Monday, August 31, 2009
You know you're an SOB when ...
Funniest quote I've read in the Houston Chronicle in some time:
“It doesn't matter if you have a snowsuit on if you're touching customers, they're touching you they're a sexually oriented business,” Geffin told the judge. “You can call yourself a restaurant, you can call yourself an ice cream truck, but if your drawing card is topless dancers, you're an SOB, and you have to comply with the rules.”
Ice cream trucks actually do good business in Houston in August even without snowsuits or topless dancers. The tips may not quite match up, though.
Of course, this injunction hearing is all just another boring day at the office for State District Judge Randy Wilson. I'm reasonably sure he hasn't asked for the litigants to arrange a "premises view" on-site during business hours: The Harris County Civil District Courts' budget contains no money for dry-cleaning judicial robes to get the glitter and make-up off.
Assistant Harris County Attorney Geffin is probably right, of course. But trying to enforce these particular laws is like trying to bail the oceans using a tea-cup. (Or, perhaps, a DD-cup.) Although I've never been there, I'm told that this particular
strip joint entertainment venue is outside the City of Houston, well away from churches, schools, or family neighborhoods, and indeed that it's quite literally out in the middle of the woods. One has to wonder whether the Sheriff and Harris County Attorneys don't have other, more (ahem) pressing matters to investigate and prosecute with their limited resources.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Thoughts on the death of Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)
I extend my condolences to the family and friends and partisans and allies and admirers of Sen. Edward M. ("Ted") Kennedy (D-MA) upon his passing.
Alas, my first two reactions to the news were not flattering to him, and indeed they are likely to annoy many of those to whom I've just extended my condolences.
My first thought (premised on Christian faith) was that Teddy Kennedy's four decades of dodging his proper responsibility for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne — however slight or (as I suspect) culpable that responsibility actually was — are finally over. May justice finally be done, whatever that may be, by Him to whom such final judgments are ultimately reserved.
My second thought involves a comparison with the current occupant of the executive mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — an address at which brother John famously lived, and to which father Joseph and brothers Joe Jr., Bobby, and Teddy all famously aspired.
Teddy's most serious run at the presidency, against Jimmy Carter in 1980, represented a deliberate and thoughtful rejection by a majority of the Democratic Party of a candidate who was all bi-coastal style and sizzle, a media favorite wrapped in romance and dynasty, but whose actual record was still then pitifully thin and whose character had already been repeatedly proven to be deeply flawed. One line from Teddy's convention speech — "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die" — is still remembered over anything said by the Democrats' actual nominee from that campaign. And of course said nominee, the Dems' incumbent — who had already, in my judgment, become the worst American President of the 20th Century — went on to a well-deserved crushing defeat by Ronald Reagan.
Although it could still be prompted to go on the occasional drunken bender by that kind of vaguely poetic but ultimately content-free rhetoric from someone like him, however, as of 1980 the Democratic Party still had better sense than to entrust the country's fate to a shallow scoundrel like Teddy Kennedy, no matter how much that went against the media's romantic "Camelot restored" narrative and the fervent desires of the Hard/Angry Left. Yet by 2008 — their decency and sensibilities having been fatally compromised in the meantime by a serial liar and sexual predator who they also rallied to defend — the Dems had become utterly shameless, utterly irresponsible, and utterly besotted with another shallow but romantic scoundrel who had only a fraction of the governmental experience that even Ted Kennedy ca. 1980 could claim.
More than mourning the man who's just passed from the living, then, I mourn the passing of those times. Contrasting the Dems' rejection of Ted Kennedy in 1980 to their embrace of Barack Obama in 2008 makes me mourn the end of the time when the Democratic Party was a party of mostly grown-ups instead of mostly idolaters and haters, the time when as a party the Dems could soberly and seriously reject a glamorous media-hyped figure as its national candidate. I know not when or if we shall ever see the return of such responsible men and women to a position of power in the Democratic Party. (In the meantime, they'll be the few but perhaps vital minority of Democrats who are muttering to themselves, with entirely justified and increasing panic: "But nine trillion in deficits? Seriously?")