Voir Dire


This right can be found in the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution where it states the right to an impartial jury. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that a jury’s verdict is not tainted by biases that jurors may harbor before being presented with a particular case.

Readily recognized biases include anthropocentrism.



Year of the Water Rabbit


It is true what they say:

The pooka has the power of human speech, and has been known to give advice and lead people away from harm. Though the pooka enjoys confusing and often terrifying humans, it is considered to be benevolent.



As Forbidding Balloon over Gotham City fuels tension...


...will Batman and Robin manage to thwart the apogean menace?



The Most Interesting Man in the World


James Madison wrote in Federalist 52 that the House of Representatives “should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate sympathy with, the people.”

Don’t make too much of this, but as I was reading the news today, it occurred to me that in spite of such longstanding assumptions, public approval of congress as an institution is consistently low (currently at 21 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll.)

As a 2014 study by researchers at Princeton and Northwestern (Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens) serves to remind us:

One very old question posed by a modern republic involves how elected representatives should behave once sworn into office.

Who governs? Who really rules? To what extent is the broad body of U.S. citizens sovereign, semi-sovereign, or largely powerless?

One may end-up wondering (like I was - it's a legitimate question) whether voters can recall a member of the United States Congress, in the same way citizens can attempt to remove an elected official from office in one of those 19 States that allow recall elections.

You know:

That sort of thing.

I had to look it up—I am just an interested layman, not a political science expert. The answer is they cannot.

There are no circumstances allowed by the Federal Constitution under which the people can recall a member of Congress.

But, even if it were possible, would the threat of being recalled make members of congress more accountable to the people who elected them? I doubt it. As the authors of the Cambridge study (who are political scientists) summarize it:

Given the nature of the beast, it seems doubtful, whether the power to recall a member of congress (or for that matter, any other solutions that have been thus far suggested by political scientists, such as campaign finance reform, open primaries or ranked-voting) is ever likely to fix the issue. If you ask me, it will only compound the problem and just make things worse.



Listen to them — children of the night.


What music they make.

I mean, don't you just  ❤️ Washington?

That picture says it all, one of those moments in time that truly encapsulates the dynamic of power in Washington. 👇🏼

What is he thinking, one wonders...

"Who is that woman?"

He looks mildly amused. And more than a little patronizing.

"Progressive Democrats! They are so cute, at that age."

Aren't they, though?

It's like a meeting between the CEO of some big corporation and an inexperienced delegate from some fledgling union. She went in there with some demands, presented in a very deferential, some would say obsequiously submissive way, and came out with nothing. And worse, reneged apologetically, some would say abjectly, on her demands. And, even worse, renounced and disavowed the people who had placed their trust in her to represent them. I mean, WOW! 😮 Spineless much?

Or was it just political Kabuki?

Who knows?

People like Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (above), or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her like, are wet behind the ears, and shaking in their boots in the presence of the ageless vampires of Washington DC. Some of them mean well (in spite of their impotency and lack of know-how to change anything), most know better and are well aware that they owe their position to the good will of the undeads and will keep that position only so long as they remain in the good graces of those vampires who will eat them alive if they cross them.

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one of them, young and lacking experience in Washington political jungle, except that she was brave enough to stand her ground. Not everyone has that kind of courage — or reckless audacity.

One knows what it got her.

And who knows what became of supposedly more experienced politicians, like former Rep. Dennis John Kucinich?

Or, reputedly savvy politicians, the like of the senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders?



Merciful Heaven!

... O, but man, proud man!
Drest in a little brief authorithy...

His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
—William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act. 2, Scene 2

...O, but man—proud man—with a little, brief power in his hands...
He mimics the essence of God like an angry ape, playing such awful tricks that the angels weep. If they had mortal bodies like us, they'd laugh themselves to death.

Meanwhile in the jungle:

I wonder why?