Watching the Supreme Court

Watching and reading the current Supreme Court confirmation, one thing has been sticking out is the argument the GOP has been pushing the is that Democrats started the “judicial wars” (which has given them the prerogative to push this through nominee), and they continuously name Robert Bork.

Unsurprisingly, Bork had an interesting record. Early on he defended segregation, was critical of individual privacy, held views critical of the Fourth Amendment, believed in the right for government to censor writers and artists, and argued the Civil Rights Act was an imposition on Americans. Looking at his record as a whole, he seemed balanced, but there were some quarks in his record that stuck out.

The most damning fact was that he was key in the ‘Saturday Night Massacre‘ when President Nixon ordered the firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Cox after Cox asked for the tapes he’d recorded in the Oval Office. The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General each resigned in turn after being given the order, leaving Bork acting attorney general, who then fired Cox. Bork claimed he carried out the order under pressure, but in his memoirs, he claimed that after he fired Cox, Nixon promised him the next seat on the Supreme Court[wiki]

Even with that background (hell, Strom Thurmond, of all people, called him “controversial“), he was given full, bipartisan hearings, was heard from, and the Senate gave him a full up-or-down vote on the floor.

Let’s remember that Merrick Garland never got this opportunity due to one party citing the “Biden rule.”

Sen. Joe Biden had said in a 1992 Senate floor speech — when there were no high court vacancies to fill — that “once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over.”

Admittedly, these days, it is hard to tell when the political season is underway. when the sitting president starts his reelection campaign days after he takes office color it’s hard to tell, but five weeks before a presidential election, that would seem to be a “season.” I hope those voting remember the hypocrisy that’s been put in office.

Watching Northern Colorado burn

Sitting here in the cold dark of the afternoon, ash and smoke from an over 500 thousand square miles of  fires just west of us dimming the sky to an early dusk, I’m fully cognizant of the impact of climate change. What I don’t get is why all the politicians and all the climate deniers dodge and weave anytime this comes up and says it’s not their fault.

It’s like walking into a room with 2 children and a broken vase and asking who broke it.  Not it!

The deniers, the politicians. and the conspiracy idjits all say “this has happened before, this is the natural way of the world.”

Technically, yes, the planet has seen apocalyptic climate change many times over its existence, we see it in the geological record. But these changes in the past occurred over hundreds of thousands if not millions of years, and the recovery from these changes took just as long to set back to normal. And very little survived tell the tale, mostly just rocks and fossils.

What we’re seeing now is the impact I’m just a few 100 years, in the common denominator of those couple 100 years has been our societies, our industrialization, our population growth. Essentially, we gave mother Gaia a very bad fever.

Even if you don’t want to accept that, accept that humanity is the cause for the current situation. Does it really f****** matter what caused it?

It’s obvious it’s happening, ask any firefighter up in the mountains right now, ask anyone who is going through multiple hurricanes in a season down South, ask anyone who is watching their streets flood on a sunny day on  the  East Coast.

It just doesn’t f****** matter who caused it. What matters is what can we do to mitigate it? What changes can we make to reduce the damage that will come in the future? Hoping for leaders that will look to the future, not their daily ratings or their reelection.

Reflections on an eve

Getting ready for my bookstore prep, thought I’d share this as my fiftieth eve approaches. 

It goes back to my seventh grade English teacher at South Jr. High in Boise. She had the class write up letters to ourselves, seal them in an envelope with our names and year on it, and give to her for a safekeeping. All she asked was that we’d come back for them after high school graduation

I’m not sure how many others came back, but I made it a point. I remember watching her sort through the boxes, labeled by year, from all the classes she’d taught, handling each box with a graceful dignity.

The lid from my year was lifted, she flipped through the envelopes like a card catalog until she had mine. She asked if I’d stay to read it, not wanting to know the contents, but just curious as to my response. Rereading a letter to myself with only a difference of five years was strange, the things I found important, the questions I asked. Looking back there are questions should’ve I asked her, but those are the questions of an older, not younger, me.

The letter’s been lost in the ensuing years of moves and deployments, as has the memory of the exact contents, but I still recall the reading proper, the feelings it brought up.

Thinking of that letter helps enforce my practice of keeping a journal and being able to randomly pluck one from the pile, cracking to a random page. Trying to maintain better breadcrumbs, especially after finding MS can lead to some memory issues.

Along those lines, I’ve a habit that I’ve been doing every ten years since my thirtieth birthday, but this particular reread involves books by others.

I do annual rereads often, usually for a holiday, like reading Martin Luther King on his birthday, Rabbie Burns on Burns Day, Bobby Frost and other poets just because. The obvious stuff. But there’s other reads that hit me harder than others, and deserve a bit more work.

The reads that changed my perspective on life the most were “Life without Principle” by Thoreau and Meditations by Aurelius. 

I reread both often, but I’ve made it a point every decadal birthday to go out, find and buy a new copy. Then, pencil in hand, I reread and mark up the points that interest me. After all that’s done, I’ll take the older copy, or copies, and compare to see how my train of thought has changed I since the last reads. 

If you have a favorite book that you’ve writ up the same, it’s a unique time capsule. Do the same passages still capture you? Why don’t older highlights make the same impact? What’s happened betwixt to cause the change? All sorts of questions can come to mind. Sometimes there might even be answers. Some you might even like.

And that again is how I’ll be spending my birthday on Columbus day, my fiftieth, this tumultuous year. With everything that has been going on this year, falling back on a routine of reflection seems to be a sound and comforting plan.


Another Tavern for Old Town?

The word just came down…the Purple Martini will not be allowed a liquor license. As a resident in Old Town, I don’t feel any sadness. A ten-thousand square foot bar, open primarily at night, this in my mind does not promote growth for a downtown region that already has some problems remaining vital. Currently, the retail to restaurant ration is too far skewed, and this would not help out the longevity, or the sustainability, of Old Town. Two days of liquor hearings have balanced that fact out.

A lot of the testimony that’s come out, I agree with, especially living down here. There are too many problems concurrent with the current ratio–broken windows, obnoxious ambulators, various offal on our properties and business steps. Something we’ve come to accept living down here, but not one we care to encourage.

The interesting part was sharing details with our Denver relatives for Thansgiving..the very same “young professionals” that the bar was trying to lure in. In Denver, even in LoDo, where the young professionals thrive, the Purple martini had to move on due to lack of business…in a climate very similar in ratio to Fort Collins, but very dissimilar in wages and employment. Yet this bar was going to gain this cleintele. Sadly, I, and apparently many others saw the same future here for the bar, one where the owners will need to cater to the college crowd, which tends, historically, to be the root of many alcohol related problems here. Want more evidence? Ask the owner of the Crown Pub, who at one point, when he opened, told the newspaper that they wouldn’t allow the “Blue-jean, blue collar crowd” in. That has changed to keep the bar open. Even my friends down at Lucky Joe’s, who were aiming for the twenty-five and older crowd had to come to a realization that to earn money in Fort Collins as a bar, one must consider and include the college crowd’s disposable income, for they’re the only one’s who don’t watch their money as tightly.

To top it off, the manager of the Purple Martini stated, “You can bet I’m going to keep my eye on the city. The minute the gavel pounds down in favor of another liquor license down there, I’m calling my attorney about a lawsuit.” I believe the residents and business owners down here have but one response, “thank you!”
Couple of links from our local “newspaper”

Day One    Day Two    Day Three    Final?