12 Years

and Woody Allen?


Even if I don’t much like either of the characters in this story, this short piece directed and written by Daniel Nocke is really well done.

Brett Kavanaugh

by Bob Roman

Brett Kavanaugh has absolutely no business being a justice of the Supreme Court.

It’s not that he’s a political hack with an ideological agenda. Quite frankly, despite all the smiley faced homages to impartiality and The Constitution, most of the justices who have inhabited the Supreme Court bench have had agendas and biases. Sometimes the biases and agendas of a justice change over their career, sometimes for the better. And while Kavanaugh is a hack with an agenda that I oppose, that by itself is not an absolute disqualifier. Elections have consequences, after all. Nor is the Republican caucus’ rush to approve him a disqualifier. It’s odious, but much in politics (and life in general) stinks. These are grounds for opposing Kavanaugh’s appointment and for remembering, for vengeance, those who enabled it but, in my humble opinion, they are not grounds for saying Kavanaugh has absolutely no business being on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh is a liar, to us and to himself: that is what disqualifies him.

You do not have to assume Kavanaugh is lying when he denies Christine Blasey Ford’s story to see his habitual untruthfulness. There is ample evidence that Kavanaugh has lied to Congress while under oath about numerous matters. This is not a crime, apparently. At Vox, long before Blasey Ford surfaced, Dylan Matthews outlined several instances of untruthfulness then asked a handful of law professors if these would constitute perjury. Errrr… not exactly… no… were most of the responses. But Ciara Torres-Spelliscy from Stetson University was perhaps the most forthright:

If federal prosecutors are really going after lying to Congress, that could open up an entirely new front of liability for lots of less than truthful witnesses. I doubt anyone at DOJ would have the moxie to go after Judge Kavanaugh for these statements. Whether as a circuit judge or if he gets elevated to the Supreme Court, the remedy to remove him is through the impeachment process, and I don’t see Congress having the stomach for that either.

Kavanaugh is not unique in this level of sleaze with regard to the Supreme Court. William Rehnquist and Clarence Thomas come to mind as comparable examples. No, what slams the scale firmly and absolutely to the NO side is Kavanaugh’s inability to be honest about himself. He did not even have the courage to listen to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before presenting his statement in reply. It’s clear that revisiting his high school years and confronting Christine Blasey Ford do more than threaten the prospect of an appointment to the Supreme Court. They threaten Kavanaugh’s own story about himself to himself and to his family. They threaten who he thinks he is. This is perfectly human, but it means Brett Kavanaugh will never be more than a toady to the Establishment: deadwood nailed to dogma and narrow class interests with little capacity for empathy, insight or enlightened compromise.

Others may argue that it is Kavanaugh’s loathsome behavior as a high school student that should not be in any way rewarded by an appointment to the Supreme Court, even decades later, especially when it comes to sexual assault — attempted rape, to be blunt. After all, this is the impulse behind the move to extend or repeal statute of limitation dates for such offenses. I won’t disagree, even though experience has shown and continues to show that lust makes people, men and women, stupid. Add youth and testosterone and alcohol and class privilege for an ever more toxic mix. That is not an excuse, but it does raise the question: What would restorative justice look like in this instance?

You tell me for I don’t know.

What I Saw of the 2018 Women’s March

in Chicago’s Grant Park

Click on any of the photos above for a larger view.

Despite the beautiful weather, this year’s march was smaller than last year’s event. It may have been at most half the size, but that is still a sizeable event; last year was a monster.

Chicago DSA brought a few dozen to the march this year: more than last year.

Despite a considerable investment in stage, sound and TV, most of the program was inaccessible to attendees. It was carried live by Chicago’s community access cable network, so you may be able to pick up the archived recording at CANTV eventually.

Post script:

The organizers of the march are claiming that the turnout was larger than 2017. Maybe it was. Crowd sizes are always difficult to numerate. Plus, are you counting everyone who participated or just the maximum crowd size? But here is what I observed:

  1. In 2017, the Red Line CTA trains southbound from Howard were packed beyond capacity. People were actually taking trains north in hopes of finding a station where trains would have some space. This year, it was pretty much a normal rush hour, extraordinary for a Saturday morning but not like 2017. I saw no evidence that there were more trains on the Red Line. The CTA did announce more buses on Route 147 that parallels the Red Line, but I rather doubt that this did anything more than maintain the usual Saturday capacity by making sure there were at least a few buses that were not trapped down in Grant Park. The CTA did add cars to the Brown Line, at least, and maybe the other lines and Metra did add a few trains and and extra cars. I’m skeptical that any added capacity would have accounted for the difference in crowding if the turnout was actually greater than 2017.
  2. In 2017, it was very nearly impossible to navigate around the demonstration. It was that packed. Maybe this year had better logistics, but apart from the space directly in front of the stage and giant TVs, it was possible to navigate the park.
  3. Columbus Drive was reserved as far south as Balbo but occupied not quite as far south as Congress. I recall the 2017 event as larger.
  4. On the other hand, I left somewhere mid-program, before the actual march, and while I was not alone in leaving there were others (and more of them on Congress) still arriving.

So how big was it? {Shrug} You’ll have to decide yourself. Regardless of how big it was in relation to 2017, it was still really big.