well. The senate debate was divided on party lines but the issue is larger and more interesting than just party politics.

Advise and Consent:

“There will, of course, be no exertion of choice on the part of the Senate. They may defeat one choice of the Executive, and oblige him to make another; but they cannot themselves choose--they can only ratify or reject the choice of the president.” (Federalist No. 66).

Is the current system of requiring 60 votes for cloture to quell a filibuster permissible? Is it consistent with the constitution that 41 votes can beat 59 and hold up a presidential nominee? Is that democratic? Is it all just politics anyway?

The Constitution gives the President of the United States the role to nominate candidates to the judiciary. The chief executive should not have absolute power to appoint members of the judicial branch but his power is appropriately checked by the legislature. To keep the independence of the judiciary and curb the power of the executive the Senate has the role to advise and consent on all nominees. Is advise and consent satisfied if 41 senators could stop the nomination? The constitution specifies that:

“[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herin otherwise provided for….” (Art. II sec. 2).

Requiring 60 votes to get even a vote on a senator harms the delicate balance of the “advice and consent” role. Effectively requiring a supermajority on judicial nominees strengthens the Senate’s power over a simple majority. Critics of the current nominees who support the fillibuster argue that before 1917 there was no Senate rule for cloture and before 1959 the rule of cloture only applied to ordinary legislation, not judicial nominees. However, the long tradition of allowing votes on judicial nominees seems to weaken this argument. Further, the practice before a 60 vote cloture rule would effectively give each senator a veto over a judicial nominee. This may be beneficial for ordinary legislation as ordinary legislation must be initiated by the House or Senate (Art. I sec. 7) but a filibuster for judicial nominees ties up more than the purse. Filibusters hold up the judiciary and the president’s power to nominate.

Is it really “advice and consent” if 99 Senators support the nominee but yet the nominee cannot be confirmed? Further, the text and structure of the constitution indicate against such a super majority of even 60 votes. The constitution specifically contemplates in the same section a two-thirds vote for ratifying treaties. Further in other sections of the constitution a super majority for amending the constitution is specifically stated. If the advise and consent role was to require a super majority it could have been delineated by the same framers that outlined the super majority for Treaties and Amending the constitution. The absence of such requirement seems to suggest that a regular majority is sufficient for “advice and consent.”

I like the filibuster generally but I am concerned with the tactic in the area of “advise and consent” responsibilities. The Constitution gives the Legislative branch the power to initiate legislation. However, the president was given the power to nominate judges. The Senate in a sense is given the veto for judges but not the power to nominate. The interplay between the executive and the legislative branch helps to ensure an independent judiciary. However, allowing a small minority to veto a judge will in effect flip the power of nomination from the president to those few senators. Under the old rule of no possibility of cloture one Senator could have vetoed (though it seems clear the informal policy was to vote and not filibuster nominees) the nominee until his favored nominee was sent to the Senate. Today, the problem is not so acute but still a small group holds more power over who is nominated than I think intended. The president who is elected by the entire country [ok a majority of electors from the states] is best suited to nominate a judge. The Senate is to advise and consent-- yes or no. Let's vote.

I would like to hear what others think about this take on the non-vote.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Bush Administration's N. Korea Policy - Not Quite Right

Here are some excerpts from a Wednesday, March 5 article in the WSJ by David Cloud and Jay Solomon:

"North Korea regards the steps it has taken to revive its nuclear program as the logical reaction to an American decision to break a deal in which it promised to give aid and pledged never to attack... In Washingon's eyes, North Korea's nuclear cheating is the very reason diplomacy and aid promsies have fallen apart... The U.S. doesn't appear to have grasped how meancing its rhetoric, and someitmes its lack of attention, have seemed to the North... North Korea experts say they believe that Pyongyang has been actively seeking to develop diplomatic and economic ties with the U.S. since 1990."

I really agree with this reporting and assessment. The crux of the bilateral tension between the U.S. and North Korea is that North Korea feels under seige and the U.S. feels tricked by a renegade nation. Nuclear weapons are heightening the tension. Both sides say they do not want to attack the other, but both sides believe that the other nation is an aggressor. Both nations feel dragged into increasingly hostile positions by the other. Trust? None.

There are steps the U.S. can take to improve the situation, and the Bush administration is declining to do them. The first step that we can do is open direct dialogue with the North Koreans. This is the only way to beginning building trust. Although the Clinton administration's relationship with North Korea wasn't perfect, it was a lot better than what we are doing now. At least we were communicating with North Korea then. I have never understood what there is to gain from breaking off dialogue with an entire nation. North Korea wants to develop diplomatic and economic ties.

Second: just negotiate, stupid. Negotiation alone will not convince Kim Jong Il to quit his enrichment of uranium. Nevertheless, negotiation contains more potential for a good ending than our current, alarming, and rapid escalation of hostilities between North Korea and the U.S.

Negotiation does not mean capitulation. Phil has already requested I respond to the thinking that if we give into North Korea now, we will send a message to every rogue state that developing nuclear weapons (or presumably any weapon of mass destruction) is a method for winning concessions from the big fat Americanos. This line of thinking is based in two misperceptions. First, it assumes that other nations will see us as so scared of countries with weapons of mass destruction that we will pay them to quit it. There is no way other countries are going to assess us in that light after our destruction of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. They better think carefully about trying to push the U.S. around. Second, most rogue states will not be in such delicate positions as North Korea. Are we really going to fight a war on the doorstep of Russia and China? Russia, China, and Japan are all allied with us in our efforts to get North Korea to quit it.

Finally, just a comment about North Korea. North Korea is a hermit nation with a lot to lose in this conflict. They are willing to say, "NO" to the U.S. The Bush administration needs to a better job of decreasing tension with North Korea and reopening dialogue.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

MPRE This Week - Light Blogging

I've got the MPRE on Sat., so I'm studying for that and trying to get out an issue for the journal. Thus, very little blogging.

Nevertheless, a quick thought:

Republicans filing for cloture vote in Estrada nomination: Bad idea. The precedent has now been set, it takes 60 votes to confirm a judicial nominee. When I heard this, I asked myself if Trent Lott were still running things. We caved; we were too risk averse (in some quarters, this is called being a wuss).

Why was this such a bad idea? I think its safe to say that most people side with Republicans on the Estrada nomination. I think it is also safe to say that many Hispanic voters are disgusted with the actions of the Democrats for shooting down two prominent Hispanic nominee (remember Linda Chavez?). The Republicans say that they want to get Democrats on record as voting against Estrada, and thus filing for cloture is the answer. I think that although it might be politically risky, the Republicans should not have filed for cloture, and rather let the debate keep going. We could then accurately point out (assuming a war starts in the coming days) that the Democrats found it more important during a time of war to fillibuster a Hispanic judicial nominee than to tend to our nation's security.

My guess is that the Republicans are afraid that a "shutdown" such as this one would have the same effect as the government shutdown back in 1995-96 (i.e. being blamed on Republicans, and hurting them in the next election). This is not so. The reason the Republicans were blamed was that President Clinton had the bullypulpit of the Presidency from which to blame the Republicans. Obviously, the situation has changed. President Bush now controls that same bullypulpit. Moreover, the conservative/Republican message gets out much more effectively today through talk radio and Fox News than it did then. I think it to be almost certain that the Republicans would crush the Democrats on the issue if they forced a real fillibuster during a time of war.

I could be wrong, though. Co-bloggers, any thoughts?

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Huh?

From the Washington Times:

A 97-year-old Italian woman has received about 900 traffic tickets for fines as much as $132,200 for driving a Ferrari and other cars, and a motorcycle around the historic center of Rome without the necessary permit. The only catch is she has never learned to drive, let alone owned a car.

Wow, this I'd like to see. But alas there's more:

The mystery was solved when Rome police detained three men, one of them a family friend, for fraudulently registering the vehicles in the pensioner's name.

Eddie from Ohio - Best Live Act?

Went to the historic Warner Theatre (3rd row seats) to catch Eddie from Ohio last night. What a great show! These guys play great music, tell funny jokes, and play nice, long sets.

I can't think of a live act that I'd rather see than these guys. If you haven't heard of them before, it's because they've never signed with a major record label, choosing instead to create their own label. They've sold more than 100,000 records over the past ten years, and they often play before crowds in the thousands.

If you ever have the chance to see them, I wholeheartedly recommend that you get a ticket and catch the show.