The Constitution is difficult to amend, and deliberately so

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United States and Feather QuillNothing is more fundamental in our democracy than our right to vote. “We are witnesses today to attacks on that hard-won right… Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP… reminded us that our votes were paid for with blood.” So, of all the Supreme Court decisions in the last couple years, the one gutting the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was among the most troubling. What Happened Next in These 8 States Will Not Shock You.

Therefore, I was slack-jawed when some guy wrote Continue reading

Waste of time and money: dividing California

California6I read, from Evanier, but also elsewhere, that some joker has promoted a ballot initiative to split the Golden State into six states. Even if the ballot initiative somehow won in November – and I have relatives there (sister, niece – Don’t Vote for This Nonsense!) – it still wouldn’t go into effect. Evanier noted, in a conversation about whether Texas, which had been its own country briefly, and would theoretically have the right to splinter:

“You have to consider Article IV, Section 3 of a little document called the United States Constitution. That particular section says…”

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

If you are a US Senator from a small state, populationwise, such as Delaware or Alaska, would you want there to be 12 US Senators from CA when there were two? And if you were from a large state, say Florida or Illinois, why would you want them to have many more Senators than your state?

BTW, Chuck Miller, my fellow blogger with the Times Union, came up with what a divided up New York State might look like. It was a highlighted blog for that day.

Given the disdain with which most of the American people see Congress, creating MORE members, with the requisite expense, does not seem like a winning scenario.

Church and state: Francis I

I found this graphic really interesting. The Socialist US Senator is embracing the Pope’s condemnation of “doctrinaire capitalism, ‘deified markets,” trickle-down economics, and the finance industry. He decried the growing gap between the rich and the poor, tax evasion by the wealthy, and characterized ruthless free-market economics as a killer that was inherently sinful.” I assume this will mean that the Pope will be painted as a socialist.

Francis, moreover Continue reading

Constitutional allies

It’s Constitution Day!

Earlier in the year, I was inclined to agree with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show that most of the Constitution seems to be under attack, except that the Second Amendment right to bear arms seemed to be sacrosanct. For instance, the Supreme Court has chipped away at the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Worse, it felt that only a relative handful of people were concerned. That has visibly changed, and the opposition to governmental overreach is bipartisan.

Item from Newsmax:

“The American Civil Liberties Union is joining tea party activists in opposing the use of armed drones and other counterterrorism operations to kill suspected terrorists, even American citizens.
Continue reading

Yassin Aref: a matter of (in)justice

picture from the projectsalam.org webpage

It was local front page news, of course, back in 2006: two Muslims convicted of material support for TERRORISM, in Albany, New York! But even a casual reading of the news reports running up to the conviction of Yassin Aref, an Albany iman, and Mohammed Hossain, a pizzeria owner, didn’t add up. The clips of them with the FBI “informant” did NOT indicate the hate-filled speech I was told to expect.

Read about Yassin Aref’s arrest, conviction and incarceration in this 2011 article for New York magazine. It discusses the government’s “controversial policy of preemptive prosecution—taking down those thought to possibly become terrorists in the future.”

Now Aref’s lawyers will file papers Continue reading

ARA: The way my mind works

CHRIS: Ooo, what does the infinity symbol symbolize?

Gee, I thought it was a sidewards eight.

Good on your with the presidents thing. The three presidents in one year has happened twice and three in two years but more than one year happened once (by my count using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States), none of which I knew before the discussion came up.

Three in one year was 1841 and 1881, that’s correct. Hadn’t thought about three in two years, but that would be 1849-1850, with Polk, Taylor and Fillmore.

Which brings me to my next question: how do you learn so many random things? Did you, for example, set out to memorize all the presidents and the years? Or does your brain do that “naturally”?

After minutes of self-psychoanalysis, this is what I’ve concluded Continue reading

R is for Roger, redux

As I’ve undoubtedly noted, the name Roger comes from the Germanic roots meaning spear bearer, specifically “famous with the spear.”

When you think of the first name Roger, who are the first people you think of? (I mean besides me, of course.) That was the question in this segment of the TV show Family Feud; I’m sorry it is incomplete.

Here’s a list of celebrities whose first names are Roger. The ones that immediately came to mind are some Continue reading

Disney/Marvel, SONY and copyright overreach

I’ve long been concerned about the expanding length and reach of copyright protection in the United States, and elsewhere in the world. The US Constitution, in Article I, Section 8, empowers Congress to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” [Emphasis mine.]

These ever increasing terms have the effect that media conglomerates have developed a sense of entitlement towards intellectual property, even when it’s not warranted.

Back in the 1980s, when I used to buy and sell comic books, Marvel Comics had this lovely line called EPIC. It was a place that creator-owned work, comic art NOT owned by Marvel Comics, as well as selected other items, could be published. Continue reading

VOTE Tuesday, America…even if it’s for Blutarsky

I am always feeling a bit conflicted around Election Day. From a partisan point of view, I want people to vote for MY candidates, which means I’d prefer that supporters of opposing candidates would stay home.

On the other hand, I truly believe that the right to vote is far too precious not to exercise. After the Bill of Rights, there are only 17 amendments to the Constitution, and two of them, regarding Prohibition, cancel each other out. This means at least 1/3 of these amendments specifically address voting.

I know a lot of folks who have said to me that they don’t vote because it doesn’t matter, or because it encourages “them” Continue reading

You say it’s in the Constitution: your most/least favorite Supreme Court decisions


For Constitution Day:

I recall that, four years ago, Sarah Palin, who was running for Vice President of the United States on the Republican line, could only name one Supreme Court case she disagreed with. ABC News came up with 24 Supreme Court Cases Every Presidential Candidate Should Know and something called Ranker ranks the Most Controversial Supreme Court Cases. Palin named Roe v. Wade, regarding abortion, #1 on the Ranker list, #11 on ABC News’ mostly chronological roster. In that light:

What are your favorite Supreme Court rulings?

What are your least favorite Supreme Court rulings?
Continue reading