Candid Interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.51.10 AMWatch this fascinating interview in which Cornell University’s Arts & Sciences Dean Gretchen Ritter and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg discuss her role in breaking down gender lines, the two worst cases that she dissented in (i.e. Citizens United and Shelby v. Holder, and how she’s heralded for her dissents as Notorious RBG.

Posted in Full Text Supreme Court Rulings | Comments Off

“Cautionary Comments” about Eugenics, Daniel Kevles, Stanley Woodward History Professor at Yale (Featured Hyperlink)


daniel_kevles-260x275Click here to see a short, informative, elegantly written piece entitled “Cautionary Comments” about eugenics by Dr. Daniel Kevles, who is the Stanley Woodward Professor of History at Yale University and a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School.  


As Professor Kevles would say “the past is the present in the contemporary Public Square.”


The Asia/Pacific/American Institute at New York University is currently holding an eugenics exhibit.


Posted in Obama's Election, 2012 | Comments Off

Back to Books!

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 1.03.22 PM

Posted in Higher Ed, Public Education | Comments Off

Full Text Obama’s Anti-ISIL & Anti-ISIS Speech Promoting U.S. as Global Leader

Out of Many, One: Obama and the Third American Political TraditionRemarks of President Barack Obama

Address to the Nation

September 10, 2014

Washington, D.C.

As Prepared for Delivery* [e.g. liability waiver in case he misread or misspoke, giving anyone from GOP “right” to take his words out of context.]**

**[Highlighted to annotate, though this reflects my view of consistency of Obama’s M.O. as World Leader in Chapter 5 of Out of Many, One: Obama and the 3rd American Political Tradition.]


Obama’s words:

“My fellow Americans – tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.

Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL – which calls itself the “Islamic State.”

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.

In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists – Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East – including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.

Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.

Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi Security Forces. Now that those teams have completed their work – and Iraq has formed a government – we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission – we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We will also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL control.

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into – and out of – the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the UN Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.

Fourth, we will continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.

This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.

My Administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.

Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved – especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.

My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change.Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked.  Next week marks 6 years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. Yet despite these shocks; through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back – America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.

Our technology companies and universities are unmatched; our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving.  Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades.  For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history.  Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day – and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.

Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.

America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia – from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East – we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.  Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform – pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and service-members who support our partners on the ground.

When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said. “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety – our own security – depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for – timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.

May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.” # 

Posted in 2014, 2014 Broad Coalition Full Text, Full Text Anti ISIL & ISIS Speech Sep 10, ISIS & ISIL not Islamic, Obama & Congress (all but Obamacare & Foreign Policy), Obama & Foreign Policy, Obama Sep 10 | Comments Off

Back after APSA

440px-Green_Highlander_salmon_flyGone fishing (i.e. vacation).

Posted in Obama's Election, 2012 | Comments Off

KPFK “Access Unlimited” Show on Supreme Court Obamacare Decisions

600px-The_PVRTune in Wednesday, July 2 (10 to 11 PM, EST), to KPFK’s Access Unlimited for an hour-long discussion between me and the hosts Henry Slucki and Jolie Mason on the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on Obamacare, and particularly how these decisions impact persons with disabilities.

Posted in Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Neotribalism; War on Women, Obama vs. Court(s), Obamacare, Obamacare Implementation, Roberts' Court's Righteousness, War on Women | Comments Off

Freeriding Not Enough — Roberts Court Rules in Benefit of Freeloaders

500px-Gov_Walker_Protests1_JRTalk about false consciousness.  Karl Marx or Herbert Marcuse would’ve loved the Supreme Court’s decision to give freeloaders a free ride, all in the name of First Amendment freedom-of-expression rights — putting another nail in the mostly built coffin of public unions.

In the 5-4 Harris case, the usual conservative Roberts Court — Alito writing the majority, with Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas in tow — ruled that a personal assistant working for a rehabilitation program has no need to support or join a union.

Pamela Harris, whom Medicaid pays to take care of her son, someone who lives with a genetic syndrome, reaps the benefits but is not liable to pay the costs associated with collective bargaining.   She can have it both ways: benefit from a public-union contract without paying for the cost of fighting state governments to secure a living wage, or the irony from the 2000s that state governments don’t ship all their jobs overseas.

Unlike states’ rights in Massachusetts, the Roberts Court upheld Illinois’s states’ rights (relying on the political-speech provisions of the 1977 Abood case.) “Preventing nonmembers from free-riding on the union’s efforts” is “generally [an] insufficient [reason] to overcome First Amendment objections.”

More later on the faulty or incoherent logic of using First Amendment rights against labor — or for employees to defeat their own self-interest.

For now, combine this with a “true” California judge ruling that tenuring teachers inhibits the state’s ability to fulfill students’ constitutional right to a “quality education,” and you’ve got a particularly precarious situation for anyone who chose to work in the public sector.

The idea that public-sector work attracted those who valued public purpose over private profits is long gone.  I can remember the days when the public sector was a place guaranteeing more of a meritocracy, liberating those burdened by discrimination in the private workplace.  The public sector also captured those who sought income stability, for instance, if they grew up simply poor and not part of the disadvantaged immutable-identity categories.

But then again, you have to remember the idea that the private sector pays too much in these times of über income and educational inequality.  (Where’s Sheryl Sandberg when you need her?)  The idea that this is gender-neutral and based on meritocracy would be highly contested at least by one or two in counties just south of San Francisco.

Posted in Anti-Union, Full Text Lower Federal Court Rulings, Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Roberts' Court's Righteousness | Comments Off

Roberts Court War on Women

Inside_the_United_States_Supreme_CourtIt was a double slam-dunk of a day for Justice Samuel Alito.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores is not fun, and no hobby for women, children, or anyone who is now dependent on the “good” faith of their employer’s belief structure — at least for the right to decide what to do with their minds and bodies.  In a 5-4 decision, Alito undermines President Barack Obama’s signature law by allowing employers to refuse to pay for health insurance that violates their belief system.

This was the other shoe dropping!  My, my what creative health plans we will see.  More on my imaginings later.

Posted in Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Roberts' Court's Righteousness, War on Women? | Comments Off

Sugary Drinks — What New York Health Board Lacks, the Obamas Accommodate

500px-Coca-Cola_logo.svgCan’t wait to read New York State Court of Appeals Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr.’s argument that the health-care issue of selling 20 oz. drinks (e.g. Coca-Cola and Pepsi) exceeds the Board of Health’s regulatory authority.  

I guess judges don’t attend CUNY public-health classes or our new School of Public Health, which well covers obesity and diabetes, particularly among the poor in their own backyard.

What we do know is that not only is Michelle Obama concerned, but President Barack Obama is too, since at least people can retain protection as a person with the disability of obesity and diabetes, given his administration’s broad ADAAA rules.

Posted in (Dis)ability Rights, ADA, ADAAA, Full Text Lower Federal Court Rulings, Obama's Justice (Department) | Comments Off

Roberts Court Slaps POTUS, Again

Inside_the_United_States_Supreme_Court 010_alito_croppedThe Roberts Court reprimands President Barack Obama, again. With New Jersey Justice Samuel Alito writing for the court, the 9-0 opinion quibbles about what constitutes a recess — while accepting that executor-in-chief Barack Obama can appoint people to run the government during a proper recess.  Quibbling about what constitutes this or that is at least different from striking something down in kind.

While this Roberts Court’s legal move is not a surprise, it will help the GOP going into the midterm elections, since the Executive Branch can no longer govern without using the newly modified filibuster rule.

It’s not as if Obama wanted to wait until the Senate went on recess to find folks to govern or help him execute and implement laws.

Most notable was undoing the appointment of the new consumer-protection czar established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  This constitutes a slap or rebuke to now Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.  When Obama did not nominate her and she left to win the contested Massachusetts Senate seat, she left thinking her right-hand person or enforcer — Robert Cordray — would be appointed. And he was, for a while, at least along with a couple of key appointments at the National Labor Relations Board.

Good thing the Senate is no longer allowing itself to hold the Executive Branch hostage, having overturned the long-standing filibuster rule that I’m sure Senator Warren enjoyed voting for.

Posted in Bureaucrat-in-Chief, Elizabeth Warren, Executive-in-Chief, Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Legislative-in-Chief, Midterm Congressional Election, Obama vs. Court(s), Roberts Court, The Presidency | Comments Off

Supreme Court War on Women that Ignores States’ Rights

NOWThe Roberts Court is clearly less interested in protecting states’ rights — as it issued yet another 9-0 decision (McCullen v. Coakley) not allowing the Massachusetts citizens to determine how large the buffer zone around abortion clinics should be.  (The Massachusetts legislature passed a law giving women seeking their right to choose a 35-foot buffer going into a clinic.)

For elections, one gets 100 feet, but for women practicing their right to choose, it’s 65 feet shorter.  So electioneers are more dangerous than sidewalk counselors, I guess.  Or is it that states’ rights are less significant when it comes to practicing the war on women?

Posted in Free Speech, Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Neotribalism, Obama vs. Court(s), Roberts Court, War on Women? | Comments Off

Supreme Court Renders Surveillance State 9-0 Surprise


A 9–0 ruling holding the surveillance state back.  The police need a warrant to search our smartphones. (No kidding — there is quite a difference between a subpoena and a smartphone, so quite an important distinction in terms of surveillance-state tools.)

Just think — even Antonin (Justice Scalia) backed 21st-century thinking.  Where are his “original” thoughts in the life of Riley (v. California)?  I guess he left them with the buggy, back in the barn.

Posted in Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Surveillance State Surprises | Comments Off