Saturday, June 27, 2015

To Rainbow-ify, or Not to Rainbow-ify, That Is the Question

I have a tendency to overthink things.  Most things.  Even seemingly minor things, like whether or not to put my Facebook pic through a rainbow-ification app to celebrate Friday's Supreme Court decision.

I'm a straight woman.  I've had, at best, had a marginal connection to the LGBT rights movement - participating in the occasional Pride parade / Pride booth / Welcoming Congregations concert / rights victory celebration isn't exactly heavy lifting.  So I grappled over whether to follow a number of my friends and rainbow-ify my Facebook profile pic.  

Would it smack of smug self-satisfaction (See?  I'm such a good liberal and generous spirit.  Yay me!  Oh, and nya nya nya nya nya nya "traditional values" people!)?  

Would it help - even a microscopic bit, as part of a sea of rainbow-ified profile pics - further bolster the spirit of LGBT folks I know, for whom Friday's Supreme Court victory was more deeply personal?  

Or would it maybe even help provide another face of ally-ship for less liberal folks who know me, [hopefully] think I'm a decent person, and weren't as enthusiastic about the Supreme Court decision yesterday?

On the other side of all of that [okay, somewhat neurotic] hyper-analysis, it seemed that if there was even a remote possibility that the simple act might give someone else an inkling of joy, why wouldn't I do it? 

But a caveat had to be put out there first - I'm not gloating, I'm not trying to prove I'm a good liberal, and I'm certainly not celebrating having done anything all that special or important myself.  I'm just doing a little something (and a very little something, at that) to show my support.  

Then it was on to the rainbow-ification!

Mumbai Paper Picks Up Bobby Jindal "Just Get Rid of The Court" Story

Bobby Jindal in 2011 / Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Sources, including DC trade paper "The Hill," reported yesterday that Presidential candidate Gov. Bobby Jindal (R - LA) proposed abolishing the US Supreme Court: 

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” the 2016 contender said in a statement.  “If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court,” Jindal added.

Obliterating one of the three co-equal branches of our government is a great idea.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Rush Limbaugh Pledges to Bring Decorum to Public Debate

Limbaugh's dedication to uplifting standards / Screenshot Selina Davis

Rush Limbaugh's now decrying the coarsening of debate wrought by the Internet.  He's very concerned about trolling and the "series of sewers [on Twitter] where trolls are ... I mean, endless parades of human debris hang out."  Because of this overarching concern, he's doing his best to help establish 'moral guard rails' for public debate.

No, really.

I heard him say so, right on his very own radio program, just a few mornings ago. (June 24, 2015 show, just around six paragraphs of transcripts, see link above.)

"That's why there's an ongoing effort on this program to establish and maintain what I would -- what's the best way to characterize? Not just cultural norms, but uplifting standards morality and decency, standing for them, representing them, the guardrails of society, if you will."

This, from a man who built his career on ridiculing Prez Clinton's appetite(s) and Hillary Clinton's "cankles."  Who keeps said career going by making fun of Michelle Obama's appearance and nationally trashing a random law student as a "slut" for advocating for access to birth control.  Yep, quite the model of decorum.

What's next? A "proper use of footnotes and citations" movement from Ann Coulter?  The Pope denounces celibate unmarried folks & offers a 21st Century "Sex Tips for Girls"?  Donald Trump denounces the conspicuous consumption of folks in Orange County and offers new guidelines for simpler, more humble living?

You really can't make this stuff up, folks.

Update October 5, 2015:

Read on for assorted evidence of Limbaugh's devotion to providing and maintaining the guardrails of society, if you will - both before and after his declaration.

Recent transcripts where Limbaugh called the First Lady "Moochelle" / Screenshot

Screenshot of Limbaugh's site, October 18, 2010 transcript

Can Bristol Palin Improve Racial Harmony, Bridge the Partisan Divide, AND Lower Abortion Rates?

Bristol Palin at 2011 book signing for Not Afraid of Life / Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Could Bristol Palin's second pregnancy outside of wedlock actually result in more than yet another eruption of culture-warring partisan snarkery?  Maybe.

I'm not interested in ranting about conservative Christian hypocrisy.  Plenty of other folks are already doing that, with the predictable churning up of noisy angst on all sides of the debate.

But it seems to me that this turn of events may actually provide an opportunity for some growth and healing across racial, religious, and political lines.  Heck, it could even get us one teeny step closer to an even more precipitous decline in the abortion rate than we're already experiencing. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How the Two Major Parties Differ, and Why Who Appoints Fed Judges Matters, Exhibit 8,502:

"Supreme Court upholds housing discrimination law"  (USA Today)

No doubt the predictable howling erupted in right-wing media today over the Supreme Court's Inclusive Communities Project decision.  So I'll just note that, (1) the decision is in accordance with decades of Supreme Court precedent, and (2) the disparate impact claim is an important tool in combating housing discrimination.  As a practical matter, unless an individual defendant, an agent of a defendant entity, or a local lawmaker debating a challenged policy pulls a Donald Sterling and says a bunch of nonsense while being (lawfully) recorded - which rarely happens - intent can be *extremely* difficult to prove.  

Morgan Williams, General Counsel to the National Housing Law Forum, does a great job of explaining the decision - and its basis - here.  NAACP Legal Defense Fund Special Counsel John Paul Schnapper-Casteras also provides informative insights.  If you'd like to better understand the decision, give 'em a read - while both authors are intimately familiar with fair housing law, the pieces avoid the abundance of jargon that helps attorneys sound like they possess a special, magical sort of knowledge far beyond the reach of mere mortals.  

Note: some of the other commentators on SCOTUS-blog read Justice Kennedy (who authored the majority opinion) as worrying that the decision could be interpreted to place developers or public housing agencies in a damned if you do, damned if you don't type of double-bind.  But he's quite explicit in stating that neither the FHA nor this decision have that effect:  

How the Two Parties Differ, and Why Who Appoints Fed Judges Matters, Exhibit 8,501:

Supreme Court approves Obamacare subsidies on (CNBC)

Overcoming Perfectionism-Induced Inertia

It's been almost a year since my last post!  I've written more than a few mini-essays in the interim ... not to mention all of the "content" I'd written prior to (somewhat) overcoming my feeling that blogging feels more than a wee bit self-indulgent and self-important.  

BUT, belief in the wisdom of a marketplace of ideas was one of the notions that animated the founding of our Republic.  Thus, constructively contributing to that marketplace is a civic-minded act.  Given my life experiences, (over-)abundance of formal education, and decades-long love of truth-seeking via self-guided research projects focusing on social and policy issues, I probably have some thoughts worth sharing now and then.  So I'm going to post some more things here.

I'll continue to seek to make contributions that will hopefully provide value-added, in that they're meant to raise issues (or takes on issues) that I'm not already hearing from myriad other sources.  I will also generally seek to do my due diligence before formulating and posting a piece - which is sometimes a lengthy, labor-intensive process resulting in a given piece not getting finished for weeks or months - and to provide citations/links to expert or otherwise reliable source material.