Friday, May 1, 2009

So Bill Brennan's seat is up for grabs... again



Yesterday evening we all excitedly learned that Obama would not repeat Jimmy Carter's fate, being unable to appointing a single member of the Supreme Court of the United States. David Souter's retirement leaves open the seat previously held by the great liberal lion William Brennan. It came as a surprise, especially to the wingnut right, when David Souter, who was appointed by the first President Bush, followed in Brennan's footsteps. Souter subsequently voted to uphold abortion rights, uphold Miranda protections, to abolish gender exclusive state schools, and he voted to afford homosexuals a constitutional right to engage in sodomy.

The Obama administration will be hard-pressed to find any individual of Souter’s intellect, convictions, and integrity. The worst thing this administration could do, under these circumstances, is appoint someone too conservative (like Clinton). David Souter is among the most liberal our current Court has to offer. However, Before engaging in speculation regarding who Obama will appoint, I think it would be apt to mention the timing of this appointment.

The Administration is currently planning on reforming health care sometime in late summer. I would hazard to guess the first week of August, based on many reliable sources. This gives the administration between six and nine weeks to make the appointment, and get her confirmed. I would therefore expect a nomination by the end of May and conformation to be finished by June. Since Obama has made no nominations to the Court of appeals himself, his pool of likely nomination comes principally from Clinton era Democrats. SCOTUS blog has ,what I believe to be, the best 'short list' available:

My bet is that - this early on - it’s a big and diverse list. It would have some very well known judges (for example, Diane Wood and Sonia Sotomayor), academics (Elena Kagan (now Solicitor General), Pam Karlan, and Kathleen Sullivan), and politicians (Jennifer Granholm, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, and Janet Napolitano).

If I may add my personal preference to that list, it would be none other than Eric Holder. I doubt Obama can find anyone more liberal or qualified than Holder. However, he lacks what seems to be a necessity in this nomination, having a vagina. So Eric and I will sit and wait for John Paul Stevens to either die or retire. And I will wait for Holder to shave off that horrid mustache.

I will keep this blog updated on all things concerning this nomination as the summer continues. This is the among the most important issues the Obama administration has addresed since the his term began, and it is important that the left get excited about the Supreme Court. For too long we have let this become a conservative issue, as we watch nominations like Clarence Thomas and Sam Alito continue unabated. We must demand that whomever replace Souter be in the mold of Brennan, Marhsall or Douglas. We have waited since Roosevelt for a liberal President to play ball with the Supreme Court. It is now up to President Obama to shape the future of our Court.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Take a deep breath, America...

...unless you happen to be in a confined space such as an airplane or subway, lest the Mexican pig plague cross our red, white and blue biological borders and infect us all, just like those terrorists south of the dividing line planned all along!!!!!!!

We all love Joe Biden, but you've got to admit that polishing jobs like the one the White House press team did today of smoothing over his morning's incendiary call to alarm can't happen with any sort of frequency. We've seen too often in our country's history what happens when panic supercedes reason.

Political science students as many of us here at Lefty's are, I'm breaking out the literature on this one. I'm reminded of how in Thucydide's Peloponnesian War it is ultimately the plague in Athens that unravels the order in the polis, not the war with the Lacedaemonians at all. Faced with a health crisis in which their fellow Athenians are dropping like flies and the very act of caring for each other is enough to further the contagion, our legendary inventors of democracy give way to panic, anarchy ensuing.

Don't get me wrong, though. A simple Google search will reveal to you that the swine flu, or the H1N1 virus (as th wise among us are working to relabel the sickness), carries with it no more than the basic symptoms of common influenza strains. It's not a plague; at this point, there has been one death from it on American soil, and the unfortunate one of a Mexican infant who crossed the border at that. But the message we're getting from many media sources and leaders across the political spectrum - knowlegable men and women who should know better - is one of great alarm:

Dear America,
PANIC!
Cancel travel plans, stop buying pork, and close the schools! We have Jack Cafferty wistfully proclaiming midst his sniffles that had we done more to secure the U.S./ Mexico border post-911, “all these illegal immigrants who we let come in, . . . (some of whom) may have brought this in,” would be less of our concern. Representative Duncan Hunter, R- California, among many others with anti-immigration initiatives to their names, is calling for a border seal to further prevent the spread of what threatens to be a global pandemic.

The swine flu was brought to the United States initially by a group of high school students spring breaking in Mexico...

We don't need to close the border, and to turn this unfortunate health scare into an argument about immigration policy is, for lack of a better word, sick.

Just wash your hands, folks. Wash them of the contagion of ignorance while you're at it, too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Indiana Equality calls for support to enact hate crimes legislation


An extremely important piece of legislation nicknamed "The Matthew Shepard Act" is currently under debate in Congress that would expand hate-crime laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Indiana Equality has asked for your help in enacting it.

This bill, and recognizing that crimes against GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans) people based on their real or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation are hate crimes, is sorely needed.

If you don’t need much more convincing on this matter please take the time to help out by making sure your representatives and senators understand how important this legislation is. For more information on how to help visit the Indiana Equality blog as well as the Human Rights Campaign's dedicated pages.

If you're unsure or need some convincing, see me make the case for this legislation over at Boilercrat.

**UPDATE**
The bill just passed in the house 249-175! However, I was greatly disappointed to see that Brad Ellsworth, and Lefty's congressman Joe Donnelly voted against it.

Adding to Yesterday's Excitement


Yesterday, former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) was finally sworn into her new position as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Sebelius is endorsed by Planned Parenthood and has consistently voted against anti-choice legislation.

She's also a Roman Catholic.

Catholic Pro-lifers, take note: during her 6 years as governor, Kansas's abortion rate dropped by about 12.6%;

It's good to see another strong, pro-choice woman added to the cabinet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who's Going to Bailout the GOP?

On what I would argue may be the biggest day in news (for Lefty's and America) since January 20, 2009, I'd like to mark today as the historical landmark beginning of a painful and pathetic collapse of the Republican Party (just check Wikipedia 15 years from now). This may end up (over time) being as big as the moment that Teddy Roosevelt jumped ship for the Progressive Party in 1912. The analogy isn't perfect, but we might be witnessing a major shift in American politics.



In typically Lefty's fashion, I went hunting for articles to support my claim... and I ran into a heap of blog waste all saying the same thing. So to lighten things up, I went looking for things that made me laugh. Here's what I found:

Colbert Study: Conservatives Don't Know He's Joking

Gun Owners Attack Rush Limbaugh


Michelle Bachmann Links Swine Flu to Democrats, Gets History Wrong

I guess everyone wants to be a Democrat today:

Ahmadinejad Borrows Obama's "Yes We Can" For Iranian Election


Final thing that caught my eye. The Pakistani intelligence agencies picked the WORST DAY EVER to announce that they believe Osama Bin Laden to be dead.

Ha! Like anyone cares about him on a day like this. This is AMERICA! You are alive until proven dead. Right...?


WOOPS



Image Sources:

philsbackupsite.wordpress.com
evilbeetgossip.film.com

I hoped this would be my first post, but it appears I am too late.

Well, Bill got to it first, but here's a photo of the aforementioned plane:


And the accompanying sign:



I first saw it when I was walking out of the dining hall, and I must say I laughed my ass off from there back to Walsh. A plane? Really?

The Future of the Republican Party

Arlen Specter’s joining the Democrats today is an exclamation point on a long string of events that show that the Republican Party is crumbling. Obviously in the last two elections they were soundly defeated, but I think that this is more significant that just a few bad elections, this is a fundamental shift in American politics away from the Republican Party.

Specter belonged to the moderate/liberal wing of the GOP, and his leaving the party is a symbol of the GOP’s shrinking appeal among moderates. 21% of Americans currently consider themselves Republicans, compared to 35% Democrats and 38% independents. As moderates leave the party, there will be no internal opposition to the GOP’s swing to the right witnessed in the past few elections. The current main wings of the GOP are the moderates like Arlen Specter who are leaving the party in droves, the Mitt Romney-type fiscal conservatives and economic libertarians who often also adopt socially conservative policies in order to get elected, and the fundamentalist religious and xenophobic politicians in the mold of the populist Sarah Palin. Unless Republican leadership realigns the party, the first wing will leave the party, and there will be an increasing split between the other two wings. The fiscal conservative wing will blame the overemphasis of the culture wars by the populist wing for electoral defeats. The populist wing will energize a small but very vocal minority of Americans, but will probably ultimately be just a flash-in-the-pan movement with little national significance. I think it would not be too much of a stretch to say that the second wing of the party might realize that the culture war will no longer win elections, and will abandon the GOP for the Libertarian Party, leaving the GOP to be controlled by populist culture warriors and to fade into obscurity. The culture wars will become largely irrelevant, and the real political debate will become economic.

There will almost definitely be a realignment of some sort—perpetual Democratic control is unlikely—but it will take a long time before the GOP and conservative movement gets its act together and becomes a viable nation-wide movement once again, rather than just becoming a regional Southern party, unless a split actually occurs and the Libertarian Party will be the main opposition to the Democrats, as the Republicans become politically irrelevant social conservatives.

Specter Switches Party!

GOP Senator Arlen Specter is going to switch his affiliation and officially become a Democrat! This is a big deal for many reasons.
  1. Once Franken is finally sworn in, this will give Dems a 60-seat majority.
  2. This will put more pressure on the final two liberal Republicans to follow suit and join the Democrats (Snowe and Collins)
  3. This keeps Arlen Specter, a long-time Senator who, for the most part, deserves to keep his job from facing a difficult primary challenger in 2010
The Democrats just look like their tent is getting bigger and bigger, continuing to push the GOP into the fringes of conservatism and making them ostensibly a regional party.

Here is the CBS article and the DailyKos post

Fail, Fail, WIN!!!


With all the stress of the last week of classes (and rapidly approaching finals) here at ND, I don't have a whole lot of time to blog, but as I'm sitting here in LaFortune sucking down some caffeine real quick in between classes, here are a few interesting headlines that grabbed my attention this morning...

FAIL - The New York Times has a new conservative Op-Ed columnist. If you thought the boundaries of stupidity had been reached, think again! (Spoiler alert: Dick Cheney for President. No, not kidding. ROFL!!!) As far as I'm concerned, if Republicans want clowns like this framing their party's message, keep 'em coming! ...I'll just snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn and gleefully watch their ship sink.

FAIL - Secondly, a great NYT piece on how a shoddily produced ABC interview in '07 on torture shifted the debate.

WIN - Lastly, from DailyKos, a sampling of some really cute letters to President Obama from young kids.

Happy Tuesday, kiddos.

Update: Here's an interesting piece from Campus Progress about Ross Douthat that I had in mind while I was posting this earlier today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hildawg cracks some more heads

I couldn't help but be inspired by Kate's post below and just had to share this little gem of the Secretary of State walloping Indiana's own Mike Pence on foreign policy:



Summary:
Pence: Omgz y prezdent shakin satanz hand??!!
Hildawg: The U.S. has had tons of diplomatic success in the past by engaging in talks with hostile figures.
Pence: But we're gonna get cootiez!!!!
Hildawg: Ignoring problems won't make them go away
Pence: LalalalalalalalaIcanthearyoulalalalalala!
Hildawg: You guys lost for a reason...

(thanks to http://www.blueindiana.net/)

A brilliant and heartfelt response from Hillary...

At a hearing last week, Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) asked Hillary Clinton if the Obama administration was planning to attempt to weaken the pro-life laws of Latin American and African countries and if the terms "reproductive health", "reproductive services", and "reproductive rights" included abortion.

Her response:



All I can say is, it feels pretty damn good to have a feminist secretary of state. Finally, an administration that actually makes it a priority to protect women's rights in the U.S. AND abroad. Thank you to Hillary and a big thank you to the Obama administration.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Evening Tunes...

I Freak'n Electric Six.

Here's a little entertainment to serve as a nice Sunday evening study break. I love this band's humor, they're really off the wall. Check them out here.

This is an E6 tribute to a classic Queen song.



Happy studying Domers! One more week, then finals!!!