Month: June 2015

This is a Big F%$#ing Deal

Exempt workers are those who are paid by salary, rather than time, and are not paid anything for overtime.

Basically, they have to have “management” duties, and they have to be paid more than, $23,660.00 a year.

That number has been unchanged since 2004, until today:

Barack Obama has launched a push for salaried workers earning nearly US$1,000 a week to receive overtime pay, with the president declaring that too many Americans are working long hours for less than they deserve.

The long-awaited overtime rule from the US labor department would more than double the threshold at which employers can avoid paying overtime, from $455 a week to $970 a week by 2016. That would mean salaried employees earning less than $50,440 a year would be assured overtime if they worked more than 40 hours per week, up from the current $23,660 a year.

“We’ve got to keep making sure hard work is rewarded,” Obama wrote in an article for the Huffington Post. “That’s how America should do business. In this country a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.”

To keep up with future inflation and wage growth the proposal would peg the salary threshold at the 40th percentile of income, individuals familiar with the plan said. They requested anonymity in return for discussing the proposal ahead of the official announcement. The president has been scheduled to promote the proposal during a visit on Thursday to La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Obama’s proposal aims to narrow a loophole that the president has long said some employers exploit to avoid paying overtime.

Employees who make above the salary threshold can be denied overtime if they are deemed managers. Some work gruelling schedules at fast food chains and retail stores, but with no overtime eligibility their pay may be lower per hour than many workers they supervise.


Under the current threshold only about 8% of salaried workers are eligible for 150% of their pay rate when they work overtime. The EPI estimates that doubling the salary level would make up to 40% of salaried workers eligible.

It should be noted that the requirement for a pay level in order to be exempt was established under the Ford Administration, when it was set at 1.57 times the median wage ($250 a week) which, if updated for today, turns out to be about $51K/year.

It’s not as revolutionary as the US Chamber of Commerce says that it is. It’s just basically undoing the damage done by not adjusting this number for inflation.

Also note that Obama chose not to increase the percent of time spent on management duties for exempt status.

It’s a good news for at least 5 million workers who are currently paid slave wages, and are ordered to put in free overtime.


Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal thought that an open forum on Twitter would be a good thing.

This has been done before, and has failed before, but Jindal did not get the memo:

Someone on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s campaign staff had the brilliant idea of opening up a discussion between the Republican hopeful and Twitter. The result was a terrible idea, poorly executed.
The first, and possibly most important, set of questions for the candidate:

If you know so little about the Internet that you think #AskBobby is wise, how can you consider yourself a competent 21st Century President?

— Michael O’Neill (@hkeller812) June 30, 2015

he wasn’t dumb enough to do #askbobby. he couldn’t have been.

— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) June 30, 2015

Yes — he most certainly was. ………

It goes on from there, and the questions become less “meta” and far more aggressively hostile.

Republicans have been trolling politics since the 1960s, and somehow, they do not understand that there are trolls on the internet.

Not only is Bobby Jindal too stupid to be President, he is too stupid to be allowed around sharp object.

I wonder who is employed by him to cut his meat for him, and I wonder what the f^%$# this benighted soul is going to put on his resume.

My guess is “Nutrition Consultant.”

Why to Legalize Marijuana, Again

Last week, there was a huge bust of pot growers in Northern California.

It turns out that the primary motivation for the bust was not the growing of Marijuana, but the illegal taking of water required to grow Cannabis:

There were helicopters, SWAT teams, and nearly 100,000 marijuana plants yanked out of the ground, but last week’s massive raid in Northern California’s rugged Emerald Triangle was not your father’s pot bust. Carried out by county law enforcement with no help from the DEA, it targeted private landowners—and not just because they were growing pot, police say, but because they were illegally sucking some 500,000 gallons of water a day from a section of the nearby Eel river that is now stagnant and moss-ridden.

When pot is legal, it will no longer be grown in environmentally disastrous ways in national park land, because the growers won’t find it economically viable to do this.

Your Feel Good Story of the Day (With Cats)

Someone has found a way to “re-task” feral cats in animal shelters that would otherwise have to be euthanized have been fixed, and deployed to areas for rodent patrol:

Like the characters played by the actor who inspired his name, Pacino was no scaredy cat. The brown tabby had prowled the streets of Los Angeles, a drifter scraping for his next meal.

After the cat was turned in at an L.A. County animal services shelter, there was little hope that Pacino would be adopted. He was too distrustful, too fierce, too mean.

Then Melya Kaplan came along, looking for a cat with grit, street smarts and attitude.

The 10-pound, 6-ounce cat would become the nighttime warden at the Original L.A. Flower Market, making sure rodents and other vermin didn’t get out of hand. He’s part of a group of tough cats recruited by an animal rights nonprofit to find homes in places that could use their hard-scrabble qualities. Along with another cat named DeNiro, Pacino would prowl the Italian side of the flower market. Of course.

“Mother Nature doesn’t make mistakes,” said Kaplan, executive director of Voice for the Animals. “We probably just haven’t found a purpose for it yet.”
As part of the Working Cats program, street cats like Pacino are rescued from animal shelters and sent to locations ranging from police stations, like the LAPD’s Wilshire and Foothill divisions, to private homes, businesses and schools. Over the years, the program has placed about 500 cats in nearly 50 locations.

Kaplan, a frequent customer of the market, developed the program in 1999 when Carl Jones, a market employee, told her about the rats in the workplace. Exterminators would spray the warehouse with poison, but the vermin remained. Every so often, a customer would spot a pair of beady eyes hidden in the row of flowers.


About 15 years ago, Kaplan made a proposition to Yamabe. She would deliver three cats to the flower market to get rid of the rats. And if they could not take care of the rodents, she would take them back.

The market currently has 15 cats, and Jones and Yamabe said they do not see any rats.

Kaplan attributes the program’s success to the simple fact that adding a predator to an environment will scare away its prey. Once rodents smell a cat on the prowl, they go somewhere else, she said.

“It’s not anything new. People used to have barn cats or church cats to keep out rodents,” Kaplan said. “We just brought [it] to the city, and it seems to be really working.”

Yamabe remembered one gray cat that died after several years of service patrolling the second-floor parking lot. Within days, the rats returned and Yamabe needed to call for another cat.


For a cat like Pacino, living in a warehouse almost certainly adds years to his life. Living on the streets is tough on any sentient being, including a cat. Kaplan said cats that might have lived fewer than five years on the streets can live more than 14 years in a home, business or police station. They’re given meals and the buildings give them protection from bad weather, dogs and cars.


Kaplan said that in time, some of her more veteran cats got used to being around people and became house cats. That, in turn, created space for other cats to be rescued by the program.

“We’re saving cats and helping people. And it’s always great when the two grow closer together and we can place another cat,” she said. “It’s what I call a win-win-win.”

I’m asking my reader(s) to help me here, and come up with a drawing, or a photoshop, of a cat wearing a beat cop or night watchman uniform.

The internet needs this.

Regulatory Sanity on the “Sharing Economy”

Uber has been operating illegally in France for some time, and following protests from cab drivers, French authorities took Uber executives into custody:

On Monday, French authorities took two Uber executives into custody for questioning as part of an investigation into UberPop, the startup’s lower cost alternative.

Local media have named the men as Thibaut Simphal, the CEO for France, and Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, the CEO for Western Europe. Under French law, both men can be held for up to 48 hours without being charged.

“Our general managers for France and Western Europe today attended a hearing with the French police,” Gareth Mead, an Uber spokesman, told Ars in a statement. “We are always happy to answer questions the authorities have about our service—and look forward to resolving these issues. Those discussions are ongoing. In the meantime, we’re continuing to ensure the safety of our riders and drivers in France given last week’s disturbances.”


The primary regulatory issue in France is that UberPop’s drivers operate under a VTC license (véhicules de tourisme avec chauffeur, or tourism vehicles with a driver). Created in 2009, this license was designed for pre-booked travel, not on-the-street hails. UberPop’s drivers are like their UberX counterparts in the United States: normal people with regular cars who do not have an expensive French taxi license. As such, traditional taxi drivers in France have been upset that Uber seems to be flouting the law. Uber maintains that it is a technology company and not a traditional taxi company, and therefore the company believes it’s not bound by taxi law.

It’s nice to find authorities who doesn’t ignore the law, “Because ……… Internet.”

Uber has been operating an illegal taxi service, and been abusing its drivers, and the public, with its business model, and it’s good that someone is acting on this, albeit with some prodding by protesters.

I am Amused

In the latest Fox News Poll, Donald Trump is the 2nd most popular candidates in the Republican primaries:

There’s been a lineup change in the race for the GOP nomination, as businessman Donald Trump moves up after declaring his candidacy. He’s now second in the order after former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who also got an uptick in support after his formal announcement.

For Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still — by far — the team leader, according to a new Fox News national poll on the 2016 presidential election.

Bush tops the list of GOP contenders with 15 percent support among Republican primary voters. That’s up from 12 percent last month and his best showing yet. Support for Trump more than doubled since his announcement and that catapults him into the top tier at 11 percent. He’s followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent. No one else receives double-digit backing.

Bush officially kicked off his campaign June 15 and Trump launched June 16. It’s common for candidates to see a bump in their numbers in the days following their formal announcement and the media coverage that comes with that.

The bad news for Trump is that only 29 percent of GOP primary voters consider him a serious candidate. More than twice that many — 64 percent — think he’s a side show. Among all registered voters, nearly 8 in 10 say Trump is a side show (77 percent).

This appears to mean that the “2nd worst Donald on Earth,”*Fox News, much to the chagrin of the voters, is trying to limit its debates to the “top 10” candidates, which has the effect of eliminating those at positions 11 and below from having a meaningful chance in Iowa or New Hampshire, and hence the primaries.

And it appears that the biggest joke in Presidential politics will get one of those seats at the table.

It so sucks to be a Republican right now.


*Larry Wilmore called Donald Rumsfeld, “The Only Donald Worse than Trump,” and I wholeheartedly agree.

Why Does this Remind Me of Stalinist Architecture?

Positively Hideous

It seems to me that whenever a reactionary government remains in power too long, it seems that they develop an edifice complex:

A plan to erect a 10-storey statue in a national park on one of Canada’s most scenic shorelines has prompted outrage and sparked a growing political row as the country heads towards a general election this fall.

The statue of Mother Canada – a cloaked female figure with her arms outstretched towards the Atlantic Ocean – is intended to honour the country’s soldiers who died overseas.

But growing anger over the plan has made it a new focus of opposition to the increasingly unpopular government of Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.

The proposed monument is an awkwardly remodelled, vastly upscaled version of an earlier statue, known as Canada Bereft, which adorns the memorial to the country’s first world war dead near Vimy, France.

The design has been widely lambasted both for its design and its proposed location in Cape Breton Highlands national park. In an editorial this week, the Globe and Mail newspaper described it as “offensively tasteless” and a “hubristically arrogant act of arrogant unoriginality”.

“The bigger-is-better approach to art is best left to Stalinist tyrants, theme park entrepreneurs and insecure municipalities hoping to waylay bored drive-by tourists,” the paper wrote.

Stephen Harper has gagged government scientistsused the Canadian Revenue Agency to target charities who protest his agenda, and gutted the census, among other things, and now we have this.

My condolences to my friends in Canada, because this cannot be good, particularly if the Conservatives are not turfed out in the 2015 elections.

One of Life’s Most Perplexing Questions, Answered

Have you ever wondered why cats wiggle their butts before pouncing?

Me too.

It turns out that it is more straightforward than I imagined. Basically, it’s how they brace themselves for the pounce:

Cats are lovely creatures that never fail to amaze us. They are full of quirks and often have a lot of spontaneous antics that keep everyone in the house amused. Cats have a cute little tush that they are proud to show off. They often like to wiggle and shake their hind quarters when they are about to pounce. It is cute and adorable, but why do they do that?

Let’s look at cats’ wild cousins, the big cats. Wild cats such as tigers, lions, leopards tend to grind the ground with their hind quarters before they pounce. It is a way for them to get into position and brace themselves before they attack. Domestic cats share a similar feature – instead of grinding the ground with their hind legs, they wiggle their behind vigorously to attain balance and leverage.

It’s like runners pushing back against the starting block.

And So the Dissolution of the EU Begins

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will be calling for a referendum on the Troika’s proposal:

In a dramatic move that will put Europe on tenterhooks, the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras told his fellow citizens last night he would call a referendum on the bailout accord that international creditors have proposed to keep the debt-stricken country afloat.

Following an emergency meeting of his cabinet, Tsipras said his leftist-led government had decided a package of austerity measures proposed by the country’s creditors – made in a last-ditch effort to avert default – would be put to popular vote. The referendum will take place on Sunday 5 July.

“After five months of hard negotiations our partners, unfortunately, ended up making a proposal that was an ultimatum towards Greek democracy and the Greek people,” he said in a national address, “an ultimatum at odds with the founding principles and values of Europe, the values of our common European construction.”

The leader, who only hours earlier had rejected the proposed reforms after several days of high-stakes talks in Brussels, said Greeks now faced a “historic responsibility” to respond to the ultimatum.

He said the reforms were “blackmail for the acceptance on our part of severe and humiliating austerity without end and without the prospect of ever prospering socially and economically”.

This is actually the intention.

This is politically motivated sadism.

The Germans want it because the want to demonstrate their power and virtue, and because of memories of  a period of hyperinflation that was caused by the triumphalism of the victors in the First World War.

The French want to be sure that they are not on the losing side of this alone.

The other northern tier EU countries have been relegated to spectator status.

What would seem to be Greece’s natural allies, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, are desperate for Greece to fail, because if Syriza succeeds, it bolsters the anti-austerity parties in their countries, which threatens their political elites’ hold on power.

So I expect that Greece will be crushed under what is largely a German boot, and that various neo-facist parties, particularly New Dawn in Greece, will gain power as the center delivers misery, and the left is systematically excluded from meaningful governance.

Tell me that this does not look like 1932.

(on edit)

I read something similar to this, but had neglected to bookmark it.

I have now found who it was who explained the politics of this, it was Paul Krugman:

As a political matter, the big losers from this process have been the parties of the center-left, whose acquiescence in harsh austerity — and hence abandonment of whatever they supposedly stood for — does them far more damage than similar policies do to the center-right.As a political matter, the big losers from this process have been the parties of the center-left, whose acquiescence in harsh austerity — and hence abandonment of whatever they supposedly stood for — does them far more damage than similar policies do to the center-right.

Hero of the Day

And the accursed flag comes down

Brittany ‘Bree’ Newsome:

A woman scaled the flagpole in front of the South Carolina Statehouse Saturday morning and temporarily removed the Confederate flag that flew there. The woman was arrested by State Capitol police along with a man who had entered the grounds with her, the Associated Press reported. The flag was replaced and raised a short time later.

The woman, who was not identified by authorities, was named on social media as Brittany “Bree” Newsome, an activist from North Carolina. Her actions inspired the hashtag #KeepItDown, which was one of the top trending topics on Twitter in the U.S. Saturday. Later in the day, the hashtag #FreeBree was also trending in the U.S.

According to, a site linked to a Twitter account belonging to a user with the name Bree Newsome and mentioned by numerous users in conjunction with the #KeepItDown hashtag, Newsome is an activist and graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

 Here is hoping that this happens regularly until it comes down forever.

Clarence Thomas Is a Miserable Excuse for a Human Being

First, in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, he suggested that racist impact of government policy might be a good thing, because ……… the NBA:

In a less headline grabbing decision today, the Supreme Court ruled that those affected by discriminatory housing decisions can sue even if they can’t prove the discrimination was intentional.

Civil rights groups were handed an unexpected victory when in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court endorsed the consideration of disparate impact to establish racial discrimination in housing cases under the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

The otherwise pro-business Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion but one of the other noteworthy opinions came from conservative Justice Thomas’ dissent, in which he wrote, “the fact that a practice has a disparate impact is not conclusive evidence that a practice is discriminatory.”

A well enough point, but it was the example he used to illustrate this point that proved most curious.

“Over 70 percent of National Basketball Association (NBA) players have been black,” Thomas pointed out, arguing that “racial imbalances do not always disfavor minorities.”

“If, for instance, white basketball players cannot bring disparate-impact suits— then we as a Court have constructed a scheme that parcels out legal privileges to individuals on the basis of skin color,” he continued.

Thomas went on to cite examples of minorities who “have owned or directed more than half of whole industries in particular nations” including “Jews in Poland” and “the Chinese in Malaysia” to argue that not all disproportional representation is bad.


Bigotry is OK because of the percentage of blacks in the NBA? Or the because of the relative prosperity of the Chinese in Malaysia?*

And then, in his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges, the gay marriage case, he suggests that slavery did not cause any loss of dignity in its subjects:

Clarence Thomas slammed the majority that ruled in favor of marriage equality, saying the five U.S. Supreme Court justices had engaged in misguided efforts to advance dignity for same-sex couples.

Thomas – who wrote his own opinion, along with the court’s three other dissenters – argued that the Constitution contained no “dignity” clause.


“Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved,” Thomas said. “Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.”

This is pure crap, and I say it as someone who is required to thank God on a yearly basis because of, “What he did for me when I went forth from Egypt,” on Passover.

Not only is this a failure as a human being, it is a miserable failure as a legal dissent.

Yale Law School needs to apologize to the nation.

*Which was largely a result of the British Empire using ethnically divisive policies in order to maintain control.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court Issued Another Important Opinion

Specifically, in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project the Supreme Court allowed disparate impact to continue to be considered in fair housing lawsuits:

Civil rights groups are breathing a little easier today, after the Court’s ruling in an important housing discrimination case. The question before the Court was whether claims brought under the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits housing discrimination “because of” race, can be based on an allegation that a law or practice has a “disparate impact” – that is, it has a discriminatory effect, even if it wasn’t motivated by an intent to discriminate. The distinction matters because it’s rare for a lawmaker, landlord, or developer to admit that a law or practice is intended to be discriminatory; civil rights groups believe that disparate-impact claims are an important tool to ferret out more subtle examples of housing discrimination.

I expected the court to go the other way, which would have made pursuing issues in housing discrimination nearly impossible.

As an aside, I believe that this also would also make it easier to pursue disparate impact challenges under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which, after the Supreme Court gutted section 5 a few years back, is the most effective portion of the law.

Worst ……… Abstinence ……… Advocate ……… Ever

Bristol Palin, who I must congratulate both on her upcoming out-of-wedlock bundle of joy, and her addition to the most distinguished order of They Who Must Not Be Named.

I’m kind of surprised that I had not already added her to the list, but absent some sort of political activity, such as endorsements, running for office (PLEASE GOD NO!!), or their attempting to assassinate someone, she will not be mentioned here again.

If He Doesn’t Get Impeached, Paul LePage Should Be Horsewhipped in the Public Square

In the Maine State House, Speaker Speaker Mark Eves has been a consistent thorn in the side in the side of Governor, and Teabagger Supremo, Paul LePage.

Because of this, LePage threatened to pull funding a the school that had recently hired him:

The board of Good Will-Hinckley School withdrew its job offer to House Speaker Mark Eves just days before he was to become the school’s new president, making the decision after Gov. Paul LePage apparently threatened to withhold state funding for the school.

The school said Wednesday that the board of directors had “voted to seek a new direction for the institution’s leadership” in order to avoid “political controversy.” But Eves’ attorney said the state legislator had been “terminated … without cause” and hinted at legal action against the governor.

Eves, meanwhile, released a statement accusing LePage of “blackmailing” the school for at-risk youths by threatening to cut $500,000 in state funding. He said that could potentially cause the loss of another $2 million in private funding for the school, which has an annual budget of $4.5 million.

“The governor knows that these financial losses would put the school out of business, but he has refused to back down,” said Eves, D-North Berwick. “This is an abuse of power that jeopardizes Maine children. The governor’s actions represent the worst kind of vendetta politics Maine has ever seen. If it goes unchecked, no legislator will feel safe in voting his conscience for fear that the governor will go after the legislator’s family and livelihood.”

Good Will-Hinckley, in Fairfield, announced June 9 that it had hired Eves as the school’s new president despite a last-minute intercession by LePage. On Wednesday, board Chairman Jack Moore announced the decision to withdraw the offer to Eves, who was scheduled to begin work next Wednesday.

“The basis for this decision is grounded in the institution’s desire not to be involved in political controversy that will divert attention away from our core mission of serving children and has the potential to jeopardize the future of our school,” Moore said in a prepared statement. “Good Will-Hinckley has a very dedicated staff. The board’s first priority is to act in the best interest of students and educators alike and the board’s actions reflect its unwavering commitment to them.”

Eves is seriously considering suing LePage, and it appears that “Hizzoner” made his threats in writing.

The Maine Attorney General is also, “Very troubled,” by the Governor’s behavior, though she has issued no further comment.

My first question was, “Where is the impeachment investigation?”

Well, here it is:

Six lawmakers said Thursday they will attempt to launch impeachment proceedings against Republican Gov. Paul LePage for his alleged role in pushing Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves out of a new job at Good Will-Hinckley School.

Independent Reps. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship and Ben Chipman of Portland and Democratic Reps. Pinny Beebe-Center of Rockland, Lydia Blume of York, Roberta Beavers of South Berwick and Charlotte Warren of Hallowell said Thursday they are exploring disciplinary action against LePage, including impeachment.

“I’m asking my fellow legislators to study abuse of authority, conduct unbecoming and possible misuse of public assets,” said Evangelos, who is leading the effort. “I believe that Gov. LePage has violated his authority by intimidating a private entity with the end objective of violating speaker Eves’ civil rights, his ability to seek outside employment and provide for his family.”

The House of Representatives has “sole power of impeachment” according to Article 4 of the Maine Constitution. The Senate has the “sole authority to try all impeachments.” Impeachment requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate.

Unfortunately, the leadership in the House are going all wobbly on this:

Democratic leaders on Friday said they are reviewing all options to deal with what they describe as a disturbing pattern of behavior by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. At the same time, they have asked their colleagues to not act rashly and to stay focused on legislative work – especially an override of an expected LePage budget veto that will require a bipartisan, two-thirds vote.

House majority leader Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, and assistant leader Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, said that “nothing is off the table,” when it comes to possible actions against LePage, but they urged restraint among activists and rank-and-file lawmakers.

The two spoke a day after House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, said that LePage threatened to yank state funding from the Good Will-Hinckley school unless it broke its contract to hire Eves as its next president. The story has dominated discussion at the state Capitol, where attention had been focused on getting a state budget passed, with members of both parties expressing concern that LePage overstepped his executive power by using funding for the school as a weapon against a political foe.


The Eves controversy has prompted a call for impeachment – unprecedented in Maine gubernatorial history – among some liberal lawmakers and activists. On Friday, McCabe and Gideon didn’t rule out such a proceeding, but focused more on the possibility of an investigation, by either state or federal authorities.

“Based on some of the comments that the governor has had recently, as well as his actions with Speaker Eves and impeding Speaker Eves from obtaining a job, I think there’s a lot of research that’s going to go on,” McCabe said. “There’s also some pending legal matters. So there’s nothing that’s off the table, but there’s a lot of research that needs to be done.”

Too many weasel words from the leadership.

This sort of sh%$ has former Texas Governor Rick Perry under indictment in Texas.  Do the people of Maine really want to be on the wrong side of abuse of power and Texas?

In that case, Perry had the fig leaf of a  DUI arrest for the DA, but here, the Governor is claiming that his threats are only as a result of the political stances of an opponent.

I hope not.

Fabulous Fabugasm!

One Map Shows Every State in the US Where You Can Have a Same-Sex Marriage

The Supreme Court has declared gay marriage bans unconstitutional:

Putting itself back in the forefront of the gay rights revolution, the Supreme Court ruled by the narrowest margin on Friday that same-sex couples across the nation have an equal right to marry. The five-to-four decision was based firmly on the Constitution, and thus could be undone only by a formal amendment to the basic document, or a change of mind by a future Supreme Court. Neither is predictable.

Explicitly refusing to hold off deciding the issue to see how other parts of society may deal with the rising demand for gay acceptance and legitimacy, the Court declared that two clauses in the Fourteenth Amendment mean that a “fundamental right to marry” can no longer be denied because the partners are of the same sex. It did not create a new right, but opened a long-existing one to those partners.

The ruling was the most important victory in a cultural revolution that began almost exactly forty-six years ago, when patrons of a gay bar — the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village — fought back against a police raid. The events that began on the night of June 28, 1969, are widely known as the beginning of “gay pride” and an unapologetic campaign for equality.

The decision in Obergefell v. Hodges expressly overruled the Court’s only prior ruling directly on same-sex marriage — a one-line decision in the 1972 case of Baker v. Nelson, declaring that a claim to such marriage did not raise “a substantial question” for the Court to resolve.

As The Onion puts it, “Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito Suddenly Realize They Will Be Villains In Oscar-Winning Movie One Day“.

I think that you also need to read the last paragraph of the decision, which is really quite beautiful:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.


To my Facebook readers: click through for the slide show.

In the next few years, the right wing will have to find someone else to hate, I guess.