About Me

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

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Carolina Has Their Second Bad Game of Year at Bad Time

Manning looked lively early though the first drive's three points reflected the offense overall. But, the defense, a questionable call (but Panthers didn't have to turn it over afterwards) and Panther penalties led to the one sided result. Missed FG too. It took a mid4Q turnover to clinch it though -- Panthers were one TD drive away until then. Commercials weak.

Saturday, February 06, 2016


The ID NYC program was designed to provide government-issued photo IDs to people who desperately need government identification but have had difficulty getting it -- undocumented immigrants, primarily, but also homeless folks, formerly incarcerated people, teenagers and older adults. But as a result of the sweeteners offered with the card -- free membership to museums, zoos and botanical gardens, and discounted memberships to city recreation centers and YMCAs -- it has also emerged as a hipster cultural credential.
I'm a resident of NYC, but don't often take advantage of many of its resources, though basic things like stores, transportation (especially ready train/bus service), population diversity and multiple libraries in walking distance underlines the value of living here.  Have gone to various of the main places at least once (e.g, regularly pass the Bronx Zoo, have gone there but not for a long time), so not a total culturally illiterate or anything.

There are a lot more things I can do though and often for low prices. My new NYC ID will provide me more chances to do them, since one perk are annual memberships to a range of places.  To take a for instance, I can now go to limited rehearsals at the NY ballet (how does one dress to go to such a thing?), go to various museums for free (one can now, but various ones have an entry fee) and get various discounts to other things.  Not that I do it these days, but the card can be used as library card at each borough (three of them are hooked up to the NYPL, but Queens and Brooklyn are separate and my cards to the latter are surely out of date now).  Might actually go to some of these places more if it only is a matter of carfare.

The basic value of the card is free identification, including for those who otherwise would not be able to obtain it. For instance, there are special rules for the homeless, including those a victim of domestic violence. I have a driver's license, but it surely wasn't free, and it takes more things from what I recall to obtain.  And, all it took was a trip to the main Bronx library though there were various other places I could have went.  The card also has an "in case of emergency" feature.  It is not:
The IDNYC card does not authorize cardholders to drive or provide proof of identity to obtain a driver's license. The card also does not authorize cardholders to purchase alcohol or tobacco products, receive public assistance benefits, or travel on an airplane. The IDNYC does not confer immigration status or provide work authorization.
I take it that such things are state requirements and this is geared to city residents; it therefore can be used by non-citizens though you have to prove identity and residency.  Then again "public assistance benefits" seems fairly general. Anyway, it's very useful, especially since it can be used if the police asks for id or to entry city buildings or to open a bank account.  OTOH, to show how voting id laws are different, the things not covered underline how people with id that can be used for everyday things might not be enough.  Nonetheless, it is a useful device.  

Friday, February 05, 2016

"Love's Complicated" (Hey, It's Piper!)

Cute Hallmark film. Conflict management group stuff a nice touch.

"Trapped" and Religion

The religious right has succeeded in stigmatizing abortion by claiming the moral upper hand, making many, even in the pro-choice community, concede that abortion is inherently wrong, albeit often necessary. But Trapped rejects this moral divide. In one powerful scene, Callie Chatman, a recovery room attendant in Montgomery, consoles an emotional abortion patient. “The same God that got you through all, everything that you’ve been through? …. He’s still there,” Chatman tells her. She prays over the patient, her hand on the young woman’s forehead. “Amen,” they both say at the end. In Chatman’s faith, in Dr. Parker’s faith, we find a compassionate, pro-choice God.
The documentary title concerns targeted regulations of abortion providers (TRAP), but this portion highlighted in the article has long been a continual concern of mine. I say more in the comments there, but in basic part the differences involving morality and religion here is a major reason why there is a constitutional liberty. Laws in effect unconstitutionally favor one view here though some do not see it as exactly a "religious" divide (like atheists can be against abortion, putting aside the narrow view of "religion" this implies).  Plus, it isn't just a government thing -- these issues in large part are influenced by what people at large think and believe.

To suggest the length of time I thought about this issue, the "value voters" deal in the 2004 (a decade plus ago? sheesh) still rankles. Al Franken at the time noted liberals have "values" too though that was a code at the time for "conservative."  Code words abound here -- "family values" or "tradition" etc.  In each case, it is a spin deal, the truth more complex and diverse.  Note also here, which is overall a good discussion on a ruling regarding a problematic gun friendly law that abridges speech of doctors. Future possible cases are suggested, particularly hate speech. But, a major area of content based regulation of doctors is abortion.  This is not novel -- back when that blog was freestanding and I still commented, its not covering that issue rankled. It is a reminded it leans more conservative than simply libertarian.

Anyway, I have a book in the hopper on this issue, so might get back to this thing eventually.  But, overall, as with gun owners who support regulations (most of them), sane Republican voters (some exist; hey, I know a few), etc., it's best to not totally concede these things to the other side. Surely in the case with religion and morality, there is a lot liberal people to promote.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Brain on Fire

The video and this article (also takes you to the official site) summarizes the scary details of this well written book. A young journalist mysteriously in effect loses her mind and later fills in the gaps using her skills once the mystery is solved and she recovers. Made into a film.

Update: Book seemed to be tapering off late ... thought we were going to have more of her investigating her own illness.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

"Mutiny on the Amistad" (Book)

The subject book overall was a good small volume (about two hundred pages) read that was put out again in honor of the movie, which not surprisingly isn't quite history. The one thing about the case the book seems to miss is that there is a possibility (if not honored by the opinion) of a mixture of person and property in a slave and we need not and should not focus one or the other. The law in various respects did understand that.

Stephen Colbert Taping

Live performances have a certain special flavor, including feeling the energy of the room while also often being intentionally dramatic as compared to real life.  This helps explain how people continue to desire to go to them even with so many at home video alternatives as well as the price of many of these things. I saw this myself while watching a two person play recently (a Xmas gift, but even off-Broadway with fees was around $50 ... though you can find cheaper ones of that sort with care) and the subject of this post, which was free of charge.

An example of the latter is the somewhat amazing freeze frame look which we saw at the open of the live performance of Grease, one version being one or more characters in effect "freeze" in the background while action occurs elsewhere. On television, we would usually see only the people performing now, but of course there is a live audience that sees the whole stage. And, for whatever reason, the other cast members do not simply leave the stage. The other thing that impresses me is how people on stage in effect "look out there" as compared to a particular person. When I watch people on stage and are fairly close to them, fear staring at them or making uncomfortable eye contact. 

Last month or so, I checked again and there were tickets available for yesterday's show.  Wouldn't know upfront who the guests were and there was a small chance it would clash with my schedule, but well it's free. It worked out schedule-wise though the perhaps not hard "pick up by 3:15" ticket time turned out to be pretty close (got there around 3 -- my ticket was "281," and you are on line numerically).  The taping starts around 5:30 with a warm-up comedian and performance of the band earlier. So, it might clash with the normal work week.  Got my hand stamped and came back at 4:15, checking out the Rockefeller subway station underpass area -- bunch of stores there and an underground path connecting various buildings. Jimmy Fallon's taping is around here too.

The higher number meant a longer wait time, a delay occurring right about when my set of people was going in. We were given some brief instructions including not to scream things like "we love you Stephen!" and a guard with a big drug sniffing type dog was hanging around for some reason. Went in, had a bit of annoyance about the metal detector (why have me go in with a jacket with metal? belt also went off -- didn't take it off, this not being the federal courthouse or something).  The ticket translated into a balcony seat, which gives you a good view of things while being above the other seats, so it felt a bit strange. Where's the rest of it? Good view of everything though.

The warm-up guy -- had an image of Fozzy on the new Muppets television show -- was pretty good, a former lawyer (you know, like the guy behind Pearls Before Swine).  My worry in cases like this is the chance I will be singled out in the banter with the audience part and someone right next to me actually was.  But, that was avoided, other much more amusing sorts chosen, including two older sisters, one of which noted she was with her friend, who also was the ex-wife of her ex-husband.  One thing he focused on was making sure the crowd was energetic, since there is no laugh track, and it's important to have that added to the show.  And, the only sense of the audience -- other than a quick shot in the closing credits (was I visible? well didn't catch me in the flash of an eye shot we got) -- on the actual broadcast of this episode was just that sound.  The band came out and each member (including the sole woman) had a good solo moment.

And, then the big man himself came out for a personal audience introduction and to take some Q&A -- audience seemed a bit shy, but asked a few questions, including about his pets (turns out the family has a three legged rabbit, a result of an unfortunate incident).  The actual show started and we got a view of things behind the scenes, so to speak, including what happened during commercials (chatting with stage manger, touching up makeup etc.) .  The comedy bits were amusing.  The great guests (David Schwimmer, Joel Osteen, M. Ward [musical guest], but decent stuff there too.  The eclectic looking band members and as one person near me said "atmosphere" provided for the music numbers (one for the Internet and a bonus one for the audience) was more lively than the singer.  And, look! That old guy helping with the set-up is Pat Farmer from David Letterman!

It was fun and the price was right!  After the musical performance, Stephen (we are on first name basis now) taped a segment from which the actual toss to the next late nite host was made. He also re-taped saying a couple of words.  Watching the beginning of the show on television -- didn't see the whole thing -- a few things seemed a bit different, like they did some mild editing.  Not all of the graphics (like the shot of all the candidates, now with at least a couple more suspensions, out of date) was visible during taping. We also didn't see the animated opening.  Just a taste of all those behind the team guys and gals do. These blog posts are a decent comparison.  Imagine what a bit of flash and editing will look like.

Monday, February 01, 2016

New York v. Uplinger

"in a public place for the purpose of engaging, or soliciting another person to engage, in deviate sexual intercourse or other sexual behavior of a deviate nature."
Interesting obscure privacy case. The Supreme Court was able to avoid deciding the constitutional rights at issue involving such sexual behavior (here speech related) for a couple more years by punting in New York v. Uplinger (1984).  Four justices wanted to decide the merits, noting as much in a brief dissenting statement written by Justice White.  His authorship of Bowers v. Hardwick might seem to many suspicious here, but have seen various references that Justice White had a consistent concern about settling circuit disputes. And, just what the right to privacy cases meant as to sexual behavior was an open question, as noted by the Supreme Court itself in Carey and splitting circuits at the time.

Justice White here argued: "As I see it, the New York statute was invalidated on federal constitutional grounds, and the merits of that decision are properly before us and should be addressed. Dismissing this case as improvidently granted is not the proper course."  The per curiam, however, said the ruling below was opaque, in key part based on an earlier case SCOTUS didn't deem cert-worthy and accepted by the parties here, and arguably decided on independent state grounds. A footnote also cites a further bit of confusion where the state attorney general and local county district attorney that actually argued the case clashed on the correct understanding of the law. 

And, really, that seems appropriate. The lower court held the statute only dealt with "to punish conduct anticipatory to" conduct protected in an earlier opinion.  The opinion makes sure to say "we have neither discussed nor decided any overbreadth questions by implication or otherwise," but this was a confused issue during the Supreme Court oral arguments.  So, ultimately this seemed like a back-ended way to deal with a case the Supreme Court didn't want to hear before. The earlier case anticipated Lawrence v. Texas by more than thirty years and was based on the law being "proscribed by the Constitution of the United States" though push comes to shove (as it did in other cases) the Court of Appeals might have determined the New York Constitution also protected the conduct.*

The state court in the earlier case did a very good job ruling on the question, including finding a way around a summary affirmance that some argued blocked protecting this sort of behavior, but the question still was controversial. States should avoid complications here when necessary by clearly holding, unless it isn't the case, that their own constitutions would provide "independent state grounds" for the ruling. This would avoid various unnecessary federal court disputes. Meanwhile, one judge provided the potential to apply a right to privacy to personal marijuana use.


* The intermediate ruling on the case covered all bases there by citing an earlier case that gave broader "liberty" protections under the state constitution as well as providing a useful summary:
[I]t is seen that the concept of personal freedom includes a broad and unclassified group of values and activities related generally to individual repose, sanctuary and autonomy and the individual's right to develop his personal existence in the manner he or she sees fit. Personal sexual conduct is a fundamental right, protected by the right to privacy because of the transcendental importance of sex to the human condition, the intimacy of the conduct, and its relationship to a person's right to control his or her own body [law article cited]. The right is broad enough to include sexual acts between nonmarried persons [cases] and intimate consensual homosexual conduct [Tribe treatise citation].
See also, this article three decades later (abortion). 

Heavenly Creatures

Saw the movie years back -- many probably still don't know "Anne Perry" as a teen helped murder a friend's mother -- and just read the book now titled Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century (old title didn't highlight Anne Perry as much) by a former barrister who worked with someone involved in the trial. Film good (Kate Winslet, so of course); book pretty good. Too much detail regarding lead-up to crime, too much detail of their teenage girl silliness.