The difference between dumb and stupid

As the Republicans, led by a Canadian born reincarnation of Genghis Khan (but without the good looks) and another guy who apparently paints himself with day-glow orange makeup,  threaten to shut down the government, I have a problem. I am forced to consider what I will do with a complex criminal case scheduled for a jury trial starting one day after the federal budgetary deadline. Will I have money to pay jurors? Will the staff be furloughed? Will I have US Marshals?

Now, I should be fair. God knows, judges are supposed to be fair (but never active). The Republicans threaten to destroy the world as we know it, but, truth to tell, the Democrats, like the insipid “little person” who runs the Senate, are happy as clams at the prospect. That way these progressives (what an idiotic name) can blame the Republicans for starving puppies. With a little effort, I can almost hear the scripted but horribly delivered lament from that strange lady who used to run the House.

So, is there a moral equivalency between these two fractious factions? I don’t even know what the hell that question means. But, I do agree with Lewis Black that: “The Democrats are dumb and the Republicans are stupid. The difference between dumb and stupid is dumb isn’t funny. Stupid is seriously funny.”  So, instead of fretting over the plight of jurors, I am going to sit back, scratch my ever expanding ass and laugh. By the way, that’s what old RINOs do.


16 responses

  1. I can’t laugh, because I’m a CJA appellate attorney. Our hourly rate has been reduced and this week we learned that our payments are being deferred. One Federal Defender’s Office (Oakland) has been closed. The Defenders Service budget is a tiny fraction of that of the Justice Department, and yet, to my knowledge, federal prosecutors have not had their pay reduced or deferred. I don’t know for sure, but I doubt your Honor’s pay has been deferred or reduced either. The entire system, not just Congress, is letting us know how much they value defense work.

    For what it’s worth, the Rs are the ones who refuse to give up the sequester. So in my view, while the Ds are no paragons of virtue, this one falls in the R column.

  2. Marsha,

    I suppose you are right. I have the luxury of laughing ’cause the folks who drafted the Constitution said I get paid no matter what. That said, I have been fairly outspoken about the plight of the FPDs, CJA counsel and federal judicial employees generally. See, for example, here.

    Thanks for your comment. All the best.


  3. I can safely assure you that none of us on the left (and I’m far to the left of most Democrats in Congress) are even close to being happy about this situation. There are too many lives on the line, what with the planned cuts to SNAP, the Affordable Care Act, and other programs for any of us to be happy that the Republicans are drowning themselves at the moment, even though that may benefit us politically. Realize that their proposed cuts are a mere tiny fraction of the deficit, and even a fraction of what we spend annually on the military industrial complex. They will hurt many and benefit only a few – namely the 1%. The underlying problem here is that those assholes have so successfully gerrymandered their districts that even though we gained well over a majority of the votes in the last cycle, we were still unable to retake the house. This seems likely to continue for some time, and in my mind that is blatantly unconstitutional. The perpetrators of this violence against democracy and their abettors should be hung out to dry. As Howard Dean so famously said in the 03/04 primary campaign, “I want my country back!”

  4. A couple of points, in no particular order: first, you’re right to not worry about “paying” jurors. The difference between that “pay” and nothing needs a surveyor’s instrument to discriminate. It’s a nice thank you, nothing more.

    Second, the evil sequester is President Obama’s idea, no one else’s. Every Republican attempt to redo that since has been ignored in the Senate.

    Third, Progressive is a ridiculous appellation, but for serious reasons. Read Croly, Wilson, and T Roosevelt, and see if you can find any difference between the founders of the Progressive Movement and the Obama administration’s behavior.

    Fourth, the House voted to fund the government with a CR, only holding back Obamacare dollars. It’s the Progressives in the Senate who are holding hostage the budget so they can keep their disastrous health care package–which even Obama has admitted is failing, with his (unconstitutional) refusal to enforce inconvenient parts of it.

    Fifth, the House has offered up a number of alternatives to Obamacare, all also ignored by the Progressive-run Senate.

    Sixth, to add a related matter, it’s Obama who refuses to negotiate on the debt ceiling, preferring to hold our economy and our national credit rating hostage to getting everything he wants: more taxes and even more spending.

    Seventh, it’s certainly true that the Republicans are terrible communicators, so they’re likely to lose the present publicity contest, as they’ve done so many of the past ones–and as they’ve done on this blog.

    Eric Hines

  5. Here’s Senator Obama’s 2006 comment on the nation’s debt and debt ceiling:

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

    Yew betcha.

    Eric Hines

  6. Or your integrity as a sitting judge won’t let you (though I can read between the lines…).

    For that reason (alone), I look forward to your complete retirement, so we can discuss such things more freely.

    Eric Hines

  7. As a CJA panel attorney, my hourly rate has been reduced and now I’m not being paid at all. Yet the memo from our chief judge says we’re still supposed to accept new appointments. In the mean time, I badly need hip replacement that I can’t get insurance coverage for because it’s a pre-existing condition. The AHCA would have helped me obtain otherwise unavailable medical care. SOMEBODY needs to get their heads out of their collective asses.

  8. Susan, I think it’s time you forget putting all of your eggs in one basket, to wit, only doing special fedreal public defender CJA work. You cannot count on the government. Even the federal government. Nobody should. The early pioneers sure didn’t. Yet they survived.

    You need to go work for a private criminal law firm that will respect your talents and pay you what you both know you deserve and as well as, if they are smart, also have a civil litigation department so you learn to be a civil litigant in a area of civil practice you are comfortable with.

    If you are only counting on CJA work as your main income, I mean 60% or more, you are headed for a tragic ending by depending on steady appointments. If you are that good at what you do, then you better diversify …. or else.

    By the way, thank you for visiting my LinkedIn profile the other day.

  9. Richard, like you, I totally believe in digital. As a matter of fact, I just discovered, go to Google and enter “Liberated Learning Consortium” or follow this link and after reviewing several of their tabs on their menu, you, as I, will verily believe TODAY, not some undefined time in the future, but TODAY, they have a robust fully automated real time MULTIPLE independent speaker CAPTIONING and TRANSCRIPTION PC Windows based program!

    The Consortium is made up of many North American (including Canada) as well as many European institutions of higher learning that created and is continuing to develop this awe inspiring technology.

    No, court reporters don’t want to hear about it, too bad, it’s out there just the same. I think if you contacted the AO in Washington, DC, knowing how you feel about digital recording and transcribing, you could very well place yourself as the first and only federal judge on the bench experimenting with real time transcription in a federal courtroom showing the rest of America that in your courtroom, as long as you rule with a stern demeanor making sure one person speaks at a time, the poor offices of the federal public defender would ALWAYS have a real time transcript that is ALSO synchronized to the audio or video, now has incredible multimedia technology for almost zero expense out of their annual transcript budget! Same for the prosecutor! Private parties pay a nominal fee to defray some cost.

    Then contract out the multimedia transcript to a service that really believes in the technology as you do, I am sure, to edit and clean up what will become the final certified transcript. And in he meantime, everyone has access to the near perfect public record to perform research while the final is being prepared.

    What say you, Richard?

    Steve Hubbard

  10. Steve,

    I am currently “underwater,” as they say. I will take a look when I have sufficient time to examine the program in detail. I appreciate the heads-up!

    All the best.


  11. This entire comment is a laughable repeat of Tea Party talking points. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, signed by the president and even reaffirmed as constitutional by the Supreme Court. It is not up for debate anymore. If you’re so interested in serving the 1% that you want to repeal this bill and take away access to healthcare from millions of Americans, you’ll ned to win both houses and the White House. I suspect it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to do so with your agenda, however. The simple, inescapable fact here is this has been decided by Congress, the voters through multiple elections, and the Supreme Court. You lost, get over it.

  12. Ah. So you agree, then, that the debt limit, being the law of the land, is not up for debate. Obama’s demand to raise it unconditionally, and Reid’s idea of raising it so as to be good for 20 years, are unsustainable, and they should just get used to not increasing any further national borrowing.

    Your party’s Jim Crow laws also were the law of the land. Were later Congresses wrong to undo those?

    It’s interesting that a lawyer actually thinks that the actions of one Congress cannot be undone by a later Congress.

    Eric Hines

  13. Jim Crow was not perpetrated by the current Democratic party, but rather by the neanderthals who left the Democratic party in droves and became the modern Republican party when LBJ got the civil right act passed. The solid south stayed solid, it just switched parties when it realized we had no tolerance for bigots.

    As for the debt ceiling, this is something that has been done many dozens of times without issue including several times during Reagan’s presidency. Democrats have never tried to hold the government hostage in that way, only the modern GOP as (even they wouldn’t have stooped so low fifteen years ago).

    Also, I am not a lawyer by any means, just a web developer who happens to be very passionate about politics and also has an interest in law. Obviously, congress can overturn a law they previously passed, but in order to do that, you need a majority in both houses and a president who agrees (or enough votes to override a veto). Clearly, none of these things are within reach of the Republicans right now and they would do well to give up and tell the tea party to take a f***ing hike before they destroy their party let alone the country (which they seem not to give a damn about, at least in practice).

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