What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books. - Thomas Carlyle

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" - Pooh's Little Instruction Book

Bookworm - Carl Spitzweg

Monday, July 25, 2005

Make it better?

After last night's meeting to discuss the latest book I was left wondering what we could do to make the reading club better.

What do you expect from the club? More fun? More information? Explosive discussions? (Perhaps more wine / liquor, too? Just kidding.) Let everyone know of your expectations.

What changes would you like to see in the book-discussion meetings? Would you like to propose a different format? Do you feel encouraged to opine?

Do you have any new ideas for the club?

Well, here is the floor for everyone to rant and rave. The better you express your thoughts now, the better the club becomes. Thanks.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Suggestions - books for next reading

It's time to pick our next book! So, please post your recommendations as comments to this post.

We will be gathering suggestions and recommendations until July 31.

Get cracking, peeps!

Meeting: 'Reading Lolita in Tehran' - Sunday July 24, 2005

Just a quick reminder that we will be meeting on Sunday, July 24th, to discuss 'Reading Lolita in Tehran'. The meeting will be at my home at 6:30PM.

Please sign up to bring any of the following for the meeting:
- grapes
- apple / some other fruit
- celery & dip
- spreadable cheese and crackers
- hard cheese to go with wine
- 1 bottle of red wine
- 1 bottle of white wine

I will send another email with directions (and another reminder) early next week.

Please come prepared with questions.

Happy worming!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Activist Judges

I understand this is a bit off topic - and a bit late - but I just finished reading this op-ed from NY Times and thought it would be useful for everyone to know.

Onto the op-ed. The article describes an activist judge this way:

"Declaring an act of Congress unconstitutional is the boldest thing a judge can do. That's because Congress, as an elected legislative body representing the entire nation, makes decisions that can be presumed to possess a high degree of democratic legitimacy."

"...Of course, calling Congressional legislation into question is not necessarily a bad thing. If a law is unconstitutional, the court has a responsibility to strike it down. But a marked pattern of invalidating Congressional laws certainly seems like one reasonable definition of judicial activism."

Apparently, since the Supreme Court took its current composition of nine judges in '94, the court has upheld or struck down 64 congressional provisions - legislations concerning Social Security, church and state, campaign finance, etc..

Then the article neatly presents the statistics for each justice's voting records for these 64 legislations. Justice Clarence Thomas voted to invalidate ~66% of these 64 provisions (the most activist, according to the op-ed) and Justice Stephen Breyer voted against for 28% the legislations (the least activist).

See the op-ed for full tally. (NY Times requires registration. You may use this combination of user id: bugmenot456 and password: nobugging )

The conclusion is: "...those justices often considered more "liberal" - Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled "conservative" vote more frequently to do so."

The article also admits "To say that a justice is activist under this definition is not itself negative. Because striking down Congressional legislation is sometimes justified, some activism is necessary and proper".