Hobby Lobby decision

June 30th, 2014

Here’s the full decision.  … sigh… read the Dissent:

Hobby Lobby_U.S. Supreme Court Case No. 13-354

A short version of this decision, with some implications, taken from the Ginsberg dissent:

In the Court’s view, RFRA demands accommodation of a for-profit corporation’s religious beliefs no matter the impact that accommodation may have on third parties who do not share the corporation owners’ religious faith—in these cases, thousands of women employed by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga or dependents of persons those corporations employ.

This decision mirrors the track of academic “free speech” which follows the institution, not the teachers or students.  This decision follows the corporation, not employees, allowing the corporation to impose its opinions and beliefs on individual workers.  Gee, thanks.

Read the decision, read the dissent…


The hate continues…

June 3rd, 2014

There are things that I find really offensive about Obama’s policies, most notably that he’s been a corporate toady, toadying for transmission lines, toadying for coal (IGCC and otherwise), his energy policies are a big yawn, much ado about nothing.  But to find him offensive in an offensive way, i.e., based on his actions, ???  I just don’t get it.  And to do this anonymously.  That is a line for me, rather than to publicly own or substantiate opinions or beliefs, rather than to publicly object and act, instead to act out secretly in this way… and given our history of lynching of Indians and African Americans in this country, as volatile as drowning of women deemed witches.  This gives me the creeps.

Dummy with Obama mask found hanging from bridge

And it’s happened before, many times:

Why is a Hangin’ Truck Driving Around NYC With President Obama on a Noose

Bush (a different bush) Arrested For Hanging Obama in Effigy

Obama Effigy Hung in Georgia Town

Neighbors Question Hanging Barak Obama Display

I couldn’t remember, much as Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushes were vilified, much more than protests, I do remember dummies of Nixon, and of course comments on the order of Shawn in the bathroom saying he was “making pictures of Richard Nixon.”  So I did some looking, and I’d forgotten a few:

Pants on Fire Bush effigy tours the US

GW Bush Burns in Effigy

Protesters Hang Nixon in Effigy

And there’s a longstanding history of hanging in effigy:

(and now I can’t find it)   … still looking for a choice article that disappeared…


Last post on this, Paul Krugman says it all.  Really…. well… probably…

In yesterday’s New York Times, Paul Krugman says very clearly what I’ve been trying to wrap my head around.  Cliven Bundy is a moocher, no doubt, I’ve called him a “welfare queen” too, but the hatred Bundy spews is… is… well, read what Krugman has to say, he puts it all together.

The anti-government mindset is indeed a problem.  Just Friday, I ran into it when a friend repeated the mantra, “You know what’s wrong, it’s the government, the government is too powerful,” when we were attending a hearing focused on utility power (“why do you think they call them power companies”), where it was a utility trying to take someone’s land.  HUH?  How is that an example of problem with “government?”  The landowner in the middle of the fray clearly stated her take, “It’s the utilities, the corporations have too much power.”  Yup, my take too.  How does it become an issue of “too much government?”  This highlights the failure of our individuals and schools to foster critical thinking compounded by the acceptance of the non-stop media regurgitation of false and twisted information.  But hey, that’s just another display of corporate power.

The only thing I’d change?  Where Krugman says it’s a perversion regarding “freedom of the wealthy,” I think it’s more freedom of ANYONE, and so I’d make this edit:

For at the heart of the standoff was a perversion of the concept of freedom, which for too much of the right has come to mean the freedom of the wealthy to do whatever they want, without regard to the consequences for others.


Here are Krugman’s thoughts:

High Plains Moochers

It is, in a way, too bad that Cliven Bundy — the rancher who became a right-wing hero after refusing to pay fees for grazing his animals on federal land, and bringing in armed men to support his defiance — has turned out to be a crude racist. Why? Because his ranting has given conservatives an easy out, a way to dissociate themselves from his actions without facing up to the terrible wrong turn their movement has taken.

For at the heart of the standoff was a perversion of the concept of freedom, which for too much of the right has come to mean the freedom of the wealthy to do whatever they want, without regard to the consequences for others.

Start with the narrow issue of land use. For historical reasons, the federal government owns a lot of land in the West; some of that land is open to ranching, mining and so on. Like any landowner, the Bureau of Land Management charges fees for the use of its property. The only difference from private ownership is that by all accounts the government charges too little — that is, it doesn’t collect as much money as it could, and in many cases doesn’t even charge enough to cover the costs that these private activities impose. In effect, the government is using its ownership of land to subsidize ranchers and mining companies at taxpayers’ expense.

It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage.

And this in turn means that treating Mr. Bundy as some kind of libertarian hero is, not to put too fine a point on it, crazy. Suppose he had been grazing his cattle on land belonging to one of his neighbors, and had refused to pay for the privilege. That would clearly have been theft — and brandishing guns when someone tried to stop the theft would have turned it into armed robbery. The fact that in this case the public owns the land shouldn’t make any difference.

So what were people like Sean Hannity of Fox News, who went all in on Mr. Bundy’s behalf, thinking? Partly, no doubt, it was the general demonization of government — if someone looks as if he is defying Washington, he’s a hero, never mind the details. Partly, one suspects, it was also about race — not Mr. Bundy’s blatant racism, but the general notion that government takes money from hard-working Americans and gives it to Those People. White people who wear cowboy hats while profiting from government subsidies just don’t fit the stereotype.

Most of all, however — or at least that’s how it seems to me — the Bundy fiasco was a byproduct of the dumbing down that seems ever more central to the way America’s right operates.

Read the rest of this entry »

Can someone explain what this meme means???  It’s popping up lately, and when I ask what it means… oh my, that seems to be a bit problematic.

There are some facts floating around that, when combined with this, leave me scratching my head…

1) Bush lied to start a war.

2) Obama had Osama bin Laden killed.

3) Syria’s Assad is gassing his people.

So … anyone care to explain?



The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has issued its Request for Comments on its procedural rules, Minn. R. Ch. 7829:

Notice – Request for Comments

This is the rulemaking where I wasn’t even given notice, nevermind that I’d submitted a rulemaking petition March 14, 2011:

Overland Petition for Rulemaking-7829

The meeting last Thursday was interesting, particularly Commissioner O’Brien’s comments on the Rule 11 like language, where there’s at long last language regarding truthfulness in pleadings and arguments before the Commission, ’bout time.  The bottom issue is important because if staff recommends something that’s not even been discussed in the proceeding, we, intervenors and the public, need the chance to discuss it, to put in our perspective, and more so, we need the ability to vet their proposal.  So check out this webcast, it’ll be posted for ~ 90 days.

PUC WEBCAST of Aug 1 2013 Agenda Meeting HERE

Here’s the meat of it:

Topics Open for Comment:

• Any issue arising from the draft of possible amendments filed in the Commission’s electronic filing system in this docket as an attachment to Staff Briefing Papers on July 25, 2013—with emphasis on the following possible revisions:

• What should the Commission consider when deciding whether to include language that discusses possible sanctions for violations of the proposed Commission rule governing representations of fact or law to the Commission (Part 7829.0250)?

• Assuming that the Commission were to decide that a sanctions provision is appropriate, the Commission seeks comment on the following proposed language:

Subp. 2. Sanctions. If, after notice and an opportunity for comment and reply, the commission determines that subpart 1 has been violated, the commission may impose a sanction on any party or participant who violated subpart 1 or is responsible for the violation. A sanction imposed under this rule must be limited to what suffices to deter repetition of the conduct or comparable conduct by others similarly situated. An order imposing a sanction must describe the sanctioned conduct and explain the basis for the sanction.

• What should the Commission consider when deciding whether to amend rule part 7829.2600 to read “If commission staff recommend action not advocated by any party, at the request of any party and to the extent practicable, all parties must be granted an opportunity to comment.”?

To file Comments: E-file using the Commission’s electronic filing system (info on registration at this link too), or email to Christopher.Moseng@state.mn.us. Persons without e-mail access may send by U.S. mail to Christopher Moseng, Staff Attorney, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul MN 55101-2147. Please include the Commission’s docket number in all communications – U-999/R-13-24.