UP BEAR CREEK | Scalia’s Conservative Spin Charms Defense Attorneys

08/04/14 | By | 17 More

TEXT IS KING… That’s the thesis of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s new book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, which he spoke about up at the Mountain Village Conference Center last week, reports Heather Sackett. The Colorado Defense Lawyers Association was in town for their annual meeting, and Scalia was the keynote … The article sums up Scalia’s strict constitutionalist approach to the Law and his characteristic acerbic style: “The notion that the Constitution is a living document – you’ve got to be stupid to believe that. The Constitution is not a living document. It’s a dead document … An enduring document.” That’s a fair interpretation really, if flawed in my mind. In a rapidly changing world, where we’ve gone from Model A Fords to Mars Landers in one lifetime, one might hope that the rule of law is more of a living entity that changes with the times. And in reviewing American history, of course it is. Who can forget the strict Constitutionalist interpretation in the Dred Scott Decision of 1857 that led to the Civil War. Or the legislation and constitutional amendments championed by Pres. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, that nullified that decision … The Supreme Court may be the ultimate arbiter of Constitutional challenges, but their interpretation is always molded by the popular will of the times. I personally hope that text is never king, both as a poet who knows the shifty eyes and cunning tongues of language and as a freedom-loving Green who looks to the grassroots – not the royalty of print – for my direction.

BILL ZEEDYK … Last week Gunnison Sage Grouse Coordinator Leigh Robertson pulled together an excellent exploratory tour of suitable GSG habitats with riparian restoration guru of Quivira Coalitiion fame, Bill Zeedyk of New Mexico. A number of Colorado Park and Wildlife and federal agency folks joined local rancher and former county commissioner Raymond Snyder and myself out in the Dry Creek Basin area … San Miguel County endangered species supporters are excited about doing a project with Bill to complement roller-chopping of predator perch trees in suitable GSG habitat.

MARK VARIEN 2 … Oops, in congratulating Mark on his recent research appointment at Crow Canyon in Cortez, we managed to forget that you can watch Mark’s TED talk on “Lessons Learned from the Pueblo Indians of the Mesa Verde Region” at TEDxSonomaCounty2014 on YouTube. Coming on the heels of reading Craig Childs’s House of the Rain, I’m deep in the ancestor world … From Mark we learn how the transition from hunting/gathering to agricultural production took place here in the Southwest. But maybe most interesting, in the 13th Century (AD), rising population and a heating up of the climate resulted in a social breakdown that led to a loss of resilience. Having survived many droughts, somehow this loss of diversity seems to have been the fatal flaw in the breakdown of Mesa Verde peoples. And that should recommend to us the importance of diversity as a measuring stick of society’s overall health and ability to deal with change … As Mark likes to say, ancient Puebloan peoples of the Mesa Verde have a lot to teach us.

HUNG OVER … Five margaritas over two nights, not a record. But a tad hardy partying for a paleohippie. When I got back home from Ziggies’ Poetry Fest in Denver this past weekend, I felt this lingering headache walking the dog … Still, it was a great time. Ziggie’s gritty old Elitch Gardens’ blue’s bar was celebrating its 50th of continuous blues jams. We poets danced our pretty heads off to Erik Boa and the Constrictors Friday night, and 40 Below Zero on Satyrday … Organizer Julie Cummings and her partner Carla hosted workshops, performances and a Poetry Trivia contest: Four teams of three, answering arcane poetry questions or identifying obscure poetry photographs. Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, Valerie Szareck and yo made up the Red Wheelbarrow. And we won – to much jockeying, faux taunting and cheering … Outgoing Ziggie’s Poet of the Year Anita Jepson Gilbert together with Kit Hedman, Lynda LaRocca and Ridgway’s Kierstin Bridger were Friday’s featureds and Debbi Brody joined the Rose and I on Satyrday – after the naming of the new Ziggie’s Poet of the Year, Lauren Wolf. Sunday we did a Talking Gourd circle on the patio, with morning traffic on 38th a steady backbeat.

 

THE TALKING GOURD

 

from Eating Strawberries

 

I went into the place

where strawberries

grow from music,

where green cups the fruit

in soft melodies

and rhythms pull out

the sweet red taste.

I went and ate the music.

The juices

dripped from my tongue…

 

- Barbara Test

from Raw Potatoes (2011)

 

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