03 September 2005

BREAKING NEWS: Chief Justice Rehnquist dies

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the ultraconservative activist jurist on the nation's highest court, has passed away at his home in Virginia. Rehnquist was 80 years old.

"The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his dues on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days," said Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg.

Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1971 by President Richard Nixon and was elevated to Chief Justice by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. During his time as head of the court, the Rehnquist Court proved to be the most activist court in U.S. history, striking down more acts of Congress than any other court.

The death of Rehnquist creates an opportunity for President George W. Bush to nominate another conservative jurist to the bench. But the death of the leading activist conservative doesn't give the president much room to move to the right.

With the confirmation hearings for Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. scheduled to begin on Tuesday, the whole situation may get flipped on its head. How will the extremist groups on the right and those groups on the left react? Will the fight intensify? My guess is yes.

UPDATE: Conservative pundit George Will, on ABC News' This Week, declared the Rehnquist Court to be the most activist in American history, striking down 30 acts of Congress. This number has not even been approached by any other court. The panel also noted the most activist decision of the Court's history, Bush v. Gore, which occurred under Rehnquist's watch.

30 August 2005

Help the victims of Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is behind us, but for many the pain is just beginning. Whether you're a bleeding-heart liberal or a compassionate conservative, please give what you can to help our fellow Americans in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and elsewhere.

Below is a post by DNC contributor Josh McConaha on the Democratic National Committee's blog. In order to be bipartisan, I checked the Republican National Committee's web site to include their message as well, but nothing was available.

The DNC blog posting provides very important information regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Even after being hit by Katrina, the situation in the Gulf states continues to worsen...

In Mississippi, hundreds are feared dead.

Helicopters plucked frantic survivors from rooftops of inundated homes on Tuesday and officials said hundreds of people may have died in Hurricane Katrina's attack on the U.S. Gulf Coast, which sent a wall of water into Mississippi and flooded New Orleans.

The economic cost of the hurricane's rampage could be the highest in U.S. history, according to damage estimates.

"The devastation is greater than our worst fears," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco told a news conference. "It's totally overwhelming."

New Orleans is
filling with water. The mayor is saying 80% of the city is underwater.

The historic city of New Orleans was steadily filling with water from nearby Lake Ponchartrain on Tuesday after its defenses were breached by the ferocity of hurricane Katrina.

With the floodwaters rising in many areas, threatening the French Quarter, residents were plucked from the roofs of their homes, bodies were seen floating in the streets and rescuers searched the city in boats and helicopters.

"We probably have 80 percent of our city under water; with some sections of our city the water is as deep as 20 feet. Both airports are underwater," Mayor Ray Nagin told a radio interviewer.

Troops in Iraq are
worried about what's happened to their homes and families...

"It's a significant emotional event. Their families are on the forefront of the disaster," said Lt. Col. Jordan Jones of the 141st Field Artillery of the Louisiana National Guard.

"They're all watching TV and some have seen their neighborhoods completely submerged in water."

Jones, from Luling on the west bank of Lake Pontchartrain, said he hasn't been in touch with his own family for three days because of clogged phone lines, but that his neighbors had helped board up their home.

"It's hard, a lot of soldiers are watching this play-by-play, they're having a hard time," said Lt. Taysha Deaton, a spokeswoman for the unit.

Take time now to visit the American Red Cross website and donate to the relief efforts. This is bigger than politics - so many have already lost so much, we as a country need to band together to help.

Well said Josh!

29 August 2005

Smith takes fight to Crist, becomes the law and order candidate

As Florida Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist was knocking people over to apear on television during Hurricane Katrina, Senator Rod Smith (D-Gainesville) was pulling the rug out from under Crist's plans to be the "tough on crime" candidate for governor. Smith has gained the endorsements of seven North Florida sheriffs and promises that more are coming. While Crist is busy reserving the moving trucks for next November, the Smith campaign is saying, "Not so fast!" It looks like Crist may have a fight on his hands.

Senator Smith faces Congressman Jim Davis (D-Tampa) and former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox in the Democratic primary. The victor will face the winner between Crist and Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher in the GOP contest.

Most would expect the current attorney general to be the law and order candidate, but Smith, the former Alachua County State Attorney, is not ready to concede this terrain. Last week, Sheriffs Jerry Whitehead of Union County, Dewey Hatcher of Dixie County, David Turner of Gilchrist County, J. Harrell Reid of Hamilton County, Owen Carson McCall Jr. of Lafayette County, Dean Kelly of Putnam County and Joey Dobson of Baker County endorsed Senator Smith for governor and announced they are forming "Sheriffs for Smith." They intend to encourage more law enforcement leaders to back the former prosecutor who convicted and sentenced cold-blooded mass murderer Danny Rollings to death. Two of the sheriffs to endorse Smith, Gilcrest County Sheriff David Turner and Lafayette County Sheriff Owen Carson, supported Governor Jeb Bush in his 2002 reelection race.

This announcement has to hurt Charlie Crist. As the top law enforcement officer in the state, Crist should see this as a major snub. The state attorney general should automatically have the law and order crowd solidly in his corner. The fact that Smith has picked up so many defections is a sign that cracks are forming in Crist's race for governor.

It is also refreshing to see Smith taking the fight to Crist and the Republicans by venturing into an area where Democrats are normally timid. In recent years, Florida Democrats have refused to discuss law and order issues, instead limiting their focus to topics like education and ... education. The Democrats' silence has allowed Republicans to define them on other issues.

Rod Smith has decided to take the law enforcement issue back for the Democrats. He will also probably bring some so-called "soccer moms" back to the Democratic Party as well.

Congratulations to Senator Smith, and congratulations to Florida Democrats. It looks like you finally have a candidate who is unwilling to concede important issues, like law enforcement, to the Republicans and instead take the fight to the GOP.

28 August 2005

Harris stumbles on abortion issue

Read about Katherine Harris' recent blunder at AmericanpolitiX.com.