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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

This can be and this must be a time of reconciliation and renewal for America.

Congressional Record, February 12, 1999:

Daily Digest


Senate sitting as a Court of Impeachment adjudged President
Clinton not guilty as charged in Impeachment Articles I and II.

Twenty.  Fucking.  Years.


PS--Apropos of nothing.

February 12, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, February 08, 2019

"Hi. I'm In Delaware." - W. Campbell

Delaware.  Represented by Senator Joe Biden for eleventy years.  Home of the most flexible business law this side of Nevada.  First to ratify the Constitution on December 7, 1787.  Champion of a uniform standard of weights and measures in March of 1830.  First to reject the 13th Amendment on February 8, 1865.  Party on!


February 8, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, February 06, 2019

We Hate These Tea Bags

On this date, 1788, the Massachussetts Convention ratified the Constitution.  They also proposed several amendments, including:

Fifthly. That Congress erect no company with exclusive advantages of commerce.

Perhaps a bad taste left by some bad tea?  Seems to be the case:

In the early history of our country no small prejudice existed against privileged and monopolistic companies as a result of the experiences with such concerns in England. In connection with the ratification of the Federal Constitution the subject of mercantile monopolies came to the foreground. On motion of Samuel Adams the Massachusetts ratifying convention voted to recommend as an amendment "That Congress erect no company of merchants with exclusive advantages of commerce." Similar recommendations were adopted by the conventions of New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Rhode Island. However, when the matter was taken up in Congress, in August and September 1789 and again in 1793, it did not come to a vote.

Well, it did appear to come to a vote, but failed.  Regardless, we still have a long history of skepticism toward corporatism, particularly state-supported shit.  Much good that's done...


February 6, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

America beckons, but Americans repel

How fitting that the Xenophobe-in-Chief gives his ratings grab on the anniversary of passing the Immigration Act of 1917'.  You know that motherfucker couldn't even pass the literacy test.


February 5, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, February 03, 2019

There's Gonna Be A Party In Boston

Starbucks made money serving burned coffee instead of tea because of the Revolution.  #FuckShultz  #FuckTrump #CongratsPats


February 3, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, February 01, 2019

The Work Of Generations Goes On And On And On...

After Congress passed the proposed 13th Amendment in 1865:

The President signed the joint resolution on the first of February. Somewhat curiously the signing has only one precedent, and that was in spirit and purpose the complete antithesis of the present act. President Buchanan had signed the proposed amendment of 1861, which would make slavery national and perpetual.

But many held that the President's signature was not essential to an act of this kind, and, on the fourth of February, Senator Trumbull offered a resolution, which was agreed to three days later, that the approval was not required by the Constitution ; that it was contrary to the early decision of the Senate and of the Supreme Court; and that the negative of the President applying only to the ordinary cases of legislation, he had nothing to do with propositions to amend the Constitution.

Though thus decided, that the signature of the President to an act of this kind is not required, there was a peculiar fitness in sending the joint resolution to Mr. Lincoln. It may well be believed that he never set his name to a public document with deeper satisfaction.

Seldom in the history of a nation have two men, whose character and capacities are in so marked contrast, been elevated to such vast power as James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. They typify two irreconcilable ideas in human government; ideas fully comprehended in the amendments, to the Constitution, which they signed.

According to the AP:

There are at least 14 duplicate copies of the 13th Amendment signed by Lincoln. Congress passed it two years after his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and it represented the culmination of his efforts to end slavery. But he apparently stopped signing the duplicates after lawmakers complained he was overstepping his executive powers because constitutional amendments are passed by Congress and ratified by the states.

Some of the documents were signed by just Lincoln, the vice president and the House speaker; some were signed just by members of the House and some have both senators and representatives.

Even after ratification, there obviously was a lot of work left to be done, including the efforts of four North Carolina A&T University students on February 1, 1960, in Greensboro, North Carolina, which launched a major activist movement.  One of those brave young men was Franklin E. McCain, Sr:

There was a little old white lady who was finishing up her coffee at the counter. She strode toward me and I said to myself, “Oh my, someone to spit in my face or slap my face.” I was prepared for it.

But she stands behind Joseph McNeil and me and puts her hands on our shoulders. She said, “Boys, I'm so proud of you. I only regret that you didn't do this 10 years ago.”

That was the biggest boost, morally, that I got that whole day, and probably the biggest boost for me during the entire movement.

And here we are in 2019, when a Democratic Governor shows he is as much a part of our racist culture and social structures as the next guy in blackface or white robe...


February 1, 2019 in Constitution, Schmonstitution, Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

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Monday, September 24, 2018

The Kavanaugh Defense

I'm pre-law!  I thought you were pre-med.  What's the difference?


September 24, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Putting The Budget Before The Court

I like how President Washington approved the bill to pay SCOTUS, the AG, et al, but didn't approve the organizational legislation that created those offices until the following day.  If you fund it, they will come...


September 24, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Apropos Of Kavanaugh

House Journal, September 23, 1789:

A mesage [sic] was received from the President of the United States, notifying that the President approves of the act, entitled "An act for allowing certain compensation to the Judges of the Supreme and other Courts, and to the Attorney General of the United States;" also, the resolve for procuring, from time to time, the statutes of the several States; and has this day affixed his signature to the same. And the messenger delivered in the said act and resolve, and then withdrew.

Ordered, That the Clerk of this House do acquaint the Senate therewith.

The House, according to the order of the day, resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act to regulate processes in the Courts of the United States."

Mr. Speaker left the chair.

Mr. Boudinot took the chair of the committee.

Mr. Speaker resumed the chair, and Mr. Boudinot reported that the committe had, according to order, had the said bill under consideration, and made some progress therein.

Resolved, That this House will, to-morrow, again resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on the said bill.

Betting they never thought that a sexual predator would be entitled to a SCOTUS seat, 'cept probably most of them were just like the entitled old white men and boys of today...


September 23, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads

[The Post Office] is perhaps the only mercantile project which has been successfully managed by, I believe, every sort of government. 

 - Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Book V, Ch 2)

Obviously, Smith never met Congressman Issa...

Anyhoo, the Post Office has been around since before we had even declared independence--with Ben Franklin made the first Postmaster General--showing just how important communication in general and the postal service in particular is.  The Articles Congress passed An Ordinance for Regulating the Post-Office of the United States of America in 1782.  

Once the US Congress ramped up under our Constitution in 1789, the House wanted to continue the existing regime: 

[U]ntil further provision be made by law, the General Post Office of the United States shall be conducted according to the rules and regulations prescribed: by the ordinances and resolutions of the late Congress, and that contracts be made for the conveyance of the mail in conformity thereto...

But the Senate had other ideas, and on September 11:

Mr. Butler, in behalf of the committee appointed on the tenth of September, on the resolve of the House of Representatives, providing for the regulation of the post of flee, reported, not to concur in the resolve, and a bill upon the subject matter thereof;

And, on the question of concurrence in the resolve of the House of Representatives:

It passed in the negative.

Ordered, That the bill, entitled "An act for the temporary establishment of the post office," have the first reading at this time.

It's not apparent from the record how much, if any, debate there was on the bill.  It zipped through the Senate, and was passed even more rapidly by the House.  The act was extremely brief and its operation was limited through the next session, though it had to be renewed the following August, and again in March after that (when service was also extended to Bennington in the new state of Vermont!).

Regardless, today marks when the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union, borrowed yet again from the Articles Congress and (re)created the position of Postmaster General.  Congrats to Samuel Osgood, to whom the honor was bestowed a few days later...


September 22, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts...

Good presidents can't fit their good thoughts in 280 characters:

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize.

But as it is easy to foresee that from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth, as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

Washington's Farewell Address, September 19, 1796.


September 19, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Don't Cry, America

Today is notable, and not just because Ericka and I were supposed to get publicly married on a beach before a rainstorm postponed things for 24 hours way back in '16:

On the question to agree to the Constitution enrolled in order to be signed. It was agreed to all the States answering ay.
The members then proceeded to sign the instrument.

Whilst the last members were signing it Doctr. FRANKLIN looking towards the Presidents Chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun. I have said he, often and often in the course of the Session, and the vicisitudes of my hopes and fears as to its issue, looked at that behind the President without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting Sun.

The Constitution being signed by all the members except Mr. Randolph, Mr. Mason, and Mr. Gerry who declined giving it the sanction of their names, the Convention dissolved itself by an Adjournment sine die-

But of course, we still operated under the Articles of Confederation (America, not me and Ericka).  So to extend the metaphor, would ratification be when the Republic began to show (or in today's parlance, the sonogram was posted on Facebook)?  And the actual birthday be when Congress first met under the new framework?

Regardless, Happy Constitution Day.  May it be whatever it it aspired to be someday...


September 17, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Your Quaker sensibilities do us a gross disservice, sir.

So Washington got his ass handed to him at Brandywine on 9/11/1777, and Congress started to get gloomy intelligence in the aftermath, so they hightailed it to Lancaster on 9/27, and York (where they accomplished zilch) the following day.  John Adams wrote of it thus:

York Town Pensylvania,

My best Friend Septr. 30. 1777 Tuesday 

It is now a long Time, since I had an Opportunity of writing to you, and I fear you have suffered unnecessary Anxiety on my Account. In the Morning of the 19th Inst., the Congress were allarmed, in their Beds, by a Letter from Mr. Hamilton one of General Washingtons Family, that the Enemy were in Possession of the Ford over the Schuylkill, and the Boats, so that they had it in their Power to be in Philadelphia, before Morning. The Papers of Congress, belonging to the Secretary's Office, the War Office, the Treasury Office, &c. were before sent to Bristol. The President, and all the other Gentlemen were gone that Road, so I followed, with my Friend Mr. Merchant of Rhode Island, to Trenton in the Jersies. We stayed at Trenton, untill the 21 when We set off, to Easton upon the Forks of Delaware. From Easton We went to Bethlehem, from thence to Reading, from thence to Lancaster, and from thence to this Town, which is about a dozen Miles over the Susquehannah River. Here Congress is to sit. 

In order to convey the Papers, with safety, which are of more Importance than all the Members, We were induced to take this Circuit, which is near 180 Miles, whereas this Town by the directest Road is not more than 88 Miles from Philadelphia. This Tour has given me an Opportunity of seeing many Parts of this Country, which I never saw before. 
This Morning Major Throop arrived here with a large Packett from General Gates, containing very agreable Intelligence,(1) which I need not repeat, as you have much earlier Intelligence from that Part than We have. 

I wish Affairs here wore as pleasing an Aspect. But alass they do not. 

I shall avoid every Thing like History, and make no Reflections. 

However, General Washington is in a Condition tolerably respectable, and the Militia are now turning out, from Virginia, Maryland and Pensilvania, in small Numbers. All the Apology that can be made, for this Part of the World is that Mr. Howes march from Elke to Philadelphia, was thro the very Regions of Passive obedience. The whole Country thro which he passed, is inhabited by Quakers. There is not such another Body of Quakers in all America, perhaps not in all the World. 

I am still of Opinion that Philadelphia will be no Loss to Us.

Sometimes I get the sense that Adams did not appreciate people of my Perswasion, particularly a certain great Fortune and piddling Genius.  Sure, Quakers gave him cause for some frustration at times, and he wasn't the only one who found them to be difficult, but c'mon, man, give up the grudge.

Even Gloomy Gus Adams would feel a little sunnier in a few weeks (no thanks to any Friends, I'm sure)...


September 11, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Every [American] values himself exceedingly

I know pretty much everybody has seen the news today, oh boy:

A white Dallas police officer says she shot her black neighbor whose home she mistakenly entered after he ignored her "verbal commands," police wrote in an arrest affidavit released Monday.

Even before there was a United States of America, John Adams relied on the Castle Doctrine in legal proceedings:

An [American's] dwelling House is his Castle. The Law has erected a Fortification round it—and as every Man is Party to the Law, i.e. the Law is a Covenant of every Member of society with every other Member, therefore every Member of Society has entered into a solemn Covenant with every other that he shall enjoy in his own dwelling House as compleat a security, safety and Peace and Tranquility as if it was surrounded with Walls of Brass, with Ramparts and Palisadoes and defended with a Garrison and Artillery.

So I expect the NRA and Donald Trump to weigh in on this matter with their exceedingly valuable thoughts...


September 10, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

It Was The First Day Of The Rest Of Their Lives

Monday, September 5, 1774:

A number of the Delegates chosen and appointed by the Several Colonies and Provinces in North America to meet and hold a Congress at Philadelphia assembled at the Carpenters' Hall...


A motion was made1 and seconded that a Committee be appointed to draw up some rules of conduct to be observed by the Congress in debating and determining questions that come under consideration, But after some debate another motion was made and seconded that the farther consideration of this question be deferred untill tomorrow, which was carried by a large majority. Whereupon a motion was made to adjourn, and the vote (?) being put, agreed that the Congress be adjourned to meet at this place tomorrow morning 10 o Clock.

John Adams recorded the day thus:

At Ten, The Delegates all met at the City Tavern, and walked to the Carpenters Hall, where they took a View of the Room, and of the Chamber where is an excellent Library. There is also a long Entry, where Gentlemen may walk, and a convenient Chamber opposite to the Library. The General Cry was, that this was a good Room, and the Question was put, whether We were satisfyed with this Room, and it passed in the Affirmative. A very few were for the Negative and they were chiefly from Pensylvania and New York.
Mr. Duane then moved that a Committee should be appointed, to prepare Regulations for this Congress. Several Gentlemen objected. I then arose and asked Leave of the President to request of the Gentleman from New York, an Explanation, and that he would point out some particular Regulations which he had in his Mind. He mentioned particularly the Method of voting -- whether it should be by Colonies, or by the Poll, or by Interests.
This is a Question of great Importance. -- If We vote by Colonies, this Method will be liable to great Inequality and Injustice, for 5 small Colonies, with 100,000 People in each may outvote 4 large ones, each of which has 500,000 Inhabitants. If We vote by the Poll, some Colonies have more than their Proportion of Members, and others have less. If We vote by Interests, it will be attended with insuperable Difficulties, to ascertain the true Importance of each Colony. -- Is the Weight of a Colony to be ascertained by the Number of Inhabitants merely -- or by the Amount of their Trade, the Quantity of their Exports and Imports, or by any compound Ratio of both.

This will lead us into such a Field of Controversy as will greatly perplex us. Besides I question whether it is possible to ascertain, at this Time, the Numbers of our People or the Value of our Trade. It will not do in such a Case, to take each other's Words. 



September 5, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, August 10, 2018

What If John Hancock Had Twitter?

Delivered by the Mercury packet, August 10, 1776:

I am informed that the Continental Congress have declared the United Colonies free and independent States.

Social media woulda meant Britain had gotten the Declaration way sooner.  #IndependenceBitches


August 10, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Monday, July 02, 2018

The Nation is wholly composed of Nobles and Serfs

Those princes, whom the ostentation of gratitude or generosity permitted for a while to hold a precarious sceptre, were dismissed from their thrones, as soon as they had per formed their appointed task of fashioning to the yoke the vanquished nations.

 - Edward Gibbon, The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Before President Putin, there was George III:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them, and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Agreeable to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole; ∥and, after some time,∥ the president resumed the chair. Mr. [Benjamin] Harrison reported, that the committee have had under consideration the declaration to them referred; but, not having had time to go through ∥the same,∥ desired leave to sit again:

Resolved, That this Congress will, to morrow, again resolve itself into a committee of the whole, to take into their farther consideration the declaration on independence.

It still took a couple more days of resolving into a committee of the whole to finally approve Thomas Jefferson's declaration of principles to announce and justify the separation, but today's when we committed, which is why John Adams thought the 2nd would have all the glory and celebration.  

Thus we see proven once again that the Founders were fallible and could not see into the future.  You know, like when our empire would fall just like all those written about in the classical texts they'd read.  SAD!


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July 2, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of...certain intimate conduct."

Lawrence v Texas (June 26, 2003):

Had those who drew and ratified the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment known the components of liberty in its manifold possibilities, they might have been more specific. They did not presume to have this insight. They knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.

Clearly the only protections afforded by V and XIV were guarantees that white people could eat whereever they want without feeling uncomfortable.

So please just ignore the other great opinions revealed on this date:

  • 2013: Windsor.
  • 2015: Obergefell.

Way better than today's bullshit...


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June 26, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Friday, June 15, 2018

We Live Here Now

US Senate, June 18, 1846:

The Senate proceeded, as in Committee of the Whole, to consider the treaty between the United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, concluded at Washington the 15th day of June, 1846; and no amendment being made thereto, it was reported to the Senate.

Mr. McDuffie submitted the following resolution for consideration:

Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring), That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of the treaty between the United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, concluded at Washington the 15th day of June, eighteen hundred and forty-six.

The Senate, by unanimous consent, proceeded to consider the said resolution...

On the question to agree to the resolution,

  • It was determined in the affirmative,
  • Yeas ... 41
  • Nays ... 14

So it was

Resolved (two-thirds of the Senate present concurring), That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of the treaty between the United States of America and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, concluded at Washington the 15th day June, eighteen hundred and forty-six.

Ordered, That the Secretary lay the said resolution before the President of the United States.

And here we are...


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June 15, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (0)

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Remember, The Bible Can Justify Anything

Remember when the Bible meant a woman couldn't be preznit?  And now it's all good to justify ripping families apart, just like Founding Father PGT Beauregard meant.  Nice to know that NOW, gummint is good and one should always follow the law to the absolute letter.


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June 14, 2018 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink | Comments (3)