Sunday, August 03, 2014

Va-ca-TION! Va-ca-TION!

I mentioned on the show but neglected to mention here that I am taking a week off. "Left Side of the Aisle," my half-hour cable access (and YouTube) show has now appeared 168 times in 168 weeks and so a week off doesn't seem like too much to ask.

But to tide you over until next week, following are a few short notes on items that could have made the cut for this week's show had I done one.


First off, on the Good News front, two quick related bits, extra quick because I know I'll bring them up when I come back from vacation:

- On July 28, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals became the second appellate-level court to strike down a ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, upholding a lower-court decision to that end. The state involved here is Virginia.

- On the same day and in response to that ruling, the Attorney General of North Carolina said he would no longer defend his state's ban in same-sex marriage on the grounds that, since North Carolina is also in the 4th Circuit, the appeal of a district court ruling throwing out the ban would "almost certainly" fail.


Next up, the Clown Award.

- A likely recipient was Kentucky State Sen. Brandon Smith, who insisted that "I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here." (Give him a break, though: He only missed by some 76 degrees Celsius or 141 degrees Fahrenheit.)

He then responded to criticism - actually, well-deserved mockery - by calling the quote (which is on tape) "bogus" and claiming he meant to say something entirely different from what he said so get off his back, already - even though what he claims to meant to say is as dumb as what he actually did say.

- On the other hand, because it was both more recent and less-noted than that, I might have gone with Rand Paul, who make a speech to an unsurprisingly-thin crowd at a gathering of the National Urban League in which he said that TPers like him are minorities targeted for discrimination because of the "shade of their ideology."


I had two strong contenders for Outrage of the Week:

- One involved a woman, Debra Harrell, who was arrested for "child abandonment" because she let her nine-year-old child play in a well-populated public park while Harrell went to her job at McDonald's.

It could have been worse: McDonald's fired her - but later claimed it was a "misunderstanding" and she is back to work full time.

People in comments recalled their own related memories; mine is this one: At the age of about seven, I and my nine-year-old brother would walk a mile to the bus, take the bus into town, get a train to another town, and then walk a mile to our grandmother's house, where our parents would pick us up at the end of the day.

Yeah, yeah, I know, "times are different, look at this horrible story, you can't be too careful, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." But are times really that different? Is the danger not only really greater but SO much greater that we have to live in this state of perpetual terror? And yes, dammit, you can be "too careful."

- The other was learning that a third of US states enable money lenders, landlords, and the like to make an end run around the bans on debtors' prisons in the US by allowing people who claim other people owe them money to go to court to demand payment, so that if the debtor doesn't pay, they get sent to jail - but not for owing money, oh no, we don't do that sort of thing, but for violating a court order.


Finally, we have an Update to something discussed previously, in this case something that could be filed under Wish I'd Thought of That:

- The Satanic Church has struck a blow against the utter inanity of the Hobby Lobby decision, providing letters for women to use to declare that their religious beliefs exempt them from having to listed to the anti-abortion claptrap that a number of states require doctors to recite to women seeking the procedure.

Personally, I suspect that if this ever gets to SCOTUS, the foul five will declare this does not fall within the bounds of religious freedom, marking Hobby Lobby as what we knew it was all along: not just inane but religious bigotry that favors one sort of religious belief - conservative Christianity (including conservative Catholicism) - over others.


Sources cited in links:

Good News

Clown Award

Outrage of the Week


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