Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, June 14, 2015
ISSUE #835
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


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