Saturday, January 17, 2004


A good editorial in the Washington Post:(ya gotta watch ol' GW - he's a slippery fella)

Washington Post Editorial:
End Run for Mr. Pickering
Sunday, January 18, 2004

PRESIDENT BUSH'S decision Friday to install controversial judicial nominee Charles W. Pickering Sr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit using a recess appointment is yet another unwarranted escalation of the judicial nomination wars. We have lamented some of the attacks on Mr. Pickering, but his record as a federal trial judge is undistinguished and downright disturbing, and Senate Democrats are reasonable to oppose his nomination. Installing him using a constitutional end run around the Senate only inflames passions. The right path is to build consensus that nonpartisanship and excellence are the appropriate criteria for judicial selection.

The recess appointment -- the president's power to temporarily install federal officers without Senate confirmation -- is a uniquely bad instrument for federal judges. Judges are supposed to be politically independent. Yet Mr. Pickering will be a controversial nominee before the Senate as he considers cases and will lose his job in a year if he is not confirmed. Even his supporters should understand that he will be subject to the political pressures from which judges are supposed to be insulated.

We don't rule out the recess appointment in all circumstances. At times judges have commanded such uniform support that presidents have used the power to get them in office quickly, leaving the formality of confirmation for later. We supported, moreover, President Bill Clinton's lame-duck recess appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit of Roger Gregory, who, like Mr. Pickering, was held up in the Senate. But there was a big difference: Mr. Gregory was not controversial. His nomination, in fact, was eventually resubmitted to the Senate by none other than President Bush. It was held up initially because of a long-standing dispute over appointments to that court, not because of any concerns about the nominee himself. There was reason to hope that Mr. Gregory would be confirmed -- as, indeed, he was. In this case, Mr. Bush has used a recess appointment for someone who cannot, on his merits, garner a vote of confidence from the Senate and who has no prospect of confirmation in the current Congress.

We don't support the filibuster of nominees, but the answer to Democratic obstruction cannot be the appointment or installation of temporary judges who get to hear a few cases over a few months, all the while looking over their shoulders at the senators who oppose them. The great damage the judicial nomination wars threaten over the long term is to erode judicial independence, to make judges constantly aware of how they might have to answer to the Senate for a given opinion. Using the recess appointment to place Mr. Pickering on the 5th Circuit has made that danger into a reality.

Hubble Telescope to Die

Sad day for the space telescope. Needing repairs but with new space initiatives now taking precedence, it will not get those and thus will become another piece of space junk in a few years. But it did reveal amazing things for us: Using images from the craft, scientists have determined the age of the universe, about 13.7 billion years, and discovered that a mysterious energy, called the dark force, is causing all of the objects in the universe to move apart at an accelerating rate. This force is still poorly understood

Images from Hubble glimpsed galaxies back to a point just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang (search), thought to be the explosive beginning of the universe. Astronomers have found that galaxies and clusters of galaxies formed much earlier than theorists had expected. This suggests that planets where life was possible could have formed as early as about 12 billion years ago. The solar system, which includes the sun and Earth, is much younger, about 5 billion years old.

For more info on why we are not fixing it, head here  

Iowa Heating Up!

Looks like the Iowa Caucus is a dead heat between Dean, Kerry,Gephart and Edwards. Should be interesting come Monday night. I am still of the opinion, that Kerry would be the best candidate in a one on one debate with GW. He'd shred the guy like a rapier going through cheese. Kerry has that Clinton like mind. Dean, I'm afraid appears often uncomfortable and I'm afraid he'd blow it with one insensitive remark or another. Gephardt is too strident and so is Edwards at times, although I like Edwards and he'd probably be my second pick. I thought it was interesting that a caller to the Larry King show ,when Ann Richards was a guest, was concerned that Howard Dean just didn't have the persona that comes across well on TV to be elected by the general populace. Ann, who now supports Dean, sorta stumbled on that one - she did admit that he needed to throw a bit of levity into the mix now and then and not be so serious. But I think the caller is representative of the average American voter - you're gonna vote for whom you like and for whom your gut tells you is the best person and if they don't come across well on TV (where most people get their news), then it's a tough road ahead. (Remember Kennedy/Nixon?) Of course, one does then have to wonder how the hell GW ever got elected - if there ever was a guy who looked dumber than a bunch of rocks, I'm not sure who that would be.

But this country is swamped with religious conservatives at the moment who are zealous in nature regarding their cause - most other folks aren't quite that zealous and thus don't have that unified drive that it takes to push a lot of votes to a candidate. And all it takes is GW to invoke some religious voodoo to get his masses all heated up. Personally, I'd like a president who kept Church and State separate and took care of business in a thoughful and certainly non-unilateral manner. It's fine if you're strongly religious, but do me a favor and keep it to yourself - it's your choice to be so, let me make my own choices.

Someday our President,whom we elect, needs to remember that although he ran on a party platform (in Bush's case, he has departed from the Republican platform and is performing on his own platform), he now represents ALL the people and can not cater to his own special interests. It takes quite a person to sometimes go against his own Party and choose wisely for EVERYONE. Will we find that person in 2004? We will, if people get off their lazy tushes and vote - Americans only have themselves to thank for the Patriot Act, the rape of the environment,etc,etc. - had more Americans voted, we'd wouldn't be in this quandry now. Time to shake off the cobwebs America and open your eyes.  

A Great Day for Golf

Only One shot away!
Michelle Wie, a 14-year-old ninth grader from Honolulu, missed the cut by only one stroke at the Sony Open in Hawaii, but that could hardly be viewed as falling short. It was the thrill of a young lifetime, a remarkable two days of golf and a showcase for the most-talked about amateur player since Tiger Woods. Wished I would have seen this - had to be great fun to be there and watch this. Now, it's back to the 9th grade for her. Her performance has to boggle the other professional's minds. Cranking out 300+ yard drives - whew. I'd be lucky to hit one 200 probably, but then I'm an ol' geezer, not a 14 year old with long legs and a beautiful swing. This will be a lady to watch! 

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The Italian Job

If you haven't rented this DVD yet, you should. Great action stuff with Mark Walhberg, Ed Norton, and Charlize Theron (always nice to look at) and Ed Norton. Great car sequences with little mini Coopers. Also great sound effects in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround -I think I was deaf after the movie. LOL Holds your attention all the way through - lot of fun. Extra features on the DVD are interesting (how they made the movie,etc). That extrra stuff is always great - I am continually amazed at what talent goes into making movies - just the sheer organization of the whole project is mind boggling. Of course, when you have lots of moola, it helps.