There's not much the state can do to fix a drought once we're in one, but I hope we've learned our lesson this time, and we can now start actually preparing for the next inevitable drought to hit California.
This is Jerry Brown's second chance to watch a climate disaster unfold and start doing at least some reacting for the future. The time to build cisterns, dams and desalinization plants is now. The time to build trains that will bounce from the north to the south half-empty is later.
My political post of the month: Props 45 and 46 are laws written to protect you and I - the consumer, the common person.. They are opposed by large profitable corporate interests. They are deceiving you into thinking these laws are about something that they are not and if you only watch the TV ads, you're going to vote against these propositions even if you are actually in favor of their goals.
So this was floating around my Facebook feed today:
And I thought, "I'd bet a large sum of money that this person has publicly commented at least once about a person's appearance." So I went to her Twitter account and did a quick search for the term "Limbaugh". Sure enough, the first hit was a jab at his looks.
Admittedly, Limbaugh is not a handsome man, but if you're going to have standards, one is better than two. Or, as Erin Gloria Ryan should say, you may not agree with a man, but to criticize his appearance - as opposed to his ideas or actions - isn't doing anyone any favors, least of all you....
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability” unless the Government “demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” 42 U. S. C. §§2000bb–1(a), (b). As amended by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), RFRA covers “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” §2000cc–5(7)(A).At issue here are regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), which, as relevant here, requires specified employers’ group health plans to furnish “preventive care and screenings” for women without “any cost sharing requirements,”42 U. S. C. §300gg–13(a)(4). Congress did not specify what types of preventive care must be covered; it authorized the Health Resources and Services Administration, a component of HHS, to decide. Ibid. Nonexempt employers are generally required to provide coverage for the 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including the 4 that may have the effect of preventing an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus. Religious employers, such as churches, are exempt from this contraceptive mandate. HHS has also effectively exempted religious nonprofit organizations with religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services. Under this accommodation, the insurance issuer must exclude contraceptive coverage from the employer’s plan and provide plan participants with separate payments for contraceptive services without imposing any cost sharing requirements on the employer, its insurance plan, or its employee beneficiaries.
In these cases, the owners of three closely held for-profit corporations have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point. In separate actions, they sued HHS and other federal officials and agencies (collectively HHS) under RFRA and the Free Exercise Clause, seeking to enjoin application of the contraceptive mandate insofar as it requires them to provide health coverage for the four objectionable contraceptives. In No. 13–356, the District Court denied the Hahns and their company—Conestoga Wood Specialties—a preliminary injunction. Affirming, the Third Circuit held that a for-profit corporation could not “engage in religious exercise” under RFRA or the First Amendment, and that the mandate imposed no requirements on the Hahns in their personal capacity. In No. 13–354, the Greens, their children, and their companies—Hobby Lobby Stores and Mardel—were also denied a preliminary injunction, but the Tenth Circuit reversed. It held that the Greens’ businesses are “persons” under RFRA, and that the corporations had established a likelihood of success on their RFRA claim because the contraceptive mandate substantially burdened their exercise of religion and HHS had not demonstrated a compelling interest in enforcing the mandate against them; in the alternative, the court held that HHS had not proved that the mandate was the “least restrictive means” of furthering a compelling governmental interest.
Held: As applied to closely held corporations, the HHS regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate RFRA. Pp. 16–49.
(a) RFRA applies to regulations that govern the activities of closely held for-profit corporations like Conestoga, Hobby Lobby, and Mardel. Pp. 16–31.
(1) HHS argues that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations, and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies, but that would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations. RFRA’s text shows that Congress designed the statute t provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice. It employed the familiar legal fiction of including corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons,” but the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them. Pp. 16–19.
(2) HHS and the dissent make several unpersuasive arguments. Pp. 19–31.
(i) Nothing in RFRA suggests a congressional intent to depart from the Dictionary Act definition of “person,” which “include[s] corporations, . . . as well as individuals.” 1 U. S. C. §1. The Court has entertained RFRA and free-exercise claims brought by nonprofit corporations. See, e.g., Gonzales v. O Centro Espírita Beneficiente União do Vegetal, 546 U. S. 418. And HHS’s concession that a nonprofit corporation can be a “person” under RFRA effectively dispatches any argument that the term does not reach for-profit corporations; noconceivable definition of “person” includes natural persons and nonprofit corporations, but not for-profit corporations. Pp. 19–20.
(ii) HHS and the dissent nonetheless argue that RFRA does not cover Conestoga, Hobby Lobby, and Mardel because they cannot “exercise . . . religion.” They offer no persuasive explanation for this conclusion. The corporate form alone cannot explain it because RFRA indisputably protects nonprofit corporations. And the profitmaking objective of the corporations cannot explain it because the Court has entertained the free-exercise claims of individuals who were attempting to make a profit as retail merchants. Braunfeld v. Brown, 366 U. S. 599. Business practices compelled or limited by the tenets of a religious doctrine fall comfortably within the understanding of the “exercise of religion” that this Court set out in Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Ore. v. Smith, 494 U. S. 872, 877. Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law. States, including those in which the plaintiff corporations were incorporated, authorize corporations to pursue any lawful purpose or business, including the pursuit of profit in conformity with the owners’ religious principles. Pp. 20–25.
(iii) Also flawed is the claim that RFRA offers no protection because it only codified pre-Smith Free Exercise Clause precedents, none of which squarely recognized free-exercise rights for for-profit corporations. First, nothing in RFRA as originally enacted suggested that its definition of “exercise of religion” was meant to be tied to pre-Smith interpretations of the First Amendment. Second, if RFRA’s original text were not clear enough, the RLUIPA amendment surely dispels any doubt that Congress intended to separate the definition ofthe phrase from that in First Amendment case law. Third, the pre-Smith case of Gallagher v. Crown Kosher Super Market of Mass., Inc., 366 U. S. 617, suggests, if anything, that for-profit corporations can exercise religion. Finally, the results would be absurd if RFRA, a law enacted to provide very broad protection for religious liberty, merely restored this Court’s pre-Smith decisions in ossified form and restricted RFRA claims to plaintiffs who fell within a category of plaintiffs whose claims the Court had recognized before Smith. Pp. 25–28.
(3) Finally, HHS contends that Congress could not have wanted RFRA to apply to for-profit corporations because of the difficulty of ascertaining the “beliefs” of large, publicly traded corporations, but HHS has not pointed to any example of a publicly traded corporation asserting RFRA rights, and numerous practical restraints would likely prevent that from occurring. HHS has also provided no evidence that the purported problem of determining the sincerity of an asserted religious belief moved Congress to exclude for-profit corporations from RFRA’s protection. That disputes among the owners of corporations might arise is not a problem unique to this context. State corporate law provides a ready means for resolving any conflicts by, for example, dictating how a corporation can establish its governing structure. Courts will turn to that structure and the underlying state law in resolving disputes. Pp. 29–31.
(b) HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion. Pp. 31–38.
(1) It requires the Hahns and Greens to engage in conduct that seriously violates their sincere religious belief that life begins at conception. If they and their companies refuse to provide contraceptive coverage, they face severe economic consequences: about $475 million per year for Hobby Lobby, $33 million per year for Conestoga, and $15 million per year for Mardel. And if they drop coverage altogether, they could face penalties of roughly $26 million for Hobby Lobby,$1.8 million for Conestoga, and $800,000 for Mardel. P. 32.
(2) Amici supporting HHS argue that the $2,000 per-employee penalty is less than the average cost of providing insurance, and therefore that dropping insurance coverage eliminates any substantial burden imposed by the mandate. HHS has never argued this and the Court does not know its position with respect to the argument. But even if the Court reached the argument, it would find it unpersuasive: It ignores the fact that the plaintiffs have religious reasons for providing health-insurance coverage for their employees, and it is far from clear that the net cost to the companies of providing insurance is more than the cost of dropping their insurance plans and paying the ACA penalty. Pp. 32–35.
(3) HHS argues that the connection between what the objecting parties must do and the end that they find to be morally wrong is too attenuated because it is the employee who will choose the coverage and contraceptive method she uses. But RFRA’s question is whether the mandate imposes a substantial burden on the objecting parties’ ability to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs. The belief of the Hahns and Greens implicates a difficult and important question of religion and moral philosophy, namely, the circumstances under which it is immoral for a person to perform an act that is innocent in itself but that has the effect of enabling or facilitating the commission of an immoral act by another. It is not for the Court to say that the religious beliefs of the plaintiffs are mistaken or unreasonable. In fact, this Court considered and rejected a nearly identical argument in Thomas v. Review Bd. of Indiana Employment Security Div., 450 U. S. 707. The Court’s “narrow function . . . is to determine” whether the plaintiffs’ asserted religious belief reflects “an honest conviction,” id., at 716, and there is no dispute here that it does. Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U. S. 672, 689; and Board of Ed. of Central School Dist. No. 1 v. Allen, 392 U. S. 236, 248–249, distinguished. Pp. 35–38.
(c) The Court assumes that the interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is a compelling governmental interest, but the Government has failed to show that the contraceptive mandate is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest. Pp. 38–49.
(1) The Court assumes that the interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is compelling within the meaning of RFRA. Pp. 39–40.
(2) The Government has failed to satisfy RFRA’s least restrictive-means standard. HHS has not shown that it lacks other means of achieving its desired goal without imposing a substantial burden on the exercise of religion. The Government could, e.g., assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives to women unable to obtain coverage due to their employers’ religious objections. Or it could extend the accommodation that HHS has already established for religious nonprofit organizations to non-profit employers with religious objections to the contraceptive mandate. That accommodation does not impinge on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs that providing insurance coverage for the contraceptives at issue here violates their religion and it still serves HHS’s stated interests. Pp. 40–45.
(3) This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to hold that all insurance-coverage mandates, e.g., for vaccinations or blood transfusions, must necessarily fall if they conflict with an employer’s religious beliefs. Nor does it provide a shield for employers who might cloak illegal discrimination as a religious practice. United States v. Lee, 455 U. S. 252, which upheld the payment of Social Security taxes despite an employer’s religious objection, is not analogous. It turned primarily on the special problems associated with a national system of taxation; and if Lee were a RFRA case, the fundamental point would still be that there isno less restrictive alternative to the categorical requirement to pay taxes. Here, there is an alternative to the contraceptive mandate. Pp. 45–49.
No. 13–354, 723 F. 3d 1114, affirmed; No. 13–356, 724 F. 3d 377, reversed and remanded.
ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, KENNEDY, and THOMAS, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed a concurring opinion. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SOTOMAYOR, J., joined, and in which BREYER and KAGAN, JJ., joined as to all but Part III–C–1. BREYER and KAGAN, JJ., filed a dissenting opinion.
The real issue: Google's workforce is heavily overrepresented by Asians. If you have difficulty understanding why, pop in on a computer science class at a university near you and observe the racial makeup of the kids taking these classes. That's who Google will have to choose from when interviewing for entry-level positions in the next four years.
I'm not one of those who thinks this is proof that Obama is a moron who can't spell, but it was funny. It would have been ten times funnier, though, if Dan Quayle was in the audience, and he had stood up and yelled "I think you forgot an 'E' there!" Good times...
Speaking of Quayle, I wonder if he finally started looking like a grown-up? Has anyone seen a recent photo of Quayle?
Saw this from a friend who blames Fox News for everyone thinking Obama is a big spender.
I'd venture to say that most of those 54% don't understand the difference between a budget deficit and the national debt, and that most of those, and maybe a lot of the other 46% think that the president, rather than Congress, determine the budget. In fact, unless the same party holds both the House and the Senate, the process goes like this: the president proposes a budget. One or both houses of Congress laugh at him and then fight among themselves to decide what the budget will actually be.
And how about the 27% who had no clue, but at least were honest enough to admit it. Those are probably mostly the "undecided" voters who actually make all of the important electoral decisions that run our country. If I'm right in that bit of speculation, it's kind of frightening, isn't it?
"Actually, any insurance that you currently have would be grandfathered
in so you could keep. And so you could decide not to get in the exchange
the better plan -- I could keep my Acme insurance, just a
high-deductible catastrophic plan -- I would not be required to get the
better one. If I chose to get the better one, it would be 14 to 20
percent cheaper than if I were going into the individual market. I just
wanted to clarify that issue."
(start watching around 1:12:48)
Every word of it was pure fantasy. He's a smart guy. There's no way he
said this out of naivete or any other form of sincere belief. He knew
this was BS. He knew that for a lot of people, this was not going to be
true, because the whole system is built upon forcing young and healthy
people to pay more for their health plans. If you are young and healthy,
and had a "bare bones" plan because it was a more efficient health care financial plan than wasting a bunch of money on more insurance than you need,
your ability to keep your plan was doomed under the structure of
Obamacare, and you were destined to have to pay more going forward. In
some cases, a lot more.
"No matter what you heard" ... unless you heard something truthful and thorough.
"Let me repeat this" ... because if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.
"Let me be perfectly clear" ... not honest, but clear.
"We will keep this promise to the American people" ... or else we will apologize and that will be that.
I hope I never hear Barack Obama try to assure me that if I like my spouse and want to keep my spouse, I can keep my spouse.
Just over the last week, evidence of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) presenting others’ work as his own has come to public light over and over and over and over and over again. This afternoon, Andrew Kaczynski found yet another instance in which part of the senator’s most recent book plagiarized an article from Forbes magazine.
With new revelations popping up at least once a day, the Kentucky Republican decided to address the controversy by talking to the New York Times.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who in recent weeks has had to explain a
series of plagiarism charges, said in an interview Tuesday that he was
being held to an unfair standard, but that there would be an office
“restructuring” to prevent future occurrences.
Sitting in a conference room in his Senate office complex, Mr. Paul,
drawn and clearly shaken by the plagiarism charges, offered a mix of
contrition and defiance…. Acknowledging that his office had “made
mistakes,” he said he was putting a new system in place to ensure that
all of his materials are properly footnoted and cited.
The quotes in the Times piece are remarkable, in that it seems
the senator feels put upon – as if having to play by the same rules as
high-school kids who are taught not to present others’ work as their
own is some kind of imposition.
“What we are going to do from here forward, if it will make people
leave me the hell alone, is we’re going to do them like college
papers,” Paul told the Times.
Dear MSNBC. I think Rand Paul may have said that in comic sans.
Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation" and "purloining and
publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or
expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work.1/
But not every collection of words is worthy of being considered "an
author's language, thoughts, ideas or expressions." Sometimes, they are
just recitations of fact that can't be usefully expressed in much more
than one way. And not all appropriations are "wrongful" and constitute
In a speech, an introductory sentence saying what a
movie is about is not "presenting others' work as your own." If you ask
me what Gattaca was, and I cut and paste from Wikipedia, I am not
claiming that what I responded with is an original work of authorship.
The only part of this whole "scandal" that I agree with is the criticism
of using extended, unattributed quotes in his book. That is probably not cool. I say probably because I wasn't sufficiently intrigued to read the lifted passages or ponder whether they should be considered an instance of purloined authorship.
Even then, I
don't really like the obsession over attribution, particularly as to
small passages or generic descriptive statements. I find it tedious, as a
reader or listener, to hear people say "as so-and-so said" or "as
so-and-so wrote in his book "The Thingamajig". How annoying would it be
to read an article about Death Valley that began with "Death Valley is a
desert valley located in Eastern California. Situated within the Mojave
Desert, it is the lowest, hottest and driest area in North America,
according to its Wikipedia page" ? Pretty annoying, in my opinion.
1/ According to the Wikipedia article on plagiarism,
citing the 1995 Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary; see also
Stepchyshyn, Vera; Robert S. Nelson (2007). Library plagiarism policies.
Assoc of College & Resrch Libraries. p. 65. ISBN 0-8389-8416-9.
When the debt is already bone-crushing, to suggest that all is well because the deficits are coming down is so mind-numbingly stupid that it had to have been satire.
That's like driving along at 140 MPH and accelerating, then, when your
buddy says you need to slow down, you tell him, as you ramp your speed
up to 145 MPH, "Relax, I'm accelerating more slowly now than I was at
any time in the last four minutes!"
Asked if she would volunteer to eschew her salary during the potential federal government shutdown, Representative Linda Sanchez, the member of Congress who represents my hometown, and makes $174,500 a year in salary, plus Congress's generous perqs, says:
This is the same moron who would be quick to make fun of you if you said that making $250,000 doesn't mean you are rich and that you can afford to pay a bunch of extra money in taxes without feeling it. Yeah, $250,000 and paying for your own healthcare, your own retirement, plus self-employment taxes, makes you "rich", but $174,500, plus generous benefits and no self-employment taxes means you are just living paycheck-to-paycheck, like most Americans. That $174K number assumes, of course, that her lobbyist husband, Jim Sullivan, makes nothing.
The “final” bill came out yesterday afternoon. Here is a partial list of the tax increases included in this reprehensible and immoral bill:
A new 3.6% tax on all investment income including capital gains. That means that the capital gains tax rate (including California state tax) will rise to 33.9%. The tax on dividend income will rise from 15% today to 53.7% including California tax.
Additional Medicare tax on self employment income and wages. This removes the current cap on wages subject to this tax and it will effectively move the top income tax rate from 35% to 43.4% within a couple of years. Add in the California tax again and would then be close to a 54% marginal tax rate. I believe that this is the highest of any major industrialized country. But because spending is so high we would still have $1 trillion dollar annual deficits even after this tax.
There is a 2.9% tax on all medical “devices”, which basically means everything used in a doctor’s office or hospital. Including gowns, syringes, and the like. This will increase health care costs for everyone who does not get free government insurance.
The deduction for Medical expenses is currently limited to those expenses that exceed 7.5% or your income. This will be raised to a threshold of 10% of your income. This means that fewer people will get any tax relief from medical expenses they pay for themselves.
There are various taxes on anything a person might do to pay for their own medical expenses. Things like Health Savings Accounts, Cafeteria Plans, and Flexible Savings Accounts are ways for people to save their OWN money for their OWN medical care on a pre-tax basis will be limited and taxed. This is all part of the way that President Obama gets to government run health care by making it illegal or costly to pay for your own care so you have to go to the government.
A 10% tax on tanning services. I call this the “Jersey Shore tax”. This one has to be really upsetting to ‘The Situation’, Snookie, and Pauly D.
A tax on self-insured health plans. This is another penalty on those who try to pay for their own health care.
A new tax on pharmaceutical manufacturers. This will raise the price of drugs for everyone who does not get them from the government for free.
A new tax on “Cadillac” health plans. This is an up to 55% tax on any health insurance that costs over about $800 per month including employee and employer contributions. This tax does not apply if you are a union member or your plan is from AARP or Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. These are major Democratic constituencies and they exempted them. For everyone else, this discourages comprehensive health coverage. Isn’t that what the President says he is trying to achieve? Like most of what the President says, his actions are not even close to his words.
There is a new tax on all 'for-profit' health insurance companies (except for a few favored ones). This will also raise the costs of premiums for everyone not getting free care from the government.
If you don’t buy health insurance (as dictated acceptable by a new federal czar), you will be fined up to 2.5% of your income even if you pay all of your medical expenses yourself. If your company does not provide said health insurance to all employees, the company will be fined up to $2,000 per employee.
What has Barack Obama done to deserve a Nobel Peace Prize?
Increase troop levels in Afghanistan?
Remove peacekeeping forces in Iraq?
Talk about nuclear disarmament without actually making progress toward it?
Promise to close a POW camp without actually doing it?
Apologize for the U.S. being a bad country from 2001 to 2009?
Wish for better relations between Israel and Palestine?
Let Iran build The Bomb?
Let North Korea test long-range missiles without consequence?
Invite a policeman and the black professor he arrested to the White House for a beer?
Help South America get an Olympiad?
Kill (almost) a boatload of pirates?
Mention Darfur a few times?
Give good speeches?
Bomb the moon?
Not be George W. Bush?
Good grief, he hadn't even been president for two weeks when he got nominated. I know he talks a good talk about world peace, but so do most beauty pageant winners. That's not Nobel Prize caliber achievement. Giving Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize at this stage in his presidency is the peace equivalent of giving a scientist a Nobel Prize in Physics for declaring that he is going to invent a teleportation device.
This morning, in Strauss v. Horton (2009) __ Cal.4th __, and related cases, the California Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8, but has ruled that gay marriages that were entered into on or before election day shall remain valid. Here's the heart of the holding, which can be found on pages 12 and 13 of the majority opinion:
Accordingly, we conclude that each of the state constitutional challenges to Proposition 8 advanced by petitioners and the Attorney General lacks merit. Having been approved by a majority of the voters at the November 4, 2008 election, the initiative measure lawfully amends the California Constitution to include the new provision as article I, section 7.5.
Finally, we consider whether Proposition 8 affects the validity of the marriages of same-sex couples that were performed prior to the adoption of Proposition 8. Applying well-established legal principles pertinent to the question whether a constitutional provision should be interpreted to apply prospectively or retroactively, we conclude that the new section cannot properly be interpreted to apply retroactively. Accordingly, the marriages of same-sex couples performed prior to the effective date of Proposition 8 remain valid and must continue to be recognized in this state.
The majority opinion, 5-2 with Justices Kennard and George joining the three dissenters (Baxter, Chin and Corrigan) from In re Marriage Cases, is 136 pages long. Justice Kennard wrote a concurring opinion that added some analysis that was not included in the majority opinion. Justice Werdegar (who did not sign the majority opinion) wrote a concurring opinion in which she agreed that Prop 8 was valid, and that existing marriages are not to be retroactively voided, but disagreed with the most of the majority's analysis. Justice Moreno wrote a concurring and dissenting opinion in which he agreed with the part of the decision that validated the existing marriages, but disagreed that Prop 8 was a valid revision to the constitution. So the vote was 5-2 on the majority opinion, but on the issues, it was 7-0 on keeping existing gay marriages in place, and 6-1 in favor of upholding Prop 8 as a valid amendment to the Constitution.
The majority went to great lengths to say how they were forced to come to this conclusion even though they may disagree with the people's decision.
In addressing the issues now presented in the third chapter of this narrative, it is important at the outset to emphasize a number of significant points. First, as explained in the Marriage Cases, supra, 43 Cal.4th at page 780, our task in the present proceeding is not to determine whether the provision at issue is wise or sound as a matter of policy or whether we, as individuals, believe it should be a part of the California Constitution. Regardless of our views as individuals on this question of policy, we recognize as judges and as a court our responsibility to confine our consideration to a determination of the constitutional validity and legal effect of the measure in question. It bears emphasis in this regard that our role is limited to interpreting and applying the principles and rules embodied in the California Constitution, setting aside our own personal beliefs and values.
Second, it also is necessary to understand that the legal issues before us in this case are entirely distinct from those that were presented in either Lockyer or the Marriage Cases. Unlike the issues that were before us in those cases, the issues facing us here do not concern a public official’s authority (or lack of authority) to refuse to comply with his or her ministerial duty to enforce a statute on the basis of the official’s personal view that the statute is unconstitutional, or the validity (or invalidity) of a statutory provision limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman under state constitutional provisions that do not expressly permit or prescribe such a limitation. Instead, the principal issue before us concerns the scope of the right of the people, under the provisions of the California Constitution, to change or alter the state Constitution itself through the initiative process so as to incorporate such a limitation as an explicit section of the state Constitution.
In considering this question, it is essential to keep in mind that the provisions of the California Constitution governing the procedures by which that Constitution may be amended are very different from the more familiar provisions of the United States Constitution relating to the means by which the federal Constitution may be amended. ...
I voted against Proposition 8, and feel terrible for my gay family and friends, but I don't blame the Supreme Court for this one bit. The majority opinion was correct. The court really had no choice but to uphold Proposition 8.
Senator Claire McCaskill proposes to limit executive pay to what the President earns for as long as a company is getting federal loans.
Interesting point, but how will they keep top talent? My guess is that the pay cap will give them a huge competitive disadvantage when it comes to hiring executives. Salary and talent is never a perfect correlation, but when you lower salaries, that tends to lead to "bright-sizing", where all your best and brightest move on to higher paying positions, because they can, and you are left with the ones who don't have the skills, experience and talent to find something better. If she thinks these people are idiots, wait until you see the folks who replace them.
I never liked the concept, now I hate the word even more. Popularized in the 4th quarter of 2008, the word bailout has now become omnipresent in nearly every political conversation. According to opponents of various pieces of legislation, it would appear that every law that benefits anyone from here on out is a "bailout."
For example, a bill that helps unions by allowing their to organize through signature-gathering campaigns is suddenly a "union bailout." It doesn't include big fat government checks being written to save unions from their own business decisions, and it won't raise your taxes, but somehow, it's a "bailout."
As a further example, the Ledbetter Act, allowing women who are discriminated against to sue under the law that prohibits wage discrimination without having to discover the first act of discrimination within their first 180 days of work, is not a bill to allow the Equal Pay Act to actually compel employers to obey it. No. It's a "bailout for trial lawyers."
If those two cases meet the definition of a "bailout," then get ready for more bailouts. We might see several thousand of them across the country this year.
Quick, someone stop the word bailout. Kill it with fire. Bury it. Forget about it. Please.
Caroline Kennedy stopped angling for Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat in New York because of a "tax problem" and "potential nanny issue," according to a source close to Governor Paterson. I don't know if it's true, but if it is, she clearly is not qualified to take office as an appointed senator from the great state of New York.
Barack Obama's economic advisor, Robert Reich, likes the idea of an Obama stimulus package. An $800 billion stimulus plan might create 3.675 million jobs, including many in the construction sector, which will be called upon to construct great public works of improvement. The important thing, however, is to make sure that the stimulus money goes to create jobs for someone other than white male construction workers.
I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers. … I have nothing against white male construction workers. I’m just saying that there are a lot of other people who have needs as well. … Criteria can be set so that the money does go to others, the long term unemployed minorities, women, people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals.
We need to spread the wealth. And white male construction workers have way too much of it already, right? After all, white males construction workers are among the most pampered and privileged people in our society. If we decide to make sure that they aren't invited to the big stimulus party, who cares? It's not like they aren't already swimming in cash and laughing at the rest of us saps already. It's time to heal this nation, and the way to do it is to soak the white males construction workers.
Next target: Mexican male construction workers. Those guys have it pretty good, too.
Maya Angelou, former PLOTUS (Poet Laureate of the United States), on Barack Obama taking office:
I cannot describe the enormity of President Obama sitting in the White House with his wife, his two children and his mother-in-law. And the hopes of many millions...."
Could not a PLOTUS find a better word than "enormity?" Here is the Merriam Webster dictionary's definition of "enormity:"
Main Entry: enor·mi·ty Pronunciation: \i-ˈnȯr-mə-tē\ Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural enor·mi·ties Date: 15th century
1: an outrageous, improper, vicious, or immoral act 2: the quality or state of being immoderate, monstrous, or outrageous ; especially : great wickedness 3: the quality or state of being huge : immensity 4: a quality of momentous importance or impact
While her use of the word was not actually incorrect, I would expect better from a former Poet Laureate of the United States. Such a talented wordsmith could certainly come up with a word that does not have, as its primary meaning, such a strong and negative connotation.
"I think when the history of this period is written, people will realize a lot of the decisions that were made on Wall Street took place over a decade or so, before I arrived," he said.
Decade ago. . . lemme sharpen my pencil. . . 1990. . . that would be Bush Sr. at the helm."
Instead of sharpening that pencil, Jane, you should have sharpened your analysis. The quote is a bit vague, and susceptible to two interpretations, but neither of those interpretations put the timetable for those decisions around 1990. President Bush didn't quite step in the turd you think he stepped in.
A decade or so ago, George H.W. Bush was not the president, and if it was "a decade or so" of decision-making, most, if not all, of that came under Bill Clinton. That the decisions "took place over a decade or so, before [he] arrived" means that they took place over many years, before he arrived, not that it occurred precisely ten years before his inauguration (which, FWIW, was in 2001, not 2000), at least it does for those of us who understand the meaning of a comma.
I can think of a few things he might have been talking about, e.g., the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, that wouldn't have been done on his father's watch, even in part.
A couple of the blogging lawyers I follow saw Barack Obama as president a long time ago. Check out this 2004 post from Ernie the Attorney, and a 2005 post from the Angry Pregnant Lawyer. The comments were priceless, too. It wasn't entirely unforeseeable to anyone who watched Obama deliver the Democrats' keynote speech at the 2004 DNC, but these were still some early, accurate posts.
The Redskins Rule has correctly predicted the victor in 16 of the last 17 U.S. presidential elections. The rule says that if the Washington Redskins win their last home game before Election Day, the incumbent party will keep the White House. If not, they won't. Last night, the Redskins lost at home on Monday Night Football to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 23-6.
I'm not sure if any of these deals are legal (See California Elections Code § 18521(b)), but a bunch of companies are offering freebies to people who have an "I Voted" sticker, or who say that they voted:
A person shall not directly or through any other person receive, agree, or contract for, before, during or after an election, any money, gift, loan, or other valuable consideration, office, place, or employment for himself or any other person because he or any other person: (a) Voted, agreed to vote, refrained from voting, or agreed to refrain from voting for any particular person or measure. (b) Remained away from the polls. (c) Refrained or agreed to refrain from voting. (d) Induced any other person to: (1) Remain away from the polls. (2) Refrain from voting. (3) Vote or refrain from voting for any particular person or measure. Any person violating this section is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months or two or three years.
Of this jackass who sometimes wasted a perfectly good afternoon standing outside Angel Stadium telling people about how God doesn't love us because we are miserable sinners. What an ass. (The dude, not God).
So many protesters are just idiots who need attention.
I am sick of Joe the Plumber. Every time I see him on TV again, I wonder whether I'm watching The Onion TV. But I'm even more sick of the way the left is spinning his celebrity status. In particular, I'm appalled by two attacks I keep hearing over and over: (i) that the Republicans failed to properly "vet" Joe the Plumber, and (ii) that the Republicans are talking about Joe the Plumber rather than "the real issues in this campaign."
They should have vetted him better? Seriously? Have the Obamaphiles actually thought about the implications of that statement? Because when you think about it, what you are really saying is this: Knowing Barack Obama's supporters, the McCain campaign should have known to anticipate ad hominem attacks on this guy, and because of this, they should have just kept quiet until Obama stumbled upon a better citizen with a cleaner background and hoped that he or she could catch Obama talking about "spreading the wealth around" a second time.
And while I understand that talking about Joe's license is a distraction from the real issues in this campaign, Joe's question and Obama's answers are interesting and important and represent a bona fide focus on bona fide issues, and this would remain true even if Joe was a McCain supporter from day one, even if the guy was a felon, even if he didn't make more than twenty grand a year, and even if he smoked drugs and dated ugly married women. Why and how Barack Obama wants to spread the wealth is a legitimate discussion of "the issues", and for some reason, Joe has become some sort of poster boy for that discussion. Silly, yes, but the discussion itself is not.
ABC News' Imtiyaz Delawala Reports: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin went beyond her running mate's recent attack on Sen. Barack Obama -- inaccurately claiming that Obama called the lack of "redistributive change" during the civil rights movement a "tragedy" -- and used Obama's 2001 interview to insinuate that he wants to re-write the U.S. Constitution and appoint radical Supreme Court justices and judges who would confiscate the property of American citizens.
You can play the video link below and listen to this audio clip from that 2001 radio interview with Barack Obama for yourself. I'm not sure how calling it "one of the tragedies" is any different from calling it a tragedy, but beyond that, I listened to it, and it scared the hell out of me.
Here is the pertinent quote:
"If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted andone of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that."
Those words frighten me. The man wants to be elected so he can swear an oath to defend the Constitution, but what he is really saying is that the Constitution, with respect to its protection of property rights, is a flawed instrument because it does what the Founding Fathers wanted it to do. To the Founding Fathers and to most intellectually honest scholars, the Constitution is primarily about the protection of life, liberty and property from the tyranny of the majority or a corrupt government. What Obama is talking about is building a majority strong enough and tyrannical to take property rights away from those from whom they can, and to use those property rights for purposes they think is more fair. What is fair, of course, is what the majority determines to be fair.
This is my front porch. The USC welcome mat is mine. The Yes On 8 banner was left for me by someone who assumes that because I live in a nice neighborhood in the OC, I must be in favor of amending the Constitution to eliminate gay marriage in California. The big sign is supposed to go on my lawn, I assume. I'm not sure why. I live at the end of a cul-de-sec in a gated community. Who would even see it? The stickers go on the car. Even if I was in favor of this measure, I would never in a million years slap that thing on my bumper.
People in my hometown were at all four corners of some of our main drags this morning and last night with Pro-Prop 8 banners. They included "Prop 8 = Religious Freedom", "Prop 8 = Less Government", "Prop 8 = Parental Rights", Prop 8 = Free Speech" and "Yes on Prop 8 - Bring Back Marriage."
People, please. Prop 8 means gay people can't call their marriages marriages, and can't have quite all of the benefits of marriage. It's more government, not less. It's not about schools or parental rights. It's not about suppression of speech or free speech. It's not about religious freedom. It's not about bringing back marriage rights that were lost. It's about going back to denying gays the right to be in a marriage.
If you think that's good for society, vote accordingly, but please don't carry bullshit signs that try to tell me it's about safe schools and religious freedom and the first amendment.