Archive for July, 2014

Hobby Lobby, 1st Amendment hypocrite

By now, the Monday morning quarterbacking in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby has died down and we are left, instead with more substantive analyses of the case. There are quite a few good ones.

But I saw this yesterday and thought, is this for real? Well turns out, Allen won her appeal after being denied unemployment benefits, so it’s not simply a case of a random person in the news trying making unsubstantiated claims just to have their 15 minutes (as is all too often permitted in the news these days). A court of law determined that, in fact, Hobby Lobby wrongfully denied benefits to her. Shameful considering their supposed religious beliefs.

When a very pregnant Felicia Allen applied for medical leave from her job at Hobby Lobby three years ago, one might think that the company best known for denying its employees insurance coverage of certain contraceptives—on the false grounds that they cause abortions—would show equal concern for helping one of its employees when she learned she was pregnant.

Instead, Allen says the self-professed evangelical Christian arts-and-crafts chain fired her and then tried to prevent her from accessing unemployment benefits.

It gets better though (if by better I mean worse). When Allen tried to sue for wrongful termination based upon her being let go because she is pregnant, she couldn’t.

Though the multibillion-dollar, nearly 600-store chain took its legal claim against the federal government all the way to the Supreme Court when it didn’t want to honor the health insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the company forbids its employees from seeking justice in the court of law.

Allen had signed a binding arbitration agreement upon taking the job, though she says she doesn’t remember doing so. The agreement, which all Hobby Lobby employees are required to sign, forces employees to resolve legal disputes outside of court through a process known as arbitration.

It’s insane that such contract clauses are even legal in this country. Yet it’s collective bargaining and unions that are destroying this country…

This story is exactly why claims of religious freedom in Burwell are completely ridiculous. There’s no requirement that 1st Amendment religious beliefs be consistent, truthful, or even logical for the Supreme Court to offer 1st Amendment protections. Hobby Lobby here demonstrates that axiom perfectly by objecting to paying for contraception (using a pre textual explanation of being religiously pro-life), while also objecting to paying for leave due to pregnancy (using the explanation of something, something, hey look, a bird!) or showing a complete lack of regard for the future of an unborn child being born into a family with an unemployed mother (because, they can’t be sued for denying others the same rights they enjoy). Disgraceful.

Personal memory is untrustworthy—we do not know the color of the ink with which it was written—and thus one should view the depiction of the following encounters as inexact and partly fictitious, though no more so than any other type of biographical writing.

Shlomo Sand

Governor Christie on ammo limit veto

I rarely comment on New Jersey politics here, because I try not to write about the industry I work in, but Christie’s argument here is just so unbelievably ridiculous that I can’t help myself.

Check out his video explaining why he vetoed a NJ bill that would legally reduce the size of a gun magazine from 15 to 10 rounds.


Governor Christie: Michael, I’ve heard the argument and so are we saying then that the 10 children, on the clip that they advocate for, that their lives are less valuable? If you take the logical conclusion of their argument, you go to zero because every life is valuable. And so why 10? Why not six? Why not two? Why not one? Why not zero? Why not just ban guns completely? I mean, you know so the logical conclusion of their argument is that you get to zero eventually. So I understand their argument. I feel extraordinary sympathy for them and the other families and all of the families across America who are the victims of gun violence including the young man who was killed in West Orange a couple of weeks ago, not with an automatic weapon, not with a clip. You know wanton gun violence is bad no matter how it’s conducted and I understand their argument. I’ve heard their argument. I don’t agree with their argument. We have a fundamental disagreement about the effectiveness of what they’re advocating for. And I’ve listened to them. I’ve met with them. I heard their arguments directly and personally. I’ve read a lot on this issue and I made the decision that I made.

1. If every life is valuable, you can’t rationally argue that we should let murderers murder their intended number of victims because getting involved would mean that certain “lives are less valuable”.

2. The slippery slope argument he puts forth ignores the very groups that he is defending here: those gun rights advocates who continually argue that guns have other purposes besides mass murder (e.g. self defense, hunting, deterrence, etc.). If Christie is really saying that guns have no other purpose, there is truly no reason to stop at ten, or six, or two, or one, or zero. If he’s not, and there are other reasons, then there is logic to limiting to 10, since…uh… last time I checked, you can still hunt with a ten round magazine.

3. What exactly does Christie have a fundamental disagreement over? The effectiveness of smaller magazines on reducing gun casualties? Or that there’s anything the government can do to protect human life in instances of gun violence? This question is mostly rhetorical, because Christie seems to have sloppily conceded that larger magazine sizes have no purpose other than mass murder and doesn’t seem to disagree that reducing to ten, or six, or two, or one, or zero might help. It seems he only fundamentally disagrees with even trying because, well, we can’t save them all. I suppose the government really has no business in making laws that try to protect our citizens if this is what you believe.

Look, the reason gun control advocates seek to lower magazine sizes is that (even though our government refuses to collect data on or study the effects and statistics surrounding firearms in the US) one doesn’t need data to conclude that maybe forcing more frequent reloads would force some mass shooters into more frequent pauses that could possibly give potential victims a chance at survival. Surely speed limit laws, or seatbelt laws, or drug laws, or labeling laws, or medication warning laws, can’t prevent all casualties or abusers, but they do prevent some.

Why do we allow this willfully stupid logic fester in the public sphere?