Day: 2015.02.24

Not Exactly an Inside Joke

Dan Savage in NYC, uncredited photo ca. 2011.

“Anyway: twink is apparently a hate term now too. Please make a note of it.”

Dan Savage

I wish I could explain why this is so damn funny.

____________________

Savage, Dan. “Twink: The Other T-Slur”. Slog. 24 February 2015.

Your Daily Powerup

Detail of 'Mary Death' by Matt Tarpley, 24 February 2015.

What really should be seared into memory is also blurred by the fact that it is a fairly powerful experience for most people, and with an addictive drug at that.

Still, though: Good times, good times.

Oh, hey, a phrase that will mean nothing to anyone else … well, unless you happen to be one of about four people who were there.

“Hey, Ken! Can I have some more maple syrup, please?”

Cruelty in brown glass.

Never mind. Separate subject.

Ah, youth!

Then again, Matt Tarpley’s high-fuel remembrance of yestersometime―and, oh, my, is that Nimbus?―is about the only answer we can offer. The bit about maple syrup? Yeah, you kind of had to be there. It’ll have to wait for another time.

____________________

Tarpley, Matt. “Kick Start the Day”. Mary Death. 24 February 2015.

Another O’Reilly Scandal, Can You Imagine?

Bill O'Reilly appeared on 'CBS This Morning' in 2012 to promote his book, 'Killing Kennedy'.  The infamous FOX News host received much criticism in the wake of accusations that he lied about his coverage of the Falkland Islands war.  Now, former colleagues accuse that O'Reilly fabricated an account of his witness to the suicide of Kennedy assassination witness George de Mohrenschildt.  (Image credit: CBS/Media Matters for America)

“Bill O’Reilly’s a phony, there’s no other way to put it.”

Tracy Rowlett

So, you know, like, if I told you Bill O’Reilly has been called out for another famous falsehood in his reportage, would you be all, like, “O … M … G … I mean, really?” or would you be all, like, you know, like, “And?”

Bill O’Reilly has repeatedly claimed he personally “heard” a shotgun blast that killed a figure in the investigation into President John F. Kennedy’s assassination while reporting for a Dallas television station in 1977. O’Reilly’s claim is implausible and contradicted by his former newsroom colleagues who denied the tale in interviews with Media Matters. A police report, contemporaneous reporting, and a congressional investigator who was probing Kennedy’s death further undermine O’Reilly’s story.

(Dimiero, Hananoki and Strupp)

‘Cause, you know, like, what, are we supposed to be freakin’ surprised or something?

Totally.

____________________

Dimiero, Ben, Eric Hananoki and Joe Strupp. “O’Reilly Lied About Suicide Of JFK Assassination Figure, Former Colleagues Say”. Media Matters for America. 24 February 2015.

Fiscal Prudence in New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie in Illinois this month [Feb. 2015]. His office vowed to appeal a judge’s ruling on public employee pensions. (Credit Jim Young/Reuters)

As New Jersey reels from yet another legal scandal reaching the office of Gov. Chris Christie (R), it really is hard to know where to begin. Naturally, it is tempting to start “at the beginning”, but sometimes that is a difficult proposition, since nothing ever begins. So let us start, then, with Katie Zernike of the New York Times:

In a major blow to Gov. Chris Christie, a New Jersey judge ruled on Monday that he violated state law when he declined to make the full payment into the state’s pension system for public employees last year and ordered him to find a way to fund it now.

Earlier this month we learned that the governor, who once promised “a new era of accountability and transparency” was “waging 23 battles to keep state documents secret” amid a flurry of ethics investigations that have challenged his political ambitions. Zernike notes:

The decision further complicates Mr. Christie’s hopes of reviving his presidential ambitions, which have suffered in recent weeks as his approval ratings in New Jersey have sunk to the lowest point of his tenure, and Republican donors have moved to other contenders for the party’s nomination.

Mr. Christie will now be scrambling also to find the $1.57 billion the judge ordered him to pay.

And while it is easy enough to start, and even finish, with a roll of the eyes because Chris Christie has once again managed to do whatever it is he thinks he is doing, we ought not gloss over the other powerful irony, here. After all, what did Christie accomplish by skipping out on the pension system?

Well, he actually managed to convince Fitch Ratings to downgrade New Jersey debt. And he only had to break the law to do so. At some point, nobody can rightly claim to be surprised.

____________________

Image note: Gov. Chris Christie in Illinois this month. His office vowed to appeal a judge’s ruling on public employee pensions. (Credit: Jim Young/Reuters)

Zernike, Kate. “Christie Broke Law With Pension Move, New Jersey Judge Says”. The New York Times. 23 February 2015.

Redden, Molly. “Chris Christie Is Now Waging 23 Court Battles to Keep State Documents Secret”. Mother Jones. 4 February 2015.

Rizzo, Salvador. “Fitch downgrades N.J. debt, saying Christie is repudiating his pension reform”. The Star-Ledger. 5 September 2014.

A Peek Into the Latest Republican Tantrum

Detail of cartoon by Jen Sorensen, 24 February 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.Perhaps the whole brouhaha with Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) seems confusing; we would not blame anyone for wondering whence it comes. But, to the other, it does not arise ex nihilo.

Jen Sorensen offers a peek at the answer, and it really is about as stupid as you might imagine.

Really.

____________________

Sorensen, Jen. “Punditspew, ISIS edition”. Daily Kos Comics. 24 February 2015.

Milbank, Dana. “Scott Walker’s cowardice should disqualify him”. The Washington Post. 20 February 2015.

The Growing Scandal of King v. Burwell

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2008, file photo, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., is seen in Providence, R.I.  Turned away at the Supreme Court, congressional Republicans sketch a filibuster-proof strategy to repeal the nation's health care law in 2013.  But it hinges on two uncertainties ― Mitt Romney capturing the White House and the party seizing even narrow control of the Senate (AP Photo/Stephan Saviola, File)

Sometimes the lede buries itseslf; the point will hide in plain sight. It is an easy thing to do, hiding in plain sight, when nobody is looking for you:

The Supreme Court has developed elaborate tests to determine if plaintiffs have standing to sue. But their essence, Justice Antonin Scalia once observed, is a four-word question: “What’s it to you?”

To get into court, it is not enough to be unhappy about something. Only people with a direct stake in a dispute have standing to sue.

Which brings us to the four plaintiffs in the latest threat to President Obama’s health care law, to be heard next week. Recent news reports have raised the question of whether any of them has a dog in the fight.

But it is not clear that the Supreme Court will address that question, which could determine the outcome of the case. The court’s recent decisions have been inconsistent and provide few clues about what it might do. The court is sometimes accused of being opportunistic in using the standing doctrine to avoid legal questions it wants to duck, but ignoring the issue when it is eager to weigh in.

(Liptak)

Two sentences; did you miss them?

No, really, this is important: “But it is not clear that the Supreme Court will address that question, which could determine the outcome of the case. The court’s recent decisions have been inconsistent and provide few clues about what it might do.”

One of the hallmarks of the Roberts Court is its disrespect for standing case law and precedent. The Chief Justice is an example of why the longstanding conservative complaint about liberal judicial activism is a swindle. John Roberts seems to apply more of an “if it feels good, do it” attitude to the judiciary, but at the same time he’s conscious of appearances, which is why conservative majorities on the Court will occasionally do that weird thing where they overturn case law but then disclaim that they’re not overturning anything, such as we’ve seen in Ricci (Civil Rights Act) and Texas (Voting Rights Act). And there is also the conservative majority’s clear tendency to throw cases for politics by carving out one-time exceptions to the law, such as we saw in Safford, in which a school was forgiven a sex offense because ignorance is bliss and, well, why would a young girl be upset by adults forcing her to strip down so they can leer and prod at her body, and Ricci, in which the New Haven Civil Service Board followed the law but was held in fault for doing so.

One of the reasons this Court is so hard to predict is, in fact, its inconsistency. And the reason it is hard to pin down that inconsistency is because it is so inconsistent. To the one, it is not a purely institutionalist streak. To the other, it is not purely traditionalist. Rather, it seems Chief Justice Roberts is happy to keep pushing the image of calling balls and strikes just as long as nobody points out that the strike zone keeps changing.

The Constitution is John Roberts’ playground, nothing more. Inconsistency will be the hallmark of his chiefdom. (more…)