Archives for June 2013

We’re Getting There

Last Wednesday morning, instead of watching Disney Jr, I had on the Today Show. The horrible fourth hour with Hoda and Kathie Lee was just starting and my oldest had just been returned to me from gymnastics. I knew the Supreme Court would be ruling on DOMA that morning at 10am, but it hadn’t crossed my mind that it would be on TV at that time.… [Read more]

The Family

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to easily contact and talk to ranking U.S. government officials, ambassadors, high-ranking foreign politicians, corporate executives, and leaders of religious and humanitarian organizations? Wouldn’t it also be nice to work closely with senators and congressional representatives to pass or influence legislation?

I know, you think I’m talking about lobbyists, but I’m not.… [Read more]

Talking About Race: “It’s All so ‘Vexifyin'”

I remember it was a warm day and I was sitting in the dog park near my apartment on Camp Street. My dog Molly was running about and I was just sitting there on the fountain, thinking and watching Molly play with some other dogs. There weren’t many people in the park and it was kind of quiet, and I was just sitting there alone with my thoughts when a young girl came and sat near me.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: What will become of America now that the Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

What will become of America now that the Supreme Court has legalized same sex marriage?

Retrogards, Phyllis McAlpo Stewpot Schlafly

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, California.Photo: Vinc LeVinc

I apologize for the brevity of this week’s column in advance to all those deluging me with wedding etiquette questions, the answer to every single one of which is, A) congratulations and B) The only thing you need to know is that love is love is love, and the fork is worn to the left.… [Read more]

Monday deadline: Student loan rates set to double

The President has said it. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) first stand-alone piece of legislation says it. Students around the nation have said it. The ‘tax man‘ and numerous economists have said it. But Congress doesn’t seem to get it, so let’s repeat it.

Without congressional and presidential action prior to Monday, interest rates on student loan will double.… [Read more]

The road to citizenship begins…

It has been a long time coming; partisan politics have had their say but, at the end, the Senate is pushing forward on sweeping immigration reform. With a 68-32 vote as the final procedural test — in which 14 members of the Republican party joined 52 Democrats and 2 Independents in a vote of ‘yes’ — more than the 60 votes needed to clear the hurdle to proceed to the next step was achieved.… [Read more]

You’re so GAY!!’ – Schoolyard slander to Supreme Court sanction

In my own early 1970s Ontario Wonder Years, everyday adolescent language was at once piquant, ironic and flexible. ‘Tool’ was common currency for the least accomplished among us, ‘browner’ for the smarties, and ‘occies’ (occupational) as the blunt, dismissive reference to students with learning disabilities. I am not embarrassed by the memories – it was dispassionate chatter, and I am not at one with the sociologists and associated deep thinkers connecting their dots to elevate mere words beyond their station as purported evidence of ingrained hostility or intolerance.… [Read more]

Prop. 8: Same Sex Marriage Legal (again) in California

The federal ban on recognising same-sex marriages is dead.

Earlier today the US Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. In another critical human and civil rights decision the high court  issued its ruling on Prop 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. In a vote of 5-4,  the court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal once again in the state of California.… [Read more]

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) End: Unconstitutional!

The US Supreme Court has voted on a crucial human rights case:  in determining the constitutionality and legality of gay marriage and the federal government’s National Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) the Court decided that DOMA is unconstitutional. The Court struck down in a 5-4 decision the federal provision that denies benefits to legally married gay couples.… [Read more]

Climate Change Address

Forty three years ago Congress unanimously passed the Clean Air Act which was subsequently signed into law by a Republican president. Six years ago the Supreme Court declared that greenhouse gases are a pollutant. Fast-forward to the present day.

How fitting that on such a hot day, repeatedly wiping his brow in the summer sun, President Obama delivered a speech on climate change policy.… [Read more]

Waiting With Bated Breath: The Supreme Court’s Rulings on DOMA and Prop 8

SCOTUS has had the opportunity this session to make a big impact on the face of American politics with three big cases: Fisher v. University of Texas, United States v. Windsor, and Hollingsworth v. Perry. As of this morning, we have one down, two to go, and are being faced with a real disappointment.

In the first case, Fisher v.… [Read more]

SCOTUS and Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act: It’s Up to Congress

The Supreme Court has decided to halt use of a key part of the landmark Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the voting rights decision and, effectively, the Court is leaving the decision about voting rights up to Congress by saying that legislators can draft another, more modern formula for voting rights. This action is a blow to all of those people who have defended the right to vote through this Act since at least 1965.… [Read more]

Hand-to-Mouth, Paycheck to Paycheck

Yesterday it was reported that 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. According to Bankrate.com’s survey reported by CNN, “Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses, enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event, according to the survey of 1,000 adults.… [Read more]

What ‘War On Men?’

Wall Street Journal conservative columnist James Taranto played fire-breathing dragon  again slamming Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and her hold on the nomination of Lt. Gen.Susan Helms to become the vice commander of the U.S. Space Command. Lt. Gen. Helms was the second Air Force general officer to overrule a sexual assault courts martial conviction in the past year for a subordinate officer, and Congress is holding officers accountable, starting at the top of the Chain of Command.… [Read more]

Fool on the Hill

“Fool on the Hill” is this week’s “Say It In Song” pick. Given the news coming out of Capitol Hill this week — ranging from the fight to take food from the mouths of babes in terms of reduced SNAP (food stamp) subsidies, all the way to the battles to bring women’s rights back to the pre-choice 1950s — it appears that many in this nation have cast votes for leaders who are our own personal fools.… [Read more]

Ask Mrs. Vera: Why Are We Still Looking For Jimmy Hoffa?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

Why do we keep looking for the body of Jimmy Hoffa?

Regards, Eliot Ness

Mrs. Vera Newman,San Francisco, California.Photo: Cameron Wolf.

Oh, I get this question all the time – at least two or three times a week. The mailroom of Ask Mrs. Vera is a virtual fire hazard from such inquiries! Unfortunately, all these letters are from the same person and, even worse, are written on a very unattractive, out-of-date and soggy tartan stationary.… [Read more]

Farm Bill: Adventures In Sausagemaking.

For those of us who have breakfasted often in Britain and Ireland, we might love black and white pudding sausages, but we tend not to think about how sausages are made if we want to keep from vomiting.

Among the occupations on this columnist’s resume was a stint as a budget analyst at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington during the mid-1990s.… [Read more]

America’s Untouchables

While visiting Atlanta over the past couple of days I talked with an immigrant cabbie from Nigeria. During our conversation we talked about the number of homeless people sleeping on the street around the Georgia Capitol. He told me he immigrated to America from his home so he could enjoy the fruits of America. I asked him if the money being made from oil has trickled down to the Nigerian people, and he told me that poverty and political corruption continued to rule his home.… [Read more]

How to Weaken Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform…One Bill at a Time

H.R. 1105, the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act, was introduced by Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia). The purpose of the Act is to exempt advisers to certain private equity funds from the new registration requirements required by Title IV of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Wall Street reform act that is supposed to regulate the practices of Wall Street to prevent another financial crisis. … [Read more]

Tears of Rebellion

With the unabated acceleration of the Arab Spring beginning in late 2010, law enforcement agencies found themselves ill-equipped to deal with the masses of protesters that would soon emerge. In many of the countries where these protests erupted, namely Libya, Yemen, and Syria, this kind of political activity was hardly welcome. Being unprepared for a mass political movement of this magnitude, governments and their law enforcement agencies resorted almost immediately to violent methods of control.… [Read more]