Thursday, June 30, 2005


Pat Oliphant cartoon about Bush and Iraq.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Medved and the clown show:

This morning, the right-wing radio talk show hosts were parroting Bush's claim that the war in Iraq is a legitimate response to 9/11. O'Reilly said he has proof of connections between al Qaeda and Saddam. Prager talked endlessly about Saddam giving $25K to terrorists. But the winner for absurdity is Michael Medved. In the first half hour of his show he dismissed Pelosi's charge that Bush was wrong to invoke 9/11. Medved said there was a connection. His proof?
On the day that Saddam's statue was pulled down:
  • The U.S. flag that was draped over the statue's head was at the the Pentagon on 9/11.
  • The Marines (who draped the flag) understood there was a connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq.
  • The American people understood there was a connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq.
Boy, do we wish we had recorded Medved (perhaps Media Matters will have it). How about that? A flag that was at the Pentagon on 9/11 is sent to Baghdad and used as a prop to celebrate military success in the Iraq War. By Medved's logic, that shows a connection between al Qaeda terrorists and Iraq. It sounds incredible, but that's what Medved said.

UPDATE: The "9/11-Saddam" charge is not limited to talk radio. Via Yglesias (& Ezra Klein) we learn that a congressman claims to have secret evidence that there was a connection:
A Republican congressman from North Carolina told CNN on Wednesday that the "evidence is clear" that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

"Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11," Rep. Robin Hayes said.
This nonsense cannot last much longer.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mentioned by Bush in his speech on Iraq. Has a link to which is all about the military (w/ emphasis on terrorism). Forbidden client access to some pages (About, Site Map). They sell stuff (e.g. coffee mugs) and a lapel pin.

Note the dog tag.

This program, America Supports You, was started on November 19, 2004. Never heard about it until tonight.


TERROR: (Bush's speech on Iraq)


Thank you. Please be seated. Good evening. I'm pleased to visit Fort Bragg, "Home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces." It's an honor to speak before you tonight. My greatest responsibility as President is to protect the American people. And that's your calling, as well. I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your families, who support you in your vital work. The soldiers and families of Fort Bragg have contributed mightily to our efforts to secure our country and promote peace. America is grateful, and so is your Commander-in-Chief.


The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September the 11th, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us -- and the terrorists we face -- murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance, and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression -- by toppling governments, by driving us out of the region, and by exporting terror. To achieve these aims, they have continued to kill -- in Madrid, Istanbul, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Bali, and elsewhere. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows they can force us to retreat. They are mistaken. After September the 11th, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy. Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington, and Pennsylvania. There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home. The commander in charge of coalition operations in Iraq -- who is also senior commander at this base -- General John Vines, put it well the other day. He said: "We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us." Our mission in Iraq is clear. We're hunting down the terrorists. We're helping Iraqis build a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror. We're advancing freedom in the broader Middle East. We are removing a source of violence and instability, and laying the foundation of peace for our children and our grandchildren. The work in Iraq is difficult and it is dangerous. Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying, and the suffering is real. Amid all this violence, I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it, and it is vital to the future security of our country. And tonight I will explain the reasons why. Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. Our military reports that we have killed or captured hundreds of foreign fighters in Iraq who have come from Saudi Arabia and Syria, Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and others. They are making common cause with criminal elements, Iraqi insurgents, and remnants of Saddam Hussein's regime who want to restore the old order. They fight because they know that the survival of their hateful ideology is at stake. They know that as freedom takes root in Iraq, it will inspire millions across the Middle East to claim their liberty, as well. And when the Middle East grows in democracy and prosperity and hope, the terrorists will lose their sponsors, lose their recruits, and lose their hopes for turning that region into a base for attacks on America and our allies around the world. Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." He says it will end in "victory and glory, or misery and humiliation." The terrorists know that the outcome will leave them emboldened, or defeated. So they are waging a campaign of murder and destruction. And there is no limit to the innocent lives they are willing to take. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who exploded car bombs along a busy shopping street in Baghdad, including one outside a mosque. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who sent a suicide bomber to a teaching hospital in Mosul. We see the nature of the enemy in terrorists who behead civilian hostages and broadcast their atrocities for the world to see. These are savage acts of violence, but they have not brought the terrorists any closer to achieving their strategic objectives. The terrorists -- both foreign and Iraqi -- failed to stop the transfer of sovereignty. They failed to break our Coalition and force a mass withdrawal by our allies. They failed to incite an Iraqi civil war. They failed to prevent free elections. They failed to stop the formation of a democratic Iraqi government that represents all of Iraq's diverse population. And they failed to stop Iraqis from signing up in large number with the police forces and the army to defend their new democracy. The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September the 11th, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi, and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like Bin Laden. For the sake of our nation's security, this will not happen on my watch.


A little over a year ago, I spoke to the nation and described our coalition's goals in Iraq. I said that America's mission in Iraq is to defeat an enemy and give strength to a friend -- a free, representative government that is an ally in the war on terror, and a beacon of hope in a part of the world that is desperate for reform. I outlined the steps we would take to achieve this goal: We would hand authority over to a sovereign Iraqi government. We would help Iraqis hold free elections by January 2005. We would continue helping Iraqis rebuild their nation's infrastructure and economy. We would encourage more international support for Iraq's democratic transition, and we would enable Iraqis to take increasing responsibility for their own security and stability. In the past year, we have made significant progress. One year ago today, we restored sovereignty to the Iraqi people. In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair, and took time on -- and took place on time. We continued our efforts to help them rebuild their country. Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard, and rebuilding while at war is even harder. Our progress has been uneven, but progress is being made. We're improving roads and schools and health clinics. We're working to improve basic services like sanitation, electricity, and water. And together with our allies, we'll help the new Iraqi government deliver a better life for its citizens.


In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing non-military assistance. The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections. Thus far, some 40 countries and three international organizations have pledged about $34 billion in assistance for Iraqi reconstruction. More than 80 countries and international organizations recently came together in Brussels to coordinate their efforts to help Iraqis provide for their security and rebuild their country. And next month, donor countries will meet in Jordan to support Iraqi reconstruction. Whatever our differences in the past, the world understands that success in Iraq is critical to the security of our nations. As German Chancellor Gerhard Schr der said at the White House yesterday, "There can be no question a stable and democratic Iraq is in the vested interest of not just Germany, but also Europe."


Finally, we have continued our efforts to equip and train Iraqi security forces. We made gains in both the number and quality of those forces. Today Iraq has more than 160,000 security forces trained and equipped for a variety of missions. Iraqi forces have fought bravely, helping to capture terrorists and insurgents in Najaf and Samarra, Fallujah and Mosul. And in the past month, Iraqi forces have led a major anti-terrorist campaign in Baghdad called Operation Lightning, which has led to the capture of hundreds of suspected insurgents. Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended by their own countrymen, and we are helping Iraqis assume those duties. The progress in the past year has been significant, and we have a clear path forward. To complete the mission, we will continue to hunt down the terrorists and insurgents. To complete the mission, we will prevent al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends. And the best way to complete the mission is to help Iraqis build a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. So our strategy going forward has both a military track and a political track. The principal task of our military is to find and defeat the terrorists, and that is why we are on the offense. And as we pursue the terrorists, our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. We've made progress, but we have a lot of -- a lot more work to do. Today Iraqi security forces are at different levels of readiness. Some are capable of taking on the terrorists and insurgents by themselves. A large number can plan and execute anti-terrorist operations with coalition support. The rest are forming and not yet ready to participate fully in security operations. Our task is to make the Iraqi units fully capable and independent. We're building up Iraqi security forces as quickly as possible, so they can assume the lead in defeating the terrorists and insurgents.


Our coalition is devoting considerable resources and manpower to this critical task. Thousands of coalition troops are involved in the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces. NATO is establishing a military academy near Baghdad to train the next generation of Iraqi military leaders, and 17 nations are contributing troops to the NATO training mission. Iraqi army and police are being trained by personnel from Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Romania, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Today, dozens of nations are working toward a common objective: an Iraq that can defend itself, defeat its enemies, and secure its freedom.


To further prepare Iraqi forces to fight the enemy on their own, we are taking three new steps: First, we are partnering coalition units with Iraqi units. These coalition-Iraqi teams are conducting operations together in the field. These combined operations are giving Iraqis a chance to experience how the most professional armed forces in the world operate in combat. Second, we are embedding coalition "transition teams" inside Iraqi units. These teams are made up of coalition officers and non-commissioned officers who live, work, and fight together with their Iraqi comrades. Under U.S. command, they are providing battlefield advice and assistance to Iraqi forces during combat operations. Between battles, they are assisting the Iraqis with important skills, such as urban combat, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance techniques. Third, we're working with the Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense to improve their capabilities to coordinate anti-terrorist operations. We're helping them develop command and control structures. We're also providing them with civilian and military leadership training, so Iraq's new leaders can effectively manage their forces in the fight against terror. The new Iraqi security forces are proving their courage every day. More than 2,000 members of Iraqi security forces have given their lives in the line of duty. Thousands more have stepped forward, and are now training to serve their nation.


With each engagement, Iraqi soldiers grow more battle-hardened, and their officers grow more experienced. We've learned that Iraqis are courageous and that they need additional skills. And that is why a major part of our mission is to train them so they can do the fighting, and then our troops can come home. I recognize that Americans want our troops to come home as quickly as possible. So do I. Some contend that we should set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces. Let me explain why that would be a serious mistake. Setting an artificial timetable would send the wrong message to the Iraqis, who need to know that America will not leave before the job is done. It would send the wrong message to our troops, who need to know that we are serious about completing the mission they are risking their lives to achieve. And it would send the wrong message to the enemy, who would know that all they have to do is to wait us out. We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer. Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don't you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tell me they have the number of troops they need to do their job. Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight. And sending more Americans would suggest that we intend to stay forever, when we are, in fact, working for the day when Iraq can defend itself and we can leave. As we determine the right force level, our troops can know that I will continue to be guided by the advice that matters: the sober judgment of our military leaders. The other critical element of our strategy is to help ensure that the hopes Iraqis expressed at the polls in January are translated into a secure democracy. The Iraqi people are emerging from decades of tyranny and oppression. Under the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Shia and Kurds were brutally oppressed, and the vast majority of Sunni Arabs were also denied their basic rights, while senior regime officials enjoyed the privileges of unchecked power. The challenge facing Iraqis today is to put this past behind them, and come together to build a new Iraq that includes all of its people. They're doing that by building the institutions of a free society, a society based on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and equal justice under law. The Iraqis have held free elections and established a Transitional National Assembly. The next step is to write a good constitution that enshrines these freedoms in permanent law. The Assembly plans to expand its constitutional drafting committee to include more Sunni Arabs. Many Sunnis who opposed the January elections are now taking part in the democratic process, and that is essential to Iraq's future. After a constitution is written, the Iraqi people will have a chance to vote on it. If approved, Iraqis will go to the polls again, to elect a new government under their new, permanent constitution. By taking these critical steps and meeting their deadlines, Iraqis will bind their multiethnic society together in a democracy that respects the will of the majority and protects minority rights. As Iraqis grow confident that the democratic progress they are making is real and permanent, more will join the political process. And as Iraqis see that their military can protect them, more will step forward with vital intelligence to help defeat the enemies of a free Iraq. The combination of political and military reform will lay a solid foundation for a free and stable Iraq.


As Iraqis make progress toward a free society, the effects are being felt beyond Iraq's borders. Before our coalition liberated Iraq, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Today the leader of Libya has given up his chemical and nuclear weapons programs. Across the broader Middle East, people are claiming their freedom. In the last few months, we've witnessed elections in the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon. These elections are inspiring democratic reformers in places like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Our strategy to defend ourselves and spread freedom is working. The rise of freedom in this vital region will eliminate the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder, and make our nation safer.


We have more work to do, and there will be tough moments that test America's resolve. We're fighting against men with blind hatred -- and armed with lethal weapons -- who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform; they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq, just as they tried to shake our will on September the 11th, 2001. They will fail. The terrorists do not understand America. The American people do not falter under threat, and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins. America and our friends are in a conflict that demands much of us. It demands the courage of our fighting men and women, it demands the steadfastness of our allies, and it demands the perseverance of our citizens. We accept these burdens, because we know what is at stake. We fight today because Iraq now carries the hope of freedom in a vital region of the world, and the rise of democracy will be the ultimate triumph over radicalism and terror. And we fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand. So we'll fight them there, we'll fight them across the world, and we will stay in the fight until the fight is won. America has done difficult work before. From our desperate fight for independence to the darkest days of a Civil War, to the hard-fought battles against tyranny in the 20th century, there were many chances to lose our heart, our nerve, or our way. But Americans have always held firm, because we have always believed in certain truths. We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity, and returns to strike us again.


We know that when the work is hard, the proper response is not retreat, it is courage. And we know that this great ideal of human freedom entrusted to us in a special way, and that the ideal of liberty is worth defending. In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you. Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom -- by flying the flag, sending a letter to our troops in the field, or helping the military family down the street. The Department of Defense has set up a website -- You can go there to learn about private efforts in your own community. At this time when we celebrate our freedom, let us stand with the men and women who defend us all. To the soldiers in this hall, and our servicemen and women across the globe: I thank you for your courage under fire and your service to our nation. I thank our military families -- the burden of war falls especially hard on you. In this war, we have lost good men and women who left our shores to defend freedom and did not live to make the journey home. I've met with families grieving the loss of loved ones who were taken from us too soon. I've been inspired by their strength in the face of such great loss. We pray for the families. And the best way to honor the lives that have been given in this struggle is to complete the mission. I thank those of you who have re-enlisted in an hour when your country needs you. And to those watching tonight who are considering a military career, there is no higher calling than service in our Armed Forces. We live in freedom because every generation has produced patriots willing to serve a cause greater than themselves. Those who serve today are taking their rightful place among the greatest generations that have worn our nation's uniform. When the history of this period is written, the liberation of Afghanistan and the liberation of Iraq will be remembered as great turning points in the story of freedom..


After September 11, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult and that we would prevail. Well, it has been difficult and we are prevailing. Our enemies are brutal, but they are no match for the United States of America, and they are no match for the men and women of the United States military.


May God bless you all.



NOTE: Speech initially at the Washington Post website is not the one given. Actual speech is at (Our initial post used the WPost speech. Post now corrected.)


Unhappy camper:




This is currently the headline for the top story of Yahoo's Top Stories. It's harsh.

UPDATE: Portions of the speech have been released and Bush really did say "worth it". Excerpts of Bush's speech:
  • "Like most Americans, I see the images of violence and bloodshed. Every picture is horrifying and the suffering is real."
  • "It is worth it."
  • "The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom."
  • "They will fail."
  • "The work in Iraq is difficult and dangerous."
  • "We have more work to do and there will be tough moments that test America's resolve."
  • "The American people do not falter under threat, and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins."
Looks like it's going to be a contentless speech. Amazing.


Back soon:

But in the meantime some thoughts:
  • Uproar over Rove's speech seems a little overdone. Sure, it's good to see Democrats fight back, but the content of Rove's remarks were somewhat unclear, and we got another instance of Afghanistan/Iraq confusion - which works to the Republican's advantage.

  • Re Digby and others on what to do about Iraq: It is our view that on certain political issues, like war, you should fight for your position up until the point where the war starts. After that, the public slides into deeply rooted emotional territory, to the extent that you will be unable to change their minds. The policy itself, in this case war, will have to fail on its own in order to secure a reversal of public opinion. If the war succeedes, the politician (Bush) wins. If the war fails, he doesn't. Debating Bush on the war just won't work as long as the war is being fought. It's a loser politically.

    Others in the liberal blog land think all policies can be debated at all times, including war. We disagree.

  • Supreme Court on the Ten Commandments - It looks as if the courts have to determine the motive of commandment-placers in order to decide if such action is allowed. That means knowing the thoughts of those people (to determine "context"), an impossible task. The Commandments by themselves promote religion or not. We think they are promoting a religion, and that government should not be erecting such displays.

  • Bush's speech tonight. Set your VCR to 'schadenfreude'.


Friday, June 17, 2005

"Popularity Isn't Everything"

Or so Fred Barnes says in a WeeklyStandard/WSJ column. He wants Bush to keep doing whats he's been doing: Social Security, Guantanamo, Iraq. Barnes salutes Bush's "far-reaching" agenda, and ends with this:
"[Ending] his presidency with record low popularity may turn out to be a sign of substantive achievement and lasting reform."



In an editorial cartoon (highlighted below), Tony Auth pokes fun at Senator-Doctor Bill Frist. Fair enough. But what's with the MSM reference? Okay, it's Mainstream Medicine and not Mainstream Media, but still ...     Is this supposed to be a poke at the right-wing who use that acronym? It certainly seemed out of place.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mostly silence from the big right-wing bloggers:

In the wake of the Schiavo autopsy report showing that she was essentially brain dead, we decided to check the right-wing bloggers to see what they had to say:But look here! Michelle Malkin - plays doctor:
You do not need a medical examiner's license to see that the report raises many more questions than it answers, though from the (once again) misleading media coverage, we are led to believe that the matters of Terri's life and murder are resolved. They are not.
Malkin spends most of here time writing in a manner to sully Michael Schiavo:
"The autopsy report spends three-and-a-half pages debunking Schiavo's claim [of bulimia]"


"However, the report notes this caveat: "Without the orginal bone scan and radiographs from that period, no other conclusions can [be] reasonably made."
Malkin is saying that maybe he did beat her up.



We think the Downing Street Memo that states that Saddam's WMD capability was less than Libya's to be pretty important. From the memo:
"It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran."
Less than Lybia strikes us as pretty weak. And if any place is easy to knock over, it would be Lybia, so why not go there first? Are we missing something here? Is/was Libya considered by the U.S. public to be a danger? And by extension, Iraq "less than Libya" means it could still pose a significant threat.

For all the talk about the memo's content about Bush having made up his mind, it strikes us that the "Less than Libya" component is equally, or more, worthy of coverage. But it doesn't seem to be getting much (in the media or even with liberal bloggers).

Reader comments as to how significant the Libya remark is are welcome.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005


In a disgusting NYT op-ed, The Old and the Rested, John Tierney writes: (excerpts)
Is it possible that people [in their late 60's and 70's are still physically capable of putting in a full day's work at the office?

[Social Security] promotes greed and sloth.

If the elderly were willing to work longer, there would be lower taxes on everyone and fewer struggling young families. There would be more national wealth and tax revenue available to help ... the many elderly below the poverty line because they get so little Social Security.
  • Citing three exceptional instances of old folks performing in track & field does not a case make.
  • Retirement is not sloth.
  • Tierney's trap: He claims to be concerned about "the many elderly below the poverty line because they get so little Social Security", but advocates a situation where the "elderly [are] willing to work longer." Those elderly include those "below the poverty line," so why pretend to care about them - as Tierney does?
Here you have it. Tierney claims Social Security is outright bad: promotes greed and sloth. Brooks calls it welfare. These guys aren't even hiding behind clever programs to weaken the system. They want to persuade you that Social Security is bad and therefore should be eiminated.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Iraq decision timeline:

Subject to updates. Larger diagram (1000 pixels wide) here. Yes, the 7 point font is small, but it's the only way to keep the image reasonably sized.

UPDATE: $700 million - it isn't the amount or the purpose (it's entirely reasonable to prepare for the possibility of war), but that the expenditure was taken without authorization from Congress.


Friday, June 10, 2005

Krugman vs Okrent:

From Okrent's final essay:
Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.
From Krugman's essay in today's New York Times:
It's not a pretty picture - which is why right-wing partisans try so hard to discredit anyone who tries to explain to the public what's going on.

These partisans rely in part on obfuscation: shaping, slicing and selectively presenting data in an attempt to mislead. For example, it's a plain fact that the Bush tax cuts heavily favor the rich, especially those who derive most of their income from inherited wealth.


Truth books:


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Not much:

Light blogging through to the end of the month.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Good quote:

In a Nat Hentoff essay defending an independent judiciary that appears in the Washington Times (yes, we know) there was this sentence:
As a schoolboy, I was much taken with what William Pitt said of the right to privacy so long ago in the British House of Commons: "The poorest man may, in his cottage, bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail; its roof may shake; the wind may blow through; the storm may enter; but the King of England may not enter; all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement."


Anybody know who it was?

In a story about John Bolton's efforts to remove a UN chemical weapons inspector Jose Bustani, we read:
Both [veteran U.S. arms negotiator Ralph] Earle and career diplomat Avis Bohlen, who retired in June 2002 as a top Bolton deputy, said the idea to remove Bustani did not originate with the undersecretary. But Bolton "leaped on it enthusiastically," Bohlen recalled. "He was very much in charge of the whole campaign," she said, and Bustani's initiative on Iraq seemed the "coup de grace."
Assuming the above is true, have there been any disclosures as to who initiated the move to get rid of Bustani? We aren't aware of any.

Anybody know? (Our guess would be somebody from Cheney's office, but that's just a guess. Maybe it came from the Pentagon, or one of its affiliated agencies.)


Ready to burst?

Everybody is talking about the housing market and if it's a bubble, and if so, when it will burst. We generally agree with Billmon on this (that it's likely, but one can never be sure). We remember 'bubble' magazine covers in early 1999, and we're inclined to think that housing will have peaked about a year from now - possibly sooner if there are continued high oil prices.

In any event, we offer this cautionary example.

Okay, this week Time magazine covers housing.

But consider this cover for the November 10, 1997 edition of U.S.News.

At that time, it was considered by many that the bull had run its course and a period of consolidation was warranted. But the bull kept on going, even past the LTCM/Russian crisis of 1998.

The trajectory above was for the relatively staid DOW. The NASDAQ, on the other hand, had even bigger surprises for everyone.

NOTE: Yes, we know we are using linear scaling and that a log chart is less dramatic.


Monday, June 06, 2005


Wondering why Karen Hughes, Bush's choice for Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy at the US Department of State hasn't said a word about the trashing of the Koran or the other Gitmo hijinks? Turns out she hasn't been confirmed yet. And according to the Lexington Herald-Leader (KY), "She begins her job as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy in the fall."

No rush, huh?


uggabugga has been challenged

We are getting flack from the right-wingers who are not telling their readers the truth. The table (below) is clearly described as dealing only with the part of Feinstein's speech that enumerated those Clinton nominees who were blocked in the Senate. It is not "misleading" as Powerline or Hoystory would have you believe; it does what it claims to do. If you want to talk about all of Clinton's nominations or the Fortas filibuster or James Madison, go somewhere else. The table was created as easy to comprehend view of the details of a part of Feinstein's long speech. It is a one-to-one mapping of a subset. That's what it claims to be. That's what it is. It does not cover all of Clinton's nominations. Nor does it cover nominations made by Eisenhower. Or anything about the French Revolution. Or neutron stars.

What we are seeing here is a classic case of attacking the straw man. But the straw man attack is what you do when you've got to come up with a negative comment, any negative comment - no matter how minor, to bash the other side. So polemicists like John Hinderaker and Matthew Hoy say, in effect, “Look at that table, it’s misleading, it doesn’t do X”. Anything to trash the opposition, apparently.

Also, Hoystory tells his readers that the numbers at the bottom of the table "aren't the sum total of Clinton's nominees". We never made that claim. Hoystory omits the identifier "THIS TABLE" when he posts the 'scorecard', but that's to allow him to ‘warn’ readers not to be fooled into believing that "Clinton only got one judge through during his eight years in office". Only an idiot would come to that conclusion. Are readers of Hoystory idiots? The world wonders.

Long time readers of this blog know that while our politics are center-left, the overwhelming proportion of our posts are presentations of information in a manner that allows the reader to better understand a situation. In fact, the maligned table is viewpoint neutral. It's a catalogue of Clinton's blocked nominees. But note that it also shows a number of renominations by Clinton, something that Bush has been criticized for recently. How is making that point clear a plus for the Democrats? Also, by isolating Feinstein's explanations for the blocked nominations, readers can see which are news reports, which are Feinstein's "understanding", and which are unknown at the present time. In addition, some of the citations for the nominees (gray boxes) are compelling, while others are less so. Did we delete those facts which were unfavorable to our case? No. We didn't drop a word, except for extremely minor changes like "nominated on" to "nominated" (for reading consistency). We are honest with our readers, something bloggers 'on the other side' don't care to bother with.

With any factual report, there are likely to be points that support both views. In our view, the overwhelming weight of evidence indicates that a substantial number of acceptable Clinton nominees were blocked by a very small minority of senators (e.g. the committee chair, Sen. Abraham, "two unknowns", Sen. Helms). That’s a case Democrats can make against Republicans who are demanding 'up or down votes' for all nominees. Clinton was not given that privilege. Should Bush get it? Fairness would dictate No.

Final word. We aren't all that upset with the deception by right-wingers, but thought it was an interesting experiment to see how they react to cold facts. They don't like 'em. Or rather, they will take anything that comes their way and see what they can do to discredit it. They've got a lot of tools in their kit bag: plurium interrogationum, argumentum ad baculum, attacking a straw man, post hoc ergo propter hoc, argumentum ad hominem (aka the 'Hugh Hewitt way'), petitio principii, argumentum ad populum (they do this a lot), fallacy of composition or division, and argumentum ad misericordiam (Schiavo), just to mention a few. Those are what propagandists use. And propagandists aren't interested in the truth, only winning the arguement. (If you've got plenty of time and can tolerate him, Sean Hannity is a master at this. Listen to him and see how many different fallacious questions or statements he makes in an hour. It's a very large number.)

Actually, it will be interesting when a major schism develops on the right. Up until now, they've been inhabiting a reasonably consistent, unrealistic world, fueled by their misrepresentations to each other. Since they won't be dealing with objective facts, it'll be who can bellow loudest to determine who wins. Either that, or pistols at dawn. When it happens (and it will eventually) it should make for great entertainment.

[NOTE: We know Hoystory is a 3rd tier blogger (or worse), but included him in this post because of the similarity of argumentation with Time's Blog Of The Year, Powerline.]


Friday, June 03, 2005

Feinstein in tabular form:

Apparently there is a debate going on between Sid Blumenthal and John Hinderaker of Powerline. Blumenthal is making the case the Republicans blocked Clinton's judicial nominations and refers to a speech made by Diane Feinstein on 10 May 2005. It's a long speech and goes into detail about some nominees, but not others. It's a little easier to see it as a table, which makes it clear how many nominations didn't get a hearing or a vote (and sometimes why).

Feinstein begins with a historical review of the Senate's handling of judicial nominations, including two by Clinton (Richard Paez and Marsha Bershon). Then she says:
I would like to go over a few nominees from the last administration who have been filibustered by Republicans, and filibustered successfully on many occasions by as little a number as one Republican; filibustered in a way that it was secret; filibustered in a way that the individual never received a hearing or a markup in Judiciary or a vote on the Senate floor. Then I would like an answer to the question, which is better, a filibuster by 40 Members on the floor openly declared, publicly debating, discussing an individual's past speeches, an individual's temperament, character, opinions, or a filibuster in secret when one does not know who or why?

I begin with ...

1 Clarence Sundram [unstated] September 29, 1995 July 31, 1996
June 25, 1997
no vote in committee, no floor vote   He was simply killed in committee by a filibuster of one or two, or the chairman's decision not to bring the nomination to the floor.  
  Clarence Sundram was the chairman of the New York Commission for the Mentally Disabled. He was supported by both home State Senators Moynihan and D'Amato. On seven occasions, Senator Leahy spoke on the Senate floor urging that a vote be taken on Sundram, but no vote was ever taken.
2 James A. Beaty, Jr. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit December 22, 1995 no hearing no vote in committee more than 1,000 days He was blocked by Senator Helms.  
  renominated January 7, 1997 no hearing no vote in committee      
  nominated U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina   [unstated] confirmed by the Senate in 1994      
  Before that, he spent 13 years as a judge in the North Carolina Superior Court.
On November 21, 1998, National Journal reported that Senator Helms wanted President Clinton to name to the Fourth Circuit one of the Senator's proteges, Terrence W. Boyle, whose nomination to that bench was killed when the Democrats ruled the Senate and George Bush was President, but the Clinton White House refused and Senator Helms made it clear that President Clinton would not get Beaty confirmed until he nominated Boyle.
Then Senator Helms supported Beaty when he was nominated for his current position as a U.S. district court judge. But this shows how things worked, where one person could deny a nomination.
3 Helene White U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit January 7, 1997 no hearing no vote in committee 4 years, longer than any other judicial nominee in history, according to the Associated Press. Senator Abraham waited 2 years before turning in his blue slip, and after turning in the blue slip did not endorse Ms. White. That, again, is how things worked. One person -- not 41 people on the floor debating, but 1 person in secret holding up a nominee. That is just as much a filibuster, and even more effective a filibuster.  
  renominated January 26, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee      
  renominated for a third time January 3, 2001 no hearing no vote in committee      
  She had been a judge on the Michigan Court of Appeals. She served as a Wayne County circuit judge for nearly 10 years. She sat on the Common Pleas Court for the city of Detroit and served on the board of directors of the Michigan legal services. President Clinton thanked her for hanging in there through an ordeal that no one should have to endure. It is my understanding Senator Levin, one of the Michigan Senators, supported her.
4 Jorge Rangel U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit July 24, 1997 no hearing no vote in committee   He was subsequently nominated after he was no longer on the ABA panel, at which time, Texas Monthly has reported, he was blocked by his two home state Senators. So, two persons there.  
  He was a partner in Rangel & Chriss, a Corpus Christi law firm, and specialized in personal injury, libel, and general media litigation. He was presiding judge of the 347th Circuit Court in Nueces County from October of 1983 to June of 1985, and a former assistant professor of law at the University of Houston. He was originally recommended to the White House by Senator Bob Krueger, but removed his name from consideration because, according to a July 25, 1997 Dallas Morning News article, he was then a member of the American Bar Association Panel that reviews federal court nominees, which made him ineligible.
5 Barry Goode U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 1998 no hearing no vote in committee 2 1/2 years The reason for the block was an anonymous Republican who, to this day, is not known.  
  renominated January 26, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee      
  renominated a third time January 3, 2001 no hearing no vote in committee      
  He was a partner at the time at the San Francisco law firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen. He had practiced law since 1974. He was an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of San Francisco and served 2 years as special assistant to Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III. The ABA rated him as qualified. He was supported by both myself and Senator Boxer. Senator Leahy spoke at least eight times on the Senate floor, urging that Goode's nomination be considered, but a filibuster of one, hidden, in secret, nobody knowing who it was, essentially killed this nomination.
6 Legrome Davis U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
July 30, 1998 no hearing no vote nearly 2 1/2 years he was stopped for nearly 2 1/2 years by an unknown individual  
  renominated January 26, 1999 no hearing no vote      
  Bush renominated at Senator Specter's request January 23,2002 [unstated] confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate on April 18, 2002      
7 Lynnette Norton U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on April 29, 1998 no hearing no vote in committee more than 2 1/2 years Senator Santorum, I believe, did not return the blue slip. According to a November 18, 1999 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, a hold was placed on Ms. Norton’s nomination.  
  renominated January 26, 1999. no hearing no vote in committee      
  She died suddenly in March 2002 of a cerebral aneurysm. It is my understanding Senator Specter supported Norton.
8 H. Alston Johnson U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth District April 22, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee over a year and a half According to articles in the Baton Rouge Advocate on July 10, 2000, and January 8, 2001, it is my understanding an individual Senator blocked his nomination from proceeding, even though both Republicans and Democrats appeared willing to confirm him.  
  renominated January 4, 2001 no hearing no vote in committee     His nomination was withdrawn by President Bush on March 19, 2001.
  He was supported by both home State Senators, Senators Breaux and Landrieu.
9 James E. Duffy, Jr. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit June 17, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee   Again, a secret hold, one person. Two home State Senators supporting this individual and the individual does not go forward. That is as much a filibuster as anything going on on the floor at this time.  
  renominated January 3, 2001 no hearing no vote in committee      
  He is from Honolulu, had been a litigator for his entire legal career, been a partner in the Honolulu law firm of Fujiyama, Duffy, and Fujiyama since 1975. He was former president of both the Hawaii State Bar and the Hawaii Trial Lawyers Association. He would have been the first active Hawaii member of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 15 years, despite rules that at least 1 judge must sit in each of the States within the Ninth Circuit. He was unanimously rated as well qualified. He was supported by both Hawaii Senators. There has been no explanation forthcoming of who blocked his progress.
10 Elena Kagan U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia June 17, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee   It is my understanding three Senators argued that the DC Circuit did not need any more judges, an argument that had been used to delay the confirmation of Judge Merrick Garland between 1995 and 1997.  
  She is currently the dean of Harvard Law School. She was a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, and a former domestic adviser to President Bill Clinton when she was nominated. She was special counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She served as Associate Counsel to the President from 1995 to 1996, and Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that she was professor of law at the University of Chicago, tenured. She worked at the Washington, DC, law firm of Williams and Connolly, and she clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. A substantial majority of the ABA rated her qualified. A minority rated her well qualified.
  See, this was another thing that was happening during that time. Let me just say it like it was. Vacancies on the DC Circuit -- a critical and important circuit because it reviews all of the administrative appeals -- were purposely kept open, preventing President Clinton from filling that circuit, thus leaving more openings for the next President. Here three Senators kept this very qualified and very distinguished nominee from receiving a vote or a hearing on the committee. Again, a secret, hidden filibuster.

And, nevertheless, Senate Republicans supported the nomination by President Bush of Miguel Estrada tot he same circuit court in 2002.
11 James Wynn U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on August 5, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee   The Associated Press, on December 29, 2000, reported that Senator Helms blocked Judge Wynn. One person blocks a distinguished jurist, a filibuster of one, and not a word said.  
  renominated January 3, 2001 no hearing no vote in committee     President Bush withdrew Judge Wynn's nomination on March 19, 2001.
  As you can see, President Clinton made one last try before he left office. He was a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and had previously served on the North Carolina Supreme Court. When nominated, he was a Navy reservist in the JAG corps of the U.S. Navy with the rank of captain. He served as the ABA's first African-American chair of the Appellate Judges Conference whose membership includes over 600 Federal and State appellate judges. He was on the board of governors of the American Judicature Society and was a vice president of the North Carolina Bar Association. He was an executive board member of the Uniform State Laws Commission and a drafter of the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, Uniform Tort Apportionment Act, and proposed Genetic Discrimination Act. He was rated qualified by the ABA screening committee. Senator Edwards supported him
12 Kathleen McCree-Lewis U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Court September 19, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee more than a year On March 21, 2001, the Detroit Free Press reported that she was blocked by one of her home State Senators, namely Senator Abraham. Let me quote the Detroit Free Press. M cCree-Lewis never "got a hearing in the Senate, thanks to Abraham's epic obstructionism."  
  renominated January 3, 2001 no hearing no vote in committee      
  She was a distinguished appellate attorney with Dykema Gossett, one of the largest law firms in Michigan. She had been active in the Michigan bar from 1996 to 1999. She chaired the rules advisory committee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. From 1992 to 1995, she cochaired the appellate practice committee of the ABA section of litigation. From 1987 to 1998, she was editor of the Sixth Circuit section of the Appellate Practice Journal and is a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference. She was president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. She would have been the first African-American woman to serve on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was rated by the ABA as well qualified.
  Now on January 8, 2001, the Detroit Free Press reported:

“The Senate has been obscenely obstructionist in blocking President Bill Clinton's judicial nominations. Former Senator Spencer Abraham did nothing to help shepherd Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Helene White and Detroit attorney Kathleen McCree Lewis through the system.”

Again, filibuster of one, in secret, with no floor debate.
13 Enrique Moreno U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit September 16, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee   In November of 2000, Texas Monthly reported that he was blocked by both home State Senators, again without a hearing or a vote in the Judiciary Committee.  
  renominated January 3, 2001 no hearing no vote in committee      
  At the time of his nomination, Moreno had a longstanding and diverse legal practice in El Paso, working on both civil and criminal law. In the civil area, he represented both plaintiffs and defendants, representing both large business clients and also individuals, advocating their civil rights. In a survey of State judges, he was rated as one of the top trial attorneys in El Paso. A native of Chihuahua, he came to El Paso as a small child, son of a retired carpenter and a seamstress.

The ABA committee unanimously rated him as well qualified.
14 Allen Snyder U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit September 22, 1999 May 10, 2000 no vote in committee   It is my understanding his nomination was blocked by two Judiciary Committee Senators. No reason was given.  
  At the time of his nomination, he was a longtime partner and chairman of the litigation practice at the DC law firm Hogan & Hartson. At Hogan & Hartson, he represented Netscape Communications Corporation in the landmark Microsoft antitrust case.

He was a former law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The ABA unanimously rated him well qualified. He served as chair of the Committee on Admissions and Grievances of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as secretary and executive committee member of the Board of Governors of the District of Columbia Bar, and on the board of the Washington Council of Lawyers.
15 Kent Markus U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit February 9, 2000 no hearing no vote in committee   Both Senators DeWine and Voinovich returned blue slips. He was blocked by one Senator -- a filibuster of one, all hidden, all quiet.  
  He was the director of the Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law and visiting professor at Capital University Law School at the time of his nomination. He served in numerous high-level legal positions within the Department of Justice, including counselor to the Attorney General, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Office of the Attorney General, and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legislative Affairs.

He also served as first assistant attorney general and chief of staff for the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

His nomination was supported by 14 past presidents of the Ohio State Bar Association, including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; more than 80 Ohio law school deans and professors; prominent Ohio Republicans; the National District Attorneys Association; and the National Fraternal Order of Police.

The ABA unanimously rated him as qualified.
16 Bonnie Campbell U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit March 2, 2000 May 25, 2000 no vote in committee   According to a statement given by Senator Leahy to the Judiciary Committee on January 22, 2004, she was blocked by a secret Republican hold from ever getting committee or Senate consideration. Apparently, just one Senator. She had a hearing, as I said, but she never had a vote.  
  renominated January 3, 2001


no vote in committee      
  She served for 4 years as Iowa's Attorney General. She is the only woman to have held that office in her State, and she wrote what became a model statute on antistalking for States around the country.

She was selected by President Clinton in 1995 to head the Justice Department's newly created Violence Against Women Office. She emerged as a national leader for her work to bring victims' rights reforms to the country's criminal justice system.

In 1997, Time magazine named her one of the 25 most influential people in America. Praising her for bringing "rock-solid credibility" to her job, Time called Campbell the "force behind a grass-roots shift in the way Americans view the victims -- and perhaps more important, the perpetrators -- of crimes against women."

She oversaw a $1.6 billion program to provide resources to communities for training judges, prosecutors, and police. She was chosen to serve on the President's Interagency Council on Women, chaired by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. She also headed the Justice Department's Working Group on Trafficking.
17 Roger Gregory U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit June 30, 2000 no hearing no vote      
  renominated January 3, 2001


no vote; recess appointee of President Clinton at the end of the 106th Congress     On March 19, 2001, President Bush withdrew his nomination.
  He was subsequently renominated by President Bush May 9, 2001   confirmed July 20, 2001, by a 93-to-1 vote      
  According to former Senator Chuck Robb, on October 3, 2000:

“Despite the well-documented need for another judge on this court, and despite Mr. Gregory's stellar qualifications, the Judiciary Committee has stubbornly refused to even grant Mr. Gregory the courtesy of a hearing.”

I know Senator Warner supported this judge.

Again, this just goes to show that we are having a major flap because 41 people feel strongly, are willing to come to the floor, and willing to debate a nominee, and all of a sudden the world is going to come to an end, when for years and years and years one or two or three Members of the Senate could prevent a hearing or a markup in the Judiciary Committee or an individual even being brought to the floor.

Which would the public prefer? I would hope it would be a discussion on the floor of the Senate. I would hope it would be laying out the case against the individual, as has been done with every one of the ten -- only ten; in all of President Bush's terms, only ten -- when in President Clinton's term there were 60, and one or two, in secret, kept that individual from being brought to the floor of the Senate and voted on.
  Well, let me continue.
18 John Bingler U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania July 21, 1995 no hearing no vote 2 years On October 16, 1997, the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette reported that one of the two home State Senators held up his nomination After waiting more than 2 years without any action on his nomination, he withdrew on February 12, 1998.
  renominated July 31, 1997 no hearing no vote      
  Since 1971, he has practiced law with the Pittsburgh firm of Thorp, Reed & Armstrong. He served for 6 years as chair of the firm's litigation department.

From 1970 to 1971, he was the public safety director for the city of Pittsburgh. He served for 3 years as an assistant U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh where he prosecuted Federal criminal cases, and for 2 years he was an attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. He served a 3-year tour of duty in the U.S. Navy. He was rated unanimously as well qualified by the ABA.
19 Bruce Greer U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida August 1, 1995 no hearing no vote in committee     His nomination was withdrawn on May 13, 1996
  At the time of his nomination, he was the president of the Miami law firm of Greer, Homer & Bonner, where he has a civil litigation practice.

Senator Bob Graham supported him. Senator Connie Mack's position is not known. It is my understanding the Wall Street Journal published a lengthy editorial on July 17, 1996, that made no direct allegations against Greer, but made a case for guilt by association implying that, because Mr. Greer represented certain defendants, he was soft on crime.

The Columbia Journalism Review reported that the day after the editorial appeared, the chairman came to the floor to denounce judges who are soft on crime and, shortly afterward, Mr. Greer received word that he would not be receiving a hearing. So Bruce Greer was denied even a hearing to see if the allegations were true
  That is what has happened, ladies and gentlemen.
20 Leland Shurin U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri April 4, 1995 no hearing no vote in committee     His nomination was withdrawn at his request, because of inaction, on September 5, 1995.
  He was an executive committee member and partner at the law firm of McDowell, Rice & Smith, in Kansas City, where he maintained a general practice doing plaintiff and defense litigation. He was very active in the community.

He was rated as qualified by the ABA committee. He told the Kansas City Star:

I have the sense that my confirmation is being delayed. No one could give me a clear date when anything could be done. I've sat around for two years. I can't keep doing it.
  One has to come to grips with whether this was a fair process, whether this was even as fair as what is happening today. I believe no way, no how was this a fair process. I have been one who has believed that the blue ship should be done away with, that there should be no anonymous holds, and that every appointee should be given a hearing and a vote in the committee. That does not mean that we should change the rules of the Senate to prevent, in extreme cases, the ability of the minority to register a strong point of view, when the minority of one has historically been allowed to register a strong point of view secretly and, in fact, kill a nominee.
21 Sue Ellen Myerscough U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois October 11, 1995 no hearing no vote in committee   On September 27, 1996, the State Journal-Register reported that Senator Simon said he believed the reason was a matter of partisanship, not because of any controversy or problems with her qualifications. Senator Simon said he escorted Myerscough for individual meetings with Senator Hatch and other members of the panel but had "not had a single member of the committee tell me he or she couldn't vote for her."  
  She was an Illinois State circuit court judge. She was an associate circuit court judge. She worked in law firms in Springfield. She formerly clerked for U.S. District Judge Harold Baker. A substantial majority of the ABA committee rated her as well qualified, while a minority rated her as qualified.

She was supported by both Senator Paul Simon and Senator Carol Moseley-Braun at the time. In 1997, Senator Dick Durbin stated in the State Journal-Register that he believed "Judge Myerscough was caught up in a Federal stall."
  This is what has happened. So I have a hard time understanding why we are where we are today.
22 Charles Stack U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit October 27, 1995. February 28, 1996 no vote in committee.   May 11, 1996, Miami Herald, he came under intense attack from then-Presidential candidate Bob Dole he withdrew his nomination on May 13, 1996.
23 Cheryl Wattley U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas December 12, 1995 no hearing no vote in committee.      
  The Dallas Morning News reported in 1996 that she was supported by both home State Senators. Again, no reason, probably filibustered because one or two or three didn't like her for one reason or another.
24 Michael Schattman U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas December 19, 1995 no hearing no vote in committee 2 1/2 years   His nomination at his request was withdrawn on July 1998
  renominated March 21, 1997 no hearing no vote in committee      
  This man was a Texas State district court judge in Fort Worth. He had previously been a county court judge. And to add insult to injury, because of the lengthy delay in the nomination process, the February 11, 1998 edition of the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer reported that he lost his State court judgeship. He was unanimously rated as qualified. Again, this is the hidden filibuster of this body.
25 J. Rich Leonard U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit December 22, 1995, no hearing no vote in committee   Again, my information is that one Senator blocked both of his nominations.  
  He was a judge on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina at the time of his nomination by President Clinton. He was rated as well qualified.
  (J.R.L. above)
District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina March 24, 1999. Again, he no hearing no vote over 2.5 years    
  I see there are others waiting. I will be brief. But let me list some of the others.
26 Robert Freedberg U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania April 23, 1998 no hearing no vote   January 28, 1999 Allentown Morning Call reported that he was blocked by one Senator.  
  He was a judge on Northampton County's Court of Common Pleas. He is a former prosecutor.
27 Robert Raymar U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit   no hearing no vote   One person filibustered this individual in committee. nomination expired at the end of the session.
  Former deputy attorney general for the State of New Jersey, member of the New Jersey Executive Commission on Ethical Standards. He was rated as qualified. He was supported by both State Senators.
28 James Lyons U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit   no hearing no vote     withdrew after it became clear he would not receive a hearing or a vote
  He was a longtime senior trial partner at the Denver law firm of Rothberger, Johnson & Lyons, special advisor to the President of the United States and the Secretary of State for economic initiatives in Ireland and Northern Ireland. He couldn't get a hearing. He was adjudged well qualified by the ABA.
  I don't see where anybody is concerned about these injustices, and that is what they were -- real injustices.
29 John Snodgrass U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama September 22, 1994 no hearing no vote in committee     His nomination was withdrawn on September 5, 1995.
  renominated January 11, 1995 no hearing no vote in committee      
30 Anabelle Rodriguez U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico January 26, 1996


no vote nearly 3 years October 8, 1998, the Associated Press reported that her supporters said she was opposed by Puerto Rico's prostatehood Governor and congressional representative because she is a backer of the island's current status as a U.S. commonwealth, and there was apparently some overwhelming bipartisan opposition.  
  renominated March 21, 1997 October 1 of 1998 no vote      
  Why not vote? If what is being said now has been true and par for the course, why not vote?
31 Lynne Lasry Southern District of California   no hearing no vote     After one year of inaction, the nomination was withdrawn in 1998.
32 James Klein U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia January 27, 1998 no hearing no vote in committee 3 years    
  renominated March 25, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee      
33 Patricia Coan U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado May 27, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee year and a half May 21, 2000 Denver Post reported that one Senator blocked her nomination.  
34 Dolly Gee District Court for the Central District of California May 22, 1999 no hearing no vote in committee year and a half    
35 Fred Woocher U.S. District Court for the Central District of California   November 10, 1999 no vote in committee despite waiting for a year after his hearing.    
36 Steven Bell U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio   no hearing no vote in committee more than a year    
37 Rhonda Fields District Court for the District of Columbia November 17, 1999 no hearing no vote      
38 Robert Cindrich U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit February 9, 2000 no hearing no vote      
39 David Fineman U.S. District for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania March 9, 2000 no hearing no vote      
40 Linda Riegle U.S. District for the District of Nevada April 25, 2000 no hearing no vote      
41 Ricardo Morado U.S. District for the Southern District of Texas May 11, 2000 no hearing no vote      
42 Stephen Orlofsky U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit May 25, 2000 no hearing no vote      
43 Gary Sebelius U.S. District for the District of Kansas June 6, 2000 no hearing no vote      
44 Kenneth Simon U.S. District for the Northern District of Alabama June 6, 2000 no hearing no vote      
45 John S. W. Lim U.S. District for the District of Hawaii June 8, 2000 no hearing no vote      
  Thurmond rule. There is sort of an informal practice that in the last few months of a President's tenure, the hearings do not go forward
46 Christine Arguello U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit July 27, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
47 Andre Davis U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit October 6, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
48 Elizabeth Gibson U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit October 26, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
49 David Cercone U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania July 27, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
50 Harry Litman U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania July 27, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
51 Valerie Couch U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma September 7, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
52 Marian Johnston U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California September 7, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
53 Steve Achelpohl U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska September 12, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
54 Richard Anderson U.S. District Court for the District of Montana September 13, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
55 Stephen Lieberman U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania September 14, 2000 no hearing* no vote*      
56 Melvin Hall U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma October 3, 2000. no hearing* no vote*      
THIS TABLE Clinton: 56 nominees, 21 renominations, 7 hearings, 1 vote, 1 confirmation Bush: 2 renominations, 2 hearings, 2 votes, 2 comfirmations
* - implied; those words ("no hearing", "no vote") not present in Feinstein's speech for those nominees

After listing the history of nominees, Feinstein makes closing remarks, including:
To me, the record I just described and the reasons for opposing these limited number of nominees doesn’t lead to the conclusion that the Senate should be discussing breaking our own institutional rules and unraveling the checks and balances established by our Constitution.

Some have described this debate as a strategy to change the rules. Changing the rules is not only unacceptable, but in this case it is inaccurate as well. The nuclear option is a strategy to break the rules. This isn’t just my assessment; it’s the conclusion drawn by the Senate Parliamentarian and the Congressional Research Service


This is a move to wipe out 200 years of precedent when this Senate has only been in session for just over 4 months ...

This appears to me to be an escalation that is unwarranted in the reality of what has actually occurred and is happening in this session.


I would hope that the majority would not choose to unravel that foundation over a small handful of nominees. I would hope we would continue to honor the tradition of our democracy. I would hope the President will urge others in his party to walk away from this nuclear strategy. And I know if the shoe was on the other foot, I would not advocate breaking Senate rules and precedent.

[NOTE TO READERS: Minor corrections/additions applied since initial posting.]

UPDATE: We respond to critics in our post above.