Apr 192014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am feeling quite tired.  It’s been a busy day, and I’m up well past my bedtime, waiting for a delivery that cannot be made unless I am up to receive it.  They came two days in a row and could not get in, because the front desk was unattended.  Now they have instructions to call me to let them in.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:54 (average 4:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: With an eye toward a Presidential run in 2016, Rick Perry, the Texas governor, is hoping that a two-pronged strategy of wearing glasses and not speaking will make him appear smarter to voters, aides to the Governor confirmed today.

“After the 2012 Republican primary, we knew that we needed to solve what we called the Governor’s smartness problem,” said Harland Dorrinson, an aide to Perry. “The fix that we came up with was glasses, but, as it turned out, that was only half the solution.”

After outfitting Perry with designer eyewear, aides sent him on the road to reintroduce himself to voters, but the response, Mr. Dorrinson said, was underwhelming: “The problem was, he was still talking.”

A round of focus groups convinced aides that only through a combination of wearing glasses and not emitting any sounds could Perry overcome voters’ initial impressions of him.

He’ll never maintain the silence. Verbal TEAbuggery is an integral part of InsaniTEA.

From Daily Kos:

The Washington Post has published an opinion piece from Justice John Paul Stevens in which he analyzes the history of the second amendment, and recent Supreme Court decisions to support his contention that the interpretation of the Second Amendment advanced by the NRA (and recently accepted by the courts) is contrary to the intent of the framers.   According to Stevens:

For more than 200 years following the adoption of that amendment, federal judges uniformly understood that the right protected by that text was limited in two ways: First, it applied only to keeping and bearing arms for military purposes, and second, while it limited the power of the federal government, it did not impose any limit whatsoever on the power of states or local governments to regulate the ownership or use of firearms. Thus, in United States v. Miller, decided in 1939, the court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that sort of weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated Militia.”

When I joined the court in 1975, that holding was generally understood as limiting the scope of the Second Amendment to uses of arms that were related to military activities. During the years when Warren Burger was chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge or justice expressed any doubt about the limited coverage of the amendment, and I cannot recall any judge suggesting that the amendment might place any limit on state authority to do anything.

Excellent piece. Click through for the the rest of what the NRA, The Republican Party, and the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS don’t want you to know.

From NY Times: President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient number of young, healthy adults, a critical milestone that might counter election-year attacks by Republicans on the law’s success and viability.

The total number of enrollees exceeds by a million the target set by the administration for people to buy insurance through government-run health care exchanges. In particular, the number of young people signing up appears to have surged during the final weeks of enrollment.

That does not even count the three million who are receiving healthcare through expanded Medicaid or the three million young people now covered on their parents’ policies. In short, Republicans are trying to take healthcare away from fourteen million people.

Cartoon:

0419Cartoon

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Mar 252014
 

SCROTUS (Constitutional VD) is my term for the Fascist Five Supreme Court Injustices, who almost always favor their extreme Republican ideology over our Constitution.  Worst among them (along with Clarence “TEAbag” Thomas) is Antonin “SS” Scalia.  In two cases coming before the Court today, I expect Scalia to renege on an earlier opinion in a most hypocritical manner.  Ironically, even with opposite opinions, he will be as wrong now as he was then.

0325ScaliaWhen the Supreme Court hears two landmark cases about birth control on Tuesday, few observers doubt that Justice Antonin Scalia's sympathies will be the Catholic business owners who charge that the mandate violates their religious liberties.

The Reagan-appointed jurist is a devout Catholic who has extolled "traditional Christian virtues." He insists the devil is "a real person" and has a son who's a Catholic priest. He voted in 2012 to wipe out Obamacare in its entirety and has been President Barack Obama's most outspoken foe on the Supreme Court.

And yet, Scalia's past jurisprudence stands contradictory to the argument for striking down the Obamacare rule in question, which requires for-profit employers' insurance plans to cover contraceptives (like Plan B, Ella and intrauterine devices) for female employees without co-pays.

In 1990, Scalia wrote the majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith, concluding that the First Amendment "does not require" the government to grant "religious exemptions" from generally applicable laws or civic obligations. The case was brought by two men in Oregon who sued the state for denying them unemployment benefits after they were fired from their jobs for ingesting peyote, which they said they did because of their Native American religious beliefs.

"[T]he right of free exercise does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability," Scalia wrote in the 6-3 majority decision, going on to aggressively argue that such exemptions could be a slippery slope to lawlessness.

"The rule respondents favor would open the prospect of constitutionally required religious exemptions from civic obligations of almost every conceivable kind," he wrote, "ranging from compulsory military service, to the payment of taxes, to health and safety regulation such as manslaughter and child neglect laws, compulsory vaccination laws, drug laws, and traffic laws; to social welfare legislation such as minimum wage laws, child labor laws, animal cruelty laws, environmental protection laws, and laws providing for equality of opportunity for the races."… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <TPM>

Scalia was wrong in opining not to give a religious exemption to followers of Native American beliefs, because he was denying their right to freely practice their religion. I expect him to opine that business should get a religious exemption to refuse to cover birth control under ObamaCare.  He will be wrong, because such an exemption allows businesses to force their religions practices on others.

Scalia and his Republican Party would ignore the First Amendment by establishing a pseudo-Christian state religion and denying the free exercise of other religions.

Late Update:

On tonight’s show, Chris Hayes covered the same issue.  Because this just aired, I cannot get it in an internationally viewable format, but his and his guest’s analysis echoed mine so closely, I had to include it.

It was always intended as a shield, and not a sword,  Well said.

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Mar 122014
 

I could have entitled this the Republican War on the Constitution, because that is the tactic Republicans in several states are using do deny workers their freedom of speech and their freedom of assembly.  Republicans want to make certain that, when workers have grievances, there is no inconvenience to the companies, and that YOU don’t get to see it.

0312GOPWarIn moves that pro-labor legal scholars warn may violate the U.S. Constitution, Mississippi, Michigan and Tennessee Republicans have introduced bills that would strengthen the hands of bosses faced with protesting employees.

“The language is so broad, the potential is so destructive, that what they’re basically doing is outlawing strikes …” University of Texas labor law professor Julius Getman told Salon. “Or they’re doing their best to limit strikes or picketing to situations where you have two or three people standing still. The idea of the union manifesting concerted power of workers is something that they’re seeking to prohibit.”

“People have a right to free speech, but they don’t have a right to keep someone from going to work,” countered state Rep. Jeremy Durham, who introduced that state’s anti-picketing bill.

All three state bills would lower the bar for businesses to seek and secure judicial injunctions against labor picketing – a form of protest long used by workers seeking to dissuade customers or strikebreakers, attract reporters or supporters, and spotlight alleged abuses. In addition to changing injunction rules, the proposal in Mississippi’s House would ban picketing that “has or intends the effect of violence or intimidation, near or contiguous to the business’ customers”; Tennessee’s would ban picketing that is “preventing the pursuit of any lawful work or employment by means of disturbance or nuisance.”

At a private home (say, a CEO’s mansion), Mississippi’s and Tennessee’s bills would make disrupting “the resident’s right to quiet enjoyment” grounds for convicting picketers of a crime. The bill in Michigan’s House would remove current language making certain picketing a misdemeanor, but add language imposing a $1,000 a day fine for a person (including an individual protesting worker, not just an organization or a union official) repeatedly found to have picketed illegally. And the bill passed by Mississippi’s Senate would allow an individual picketer to be thrown in jail for six months… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Salon.com>

These are the very same Republicans, who insisted that it was their Constitutional right to physically accost women seeking abortion services and threaten bodily harm to abortion providers at their homes.

I remember how Republicans in Congress used to wave little paper Constitutions, while falsely claiming that they are supporting it.  In reality, they would trash the Constitution for the 0.1%

Support Labor against these injustices!

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Feb 112014
 

When Republican here, Gary Zimmerman was on trial for murdering Trayvon Martin, Republicans were quick to point out how Zimmerman had the right to an aggressive defense, as they promised support for his appeals, if Zimmerman had been justly convicted.  Although I remain firm in my opinion that Zimmerman is guilty, I certainly agree that he has a right to representation, because it is guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment.  It appears that Republicans and I agree, but we do not.  I believe the right is absolute.  Republicans believe it is conditional.  Consider this:

0211AdegbileSenate Republicans are vowing to continue their vocal opposition to President Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, expressing outrage over the fact that he once served as a legal representative for an internationally known convicted cop-killer.

Adegbile, 47, spent more than a decade working for the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund and served as the group’s in-house voting rights expert. In was in that role that Adegbile contributed to appeals filed on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of the 1981 murder of  Philadelphia police Sgt. Daniel Faulkner.

Asked about his participation in Abu-Jamal’s appeals during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on his nomination in January, Adegbile insisted that, despite Abu-Jamal’s conviction, he deserved legal representation during his appeals… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

What hypocrisy!  Whatever you believe about Mumia’s conviction, he has a right to representation.  Providing that representation was Adegbile’s job.  From this, the answer is clear. Republicans would deny the Sixth Amendment, unless it is invoked on behalf of someone they support.

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Dec 312013
 

RepublicansOnParade3

Here is the thirty-sixth article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is retired Major General, and Faux Noise contributor, Paul E Vallely. He is so honored for proposing treason.

1230Paul-VallelyA retired general and Fox News analyst has prescribed a regimen of extra-constitutional measures to protect the Constitution from President Barack Obama.

“We need to get off our derrieres, march at the state capitol, march in Washington (and) make citizens arrests,” said conservative activist and retired Major Gen. Paul E. Vallely.

He said the president and his allies in Congress were “conducting treason,” [World Nut Daily delinked] “violating our Constitution and violating our laws,” and he’s demanded that Obama resign or face a vote of no confidence…

…Vallely suggested that Obama’s misdeeds – which he identified as a handful of broken campaign promises, Benghazi and the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court – were so egregious that conservatives wouldn’t be breaking any laws by violating the Constitution to remove him from office… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Raw Story>

Here’s video.

While Vallely did not go as far in his sedition in this clip as he did in World Nut Daily, for a General to suggest removing the President from office in violation of the Constitution is clearly sedition, boarders on treason, and is obviously Republican. I almost expect him to accuse Obama of stealing his precious bodily fluids.

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Nov 102013
 

I’m writing for tomorrow and am still ill and on a minimal schedule.  Tomorrow is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are worshiping with the Chargers, but I do not know if it will be televised here.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:45 (average 4:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: This Video Goes From Ordinary To Breathlessly Disturbing At 30 Seconds

If you’ve been even barely awake for the last 10 years, you’ve heard some of the endless back-and-forth about torture on our airwaves. Extraordinary rendition. CIA black sites. Sermons about the trade-offs between security and human rights. But the truth is, there are no words in any language to describe what the actual experience of being tortured is like. This video is about as close as you’ll want to get.

 

This is what ChickenHawk Cheney and the Republican Party are proud of and want to continue. It is also what Barack Obama and the Democratic party ended and outlawed.

From NY Times: For what may be the first time on record, a former prosecutor in Texas is going to jail for failing to turn over exculpatory evidence in a murder trial. The 10-day jail sentence for the prosecutor, Ken Anderson, is insultingly short — the victim of his misconduct, Michael Morton, spent nearly 25 years in prison. But because prosecutors are so rarely held accountable for their misconduct, the sentence is remarkable nonetheless.

In 1987, Mr. Morton was convicted of beating to death his wife, Christine, and sentenced to life in prison. He maintained his innocence, and in 2010 DNA testing confirmed that he was not the killer.

Even before a Texas court vacated Mr. Morton’s conviction, his lawyers alleged that Mr. Anderson, the prosecutor in his case, had deliberately withheld evidence that would have exonerated him.

Such misconduct is all too common.  Working as a prosecutor is often the first rung on the ladder for those seeking higher political office. Because anything less than a perfect record can end a political career, before it starts, prosecutors have a built in incentive to get the conviction, even when they know the defendant is innocent. Until we stop using fear of crime as political fodder, it is impossible to build political incentives based of finding the truth, where clearing an innocent defendant carries as much political incentive as convicting a guilty one. In the meantime, prosecutors found to have withheld exculpatory evidence should serve a sentence equal to the time served by their innocent victims. In this vase, ten days, however unique, is an insult to justice.

From YouTube: Mother Jones reporter Sarah Posner broke the story this week that George W. Bush is keynoting a fundraiser for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group with the goal of getting Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah in the quest to bring about the Second Coming of Christ. Rachel Maddow found it more than a little disturbing a former President of the United States would freely associate himself with a fringe, controversial group like that.

 

I agree with Rachel. People have a right to believe what they will, no matter how wing-nutty that may be. However our founding fathers must have been listening to our founding mothers, because they had the wisdom to outlaw political policy based on religious dogma via the Establishment Clause. Unfortunately, the Republican Party cares no more for the Establishment Clause than they do for the rest of the US Constitution. Please Remember, these Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians do not in any way represent authentic Christianity.

Cartoon:

1110Cartoon

Hate the wars. Love the warriors.

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Aug 032013
 

In the antebellum South, there were two kinds of laborers, separated by race.  One was slaves.  The other was wage slaves.  Republicans see this time as an ideal in American history.  They are now attempting to return us to those days with a bill sponsored by Tom “Any woman that hires me as her doctor is crazy”  Coburn and Rand “Idiot, Son of Idiot, Named after Idiot” Paul.

3WorkersMore than three-quarters of the Senate Republican caucus signed onto legislation introduced Wednesday by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Rand Paul (R-KY) that could render it virtually impossible for Congress to enact any legislation intended to improve working conditions or otherwise regulate the workplace. Had their bill been in effect during the Twentieth Century, for example, there would likely be no nationwide minimum wage, no national ban on workplace discrimination, no national labor law and no overtime in most industries.

Like many Tea Party proposals to neuter the federal government, Coburn and Paul’s bill is marketed as an effort to bring America back in line with a long-ago discarded vision of the Constitution. It’s named the “Enumerated Powers Act of 2013,” a reference to the provisions of the Constitution outlining Congress’ specific powers, and it claims to require all federal legislation to “’contain a concise explanation of the specific authority in the Constitution’ that is the basis for its enactment.”

The key provision in this bill, however, would revive a discredited interpretation of the Constitution that America abandoned nearly eight decades ago. Although the text of the bill is not yet available online, a press release from Coburn’s office explains that it “[p]rohibits the use of the Commerce Clause, except for ‘the regulation of the buying and selling of goods or services, or the transporting for those purposes, across boundaries with foreign nations, across State lines, or with Indian tribes.’”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

Saying that they don’t like the commerce clause so they will prohibit its use is be as absurd as saying they don’t like the right to vote right to vote to they will prohibit it.  Of course, they are trying to do that too.

I’m sure this bill is not going anywhere, but it serves to illustrate who the Republican Party represents.  Don’t believe the argument that it’s only for show.  Consider all the outlandish schemes that people used to claim were only for show and are now the law in places like North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc.  Republicans MUST be removed from power.

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