How NOT to pitch an appeal for a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on grounds that it isn't religious ...
So an alderman in the community in which I live thinks the town ought to have a lighting ceremony for the town Christmas tree. Fine: whatever. However, he argues two points: 1) that the community is religious, and thus the ceremony should be religious; and 2) that a religiously sectarian lighting ceremony in no way violates the Constitution since it merely reflects the history of the community rather than advancing any religious purpose.
So, you decide: religious and sectarian? Or a fair depiction of history:
We believe in Christ and the fact that he’s our savior and the core values and principles by which we live and raise our kids and conduct ourselves in business.
Let me add a reminder of the so-called “Lemon Test” (from Lemon v Kurtz) on what does (or does not) constitute an improper intrusion of state power into religious matters:
First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster “an excessive government entanglement with religion.”
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.”—George Orwell, 1984. Opening paragraph.
“At any given time, there are probably thousands of things vying for a “Dumbest Thing on the Internet” award, so it’s probably foolish to say you think you’ve picked winner. But, screw it, I’m gonna call it. This article–about how liberals may (in the future because DUH SO OBVIOUS NANNY STATE LIBS!) make ogling boobs illegal–is officially the Dumbest Thing on the Internet. It’s like a Derp Unicorn vomited derp in a bucket full of derp then spilled the derp vomit, then got grossed out by all the vomit derp and vomited some more derp to create a pool of derp so wide so deep it became a vortex of derp and everything on the internet was sucked into the derp vortex, except for the Derp Unicorn, who continued to vomit up stuff for The Daily Caller.”—
“Some of the people who are most opposed to oppression from Washington attack Mandela when he was opposed to oppression in his own country….I would ask of his critics: where were some of these conservatives as allies against tyranny? Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid? In a desperate struggle against an overpowering government, you accept the allies you have just as Washington was grateful for a French monarchy helping him defeat the British.”—
Newt Gingrich, who supported anti-apartheid measures when in Congress, making sense and criticizing troglodyte conservatives who are attacking Nelson Mandela for advocating violence and joining the Communist Party while pushing for the end of the apartheid regime.
“[Mandela] was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives — and Obamacare is front and center in that.”—
Rick Santorum on the linkages among Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid and the Republicans’ fight against Obamacare.
The creation stories of some nations and communities are written by thugs and villains. Others are written by flawed people who nonetheless spin a tale that makes it possible for the society to achieve remarkable things. And then there was Nelson Mandela. RIP.
“What does it mean for actual human “personhood”—as well as for reproductive rights and corporate control—that, if the far right succeeds in stretching these two legal fictions to their illogical extremes, American “personhood” will begin at conception, diminish somewhat at birth, and regain its force upon incorporation?”—Dahlia Lithwick, on corporate personhood and religious rights.
“When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn’t have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.”—Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird (first paragraph)
Can I give you a makeup exam because you “slept in” and missed the exam at 3:35 … PM? Can I give you a makeup exam because you only thought to email about your “sleeping in” AFTER I posted all the grades and sent an email saying grades were available?
Of course I can. The question is: will I?
The answer to that is: just tell me the truth. Do me that dignity. Just tell me the truth: you forgot. You were stupid. It happens. I get it.
Just don’t lie to me. Is that really so much to ask?
The size and complexity of the truth and reconciliation commission the inhabitants of wizardland (whatever Harry Potter’s world is called) in the aftermath of Voldemort’s fall must have been massive. There were thousands of wizards allied with Voldemort; political institutions were warped by those corrupted by Voldemort’s influence and followers … that’s a lot to overcome to rebuild a healthy society.
The nuclear option won’t destroy the legislative process, it will simply stop Republicans from using filibusters as their weapon of mass obstruction.
Norman Ornstein, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, looks at the end of the nominations filibuster … and thinks it was the right thing to do in the face of an obstructionist Republican Party.
It can always be worse, higher education edition ...
So faculty are somewhat notorious for never quite being satisfied. There are good reasons for this: resources are never adequate; students have this annoying habit of being, often, young; and administrations — well, what can I say on a family network about administrations? Or, perhaps better put, can I say what lots of faculty think about their administrations in polite company? Probably not.
And then there’s Kean University in New Jersey, which appears to exist just to make lots of us feel a lot better about our lives. There, the president has faced several no confidence votes, and in response has decided to recommend against the tenure applications of 6 of 9 applicants this year. This despite the fact that the applicants had 1) unanimous support for their applications at the department and college levels (which are only rarely overruled); and 2) no one will tell the applicants the basis for their being rejected.
Meanwhile, the number of tenure track positions at Kean have gone down over the last several years, from 400 to 300 — a decline of 25%.
Chevron, Exxon and BP among companies most responsible for climate change since dawn of industrial age, figures show
Hey, guess what? Fossil fuel burning is a prime source of greenhouse gases. Shockingly, fossil fuel companies lie at the heart of the issue of man-made greenhouse gas production and global climate change.