SocraticGadfly: 10/2/05 - 10/9/05

October 07, 2005

Rove first, then Miller again?

Get out the old whipsaw

The New York Times says special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald isn’t yet done with Judith Miller.

Now, the story isn’t 100 percent clear, but it sounds like Fitzgerald may want to hear from Rove first, after his voluntary offer to come back to the grand jury and apparently attempt to clear up and reconcile conflicting accounts of events given in multiple previous appearances.

My guess is that Fitzgerald wants Miller back after that. He’s got Miller’s first round of testimony, as well as Matthew Cooper’s, hanging over Rove’s head.

Plus, Rove knows that Miller’s coming back for Round 2, and that has to also be troubling him. Why?

Once Rove provides whatever “clarifications” he feels he needs to make, back comes Miller, with Rove’s just-completed testimony hanging over her head. Got to hand it to Fitzgerald, if this is indeed the plan, this is whipsaw tactics to a T.

Free polls from
Who all will be indicted in Plamegate?

Karl Rove
Scooter Libby
Alberto Gonzales
There will be unindicted co-conspirators

October 06, 2005

Bush: Militants seek to establish empire

And we don’t?

That’s the latest justification for the invasion of Iraq.

What about those plans for a dozen or so U.S. military bases? The neoconservatives’ wet dream of using Iraq as the first domino in the Middle East to create governments both more democratic (at least in theory) and more subservient to us? And, what about these “more democratic” governments being more socialized to American capitalism while we’re at it, as Karen Hughes would have us think all Arabs want?

Geez. Niall Ferguson at least has it right that the neocons (and many others) should at least be honest with themselves and the country at large that we already act like an empire.

Also known as “science obstructionists”

In an Agence-France Press story covering the launch of a new European satellite to measure polar ice thickness, we get this great phrase: “Greenhouse-gas negationists.” I like it.

They don’t stand for anything scientific; all they are is negative.

LBJ’s biggest mistake (outside Vietnam) — not advancing Marshall to the top

Apropos of Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, it should be noted (as David Sirota already has done on his blog) that Lyndon Johnson’s greatest domestic mistake was nominating Associate Justice Abe Fortas to replace retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren.

Many of you know the basics — Fortas was advising LBJ on ’Nam, was leaking from private SCOTUS discussions and otherwise making a mockery of separation of powers. And of course, none of this even touches on Fortas being an old political fixer back to getting “Landslide Lyndon” to be able to hold on to his “landslide” 87-vote Senate victory in 1948.

But, the mistake is actually a mistake compounded if you look at who Johnson could have nominated.

LBJ had the chance to ensure he had the greatest civil rights legacy since Lincoln, while in the practical political world he loved, perhaps giving the Humphrey presidential campaign a boost at the same time.

All Johnson had to do was nominate Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall to replace Warren.

First, the legacy issue. Naming the first black chief justice would have put that in the bag.

Second, even though Vietnam still would have been on the table, Humphrey probably still would have gotten a boost. Remember, he lost the popular vote by just 0.7 percent and split the electoral vote 301-191, with 46 for Wallace.

And, beyond that, let’s look at the history of the court. Civil liberties and civil rights would have gotten even more protection, and the recognition of broader “penumbras,” than they did in the Burger Court. No trimming back of Miranda, either.

Plus, Marshall himself would have written an 8-1, not 7-2, opinion on Roe. He might have gone for a narrower ruling, which might have been better. He might have been wise enough to state that an explicit right to privacy was one of those unenumerated Ninth Amendment rights, and so, sneakily, thereby enumerate it.

But, because the LBJ of 1968 lapsed into the LBJ of 1948, under stress and strain, or whatever (did Fortas have a tape recording of Sheriff Parr or Photostats of the forged ballots?), and we never got Chief Justice Marshall

Alcoholics Anonymous breaks sacred traditions - TV commercials, with people's faces

Knowing what I do about Alcoholics Anonymous, I was certainly surprised to see a commercial on late-night Dallas television showing actual faces of people who are either actual AA members or else actors who are comporting themselves as AA members.

What outsiders don't know is that, in addition to its “12 steps” method of getting sober, AA also has “12 traditions,” which are designed as guidelines for AA local group and national organization, as well as the comportment of individual members when representing AA to the outside world, whether holding an official position in the organization or not.

Let me right out the last two principles.

11 – Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films. (TV didn’t exist back in the late 1930s.)

12 – Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

So, let’s count the number of ways AA’s World Services Office has broken these traditions.

A TV commercial based on promotion, even if of the soft-shoe variety.
Blowing personal anonymity, if those were real AA members; giving the impression that it’s OK to do so, if those were actors.
Eroding its foundations by doing Nos. 1 and 2.

Now, AA can’t do too much promotion. Its long-term success rate of 5 percent is no better than “secular” sobriety programs, psychological counseling, or other means of sobering up. (Probably why this commercial had no numerical claims.)

But, the commercial leaves me with a question, or multi-point speculation, to be more precise.

AA membership has been flat for a decade, perhaps in part because many old-time members still get hard-line about wanting to discuss alcoholism only, and not drug addiction, even though people under 40, and especially under 30, who have only had problems with alcohol are in the minority.
Is AA, especially at the HQ in New York City, running dry on funds?

October 04, 2005

Now it’s dumb women as well as dumb blacks for Murray

Charles Murray, not content to be a racist on the matter of human intelligence, has now decided to out himself as a sexist as well.

“It’s quite satisfying to see that I didn’t get nearly the hostile reaction I was expecting this time,” Murray says from his home near Washington. “After ‘The Bell Curve,’ I was the Antichrist, so perhaps we have moved on and we can start looking at this data in an un-hysterical way.”
Perhaps. Another explanation may be that Murray has used up his 15 minutes of fame. Lisa Randall, an eminent Harvard theoretical physicist and cosmologist, had agreed to dissect Murray’s work, which appeared in the September issue of Commentary magazine in the US, for Inquirer but on reflection declined to respond. “The reason is that this just isn’t news and it’s not worthy of being covered,” she says. “If it really gets to the point where people accept it, I can explain the many logical fallacies in his piece.”
Isn’t this the BushCo “base” — the angry racist, insecure, pseudo-intellectual white male?

So much to blog about, so little time and room

1. Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore running for governor. Did God tell him to do that, from Sinai, after handing down the Ten Commandments to him?

2. Tom DeLay indicted again (see below). Did Sears or another TRMPAC-funding business finally roll over for Travis County DA Ronnie Earle? And notice that while mouthpiece Dick DeGuerin fired off right away, the Hammer himself is zip-lipped so far?

3. Harriett Miers for SCOTUS? Those of us who saw her in action, (or is that "inaction"?) on the Dallas City Council know that she is indeed third-rate, as even conservatives in this area will admit, off the record. W could have trumped his dad with a black woman (Janice Rogers Brown) or a Hispanic (Alberto Gonzales). Is he trimming to the political wind?

4. The Cardinals have their eyes on that World Series again. I think this could be the year. Thank doorknobs we don't face the Astros to start the playoffs.

Hey, hey, hey, hey, Tom DeLayay, good bye

First the conspiracy, now the actuality

Just days after an indictment on conspiracy charges, Tom DeLay gets the real bullet: an indictment on actual crimes, namely, Money laundering.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

October 03, 2005

So much for principal, Judy, Judy

Floyd Abrams, who seems about as capable of telling the truth as George W. Bush, now claims he sought a deal with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on Judith Miller’s grand jury testimony more than a year ago.
"I tried to get a deal a year ago." But Abrams said that when he spoke to Fitzgerald about it at the time, he would not agree to limit his questions "to assure that the only source he would effectively be asking about was Mr. Libby.”

Sure, you did, Floyd. Trying to burnish your legal résumé there?

But, let’s assume this has some degree of basis in fact. Miller has obviously shown that her claim of “principle” is bogus, as if right-thinking people didn’t already know that.

October 02, 2005

American exceptionalism and the potential American downfall

And, how it could affect Peak Oil aftermath

Rod Dreher of The Dallas Morning News thinks the size and nature of the federal bureaucracy, regardless of conservative or liberal elected political leadership, prevents — and will continue to prevent — federal responses to events like Hurricane Katrina from being as satisfactory as the afflicted might like.

It’s a partially right, and simplistic answer.

On the simplistic side, most events as large and divers as Katrina and the post-Katrina response simply can’t be boiled down to one cause.

On the partially right issue, beyond the simplicity, I see another cause.

Here, it’s not a question of federal response, but public disbelief in the possibility of such disasters.

I contend part of the problem is -- American exceptionalism -- or the concept thereof, held by many conservatives and liberals alike, whether explicitly tied to a religious backgrounding for it or not.

Americans continue to believe that: "Event X (whatever, fill in the blank) can't happen here."

They thought a terrorist attack couldn't occur here, even though it already had nearly a decade earlier. They thought that hurricane couldn't become the "perfectly imperfect storm," if you will, even though presidents from both parties had cut Corps funding for levee improvements AND the Corps had itself essentially caused much of the problem with upstream levees for years beforehand.

There's also an adjunct to American exceptionalism -- the worship of technology, engaged in by Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, secular and religious alike.

It is most exmplifying itself in the refusal of elected leaders of both parties to seriously discuss Peak Oil, and just how hard of a slog it is going to be to deal with that, especially if the peak's downside is precipitously, not mildly, sloped.

Newsweek still kind of clueless on DeLay-Earle

The first three pages of its Oct. 10 “Exterminator” story on Tom DeLay are pretty decent, but page 4 pretty much veers into cluelessness.

Eleanor, “Gee, I’m Swellinor” Clift et al seem to think that Earle begged to have “The Big Buy” filmed, whereas in actuality, he had to be begged by Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck to let filming go on.

Add in the fact that nobody from Earle’s staff, nor from the grand jury, was quoted, and while not as one-sided as it could have been, it is still somewhat that way.

Even worse, beyond the “sidedness,” it is clearly written from an inside-the-Beltway perspective. That’s why it lacks quotes from Earle’s staff or grand jury — it would be too much fricking work to venture outside Washington, either mentally or physically

Update: I originally typoed the title as Newsweek still kid of clueless ...," which actually made sense as written.