Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
This amendment shall be known as the "Power to the People, Power to the People Right On!" Amendment. Nothing in the amendment right before this one shall be construed as allowing persons to say Bad Things. Bad Things shall be defined by Congress anytime before November, 2010. Congress shall have the authority to establish a Special Administration for the Liberation of Speech for the People, Right On, and may promulgate regulations regarding speech by Big Corporations or anything that reminds them of such speech. Bad Things shall include any disrespectful nodding or word mouthing by Justices of the Supreme Court during Presidential addresses, especially if they touch upon freedom of speech, such as it may be. Nothing in this amendment shall be construed as giving anybody the authority to restrict the speech of law professors about any topic whatsoever at any time whatsoever. A law professor is anyone who has ever taught at a law school, whether or not on a tenure track.
I watched the last half of the speech and I must say I didn't much like it, even apart from the content. Were I a GOP Senator or Congressman, I would find it very difficult to sit through what struck me as a patronizing and mendacious speech. I thought the comments on the Citizens United case were just rude. The Justices are there as guests. It's just rude to scold them under those circumstances. I doubt the turnout will be very good from SCOTUS in 2011. And it was stupid besides. How is insulting the Court going to help the Obama administration win cases? And all this in the context of a speech that lectured about how politicians must start being nicer to each other. Maybe the geniuses in the WH somehow figure the thing to do is to be as insulting as possible to the GOP and the majority of the Court, while seeming to the lower wattage portion of their base to be reaching out. But anyone would half a brain should be able to figure out that last night's speech was not reaching out. OTOH maybe it was just clueless and clumsy.
And finally a purely subjective, Peggy Noonanesque comment -- did anybody else get the vibe that this SOTU was just weird, out of kilter, not right in some sorta deep way? It felt that way to me, like a play that has gone badly wrong and the actors don't know how to bring it back. Like the whole thing was about to go way off the rails.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Am I the only one to be creeped out when listening to the radio these days? It's not the music or the news. Or even the talk shows. It's the advertisements that are giving me the creeps. For the past year, an astonishing number have been bellowing, "THE BANKS HAVE HAD THEIR BAIL-OUT! NOW IT'S TIME TO GET YOURS!" All sorts of businesses specialize in re-negotiating loans. Listeners are told that it isn’t their fault that they can’t pay. "Greedy bankers" put them in this position. Then, of course, there are the relentless casino ads followed by public service announcements offering help to gambling addicts ...
After a while, one longs to hear about the good, clean virtues of laundry detergent.
A propos Tom's thoughts about intelligent aliens from outer space: here is the Galaxy Song from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
"...And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space/ Because there's bugger-all down here on earth."
The song is classic - and perfectly sweet - Edwardian music hall, by the way. The Pythons were fond of traditional English things: they were often quite conservative at heart.
Somebody who agrees with me. The last thing we should want is to be discovered by technologically superior aliens. Look how that worked out for the Native Americans, the Pacific Islanders, the Congoese. At best, we could end up having the right to run some intergalactic casinos, and a few us would be driving around rose colored Bentley spaceships. Not close to a good tradeoff. My view is that we are extremely fortunate that intelligent life is so rare in the universe, if not so much that it is so rare on our own planet.
I think it should be illegal to attempt to contact ET aliens, as some scientists are doing. Hmmm. Do you think there is a law review article here?