Monday, May 10, 2010

Obama chooses Kagan for Supreme Court

She is predictably Leftist but her nomination would leave 3 Jews and 6 Catholics making the rules for a predominantly Protestant nation. How is that "fair"? Disproportionate representation like that is normally claimed by Leftists to signify "racism" and to be grounds for "affirmative action".

And how does an unmarried Jewish academic "give voice to average people" (as Obama claims it would)?

President Barack Obama will nominate Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, a person familiar with the president's thinking said, positioning the court to have three female justices for the first time.

The source spoke Sunday night on condition of anonymity because Obama's decision on who should replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens had not been made public. The president was expected to announce his choice at 10 a.m. local time Monday in the East Room of the White House.

Kagan must be confirmed by the Senate, which is dominated by Obama's Democrats. With 59 votes, they have more than enough to confirm her, but are one shy of being able to halt any Republican stalling effort.

Supreme Court confirmation hearings are often highly partisan exercises, and although Republicans have shown no signs in advance they would try to prevent a vote on Kagan, they are certain to grill her in confirmation hearings over her experience, her thin record of legal writings and her objections to the military's policy about gays.

At 50 years old, Kagan would be the youngest justice on the court, an important factor before Obama because her appointment is unlikely to immediately affect the court's balance of power. There was a conservative shift in the court's composition when President George W. Bush chose appeals court judge Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate whose vote often made the difference in ideologically charged cases.

A source close to the selection process said a central element in Obama's choice was Kagan's reputation for bringing together people of competing views and earning their respect.

Kagan came to the fore as a candidate who had worked closely with all three branches of government, a legal mind with both a sense of modesty and sense of humor. The source spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss factors that led to Kagan's impending nomination.

Yet Kagan would be the first justice without judicial experience in almost 40 years. All of the three other finalists she beat out for the job are federal appeals court judges, and all nine of the current justices served on the federal bench before being elevated.

This year, Obama particularly wanted someone who could provide leadership and help sway fellow justices toward a majority opinion. The president has grown vocal in his concern that the conservative-tilting court is giving too little voice to average people.

Kagan is known for having won over liberal and conservative faculty at the difficult-to-unite Harvard Law School, where she served as dean for nearly six years.

Kagan, who is unmarried, was born in New York City. She holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton, a master's degree from Oxford and a law degree from Harvard...

As the Harvard Law School dean, Kagan openly railed against the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gay service members. She called it discriminatory and barred military recruiters over the matter until the move threatened to cost the university federal money.

Kagan would be the fourth woman to serve on the Supreme Court, following current Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor and retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

She would be the third Jewish justice along with six Catholics. With Stevens' retirement, the court will have no Protestants, the most prevalent denomination in the U.S.



Report details depravity of SEALs' accuser

The just-concluded military trials of three exonerated Navy SEALs showed the terrorism suspect at the center of the case to be one of the most dangerous men in Iraq.

Ahmed Hashim Abed initially was described as the insurgent who planned the killings of four Blackwater security guards in Fallujah in 2004, with two of their charred bodies infamously hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River.

But the three SEALs who captured Abed — and were court-martialed afterward — nabbed a far more notorious figure, according to trial testimony and an intelligence report.

Abed is thought to have committed a series of killings, including beheadings, in western Anbar province as a leading al Qaeda operative. He remains in an Iraqi prison awaiting trial in that country's criminal court system.

The report also said he was responsible for recruiting insurgents, trafficking weapons and staging ambushes and attacks with improvised explosive devices.

Abed's status as a most-wanted killer is one reason many Americans rallied around the three SEALs, who were accused of hitting him after capture. They celebrated after the last defendant, Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew McCabe, was found not guilty Thursday of assaulting Abed by a seven-member military jury in Norfolk, Va.



Economic suicide by debt and taxes

"There he goes again, folks," Ronald Reagan might say, shaking his head ruefully, as Barack Obama goes charging off on that same spavined old big-spending government horse, riding straight into a box canyon where certain disaster awaits America.

The president's planned fiscal excesses beyond 2010 cannot plausibly be attributed to the recession, blamed on George W. Bush or justified by economic principles, Keynesian or otherwise. They are simply irresponsible to the point of willful endangerment. The public debt will be at least an astronomical 91 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 - and the gross debt will be at least 123 percent of GDP (compared with 125 percent in Greece) and greatly in excess of the fatal "tipping point" identified by recent academic research.

Right now, about 42 cents out of every dollar being spent by President Obama is borrowed - mostly from foreigners - and if he continues to stoke the crisis, America's Triple A bond rating will be downgraded within a few years, the Treasury's borrowing costs will skyrocket, and Washington will try to inflate its way out of debt by printing lots of cheap new dollars, thereby destroying people's savings and impairing lives and livelihoods for generations to come. None of this is necessary; it's Mr. Obama's choice.



Barack Obama Chamberlain

In the words of Dr. Phil, “How's that working out for you?” Someone in President Obama's inner circle of advisors needs to ask the president that question and soon. In the wake of a new immigration policy debacle, and yet another homeland security collapse, how's that policy of appeasement of Islam working out for you? In Barack Obama, we are witnessing the second coming, not of Christ, but of Neville Chamberlain himself, the embodiment of appeasement.

In the 1930's, Neville Chamberlain earned great praise from his own party and from large numbers of the British people for his earnest willingness to avoid war by believing Adolf Hitler. Each time Hitler proclaimed like a child before a plate of Oreo cookies that one more piece of land would sate his appetite, Chamberlain accepted Hitler at his word and patted himself on the back for avoiding armed conflict. As Hitler moved in to seize Austria, Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of England, acquiesced. As Hitler set his sights on the Sudetenland, Chamberlain negotiated a worthless settlement that he presented as a basis for “peace in our time.”

Unfortunately, Chamberlain's appeasement policy left England weak and unprepared for war, thereby making Churchill's task of waging war against Hitler all the more difficult. Crafting foreign policy, combating tyranny, and staring down evil are not for the faint-hearted. Wishing away a problem rarely works; ask any addict. Relying solely on one's supernatural powers of persuasion usually leads to delusion, failure, or worse, collapse. In fact, this tall task of confronting evil requires a strategy of strength rather than a policy of appeasement. Regrettably, the latter seems to be the bailiwick of Mr. Obama.

We have now witnessed a supposed “re-booting of America's image” in the Muslim world as inaugurated by President Obama's much ballyhooed Cairo speech. He and the First Lady have treated us to Muslim celebrations and declarations in the White House for Ramadan. The president has hosted an “Entrepreneur Summit” for Muslim leaders. He has issued paeans on the inspiring splendors of Islam, “one of the world's great religions.” Mr. Obama has even gone to great lengths to praise an Islamic cartoonist for creating pretend superheroes skilled in the art of collaboration and peace, skills supposedly rooted in the Koran. Meanwhile, American cartoonists at South Park live in fear of actual violence and censorship as Comedy Central quivers at the mere threat of terrorist loons like and Faisal Shahzad. Perhaps Mr. Obama could help inspire cartoonists in his own country not to fear telling the truth about Islam rather than encouraging a Kuwaiti cartoonist.

Thus far, it looks very much like Barack Obama is channeling his inner Neville Chamberlain. Appease and wish the problem away. So far, not so good. In the past six months, to name just a few examples, America has experienced:

• A full-frontal terrorist assault on one of our own military bases by Major Nidal Hasan. This attack occurred in spite of the numerous red flags over the past decade as Mr. Hasan made his way through American government-provided education and military training.

• A near disastrous airline terror attack by Umar the Underwear Bomber on Christmas as his plane prepared to land in Detroit. The savior from that attack was a Dutchman who dove across the aisle of the plane to smother Umar and his flaming underwear. Never mind that Umar had purchased a one-way ticket with cash, carried no luggage, and had spent time in terrorist training. Secretary Napolitano's team somehow had allowed him on a plane and never given it a second thought.

• The planting of a car bomb in Times Square by a man who had been on our watch list for ten years, had received citizenship from our immigration bureaucracy, had recently spent five months in Pakistan, and had trained with terrorist groups. Somehow, Napolitano's excellent leadership allowed the team at JFK airport to screen thousands of passengers on a day while failing to detain Faisal Shahzad, a wanted terrorist who walked right through security and onto a plane to head home to the Middle East.

So what Mr. Obama and his team bring to national security and the struggle against Islamic terror is a combination that spells danger. First, an executive leader who naively thinks the problem of terror can be wished away by summits and speeches. Second, a government bureaucracy that is always modifying its policies AFTER each security failure. A deadly cocktail.

What an odd nation we are as we pursue our mindless quest for PCness when what we need is an education and a dose of critical thinking. We can thank God that the Islamists thus far have sent Barney Fife and Gomer Pyle to attack us. Ineptitude has been our primary savior: bombers who do not know what they are doing – only matched by our own ineptitude at naming the problem (radical Islam's inability to adapt to Western mores) and dealing with it (with real immigration policies and strong security strategies).




As long term readers of this blog will know, I did for a while run a recipe blog to share all my favourite recipes with anybody who cared to try them. I very rarely update it now but a family member has now started a fairly regular recipe blog which you can find here. She even has up a recipe for egg-rolled pork, an obscure Korean dish that has been one of my great favourites for many years. No matter how much of it you make, there is never any left over. People just keep eating it until it is all gone. Try it if you don't believe me.

Unemployment still hovering around 10%: "U.S. employers added an unexpectedly large 290,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department said Friday, the strongest hiring burst in four years and a signal that companies are becoming more confident that the economy will continue to strengthen. The government also reported an uptick in the unemployment rate, to 9.9 percent from 9.7 percent. That surprised many analysts, but they for the most part didn’t view the increase as a sign of worsening conditions. Rather, they said it was because many more out-of-work people, seeing better employment prospects, are rejoining the labor market in search of jobs.”

My pitch for some solid selfishness: "Hardly anyone will dispute that most folks who chime in about ethics consider selfishness wrong. There have been exceptions in history and some of the most prominent ethical philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, can even be said to have been ethical egoists or at least ones who championed the moral virtue of prudence as a vital one for living a good human life. But after some significant changes in how human nature began to be understood, being selfish or self-interested — or even prudent — started to be scoffed at, treated as a moral liability, not worthy of praise but of blame. Of course, even after this, using one’s common sense showed that being selfish is what most of us are, normally, routinely, and quite benignly.”

Obama to emulate Britain's despised NICE: “With health costs spiraling, one of the core ideas of the White House’s health takeover is the creation of an independent body of experts to steer clinical decisions. IPAB, the Independent Payments Advisory Board, is founded on the belief that Washington bureaucrats can help manage health care decisions, adjusting Medicare payments to reward excellence and punish waste. The idea doesn’t sound unreasonable. As the president has noted, there often is a red pill and a blue pill, with the red one costing twice as much, yet no more effective. If the logic is seductive, it’s easy to understand why Britain’s prime minister embraced the idea in 1999. Faced with rapid inflation in the socialized National Health Service, Tony Blair created NICE, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence.”


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1 comment:

Librarian said...

I don't care whether the court is Catholic and Jewish. I don't care whether the judges are considering the average people. I only want them to regard the Constitution as unchanging rather than a jumping-off point.