IN OTHER, NON-TRUMPIAN, BREATHLESS, BREAKING NEWS
RECENT SURVEY OF NEWSPAPER (NON-ONLINE) HEADLINES
Because online the only news is TRUMP!
OBAMA’S SHORT-LIST OF SUPREME COURT NOMINEES INCLUDES INDIAN AMERICAN
Sri Srinivasan, who is forty-nine years old, was born in India and is currently a judge on the District of Columbia Circuit Court. He was nominated to this position by President Obama in 2013 and was confirmed by a Senate vote of 97 to 0. Srinivasan was born in Chandigarh, India, but grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, having arrived in the United States with his family as a young child. After earning his undergraduate, business, and law degrees from Stanford University, he clerked for two Reagan appointees: Judge J. Harvey Wilkinson III and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. From there, he joined the firm of O’Melveny & Myers, where he worked between his stints in government. An overachiever if there ever was one.
He is difficult to label as particularly liberal or conservative. Like most potential nominees, he has refrained from taking public stances on hot-button issues like campaign finance, gun control, abortion law, and affirmative action. His three years on the D.C. Circuit do not reveal a particular judicial philosophy.
Srinivasan has spent much of his career in public service. As mentioned above, he served under five Solicitors General in both Democratic and Republican administrations. This résumé has won him credibility on both sides of the aisle. During his 2013 confirmation process, he received vocal support from influential conservatives Ted Olson and Paul Clement.
At O’Melveny & Myers, Srinivasan represented a wide array of clients in appellate litigation. One of his most notable arguments was Skilling v. United States, in which he defended the former C.E.O. of Enron against charges of “honest services” fraud. Another key argument was Sarei v. Rio Tinto, in which he defended a mining company from claims under the Alien Tort Statute. These positions have drawn criticism from labor and environmental groups. However, as MSNBC reports, many of these groups have recently withdrawn their concerns.
Srinivasan also did pro bono work at O’Melveny. In 2000, he worked on Bush v. Gore, representing Gore. In 2009, he defended a Palestinian immigrant accused of a drug felony. The case was ultimately argued before the Supreme Court, Abuelhawa v. United States.
Prior to joining the bench, Srinivasan published few written works. At Stanford, his law review notes addressed college financial aid and capital sentencing doctrine. In 2008, he criticized Indiana’s voter identification laws, arguing the Supreme Court should “exercise its independent judgment” to strike them down. In 2009, he questioned the “pro-business” reputation of the Roberts Court, suggesting some flaws with the label.
So given that the Republican controlled Senate has refused to even recognize that President Obama has the Constitutional right to nominate Supreme Court judges during his last 11 months in office following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, it’s hard to fathom who Obama might nominate. The two other short-listed candidates include Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and Paul Watford, a judge on the California-based Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. All three certainly lean more liberal than conservative and in no way resemble the conservative icons, Antonin Scalia and Silent Clarence Thomas.
I’m rooting for Srinivasan, even though he might appear to be a bit of an unknown when it comes to such issues as abortion, gay rights and other liberal causes. And from my experience, Indians can be very conservative even while being extremely polite and deferential. But, if by some wild chance he actually does come up for Senatorial “advice and consent” prior to the expiration of Obama’s term, I’m rooting for him. Knowing Indians as I do, there will a huge outpouring of anger and rage should Republicans demean and diminish Judge Srinivasan.
It’s a battle I’m looking forward to.
IN OTHER BREATHTAKING BREATHLESS NEWS: CDC FIGHTS ZIKA VIRUS
In a short announcement, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) down in Atlanta, recommended that folks stay at altitudes above 6,562 feet in order to avoid contact with the Zika virus. I’m assuming that women were the primary targets of this advice. Their reasoning is very solid and practical: mosquitoes don’t fare all that well at such heights, in fact, they don’t survive at all. Well, score one for the CDC.
Does this mean that in all of Latin America, let’s say, anyone – and I’m assuming women in particular in this case – who resides at an elevation of 6,561 feet or less, should pack up and move? Do they take their husbands with them? Their children? Pets? Now, I’m not sure of the exact number of women living in Honduras, or Argentina, or Brazil who will be affected by the CDC’s recommendation, but I suspect it’s a fairly large number.
Assuming that the same guidelines will apply right here in the US of A, I’m thinking that there are a number of our cities who fit the criteria: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, and, of course, my home town of Washington, D.C. since we sit at approximately 410 feet above sea level. So given just our largest cities – all of which are pretty far below the threshold altitude of 6,562 feet above sea level – fulfilling the CDC’s recommendation would involve the movement of some 57.5 million people, if the women are allowed to take their hubbies and kids along with them.
Now this would be a fairly daunting exercise and one that would, of course, mean some temporary dislocations. But hey, we’ve been through such “temporary dislocations” before like when Alan Greenspan told us all that GATT and NAFTA might cause some temporary dislocations in the structure of our economy some thirty years ago.
So, yes, there might be some resistance to such a large relocation effort but think of the positive side. The coal rich, Appalachian Mountains here in the East, are depressed, offering little in the way of jobs, and a large scale influx of new people would surely result in an explosion of employment opportunities for providing housing, food and medical care alone. I would imagine that West Virginia, one of the poorest sates in the union, might actually become one of our most prosperous following the resettlement. Same with the West Coast. Gold and silver mining in the Sierra Madre Mountains hasn’t employed a significant number of folks for about a century now. Imagine the goods and services that would have to be supplied to service 25 million or so additional residents. I mean the possibilities are endless! And, - it just occurred to me - such a movement would be right in line with Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. I’m thinking that he would be the perfect Altitude Czar to take on this task.
RUSSIAN BUSINESSMAN’S DEATH BECOMES MORE MYSTERIOUS
Back in November of last year, the body of one Mikhail Lesin, 57 years old, a close confident of Vlad Putin and a wealthy businessman, was found dead in a Dupont Circle hotel room, here in Washington. Back then, the cause of death, while listed as “Unknown” on his official D.C. Medical Examiner’s (coronor’s) death certificate, it was widely reported in the media as due to a heart attack. Apparently, however, new information reveals that he had been severly beaten. No one knows if this caused the heart attack, but apparently this new information is spawning any number of conspiracy theories.
Now, living in D.C. for as long as I have, one of the first “theories” that might be floated up when something like this happens, is that some Rent-A-Gay or Grindr hookup went seriously wrong. It would not be a unique occurrence here in the Gay Capital of the nation. But, given that Lesin is Russian and is or at least was a close friend of Putin (he purchased a couple of houses in California recently and was under investigation by U.S. authorities) there is some suspicion that he might have been murdered for disloyalty, Putin criticism or having neglected to pay back Putin’s loan that allowed him to amass a gigantic Russian media empire (NTV and Russia Today, e.g.). Of course such suspicions are supremely ridiculous.
The deaths of Boris Nemtsov, Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya, Sergei Magnitsky, Natalia Estemirova, Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova to name just a few of the journalists, confidents and Putin critics who have met mysterious and untimely ends, are certainly NO indication that Mr. Lesin was in any way taken out by Putin or KSB thugs. No. Of course not. How could you even imagine such a vicious thing. No, I suspect that when all the facts are in, we will be advised that Mikhail Lesin was secretly gay.
And there you have today’s round-up of Breathless, Breaking News!