Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

March 31, 2005


Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 6:18 pm

A response from my congressman:

Thank you for writing to express your opinions regarding our freedom of speech. It is always a pleasure to hear from the constituents whom I represent.

It is important for us all to be able to exercise our constitutional rights without fear of persecution, especially in times of war. The freedom to say what you believe is one of the building blocks of our country and is a large part of what makes this country great. Please be assured that I will always support a person’s freedom of speech.

Once again, thank you for contacting my office regarding this important issue. Please feel free to contact me in the future with any other concerns.


Solomon P. Ortiz
Member of Congress

In other words, “I sent something back to you, so leave me alone.”

Is he real, or Memorex?

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 3:42 pm

Every time I see or hear someone like this, I wonder whether they really believe their own words.

His worldview envisions a quasi-communist utopia: a world free of class, where all racial, nationalist, and cultural identities are expunged. To bring this about, he claims that we need to “dig beyond the easy symbolism of ‘freedom,’ ‘democracy,’ ‘Zionism=racism,’ and other mantras and challenge a matrix of discourses – modernity, colonialism, capitalism and nationalism; what I call the ‘modernity matrix’ – that are each based on the creation of zero-sum oppositions between (individual or collective) Selves and Others, us and them, and which together have supported a five-hundred year old world system that supports slavery in the Sudan and Mauritania and IMF bailouts, organized terrorism and ‘le peuple du Seattle’ alike.”

If so, why do they subject themselves to the agony that certainly must envelop them living in the US?


Filed under: General — Bunker @ 12:41 pm

… from a friend, whom I have tried to convince to start a blog:

Terri Schiavo is now dead, slowly murdered at the hands of the American judiciary system, deprived of life in a hideous manner reminiscent of Nazis and Communists, a way most of us would not even treat a diseased rodent.

For once in my life, I agree with Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader and a few other thoughtful liberals — this was unnecessary and shameful torture.

I have never been prouder of the Congress, and never more disgusted with the judiciary.

Terri, I hope and pray that you have gone to a better place. Rest assured, you certainly will never meet your husband, his lawyer, or any of those judges there.

–Arlan Andrews, Sr.

Homespun Symposium XVII

Filed under: General — Bunker @ 12:34 pm

This week’s topic comes from a fellow Texan.

Does the President of the United States have Constitutional authority to an up or down (simple majority) vote on his judicial nominees?

The days of Huey P. Long and Strom Thurmond as filibuterers is long gone. Today, the wimps we have in the Senate don’t have to inconvenience themselves to filibuster. Another thing that has changed is that judicial nominations, not just legislation, are now being subjected to this procedure.

The modern filibuster is much more powerful than its historical predecessor because it is invisible: The Senate rules do not require any senator to actually hold the floor to filibuster. Instead, a minority of 41 senators simply notifies the Senate leadership of its intent to filibuster. Other Senate business goes on, but a vote on a particular issue — a nomination — cannot be brought to a vote.

And the concept is really hypocritical, as explained by Orrin Hatch:

Many senators once opposed the very judicial nomination filibusters they now embrace. Senator Leahy, for example, said in 1998: “I have stated over and over again…that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported.” Since then, he has voted against cloture on judicial nominations 21 out of 26 times. Senator Ted Kennedy, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in 1995 that “Senators who believe in fairness will not let a minority of the Senate deny [the nominee] his vote by the entire Senate.” Since then, he has voted to let a minority of the Senate deny judicial nominees a vote 18 out of 23 times.

Why the change? Well, in the 1950s, when the Democrats controlled the Senate,

Majority Leader Senator Mike Mansfield (D-Montana), spearheaded the adoption of a new Senatorial procedure. Mansfield created a system that would technically maintain the Senate’s tradition of unlimited debate but would prevent a legislative logjam. This system is known as the “two-track” system. In this system, if one issue or “track” is being filibustered, the Senate can switch to another track in order to deal with other pending business.

The idea was to be able to block any legislation the minority didn’t like while allowing for other legislation to continue on its merry way. Previously, any filibuster shut down the Senate until it was halted. At that time there was a requirement for two-thirds of Senators present (not two-thirds of all Senators) to break the filibuster. In 1975 that was changed to a requirement for sixty votes. During the long floor speeches of earlier filibusters, the group wanting to maintain them had to keep enough people on the Senate floor to prevent that two-thirds majority. According to Rule VI, “A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Senators duly chosen and sworn.” Fifty-one. Two-thirds of that is 34. So, both sides had to stay in the chamber.

No more. Now they simply say, “I am filibustering this nominee or legislation.” Then they can go home and get some sleep.

Senators can change their own rules, as they have done many times, with only a simple majority vote. That is what is being proposed. Personally, I don’t think a filibuster does the country any harm. Keeping our Senators from legislating is, in my mind, a good thing. But current filibusters don’t do that. They need to revert to the single track system they once had. Inconvenience isn’t something Senators like. And the old style filibuster inconvenienced them. So, don’t expect that outcome. The alternative is to restrict them to legislative issues, not nominations.

And quit whining.

Discerning Texan


Filed under: General — Bunker @ 5:48 am

Arthur celebrates his first blogiversary. Man, has he done spectacularly! I’m pleased to mention he is one of our Homespun Bloggers group.

I’m sure most of you already read his site, or have seen his “Good News from…” series which have run not only on his site but at WSJ as well.

March 30, 2005

Back to Afghanistan

Filed under: Golf,Military — Bunker @ 11:15 am

Yesterday I took some time off. Birdie and I went to the golf course. The wind was still howling pretty good, but we enjoyed ourselves regardless. I shot 80 with no birdies and nothing bigger than a bogey. Birdie shot…. well, let’s leave it at that. It was his first time on a course in some time.

We got some time to talk about his deployment. He is really pleased with his new company commander. They spent ten days in the field recently and trained for the worst case scenario. Other companies were playing around with best case situations. Birdie is concerned that some will get complacent. Afghanistan is still a dangerous place. He will keep his soldiers on their toes.

He talked about how this trip to Afghanistan will be more of a training mission for the Afghan forces, and doing the same things he did with Iraqi soldiers. The Iraqis thought being in uniform gave them license to steal, and Birdie’s soldiers had to break them of bad habits. The Iraqi Platoon Sergeant was a good man, and good soldier, but was having trouble controlling his charges. So they “arrested” him and told the rest of the soldiers the same would happen to them. They whined about being abused, and demanded to speak with their lieutenant.

“We arrested him, too. Squad leaders are next if you don’t straighten up.”

All of a sudden they discovered religion. With that settled, the platoon sergeant came back and had no trouble turning them into a dependable force.

The things we take for granted with our military has to be instilled in others. With ours, we spend several weeks in training them intensely, or several years at our academies. And that is with young men and women who’ve been raised to think of things like stealing as wrong.

This will be a more demanding task for Birdie and the others than simply going in to fight. But they have to be constantly ready to do that, too.

March 29, 2005


Filed under: General — Bunker @ 5:11 pm

And while I’m at it I must brag on my son-in-law, Bogey. He’s on mandolin.

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