Rich Galen

  • A "howler," according to my pepes at Merriam-Webster's is an idiomatic term for something which is ironically and, often, unintentionally funny. They define it as "a glaringly stupid and ridiculous blunder especially in the use of words."

  • For those of you who are not Harry Potter fans, "Howler" has a second meaning which I will now explain: In the wizarding world, mail is not delivered by people dressed in dreary blue outfits, but by owls.

  • If you misbehave, you are likely to receive, via an owl, what is known as a "Howler." This is often your mother (or Director of Standards & Practices) shrieking at you that you have either done something you shouldn't have, or (more likely in my case) haven't done something you should have, and if this circumstance recurs you won't need Professor Trelawney to tell you there will be detention with Professor Snape (or worse) in your future.

  • So, to Senator Kennedy. You know the story, Sam Alito belonged (read, paid dues to) some outfit known as the "Concerned Alumni of Princeton" which was, according to Kennedy and the Dems on the Senate Judiciary Committee) reeeeeaaallly bad on the issues of women and minorities.

  • Kennedy got into a dustup with Committee Chairman Arlen Specter over whether the committee should subpoena certain records relating to the CAP which are sitting across the street at the Library of Congress.

    Here's a question: The Library of Congress is so named because it is a library owned by … the Congress. Why, then, would the US Senate (which claims to be half of the Congress by virtue of occupying half of the Capitol building) need to subpoena records residing in an institution it already owns?


  • Where was I? Oh, yes the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. So, Kennedy pretends to get himself worked up into a projectile sweat over Alito's membership in this group and - in spite of 15 years of writing as a Federal Appeals Court Judge during which no evidence of bias ever crept into his word, written or oral - demanded Alito prove he was not a bigot.

  • In one of those delicious moments of divine retribution (about which, more on Friday), it turns out that Kennedy, when he (A) was at Harvard, but (B) wasn't being suspended for cheating, belonged to some outfit named the "Owl Club" which discriminated against women.

  • Rich Galen

    Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at