Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The gay marriage case that should matter

A gay man,  married in Massachusetts and living in Alabama, (see
Gay Widower Shares Heartbreaking Story Of Why He's Suing Alabama) to have the state of Alabama recognize his marriage.  This is the case I think should attract the most attention and support from Gay Marriage advocates.

Most of the other  court cases about gay marriage bans in various states are working through the federal judiciary  require an extension of logic of Loving v. Virginia (the ruling that invalidated anti-miscegenation statutes) -- that:
Marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival -- Earl Warren
I have always been uncomfortable with that logic, preferring Potter Stewart concurring opinion (repeating an argument in another case McLaughlin v. Florida) that
it is simply not possible for a state law to be valid under our Constitution which makes the criminality of an act depend upon the race of the actor.
I don't see marriage as a 'right.'  As I said before,  I see marriage anthropologically: that it is a useful contract by which the state manages various property, inheritance and other economic issues, (see Two cheers for gay marriage).

That is why I am not wild about the current court cases -- I think they are high risk, and that the court may well decide that the decision would involve it in a "political thicket", and use that as an excuse to rule the issue non-justiciable.  Given this court, they could well write a decision would have an extensive effects (I wouldn't put it past this court to use it as an excuse to over turn Baker v. Carr).

The case in Alabama has more power, and I think simpler Constitutional basis -- relying solely on the text:

From the Constitution  of the United States
Article. IV.Section. 1.Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
There used to be something called a "Reno divorce", where people married in states with restrictive divorce laws went to Nevada and got divorced.  The Supreme Court eventually rule -- so long as no obvious fraud was involved -- that states had to respect these divorces.

Though cumbersome, applying this would effectively gut the anti-gay marriage laws  -- a state would not be required to provide the service, but would be required to recognize it. 

This is not as 'nice' as having every state required to provide gay marriage as an option -- but it would protect gay marriage once it had been performed.

I like this, because no new rights would be required to be read into the Constitution, it has precedent, and a pleasant in your face quality.  And I have hope that it could get through this court.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

No end of fun can be had with this...

Certainly beats taking your AR15 to the restaurant.

The agency that brought you the Internet has created a self-guided bullet
government's military research agency, DARPA, says it has demonstrated a
bullet capable of locking onto a moving target from up to a mile away.

Friday, July 11, 2014

An interesting position to consider

The Daily Beast article Why Progressives Shouldn’t Support Public Workers Unions - The Daily Beast


Monday, July 7, 2014

Not a great idea

This article on the Forward website,Jewish Wedding Symbolizes Revival in Poland City of Wroclaw – Forward.com, is supposed to be a feel good article.

I am sorry that I will not feel that way. I see them as glorifying a mistake. 

It is a fantasy that we can restore something of Jewish life to Eastern Europe.  Understanding the Holocaust as an aberration, is not supported by history.  (Communism is an aberration, the anti-semitism there was part of a calibrated policy, not a popular sport.)

We have been the other a long time in Europe, and still are: just look at the polling (Attitudes Toward Jews in Ten European Countries).  This even in countries (like Spain, Poland, and Greece) with negligible Jewish population: a new invention anti-semitism without Jews.

Anti-semitism without Jews, that I can live with. I cannot be happy by creating new hostages.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Teach your children better

I amused my daughter this Saturday by talking to some LDS Missionaries -- whom she had to deal with by herself earlier when I was out.

She shooed them off earlier by pointing out the Magen David affiches on the windows and saying good by.

Next time, there were three, and at least one tried with me to be somewhat more diplomatic, noting the previously mentioned decorations and the mezuzot on our doors -- asking me to explain them (I wonder if they were hoping I would stumble).

The conversation had some interesting dialog I would like to mention.

Missionary: Have you ever met missionaries before?
Jew: More than you can possibly imagine.
Missionary: Have you read the book of Mormon
Jew: Yes, and the Koran, what you call the New Testament, and the Bhagavad Gita
Missionary: What did you think of it
Jew: Honestly?  A poorly written fraud. [Would you want me
          to lie?]
and then the subject monotheism* and the origin of evil came up 
Missionary:  God is the source of truth
Jew: ...and lies.  Jews are fairly thorough monotheists, we don't have a
         trinity or a devil, so all has to come from God.
Younger Missionary: But Lucifier is written about in Genesis.
               [This is the reason for the title of this blog]
Jew: [Long slow look]
         You really should read the book before you talk
         about it.
         Lucifer isn't mentioned until Isaish. 
         Satan isn't mentioned in Genesis -- just a snake.
         The first mention of 'a' satan I can recall is in the
          story of Balaam's Ass.
              [A lecture on satan as a word and the meaning
              of the character followed]
and finally:
Missionary: Well is there anything we could do for you?
Jew: Yes let me enjoy the rest of my sabbath in peace.

I don't often get gifts like this.

*For the record, and seriously the concepts of the trinity and the Devil inherent in the creed really do lead me to think of Christianity as a polytheism.

Missing the point

As with many gun safety advocates, this article How Lax Gun Laws In The U.S. Let Domestic Abusers Buy Guns| Huffingtonpost, misses the point. Just as the Spitting, Stalking, Rape Threats: How Gun Extremists Target Women | Mother Jones article did.

Intimidation is a gun rights advocacy goal, not a side effect.