Thursday, December 6, 2007

Subase Bangor sailors need a BIG timeout...(or maybe just a plain old spanking...wait a minute, that's probably what they were after...)

I was recently out to dinner with my family at a brewpub restaurant that has a separate bar and a very popular restaurant area that is family friendly. We eat here often and have known some of the staff members that work there since they were children...

We had the unpleasant experience of having a party of 16 or 17 sailors seated at the table next to us, some of whom were CLEARLY intoxicated, (well, or maybe they were just raised by wolves, no, sorry, wolves are better behaved and do not tolerate this kind of mayhem...) and the evening quickly went downhill.

Now, I will admit, we are prone to colorful language in my household. My parents came from hearty stock that consisted of families that left the coziness of the continental U.S. and settled in SE Alaska to fish, support the war effort during WWII, and generally survive in communities that did not have the refinements of NE Continental U.S...My husband is a retired Sr. Chief in the Navy and learned his expletives at the feet of some of the most respected people in the Navy during the cold war era...

This, however, is no excuse for full grown men, to plop down at a table, scream into their cell phones, note that this is a "family establishment," then drop the F*** bomb REPEATEDLY in loud voices, and slobber over my teenage daughter by first ogling her, then signalling the guy at the other end of the table by yelling, "Go for it!", all the while her father, little sisters, and me are sitting right there with her.

Now, my daughter is not one to be a shrinking violet, especially when faced with cretins of this nature. First, she is not of age to even legally be IN a bar in the State of Washington, but if she were and some guys were noticing her, she'd take care of it and be done with it. But we were in the middle of our dinner and these creeps were being so obvious...she made a comment to me about the guy closest to her acting like a jerk and he looked her up and down, then signalled the guy at the end of the table that she was a "snob" by pushing his nose up with his finger and looking back at my daughter. your tactics work on other girls? If so, that's what's wrong with America, loose young women and men with absolutely not moral compass or sense of manners or propriety. I stared at the guy and watched him do all this...he never noticed me as he appeared to be "mesmerized" by every breath my daughter took....she is beautiful, but this guy was incredible in his moronic, obvious behavior. Our server noted it too, and apologized for the idiots' behavior.

To end the matter, my husband finally sought out the senior guy at the table...oh, a "Chief Harris" was toasted during this melee if that rings any bells out there...and explained that he is a retired Sr. Chief, was on subs all his life, understood the need to unwind, but it should be done in the bar and that their behavior was abhorrent in a family restaurant with children around. Our youngest is SEVEN. The guy apologized, and did so again on their way out, but stated that they had been out on the sub for over 130 days and things can get a little out of hand and he apologized again. Nice try, but we found out from a long time friend who is active duty and attached to Bangor, who also has a college age daughter, that the sub in question had in fact been out for only a couple of weeks, and the Sr. guy my husband talked to was the one being signalled at the end of the table regarding my daughter all evening...folks, he's an officer in the U.S. Navy.

I have partied with the Navy. My husband and I have been married for 20 years and we have had some of our best moments with Navy friends and we still see a few couples we have known throughout the years that we met during those precious years. I do know though, that the Uniform Code of Military Justice does require some things of military members that civilians get away with in their day to day life. We hold these people to a bit higher standard, and considering the jobs they are tasked with in our country's defense every day, I think it is appropriate to do so. We need people with restraint, critical thinking, and good decision making skills. Many of the men at the table next to me the other night were showing none of these characteristics, and I only hope they do better at their jobs.

I appreciate the military with every fiber in my body. I fundraise for them, rally for them, pray for them, and thank them when I see them for the service they provide that few would even consider. The behavior the other night, however, while probably limited to a few (which would be comforting) is a symptom of a bigger problem we have in society today that I see everywhere. It is the lack of public decorum, manners, and general societal norms that we used to have. Parents let children run the household and in restaurants they climb all over the furniture, bother other diners, whine when they don't get their way, and GET AWAY WITH IT.

I shopped at a store recently I am in often and while I was browsing some shelves a small group of employees who were stocking shelves with new merchandise were chatting amongst themselves but clearly audible to anyone within twenty feet...all of a sudden someone starts in with "SH*T, she looks like a whore..." and I nearly dropped what I was holding.

WHY DO WE LET THIS GO? I'm not going to anymore and a couple friends of mine I have talked to have already begun speaking up. Join us, take a stand...say something...take America back. We can have fun, let loose, and unwind without being inappropriate and offensive in a public setting.

Federalist Society Convention...huge hit

I recently attended the Federalist Society's Annual Lawyer's Convention in Washington DC. Although I have been a member for a few years this is the first time I have made it to the convention, and it was well worth the time and expense to be there. For the first time in my legal career, (law school included....) I felt as though I was in the midst of people who looked at the law the same way I did, PARTICULARLY, the Supreme Court.

A recent Time magazine article profiled the "Roberts Court" and how it differs from previous courts. The article also analyzed Chief Justice Roberts' philosophy of how the court should be used, which is to say, that the court does not look at the case before them, determine how it should turn out, but rather, what does the Constitution say, what are the facts of this case, and issues a decision based on that, and little, if nothing else. Especially, can I say, FOREIGN LAW?

I am often asked by people what "legislating from the bench" means. Conservatives who pay attention to this phenomena often refer to it in those terms, but it is not always clear what it means. It means, what I described above...looking at how you think a case should turn out and issuing a decision that supports your decision, however loosely. Conservative principles, however, support the separation of powers as laid out by our founding documents and those that fought and died to support that foundation during the years of our Revolution against the crown. It is this separation that dictates to us who makes the laws, who enforces, who upholds, and who determines the Constitutionality of the laws.

Legislatures make laws. The Supreme Court determines the Constitutionality of those laws. The Supreme Court should not make new laws based on the simple fact that a desired outcome is wanted and there is no current law that supports it. Often in state Supreme Courts you see decisions where the court will state in its decision something to the effect of, 'the outcome may seem unfair in this case, but it is the legislature's job to sort that out'...This is a clear hint from the court that it is up to the state lawmakers to look at this case and determine whether a new statute is needed, or for voters in states like ours that embrace the initiative process to take up the cause, get the issue on the ballot, and effect a change of law in that way.

The Roberts court so far, in my opinion, is headed in the right direction, and if you would like more information I do recommend the Time magazine article to you for further reading.

Final thoughts on the convention: Justice Thomas was funny, articulate, and proved to me again what a fabulous choice for the court this man turned out to be. I recently bought his book and when I'm done with textbooks and Vince Flynn novels I will be reading Justice Thomas's book first in my stack of "unreads." President Bush, Justice Alito and Justice Scalia spoke at the black tie dinner and all faced thunderous was the Society's 25th anniversary and all had kind words for what began as four law students who saw a dearth of conservative views on their law school campus, and started a small revolution.

Two huge speakers during the conference itself were Rudy Giuliani, appearing to perhaps convince this growing group of lawyers that he would appoint strict constructionist judges if elected President. He did a good job I thought, and you can see a small bit of video below, although the clip deals mostly with the great nature of Americans. Lastly, Chief Justice Roberts gave a lecture that turned out to be historical in nature, about our "mascot" at the Society, James Madison, and Madison's attempts to appoint Supreme Court Justices in his day. The Chief Justice was engaging, humorous, educational, and inspirational. A second room had to be opened for those with tickets to see him and it was akin to attending a royal wedding where you're sitting a quarter mile away but at least you're in the "same room!"

We are a lucky people to have this man in the position he is in. Those that feared his appointment, followed by Alito's, do not face wholesale reversals of previous decisions that will take us back to the "dark ages..." If anything of major consequence is reversed in the years to come under the Roberts court, the issues will be sent back to the states to decide, by their own people, which is the point behind state sovereignity and a limited federal government.

All hail the chief...