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John Mann

John Mann is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Calculator Batteries, Killer Terms

Matt: Note the following article about an issue to be considered soon by the U.S. Supreme Court. Seems identical to San Diego's Mount Soledad issue. Will the Supreme Court's decision obtain to Soledad? John Mann Salazar v. Buono At issue: Whether the government can permit the display of a crucifix on public land as per the Establishment Clause. An 8-ft.-tall crucifix has stood on an outcrop called Sunrise Rock on the Mojave National Preserve since 1934, but in one of the court's earliest arguments of the term, the Justices will be asked to consider whether it should be removed. The battle has been brewing for a while - the cross, erected without government approval, was slated for removal by the U.S. National Park Service after a request from Buddhists to create their own memorial near the site was denied. But in 2000, Congress hastily passed a law prohibiting the use of public funds to remove the cross, in essence tying the National Park Service's hands. Congress declared the cross a National Memorial in 2002, and in 2003 it gave the small parcel of land to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) - the group that constructed the original cross. (See TIME's photo-essay "Sonia Sotomayor, the Making of a Judge.") The removal of the cross brings up the Establishment Clause, that long-debated line separating church and state that takes its name from the First Amendment (which begins, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"). This case has been in the court system since early 2000, before Congress's involvement. The National Park Service's attempt to transfer the land to the VFW, per the 2003 congressional order, has been viewed by the lower courts as an illegal way of circumventing repeated rulings compelling it to remove the cross. (Once the land is considered private property, the Establishment Clause no longer applies.) The Supreme Court will be asked to sort out the issue - and ownership of Sunrise Rock - once and for all.
— October 5, 2009 6:52 a.m.

Antique Thai Cuisine

Stella and I went to Antique Thai early on a Thursday evening. Only a couple tables were occupied; the place was pleasantly quiet. She ordered the chicken fried rice, I the veggie thin noodles and a Thai beer. The orders arrived speedily; the fastest slow food in town. Stella declared her meal delicious. Mine was, too, and the beer frosty-cold and hypereffervescent. I tried her fried rice and decided that next time I'd order the veggies on that instead of noodles. Next time was a week later on a Saturday evening. I was concerned about getting a table. No reason, as again most were unoccupied – a surprise, but what does that say about the economy? This time, I was with Carol. (Carol, if you're reading this, Stella and I are just friends.) She ordered the chicken mango curry and a white wine, I the veggie fried rice and a beer. Again, the food arrived in a flash, fresh, hot. Carol's dish was served bubbling over a flame, to be ladled over white rice. I tasted it. Too spicy for me, perfect for her, with her cauterized taste buds. The bouquet of her wine suggested pears; a sip confirmed that. Delicious. My dish was an ideal medley of snappy carrots, broccoli, onions, and channeled cucumber slices over seasoned rice. This is the dish I will go back for time and again. Had our waitress been as attentive and she was cheerful, I would've ordered a second glass of wine. Also, she wouldn't have brought us someone else's bill. All in all, Antique Thai is a warm, inviting restaurant that deserves to have every table occupied every evening. It also deserves to have customers more couth than the two men at two different tables wearing baseball caps.
— May 5, 2009 4:46 p.m.
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