POLITICS: Congress is the Political Center of Gravity


This is as it should be. The Framers of the Republic never intended for the sort of imperial presidency we’ve experienced beginning in the latter half of the 20th Century. It was always intended that Congress would be the political center of gravity. Liberals would do well to understand this. So long as conservative, corporately-backed forces are the dominant force in legislatures across the country, the reforms we seek will remain elusive.


POLITICS: Warren Gets It


Elizabeth Warren understands the long game, far better than a lot of her fellow liberals do. The presidency is important for a great many reasons and ensuring that Trump never sits in the Oval Office is equally important. But if you want real reform, you need to legislate it. If you want to legislate reform, you’ve got to control the legislature.

ELECTION 2012: Merry Christmas! Drinks all around!

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren won her Senate seat in Massachusetts. (Photo: qwrrty)

Oh, what a glorious day! I feel like an eight-year-old kid on Christmas morning, tumbling down the stairs in a bright red onesie that was a gift from grandma last year (and that’s almost too small for me) to see all the gifts Santa left me under the tree. In this case, the morning was last night, the tree was the 2012 elections, Santa was the voters, and the gifts, well, I’ll get to those in a moment. On a side note, let me say the only real lump of coal I’ve found so far in my stocking is Michele Bachmann being narrowly reelected to her congressional seat. Screw you too, Santa. I was really hoping my ORU diploma would automatically increase in credibility with her defeat. Oh, well. Anyway, look at the bright side: at least she won’t be getting a show on Fox News!

One of the things every kid has to learn is that, for whatever reason, Santa is a stickIer about giving you everything you write down on your list. Even so, all things considered, things are pretty good (and they could have been a lot worse). So, I invite you to join me as I open my presents–even though they’re really everyone’s presents, not just mine. And we’ll open them together. Continue reading

Two Pennies from My Pocket on Health Care

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature achievement, was upheld by the Supreme Court. (Photo: Matt Michrina, Wikimedia Commons)

I don’t like to talk about things that I don’t fully understand and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is one of them. I haven’t read the entire law, nor do I intend to; I don’t know all of the things that are in it, though I know quite a few; I also don’t know every single implication it will have, but neither do the smartest constitutional law scholars. Having to make decisions and judgments with just a little information is a function of living in a fast-paced and expansive modern republic–too much happens on any one day for any one person to know it all.

What I do know is that I was proud of my President and happy for my country when I first heard this morning that the Supreme Court had upheld his signature legislative achievement, which was intended to reform the abysmal healthcare system in the United States. I think that took Republicans and conservatives by surprise; I’ll even admit that it took me a little by surprise. Given the venomous and rancorous cacophony that’s been emanating from conservative and tea party camps over the past two years over health care, I didn’t think it possible that virtually the entire law would be affirmed by the nation’s highest court. I now have just a few things to say and they’ll be brief. Continue reading

Jessica Ahlquist, School Prayer, and People Who Shame the Christian Faith

Jessica Ahlquist. (Photo: edited from Facebook)

Jessica Ahlquist, a young Rhode Island high school student and professed atheist, made headlines earlier this year when she won her case in Rhode Island district court against her high school. In Ahlquist v. Cranston, presiding judge Ronald Lagueux ruled in favor of Ahlquist (represented by the American Civil Liberties Union) and ordered that Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island, remove a prayer banner from display in the school on the grounds that it violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution and existing case law. It ran particularly contrary to the 1962 Supreme Court ruling in Engel v. Vitale, which banned schools from composing prayers and encouraging students to pray them.

In the case of Ahlquist’s school, the prayer had been adopted in 1960 and was recited until the Engel v. Vitale ruling in 1962 but the banner remained on display in the high school. Continue reading