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In the garden: Bring on the hummingbirds!

The bee balm popped today:

So I look forward my garden being put on the hummingbird nectar circuit forthwith. Actually, though, already is -- I saw the yellow honeysuckle across the garden shaking, and then saw the tiny fat jet fighter-like body of a hummingbird zoom away, metaphorical afterburners aflame. If I recall correctly, in past years hummingbirds tended to show up in the cool of the day, which makes sense: Minimal energy expenditure with respect to nectar yield.

And speaking of invasive plants: Read below the fold...

Goofball Roberts Court rules corporations can excercise religious liberty in Hobby Lobby case

How do they do that? Infant baptism? Adult baptism? Prayer groups? Damascene conversion? Reuters:

The justices ruled for the first time that for-profit companies can make claims under a 1993 federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

From the full text of the opinion:

In these cases, the owners of three closely held for-profit corporations have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point. ...

HHS argues that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations, and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies, but that would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations. RFRA’s text shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice. It employed the familiar legal fiction of including corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons,” but the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.

Leave aside the court's curious theology that the practice of religion should not involve any "difficult choice." Read below the fold...

NY High Court upholds Town of Dryden's fracking ban

This is great news (for New York):

Monday, June 30, New York State’s highest court handed the town of Dryden a victory in its precedent-setting case versus Norse Energy Co., in which the gas and oil industry challenged Dryden’s zoning law banning heavy industry within the borders of the town. The case pitted this upstate town of 6000 residents’ right to zone out certain types of business against the gas exploration companies’ argument that only the Department of Environmental Conservation could issue permits. At stake were what Norse Energy deemed a $4 million investment in gas drilling leases in the town of Dryden.

The Court upheld, as well, a zoning law in Middlefield, NY, deciding that towns can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas operations, within municipal borders.

“Today the Court stood with the people of Dryden and the people of New York to protect their right to self determination. It is clear that people, not corporations, have the right to decide how their community develops,” said Dryden Deputy Supervisor Jason Leifer. “This would not have been possible without the hard work of many of my friends and neighbors and our lawyers Deborah Goldberg of Earthjustice and Mahlon Perkins. Today's ruling shows all of America that a committed group of citizens and public officials can stand together against fearful odds and successfully defend their homes, their way of life, and the environment against those who would harm them all in the name of profit. "

“Heavy industry has never been allowed in our small farming town and three years ago, we decided that fracking was no exception. The oil and gas industry tried to bully us into backing down, but we took our fight all the way to New York’s highest court. And today we won,” added Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner. “I hope our victory serves as an inspiration to people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, California and elsewhere who are also trying to do what’s right for their own communities.”

Sometimes, the good guys win! Read below the fold...

In the garden: Happy filbert!

This filbert tree is in my raspberry patch, which for reasons unknown to me, has ended up with spectacular soil. It's now taller than I am!

Read below the fold...

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby gets the press, but Harris v. Quinn is the one to watch

I cruised by Scotusblog today and saw this note:

At 9:30 a.m. on Monday we expect orders from the June 27 Conference, followed by the opinions at 10:00 a.m. We will begin live-blogging at this link at approximately 9:15. The only remaining undecided cases of the Term are Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn.

Yeah, yeah, Hobby Lobby boo! So what's Harris v. Quinn? Read below the fold...

Today, June 28, is the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

The New York Times:

And the London Times: Read below the fold...


Common Household Remedies Request

Two followups! Read below the fold...

Tweets of the day

Facebook runs "emotional contagion" experiment on 600,000 users, without their informed consent, by manipulating their news feeds

From the Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences:

We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.

Jeebus! Read below the fold...

In the garden: Goddamned deer

Oooh, tender flowers! [chomp].

Read below the fold...

I had no idea "glocal" was "a thing" (or even a word)

But apparently it is! Says the Google:

[R]eflecting or characterized by both local and global considerations.

This is what I was trying to do with Campaign Countdown in 2012, for those of you who remember that. A corrupt deal in an Augusta Motel is in little what the bailouts are in large; and one person standing up with a sign or making a gesture is in little what an uprising is, en masse*; tyrants know this, and so should we.

As Blake wrote... Read below the fold...

So where's the Democratic David Brat to overthrow the Democratic Eric Cantor?

And there are plenty of Democratic Eric Cantors! From John MacArthur in Harpers:

Nevertheless, a straightforward, nationwide electoral strategy is required if the left wants to reverse the rightward trend of both parties over the past three decades. The Tea Party has had much success moving the Republican Party to the right through primary challenges that should be the envy of frustrated Democrats, even though liberals of the Nation magazine–Rachel Maddow persuasion appear blind to the lessons of Tea Party tactics. One wouldn’t want to weaken Democratic incumbents with insurgencies lest “we” lose “our” Senate majority.

Yet political logic cries out for just such a strategy. Ask a mainstream “progressive” to list the most calamitous events in recent times. At or near the top would be the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, which opened wide the floodgates to plutocratic and corporate influence in election campaigns — in effect, an overthrow of the democratic ideal of one man/woman, one vote.

Citizens United was stage-managed by Chief Justice John Roberts, who leapfrogged to the top of the court without pausing to serve as an associate justice. Well, to a large extent you can blame Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) for Roberts’s ascension. As ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2005, Leahy broke with fellow liberals to support Roberts’s nomination, calling him a “man of integrity.” We might wonder at Leahy’s definition of integrity, but worse was his declaration that “I take [Roberts] at his word that he does not have an ideological agenda.”

We’ll be paying for Roberts’s “integrity” — and Leahy’s foolishness — for a long time. True, the Republican majority on the committee, including the chairman at the time, Arlen Specter, voted unanimously for Roberts’s confirmation. But a determined, unified front led by Leahy could have blocked Roberts from becoming chief justice. Five years later, in the wake of Citizens United, Specter, by now a Democrat, denounced the decision, saying it “affects the legitimacy of elections everywhere,” and suggested that Congress consider a constitutional amendment to override the Supreme Court ruling. Had Leahy put up a fight in 2005, the moderate Specter might well have thought better of his vote for Roberts.

Why did Leahy get off scot-free? Because, as he said at the time, he voted his “conscience”? Why didn’t Vermonters smarter than Leahy run a candidate against him in the 2010 primary? He certainly deserved punishment from liberals. Leahy is just one example of a Democrat who should have been overthrown, or at least chastened, by electoral retribution.

Yes indeed! But the headline? Read below the fold...

EFF and Greenpeace launch blimp over NSA data center in Utah

Awesome! Wired:

Activist groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Greenpeace launched the 135-foot thermal airship early Friday morning to protest the agency’s mass surveillance programs and to announce the launch of Stand Against Spying, a website that rates members of Congress on their support or opposition to NSA reform. The full message on the blimp reads “NSA: Illegal Spying Below” along with an arrow pointing downward and the Stand Against Spying URL. Read below the fold...

Common household remedies request

Continued landline woes: Read below the fold...


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