- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not the Norm

The Senate still has only 99 members because the razor-thin race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken is now in Minnesota courts, and so neither man can be seated.

Now that recounts and found votes have put Mr. Franken in the lead, liberals say “enough is enough.”

Mark Kleiman of Reality-Based Community says that “if I were a Minnesotan, I think I’d be pretty angry about the way that Norm Coleman and his friends in the national Republican Party have deprived the state of half its representation in the Senate.

“It’s now clear that Coleman can’t win, but the Republicans are happy to spend a few million bucks to make Obama find two Republican votes, rather than only one to break filibusters and do other things for which Senate rules impose a super-majority.”

Color Megan McArdle of the Atlantic unimpressed, starting with “the obvious He’d have voted for Franken.”

But then she goes on to cite the “even more obvious.”

“The reason that this is in litigation is that half of Minnesotans did not vote for Franken — indeed, the measurement error being what it is, there is a decent chance that more Minnesotan voters desired Norm Coleman in the senatorial seat. Given that, it is not good politics to get snippy at people because they’re not giving up soon enough to suit you. Moreover, I seem to recall that the Gore campaign’s endless new plans for lengthy recounts polled pretty well.”

Daily dose

At National Review’s legal blog Bench Memos, Ed Whelan has been posting a recurring “outrage of the day”-type series called “This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism.”

The intermittent series has averaged out to about every other day — 15 in January, 14 in February. Here are two recent favorites:

Feb. 23, 1993 — When is a quota not a quota? The St. Petersburg Times reports that Florida chief justice Rosemary Barkett, a member of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, defends a commission report that recommends passage of legislation requiring that all of Florida’s decision-making boards and commissions be half male and half female by 1998. Barkett explains: ‘It is not in the context of a quota system. It is simply an acknowledgment that women make up one-half of the population of this state.’ Oh. Impressed by her willingness and ability to deny the obvious, President Clinton months later nominates Barkett to an Eleventh Circuit seat, where she serves with distinction (of a sort) to this day.”

Feb. 18, 1972 — In a Brennanesque opinion in People v. Anderson, the California supreme court, by a 6-1 vote, misconstrues the state constitution’s prohibition on cruel or unusual punishment to reflect ‘contemporary standards of decency’ and rules that the death penalty violates what it imagines contemporary standards to be. All pending death sentences, including those of Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan, are voided. Nine months later, the people of California, expressing actual contemporary standards, override the ruling by voting overwhelmingly to amend the state constitution to authorize the death penalty.”

Yellow nation I

It’s probably an understatement to say Michelle Malkin is not a fan of The Washington Post. But in this case at least, she was more a fan of the Post than the Post’s own bosses, whom she ridiculed for a “comical pre-emptive apology.”

“Al Sharpton’s cartoon jihad against the New York Post has other newsrooms trembling,” Mrs. Malkin wrote, pinpointing the cause for The Post’s self-abnegation before quoting it: “The headline, illustration and text of ‘Below the Beltway’ … may cause offense to readers. … The image and text inadvertently may conjure racial stereotypes that the Post does not countenance. We regret the lapse.”

Mrs. Malkin reproduced the cartoon and commented: “Do you want to see the ‘lapse?’ It’s an illustration accompanying a humor column by Gene Weingarten titled ‘Monkey Business’ about a study that reported on how women were aroused at the sight of bonobo apes mating. Read the piece and tell me how it ‘may conjure racial stereotypes.’ The title is ‘Monkey Business’ because the subject is monkey business. The illustration uses an ape because the subject of the silly study is … apes.”

Noting that The Post says it worries about a racial fuss over such a column and cartoon, Mrs. Malkin gives a (probably unwanted) shout-out to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.: “Behold a nation of cowards.”

Yellow nation II

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders is “the Al-Qaeda of the Netherlands.”

CNN called Mr. Wilders that.

In her report on Mr. Wilders’ visit to the U.S., CNN’s Carol Costello repeats and details the claim. (And “Al Qaeda of the Netherlands” was practically the first words out of the mouth of host Christine Romans in her setup for the piece, and also the title CNN gave the video if you forwarded it.)

The logic apparently is that Mr. Wilders in his film “Fitna,” which Muslims worldwide have denounced with death threats, cites the same Koran verses as Islamist terrorists do as meaning the same things Islamist terrorists say they do.

This is “exactly mirror images of what al Qaeda has been trying to teach. He is the al Qaeda of the Netherlands,” Muslim scholar Radwan Masmoudi said in the report.

The (understandably) anonymous blog embedded the video embedded the video and then detailed “CNN’s twisted logic.”

“A: Al Qaeda uses Koranic verses to justify violence. B: Geert Wilders exposes violent verses in the Koran and concludes that the Koran is the source of Islamic violence. Conclusion: Geert Wilders is al Qaeda.”

“A: Nazis use ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ to justify anti-Semitic violence. B: You expose anti-Semitism in ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ and conclude that it is one of the sources of anti-Semitic violence. Conclusion: You are a Nazi.”

The blog concluded by declaring CNN the “latest recipient of the Yellow Rag Award.”

Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com

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