Tag Archives: rules

Religious Business? Some Thoughts

The recent Supreme Court decision about Hobby Lobby being able to deny contraceptive coverage to its employees, because of … religious beliefs … has caused a major uproar.  My opinion is that it’s probably the most weasel-worded, constitutionally questionable decision the Supreme Court has reached in quite some time.   As a concept, the idea of a corporation as a person has any number of good features.  The way conservatives, and in particular this Supreme Court, have extended that to the realms of free speech and religion are not among them.   But, if corporations want to claim religious beliefs as a reason not to provide a benefit for their workers, I have an idea for making them regret it:  Make them live up to it.

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When Predictable Outcomes Happen, There’s Predictable Complaining

The news over the past month has had a number of “disaster” stories, and in early January, there was the chemical spill in West Virginia, which left over 300,000 people without drinking water.   In the aftermath of this, there has been a lot of screaming by the affected population, along with a round of finger pointing and denial of responsibility by various elected officials.   The sad part?  Things like these are predictable.  The actual incidents and timing may not be, but that something like this will happen is.

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Having a Right Does Not Mean Without Consequences

There’s a big uproar in the conservative media about “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s suspension by A&E for his comments in an interview.  Although much of the press coverage is devoted to his homophobic comments, those were only a part of them.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy.

Honestly?  I’m not surprised that someone who proudly touts himself as a redneck southern boy would have these views.  But what’s interesting is how many people on the Right are suddenly “free speech advocates.”  Sort of.

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The Element Of Trust

In my previous post, I talked about how Republicans broke an “unwritten rule” when it came to the filibuster.   While I’m not alone in saying “It’s about time!” I’m also aware of the various reasons behind the Senate’s unwillingness to change the filibuster rules.  This is not, by any means, a “new discussion,” in that filibuster reform has been talked about for quite some time, with serious pushes being made by Senator Merkley over the past two sessions.  So why do it now?

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Nuclear? It’s About Time!

The news sites and the political blogs are all running with the surprise that Senator Reid called a vote and got the “Nuclear option” passed for Senate conformation votes on judicial (except Supreme Court) and executive department appointees.   What is the “nuclear option?”  It’s simply a rules change, which turns the need for a 60 vote majority to break a filibuster into a simple majority vote.

The vote overturned an existing rule that required a 60-vote majority for the approval of presidential nominees. Now, just a simple majority will be required for executive branch and judicial nominees except for Supreme Court picks.

It’s not like this is a big surprise, Senator Reid said he would do it if Republicans failed to legislate in good faith in the Senate.

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