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This is more like the kind of analysis we need


Screw this “she’s a RACIST” nonsense. From Charlie Savage at the New York Times:

In nearly 11 years as a federal appeals court judge, President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, has never directly ruled on whether the Constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. But when she has written opinions that touched tangentially on abortion disputes, she has reached outcomes in some cases that were favorable to abortion opponents.

Now, some abortion rights advocates are quietly expressing unease that Judge Sotomayor may not be a reliable vote to uphold Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision. In a letter, Nancy Keenan, president of Naral Pro-Choice America, urged supporters to press senators to demand that Judge Sotomayor reveal her views on privacy rights before any confirmation vote.


Because Judge Sotomayor is the choice of a president who supports abortion rights at a time when Democrats hold a substantial majority in the Senate, both sides in the debate have tended to assume she could be counted on to preserve the Roe decision.

Immediately after Mr. Obama announced his selection on Tuesday, leaders of several other abortion rights groups spoke out in support of Judge Sotomayor, and several conservative groups opposed to abortion rights attacked her, saying they were convinced that the president would not nominate someone who opposed abortion rights.

But in his briefing to reporters on Tuesday, the White House spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was asked whether Mr. Obama had asked Judge Sotomayor about abortion or privacy rights. Mr. Gibbs replied that Mr. Obama “did not ask that specifically.”

Does Obama really support abortion rights? Kinda-sorta-maybe not? Will Sonia Sotomayor, assuming she is confirmed?  I don’t know, do you?

What’s so hard about taking a stand?

Ticket for speeding?

Slow down and enjoy the ride. This is an open thread.

Dear Mr. President: Please Grow a Pair

Not a single word from the President yet on Cali’s recent decision to ban Gay Marriage. Oh, except this courageous, articulate gem:

Bravo! What a leader we have in the White House!

Unfortunately, some LGBT advocates don’t think so. The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center CEO, Lorri L. Jean, has some choice words for the President in her open letter to him.

Welcome to California, Mr. President. I welcome you with a heavy heart because of the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Prop. 8, relegating same-sex couples to second class status and denying us that most noble promise of America, “liberty and justice for all.”

You are arriving in Los Angeles on the heels of emotional demonstrations throughout California and our nation and your silence at such a time speaks volumes. LGBT people and our allies have the “audacity to hope” for a country that treats us fairly and equally and for a President with the will to stand up for those ideals. From you we expect nothing less.

I don’t know WHY Lorri expects anything from him. After all, she pointed it out herself:

You pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Mr. President. You promised to support a “complete repeal” of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and pledged to advocate for legislation that would give same-sex couples the 1,100+ federal rights and benefits we are denied, including the same rights to social security benefits. You said, “federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples.”

What of those promises, Mr. President?

Your commitment to repeal DOMA has been removed from the White House website. Your promise to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” was removed and then replaced with a watered-down version. And in the aftermath of yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling, you have remained silent while your press secretary summarily dismisses questions about the issue.

But I suppose that is a moot point. What’s done is done and my guess is that Lori’s letter will fall on deaf ears, as will this one with a request for the President to grow some b*lls.

The point, as Egalia from TGW says, is this:

And so it begins. The honeymoon is over. President Barack Obama, aka Fierce Advocate, will face angry gay protesters tonight as he drops in to raise a little money from Beverly Hills in the bankrupt state of Proposition 8.

And Lt. Dan Choi — the Arabic linguist who is being fired from the military for the crime of being gay — will be there.

Is the honeymoon over? Dunno. I can all ready hear the screams of some Obots. “Quit Your Bitchin’! It’s not like Hillary would have been any better!”

This weekend it was announced that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will soon grant gay American diplomats equal benefits to those that heterosexuals enjoy.In a notice sent to State Department employees, Clinton says regulations that denied same-sex couples and their families the same rights and privileges that straight diplomats enjoyed are “unfair and must end,” as they harm U.S. diplomacy.

“Providing training, medical care and other benefits to domestic partners promote the cohesiveness, safety and effectiveness of our posts abroad,” she says in the message, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

“It will also help the department attract and retain personnel in a competitive environment where domestic partner benefits and allowances are increasingly the norm for world-class employers,” she says.

“At bottom, the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partners because it is the right thing to do,” Clinton says.

Among the benefits that will now be granted gay diplomats: the right of domestic partners to hold diplomatic passports, government-paid travel for their partners and families to and from foreign posts, and the use of U.S. medical facilities abroad.

In addition, gay diplomats’ families will now be eligible for U.S. government emergency evacuations and training courses at the Foreign Service Institute, the message says.

(from All Things Hillary)

They are so right. We ARE complaining too much.

Now this is ridiculous


It is definitely WTF Wednesday:

Rush Limbaugh isn’t the only one calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist. Newt Gingrich is, too — and he’s demanding that Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court withdraw her nomination.

At least he didn’t say she couldn’t be a SCOTUS justice because women get infections.

Then there is this stupidity:

With Judge Sonia Sotomayor already facing questions over her 60 percent reversal rate, the Supreme Court could dump another problem into her lap next month if, as many legal analysts predict, the court overturns one of her rulings upholding a race-based employment decision.

Sotomayor wrote 380 opinions as an appellate justice. SCOTUS reviewed 5 of them and reversed 3, which means approximately .08% of her cases were reversed.

Molly Ivins:

“It’s like, duh. Just when you thought there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you’re wrong.”

Wednesday: Feelings, nothing more than feeeeeelings.

Mike Huckabee is laying down the law on Sonia Sotomayor.  He won’t be having any touchy feely stuff from *this* SCOTUS nominee:

“The notion that appellate court decisions are to be interpreted by the ‘feelings’ of the judge is a direct affront of the basic premise of our judicial system that is supposed to apply the law without personal emotion. If she is confirmed, then we need to take the blindfold off Lady Justice.”

Well, it’s not like Mike Huckabee has any say in the matter.  He’s not in the Senate.  But what about the Republicans who are in the Senate?  How do they “feel” about Sotomayor’s “feelings”?

Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): “I will focus on determining whether Judge Sotomayor is committed to deciding cases based only on the law as made by the people and their elected representatives, not on personal feelings or politics.

Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): “We will thoroughly examine her record to ensure she understands that the role of a jurist in our democracy is to apply the law even-handedly, despite their own feelings or personal or political preferences.

Charles Grassley (R-Iowa): “The Judiciary Committee should take time to ensure that the nominee will be true to the Constitution and apply the law, not personal politics, feelings or preferences.

John Cornyn (R-Tx.): “She must prove her commitment to impartially deciding cases based on the law, rather than based on her own personal politics, feelings, and preferences.”

Guys, I think this here is what we call a “meme”. Other than the fact that they sound like Beau Bridges from the Fabulous Baker Boys screaming that he’s not going to play Feelings on the piano anymore, we can assume that the Republican’s plan of attack is Sotomayor’s very honest assessment that her feelings and personal experience is likely to play a role in her judicial temperament.

Of course, Republican nominees for the SCOTUS *never* let their feelings get in the way. Clarence Thomas did not go to the Supreme Court with a chip on his shoulder to lead an undistinguished career as a justice:

Antonin “Il Duce” Scalia doesn’t write “foaming at the mouth”, lunatic screeds in dissent:

I’m sure that when Sandra Day O’Connor made that comment at the cocktail party in 2000 that she hoped a Republican would be elected president so that she would be replaced by another Republican (woman), it didn’t reflect her future narrowly tailored decision to throw the election to Bush as opposed to Gore later that year.  I’m sure she feels no regret over that.

Or when Anthony Kennedy wrote on the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003:

“It is self-evident that a mother who comes to regret her choice to abort must struggle with grief more anguished and sorrow more profound when she learns only after the event, what she once did not know: that she allowed a doctor to pierce the skull and vacuum the fast developing skull of the unborn child, a child assuming the human form.”

Anthony Kennedy, pompous (and clueless) windbag

Anthony Kennedy, pompous (and clueless) windbag

the fact that research doesn’t support his supposition of  self-evidency was not an example of his own anarchronistic bias or “feelings”.  He most certainly did not allow his emotions to get in the way when he wrote that, even it if does seem like he pulled it from his ass because he doesn’t understand that some of those “brains” in those unborn children do not exist and that their rapidly developing empty heads pose a threat to their mothers when they can’t be born.  Whew!  Aren’t we lucky he’s our fifth vote against overturning Roe v Wade?

It’s a good thing that Sam Alito doesn’t respond like his wife to accusations of bigotry.  Remember when she dashed from the confirmation hearings in tears, her feelings overcome when Lindsay Graham asked Sam if he was a bigot? Oh, sure, we thought it was staged but maybe she was just ashamed of the fact that Alito was once a founding member of Concerned Alumni of Princeton back in the 70’s that wanted to keep minorities and women out of the hallowed eating halls. Bigotry is a very serious accusation and shows some wont of feelings for the feelings of others, not to mentions some seriously screwed up feelings on the part of the bigot.

Roberts animatronic family provided by Disney

Roberts' animatronic family provided by Disney

Well, thank Gawd for John Roberts.  At least he doesn’t worry about feelings.  Unless you consider this exchange he had with a defender of the voting rights act:

Roberts was relentless in challenging Katyal: “So your answer is that Congress can impose this disparate treatment forever because of the history in the South?”

“Absolutely not,” Katyal said.

“When can they—when do they have to stop?”

“Congress here said that twenty-five years was the appropriate reauthorization period.”

“Well, they said five years originally, and then another twenty years,” Roberts said, referring to previous reauthorizations of the act. “I mean, at some point it begins to look like the idea is that this is going to go on forever.”

If it weren’t for his cold-blooded disregard for the sentiments of minority voters in the south who may still require our protection, one might almost detect a note of disdain and impatience in Chief Justice Roberts tone.

Yes, we will have no feelings from Sonia Sotomayor.

Great!  Since there will be none of that messy, human stuff at her confirmation hearings, maybe we can find out what she thinks about corporate personhood instead.

BTW:  Today is BostonBoomer’s defense of her dissertation.  Wish her luck!

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Resist and Die

Since when is resisting arrest a death penalty offense? From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Attorneys for the former BART police officer accused of murdering an unarmed rider on New Year’s Day stepped up efforts Tuesday to prove what they called the key to their case – that the victim had resisted arrest.

At the preliminary hearing for Johannes Mehserle, the attorneys tried to place his shooting of Oscar Grant in the context of a chaotic scene on the Fruitvale Station platform in Oakland, in which BART police feared for their safety and Mehserle fired his pistol thinking it was his stun gun.

The problem I have with this story is that this wasn’t one cop alone in a dark alley. He had plenty of other officers with him and the situation looks pretty much under control. The crowd was noisy but was not interfering, and Grant seemed to be cooperating. Although he was moving around a little bit he doesn’t appear to be fighting or attempting to escape.

A few years back a police sergeant in Madera, California shot and killed a hogtied suspect in the back of a patrol car. She stated she intended to Taser the man but accidentally drew her .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol instead of her Taser. The death was ruled accidental/justifiable.

My question was why did a hogtied suspect need to be Tasered in the first place? The sergeant was not alone (there were several other officers present) and the suspect was already restrained.

Last weekend in Oregon:

A man believed to have been trespassing at a Salem apartment complex died Saturday night after he was shot with a Taser as Salem police officers tried to arrest him.

Many people, especially those who are intoxicated, mentally ill or emotionally upset will fail to be cooperative with police. I’m not talking about someone trying to assault the cops or escape, I’m talking about someone who is arguing instead of shutting up and meekly obeying. Do they deserve to die for that?

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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

Paper Delivery

  • Judge Sonia Sotomayor = next SCOTUS?
  • Historic nomination: Hispanic Sotomayor as justice

    Cases, talks offer hints to her views

    Record Shows Rulings Within Liberal Mainstream

    Despite Democratic Bent, Judge Has Sided With Corporate Defendants; Court’s Frequent 5-4 Split Likely to Remain

    The Sonia I Know

    Scenes From Judge Sotomayor’s Courtroom

    I am a conservative, and I did not vote for President Obama. It is perfectly understandable for conservatives to say that they will not vote for anyone the president picks, but at that point the debate, if you can call it that, is over. For those of us who think that intellectual rigor and fairness are the crucial factors, no matter which party the president hails from, there is no question that Judge Sotomayor should be confirmed.

    Biased or brilliant? Scrutiny of Sotomayor begins.

    Right divided over court fight

    Court Selection Creates a Puff of Pride, and Some Concerns, Among Hispanics

    The hope, they said, is that her hardscrabble life and accomplishments will add prestige to the public image and self-image of Hispanics.
    And yet, a defensiveness could also be found. Many Hispanics seemed eager to warn Democrats that a single nomination — of a judge whom most Americans are still getting to know — might not be enough to win unending Hispanic loyalty come Election Day.

    Let’s read from some douchebags the opposition:

    Sen. Jim Inhofe (Btw did you know that in his family, in 13 generations no one has ever been gay?)

    “In the months ahead, it will be important for those of us in the U.S. Senate to weigh her qualifications and character as well as her ability to rule fairly without undue influence from her own personal race, gender, or political preferences.”

    Buchanan on Sotomayor: “Not that intelligent”

    The ‘Empathy’ Nominee (The WSJ editorial)

    Is Sonia Sotomayor judically superior to ‘a white male’?

    Identity Justice (George Will)

    The case against Sotomayor

    In nominating Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has failed the tests he set himself in choosing a supreme court justice

  • Prop 8: Back To The Drawing Board
  • California high court upholds Prop. 8

    California’s gay marriage ruling signals next step for both sides

    Less than 90 minutes after the California Supreme Court released its ruling on Proposition 8, both sides had already e-mailed supporters soliciting funds anticipating a new ballot measure on gay marriage that could reach voters in 2010.

    Prop 8 Ruling a Blow to All Minorities

    Prop 8 has made it a lot easier in California for a simple majority of voters to strip away the rights of an unpopular minority. What happens when it’s your time to be the unpopular minority?

    Gay mecca no more

    California used to be a sanctuary for homosexual immigrants worldwide. Now they might go to South Africa, or Maine.

    The cost of gay marriage – in dollars and cents

    As states like California grapple over gay marriage, New England has found that it can be a small fillip to the economy.

    Worse than the Worst: The Weekly Standard’s Crude Gay Marriage Obsession

  • Economy Watch
  • U.S. Expected to Own 70% of Restructured G.M.

    The latest plan for the troubled automaker, which is expected to file for bankruptcy by Monday, calls for the Treasury Department to receive about 70 percent of a restructured G.M.
    The United Automobile Workers, meanwhile, will hold up to 20 percent through its retiree health care fund, and bondholders and other parties will get the remaining share. Shareholders would be virtually wiped out.

    GM bankruptcy nears as bondholders shun tender offer

    The real Con Air

    Barack Obama’s bid to rid the US of illegal immigrants with criminal records has resulted in a boom in deportation flights. Jonathan Franklin reports from on board one of them

    Obama’s Stimulus Projects Won’t Amount to Major Infrastructure Overhaul

    Wall Street stocks surge as consumer confidence returns

    Stock market upswing in New York after surprise jump in confidence of American shoppers

    U.S. economy at risk of double-dip recession

    I’ve said it once on these pages: I still can’t believe Thomas Franck has a spot on the WSJ op-ed pages. Let’s enjoy it as long as it lasts.
    The GOP’s Feigned Outrage

    It takes chutzpah to protest what you’ve created.

  • Mission Accomplished!
  • Army chief: US ready to be in Iraq 10 years

    The Pentagon is prepared to leave fighting forces in Iraq for as long as a decade despite an agreement between the United States and Iraq that would bring all American troops home by 2012, the top U.S. Army officer said Tuesday.

    State Department Official Is Among 3 Killed in Iraq

  • Hillary To Take On “Little Kim”
  • Hillary hitting the phones to talk North Korea

  • Oh no!
  • Harvard accused of racism after expelling student over campus killing

    Harvard University is embroiled in a scandal involving drugs, murder and allegations of racism after a man was shot dead on campus.

    Tiger mauls NZ zoo keeper to death

    A tiger mauled a zoo-keeper to death in a New Zealand safari park today, just three months after the victim had saved another keeper from an attack by the same tiger.

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