Begging The Question

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Chief is Dead, Long Live the Chief

It's a measure of how often I visit How Appealing that I was there on a Saturday night to see the news that Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist has died. A sad day. Regardless of how often one agreed with Rehnquist, he always seemed to be a genuinely nice person, and he clearly had a deep affection for the Court. So much so, apparently, that he couldn't bear retiring from it. Then again, perhaps he knew better than we that the end of his tenure was near. In any event, my condolences to his friends and family.

I'll have more later on, probably. But my early, crazy speculation is that President Bush withdraws the nomination of John Roberts to be an Associate Justice, and nominates him instead to be Chief Justice. It wouldn't really change any of the logistics of the confirmation hearings, and it would defuse some of the rancor over nominating Roberts to fill the seat of Justice O'Connor. The Court would be more likely to have a Chief in the middle seat when it reconvenes, and O'Connor could even stick around a bit longer if she wanted to (although I think she won't). I think the confirmation hearing for Roberts would go a lot smoother if he was replacing the Chief. Then again, there are probably some folks who would prefer to see a seven-member Court with Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer making up the majority. So I'm not counting on anything, and I learned long ago never to bet on the reasonableness of anyone involved in the nomination process.

Still, there's plenty of time for that kind of talk down the road. For now, let's reflect on the distinguished life and long career of public service of William H. Rehnquist.

Mezale Como un Huracan
The main reason I haven't been blogging much lately is because I've been spending so much time watching coverage of Hurricane Katrina. I'm trying to get back in the swing of things, though, so I'll point out two items.

First, I'm rooting for Dylan Quixote in his quest to take aid directly to where it's needed.

Second, I saw that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that no offers of help from any country would be turned down, and in fact many nations have offerred assistance. Then I saw this item noting that Cuba has offerred to send hundreds of doctors to help out. I wondered if Rice would turn down Castro, like the T-P suggested she would, but according to this item, it looks like she might accept the Cuban offer. A few thoughts. First, we should remember that a lot of Atlantic hurricanes whip the crap out of Cuba, and we never hear much about it. Second, Castro is a murderous dictator, but it's nice of him to make this offer. Third, we should accept it and then encourage the Cuban medical personnel to defect.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Go ahead put ya back into it, Do ya thang like there ain't nothin' to it
1. I've killed 2 more snakes since last I wrote about snake killing. One was in my garage when I came home from work one day last week. I killed him by pinning him to the ground with my foot and crushing his head with a rock. The other was HUGE, at least 3 feet long, and was hanging out in the street a few houses down from me. I dispatched him with a pair of well-placed tires. I am really tired of this snake issue, especially since each new snake is bigger than the last. If this keeps up, I am going to have to buy a mongoose.

2. I have read every book at the house and I need to pick up some new reading material. Would anyone care to make some recommendations?

3. My brother arrived safely in Baghdad last week. He is comfortably ensconced in the Holiday Inn-like barracks at Camp Liberty. When last he called me, he was enjoying a triple scoop of Baskin Robbins and informed me that the food at Camp Liberty was the best he'd ever eaten anywhere. The luxurious accommodations and good food have him uneasy, though. He said he preferred the rugged and sparse base in Afghanistan to the too comfortable situation in Iraq. His concern was that the luxury was sort of the Army's attempt at a "last meal" or something.

4. My thoughts and prayers are with the folks (and their families) dealing with the aftermath of that bitch Katrina. And I am with Amber - the only thing worse than being trapped in the Big Easy would be to be trapped in the French Quarter with friggin' sharks cruising up and down the flooded-out streets. Of course, I don't share her concern for the looters - I say feed the looters to the sharks and the gators.

5. I am in the process of putting together some thoughts on the question that has nagged at me for some time: how accurately do blog personas reflect their authors' real personalities? Milbarge gave me a great idea - to have readers who knew him and me before we started blogging provide their thoughts on that question. I have tried to work this question into a discussion-generating post for months, but I've never been able to make it work. Maybe this little device will help.

6. And now for something completely different. This abbreviated version of the Meyers Briggs Personality test says that I am an "ISTP":

You're a realist who applies expediency and reasoning as you manage and adapt to situations... you are aware of what is going on in the environment and are able to respond quickly to the actual facts, making sure the odds are in your favor...

You're straight-forward, pragmatic, honest person who prefers action to conversation... you have a good understanding of the way things work, and are not pretentious... analytical... you tend to make logical and private decisions, stating things the way you see 'em...

You don't like to be tied down and don't like working in a structure or schedule... you need to anticipate immediate practical needs in situations and to present a logical straightforward plan for meeting those needs...

Curious and observant... convinced only by hard, reliable facts... veritable storehouses of information...realist able to capitalize well on available resources... quiet and reserved...appear cool and aloof and are inclined toward shyness, except with good friends...

You operate on impulse... you learn best when you can observe first-hand in a one-on-one situation... prefer to learn alone... you thrive on excitement and action... probably like outdoors and sports... good trouble shooter... you lead through action... by setting an'd prefer to be managed loosely at work so boss man isn't breathing down your neck.

It's important to pursue your interests... you will do what it takes to make time or money for your leisure-time pursuits... you like to have the latest and finest equipment for whatever your hobby is... you probably get turned on just reading the Trivial Pursuit cards just to learn the information...

Love? Responsive yet realistic, huh? You seek partners who'll give you your freedom (especially for hobbies and interests) or will at least participate in 'em with you... you're attentive to the little things that your partner will like... you like to surprise them with gifts and stuff... you'd rather show your feelings through actions than express them with words....

When scorned by a love, you don't share it with the world... you're usually not vindictive when the relationship is don't give up easily on the relationship unless you're convinced by the evidence.

Things to be careful about: difficult to share your reactions... look for the shortcut or the easy way... slack off occasionally... develop a step- by-step plan...don't keep important things to yourself... you might take in so much information that you feel overwhelmed by it... you may be hesitant to make decisions... this makes you appear undirected... don't move on to new tasks before your other ones bear fruit...
That's me in a nutshell, more or less - pretty accurate for a 4-question test.

7. Finally, a little Q&A with the BTQ Answer Man. Someone came to us looking for help in training his lizard to be nice and like other people's kids. My solution to most reptile problems is to remove the head and dispose of the body, but in this situation I would suggest simply putting your lizard and the neighbor's kid in a room together alone for several hours and let the two of them work it out on their own. Sometimes it's best for kids and lizards to solve their problems and develop new relationships without their parents and owners constantly nagging them to "Stop crying and bleeding all over the new carpet!" or "Quit biting the neighbor's kid!" or what have you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The fancy cars, the women, and the caviar
alternative title: "John, I was first team All-State. I can put the ball anywhere I want to. I'll make it rain out here."

Yeah, for those of you keeping score at home, it's been several days since I last posted anything. Fortunately, I have Milbarge here to carry the load. He's done an admirable job in my absence. Trust me, though, that my time away from the site was well spent.

First, I finally resolved my transportation issue. I purchased a new ride recently (which I would describe for you, except that I don't care to provide any clues to my psycho ex-wife or her effing private investigator go into that much detail on the blog) and so I've been kind of busy with that. I was forced to buy something sooner than I had planned so unfortunately the BMW M3 didn't work out, but I'm driving a very comfortable, if somewhat less sporty German-engineered motor vehicle. Luckily, I've been made a permanent employee here (with a corresponding pay raise) so the new wheels won't cause much of a financial hit.

Second, I spent my weekend in the company of beautiful, brilliant, sexy girl. Because, like Napoleon and Pedro, I know that girls only want boyfriends who have great skills - you know, like blogging skills, map reading skills, and bo staff skills - I put on a display of, among others, my culinary skills. I pulled out all the stops (including a day at beautiful and romantic Lake Tahoe), following the ABCs according to Blake (which gets my vote for Alec Baldwin's best performance ever): A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing. Why? Because first place is a Cadillac Eldorado, second place is a set of steak knives, and third place means you're fired. It was the best time ever and I think portends well for the future. We had so much fun hanging out, talking, being silly, and yada yada yada, I can't wait to see her again.

Finally, work has gotten busy again. I've been putting in about 10 hours a week of overtime and it's really cutting into my blogging time. I should be able to wrap up these extra projects within the week and be back to my usual blogging form by Friday - the same lack of posts, but without any real excuses for not posting.

Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bill McKay
The other day I saw this story about Robert Redford and Paul Newman deciding to do another movie together. Everyone seems to expect it to be as good as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or The Sting. Apparently the project they've chosen is a film adaptation of Bill Bryson's excellent A Walk in the Woods, Bryson's memoir of hiking the Appalachian Trail. I just don't see them in those roles. (I have a friend who will crack up when I quote the line "Flung.") Bryson was paunchy and approaching middle age when he set out. Redford, well, let's be nice and say he isn't exactly "approaching" middle age. Maybe he got the hiking bug when he shot The Clearing. As for Newman, I can only suspect he wanted another chance to plug for The Nature Conservancy.

The other interesting note in that story is the news that Redord is planning a sequel to The Candidate, a very underrated movie and one of Redford's best performances, for my money. (It also has one of the top ten final lines in all of movie history.) In The Candidate, Redford plays Bill McKay, the son of a former California politico. McKay is talked into taking on the crusty incumbent Senator, the deliciously-named Crocker Jarman. Since he has no chance, he can (and does) say anything he wants. But his style catches on, and the race gets close. Partly because he likes it, and partly because he can't help it, McKay ends up becoming more and more like a traditional politician as the movie goes along.

In the sequel, McKay would now be the long-serving incumbent, probably running for President, and probably as bad as Crocker ever was. I think the only way to make that movie as believable as the original is to show McKay that way. If they try to paint him as a complete maverick, (a) it won't ring true, and (b) it would corrupt the original, in which McKay clearly changes over the course of the campaign. I mean, really, how many politicians say or do anything to get elected, and suddenly straighten up and fly right once they get elected and no one is watching?

But we don't want to hate Bill McKay, so the movie needs something to make him find his inner maverick again. Maybe his idealist son wakes him up. Maybe he channels John McCain. My guess is it will be some sob story from a constituent that melts his heart and shows him the light. Whatever. I think that with the right (realistic) epiphany, Redford could make us believe in Bill McKay again. Then, of course, he has to gradually get corrupted by the power and glory all over again, just in time to be elected President.

I think The Candidate is a fascinatingly entertaining argument that the will to power is irresistable, and I look forward to its sequel a lot more than I look forward to watching Butch and Sundance walk the AT. They ought to just toss in references to their other biggest movies while they're at it, and have Roy Hobbs carve Eddie Felson a pool cue from a tree struck by lightning.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Game Over
I'm sold on John Roberts. Anybody that would tell Bob Jones to "go soak his head" is okay by me.

(link via How Appealing)

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    The views presented here are personal and in no way reflect the view of my employer. In addition, while legal issues are discussed here from time to time, what you read at BTQ is not legal advice. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. If you need legal advice, then go see another lawyer.

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