- Glenn Sonnenberg
Musings from the Bunker 9/24/20
Greetings and good morning!
THE SUPREME COURT
I want to share a few of the many comments I’ve received this week regarding the Supreme Court (I’m weighing in again tomorrow);
From David Lash:
I completely agree that Trump has every Constitutional right to nominate a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg. He is elected for four years, not three years and nine months, and is vested with full Constitutional authority for the entirety of his term. McConnell selectively reduced that to three years. I guess maybe he read the Constitution now and changed his tune??! Can you imagine if McConnell had said that other presidential powers expired after three years and that Obama could not name a new Secretary of State or could not sign legislation into law?? But while I agree that Trump has the constitutional authority to send the name of his nominee to the Senate and have a hearing, he has no right to do so in a world where fairness is the standard, his colleagues (McConnell) having robbed him of that. But because fairness has no place in this Administration, I fully expect him to seat his nominee. Of course, in this perilous time, there will be no historical precedent for it.
From Jerry Papazian (it was just a matter of time before the West Wing references!):
Thanks for your musings on RBG and Scalia. I don’t know if you were ever a West Wing fan (I was), but my favorite episode remains to this day to be “The Supremes” - https://slate.com/culture/2016/02/the-west-wing-episode-the-supremes-prefigured-the-controversy-around-scalia-s-replacement-in-eerie-detail.html - when the President ends up avoiding a mediocre choice to fill an open seat by asking the liberal Chief Justice to step down as well which allows the appointment of a new liberal Chief Justice and a new “thinking” conservative Very Scalia/Ginsburg. Could never happen then, or today, but we can dream.
From Mark DiMaria (relax Mark, maybe you’ll agree with me tomorrow…):
In one of an endless list of mendacious affronts to our civic structure by blocking consideration of the nomination of Merrick Garland (who was no one's idea of an ideologue) nearly a full year in advance of the election, McConnell should be forced to live by that rule -- regardless of our fervent hope that we will return to the old system in the future. In his initial comments after Justice Ginsburg's passing, Vice President Biden noted that no nomination to the high court had been processed in as little time as currently remains before the election. Given that historical context, and particularly with whom we are dealing, this is no time to break the old speed record. If they should choose to take that path, I think that the only way to reign in the process in the future is for a Democratic Congress and Administration to expand the Court by three seats, to "undo" these abuses and provide the precedent for a remedy for future violations.
THE ELECTION AND ELECTORAL COLLEGE, REDUX
From The Atlantic, this is a must-read. Chilling and disturbing…https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=cr&utm_campaign=oct-cover-actives&utm_content=20200923&silverid-ref=Mzk1NDE3ODg4NDIzS0
RULES OF CIVILITY—GEORGE WASHINGTON
When I quoted the Amor Towles book title Rules of Civility, I wracked my brain to recall who originally coined the term (and I didn’t bother to research it). Leave it to the Queen of Literacy, Julie Robinson, to answer the question. It was George Washington, who actually compiled a list. Here are all 110 of his rules: https://managers.usc.edu/files/2015/05/George-Washingtons-Rules.pdf
Number 110 is perhaps the most valuable of all, and the one most needed today:
“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
QUIRKY BASEBALL PLAYERS
A week ago, I solicited funny stories about fabled ball players from our favorite teams. These stories transcend the sport of baseball. Somehow, the “dead time” between innings, the long road trips and season, and the fact one needn’t be in top physical shape (particularly in the “old days”) renders baseball ideal for the quirkiest of personalities. Here is one of the first responses, from Howard Kroll:
The daffiest Dodger was Babe Herman, who played for Brooklyn in the late 1920’s. According to Wikipedia, Herman was one of the most noted power hitters of the late 1920s and early 1930s. His .393 batting average, .678 slugging percentage, 241 hits and 416 total bases in 1930 remain Dodgers franchise records. However, he was a bit goofy. My favorite story about him is when he doubled into a double play.
In 1926 against the Boston Braves, Herman tried to stretch a double off the right field wall into a triple with one out and the bases loaded. Chick Fewster, who had been on first base, advanced to third base – which was already occupied by Dazzy Vance, who had started on second base but became caught in a rundown between third and home and was dashing back to third. All three men ended up on third base, with Herman not having watched the play in front of him. The Braves' third baseman, Eddie Taylor, tagged all three just to be sure of getting as many outs as possible. The slow-footed Vance had been a major contributor to the situation, but according to the rules, because he was the lead runner and not forced to advance, he was entitled to third base, so umpire Beans Reardon called Herman and Fewster out. Thus, Herman "doubled into a double play." Herman later complained that no one remembered that he drove in the winning run on the play. The incident led to the popular joke:
· "The Dodgers have three men on base!"
· "Oh, yeah? Which base?"
Also, twice Herman stopped to watch a home run while running the bases and was passed by the hitter, in each case causing the home run to count only as a single.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
Several people have commented on my comment Monday that I remain positive—STILL... I offer up “Accentuate the Positive,” by Johnny Mercer, sung by Paul McCartney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwp-IvX8VM8 and by Ella Fitzgerald: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJI7kc6s0l4
Let’s try to accentuate the positive,