MartiniPundit

Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for February 1st, 2005

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The Democrats are standing athwart the tracks and yelling “Stop!”

Senate Democrats are considering filibustering Alberto Gonzales’ nomination to be attorney general over his role in developing the Bush administration’s policies on treating foreign detainees. No final decision has been made yet, but at least two Democrats — Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Democratic Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois — planned to urge the Democratic caucus Tuesday to consider filibustering Gonzales’ nomination, said a Senate Democratic aide, who spoke on conditions of anonymity.

A filibuster, a parliamentary tactic for delaying Senate action, would require Republicans, who hold a 55-44 majority in the Senate, to win over at least five Democrats — or four Democrats plus Vermont Sen. James Jeffords, an independent — to put Gonzales in office.

No, it will mean an end to the use of the filibuster for nominees. All Senator Frist has to do is introduce a rules change to restrict the use of the filibuster to legislation and resolutions and carry it with 51 votes. Alternatively, he could keep the filibuster for nominees but actually require the filibustering Senators to keep speaking on the floor in order to prevent a vote. If the Democrats believe that Gonzales is Torquemada then they should vote against him. To use the increasingly discredited parliamentary filibuster is making them look desperate and toothless using extra-constitutional political tricks to achieve what they cannot win at the ballot box. The word “filibuster” does not appear in the Constitution, which says of nominees:

[The President] shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States … From Article II, Section 2, [emphasis mine]

The filibuster is well within the Senate’s purview as a procedural means of fulfilling its ‘Advice and Consent’ function, and equally within the purview of the Senate leadership to restrict or even abolish it. It’s utility as a tool which protects the minority senators can be debated, but its supra-majority requirements are not in accord with the checks and balances instituted by the Founding Fathers who used separate but equal branches of government and a bicameral legislature to accomplish those ends.

The filibuster is nothing more than senatorial courtesy – which is a thing as nonexistent as John Kerry’s mission to run weapons to the Khmer Rouge. It’s time the business of the American people stopped being beholden to one bloviating senior Senator from Massachusetts who had the unmitigated gall to discuss drowning with Judge Gonzales. The voters have spoken in two elections now to stop Democratic obstruction – it’s high time the Senate Republicans listened.

Written by martinipundit

February 1, 2005 at 5:57 pm

Great Moments in Law Enforcement

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I didn’t blog on the senseless killing of Nicole duFresne in New York last week, but I have been keeping an eye on the story. The grainy surveillance camera images didn’t bode well for being able to find her killers, but a glass raised to New York’s finest who appear to have done just that:

Police yesterday busted a paroled teen punk who allegedly shot aspiring actress Nicole duFresne — but the crybaby put on his own performance, moaning and complaining that he was sick, while taking no responsibility for the coldblooded slaying.

Rudy Fleming, 19, “was whining like a little girl,” a law-enforcement source scoffed. “I don’t feel good,” the hood complained, lolling his head and pretending to be dizzy as detectives tried to question him. He appeared on the verge of tears, clenching his eyes shut with his lips quivering, when he was led out of the 13th Precinct station house after being slapped with charges of first- and second-degree murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon.

As well he should be – murder in cold blood is about as serious as it gets. Many of us live in a cocoon of invulnerability and believe that nothing like this could ever happen to us. I have no doubt that Nicole thought so when she basically taunted her attacker:

DuFresne, a Minnesota native, told the thug, “What are you going to do, shoot us?” after he allegedly pistol-whipped her fiancĂ©, Jeffrey Sparks, 28, and menaced their friends at the corner of Rivington and Clinton streets.

If she’d given him what he wanted she might still be alive. Taunting a thug with a gun is just not a good idea. A tragic waste.

Written by martinipundit

February 1, 2005 at 5:07 pm

Posted in General

An Increase Long Overdue

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This is something I would hope all but the most blinded Bush opponents can agree with:

President Bush will propose a dramatic increase to $250,000 in government payments to families of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and in future combat zones. The plan to increase the tax-free “death gratuity,” now $12,420, to $100,000 and provide an extra $150,000 in life insurance payouts will be part the 2006 budget proposal submitted to Congress next week, the Pentagon’s personnel chief said in an Associated Press interview.

Given that most military casualties in the field are disproportionately young by the very nature of war, this means that those who leave spouses with young children to care for do not condemn them to instant poverty. It’s the right thing to do and should have been done long ago. By making it retroactive to the start of Afghanistan, the President is recognizing the obligation the nation has to those who’ve made the supreme sacrifice.

Written by martinipundit

February 1, 2005 at 2:09 pm

Posted in GWOT

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