KWMU, St. Louis’s local NPR station has been broadcasting all of the confirmation hearings for Sam Alito, and since I’m somewhat of a junkie, I’ve been pretty much listening to them all day at work. It has been driving me crazy, but at the same time really gets me thinking. In some ways I almost prefer to hear arguments that I don’t agree with, because it is easier to formulate your own arguments and come up with more well reasoned lines of questioning. But it also drives you insane because there is nothing that you can do to get through to these people. Listening to the Republicans is like giving myself an itch that I can never scratch. The whole thing is just enough to make you go insane, but it has made me think about the following things:
1) Since when is it appropriate to evade questions being asked of you, in this sort of situation. If I were interviewing for a job, and simply refused to answer point blank questions, I would not be hired. “Well I fully respect the principles of programming, and understand that algorithms have a strong precendent of use.” is not an acceptable answer to “How would you write a loop to solve a given problem?” If I were interviewing for a job, and there were glaring inconsistancies about how I was going to answer a question, I would not be hired. ” “Nathan, you just told us how you would solve writing a loop, why can’t you tell us how you would access a database?” I realize that these analogies might be weak, but I think that you understand the point. We all know that Sam Alito is opposed to abortion. Why can’t he just say it?
2) Jeff Sessions, R-AL, sounds like the biggest redneck in the world. I cannot believe someone like this made it to the Senate. And the dick sucking that he gave Alito was enough to embarrass you. In fact, today, the second day of questioning, all the Republicans really did was say how impressed they were with him and how awful the Democrats were for daring to question this fine human being. Just yesterday I remember one of them saying that it was irresponsible that some Democrats had made up their minds to vote against him. Well hello? You’ve made up your mind to vote for him, and that is just as irresponsible!
3) I haven’t gotten to hear much of Jeff Biden, and that makes me sad. But Charles Schumer from New York (go my former Senator!) did a very good job of pointing out inconsistancies in what Alito said. The problem is, though, that he is the only one. All of the other Dems, for the most part, seem flacid and unappealing. And this, I believe, is a sign of a larger problem in the Democratic party. Even in a time when the Republican party is falling apart, we can’t find a democrat who can make a stand without sounding whiney. When is there going to be a Democrat to come forward and put forward a plan that is attractive to people. Why can’t someone stand up and say “Look, we need to get rid of this corruption in the government. I want to stop spying on our citizens. We are never going to torture anyone, ever. Terrorism must be fought at home and abroad, but not with guns and bombs – We have to combat the root causes of terrorism – poverty and disinfranchisement across the Muslim world. We have to work to get our Allies back on our side in making the world a safer place. Tax cuts are irresponsible, and we are going to get rid of them, not because we want to take your money, but because putting the US in this much debt is a national security problem in the long run. We are going to formulate an energy policy that relies on alternative energy sources, to take the power away from foreign regimes who use this money for bad, because again, this is a national security problem. We’re going to make sure that government agencies are run by people who are competent, so that in the face of disasters people don’t suffer. We’re going to keep science in the classroom and religion in the church, because it is better for both of them to be in those places.” Where is THAT Democrat?
4) Back to Alito. Lindsey Graham – he is hard to get mad at. Even if you don’t like him, he presents his arguments in a well reasoned and sensible way, at least from what I’ve heard. He doesn’t come across is crazy, and that is the sort of person that you can agree to disagree with, as opposed to the kind of person you just want to smack (I’m looking at you Orrin Hatch.)
5) Back to Abortion. The democrats are really hitting hard at this, understandably. But I think they need to back off of it. We know where Alito stands, but I don’t think that abortion will get overturned even if he is on the court. In the 5-4 decision to keep Roe (I don’t know the exact case) which most people site as a reason to not want someone like Alito on the court, one justice, Kennedy I believe, voted with the minority because of a technicality or something like that, but in the broader context of Roe, he would vote to keep it. So even with Alito, Roe appears to be safe. What bothers me about abortion, and I realize that this is a side track, is that outlawing abortion will not prevent abortion as can be seen by the example of Latin America. Most countries in Latin America have outlawed abortions, but they are no less common. What is a problem, though, is that the wealthy get them safely, but the poor have to seek out unsafe “back alley” abortions, which can cause much harm to the mother. Is there any reason to think that won’t happen here? Is there any reason to think that outlawing abortion will actually stop people from having abortions? So if the reality of the situation is that abortions are going to happen no matter what, shouldn’t the laws be in place to make sure that they happen safely? Despite how you feel about it morally, shouldn’t you look at it practically and realize that outlawing will cause more harm than good?
6) But anyway, yes, the democrats should be devoting more time, I think, to questions about one person, one vote and Alito’s views on Presidential authority. And they have asked him some questions, but the pounding comes on abortion. But the other two, I feel, are things that are very relavent to today’s society, and the future of our country. Also, I might have missed it, but has anyone asked him about Intelligent Design? I’m sure his answer would be “I can’t comment on that” or something like that, but it is a very relavent thing to want to know.
7) I have people who site facts like – “Sam has voted to keep current rulings 80% of the time” as a way to show that he won’t go about changing things. But maybe it is that all courts vote to keep things the same around 80% of the time. I don’t know. Or maybe the 20% of the rulings he voted to overturn are CRAZY NUTJOB things, like saying that it was perfectly okay to have a 10 year old girl strip searched. Yeah, maybe 80% of the time he’s fine, but when he’s not, boy is he bad. Or maybe in that 80% there were things that SHOULD have been overturned but he didn’t. So 80% is a completely worthless number, and that is why I hate statistics a large part of the time. People who use them generally use them completely without context, so they add no value. They just confuse stupid people. Maybe the 80% is good, but I sure would have liked some more information with it.
Okay, well I’m hungry and done ranting now. I think I’m going to go get some Taco Bell. Maybe that will calm me down. I really should just stop listening to this crap, but I can’t help it. And I feel like maybe I should get involved, because I care, and maybe I could make a difference. But that’s work, and as we all know, I’m lazy. So the weblog it is.