Monday, July 13, 2009

Confirmation hearings start for Sotomayor

I just finished watching the the start of the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Started out with numerous senators having their preliminary
remarks, including a point where Sen Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
had to caution the audience that respect would be afforded to all persons, whether they were present at the hearings or not, in response to an outburst when Sen Ted Kennedy's name was mentioned.

There were even a few hecklers removed from the room.

From what we heard, some of the Republicans are dead set against her nomination, including some that are complaining that she is overly sensitive to minority and gender concerns, Sen. Kyle (R-TX) even going so far as rather openly saying that she would color her decisions based on the skin color and gender of the litigants.

Of course, the republicans are rather coyly ignoring the records and behavior of the more conservative members of the current court and its' record of "activism" and protection of the embedded privilege of the racial and economic status quo at the expense of civil rights, consumer protection and access to the courts of those who may be of more meager economic means.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The hatter keeps popping out of the rabbit hole....

Michael Steele, the current GOP RNC chair, seems to be losing touch with what the American people will regard as "reasoned discourse." And by "American people" I mean those outside the confines of the "party faithful" who are not corralled into the party's "big tent."

In a story carried on Saturday (My 16, '09), The AP reported that Steele, in a speech at the GOP state convention in Georgia, had stated that one of the ways that the GOP could be "recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks" would be to push the supposed "extra" cost of health care for spouses to gays.

"Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for," Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. "So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money."

Now, I realize that the GOP likes to present themselves as the champion of small business (even when the real effect of the GOP-supported policies is to give the overwhelming competitive advantage back to big corporations), and they have found themselves in thrall to the ideologues of the Religious Right (tm).

This presents Steele, who is supposed to formulate and articulate the GOP's positions in somewhat of a quandary, as he tries to find a speech that will appeal to both constituencies. The trouble with *this* tactic (a tactic that Steele has to undertake) is that his chosen arguments are patently foolish.

He is trying to equate, as an "added cost" to small business owners a cost that they have to be prepared to bear as a simple cost of employee retention, and attempts to ignore the fact that discrimination, based on marital status, is *already* against the law. It sounds like Steele is trying to be able to roll back the pre-existing civil rights protections against those with married status.

Of course, an oft-stated complaint from this brand of "conservative" is that the civil rights protections afforded the "protected" groups are unneeded and and burdensome to ... business.

Again, forgetting that the "protected" are people.

People who should be afforded fair and equitable treatment under the law.

But, I suppose, most of us know this. Just that damned hatter keeps popping out of that rabbit hole.