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SCOTUS vacancies in election years

So…Republicans are saying they’ll block any nominee Obama puts forth to replace Scalia, and are using the line that it’s “standard practice” not to nominate Supreme Court Justices during an election year. I’m sure this won’t surprise anyone, but that’s horseshit. As Amy Howe writes for SCOTUSblog:

The historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate and/or the Senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election.  In that period, there were several nominations and confirmations of Justices during presidential election years. 

She even provides a list of such instances starting in 1912 and going all the way through 1988. I have no doubt people spouting the “common practice for the last 80 years” are using some weaselly definition of what’s an “election year.” However, at this point is there anyone who doesn’t see this for what it is, just one more episode of obstructionism on the part of Senate Republicans? I’m sure Vonnegut fans will understand what I’m talking about when I suggest that maybe this is the appropriate symbol for the modern Republican:

Gop asshole

Posted in Politics.

Two exchanges I’d like to see in episode VIII

This is super spoilery, but it’s a snow day and I’m pretty sure no one’s reading this stuff anyway. So, here are two small scenes I’d like to see in Start Wars Episode VIII

INT. resistance hangar

The MILLENIUM FALCON lands, and after a brief moment LUKE, REY, R2-D2 and CHEWBACCA exit. GENERAL LEIA approaches LUKE and gives him a hug.


It’s good to see you again. It’s been too long.


I know. Listen…I’m sorry about Han.

LEIA steps back and looks at LUKE for a moment. He looks older than his years, and clearly feels guilt about his friend’s death. She gives him a wistful smile.


It’s alright. It’s a wonder he lived as long as he did.

CHEWBACCA grunts his agreement.


…and scene number two…


INT. Corridor

KYLO REN is pursuing REY, who is injured and desperately trying to break away. She pauses at an intersection, glances left in surprise and then takes off to the right. As KYLO REN gets to the same intersection, GENERAL LEIA steps in front of him. She is pissed.


Benjamin Anakin Solo, put that light saber down! Now!

KYLO REN drops his saber and stumbles back a step.




And take off that ridiculous mask.

He rips the mask off his head like it’s on fire and stares past his mother, unable to make eye contact. LEIA picks up the light saber and starts pulling at the exposed wires.


Mother, no‑‑ that’s mine!

KYLO REN reaches for the light saber, but LEIA refuses to let him have it. She continues yanking pieces from the weapon.


Not anymore, it’s not. Do you have any idea how disappointed I am with you? If your father were here…


But he’s not, is he?

She slaps him across the face, hard enough to leave a growing red mark.


Your father loved you, and did everything he could to keep you safe. And how do you repay him?

She begins jabbing him with the light saber pommel, wires and bits now dangling from it. KYLO REN’s eyes begin to tear up.




Answer me!



Suddenly, FINN bursts into the corridor, a small group of Resistance fighters in tow.


General? Rey said‑‑ oh, crap!

FINN and the other fighters point their blasters at the now weeping KYLO REN.




Take him into custody.


This conversation isn’t over.

I have no idea what Kylo Ren’s middle name really is, but “Anakin” seems as likely as anything, and it has a nicer ring to it than the only other options I could think of. Bail? Luke? Lumpy? In any case, I’m amused at the thought that even though as far as we know Leia’s had no training or interest in the Jedi arts that her sheer force of will would be enough to stop Kylo in his tracks and reduce him to a little child again.

Posted in Film.

Just going to leave these here…

Josh Marshall has argued that the model for Trump is less Hitler than Mussolini, but when you’re trying to make a visual point, the fasces symbol just doesn’t cut it.

Gop fasces

Gop swastika

Posted in Politics.

Let’s see if we can’t beat last year’s count at least

I realized over the holiday break that there were only two posts here for all of 2014, and both of them were purely related to making sure WordPress was happy. There were only five posts the year before that, although at least some of those were more substantial. Pathetic— especially since it isn’t that long ago I advised a colleague that the last thing the world needs is another dead blog. I’m not going to make any promises to be more prolific, but if I’m going to be paying for the domain I might as well use it for something. However, I would like to think about why it is that I’ve been writing less, with an eye towards changing that. I can think of three reasons why I’ve been posting less: laziness, reduced interest, and changes in browsing habits.

Let’s get the easy reason out of the way first. After working all day, dealing with the commute, handling other tasks at home and some minimal amount of exercise, I’m finding the draw of a comfortable spot on the couch, Netflix and a cat on my lap to be pretty inviting. I might goof around on my iPhone or iPad, but don’t often find the energy to do much else. 

Related to the above, for whatever reason I don’t seem to have the passion to write down my thoughts that I had a while back. This is a little different from sheer laziness, in that there are often things I am interested in, but it requires overcoming a certain amount of inertia to get a post written. There are multiple elements to this, but I think the two key items are mental organization and logistics. I don’t put a ton of time into structuring posts here, but I like to be able to do something more than a Twitter-level amount of writing. Without the interest to completely follow through on that, I’ll often just skip it. The logistics question ties into the last item, so I’ll deal with it more there.

Historically, my internet reading has always been closely tied to whatever writing I’ve pursued. As far as reading goes, for the last ten years or so I’ve done a combination of web browsing and RSS feed consumption. My writing has always gone through a desktop application or two, depending on the particular topic. As long as all this activity took place on a desktop or laptop, it was easy to switch from one to the other, and I could bang out a quick paragraph or two in reaction to something. However, with the advent of iPhones and iPads, I now find that my reading and writing activities take place in two separate worlds. I still use an RSS reader, but instead of NetNewsWire I’m more likely to use Reeder on iOS. Unfortunately, I still find writing on an iDevice to be a little clunky (and that doesn’t even get into switching between applications and trying to copy/paste URLs and other content). I do have WordPress, so technically can write on my iPhone or iPad, but other than short emails I very rarely do, even with an external keyboard. Because I’m now consuming information when I don’t have a laptop handy and there’s a time lag between consumption and the opportunity to respond, my initial spark of interest often dissipates and I end up not doing anything at all.


Sorry, a little snark snuck in there, although there might be some hidden truth. After all, why would I be doing this at all if I didn’t think at some level people would benefit from my sharing? Maybe that’s another reason I’ve been quiet of late— a lack of hubris that anyone gives a crap what I have to say.

Having said all that, is there anything I can do? A few thoughts:

  • Switch to a different desktop RSS reader. Much as I like it, NetNewsWire 3.x is no longer serving my needs, and version 4 has been in beta for a year and a half. I’m thinking Reeder 2 may be the way to go. This should better sync with my iDevice browsing to give me a jumping off point.
  • Keep the laptop closer. This should help with logistics barriers.
  • Find the passion, or some other incentive. This is tougher, and might be the thing that keeps me from writing. It’s not like I get paid for any of this, after all.
  • Pay more attention to the blog. The two-post count for 2014 came as a surprise to me, clearly because I hadn’t looked at the thing in ages. If I can be more aware of it as a thing to use, it will be more likely to get some love.

Okay, now only one more post and I’ll have equalled last year’s count!

Posted in Uncategorized.

What the what?

Just a test. Move along.

Posted in Uncategorized.


Dove into configuration files to fix a glitch that came out of nowhere and caused the blog to go belly up for who knows how long. Given the time between updates, I begin to wonder whether this whole enterprise needs a rethink…

Posted in Uncategorized.

C’est quelquechose de Jedi. Tu ne comprends pas.

Posted in Uncategorized.

Small successes

I told someone I had been using a piece of software for 20 years and did not follow up with “Jesus Christ, I’m old.”

Posted in Uncategorized.

Art Meets Gravity

Posted in Animation.

This is for Mr. Jackson

Apropos of Samuel L. Jackson’s indicating he’d like to be in the new Star Wars movies. He says Mace might still be alive, but I think I have a more fun idea. Here’s how I would introduce him.

INT. space station

HAN SOLO, LUKE SKYWALKER and LEIA ORGANA SOLO are on the run. They dart into a small chamber, shut the door and pause to catch their breath. Han drops a heavy bag on the floor.


Who IS this guy?


I don’t know. (Into his wrist comm) Hey, kid! Did you get the camera in place?


Han, I’m really too old–


(via wrist comm)

Yeah, you should be able to see him now.



HAN pulls out a holo projector, and flicks it on. We see a disfigured human pause, close his eyes for a moment as if he was scanning the area, then turn and stride out of view.



I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Luke and Han look at each other in surprise for a moment. Han breaks the silence.


Come on, Princess. We need to get out of here.


Wait, you know him?


I don’t need to know him. I SAW him.


(Well, he’s hopeless)



I’m not sure. He looked like…there was a Jedi my father knew. He disappeared before we were born.


But, that’s impossible. He would be older than Obi-Wan was.


I don’t think it’s him. He might be a clone, but I’ve never heard of a successful cloning of a Jedi. They kind of… You two go on. I need to get a closer look.

Han and Leia exchange a look that says, “will you talk to him?” and “he’s YOUR brother.”


Fine, kid. But be at the Falcon by oh-four-fifteen.

Han hefts the bag over his shoulder and marches out the door, followed by a worried-looking Leia. Luke crouches on the floor in a meditative pose, waiting for their pursuer’s arrival.

Posted in Film.