In the wake of the Connecticut murders of school children, the talk shows have as part of their narrative the issue of mental health and how so many of the mass shooters in our recent history have been mentally ill.
Let me start with a trick question: What is the largest mental institution in the United States (and probably the world)? Answer appears below.
As many of the talk show guests have pointed out, there is tremendous stigma attached to mental illness, especially in minority communities. This used to be a common stigma even among the majority, white population.
(Go below the trivet for more.)
All this talk of Black Friday and shopping got me to wondering. What do most folks mean by "shopping"? Allow me to explain.
My maternal grandmother loved to shop. She went shopping (non-grocery) at least once a week. It was both a form of exercise and entertainment.
In the early 1960's, the Cherry Hill (NJ) Mall opened near us. My grandmother was there like a shot, since this was one of the nation's first malls and the first to which she was close enough to have access. She lived about 160 miles from us in South Central Pennsylvania.
Now to her, shopping and buying were entirely different activities. Shopping was looking, comparing, seeing what was available, and generally checking out the goods.
Every so often, my grandmother would see something she actually thought was something she wanted for herself or something she thought would make a good gift for those of us to whom she gave gifts. She also might have had her eye on something for some time and the price was finally right. (I did this myself with a top coat at Bloomingdale's. It was a gorgeous grey hounds-tooth that started at $800. I paid $225 as I waited for the markdowns.)
The frenzied buying (not really shopping) is pitiful. These people are out there buying because they feel an obligation to do so. My grandmother supported those retailers throughout the year and they knew it.
These folks mobbing the malls are bad at planning and bad with their wallets. I bet they're not getting any bargains at all.
While I suppose it helps to elect a few extra Democrats, I have always been troubled by students voting at their colleges or universities. They are, of course, counted at their schools, which would seem to make their vote appropriate. (April 1 is rarely a holiday when the students are away.)
Do those students intend to stay at their colleges? Are they going to return to the homes of their parents, at least for a bit after finishing school?
Let me take you back to my own experience (and my bit of research) below the trivet.
As many of you are undoubtedly aware, U. S. Disrict Court Judges (and U. S. Attorneys) are recommended to the President by the Senator(s) of the President's party who represent the state in which the vacancy occurs.
On the recommendation of Senator Diane Feinstein, President Obama has nominated Jacqueline Nguyen for a vacancy on the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Nguyen is currently a Judge of the Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County. She is also corrupt.
The first time I was involved in politics was in my hometown in South Jersey. The year was 1971. I had moved home from college and was just finishing my first year of law school. A friend from high school had been elected a Democratic committeeman in my (very Republican) home town. He asked me to get involved and be a district leader for the district in which my family resided.
That Fall, we were courted by a young, first-term Democratic Assemblyman who had been redistricted such that my home town was now part of his Assembly district. Two years earlier, he had defeated a long-time Democratic Assemblyman who was part of an old (and corrupt) machine in Camden.
Any event we scheduled for him, he attended. He spoke as long as it took. We knocked on doors. We made phone calls. Because I was a local and had graduated from the local high school, folks were willing to listen to me. We all worked very hard.
With regret, I must oppose the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Last week, I watched an argument on "Hardball" between Pat Buchanan and Joan Walsh of Salon Magazine. Walsh kept insisting that she was "eminently qualified". Actually, she is no more qualified than tens of thousands of lawyers across the land. She has the same basic educational qualifications (Princeton/Yale) as Justice Samuel Alito.
The last true Democratic appointment to the high court was either Thurgood Marshall in 1967 or Abe Fortas in 1965. Marshall was a bit of an outlier because, though he was Solicitor General at the time of his appointment, he had previously served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Please follow below the fold for what I mean by "true Democratic appointment" and the reason I oppose Sotomayor.
There have been columns and stories about the protest against those who contributed to the "Yes on 8" campaign. The theme of these articles and columns has been that these folks were contributing because of their personal beliefs. For some reason, the unspoken argument goes, that means that others may not criticize them, demonstrate against them, or boycott them.
This reminds me of a chat room in which I was participating over a decade ago on a local BBS in Los Angeles. The subject of religion came up and some fellow (a Roman Catholic, if memory serves) said that we had to respect his beliefs. I promptly countered that "we" did not have to do any such thing. The First Amendment does not guarantee that beliefs will be respected. The First Amendment guarantees one's right to have beliefs. I can respect the right to have beliefs but not, necessarily, the beliefs themselves.
There have been a few diaries about the request by Chief Justice Roberts to raise the pay of the Federal judiciary. There was some criticism as well as a few who conceded that the pay of Federal judges has not kept pace.
In Los Angeles there is a local story about the more than 400 judges of the Superior Court about which no one is writing a thing. This is a "pigs at the trough" story that most will understand. The local judges in Los Angeles County actually earn more than Chief Justice Roberts.
It amazes me that the so-called "progressive" blogosphere is willing to throw the Governor of Illinois under the bus because of information contained on selected portions of wiretaps. Now the same group is criticizing Republicans for wishing to examine AG nominee Eric Holder. The Republicans are right but for the wrong reason.
The nominee is infamous for the Holder-Thompson-McNulty doctrine, which holds that corporations must throw their employees under the bus in order to avoid indictment of the corporation itself.
The Second Circuit in the recent case of U.S. v. Stein actually dismissed an indictment (and thus the charges) because this doctrine effectively denies counsel to the accused in a criminal case.
Many years ago, Breyers Ice Cream was a "local" brand, which had started in Philadelphia and spread to surrounding states. In a series of television commercials from the early 1980's, various consumers would stand in front of the ice cream section of a supermarket and read the ingredients from competing brands. Eventually, they would mention "guar gum" or "carrageenan" or "locust gum". They would then read the Breyers ingredients: cream, milk, cane sugar, natural fruits and flavors.
There has been much back and forth over Senator John McCain's qualifications for the Presidency. The Constitution provides that only a "natural born citizen" of the United States may be President. Senator McCain was born in 1936 in Panama, more particularly in what was then known as the Panama Canal Zone. This issue last arose in 1968 when Governor George Romney (father of Mitt Romney) ran for the Republican Presidential nomination. George Romney had been born in Mexico while his parents were there on a multi-year Mormon mission.
Senator McCain asserts that he has researched the issue and that he is qualified for the Presidency. A bit of Constitutional research leads me to believe that he is in error. The reasoning is below the jump.
This past Thursday, it finally being a sunny day here in Southern California, I stopped by the car wash to get the deluxe treatment for my machine. It had been a while and the vehicle was looking a tad ragged. I buy books of ten washes in order to save on this little extravagance. There are lots of little touches with the "fancy" wash job.
This means, of course, a long sit in the outdoor waiting area. I had just stopped at the Post Office to pick up my mail, so I was opening that and seeing if there was anything needing immediate attention.
In the waiting area, there is a television of sorts with a split screen. Half the screen shows billboard type advertisements. The other half shows CNN. This voice kept intruding into my thoughts. I kept thinking, "Who is this imbecile speaking?"