Sunday, October 30, 2005

A personal note 

The strange thing about calling that I have observed in my church recently is that when particular people are called by God to a field or a particular endeavor, it's usually a pretty strong and undeniable call on the person's life. Recently, my church sent a bright intelligent young lady to Japan to help our denomination's missions efforts over there as a nanny and secretary to the laborers in the field. I know and trust the young lady in question and I think she will be a tremendous asset to the church in Japan.

Shortly after sending her, my church was surprised by the announcement of my pastor to take a calling to the mission field in the Ukraine (his personal diary/blog is here). Dan just seemed to fit my church so well. He said that when he took the calling to be pastor of the church, he would die there and be buried on our church property. He is bright and intelligent, well versed in history and the Reformed faith. While he was shepherding us, I was fed by him. He was hospitable, friendly and desirous to teach the whole counsel of God as he called it. He has a desire to preach and teach the psalms, the Acts and other sermons that fit right into the church calendar.

Dan will be teaching other pastors in the Ukraine so they can go forth and plant other churches and spread God's kingdom to the ends of the earth. I have nothing but fond memories of Dan and his family. They will be missed because I and the other members of the church love them very much.

The church will be holding a congregational meeting to decide whether or not to accept his resignation and to appoint a search committee to start the process of finding a new pastor. Please be in prayer for our church as we handle this change. I understand that the search took two years before Dan was finally called by our church. The precedent has been set for a patient deliberation of candidates and I hope the committee (whoever it may be) will choose wisely.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

final thoughts on Ms. Miers 

I guess sulking and attacking nominees really does work after all. And I suppose soon there will be crying in baseball.

As a lightweight member of the praetorian guard, it was harder to speak out for Ms. Miers' virtues as a justice than to criticize the anti-Miers' brigages arguments stirred up from day one. John Podhoretz put it well on Hugh's radio show when he asked "Where is her judicial philosophy? Can I go to a chinese restaurant and find it in a fortune cookie?" That proved to be her ultimate undoing in my opinion with a judicial philosophy that had to be cobbled together from various sources, speeches to different groups and the like, she appeared to be an incoherent mess of a jurist.

Having said all of that, however much the anti-Miers critics may bay, it was an old fashioned "Borking" of the nominee, only this time she "fell" on her own sword and the critics were from the political right, not the political left. In order to agree that the assault on Miers wasn't a "borking", one has to assume that Miers wasn't qualified to sit on the court to begin with. If I don't accept that premise, then the charge hasn't been refuted. An example of the defensive posture Miers' critics have taken in regards to the borking that went on, can be seen here. From day one, the folks set the template to read that whatever Ms. Miers was saying, they were mere platitudes or she was telling people what they wanted to hear, blah, blah, blah. Contrary to Mr. Adler's assertions, the website was calling for Ms. Miers to be denied a hearing and a vote. They wanted to have Ms. Miers herself withdraw the nomination, and barring that, they wanted Senators to go to the White House to demand her nomination be withdrawn (link, link) True, the editors of the website and publication didn't advocate the use of a filibuster or advocate tying her nomination up in committee, but they did urge the use of the steps outlined above all before any testimony could be given or questions asked by Senators. This viscious attack on her record and her character had a lot of the trademarks of a borking, only done much faster in the internet age.

Beldar had it right when he said that a large problem with the nomination of Ms. Miers was the lack of imagination when it came to visualize what would make a good nominee. It would be curious to know if the editors of National Review Online can remember what they said about William Rhenquist's lack of judicial experience when was first nominated by Richard Nixon. Did they have the same kind of concerns back then that they expressed over Miers?
Seeing as how Rhenquist was the last non-judge to be nominated to the court, I wonder if the critics of the Miers nomination could come up with anyone outside of the judicial pool and come up with a "suitable" nominee. I thought Harriet Miers' lack of experience on the bench would have been a welcome breath of fresh air to the bench, but with the borking that took place, we'll never know. Beldar's article on the subject can be read here.

If anyone is going to criticize Ms. Miers for supporting private affirmative action on one while saying the government has no business in it on the other really ought to rethink the last chapter of Dinesh D'Souza's The End of Racism and think about calling the author to task because his arguments in that chapter are essentially the same as Ms. Miers' views as could be cobbled together.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Memos on Miers 

I have been giving the nomination of Harriet Miers some more thought, especially in all of the further commentary on both sides of the issue, particularly from fellow conservatives. I have some free-form thoughts about the whole dust up in no particular order:

Memo to Hugh Hewitt: In Dana Milbank's piece in the Washington Post, Jonah Goldberg was quoted as saying that the really big disappointment with Dubya was over the response to Katrina and the unchecked spending. Addressing this context would be helpful in the debate over Ms. Miers. I think many of the issues of immigration, federal spending and the like were bubbling below the surface and they hit an emotional flashpoint with the Miers nomination. It doesn't justify the continuation of The Big Sulk in any way, but I think it would go a long way towards addressing the trust issue with this president.

Memo to The White House: Will you people please stop with this "you're being sexist!" nonsense? I can't think of a single conservative critic who has said that she shouldn't be nominated because she is a woman. I haven't heard or read any conservative critic say that men are or would be better judges than women. Charges of sexism are usually the provence of leftists in our country, not responsible adults in this administration. Steal a page from Hugh Hewitt or borrow a page from Beldar if you want to sound cogent and intelligent on this issue, but please put the "sexist" charge back in the box for others.

Memo to David Frum: if the nomination were indeed sinking and if she were to be voted down, then this would make for a self-fulfilling prophecy, would it not? So I'm clear on this, not getting behind the nominee helps sink her so you and your colleagues can say "see? We told you she wasn't good enough for the court!" The benefit of this scenario would be what exactly? Note to the gang at NRO: does anyone there have personal recollections of when the late justice Rhenquist was nominated by Richard Nixon? Is it possible for anyone there to imagine a high jurist not coming from the appellate courts, seeing as how we haven't had one in 30 plus years at the very least?

One final thought: Let's assume that the insinuations made by Mr. Frum and his anonymous sources are right and Ms. Miers is a completely blank slate except for what her client du jour of the moment inputs into her head and she heads to Capitol Hill to represent the president's views there. I think that even if she were merely representing the president's views and not "her own", then by all means let the views of Dubya come into full view on national t.v. Not even the sulkiest of her critics seriously question her skill as an advocate and lawyer. Ms. Miers deserves to be heard for better or for worse. I have gotten over my letdown and I think she will be a fine nominee and hopefully a fine justice.

Monday, October 10, 2005

...But where are the kids? 

On Friday, the Cincinnati Enquirer had a story for those interested in seeing the state's monopoly over public education ended that is cause for some cheer. The story points out that the Cincinnati schools have lost about 1,200 more pupils this past year according to preliminary numbers released by the district. The interesting things to note are: 1) the chart on the right hand side of the article showing the district losing about 14,000 students in the past ten years. This has been a major decline in the number of students trapped by a mediocre system of schools. 2)The thing that regular readers of this blog should note is that the article doesn't even stop to consider the roles of overall migration to the suburbs, enrollment in parochial schools and the rise of homeschooling has had on these numbers in addition to the number of students enrolled in charter schools. This lack of coverage concerning a basic question demonstrates to me the statist viewpoint of many reporters.

I would like nothing better than to see the state butt out of education altogether and I would like to see more parents step up and take more control over their children's education. By the way, for those parents who are in the burbs', the problems of mediocre performance and other problems are going to come your way; it's just a matter of time before the problems of CPS find their way into Mason and Kings school districts. The best thing parents can do is to wrest control of their children's education away from the state. Period. God has assigned the primary responsibility for education to the parents. We should guard not only the fact that our children are learning, but we should guard what they're learning as well.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Courtin' Season 

I have watched with much interest the rhetorical food fight that has broken out in conservative ranks over President Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers. I have read Professor Bainbridge and the fine folks at National Review leading the charge against Ms. Miers. On the other side of the ledger, I have read Hugh Hewitt and Beldar ably defend and stick up for the nominee. I have been torn between the two camps because I have sympathies with both. I think that, in her own right and on her own terms, Ms. Miers is an acceptable nominee to the court. From what I have gathered, and read, I don't think her lack of judicial experience will be a major deterrent. I think her legal experience and her personal character will be assets in her favor should she get approval from the Senate.

My thoughts and feelings have been fairly well captured here, here, and here (please note in the final link, the last two paragraphs of the piece. They are beautiful and help put things in their proper perspective). I am warming up to the prospect of a Justice Miers, although I would like very much for her to get a thorough examination by the Senate.

While I think the President could have chosen better or "more qualified" candidates, I was angered by the sarcastic and cynical tone found in this article by Rick Miniter. The whole piece just struck me as insulting to the readers who might be inclined to support and trust the president on this nominee. It wasn't enough to merely disagree with the president's choice, the author had to strike a smarmy and arrogant tone in doing so, just the sort of thing Hedgehog criticizes here. It is time for conservatives to rally behind an exceptional woman and a qualified nominee. As I have read the defenses of Ms. Miers' (particularly Beldar), I have grown in my acceptance of this nominee. I hope the anti-Miers' people will either get over their disappointment and start pushing for her very soon before the left gets its meathooks into her past and start to really go beserk. Ms. Miers will serve the conservative cause very well. I am supporting this woman and other conservatives should do likewise.

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