Friday, July 20, 2007

Who are you wearing? Who cares...

Story time! Back in the 1980s, shortly after Sandra Day O'Connor had been approved as the first female Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history, my mother had the great fortune of meeting her at some kind of event. I don't remember what exactly it was, it's not important. Anyway, after meeting Justice O'Connor, my excited mother related the momentous event to some of her friends. The first response she got? "What was she wearing?" I shittest thee not. A historic moment, a great step forward for womankind, and they wanted to know what she was wearing.

That's what I thought of when I saw this.

Frankly, I could give a good golly fuck what Hillary Clinton wears. Or John McCain for that matter. Certainly George W. Bush. Dammit, if the person with the most sensible policies and most honest demeanor likes to wear pink shirts with purple polka dots with plaid pants, I'm still gonna vote for him or her.

I've been saying this for years. Clothes don't make the man, or the woman. Clothes mean nothing. One of the smartest people I know frequently wears shirts with ducks on them, for pete's sake.

But some women, apparently, care about what the first serious female contender for President of the United States wears. And I find that sad.

Oh, and in case you missed it, the White House is yet again claiming it is above the law. Jesus Christ, did you people go to eighth grade Civics class? Checks and balances has nothing to do with your bank account.

UPDATE: I have to admit this is pretty damn amusing.

Song lyric of the day:
"Make me believe
No more left or right
Come on, take my side"
- Foo Fighters, No Way Back

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress approved the Lee Resolution, proposed by Richard Henry Lee (grandfather of some other guy named Lee who played some role in some kind of Civil War). With no flourishes, the Resolution clearly outlined that the Colonies were and ought to be free and independent states. (The state of New York, of course, abstained...courteously.)

Two days later, some other document was signed. Of course, history has all but forgotten this long-winded document in favor of the short-and-to-the-point-ness of the Lee Resolution. No one even remembers that other document's primary author. Somebody named Tom, I think.

220 years later, to the day, a young man was in a movie theater with about eight friends watching a movie called Independence Day. Which really has nothing to do with anything, except that there were two moments when members of the audience leaped to their feet and cheered: when the fake President gave his little spiel about the new meaning of the Fourth of July, and when the golden retriever leaped to safety just as the fires from the alien attack swept away countless innocent people. I think this proves that the founders' dreams for a great nation are still alive today. Or at least they were 11 years ago.

But anyway, happy two-days-belated Independence Day.

Song lyric of the day:
"And we'll remember this when we are old and ancient
Though the specifics might be vague"
- the Decemberists, July, July!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

What I don't get

The Supreme Court made two high-profile decisions related to the First Amendment last week. On the one hand, you had Wisconsin Right to Life v. the Federal Election Commission, in which the FEC argued that any politically charged advertising within 60 days of an election, regardless of whether its approach is specifically designed to influence the election or, as in the case of Right to Life, simply designed to encourage people to, oh what's the phrase, oh right, redress grievances by contacting their Congressional representatives. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 decision, in favor of Right to Life.

On the other hand, you have Morse v. Frederick, in which the Supreme Court ignored the student speech precedent set by Tinker v. Des Moines and said that a student did not have the right to wave a banner that read "Bong Hits for Jesus" at a school event. (Perhaps if he's only been wearing an armband, they would have ruled differently.) One of the many ridiculous aspects of this decision was that the Court couched it under the auspices of preventing illegal drug use. (That the drug in question, marijuana, should be legal anyway due to the increased tax revenue and reduced prison costs such legalization would entail is utterly beside the point.) Other opinions suggest that they interpret the banner more as impertinence rather than advocacy, which makes restricting such speech even more ridiculous.

So here's what I don't get: is the Supreme Court for or against the First Amendment? You see the Right to Life case, you think, "Oh good, the Supreme Court is finally taking a stand in favor of free expression." Then you shot down by the Morse case, and you start thinking that maybe the Court only backs the speech it agrees with.

Because naturally, you have to ask yourself if the decision might have been reversed if, say, instead of Wisconsin Right to Life it was Wisconsin Right to Bong Hits. Or, from the other angle, what if the banner Frederick had waved said "Fetuses Carried to Full Term for Jesus". I ain't no lawyer and I may not type too good grammatorically speaking, but I'd bet dollars to doughnuts in both these alternate universe scenarios the Court's decision would have been changed. Which, as far as I can tell, is totally contradictory to what the First Amendment is all about.

I should clarify that I'm not at all surprised, merely disappointed. I hope the Supreme Court decides whether or not it's going to support the U.S. Constitution soon, before all of our heads begin to swim.

(Incidentally, does anyone know where I can get a "Bong Hits for Free Speech" bumper sticker? Because I'd really like one.)

Song lyric of the day:
"Well all my songs used to end the same way:
'Everything's gonna be okay'
You fuckers make that impossible to say
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah"
- Portastatic, You Blanks