Retirement? So Young?

Money is property; it is not speech. Speech has the power to inspire volunteers to perform a multitude of tasks on a campaign trail, on a battleground, or even on a football field. Money, meanwhile, has the power to pay hired laborers to perform the same tasks. It does not follow, however, that the First Amendment provides the same measure of protection to the use of money to accomplish such goals as it provides to the use of ideas to achieve the same results.

Supreme court justice John Paul Stevens

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Supposed liberal Supreme court justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement today.  I hear him called liberal, but I don’t know that he is so much liberal as a man who believes in the power of the constitution, and the view that the constitution is a living document, and that the people deserve the best and strongest efforts on their behalf for the betterment of the nation.  The man is a Republican, even with all of his quote unquote liberal judgments and talk of his liberalism, and it shows that he was able to separate the  interpretation of the Constitution and the laws of this nation from the ugliness of political partisanship.

Still, he has shown that he will not let partisanship and politics take a seat on the bench.  Justices Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Breyer, Scalia, and Kennedy, have each shown at times that they will allow their politics flow into their decision-making process on the bench, especially Scalia and Kennedy, so with his departure we are seeing perhaps the last of the true non-partisan Justices, at least for the foreseeable future.

Good Luck in your life after the supreme court, Justice Stevens.  America will miss your strength and leadership.

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The worst pain a man can suffer: to have insight into much and power over nothing.

Herodotus

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I would argue the point Herodotus’ makes, if for no other reason than because I am, after a week of incredibly hard work, completely spent.  I am sore in ways I have not been in cannot tell you how long.  Not sore like I get from running or working out, it’s not that, it’s worse.

And better.

I like, really like, busting my ass working hard.  That is at least in part where I get my love of running, it is born of a hard-working mindset.  I want to find my physical limits, to see how much I can do, to see how much I can handle.  Because I think I can simply do more, work harder, be stronger, than anyone else.  Yes, a man who is 5’9″ and weighs 175 pounds just said that, but I don’t think that offhand matters. 

Well , maybe it is a wee bit silly, but so what?

Given all of that, I think I hit the wall this week.  I gave so much, sweated my ass off working so hard, I left after work each day feeling like I had nothing left.  And on top of that, I ran three days after work, tired though I was.  Thursday is a regular off day running so that day I was going to take off anyway.  Today I was going to run, but I didn’t. I couldn’t.  I had nothing.  Sore everything, slumped over while walking tired, which is very much not me.  Not on my worst day at any of my previous jobs did I feel this beat.  I couldn’t do it.

No worries. One good nights sleep and I will be fine.  I’m going to run long tomorrow before I go food shopping.

Today I am flesh and bone, merely a man, mortal, flesh and blood.  Tomorrow I’ll be back to normal.

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This article needs some fcuking metal.  Have some. No actual “video”, just the album cover and some great fcuking music.

G’night,  America.

Easy, Except For The Headache

I spent my day doing things which I have to admit were pretty damn easy, and I got paid for it.  I won’t describe particulars, because I don’t want to give away where I was working, I want privacy on-line, and as such will give it unless I have their express permission to speak, and I would fully expect anyone speaking about me to, on some level, do the same. 

The early part of the day I spent not doing much.  First hour or so I did…nothing.  Not complaining, but when you want to make a good impression on the boss, the last thing you want to be seen doing is…nothing.  So when work showed up, I fairly well jumped at it.  And when it showed up, I was fairly busy, running around between floors in this building, moving tables and whatnot. Easy when you have a dolly to move stuff, no worries.

The second half of the day I was a glorified security guard.  I ended up with a headache because of a lack of caffeine and my back was sore from standing up in essentially one place for longer than I have in over a year.  But it was wonderful, because I was getting paid for it.  I like money, when people give it to me, I like that, especially for stuff I think of as easy. Standing around is not a difficult job.

I didn’t get all the paperwork done I was supposed to, but that is on the boss there, It will get done on Wednesday, no worries. 

Going to go deal with bankruptcy stuff tomorrow, back to the job Wednesday.

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I don’t know when I am going to run next, because of work, but I am sure that I won’t be running more than 3x a week on weekdays and short runs at that, in large part because I’m getting up at 6:00 am now to get to work on time, and don’t get back til about 7:15 – 7:30pm, so it’s either going to be pre-dawn running or night running, Not sure which one I’ll go with, but at this point I am leaning towards pre-dawn running.  That may change.  We’ll see.

Now a quick news blurb…

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You’ve heard the news about the Obama administration being unhappy about the way the Netanyahu Gov’t is building settlements in east Jerusalem.  And there is a real issue with it, but right now it looks like there is a more foreboding immediate problem coming up, and it may well begin to show up in the next few hours. 

Hamas has announced a “day of rage” in response to the upcoming dedication of the restored Hurva synagogue, which was destroyed in war with Jordan over 60 years ago.  This on top of the building of settlements in East Jerusalem, and always simmering hatred burning between Israel and Hamas.  There have been protests in the past days, and PLO leader Yasser Rabo, as well as Egyptian and Jordanian diplomats have warned of bloodshed if the Synagogue is dedicated.

Just another day in Israel.

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Supreme court justice John Paul Stevens, the courts oldest member at 89, who has served on the high court for 35 years, says he will decide whether he will retire or not in the next month or so.  He says he will definitely retire in the next 3 years.  But speculation has been rampant about Justice Stevens and his impending retirement even before President Obama naming Sonia Sotomayor to the high court.

I personally do not want to see Stevens retire.  He is a good man, still doing good work now like he was when he first joined the court in 1975.  But this may be the best time, politically for him to retire, now, at the end of this term, before the beginning of the next term, not only of the Supreme Court, but in congress.  If the President wants to keep some kind of balance in the court, he will have an easier time getting someone he wants, someone to lean left to keep the court from leaning too far to the right, if he gets it through before the democrats lose how many ever seats  they will lose in the November ’10 elections.

I really like you Justice Stevens.  If you care for your vision of the court, a vision you share with our President, your retirement  now would be a prudent decision.

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That’s it for me.  Later!

Today’s nuggets, , By George Washington, via wikiquote:  A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man, that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of his friends, and that the most liberal professions of good will are very far from being the surest marks of it. I should be happy that my own experience had afforded fewer examples of the little dependence to be placed upon them.

The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.

Today Was A Good Day

     I believe in freedom. 

    The following words were altered today, at least as far as the ability to affect political speech in this country.
  

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

   How, you say, has this, the first amendment, been altered?  Simple.   Before today, you and I had the capacity to affect a candidate for congress by giving money.  That money would then be used by said candidate to tell the world what they were going to do, and the amount given affects exactly how effective the communication could be, the more money candidates have, the more places they can have their words heard being the basic premise here. 

    Now, thanks to the Roberts court, A multi billion dollar corporation can chime in just the same as you and me.  Your $25 contribution, you and millions of people like you, when you have the money and the inclination to give, against the hundreds of millions and billions of dollars, from multi billion dollar corporations, hundreds of them, with both the inclination and pockets much deeper than you and I and the vast majority of Americans. 

   Kind of makes something of a mockery of the concept of political free speech, when the worlds largest corporations can potentially outspend every single middle class American with the swipe of a pen, and not blink an eye.  Kind puts a damper on that whole freedom thing. Reminds me of a song lyric.

Independence limited
Freedom of choice
Is made for you, my friend
Freedom of speech is words that they will bend
Freedom no longer frees you

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      I still do believe in justice.

       But those beliefs are tinged today, with a little more anger at the system, one which I was already angry at for a million reasons.  I am less free today than I was yesterday.  Economic freedom is not freedom and never has been, but when that much money is freed up to affect the minds of the American electorate, when elections, which are supposed to be the exercise of a franchise of the electorate acting in their own “enlightened self interest”, can now have those interests guided for them by multi-billion dollar conglomerates, that is no longer “enlightened self interest”, that is “guided corporate interest”.

   And that is not freedom.  Today the Supreme court declared war on freedom.  Let’s hope that those who fight for the little guy have enough guts, guile and strength to defeat, or in some way weaken at the very least, this clear abuse of the concept of political free speech.

   I am less free because I cannot hope to match a corporation, should it stand against me and my views, my voice will be drowned out by the sound of their dollars.  Which means my political free speech is being trampled.  I don’t stand a snowballs chance in hell.

    And neither do you.

  And yet,  I believe in America.

   Have a good night.

Today’s nuggets,  Via wikiquote:    To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at large  — this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual.   Aldous Huxley

Civil liberties had their origin and must find their ultimate guaranty in the faith of the people. If that faith should be lost, five or nine men in Washington could not long supply its want.  Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson

It would be nice if…

       …I could find a job before I go completely broke.460px-palmercarpentera

    Been looking for a while.  I send out e-mails.  I write to companies, I go to agencies.  Nada.  Can’t seem to catch a break.  I am probably going to have to declare bankruptcy soon.  Gonna wait a few more weeks before I make that decision.  It’s not that I am unwilling to declare bankruptcy because there is some stigma attached to it.  I just want to give it a few more weeks,  just to see if my bad luck breaks.  It can’t last forever. 

    Rains eventually give way to sun.  Darkness gives way to light.  The bad days cannot last forever, the sun will shine again, and it will shine sooner than later.  I just need to seek it out.  If i go to a negative balance on my bank account and have creditors beating down my door, i will feel the same way.  Concerned? Yer damn right, but I won’t lose my positive viewpoint, it is about all I have.  That and the love of my wife, a woman who has even more faith in me than I do.

    That does make it a bit easier to deal with.  Life is, like me, and most everyone else, far from perfect.  I won’t let that stop me from getting what I need to keep a roof over my head, heat and power on, and food to keep us strong.

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    It would be nice if Rudy Giuliani would just shut up.  I heard him, not once, but twice talk this morning about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with both Stephenopolous and Fox news Sunday.  He said that it was a mistake to try him here in New York.  He said that it shows an over concern with the rights of terrorists.  He said having the trials here showed a lack of concern for the rights of the public. He says that granting a trial here in New York is granting the wishes of the mastermind of 9/11.  He called him a soldier and said he should face a military tribunal.

    Rudy is missing the point, and it really is a simple one.  WE WANT JUSTICE.  A military tribunal for a man who is part of an extra-national terrorist organization would lend strength to all the bad guys. If we do an end around on the justice system to get this guy, then he’s won.  He got us to circumvent our own normal legal procedures to fight him.   There is some legal precedent against trying people in similar circumstances in military tribunals.  You are a former prosecutor, Rudy, maybe you know the history of this.  There have been a great many military tribunals in this 467px-Rudy_Giulianination.  A few have even tried civilians.  Several times in fact, and in war, with an enemy on our land, the U.S. Supreme court found those military tribunals UNCONSTITUTIONAL.  We are a nation of Laws, Mr. Giuliani, and there are two very important Supreme court precedents that is important here.

     Ex Parte Milligan is one, and let me put in blockquotes, a piece of an article in wikipedia which is the main point of my argument here. 
   

Trying citizens in military courts is unconstitutional when civilian courts are still operating. Trial by military tribunal is only constitutional when there is no power left but the military, and the military may only validly try criminals as long as is absolutely necessary.

     Yes, I get that the bastard isn’t a citizen, but that point is covered by the second Scotus precedent, Hamdan V Rumsfeld decision which stated  that a “Military commission to try Plaintiff is illegal and lacking the protections required under the Geneva Conventions and United States Uniform Code of Military Justice.”  It would do critics of the decision to try KSM here well to read up on this case.

    Rudy, how exactly is it showing a lack of concern for the rights of the public by holding a trial in New York, when that crime was committed in New York?  I think it makes sense to say that it would show a lack of concern if we didn’t hold the trial here.  Why? Because crime victims have rights.  Those rights include knowing what is going to happen to the person accused of the crime committed against them or their kin.  You would take that away from the families of the victims of 9/11 by throwing the veil of a military tribunal over this case.

   And that isn’t an “over concern” for the rights of terrorists, it shows an over concern for the rights of hard working, red-blooded American citizens.  And as for the statement in the video he makes about some being tried before military tribunals?  That would be, as I recall, because those people are actual enemy combatants,actual Taliban fighters.  These individuals were in armies we are at war with, and as a consequence, they get tried in front of a military tribunal.  

   It doesn’t matter either way.  KSM is dead meat on a stick regardless of where he is tried. Let “WE THE PEOPLE” who were attacked that fateful day, have our day of justice in a court of law. And if you REALLY don’t want Mohammed tried here, you need to change the constitution so that it is proper and constitutional to try him in a military tribunal. 

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     That’s about it from me for tonight.  Later!

Today’s Nuggets via wikiquote:  Lose this day loitering, ‘Twill be the same story Tomorrow — and the next more dilatory. Then indecision brings its own delays, and days are lost lamenting overdays! Are you ernest? Seize this very minute! What you can do, or dream you can — begin it! Courage has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For those who need consolation no means of consolation is so effective as the assertion that in their case no consolation is possible: it implies so great a degree of distinction that they at once hold up their heads again.  Friedrich Nietzsche

Latest edit 1:55am edt 11/16/09

Anagram: Advise and Direct/ Decided Variants

      

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 Hey! I have a spare minute!  Time to blog!

    I am filled with happiness to see that Sonia Sotomayor got the nod from President Obama for the soon to be vacated seat in the Supreme court.  After having read up on all of the main candidates, and several names from left field (think Hillary Clinton), I thought that Sonia was a helluva pick, not the greatest perhaps, but a good solid pick.  She does dance a little bit closer to the center than does outgoing Justice Souter, but that’s not a problem.  I really think that so long as those that judge use The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, case law, previous court decisions, lower court decisions, etc., etc.,etc., and know that all ruling from the bench alters law and can have unintended consequences and therefore should be somewhat conservative in action, that everything will be alright.

    I think Sonia Sotomayor fits this bill. 

   This is a short blog for me, but I really don’t have time for my usual depth today, and haven’t for a while, and it doesn’t look like that will change for at least a few weeks, so, that’s it really. Sorry.  A second viddy and a few quotes and I am done.  Enjoy another  Sonia Sotomayor viddy.

That’s it from here.  Later!

Today’s Nuggets,  by Justice William O. Douglas, Via Wikiquote:   These days I see America identified more and more with material things, less and less with spiritual standards. These days I see America acting abroad as an arrogant, selfish, greedy nation interested only in guns and dollars, not in people and their hopes and aspirations. We need a faith that dedicates us to something bigger and more important than ourselves or our possessions. Only if we have that faith will we be able to guide the destiny of nations in this the most critical period of world history.

The law is not a series of calculating machines where answers come tumbling out when the right levers are pushed.

The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth.

Anagram: No Title Necessary/ Solitary Sentence

       As I am sitting around watching “Heavy: The Story of Metal”, I am trying to come up with something to write about. 

       If I had decided to write this earlier, i would have written about the Mount Fujiconcept “originalist”.  Ya know, I’m gonna write about it, but only a small bit of it.  And I am going to be very general about it. 

       I was watching this week with George Stephanopolous and listening to Sens. Leahy and Hatch and a simple thought struck me about the originalist mindset that says if you are an activist, you are legislating from the bench.

     One word. Wrong.  But wrong for a reason.  One needs a definition of the word legislation to get to the heart of the concept.  It is the act or process or lawmaking.  Process being the key word here.  Ever time a law is altered by the supreme court it is a part of the process of lawmaking, and are, in fact, legislating, because you are in some manner altering the laws of the land. 

     Every single decision of the Supreme court alters the laws of the land, and as such every single decision by the Supreme Court is “Legislating from the Bench”.  Justice Scalia is the man whom I most identify with that statement.  I’m sure he knows he is “legislating” by altering the law of the land.  I wonder how he rationalizes changing the law while decrying changing the law in this fashion.

    He isn’t a bad man by any stretch of the imagination, he just has a skewed vision of his place and the place of those who lead this nation.  Sometimes Activism is necessary. Sometimes  originalism, for all i said before, is necessary. It is this erroneous concept of Legislating from the Bench that is closely aligned with originalism that bothered me. 

   Happy to have that off of my chest for now.  Perhaps I will do a more in depth piece on Judicial restraint and judicial activism at some point. 

    Guess that’s about it for now, except for a second video and a few quotes.

   More Fora.tv goodness from Justice Stephen Breyer.

    That’s it for me.  Later.

232px-hokusai-fuji-koryuuToday’s Nuggets, Via Wikiquote:  We Americans have a method for making the laws that are over us. We elect representatives to two Houses of Congress, each of which must enact the new law and present it for the approval of a President, whom we also elect. For over two decades now, unelected federal judges have been usurping this lawmaking power by converting what they regard as norms of international law into American law.    Justice Antonin Scalia

It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is…If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each…This is of the very essence of judicial duty.   Justice John Marshall

Anagram: Obtuse Simians/ Ambitiousness

    Nothing particularly ambitious with tonight’s blog.  Really don’t feel like saying much. so I’m just going to toss a few viddys at you.

   The One name that I, and I am sure that a great many of you have also heard mentioned as a possible successor to Justice Souter Is 2nd circuit court of appeal judge Sonia Sotomayor, who was nominated to her current spot by Former President Clinton.  But, at last count, there are as many as 43 different people who may be viewed as potential nominees for the seat.  Now not all of them would on their face fit, like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Senator Bob Menendez,  But the names mentioned most are Judge Sotomayor and 7th circuit court of appeals judge Diane Pamela Wood.

    Justice Clinton DOES have a nice ring to it though, and she does have the mind for it… but she’s got a job already, I don’t see it.  It would be nice though. How the people over at wikipedia got her name on this list I have no idea.  I could find nothing saying anything with her and the supreme court in the same sentence.  Go fig.

    This is from yesterday’s Rachel Maddow show.  It is about hate crime legislation currently going through congress, titled the Matthew

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Shepard.  At about the 2 minute mark, you hear a woman speak from the floor of the house of Representatives.  Her name is Virginia Foxx.  She states what can only be called an outrageous lie.  She claims, despite court evidence and statements to the contrary, that the person the hate crime legislation is named after was in fact attempting to commit a crime, a robbery.  The story as it happened is that he was lured by two men who pretended to be gay, then tortured and left for dead because he was gay.  He died five days after the incident.

      This is what the republican opposition is reduced to.  Flat out lies stated as fact on the floor of the congress.  And on top of that she said this with the victims mother, Judy Shepard in attendance. 

    Virginia Foxx, you win the ASSHOLE OF THE WEEK award! Congratulations, asshole! Here’s a toast to you, Rep. Foxx…let’s all hope that you lose your next election so we can have someone with heart represent your corner of North Carolina.  Too bad we have to look at your ugly mug until next election cycle. 

    I’m almost done here, except another viddy and a few quotes.

    This last viddy is of Justices Breyer and Scalia speaking on constitutional interpretation.

  That’s it for me.  Later!

Today’s Nuggets, via wikiquote:  Civil liberties had their origin and must find their ultimate guaranty in the faith of the people. If that faith should be lost, five or nine men in Washington could not long supply its want.   Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson

Justice and equity are neither absolutely identical nor generically different. … If they are different, either the just or the equitable is not good; if both are good, they are the same thing. … For equity, while superior to one sort of justice, is itself just … Justice and equity are therefore the same thing, and both are good, though equity is the better.
The source of the difficulty is that equity, though just, is not legal justice, but a rectification of legal justice. The reason for this is that law is always a general statement, yet there are cases which it is not possible to cover in a general statement.    Aristotle