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

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"The Speechwriter" aka A Survivor's Tale


Word mistress Kory Stamper promoted this book on Twitter and really liked the first quarter or so. It was a fun account by a survivor of Gov. Mark "Appalachian Trial" Sanford's administration mixed with a bit of appreciation (comes off fairly well actually & the book ends with a warning not to "trust" politicians) though he found the guy to be something of an inarticulate jerk. But, didn't really hold up the whole way. Worth it for the first part.

Friday, July 24, 2015

'The Great Decision' by Cliff Sloan and David McKean

This version of the story is more concerned about background and color than covering the legal details (covered okay) as shown by leaving five key criticisms of Marbury v. Madison to a long footnote. On that level, pleasant book, especially if you are new to the stuff.

Update: The video makes a catch not in the book -- the key provision can be applied to avoid unconstitutionality. The "the principles and usages of law" part can mean mandamus would not apply here. Constitutional avoidance was a thing then too. As now, when desired.

Mets Call Up Michael Conforto

Overpriced vet Cuddyer is hurt, but has been for some time. So, why was it dragged out? And, so Kershaw pitched yesterday. BFD. You beat them last time he started; this time they basically conceded the whole game. Worry about rushing up the kid and the excitement as they screw up the offense in other ways is a bit annoying. Like "squirrel!" Oh well.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rick Santorum/Rachel Maddow

I appreciate that RM had RS on and that he had the guts to be on. And, that Rick Perry of all people called out Trump. RS is right about Congress having the power to pass laws contrary to the SSM ruling. As Lincoln noted, takes time for law to be "fully" accepted though immediately binding on the parties. It would be a pointless exercise and/or wrong on the merits, but be careful Rachel. I speak only on this limited point. Did not watch.

Monday, July 20, 2015

SCOTUS Order Day

Nothing much on the first SCOTUS scheduled summer order day; heck, SCOTUSBlog and others didn't flag it yet. Page limit exception denied. Stay involving abortion doctor murderer denied. Rehearing motions denied. Attorney disciplined. Bit over two pages.

Update: I flagged the no mention to SCOTUSBlog and was told that since nothing notable occurred, they figured it wasn't necessary. Come on guys. You are SCOTUSBlog. You at least mention it. Past order days during the term were mentioned even with nothing really happening. The doctor's murderer is even a bit newsworthy.

Adultery Testing

May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”
As with other sexual related matters, it should not surprise that many think you can be a good Christian without supporting a ban on abortion.  This was seen by the Baptist response to Roe v. Wade.  Apropos of the book I'm reading (see below), Sarah Weddington went to work for President Carter.

Note: I'm reading Jimmy Carter's latest (an autobiography of sorts) and he notes he opposes abortion except in cases of health (strictly applied) and rape, but unlike the usual stereotype (matching reality in various ways) supported various means to reduce the prevalence of abortion and means (including government provided) to care for children once born.  Anyway, I'm about half-way through and it's a pretty good read in a down to earth tone.

Some will appeal to the Bible to find a means to argue that abortion is against God's will.  This requires some doing, since the document does not have much to say directly about such things. A few poetic verses about God knowing us in our womb won't really do the trick unless you are assuming things ahead of time. An early Christian work (Didache) actually does oppose abortion, but the brief reference doesn't answer all the questions either, plus also bans various other things that aren't illegal. Ultimately, ways can be provided to justify both sides, especially if the choice is left to the person and the test is if it is moral or not. Like lying.

One gotcha on the pro-choice side is Numbers 5, which provides a test for (female) adultery that in some cases would result in a "miscarriage." Why would God punish the "baby" in such a case if abortion is wrong?  Another excerpt provides a smaller fine for a blow that causes a miscarriage as compared to unlawful killing a born person.  Relying on "Old" Testament verses is of limited value for Christians at any rate though some of them do selectively cite those books for various rules themselves. Fair is fair.

One translation of the test uses an euphemism -- "thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell," but what is happening seems apparent.  At least when the pregnancy is a result of adultery (see also, justification in the gospels for divorce), abortion seems to be allowable even beyond rape and the health/life of the woman.  Present day abortion opponents who aren't strict about every verse of the Bible being correct need not be stuck by it, but it is something of a unpleasant provision for strict anti-lifers.

The ordeal however is fairly interesting on its own terms. It is a means to peacefully, in an orderly fashion, address the problem of men who suspect their wives committed adultery but have no way of proving it.  Likewise, it provides a means to show the innocence of the women.  In practice, there probably also is the chance for the dispute to be handled "out of court" so to speak.  The culture clearly favored men here but even there they weren't given carte blanche.  False witness was not allowed. And, adultery by men -- even if not lethal -- could still be a wrong against the husband or family of the woman involved. No free pass. Finally, the painful (I'd think) process plus being barren is a horrible punishment, but it isn't death. 

Not saying it was an ideal solution, especially since do not actually believe the special potion was foolproof, nor that adultery warrants such a physical penalty. I do understand the mindset of the times, including the threat adultery has to the orderly progress of a small tribal community in particular.  This includes concern for the legitimacy of children. It does take two to tango here and the man is likely to if anything have the upper hand. Making him sterile or something seems fair too. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Shadow of the Cat


Fun outing if a bit long. Some of these Svengoolie outings don't do it for me though Svengoolie and his lame jokes is usually fun.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Kneejerk Reactions

Late in the evening, which might have influenced the reaction, Buzzfeed reporter Chris Geidner on Twitter called this story "trash" as if it merely mentioned she was stopped for traffic tickets and said nothing about her suspicious death. Read the whole thing. Not only does it (and the video) provide her supporters' side, but wasn't just tickets. DUI, e.g. Doesn't mean all is well, but she is not just some random black woman stopped for "DWB" either.

McFarland, USA

Kevin Costner and sports is generally a safe bet (he even was good when merely playing an ex-jock) and this based on true story about a long-shot track team made up of Mexican-Americans was fairly enjoyable. It is a fairly basic Disney film but the locals are respectfully handled; the small part of the principal is a nice touch.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How "God" Works

This book has some good stuff on critical thinking and the problems with a belief in "God," but it drags out the prayer section, says unnecessarily broad things like "the Bible" is a "myth" (not everything) and at times focuses too much on what amounts to an evangelical Christian view of "God." So mixed bag. Colorful pages though.