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political roundup

estrada: the battle but not the war?

a. The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.

b. An instance of the use of this delaying tactic.

i suppose that, technically, what we witnessed in the case of poor miguel estrada was a filibuster--but only technically. where were the cots? the chinese take-out? the hours-on-end readings from the phone book? what we got was a twenty-first century americanized version of the filibuster, where occasionally mentioning one's opposition to a certain judicial nominee over the course of a few months was substituted for a grueling endurance race between two genuinely passionate contenders. the democrat's listless, apathetic performance was a product of senate majority *cough* leader bill frist's uninspired leadership. did the democrats really have the cojones to go through with a genuine filibuster and not the unreasonable facsimile thereof they offered in its stead? we'll never know. frist didn't have the cojones to lay the democrats in their own bed. what a shame, too. the american people should have been allowed to see the face of genuine partisan malice in its purest form. "This battle is not over," he promises. i wasn't aware that it had ever begun.

now that's obstructionism

from one extreme to the other we now swing. away from the pettiness of washingtonian machinations to the grand, sweeping vistas of texas, where the men are men and the sheep are scared.

i want you all to consider something. texas. consider texas. consider the political climate in texas with me, if you will. big oil. the bush family. death penalty. conservative Christians. and yet the democrats have held sway in the state legislature for one hundred and thirty years. doesn't that seem a little odd to you?

anyway, various and sundry girly democratic state congressmen who squat when they pee and have flabby biceps have been on the lam since the now republican-controlled texas legislature, the first, i remind you, in nigh onto a century and a half, proposed redistricting a few moons ago. "it's gerrymandering," they shrieked, and, being inferior in number as well as virility, appearance, wit, and personal hygiene, they hit road. i'm not exactly sure how often the democrats redrew the lines during their geological-era tenure, but if they followed the national average of once every decade then it was at least a dozen times. and the republicans, being the dutiful public servants they are, took it like men. but no more. no, now you get to make up your own rules for a block of time covering basically everything from the end of the civil war forward, then, when the other side finally gets a turn, you take your ball and leave in an indignant snit. if you listen to NPR, the democratic state representatives who first fled to oklahoma, and the eleven state senators who followed their lead a month ago when they slithered off to albuquerque, are heroes for refusing to be party to such shameful goings-on. "it's all that evil racist tom delay and his masters in the bush administration," hisses the press. "it's another republican power-grab!"

folks, i don't care if satan himself sent adolph hitler down to texas to oversee redistricting, there's nothing unfair about the people's elected representatives exercising their constitutionally granted authority in drawing up voting districts--particularly when the current lines were scribbled down by the courts after the legislature failed to make up it's mind. redistricting should cost the democrats seats because most texans want republicans in power. the fact that republicans were able to overcome a century of democratic gerrymandering to gain such an insurmountable lead attests to that fact very convincingly.

a miserable failure

the democratic debate last night, i mean.

"This president is a miserable failure," said former House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri, repeating the line twice and blaming Bush for the loss of American jobs and prestige.

"Why would we want to keep anything of the Bush tax plan?" asked Gephardt in response. "It's a miserable failure."

so mr. do you really feel about president bush?

"The president goes around the country speaking Spanish. The only Spanish he speaks when it comes to jobs is 'hasta la vista'," Edwards said, borrowing a line made famous by actor and California GOP gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"there you go again..." it ain't.

Kerry noted pointedly that the stock market had risen sharply over the past month. "You know, it's interesting that the Standard & Poor's went up to 1,000, and the Dow went up to 9,400, which proves that good things happen when George Bush is on vacation, folks."

perhaps. or maybe the miserable failure of an economic plan is finally taking hold?

the democrats have begun their attack on bush-iraq with safe-seated spear-chuckers like tom daschle busting the sod. they'd better hope that one of their candidates finds a way to make some hay because the economy is turning around, and that right quick. what will edwards say when people start going back to work? what kerry say when the market continues its climb? what will gephardt say when anything good happens?

i've said it before and i'll say it again: bill clinton owes his presidency to bill gates. the calgon tech bubble that took bill clinton away from the hard reality of his mediocre policies was akin, as many have pointed out, to the railway boom: fun while it lasted, but it had to end sometime. when the dow jones first reached four thousand, it had taken it over a century to get there. i remember a massive center-fold chart that stretched across the wall street journal in a triumphalist history of the dow's peaks and dips. world war one and the roaring twenties. the crash of twenty nine. the depression. world war two. the baby boom. on and on it went, all the way up to the dizzying four thousand mark. that was 1995. the dow hit ten thousand in 1999.

did you people honestly think that b.s. could last?

during clinton's final quarter, the economic indicators swung down and our economy began to recede. one after another, the doomed dotcom startups investors had giddily pumped cash into like hot slot machines begin to evaporate--this despite the fact that as early as 1996, the prescient alan greenspan had warned of "irrational exuberance" in the market. bush takes office in time for the blame, blame that conveniently neglects the incalculable impact of september 11th, 2001 on an economy that was already as primed for recession as any had ever been, blame that begun before bush had even submitted a budget.

the president always gets the glory and takes the heat, but the bush roast was more unfair than most because it was rooted in the "irrational" nineties fairy-tale that clinton had somehow broken the market cycle. and you dems have the audacity to call the eighties the decade of greed.

anyway, that's all behind us now. things are looking up for america, and that's bad news for the democrats.

locdog's got to admit it's getting better, it's getting better all the time



don't some people just plain deserve to die?

i'm of the mind that existence is a right, not a privilege. but it's a right that can, under certain circumstances, be revoked. care to climb a high tower and let loose with a sniper rifle on a crowd of innocent people? sorry, you've just revoked your right to exist. no one else can do it for you.

i don't understand people who are opposed to the death penalty. some people are in favor of it in principle, but find that it's hopelessly unfair in practice. that i understand. i think they exaggerate their case, but at least they're making some sense. what i can't figure out is someone who thinks that society owes existence to a cold-blooded killer, that we're somehow obligated to grant them their next breath.

they think they're being principled. "life," they say "must never be taken." why not? obviously because it has some worth, worth that they evidently find greater than that of anything else, yet when someone steals this infinitely worthy thing from society, they are expected to pay nothing in return.

"oh, not so," reply the illuminati. "we want them to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. we just don't want them killed."

then they can never pay back what they owe, and you, my principled friends, have a paradox on your hands: how can something be infinitely worthy (or, at least, worthy enough that it must never be destroyed) and yet be justly or fairly or even reasonably exchanged with something of clearly inferior value? some of you will no doubt say that, for some people, living is a worse punishment than dying--but we're not talking about the severity of punishment, here. we're talking about debt. you'd actually be better off jettisoning the concept of punishment altogether and start thinking about reformation if possible, or, if not, merely quarantining the incorrigible in as comfortable an existence as possible, as other high-minded folk have suggested. except, if you're going to do that, then why not kill the murderer? i mean, if there's no need for punishment then what you've essentially said is that no real wrong is done whenever someone is murdered, and the only way that could be the case is if life itself was worthless. another paradox.

it seems paradoxical that taking life would actually increase the value of life, but if you think it through, it's perfectly logical: murder digs a pit so deep that only another life could fill it. anything less than that deflates the value of life.

as to this specific abortionist-killer i mentioned yesterday, some said that he was insane. he wasn't insane. he was to all appearances a perfectly rational human being with a very, very poor choice in core beliefs. if a person believes that abortion is murder, then why shouldn't they kill abortion doctors? that's killing for a just cause. furthermore, wouldn't God, who loves justice, approve and, in fact, demand that we come to the aid of the defenseless? you must realize that from this man's perspective, the doctor he killed was morally equivalent to a nazi concentration camp guard--and surely God would approve of such a judicious use of force. this man wasn't any crazier than bin laden or the poor saps he dupes into doing his dirty work. he was just plain wrong.

others said that i, as a "pro-lifer" (which they take to mean "pacifist," apparently) should be opposed to the taking of life on all occasions. i never cease to be amazed at this argument; that it's somehow inconsistent to be opposed to abortion yet in favor of the death penalty. i can see how some people just aren't clever enough to grasp the concept i explained above on their own--i mean, i could see that, for your average liberal, the notion of taking life to uphold life would be a tough one to wrap their noodle around. but not even they can be excused from the utter stupidity of supposing that there exists a moral equivalency between a convicted murderer and an unborn child. i'm an imaginative fellow, but i'm having a hard time conceptualizing two modes of human existence which would be more diametrically opposed.

if you come up with a couple, let locdog know



not a lot of time to post, but...

i just wanted to say bravo.

locdog thinks justice was served