I would call this a cautionary history lesson with an important message...
video details and more
...and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODD! (no video - only a tune of his which is vastly underrated, IMHO).
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I will probably have more on the end of the term over the next two to three weeks when I have a chance to focus on the highlights (and low lights) of the term, but wanted to focus on two of Monday's big, big, big cases.
First, there was the class action Title VII case involving Wal-Mart. Most legal experts expected Wal-Mart to get at least a partial win. A class composed of all female employee, past, present, and future of Wal-Mart just seemed a little bit large. So nobody was surprised that all nine justices found the current class certification to be erroneous. However, the Supreme Court split between the five Conservative to Very Conservative Justices (in an opinion written by Justice Scalia) who found that the decentralized system implemented by Wal-Mart all but precluded any finding that there were sufficient common issues to ever support a class certification (as the presence of sufficient common issues is a requirement for certification) and the four Moderate to Liberal Justices (in an opinion written by former civil rights lawyer Justice Ginsburg) who merely believed that the trial court used the wrong option for class certification. (There are three different options for class certification dealing with different types of claims and providing for different notice requirements).
It is tough to know how to categorize the position taken by Justice Scalia. Is this another example of the Supreme Court's hostility to Title VII claims and attempts to move away from looking at the disparate impact of company policies on racial and gender groups. (Gee whiz, in a company in which men occupy the key positions, letting men make subjective decisions on promotions and salaries tends to result in those men promoting people who seem most like them -- other men). Or is this case another example of the hostility of the Supreme Court to class actions.
Second, there was the global warming case involving states and cities (and other interested parties) against energy companies. Again, the result was not a suprise to most legal observers. The plaintiffs had attempted to have the federal court recognize a federal common law nuisance involving greenhouse gases, thereby authorizing the court to use its injunctive powers to regulate those gases. While the plaintiffs lost, this case was a win-win for environmental groups. In dismissing the suit, the Supreme Court again found that Congress had specifically given the EPA the power to determine whether or not greenhouse gases were a pollutant. In doing so, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its ruling from 2007 in Massachussetts versus EPA that the proper remedy for dealing with a potential pollutant was to petition the EPA to make a ruling, and for the EPA to make that ruling based on scientific evidence, subject to judicial review if the EPA ignored the evidence. Justice Ginsburg wrote for six justices, with Justice Sotomahyor recused because the case had been in front of the Second Circuit prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court. The two Justices from off the right edge of the map (Justice Thomas and Justice Alito in an opinion written by Justice Alito) wrote separately to emphasize that they do not agree with the determination in the 2007 case that greenhouse gases are actually subject to EPA regulation. The majority opinion did note that in response to the 2007 ruling the EPA had finally implemented some regulations with the others due to be finalized in 2012.
Now that, as Wonkette puts it, "Riveting New Bristol Palin Memoir Tells How To Get Pregnant While Drunk," this video I made in JULY OF 2009 suddenly seems fresh and timely once again...
Open thread below....
Dick Meister writes, The Battle of Our Generation: Freedom to Organize:
President Bob King of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is proving again that he's one of our most astute labor leaders, a worthy occupant of the position once held by the legendary Walter Reuther.UAW President Bob KingKing's latest column in Solidarity, the UAW's official magazine, certainly proves that. King writes about the severe weakening of the union rights that are supposedly guaranteed all working people - the right to organize. King calls that "the first amendment for workers."
That basic and essential right was granted US workers by the National Labor Relations Act - the NLRA - which was enacted in 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal measures, which were designed in part to pull the country out of the Great Depression.
But now, says UAW President King, the NLRA's basic process for determining whether workers want to organize - having them vote for or against unionization - is "fatally flawed." King says the National Labor Relations Board - the NLRB - which is charged with enforcing the NLRA, does not do that - "does not protect workers' right to organize."
Workers' lack of adequate legal protection is not a new development, as King notes. It's been a serious problem for several decades. Since the 1970s, employers have been allowed to hire anti-union consultants "to design sophisticated ways to intimidate workers trying to organize." ...
The union is demanding that "all corporations, whether American or foreign-owned, allow their workers to freely decide whether to organize."
King calls that "the battle of our generation," as it surely is. He says that "the battle for the First Amendment right to organize will determine the survival of the labor movement. It is the mission of our generation of trade unionists to secure these rights for future generations. We must win this fight for our children and grandchildren."
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At Daily Kos on this date in 2003:
At the end of a week that saw a war of attrition develop against the US military, General William Nash told The Observer that the US had 'lost its window of opportunity' after felling Saddam Hussein's regime and was embarking on a long-term expenditure of people and dollars for which it had not planned.
'It is an endeavour which was not understood by the administration to begin with,' he said.
Now retired, Nash served in the Vietnam war and in Operation Desert Storm (the first Gulf War) before becoming commander of US forces in Bosnia and then an acclaimed UN Civil Affairs administrator in Kosovo. ...
In one of the most outspoken critiques from a man of his standing, Nash said the US had 'failed to understand the mindset and attitudes of the Iraqi people and the depth of hostility towards the US in much of the country'. ...
As a result, he says, 'we are now seeing the re-emergence of a reasonably organised military opposition - small scale, but it could escalate.'
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Make no mistake, the four-day rally we just saw was nothing more than short covering in front of the Fed meeting just in case Bernanke surprised us with QE3. As expected he confirmed that QE2 would end on schedule. The dollar rallied and the market sold off on the news.Folks, I don’t think this is over yet. In the chart below you can see that every intermediate cycle low exhibits some kind of capitulation volume as market participants panic.
We clearly have not seen any kind of a panic selloff yet. As a matter of fact volume has been running slightly lower than average. This is not what happens at a true intermediate bottom.
The average duration of an . . . → Read More: DEFLATION IN OUR FUTURE
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So my beloved home state, New York, looks poised to become the 6th state to allow gays to marry. Which is perfectly shocking. I mean, whoever would have thought we’d be less gay than frickin’ Iowa? But anyhow, hey, it’s a win! To be[...]
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The security theater continues. There's no question that there is a threat out there but these policies sound like they're overboard. Americans sound much more paralyzed with fear than other countries who have faced terrorism. MotherJones:
As part of the TSA's request for FY 2012 funding, TSA Administrator John Pistole told Congress last week that the TSA conducts 8,000 unannounced security screenings every year. These screenings, conducted with local law enforcement agencies as well as immigration, can be as simple as checking out cargo at a busy seaport. But more and more, they seem to involve giving airport-style pat-downs and screenings of unsuspecting passengers at bus terminals, ferries, and even subways.
These surprise visits are part of the TSA's VIPR program: Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response. The VIPR program first started doing searches in 2007, and has grown since then. Currently, the TSA only has 25 VIPR teams doing these impromptu searches: in 2012, it wants to get 12 more.
The searches are in the name of passenger security, and the TSA says it wants to prevent incidents like the 2004 Madrid train bombings. But if the airports' TSA searches miss security risks like large knives, loaded guns, and explosives, there's certainly the chance that screenings at train stations would be similarly flawed.
***MUST CREDIT JESUS' GENERAL***
I've learned from sources very close to Newt Gingrich that he's shooting a docudrama based on his presidential run. Late last night, a high ranking janitorial aide to the former Speaker sent me the following script which depicts Newt's reaction to staff resignation:
Newt: And I don't need campaign staff! I don't need fundraisers, (he pushes all of the Tiffany's bills off the desk), and I don't need a fucking janitorial aide. I don't need anything except this (Newt picks up his golden ashtray) and that's it and that's the only thing I need, is this. I don't need this or this. Just this golden ashtray.Developing...
And this bejeweled paddle game (picks it up), the golden ashtray and the bejeweled paddle game and that's all I need.
And this diamond encrusted remote control. The golden ashtray, the bejeweled paddle game and the diamond encrusted remote control, and that's all I need.
And these matches made from the wood of Ramses' sarcophagus. The golden ashtray, and these matches made from the wood of Ramses' sarcophagus, and the diamond encrusted remote control and the bejeweled paddle ball.
And this Louis Comfort Tiffany Lotus lamp. The golden ashtray, this bejeweled paddle game and the diamond encrusted remote control and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Lotus lamp and that's all I need. And that's all I need too.
I don't need one other thing, not one - (sees something) I need this! The bejeweled paddle game, and Jefferson Davis's favorite whipping chair, and the diamond encrusted remote control, and the matches made from the wood of Ramses' sarcophagus, for sure.
Well what are you looking at? What do you think I am, some kind of a jerk or something? And this! And that's all I need. The golden ashtray, the diamond encrusted remote control, the bejeweled paddle game, this "Jugs" magazine and Jefferson Davis's favorite whipping chair. And I don't need one other thing except my dog. (Harrods, the dog, growls) Well I don't need my dog.
Remember when Bill O'Reilly showed a video with palm trees in the background to imply that the pro-union protesters in Wisconsin were violent? Well, no palm trees were used during this disturbing episode:
A participant in the daily, non-violent Solidarity Sing Along at the state Capitol suffered a broken tooth when he was punched in the face by one of two men who were draping a "Don't Tread on Me" flag over the heads of singers, the leader of the sing-along said.
State Department of Administration spokeswoman Carla Vigue said the singer who was punched, Michael J. Dickman of Madison, saw the two men draping the flag over others and came over and grabbed it. Dickman was cited by Capitol Police for disorderly conduct, she said.
Henry C. Rahr of Green Bay was arrested on a tentative charge of battery, and another man holding the flag, Eugene C. German, of Shorewood, Minn., also was cited for disorderly conduct, Vigue said.
Given that this punching is apparently the first moment of violence in months of protests at the Wisconsin Capitol, we should take it as an isolated incident. At the same time, I understand the worries of people who are frightened by what often seems like a thinly veiled threat of violence behind right-wing protests in recent years. It can be scary stuff, but we must not be intimidated by it.
Title: 2+2=?Artist: Bob Seger System
Stephen Colbert is airing a 3 part interview series with Jack White this week, and White declared this 1968 single his favorite of Seger's work. I'm not too surprised that White would choose this song over 'Like A Rock' or Old Time Rock And Roll'. Anyway, this anti-war single was not much of a hit outside of Motor City and it's also my favorite Seger tune.