Monday, January 30, 2006
Hoystory sells out: Having signed a contract I've officially become part of the JuiceCaster network. What does this mean to you? It means that you need to change your permalinks and bookmarks. Hoystory can now be found at Hoystory.com. For those who are curious about JuiceCaster or want to do a little light blogging without having to maintain your own site, check out JuiceCaster at www.hoystory.com. [Juicecaster no longer supports the new Hoystory.com]
This is the last post you will find here. The archives are available at the new site, but they'll remain here also.
I hope to see you over at the new site.
Well, the reporter had to have it explained to him: So, it should come as little surprise that he felt the need to explain it to you.
The latest Census Bureau report shows median prices for new residences sold in December fell 1.5 percent from the previous month to $221,800. Half of the homes sold for more than the median, the rest for less.
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Uninformed or a liar?: I watched "Fox News Watch" last night. The program is the Fox News Channel's media watchdog program and is unfortunately only 30 minutes long. If it were longer, I'd probably have even more ammunition proving media critic Neal Gabler, an Eric Alterman acolyte, to be at the very least hopelessly misinformed and at worse a liar.
On yesterday's show, Gabler claimed that there was no doubt that President Bush's NSA terrorist surveillance program was illegal. Let's call that ignorance. Next Gabler claimed -- as evidence of the New York Times' conservative bias -- that an article in the Times buried the fact that "every constitutional scholar" had determined the program was illegal. Gabler argued that that should've been the story's lede.
Indeed it should have. But a cursory search of the Times archives (I don't have accesss to TimesSelect and so can't access complete articles) doesn't turn up the phrase "every constitutional scholar" and in fact doesn't appear to reference "constitutional scholar" either.
But let's assume that Gabler's memory is accurate and there is such a Times news story that indeed does make such a claim.
In that case, Gabler has also indicted the Times for false and inaccurate reporting.
You see, it's pretty easy to find a constitutional scholar who believes the NSA program is probably legal. In fact, if you're looking for it, it's pretty easy, even if all you're looking for is liberals. I give to you University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein. The guy wrote a law book on constitutional law, so that must qualify him as a scholar.
Gabler is at best dishonest and at worst a fool.
If you haven't read this over at Powerline, I encourage you to take a look. It exposes the Times reporting on this issue not as a balanced and thoughtful look at the program, but as propaganada and advocacy.
Then there is the New York Times, which rarely lets a day go by without front-page Bush bashing. Today, Eric Lichtblau and Adam Liptak led the charge with an article headlined "Bush Presses On in Legal Defense for Wiretapping." The article purports to be an even-handed treatment of the debate over the legality of the NSA international surveillance program, but it conveys no hint of the strength of the administration's legal arguments, or the extent to which they are accepted within the legal community.
Is it any wonder that Gabler would get the wrong idea about the legality of the surveillance program? His source is the New York Times.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Money for terrorists: There should be no doubt that the Palestinian Authority is a corrupt terrorist organization. It was when Yasser Arafat (condition stable after dying in a Paris hospital) was running things. It was when his Fatah party continued holding power after his death. And it will continue to be now that Hamas -- an organization that has as its primary goal the complete destruction of Israel.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the guy who was once lauded as the epitome of what an ex-president should be, has his "endangered values" kick in over common sense.
Former US President Jimmy Carter said Friday that the United States would have to cut off direct funding to the Palestinian Authority as soon as Hamas takes control, but it should look for other ways to give money to the Palestinians.
"United States law would require that the money would be cut off if Hamas is in the government, so that's a foregone conclusion," Carter told The Associated Press.
Instead, the United States should increase its donations to UN and other aid groups earmarked for the Palestinians to make up for the cut in direct aid "so that the people can still continue to have food and shelter and health care and education," Carter said.
Oh yeah, the "education" that has been funded by the UN for decades and has produced a level of Jew-hatred not seen since Hitler's Germany. An education system that glorifies martyrdom and the murder of innocent civilians. Yeah, we need to keep funding that.
Israel has done a smart thing by not waiting for a "partner" for peace -- because they'll be waiting until the end of time -- for their security fence.
I don't know what the solution is, but it certainly isn't continuing to fund and prop up an evil society. Yes, it's not politically correct to describe a society as evil, but that's the most accurate description of that society.
What the international community has been doing for the last 50-plus years has not been working -- that much is obvious to anyone who isn't an ex-president named Jimmy. Something else needs to be done. Maybe that something else is to allow Palestinian "society" the opportunity to destroy itself beyond repair. Maybe then something will emerge from the ashes that isn't based on irrational hatred of the Jews.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Crazy old lady in the attic: Helen Thomas, a left-wing opinion columnist, didn't get called on again in yesterday's press conference.
Turns out Bush made a good call, because the moonbat was going to ask a dumb question.
The gift that just keeps on giving: Massachusetts' junior senator, John Kerry, has come out urging a filibuster of Judge Samuel Alito.
It's going to be interesting to see how the New York Times editorial page characterizes Kerry's move, since by their definition a filibuster is occuring right now.
And if the Times changes their definition to fit the political calculus of the moment, I'll be firing off another letter to editorial page editor Gail Collins.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
"Debating" Alito: The Senate isn't really debating the qualifications of Sam Alito to sit on the Supreme Court so much as they are speechifying. I watched a couple hours of the Senate yesterday and have C-SPAN2 on now and I think everything that can be said about Alito has been said -- it's just that everyone hasn't yet had a chance to say it.
Sen. Hillary Clinton's speech yesterday was particularly amusing as she decried Alito's supposed views on presidential authority -- surmising that Alito would somehow "OK" President Bush's allegedly illegal acts. I just kept thinking back to her husband's repeated claims of "privilege" when defending himself from sexual harassment allegations. Everything she decried about Bush's use of presidential powers she seemed perfectly OK with when her husband was using the same powers -- even in more seedy and self-serving ways.
Thus far, Democrat senators Robert C. Byrd (W.V.), Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) have broken with party lines and come out in support of Alito's confirmation. If all Republicans vote to confirm Alito, and Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee has still not announced his intentions, then Alito would have only 58 "Yeas."
The possibility of a loony left blog explosion is still a very real possibility.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Editorial writers in need of a clue: The New York Times editorial page is urging a filibuster of Judge Samuel Alito. Of course, since by the the Times' own definition only one vote is needed against cloture for a filibuster to occur, they'll likely get it.
Frankly, the Times' histrionics on this issue just goes to show you how truly out of touch they are with "mainstream" America. And by "mainstream," I'm referring to the majority of Americans who voted for President Bush in the 2004 election.
This is why O'Reilly drives me mad: The loudmouth doesn't do his homework: "[Justice Ruth Bader] Ginsburg was unanimously confirmed, I mean it was 98 to nothing."
No, it wasn't. It was 96-3.
More evidence that life isn't fair: This idiot is one year older than I am and has a weekly column at the steadily declining Los Angeles Times.
For more on this moron, check here and here.
Turley's failure to practice full-disclosure confirmed: Earlier this month I posed a question about whether or not Georgetown Law School professor Jonathan Turley was practicing full-disclosure in his television appearances attacking the NSA surveillance program.
When the New York Times broke the NSA surveillance story, Turley went on some Fox News program -- I don't remember which one -- and offered his opinion as a "Constitutional Law Professor" that the surveillance was illegal.
A couple days later I caught Turley again on TV -- a different network I believe, probably CNN -- and he was discussing the spate of motions filed on behalf of convicted terrorist cell members in the United States to force the government to reveal if the NSA surveillance was what tipped the government off to their clients identity. This time, instead of being described as a con-law professor, he was so-and-so's lawyer -- one of those convicted terror cell members.
Now, he could've become this guy's lawyer after the first interview and before the second. However, last night he was back on Fox News only as a "Constitutional Law Professor" and not as a lawyer with a vested interest in the case.
Well, thanks to the Media Research Center's Newsbusters blog, I can confirm now that Turley is representing convicted terror supporter Ali al-Timimi and is basing his client's appeal on the alleged illegality of the NSA program.
Turley is not a disinterested third party; he has a vested interest in the NSA program. Any appearance by Turley on TV or in the print press where he does not disclose this fact is far more ethically troubling than Antonin Scalia playing tennis while John Roberts is being sworn in. While we're at it, whatever network that has Turley on also has a duty to disclose this fact.
You gotta be kidding me: ABC News's chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, has broken an incredible story about an ethics scandal rocking the Supreme Court. (via Volokh)
At the historic swearing-in of John Roberts as the 17th chief justice of the United States last September, every member of the Supreme Court, except Antonin Scalia, was in attendance. ABC News has learned that Scalia instead was on the tennis court at one of the country's top resorts, the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Bachelor Gulch, Colo., during a trip to a legal seminar sponsored by the Federalist Society.
Not only did Scalia's absence appear to be a snub of the new chief justice, but according to some legal ethics experts, it also raised questions about the propriety of what critics call judicial junkets.
"It's unfortunate of course that what kept him from the swearing-in was an activity that is itself of dubious ethical propriety," said Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, who is a recognized scholar on legal ethics.
Scalia spent two nights at the luxury resort lecturing at the legal seminar where ABC News also found him on the tennis court, heading out for a fly-fishing expedition, and socializing with members of the Federalist Society, the conservative activist group that paid for the expenses of his trip.
I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you, that Scalia would attend a legal seminar that he'd committed to long before and then actually enjoy himself, instead of going to a Washington swearing-in ceremony.
Q&O's Jon Henke makes an interesting point in the comments section about this trumped up "scandal."
Interestingly, there was somewhat less attention/intrigue surrounding Souter and Kennedy's non-attendance at the funeral service of Justice Rehnquist.
In fact, it seems ABC News' only mention of that was "Absent were Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and David Souter."
Make of that what you will.
Let me tell you what I make of that: If it had been Ginsburg at an American Constitutional Society legal seminar, this story would never have seen the light of day.
You know that there's really no scandal there, when this is all that Brian Ross can come up with.
*UPDATE* I'm watching Tuesday's "Special Report with Brit Hume" which has a short bit on the ABC News report. See if this additional doesn't change the appearance of this story and fully expose Brian Ross' bias.
Brit Hume: And speaking of the Supreme Court, ABC's "Nightline" last night reported that Justice Antonin Scalia missed the John Roberts swearing-in at the White House because he was playing tennis and going fly-fishing at a resort in Colorado courtesy of the conservative Federalist Society. The report mentioned only in passing that Scalia taught a legal seminar while on the trip. It quoted at some length New York University law professor Steven Gillers who said the whole thing was unethical. While "Nightline" identified the Federalist Society as conservative, it characterized Gillers only as an ethics expert. In fact, Gillers is a left-wing Scalia critic who once described the prospect of Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress as a nightmare. As for Scalia, that seminar he taught in Colorado was a 10-hour course for more than 100 lawyers and law students open to members and non-members alike of the Federalist Society. He received no fee for it; expenses only.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
A mirror for the lady: California's "moderate" senator, Dianne Feinstein, had this to say today on the 10-8 party-line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on future Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., said things are different from when the Senate considered Breyer and Ginsburg, who were confirmed 87-9 and 96-3 respectively. "There was not the polarization within America that is there today, and not the defined move to take this court in a singular direction," Feinstein said.
We have polarization now that wasn't there in the '90s? Why? What could be the cause of said polarization? Could it be Democrats not showing the same consideration to a Republican president's Supreme Court nominees as the GOP showed a Democrat president's nominees?
If Sen. Feinstein is interested in finding out where the increased polarization came from, she might take a long hard look in that mirror.
Is Miramax trying to bury a pro-soldier movie?: I saw "The Great Raid" when it was in theaters. Though it wasn't the greatest WWII movie of the past decade, it was a solid film that cast American soldiers in a positive light. The film was shot in 2002, but sat on a shelf until last year. There was a lot of grumbling that with the Iraq War going on that Hollywood liberals weren't particularly enamored with the idea of doing a pro-U.S. movie -- even if it was based on events 60 years ago. I was inclined to dismiss those reports at the time, but with the DVD release, I'm not so sure.
As with most other movies, it was released on DVD in full screen (aka pan & scan) and widescreen formats. I hate full screen because to do it they chop the sides off and you miss stuff. One of the worst examples of this is an old favorite of mine, "Victory" starring Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Pele. There's a scene in that film where some soccer players have been brought in from another POW camp and Michael Caine, who plays the player-coach of the team, is welcoming them as they jump off the truck. As each one gets off, Caine says: "I'm Colby, I'm the coach." And a fraction of a second later, you hear Stallone say: "I'm Hatch, I'm the trainer." In the full screen version of this flick, Stallone has been cut out of the picture -- you hear his voice but don't see him. In the widescreen version, you see that he's standing right next to Caine and he's shaking hands with each of the players.
So, needless to say, I don't buy full screen versions of films -- ever.
Well, "The Great Raid" has only been released in wide distribution in a full screen edition. If you want the widescreen director's cut, then you'll pay at least $10 more -- if you can find it. (That's not to mention that apparently the director's cut contains more cuts than the original theatrical version. That is, the director has gone and cut out stuff that you could see in the theater. Usually a director's cut adds some stuff, this one takes it out.)
I can't understand why Miramax would try to hurt its own sales like this ... unless that anti-military rumor had some truth to it.
End of the Spear: I just got back from watching "End of the Spear" in the theater. It's an excellent, moving film. Frankly, I'm even more befuddled now, after having seen the movie, than I was before at the complaints of some reviewers that the film is prosletyzing, preachy and in-your-face religious. Frankly, I can't imagine making a movie about missionaries that has less preachiness to it. It was almost like Howard Dean's old Christmas Day blog post -- Jesus' name wasn't mentioned once -- not once in the whole movie. Prayer was mentioned once or twice. In other words, you've got to be one of those intolerant loony-left types who are all for free speech as long as they approve of the content.
This movie is well worth seeing, whether your'e a Christian or not -- it's far better than most of the dreck out in theaters nowadays. It tells an interesting story very well. The only mildly annoying thing, as was pointed out by Michael Medved, was that the soundtrack does get in the way at times -- it's overpowering when it should be in the background. But this is a minor quibble. Check it out.