Category Archives: Current Affairs

The “Hubris” of A “Judicial Putsch” — Dissents From The Same Sex Marriage Ruling

The “Hubris” of A “Judicial Putsch” — Dissents From The Same Sex Marriage Ruling

Together the four Supreme Court dissents make up a longer body of text than the decision. So for readability I am presenting them in three sizes:

First, the “Mini” or “Executive Summary” version, select quotes that add up to almost 4000 words.

Next, The Medium size, a fuller selection of the texts, which comes to almost 12,000 words.

And finally, at this link, one can read the dissents in their entirety, at about 19,000 words. (To find them, scroll down past the initial, “Opinion of the Court” section.)

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Continue reading The “Hubris” of A “Judicial Putsch” — Dissents From The Same Sex Marriage Ruling

The Supreme Court Marriage Decision — Made Readable!

The Supreme Court Marriage Decision — Made Readable! (And Shorter!)

Who knew? The Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage is not only historic — it’s also readable, coherent, humane, and often eloquent.

But the full text runs to 35 pages and about 12,000 words. Much of this text is clogged up with legal citations and inside-lawyer references. These are necessary to the legal system, but not to the meaning or flow of the decision.

Reading it and skipping all the extra legalese was actually exciting and even moving; but why keep the good stuff to myself?

So I’ve cut almost all of this out, and shortened some other sections. The result is just under 5000 words, but with all the important reasoning and analysis retained (I think; I’m not a lawyer). 

Even if you believe this decision marks the End of Civilization As We Know It, you may find this version useful; I’ve done no editorializing  in it. It’s the text — not the whole text — but nothing but the text.

And I’ve pasted this whole thing in below. This is what journos these days call a “long-form” piece.  But as I said, I found reading it compelling. So I commend it to others. If you find this helpful, please pass it on.

Next I’m going to dive into the four Dissents, to see what’s of interest there. Check back later for updates on this front. Meantime, it’s your turn to read the history that was made today. . . .

Go for it.

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Continue reading The Supreme Court Marriage Decision — Made Readable!

Nine Hometown Realities more important to me than trying to ban the Confederate flag

Nine Hometown Realities more important to me than trying to ban the Confederate flag —

If a had a million bucks to donate . . .

If I was thirty years younger, with that former energy level . . .

If there were 36 hours in my day . . .

If I had political weight to throw around . . .

Continue reading Nine Hometown Realities more important to me than trying to ban the Confederate flag

OMG! Sweet Briar College to Stay Open!

OMG! OMG!

Sweet Briar College To Stay Open!

<< WASHINGTON — Sweet Briar College, the women’s liberal arts college in rural Virginia that announced it would close iin August — setting off a storm of protest and lawsuits from students, faculty and alumnae — will remain open for at least another academic year under an agreement announced Saturday by the attorney general of Virginia.

News of the settlement brought a sense of elation aand relief to  Members of the alumnae group, Saving Sweet Briar Inc., who had fought the planned closure since the board announced in March that the 114-year-old school would cease operations “as a result of insurmountable financial challenges.” The alumnae insisted the school could be rescued with new leadership.

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Victory!” wrote Tracy Stuart, a real estate agent in Martha’s Vineyard and a board member of the group, in an email message. “We saved Sweet Briar! They never thought we could do it, but we did it!” >>

Full story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/us/sweet-briar-reaches-deal-to-stay-open.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

After Charleston: Ban the Confederate Flag?? Let’s Do Something REAL.

After Charleston: Ban the Confederate Flag?? Let’s Do Something REAL.

An instant video is circulating on Facebook today, advocating a ban on the Confederate Flag. (Don’t know if non-FB readers can see it, but give it a try.)
Some good Quakers and others have hailed the video and its call. But I’m not one of them. No, I am not a friend of that flag. I’d be happy to see it removed from the SC capitol grounds.

But trying to ban the Confederate flag is a distracting, dumb idea.

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A Neo-Confederate bumper sticker, on sale at “Dixie Republic” in western South Carolina. The shop used to be called “Dixie Outpost”; but like the movement it serves, it has grown bolder. More samples of its merchandise are below. http://dixierepublic.com/

Continue reading After Charleston: Ban the Confederate Flag?? Let’s Do Something REAL.

The Photo I Hoped I’d Never See

The Photo I Hoped I’d Never See — Pass It On If You Agree

<< Obama’s new and ‘nimble’ anti-Isis strategy met with scepticism on all sides >>

From the Guardian
It remains unclear how over 450 additional troops would overcome the central problem to the training effort in Iraq: a lack of recruits to train.
The idea was to “be more nimble, because, clearly, this is a nimble enemy”, said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser.
The announcement was greeted with indifference and scepticism in Iraq, where efforts to arm local Sunnis opposed to Isis have foundered and training programmes by the US have made little progress in producing disciplined Sunni fighters capable of challenging the militant group.
“The increase doesn’t have an effect,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi scholar and expert on Isis. “It is a weak step to reduce pressure from the media.”

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Continue reading The Photo I Hoped I’d Never See

BIG Almonds, Little Water: The Quickie Guide to California’s Drought

BIG Almonds, Little Water: The Quickie Guide to California’s Drought

Let’s talk briefly about water versus almonds.

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A big bag of M&M Almonds, just shy of 16 ounces. At approximately 8 almonds per ounce, that comes to about 128 almonds in the bag. Almond production –almost all of which is from California — takes about one GALLON of water per EVERY single almond, or about 128 GALLONS of water for this one bag. (That equals about 64 gallon jugs of Nestles bottled water for each 16 ounce bag of nuts..) And estimates are that almond production ALONE makes up ten percent of ALL California water use — that’s about 3.8 BILLION gallons of water EVERY DAY, 365 days a year. And Besides BIG Almonds, BIG Agriculture accounts for 80 percent of ALL water use in California — about One TRILLION-Gallons PLUS per year.

Continue reading BIG Almonds, Little Water: The Quickie Guide to California’s Drought

Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

The first “favorable” articles I ever read about homosexuality and bisexuality  were in WIN Magazine, a radical pacifist journal, in its “gay liberation issue” of November 15, 1969. (“Gay liberation” was a brand-new coinage then.)

I still remember how the “coming out” (yet another new phrase for me) story of and by David McReynolds, who was then the main staff member of the War Resisters League {WRL}, hit me like a series of physical blows.

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Continue reading Two Unforgettable Profiles In Courage: 1969

Guilford: Quaker College On The Endangered List?

Guilford: Quaker College On The Endangered List?

At Guilford College in Greensboro NC, the hullabaloo over graduation has died down. And now, a grim summer has begun.

Specifically, the passing out of diplomas was followed by the passing out of pink slips, to 52 staff and faculty. That’s thirteen percent of Guilford’s 400 employees, almost one in seven.

Sweetbriar-RIP-2 Continue reading Guilford: Quaker College On The Endangered List?