Justice Denied or Bye (Sc)Alicia!
I didn’t make a big deal of it publicly but I have zero trepidation in telling anybody who asks that I was not only happy to hear of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, I quietly celebrated it. Why not? He lived a full long life and we all have to go sometime. He went peacefully and, it seems. painlessly at age 79, which is more than most people can hope for.
All those postings about being respectful and not speaking ill of the Just Departed was nothing more than self-indulgent, self-righteous hogwash. Since when do controversial public figures who exercise tremendous power over others, in often not too sanitary ways, all of sudden get immunity because his or her heart stopped beating? We had a goddamn party when Pinochet checked out!
Back in 2013, after the horrid Maggie Thatcher croaked, Glenn Greenwald writing in the Guardian demolished the “death etiquette” myth in a lengthy and rather brilliant essay. Just to cite a relevant excerpt:
I find Scalia’s legacy horrendous. I really don’t care how “brilliant” so many conservatives and some mushy liberals now find his legal mind. And I couldn’t care less that lonely widow Ruth Bader Ginsburg found him a great opera companion. Bully for her.
I care much more about the public policies shaped and implemented as a result of Scalia’s 18th century legal theories—awful and heartless policies that damaged not only the structure of our democracy (Citizens United) but that also dramatically and negatively impacted the lives of so many Americans.
At least five million Americans are currently without the accessible and life-saving Medicaid coverage that Obamacare contemplated and that the Supremes then made it into a individual decision by the states. Many of those folks will never see age 79 or even close and they will suffer long, miserable and untreated lethal diseases thanks in grand to part to Scalia. My daughter, Natasha, wrote up a quick list of some of his other worst decisions for the Broadly site run by VICE. Take a look at it if you need a reminder of his handiwork.
Eric Posner wrote up a scathing critique of Scalia’s legacy, and just how off the wall his “constitutional orginalism” theory was. This guy wasn’t just a a run of the mill conservative. He literally thought he was some sort of clairvoyant who could figure out what the Founding Fathers were actually thinking and intending in the late 1700’s, and he believed that society should adhere to those specifics, never mind the intervening 250 years of modernity, maturity, science, and civilization.
In short, good riddance. We can now hope for an end to the long, national nightmare of a rabidly reactionary Supreme Court. Maybe. Probably.
I will reserve my reservoirs of sympathy for those who are suffering because of this arrogant lout’s twisted thinking — even if he was an inspired writer and wit. BFD as they say.
Moving on…. Far be it from me to dignify the Peak Obstructionism that the congressional GOP is now indulging in its vow to not recognize the authority and the duty of the president to quickly name Scalia’s replacement. You can probably get pissed about this with no help from me. Just want to note two things:
- Scalia was confirmed 97 to o even though the Democrats knew he was a hard right ideologue.
- This obstructionism is politically stupid for the Republicans and will without a doubt cost them centrist voters in November and that is just fine with me.
Mr. McConnell: Adelante!
Vegas: The Clintons Gone Wild!
This Saturday’s battle in the Democratic Nevada Caucuses could be decisive. If Clinton loses, it could be curtains. If Sanders loses by a lot, it might be the beginning of his downward spiral.
What has become clear is that Nevada, that was supposed to be Hillary’s first firewall, might be eroding in a sort of scary way for her. What was supposed to be a cakewalk for her is turning out to be more like a stroll over some pretty hot coals.
The undisputed dean of Nevada political analysis, Jon Ralston (hardly a Bernie dupe) wrote Tuesday in The Washington Post that Nevada is no longer a “lock” for Madame Secretary. Bernie is pulling out all the stops to hustle supporters to the caucuses. And apparently he’s got some real traction.
Clinton, in response, keeps pouring many more resources, and cash, into the Silver State than originally anticipated. Indeed, the Clinton campaign is furiously spinning a falsified version of what Nevada means, just in case Hillary loses or wins narrowly and it is irking none other than the state’s senior senator and Clinton ally, Harry Reid.
Team Clinton has been asserting that Nevada is one more mostly white state like Iowa and New Hampshire and therefore is still not very representative of America, making it fertile ground for Sanders’ white liberal army.
Harry Reid rebuked that notion and let Clinton know it. I hate to link to Politico but I have to admit they had the best story on this fracas. Reid had intentionally pushed Nevada to the early part of the calendar precisely because it is much more diverse than Iowa and New Hampsure, with about a 25-30% Latino population. Politico quotes one source close to Reid saying: “Nevada is the early state that is truly representative of America, and we’re proud of that fact,” the source added. “It sounds like the Clinton team is worried about another embarrassing result.”
It seems that Nevada always brings out the worst instincts of both Clintons. I don’t know, maybe they privately gamble at night, lose a lot of money, go on tilt, and then do dumb and dirty things the next day while out stumping.
Hillary is going around the state retailing one of her new fairy tales—that Sanders is a “single issue” candidate who only cares about the economy while Granny cares about just everything, especially racism and that electing her will solve all of our problems. [Insert laugh track here.] This is a real crock of crap but totally expected.
Meanwhile, Big Dog Bill is out there and mostly out of control as is his custom. He’s got a new line now… Sanders supporters are equivalent to the Tea Partyl (That ought to really motivate folks supporting Sanders to come to HRC’s rescue if and when she needs it November.) Poor Bill just can’t help himself from being the jackass he has always been, leading a lot of people to ask might it not be better for Hillary if they just gagged the old fart? Read this.
One of the great unknowns in Nevada is what the powerful Culinary Workers Union Local 226 will do this weekend. In 2008 it endorsed Obama and in this cycle it has so far withheld any endorsement—much to Hillary’s frustration. With 60,000 active members—a lot of them Latinos—and a proud history of being one of Nevada’s most powerful political forces, it could tip the caucuses one way or another.
Back in 2008, the Clintons ran a very, very sleazy smear campaign against the union, strongly suggesting the hotel workers local was “rescheduling” Hillary supporters so they could not have time to caucus.
This was a total lie, bereft of any evidence. When Bill Clinton showed up at the Mirage, I ambushed the Big Dog and asked him about the charge and he stood there, looked me right in the eye, and repeated the same lie about the union suppressing the vote.
Hey, I’ve got the 2 minute video of Clinton bullshitting me about it with no evidence except third-hand stuff supposedly coming from Chelsea. By the way, Bill Clinton has a physical tell, says this poker player. Whenever he rims his ear with his index finger, he’s bluffing. Take a look and have a laugh.
After that chat with Bill, he went inside the Mirage caucus where he was met by a spontaneous pro-Obama demonstration organized by the Culinary workers. That was awesome. Oh, I just happen to have THAT video as well as I taped it 🙂
Just a neat little anecdote: How do I know that Clinton was completely making this up? Easy. As history would have it, at the time of the election my daughter was working as an organizer/analyst for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). When Obama got elected, the SEIU cranked up a national health care campaign to support Obama’s promise for national health care. My daughter was assigned as a deputy director of the campaign, but the overall leadership was outsourced to an independent political consultant.
My daughter worked directly with the consultant. And she was horrified one night when they went out for drinks and this consultant, being paid A LOT by the union, chucked how she had helped run Hillary’s ground operation in Nevada and….how they invented the whole Culinary voter suppression story. Hahaha. This, among many other issues, helped my daughter to (first take a long hot shower and then) leave the SEIU to become a full time writer. So, there!
There’s little to no reliable polling on Nevada. I have to assume the Clinton is maintaining an edge but if she loses there, the whole Democratic race will be reset and it could cut into her current 10-15 point lead in South Carolina which votes next week. At the moment, Sanders has got about 28% of the African-American vote there. If he can pick up another 10 points among blacks this week, he could seriously wound Hillary in what was supposed to be a landslide for her.
Republican Shock Brigades Invade South Carolina
The myriad Republican campaign militias are treading the friendly soil of bass-ackwards South Carolina in the run-up to the primary. Hoe backwards? Well, sit down. When Dubya hot the ground the other day campaigning for Jeb!, the most Googled question from SC was: “Is Jeb Related to George W. Bush? Crikey, as they say on Downton Abbey.
Poor Jeb. You know your campaign is imploding when you drag Dubya out to stump for you. And listening to George on the radio I was marooned on the 405, I was, however, reminded how better a candidate he is than Jeb!
I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the Republican side of the race. Again, you hardly need my help to see what a stink fest it has become. Trump is really no crazier than most of the other guys and I still see no way he is going to be defeated,
As said before, my best guess is that, unless Cruz somehow pulls out a victory in South Carolina, Trump will finish the primaries with a plurality, not a majority of the vote. Some “consensus” candidate will be agreed upon, and it cannot be a loser i.e. anybody who is currently running.
So who will it be? Well, Attila The Hun is dead. So he’s out. That leaves….? Mitt Romney? Paul Ryan? You tell me.
I think the long read of the week Nicholas Schmidle’s deep probe of TMZ and Harvey Levin in The New Yorker. Make sure, however, that your most recent meal is well digested before consuming this little dessert.
Lili Anolik takes a thoughtful look at Joan Didion’s early years and how she was transformed from writer into legend. Good read in New York magazine.
Camille Paglia is often rather crazy but when she’s smart, she’s very smart. I had a great time reading her takedown of Gloria Steinem and he theory of why young women are going for Bernie – other than for sex!
Poker Quiz of the Week
There you are playing your weekly home game of no limit Texas Hold Em and you wake up to a suited Ace-King (AK) as your two hole cards. Wowie!
What do you do? How do you play this hot hand? Are you all-in already counting your coming big win? Or are you freaked out that some donkey will call you with 8-4 off suit and will hit two pair on the flop? The complicated but wise answer is at the very bottom of this edition, beneath the photo series.
As subscribers know, I was in Joshua Tree National Park last week to shoot the night sky. But I also spent a day shooting some landscapes. I really like the monochromes below! At the end of this week, I might go back to Death Valley for a day. Wildflowers are starting to bloom and some park rangers say we might be looking at the beginning of a “super bloom.” A day or two of rain would help that along.
Poker Quiz Answer
The full answer is here. The short answer is that in tournament play you might want to be very aggressive with the AK. In a cash game, caution is better.
See u in a couple of days! Tell your friends to subscribe please.