One more thing regarding the Sotomayor nomination...
I noticed yesterday that the Wall Street Journal and other conservative mouthpieces had taken up the cry against "empathy" which Sotomayor had at one point argued is an important trait for a judge to embody. The general argument is trying to use pigeonhole Sotomayor into the larger conservative frame that liberal judges are wishy-washy emotional basket cases while conservatives are cold, rational purveyors of the rule of law.
I find the argument against empathy kind of puzzling. The opposite of empathy isn't objective reason. Consider that the most famous people who lacked empathy were guys with names like Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, David Berkowitz and Jeffrey Dahmer. In our society those that lack empathy for other living things could generally be classified as "sociopaths," not brave defenders of reason above emotion.
There might be something to saying that all conservatives are sociopaths to a greater or lesser degree. That's not an argument I'm making here. I'd point out for example that conservatives have occasionally demonstrated great shows of empathy towards others, although usually it's finely focused on the rich, powerful or only those that they share direct personal experience (James Brady.)
On the other hand there's the example of the conservative Dick Cheney. It's clear to me that other different circumstances, were he not to have had the mechanisms of the federal government at his disposal to torture and maim others, Dick Cheney would have amassed a body count one way or the other. Had he been a video store clerk instead of a Secretary of Defense and Vice President I don't doubt for second that he would've eventually made the national news due to a horrific discovery in the freezer of his apartment. Cheney is quite clearly a sociopath.
Empathy is that which separates man from animal, christian from gentile, liberal from conservative and decent Supreme Court justice from Antonin Scalia. The idea that a judge that actually understands the implications of how she rules to all the citizens of this land would somehow be a bad something is the greatest form of lunacy.
On an unrelated note I have a review of "Drag Me To Hell" up at Swiney's place.
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