Another thing we can always do on The Nose is talk about very, very shallow topics. Because, as Einstein said, “Sometimes you get so shallow, it starts to get deep.” Einstein was totally baked when he said this.
But yes! If you told me that Kim Kardashian’s book of her life told in selfies was lying there under the porte cochere, I would run out and get it and look at it even though my grasp of who she is is so vague as to be almost unpatriotic. Still a narcissistic machine understanding its own narcissism. The Singularity!
We can move on now, although it has to be said that if there’s an award for 2015 Hamburglar journalism, the field will be as thick as special sauce.
What if we don’t want to eat Mickey D’s? What if we want Whole Foods but we are still pretending to be poor with our friend Gwyneth?
This!!!! WF CEO John Mackey interviewed via Skype from his sex-cabana on Mars: “You have to evolve with the marketplace. We may have hit some limit of how much crazy money you can take away from stupid rich people.”* (*Made-up quote.) The Nose may discuss the name of this excellent new place, although panelist Taneisha Duggan sprinted ahead of us with SNAPeas.
Joan Rivers said: “Why cook? So your husband can tell some hooker ‘My wife makes great bread?’ ”
Why cook when there is a “Keurig for food?” Which is like “an electric chair for waffles.”
We know! We know! Over here at the New York Liberty, a WNBA basketball team, we were putting the finishing touches on our deal to have Isaiah Thomas take over as president, and a guy from the cleaning crew was passing through emptying wastebaskets and he said, “None of my business, but you might have some problems with your women’s fans because of his whole sexual harassment case.” And we said: What? Is some janitor telling us that Isaiah is not a huge win all around? What? Maybe in Peru where he comes from this is a bigger deal. But we thanked him. And then guess what: it almost seems like he was right!
Sports sports sports! My favorite NFL tradition is when the ref comes in right before the game and measures your balls. Or is that “Dancing With the Stars?” We’re not sure whether, on the Nose, we have anything new, anything meta, anything media-studies-y to say about Deflate-gate. But it’s more probable than not that we do! If nothing else, it should be the catch phrase of this weekend. But even if your spouse screams, “It’s more probable than not that you promised to take me to Chili’s, you @&%$!,” it is still not OK to pick her up and throw her. OK?
Unless you are Floyd Mayweather. It’s kind of amazing that, at the end of the Greatest Fight of the Century If It Had Been Held Five Years Earlier, there is a huge stinking scandal that does not involve Floyd. Instead, it involves Pacman, who decided he could beat Mayweather with one hand tied behind his back but did not tell anybody about this plan except possibly God. And now, he faces lawsuits from decent people who paid good money to see men hit each other much harder in the face.
Enjoy this post while I make a list of our non-sports possible topics.
One of the refrains from people who don’t like the way the Freddie Gray case has been covered is that all this coverage paints police in an unfair light. A Hartford Courant commenter named John McCommas wrote, in response to one oped: “The clear, unmistakable, indefensible blunt intent of your message on that lousy graffiti rock, ‘Black Lives Matter’, is that the lives of white police officers don’t matter. Not to you anyways.” An email to me from WNPR listener Walter complained that the tone of coverage relating to Gray was accompanied by the message that: “cops are not ‘real people.’ They are just bigoted murderers.”
I sure don’t feel that way. I know plenty of cops. They’re real people to me, and I want them to be good at their jobs. Their lives matter to me. I have always assumed that the #blacklivesmatter campaign was a way of saying “We want black lives to matter as much as white lives currently do.”
Anyway, writing back to Walter, I wanted to make the point that we’re not dehumanizing all cops if we acknowledge that there’s a problem in this country with death at the hands of police.
And then I wondered how often it happens per year.
As I get older, collective efforts seem like more fun, so I’m proud to stand with my colleagues at WNPR as Best Radio Station. Also won Best Blogger. I win every year because I’m the only name everybody knows. I’m a terrible blogger. Give it to someone else. Please.
If you do nothing else for me this week, listen to my interview with Nancy Butler, a wonderful, radiant lady who founded an “inclusive evangelical” (LGBTQ welcome!) church here. Nancy has ALS. You can’t see it the picture but she’s in a high tech wheelchair, still preaching on Sundays. I’ve been attending her church all month. I’ve learned a lot from her. Mostly about joy. (The t-shirt I’m wearing here says “God Listens.” It’s from a Christian radio station.)
What else? Today’s “wish I thought of it” image. Emily Nussbaum writing about Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall (the TV series, not the book, Broadway play or fragrance).
Pearls framing her cleavage, eyes narrowed, chin high, she seems eternally aware that she’s being watched, because she’s stuck inside a truly insane system, a reproductive panopticon in which all that matters is the illusion of virginity and the emergence of a male heir, as wombs are traded like unstable derivatives.
This guy nails the problem(s) with the White House Correspondents Dinner, a/k/a the Nerd Prom, although I sympathize slightly with attendees who are asked point blank to name their favorite White House Correspondent. A cool answer would have been to go vintage: “The ’74 Dan Rather.” From the current crop, Don Gonyea is always a nice answer. Mark Knoller is a super-wonky answer. And then there’s the Cheshire Cat.
On our Monday show, The Scramble, we’ve decided to bag that nerd prom and cover a different one. Maybe a little less nerdy. We’re talking about Kantchella. We’re talking about Nietzschepalooza. We’re talking about Lockestock. We’re talking about Frommaroo. We’re talking about the 62-philosopher smackdown. Here’s our guest for today on that one.
By 9 p.m. John Cage had given way to pounding disco classics from the 1970s in the embassy’s bookstore, Albertine. Over at the Ukrainian Institute, the coffee machine broke down. On the plus side, free charcuterie from D’Artagnan appeared. Speaking in the Ukrainian Institute’s concert hall, Susan Schneider, of the University of Connecticut, speculated about the nature of alien consciousness and cast doubt on whether extraterrestrial beings might be as interested in communicating with us as we are with them. “You don’t spend time reading a book to your goldfish,” she said.
Believe me, I came to this question with an open mind. It would have amused me if Connecticut were caught in an act of ahistorical hypocrisy, and I like being amused. In a different way, it would please me to say that our law is not like Indiana’s. I’m happy either way. So let’s look at the facts.
Connecticut’s law is relatively old. It dates back to 1993. You can read the text here. The law is restricted to interactions between the government and a person, and it says that the government can’t burden the person’s “exercise of religion” except in furtherance of a compelling government interest and even then only when the burden is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. That’s the whole law. You could say it screams out for court cases that will define terms like “exercise of religion” and “compelling government interest.” You could not say that it goes out of its way to define those terms on one side’s behalf. I was halfway into writing this post when Dan Klau, an actual lawyer, published his own take on it. He gives you some of the 1993 history here.
The Indiana law — read it here –is, of course, the modern, updated version. But that does not, in this case, mean “sleek.” The Indiana law is clunked up with new language, and most of that language is based on lawsuits from the intervening years. The purpose of the new language is almost invariably to make it easier for the party claiming religious injury to prove its case. Let’s pull this out of the realm of the abstract. Let us imagine that I am a communicant of the Church of the Giant White Serpent (CGWS). My church believes that blacks are inferior and that physically disabled people bear the mark of Cain. The First Amendment allows me to belong to such a distasteful church, provided I don’t go around inciting wrath. But now I would like to go a little further. I would like to open a lunch counter, and I would like to run it along the lines of my beliefs. What does the new Indiana law do for me?
1. Perhaps the biggest difference between Indiana and Connecticut is that the Indiana law does not restrict itself to state vs. person conflict. Instead it says I may make my argument “as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the judicial proceeding.” At my CGWS lunch counter, I make blacks sit separately and I don’t let disabled people in at all. It’s my religion! The Connecticut law deals only with my rights vis a vis the state, but the Indiana law arms me against complaints from private parties. I can kick out the guy in the wheelchair, and I’m on firmer legal ground, even if he sues me. In Connecticut, I don’t really have any spelled out rights until the Attorney General shows up and tells me I have to seat African-Americans and blind people alongside my regular customers.
2. But wait. There’s more. Indiana’s law affirms that I can assert that my exercise of religion has been burdened “whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” So I don’t even have to prove that my intolerance toward blacks and the disabled is a central tenet of the CGWS, just that it’s in the mix somewhere. (So don’t fall for the argument that Indiana’s law has a higher burden of proof because it uses the phrase “substantially burdened” while Connecticut’s does not. The Indiana law is in other respects explicit about how insubstantial the burden can be. Also, see item 3. )
3. What else can Indiana do for me? Well, it can say that I don’t have to prove a burden to seek relief. I can claim I am “likely to be substantially burdened.” What does that mean? I have no idea, but I hope my CGWS attorneys will argue that even the possibility that someone — a government agent or a private party — will show up and claim I’m in the wrong is more than my pretty little white head should have to bear.
4. The Indiana law spells out four forms of relief. Go ask Klau what that means. It’s certainly different from the CT law.
5. Is that it, Indiana? I mean, I’m just a little guy, a lunch counter owner whose religion contains important teachings about the pernicious nature of blacks and disabled people. What chance do I have if the government shows up claiming that it has a compelling interest in making me serve these children of a lesser god?
In Connecticut, that killjoy George Jepsen is probably going to shut down my racist lunch counter with the argument that it is not an exercise of religion. It’s just a damn lunch counter. George would say I’m not exercising my religion when I’m making and selling sandwiches.
But the new Indiana law includes, in its definition of a (possibly burdened) person “a partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation, a company, a firm, a society, a joint-stock company, an unincorporated association, or another entity that: (A) may sue and be sued; and (B) exercises practices that are compelled or limited by a system of religious belief held by: (i) an individual; or (ii) the individuals; who have control and substantial ownership of the entity, regardless of whether the entity is organized and operated for profit or nonprofit purposes.” Whoa! This is certainly not in the Connecticut statute. I am engaging in protected religious exercises when I’m making and selling (or refusing to sell) liverwurst sandwiches. Who knew?
In conclusion, anybody who tells you Indiana and Connecticut have the same RFRA law is a big fat liar.
Now, if my lunch counter refuses to serve gay couples, yet another difference kicks in which is not contained in the two laws. Connecticut affords specific protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation — oh God, please, don’t make me explain “quasi suspect classification!” — whereas Indiana does not. I suppose you could say that the new Indiana RFRA strengthens the capacity of business to discriminate against gays, as opposed to creating a whole new capacity. (Klau, any thoughts?)
What you cannot say, however, is that our beloved Porcupine has failed to note the similarities between the Connecticut and Indiana laws. They are not the same laws — in intent or letter.
With no money for staff and upkeep of our once-proud state park system, why not knock things down and market the faux ruins?
A second concept, called an “ecological park,” would involve restoration of a historic building as a visitor center, while other buildings may be demolished or restored to a ruined state to preserve the spirit of the history of the property.
The great thing about this is idea is that when the park falls into neglect, nobody will be able to tell!
An “attractive ruin” is a building left intentionally in a ruined state intended to be evocative of the structure’s historical uses.