Abood Overruled! Public Sector Unions Can No Longer Compel Dues Payments

 

This is a dagger in the heart of the ever expanding state and long overdue. Together with NIFLA v. Bacerra it’s a critical reaffirmation of our First Amendment rights of speech and conscience and a great day for the Constitution. It is darkened only by the sputteringly inexplicable fact that both decisions were 5-4.

The fact that four justices on our Supreme Court could dissent from these decisions is sad and terrifying. It shows us how close to the edge we were. Thank god for Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and Neil Gorsuch, who together preserved at least a narrow majority on the Court with fealty to the Constitution.

A Rebirth of Sorts (or, Life After Trucking)

 

Vaudeville comedian Jack E. Leonard once reportedly remarked to Ed Sullivan that, “There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” Which, come to think of it, described my own disposition early last week when I found myself going into a couple of days off so uncharacteristically rested that it seemed I’d been reborn. In fact, so rested and energized was I, that my time off was spent working to upgrade my study/studio. My mother had recently entrusted me with some antiques that had been of both sentimental and financial value to my late grandmother, and since those items needed an appropriately spruced up place to reside, there was work to do.

Down came all of the books from their shelves. Ditto with everything on my desk. A general purge of all unnecessary items followed as old papers, unused magazines, and dust-covered knick-knacks were dispatched either to the trash or to storage. Then the opening act continued with fanfare, furniture polish, dusters and cleaning supplies before I took myself shopping. Plate stands were needed, along with a bookend or two, a bit of foliage for display purposes, a frame for a freshly printed photo of my mother, some LED lighting, and other items were purchased.

Of course, I got lost on the way home from Hobby Lobby. Funny thing about Memphis. After over 1 million miles logged across America and 20 years in the military spent traveling around the world, I can negotiate my way around almost every major city in the country, along with several major cities overseas — except for Memphis. Memphis continues to perplex me. Rather than take on the design of a grid, the streets here wind and snake their little way hither and yon, without rhyme or reason, crossing each other at varying intervals so that you drive north on Street A, turn left and head west on Street B only to run smack into Street A again just a few miles down the road. It’s enough to make you drink. Which reminded me,…I needed to pick up a decanter for my Drambuie too.

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Well. That’s a post heading I never thought I would write. The Supreme Court just ruled that public sector unions cannot compel non-union workers to pay ‘fair-share fees.’ The Court attempted to rule on a similar case in 2016 but the decision was deadlocked at 4-4. In April 2017 President Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch was […]

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I played a lot of hockey, and I also played soccer. I have been on two state championship teams, one for hockey, and one for soccer. There is a difference in the work ethic of those two sports. When I played soccer my hockey experience told me not to roll around, or dive like I’d […]

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Weaponizing the Bible Against Religious Conservatives

 

Haters of religious conservatives flip between two attacks on us:

  1. Of course, you’re a hateful bigot. You follow the Bible and the Old Testament God is the evilest villain in all of fiction. You’re evil because your sky god is evil.
  2. Your hateful bigotry is both evil and a betrayal of the Biblical values you pretend to hold dear. Stop blaming God, who is good, for the evil that is you.

Attack number two is back in vogue.

Group Writing: My Crazy Plan to Deal With Iran

 

I’m not saying we’re there now, but we could soon find ourselves in a situation where some kind of military action starts to look like the only possibility to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. If we get to that point, assuming that we’ve not yet reached the point where they have a deployable nuclear missile, I’m suggesting a plan that is a little off the beaten path … a little outside the box. Okay, I’m tearing up the box, setting it on fire, and dancing around it naked in a forest clearing with the rest of the coven.

First, some context. Iran is unique in several ways that I think makes it possible to use tactics that would be a horrible mistake in any other part of the Middle East.

To start with, while most of the Muslim world, including almost the entire remaining Middle East, is Sunni, Iran is Shia, and Sunni and Shia hate each other almost as much as they hate us. An attack on Iran would not be seen in the same way, or produce the same reaction, as a similar attack on, for example, Saudi Arabia.

Supreme Court Rules Vegan Restaurants in California Are Not Required to Give Diners Menus to Neighborhood Steak Restaurants

 

Well, not really, but that was the analogy I made in this post last November on the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra case where the state of California obliges pro-life pregnancy counseling centers seeking to encourage women not to have abortions to post the following notice:

California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women. To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [phone number of the local office].

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I have participated in many conversations here about the current version of the democrat party. I have used the adjective “evil” to describe their behavior and malicious intent. I have called the fight against them a “war”. Others pushed back and many times concluded with the question of this OP … “Can’t they just wrong. […]

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The news and social media is full of breaking stories. Something that happened last week is old news. As all of us, whether we support the president or not, know, the media loathes and despises him and freak out in predictable lemming fashion when they find something to scream about.  I recall the press conference the […]

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  Ishaan Tharoor is taking a break from beclowning himself, the WaPo and the word “journalism” but has passed the baton to the ever-ready Adam Taylor. Determined to show he too can achieve peak Tharoor,  he gets things off to a stirring start with a question no one who doesn’t work in a nearby cubicle […]

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In part one of this series, I explained the Cheney Doctrine which governed the GOP’s fiscal and trade policies in the 2000s.  The Cheney Doctrine can be summed up as “give the voters low taxes and cheap foreign goods, and everyone will be happy.”  This led to utter economic and political disaster in 2008 and […]

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[This is a two-part series. In part two I’ll explore whether Trump has invented a new fiscal strategy for the GOP] The Cheney doctrine, first articulated by Dick Cheney in the early 2000s, is that fiscal deficits do not matter. As the 2000s wore on, the doctrine was expanded to include trade deficits. This expanded […]

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Supreme Court Ruling Correct on Trump Travel Ban

 

In Trump v. Hawaii, the 5-4 majority reached the right result in upholding the Trump administration’s use of delegated power under the immigration laws to ban the immigration of aliens from countries deemed threats to the national security. That Congress had granted the President ample power was a conclusion easy to reach, despite the claims of liberals who generally love such broad transfers of power to the administrative state when the subject is environmental protection or market regulation.

But the most important part of the opinion, and its critical implication for the future of the Trump administration (and indeed, all future administrations), was its rejection of the claim that Trump had violated the Constitution because of his personal bias against Muslims. I had raised doubts about this problem in earlier versions of the travel ban, which had applied only to Muslim countries and had granted an exception for Christians. But more professional hands updated the travel ban, and it now reflects no unconstitutional religious or ethnic bias on its face.

Nevertheless, Trump opponents (which, it has to be said, included the lower federal courts in Hawaii and California) claimed that the President’s personal state of mind was a) subject to judicial inquiry; and b) could be deduced from his statements, tweets, and the like from both before and after the 2016 election. But the Court correctly states that if the order is facially legal and can be justified on any legitimate national security basis, the federal judiciary should not block it. “Under these circumstances, the Government has set forth a sufficient national security justification to survive rational basis review. We express no view on the soundness of the policy.”

Custer’s First Last Stand

 

June 25, 1876. The Battle of Little Bighorn. Custer’s Last Stand. Everybody knows the story. But not everyone knows that 12 years earlier — almost to the day — Custer had his first Last Stand. On June 11, 1864, “the Boy General” and the Michigan brigade of cavalry almost got the chop in a place called Trevillian Station Virginia at the hands of Custer’s West Point roommate and then Confederate Brigadier General Tom Rosser.  

After weeks of fighting, Union General Ulysses Grant was still hemmed in on The Peninsula, like McClellan before him. He needed to bust out. Grant planned to slip the Union army away from Lee and steal a march towards Petersburg before Lee even knew he was gone. To do this, he needed to distract Lee.

Grant and his cavalry commander, General Phil Sheridan, planned one of the largest Cavalry raids of the war, deep into Virginia, to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad. This would cut Lee’s army off from its supply larder in the Shenandoah Valley and provide cover for Grant’s move to Petersburg.

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There are many things that form the mountains in our lives; grief, worry, fear, desolation, disease, pain and anger are just a few of these things. Sometimes we stand at the base of the mountain before us and feel the anguish of defeat, because the mountain stands in the way of our purpose. Some would […]

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