Friday, July 29, 2005

On Friday Random Ten

Okay, so am I the only person who's noticed that KFC has been using "Sweet Home Alabama" in their ad campaign? Um, wouldn't that make them AFC?

1. Johnny Cash, "The One On The Right Is On The Left"
2. Dido, "Aria (Trance 2000 remix)"
3. The Surfaris, "Wipe Out"
4. Dave Matthews Band, "Lie In Our Graves"
5. Garbage, "Temptation Waits"
6. Vertical Horizon, "All Of You"
7. U2, "Desire"
8. Kay Starr, "Sentimental Journey"
9. Alicia Bridges, "I Love The Nightlife (Disco Round)"
10. Dave Brubeck, "Take Five"

Looks like the weekend might start out a little rough, but by the end, it's going to rock. Remind me to hand-wash some of my cute little going-out tops, 'cause the fact is, I really do love the nightlife. I got to boogie.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On your rights - yes, Virginia, there is a right to privacy.

Okay, so I promised y'all a look at privacy rights, so here we go. As a non-lawyer, I invite any and all of my ConLaw friends and trolls to call shenanigans on mistakes I might make in my interpretation of the law.

This was all spurred on by an appearance by Senator Rick Santorum on NewsNight with Aaron Brown, specifically the following exchange:
BROWN: Do you think there's a right to privacy in the Constitution? . . . For example, if you'd been a Supreme Court judge in Griswold versus Connecticut, the famous birth control case came up, which centered around whether there was a right to privacy. Do you believe that was correctly decided?

SANTORUM: No, I don't. I write about it in the book. I don't.

. . . BROWN: Why would a conservative argue that government should interfere with that most personal decision?

SANTORUM: I didn't. I said it was a bad law. And... They had the right to make it. Look, legislatures have the right to make mistakes and do really stupid things...but we don't have to create constitutional rights because we have a stupid legislature. And that's the problem here, is the court feels like they have a responsibility to right every wrong. When they do that, unlike a Congress, that if we make a really stupid mistake and we do something wrong, we go back next year or next month and change it, and we've done that. Courts don't do that. They only get cases that come before them and they have to make broad, sweeping decisions that have huge impact down the road.

That's what happened in Griswold. It was a bad law. The court felt, we can't let this bad law stand in place. It's wrong. It was. But they made a -- they created out of whole cloth a right that now has gone far, far from Griswold versus Connecticut.

To begin with, I do have to point out that Santorum makes one mistake (well, plenty, to be sure, but this one jumps out at me): one job of the Supreme Court is to correct things when the legislature is stupid, specifically, when the legislature passes stupidly unconstitutional legislation. In such a case, the SC has to say, "Hey, stupid that law vioaltes a constitutional right." Does the court get to create constitutional rights, pull them out of thin air? Of course not. But if there's a right in there, and it's being violated, the court has to overturn the law.  That's what it's there for. And sure, it's really the responsibility of the legislature to go back and correct its mistakes when it makes them. But how long do we give the lege to realize it's made a mistake, and then correct it? How long would Jim Crow have been on the books before the legislature went back to get rid of it, without the federal judiciary pushing at it?

That having been said, does the Constitution really outline a right to privacy? Well, to begin with, we know that it doesn't not allow it. The Ninth Amendment states that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." So it's certainly left open that we could have one. And if you want to argue original intent, you can look back as far as the Federalist Papers, where Andrew Hamilton argues against a Bill of Rights on the grounds that listing the rights that the people do have almost makes it easier for the government to start listing the rights that they don't have. But some politicans won't take "step off my Ninth Amendment rights" for an answer, so we look to caselaw.

The case in question, Griswold v. Connecticut, actually centered around a Connecticut law banning contraceptives for married people. The Supreme Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional, citing a right to privacy found in the "penumbra" of the Bill of Rights and supported by the Ninth Amendment (two judges filed a concurrent opinion that overturned the law via the Due Process clause in the 14th Amendment). Basically, the ruling boils down to the fact that while the Bill of Rights doesn't explicitly outline a right to privacy, that right is implicit in the Amendment I freedom of belief, expression, and association; Amendment IV right to security in your person, home, and property; Amendment V freedom from deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process; and Amendment IX, which says only that such a right can exist because the Constitution doesn't say it can't. The first ten amendments outline the various ways that people have control over their own lives. The "right to privacy" doesn't need to be expressed in so many words because it's implied in everything the Bill of Rights stands for.

Griswold isn't the only case where privacy becomes an issue. Later, in the 1967 case Katz v. United States, the Supreme Court further upheld a right to privacy by saying that the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure applies to the person, not the personal property, and that what a person "seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public may be Constitutionally protected."

But hey, don't take my word for it; ask Justice Louis Brandeis. In his Harvard Law Review article, The Right to Privacy," published in 1890 - 75 years prior to Griswold, Brandeis says that basic human rights naturally extend beyond life, property, and person safety to issues of human emotions and relationships and even intellectual property. Said Brandeis, "Thoughts, emotions, and sensations demanded legal recognition, and the beautiful capacity for growth which characterizes the common law enabled the judges to afford the requisite protection, without the interposition of the legislature." While his article starts by looking at the effect of unwanted media attention on privacy, it extends that right to all areas of private life, saying that
the protection of society must come mainly through a recognition of the rights of the individual.  Each man is responsible for his own acts and omissions only.  If he condones what he reprobates, with a weapon at hand equal to his defence, he is responsible for the results.  If he resists, public opinion will rally to his support.  Has he then such a weapon? It is believed that the common law provides him with one, forged in the slow fire of the centuries, and to-day fitly tempered to his hand.

In my eyes, though, the biggest defense of the right to privacy is the entire damn Constitution. In case you're unfamiliar with it, it's the document in which the people of America outline the rights that they'll allow the government to have. I'll repeat: it's where the people tell the government how far it can go and how much authority it has over our lives. Somehow, we've started to move away from the real original intent of the framers of the Constitution, that the government should serve at the will of the people, that the government's rights arise from the willingness of the people to give them authority. In cases like this, cases where our personal and private activities and decisions become fodder for a controlling legislature, we have a responsibility to tell the government so far, but no further.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On almost agreeing with Rick Santorum, revisited

Okay, so it appears, on closer examination, that I don't agree with Rick Santorum after all. Not even a little bit. But it's okay, see, because it turns out that he doesn't agree with himself, either:
Did little Ricky just say on Aaron Brown what I thought he said? That Griswold was wrongly decided, and that therefore the state has the right to regulate the use of birth control by married couples?

Aw, man, for serious? This is what I get for turning off CNN when CSI comes on. Did anyone actually get to see it? What did Aaron have to say?

Wow, Santorum must be all ticked off about this new book that just came out. It talks about how great Griswold was for supporting marriage and establishing a zone of privacy around it:
With respect to sexual conduct, not abortion, the Court had recognized a zone of privacy around marriage. In other words, married people were treated differently under the law with respect to their sexual activity with one another than unmarried people. In its left-handed way, the Court in Griswold gave deference to marriage between one man and one woman as the building block for society and the legitimate purpose for sexual activity and thereby protected it from state regulation.

Rick, you'll want to check that book out, like, right away. I think it's called It Takes a Family. You're going to want to talk with that guy about family values.

Update: Kos has been kind enough to provide a transcript of the conversation in question:
BROWN: Do you think there's a right to privacy in the Constitution? . . . For example, if you'd been a Supreme Court judge in Griswold versus Connecticut, the famous birth control case came up, which centered around whether there was a right to privacy. Do you believe that was correctly decided?

SANTORUM: No, I don't. I write about it in the book. I don't.

. . . BROWN: Why would a conservative argue that government should interfere with that most personal decision?

SANTORUM: I didn't. I said it was a bad law. And... They had the right to make it. Look, legislatures have the right to make mistakes and do really stupid things...but we don't have to create constitutional rights because we have a stupid legislature. And that's the problem here, is the court feels like they have a responsibility to right every wrong. When they do that, unlike a Congress, that if we make a really stupid mistake and we do something wrong, we go back next year or next month and change it, and we've done that. Courts don't do that. They only get cases that come before them and they have to make broad, sweeping decisions that have huge impact down the road.

That's what happened in Griswold. It was a bad law. The court felt, we can't let this bad law stand in place. It's wrong. It was. But they made a -- they created out of whole cloth a right that now has gone far, far from Griswold versus Connecticut.

So Griswold is good, good for protecting marriage. But it was bad, bad for raising the issue of privacy. Because only marriages are private. Except for gay marriages. And the Supreme Court was bad for making sweeping decisions that lay judicial precendence for privacy rights, except for the part that protected marriage, which was good.

I hope we're clear on that.

I think I'll use this opportunity to take a look at the Constitution and our right to privacy. Except I smell banana bread in the kitchen, so privacy rights will have to wait until tomorrow.

On the ideal family

Okay, so few things in life scare me more than almost agreeing with Rick Santorum.

The kindly junior senator from Pennsylvania was sporting enough to appear on the Daily Show last night (and yes, at this point I do get the vast majority of my news from Comedy Central, 'cause the real news makes me sad), and he made some good points with regard to the American family in general (vis a vis his new book, It Takes a Family, which is not getting an Amazon link from me, sorry Rick).

Senator Santorum said that society is based around the idea of a family with one man and one woman married for the purpose of having kids. I do kind of disagree with that; anthropologically speaking, the "traditional" nuclear family is kind of a new development, what with plenty of less-advanced and/or aboriginal societies living in all different kinds of arrangements and being just fine with it. Regardless, I will stipulate that the ideal family involves a kid having two parents (although I won't insist that they have one parent of each gender; see this post for my feelings on same-gender parenting). Once again, for the record, it is my person, unscientific opinion that any two-parent family, regardless of gender combo, is the ideal, and any discussion of the effect of gay parents on kids is just going to happen on another blog.

Here's where Rick and I significantly part ways, though: he feels that the government's job is to support that ideal situation. Well, okay, yeah, I actually do agree with that, too (isn't this scary?). But I don't agree that we need to support the ideal at the expense of reality. 'Cause reality isn't ideal. Reality is single mothers, sometimes single fathers, divorces, remarriages, stepfamilies, blended families. And while government certainly does need to support and even promote the ideal of two parents with a whole passel of kids, where at least one parent is available for those kids at all times, it's counterproductive to do anything that would prevent the other types of less-ideal families from thriving. Why would the sanctity of the traditional man-woman marriage be threatened by similarly loving marriages of same-gender individuals? While there's certainly nothing wrong with encouraging families to work through their difficulties, if a woman is in an abusive relationship, shouldn't the government also support her in her single motherhood when she makes the difficult decision to take the kids and get out? It's fine to place a special value on traditional families, but why does doing that mean that you also can't take a child out of an orphanage and place it with two men who love each other deeply and would make great fathers?

The problem isn't even that the Republicans are so far off in their thinking. When it all comes down to it, we want the same things. Democrats and Republicans both think that abortion is a bad and tragic thing. We both want every child to grown up in a supportive and loving family. We both want world peace (and tougher penalties for parole violators, Stan). But while so many (not even all) on the conservative side, particularly the Evangelical Christians, are unwilling to support anything outside of the Biblical ideal for society, those of us on the other side recognize that you have to work toward the ideal, but you also have to recognize that in the meantime, you have to abide in the society that you have, not the society that you want or would like to have.

Friday, July 22, 2005

On another odd search

Okay, so today's Weird Yahoo! Search of the Day has to go to "'josh massey' apocalypse."

Um, Josh? Something you'd like to tell the class?

Update: The Strange Google Du Jour is "threat ACG." Now, come on, y'all. Is that really necessary? Is that nice?

Or maybe they're implying that I'm a threat. That my hands are lethal weapons. That my mind is as a sharpened stiletto...

On winning the hearts and minds of people whose hearts and minds you already have

Okay, so today, President Bush makes his first visit in two years to Atlanta to sell us deep-southerners on his plans for Social Security. Except that the event is invitation-only, meaning that, as usual, his audience will be limited to those people who already agree with him anyway.

Not that I would ever dare criticize our president or second-guess his political strategery, but if he's going to take the time to come down here with so much else going on in the world, wouldn't it make more sense for him to try and sell his SS plan to the people who actually need convincing? Just thinking about efficient use of time, is all.

On my Friday Random Ten

Okay, so it is Friday, right? Day after Thursday? Tomorrow, then, would be Saturday?

Just checking.

1.Norah Jones, "One Flight Down"
2. Guster, "California Dreamin'"
3. Lauryn Hill, "Ex-Factor"
4. J.S. Bach, "Ich ruf' Zu Dir, Herr Jesus Christ"
5. The Beatles, "Yellow Submarine"
6. Serge Gainsbough, "Generique"
7. The Beatles, "I Feel Fine"
8. Joss Stone, "Chokin' Kind"
9. Elvis, "Love Me Tender"
10. John Coltrane, "Central Park West"

Yours go below.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

On resiliency

Okay, so I recently got an e-mail from a close friend of mine in England; he wasn't in London the day of the bombing, but he was there the day after, and he made a lot of really insightful points about the whole thing. I won't post the entire thing, 'cause it's personal, y'all, but I don't think he'd mind me sharing this part, which made me smile:
"Today Britain is burning in fear" says an Islamist website.

"Today Britain is cheesed off and slightly late for work" would be closer to the mark.

Always good to hear from a friend.

On flip-flop fashion

Okay, so I was going to just leave this alone, but having been branded a "fashion commentator" by several individuals, I thought I'd at least use my power for some kind of good.

The biggest fashion-related to-do came when Northwestern University's national-champion women's lacrosse team were rewarded with a visit to the White House to meet the president. The girls got themselves all pretty, behaved appropriately, posed for pictures with the pres and went on their merry ways.

It was when Kate Darmody got home that she read the e-mail from her brother: "YOU WORE FLIP-FLOPS TO THE WHITE HOUSE???!!!" Aly Josephs's mother was "mortified" that, in fact, four of the nine girls in the front row of the picture were wearing flip-flops.

Whoop de fricking doo.

The news is all over it. Mothers have been interviewed to tell how embarrassed they were at their daughters' choice of shoes. Shoe experts, and apparently there are some, people who write books on shoes have been called in for heated debates over whether or not the footwear was appropriate.

Well, let me say first that the first thing to catch my eye was the length of their skirts. The fact that none of the girls had their butt-cheeks hanging out below their hemlines was impressive, as was the fact that none of them were wearing casual denim, tiered, or broomstick skirts.

The shoes should be a non-issue. It's not like they were wearing jelly sandals or rubber flip-flops with three-toned soles. The fact is, flats are in this summer, which comes as a great relief to those of us whose arches need a break from high-heeling it around town every day. I wouldn't even say that these girls were wearing flip-flops. I'd probably call them flat-heeled thong sandals.

Now, I probably wouldn't wear flat-heeled thong sandals to the White House; even the nicest flats are still more casual than a cute pair of heels, and a low-heeled, open-toed mule would be almost as comfortable as a flat. But to all of the "shoe commentators" who are up in arms over these girls wearing flp-flops (gasp!) to the White House (choke!), remember that this is the home of a man who makes a distinction between casual and formal cowboy boots. I seriously doubt he took it personally.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

On the Woodward and Bernstein reunion tour

Okay, so Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were on the Daily Show last night, and yes, they were shilling for their new book, but they were also commenting on the mushroom scandals that keep popping up and the media coverage thereof. If we're going to be completely honest, we'll have to recognize that it was it was a seriously heavy chunk of luck that made the guys "Woodward and Bernstein" instead of "Some Nebbish Guy and Hey, What's Up With That Other Guy's Hair," in that without Nixon's poor judgment as to which offices to break into and which conversations to tape record, there wouldn't have been a scandal to cover. On the other hand, though, they contributed to their own fame there by simply being better-than-average reporters; it could be posited that lesser reporters wouldn't have been so successful at digging deep, asking the right questions and talking to the right people. And that's why people like me, people who aspire to be Real, Grown-Up Reporters someday, look to W&B as the gold standard. At this point, they're almost more of an archetype than anything else.

Bob Woodward told a story about doing an interview at the White House and being met at the gates by an anti-Bush protest group, one protester of whom demanded to know what Woodward was doing in there and whether he was giving Bush a blow job. Twenty yards down Pennsylvania Avenue, he was accosted by a woman who asked if he was just trying to take Bush down the way he took down Nixon. And that's the way it is, really - no one trusts the press; they just distrust the press for different reasons. Jon Stewart (who sometimes seems more like a real reporter than anyone else these days) asked the pertinent question: should the public trust the press, really? And Carl Bernstein said no, but not for the reasons that people think. It's not about bias, because everyone is going to see bias where they want to; it's about journalists not doing their jobs properly.

And they totally, totally aren't. Reporters are so afraid of pissing off sources and losing access that they won't write anything more controversial than the school lunch menu, much less ask actual followup questions. The recent press corps assault on Scott "Rainman" McClellan was amazing because it was unusual to see reporters being so damned assertive at a White House gaggle, but to quote Chris Rock, "What do you want, a cookie?" That's what reporters do, you lazy punks.

The sub-story that ended up overwhelming the Jim/Jeff Guckert/Gannon scandal was that it was broken, for the most part, by the non-"real journalist" community. The serious, in-depth reporting was done by World O'Crap and Americablog, and they did it without depending on special, magical, Press Club-only insider sources; they did it with Google and a willingness to spend a little time finding out what the hell is actually going on. Bloggers got their due, which I thought was cool, but I couldn't help but wondering: Aren't you journalists ashamed?! All of you "real" journalists should be ashamed! This story was out there, the bald dude was standing right freaking next to you in the press gaggle, and the story was broken by some folks with computers and a basic recognition of when things just don't smell right.

Unequivocally, our generation's Woodward and Bernstein will be bloggers (assuming the FEC doesn't manage to shut them all down, but that's a whole other post). I don't know what scandal will be there to help them, because frankly, the White House has adopted Ronald Regan's Teflonicity; Gannon didn't touch them, the Downing Street Memos got less than "meh," and the ongoing Puppetmastergate doesn't seem to fluster the administration nearly as much as it should. If it's not the Bush White House, it might well be the next president.  But it's going to happen, and "real" journalists had better be sufficiently chastened.

The funniest comment in recent memory was Jon Stewart's whispered comment on the video of Scotty McClellan's shellacking: "The White House press corps has secretly been replaced with real reporters." Let's see if they notice. Hell, let's see if it lasts.

On new love

Okay, so I'll always love Barack Obama. A love like that never really ends. But love does change, and lovers change, and John McCain did Leno last night. So down-to-earth. So clever. So self-aware. So charmingly dimpled when he smiles...

Seriously, Barack, you'll be okay. You're a strong guy, you've got a lot of purpose to your life, and you've got Michelle and the girls to comfort you. As for me, I've got a new boyfriend. John, call me. For serious.

Friday, July 15, 2005

On Random Ten omens

Okay, so when we were at UGA (Doug went from '95-'99; I went from '99 to '03), my brother and I had this superstition about the drive from Athens to Columbus. The drive down I-85 takes you right under the flightline for the Atlanta airport, and the idea was that if a plane landed on you on your way home, it's a good omen, and the weekend is going to rock.

Josh over at Martians Attacking Indianapolis (man, I love that name) has a different theory. He looks to his Friday iPod Random Ten to see how his weekend is going to go. I'm going to be heading down to Columbus this evening for some quality time with family and friends; what does my Random Ten predict for my weekend?

1. Carmen Consoli, "Fino all'ultimo"
2. Etta James, "The Very Thought Of You"
3. Ella Fitzgerald, "Slow Boat To China"
4. Madonna, "Remember"
5. Worldscapes, "C'est Si Bon"
6. Abbey Lincoln, "A Part Of Me (There Are Such Things)"
7. Johhny Cash, "I Still Miss Someone"
8. The Rivieras, "California Sun"
9. Otis Redding, "Try A Little Tenderness"
10. Evanescence, "Lies"

Not so bad, actually. Some nice, easy jazz (Etta and Ella), liking the sound of things being bon, some sunshine, a little tenderness, and... lies? Lies.

Maybe a plane will land on me on my way down to Columbus.

On a return to better times

Okay, so I might well be the only person in the southeast to actually care about this, much less celebrate it, but it looks like pro hockey is back, baby. Don't get me wrong - the Gwinnett Gladiators aren't exactly pansies, especially as far as the ECHL is concerned. But just as arena football will never truly compete with the real deal, there's nothing like the speed, skill, and let's face it, sheer violence of national-league ice hockey. As far as I'm concerned, tank top weather can't end soon enough.

SEC football. NFL football. And now, the return of NHL hockey. This is going to be the best fall ever.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On bad language

Okay, so I promise to get back to real news and significant goings-on in a minute, but first, an open letter to Matt Lauer.

Dear Matt Lauer,

Every time you use "impact" as a verb, an angel gets a communicable disease.

Much love,

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

On serious reportage

Okay, so I don't hate my job. "Hate," after all, is a really strong word, and there are actually a few things out there in the world right now that are worthy of such a word. Really important things. Things more important than bitching about my job. But I'm gonna, just for a minute.

This morning, I got one of those drop-everything crash assignments where someone tosses a press kit on your desk and tells you to turn it into a story. No problem, said I, flipping it open to discover that - gasp! - Badgley Mischka is launching a new bridge eveningwear line, to preview in August at the Atlanta apparel mart.

For those of you unfamiliar with Badgley Mischka, just think red-carpetness. Think Beyonce in a lavender silk mermaid dress with lace and silver beading, or Halle Berry in a silver satin gown with ruching and crosshatching on the bodice, or Cynthia Nixon in navy blue chiffon with gold beading and her boobs down to her knees. Jenna and Not Jenna at the presidential inauguration in 2005? Both in Badgley Mischka. Think about them, and then think about selling your car, and possibly your kidney, to pay for their dresses.

The huge deal, of course, is that fans of the line must no longer mortgage their homes in order to pay for his couture! The new bridge line makes Badgley Mischka fashion accessible to the average consumer with retail price points ranging from $400 to $1,500. As the PR chick told me, "The couture line targets women ages 30-50, but the bridge line is going to bring it down to 20 because it's so much more affordable." Yeah, I totally thought Badgley Mischka was out of my reach, but I can totally drop $400 for a silk charmeuse ruched halter top with chinchilla trim. My life has meaning once again.

I don't mean to get preachy, I realize that this isn't a revolutionary thought, and I realize that the glory of capitalism is that people like Mark Badgley and James Mischka can sell thousand-dollar hand-beaded satin cocktail dresses and people who have the money will buy them, but holy backflipping crap. Children are starving in Africa, people of various nationalities are dying in the Middle East, London just got its shit blown up, and the focus of my life is an "affordable" $1,500 French lace evening gown. Sometimes, I just want to go home and cut myself.

/ self-flagellation

Monday, July 11, 2005

On a crazy little thing called love

Okay, so today I offer an open letter to my readers, apropos of nothing more than a lengthy 2:00 a.m. phone call that I've had more than once with a friend who shall remain nameless. And, until further notice, dateless.

Everything in life is fleeting, love included. People cheat, people stray, people turn out to be not the people you thought they were. And even if you are lucky enough to find a soulmate, that one true love, you've got , what, sixty or seventy years together before that big old bucket of meat breaks down and one of you is searching for a new shuffleboard partner.

My point here isn't to downplay the importance of the committed relationship; on the contrary, if you're in one, you hold onto it with everything you've got, and if you're not in one, you go into it only with the appropriate respect and reverence for such an institution. Life's too short to halfass a marriage.

But if you find yourself single, dumped, divorced, or otherwise unattached, take a beat to chill out about it. Single, dating, distraught, single again, it all comes and goes, and the people who die miserable and alone are the people who push everyone else away. That dick who dumped you over Instant Messenger might have been a one, but he probably wasn't the one or he wouldn't have turned out to be such a dick.

And one final note: try not to torment your dear friends with endless tales of The One Who Got Away. We all have one, we'll surely have more in the future, and the constant retelling doesn't make you any less dumped than you were six months ago when we still had sympathy for you. Oh, and lay off the "too wounded to ever love again" crap. We know melodrama when we hear it.

Much love,

Friday, July 08, 2005

On Friday Random Ten

Okay, so...

1. Sting, "Why Should I Cry For You?"
2. Serge Gainsbourg, "Intoxicated Man"
3. Madonna, "Don't Tell Me"
4. Guster, "Rocket Ship"
5. Hector Berlioz, "Les nuits d'ete: Absence"
6. Blossom Dearie, "More Than You Know"
7. Annie Sellick, "Gravy Waltz"
8. Green Day, "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
9. Athenaeum, "Radiance"
10. The Smiths, "What Difference Does It Make?"

Yours go below.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

On a nation in mourning

We are all British.

Okay, so there's no snark for this. My sympathy and prayers go out to the families of those injured and killed. God willing, the world will finally turn its attention back to the monsters responsible for this.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

On one sneaky little clause

Okay, so I've spent the past few days trying to come up with something to say about Justice O'Connor's impending resignation - something more profound than "oh, shit." I don't fault her for a minute for wanting to spend more time with her husband, whom I understand to be in poor health. That doesn't stop me from peeing myself like a kicked Pomeranian at the thought of her potential replacements. I'm sure Bush will be happy to replace "Swing Vote" O'Connor with a justice who will never waver in his determination to follow Antonin Scalia around like a devoted puppy (sidenote: offhand, I can't think of a Scalia opinion that I've agreed with outside of Kelo v. New London, and I think he's the worst kind of conservative supremacist, but I'm also very glad to have him on the Supreme Court, which is another post for another day).

Anyway, I'm a skimmer, but Matt over at Basket Full of Puppies reads the footnotes, and I'm glad he did:
By making her retirement, and hence the vacancy that an appointment would fill in the first place, contingent upon confirmation of a successor, O'Connor has single-handedly stolen Article II, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution (recess appointments) from the Executive Branch and--it needn't be said--from Bush personally. A recess appointment isn't confirmed by anyone, and O'Connor's conditional clause means that absent confirmation, there isn't even a vacancy, meaning she never retired in the first place.

Unwilling to get caught in the Newsweek single-source thing, I checked, and yah, you betcha: "This is to inform you of my decision to retire from my position as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, effective upon the nomination and confirmation of my successor," she wrote to President Bush (emphasis mine).

I'm sure there are many of you out there who are far better versed than I in constitutional law and who will be more than happy to put a rifle round through my little balloon of happiness, but until that happens, I'm going to start sleeping nights again. And I'll do so with a smile on my face, because I always thought Justice O'Connor kind of rocks, but now I'm convinced that she, in fact, rawks. Hard core. You have no idea.