Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Originalism ...

The actions of the esteemed Mitch McConnell, beginning with his not allowing Merrick Garland, a jurist respected on both sides of the asile, to appear before the senate based on his rabid hatred of Obama “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.’ “ and ending with Amy Barrett being rapidly rammed through just days before the election without getting all the facts needed to learn more about this marginal person, says it all about Mitch, who should have been impeached and removed from office on the Merrick Garland fiasco but ... as my loyal readers know, this is not just about these issues but rather on why originalism fails on all counts regarding the Constitution and how it applies to law, is.

The intellectual dishonesty of many originalists is exposed by their reluctance to follow their own logic regarding certain landmark cases, now widely recognized as milestones in our national progress toward “a more perfect union.” The easiest examples are Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia, the former concerning school integration, the latter, interracial marriage, illegal in Virginia until Loving in 1967. Both decisions explicitly fail the originalist test, yet Judge Barrett asserts they were correctly decided and endorses them as “super-precedents,” a convenient dodge that evades the troubling implications of her supposedly simple theory of constitutional interpretation.The real problem with the originalist theory is that it allows no room for ethical, moral, or political growth. If the Framers didn’t think it, it’s not allowed.

Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence and paid close attention to the drafting of the Constitution from his official post in France, understood this danger explicitly: “I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions,” he wrote in an 1816 letter addressing what he perceived to be weaknesses in the new government, “but … laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

In this writer's opinion, both originalism and Scalia's thought process are extremely marginal at best.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Going, Going, Gone ...

The special boost for recruited athletes, known as preferential admission, can be equivalent to hundreds of SAT points. According to The Washington Post, Harvard, which typically admits approximately 5 percent of its applicants, reports acceptance rates as high as 88 percent for athletes endorsed by its coaches. “Parents see the numbers,” says Luke Walton, an Olympic rower and the founder of Rower Academy, a San Diego–based recruiting consultancy for high-school crew athletes. “They see that if their child can get the backing of a coach, they are likely to get in. That’s a shiny object—a fishing lure for parents. They look at that and say: ‘That’s the answer. Sports is the answer.’ Along with the ability to pay 70-80K per year to get Harvey into Harvard.

This bucolic frenzy of the monied class pushing their kids to the max with emphasis on sports in order to get into highly rated colleges is slowly going away thanks to COVID-19, the ongoing 2020 great depression and the real possibility of economic collapse due to the harsh reality of fixed cost's and how they apply to virtually every business in America including higher ed. Consider that the nation is in the grip of the 2nd/3rd wave and the fact kids are not in school paying exorbitant tuitions shows how strongly fixed costs are embedded whereby you have to have 100% paying customers to cover fixed costs and make a profit. This is obviously not happening. End result, said colleges try to survive by lowering tuitions, which won't work, due to fixed costs, forget profits forever, or vastly increase the number of students, which also won't work because of the aforementioned fixed costs must keep pace with the larger enrollment which means finding more customers to cover costs and make a profit becomes a Wicked Problem

Here's another dose of realty ...

As the global tsunami of Wave 2 sweeps away the sandcastles of denial, fantasy and magical thinking, it's worth recalling that the Covid-19 virus has four features that make it difficult to control: 

1. It is highly contagious. 

2. Carriers with no symptoms can infect others. 

3. A significant percentage of older / compromised patients develop severe symptoms that require hospitalization. 

4. Once the healthcare system is overwhelmed, the system cannot provide care to everyone who needs it. As a result, the death rate rises the moment the healthcare system is overwhelmed / breaks down. 

And this.

The global economy was teetering on the edge of recession and financial implosion long before the pandemic appeared. Ending the pandemic cannot restore an illusion of "growth" that masked a hollowed out, fragile, brittle global economy. 

The Global Depression was baked in long before the pandemic. All the pandemic did was kick out the last rotten 2X4s holding up the fading facade of "growth." 

Unfortunately, central banks can't "print" experienced doctors or nurses. When the front line of healthcare workers is depleted by illness and burnout, there are no substitutes or Big Tech robots-to-the-rescue. The healthcare system we've optimized for "creating shareholder value" (i.e. unlimited greed pathologically pursued by any means available) will break down and that will be that. 

Central banks can't "print" creditworthy borrowers, solvent companies, real-world collateral, risk-free "investing," oil, jobs, trust in failed institutions, social cohesion or anything else of importance that is now scarce. 

The belief that central banks printing currency can "buy/fix" everything that's broken, lost or scarce is the ultimate in denial, fantasy and magical thinking. All that was unsustainably fragile, corrupt and brittle is unraveling, and thinking that ending the lockdowns, approving a vaccine, etc. will stave off causality is the supreme indulgence in denial, fantasy and magical thinking.  

The bloodbath begins profits disappear.

Ohio Wesleyan University is eliminating 18 majors. The University of Florida’s trustees this month took the first steps toward letting the school furlough faculty. The University of California, Berkeley, has paused admissions to its Ph.D. programs in anthropology, sociology and art history.

As it resurges across the country, the coronavirus is forcing universities large and small to make deep and possibly lasting cuts to close widening budget shortfalls. By one estimate, the pandemic has cost colleges at least $120 billion, with even Harvard University, despite its $41.9 billion endowment, reporting a $10 million deficit that has prompted belt tightening.

Lastly ... remember,  COVID-19 is just the warmup for, you guessed it. Global Warming.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

All the world's a stage

The image says it all. You can have it all, all you need is money even if reality tells you otherwise. Why is this so? It's because we MAKE NOTHING ANYMORE. After the impact of deregulation, courtesy Ronnie Reagan, where corporations were encouraged to offshore in order to gin evermore profits for corporate stockholders while creating modern China, the country became a shell of itself, cored out from the inside out. Which means we have no real money so the substitute  is ... be sold stuff you don't need with money you don't have. - George Carlin

It gets better ...

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

As you like it - Shankespeare


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Separation of Church & State yet again.

Separation of church and state vs religiosity to the max, a question not only raging in France over the killing of a respected teacher by an extremist ... due to the fact he showed the Charlie Hebdo's cartoons of the blessed Mohammed in a classroom but also to what's happening in America with a combination of the ultra right believers putting christ into the equation in their pursuit to take over America. 

These two actions are truly dangerous, brought about by 
  1. The flood of immigrants to Europe thanks to the destruction of Lybia by the US and ...
  2. The elimination of the separation of church and state in America thanks to the Robert's supreme court. 
With this in mind both situations are liable to explode at any moment as modern civilization  is now under attack.

The question to ask here is, will laïcité survive in France?

Addendum ...

Another reason why this fight for a secular France rings true ...

America is now in the crosshairs. To be continued.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, the watchwords for the repugs, a concept writ large in QAnon, a far right theory perfectly tuned to rile up the stupid and uneducated to support both Trump and the rupugs using monosyllabic slogans and rants, also generates money to the two aforementioned parties from the ill informed supporters of this ridiculous theory. 

The 2 Minutes Hate comes to mind here without question. Love Orwell's play on words.

It gets better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Rewild the world

In this unique feature documentary, titled David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, the celebrated naturalist reflects upon both the defining moments of his lifetime and the devastating changes he has seen. Coming to Netflix October 4 2020, the film addresses some of the biggest challenges facing life on our planet, providing a snapshot of global nature loss in a single lifetime. With it comes a powerful message of hope for future generations as Attenborough reveals the solutions to help save our planet from disaster. 

David Attenborough, 93 years young, has a truly innovative way to save planet earth, rewild the world as nature keeps us alive by keeping earth in balance through the complex interactions of life to itself and to  its relationship with water, sun and soil in ways to stagger the imagination. As seen in his documentary, the loss of wild has plummeted while the rise of habitat loss. resource depletion and pollution continues unabated, a process, if not reversed, promises the death of mankind by transforming earth into a hells-cape of unimaginable misery. His recommendations to change how we do business on planet earth includes ...
  • Stop eating meat as this is totally unsustainable due to the fact 30% of all arable land is used to feed Leghorn T. Foghorn, Bessie and Porky.
  • Expand no fishing zones to allow fish stocks and large predators to recoup. 
  • Eliminate fossile fuels to stop CO2 production.
  • Stop burning down rain forests.
  • Reduce human population
  • Go sustainable. Growth requires ever more plundering of earths resouces.