Thursday, March 31, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Wolfowitz Gets OK as World Bank President

The World Bank unanimously approved Paul Wolfowitz as its president on Thursday despite quiet misgivings by some members over his role as the Bush administration’s architect of the Iraq war.

The outcome had already largely been decided by the governments of the bank’s major shareholder nations before the 24-member board met for a vote by consensus.

Wolfowitz, 61, the U.S. deputy defense secretary, will overlap with current bank chief and Clinton appointee James Wolfensohn before taking the reins of the biggest funder of development projects in the poorest nations on June 1.

No surprise, really, but news nonetheless.

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By Steven L. Taylor

James Joyner notes that Pope John Paul II has been given last rites.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Michael Medved, who has been opposed to the removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube from the beginning, is currently on the air agreeing with what I wrote below (although not directly, obviously) in terms of judicial activism in re: this situation. That is to say that he is noting that this situation is not judicial activism. He is further using abortion as the key example of judicial activism.

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By Steven L. Taylor

While I can understand that there were many who believed that Terri Schiavo should have kept alive no matter what. However, I still don’t understand one aspect of this situation and that is the insistence by those who believe that Terri should have been kept alive that the current situation constitutes judicial activism/tyranny. As best I can tell, the law of the state of Florida was followed, as was federal law (although I know some think that the law passed by Congress wasn’t followed, yet I think a plain reading of that law demonstrates that it was).

If the central figure in this judicial drama, Judge Greer, the Florida judge (a Republican and Southern Baptist, btw, according to published accounts), followed Florida law as written, and if the appeals courts in Florida followed the law, how is that judicial activism?

Judicial activism means the courts stepping outside the bounds of the law to essentially legislate from the bench (i.e., making stuff up). Roe v. Wade is a good example of judicial activism, wherein the Court utilized an unwritten constiutional right to privacy to discover (it was hidden in penumbras and such) a constitution right to abortion. Not only is this clearly “making stuff up” it had the effect of taking the power to regulate the topic in question by the democratically elected representatives of the people in the state legislatures (as well as in Congress) except in fairly narrow ways.

If the law says that the husband is the guardian and that in the absence of written instruction that a hearing is held to determine the wishes of a person unable to communicate those wishes, where is the judicial tyranny if the court simply did what the law required?

One can dislike the outcome. One can dislike the law. One can dislike Michael Schiavo. One cannot, however, argue judicial activism in this case. In this case judicial activism would have been re-inserting the tube.

It is as if many have decided that “judicial activism” = “I didn’t get want I wanted from the courts.” Hence, if the court creates a right to abortion, that is “judicial activism” and if they don’t re-insert the tube, that is “judicial activism”–never mind that in the latter case, the law was clearly followed, what seems to matter to many is simply the idea of getting what one wants out of the system.

If one doesn’t like the way this played out, work to change the laws in your state about persons in PVS or similar circumstances.

Indeed, if one is anti-abortion one wants for abortion what currently exists in regards to this situaiton: the ability to lobby legislature to regulate the topic as public policy rather than simply as the realm of bench.

You have now for regulating the role of families in this type of situation what you do not have in the realm of abortion. Consider that before you cry “judicial tyranny.” Examine the situation, not just what you wanted the outcome to be.

At a minimum: at least argue what you want to argue, i.e, that life is paramount over all and forget this business about judicial tyranny.

(Update: Part of today’s Beltway Traffic Jam)

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Schiavo Dies 13 Days After Feeding Tube Removed

Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman at the heart of a wrenching dispute over her fate that drew in the Congress and President Bush, died on Thursday, a spokesman for the parents said.

While hardly unexpected, this is sad nonetheless.

While my position on this has been clear, I still find the entire situation tragic and sad. Indeed, it has been one long tragedy for all involved for fifteen years.

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By Steven L. Taylor

I had to take Middle Son to the doctor this morning. Nothing serious (for the family readers in the audience), just a persistent cough (and since he slept in our room last because of the thunder-/hail-storm, I can attest that it is, in fact, a very persitent cough).

At any rate, my insurance number had changed, so that needed a new photocopy of my card; fine, no problem with that. However, then, because “there had been a change” they asked me to fill out an entirely new data sheet. I noted “but only the number has changed, everthing else is the same.” To which I was told: “yes, but if there is any change we need a new sheet.”

Now, there are two forces at work here:

1) I hate wasting time on stupid stuff. This, to my mind, qualified mightily as “stupid stuff” given that since they obviously use computers in the office, that a simply click-type-type-type-click-print sequence would have fixed the sheet (not to mention that print out would be easier to read than my handwriting). Isn’t this precisely the kind of things computers are perfect for? It is, after all, the early Twenty-First Century. Further, since they now have a new copy of my insurance card, why do they need me to write the frickity-frack number down on yet another sheet of paper?

2) I am in a grouchy mood (see the above noted thunder, hail and coughing).

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the NYT: Zimbabweans Voting in a Key Election for Parliament

Zimbabweans turned out in large numbers to vote in crucial parliamentary elections today, at a time when President Robert G. Mugabe’s opponents appeared to be riding a wave of popular support that could carry them from near oblivion to a stunning comeback.

But as the opposition made final election day plans on Wednesday, there were hints that Mr. Mugabe’s party would not allow that.

Given that Mugabe is a thug and clearly has no interest in leaving power, I have a hard time seeing a real electon taking place here.

To underscore the questionable nature of the situation, note Mugabe’s idea of how to obtain legitimacy for the process:

To place a stamp of legitimacy on the election, Mr. Mugabe has invited hundreds of foreign observers, mostly from friendly nations like Russia, South Africa and China.

While it is true that SA has had a series of legitimate elections, Russia and China? Yeesh.

And let’s just say that the following does not reflect confidence in his party’s electoral power:

Still, Mr. Mugabe has seemed almost serene. While opposition party leaders barnstormed over the weekend, drawing tens of thousands, the president took a three-day vacation.

When a journalist for The Economist asked after the soporific Chivhu rally whether he could govern with a dominant M.D.C. faction, Mr. Mugabe did not miss a beat.

“It will never happen,” he said.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Barry Ritzholz Ritholtz [Oops-Ed.] has an interesting post on gas prices that is worth a read.

Not only does he show why we should be glad that our cars don’t run on Pepto Bismal, but the fact that in real dollars, gass is not at record high prices.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Conservative gets pie in eye at Quaker college

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters: Supreme Court Again Denies Request by Schiavo Parents

The U.S. Supreme court on Wednesday again denied a request by the parents of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo for an emergency order allowing her feeding tube to be reinserted while they further appealed the case.

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