The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Marriage equality and Passover

Something about the Seder I went to last night and the marriage equality cases currently before the Supreme Court got me thinking along these lines:

The wise son asks, "What are the statutes, the testimonies, and the laws that the Constitution has commanded you to do?"

To the wise son, you say: The 14th Amendment gives every citizen equal protection under the law. The 10th Amendment reserves powers to the States that aren't specifically granted to the Federal Government. And the First Amendment prohibits the establishment of a national religion.

The wicked son asks, "What does this mean to you?"

By saying "you," he separates himself from the rest of the United States, and its rich tradition of liberty and tolerance. You say to him,

JUSTICE SCALIA: When did it become unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage? Was it 1791? 1868?

TED OLSON: When did it become unconstitutional to ban interracial marriage?

JUSTICE SCALIA: Don’t try to answer my question with your own question.

Or, more succinctly, "Sod off, Tony."

The simple son asks, "What is this?"

Explain to the simple son that the founders of the United States created a system in which things that hurt no one are generally tolerated, so unless there is a rational basis for legislation, and the benefits of the legislation outweigh the harms, it must be overturned.

What about the son who is too stupid to ask a question?

In this case, just ignore him. He's a partisan hack without sufficient intellect, curiosity, or temperament to serve as a justice of the peace in South Podunk, let alone the highest judicial body in the country. And you know how he's going to vote regardless of the facts or law anyway.

Now go learn.

White House petition response of the Millenium

Via TPM, the White House has responded to the petition to build a Death Star:

This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

Perhaps the previous administration would have been more amenable?

"The Wally Government"

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams finds a comparison for Congress:

I've never wanted to run for Congress until now. The job looks boring, but I'm attracted to a system that punishes total strangers for my bad performance. I assume this is some sort of "best practice" that our government is borrowing from a successful system elsewhere. So starting today, if you tell me you don't like my blog, I will pay a stranger to kick another stranger in the nads. If Congress is right about the trigger concept, you should see a big improvement in my blogging performance. I'm all about incentives.

There's a Wally-esque genius to this budget trigger concept. It actually solves Congress' biggest problem, namely that doing anything that is balanced and appropriate for the country renders a politician unelectable. Republicans can't vote for tax increases and get reelected while Democrats can't cut social services and keep their jobs. But don't cry for Congress because this isn't the sort of problem that can thwart a building full of lawyers. They put their snouts together and cleverly invented a concept - called a trigger - to take the blame for them. This way, both sides can screw their supporters while still blaming the other side. No one has to take responsibility for anything.

He might have a point.

La belle de la poubelle

I have just inflicted this on my friends; you're next:


After the "incident" with Esmerelda, the Cathedral of Our Lady in Paris—Notre Dame—needed a new bell-ringer. A man showed up for the job. The bishop in charge of hiring noticed he had no arms. "Pas de problème," said the man. "I hit the bells with my head, like this." He then proceeded to play a magnificent carillon using only his face. As he reached a crescendo, the glorious music reaching out across Paris, he slipped, fell from the bell tower, and died instantly.

The monsignor ran over to the bishop and demanded, "What happened? Who is this man?"

"I don't know," said the bishop, "but his face rings a bell."

The next day, another man showed up to apply for the job. He introduced himself to the bishop, saying, "It was my brother who fell from the tower yesterday. We are all very sad, but our family is one of bell-ringers. I must take his place."

The bishop nodded, but then noticed the new man had no legs. "Pas de problème," said the brother. "Ecoutez." He climbed up to the bell tower using only his massively-powerful arms, then began another carillon, even more glorious than his brother's had been. He swung from rope to rope, in perfect time, sometimes pulling on two or three ropes at once, building to a finale that had the bishop in tears of joy.

As he rang the final bells, he returned to the ground floor, and presented him to the bishop. But before he could speak, he had a massive heart attack, and died instantly.

"Not again!" cried the monsignor. "And who was this man?"

"I don't know," said the bishop, "but he's a dead ringer for his brother."