Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy News Year!

     May there be happy news for all of you next year.

     God bless. (If you're into that)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 26 saintlist

     Saints Dominic of Silos, Peter Canisius, John Kanty, and Stephen, and Blessed Jacopone da Todi, around this time of remembering St. Francis of Assisi's creating the first Christmas crib at Greccio in Italy, and this time of the Feast of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, please pray for us.

Joyous Kwanzaa 2015!

     Habari Gani?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas! Funk nite at the BL pt. XXVI: "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto"

     Merry Christmas! Let's hear the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, deliver his funky Christmas tune "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto":

     Funk it up!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Virgin Mary as "Christmas Eve" etc.

     The Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of You-Know-Whom, has often been called the "New Eve", i.e., making up for the mistakes of the old one.

     So can we also call that former, blessed lady by the name of "Christmas Eve"? ?? ???

     Your call, as usual. --Hang your stockings with care, etc.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 19 saintlist

    Saints Lucy, John of the Cross, Lazarus, and Hildegard of Bingen, and Blessed Anthony Grassi, Mary Frances Schervier, Honoratus Kozminski, and Pope Urban V, and Berthold of Ratisbon, Servant of God, please pray for us.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. XXV: Czech funk

     Tonite we have some Czechoslovakian funk, namely, "Zarli" by Discobolos. So, Czech check it out now:

     Funk it up!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


     This Wednesday, let us consider an eponymous avatar of the day, Wednesday Addams, whose character (played by Christina Ricci) appeared in arguably one of the better films of the 1990's, Addams Family Values.

     George Bush senior's Vice President Dan Quayle's maybe-sanctimonious idea of "family values" was a meme of the time, but the film turned it around by having a bunch of ghouls in a haunted mansion show better family values--albeit in subversive ways--than a bunch of "WASPs" (sort of like Quayle) at a country-club summer camp. One could say more, but the links above probably say it better. Enjoy.

     ...Okay, here's a video too:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December 12 saintlist

     Saints Nicholas, Ambrose, Juan Diego, and Damasus I, and Blessed Adolph Kolping, around this time of the Feasts of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and of Our Lady of Guadalupe, please pray for us.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. XXIV: Trouble Funk

     Tonite we have "Pump Me Up" by the nicely-named Trouble Funk from Wash DC:

     Funk it up!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5 saintlist

     Saints Andrew, Francis Xavier, Sabas, and John Damascene, and Blessed Charles de Foucauld and Rafal Chylinski, please pray for us.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Requiem night at the BL

     Seeing the recent massacres, we shall play Mozart's Requiem:


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Trouble for Tribe’s “Double Helix”: or, a Failed Marriage of Equal Protection and Due Process?

     Laurence Tribe’s Equal Dignity: Speaking Its Name, 129 Harv. L. Rev. F. 16 (Nov. 10, 2015), his response to Kenji Yoshino, The Supreme Court, 2014 Term — Comment: A New Birth of Freedom?: Obergefell v. Hodges, 129 Harv. L. Rev. 147 (2015), propounds “that Obergefell’s chief jurisprudential achievement is to have tightly wound the double helix of Due Process and Equal Protection into a doctrine of equal dignity[.]” Id. It certainly sounds encouraging to hear that the Equal Protection Clause, and Due Process Clause, of the 14th (or constructively, the 5th) Amendment(s), nicely supplement each other and drive us further to Utopia.
     One could write volumes on this notion, but even a brief look shows some of the troubles with such a cheerful idea. The two Clauses supra may supplement each other at times, but they may also tear each other down, leading more to double trouble than being a “double helix”.

     There are other problems with Tribe’s essay: e.g., he says, “Justice Kennedy’s opinions can be best understood as deliberately fostering and enriching broad public debate regarding issues like same-sex marriage"; whereas, as Chief Justice Roberts aptly noted in his dissent, Obergefell, 135 S. Ct. 2584 (2015) actually ends the debate, see id. at, e.g., 2612. But the worst problem is near the essay’s end:
     Such precedents [e.g., allowing divorce even to those who can’t afford the filing fee] would be difficult to cabin in any principled way that does not encompass a right to remain unmarried without suffering penalties for that choice. . . . To penalize individuals for living either alone or in intimate nonmarital arrangements in the name of honoring and encouraging marriage is akin to denying same-sex couples the right to marry in the name of honoring and encouraging marriage by opposite-sex couples . . . . Justice Kennedy may have displayed a distressing marriage myopia in parts of his Obergefell opinion[.]
Id. Who knew Kennedy was such a “blinkered reactionary”? How dare he intimate that people willing to make a lifetime marital commitment to each other, receive any kind of reward or honor at all?? --In any case, Justice Kennedy deserves a far more dignified and respectful appraisal from Tribe than he gets in Equal Dignity.

     At this point, a true anecdote is in order: the present author had time to read only about a third of Tribe’s essay (when first seeing it linked on SCOTUSblog), before going off for several hours and thinking, more or less, “Well, doesn’t the status of ‘marriage’ at all, create a putative second-class status for those who aren’t married? This shows the ‘double helix’ idea isn’t much good, since the Due Process fundamental right of marriage seems to violate an Equal Protection right, by creating a so-called ‘inequality’.” Lo and behold, when the author returned to Tribe’s article and finished it, he saw that Tribe said the words in the blockquote supra, but with Tribe finding a “positive” aspect in that—i.e., making marriage itself questionable, and seeing that as good—, instead of the negative cast which the present author had thought beforehand. Otherwise put, Tribe takes the present author’s thoughts in reverse, by having the idea of equality eviscerate the value of marriage.
     And eviscerate it does. If we take Tribe seriously, the unmarried are “penalized” (!), id., by not having the exact same status and benefits that the married do. And not just the benefits, note. Many States who offered same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships argued that they didn’t have to offer full marriage, since the unions or partnerships offered the same, or substantially similar, benefits as marriage. However, plaintiffs argued that unless they had marriage itself per se, and all of its status, they were stigmatized, stripped of dignity, demeaned.

     In other words, Tribe would apparently not be satisfied if the unmarried merely received the same benefits, tax treatment, etc., as the married. Tribe condemns “a view that demeans those choosing other forms of intimate companionship [besides marriage]”, id.; so, the expressive harm, the status stigma, caused by some being married by the State, and others being unmarried, could reasonably be ended only by…ending marriage itself.
     (Unless, as an alternative, the State issues a “Certificate of Being Just as Good as Married Folks Even Though You’re Unmarried”…but would anyone want that?)

     Tribe’s shocking assertions help show how tenuous the “double helix” is: after all, there is no, or maybe little, necessary convergence between equal protection and due process. The first concept is about being treated the same as others; the second concept is about having the right to do what you want. Apples, meet oranges. (Even Kenji Yoshino notes, in his Comment, supra, that EP and DP may interfere with each other at times, see id. at 174, 175, 179. But Yoshino sees that interference as being sometimes a positive thing; e.g., if equality concerns prevent a Lochner-style “freedom of contract” from having full sway. He does not really plumb the depths of how much EP and DP can nastily interfere with each other, as with Tribe’s “double helix” which tends to destroy marriage.)

     There may be some real convergence of EP and DP at times, as in Loving v. Virginia (388 U.S. 1 (1967)), where racial equality dovetailed with the right of privacy either to engage in private interracial intimate conduct (a.k.a. “miscegenation” in those days’ parlance), or to enter a marital status that included that right to intimate conduct. However, gays already had the right to legalized intimate conduct, from Lawrence v. Texas (539 U.S. 558 (2003)), so Loving does not necessarily lead to Obergefell. (Justice Thomas, in an interracial marriage himself, saw no necessity to join the Obergefell majority.)

     Tribe’s “double helix” is an awkward metaphor, too, in that DNA (from which he borrows the “double helix” term) is supposed to encapsulate tradition, the passing of one’s (genetic) culture. However, Tribe’s helix would apparently eliminate tradition, since he intimates that there’s a constitutional right for the unmarried to get the same goodies as the married. But if that happens, what’s the point of the tradition of marriage?

     Part of Obergefell, after all, with which the present author and Justice Kennedy both agree, is that marriage is something special, a state of heightened dignity. Tribe overturns that by implying that marriage shouldn’t even be special at all, lest the unmarried be "oppressed". (Cf. Masha Gessen saying that "it is a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist.") At this point, there is not a “double helix” any more; rather, the Clauses become two snakes eating each other alive. If marriage exists, it produces "inequality"; or on the other hand, if equality is allowed to level all, marriage cannot survive.

     As for Tribe’s mantra, “equal dignity” sounds lovely—but just how is it cabined? Do, say, unborn children old enough to feel pain get that equal dignity, too? How about applicants to Harvard Law School? even those who are not alumni kids or donor kids??

     Indeed, people like Tribe could start at home and suggest the abolition, or total transformation, of Harvard Law School. Wouldn’t a new incarnation as the Greater Cambridge Crimson Community College of Law, with free tuition and open admission, make everyone feel more equal? (Of course, tenured professors like Tribe would receive no more perks or salary than teaching assistants do, lest the latter feel they're not being treated as equals.) True, Harvard isn't a state institution—but it is state-accredited and may receive government grants. So why is Tribe not urging the de-accreditation and public de-funding of the school where he teaches? that school which is a totem of privilege, snobbery, and racism to so many people?
     If Tribe is willing to disrespect marriage to the point of extinction in the name of “equality”, then, newer traditions like Harvard Law should be put at risk of extinction as well.

     Tribe’s journey through the looking glass in Equal Dignity is so extreme that one needs literary references to try to understand it, such as Kurt Vonnegut’s famous short story “Harrison Bergeron”, about the perils of “equality” gone nuts. (E.g., the Handicapper General, see id., makes sure that agile individuals are handicapped so as not to be more agile than others.)
     One also thinks of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (Warner Bros. Pictures (2012)), where Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman notes with horror, while peering around a trashed domicile in supervillain Bane’s terrorized Gotham, that “This used to be somebody’s home”, with her chum snappily rejoining, “Now it’s everybody’s home!” Id. Similarly with marriage: if anyone can get the benefits and status of it, without even calling it marriage, what does that leave left of marriage?
     And for Prince to write the song “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” would be impossible, since there would be no more marriage. Admittedly, there might be left a status, say, “The Welfare Entitlement Formerly Known as Marriage”, which would comport nicely with Prince’s habit of calling himself “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince”.

     Tribe’s last words are, “The great advance of Obergefell is to have pointed the way forward for resolving [some] remaining conflicts by creating a legal and social environment in which dignity can proudly speak its name.” But as we have seen, it may actually create an environment where the dignity and institution of marriage are wiped out—at least if Tribe’s version of “equal dignity” holds sway. Just as Harvard Law School has recently come under fire for the black tape placed over portraits of black professors, the “double helix” risks placing black tape over the voices of all those who want to say “I do” and receive the dignity of a State marriage; those who want to “proudly speak their names” and join in that sacred union of which Justice Kennedy said, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family”, Obergefell at 2608. After all, when Tribe’s theories could logically mean that the Lovings themselves were bigots for wanting the State status of marriage rather than being “egalitarians” and fighting for the abolition of marriage, his theories may simply not be due equal status with more serious and humane interpretations of the law.

     (Cross-posted to Casetext)

Pollard can't get a job?

     Yoni Hersch, Pollard Spends First Shabbat at Home in 30 Years,

     [Jonathan] Pollard will be required to wear an electronic bracelet so his movements can be monitored at all times.

     His computers and those of his employer will be subjected to unfettered monitoring, something his lawyers said could prevent Pollard from starting a job in research at an unnamed New York City investment firm.

     “It’s impossible in 2015 to conduct a serious professional job without use of the Internet,” Lauer explained to Reuters. “The parole commission has imposed a restriction that any Internet use be subject to universal monitoring by the federal government. As a result, since it’s unrealistic to expect any employer to consent to unrestricted, unfettered searching of its computer system by the federal government, in effect, this restriction prevents Mr. Pollard from working gainfully.”
     Lesson: being a spy and traitor is not always good for your resume. Who knew.

November 28 saintlist

     Saints Cecilia, Clement I, Columban, Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions, Catherine of Alexandria, Francesco Antonio Fasani, James of the Marche, and Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro, please pray for us.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. XXIII: Happy Funksgiving

     Tonite we have something called "Deep Banana Blackout Funksgiving 2013". With a name like that, how can a poster not post a post about them, post-Thanksgiving??

     Funk it up!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Happy Thanksgiving"

     Unless you are a masochist, in which case, "Unhappy Thanksgiving". If that makes you happy. (So to speak)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Pollard Games--coming to a theater near somewhere?

     One hears that Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard has been released:
     Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu . . . . has urged Israelis not to celebrate too much in case that damages efforts to persuade the U.S. government to let Pollard leave for Israel sooner.
     Pollard, who was granted Israeli citizenship while in prison, has said he wants to emigrate to Israel, where his wife lives and where he can expect to receive substantial Israeli government back pay.
     Nothing like that ol' "back pay", huh??

     Also, peep this fascinating item per the Guardian: Jennifer Lawrence removed from Israeli Hunger Games posters: The star of Mockingjay – Part 2 has been deleted from marketing materials in Jerusalem and some other cities to avoid offending religious audiences.

     Well, why not just put Pollard's face on the posters? Evidently, an American female is not acceptable, but maybe an American traitor might be. Stay tuned.

November 21 saintlist

     Saints Albert the Great, Gertrude the Great, Margaret of Scotland, Elizabeth of Hungary, Rose Philippine Duchesne, Agnes of Assisi, and Blessed Mary of the Passion, around this time of the Feasts of the Presentation of Mary, and of the Dedication of Churches of Saints Peter and Paul, please pray for us.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. XXII: French funk

     Tonite, in a salute to la douce France, we have a funky instrumental by Jean-Claude Petit, "Turn Around":

     Funk it up!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One's brief in Fisher II

     One has submitted an amicus brief in the second go-round of the affirmative-action case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. One's brief is available here (courtesy of SCOTUSblog).


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mid-November saintlist

     Saints Leo the Great, Martin of Tours, Josaphat, Frances Xavier Cabrini, and Nicholas Tavelic and Companions, and Blessed John Duns Scotus, around this time of the feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran, please pray for us.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Silent memorial for the Paris attack victims

     Due to today's deadly tragedy in Paris, on the saddest of all Friday the 13th's, we have a silent memorial. Funk nite is postponed until next Friday.

     God be with us all.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

SNOOPSPECTRE: Now at a theatre near you

     "The name is Brown. CHARLIE Brown", said the debonair bald-headed spy, then dashingly returning to his mouth the chocolate cigarette he had recently drawn from the gunmetal cigarette case in a pocket of his yellow, black-zigzag-striped dinner jacket.

     The gray-suited, masked beagle, sinisterly staring across a huge green baize table and sitting in a high-backed, luxurious leather chair which mysteriously looked like a doghouse, stroked his small companion sitting in his lap, a yellow bird with razor-tipped talons, as he pondered what evil torture to inflict on the insolent secret agent who had infiltrated his lair. To the canine's additional annoyance, the percussive notes of some hip-sounding jazz music, perhaps Vince Guaraldi, began to play in the distance....

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Early November saintlist

     Saints Hubert, Martin de Porres, Charles Borromeo, and Didacus, and Venerable Solanus Casey, around this time of the Solemnity of All Saints and the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, please pray for us.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween saintlist

     Saints Antônio de Sant’Anna Galvão, Simon and Jude, Narcissus of Jerusalem, Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Wolfgang of Regensburg, please pray for us on this Halloween eve of All Saints' Day.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. XIX: Instant Funk

     Tonite, the well-named band "Instant Funk", with their hit "I Got My Mind Made Up":

     Funk it up!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October 24 saintlist

     Saints Luke, Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf and Companions, Paul of the Cross, Maria Bertilla Boscardin, John Paul II, Peter of Alcantara, Hilarion, John of Capistrano, and Anthony Claret, and Blessed Bartholomew of Vicenza, please pray for us.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Funk nite at the BL, pt. XVIII: Sly, Stone, mice, elves

     Tonite we have Sly and the Family Stone with their artfully spelled "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)":

     Funk it up!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mid-October saintlist

     Saints John XXIII, Callistus I, Teresa of Avila, Margaret Mary Alacoque, and Ignatius of Antioch, and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos and Marie-Rose Durocher, please pray for us.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Funk nite pt. XVII: silent funk

     This week, instead of offering a video, one offers the opportunity for people to contemplate their own funkiness (if any). You can shake your groove thang. Or rock the funky beat. To your own soundtrack, or without sound at all. Keeping it on the One. If you like.

     Funk it up!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

10/10 saintlist

     Saints Francis of Assisi, Maria Faustina Kowalska, Bruno, Denis and Companions, and John Leonardi, and Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, Marie-Rose Durocher, and John Henry Newman, around this time of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, please pray for us.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Funk nite pt. XVI: funk for MLK

     Funk is not just mindless entertainment, but is fit to be performed in connection with great moral leaders: see and hear, for example, Systematic Funk Crew throwing down at the Martin Luther King Day Festival:


     Funk it up!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October 3 saintlist

     Saints Vincent de Paul, Wenceslaus, Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Jerome, Thérèse of Lisieux, Francis Borgia, Theodora Guérin, in this time of the Feast of the Guardian Angels, please pray for us.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. XV: "Funk It Up"

     Tonite we not only have a funk song, but one which actually instantiates the tagline we always have at the end: "Funk It Up", by Houseband (whom one has not heard of before, but they ain't so bad):

     Funk it up! (With "Funk It Up"!!)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Go Set a Watchman and the Law: or, Scout, Calpurnia, the Supreme Court, Race, Sex, Parenting, and Conscience

     There‘s been too little commentary on this just-past summer’s blockbuster book, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, from the legal point of view. The present author is no enemy of Lee, having recently asked a school board to consider renaming a local Robert E. Lee elementary school after Harper Lee instead.

     Everyone’s noted (spoilers ahead) the horror of Atticus Finch turning out to be a closet racist in Watchman, but what about the Supreme Court angle? or anything else related to today’s legal landscape? We’ll look at a few interesting wrinkles, including how some of today’s self-styled “civil rights experts” might consider Scout Finch and the Finches’ housekeeper Calpurnia to be a bunch of ignorant bigots. (!!!) Frighteningly enough.

Law and H. Clinton’s Dilemmas

     As for the legal profession itself: legal education gets beat up on a little, when the book notes (pp. 34, 52-53, HarperCollins hardback edition of Watchman) it takes 5 years to learn law—including reading the Bible and Shakespeare—after the worthless experience of law school. Some things are more complimentary to lawyers, such as when Scout’s, a.k.a. Jean Louise Finch’s, beau Henry “Hank” Clinton consults her dad for help when she throws her “falsies” (false bosom) over part of a school billboard and the school principal isn’t too happy. Henry says he consulted his lawyer (Atticus), who’ll never discuss it with Scout, since “everything anybody tells his lawyer’s confidential” (pp. 224-225).

     Also, a “lawyer’s hide” (p. 268) is memorialized as being pretty invulnerable to insults, after Scout has discovered Atticus’ racism and dumped some choice language on him. And Atticus himself is defended as someone who “lives by…the letter and by the spirit of the law” (p. 268), e.g., despite his personal feelings, Atticus would be the first to defend bombing or beating victims from the Ku Klux Klan.

     While Henry Clinton (who is Atticus’ protégé as a young lawyer) is bright and hard-working, he is of impoverished and troubled background, which makes his courting of the higher-class Miss Finch more difficult. This is interestingly reminiscent of another Clinton of great ambition in the law, but a poor background, William “Bill” Clinton. (Infamously, Bill supposedly said of Barack Obama, during the 2008 presidential campaign, “A few years ago this guy would be getting us coffee”. Maybe Bill has some of Hank’s racism?) Also, there is another H. Clinton currently running for President. Perhaps Harper Lee had clairvoyance or something.

     It gets edgier after Scout discovers her fiancé attending a Klan-type meeting (the “Maycomb County Citizens’ Council”) along with Atticus, and then confronts Hank about it. He gives as excuse, “I just know Maycomb; [i]t says to me . . . there are certain things . . . I must do if . . . . I want to make a name for myself as a lawyer” (p. 232). This chilling assertion that one must live down to the lowest standards of one’s community—such as attending racist meetings—to be a successful attorney, reminds us of real-life compromises that lawyers might feel pressured to make today.

The Court in Watchman Times and Now

     Speaking of today: in Watchman there are parallels with how the Supreme Court and other bodies are perceived today in the wake of Obergefell v. Hodges. Atticus and pals repeatedly pillory the Court, talking of “the Supreme Court’s bid for immortality” (p. 24), probably referring to Brown v. Board of Education; and a Mr. O’Hanlon—a cousin of Scarlett O’Hara?—speaking at the racist meeting says, “no n---ers and no Supreme Court was going to tell him or anybody else what to do” (p. 108), and that somebody “bribed the Supreme Court” (p. 110). Henry says (p. 229), “All the Maycomb Citizens’ Council is in this world is—is a protest to the Court”.
     From pp. 238-248, Watchman says a lot about the Court, and the NAACP. Scout says she was “furious” about Brown (p. 238), and gets into some amateur constitutional law when she brings up the Tenth Amendment as a reason the Court should’ve stayed out (p. 239). She further opines, re the Constitution, “Well, it seemed that to meet the real needs of a small portion of the population, the Court set up something horrible that could—that could affect the vast majority of folks. Adversely, that is.” (pp. 239-240) At this point, Scout may sound a little like the States in Obergefell saying same-sex marriage could be decided locally.

     However, Scout seems willing to take it, the fallout of Brown. But her daddy isn’t it, he saying to her, “You slang the Supreme Court within an inch of its life, then you turn around and talk like the NAACP” (p. 243), and “there’s only one thing higher than the Court in this country, and that’s the Constitution” (p. 241), while spewing out about 10 pages of bad reasons for his racist ideas. This prompts Scout, whose sensitive conscience is basically the “watchman” of the book’s title (referencing Isaiah 21:6), to rejoin, “I think we deserve everything we’ve gotten from the NAACP and more.” (p. 245)
     (Incidentally, there’s not room here to mention all the infamies heaped on the NAACP by Atticus and friends. One example is on page 149, where Mr. Finch proclaims, “the NAACP-paid lawyers are standing around like buzzards down here”.)

Calpurnia and Scout the bigots?

     One wonders if the people who thought the States should decide on issues like same-sex marriage, will one day be reviled as those in Scout Finch’s time who thought the States should decide on racial segregation issues. This is possible, and one can likely find people who think that a lack of same-sex marriage is identically evil to having separate bathrooms for blacks and whites. However, it might not be entirely so, even in Obergefell itself. Justice Anthony Kennedy admits, “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises, and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.” (Slip op. at 19) There are few people who would say it is “decent” or “honorable” to have racial segregation.

     On that note: in Watchman, the Finches’ cook and maid, Calpurnia, has to deal with Scout’s attempted suicide (!) after Scout thinks she’s become pregnant just because a boy kissed her using his tongue (!!). (Harper Lee, like Flannery O'Connor, sure contrives some interesting situations.) Calpurnia informs Scout of the way that the birds and bees actually work, and is astonished at the otherwise learned-and-precocious Scout’s ignorance of certain matters. Calpurnia then says that Scout has missed out on certain life knowledge because Scout’s mother was absent, having died long ago: “if there’d been any women around—if your mamma had lived you’da known it” (p. 138). Calpurnia is saying that having a mother, a female parent, can be a positive factor in a child’s life.

     For those who think there is no possible difference between being raised by a man and a woman, on one hand, and being raised by two men or two women, on the other hand: Calpurnia must likely be considered a hateful bigot—logically speaking—, for spreading the idea that having a mother could possibly teach you anything that a father couldn’t. But who would have the courage to call her a bigot, when she is part of a victimized racial group in the world of Watchman? —Actually, Scout would be a “bigot” too, since she did not dispute what Calpurnia said. Fascinating.
     (Speaking of race vis–à–vis sex: an item of interest is the mobilization of some people of color against same-sex marriage, including Australian aborigine leaders. Some traditional peoples may feel that legalized gay marriage is part of a militant or neo-colonialist Western agenda; cf. Robert Oscar Lopez’ essay “Paris” in a book he and Rivka Edelman edited, Jephthah’s Daughters (p. 235), “So it goes with ligbitists [LGBT activists]. [T]heir modus operandi has ended up being more invasive than Marxism, because what ligbitists regulate is intimate, relating to the pleasurable acts that were previously private. . . . America is to the ligbitist movement as the Soviet Union was to communism.”)

Roberts Is Dead; Roberts Is Not Dead

     Back to the Supreme Court: on page 240, while explaining her opinion of the Court re Brown, Scout “looked at the rows of brown-and-black bound books, law reports, on the wall opposite. She looked at a faded picture of the Nine Old Men on the wall to the left of her. Is Roberts dead? she wondered. She could not remember.” Scout was probably referring to the late Justice Owen Roberts, but in our own day, there is a Roberts, Chief Justice John, who is still breathing pretty well. The latter had some interesting words in Obergefell, including, “If a same-sex couple has the constitutional right to marry because their children would otherwise ‘suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser,’ ante, at 15, why wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to a family of three or more persons raising children?” (Slip op. at 20-21 of C.J. dissent)

     Which raises interesting questions about same-sex marriage. Arguably, various States made at least some accommodation for gay couples, such as domestic partnerships or civil unions. So by Scout’s standards when she says,

“…Has anybody, in all the wrangling and high words over states’ rights and what kind of government we should have, thought about helping the Negroes?
     “We missed the boat, Atticus. We sat back and let the NAACP come in because we were so furious at what we knew the Court was going to do, so furious at what it did, we naturally started shouting n---er. Took it out on them, because we resented the government.”

(p.245), maybe those States making some accommodation for same-sex couples actually acted somewhat decently. One may debate this. (This author is well aware that this time around, the NAACP supported the plaintiffs for same-sex marriage. Not much of a surprise, since today’s NAACP may lean more towards Democratic Party-associated causes than it used to. Still, one may debate. After all, Justice Clarence Thomas, a man in an interracial marriage, did not support the Obergefell plaintiffs.)

To Marry a Mockingbird?

     There are some shockers in Watchman, not just Atticus’ bigotry, but also, e.g., when Scout’s Uncle Jack hits her twice in the mouth, drawing blood (!!!) (p. 260) and this makes her calm down and behave better (!!!!). Frightening, and this author has seen little commentary anywhere about that part of the book. While today, with an increased awareness of domestic violence, a physical beatdown by your uncle might not pass muster, the shockingness of the scene at least reminds us to be alert to the craziness that can happen in real life, and thus reminds us to keep our minds open.
     One shocking thing that may happen in our near future is the appearance of even more unconventional forms of marriage. Human embryos are about to be genetically manipulated in Britain, which raises the question of when, say, tiger, elephant, or even mockingbird (!) DNA might be spliced in with human, creating a sort-of-human and sort-of-something else type of mixture. Or machine parts might be joined to human, creating a cyborg or part-cyborg.

     To marry a cyborg…if there is any human DNA in the cyborg, might it not be “denial of human rights” to prevent such a marriage, after Obergefell? Especially if there are children, see John Roberts’ compassionate remarks toward the children of polygamists, supra. And the same with a part-mockingbird person, who desires to marry either a 100% human, or maybe a cyborg. To say that there is a fundamental right to marriage for such relationships, without the People and the legislature having anything to say about it, may be a debatable proposition. But some fans of Obergefell might not see it as debatable, if for them, “Love wins” in all circumstances.

Setting Our Own Watchman, or “Killing” It, or Both

     Things are often worth debating, though, which is why the courage or energy to bring up issues of conscience is admirable. Examining our own consciences, as Atticus should have done a little harder, takes work, of course. Setting your watch may be easy; setting your watchman inside may be more difficult.

     The Supreme Court in Washington can help inform our consciences, but we all should also heed the “Supreme Court” inside us, i.e., our own watchman or watchwoman, our conscience; and some folk think about the “Supreme Court” in the sky with a Judge more powerful than all of us, it is said.

     The admirable persistence of Scout’s conscience, her watchwoman, throughout Watchman and To Kill a Mockingbird, inspires readers (or should), even if the failures of Atticus’ conscience are sad and repulsive. As a tomboy in Mockingbird, Scout even flouts gender conventions somewhat, showing her independent streak. (Still, she remains a girl, as opposed to transgender. Her behavior is proof that one does not need to change one’s gender to behave in flexible, non-gender-stereotyped ways.)

     Her ritual “killing” of her father (p. 265), or the image of her father as the infallible watchman, has some Oedipal/Electral undertones, and a redolence of the old Zen saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him”, meaning that outmoded authority, teaching, or ideas must be done away with.

     Maybe Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis feels that the Supreme Court should be thrown under the bus like the Buddha, supra. In any case, one can admire her following her conscience, without endorsing her particular cause. Similarly, one can admire James Obergefell following his conscience and filing lawsuit, even if one is on the other side. In their own ways, Davis and Obergefell may have felt a need to “kill” the watchman, to challenge the artificial conscience that the law often aspires to be. As long as real killing, real violence is avoided, then, some benefit may accrue from “killing” the old watchman—especially with the consent of the old watchman, just as Atticus consented (p. 266)—to replace it with a newer, truer, better one.

     Scout’s weaving through the confusion and paradoxes, as she scouts through the moral haze of 1950’s Alabama, needed her to still the parrot (as opposed to killing a mockingbird) in her, in that she was blindly parroting Atticus for decades. To gently put either “parrot” or a previous “watchman” in a place of honor in the past, so that your own conscience can come to the fore, is in the best of the American tradition, which is a tradition of progress—an oxymoron, a tradition of abandoning tradition, which helps define the American dream, even as the paradoxicality evokes some of the nightmares America has to swim through on the way to the dream. If contemplating all this can help us be better lawyers, or people—lest we degenerate into Henry Clintons—, then it is well worth contemplating, and Go Set a Watchman is well worth our attention and praise.

     (Cross-posted to Casetext)

Late-September saintlist

     Speaking of holiness: Saints Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang and companions, Matthew, Thomas of Villanova, Pio of Pietrelcina, and Cosmas and Damian, please pray for us.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Late-mid-September saintlist

     Saints John Chrysostom, Cyprian, Cornelius, Robert Bellarmine, Joseph of Cupertino, and Januarius, around the time of the feasts of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and Our Lady of Sorrows, please pray for us.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Funk nite at the BL, pt. XIII: Bam's basilic beat

     Building on last week's Afrika Bambaataa selection, tonite we have his "Looking for the Perfect Beat":

     Funk it up!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

September 12 saintlist

     Saint Peter Claver and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, around this time of the feasts of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, please pray for us.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Funk nite at the BL, pt. XII: "Renegades of Funk"

     Tonite we feature rap pioneer Afrika Bambaataa, with an electro-funk and/or early hip-hop song, "Renegades of Funk":

     Funk it up!

September 11--never forget

     MSN, On Sept. 11 anniversary, appeals to remember as time passes.

     Never forget.

     God bless.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Start-of-September saintlist

     Saints Jeanne Jugan, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, Giles, Gregory the Great, and Rose of Viterbo, and Blessed John Francis Burté and Companions, Claudio Granzotta, and Mother Teresa of Kolkota (Calcutta), please pray for us.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. XI, a la Bootsy

     Famous funkster Bootsy Collins shows us the bass basics here:

     Funk it up!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Iron Fist of Kung Fu Death

     I always wanted to post something (or make a film etc.) with that title.

     With a title like that, does it even need any content?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Folx want refund for Go Set a Watchman

     Life can suck even if you're Harper Lee. See El Guardian, US bookshop offering refunds for Go Set a Watchman,

     A US independent bookshop is offering refunds to its Go Set a Watchman customers, claiming that the work should be viewed as an “academic insight” into Harper Lee’s development as an author, rather than as a “nice summer novel”.
     Brilliant Books in Traverse City, Michigan, has said that its “dozens” of customers for Go Set a Watchman are owed “refunds and apologies” over the way the novel has been presented. “It is disappointing and frankly shameful to see our noble industry parade and celebrate this as ‘Harper Lee’s New Novel’,” the bookseller writes on its website. “This is pure exploitation of both literary fans and a beloved American classic (which we hope has not been irrevocably tainted). We therefore encourage you to view Go Set a Watchman with intellectual curiosity and careful consideration; a rough beginning for a classic, but only that.”

      Also, see US bookshop offering refunds for Go Set a Watchman,

     I don’t like to attack independent bookstores, they are an endangered species after all. But still I question the naiveté here: Brilliant Books stocked Watchman. No self-respecting bookish person could have missed the avalanche of press coverage leading up to the release of Watchman. In a recent review of an entirely different book, the New York Times book critic Dwight Garner observed that Watchman “left a blast pit commentators will be staring into for decades”. And even before “racist Atticus” saw the light of day as a hook for a hundred op-eds, there was never any real question that this was truly a new novel.
...And there is a more sinister question: how many of these dissatisfied customers, I wonder, are especially angry or disappointed because of the unflattering portrait of an elderly, racist Atticus this book contained? What is a bookstore doing when it insists that that revelation – and all it implies about racial politics in America – is purely “academic”?

     --If life doesn't go as we expected, can we sue God and ask for a refund?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

End-of-August saintlist

     Saints Rose of Lima, Bartholomew, Louis of France, Genesius, Joseph Calasanz, Monica, Augustine of Hippo, around this time of the feast of the Martyrdom of John the Baptist, please pray for us.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. X, Peruvian style

     People may not think of "Peru" when they think of funk, but stuff happens. Ear this, Black Sugar's "Understanding FUNK 1970",

     Funk it up!

Monday, August 24, 2015

"Swimming while black" in Alabama and environs

     El Guardian, Swimming while black: the legacy of segregated public pools lives on,
     ...In the US, swimming ability is starkly divided along racial lines. White Americans are twice as likely to know how to swim as black Americans.
     The consequences of this can be deadly: according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black children aged five to 14 are three times more likely to die from unintentional drowning than their white counterparts. In the US, approximately 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day.
     [Terrell] Goodson, who’s 37 and works in the restaurant industry, ...growing up in Alabama, he was just simply never taught to swim. His story is part of a common narrative, not a singular occurrence.
     In the US, swimming ability is starkly divided along racial lines. White Americans are twice as likely to know how to swim as black Americans.
     Goodson says he knows that Montgomery closed its pools years ago to keep black people out. He says he has tried to read up as much as possible on the history of Montgomery, and race relations, but few people in his surroundings want to speak about it.
     “They say I am crazy,” he says. “So now I stay quiet. But I know things.”
     Emmett Till was murdered and drowned, but the drowning of black people without resources to learn how to swim, may be a more indirect form of murder.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22 saintlist

     Saints Stephen of Hungary, Joan of the Cross, Louis of Toulouse, John Eudes, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Pius X, around this time of the feast of the Queenship of Mary, please pray for us.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. IX

     "Play That Funky Music White Boy" even has the word "funk" in it, so that Wild Cherry hit must be played here sometime:

     Funk it up!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Someone wants a lot fewer Dominicans

     A Daniel Greenfield who writes at came up with this mess of de facto racist insult on Monday, Trump's Illegal Alien Deportation Plan is a Hell of a Bargain,

     "But if the pro-illegal alien lobby is suddenly worried about spending, here's a great fiscally conservative immigration solution.
Households with children with the highest welfare use rates are those headed by immigrants from the Dominican Republic (82 percent), Mexico and Guatemala (75 percent), and Ecuador (70 percent). Those with the lowest use rates are from the United Kingdom (7 percent), India (19 percent), Canada (23 percent), and Korea (25 percent).
     We obviously need a lot fewer Dominican immigrants and a lot more Koreans, Indians and Canadians."

     Excuse me?

     (As a "bonus round" of racism, that webpage links to a book by FrontPageMag chief honcho David Horowitz, and John Perazzo, called "Black Skin Privilege and the American Dream" and showing a picture of Barack Obama. I guess the black people shot at Charleston forgot to use their so-called "black privilege", huh? --Unbelievable.)

Girl. Batgirl. RIP

     Riffing off our post on Bond. Julian Bond, we sadly note the passing of TV's original "Batgirl", Yvonne Craig.

     RIP YC BG.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Bond. Julian Bond. RIP

     Not just some fictional superhero, Julian Bond was a modern-day civil rights hero. He died Saturday, see, e.g., N.Y. Times, Julian Bond, Charismatic Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75 (noting, inter alia, "Julian’s grandfather James Bond, one of Jane Bond’s sons, was educated at Berea and Oberlin Colleges and became a clergyman." and "he is survived by . . . . a brother, James").

     (Check out also these posts riffing off the "Bond. Julian Bond" theme:

     JB, RIP.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mid-August saintlist

     Saints Edith Stein, Lawrence, Clare of Assisi, Jane Frances de Chantal, Pontian & Hippolytus, Maximilian Mary Kolbe, on this feast of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, please pray for us.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. VIII

     Parliament shines a high beam on funk this week, with "Flash Light":

     Funk it up!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

August 8 saintlist

     Saints Peter Julian Eymard, Eusebius of Vercelli, John Vianney, Cajetan, Dominic, and Mary MacKillop, around this time of the Feasts of the Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica and the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, please pray for us.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. VII

     Tonite we have the oft-sampled "Let It Whip" by the Dazz Band:

     Funk it up!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 1 saintlist

     Saints Joachim and Anna, Martha, Leopold Mandic, Peter Chrysologus, Ignatius of Loyola, and Alphonsus Liguori, please pray for us.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. VI--Whitney Houston tribute

     One does not always think of Whitney Houston as a "funk" performer, but this song, "Thinking About You", may be one of her funkier efforts, as various Internet comment says. (We recently posted RIP Bobbi Kristina about Whitney's sadly deceased daughter.)
     Enjoy the regular and extended versions:

     Funk it up!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pollard paroled; Benedict Arnold silent

     CNN, Spy for Israel Jonathan Pollard granted parole. Well.

     Benedict Arnold could not be reached for comment at press time, though those with Ouija boards could always try to get an interview.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Late-July saintlist

     Saints Appolinaris, Lawrence of Brindisi, Mary Magdalene, Bridget, Sharbel Makhluf, James, and Blessed Antonio Lucci, please pray for us.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mid-July saintlist

     Saints John Jones and John Wall, Henry, Francis Solano, Camillus de Lellis, Bonaventure, Kateri Tekakwitha, Blessed Angeline of Marsciano, and Our Lady of Mount Carmel, please pray for us.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. IV

     "She's a Bad Mama Jama" by Carl Carlton:

     (Or in a live music video version, if you must have it)

     Funk it up!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Summer recess"

     It being summer etc., one may not post super often. (Besides music nite Friday and saintly Saturday maybe) Keep coming back though; you never know. (Part of the "recess" is that this post was going to be published yesterday, but there were delays. Summer will slow you down.....)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Early-mid-July saintlist

     Saints Anthony Zaccaria, Maria Goretti, Gregory Grassi and companions, Augustine Zhong Rao and companions, Veronica Giuliani, and Benedict, and Blessed Emmanuel Ruiz and companions, please pray for us.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. III

     "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" by KC & the Sunshine Band:

     Funk it up!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Need for clarification in Obergefell; and, Kennedy's "jurisprudence of loneliness"

     All the term I had been seeing rather more of Anthony Blanche than my liking for him warranted. . . . I held him in considerable awe. ...
           [T]here was a bluster and zest in Anthony which the rest of us had shed somewhere in our more leisured adolescence, on the playing field or in the school-room; his vices flourished less in the pursuit of pleasure than in the wish to shock . . . . He was . . . . fearless like a little boy, charging, head down, small fists whirling, at the school prefects.
     From Brideshead Revisited (bk. 1, ch. 2), by Evelyn Waugh

* * *

A. The Need for a Motion for Clarification in Obergefell

     While Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges et al. is not quite as shocky as the behavior of Anthony Blanche (the most openly-gay character in Brideshead above), the opinion is still pretty astounding. The present author covered some of this in his Casetext post Obergefell's outrageous omissions, but here are some new things or clarifications.

     First, speaking of "clarification": rather than a near-certainly futile petition for rehearing in Obergefell, what might make more sense is a motion for clarification. While the Court's rules don't mention such a type of motion, they don't forbid it, either.
     It is perverse, actually, that at the highest level, the "supreme" court, there is no explicit option for a clarification motion. The Supreme Court offers guidance to all lower courts (and future members of the Supreme Court), so, understandable, lucid opinions should be more important at that level than at any other level. But the only option explicitly available after a merits decision, it seems, is under Rule 44, "Rehearing": "Any petition for the rehearing of any judgment or decision of the Court on the merits shall be filed within 25 days after entry of the judgment or decision, unless the Court or a Justice shortens or extends the time. [etc.]"
     But what if you don't even understand what the opinion really meant? E.g., if an opinion apparently leaves intact a precedent that seems to contradict the opinion, lawyers might want to know if the precedent is still a. intact, or, b. overturned, before filing a petition for rehearing. Otherwise, the petition may be filed "in blindness", ignorant of what the Court actually meant.
     Thus, if the Court doesn't allow motions for clarification, perhaps it should start to do so, since lower courts, whose opinions are less important (since less "supreme"), do so. In the event that a motion for clarification is rejected by the Court, perhaps it can be re-submitted and re-labeled a "Petition for Rehearing", with language: 1. asking for clarification on the issue(s) of any precedents contradicting the Court's opinion, and 2. indicating that if those precedents haven't been overturned, then 3. rehearing is politely requested based on those precedents which still contradict the opinion.

     And such precedents abound in Obergefell. The Court's opinion is as clear as a mess of Mississippi mud in various respects, and the Nation is hurt by not knowing if, e.g.:

1) Ballard v. United States (same-sex and diverse-sex groups are de jure different) is now overturned;

2) The line of reasoning leading to the Court's denial of certiorari to Potter v. Murray City (polygamist's sacrifices for the community as a police officer don't merit legalizing polygamy) is now overturned;

3) Grutter v. Bollinger (gender diversity is compelling state interest) is now overturned.

     One's Casetext article discusses those three issues some more, but for those who don't want to go there right now, here is a quote from the Oberg. opinion, re marriage: "There is no difference between same- and opposite-sex couples with respect to this principle." Okay, if monogender and diverse-gender couples are now indistinguishable, how can precedents 1 and 3 supra still make sense?
     And as for precedent 2: let's hypothesize a Rhett Hogg who desires to marry his first cousin, Scarlett O'Hogg, telling her, "So what if we're first cousins? Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!" Scarlett is entranced by this wooing and marries him. She then becomes a top Marine Corps sniper. Moving with hubby to a State that doesn't recognize her first-cousin marriage, she pulls out a handy copy of the Obergefell opinion and says, "See here! It says that if you've served the Nation as a soldier, that legitimates whatever form of marriage you're in!"
     So, is Scarlett right? (And would she be right if Rhett was actually her brother?) Or, just maybe, is the Court wrong?

     The dissent(s) may need clarification, too. Marty Lederman's "The Remarkable Disappearance of State Justifications in Obergefell" at Balkinization accurately notes (inter alia) that Chief Justice Roberts' dissent says there's a rational basis for upholding the Sixth Circuit's decision (referencing Justice O'Connor saying so in her Lawrence concurrence)--but that dissent doesn't mention what that basis is! Shouldn't we know what it is?

     Some persons felt that the oral argument by the States in Obergefell was very weak. If so, a motion for clarification would help make up for that to an extent.
     More importantly, a motion for clarification would hold the Court responsible for its flabby, incoherent opinion. The Nation has a right to know what Obergefell actually means, and the States' lawyers, as officers of the Court, may have a duty to make sure that right is respected.

B. Kennedy's Mysterious "Jurisprudence of Loneliness" in Obergefell

     Indeed, in its low coherence and high flights of passion, the opinion is better read as poetry than as a serious legal opinion. For example, the words

     The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.
sound suspiciously like they were borrowed from the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin:

"'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last. [etc.]"

(Jimmy Page/Robert Plant) (Video, if you must have it:)

     As well, there is
     Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there. It offers the hope of companionship and understanding and assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other.

     But as the Chief Justice's dissent notes, what does loneliness has to do with this? It's not like gay couples were being separated by the Gestapo and sent to labor camps. People were free, after Lawrence v. Texas, to live together and do what they wanted privately. There was just no promise of government subsidy and honor.
     And not only is the "loneliness" idea maudlin and inaccurate, it avoids large issues such as the real loneliness permanently caused to children raised by same-sex couples and deprived of a mother or father for a lifetime. (This blog has discussed such, e.g., at Part II of: Grand Theft Bonauto?; or, John Bursch & the "dignity" problem".)
     Of course, given the timing issues of the case, one is not surprised by the intellectual (and moral?) poverty of the opinion. Obergefell was jammed in at the end of the year, with an immense number of amicus briefs for the Justices (or at least some of their clerks...) to read, and without the benefit of the put-on-hold opinions of the 1st, 5th, 8th, and 11th Circuits. With such atrocious timing, how could a decent opinion be written?

     Moreover, the "loneliness" things sound cribbed from various musical sources. E.g., Air Supply's "Two Less Lonely People in the World". Or the Police's "So Lonely".
     Not to mention "[Love Lift Us] Up Where We Belong" ("Who knows what tomorrow brings/In a world few hearts survive [etc.]"). If this all makes Kennedy the "Joe Cocker" of the Supreme Court, so be it.

     Maybe even "I'm So Ronery" from Team America: World Police, though it's a little racist, so no video here.

C. Miscellany

     --Oberg. opinion: "Only in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable." If it's so "immutable", how do you explain Chirlaine McCray?
     --At least Oberg. doesn't call people favoring same-sex-marriage bans, the nasty sorts of things that Windsor called them. A small improvement, and small comfort.
     --Scalia bemoans elite lawyers from Harvard or Yale. Does this mean he's given up his habit of hiring only Ivy Leaguey-type clerks?

* * * *

     Another quote from Anthony Blanche, from the 2008 film version of Brideshead, is, per IMDB,
     Sebastian Flyte: Charles is reading history, but he wants to be an artist.
     Anthony Blanche: No!
     Sebastian Flyte: Why ever not?
     Anthony Blanche: Either you are an artist, or you are not.

     That said: the Obergefell opinion has art, and passion, to it. Again, the mystical muck of Stairway to Heaven and the pop rapture of Up Where We Belong, those pieces of art, come to mind. But the opinion does not have much logic to it.
     Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously said that the life of the law hasn't been logic, but experience. But Kennedy-and-friends' opinion disregards thousands of years of human experience--the "history" that Sebastian Flyte says that Charles Ryder is studying, supra--, tossing it down the trash chute in only 28 pages.
     So, without experience, or logic, there is just...passion and art. This is not enough for "equal justice under law". And, God forbid, there may be some unpleasant outcomes of the Obergefell opinion in the coming years, as we all may live to see.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kenya not into Obaman gay-marriage stance

     See, e.g., Breitbart, Kenyans Tell Obama: ‘We Don’t Want Gay Marriage So Don’t Come to Lecture Us’,

     As US President Barack Obama prepares to visit Kenya, the country of his estranged father’s birth, Kenyans are lining up to tell him: don’t come if you’re going to lecture us on gay marriage as we are still a God fearing nation.
     Kenyan church groups have marched through Nairobi ahead of President Obama’s visit to the country next month, to insist that he not be allowed to promote gay marriage while on his visit. The protest came a day after Kenyan Parliamentarians declared that Obama would be thrown out of their Parliamentary building if he dared broach the subject. ...

     Thrown out? Woooh!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

George Takei Confederate-flags Clarence Thomas

     See, e.g., Newsbusters, George Takei's Racist Rant: Clarence Thomas Is a 'Clown in Black Face',

     George Takei unleashed a racist rant against Clarence Thomas, sneering that the Supreme Court justice is a "clown in blackface." The Star Trek actor on Monday fumed, "[Thomas] is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry. He doesn't belong there."

     "Mr. Sulu" then 'splained elsewhere,      
     “Blackface” is a lesser known theatrical term for a white actor who blackens his face to play a black buffoon. In traditional theater lingo, and in my view and intent, that is not racist. It is instead part of a racist history in this country.

     Gee, that really helps. (sarcasm)

     Finally, the racism trek ended, fortunately (for his career), see NBC, George Takei Apologizes for Calling Clarence Thomas 'Clown in Blackface'. But why did it take so long?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Wambach wuvs wife after whipping women to wow World Cup win

     Winifred (Chan) sez so, see CNN, Abby Wambach, wife Sarah Huffman share kiss after U.S. World Cup win.
     Note to self and others: same-sex marriage apparently has no deleterious effects on athletic performance.

     Word to your mother.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July saintlist

     Saints Irenaeus, Peter, Paul, Oliver Plunkett, Thomas the Apostle, and Elizabeth of Portugal, Blessed Ramon Lull and Junipero Serra, and First Martyrs of the Church of the Rome, please pray for the Nation on its 239th Independence Day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Funk nite at the BL pt. II

     After a little hiatus from funk nite part I: here's the Gap Band again, with

     Funk it up!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Poly(s) want a license

     AP, July 1: Polygamous Montana trio applies for wedding license. Are they just "parroting" gay-marriage activists, these polys who want a license? If so, is that a bad thing??
     "Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander"...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bernie Sanders vs. Colonel Sanders

     One has noticed that Bernard Sanders, Vermont would-be President, and Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, are both personable yet rather controversial old white men with white hair and glasses, from interesting rural-leaning regions. So were they separated at birth?
     On that note, if politics doesn't work, perhaps Bernie could sell fried chicken. Ex-politicians have sunk much lower than that...

Monday, June 29, 2015

"Radical Faggot" vs. pride marches

     Breitbart, Black Lives Matter Protesters Disrupt Chicago Gay Pride Parade,

     Chicago’s 47th annual gay pride parade was disrupted several times by the usual city disruptions — gang activity, gunshots, and drunks — but the event was also disrupted by a car driving into a group of bystanders. Then there was an even larger interruption by “black lives matter” protesters.
, and which links to Radical Faggot (!!!), Happening Now–#BlackOutPride Action Disrupts Chicago Pride Parade,

...By 1973, only three years after the first march in honor of Stonewall, organization of Pride events around the country were taken over largely by wealthy cisgender gays and lesbians, looking to transform the march that began in New York from political protest to an opportunity for mainstream visibility. ...
     ...We are vocally rejecting Pride as a desecration of our history of resistance. We call not for its transformation, but reinvestment in our own communities and legacies of struggle.
     ...We cannot celebrate the passage of gay marriage, and predict that the next round of new laws will be about limiting the rights granted by marriage, especially for undocumented, trans, poor and working people. ...


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Late-June saintlist

     Saints Aloysius Gonzaga, Thomas More, Paulinus of Nola, John Fisher, Joseph Cafasso, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, and Cyril of Alexandria, around the time of the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, please pray for us.

Friday, June 26, 2015

3-out-of-4 fun Friday

     One has recently enjoyed having submitted Court briefs (or parts of briefs) on the winning side in Zivotofsky, Walker, and King. But some other case came down today.
     3 out of 4 ain't bad.
     Polite congrats to the victors.

Sick victory in King v. Burwell

     Victory today for the sick, that is. Even if y'all just saw my King brief in my previous post about Walker--here it be again! [Wuz gonna post this on June 25, but was busy, so am posting at 12:03 a.m. on 6/26. Ed.]

     I guess this makes Obama the "king" now. (rim shot)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Walker v. Confederate Sons, Charleston shootings, Confederate Waterloo, and "legal realism"

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

     From Strange Fruit, sung by Billie Holiday

     A. The Massive Quantum of Damage from the Confederacy

     The Confederacy was not good for America, especially African-American Americans. This obvious truth has profound resonances that not all folks may have realized yet, 150 years after the Civil War. Realizing the huge quantum of damage that the Confederacy did, including hundreds of thousands of deaths, the present author, while not writing a full amicus brief in Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., at least mentioned that case in a few pages of his King v. Burwell brief, highlighting the danger from a Confederate-flag license plate. Walker was addressed there because there were issues of State dignity in both cases.
     In Walker, the fact that the Confederacy was an enemy power (of which Texas was a member), plus the current neo-Confederate and secessionist movements in Texas, means that a Stars-and-Bars license plate challenged the State of Texas' dignity and sovereignty, and even integrity. (Someone looking at a bunch of cars with Confederate plates, especially if the cars were owned by Texas government officials, might reasonably wonder if Texas were sliding back into an acceptance of Confederate values, white supremacy, etc.)
     The sovereignty issue also helps explain why the Walker dissent's using the Buffalo Soldiers example does not help their cause much. That is, the dissent complains that since some people were offended by a Buffalo Soldiers license plate, it is hypocritical to ban only a Confederate-flag plate. But though the Buffalo Soldiers' role in the "Indian Wars" is controversial, what is not controversial is that they fought for the U.S., not for a foreign or enemy power like the Confederacy.
     Sovereignty issues aside, Confederate flags might be just plain hurtful to African Americans (and others), "since the State printing a potential symbol of hate and racism on license plates could be a State-endorsed expressive harm against African Americans, many of whom are reeling from events like those in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of black New Yorker Eric Garner from a police chokehold." (Author's brief at 17) Expressive harm, as in Bush v. Vera (517 U.S. 952 (1996)), meaning basically the ugly attitude or feeling expressed by a government action. The Confederacy was so hurtful, why continue the hurt now?

B. Gov't Speech, Private Speech, Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Zivotofsky, Kennedy

     One can always debate the exact rationale the Court used in Walker: they said that the license plate was government speech, hence, no First Amendment problem with a flag ban. The dissent said that license plates are really private speech and First-Am. protected; critics have said that maybe a hybrid analysis is better (plates are part gov't, part private, speech); etc. Rather than get hardcore into that debate, which could last forever, one shall just say that the Court's reasoning seems reasonable, especially given the multifarious alternatives available to the plaintiffs. E.g., if a Confederate Son wants to paint his whole trunk lid as a big Confederate flag (!), he may have the First Amendment right to do so.
     In the controversy covered by Zivotofsky v. Kerry, similarly, young Menachem Zivotofsky could set up a Myspace (formerly "MySpace") account and use that to declare that Jerusalem is really part of Israel. That way, he doesn't have to have "Israel" instead of "Jerusalem" on his passport.
     ...Speaking of Zivotofsky: why'd Justice Kennedy vote against the plaintiff in that case, but for the plaintiffs in Walker? Both are about plaintiff/s "hijacking" a State informational vector (passport, license plate) to send an offensive or damaging message. An answer may be that a passport is "consumed" (read by people) abroad--including any foreign-policy implications--, whereas a license plate is here in the good ol' USA.
     Kennedy, in his Ziv opinion, used a somewhat "functionalist" approach, noting that Palestinians protested the Congressional act in question, showing that offense and hurt had occurred. By contrast, Justice Alito in Walker says that "Texas has not pointed to evidence that these [Confederate] plates have led to incidents of road rage or accidents." Maybe, but it is a reasonable assumption that at some point, such plates could lead to an ugly incident. (Especially since the Civil War was the biggest "ugly incident" in our national history.)
     On that note:

C. The Walker Dissent's Factual Basis Is Now Evaporated, post-Charleston

     However, ironically, we don't have to speculate much more about the expressive harm emanating from the Confederate flag. The shooting in Charleston of nine African Americans at the Emmanuel AME Church, by Dylann Roof, who enjoyed posing with Confederate flags, has sparked a mass-removal of Confederate flags from public places, as noted on this blog here (flag) and here (license plates).
     Now that Roof's personal site The Last Rhodesian is not hosting all his photos, you can see him, at other sites, with gun and Confederate flag, and sitting on a car hood above a Confederate license plate. Walker dissenting Justices take note. (Justice Breyer, in the Court's opinion, mentions one curious license plate, "'The Iodine Products State' (South Carolina)". However, iodine, sadly, is not enough to disinfect all the wounds recently inflicted in that State...)
     Of course, the coincidence is astounding, that the Walker decision came out around the time of the shooting. It may be God's way of reminding us that social reality should drive the law, not just the other way around.

D. P.J. O'Rourke Meets the Walker Dissent, Wild Things Happen

     Speaking of "astounding": the Cato Institute does some good work, but their brief in Walker has to be seen to be believed. It has P.J. O'Rourke (of the National Lampoon etc.) and other interesting types as authors, and goes "all-out" on the free speech claim not only for the Confederate Sons, but also in the brief itself! including the F-word itself at p. 20. This Ayn-Rand-meets-Ferris-Bueller-meets-Tourette's-Syndrome vibe is a little too much maybe. Yours truly appreciates using some humor in briefs, but actual foul language is not needed.
     However, the Cato brief's "bad behavior" is useful in that it inadvertently makes its opponents' point, since that brief's dirty language shows that when you get on the crazy train, bad things happen.

     And without calling the Four Horsemen dissenting in Walker "crazy"--which could be deemed offensive--, their reasoning seems formalistic to the extreme, when some "legal realism", or just plain "realism", is appropriate.
     For example, if, per Alito, specialty plates are "little mobile billboards" completely up to the purchaser's taste and whim, then why couldn't a plate have a GIF of two (or more) people having a hardcore-pornographic orgy? Or how about the letters DIENGRS or DINGRDI, which look awfully like a death threat against black people? Or how about just plain N--GERS? Under the dissenters' rationale, what could stop that so-called "free speech"?
     In fact, why not a plate saying simply, "F-CK YOU"? Then maybe Texas wouldn't be known as the "Lone Star State", but as the "F-ck You State". Oy vay.
     Common sense is not a crime, and the dissent could've used more of it.

E. The Supreme Court's Ban of Demonstrations on Its Grounds

     Consistency might be good too. That is, hilariously enough, the Court is not too happy with free speech on its home turf, see Regulation Seven at Building Regulations. If they have a problem with that free speech or sign-waving, why would they have a problem with Texas restricting a rebel, officially-racist power's flag on a State license plate?

F. White Walkers/Walkers, Wise Latina, Wise African Americans

     And Justice Thomas, voting with the four "liberals" in Walker, may be suspected by some of having a better grip than many people do of understanding just how awful that Confederate power really was. But do we have to assume that he is a "wise African American", like Justice Sotomayor's "wise Latina"? Or is it the opposite, that the four white Republican Justices have a particularly unwise or isolated view of reality?
     Does that make them "White Walkers", to riff off a term from Game of Thrones? Feel free to speculate... But moving from "White" and "Walker" to Waterloo:

G. An Overdue Waterloo for Confederate Flags

     Just as the recent Juneteenth celebrates the Waterloo of slavery and the Confederacy (cf. this blog's 200th-anniversary-of-Waterloo posts here and here--and note that Napoleon banned slavery long before America or the British Empire did), we should welcome the Waterloo of Confederate flags in this country.
     Free-speech formalists and fanatics may lament the disappearance of that flag, since someone's opinion is being curtailed. But, in the real world, certain opinions, or forms of them (Confederate flags; burning crosses; calling someone a "slut" to their face) can be seen as harassment or even terrorism, which may chill more speech--and end more lives--than banning or discontinuing hate-symbol "speech" may do. Balances have to be weighed, but if "haters gonna hate", maybe they should to it with their own bumper sticker or website rather than dragging the State, and us taxpayers, into their ugliness.

Coda: Law and Love after Charleston

     Does the law have to be "nice", though? Does it always have to promote civility and decency? Maybe not, since it does protect ugly speech.
     However, when a State vector (license plate, passport) is used, then arguably the Law becomes, or is identified with, the hate. And that's just too much, frankly.
     The poem Law Like Love by W.H. Auden compares the two "big L's", noting that between them there's
A timid similarity,
We shall boast anyway:
Like love I say.

Like love we don't know where or why,
Like love we can't compel or fly,
Like love we often weep,
Like love we seldom keep.
     Pace Auden, though, maybe, after Charleston, we can keep faith in love, and law, with people of all races and backgrounds in this country. Maybe we can avoid any further of the "strange fruit" that Billie Holiday mentioned, if we can try to have a fruitful and non-violent dialogue in this country about the issues concerned. Much is possible. If we put forth the effort. Peace.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saintlist and Charleston

     Servant of God Orlando Catanii, Saints Albert Chmielowski and Romuald, and Venerable Matt Talbot, along with the nine dead in Charleston, please pray for us.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Juneteenth, memorializing the Charleston shooting

     Today is Juneteenth, celebrating the end of slavery.
     We had a funk night and heavy metal night in the last two weeks, but given the horrific shooting in Charleston, something more serious is in order: Mozart's Requiem Mass.

     Requiescat in pacem aeternam.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Waterloo's 200th anniversary

     June 18, 2015. 200 years later, the reenactment. 100 years from now, maybe another reenactment...or another battle?
     Napoleon was a bit of a tyrant, but if he'd won, would things have been much worse? seeing the various absolute monarchs opposing him, they often ruling over miserable serfs or slaves? In Heaven, maybe we'll find out how things would've played out.
     Prayers for the memories of all those at Waterloo, and elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Britain's fabulous '15's, Waterloo and otherwise

     Our previous post on the Waterloo campaign of 1815, and the more previous post about Magna Carta 800, remind us that Britain has an interesting habit of doing well in years ending in "15". Besides the Mag Cart and Waterloo, there's also the battle of Agincourt in 1415: another victory against France, just like 400 years later! plus St. Crispin's Day, Shakespeare's Henry V, etc. Is there a pattern here?
     "God save the Brit!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

200th anniversary of Quatre Bras and Ligny

     On June 16, 1815, there were the twin battles of Quatre Bras, a draw (against the British) and Ligny, an inconclusive victory (over the Prussians), for Napoleon's French. Waterloo two days later...
     (If you wanna see the re-enactment of Waterloo, the tickets are sold out...but maybe extras will pop up! Waterloo 2015)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Happy 800th Magna Carta

     Following yesterday's Flag Day USA, we can also celebrate the end of the eighth century (or beginning of the ninth maybe) of ye olde Magna Carta, that great charter of liberty and dignity. (Which we mentioned in our recent article on CJ Roberts and Zivotofsky) Huzzah!