Archive for December, 2006

Christmas Cat Blog

Monday, December 25th, 2006

Perhaps you were wondering how Milbarge got into this cat blogging thing. And maybe you’re wondering why he would be referring to himself in the third person. Well, he didn’t and he isn’t.

I’ve taken over! While Milbarge is perspiring by the fire, I’m holding down the BTQ fort with the help of a guest cat.

Other than that, I got nothing.

Merry Catmas,
Ms. Santa Claws

P.S. – Better a kitten in your Christmas tree than a possum.

Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Jesus

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Good Lord. Some Polish Parliamentarians want to make Jesus Christ the honorary King of Poland. To its credit, the Catholic Church hasn’t supported the measure, which looks likely to fail. This story, though, notes that the Virgin Mary was named the honorary Queen of Poland in the 1600s, so at least there’s precedent.

I fully expect this move to hit our shores. They’re running out of states where they can put gay marriage bans on the ballots, so the religious right will have to find some other issue to drive turnout. And what better than, say, a law naming Jesus as the honorary Governor of Georgia? It could work at all levels — Jesus for honorary School Board Chairman, honorary District 3 Water & Sewer Board Representative, etc. Shucks, George Bush would vote for Jesus as honorary Chair of the Philosophy Department.

Okay, so some of that is an exaggeration. But I seriously do expect some legislator somewhere to think this is a humdinger of an idea. Why not? It looks good on campaign literature, makes for easy “My opponent voted against Jesus for Governor” attack ads, and makes a pretty firm statement to one’s base. Once some enterprising theocratist has this brainstorm, I expect lots of imitators to follow suit, and I’m sure Roy Moore will be mad he didn’t think of it first. (Actually, Moore strikes me as more into the Old Testament God, rather than the New Testamant Jesus, but I suspect he’d still rather have Jesus as Governor of Alabama instead of Bob Riley.)

Here’s a thought experiment. Let’s assume the following scenario: A state legislature names Jesus the state’s honorary Governor. And let’s assume that this happens in a state where that kind of declaration isn’t specifically prohibited, or is at least a plausible reading of the legislature’s powers regarding appointments in the executive branch. (I’ll assume a statute could create the position and simultaneously fill it if need be.) The law explicitly says that the position is an honorary one only, and carries no power, salary, budget, veto power, staff, etc. At most, the state makes a few references to the post in official documents and slaps the title on some highway signs. Is it still an unconstitutional establishment of religion?

I think it would be, at least under the “endorsement” test. But that got me wondering about the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor or the Presidential Medal of Freedom to religious figures. Why are those okay? What if a state decided to award “Honorary Governorship Medals” to figures it thought were deserving, and named as honorary Co-Governors Jesus Christ and Ronald Reagan (so that it wasn’t wholly religious)? What if it gave the awards to Jesus, Mother Teresa, and Billy Graham (the latter two have actually received the Congressional and Presidential awards)? What if it gave them to Jesus, Mohammad, and Abraham?

Hm. This all started as kind of a jokey post about some Polish delegates’ misplaced legislative priorities. But now I’m really thinking about the Congressional and Presidential honoraria. If Congress can give a Gold Medal to the Pope, why can’t a state save a seat in the Governor’s Mansion for Jesus Christ?

Have a Carpal Tunnel Christmas

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

I think E. McPan has me beat in terms of volume, but my Christmas winter holiday cards are more colorful! Also unlike her, I won’t offer to send you folks one, partly because my hand is crampy after all that well-wishing and addressing, and partly because I’m not sure how well I want to know some of you. That said, I will extend BTQ’s best wishes to you and yours during whatever you’re celebrating these days. Note: Not a guarantee of good tidings; some investments lose value; your mileage may vary; offer not valid in Wyoming and where prohibited by law; no purchase necessary.

Catching Up

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Yes, I still have a blog. A few things that caught my eye recently:

1. Evan at Legal Underground discusses the new ABA ethics opinion on metadata. I talked a bit about metadata back here. Here’s a fun story tangentially involving metadata at the Beldar Blog, via the Legal Ethics Forum. And more from those folks here and here. And some links from H. Bashman about e-discovery rules here and here.

2. Back here I discussed the Breyer Committee report on federal judicial misconduct. Maybe it’s just been on my mind, but it seems like I’ve seen a lot of judicial misconduct cases lately. For example, Howard collects cases from Connecticut here and here, New Jersey here, and Florida here. None of these are federal cases, and again, it may just be confirmation bias, but I just found it interesting, and maybe a sign that judges are under greater intra-system scrutiny.

3. I had some thoughts on the shrinking Supreme Court docket last summer here and here. SCOTUSBlog has crunched some numbers for the rest of the term in very interesting posts by Tom Goldstein here and Marty Lederman here.

4. There’s a commercial that’s been driving me crazy. It’s been around for a while, but I saw it a lot this weekend, and just about snapped. It’s the Enterprise car rental commercial where the goofy guy gets a Cadillac to impress the girls at his reunion. Several things annoy me about this ad. First, at the start, he says, “Class of ’94, here I come!” So this ad has clearly been around since 2004. No one celebrates twelfth anniversaries. I guess they’re going to keep running it until he’s celebrating his fifteenth anniversary in 2009. Second, he rents a nice car. Fine. But it’s not like anyone will think it’s his. Enterprise puts those little “e” stickers on their cars, so it’s very clear it’s a rental. I guess the thinking is that losers can rent nice cars for one day and make people think they’re rich. But after all, the Enterprise guy picks him up in front of a nice-looking suburban house, and unless it’s his mother’s, he doesn’t seem like he has to lie to impress people. Just take the Malibu and save your money. Finally, most annoying are those hot women who, I guess, are standing on the street corner checking out the guys who drive by. Isn’t that how hookers operate? Anyway, they ogle the guy’s Cadillac and say “Looking good, Moose,” which is ridiculous on many levels. But it just defies all belief that these women (who really don’t look the same age as “Moose,” by the way) would either be alone at their reunion or would ditch their dates for a goon with a rental car. I mean, come on! At least have him drinking a beer or something that realistically allows fat schlubs to get hot girls.

5. Speaking of advertisements and the message they convey, I was watching a collection of short films on Logo, a cable channel directed to the LGBT viewer. I’m none of those, but (a) some of the films were good, (b) the odds of seeing girls kissing were high, and (c) there really isn’t much on anywhere opposite NFL games, and I’m not an NFL fan. Anyway, almost every single commercial was for some kind of beauty product. About 80% were for hair restoration, “natural male enhancement,” some workout product, or some diet pill. I saw each of those several times, with the rare commercial for Las Vegas or Subaru thrown in. I guess we know what Madison Ave. thinks gay people want to buy.