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Steven Flaeck
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Conservative justices agree: suffering acceptable in executions, barbarism upheld 5-4.
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the continued use of a drug that has been accused of causing excruciating pain in several controversial state executions.  
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+Jürgen Christoffel: NRA can't allow their precious rifles get associated with anything as controversial as execution.  But as Edison, perhaps they can provide a ready supply of smoothbore guns ...
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Steven Flaeck

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It occurs to me that we should call people who leave the country to work remotely in another one for a while eMigrants and those who come for the same purpose iMigrants.








These terms are now trademarked.
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Therefore nobody will use them. FOSS 4ever!
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Lileks asserts that there's a double standard: liberals are calling for the removal of Confederate battle flags but not Soviet national flags. The Soviet Union killed millions of people, ran brutal gulags, and operated an authoritarian police state. Why haven't they been clamoring to remove Soviet flags?

Well, have you ever seen one? The only contexts I come across them is museums and as a drunken party theme, where the whole affair comes in for mockery and disdain. Occasionally someone will have a Soviet medal as a joke. We imported, from Russian emigrants, the sort of gallows humor which pervaded the Soviet Union. To the extent that this shows up commonly at all, you would be on as sure a footing if you'd taken offense at Yakov Smirnoff for anything other than a threadbare comedic line.

The Confederate battle flag, by contrast, graces courthouses and statehouses throughout the South. It appeared, until this last week, voluminously in the inventories of America's largest retailers. It was a popular tattoo, sticker for kids, t-shirt design, and license plate among other uses. Worse still, the flag often accompanied monuments to the Confederacy sprinkled across the South, solemnizing histories honoring an expressly brutal regime.

That is itself another contrast. The Confederate states seceded from the Union hoping to forestall the abolition of slavery, an evil which had condemned about 13% of the American population to gulag-like conditions. Not only were the gulags never so populous as the cotton fields, they were at least an unfortunate result rather than an intended one. The Soviet Union, after all, wasn't created for the enslavement of the Russian people nor did it replace a democratic regime with one in which half the population was held in bondage. It replaced one incapable, vindictive, and violent totalitarian state with another. Nor were the various revolutions around the world some great blow against freedom: they destroyed, by and large, other brutal dictatorships. The supposed ideological coherence is the only reason we group the together historically, rather than as one-off repressive dictatorships as we do normally. The South wasn't even non-expansionist: explicit plans were made, if victory against the Union were achieved, to seize land from the Union and Mexico to extend slavery. It would be as if the Soviets had created the Warsaw Pact explicitly for the purpose of establishing new gulags, announced as much, and then asked why you thought that would be a bad idea.

So there's no equivalence here, neither in usage nor history. The Soviet flag and its fellow travelers' were another unfortunate chapter in the history of peoples filled mostly with unfortunate chapters. They are now almost entirely gone, even the monuments to the Soviet state are nearly all torn down and monuments against it erected. By contrast, the Confederate battle flag stands for a state which was conceived to defend and extend manifest evil, explicitly. It was not simply incompetent or cruel, it was actively villainous. As I've pointed out in an earlier post, it quite literally held the view that its evils were actually good. You could not construct a better caricature of intentional, wanton, expansionist, self-reveling evil without a pampered white cat.

The only trait they shared was being brutal, awful ideas best never repeated. In this we again see how far rotted the conservative mind is, even just on the superficial implication that the Soviet flag is somehow popular.
Liberals squawk over the Confederate flag while shrugging off or even proudly displaying Communist memorabilia.
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+Michael K Pate​, I'm not forgetting anything. I don't know what you're trying to argue. I'm not sure you do, either.
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For a little perspective, here are the opinions rendered so far this term:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_term_opinions_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States

You'll notice that there are a lot of 9-0 decisions and plenty of 7-2s and 6-3s. You'll also notice you haven't heard about any of these cases. Most people realize that the Supreme Court is political when they lose cases many people are watching. But that's actually a bit of the exception. Overall, the Court's business isn't overly political and, so, the politics tend not to matter.

This is true of all the branches. Most of Congress's work is bureaucratic oversight and almost all of what the Executive does is try to manage the bureaucracy. That's what all these things really do with their time and effort.

The Supreme Court doesn't need to be "saved", but it does need a tweak. 

The reform it requires is for justices to serve limited terms without the possibility of reappointment by the other branches. This reform reduces the stakes in appointments. It would no longer be important to appoint young justices to the Court and there would be no random vacancies. The prohibition of reappointment would ensure that a justice has no interest in currying favor with any of the branches once appointed as they would control their career no longer. For greater security, the President could nominate a slate of justices, three for instance, which would provide backups if a justice dies in office.

I think this is a sensible tweak.
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+Andres Soolo It hasn't worked out so well for the California legislature either.
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"""
Mike Huckabee — former Fox News personality, Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher — gathered with a modest crowd here in the back of Breadeaux Pizza on his “Main Street American Family” tour and opened the floor to questions.
"""

I'm sorry, that name just sounds like a lazy day at the propaganda ministry.

"What should we call this tour?"

"Let's just string positive words together."

"How about 'Main Street American Family'?"

"I dunno, can we get an eagle in there?"

"That might confuse us with the egalitarians."

"Good point."
The GOP base wants to keep fighting on issues like same-sex marriage, but political survival for candidates may depend on evolving with public opinion.
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The bible was full of people that had harems and concubines. And wasn't marriage more about property before. Other people have posted bible quotes about marriage better than I can but one that stuck out was if you rape a virgin and get caught you pay her father 50 pieces of silver and marry her. WTF?
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Clever.  
Softball-sized camera can be tossed into unseen areas, sends panoramic images back to a smartphone.
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Steven Flaeck

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I should write a book on wind connoisseurship.
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Oooo, carrion competition.
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I'd say they nailed it.
Donald Trump may soon be coming to a quinceañera near you. Piñatas bearing the likeness of the billionaire mogul have begun popping up in Mexico, a response to controversial comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants. “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” Trump said during his Presidential campaign announcement speech.
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Lmao Yes they did lol
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Williamson continues to be one of the worst writers of this, or any, age. He combines insubstantial criticism, rank ignorance, and incapable prose into essays which can only convince one that the written word was perhaps man's worst mistake.
John Roberts has the black robes, and the interpretive gifts, too.
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There's no statement like overstatement
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A line of legislative deference has been "legislatures get to define 'marriage' because the Constitution is silent on it". This is true, they can define the constellation of benefits and requirements generally. But the Constitution isn't silent on the extent of franchises: they have to apply equally. You can't craft special privileges for one group and not another without "due process of law". As the judicial consensus has evolved on this, we've seen the introduction of "rational basis plus" to deal with gay marriage, where the old rational basis standard is married to the proviso "except when animus is involved". That is, the legislature may define a variety of differences arbitrarily, but they can't do so out of animus. That would require higher levels of justification, more "due" in due process.

This has been the challenge 150 years now, since the creation of the 14th Amendment permanently dissolved any pretense that State or Federal governments were inheritors of royal powers. They can't actually just make laws arbitrarily, they have to put some force of public reason behind discrimination at least equivalent to how fundamental the right is. Working out to what extent we actually have a government of limited powers versus king-and-parliament in republican garb has been a long process. It is no secret and, I suspect, no shock that you will find conservative jurists involved in a queer Anglophilia. While they may discuss a government of limited powers, in practice they mean a government balanced against rights inhering in an elect. Just as the old law of England, in its manifest cruelty and inequity, proclaimed differences among its subjects even into their graves.

The startling disingenuousness of conservatives is rarely apparent to them because, generally, conservatives speak from that position of largely unacknowledged priority, those whose rights are immediately protected rather than prorogued. The hypothetical state which outlawed opposite- but allowed same-sex marriages would be condemned by conservatives as violating a fundamental understanding of marriage to which they have a right. But that state is always hypothetical, they can deny their probable response because they will never have to give it. One thinks of what Scalia, et al, would declare regarding the Panther's law in a free state of Oakland. Perhaps they would find, suddenly, that protections of minorities are fundamentally consistent with their views. That these are ever hypothetical examples, that no conservative lives under such a pall as they cast on others, is critical to their blindness. It is how they can declare some right both fundamental to man and unequally applied. Their world is not the one turned upside down, their dignities not those trampled. They require of others that their homes be built of crooked wood, keeping what little straight lumber man produces for themselves alone.

So we get here. It was conservatives who asserted that marriage is a fundamental, bedrock institution, one of these few sources of straight timber in a crooked world. But they have also been quick to assert that it is reserved to their favored. We have seen this over and over, the majority in Obergefell lists some in marriage expressly, like the removal of coverture and miscegenation laws. That's not what the Republic established in 1868. It proclaimed equality before the law, we partake in the straight and crooked together or not at all.

The 14th Amendment holds, merely, that if you find a fundamental right among one group, it's a fundamental right for all groups. You don't get a special group with rights and another without. Ultimately, there was no way for conservatives to win: the pure logic of the situation means that every argument they give in defense of not having same-sex marriage stresses ever greater the fundamentality of a marriage right. That tension cannot hold forever because it creates a deep perversity in the law, a strange exception which people accept less and less.

We know this because we lived through that process. What held together conservative arguments in public was disgust for gays, real hatred. As it waned, there was less reinforcement available and all the same tension in place. As the rapid expansion of gay marriage showed, it was unsustainable.

Conservative pundits have been quick to say "the democratic process has been cut short". It hasn't. Even cursory examination of the rhetoric and reason bearing in gay marriage legalization shows that people saw themselves as doing what the courts should have but had so far failed to do. This wasn't a democratic process in the normal sense, it was the people fighting a court which had fallen behind. For the court to, once more, recognize that the 14th Amendment means what it damn well says -- by force of statute if not by reason alone -- is all this "democratic process" was intended to do. Had this been accomplished by court packing, no one would have seen it as a lesser achievement.

Thus we get where we are today, with an argument opened up for five justices who wanted to grant gay marriages. It's worth bearing mind that the bans were in large measure electoral ploys. Roughly half were enacted in 2004 as part of a strategy to increase evangelical turnout. The other half were backed in 2008 for precisely the same reason. When we speak of the democratic process, we are usually speaking of a free deliberative system that the bans do not, in large measure, result from. They're bits of electoral strategy and, once known, seem a perversion of democratic politics. Perhaps even another in a long list of destructive referenda. Given the underlying weakness, it's hard to have expected them to survive without procedural hurdles to save them. And that reduction, the loss of core democratic legitimacy and their mere procedural preservation, makes this 5-4 ruling as solid as if it were 9-0.
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+DAVIDM LIBONATI​​ "there are plenty of motherfuckers...waiting to legally marry mom". Are there? No, I suspect you are wrong, which would explain why there is not a gigantic motherfucker marriage movement. Lovely hypothetical though.

We'll just have to see if these liberals-caused marriage nightmares ever come to pass. Where can I bet massive amounts of money on this? I have a good feeling.
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It's perfectly consistent with the underlying ideology. Note that the ACLU hasn't been fighting against anti-discrimination law ever. It views the utter neutrality of the commercial and public spheres as the central question in civil liberties generally.
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Before the tornado, we were all local shucksters. It is what we did after the clouds descended upon the unready world which made us heroines and comrades and, yes, wizards.
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