Wednesday, 04/01/2015

Wholly Wanting And Misleading

RMJ on discrimination that isn't discrimination:

This rapidly devolves into absurdity, especially since they have no problem selling pizzas to gays and lesbians, they just don't want to be involved in "gay" weddings.  Unfortunately for them, that is the very definition of discrimination.  There is no rational basis for their decision, they just object to the law authorizing the marriage of certain persons.  If they said the same thing about mixed race marriages (which could be black and white, or Asian and Mexican, or any combination of "race" you care to make), how far would they be expected to get?

I wouldn't put it past the Supreme Court that handed down Hobby Lobby v. Burwell to decide that kind of discrimination is allowed (although Hobby Lobby didn't involve an issue of discrimination, so I could be wrong).  Of course, under Indiana law and federal law, homosexuality is not a protected class, so they are free to discriminate if they wish to.  Well, until the Supreme Court does for same sex marriage what Loving v. Virginia did for interracial unions.

But it seems to me Indiana's RFRA is kinda moot before that, except this kind of example underlines that Indiana's RFRA is aimed at allowing discrimination to survive that expected ruling.  Then again, if all that law does is allow people to discriminate against other people based on who is marrying whom, and nothing else, I could still see room for the courts to strike the law down now.

Because seriously, you can't preach it as round and square as that.

Please.  This is Indiana, home of the geniuses who did, in fact, try to square a circle by legislative fiat.


April 1, 8:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April Fools In Congress, But I Repeat Myself

Congress started lazily enough under the auspices of Article I (Section 2Section 5) and the Articles Congress' resolution:

The House met according to adjournment.

Two other members, to wit: James Schureman, from New Jersey, and Thomas Scott, from Pennsylvania, appeared and took their seats.

And a quorum, consisting of a majority of the whole number, being present,

Resolved, That this House will proceed to the choice of a Speaker by ballot.

The House accordingly proceeded to ballot for a Speaker, and upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole House was found in favor of Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, one of the Representatives for the State of Pennsylvania.

Whereupon, the said Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg was conducted to the chair, from whence he made his acknowledgments to the House for so distinguished an honor.

The House then proceeded in the same manner to the appointment of a Clerk, and upon examining the ballots, a majority, of the votes of the whole House was found in favor of Mr. John Beckley.

On motion,

Ordered, That the members of this House do severally deliver in their credentials at the Clerk's table.

And then the House adjourned until to-morrow morning eleven o'clock.

Took almost a month to finally get this quorum, and all they did was "chuse their Speaker and [one] other Officer..."  What go getters!  To be fair, they did a bunch of work, you know, setting up everything necessary for a proper Republic.

Muhlenberg, BTW, was son of Lutheran pastor for whom Muhlenberg College was named.   A future GOP Senator was recently in some hot water there.  The foolish circle is complete.


April 1, 6:55 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Since America Is A Judeo-Christian Nation, I Hear Tell

The Christians in Indiana should remember Hillel:

[A] Gentile came to Shamai saying: "Convert me on the condition that thou teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Shamai pushed him away with the builders' measure he held in his hand. He thereupon came to Hillel, and the latter accepted him. He told him: "What is hateful to thee, do not unto thy fellow; this is the whole law. All the rest is a commentary to this law; go and learn it."

You know, the Golden Pizza Rule, and all that...


April 1, 6:11 PM in Conscience | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Please Don't Use James Madison For Your Damned Memes

It ain't just rightwingers who are attracted to losing constitutional propositions.  Witness this meme from Occupy Democrats.

It is absolutely true that these words are Madison's.  Sadly, they are not really germane to the point folks appear to be making.

The most glaring problem with using the quotation is it merely comes from Madison's original proposal for what eventually was edited into our First Amendment:

Fourthly, That in article 1st, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

I naturally share the sentiment that nobody's civil rights should be infringed upon because of somebody else's religious beliefs (you conscience ends at my nose).  However, this is merely a first draft of the Establishment Clause, which has pretty much nil to do with that noble concept.  Here's what Jemmy is recorded as observing on the House floor:

[H]e apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any Manner contrary to their conscience

So  The meme attempts to turn the religious liberty argument against bigots, but it's an epic fail all around.


PS--I'd like to see Purvi Patel released from prison for "feticide" under the auspices of her religious beliefs.  Without the use of memes, thanks.

April 1, 5:12 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?"

Bless their hearts:

  • Bryan Fischer: "I'm afraid Governor Pence is dangerously close to allowing the homosexual lobby to get the state of Indiana," he warned, "to compel people to provide labor against their will.  What do we call it when people are compelled to provide labor against their will? Involuntary labor, what do we call that, ladies and gentlemen? That is involuntary servitude, that is slavery, that is something that is forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment"
    • Heart of Atlanta Motel v US (1964): We find no merit in the...appellant's contentions, including that of "involuntary servitude." As we have seen, 32 States prohibit racial discrimination in public accommodations. These laws but codify the common law innkeeper rule, which long predated the Thirteenth Amendment. It is difficult to believe that the Amendment was intended to abrogate this principle. Indeed, the opinion of the Court in the Civil Rights Cases is to the contrary as we have seen, it having noted with approval the laws of "all the States" prohibiting discrimination. We could not say that the requirements of the Act in this regard are in any way "akin to African slavery."
  • KY Guv Beshear: "Kentucky’s marriage laws treat homosexuals and heterosexuals the same and are facially neutral. Men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are free to marry persons of the opposite sex under Kentucky law, and men and women, whether heterosexual or homosexual, cannot marry persons of the same sex under Kentucky law," the Democratic governor said in a brief filed with the Supreme Court on March 27.

    • Loving v Virginia (1967): [T]he State contends that, because its miscegenation statutes punish equally both the white and the Negro participants in an interracial marriage, these statutes, despite their reliance on racial classifications, do not constitute an invidious discrimination based upon race...Because we reject the notion that the mere "equal application" of a statute containing racial classifications is enough to remove the classifications from the Fourteenth Amendment's proscription of all invidious racial discriminations, we do not accept the State's contention that these statutes should be upheld if there is any possible basis for concluding that they serve a rational purpose.

There is no new thing under the sun...


April 1, 3:54 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

On The Road To Selma

Speaking of last ditch efforts in a losing cause:

April 1 [1865]. Encamped near Montevallo. The Second Brigade cut off from balance of division by the First Division; First Brigade and division headquarters moved at daylight on the main road to Selma.

Near Randolph struck the enemys skirmishers and drove them steadily until Ebenezer Church was reached, six miles north of Plantersville. The enemy, 3,000 strong, with four pieces of artillery, attempted a stand.

After heavy skirmishing a saber charge was made by four companies of the Seventeenth Indiana, who cut their way through the first line, sabering many, but were met by a heavy fire of artillery and musketry from a much stronger line, and forced to turn to the left, cutting their way out.

Captain Taylor and sixteen men charged through and in rear of the enemys lines, and continued fighting until all were killed or wounded. The rebels, fearing another attack, commenced falling back, and the Fourth Division striking them on the left at this moment, they retreated in confusion, leaving three pieces of artillery and a large number of prisoners in our hands, and losing heavily in killed and wounded.

A large amount of sacked corn, which had just been shipped up from Selma, was also captured. General Forrest, who was present in the action, was wounded by a saber cut in the arm. Our loss was twenty-nine killed, wounded, and missing.

Encamped at Plantersville, meeting with no further opposition.

Pretty good joke played on a future KKK member:

Stanton, Alabama is the site of the April 1, 1865 battle to defend Selma from General Wilson and his advancing troops. Wilson, fresh from destroying key Confederate sites at Tannehill, Brierfield and Tuscaloosa was making a run for Selma's industrial city to destroy the Confederate foundries thereby driving a nail into the heart of the Confederate cause.

General Forrest chose to head off Wilson about 25 miles north of Selma in the small community of Stanton in order to give reinforcements time to reach and help defend Selma. Wilson's troops were coming from the North on two roads which met at Ebenezer Church in Stanton. Forrest could not fend off the coming tide of Wilson's troops and retreated back to Selma for the battle that would come the next day leading to the fall of Selma.

This battle, which would be one of the last battles Forrest would fight on ground of his own choosing during the war, would become known as one of the most fierce battles of the Civil War.

Yesterday it was Nathan Bedford Forrest, today it's Michael Richard Pence desperately trying to stave off the tides of change.  Fools.


April 1, 3:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Is America A Muslim Nation?

I forget: which states have enacted Sharia Law?

"Gays and lesbians, they might disagree with me on gay marriage, or they might disagree with somebody — a religious person as it relates to their Christian views, but why are they so silent on the bigger issues of the day, which would be taking on radical Islamists?" Hannity asked, noting that gay people and women are mistreated under Sharia Law.
D'Souza then explained that opposition to the Indiana law "is a selective attack on Christianity."

"Not only do you not see the left talking about gays and lesbians abroad, but even at home, you’ll rarely find homosexuals trying to force a Muslim baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding," D'Souza said.

Yeah, nobody talks about the anti-gay laws in, say...Uganda.  But they're right that you rarely find a Muslim baker or pizzaria denying service to homosexuals.


April 1, 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Meanwhile In Assholistan

I love the smell of backlash in the morning:

  • Indiana pizza bigots

    Members of the online foodie community did not take kindly to Memories’ ownership bragging about being the first business to publicly implement the discriminatory power granted by the RFRA. Robert S. pointed out the obvious on Yelp, writing that “in all my queer life, I’ve never known a gay to cater their wedding with pizza.”

    Carol M. wondered if they had “Gaydar installed at the door,” and whether the O’Connors “ever considered that you may be serving closeted homosexuals.”

    John S. kindly informed the establishment that despite its protestations of religiosity, it was violating a number of Biblical dietary laws.

    But it was Michael N. who figured out what the O’Connors were probably up to. “This is a transparent attempt to fly the Christian martyr ‘mean Gays are calling us bigots’ flag in the hopes that other mouth-breathers in the area will rally to them and their crappy pizza the way Southerners rallied to Chick Fil-A,” he wrote.

  • Arkansas doctor douchenozzle

    Well that was satisfyingly fast. After news broke late last week that Alabama state Sen. Larry Stutts, an OB/GYN, was trying to repeal a 1999 law passed after a woman died under his care, Stutts turned around Tuesday and withdrew the bill, muttering that he’d have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those meddling reporters.

    Stutts is very sad that people mischaracterized his motives for dropping the mandate for insurance coverage for up to 48 hours of maternity care:

    Stutts had said this is so women can leave earlier if they want to and the decision to leave would be decided between patient and doctor on a case-by-case basis.

    The current law creates shared responsibility for the patient and doctor if the new mother wishes to be released early. This means the doctor must inform the woman of advantages and disadvantages of an early discharge.

    Yes, this is indeed where we yell “Bullshit!” and point out that the current law doesn’t shackle women to the wall and require them to stay in the hospital for 48 hours after giving birth; it merely requires insurance to pay for that long a stay if the woman wants.

Sunshine is the best asshole disinfectant.


April 1, 10:43 AM in And Fuck..., Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 03/31/2015

On The Firing Line

And on the Golden Record.


March 31, 10:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Homenaje A Claudio Ptolomeo


I am a man: little do I last
and the night is enormous.
But I look up:
the stars write.
Unknowing I understand:
I too am written,
and at this very moment
someone spells me out.

Octavio Paz.


March 31, 9:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iron And Ice

This just popped up on io9 for some reason:

In 1178, a group of monks at Canterbury saw the moon suddenly explode into sparks, "writhe," and "take on a blackish appearance." What the hell did they see?
[S]om experts believe that they saw the impact that led to formation of the Giordano Bruno crater on the moon. Others disagree, believing that such an impact would have kicked up debris that would lead to a week-long pelting of the Earth. Such a thing would have caught the attention of more than a few monks.

The most credible theory is the monks just saw a particularly spectacular meteor hit the atmosphere. From their point of view, and their point of view alone, it would have looked like part of the moon exploded. No one else would have seen it as anything more than a bright shooting star.

Yeah, people who read my blog know they didn't see a lunar impact.  We know what it looks like.


PS--Sam's been advising his friends that if a meteor strikes near us and "we are in a building, we'll probably be okay, but our windows will blow out.  Unless it's big and we die like the dinosaurs."  Perhaps I tell him too much.

March 31, 8:33 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Enjoy Originalists Who Cite Losers

Yeah, okay:

“Prospective presidential nominee Mike Huckabee called Saturday for the imposition of term limits on U.S. Supreme Court justices, saying that the nation’s founders never intended to create lifetime, irrevocable posts. ‘Nobody should be in an unelected position for life,’ the former Arkansas governor said in an interview, expanding on remarks he made during an hour-long speech at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.

‘If the president who appoints them can only serve eight years, the person they appoint should never serve 40. That has never made sense to me; it defies that sense of public service.’ Huckabee said the Federalist Papers, written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, supported his view that the nation’s founders came close to imposing judicial term limits in the Constitution; they never could have imagined people would want to serve in government for decades, he said.”
Huckabee’s quarrel is not only with constitutional language, but with what that very influential document of the founding era – the Federalist Papers – has to say on the subject of the terms of service on the Supreme Court.

The most authoritative and thorough Federalist Paper on “the judicial department” is No. 78, published on May 28, 1788.   Like all other papers, it was published under the pen name “Publius,” but this one was actually written by Alexander Hamilton.   To suggest, as Gov. Huckabee does, that Hamilton and the other authors of the Federalist “came close to imposing judicial term limits” does not take account of Paper No. 78.

Even if Hamilton, et al, suggested in the Federalist Papers that the Framers "came close" (which they did not, in fact), who the fuck cares?  The only thing that matters is what was actually proposed and ratified.  All such an assertion shows is that the Framers were not monolithic, and the losers lost the question.

Might as well quote the Articles of Confederation. or the Constitution(s) of the CSA, or any proclamation of King George III to support your point.


PS--I should add Barry Goldwater and Roger Taney to the Parade of Horrible Losers.  For bookended completeness.

March 31, 7:54 PM in And Fuck..., Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thanks, Obama!

Is there anything the president doesn't ruin?

[T]he Hoosier State governor suggested this whole mess can be traced back to Obamacare.
Many states have enacted [Religious Freedom Restoration Acts] of their own …  but Indiana never passed such a law. Then in 2010 came the Affordable Care Act, which renewed concerns about government infringement on deeply held religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby and the University of Notre Dame both filed lawsuits challenging provisions that required the institutions to offer certain types of insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.

Even if the ACA had ever been offered as an excuse before--I can find no such thing, only references the law's supporters made about being able to discriminate against icky queers--it's not at all clear what the ACA has to do with allowing a Religious Get Out Of Jail Free Card in private suits.  Sadly, this isn't even the most offensive attempt to link Obamacare to rhetorically something bad today.


March 31, 4:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


Something the Rand Pauls of the world miss: there's private property, then there's private property. 

I certainly can discriminate in my own home.  It's not a place of business, not expected to operate in the public sphere like a business.  Yet even there my property rights are not absolute because they are protected by society, and do come into conflict with others' at times (think raw sewage streaming downhill, etc) so will have some natural limits.

A business might be privately held and own private property, but also inherently operates in the public sphere.  It enjoys societal protection (arguably even more than private homes), and ought to expect regulation to protect the public given its public nature.  One compelling state interest is to make sure rights of travel, access to necessary services, and general human dignity are not infringed.

Think of showing some fucking compassion like paying your goddamned business taxes.  It's necessary in a civilized society.  Private property doesn't trump that, especially when you're equivocating.


March 31, 1:16 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Droids And Lepers And Gays, Oh My!

A long time ago in a state far, far away...


March 31, 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself..."

The faith a movement proclaims doesn't count: what counts is the hope it offers.

 - William of Baskerville

With all this talk of a rebirth of religious liberty in the Great State of Indiana, I cannot help but think of St Francis:

Now on a day while he was riding over the plain that lieth beneath the city of Assisi, he met a certain leper, and this unforeseen meeting filled him with loathing. But when he recalled the purpose of perfection that he had even then conceived in mind, and remembered that it behoved him first of all to conquer self, if he were fain to become the soldier of Christ, he leapt from his horse and ran to embrace him. When the leper stretched forth his hand as though to receive an alms, he kissed it, and then put money therein. Then forthwith mounting his horse, he looked round him on all sides, and the plain was spread before him unbroken, and no trace of that leper might he see. Then; filled with wonder and joy, he began devoutly to chant praises unto the Lord, purposing from this to rise ever unto greater heights.
From that time forth, he put on the spirit of poverty, the feeling of humility, and the love of inward godliness. For whereas aforetime not only the company, but even the distant sight, of lepers had inspired him with violent loathing, now, for the sake of Christ Crucified, — Who, saith the prophet, appeared despised, and marred as a leper, — and that he might fully vanquish self, he would render unto the lepers humble and kindly services in his benevolent goodness. For he would often visit their dwellings, and bestow alms upon them with a bountiful hand, and with a deep impulse of pity would kiss their hands and faces.

Too bad there aren't more Franciscans in the Great State of Indiana.  Alas for them, it is easier for a wedding cake to go through the eye of a needle than for a bigoted baker to enter the Kingdom of God.


March 31, 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why Can't Queers Just Be More Accommodating?

Zandar drew the short straw on the David Brooks Beat:

Morality is a politeness of the soul. Deep politeness means we make accommodations. Certain basic truths are inalienable. Discrimination is always wrong. In cases of actual bigotry, the hammer comes down. But as neighbors in a pluralistic society we try to turn philosophic clashes (about right and wrong) into neighborly problems in which different people are given space to have different lanes to lead lives. In cases where people with different values disagree, we seek a creative accommodation.

Indeed, in the public space, politeness is what we're going for.  Memo to teh Gay: be polite and don't assert your rights to accommodation.  TIA!


March 31, 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, 03/30/2015

Strange Brew

Kill what's inside of you.


March 30, 10:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Doubt Not God Is Good, Well-meaning, Kind

Yet Do I Marvel:

And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing! 

Countee Cullen.


March 30, 9:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Greatest. Law. Review. Article. Ever.


The Influence of Immanuel Kant on Evidentiary Approaches in Eighteenth Century Bulgaria

Orin S. Kerr
The George Washington University Law School

March 28, 2015

In 2011, Chief Justice Roberts commented that if you "pick up a copy of any law review that you see," "the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria, or something, which I'm sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn't of much help to the bar.” No such article exists, of course -- until now. This short essay explains why, in all likelihood, Kant’s influence on evidentiary approaches in 18th-century Bulgaria was none.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 3

Looking forward to Kerr's next paper: The influence of Friedrich Nietzsche on John Roberts' Approaches to State Sovereignty.


March 30, 8:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Avalanche Of Anti-discrimination

Was gonna follow up on RFRA stuff, but I've deleted most of my related bookmarks because RMJ has mooted my efforts:

The key point there is "compelling governmental interest."  That's where anti-discrimination laws get upheld; there is a compelling governmental interest is not permitting discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin, or religion.  Which should mean I can't refuse to serve a Roman Catholic in my place of business if I'm, say, MO Synod Lutheran (the official position of the denomination is that Rome is the whore of Babylon).  Or does it?

PENCE: Well, let -- let me explain to you, the purpose of this bill is to empower and has been for more than 20 years, George. This is not speculative. The purpose of this legislation, which is the law in all 50 states in our federal courts and it's the law by either statute or court decisions in some 30 other states, is very simply to empower individual when they believe that actions of government impinge on their constitutional First Amendment freedom of religion. And, frankly, George, there's a lot of people across this country who -- you're looking at ObamaCare and the Hobby Lobby decision, looking at other cases, who feel that their religious liberty is being infringed upon and -- and The Religious Freedom Restoration Act at the federal level and all the states now, including Indiana, who have it, are simply about addressing that.

And again, if my religious freedom to discriminate against Catholics ( or Jews, or blacks, or what-have-you) is infringed upon, isn't it a restoration of my religious freedom to let me discriminate against the members of such groups?  Or is the problem only the "avalance of intolerance" that is gay marriage?

I'll just add this:

An Indiana business owner went on a local radio station and said that he had discriminated against gay or lesbian couples even before Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a law on Thursday protecting business owners who decide to discriminate for “religious liberty” reasons. He then defended the practice and suggested he would do it again.

The business owner, who would not give his name or the name of his business, said he had told some LGBT “people” that equipment was broken in his restaurant and he couldn’t serve them even though it wasn’t and other people were already eating at the tables. “So, yes, I have discriminated,” he told RadioNOW 100.9 hosts. The hosts were surprised the owner said he was okay with discriminating.

“Well, I feel okay with it because it’s my place of business, I pay the rent, I’ve built it with all my money and my doing. It’s my place; I can do whatever I want with it,” he said. “They can have their lifestyle and do their own thing in their own place or with people that want to be with them.”

And this (and this):

Defendant Bessinger [contends anti-discrimination law] violates his freedom of religion under the First Amendment "since his religious beliefs compel him to oppose any integration of the races whatever."

But, like race, discrimination has nothing to do with it.  It never does.


March 30, 7:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Super Duper Majorities

Silly Scott:

Josh Blackman raises the new theory that Democrats should pay the price for Republican obstructionism to a new level:

I trace much of the intractable gridlock in Washington, D.C. to this very moment in 2009 when the ACA was passed on a 60-line vote. In much the same way that Kim Kardashian “broke the internet,” I think Harry Reid ramming the ACA through “broke the Senate.” This is to say nothing of his later decision to trigger the nuclear option, and eliminate the filibuster altogether for judicial nominees other than the Supreme Court. The intransigent Republicans take virtually all of the blame for the gridlock over the last few years, but much of it should fall at the feet of Reid.

This has the same problem as all versions of the theory: namely, the idea that there’s something presumptively illegitimate about passing legislation with “only” a 60% or 59% majority in the Senate is absolutely absurd. 

He just doesn't understand that even if bills passed unanimously in a 100-Democrat Senate, it would be illegit because they only were elected by lazy people who are dependent on government.


March 30, 6:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Trolling The Trolls

This is kinda funny:

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) said on Monday during an appearance on Fox News that President Obama is "inciting" birther conspiracy theorists by planning a trip to Kenya this summer.

“I think his trip back to Kenya is going to create a lot of chatter and commentary amongst some of the hard right, who still don’t see him as having been born in the U.S.," Sununu said on the show "America's Newsroom."

"I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago,” he said.

I think Obama's being president is incitement enough for these cranks.  But thanks for the laugh, you washed up asshole.


March 30, 5:11 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

I Have No Choice

I hear Pence's voice...


March 30, 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Yes, this is pretty much what I said the other day on teh socialmediaz:

The fact that other states have so called "religious freedom restoration acts" is at best misleading. The movement to push these laws goes back at least two decades. But until quite recently they were not specifically, almost exclusively, focused on gays and lesbians. Two things have changed. In the last eighteen months, social conservatives have recognized that they've lost the public battle over gay rights. Marriage equality will almost certainly be the law of the land nationwide in the near future. And the rulings that set the stage for that change will likely knock down all remaining legally sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians in the coming years.

So social conservatives have retreated to a defensive action of accepting legally sanctioned equality but trying to create a carve out of discrimination under the guise of 'religious liberty.' The second thing is Hobby Lobby and that the signal that the Supreme Court will accept a concept of religious liberty far more expansive than anything seen in the past.

Shame, shame, shame!


March 30, 8:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Religious Hegemony Restoration Act

Indeed, the justifications for Indiana's pro-bigotry law based on the mere existence of the RFRA are bogus:

Part of what really stinks here is the way the language of RFRA is being twisted to turn an attempt to defend the rights of religious minorities into a tool for defending the hegemony of religious majorities.

Hence, Pence. The Indiana governor just signed into law something called a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” But the law itself is nothing like its 1993 namesake. It’s an artificial Lemon. Indiana’s new law is not an attempt to hold statutes restricting religious liberty to strict scrutiny. It is, rather, a reaffirmation and expansion of the obnoxious logic of the Oregon v. Smith ruling that the real RFRA was written to correct. And it goes beyond that, to grant this power to discriminate not just to the state itself, but to private businesses and business owners.

In Indiana, every business is now Oregon and every customer they don’t like, for whatever reason, is now Smith.

And Smith, you’ll remember, lost.

But I hear tell "no sane business" would ever discriminate, so this outrage is moot...


March 30, 8:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, 03/29/2015

There Is Madness In His Music

Orff had...issues.  I like some of his music, though, including this "little world theater."


March 29, 10:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

For You I Am Trilling These Songs

For You O Democracy:

Come, I will make the continent indissoluble,
I will make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon,
I will make divine magnetic lands,
                   With the love of comrades,
                      With the life-long love of comrades.

Walt Whitman.


March 29, 10:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Democracy For DC

Ohio approved the Twenty-third Amendment on March 29, 1961, becoming the requisite 38th state for its ratification.  It was officially certified valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution of the United States on April 3.  So residents in the District of Columbia could now vote for our chief executive.

I'll just note this came at the beginning of pretty aggressive expansion of the franchise over a mere decade.  It was followed by amendments banning poll taxes (1964) and allowing 18yos to vote (1971).  That's 3 amendments out of the last 5 dedicated to ensuring more people's right to cast ballots in presidential or other elections.

Of course, DC's vast African-American population has only voted Democratic since '64.  I'm a bit surprised the Republican Congress didn't propose repeal of the 23rd in a deal allowing Lynch to become AG.


March 29, 9:03 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rocking In The Drawing Room

Ericka took this picture of Sadie drawing whilst rocking in an old chair.


March 29, 8:09 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Exodus 13:17

I'm pretty shocked by Biden's statement about Jews and how Israel is the only guarantee of their safety:

[N]o one has remarked upon the fact of a sitting vice president telling a portion of the American citizenry that they cannot count on the United States government as the ultimate guarantor of their freedom and safety. The Constitution, which the vice president is sworn to uphold, guarantees to American citizens the “Blessings of Liberty” and equal protection of the law. Despite that, despite “how deeply involved” Jews “are in the United States,” the occupant of the second-highest office in the land believes that American Jews should look to a foreign government as the foundation of their rights and security.

A country that once offered itself as a haven to persecuted Jews across the world now tells its Jews that in the event of some terrible outbreak of anti-Semitism they should… what? Plan on boarding the next plane to Tel Aviv?

But maybe I shouldn't be shocked.  This is, after all, the nation that turned away the St Louis, has welcoming committees such as the KKK and Illinois Nazis, and props up a racist regime in Israel.


March 29, 6:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Locust Years

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their substance.

 - Thomas Jefferson, et al

Somebody at dKos noticed there are literally hundreds of thousands of elected offices in the US:

[S]ince there are so many opportunities to get elected to office, why do so many people insist on starting for the first time at the highest levels, like state legislature or Congress? Those (relatively) plum posts are just the tip of the elective iceberg and are thus very difficult to win. If you're considering running for office as a new candidate, there are literally hundreds of thousands of other ways to gain a foothold, build up your experience, and serve your community.

And for progressives in particular, especially if you live in a red area, this is how we build our power—not by sending our rookies to wage longshot bids for top-shelf positions but by bulking up our bench in every nook and cranny of the electoral world. Rep. Mike Honda, a vocal progressive this community supported in his re-election bid last year, started his career as a school board member, for instance. The next Mike Honda is waiting out there, and she may even be reading this post.

I know, right?  FTR, I'm now 2 for 3 in elections.  Hear me roar!


PS--Yes, the title and initial quotation are snarky.

March 29, 3:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, 03/28/2015

Rocking Highlanders

Tiny's Jump.


March 28, 11:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Difference Between The Broken Gates And The Forbidden Letters


So what reason do we need to believe in icons or saints?
How might we otherwise remember—
without an image to fasten in that lonely place—
the rock on which a Prophet flung himself into fever?
Without an icon or church, spell “gates of Hell.”
Spell “those years ago unfolding.”
Recite to me please all the letters you are not able to read.
Spell “fling yourself skyward.”
Spell “fever.”

Kazim Ali.


March 28, 10:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bless Their Hearts person ought to, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship.

 - Article 3rd, Vermont Constitution

Yes, this did happen:

During a televised committee debate Tuesday on a proposed concealed weapons bill, State Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, explained her theory that American needs a "moral rebirth" in order to keep people from feeling the need to carry a weapon.

"I believe what's happening to our country is that there's a moral erosion of the soul of America," she said. She continued:

It's the soul that is corrupt. How we get back to a moral rebirth I don't know. Since we are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. Probably we should be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth." 

However, Michael J. Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and the director of the Center for Law and Government at the University of North Carolina  says in an interview “It’s not a question that such a law would be immediately struck down by any court as absolutely unconstitutional, but a question of how this kind of proposal is even taking up legislative time. They [legislators] might try and get around it by saying that you could choose the mosque, synagogue, or church to attend. Still, when [legislators] attempt to connect compulsion to religion there’s no question such a law would be struck down."

I didn't post about this before because it really wasn't any sort of proposal in a legislative sense.  It still isn't such a thing, but now I'm seeing people suggesting it was a "proposal...taking up legislative time."  Consider it dictum and nothing more.  Stupid, yes, but mere musing and not any earnest policy proposal.


March 28, 8:57 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Jesus Was An Antisemite

Cole on the anti-gay haters:

The hateful people are not the ones who just enacted a law to legally allow them to discriminate, the hateful people are the ones pointing out the law is bigoted and awful. How dare someone call you a bigot for being bigoted? The horror.

Don’t break an arm nailing yourself to that cross, asshole.

Remember when Jesus threw out money changers from the Temple?  That proves he hated Jews.  QED.


March 28, 6:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Blame Glass Tubes

A favorite scene from Sports Night, all because of Anthony's comment.


March 28, 4:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


What is written in the law? how readest thou?

 - Luke 10:26

More on Phil Robertson's judging human beings from Slacktivist:

Robertson’s horrifying nightmare of a “joke” seems to be based on his confused partial perception of a common, bogus argument peddled by many of the pop-”apologetics” acts touring the right-wing Christian circuit. These self-proclaimed Christian apologists like to argue that Christianity (i.e., their own particular sectarian strain thereof) is the only sustainable basis for morality. Only faith — and only their faith — can teach us the difference between right and wrong. Thus, they say, we cannot be “good without God.”

And, therefore, there can never be any such thing as a good Samaritan. Q.E.D.

But even the clumsiest of these Francis Schaeffer wanna-bes — even the ones operating at a Josh McDowell-level of smuggery and self-righteous intoxication — don’t try to take this as far as Robertson does. They’ll at least acknowledge the existence of other approaches to morality, if only to avoid the dilemma Robertson creates for himself of having to explain why the world doesn’t look like a chaotic cesspool of perpetual Mad Maxian violence and depravity. They may present those other approaches to morality as cartoonish strawmen in order to make their preferred Revealed Rulebook approach seem superior, but they don’t pretend, as Robertson does, that everyone who isn’t a white evangelical is running around saying there’s no difference between right and wrong.

Robertson is also, I think, confused about the meaning of the Calvinist doctrine of “total depravity.” This is a popular confusion that I hate encountering because it puts me in the position of having to defend Calvin. The idea of “total depravity” (which comes from Augustine as much as Calvin) really would be better described aspervasive depravity. The idea isn’t that we are totally depraved and superlatively evil in every possible way, but rather that sin affects us totally — affects every part of us, every aspect of our humanity. At the same time, both Calvin and Augustine insisted, we are also totally bearers of the imago Dei, meaning that no part or aspect of our humanity does not also reflect the spark of the divine.

Total depravity doesn’t mean what Robertson seems to imagine it means — that without salvation we are inhuman reavers, conscienceless, bestial creatures of the sort described slaughtering the atheist family in his “joke.” That idea of human nature is not just a confused distortion of Calvinism, it’s also empirically false. There are more than 5 billion non-Christians here on planet Earth, and they do not, in actual fact, act like reavers.

Indeed, he is totally depraved.  It's unfortunate that people like Robertson are not just crackpots on TV, but being elected to office as well.


March 28, 2:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Heart Of Indiana


Stickers touting "This business serves everyone" have been appearing on business windows in many Indiana cities.

Would that the discriminating businesses would advertise their principled bigotry so proudly, just like in the Good Ole Days.


March 28, 11:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)


I'm gonna miss Harry Reid.  Not for his legislative victories, smooth navigation of Senate rules, or general pugnacity.  No, I'm just a big fan of a filibuster I watched live on C-SPAN many aeons ago.  You can, too, finally on their website.

My favorite part (skip to 6 hours and 53 or so minutes in):

Sen Reid: Looking around the desert, I noticed [rabbits] didn't eat cactus, or I thought they didn't eat cactus. They didn't eat desert cactus. They ate my cactus. We planted a bunch of cactus. I can't imagine how they can do it, but they eat some cactus--not all of them. I don't know the names of the cactus they don't eat. Some of the names I know. They don't eat the cholla. They don't eat the beaver tails. They don't eat a plant that is not native to Searchlight, Ocotilla from Arizona, a long stringy plant with stems that go up very high. They don't eat those.

So I have replanted my house several times. They are good, these rabbits.
Sen Roberts: Did you ever solve the problem with the rabbits with regard to the cactus they would eat or wouldn't eat?

That was the last time anybody truly filibustered for several years, until Bernie, and Rand Paul, and Dr Seuss (kinda sorta) did in more recent memory.  Nobody has done so entertainingly with killer rabbits.


PS--Now I'm starting to miss Sen Byrd.  And my, how much has changed since that post.

March 28, 8:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, 03/27/2015

In The Middle Of Negotiations

You break down.


March 27, 11:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Moral Crisis

Nothing I like better than libertarians talking about moral crisis and discrimination:

In a video posted yesterday by the Christian Broadcasting Network, Rand Pauladdressed “a group of pastors and religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast” in Washington D.C. on Thursday about the need for “revival” in America complete with “tent revivals” full of people demanding reform.

He suggested during the event that the debate about legalizing same-sex marriage is the result of a “moral crisis” in the country: “Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything. In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country, there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage, there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.” 

I suggest that denial of rights under the 14th Amendment to human beings who love each other is a result of moral crisis.


March 27, 10:46 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Speaking Of Friendly Boycotts

American Friend Service Committee on something dear to my heart:

In the context of Israel and Palestine AFSC supports the the use of boycott and divestment campaigns targeting only companies that support the occupation, settlements, militarism, or any other violations of international humanitarian or human rights law. Our position does not call for a full boycott of Israel nor of companies because they are either Israeli or doing business in Israel.  Our actions also never focus on individuals.

Our support for the use of boycotts and divestments is contextualized by Quakers and AFSC's long support for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions as economic tactics that appeal to human conscience and change behavior. In the 1800s, Quakers helped lead the “Free Produce Movement,” a boycott of goods produced using slave labor. In recent times, AFSC has participated in boycott and divestment campaigns connected to the in the civil rights, anti-apartheid, farm worker, and prison rights struggles.

Since 1948 AFSC has worked with both Palestinians and Israelis to achieving a just and lasting peace and we remain committed to supporting nonviolent activism designed to achieve this end. Taking into account AFSC principles and history, AFSC supports all nonviolent efforts to realize peace and justice in Israel and Palestine including the strategic use of boycott, divestment, and sanctions tactics.

For some reason, lots of Soda Stream crap has been popping up in my feeds, so I felt compelled to remind people that they are very, very bad and should not be supported by all right thinking people.


March 27, 9:55 PM in Conscience, Pax Americana, Viva Palestina | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

You Only Give Me Your Funny Paper

Because Europeans use a lot of dollar coins, and we don't have any coins in the US:

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) filed a budget amendment intended to keep American dollars printed as paper currency – instead of minting fancy, European-style coins.

The Louisiana Republican objected to a proposal by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY), who wants to facilitate the move toward dollar coins as a potential budget-cutting measure.

Doesn't Vitter realize that paper currency is clearly unconstitutional per Article I, Section 8, Clause 5?  Congress only has the power to COIN money, duh.


March 27, 6:30 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Year At The Beach

Bon Voyage!

Three crew members representing the United States and Russia are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:42 p.m. EDT Friday (1:42 a.m., March 28 in Baikonur).

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend about a year living and working aboard the space station to help scientists better understand how the human body reacts and adapts to the harsh environment of space.

“Scott Kelly’s mission is critical to advancing the administration’s plan to send humans on a journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We’ll gain new, detailed insights on the ways long-duration spaceflight affects the human body.”

Launching with Kelly and Kornienko was cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who will spend a standard six-month rotation on the station. The trio is scheduled to dock with the station at 9:36 p.m., about six hours after launch. NASA Television coverage of docking will begin at 8:45 p.m. Hatches are scheduled to open at about 11:15 p.m., with coverage starting at 10:45 p.m.

A year could take you to Mars and back--really into deeper waters of outer space instead of shallows by the beach.  I become impatient.


March 27, 5:13 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Taking It To Cannes

The kids' latest video--really a proof of concept for their epic fantasy adventure.


March 27, 3:54 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"If you can't do something smart, do something right."

I don't generally aim to misbehave, but it's often interpreted that way.


March 27, 1:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fucking Fourth Graders In State Government

LOL, the NH Leg passed a resolution "encouraging student participation in state government" after shaming themselves in front of kids and the whole nation.  But check this out:

Rep. Renny Cushing, who sponsored the students' bill, addressed the chamber Wednesday and apologized to all the students in the state for his colleagues' actions. Cushing said he first came to the statehouse as a fourth-grader and later, before he was elected, helped bring a bill to the floor that was defeated.

"No one made fun of the legislation. No one mocked me," he said. "What I remember is I was treated with respect."

Cushing said he's talked to the kids.

"In the aftermath, there's been a fair amount of attention to what we did that day," Cushing said. "I told them it's not always like this here. That we're really not as mean and cranky as we were that day."

When Cushing finished speaking, the lawmakers rose to their feet and applauded for several seconds, but when a motion was made to enter his comments into the permanent record, a minority of legislators shouted, "No!"

Petulant assholes to the end over trivial shit.  I'm surprised they didn't make fart sounds while Cushing was speaking.


March 27, 12:33 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Anti Dumb War

As I've said elsewhere, I wish:

“The world is starving for American leadership. But America has an anti-war president,” Boehner said during a press conference. “We have no strategy, overarching strategy to deal with the growing terrorist threat.”

“It’s not just ISIS or al Qaeda and all of their affiliates,” the speaker added. “We’ve got a serious problem facing the world, and America by and large is sitting on the sidelines.”

Never mind the troops remaining in Afghanistan, and hundreds of bases all over the world, and the drone strikes against targets in sovereign countries.  Never mind US operations against ISIS, and Obama's request to Congress for war powers (which makes this a puzzler since they usually get mad at him for doing stuff on his own).

No American president is anti-war.  None, ever.


March 27, 8:46 AM in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Original Intent: Climate Change Is The Will Of Heaven

John Adams to John Penn, 27 March 1776:

It has been the Will of Heaven, that We should be thrown into Existence at a Period, when the greatest Philosophers and Lawgivers of Antiquity would have wished to have lived: a Period, when a Coincidence of Circumstances, without Example, has opportunity, of beginning Government anew from the Foundation and building as they choose. How few of the human Race, have ever had an opportunity of choosing a System of Government for themselves and their Children? How few have ever had any Thing more of Choice in Government, than in Climate?

This proves that the Founders would have never done anything about climate change, amirite?


March 27, 8:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)