We’re Working On It

I have a part-time job, and I am going in, on Friday, for my only day of work for the week.    Better than nothing. There are signs that not only is my employment future looking up, but the country’s are as well, thanks to our President and the previous congress and the clearly strong business acumen of American businesses large and small. 

Each light is a person with a new job

Payrolls are up 217,000 in February, according to ADP’s numbers, after a revised increase of 189,000 in January. Initial unemployment claims dropped by over 20,000 last week, and by 25,000 the week prior.  The monster employment index, which looks at the amount of on-line job application, increased 7 points last month.  The ISM non manufacturing index increased for the 15th consecutive month.  Non farm productivity increased by 2.6% on the month.

All of that pointing to one prospect, that the American economy is finally starting to get moving after several years of lethargy. 

And I have gotten a great many phone calls from interested employers over the last few days.  Got two more today, including setting up an interview for an art handler position, a job that I have written about here before, one that I loved doing at Sotheby’s, and one which I hope I will be hired to do after my interview on monday.  There have been a few other calls, but that one was the most promising.  One caller seemed to want me to work security/front desk type work, waiting for a call back from them. 

I fully plan on whistling while I work when I finally get a full time job, which hopefully will be next week.  Hell, I might even begin to toy with the idea of retiring when I turn 75 or so, rather then working until I die, which has been the plan since the economic uncertainty in my life started back in … whatever year I started working in Manhattan.  1987 or 88 or some year or other. 

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Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

Thomas A. Edison

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Viddy of the day: Jobless claims sink to 2-1/2 yr low

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Wisconsin State Capitol, circa 2004

It drives me crazy that the Governor of Wisconsin and his cronies are holding their own people, the people they are supposed to be governing, hostage.  Threatening 1,500 people with layoff if legislators don’t do their bidding is, being my usual mild self about this, is fucking insane.  On top of this clear abuse of power, there have now been issued warrants for the arrest of the 14 senators who fled the state rather than allow the republican abuse of power to go unchecked. 

The governor is a dictator, or a wannabe dictator, and his men in the senate are the epitome of the term thugocracy.  There is a difference between governing, and abusing the people you are meant to be governing, and Gov. Wanker seems to have crossed this line a long time ago. 

If the people you are trying to work with run the hell away from you so you can’t do wrong to people, that is a message.  A simple message. 

Don’t tread on me.

How else could you put it?  Walker has stepped on the rights of workers, he has created an atmosphere of fear and loathing about himself and his entire political party by being too stubborn to understand that he simply won’t win by the clear abuse he is heaping upon his people.

These republicans are simply Un-American.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night!

Bullsh*t isn’t Illegal

Strange it is that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free speech but object to their being “pushed to an extreme”, not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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Viddy of the day: Westboro Wins In Court; Marine’s Family Saddened

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No surprise that the loons from the Westboro church won the Supreme court case they were involved in. 

It’s really simple, actually. 

Yes, the language that the Westboro church protesters use is ugly, nasty, and evil, but that doesn’t mean they should not be allowed to use it.  Most, but not all speech is protected against government interference. To stop the Westboro churchgoers from speaking their piece, no matter how vile, would be to say, here we will stop free speech.  And once you argue for stopping free speech for one group, how long before other groups are silenced by the government? 

Regardless, this is a thorny road to travel down, and the supreme court made the right decision in deciding this particular free speech case as broadly as possible.

Are the people from westboro evil, immoral, anti-social, and rude?  Damn right.  That doesn’t mean that their speech should be deemed illegal.  These closeted ass-clown right wing nut bags who hate America really can’t help themselves, but that is no reason for the court to shut them up.  The hate in their hearts is clear and it is about as un-christian as can be.  But that does not mean that “we the people” should somehow ask the court to cut into the first amendment rights of anyone just to shut these few nuts up.

Not that I don’t feel for the petitioner here.  This man has been truly hard done by, and if anyone deserved to win a case of this nature, it is him.  Mr. Snyder, the man who filed suit against Westboro was burying his son, a fine young man, killed in Iraq.  These nuts protested at this young mans funeral, approximately 30 minutes before the actual funeral, according to the writ of certiorari filed by the court.  Mr. Snyder said he didn’t realize what the signs said until he saw it on the news.  He claimed in the suit that, among other things that the protest was an intrusion on his privacy. He won millions from a lower court winning this case.  The westboro church claimed this was excessive and sought to have the cases reversed on free speech grounds.

The appellate court agreed with Westboro.  They held that the signs held at that protest were protected by the first amendment because they were: statements on matters of public concern; not provably false, and; were expressed solely through hyperbolic (but apparently not obscene in the eyes of the court) rhetoric.

Matters of public concern, stated, as in this case, on public property, which are not provably false and hyperbolic, are legal free speech. 

It is up to the states to make their laws more stringent to protect the families of the soldiers, not the federal government.

These loons can hold those signs for the same reason that tea party patriots can hold signs that speak to their opinions on health care, and left-wing protesters can carry anti-war or anti-tax cuts for the rich signs.   It’s speech, political speech, which means free speech.  It might be a stupid bullshit opinion on the part of the westboro ass clowns, but it’s  protected stupid bullshit.

Moral of the story:  This is America, and in America, bullshit isn’t illegal. 

If it was, we’d ALL be in prison.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night!

A Nation Of Laws

The following was inspired by reading book reviews of Thom Hartmann’s “Unequal Protection: How Corporations Became “People” – And How You Can Fight Back“.  I am thinking about getting that book. I like Thom, whip smart, good guy, on top of stuff like this, he’s everything that is right with the progressives of the world, and it sounds like a good read. 
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You could say a great many things about America, and have them disputed by someone somewhere.  We are a center left nation. We are a center right nation.  Health care is a right.  Taxation is theft.  All of these statements are disputable, because they are creations of opinion.  You can feel as strongly as you like about a subject, that does not make it true.

There is one statement however that you can make, insofar as the United States of America is concerned, that is not opinion.  It is fact.  Truth. Bedrock upon which all other opinion about the nation is built.

We are a nation of laws. 

Argue about your own personal interpretation of the constitution, you are arguing about us being a nation of laws.  Talk about the ills of government, or the greatness of government, you are talking about an interpretation of us as a nation of laws. Yell about any subject that makes it to any of the shows the polititainers are on, and you are talking, in part, about “A Nation of Laws”

A decision of the Supreme Court of this nation, a little over a year ago, permanently altered the people’s relationship with business, and Corporate America’s(and the rest of the corporate world’s as well) relationship with the body politick.  This happened with the Citizens United V. Federal elections commission, which overturned an important part of the McCain Feingold election law.  The concept of corporate personhood, it is said, was strengthened by this decision by ostensibly giving corporations free speech rights. 

Many on the left were appalled by the judgment, saying that special interests and lobbyists got more power and that we the people lost power.  This is true, as far as I can see it.  The monied interests of this country, and throughout the world for that matter, through this ruling, now have much stronger rights than the common man and woman, by dint of the fact that they can now use their far greater monetary resources, with impunity, to spread their speech further and wider than most individuals are capable of.  It is, as far as that goes, an ugly episode in the history of this nation of laws.

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Viddy of the day:  Sen. Leahy on Supreme Court Campaign Finance Decision, from january last year.

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Because the laws of this country do not prevent the strong from crushing the weak.

No country can afford to have its prosperity originated by a small controlling class. The treasury of America lies in those ambitions, those energies, that cannot be restricted to a special favored class.

-+Woodrow Wilson

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But the corporate personhood argument is just a hair off, is in fact incorrect, as least from what I know about the subject.  I am about as left wing as you can get, left wing Americans like myself generally dislike this concept, and I am no different.  But just because I dislike it, doesn’t mean that it is automatically illegal, or even immoral.  “We The People” live in a “Nation of Laws”, AND “Corporate Personhood” is part of that landscape we should get used to, at least until we specifically put a law into place to alter the law of the land that makes Corporations equivalent to individuals as far as the law is concerned.

Because in the eyes of the law Companies ARE people. U.S. Code, Title 1, Chapter 1, Subsection 1 states, and I quote:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise— … the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;

I know not the origin of this part of the U.S. Code, whether it is as old as the Code itself , or a more recent creation.  But regardless, it is, as of now, written in stone, into the laws of the land,this concept of “Corporate personhood”, and as plain as day at that. 

I dislike it, but then again there is that one portion at the beginning of that “unless the context indicates otherwise”   Now,  Citizens United vs F.E.C. no doubt, strengthened the monied interests, we hit that concept already, but it did NOT strengthen corporate personhood, which is a simple reality. It is fact that, unless otherwise stated, Corporations, groups of people, have just as many rights as individuals.

To state that groups of people should not have some level of “equal protection” under the law that individuals have, is something of a silly concept.  The individual and the group can co-exist, even if they are at odds ideologically.  What the law needs to do, and I think generally does an admirable job of, is making sure that while we are equals in having rights, since the individual generally does not and cannot have the economic power of a group of individuals, is that the rights of the individual should always come first, and should be deferred to.

We the people should ALWAYS be first amongst equals.

Perhaps, at some point, I will again cover in detail (i’ve done it before, but it’s been awhile) the clear abuses of power that corporations manage to pull off that make “corporate personhood” such a contentious issue.  Maybe a look at BP, AIG, and other corporate criminals.  The corporations of this nation, because of their vast monetary resources, hold great power, I see them as equal AT LEAST, to the vast power of the federal government, and they are not checked by the documents that check the power of government, placed there, and wisely so, by the founders of this great nation. 

Corporations, despite having constitutional protections and status that grants rights equal to ordinary citizens, have no such documents as the founders put in the Declaration of independence , the constitution, and the like holding them in check, have greed and avarice as a guide rather than the lofty concepts that guide the government in general.

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That’s it from here, America.  Catch ya tomorrow.

(minor edits and small additions 3:25 pm 2/2/11)

Pertinent Words

Pertinent, if not insanely obscure words, which I will try to tie (not in vain I hope) to the recent news from Tucson.

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Cacospectamania: The obsession of staring at something which is repulsive.

But enough about me looking in the mirror at my ugly mug…  🙂

There’s been a lot of ugly around the U.S.of A recently, and it seems that we’ve been doing a whole lotta staring at it.  Haven’t done much to address the reasons behind it, but we’ve been looking at it.  It’s a start.  Whether we can finish what we start, and make ourselves better as a people is still up in the air.

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Sophophobia:  A fear of learning. 

Continuing with the concept I started with above, I’m not sure we, as a people are really going to learn anything from this.  I am torn on the subject of gun control.  On the one hand, I am pro gun, pro second amendment.  I want to have the capacity to protect myself with whatever I choose to protect myself with, within reasonable boundaries.  I don’t think I’ll ever need anti-aircraft weaponry, but I don’t want to be told I can’t have a simple Smith and wesson .38  to defend myself because the law says I can’t.

On the other hand gun massacres in this nation are far too common a thing.  Columbine.  Virginia tech.  Fort Hood.  The litany of stories that exist of guns falling into the hands of fools and maniacs are legion.  The insanity that hits individuals cannot be fixed with laws.  If you can’t  make crazy illegal, something has to be done to make it harder for the crazy bastards to get their hands on guns.  This happened in a state where open carry is legal, and 6 people are dead and 14 more were wounded.  So much for making everyone capable of having a gun making everyone safe (a basic tenet of the right’s thought processes on guns).  This happened because of lax gun laws mixed with insanity. 

A truly lethal mix. 

One which our society seems to be predisposed towards.

Gun violence, between crimes, suicides and accidents, kills 30,000 or so people a year. 82 people die every day. And we do nothing.  And we learn nothing.  Freedom is great, but the choices it provides sometimes paralyze us into improper inaction.

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Viddy of the Day: Violent rhetoric in Politics.

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If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.

And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights — the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation — the right to breathe air as nature provided it — the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

Both quotes by John F. Kennedy, American University Speech, 1963

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Ludibrious:  Ridiculous, sportive. 

Some of the stuff that has been spoken of about this young nut Loughner is ludibrious.  There.  I even used the damn word in a sentence! 

lulz.

Srsly though, He’s a liberal?  He’s a conservative?  Have any of you idiots gotten sick of your bullshit yet? He is a PSYCHOPATH.  NUT. LOON. MANIAC.  HEARTLESS FUCKING ASSHOLE.  Any statement beyond those is BULLSHIT. 

Any questions?  No.  Good.  Now shut the fuck up about his political affiliations. 

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Malversate:  Appropriate fraudulently for ones own use.

In order to make this article work, I had to malversate several words from the grandiloquent dictionary and dictionary.com.  I use that sentence because I’m not the $5 word kinda guy, I’m sure you pretty much caught it already though. 

Well, there is another way to use this word.

The right wing lame stream media (hey, Sarah Palin uses that glib crap line, why can’t I use it just once?) seems to be trying to malversate the events in Tucson to garner some political…something from the dead there.  That’s my take, why else pound the gavel so hard in judgment against people rationally explaining that there has been an awful lot of use of violent imagery, and a constant barrage of anti-government rhetoric, especially from Limbaugh, Beck and Palin?

What they are trying to do is garner sympathy, so as to look like they are victims of the vicious left wing here, despite the left doing what is good and honest and right by the American people, and point out the negativity that the right has heaped upon the world, seeing how similar that negativity is to what the shooter felt and wrote of.

The martyr thing doesn’t really gibe well with the tough, hard, strong, proud, individualist image the right wing of America tries to portray.  They haven’t cried yet though, I’ll grant them that much. 

A VERY quick Aside:  Beck cries for the Constitution, Boehner cries for the kids.  Where are the tears for Tucson?

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That’s it America, I’m done for another night.  I’ll write to you tomorrow.  Football picks or 12 notes, not sure which.

Constitutionality

If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.

James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792

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They read the constitution on the floor of the house today.  They didn’t read the whole thing. They left the parts out that are no longer relevant, the 18th amendment, the 3/5ths compromise.  It would have, for my money, been better had they read the actual entire document, warts and all.  I don’t want some sanitized version of reality put forth of the history of the nation in which I live.  I want all of it.  The good and the bad.  Show us for the flawed people we are, a people who are a work in progress, who don’t always get it right, but always try.  Don’t show us as you wish we were, but as we were.

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A quick aside:

To be honest I can’t really make that last statement like that.  I should say,  Don’t show them as you wish they were, but as they were.  You see, I am a third generation American.  My grandparents on my father’s side came over here on a boat in the 1920’s,  1923 as I recall the story, they came from Ireland and landed at Ellis Island.  My parents on my mothers side came over earlier, not sure how much earlier, but not much earlier, from Poland.  

My family had nothing to do with it, unfortunately.  We were just simple peasants from the country side who decided that we wanted out of those two nations, and came here to seek our fortune. 

I would feel honored if I were descended from those long dead patriots, and had a blood line that went back to the initial defense of the concept of American liberty, but it simply isn’t the case.  Felt a need to say that, just to square up and be honest about myself to you, the reader. (all 4 of you)

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Viddy of the day:  House Gallery Disturbance During Constitution Reading.  There was a disturbance during the reading of the Constitution, during the reading of the bit in Article 2 section 5, about qualifications for the office of the President.  A birther started yelling about the President not being American.  Funny stuff. The chair, Rep. Simpson from Idaho, dealt with the drunken screamer correctly. 

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A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, 1822

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The entire concept of leaving out bits of the constitution simply for their own wants, regardless of reason, is to me entirely disingenuous to the concept they were trying to get out there.  They wanted to show their love for the document, for the freedom that it represents, and a “renewed sense of the limits the founders intended to place on government“(more on that in a minute).   But what kind of love of nation is it that turns a blind eye to the less than perfect parts of it’s past?  Blind love.  That is not a concept I would ever ascribe to.  I am an American.  I love America, but there is some very ugly shit done in this nation.  Accept it.  Own it.  It’s OK, it doesn’t make you un-American, as a matter of fact, it makes you MORE American.

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On the limits of power the Republicans wanted to show Americans:

One hopes that they will shut up about shutting down the fed, and all the bitching about taxation the way they do, like it’s unconstitutional.  I can talk about it, they can’t.  Why?  The document implies the power  to create the fed, and the power of taxation is not only implicit, it is actually stated as a power of congress.  Don’t believe me?  Read article 1, section 8, under enumerated powers. 

Apropos for several reasons

As given, the power to tax in the constitution is almost without limit.  The only limit on it is that it be uniform, and uniform is a word, that in the context of taxation, can be widely interpreted.  Uniform does not mean everyone should taxed equally.  It can mean that the tax burden should be progressive, since those that have more can afford to pay more, uniform by equal burden on those taxed.  If the percentage of tax on a man who only makes $10,000 is the same as it is on  man who makes $100,000,000, is that not onerous to the man who makes the smaller amount? It could even be argued the other way, if you are rich. 

There are many ways to mince words. 

And not just using section 8 article 1.  

Article 6 section 2 makes States rights, that great bulwark of anti-federal government power, a silly joke because one word in that clause.  Shall.  It is not a request that federal law is the law of the land,incapable of being superseded by local statute, it is an order that compels, with all the weight and power of the federal government. Without it, the little rock nine would never have made it to school. I could use more examples, but will not, I’m sure you can provide your own.

The government can do a great many things in just about anyway they want to, and claim constitutionality based on the necessary and proper clause and the Supremacy clause.  Why do you think the NSA exists?  Fisa courts? Because they want it.  Because they can.

There are your limits of government, Republicans.  Enjoy your power, like you always do.  Don’t let it go to your heads too much.

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That’s it from here, America.  12 notes tomorrow, methinks.  G’night!

BMI Plus Stimulus Equals Paranoia From The Right… Again

No government is perfect. One of the chief virtues of a democracy, however, is that its defects are always visible and under democratic processes can be pointed out and corrected.

Harry S. Truman

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Saw something today while running through some articles on Hubpages today that frankly had me giggling just a hair.  It is a meme that is currently running beginning a run through the right wing of this country, and I thought I would get a jump on it by telling you about it.  It really is serious, if seen from the standpoint of someone dumb enough to actually believe it, but once you know the truth, it is worth a giggle at exactly how gullible those on the right are, especially where anti-government hysteria kicks in.

This one has to do with the Stimulus and your BMI.  And no, BMI is not some stupid new Government bureaucracy acronym, I am actually talking about good old BMI, Body Mass Index, a way to measure how overweight or not you are. And the Stimulus.

Seriously.

There are people out there who seem to think they see in this bill, along with new criteria set out by Hippa, that your and my and everyone else’s BMI, among other things, will be on public display. 

It really is a case of these people simply not reading the entire document, and making assumptions based on incomplete data that points in a direction they want to go in, at least insofar as they want to think bad things about government.  What they failed to see in the original stimulus bill, and it is as clear as day to those who have eyes and actually paid attention to what they read, that it clearly states that the bill does not alter in any way previously existing security and privacy rules already in place.

Meaning, if they couldn’t touch or go through your public records before, and make them public, and they could not, they won’t be able to now.

Silly people, if it sounds too dumb to be true, it usually is, and BMI AS PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE sounds too dumb to be true.

But, by all means right wing America, keep showing me and the rest of the world your paranoia. We find it entertaining.  And if you’re that worried about your BMI, get off of your fat ass and run a few miles, ya lazy bums.

🙂

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Viddy of the day:  Cenk Uyger, making me want to go beat the crap out of some rich man. Exxon, Chevron, GE, B of A.  These guys get away with murder, pay nothing in taxes.  It’s nuts.  We need Tax revenue, and we let these bums go without paying.  Bastards.

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Those who want the Government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide to avoid assassination.

Harry Truman

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Thursday’s links w/commentary:

America and Taxes A happy little ditty.  I wrote it myself.  I think it’s a nice piece with a number of facts about taxation, with a brief editorial on the end. Go over and read it, If you’ve gotten this far, you like something about my writing, and it’s more of the same happiness there.

Table 2 — Preliminary annual UCR  For those who don’t know, the UCR, or Uniform crime report is an annual report put out by the FBI that collates all data as reported by law enforcement agencies around the United States.  And contrary to the reports put out by Jon Kyl and the right, crime is down in general in the southwest, and in particular in Arizona.  One presumes in part because of some fine police work, and good hard working law abiding citizenry down there, and has nothing to do with Kyl and his criminally conservative friends in Washington.

Romer to step down as chairwoman of the Presidents council of economic advisers  There has been infighting between her and Larry Summers, says this report.  The report also says she insists she is leaving for personal reasons, and will be returning to her teaching job at Berkeley.  Peter Orszag stepped down as head of the Office of Management and Budget last week, another key economic post.  She couldn’t handle Larry, huh? No surprise, stories abound about how much of an asshole he is.   Hell, I’ll take the job.  I can Kick Larry’s fat ass and keep his bullshit in check.  🙂 And if I don’t get the job, expect Austan Goolsbee to get it.  Call it a hunch that skull and bones boy will get the gig.

Kagan win warns of battles yet to come  What? Polarization? In the Senate? NEVER!!!!  C’mon, anyone with three brain cells in their heads knew this was going to happen, that she would get in but it would be close.  Just because she’s friendly with Lindsey Graham doesn’t mean John Thune and Tom Coburn and David Vitter and that idiot McConnell are as well. 

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That’s it from here America, go grab a good nights sleep, tomorrow’s a big day.

Basic Fairness

The task of the mind is to produce future, as the poet Paul Valery once put it. A mind is fundamentally an anticipator, an expectation-generator. It mines the present for clues, which it refines with the help of the materials it has saved from the past, turning them into anticipations of the future. And then it acts, rationally, on the basis of those hard-won anticipations. 

Daniel Dennett, Kinds of Minds  

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I read the news today, oh boy.  About a lucky man who made the grade.  Well, OK,  he didn’t.  And I really don’t know about anyone being lucky in this instance.  

A man, Johannes Mehserle, a police officer who shot another man, Oscar Grant at point blank range, put a bullet in his back and killed him, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, which is punishable for up to, I believe, 4 years in prison. He could have been found guilty of second degree murder, with a possible sentence of 25 years in prison, but was not. Oscar Grant may have been a great many things, but one thing he wasn’t; someone who needed to be either shot or tasered while some knelt on his neck. 

Do I blame the man who did the shooting for killing the man in question? Hell yes.  You pulled the trigger, you committed a murder.  End of statement.  Do I think he wanted to kill the man in question? That I don’t know, he clearly didn’t want to have a meaningful in depth conversation with the man, that much is clear.  Was his pulling the trigger a voluntary motion? It would kind of have to be, wouldn’t it? 

I guess I don’t know enough about the justice system.  How is it possible for this to be involuntary manslaughter?  If I were of a more sarcastic frame of mind at the moment I would ask if  the shooter was shooting against his will.  Since I’m not though, let’s be serious and ask, how is the act of drawing a weapon to do grievous bodily harm to another, to a man already pinned to the ground, involuntary? Even a taser here would have been overkill, unless you think it’s OK to use a weapon on defenseless people, who are being knelt on.  

More on this later. 

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Thursday’s Links: 

Officer guilty in killing that inflamed Oakland 

Oakland police report no arrests despite protests 

Issa; Steele is ‘not my leader’ 

Appeals court, 2-1 rejects Obama plea on drilling moratorium 

Same sex marriage law unconstitutional 

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Viddy of the day:  Darrell Issa, Republican from California, talking about the focus of the Republican party and Michael Steele.  He is not kind to the chair of the Republican National Committee.   He does a hell of a lot to distance the party and Mr. Steele. So much for party unity. 

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[L]et your self go. If you can approach the world’s complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things. 

Daniel Dennett; Breaking the Spell 

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More legal stuff. 

justice

 

The defense of marriage act, the act of congress that states, nay, defines marriage as a legal union exclusively between one man and one woman, has been struck down as unconstitutional.  The ruling, passed down by Massachusetts state judge Joseph Tauro, states that not only does the law encroach upon personal rights, by excluding certain benefits to gay couples that straight married couples can have, it compels the state to discriminate against its own citizens.  

These two cases make a clear statement that the court will not tolerate the creation of second class marriages or tolerate the continued existence of second class citizens, who would only be second class because of the judgment of the federal government’s defense of marriage act. 

This is also going to be a doozy of an argument about the 10th amendment, that great friend of the far right, and just how much power the government has to tell people how exactly to live their lives, insofar as making it clear that one group can get benefits that another group cannot solely on the grounds of their sexuality.  And while that sounds like the argument for the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment, and it is, it also has strength as a 10th amendment argument, due to the simple fact that the federal government, by enacting DOMA, stepped heavily on the rights of the states to make their own laws, in an area where there was no previous encroachment by the federal government. 

And anytime, in this day and age, when it seems that the personal protections afforded by the bill of rights are eroding away daily and have been for years, a victory for them feels especially refreshing. But you know how these things go, so this last sentence should come as no surprise. 

The case will be appealed.   

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A final  aside:  Justice is about bringing order to the world, order of a moral and ethical variety, and resolving disputes where there is a dispute about the ethical order in the world.  Justice is, in those terms, what people in the world seek for themselves, and only occasionally for everyone.  

When justice seems invisible in the system, or if there is a seeming breach of it in that system or when it seems absent in the world in which we live, we are right to stand up and speak out against the lack of justice.  We are right sometimes to raise our fists in anger and fight for justice, when the injustice is severe enough.  

These are only two cases of injustice that America has seen and lived through.  One a very personal breach on the part of a young police officer, the other a very impersonal breach towards an entire group of people.  The ones who were done wrong here did no wrong except live their lives.  

For Oscar Grant, nothing can be done.  The young man is dead, and no amount of talk or action or legislation or apologies will bring him back to life.  A prayer for his family is about the best we can do.  

For the GLBT community that has been hard done by here, there are things we can do. Stand up and make it known that, no matter what else goes on in the world, we will not allow any members of our citizenry to live as second class citizens, that any benefit that I can receive, all can receive.  If the government can hand out benefits, and it is clear that it can, it must not give to one group, and not to another.  That injustice is very much against the very fabric of our nation, and all that it stands for.  

“With Liberty, and Justice, for all” means something, something vitally important.  Stand up for it. 

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 Updates from the job front tomorrow.  That’s all from me America.  Go to sleep.