Ross Mackenzie

A collection of news items and quotations readers may have missed - with comments expressed or implied..

- With John Roberts heading toward confirmation as chief justice, who's next up - this time to replace Justice Sandra O'Connor? How about Miguel Estrada: brilliant, philosophically just right, a Honduran immigrant, and only 44? No, he's not a woman, but he's Hispanic. Yes, he was filibustered (and ultimately withdrew from consideration) when nominated by President Bush for a seat on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. But why not choose this moment to force the Senate left to give him an up-or-down vote regarding a seat on the nation's highest court?

- Jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller, in a detention center in Alexandria, Va., for refusing to be questioned by federal prosecutors investigating the Valerie Plame leak, has become one of the nation's leading celebrity inmates. During nearly three months in jail she has received more than 100 visitors - among them, let's see: Tom Brokaw, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Sens. Arlen Specter and Christopher Dodd, retired columnist William Safire, and former Sen. Bob Dole.

- Cheryl Halpern has rotated into the chairmanship of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which subsidizes public radio and television. Predecessor Kenneth Tomlinson took heavy flak from a lot of the usual big guns for encouraging ideological balance in programming. The outgoing Tomlinson says he has no regrets for having encouraged objectivity. The incoming Halpern says she will follow in the Tomlinson tradition - a pledge that must be giving the screaming meemies to those who see in public broadcasting only relentless moderation.

- Oh, those Clintons and their claque. Shameless Bill, enlisted by President Bush to join with his father to raise funds for victims of Katrina, has blasted the president for responding lamely and parsimoniously. Shameless Hillary has said much the same thing, tossing in Big Oil among the principal blameworthies. And shameless Sandy Berger, President Clinton's National Security Adviser, now has been slammed with a $50,000 fine and two years of probation for snitching classified documents from the National Archives in the summer of 2004. Perhaps it wasn't so much shame that Berger expressed at his Sept. 8 sentencing, as dismay at the size of the fine.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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