Grilling sessions

The senator is a supreme putz; General discontent; in praise of Byrd
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  June 30, 2010

P+J have just finished watching the second day of the televised Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. We got quite a show from that creepy piece of spent right-wing jet trash, Senator Jeffrey Sessions, the pride of Alabama. We'd really like to slap this little punk silly.

Sessions's questioning of Kagan had nothing to do with a quest for the truth or a bid to understand how she thinks. It was all about trying to start his own little culture war and pin labels on the nominee. First, he wanted to label her a "progressive," a word that is obviously anathema to Sessions and his sort (he began with a short digression about why the progressives of the early 20th century were all wrong, lifting quotes from a few fellow reactionaries to bolster his argument).

Then Sessions persistently tried to paint Kagan as anti-military. And he became increasingly frustrated as she cited her respect and reverence for our armed forces. The senator's entire argument hinged on Kagan's decision, as Head Ramrod of Harvard Law School, to block the military from recruiting at the regular student center since its "don't ask, don't tell" policy clashed with Harvard's anti-discrimination policies. But the military did recruit on campus for the year in question — the only difference being that recruiters were sponsored by the campus veterans club and not Harvard. And as Kagan pointed out, the military actually recruited more soldiers than in the previous year. This only made Sessions nastier and more insistent that Kagan doesn't like the military.

All par for the course, we suspect. Supreme Court nomination hearings have become reliably contentious over the years ever since the days of the cloven-hooved intellectual, Robert Bork. And the present confrontation dovetails with the overriding Republican strategy that has emerged since Obama's inauguration: we must block absolutely everything that Obama supports, even if the GOP had initially proposed the idea.

As for Kagan, she knows the drill and appeared smart and tough despite the fact that she had to put on a Milli Vanilli act and be sure she didn't do something as outrageous as agreeing that she might be an evil "progressive," thereby providing ammo for the screamers on the opposition.


GAS UP THE SHERMAN TANK

One person who was not delight-ed to hear about the firing of macho man General Stanley McChrystal was our golfing buddy, Jack "Sarge" Taylor, down in Jamestown.

Before the announcement that McChrystal was to be replaced by General David Petraeus had hit the Web, Jack had heard the news from his grandson, who is headed to Afghanistan as Petraeus's official Army driver.

(Note: Being a driver for one of America's top military leaders doesn't mean you are some soft, fat nephew of another member of the top brass. It is more like being a bodyguard-cum-stunt car driver, in charge of making sure that the man in the back seat always arrives safely to his destination, often over routes that resemble violent video game scenarios, only worse and more dangerous.)

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