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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Film and Mushroom News

An excerpt of the upcoming Stormy Daniels tell-all (bound to be disappointing given the lead-up) referenced a video game mushroom character. Enough said. I actually would be interested in that book if she provides a fairly honest and detailed account of her work in the sex industry. Looking for a book doing that. Meanwhile, caught Til Sex Do Us Part late night and saw two characters (including the lead; these movies suggest a sort of roving ensemble company) from Erotic Obsession, which has a great ending. Some not bad set pieces though the wife doesn't get to have much fun. Husband character again comes off like a jerk.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sports Update

The Mets (not quite officially eliminated!) lost the series vs. the Red Sox, but overall gave a good effort though of course the one win was not for DeGrom (who gave up three but his main Cy Young competition had issues of late too). The Yanks didn't gain ground but Tampa stopped the As from either. The Jets in effect gave away the game to Miami without special team/offensive heroics to save the day (20-12). The NYG offense (20-13) was lackluster on Sunday Night Football with ten late garbage time points (the last three after a lackadaisical TD drive; they returned the onside kick but not the next one). Browns played Saints tough but found way to lose late. Another tie (29 all) after one team scored 22 in the 4Q.

ETA: Cards won, so Mets eliminated. Mets then lost, thus was their chance at .500.

Jets: After losing to the Dolphins in a sloppy game, they finished their three games in eleven days run 1-2 by giving the Browns their first win in a long time. Not shocking -- Browns put up a good fight against better opponents thus far and the insertion of their own young phenom late in the First Half injected life to come back (for the second time) from a 14 point defecit. This time, they didn't only get a tie. Still, Jets should be at least 2-1 now. Disappointing.

SCOTUS News

A new SCOTUS term is rapidly approaching though things continue to happen, including a "because I say so" Saturday order by CJ Roberts and Kavanaugh's accuser outing herself, particularly as the media was about to do so anyway. On that front, it is a mess, but for perhaps somewhat different reasons, Sen. McConnell warned Trump to nominate someone else. I rather this not be the reason to oppose him but along with his prevaricating about Kozinski, there needs to be better responses in this #MeToo era. Overall, people have bad things in their past, though it's better if they are honest about their record. OTOH, this is a SCOTUS nomination, not a criminal trial. Committee vote scheduled later this week.

Update: The full Court has denied a stay (without saying why) thus Roberts' (ditto) stay was vacated. As Election Law blog guy basically expected. Roberts is concerned about the Court's image and people were suspicious of his motives regarding the original stay. More reason to explain oneself. There are so view single orders. Can't they flesh out a bit why they acted?

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Black Klansman

I have not seen the movie but this was a brisk read with an afterword that touches upon recent events (the original came out in 2014). Since David Duke at least is still around, him calling the KKK individuals involved morons should have gone over well for some. There is a certain low heat quality though he did provide important intel, apparently stopped one or more cross burning and a couple KKK members at NORAD was found out. As a police officer he isn't the best to cover it, but interesting question of the limits here on First Amendment grounds. Think his commander was right to worry about public reaction to some extent.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

NY State Primary Day

And Also: It was announced that David Wright will be activated for the final homestand and will play in at least one game. He also said that he does not think he is physically able to fully comeback, but will not officially retire (he has more time left on his contract). I think this was a clear for a long time, but it was an emotional moment to admit it.
 
There are multiple election days in my district this year given a special election to fill a local seat and separate federal/state primary dates after a federal lawsuit during the Obama years to give military personnel more time to participate.  I am not really sure why any lawsuit would not cover at least state-wide elections, if federal elections are covered. Anyway, to give state officials time to run around the legislative schedule or something, we had a federal election in June and today was the state govenrment primary. The special state assembly race was in April.

There has already been reports of people not listed as on the rolls when they went to vote, even though they might be listed so when they checked online.  Chris Hayes has noted the convoluted nature of NY election rules (the two primaries don't help the reputation) though honestly I myself have never really been stressed out about it.  I don't assume this means things are fine, including more restrictive absentee rules, no early voting etc.  We also only changed from 19th Century lever machines a few years back and do not have receipts to check our votes.

A final bit of weirdness is that today is Thursday. Well, Tuesday conflicts both with the Jewish New Year and 9/11, so for this year only, a special rule was put in place.  It might have been better just to have it next Tuesday, since Tuesday is the normal day to vote, or perhaps have extended voting so that one day doesn't matter so much.  Also, for some reason, they re-arranged things at my polling place, which confused me when I got there.  A couple people, I think they said they were from some media group, asked me outside if I supported Jeff Klein.  Have an idea it is part of the Jeff Klein juggernaut, seen in part by the number of signs around.

I am tired of seeing so many Cuomo ads playing during baseball and then football games, each one phrased as if he was running against Trump. The latest batch talk about "experienced" officials, a dig at the more amateur nature of the challengers (including against former IDC member Jeff Klein and for District Attorney).  The challengers (including Zephyr Teachout, who I think has decent chance of winning) I support also have not had television advertising.  I am not sure that was a good idea.  I fear, like for a local city council race, name recognition can win the day in a close race. At least, wish there were more Alessandra Biaggi signs around. All these Klein signs, a few big ones, are a bit creepy. 

Teachout had a protest campaign against Cuomo that resulted in a respectable, at least for such a non-entity, performance (around 30%) and failed in her bid for a congressional race by nine points.  I think her race for attorney general, especially given her efforts as a reformer (campaign finance particularly), has a good shot given the times. It probably will be a close race and along with Biaggi (after the upset in the local House race, Senator Gillibrand has also gone on her bandwagon) she did get a NYT endorsement.  It is basically a three person race (my feeling is Maloney is a respectable third; am not aware of this Eve person).

The times are depressing though there is some hope for change in November with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez receiving the most excitement locally.  I am ready to support strong progressive voices against dubious establishment figures or even against people (Tish James for DA seems fine really) somewhat less ideal in that fashion.  Andrew Cuomo on that front is again someone I will vote against in the primary though honestly he is someone who has done some good things.  But, these days, you need to aim higher. I honestly don't see Cynthia Nixon winning, but she has already pushed Cuomo and IDC Democrats too in fact to move left.

I will update this tonight. Again, I voted for governor and lieutenant governor (separate slots), state district attorney and state senate. There were no judges (silly affair, people no one heard of) or local state party officers or whatever on the ballot.  I personally had no issues voting.  Got my sticker.

ETA:  Cuomo's [who won; as we knew he would] choice for Attorney General won a plurality but Teachout was a strong second. A third candidate, however, split the anti-James vote and sealed the deal. The state needs instant run-off voting. But, that's just one of many potential voting reforms it can use.

There was a bright spot, other than the fact that Cuomo did various things to protect his left flank (Cynthia Nixon only received about a 1/3 of the vote, but she clearly concerned him), because Jeff Klein lost.  So, locally, I will have three women (including a more establishment friend assemblywoman) representing my interests. Toss in Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and perhaps full control of the state legislature, that is not too bad.

(A footnote.  Joseph Crowley actually won the Working Family Party line for the House seat but promised not to run though he refused to consent to work with them to get his name off the ballot totally.  Cynthia Nixon also won there and in theory could get a sliver of the vote.  I question if it would be enough to seriously threaten a chance of the Republican winning.  But, given the bad blood there, it's not a lock she steps aside.)

[9/17 article on the last issue.]

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

NFL Season Begins

While the Mets continue to play pretty good ball (sadly it isn't too satisfying to me), football season began. The Browns didn't lose! (They tied but they did come back vs. the Steelers though they could not finish.) Giants (if vs. a good defensive team) didn't have enough offense. After their new QB had a turnover on the very first play (on Monday Night vs. Detroit), the Jets somehow managed to win 48-17 (it was 17 all early in the Third Quarter). None of the new coaches won. Aaron Rodgers had another "miracle" game after a knee injury.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court Is not a Court and Its Justices are Not Judges

I engage with the author of this book on Twitter and at Dorf on Law and his concerns over the power and lack of openness of the Supreme Court is well taken. But, his reasoning is flawed, particularly since (except for a somewhat exaggerated matter of discretion) other courts have the same criteria he cites (e.g., using policy reasons, not merely text and precedent). And, it's just focused on constitutional matters anyway, and not even a range of criminal justice issues (since courts have more cause to claim special knowledge). Finally, he doesn't even really provide the other side. For instance, Footnote 4 is not even referenced. Ultimately, it is a "court," but we need to understand what that means in practice.

Also: Brown v. Bd. is cited as an exception but it wasn't really at the time. And, I think a good case can be made (especially given practice) abortion rights, e.g., are clearly protected by text too. If one is required for equal protection, so is the other.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Judge Kavanaugh

McCain funeral over, back to same old/same old. After how Garland was treated, putting aside the problems of Trump, I decided that there were still eight justices. I noted in the past that this nomination might not be as illegitimate but rushing thru without proper documentation (even if some belittle the concern) and the statement under oath that Trump conspired in a crime pushed me over the edge. We will soon have seven legitimate justices and this nomination (even beyond his positions) is really pissing me off. If you don't like court packing, what do YOU suggest? Every Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed a letter regarding delaying the hearings. They should stage a walkout later this week.

ETA: They didn't though they put up somewhat of a fight and had some good moments. I still think a simple walkout moment to underline the illegitimacy would have worked. You now have multiple senators accusing him of perjury. Basic disqualification even if you take it down to "lying." But, we are supposed to just accept it as legitimate?