Judicial Review

The independence of the Judicial branch of our Federal government is one of the key checks and balances created by the framers of the Constitution. So long as their only master was the law of the land, including the Constitution, the Federal bench would be able to restrain the potential excesses of the Executive and Legislative branches without being susceptible to the whims and passions of the electorate.

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House Repairs

In the 2012 elections for the House of Representatives, Republics won 54% of the races despite receiving fewer votes nationwide than the Democrats. In 2016, the Republicans eked out a narrow victory in the nationwide popular vote, 51% to 49%, but ended up controlling 55% of the seats.

In short, our representative democracy is failing at being representative. Continue reading “House Repairs”

A Corporation Is Not a Person

To a modern right-winger, everything is a person. An embryo is a person. A corporation is a person. The coffee mug on my desk could be a person to them for all I know. In their view, the difference between an embryo and a corporation is that eventually the embryo will emerge from the womb and need health care, food, and shelter. At this point, the embryo becomes a moocher, a leech, a drain upon society and can go fuck off for all they care.

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My First Visit to Black’s Beach

I don’t really have a bucket list to speak of, but there are a few things that I have never done that I still want to do, such as travel south of the Equator. I suppose I had better put that list in some sort of order, so I can start checking them off, but at least today I took care of one item that had been on my list of things to do for quite a while. I visited Black’s Beach, the largest clothing-optional beach in North America.

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The Senate: The Vestigal House?

We often hear the United States Senate referred to as “the world’s greatest deliberative body.” That expression was coined by the fifteenth President of the United States, the otherwise unremarkable James Buchanan. You could say that the United States Civil War was just Abraham Lincoln cleaning up the mess Buchanan left behind. Since Buchanan was himself once a Senator, calling a body of which he was a member “the world’s greatest” anything smacks of shameless self-promotion.

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Artificial Intelligence: Don’t Buy the Hype

This is supposedly the dawning of the age of artificial intelligence. We have cars that can drive themselves, sort of, and thermostats that can adjust to our daily patterns, more or less. Google just showed off a technology where the electronic “assistant” inside your phone can call a restaurant or a hair salon to make an appointment, and the person on the other end of the call won’t even know they’ve spoken to a piece of software.

Now we’ve all seen enough movies to know what happens next. Next, HAL murders the rest of the Discovery crew, then Skynet becomes self-aware, and, boom, we have Terminators.

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The Power to Make War

In 1967, Under-secretary of State Nick Katzenbach was testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the progress of United States military operations in Vietnam. When Senator Fulbright expressed concern that President Johnson was waging war in Southeast Asia without the authority of a Congressional declaration of war, Katzenbach scoffed that this constitutionally-enumerated power reserved to the legislature was obsolete in the nuclear age, when a president might have mere minutes to respond to a Soviet missile launch.

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