More on Sotomayor: Has it always been this way?

29 May 2009

Probably so, but I don’t like it.  Here’s FoxNews’s headline:

Republicans divided over how to oppose Sotomayor

I know it’s Fox, but I’ve seen the same thing all over the place.  What irks me is that there’s no sense coming from Republicans that they’ll try to determine whether she deserves the post, but just strategies about how to shoot her down and arguments about how she sucks.

Maybe these nominations are always this way and I’m just used to being on the other side for 8 years (was that only 8?), but it seems to just be assumed that the examination of her record is just a way to find evidence against her, rather than a fair evaluation.

Meanwhile, Adam Serwer nails the arguments on the Ricci (firefighter) case you’ve heard about.

Recommended viewing

28 May 2009



I’m a good speller, but I wouldn’t count spelling as a hobby or anything, let alone an obsession.  I went to the city bee when I was in 6th grade, and I still remember that I went out on attorney (spelled it attourney).  Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anyway, one of my favorite documentaries is Spellbound (not the Hitchcock movie).  We re-watched it with some guys who were in town last weekend, and it’s just great.  The tension is strong, and the looks at the different kids’ parents and home lives is fascinating.  We’ve been following up on the subsequent lives of the featured kids lately, and that’s been interesting too.

Well, the other night we just happened to catch the end of last year’s national spelling bee.  It was a blast, and not just because Erin Andrews covers it.  Watching those kids’ minds whirl as they try to get words I’ve never heard was as compelling as any NBA playoff game (I mean that as a compliment [complement?]).

The best exchange:

The eventual winner, Sameer, who was a really appealing guy, gets numnah.  To Sameer, to us at home, and clearly to the audience, who erupted in laughter, it sounded like the “official pronouncer” said numnut.  After a while, he learns what the word really is, and says, “That’s a relief.”

Now, I see that this year’s bee is on ABC tonight.  I’ll record it, and I recommend it.  There are sure to be plenty of gripping moments.

UPDATE:  Did you watch it?  Did you watch it???  Congratulations to Kavya Shivashankar.

Fun stuff, I thought.  Still, it’s a little weird that the BBC headline is

US girl named spelling bee queen

seeing as how it’s the US national spelling bee.

UPDATE II:  As usual, McSweeney’s nails it.

A good time of year

28 May 2009

This is the time of year–between teaching terms–when I stress on all the writing I have to catch up on.  But it’s also the time when I get to do it my own way–hanging out in coffee shops.  I could really get used to this.

And then there was last weekend (starting early):

  • Wed–birthday dinner w/ friends @ Mosca’s
  • Thu–Royal St. Stroll
  • Fri–NOWFE Grand Tasting, followed by moustache bash
  • Sat–Bayou Boogaloo
  • Sun–Showing out-of-towners around town and Jean Lafitte National Park (love watching those snakes and gators)

Not a bad place to spend some time.

Why we need Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

27 May 2009


Updated Below…

In case you can’t see in the pix, the New Yorker conveniently points out that the current SCOTUS is on the “far right.”  Now, Sotomayor is not as left as I’d like her to be, but don’t buy all this crap the right is giving you on her “radical” views.  The current justices are way right of Nixon, and it’s about damn time we got a little rationality.  I don’t know when I’ve ever seen this much premeditated political BS over a nominee.

GBitch provides a good link to this article, and there’s a lot to see here.  My main beef is that these folks don’t seem to see the White Privilege from which they’ve received great benefit.  Roberts says that affirmative action mandates the “recruiting of inadequately prepared candidates.”  Wrong, fucker, wrong.  AA requires that we give people a look who aren’t on the inside track, who weren’t the privileged sons of rich folks who got them in the door of the CEO’s office.  Here’s what Roberts believes:

The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

Easy for him to say.  He doesn’t see that the simplicity of his argument belies the depths of the racism that much of the American public (including people who’ll probably comment in response to this post, because they’re the usually the only people who comment on my posts) feel.  Everyone would be fine with stopping discrimination, but the privileged classes have screwed things up so bad, we need to fix some things.  And affirmative action provides a positive approach to this goal.  It’s not a quota, and it doesn’t require employing unqualified people.  As soon as you suggest it does, you insult the phenomenal qualifications of Sotomayor.

Here’s another telling quote from the New Yorker article:

It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race.

Yeah, sounds good, but guess what, your people have been doing it for many, many generations, so you don’t get to decide that the time for divvying is over now.  You’re out of touch, and I’d call your ignorance judicial activism.

Last point:  This claim of judicial activism is as spurious as the claim of “pork” in the legislature.  Pretty damned subjective.  Anybody who’s a judge and doesn’t fall in my line of thinking is an activist to me, and anyone who disagrees with Sotomayor’s views will see her as an activist.  Damn straight, a Latina from a poor family will see the world, and the law, differently from those of us who have not felt the sting of dismissal.  No shame in that.  The white men haven’t exactly had a monopoly on wisdom, God knows.

Sonia Sotomayor is quaified to be a Supreme Court Justice, no matter what her “story” is, and those who lob their condescending opposition her way are just the desperate, privileged few who fear a little social justice heading their way.  Maybe the chickens really are coming home to roost.

UPDATE:  Jim Morin says it better than I ever could:


“Dehydrated” = “Shitfaced”

25 May 2009

Just like when Lindsay Lohan flakes out from “exhaustion,” we know she’s in rehab, it’s clear that Jeremy Shockey just can’t hold his booze.

Not that I necessarily care that he passes out at a Vegas nightclub (but seriously, the HardRock?), but remember these wise words from Crash Davis to Nuke Laloosh:

If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.

Jeremy Shockey has NOT won 20 in the show, at least not for the Saints.

Never thought I’d say it, but…

22 May 2009

bite me, TheNation.

This is because the city has become profoundly dependent on its service economy since 2005.

Uh, got news for you.  We were profoundly dependent on that a lott earlier than 2005.  The article basically says the NFL is enabling us, and the good folks at The Nation are ready to show us some tough love.

What we need around here is additional, not replacement, industry.  Meanwhile, they oughta just put the SuperBowl here every year.

Man, people just don’t know what they’re talking about.  Not sure what the “Miami New Times” is, but they’re way off here:

this might be the first time New Orleans could be prepared to host the game since Katrina

Come down and spend and see!  We’ve been ready since 2006.  Don’t even think about it, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross!

I think South Florida is the best place for the Super Bowl.  In my opinion, it should be here permanently.

Time for a vote.  Where would fans rather go for the SB?  That’s what I thought.  Carry on.


22 May 2009

I’ll bet this thing can save me $10k a year by encouraging me to eat in even if we have “nothing” to eat.  Thanks, LifeHacker!

Michael Gerson is an idiot

21 May 2009

I know this piece is almost a month old, but it’s been sticking with me.  Anybody notice anything interesting about this snippet?

I had come to view harsh interrogations as a clear mistake. The war on terror is as much an ideological conflict as a military one, and the combination of Abu Ghraib and revelations about waterboarding had the practical effect of a battle lost. I worried also that these techniques might lead to a dehumanized view of the enemy — always a risk in a time of war — thus greasing a slippery slope toward abuse.   [italics mine]

Doesn’t the fact that you refer to the enemy as “the enemy” indicate that your purported worry about dehumanization is a bit disengenuous?  Seems to me that he shoots down his own point with one sentence.

The T-P had a headline to this that sais something like “Torture memos reflect Cheney soul searching,” and I immediately thought, “Too bad they didn’t find it.”

Now Gerson comes back at us to say that Obama is undermining the morale of the CIA.

In a little over 100 days, the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress have delivered a series of blows to the pride and morale of the Central Intelligence Agency.

First off, I don’t really care too much about morale at the CIA, but second, he’s wrong.  All we’ve been hearing about (note all the applause and “extended applause” that looks sincere in video) is that the CIA and other departments of the administration are thrilled to have him in there because he lets them do their jobs and doesn’t force them to violate the constitution at every turn.

I’ll admit that I’m as frustrated with most progressives on the watering down of principles that Obama has engaged in, but so far I’m still confident that it’s pragmatic.  Most of the time.  But if we ever get too pissed off, let’s remember how bad it used to be.

Weekend Restaurant Roundup

19 May 2009

The folks were in this weekend, and my family is pretty into food.  Sadly, they’re also worried about money, but we tried to get them to live it up a little.  Here’s where we made it:

Friday night:  Eleven 79.  We love this place, and the food was excellent as always, but the service was a little spotty.  The guy forgot the wine, left us alone for too long at once, bread was slow in coming (and burnt once).  But damn they make a great pasta.

Saturday lunch:  Ignatius.  I had the salad with no bacon and corn macque choux.  Great stuff, and they loved theirs.  I was bummed by them a while back because they told me there was no meat in the beans, but it turns out there is. Went to La Divina for dessert.  Heavenly, as always, and the word is they’re opening a 3rd location right down the street from us, on Maple!

Saturday dinner:  After getting the run around from Cochon about table availability, we had a late bite at Ye Olde College Inn.  A surprisingly solid cheese poboy, but the real star was the dessert–fried bread pudding po boy, the winner of the dessert contest at the Po Boy Festival.  Really, really tasty, even to the folks at the table who aren’t willing to kill for bread pudding, as I am.

Sunday:  The highlight for mom was Surrey’s.  It’s my favorite breakfast place, and she’s still gaga over her omelette, which had crawfish and brie or something like that in it.  Me, I’m stuck on the roasted veggie omelette, but I add goat cheese and avocado.  Mmm.  And, as always, I got the grapefruit juice w/ ginger.

Overall, successful meals, and I’m glad to see so many places doing well.  But owners and managers–stay on the wait staff!  Some of them are slacking!

Wayman Tisdale

18 May 2009

I was sad to see that Wayman Tisdale died over the weekend.

Tisdale went to my high school, and I have fond memories of watching him play like a man among boys (I guess they were all boys, but he was a beast).  I was only in middle school then, but we would turn out, largely because of him.  I hated watching him light it up against my Jayhawks when he was at Oklahoma, but you’ll never hear anything negative about this guy.

He had a solid jazz career after his playing days ended.  He lost a leg to cancer a while back, and now it took the rest of him.

Sad.  Only 44, and one of the good guys.