Shouting 'Cross the Potomac

barstool philosopher,
backseat driver
but never a Monday morning quarterback

adrag1 at [until the QP server gets fixed]
willv at


Virginia Pundit Watch Will Vehrs' Weekly Column at Bacon's Rebellion

DC Metro Blog Map

UVA Center for Politics and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Predictions 2002


Spinsanity - Countering rhetoric with reason


On the Third Hand
A blog by a proud member of the Bellicose Women's Brigade


Newsrack Blog

Mark A. Kilmer's Political Annotation

A Nickles Worth of Free Advice

Where HipHop and Libertarianism meet

Note To Self
"Crash"'s way kewl blog

The Rallying Point

Mind Over What Matters

MaxSpeak Weblog


Off the Kuff

What She Really Thinks

Unqualified Offerings

Talking Points Memo


Matt Welch


the talking dog

Cornfield Commentary

Cooped Up

The Rittenhouse Review

The Lefty Directory

Sneaking Suspicions

Derek Crane

Common Sense and Wonder

Jim Miller on Politics

Croooow Blog: Rantings and ravings on the news of the day.

Ipse Dixit

The Road to Surfdom

Jason Rylander


Smythe's World

Weblog Central



War Liberal

Andrew Sullivan

The Volokh Conspiracy

Counterspin Central
perfunctory links(We think it's "the Mother of links pages for news and pundit junkies" - eds)

Independent Gay Forum
Independent Gay Forum

Town Hall: Conservative News and Information - The Conservative Movement Starts Here

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Friday, February 28, 2003

Tailoring Your Brief to A Justice

Tony Adragna
I thought this was interesting
The underpinnings of Bowers have been substantially eroded in yet another crucial way. Bowers rested in large part on the notion that "[n]o connection between family, marriage, or procreation on the one hand and homosexual activity on the other has been demonstrated." 478 U.S. at 191. Since 1986, however, the country has developed a more accurate understanding of gay and lesbian couples and families - neighbors, friends, relatives, and coworkers who live their lives more openly.[bold emphasis added] Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund Brief in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas pdf
In light of this
Chief Justice William Rehnquist has long been a harsh critic of gay rights measures. In "Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court," authors Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price document Rehnquist's votes to uphold Georgia's anti-sodomy law, to affirm the Boy Scouts' right to exclude gay members and—in a notorious 1978 opinion involving the University of Missouri and a student group—his comparison of homosexuality to the measles.

So we were intrigued by a story in the upcoming issue of the Advocate concerning Rehnquist's friendship with actor Richard Maloy and artist Tucker Bobst, his former neighbors in Arlington. Chris Bull writes: "Bobst and Maloy, who recently celebrated their 55th anniversary as a couple, quickly befriended Rehnquist and his wife, Nan [in 1986]. The couples . . . exchanged batches of holiday cookies and looked out for one another. One day while Rehnquist was in court, Maloy noticed that the chief justice had left his car unlocked and the lights on. . . . Maloy described the note he left on Rehnquist's car: 'There've been car thefts in the area. Hope to hell you have the keys 'cause I've locked it and turned off the lights. Best mend your ways! Signed, Your neighbors, Sherlock and Watson.'[emphasis added]
Maybe there's hope for The Chief after all! After his concurrence with Scalia's dissent in Romer I thought it was over for The Chief on opportunites to make up for Bowers. I don't know that the brief was written for The Chief's eyes in particular, but I can't help hoping that the passage will catch his eye...

I've read "Courting Justice: Gay Men and Lesbians v. the Supreme Court", and it's not just a good primer on the case law — there's also lots of insight into how some of the justices have gotten a bit of education through their exposure to gay clerks, gay lawyers appearing before the Court, and just the fact of living in a society where your neighbors don't hafta be in the closet anymore.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Things Could Be Worse for PM Blair — A Whole Lot Worse

Tony Adragna
The Independent reports a "Revolt of the backbenchers", but the reportage is misleading and inane.

Several problems with thie so-called "revolt"

First, the amendment which won the votes of 121 Labour MPs read "leave out from `destruction' to end and add `but finds the case for military action against Iraq as yet unproven.'." But, that's a long way from voting in opposition to war per se — the MPs had an opportunity to do exactly that on the amendment which read "leave out from `House' to end and add `declines to support war against Iraq.'."

In other words, it seems that some of those Labour MPs — probably every one except the 59 who voted against the PM's motion as passed — are still open to convincing.

Now, the 121 figure is more opposition than in previous divisions, but let's give it some perspective. Labour holds 410 seats in the Commons, so at worst Tonly Blair lacks the confidence of roughly 30% of his party. But, for the reason I gave above, I don't think it's the worst case. Rather, I think it more likely that push come to shove it'll be the 59+/- who hold out in opposition — that's closer to 14%.

Compare that to the revolt faced by Messrs. Gephardt & Daschle over their support of Mr. Bush's Iraq resolution: 60% of House Democrats and 43% of Senate Democrats [including Jeffords in that caucus] voted against the party's leadership.

Looks to me like as Head of Government Tony Blair got broader support in the House of Commons than did Mr. Bush from the U.S. Congress. As Party Leader Blair also got more support from his own party than did Gephardt & Daschle. How is it that the PM is in trouble?

I don't think he is in trouble...

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Martin Sheen's Alter-Ego

Tony Adragna
It's Wednesday, and that means The West Wing viewage to me.

Yeah, I'm one of those Democrats caught up in The West Wing fantasy. But, for me it's not about holding up the fictional Jed Bartlet as an example that the real President Bush ought follow. Rather, it's about how real Democrats could learn something from their television counterparts.

A curious example is the difference between the carachter Jed Bartlet and the actor who plays that role — Martin Sheen..

For instance, Jed Bartlet is the fictional Democratic president who — in response to state sponsored terrorism, including inter alia the shooting down of an airplane on which was an U.S. Army colonel who had been the president's personal physician — ordered the CIA to assassinate the Defense Minister of "Qumar"[you can guess where "Qumar" is].

Sure, Jed agonized over the decision, asked all of the questions about "international law", etc., but in the end he authorized an act that some call murder.

Nevermind the fact that Jed's administration sold weapons to the thugs of "Qumar" in order to maintain our presence at "Kalifa Air Base" — you know, like the U.S. at one time supported Saddam for strategic reasons.

Jed's not done taking it to thugs. The current story line has Jed trying out coercive diplomacy vis a vis an "U.S.military incursion in a tumultuous African country" — the 101st Airborne has taken "Kundu"'s main airport, and more troops are arriving. In the last episode Jed delivered an ultimatum to "Kundu"'s Ambassador to the U.S: Tell your president to stop his program of genocide, or we'll take your capital city and "run up our flag."

Now there's "imperialism"...

Martin Sheen, on the other hand, has joined an organization that wouldn't even support a military intervention to stop actual cases of genocide. I'll not begrudge pacifists — especially those "Friends" — their belief that war is never an option. But, I will note that the only solution we had to the problem of Hitler was military force — had we not applied that force then we certainly wouldn't have a genocide problem: A program to rid the world of Jews would be moot.

That's an extreme example, but it points up the extreme illogic of no war no matter the cost of inaction.

Why can't Martin be more like Jed?...

Well, I'm off to watch tonight's episode and see what happens in "Kundu". Jed gave 'em a time limit, but if the thug keeps up the killing at its current pace, then it looks like he might finish the job before time runs out — unless Jed decides to act before time runs out...

Monday, February 24, 2003

This exemplifies de Villepin's reasoning

Tony Adragna
I didn't know the man is an author
Was Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo a glorious moment in France's history? In a best-selling account of Napoleon's final days published two years ago, France's multi-talented foreign minister, Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin, argues that, yes, even today, Napoleon's defeat "shines with an aura worthy of victory."
Run that by me again — this little Corsican upstart gets his bum busted by Wellington at Waterloo, and de Villepin points out the moment as a shining example of French resistance. Resistance against what?

Certainly not resistence against tyrants, which Napoleon certainly was.

This French nostalgia for defeated tyrants who resist the international community allied against them explains a lot...

n.b. I know — lots of our Frech friends disagree with de Villepin & Chirac...

Speaking of Grenada...

Tony Adragna
Remember that success I mention the other day? It's coming on 20 years, so why not commemorate the event — from this morning's In the Loop
Operation Urgent Flurry

Speaking of invasions . . . the nasty winter weather of late probably has people kicking themselves for not having signed up for Saturday's Caribbean cruise to commemorate the 20th anniversary of "Operation Urgent Fury." That, as everyone knows, was the name for the invasion of Grenada to restore order, kick out the commie Cubans and protect several hundred American medical students.

Former Reagan National Security Council aide Oliver L. North, now a talk show host, leads the fun-filled weeklong "unique commemorative event," sponsored by North's nonprofit Freedom Alliance. It leaves from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and includes stops in Aruba, Venezuela, Dominica and St. Thomas.

It looks to be nonstop partying with such celebrity passengers as former attorney general Edwin Meese III, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). Top cabins, running $5,759 for a single, not including airfare to San Juan, were reportedly gobbled up.

North, a former Marine who modestly claims but a "small role" in the invasion, is leading a private tour of Grenada.
Wait! — we're not done yet
Meanwhile, just to show that the Grenadans appreciated our help, they reestablished relations with Cuba in the 1990s: Fidel Castro visited in 1998 and the countries exchanged ambassadors last year for the first time in 20 years.

During the invasion, Cubans were helping to build the airport. A few years back, Cuban engineers were back in Grenada helping to design a national stadium.
During Castro's 1998 visit he "unveiled a plaque honoring an armed Cuban construction brigade that did much of the work on the international airport..." Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell declared Castro's visit "an extremely important day in the history of our country'', and went on to say
"The Cuban government and people have been helpful to us, and we're proud of it,'' Mitchell said Sunday, noting that Havana is supplying dozens of scholarships to Grenadian students, as well as helping build two new sports stadiums here. "I hope our friends in international circles who helped us in 1983 will understand. The United States needs a more deep concern for the people of the Caribbean."
But refused to directly answer the when "asked if Cuban influence on Grenada had always been beneficial..." The story does have a nice ending, though...

Who is the enemy? According to diplomatic cables from our overseas embassies, lottsa people think it's us
The messages from U.S. embassies around the globe have become urgent and disturbing: Many people in the world increasingly think President Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

U.S. embassies are the eyes and ears of the U.S. government overseas, and their reports from the field are closely read at the State Department. The antiwar protests by millions of people Feb. 15 in the cities of major U.S. allies underscored a theme that the classified cables by U.S. embassies had been reporting for weeks.

"It is rather astonishing," said a senior U.S. official who has access to the reports. "There is an absence of any recognition that Hussein is the problem." One ambassador, who represents the United States in an allied nation, bluntly cabled that in that country, Bush has become the enemy.
The isn't news to the blogosphere...

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Kucinich & the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998

Tony Adragna
I think, Will, that Rep. Kucinich's response, while weak, is consistent with his vote for the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. The Act called for regime change, but it was a weak resolution. Section 8 spoke to the use of U.S. Armed Forces thusly
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.
So, when Kucinich responded to last October's resolution by noting...
This "Sense of Congress" resolution was not binding. Furthermore, while Congress supported democratic means of removing Saddam Hussein it clearly did not endorse the use of force contemplated in this resolution, nor did it endorse assassination as a policy.
...he wasn't taking a position contrary to that which he had previously taken.

Kucinich is wrongheaded in his opposition, but he's at least consistently wrongheaded...

Punditwatch Goes Hollywood

Will Vehrs
Today's Punditwatch covers the Hollywood invasion of the Sunday talk shows. Think hard before you answer this pundit question--what was your college major? You may not need to remember it to be a presidential candidate, but 100% of pundits who responded to a recent survey had some recall.

Once again, the #$%&!@# ABC affiliate in Richmond pre-empted This Week. This time, it was for an NBA shoot-around. I swear, George Stephanopolous gets no respect.

"Can they hurry up with Iraq already..."

Tony Adragna
This isn't news to a lot of us — from today's LA Times
Some Iranians, particularly the young, say they would actually welcome a U.S. presence in Iraq because it would increase pressure on both their country's conservative Islamic regime and the fractured reformers who oppose it. The regime's efforts to portray the U.S. as the "Great Satan" have failed to sway young people, who are a clear majority of Iranians. About 70% of the country's 70 million people are younger than 30.

Young people in particular associate the U.S. with the opportunities and freedoms that Iran, with its sluggish economy and stern moral code, lacks. They believe that better relations with the U.S. would revitalize Iranian life and help the country shed its pariah status.

According to a poll conducted in September, 75% of Iranians support dialogue with the U.S., and some believe that a long-term U.S. military presence next door could accelerate the process of change in Iran.

Others, who despair of the clerical regime's capacity for reform, even hope that after Iraq, the U.S. will take on Iran.

The fantasy that the U.S. could swoop in and remove Iran's hard-line regime, as it did the Taliban in Afghanistan and threatens to do to Hussein, bespeaks the depth of frustration at the pace of internal reforms.

When newspaper headlines suggest that Washington's resolve may be wavering, anxiety sets in.

"Are they changing their mind?" Goli Afshar, a 23-year-old student, asked as she alternately tightened and loosened her grip on a mug at a cafe on Gandhi Street. "Can they hurry up with Iraq already, so they can get on with attacking us?"