Quick Post.

Saw Serenity last night. Full house, 413 seat theater. Quick take: Excellent movie. Much longer post to follow, but I got up at 3:30 this morning, and I walked in the door to my home at 9:45PM this evening. Long day. Another one tomorrow.

Go see Serenity. You won’t be disappointed if you like this blog.

Compass Resigns. Lawsuits to Follow.

Glad to see it. Hope it doesn’t get him off the hook.

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass resigned Tuesday after four turbulent weeks in which the police force was wracked by desertions and disorganization in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.

“I served this department for 26 years and have taken it through some of the toughest times of its history. Every man in a leadership position must know when it’s time to hand over the reins,” Compass said at a news conference. “I’ll be going on in another direction that God has for me.”

As the city slipped into anarchy during the first few days after Katrina, the 1,700-member police department itself suffered a crisis. Many officers deserted their posts, and some were accused of joining in the looting that broke out. Two officers Compass described as friends committed suicide.

The story goes on, but no mention of Compass’s announcement that “Everyone will be disarmed. Only police officers will have guns.” Nor was there any mention of the Federal District Court injunction against further confiscations, nor the claim by Nagin and Compass that they did not order any confiscations, and that no confiscations occurred, nor that the plaintiff in the case resulting in the injunction has had the guns that weren’t confiscated from him returned.

Check out SayUncle and work your way backwards. He’s got all the details.

Awwww DAMN.

Fellow blogger Dale of Mostly Cajun reports on the aftermath of Hurricane Rita’s rampage through SW Louisiana as it directly affected him:

I got into my own van and headed to my house. I’d lost shingles and the chimney to my fireplace and the old TV antenna, in addition to some corrugated steel off my workshop. I’d brought a portable generator to power up my freezer and refrigerator so I wouldn’t lose any food. I connected that up and had them both running.

Further exploring the house, I found that I had water dripping inside from the damaged roof, so I spread some pans around to catch the drips and headed to my office to get a wet-vac and a ladder so I could suck up the water and put one of those blue tarps over the damaged roof.

When I got back, smoke was pouring out of my house. I called 9-1-1 to report the fire. After I finished reporting, I ran to the house to see if I could break in windows to let out my cats, but the smoke and the fierce heat coming off the building were so much that I couldn’t get within a few yards.

The local fire department responded very fast, but when they got there, the community water system was dry, killed by Hurrican Rita. They called for assistance from several nearby fire departments who transported water in, but the house was a total loss.

Did you ever think about what you lose? Four loyal pets…irreplaceable. Itty, Splot, Mollie, Callie, my four cats… Mom and Dad’s photo albums… photos of the past 80 years. My library…books I’d acquired over the past twenty-odd years. My gun collection… Personal papers… On and on and on… All gone. Devastation is an over-used word. I use it here…

Damn, Dale. What can I do to help?


I watched a movie this afternoon that I hadn’t seen in a while, The Majestic, starring Jim Carrey. It was set in 1951, during the House Unamerican Activities hearings. It’s a sort of Capra-esque period film, but, given what’s been happening in the news politically recently, it was interesting to watch. It has inspired this post, and hopefully one other if I can eke it out by tomorrow.

The Declaration of Independence? The Constitution? They’re pieces of paper with signatures on them. And you know what a piece of paper with a signature is? A contract. And contracts can be renegotiated at any time. – Author Michael Sloan from the screenplay for The Majestic, spoken by the character Leo Kubelsky, studio lawyer.

In his opening statement kicking off “Ghosts of Nominations Past: Setting the Record Straight,” Sen. Schumer declared that Senate Democrats on the committee had been doing their level best to grapple with a breakdown in the process caused by Republicans. The problem, according to Sen. Schumer, went well beyond the stalling resorted to by Republicans when they were last in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The crux of the matter was President Bush’s determination to pack the federal courts with “right-wing ideologues” in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, judges well outside of the mainstream, bent on implementing their extremist political views through conservative judicial activism. What was needed, Sen. Schumer proclaimed, was for the president to nominate moderates — by which he seemed to mean those who would interpret and enforce the law, rather than disregard and willfully rewrite it in order to advance a fierce partisan agenda. – Peter Berkowitz, National Review Online – It’s Unanimous – May 17, 2002

(Senator Hillary) Clinton announced Thursday she will oppose Roberts after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to recommend confirmation. The full Senate is expected to vote next week.

She cited “an obligation to my constituents to make sure that I cast my vote for chief justice of the United States for someone I am convinced will be steadfast in protecting fundamental women’s rights, civil rights, privacy rights, and who will respect the appropriate separation of powers among the three branches.”

She added that after Roberts’ testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month, “I believe the record on these matters has been left unclear.”

She said her “desire to maintain the already fragile Supreme Court majority for civil rights, voting rights and women’s rights outweighs the respect I have for Judge Roberts’ intellect, character and legal skills.”

Edward Cox, a Manhattan lawyer and son-in-law of President Richard Nixon who also is seeking the GOP Senate nomination, said Clinton “had a chance to show that she could rise above blind partisanship and not be beholden to left-wing attack groups.”

“The senator unfortunately has again decided to join the likes of Ted Kennedy and the liberal wing of her party in support of judicial activism,” Cox added. Associated Press story, 9/24/05

Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience Wednesday that she doesn’t like the idea of being the only female justice on the Supreme Court. But in choosing to fill one of the two open positions on the court, “any woman will not do,” she said.

There are “some women who might be appointed who would not advance human rights or women’s rights,” Ginsburg told those gathered at the New York City Bar Association. AP Story, 9/21/05

If Americans loved judicial activism, liberals wouldn’t be lying about what it is. Judicial activism means making up constitutional rights in order to strike down laws the justices don’t like based on their personal preferences. It’s not judicial activism to strike down laws because they violate the Constitution.

But liberals have recently taken to pretending judicial activism is — as The New York Times has said repeatedly — voting “to invalidate laws passed by Congress.” Invalidating laws has absolutely nothing to do with “judicial activism.” It depends on whether the law is unconstitutional or not. That’s really the key point. – Ann Coulter, Actually, ‘Judicial Activism’ Means E=MC2

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.” – Lewis Carrol, Through the Looking Glass

“My obligation is to the Constitution. That’s the oath.” – Judge John Roberts, Senate confirmation testimony.

That’s a lot of quotes, but hopefully you got the gist of it. For the Left, “judicial activism” is restraining “progressive” legislation (that just happens to contravene the Constitution). For the Right, “judicial activism” is creating law from the bench, or upholding “progressive” legislation though it violates the Constitution, because it “advances rights,” (as the Left defines “advancing rights.”)

The Senate Democrats proclaim that they want to make sure that Roberts is a “moderate,” or at least not a “judicial activist.” They’ve suddenly fallen in love with the concept of stare decisis. As I noted back in June over the Janice Rogers Brown nomination, at question is what Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky called “shred(ding) the last eighty years of American Constitutional law.” Yet his counterpart, Chapman University law professor John Eastman rebuked him:

What happened seventy or eighty years ago that changed the Constitution? There was not a single amendment at issue in the 1930’s that changed the Constitution. Some radical, federal programs were pushed through. Some radical judges, under pressure, finally signed on them, and the notion that we can’t question that unconstitutional action that occurred in the 1930’s, and somehow that defending that unconstitutionality is adherent to the rule of law, is rather extraordinary. There are scholars on left and right that have understood that what went on in the 1930’s was…had no basis in Constitutional law, or in the letter of the Constitution itself.

But it extends well past the 1930’s, and everyone in the Senate knows it. Chemerinski recently wrote:

Since (Lewis F.) Powell’s resignation, Sandra Day O’Connor has been the fifth vote in such crucial areas as upholding the right to abortion, limiting campaign contributions, protecting the separation of church and state, and permitting universities to engage in affirmative action.

None of this was, in Chemerinski’s eyes, “judicial activism,” and he adds:

Democrats need to oppose any nominee who would bring about significant changes in these areas.

James Madison, writing under the pseudonym Publius, in Federalist #78 defined the intent of the Supreme Court:

By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex-post-facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

However, see: Kelo v. New London, Raich v. Gonzales, Wickard v. Filburn, Scott v. Sanford, U.S. v. Cruikshank, …

There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.

If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their WILL to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.

Which is why every elected and appointed Federal official swears an oath, not to the flag, not to the nation, not to the President nor to Congress, but to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

But of course, if you’re able to redefine the language, “uphold and defend” can mean anything you like. Just like “judicial activism.”

Today’s decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning.

Something has gone seriously awry with this Court’s interpretation of the Constitution. Kelo v. City of New London, Thomas, J. dissenting.

The Court must be living in another world. Day by day, case by case, it is busy designing a Constitution for a country I do not recognize. Wabaunsee v. Umbehr, Scalia, J. dissenting.

That’s the First Amendment, Mr. Chairman. It’s the backbone of this nation. It’s everything that gives us the potential to be right and good and just — if only we’d live up to that potential. It’s what gives me the right to sit in this chair and say my piece before this committee without fear. It’s the most important part of the contract that every citizen has with this country. And even though this contract… the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — even though they’re just pieces of paper with signatures on them — they’re the only contracts we have that are most definitely not subject to renegotiation. – Author Michael Sloan from the screenplay for The Majestic, spoken by lead character Peter Appleton.

Apparently Mr. Sloan hasn’t been paying attention to the courts.

But he’s bang-on-the-money about that “if only we’d live up to that potential” part.

I Hope Everyone’s All Right.

Mostly Cajun and the Layabout Sailor have both headed for higher ground to get out of Rita’s way, along with tens of thousands of their neighbors. Since Jim lives on his boat, I was heartened to see that Rita bore more Eastward and did not, in fact, slam directly into Galveston harbor. Hopefully the sloop New Dawn will be none the worse for wear when Jim comes home. Dale doesn’t live on his boat, but he was more in the direct path of the storm. Dale, I hope like hell everything is still upright and tight when you get back.

To the rest of you out there that I don’t know, best of luck to you all.

I KNEW This Blogging Thing Would Eventually Pay Off!

Via Instapundit, I’m now going to a Sept. 28 preview of Serenity! All I have to do is write a post reviewing the film afterwards.

I’ve mentioned Serenity here before. Specifically, I got the box-set DVDs of Firefly for Father’s Day last year, this EXCELLENT cartoon from May, and this post from April linking to the first trailer. (Just establishing my bona fides.)

Man, I can’t wait. This looks GOOD, unlike most of the dreck that Hollyweird’s kicked out this year.

Tagline of the year: “I aim to misbehave.”

UPDATE: Per the requirements to get into the advanced screening, the synopsis of the film:

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® – and Emmy – nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

IMHO, the ensemble acting is some of the best I’ve seen since M*A*S*H. Maybe better.

And check THIS out:


Me, election 2000:

Those of us still capable of intelligent, logical, independent thought have been overwhelmed by the public school system production lines that have been cranking out large quantities of substandard product for the last thirty-five years or so. The majority of three or four generations have managed to make it into the working world with no knowledge of history, no understanding of the Constitution or civics, no awareness of geography, no ability to do even mildly complex mathematics, no comprehension of science, and realistically little to no ability to read with comprehension, or write with clarity. And we seem to have developed attention spans roughly equivalent to that of your average small bird.

After all, about half the public accepted the Democratic premise that we were too stupid to vote correctly because their guy didn’t win by a landslide, didn’t they? And the other half was outraged, not that they made such a ludicrous argument, but that they didn’t want to play fair and by the rules that no one seems to understand or to be able to explain.

The other majority party isn’t blameless in this; they like an ignorant electorate too. It’s easier to lead people who can’t or won’t think for themselves. It took both parties and many years of active bipartisan meddling to make the education system into an international laughingstock.

However, the end result of this downward spiral has been an electorate ignorant in the simple foundations of this country and its government. Most especially the foundation of a rule of law in which EVERYONE is equal under the laws of the land. The Democrats have taken advantage of this general ignorance to its logical extreme. President Clinton, when testifying under oath, debates the meaning of the word “is”, and essentially gets away with it. Vice President Gore, when shown to be in direct violation of campaign finance law states that there was no “controlling legal authority”.

Laws don’t MEAN anything to them. A law is an inconvenient bit of wording that just has to be “interpreted” properly to achieve their ends. When they file suit, they must shop for the proper judge, or they might not be able to get the “spin” they want. Like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, words mean just what they want them to mean, no more no less. And that meaning can change at any time.

Paul Mirengoff, Sept. 15, 2005:

And herein lies the problem: to Democrats, respect for the rule of law doesn’t count as a value. To them, the law is simply a pretext for achieving desired results or (if not suited for that work) an obstacle to be circumvented for the same purpose. No wonder John Roberts gives them the willies.

His was more brief, but we just said the same thing.

It’s Been Over a Week, Now.

Since I sent my emails to Sen. Kyle, Sen. McCain, Rep. Kolbe, the White House and the Vice President. All I’ve received in acknowledgement is this:

From: [email protected]
Date: 9/11/2005 5:24 PM
(My other email address)

Your message has been received.

That’s more than I’ve gotten from anybody else.