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

Death Profits!

workers-paradox-republican-origins-new-deal-labor-policy-ruth-ann-obrien-paperback-cover-art-2Employees in the United States have feeble to no real rights.  Of course, the employee does not discover this until he is on the wrong side of the employer’s or his managers’ ire.  But in civil-rights and union law, scholars have known this for years.  Indeed, it is/was the theme of scholarship the moment the initial enthusiasm waned about the federal legislation, whether it was the Wagner Act unionizing employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act bestowing minimum wages, or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.   Or, should one say, at the very least with the first wave of revisionism, anywhere from 10 to 25 years after employees’ enthusiasm at getting less than a big fat nothing.

But employers’ profiting from their employees’ deaths — well, that’s another thing.  A category instead of a kind, if you were doing an SAT-exam prep on this.  It’s one thing if an employer doesn’t pay, or pays next to nothing, for an employee’s death that they’re culpable for causing (old news — see OSHA); but another if they profit from death.  That’s even better than OSHA’s stats on robots (uncaged, not curtained like the Wizard of Oz) killing their colleagues and co-workers.

Posted in Workers' Rights | Comments Off

The EU, the Google Gaggle & the Trillionaires’ Club

nobullyThe best way to figure out the law is to mix Tor with Netflix — or at least, that has been my experience the last five years (which in tech years, according to Moore’s law, is somewhere between 10 and 50 years).

My computer knew I had left American soil before my European friends knew I’d arrived!  So the real lead is that EU competition commissioner (or let’s say competition “czar”) Joaquín Almunia — with his colleagues in the 28-country bloc — has got to figure out how the EU is going to compete with the gaggle (not just Google but the entire communications industry) under what I call information imperialism.

Will the EU limit it to antitrust (monopolies), or will Europe get more adventurous with information taxes and/or data mining — particularly the offensive “eye tracking”?  (The very term makes me want to go to the ophthalmologist for better sunglasses.)

I always use Venere rather than Expedia — much better hole-in-the-wall or authentic choices, no matter how many Google cars I saw climbing over the Alps.

Supposedly, if Google doesn’t settle, it faces up to $6 billion in fines.  Is that enough?  Will they deliver it in nickels, dimes, or quarters, I wonder, though this could be part of the trail of disinformation provided by Apple or Samsung.  (What we do know is the lawyers earned over a billion dollars and counting.)  But $6 billion doesn’t sound like much to trillionaires.

Posted in American Surveillance Economy + Polity, EU Full Text, Information Imperialism, Surveillance Economy | Comments Off

Breaking Bad (Full Text Drone News)


Another full disclosure early summer or June sting!  Read the Full Text Drone Memo and try not to wince is all I can recommend.

Posted in Drones, Surveillance State | Comments Off

Separations of Powers Power Struggle

William_Howard_Taft_1909Oil-spillUnless you are William Howard Taft, who as Supreme Court Chief Justice would highly approve of his successor Chief Justice John G. Roberts.  Or unless you reside in the town of Taft) read it and weep.  More of that man-on-man (Roberts vs. Obama) action, as the Supreme Court blocks (partially) Obama’s ability to exercise executive action on the environment.

Another crude contest, and another excellent example of how an American president wields executive action in defense.  It is not an offensive move.  Read for yourself.


Posted in Bureaucrat-in-Chief, EPA & Climate Control, Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Obama vs. Court(s), Obama's Second Term Over?, Roberts Court, Roberts' Court's Righteousness, The Presidency | Comments Off