“Does the House Report say that? Of course, the House Report says that.”
There really is no point in gloating, fretting, or prognosticating about what we’ve heard from the Supreme Court this week. Indeed, even Justice Scalia—the Great Grumpus Cat of the Supreme Court—can still surprise, and when weighing his homophobia in a tax fight, it’s hard to figure which way he’ll go.
Still, though, Chief Justice John Roberts provided an interesting, tangential branch in the discussion that some have noted.
Ryan Grim summarizes, for Huffington Post:
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Wednesday reacted incredulously to the notion that members of the Senate or the U.S. president may have been motivated to pass the Defense of Marriage Act by animus or moral objection to gay and lesbian couples. It was a window into his apparent belief that the U.S. is simply not a place burdened by such things as bigotry or racism.
When I read about Roberts’ remarks, I thought of a conservative associate who has a similar argumentative style; it is almost as if history doesn’t exist. It is a problem in our public discourse. Two people who are reasonably educated about history can have a thoughtful discussion about historical issues; it’s not the same, though, if one has to spend the whole time reminding the other of what is actually in the historical record. Obviously, the Chief Justice isn’t the only one; listen to how many educated pundits and analysts can’t seem to think back to recent history.
It seems rather sad when the jokes aren’t especially far-fetched because reality is not so far behind.
It’s one of those things that gets lost in translation. I don’t know which movie it was, but at some point during the Harry Potter saga, I had to look up the word “jumper”, because it clearly didn’t mean the same thing in England as it does in the States. And so it goes. Lorry, flat, lift, jumper … flapjack?
A school has banned triangular flapjacks after a pupil was injured by one.
Dinner staff at Castle View school in Canvey Island, Essex, were told to cut the treat into squares or rectangles following the incident.
It is understood that the triangular version was banned after one was thrown, hitting a boy in the face.
Americans reading those sentences will naturally be aghast: How th’fuggidy get hurt by a flapjack? And, naturally, there is an answer.
File under, “Depressing”. I mean, to the one, it’s nothing big insofar as one might follow up on the latest tales of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) craniorectal clownery; that phenomenal train wreck in slow motion has transcended any such consideration of merits. After all, it’s Michele Bachmann.
But check out the “most popular” sidebar. Yeah, now that is depressing.
But, yeah, a commenter on Daily Kos called George W. Bush a Nazi in 2004, so … both sides do it, right?
Conventional wisdom often pays homage to the belief that there really isn’t much difference between the two main American political parties; indeed, if one party displays problematic behavior, the response is often to point out that both parties do it.
And it’s true that bigotry is not confined to Republicans, or conservatives in general. But, as Savage notes, it’s kind of hard to find a similar Democratic- or liberal-side episode that rivals reports coming out of Maryland, where the Conservative Political Action Committee endured an encounter that, well, therein arisies the problem. Scott Keyes and Zack Beauchamp explain for Think Progress:
The exchange occurred after an audience member from North Carolina, 30-year-old Scott Terry, asked whether Republicans could endorse races remaining separate but equal. After the presenter, K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans, answered by referencing a letter by Frederick Douglass forgiving his former master, the audience member said “For what? For feeding him and housing him?” Several people in the audience cheered and applauded Terry’s outburst.
After the exchange, Terry muttered under his breath, “why can’t we just have segregation?” noting the Constitution’s protections for freedom of association ….
ThinkProgress spoke with Terry, who sported a Rick Santorum sticker and attended CPAC with a friend who wore a Confederate Flag-emblazoned t-shirt, about his views after the panel. Terry maintained that white people have been “systematically disenfranchised” by federal legislation.
When asked by ThinkProgress if he’d accept a society where African-Americans were permanently subservient to whites, he said “I’d be fine with that.” He also claimed that African-Americans “should be allowed to vote in Africa,” and that “all the Tea Parties” were concerned with the same racial problems that he was.
At one point, a woman challenged him on the Republican Party’s roots, to which Terry responded, “I didn’t know the legacy of the Republican Party included women correcting men in public.”
He claimed to be a direct descendent of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
At some point it seems nearly comical, like the easiest agent provocateur gig in history; just get up and play whatever bigot caricature comes to mind, and find people in the conservative audience rallying to the cause. And it is true; there are times when one would be forgiven for thinking they were not dealing with a genuine conservative, but instead some overzealous, half-witted provocateur trying to discredit a movement.
One of my favorites was a conservative associate who reckoned that Obamanoia had nothing to do with racism, but rather that a fantasy president Obama was victimizing good, decent people by forcing them to resort to racist slings and arrows. “Race is absolutely not the motivation for opposition to Obama,” he explained, “but it is used by some as a tool in the fight against him.”
“And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.”
Among the billions of people around the world who are not Catholics, many look upon the papal pomp and circumstance with a certain measure of curiosity ranging from the benign to the banal to the belligerent. The personality cult surrounding the pontiff is a strange enough, given the bland personalities required for such a storied and bound office, but even those who see nothing more than a bunch of old men playing dress-up might take a note about reverence. In tumultuous times that often seem devoid of solemn respect—well, that is the question, is it not?
Modern perceptions of religion are sharply caricaturized. One need not give over to religious belief in order to acknowledge that cynicism toward mystical fantasy need not include derision of ideas like sanctity and veneration. Perhaps this is a classic first world problem, a contrast that stands out clearly amid American affluence; we have the luxury of such discussions.
But the world needs next Medici pope only slightly less than the next Honey Boo Boo; there is only so much modernization critics of the Catholic Church can reasonably demand. Imagine Rick Santorum as pope.
One of the curious things about the American political discourse is that two roads running in fairly opposite directions are somehow expected to meet up again after some mysterious number of miles have passed.
Consider it in other terms. A job interview? Why would you hire the candidate who says the job he’s applying for is useless and can do no good?
A product salesman? Would you really buy the product if the salesman insisted that it didn’t work and wasn’t worth the money?
I think of Homer Simpson: “I kicked a giant mouse in the butt! Do I have to draw you a diagram?” That is to say, it shouldn’t require a cartoon to help people figure this out. Some things really are that obvious.
When it comes to things that bear repeating, thankfully there are bloggers to do the job. After all, if the point doesn’t communicate the first few times, only saturation will suffice. What? Okay, not exactly, but still, there are some things that shouldn’t require such repetition. To wit, Steve Benen:
When a nation tries to recover from an economic downturn, there are a variety of things policymakers have no control over. After the Great Recessions, for example, neither the White House nor Congress could control the Eurozone crisis, a natural disaster in Japan, or unrest in the Middle East.
It’s an unpredictable world with inter-connected economies and volatility often lurking just out of sight. But this realizations only reinforces a lesson congressional Republicans have forgotten: U.S. policymakers should, at a minimum, not make matters worse.
Consider, for example, what unemployment would be if government weren’t trying to create jobs and lay off public-sector workers at the same time.
He’s actually pointing to Phil Izzo’s blog post for The Wall Street Journal, which makes a point that ought to be familiar to all by now:
Federal, state and local governments have shed nearly 750,000 jobs since June 2009, according to the Labor Department‘s establishment survey of employers. No other sector comes close to those job losses over the same period. Construction is in second worst place, but its 225,000 cuts are less than a third of the government reductions. To be sure, construction and other sectors performed worse during the depths of the recession, but no area has had a worse recovery.
A separate tally of job losses looks even worse. According to the household survey, which is where the unemployment rate comes from, there are nearly 950,000 fewer people employed by the government than there were when the recovery started in mid-2009. If none of those people were counted as unemployed, the jobless rate would be 7.1%, compared with the 7.7% rate reported on Friday.
What’s that? Well, it’s one of those weird issues that stays in the background no matter how important it actually is, regardless of how often it is actually thrust into the spotlight.
Politically conservative groups in the U.S. don’t do irony very well. Or, as Rob Boston noted last month:
Religious Right groups spend a lot of time beating on church-state separation. TV preacher Pat Robertson once called that constitutional principle “a lie of the left” and said it comes from the old Soviet Constitution.
Not to be outdone, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association asserted that Adolf Hitler invented church-state separation
Others have been less hyperbolic but have still made it clear that they’re no fans of the handiwork of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
Take Alan Sears, for example. Sears runs the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the nation’s largest Religious Right legal group. He once called the church-state wall “artificial.”
Funny, though, how that “artificial” wall that the Religious Right tells us over and over doesn’t exist and was never intended by the Founding Fathers can come in handy sometimes – like when the right wing wants to attack yoga in public schools.
In Encinitas, Calif., an attorney named Dean Broyles has filed suit against the Encinitas Union School District, asserting that a voluntary yoga program for students violates church-state separation. Broyles runs a small legal outfit called the National Center for Law and Policy, which, according to its website, defends “faith, family and freedom.”
Broyles is proud of his association with the ADF and notes that he “has received extensive training in pro-family, pro-life and pro-religious liberty matters at ADF’s outstanding National Litigation Academies (NLA). Because of Dean’s pro-bono work, he was invited to receive special training at ADF’s advanced NLA. Dean is proud to be an ADF affiliate attorney and member of ADF’s honor guard.”
Was Broyles asleep when Sears explained that separation of church and state doesn’t exist? How else can we explain his use of the principle in this lawsuit?
‘Tis a fine question.