Archive for May, 2009

Sotomayor a racist? Oh, the stupidity!

I’m working on a longer and I hope more well-researched piece on this topic, but let me jump in with this:

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has joined Rush Limbaugh and others in attacking Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a racist. In a recent post on Twitter, Gingrich wrote:

“White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.”

The sole basis of that explosive charge is a single sentence in a much longer speech by Sotomayor in 2002. In that speech, she notes that “there can never be a universal definition of wise,” then states:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

In other words, Sotomayor hopes that her life experiences would make her a better judge than someone without those experiences. On that basis, she is supposedly a racist who must now withdraw.

The stupidity of that argument is stunning.

As I noted, …

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The conundrum of North Korea

Sometimes there are problems without solutions. For example, North Korea.

To those outside its borders, the behavior of North Korea seems driven by madness. Its actions make no sense; they seem random and incoherent, carried out with no apparent long-term in mind.

But that’s probably wrong. Those actions — testing nuclear weapons, firing missiles — probably do make some kind of sense when viewed from the only perspective that matters in North Korea, from inside the government. It’s a schizophrenic state, listening only to the voices inside its own head and not at all to those of the outside world.

That makes it a problem to be managed, not solved. The first President Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all took different approaches, but with equally little or no progress. The same will likely be true of Barack Obama. Again, what’s going on inside North Korea is far more determinative than anything that happens outside.

So, we have to be ready for military action should …

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Do we accept a child’s ‘parental-assisted suicide’?

I’ve been following this story for a while now, still uncertain about what I think. Actually, that’s not quite true. I’m certain about what I think — the problem is that I think several things that conflict with each other.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

NEW ULM, Minn. – A judge returned 13-year-old Daniel Hauser to his parents’ custody today despite objections from the Brown County attorney in New Ulm.

During a one-hour hearing, Brown County District Judge John Rodenberg asked both parents, Anthony and Colleen Hauser, if they understood that Daniel needs chemotherapy to save his life. Both said: “Yes.”

The judge then said: “I take you at your word” and transferred his custody back to the parents.

Daniel, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was in the custody of Brown County authorities since his parents balked at chemo therapy after one round of treatment. Colleen and Daniel then fled to California for a week before returning early Monday….

A family spokesman told …

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For today’s graduates, the promise of better times

This is not, by statistical measures, a wonderful time to graduate from high school or college. Watching your daughter march across the stage to accept her college degree, a guy starts to think about such things.

After all, work is scarce, credit is tight, and economists say the foreseeable future looks pretty grim.

Trying to find a job and start a career in a time of such transition, an era in which institutions and industries are collapsing with little real sense of what will replace them, or what the future holds —- it ought to be intimidating.

Yet I don’t see that fear in the eyes of today’s graduates, only eagerness and passion.

And while it’s tempting to explain that optimism as the foolishness of youth, I suspect it’s more well-grounded in fact than the rest of us understand.

In important ways, this is probably a better time than most to start an adult life and make a mark on the world.

Yes, things are scary out there. The easy prosperity that just a year ago …

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Obama to name Sotomayor to highest court

Word has leaked that President Obama will nominate U.S. appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York to replace David Souter on the Supreme Court.

sotomayorBased on everything I’ve read, she’s an excellent choice. Raised in the Bronx by her mother after the death of her father, she graduated summa cum laude from Princeton and went on to Yale Law. She’s worked as a prosecutor and was appointed to the federal judiciary by the first President Bush. Her intelligence and hard work are widely acknowledged.

But of course, with the right-wing noise machine already primed to squeal regardless of who the nominee might be, we’re still going to hear a lot of complaints. In the end, the excesses of that campaign will hurt the conservative cause more than help it, and Sotomayor will be confirmed.

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Constitution, shmonstitution….

The 14th Amendment is quite clear: Anybody born in the United States is a citizen. You can argue about its wisdom or unintended consequences, but you cannot seriously argue about its language:

““All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

There is no equivocation, no qualification. Under that provision, even children born in this country to illegal immigrants become U.S. citizens, period. If that bothers you, if you want to change that reality, you have to change the Constitution, which contains provisions by which it can be amended.

However, U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal proposes to alter the Constitution with a simple law, in effect pretending the Constitution doesn’t exist. As the Associated Press puts it:

“Under Deal’s proposal, babies born in the U.S. would automatically have citizenship only if at least one of their parents is a U.S. citizen or …

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In memoriam, 2009…

The U.S. military cemetery at St.-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France

Visiting the cemeteries of Normandy, you are struck first by the scale of the sacrifice, with crosses and the occasional star of David spreading across acre after acre of open green field. Then your thoughts turn to the fact that each marker represents the sacrifice of an individual, the end of what was usually a young and largely unlived life in defense of a nation and a cause.

The sight sticks in your conscience thought for days, and in your deeper thought for much longer than that.

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Liberty University bans campus Democratic club

From the Lynchberg (Va.) News and Advance:

Liberty University has revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club, saying “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university.

“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” said Brian Diaz, president of LU’s student Democratic Party organization, which LU formally recognized in October.

Diaz said he was notified of the school’s decision May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs.

According to the e-mail, the club must stop using the university’s name, holding meetings on campus, or advertising events. Violators could incur one or more reprimands under the school’s Liberty Way conduct code, and anyone who accumulates 30 reprimands is subject to expulsion.

Hine said late Thursday that the university could not sanction an official club that supported Democratic candidates.

“We are in no way attempting to stifle …

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Whoa … that’s one way to end an investigation

From the Washington Post:

TOKYO, May 23 — Former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, a suspect in a corruption scandal that implicated his wife and family, apparently committed suicide Saturday by leaping from a mountain cliff near his rural home.

Roh, 62, died of head injuries while hiking in the early morning with a bodyguard. “He appears to have jumped from a mountain rock,” said Moon Jae-in, a lawyer who was Roh’s presidential chief of staff.

“The suffering caused by me is too great to too many people,” Roh wrote in a suicide note found soon after his death. “The suffering in store for the future is too much to bear. The remainder of my life will only be a burden to others.”

Roh, who left office last year after a five-year term, was questioned for nearly 13 hours late last month by prosecutors. They were investigating allegations that during his presidency he and members of his family accepted more than $6 million in bribes from a wealthy South Korean shoe manufacturer. …

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It’s a holiday weekend, folks

What are you throwing on the grill?

(I’m attending a college graduation, so I’m out of commission on the barbeque front),

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