Sunday, October 2, 2016

It isn't often these days that I find a news article or website post that is worthy of actually mentioning  these days, given that so many hundreds of others have already shared the information and caused it to make the rounds on the internet. However, there remain odd pieces of information that sometimes spark enough inspiration in me to write something new and express my own views regarding that particular subject. Such is the case with this post by a man I had previously never heard of until reading someone else's words about him on

The man in question is Ethan Epstein, who claims to be a fan of the Supreme Court and the Constitution, yet several of his paragraphs seem to give the lie to his words. He admittedly is correct when he recounts the numerous bad decisions made by the Court, not once realizing that what is considered moral and what is considered often go hand in hand. He mentions several historically famous decisions such as Plessy v. Ferguson, Dredd Scott, and Korematsu v. United States, this last being the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II.

First, let's start with his mention of the Plessy v. Ferguson case. For those not in the know, Plessy v. Ferguson was the Separate but Equal decision, which affirmed segregation and was crucial in upholding the Jim Crowe laws of the Deep South. Where he goes wrong is in his comparison of that decision to the modern state of our educational system. Mr. Epstein states that our schools remain segregated due to the fact that inner city schools are populated mainly by minorities, while suburban private schools are populated by the Caucasian majority. This ludicrous for a couple of reasons, but let's focus on the obvious one. Plessy v. Ferguson reinforced the idea that government mandate could determine whether or not black citizens had the right to attend the same facilities as whites. No such restriction exists today, and in fact NO SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY, save for one in Alabama that recently made national news for that very practice, puts that policy into effect any longer. Epstein seems to believe that that is not the case, despite the fact that P v. F was in fact overturned after Brown v. Board of Education. Economic and cultural factors are the main reason today why public schools are populated the way they are.

Second, after mentioning that todays Americans citizens would most likely unanimously agree on the wrongness of the above mentioned decisions, he says this:

Of course, there would be much less agreement about the Roberts Court. But I believe that it, too, has failed in some of its most important rulings. The Roberts Court has continually favored the rights of business over the rights of employees and consumers and all of us. It has made it much more difficult for those whose rights have been violated to seek redress through the courts by creating significant barriers to suits against governments and government officers. It has tremendously expanded the rights of corporations in the political process, such as by holding that they have a right to spend unlimited sums of money in election campaigns, while simultaneously limiting the rights of unions to collect dues from non-members to support collective bargaining activities. In fact, last term, in several cases, the Court unanimously rejected constitutional claims against government officers who had violated their rights.  In one case, the Court, in an opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, found that a person’s First Amendment rights had been violated by firing him for truthful testimony given in court, but said that he could not recover because no case had ever established such a right.

Notice in the above quoted paragraph, he does not cite these supposed instances where the court has unanimously tamped down on minority rights by passing the decisions they have. The Roberts Court has made its fair share of bad decisions, I'll grant, but I doubt he and I would agree on just what those decisions were that were so bad. He makes mention in the next paragraph, however, of Obamacare and, without using its name, Roe. v. Wade. His tone, if you read the article, suggests that the decision to uphold these court cases  were GOOD ones, however, as he laments in the next paragraph:

It is likely that this term, or no later than next, the court will again be considering abortion rights, affirmative action and the Affordable Care Act. I am very worried that the conservative majority will allow the government to impose great limits on reproductive freedom, keep the government from using racially sensitive admissions policies to enhance diversity and interpret the Affordable Care Act to greatly limit its effectiveness.

Notice that language? He uses the positive sounding identifiers for the cases he likes, while at the same time lamenting the fact that our government won't be able to use "racially sensitive admissions policies to enhance diversity." My favorite one, though, is  "limit [the Affordable  Care Act's] effectiveness." Funnily enough, I came across this article that says exactly what the headline indicates.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Some Thoughts on the Nation

It's been a while since I've seen fit to visit these old stomping grounds. The truth of the matter is that there's no one single reason as to why I haven't been around lately. Life takes its turns where it will, and when it does, you either buckle up and put both hands on the wheel, or you end up getting banged around like a stray coin in a dryer. Between my struggles with court reporting studies and moving back to Roseville after so long in Auburn, not to mention helping my fiancee plan our wedding, I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog about everything that's been driving me mad in regards to politics this past week. Or for that matter in the year or two it's been since I've actually blogged around here, but with the recent ruling by the Supreme Court regarding gay "marriage", I finally felt the need to dust off the keyboard and get off my chest that which has been eating at me since the ruling was made over a week ago.

Put simply, this is the worst case of judicial activism since Roe v. Wade in the seventies. Except that this case will make that one look like a candle flame to the gay marriage inferno. Over 80 percent of the country identifies as Christian in some way, shape, or form. Are the majority of those people just going to sit back and take this lying down? My guess, personally, is no. Already we have a Christian man who has decided to fight back rather than pay a business-destroying fine for not serving a lesbian couple a wedding cake. Texas's state government officials, including Governor Abbot himself, are actively and outright defying the ruling as if it was never made. Pastors all over the country are calling for civil disobedience in the face of this ruling as well. That doesn't sound at all like a group ready to kow tow to some magically created "right" in the Constitution, an that gives me a bit of hope.

That said, when I read stories like the above mentioned, I also realize that during my entire childhood, I had yet to live in a time when there was a real crisis of any sort going on in America. I was born only a few months before Jimmy Carter left office and the Reagan Era began. My first twelve years in this country and on this Earth were essentially nothing but prosperity. On top of being a kid, and having no worries, I was living in the strongest economy America had experienced up to that point. Even through the Clinton years I never noticed anything really wrong with the country or the economy. In fact, the first real sense of dread I felt was in 2008, after the economy tanked and Obama was elected. It was the first presidential election I really paid attention to,and it was when the scales were pulled off my eyes and I began to see that this politics stuff MATTERED. I was so affected by this revelation that, come 2012, upon Obama's reelection, I actually cried myself to sleep. No joke.

Yet, now, after the last six years, I came to realize that the current cycle is temporary, and the winds of change are already blowing in a rightward direction. For all the talk about Hillary's supposed inevitability as the next President of the United States, Ted Cruz seems to be blazing quite the path toward the White House. However in the bag she thinks her candidacy is, Hillary will have a fight on her hands if Cruz gets the nod.

What's the point of all this rambling, you ask? Well, put simply, that things will get better. This too shall pass, and all that. It's going to take more than one bad president to erode America's founding principles.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Into the Woods for a Much Needed Reminder

It's been a while since I saw a stage show. Before yesterday afternoon, (Saturday, August 10 as I begin writing this post) I hadn't been to the theater in I don't know how long. I can't even remember the last show I saw that wasn't projected onto a screen rather than being performed live on a stage. Even the plays I HAD seen up until this point had been on Netflix, due to a lack of both cash and time to go to the theaters at which these productions were playing. That changed recently, when my better half of almost nine years now decided to purchase tickets to a show by Stephen Sondheim known as "Into the Woods", a fairy tale that takes the concept of the "fairy tale ending" and turns it on its head.

In summary: The show deals with several of everyone's favorite Grimm Fairy Tale characters such as Jack (of beanstalk fame), Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and their respective Prince Charmings. Their stories begin as we all know they do. Red is off to Grandmother's house to deliver a basket of goodies, Jack is of to market to sell his last cow for money with which to buy food from a local baker and his wife who, as part of their own story, desire a child. These characters, as well as the witch who imprisoned Rapunzel in her tower, all live within walking distance of a forest known simply as "the woods" wherein the characters are required to trek in order to accomplish their  respective goals. Act One of the play ends with each character having reached the supposed ends of their quests, and even has a finale musical number entitled "Ever After", that ends with the caveat "To Be Continued" spoken by the story's narrator. In Act 2, the story's moral of "be careful what you wish for" is explored in full.

Act 2 begins with the baker and his wife caring for their new child and contemplating adding a room to their home, Jack and his mother enjoying their (stolen) wealth, and Cinderella wishing to sponsor a festival such as the one she attended in Act 1. The witch has, thanks to the efforts of the baker and his wife in the previous act, regained her youth and beauty at the  expense of her magical power, as well. Thus is the stage set for what happens "Ever After".

Well, it turns out that "ever after" isn't as happy as the fairy tales would have us believe. Jack's adventures in the clouds have angered the wife of the giant he killed, and she is now looking for him so that she might bring him to justice. The giant's rampage destroys Red Riding Hood's home, and results in the deaths of several characters. At the end of the second act, we are treated with an ensemble reprise of the number "Children Will Listen", which warns that obedience and learning are not the same thing.

What's my point, you ask?

My point is that when I saw this show in high school for the first time, it affected me greatly, and has been my favorite show ever since. The viewing of that show on the tenth reminded me as to why. It served as a reminder that life isn't fair. We all, in our own way, have to journey "Into the Woods" at some point in our lives. When we do, we face the dangers of such a place, but we also experience the wonders. If we never journey into the woods, we might be safe at home and alive, but we're missing out on all the many paths and experiences that await.

When I first saw this show, I didn't realize that literally no one can avoid their own personal journey into their own personal woods. After having been through a few more experiences in the decade since I left high school, however, I realized unequivocally that I'd already journeyed there multiple times, whether I knew it or not. When I got my first job, learned to drive, even something as simple as driving somewhere I wasn't familiar with before. The realization was extremely emotional for me, and I didn't bother hiding the tears  that were brought to my eyes as a result.

In short, I learned something about myself during this particular journey into the woods, and I liked what I learned. I"ve been into the woods many times, and I've learned more than I thought in my time there. I've grown as a person by experiencing the seemingly mundane and every day problems that we all face as adults. I have, in short, matured without realizing it and I never would have done so without venturing into my own personal wood.

All in all, it's not  bad way to be.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Regarding the Second Amendment...

It's been quite a while since I've done this. personally I'm rather shocked that all of my followers haven't abandoned this blog in favor of people who've been able to update recently. I'm also glad to see that the opposite is true.

Why have I been gone for so long? To put it bluntly, I got bored. I ran out of outrage with which to fuel the passion I had when writing posts that pointed out the idiocy of the administration, or the infractions on our civil liberties by both federal and state entities. I simply didn't have the drive to continue for a long while. It didn't help that I was attempting to live something called "life" either. I continue with my court reporting lessons, a stint as an insurance salesman. Now, because of that decision, I have a lot more time on my hands. So, I decided to dust off the old blog and write down my thoughts on things that happen day to day whenever it strikes my fancy to do so.

I chose today to do this because of a recent Facebook debate I was engaged in regarding the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Someone posted an article on gun violence that prompted several others, myself included, to chime in on the discussion regarding that particular subject, as well as the second amendment in general. I came down in favor. Several others...did not. One, whom I had initially mistaken for being against the idea of an armed populace, was actually advocating ways in which guns could be made safer and easier to use by law abiding citizens. I unfortunately let my passions get the better of me and began treating him as if he were just another gun-grabbing wannabe tyrant. This proved to be a mistake.

During that conversation, I was lumped in with a sort of "gun culture" that apparently accepts the number of people being murdered by gun violence in this country at 30,000 per year. After this person's repeated use of that number, I decided to do a little digging and see if that number were true, or even accurate.

Turns out, after glancing over, the number is indeed accurate but, fortunately, the article I found broke down the number to its base components by incident type. Here it is copied and pasted by yours truly for all who read this to see:

Suicide: 18,735 deaths
Homicide: 11,493 deaths
Unintentional: 554 deaths
Legal interventions: 333 deaths
Undetermined: 232 deaths

Notice the first category, suicide. 18,735 deaths per year. This means that according to Politifact's source, almost half of those people that die every year from gun violence are people who decide to put a gun to their head one day and pull the trigger. Compare this to homicide, which is in turn almost half of what the suicide rate is. The rest of the study shows that gun accidents, legal interventions and undetermined incidents are but a pittance compared to the above two rates. This of course does not include those who get shot and survive the encounter, as I am merely deconstructing the number of deaths, not the number of shootings.

What can we derive from looking at these numbers? Firstly, let's look at the overall population of the United States. According to Google, the number is 313.9 Million. Of these 300,000,000 people, one third are subject to some form of gun violence, be it a death or an injury. Of that one third, one third are actual deaths, using the 30,000 figure from earlier. Of THAT group, almost TWO THIRDS are suicides, with almost an additional third being homicidal incidents.

It would seem to me that access to firearms is not the issue, as many would have us believe. What we need to really do regarding gun violence is examine not the "how", but the WHY of gun violence. Why are people shooting each other? What can we do to convince them not to? Or, failing that, the next generation?

I wish I had the answers. Sadly I do not.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day Five of the Shutdown: Still not Feeling the Pain

As the title indicates, I am simply still not feeling the pain of the supposed government shutdown. If anything this one is easier to deal with than the 94-95 shutdown, and that was back when I was completely ignorant of politics beyond who the president of the United States was at that given time. Would report on what's happening, but it can be summed up in one word: NOTHING!

In other news, I finally visited, to see if the glitches were as widespread as people said they were, and guess what! They totally were! This is the message I received after clicking "apply now" on the website:

From RFC 2068 Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1:

10.4.5 404 Not Found

The server has not found anything matching the Request-URI. No indication is given of whether the condition is temporary or permanent.

If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 403 (Forbidden) can be used instead. The 410 (Gone) status code SHOULD be used if the server knows, through some internally configurable mechanism, that an old resource is permanently unavailable and has no forwarding address.

This is the glowing advertisement given to us the American people. This is the solution to all the healthcare problems in the country. THIS STEAMING PILE OF CRAP IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE HOLY GRAIL OF LIBERALISM? WHAT A JOKE.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day Four of the Shutdown: It's the End of the World as I Know it, but I Feel Fine.

I stole the title of this post from a song that I and everyone who grew up in the 1990s with me likely heard on a daily, if not hourly basis for the majority of that decade. We are now in  Day Four of the infamous government shutdown that was threatened when Ted Cruz took the floor of the Senate to (sort of) filibuster amendments to a bill that would have funded the government at the cost of funding Obamacare. I would have reported on the first three days of the shutdown, but honestly, NOTHING HAPPENED that was worth reporting. At least not until a crazy woman decided to run the barricades that have been set up in Washington because she thought the President was stalking her (no joke). That, incidentally had nothing to do with the shutdown, and the story was over almost before it began, since the woman was shot dead after leading the capitol police on a merry high speed chase. The only other events of interest are the media's expected and not surprising-at-all attempts to link the woman to Tea Party politicians and blame her behavior on the aforementioned shutdown.

People from all over the country are either complaining or elating that the government has shutdown, even partially. Here's the kicker, though: The government isn't the be all and end all of our lives, and this proves it. Just a look at what is being shut down should tell you that this is only a game to the suits on the Hill. The Grand Canyon has been shut down, national parks, the freaking WORLD WAR II VETERAN'S MEMORIAL has been barricaded off and cordoned, only to be broken through by what one of my fellow bloggers in the sphere called "The Charge of the Walker and Wheelchair Brigade" or some such thing like that. Unlike the referenced Charge of the Light Brigade, however, their efforts were not futile, and they succeeded in visiting said memorial with the help of the Fifth Column agents within the D.C. federal security that were supposed to keep them out. So there's that.

The reason, in my opinion, why the government shutdown is at the forefront of the news is not for the sake of reporting on the shutdown itself, but rather it is being used as a smokescreen NOT to report on the disastrous roll out of Obamacare, which was supposed to go without a hitch on October 1 of this week, and instead was met with all manner of glitches and bugs almost from the moment of its unveiling. By the time I went to it was at least partially working, but I didn't actually try to go through the enrollment process. Chicks on the Right had a post with video that explains the glitches, changing the tone of a story that was originally intended to be a glowing report on the efficiency and effectiveness of the new system. I watched the video the day of that post and had to resist the urge to laugh out loud at the irony.

Also in Obamacare/shutdown news:

Reports initially came in from my home state of California that over five million people had attempted to sign up for Obamacare, which they said was what resulted in the shutdown of the site, as well as myriad other bugs and glitches. This was later revised DOWNWARD  to just over 600,000. Even here in the People's Republic of Mexifornia no one is signing up for this thing. Add that to the fact that no one is signing up in Her Highness Queen Kathleen Sebelius I's home state of Kansas, and you get a sense of just what kind of steaming pile Obamacare really is.

More to come on Day 5

Friday, September 20, 2013

One Step at a Time

Big news, blogosphere! I have come out of my pseudo-retirement in order to inform all of my followers that a victory has been achieved for our side. I heard on the radio today as I was working my recently acquired paper route that the GOP has finally decided that listening to the American people is a good thing. Specifically that they've voted in the House of Representatives  (on a bi-partisan basis, no less) to defund the legislative monstrosity that is Obamacare. CBS News reports that the continuing resolution passed the House in a 230-189 vote, and would allow for funding of every government program currently in place, save for the Affordable Care Act. I don't need to tell you all, dear readers, that the Left is absolutely livid at this development, which only goes to show that the House Republicans are finally beginning to do one of two things: Either they're showing some backbone, or they're more afraid of the American people than they are of their "colleagues" in Washington. My guess is it's a little of both. After all first it was amnesty, then it was gun control, and now they're finally bringing the big guns to bear. We still have a long way to go, but at least we're one step closer than we were yesterday, am I right?

The above article also notes a quote from Dear Leader, loosely translated as: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!:

You don't have to threaten to blow the whole thing up if you don't get your way," Obama said in a campaign-style speech at a Ford plant in the Kansas City, Missouri area, adding that legislators in Washington were focused on politics and "trying to mess with me," rather than helping the middle class.

That was King Barack complaining that Republicans are threatening to "blow up" the government so that they can get rid of Obamacare. Remember folks, that this continuing resolution funds EVERY DEPARTMENT IN NEED OF FUNDING except the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Every news report and article I've seen says this. Yet we have Nancy Pelosi being let out of her Crazy Box to say the following:

Yes, you heard right, readers. Apparently we who would see Obamacare defunded are nothing more than "legislative arsonists". I'm not even sure what the heck a legislative arsonist is, but as I haven't seen anybody burning piles of bills in the news or on the internet, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that no burning is being done. Maybe it was Pelosi's pants on fire that she thought were causing the flames? I don't know. What I do know is, that woman needs to cut out the botox so her brain can heal a little bit. Sadly, though, I believe it may be too late for the poor organ inside her skull.

Yet I've found that no one can sound quite like a whiny child better than Dear Leader himself. Listen to this:

Sour Grapes anyone?