Emotional showdowns during the Samuel Alito Supreme Court confirmation hearings either tugged at bloggers' heartstrings or got on their last nerves. Bloggers are puzzling over the Muslim hajj ritual after a stampede killed 345 people. On a lighter note, bloggers are speculating on the potential hotness of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's baby.
Don't mess with the Mrs.: As the confirmation hearings for Samuel Alito wrapped up Thursday, bloggers were still reacting to his wife's tearful departure from Wednesday's hearings. After Democrats grilled Alito about his membership in an ultraconservative Princeton alumni group, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham apologized for the rough tone. Alito's wife Martha-Ann then teared up and left the room. Some bloggers empathized, while others thought she was fishing for a best-actress statuette.
Tom Bevan on Real Clear Politics asks, "After watching the wife of the nominee break down into tears yesterday … it seems fair to ask: how many Democrats sitting on the Judiciary Committee could be confirmed using their own standards?" Bevan lists the transgressions of Democrats on the Senate judiciary committee that could disqualify them for a seat on the Supreme Court, from Joe Biden's "plagiarism problem" to Dick Durbin's "pro-life past."
Buzzer on Daily Kos decries Mrs. Alito's show of emotion: "These hyper-pampered Stepford wives have never endured anything more stressful than making it to Saks Fifth Avenue before it closes. If seeing her poor widdle hubby getting caught in an avalanche of lies about his not-exactly-concealed racism triggers the weeping-willow response, I'd venture to say Martha needs to get out a little more."
That wasn't the only drama in Wednesday's hearings. Sens. Ted Kennedy and Arlen Specter grappled over a request for documents concerning Alito's membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton.
Bostonian Dean Barnett on right-leaning Sox Blog argues that Kennedy should keep a lower profile in light of the scandals that have marred his public career. "Regardless of who won the pissing contest, this was the biggest tactical blunder by a Kennedy since the Bay of Pigs. … Because of this contretemps, Ted Kennedy became the public face of the Alito opposition."
Armando at Daily Kos says the Democrats have every reason to attack Alito on his membership in CAP. He argues: "Alito was highlighting his membership in a racist and sexist organization. He was right to think that would appeal to Ed Meese and William Bradford Reynolds. What does that tell you about Samuel Alito?"
Hajj tragedy: A stampede killed 345 Muslim pilgrims and injured about 1,000 people during "a symbolic stoning ritual" at the hajj, a six-day pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are encouraged to take at least once. Deaths are not uncommon: Nearly 1,500 pilgrims were trampled to death in a 1990 stampede.
Crow on Crow Violation says: "It's the hajj season again, and that means that the Muslim faithful perform a ritual in which they symbolically stone the devil. The only problem is that Satan wins this confrontation on a fairly regular basis."
Cameron at My Corner of the Universe posted this message: "Why exactly doesn't the Saudi Arabian government enact measures to prevent this from happening? Why don't the pilgrims who are there demonstrate some common sense when they know what has occured in the past?"
Ibn Ad Dunya had this to say on the Diwan of Democracy page: "It strikes me as unbelievable that this has to be a reoccuring theme. … If the Saudi authorities are unable to address the security issues involved, they should consider minizing the risks by reducing the number of pilgrims."
Med student Miriam, a Pakistan native at Miriam's Memoirs questions the efficacy of the Hajj pilgrimage: "Why do they risk their lives for a religious duty that is for one's own spritual satisfaction & does not do much for the hungry and the sick (in contrast to the Zakat, the annual charity, which helps others)?" She posits that hajj was made mandatory for Muslims who could afford it in order to boost the Arabian economy before it became oil-rich.
Brangelina's baby: Representatives for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have confirmed that Jolie is pregnant. Bloggers are debating how attractive the offspring will be and how devastated Pitt's ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston, will be.
Gawker speculates as to what emotional damage the new Jolie-Pitt will do to Angelina's two adopted children. "Kids, say hi to your new, gorgeous replacement!" And the Huffington Post shows a disturbing Photoshopped picture of what a Jolie-Pitt genetic combo might look like.
Chris Abraham questions how Jolie went from slim and trim in recent photos to appearing obviously pregnant in short order. "If I were a more paranoid, savvy, man, I might start believing that the Paparazzi is in cahoots with the publicity machine -- but of course, that can't be the case – those paparazzi are rugged, independent, and fierce."