Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Road to Zanzibar, Retiring to La-la Land

Gail Collins
Sergei Karaganov
Tim McGirk

"Folks, this is Mussolini-type stuff. This is a president of the United States who cannot deal with opposition. With him, there will not be any. He is going to silence it." - Rush Limbaugh

"If Obama walked on water, Bolton'd say he couldn't swim" - Hillary Clinton

The Road to Zanzibar must lead through Somalia and South Africa, where Hillary Clinton was yesterday, the second stop in a seven nation tour, according to the NY Times: "The American-South Africa “relationship was fraught with far more difficulty than the previous administration was willing to acknowledge,” said an aide to Mrs. Clinton, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We had little access and even less influence.”

But with new administrations in both South Africa and the United States, there seemed to be a new spirit of cooperation on Friday, or at least a lot of talk about it. Mrs. Clinton called South Africa the “economic anchor of Africa” and praised the nation’s strong financial sector, which she said had mostly escaped the credit crunch that plagued much of the rest of the world. “Frankly, we could learn a lot from your example,” Mrs. Clinton said at a business leader luncheon...
But the South Africans were vague about exactly what they might do differently after her visit." I hadn't realized that our relations were rather sucky with South Africa. It seems that we have been ignoring Africa for quite awhile. I'm glad that Hillary has made these overtures. She has been busy traveling over the world, and it seems that stopping in on a country and personally talking to its leaders is the secret for positive results in diplomacy, something both of the Clintons understand. By the time Obama's term is up, she will have gone around the world several times, more active than any previous Secretary of State has ever been...

Sonia Sotomayor was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice today by Chief Justice John Roberts, who said that she can get started right away, as reported by MSNBC. Evidently there is quite a backlog of thousands of cases that haven't been looked at yet... During the Senate confirmation hearing, she had to be wooden, take abuse stoically, and not reveal any of her personal opinions, which has become standard behavior for any potential candidate now and forever more in the future. It will be interesting to see if she will loosen up, and what kind of decisions she will be making, will she disappoint the right or the left, or be a switch-hitter? And as a freshman, will she get hazed: "Sotomayor also will be learning the quirky customs of the highest court in the land. As the newcomer she will take notes and answer the door when the justices have private meetings, including one in late September at which they dispose of a couple thousand appeals.

A former clerk to Sotomayor's predecessor, Souter, says that first case in September could get her thinking about the biggest change anyone faces in becoming a justice, the far-reaching impact of some Supreme Court decisions.

"There are few easy questions that come the court's way," said Meir Feder, the former Souter clerk who is now a partner at the Jones Day firm in New York "You're not applying settled law," Feder said, "because if it's settled, it shouldn't get there in the first place."

It looks like our friend Sarah Palin retired to la-la land or took a trip down the bolt-hole to Wonderland, because she is beginning to rival Michelle Bachman for making statements not based in reality as we know it, from the Daily Beast: "In her first communication since officially resigning as Alaska's governor (and just days after telling the media to quit "makin' things up"), Sarah Palin stated Friday on her Facebook page that health-care reform, or what Palin calls Obama's "death panel," may kill her infant son, Trig. “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil,” Palin writes. Palin’s spokeswoman pointed to page 425 of the House Democrats’ bill when asked what Palin was referring to, which contains a section that refers to “advance-care planning consultation” for seniors, which includes voluntary discussions of living wills, power of attorney, or the decision to reject “extraordinary measures of life support.” The proposal, which has nothing to do with euthanasia, has been widely circulated by conservative critics of the administration as part of a false rumor that a health-care overhaul would pressure senior citizens into killing themselves. As for Palin's description of mandatory Sparta-style murder of Down syndrome babies, the paranoid vision doesn't match up with any component of any health-care plan being discussed." Sarah, Sarah, you need to keep your family out of it, at least until they are old enough to talk rationally for themselves or get pregnant. In Trig's case, it's pretty evil to threaten your own child with death, even if he has Down's Syndrome. Get off whatever prescribed medication you are on and start reading on a regular basis...

I'm sure you'll be happy to know that Alberto Gonzales has found a job teaching a course at Texas Tech beginning August 31, if you want to hurry and sign up for it... to date, no law firm has yet offered him a job and he is writing a book but hasn't found a publisher... welcome to my world, Alberto...

late night jokes:

"Newspapers around the country are calling former President Bill Clinton a hero for his role in extracting two female journalists from North Korea. As a result, today, Clinton asked to be named secretary of extracting Asian chicks." --Conan O'Brien

"Earlier today, Sonia Sotomayor was confirmed as the U.S. Supreme Court's first Hispanic justice. Or, as Lou Dobbs reported it, 'Yet another job gone south of the border.'" --Conan O'Brien

"The latest polls show that President Obama's approval ratings have slumped to an all-time low, which explains Obama's new Secret Service code name, 'NBC.'" --Conan O'Brien

"This week the Toyota Corolla became the most traded-in car as part of the 'Cash for Clunkers' program. After hearing about it, the CEO of General Motors said, 'Oh my God, don't tell me Toyota makes even a better clunker than we do.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Sonia Sotomayor was just confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the Supreme Court. I'm not sure how this works. So, does she sit next to Randy or Simon Cowell? Either way, it's going to be a great season." --Jimmy Fallon

"North Korea, it turns out, they were offered a meeting with Al Gore in exchange for the two American journalists, but Kim Jong Il wanted to meet with Bill Clinton instead. Al Gore said, 'I have no hard feelings at all,' and then he gained 70 pounds and grew a beard." --Jimmy Fallon

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