Saturday, May 30, 2009

How We Pick Judges

Like most ordinary citizens, I am not a follower of judicial careers, and can't with any authority weigh in on the reputation or qualifications of any sitting judicial appointees, at any level of the Federal Bench.

So my post here will have nothing whatever to say about the qualifications of Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nomination for the soon-to-be-vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Like most Americans--certainly the vast majority--I know absolutely nothing about her record, the decisions she's been involved in, or the "trend" of her biases.

What I find most troubling about these appointments, is the way in which nearly everyone in the media accepts the politically correct prejudice that such appointments should "reflect" the racial, ethnic, sexual and political "complexion" of present-day America. Which is another way of saying that the quota (affirmative action) system must be applied to the selection of judges, just as it is utilized in other Federal and State selection criteria.

The Supreme Court is a crucial body. It decides cases at the highest level, often having the broadest influence and effects upon our society. Ideally, we want people in it who have a comprehensive knowledge of the law, historically and practically, and who have a deep sympathy for all sectors of the electorate, not just the downtrodden, but everyone.

The criteria for choosing a Supreme Court justice must include this knowledge, as well as a requisite amount of practical experience in hearing a variety of cases. Those without this knowledge, or without this experience, come unqualified and unprepared.  

But the nomination criteria has evolved over the last half century, into a contest between ideological extremism on the one hand, and politically correct affirmative action on the other. 

Obama's "choice" for a nominee was expected to reflect the liberal habit of picking someone who would "represent" the full panoply of reparation, parity, "points", etc. In other words, employing criteria based on racial, sexual, ethnic and other "non-qualifying" measures to determine suitability.

Is it possible to nominate individuals who possess both the combination of knowledge and experience needed to qualify them for Supreme Court duty, while also honoring (if that were really necessary) the other criteria now being used?

Of course. 

Like all true nominations and appointments based on merit and potential, the selection process should be "blind" (like justice) to irrelevant factors and conditions. We shouldn't be willing to "compromise" our primary criteria, to suit some special preference or prejudice. Whites shouldn't prefer Whites, and Blacks shouldn't prefer Blacks, etc. 

This is true whether or not you think that all politics is partisan and inherently biased. The ideal condition of selection and performance should be based on real qualifications, not on race, color, creed, sex, ethnicity or national origin. 

What troubles me is the bland acceptance on the part of the media of the a priori bias of the selection.  Sotomayor is a woman, she is "Latino" (Puerto Rican descent), was "deprived" (poor and raised by a single parent), and (as some have speculated) possibly even Lesbian. In other words, the primary criteria for her selection appears to have been the number of non-essential, non-qualifying criteria which she embodied.  

Politicians know that the general public is not only totally ignorant when it comes to the record and character of these nominees, it cynically believes that this doesn't even matter. What they seek is a partisan representative, who also appears to pander to all the politically correct categories of "eligibility." Everyone assumes that these nominees are vetted on the basis of their biases, and that in order to merit consideration, they should come from among one or more of the "preferred" sub-groups of preference.

The media likes to make the claim that appointing minorities has a wonderfully positive effect on poor, ethnic, or otherwise marginalized citizens, especially children. Isn't it just as true, perhaps even more so, that the message we send to all citizens with these kinds of nominations and appointments, is that true qualifications don't really matter, that people are chosen because of those very criteria which our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence deemed to be unfair, unequal, and repugnant? 

It has become so very difficult, in our present environment, to speak openly about these issues, without seeming to be either arrogantly bigoted, or viciously partisan. But why must this be so? If Obama is the paragon of virtue and intellectual honesty, why must he choose according to criteria which fly straight in the face of our primary political principles?

Why must we choose an African American, such as Justice Thomas, whose qualifications appear to have been inferior, to say the least, simply because he was, very atypically and astonishingly, a Black Man with an extreme Conservative bent? It is, in effect, a way actually of arguing on behalf of an Uncle Tom, a compliant Servant who will do the Master's bidding. 

If the Sotomayor nomination is supposed to be "payback" for Latino votes and support in "key" election States, let's hope people see through this transparent attempt to seduce minority voters into thinking that anyone in Washington really cares what they think, or want, or, indeed, what our nation really needs or deserves, from its elected representatives.

The Sotomayor nomination is an embarrassment. Not because she may, or may not, be qualified, but because her qualifications (whatever they are) are secondary. 


Kirby Olson said...

Standpoint politics, like standpoint poetics, argues that the demographics of an individual must be honored, and that we have to have "compassion," and "empathy," for the blighted. There are entire blighted communities. All of Latin America qualifies as blighted, by comparison to all of Protestant northern America. It's partially that the Papacy disallowed the Reformation in the lands they owned, and among the population they controlled, so that whereas in northern Europe freedom of inquiry was an absolute (Luther demanded this), in Latin countries everything (even science) had to agree with the Papal mood of the moment.

There's a sense in which many parts of the country have now come to believe that their parts are blighted because white Protestants have stolen from them, and there is a general unwillingness to think that the blight came from within their own communities -- because of their own demented beliefs and lack of brains on a STRUCTURAL scale (the Papacy, in which all power is placed in the hands of a single individual, has historically been almost as corrupt as Marxism, in which all power is placed in the hands of a Kim Jong-Ill, or a Nicolae Ceausescu).

Sotomayor is probably no worse than anyone else who believes that white Protestant privilege was established on the backs of blighted communities (her judgement with regard to the firefighters of Connecticut says it all).

It's just that that model is wrong.

Once you wipe out white Protestant groups, you'd just have another Mexico, or another Columbia, or another Rwanda.

The point is to defend and spread Protestant (Lutheran) values, so that more countries have the fairness of the Nordics. It will take another 500 years.

This woman will stand in the way of that with her bad decisions, and her misunderstanding of the ways in which to cure blighted communities. Not be excusing them, or blaming their problems on another group, but by converting them, and increasing freedom of inquiry, individual moral responsibility, and tighter marriages, for starters.

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Curtis Faville said...

Georgie: I haven't listened to any smash-mouth radio for weeks, so I have no idea what they're saying about Sotomayor.

My post is NOT a criticism of Sotomayor's record, because I have NO information about that.

What IS clear, is that her nomination was based--preordained might be the relevant word--first upon the categories of preference which she embodied. Rather than choosing "blind" with respect to these fake "qualifications" as it should be, those aspects were EMPHASIZED--they were first level criteria.


Even more perfect!

Now, what about her qualifications?,,,

Let's not be obtuse, here. If everyone is equally qualified, then you pick your friends, or you pick from your favorite flavor. Or you say eeny-meeny-minee-mo.

But if everyone is NOT equally qualified, you choose based on qualifications.

The Obama crew didn't do this. They set out deliberately to choose FROM AMONG A SELECT GROUP OF PREFERRED POSSIBLES.

If you set the most important criteria aside for preferences, you're not doing your job. You're just practicing bigotry. It's disgusting.

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Curtis Faville said...


I have no idea what kind of a job Sotomayor will do, or what her biases are. That's been pretty effectively obscured so far by the media. They all say "it will need to be studied".


How much did we know about Thomas when he was nominated?


I'm not even sure the Congress is capable of effectively vetting candidates. They're probably too stupid to do it.

But we know that the process has NOTHING to do with qualifications. It's all about partisanship, and putting on over on the opposition.

NO WHITE GUYS need apply, this time around, because Roberts was the token WHITE GUY last time. Tokenism. Preferences. Partisan politics.

What has any of that to do with real qualifications.


It's a disgrace.

Curtis Faville said...


What about the "categories" of eligibility do you disagree with?

I'm not moaning about my own loss of privilege, I'm just saddened that my nation appoints people on the basis of these false criteria.

Don't you see that it doesn't matter AT ALL, what her qualifications are?

She may be completely qualified, but that is really beside the point. She's chosen FIRST for these preferences, and second for her biases, and third for her qualifications. The qualifications are so trivial a part of the process, that they really have no bearing whatsoever on the selection.

That should bother you.

Curtis Faville said...

I haven't listened to Hannity about this, and I have no desire to. He doesn't have the brains to comment on it.

I'm against affirmative (re)action, preferences and set-asides.

That's what drives my bias here.

Nothing America has ever accomplished has been the result of these tendencies. They're basically a form of corruption. The more it happens, the more cynical the electorate becomes.

Ed Baker said...


I was born in Washington
D.C 1942

and still live

inside the beltway

after a half-our FIRST meeting just last week

"YOU'RE IT! Acause I am a scholar from Columbia and Harvard AND a Constitutional Law Expert... bar none. So, you are "it". and together we will put the last nail in the coffin of the Republican Party"


this could drive me crazy... if I wasn't already nutz!

well thank the WASP's One True Good (Greed) that America abide by and subscribes to

The Rule of Law and The Washington Post!

(is this the right box
ofr is it the left?

what ever happened to Adalai now that we need him? we'r still stuck with Ike and Nixon!

and that Alzheimer's "moron" who got us into this mess that cowboy actor

pee est I watched the Phillies/Nats game last night THE EMPIRE WAS BLIND on the replays just about every strike to a Washington Senator was outside of the blue strike-zone box!

I'm fucking taking this to the Supreme Court!

(such as it is)

hey when y'all come here to protest march I got plenty of room to crash!

Kirby Olson said...

Race doesn't matter. Culture matters. This woman clearly has a Marxist viewpoint. It's bad, culturally, because it leads inexorably to N. Korea, Zimbabwe, etc.

It says -- you must steal back what was stolen from you. And it authorizes this.

Protestantism argues the opposite -- what you have must be created by you with your own work ethic. Nothing else belongs to you.

I'd like more Protestants on the bench -- esp. Lutherans.

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Kirby Olson said...

Hannity and Oberman are the same: a couple of Cyclopsean dorks.

The two together in one mind might offer us some perspective.

Curtis Faville said...


It was widely reported in at least three different television and radio venues, that the Obama "team" had "narrowed the field of candidates" to three female jurists. Obama's people freely and unashamedly confessed that the President "intended" to nominate a woman for the high court, regardless of any other considerations.

I didn't make this stuff up.

If your first consideration in working up a short-list is "it has to be a woman" it seems to me you're betraying a prejudice which has little to do with your responsibility to recommend the best available candidates.

It's altogether possible that a woman WOULD be the best possible candidate, but setting ground-rules at the outset that whoever you nominate will necessarily be a woman, before any other criteria are applied...well, what's the sense in that?

How do you think the nomination process should take place? Would you start by saying that your nominee should, for example, be an African American, would that be a fair criteria to apply? Isn't that just as prejudicial and bigoted as saying that your nominee should be white, or male, or Gay, or disabled, or single?

Why do I have the hunch that were I to advocate the confirmation of Sotomayor, you'd set aside all your indignation and congratulate me on my prescient, perspicacious support, sans any substantive documentation I might be able to furnish about her qualifications or suitability?

It's my point, which you seem unable to confront, that my objection to the PROCESS is that no one outside a very few informed individuals inside the Beltway knows ANYTHING about her performance or history. She's been nominated to fulfill certain politically advantageous constituencies, which have little or nothing to do with her real qualifications.

It's possible--I hope it's so--that she IS qualified and even-tempered and not nakedly partisan in her biases, unlike Justice Thomas. But the process by which she's been ushered into the queue is not encouraging. It's so much like the Thomas nomination that it's like deja-vue all over again.

In the immortal words of Yogi.

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Ed Baker said...

"I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today--my own government."

--Martin Luther King, Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967

let s just wait and let our duly elected congress-persons
do their job on this selection

meanwhile Who's on first? That's right, and
I don't give a darn!

now to Hardball and In the Situation Room to find out what I apposed to think ,,,

Kirby Olson said...

When Michelle Obama said her thing about how she had never been proud of America, and when Sotomayor said her thing about how white men can't judge as well as wise Latina women they were both on university campuses, and they were speaking in the local currency of gender and racial vengeance, but outside of the campuses, they may be somewhat more balanced and less insane with rage than they would otherwise seem from the sound bytes taken from their campus visits.

Many campuses have become madrassas of race and gender vengeance -- using SdB, and not so much MLK (who wanted fair judgment based on character, rather than race), as Cornel West and the Duke non-diversity crew of '88, etc.

But it also means that they will go along with whatever crowd they're in -- chameleons -- blending in with the background, and trying to speak in whatever currency they can capitalize on. In this respect Michelle Obama is a lot like her husband.

As for Sotomayor -- we hardly know her -- a few phrases, and a few pictures (she's overweight by about 80 pounds). Her BMI must be way out of sync with any norms, and thus, she probably won't last long on the bench anyhoo before she keels.

Kirby Olson said...

Also, about ten percent of blacks are conservatives in financial matters, nearly all of them are culturally conservative in terms of gay rights, and traditional marriage.

Clarence Thomas is not as rare as he seems. There are a lot of blacks like him about. Another one (even smarter) is Thomas Sowell. But there's at least a million blacks in the country who are cultural and financial conservatives.

It's Obama that's the rarity. He is, first of all, an East African -- most blacks in this country are West African. Most blacks in this country have a legacy of slavery in the deep south. But Obama's family roots go through East Africa. They look different, more like western Europeans, with aquiline noses, and generally, thinner, with a less significant BMI.

Curtis Faville said...


I don't mind your sarcasm at all (though gratuitous cussing doesn't help get your point across, it just makes you look exasperated).

I just wish you could apply principles equally.

You raise the issue of white supremacy, then answer that social ill by suggesting that we simply turn the tables and grant preference to non-whites., among other categories. This is simply discrimination with another badge.

Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, fairness before the law. These aren't neo-conservative "talking points"--they're the basis of our laws.

Obama's shortlist didn't "happen to be women." He deliberately decided, beforehand, that he would choose a woman.

Sotomayor apparently is a very talented woman, excelled throughout her educational track, and has no black marks on the ledger.

As a social liberal, I'd probably advocate going to almost any lengths to insure that Roe vs. Wade isn't overturned. But the measure of your principles is that you hold them, even when it is politically inconvenient to do so.

I despise the process by which Judge Thomas was vetted in the same way I do in the Sotomayor instance. Both were nominated for the wrong reasons. In Thomas's case, discussion of his judicial principles was hardly remarked, his qualifications hardly addressed in his confirmation hearings. The primary criteria were 1) Must be minority (Black), and 2) Must have conservative ("constructionist") views.

With Sotomayor, the very same process is taking place.

"I also wonder what you think of the court up until non-whites began being appointed: was it not the case that before any notion of qualification arose, the judge had to be WHITE and, usually, protestant to even be in the running? "

Are you asserting that because whites once dominated the nomination process, non-white protestants must now be excluded from it? Isn't this just the same exclusionary dogma you pretend to despise in the first instance?

Judge Thomas was such a lame choice because of this very vetting process. They had so much trouble finding a conservative Black judge, that he was the best they could do. It was an embarrassment.

Sotomayor seems less of an embarrassment in her own right, but the process of her selection is just as corrupt as Thomas's was, and for the same reasons.

Note that I made no claims to be reviewing Sotomayor's suitability. I don't have the information or the expertise to do that, anyway. She's just a pawn, really, in the overall picture. It's the selection process that bothers me. I think it's a rigged game.

Ed Baker said...

"She's just a pawn, really, in the overall picture. It's the selection process that bothers me. I think it's a rigged game."

"rigged" you say in this democratic Republic of Me First?

and where are the congressional voices? on this on The Auto Bail-out? etc

who's in charge?

what does any any congress person (or the president's peeps for that matter) know about running an auto industry?

it doesn't/didn't matter who got the WHITE House

here is the lone sane congressman:

I am SHOCKED especially that I thought OB and who yanks his chain would appoint a REAL minority person

a wasp male republican!

Curtis Faville said...

Taking another tack, I will grant you that all such appointments are truly "political" in nature.

But the very political nature of the appointment process which dictates whom you choose as candidates, should begin with principles, not race, creed, color, sex, ethnicity or national origin. To the degree that such categories (conditions) are in fact political phenomena is a measure of how much corrupting prejudice we're willing to use in compromising those principles. The more we politicize race, creed, color, sex, ethnicity etc., the more weight and importance we give to them. Is this a good thing?

Which is more important in selecting a Supreme Court judge?

A race
B creed
C color
D sex (+sexual preference)
E ethnicity
F national origin
G marital status
H judicial experience
I education
J political affiliations
K political biases
L age
M health
N physical appearance
O presentability
P ?

I submit that the selection process is presently based on honoring the politically correct "affirmative" categories FIRST, and then everything else SECOND.

Curtis Faville said...

With all due respect, Kirby, I don't think we can go back to measuring bodies or facial characteristics for determining suitability for hiring and promotion. We're not going there.

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Curtis Faville said...


Now you've really got me on the run. Isn't John Yoo the one who vetted the Bush torture orders? Providing "legal" justification for them?

Has Yoo weighed in on the Sotomayor nomination?

If so, I need to know about it.

Yoo is a monster.

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jh said...

i think what everyone here is tactfully ignoring is the fact that sotomayer is a catholic
that will mean 6 count 'em 6 catholix on the big bench scalia kennedy roberts alito thomas and the new dame

as long as the jews hold down
wall street and hollywood
it shouldn't matter that much now should it

she's sort of attractive
i'd live with her if she'd do most of the cooking
i'm looking around for a smart concubine


Kirby Olson said...

Sotomayor herself believes that race is the essential in determining who's what. I think she's always believed this, and that her remark is therefore not incidental. She wrote a letter to the Princeton U. newspaper in 1974 that shows that even as an undergraduate this was the way her mind worked, and she hasn't gotten off target on that since. The letter is here:

She argues that there IS a Puerto Rican sensibility that has been ignored, and that must be studied by all, and that it's more important than studying Russian or something else, because it's closer geographically, etc. This is part of her thinking -- always has been, is now, and probably always will be.

Like it or not, I think the letter shows a strong trend to the woman's mind. Obama not only knows, but accepts this.

At any rate, Curtis, I don't think we can measure any kind of facial or other characteristic either. I don't think it determines anything. But a lot of people believe that it does determine culture -- but I don't think it does.

I'm only pointing out that if it does, Obama has no more share of the West African cultural diaspora that wants reparations than does a Boer from S. Africa. Not that I'm equating the two except insofar as neither one shared the slave experience. (I think you missed my point, in other words.)

I'm NOT saying we should go back to saying that we should apply a pair of calipers and get into noses and hair length, or get into the phrenology of cranial bumps, etc.

I'm just saying that if you do this, and say that there is such a thing as A Puerto Rican sensibility, or a Latina sensibility, or an African American sensibility, you will always be wrong, and you shouldn't be doing that.

I think MLK is the better way to go -- measure each person by their own character -- NOT by their demographic.

I think this is what you're saying, too.

But I don't think it's what Sotomayor is saying. I think she's saying measure me by my race, which is better and wiser than yours, by dint of the suffering it has undergone.

I think Obama was saying something similar with all his blather about "change," except that he was donning the garb of another group's suffering to which he wasn't even entitled -- being half-white and half EASTERN-AFRICAN.

The racial discourse has gotten very sophisticated, and is used very cleverly by a lot of very good con artists for lots of advancement. But advancement ought to be solely on merit.

That's why I think I am on the same page as you.

However, I do think merit is very tricky, and very difficult to assess, esp. in areas as crazy as legal opinion, or aesthetics.

Easier to assess where it's quantitative: how many points did LeBron James get, versus how many Kobe got, for instance. Then, it's easier. But even then it's not a slam dunk.

Curtis Faville said...


I think it may well be that Sotomayor has superior capabilities, and judicial insight and judgment (that's kind of a tautology, I guess, but...).

The point is you can't be sure of making correct personnel choices when you're governed by these affirmative action principles which dictate advantage based on race, sex and origin.

I worked for the Federal Government for 27 years, and it was a non-stop theatre of underclass advancement based on special pleading and reparation. It made everyone very cynical; it made those who'd been given this unfair advantage cocky and belligerent, because they knew they were untouchable. And because they experienced power as corruption, first-hand, that's what they thought it meant, so they exercised it in a corrupt way. The minority circus has been going on for decades now, in the civil service, and it's unstoppable, it's like a glacier.

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Anonymous said...

Take man's most fantastic invention -- God. Man invents God in the image of his longings, in the image of what he wants to be, then proceeds to imitate that image, vie with it, and strive to overcome it.
-- Eric Hoffer (attributed: source unknown)

To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
-- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 215 (1955), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
-- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 222 (1955), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both.
-- Eric Hoffer (attributed: source unknown)

jh said...

ny times article today calls
sotomayer a cultural catholic
which is cool
interculturation has been all the rage
god speaking through many cultures
since the sixties
and not just one big roman latin one

eric hoffer was a little off on the man inventing god thing
it's an easy argument to make
but the whole push of judaism was
against this tendency
they had (and still possess i am sure) the insight or the intuition that the god they're talkin about was like nothing they could make or grasp or describe easily...still they made him a player in the narratives...the christians brought carnality into the picture...hoffer never understood that either...he was always going off on these half-assed anthropological generalizations...i did like his book - the true believer - though...i think he hit on something there...he made a coherent case framed a picture for the mindset of the ignorant zealotry that so often takes people off the deep end...either for religious or political agendas

it's always interesting to get a sense of what gets the big crowd going

pour moi
the wisdom is in the retreat
a la chief joseph
but that too can be perilous

the most recent mass movement that seems to have the world in a dither is the unspoken faith in humanism...humans for the sake of humans...armed with reason and science the world will just get progressively better...who needs religion hollywood xboxes..hell -this machine...thus all the banality of entertainment and hyped up ego grooming passing for education

i'm inclined to agree with you curtis on this one
the pretense involved in the decision is just too much...but were similar arguments launched against the thurgood marshall choice???

you'd think though that the deliberation would stand away from political grandstanding...yet maybe in the market of available judges today there is no such thing as an elite...they're all about the same...some a bit more liberal or conservative than others that's all

every appointee from here on in is going to represent the political biases of the man or woman in charge...that's the ball game today...these are the umpires

Kirby Olson said...

I confess I see her as a Nazi, not a Catholic. Her letter read to me as Mein Kampf -- who's the enemy?

Your race has injured my race, my race should be studied, and yours should be destroyed.

I don't think people should think about race. People did this in the thirties -- Hitler drew up a hierarchy of which races were to be exterminated, but there is only the human race.

It wasn't just Hitler. He came out of a tremendous watershed -- Comte de Gobelin, phrenology, bizarre stuff -- huge welters of racial (racist) thought that has somehow survived into our time, and proliferates now throughout so-called multiculturalist communities.

Sotomayor doesn't trot out a final solution, and she doesn't go on quite as long as Hitler did in Mein Kampf, but the lack of a sense of humor, and the sense that she's thinking through purely racial categories is hilarious. Many people are thinking like this, and the universities proliferate with race-thought -- it's slovenly, and is just going to redo the worst aspects of the thirties.

Then she insists that studying Russian wouldn't get us as far as studying her culture (washed-up dregs of Counter-Reformation Spanish colonialism -- where's the profit in studying that, esp. if you have to argue that there's nothing wrong in it, and it's something to be celebrated?)

Maybe the main thing is a total lack of a sense of humor.

I don't see skin color as a thought. I can't understand how you can think about skin color. I don't think you really can.

Hitler did. Call that thought?

Today's so-called multiculturalists do. Call that thought?

Mein Kampf. Everybody should write one, I guess, every culture should have their Hitler, and we should judge each other accordingly.

And then we can redo race battles incessantly -- every day another Blitzkrieg, every day another Stalingrad.

I'd rather concentrate on aesthetics, and on the economics described by John Nash -- trading between cultures, and endless mixing, instead of identifying an enemy, identifying a friend, and proceeding to set up the gas chambers for those who aren't of our ilk.

This race-thinking is going on throughout the culture -- the truth about Obama is that he's president because he's black. He's a first.

Actually, he's just another human being. When we have a cow for president, that will be a first.

Anonymous said...

qualifications are always secondary to the perception of how will the candidate fit in the opening, otherwise how would you decide between equally qualified candidates. i've been turned down for many jobs where i sensed my color, gender, or age wasn't quite right. yes, this bothered me, but so what? i'm well-educated, smart and a hard worker. something else would come along. i've also been completely ignored by some employers for being overqualified.

qualifications are not the only factor; they are usually the factor that gets you in the door, but they don't always land you the job. sotomayor, since i trust obama because i voted for him, must be qualified. was she presented that way to the media? yes, but so was her background--as was mine when i interviewed for my last position. unfortunately, rather than acknowledging her qualifications, most writers and pundits are readily admitting they know nothing about her qualifications, and are instead initiating discussions about her background because they know it's a hot button and will attract readers.

incidentally, i believe you are letting your own bias regarding your employment experiences taint your understanding of the importance of affirmative action. the history and politics of our country required affirmative action. the practice will dwindle as the power structure shifts adequately towards more equality and comfortability for minority group members. the mandatory desegregation of government jobs was the best place to start, if only to provide an example to the private sector of what's expected.

Curtis Faville said...

Dear Anon:

It's funny about experience. If you have no first-hand experience of something, opponents will tell you "you don't know what you're talking about, you have no first-hand experience of this matter."

Then, if you reference some substantial first-hand experience, opponents will say "you're letting your own experience cloud your judgment, you can't see the matter objectively."

Which is it?

Seems like it depends on the case--whatever people want to make of your "evidence" or experience, they will. You can't help that.

Reparations and set-asides may have begun as well-meaning attempts to "right wrongs" and set up parity, but they inevitably corrupt all who participate in them. You can't legislate fairness through institutionalized discrimination. I've seen it first hand, and I can report to you that it doesn't work. I'm not in the least bitter about it anymore, because I'm 8 years retired and it will never touch me again; I took a job which was completely out of my range of skills and training, and no one is to blame for that, but me. But the damage discrimination does--primary or "reverse"--is permanent.

Setting up priorities based on demographics and sex and race and gender is fundamentally un-American, and shouldn't be perpetuated. We're 150 years from Emancipation, and at least 75 years from Jim Crow. Whatever lingering racism still exists won't be stamped out by reverse discrimination.

"Qualifications are always secondary."

I don't believe that, and neither should you. Hiring should always be based on the most qualified--what other criteria would you recommend?

Anonymous said...

well, i do believe that qualifications get you in the door, but after that it's really up to your background and personality and what the employer is looking for, and oftentimes they are not the same thing.

referring to the promotion of diversity as reverse discrimination is ignorant at best.

what is fundamentally american: racism? do you really believe the power structures would change based on what...? jim crow is still crowing in my neck of the white world of america. i can't get through a weekend in northern suburbia without hearing some kind of racial slur. if these people are doing the hiring down the street, who do you think they are leaning towards.

jh said...

i'm not sure if photographs ever do justice to a face
and maybe her smile is really warm in real life
i read into her glare into the camera lense
a sort of highstrung latino attitude
you want puerto rican i'll give you puerto rican heh heh
don't stand in my way
i'm coming for you
i don't know
it's a little scary to look at her
i take it back
i don't think she and i would be compatible at all
except maybe in church

what's in a photo?

as for qualification
there are a few different sorts of consideration
my father used to tell the story of a doctor he hired into his clinic
on paper the person was top of the class published in medical journals
(out east) everything going
a personality capable of adapting to a new environment
boston is not west montana
so after a year or so of dramatic personality clashes the doctor left

i don't suppose that's a factor on the court bench

but sometimes i think it is worthwhile to look at people who may be underqualified compared to others but they possess human attributes which are harder to put on some situations personality goes quite a bit further than expertise

sometimes i get the sense in the music world even in the classical music world that drivenness a sort of professional compulsion gets a person farther than raw talent

a shy person may be capable to do a job just fine but the employer is attracted to the hungry gogetter who really really wants the job


Anonymous said...

"what other criteria would you recommend?"

after 2 years of EE at Junior College (1962-1964) under Rickover at Main Navy as a civilian

operating 1401 and 7070 computers for BUSHIPS

orke 4-12 pm so I could go to day college and learn about the American War

whe n Rickover said something one night about parking in his parking space I told him

go drop your napalm bombs on Milwaukee,


had I not been fire and had remained in Gov't I'd of retired in 1996

as a grade 13 or 14 with a today's pension of $64,000 per year plus Blu Cross plus Medicare + SS!

as it Is I live, now on $400 SS per month!

my recommendation criteria?

is this a trick question?

I would say anyone who has experience on a bread-line or looks terrific in the nude!

Anonymous said...

I confess I see her as a Nazi, not a Catholic. Her letter read to me as Mein Kampf -- who's the enemy?


just this morning I asked google "what religion was Hitler?"

let's see if I can find the answer!

yeah here:

WOW! and just guess who Hitler's religious hero was!

anothe Roman Catholic who was also a hate-monger and excommunicated!


Kirby Olson said...

The Sotomayor Wikipedia page is quite good. At Princeton she helped set up a Latina studies course, advocated for hiring more Hispanic profs, and that's been pretty much what she's done all her life: closely advocating for what she considers to be her people.

I find it crazy to be such a narrow advocate of one group with which one identifies.

They say that "the personal is the political."

And I suppose no one could bear witness to that fact more than Hitler himself -- with his Mein Kampf.

I still find it regrettable that anyone should identify themselves on the basis of race. It's very disquieting, and scary.

One of your commenters says that will stop once the quotas are filled. That's more or less the line of the Communist Party -- the party will wither away once it's established itself.

But the party got more and more insular, and became a kind of royalty in almost every country where that thing got going.

Against all that are a few lone voices -- Thomas Sowell's is one in his book AGAINST affirmative action (he's black). This is part of a review of it:

"Preferring members of specified groups in higher education, employment, receipt of government services, getting business contracts, and so on is a worldwide phenomenon whose effects are demonstrable. Black economist Sowell focuses on affirmative action in India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and the U.S. In those nations, preferences for minorities metamorphosed into preferences for majorities (e.g., women, when made affirmative-action candidates in the U.S., tipped the numbers of the preferred to more than half the populace), intergroup friction increased (Sri Lanka, once a model of ethnic cooperation, descended into civil war, as did Nigeria), "brain drain" occurred (in Malaysia, preferences for less-educated Malays led to massive Chinese emigration and the ouster of Chinese-dominated Singapore from the Malay federation), and/or something else bad happened. Most damning is that in all five countries, the upper crust of preferred groups reaped the lion's share of benefits. Affirmative action is never rejected, however, because it is evaluated "in terms of its rationales and goals rather than its actual consequences." Invaluable argumentation, more accessible than usual for Sowell." Ray Olson

0000000 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curtis Faville said...

Why do people continue to push their own agenda when the original post is so clear?

As we stated from the outset, this is NOT a criticism of Sotomayor. What any candidate is, is a combination of experience and knowledge and character. No one chooses to be born what he/she is. It's unavoidable.

My criticism is of the selection process, which I find objectionable. The media lies down and pretends not to notice how biased and unfair the process is. We can't talk about it, because all minority issues are hands off. Hot potato.

Nonsense. If you say that the next nomination for the Supreme Court "must be a woman" you're being dishonest and disingenuous. It isn't fair and it isn't responsible and it isn't democratic.

Dear Anonymous:

"referring to the promotion of diversity as reverse discrimination is ignorant at best."

Nope. Promotion on the basis of "diversity" (which is a code word for minority preferences) is ignorant. No one of intelligence buys it anymore. It's worn-out, discredited nonsense.

Get over it and move on.

jh said...

little adolph even attended
a benedictine school in austria for awhile
i don't know why he hated the church so much
but he sure wanted to destroy rome
let's hope he wasn't abused
he was pretty ecumenical however
he had protestants jews and catholics all working for him
i'd be the first to acknowledge there's been some pretty bad catholics

i never have figured out what he had against the gypsies

torquemada was a little jewish boy
and then a viscious catholic

here comes everybody


Anonymous said...

WELL this post from the other anonamos calling Sotomyer a Nazi was not in my original comment


the other Roman Catholic the one wh Adolf Hitler ,whow was also a Catolic, admired was Martin Luther!!! a hate monger wow wanted to kill All Jews...

Luther was booted out of the Catholic into the protestant revolution

this other Anonomous isn;t me...

this blogging stuff is and most likely always has been HORSE SHIT!

jh said...

when obama voted against john roberts he was worried that
on issues where legal process had limits and the "heart" of the judge had to weigh in roberts would fail -he'd propose to impose the law where perhaps compassion was necessary...and the little guy would hold the short end of the is that taking off the wrap around the eyes of justice???...i don't know...i mean it is a little ridiculous to divorce human consideration from jurisprudence and expect the principles to be sufficient on every issue....even if the justice is as stoic as they come that will be a factor somehow evident in any given decision

sotomayers' picture on time this week is far more gentle...she looks like someone we could sit down and drink coffee with....maybe we're past the day when the highest level folks have to represent an elite...maybe the court needs a dumb vote or two...i actually think she'll be much will it matter in the long run...there's always a balance somewhere

o and anonymous
luther effectively excommunicated himself...there were efforts in diplomatic resolution and he adamantly snubbed them...those were some dark days


Kirby Olson said...

Lutherans not only were the only institution that continued to stand against Hitler, but actually attempted to assassinate him. Then, only institution in Eastern Europe to stand up against the communists -- the revolutions of 1989 began in Lutheran churches -- in Romania in Timisoara it began with a Lutheran bishop who had dissed Ceausescu, and was relieved of his duties -- then children with candles surrounded his church and were shot by Securitate -- this act of civil disobedience opened the indignation that brought down Ceausescu -- something similar happened in E. Germany where the anti-communism emanated out of Bach's former church in Leipzig. In Estonia, it was something similar.

Czech leaders in 68 against the Kremlin were Lutherans.

Hitler wasn't a Christian -- although he was raised as one. He was a green pagan who believed in identity politics.

Anonymous said...

curtis, if indeed, obama, said, "the next nomination needs to be a woman," i don't consider that "dishonest or disingenuous," i consider it transparent.

also, with this blog, aren't you part of the media you are deriding as somehow laying down on the job. it's all spin, my friend, and now it's you who are spinning.

a little self-centered cynicism never hurt anybody's wallet. institutionalized -isms, on the other, are frequently deal-breakers when it comes to hiring practices. without quotas, i imagine good people of color or breasts would never have found an economic foothold in government or private sector.

incidentally, how would you handle the current racial disparities in, say, an industry such as construction, where most of the contracts are awarded to mainly white contractors?

Anonymous said...

p.s. i don't like having to wait for comments to be approved by you. i thought you were against censorhip.

Ed Baker said...

well that other anonymous
who wrote:

"Curtis, if indeed, obama..."
"p.s. i don't like having to esit.."

ain't me!

he, she or it is a bogus


I AM the original Anonymous

and unlike this other anon am largely ignored!

it s gonna be neat after the 50 states become countries and "book"

just like France !


I like you waiting to post...

you've never edited me out... though Ron and Don have.. and fucking saved my ass from seeming silly...



now our new leader is increasing the budget for the military

increaing the military
increasing munitions/weapons production
increasing military salaries, benifits and

size s i z e of the number of troops

just in time to go after the demons 40 miles north of Seoul!

now he's appointing a new secretary of the Army!

where is all of the money/gold coming from we gotta repay China with solid currency for all of the debt of USA they've taken on!



lets just sell some more poetry books, print more money and raise
everybody's taxes to 90%

they're at abou 62 % of a dollar's worth which (the dollar) is worth about 45 cents..

who to prey (pray) on next?

think I'll curl up with a good book:

Our Lady of the Flowers

and jerk-off that's still free

Kirby Olson said...

I do think that Curtis should allow immediate comments-posting, too, but he argues that he doesn't know how to change it. Sometimes you have to wait 12 hours while he's imbibing drinks, and rolling flavors around on his tongue, while editing Eigner for the Eigneramuses.

Anonymous said...

89 % of teh Republican Party are white.

no wonder they (the republicans) are against this Lady...

good thing the decision is via 100 (mostly intelligent lawyers) are
our DULY elected deciders!

ohh now today China owns what was our most useful ground weapon in Iraq..

The HV or HUMMER..

we developed it now they will improve upon it and export it to Iran, N Korea, etc..

ever see it in operation in our first Iraq war? in the desert?


on the streets of Bagdad

if only we'd of had better under-car shields fewer of our "boys" would have been blown up maimed or dead.

Curtis Faville said...

Dear Anonymous:

This blog isn't "part of the media." The "media" are the news services, the broadcasting franchises, and the known partisan sites which have specific, public agendas.

I'm just a mite scumbling around in its dust.

"Quotas" is just a highly visible example of the worst kind of reverse discrimination. You don't fight discrimination with more discrimination; you fight it by NOT discriminating. Then, when and if a minority person qualifies, it's totally legitimate, and no one has any beef. No "points", no "bootstrapping", no "compensation." My ancestors fought on the side of the North in the Civil War. Do I get "points" too?

In a truly democratic society, there are no "racial disparities". So what we want is a truly democratic society, not more preferences.

With respect to posting and moderating. I swore when I started this blog that I wouldn't ever censor someone on a political basis, and I'll stick by that. What I will do, however, is prevent people from persecuting others anonymously, or burdening everyone with scatology, or mindlessly spamming. Otherwise, you're on your own, folks, take responsibility for your own words!

Kirby Olson said...

I'm just adding a comment to make everyone look at what was added. Also, I wanted you to get to 51.