I’ve strayed. I thought I had learned my lesson in grade school when I picked up a cool Tente space truck. Or maybe in middle school when I got some Tyco Super Blocks as a present. I certainly “knew” that the clone bricks just aren’t worth it—sure, you might get some cool shapes you can’t find in Lego, but at what cost?
I’d keep seeing these Mega Bloks Halo sets, with their many different curves and gorgeous shimmery purples. And there was that big puzzle-piece dome. Of course I knew I shouldn’t. But Nnenn did. And then I saw this Silent Running-esque ship using the Mega Bloks domes. And Jang (of Jangbricks) started buying and reviewing Mega Bloks sets. And I started looking a little too closely when I was in the store. I’d pick a box up, turn it over and check out its pieces. Look at the little window where you could see some actual pieces shimmering.
And then one day I thought “well, it can’t hurt to look”, and checked a price.
GOP members of the House are planning to sue President Obama for his decision to delay enforcement of the employer mandate in the ACA for a year.
I don’t understand this. I don’t see how it makes sense on legal, political, or governmental grounds.
Legally, doesn’t one have to have standing to sue? Wouldn’t you have to be a business owner who was somehow harmed by this change, or maybe a private insurer harmed by the lessened requirements? And then, what are they suing for? Monetary damages? An injunction? Reinstatement of the requirement? And why sue? If he’s done something outside of the bounds of the President’s authority, isn’t that sufficient grounds to impeach Obama? Surely, if lying about having an affair (something that has absolutely nothing to do with governance), is good enough to justify impeachment, violating the Constitution and usurping legislative authority would be sufficient cause?
Politically, there are two obvious problems with this.
First, the GOP is suing to reinstate something they don’t want, which is part of something else they really don’t want. I’m not sure the political calculus on this. Maybe they want the ACA to be as onerous as possible, so they can point at it and say “see? look at how awful the Dems’ ideas are!” But that’s quite a balancing act: they’re counting on people to blame the party that enacted the law but was willing to recognize a problem and modify it, and not blame the party that reinstated the problem part of the law that they’re busy pointing at and telling us is horrible.
Second, one of the big arguments of the GOP is that “activist judges” are ruining America by overreaching the judicial role and imposing their will on the other branches of government. So they need to thread the needle of arguing that a judge should overrule the President, who enacted a clearly populist measure which hasn’t been challenged by the people in any significant numbers, in order to re-enact a very unpopular measure, while arguing that in this case it’s not “judicial activism” even though the people’s representatives had previously tried to enact exactly the same measure, claiming that it was what people wanted.
Governmentally, their argument is about the balance of power between the branches of government. As previously mentioned, they need to argue that a judge intervening in this case is different from a judge intervening in other cases. There clearly are differences, of course, but that doesn’t make it an easy explanation, and it’s not clear that the differences are germane. They also need to make an argument that this particular executive order is somehow illegal, while continuing their argument that executive orders in general are just fine (because otherwise W’s record comes up, and/or they hamstring a future GOP President with a Dem congress. Not to mention, they need to do all this without anyone bringing up the “unitary executive” theory that they only recently supported. And they need to explain how an executive order that modifies a law is different than a signing statement that modifies a law. And, finally, they need to explain why neither enacting a law to overrule the executive order—something that has been done in the past—nor impeachment are possible solutions to this problem.
Seriously, spoilers ahead. If you haven’t watched the last episode of How I Met Your Mother, and have any intention of watching the show, just skip this post. Or, better yet, go watch the show and then come back.
Yes, the whole show. Oh, sure, there were some bad episodes, and season 7 as a whole is a bit weak—but how many shows make it 9 years without a few duds? And, in the context of the rest of the show, season 7 is still better than most seasons of most shows—you usually have to go to serious drama to do better than that. I’ll still be here in 76 hours.
This came across my feed, and I think it says it well. But I want to expand on it, because its not just beauty that we have troubles with.
We have a strange relationship with differences in our society:
Attractiveness we all see and recognize (though we may disagree on the details), but there’s a concerted effort to pretend we don’t, and that “everyone is beautiful”.
Intelligence we really, really want to be unimportant outside of a few “intellectual” endeavors like solving math problems, so we downplay it, trying to give everyone the same education (by the same methods) and characterizing a dozen different things as “types” of intelligence just so that we can say that everyone is good at one of them (even if we all still aren’t).
Physical abilities, particularly athleticism? Oh, there we make no pretense and laud those with greater gifts. Nobody claims that everyone is equally strong, just “in different ways”.
Oh, and we pretend that not only is “hard work” an entirely innate trait, when in reality it is very much learnable, but we misattribute all sorts of other things (luck, connections, smarts) to it.
The trick is, we need to recognize that your worth as a person is not dependent on your capabilities, but on your behaviors.
A quick thought that popped to mind the other day. One place a typical discussion between someone who supports abortion rights and someone who doesn’t often goes is something like this [assuming some communicating is occurring, and it's not just a shouting match]:
Abortion-rights supporter: Why should women have less freedom than men? We let men decide what they’re going to do about their health and their bodies; it’s discrimination to tell women what they’re allowed to do.
Abortion opponent: This isn’t about discrimination against women—the situations aren’t the same. Since you can’t disentangle the mother and the fetus, there’s another person affected by these decisions. It would be immoral to not consider the fetus when deciding what is right.
Try this on for size:
Why should a person not be afforded the same considerations and protections as everyone else, just because they can’t speak for themselves?
Since you can’t disentangle the fetus and the mother, there’s another person affected by these decisions. It would be immoral to not consider the woman when deciding what is right.
If the reason abortion should be restricted or banned is because it affects another person besides the woman—the fetus—then surely the reason abortion should be legal and accessible is because it affects another person besides the fetus: the mother.
Just a quickie, here. Caitlin wanted to use my Legos for a knitting project, and needed some guidance on what colors existed and what to call them in order to buy more. So I put together a plate with examples of most of the colors I have. She suggested that I take a photo for reference, which is an excellent idea, because I sometimes have to do some digging and comparing to figure out the more obscure colors myself.
So, here it is. It’s mostly for me to reference in the future, but I thought I’d share in case anyone else would find it useful. Continue reading