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Member since: Thu Oct 21, 2004, 06:06 PM
Number of posts: 20,894

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Clarence Thomas’s Disgraceful Silence by Jeffrey Toobin / The New Yorker

As of this Saturday, February 22nd, eight years will have passed since Clarence Thomas last asked a question during a Supreme Court oral argument. His behavior on the bench has gone from curious to bizarre to downright embarrassing, for himself and for the institution he represents.
This point was especially apparent on January 13th, when the Court considered the case of National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, which raises important questions about the President’s ability to fill vacancies when the Senate is in recess. It was a superb argument—highly skilled lawyers engaging with eight inquisitive judges. The case also offered a kind of primer on the state of the Court in action, with Thomas’s colleagues best viewed in pairs.

Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The two oldest Justices (and the Court’s senior New Yorkers) usually jump in first with questions. Scalia, who is seventy-seven, often takes a barbed tone with the lawyers, and Ginsburg, who is eighty, is more polite, if no less insistent. Both of them set the tone with their ideologically opposed positions. They offer an early clue as to whether the Court will divide along familiar left-right grounds.
Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer. Oddly, these two, both Northern Californians, are starting to resemble each other physically in their eighth decades. Both sit in similar ways, hunched forward, with the fingers of their right hands splayed between forehead and bald head. Kennedy asks questions in a tone of grave concern; Breyer, in his twentieth year on the Court, is still having the time of his life. He laughs at all the jokes, especially his own.


As for Thomas, he is physically transformed from his infamous confirmation hearings, in 1991—a great deal grayer and heavier today, at the age of sixty-five. He also projects a different kind of silence than he did earlier in his tenure. In his first years on the Court, Thomas would rock forward, whisper comments about the lawyers to his neighbors Breyer and Kennedy, and generally look like he was acknowledging where he was. These days, Thomas only reclines; his leather chair is pitched so that he can stare at the ceiling, which he does at length. He strokes his chin. His eyelids look heavy. Every schoolteacher knows this look. It’s called “not paying attention.”


But the process works only if the Justices engage. The current Supreme Court is almost too ready to do so, and sometimes lawyers have a hard time getting a word in edgewise. In question-and-answer sessions at law schools, Thomas has said that his colleagues talk too much, that he wants to let the lawyers say their piece, and that the briefs tell him all he needs to know. But this—as his colleagues’ ability to provoke revealing exchanges demonstrates—is nonsense. Thomas is simply not doing his job.

By refusing to acknowledge the advocates or his fellow-Justices, Thomas treats them all with disrespect. It would be one thing if Thomas’s petulance reflected badly only on himself, which it did for the first few years of his ludicrous behavior. But at this point, eight years on, Thomas is demeaning the Court. Imagine, for a moment, if all nine Justices behaved as Thomas does on the bench. The public would rightly, and immediately, lose all faith in the Supreme Court. Instead, the public has lost, and should lose, any confidence it might have in Clarence Thomas.

To read the parts I had to snip out:

Republicans to Discontinue Use of E-Mail- Andy Borowitz reveals

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Citing the scandals embroiling Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the Republican Governors Association today ordered its members to discontinue the use of e-mail, “effective immediately.”
According to a memo sent to all Republican governors, “Any plots, schemes, conspiracies, or violations of campaign-finance laws should be conducted using pay phones or easily disposable cell phones such as the ones used on ‘The Wire.’ ” The governors were instructed to read the memo once and then either burn or eat it.
Asked to comment on the new policy, Governor Walker’s office responded, “The recipient’s e-mail address was not found in the recipient’s e-mail system. Please check the e-mail address and try resending this message.”


Been thinking of picking up a cheap huge old Victorian Mansion for remodeling?

I went driving today towards Virginia across the Blue Ridge and ran across this building that collapsed inside itself at the side of the road.

First the adjoining land, then the mansion

The line-up for Bill Maher's show tonight. 10pm and repeat at 11pm on HBO

The Interview:

Bill Nye is the Emmy-winning Science Guy who frequently appeared in classrooms on a TV set ratchet-strapped to a rolling cart. He recently debated Answers in Genesis founder and young-earth creationist Ken Ham about the origins of our world. Twitter: @TheScienceGuy

The Panel:

Jeremy Scahill is an independent investigative reporter and co-founder of The Intercept, the first in a series of digital magazines to be published by First Look Media. Scahill was named one of POLITICO’s “10 journalists to watch in 2014” and his documentary Dirty Wars was recently nominated for an Academy Award. Twitter: @JeremyScahill

Dylan Ratigan is a sustainability entrepreneur who previously hosted MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show.” He now has an engineering and construction firm that builds module housing for cities of the future. Twitter: @DylanRatigan

Eric Klinenberg is a Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. Editor of the journal Public Culture, Klinenberg is currently leading a research project on climate change and the future of cities in adapting to the emerging age of extreme weather. His latest book is Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Twitter: @EricKlinenberg

Mid Show Guest:

Mayim Bialik is an Emmy Award-nominated actress for The Big Bang Theory and the author of a new cookbook, Mayim’s Vegan Table. Check out her blog at kveller.com for a sneak peek at her non-dairy kugel

A Letter from Comcast and Time Warner Cable - intercepted by Andy Borowitz

Dear subscribers,
Today, it was announced that Comcast is joining forces with Time Warner Cable in a friendly acquisition worth $45 billion. As we could have expected, many people are wondering what this transaction will mean to the service that you, our subscribers, will enjoy.
We know that all of your comments, however mean-spirited some of them may have been, have come from a good place: genuine concern about what this merger will mean for your future cable service. At Comcast/Time Warner, we care deeply about those concerns, and, to help allay them, here are some answers to the Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.s) we have received since the merger was announced.
Q: How will the merger affect the price of my cable service?
A: There is no clear answer to that. But we will be introducing financing options, roughly similar to those that enabled you to attend college.
Q: Will there be any adverse impact on customer service?
A: A technician will be at your home between the hours of eight and never.
Q: How frequently will you turn off the Internet, and are you going to deliberately crush Netflix by making it impossible to stream its movies?
A: Often and probably.
Q: I am a current Time Warner subscriber. Who will be handling customer complaints, Comcast or Time Warner?
A: Please address all complaints to Comcast/Time Warner Customer Service, 666 Noonethere Lane, Abysstown, U.S.A.
Q: I have been on hold for the past hour, and no one seems to be picking up. How long can I expect to wait?
A: Due to concern about the merger, we are experiencing longer-than-expected wait times. In the meantime, eat me.
Comcast/Time Warner Cable


Snow to Wine index in the affected Southern. Yes, that is Wine - not Whine

I live in the orange band. It's still snowing hard. What to do?

What is is called when your phone garbles your words? I looked out my window and said "Treacherous"

I said "Treacherous" about conditions on my street and the phone sent out:

"True Wrecked Your Ass"

Rand Paul: Hillary Could Be Derailed by Little-Known Lewinsky Affair - secret told by Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Potential Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said today that he believes he has a “secret weapon” that will derail Hillary Clinton’s 2016 White House bid: “A little-known affair between her husband and a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.”

Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Paul told the host Sean Hannity, “Sean, when the American people find out about this scandal, they are going to be shocked, truly shocked. It didn’t get a lot of coverage at the time.”
Asked by Hannity how the scandal could have remained under wraps for so long, Paul replied, “You’ll have to ask Bill and Hillary that. Let’s just say they’ve pulled a lot of strings to keep this story out of the mainstream media.”
“Unfortunately for them, Sean, I have the details on this juicy scandal and I’m prepared to share them with the American people,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a game-changer.”

While he believes that the shocking revelations about President Clinton’s Oval Office dalliances will be enough to destroy Hillary’s 2016 ambitions, Paul confirmed that he has other arrows in his quiver.
“It turns out that Hillary was involved in a business deal called Whitewater,” he said. “When the American people find out about this, it’s going to blow their minds.”


Is it OK to smile a little about the soft heart(lessness) of Vladimir Putin?

You folks gave me the courage to enter a contest

I just found out about this contest yesterday, and today was the deadline. Without your kind encouragement about my photos in general I would never have considered entering.

It was fun to rummage through my files, but the one with the man and dog I took yesterday afternoon when I also took the photos of playing in the dirt

They let you enter 4 photos, and here they are.
I made the choices based on what they may like, but also what I like which is evidenced in the one of the ducks on water. It does not have a chance, and I had others, but I just groove with that one.


Sunday at Salem Lake

Salem Creek Conversation

Ducks on Rock Quarry Waters

Swamp on Reynolda Road
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