Some days you get the bear.

Other days, the bear gets you.  Seems like that’s most days, anymore.

Two rotten Supreme Court decisions in a row, both of which disregard stare decisis and the rule of law (sorry Bobbi, but I think that’s kind of important) to come to twisted conclusions.

The oddity is that John Roberts wrote the first decision, and then turned around and wrote a masterful dissent to the second one.  What is up with that guy?

Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right to govern themselves. They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges. And they certainly would not have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after “a quite extensive discussion.” Ante, at 8. In our democracy, debate about the content of the law is not an exhaustion requirement to be checked off before courts can impose their will. “Surely the Constitution does not put either the legislative branch or the executive branch in the position of a television quiz show contestant so that when a given period of time has elapsed and a problem remains unresolved by them, the federal judiciary may press a buzzer and take its turn at fashioning a solution.” Rehnquist, The Notion of a Living Constitution, 54 Texas L. Rev. 693,700 (1976). As a plurality of this Court explained just last year, “It is demeaning to the democratic process to presume that voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds.” Schuette v. BAMN, 572 U. S. ___, ___ –___ (2014) (slip op., at 16– 17).

The Court’s accumulation of power does not occur in a vacuum. It comes at the expense of the people. And they know it.

“Words no longer have meaning”

Justice Antonin Scalia, in dissent, King v. Burwell:

This case requires us to decide whether someone who buys insurance on an Exchange established by the Secretary gets tax credits. You would think the answer would be obvious—so obvious there would hardly be a need for the Supreme Court to hear a case about it. In order to receive any money under §36B, an individual must enroll in an insurance plan through an “Exchange established by the State.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is not a State. So an Exchange established by the Secretary is not an Exchange established by the state—which means people who buy health insurance through such an Exchange get no money under §36B.

Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is “established by the State.” It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words “established by the State.” And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words “by the State” other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges. “[T]he plain, obvious, and rational meaning of a statute is always to be preferred to any curious, narrow, hidden sense that nothing but the exigency of a hard case and the ingenuity and study of an acute and powerful intellect would discover.” Lynch v. Alworth-Stephens Co., 267 U. S. 364, 370 (1925) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

You can hear the timbers supporting the Republic starting to creak.

Seriously, folks…

Washington and Jefferson owned slaves.  So when are we going to take them off the money?  Shut down Mount Vernon and Monticello?  Demolish the Washington and Jefferson memorials in DC?  Rename the nation’s crapital, the State of Washington, and Jefferson, Missouri?  Not to mention all those Washington and Jefferson schools here and there, and Washington and Lee University.

People need to GET A GRIP.  Have all the grownups died off and left the children running things?  That’s sure what it seems like sometimes.

Do conservatives really believe in the Constitution?

Or is all this yammering about Obama and the progressives stomping all over and wadding up the Constitution just a bunch of lip service?  Right Wing News on Facebook pointed to this article claiming that some retired general who has his panties in a wad about Obama says that the military is turning on Obama and that he should be arrested for treason.  Indeed, the article states, “The general added that only high-ranking military members had the power to hold Obama accountable.”  What?  Under whose reading of the Constitution, pray tell?  Did the general forget the oath he took?  There’s no expiration date on it, or so I’m told.

Sorry, I am conservative as the day is long, and in the depth of my dislike of Obama in particular and his progressives in general I admit no superior, but it is disingenuous and in fact quite dangerous to state flatly that “our military is turning on Obama,” and that “only high-ranking military members [have] the power to hold Obama accountable.”  The retired military may quite possibly be turning on Obama, because they have nothing to lose.  The active military by their very nature are not in a position to state one way or the other, and we’d better hope it stays that way — civilian control of the military prevents military coups d’état (which is what the general seems to be calling for with his extra-Constitutional statement about who has the power to hold the president accountable), and history shows that those are bad no matter which side you’re on.  The reaction to any kind of military grumbling about the Commander in Chief should be, “Lock this down, Gunny.”  “It’s locked down, sir.”*

The Constitution provides a process for removing a president.  If things are as bad as the general says, he should work inside that process and not act like a third world revolutionary.  It’s bad enough that the people in power already are acting outside the law; we don’t need to emulate them to put a stop to that misbehavior.

Two years from now, if the SOB won’t vacate the office — and that’s an extreme scenario that I don’t expect to come up — we’ll talk.  But until then we all need to act like civilized Americans who actually believe in the Constitution we claim to defend.  It’s time to stop expending all this hot air and energy bitching about a man who has less than two years left in office, and time to start deciding who is truly qualified to replace him and start mucking out the mess he’s made of the White House stables.  He is a distraction at this point.  Conceded, a dangerous distraction, but at least the courts are starting to come around to the view that his phone and pen aren’t sufficient to overturn the will of Congress (which, supposedly, is the will of the people).  And that’s progress.

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* Feel free to replace “Gunny” with your favorite senior NCO.  I just like “Gunny”.

And Karl Rove is talking out of his ass, too.

Fuck me.

Karl Rove: Violence Will Continue Until The Second Amendment is Repealed

What the fuck?  What the fucking fuck?

If Karl Rove thinks for one minute that repealing the 2nd Amendment will magically put a stop to gun violence in this country, he is living in the Pope’s dream world.  You could as easily say that racist, hateful speech will continue until the First Amendment is repealed, and you would be just as wrong about the outcome.

Someone at high levels in the Republican Party needs to leash and muzzle Rover before he bites himself in the ass.  Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

H/T.

(Apparently he followed this up with “But that’s not going to happen”, or some such lame attempt to mitigate what he’d said.  But the very fact that he would say it means that he must think it, and if so, he needs to be pitched out of the Republican Party on general principle.)

The Pope is talking out of his ass again.

Seriously, the College of Cardinals elected this guy?  What were they thinking?

Pope says weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christian

Seems to me that’s really big talk for a guy whose little enclave of peace and harmony exists only because putatively majoritarian Christian countries with big expensive militaries are defending it.

What’s next?  Calling Catholics who own firearms for personal defense hypocrites, too?

Oh, and by the way, your Holiness — don’t even try to bring the Holocaust into this.  The Holocaust happened in part because the Germans disarmed the Jews so they wouldn’t be able to fight back when the SS came to take them away.  That’s why any Jew today who isn’t armed and ammoed-up is living in a dream world — kind of like the Pope, come to think of it.

E-marketers should be hanged.

Contrary to what might be popular belief, I don’t really mind getting the occasional* email from someone I do business with, alerting me to a special or a new product.

The problem I have with e-marketers is the scattershot approach that they take.  Specifically, I am referring to all of the emails I’ve been getting for the past week suggesting something I might like to buy for Dad for Father’s Day.

And I really feel like forwarding them all back to their CEOs with the notation:  “What do you buy for the man who’s been dead for 13 years?”

Of course they have no way of knowing that my father died in 2002, or that a lot of other people’s fathers have also passed away or are not otherwise in their lives.  But not having that knowledge, why infuriate people in that position with the constant drumbeat of advertising for a holiday they don’t celebrate by buying a gift?

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* And I do mean “occasional”, not every fucking day like some of these marketing lice do.

Well, bully for Kentucky.

Some progressive tax dodge called Raise The Wage Indiana just posted something on Facebook lauding Kentucky’s governor for enacting by executive order a $10.10 minimum wage for certain state employees. Bully for Kentucky.  Not so bully for Raise The Wage Indiana, which isn’t making it clear that this is a restricted increase and doesn’t apply to the mass of poor, downtrodden Kentuckians who must live on the minimum wage of $7.25/hour.

Problem is, nobody ever said Kentuckians were smart.

The minimum wage is NOT A LIVING WAGE and isn’t supposed to be.  It’s supposed to be a floor for no/low-skill, entry-level jobs.  Jobs like when I was a stockboy at the hardware when I was in high school.  Jobs like asking if you want fries with that.  Jobs like writing up your car wash and blowing the bugs off the front of your car as you pull into the doorway.  Jobs like sweeping the floor at the local grocery.  Jobs like flagging cars around work areas.  (Oh, wait, flagman is a union job.  Never mind.)

The point is that nobody is actually supposed to be making an independent living off of the minimum wage, and typically minimum wage jobs aren’t full-time anyway.  So even if it sounds like a minimum wage job at $15/hour (as was enacted in Lost Angeles* a few weeks ago) pays $30K/year, it probably doesn’t come anywhere close to that — and since when is $30K a living?  Maybe it was in 1994, since that’s what I was making when I went to work in a skilled technical job that year.  But that isn’t what I make today.

I don’t think that part-time, entry-level, no-skill workers ought to be paid slave wages, mind you, but I am not certain that they are worth what I got paid for a skilled technical position back in 1994.**  The fact is that raising the minimum wage is going to put people out of work.  I realize that concept is hard for some people to fathom, too, but the bottom line is, well, the bottom line.  Employers (well, employers who want to stay in business and make money) have a budget that contains a line for wages.  That budget line is set based on what each job is calculated to be worth.***

If the budget allows for 10 workers at a minimum wage of $7.25/hour (Indiana’s minimum wage which went into effect on July 1, 2014), how many workers does it allow for at a minimum wage of $15/hour?  I’ll leave that as an exercise for the student.  Please show your work in the comments.

Please don’t try dodges like “well, the business owner needs to increase the budget for workers,” or “the business owner should simply pass that along to customers.”  Because it doesn’t work that way.  If the business owner increases the budget for workers, either he has to take a hit from his net profit, or he has to shuffle budget money from other lines.  That may mean that the new burger grill he was going to buy this year will have to be bought next year.  If too many burger places do that, that puts someone out of work at the burger grill manufacturer due to lowered production targets.

If the business owner passes along the increase to his customers, the price of his products go up a few cents each.  Eventually people notice this and maybe they elect to have a water instead of a soda.  (The price of a fountain drink is outrageous these days to begin with.  No fountain drink, even with free refills, can possibly cost $2.39 to produce.  I’m looking at YOU, Applebees, but other restaurants are equally guilty.)

So what is the business owner’s best option?  Simply to cut labor costs.  In this case, it means either cut hours or cut employees.  Either way it means working with reduced staff and that will reduce efficiency and make for headaches when trying to work out the staffing calendar.  I have worked out staffing calendars with reduced staff.  It is not fun.

People like the proggie operatives who work for shill mills like Raise The Wage Indiana don’t want you to think about that.  They carefully leave out the consequences of raising minimum wages (or having them at all — the need for them is doubtful at best in a free market) for the feel-good high of “doing something for the downtrodden” — a typical progressive refrain that has, frankly, grated on my ears ever since I became politically aware during the Carter Administration.

As usual for proggies, it’s a case of “We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen! We must do something about this immediately! Immediately! Immediately! Harrumph! Harrumph!”

Nah.  In a free market with a growing economy, rising water floats all boats.  The problem is that the proggies are lying about the market being free and the economy being on the rise.  If that were actually true, we wouldn’t be worrying about the minimum wage.

PS:  Sorry, I have updated this a couple of times to make corrections.  I am in the throes of chronic bronchitis and just got antibiotics yesterday, so of course today it is much worse than yesterday as everything wants to come out at once instead of being stuck down in my chest where it doesn’t belong but at least wasn’t actively trying to kill me (just passively).  My apologies for any errors I may have committed and have since rectified (and possibly even transformed).****

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* Not a typo.

** Yes, I understand the concept of natural price inflation.  I also understand the concept of forced inflation due to proggie government stupidity.  There’s nothing wrong with the former, as it probably indicates a healthy, growing economy.  The second is just moronic and there is no reason for it other than protecting phoney baloney political jobs.

*** Or in the case of minimum wage jobs, the minimum wage — I will not admit that all jobs are worth the minimum wage, otherwise there is no point to this post.

**** Yes, my sense of humor gets worse — much worse — when I am sick.

People of Wal-Mart need to take a chill pill. (Try the liquor department.)

Saw this on Facebook.

WalMartFatAss

Not sure I really agree without reservation.  A friend replied to the post, “replace ‘fat’ with ‘lazy’ and I’ll be in 100% agreement.”  Not really sure I agree with that, either.

My dad was 5’7″, 160 lbs, and looked perfectly healthy three months before he died at 76. And he had emphysema bad enough that he probably should have been on portable oxygen. Are you saying that because he looked otherwise healthy, he shouldn’t have been allowed to use one of these motorized carts to shop at the local big box store?

My 78-year-old father-in-law is a little skinny dude who looks healthy, too, but his knees are shot to hell.  Going to tell him he can’t use a scooter?  (He has his own, anyway, thanks.)  My 92-year-old stepfather also looks healthy till you realize his knees are shot, too.  No scooter for him, either?  (He can’t use one because he’s nearly blind, but again, thanks anyway.)

Before October 2013, my wife (who is pleasantly plump, but certainly not “fat” in that unique and appalling “people of Wal-Mart” way) had a hip that was so bad that she almost couldn’t walk to the store from the handicapped spot in the parking lot, let alone walk around on her own in the store. Would you say that she couldn’t use one of these carts before she had her hip replaced because, just by looking at her, you couldn’t tell she could barely walk because her hip socket had almost completely collapsed and the ball joint was grinding into her flesh?  If you would, fuck you up the ass.  Then maybe you’ll understand pain a little better.*

In my own case, I won’t use the motorized carts on general principle because I’m too damn stubborn to admit that sometimes I really can’t walk very well.  But I have bad knees and ankles from too many years working construction in my misspent youth.  And yeah, I’m 100 pounds overweight because I sit at a desk all day and can’t really get enough exercise to work it off anymore.  But I’ll sit on my ass at home rather than admit that I have to use the scooter.

I reserve judgment on “fat ass lazy” these days. Besides, it’s not for me to say; I figure folks who don’t really need to use the scooters will face a higher Tribunal, eventually.  And as an old sinner myself, that’s OK with me.

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* By the way, her hip wasn’t bad because she was overweight.  She had what was finally diagnosed as congenital hip dysplasia from birth that nobody discovered (or had any particular reason to be looking for) until she was over 50, when the weak joint finally failed.  There was speculation that if she wasn’t a swimmer and spent much of her work day in the water, it would have failed years earlier.

We do not live in the future I was promised.

‘Tomorrowland’ Bombed Because America Isn’t Brave Enough for Its Message

Yeah, well.  It’s probably true that Millenials and progressives will not like this movie, because it requires them to think.  The space age and I are more or less of an age, and I agree wholeheartedly with George Clooney’s character’s assessment:  The future DID look different when I was a kid.  Not real shot on what it looks like now, and glad I won’t be around in half a century to see what a mess you kids have made of things.

And where the hell is my flying car, damn it?  I was promised a flying car.

Get off my lawn.

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