Another "collection of random thoughts" post.
First, the world mourns Rosa Parks, who died last week. Those of us who grew up in the 1990s tend to forget how much black Americans had to pay for their freedom - and continue to have to pay for it. We will never have a true democracy until the voices of the poor and oppressed are heard alongside those of the rich and powerful. Acts of simple defiance like Parks' have built our democracy - acts of simple defiance will continue to build it. (Not the acts of self-aggrandizing defiance that characterize today's activists on both sides.)
Second, Samuel Alito has been nominated to the Court. I think he's a Scalia clone. In fact, I hear they're having trouble finding his birth certificate. They can only trace him back to a super-secret robotics lab built thirty years ago by Barry Goldwater and the Federalist Society. That probably won't affect his confirmation - Republican senators can easily paint Alito's opposition as anti-android.
Seriously, though, I'm surprised Bush picked someone who might force him to break his citizen detention habit. Alito seems to have a fairly thin record on terrorism cases - at least, the Post didn't report any as among his bigger decisions. He doesn't seem to have much use for discrimination/harrassment laws - one of his more interesting decisions is a case where he overruled a Pennsylvania school district's anti-harrassment policy on First Amendment grounds. (This is a really interesting opinion, and as both a gay-rights advocate and a First Amendment geek, I'm somewhat torn...)
Alito seems to have overruled state law a lot, which is a bit hypocritical since his famous dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey is based on the principle of deference to the legislature. Oh well, I guess consistency isn't what anyone would expect from a Scalia clone. At least he's pro-student media - he ruled against a state law forbidding a college paper from accepting an advertisement from an alcoholic beverage vendor.
Third: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadickheadijad apparently thinks Israel should be destroyed. My colleague Andy wryly noted that the only way he could have made those comments more offensive is by saying, "You know what? We should gas them while we're at it." The hell with crossing the line - he didn't even wave at the line on his way past. When the French accuse you of being anti-Semitic and when the U.N. rebukes you, you know you're pretty dumb. One Iranian satirist put it this way: "Now there’s Iran on one side and Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania against us on the other." But there's a silver lining for the Iranian idiotocracy: Antarctica hasn't gotten into the mix yet.
Fourth: Scooter Libby has been indicted. We can all sleep soundly tonight.
Fifth: 36-0?!?!?!?! What happened? Did some high school team sneak in, put on 'Skins uniforms, and play? Actually, probably not - a high school team would have at least scored some points. Also, Rutgers is bowl eligible - which means that unless Vandy takes out two of its last three opponents (and Tennessee looks beatable, so that is possible), we'll lay claim to the longest bowl drought in Div. I-A. Whee.
Sixth: More stupidity from Hugo Chavez. Seriously, dude. Halloween is not an American government plot. You're starting to sound like Joseph McCarthy. All you need is a lot of alcohol. Also, Iran expands its "destroy Israel" policy to include mannequins.
Seventh: check out this guy who tried to charge women to date him so he could raise money for a political campaign.