Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
And Also: Promising first episode for the new season of House. Good to see Kay Lenz still gets work. Rules of Engagement was pretty much the same -- for me, a comforting thing to watch at 9:30.
I was told about some person who used twisted logic involving checking to see if her phone was broken. I'm used to said person's "logic," and was not too surprised or anything about it. My immediate thought was that people use similar logic on other more important things. In the scheme of things, the two really are not as separate as they might at first appear. Life tends to be connected somehow. The trivial and the important are not always the same thing logic-wise, but often they are. You use the same burden of proof to convict the pot smoker and murderer, even if the equation is different in various ways. And, you can get false positives in both cases ... again, taking into consideration the differences.
[As an aside, what one of the Republican presidential candidates are credible? Romney probably is the best, though crazy things pop up now and again to suggest otherwise, and the betting man would say he is the safe choice. The Daily Show had a tieless Mike Huckabee (I thought that was the Obama look) bit where he dreams about there being duck hunting in heaven. Right. Various sorts pipe in about how no hope Ron Paul sounds good ... being against the war/occupation and all, but elide over the fact he is prolife. This being imho insane on a public policy level leads to problems in my mind.]
We are being led by people who -- for one reason or the other -- use logic that I find akin to creation science without the intelligence design dodge. Sadly, one has to admit that over 1/3 of the population believes in some form of creation science. Lots of hating of the First Amendment. Can't have people talk at colleges (the Iranian president did supply constant fodder for the right wing editors of my local paper. Can't have people (including those confirmed by the Senate) talk to Congress. Can't use mean words (even if ... uh he did twist facts and ... uh ... "betray" us) in advocacy ads (advocacy groups must be nice) without being "reprehensible." (To be cute) Can't have Dems have a filibuster to stop bad policy or force Republicans to have an actual one to stop good.
The insanity continues even when the sane ones have facts and experience on their side. Sen. Webb's proposal, for instance. See also, since I started the book based on his father's letters to his mom during the Nuremberg trial, Sen. Dodd ... he has made controlling executive power and protecting civil liberties the theme of his run for the presidency ... a run about as successful as Mike Gravel's. Sen. Dodd's father was a top prosecutor at Nuremburg. He was proud of his role in promoting the rule of law while prosecuting war criminals. He did not think them mutually exclusive. Millions were murdered. But, we cannot have simple fairness when thousands were.
Only wild-eyed libbies think that. Not those who truly know what evil is. Or, have a direct connection to it. You know like Webb and military policy. What does he know? Like, what does Justice Stevens know about balancing liberty and order in wartime ... so he served in WWII, so he clerked when key cases involving war crimes and civil liberties came down afterwards. Sure, he's politically actually somewhat conservative (President Ford did nominate him ... also, he in the 1970s noted what was mentioned in the NYT article ... that is, his wariness of the minimum wage). In fact, Stevens argues he is conservative -- honoring precedent, not taking big steps and so forth. There is conservative and there is radical.*
The article btw had this suggestion from two progressive legal minds on what the next justice should be like:
First, in an age when the conservative justices are determined to cut off access to the courts in cases from civil rights to terrorism, the next liberal justice would interpret the Constitution to provide “access to the courts to enforce the rule of law” and would “understand that even the most powerful president is not a king.” Second, the justice would “interpret the Constitution in light of the entire history of the nation, and not just in light of the Constitution’s drafting history.” Third, the justice would “interpret the Constitution to create conditions of equal liberty to participate in the life of the nation” — in areas ranging from abortion and sex equality to affirmative action and campaign finance reform. Finally, instead of reading the Constitution in a cramped, legalistic fashion, the justice would “interpret the Constitution to create a partnership between courts and the popular branches,” encouraging Congress and the American people to debate and define constitutional values.
Sounds like a good launching pad.
* The author of The Nine is getting a lot of attention and air time, including over atTalking Points Memo and reviews various places. Pretentious sounding title/subtitle ... have not read a good book on the post-1991 [Turning Right ended around Casey] Supreme Court really, though the bios of Blackmun (based on his papers) and O'Connor were pretty good. Recommended -- ironically, the author of the O'Connor bio is now working on one for Scalia. I'm not really gung ho about doing that when he is still on the Court (O'Connor was due to retire in 2005), but sounds promising.
In answer to a question on Rachel Maddow, Toobin suggested none of the recent bunch probably would have been elected, except perhaps O'Connor. I disagree, if we are talking about the time they were nominated. Stevens was well known as a special prosecutor, had moderate vibes and was pleasing enough generally. Ginsburg looked like a nice Jewish girl and Scalia could have chimed in -- they are friendly. Roberts was a pall bearer for Rehnquist -- come on! Souter also is someone who many would probably trust as a judge.