Thursday, May 28, 2009

On Empathy, Sotomayor, & Consequences
by Eric Von Haessler

If there is a problem with President Obama’s choice of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court, it lay not in Sotomayor herself, but in the President’s criteria leading to her selection. In a recent interview held before announcing his nominee Mr. Obama stated he didn’t just want a jurist plucked from the Ivory Tower. While allowing that intellectual firepower was important he placed special emphasis on finding someone who also had, “a little bit of a common touch” along with, “a practical sense of how the world works.” To boil it down to one word, it was ‘empathy’ the President was most looking for in a potential nominee.

Empathy, the act of intellectually identifying with the experiences of another, is almost always a laudable human trait- almost, but not always. The ability to a walk a mile in another’s shoes bodes one well when cementing friendships and reinforcing alliances but it is always an abomination when applied to the interpretation of law. In fact, the application of empathy can’t help but to serve the corruption of law.

The statues of Lady Justice adorning courtrooms throughout the country most often depict a stern, but blindfolded arbiter. In her raised hand the scales are set evenly in anticipation of the coming weight of facts and evidence. In a lowered hand she brandishes the sword that will eventually cut one way or the other. The essential idea here is that the weight of the arguments made, not the adjudicators vision of the litigants, should be the only consideration before judgment is rendered.

When President Obama says he favors judges that not only stick to the letter of the law but also, “get a sense of how the law might work or not work in practical day-to-day living,” he is attempting to conjoin two principles that are mutually exclusive. It is not possible to both stick to and disregard the letter of the same law. Therefore, the President is explicitly stating that he believes there are times a Justice is morally bound to toss settled law to the wind in order to bring immediate aid and comfort to an individual litigant. This may feel good in law practice but it ain’t the practice of good law.

It is the purpose of legislators, not the bench, to facilitate the urgent redress of individual constituents. Politicians are elected and have to stand for reelection before those same constituents and that is why they are the proper constitutional ‘day to day’ representatives of the people before the powers that be.

By the same token, elections should have consequences at every level of governance. One of the major duties any President is called upon to fulfill is the replacing of Supreme Court Justices that retire or pass away during their term of office. While I disagree with Mr. Obama’s philosophy of jurisprudence the time for that argument has passed.

By winning the last presidential election he and his party won the right to shape the court as they see fit. The constitution charges Congress with the duty to advise and consent but given that Judge Sotomayor has been a federal jurist for eighteen years it’s reasonable to assume she has the credentials for the job. Unless she is revealed to be certifiably insane the President has the right to expect she’ll be seated in a timely manner.

It is important for those who lose elections to refrain from efforts to defang the proper constitutional powers of the offices they’ve failed to win. The pendulum always swings back and when in power the former loyal opposition will not want to be restrained while trying to make their mark on the perpetual motion of governance. If winning elections doesn’t give the victors the right to govern from the point of view that animated them to run in the first place then elections soon become meaningless.

It is the proper role of those who disagree with the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court to double up their will to win elections in the future. If participating in elections at times doesn’t seem like enough ammunition for change, or the calendar of voting leaves you impatient for immediate change- it might do some good to consider that your current right to participate in the credible election of your lawmakers is more power than 99.9% of the people who have ever lived and died on this planet have enjoyed.

Stop pouting. Start persuading.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009:

Take a moment today to remember all the soldiers that have given their lives over the last 200+ years to keep us free.

A Brief History of Memorial Day

Ten facts about Memorial Day

Friday, May 22, 2009

Von Haessler 2010:
What About the Fair Tax?

Today's Jog Blog
Obama v. Cheney: Just the facts
Obama, Cheney offer competing views
Speeches Underscore "Dividing Line"
Obama to move ahead w/ Gitmo closure
Cheney defends waterboarding
Bush: It's liberating to be out of office
House blocks GOP call for Pelosi probe
Tom Tancredo Says Legalize Drugs!
Suspects in NY jihad plot due in court
FBI Informant Helped Bust Terror Plot
Men Arrested Sought Holy War
Obama flubs his Def. Sec. name again
UAW agrees to new GM deal
Jobless claims set another record
Dems to introduce "Paid Vacation Act"
Astronauts Drink Recycled Urine
Space Agencies Mull Orbiting Shipyard
Somali Piracy Suspect Pleads Not Guilty
Amer. Airlines Pilot Fails Breathalyzer
Down Syndrome prevents cancer?
Snake not used as a jump rope, but a lasso
' My Name is Earl ' cancelled
Can Twitter Save My Name Is Earl ?
Sean Penn: No Divorce
Kardashians open Miami boutique
Idol Finale Ratings Lowest Since 2004
Why Kris Allen won 'American Idol'
Did evangelicals tip Idol to Allen?
Green Day lashes out at Wal-Mart policy

Of Local Interest:
Suspected molester may have missing girl
Cop sorry for saying he'd like to hit mayor
Elderly Loganville couple beaten, robbed
Jeans-wearing police chief fired
Police seek man in double shooting
Child falls three stories from apt. window
Capitol tribute to fallen vets
Witnesses ask to spare Silver Comet killer
Driver shoots two women, then flees
R&B's Usher among Woodruff trustees
Vick arrives at Virginia home
A reason for hope still there for Vick
UGA approves $40M for football facility
Police union leader mad at mayor
Fund-raiser brings in about $300k
ATL company's Amelia Island deal dies
Not all transit created equally
Award lets Atlanta artist branch out
Arrest Made in Tucker Bar Stabbing

Forecasters: Up to 7 Atlantic hurricanes
Mom killed boy, buried him in playground
Has Stacy Peterson's Body Been Found?
Man Rescued From Seattle Sinkhole
Arrests on Southern Border Drop
Sex offenders banned from youth groups
Rifleman charged in attempted murder
Confirmed H1N1 Cases Continue To Rise
Problem Yellowstone wolf killed

House rejects probe of Pelosi's claims
Boehner slams Obama, Pelosi
Sensitive Clinton Data Missing Again
National Archives loses Clinton-era data
Biden Extols Specter's Virtues
Really big: Open Government Initiative
Franken supporters collect petitions
Friendly Fire at the White House
Sanford sues state atty gen. on stimulus

As the World Turns:
India's Singh to Be Sworn In Fri
Sri Lankan minister: Army killed civilians
Iran releases pres. debate timetable
Israeli PM: Jerusalem will never be divided
Critics: Ireland slow to protect its kids
Israel removes W. Bank outpost
Turkey condemns deadly attacks in Iraq
Gurkhas granted right to settle in UK

In Sport:
Indy 500 Facts and Figures
Menchov wins key Giro time trial
Long to appeal NASCAR discipline
Votto diagnosed w/ inner ear infection
Jay Cutler: Arm Strength Opens Eyes
Bulls name Gar Forman GM
Royals give Crisp a rare rest

The Economy, Stupid:
GMAC to Get More Gov't Funding
Jobless claims: It's still tough out there
Another sign economy is coming back
Mortgage rates fall again
Boca man charged in Ponzi scheme
Treasury prices turn lower
Gas costs more, but no repeat of 2008

Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy steps down
OpenTable Shares Soar in IPO
Fiat Wants Opel On Board
Lenovo posts record loss
McClatchy Debt Exchange Boosts Shares
Hormel Profit Rises Despite Flat Sales
12 tips for small - business hiring

Craigslist: 'You Can't Sue Us'
Google CEO: Not Buying Newspapers
Apple: No Netbook, But A Tablet?
Palm Pre Coming To Best Buy
UM, Google expand publishing agreement
TX jury orders MS to pay $200 mln
Smartphone sales shine in first quarter
Best Buy Is Waking Up From A Napster

Study Reveals Komodos Are Venomous
"Missing Link" Fossil w/ Hair Found
Oldest Mercury Pollution Found
6-Foot Lizards Invading Military Runway
"Invisible" Ancient Bugs Seen by X-Ray
GPS Firms: The Sky Isn't Falling
Physics Gets Physical: 'Legacy of Light'

The Game:
GameStop posts record Q1 earnings
Survey: Games trump movie theaters
One last pitch for violent game ban
Punch-Out!! Review (WII)
Game sales slump: Blame the games
Boom Blox Bash Party Review
Ghostbusters Hands-On

The Life:
Are Cuban Cigars All That Great?
Sub-$30 Date Ideas
Voodoo Envy 133
Skynet: 5 Things You Didn't Know
Top 10: Public Transit Systems
Spied: 2011 Mini Crossman

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Von Haessler 2010:
What About the Fair Tax?

Today's Jog Blog
US Senate denies money for closing Gitmo
Analysis: Gitmo a win GOP needed
Obama to offer 'framework' on Guantanamo
Judge rules on terror detainees
Car bomb kills dozens in Baghdad
Torture Ties Washington In Knots
Presidential helicopter work halted
US charges Somali man with piracy
3 dead, 2 missing - Navy chopper crash
4 arrested in plot to bomb NYC temple
Obama: Economy Returning to Normal
Fed Open to Buying More Securities
Dollar Drops to Four-Month Low
House Passes Credit Card Bill, Sending To Prez
California will face 'devastating' cuts
Arnold: Got voters' message 'loud and clear'
Powell fires back at Cheney, Limbaugh
Limbaugh appoints Powell head of GOP
Lawmakers Tracking Lost Clinton-Era Data
Miss California's Mother Is Gay???
NH lawmakers reject gay-marriage
Rival bids for GM's Opel
Bidders line up for Opel
Texas OK's packing heat on campus
Texas Senate backs guns on campus
Catholic Church shamed by Irish abuse report
Pope Benedict embraces 'Facebook'
1 in 4 Americans texts while driving
Voice of Mickey Mouse Dies
Mickelson's wife diagnosed w/ cancer
Household drill saves boy's life
Hearing delayed in eyeball biting case
Magic stun Cavs
American Idol Finale Shocker
Idol Finale: Kris Allen Wins
Idol hits a high note in ratings
Jackson's London Shows Already Delayed
Dupri makes love for Janet permanent
Kate Gosselin : Life In Tabloids Is 'Hell'
Kate Gosselin: Tired of Being Stalked
Bling Shows Skill of Ancient Dentists
RunPee Tells You When To Pee in Movies

Of Local Interest:
ATL cop: 'I want to beat' mayor in head
Road-rage shooter injures 2, then flees
Self-defense claimed in rapper's slaying
Feud may delay King flick
How next few months look for Vick
Roundtable: Who will sign Vick?
Man held in '85 ax killings of family
Police sex harassment alleged in Clayton
Bear hit by car at Sixes Road
Mother cries over bullying report
Fulton pension fund lost $325M last year
State sells itself at science event
Stimulus $ to boost rural broadband
Thrift will cure credit addiction
Home alone need not be scary
Marietta man indicted in Cincinnati
Hotels spruce things up in recession
Man runs 13 red lights fleeing cops

TN Senate OKs change in gun laws
Student Shoots Self In Classroom
Officials find body in Idaho house fire
East Texas escapees recaptured
Cats found mutilated in FLA county

Where Did Palin's Wardrobe Go?
Dems Rebel Against Obama's Gitmo Plan
Senate blocks transfer of prisoners to US
Senate backs credit card limits
Credit Card Companies: Mean vs. Evil
Dream On, Credit Card Companies!
Judy Chu Wins Primary for Solis' Seat
The Incoherent Cowardice Of Harry Reid

As the World Turns:
98 dead in Indonesian air crash
Irish abused 'cheated of justice'
UN in plea for Tamil aid access
Singh invited to form new cabinet
Efforts to Aid Displaced in Pakistan
Air France-KLM's Cash Drive
Brown Sacrifices Commons Speaker

In Sport:
Magic stun Cavs
Helio Castroneves gears up for Indy
Mine That Bird already back to work
Kiffin, Vols admit new violation
Santa Clara sets date for stadium meeting
Cavendish sprints to third Giro stage win
Evans-Machida likely to be exciting
Worried Alonso ponders F1 future
Doctors deny Mayfield's claims

The Economy, Stupid:
Crude's Spurt Continues
Bank News Gives Markets a Lift
Who's afraid of a big bad bear?
Another Government Agency?
Will Japan Be Canada?
China's Yuan a Reserve Currency?

Deere 2Q profit tumbles 38 percent
Southwest Air Sees 'Soft' May Revenue
Valero to buy Dow stake in refinery
Hewlett-Packard will cut more jobs
Target's Q1 profit beats estimates
NetEase posts higher 1Q profit, revenue
BJ's earnings rise amid spending shift

Tax GPS to Save GPS?
Palm, iPhone Battle in Price War
Report: Kumo coming next week
Apple Doubles iPhone Market Share
Want to Build Your Own Hubble?
Google: Still Kicking Ass
11 Must-Have iPhone Games
DSLR Boom Continues

"Missing Link" Fossil With Hair Found
Swarms of Giant Trilobites Found
New Fossil Links Humans, Lemurs?
Girls 'should consider studying physics '
Can a football speed up in mid-air?
Fishing 'risk to Channel wrecks'

The Game:
Need for Speed: Nitro
Trine Hands On
Order of War First Impression
UFC 2009 Undisputed Review
Discovery Channel joins the game
Tony Hawk gets a new skateboard
How to Play Video Games in 3D

The Life:
The Congruent Necktie
Emergency First Aid For Dads
Top 10: Beer Producing Nations
Spied: 2011 Audi RS 3
Time for a New Watch?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Von Haessler 2010:
What About the Fair Tax?

Today's Jog Blog
'Green' auto rules arrive
Obama introduces tough new rules
Obama wants tougher emissions law
US will tighten rules on vehicles
Obama takes a hit on Guantanamo
Dems in Senate Block Money to Close Gitmo
Health clubs growing in Baghdad
Iran Could Make Nuke in 1 to 3 Years
Atlanta terror suspect waives jury trial
Senate votes to rein in credit card industry
New laws will change credit card industry
Cali voters reject budget crisis measures
Steele says GOP ready to regain its relevance
British Speaker Michael Martin quits
Fallout from British Speaker's resignation
Bill Clinton caught groping Fran Drescher?
Cooper apologizes for teabagging comment
Indonesia plane crash kills nearly 100
Minn. boy resisting chemo missing
Child Born a Boy , But Lives as a Girl
Smoke This: Court Refuses To Intervene
Supreme Court lets pot law stand
China demolishes 'Love Land' sex park
Bryant's gem lifts Lakers over Nuggets
New Orleans to host 2013 Super Bowl
Humane Society makes peace with Vick
GPS System Could Fail Within Year
Affair not too old to forgive
Peacock Beaten, Woman Blames Bird
Weaker People Hear Differently?
Kimmel Demolishes ABC’s Upfronts
Idol: Guy next door versus the guy-liner
Shawn Johnson wins 'Dancing'
Is Paula Abdul lying
about plane crash???
Marilyn Chambers
died of heart disease
Kanye Arraigned
Kanye pleads not guilty
Miley Cyrus blasts cyber-bullies
Judge won't toss suit against Hilton
Kim Kardashian's shop vandalized
Spielberg To Produce King Biopic
Sale of MLK movie rights splits family

Of Local Interest:
Emotions high at Silver Comet sentencing
Guilty plea in slaying of Georgia tourist
Man held in rapper death
Altercation may have led to rapper's slaying
Teen driver charged in fatal Milton crash
Condo fire leaves 20 homeless
DeKalb officer accused of sodomy
DeKalb schools to issue bullying report
Home Depot first-quarter profit rises
Biotech research center to open in ATL
Report touts benefits of college
Like pain? Try out for this show
College to close continuing ed center
Guilty verdict in bike slaying
Hot spot for a startup? It's Georgia
Local Citadel grads gather for Corps Day
Korean Company to Open ATL Factory

Credit for maternity leave not retroactive
LA City Council OKs $7 bln budget
Shooting Incident Reported at Harvard
Transit cop shocked after shooting
Small planes collide off SoCal coast
Fire recovery process begins
Oregon Senate passes sex-ed bill
Illinois to get uniform speed limits

Let's Have Cap and No Trade
Att'y general enters governor's race
Caroline Kennedy disputes report
Quinn shows 'doomsday' budget
Bill seeks to create budget flexibility
Justices reject Jefferson's appeal

As the World Turns:
Special forces face Taliban in combat
PM praised, chided after Obama meet
Manmohan Singh elected CPP leader
Philippines landslide kills 26
Bill Clinton to be UN Haiti envoy
UN to discuss swine flu vaccine
Developments on swine flu worldwide
Greece confirms first H1N1 flu case
Islamists Capture Another Key Town
Cohen: Pakistan, India and their nukes
Darfur rebel appears before ICC

In Sport:
Report: Favre to have surgery
Baseball moves up World Series starts
Talk is cheap for Lakers now
Gruden to replace Kornheiser on MNF
Smith won't ride Mine That Bird in Belmont
Mayfield madness hangs over NASCAR
Mayfield denies taking illegal drugs
Golf's new big hit: a running start

The Economy, Stupid:
Geithner opposes salary caps
Housing, Banking Sectors Lead Rally
Justices to Hear Conrad Black Appeal
Oil rises over $60
UAW Fussy About China Strategy
Casino spending drops in Illinois
State Street's turnaround
Applied Materials: Econ. declining

Vodafone full-year profit up 37pct
Fliers: Airlines' service has gotten better
Trustee sues Fairfield Greenwich funds
Hybrid killer? Ford's turbocharged Lincoln
Porsche looks for outside investor
M&S cuts dividend as profits fall
Sam's Club simplifies small biz membership
Building A Business On Four-Inch Heels

Twitter a Google Killer? Not Yet
Latitude 2100: Not Just Kid's Stuff
Palm Pre to be Big says Sprint
Tiered data plans coming to iPhone
Apple Push Notification
Scribd Morphs into eBook Retailer
Nokia lays out three new phones

Injection of hope for AIDS vaccine
Antibodies Derail Monkey AIDS
Swarms of Giant Trilobites Found
Astronaut Handymen Make Repairs
Austria to stay in particle physics lab
Aztec Archaeology: A Fieldwork Tale
UC Davis opens horse stem cell lab
Bipolar drug gets FDA approval

The Game:
Walmart Gets Into Used Games Biz
Wal-Mart Wants Your Used Games
MS Swings at Wii w/ Videocam
Classic rockers find new life
Video Games Sales and the iPhone
Punch-Out!! Review (WII)
Review: Myst for iPhone

The Life:
2010 Ferrari 16M Scuderia Spider
Honda's Hovering Concept Car
Radiohead in Studio for New Album