Thursday, May 28, 2009

So You Think You're Smarter than a Same-Sex Marriage Militant?

Mr. Homer J. Simpson. Former pretty much anything you can imagine activist--current activist of just about nothing. But he is militant.

With the California Supreme Court handing down Strauss v. Horton, the decision that upheld the constitutionality of California's ballot measure 8 (which banned same-sex marriage), the hallowed halls of demagoguery have exploded with the kind of pants wetting excitement that’s usually reserved for . . . well, for when courts decide sexually charged moral issues. Pretty much the only consensus on all sides is “THIS IS NOT OVER.” Which is pretty lucky, or I might have to write another hissy fit on the Miss (sic) USA Pageant—and nobody wants that (well, I do—but that’s beside the point).

Twice now I have written on same-sex marriage: What? Phil Spector Changed Parties? When that Happen? and Why I Don't Care About Same-Sex Marriage...and You Shouldn't Either. Both times I argued the issue will eventually resolve itself in favor of same-sex marriage, largely because of the precedent set by the Nevada “no fault” divorce case, Williams v. North Carolina, 317 U.S. 287 (1942), and the federal constitution’s full faith and credit clause. Even after Strauss v. Horton, I still believe that that will be the case.

Be that as it may, you probably have some questions.

1. If nobody cared what you wrote before—twice!—what makes you think anyone cares what you think a third time?

The first time I wrote about same-sex marriage, I had forgotten to take into account the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. sec. 7 and 28 U.S.C. sec. 1738C. The bottom line is still the same, but involves another attack on same-sex marriage bans, not only through the equal protection clause, but also with the establishment clause.

2. No, I mean why do you think anyone cares what you think, period?

Shut up.

3. So what about DOMA?

As part of the wave of anti same-sex marriage legislation (WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN! DEAR GOD, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?), Congress in 1996 enacted the Defense of Marriage Act. That act now provides “No State . . . shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other state . . . respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State . . . or a right or claim arising from such relationship.” Additionally, DOMA defined under federal law “. . . the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Ms. Veronica Lake. She never has anything
to do with anything I write. But you can tell
she gets me.......
So what? Here’s what: during the first conflict over what was the role for the government in marriage, pretty much every state not named Nevada believed that sound marriages were an integral part of that state’s society. Therefore, the state had a strong interest in keeping married people together—unless there was a damn good reason for the parties to “break” their wedding vows. Nevada split (no pun intended) from that tendency—not because the people of Nevada particularly cared one way or the other about marriage, but because allowing unhappy couples to get divorced for any or even no reason (“no fault” meaning no judicial finding that one party was at “fault” for the break up of the marriage) was a great way for Nevada to get hotel business. 

While everyone who is a citizen is an “American,” every person is also a “resident” of the state that person lives in, and is subject to that state’s laws. Historically, you needed to live between six months to a year in a state before you were considered a “resident,” and then avail yourself to that state’s laws. The hotel and tourist interests in Nevada decided “year schmear!” and cut the length of time to establish Nevada residency to six weeks. 

Here’s how it worked. Say you were married to someone you hated and wanted to get a divorce. Ordinarily that was just too bad, because at that time “we hate each other” was not a good enough reason for the state to allow you to divorce. But if one party went to Reno, and stayed in a hotel for six weeks, SHAZAM! That party had established "residency" in Nevada, then would file for divorce in the Nevada courts (where "I hate him/her" was more than good enough), and get a "no fault" divorce .

The trouble arose when that party (let’s call him “Mr. Williams”) left Nevada (all nice and tan after six weeks in the desert), went back to his original home state (let’s just say North Carolina), and tried to get married to someone else. The legal terms of art describing what happened next are a little technical, but it boils down to this:

North Carolina: “Yo mama, you think you’re getting married again here . . . You may be “divorced” in Nevada, but this here’s North Carolina!”
Mr. Williams: “Oh yeah? Well, the federal constitution says ‘Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every Other State.’ Article IV, section 1. I have here in my hand a judicial Proceeding (sic) from Nevada that says ‘Williams is single,’” MoFo!” 
North Carolina: “Yeah, but Nevada is creating sham judicial Proceedings (sic) (“sham” under North Carolina law, but not Nevada law) to boost tourist business in Nevada, that’s not a bona fide ‘judicial Proceeding’ covered by the full faith and credit clause. Besides, North Carolina has a powerful, big interest in preserving our marriages…because WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?

Ms. Beverly Garland. This was from back in
the day when getting to first base was
really serious.
And the Supreme Court, in Williams v. North Carolina, ruled that for whatever bogus reason Nevada dreamed up to convince divorcing rich people to spend six weeks in their hotels, as Gertrude Stein meant to say: a judicial Proceeding is a judicial Proceeding is a judicial Proceeding. Sucks to be North Carolina, and it sucks even more about the children—Sorry.

Time passed, and anyone rich enough to afford six weeks in Reno got a no-fault divorce. The earth did not jump off its axis, and god (sic) did not smote us down—despite the fact that what god (sic) had joined together, SOME men rendered asunder. More and more states adopted the no-fault standard for divorce, until now only New York (believe it or don’t) still clings to some nominal version of fault-based divorce.

So now, couples can truly get divorced for any reason or no reason. For example, in Oregon, all that needs to happen is one party allege that “irreconcilable differences have led to an irremediable breakdown of the marriage”—and nothing more specific than that. That can mean one party keeps squeezing the tube of toothpaste in the middle, instead of the end like you’re supposed to (I really hate that). Even if the other spouse hotly denies there are any differences—let alone irreconcilable ones—and any breakdowns of the marriage are very remediable…too bad. The state will grant the divorce.

With that background, let’s go back to same-sex marriages. Some states are making noises about allowing recognition of same. Say what you want about social conservatives (like “they’re ignorant, intellectually dishonest puss buckets”—I’m just saying here), but they do know their onions when it comes to full faith and credit litigation. Introducing: the Defense of Marriage Act. The express purpose of DOMA is to hang an asterisk on the end of the full faith and credit clause: while everybody KNOWS that Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, blah blah blah of every Other State, that NOW means public Acts, blah blah blah not named “same-sex marriage.”

In other words, if you get your same-sex marriage in Iowa, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts Connecticut, and California before May 26, 2009, other states CAN recognize your marriage (Maine: No problem! You are welcome), but they don’t have to (Utah: Screw you, jerk faces!).

Ms. Shirley Jones. Sing it, babe! "...and
that spells trouble, with a capital T that
rhymes with E and F and another E. And
that spells..." Oh nevermind.
4. So, with DOMA, it doesn’t matter right? If a state wants to allow same-sex marriage, fine; and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t have to. Problem solved (unless you’re one of those people who want a same-sex marriage).

In the immortal words of Gene Autry: Nope. There are three areas that spell trouble with a capital T that rhymes with E, F, and another E—and that’s stands for equal protection, fundamental rights, and the establishment clause.

Equal Protection

All those terrible 1950s era Henny Youngman and Alan King jokes about marriage aside, there are genuine secular legal and political reasons for two people living together as partners to be “married:” insurance, estate, property, custody of children—lots of stuff. So, many states are responding by creating the ever popular “civil unions.” What is the purpose of civil unions? To give unmarried people (like same-sex couples) somewhere between all and some of the benefits of marriage, without calling it “marriage.”

Without going into the long rap about different levels of equal protection analysis (which is interesting only to me), the bottom line is the state must demonstrate some legitimate interest, some good reason, if a state is going to treat similarly situated groups differently. Now, for those states that are going to allow SOME of the benefits and privileges of marriage under civil unions (draw the line wherever you like), what is the state’s interest in denying whatever benefits of marriage are excluded from civil unions? That’s going to be a real head scratcher.

But what about civil unions that give ALL the protection of marriage, only the unions aren’t called “marriage.” That way, same sex couples can be separate but equal from “married” couples. Oh oh. 

Given that every state (except for those weirdos in New York) allows “no fault” divorce, how can states now claim some legitimate interest in guy & gal marriage, to the exclusion of same-sex marriage? By sanctioning “no-fault” divorce, state legislatures have already declared that the state’s interest in preserving marriages is very low. That’s another “whoopsie,” as they say where I come from. Or as the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court phrased it: “We are firmly convinced the exclusion of gay and lesbian people from the institution of civil marriage does not substantially further any important governmental objective.” 

Unless state’s can come up with some “important governmental objective” that is advanced by prohibiting same-sex marriage, I can’t imagine how prohibiting those “marriages” does not violate the fourteenth amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.

Ms. Joi Lansing. This is so boring, I have to introduce an ALMOST dirty picture, just to keep ME reading. Luckily, I think Ms. Lansing's feet are still touching the ground.
Fundamental Rights

Under American law, we enjoy a battery of rights: some are expressly stated, some are implied, and some are “fundamental.” For example, the right to travel is a fundamental right: you can pick up and drive into Wyoming any time you feel like it—without having to use an internal passport, like many nations require. How do I know the right to travel is a fundamental right? Because Edwards v. California, 314 U.S. 160 (1941) says so. Another fundamental right is Rube Goldberg combination of abortion, and the right to privacy in consulting with your doctor about having an abortion (don’t ask).

Is being gay and lesbian a fundamental right? I know--Let’s start a fight! Technically . . . not exactly. In Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), five and a half members of the Supreme Court held the federal constitution’s right to privacy is extended to same-sex sexual partners—meaning sex acts between consenting adults cannot be made criminal. (Justice O’Connor was the half vote). If states cannot criminalize making the same-sex beast with two backs (which violates the beast’s right to privacy), would not a complete ban on marriage or any form of civil union also violate each half of the beast’s right to privacy? I would say so—again, unless the state could come up with some good reason why same-sex marriage was “bad.”

In other words, if states allow civil unions giving some or all the protections of marriage to gay and lesbian couples, I think the states run afoul of the equal protection clause. If states try to enforce a complete ban on any form of civil unions, I think those restrictions are going to be hard sledding against the strong holding in Lawrence. 

The argument on the other side is that a same-sex marriage ban in no way prevents anyone from making the same-sex beast with two backs, which gives you all the privacy guaranteed by Lawrence. The express language in Lawrence in no way extends its protections to gay marriage. Kind of. Antonin “Cassandra” Scalia, in his dissent, rends his black dress (more in sorrow than in anger), and introduces a parade of horribles how the Lawrence Court is ignoring democracy, taking sides in the “culture wars,” and making it intellectually impossible to uphold bans on same-sex marriage. Oh oh. Don’t get me wrong—I still hate the guy, but I think Fat Tony has a point. But while I would have agreed with Fat Tony about Lawrence cracking the door for same-sex marriage, I would have gone further and held absent any legitimate state interest to prohibit same-sex marriages (and I can’t think of any), then have at it kids! 

The bottom line is, the future of bans on same-sex marriage are going to ride on whatever argument same-sex marriage opponents can dream up as a legitimate state interest to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying. Best of British luck, social conservatives.

Ms. Lori Nelson. This is back when leaning
on a stool with one foot raised was really
cool. I'm not sure why.
Establishment Clause

Let’s just say there is some rational, legitimate state interest in banning same sex marriage. “Rational” is actually a key, legal term, meaning roughly “not insane.” In other words, IN GENERAL, unless laws interfere with some basic or fundamental right, federal courts will not prohibit the legislature from enacting any law that has a “rational basis.” At another time, I’m going to go off on the bullshit about so-called partial birth abortions—but not now. Suffice to say, you have to be the dumbest legislative monkey ever, if you can’t dream up SOME reason why any law is at least “rational.”

But, if being gay or lesbian, and wanting to get married is either a fundamental right at some level, or covered by the federal right to privacy, then the state must demonstrate a stronger interest, a better reason for a same-sex marriage ban (besides the fact that it is not “irrational” to ban those unions).

Offhand, I have no idea what could even be a non-irrational reason to ban same-sex marriages (especially given the states’ demonstrated lack of interest in preserving “different-sex” marriages), but let’s just say for the sake of argument, one does exist.

So far so good. Now, the first amendment of the federal constitution says “Congreff (sic) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” which is known in the circles I travel as “the establishment clause.” What does that mean? It means the federal government (nor the state governments) cannot declare everyone must be an unspecified Protestant fundamentalist Christian. Sorry. It also means that the legislative branch cannot pass laws that “excessively entangle” the state with a religion. If there is a law that excessively entangles the state with religion, then that law will violate the establishment clause UNLESS 1) the state can show a secular legislative purpose, and 2) the primary effect of the law neither advances nor inhibits religion. And that, sports fans, is my summary of the Lemon test, from Lemon v. Kurtzman 403 U.S. 602 (1971).

Now, let’s apply the Lemon test to same sex marriages. Is a ban on same-sex marriage an excessive entanglement with the state and a religion? I would argue yes, given the very strong religion vibes and weak secular rationales. Then, same-sex marriage bans will fall unless the same-sex marriage opponents can show BOTH a secular legislative purpose AND how a same-sex marriage ban neither advances nor inhibits religion.

Looking at the states that allow “civil unions” that give all the protections of “marriage,” with the only practical difference being one is called “civil union” and the other “marriage,” what is the secular legislative purpose for the distinction? And how does a same-sex marriage ban not advance the religious views of those who think god hates same-sex marriages, and inhibit the views of those who think god loves same-sex marriages? Talk about things that make you say “Hmmmmm.”

In conclusion, I am arguing that even under the best of circumstances, same-sex marriage bans have to fail under the equal protection clause, and/or as a violation of the federal right to privacy under Lawrence v. Texas, and/or a violation of the establishment clause under Lemon v. Kurtzman.

Ms. Rita Hayworth. You can never go 
wrong with Rita Hayworth. That's a tip,
5. Are you sure about the establishment clause? What about Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668 (1984)?

I hate you. Lynch involved an action brought against the city of Pawtucket, R.I. Every year at winter solstice (cough cough), the city would bring out a pile of “holiday” (ahem) decorations purchased and maintained with public funds. These decorations included coloured lights, Santa and Santa’s house, a Christmas tree, reindeer and other cute animals—Oh yeah: and a life-sized nativity scene of Joseph, Mary, Baby Jesus…big bang, the whole gang. Now riddle me this, pals and gals: is the purpose or primary effect of a nativity scene to affiliate the city of Pawtucket with Christian beliefs associated with Christmas? Not if your name is Warren Burger. Quoting from the Oxford Guide to U. S. Supreme Court Decisions (second edition): the court held the nativity scene “served the legitimate secular purpose of symbolically depicting the historical origins of the Christmas holiday”—when viewed within the scene’s “context.” Which means (I guess), as long as you have Santa standing with either the shepherds or the wise men, then it’s not a “Christian” display. Sure. (If you’re a wiseguy yourself, see Allegheny County v. American Civil Liberties Union, 492 US 573 (1989)—and good luck).

The point is, like everything else in life, sometimes the Supreme Court will do the stupid thing ie ignoring the unanswerable and unassailable arguments in Samsara Samizdat.

6. But What About the Children? Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?

The pro-segregation opponents of inter-racial marriage really missed an opportunity to push the civil rights movement back about five years, if only they had thought to shout this asinine refrain. 

What ABOUT the children? Opponents to same-sex marriage claim there is a state interest in protecting “the children,” because the children from same-sex marriages are all twisted, depraved maniacs. While some of those children certainly are (I am thinking of one in particular), there is no support—at all—for that claim. But even if it were true, same-sex couples will still have the virtually the same number of children—married or no. Additionally, states cannot argue the purpose of marriage is the promotion of Ozzie and Harriet-style families, with child procreation. Sorry, that argument’s a loser. Lots of people get married for lots of reasons besides having children. I would argue the state has no more ability to prevent those people from getting married than the same-sex couples.

But what about the children? Just this: it’s a great example of hysterical demagoguery …. but beyond that, feel free to stop thinking about the children at any time. I know I have.

7. What about the will of the People? Why are all those ACTIVIST JUDGES imposing their PERSONAL FEELINGS on the majority? Why don’t judges FOLLOW THE LAW, the way our founding FATHERS intended?

Don’t let me shock you: life at the beginning of the 21st century is different from life at the end of the 18th century. Some stuff has happened since then. Like what? Well, just for giggles: in 1803, then Chief Justice John Marshall wrote Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch (5 U.S.) 137 (1803), which created the principle of “judicial review”—meaning it would now be the role of the courts to interpret the laws, and decide if those laws were consistent with the constitution. Big deal, huh? I mean, isn’t that what the founding fathers intended? Actually, no it’s not. At the time the constitution was drafted, judicial review was proposed twice, and both times expressly rejected. So am I saying that John Marshall was an “activist” judge? Oh baby, and how. But after two hundred years of building up a body of law, you have to be an even BIGGER activist idiot to insist that the constitution is “dead,” and that the constitution has not evolved and changed, both with each session of the court—and with the times.

Ms. Virgina Mayo. Any time you start
talking about the Federalist Papers, that's
a good time to bring in someone with 
opera gloves.
So what DID the founding fathers intend, and how is that relevant today? Well, the Federalist Papers were a series of (essentially) “Letters to the Editor,” advocating for a strong, central federal government over the states. Written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, a reoccurring theme throughout the Papers is how to build a “democracy,” but still preserve the minority from the “tyranny of the majority.” Who was the minority whose rights the Federalist Papers wanted to preserve? Rich white guys. 

Back in the day (before the constitution was drafted), a captain from the continental army by the name of Daniel Shays got all pissed off about how life was worse AFTER the revolution, so he and about a thousand other guys in Massachusetts got their guns and did something about it.

For our founding fathers, Shays’s Rebellion was the living example of a majority (people who owed lots of money) banding together to oppress a minority (people who were owed lots of money). What if the debtors used their greater numbers, and just voted to erase all their debts? OH NO!

The solution was to create a central government, with the power to ensure that the rights of the “minority” (in this case, the rich white guys) would always be preserved. Ta dah!

Well, since then, other stuff happened: the civil war was fought, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments of the constitution were enacted…cowabunga! But that basic principle is still adhered to: all Americans (in theory) are guaranteed a certain level of basic, fundamental rights; and regardless of the passions of whatever “majorities” exist, those rights cannot be imposed on. 

The biggest difference is that in 1792, that minority who had their rights preserved were the rich white guys who owned property. Now, those rights are extended to everyone…even if that one is someone wanting a same-sex marriage.

Recognizing same-sex marriage is not a case of judicial “activism.” Allowing same-sex marriage is a continuation of the basic beliefs of those patron saint founding fathers. The only difference is, the rights that were first intended for the rich white guys are now extended to everyone. 

In short: if it’s none of your (or the government’s) business, then butt out. 

8. Your (sic) ignorant. What the founder (sic) father’s (sic) called “liberal” is not what is called “liberal” today. Its (sic) just the opposite in fact.

I’ve had people write various permutations of this at me dozens of times. What they all have in common (besides no knowledge of basic grammar), is a complete misunderstanding of “liberal” and “pluralism.”

The founding fathers (as Bill Maher would say “And by ‘fathers,’ I mean people with penises”) did not want the “government” sticking the government’s nose in their private lives. “Liberals” believe the same today. You don’t believe in abortion? Fine—don’t have one. But why are you trying to keep me from having one? Same-sex marriage is a turn off for you? Then marry someone from the opposite sex—but don’t tell me who I can and cannot marry.

Ms. Merle Oberon. She is NOT doing the
cowboy Buddha dance, FYI.
Who are the ones trying to use the authority of the state to impose their values? I don’t want my tax money spent on nativity scenes, because they promote the Christian religion. Am I engaging in a “war on Christmas”? No—if you want to pay for some crazy display on private property, have at it. But just like you would never pay for a ceremony commemorating the cowboy Buddha, don’t expect me to pay for your pantheons to the generic, unspecified Supreme Being (shhh! It’s really Baby Jesus. But don’t tell).

“Liberalism,” meaning a basic tolerance of others’ beliefs, has the same meaning it had in 1792 that it does today. But there are some differences. For example, because of various bodies of statutes (Title VII, Title IX, Fair Housing Act, etc) you can no longer discriminate against another person on the basis of race, gender, age, national origin, etc etc. Which means while you are certainly free to be a bigot, you can’t act on it to the extent it hurts someone else.

So no, I am not ignorant. But thanks for asking.

9. So what you’re saying is that everyone has freedom of speech except Christians.

I’m saying two things. First, keeping you from imposing your beliefs on me is NOT the same thing as me imposing my beliefs on you.

Second, when was the last time you actually took a peekie at Leviticus? Yahweh certainly hates gay people. But he also hates people who weave cloth with different types of fibre, shellfish, pork, lighting fires on the Sabbath, moving around on the Sabbath, picking up sticks on the Sabbath—lots of stuff. On the plus side, Yahweh does seem to approve of slavery, genocide, subjugation of women—so he’s not all negative. 

Before you go kvetching at me about how your “Christian” beliefs are getting all trod upon, do some homework about just what exactly your Good (brand, registered trademark) Book actually says, before you get in my grill about what “God says.”

Your (sic) ignorant.

10. So what?

Here’s what. If you don’t like same-sex marriage, then it sucks to be you. First, as I outlined it above, legally I think your days are numbered. 

Second, and more importantly, if you look at the real politic of the situation, a majority of people under age thirty support same-sex marriage (largely under the rational of “What the hell do I care if gays and lesbians want to get married?”). From a demographic perspective, those politicians and organizations that continue to actively oppose same-sex marriage are going to be painting themselves into a corner they’re not going to like.

11. Okay, but why couldn’t you have just said that eight pages ago?

Fine. I’m ignorant.
Ms. Peggy Castle. I'm not exactly sure this is what they mean when they say "it all comes out in the wash".......

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Suppose They Gave a Controversy, and Nobody Came?

"Say what? What do you mean nothing I do is going to matter? That's just cold!"

In the coming months, many people are going to work themselves up into a frenzy, approaching that of the Tasmanian Devil of Looney Tunes fame. And everyone who gets their proverbial panties in a bind will be doing so for pretty much the same reason: it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. But will all this wailing and gnashing of teeth make the slightest difference? Not even vaguely.

I refer, of course, to what has become one of the favorite pastimes of everyone with too much education and too little interaction with the opposite sex, the daily soap opera better known as “So You Think You Can Be a Supreme Court Justice?” If you are one of those people genuinely concerned about who will fill Justice Souter’s modest, yet capable if not downright admirable, shoes—not to worry. Let me put your mind to rest. Who will President Obama nominate as the 111th Justice? I’ll tell you: whoever he wants. And that person will be confirmed. End of story.

Now, I can appreciate you may have a few questions, so let me try and anticipate them for you.

1) What are you, stupid?

Ms. Ingrid Bergman. Thank god she didn't
live to see me called stupid--the shock
might of killed her.
Well…yeah…but what does that make you? I mean, you’re the one READING this garbage. BURN! BURN! But we digress.

2) What do you mean President Obama is going to nominate whoever he wants for the Court, and that person will get confirmed? He can’t just do that . . .

As the characters in Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22” told each other with some frequency: 

Q: “They can’t just do that…can they?” 
A: “They can do anything they want to, as long as you can’t stop them.”

President Obama will be able to place whoever he wants to place on the Court, because there is no one who can stop him. 

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say—just for the sake of argument—that President Obama nominates Donald Duck to the Supreme Court, unleashing crazed howls of outraged moral indignation. 

From the What’s Leftover of the Left that Still Cares (the WLLSC), we can’t believe that our own candidate Daffy Duck was passed over, and by any objective (cough cough) measure, Daffy would be a better Justice than Donald. 

From the right, a coalition of the Republican Party, social conservatives, religious groups, Right to Lifers, the NRA, libertarian economists, the Christian Identity movement and various other paranoid schizophrenic militias, and the Flat World Society all throw down the gauntlet—because their candidate Disco Duck OBVIOUSLY is the only one with both the intellectual rigor and savoir faire to be the next Justice. So, both the Right and Left decide to set aside their mutual hatred and undisguised contempt, to build an unholy alliance with one goal: Defeat Donald Duck!

Governor Sarah Palin. She's holding her
own hand, because she's not touching
Assuming such a mighty coalition is possible (just picture me and Sarah Palin, our arms raised with hands clasped in solidarity), who will lead these soldiers into battle? On the right, we have all the usual suspects: Senators Orin Hatch, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and Jon Kyl; Citizens Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney; The Usual Gang of Idiots at Fox News; Rush Limbaugh the dope fiend entertainer; Dick Cheney; Disco Stu from The Simpsons; Joe the Plumber; Miss (sic) California Carrie Prejean and anyone else you may want to throw on the heap. Are they going anywhere? No.

What about the on the “left”? Sure, there’s Ralph Nader, a disgruntled faction from, and OF COURSE the mighty juggernaut known as Samsara Samizdat, but any elected officials? What about Senators Charles Schumer, Russ Feingold, Al Franken, Barbara Boxer, Congress members Charles Rangel, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee? In a word: Nope. Just my personal opinion, but the only Democrat who may openly oppose President Obama is Arlen Spector—but only if you pay him his fee in advance. (Oh yeah—Samsara Samizdat, that rump faction from MoveOn.Org and Mr. Nader: we’re not going anywhere either…just in case you were wondering).

So, in the absence of any real leadership or followership, the Anti-Donald Duck Movement will not only fail to get off the ground, but will probably explode in the hanger.

The bottom line is, President Obama is going to put whomever he wants on the court, because there just isn’t anyone with enough political clout who can stop him.

3) You worthless partisan hack! President Obama has had people stand up to him every step of the way. You just haven’t been paying attention!

Uh huh. Let’s look at a few.

A) What about all those Tea Bag Protests, and the issues surrounding the protests?

Now there’s a bunch of winners for you. Separate out the nutjobs who protested because President Obama a “secret” Muslim (“When WILL the Unrepresentative Eastern Liberal Media Establishment (UELME) stop covering up the fact the President’s middle name is HUSSEIN?”) or that he was not born “in America,” what do you have left? The Teabag program was “Obama BAD” (to put it in NewSpeak) because he was 1) raising taxes, 2) a socialist taking over the banking industry, and 3) a socialist who was trying to raise taxes in the first place. Fine.

While it certainly is debatable that President Obama IS “raising taxes,” let’s just say he is: everybody has to pay more taxes, because President Obama is a secret Muslim Islamofascist Socialist who hates America, because he was not born here. All well and good, but what (pray tell) is the alternative? Not raise taxes? The current federal deficit has shattered all previous records—with the real situation much worse than it appears. The really alarming aspect of the federal debt is the future entitlement payments to retiring baby boomers, in the form of Medicare and federal pensions--and that's not included in the current talk of federal debt. But even setting that aside, in the immediate future, we are losing two hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have a financial system on the verge of collapse. There’s only one way to address those problems: more money, honey.

Ms. Jane Russell. You know this picture is
not dirty, because Ms. Russell is keeping a
foot on the floor.
Now, you can get money for nothing if you’re Mark Knoffler (heck, even the chics are free), but for the rest of us: we got to pay. As they say where I come from: Mars Needs Women--and the federal government needs money. No matter how you slice it, it’s time to pony up, Jack. Anyone who even suggests otherwise is lying, stupid, or probably both.

As for President Obama “nationalizing” the banking system, here are your options, tea baggers: 

1) Pour public money into private companies in an effort to stabilize the banking system, coming close to—if not exceeding—the value of the companies, and then taking an equity interest in the companies ie “nationalizing” the banks, essentially by “buying” them at a premium. OR:

2) Pour public money into private companies in an effort to stabilize the banking system, coming close to—if not exceeding—the value of the companies, and then NOT taking an equity interest in the companies ie flushing large amounts of money down the toilet. OR:

3) Allow Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Citibank, AIG, Bank of America, Countrywide Mortgage, and a whole big bunch of other jerks to fail—which (I agree) is just what they deserve. And incidentally allowing the entire US economy to collapse (I hate when that happens).

Go ahead—pick which option you like best. By the by, option 4) resolving crisis by developing technology of spinning straw into gold—that one’s not on our dance card.

Of course people are pissed at the bail outs, and REALLY pissed when bailed out industries handed out bonuses like speeding tickets. But was there anyone with at least an upper two digit IQ seriously suggesting NOT handing out the bail outs? (The Usual Gang of Idiots at Fox News don’t count, under the “upper two digit IQ” qualification).

That’s why you didn’t see any prominent politicians attached to the Teabag “movement:” the non-screwballs were justifiably angry, but they were angry about something where there was no other real alternative.

Diana Dors. Not a sexual pic--one foot's 
on the floor. In a really boring article about
the Supreme Court, you need to be sure to
illustrate it with pictures of personable
young women avec feet on floor.
B) What about President Obama’s political appointments?

Another teapot tempest. Some cabinet nominees didn’t pay all their taxes, a few undersecretaries—who cares. That happens with all new administrations, and President Obama chose not to go to bat for those people, at least to the extent he would with Donald Duck, Supreme Court Justice nominee.

C) Well—what about the guns in national parks?

I would argue that was not so much of a defeat of President Obama as a defeat of the illusion that the Legislative branch has any moral courage. The gun amendment was introduced by Oklahoma’s own village idiot Tom Coburn, claiming it was necessary to “protect innocent Americans from violent crime in national parks and refuges.” (And you thought I was making that stuff up about gun nuts thinking that was a great way to get with hot sorority babes with large breasts and small noses). YES, the gun amendment did pass (despite my hysterical rant cogent arguments why allowing more hand guns anywhere was a bad idea), but it passed as part of a larger bill protecting consumers from gougings by the credit card industry.

Now, you tell me what’s more important: guns in national parks, or slapping at the banks? Senator Cobern will tell you: he voted AGAINST the final credit card bill, despite the fact the bill contained his own precious gun nut provision.

My point is, President Obama was able to move a large anti-bank, pro-consumer bill through the legislature—and not have the story being “more government regulation will strangle Amerikan (sic) business!”

That’s a win.

D) I’m sure you forgot about President Obama getting his butt spanked on Guantanamo…..

No, I did not. And I fired off letters as blistering as I could make them at the gutless wonders who ostensively “represent” Oregon (Ron Wyden (senior hypocrite, Or.) and Jeff Merkley (junior hypocrite, Or.)), in a futile effort to make sure my Senators knew I remembered as well. We have not heard the end of the Guantanamo argument, and at another time, I’ll rip a wild rant on the pending closure of America’s most prominent gulag.

Mari Blanchard. An old school Ho Ho Ho.
But it looks like she's keeping her feet on
the floor
4) What about President Obama’s tremendous embarrassment at the 2009 Notre Dame commencement?

The Notre Dame Commencement is actually a perfect example of what I’m saying. The Right to Life movement pulled every arrow out of their quiver in an effort to stop, slow down, or embarrass President Obama. But it’s interesting to note who DIDN’T join the pro-Catholic Pro Life protest. For starters, there was the Vatican (kind of a bummer, when you’re attacking someone as being “anti-Catholic”), the Norte Dame student body and alumni—and the American people.

Look at the situation before President Obama spoke. The country was divided into three groups: 1) militant Right to Lifers who were going to hate President Obama no matter what he had to say, 2) militant anti-Right to Lifers who were going to hate the Pro Life movement no matter what President Obama had to say, and 3) people who were willing to listen to what President Obama had to say, and then make up their minds (what a bunch of weirdos). 

Given the tremendous speech that President Obama gave, and his phenomenal speaking ability, what do you think was the percentage breakdown of people in group number three who decided that the Right to Lifers were right, that President Obama had no business giving the commencement address, nor should he have received an honourary degree?

No, when President Obama puts it on the line, for now and a time, he will get what he wants, regardless.

5) But Don’t Supreme Court Nominees Get Blocked All the Time?

No, they don’t. Look at the ones who were blocked:

A) Clement Haynsworth and G. Harold Carswell

Judge Haynsworth sat on the federal fourth circuit court of appeals, and was nominated by President Nixon to fill Justice Abe Fortas’s seat. Bad luck for Haynsworth: he had Richard Nixon in his corner. A coalition of liberal Republicans (I am not making that up), leftwing Democrats and civil rights advocates (most notably, the NAACP) teamed up to defeat his nomination. Thanks to poor work by the Nixon people, Judge Haynsworth’s nomination was defeated in a Senate floor vote of 55-45. Nineteen Democrats and twenty-six Republicans voted for Judge Haynsworth, while thirty-eight Democrats and seventeen Republicans voted against him.

Ms. Pamela Tiffin. Note foot on the floor.
An angry Nixon responded by nominating G. Harold Carswell, a Florida federal district court judge. But Judge Carswell carried some baggage—like a 58% reversal rate of the appeals from his decisions as a trial judge (I hate when that happens). As the story started circulating that Judge Carswell was “mediocre” (ah, weren’t those kinder, gentler times?), Senator Roman Hruska (R-Ne) made legal and legislative history by declaring “Even if he [Judge Carswell] is mediocre, there are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers. They are entitled to a little representation, aren’t they, and a little chance?”

I guess not. Judge Carswell’s nomination was defeated on a Senate vote of 51-45, with seventeen Democrats and twenty-eight Republicans voting for Judge Carswell, and thirty-eight Democrats and thirteen Republicans voting against him.

The Trickster eventually nominated Minnesota Judge Harry Blackmun, who was confirmed 94-0 (there now—that wasn’t so hard, was it?).

B) Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsburg

In 1987, Justice Lewis Powell was getting ready to retire, and Senator Ted Kennedy’s gang supposedly wanted to hit “whoever” President Reagan would nominate—which is strange, because EVENTUALLY President Reagan would nominate SOMEBODY to take Justice Powell’s place. So, when President Reagan nominated federal district court of appeals Judge Robert Bork, it was off to the races!

Pamela Tiffin again. If it's not dirty on a
bed, then it can't be dirty on a diving
board, right?
Judge Bork was (and still is) a cranky conservative. He said the reasoning of the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade was ridiculous (he has a point, there) and that the federal constitution has no general “right to privacy” (he’s just wrong on that). Still, Judge Bork was one of those rare talents who brought something to the table for everyone to hate. In a recent interview on Bill Moyers Journal, former Congressman Mickey Edwards said: 

“Judge Robert Bork, when . . . nominated for the Supreme Court opposed the Roe v. Wade, which a person can do, on the grounds that the Supreme Court had created a right of privacy which does not exist in the Constitution. 

“And so I had breakfast with him with a small group. And I said, ‘Did you really say that?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘So tell me, Judge Bork, you believe that the only rights the American people have are those that are spelled out in the Constitution?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’

“Well, you know, it's the exact opposite. We're born with our rights. And, you know, the reason you have the Ninth and Tenth Amendments in the Bill of Rights and the reason so many patriots like Patrick Henry opposed, you know, the Bill of Rights was they said, ‘Some idiot's going to come along in the 20th century or 21st century and say, 'You know, unless it's spelled out in here, it's a right the American people don't have.'’
“Well, Judge Bork was that idiot. And so that's . . . where we forget what our values are and we start thinking that . . . only the government has all the rights and we only have those that . . . the government permits us to have, which is turn[ing the] American government on its head.”

How many people agreed with Congressman Edwards, that Judge Bork was, if not “that idiot,” then some other kind of idiot? Enough. His nomination was defeated 58-42, with two Democrats voting for Judge Bork and six Republicans voting against him.

Not anyone that Judge Ginsburg knew.
In response, President Reagan nominated Judge Douglas Ginsburg, another judge from the federal DC circuit. But Judge Ginsburg, a former law clerk of Justice Thurgood Marshall, had to withdraw his nomination even BEFORE it reached the Senate floor. Why? Because apparently, Judge Ginsburg blew DOPE (marijuana. I am not making that up) in the 1970s as an assistant professor at Harvard.

Then, so the story goes, President Reagan (fundamentalist Christian that he was) got right to the heart of the matter, and consulted with his astrologer. The astrologer read all the signs, and doing what astrologers do, came up with the EXACT TIME that the announcement for Justice Powell’s replacement should be made. In fact, the Reagan people had a guy with a stopwatch, ready to give the signal, so that at the RIGHT SECOND, the Reagan flack could blurt out “Ninth circuit court of appeals judge Anthony Kennedy!” The astrologer consultation proved to be money well spent, because Judge Kennedy was approved on a Senate vote of 97-0.

C. Harriet Miers

Who? In 2005, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court, largely to care for her husband who was suffering from Alzheimer’s. President George W. Bush tried to nominate to Justice O’Connor’s seat MS. (as opposed to “Judge”) Miers, his long time White House Counsel, fixer, greaser and all around bag(wo)man. Surprising to me, REPUBLICANS jumped out of the woodwork to oppose Ms. Miers, based on her lack of experience (a pleasant surprise) and supposedly “too liberal” values (a shocking surprise. How could anyone think Ms. Miers was even vaguely “liberal”?). 

Tina Louise. ALMOST a dirty picture--only
her big toe is still touching the floor.
I was concerned, largely because I’m one of those people who believe that an all around bag(wo)man, greaser, fixer, and long time Bush White House Counsel could not be anything other than a crook (just my personal opinion). Given Ms. Miers prominent role in the improper firing of the US Attorneys, close ties to Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove, and persistent refusal to answer subpoenas to testify before Congress on her actions—I may be right.

But the combination of GOP rending of garments and Ms. Miers amazingly piss poor performances in “meet and greets” with Senators of all stripes proved to be too much. Ms. Miers’s nomination to be nominated was quickly withdrawn. 

And one who did make it:

Clarence Thomas

One of the more despicable human beings of our time, Clarence dodged the Bork bullet the old fashioned way: he lied his ass clean off about having no opinions ever, at any time. Certainly no opinions on a right to privacy. None at all. But this toothache of a human owes his seat on our nation’s highest Court to two men: the audacity of Arlen Spector, and the incompetence of Joe Biden. When the sexual harassment allegations involving Clarence (his friends call him “Lord Voldemort”) Thomas surfaced, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee Joe Biden let control of the hearings slip away from him, and allowed Clarence to talk poo-poo (and I don’t mean “poo-poo”) about a “high tech lynching.” Biden also allowed Senators Hatch and Spector to really go after Ms. Anita Hill, attacking her personally. Senator Hatch played primarily to his own constituency (ie complete morons), by claiming that Clarence could NOT have harassed Ms. Hill about a pubic hair in a glass of cola—because there was a similar reference to glass of soda containing an “alien public hair” in “The Exorcist,” the 1971 novel by William Blatty. J’accuse! 

Clarence Thomas, when he worked at the
EEOC. No wait--This is The Boondooks
Uncle Ruckus. My bad.
But I remember Senator Spector (greasy opportunist-PA) was particularly rude, and especially abusive. At the end of the day, the spinmeisters insisted that Clarence belonged on the Supreme Court, because Ms. Hill did not “prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (what’s wrong with this picture?) Clarence was a complete pig, and Ms. Hill’s testimony was not credible, because NO OTHER WOMAN had testified that Clarence was a complete pig. Why were there no other women who testified? Because Joe Biden would not let any other women testify, despite the fact they were there waiting in the wall.

The final vote was 52-48, confirming Clarence—which just goes to show you, with the right combination of incompetence and audacity, even a ham sandwich can be confirmed on the Supreme Court. 

(During the 2008 presidential campaign, Joe Biden would brag about his role in blocking Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but not mention a word about the asinine job he did on the Clarence hearings. What a tool—and I am not talking about Clarence or Robert Bork).

So what’s the moral? When selecting a nominee for the Supreme Court, don’t nominate a complete idiot—or if you’re the nominee, don’t have an idiot backing you. Or in Judge Ginsberg’s case, don’t be a victim of history. Were Judge Ginsberg nominated today, I would probably be the only one who cared about his use of marijuana—and I’d be relieved. Do you know what those people were like, the ones who never even tried pot in the 1970s? Trust me—you wouldn’t want them making any decisions about anything.

6) Big Deal! You’re making a “prediction” about something that’s already a done deal. President Obama’s got 60 votes in the Senate—that makes him a dictator. You’re not exactly the Amazing Kreskin. . .

Back in the day before my day, Will Rogers would say “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” Let’s look at these sixty votes that President Obama has. One of them is Al Franken. Where’s Al? He’s still in court with Norm Coleman. Apparently, the national GOP thinks it’s well worth destroying what’s let of Norm’s career and the future of Republicans in Minnesota, just to delay Al Franken’s arrival in the Senate. Appeal all you want, GOP—but Minnesota ain’t Florida: they know how to count there. But until that last proverbial dog is hung, we’re at 59.

Then there’s Arlen “The Opportunist” Spector. Remember: he’s cheap and easy, but he’s not free. 58. Then, there are the two Independents: Bernie Sanders (The Good One-Vt.) and Joe Lieberman (The Crappy One-Ct.). Joe not only votes with the GOP on all defense issues, he can be counted on to pretty much ruin everything. cf NY Times columnist Gail Coillins supposed up-coming book “How Joe Lieberman Ruins Everything.” 57.

Also included in that group of 60 are a few conservative turd birds: Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln, North Dakota’s Kent Conrad, Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu—and probably a few others. But it’s no where near as bad as when the Democrats were saddled with the Dixiecrats, the Democrats for Reagan, and Zell Miller’s flock of goons. Let’s call it minus 4. 53.

Virginia Grey. Even in an evening gown, it never hurts to keep a foot on the floor.
Next, there’s the four oldest members of the Senate: Robert Byrd (91), Frank Lautenberg (85), Daniel Inouye, and Daniel Akaka (both 84). Their own health issues are going to make them less than reliable, as will Ted Kennedy’s health issues. I went high on the turd birds, so I’ll go low on the sickees: minus 2.

We’re now down to 51. That also means anyone else who wants some special love for their state (and knows how to count to 51), could suddenly remember some problem with the nominee.

But President Obama’s power doesn’t lie within the Senate Democrat caucus (thank goodness); it lies with the American people. After eight years of George W. Bush looking and sounding like an idiot (not to mention behaving like one), you can’t imagine what a relief it is to have a bright, articulate leader who doesn’t operate on childish Manichaean terms, a simplistic Us v. Them: “they hate us because of our freedom.”

Americans want their President to be smart—or if not be smart, at least look and sound smart. To be capable. To make good decisions. And President Obama can do that. 

If President Obama goes to bat for Donald Duck, anyone opposing Donald Duck from a state that has any tendency to swing (meaning not Wyoming and not Utah), that person will be putting their political career in jeopardy.

7) You say “Americans want….” And “People think….” How the hell do you know what other people think and want?

I just took what I believed to be true, and ascribed those feelings to the American people at large. You don’t think I’m going to actually go out and ASK anyone else, do you? Come on!
Elwood and Joliet Jake. They're on a mission from god: Preserve the establishment clause at all costs!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dept. of Not Wanting to Belong to any Club that Would Have Someone Like Me as a Member. . .

Tim of Tim and Trevor Christian. They're on a mission from god to warn all playa haters of the pending apocalypse.

NOTE: While pretty much everything I write and think is bitter and hate-filled, this one promises to be especially brutal. Carbon based life forms are strongly cautioned, and urged to go read something nicer…like maybe the “Love Is . . .” cartoons or theNancy comic strip…..but for more on Tim and Trevor Christian, and their boycott of the Bill Maher film Religulous, go to The Rapture Right.

Well, I got kicked out of another place again. Where it was is not important. What is important is that I am embarrassed that I was not able to explain clearly enough (apparently) that the sick and twisted irrational hatred I feel for Clarence Thomas is personal, and not because of his race. I mean, come on! Lots of people hate on Clarence Thomas, because there’s so much there to be hating on.

Uncle Ruckus, from the comic strip "The
This all began when I wrote something snide about Clarence, and someone who will go nameless (mainly because I now hate that person too) took me to task, asserting that people who were critical of President Obama said something similar, because people who say things like that (ie you and those people) hate African Americans. Well, not being the sharpest bulb in the bulb drawer, it took me a couple of minutes to figure out that I had just been insulted. So, I wrote back, explaining why I despised Clarence Thomas, mentioned a few books I had read, and insisted there was plenty about Clarence for player haters of all stripes.

I may have said something especially pointed about Clarence Thomas in that second go round—it may have been that I said that I thought Clarence is a “lying hypocritical fucking son of a bitch bastard--not to mention immoral,” but I’m not sure. I know I said that in the third go round. But I can’t remember if I amped it that much in the second. If I didn’t, I’m sure I meant to, and it was just an oversight on my part. Well, my nemesis AGAIN reminded what people said about “a black man” becoming president, and how it was irresponsible and racially insensitive for me to use such language in regards to Clarence Thomas. 

"Justice" Clarence Thomas--oh wait. Am I
getting mixed up again?
By now, I’m on my fourth return of this particular volley, and I'm pretty steamed. So, I answered the charge that using bad language (like calling a sitting US Supreme Court Justice a “lying hypocritical fucking son of a bitch bastard—not to mention immoral”) is bad, by asking “Even if he IS a lying hypocritical fucking son of a bitch bastard--not to mention immoral? I ask for information purposes only.” Cf Cohen v. California, 403 US 15 (1971) (Harlan, J.) (“Fuck the Draft” is protected speech, as “One man’s (sic) vulgarity is another’s lyric”). In the same post, I also used the phrase “lying hypocritical fucking son of a bitch bastard—not to mention immoral” three times in one sentence. And it went downhill from there—mainly because I can be a pretty lyrical guy.

And that, sports fans, is when I got sent home with the note “Does not play well with others.”

What does all this mean--besides the fact I hate Clarence Thomas. I do and that's great... But why do I really hate the guy? I mean BESIDES the fact he’s a lying hypocritical fucking son of a bitch bastard--not to mention immoral. Well, all you kids out there probably don't remember, but back in the day, during Clarence’s confirmation hearings, Clarence insisted that he had no opinion on anything at any time, never discussed Roe v. Wade or what qualified as a fundamental right under the constitution with anyone ever, had a great grandfather, and would never forget his roots (to coin a phrase) once he was on the Supreme Court. An angry John Lewis (D. fifth district, Ga) responded to this crap that he (Lewis) also had a hell of grandfather, but that didn’t make Lewis qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Clarence didn’t care, and apparently, neither did the Senate--so Clarence was well on his way to confirmation.

Then, National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg flashed a story about one Anita Hill, and how when both Clarence and Ms. Hill worked at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Clarence sexually harassed her. Senator Joe Biden, head of the Judiciary Committee, then held a bizarre circus (and I do mean "circus," not series) of hearings on October 11, 12, and 13 1991, where Clarence was allowed to say pretty much whatever he wanted, including that he (Clarence) was the victim of a “high tech lynching.” 
Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats. "No Clarence--not THAT kind of 'Hustler'!"

Clarence still was able to get his confirmation, and has gone on to be a complete embarrassment not only to his grandfather’s memory—but to all carbon based life forms in general. But Clarence does have one saving grace: he’s stupid and lazy. 

How did I come to this opinion? Well, there’s The Complete Transcripts of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill Hearings, Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson’s “Strange Justice,” an excellent collection of essays edited by Toni Morrison “Race-ing Justice, En-gender-ing Power,” and Ms. Hill’s own book “Speaking Truth to Power.” Not to mention Clarence’s on going insistence that he can’t find a right to privacy in the constitution (maybe under the couch, but he’s not sure).

In a word: the guy’s a dick, and that’s why I hate him. But do I hate him, wholly independent of race? No. I am one of those liberals who thinks that race will always be a factor anytime anywhere. Is part of the extreme contempt I have for Clarence Thomas due to the fact Clarence is an African American? Yes, and here's why. First, Clarence claims to have been a lifelong opponent of affirmative action. Which is fine—lots of people hate affirmative action. However, those people generally are not working at the EEOC, ENFORCING affirmative action regulations—not to mention, the fact that Clarence would never have been admitted to Yale Law School BUT FOR the affirmative action program that Yale had at the time (but no longer). What is wrong with this picture?

Second, Clarence was an asshole to a large number of women (at the EEOC none the less). When he got taken to task, his response was to play the race card, and claim he was the victim of a "high tech lynching"--his phrase. What? As opposed to the “low tech” lynchings of Emmett TillMedgar EversJames Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael SchwernerViola Liuzzo etc etc? Even if Clarence was right (and he wasn’t) that he (Clarence) was the victim of the Unrepresentative Eastern Liberal Media Establishment (the UELME), how could he have the audacity to equate that (on any level) with the brutal murders of civil rights workers?

Finally, Clarence swore in his confirmation hearings that not only did he have no opinion on anything whatsoever, he would also be sure to remember the poor and opposed—just like his Grandfather taught him. Too bad in Clarence’s mind that means standing next to the electric chair and yelling “Hit ‘em again warden! He’s still twitching!” And for anyone who doubts that Clarence is any less the twisted, bitter little jerk who sees himself as the victim of all, here’s Marie Cocco review of Clarence’s little book. And I had forgotten what the New York Times editorial board had to say about Clarence, calling him The Angriest Justice.

So—I hate Clarence Thomas. Do I hate him because he is African American? No. It’s personal when I call him a lying hypocritical fucking son of a bitch bastard--not to mention immoral. But why can’t I explain that? How can I make myself clearer? I was humiliated.

But then, a secular humanist angel comes to me, and says “Bill baby—they think you have an unreasoning hated towards African Americans. You know that’s not true. You have an unreasoning hatred towards all kinds of people….You hate everything!” The clouds broke, the sun shone through, I put on the Grateful Dead tune “Touch of Grey,” and started to draw up a list of people I hate on because they too are lying hypocritical fucking sons of a bitch bastards--not to mention immoral cf Huey Freeman’s “Hate Book,” The Boondocks. It’s morning in Amerika (to coin a phrase).

Zell Miller. I'd say something nasty here, 
but I just can't think of anything--though
I do hate the guy.
A. Zell Miller

An easy choice, because everyone hates this former Senator from Georgia. Miller, a “Democrat” (not unlike the “froot” in “Froot Loops”) was known for his close working relationship with fellow Senator Saxby Chambliss, after Chambliss defeated incumbent Max Cleland. Miller (apparently) was untroubled by Chambliss’s persistent attacks on Senator Cleland’s patriotism—despite Cleland having left three of his four limbs in Vietnam while serving in the military. Miller later volunteered to be a keynote speaker at the 2004 GOP Convention (one of the sleaziest ever), and then went on to famously challenge Chris Mathews to a duel when Miller appeared on the show Hard Ball.

Diana Dors. She has nothing to so with 
this hissy fit, but if you're going to complain
like I am, you better have at least one
person show up in opera gloves.
B. Orin Hatch

Another obvious choice. Hatch made a name for himself by doing everything humanly possible to block any judicial nomination President Clinton even considered—only to take extreme offense later when anyone objected to the woefully unqualified partisan hacks George W. Bush tried to stick on the federal bench. During the Clarence Thomas hearings, Hatch also claimed he discovered the “source” of Ms. Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment. Ms. Hill testified that Clarence once said to her something about a public hair in a glass of cola. Hatch then produced a similar line in William Blatty’s 1971 novel “The Exorcist.” Ah HA! And a moron says what? (okay. I made that up).

Again, everyone knows Senator Hatch is just a partisan hack. During the Iran-Contra hearings, columnist Art Buchwald wrote that the best time to go to the toilet was when Senator Hatch was questioning Oliver North.

C. Arlen Spector

I KNOW this is Phil and not Arlen, and that
I've used this pic before...but, oh that hair
....and to wear it like that to court. His
poor lawyer.
While not an obvious choice, he clearly is a sentimental favorite of mine as a lying hypocritical fucking son of a bitch bastard--not to mention immoral, mainly for Spector’s antics during the Clarence hearings. Just my personal opinion, but I doubt that Clarence would have been confirmed, but for the particularly vicious and insulting attacks that Spector directed at Ms. Hill (although the incompetent way that Senator Biden ran the hearing probably helped even more). 

Some might criticize Senator Spector for his authorship of the “magic bullet” theory in the Kennedy assassination (as Oliver Stone did in the film JFK). I am not one of them. I went to the film JFK like Fox “I Want to Believe” Mulder—only to find myself saying “oh oh” a lot. I just couldn't believe. Intrigued, I read Gerald Posner’s “Case Closed,” and found the book convincing. So, I’m giving Spector a clean bill of health for his work on the Warren Commission.

Spector also behaved appropriately (if not admirably) in going after Alberto Gonzales’s repeated assertions that nothing inappropriate happened under Gonzales’s watch—followed by Gonzales insisting he had no memory of the events he (Gonzales) was vouching for.

Still—given Spector’s abominable actions in favor of Clarence, and his general all around greasy opportunism, he qualifies for the list. Which brings us to…

Alberto Gonzales. He probably read
Jimmy Carter's book "Why Not the Best?"
upside down, so Gonzales became
determined to do the opposite of Carter's
D. Alberto Gonzales

I’ve written on George W. Bush’s friend “Al” elsewhere, how under the Gonzales watch, people longed for the morally upright and principled leadership that John Mitchell brought to Nixon’s Department of Justice. Alberto Gonzales was such an abomination, that (in my personal opinion) insufficient anger at the first Hispanic attorney general is disrespectful to the Latino community as a whole.

E. Samuel Pierce

Ms. Tina Louise (of Gilligan's island fame).
This is a still from the film "Armoured
Command" (I am not making that up).
Sammy’s name is not as familiar as it once was, with him having died in 2000. But back in the day, he was Reagan’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and by many accounts being groomed to replace an ailing Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court. But while Justice Marshall could not hang on long enough to keep Clarence off the court, we all know that Justice Marshall is now in secular humanist heaven for keeping Sam Pierce off the Court (plus for writing World Wide Volkswagon, and a few other things). How good a HUD Secretary was Pierce? He was the only member of Reagan’s cabinet to serve the whole of both terms, and under Pierce’s watch HUD appropriations for low-income housing were cut by nearly half and funding all but ended for new housing construction, cited from the Wikipedia article on Pierce.

But you know Reagan appreciated his guy—kind of. At a June 1981 luncheon of Mayors in Washington DC, Reagan thought Pierce was one of the mayors, and greeted him “Hello Mr. Mayor.” I hate when that happens. After Pierce left office, an independent counsel found Pierce’s HUD riddled with corruption, and several of Pierce’s lieutenants wound up doing time. Pierce himself managed to dodge the bullet, though—although when called to testify, Pierce invoked the fifth amendment to protect himself against self-incrimination, becoming the first cabinet member to do so since the Teapot Dome Scandal.

Jean Kirkpatrick. "Better dead than
nationally sovereign--no wait, that didn't
come out right....."
F. Jean Kirkpatrick

An old cold warrior hypocrite, renowned for her insane delusions about communism and her defense of fascism. She wins special notice for her particularly despicable actions during the genocidal wars in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras (she was on the “genocide” side). Jean was also a vocal supporter of what she called “authoritarian regimes,” which while brutally repressive, still clung to traditional family values (I am not making that up). One time after she wrote some stupid article or made some idiotic speech about the military dictatorship in Argentina, Jacobo Timerman (himself a victim of torture and the author of “Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number”) responded by how the Argentine military respected family values by torturing families together, in full view of each other’s misery.

G. Henry Kissinger

If you have to ask, nothing I can tell you will matter. Let’s just say that I believe the existence of Don King, Henry Kissinger, and George Steinbrenner is unanswerable proof as of the non-existence of an omnipotent, just god.

Just say no to Baby Jesus--and YES to 
H. Nancy Reagan

Another personal favorite, despite the fact I am in awe of her ability to be the darling of religious fundamentalists AND at the same time an ardent disciple of astrology. 

But Nancy gets special consideration for being the poster child of a drug campaign unprecedented in its idiocy and irresponsibility. “Just Say No” became the Reagan administration’s “solution” to the drug crisis, featuring a smiling picture of Nancy. Why? Because pictures of Nancy were lots cheaper than say TREATMENT PROGRAMS (which were slashed under Reagan’s watch). The hypocrisy went even further. While preaching the “War on Drugs" out of one side of its mouth, the Reagan administration out the other mouth side was slashing funds targeted at drug enforcement and interdiction. Not that the latter mattered, as the film “Traffic” correctly pointed out: even if the drug cartels had as much as 80% of their dope seized, they’d still be making a whale of a profit.

I know this is Jane Russell and not Katherine
Harris. But did you really want to see
another picture of Katherine Harris? I
I. Katherine Harris

Secretary of State for Florida in 2000, and also co-chair to George W. Bush for President (Florida) Committee. No conflict of interest there. I would argue she was probably the single most responsible person for making sure that George W. Bush was awarded Florida’s delegate votes in the electoral college (and the Presidency), despite the fact that by any measure, more people in Florida voted for Al Gore.

J. Full House (the television show)

I can’t help it—I just really, really hate that show. I try to explain why here....But not very successfully.

K. Ken Starr, Henry Hyde, Jim Sensenbrenner, Bill Collum, George Gekas, Charles Canady, Steve Buyer, Ed Bryant, Steve Chabot, Bob Barr, Asa Hutchinson, Chris Cannon, James Rogan, Lindsey Graham, and Ken Starr

I'd have a crack here about the hypocrisy
of fundamentalists--like Opus Dei--but
I think I'll just let it slide
The GOP House managers who prosecuted the fiasco known as the impeachment of President Clinton for invading a fellow member nation of the UN with cooked data on WMD and faked connections with international terrorists—no wait, it was that other thing.

Ken Starr gets mentioned twice for being twice the bastard.

L. Pierce Butler, Willis Van Devanter, George Sutherland, and James McReynolds

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—OLD SCHOOL!

M. Antonin “Fat Tony” Scalia, Clarence “Long Dong” Thomas, John “Tiberius—I WISH” Roberts, Samuel “Little Fat Tony” Alito

The new Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—but they try harder!

Well? How’s that? Enough proof to show that I hate lots of people for lots of reasons?

“Bill, I'm sorry, but I agree with [an idiot who will go nameless, just because Bill prefers it that way] that this is racist stuff. Knock it off, or stay off my comment threads.”

Bummer. Well, there’s always Mitch McConnell, Buckley v. Valeo, Morse v. Fredrick, people who think they believe strongly in the ten commandments without knowing them or the fact there is no agreement as to what they are, disco, mushy over-cooked brussel sprouts…..

I better get busy; I’ve got a lot of playa hating to do.