In a dizzying display of judicial schizophrenia, the increasingly ideologically driven and nonsensical Supreme Court issued two separate rulings that expanded the government's law enforcement powers — except when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of convicted felons.

One opinion rules that the U.S. can prosecute crimes in other countries, whether or not the suspect has even been charged.

The case centered on whether the U.S. could charge Canadians accused of avoiding steep alcohol taxes by smuggling liquor borth of the border. Canada had not pursued charges against the men.

Justice Clarence Thomas, advertising his automaton style of judicial interpretation that stands independent of thought, writes:

"It may seem an odd use of the federal government's resources to prosecute a U.S. citizen for smuggling cheap liquor into Canada. But the broad language of the wire fraud statute says so."

Then in a sweeping victory for the National Rifle Association and its idea of a gun in every hand, the court ruled that U.S. law didn't disallow foreign felons from toting their weapon of choice stateside — even after due process in a legitimate court process on foreign soil.

It almost makes you long for the days when Thomas was himself a punchline for his penchant for pubic-hair-on-his-can-of-Coke humor.



Rabbi Michael Lerner, a leading Jewish scholar, says selection of Cardinal Ratzinger to succeed Pope John Paul II is something of a "disaster" on the mutual supposed goals of peace and justice.

We can't help noticing that under Cardinal Ratzinger's tutelage, the church began moves to elevate the infamous Pope Pius XII to the status of saint. Instead of repenting for the failure of the church to unequivocally tell all Catholics that they not receive communion if they collaborated or cooperated in any way with Nazi rule, or failed to hide and protect Jews who were marked for extermination, Ratzinger has sought to whitewash this disgraceful moment in church history. Many Jews are outraged at a church that denies communion to those who have remarried or those who oppose making abortion illegal but did not similarly deny communion to those who participate in crimes against humanity.

In fact, Cardinal Ratzinger publicly praised the fascist movement in the church known as Opus Dei and supported canonization of Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei, an open fascist who served in the government of Spain's dictator Franco, and who publicly praised Hitler.

It seems the pope's membership in Hitler's youth movement certainly made its mark on the pontiff-to-be.



In typical simpleton fashion, "Resident" Bush again exhibited either a complete lack of understanding or an outright disdain for reality in whining about the stalled confirmation of John Bolton, his "kiss-up, kick-down" nominee to represent the U.S. at the United Nations.

The New York Times reports his comments yesterday:

In his speech on Thursday, to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, Mr. Bush brought up the subject quickly, saying, "I welcome you to the nation's capital, where sometimes politics gets in the way of doing the people's business."

"Take John Bolton, the good man I nominated to represent our country at the United Nations," Mr. Bush said. "John's distinguished career in service to our nation demonstrates that he is the right man at the right time for this important assignment. I urge the Senate to put politics aside and confirm John Bolton to the United Nations."

The misleader-in-chief makes a disingenuous argument that assumes he has some sort of mandate. He doesn't.

The Times story highlights the fact that even Colin Powell has reservations about the seemingly unstable Bolton, while offering middling praise.

Politics? Aw, shucks. Whutz that?



Maureen Dowd's take on the pope, as she put it in context in the larger picture of American politics, was dead-on:

The white smoke yesterday signaled that the Vatican thinks what it needs to bring it into modernity is the oldest pope since the 18th century: Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth. For American Catholics — especially women and Democratic pro-choice Catholic pols — the cafeteria is officially closed. After all, Cardinal Ratzinger, nicknamed "God's Rottweiler" and "the Enforcer," helped deny Communion rights to John Kerry and other Catholic politicians in the 2004 election.

The only other job this pope would be qualified for is "60 Minutes" anchor.

Lord help us.



Drafted into the Nazi youth movement against his will, the newly "elected" Pope Benedict XVI nonetheless espouses a theory Adolph Hitler himself could support.

Writes AP: Benedict has denounced rock music, dismissed anyone who had tried to find "feminist" meanings in the Bible, and last year told American bishops it was appropriate to deny Communion to those who support abortion and euthanasia.

A woman quoted in the same story cried upon hearing news of the papal election.

"This can't be true," she tells AP. "I had hoped so much that we would get a good pope who would do something for women. ... This is so terrible."

Similarly, E. made me laugh with her reaction when I told her.

"He's going to ruin all our lives."