A Cautious Man
June 29, 2009
Think It Over Judge One More Time?
The United States Supreme Court decided Ricci v. DeStefano this morning. That's the New Haven Firefighter case (otherwise known as Judge Sotomayor's "reverse discrimination" case). The majority found that the City did not provide a sufficient basis for rejecting the results of a promotion exam which the City perceived to be racially skewed. The opinion can be found at this link (Note, it's a PDF).

So, did the majority of the Supreme Court conclude that Judge Sotomayor was an "unwise Latina" who violated constitutional principles in order to discriminate against white firefighters? Not exactly. Instead, the majority concluded that the law in this area embodies conflicting principles, and that is was the job of the Supreme Court to provide guidance as to how to reconcile those principles. Far from faulting the lower court decisions, the Supreme Court's decision recognized that it was taking the opportunity to clarify the law, and to show what a jurisdiction needed to do in order to conclude that test results in a simlar situation were or were not evidence of an improper racial disparity.

Some quotes supporting this. From page 20 of the decision -

We consider, therefore, whether the purpose to avoid disparate-impact liability excuses what otherwise would be prohibited disparate-treatment discrimination. Courts often confront cases in which statutes and principles point in different directions. Our task is to provide guidance to employers and courts for situations when these two prohibitions could be in conflict absent a rule to reconcile them. In providing this guidance our decision must be consistent with the important purpose of Title VII—that the work-place be an environment free of discrimination, where race is not a barrier to opportunity.

Also from page 20-21, the majority says that an argument that an employer could never consider the results, in deciding that there was an impermissible disparate racial impact, goes too far -

Petitioners take a strict approach, arguing that under Title VII, it cannot be permissible for an employer to take race-based adverse employment actions in order to avoid disparate-impact liability—even if the employer knows its practice violates the disparate-impact provision. See Brief for Petitioners 43. Petitioners would have us hold that, under Title VII, avoiding unintentional discrimination cannot justify intentional discrimination. That assertion, however, ignores the fact that, by codifying the disparate-impact provision in 1991, Congress has expressly prohibited both types of discrimination. We must interpret the statute to give effect to both provisions where possible.

Finally, in the conclusion on page 34 -

Our holding today clarifies how Title VII applies to resolve competing expectations under the disparate-treatment and disparate-impact provisions. If, after it certifies the test results, the City faces a disparate-impact suit, then in light of our holding today it should be clear that the City would avoid disparate-impact liability based on the strong basis in evidence that, had it not certified the results, it would have been subject to disparate-treatment liability.

There's a chance (okay, a likelihood) that some commentators would call the decision a "rebuke" or "rejection" of decision that Judge Sotomayor joined in the appellate court. Actually reading the decision shows that is not the case.

June 25, 2009
Cat Shrugs His Shoulders
Sits Back and Sighs ...

We had to say goodbye to one of the Cautious Cats today. Not only was he in pain, but his lack of eating had made him half the cat he had been (although that still was considerable, for a cat). He was finally too weak to do the cat things he always liked to do. His last extended (and slow) walk around the house was a few days ago, and he wandered all over as if looking for some way, any way, to get outside - probably just to go off by himself.

So, he's not in pain anymore. He is survived by a Cautious Man, a Cautious Wife, two Cautious Kids and his older, Cautious Cat brother.

I now will need another way to keep the papers on my desk from being blown off by a sudden breeze.

June 20, 2009
He's "The One"?
John Hodgman at the Radio & Television Correspondents' Dinner, considering the question of whether Barack Obama can be considered "our first nerd President."

One of the many parts of this that amused me was at this point in the video, when Mr. Hodgman declares of the President, "There are some who claim, sir, that you are the Kwisatz Haderach", at which point there are some scattered laughs (I laughed when I watched it) - Hodgman turns toward the laughter and brightly says, "Hello, nerds!"

June 19, 2009
As It Changes To Green
With Your Faith In Your Machine ...

The situation in Iran causes one to pause, and to hope for the best for the people there.

It causes someone such as Andrew Sullivan to paint his place "green" and urge everyone else to do the same in "solidarity".

I like the response from John Cole -

God love Sullivan, because I know his heart is in the right place. ... If someone can give me one legitimate piece of evidence that wearing green boxers is going to help bring democracy to Iran, so help me I’ll wear plaid from head to toe and shoot for world peace.

I know he means well, but this is what I was talking about this morning when I said that the coverage of the events in Iran by American bloggers was giving me a warblogger circa 2003 vibe. I can’t be the only one who is reminded of Abbie Hoffman’s plans to levitate the Pentagon through the power of meditation.

My thoughts are with the folks in Iran risking it all fighting for democracy, but this can not be said enough- this is not about us, it is about them. I love the coverage of events, but please stop with this narcissistic nonsense.

Just so you know, here at "A Cautious Man" we've been "green" from "Day One" (after "a long process of formatting and coloring"). We welcome Mr. Sullivan to the Blogs Who Are Green.

June 14, 2009
Sunday Night Springsteen
Haven't done this in a while.

This is a show from the Meadowlands, which I believe I was at.

Looking forward to the last night at Giants Stadium this October (last concert before they take it down), which we will be at (of course).

Jersey Girl -

"Well If I Could I Surely Would
Stand On The Rock Where Moses Stood ..."

If God had texted the 10 Commandments (from McSweeneys.net) -

1. no1 b4 me. srsly.

2. dnt wrshp pix/idols

3. no omg's

4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)

5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool

6. dnt kill ppl

7. :-X only w/ m8

8. dnt steal

9. dnt lie re: bf

10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.

ttyl, JHWH.

ps. wwjd?

Calls You By Your True Name
Haven't posted a random thought in a few weeks. I've been doing more reading and thinking, but not much communicating. I felt moved to post a comment to this entry at the blog Catholic Sensibility, on anonymity in blogging. The proprietor at that site makes a good point -

It is a mystery to me why a few well-known Catholic bloggers have opted for pseudonymity given their penchant for attack. Oh, I can understand a spouse or family insisting on anonymity. My wife would definitely prefer I not use my real name and link to my real locations. The phenomenon strikes me as similar to the superhero alter ego. In a way, a man or woman becomes a different person wearing the mask, the costume, the pseudonym. If you’re fighting the minions of evil, fine. If the modus operandi is to disenfranchise one’s ideological adversaries, bad show indeed. It would be better for anonymous or pseudonymous folks to just refrain from attack unless they’re willing to sign their name on the line. Once I told an e-mail correspondent if they were unwilling to show their posts to their spouse and parish pastor, why would they expect me to take them seriously as a believer with a cause?

My comment that I added there was this: All I really know about the bloggers I read, is what is on their pages. Whether they are identified with a real name or not, or provide personal information or not, their worth comes not from who they are (or how important they may think they are) but from what they write. I don't have time to just read mindless attacks, no matter how they're signed. There can be as many false accusations in a signed piece of writing as an unsigned one - sometimes more, if issued by some of the more self-righteous commentators.

That having been said, if I ever become so consumed with my own self-importance, and think that my opinions must be worth more than those of others, just because I'm me, I should probably utilize a different means of communicating them.


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