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I should have avoided Facebook today, but schadenfreude got the best of me. Hours later, I’m still seething about the ridiculous things people have posted today in protest of the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision. Here are my two least favorite arguments from today’s sampling: 1. Viagra is covered, why aren’t contraceptives. Preview Open

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With still another week remaining of vacation we received the news that ended the trip. Very early in the morning my wife’s phone rang. Over a very bad connection we heard: her uncle died the night before in a plane wreck in Florida. We took that day anyway to see Boston, but we drove all […]

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In the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby ruling, we are again hearing the argument that corporations are too powerful, and getting too much power to interfere in our lives. This argument seems laughable to me.  First, you can leave a corporation if you want to.  Slavery is illegal (thanks to Republicans).  Second, the federal government […]

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SCOTUS Hands SEIU Yet Another Defeat

 

In the less touted of the two decisions issued on the final day of the Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 term, Harris v. Quinn, the Court handed the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) another stinging defeat on the much mooted question of whether the union could force “personal assistants” to pay union dues when they don’t want to become union members in the first place. These personal assistants, often family members, receive state and federal funds so that they can help support individuals who are ill or incapacitated instead of placing them in some institutionalized care setting, which typically comes at a far higher cost. The decision divided along the all too familiar 5-4 liberal/conservative split. On this occasion, that split led to strong dueling opinions between Justice Samuel Alito for the majority and Justice Elena Kagan for the dissent.

What is striking about these opinions is that the prior convictions of the justices are so deep that no one will change their minds after reading them. At a constitutional level, the issue is whether forced contributions of dues to a union constitute a form of coerced political speech that runs afoul of the First Amendment. The standard “agency-fee” or “fair share” provisions require all non-union members “to pay their proportionate share of the costs of the collective-bargaining process, contract administration and pursuing matters affecting wages, hours and conditions of employment.” Addressing these provisions in the context of teacher unions, the Supreme Court, in its 1977 decision of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, held these bargaining unit expenditures did not run afoul of the First Amendment, so long as sufficient effort was made to segregate out pure political contributions that the employees were forced to contribute against their will.

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Children coming 5 or 6 hundred miles by themselves.  Children crossing 100 miles of desert in 100 plus degree heat.  Children exposed to disease, wild animals, rape, and murder.  All of this caused by an ego-maniacal fool in the White House who would not enforce the immigration laws and would not allow the States to […]

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I know that after all this time I shouldn’t be surprised when the president has a good public roll in the mud, but I watched his announcement this afternoon on immigration and found myself more offended than usual. I’ve mostly stopped listening to the president’s speeches, because it’s so frustrating to realize yet again that […]

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Are You a Breeder?

 

No, I don’t mean of dogs. I’ve encountered the curious word “breeders” a couple of times in the past week from lefties. As near as I can tell, it’s the way they combine their two most compelling (to them) religious beliefs: gay rights and environmentalism. “Breeders” are those who have the audacity to have a baby, thereby unkindly reminding same-sex couples that they have no such ability and at the same time increasing the surplus population that will consume stuff and destroy the earth. The term and its implications are so distasteful that I suspect it is one that has been used among lefties for a long time, but that they have kept out of their conversation with the larger world for fear it would hurt their cause. After all, there is definitely a misanthropic, Scrooge-like quality to the term.  I speculate that now they are feeling confident in their ascendancy and are allowing it to slip out.   

Let’s examine the term for a moment. It manages, in one fell swoop, to denigrate the ability to produce children, the people who do it and the children themselves — all with canine or bovine overtones. I have great hope that this will backfire, but who can tell in this upside-down and backwards age?  

On the Hobby Lobby Case

 

The Hobby Lobby case was, in my judgment, an easy one, a point that’s made very well by Justice Alito’s straightforward analysis in the opinion. The logic is simple: (1) corporations are persons because Congress said so in the Dictionary Act;  (2) Hobby Lobby’s right to religious freedom is violated, under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because the contraceptives requirement for mandatory insurance supplied by employers contravenes the owner’s sincere beliefs; (3) the government did not explore any less burdensome alternatives to the mandate.

More importantly, however, this case shows the extreme ideological ends pursued by the Obama administration through its legal powers. It is thus of a piece with the Noel Canning recess appointments clause case from last Thursday. In both cases, the President pursued extreme arguments in court to advance an ideological agenda — today, it was to sweep religious minorities into ObamaCare; on Thursday, to create a union-friendly NLRB.

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The Obama regimen  with the signing of the ACA, created entirely by democrats in the house and senate, has discriminated against men. We all understand that an unwanted pregnancy has large consequences for a woman, the same can be said for a man that is the other half of the equation. However no were in the ACA […]

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Bad News Monday

 

shutterstock_165156518 (1)When the economy is growing — as it did for years, under presidents as different as Reagan and Clinton — the inevitable down-cycles are more bearable. Going from, say, 4% growth to 2% growth isn’t as hard as going from 2% to -1%. (Hi, President Obama!)

It’s the same with asset inflation cycles. When the stock market is frothy and bubbly, everyone knows that a bounce down to earth is imminent. (Timing it precisely, of course, is a different matter.) In the autumn of 1987, when the stock market took a dive, the economy itself was strong enough (Hi, President Reagan!) to pull itself together. The point isn’t to eliminate the booms and busts — we couldn’t do that even if we tried — but to make sure that there are enough incentives and smart regulations in place to fuel a growing economy.

So, that said, this is worrisome news. From Business Insider:

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Earnest is the new Press Secretary, replacing Jay Chuckles Carney.  Does anybody doubt that ‘Earnest’ was really his legal surname at birth? Anyway I just tuned the computer in to his press conference, and they were talking Abu Khatallah, the alleged Benghazi terrorist now in US custody. Wendell Goler was asking what the White House […]

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In his newest book, Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (Sir Terry, I should say), portrays the arrival of the steam engine and the railway to the Discworld. Lord Vetinari (who believes in one man, one man:  he’s the man with the one vote) and Moist von Lipwig (a senior bureaucrat) go to see prototype of the […]

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