“The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.”
Well we were certainly directed by boredom today in the newsroom. Everyone was bored to sobs because, frankly, there were no major news stories and by news stories I mean the election. It is the calm before the storm, neither campaign wants to do anything disruptive prior to the debates. The president stopped off at Henderson, Nevada to give a pep talk to volunteers in the Obama office.
I repeat, Henderson, Nevada. How much more obscure can you get?
The Supreme Court began a new term today. Here is a look at what cases are coming up and what could be heard this year:
RACIAL PREFERENCES – In Fisher v. University of Texas, to be argued Oct. 10, the court will weigh Texas’ limited use of race to help fill out its incoming classes. The outcome could result in a major cutback in the use of racial preferences at the nation’s colleges.
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES – The justices will consider whether American courts may be used by foreign victims to sue over human rights violations abroad. The case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, to be argued on Monday, concerns claims the oil giant Shell was complicit in atrocities committed by the Nigerian government against its citizens in the oil-rich Niger delta.
DRUG-SNIFFING DOGS – Two disputes involving drug-sniffing dogs will be heard by the court on Halloween. In one, the question is whether a dog brought to the front door of a home to sniff for marijuana amounts to a search. In the other, the court will consider a dog’s reliability and qualifications as a drug-sniffing animal in a case involving a traffic stop and a warrantless search that found the ingredients for making methamphetamines in a pickup truck.
FIGHTING TERRORISM – The government is trying to shut down a constitutional challenge to a law that lets the United States eavesdrop on overseas communications. Lawyers, journalists and human rights advocates filed a lawsuit that objected to the latest version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The issue at the high court, to be argued Oct. 29, is whether the law’s challengers are entitled to make their case in federal court.
The following issues probably will be heard this term:
GAY MARRIAGE – The justices are expected to take up gay marriage in at least one of the many appeals pending at the high court. Several lower federal courts have struck down as unconstitutional a provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits, including favorable tax treatment and health benefits, among many others, to legally married same-sex couples. The court almost always has the last word when federal laws are struck down. A separate appeal involves California’s ban on gay marriage, ruled unconstitutional by federal courts.
VOTING RIGHTS ACT – Several appeals ask the court to invalidate a cornerstone of civil rights era legislation, a provision of the Voting Rights Act that requires all or parts of 16 states, most in the South and all with a history of past discrimination, to get approval from the Justice Department or the federal court in Washington before instituting any changes affecting elections and voting. Some justices expressed skepticism about the need for this measure in a 2009 decision that sidestepped a definitive ruling.
The news was so slow today that even Will got into a discussion about tonight’s football game even though the Dallas Cowboys or as most everybody refers to them as, the Dallas Crackheads are playing the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Will was rather combative when conversation turned to yesterday’s Jets game which was mildly amusing to watch.
Most conversation was focused on the debates and endless speculation about what will happen, what won’t happen and who will win. If we have to go through another day like this tomorrow with no news and constant debate patter I will go mad! Naturally the temptation to assume the personalities of the subjects that some in the newsroom prepared for our mock debate proved irresistible. We were all subjected to an endless stream of hilarity as Don and Jim went back and forth all day being Romney and Obama respectively, as Neal hurled debate questions at both of them in his portrayal of Lehrer. If they were attempting to drive everyone mad it is too late, that was accomplished last week when in another long spell of boredom they enlisted Neal and Maggie to join in and portray Hollande and Cameron respectively for a mock SNL skit that continued throughout the entirety of the week! The debates will bring a welcome break to all of this.
Of course there was some minor relief with the Scott Brown/Elizabeth Warren debate tonight. People were lined up down the block, and when I say people I mean paid volunteers holding signs:
Rather large venue so it looks like it will take all of the volunteers that both sides can find to fill the seats:
This debate will distract us for a little bit but no doubt won’t hold our attention for very long. I have to commend the volunteer coordinators and field staff of both campaigns, the venue is full.
36 days until the election, we are hoping that the October surprise is a good one. We found out from financial campaign reports that the down ticket GOP races are starting to see an uptick in donations and that donations are falling away from Romney which is a traditional sign that the party does not expect the top of the ticket to be strong enough to carry the bottom through.