Archive for May, 2009

A case of domestic terrorism?


From the Wichita Eagle:

WICHITA – George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.

Tiller was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.

No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody….

Tiller has long been a focal point of protest by abortion opponents because his clinic, Women’s Health Care Services at 5701 E. Kellogg, is one of the few in the country where late-term abortions are performed.

Protesters blockaded Tiller’s clinic during Operation Rescue’s “Summer of Mercy” protests during the summer of 1991, and Tiller was shot by Rachelle Shannon at his clinic in 1993.

Tiller was wounded in both arms, and Shannon remains in prison for the shooting.

Tiller’s clinic was severely vandalized earlier this …

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STEP AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER!

It’s a beautiful Saturday. I’m cooking a New England clambake for 200 people. So I’m going to be a little busy today.

You should too.

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How ’bout some Southern fried travelin’ music?

Yeah, I know Mr. Charlie Daniels would not approve of my politics. But I do approve of his music. Very much so. If this doesn’t put a bounce in your step on the way home this evening, I’m sorry I cannot help you.

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There’s no substitute for good sense

Reappointing Robert Gates as secretary of defense was probably the smartest personnel decision of Barack Obama’s political career, the mirror-image opposite of George Bush’s disastrous selection of Dick Cheney as his vice president.

In fact, if Gates had been SecDef instead of Rumsfeld from the beginning, I suspect the whole course of the Bush presidency would have been altered for the better. Alas, we shall never know.

From the Wall Street Journal:

American public support for the Afghan war will dissipate in less than a year unless the Obama administration achieves “a perceptible shift in momentum,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview.

Mr. Gates said the momentum in Afghanistan is with the Taliban, who are inflicting heavy U.S. casualties and hold de facto control of swaths of the country.

The defense chief has been moving aggressively to salvage the war in Afghanistan, signing off on the deployments of 21,000 American military personnel and recently taking …

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Europeans balk, and who can blame them?

I can’t blame them in the least. If we Americans are too chicken to step up and help solve the problem, why should they?

from the Washington Post:

BERLIN, May 28 — The Obama administration’s push to resettle at least 50 Guantanamo Bay prisoners in Europe is meeting fresh resistance as European officials demand that the United States first give asylum to some inmates before they will do the same.

Rising opposition in the U.S. Congress to allowing Guantanamo prisoners on American soil has not gone over well in Europe. Officials from countries that previously indicated they were willing to accept inmates now say it may be politically impossible for them to do so if the United States does not reciprocate.

“If the U.S. refuses to take these people, why should we?” said Thomas Silberhorn, a member of the German Parliament from Bavaria, where the White House wants to relocate nine Chinese Uighur prisoners. “If all 50 states in America say, ‘Sorry, we can’t take them,’ this is not …

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Obama, Netanyahu in standoff over settlements

President Obama is being more explicit and forthright with Israel than any U.S. president in decades. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it the other day:

“He wants to see a stop to settlements — not some settlements, not outposts, not ‘natural growth’ exceptions. We think it is in the best interests [of the peace process] that settlement expansion cease. That is our position. That is what we have communicated very clearly. … And we intend to press that point.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for the moment at least, is rejecting that pressure, setting up an interesting test of strength and will. Obama and Netanyahu will both pay a political cost at home for their positions, and given the clear line Obama has drawn, one of the two will be forced to give in. If Obama prevails, as I suspect he will, he will then have earned credibility to force similar concessions from the Arab/Palestinian side.

I’m still far from optimistic, but we’ll see. At the very least …

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Sorry Icarus — I hate to do this to you

This praise probably won’t make him happy, but whoever posts as “Icarus” at Peachpundit and at Redstate.com has an excellent, thoughtful and honest rebuttal to Erick Erickson’s rather strange “Limbaugh is Jesus” column at Redstate. If the GOP is to be resurrected, to extend Erickson’s unfortunate analogy, it will be down the path that Icarus lays down.

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I was wrong about you conservatives

The conservative tendency to label opponents as “unAmerican” or “unpatriotic” has always gotten me a little … angry, shall we say? I’ll even admit I’ve taken it personally. Who gave them or anyone else the right to define what is American and what is not? And what is unpatriotic about opposing a war that in the long term will weaken our country militarily, economically, politically and morally, as the invasion of Iraq has done?

More recently, though, I’ve come to realize that I owe conservatives an apology of sorts. I had long thought that there was something calculated in their approach, that flinging words such as “unAmerican” at their rivals was a conscious and well-thought-out attack strategy, along the lines of Newt Gingrich’s infamous GOPAC memo. I was wrong about that.

Instead, I’ve come to understand that the attack on loyalty is instinctive, and in that sense sincere and genuine. It’s an inherent attitude that helps to define conservatives as conservative, and to …

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Cheney vs. someone who knows what he’s talking about

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Yes, of course biography matters in a judge

According to Judge Sonia Sotomayor, biography matters. President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court believes a person’s gender, ethnic background and upbringing will inevitably affect how he or she interprets the law.

She is absolutely correct.

The jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas is inescapably informed by his personal history, both as a black man and as someone who lifted himself out of poverty. Likewise, the rulings of Antonin Scalia are informed, even if subconsciously, by his strict Catholicism. Chief Justice John Roberts grew up as the son of a Bethlehem Steel executive, an upbringing that at some level had to color his outlook on issues such as management-labor disputes.

sotomayorAfter all, Thomas, Scalia and Roberts are human, and we do not stop being human when we don a judge’s robe. Furthermore, the law is not a mathematical construct. Two plus two always equals four no matter who adds it up, but the law is a human construct, subject to human interpretation. So it …

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