Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Obama is developing a reputation as a middle of the roader. See e.g. the Washington Post article by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Obama's last choice for Supreme Court supports that reputation, as far as I can tell. However, he must break with this proclivity and appoint someone like Ginsburg to the next open seat. Obama needs to be more like W and appoint people with more definite values (this time left leaning) just as W appointed two (!) highly conservative justices during his administration.
Otherwise we will continue to suffer the fallout of the Bush administration. A May 2009 article in the New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin demonstrates why. As Toobin wrote:
After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.
What that means for us is the potential loss of civil rights to which we have become accustomed. A Roberts dominated court could eliminate the following:
- rights of African- Americans-Roberts already signaled his intentions to cut protections to African- Americans in last term's case involving section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which the Court ultimately upheld but narrowed such that local governments now have the option not to obtain Justice Department approval before making changes to their election laws or rules. As Toobin points out, these rules include "from the location of polling places to the boundaries of congressional districts." Roberts also supported the overturning of the Seattle School District integration plan in 2007 and found that the rights of white New haven firefighters were violated under Title VII of the civil rights act.
- abortion- six of the current nine justices are Catholic, in comparison to under 25% of the American population. Roberts already supported the upholding of the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2007.
- women's rights in employment- Roberts supported the decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear which imposed virtually impossible standards on those suing for discrimination. In that case the woman plaintiff was seeking equal pay for equal work.
- rights to pursue torturers- Roberts dissented in Boumediene v. Bush, which upheld rights of those held in Guantanamo to a "prompt hearing" on challenges to detention. If the AG ever decides to pursue those who justified and allowed torture in the Bush Adminstration, we can safely predict where a Roberts led court would come out.
So, if Obama must name another justice in the coming year or so, I hope he recognizes what is at stake and takes pains to find someone who is ideologically like Ginsburg. Otherwise Bush's legacy of conservatism will rear its ugly head for a very long time in the Supreme Court.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The member countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States. The European Union is also a member, represented by the rotating council presidency and the European Central Bank.
It makes sense to have this group meet rather than the traditional big industrial countries of the G7, United States, Britain, France, Canada, Italy, Germany and Japan. We need to adjust to the reality that growth of economies throughout the world affects us all.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
In addition to reading books, I get a particular kick out of keeping a list of the books I have read. It probably all started when I was a nerdy child in elementary school spending my free time at lunch hour in the school library instead of playing games on the playground or in the auditorium if the weather was inclement. Our school library was not all that fancy. My favorite books were short, green bound biographies of famous people that I would whip through quickly. Then I could record them on the List of Books I Read which was some contest run by the diocese of Albany. For 25 books read you got a silver paper medal and for 40 a gold paper medal. I won the contest every year. I still shiver with pleasure from the thought of reading and listing all those books.
When my son was in elementary school, Pizza Hut sponsored a Books for Pizza contest where you earned a pizza for so many books read. And to think I was satisfied with paper medals! My son loved pizza so he met the target the one year the contest was held. Somehow, though, as life went on, his love of movies overtook his love of pizza and he has gone on to spend his spare time watching flicks rather than reading. So pizza did not even work all that well in his case.For me the list itself is rewarding. For a few years, I kept on Myspace a list of books read and then transferred it to FB until I discovered that FB has an application that allows you to list and write reviews of books you have read. Oh boy! I can list books that I have started reading and check them off when I am finished. Today, for example, I am close to finishing Post American World so I expect to be on the FB application tonight listing and reviewing. I can almost taste it now.
What does this interest in listing books mean? I do not know. It is not a compulsion, just a pleasure. I do not like making lists of most other things. So maybe it is just the life long remnants of a wonderful childhood experience for a nerdy little girl who was always better at the books than the games. Nerd power!
Monday, September 14, 2009
In his declaration to the court, Coleman said he began receiving e-mails and handwritten letters from Renfrew in early 2007 that "used religious invective and expressed intimate feelings that she had toward me."
He said it appeared from the "obsessive tone" of the correspondence that Renfrew "was not a stable person." Although he asked her to stop, she continued communicating with him.
Coleman said that Renfrew, who holds a doctorate from UCLA, referred to restaurants he frequents near his office and in Toluca Lake, where he is honorary mayor. He said she also showed up at a personal appearance he made at Knott's Berry Farm.
Coleman said that even after NBC security spoke with Harbor College officials in fall 2007, Renfrew failed to stop contacting him, and he found that her "continuing incoherent messages were highly disturbing."
According to the court file, she invited him for an "intimate" Thanksgiving dinner and for Christmas, telling him he could camp in her backyard.
In one letter, she wrote, "We never have to get married or even be friends unless you want to." In another she said, "I don't want to love someone who doesn't love me, so I'm not afraid if you don't."
Another time she sent him 10 pages from her journal she was writing at 3 a.m. "I felt God was inspiring me to write to you," she said.
OK. I agree. This was NOT about the weather.