No Snark Today — Just Good News!

Typically, my posts bring you all the bad news, but today I actually have a couple of good news pieces, starting with the news that as I write this, Brittney Griner is on a plane heading home to the U.S. after some ten months imprisoned in Russia.  President Biden announced early this morning …

“Moments ago, standing together with her wife Cherelle in the Oval Office, I spoke with Brittney Griner. She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home after months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances. Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.”

Ms. Griner was arrested in February on “drug smuggling” charges, for having inadvertently packed a vaporizer cartridge containing less than a gram of cannabis oil.  For this, she was sentenced to nine years in prison in August.  A rather harsh sentence for what wouldn’t even be a crime in the U.S., but that’s Russia.  Negotiations for her release, as well as another U.S. citizen being held by Russia, Paul Whelan, have been ongoing and today she was released in a one-to-one prisoner swap with Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.  Negotiations for Mr. Whelan’s release are ongoing.

Welcome home, Ms. Griner!


And huge kudos to the House of Representatives today for passing the Respect for Marriage Act (FfMA) that will protect same-sex and interracial marriages by a vote of 258-169.  Last month, the bill passed in the Senate by 62-37 with 12 Republicans voting for it.  Today, 39 House Republicans joined all Democrats in passing this legislation!  This came as a surprise to me, especially after the 12 Republican senators came under serious criticism by their party for working across the aisle.

The bill doesn’t go as far as we might like, as it would not force states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but it will require that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.  The bill also would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA). In addition to defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, DoMA allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. That law has remained on the books despite being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor and its 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed same-sex couples the fundamental right to marry.

Next, the bill heads to the Oval Office for President Biden’s signature, which is all but guaranteed.  👍👍


And that’s the good news of the day, my friends! No doubt tomorrow I will return to my usual snarky self.  Meanwhile, just a few cartoons …

Senator Rick Scott’s Narrow Mind

Speaking of Republicans … I do seem to do that a lot lately, don’t I?  They just give us so much fuel for the fires!  Republican Senator Rick Scott from Florida crosses my radar at least once a week, but I’ve largely learned to ignore him just as I have so many others.  He does, however, manage to make my antennae twitch when he goes all-out riding the bigot train as he did recently.

Last week, Scott was doing a radio interview (seems to me some members of Congress spend more time on the media circuit than they spend in the Capitol) when the host, Martha Zoller, brought up the topic of immigration.  Now, you might think that Scott, being an ultra-conservative Republican in this, the 21st century, would be completely against immigration, but you’d be wrong.  Oh no … Scott has a proposal:

“Why don’t we have a legal immigration system for the people that want to come and live our dream, that want to live, that believe in our Judeo-Christian values? Alright? Why don’t we want more? If we’re going to have more immigration, alright, let’s do that.”

Wow … I dunno, maybe some people would be happy living in a nation that only welcomes Christians, but … I personally value diversity.  Our closest friends are a family of immigrants from Iraq who came to the U.S. seven years ago and almost immediately we began learning from each other, became best friends, and still today remain so. Last year after my 11 days in the hospital, they cooked dinner for us every night for over a month!   I cherish what I have learned from them and our exchange of cultures.  I have tried and loved some Arabic foods, have picked up a few words of Arabic, though with my failing memory my attempts to say something in Arabic usually end in resounding laughter!  No, their skin is not lily-white, and no, they are not Christians, they are of the Muslim faith, but … so what???  They are wonderful people and my life is richer for knowing them!  And yet Mr. Rick Scott would shun them?

The United States was founded in part on freedom of religion.  That gives me the right to be a non-believer, that gives Rick Scott the right to be a Christian, and it gives my neighbors the right to be Muslim.  If this country tilts toward Rick Scott’s vision, then we are no longer the United States of America that was established by the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.  And if we allow this abominable sort of discrimination, then we are depriving ourselves of a myriad of opportunities to learn more about the world, to open our minds and our hearts. I have zero desire to live in a country of bigoted, narrow-minded people who think everyone must conform to their ways, their beliefs.


One last thing … I came across this a few days ago and found it so apt

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. ~Jimi Hendrix

Our Vote … In The Hands Of SCOTUS

Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina knows of what he speaks:  A Democrat, he was re-elected to a second term as governor in 2020. Before becoming governor, he served four terms as attorney general. He was a state senator for 10 years before that, including serving a few years as the majority leader. He also held a seat in the State House of Representatives earlier in his career.  And when he speaks, I think we should sit up and take note.  Yesterday, he spoke in the form of an OpEd in the New York Times on the subject of Moore v Harper, the case before the Supreme Court that could upend fair and honest elections in the U.S.  His views help clarify just what is at stake, and should be required reading!


North Carolina’s Governor Says a Fringe Claim Before the Supreme Court Would Upend Democracy

Governor Roy Cooper

05 December 2022

Over the past six months, the United States Supreme Court has handed down one misguided ruling after another, stripping Americans of the constitutional right to an abortion, curtailing the regulation of guns and industrial emissions, and muddying the divide between church and state. The people have protested. They’ve organized. And in 2022, they voted.

In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the June decision on abortion, the majority wrote that “women are not without electoral or political power.” That’s one thing they got right, and Republicans found that out the hard way in the November midterm elections that they expected to win big. Now, however, the very ability to exercise electoral and political power at the ballot box is hanging in the balance in a case the court is scheduled to hear on Wednesday.

Moore v. Harper is a case from North Carolina that state and national Republicans are using to push an extreme legal premise known as the independent state legislature theory. While the United States Constitution delegates the authority to administer federal elections to the states, with Congress able to supersede those state decisions, proponents of this theory argue that state legislatures are vested with the exclusive power to run those elections. This view would leave no room for oversight by state courts and put the ability of governors to veto election-related legislation in doubt.

The court’s decision on this alarming argument could fundamentally reshape American democracy. Four justices have suggested that they are sympathetic to the theory. If the court endorses this doctrine, it would give state legislatures sole power over voting laws, congressional redistricting and potentially even the selection of presidential electors and the proper certification of election winners.

Indeed, the North Carolina Supreme Court, in a decision this year, said the theory that state courts are barred from reviewing a congressional redistricting plan was “repugnant to the sovereignty of states, the authority of state constitutions and the independence of state courts, and would produce absurd and dangerous consequences.”

You can look to North Carolina to see the potential for dire consequences. In 2010, Republicans took over the state legislature after the midterm elections. Since then, North Carolina has been ground zero for Republican attempts to manipulate elections. As the state’s attorney general and now governor since 2017, I’ve dealt with Republican legislative leaders as they advanced one scheme after another to manipulate elections while making it harder for populations they have targeted to vote.

These schemes robbed voters from the start to the end of an election: a voter ID requirement so strict that a college ID from the University of North Carolina isn’t good enough. No same-day registration during early voting. No provisional ballots for voters who show up at the wrong precinct. Shorter early voting periods eliminated voting the Sunday before Election Day, a day when African American churches hold popular “souls to the polls” events.

Fortunately, these measures were stopped in 2016 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which described them as targeting African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

Republicans in the legislature have also gerrymandered districts in diabolical ways. In 2016, state Republicans drew a congressional redistricting map that favored Republicans 10 to 3. They did so, the Republican chairman of a legislative redistricting committee explained, “because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

North Carolinians have relied on courts and my veto power as governor to foil many of these schemes. In 2022 a successful lawsuit in state court challenging a 2021 gerrymandered congressional map resulted in fair districts, splitting the state’s 14 districts (the state gained a district after the 2020 census) so that Democrats and Republicans each won seven seats in November’s elections. It seemed only right, given the nearly even divide between Democratic and Republican votes statewide. Republican efforts to avoid this result led to the Moore v. Harper appeal now before the Supreme Court.

As recently as 2019, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a majority opinion on partisan gerrymandering claims in Maryland and North Carolina that state courts were an appropriate venue to hear such cases but that those claims were political issues beyond the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Retreating from that position on the role of state courts would be a shocking leap backward that would undermine the checks and balances established in state constitutions across the country.

Republican leaders in the North Carolina legislature have shown us how the election process can be manipulated for partisan gain. And that’s what you can expect to see from state legislatures across the country if the court reverses course in this case.

Our democracy is a fragile ecosystem that requires checks and balances to survive. Giving state legislatures unfettered control over federal elections is not only a bad idea but also a blatant misreading of the Constitution. Don’t let the past decade of North Carolina voting law battles become a glimpse into the nation’s future.

Too Dangerous To Ignore

I have, over the course of the past 24 hours, tried to write about the latest abomination by the former guy, but anger takes over my fingers and I pound the keyboard, look back at what I’ve written, and hit ‘delete’.  It serves no purpose to write words filled with venom, and yet the story needs to be told, the seditious … nay, treasonous … behaviour needs to be highlighted, the dangers duly noted.  Fortunately, some are more clear-headed and self-disciplined than I am at the moment.  One such is Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor for The Washington Post, who has echoed my own thoughts in her latest piece …


Trump’s call for suspending the Constitution is too dangerous to ignore

Ruth Marcus, Deputy editorial page editor

4 December 2022

There was a time, in the naive spring and summer of 2015, when I deemed Donald Trump beneath my notice and refused to write about him: Why soil myself, I thought, and also: Surely he will fade away.

I finally caved, in July 2015, with this prescient sentence: “Do not worry about Donald Trump becoming president.

There was a time, in the increasingly appalling months and years that followed, that I deemed Trump too dangerous to disregard and I could not stop calling out his never-ending, ever-escalating outrages against American democracy. Mexican judges. Enemies of the state. Fake news. Muslim bans.

Even a columnist gets tired of repeating herself. And so, during his final stretch in office, and in the years since, I mostly averted my gaze. I called out Trump last August, when he warned darkly of “riots in the streets” after the Justice Department’s search of his Mar-a-Lago residence and before that, in December 2020, when he released a 46-minute video rant assailing the election.

But I mostly thought: Why bother? Shaming targets and convincing readers are the columnist’s goals. With Trump, no minds will be changed, and neither will his behavior.

And yet, there are times when attention must be paid — if only to lay down a marker, if only (grandiose as this may sound) so historians will understand: This went too far. This cannot be allowed to stand without being denounced.

I might have made this choice in the aftermath of Trump’s dinner with antisemites and Nazi sympathizers Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and Nick Fuentes. Who could have imagined, in the time before Trump, that a former president of the United States and declared candidate for president would so sully himself and the office?

But I am moved, now, to write about Trump’s latest post, on his Truth Social network, because it is at least equally dangerous and even more insidious.

“So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential election results of 2020 OUT and declare the Rightful Winner, or do you have a new election,” Trump posted. “A massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great Founders did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

And, he followed up, “UNPRECEDENTED FRAUD REQUIRES UNPRECEDENTED CURE!”

Pause to take this in. The former and would-be future president has suggested suspending the Constitution in support of his deranged belief that he won the election and that its results are subject to change. A man who took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution now has hijacked “our great Founders” in the service of his megalomania.

No.

This is insurrectionism by social media. Nothing — and certainly not imaginary “Fraud,” capitalized or not — “allows for the termination” of constitutional guarantees. Trump is laying the groundwork for a coup.

We can dismiss the post as just the latest Trumpian bluster, something he will never be capable of implementing. Yet the mere willingness to entertain and encourage extra-constitutional action is alarming coming from a man who is seeking to return to office.

Which is why Trump’s words must be highlighted — and called out. I’m past expecting Republican leaders to speak out. We know that, for most, their spines have collapsed and their courage reduced to a shrunken kernel.

Trump “says a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ever going to happen,” was the most that Rep. David Joyce (Ohio), chair of the Republican Governance Group, could choke out in response to questions by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

The White House was right to rebuke Trump. “Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation and should be universally condemned,” spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. If anything, the words should have been issued in the name of the president himself.

Others made more puzzling choices. For a full day, the New York Times, so far as I can find, made no mention of Trump’s post. I assume this was not an oversight but a deliberate decision not to let Trump hijack its product for his unpatriotic purposes.

I get it, but I’m glad the Times relented with a news report Sunday afternoon. The episode embodies the paradox of dealing with Donald Trump. We do not want to give him oxygen, yet there are times we dare not ignore him. This is one. It should be neither excused nor forgotten.

Rights And Freedoms — Part I — Freedom of Speech

1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 15 December 1791


Throughout the centuries, very few limitations have been placed on the First Amendment even as people pushed the envelope using it as cover for everything from child pornography to outright threats of violence.  Let’s make something perfectly clear up front here, since today all I hear is people proclaiming their ‘rights’:  Your freedom, your ‘right’ stops where it crosses the line of another person’s freedom or rights.  Period.

You have a right to exercise your freedom of religion by holding a religious ceremony for whatever purpose you see fit, but you cannot hold it on my lawn.  You have a right to tell me what you think of me, but not to threaten me or my family with bodily harm.  And I have a right to set limits in my own home, such as you do NOT have a right to bring a gun into my home. 

Two of my overseas friends last week, David in the UK and Andrea in Australia, both made essentially the same comment, that the United States has too many of the wrong sort of freedoms.  I didn’t have to think about it long … about 15 seconds, I think … to realize that they are both right and that I fully agree.  Our Constitution gives us a number of rights, but we have abused them, for we seem not to remember that with rights come responsibilities.  You have a right to say what you think, but also a responsibility not to cause harm.  You have a right to worship as you please, but also a responsibility to recognize and honour the fact that others have the same right and may not share your same views.

I was a teen during the Vietnam War years when protesting was almost a career for some, and yet I never saw the same sort of hatred, the incitement for violence, the outright lies that I am seeing in our country today.  Sure, young people were angry in the 1960s that our government was sending our young men – brothers, boyfriends, husbands – to fight a war halfway across the world that we knew could not be won.  But we didn’t threaten to kill.  We knew better than to cross certain lines of decency.

Not long ago, the Republican Party issued an edict of sorts claiming that the seditious attempted coup on January 6th 2021 was “Legitimate Political Discourse”.  My jaw still drops when I hear that.  NO, IT WAS NOT!  Police officers died defending the Capitol and democracy on that day. Property belonging to We the People was damaged, there were threats to the lives of Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. And the goal was to overturn the will of the people, to deny our voices, to essentially overturn the United States government and the Constitution. It was not discourse, it was not civil, and it was NOT what the framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind back in 1787. 

I cannot condone, nor should anyone condone, the use of foul language or threats of bodily harm … that is not ‘freedom of speech’, that is incitement of violence.  When people condemn or threaten those in the LGBTQ+ community, that is NOT freedom of speech … that is robbing someone else of the freedom to live in safety, being who they are.  Again … your freedom STOPS at the point where it infringes on mine or another person’s.  You do NOT have the right to dictate who a person should marry, whether a woman should have a child or not, what religion – if any – a person observes, where they live, or what they believe.

We are a nation of rights and freedoms, but we have historically abused them, never more so than in this, the 21st century.  If we continue to abuse them, we will lose them.  No, that is not hyperbole … at some point, we will lose the freedom to say what’s on our mind if we cannot do so within the confines or decency and respect.  Perhaps James Madison, the chief author of the First Amendment, gave people too much credit for humanity, compassion, and human decency.  Perhaps they did not realize that at some point, destruction and inciting violence would be classified as ‘free speech’, else they might have put some constraints on that ‘right’.  Or, perhaps people then were kinder, more deserving of a nearly unlimited freedom of speech.


We hear a lot these days about individual ‘freedoms’ and ‘rights’ but very little about the responsibilities that accompany those freedoms and rights.  Over the course of the next week or two, I plan to do another post or two on other of our rights such as freedom of the press and the 2nd Amendment, the ‘right’ to bear arms.  Please feel free to make suggestions if there are other ‘rights’ you would like to see discussed.

Tolerance, Love, Kindness Instead of Hate … PLEASE!

Mass shootings, racist teachers, pushing, shoving and name-calling … so may signs of increasing incivility in the U.S. today.  Where does it all come from and more importantly, how do we stop it?  Where do people get the idea that one race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, or religion is somehow superior?  Humanity sometimes seems to be almost a thing of the past.  Dan Rather and Elliott Kirschner have a few worthy thoughts on the topic …


Combating Hate

Silence is complicity

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

29 November 2022

Antisemitisim. Racism. Homophobia. Misogyny. Bigotry. The demonization of immigrants.

That these forces are ascendant is newsworthy. And it is vital they are considered thus. That these forces exist, however, is not news. Neither is the fact that they are being stoked, winked at, and normalized by the previous president. And neither is how most of the Republican Party leadership is silent, supportive, or insufficiently disapproving.

To say all this is not a political criticism. It is about confronting a grave threat to our nation and the world. Politics should be about a competition for ideas that fall within the realm of civilized discourse. What these people are peddling is not policy, but prejudice.

Repeating these sentiments should not diminish the importance of the message. The need for us all to confront this with the frequency that we are is evidence of the salience of the mission. And let’s be clear: It is of extra importance for those not directly targeted to speak the loudest. Silence is complicity. To speak softly is cowardice. 

The latest outrage swirls around an occasion at Mar-a-Lago in which the former president dined with avowed antisemites. But we do a disservice to history and the dangers we face by bundling recriminations under the banners of combatting “MAGA” or “Trumpism.” The former president may have built his political power by tapping into a well of hate, but the reservoir was already there. Others are eager to draw from its waters as well.

Discrimination, often enforced with violence, has been a hallmark of our country since its founding. White supremacy is embedded in our Constitution. And the biases and bigotries of the American electorate have shaped some of our national narrative ever since.

To be sure, there is a powerful counter-narrative. It begins with the noble words of our founding documents, which laid out a vision of equality and justice unimaginable at the time of their writing. Over the centuries, countless activists and dreamers have leaned on the courage of their convictions to wrest the nation toward a path of greater inclusion and enlightenment. Most who signed up for service in this army of conscience are not famous, but we are lucky to live in a world made better by their mettle. They have helped to make the nation better and now keep hopes alive that it can and will be getting better, a lot better, still.

We have undoubtedly made progress, but the undercurrents of hatred have never been fully expunged. It takes very little for them to resurge. Far more energy and commitment are required in combating them than in fomenting them.

We should find hope in the journey our nation has taken before. The bigotry we are now decrying was once largely accepted political discourse, in both parties. This is not ancient history. Many of us were of memory age when antisemitic, homophobic, and racist statements were spoken without a second thought. Our country was a weaker place because of it. Our struggle now is to be vigilant in making sure we do not return to that darkness.

We know we have shared these sentiments in this space before. And we know we will almost assuredly have ample reason to do so again. That is the reality. And that is all the more reason this needs to be said. By all of us. Often.

A Beacon of Light and Hope

Yesterday was a red-letter day for human rights in the U.S. Senate.  The senate passed a bill, the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), that, if it passes in the House of Representatives, will codify protection for same-sex marriage.  Now, that in itself is an accomplishment worthy of a big WHOO HOO!!!  But even more encouraging, the bill was passed by a margin of 62-37 with 12 Republicans voting in favour!  I had been reading for days about the Republican/conservative backlash against this bill, so when I heard that 12 Republicans voted to protect same-sex marriage, I was stunned … in a good way!

Republican Susan Collins joined forces with Democrat Tammy Baldwin and worked across the aisle to rally support for this bill.  Those Republicans who voted in favour deserve recognition.  In addition to Susan Collins, they are …

  • Rob Portman (Ohio)
  • Thom Tillis (N.C.)
  • Mitt Romney (Utah)
  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  • Roy Blunt (Mo.)
  • Richard Burr (N.C.)
  • Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)
  • Dan Sullivan (Alaska)
  • Joni Ernst (Iowa)
  • Todd Young (Ind.)

Thank you, Senators!

The RFMA repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.  It also requires that every state recognize a valid same-sex marriage.  It does fall short of requiring that every state issue licenses for same-sex marriages. The reason for this distinction is to keep the bill from being overridden by the Supreme Court who has previously ruled that the federal government cannot “commandeer” states to enforce federal laws or pass specific statutes. If Congress compelled states to license same-sex marriages, the judiciary would invalidate the law as a violation of this anti-commandeering doctrine.

There has been a very real concern that the Supreme Court is poised to strike down Obergefell v Hodges, the case that requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriages.  Once signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act will make it more difficult for the Court to overturn the 2015 decision.

As an added bonus, the bill would also protect inter-racial marriages if the ultra-conservative, backward-looking Supreme Court were to decide to overturn the 1967 ruling in Loving v Virginia the ruling that laws banning interracial marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Next, the bill moves to the House where it is expected to pass, possibly by the end of this week.  If they table it until January, it will be doomed to fail, but at present there is no reason to think it won’t pass the House and be signed into law by President Biden at least by the end of the year.  Score one for human rights, for civil rights, for LGBTQ rights!  Score one for bipartisanship.

The Never-Ending Mind of Filosofa

I think many of us are still focused on the election results and what it all means going forward as a nation, and I am no exception. Try as I might to put it out of my mind, it keeps coming back like a boomerang.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these past couple of days/nights, and I thought I’d share just a few of my thoughts with you.


There is much reason to be relieved by the results of Tuesday’s election, but … I would urge caution – it was not a sweeping mandate.  Republicans had more to do with their own losses than Democrats did with their wins.  They pandered to Trump, let him choose the candidates, and as usual Trump chose poorly.  Trump’s criteria was two-fold:  to earn his support, the candidate had to pretend to believe the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ from Trump, and the candidate had to swear an oath of loyalty to Trump … not to the Republican Party, not to the country, but to one single ‘man’, Donald Trump.  Even a number of Republicans were, as is now obvious, offput by the unqualified candidates Trump chose to support and it was that, more than anything else, that drove some of the Republican losses this week.  The Supreme Court also played a role, unwittingly, in the unexpected Democratic wins with their decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  People care about their rights. It would behoove our politicians and our Supreme Court Justices to keep that in mind.  The government exists to serve the people, not the other way around.


Republicans seem to have forgotten the actual purpose of government’s existence.  As Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, government is to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” … the operative word here being ‘people’.  All people.  Democrats’ policies are primarily people-centric, while Republicans seem more interested in making the nation wealthy, but only for a few at the expense of the rest of us.  While I won’t go so far as to say that nobody should have more than another person, I will say that I find anyone who has millions or billions of dollars to his name to be obscenely, grotesquely uncaring about humanity.  Sure, if you work hard, you make your company successful, you should reap the rewards, but not to the point of having billions of dollars while other people in your country, your own city, are going to bed hungry at night.  THAT is simply inexcusable.  And yet, that is what the Republican Party stands for.


I have heard it said that there is no real danger of an autocracy taking over in the U.S., for we have the Constitution.  Folks, the Constitution is a document, and like any document, it is only as good as the people who are in charge of upholding it.  A document can be destroyed, can be altered, can be burned.  It is a concept, a foundation upon which we build, but it is not indestructible.  It relies on the people we elect to defend and uphold it, and … AND it relies on We the People to agree to honour it by ensuring those we elect to support the Constitution, actually do so.  I wonder how many voters in this country have actually read the U.S. Constitution?  It’s only just over 8,000 words, including the 27 amendments, just about the length of 8 of my blog posts. And the language is simple enough for anyone who can read at a 9th grade level to understand.

The document was intended to grow along with the nation, not to be a set-in-stone, unwavering set of laws.  The framers knew that times would change, situations would evolve that might require additions or alterations, and they fully expected those additions and alterations, expected the document to grow with the times.  And to an extent, it has.  Women were given the right to vote in the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, just barely over a century ago.  It was the 26th Amendment, ratified in 1971, that gave 18-year-old citizens the right to vote – this came about largely due to the war in Vietnam and the case was made that if an 18-year-old was old enough to risk their life for their country, they should have a voice in our government.  The last amendment passed was the 27th, in 1992, that disallows members of Congress from granting themselves pay raises that would take effect prior to the next election.  1992 … 30 years since the last amendment to the Constitution.  A lot has changed in that time, and the document is sorely in need of some updating, but back to the point … it could be destroyed without too much ado.  It is a safeguard, but … just as your home is your safeguard against the elements, wild animals and wild people, your home can be broken into, burned down … destroyed.  So can the Constitution.  So can democracy.

Part 2: A New U.S. Constitution

A couple of weeks ago, I re-blogged the first in a series Professor Taboo is doing about the ways in which we have ‘outgrown’ parts of the U.S. Constitution, written back in 1787. The foundation is still sound, but the framework could use some ‘shoring up’ to bring it into the 21st century! If I make a chore list at the beginning of the week, I will no doubt have to adjust it by mid-week due to oversight or previously unforeseen circumstances, and the same is true of a document drafted 235 years ago! Today, I share with you Part II in the Professor’s project … a thoughtful and thought-provoking analysis that is definitely worth reading! Thank you, Prof!

The Professor's Convatorium

In an 1849 speech to the Massachusetts Bible Society and at that time a twice elected member to Congress’ House of Representatives and later appointed House Speaker, his following words echoed several of the newly formed United States government charters and their Founding Fathers:

“All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them…”

robert charles winthrop

We continue now from Part 1, A New U.S. Constitution

Our 18th Century Constitution Nurtures Political & Economic Inequality Today

Mr. R.C. Winthrop, a respected lawyer and descendant of Governor John Winthrop from…

View original post 4,641 more words

Justice Alito Assured Senator Ted Kennedy That He Would Not Overturn Roe v. Wade

It’s one thing to acknowledge that politicians will tell lies to get elected to office. We may not like it, and some tell small lies while others tell whoppers, but most people accept that there are some lies told by politicians. However, Supreme Court justices are NOT politicians, do not stand for election but rather are appointed for life, and thus we should be able to hold them to a higher standard. To say that today’s Court is a disappointment would be an understatement. Read what Diane Ravitch shows us about the lack of integrity of one Justice Samuel Alito.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The New York Times reported that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito assured Senator Ted Kennedy that he would not overturn Roe v. Wade. He said repeatedly that he respects precedent and considered Roe to be settled law. Seventeen years later, Justice Alito wrote the scathing opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and asserting that it was wrong from the start.

How should Americans react when they learn that at least three of the 6 justices who voted to overturn Roe are liars?

Senator Edward M. Kennedy looked skeptically at the federal judge. It was Nov. 15, 2005, and Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was seeking Senate confirmation for his nomination to the Supreme Court, had just assured Mr. Kennedy in a meeting in his Senate office that he respected the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion.

“I am a believer in precedents,” Judge Alito…

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