Skip to main content

RANDOM THOUGHTS #10 - CONFEDERATE FLAG, JONI MITCHELL, SUPREME COURT

CONFEDERATE FLAG
To be clear, the followers of the Confederacy were insurrectionists, traitors. And they were racists. The Confederate States Constitution explicitly institutionalized slavery. And the Confederacy lost the Civil War. So...

If the Confederate flag is, as many Southerners like to proclaim, symbolic of their heritage, of who they are, then they are traitorous racist losers. But if they want to identify themselves that way, who am I to argue? Just don't fly that rag in a place of honor in public.



JONI MITCHELL
David Crosby says that Joni has suffered an aneurism and cannot speak. I send my best wishes. The soundtrack of my life has been dominated by two women - Joni and Grace Slick. Grace for those times that I needed a kick in the pants. Joni for the quiet times.

Peace and Love, Ladies!



SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Historic SCOTUS Week #1

SCOTUS really had no choice. Why? Because the country is clearly divided in a way that could not stand. With an estimated 70% of the population living in states where same-sex marriage has been to some extent institutionalized, married gay and lesbian couples from those states would increasingly find cause for action in those states that refused to recognize those marriages and denied, for instance, such rights as hospital visitation or intestate inheritance. The only parallel that comes to mind in American history is the organization of the country into free states and slave states.

Forget Scalia's rant. Scalia thinks that the debate isn't over until his side wins. But SCOTUS did not subvert democracy with this ruling. The scales had already tipped. Hundreds of thousands of legally married gay and lesbian couple exist. If tomorrow, several thousand of them move en masse from Massachusetts to South Dakota - a state whose Constitution bans same-sex marriage, civil unions, and any marriage-like contract between unmarried persons - have those legally married couples in essence given up their rights? Or is it incumbent in our federal system to protect those rights? 30% of the country had failed to get on board before this week. Should that 30% have been allowed to define the rights of the other 70%? As a nation of laws, one of our legal system's duties is to protect the minority from the majority. But in this case, majority rules.

OBAMACARE
Historic SCOTUS Week #2

SCOTUS held that the purpose of the ACA was clear, that denying subsidies to those who lived in states opting for federal exchanges clearly subverted the intent of Congress, and that, even as written, the Act could be construed as including the federal exchanges. (That last a direct swipe by Roberts at Scalia's childish dissent.) If you write 500 page bills, there will almost certainly be typos and/or internal inconsistencies. If you write five page bills, people will argue endlessly over the details. You can't win. Except in this case, we did. Congressional intent was clear and two-thirds of the Court acted responsibly.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CHÉ OLIVE / LE ZINC, CREISSAN: RESTAURANT REVIEW

No, it's not Chez Olive. It is indeed Ché complete with red star and black beret. I have no idea why and I wasn't about to ask. The French are the French and not to be analyzed too closely when it comes to politics, especially these days.

Creissan is the next town over from our village of Quarante. We pass through it often and Ché Olive is right there on the main road at the entrance to town. (One of the signs still says Le Zinc. Olive says he prefers Ché Olive though.) Olive opened it a couple of years ago after leaving the Bar 40, Quarante's basic local watering hole that's undergone a bit of a renaissance lately. We hadn't heard much about Ché Olive from our usual sources for dining recommendations. So we just kept passing by. For reasons not central to this review, we decided to stop in for lunch on a mid-week in late December.

The bar is cozy, the restaurant open and bright and modern. Newly renovated and perhaps a bit sterile. We were the first…

CHRISTMAS WALK TO VIEW OF THE PYRENEES: 2018

Cathey said that it was OK for me to take my usual Tuesday morning walk on Christmas Day. I could help set the table and perform other minor tasks necessary for a satisfactory Christmas dinner with friends after I returned. So off I went. Temperature 40℉ at the start near sunup. 50℉ at the finish a couple of hours later. No wind. Blue skies. This was the winter that I came to France for.

The walk can't really be called scenic. Just through the vines until you get to the headland opposite the village. But the closer that you get to the top, you begin to see the Pyrenees peeking through. And at the top, it's a 360° panorama.







FRENCH VISA AND HEALTH INSURANCE FOR AMERICANS

The most expensive item in an American family's budget may be health insurance. But many Americans have no understanding of the true cost of their insurance because it's included in their employment package. Folks simply don't think about how much their employer may be reducing their salaries when factoring in insurance costs.

Before I retired, my employer paid for my health insurance but I had to pay to insure my wife. The cost, taken out of my every paycheck, came to about $6,000 annually. And even with insurance, there were co-pays and other out of pocket expenses. We were reasonably healthy (and still are, knock wood), but we each take a few common prescription medications - for blood pressure and cholesterol and the like, nothing exotic or costly. Even so, with regular visits to the doctor, periodic lab work, the drugs, and the occasional illness or injury, we normally spent an additional several thousand dollars annually in the States over and above the cost of the i…