The phrase, "laboratories of democracy," was coined by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann (1932). Charles P. Pierce refers to the nonsense that has occurred in a number of states with an ironic tone laboratories, indeed. If this is (fair & balanced) statewide arbitrariness, so be it.
This Week In The Laboratories Of Demcracy
By Charles P. Pierce
Tag Cloud of the following piece of writing
Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what's goin' down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin' gets done, and where in the dime stores and bus stations, people talk of situations.
We begin this week down in Baja Oklahoma, where there's been quite a bit going on these days. First, incoming governor Greg Abbott has decided he's had enough of things that haven't happened yet, so here he comes out, charging hard despite knowing far less than approximately dick about anything he's talking about.
The lawsuit, the 31st Abbott has filed against the Obama administration during his 12-year tenure, fulfills his gubernatorial campaign pledge to challenge President Obama's executive action to protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from the threat of immediate deportation. "Article 2, Section 3 was added to the Constitution to prevent this very type of conduct by a president," Abbott said at a press conference announcing the suit, which was joined by 16 other states. "The president's executive order and actions of federal agencies to implement the executive order directly violate a promise to the American people."
This, by the way, is Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
It is possible to "faithfully execute" the laws by making them slightly more compassionate and choosing to prosecute some crimes and not all of them all the time. (That would require raising taxes and, well, you know...). Maybe the president failed to say "Mother, may I?" loudly enough for Greg Abbott to hear it over the clattering of the other 30 lawsuits he's juggling like plates atop tall sticks. Prosecutorial discretion plays a role in something else that happened down there this week. A court temporarily slapped down the attempt of lame duck indicted Governor Goodhair to kill a mentally crippled inmate.
Panetti dressed as a cowboy during his murder trial and, acting as his own lawyer, called John F. Kennedy, Jesus and the pope as witnesses. He's been hospitalized more than a dozen times for psychosis and delusions. Panetti, 56, was sentenced to die for the 1992 murder of his estranged wife's parents. Despite appeals from the American Psychiatric Association, the European Union and others, Texas officials had planned on carrying out Panetti's execution at 6 p.m. Wednesday. "This is a man that has been severely and profoundly ill since 12 years before the crime," Ron Honberg, legal director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said before the delay was announced. "It will be a travesty to proceed with this execution."
Clearly, the man is delusional if he thinks the pope isn't good at ducking subpoenas, and even more delusional if he thinks JFK ever is going back to Texas after the last time. Seriously, though, the absolutely most Texan part of this whole case always has been how Panetti got the means to commit the crimes for which he was sentenced to die. In 1992, Panetti's wife fled to the home of her parents and begged local authorities for a restraining order, which she received. But she also asked them to commit Panetti, and to take away his guns, which they said they couldn't do, because [of] freedom, I guess. Later that year, Panetti exercised his heretofore unabridged Second Amendment rights and shot his in-laws to death right in front of his wife. At least I know I'm free.
Let's move along to that model of contemporary law-enforcement, St. Louis County, Missouri, where the recently victorious local constabulary has some advice it would like to share with dead 12-year olds in Cleveland who get made dead by a basket-case cop.
"Police will respond as though it is a real gun until it can be confirmed one way or the other," read the post. "If an Airsoft pistol is tucked in your pants like a holster then obviously the orange tip is no longer visible. The police will respond lights and sirens and come to a screeching halt in the area where your child is playing with the gun." The post (replete with grammatical errors) then offered advice for parents: "Do not run away. They need to no longer have the gun in their hands, throw it away from them. They need to comply with officers instructions. They may be ordered to lie down on the ground."
Actually, they won't respond in any such way... in certain circumstances, and even to situations involving people with real guns. Can't imagine what those circumstances might be. I'll have to get back to you on that.
Let's move all the way up to Alaska now, and we discover that the long reach of Koch Industries is making trouble even in the workplace of Santa Claus.
"It's come to this for several reasons," North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward said in an interview Wednesday afternoon. "The state filed suit and is making decisions. We want to be a party. We should be at the table when decisions are made." Ward also noted that the statute of limitations on the city's opportunity to file a lawsuit is approaching. The North Pole City Council decided, in closed session at its Monday meeting, to proceed with a lawsuit.
The company being sued is owned by the Kochs. I'd say they were going to get coal in their stockings this Christmas, but they might be overjoyed by that, now that I think about it.
Dropping our mufflers and survival suits somewhere in the middle of Alberta, we finally thaw ourselves enough to get to Utah, which wants to grab a whole lot of land that's owned by you and me and the rest of our fellow citizens. Of course, this is only profitable if Utah gets to keep all the money every oily nickel it collects for gouging the heart out of national parks and lands. Otherwise, the whole project goes broke in two years and you wind up with a hole in your state, your state budget, and your tourist economy.
The nearly 800-page report explored a number of scenarios for the state to assume management of public lands, concluding that the only way that the plan would be "profitable" is if the state collects 100 percent of royalties from oil and gas development in the state, which are currently shared equally by the federal and state government. The study states that without the change in royalty allocation, which would add to the national debt and place a burden on U.S. taxpayers, "oil and gas revenues are not sufficient to cover the state's total land management costs for at least two years after the transfer." If the state is unable to take U.S. taxpayers' share of royalties, the state would be forced to look elsewhere for revenue to cover land management costs, including raising taxes and selling off prized lands to private companies.
Yeah, like that last part isn't the basis for this whole damn scam. I thought I'd never see a more ludicrous public-policy idea than supply-side Reaganomics, but here it is. Cliven Bundynomics.
And we conclude, as we usually do, in the great state of Oklahoma, where Blog Special Sports Correspondent Friedman Of The Plains brings us the tale of a high-school football playoff game gone badly wrong.
In a release issued on Tuesday, State Sen. Anastasia Pittman says she plans to ask the Oklahoma Secondary School Activity Association (OSSAA) to allow all or part of the game to be replayed. Pittman, D-Oklahoma City, says she plans to make the formal request during a news conference to be held tomorrow morning inside the State Capital. Pittman will be joined by OKC Douglass Head Football Coach Willis Alexander, community and religious leaders and representatives from the NAACP. The call in question occurred after OKC Douglas scored a go-ahead touchdown to give them a 25-20 lead with 1:04 left to play in the game. However, an official threw a flag on Douglas for a sideline violation, their second such penalty in the game. Rules call for a 5 yard penalty to be added to the extra point try or to the kickoff. Instead, officials enforced the penalty to the previous play and erased the 58 yard touchdown. The call gave Locust Grove back a 20-19 lead, which they held to win the game.
Dear Senator Pittman: get 'em next year, OK?
This is your democracy, America. Cherish it. Ω
[Charles P. "Charlie" Pierce is a sportswriter, political blogger, author, and game show panelist. Pierce is the lead political blogger for Esquire, a position he has held since September 2011. He has written for Grantland, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Sports Illustrated, The National Sports Daily, GQ, and Slate. Pierce makes appearances on radio as a regular contributor to a pair of NPR programs: "Only A Game" and "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" He graduated from Marquette University (BA, Journalism).]
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