Saturday, 05/18/2019

Happy Caturday

Apropos of this Insta post from yesterday.


May 18, 8:57 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, 05/17/2019

kurosome no sode

I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.


May 17, 11:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)



Unfit, yet
The common folk of this cruel world
Would I cover,
Standing in this timber-grove
With sleeves stained black.



May 17, 10:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"I may have been fired by the people who brought us Guantanamo Bay and Reduced Fat Triskets, but at least I leave here with my dignity!"

Wypipo mostly stopped lynching negroes, and they had the advantages of the Green Book anyway, so why bother integrating schools and protecting their right to vote, amirite?

A couple years ago we were in Topeka, Kansas.  A couple years before that, Michelle Obama was in Topeka, and people got upset that she reminded them of structural racism.  Because that's beneath our dignity as Real Americans.

As I've observed before, the concept of 'dignity' has been a key element in a variety of SCOTUS cases:

  • Trop v Dulles (1958): The basic concept underlying the Eighth Amendment is nothing less than the dignity of man.
  • McKaskle v Wiggins (1984): [T]he right to appear pro se exists to affirm the accused's individual dignity and autonomy.
  • Planned Parenthood v Casey (1992): These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment...Part of the constitutional liberty to choose is the equal dignity to which each of us is entitled. 
  • Lawrence v Texas (2003):  It suffices for us to acknowledge that adults may choose to enter upon this relationship in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons...The stigma this criminal statute imposes, moreover, is not trivial. The offense [is] a criminal offense with all that imports for the dignity of the persons charged.

That word is not used in Brown v Board, issued on this day in 1954, but dignity is still clearly at the heart of that landmark decision:

To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The effect of this separation on their educational opportunities was well stated by a finding in the Kansas case by a court which nevertheless felt compelled to rule against the Negro plaintiffs:

"Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system."

The words of the [14th] amendment...contain a necessary implication of...exemption from legal discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society...

So today it's fitting that the Democratic House voted 236-173 for dignity and equality:

“This vote is a monumental step forward in the fight for true, lived equality for LGBTQ people," said Ronald Newman, national political director at the ACLU, in a statement after the vote. “Finally, our elected officials stepped up to affirm that our nation’s civil rights laws protect everyone. It is now incumbent upon the Senate to finish this work. The ACLU will continue to fight for the advancement of this crucial legislation, and will be taking note of the members who stand in its way. The time for full equality for LGBTQ people is long overdue.”

The Equality Act, or H.R. 5, would provide protections nationwide on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation against discrimination in employment, schools, credit, housing, and public accommodations, and federally funded programs. The bill would also codify certain anti-discrimination protections for women and would extend discrimination protections for people of color. The members of the LGBT Equality Caucus — representatives David Cicilline, Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Katie Hill, Sean Patrick Maloney, Chris Pappas, Mark Pocan, Mark Takano — originally sponsored the bill.

Naturally, Mitch McConnell has no plans to bring this up for a vote in the Senate. Because he's an undignified asshole, upon whom history will rightfully shit.


May 17, 8:43 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Soaking In Patriarchy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Impeachment Is Treason

Now this is a resolution I'd love to see after some oversightin' and investigatin':

A message from the House of Representatives, by Mr. McPherson, its Clerk:

Mr. President: The House of Representatives has passed the following resolution, which I am directed to communicate to the Senate:

Resolved, That a committee of two be appointed to go to the Senate, and, at the bar thereof, in the name of the House of Representatives and of all the people of the United States, to impeach Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors in office, and acquaint the Senate that the House of Representatives will, in due time, exhibit particular articles of impeachment against him, and make good the same; and that the committee do demand that the Senate take order for the appearance of said Andrew Johnson to answer to said impeachment.

Ordered, That Mr. Thaddeus Stevens and Mr. John A. Bingham be appointed such committee.

Anyway, it was all truly bullshit so the Senate (barely) acquitted.  Probably because it was bullshit (it's not entirely clear to me if the general public supported conviction or not).

As Senator Lyman Trumbull, co-author of the Thirteenth Amendment, observed:

The question to be decided is not whether Andrew Johnson is a proper person to fill the presidential office, nor whether it is fit that he should remain in it, nor, indeed, whether he has violated the Constitution and laws in other respects than those alleged against him.

As well might any other fifty-four persons take upon themselves by violence to rid the country of Andrew Johnson because they believed him a bad man as to call upon fifty-four Senators, in violation of their sworn duty, to convict and depose him for any other causes than those alleged in the articles of impeachment. As might any citizen take the law into his own hands, and become its executioner, as to ask the Senate to convict outside of the case made.

To sanction such a principle would be destructive of all law and all liberty worth the name, since liberty unregulated by law is but another name for anarchy.
Once set the example of impeaching a President for what, when the excitement of the hour shall have subsided, will be regarded as insufficient causes, as several of those now alleged against the President were decided to be by the House of Representatives only a few months since, and no future President will be safe who happens to differ with a majority of the House and two thirds of the Senate on any measure deemed by them important, particularly if of a political character.

Blinded by partisan zeal, with such an example before them, they wilt not scruple to remove out of the way any obstacle to the accomplishment of their purposes, and what then becomes of the checks and balances of the Constitution, so carefully devised and so vital to its perpetuity? They are all gone.

In view or the consequences likely to flow from this day's proceedings, should they result in conviction on what my judgment tells me are insufficient charges and proofs, I tremble for the future of my country.

Frivolous impeachment is indeed dangerous, but there's not much in the Constitution to prevent it.  It is, once again, a political issue, and it's up to the Senate, the People and even the press to check the House rabble.

What's really astonishing to me is that we've only had two impeachments, both of which were clearly just a crapshoot by a Congress who disliked the President and resulted in acquittal.  The only other time we came close, there was enough real cause for removal that the dude resigned before he could even be indicted, as it were.

But let's all recall how the GOP spoke of impeachment during the Obama Epoch: over the debt ceiling, for educational purposes, because he wouldn't defend DOMA, about vague lawlessness, of course birtherism, maybe there will be a rebellion, don't forget the exercise of his veto power, oh yeah immigration policy, etc.

Anyway, it generally appears to me that the checks in place are sufficient, even if the Constitution is vague on the crimes and doesn't demand evidence or anything substantial to act.  Paging the Democratic House Majority...


May 17, 3:25 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, 05/16/2019

Nickels, nickels, nickels! That beautiful sound of clinking nickels!

The Hidden History of the Nickel:

In addition to eviscerating hundreds of thousands of lives, the Civil War devastated the monetary supply of the United States as fearful Americans hoarded gold and silver coins for the value of their metals. So many coins were taken out of circulation that Congress responded by authorizing the production of fractional currency notes, some with denominations as low as three cents. The paper money, however, proved difficult to manage, and Congress soon turned to a less expensive metal for minting its coins—nickel.

America’s first “nickels” were actually pennies. Starting in 1859, the United States Mint used a nickel and copper blend to produce its one-cent pieces, and in 1865 Congress authorized the federal government to use a similar composition for its new three-cent coin.

The following year, Congress began to debate whether to mint a nickel-based five-cent coin even though the United States already had a five-cent coin in circulation—in fact, it had been minting one for seven decades. The silver “half-disme” (pronounced “half-dime” from an Old French word meaning a “tenth”) was the first coin produced by the federal government, and according to the United States Mint, the metal for the initial pieces struck in 1795 may have come directly from George and Martha Washington’s melted silverware.

The small silver coins were difficult enough to keep track of in good times, let alone when they began to vanish from circulation. As American industrialist Joseph Wharton argued, by using cheaper nickel and copper, the new five-cent coins could be bigger than the half-dismes. Wharton doggedly lobbied his many friends in Congress to begin striking a second five-cent coin made from nickel.

Of course, the businessman had just a bit of a vested interest in the issue considering that he held a virtual monopoly on the production of nickel in the United States. He had taken over a nickel mine outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1863, and refined the metal at his American Nickel Works in Camden, New Jersey. Wharton’s friends in Congress not only agreed to the proposal on May 16, 1866, but even increased the weight of the new five-cent coin so that it required even more nickel. Not surprisingly, Wharton ultimately made plenty of coin from the new coin, so much so that in 1881 he donated money to establish the first business school in the United States—the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Yes, An Act to Authorize the Coinage of Five-cent Pieces.  We'll ignore the direct line from Wharton to Trump for now, and focus on contemporary reviews

Over the years, there have been all sorts of critics of coin designs but the Shield nickel had the unique distinction of having its design criticized by the man who most supported the idea.

Wharton complained of the Shield nickel saying it was a “curiously ugly device,” suggesting that the obverse resembled “old-fashioned pictures of a tombstone.” Nor was he alone as the American Journal of Numismatics called the Shield nickel the “Ugliest of all known coins.”

Even with the bad reviews, the situation in terms of commerce was still desperate and the Shield nickel was quickly accepted. There was an initial 1866 mintage of 14,742,500 pieces, which is all the more impressive when you realize that half dimes were also being produced.

I love nickels, and their evolving designs.  I dread the moment Trump notices that Treasury is under his control and adds his visage and MAGA...


May 16, 8:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, 05/15/2019

Le Blanc-Seing

Don't be fooled.


May 15, 11:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ruin is formal — Devil's work

Crumbling is not an instant's Act:

A fundamental pause
Dilapidation's processes
Are organized Decays —
'Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
A Cuticle of Dust
A Borer in the Axis
An Elemental Rust —

Emily Dickinson.


May 15, 10:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Genesis Of The Lee Resolution

Resolution of the Virginia Convention, May 15, 1776:

Resolved, unanimously,

That the Delegates appointed to represent this Colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain;

and that they give the assent of this Colony to such declaration, and to whatever measures may be thought proper and necessary by the Congress for forming foreign alliances, and a Confederation of the Colonies, at such time and in the manner as to them shall seem best:

Provided, That the power of forming Government for, and the regulations of the internal concerns of each Colony, be left to the respective Colonial Legislatures.

And thus, Richard Henry Lee proposed independence just a few weeks later...


May 15, 9:04 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

Coeternal with G-d and shining in the divine Mind

Today marks the anniversary of Kepler's confirmation that the initial conceptual breakthrough on his rejected 3rd law was, in fact, correct.  As he wrote in Harmonicus Mundi (1619):

[I]f you want the exact moment in time, it was conceived mentally on 8th March in this year one thousand six hundred and eighteen, but submitted to calculation in an unlucky way, and therefore rejected as false, and finally returning on the 15th of May and adopting a new line of attack, stormed the darkness of my mind. So strong was the support from the combination of my labour of seventeen years on the observations of Brahe and the present study, which conspired together, that at first I believed I was dreaming, and assuming my conclusion among my basic premises.

While he passively admitted an error (would a digital computer have been less prone to an "unlucky" calculation?), Kepler bragged:

Now, eighteen months after the first light, three months after the true day, but a very few days after the pure Sun of that most wonderful study began to shine, nothing restrains me; it is my pleasure to taunt mortal men with the candid acknowledgment that I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far, far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its reader for a hundred years, if God Himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study Him.

And thank G-d for him, lest we still be chained to our Earth for want of understanding the Book of Creation...


May 15, 6:07 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 05/14/2019

Son, Be A Dentist

You have a talent for causing great mirth.


May 14, 11:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hell no, I don't like no parfait

The Layers:

I have walked through many lives, 
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.

Stanley Kunitz.


May 14, 10:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quo Vadis?

Before DC could be incorporated, Congress had to work out the niggling details of where the Seat of Power would be, and how.  Then actually move there:

Ordered, That a message be sent to the Senate to inform them that this House, having completed the business before them, are now about to adjourn; and that the Clerk of this House do go with the said message.

The Clerk, accordingly, went with the said message: and, being returned,

Mr. Speaker adjourned the House until the third Monday in November next, to meet in the city of Washington, in the Territory of Columbia.

And that they did.


May 14, 5:26 PM in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (1)