Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina-A Crisis and an Opportunity

Maybe Katrina will do what we have been unable to do as a nation: bring us together, heal the divide and forget Red States vs Blue States. We have been given a unique opportunity with this tragedy. The real question is this, Are we going to seize the moment?! The Japanese use characters called idiograms to express themselves in written communications. The idiogram for the word "crisis" is two symbols and is translated as follows: A crisis is an opportunity riding on a dangerous wave!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Lessons learned after 9/11 regarding terrorist travel

This morning on C-Span2 the Center for Immigration Studies held a panel discussion at the National Press Club. There were two reports given and my focus here is on the one given by Janice Kephart, former counsel to the 9/11 Commission and the author of 9/11 and Terrorist Travel: A Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.
Here's my gripe. My criticism of the conclusions of her report is that it seems to ignore the fact that even if all the rules were properly enforced, the fact is millions of individuals are streaming across our open borders every year. This is the greatest threat we face and we should first secure the border with Mexico as a priority. This Administration and President do not want to take this action because the business lobby is strong in this country. It makes profits from these illegal workers at the expense of legal aliens, who followed the rules, stood in line and waited to come to the land of opportunity. Janice needs to put her report in this context.

Read her Conclusion which I have taken from their report that I draw your attention to:


The attack of 9/11 was not an isolated instance of al Qaeda infiltration into the United States. In fact, dozens of operatives both before and after 9/11(other than the 9/11 hijackers) have managed to enter and embed themselves in the United States, actively carrying out plans to commit terrorist acts against U.S. interests or support designated foreign terrorist organizations. For each to do so, they needed the guise of legal immigration status to support them. Al Qaeda has used every viable means of entry. The longer the duration of the permissible length of stay granted by the visa or the adjustment of status to permanent residency or naturalization, the easier the terrorist could travel both within and without the United States. No matter what the terrorist organization or mission, it is clear from this study that terrorists will continue to try to come to the United States to carry out operations, and their instructions will continue to include immigration-related plans.

Those who come to stay and embed themselves into communities throughout the United States will continue to rely on a false guise of legality. Sham marriages and student status that lead to legal permanent residency and an almost certain guarantee of naturalization will likely continue to be some of the most egregious immigration abuses by terrorists. It must therefore be a prerequisite for any strategy that seeks to attain border security to include the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in fraud prevention and national security agendas.

Risk management as well as targeting and pattern analysis will help assure that tight resources are used more efficiently to target immigration benefit applications that may pose a national security risk. In addition, law enforcement agencies with criminal jurisdiction, such as the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and FBI-run Joint Terrorism Task Forces, must consider such investigations as priorities. Once it is discovered that a naturalized citizen is a terrorist, denaturalization should be automatically put in motion with a streamlined appeals process that harnesses the talents of both ICE and DOJ legal expertise.

To address fraud effectively, immigration benefits adjudicators must have access to comprehensive, biometrically based immigration histories that include information from the moment an individual first applies for a visa at a U.S. consulate or presents a passport at a port of entry through every subsequent request for an immigration benefit. USCIS needs to have a fully electronic applications process with biometrics embedded into each application and required on site interviews. Adequate human resources will be necessary to fulfill such a mandate while efficiently processing applications. Well-trained fraud specialists should be available at every immigration benefits center with access to the Forensic Document Lab. The practical result is that USCIS should not have to rely solely on fees for upgrading its data systems, technologies, security vetting procedures and other necessary national security tasks. Budgets must be allocated.

Also critical are security background checks, with real-time access to federal, state, and local law enforcement information upon request. The more access that is given to the national security or law enforcement information that exists on a foreign national, the less we will need to rely upon unwieldy name-based watchlists. The more security measures the United States incorporates into its own adjudications of immigration benefits before they are granted, the more success the United States will have in rebuffing terrorists who seek to embed here.

Underpinning practical improvements at USCIS must be a commitment to enforce the law with better and more resources. Better resources include clearer guidelines for processing immigration benefits in order to eliminate the arbitrary decision-making that inevitably takes place in their absence. In addition, comprehensive immigration reform must entail, in the long run, not only streamlining the overly complex immigration laws, but also providing sufficient human and technological resources to enforce the law on the border and in USCIS immigration benefits centers.

These recommendations should not be considered in a policy vacuum. Comprehensive immigration reform that includes review of all elements of our immigration security infrastructure seven fragments dispersed through six agencies) must be vigorously debated and addressed now. However, that does not mean that we should wait to provide sorely needed technological, informational, and human resources to our frontline personnel at U.S. consulates abroad, at our ports of entry, and our borders. Severe deficiencies have existed in these areas for years that must be redressed now; what we still lack are the metrics to determine exactly what measures will provide the best value on tight border budgets. We must find a way to acquire that information to assure our border system provides the value the American people deserve and have the right to demand."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

General Wesley Clark on target again for winning in Iraq!

© 2004 Sue Randall
Wesley Clark has the right idea as to what to do to turn this Iraq thing around. Read all about it here. In a previous posting on “Questions for President Bush”, I had identified several questions which if the President thought about and tried to answer, not for me, but for himself, he would have known what to do to have a winning strategy in Iraq. But Clark has saved him the time to think about it and has provided a check list that Bush or Rumsfeld should just follow. And former Nato Commander Clark, has done it all for free, without any high consultancy fees and without trying to claim the glory of doing it. You can't pay someone to be this honest and forthright in speaking directly to this President and Vice President about what they need to do. All the others around them are yes men and women, or have wisely left this Administration. Mr. President, it is not too late to change your strategy, but it will be too late soon. Have the courage for once in your life and do the right thing in place of the "Staying the Course" strategy which clearly, even to a fool, has failed!

UPDATE: Sunday August 28, 2005

General Wesley Clarke was on Meet the Press this morning and basically reiterated his comments regarding Iraq from the Washington Post Op-Ed piece of Friday. He was joined by 3 other Generals, Gen. Barry McCaffrey (ret.), Gen. Wayne Downing (ret.) and Gen. Montgomery Meigs (ret.). Wesley Clark had the best grasp of the realities on the ground and the separate tracks that need to be pursued including especially a diplomatic one involving nieghbors of Iraq, namely Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Hats off to General Clark. I hope someone is listening. Downey seemed to lack backbone to call the situation what it was, and was more supportive of Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld than is warranted by the results to date. At least McCaffrey called it the way it is on Rumsfeld's performance or lack thereof, as did Clark. Downey seemed like an Administration mouthpiece.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

What does Iraq have in common with America?

In one word: BROKEN BORDERS. I thought maybe in Iraq we would learn something about protecting the borders from insurgents entering the country and ruining Iraqi society. But we haven't learned a thing. Just as our borders seem to be porous with Mexico and millions of illegal aliens are streaming across our borders, making our society vulnerable too, this President and this Administration have chosen to ignore the topic of their demise and any chances the Republican party had of keeping control of Congress and the Presidency. Americans in border states know all too well the damage to our country this apathy is causing, with significant burdens on health and human services to our citizens and who knows, these borders could be the next entry point of a terrorist cell. Homeland Security Czar Michael Chertoff has recently pointed to this problem saying we must gain control of our borders. Well duh! Get with it and do something. Aren't you responsible for Homeland Insecurity!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pat Robertson's dementia flares up again

Well, you would think that after the subject of recent ridicule over praying for a Supreme Court justice to die so that President Bush could appoint a more conservative justice for the lifetime appointment, that he would have learned to be quiet with his loose lips. But no, yesterday he called for the assassination of President Chavez of Venezuela. It seems that the first signs of dementia are showing in the area of his religious beliefs, as he seems to have forgotten one of the commandments he endorsed when he took on the mantle of the clergy, that being: THOU SHALT NOT KILL!

Now I can forgive someone who is mentally ill, as we all should. But not to hear condemnation from the right wing of the Republican party and this Administration for his remarks, I fell no empathy for the lot of them. It is a disgrace. Here we are trying to fight terrorism and radical Islam clerics and we have a radical fundamental cleric right here in good ole USA and no real outrage is evident. There's almost a silent approval of his comments from this Administration and this President. We banned assassination of world leaders as we saw it was not in keeping with a civilized society back when Reagan was President. It seems we are not so civilized after all. Those on the right and his followers should pray for Pat Robertson and his mental illness. I know I will.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Questions for President Bush

OK, I know you don't want to cut and run. I accept that posture. So please help me support you by answering these few questions.

1. Do you plan to secure the borders of Iraq to stop more insurgents from coming into Iraq from neighboring countries like Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia?

2. If you are not going to secure the borders, do you have a plan for the Iraqi's to do this and if so by when?

3. If not, are you getting support from our allies to secure the borders and if the answer is yes, when will help arrive?

4. Why aren't we sending more troops to Iraq if we want to win this thing? (Gee, when I was young and would get in a fight and was losing I sure made sure I got some help from friends. But I had friends and always worked with them and that made asking for and getting help much easier.)

5. If the Iraqi's choose a theocracy, where Islam is the ultimate source for decisions regarding Constitutional conflicts, can and will you support that outcome in the name of democracy or is that unacceptable?

6. What does "winning" look like and what does losing look like? (Candidly, I am more familiar with what losing looks like than winning right now.)

7. Is there some cost you are not willing to pay to win? What is it?

In anticipation of your response Mr. President thank you for your candid answers. But don't worry, as I won't hold my breath waiting for your answers. Maybe you could pass these questions on to your speechwriters, so they could include responses in your next speech. Or perhaps, you could pass them along to Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld to consider.

Oh, and one last question:

8. Who is going to get the Medal of Freedom for this Iraq thing? I can't wait to know who to call and get the answers to my questions.

Many are now comparing Iraq to Vietnam

On a posting on August 5th, titled, "Fallen Soldiers deserve our respect and our attention", I wrote, "What has been creeping into my awareness from the events of the past week, where we have lost about 30 brave soldiers in Iraq, is that, for the first time since we started this war in Iraq, we aren't expecting to win this war. I felt this way during the Vietnam war and now this has crept back into my awareness. We aren't doing right in Iraq even though many Generals state we need more troops there to help "secure the peace". If you give this some thought I believe you will come to the same conclusion. We don't have a plan to win this thing. We are trying to hold on until the Iraqis have sufficient forces trained to start to leave."

It seems that Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) spoke on Sunday talk shows to basically claim the same thing. More voices need to speak out about this war besides the bloggers but we bloggers have done our part and will continue the pressure. See chargingrino today's posting titled "Brownstein: Support, Not Silence" and also anewmanifesto posting titled, "Good Morning Vietnam...oops I mean Iraq".

In the 60's people took to the streets in protest. Thanks to Cindy Sheehan, others are taking to the streets and ranches of Crawford, Texas. Let's hope some cities, other than San Francisco, which is dismissed as too liberal, start the process of speaking out on the lack of a plan to win the peace in Iraq. It is going to be both ironic and sad to watch Iraq become a theocracy and becomes more like Iran. You can thank President Bush and the zealots that brought us Vietnam 2.

Friday, August 19, 2005

What's really at stake regarding Supreme Court Justice selection-Part 5

Continuing along with the speech by a scholar on the Constitution, Parts 1-4 are on previous posts and here is Part 5 of the speech that everyone should read:

"So why doesn't the Radical Right just push their agenda through the Congress and the state legislatures?

First, the people don't agree with it. And secondly, it is an acknowledgment that their current control of Congress and the presidency is temporary. Now is the time for the Right to strike and lock in their philosophy; to handcuff future Congresses from being able to counteract the Right's agenda. For once something is declared unconstitutional, other than through an amendment, we find ourselves at an overwhelming disadvantage to move through with the legitimate will of the American people.

It is also an acknowledgment that the Radical Right can't take on many popular programs and policies -- our environmental and worker protections -- in the clear light of day in the democratically-elected branches of government. So they focus their fire on the judiciary.

Again, don't take my word for it. Richard Epstein, one of the intellectual powerhouses of this movement, said, "Some movement in the direction of judicial activism is clearly indicated."

We are talking about a movement that would wield the Constitution, not as a shield, but as a sword to push an extreme agenda -- an agenda, I believe, the American people do not support.

And it's something that has already begun. The Rehnquist court has been the most activist Supreme Court in our history, striking down a record three dozen acts of Congress in less than 20 years.

What kinds of laws is our high Court striking down? Popular, common sense laws, laws that said, for example, you can't have guns within a thousand feet of an elementary school; laws battling violence against women; laws requiring cleanup of low-level nuclear waste; and laws saying states can't steal somebody's ideas and inventions.

Over the first seven decades of the Court's existence, only two federal laws -- two, t-w-o -- were held unconstitutional.

Let me focus for a minute on one of those laws already struck down, one that's very near and dear to my heart. I grew up in a family where the worst form of unmanly cowardice that one could engage in was to strike a woman. It was the lowest act of all.

As a result, I wrote a law called the Violence Against Women Act, and I have never put so much energy into any single piece of legislation in my 32 years in the United States Senate. I thought the single most important aspect of the law was to empower women to take control of their own lives, to be able to go into federal court and sue their abuser for the abuser's car, business, and worldly goods for the abuse inflicted upon them, whether or not the state or federal prosecutor wished to proceed criminally.

But in 2000 the Supreme Court struck down this right, despite nine hearings, over a hundred witnesses, despite the support of 38 states' attorneys general, despite the overwhelming evidence of gender discrimination in local and the state criminal justice systems.

I term this -- I realize that one man's meat is another man's poison -- but I term this "judicial activism." Laws like this are what's at stake, in my view.

We do well to recall the brilliance of the Founding Fathers who devised a system of judicial appointments specifically aimed at preventing the President from effecting a radical shift in the judiciary. When I was sworn into the Senate, I vowed to "support and defend" this carefully balanced system. And I have no intention of abdicating that responsibility.

The question most asked of me by my students in the constitutional law course I have been teaching the last 15, 16 years, however many -- a long time -- is what the Founders intended the "advise and consent" clause to mean.

To me, the answer is clear and overwhelming. The Founders intended the Senate to take the broadest view of its advise and consent responsibility. And throughout history, the Senate has taken this responsibility to restrain the President very seriously. Over and over the Senate has scrutinized nominees' constitutional methodology and philosophy, and rejected nominees on that basis. One out of five nominees have been rejected over our history.

And I for one find it useful to recall the 1959 statement in the Harvard Law Record of a young Arizona lawyer named William Rehnquist. He called for a Senate approach "of thoroughly informing itself on the judicial philosophy of a Supreme Court nominee before voting to confirm him."

As Walter has taught me, along with my good friend who I impose on much too much, Chris Schroeder of Duke, the country has done this particularly when it is deeply divided and when the balance of the Court is at stake.

Think of how the world has changed since Justice O'Connor first joined the high Court. In 1981, almost none of us had computers. E-mail was largely a figment of the imagination. The Internet was a narrow path being blazed on the frontier of technology, not an Information Superhighway. Imagine what our world will look like in the year 2030 when today's nominee, God willing, could be expected to retire.

Long after Saddam Hussein is dust, after phrases like "CIA leak" are tossed into the scrap heap of historical trivia, long after President Bush and Joe Biden are gone from Washington, far into the 21st century our newly minted Supreme Court Justice will be making critical, critical decisions about the kind of country my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be living in.

Now, I'm not going to prejudice whether I in the end will vote for or against Judge Roberts. He came to see me, and I told him straightforwardly what I wanted to know. I didn't ask him his views at the time. I said, "Judge Roberts, there are two things at stake" -- and I mentioned them here -- "how far can government intervene into the areas of personal autonomy? How far? What limits does the Constitution provide, if any? And the other side of that coin is to what degree can the government act as a shield to prevent the powerless and the less powerful from the imposition of the heavy economic hand of corporations?" And I said, "lastly, Judge, I want to know your view of stare decisis as a Supreme Court Justice."

It's not the test, I told him, whether or not he's an honorable, intelligent, and well-respected man. To the best of my knowledge, he is.

The Senate is charged first with coming to some understanding of the nominee's constitutional disposition toward the great questions of the day, and second with expressing his judgment as to whether or not those views are acceptable at a time when we have a closely balanced Supreme Court.

Judge Roberts finds himself a fulcrum in our deeply divided nation, upon which great constitutional questions hang in the balance. He has become the embodiment of people's hopes and fears about where the Constitution heads in the future. For the American people -- and we vastly underestimate the soundness of their judgment -- fully understand that the decisions a new Justice will make will affect the very way they can live their lives for a long time to come.

It's an unenviable position and an enormous responsibility for Judge Roberts. I will examine if, in my opinion, he is prepared to protect the personal autonomy of Americans as well as the ability of the government to act as a shield to protect those with less power from the abuse of powerful interests. And the critical determination -- critical for me -- will be his judgment on stare decisis. These questions will determine how I will vote.

For I want to make it clear to you -- and especially you students here -- after you go through the great constitutional law scholars under which you study, and they talk to you about the way in which the Founders may or may not have intended the "advise and consent" clause to work, I suggest you do what I suggest my students do.

Take off your legal scholarship hat, stand back, and ask yourself the rhetorical question: can you imagine on that hot, steamy summer, with the Founders sitting on the second floor so no one could hear what they were doing; can you imagine them saying, by the way, we are going to have three co-equal branches of government. Two of them will be able to be scrutinized by the American people, and the presumption will be that they are not entitled to the office unless a majority of the people conclude they should hold the office. But the third branch, all we want to know is are they honorable, decent, and straightforward?

And as my little granddaughter says, 'Pop, give me a break.'

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for listening."

Now this was one of the best speeches I have ever heard where I learned so much I hadn't comprehended until I read this. The author ad speaker was Sen. Joe Biden (D) Delaware. Great job Senator and thatnk you for educating me on this matter.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Dealing with roadside bombs.What's wrong with this picture?

I was watching a broadcast by CNN of a group of soldiers tasked with searching for and removing roadside bombs in Iraq. The scene was a car adjacent to a paved road with its hood up. Behind the car was a US Army vehicle that looked like a tank and maybe was a Bradley fighter. It was starting to push the vehicle to get it even farther off the road. They weren't sure whether there were explosives in the car. Then one of the soldiers noticed someone in their peripheral vision, an Iraqi or insurgent, and suspected that maybe he had a cell phone to detonate any explosives that may be in the car. The the car exploded and the soldiers in the tank like vehicle, which now was on fire, started to get out of the tank while removing ammunition before it exploded.

There was more to report but I want to focus on what appeared to me to be a very stupid military plan. Why in God's name didn't they just shoot a shell at the car and blow it up. And why isn't there a policy that states any car on the side of specified roads will be blown up rather than trying to push them to the side of the road. Once blown up they could push it off the road easily. This would save lives of our soldiers. It's a no brainer and yet our military has some delusion that there process to deal with these is working. Come on. It's like everything else this civilian leadership planned for this war. None of it works!

What's really at stake regarding Supreme Court Justice selection-Part 4

Here is Part 4 of the speech that I have been posting each day. Have you figured out who the author is?

"While many people, many, many people, smart, educated people, assume that the personal privacy protections in the Constitution are inviolable and will always be in existence, the Constitution in Exile crowd doesn't. They believe not just that privacy rights should be diminished; its members believe that there should be none. I repeat that -- no general right of privacy whatsoever in the Constitution.

So what does that mean? First, the government, whether state, federal, or local, could forbid couples, as they had in the past, from using contraception.

The government could also constitutionally impose restrictions on the number of children you could have. Such restrictions exist in other countries; and God only knows what happens here in two, five, 10, 20, 30 years. This may seem an unlikely outcome; but remember, this is the same crew that brought you Schiavo.

Moreover, the next 20 years will be marked by great developments in medical and informational technology. Will individuals be able to take advantage of stem cell research with its enormous promise? Or will legislators enact their moral opposition, and will a conservative Supreme Court refuse to step in to protect those individual rights?

Will the government have unlimited power to monitor individuals -- what they say, where they go, whom they meet with, who they associate with? Will originalist judges tell us their historical investigations of the Constitution convince them the Framers would have been comfortable with this? Will our justices protect our medical records, information regarding genetic propensities for diseases, financial data?

This and more is at stake over privacy. It goes well beyond Roe v. Wade.

And for as long as the Radical Right has been trying to reverse our constitutional understanding of privacy, they have also been trying to reverse a consensus that no one is talking much about -- except some of you in this room -- a consensus going back to the days of the Great Depression that government can act as a shield to protect Americans from the abuse of powerful interests.

Can we protect the air we breathe? Can we keep arsenic out of our drinking water? Can we keep tobacco companies from targeting our kids? Can we establish minimum national standards to provide equal opportunity and human dignity for society's most vulnerable members -- our elderly, our disabled, women victimized by violence? That is all at stake.

There are instances when our democracy has to step in to alleviate inequities; to recognize human dignity and to lift people up by ensuring equal opportunity. Others, however, disagree with this consensus.

Michael Greve of the American Enterprise Institute puts it straightforwardly: "I think what is really needed here is a fundamental intellectual assault on the entire New Deal edifice. We want to withdraw judicial support for the entire modern welfare state." That's what this is about. This is not a debate about the solvency of Social Security, for example. It's about the legitimacy of Social Security.

Listen to the debates going on underneath these constitutional issues. It's about devolution of government. It's about withdrawing, withdrawing as a matter of law, the right of the federal government to do much of anything other than provide the national defense.

And lest you think they don't mean it, I'm the guy that wrote the crime bill, 100,000 new cops on the streets. The other side votes against it, even though they love it. Not a joke. They love it. They can't say a negative thing about it. But they vote against it because it is contrary to the paradigm of devolution of government -- the federal government should not be involved in aiding local government. That's the legislative way they're trying to change the court judicially.

This is the agenda, folks. And the Court already has such acolytes. Justice Thomas has voted to strike down over 65 percent of the federal laws that have been reviewed by the Court. What would happen if we had five Justice Thomases? Thousands of laws -- environmental, criminal, civil rights -- could be declared unconstitutional.

Justice Thomas wrote in one of his opinions recently, "If anything, the wrong turn was the Court's dramatic departure in the 1930s." What I describe as a "healthy consensus," Judge Thomas and others call "a wrong turn."

What's at risk if this view of the Constitution ever gained full ascendancy? The Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, all rely on the Congress's Commerce Clause power.

The Radical Right is determined to elevate private property at the expense of protecting our safety, well-being, and communities. Under their reading of the appropriate language in the Constitution -- the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment -- the only way to keep a chemical plant out of your neighborhood would be to pay off the chemical plant to not build because you are taking their property.

Our bedrock civil rights laws are also based on post-1937 constitutional interpretations.

There also could be no federal minimum wage and no maximum hour laws. We wouldn't be having a debate about increasing the minimum wage because there wouldn't be one.

And lest you think this is hyperbole, look at what the debates taking place in local elections are about. Look at the debates that are taking place in the chamber in which I work. I was joking with four of my new colleagues as we were having coffee and doughnuts before going into a committee meeting. I said, "I have a great idea how to deal with the plight of the elderly." And they all looked and said, well, what you got in mind? It's a true story. I won't name the four Senators. And I said, "You know, we should pass a law mandating that every employer has to take six or seven percent of their revenues and put it into a fund and mandate that every single American, no matter where they work, has to take a similar amount and put it into a fund."

One of the new Senators, I swear to God, said, "That's confiscatory." One of the brighter ones said, "You're not getting me to go there, Joe." Let me ask you this rhetorical question. Honest to God, take off your centrist or moderate or liberal, wherever you fall in the spectrum, hat. Do you believe if we did not have a Social Security law now, do you believe one could be passed today in the House of Representatives? Honest to God, what do you think? I don't think there's any possibility.

So this is what's at stake, folks. This is the proportion of the potential consequences of the turning of the Court.

Under something called the nondelegation doctrine, the Court may have to strike down the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), which is tasked to make sure American workers are safe.

The problem under the nondelegation doctrine is that many of today's modern federal agencies are just like OSHA. They exercise broad rule-making powers and enforcement powers that are unconstitutional according to many.

This is a doctrine -- the nondelegation doctrine -- that wisely gave way a long time ago to the reality of our complex modern age. Congress simply can't legislate every particular rule in detail, so it empowers agencies to do so, with Congress retaining the power to come in and oversee what that agency is doing. This system makes sense. It has some abuses that can be corrected through the legislative process, but it is at the very heart of what allows our government to function in this complicated society we live in.

And it's not only OSHA that is at risk if the nondelegation doctrine and other doctrines favored by the Constitution in Exile crowd -- such as a requirement that agency members must be removable by the President at will -- are accepted by the Supreme Court. The Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Securities & Exchange Commission, just to name a few, would hang in the balance. And there would result a fundamental shift in power from the powerful to the extremely powerful.

So what's the common theme here? It is to prevent, in my view, "We the People" from being able to protect ourselves from abuse at the hands of society's already powerful and growing even more powerful. The Radical Right's agenda would give enormous power to the already powerful and eliminate the ability of the less powerful to use the democratic branches of government to rebalance the playing field.

But why are the courts so important to the Radical Right? And they are. In 1988 a Reagan Justice Department document stated, "There are few factors that are more critical to determining the course of the nation and yet are more often overlooked than the values and philosophies of the men and women who populate the third co-equal branch of the government, the federal judiciary." If there was ever anything the Reagan Administration wrote that was accurate, that is it."

Tomorrow I will post the final portion of the speech and name the author. Stay tuned! In my view this is one of the most important speeches of our time. I hope you have been reading it each day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What's really at stake regarding Supreme Court Justice selection-Part 3

Here is the continued speech worth reading, Part 3, regarding Supreme Court decisions that will affect your life and your childrens children.

"There's a lot of misdirection out there these days on these issues, where terms and phrases are used to mask what is really at stake. The innocent-sounding and misleading term "strict construction" is used when what is really at stake is a wholesale liquidation of any constitutional protection of privacy. A wholesale liquidation, depending on if they use "strict construction" the way Bork meant it or the way Hugo Black meant it. It depends on what they mean by the phrase -- which means the phrase does not tell you much of anything.

The American people are smart, though. And I believe that over the course of the upcoming weeks and months they will get it. They will see to the heart of the matter about what really hangs in the balance.

And if anything, the stakes haven't decreased since 1987; they've increased. Since 1995 there have been 193 five-to-four decisions. Justice O'Connor was in the majority in 148 of those 193 decisions.

The most immediate consequence of Justice O'Connor's retiring may be that Justice Kennedy will replace Justice O'Connor as the most important swing vote on the Supreme Court.

To be sure, Justice Kennedy is comparatively moderate on certain key issues, for instance, decisions stopping capital punishment of juveniles and the mentally retarded.

But while Justice Kennedy is no Judge Bork, he is also no Justice O'Connor. For example, Justice Kennedy believes that any affirmative action in higher education or race consciousness in redistricting amounts to impermissible discrimination under the Constitution. He further thinks that most campaign finance reform laws are unconstitutional and that Congress cannot permit the disabled to sue states to force the states to make their courthouses accessible.

And there are already cases on the Supreme Court docket for next term involving assisted suicide, the use of race as a factor in striking potential juries, and the issue of federalism that would allow a new Justice to begin rewriting our nation's constitutional law.

The country will also be facing critical questions on the extent to which the President of the United States -- any President -- can exercise unchecked, and thus unlimited, power in national security matters at the expense of the rights of average citizens -- instances where Justice O'Connor has been a voice of moderation and reason, a voice respecting the Constitution's system of checks and balances.

It was Justice O'Connor, after all, who issued this important cautionary note to this Administration when she said, "A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of our nation's citizens."

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. While it is essential for Americans to understand how much hangs in the balance over the next few weeks, we also need to think in generational terms.

We currently have justices serving on the Supreme Court nominated by President Nixon and Ford. We even have judges in the lower courts still serving appointed by Presidents Kennedy and Eisenhower. From the early 1800s, in fact, the average time federal judges spend on the bench has increased from 15 years to 24 years.

I'm going to do something now that is somewhat imprudent. It will surprise you coming from me, I know. I am going to make a prediction as to the most important issues the Supreme Court will face in the next 20 years or so. First, the extent to which Americans' personal privacy is honored. Is there such a right? And second, the ability of the American people to protect ourselves against powerful organizations, powerful interests, and large economic forces that run roughshod over us.

For decades the consensus has been that government should stay out of the bedroom but be able to regulate the boardroom where necessary to protect vulnerable Americans. Yet the Radical Right is aggressively trying to upset that longstanding American consensus and reverse it.

The first issue, whether government will be able to intrude in Americans' most personal life choices, took center stage in the '87 Supreme Court battle. And it is returning with a vengeance. This is Terri Schiavo and much more.

Let me say point blank, notwithstanding the fact that constitutional scholars disagree and differ on this point, I believe with every fiber in my being that the Constitution creates a zone of personal autonomy that government should not be able to intrude upon. And make no mistake about it, folks, the American people believe that."

Part 4 tomorrow. Make sure you read parts 1-3 if you truly are interested in where tis country is headed and the stakes of this game as to who gets a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. It will affect generations to come.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Want to eliminate PC virus problems for the most part forever?

Today a computer virus paralyzed CNN, ABC, NY Times and at least the Catipillar company as well as computers in Europe and Asia. It affects Windows 2000 and other Microsoft platforms from what has been reported so far.

Here's a little known secret how to avoid these problems in the future. Buy an Apple Mac! I have used Apple Computers since 1986 and have never had a virus cause me the problems that have afflicted many PC users. It turns out hackers don't want to waste their time working on a virus if only 15% of the computers in the world are Apple Mac based operating systems. That's why they attack PC's as it affects 85% of users. I love my Mac and will never change to a PC as long as Apple is in business which now seems to be a very long time based upon the introduction and success of the iPod. Go to an Apple store and try the equipment yourself. And this is from a person who worked for IBM for 18 years in a previous life. This is not a paid for commercial, as I have nothing to do with the Apple company. :)

What's really at stake regarding Supreme Court Justice selection-Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1, you might just want to look at the first posting below this one. Here is the second part of the speech, as promised:

"First, it's a debate over how much government should be able to intrude upon the most personal choices of Americans. This is Terri Schiavo and much more. The second, the other side of that same coin, is a debate about whether government can act as a shield to protect people from abuses by powerful interests. For example, can we keep tobacco companies from targeting our children?

These very questions are debated daily in the House and the Senate. They are debated in the halls of academia. They are debated over the dinner table in homes throughout America. And just as in prior periods of our history, they are debated most vociferously when a vacancy occurs on the Supreme Court of the United States -- when filling that vacancy has the potential to fundamentally alter the direction of the Court. That's when the debate reaches a crescendo.

And the debate has reached that crescendo today, with good and just reason. The debates about a confirmation are one of the most important venues for raising fundamental questions about which constitutional view is better for our country. And the outcome of the debate can make a huge, huge, huge difference.

The quotations which I began with express very different constitutional views. The second, it will not surprise you, was written by Judge Robert Bork, who came before the Judiciary Committee in 1987, as a believer in a kind of a "strict construction." He was a self-proclaimed originalist. He had previously said, and I quote, "It is necessary to establish the proposition that the framers' intentions with respect to freedoms are the sole legitimate premise from which constitutional analysis may proceed."

According to originalist logic, many Supreme Court decisions that are fundamental to the fabric of our country are simply wrong. By Judge Bork's own estimate, dozens upon dozens, including major decision -- holding that couples could not be prohibited from using contraceptives, rulings that the government could not involuntarily sterilize criminals, rulings relating to the incorporation doctrine -- were all declared by Judge Bork and others who embraced what we now call the "Constitution in Exile" firmly to be constitutionally incorrectly decided.

At that time, I particularly thought it critical to probe Judge Bork's views on privacy. Judge Bork stated quite clearly he believed there was no -- emphasize no -- general right of privacy the Constitution protects. Judge Bork would never have written, let alone joined, the opinion that contains the first quotation I read, Justice Kennedy. The man who took the seat for which Judge Bork had been nominated authored the language that I quoted you first.

Justice Kennedy's views reflect, in my judgment, a much healthier -- and that's an unusual word to use in reference to the Constitution -- but a much healthier view of the Constitution and its role in our society.

When the Senate voted not to confirm Judge Bork, it sent a message that his views were not right for the country. Make no mistake, however, that did not end the debate. But also make no mistake that the defeat of Judge Bork did not have a profound effect, a profound effect on constitutional jurisprudence and the lives of average Americans the last 20 years.

Just place Bork everyplace where Kennedy has been, in every decision -- nice little project for you 1-Ls -- and you'll see a very different America. Not an America outlined by bad guys, not an America outlined by people who are trying to feather the nest of any interest, but honorable, decent people who have a very different view of the Constitution and those ennobling phrases that we're going to be debating 200 years from now."

Tomorrow Part 3 of the speech. Have you guessed who wrote and gave this speech?

Monday, August 15, 2005

What's really at stake regarding Supreme Court Justice selection-Part 1

I have read a recent speech on the subject by a scholar and U.S Senator which should be required reading for anyone who thinks they are well informed on Constitutional matters. To assist in this endeavor, I will print an excerpt from the speech daily until it is complete. If you want to read the speech in its entirety, I will post the link after all the speech has been posted.
Here is the first excerpt from the speech. Can you guess who wrote and gave the speech?

"I would like to begin by reading two quite different quotes to you, each from important jurists.

Jurist #1:

[O]ur laws and tradition afford constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education... "These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State."

Jurist #2:

Compare the facts in Griswold with a hypothetical suit by an electric utility company ? to void a smoke pollution ordinance as unconstitutional. The cases are identical. In Griswold a husband and wife assert that they wish to have sexual relations without fear of unwanted children.... The electrical company asserts that it wishes to produce electricity at low cost.... There is no principled way to decide... that one form of gratification is more worthy than another.

Now, many of you, including Larry, Walter, and others who helped me prepare for a hearing years ago, know exactly what Law Review article that came from. It will not surprise you to know that I -- and I suspect most of you -- agree with jurist number one. In my opinion, the first quote I read is a much healthier understanding of our Constitution with regard to the respect it affords individuals in making fundamental personal life choices.

There are periods in our country's history when Americans re-examine the essence of our social contract. They have occurred half a dozen times. These periods invariably include debate over the meaning of our "civil bible" -- the Constitution -- because we have relied so much on that document to articulate how we see ourselves as a people and how we see ourselves as a nation.

And let me say at the outset that honest people, bright people, decent and patriotic people have very, very different views on how to read our civil bible.

These re-examinations happened in the Civil War and in the 1930s, and it's happening again in our lifetime, having been going on in earnest since the mid-1980s."

Tomorrow I will put up the next part of the speech. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Senator Biden (D) reaffirms he's a candidate & Sunday Talk show comments

Biden's comments on Meet the Press were spot on the sentiment of regarding where the country is regarding Iraq. He said the Administration and this President are not leveling with the American people. He said the American people know things aren't going well there, that it is incomprehensible that we still don't have the right body armor protection for our troops, as was described in the NY Times today. Senator Biden said he has no confidence in Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and the President should fire him, because everything that could go wrong there has gone wrong there.

On another Sunday show, Sen. John McCain also said he has lost confidence of Rumsfeld.

On Chris Mathews NBC show this morning, NY Times correspondent, David Brookes, said, "Senator Biden and Sen. Clinton are the only Democrats that have given specifics as to how to improve the situation in Iraq" (but there suggestions have fallen on deaf ears is apparent I would say).

Senator Biden reiterated his plans to seek nomination from his party to run for President in 2008 after visiting recently in the "Red States" and being encouraged to run.

Henry Kissinger when asked on Wolf Blitzer's The New Iraq this morning, about whether what is starting to happen in Iraq today is reminicent of what happened in Vietnam. Kissinger in his response seemed to blame the anti-war movement for what happened rather thatn a failed policy of the Nixon Administation and previous Administrations. My question is thisWhen are these current and former policy makers going to take responsibility for their failures? They want to blame the American people for what was wrong in Vietnam and now in Iraq other than a failed policy and strategy. Why didn't Rumsfeld consider more troops when he was advised to going into the war from his top General? We should reinstate the General and have him get Iraq right. As Senator Biden said today, "If Donald Rumsfeld was a CEO he would have been fired long ago!!!"

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Meet the Press features Sen. Biden

Meet the Press tomorrow has Sen. Biden featured. For those who voted in my mini poll for him, you might want to observe the questions and responses and make a comment or two here. Those that favor another 2008 hopeful, you can make a comparison of what your favorite would have said in response to the questioning.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Saving soldiers' lives in Iraq

I, like many others, watch the news every evening and the constant filming of roadside bombs that have killed more soldiers in Iraq. I noticed something this evening that I hadn't put together until today. Every picture taken shows some Iraqis around a deep hole where the bomb exploded in the road. I thought to myself that there must be a way to stop or minimize this. Here's what I came up with:

Every bomb that exploded was on a dirt road and the soldiers driving on that road have no idea a bomb could be beneath it. Somehow these roads are dug up and explosives are placed in them and then covered up. It must be done under the cover of darkness, otherwise it would be noticed, is my guess. So here are the steps I would take if I were in charge there. First, I would identify and prioritize the roads I wanted to protect (for transporting goods, troops and troop supplies). Secondly, I would pave the roads with asphalt, which could be done round the clock under guard. This is similar to the idea Israel employed of building a wall which had been constructed 24 hrs a day and 6 days a week. I would use a heavy force of Army and Marines to keep folks away during construction to ensure the work went on uninterrupted. Thirdly, I would install small video surveillance cameras, with night vision capability, on polls or on nearby buildings to monitor the roads. I would see where these bad guys are coming from, take still pictures of who they are and give them to Iraqi forces to hunt down. I would complete one road at a time and get the job done using contractors where necessary. If there were no asphalt capability there, I would consider cement. In either case, this would advance rebuilding the country's infrastructure and help average Iraqis travel more safely. One of the first roads I would complete, would be the one from the Green Zone to Baghdad Airport,

I told you I want solutions to some of these problems, not just throwing our collective hands up in the air and giving up. As long as we have soldiers there, we need to think of ways to protect them. Any tampering with the surfaces of the road would be easily noticed and asphalting or cementing them could prevent loss of life. I think it was a mistake to go into Iraq in the first place, but we are there as a nation now and we must not leave this mess to fester for many decades to come. As Colin Powell advised President Bush, "if you break Iraq, you must fix it." That falls now on all Americans.

Another thing I would do is to add another 75,000-100,000 troops to Iraq immediately to help secure the borders and allow those with more experience their help find the bad guys. I would keep them there through the voting of the Constituion in October and elections scheduled for December. To help maximize a successful outcome, I would ask the Iraqi government to initiate Marshall law between certain hours of the evening with the orders that anyone out in the streets in those hours will be considered hostile forces and will be shot. I know this idea won't play well with anti-war advocates. I too am saddened by every loss. Cindy Sheehan of California is still trying to see President Bush to ask why her son died. This is a good question to ask the President from a mother who lost her son, as the rationale for going into Iraq wasn't right or good and most likely for vengence against the Iraqi dictator's attempted assasination of George W.'s father. But that was then and this is now.

OK, I gave it my best shot to date. How about some ideas from the rest of you. We must all learn help with ideas. Oh, one other point. I encourage a movement within the US to stop driving one day a week (using carpools, public transportation and working from home, if you can) to let supply catch up with demand on oil and gasoline consumption. It saves us money and keeps the money out of the Arab World and OPEC. It might teach them there's no free lunch for them either. We need to start playing tough too.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Medal of Freedom should go to Rep. Curt Weldon R-Pa

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa. vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, deserves the Medal of Freedom for his persistence in stirring up facts for the American people regarding what U.S. defense intelligence officials knew, when they knew it regarding the 9/11 terrorists. Maybe George Tenent, former head of CIA, can return his Medal of Freedom.

Excerpts from the story by AP are below and shown on MSNBC web site here.

"The subject of all the attention is the fact that Weldon asserts that U.S. defense intelligence officials identified ringleader Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers as a likely part of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the hijackings but didn’t forward the information to law enforcement.

In June, Rep. Weldon Weldon, a Republican maverick on Capitol Hill, initially made his allegations about Atta and the others in a speech in June that garnered little attention. His talk came at the end of a legislative day during a period described under House rules as “special orders”

The Sept. 11 commission will investigate a claim that U.S. defense intelligence officials identified ringleader Mohammed Atta and three other hijackers as a likely part of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the hijackings but didn’t forward the information to law enforcement.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Shutlle returns safely but "Where's the Beef?"

Happy they landed safely today. Now that they are back, what was really accomplished on this trip. Maybe I have it all wrong, but I didn't see much of anything accomplished, as I have written in an earlier posting. Seriously folks, someone has got to state the obvious simple truth. It hasn't been worth the money! Between the money we are spending in Iraq, which is also not worth it, and the Shuttle, we are now broke as a nation. We could have spent this money on helping the effort Blair started in Africa to end poverty and help African nations really get on their feet. That truly would have been a mission we would have all been proud.

Isn't anybody listening or are they all too busy deciding if they should run again in 2006 and 2008 for political office. No one is watching the store, so to speak. But we are and we get our chance to speak again in 2006 and 2008. maybe this time we will speak with one voice and scream, "Enough is enough!"

Update: Noon PST

On MSNBC I learned the mission of this Shuttle by veteran reporter, Jay Barbree of NBC. He named 3 things that were this mission objectives:
• Go bring stuff to Space Station
• Spacewalk to repair Tiles in Space
• Bring back trash from Space Station

Expensive garbage service!!!!!!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fallen soldiers deserve our respect and our attention

Lots going through my mind this morning. First, our laws are important. Thank those Congressmen and Senators that originally voted to approve the Freedom of Information Act or we wouldn't be allowed to see the flag draped coffins of our fallen soldiers from the hostilities in Afghanistan and especially Iraq.

It's important who we appoint as a Supreme Court Judge who will eventually rule on cases that have to do with things like our right to know, our individual freedoms of expression and other profound values encapsulated in written law. In 2000, the court decided who was going to be our President. Let's not forget what freedom is because this is what these brave men and women believed they gave their ultimate sacrifice for. I feel saddened by the fact we don't often publicize their return, because this Administration fears the images will affect us and they obviously want to minimize that. How dare this Administration hide this from us for so long. These images should affect us and they have!

What has been creeping into my awareness from the events of the past week, where we have lost about 30 brave soldiers in Iraq, is that, for the first time since we started this war in Iraq, we aren't expecting to win this war. I felt this way during the Vietnam war and now this has crept back into my awareness. We aren't doing right in Iraq even though many Generals state we need more troops there to help "secure the peace". If you give this some thought I believe you will come to the same conclusion. We don't have a plan to win this thing. We are trying to hold on until the Iraqi's have sufficient forces trained to start to leave. What a mess and disservice to all that are there and those that have fallen and the Iraqi's too, as they are paying a bigger price than we are. They have lost thousands of sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. Can you really now believe we are the strongest military in the world. Take away our Nuclear Bomb deterrent and we, as Americans, are like any other nation, just trying to live our lives. It's the Chicken hawks that started this war, with the trumped up intelligence reports, that should be over there fighting if they believe so strongly in what they proclaimed. Instead, their leader is on a 5-week vacation in Crawford, TX.

Here's some information on the Freedom of Information Act obtained from

Freedom of Information Act (enacted in 1966), law requiring that U.S. government agencies release their records to the public on request, unless the information sought falls into a category specifically exempted, such as national security, an individual's right to privacy, or internal agency management. The act provides for court review of agency refusals to furnish identifiable records. The states also have similar laws. The federal government and some states have also adopted so-called sunshine laws that require governmental bodies, as a matter of general policy, to hold open meetings, announced in advance. Presidential papers remained under the control of individual American presidents until 1981, when the Presidential Records Act—enacted by Congress in 1978—took effect. Under it, presidential papers were to be released to the public 12 years after an administration ended. In 2001, however, President George W. Bush signed an executive order that gave a former president or a sitting president the right to prevent the release of a former president's papers to the public. The G. W. Bush administration has also has generally been more reluctant to release documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

Bob Novak walks off CNN set. Why isn't he in jail?

Bob Novak walked off a CNN show yesterday during a discussion with James Carville and moderator. Well, Carville was joking around, as usual, while Novak was speaking, interrupting him several times. Novak told Carville to stop, Carville didn't and when the moderator then switched to ask Carville something, Novak got up and walked off the program, while broadcasting was continuing.

Novak can dish it out, and has repeatedly, but he can't take it when someone does it to him. Besides, he shouldn't be free to be on CNN because he wrote the article outing CIA operative Valerie Plame. He's free and Judith Miller who didn't even write anything is in jail. Go figure.

I hope Novak stays home for good as I can't stand the guy. We could all do well to have a breather from his so-called reporting. Wait for the comments about this story from Jon Stewart of Comedy Central. He will have a blast with this story. Stay tuned for really good comedy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

How about a new Political party, one that truly represents the majority of Americans

The election held in Ohio yesterday looked all too familiar with the exception of the Democratic candidate that lost, Paul Hackett.

Why not consider the formulation of a 3rd Political Party, made up from Centrists and Moderates. This is a topic today on
  • TheYellowLine
  • by guest writer Johnathan Cortis from
  • ChargingRino Blog
  • . We could hope to peel away Democrats and Republicans from the middle of their parties and leave what's left, the extremes, to fight on.

    This party would need a new name so as not to tread on other less popular parties names. We could have a contest to name the Party, put position papers out on very contoversial topics. For example, we could say we are the Pro-Adoption party. Who could argue with that. We could stand for such unpopular notions as "no taxation without accountability". I know you almost thought "no taxation without representation" but heck, we have plenty of so-called representation and they haven't represented me in years. If somehow we could organize and define the centrist postion on many of today's major issues, it might attract candidates to consider us. Another example is Iraq and where's the Plan. If we stated we wanted to add many more troops to secure areas around Iraq, allowed the EU to train more Iraqi's and also allowed them to participate fully in reconstruction for profit, they would join in. Money has a way of changing minds.

    So think about it. What could we do if we were serious?

    Paul Hackett (D), Marine Iraq veteran, looses in Ohio

    Well, they say that Paul lost because of the Swift Boat attacks from the Republican machine in Ohio. Gee, I thought it was because he didn't get enough votes to win. But many Democrats are seeing this as a victory for Democrats. Gee, I always thought that a loss was a loss, not a win. Anyway you can read a lot about what was airing on the talk shows and hear what was said about Paul by going to SwingStateProject.

    For my part, he gave it a good effort and lost. But at least he tried and it was a very close race. I have a lot of respect for him just for entering the race in a Republican district, speaking his mind about Bush and this war in Iraq and not pulling punches.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Shuttle Discovery Mission?

    Every Shuttle flight has a Mission with stated objectives. I have no idea what this Mission's objectives are, but by observing behavior we might get a clue. So far they have replaced a gyroscope, examined the surfaces of the Shuttle for damage, practiced repairing tiles in space and today they are going to actually repair some protrusions on the surface of the underbelly of the Shuttle. NASA managers decided Monday, after many hours of deliberations and complex mathematical calculations, to attempt the repair after the analysis showed the protrusions might produce excessive heat during re-entry and threaten the spacecraft.

    According to CNN, Andy Thomas, another member of the Discovery crew, acknowledged that the crew had initial "misgivings" about the repair, scheduled to take place during Wednesday's scheduled spacewalk. "We were concerned about the implications of it and what was motivating it," he said. "However, it's a lot better...(to) remove this material."

    It seems to me that at much expense to get the Shuttle back up into space after a 2-year delay from the tragedy of the Shuttle spacecraft killing the crew, this seems like an incredible blunder by NASA. We are spending too much time on just getting up there and figuring out how to come back to earth safely. This Shuttle needs to be scuttled and abandoned after this flight is complete. We have wasted too much money in an ever-deep sinkhole. Think about the minimal costs by comparison of the two Mars probes and the great achievement of this adventure with no risk of human life. No worry about how we have to fix the craft for reentry or worry for the safety of the crew during launch.

    There is a time for sending humans into space to explore. But overall, this Shuttle program has been a disaster and I say this with great sadness having worked for years on the Heat Shield of the Apollo. We are spending more time focused on the craft than the exploration mission itself.

    Someone of courage and stature needs to suggest the permanent grounding of this Shuttlecraft.

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Bolton recess appointment by Bush merits thought

    Why can't the American people make a recess appointment for a new Administration, the same way that the President is going to announce today the recess appointment of John Bolton, as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N? It seems quite fair to me. No one really wants Bolton now, including most Republicans, as they will admit if you can get them out of media range. Many Republicans would like to have a different President right now too; someone more moderate is my guess. So why can't WeThePeople make a recess appointment for President and Vice President. Of course we will need to wait until Bush goes on vacation first, but that's today! :) Some reasons to consider this idea with the seriousness it deserves is that we wouldn't have to put up with the fanfare of a political campaign, no TV ads to watch, no special interest groups material flooding our mailboxes. There would be no need for debates and all the after debate TV shows that tell us what they really said, who scored what blow to the other, who looked the best and who won the debate. Big business would like it too, as they wouldn't have to contribute to both candidates large sums of money in return for unrelated support for legislative positions that make them richer.

    So when you hear the announcement today of John Bolton as U.S Ambassador to the U.N. against what most Americans want, see the potential good in recess appointments. Who would you appoint now as President given the chance at a recess appointment? Hmmmm...let me think.
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