Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Friday, October 21, 2016
The problem in the Mock Trial class I am teaching is an age discrimination case involving writer for a pop culture magazine who was fired because (the magazine says) she is out of touch with current pop. An item of proof is that in an article she compared Justin Bieber to (Noble Prize Laureate) Bob Dylan. The magazine contends that contemporary audiences don't know who Bob Dylan is. I had a slump in attendance two weeks ago, so I announced a quiz for this week to get the students' attention. It was meant to be dead simple, but that's another story. For an extra credit question I asked them to list three songs by (Noble Prize Laureate) Bob Dylan. I got nothing. None of them could come up with "Blowin' In the Wind" or "Like A Rolling Stone" or "All Along the Watchtower" or "Hard Rain" or "Tangled Up in Blue", or "Mr. Tambourine Man", or "Forever Young" or.... anything else.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
So here's a pretty story: Three weeks ago I was parking my car over by the church across from the Market Arcade when I saw a man lying in the street. I went up to see what was up, and he was an incoherent mess, so I called 911. As I was on the phone a woman came up to me and said, "I called 911. I've never seen anything like it. He was in a police cruiser, and the door opened and he was pushed out, then he was leaning talking to whoever was in the cruiser and they pushed him on the ground". When the cop came I had her tell him the story, but he didn't write anything, or take anybody's name, so after the guy was put in the ambulance and I left I called the precinct. The first call to the precinct got me, "What's your interest in this?", and then, after I pushed back, a promise to look into it. I called again, about three hours later, and got a different lieutenant for whom this was news. I waited for the weekend to pass, then called again and spoke to the precinct chief. It was all news to him as well. Yesterday I got a call from IAD, and today I went over and gave a statement. This is something I intend to stay on.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
I distrust politicians who say that government should be run like a business because government is really only superficially like a commercial enterprise. Government should be run efficiently, more or less, but the most efficient governments seem to be oppressive, totalitarian states, and there is a sense that inefficiency might be considered a feature. All that said, consider the business backgrounds of the last two Republican candidates for President. Mittens was a venture capitalist-- a guy whose job was to maximize the short-term return on investment. Not really the kind of operation a head of state should model its operations on. Trump is a real estate investor. He isn't actually a landlord, but can you think of a worse sort of business model than a business that exists to extract rent?
Happy Birthday Chuck Berry! 90 today, the same age as my Dad!
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
I don't know if there is actually an answer to the question of what would become of Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination in the event the Senate fails to take it up before this coming January 20. It's never happened before, of course. One might argue that since the Senate is a continuing body the nomination would likewise remain pending until withdrawn or acted upon. On the other hand, although the Executive function is certainly continuing, that function is personal to the individual holding the office, and the nominating power might be argued as being personal as well. It is a quirk, and quirks can be difficult to account for in 7,591 words (including Amendments). One of the things I tell my students is that in drafting the Constitution-- or, really, in drafting any sort of law-- there is an implicit assumption of good faith on the part of those charged with enforcement. Congress is presumed to act in accordance with its duties and responsibilities, judges are presumed to enforce the laws, and so on. Fallibility is why we have different roles assigned to different governmental branches, but actual malfeasance-- well, that's pretty unusual. Actual, open bad faith, which is what we are dealing with in Judge Garland's situation, may be Constitutionally unique. I can't come up with another example, although I suppose there may be one. In any event, I expect that the point is moot. In the event that the lame duck Senate fails to act, I would think that the most likely prospect is that Judge Garland will withdraw as nominee, and allow the incoming President to make her own selection. Doing so would be a show of good faith by the judge, who almost certainly would like to avoid precipitating a Constitutional dilemma. What that would mean, of course, is that one of the very first things an incoming President would have to do is make a new nomination, and won't that be interesting? Were I Hillary Clinton I'd be inclined to simply re-nominate Judge Garland, but there are other intriguing possibilities. I kind of like the idea of Mr. Justice Obama, for example. Either one, actually. UPDATE: Get used to an eight person Supreme Court.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
It has been a while and now some of the details are lost to me. How did Peebles Pet Store come to acquire a gorilla in the first place? Why wouldn't Mr. Peebles sell the gorilla to the little girl? (Her name was Ogee (sp?)). As long as I'm asking questions, why can I recall that, but not my email password? A gorilla in overalls and a bowler hat would seem like a valuable animal. Why couldn't Mr. Peebles sell him to someone else? The whole thing seems very peculiar. Was the pat store actually a front for some other sort of operation? Pet stores smell bad-- maybe it was a meth lab.
Monday, October 10, 2016
I frequently say that it is where someone ends up that matters, but it is also important to end up in the right place when it matters, you know? In that spirit, here is a list of Republicans who have withdrawn their support for Donald Trump. Profiles in Courage each of them.