Friday, July 08, 2005

Something every group can hate

What's that? A hate/stereotype filled reality show called "Welcome to the Neighborhood" that ABC just canceled under pressure from all sorts of groups. Rare is the day when the FRC (Family Research Counsel) and GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) are united in their dislike in the characterizations on the same show.

FRC hated it because it made their clientele- Rich, White, Religious Conservatives from Red States- come off as moral bigots. GLAAD disliked how the FRC-types found the gay couple on the show's affection for another "disgusting."

Hispanics were mocked as overbreeding animals. I don't know what things they had in store for the black family, or the pierced family, or the family with a Wiccan, or the family with a stripper.

"Why should people of color and others ... be humiliated and degraded to teach white people not to be bigots?" said Shanna Smith, president of the National Fair Housing Alliance. "That's not good for race relations in America."

What's really not good for race relations in America is how semi-self-segregated our country is becoming. Why is it that this neighborhood is filled with White people? Why is it there are Black neighborhoods and Hispanic neighborhoods and Gay neighborhoods? Why is it that schools over the last several decades have become as segregated now as they were pre-Brown v. Board of Education? Do Americans of different sorts really not like each other that much? Is the melting pot really a salad bowl? Or is it due to the widening gap between rich and poor, between the suburbs and the inner cities?

Studies have shown that when people call about housing with a "black voice" or a "gay voice" they get different responses as to the housing's availability than if a "white voice" calls (I am sure the same would happen for a "hispanic voice" or an "asian voice"). I would like to think that things really have changed a lot since the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, but has it really?

Sure, ethnic and racial minorities (and openly out homosexuals) now have the ability to move into the middle class and upper management and to move into any neighborhood they please, the color lines are gone. But yet, you still don't see very many truely diverse neighborhoods in Suburbs or in cities like Chicago or Washington, DC.

Debasing shows like "Welcome to the Neighborhood" to me show that we still have a long ways to go in the battle for civil rights. Even a coalition of GLAAD and FRC can't make that ugly fact go away.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

US SJC betting pool

From my cousin Nick, a lawyer who has clerked on the Federal Bench:

Since there is no basketball, football or hockey (and baseball bores me to tears), I thought a Supreme Court pool might provide some entertainment.

Five dollar entry fee. Seventy percent of pool to winner, twenty to second place and ten to third.

All entries must be received by Monday, July 11. Checks can be mailed to address below. Winning votes not supported by a check are not winning votes.

Entry must contain one name for the current opening as well as a calculation on the Senate confirmation vote. (Closest vote tally will break a tie among those who submit the same name.) Filibuster is an acceptable entry, but the filibuster must hold until the end of the calendar year.

To start things off, my entry: Judge Luttig and 70-30.

If any readers are want to join the pool, email or comment with your "bet" and I will send you my cousin's postal address.

Personally, I don't know if I have five bucks plus postage, but I am going to go with 10th Circuit Appeals Court Judge Michael McConnell (57-43). He is as consistantly conservative as Clarence Thomas, but as clever as Antonin Scalia. Rather than appointing a yes-man like Gonzales, Bush would be smart to appoint this Utah Law professor.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

back in the USA

well I am back in the good old USA and UT and back to posting after weeks abroad and wedding fun. Soon I will put up a few of the nearly 600 pictures we took on the honeymoon in the meanwhile, i will just say that I am glad to be where there are nice bathrooms with toilets that flush and suck the waste water away, showers that are separate from the bathroom floor and pillows that are firmer than a wet towl. Oh and I am glad to not be surrounded by chainsmokers and to experience air conditioning again.

Other than that, I loved our trip and Europe. So much tell, I don't even know where to start, so I will just go on to the topic that has been spiralling in mind since I saw it on CNN international: O'Conner's retirement.

The true chief justice's retirement was in step with her usual political savvy. Bush is going nowhere but down from here on out. It is better to leave now while she can still get a GOP justice replacement who will be sitting in her chair for another couple of decades than try to hang on through the next Clinton administration or which ever Democrat wins in 2006.

To me, this is the worst case scenerio. Rehnquist's retirement really wouldn't have changed much other than prolonging the 5-4 tenative social moderation majority. But O'Connor was THE swing vote on so many critical social and political issues. Justice Kennedy has taken notes from her recently but O'Connor always seems to find herself in the 5 of a 5-4 decision.

I think this Gonzales talk is a smoke screen but he is a scary choice because of his puppetness to GWB.