Tuesday September 02, 2014
July 3rd, 2014
It's not often that social and corporate conservatives come together, but the five right-of-center justices on the U.S. Supreme Court fashioned exactly this synthesis in their Hobby Lobby decision this week. In a religious freedom case related to birth control, the majority focused on the liberties of the company's owners, not of those who work for them.
An aspiring rapper posts his lyrics on Facebook, suggesting a Halloween costume with his estranged wife's "head on a stick."
He goes on: "I'm not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts. Hurry up and die, bitch, so I can..." and so on and so forth.
There have been some great landmark Supreme Court decisions: Marbury v. Madison, Brown v. Board of Education, U.S. v. Nixon, and Lawrence v. Texas, to name but a few. And there have been a number of doozies. Among them: Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott v. Sandford, Korematsu v. United States and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This week's Hobby Lobby decision now joins the ranks of the worst ever. It will be soon regretted and someday overturned.
This Independence Day weekend is marked not only by patriotic, flag-waving parades and fireworks. It also features a sharp declaration of independence from Congress by a president frustrated by the legislative headlock its Republican members hold on him.
On Sunday Henry Paulson, the former Treasury secretary and a lifelong Republican, had an op-ed article about climate policy in The New York Times. In the article, he declared that man-made climate change is "the challenge of our time," and called for a national tax on carbon emissions to encourage conservation and the adoption of green technologies. Considering the prevalence of climate denial within today's GOP, and the absolute opposition to any kind of tax increase, this was a brave stand to take.
Americans' confidence in American leadership is flagging to such a degree that it poses a critical threat to our democracy, particularly as moneyed interests seek to manipulate the malaise and stir policy and politician away from principle and toward profit.
President Barack Obama's approval ratings remain underwater, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last week found that his numbers have gotten even worse on foreign policy. As NBC put it:
In the real world, markets aren't perfect.
If they were, you wouldn't need Fannie Mae to play such a vital role in housing finance. You wouldn't need government to fund research. And you certainly wouldn't rely on an export credit agency to help promote American exports and create American jobs. Surely, the private sector can handle that.
Iraq is shattered and 300 U.S. military advisers can't put the pieces back together. So now what? An old saying about the Middle East comes to mind: Things can always get worse.
The aim of U.S. policy at this point should be minimizing the calamity, not chasing rainbows of a unified, democratic, pluralistic Iraq -- which, sadly, is something the power brokers in Iraq do not want.
The past month has presented the world with what the Israeli analyst Orit Perlov describes as the two dominant Arab governing models: ISIL and SISI.
It's the darnedest thing. Only a select few sites grace the bookmark bar topping my Web browser. Amazon.com is one. And Amazon is the only retailer to make the cut.
That it lets me buy ant traps online in 40 seconds, gets them to my house in two days and charges a good price for it all is kind of miraculous, don't you think?