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Starr Charts Republican Strategy on Obama Judicial Nominees

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

By Scott Horton
Harper's Magazine

Addressing a group of Mormon lawyers in Boston on Friday night Kenneth Starr charted the Republican strategy for dealing with Obama’s nominees for the Supreme Court. The Mormon Times reports:
Starr pointed out, “the salience of this very enviable position, politically, for our President is brought home by the President’s own approach to the high court during his years of service as a United States senator.” He continued, “There is one historical factoid of note: He is the first president of the United States ever in our history to have participated in a Senate filibuster of a judicial nominee. Never before has that happened.” Starr cited a November article in The Washington Times about the problems Obama faces, quoting, “Senate Republicans say the president-elect’s voting record and long simmering resentments over Democrats’ treatment of President Bush’s nominees will leave Mr. Obama hard-pressed to call for bipartisan help confirming judges or even an up-or-down vote.”
Note that the identity and qualification of the nominees is totally irrelevant. They will be opposed to the hilt, and presumably—if every single Republican in the Senate can be held in line—through a filibuster. And Starr’s claim that Obama participated in a filibuster is, as might be expected, erroneous—although he did support the idea of one.

These remarks may or may not portend the Republican strategy in addressing judicial nominees. But they certainly tell us an awful lot about Ken Starr. One would think, for instance, that the identity of the nominee and his or her qualifications and life experience would be relevant factors to take into account before deciding how to proceed. But evidently not to Starr....(Click for remainder).


Was George Washington a gay pot smoker?

By Harvey Wasserman
The Smirking Chimp

Did George Washington raise hemp? Did he smoke it? Was he gay?

The easy answers are definitely, probably, and maybe.

The questions arise with pre-publication of the shocking satire PASSIONS OF THE PATRIOTS by "Thomas Paine," which opens with Le General in the hemp-filled embrace of his beloved Marquis de Lafayette.

As Washington's February 22 birthday approaches, his personal habits say much about today's America.

Like virtually every Revolutionary farmer, the Father of Our Country grew prodigious quantities of hemp. It was (is) a profitable cash crop, easy to grow, with scant demands for cultivation, watering or fertilizing. As a hardy perennial, it needs no year-after-year replanting, nor pesticides or herbicides.

Early American farmers used cannabis for cloth, rope, sails, paper and much more. At various times its cultivation has been mandatory. Kansas was virtually carpeted with it during World War Two. In today's conversion to a Solartopian economy, the cellulose of its stems and leaves, and the oil from its seeds, could be essential for green ethanol and bio-diesel fuels.

Washington and his fellow planter/presidents Tom Jefferson and James Madison would be astonished to hear that hemp is illegal. These early chief executives would certainly have told President Obama that a re-legalized cannabis crop would mean billions of dollars in desperately needed farm revenue throughout the United States....(Click for remainder).


Study Harder

By Josh Marshall
Talking Points Memo

I'm not sure what other ways he's going to follow in Newt Gingrich's steps. But GOP House whip Eric Cantor seems to have the megalomania and ego front down pat. He's been putting out word over the last few days that he's modeling himself off Newt and now apparently Winston Churchill too. And now there's this from the Post ...
But Rep. Eric Cantor (Va.), the House minority whip who led the fight to deny Obama every GOP vote for the plan, is studying Winston Churchill's role leading the Tories in the late 1930s, a principled minority that was eventually catapulted into power over the Labor Party. He calls the stimulus bill "a stinker."
Now, I guess it's possible this is the Post's error and not Cantor's. And even if it's not you'd think they might have corrected this point. But Cantor's handle on his new hero seems pretty thin.

In the late 1930s, of course, Great Britain didn't have a Labour government with a principled Tory minority. It had conservative Tory government with a Labour minority. And Churchill was on the outs with both, although on some fronts he was beginning to make common cause with some Labourites on his key issue, which was foreign policy. When Churchill eventually came to power it was in a national coalition government for the purposes of fighting the war. And when he eventually went to the voters as head of the Tory party toward the end of the war they got crushed by Labour in a landslide....(Click for remainder).



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