Monthly Archives: June 2014

Hobby Lobby Wins

In a not-very-suprising 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided in favor of Hobby Lobby in the recent case involving religious freedom and corporations.  As a result of the holding,  business owners with religious objections to birth control may defy federal rules requiring most employers to include contraceptive care in their health plans.  This is in direct contravention of what the Supreme Court held in its 1982 United States v. Lee decision, “[w]hen followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.” 

The opinion is here.

Fortunately (and thankfully), the Supreme Court was willing to put limits on this:  this holding appears limited to closely held corporations such as Hobby Lobby, which is operated by a single wealthy family.  Keep this in mind when you read commentary about this case — the Court did not give religious freedom to, say, Apple and Amazon.  Just a very narrow set of corporatoins (which would, I think, include Walmart).

Still, the opinion is wrongly decided, and the best explanation why is here.

“What is this extra time? In Reagan’s America, forty-five minutes meant forty-five minutes. It’s like giving kid… ift.tt/1wNdC16

RIP Eli Wallach

On my dead pool list since forever (a mere 2 points at 98), but more than that, one of my favorite actors.

Eli Wallach, who was one of his generation’s most prominent and prolific character actors in film, onstage and on television for more than 60 years, died on Tuesday. He was 98.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Katherine.

A self-styled journeyman actor, the versatile Mr. Wallach appeared in scores of roles, often with his wife, Anne Jackson. No matter the part, he always seemed at ease and in control, whether playing a Mexican bandit in the 1960 western “The Magnificent Seven,” a bumbling clerk in Ionesco’s allegorical play “Rhinoceros,” a henpecked French general in Jean Anouilh’s “Waltz of the Toreadors,” Clark Gable’s sidekick in “The Misfits” or a Mafia don in “The Godfather: Part III.”

Despite his many years of film work, some of it critically acclaimed, Mr. Wallach was never nominated for an Academy Award. But in November 2010, less than a month before his 95th birthday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded him an honorary Oscar, saluting him as “the quintessential chameleon, effortlessly inhabiting a wide range of characters, while putting his inimitable stamp on every role.”

Be interested to hear thoughts on this. I loved it. ift.tt/1yrBrx2

Filmed last night and has over 3 million hits today. This guy wins the Internet today. ift.tt/1pCl3EV

The Cantor Earthquake

The House Republican leadership, so solid in its opposition to President Obama, was torn apart yesterday by the defeat of its most influential conservative voice, Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader.  Cantor, with a 96% conservative rating, was defeated by a tea party candidate, David Brat.

Brat spent a total of $200,000 on his campaign; Cantor spent that much just on steakhouses (actually, he spent $168,637 on steakhouses; overall, he spent $5 million).  And yet, this morning, the results show that Brat beat Cantor 55.5% to 45.5%.

What does it mean?  Well, everybody has an opinion.  There's a lot of gleeful talk on the left, and in the center, about the GOP "eating its own".  The GOP loves to have purity tests so pure that nobody is safe.  What you end up with is a circular firing squad; it is no wonder that an occasional Cantor might fall.

Cantor lost for three reasons: first, he made the error of suggesting that maybe possibly he could work with Obama on immigration reform.  Rule No. 1 of conservative politics is that you never work with the "enemy", even if it is reasonable to do so.  Brat exploited this rare vulnerablility in Cantor. His megaphone was conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham, who criticized Mr. Cantor’s positions on immigration.

Secondly, Cantor ran a bad campaign.  He attacked Brat as a "liberal professor" which didn't ring true to constituents.  Towards the end of the political campaign, Cantor tried to rally the GOP establishment.  Rule No. 2 of conservative politics is that the "establishment" — even the GOP establishment — is bad.  So there was a last minute backlash.

Finally, Cantor was a Jew.  Yup, that always worked against him in those conservative districts.

So what does it all mean?  Well, it's not good news for moderate Republicans — that's for sure.

Most on the left are treating this as good news, since most tea party candidates aren't electable.  Or so is the conventional wisdom.  The thinking goes that some Cantor supporters will stay home, allowing a Democrat to win.  But….. that is unlikely in this district.  Still, disarray in the GOP is good for the left, and most are taking this as something good.

Today’s Shooting Proves NRA Is, Well, Wrong

Wayne LaPierre, the NRA honcho, likes to spout this lame aphorism every chance he gets:

"The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun"

Au contraire, Monsieur LaPierre:

Meis, who was working at the time as a monitor who sits at a desk in the lobby, near the Hall’s front door, quickly moved in to pepper-spray the gunman, then he tackled him to the ground. Police arriving moments later moved in to handcuff and arrest the suspect, other witnesses said.

Story of The Day

A salute to this guy

An 89-year-old WW2 veteran who was banned by his nursing home from going to France for the D-Day commemorations sneaked out and went anyway.

The pensioner left the Hove home at 10:30 BST on Thursday and was reported missing in the evening, police said.

The nursing home received a call from a younger veteran later on saying he had met the un-named veteran on a coach.

The two were on their way to France and said they were safe and well in a hotel in Ouistreham, Sussex Police said.

Hundreds of veterans have been marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, with events on the beaches of Normandy.

I’d rather get cast, but…. okay, this is cool. ift.tt/SdkLIm

Not Funny

Mad Magzine goes full wingnut

And when I say it is "not funny", I mean it lacks humor.  It's suypposed to be a spoof of Saving Private Ryan, but it's such a stretch (Ryan and Bergdahl sound nothing alike).

I haven't really commented on the Bergdahl story, largely because its more bullshit right wingnut outrage.  

First of all, we have always negotiated for the safe return of captured soldiers and citizens.  Prisoner swaps have been around forever. George Washington arranged them in the Revolutionary War. And I don't think anyone has ever suggested that they not be done on the basis of the soldier's political leanings or the suspicion they might have deserted. And these Guantanamo prisoners aren't al-Qaeda, they're Taliban, enemy soldiers in the Afghan War. They are no different than the Nazis we swapped or the Japanese prisoners of war. They aren't supermen.   

Secondly, it makes me sick how the right is going full-on against this soldier.  On the front page of the Breitbart “News” Network, we currently find at least eighteen articles ranting about Sgt. Bergdahl.  And on HotAir’s front page, it’s even more ridiculous. As I write this, I count at least twenty-four articles bashing Bergdahl, his father, his father’s beard, and of course, President Obama — because Obama is very obviously the real target, and Bergdahl and his family are just collateral damage to these hateful assholes.

Gun Nuts Go Too Far For The NRA

They created a monster.  But how to get the toothpaste back in the tube?

In a remarkably frank statement issued on Friday, the National Rifle Association said that gun activists in Texas had "crossed the line from enthusiasm to downright foolishness" with their demonstrations at fast food restaurants.

Activists, most notably those with a group called Open Carry Texas, have drawn attention to themselves recently for their attempts to get served at chain restaurants while carrying high-powered semiautomatic rifles. In response, several chains, including Chipotle, were compelled to ask customers to not bring guns to their restaurants. The backlash was such that the groups themselves felt compelled to issue a statement late last month asking their members to avoid carrying long arms into private businesses during demonstrations.

But in its statement Friday, the NRA's lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, went further, publicly denouncing the tactics employed by Open Carry Texas and other groups as "weird" and even "scary."

"As a result of these hijinx, two popular fast food outlets have recently requested patrons to keep guns off the premises," the unsigned statement said. "To state the obvious, that's counterproductive for the gun owning community."

In denouncing the demonstrations, the NRA said that using guns "to draw attention to yourself in public not only defies common sense, it shows a lack of consideration and manners."

"[W]hile unlicensed open carry of long guns is also typically legal in most places, it is a rare sight to see someone sidle up next to you in line for lunch with a 7.62 rifle slung across his chest, much less a whole gaggle of folks descending on the same public venue with similar arms," the statement said. "Let's not mince words, not only is it rare, it's downright weird and certainly not a practical way to go normally about your business while being prepared to defend yourself. To those who are not acquainted with the dubious practice of using public displays of firearms as a means to draw attention to oneself or one's cause, it can be downright scary. It makes folks who might normally be perfectly open-minded about firearms feel uncomfortable and question the motives of pro-gun advocates."

The NRA made clear it "does not support bans on personalized guns or on carrying firearms in public, including in restaurants. " But it concluded that "when people act without thinking, or without consideration for others – especially when it comes to firearms – they set the stage for further restrictions on our rights."

The NRA brought this on.  They have demeaned anyone who calls for common sense with guns up until now, even including the relatives of gun violence victims, like those who lost 6 year olds at Newtown. They have proclaimed to anyone who would listen that there is an "unfettered" right to bear arms whenever and where ever you want. Where in their approach has ever "consideration for others" been a part of their message? They have managed to create an entire movement of people who think they are not only empowered to carry guns whenever and wherever they want, they are empowered to use them. Some of them even believe they are there as adjuncts to the police departments, as if anyone in their right minds want these bozos to "protect" them.

Whatever Happened To….?

… Sharyl Attkisson?

Remember her? Attkisson left CBS because she "had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network's liberal bias," while some staffers characterized her work as "agenda-driven," leading "network executives to doubt the impartiality of her reporting." Attkisson had supported CBS' disastrous Benghazi reporting, which the network ultimately had to apologize for and retract, and CBSexecutives reportedly saw her as "wading dangerously close to advocacy on the issue." She also released an error-ridden report on clean energy, and relied on partial information from House Republicans in a botched story on the Affordable Care Act.  Following her departure from the network, Attkisson attempted to paint herself has a victim of media bias, floating baseless conspiracy theories suggesting Media Matters had been paid to attack her work. Conservative media outlets, particularly Fox News, rallied to Attkisson's defense, with personalities showering praise on her shoddy work and indicating they wanted her to join the conservative network.

Anyway, this unobjective journalist just landed a job at the conservative Heritage Foundation. That's the same Heritage FOundation that the New York Times described as providing "the blueprint for the Republican Party's ideas in Washington."

RT @mosspuppet: iOS 8 brings the best of Android from 2 years ago, today.