This was on late night on a commercial movie channel -- movie is under ninety minutes, so it's fairly crisp and has a great cast with Kim Basinger shining. From late 1980s. I also saw part of the Black Klansman movie and it was rather loyal to the book. Actually, rather straightforward for a Spike Lee joint. A bit bored with it. Saw good Green Book documentary (on actual green book) on Smithsonian Channel. Is it really March already?
Thursday, February 28, 2019
With twenty-five executions last year (dollar and a dream ...), it is probably quite possible for anti-death penalty justices (they can spread it around) cover each one this year. A three-time killer (a family matter, but one was a police officer) might not seem much trouble legally or otherwise. The system is the problem, but even this specifically can be. He was on death row for thirty years: that alone is a problem Justice Breyer et. al. covered. And, there might be due process issues. Final appeal rejected without comment and he was executed.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
A few oral arguments, including a potential big one regarding religious displays regarding a "peace cross" that hopefully will be decided narrowly though not likely to go the humanist's way. Roberts again the swing vote in a limited win (death penalty case) for the liberals. Less close defendant win with Thomas/Gorsuch (but not Alito) adding a bit in the dissent questioning the constitutional right to state provided lawyers on originalist grounds. Win for international organizations with Breyer with a solo dissent that is most interesting regarding his purpose based approach that questions textual analysis of the majority.
The Michael Cohen testimony was not likely to be earth shattering, but hearings need not be to be useful, including to air things out to the general public who are not political nerds and get a sense of each side. Plus, some useful stuff will come out, including bringing things back front and center. It's a race, not a sprint. Plus, AOC et. al. had great moments. Meanwhile, a background gun check bill that passed the House, basically on a party line vote. Using a procedural maneuver [people upset about that, but total majority control is not a good approach either], Republicans got a limited win by getting a tack-on that requires the federal background check database to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an undocumented immigrant tries to buy a gun. Swing district Dems went along. Precedent suggests it will be blocked in the Senate, but the facts are on the record for when sanity rules there too. ETA: Remember too that Cohen also testified behind closed doors.
Monday, February 25, 2019
Didn't see the beginning, but the second half of The Oscars was pretty good and guess not having a host isn't a big deal. (Maybe, just have some representative introduce it briefly?) with many nice black, women, gay/lesbian friendly moments. And, then they had to ruin it by ending with Green Book winning? Oh well. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court in a brief per curiam (Sotomayor concurring without opinion) says you can't count a judge's vote after they died, even if the panel "decided" beforehand. Seems right though maybe merited a bit more contemplation. Also, district court held all male draft unconstitutional. RBG smiles. ETA: I saw Juliet, Naked (no nudity) on demand and liked it. Rose Byrne very good. [To add two more.] Saw I am Not Your Negro on DVD; well, half of it -- it seemed a bit rambling and half of it gave a good feel of the general tenor. Good. Saw the lead of the foreign film Two Lives in other films (such as Nowhere in Africa) and that too was a half movie watch. Have less patience these days. Half was good; skipped to ending tbh. Felt a tad obligatory.
Saturday, February 23, 2019
The fiction of Mary Boykin Chestnut, of Civil War diary fame, was hard going so I put it aside. Did finish The Bell Jar, using the version shown here (with "PS" author background material). Overall, I liked it. Smooth reading, some insights of the young characters' struggles etc. A bit sudden fall into madness after she comes home and the latter part of her confinement (when she was on the way to recovery) might have been fleshed out better. But, it's a deserved classic. Couldn't get into Sylvia movie, which I watched when it came out. And Also: Mets Spring Training started today. Oscars tomorrow; haven't been interested in them for a few years. I used to be a regular viewer but also watch movies in theaters much less too. The Favourite being one I actually saw.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Perhaps because they already did in dicta (if that; McDonald v. Chicago however ignored the case), the Supreme Court thought it obvious that the Excessive Fine Clause should be incorporated, doing so in an opinion under ten pages. The opinion is being cited as important given it included within its ambit civil asset forfeitures, but that too has been cited in the past. This was noted in the opinion to cite how weak the state's claim was in trying to argue they don't count. RBG wrote the opinion and seems to be doing well. But, maybe so. Also, not sure seizure of his land rover was that excessive for use for a felony. Borderline. Yes, it is 4x (but is that too much?) the criminal penalty, but the usage seems to be notable. Also: What's left? Third Amendment (Griswold dicta, never pops up, but bet it can someday), grand jury (many states don't use them; doubtful), unanimous jury trials (one state left; quite possible, cited as a joker in opinion) and Seventh Amendment (civil trials; also broad reach). Update: And, does it matter if we use the Privileges or Immunities Clause? Depends on how limiting it turns out to be. Justice Gorsuch already restrained the feds regarding immigrants in part by concerns about vagueness. Some limits on power will protect liberty of non-citizens. Also, including by originalist arguments, equal protection concerns should apply to them, including as a matter of due process. If this sounds substantive, it shows sneering at "substantive due process" is you know a bit stupid. Selective application likely.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
The Supreme Court decided to take that census question case after all, the clock on writing the forms running out, even though a lower court opinion could have mooted the question. Unclear how broad the opinion will be. The justices, via per curiam, attacked a lower court for not following their precedent. Roberts, unlike in the abortion case, expressly said he was joining for that reason. Kavanaugh (unlike the other three) silently went along. Thomas flagged he didn't like NYT v. Sullivan, at least as applied to public figures like a Cosby accuser. Originalism aside, he might have a point. Clean Water Act case taken. And Also: Sanders announced. Liz Warren fills his role, minus additional baggage. Note: My comment is limited to the reach of current law to public figures. If strict defamation rules for people like a Cosby accuser are somewhat weaker, it very well might be acceptable. Public officials are of a different caliber. Maybe not, but worth thinking about.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
I enjoyed his Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History and after comments by him was referenced on a blog, I found this earlier book. It covers James Wilson, South Carolina freeman Elias Hill, feminist/pacifist Crystal Eastman (skimping her later years), professor Roscoe Pound and lawyer Melvin Belli. It is a bit too academic, but that is less of an issue in the second and fourth sections in particular. As a whole, interesting vignettes. And Also: Eric Segall's Originalism as Faith is a case where reading his blog stuff/articles basically give you a feel of the topic. And, a summary (like a few pages why such and such result isn't really originalism) is somewhat underwhelming. Originalism ultimately causes my eyes to glaze over -- it is like counting angels on the head of a pin and a lot of self-righteousness [which is one of the most annoying aspects of it] on a foundation of sand.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Justice Kagan in her dissent involving town meeting invocations cited their legitimate reach: “speak of the depths of [one’s] life, of the source of [one’s] being, of [one’s] ultimate concern, of what [one] take[s] seriously without any reservation.” Various governmental bodies include non-theistic invocations, but some people want to be assholes about it. Pure separation of church and state in practice won't happen for various reasons, but equal respect at least should be our goal. This works both ways -- have seen some liberals scornful of "religion" and I understand given how it is weaponized to harm (a few simply are skeptics). But, allies come in all shapes and equal respect should be our rule.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Great speech with continual relevance. Note he was a bit cute -- the Republican platform was a threat to the South/slavery -- he wasn't some professor giving a nuanced take here. But, the in depth discussion in a day when the Founding were still in direct memory is still powerful and raises themes that still arise. A passionate fact-based attack.
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Harris excitement and Warren had passion with an economic focused message; Klobuchar was more of a sedate Midwest nice with possibility of just doing her job and being the President for everyone (Middle America?). The snow was a nice touch. Her laundry list of the usual proposals didn't do much for me. Earlier there was some reporting of her being an asshole boss which is valid though I'd like to hear about the others in comparison. Usual concern.
I noticed Lent starts a bit late this year, but read this book now anyway. Not going to respond directly to the review except to say that yes it could have addressed critics a bit more but did address matters (and said so) before in more detail(e.g., full books on Jesus and Paul). In that respect, it wasn't comprehensive or fully satisifying, but was overall an interesting read. Bart Ehrman, who has also wrote on the basic topics, had a supportive blurb.
Friday, February 08, 2019
Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Moving past Super Bowl travesties, pitchers/catchers are due to report soon and we are about two weeks from televised Spring Training Mets games. Also, there is talk of a lot of changes including (whenever it comes) ending the DH in the NL. Ugh. There is also talk of each pitcher needing to face at least three batters. What of the LOOGY? Changes don't really sound that positive. Ending defensive shifts? Eh. Meanwhile, The Bookshop was a tad too precious quirky for me but nice lead and lack of a deus ex machina is honest enough. And Also: Book pile reduced a bit by a couple more not doing it. More to come. Skimming long RBG biography; doesn't seem worth a full read though has some interesting tidbits.
Saturday, February 02, 2019
Short month, so the news started early. Cory Booker declared his candidacy for POTUS, his specialty criminal justice, being a vegan and enthusiasm. Problems would include some connections to money and education ... and coming off as a bit too much of a showboat. Meanwhile, after remarks related to a proposed abortion bill, the governor of Virginia (D) got in trouble for a racist medical school yearbook from the 1980s. I'm wary about such ancient history (not attempted rape either) forcing him out though his attempts to explain it away today did him no favors. Plus, guess in this day and age, the taint means he has to go. And Also: No Human is Illegal is about an immigration lawyer in the age of Trump. Update: The governor just might hold on while someone else third in line mentioned (handling the announcement better) that he put on blackface himself back in college/1980. The lieutenant governor is accused of a sexual assault that happened fifteen years ago and of course came out AFTER his election in 2017. The responses (some at least) are starting to get a bit more reserved, wary about requiring people to resign (over focus on elections as deciders). My immediate wariness is starting to seem a good call. But, let's wait and see.