Quote of the Day

“While the political branches can perhaps survive the constant baseless allegations of impropriety that have become the staple of Washington reportage, this Court cannot. The people must have confidence in the integrity of the Justices, and that cannot exist in a system that assumes them to be corruptible by the slightest friendship or favor.”

–Antonin Scalia

Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to disband the Supreme Court then. After their 2000 election decision, I certainly don’t have any confidence in them. I’m thinking that most Americans don’t even understand what they do and, if they did, would see them as sort of a pompous joke. Even if they were capable of making non-politicized legal decisions, why do we need to have federal courts to begin with? There’s just too much redundancy in our legal system. State courts. Federal courts. Appeals courts. Ad nauseum. No wonder the average American can’t understand half of it.

Dennis Miller

This guy used to be funny. He’s always been cutely smug about how gosh, darn smart he is. I got to see him live at the Robins Center at the University of Richmond back in the early 90’s. I remember that it was pretty entertaining, but that he seemed to talk down to the crowd. He’s make some obscure literary reference and expect everyone to know what he was talking about. I think that was around about the same year I got to see Gorbachev speak as well. Gorbachev wasn’t quite as funny. I’ll give Miller that.

But, last night I saw Miller on his new show on one of the NBC cable affiliates – CNBC, MSNBC, or something like that – oh, yeah – it’s actually DNBC – where the ‘D’ is for ‘Dud’. The guy is a total, unfunny, joke of himself. He’s playing the ‘I was once a liberal, but converted to conservatism’ schtick, sipping martinis between segments and acting like a complete buffoon. I’m not a big fan of most of his ideology, but at least O’Reilly has a solid show and doesn’t have to try too hard, which is exactly what Miller seems to be doing – like a guy who just can’t stand not getting all the attention. A sad clown who wants to be taken seriously – that’s what Miller seems to be at this point.

Side note – if you take a look at the ‘DM’ logo for Dennis Miller’s show, there’s an uncanny resemblance to the logo that Depeche Mode used during their ‘Violator’ period. What’s up with that? Maybe the DNBC art department thought it would be a funny joke, since Miller also seems to be a bit of a homophobe. Depeche Mode is typically thought of as a ‘gay’ band. (I always thought that characterization was sort of ridiculous – since they have always seemed to have such a solid following of chick fans. I mean if there’s a ‘gay’ band out there – what about Aerosmith? ‘Dude looks like a lady?’ Hmmmm.)

Letter of the Day (with Reply)

State Worker Misunderstands Role

Editor, Times-Dispatch: In his column, “State Workers Sound Off on Budget Delay,” Jeff Schapiro quotes a “31-year state employee” who reported that “he and his colleagues . . . ‘truly care for the Virginia taxpayers who are our customers.'”

Well, that state employee missed the mark by a wide margin. We taxpayers might be the consumers of the Commonwealth’s goods and services, but first and foremost we are the employers of the bureaucrats hired to execute the policies adopted by the General Assembly. The taxpayers are the employers. Period. Alicia S. Brittle. richmond.

My response:

Dear RTD Editor, Concerning the remarks of Alicia Brittle, who asserts that taxpayers employ state workers – she is correct in a very general, philosophical sense – technically, however, she’s totally wrong. There are not two classes of people living in Virginia – ‘state workers’ and ‘taxpayers’. She may be surprised to learn that state workers also pay taxes and, as a result, share the title ‘taxpayers’. Are state workers their own employers? I don’t think so. The Commonwealth of Virginia, in general, is large enough that it has many, many subsidiaries which, collectively, employ tens of thousands of people across the state. The actual ’employer’ are these subsidiaries (state agencies, courts, authorities, etc.), depending on which branch of government a person works for. To say that taxpayers ’employ’ state workers simplifies, to the point of obscuring, a very complex system. Taxpayers, who want a say in what happens with their tax money, rather than pointing fingers at career government workers (their fellow taxpayers), are active in the political process (where the real decisions are made) and, most importantly, they vote.

Kid’s Stuff

This headline from FOXNews.com*:

“Congress is on the case, and so are federal regulators, but legions of American parents already have reached a verdict — much of what airs on television is not fit for their children.”

Imagine that. Most television is not fit for children. I wonder why that is. Maybe it’s because most television isn’t children’s programming. You know they do have shows that are made expressly for kids. But, most people who work all day and would benefit from a nice, relaxing evening in front of the tube are – gasp – adults. Maybe that’s why children shouldn’t be watching so much television as it is. Maybe they should be doing their homework or out in the yard playing with their friends or riding their bikes or trying out for the little league squad or gymnastics or soccer or choir or band or…

Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be spending so much time sheltering our children in lieu of actually – gasp – preparing them for the realities of the actual world. Yes, I know, but their so cute wearing the cute little clothes that you picked out for them and you’ve got them so well behaved and you hate to ruin them – but, you know, they are twenty-two now, so maybe it’s time you just learned to let go.

*no link provided here

Quote of the Day

“[National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice] might just as easily have argued that they have found no record of a National Security Advisor named Rice testifying before congress, or a female NSC Director testifying, or one who served under a Republican president. Each would have made about as much sense. And on top of this you have the fact that the separation of powers argument is questionable at best because the commission itself is not an arm of congress.”

–Josh Marshall, on Rice’s refusal to testify in public to the 9-11 commission on ‘separation of powers’ grounds