Monday, January 23, 2006


A trio of young men of my acquaintance have started up a new blog called Insense that addresses matters of religion, music, science and whatever else strikes their fancy. They're doing a nice job with it, and it deserves a look.

Bork's Last Laugh

Cass Sunstein laments that Robert Bork is having the last laugh. Samuel Alito, he claims, holds to a view of the Constitution indistinguishable from that of Judge Bork who was refused confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1987 because he believed that the document should be interpreted according to the original intention of its framers. This appalled scholarly luminaries like Ted Kennedy and Arlen Specter who saw the right to an abortion going up in smoke if it had to actually have Constitutional warrant. Bork was slimed and subsequent nominees, who were loath to endorse the judicial propriety of Roe v. Wade, nevertheless were skittish about abjuring it. Thus, we got Anthony Kennedy and David Souter.

As Sunstein observes, however, John Roberts began a reversal of this trend:

Significantly, however, John Roberts did not follow the script set by his Republican predecessors. His overall message was much simpler: He would follow the law. At the same time, he announced, "I do not have an overarching judicial philosophy that I bring to every case." He explained, "I tend to look at the cases from the bottom up rather than the top down."

Samuel Alito largely followed Roberts's script, but at key points he was much more specific. Asked about his general approach, he said, "I think we should look to the text of the Constitution, and we should look to the meaning that someone would have taken from the text of the Constitution at the time of its adoption." He also said that "it is the job of a judge, the job of a Supreme Court justice, to interpret the Constitution, not distort the Constitution, not add to the Constitution or subtract from the Constitution."

Although Alito offered various qualifications, this is Bork's view in a nutshell. Remarkably, Alito's statements to this effect have received essentially no public attention....One reason may be that unlike Bork, Alito did not argue for disturbing results, such as the abolition of the privacy right. But the most important point is the development of a new script for confirmation -- one that emphasizes fidelity to law, an idea that might well include favorable references to Bork's approach to the Constitution.

This is a fundamental change, one that signals a huge victory by Republican politicians.

Imagine. Expecting judges to have fidelity to law represents a fundamental change in the way we confirm people for judgeships. No wonder the liberals are upset. Bush is filling the Court with people who will be faithful to the law instead of people who will be making it up. This must be why Hillary thinks this is the most incompetent administration in history.

Suitcase Nukes

Wretchard at Belmont Club has a fascinating discussion of the difficulties facing a rogue state which wishes to deploy small nuclear weapons ("suitcase nukes") against a Western nation like the United States. He argues that in order to bring us to our knees the aggressor nation would have to kill about one fourth of our population which means they'd have to deploy some 150 such weapons. This creates severe logistical problems that sharply raise the risk to the aggressor. Go to his site to read his rationale. Also be sure to read the comments, some of which suggest that the explosive yield Wretchard assumes a suitcase nuke to possess is too high.

Meanwhile, however, one possibility Wretchard doesn't mention that must be taken into consideration is that a rogue nation like Iran really wouldn't have to deploy so many weapons against us but rather might choose to risk a gambit something like this:

Working through terrorists such as al-Qaeda, they successfully smuggle two or three suitcase nukes across the ridiculously porous Mexican border and into selected American cities. They might then detonate one in, say, New York, or worse, Washington, D.C. They would then have the terrorists take credit and announce that there are dozens more such weapons scattered in cities all across the country, and any reprisal by Americans will result in another weapon being set off, then another, etc. They also would probably announce that unless the United States abandons the Middle East entirely, including Israel, the weapons will be exploded.

If there's skepticism or hesitation among American leaders, the terrorists could detonate a second bomb to convince us that they're not bluffing. We would have no way of knowing how many more they have, nor would it matter. The public panic would be unmanageable, and whoever was governing would have to cave to the terrorists' demands.

The real threat, therefore, is not 150 suitcase nukes. The real threat is two or three such devices at the disposal of a suicidal fanatic like the current Iranian president - or, as we've written before, a single warhead detonated high in the atmosphere whose EMP could render useless every electronic device in this country. In a split-second we'd be back in the 19th century and economic and social chaos would reign throughout the land.

These are not happy thoughts, and they lend a certain urgency to attempts to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of those who despise us enough to blow up most of the world just to kill us.

As Sick as a Society Can Be

Palestinians, thwarted in their obsession with killing Jews by the Israeli-built "wall," are not turning to more peaceful pursuits. Nosiree. When you've got a lust for blood you'll kill somebody even if it has to be your own wives and sisters. Sharon Lapkin writes about the sickening upsurge in "honor killings" of women in the West Bank and Gaza in 2005.

The entire article should be read, but here are just a few examples of the cultural depravity that infects Arab communities across the globe, even, Lapkin points out, in Britain:

Soraida Hussein, head of research for Jerusalem's Women's Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling said, "Honor killing is nothing new... what is new is the whole wave of killing in 2005." In May 2005, the BBC reported, "In recent months there has been an increase in honour killings in the West Bank and Gaza...Women's rights activists say they cannot explain the upsurge."

During a particularly brutal spate of honor killings in early 2005, five Palestinian women were murdered in four separate incidents over a short period of time. Faten Habash spent six weeks in a hospital after she threw herself from her family's fourth floor apartment window. Upon her return home, her father bludgeoned her to death with an iron bar.

Two days later, Maher Shakirat attacked his three sisters. The eldest, Rudaina, was eight months pregnant and had been admonished by her husband after he claimed she'd had an affair. Maher forced his sisters to drink bleach before strangling them. The youngest, Leila, escaped but had serious internal injuries from the effect of the bleach.

Rafayda Qaoud shared a bedroom in her Ramallah home with her two brothers. After they raped and impregnated her, she gave birth to a baby boy who was adopted by another family. Her mother then gave Rafayda a razor blade and ordered her to slash her own wrists. When she refused to commit suicide, her mother pulled a plastic bag tightly over her head, sliced open her daughter's wrists and beat her with a stick until she was dead.

Palestinian feminist Abu Dayyeh Shamas claims that: "Men feel they have lost their dignity and that they can somehow restore it by upholding the family's honour. We've noticed recent cases are much more violent in nature; attempts to kill, rape, incest. There is an incredible amount of incest." One women's group reported over 400 cases of incest in the West Bank alone in 2002.

Anthropologist James Emery explained in 2003, how "among Palestinians, all sexual encounters, including rape and incest, are blamed on the woman." Men are always presumed innocent and the responsibility falls on the woman or girl to protect her honor at all costs. When 17-year-old Afaf Younes ran away from her father after he allegedly sexually assaulted her, she was caught and sent home to him. He then shot and killed her to protect his honor.

And when a four-year-old toddler was raped by a 25 year-old man in 2002, her Palestinian family left her to bleed to death because her rape had dishonored the family.

Emery described a Palestinian merchant explaining this cultural view of femininity as "A woman shamed is like rotting flesh, if it is not cut away, it will consume the body. What I mean is the whole family will be tainted if she is not killed."

Little wonder that the Israelis wanted to build a wall between themselves and these people. They're demonic. Read the rest of the article here.

If Satan is real and not just a metaphor for human depravity his greatest triumph must surely be in convincing people that they are acting in God's will when they do great evil.