Posts filed under ‘Laws / Judiciary’

Happy 4th of July


Declaration of indepdenence


Did you know Thomas Jefferson was 32-years-old when he signed the Declaration of Independence?  That James Madison was was 25?

I didn’t.

Here’s the beautiful, radical, inspiring text.

Happy 4th everyone.





July 4, 2014 at 1:21 AM Leave a comment

About the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Ruling / UPDATED

We’re all going to rue the day the Hobby Lobby ruling came down.  It wasn’t about birth control or abortions per se, it was about,

a Religious Right movement on the offensive…one that is trying to carve out exemptions as popular culture and American public opinion grind it to irrelevancy.


Read that sentence a couple times. The right is trying to create its own world and Hobby Lobby is only the beginning.  Now there’s almost no end to what corporate “persons” could petition the Supreme Court to keep from having to comply with because of their “closely held” religious beliefs.

Heck, at this point, corporations are more of a person than I am.  Do I imagine having a chance in hell of winning a case because I have a “closely held” religious belief that my tax dollars shouldn’t pay for wars or anything having do with them? No way Jose.

That said, this is what we’ve got to do in response to Hobby Lobby (via Mad As Hell Doctors) in its first incarnation (as there will be many more):

(I think history will judge this Roberts court as the worst, most destructive of American values, ever.)

UPDATED:  Upps.  Here we go.  Round two from a few minutes ago:

Supreme Court Order Suspends Contraception Rule for Christian College

In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily bars the government from enforcing against a Christian college part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female justices — Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan — who said the court had betrayed a promise it made on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.




July 3, 2014 at 5:20 PM Leave a comment

The Supreme Court = The Haves. Women Visiting Abortion Clinics = The Have Nots

Supreme Court Building via TheTaskForceBlog

(Image via TheTaskForceBlog)

The Supreme Court couldn’t be more hypocritical in a ruling it handed down today:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously struck down a Massachusetts law that barred protests near abortion clinics.

The law, enacted in 2007, created 35-foot buffer zones around entrances to abortion clinics.


So now people can scream “baby killer” at women who come and go from those clinics.  But as for the home of the Supremes?  They issued this order almost exactly a year ago today:

No person shall engage in a demonstration within the Supreme Court building and grounds.  The term “demonstration” includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged in by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.  The term does not include casual use by visitors or tourists that is not reasonably likely to attract a crowd or onlookers.


Disgusting.  I’d love to see someone challenge this new law based on the Supreme Court’s own restrictions…if that’s possible.

June 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM Leave a comment

Winger Who Supports Voter ID Laws Turned Away at Poll Because He Forgot His ID

I wish everyone who forgets their voter ID had a gopher who could run home to get it for them:

Asa Hutchinson via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

A Republican candidate for Arkansas governor who supports the new voter ID law was left waiting after he forgot his identification.

Spokesman Christian Olson told The Associated Press that Asa Hutchinson forgot his ID when he attempted to vote at the polls in Bentonville on Monday. Olson says a staffer was able to retrieve the ID and bring it to Hutchinson so he could vote.


Olson says Hutchinson thought the incident was a “little bit of an inconvenience” but still believes the law is necessary.


It would have been way more of an inconvenience if he was trying to vote on his lunch hour and he’d be fired if he didn’t punch back in when he was supposed to.

May 21, 2014 at 8:23 AM Leave a comment

Feds: No Irrigation Water to Grow Pot (What About Fracking?)

Marijuana leaf

Insofar as I live in Colorado, which just legalized marijuana, this article jumped out at me this morning:   No Irrigation Water for Marijuana Crops, Feds Rule.

Delivering a blow to pot growers in Washington state and Colorado, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that it won’t allow any federally controlled water to be used on marijuana crops because Congress has banned the drug.

“As a federal agency, Reclamation is obligated to adhere to federal law in the conduct of its responsibilities to the American people,” said Dan DuBray, the agency’s chief of public affairs.

The ruling makes clear that the Obama administration is willing to set limits on the states’ legalization experiments, even though the Justice Department said in August that it wouldn’t block their plans to tax and sell the drug.

Now I’m waiting for the feds to make it clear to oil and gas companies they can’t use irrigation water for fracking.  I know.  Funny, huh?

Read more here:
Read more here:

May 21, 2014 at 8:07 AM Leave a comment

If Banks and Oil Companies Can Write Off Their Expense, Why Can’t Teachers?

This is what happens to the tax system when it’s permissible for corporate lobbyists to throw megabucks at people who are supposed to represent, ah, We the People. Hardscrabble teachers’ (and other) unions crawl on their hands and knees in an attempt to be heard but they aren’t.  They don’t have the

$5,000 bill

(Image via Wikipedia)

This is so wrong:

Tweet of the Day 5-10-14








May 10, 2014 at 7:11 PM 1 comment

Things I Didn’t Have Time to Write Up

No little puppies tonight, unfortunately:

(Image via Wikipedia)

[Chris] Christie’s Lawyers Billed More Than $1 Million In January Alone.  And guess who’s paying the bill?  You got it!  New Jersey taxpayers.

My gut feeling is that Christie is about as corrupt as they get.  Mafioso-like.

This one has me SMDH.  I don’t get it.  Are Democrats sitting back, tuning out and thinking since Obama’s in the White House they don’t have to pay attention?  Geezus.  Really:

Scales of Justice Tipped

—–>  Conservative Supreme Court Seen Favorably by … Democrats?

And then there’s this beautiful photo from NASA that speaks to how fragile our atmosphere is:

NASA Photo of Atmosphere 5-7-14

(Image via

Earth’s Atmospheric Layers

International Space Station astronauts captured this photo of Earth’s atmospheric layers on July 31, 2011, revealing the troposphere (orange-red), stratosphere and above. Satellite instruments allow scientists to better understand the chemistry and dynamics occurring within and between these layers.




May 7, 2014 at 8:06 PM Leave a comment

Two Headlines That Illustrate the U.S.’s Two-Tiered Legal System

These two headlines pretty much say it all about the United States’ two-tiered legal system i.e., one for the rich and one for the rest of us:

Scales of Justice Tipped

Millionaire Tech CEO Filmed Hitting and Kicking his Girlfriend 117 Times in Brutal 30-Minute Attack Sentenced to Just 25 Hours Community Service


●   ●   ●   ●   ●   ●   ●   ●

Judge Upholds Ruling that Pennsylvania Widow Can Lose Home over $6.30 in Unpaid Interest

April 29, 2014 at 8:50 AM Leave a comment

What if Your Mailman Refuses to Deliver Your Mail Based on His “Religious Beliefs?”

In the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, heard by the Supreme Court a few weeks ago, the Court must decide whether a corporation, i.e. Hobby Lobby, can opt out of providing insurance coverage to its employees for certain forms of birth control it objects to. The case, in essence, is about whether corporations — who the Supreme Court has already said are “people” — can have religious beliefs.

If the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, the sky’s the limit.  Imagine a dental practice refusing to treat African Americans because of its supposed “religious beliefs,” or a veterinarian refusing to treat dogs belonging to blond people because of  “religious beliefs.”  I mean, it could get really crazy around here really fast.

Not only that, imagine a USPS letter carrier or a FedEx guy incorporating himself and refusing to deliver mail or packages that violate his/her “religious beliefs,” as in this:  On May 22, the United States Postal Service will debut a “forever stamp” featuring openly-gay San Fransisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk who was assassinated in 1978.

Harvey Milk Stamp

Or what about this:  My husband was a letter carrier for 35 years.  He’s retired now but what if he’d incorporated himself and refused to deliver Republican campaign mail to his patrons, based on, ahem, his “religious beliefs?”

Like I said, it could get really crazy, really fast.





April 20, 2014 at 6:31 PM Leave a comment

So Do I Get to Ignore Subpoenas Now Too?

This is a horrible, horrible precedent for our so-called leaders to set.  You know, the people who are sworn to uphold the laws of the United States?

I can only imagine what it will be like around here when this “trickles down:”

S  U  B  P  O  N  A

U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s office said Wednesday that he will ignore a subpoena from the United Auto Workers to testify at a hearing next week in Chattanooga.

The latest controversy follows the disclosure of confidential documents by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

The UAW had subpoenaed Corker and two aides to testify at a hearing of the National Labor Relations Board.

The union claims Corker was part of an orchestrated effort to thwart a union election at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga — and they want the NLRB to order new elections.

Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack said in a statement, “Everyone understands that after a clear defeat, the UAW is trying to create a sideshow, so we have filed a motion to revoke these baseless subpoenas.”

He added, “Neither Senator Corker nor his staff will attend the hearing on Monday.”


Say I get subpoenaed for jury duty.  I guess I can now say fuck that!  The trial’s a “sideshow.”  Huh?

OMG, I feel for the little babies who are going to grow up in a country that’s unrecognizable from the one I knew.

Back in my day, nobody but nobody ignored a subpoena.


April 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM 3 comments

The Supreme Court Throws the Door Open (Again) for the Wealthy to Buy Politicians

Supreme Court Building via TheTaskForceBlog

I give up.  This is awful:

The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections.

The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision frees the nation’s wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections.

The decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission marks the latest round in the bitter national debate over the role of money in American politics. It’s the most important campaign-finance ruling since the high court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts independently to influence elections.

The case pitted the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech – which the justices previously have equated with spending money in elections – against the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.


Poor babies.  We all know how the wealthy have been suffered of late…

April 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM Leave a comment

The Stand-Off Between the Senate and the CIA Is a Very, Very Big Deal

CIA Logo

I don’t usually jump up and down about things but it’s becoming clear to me that the stand-off between the CIA and the Senate is a very big deal.  Here’s an article by Ryan Cooper over at TheWeek explaining it and explaining what’s at stake, as in the whole way in which this country operates.

I’m old enough to remember when Russia was known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the USSR).  It was a dark place run by our version of the CIA, the KGB.  That’s where we’re headed folks.  Does the Senate oversee the CIA, or vice versa?  In other words, is the CIA going to run the place from now on?

It’s Time for Obama to Take a Side in the Battle Between the CIA and the Senate

Since Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California gave an explosive speech this week charging the CIA with spying on and intimidating members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the U.S. government has been embroiled in nothing less than a full-blown constitutional crisis.


Coming as this does from a senator who has long protected the agency, such an accusation is staggering. It lays bare just how big a threat the surveillance state has grown to our democratic foundations.


Feinstein is a Very Serious Person in good standing, and an accusation from her carries a hundred times more weight in official Washington than one from, say, Bernie Sanders. And this controversy cuts right through the comfortable hypocrisies that typically muffle discussions of executive branch abuse, since this time a portion of Washington itself is the victim.


Second-term presidents are supposed to be concerned with their legacy. Does Obama want to go down as the president who threw the Senate over the side in favor of a bunch of lawless, torturing war criminals — those who perpetrated the kind of abuses he condemned when he first ran for office? If he wants to avoid that, he can start by demanding the torture report be declassified. Now.

I can’t cut and paste this in a way that does it justice.  Here’s the whole thing.  It’s worth your time (it isn’t all that long).


March 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM Leave a comment

Army’s Top Sexual Assault Prosecutor Suspended After Allegation of Sexual Assault

Oh for crying out loud:

US Army logo

The top Army prosecutor for sexual assault cases has been suspended after a lawyer who worked for him recently reported he’d groped her and tried to kiss her at a sexual-assault legal conference more than two years ago.

Two separate sources with knowledge of the situation told Stars and Stripes that the Army is investigating the allegations levied against Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, who supervised the Army’s nearly two dozen special victim prosecutors — who are in charge of prosecuting sexual assault, domestic abuse and crimes against children.


An Army official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter confirmed an investigation was under way.

“We can confirm that this matter is currently under investigation and that the individual in question has been suspended from duties pending the outcome of the investigation,” the official said. “Given that this is still an open case, we are precluded from providing any additional information at this point.”




March 6, 2014 at 1:41 PM Leave a comment

Inside the U.S. Supreme Court — First Video Ever

The Supreme Court “was subject to an unprecedented security breach when a spectator sneaked a video camera into Wednesday’s proceedings and filmed a protester who disrupted an oral argument,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The clandestine footage… is the first known video footage of a Supreme Court proceeding to be made public.”


Some people acting up and making noise.  Love it.

February 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM Leave a comment

National Hispanic Bar Association Pulls its 2015 Convention from Arizona

Here’s their press release:

ispanic Bar assn


The Hispanic National Bar Association Pulls its 2015 Annual Convention From Phoenix in Response to Arizona’s SB 1062

Washington, D.C. – The HNBA announced today that it has pulled its 40th Annual Convention previously scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona in September 2015.

On Monday, February 24th, the HNBA denounced the Arizona legislature’s passage of SB 1062.  The HNBA also called for Governor Jan Brewer to veto the legislation and still hopes that she will do so.  As set forth in its February 24th press release, SB 1062 discriminates against members of Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.  

The proposed legislation also impacts other citizens that are either traveling through Arizona or that are doing business or have business interests in the state.  Accordingly, the HNBA’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to immediately pull the Annual Convention.



February 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM 4 comments

Obama’s Laughable Faux Concern About Freedom of the Press in Venezuela

This is a tweet from the U.S. National Security Council, you know, the folks who are spying on everyone in the world (literally0:

National Security Council Tweet re Press freedom in Venezuela


Did you see this:  Thanks Obama!  U.S. 46th in Press Freedom and Dropping Like a Stone.

The United States isn’t the beacon on the hill anymore when it comes to freedom of the press.  As a matter of fact, it’s deviated so much from that standard that it’s paved the way for countries around the world to clamp down on the freedom of speech and the press everywhere.  Not long ago (six, ten years), countries feared the U.S.’s wrath if they strayed too far afield.  Not anymore.

Per Reporters Without Borders, press freedoms are ranked below:

Finland (#1)

New Zealand (#9)

Germany (#14)

Canada (#18)

Slovakia (#20)

Namibia (#22)

Cape Verde (#24)

Ghana (#27)

United Kingdom (#33)

Spain (#35)

France (#39)

Botswana (#41)

Papua New Guinea (#44)

The United States ranks #46 in the world.  Go here for more.

So that NSA tweet above?  Laughable.


With POTUS 44, there’s nothing more galling than his shattered promises to make his the most transparent presidency in history, to cherish the public service offered by whistleblowers and to enshrine the American ideal of a free and unfettered press. It was all a lie, and now the people who compile the World Press Freedom Index have made it official: Our 1st Amendment rights are only a monument to American exceptionalism if you mean that we’re barely more exceptional than Haiti:

February 24, 2014 at 9:07 PM Leave a comment

Today Marks Eight Years Since Clarence Thomas Has Asked a Question of Supreme Court Litigants

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sounds like a profoundly disinterested guy; not what one would expect of a judge, much less a Supreme Court justice.

Clarence Thomas via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Clarence Thomas’s Disgraceful Silence

As for Thomas, he is physically transformed from his infamous confirmation hearings, in 1991—a great deal grayer and heavier today, at the age of sixty-five. He also projects a different kind of silence than he did earlier in his tenure. In his first years on the Court, Thomas would rock forward, whisper comments about the lawyers to his neighbors Breyer and Kennedy, and generally look like he was acknowledging where he was. These days, Thomas only reclines; his leather chair is pitched so that he can stare at the ceiling, which he does at length. He strokes his chin. His eyelids look heavy. Every schoolteacher knows this look. It’s called “not paying attention.”


By refusing to acknowledge the advocates or his fellow-Justices, Thomas treats them all with disrespect. It would be one thing if Thomas’s petulance reflected badly only on himself, which it did for the first few years of his ludicrous behavior. But at this point, eight years on, Thomas is demeaning the Court. Imagine, for a moment, if all nine Justices behaved as Thomas does on the bench. The public would rightly, and immediately, lose all faith in the Supreme Court. Instead, the public has lost, and should lose, any confidence it might have in Clarence Thomas.





February 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM Leave a comment

Bravo to Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizza in Tucson, Arizona!

I love this:

Rocco's Little Chicago Pizza

(Image via


Arizona Pizzeria Refuses to Serve Legislators

In the wake of Arizona’s legislature recently passing a law that allows for discrimination (under the guise of religious freedom), a pizzeria in Tucson has decided that it will no longer serve Arizona legislators.

Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizza is taking a stand against the politicians who have voted in favor of Senate Bill 1062 which gives Arizona business owners the right to deny service to gays and others on the basis of religious freedom.

On Thursday the pizzeria posted a photo to its Facebook page (seen above) along with the message “”Funny how just being decent is starting to seem radical these days.”

“A customer posted the sign to my Facebook feed, so I printed it up and laminated it,” owner Anthony Rocco DiGrazia told The Huffington Post Friday (via Facebook). “The response has been overwhelming and almost all positive from across the globe. I just want to serve dinner and own and work in a place I’m proud of. Opening the door to government-sanctioned discrimination, regardless of why, is a huge step in the wrong direction. Thanks for all the support.”


If you want to send a note of support to Rocco, the address is

Good move guys!


February 22, 2014 at 10:18 AM Leave a comment

The Guys Who Destroyed the World Economy Are Free But an 84-Year-Old Nun Isn’t

The “smartest guys in the room,” who destroyed the world’s economy are still strutting around, getting  multimillion dollar bonuses, but an 84-year-old nun who tried to bring attention to the danger of nuclear weapons has been sentenced to two+ years in prison:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 18 (UPI) — Three anti-nuclear activists, including an 84-year-old Catholic nun, received jail terms Tuesday for breaking into a nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee in 2012.

Sister Megan Rice received a 35-month term, and her co-conspirators, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, received 62-month terms, WVLT-TV, Knoxville, reported.

Sister Megan Rice on Facebook

(Image via Sister Megan Rice on Facebook)

Rice, 84, Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, were convicted of breaking into the Y-12 Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility operated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and considered among the most secure buildings in the world. They defaced a uranium-processing facility with human blood as an anti-nuclear protest.


A “co-conspirator?”  Labels like that are reserved for We the Little People, as in 84-year-old nuns who want to save us from ourselves.  I guarantee the so-called liberal media will never refer to greedy bastards extraordinaire like Jamie Dimon that way.

February 18, 2014 at 8:56 PM Leave a comment

Treating Kids as Adults

My Tweet of the Day.  Think about it.  Makes sense to me.  Kind of like sending kids off to die in the Vietnam War without having the right to vote:

Tweet of the day 2-18=14

February 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM Leave a comment

If You’re a Parent and You Care About the World Your Kid Will Live in, Read This

About spying and a corporate-controlled internet:

Spying What I worry About from Bernie Sanders



February 11, 2014 at 8:20 PM Leave a comment

Black v. White Arrest Rate for Marijuana Possession


Black v. white Arrest rate

(Image via



February 11, 2014 at 12:34 PM Leave a comment

Obama Mulling Executing An American Citizen Without Due Process

Constitution 12-4-10

This is what the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution says:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

It doesn’t distinguish between someone who’s charged with J-walking or someone who’s accused of being part of al-Qaeda. Everyone is supposedly guaranteed the right to be informed of the exact nature of the charges against them, to face their accuser, hear the evidence against them, and to present evidence in their defense (if they wish).  At least, that’s how we’ve operated for the last 230 years until constitutional lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s administration admitted last May to killing four Americans in Yemen.

All that said, Obama’s thinking about being the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to another American:


U.S. Weighs Lethal Strike Against American Citizen

The Obama administration is weighing whether to approve a lethal strike against a U.S. citizen who is accused of being part of the al-Qaeda terrorist network overseas and involved in ongoing plotting against American targets, U.S. officials said.

The officials said that no decision has been reached on whether to add the alleged operative to the administration’s so-called kill list, a step that would require Justice Department approval under new counterterrorism guidelines adopted by President Obama last year.

U.S. officials have not revealed the identify of the alleged operative, or the country where he is believed to be located, citing concern that disclosing those details would send him deeper into hiding and prevent a possible drone strike.


Got that?  The administration is accusing this person of being part of an al-Qaeda network but again, he has a right, under our laws, to defend himself in court.  That Obama is the first president (that we know of) to murder U.S. citizens, ignoring their rights, is shocking and appalling given, again, his supposed expertise in constitutional law.

Are we really such terrified little people we’re going to flush the Constitution down?


The guy has gone insane in that regard and imho, instead of looking strong, he looks weak and afraid.

February 10, 2014 at 12:13 PM 2 comments

Why Are There So Many People of Color In Private Prisons?

Prisons via

(Image via

Now that I’ve read the article, it’s obvious why for-profit prisons are stacked with people of color:

It’s well known that people of color are overrepresented in America’s prisons relative to their share of the population. But a recent study finds that they make up an even larger share of the populations of private, for-profit prisons than publicly run institutions.

According to Christopher Petrella, a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley who conducted the study, this is not an accident — it’s about private firms selecting the least expensive prisoners to manage and leaving costlier populations in the hands of state correction systems.

Why would African American and Latino prisoners be cheaper to incarcerate than whites? Because older prisoners are significantly more expensive than younger ones. “Based on historical sentencing patterns, if you are a prisoner today, and you are over 50 years old, there is a greater likelihood that you are white,” Petrella explained to “If you are under 50 years old — particularly if you’re closer to 30 years old — you’re more likely to be a person of color.” He cited a 2012 report by the ACLU which found that it costs $34,135 per year to house a non-geriatric prisoner, compared with $68,270 for a prisoner age 50 or older.


Throw in the relatively new mandatory sentencing/3-strikes laws and that contributes to the equation too.  When judges can’t use their discretion when handing down sentences, voila, you get more prisoners overall.

February 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM Leave a comment

Socialized Law — Something to Think About

I’m a former paralegal who worked at two Legal Services offices — offices that provided legal representation for indigent people here in the US.  I know, through them, what it’s like to be charged with a crime, to be destitute, and unable to afford an attorney.  The feeling?  Helpless.

Someone like Bill Gates would never feel helpless.  Why should people who can’t afford a megabucks lawyer feel that way?  After all, the inscription on the US Supreme Court is “Equal Justice for All.”

Equal Justice Under Law via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Do we have “equal justice for all” when so-called justice can be bought?


And that’s wrong:

Anyone who has ever picked up a tabloid knows full well how the 1 percent flouts the laws that bind the rest of us.


There are similar inequities in the realm of civil litigation, of course. Pharmaceutical companies and cigarette makers spend hundreds of millions each year beating back billions in legal claims, while the rate at which most working stiffs win judgments is appallingly low.In a typical year, a mere 14 percent of the thousands of miners who seek black-lung claims are successful. Predictably, the very poor fare worst of all in civil cases. They struggle to land legal representation of any kind, and, if they do, their lawyers tend to be massively overworked.


[W]hen Bill Gates spends hundreds or thousands of times more than I could to defend himself against a criminal indictment, the very act of doing so actually diminishes my status as a citizen. In a democracy, what makes people equal before the state isn’t that everyone has adequate procedural rights. It’s that everyone has the exact same procedural rights. It must be that, in the eyes of the law, there is no difference between rich and poor. If the rich have more rights—if they have fuller status as citizens—then by definition everyone else has fewer rights and lesser status.



February 5, 2014 at 8:29 PM Leave a comment

Listen For the Sound of Heads Exploding: Muslim Holiday to Be Observed in NYC Schools

Heads Exploding image via

(Image via

Muslim families in New York City have been requesting official recognition for Islamic holidays in public schools for years now, but they may finally see some changes under new Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On Monday he discussed the issue on the Brian Lehrer Show, declaring that he planned to move forward with closing schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, as well as for the Lunar New Year.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said, according to the New York Daily News.

Though Muslims appreciate his efforts, another community is feeling stiffed. De Blasio said on Monday that he hadn’t yet taken a position on whether Diwali should be officially recognized with a day off for public schools. The festival of lights is celebrated in the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh communities and is an important holiday.


Oh my god, I love this!  Finally, finally someone is moving off the dime that says only high Christian holy days can be officially observed (here, in a nation that was built on the separation of church and state).  In my opinion the federal government has no business designating religious holidays of any kind.  Since it’s already gone there, the government shouldn’t favor one religion over another but turn high holy days in all religions into holidays.

See the problem with starting down that road?

Thank goodness Mayor de Blasio is bring this to the fore.  We need to talk about it.

Newly elected NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio is no stranger to controversy. The inauguration of this communist mayor included a prayer from a pro-Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, imam. Additionally, a member of De Blasio’s team received an award from the Communist Party USA.

Now, De Blasio has stated that he plans to close city schools for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year. As reported in the New York Daily News, De Blasio wants to get these holidays in place as quickly as possible.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.


- See more at:

Newly elected NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio is no stranger to controversy. The inauguration of this communist mayor included a prayer from a pro-Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, imam. Additionally, a member of De Blasio’s team received an award from the Communist Party USA.

Now, De Blasio has stated that he plans to close city schools for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year. As reported in the New York Daily News, De Blasio wants to get these holidays in place as quickly as possible.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.


- See more at:

Newly elected NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio is no stranger to controversy. The inauguration of this communist mayor included a prayer from a pro-Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, imam. Additionally, a member of De Blasio’s team received an award from the Communist Party USA.

Now, De Blasio has stated that he plans to close city schools for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year. As reported in the New York Daily News, De Blasio wants to get these holidays in place as quickly as possible.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.


- See more at:

February 4, 2014 at 3:34 PM 2 comments

Keep the Government of Texas Out of Marlise Munoz’s Hospital Room

ICU via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

This happened today:

For the first time, John Peter Smith Hospital acknowledges that Marlise Munoz, who is being kept on a respirator under Texas law, has been brain dead since November 28 and that the “fetus gestating inside Mrs. Munoz is not viable,” according to court documents released before a Friday hearing.

The woman’s husband has repeatedly made these claims in his efforts to have her removed from the machines so the family can bury her.


Interesting timing. The hospital must have seen the writing on the wall because just an hour or so later, this happened:

A judge on Friday ordered a Texas hospital to remove life support for a pregnant, brain-dead woman whose family had argued that she would not want to be kept in that condition.

Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. issued the ruling in the case of Marlise Munoz. John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth has been keeping Munoz on life support against her family’s wishes. The judge gave the hospital until 5 p.m. CST Monday to remove life support.


Now we wait to see if the hospital appeals, which it has a right to do.

I have a question:  No matter when Ms. Munoz is finally allowed to rest in peace, who pays the bill for the time (going on two months now) the hospital kept her alive against the wishes of her family?  The hospital better the hell eat those costs. If they have the gall to send Mr. Munoz a bill, omg, I can’t imagine.

Bottom line:  This is about religious zealots in Texas passing laws that impose their religious beliefs on everyone, like the Taliban does in Pakistan.  The Founding Fathers were right:  There must be a separation between church and state.


January 24, 2014 at 6:47 PM 2 comments

Five Years Ago Today, Obama Ordered That Guantanamo Be Closed Within One Year

President Barack Obama, via Executive Order dated January 22, 2009:


Sec. 3.  Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo. The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order.  If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities.
More… (pdf)

January 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM Leave a comment

About Those Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones

You probably heard that the Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday for and againa Massachusetts law that mandates a protective buffer zone around abortion clinics to allow patients unimpeded access, indicating they may strike it down as unconstitutional as demanded by anti-abortion protesters.”

To that, I say this — my Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 1-16-14

January 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM 2 comments

Imagining a Real Liberal Media in the United States

Light Bulb Sarcastic via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how the cable “news” networks cycle through so-called news stories roughly every eight, ten, 15 minutes and repeat themselves ad nauseam all day (unless there’s “breaking news” of course, like a high-speed police chase or an apartment fire)?

And maybe its just me but have you noticed how the right constantly screams about how liberal the U.S. media is?

Imagine how this country would change if the media really was liberal and they repeated this kind of thing every day, all day:

–  Giving Employees Paid Sick Leave is Good for Business: A large majority of employers in Connecticut — where paid sick leave has been mandatory since January, 2012 — “reported that the law did not affect business operations and that they had no or only small increases in costs.”

–  The NSA’s Sweeping Surveillance Programs Don’t Stop Terrorism:  On June 5, 2013, the Guardian broke the first story in what would become a flood of revelations regarding the extent and nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs.  Facing an uproar over the threat such programs posed to privacy, the Obama administration scrambled to defend them as legal and essential to U.S. national security and counterterrorism. Two weeks after the first leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were published, President Obama defended the NSA surveillance programs during a visit to Berlin, saying: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.”


However, our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA “bulk” surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading.  An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda’s ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.

Climate Change Clouds Philippines’ Dream of Rice Self-Sufficiency

Climate change will complicate the Philippines’ efforts to become self-sufficient in rice, the country’s economic planning secretary said Monday.

Arsenio Balisacan said preliminary data showed that 74% of the estimated damage from natural disasters in the country last year came in the farm sector, primarily affecting rice. The natural disasters include extreme weather caused by global warming, he said.

“We expect these extreme events and unpredictable phenomena to become the new normal,” Mr. Balisican told a workshop on efforts to address the impact of climate change in agriculture.

West Virginia Chemical-Spill Site Avoided Broad Regulatory Scrutiny

No government regulation!  Woo hoo.  A Libertarian paradise (unless you need to take a shower, drink water, wash your clothes, make dinner or wash your face).

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.


oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.





January 13, 2014 at 9:04 PM Leave a comment

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