The Supreme Court, gay marriage, the Bible, and the Confederate flag

President Obama was right. Two weeks ago I said the Obamacare issue the Supreme Court was pondering had already been decided by a vote of 1 to 0. And instead of asking an eighth grader if the words “state” and “federal” mean the same thing, the Justices decided among themselves that, yes, state means federal.

Three years ago you may remember the same old Justices decided that the “penalties” for not signing up for the Affordable Care Act were really “taxes.” The only problem is that Congress would not have passed the ACA if it included “taxes” and if the federal government decided who gets subsidies instead of individual states.

But for all its warts, bumps and bruises I’m happy for the ones who could not get insurance previously. I know one who had a $100,000 hospital bill covered mainly by the taxpayers that otherwise would have come out of her meager bank account. I hope the ACA proves to be affordable for individuals as well as the American taxpayer.

Next the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that people who are gay can get married the same as anyone else. You may have noticed that this decision upset a lot of folks, especially ones who follow the Bible. Of course, this is not the first thing ever legalized that goes against teachings in the Bible. Did you happen to notice how happy, even ecstatic, these prospective newlyweds are? As long as it makes them happy and doesn’t do any harm, go for it. I read a headline that the wedding industry will get a major economic boost. Yes, followed shortly by a boost for divorce lawyers.

I wonder where Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner fits into this situation. Actually my main question is how can a 65-year old man be transformed into a woman who’s only 45?

In Charleston, South Carolina, 9 members of a historic African Methodist Episcopal Church were gunned down by a 21-year old dropout inspired by the devil. And the surviving church members and family members forgave him. Yes, they forgave a mass murderer. Most of the media were astounded because they expected to cover a riot like in Baltimore, Ferguson and New York City. With no riots to excite their audience, they decided to jump on the Confederate flag.

Now I’m not here to defend the Confederate flag. But when folks demand we denounce anyone who fought for the South, remove all recognition of their heroes, and outlaw Gone with the Wind and Dukes of Hazzard, that’s going too far. At the end of the Civil War did President Lincoln imprison all surviving Confederate soldiers and execute the Generals and political leaders? No. He told ‘em to take their mules and rifles and go home and plant their crops. The war is over.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

            “Us ignorant people laugh at [religious people], but when they die they go mighty peaceful and happy, which after all, about all there is to living is to go away satisfied.” DT #1232, July 7, 1930

            “The Bible has always been the best seller… I don’t suppose there is two preachers in the world that would absolutely interpret a whole chapter exactly alike. But any interpretation you put on it is good.” WA #586, March 18, 1934

Land of Opportunity? Not at the University of California

The Supreme Court is winding down with some big decisions coming up. Concerning the issue of a phrase in the Health Care Act that says “subsidies shall flow through exchanges established by the state,” we already have the decision: Obamacare will stand as is because the word “state” means “federal government.” That is the unanimous decision announced by… President Obama. He says that by a 1-0 vote, the Supreme Court is preempted from deciding for itself whether the law is constitutional.

You may remember that the law passed by Congress five years ago was written by an economist (not a lawyer), who stated clearly that the phrase “established by the state” was intentional to keep the feds out of the subsidy business.

Since the whole decision boils down to whether “state” really means “state”, or does it also mean “federal”, I suggest the Supreme Court turn the decision over to a group of eighth graders.  They might treat it like a spelling bee and ask, what’s the meaning of “state?” Then, what’s the meaning of “federal?” It would take ‘em only a minute, without any prompting by lawyers.

Meanwhile the folks who run the University of California at Berkeley are trying to eliminate a few phrases they consider insensitive. A new policy restricts what professors and students can say to each other. At the top of the list of banned statements are these: “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,”  “Everyone can succeed if they work hard enough”, and “America is the land of opportunity.”

Now I take that last one kinda personal because back in 1931 I proudly said, “America is the land of opportunity and don’t ever forget it.” The president of the university seems to think that foreign students are catastrophically offended at the idea of looking for opportunities in America.  Well, I’ve got news for her. Any student whose family is paying almost $60,000 a year to send him or her to Cal for an education, already knows this is the land of opportunity.

Here are a few other things I wrote back then that would be outlawed. “This country is not where it is today on account of any one man. It is here on account of the real common sense of the Big Normal Majority.”  “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” “(A successful outcome) shows what hard work, perseverance and taking advantage of your opportunities will do for you.” “Every man gets an opportunity once in a lifetime.” 

If the University of California insists on removing any praise for America from its curriculum, then I suggest the students go over to Palo Alto and enroll at Stanford.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

       “The minute you read something and you can’t understand it you can almost be sure that it was drawn up by a lawyer. Then if you give it to another lawyer to read and he don’t know just what it means, why then you can be sure it was drawn up by a lawyer. If it’s in a few words and is plain and understandable only one way, it was written by a non-lawyer.” WA #657, July 28, 1935