Nov 162015

The weather here was good today, sunny and windy, but it was about 8 C (46 F) warm enough for mid November. Tonight or early tomorrow morning we are expecting rain.  Current temperature is 0 C (32 F).  I hope this does not mean icy streets in the morning when I have to go to physio. I'd hate to miss the opportunity to be chastised by my therapist for falling on my face. I have enjoyed several of Lona's cat naps this afternoon/evening, but the rest of the week is looking quite busy.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 5:18). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

NY Times — Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, inLebanon.

All three lost their lives in a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday, along with 40 others, and much like the scores who died a day later in Paris, they were killed at random, in a bustling urban area, while going about their normal evening business.

Around the crime scenes in south Beirut and central Paris alike, a sense of shock and sadness lingered into the weekend, with cafes and markets quieter than usual. The consecutive rampages, both claimed by the Islamic State, inspired feelings of shared, even global vulnerability — especially in Lebanon, where many expressed shock that such chaos had reached France, a country they regarded as far safer than their own.

But for some in Beirut, that solidarity was mixed with anguish over the fact that just one of the stricken cities — Paris — received a global outpouring of sympathy akin to the one lavished on the United States after the 9/11 attacks.

Click through for the rest of the article.  High on my mind, like so many others, has been the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris.  I had read about the Beirut bombings and I was sad for the people, like I am sad for the people of Syria and Iraq who endure so much death and uncertainty daily.  But what makes Paris so different to Beirut?  In reality, nothing.  In both cases, innocent lives were broken apart by the same group, Daesh.  The people in Beirut ask a valid question, do Arab lives matter less.

“When my people died, no country bothered to light up its landmarks in the colors of their flag,” Elie Fares, a Lebanese doctor, wrote on his blog. “When my people died, they did not send the world into mourning. Their death was but an irrelevant fleck along the international news cycle, something that happens in those parts of the world.”

Do we in the west have a double standard?  Do some lives matter more than others.  This is a question we all should be wrestling with.  All lives matter equally!

Mother Jones — "The Court now has the opportunity to decide whether we will continue to allow elected officials to play politics with women's health," wrote Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America,in a statement. "This case represents the greatest threat to women's reproductive freedom since the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade over 40 years ago. Laws like the ones being challenged in Texas are designed to subvert the Constitution and end the right to a safe and legal abortion."

Click through for the rest of the article.  With the decision expected in early 2016, this issue, no matter which way it goes, will likely be an election issue.  It is time for women to stand up forcefully for their reproductive health.  Women and their doctors should be making these decisions, not politicians.

Raw Story — Following Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris that claimed 129 lives, prospective 2016 GOP presidential candidates were quick to find fault and assign blame by going after Democrats and slamming Syrian refugees before French authorities even began their investigation.

Republicans flooded the airwaves Sunday morning, variously criticizing their Democratic counterparts for failing to use the term “radical Islam,” and faulting the administration for not putting “boots on the ground” in Syria while warning of another 9/11 attack in the U.S.

Responding to all three Democratic nominees using “radical jihadists” in their debate instead of blaming Islam, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed Democrats are more invested in defending Islam than protecting Americans.

“It’s become apparent on the Democratic side, whether it is the current president or the one who wishes to be president, they’re more interested in protecting the image of Islam than they are protecting Americans,” Huckabee told Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Is there anyone of sound mind in the Republican Party?  Here is Jeb Bush on the subject (from Raw Story).

And Ted Cruz of course has plenty to say (from Raw Story).

Cruz made the case that the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night proved that Christians are under siege, even though the attacks were on nightlife hot spots and not religious targets. Before the rally, Cruz told to reporters and said Christians need constitutional protections because they are most ostracized today, according to CNN…

Do I think Christians are under siege as Cruz says?  No!  Do I think that Christians need constitutional prtections? They already have 1st amendment rights.  What these pseudo Christians are wanting is the right to discriminate and the right to turn the US into a Christian theocracy.

My Universe — 

Oct 222015

Today has been one of those days . . . physiotherapy, a few messages and then home to work on this Open Thread.  It didn't take long for my concentration to wane and my eyes to close while at the keyboard.  Then my head would snap to, I'd continue until the eyes were heavy again. Snap!  I took a Lona cat nap just for an hour and that seemed to work.  But now, it really is time for bed.  Maybe it is all the euphoria of Trudeau's slaughter of Harper.  On the other hand, tomorrow would have been the 124th birthday of my grandfather who I dearly loved.  He passed away at 99.5 years and his memorial service was on my birthday.  We were so close that when he passed, I could not be sad for him.  He was ready.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:43 (average 3:54). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

The New Yorker — In the aftermath of former Virginia senator James Webb’s announcement that he is quitting the Democratic Presidential primary, a new poll shows his bitter rival Lincoln Chafee surging to two per cent of likely voters.

The former Rhode Island governor, whose path to the White House was predicated on knocking Webb out of the race, could not contain his jubilation as he told supporters in Concord, New Hampshire, that his campaign is now “solidly in the single digits.”

Webb has dropped out and it is time for Chaffee to do the same.

Alternet — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for his nuance, but his disregard for historical facts themselves took a new turn today as he claimed, in a speech in Israel, that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler actually did not want to exterminate Jews until a Palestinian religious leader convinced him otherwise.

How typical of "Republicans", Butcher Ben included . . . ignore facts and rewrite history . . . or at least try to.  Check HERE to read some about Haj Amin al-Husseini.

Think Progress — The Supreme Court is also complicit in the wave of “curbs on voting rights” that Yglesias notes in his piece. In a party-line vote, a 5-4 Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, enabling many voter ID laws, gerrymandered maps and other legislation that would have otherwise been blocked to go into effect. Similarly, the Court in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board effectively greenlighted Voter ID laws — one of the most common examples of state laws that exclude voters likely to support Democrats. The Court’s plurality opinion cited concerns about in-person voter fraud to justify this outcome, even though the opinion could only find one example of such fraud occurring in the United States within the preceding 140 years!

In my opinion, there is much more election fraud than voter fraud, and most of that is engineered by the Republicans or their agents provocateurs.  They use gerrymandering, voter ID laws, election day theatrics etc to deny the vote of groups that traditionally vote for Democrats and then have the temerity to call it voter fraud. 

Alternet — Texas is many things to many people—a state the size of a medium-sized country; home to several idiot governors, one who became president, and a current one who thinks it’s a good idea for college students to openly carry firearms. To Donald Trump, Texas is the place where a "big, beautiful wall" should be built. To people in Norway, “texas” with a small “t” is a synonym for crazy, bonkers, out of control and wild. As in, that’s totally texas. Or in Norwegian: det var helt texas.

When I first saw this, I had to give my head a shake and try to stop laughing.  There are some fine people in Texas, but the Republican craziness of people like Louis Gohmert is really getting around and giving the state a bad rep.  I file this under humour!

My Universe — H/t Nameless

football feline

TC in his younger years!

I wanted this picture for last Tuesday's Fantasy Football update but I misfiled it.



Oct 052015

Okay, so maybe it’s not Bullwinkle himself, but all the moose in Alaska (and unlike goose/geese, the plural of moose is … moose) are in the crosshairs of hunters on hovercrafts.  But more on that later.

As most of us recall, the new term for the Supreme Court begins on the first Monday in October – today!

The docket for this term will most likely not produce the fireworks of last term with rulings we liberals liked, including the 5-4 decision to recognize a constitutional right to marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, the 6-3 ruling to uphold health insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act and the 5-4 decision to ratify a broad definition of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

This year’s docket, marking the start of Chief Justice Roberts’ second decade, is heavily tilted to favor the Roberts-Scalia-Thomas-Alito wing of the Court, with Kennedy casting his customary tie-breaking vote.

And there are no real breath-holding cases … so far.  But there are currently only about 50 petitions, out of about 10,000 submitted, that have been granted cert.  Usually the Court will hear about 80 cases in all, with the final docket not set until January. 

So we’ll begin with the ones that are set.  The case with the largest monetary impact – and one that is based on a ruling from the Civil War era – has been filed by Iran’s central bank (Bank Markazi v. Peterson).

More than 1,300 Americans have already been awarded almost $2 Billion by the courts, in frozen assets held by Iran’s central bank, Markazi, based on claims that the Iranian government sponsored the terrorists’ attacks involved in the 1983 bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 service members and the 1996 Khobar tower bombing in Saudi Arabia.

The legal aspect deals with the Separation of Powers Doctrine. The Court in the 1872 case of United States v. Klein, ruled that under Article III of the Constitution, Congress cannot direct a federal court on how a pending case should be decided.  Bank Markazi contends that Congress did just this with a law passed in 2012 that declared the victims were entitled to the bank’s assets.

A case from Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico v. Valle) deals with the limits of sovereignty with regard to the prohibition on double jeopardy provided for in the Fifth Amendment. 

The Double Jeopardy Clause guarantees that a citizen will not be retried for the same crime. However, this does not protect a citizen from prosecution in both the State and Federal systems for the same action.  And the claim is that Puerto Rico’s sovereignty granted in 1950 allows it to pass its own laws, and thereby precludes it from being subject to the Double Jeopardy Clause of someone already prosecuted under the US federal justice system.

The First Amendment is the focus of Heffernan v. Paterson, N.J.  Hefferman was a police Detective who was seen by a superior picking up a yard sign for his bedridden mother supporting a candidate running against the incumbent mayor.  He neither supported nor campaigned for that candidate, but the supervisor who saw him with the sign demoted him to patrol and assigned him to walk a beat.  He maintains his First Amendment rights were violated by the demotion, but the courts ruled that since he was not supporting that candidate in any manner, he wasn’t exercising any First Amendment rights.

There are two cases that greatly excite conservatives because they deal with public unions and affirmative action in higher education. 

Conservative hope to overturn the 1979 “Fair Share” decision allowing a public employee union (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association) to collect from non-union members the part of union dues used to represent them in collective bargaining.  It would allow non-union members to become freeloaders to enjoy the gains of winning union benefits while not contributing anything to unions’ pocketbooks.

And in the affirmative action case (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin), conservatives hope to further limit utilizing race as a factor in admissions.  The U. of Texas has created a hybrid program combining race-neutral and race-conscious factors to achieve diversity. 

An appeals court has actually sustained the hybrid, but a small conservative advocacy group, the Project on Fair Representation, has brought this case forward.

The same right-wing group is mounting a challenge to the Voting Rights Act with Evenwel v. Abbott, which asks the court to address the meaning of “one person, one vote.”

It deals with whether state voting districts should have the same number of people, including undocumented immigrants, children and others not eligible to vote, or the same number of voters.  Allowing states to count only voters would in many parts of the country shift political power from cities to rural areas, to the delight of Republicans.

The court will actually begin where it ended the last term – dealing with the Eighth Amendment and the death penalty.

In the ruling of the last case of the last term Justice Breyer was joined by Justice Bader Ginsburg in a surprising and comprehensive opinion in Glossip v. Gross, which announced that both Justices now “believe it highly likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment.” 

There are currently FIVE cases involving the Eighth Amendment as pertains to the death penalty on the docket, so we'll see if Justice Alito is correct when he said there’s a “guerilla war against the death penalty,” which prompted Justice Sonia Sotomayor to fire back that supporters of the death penalty would be content to allow condemned inmates to be burned alive.

To further heat things up, the court, which hasn’t heard an abortion case since upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act in 2007, will likely hear a challenge to a Texas law (Whole Woman’s Health Center v. Cole) which would reduce the number of clinics providing abortion services from more than 40 to less than 10. 

The state law requires all clinics to meet the criteria for “ambulatory surgical centers” and all its physicians having admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.  Standards few clinics currently have – or are deemed necessary by the medical community.

So this court, which “The New York Times” has called “the first in history split along partisan lines” and as a consequence “has generated more marquee decisions divided by party alignment than all other courts combined” will likely hand down that decision in June, 2016. 

Such a divisive and volatile ruling will thus land in the middle of the presidential race.  Emphasizing, yet again, the need to GOTV – “Get Out the VOTE!” – because the next president will likely have the responsibility to fill several anticipated vacancies, given the ages of several justices.

Oh, yeah … Bullwinkle.  Let’s end on a lighter note.  Well, the moose and his brethren are following Sturgeon v. Masica very closely.

Plaintiff John Sturgeon has been going on his annual moose hunting (and beer swilling) trips with his hovercraft on the Yukon River and its tributaries for years.  But in 2007 he was stopped by National Park Service agents who told him the vehicle was banned in waters inside the national preserve.  So he did what any proud gun-toting, moose-killing, hovercraft-hunter would do – he immediately pulled out his satellite phone to call his lawyer.

The question is whether the federal government is allowed to enforce federal rules pertaining to federal navigable waters in federally operated National Parks.  Now you would think this is pretty clear cut, but apparently you would be wrong.

So far Sturgeon has lost at every stage.  But he now gets to plead his case before SCOTUS, armed with amicus briefs from Sarah Palin’s state of Alaska as well as a hunting rights group, Safari Club International. 

We can all recall how Cecil the Lion fared against the Minnesota dentist.  So heads up, Bullwinkle – or maybe heads down – because you’re in the hovercraft hunters’ crosshairs!


Multiple Sources:


Jun 302015

Of all the Supreme Court decisions in the closing week, the one that upset me most was the 5-4 decision that declares that death by slow torture is not cruel and unusual punishment.  The dissents by Ginsburg and Breyer were the refreshing part of the decision.  Using this decision as a backdrop, consider the two different Courts that may exist ten years from now.

0630ginsburg_beyerJustice Harry Blackmun got there in 1994, after twenty-four years on the bench. For Justice John Paul Stevens, it took twenty-three years. Today, after twenty-two and twenty-one years, respectively, Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, too, now recognize there is no constitutionally sufficient way to implement the death penalty.

The pair were among the dissenters from a 5-4 decision of the court this morning which held that Oklahoma death row defendants failed to prove that there was a less painful method of death available to them, and they had no right to a painless death. "Because it is settled that capital punishment is constitutional," wrote Justice Alito for the Court, “it necessarily follows that there must be a constitutional means of carrying it out. And because some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution, we have held that the Constitution does not require the avoidance of all risk of pain."

To Justices Breyer and Ginsburg, however, enough’s enough:

In 1976, the Court thought that the constitutional infirmities in the death penalty could be healed; the Court in effect delegated significant responsibility to the States to develop procedures that would protect against those constitutional problems. Almost 40 years of studies, surveys, and experience strongly indicate, however, that this effort has failed. Today’s administration of the death penalty involves three fundamental constitutional defects: (1) serious unreliability, (2) arbitrariness in application, and (3) unconscionably long delays that undermine the death penalty’s penological purpose. Perhaps as a result, (4) most places within the United States have abandoned its use.

I shall describe each of these considerations, emphasizing changes that have occurred during the past four decades. For it is those changes, taken together with my own 20 years of experience on this Court, that lead me to believe that the death penalty, in and of itself, now likely constitutes a legally prohibited “cruel and unusual punishmen[t].” U. S. Const., Amdt. 8.

If you thought the next presidential election was crucial already, it just got a whole lot bigger. Four Justices (Kennedy, Scalia, Ginsburg, and Breyer) are between 77 and 82 years old. Elections matter… [emphasis original]  

Inserted from <Daily Kos>

Click through for much more information.

Now, consider a Court in which Sturmbannführer Scalia, and Kennedy, along with Ginsburg and Breyer were replaced with Justices just like Ginsburg and Breyer.  Such a Court would make Constitutional decisions.  The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS, Republican Constitutional VD, would have become the Toddler Tantrum Three.  America would be on the mend.

On the other hand, consider a Court in which Ginsburg and Breyer, along with Scalia and Kennedy were replaced with Injustices just like Sturmbannführer Scalia, Teabag Thomas, and Scalito.  Such a Court would establish  permanent, totalitarian Republican Reich. The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS would become the Sedition Seven.  America would not survive.

In this Tale of Two Courts, which Court do you want?  What are you willing to do to get it?

Apr 302015

I’m still dealing with considerable pain, but not enough to shut me down completely.  In addition, I’m rewarding myself for writing with  a kitty sun nap, as our high will be over 70°.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:55 (average 5:05). To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: There’s something timeless about this American classic that America can’t seem to outgrow.


I first read To Kill a Mocking Bird in 1962. I was 12. I identified with it, because my father’s extreme racism was so offensive to me. It certainly has a message for today. Click through for five lessons that still apply.

From Daily Kos: Some nasty, malevolent wingnut took it on himself to spoil a kindergarten concert in Iowa by yelling "USA! English Only!" over and over when the concert was introduced first in English, and then by a Spanish translator to accommodate Spanish speaking toddlers and their parents.

This occurred last week at the local Performing Arts Center in Perry, Iowa, about 40 miles Northwest of Des Moines, during a concert by Perry Elementary School students.  The incident was caught on a 12-second video and provided to the Perry News.


They may mot know who this shameful racist is, but we’ve seen this TEAbuggery so much, that what he is, is clear. He is a Republican.

From Crooks and Liars: Let’s hope Jon Stewart was right when he said this about the oral arguments we heard this week on gay marriage in front of the Supreme Court.

STEWART: Bottom line is this. If oral arguments have any impact on the final result, June’s going to be a nice time for a gay wedding.

Amen to that. Stewart started off his show this Wednesday by going after the wingnuts [sic] on the Supreme Court and former solicitor general of Michigan John Bursch, and the extremely lame arguments we heard from them against the issue of same-sex marriage.

Now that Republicans have had their oral arguments, it’s time for them to get their anal arguments. Hold the KY. 😉



Feb 172015

It’s a rare treat to see an interview of a sitting Supreme Court Justice, especially when that Justice is the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a frequent dissenter from the Dishonorable Injustices of SCROTUS, Republican Constitutional VD.


In a rare interview with MSNBC’s Irin Carmon, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discussed her tenure on the court and women’s rights in America today.

Carmon — a rising star at the network who is co-authoring a book about the liberal jurist with the founder of Tumblr blog Notorious R.B.G — started off by asking the question on the minds of a lot of liberals as time ticks down on the Obama presidency: Are you planning to retire?

“I’m concerned about doing the job full steam,” Ginsburg said. “Once I sense that I am slipping, I will step down. This is a very intense job.”

Asked about her replacement, the Supreme Court justice demurred.

"My successor will be the choice of whatever president is sitting at that time," she said.

Carmon and Ginsburg talked at length about the progress that’s been made on women’s rights since the 1970s, when Ginsburg co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union…

Inserted from <Huffington Post>

Rachel Maddow dedicated two segments of her show to excerpts from the interview.  Here’s the first.

And the second.

For a transcript of the entire interview, click here.

I found only one bone to pick with her.  Asked for one word to describe Chief Injustice Roberts, she said “able”.  I would have said “ideologue”… or worse.

Jul 162014

Here are the results of our SCOTUS Rating Poll.  Politics Plus Polls are not scientific, because those who respond are not balanced according to demographic categories.   Therefore, we do not accurately reflect the makeup of the US population.  Nevertheless, our polls are often both accurate and indicative of the nation’s view.


And here are your comments.

Showing comments 19 of 9.

Posted by Phil  July 9, 2014 at 10:16 pm.  


I voted "Horrid" because you neglected to add "Outrageously Stupid."



Posted by Lynn Squance  July 5, 2014 at 7:53 pm.  


I voted "HORRID". While there may be minor acceptable judgements, preponderance of conservative activism is absolutely disgusting. It seems to me that SCOTUS, or should I say the SCROTUS wing of Injustices, is nothing more than a wing of the Republican/Teabagger party. I like the 3 women justices and Breyer, but I wish Justice Ginsburg were younger so that she would be around longer.


Posted by Edie  July 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm.  


They have sunk so far in my estimation, that horrible isn’t even an accurat)e description.(devious


Posted by SoINeedAName  July 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm.  


Not only "HORRID" – but HORRID for a long, Long, LONG time coming.

Pandora’s Box will be busy for decades.


Posted by Rixar13  July 4, 2014 at 2:33 pm.  





Posted by gene jacobson  July 1, 2014 at 8:45 am.  


As noted, there were one or two minor things done the way I think they should have been, John Roberts siding with the four decent justices in both instances, but narrow and meaningless decisions they were. For the rest, the vast majority, this is the rottenest and in truth, corrupt Court we have ever had – corrupt comes with Thomas and Scalia out there making tons of money advertising how they will vote on various issues. Which encourages suits on those issues. Which makes them corrupt, evil and impeachable in my opinion. If the House truly wants to impeach someone it should be those two fools.


Posted by Joanne D  July 1, 2014 at 4:45 am.  


I want to qualify my vote of "horrid" by saying that it only applies to the SCROTUS Five. Unfortunately, they rule for now. Yes, there were one or two decent decisions, so minor I can’t even remember what they were. We will be decades cleaning up after these animals – and we can’t even start yet.


Posted by Lona Goudswaard  July 1, 2014 at 12:56 am.  


I’m completely prejudices of course, because the only rulings I see from this SCOTUS are the ones I get presented with on this blog, Care2, Daily Kos and such.

There were one or two surprise rulings this last term, but they were on very minor issues and didn’t stretch very far, but every other ruling I’ve heard off has been absolutely disastrous for this country.


Posted by Patty  July 1, 2014 at 12:02 am.  


I was going to say "Horrid" but there have been a couple good decisions.


I voted with the majority.  While there have been a couple decisions that weren’t that bad, even the “good ones” have included concealed attempts at sabotage.  A perfect exampled is deciding for the ACA, but allowing state governments to deny federally funded Medicaid to poor citizens.

A new poll is up.  Vote now, and vote in November.

Jul 052014

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 75, and it occurred to me that, since most folks in the country get a holiday, I ought to as well, since it’s a slow news day, I’m tired, and preparing my holiday feast took three hours of cooking and prep, so this article is all I have.  The rest of the weekend depends on the availability of content.  Please be safe.

Late (early) update:

I just woke up.  I slept through the fireworks.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:59 (average 6:11).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: Kinda like a really scary jigsaw puzzle … oh, and the Congress Critters in the districts that make up those shaded areas? Yeah, they don’t want folks to see this map. Hint, hint.


That high area in eastern Oregon is the sparsely populated Republican part of the state. Politically and culturally, it’s more like Idaho.

From The New Yorker: A new poll released Wednesday revealed that people rank President Barack Obama as the worst President since the Second World War, and also blame him for starting the Second World War.

While the respondents slammed the President for his handling of the economy, Iraq, and a host of other issues, his perceived role as the primary cause of the Second World War was the biggest drag on his numbers.

Even more troubling, when compared to the three leaders of the Axis powers during that war, President Obama polled at the bottom of the list, finishing far behind Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

LOL Andy. It may be accurate! If so, do I have to tell what TV channel those polled used to get their news?  (the real poll was demographically skewed).

From NY Times: In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The order, Justice Sotomayor wrote, was at odds with the 5-to-4 decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.

“Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”

The court’s action, she added, even “undermines confidence in this institution.”

Monday’s decision and the order on Thursday were dual blows to the Obama administration’s efforts to provide contraception coverage, said Walter Dellinger, who was acting United States solicitor general in the Clinton administration.

This order, unsigned demonstrating their cowardice, directly contradicts part of the Hobby Lobby decision that the ruling applied only to closely held, for profit corporations. Wheaton College is neither. I promised you a slippery slope was ahead. The slide has started. For a better understanding, click through and read the entire article.



Jul 042014

I have read Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent to the ruling in Hobby Lobby by the Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD).  I recommend that you read it too (link follows).  As an easier reference found an article with an excellent summary of ten key points.

0704ginsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg wrote a scathing 35-page dissent in the disastrous 5-4 Supreme Court decision Monday granting corporations First Amendment religious rights to deny women birth control coverage. The court had ventured far out in to unprecedented territory by granting private companies the right to be exempt from laws their owners don’t agree with. Crazy! In their zeal to deny women access to reproductive healthcare, expand the rights of corporations and hurt Obamacare, "The court," she wrote, "has ventured into a minefield." 

Sadly, her clear-eyed reasoning did not sway the Court’s five arch conservatives, but it is worth reading her dissent here (starts on page 60.)

For those in a bigger hurry, here are highlights:

1. "Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision."

2. "Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude."

3. "Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community." … [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared three to the articles ten highlights.  Click through for the other seven.  I not only agree with Ginsberg in sll ten highlights, but also with her entire dissent.

Jun 282014

Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down a rather surprising decision, disallowing the eight foot buffer zone around the entrances to Massachusetts women’s health centers that perform abortions.  I understand that it may well be Constitutionally correct, but from a practical point of view the decision could have tragic ramifications.  I do not understand why a much larger exclusion zone that protects the four Justices of SCOTUS and the five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) is not also unconstitutional.  The plaintiff claimed that they just wanted to have “quiet conversations” with their neighbors and fellow citizens.


The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests, counseling and other speech near abortion clinics.

“A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce, but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a majority opinion that was joined by the court’s four-member liberal wing.

The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics. State officials said the law was a response to a history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.

The Massachusetts law was challenged on First Amendment grounds by opponents of abortion who said they sought to have quiet conversations with women entering clinics to tell them about alternatives. “Petitioners are not protesters,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

The court was unanimous about the bottom line but divided on the reasoning, with Chief Justice Roberts writing a narrow opinion. The law blocked too much speech, he said, “sweeping in innocent individuals.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

I can understand their point that it is not Constitutional to exclude people with no intent to violate the women’s rights and innocent passers by, who may be transiting the zone for reasons that have nothing to do with the clinic.  Of course the problem, is that Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christians are fanatical believers in a right to life that begins at conception and ends at birth.  They do not believe that abortion providers and others who assist women to exercise their rights have the right to life.   We know this, because they have murdered several.  If you believe that the extent of their “speech” will be those “quiet conversations”, see me about the wonderful bridge I am selling.  The one plus is that the decision leaves the door open to similar legislation that does not “block too much speech”.

The best coverage I have seen on this subject is from Rachel Maddow.  Sadly I cannot take credit for the added portrayal of Scalia at the beginning.

That covers it well.  I do not have a quick solution for this dilemma, but I do have an idea.  Someone needs to file a suit claiming that the exclusion zone around the Supreme Court violates the Consxtitution, because it “blocks too much speech” and is “sweeping in innocent individuals”.  Then we can see if the Justices and the Injustices think they should get to have “quiet conversations” with crazed wing-nuts with guns.

Jun 252013

I’m writing early.  Tomorrow is day 11.  Grrrr…  The Supreme Court has apparently kicked the can until next year on Affirmative Action.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:54 (average 8:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football:

We still NEED  two more players in our lefty league.  For more info. click here.

Short Takes:

From LA Times: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Obama administration and decide whether the president may make temporary “recess appointments” to federal offices when the Senate takes a short break during the year.

The case is to be heard in the fall, and it is likely to yield an important decision on the constitutional powers of the president to execute the duties of his office in the face of Senate opposition. It could also have an effect on President Obama’s final years in the White House.

I’d rather nuke the filibastards with the nuclear option on the filibuster than leave it to the five fascist Injustices of SCROTUS.

From The New Yorker: A U.S. intelligence agency was so busy spying on three hundred million Americans that it failed to notice one dude who was working for it, a spokesman for the agency acknowledged today.

“I guess we were so busy monitoring the everyday communications of every man, woman, and child in the nation that we didn’t notice that a contractor working for us was downloading tons of classified documents,” the agency spokesman said. “It’s definitely embarrassing, for sure.”

Of course, no such statement was made, but it should be.

From NY Times: …Billed as Louisiana’s first atheist service and titled “Joie de Vivre: To Delight in Being Alive,” it was presided over by Jerry DeWitt, a small, charismatic man dressed all in black with slick, shiny hair.

“Oh, it’s going to be so hard to not say, ‘Can I get an amen?’ ” he said with a smile, warning people that this was going to be more like church than they might expect. “I want you to feel comfortable singing. And I want you to feel comfortable clapping your hands…

At last! Services for the atheist faith! 😉



A win for the good guys!

Jun 192013

Few things are more cut and dried than American citizens’ right against self incrimination.  …nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…  At least that used to be correct.  In most 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court is split between the fascist five Injustices of SCROTUS and the four Justices of SCOTUS.  Not only did SCROTUS deny the Constitution in this case, but also, four critical cases remain on this year’s calendar.


…The court ruled that a suspect’s failure to answer a police officer’s questions before an arrest may be used against the suspect at trial.

The Supreme Court has long said the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination applies after arrest and at trial. But it had never decided, in the words of a 1980 decision, “whether or under what circumstances pre-arrest silence” in the face of questioning by law enforcement personnel is entitled to protection…

…Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, said allowing “a prosecutor to comment on a defendant’s constitutionally protected silence would put that defendant in an impossible predicament.” Mr. Salinas’s choice, Justice Breyer wrote, was “between incrimination through speech and incrimination through silence.”… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

The four Justices of SCOTUS were absolutely correct. The right against self incrimination is meaningless, if its invocation before arrest can be used in court to imply guilt. But the Fascist Five Injustices goose-stepped against the Constitution to help make this nation a Republican police state. As for what’s next, Chris Hayes covered the remaining four decisions in two segments. In the first, Chris and his panel discussed what’s at stake in the decisions.

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I strongly fear that Chris may be correct in his hypothesis that SCROTUS may use gay rights to mask the demise of voting rights and affirmative action. The wrong decision in any of these cases will be tragic, because all are key to America’s freedom. However, the worst decision they could would be to allow their Republican cronies to steal elections by denying minority Americans the right to vote. In Chris’s second segment, he and his panel discussed that.

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Chris is correct that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court is at stake, because Republicans have already made it clear that their intent is to use the law to disentrance blacks and Latinos, in addition to seniors, students, labor and poor people. If destroying the Voting Rights Act is the decision, in combination with Citizens United, the Supreme Court will have demonstrated that it is illegitimate.

No Republican may be allowed to infest the White House before the Injustices od SCROTUS have been replaced with Justices.