Friday, June 5, 2015

We're Not Worthy, We're Not Worthy....

....rock on, sir. Rock on.


Founder's Quote, 5 June 2015

When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in the happy hour when the establishment of American Liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations shall enable us to return to our Private Stations in the bosom of a free, peacefully and happy Country. - George Washington, address to the New York Legislature — 1775

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Seared Music: Mickey & Sylvia - "Love Is Strange"

....thanks to that Nationwide commercial: you know, the one with the baby that morphs into a frickin Mustang....now this song's stuck in my head like an ear worm...oh, well.

Another White House Hack Headed To Media-World

Quoting PJ Media: If you thought news media could not be any more biased, think again. CNN has hired Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer as a contributor. Pfeiffer was the hack who claimed it was irrelevant who lied about Benghazi. Hear more as John Phillips, Scott Ott and Stephen Kruiser discuss America's hopelessly biased news outlets.

...with the exception of Fox News and the conservative blogosphere - of which I'm proud to member of - every other media source seems to simply be mailing it in nowadays...and people wonder why FNC is #1 in ratings? Could it be that they actually still report the news?

Keep Digging That 'Thar Hole, Duggars....

Ever since Fox News' interview Wednesday night with the Duggar parents over the continuing controversy involving their son Josh Duggar, the controversy has just gotten bigger and bigger...and, based on a few of the stories over at Holy Bullies & Headless Monsters, they're just digging the proverbial hole deeper and deeper.

....as much as I don't want to wish ill on anyone....I'm also quiet happy to see them embroiled in all the schadenfreude, given the family's long-standing homophobic tendencies; it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of bigots.

Founder's Quote, 4 June 2015

The public cannot be too curious concerning the characters of public men. - Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren — 1775

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

John Oliver Explains The Cesspool Of Corruption That Is FIFA

Quoting...Almost one year ago, John Oliver spoke at length about the innumerable things wrong with FIFA. Now, after the arrests of numerous top officials, John Oliver brings us up to speed with the worst of the sporting world.

FWIW, I don't know what was more shocking: the fact that they were even arrested or that it was the United States that led the investigation that led to the arrests...what a world we live in.

Founder's Quote, 3 June 2015

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be to-morrow. - James Madison (likely), Federalist No. 62 — 1788

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Seared Music: The Sisters Of Mercy - "This Corrosion"

...remind me again why we can't have music as good as it was back in the day? Why?!?

Senate Passes USA Freedom Act, Ending Patriot Act Provision Lapse

At least we now have the surveillance programs back...
The mass surveillance-reforming USA Freedom Act passed the Senate on Tuesday afternoon, ending an impasse on reauthorization of three surveillance authorities and putting in motion a purportedly permanent end to the government’s automatic bulk collection of U.S. phone records.
President Barack Obama supports the legislation and likely will sign it into law at the earliest opportunity, reinstating and modifying surveillance powers that lapsed Sunday night through 2019.
Within six months, the National Security Agency will need to abandon its wholesale collection of phone records and transition to acquiring call logs of targets and those of their contacts as needed in intelligence investigations.
Thirty-two senators voted against the legislation, which would not require phone companies to store records longer than they currently do.
Federal regulations require landline phone providers to keep records at least 18 months, but wireless and online call providers have retention policies ranging from zero days to 10 years, introducing the potential for privacy-conscious carrier changes.
The legislation ultimately backed by 67 senators blocks the government from transferring mass phone record collection to other authorities, such as national security letter statutes or Section 214 of the Patriot Act – one of 14 Patriot Act provisions made permanent in 2005. (U.S. News & World Report)
This is one of those Solomonic solutions that really didn't have to happen, yet there had to be some sort of balancing act here given the stakes involved; while I myself wasn't concerned too awful much with the Section 215 provision (a/k/a the NSA's metadata program, which only kept 3 bits of mass info: cell phone numbers, duration of calls between numbers and time of calls), the possibilities for malfeasance were simply too much to outright ignore. My one concern here is that we don't go too far back towards the kind of world we had pre-9/11; as long as we balance protecting civil liberties with protecting the nation of terrorist threats, I'll be satisfied.

Founder's Quote, 2 June 2015

As on the one hand, the necessity for borrowing in particular emergencies cannot be doubted, so on the other, it is equally evident that to be able to borrow upon good terms, it is essential that the credit of a nation should be well established. - Alexander Hamilton, Report on Public Credit — 1790

2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins With Forecasts Of A Quiet Season

Well, the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season officially began Monday, and the official forecasts have come out from the usual suspects (NOAA & Colorado State University among others)...and the forecasts?
The major hurricane forecasting groups are not impressed with this season's potential to be an active one, and are universally calling for 2015 to be a below average to way below-average year for the Atlantic. The highest forecast numbers were from Weather Underground Community Hurricane Forecast, which called for 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. The lowest numbers were from North Carolina State University: 5 named storms, 2 hurricanes, and 1 intense hurricane. The long-term averages for the past 65 years are 11 named storms, 6 hurricanes, 3 intense hurricanes. (Weather Underground)
Specific forecasts are as follows:

  •  NOAA: 8.5 named storms, 4.5 hurricanes, 1 major hurricane, ACE index 62.5% of normal 
  • Colorado State University (CSU): 8 named storms, 3 hurricanes, 1 major hurricane, ACE index 44% of normal
  • Tropical Storm Risk, Inc. (TSR): 10 named storms, 4 hurricanes, 1 intense hurricane, ACE index 36% of normal
  • UKMET office: 8 named storms, 5 hurricanes, ACE index 74% of normal (June - November.)
  • Weather Underground Community Hurricane Forecast: 11 named storms, 5 hurricanes, 2 major hurricanes
  • WSI: 9 named storms, 5 hurricanes, 1 major hurricane
  • Penn State: 8 named storms.
  • North Carolina State University: 5 named storms, 2 hurricanes, 1 intense hurricane
  • Coastal Carolina University: 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes, 2 intense hurricanes
  • Cuban Meteorological Service, INSMET: 9 named storms, 3 hurricanes
Now, to be fair, this doesn't mean that we won't see any storms per se' (as we've already seen one: Tropical Storm Ana back in May)...but all it takes is one major storm to bring disastrous results (most recently in 2004 with four named storms: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne) so for another six months it'll pay to keep an eye every so often on the weather radar...

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seared Music: Cliff Richard - "We Don't Talk Anymore"

...this is an almost appropriate song given the growing rift between the libertarian & establishment wings of the GOP...it also brings to mind something over at Ace of Spades about the rift as well; very entertaining reading if it weren't so scary as a conservative to see...

SCOTUS Continues Clearing Its' 2014 Case Log...No Marriage Equality Ruling Yet

For the past two weeks, Court watchers have been playing Kremlinologist as the High Court continues clearing its' 2014 case docket and today was no exception as SCOTUS issued several decisions on various items of Constitutional interest:
  • Mellouli v. Lynch (13-1034): In this case from Kansas, the Court ruled that for purposes of criminal deportation, misdemeanor possession of prescription pills isn't enough to trigger said action
  • Bank of America v. Caulkett (13-1421): In this reversal of an 11th Circuit decision, the Court ruled that the debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding may not void the debt owed on a junior mortgage lien when the debt owed on a senior mortgage lien exceeds the current value of the property if the creditor's claim is both secured by a lien and is allowed under the Bankruptcy Code.
  • EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch (14-86): In this reversal of a 10th Circuit decision, the Court held that to prevail in a disparate treatment claim, an applicant need show only that his need for accommodation was a motivating factor in the employer's decision, not that the employer had knowledge of his need.
  • Elonis v. United States (13-983): In this case regarding what constitutes a criminal threat under 1st Amendment exceptions, the Court holds that the Third Circuit's instruction requiring only negligence with respect to the communication of a threat is not sufficient to support a conviction under the federal law at issue in this case.
With these four cases out of the way, the High Court has roughly 21 or so cases remaining on its' docket and most of this term's high-traffic issues: the death penalty, housing discrimination, same-sex marriage, Obamacare subsidy eligibility, etc., are still out there in the judicial ether, which means the next few weeks are going to be very interesting...

Founder's Quote, 1 June 2015

The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals...[I]t establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of. - Albert Gallatin, letter to Alexander Addison — 1789

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Why The Recent Obama Immigration Defeat Is A Big Deal

A few days ago, the Obama Administration was handed a defeat in its' efforts to provide amnesty to several million illegal immigrants (a/k/a "the Dreamers") via executive order instead of through the constitutionally-required manner of legislative action...now, despite the media's spin, this was a huge victory for the rule of law, so says Hans von Spakovsky over at the Heritage Foundation's The Daily Signal.

How, you might ask? Quoting...
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed the Obama administration a huge defeat this week.
It denied the government’s request for an emergency stay of a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of President Obama’s immigration amnesty program. This is not a decision on the merits of the lawsuit filed against the administration by the 26 states. But it certainly does not bode well for the administration’s case since in today’s 2-1 decision, the 5th Circuit concluded that “the government is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its appeal of the injunction.”
The panel also denied the government’s request to narrow the nationwide scope of the injunction so that it only applied to Texas and the other states in the lawsuit.
The court concluded that “partial implementation of [the president’s program] would undermine the constitutional imperative of ‘a uniform Rule of Naturalization’” contained in Article I of the U.S. Constitution, as well as “Congress’s instruction that ‘the immigration laws of the United States should be enforced vigorously and uniformly’” that is outlined in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. (The Daily Signal)
That one line above - "a uniform Rule of Naturalization" - is the key here: one of the bulwarks of the American system of jurisprudence and rule of law is that the law should apply to everyone equally and that there should be no favorites played here; to quote Michael Connelly's Det. Harry Bosch, "Everyone counts or nobody counts."

The problem w/Obama's executive actions (both the 2012 and 2014 actions) in question are that they subvert the very rule of law he purports to uphold in that they play favorites; they allow those who are here illegally to effectively skip past all other immigrants here in the U.S. who has played by the rules and are here legally; all the 3-judge panel's decision did - besides putting a halt to Obama's amnesties - is that it will give them a full hearing before the 5th Circuit and given how the panel ruled, it wouldn't surprise me if the Circuit Court puts a stop to Obama's executive orders, giving a victory once more for the rule of law in this country.