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

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Daniel Murphy

Murphy’s hustle proved to be the difference in this game. That’s the second time this week he has scored from second in a situation like that. He isn’t the most graceful of players, and sometimes he can make me scratch my head, but he’s gritty and has a winning attitude – every good team needs a baseball personality like that.
Yes. The nay-sayings annoys me. Baseball isn't just statistics and stuff. Daniel "Roger Ramjet" Murphy is a personality, gives the team character. Face palm moments duly noted.

"Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding"

One-half of the couple is "John Roberts." (No, not that one.)

The Body of John Merryman

An inane op-ed [from a member of the hack wing of the blog] led to some interesting comments, including a citation of the subject book. A brisk read, it helpfully provides the basics in around two hundred pages. An in depth look of the legal principles is found elsewhere, but this is a good addition to a cottage industry of books about historical cases.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Other News

Other news would be the big NFL concussion settlement, major IRS policy shift on SSM, CASC upholding "gay conversion" ban, Hasan getting the death penalty, the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Mets News (ace might be out long term, useful trade). And more. BTW, opinion page not great, but looking at it recently, WSJ has some good coverage.

Obama Administration Colorado/Washington Pot Response

August is busy busy, even outside of the sports world. If the usual isn't enough, we have Syria (chemical weapons ban of concern so much that darn who needs Congress? it's so obvious without them!), the Administration voiced a position on Colorado/Washington marijuana legalization. A lot of wriggle room -- it still is against the law federally after all -- but a hopeful sign. Any big change will realistically require congressional action.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Syria Bombing

First, get Security Council approval. Second, get congressional approval. Third (or zero-th), determine if engagement is a good idea. Wary about that, actually.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gnostic Gospels

My source here has been Elaine Pagels (who I saw in person years ago) and some Bart Ehrman, but Marvin Meyer is also a well recognized scholar. I checked out The Gnostic Gospels of Jesus: The Definitive Collection of Mystical Gospels and Secret Books about Jesus of Nazareth recently and it's a useful compilation in one volume. The problem is that the esoteric nature of the text makes it hard going with the short introductions provided.

City Comptroller for NYC

Not sure about mayor, but good summary of why I'll vote for Stringer against Spitzer.

Mets Fans Reaction: "Yeah, Knew Something ELSE Was Going To Happen"

After a depressing sweep (not too long after another sweep vs. "big boys," the Dodgers, helped by a LOUSY call or two in a key at bat), we now hear that Matt "no decision" Harvey is hurt. The timing is a bit off -- it is not like fans were feeling great -- but, you know, to poison the "all things considered, the future looks okay" vibe. Oh well.

Prof. Sherry Goes Too Far ... Let's Ridicule Her!

I have read some of Prof. Sherry's writings (e.g., on the history of judicial review back to the 18th Century or the weakness of using any one type of judicial ideology) and found it helpful and insightful. This article is somewhat weak and it feels like overkill to have so many posts about it, but I guess some good came out of it. And, a lot of blather, sometimes latching on to some phrase in one or two posts. Such tiresome b.s.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling

Not a Harry Potter fan, but the drama over "Robert Galbraith" led me to check out this mystery. Quite good -- the detective (with a bit from the p.o.v. of his new assistant, a stand-in for a young J.K. Rowling) is an engaging character as is the story. It's over 400 pages, but never boring. One or two questionable moves, but look forward to future entries.

Rev. Joe Goes To Court: "Major tests on religion shaping up"

Wary of the results of all of them if they come up, but the prayer one should be of limited harm at least. A look at the questions presented suggests the deck is stacked, but perhaps helpful in that respect. Note Sotomayor's ruling on the contraceptive mandate.

Friday, August 23, 2013


That might be a new classic!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

"The importance of my gag reflex in accepting who God made me to be"

So I repented. I turned around and faced God. I accepted who God created me to be and I exchanged my unnatural sexual relations for my natural ones.
Not quite the references to "God" likely to be found in a Tracie Peterson novel.

The Icecutter's Daughter

Here's an excited review for this book. I read it and the next one in the series. Over ninety books? Makes Danielle Steele look like a wanker! The book is quick reading Christian historical fiction. I think it sort of overdoes it on the Christian (moderation in all things!) but both were enjoyable reads. The second book has a surprising plot twist.

New Mexico Photographer Loses Discrimination Case

I'm not 100% sure the law in place is necessary, but the ruling itself looks very reasonable. The idea that photographers are uniquely "expressive" here as I noted in the comments to me appears particularly wrong. As with the contraceptive mandate, the other side is filled with arbitrary line-drawing, mixed with strong rhetoric that repeatedly doesn't address the hard questions. The OP discussion there is fair though.

Bradley Manning Sentenced

His mistreatment in prison complicates the matter, but for what he was sentenced for, ten years would seem appropriate. If he actually gets released when he is first up, I think it is reasonable. I would not be against commuting his sentence at the end of Obama's term either. Releasing all this information in this manner was rightly prosecuted but his treatment and the amount of charges, not so much.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Loved Ones

I saw this on a "gross out" horror movie list and it started off promising. But, a mostly pointless subplot and a badly paced second half (plus some real stupid plot developments as well as an aggravatingly lame ending) made it a major disappointment. It had promise as a "fun" film with some verve, but it lost its way. Others liked it more.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lee Thompson Young

I made a flippant remark about Rizzoli & Isles and someone brought up the news of his suicide. Very sad. The show is a somewhat silly one that can best be enjoined for its role as entertainment. But, like certain problems with Disney stars (like LTY, actually), reality shows its ugly face there too. How will the show deal with this? Oh well. Back to the non-serious.

F-bomb lady

A blog hit was connected to this picture of word goddess Kory Stamper.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Reading about Islam and Muslims, I again am left thinking that a lot of things are not about the actual concrete (so to speak) "God" of religion, but the concept and understandings behind that. The concepts and principles for which "God" is probably a sort of symbol, a personification that people find necessary to make real. When people sneer at "God" or "religion," or certain types, that should be their concern too.


The Airplane movies were on last night. Amazing how much stuff is rammed in there. The amount of stuff you can miss (especially on network broadcasts) alone. The white/red loading area bit with a kicker about abortion, e.g. The announcement of an Airplane III actually turns out to be based on reality. Surely.

"Sexual Assault and The Military: The Answer Goes Beyond What the Pentagon or Congress Propose"

This discussion looks at the "culture" that helps promote sexual abuse in the military (my own Sen. Gillibrand is a leading voice on this issue). I provide a partial dissent and would think that the shocked comment as to adult literature comes off as pretty silly. Still, sexual freedom being a good thing doesn't stop it from being a complicated thing, including protecting individual dignity in the process. After all, it often involves surrendering it!

Rev. Joe: No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam

Reza Aslan has received some fame for his appearance on FOX promoting a new Jesus biography, and this effort suggests it will be worthwhile. A well written three hundred page "biography" of the religion covers the basics. Clearly not comprehensive, but a good progressive approach to the material. The Jesus book is on reserve.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Another NSA "Bombshell"

See here. I guess the "big story" needs a bit of context. See also comments by the likes of "WiscoJoe" here (not me). I'm wary about the whole thing, but find some of the "this is tyranny" stuff dubious. For instance, my comments here. And, by now, quite repetitive.

Not quite the same thing

IMHO: One provision of the PPACA v. suspension of habeas corpus.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Together We Cannot Fail

I enjoyed Terry Golway's book on Nathaniel Greene back in the day and see he has worked on a few books that provide audio of presidential speeches. This one concerns FDR with thirty short excerpts. Powerful stuff though the text gets a bit repetitive at times.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

As if Dodgers needed more help ...

After defensive misplays led to 2-3 runs, ump miscalls (blatantly a 3-2 way outside "strike") blocked the Mets from making up for them. Worse, the manager not only didn't complain (it deserved getting tossed; even Vin Scully was a bit taken aback), but barely reacted. Almost worse.  West Coast, so this happened after midnight local time. Some way to end a day.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Fosters

With the show now on hiatus, I am left with watching old episodes again. The one after Stef was shot is probably the best one and one sign (other than great flashbacks) are numerous great reaction shots. Some subpar efforts are worthy of a bit of respect for being pretty well put together. The good ones make you think "this is good." In more than one way.

Touch of Realism

The author of the cat book noted he [putting aside his basically dumpy guy look] was someone people would not notice on the street, in fact, if he was, some would not have a pleasant reaction. This adds to the power of the reality of the book, a bit more of an edge than say Marley & Me. If there is a movie, hopefully that edge will be retained.

Ginsburg on Opera and the Law

The speech page on the USSC website is mainly dominated by Stevens, but Ginsburg has a few entries, including a recent one with an opera focus. It ends with a few lines of a pending Ginsburg/Scalia opera. Yes, "opera star" is not in the cards for our fair justice.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life

This is a basic book -- a recovering British addict who makes a living busking (and then selling newspapers) gets inspiration to improve his life from a cat he found (or vice versa) -- and charming and powerful for that very reason. No great happenings, just a life.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rev. Joe Book Review: The Quarryman's Bride

Found this at a cozy library during my recent trip to Staten Island, it originally from a branch much nearer to me. It's a Christian historical fiction about some family tragedy and redemption in 1890s Minnesota. A bit too heavy at times on the message (I'm game, up to a point, but tad much), but the story and writing is pleasant enough.

Working Girl

The author of the book just referenced was the source of the famous movie The Birds, which started out as a short story that was not about some classier than class eye candy.  Might have to read it some time. Was not really overly impressed by the movie -- it really requires you to be mesmerized by the lead, since much of the running time involves her without anything really bad going on.

No disrespect to Tippi Hendren, who is the mom of Melanie Griffith, herself one of those actress best known for a few roles (1988 was a good year, particularly given Working Girl; she had at least one jail-bait role in the 1970s) though she continues to work until the present.  It is nice when actors and actresses have long careers -- Mystic Pizza (1988) is an example. Multiple people there still have work, including each female (the male love interests and at least one supporting character have found work too) lead. It's helped by cable (or whatever) expanding greatly the number of roles. Annabeth Gish (distantly related to the silent screen stars), for instance, is in the new series The Bridge, which I sometimes saw previews for while watching something else (like The Fosters, maybe) on demand. 

Working Girl has some of this, including a bit even regarding the spin-off. Yes, though I don't recall it (liked the movie), there was a television version (see also, Baby Boom), if one that only lasted twelve episodes (less showed).  Melanie Griffith's part was played by ... a young Sandra Bullock!  I actually remember her being cut from Letterman once when she played a small supporting role in an early movie of hers. He later apologized, apparently seeing the charm she showed back then too.
The basic idea of a Staten Island girl done good -- assistant to junior exec -- is followed, but without the whole Harrison Ford deal (Trask appears to be the only real cross-over character ... the person who plays her boss in this version is another "I know her" character actor sort).  When Bullock's early work is referenced, it generally is some crappy Amazon themed film or maybe Love Potion No. 9. In fact, she had a few other roles, including some television work.  Ah trivia.  It's useful ... right?

Oh, the Sal Pascarella character sounds like the nudge from While You Were Sleeping, one of her first true "cute girl" successes.


* The intro provides a low rent view of the Staten Island ferry shots from the film, plus a subway turnstile, suggesting she is perhaps working midtown somewhere.  The ferry is currently free, which makes it a great little tourist stop. At some point, it was fifty cents, at least one way. Not bad either.  I'm pretty blase about NYC, lifer here, but felt a bit like a tourist myself here recently -- nice people watching too while waiting for the ferry to load. Mini-UN of sorts.  But, really. Free?!

Review Quickies

The final book of the writer of Rebecca is the atypical effort Rule Britannia, a political satire about the U.S. invading the U.K. and the rebellion led by an elderly former actress and her young charges. Quite readable with an interesting p.o.v. of her granddaughter, not totally gung ho about it all. Prime is a slight but well put together wry film about a woman dating a younger man who turns out to be her therapist's son. Leads do well. Interesting ending.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Law Man

Latest on the author in question. [More.]

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Addicted to Prayer?

[And Also: I found this old post of mine about a book entitled Converting Kate. It uses one of my favorite examples, the God laughs at his creation besting him story.]

There is an interesting article entitled "Addicted to Prayer" in the NYT referencing "evidence accumulates about the many health benefits of religious practice."  The article compares prayer to role playing games: when "people use prayer to enhance their real-word selves, they feel good. When it disconnects them from the everyday, as it did for the student, they feel bad."

There are both positive and negative ways to pray. And, it is not necessary based on some actual existence of God, that is as some actual concrete being. The concept though ... which underlines the complexity of religion as a whole.  Some atheists or agnostics focus on the idea that "religion" is fantasy.  But, it is unclear if something that is the basis of human history from the beginnings apparently lingers on merely because people are convinced about things not there.  To quote the article, there is a human "capacity to make something real" here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government submitting a brief that largely supports the N.Y. community involved in an upcoming USSC case involving use of legislative prayer to start government meetings.  This would overturn the ruling below, which a betting person would see likely (the best to hope for is a narrow ruling), which interpreted Marsh v. Chambers somewhat more strictly than the government here suggests is required.  This is more likely given changes on the Court that makes dicta* from a creche case for which wrote the main partial dissent likely to have less holding power.

The federal government says the lower court should not have analyzed the content of the prayers here.  I think the lower court makes sense in noting, including referencing other circuit rulings, that the content can be taken into consideration to some degree, even without "parsing" them. The lower court in effect uses a balancing approach to determine if endorsement, particularly the "effect" of it (to allude to the Lemon Test) is present.  This includes using only local clergy, implications the Christian dominated prayers were "our" prayers (not just the personal means of the people used to sanctify the proceedings) and did not do enough to guard against endorsement. I would let such a fact specific enterprise stand.

The analysis of the brief did note that the government is more supportive of the endorsement test. Changes in personnel matter here too. The 2CA cited, e.g., on a Ten Commandments case where Breyer was the determining vote. He in effect used a balancing test. O'Connor is no longer on the Court.  The four man plurality there has a fifth vote.
That broad assault by the town on the theory is not imitated in the government brief.  Indeed, there is a section of the government document which suggests that a government body that has not had prayers as a part of its historic practice perhaps should take steps “to clarify to a reasonable and informed observer” that it is adopting a prayer practice in keeping with the limited role of prayers in government settings.   The reference to the views of an observer suggests an element of caution about whether a newly adopted prayer practice might be seen as a form of endorsement of religion.
The brief's suggestion here is more advice than command though the lower court would probably see it more of the latter. "Before 1999, Town Board meetings began with a moment of silence." As noted here, in the past, changing gears here in the past might have been seen as a red flag. Policy-wise, which is not the issue here specifically true, the old policy would have been best. A moment of silence helps to avoid the problems that might arise here -- as seen there, the case in small localities can be harder for 1A purposes than a state legislature or the U.S. Congress.

As is, hopefully the opinion will be decided narrowly, and this fact specific dispute that in no way blocks legislative prayer will not be used to broadly dispose of the endorsement test.  Should we just trust the matter to local governments?  Protecting religious minorities would seem just the sort of Carolene Products justification of some court action here. But, realistically, especially with a narrow ruling, that will be the case largely either way.  Even when any controversy is a result of a gratuitous replacement of long practice that was better left be.


* Government practices, even legislative prayer, "that have the effect of affiliating the government with any one specific faith or belief" is illegitimate. Thus, a comment in Marsh regarding "indication that the prayer opportunity has been exploited to proselytize or advance any one, or to disparage any other, faith or belief" is given a somewhat stricter flavor. The government brief in effect hand wavers away the later dicta.

"When Younger Players Showed Way on Testing "

I have seen some discussions about how the steroid policy in baseball is a joke and "everyone" cheats anyhow. I find this annoying -- everyone doesn't cheat, the policy protects the health of players overall and the players agreed to the policy. It is actually being enforced now. Rightly so. Also, A-Rod is no victim. Enough of that b.s. The fact he's (annoyingly) still playing underlines due process, even in this context, is being followed.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Fosters

First, Rizzoli & Isles was pretty good today with a surprise ending that left the mystery somewhat unsolved. Somewhat hit/miss with this show, but kudos when it's good. Also, the After Ellen recap is up and the "Joe Lies" (Say Anything) reference is you know film nerd porn. Mystic Pizza (same actress) also was on recently. Damn thing was on 25 years ago.

Arizona enacts ban on abortions based on gender, race

This week's RH Reality Check podcast flagged this law that targets physicians, not the girls/women, though they are burdened in the process. The law is offensive -- you have a choice to have an abortion, not only for the "right" reason. If the abortion is to cover-up an interracial affair, is that a problem? Anyway, you have a right to do things, even if for the "wrong" reasons. The law also inhibits free discussion with medical providers.

"Ruminating on Personhood in Today’s NY Times"

h/t to an interesting article. This is sound: a "right is a legally enforceable claim." This means (some) animals have certain rights, including protection from cruelty. If corporations can be a form of person, animals should too, especially since if anything a dog should often be more protected. Not sure if they will get 1A rights though.

One more thing ...

The tweets reminded me of something -- particularly in an earlier scene, the show rather well made it clear the two women just had sex and were currently nude under the coverages. Hints sometimes are best. Also, Teri Polo had some great acting moments. Finally, kudos dramatically for her dad -- everything didn't work out in the end. In real life, life is messy.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Save Money (Except for the Extras)

A sort of in-joke on The Fosters has Lena's dad become an Internet minister to be able to preside over the marriage ceremony, something done outside of t.v. shows too. He's played by the same person who played Rev. Camden on Seventh Heaven. BTW, he references a small price tag. Have no fear -- you can get it free via ULC Church!

Third Amendment and the Limits of Narrow Interpretation

And Also: An Onion article in honor of the (summer) season finale of The Fosters, the marriage episode. A problem with the court scene. And, don't really like the cliffhanger -- poor Jude will be crushed! I can accept it, but it still is pretty stupid on Callie's part to run away like that. Still, she is sixteen.

That military powers of the Commander in Chief were not to supersede representative government of internal affairs seems obvious from the Constitution and from elementary American history. Time out of mind, and even now, in many parts of the world, a military commander can seize private housing to shelter his troops. Not so, however, in the United States, for the Third Amendment says,

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Justice Jackson in a separate opinion in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer is one of the few citations of the Third Amendment found in the Supreme Court opinions. Griswold v. Connecticut provides it merely as part of a string cite of various protections of privacy found in the Bill or Rights. The dissents in Poe v. Ullman cite it along with the Fourth Amendment as part of the protection of "the privacy of the home," so it is not seen only a "guarantee of the preference for the civilian over the military," but also a privacy protection.

The only apparent ruling that truly relied on it in the federal appeals court is Engblom v. Carey, a ruling only about thirty years old, and the claim was so novel that qualified immunity applied. The opinion and the amendment came up when a more recent case that might have Third Amendment implications was addressed here. The post suggests that it should not be incorporated, that its reference to "soldiers" in fact only applies to the federal government. That is not the fundamental freedom that should be incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment.

The matter was addressed in comments by me in particular, but this is a case where the limits of originalism pop up. The professor in question has focused on original understanding before, writing over fifty page papers that others dispute to determine what "seems" to be the meaning of such and such a thing. Come on.  [See also, this on the reach of federal equal protection, something a few smart alecks sometimes lash against, since contra to long-held precedent, doctrinal or textual niceties allegedly make federal substantive equal protection review moronic.]

I am not, you know, a scholar about these things, but after a couple decades, yeah, do sort of know some basics. At least, enough to know there are complexities and it is often a choice where to take things, especially pursuant to current understanding. The piece, e.g., argues that "troops" and "soldiers" implies a federal reach, since states don't have "troops." But, put aside that Art. 1, sec. 10 is not an absolute bar.  Why shouldn't "soldiers" here be interpreted broadly?  The Engblom opinion in fact doesn't do much heavy-lifting at all.  But, how about U.S. v. Miller?
The Militia which the States were expected to maintain and train is set in contrast with Troops which they [p179] were forbidden to keep without the consent of Congress. The sentiment of the time strongly disfavored standing armies; the common view was that adequate defense of country and laws could be secured through the Militia -- civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.
The Third Amendment works applied to modern day police (which act more like soldiers did in that era) and state guard type troops. Why would even civilians serving a militia role have the ability to quarter in someone's home? The civilians are acting like "soldiers" on that occasion.  "Troops" is not the word used. If a case about the militia and Second Amendment can use the word "soldier," we can here too. What is the point of being so literal and specific?  Being forced to keep state agents in one's home probably can be seen in most cases at least as a sort of "seizure" of the home or a temporary "taking" or a violation of the privacy of the home protected by the substantive due process.

Or, we can honor the spirit of the Third Amendment.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


I found this book about a kidnapped Guatemalan girl, and though it is written for a middle school audience (in the voice of the twelve year old protagonist), adults can appreciate it as well -- at times, it seems like she is narrating from when she is older, though it is written as if the events occurred recently on an ongoing basis (tense is sort of strange in fiction that way). Good book with a flavor of the place and culture. Bit scary for kids.

"How Not to Convince Republicans to Address Climate Change"

Prof. Adler a conservative/libertarian who supports the need to address climate changes criticizes a response by some old time Republicans (who he wonders should even be called that any more).  His support is appealing, makes him seem approachable, but his mind-set still is problematic. It is like his concern for blocking judicial nominees and refusing (even when one of his fellow bloggers used the word as I pointed out more than once) to use the word "filibuster" for some of the actions.

I responded myself,* including addressing an update. One thing I noted, e.g., are that the people in the op-ed are Republicans, replying to someone else that they had various leadership roles in the past.  Also, putting aside Adler's concern about the river matter (see below), the op-ed didn't only reference that.  The link above can be used to read my responses.  An update led me to respond again, which will be re-published here, since I think it might be the most important part of the discussion on my end:

"The Right" (I stereotype here a bit akin to suggesting the op-ed writers aren't really "Republicans") doesn't really appear to "believe climate change is a problem" that is worthy of much concern, that is, one that would require them to focus on as compared to other things, or even understand it is one of those things government power should be used to address, akin to abortion or use of executive power against national security threats. So, that's an uphill battle.

For instance, a carbon tax is suggested. But, the current Right in the House of Representatives are of one mind -- taxes are bad. This is one reason why any hope for a bill seems to require some sort of pork -- in reality, Republicans in the House still care about that sort of thing. So, realistically, though Prof. Adler would on principle find this distasteful, it very well might realistically be part of a bill, if I thought there was a real shot at any sort of legislation in that department. And, like the PPACA, the first step might be imperfect. But, like health care, climate is a long haul. You need an opening & it will be a decades long journey. Any legislation unless we change how the Congress works will particularly be imperfect.

Some have put forth a bit of hope, since there are some of a conservative mind-set who see climate change as a religious issue -- it is part of God's duty to us to take care over those things we have dominion over or some such thing. That would to me be one approach: find allies among the Right's base. It would be helpful, yes, to use the Right's usual buzz words. For instance, a nod to "statists" or some put-down of "Science" (you know, Al Gore types). As to "demands tangible results to actual problems," the op-ed actually addressed that, even if one of the examples might be a trope. That is, something more symbol on some level than fact. But, tropes are used and a successful argument for the "Right" is likely to include one or more too. So, whatever works there w/i reason. I'm being a bit cynical, but yes, while pushing for solutions, flag possible bad ways to do things. Say there needs to be something done, and don't you want the "right people" to do it? Do nothing, and you know who will do it!

But, ultimately, you have to convince the Right that there is an actual problem worthy of some sort of real government regulation. Some here simply don't think so. Once you think there is a real problem, let's say crime or education, there is room to compromise and work on solutions. So, maybe vouchers will be part of the government's answer. The thing to do, I guess, is find some sort of entry level. Again, some use religion. Another path would be to suggest it is a way to attract certain types of future voters. This has influenced some to think immigration reform is necessary. Some, as some on the left already are doing, suggest there are free market advantages to addressing climate change. etc.

[end] I have read up on climate change some but don't claim expertise on the matter or the best approaches to address it, either scientifically or as policy. So, it is useful to read about the whole thing and try to understand as much as one can. Those in the comments, perhaps a tad overly cynical, suggesting "the Right" (apparently "Republicans" might not be members of it) are not really listening have a point. The concern that you have to speak about it to them in the right way is correct. But, it is not as much as talking about "statists" or something. It is ultimately about convincing Republicans that there is a reason, pragmatic or otherwise, to do something in the first place.  And, the result will be imperfect.

Prof. Adler, however, continually taking selective potshots at PPACA, including how it was passed without a planned conference effort to iron out difficulties, makes me doubt his awareness of the big picture. The posts never really address the reason why Congress acted as it did there. The Republicans, with the unfortunate addition of Scott Brown, blocked any ability to pass a new amended bill! And, he here takes a potshot at one of the op-ed writers for opposing Scott Brown in lieu of Elizabeth Warren.  Why are old-time Republicans supporting such people?

Adler is ideologically opposed to PPACA, but here is more sympathetic to the ultimate cause. Fine. But, the big picture is on some level the same.  The procedural and ideological roadblocks of the Republicans (and others, to be fair and complete), not merely arguing the case the wrong way, must be addressed.


* A shorter response in the comments addressed someone who (assuring us that s/he accepts the mainstream position that climate change is happening) thinks there is so much "political capital" invested in defending it that if evidence arises the other way (mind you s/he doesn't think there is), the scientists will not accept it.

The concern is ironic, since without partial blinders, it doesn't make much sense. The scientists already put their work on display, skeptics and others who or whatever reason support them (see also, tobacco companies) will be there and there surely won't ALL not honestly and ethically examine new evidence on global warning.

It also was pointed out the attacks are seen as attacks on science itself. This is true on some level -- it arises in any number of contexts and has some degree of merit in many of them -- but overall, you have to rely on the things noted to be safeguards. Only something of a conspiracy theory approach really works here unless there (not present here) is some reason to fear significant information is blocked or hidden by some small group.

Pioneering civil rights attorney Julius Chambers dies

A civil rights hero, who lived the history and fought to point it in the right direction. He was from North Carolina and worried about new restrictive voting laws. The fight continues and his style -- quiet, smart, powerful -- is an important means to address it.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Mets v. KC etc.

Mets split two trudges vs. the KC Royals thus far -- you know, their usual rivals. In both games, KC pitchers got a hit, one key to a three run inning. Chen did pitch in the NL, but still. The relievers got 18 of 19 out today. The one the winning run in the 12th. Oh well. Meanwhile, can A-Rod go away? Some, apparently seriously, say he is being mistreated by MLB. Sorry, not buying it. MLB aren't saints, but of the two ...

August Doldrums

So goes the Mets. Their closer's neck hurts and he has been out for a few days. Their All Star 3B got hurt racing for first, hurting his achy hammy, the throw airmailed anyhow. Led to their young newbie starter, Zack Wheeler pinch running. It was bound to happen eventually with the team struggling for runs, every base counting, but the immediate cause was a blown save by their fill-in closer. Another reliever is out for the year, probably.

Criminal Justice Quickies

Another article about states running low on execution drugs. I think some solution will be found for Texas at least. Others states might let it go; Texas likes executing people too much to not manage a means to get in their quota. "federalist" here really lets go against the California prison order. Such venom is a wonder to behold. Have been a victim of it, but apparently, down to an octogenarian Supreme Court journalist, I'm in good company.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Supreme Court Watch

Couple notable orders, prisons and adoption.

Imperfection is a feature, not a bug

Were the drivers involved in these cases, to one degree or another, knuckleheads? Absolutely. (I include myself.) However, the world is full of knuckleheads, and if fixing mistaken directions can save them from themselves, it seems incumbent on the navigation companies to fix them.
Exactly. Any system has to take into consideration humans are human, including per a recent debate I had, the idea that the pope can be totally infallible about anything.

In the Family

Birth, genetics, who looks like or acts like whom doesn't matter. A family is a group of individuals who love, hate, trust, question, need, console, and depend on one another as they grow and mature and learn how to give a little more, take a little less ... all in the same environment, whatever or wherever it may be.

-- "The Lives Behind The Lines ..." [Lynn Johnson]
The ABC Family show The Fosters, as does the network as a whole in a fashion (Gilmore Girls was an earlier show a "family friendly" group, usually a code word for conservative, supported*), suggests the breadth of the term "family." It involves a lesbian couple with the biological son of one, two twins they adopted and the two foster kids they recently took in. The drama includes the father of the teenage son and recently his grandfather.  It is rightly getting kudos as a gem of the season.

The title film is basically about something a 1970s Supreme Court ruling about an extended family reminded us not to do -- "close our eyes to the basic reasons why certain rights associated with the family have been accorded shelter."  It was suggested to me by a reader some time back, but it has recently been available on DVD (had a short run locally, but missed it), so checked it out.  First time the DVD did not only have two discs (extras basically discussing the style of the film and its creation) but an oversized pamphlet that didn't fit in the case of essays by others. 

Very good film, the talent underlined by the fact the star ("Joey," which has a backstory to it) also wrote and directed.  It is amazing what goes into even the crappiest film out there, so a 169 minute effort like this is on another level even without it being so good. I admit to not watching it straight thru -- short attention span with the Internet and all -- but was never bored or anything. The film has a set pace, in effect as low key (if "low key" had a picture next to it, this guy would show up) as the main character. Little music and no montages that I can recall -- we get a feel of the characters raising from watching them have breakfast [the very title of another film on a related subject] and similar things.  Lot of quiet empathy.

The film not only underlines the complexity of family (the lead himself was the product of a foster home, he adopted the name of the person who became his dad), but of sexuality. The lead is a contractor of sorts and met his partner while working on the house of his and his wife (pregnant at the time). The wife dies and he is there to help the guy thru his pain and somehow something happens and they become a couple.  It occurs the other way too, of course -- a person running for mayor of NYC (you know, other than the jerk) is married to someone who at the time considered herself a lesbian.  Sexuality is not black/white, fitting here too since this is also an interracial romance -- Asian and white -- in Tennessee yet.

The sense of place (strangely, the credits has it being filmed in NY! did I read that right?!)  is important to the film, since it adds flavor to the process. An Asian with a Southern accent? Who knew such a thing occurred?  The film takes place in the early 2000s, so you think he would not have as hard of a time finding a lawyer after the aunt takes their son away (his partner died in a car crash, but never re-wrote his will, since people don't expect to die in car crashes). I would note that the scene felt like it might have been a mistake -- the way it happens makes her look like a total, I'll be crude, bitch. We don't see it, but it must have been very traumatic for the six year old son.  There was other ways to go that would still be pretty bad without a glorified form of kidnapping. You can understand why it was done that way, but it felt off when it occurred, dramatically so.  I guess there is more than one way to read the situation.

Anyway, check out the film to see a powerful (and heartbreaking at times) story and act of film-making. The top link can get you some background.  Lots to like, including his comment, amazed, that anyone would doubt he was the kid's dad. The supporting cast, mainly (I recognized one person in a small role) non-big names, were also excellent, especially the person playing the young son.  The guy who eventually becomes his lawyer also has a plum role and some plum dialogue. I can see the person who recommended this film saying something like he did. Thanks for the heads up.  Oh, since I know a couple, the scene in the classroom is great too.

ETA: The lawyer's little speech to Joey is a key moment in the film and an excerpt is even used in the trailer. The scene is excellent for various reasons, including how Joey is shot with a focus on the expression on Joey's face as he listens. It is a highlight of movie-making.


* The show had some conservative aspects, which on some level should not surprise, since it is about a teen that not only had her baby, but who became a major success story through hard work and continued to pine for the father of the child.  I liked the story a lot in its early years, but in time, did feel it cheated the audience. And, the slut shaming of Paris really rankled. The character also became something of a caricature though overall that happened to others as well, including at times the leads.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Ariel Castro

Some people lack a certain amount of humanity, including those some might call "monsters," particularly sociopaths. Some seem poster children for the death penalty, but it won't only apply to the "no doubt cases." And, including when there is no death, there is a basic moral [comment] and legal rule. One even those whose life is to protect children have supported. Dissent is apparent and understandable. Glad he pled and we avoided the specter of a trial.

Rizzoli & Isles

AfterEllen loves this show for its lesbian subtext and TV Tropes notes various things about it can let people look past the writing. Yes. TNT is filled with mystery shows mostly about characters ("characters welcome" doesn't only apply to USA), just too much to expect the scripts to be consistently good. Monday's episode was though, the mystery's wrap-up still a bit lame. Surrounding parts done well, Rizzoli a bit less annoying than usual.

The Girl

A good film concerning a desperate young Texan mother who loses her child to foster care and tries smuggling Mexicans across the border, but it goes tragically wrong, and she has to deal with a young girl who lost her mother. "Making of" segment narrated by director. From the producers of the also very good Maria Full of Grace. Abbie Cornish (an Australian actress sounding quite Texan, speaking Spanish too) is excellent in the lead.