SCOTUS, umpire? Nah.

Remember this?

Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them.

The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules.

But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.

Judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent, shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath.


Mr. Chairman, I come before the committee with no agenda.

I have no platform.

Judges are not politicians…

That was Justice John Roberts’ opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the nomination hearing which would eventually result in his elevation to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Now then.

the Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily blocked the administration’s effort to combat global warming by regulating emissions from coal-fired power plants.


…the Supreme Court’s willingness to issue a stay while the case proceeds was an early hint that the program could face a skeptical reception from the justices.

The 5-to-4 vote, with the court’s four liberal members dissenting, was unprecedented — the Supreme Court had never before granted a request to halt a regulation before review by a federal appeals court.

Just an umpire, huh? No agenda, Mr. Chief Justice?

You’re a liar, John Roberts. You are a dishonest judge. You lied when you said those words in front of the Judiciary Committee. You are acting as a partisan Republican whose friends have prevailed on you and your party to protect them from regulations which might cause them economic harm. I suspect you know better but are doing so out of party loyalty, which is the most craven of reasons.

Me and this moose, see…

Well, not really. But I saw a funny thing on the PBS program “Nature” a few minutes ago and it reminded me of something. Tonight’s episode is entitled “Moose: Life of a Twig-Eater.” It documents the year a photographer named Hugo Kitching spent in Jasper National Park in Alberta as he observed a mother moose and her calf, trying to understand why only an estimated 30% or so of calves survive their first year.

That was all fascinating enough, but at one point Mama Moose and her baby discover Kitching’s SUV and the road salt which encrusts its bumpers, and they really like it. Moose13It reminded me of the single season I spent as manager of the high school wrestling team, which really meant I was the guy who handed out towels and shoveled the sweaty dirty uniforms into a laundry cart. Come to think of it, who washed and dried that stuff?

The other thing I handed out, though, was salt tablets. They were used to provide sodium and chloride to the wrestlers who lost water and dehydrated as a result of vigorous practice. They fell out of favor after Gatorade and other sports drinks were developed, because those provide more of the electrolytes needed than the tablets do. In 1966, though, salt tablets were all we had, and those guys coming off the mats and heading for the showers really liked them.

New Hampshire Primary

Trump and Sanders win. That’s what the media will focus on, and that’s okay.

What worries me is that the media will then start claiming Governor Kasich is the new “Establishment” front runner and the uninformed hordes will fall for him.

Kasich is no moderate. He’s an anti-access abortion opponent:

the Ohio governor is anything but moderate, signing a slew of restrictive laws that have closed nearly half his state’s clinics.


Laws signed by Kasich prohibit almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, mandate ultrasounds before a woman can get an abortion and require abortion clinics to establish formal written agreements with local hospitals about emergency care — a provision that has been repeatedly modified to be even more restrictive and make it harder for clinics to comply.

He’s an anti-union man who in his first year in office lobbied for and signed legislation which

would have impacted the state’s 400,000 public workers, restricting their ability to strike and collectively bargain. The bill would have limited public employees to collectively bargain for wages, preventing them from collectively bargaining for health insurance and pensions. It would also have prohibited all public employees from striking and could have increased employee contributions for pensions and healthcare.

Ohio voters overturned that legislation in the following election and he hasn’t returned to it, but in May of 2015 he overturned executive orders signed by the previous Governor which gave union rights to home health care workers who do business with the state of Ohio. His reasoning: the Affordable Care Act gives them “more opportunities to obtain health insurance.”

No, Governor Kasich is no moderate. He’s just the least nasty of the remaining crowd of Republicans trying to get the party’s nomination to the Presidency.

A long-delayed appreciation

Cory Wells of Three Dog Night died in October of last year of myeloma. He was the second member of the band to die, following keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon, who died of melanoma in 2014.

I always liked Three Dog Night. There was something joyous about their performances. They could sing serious songs and then follow up with something as dopey as that bullfrog song. Even the title of that one (Joy to the World) confused the unwary since it shares the name of a beloved religious Christmas song.

Here’s Wells singing lead on one of the band’s hits.

So retire, Peyton

Go out on top after tonight’s win. You’ve tied your brother for most Super Bowl wins in the family, you’ve tied your boss Mr. Elway for most wins by a QB in the organization, and I don’t think you could throw a football thirty yards downfield again if you had to. Congratulations on a great career.

With this 24-10 score the average difference in all 50 Super Bowls is 14.32 points, down 0.01 from the average after 49 games.

Super Bowl Day prep

Got all the laundry done and (mostly) folded and put away.

Got the makings for the crab dip and made it without scorching the saucepan too badly.

Declined to get Panthers or Broncos jerseys to wear while watching. If the 49ers were in it, now…

I guess I’m ready. Vegas has the late money tilting toward the Broncos, but I can’t see why. I’ll pick the Panthers by 5 points; I don’t think Peyton Manning can beat the Panthers’ defense, and I do think Cam Newton can beat the Broncos’ defense just enough.

Age has snuck up on me, apparently

Incident in a CVS drugstore this afternoon:

Three people in line at the cash register, two of them in their early 20s, one newly 65-year-old guy. The first guy in line has earbuds but is paying attention to what’s happening in line.

The old guy notices the second dude has four 24-oz cans of Bud Light on the conveyor, says “Watch the Super Bowl ads for that stuff on Sunday. I know a guy who appears as a farmer in one of them.”

Dude says “Really? Cool.”

First dude says “Where’s your friend live?”

Old guy says “L.A.”

First guy says “I’m going there next week.” He pulls off his earbuds and says to the old guy, “You ever heard of Bruce Springsteen? I’m listening to him right now. I’m doing a photo shoot over there.”

Shoot me now.

Buffalo Springfield begat CSN and Poco

and Poco never got the credit it deserved. They were playing country rock two years before The Eagles formed and made all the money. Poco had seven solid albums which never sold anywhere near as much as their record company or they themselves hoped. After multiple changes in personnel they finally started to sell with the 1978 album Legend. They were unable to duplicate the success of that album, though, and struggled on until they lost their recording contract.

If you’ve forgotten their personnel, they were Richie Furay and Jim Messina from Springfield, George Grantham and Rusty Young of Boenzee Cryque (a Denver act), and Randy Meisner of an LA band called The Poor. Meisner went on to play with Linda Ronstadt’s backing band and was a founding member of The Eagles. Messina went on to join Kenny Loggins in a very successful duo act for half-a-dozen years before going back to his full-time job as recording engineer and producer. Grantham and Young stayed with Poco for the next 35 years. Furay left the band and played briefly with J.D. Souther and Chris Hillman in the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band before its breakup. He became an evangelical Christian while with the SHF band and later released several solo albums in the Christian rock style.

Here’s one of Richie Furay’s best-known songs. It was the title track of the band’s fifth album.