Friday, March 30, 2012

Justice Scalia’s Slippery Slope Broccoli Argument

by Dee Newman

Lawyers seem to love slippery slope arguments. Namely, that a relatively insignificant first step will lead to a chain of related events culminating in some significant negative outcome.

Granted, every opinion and decision has a slippery slope. However, for a slippery slope argument to have validity, it requires some autonomous justification of the connection between the links: otherwise the argument logically is invalid.

If the decision of individuals living in the U.S. not to eat broccoli impacted interstate commerce as significantly as the decision of millions of individuals not to purchase health insurance (even though they can afford it), then it might be altogether fitting and appropriate for the national government to intervene in broccoli consumption. But, it doesn’t.

Justice Scalia’s slippery slope broccoli argument is, quite frankly, ridiculous and illogically unsound to which any first-year law student could easily rebut.

If the conservative justices on the court, who are supposed to be exceptional lawyers, rely on such a lame argument to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, then, believe me, something else besides logic and the Constitution is motivating their opinion.

To strike down this law on such transparently weak grounds by a group of justices who purport to be committed to judicial restraint would be quite brazen.

And yet, the court has render equally ludicrous decisions in the past – Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, just to name two.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adriene Rich Dies

The feminist poet and essayist, Adriene Rich, died Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz. She was 82. She was best known as an advocate of women's rights, but she was also a passionate writer for the antiwar movement, as well as, a defender of the marginalized and underprivileged.

The following video is Ms. Rich reading her poem – "What Kind of Times Are These".


Saturday, March 24, 2012


by Jack Reeves

According to the Journal of Current Biology, political liberalism and conservatism correlate with differing brain structures and their interaction with environmental factors.

Consequently, comparatively and generally, conservatives are more sensitive to what they perceive as threatening, are consciously or unconsciously class conscious, and tend to embrace simplistic, dogmatic explanations, including religious.

Hence, strong defense (fear), less government (classism), "Marriage is between one man and one woman" (explanation).

Given the hard-wired differences between the political right and left, are compromise and cooperation possible?

Conservatives, can you suppress your brain biology? If possible, I'll support leaner government for less of your fear, faith and fiction-driven ideology.

I struggle to suppress "When pigs fly."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Orchids (Photos)

From The National Botanical Garden 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Women in the World 2012: Meryl Streep's Tribute to Hillary Clinton


Wednesday, Mar 14, 2012 10:25 AM CDT

The Trump brothers’ grotesque hunting spree

The Trump sons go on safari -- and prey on the weak and helpless for fun. Sound familiar?

Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump
Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump  (Credit:

How arrogant and out of touch are Donald Trump’s sons? Let’s put it this way – this is a story in which their father comes off as the subtle, nuanced thinker.

It seems Donald Jr. and his brother Eric went to Africa on a hunting trip last year, and their tour company, Hunting Legends, decided recently to brag of the men’s prowess on their Web site, complete with graphic photos of the brothers and their kills. And here’s a shocker – there’s something about rich white men smiling with the carcasses of the African animals they’ve killed that a lot of people just don’t like.

The photographs are intense – images of the men proudly hoisting a dead leopard, smiling and holding a sawed off elephant’s tail next to the animal’s body, posing with a dead bull and waterbuck and an enormous, strung-up crocodile.

Continue Reading
Mary Elizabeth Williams
Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedubMore Mary Elizabeth Williams

Doonesbury: The Strip that The Tennessean and Other Newspapers have Censored


The Road We've Traveled

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paul Julian Cobb

Last October the son of some dear friends, Paul Cobb, was accidentally and tragically killed by a train. He was only 24 years old.

Paul was an accomplished artist, musician, and skilled outdoorsman. He lived his life with integrity, exemplifying his beliefs by living simply so that others may simply live.

Paul played a number of musical instruments for two bands: Amo Joy and The Accordians. When he died he left behind a number of unfinished musical ideas on tape, as well as, numerous sketchbooks of his remarkable artwork, revealing his inspired and exceptional technique and style.

Recently, a group of Paul’s friends and musical companions setout on a journey to honor his life and gifts. The primary purpose of their endeavor is to produce an album of his unfinished and unreleased songs on vinyl and cassette (Paul's preferred format).

Accompanying the album the group plans to publish a collection of Paul’s extraordinary artwork.

The following is a video that can be found on indiegogo, a fundraising website:

Hammer Screwdriver from London Daily Press on Vimeo.

If you would like to hear some of Paul's unfinished work it can be found at Hammer Screwdriver (Paul's whimsical moniker given to him by his older brother, Adrian, at his birth). Many of the songs are presently in a very rough state, but you will readily hear the creative process of a genius at work.

 If you would like to contribute to this project click here.

From Rachel Maddow Show: Controversial 'Doonesbury' Comic Strip

Monday, March 12, 2012

Unfolding the Mystery

by Dee Newman

We’ve all imagined and entertained
frightening thoughts and dreams that inflame
passions, whose mere memory, have stained
our not so innocent cheeks with shame.

Once we start thinking of other’s sorrow
and less of our own preservation,
our consciousness will undergo
a truly heroic transformation.

Trying to unfold the Mystery
through Revelation is a bit arcane,
for every god of history
was formed and fashioned within a brain.

The hidden wonder of existence
is not our salvation through His grace,
but the courage and confidence
to confront the self – face to face.

To stand alone against the onslaught
of ignorance, bigotry and fear
and aim for harmony in thought,
word and deed is what we ought to revere.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I Despise the Peddlers of Deception

by Jack Reeves

Jack wrote the following poem 50 years ago.  It was inspired by some Methodist close to John Wesley.

I despise the peddlers of deception
Who could say “to die is gain”
And cloak tragedy with delusion.

They call death “Friend”--
“A festival on the road to freedom”--
Confounding truth with lies.

Understanding neither life nor death,
These squalid panderers compromise with
The Enemy
And seat death at life’s right hand.

At death let no one console me
With pious absurdities
About someone dying in my stead,
Or disregard my dread with the empty myth:
“The best of all, God is with us.”

Have I the strength,
With clutched fist
I will curse that one,
And his friend, my enemy,
Which since inception has
Stalked my life.

My life’s deep pain
Is that each moment
Is born poisoned.
Each day I live
In my shroud;
At night, my bed a coffin.

I laugh at my own madness and
Hope that by embracing death
I shall bar its defeat in life.
“Plaudite, amici, comoedia finita est!”*

*Applaud, my friends, the comedy is over. – Ludwig van Beethoven, on his deathbed, 1827

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rush Defends Joseph Kony

Last year President Obama sent military advisors to help apprehend Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda.

The video from the Invisible Children, about Kony and the LRA, has garnered over 40 million viewings on Youtube in the last three days (see earlier post – Kony 2012). Kony and the LRA have been condemned for human rights violations and using child soldiers to carry out atrocities.

Last October, Limbaugh criticized President Obama for committing troops to "wipe out Christians":


An Unremarkable Circumstance

by Dee Newman

An unremarkable circumstance
brought about a great change in me,
an abrupt intuitive advance
toward understanding Absurdity.

Imagine the cause and the effect
if the center and circuitry
of my limited intellect
had been wired differently.

Why, I might be among the saved,
forgiven of all my mortal sins,
no matter how utterly depraved
and deplorable they might have been.

Kony 2012

Please Watch!