Pages

Friday, July 13, 2018

Stage fright.

I spy with my little eye ... a boiler. Right over there. You can't see that? It's as big as a commercial refrigerator, for chrissake! What? Oh, right ... I forgot to turn the lights on. Been here too long, man ... I know this place like the back of my hand.

Well, here we are in the Cheney Hammer Mill basement, trying to survive the onslaught of another cycle of global warming-fueled temperature extremes. You have to fill you time with something, right? As I mentioned last week, we tossed around the idea of doing another interstellar tour. That is to say, I tossed it to Marvin (my personal robot assistant), he tossed it back, then I tossed it to Antimatter Lincoln, and he dunked it into the ancient cistern. Call me Kreskin, but it seems to me like nobody wants to do this tour thing.

Somehow it's not a surprise. We haven't been live on stage in a few years, and at that point, the idea of it starts to seem alien and hostile. Now, as it happens, most of our interstellar audiences are both alien AND hostile, so that's not such a bad thing. Still, I shudder to think of what might happen if we attempt a show on an outdoor stage on Titan and just freeze up like statues. (Not from fright, you understand - the surface temperature of Titan is minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit. My point is ... aside from being frozen solid, we might be intimidated by the crowd as well.)

Cold as Titan. Now I know what that old saying means.I'm guessing there's a little pill we can take for stage fright. And there's probably one we can take for 290 degrees below, too. I'm sure we're not the only band to grapple with these types of questions. Why, I hear Mumford and Sons spent a week on Neptune waiting for a connecting flight to Proxima Centauri. Nobody said this was going to be easy, people. Look on the bright side. We have Mitch Macaphee, our own in-house mad scientist, who will no doubt contrive (or perhaps borrow from one of his fellow madmen) an appropriately appointed interstellar spacecraft. We've got, I don't know ... Marvin, who can ... lift very heavy things. We've got the mansized tuber who ... will not be joining us because he's taken root in the garden. Okay, scratch that.

Anyhow, the jury's out on this tour, people. Don't look at me - tell it to the band. They've been in the basement too long.

Justice denied.

Someone in recent days referred to Trump's new Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh as the Zelig of modern Republican politics as he has apparently played a role in nearly every major GOP political endeavor over the past quarter century. He worked with Ken Starr during the Clinton investigation in the 1990s and reportedly penned some of the crazier passages in the infamous Starr report. He served on the George W. Bush presidential campaign and played an important role in the Florida recount controversy, subsequently taking a job in the Bush White House, where he met his wife. Bush then appointed him to the DC Circuit Court, though not without a struggle.

Don't even think about it.Of course, none of this would be considered disqualifying for a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court. That said, let's not pretend that appointment and confirmation isn't an intrinsically political process, much as impeachment is. If an attorney can refuse a juror based on the way he or she looks, I think it's fair to expect that a senator has every right to reject a presidential nominee on the basis of his or her judicial philosophy. The right always attempts to characterize their "originalist" approach to constitutional law as a pragmatic practice of calling balls and strikes, following the law and the constitution as written, etc. The truth is far more complicated, of course - they have a political agenda that they've been pursuing relentlessly for decades while the center-left has been asleep on this issue. That's why, even with Kennedy, we have a Supreme Court that's well to the right of the American people.

So, given the fact that we are a politically divided nation (there are more people on the center-left than on the right, but let's call it even for the nonce) and given the fact that judicial appointments are always made with a political agenda in mind, why the hell don't we leave the Court the way it is, split down the middle, 4 to 4? It worked for Mitch McConnell in 2016, and frankly, it worked for me, too, particularly with decisions like Freidrichs v. California Teachers Association. As long as we as a nation are politically polarized, our highest court should reflect that polarization. A raft of 4-to-4 ties would simply mean there would be no national precedents set unless there was an unusual level of consensus on a specific case, such that one or more members of the opposition joined in a majority opinion. That seems like a better situation than having a permanent, predictable reactionary majority on the Court that is way out of step with public sentiment and basic human needs.

So, count me among those who say denial is better than delay. Block Trump's appointment - Kavanaugh or no - and leave the Court at eight justices.

luv u,

jp