Posts Tagged ‘Sonia Sotomayor’

Weekend Assignment: Empathy

September 26, 2009

In my previous post I mentioned that empathy was a very important factor in passing effective health care reform and  absolutely essential for the functioning of a fair, effective and just government, i.e. a democracy.  I also wrote that empathy is what is missing from the GOP platform.  The Republicans have never embodied or legislated one iota of empathy for those Americans who have less.  Yet, the GOP is currently pursuing support from exactly that working class that they historically have had nothing but disdain for.  Go figure.

Diane Rehm, on her show on NPR on 9/22/09, had an interview with Frans de Waal.  He is a well-known and respected zoologist whose new book, “The Age of Empathy”, makes the case for a kinder, less greedy society.  Unfortunately, I do not know how to download the podcast, but if you go to the NPR website, you can listen to the show.  De Waal’s ideas are so relevant to the problems we are faced with today.  To give you a taste of the content of that podcast (and to motivate you to listen to it) here is a brief review of his book from “The Economist”:

http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14361802

And some additional follow-up questions and answers from the Rehm broadcast:

http://wamu.org/programs/dr/extra/frans_de_waal/

Empathy is a necessity for justice and understanding.  Even in the animal kingdom, creatures show empathy toward each other.  De Waal also makes the case that in European government and society, people are much more understanding of the state’s contributions in caring for its subjects, lest one day even the wealthiest person might need those services.  Here in America, the GOP is critical of “government interference”, yet enjoy their own personal benefits of being government employees.

In response to my entry of 9/25/09 (“Who Needs Government — Besides the Politicians?”), my friends at DailyKOS have offered some comments as straightforward and blunt as possible.  “Rogneid” quipped:

If something happened to their (the Republicans’) wealth, believe me, they’d be screaming for “government interference”.  They remind me of a kid in Kindergarten with a plate of cookies that hasn’t been taught to share.

“Aniamo” wrote:

Isn’t the GOP always FOR government interference when it helps them?

The concept of sharing is precisely what is missing from our “democracy”, our capitalism, our “free” market economy and our overwhelming loyalty to the mighty buck.  Michael Moore’s new movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story”, also addresses the shortcomings of American beholdingness to money above all else.  What happened to moderation?  To where did our willingness to share disappear?  Do we have no sympathy, or at least understanding, for others who are different from us?  Where is our sense of social responsibility?

President Obama nearly got his head bitten off by Conservatives when, in the process of choosing a new Supreme Court Justice, he emphasized that he was looking for someone with empathy.  The right wingers took that word and ran with it, attaching all sorts of derogatory, racist connotations to it.  Yet they felt justified in sticking to their beliefs that a minority candidate would have more empathy toward minority issues, and that it was a very bad thing indeed.  However, their yardstick for legal decision making and justice was the status quo, i.e. the while, male.  To me, that standard is an artifice if I ever saw one.

This weekend in Washington, D. C. the National Book Festival is taking place.  Many authors are making appearances.  The children’s writer, Judy Blume, is one of those speaking there.  The Washington Post, in their “Names and Faces” column, reported today:

Judy Blume recited a letter critical of her writing, sent to her by a 10-year-old boy from Florida: “I’m too young to hear about girls’ underwear.  My Dad says you must be a Democrat.”

Preconceptions underscored by inflammatory accusations have no place in our world.  Not any more.  We are in such dire straits, economically, socially and almost any other way you could imagine, that this nonsense is just plain destructive.  Every single person needs to put themselves in another person’s shoes, even if only for a moment.

Empathy, offered or accepted, is the overriding factor in the continuation of the human race and the quality of life on this planet.  Empathy is a behavioral mechanism without which there is no social justice.  With no social justice, would you want to live on this planet?

Wha Hoppened?

July 19, 2009

Wha hoppened?  Mark Sanford is back in the saddle again.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/19/mark-sanford-cheating-sc-_n_239683.html

Wait a minute.  What happened to the God who made you in the first place, Mr Sanford?  He doesn’t count anymore?  Is the only God that matters the one you re-design every time you make a blunder? And then, of course, this new,  morphed God is only forgiving and benevolent to you, not to any other earthly creatures or your constituents and certainly not to any Democrats.  Even though you took up residence at  and sought the astute advice of your roomies at Fellowship House, I am declaring the game, “No fair.”  Why do you think you and your righteous colleagues at that  C Street address think you are the only people who can have the moral, ethical re-design option?  No fair.  I want what you have.  Oh, but wait: I would not be able to live with myself if I did.  I forgot about that one little point.

Frank Rich of the New York Times nails these GOP hypocrites to the wall:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/opinion/19rich.html

After living their double (triple? quadruple?) standard of their good and right lives, such notables and co-residents as Mark Sanford, Senator Tom Coburn and Senator John Ensign, may indeed adopt Frank Rich’s description of  their resultant road to tow as simply “white victimization”.  If that ain’t a direct 180 degree turn from reality, shoot me.  Their religious right wing  life code  allows them to question Judge Sonia Sotomayor about her “temperament” (clearly white males embody no such handicap), while at the same time allowing them a clear conscience about their bigoted inquiries.

Frank Rich traces this hypocrisy back to the Senate class of 1994, led by Newt Gingrich and his gang who thrust upon us  the  “Contract With America”.  Have a close look at Rich’s article because it sets out the historical framework for what we now have to put up with from the GOP.  The following is my favorite sentence:

That’s the crux of the ’94 spirit, even more than its constant, whiny refrain of white victimization: Hold others to a standard that you would not think of enforcing on yourself or your peers.

Yes, this sequence of recent events is very funny.  However, the implications are dangerous.  If these elected GOP officials have the gall to pick their “God of the week”, what does that mean for the issues requiring their votes?  Will they be able to apply the same moral policy du jour to such pressing issues as health care, discrimination, the separation of church and state, etc.?  Will the rationalization of their final vote be tailored to fit whatever trendy, self-serving ethiccal code they adopt to see them through any sticky circumstance in which they find themselves?

This God problem, delineated by Mark Sanford, is similar to a menu at a Chinese restaurant: one from column A, two from column B.  The only problem is that we are not talking about impulsive food choices of the moment.  We are facing life-defining issues that demand sober, serious and impartial consideration that will hold up over time and not just satisfy the carnal, ambitious and selfish political and personal agenda of the moment.

If we allow these swine to continue to hold office, we will wake up every day and say, “Wha hoppened?’  We know what happened already, so what are we waiting for?

A Clear and Present Danger

July 15, 2009

Once again, it is imperative that we recognize the clear and present danger of going outside of the circle of comfort and model of authority, occupied by that stalwart white male, who has held sway for two and a half centuries in this country as the bulwark of progressive thought, enlightened social equality and exemplary morality:

Can you imagine?  A Puerto Rican woman who, with the help of her dedicated, pro-education, focused family, threatening our very being as the United States of America.  The nerve of that Latina to alter the legal and social fabric of our nation.  After all, if what our country is and has been is not good enough for trespassers such as Sotomayor, why doesn’t she go back to where she came from?  There, there.  Then we will be all whole again.

Read Maureen Dowd today.  Mo and I had din-din together last night in Spanish Harlem followed by late drinks in the Bronx.  And yes, we lived to tell about it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/opinion/15dowd.html?_r=1

GO GET ‘EM, SONIA!!!!!!!!


Court Confirmation: American Affirmation

July 14, 2009

Over the last number of weeks since President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to sit on the Supreme Court bench, there has been consistent partisan criticism against her.  At first, I doubted my own anger to these unfounded attacks and chose not to react because I thought I was just being as emotional as the offenders were.  Now that I have watched the scenario unfold, allowed my thoughts to percolate a while and done some historical research, I can safely say that Sotomayor’s critics are way off base, reactionary, racist and just exhibiting behaviors that can be chalked up to sour grapes about our last Presidential election.  My initial instincts have legs.

I have news for you: the Supreme Court DOES legislate and each individual Justice DOES bring their lifetime of genetic heritage, environmental experiences and life perspecitve to the bench.  I call that the sum of a person’s life.  What? Should we do a lobotomy on each (especially the non-male, non-white ones) Supreme Court nominee to excise precisely those attributes that make a person himself and to falsely ensure that no personal, life long experiences enter into the judicial decision making process?  Nonsense.  The fact that almost all of our Justices have been male and white does not make that historical court make-up the gold standard.  When the authors of our Constitution drew up that document, they very deliberately used generalities, knowing that future times and circumstances would call for timely adjustments.  For example, I do not know what the ethnic census was in America almost 250 years ago.  But I daresay it was very different from the population we have today.

So it is true with the legal issues facing our nation.  The Supreme Court is the last stopping place for important cases to be heard.  Logic dictates, despite all the fancy semantics, that yes, a law will be made today when that specific case is presented to the Supremes.  Then the only path to negating that law would be renewed activism on the part of citizens and Congress to enact oppositional legislation.  In more recent times, our lawmakers have stood back, abrogated responsibility for passing new laws due to their fear of upcoming electoral pressures: another example of democracy’s complications.  The Court’s verdicts though, will be tempered with judicial concern, consideration for the Constitution and respect for the law.  We can call the Justices “arbiters” rather than “lawmakers”, but the bottom line is that they DO change our legal horizons.  The important thing to remember is that the framers of our Constiution knowingly and deliberately designed that document to be a fluid philosophy.  Thus, our sitting Justices must also be fluid in their consideration of and sensitivity to what our current times demand so they can judge appropriately.

Bruce Weber of the New York Times wrote an insightful piece, comparing and contrasting Supreme Court Justices with umpires:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/12/weekinreview/12weber.html?_r=1

Sonia Sotomayor’s female gender and Hispanic heritage are only some of the elements that define her as a person.  If confirmed, she will be the most judicially experienced Justice in 100 years.  Even Justice Ginsburg, in her interview with the New York Times this past weekend, cites the unbreakable bond each person has with their past development:

Q: Did you think that all the attention to the criticism of Sotomayor as being “bullying” or not as smart is sex-inflected? Does that have to do with the rarity of a woman in her position, and the particular challenges?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: I can’t say that it was just that she was a woman. There are some people in Congress who would criticize severely anyone President Obama nominated. They’ll seize on any handle. One is that she’s a woman, another is that she made the remark about Latina women. [In 2001 Sotomayor said: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”] And I thought it was ridiculous for them to make a big deal out of that. Think of how many times you’ve said something that you didn’t get out quite right, and you would edit your statement if you could. I’m sure she meant no more than what I mean when I say: Yes, women bring a different life experience to the table. All of our differences make the conference better. That I’m a woman, that’s part of it, that I’m Jewish, that’s part of it, that I grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., and I went to summer camp in the Adirondacks, all these things are part of me.

Each Justice brings to the Court his or her WHOLE BEING.  Why is that acceptable for white male Justices but not for  female or ethnic minority Justices?

The Republican response to President Obama’s choice of Sotomayor is nothing less than sour grapes and reactionary posturing due to fear of not maintaining the status quo.  The epitome of this antagonism is Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, that repository of enlightened, progressive thought.  Who knew?  In light of the many recent incidents of GOP, staunchly religious, strictly embodying family values politicians who fell on their own swords, I did a little research into the history of Mr. Sessions.  I was not surprised, or disappointed, by what I discovered.

His attack on the nominee is based on his belief that “empathy” is the exact same thing as ethnic bias and prejudice.  Here are the words from the horse’s mouth:

“Call it empathy, call it prejudice, or call it sympathy, but whatever it is, it is not law. In truth it is more akin to politics. And politics has no place in the courtroom,” Sessions said.

http://www.diggersrealm.com/mt/archives/003171.html

Have a look at Sessions’ own past professional history and HIS bias and prejudice.  The irony is astounding:

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=8dd230f6-355f-4362-89cc-2c756b9d8102

More specifically, Janet Shan of the Hinterland Gazette, makes a surgical strike on Sessions’ failure to get confirmed as a U.S. District  judge in 1981 due to his racist policies and beliefs:

Twenty-three years ago he was engaged in the fight of his life. He was appointed a U.S. attorney in Alabama in 1981 and was nominated to become a U.S. District judge by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. J. Gerald Hebert, a career Justice Department lawyer, testified that Sessions had once called the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” He said that they “forced civil rights down the throats of people.” He sealed his own fate by saying such groups could be construed as “un-American” when “they involve themselves in promoting un-American positions” in foreign policy. He is said to have made remarks that he thought the Ku Klux Klan wasn’t so bad until he found out that some of them smoked marijuana. He said these comments were made in jest. Right.

Sessions faced a heated round of questioning from Sen. Edward Kennedy, who called him “a throwback to a shameful era,” and our current Vice President, Joe Biden. How ironic. The committee held four hearings during one of which Sessions pleaded that “I am not a racist.” Hebert also testified that Sessions had called a white civil rights lawyer a “disgrace to his race” for litigating voting rights cases. His nomination failed in committee on a 10 to 8 vote, with Specter joining the nominee’s original patron, Sen. Howell Heflin (D-Ala.) in dooming the nomination. In 1994, Sessions won a state attorney general’s race, and then won election to the Senate in 1996 after Heflin retired.

Sessions is certainly the pot calling the kettle black.  He has taken HIS own lifetime experiences and used them against Sotomayor.  His strategy is twisted and distorted and thankfully, reflects only back on his own pathetic, prejudiced self. This is because, while his core is based on exclusion, Sotomayor’s whole being is based on inclusion.  Whom would you rather have sitting on the Supreme Court bench?

I wish Sonia Sotomayor speed and fairness in her pursuit of confirmation as a Supreme Court Justice.  The successful outcome would surely be an affirmation of where we have come from, where we are going and what America is today.

POSTSCRIPT

Lo and behold!  Looks like Jeffrey Toobin, CNN political analyst, had the same observation today as Yo Mama did.  At the Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Sotomayor, Toobin likened Senator Sessions’ comments to my comparison of white, male experience as being the “gold standard” against which all other Court nominees should be evaluated:

In some respects, Sessions’ questioning has already become the defining feature of Tuesday’s hearing. As CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin argued on air: “What’s worth noting about what Jeff Sessions — the line of questioning, was that being a white man, that’s normal. Everybody else has biases and prejudices … but the white man, they don’t have any ethnicity, they don’t have any gender, they’re just like the normal folks, and I thought that was a little jarring.”

Of course, way back in olden times when our Constitution was drafted, the only people who had the vote were the white males.  Wake up!  We ARE living in a different world today and thus, the Supremem Court should reflect that.  DUH!!!!!

Weekend Ha-Ha’s

June 12, 2009

‘Tis finally Friday.  To be sure you start the weekend on a humorous note, I offer you the following:

1.  A couple of weeks ago when President Obama appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Jimmy Fallon had these words to say:

History was made today when President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first female Hispanic justice to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Obama said this should help keep the court from leaning too far to the white.

2.  Never let it be said that President Obama does not have a sense of humor.  Here is a recent clip (literally!) of Steven Colbert obeying the orders of his Commander in Chief:

3.  Finally, over the years, my children and husband have GRUDGINGLY watered my garden when I was out of town.  They hated doing it and never let me forget about it.  So here is my acknowledgment of their suffering and my tribute to their misery:

Hi …. I need a small favor … If it’s not too much trouble.


I am going away on vacation, and I need a friend to come
over to water my plants while I am gone.

The plants are mostly geraniums and begonias.
In the hot weather they’ll probably need water only
twice a day. I’ll be gone only 21 days. I’ve attached a photo for your reference.


I’ll send you a post card.


Thanks. 🙂

ATT00000

The Tow Truck, Torture and the Court

May 29, 2009

My wonderful weekend wedding magic ended abruptly at 8:00 A.M. on Tuesday.  First the tree guys arrived to cut back my very own piece of Virginia jungle.  Then the window washers arrived to clean my access to the outside world, which my fine feathered friends use as their toilets.  Then my car died.  Reality is sobering at best and, at worst, sucks eggs.

The thermometer light went on, in RED.  Unlike a similar experience I had over 30 years ago and chose to, in my exuberant youthful optimism, ignore and thus the engine completely melted down, I pulled over at  the side of the road within 30 seconds of this warning indicator going on.  After waiting two hours for the tow truck to arrive, I settled down in the cab of the truck with the driver and commenced delving into his life and political beliefs.

This man was somewhere in his forties, African-American, a very hard worker and a dedicated, stable family man.  My powers of discovery and observation served me well on this 45 minute drive to the dealership.  President Obama had just appointed Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme court that morning, so I asked the driver, allow me to call him “Gordon”, how he felt about that choice.   Silence.  Then I probed even further: I asked him his opinion of our president.  He responded that all the lawmakers and politicians are thieves and crooks, Obama included.   Uh-oh.  So I asked him why he felt that way.  He was so against the tens of billions of dollars allocated to the banks, auto companies, etc. instead of being handed over to him, one of the “little people”.  He firmly held that the way to a better economy was for the government to dole out all that stimulus and bailout money to you, me and especially, him.  That, he said, was the only way to truly stimulate the economy.

Gordon had my sympathetic ear for about two minutes.  Then we continued to discuss the abuses of large corporations and big government.  For those  few minutes, I also believed his economic theory.  Poor man: here he is just giving me a ride to my car dealership and I hook him into all of my political nonsense.  So I continued by acknowledging that yes, many financial, corporate and governmental entities are corrupt, greedy and immoral.  However, I added, so are many of the “little people”.  Their hardships were precipitated by their accepting mortgages that they knew they could not afford, demonstrating irresponsibility in managing their credit limits  and their incessant crying  for entitlements and personal bailouts added to the exact same scenario on an individual level that happened on a corporate level.  Gordon was again silent in response to my comments.

So since my ride with Gordon, I have been thinking about his proposal of paying out large, taxpayer dollars to each and every citizen versus investing in the larger infrastructure.  Either way, we are using taxpayer dollars to “save” our economic framework.  Gordon could not see this fact, and insisted that the only way to benefit Americans was to give them money directly.

Gordon’s plan and Obama’s plan have the same ends; it is just the means that differ.  After much thought, I agree with the larger plan because if the infrastructure of our economy goes to hell in a hand basket, the individual will not be able to stimulate any economy, much less one that is dead in the water and dismantled.  Gordon was blind to this plan for the greater good over individual gain.  I understand his position completely; I just disagree.

As ugly, bad and corrupt as our system appear to be sometimes, if we do not prop up the entire framework, such as jobs creation and retention, there will be no getting out of the hole.  But with Gordon sitting on a pile of bills totalling $9000 (Am I good at getting information from people, or what?), I understand his lament.  In retrospect, Gordon deserved much more than $9000 for having to listen to me on that tow ride to the dealership.

I have a couple of other incomplete issues that I must bring to your attention.  In one of my posts last week addressing President Obama’s speech and Dick Cheney’s separate speech, both however, on the philosophy and procedures of detainee practices, I said that I would get back to you on the finer points.  Rather than listen to me, I have an article from this week’s “New Yorker” authored by Jeffrey Toobin that summarizes the ideological differences between these two men:

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2009/06/01/090601taco_talk_toobin

Guess in which camp my heart and mind rests?

The other issue that I want to discuss further is the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor.  I present you with two Op-Ed articles from the “Washington Post” today for your enlightenment.  After all, what value does a weekend have without assorted and meaningful reading?  The first is by Charles Krauthammer, the conservative commentator.  In this piece today, I find him to be the model of reason and tolerance:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803613.html

But wait.  Right under his article, is another piece, by Eugene Robinson, the progressive if not downright liberal thinker, on this same subject of Sotomayor:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/28/AR2009052803627.html

On one hand, compatible with Krauthammer’s stance that the fireman Ricci was treated unfairly in being denied his well-earned promotion, I find my sense of fair play to be terribly offended.  On the other hand, Robinson’s opinion made perfect sense to me.  So study these two articles this weekend and give me some feedback.  Whatever your and my opinion may be, I firmly believe that Sotomayor was a solid pick for Justice of the Supreme Court.  And do not be foolish enough to pride yourself that Sotomayer, once on the bench, will deliver consistently for the liberal side.  She is much more moderate than that.  This was the most conservative choice President Obama could have made and we might be in for some judicial surprises once she is confirmed.  Enlighten yourselves:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/27/AR2009052702906.html?nav=hcmoduletmv

So have a good weekend.  Forgive me all the assigned reading, but we must always enrich our minds.  A vegetative state has no worth.  Couch potatoes can not help themselves, much less anyone else.  Get on it.

Bravo For the Bench Choice

May 26, 2009

The GOP’s stupidity is unrelenting.  They believe that President Obama should wait until August to select the next Supreme Court justice.  Sure, morons:  then you guys can recess in September, regardless of whether or not the confirmation process is sufficiently complete, and create a boondoggle in President Obama’s administration.

Fuhgettaboudit!  President Obama  is so much smarter than that, plus he is much too disciplined a planner to ever allow that to happen.  He would never allow such an important appointment to go down until the last minute.  Plus, he is showing respect for the job and the candidate by having the foresight to allow the appointee some time to acclimate to her new surroundings,  the caseloads and the nuances of the job.  The GOP STILL is in denial about the wisdom, persistence and common sense that our president embodies.  They went public yesterday with their argument that an appointment should not be made until August and followed that potentially chaotic decision with the thought that any nominee could do the required case reading while going through the confirmation process.  Stupid idiots.  Have they no regard for preparedness?  Paul Krugman, in his Op-Ed piece (“State of Paralysis”) in the New York Times on May 24, 2oo9, speaks to the literal death of the GOP:

To be blunt: recent events suggest that the Republican Party has been driven mad by lack of power. The few remaining moderates have been defeated, have fled, or are being driven out. What’s left is a party whose national committee has just passed a resolution solemnly declaring that Democrats are “dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals,” and released a video comparing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to Pussy Galore.

Many savvy heads believe that it will take the Republican party at least  ten years to recuperate and make a comeback.  I say that we must be very careful; a knee jerk response to any event could create a backlash against those in power and could very well provide for a revival of the right wing morons.  We need to tread carefully and always be cognizant that the Democratic occupancy of power is a tenuous thing, one that must always be cultivated, treated with respect and carried out with its primary concern being for the benefit of our citizens.  If we become lulled into complacency and, worse yet, hubris, the first thing you know the GOP will swoop in and wrest the reins of power.

President Obama has just named the new candidate for the Supreme Court:  Sonia Sotomayor.  Her familial history mirrors that of President Obama.  Her parents immigrated from Puerto Rico and settled in the South Bronx, right near Yankee Stadium, an area which at that time, was a hotbed for criminals and drug traffickers.  Her father died when she was just a child and her mother worked two jobs and stressed above all else the value of education.  Familial adversity, health setbacks (she has been a diabetic since age eight) and a rough and tumble childhood neighborhood be damned.  Her mother made sure they rose above all the obstacles, that their beginnings would not bar a happier ending.  Sound familiar?

Judge Sotomayor graduated first in her undergraduate class at Princeton and was editor of the “Yale Law Journal” while studying  there for her law degree.  All the Republicans have had to say so far on this appointment is that Judge Sotomayor legislates from the bench.  Needless to say, they would have attached any old negative comment to our President’s bench choice.  Remember: their party is the party of “No” and their agenda is distraction, distraction and distraction from taking actions that would benefit the citizenry, not just the elite.  Only an anti-abortion, independently wealthy, male, white, religious zealot would have filled the bill for the Republicans.  The ultimate irony is that it was Bush the First who put Sotomayor on the bench, the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in 1992,  in the first place.  Kind of funny when you realize it was also Bush the First who nominated Souter to the Supreme Court.  There has been no recognition from the GOP regarding her journey of going from a very poor, hard knocks childhood to the pinnacles of academic excellence and professional success.  Of course there wouldn’t be:  look at George W. and John McCain, the latest Republican leaders.  Both of them were legacy admissions to their Daddys’ colleges, George W. to Yale and McCain to the Naval Academy.  Moreover, both men are damn proud and vocal about their uninspired graduations near the bottom of their classes.  Excellence?  They wouldn’t know what excellence was if it kicked them in the ass.  Ditto for the Republican party.  We already did “stupid” for eight years and it was a disaster across the board.  Stupidity breeds stupidity.

So hats off to President Obama.  He promised us a nominee who would be compassionate and empathic  to the human condition while still having the intellect and common sense to judge legal matters that go to the very heart of our Constitution.  It is a compliment to Justice Souter, a man who believes that the judicial branch must always be a safe haven from prejudice, politics and special interests, i.e. the judiciary must be independent, for it is from that branch of government that all of our freedoms flow.

President Obama did not kick the can down the road, as have all of our previous administrations on issues as the shortcomings and demise of Social Security and Medicare, regarding the subject of human worth and decency.  If Judge Sotomayor’s concern for the next person gets her labelled a “legislator from the bench” (Oh my, how cutting a remark is that?), so be it.  We all knew that, within the the stupid and ignorant framework of the GOP, the opposition would come up with something irrelevant and extraneous, if not downright made up.

Bravo, Mr. President.  Your quest for intelligence, persistence and the greater good continues.