An “extraordinarily long restriction”

The New Hampshire Historical Society has announced that retired Supreme Court Justice David Souter is donating his personal and professional papers to the society. But don’t book travel to New Hampshire quite yet to take a peek; Souter has placed an extraordinarily long restriction on public access to his papers, barring anyone — researchers, historians, friends, journalists — from viewing the material for 50 years. That’s a lengthier seal than any justice has placed on papers in recent memory.

Justice Souter is a lifelong bachlor and a notoriously quirky and private individual.  Is the restriction, sure to keep these personal papers sealed until long after he is dead, to conceal the fact that he was the country’s first gay Supreme Court justice?

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“Liberal politics always came first for the so-called women’s groups, which is why they are not really women’s groups at all.”

So says Ann Althouse, in a post about an article discussing why women’s groups are so quick to dismiss the sins of Teddy Kennedy (you can read the article if you want; I didn’t bother). 

You know, I can read these sorts of statements, and I don’t even think of having that knee jerk, “not all women, she doesn’t speak for me!” sort of reaction.  It doesn’t even cross my mind, although I clearly have just as much vag as the most militant NOW member.  Leftist groups are simply so far removed from anything even remotely representative to interests that affect me and people like, in a way related to my sex, that the idea of identifying with them is simply laughable.

I hope that he had the opportunity to apologize to Mary Jo Kopechne

I had the TV news on during breakfast, as I tend to do, and it was all Teddy’s funeral, all the time, even on Fox News (or Faux Noise, or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days).  I’ll admit that it was fascinating to watch the political elite, all in one place, talking to each other like they were normal people and their friends and neighbors.  I watched with great curiosity as Hillary leaned far over G.W. for several minutes to chat with Laura about something that was, quite clearly, riotously funny.  And God only knows what Joe Biden was saying to folks, but they all looked, well, like people look when someone like Joe Biden is talking to them, with that odd combination of amusement and annoyance. 

 But on to the man of the hour.  Now, I generally do not wish harm to people with whom I disagree politically, at least those who aren’t actively trying to cause great harm (I’ll admit that I smiled when Saddam swung, but for standard political opponents, there is no comparison).  And I think that, speaking in broad generalizations, this is a positive trait of conservatives.  When Kennedy’s tumor was announced, when Bill Clinton needed heart surgery, conservative commentators that I heard didn’t speak ill, they usually said something positive, that they hoped for the best for these people.  I can’t recall having heard similar empathy from the left for, for example, Reagan’s Alzheimer’s. 

 But, oh, Teddy Kennedy.  You really emphasized so much, so very much of what is wrong in American politics, and particularly what is wrong with the modern, and perhaps, given the length of your tenure, the not so modern, left. 

 Today, Mr. Kennedy is hailed as a great humanitarian.  Yet, his actions toward actual humans were all too inhumane. He claimed to be for the little guy, but he skated by with every advantage, from getting into and cheating in college, to reneging on his military service agreement, to literally getting away with killing a woman and possibly acting as an accomplice to rape, that was afforded by his obscenely powerful family.  He is praised for being remorseful for his wrongs, yet, according to author Ed Klein (who speaks of this as if of a loveable quirk), one of his favorite topics to hear and tell jokes about was that fateful day at Chappaquiddick, when he abandoned a young woman to slowly drown. 

 I’m not celebrating his death; I don’t wish death on anyone unless it is necessary to save another, but I am glad that he is out of the senate.  I wish that he had been out years ago, or that he had never gotten in. By all rights, he should not have.  I hope for the best for the remaining Kennedys, but I hope that their stranglehold on American politics is at an end.  I believe in forgiveness to one who asks for it and shows genuine contrition, but not in forgetting, not in turning a deliberately blind eye to something so obviously in front of one’s face.  Not in allowing the money, glamour, and power of a family name to excuse lying, cheating, abuse, and worse.  (“If his name was Edward Moore, with his qualifications . . .[his] candidacy would be a joke“).  I hope that, in his rare and underappreciated private life, Mr. Kennedy did find the time to seek forgiveness for his wrongs, but sincerely, not through “public service” that gave him almost unlimited power and prestige.  I hope that even he had the opportunity to make his peace with God, and that there is a place for all of us to make amends to those we harmed in this life.  But I don’t think that we should forget, as we say good-bye, that this man was no hero.

“Edit his Saul Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals book to include a rule that you should talk like a pirate.”

IMAO’s top jokes to play on the president while he’s on vacation.  (HT: Cynthia Yockey)

I also loved:

Don’t let him in the White House when he gets back telling him we found his Kenyan birth certificate which made McCain president who was so shocked that he immediately had a heart attack… so guess who’s president now!

Some pretty good suggestions in the comments as well.

Just because the White House calls it a myth, doesn’t make it so

Newsbusters explains exactly why the people aren’t buying what Obama et al is trying to sell. 

  • 67 percent of respondents believe that wait times for health care services, such as surgery, will increase (91 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Independents). Response: Virtually every other state-run health care system has seen waiting times increase when nationalization occurs. More recently, waiting times have increased in Massachusetts after the implementation of state-controlled Commonwealth Care, aka RomneyCare.
  • About five out of 10 believe the federal government will become directly involved in making personal health care decisions (80 percent of Republicans, 25 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of Independents). Response: This has of course happened already in other countries, but is also a stated objective of the likes of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who believes that doctors too often focus on patient well-being while ignoring how doing so affects others in society.
  • Roughly six out of 10 Americans believe taxpayers will be required to pay for abortions (78 percent of Republicans, 30 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Independents). Response: Even the Associated Press has conceded that abortion is in there.
  • 46 percent believe reforms will result in health care coverage for all illegal immigrants (66 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of Independents). Response: The current dubious estimate of roughly 47 million uninsured Americans includes 12-14 million illegals. Though the Congressional Budget Office says that though ObamaCare will fall well short of its stated intention, that stated intention is to indeed cover all who are uninsured, legal and illegal. Beyond that, there’s little doubt that illegals would be covered through court action if anyone tried to resist covering them after ObamaCare’s passage.
  • 54 percent believe the public option will increase premiums for Americans with private health insurance (78 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of Independents). Response: This has to happen, because the relatively rich benefits package the government would impose on any plans allowed to continue to exist exceeds the coverage many individuals and companies currently carry.
  • Five out of 10 think cuts will be made to Medicare in order to cover more Americans (66 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of Independents). Response: The Obama administration has already stated that it will cut Medicare spending but that it will somehow not cut benefits. Even putting aside how virtually impossible that is, a so-called CNN Truth Squad Fact Check tripped up on itself by admitting that the “subsidized” Medicare Advantage program would be cut.
  • Update: The Volokah Conspiracy discusses why just because the Indiana Healthcare Myth Survay says it’s a myth, doesn’t make it so.

    The Secret (Medical) Lives of American Presidents

    Of course we all know about the great lengths that FDR took to hid his disability from the public, and that Kennedy secretly suffered from Addison’s disease, but I was surprised to come across this article, which asserts a long history of the world’s most public men suffering secret illnesses. 

    Concealing one’s true medical condition from the voting public is a time-honored tradition of the American presidency. William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia in April of 1841, after only one month in office, was the first Chief Executive to hide his physical frailties. Nine years later Zachary Taylor’s handlers refused to acknowledge that cholera had put the President’s life in jeopardy; they denied rumors of illness until he was near death, in July of 1850, sixteen months into his presidency. During Grover Cleveland’s second term, in the 1890s, the White House deceived the public by dismissing allegations that surgeons had removed a cancerous growth from the President’s mouth; a vulcanized-rubber prosthesis disguised the absence of much of Cleveland’s upper left jaw and part of his palate. The public knew nothing about the implant until one of the President’s physicians revealed it in 1917, nine years after Cleveland’s death.

    In the twentieth century Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower all, to one degree or another, held back the full truth about medical difficulties that could have jeopardized their hold on the Oval Office. Wilson suffered a paralyzing stroke in 1919 that made him merely a figurehead during the last year and a half of his term. After Coolidge’s sixteen-year-old son died of blood poisoning, in the summer of 1924, Coolidge himself struggled with a clinical depression that made inactivity and passivity the principal features of his Administration. It has been well known for some time that Roosevelt went to great lengths to conceal how physically incapacitated he had been rendered by polio. If voters had known the truth about his generally deteriorating health in 1944, it is unlikely that they would have re-elected him a third time—but they did not know, and FDR died just three months into his fourth term, in April of 1945. Though Eisenhower was much more open about his health than any of his predecessors, the full disclosure of his maladies (including heart disease) in 1956, when he was sixty-six, might have discouraged the country from electing him President again; he had a heart attack during his first term and suffered a number of other medical problems, including a minor stroke, during his second.

    A tale of two financial oversights

    Apparently, Sarah Palin’s PAC screwed up on campaign finance law a bit:

    Sarah Palin’s political action committee violated federal election laws with two donations earlier this year and filed a mid-year report with a number of errors in it, according to the Federal Election Commission.

    In a five-page letter to SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford, the FEC highlights a number of issues with the filed report, including donating more than is allowed to the reelection campaigns of Sens. John McCain and Lisa Murkowski, as well as not providing proper descriptions on how some of the PAC’s money was spent.

    Contacted by CNN, Crawford said the committee was currently revising the report to fix the errors and said these types of mistakes are not uncommon with FEC filings.

    “A million of these [correction letters] go out every month,” Crawford said. “They send out a lot of them.

    A spokesman for the FEC said its standard practice for all reports to be reviewed, but would not estimate how many PAC’s usually have to file corrections.

     Specifically, the FEC notes SarahPAC gave $5,000 to McCain and Murkowski’s primary campaigns — $2,600 more than is allowed for a PAC of SarahPAC’s designation to give to a primary effort. SarahPAC also designated the donation for the senators’ 2009 primary when in fact the primaries are in 2010.

    To fix the error, Crawford said the PAC will allocate $2,400 to the senators’ primary campaigns and $2,400 to the general election effort as is allowed under election laws. The PAC has also obtained a $200 refund from both campaigns to make up the difference.

    “We essentially gave $200 too much,” Crawford said. “We have since redesignated with both committees.”

    Yeah, that’s pretty much it, they made a twenty-six hundred dollar error by not exactly following the absurdly complicated and newly enacted campaign funding rules.  A problem, which should be fixed and reviewed to see that something similar doesn’t happen in the future.

    Meanwhile, you know how sometimes you reach into the pocket of a pair of pants or a jacket that you haven’t worn in a while, and find a 20 dollar bill that you didn’t know that you had?  Well, the same thing happened to Charlie Rangel, only, instead of twenty dollars, it was somewhere between half a million and $780,000.  And instead of finding it in his pocket, he found it pretty much everywhere:

    Earlier this month the Chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee “amended” his 2007 financial disclosure form—to the tune of more than a half-million dollars in previously unreported assets and income. That number may be as high as $780,000, because Congress’s ethics rules only require the Members to report their finances within broad ranges. This voyage of personal financial discovery brings Mr. Rangel’s net worth for 2007 to somewhere between $1.028 million and $2.495 million, while his previous statement came in at $516,015 and $1.316 million.

    When you’re a powerful Congressman and working diligently to increase tax rates to pay for President Obama’s health-care plan, we suppose it’s easy to lose track of one of your checking accounts. That would be the one at the federal credit union with a balance somewhere between $250,001 and maybe as high as $500,000. And when you’re crunched for time and pulling together bills to pass in a rush, we guess, too, that you might overlook several other investment accounts, even if some of them are sizable, such as the ones Mr. Rangel missed at JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer and BlackRock.

    Oh, and those vacant properties in Glassboro, in southern Jersey? Everybody in Manhattan tries not to think much about New Jersey, so those lots and their as-much-as-$15,000 value must also have slipped down the memory hole. (The New York Post reported yesterday that Mr. Rangel failed to pay property taxes for two of the lots, according to the county clerk’s office.)

    The Chairman probably isn’t doing a lot of dining at KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell or Long John Silver’s, either, which may explain why he didn’t disclose the $1,001 to $15,000 in stock he owns in Yum Brands, the conglomerate that runs those chain restaurants. Compared to his undisclosed portfolio stake in PepsiCo—$15,001 to $50,000—that’s practically a rounding error.

    Lucky break there, Charlie, lucky break.

    CNN frontpaged the Palin story all day long today.  A search through CNN’s archieves indicated that Rangel hasn’t been mentioned at all since July (for completely unrelated reasons), and this latest “oversight” was, it appears, completely un-newsworthy.