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Saturday, July 30, 2005
A LITTLE QUIZ
Time Warp Cast of Characters:
Friday, July 29, 2005
LET'S DO THE TIME WARP AGAIN
Well, getting up and being at the radio station at 7:30 in the ante meridian was not the annus horribilis I'd expected (and yes, Virginia, I KNOW that annus = year).
(Wreaks havoc with the old matutolagnia, though.)
Nonetheless, for those who missed it, or wanted to hear it again, here is the "Time Warp" mix, 2 megs of MP3 audio, and 68 years of American history compressed into four minutes and sixteen seconds. I mixed it up aww by my widdle se'f. Shucks.
Time Warp (MP3)
(A little suggestion: right click and choose "save as" on the pulldown menu.)
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Still editing. Check Back Tomorrow.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Still editing. Check Back Tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Still editing. Check Back Tomorrow.
Monday, July 25, 2005
or, WHEN IS A WAR NOT A WAR? (Part II)
In yesterday's thrilling edition, we saw young John G. Roberts leave Indiana, attend Harvard and then Harvard Law School.
After rising through the profession, he married fellow lawyer Jane Sullivan in 1996.
According to the Los Angeles Times: "Jane Roberts attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and graduated magna cum laude in 1976. In 1984, she graduated cum laude from the Georgetown University Law Center." They married in 1996, and a few years ago (both are about 50 years old) they adopted children in their early forties.
According to "LifeSite News" http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/jul/05072101.html
Married in their forties John and Jane Roberts were unable to conceive children of their own, but have adopted a boy and a girl, and Roberts has consistently shown a deep love for his role as a father.She is, by all accounts, a "devout Catholic" and is on the Board of Governors of the John Carroll Society (named after the first US Bishop), according to its webpage: "On February 15, 1953, O'Boyle celebrated the first Society-sponsored Red Mass. In succeeding years, the congregation has frequently included the President of the United States and leading federal jurists, cabinet officials, congressmen and diplomats. Today, the Red Mass is celebrated annually on the Sunday before the first Monday in October, prior to the opening of the Supreme Court's judicial year."
Here's a piece of the "homily" delivered at the most recent "Red Mass":
She is also involved with "Feminists for Life" which had this to say from their webpage:
"Jane Sullivan Roberts currently serves as legal counsel to Feminists for Life of America (FFLA) on a pro bono basis. From 1995 to 1999 she served as Executive Vice President on the Board of Directors of FFL. Serrin Foster, President of FFL, said, "Jane is a brilliant attorney. We are very proud of her and appreciative of her service to Feminists for Life and women and children." Ms. Roberts is married to Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, Jr.So, we have to surmise that Roberts is, himself a devout Catholic, else there would probably be hell to pay at home. You see, if Roberts is confirmed, the U.S. Supreme Court will have four Catholic Justices out of nine. So, one gets the feeling that Catholic beliefs just might be very important in the next few terms of the Court. And we should probably remember that while the United States government is built on a bedrock of separation of Church and State, the Church doesn't see it quite that way (from the October 6, 2002 Red Mass homily):
"All too often in recent years, it has been a sign of our time that some urge that the role of religion in public life be marginalized and even suppressed. And too frequently, men and women of faith have not challenged the assertion that religion is a strictly private matter and that faith in God, and its accompanying moral and social values, have no role to play in our national life. We are even told that our children should not utter God's name when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, as if that would do them harm or make them less fully Americans. Instead of accepting this claim, our faith in God leads us to another conclusion. As we face the signs of our times -- the moral decline in society, the threats against life both from abroad and from within, and the lack of trust in our leaders -- we recognize that this time, our time, is a time for religious renewal. It is a time for us to recover our sense of God, of the sacredness of human life and of doing what is right, whatever the cost and whatever the circumstance. It is a time for us to be not more reticent, but more courageous in professing our faith in God and acting upon it.Now, you should know that I'm leaving out the stuff about being a Good Samaritan, about how we should turn away from nuclear weapons and that sort of thing. I don't cast aspersions on the sincerity of the church fathers. But I think it's important to understand that Roe v. Wade is now going to go before four Catholic Justices, and how the Church is more than happy to tell those jurists what they should rule in such cases.
I will be curious to see how Roberts manages the tension between his religious and secular duties -- especially considering that his religion states clearly that they are one and the same. He should NOT separate them.
Now, again, Roberts is adjudged brilliant and fair-minded. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Here are more clues:
Harvard CRIIMSON, July 19, 2005So he's not exactly casual, and was already working on an ulcer in college. Fair enough. And:
From dKosopedia, the free political encyclopedia.
He was a law clerk for Henry Friendly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1979-1980, and for Associate Justice William Rehnquist, Supreme Court of the United States, 1980-1981. He then took a job as special assistant to William French Smith, the attorney general, U.S. Department of Justice, 1981-1982, before being appointed associate counsel to President Ronald Reagan, White House Counsel's Office, 1982-1986.It is often pointed out, in the sporting press nowadays, that he has argued 39 cases before the Supreme Court, winning 25 of them. What this Monday Night Football statistic means in handicapping the point spread, we do not yet know -- except to divine that being a trial lawyer is equated with being a gladiator, except that no gladiator could have survived so long in the Roman Coliseum with 14 losses.
Which brings us up to the present day:
Washington PostYes. What kid has worn that short pants outfit since the time of Buster Brown? And his wife looked like a chaperone at a prom. So, we know the strict formality is still there. I wonder if the Pepto-Bismol swigging Roberts ever graduated to the "hard stuff", like Maalox, Mylanta, Prevacid?
On the other hand ...
Washington PostBut you've been wondering about the second part of the blog title, which I've been teasing you with.
Well, now it's time:
You see, the Bush Administration (the Younger) is already in hot water for their "lawyering" of this War. When you look at it from a legal point of view, they argue that we're not really fighting a war "in any conventional sense" and, therefore, the practices of kidnapping, imprisonment in detention facilities away from the U.S. mainland, or sending "terror" suspects to countries for "interrogation" (rendering), why those processes don't contravene the Geneva Convention (since they aren't "prisoners of war" -- having neither uniforms nor bugles) nor do they fall under the Fourth Amendment, because they're not US citizens (mostly) and aren't being held in U.S. jurisdiction, (exactly).
Then again, the Federal Judge ordered the release of the Abu Gharib photographs delayed until Friday, July 23, because the Pentagon had claimed that it needed time to blur out the faces and insignia of the U.S. torturers, and the faces of the prisoners, because showing their faces (and other parts) would CONTRAVENE their rights under the Geneva Convention. The Pentagon came back on July 23, filing a "secret brief" that the pictures shouldn't be released at all. Again, the Geneva Convention banning the showing off and humiliating prisoners of war.
Here's the Fourth Amendment:
Amendment IV - Search and seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.And here's the Fifth:
Amendment V - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.And the Sixth:
Amendment VI - Right to speedy trial, confrontation of witnesses. Ratified 12/15/1791.Well, they're prisoners of war, and they're NOT prisoners of war ("enemy combatants" as per then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, lately the Attorney General). And because they're NOT prisoners of war, we can torture them, but because they're prisoners of war, we can't SHOW them being tortured (it would humiliate them).
They don't get Fourth Amendment (or Fifth or Sixth) rights because they're not citizens (the Amendments say nothing about citizenship) and (more importantly) they're NEVER BEEN IN THE US! (Mostly).
So, this question came before the Pepto-Bismol Swigging, Stiff, Formal, Republican Operative and now Judge on the D.C. Circuit Court, Roberts. And the three judge panel ruled unanimously that, well, see for yourself:
(from the case):
Argued April 7, 2005 Decided July 15, 2005Well, Roberts signed onto that one.
Military Tribunals will go ahead as planned on Guantanimo. Is he a prisoner of war, or NOT a prisoner of war? Yes, when needed, no when not. The court kind of doesn't really say, except to say that the Geneva Convention can't be enforced by a court.
Then again, since the Geneva Convention wasn't signed by Al Qaeda, they might not be subject to it. And, of course, if we capture someone in Afghanistan and they are "Taliban" then it might apply, but if they're "Al Qaeda" then they aren't. Prisoners with rights or anything, I mean.
But even though Section 3 reinforces the "due process" requirements that the Amendments (4, 5 and 6) command, a World War II citation (In re Yamashita) says that due process doesn't apply here, and, after all, the Geneva Convention can't be enforced, anyway.
BeSIDES, the Court says, it's part of the President's war powers to punish the enemy, including setting up his own courts. But then again, we aren't at war with Al Qaeda.
It is all VERY confused. But whatever the President says, goes.
And Roberts signed on to this. Hook, line and sinker.
Still, one of the Justices had problems with this, filing a concurrence ("I agree, BUT ...")
WILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge, concurring: I concur in all aspects of the court's opinion except for the conclusion that Common Article 3 does not apply to the United States's conduct toward al Qaeda personnel captured in the conflict in Afghanistan. Maj. Op. 15-16. Because I agree that the Geneva Convention is not enforceable in courts of the United States, and that that any claims under Common Article 3 should be deferred until proceedings against Hamdan are finished, I fully agree with the court's judgment.Hmmm. Here's what the Los Angeles Times wrote:
"By Richard A. SerranoIf the case is accepted and Roberts is confirmed, I'm sure he can explain to them when a war is a war and when a prisoner of war isn't a war, and when a prison isn't a prison, and whether a trial is a trial. I can't make heads or tails of it myself, but Roberts is "the best legal mind of his generation" so I guess it's beyond my ken.
Still, I wonder, if it were Catholics being tried, whether Roberts would decide the same way. I'm not singling out Catholicism for prejudicial treatment, except that it's not an accident of birth. It is a volitional belief system, and one that demands of its adherents that they NOT observe the separation of church and state that our Constitution demands.
Given that Pope Joey Rats, when he was running the Inquisition last year, before his promotion, told Catholic priests to deny Communion to John Kerry because Kerry had exercised his SECULAR duty in being personally against abortion, but, as a Senator, being in favor of a woman's right to decide the issue, individually. Yeah. Given THAT, I have to ask how John, "Super Straight Conservative" Roberts, with his devout Catholic Lawyer Wife -- who is a big mover & shaker in the Pre-Supreme Prayathon of "Red Mass" -- is going to set his priorities.
The Los Angeles Times carried this:
The faith of John RobertsSo that's really in line with what I'm afraid of in all of this. Given the choice between the Constitution and the Pope, he punts and hides in a corner. Priests may well pursue him to convince him that it is his religious duty to use his vote for the Church. That's the straitjacket that an inflexible righteousnesss clothes one with.
Is this John G. Roberts?
And former "Crossfire" host Bill Press wrote in his syndicated column (July 22, 2005):
Perhaps most troubling of all about Roberts's record is a little-known case involving a young girl and a single French fry. It happened on the Washington subway system, where eating and drinking are prohibited. A 12-year-old was spotted on the subway eating a French fry. She was arrested, handcuffed, frog-marched off to police headquarters, finger-printed and detained for three hours until her mother arrived to pick her up. The outraged mother filed suit against the Metro. The court ruled for the mother, but Roberts sided with the city - a frightening insight into his lack of regard for individual rights and his excessive tolerance for the abuses of Big Brother.I guess she didn't wear a tie.
All right: we know some things about this fellow, but, really, we don't know anything about him. He could be another Scalia (Bush's Dream) or he could end up as another Justice Brennan (who was appointed by Eisenhower, a Union-Busting, Republican New Jersey lawyer) who ended up as the guts, brains and engine of the Warren Court -- the fellow who personally "turned" Harry Blackmun, who went from being a childhood friend of Chief Justice Warren Burger to writing Roe v. Wade.
I have a feeling that only time will tell. But at least we know something. Still, we don't know this:
When is a war not a war? Whenever it suits the Administration to say so? And when is a prisoner of war a prisoner of war? When George Bush wants it? I only ask because we need judges that won't rubber stamp any kind of depredation on the rights of the accused.
Right now, I think Roberts leans a whole lot to the Antonin "Scarface" Scalia side of the scales of Justice. But I don't really know.
You'll have to ask John G. Roberts, and then you be the judge.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
CLASS WARFAREhart williams
or, WHEN IS A WAR NOT A WAR? (Part I)
A quick note: there was no blog yesterday. I am editing a novel, and that pretty well drains the linguistic battery in my brain. As I've noted before: I'm a working writer, and the blog is pro bono. So, hopefully, by week's end I'll be back to dailies.
And they'll be worth every penny you paid for 'em. 'Nuff said.
Another quick note: I have noted in the "progressive" -- heck in ALL -- coverage of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, the continual and disparaging use of the term "white male." GOOGLE:
Lack of diversity on high court disappoints(Go ahead, GOOGLE it yourself. "John Roberts" "white male")
Well, as a white male, I've watched for most of my life every fringe group in this country scream and yell and bitterly complain when the slightest slight is applied to THEIR pigeonhole. I have listened to the most blatant racial and sexual pandering at Democratic Convention nominating sessions, and I have remained silent.
But I'm going to draw the line here: how DARE you disparage me for my "race" and my gender. If you don't like Roberts, make it because he's a dick. But don't pull my "classification" into it.
I have spent my entire life doing my level best to avoid being racist, sexist and homophobic. I did this before it was "fashionable" and long before it was PeeCee. I didn't kill your damned grandfather. I didn't beat your damned grandmother. I didn't oppress you; I wasn't afforded any privilege, I wasn't given any magic keys to anybody's kingdom.
Your inability to look beyond the color of a person's skin, or their genitalia is *your* shame and your degradation, but I ain't the excuse you're looking for to explain your lack of ultimate success in whatever endeavor you'd like to blame "white males" for.
And, if Roberts is a nefarious weasel bastard, it AIN'T because he's got a dick and not much melanin. So don't even go there, you racist, sexist bastards. If we are ever going to have equality under the law in this society, disparaging people because of the accident of their birth isn't the path that's going to take us there.
Besides: if these "white male" bastards have been oppressing ALL of everybody else for all time, then isn't it kind of stupid to continually be pissing them off? And if they haven't, why treat them as if they have? You can't have the argument both ways. Heck, you can't have it, either way. Just to warn you: If you decide to push that button in my presence, I WON'T be polite. And I will let you have it (rhetorically) with both barrels. Equality means just that, and I refuse to accept that I'm a second class citizen.
That said, I know quite a bit about John Roberts by the unfortunate accident of our shared zeitgeist (and not because we're both "white males" you racist pricks).
We both graduated from high school, class of 1973, in a heavily Catholic milieu, and we both finished college in 1976. We both worked in steel mills. And, for a time, we were both pre-law. We were both young Republicans through Watergate, and both got to drive around Massachusetts in 1974 continually assaulted by "DON'T BLAME ME, I'M FROM MASSACHUSETTS" bumper-stickers (the only state that George McGovern carried in the 1972 presidential election) referring to Watergate.
There, more or less, the resemblances end (thank God), but I know quite a bit about the cultural influences that formed him.
One of them, I think you'll pick up real quick: he has been disparaged because of the color of his skin and because of his gender, beginning his senior year in high school. There is a LOT of "angry white male" rage out there, and, whether he shows it or not, I have a feeling it's there.
He was the darling of his Catholic High School, which means that he probably had not an ounce of rebellion in him. He was a "straight arrow." He grew up in a tri-level faux-English Tudor split-level ranch house in an affluent neighborhood. Upper middle middle class, you might say. Lake Michigan was a block away.
He probably rode a bike and shot off Estes rockets. Or he had a chemistry set or a telescope. It was a comfortably middle class upbringing. They probably got a color television set somewhere between 1965 and 1967, when they were still pricey, but increasingly ubiquitous.
He came of the first Television generation, and probably never knew a time when there wasn't a TeeVee in the house. He watched the John F. Kennedy funeral on a Saturday morning, and wondered if the cartoons would ever come on. (They didn't).
He was up for the last year of the Vietnam draft. He may have spent (as I did) a sleepless night before the lottery. Since only the top seventeen numbers would go, he knew the odds on his side were pretty good. He got a draft number higher than seventeen, and was classified 1-H, (for "Hold") and never had to decide what to do if he was drafted.
(I "won" the lottery that day: I came in at 351, a number that I will never forget.)
His high school days were filled with football pep rallies, wrestling, track and proms. He has that dumb "Prince Valiant" disco hairdo that was the compromise of most of my generational, male cohorts: not long, not short. He graduated from high school in a year that the entire class, across the USA went from "Love Generation" wannabes to the proto-"Me" Generation polyesterizers.
And Roe v. Wade was decided that year, in 1973. I wonder what the Catholic fathers at his high school had to say about it. And I imagine that first impression has remained with him, and hardened over the years. He never had to (as I did) accompany a girlfriend on a long bus ride to an abortion clinic, to keep both from having their future derailed by the tyranny of biology.
He probably knew someone who did, though. He might, if he'd been that Eagle Scout kind of guy, have accompanied a friend whose boyfriend skipped out, and who didn't want to go alone. If he had, he'd have been one of the very, very few males of that time who did. Abortion clinic waiting rooms were notable for their lack of male significant others. Then again, he might have talked her out of it.
When he got to Harvard, he was immediately informed that, as co-captain of his Catholic high school football team, and "Mr. Clean" he was a sleazoid White Male Oppressor. He was verbally assaulted, directly and indirectly throughout his entire collegiate career, and, as a Reaganaut in Training, he learned to be passive-aggressive and hold it in.
So, he knows what it's like to be discriminated against, if that provides any solace. But, sad to say, I don't think he has a lot of empathy for those for whom it is a constant in life. He's probably just quietly pissed off.
He was raised to be an Eagle Scout. I don't know whether or not he was ever even in scouts, but the comment that he's been "an Eagle Scout" in his private life, from promoters inside the Beltway is as telling a statement about Roberts' background as it is about his deportment.
He was raised to take his place at the tiller of society, yes, as a white male. He was raised with "Rawhide" and "Batman." He was raised with "Leave it to Beaver" morality and without video games (Pong wouldn't show up until he was in college, usually in bars and pubs, and I wonder if Roberts ever frequented them. He strikes me as a narrow moral prig, when you look at it.)
He came of the last generation to read books for fun. I'm certain that virtually every dorm room he ever visited had "Stranger in a Strange Land" and/or "Dune" and/or a volume of "Lord of the Rings" (the old Ace ripoff paperback trilogy) dog-eared and lying face down on a convenient flat surface. Whether he did much reading for fun isn't apparent: he graduated in 1976 (I dropped out in 1976), so his nose was to the grindstone.
I am sure that he was drawn into the Republican circles at Harvard: the old money, East Coast Establishment. The conversation probably often was an unburdening of passive-aggressive white male rage. If you remember PeeCee, you have no idea how intense it was on college campuses, then. If you used "man" as a suffix, you were immediately (and often with great hostility and condescension) CORRECTED. You learned to rein in your tongue. You learned to self-censor. And Harvard was the epicenter of the cultural quake.
It was easier than trying to fight a Quixotic battle: the very language was a battlefield. Political views were openly radical at Harvard, and moderate-to-conservative views were not acceptable. I debated in those years, and traveled to colleges and universities all over the US, and it was the same everywhere you went.
Feminism was the battlefield, and white males need not apply. (The left-leaning male of the era became either a Quisling, willing to scream louder than anyone else, or else gravitated to ecology, where, until the mid-90s, one could be a white male and PeeCee, without automatically being on the losing side of any proposition by virtue of one's suspect race and gender).
So, I would imagine that there's an astonishing amount of passive-aggressive anger in our Nominee.
Then again, I'd be curious to know whether he grew his hair long, and continued to wear flare jeans. Whether he toted a backpack around Cambridge, and if he had a little fling with being a campus liberal. After all, he'd been the ROLE MODEL in High School, and finding himself an outcast wouldn't have set well with him. Perhaps that explains why he finished the four year program in three: he buried himself in getting his degree so that he wouldn't have to participate in the hyper-liberal politics of mid-70's Harvard.
I wonder what he listened to? The Captain and Tennille, or Led Zeppelin? The Bay City Rollers or The Rolling Stones? The Carpenters or Jethro Tull and the Who? Tony Orlando & Dawn and Carly Simon, or the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd? Did he own a copy of "Dark Side of the Moon"?
It would tell me a lot about him. I was listening to the latter, and most of those people who were shooting for the house in the suburbs and the six-figure incomes listened to the former. 1973 was the high water mark of rock and roll. I wonder if he even noticed.
We also know that Roberts was bright.
OK: I was bright, too. I was a National Merit Scholar, so I can probably make the statement without seeming to bray.
My point is only this: Intelligence is more than just getting good grades, graduating summa cum laude and being on the Law Review. I knew a Rhodes Scholar. He was a hippy-type guy, beloved of the PeeCee troops on the campus, and, other than his infuriatingly patronizing attitude (he knew it ALL, and hob-nobbed with the Philosophy profs), basically he only colored inside the lines.
If there's anything that stands out about Roberts' educational and later legal career, it's that he has mapped out and followed an ambitious program of utter conventionality. He colored perfectly, not a mark outside the lines. But that is NOT creative intelligence. It is as easily attributable to eidetic memory and careful self-control. So, we only know that he's bright. Whether he can actually think for himself, originally and fundamentally, we don't know, and may not know for a few years.
Now, while the Rhodes Scholar and Roberts might well have been diametrically opposed in their coping strategies, the essential sameness applies: they colored inside the lines; they followed whatever written and unwritten rules were required to get good grades. They both saw "good grades" as their passport, and coveted them as greedily as any miser. At Harvard, I'm sure that he had no problem espousing, or SEEMING to espouse views alien to his thinking as a means of getting that summa cum laude appellation.
But intelligence is more than just playing the game superbly, if conventionally. He made the Harvard Law Review, the ne plus ultra of Lawyerdom. That Harvard cachet has been an "E" ticket ride to the top ever since John Adams (the Elder) and John Quincy Adams (the Younger).
John Roberts undoubtedly used those good Harvard connections to rise within political society. He clerked for a Circuit Court Judge (Friendly) and then, the plum of all jobs for a young lawyer on the make: he clerked for a Supreme Court Justice. Rehnquist was still an Associate Justice, and it was on the Burger Court, so I can well imagine the amount of Conservative Rage that he and the Burger clerks fumed about at the clandestine lunch bull sessions they'd have, away from those "awful" liberal judge' clerks: Brennan and Marshall, Blackmun (the turncoat!) and the rest.
And he would have been IN the Court when Reagan was elected to begin the dismantling of the New Deal -- that conservatives have dreamed of ever since the landslide of 1932 swept the Republicans from power. Those must have been interesting law clerk conversations in the lunchroom.
He would spend a huge chunk of his career in intimate contact with the Supremes. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
(tomorrow: Part II)
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* O T H E R S T U F Fo There is no other stuff at this time. There might be someday, though. One can always hope.