Corporations that have lost major cases at the Circuit Court level are settling rather than try their luck with a post-Scalia Supreme Court:
Last week, Dow Chemical made headlines by opting for a $835 million settlement in a class action lawsuit rather than risk having the case heard by a Scalia-less Supreme Court. A lower court had already ruled against the company for allegedly conspiring to fix prices for industrial chemicals, and prior to the settlement, Dow had appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling.
In the absence of Scalia's vote, taking the case to the eight other justices risked the company not just a loss in the specific case, but the potential for a broader ruling that would have put companies in a tougher position in future class action lawsuits.
The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association announced Thursday it would not petition the court to overturn an appeals court decision upholding a New York gun control law.
[T]he group argued that currently there are "only four justices committed to a proper understanding of the Second Amendment," and pointed out that a 4-4 decision would let the appeals court ruling against them stand. There was also the possibility, the statement said, that "in the absence of Justice Scalia’s influence," there would be a majority of justices that would actually affirm the lower court's decision, which would create a national precedent for courts to uphold similar gun control laws.
But if Scalia was right, justices aren't supposed to be partisan, so I have no idea why these groups have anything to worry about. It's almost as if Scalia were a partisan hack who could have been counted on to vote in yet another pair of 5-4 rulings in favor of ultra-conservative, business-friendly interests.
In other news, after ten years of sitting there like a toad on a log, Justice Thomas asked his first questions in oral arguments today.
Technical debt occurs when you make a short-term coding decision to get something done, but in the process introduce an error or code smell you'll have to correct later.
Josh Marshall thinks the Republican Party did exactly that over the years, and Donald Trump is the refactoring:
This is a fairly good description of what the media is now wrongly defining as the GOP's 'Trump problem', only in this case the problem isn't programming debt. It's a build up of what we might call 'hate debt' and 'nonsense debt' that has been growing up for years.
The truth is virtually Trump's entire campaign is built on stuff just like this, whether it's about mass deportation, race, the persecution of Christians, Obamacare, the coming debt crisis and a million other things. At the last debate, Trump got pressed on his completely ludicrous tax cut plan. He eventually said growth (which if you calculate it would need to be something like 20% on average) would take care of the huge budget shortfall created by his tax plan. But Republicans can't really dispute this point since all of Republican campaign economics is based on precisely the same argument. What about Obamacare? Can Marco "Establishment" Rubio really get traction attacking Trump for having no specific plan to replace Obamacare when Republicans have spent the last five years repeatedly voting to repeal Obamacare without ever specifying a plan to replace it with? On each of these fronts, the slow accumulation of nonsense and paranoia - 'debt' to use our metaphor - built into a massive trap door under the notional GOP leadership with a lever that a canny huckster like Trump could come in and pull pretty much whenever. This is the downside of building party identity around a package of calculated nonsense and comically unrealizable goals.
Great. You know what solves technical debt sometimes? Starting over with a Version 2.0.
Why posting is slow today:
Hm. I'm not sure that's the best translation for "gonna fly now," but it's better than anything I had on my own...
Traveling this afternoon, back Sunday. I might have a chance to post. It's not going to be a top priority.
The problem with NuGet is that installers don't always update assembly binding mappings.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm trying to upgrade a very large project to a new version of the ASP.NET runtime to try to solve a lingering problem. This required updating somewhere around 20 NuGet packages, only some of which make correct changes to configuration files.
I've just gone through a 15-minute publish cycle that ended with an old and familiar error message for old and familiar reasons.
Guys. Quit messing with my configuration files. But if you have to, do it correctly. Seriously.
While I'm going through a boring cycle of NuGet updates, unit tests, and inexplicable app-publishing failures related to the above, I'm piling up a crapload of articles to read on my flight tomorrow:
Back to work. At least my build is succeeding now.
There's a blizzard outside, which has alarmed Parker to no end (the wind scares him), and my computer is dragging because it's running a virus scan. And I'm having yet another version conflict installing a NuGet package, which is annoying since NuGet is supposed to stop that from happening.
Otherwise, just an ordinary Wednesday...
Esquire's Charles Pierce is glad Trump is looking after "shitkickers like you," but he worries that stopping Trump will take more than just a moderate Republican:
The only way to stop He, Trump is not, as the Boston Globe so tragically suggests today, to have unenrolled people pick up the Republican ballot and vote for John Kasich. I can't think of a more impotent suggestion than that. In the general scheme of things, Kasich is worse off than either Cruz or Rubio and, also in the general scheme of things, no thinking Republican believes that the Commonwealth (God save it!) is important in any way at all. It's like a Democratic operative suggesting that his voters finagle with the results in, say, Mississippi. Come November, the Republicans could put up Zombie Abraham Lincoln Christ and still lose Massachusetts.
No, the only way to stop He, Trump is to give up on the twin fictions that have given him life—that government is something alien to us, instead of being the political manifestation of the popular will, and that elections are purely entertainment. The only way to stop He, Trump is to re-engage as citizens of a self-governing republic again, to realize that politics matter and that voting is more than an excuse for the PTA to run a bake sale. It is not time to make America great again. It's time to make America America again.
Meanwhile, his brand of authoritarianism keeps building followers:
Trump’s base of white working-class authoritarians is scared of what they view as a “new” America, one in which they believe that the psychological and material wages of Whiteness will not be as great. A combination of the brain structures and cognitive processes of conservative-authoritarians, socialization by family and community, and disinformation from the right-wing “news” entertainment complex, reinforce those anxieties while also ginning up deep feelings of racial resentment toward non-whites.
Donald Trump is not necessarily the prime instigator or cause of those fears; he is just the Republican candidate who is most adept at manipulating them. Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” is a direct promise to restore a world where white folks are central to all things in the United States (to the degree that they are not), and their dominance, privilege and power are uncontested.
The worry I have, of course, is that people who aren't conservative authoritarians will vote for him in November. Because it seems obvious that he'll be the Republican nominee. And that's not a guy I want anywhere near real power.
Last Friday, Chicago got up to 17°C, not a record but certainly not what we expect on February 19th. Today it's a more-seasonable 3°C.
Tomorrow afternoon we're going up to the same temperature, but with a covering of wet snow, gusty winds, and general unpleasantness.
Saturday's forecast? 10°C and sunny.
A medium-length list this time:
And this brings me to lunch.