Lawrence Franklin, the Pentagon analyst who disclosed classified information to both an Israeli official and a lobbying group is going to plead guilty to the charges leveled against him on Wednesday. It’s an interesting aside that we still don’t know what, exactly, those charges are, only that there are 5 of them. We all assume it’s disclosure of classified documents but I guess we’ll have to wait for Wednesday.
I’ve stated before that I don’t care what Franklin’s politics are and I still don’t. That he’s going to plead guilty tells me that it’s no longer a case of “if he did it, then…” He did do it, by his own admission. What he did was espionage and should be treated as such.
The US Senate has confirmed John Roberts as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by a vote of 78-22. Pretty solid. Given Roberts’ credentials, I can’t figure out the reason to vote against him excepting idealogical in nature, but apparently 22 Senators found one.
Now for the real circus, we all waiting to see who gets nominated to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. It’s pretty much a lock that if someone with even remotely conservative views on things – including a penchant for applying the Constitution as it’s written to the law – will trigger a filibuster by the Democrats regardless of their signing an agreement to not filibuster on idealogical grounds. As I mentioned back when the Gang of 14 did their little number on judicial confirmations, nothing was solved by that agreement. It was just delayed for another day. Well, that day’s here. Let’s get on with it.
Been a long day away from the blogosphere but what’s in my inbox when I get home?
|::::::::||We are very pleased to announce that Governor Pataki has announced the removal of the International Freedom Center (IFC) from Ground Zero. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/28/AR2005092801849.html for details.
Every since June 8, 2005 when Debra Bulingame’s op-ed, The Great Ground Zero Heist, appeared in the Wall Street Journal, we have fought together for the preservation of the dignity of Ground Zero. With your help, we have achieved a major victory toward that goal.
We will continue to monitor the plans for Ground Zero to ensure that a fitting and proper memorial is built; one that is respectful of the victims murdered that day, their families, the first responders, and the American people.
A press release on the removal of the IFC from the 15 family member groups is expected in the next 24 hours and we will post it @ http://www.takebackthememorial.org as soon as it becomes available.
Thank you again for your support, prayers, and dedication. We simply could not have done this without you.
Robert D. Shurbet
I’m very pleased to see this. Like the Flight 93 memorial, I feel that a “memorial” should be just that, not a history or political lesson. On September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists hijacked 4 aircraft and crashed 2 of them into the World Trade Center resulting in the deaths of over 2000 people. The courageous heroes of the New York Fire Department and New York Police Department charged into chaos that morning trying to save the lives of those trapped in the burning buildings. Many, many of those heroes put their lives on the line and then stepped boldly across it in pursuit of their duty and in defense of their fellow citizens, not to mention those international visitors in the buildings that day. The memorial is to the memory of those that died that day due to the inexcusable actions of terrorist cowards.
The IFC would be as appropriate there as a neo-Nazi membership drive held in the lobby of the DC Holocaust Museum. I’m sure there are people who would like to see it. It just needs to be done somewhere else.
Back in May a Montgomery County, MD sex education curriculum wound up in court. I wrote about it at the time and did a follow-up on an editorial published in the Washington Post Outlook section by a high school student attending a school in that district. The crux of the lawsuit was the complaint that the curriculum did 2 things objectionable:
- It excluded the position that homosexuality is viewed by a significant portion of our society as flatly wrong, except by way of calling such a notion incorrect.
- That the specific religions that held this opinion were morally inferior to religions that didn’t.
Reproducing, yet again, the primary point of the judge’s ruling, I wrote:
|::::::::||The Judge wrote that Montgomery County Schools “open up the classroom to the subject of homosexuality, and specifically, the moral rightness of the homosexual lifestyle. However, the Revised Curriculum presents only one view on the subject — that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle — to the exclusion of other perspectives.
“The public interest is served by preventing [school officials] from promoting particular religious beliefs in the public schools and preventing [the officials] from disseminating one-sided information on a controversial topic,”
The school superintendent responded to this ruling by immediately suspending any sex ed teaching including the airing of a film discussing safe sex wherein the proper use of a condom, demonstrated on a cucumber, was displayed. I wrote initially that I thought this was simply a maneuver designed to be obstinate by over-applying the judge’s ruling and that neither the judge nor the original complaint ever brought up the film in any way.
So, here we are today and there’s another article in the WaPo, this time by Post Staff Writer V. Dion Haynes. This is no editorial. This is supposedly a news article which implies some research has been done and the facts as stated are the facts as can best be established. The title, “Sex-Ed Panel Aims to Sway Lessons on Gays” has at least the sound of being directed to the point of the earlier articles and the lawsuit. The panel mentioned in the title is chaired by Dr. Paul A. Wertsch. Third paragraph in the article reads:
|::::::::||Wertsch was among the health educators who spoke at the forum sponsored by Teachthefacts.org, a parent group established to support the education curriculum proposed last year by the county Board of Education. The curriculum, which the parent group considered comprehensive, was dropped in the spring to settle a lawsuit brought by other parents who thought some of the lessons, including a demonstration of how to put on a condom, were too explicit.||::::::::|
No, NO, NO, NO! The original article was published in the Washington Post, for crying out loud, and this hack claiming to be a journalist can’t do the research? The lawsuit was directed at the curriculum’s stance on the morality of homosexuality, not about any part of it being “explicit.” The “demo” about the condom was never mentioned in the lawsuit whatsoever. Being the kindest I can be, this is sloppiness in reporting at its worst and if this journalist is so incapable of getting the publicly recorded facts correct, then he or she needs to be shown the door and the unemployment line.
Poland’s voters have apparently had quite enough of their ex-communist government officials and have voted to put 2 of their center-right parties in charge. The high unemployment there (17%) and various scandals have all combined to see to the ouster of the current government and the introduction of one that has promised to do something about both categories of problems.
Of course, what would a story like this be without referencing Poland’s rather prominent position in the Coalition in Iraq? The new government has said that they might be willing to keep their troops in Iraq longer than the December 31 deadline the previous government had declared. I’m glad they’ll consider it. Let’s see what happens after Iraq’s electorate has a say on their constitution and go from there. While it was important for our media to ask (and I’m sure for some of our citizenry as well) it seems the issue barely got mention during the campaign season there. Domestic issues were at the forefront and those are the issue that the leftists got smacked around over.
It’s a shame Chrenkoff’s not writing any more. As a Polish expatriate living in Australia, I’d have love to have heard his comments on this.
Arlington National Cemetary holds a distinct position in our nation’s esteem. There lie interred in that hallowed ground Presidents, geniuses, philantropists, soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and few known but to God. It is a place almost universally known by Americans as a place for this nation’s honored dead.
So how could a scumbag double-murderer who died in prison be residing there in such company?
No, I’m not talking about a political distinction. I’m talking about a guy who just so happened to be a veteran who managed to gain the confidence of an eldery couple enough to enter their home and overpower them. What happened next cannot be excused.
|::::::::||The elderly couple, Daniel and Wilda Davis, opened their door to Russell Wayne Wagner on Valentine’s Day 1994.
“He took Mom and Dad and sat them on a kitchen chair, tied their hands behind their heads and put a pillowcase over their heads, stabbed them 14-15 times and then he robbed them and then he left,” their son, Vernon Davis, tearfully told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Thursday.
Wagner was convicted of the couple’s murders and sentenced to two life terms with parole eligibility. When he died in prison, he was cremated and placed in the nation’s premiere veterans’ cemetery: Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1997 Congress passed a law restricting the access to Arlington National Cemetary such that certain kinds of felons – violent ones, I believe – cannot be buried at Arlington regardless of their discharge status. Wagner’s burial got through a loophole in the law that only restricts those sentanced to death or life without parole. Wagner was sentenced to life but would have been eligible for parole. Just to add yet another unsavory chapter to this whole mess, Wagner died in prison from a heroin overdose. From the sounds of the webmaster at the Arlington National Cemetary site, it would appear the caretakers at Arlington weren’t aware of the felony conviction before accepting Wagner’s funeral there. I tend to doubt they could have done anything even if they had known.
There are 2 bills currently making their way through Congress to attempt to rectify this issue. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) has introduced a bill to remove the loophole regarding parole and simply prohibit any felon sentenced to life from being buried there, regardless of whether parole is an option or not. Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) has done the same except his bill would also explicitly exhume Wagner. I have no issue with that at all. Such a man has no right to pollute the ground there. I hope Craig’s bill passes.
I’ll be perfectly honest in that I’ve not thought much of Bill Frist. Literally. Coming off a clear win in the 2004 elections and with the momentum of the electorate behind him in getting the filibusters stopped in the Senate judicial confirmation process, he basically frittered away his mandate. He clearly doesn’t have the reins of leadership tightly held when 7 of his fellow Republican senators decided to cut his legs out from under him. Since then, I’m afraid I haven’t given him much thought at all.
Yesterday, I caught a reference of Frist being involved in a scandal. There’s been so many allegations of “scandal” by the MSM where Republicans are concerned that don’t pan out to be anything of import that it really didn’t make much of an impression. This morning, however, over at RedState.org there was a post that called for Frist to step down. One of the reasons for that was a reference to a “personal scandal.” The New York Times and Washington Post might call Frist’s ordering white wine with steak a scandal, but RedState doesn’t use the term lightly.
The scandal involves the fishy-smelling sale of stock from Frist’s blind trust. He apparently ordered the sale of HCA, Inc. stock from the trust just before the stock price went south. The SEC is investigating but, as with any good investigation, cautions that they don’t know enough yet to characterize this event as illegal or not. They’re investigating. Fair enough, but then I turned to Captain’s Quarters to see what’s going on over there. I find this.
|::::::::||Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist faces a serious investigation into his finances after apparently directing the sale of stock while his assets supposedly remained in a blind trust — and dumping family-business stock just before the bottom dropped out. Today’s Page One story in the Washington Post reports that Frist specifically ordered the divestiture of family shares of the family business:||::::::::|
Ed Morrisey then goes on to quote both the linked article and an AP article as well. He’s 110% correct about 2 things. First, the documents that have come to light to spark this investigation must be authenticated. (I’d recommend staying away from CBS for that task…) Second, if they are authentic then Frist was engaging in the very, very basic no-no of actively directing what was supposed to be a blind trust. Blind trusts are trusts set up to provide one a benefit while allowing the beneficiary no control over the management of the trust’s assets. Senators and holders of higher offices (the President and Vice-President, for example) enter into blind trusts so their assets can continue to be invested while protecting everyone from allegations of conflict of interest. For that to work, the trust has to be… well, blind. He violate that basic tennet and, in the sale of a stock that suddenly dropped 9% of its value, he has given the appearance of operating on insider information. This is not good for Senator Frist. The Senator should face it: he’s compromised.
Compromised senators don’t manage the business of the country well and, guilty of infraction or not, Senator Frist will be even less effective as a leader than he was before. Do the right thing, Senator. Step aside and let another Republican take up the reins.
I mentioned yesterday that the NRA and Second Amendment Foundation had filed a lawsuit to block the confiscation of guns by the New Orleans police department. It has fortunately not taken long to explain the unconstitutional nature of the confiscations to a federal judge. The restraining order has been issued effective immediately.
NRA spokesmen have noted that they believe there were about 100 people who had guns illegally siezed but the number is difficult to nail down since the cops failed to provide any paperwork when they grabbed the firearms. Does that sound like a government who has any intention of giving those gus back? Not to me, and I don’t think anyone can reasonably make an argument that it implies anything but that the cops intended to keep those guns. The next step should be for those people who had guns illegally confiscated to sue the police chief, the mayor, and (if she was involved in any way) the governor. At least there won’t be any more people joining them.
You’ll recall the literal hourly reports from the MSM last month or so when the Army wasn’t meeting their recruitment goal? Calamity! Disaster! Looming crisis for the Pentagon. (Oh, that DAMN BUSH!!!)
Hat tip: Irish Pennants
John Roberts has received the endorsement of the Senate Judiciary committee for confirmation to become the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The vote was 13-5 with (no surprise) Kennedy, Biden, Feinstein, Schumer, and Durbin voting against.
Roberts was endorsed by the ABA, his work as a lawyer for the government during which he argued cases before the Supreme Court itself and his judgement in the 2 years of sitting on the bench in DC all combine to make him a highly qualified judge. His repeated stance on the law is that he will apply the law as the legislature has passed it to cases brought before him. This is precisely the quality we need in a Supreme Court justice so I really can’t fathom a vote against him except for the reason that he doesn’t fit a given person’s idealogical views. And that’s something the Democrats all said they wouldn’t let sway them in determining their vote. Three of them on the committee held to their words. These five, however, clearly cannot.
I’m pleased Roberts is now out of committee. I would like to see the vote for confirmation take place very soon so we can get on with the next nomination, get the Supreme Court fully staffed, and get them back doing what they’re supposed to be doing rather than playing around waiting for the political grandstanding to be done.