Today's Note From a Madman

Tuesday, January 10, 2006



"Hey, Who Ordered the 'Grilled Alito'?"

"I would approach the question with an open mind."
-Judge Samuel Alito, regarding the
Woman's Right to Choose Issue as presented in Roe V. Wade

This was Judge Alito's answer when asked about his anti-choice stance and his writings during the Reagan years. Although he is a firm believer in a woman's right to not have a choice, Alito brushed away those writings as a lawyer representing a client. In effect, the ultra-conservative jurist wants US to forget about anything, and everything he has written, defended or tried as an attorney because, basically, he was there for the highest bidder. Alito's allegiance wasn't to the US Constitution, the People of the United States or a just cause, it was bought and paid for by the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party and it's financiers.

So when Alito represented Ronald Reagan, even though he was earning a US government paycheck, his representation was sold for the cause that was near and dear to the 40th president of the United States, not for the people of the United States.

"That was a statement that I made at a prior period of time when I was performing a different role and, as I said yesterday, when someone becomes a judge you really have to put aside the things you did as a lawyer at prior points in your legal career."

So right and wrong never was used as a filter in Alito's mind. Samuel Alito, Esq. used the law as a stepping stone toward this moment. Sounds like the world's oldest profession to me. The wild west used gunmen available for hire much the same way Alito sold his allegiance to the highest bidder. And when they got a little on in years, those gunmen became US Marshals or sheriffs. There's a new marshal in town and his name is Big Sam Alito.

"I did it because that's what I thought the law required."
-Alito, referring to Casey v. Planned Parenthood, a case he lost, where a woman in
Pennsylvania would have to get the father's permission for an abortion

Isn't it funny how Alito never argued the other side? Maybe he can't be bought. Maybe Samuel Alito knows exactly what his stances are and exactly what he would do on the bench of the Supreme Court.

In regard to presidential powers, Alito seems to think of the president as more of a monarch than a representative of the people.

"No person is above the law, and that means the president and that means the Supreme Court,"
-Alito, contradicting his former writings and feelings about the powers of the presidency

I wonder if and when the president's conduct comes to the attention of a Supreme Court with the likes of a Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts and Samuel Alito just what the outcome would be?

"You give enormous, almost total deference to the exercise of executive power,"
-Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), stating the obvious

"a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens,"
-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

When questioned about that statement, Alito, O'Connor's would-be replacement, told Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the Judiciary Committee Chairman that he "endorsed" it.

"It's a very important principle. Our Constitution applies in times of peace and in times of war. And it protects American citizens in all circumstances."

Then why didn't anyone ask him his interpretation of the FISA law? Why didn't anyone ask him if he though the president stepped over the line in regard to the "Spy-Gate" scandal? Why didn't anyone ask Alito if this didn't fall under the FISA law and court, then just what, exactly, DOES fall into that category?

"These questions are obviously very difficult and important ... and likely to arise in litigation even before my own court or before the Supreme Court,"

Hey! You're a JUDGE! Tell US your judgment. We want to know what you think of the president's possible abuse of power. It's a legitimate question.

A 1984 memo from Alito said that the Attorney General should be immune from prosecution for illegal wiretapping.


Alito was a member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group at the New Jersey Ivy league Institution that opposed the admittance of women and minorities to the school.


Sounds like a KKK for the educationally advanced.

"I had never attended a non-coeducational school until I went to Princeton and after I was there a short time I realized the benefits of attending a coeducational school."
-Alito, regarding his "club" and school membership

Translation: Alito likes girls

In 1990, Alito said he would recuse himself from cases regarding Vanguard Companies, who he had ties with. He sat in on three of their cases, despite the obvious appearance, if not actual conflicts of interest.

A 2004 decision had Alito agreeing with the strip search of a 10 year old girl. I guess he likes young girls, too, but not enough to protect them.

Samuel Alito is a waking contradiction. He can't be trusted to interpret and enforce the US Constitution in the spirit of how our founding fathers had written it. This is not the man for the job of US Supreme Court Justice.

-Noah Greenberg

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on Jack Abramoff and Some Stupid Quote Suggestions
(Have you noticed that JACK and OFF are integral parts in JACK abramOFF?)

"They're portraying Jack as a monster. I see him more as a good person who's done bad things and has to be punished for doing bad things,"
-Rep. Rohrabacher, a longtime friend of Abramoff

Sounds like the same logic the gun lobby uses when they say, "Guns don't kill people... People kill people," or "I wasn't late to work today, Boss... My car was late and I was at its mercy."

"I think that he obviously has done some things that are wrong and illegal and he's going to have to pay the price for it. I think that a lot of other things that have been characterized as corruption on the part of Abramoff are actually standard operating procedures for lobbying in Washington, D.C. -- arranging trips and things like that."

I guess Rep. Rohrabacher has got some explaining to do as well. If he feels that what Jack Abramoff has done is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), then someone ought to look into what the California hopeful for majority leader in the house has done throughout his political career.

"So I think that he's received a lot of unjust criticism."
-Rohrabacher, again

Just what in the world would be just criticism of Abramoff, Rep. Rohrabacher? Bribing politicians? Stealing a Cruise line? Murder? Are any of these "just criticisms in your book Dana?

"There was no reason at that time, when Jack needed a personal reference, for me to think that he was anything but a fine upstanding person who I knew,"

We all know by now who and what you consider to be "fine" and "upstanding" Rep. Rohrabacher. Maybe you ought to start paying more attention to your constituents and less attention to your pocketbook.

Rohrabacher also contended Abramoff's clients got good value from him -- despite the lobbyist's admission that he conspired to defraud Indian tribes.

"It's being presented as he didn't provide any service. It was just the opposite,"

We know the service Abramoff provided to you, Dana. The question is just what service did you provide to Abramoff and company? You know, some consider the "oldest profession in the world" a "service".

"He was a professional political maneuverer par excellence, and he did everything he could for his clients."
-Rep. Rohrabacher

Admiring a "professional political maneuverer's" ability to manipulate freely elected representatives of the people of the United States is like admiring a rat's ability to spread the plague.


And make no mistake about it, Rep. Rohrabacher, you are the rat and Abramoff is the plague.

-From a forward by Eddie Konczal (from a article; comments by Noah Greenberg

Abramoff Even Makes Die-hard GOP'ers Sick

And thanks for the long list of Abramoff contributions (from an earlier Madman). Wow, he touches so many and I heard people on the McLaughlin report say this is huge and may be the biggest scandal since Watergate – and that from Pat Buchanan and Tony Blankely, diehard conservatives and Blankely is practically a Bush worshiper though Buchanan seems to like Bush less and more likes that the president is a Republican. From their mouths to
God’s ears will this bring some of these Republican crooks down, especially DeLay.

-Casey Sweet

Bi-Sexual Barbi
(Where is Anatomically Correct Ken When She Needs Him?)

Tinky Winky, Lenny the shark, and SpongeBob SquarePants move on over. The next child icon caught promoting the homosexual agenda is none other than BARBIE!!

The religious right is now attacking Barbie for promoting "gender confusion." (I don'tt know why - It's Ken that doesn't have "the Goods" -NG) According to the men at the Concerned Women for America (and they have the nerve to discuss gender confusion?), Barbie is urging kids to go bi:

"This is directed at children aged four to eight... that's a really young age to be directing something along the lines of bisexuality."

Yes, Barbie is making four year olds want to have sex with other four year olds of the same gender. And the Concerned Men would prefer that children have sex with four year olds of the opposite gender, I guess.

What's really going on here is that the religious right has been attacking Mattel for months, just like they went after Ford and Microsoft and Allstate and Kraft and every other major American company. This is just another way for them to attack Mattel and get Mattel to do something bigoted to make amends.

But claiming that Barbie is promoting bisexuality to four year olds, that's just whacked.

PS They also attack Barbie for not being a good Christian because good Christian girls only want to serve the
Lord, get married, stay at home and have kids. I'm not making this up. I guess if you're a woman (or a doll) who wants a career, then you're a lesbian. They don't explain about the lesbians who want to get married and have children....

-Forwarded from and commented by Victoria Brownworth

by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006 San Francisco Bay Area Reporter

Happy New Year! It sure looks a lot like the old year, doesn't it? The Religious Right still doing their utmost to keep Americans from viewing (or reading or thinking or saying) what they want, intense turmoil in the Middle East, terrorism emanating from the streets of Baghdad to the corridors of the White House.

And yet–you *can* still turn on the tube in most places in the U.S. and get a plethora of stuff from the sleazy to the sublime, idiots to geniuses and a lots of fun in between. We've caught some great stuff in the past week (like a fascinating interview on PBS's Charlie Rose with E.L. Doctorow which you can catch online at
The news remains the bleakest part of the TV landscape, so we'll come back to that and go right to the fun stuff.

NBC's hilarious, biting and poignant new envelope-pushing dramedy, *Book of Daniel,* premiered January 6th (can't beat Epiphany for the debut of a series about a dysfunctional Christian family which definitely gave many viewers an epiphany of their own).

Here's what NBC says about *BoD*: "NBC is promoting *The Book of Daniel* as a serious drama about Christian people and the Christian faith. The main character is Daniel Webster, a drug-addicted Episcopal priest whose wife depends heavily on her mid-day martinis.

"Webster regularly sees and talks with a very unconventional white-robed, bearded Jesus. The Webster family is rounded out by a 23-year-old homosexual Republican son, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter. At the office, his lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law."

Not surprisingly, the debut caused a stir. Several affiliates along the Bible Belt (Terre Haute, Indiana, Meridian, Mississippi, several Texas and Florida affiliates and others) even refused to air it. Immediately following the first two-hour episode many NBC affiliates led with the controversy on their 10- and 11pm newscasts.

*BoD* is very good and does push the envelope–to a degree. But not more than many other drama series on the tube.

The always anti-gay American Family Association (AFA) led the efforts to boycott and ban the show stating unequivocally that it "mocks Christianity." Like the war-on-Christmas-that-wasn't, this is another evangelical tempest in a tea bag. Far from mocking Christianity, *BoD* has a clear underlying message that is positive about Christianity. Christ may be a very cool character on the show, but he is also a clear moral character. This isn't Dan Brown's swinger Jesus. This is *Jesus Christ Superstar* meets Oprah. He's got lots of good advice, as befits the Son of God. But apparently his attire–straight out of the Bible school pix of yore or from the Webber musical–is distressing to the evangelicals whom, one presumes, think Jesus would be dressed in a suit and tie, have a crewcut and be selling something that guzzles oil.

As for the dysfunction of the family–uh, remember *7h Heaven*? The longest-running family drama in TV history, Aaron Spelling's WB show ran for ten seasons and just ended in November (but remains in syndication). *7th Heaven* features a Protestant minister and his wife, their seven children and his alcoholic sister. Admittedly *7th Heaven* was more tame in some respects than *BoD,* but one sibling had a boyfriend with an illegitimate child, another had a friend who self-mutilated, Rev. Camden's sister had myriad problems with alcohol and other addictions and there were often dysfunctional issues in the household. Yet *7th Heaven* has been lauded by Christian groups as a superb example of family viewing.

Of course, no one in the family itself was gay and Jesus never appeared, although Camden (Stephen Collins) did speak directly to God on a regular basis.

Not to digress too much, but on the *700 Club* last week, Rev. Pat Robertson--a real-life TV preacher, not a fictional one--stated baldly that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke was punishment from God for giving part of Gaza back to the Palestinians. (Robertson's rant prompted Geraldo Rivera on his FOX spot to give a rant of his own against Robertson. Which means there's a little brain left in the once-serious journalist.) This follows Robertson's previous rants calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, stating that God had punished New Orleans for abortion and homosexuality with Katrina and a host of other scary stuff.

So when the AFA is damning NBC for *BoD,* perhaps they should look to their own? Whether or not *BoD* continues to be a top drama worth watching by a diverse viewership remains to be seen. But it would seem that those folks who are always equating God and Country need to remember that *this* country is still a *democracy,* not a *theocracy* and here we would want more than one theocratic-state-sponsored TV station with it's theocratic-state-sponsored message.

Boo hiss to all those NBC affiliates who bowed to theocratic stridency. The Taliban awaits you with open arms ad 72 virgins.

While NBC was quaking, CBS was having its own crisis of consciousness if not conscience. The best moment on CBS last week was the January 3rd episode of David Letterman's *Late Show* where he skewered FOX's Bill O'Reilly right and proper in Edward II fashion. (We have come to expect anti-Bush skewering from CBS's fabulous light night host, Craig Ferguson, but Letterman tends to be less over-the-top than Ferguson.)

This Dave was the Dave of yore–irreverent to the nth degree and taking no prisoners with Mr. O'Lie-ly.

Last month when Letterman interviewed Oprah, she kept remarking at his seriousness. But Letterman has always been serious and smart, he's just forced to dumb down for his time slot and network. The O'Reilly interview was vintage Letterman; O'Reilly was given little opportunity to defend himself from Letterman's clear Bush-bashing

Letterman noted, his voice laden with scorn, "The President himself, less than a month ago said we are there [Iraq] because of a mistake made in intelligence. Well, whose intelligence? Did somebody just get off a bus and hand it to him?" Before O'Reilly could get his defense mode in gear Letterman was back at him: "Why the hell are we there to begin with?"

The big moment, however, was when Letterman said, "I'm very concerned about people like yourself who don't have anything but endless sympathy for a woman like Cindy Sheehan. Honest to Christ. Honest to Christ."

Yet in keeping with his heartless knee-jerk ideology, O'Reilly was quick to respond: "No way a terrorist who blows up women and children is going to be called a ‘freedom fighter' on my program," which, alas, drew cheers from the audience.

But Letterman got the last dig when he noted, "I'm not smart enough to debate you point for point, but I have the feeling about 60 percent of what you say is crap."

This is the kind of incisive querying over the war that belongs on the Sunday morning and evening news shows. Mores the pity that we have to depend on our late night comedians like Letterman (bravo!), Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno and Jon Stewart to do the work our pundits and newscasters should be doing.

Speaking of which, NBC's veteran senior correspondent Andrea Mitchell has never been one to back down from a story and she seems to have one up her sleeve as she queried last week if President Bush specifically wiretapped CNN's Christiane Amanpour. That the question was asked so publicly and so specifically means that Mitchell knows something.

And if you are wondering *why* this matters, consider that anyone Amanpour has conversed with in the past four years, at least by phone or email, could have had their conversation taped by the U.S. government. Oh–and her husband is former Clinton administration senior official Jamie Rubin, who was spokesman for the State Department. Rubin was also chief foreign policy adviser to General Wesley Clark's presidential campaign, then worked as senior national security adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Think Rubin ever used his wife's phone to make a call to say Clinton, Clark, Kerry or anyone else he was connected with on Capitol Hill? All of which just may make this is a variation on Plamegate.

Remember that game "whisper down the lane" that we played as kids? You repeat something to a line of people one at a time and see how convoluted or accurate it is by the time it gets to the end. Well, two *Time* reporters misrepresented Rep. Jane Harman(D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, on Spygate. Instead of investigating the source, FOX and CBS just repeated the inaccuracy.

For the record: all those reports you heard on FOX and CBS about Harman supporting Bush's warrantless spying were false. So much for the honesty of CBS's *The Early Show* and apparently what FOX means when they say "fair and balanced" is making stuff up to make it look like there's bi-partisan backing for Bush's lies and deception when there isn't. Remember when CBS excoriated Dan Rather and put him out to pasture because he didn't check his sources carefully enough about Bush's National Guard records? Uh, isn't this the same thing?

Harman's remarks *explicitly* expressed concern that the surveillance program "goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which I was briefed." Harman was a signator on a letter to House Speaker Hastert stating concerns about the spying and had written her own letter voicing her personal concerns to the President as well. Both letters were written days before *Time,* then CBS and FOX claimed she supported Bush on the spying. Worst disappointment: Thalia Assuras, CBS news's national correspondent, repeated Harman's alleged support for Bush's spying a full week after Harman's initial statement decrying it. And the allegation is repeated in the January 9th issue of *Time*–again.

It's getting harder and harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys. (One place to keep tabs–other than this column–is Media Matters for America.)
And we never even *got* to Abramoff....

VCR recommendations: *BoD* competes with ABC's new drama *In Justice* with Kyle McLachan. Tape one, watch the other. Both are worthy. And don't forget Craig Ferguson after Letterman on CBS. Since everyone *else* is taping....Stay tuned.

In response to "Even if you believe the arguments made by the Bushies regarding the existence of Global Warming, I ask you this: Isn't it better to be safe than sorry?" Robert Scardapane writes:

Yes it is! I would add - even if you believe the arguments made by the Bushies regarding the existence of Global Warming, can't you sense the pollution in the air? You don't actually think it's healthy, now do you Bush-itas?

In response to "Welcome, Comrades!", and why I hate communism, Billie M. Spaight writes:

While I've run into my share of nasty socialists or communists, I've also run into my share of nasty conservatives, liberals, moderates, etc. There are nasty people everywhere. To characterize the nastiness of a socialist group as a reason to detest "communism" just doesn't make a lot of sense. Much of what passes for communism or socialism is not the real thing.

I have no reason to hate communism. I do have a reason to hate nastiness and unfair censoring of well-reasoned opinions from a range of viewpoints. Nowhere in communism does it say that ideas must be suppressed. However a lot of that went on in countries that were called communist--as well as in countries that were called capitalist. Right now, in England, there is a case of a protest going on and a ruling that people are not permitted to protest too close to Parliament. And our news has been censored for a long, long time, right here in the U.S. So, it's the censorship that is the issue--not the ideology.

That was the same thing I was pointing at regarding Pat Robertson. I detest him because I feel that his ideas are not compassionate. But it doesn't do any good to call him a name--especially one that doesn't even describe him remotely.

One of the things that I am struck by in reading blogs and other opinion-sharing things is the tendency of people to do a lot of name calling. I don't think this is very productive. I think it contributes to the general mean-spiritedness and anger that is so prevalent today. It makes things more polarized. I think it would be more helpful to judge ideas and events on their own merits and bypass the name calling and labeling involved.

From the range of opinions you have expressed and published, you strike me as a fair-minded and independent thinker, which is why I like your blog and participate in it. But I would suggest that it would be an even stronger and better one sans the labeling and name-calling.

I was talking to a Republican fellow a couple of weeks ago--an ex Marine. I mentioned that, although I was against the war in Iraq, I did not hate soldiers. He said something that struck me as profound: The soldiers and the peace marchers are all doing it for the same basic reason--they care about their country.

That statement, I believe, is the beginning of the dialogue that is so long overdue in this bitterly divided country.

And Madman responded: Sure... make me print my own admonishment... You'll see it tonight.

To which Billie M. Spaight replied:

Thank you. I am glad that you are open-minded and have a sense of humor. Your blog is a very good one so please also print the compliment too unless you feel you cannot for some reason. I'd like the readers to know I like the blog and that what I am offering is just a suggestion. I am just as guilty as anybody else about name calling in private but when I see it in print, I realize what I sound like.

I appreciate it---it's very kind of you.

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-Noah Greenberg