Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grammy Awards Lose the Remaining Credibility They Had

With Beyonce winning more Grammys in one night than any other female artist in history, the awards have finally lost whatever remaining credibility they had. RIP Grammys.

Consider the women who Beyonce has bested. They include: Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Sade, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Mariah Carey, and Chaka Khan. Pity.

PS: This is not entirely the fault of the Grammys. It is also a reflection of the absolutely bankrupt state of the contemporary pop/r&b music scene.

Update: Apparently, in one night, Beyonce won the same amount of Grammys that Whitney Houston has won in her entire career, and she topped Mariah Carey's five.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Video Footage of President Obama Speaking at House Republican Retreat

Most commentators have argued that President Obama scored major points by "debating" House Republicans at their recent legislative retreat. Think Progress reports that, off-the-record, some Republicans regret allowing cameras to capture the event. Alas, here is the video footage of the proceedings.




CBS Is Homophobic; Network Offers Insulting and Dishonest Reason for Rejecting Gay Dating Ad

CBS has refused to air a gay men's dating service advertisement. In a statement to ManCrunch (the sponsor), CBS says: "After reviewing the ad, which is entirely commercial in nature, our standards and practices department decided not to accept this particular spot. . . We are always open to working with a client on alternative submissions." CBS also says that the advertisement "is not within the Network's broadcast standards for Super Bowl Sunday."

TRANSLATION: Although we will air commercials about Tim Tebow's mother's reproductive choices, cow flatulence, urination, erectile dysfunction, beer guzzling dudes, E-Harmony, Match.Com, and heterosexuality as a general matter, we think that the sight of two gay men making out is offensive or that the scene will offend our audience.

Some readers may recall that during Superbowl 2007, CBS aired a Snicker's commercial in which two men "accidentally" kiss and then have a meltdown about the moment. One of the men suggests that they "do something manly" to overcome it. This spot was fine, but a "real" gay kiss is substandard.

CBS is insulting its viewers. The Network's deceitful explanation for rejecting the advertisement only makes matters worse.

PS: Here's the ad. It's actually quite funny -- except I was a little troubled with the black guy staring in amazement at the sight of two gay men.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Run: Facts! Conservative Bloggers Have a "Huh?" Moment When President Obama Proclaims He Cut Taxes

Media Matters has an entertaining post that examines the disbelief among conservative bloggers for Fox News and the Washington Times, who could not grip the fact that Obama has advocated and secured legislation lowering taxes:

In response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union assertion that "we cut taxes," live bloggers for FoxNews.com and WashingtonTimes.com reacted with incredulity. However, Obama did cut taxes for most Americans: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included $288 billion in tax relief.
For more information, visit Media Matters.

Justice Alito Visibly Reacts to Obama's Criticism of the Supreme Court

During the State of the Union Address, President Obama criticized the Supreme Court's recent 5-4 decision in Citizen United. That case invalidated the restraints on corporate political spending commanded by McCain-Feingold legislation. The decision has led to harsh criticism among political and legal commentators.

President Obama had already criticized the ruling, but he used the platform of the SOTUA to reiterate his opposition. Obama said that the ruling would "open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign companies — to spend without limit in our elections." President Obama's criticism is in-line with the arguments of many legal critics and with the position of the four liberal dissenting justices.

Alito Was Visibly Upset
Justice Alto winced when President Obama criticized the ruling. Some observers have said that he also mouthed the words "not true" in response to President Obama's critique. The rest of the justices were stone-faced, as usual, during the entire speech.

Presidents Have Criticized the Court Before
Coincidentally, during my Constitutional Law class earlier this week, we discussed political constraints on the Supreme Court -- including criticism of the Court by members of Congress and by the President. Compared with other historical moments, Obama's criticism was somewhat mild.

FDR probably offered the most caustic criticism of the Court and its rulings. Jefferson also harshly criticized the Court, but a lot of his criticism reflected his contempt for Chief Justice John Marshall. Lincoln famously criticized the Dred Scot decision, and President Jackson disagreed with the Court on the constitutionality of a federally chartered bank.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union: 2010

Here is the prepared text (not an official transcript): SOTUA

It's about to start. What do you think? Post in the comments section.

What Will Hillary Clinton Do Next?

Politico reports that during a recent interview with Tavis Smiley, Hillary Clinton indicated that she would probably decline to serve as Secretary of State for a second term:
TAVIS SMILEY: Finally, there’s already speculation about whether or not Secretary Clinton is going to do this for the full first time, and whether or not she has any interest if asked to stay on to do it for eight years? You see how tough the job is, can you imagine yourself doing all four years and, if asked, doing it for another four years?

HILLARY CLINTON: No, I really can’t. I mean, it is just…

TAVIS SMILEY: No to what? All four or eight?

HILLARY CLINTON: The whole, the whole eight, I mean, that that would be very challenging. But I, you know, I don't wanna make any predictions sitting here, I’m honored to serve, I serve at the pleasure of the President, but it’s a, it’s a 24/7 job, and I think at some point, I will be very happy to LAUGHS pass it on to someone else.
Clinton also reiterated her lack of interest in running for president in 2012:
TAVIS SMILEY: And finally, just for the record, you have said before, emphatically, in fact, that you are not interested in running again for President of the United States, I’m taking your answer now to mean that that’s still the same?

HILLARY CLINTON: Absolutely not interested.
We shall see what the future brings for HRC. I have learned not to make any predictions with the Clintons. They love to surprise us.

Can Obama Re-Inspire Voters?

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama seemingly could do nothing wrong. The media and his supporters denounced his reporters as "more of the same." Whenever he received new endorsements, they denounced his competitors. And he won the election with record voter turnout.

Those days seem like a distant past. Much of the glow surrounding President Obama has diminished. The economy remains sluggish. The political left feels that Obama has betrayed them. The media dissect everything he does, rather than offering effusive praise. And conservatives feel embolden by Republican victories in Massachusetts and New Jersey.

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert -- one of Obama's strongest supporters -- argues that the president suffers from a "credibility gap." Herbert contends that Obama's inconsistencies on major policy issues could fuel additional voter discontent and confusion:
Mr. Obama may be personally very appealing, but he has positioned himself all over the political map: the anti-Iraq war candidate who escalated the war in Afghanistan; the opponent of health insurance mandates who made a mandate to buy insurance the centerpiece of his plan; the president who stocked his administration with Wall Street insiders and went to the mat for the banks and big corporations, but who is now trying to present himself as a born-again populist.

Mr. Obama is in danger of being perceived as someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always be trusted. He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens much more he won’t be able to close it.
Ironically, many media personalities and voters who supported Obama's candidacy said that they found his "non-ideological" style refreshing. Early this year, many media commentators, responding to liberal anger, praised Obama as a "pragmatist" and condemned progressives as ideologues.

I am inclined to agree with Herbert who finds Obama's lack of a firm commitment to issues a problem for him. By seeking to appease all sides and (especially) to abandon the liberal base of the Democratic Party, Obama comes across as a weak leader. With so much on the line, tonight's State of the Union Address should prove interesting.

Healthcare Hiatus

Congressional Democrats have tabled healthcare discussions -- according to major news outlets. The loss of a Massachusetts Democratic Senate position and growing public unease with the proposed legislation undoubtedly has caused Democrats to grow chilly towards one of President Obama's most important domestic policy proposals.

Monday, January 25, 2010

DISSENTING JUSTICE Returns

After finishing a long fall semester, enjoying some time with the family, attending a professional conference, revamping my Constitutional Law class, and starting a new semester, I am ready to resume posting on Dissenting Justice. I hope everyone had a good holiday season!
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