Archive for June, 2013

English: United States Supreme Court building ...

English: United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., USA. Front facade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Supreme Court issued a ton of rulings the last couple of weeks.  I have to say that up to the last day, I didn’t care for much of them.  Then on the last day, they did make a couple of favorable rulings for gay rights.  To sum things  up, looks like the courts are anti-employee, anti-minority, pro-business, and pro-police (maybe you could say pro-authority).  But there were those two victories for gay rights.  Anyway, for better or worse, here’s a few things that got decided this week:

For Better:

  • Gay rights got a major victory when DOMA was ruled unconstitutional.  Specifically, they ruled that the federal government could not define marriage, but rather that power was left to the states.  The result is that as long as the state you live in recognizes your marriage, the federal government cannot deny related federal benefits.  (Of course the flip side is that if the state doesn’t recognize your marriage, the federal government doesn’t have to either.  And then there’s the shady area of what happens if you are married in one state that recognizes gay marriage, but move to another state that does not.)
  • A lesser victory for gay rights was achieved when the Supreme Court decided to dismiss the Prop 8 case due to lack of standing by those who brought the suit.  Though really that was a way for the Supreme Court to find an out to not make a decision on the Constitutionality of same-sex marriage.
  • The Supreme Court rulings just continue to reflect the shifting attitude about this, acceptance of marriage by any two individuals regardless of gender is going to happen, it’s just a matter of when, not if.

For Worse:

  • Everything else?
  • For one, the Voter’s Rights Act was gutted.  The pre-clearance requirement (which required certain states/counties to get voting changes approved by the federal government) was rejected, supposedly because the majority said the formula is outdated*.  The court said that Congress should pass a new formula.  Apparently that was said without laughter, even though THIS congress is not going to pass any such thing.  And states such as Texas and Mississippi pretty much didn’t even let enough time pass for even the whole decision to be read before reintroducing voter ID laws, which is practice is the very type of thing the Voter’s Rights Act was designed to prevent.  After all, the states know best, right?  (*This is not to say Congress shouldn’t address this.  They should.  It’s just the reality is that they won’t.  So with this decision, you may as well have thrown out the whole law.)
  • In a case where a white student had sued The University of Texas over its admission standards, claiming that they were racist against whites, the court threw out the lower courts ruling for the university and kicked the case back to them with a new standard that the court must be convinced that there were no other “race neutral” alternatives that would produce the same diverse results.  (From what I remember reading about this case, this student’s claim was dubious because better qualified applicants than her were also denied admission, many of whom were minorities.)
  • Corporations won big with two rulings.  Now corporations can’t be held responsible for supervisors that sexually harass employees if that supervisor can’t hire/fire/demote/transfer/or punish that employee because apparently in the court’s eyes if you can’t do that, you can’t possibly be a real supervisor.  Or perhaps you can’t possibly sexually harass.  I am not sure which.  Also, as a result of the other case, if a corporation is motivated to retaliate against an employee who complains about harassment and/or discrimination, it’s totally cool as long as that employee can’t prove that the complaint was the “deciding” factor of that retaliation.  The message to employees is clear, keep your mouth shut and do your job, no matter how poorly you are treated.
  • Police also won big.  In a decision involving a man being questioned in regards to murder, the court decided that in order to have the right to remain silent, you must explicitly state that you are invoking that right, you can’t just remain silent.  This seems odd to me, because it doesn’t seem to be a standard applied to our other rights.

My point is….meh, I don’t think I have a point.  I guess given the make-up of the current court, I should be happy that there is any decision being made that isn’t strictly conservative.

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Please define change.

Please define change.

No credibility is what the New York Times declared about President Obama after the revelations regarding NSA’s very expansive and very secret surveillance programs.  I couldn’t agree more.  Obama says he welcomes a debate about this.  But that’s not true.  He kept the program secret.  He is going after the source of the leak.  These are not the actions of a man who is welcoming a debate.  And if it wasn’t already clear before, the promise that this administration would be the most transparent in history was also a lie.

You know, I have reached a point where I am not sure I am willing to defend him anymore on anything.  For instance, previously I really didn’t think the IRS scandal really had much to do with him.  But there does seem to be an arrogance that permeates the administration from top-to-bottom.  Trust us, we know best.  Let me make a connection here.  When asked by Congress before the NSA stuff blew up whether or not the NSA collected any information at all on millions of Americans or hundreds of millions of Americans, Intelligence chief James Trapper said “no sir”.  That was a flat-out lie.  When asked by Congress before the IRS stuff blew up whether or not the IRS targeted conservative groups, acting (now former) IRS director Steve Miller said no.  Now we know that he knew that such targeting had occurred.  So another flat-out lie.

Does this mean that Obama  personally directed the IRS to target conservative groups?  No.  But I do see a pattern that reflects a rotten culture inside the administration.  We don’t have to tell you what we are doing and why.  Just trust us, we know what we are doing.  Don’t worry your little heads about it. And if you do ask a question, we’ll just lie.  The culture of any organization is set by the leadership.  Obama is that leader.

President Obama has not been the catalyst of the change we have been hoping for.  He has just been more of the same government as usual (heck, as far as I can tell, even worse, he has been the continuation of the downward spiral of government toward abuse of power with decreased transparency).  It’s just so disappointing to see it all come to light, even if I had suspected it for quite sometime.

With apologies for stealing a gimmick from List Of X (who does this much better than I) here are the top 10 reasons Michele Bachmann is not seeking another term in office:

1)  She wants to spend more time with the voices in her head.

2)  She is leaving to become a curator at the John Wayne Gacy museum in Waterloo.  She loves that guy’s movies!

3)  So that she can change our convention from singing happy birthday on birthdays to singing happy birthday on the anniversaries of deaths!

4)  To join forces with Jenny McCarthy to form the dynamic duo of wisdom and finally end those awful vaccines once and for all!

5)  To finally make money on that family farm they don’t make a penny on.  Except those 25,933,200 pennies received from federal aid.  And the between 3,250,000 pennies and 10,500,000 pennies of annual income.  But other than that, not a penny made on that family farm.

6)  To get into better shape so she can better run from journalists asking her questions.

7)  It’s totally not because she wouldn’t win.  Because she would so win.  Just ask her.  That dude she ran against and had to outspend 12 to 1 only to beat him by a few thousand votes?  Total fluke!  In fact, that’s why she’s not running.  It’s simply just too unfair to the competition!

8)  She has decided to make running for President a full-time job now she knows how lucrative that can be, especially if you don’t follow election laws.

9)  She is slated to become the next horror film slasher for New Line Cinema.

Herrre’s Bachmann!

10)  Because of the shame brought upon her when World’s (not so) Funniest Blog called her a literal idiot.  It was simply too much for her to bear.  I am so sorry.  (but not literally)