Monday, August 29, 2005

C'est moi, dammit!

Your blogstress was much amused to find yet another reference to her American Prospect piece on John Roberts, this time by the eminent scholar George Weigel on a Web site called Tidings. Weigel writes:

Shortly after Judge Roberts' nomination, President Bush was accused of "playing the Catholic card" in an opinion piece widely circulated in the blogosphere. "Playing the Catholic card" is, to be frank, either a vulgar appeal to ancient prejudices or code-language for "someone who can't be trusted to take Planned Parenthood's position on abortion."

Well, Mr. Weigel, if you're going to bandy about accusations of vulgarity, it is only fair to credit the blogstress with her craft.

Another curiosity of Weigel's piece, written in the form of "An open letter to Patrick Leahy" (the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee), is his apparent lifting of central argument from a press statement issued by the far less eloquent William Donohue of the Catholic League, the first to tar your favorite bad Catholic girl as an anti-Catholic bigot. Here's Donohue:

"Now let's apply this logic to President Clinton's selection of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer for the Supreme Court. Did he do so because he liked 'Playing the Jewish card'? And did he do so because he wanted his critics to be seen as anti-Semites?

And Weigel:

Consider what would have happened if, after nominating Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court, President Clinton had been accused of "playing the Jewish card"? Suppose the Associated Press had run a news story in these terms: "Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Jew, once wrote an ACLU legal brief on the constitutional status of Roe v. Wade"? There would have been outrage, and it would have been wholly justified.

Your blogstress notes that gentlemanly Mr. Weigel sits on the Catholic League's board of advisors. Could it be that is he who supplies the words that spew forth from the mouth of the most intemperate Mr. Donohue?

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On the cutting table

While your blogstress was dallying in her summer doldrums, all manner of remarkable developments have occurred without her sage comment. Truth be told, your Webwench seems to be suffering some form of outrage fatigue. Happenings which, under any other administration but Bush II, would have elicited great hue and cry, are met with a wimper by your cybertrix, who has been known to mutter, "Well, that's just what they do."

How else to explain the failure of your net-tĂȘte to note, last week, the reported firing of a career employee of the Justice Department for daring to challenge the demands of higher-ups to downplay a study that revealed aggressive police tactics used against black and latino drivers? Here, the New York Times' Eric Licthblau reports:

The demotion of the official, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, whom President Bush named in 2001 to lead the Bureau of Justice Statistics, caps more than three years of simmering tensions over charges of political interference at the agency. And it has stirred anger and tumult among many Justice Department statisticians, who say their independence in analyzing important law enforcement data has been compromised.

Today, Times reporter Erik Eckholm tells of the plight of an Army contracting official who dared to question a no-bid deal for Vice President Cheney's former employer:

A top Army contracting official who criticized a large, noncompetitive contract with the Halliburton Company for work in Iraq was demoted Saturday for what the Army called poor job performance.

The official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, has worked in military procurement for 20 years and for the past several years had been the chief overseer of contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers, the agency that has managed much of the reconstruction work in Iraq.

Kindly pass the scissors and straight pins. Your Ă©crivaine knows a pattern when she sees one.

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