Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen ...

the end of the Supreme Court.
Justice Antonin Scalia cut in when Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler said the justices would need to look at “the structure and the text” of the 2,700-page [ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act].

“Mr. Kneedler, what happened to the Eighth Amendment?” Scalia asked — a joking reference to the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. “You really want us to go through these 2,700 pages?

“And do you really expect the court to do that? Or do you expect us to — to give this function to our law clerks? Is this not totally unrealistic? That we are going to go through this enormous bill item by item and decide each one?"

Taking a swipe at the court’s textualists, Justice Elena Kagan said the court could dispense with the legislative history and “look at the text that’s actually given us.”
“For some people, we look only at the text,” she said. “It should be easy for Justice Scalia's clerks.”

“I don't care whether it's easy for my clerks,” Scalia said to laughs. “I care whether it's easy for me.”
Given that Needler was arguing the merits of a law that provides health insurance -- and access to lifesaving healthcare -- to millions of Americans who otherwise would not have it, it might not have been prudent for him to answer Justice Scalia's question the way he would have liked. But, given that I am just an average American citizen and not burdened with that responsibility, perhaps I can enlighten Scalia about the expectations of average Americans like myself:

YES! When the Supreme Court hears a case, I do expect you to be fully aware of all the relevant issues. If that means reading every word of a 2,700-page document, that's OK with me. Your job as a Supreme Court justice carries an incredible amount of responsibility, and the Court's decisions affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people and alters the course of our nation.

In exchange for that taking on that awesome responsibility, you are compensated more than adeqautely, at more than $200,000 per year, placing you comfortably within the top 5 percent of American wage earners. And, with your lifetime appointment, you also have unprecedented job security at a time when the term "job security" is, for many people, becoming an oxymoron.

I also expect you to judge cases based on their constitutional merit, leaving your personal political beliefs at the courthouse door. We wouldn't want judges on the top court in the land "legislating from the bench" now, would we?

So yeah, I expect you to read every word on every page of the 2,700-page PPACA. It's your job. And given the fabulous wage and benefits package you receive, I don't care whether it's easy for you.

It's hard to believe that a Supreme Court justice asked an attorney arguing before the Court if the attorney expects him to read the law they are talking about. Are you fucking kidding me?

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Nothing personal

This is a comment I posted on Facebook in response to a friend's announcement that his "snake in the grass" employer laid off a 47-year veteran of the company.

"Not a personal decision?" So the manager hopes she can remain friends with the victim? That their families can continue to get together for dinner parties? Well, not now that he can't afford dinner parties.

"Not a personal decision" is an empty, meaningless statement. Pure bullshit, about as sincere as, "it's not you. It's me." But, in this situation, at least that statement's true: He's not the one who failed to perform the duties of his job. It's not his failure that landed the company in its current financial situation. It's not his incompetence, it's hers. But it is he who suffers the consequences of her failure, while she gets to keep her job. With a tidy bonus for taking his job away, I might add.

"Not a personal decision" is simply what corporate scum say to avoid confronting the people they've become and how little money they sold their humanity for. It isn't as if the laid-off party feels better knowing that their new joblessness and financial struggles aren't because they are disliked personally. I am sure that, to the person who has just had his livelihood taken away, whether the manager in question liked him personally was irrelevant before the layoff and even more so after. The statement isn't designed to ease the suffering of the victim. If people who use this statement were to be honest about who is comforted by it, they would have to admit, "it's not you, it's me."

The salve that statement offers these people is so great that they either don't know or don't care that they sound like insufferable assholes when they say it.

And, as if all that isn't galling enough, oftentimes companies kick loyal, long-tenured employees to the curb not because they are actually losing money, but to enhance their profit margin. It's not that they couldn't afford to keep the employee, it's simply that they could make more money if they got rid of him. Companies that are losing money don't usually give bonuses to mid-level management.

p.s. I think you owe snakes an apology.

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Manning cuts Colts

I know it's a day late, but hey, I was at work last night.

INDIANAPOLIS -- In an emotional press conference with team owner Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning officially cut ties with the Indianapolis Colts Wednesday, ending a 14-year association with the organization.

Manning cited the team's 2-14 record this past season, which Manning sat out while recovering from multiple neck surgeries, as well as the team's ineviable salary cap position as reasons behind his decision to cut the franchise.

"I have had a long, rewarding, historic run with the Indianapolis Colts," Manning said, choking back tears. "But, let's face it, they were the worst team in the league last season. Worse than Buffalo, worse than Minnesota, worse than Cleveland, if you can believe that."

Manning said he plans to work out several free agent teams in the coming weeks before deciding which to sign. He didn't name any teams to avoid violating the league's tampering rule, but his agent, Tom Condon, has mentioned the Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs as possible front-runners for the position.

"These are teams that have been under-performing for a long time and should be available off the waiver wire," Condon said.

Manning wished the Colts well but conceded that, unlike many observers, he doesn't see owning the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft and presumptive top pick Andrew Luck as a panacea.

"When was the last time a highly touted college quaterback amounted to anything in the NFL?" Manning asked. "(Ryan) Leaf? (Matt) Leinart? (JaMarcus) Russell? (David) Carr? Suck, suck, suck, suck. Since me, the only highly touted college quarterback who did anything in the NFL is Eli (Manning). And, well, he is my little brother.

"So what's the name of the latest can't-miss prospect all you so-called experts have such a hard-on for?" Manning continued. "Luck? How appropriate."

Manning said he was sure an organization like the Colts would be successful again "someday." But for now, he said, the team should "gather up its dignity, along with all its shit, load it onto trucks and sneak out of town under the cover of night with its tail between its legs, just like it did in Baltimore.

"This is my house," Manning added.

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