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Obergefell v. Hodges, Identity, and Dignity

[I'm going to sticky this because I really want feedback. Again, I think it's amazing, but I seem to be the only person who thinks so. Readers? --lambert]

I posted this over at Naked Capitalism and [lambert blushes modestly] I think it's a tour de force. But readers over there didn't really want to talk about the central theme, which I hope you are able to discern. I'd like to know what you all think.

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Not only can I not even pretend to be a lawyer, venturing into a theoretical discussion of identity politics would, for me, rather like trying to operate high-speed machine tools when I don't have any training. So I'm not going to do either of those things. Rather, I want to take a layperson's look at Justice Kennedy's opinion in Obergefell, which seems to find a right to dignity in the penumbras of the Constitution (rather like the much-abused right to privacy), and tease out some implications of that line of thought. Kennedy's opinion is thirty-three pages long, and I did fight my way through it, but I found three paragraphs of Kennedy's "soaring language" (two at the beginning, one at the end) especially striking.

From the introduction to Kennedy's Obergefell opinion, the first paragraph (page 6, here in PDF):

The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.

The second paragraph (page 8):

From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most Read more about Obergefell v. Hodges, Identity, and Dignity

In the garden: Beach roses

I don't care if Rosa Rugosa aren't heirloom and are invasive! They bloom prolifically, smell nice, and the town can't kill them with road salt! (Here we see that roses have the same "body plan" as poppies.) Read more about In the garden: Beach roses

Suppose Sanders turns out to be Eugene McCarthy to Hillary's LBJ

Who's RFK? Who leaps into the race once the blood's in the water? Read more about Suppose Sanders turns out to be Eugene McCarthy to Hillary's LBJ

In the garden: First poppy

The very first (and yesterday, only) poppy of the season. It was breezy, and it must have taken me twenty minutes to get a shot where the blossom was still. Read more about In the garden: First poppy

In the garden: Moar peonies!

A passerby informs me that peonies require ants to open their buds, but that seems to be a myth. On the other hand, maybe the ants, to peonies, are beneficial insects, since they seek only nectar and perhaps keep other insects away. Read more about In the garden: Moar peonies!

In the garden: Pollinators at last!

At least pollinators that are slow-moving enough for me to capture them.

Sadly, the bumble bee is in shadow. I'll have to work on that! But at least they exist! Here's another:

Read more about In the garden: Pollinators at last!

#BlackLivesMatter sprayed on Confederate statue in Charleston

Post and Courier:

A statue near The Battery memorializing Confederate defenders was found vandalized Sunday with the message “Black lives matter.”

Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch received a call just after 12:30 p.m. informing them of the spray-painted damage to the allegorical monument, “To the Confederate Defenders of Charleston — Fort Sumter,” placed by The United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Fun with the Sunlight Foundation API

Here's a chart of who uses the word "socialism" in Congress:

Skepticism on Dylann Roof's "manifesto" and website

I saw the story of Dylann Roof's website break on my Twitter feed this morning, and in a just a few hours it's in the New York Times. The site contains images of Roof, as well as a manifesto in text. Here's the text (icky). Here's an image (icky): Read more about Skepticism on Dylann Roof's "manifesto" and website

Bernie Sanders, New York ballot access, and seriousness

As matters stand now, Sanders can't get on the Democratic ballot unless he registers as a Democrat or gets the permission of the Democrat Party, because of a law named Wilson-Pakula. Capital New York: Read more about Bernie Sanders, New York ballot access, and seriousness

In the garden: More flowers right before the sun sets

Louisville Fraternal Order of Police goes completely round the twist

Check this out:

And here's page two: Read more about Louisville Fraternal Order of Police goes completely round the twist

Sanders (and others) on the Charleston shootings

From the Twitter:

"Why we fight"

I posted this over at NC in response to the TPP House vote, but I thought I would repost it here with a few changes and additions, and see wha..t you all think, and especially what you think I should change or add.

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Rather than go through the parliamentary detail, let me expose my personal and editorial biases, and comment on the question of “Why We Fight,” primarily so readers are clear, but also as (to be frank) a troll prophylactic.

I’ve been listening to the revolutions podcast before bed, from which I’ve drawn a few lessons. One is that revolutions are not infrequent in human affairs; the podcast has gone through the English revolutions of the 1600s, the American Revolution, and is now at the French Revolution; we just decapitated Robespierre. To come are Haiti and Russia, and perhaps more. Second: Both revolutions themselves, and the build-up to them, are protracted affairs with unknown flashpoints. That the ancien regime was sclerotic was known by a lot of smart people in the 1750s, and they all tried to fix it; but the revolution itself did not begin until 1789. Third: It’s foolish to romanticize revolutions, because they tend to kill a lot of people. Be careful what you wish for, especially when it’s others who will be doing the dying! Fourth: Accident and happenstance matter a lot. If Louis XVI’s character had been stronger, perhaps he would have kept his head, and France would have ended up with a Constitutional monarchy (and not a cascade that looks like Napoleon -> French Empire -> German nationalism -> German unification -> World War I (millions) -> World War II (millions). Not that causality in history is linear; but I think you can see how the butterfly of Louis’s vacillation could have created a vast, chaotic outcome. Finally: Victory belongs to those with organizational capacity who, when they see power in the street, can pick it up (as the Roundheads, the Jacobins, and the Bolsheviks show). Morality and justice are, I would say, very necessary, but most certainly not sufficient. Read more about "Why we fight"

House Republicans to bring a "clean" Fast Track bill to the floor TOMORROW (Thursday)


WASHINGTON -- House Republicans plan to breathe new life into President Barack Obama's trade agenda on Thursday by bringing up a stand-alone bill to give the president expedited authority to speed major trade deals through Congress.

Copy edit: "plan to breathe new life" should read "breathe unlife." TPP is a zombie. Read more about House Republicans to bring a "clean" Fast Track bill to the floor TOMORROW (Thursday)


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