Thursday December 05, 2013
Archive - 2013
The Supreme Court decision on affirmative action could have been a lot worse. Given the court's ideological tilt, in fact, it was probably the best we could have hoped for.
Not every law that's constitutional is also wise. Keep that in mind as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
It seems like an easy case. How could a federal statute designed to end the historic suppression of African American voting not be constitutional? The 15th Amendment gives voters of all races equal rights and expressly grants Congress the power to enforce those rights - which Congress exercised by reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act (VRA) for 25 years in 2006.
What a disgrace. The U.S. government, cheered on by much of the media, launches an international manhunt to capture a young American whose crime is that he dared challenge the excess of state power. Read the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and tell me that Edward Snowden is not a hero in the mold of those who founded this republic. Check out the Nuremberg war crime trials and ponder our current contempt for the importance of individual conscience as a civic obligation.
Folks, there’s a serious housing shortage in America these days. The stress it’s creating for needy families is approaching heart-attack levels.
Did you know, for example, that the inventory of million-dollar homes in Carmel, California, dwindled to only four properties at one point in late May?
As many of you already have intuited, I don’t know everything. Nobody does, I suppose. More importantly, I don’t know everything about anything.
I’m what used to be called “a generalist,” someone whose knowledge in any direction is a mile wide and a quarter-inch deep.
Sad to say, we generalists are an endangered species.
When the Supreme Court decided to send its latest hot potato of an affirmative action case back to a lower court for further review, civil rights veteran Julian Bond gave me a two-word reaction: "They punted."
Translation for non-sports fans: They dodged making the tough call, at least for now.
Coming soon to a computer screen near you: the blue-footed booby, the giant tortoise and the flightless cormorant.
Voting rights are under attack again — this time it’s the Supreme Court’s turn.
The majority’s ruling in the Shelby County vs. Holder case gutted key Voting Rights Act provisions at a time when minority access to the polls faces new obstacles.
As Justice Ruth Ginsburg explained and proved in her dissent, the law is working well but remains necessary. She likened the ruling to “throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
I have no problem with the news sites recommending stories to me, or the shopping sites figuring I'm good for another look at those size-41 shoes. I have no problem with someone using my supposedly "private" information to sell me more and target me for whatever they know I'm interested in. But I have to draw the line.
And isn't the right place to draw the line with the guys who want to use that information to fight terrorism and save our lives?
Only 10 percent of Americans now have confidence in Congress, Gallup informs us. No other major American institution has ever had an approval rating this low.
But public confidence in Congress would probably sink even lower if average Americans knew more about what our lawmakers are actually doing. The latest case in point: the steady progress of H.R. 1135, the “Burdensome Data Collection Relief Act.”