Thursday, December 08, 2011


I really should end this hiatus from political blogging.  There are just too many important things out there that beg to be commented on.

There is the Defense Authorization Bill.  A thorough post on that will come along at some point, hopefully, but let me just observe that it passed 93-7.*  That means that a whole lot of Democrats had no problem with it, which is appalling, or were relying on President Obama to veto it,** which is cowardly, or were sure the Supreme Court will declare the objectionable parts unconstitutional, which is foolhardy and callous.  Foolhardy, because you can never predict how any given Court will rule on anything.  See Ledbetter v. Goodyear, or Kelo v. New Hampshire, or, much more to the point, Korematsu v. United States.  Callous, because if there is an as-applied challenge to the law, it means someone will have had to go through a lot of anguish.  Even when (not if) there is a challenge to the law on its face, it will cost money to pursue this through the courts, money which could be much better spent elsewhere. And yes, I know there is some language in part of the bill (I actually have read it) which states that American citizens are not included -- except that is not what a lot of the Senators who voted for it claim. I find that very instructive. If nothing else, it means there is ambiguity***, which should always be construed to result in the worst case scenario, because it usually will.

There is the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny -- or REINS -- Act, passed by the House, which would trash the regulating power of the Administration. A quick reading of the bill shows to it be even worse than reported by the Huffington Post, which is not often the case. A more detailed post on the Act requires a very thorough reading of the bill, so that I can talk about just how bad it is. (Or not, as the case may be. Sometimes things are not as bad as they would seem at first blush.)

There is the decision by the administration that Plan B and other emergency contraceptives should not be sold on store shelves but by pharmacists, and available to women under 17 only by prescription.  Obama claimed he was thinking of parents with that last one, but he should have been thinking of teenage girls.  Teenage girls sometime face not just restriction of their reproductive rights, but actual violence if they are discovered to be having sex.  Not to mention that there are teenage victims of rape or incest who for whatever reason cannot tell their parents or the authorities.

There is Rick Perry's assertions about how Christians are persecuted, but that really is old hat. Fundamentalists have been claiming this for years.

There is the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination (PRENDA) in the House, but I don't think my blood pressure is up to that one right now.  It was a little high last time I went to the doctor, and discussing this bill is sure to send it through the roof.

There are various insane statements by Newt Gingrich, but I think I'll ignore him for now. 

 See? Too many important things happening in the country. You would think that people would ease up in December.****

*Good for Republicans Thomas Coburn, Oklahoma; Mike Lee, Utah; Rand Paul, Kentucky; Democrats Thomas Harkin, Iowa; Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both of Oregon; and the wonderful Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

** Obama has says he will veto it, but for other reasons.

***Reading it over, I was struck by the inconsistency of several provisions.  So yes, I do think it is ambiguous.

****I know.  Everyone wants to get things passed before they go home for the holidays, and the "Christians are persecuted" meme resurrects itself every December.*****

*****Pun not really intended -- but I like it anyway. I think Jesus would have liked puns.

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