Congrats to the Pistons

Hmm. Could it be – that the LA Lakers are going to say bye-bye to its winning ways? Could it be that the Detroit Pistons are the NBA champions? Hmm.

Linda Greenhouse of the NY Times puts in her two cents on the Pledge of Allegiance case. I like the way she highlights irony in the whole situation:

The competing opinions [between J. Stevens vs. the opinions of Ch. J. Rehnquist, J. O’Connor, and J. Thomas] on Monday were portraits in irony, some probably intentional and some, perhaps, not. Justice Stevens, one of the court’s most liberal members, offered a paean to judicial restraint in explaining why the court should not reach the merits of the case.

The “unelected, unrepresentative judiciary in our kind of government” should not reach out unnecessarily to decide cases, Justice Stevens said, quoting from an opinion written in 1983 by the conservative icon Robert H. Bork, then an appeals court judge. Justice Stevens is a consummate craftsman, and the sly reference was clearly intentional.

Greenhouse also notes:

In her opinion, Justice O’Connor called the pledge a permissible example of “ceremonial deism” rather than religious worship, similar, she said, to the words the Supreme Court’s marshal intones at the start of each session: “God save the United States and this honorable court.”

“Ceremonial deism”? Uh, ok. But, just because it’s ceremonial doesn’t mean it’s constitutional, is it? But, if we had struck down the “under God” of the Pledge, what would it mean for “God save the United States and this honorable court,” and “In God We Trust” – traditionally entrenched, if nothing else (“traditionally entrenched” makes more sense than “ceremonial deism”). Well, I’m not a justice of the Supreme Court.

I’m trying to figure out whether the Jackie Chan version of “Around the World in 80 Days” is worth it or not. Stephen Holden of the NY Times says it’s okay, but Reuters says it isn’t. I liked the David Niven version (1956). It felt more like the book (which I also liked), with Passepartout (even if he was played by a Mexican actor) the French valet doing quirky stuff and the Indian princess charming Niven’s Phileas Fogg. Indian princess, folks – an Asian woman presence (even if she was played by Shirley MacLaine, a white woman). Chan’s version foregoes bothering with actresses posing as Asian women; his Passepartout (yeah, Chan plays a faux French valet this time; will Passepartout ever be played by a Frenchman?) works for a Fogg whose love interest in a French woman (huh?). Oh, and California’s Governor Shwarzenegger makes a cameo appearance (which he did before becoming governor). If someone sees this movie, let me know how it went; hard to say if I’ll see it. (sidenote – a tv version with Pierce Brosnan as Fogg was especially good, if I can remember it). gives more for free storage. Ooooh. Awesome. See what happens when capitalist competition works? Yahoo felt threatened by Google’s Gmail, and thus gives the Yahoo’ers more. Yeah!

Pardon me as I go Yahoo…

Car Crash

While having a late lunch of fried chicken with my co-workers, there was a sudden commotion. Loud screeching of brakes… a crash… short popping sounds.. thunk. We all dashed to the balcony to see what had happened. A black car seemed to have hit the side of an SUV, causing it to veer left into a telephone booth. The SUV had done a 360, blowing out its wheels as it knocked over a woman standing on the traffic median. The entire NYPD school safety force happened to be around the corner, so the intersection was quickly swarmed by black vehicles. They didn’t seem to have that much experience in traffic control though. The woman was down for the count: someone who seemed to be a doctor was furiously checking vital signs, but not attempting to move. The other cops had swarmed to her. After five long minutes, a fire truck and ambulances showed up. Six or seven people were taken out in back boards, apparently in serious condition. I hope everything works out for the injured.