Almost Three Weeks of Nuttin’ Goin’ On

Yeah…that’s about it…although we do have some activities scheduled for the next couple of weeks. We did have a new grandchild welcomed to our extended family…Neil’s brother Ron welcomed the arrival of granddaughter Olivia Nell on the 13th so that’s good news. We went to the Elks Lodge a couple of times and had our normal Monday night Date Nite but that’s about it. Neil made some excellent beef bourguignon in the crock pot…essentially browned some short ribs and tossed them into the crockpot with some broth and a bottle of red wine and spices. Then a few hours later added a bag of frozen pearl onions and some sautéed quartered mushrooms along with some baby carrots…which by the way aren’t actually baby carrots but essentially full grown ones that get turned down on a veggie lathe to make the skinny ones you get in the bag from the store. Actual baby carrots look like whole carrots only smaller instead of the essentially cylindrical things you get in the bag. The only real drawback to the fake baby carrots is that…since they’re actually mature carrots…they’re a lot tougher than a real baby carrot is so even cooking ‘em in the crockpot for 6 hours they still are crunchy and taste raw…and we don’t think much ‘bout raw carrots ‘round here. So Neil baked ‘em in the oven for an hour before adding them to the crockpot and that ensured they were done. He made some roasted tater wedges to have in the dish as well and it were mighty tasty Ima tellin’ ya.

Over the next couple of weeks we do have some stuff goin’ on though. Connie’s headed up to Umatilla FL for an Elks thing a couple days next week…so Neil is going to drive up to Lakeland the day she’s gone to visit the Circle Bar B Preserve and see what kinda bird and other wildlife he can fine. It’s about 100 miles away and he needs to be there at sunrise (0700ish) so will have to set an alarm and head out early along with making sure all the camera batteries are charged and everything is ready to go the night before.

Then when Connie gets back we’ve got a Sarasota Orchestra concert on Sunday…assuming they don’t cancel it again.

The following week we’re planning on another couple days out for Fun Stuff©…this time it’s a repeat visit up to Black Point Wildlife Drive near Kennedy Space Center and then a second stop at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive near Orlando…both of those will be early morning drives cuz that’s when the birds are active. Neil’s also planning another day trip down to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary but we haven’t scheduled that one yet, but mid Feb should be a good time for the water to be low enough that the wading birds will be there.

We’ve also got annual physicals and the associated pre visit lab tests coming up so the next 3 weeks or so are pretty busy on our calendar.

Weatherwise…it’s been a lot of cold days down here the past 2 weeks…lows in the 50s to high 40s and even in the 30s over the weekend. That’s crazy talk we think…FL is s’posed to be warm and sunny and this wearing jeans and hoodies is  nuts I tellya. I guess it’s better than up north though…we saw a report that there’s gonna be a metric buttload of snow up that way over the weekend…and with typical weather-guesser accuracy the prediction for NYC is…believe it or not…somewhere between a dusting and 20 inches. One would think they could do better at estimating than that.

Lessee…what else is goin’ on.

I guess ya read ‘bout Justice Breyer retiring from the SCOTUS…and predictably politicians, talking heads, influencers, media mouthpieces, and just about everybody else is commenting on it. You got some liberals claiming that this is a historic legacy influencing court appointment, you got some conservatives complaining about the nominee being a hard left activist even though he/she hasn’t even been named yet, you got your SC representatives demanding that it be a person from their state, you got your media mouthpieces crowing about how with the Veep’s vote they can pass the nomination without any votes from the other party and the Veep breaking the tie…and you’ve even got your far left constitutional scholars who said 18 months ago the the Veep doesn’t have the power to break the tie under the Constitution since the Veep isn’t a member of the Senate and thus cannot participate in the “advice and consent” part.

I thought about pointing out the huge number of lies, hypocrisy, and what not…but eventually decided to just point out a few inconsistencies. If you don’t want to read about them…skip down to the pictures…frankly neither side will come off looking very good here. 

Historically…SCOTUS justices who were going to retire announce that retirement near the end of a term (which is June) and they let the President know privately a few months ahead of time…but the White House keeps their mouth shut and let’s the justice announce it when he/she decides is the time. Apparently somebody in the White House…almost assuredly not the President…decided to leak the news though and force Justice Breyer’s hand in a formal announcement. It makes one wonder just who is actually in charge at the White House…and it certainly looks like some of the more progressive people on his staff are talking out of turn.

The President has preemptively announced that he will honor his previous promise to nominate a black woman for the court…he made that promise during the first debate in the fall of 2020…but apparently he forgot to make the announcement until Representative Clyburn went backstage during the last commercial break to twist his arm to do so. Now I’m of the opinion that any President should be free to nominate whoever they desire for a seat on the court…but announcing that it will be a black woman ahead of any vetting of nominees rubs me the wrong way. If he had announced that it would be a white male…the NAACP and progressive elements would have accused him of racism…so how is announcing that he will nominate a black woman not racist as well? It seems to me that any smart politician…even if he had already decided to nominate a black woman…would at least be smart enough to have a diverse short list and then pick her as the best qualified candidate to give a fig leaf to being fair. But again…smart and politician usually is an oxymoron. In addition to being apparently biased in even the candidate list…one has to wonder whether the black female nominee will feel diminished because she appears to be an affirmative action choice rather than a best qualified choice. Again…the President is free to choose whomever he likes just like the previous President was free to choose whomever he liked…but this is a pretty ham handed way to handle things…much akin to the “monkeys and a football” fiasco of the Iraq withdrawal back in the fall.

I remember back when Presidents chose who they wanted and mostly they were confirmed on a bipartisan basis regardless of politics…Justice Roberts was 78-22, Breyer 87-9, Sotomayor 68-31, Kagan 60-37, Bader Ginsburg 96-3…and every one of those justices was politically and judicially aligned with the President who nominated them. Only recently…particularly with the previous President…did things really start to get nasty, before President Trump you have to back to Justice Thomas in 1991 to find a mostly partisan confirmation vote. Unfortunately…today’s Senate when ruled by either party is much more about screwing the other party and getting your way instead of what is good for the country. Part of that is that the two parties have differing philosophies…and fundamental disagreements about what government should and should not do…but it’s gotten really nasty as time goes on and I don’t see it improving.

The Democrats are demanding a short confirmation process based on the short process that Justice Barrett had back in the fall of 2020…and while there’s some justification for that historically the process has been longer and at least one potential Republican senate supporter of the President’s nominee voted against Barrett’s nomination solely because of the short time period involved. That doesn’t seem like an approach to bipartisanship to me…but then again in today’s world bipartisanship is pretty much dead. However…after the deliberately contentious hearings that the previous President’s nominees were subjected to…if the Democrats think that the current President’s nominee won’t be subjected to the same aggressive questioning and rhetoric is ludicrous.

Finally…will the President’s nominee get confirmed? I dunno…there are a bunch of competing factors. First you have the Democrats who will lock step fall into line most likely and vote for confirmation…which gives them 50 votes. Then you have the other side who will mostly vote against her…although as I noted there are several senators on that side who have voted for Democratic presidential nominees in the past based on qualifications…unfortunately there aren’t very many Senators that look beyond party and at qualifications so that number is small. If those Senators follow their past history…and assuming the nominee is qualified even though being progressive is almost a given for a Democratic nominee…then she will be confirmed. If the other side votes in lockstep as the Democrats will…the vote could be tied 50-50…which makes things harder.

The constitution says that a nominee must get a majority…at this point it’s a simple majority due to the combat that majority leaders Reid and McConnell waged in the past…of the Senate under their advise and consent power. It also specifies who is in the Senate and that the Veep shall be the President of the Senate but shall have no vote unless to break a tie, as well as the fact that the Senate is empowered to make their own rules, but does not specifically make the Veep part of the Senate.

So…if they tie 50-50…which I personally do not think will happen as some Senate Republicans have shown the ability to look beyond party for judicial nominations recently…it all comes down to whether the Veep can legally break the tie.

Back in 2020…a well known strongly left constitutional scholar named Lawrence Tribe (he is a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and pretty well respected for his legal opinions by both sides of the aisle) said that in his opinion under the Constitution the Veep does not have the power to break the tie…and this week he stated that he would still say that today…even though in this instance he wishes he didn’t have to say so since he wants a liberal confirmed to the court…at least he has the integrity to stick by what he said when he was in opposition to the President and Senate. So this is a highly trusted and lauded Democrat saying that she can’t legally break the tie. Part of his justification is that when you read the papers and letters of Alexander Hamilton from back in the Founding Fathers days said that the tie break was solely for bills and not for nominations. Of course…those papers aren’t part of the constitution itself but courts read them all the time when trying to determine the actual intentions of the writers of the constitution.

So…if it’s a 50-50 tie…it will eventually end up at the SCOTUS to determine whether she can vote I guess…although I’m quite sure that none of the justices on the court including the Chief Justice want to touch that argument with a 100 foot pole. The court will be accused of being politically motivated no matter what they rule…and really…depending on which sentence in the constitution you read and how you read it vis a vis the other relevant sentences in the constitution you could easily make a decent legal argument that she does have the right to break the tie…or that she does not have the right to break the tie. I have no idea how they would rule…my guess is that if possible they’ll not rule at all and try to figure out a way to not take up the case…which means it will bounce back to the Senate and who knows what will happen then. 

Frankly…what I think will happen is that enough Republican Senators will vote for qualifications and not for party to allow her to be confirmed…albeit after a bloody hearing process…and one side will proclaim a great moral victory while the other side will decry it as a sham political process and some will call it an affirmative action hire…and I think the nominee will be diminished by the appearance of being nominated because of gender and race…and that’s just a damned shame. Judges should be judged based on their qualifications and not their political leanings…but that gets back into the whole strict verses loose construction of the constitution. And the trouble here is…as noted above…that it depends on which sentence you decide takes precedence over the other sentences and how the words are interpreted.

So…we did have a few wildlife sightings out back the past couple of weeks.

Well actually…this one wasn’t out back but is a reprocessing of one of Neil’s shots from back in 2015 on our Alaska trip. He was trying out his new noise reduction software in combination with a new detail enhancing feature in Lightroom and they make the shot much better than it was before.

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Little Green Heron out back. They look like they have a really short neck but that’s because most of the time they keep it scrunched down…in reality they can just about double their body length by extending the neck.

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Tricolor Heron.

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Great Blue Heron in flight.

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Close up portrait of the Tricolor Heron.

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Interesting things found on the net.

Siberian tiger paw…next to a human hand…they’re pretty big cats up to about 500 pounds and 6-1/2 feet long not including the tail.











About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
This entry was posted in Critters, Homebody, Reality Based Blogging, Ya Can't Fix Stupid. Bookmark the permalink.

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