>Judges and Politics

>Its a common perception to see the judiciary as somehow operating ‘above’ politics. Yet legal decisions always have a political component, which becomes more evident in times of crisis. The decision today, for example, by the Turkish Consititutional Court not to ban the ruling Islamist party is particularly naked example of this.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/31/world/europe/31turkey.html?hp

However, it happens all the time in the U.S. A perfect historic example is how the Supreme Court during FDR’s administration cleared most of the obstacles to the New Deal, even though the justices – mostly conservatives appointed by Republican presidents – contradicted earlier rulings they’d made.

>Back at the Beach

>Just got back to the beach from three days in my hometown where I stayed at the house of one of my oldest friend (25+ years). Her boyfriend is a socially- retarded semi-lunatic who is incredibly jealous and possessive of her. He kept storming out of the room in a frenzy every time me and my friend started talking (dude, I can’t help it if I look good without a shirt). Twice he said he was moving out and took some of his junk back to his mom’s house. But he was always back a few hours later. It got so bad that he’d bolt out of his bedroom to make sure I wasn’t sneaking into her bedroom when I came down to use the bathroom in the night.

Yet she is often involved with these isolated losers and I finally figured out why. They don’t challenge her or compete with her – she’s the leader and they follow like needy puppies. Not one of them has ever had a career or a steady job. But they are all hers. If I sound angry it’s because I am – that lunatic gave me nightmares on my one trip home this year.

The first thing I did after driving through ungodly traffic back to the beach was put on my swim trunks and jump in the ocean. There is nothing more relaxing than floating a few feet underwater where the light is dim, where all is quiet and cool. After a swim I lay back on my towel in the sand and looked out over the water. Skim boarders made their swift runs at the waves. A fisherman stood at the small breakwater, casting. At the deepest point of the breakwater a double-crested cormorant dove and rose and dove and rose, flipping over like a seal on the way down. I love the beach in the evening – it’s almost empty and it’s so quiet, so perfectly quiet.

>The Joys of Fighting

>I sparred for a half-hour today with one of my oldest friends. Si is out of shape and has a sizable Buddha belly but he’s also 6’2 and 240, plenty of which is muscle. We agreed to try and to restrain our blows to the head, the groin and the joints, but everything else was fair game.

Si isn’t a boxer, he’s a martial artist (Indonesian kung-fu) but he isn’t afraid of contact. We had some great exchanges on a field in a kiddie park while the bemused mommies looked on. It’s good practice for me to go against his skills because he’s always looking for kicks and throws, while I’m much more focused on striking.

As normally happens, he pushed me around the field with his reach, weight and height advantage. But it wasn’t so one-sided as to be dull. I landed some good combination on his body and danced away from all but one of his throws. Since I’m about a hundred times more fit than him, I began to score more frequently as the fighting went on. Towards the end we forgot about our restraints and were going close to full, fists and feet flying. Sweat made a bib on the front of Si’s blue oxford.

I ended up with some bloody cuts, a fat lip and the beginnings of a black eye. Yet I was blissful when we finished. I loved mixing it up – in a friendly sort of way – when I was seven and I love it now. It brings flavor to life.