Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Important EPA win (with Scalia's dissent changing a bit after the fact). As noted here, Sotomayor also announced two patent opinions, one under ten pages long. Meanwhile, the oral arguments wind down, including potentially two important phone search cases.
See here (note my comment on why lethal injection is used) and here for details/analysis. Killing people can be hard, you know? Seriously, it suggests the importance of openness (an issue now with source of drugs etc.) and careful procedure to safeguard and protect public assurance (however misplaced) that governmental action is done in an acceptable way.
Silver said Sterling's sordid history was not taken into account when handing down the ban and suspension, that that it will be considered when owners decide whether to compel Sterling to sell the franchiseMore here. I don't know. If this was part of a "sordid history," fine. But, the punishment seems rather extreme if it was (dare I say "merely"?) for one horrible conversation. I think it really wasn't, especially as a public relations matter involving the reactions. It was for more.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
In his latest book, Bart Ehrman recommends this for a recent look at the scholarship, and the small volume does provide that in various helpful ways. This includes a brief summary of gnostic thought and a reminder that the lines between it and others strands is not as stark as might be thought. This overlaps with some of Ehrman's discussion of views on God in the era. There is some stuff hard going for non-experts. Mixed bag.
A judge in Perez v. Sharp, an early rejection of bans of mixed race marriage (aka a 'traditional' marriage law), partially rested on freedom of religion. This lawsuit also appeals to free exercise. Religious groups also were on the side of freedom of choice in the 1960s regarding abortion. Doubtful if NC actually bans a church from a merely religious "marriage" ceremony though admit the text of the law can lead one to think that. And, the right to marry generally is also at issue. Either way, good reminder on the breadth of religious belief.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Sunday, April 27, 2014
I found that poem after looking up the poet, a collection of whom I obtained free of charge. For today, I offer this from "The Prayer of Thanksgiving," included in A New New Testament:
giving us mind, speech, knowledge: mind, so that we may understand, speech, so that we may expound, knowledge, so that we may knowI take that symbolically as the path to full wisdom and happiness.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Friday, April 25, 2014
Okay, a local pitcher was caught a bit too blatantly using pine tar and was suspended for ten days (might amount to one start -- how will the Yanks survive?), but people are going on and on about it. Elsewhere, Dan Savage leads a nice idea -- a feel good amateur type porn film festival. We are so sex focused in this society, but darn, tv/film portrayals are so often so lame. Cf. Rachel McAdams' reaction after having sex in The Notebook.
Probably biased because his overall client base is so wrong-minded, but his advocacy in front of the Supreme Court is hard for me to take. Guy surely is a genius, blah blah, but even in a case I'm fairly neutral about (Aereo), he comes off as grating -- has a "my side is obviously right, the other (disdain)" tone that really turns me off. And, more than once (other days), his arguments came off as shoddy. There are ways to be wrong and not be so hard to take.
Much props for Justice Stevens as a whole, including his continuing vitality in his mid-90s, even if I disagree (a look at some problems; my view on the RKBA is also different from him; plus ending the natural born citizen rule for presidents should be on the list) with his proposed amendments as a whole. Per Hasen, Stevens didn't provide enough details at times in the past too. Sane comments on pot too. Might be a tad overexposed though.
My local library has a cart with free books (no free lunch, but some things are reasonable) and found this baseball fan memoir by actress Alyssa Milano there. It has an embarrassing mistake about the loser of the '96 World Series but a lot more stuff about baseball mechanics than I'm familiar with. The contours of "the shift" is not quite my thing. I did get my mom into baseball, so the family dynamics is somewhat familiar. Not deep, pleasant read.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
This is a short book by Thomas O'Loughlin discussing (a bit tediously, but in a generous spirit that honors how tradition changes) what appears to be a late first century "teaching" -- a sort of manual for new Christians. Pagels cited it in her book on Revelations and it is a useful read along with NT writings (Acts also speaks of "the Way" while late epistles have various similar rules for the long haul) to help understand early Christianity.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
Bart Ehrman's books at this point tend to be a bit repetitive (e.g., gospels aren't all the same) raised in different ways. His latest has a good chunk of new material though the last hundred pages covers familiar ground. It also ended with a bit of a trudge with the convoluted ("paradoxical") arguments only the true believers would seem to care about. The different views of the divine in Roman, Jewish and early Christian thought were interesting. Good use of modern day visions to compare to belief in visions of the raised Jesus.
It is somewhat hard to imagine how it was to read the Bible in its origin form -- smooshed together text with no chapter or verse headings, Hebrew not even having vowels. Imagine that last sentence without spaces or vowels. Toss in lack of quotation marks or indentation (e.g., of poetic verses, a issue in Prof. Ehrman's new book). Forget about citations to past verses though by Jesus' time some sort of exegesis/verse collections etc. were available.
WGN has for a long time been promoting their first series -- Salem (as in witches, who did exist apparently) -- and it started last night. Saw half of the premiere before Veep (a bit self-referential with the SNL reference AND the wealth of the vp) and it seemed decent & a quality production. Hey, that guy is from the '70s show Emergency! Seems a bit derivative of other efforts though. Still, might be a decent time-waster with a bit of t&a (actual ass shot).
Sunday, April 20, 2014
The author of a book on Lawrence v. Texas, who signed the federalism brief, posts the title article in draft form. With the usual caveats about not agreeing with it all, I think it pretty convincing. Helps answer some of the at times snide/overwrought Windsor critics. Can be applied to at least some state DOMAs too as briefly suggested.
They came home, which means they went back to losing. Same old story. Went to the game on Friday -- lovely view from high up with just a peek of the water, especially at sunset. They nearly got no-hit by a journeyman. Their fill-in closer lost his job. Biggest signing (Granderson) is simply not hitting. Bright spot Lagares out for two weeks (hopefully). etc.
St. Paul et. al. argue that what is now known as Christianity is based on the belief that Jesus died and rose from the dead to save us but a good many modern day Christians don't think too deeply about that literally happening if they even believe it did. Many do, of course, but many do not. Easter for some is a sort of myth, the story something of a poetic image of how things are. The rest believe something that doesn't really hold up to scrutiny.
Friday, April 18, 2014
There appears to be some division in the 10th Cir. panel hearing the SSM case, but over in the 9th Cir., heightened scrutiny applied to sexual orientation (applied to peremptory challenges, a tricky issue, less blatantly bad than anti-SSM laws) has basically been accepted by both sides. See here, noting there is debate over the hows of application to juries.
The Court’s federalism jurisprudence has shifted from its once-typical form of inquiry into the scope of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, refracted through the Tenth Amendment, to become an inquiry into the transsubstantive reasons for allowing Congress to regulate at all.And you thought Catholic doctrine could get convoluted ...
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Texas executed a man by lethal injection on Wednesday who was convicted of stabbing his girlfriend, her child and her mother to death after a cocaine binge in 2001.The USSC refused 5-4 a late appeal, apparently based on alleged mental impairment. He was 39, young for a condemned man. Ironically, he was said to have planned to kill himself with drugs before being caught. Horrible crime, but unlikely deterrent here. Retribution.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
With “Get Fuzzy,” the reasons are a bit more, well, fuzzy. The strip started running more and more reruns last year, and then the fresh strips just stopped coming altogether. Universal Uclick, the syndicate that handles “Get Fuzzy,” hasn't given any specific reasons for why the strip has gone into reruns. And the “Get Fuzzy” creator, Darby Conley, hasn't made any public announcements. No one knows if or when the strip may start again.Happened in my local paper too, but don't know when. Where art thou Get Fuzzy?
Update here. I think the idea might be a fear of where this would go regarding blogs generally, but given the importance of the blog and lead reporter in question (guy has been doing it before I was born) etc., denial here is absurd and a bit nauseating.
This review fairly suggests this somewhat convoluted take on Strangers on a Train and other films (with a lesbian twist) has just enough emotional weight to intrigue without having enough quality story-wise to really hold up. The first half or so is the best with the last third a somewhat tedious matter of plot. It ends on a somewhat interesting emotional note. Overall, you might expect more, but it has enough for worthwhile cable/DVD viewing.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
A bit on historical fiction. One issue there is to the mind-set of people -- hard to imagine really how different it is. Some things stay same (we can tell by reading sources), some things don't. Most movies, e.g., make it feel almost topical. A discussion of "majority rule" in courts. Yes, a supermajority for overruling certain things might make sense. A few states have it. The stereotypical 5/4 splits are like one in four, but still worth thinking about.
Catching up a bit on demand. The daughter dating stuff is tiresome, but on the whole, the ensemble cast provides a good effort with the diverse story lines interesting. The daughter of the dad's competition was in Mayor Cupcake with the mom and also on Disney -- another example of a star going from G/PG to PG-13 fare (here in a hot tub). Also, is the stream of consciousness/Gilmore level talking thing a normal teen girl thing? Guess/bit much at times.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.I think this was true regardless, since "income" is "indirect" (maybe some special cases arise) but fine. [insert Holmes' quote]. Not the only redundant phrase probably.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Even Sen. Heller (NV) is now semi-sane on the first issue. Might actually be sane for some to vote (R) locally in Nevada. Still pretty crazy to help Rs control U.S. Senate. Somewhat sure they won't in '15, but crazy that it's half-way possible this national party will control Congress!
Veep covered abortion last night and a poll determined "don't know" as basically the plurality position. Not far off. Abortion also a theme of a recent hit here and this older discussion of emotional responses to issues. Oh, and "Sue" is played by "Sufe Bradshaw." Funny for nerds.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
This being Holy Week, it is also notable that John follows the synoptics regarding palms (Happy Palm Sunday), but not the bread/wine remembrance thing. (He also has the Last Supper on a different day.) That is one of the few things in Jesus' life Paul actually covers. The Jesus Seminar thinks it was a later edition by pagan followers, who unlike Jews would not find the idea as offensive and matches Greek/Roman cultural remembrance practices.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
After watching the LBJ play, reading Todd Purdum's book on the passage of the Civil Rights Act & halfway thru it is pretty good (few pages in, already found I liked the smooth writing style). March on Washington happened fifty years ago, August. Colbert's (profiled here in '05) mom was pregnant with him as she watched on there. Now that's pretty kewl.
Saw a reference that he is a "safe choice" given he's another white guy. True enough on some level. It would be nice to have a different look with Arsenio left to channels with much less viewership and Chelsea Handler on some channel that makes Conan's audience seem huge. Ellen is rather bland and has a pretty good gig. But, other options are available. Samantha Bee to replace Colbert? Talk Chelsea might replace Craig. If he leaves.
Interesting discussion. As usual, provide my .02. John Paul Stevens' new book -- wary about some of his amendments & think others (e.g., non-native born as President) more important than some of them. Ditto. Mets starting off too much like last few years.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Jon Stewart probably knew. Didn't know he was up for the gig, but thinking about it, I can see it. Also, he's the only one of the bunch I really watch now. Check out Letterman and Craig a few times. Colbert has range and it will be interesting to see what he does with it.
Looking at his blog to find a link as to the last post, his "book club" entry will be Bart Ehrman's newest (on reserve) and a recent post on suicide is worthwhile. The author cited also is a poet and reserved her book in honor of poetry month. Don't see her suicide book in the library yet. Still have time to choose your "poem in your pocket" selection!
Andrew Sullivan was on Colbert last night voicing his dissenting view regarding the pressure to have him resign from heading Mozilla (which I use) because of his support for Prop 8 (I'm sure he did more for the cause than donate $1000). Multiple posts here, e.g., on how this was not some grand violation of the 1A principles. I agree -- he is the head of the company, important for the "brand," not an ordinary employee, etc. Still, Sullivan has a point too.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Good chart and summary. Also was looking at "Tao of Pooh." Want to read a bit on Eastern religions and that might work. First, a bit on Didache, which gets less love than Thomas et. al., but as Pagels noted in a recent book etc., important very early work.
I'm wary of the term "evil" since it seems supernatural and often leads people to deem certain others as subhuman. Was listening to Bart Ehrman talk about the "problem of evil." But, like "sacred," the term has a certain valid bite. Denying the needy care is pretty evil on some level. Thanks to the USSC, state governors have the power to do that regarding Medicaid expansion. Thankfully it isn't quite as bad as it could be (see, e.g. Arizona).
An article by Chait on the tragic place of race in politics today is worth reading, but the response here -- in effect promoting the idea of "objective racism" -- is a good "let's be careful here" reply. I think if a white guy was up there, the Tea Party will find a reason to despise him too (see Bill Clinton), but it isn't all in our heads either. And, like in other human interactions, de facto matters. Even if "I don't really mean it." Complicated mess.
Various good links discussing the campaign finance ruling here, including multiple ones by Rick Hasen, with additional ones when you get to each. For instance, on the limited definition of "corruption" in Citizens United, which is worse than "corporation as people" which is a normal trope used. And, the "bad" and "good" responses to such cases. Likewise, false minimalism and need for courts to realistically address what they are doing. As to the latter, Justice Breyer is a mixed bag, but his upfront prudential approach has its values.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
It isn't quite that infamous case from Dickens, but the Mount Soledad monument case is going on pretty ridiculously long. Peter Irons' God on Trial coverage (as with other cases, Irons includes some interesting human details) is now seven years old. So nice the feds continue to be "defenders" of the faith (I mean cross). The controversy continues.
Luke is more "universal" and softer than Matthew, but to me has a similar issue where the middle chapters drag and get a tad repetitive. Acts is akin to the chronicles of the OT and is pretty smooth reading; it seems to be a key guide to Peter and Paul, which was on last night. A "softer Paul" and Peter, who mostly disappears around Chapter 11. As do the apostles overall really, though John pops up early. Really needs a map with all those place names.
Monday, April 07, 2014
Bart Ehrman (asked if some will be insulted by the timing of its release, it being Easter season) in his book "leaves open" if Jesus "rose from the dead" or is "God" because these are "theological" questions and the book is "historical." What "God" means is rather religious, though let's say it is not just that in many cases. People rising from the dead is often surely partially historical. If the physical Jesus walked around is historical. "Appearances" are too, if more subjective. People eating fish is not just a "religious" thing all the same.
Per a comment, Bart Ehrman talks about his new book here on NPR. It is striking how discovering history from the New Testament here is something akin working back from fossils and determining what was there before sediment and all else changed what was originally there. We don't take them merely on face value. Also, names like "Apollos" or more so less cited females (or Joseph!) that readers would love to learn more about.
As various shows I like end, go into seasonal hiatus or whatever, this returned with a somewhat "blah" episode. Show often is pretty low key in general. More so here. Dodgers yet again being on national television didn't really provide much of an alternative. Afternoon was a Mets can't hit a spot starter affair. Not a big day for television.
The USSC refused cert. in the Elane Photography (a corporation) case, rejecting a claim that a public accommodations photography studio could refuse to serve a same sex ceremony. Glad they avoided this can of worms. Just what is "expressive" enough to refuse service? Prof. Volokh was in the forefront in getting the case heard though I felt he repeatedly didn't address the breadth of the claim. The religious rights claim was no longer active.