It astonishes me to say so, but there are some things the Biden administration is doing that I would like to see continue and I'll really really hate seeing Republicans replace the people who are doing them. "Biden's NLRB Brings Workers' Rights Back From the Dead: Last Friday, the National Labor Relations Board released its most important ruling in many decades. In a party-line decision in Cemex Construction Materials Pacific, LLC, the Board ruled that when a majority of a company's employees file union affiliation cards, the employer can either voluntarily recognize their union or, if not, ask the Board to run a union recognition election. If, in the run-up to or during that election, the employer commits an unfair labor practice, such as illegally firing pro-union workers (which has become routine in nearly every such election over the past 40 years, as the penalties have been negligible), the Board will order the employer to recognize the union and enter forthwith into bargaining. The Cemex decision was preceded by another, one day earlier, in which the Board, also along party lines, set out rules for representation elections which required them to be held promptly after the Board had been asked to conduct them, curtailing employers' ability to delay them, often indefinitely. Taken together, this one-two punch effectively makes union organizing possible again, after decades in which unpunished employer illegality was the most decisive factor in reducing the nation's rate of private-sector unionization from roughly 35 percent to the bare 6 percent at which it stands today."
"Eighth Circuit Says Cops Can Come With Probable Cause For An Arrest AFTER They've Already Arrested Someone: Well, this is a bit of a doozy. This case — via the Institute for Justice — involves a possible First Amendment violation but somehow ends with a judicial blessing of cops who make things up after the fact to justify an arrest that has already taken place." A guy was walking down the road and a cop stopped him and demanded he identify himself. Since the cop had no right to do so without probable cause, he refused. So the cop arrested him. Then he gets him to the station and finds out he can't charge him with "failure to identify" so he asks around for something to get him on. They let him go after a couple of hours but he sued, and it turns out that there's actually a law, never enforced, against walking on that side of the road. But there's case law saying that if the law isn't normally enforced, it doesn't excuse the arrest from being retaliatory rather than probable cause. But the court just waved it away.
Google is working hard to avoid the mistake Bill Gates made and they're trying to stay off your TV screen, but The American Prospect is covering the show. "Justice Department Says Google 'Flexed Its Muscle' as a Monopolist: On day one of the historic monopolization trial, the government put Google's chief economist on the stand to show that the company valued default status on browsers and devices. [...] Despite the stakes of the trial, the remainder of the legal proceeding will take place in a near-total blackout, since requests for public audio have been denied by Judge Amit Mehta and even in-person attendants are restricted from digital access inside the courtroom. For nearly two decades, Google has served as the 'on-ramp' and gatekeeper of the digital world through its dominance of search engine functions, which is the target of this case. The government has unveiled a separate case against Google for its rollup of the digital advertising market. Though related, that case relies on distinct evidentiary claims, some of which will feature prominently in the current trial. To win a Sherman Act monopolization case given the prevailing understanding of the law by most courts, the government not only has to prove that Google's market share qualifies it as a monopoly, but also show that it's used this dominant position to harm competition. That's the task ahead for the DOJ Antitrust Division's team, led by attorney Kenneth Dintzer, who also served on the Microsoft case, the last major tech antitrust case from the late 1990s."
"The 5th Circuit Is the Blown Fuse of American Jurisprudence: According to one of its own, 'the Good Ship Fifth Circuit is afire.' [...] If you want to fast-track a truly terrible idea to the carefully engineered conservative majority on the Supreme Court, the best way to do it is to file it in Texas. If your case fails there, take it down to the 5th Circuit for some CPR. Once there, your chances to prevail are fairly good. This forces the other side to throw itself on the tender mercies of the Alito Court. Even some of the 5th Circuit's veteran conservative judges can hear the whistle of that railroad."
"As judges, we've made thousands of bail decisions. Here's the truth about detention and public safety: Often when judges determine that a person accused of a crime can safely be released from jail and return to court when directed, they face criticism for 'letting the accused out' by reducing monetary bail or 'allowing' the accused to bail at all. This lack of understanding around the bail process undermines the public's trust in the rule of law. As retired and current California trial court judges with more than 90 years of collective experience, we have presided over and made thousands of difficult release decisions. While each of our state's 58 county superior courts may be at a different point on their path toward a safer, fairer and evidence-based pretrial justice process, the California Constitution makes clear that detention is to be the limited exception, not the rule. And studies of this approach to date have reinforced that it promotes, rather than undermines, public safety."
Clarence Thomas claimed gun restrictions weren't around before the 20th Century. "The Volunteer Moms Poring Over Archives to Prove Clarence Thomas Wrong [...] Over and over again, Birch and Karabian found the same thing: strict limits on the use and possession of firearms, dating back at least to the 1850s, that belie Bruen's vision of a 19th-century Wild West where the right to bear arms was almost never infringed on. The regulations uncovered were consistent as to weapons and across cities throughout Orange County, one of the more conservative counties in the state. 'Many of these limitations were enacted shortly after cities were incorporated as part of their very first batch of laws,' Karabian said."
"Laura Kuenssberg's Time as BBC Political Editor has been a Catastrophic, Systemic Failure: Thanks to managers at the BBC, the outgoing Kuenssberg repeated lies rather than challenging them, says former BBC journalist Patrick Howse [...] What they got was a journalist with access to the upper reaches of the Government, with a determination to get on air and tell everyone the whispers that she had heard from ministers, advisors and officials – before Sky or ITN. What the BBC needed was someone who could take a step back, away from the scrum, and tell audiences when they were being lied to. That was something neither the BBC nor Kuenssberg has ever come to terms with."
Amazing piece by Cory Doctorow on the vicious wage-theft artists are suffering, triggered by one artist's reaction when "Bill Willingham puts his graphic novel series "Fables" into the public domain." As a long-time fan of Fables, the graphic jumped out at me from his lenghty Xitter thread, but these reminders of how the heads of Disney and Warner really belong on jail stir my blood. But it's all part of a bigger story, too, of organized chaos: "For usury, the chaos is a feature, not a bug. Their corporate strategists take the position that any ambiguity should be automatically resolved in their favor, with the burden of proof on accused debtors, not the debt collectors. The scumbags who lost your deed and stole your house say that it's up to you to prove that you own it. And since you've just been rendered homeless, you don't even have a house to secure a loan you might use to pay a lawyer to go to court. [...] The chaos, in other words, is a feature and not a bug. It provides cover for contract-violating conduct, up to and including wage-theft. Remember when Disney/Marvel stole money from beloved science fiction giant Alan Dean Foster, whose original Star Wars novelization was hugely influential on George Lucas, who changed the movie to match Foster's ideas? Disney claimed that when it acquired Lucasfilm, it only acquired its assets, but not its liabilities. That meant that while it continued to hold Foster's license to publish his novel, they were not bound by an obligation to pay Foster for this license, since that liability was retained by the (now defunct) original company"
Pareene, "Neal Katyal and the Depravity of Big Law: The Democratic lawyer's sickening defense of corporate immunity in a Supreme Court case reveals a growing moral rot in the legal community. The United States has a political class that mistakes its professional norms for ethics. Mainstream political journalists mindlessly grant anonymity to professional liars. Elected officials put collegiality and institutional procedure over the needs and interests of their constituents. And as for lawyers, they have refined this tendency into what amounts to a religion of self-justification. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution establishes that every American has the right to “the Assistance of Counsel” if they are prosecuted for a crime. This was a pointed rejection of English common law, which barred felony defendants from hiring counsel to represent them. Over time, the Assistance of Counsel clause came to mean that everyone prosecuted for a crime had the right to competent and effective representation, even if they could not afford it. From that right, the American legal community developed a core tenet: Everyone deserves representation. But once the American legal community invented corporate law and the large firm, it continued developing that tenet until it became so divorced from notions of liberty or equality under the law that it now works as a kind of force field preventing lawyers from facing any social or professional repercussions for their actions on behalf of their clients. Everyone has a right to counsel, and every lawyer has a right to earn a buck. [...] He is about as close as you could come to the embodiment of Big Law's connection to the institutional Democratic Party. And last week he argued that because the corporation that supplied Zyklon B to the Nazis for use in their extermination camps was not indicted at Nuremberg, Nestle and Cargill should not be held liable for their use of child slave labor. In his argument before the court, Katyal espoused a view of corporate immunity so expansive that even the conservative judges seemed skeptical. If you took him at his word, he was effectively asking the Supreme Court to make it impossible for any foreigner to sue any company for any harm done to them, up to and including kidnapping and enslavement. [...] To defend an accused murderer or rapist in a criminal trial is a straightforward endorsement of the idea of the presumption of innocence, not an endorsement of murder or rape. That's the act enshrined in our Bill of Rights. To make a career out of defending and expanding corporate power at the expense of employee and consumer power, on the other hand, is simply to endorse those things."
Scott Hechinger recommends: "Extraordinary work again from @TeenVogue -- the best justice journalism outlet in the country. On the day that cash bail is finally eliminated in Illinois, they release a critical explainer on 'Copaganda.'"
I feel bad for Naomi Klein, who people keep confusing with Naomi Wolf. An excerpt from her book, Doppleganger, appears in the Guardian, talking about how she eventually became obsessed with that confusion as Wolf veered radically to the right and people kept attacking Klein for things Wolf had said, but even more the confusion of how her first-name twin, once a highly-regarded and successful feminist author, had ended up sitting beside Steve Bannon railing against Covid masking.
"Chris Hedges: The Pedagogy of Power: The ruling classes always work to keep the powerless from understanding how power functions. This assault has been aided by a cultural left determined to banish 'dead white male' philosophers."
David Klion's review of Martin Peretz's memoir, "Everybody Hates Marty," is really far too kind, and therefore unsatisfying, but that probably owes a lot to the fact that he mostly just reviewed the book rather than reviewing the legacy of Martin Peretz, who helped destroy the world.
"Samantha Geimer on Roman Polanski: 'We email a little bit': In 1977, the film director had 'unlawful sex' with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer, an event that has overshadowed their lives ever since. So why would he get in touch with her now? [...] As the victim of a sex crime, she isn't unusual in saying that the experience of going to court and the attendant publicity was more painful than the incident itself. The difference, of course, is that Geimer has never been allowed to forget it. 'When I see his name, it's always followed by 'convicted' or '13 year old'.' She smiles strenuously. 'And that's always me.'"
Political Research Associates has updated their Glossary of right-wing terms.
"The church bell chimed 'til it rang 29 times / For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald." "At 3 p.m. Tuesday, the bell at Mariners' Church rang out again — now chiming 30 times to honor those perished sailors along with the artist who famously memorialized them in song."
"The Mystery of the Bloomfield Bridge: Why is this bridge here?"
Tourist destination: James Garner statue, Norman, OK.
Gene Clarke, "Feel A Whole Lot Better" (1985 version from Firebyrd)