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Friday, September 16, 2005
A Local Note, and Readings on John Roberts, Crisis Management and Katrina, Poverty, the Constitution, and China

I promised local commentary, but there's less of it here today than I intended. I have written, rewritten, and deleted pages of commentary on the week's frustrations, but they are not new at all, and frustration itself seems unproductive. So deletion is those pages' proper fate.

To wit: Tuesday's surprise announcement of major changes in plans for the American Fork arts facilities to be funded by RDA money is frustrating, but, on reflection, I see that there is nothing new under the current City administration about major decisions (whether good or bad) being made, unmade, or reversed overnight, without announcement to or consultation with officials and other interested parties who think they have a right (sometimes a legal right) to know or even participate. I understand the frustration of people who participated in making a decision, when that decision later is quietly reversed by one or two officials acting alone.

Wednesday's monthly meeting of the Nuisance Abatement Committee was itself a frustrating exercise - but, on reflection, I realized that there is nothing new in the current American Fork City administration's paralyzing reluctance to enforce, let alone improve, its own regulations (or to improve its neighborhoods). To be sure, part-time enforcement officer Jim Hardy and AFPD Lieutenant Darren Falslev, with the able encouragement and assistance of now-retired Chief Terry Fox, have made slow progress over the past year, through great effort.

One way or another, in January there will be a new administration; in October and November we will select its leader. Therein lies the hope for real improvement in many things. I hope.

That's all the local commentary. Here's some good stuff to read:

  • Here is The New Republic (from the left) endorsing John Roberts, albeit it half-heartedly. Here is Lee Siegel, TNR's television critic (of all things!) calling Roberts names. He claims that rather than being borked, Roberts actually borked the Judiciary Committee. Here are two noteworthy quotations:
    Though astonishingly articulate by the contemporary standards of public political discourse - nearly all the senators on the committee were carrying on their own private war with the English language - [Roberts] defied the purpose of language, which is to make sense.
    But the appearance of humility actually concealed an arrogant contempt for the purpose of the hearings, as well as a disdain for those aspects of life that, unlike baseball games, require sincerity and conviction.
    By the way, the reason the leftist Senators and media are so frustrated that they cannot get Roberts to tell them how he would rule on specific cases, or even to "make sense," as TNR's TV critic says, is that that they think judges are and should be legislators. In their world, rule of law is a conservative attack phrase, not an ideal. Judges supposedly pick whatever cases happen to allow them an opportunity to impose their own legislative will on the nation - which already has a legislative branch, and the Supreme Court ain't it. Roberts is a judge with respect for rule of law. His job is to measure the actual facts of an actual case against an actual law. Until there is an actual case, he couldn't foretell the precise facts of the case and the precise statute (local, state, or national) which might be implicated, even if he wanted to. Since Roberts is and is also nominated to be a judge, not elected to be a legislator, I have to side with him on this one.
  • Here is a noteworthy piece by Thomas Sowell on who really owns the Constitution, anyway, and what that implies.
  • Here is a smart piece on crisis management and Katrina by Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, among other things.
  • Here is George Will on recent manifestations of the poverty of thought, and why we should care.
  • Here is a thought-provoking piece on China, Yahoo, Google, etc.. I'm not sure what to think about it myself, but perhaps it will yield to further thought.
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