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

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Election Day: Sanity and Bit More (and Less)

It is appreciated that the Dems regained control of the House with some picks in red areas and had some good ballot measures (including multiple states expanding Medicaid) but the trolls winning in the Senate and statehouses (not all confirmed) depresses and angers me. It is not just that many of the Democrats were good candidates but that some of the Republicans were horrible. Well, a few of them, including Kobach did lose. Still, it's tough. We have a long way to go as a country. Full Democratic control of the NY Legislature now.

Update: It's a week after and the election isn't over in various ways, including the Florida Senate race and two key state governor races that influenced my negativity. It is a relief that Sinema seems to have won Arizona after being behind by a percentage the morning after. The Senate cycle was very tough and the Dems (pending Florida) will be either -1 or -2, which tbh is realistically a win especially since Doug Jones was a steal. Tough losses though.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Sports Update

Jets kept it close vs. a decent team (Bears) until their defense could no longer do so (injuries helped to limit much offense). Giants are again 1-7, Redskins mediocre enough to only add the second score margin until late in the game. Again, parity and some talent meant they really had a shot at a win (in two games, really long field goals doomed them). A late mistake doomed the Packers who gave no loss Rams a run for it. The Red Sox could have swept except for a 18th inning loss helped by errors and such in Game 3. They won in 5. Not great playoffs overall. Mets have a new GM. Let's see how much it matters. Basketball was played.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Few Links

The whole Electoral College thing isn't working, so maybe finding swords in lakes and such will do the trick. Current craziness can be helped by looking at old mental health films, thanks to the Library of Congress. Finally, a callback to Howard Cosell responding a famous protest, compared to current kneeling actions. And, Shaggy on money PTB types.

Justice O'Connor Steps Away From Public Life

After a long life in public service, including some years after her retirement from active SCOTUS service, O'Connor released a touching letter to the public (after being out of public view for a while) formally stepping away for health reasons. It underlines the importance of civics (her cause after retirement) and each justice replied. I'm not sure why her letter isn't posted on their website. It is (as Souter's reply notes) quite timely. Some think her vote in Bush v. Gore tarred her forever. But, I respect her public service and overall sanity.

Meanwhile: This move is basically a limited one with a specious Trump enabling partial dissent by two likely suspects, but it pisses me off they (yet again) don't explain themselves. You are delaying oversight involving the census that the lower court accepted. WHY?!

Friday, October 19, 2018

SCOTUS Watch

Tony Mauro reports for The National Law Journal that “Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said this week that the arrival of Brett Kavanaugh has been greeted with the traditional ‘welcoming for a new member of our court,’ adding that “we are going to let these times pass,’” an apparent reference to his stormy confirmation process.”

She's stuck working with the guy, now given the 7th Circuit. I'm not so rather not since that is the route to repetition. I sent (seriously) a letter to the liberals and Roberts on the Supreme Court putting them on notice. Meanwhile, Roberts did his usual sales job, including opposing televising the court (in general though orals are emphasized) in part since it's not their job to educate. That's why he's out giving interviews. I think it's part of their job, but either way, it can be done and helps their main job in the long run. An uneducated public inhibits it.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Baseball and Books

Couple late nite finishes in the playoffs and neither ended well in my eyes. Brewers still need to just win two straight.The Endings is a good idea, well done: photographs that tell a tale of loss for various women, a few portrayed by well known actresses. I'm not sure how far I'd take it but Why Honor Matters is at least an intriguing read up to a point. For instance, the Republicans during court battles to me in part are dishonorable -- in your face -- and Democrats need to factor that in when responding. Pragmatics need to take that into consideration as seen by the negative reply to a recent "compromise" that I'm not alone confused about the value of. But, not sure how far that is a matter of "honor" exactly.

ETA: Another team I preferred was eliminated, the Astros only winning one, in part thanks to a bad call and great catch at the end. Well that was Game 4, but it sealed their fate.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A History Of America In Ten Strikes

I added this to the side panel and went to see the author talk about it. He is a character and has good stuff (including his grave visits and labor history series) at LGM -- strong lefty but with signs of reasonableness among the bluster. I liked the book overall (lot of material; at times had to only summarize). My overall idea is that if we are all workers and unions are so essential for fairness, what about making them mandatory, at least in certain areas with particular interstate commerce salience? Cf. public accommodation rules. Not optional. The importance for regulation of unions for economic peace was relied on in the 1930s. There is also a "free labor"/13A argument out there. The "choose to join a union" approach exists where free choice is at best imperfect. Unions provide a necessary resource. Too commie?

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Trump Court Watch

There was one more time for people like myself to be upset at the Kavanaugh confirmation process when there was a ceremony at the White House last night. As of the Braves games wasn't annoying enough. (Three native named teams played; all had bad games.)

As argued here, there is an unseemly political aspect to this, especially after he already took his constitutional (Art. VI) and judicial (by statute) oath on Saturday. Of course, with Trump ("I apologize on behalf of the American people ... found innocent") and Kavanaugh (his usual b.s. including starting by sucking up to Trump and name checking various people he thanked, showing how neutral and above the fray he is) this rubs salt in the wound.  For whatever reason, it was handled differently for Sotomayor and Kagan (see op-ed) and that is how it should be.

So, after around a week, there is a full Court for the term. There were orders today (Justice Sotomayor put forth a statement concerned about solitary confinement, something Kennedy also flagged near the end).  And, oral argument (Kagan next to Kavanaugh) in two statutory cases. There were reports it was "jovial" with Kagan joshing with Kavanaugh and (per another report) Sotomayor even pinched Gorsuch (who she sits next to) to make a point, which he found amusing.  Being a grumpy sort, and not having a lifetime appointment with these people, this bothers me somewhat. Someone on Twitter argued:
The deed is done and there's nothing she can do about it. This is how adults, and professionals, are supposed to behave. You make the effort.  You make the best of a bad situation. I would expect nothing less from the decent people on the court.
The person appeared to be someone concerned with Trump at least, not some above the fray sort.  Another critic, a liberal leaning legal analyst, said that Kagan is there to make deals and so forth, and disgusting he might be, but that's how you need to play it.  I realize there are various ways to fight the battle here. You have to live with these people and work within the system when you have certain roles. Emotion alone can't rule.

But, sorry, it's too soon for such a public joshing with someone around ten days ago or less was seen as an unhinged partisan liar which the evidence suggests is also a sexual abuser of some type.  That's just me.  I need time.  It's still raw.  I for one am able to somewhat calmly talk about Thomas. Some still can't.  Time passed. Apparently, there were a few protestors outside, but no incident inside.  I find this disappointing. Again, it just happened.  When usually calm analysts like E.J. Dionne talk about needing to remain angry, the Court itself has to be reminded that things aren't okay. A public presence, reported by observers, inside would be a reminder. Instead we get reports of how "jovial" it all was.

I am not a fan of talk of packing the courts, but long term, things have to be done. The end of the filibuster for executive appointments (even if we can debate how the Supreme Court is handled) to me was necessary given how the system was abused under McConnell.  The request for calm, sometimes but not always by those comfortable enough (even if they find some of it distasteful) with the judges in place, only can be taken so far. For instance, there will be a demand for investigation of Kavanaugh if the Democrats win the House. This might seem unpleasant, but that is what happens when the first process was so flawed.

Along with continual press investigations and other types of additional ways for stuff to come out, this will call attention to the Supreme Court. For good or ill. More so than after Gorsuch where the handling of the Garland Seat lingered on without as much concrete things happening. We will hear about proposals for term limits or a full court with only a panel of nine etc. And, the "let's be reasonable" bunch need to have so limit. What about if RBG and/or Breyer are forced to resign?  Will they act the same with a 6-3 Court?  The first two seats are tainted. Sorry. It's a fact.

One moves on and figures out what to do (including like water finding an outlet, getting protections that the a better Court might bring some other, if more flawed, route).  But, like with Gorsuch, me personally, I am not fully moving on.  Respect has to be earned and if a process is tainted and/or the courts act badly, there is no special obligation to give them the same respect.  Sometimes, this will hurt, but a 5-4 Court with Roberts in the center will more often have results where that taint will benefit in the marginal cases.  And, yes, focus on elections.

It isn't all elections though. We had every right to find the process broken and even yes unjust and in some fashion illegitimate even if he got two more votes in the end.  Might does not by itself make right. This isn't naive. Power matters a lot. But, it also comes in various forms. Trump being tainted with strong public opposition matters and weakens him. Even if he won in November.

Malicious


With the usual cheap looking copy of the film ala Youtoo America, the latest bad late night film is a mid-1990s somewhat erotic thriller with Molly Ringwald (basic cable, so need to search to see her breasts) and some character actor playing a cop being the only faces that are familiar. Not that any of them act very well. Molly's character screamed "stay away, she's a nut!" when she meets the hero at a party. Maybe, his girlfriend shouldn't have been such a prude when they kissed in the library (the second time, HE was the run who cut it off). There is actually limited bloodshed, no real surprises and it is relatively painless bad film fun.