July 3, 2015

YOU WILL BE MADE TO CARE: Oregon couple ordered to shut up about same-sex wedding cakes [Darleen Click]

Not only were the Kleins fined $135,000 for the “emotional distress” they caused a lesbian couple when the Kleins declined to bake a cake, when the Kleins expressed their opinion on the case in an interview, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian ordered them to “cease and desist” from ever talking about not providing same-sex weddings cakes.

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

The cease and desist came about after Aaron and Melissa Klein participated in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. During the interview, Aaron said among other things, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong.”

Lawyers for plaintiffs, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, argued that in making this statement, the Kleins violated an Oregon law banning people from acting on behalf of a place of public accommodation (in this case, the place would be the Kleins’ former bakery) to communicate anything to the effect that the place of public accommodation would discriminate. […]

The Kleins’ lawyer, Anna Harmon, was shocked by the provision.

“Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas,” she told The Daily Signal. “Now he has ruled that the Kleins’ simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American’s right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas.”

And that is the whole point.

Posted by Darleen @ 10:02am
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July 3, 2015

Friday Fiction: 100 Word Challenge [Darleen Click]

The inspiration:


A story:

Each day they went about their chores, the driving value of each action – “purpose.”

He arrived in The Community and they thought him odd. He would wander the fields gazing at the sky.

“Why?” they would ask.

“Because it’s beautiful.”

They would go away confused.

He became focused on an activity, shaping, molding, sculpting.

Ah! They thought. Finally! Purpose!

“No. Because it’s beautiful.”

In spite of themselves they gathered and watched, first curious (that was a new emotion) then in awe at what was taking shape.

He leaned over, blew into his creation, and it stirred.

He smiled, “Adam.”


Now, your turn.

Posted by Darleen @ 12:30am
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July 2, 2015

Chicago Democrats — “You’re amused? We’re gonna tax that!” [Darleen Click]

From the city that taught everything Obama knows about thuggery

Netflix service in Chicago is about to get notably more expensive. On the hunt for new revenue, Chicago’s Department of Finance is applying two new rules that would impact companies like Netflix and Spotify. One covers “electronically delivered amusements” and another covers “nonpossessory computer leases”; together they form a unique and troubling new attempt by cities to tax any city resident that interacts with “the cloud”. According to the Chicago Tribune, streaming service providers need to start collecting the tax starting September 1.

No fun for you without paying us!

8. The amusement tax applies to charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in an amusement. This includes not only charges paid for the privilege to witness,view or participate in amusements in person but also charges paid for the privilege to witness,view or participate in amusements that are delivered electronically. Thus:

a. charges paid for the privilege of watching electronically delivered television shows, movies or videos are subject to the amusement tax, if the shows, movies or videos are delivered to a patron (i.e., customer) in the City (see paragraph 13 below);

b. charges paid for the privilege of listening to electronically delivered music are subject to the amusement tax, if the music is delivered to a customer in the City; and

c. charges paid for the privilege of participating in games, on-line or otherwise, are subject to the amusement tax if the games are delivered to a customer in the City.The customer will normally receive the provider’s electronic communications at a television,radio, computer, tablet, cell phone or other device belonging to the customer.

9. Providers who receive charges for electronically delivered amusements are owners or operators and are required to collect the City’s amusement tax from their Chicago customers.See paragraphs 13 and 14 below. As of the date of this ruling, the rate of the tax is 9% of the charges paid.

It is who they are, it is what they do.

(PS Here’s a suggestion for Netflix … stop streaming to all Chicago customers on 9/1.)

Posted by Darleen @ 6:00pm
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July 2, 2015

Unwarranted bleg

Hello, all. I’m not going to beat around the bush: I really want to raise the money for a Golden Tee home edition to help finish off my basement. I don’t deserve a cent from any of you, and I’m not going to pretend that any contributions you give are in direct support of pw. They’d be in direct support of an overpriced video game.

That said, I still really want the damn thing. It helps me relax and clear my head.

So if you want to contribute, cool. If not, cool. You’re still welcome here. Unless you’re a baked cod fish. Then you’re just a fucking interloper who hasn’t much of a life to speak of — and you’re here because, well, what else have you got going on? Plus, you make me throw up a little in my mouth every time you belch up your latest iteration of my supposed absence of social worth, so thick and wretched is the projection therein.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:19am
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July 2, 2015

Oh, geez, I’m so old I remember when people would complain about a TV show being offensive … [Darleen Click]

… they were told “turn the channel!”

The latest victim of the growing controversy over the Confederate flag is the 1980s TV series “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

A TV Land spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that the network has pulled reruns of the series from its schedule, which had been airing twice a day.

The network declined to comment on why the episodes were removed, but the South-set show has come under fire recently for its use of the Confederate flag, which is emblazoned on the roof of the Duke Boys’ signature 1969 orange Dodge Charger.

Posted by Darleen @ 12:45am
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July 1, 2015

Oh, look, some Libertarians are having a few second thoughts about the goals of gay activists post-Obergefell [Darleen Click]

And it is not like they haven’t been warned

In the 40-some-odd years since the Libertarian Party took such positions, we’ve seen the end of sodomy laws, the end of officially sanctioned government discrimination against gay employees, both civilian and military—and with Obergefell v. Hodges, the end of government bans on same-sex marriage recognition. We’ve seen the end of just about every government policy that treats gay and lesbian citizenry as somehow less than the heterosexual citizenry.

So: Is that it, then? Have supporters won, after all this time? Should we move on to other issues of liberty?

Some gay activists are warning that no, there is still work to be done. There are other issues of concern that affect the gay, lesbian, and transgender community. Top gay activist Michelangelo Signorile, predicting the gay marriage ruling and the subsequent celebrating, wrote a book-sized warning, titled It’s Not Over: Getting Beyond Tolerance, Defeating Homophobia, and Winning True Equality. Even before the ruling, “What comes next?” analyses started popping up in the media.

But just because libertarians and gay citizens were aligned in the pursuit of ending government mistreatment, that doesn’t mean other goals line up. Libertarians draw that bright, hard line between government behavior and private behavior. Others often do not, and what many gay activists see as justice and equality in the private sector, libertarians see as inappropriate government coercion. […]

Religious Freedom Exemptions. Even more than anti-discrimination employment laws, there is a significant philosophical divide between libertarians and many gay activists, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and state-level civil rights commissions over the responses to religious business owners not wanting to provide their goods and services for gay weddings. We’re now seeing additional suggestions that religious colleges could be punished for not accommodating gay couples, and even an early suggestion that churches should not have non-profit status any longer.

The freedom to choose with whom to associate is a fundamental human and Constitutionally protected right. The ability to engage freely in commerce another one. Anybody with any doubts about the importance of free commerce to human liberty is encouraged to ask a nearby Venezuelan about the alternatives. As such, libertarians have consistently been supporting the rights of religious businesses and individuals to say “No thanks” to potential customers. […]

A wedding cake is not a right. A wedding photographer is not a right. Everybody has the right to engage in commerce. We have the right to buy and sell our services and goods, but it must be voluntary on both ends of the exchange. Nobody has the right to force the baker, the photographer, or anybody else to work for them in a free country. The exchange of money doesn’t make it acceptable.

When defending accommodation laws used to force religious people’s hands, the response tends to be something along the lines of “A business is not a church. If religious folks want to run a business, they can’t use their beliefs to ignore the law. Those who choose to run a business have to follow all the government regulations.”

This argument flips the idea of civil liberties completely on its head and attributes the source of our rights to the government, a contradiction of the spirit of our own Constitution. If somebody said “If people choose to speak out they have to follow all the government regulations,” most people would immediately wonder: “What sort of regulations are we talking about? We have freedom of speech. The government can’t just pass any regulations they want to control what people say.”

The same should hold true for people’s right to engage in commerce. Any law or regulation that inhibits the right of individuals to choose with whom to associate needs to immediately be treated as suspect. In order to justify restrictions or mandates on this freedom, the government should be required to prove that a significant amount of harm is the result of inaction.

You would think a place that uses reason as an identifier would be just a little less naive about their partners’ motives.

The Left is never satisfied with whatever skirmish they just won because the details of that skirmish were never a goal or anything really of importance.

They want power. Total and complete power over everyone’s life down the last book one reads or thoughts one will be allowed to think.

Whatever goals of a “freer” society Libertarians thought they were working towards when they partnered with the Left-subsidiary “Gay Rights” group, Libertarians were the useful idiots who helped make the rope that will hang them, too.

How does it feel, Reason, to wake up sore and find the bed next to you empty with a $20 bill on the nightstand?

Posted by Darleen @ 11:07pm
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July 1, 2015

a post that examines what life would be life if Boggle game boards could actually speak

Boggle: “acrkbrdiegmlsotl”

me: “Seriously? Are you sure?”

Boggle: “”acrkbrdiegmlsotl”

me: “Wait — all of them? Or is that final s just an accident?”

Boggle: “acrkbrdiegmlsotl”

me: “If you say so. But when I finish killing off all the abes, you’re going to have to tell the cops and the court that it was you who told me to do it, ok?”

Boggle: “Meh. No need. Kennedy and the other four morons will have our backs. There’s precedent now. Trust me!”

Posted by Jeff G. @ 3:21pm
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July 1, 2015

House pictures!

For you all! And because it seems really to tick off a needy, creepy, clingy, self-styled white fish who, like so many before it, can’t seem to quit me.

It took us about 7 months but we finally got the floors laid in the basement, having ripped out the carpet that came with the “finished” build. The floors now match (in appearance, not in material) the main floor hardwood. To celebrate the completion of the floors — and also the wrapping of the bar in steel corrugation — I fulfilled a lifelong dream to add a pool table to my home, in this case, an Olhausen Breckenridge table, bar-sized, which matches the reclaimed look of much of our furniture and features exposed finger joints, rough-hewn saw marks, and antiqued buffalo nickel sights:

 photo olhausen_zpsduwks5qm.jpg

 photo olhausen 2_zpsgkdzgiv0.jpg

 photo olhausen 3_zpshhz9ay1w.jpg

Next up, I’m trying now to earn the money for a Golden Tee home edition game console, which for me reminds me of simpler times, hanging out with my buddies at a local pub during grad school. Both pool and Golden Tee help me to clear my mind by forcing me to concentrate on a largely physical task.

They aren’t cheap but they’re cheaper than therapy, even taken together. And when you add a bit of booze, they’re far more effective, too!

In fact, I’m going to put on a fundraiser to help me raise money specifically FOR the Golden Tee game console. I need more stress relief in my life, responsible as I am on a daily basis for a pair of chew-happy puppies and a couple of kids, one of who is the type of toddler who is drawn forever and only to the most dangerous object or situation in any room, ever.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 1:58pm
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July 1, 2015

A follow up: re: intentionalism, textualism, originalism

In the comments to yesterday’s post, Ernst asks, “Jeff, how does intentionalism as an legal hermeneutic relate to originalism?”

This is a good question, so I thought I’d turn my answer into a separate post. Here’t goes: Originalism sets the boundaries for what comes to count as the text under examination for purposes of claimed interpretation: it forces the central and indeed kernel acknowledgment of intentionalism that the text is a document intended by an agency, that it isn’t living but rather a product of human work that is thereby fixed and complete. There are those like Scalia who claim to be originalists AND textualists simultaneously, but as I’ve tried to show, Scalia merely misidentifies what it is he’s doing (a proposition one lawyer sniggers at — confidently! — because after all, we know that lawyers are never wrong and are always and forever the smartest among us, praise be to the high priests of Civilization, amen!), because he doesn’t wish to be seen (I suppose) as what is now called a “purposivist”: he, like everyone else, is an intentionalist, of course — and the question always boils down to, a) can what is being done to the text be called “interpretation” to begin with, and b) whose intent is being privileged?

Intentionalism acknowledges the central tenet of agency at each point on the communicative chain; it recognizes that things such as code, convention, intertextuality, intratextuality, irony, historical situatedness, cultural dialogic, and so on., are all valid and potentially useful tools for interpreting a text if indeed what it is we wish to do with a text is try to decode what was intentionally encoded — presumably, in most cases, with the desire to be understood (there are of course cases where the intent is meant to be ambiguous or to play on multiple meanings simultaneously, in which case sigs can be formed by adding multiple signifieds to signifiers: irony, plays on words, etc.)

Textualism is dangerous as a legitimized methodology chiefly because, as we’ve heard Scalia claim, it pretends to bracket intent entirely. It does not, of course: it merely says that it is not going to be beholden to the original intent of authorship (which can be transferred to ratification for our purposes, a kind of ‘signing on’ to the text as a co-author) in order to reach an interpretive conclusion.

Scalia’s textualism is generally far less dangerous than that deployed by the left routinely to uncover “dog whistles” and the like in that it gives itself very limited latitude to play with signifiers and thus often times will match intentionalism in its output. This is likely why Scalia finds no problem with his formulation. But any methodology that claims it need not appeal to original intent — to the text as the output of some agency — is giving itself license to become the operative agency, no matter how deferential it may be in practice. It justifies the rule over meaning by the reader rather than the utterer / writer.

Again: it is different to say: 1) “in my reading, what the text signals for purposes of interpretation is X; and though you may have meant Y (and there’s a good chance you did), and though you still desire Y, the fact that you haven’t signaled Y precludes me from allowing the text to stand as if you’ve said Y”, and 2) in my reading, what the text signals for purposes of interpretation is X, therefore though you may have meant Y, the text tells me you must have meant X and Z and whatever other things I can find as well once I stop concerning myself with what you actually meant. Your text, once I bracket your intent, is OUR text, and whatever we can reasonable find in it is what it means. Therefore, thanks for the signifiers: we’ll take it from here. We’ve got some creative writing to do!”

No one would accept the latter as a controlling interpretive strategy. And yet that IS what textualism allows — and why it is important we are clear about what it is we’re doing when we claim to interpret.

In re: Purposivism, the only requirement seems to be that you’re able to claim that the text is ambiguous —- something you get to by way of textualism (you disregard the intent you’re seeing signaled and trying to work the signifiers to form a pattern of minor incongruity) — in order to claim you know an overall corporate intent that has no where been signaled.

As intentionalists will note, even IF your reading of intent is correct, your job, by way of constitutional role and legal convention, the latter being an important convention for a stable rule of law, is to make sure that intent has been signaled so that the law can be read repeatedly using the same text by people who don’t seem to boast your special knowledge of a hidden intent. In the end, you are editing a co-writing a law to say that it comports with the intent you see. If you’re a doctoral candidate in English literature building this case, many will see it as clever; if you’re a SCOTUS Justice, many will find it wholly illegitimate and both self-serving and self-aggrandizing.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:48am
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June 30, 2015

Fake Hate Alert [Darleen Click]

Well, shut my mouth.

A man who reported someone beat him and carved a homophobic slur into his arm staged the attacks, authorities in rural Utah said Tuesday.

Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said Rick Jones, 21, could face charges after officers investigating the series of reported attacks found inconsistencies in the evidence. The Delta man eventually acknowledged faking the harassment, Dekker said.

Brett Tolman, an attorney for Jones, said the reports were a cry for help initially directed toward people close to him, and Jones didn’t realize how much attention they would get.

“I think it’s such good evidence of the difficulties members of the gay community deal with, and some make better choices than others,” Tolman said.

Yes, he goes out of his way with a series of acts made to look like he is a victim of “homophobia”, and when revealed as the perp, he is still the victim cuz Fake-But-Accurate(tm).


Posted by Darleen @ 7:48pm
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