Daily Archives: April 16, 2010

Well that was The Bad Old Days.

These days lesbian means

or better still

Consequently, the appearance of this little stinkbomb is rather curious.

“It’s an odd thing to get attacked by the White House for a blog post, and odder still when the attack is for something mentioned in passing, and intended to highlight a political positive about a potential Supreme Court nominee.
My recent blog post at The New Ledger, crossposted at CBS News, mentioned that I thought the appointment of Elena Kagan, along with potential nominees Pam Karlan and Kathleen Sullivan, would mark the first instance of an openly gay nominee to the Supreme Court. I included it as a political positive, describing it as a “Plus” that “would please much of Obama’s base.” The issue is already out there: Karlan and Sullivan are both openly gay, and one need not look too far for arguments being made on left-wing blogs that it would be an affirmative good to appoint a lesbian.
As Sam Stein writes: “The White House reacted strongly to the assertion, relaying that Kagan is, in fact, straight. It was the first public pushback by the administration in defense of any potential Supreme Court nominee.”
I erroneously believed that Ms. Kagan was openly gay not because of, as Stein describes it, a “whisper campaign” on the part of conservatives, but because it had been mentioned casually on multiple occasions by friends and colleagues — including students at Harvard, Hill staffers, and in the sphere of legal academia — who know Kagan personally. And as the reaction from Julian Sanchez and Matt Yglesias shows, I was not alone in that apparently inaccurate belief.”

Oh really? Well Querty sees things quite differently.

“Why was the White House so upset? Because Kagan is not a lesbian, claims spokesman Ben LaBolt, and saying she is amounts to “false charges.”
Which is funny, because Kagan is, in fact, a homogay, and is out among personal friends. But not the public, evidently — which explains the White House’s bold reaction to anyone claiming she is. Most curious, then, that the White House would come to her “defense” (should we call it that?) so quickly. Might we interpret that as a clue she really is on Obama’s short list of potential Supreme Court nominees, whose reputation he wants to protect?”

WHOOPS!

Back to Ben with the de rigeur pro forma

“Look, it’s 2010 — no one should care if a nominee to any position is gay. The fact that conservative Senators John Cornyn and Jeff Sessions have recently expressed openness to confirming an openly gay nominee to the Court is a good thing. Senators should look at things that actually matter — evaluating a nominee’s decisions, approach to the law, their judgment and ability — to see whether there are actually good and relevant reasons to oppose the nomination. That’s all.”

Oh yeah? Tell it to Condi Rice.

Or better still, Gwen Ifill.

So long as you’re willing to pimp the meme that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction — when he had no such thing and everyone in the White House and CIA knew it — you can munch all the carpet you want,

“But that’s about getting the job. As a political matter, there are ramifications for nominations to the Supreme Court, and the core elements of a nominee’s biography, like his or her family life, are inescapable when the nation focuses on such a high-profile life-tenured appointment.”

OK, Let’s Go To The Bio!

“Elena Kagan (born April 28, 1960)(pronounced /ˈkeɪɡən/) is Solicitor General of the United States. She is the first woman to hold that office, having been nominated by President Barack Obama on January 26, 2009, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 19, 2009. Kagan was formerly dean of Harvard Law School and Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of Law at Harvard University. She was previously a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. She served as Associate White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton.”

But wait — There’s More!

“In the extensive speculation about Elena Kagan’s potential nomination to the Supreme Court, left-leaning commentators have mainly debated whether Kagan’s ideological instincts are sufficiently liberal.
Largely overlooked, though, is an issue that is ultimately more far-reaching: whether Kagan would be an effective liberal on the court — that is, whether she has the skills to win over Anthony Kennedy, who casts the decisive vote in nearly all of the court’s most closely divided cases, and whether she could match wits with Antonin Scalia and John Roberts, the court’s conservative fire-breathers.
Based on a review of the transcripts of Kagan’s appearances before the court as President Obama’s solicitor general, there is little reason to believe that she possesses particular deftness on either front. Even more surprisingly, Kagan has not infrequently raised the ire of the court’s more liberal members, her supposed ideological allies. The data points are few (she has argued only six cases before the court), but they give little reason to believe that her transition to the court would be made with anything approaching seamlessness.
Kagan’s very first oral argument — in the landmark Citizens United case — is emblematic. The first interruption came about three sentences into the argument: “Wait, wait, wait, wait.” That was Justice Scalia, convinced that Kagan had gone awry on her very first point. Kagan’s attempted explanation went nowhere. Scalia, again: “I don’t understand what you are saying.”
When John Paul Stevens tried to suggest a potential answer to Kagan, she missed the cue, prompting the normally patient Stevens to remark, “I don’t think you really caught what I suggested.”
Things got no better during the rest of Kagan’s half-hour at the podium. At about the 29-minute mark, Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked about the government’s apparent switch in position over the course of the case. Here, according to the transcript, is how Kagan’s reply went: “‘The government’s answer has changed, Justice Ginsburg.’ (Laughter.)”
Continue reading
To a certain extent, Kagan’s troubles were not of her own making. Through various procedural maneuvers, the court had suggested long before her argument that it would hold against the government, so Kagan cannot fairly be called the author of the government’s Citizens United loss.
But she certainly didn’t do herself or the United States any favors. When the case was argued in September 2009, a modest defeat was still well within the realm of possibility, provided that Kagan could secure Kennedy’s vote. But she seemed oddly unconcerned with addressing his qualms. At one point, Kennedy asked Kagan to address a particular issue, which she had labeled “point two” in her opening remarks:
Kennedy: In the course of this argument, have you covered point two? … I would like to know what it is.
Kagan: I very much appreciate that, Justice Kennedy. I think I did cover point two.
She quickly moved on. Four months later, Kennedy wrote a 5-4 opinion that handed Kagan and the U.S. government a sweeping defeat.”

Funny how Ben doesn’t so much as allude to any of this.

By contrast –

“Ben Domenech is the son of Douglas Domenech, the White House Liaison for the Department of the Interior, is a cousin of Puerto Rican Democrat Francisco Domenech, and is descended from Puerto Rican politician, Manuel V. Domenech, former legislator, Mayor of Ponce, Commissioner of the Interior, Treasurer, and acting Governor of Puerto Rico. He was home schooled by his mother using the Calvert School curriculum (and by correspondence for his last three years of high school).
He attended the College of William and Mary between 1999 and 2002. After receiving a job offer from the US Department of Health and Human Services, he left William and Mary before his senior year.

His career in punditry began as a teenager when he began writing a column, “Any Given Sunday,” for National Review Online, in addition to his personal blog. The NRO column recapped political talk shows on television. “If there was a Top 10 list of young Loudoun County people to watch, he’d be on it,” a Washington Post reporter wrote in a Loudoun County regional section of the paper. “Domenech is a sharp writer with an obvious command of his national politics beat — especially considering that this is the first year he is eligible to vote.”
Domenech said in his Washingtonpost.com bio that he was the youngest political appointee of the George W. Bush administration. He worked as a speechwriter for Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. He has also worked as contributing editor for National Review Online; two years as the chief speechwriter for Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX); and an editor at Regnery Publishing, where he worked on books by Michelle Malkin, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Hugh Hewitt.
The Washington Post received over 1,000 complaints for hiring him. Media Matters also criticized the choice. ] One line of criticism held that the Post should not have hired a non-journalist conservative partisan blogger—or at least, not without hiring a non-journalist liberal partisan blogger. Another line focused on Domenech’s previous writings, including a February 7, 2006 condemnation of deceased civil rights activist Coretta Scott King as a “Communist.”) Domenech also was criticized for a post quoting from a First Things article by Richard John Neuhaus about Freakonomics and abortion. In his washingtonpost.com blog, Domenech apologized for calling King a Communist, describing his lapse as “hyperbole” and defended the item relating to Neuhaus. Ben’s writing seems to suggest he has problems with Gays and Jews.”

But wait — There’s More!

Domenech, who wrote for RedState under the pseudonym “Augustine,” was hired by the Washington Post’s online arm to write a blog providing “a daily mix of commentary, analysis and cultural criticism.” The blog, “Red America”, launched on March 21, 2006, but Domenech resigned three days later after only six posts, after other bloggers posted evidence that Domenech had plagiarized work from the Washington Post, The New Yorker, humorist P. J. O’Rourke, and several other writers.
Domenech was first accused of appropriating a chapter from O’Rourke’s 1990 book “Modern Manners” for an editorial in The Flat Hat, a weekly student newspaper at William and Mary. O’Rourke denied Domenech’s claim that the humorist had granted permission to use his words, adding that he couldn’t recall ever meeting the college student. Blogs Eschaton and Daily Kos soon posted links to movie reviews of Bringing Out the Dead, The Bachelor, and The World Is Not Enough written by Domenech for the same student paper. The reviews appear to be taken nearly verbatim from reviews published by Salon.com and an amateur Usenet reviewer named Steve Rhodes.
The Flat Hat investigated and eventually concluded that the paper had published 35 articles by Domenech, including 10 with suspicious similarities to works by other authors, including ones by National Review editor Jonah Goldberg. Commenters at Daily Kos also uncovered two examples of plagiarism in reviews written by Domenech for National Review Online in 2000 and 2001. The first finding, a review of the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, contained a lengthy passage nearly identical to one by Steve Murray of the Cox News Service.. The second, a review of a Wallflowers’ album, borrowed passages from one published in Rolling Stone by Tom Moon earlier the same month[.
On March 24 2006, the editors of National Review confirmed on its blog The Corner that Domenech appeared to have plagiarized for at least one article he’d written for that publication:
As the previous links on the matter mention, at least one of the pieces Ben Domenech is accused of having plagiarized was a movie review for National Review Online. A side-by-side comparison to another review of the same film speaks for itself. There is no excuse for plagiarism and we apologize to our readers and to Steve Murray of the Cox News Service from whose piece the language was lifted. With some evidence of possible problems with other pieces, we’re also looking into other articles he wrote for NRO.
Still later, National Review announced that they had confirmed three other instances of apparent plagiarism. Side-by-side comparisons published on the site indicated that Domenech had also lifted phrases from Rolling Stone, the Dallas Morning News, and other sources.”

But wait — there’s EVEN MORE!

“At 1:17 p.m. ET on March 24 2006, Washington Post online editor Jim Brady announced Domenech’s resignation,explaining:
When we hired Domenech, we were not aware of any allegations that he had plagiarized any of his past writings. In any cases where allegations such as these are made, we will continue to investigate those charges thoroughly in order to maintain our journalistic integrity.
Plagiarism is perhaps the most serious offense that a writer can commit or be accused of. Washingtonpost.com will do everything in its power to verify that its news and opinion content is sourced completely and accurately at all times.
Domenech initially denied the charges, blaming editors for similarities to other articles. On March 24 2006, after resigning but before admitting his guilt, he claimed that “Virtually every other alleged instance of plagiarism that I’ve seen comes from a single semester’s worth of pieces that were printed under my name at my college paper, The Flat Hat, when I was 17.” Blogger Glenn Reynolds wrote that bloggers “didn’t like him because he was a conservative and he was given real estate at The Washington Post. Their goal was to find something they could use to get rid of him, and they succeeded.”

Domenech took a leave of absence from RedState, but remained on the organization’s board. In 2007 he began publishing posts at RedState again. and started a new personal blog, “this is an adventure”. During the 2008 election, Domenech wrote multiple columns for Human Events.com and for The Washington Times.”

It’s a wonder he wasn’t hired by the NYT to replace Jayson Blair!

Back to Ben at HuffPo

“Making history is a noteworthy thing: many in the Latino community were pleased when Sonia Sotomayor (who I supported)”

Well Mother Pin a Rose on You!

” was nominated, and many in the LGBT community would welcome the opportunity to confirm an openly gay justice. Glenn Greenwald and others agree with me on this point, and I can’t think why anyone would disagree.”

Really? Ask Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham.

Go ahead — ask ‘em.

“That’s why I listed it as a positive: after so much frustration with the White House from the gay community on lack of action on other policy fronts, an openly gay nominee might serve to mend that strained relationship.”

Is that why Barry says we should be able to visit our loved ones in the hospital? Is he distracting us from Elena?

“As I told Howard Kurtz, and I say again here, I offer my sincere apologies to Ms. Kagan if she is offended at all by my repetition of a Harvard rumor in a speculative blog post.”

Oh well all know about Harvard Rumors, and out “out of hand” they can get– right Jodie?

” It still seems odd to me that the White House would single out this statement for attack, adamantly slamming closed a door that nobody was trying to open, as opposed to issuing a mild correction.”

Mild?

“As Yglesias notes, “I’d like to think we’re past the point where saying someone’s a lesbian counts as a dastardly ‘accusation,’” and it certainly was not intended as such.
But on the other hand, if I were Ms. Kagan, I’d feel pretty good about the fact that the White House specifically responded to this, and did so in such an aggressive and forceful manner — after all, it seems like quite a clue as to who the pick will be, doesn’t it?”

You tell me, Rat-Fucker!

And speaking of rats, here to sing us out — with his original nose and skin — the inimitable Jacko