"All Along The Watch Tower"

beware the latina enemy

friday, july 17th, 2009

no doubt, the judge was subjected to plenty of scrutiny and tough criticism on Monday. There were accusations that the judge's thinking was far out of the mainstream, and senators pointed to past comments as examples of sloppy thinking and inappropriate metaphors. After a couple of hours, the opposition was clear, and the argument from a handful of implacably hostile senators was unmistakable: John Roberts is unfit for the Supreme Court.

Of course, the Senate confirmed Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts almost four years ago. But that didn't stop Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee from giving him second billing on the first day of Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, repeatedly invoking him as an example of a justice failing to live up to his professed principles.

The opening statement from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) was surprising for the degree to which he focused on Roberts's decision-making instead of on the nominee sitting in front of him. Citing CNN legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin, Whitehouse argued that in every major case since becoming 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." He didn't provide any details on how Toobin picked "major cases," how many cases were involved, whether these were decided narrowly or by wide majorities, or even whether Roberts was in the majority or the minority.

Whitehouse went farther, suggesting that Roberts is not merely predictable but partisan, repeating Toobin's charge that every decision "has served the interests, and reflected the interests of the contemporary Republican party." When Whitehouse referred to the "right-wing justices," there was little doubt as to whom he was talking about, and he continued the list of misdeeds to include "ignoring precedent, overturning congressional statutes, limiting constitutional protections, and discovering new constitutional rights." He specifically mentioned the Heller case, suggesting that the conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own a gun was a new and radical interpretation of the Constitution. "Some balls and strikes," he sneered.

Roberts’s "umpire" metaphor came under heavy fire from Democrats all day. When they weren't understating the role of the judiciary, they were insisting that, even if it did describe the judiciary in a manner the average American could appreciate, the chief justice wasn't acting like an umpire, anyway: "Many can debate whether during his four years on the Supreme Court he actually has called pitches as they come — or has tried to change the rules," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said. "But any objective review of Judge Sotomayor’s record on the Second Circuit leaves no doubt that she has simply called balls and strikes for 17 years, far more closely than Chief Justice Roberts has during his four years on the Supreme Court."

"It showed me that Supreme Court justices are much more than umpires calling balls and strikes, and that the term 'activist' is used to describe the rulings of only one side," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said. Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.) extended the baseball metaphor, saying, "It’s a little hard to see home plate from right field." He did not elaborate on the view from left field.

By the time Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) had his turn for an opening statement, he remarked to the nominee, "I thought this was your hearing, not Justice Roberts’s hearing."

Judging from a day taken up entirely by opening statements, the biggest obstacle to Sotomayor is her repeated use of the "wise Latina" trope. Despite the fact that he's hardly a fire-breather, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) may have put it most clearly when he observed that if he uttered a similar statement, his political future would implode.

Senate Democrats attempted to preempt criticism of those remarks with two counterarguments — contradictory arguments, but they paid that no mind. The first was that no matter how many times Sotomayor offered a variation of the "wise Latina" theme, the public should not worry, since that language doesn’t reflect her thinking in any significant way. Despite the nominee's numerous statements to the contrary, Sotomayor doesn’t really believe that Latina judges will come to better decisions than old, white, male judges. Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D. Vt.) declared, “She has said that 'ultimately and completely' a judge has to follow the law, no matter what their upbringing has been. That is the kind of fair and impartial judging that the American people expect. That is respect for the rule of law. That is the kind of judge she has been. That is the kind of fair and impartial justice she will be and that the American people deserve.”

"Her story is about how race and class are not supposed to predetermine anything in America," Senator Schumer said, introducing her to the committee.

The second argument was that emotion is good, and that Sotomayor's critics were demanding a bloodless, callous, robotic mentality from judges. As Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin put it, "The great constitutional issues that the Supreme Court is called upon to decide require much more than mechanical application of universally accepted legal principles." Sen. Herb Kohl (D., Wis.) invoked a statement from Justice Clarence Thomas at his confirmation hearing arguing, "It is important that a justice can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does."

With Roberts criticized both for using the umpire metaphor and for allegedly not living up to it, and with Sotomayor's references to empathy and personal experience simultaneously justified and denied, the panel's Democrats seemed to be throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.

The fight before them a foregone conclusion, it appears that hubris, boredom, or unresolved issues with Roberts's 2005 confirmation vote has driven Senate Democrats to refight old battles. Confident that Sotomayor will sail through the confirmation process, they can now focus on tearing down John Roberts.

Jim Geraghty writes the "Campaign Spot", for NRO.com.

Around The Garden Center™.

The search for "work" goes on: I'm not passing-up anything, right now, no matter how small/medium/large it is portrayed to me, and until I have a chance to investigate and evaluate it, it's viable. I went to three such possible scenarios on Friday. Two of the three have distinct possibilities; one's a nothing. James is working on several more, which could morph into medium/large lscp jobs. We'll see what happens.

"Late blight", which caused the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s and 1850s, is killing potato and tomato plants in home gardens from Maine to Ohio and threatening commercial and organic farms. The fungal disease, spread by spores carried in the air, has made its way into the garden centers of large retail chains in the Northeastern United States. The disease, known officially as Phytophthora infestans, causes large mold-ringed olive-green or brown spots on plant leaves, blackened stems, and can quickly wipe out weeks of tender care in a home garden. I'm watching things carefully for any signs of it. And I have the array of fungicides to stop it dead.

My former landscape designer of 5-10 years ago, Michelle and her husband, Allen, stopped by on Saturday, to visit. I lost her in 1999-2000 to colon cancer, and she's in complete remission after 5 years and 17 operations. Whew; what a recovery process, just due to a simple refusal to get regular CRA Exams, as prescribed.

Gas prices, at the pump, have dropped 20-25¢/ gal, NOT 10¢, over the past two weeks: Unleaded Regular (87oct) is now at $2.35, Unleaded Premium (89oct) now at $2.45/gal, and Unleaded Super Premium (92oct) at $2.65/gal, with Diesel also dropping to $2.69/gal. No complaints from me, but I'm wondering what's up with these roller coaster prices?

T-storms moved through the area on Saturday evening, mostly south of York (PA), causing a few power blips, but no damage. I've re-stocked-up on large, fat candles, for power emergencies; hopefully, it won't be an EMP we're facing someday. I crashed early, knowing that I had Sunday off (Hoo-rah!) and could sleep-in 'til 11 or 12. And I did. It doesn't make-up for working 6 and 7 days a week, since late March, but it helps a little. I don't know how many more years I'll be able to keep this up, without a "real vacation" of some kind, to "recharge myself". I need to get away from it all, like my friends and customers do; "normalcy" is what I need once again in my life. Finding someone I trust to run the business while I'm gone, is the problem. The past 19 years have been anything but "normal", with this business. The last vacation I had was in the Summer of 2004.

I went food shopping at Weis Market (East Market St, E. York) and replenished the "larder", at home, and also got some things for the office 'fridge. At 82°F with 45% humidity, it felt more like July weather, than what we've been having recently. I've got a boatload of small-to-medium-sized green tomatoes in my raised garden beds at the Complex, but "nothing worth writing home about", just yet. They need some more time, sun and heat, IMO.

The Sciatica pain in my right ankle has returned, dammit. The 300mg of Gabapentin I take nightly, isn't working all that well, anymore, it seems. I have the latitude to increase it to 400mg, if I want. I probably will try that, soon, and see if it helps. Being "pain free" (L5 vert & Sciatica) for the past few months, has definitely spoiled me.

I called Mom on Sunday, and she sounded very good for having her 86th Birthday on Wednesday (7/15/23). We talked for an hour, and resolved some pending personnel issues at the Complex, which she'd retired from, 5-6 years ago; I still value her sage advice. I have a custom-made Birthday Card going her way on Tuesday, via Dad.

Monday and Tuesday were mirror images: 82°F, beautiful, low humidity, lots of LSCP Estimates and HICPA Contracts to do. With doctor appointments, and other things going on with family and employees, I won't get a day off this week. I've had to hire a 'greenhouse-nursery helper' for Jennifer, my Horticulturalist, who is overwhelmed by all the work & weeds she needs to cope with on a daily/weekly basis, without Bob or Brad to help her. Seth, my Hardscape Foreman, also needs some help with his stone work. I'll be losing one of my 3 landscapers at the end of the month, to a legal matter. That's going to 'hamstring' me for completing our landscape jobs in our usual timely fashion, too, and I'll probably have to find a replacement soon, for him, too. (sigh) I'm never going to get my 2006 Ford GT, dammit. Oh, well... "Baby needs new shoes". If you own a small business, then you know what *that phrase* means. I certainly do, over the past 19-20 years.

Thursday was miserable: 89°F and 80% humidity, so I ran my Office AC all day. I watered the 2 raised vegetable gardens — 9 varieties of tomatoes, both white and black eggplant, sweet basil, parsley — since we haven't had any decent rain in about 3 weeks. Everything's very, very dry and parched, and no rainfall is in the forecast, except some passing showers and minor t-storms. Hey, it's finally drought-riddled Summer, isn't it. Time to use the Drip Irrigation Systems we installed for you! Drought be damned!

Things Which Make Your Head Explode™..

"Skillful piloting may have prevented a disaster for President Obama and his campaign last summer, a former federal safety official said Friday." That's too damned bad, for this country. I wish the plane had crashed and all aboard were killed.

Have you ever seen The US Debt Clock? This is unsustainable and if it's allowed to continue, will be the end of America.

Now there's carpet glue in my cigarettes (FSC, aka Fire Safe Cigarettes)? How frigging nice!

Here's a true story about "cash stashers", which I can relate to. No, I'm not one of those. But when I was a junior at Drake University (Des Moines, IA) in 1969-70, I stopped at a local home's garage sale, looking for some inexpensive, framed pics to decorate my off-campus apartment, and found 2 small oriental prints of owls. When I removed one of the frames, to get the re-framed at a student-run frame shop, I found $500 in $100 bills behind the backing of one of the prints. The other print was an original signed by the artist, now valued at $25,000, and I still have it. Poor as I was as a student, I'm an Eagle Scout (class of 1962), I went back to the house where the garage sale was held, to return the money (I was also returning the original, signed print), only to find the house sold and abandoned. I kept the cash and paid my rent and food for the next few months.

Lowlife, Murderous, Subhuman muslim Filth Need Killing™!

"Muslims Rioting Again." They need rounding-up, summary trial and instant .45cal ACP headshots, to end it. France, you gutless, balless POS, along with the UK: KILL ALL THE FUCKING mUSLIM SUBHUMAN GARBAGE, PIGFUCKING, MURDEROUS, DIRTBAG TRASH!

Just f•cking amazing that our Brave, Patriotic CIA has US VP Dick Cheney's *Plan* to capture and kill as many al Queerda subhuman filth, as possible, and the cowards/traitors/seditionists/commies Obama, Holder, Panetta, etc want to free-up and let-go, to continue the radical, commie. fascist destruction of America. It's they who need destruction, IMO. America needs preservation, at all costs, IMO.

Some People Just Need Killing™.

IMO, Pennsylvania's corrupt, criminal liberal-demokkkRAT Vinny "Scumbag" Fumo, former Pennsylvania Senator who was sentenced to 55 months in prison for corruption convictions, by a federal judge, should have been summarily tried, convicted and executed. Fumo is filth!

There has been a marked upsurge of home invasions/rapes/robberies/stabbings, and IMO, anyone caught and convicted for such a violation of a homeowner's rights, needs summary trial and execution. KILL THEM!

Zen Gardens

In these stressful and hectic times, a calming influence is always welcome. This soothing site examines the meticulously designed and well-manicured spaces of Japanese gardens in Kyoto, Japan. Their meditative effects will surely lure you into a sense of calm and reflection. Each garden is accompanied by photos, a short movie, and a map showcasing the highlights of the area. Tour the mossy grounds of Saiho-ji, the dry garden of Taizo-in, or the lovely ponds of Ginkaku-ji. With over 20 gardens to visit, you're sure to find one that transports you. If you're interested in learning more about the art behind the landscapes, you'll discover information on the history and the essential elements of gardens. The art behind these delightful designs is anything but lost in translation.

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