The Masterpiece Bakery decision: anti-religious hostility on trial

Many commenters on this week’s Supreme Court decision concerning Masterpiece Bakery in Colorado have missed one of the more important aspects of the ruling.  SCOTUSblog highlights it.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. The ground of decision was narrow, but not as narrow as many commentators will claim. It is based exclusively on the free exercise clause; the Supreme Court did not rule on the free speech claim. Exclusive reliance on free exercise narrows the opinion to sincere religious objectors, excluding simple bigots. And it helps narrow the decision to religious contexts, with weddings as the overwhelmingly dominant example. The

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Sounds great, but there’s a catch

There was seemingly great news from the Federal Reserve today. Americans’ wealth surpassed the $100 trillion mark for the first time in early 2018, as rising home prices offset the hit to households’ assets from a stock-market swoon in the first quarter. Household net worth—the value of all assets such as stocks and real estate minus liabilities like mortgage and credit-card debt—rose by 1% from the previous quarter, or more than a trillion dollars, to a record $100.768 trillion, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve on Thursday. There’s more at the link. Zero Hedge provided this graphic breaking

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Legal signposts on the road to destroying democracy

It’s looking more and more as if there was, indeed, a “Deep State” plot, tightly embroiled with and controlled by the Obama administration (or, at the very least, certain individuals within it), designed to spy on the Trump campaign and, if possible, take it down.  Now that he’s President, that same plot has switched focus to removing him from office at all costs, regardless of the facts (or the lack thereof). Four important articles that I think are worth reading and bookmarking for future reference: Sharyl Attkisson:  “Collusion against Trump” timeline“.  An exhaustive listing, from 2011 to the present, of

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“How Democracies End: A Bureaucratic Whimper”

That’s the title of an article by Victor Davis Hanson.  It’s powerful stuff, and well worth reading in full.  Here’s an excerpt. We are all worried, on occasion, by nationalist and anti-democratic movements abroad in former democratic countries. We all sometimes wish Donald Trump would ignore personal spats and curb his tweeting and thus let his considerable accomplishments speak for themselves. But that said, the current and chief threats to Western constitutional government are not originating from loud right-wing populists in Eastern Europe, or from Trump wailing like Ajax about the rigged deep state. Rather, the threat to our civil

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The incredible contempt of the political class for ordinary people

I was infuriated to read a presentation by a senior economist from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  It was at a seminar titled “Navigating Pension Reform in Illinois: What Lies Ahead?”  We’ve already taken a hard look at Illinois’ self-inflicted financial and pension woes, and how they threaten the economic future of every resident of that state.  Now, to solve them, the presentation proposes to hit those residents even harder. The title of the presentation is “Can (or Should) a Statewide Property Tax Be Used To Payoff the Unfunded Pension Liability?”  (Link is to an Adobe Acrobat document in .PDF

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Back from the road

Miss D. and I headed down to Fort Worth today for a little official business, plus some “us”-time.  It’s two-plus hours from here to there, so it’s no trouble to go down and back in a day. The official business didn’t take long, so we looked for something interesting to see when we were done.  We ended up at the Texas Civil War Museum.  It has a large number of exhibits about the lives and equipment of regular soldiers on both sides, with emphasis on the (named) individuals who owned many of the items on display, including a surprising number

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What goes around, comes around

Many were outraged by the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011.  I wrote about it at the time, as did many others.  It was Big Brother writ large, bypassing constitutional limitations and congressional oversight.  Sure enough, it became a means to funnel large sums to left-wing, progressive causes with no way to monitor or control the flow. However, by appointing (not without opposition) a new director for the CFPB, President Trump has stripped away its veil of self-created secrecy, and the light is beginning to dawn.  Schadenfreude was the order of the day on Capitol Hill yesterday. 

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“What Does It Mean to Die?”

That’s the question asked by the New Yorker in a sad, poignant article.  Here’s an excerpt. Two days later, Jahi was declared brain-dead. With the help of a ventilator, she was breathing, but her pupils did not react to light, she did not have a gag reflex, and her eyes remained still when ice water was dripped in each ear. She was briefly disconnected from the ventilator, as a test, but her lungs filled with carbon dioxide. On an EEG test, no brain-wave activity could be seen. Like all states, California follows a version of the 1981 Uniform Determination of

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Good advice on reducing major medical expenses

A writer styling himself “hedgeless_horseman” offers a detailed article on how to negotiate with medical service providers, to reduce their bills by as much as 80% or more, if you’re lucky.  It’s very long, but packed full of useful advice, and is worth reading – particularly if, like me, you’re older, and can expect your medical expenses to increase.  Here’s a brief excerpt. Primarily, this talk is to educate those of you that are, now, or may be, in the future, responsible for paying for your own healthcare.  It is not directed at the nearly half of America that is

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