Archive for April, 2007

We Will Get Fooled Again (April 30, 2007)

Posted in Supreme Court on April 30, 2007 by

We did get fooled again.  John Roberts, under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated that he would be an impartial umpire calling balls and strikes at the plate.  He mouthed support for the doctrine of stare decisis – the doctrine that when a court has once established a principle of law as applicable to a state of facts, the court will adhere to that principle and apply it in all future cases where the facts are substantially the same.  He pined for stability in the law.  Alito made the same representations.  Under oath.  They lied.  It is the American way.  The recent abortion case, Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. ___ (2007) is not substantively different than Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).  An honest Supreme Court could have issued a one-page or even a one sentence decision citing the earlier precedent. Instead, Kennedy and kin disregard precedent, mistate the proper and settled legal standard of review, pat the little ladies condescendingly on the head, and do violence to truth and precedent.  Another day at the office.

Bumper sticker of the week:

I’m Pro-Choice About Everything

Violence In The Classroom And At The Court (April 23, 2007)

Posted in Guns on April 23, 2007 by

Making sense of the slaughter at Virginia Tech is trying.  There simply are too many nuts who have access to guns.  Those who oppose efforts to control guns are single issue personalities.  The gun is the iron penis.  Any suggestion that there could be restrictions even on others who could cause harm triggers a primal response.  The unconscious fear of castration and emasculation trumps all other issues and concerns.  The Democrats cannot touch the issue except perhaps to require more reporting of mental health determinations.  However, when the criminals shoot the sheriff and the deputy, the cops and mayors may take action.  Another day on the streets.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Guns Kill People
People With Guns Kill People

Outrages Du Jour (April 16, 2007)

Posted in Race, Society on April 16, 2007 by

Is Don Imus a racist?  Al Sharpton?  Jesse Jackson?  Some members of the Duke faculty?  Some editors and writers with the The New York Times?  The Washington Post?  The National Review?  Are the opinion shapers in America more racist and hypocritical than the general populace?

The “Duke Lacrosse Scandal” should go down in history as the “North Carolina District Attorney’s Office Scandal” or “Mediagate.”  Bad behavior that is not illegal is only bad behavior.  Victim’s names should be confidential; liar’s names should be made public.  The legal system only determines guilt or a lack of guilt; the statement by the North Carolina District Attorney that the kids are “innocent” is appropriate and courageous under the circumstances.  The Durham District Attorney, Nifong, should be disbarred and put behind bars, but he is white and a lawyer so he will get off with a scolding.  And if the three kids had been Black?  They likely would have joined tens of thousands of other Black males who have been sent to prison because they might have done something marginally distasteful to someone in power.  The prosecutors and police are often as dangerous as the alleged perps.  That is why there is a Bill of Rights.  It’s all so black and white.

Imus apologized.  This week should see apologies from the others.

And the War Against Women continues unabated.

McCain proved beyond a reasonable doubt that a United States Senator can walk furtively in the Green Zone in Baghdad if he is escorted by a hundred heavily-armed U.S. troops, dozens of Humvees and a covey of Apache helicopters circling overhead.  Some real military strategists such as Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut should be consulted on the issue.

Wolfowitz causes trouble everywhere he goes.  Wolfowitz used his position at the World Bank to get his girlfriend a generous pay package.  It’s time to go.

Lost e-mails?  More lies from the Bush Administration.  The technology may trap them.  Even the 18 minutes deleted by Rosemary Woods has been recovered. Bush will pardon Libby before Libby is sent to prison and anyone else subject to any criminal charges just before Bush flees the White House.  Criminal investigations should be developed now and no charges filed until after Bush leaves office.  Rove and his boys are cunning enough to anticipate the indictments. Bush could issue a blanket pardon to anyone and everyone who ever worked or now works in his White House.  Nothing is inconceivable.

The Supreme Court recently held, in another 5 – 4 decision, that the Environmental Protection Agency must protect the environment.  The health of the environment turns in part on the health of a Jerry Ford appointee, John Paul Stevens, who turns 87 on Friday.

[Kurt Vonnegut – “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”  He pretended to be himself.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Never lose your sense of outrage

Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk (April 9, 2007)

Posted in Gay Politics, Language on April 9, 2007 by

The Iraqi Study Group notes:  “All of our efforts in Iaw, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans’ lack of knowledge and cultural understanding.  Our embassy of 1,000 has 33 Arabic speakers, just six of whom are at the level of fluency.  In a conflict that demands effective and efficient communication with Iraqis, we are often at a disadvantage.”  Lay off (or retrain) 600 staff members at the embassy and hire 60 Arabic speakers.  The Arabic speakers don’t exist.  They don’t exist because Bush does not want them to exist.

The military discharges individuals who could save fellow soldiers and the Republic.  The policy is billed as “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”  The Don’t Think policy.  That seems to be the policy of the entire Bush administration.  The military should encourage and promote those individuals who can tell the American story in Arabic and understand the language and culture and history of Arabic countries.

The government should build its own army of interpreters.  The Marshall Plan meets Sputnik meets Berlitz. Those who express an interest in Arabic or Farsi or Mandarin or _________ (any language) should be given substantial stipends.  (Hybrid) cars, (healthy?) pizza and, yes, beer money.  There should be $100,000 signing bonuses.  If you talk the (Arabic) talk, you get to walk the walk.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Honk if parts are falling off

Put me in coach (April 2, 2007)

Posted in Language, Society on April 2, 2007 by

“Put me in coach.”  Not the game.  The game of life.  A coach can win and satisfy his (or her) shareholders (the athletic department/division and ‘lums) and still educate the kids.  Direct, encourage, cajole and harass the kids at every opportunity to get into the classroom and take advantage of the opportunity given to them to learn.  Conduct practices once a week in Spanish and French (Arabic, Farsi, Mandarin?). Conduct soccer practices in both English and Spanish.  (“Centro, centro”, “otra vez”, “pelota”)  Someone who can motivate them to play on the court/field/pitch can motivate them to attend class.  Playing in the PTA is more important in the long run than playing in the NBA.  Infect them with ideas.

“The young man walks by himself, fast but not fast enough, far but not far enough (faces slide out of sight, talk trails into tattered scraps, footsteps tap faster in alleys); he must catch the last subway, the streetcar, the bus, run up the gangplanks of all the steamboats, register at all the hotels, work in the cities, answer the want ads, learn the trades, take up the jobs, live in all the boardinghouses, sleep in all the beds.  One bed is not enough, one job is not enough, one life is not enough …”  John Dos Passos.

There is some inconsequential game on tv tonight.  The real game is going on outside the coliseum.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Life happens while you’re making plans