‘Activist Judges’ – An Objective Measure

Whenever a new Supreme Court appointment is nigh, Republicans start bleating about ‘activist judges’ and how they can’t be allowed onto the court.  But without a definition of ‘activist’ this tired rubric is just so much bullsh*t posturing.

Really, the term ‘activist judge’ is just code for “anybody who is likely to do things that I don’t like”.  Well now, an Op-ed in the New York Times gives us an objective measure of the term:  How often a justice votes to strike down a law passed by Congress.  And who do we suppose votes most often to strike down laws when a case comes before the Supreme Court?  See for yourself (noting that this is the record of the so-called ‘Rehnquist Court’) …

Thomas 65.63 %
Kennedy 64.06 %
Scalia 56.25 %
Rehnquist 46.88 %
O’Connor 46.77 %
Souter 42.19 %
Stevens 39.34 %
Ginsburg 39.06 %
Breyer 28.13 %

Given this, it’s probably not too much to ask that the ass-wipes who are threatening to filibuster Sonia Sotomayor shut-the-f*ck-up and vote for her. That way they’ll be likely to get someone who doesn’t fit the nonsensical label of ‘activist’.

Tip-o-the-hat to FranIAm who turned me on this piece.

United Airlines Must Die! (Part 2)

Read Part 1

My flight is canceled.  The Frogette and I are stuck in Chicago wondering how-in-the-hell we’re going to get to Boston.

Normally one would just head over to the gate agent to get booked on the next flight, but interestingly, there is no gate agent.  In fact a quick trip around Chicago’s Concourse B (all United, of course), reveals that there are hardly any gate agents…anywhere.

United has come up with a novel tactic for dealing with their customers, angry or otherwise.  They simply don’t.  Operations, especially at Chicago, are engineered to minimizing exposure of flyers to employees.  Gate agents now show up no more than 10 minutes before passengers begin boarding and disappear as soon as the upgrade and stand-by lists are either cleared or closed.  The only person left is the poor schmuck who checks boarding passes, and he’s usually too busy to answer questions.

Need a seat change?  You’ll need to speak to an agent, except that…there aren’t any.  Want to argue about an upgrade?  Good luck finding someone to argue with.  Was you’re flight canceled?  Head for ‘Customer Service’, because your gate now resembles a ghost town.

So it’s off to ‘Customer Service’ we go only to find:  A bank of automated ticket terminals, but not an agent in sight; 50 or so people waiting to use the 2 working kiosks (of 5) or the 3 working phones (of 7).  Where most of the unfortunates find that they need to try and call United on one of the ‘non-broken’ phones (the irony of calling United from their own terminal being lost of these masters of avoidance), we find that we’ve been booked onto another flight…5 HOURS LATER!  But…with no one to talk to, what the hell are we going to do?

So we accept our lot; punch through a dozen offers, “Would you like to pay $50 for an extra 3 centimeters of leg room?”; endure a major delay without compensation, two MIDDLE-F*CKING-SEATS in different parts of the plane (where originally we were seated together), and 5 hours in ‘United Concourse Crud’ a terminal so filthy that I expect roaches to be scurrying at my feet  And then…our rebooked flight is (wait for it…) DELAYED!

Some parting observations on “Something dreadful in the air…” tomorrow.

Kansas joins big leagues – Wins coveted Taliban franchise

Boosters in Kansas are celebrating today, upon news the Great Plains state has secured a professional Taliban franchise. The franchise will be called the Sunflower State Holy Warriors and play its first season in Wichita.

Eager Taliban fans directed celebratory Sunday morning gunfire at Wichita’s Reformation Lutheran Church, killing Dr. George Tiller MD, a provider of abortion services.

The assassination of Tiller, who at the time of his death was serving as a church usher, earned Kansas its first win and six points in Taliban league standings.

Holy Warriors coach/General Manager Fred Phelps said Tiller’s assassination was a good first start, despite on-field errors. “We were lucky to get the win. Usually the Taliban way is to find the headless corpse dumped by the side of the road,” explained Phelps.

“I guess this week in practice we’ll be working on the fundamentals of fundamentalism,” he said.

Phelps went on to say he expects the franchise to be competitive despite a tough schedule.

“Our style of play matches up well against doctors, Buddhist statues, women showing their hair, and defenseless girls wanting to go to school,” Phelps said.

At present the Holy Warriors will play home games in a secluded gravel pit outside Wichita. But the team’s long term success will depend on revenues only a new stadium can provide.

Phelps says that after the team returns from a road trip in Pakistan he’ll start campaigning for a ballot measure to fund a new open-air stadium/convention center/concentration camp.

The team currently has its eye on a site in Topeka. “The site is occupied by a yoga and meditation center. But not for long,” Phelps said.