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Obergefell v. Hodges, Identity, and Dignity

[I'm going to sticky this because I really want feedback. Again, I think it's amazing, but I seem to be the only person who thinks so. Readers? --lambert]

I posted this over at Naked Capitalism and [lambert blushes modestly] I think it's a tour de force. But readers over there didn't really want to talk about the central theme, which I hope you are able to discern. I'd like to know what you all think.

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Not only can I not even pretend to be a lawyer, venturing into a theoretical discussion of identity politics would, for me, rather like trying to operate high-speed machine tools when I don't have any training. So I'm not going to do either of those things. Rather, I want to take a layperson's look at Justice Kennedy's opinion in Obergefell, which seems to find a right to dignity in the penumbras of the Constitution (rather like the much-abused right to privacy), and tease out some implications of that line of thought. Kennedy's opinion is thirty-three pages long, and I did fight my way through it, but I found three paragraphs of Kennedy's "soaring language" (two at the beginning, one at the end) especially striking.

From the introduction to Kennedy's Obergefell opinion, the first paragraph (page 6, here in PDF):

The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity. The petitioners in these cases seek to find that liberty by marrying someone of the same sex and having their marriages deemed lawful on the same terms and conditions as marriages between persons of the opposite sex.

The second paragraph (page 8):

From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most Read more about Obergefell v. Hodges, Identity, and Dignity

healthcare.gov opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug

[And if you have your own experiences to share, and especially screen dumps, please add them in comments or contact me. Either Federal Exchanges, or state exchanges. I'm especially interested in Covered California! Thank you! --lambert]

Nice timing.

john.smith@gmail.com from Maine had a registration #FAIL at step 3. Here's the screen dump:

Read more about healthcare.gov opens at midnight on the day of the government shutdown and lambert finds a bug

In the garden: Masses of color

As readers may know, my garden is a "Grandmother's Garden," though only as a happy accident:

Often appearing haphazard or growing at random, grandmother's garden was actually designed as a painting with an eye to composition using color, shape, and texture. It is no wonder then that so many painters, writers, poets, and other artists created such gardens. These gardens inspired them and often are seen in their works. ...

For example, the color orange (honeysuckle): Read more about In the garden: Masses of color

In the garden: Wildflowers

This what I had in mind for the front garden, and now it has come to pass! (The hole in the center is where the Common Sowthistle -- hat tip, Mitzi Muffin -- was before I ripped it out.) This section is a bit more patchy than I'd like, because of what the snowplow detritus does to the soil, and the wildflowers in the shady mix section haven't bloomed yet, so I'm not going to have like thirty feet of solid color. But close! Read more about In the garden: Wildflowers

In the garden: Poppies after the rain

National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2013

2013, but this came out in September 2014, so I figure 2014's figures aren't ready yet. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Read more about National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2013

In the garden: Bee balm

All these photos show the wonderful square body plan of bee balm. (It's in the mint family, so the stem is square, too. Like mint, it's invasive. But we like invasive!) Read more about In the garden: Bee balm

In the garden: What the heck is this plant?

Thisplant, with its very distinctive arrangement of leaves, is in my wildflower bed, but it's also popping up elsewhere. Read more about In the garden: What the heck is this plant?

In the garden: Beach roses

I don't care if Rosa Rugosa aren't heirloom and are invasive! They bloom prolifically, smell nice, and the town can't kill them with road salt! (Here we see that roses have the same "body plan" as poppies.) Read more about In the garden: Beach roses

Suppose Sanders turns out to be Eugene McCarthy to Hillary's LBJ

Who's RFK? Who leaps into the race once the blood's in the water? Read more about Suppose Sanders turns out to be Eugene McCarthy to Hillary's LBJ

In the garden: First poppy

The very first (and yesterday, only) poppy of the season. It was breezy, and it must have taken me twenty minutes to get a shot where the blossom was still. Read more about In the garden: First poppy

In the garden: Moar peonies!

A passerby informs me that peonies require ants to open their buds, but that seems to be a myth. On the other hand, maybe the ants, to peonies, are beneficial insects, since they seek only nectar and perhaps keep other insects away. Read more about In the garden: Moar peonies!

In the garden: Pollinators at last!

At least pollinators that are slow-moving enough for me to capture them.

Sadly, the bumble bee is in shadow. I'll have to work on that! But at least they exist! Here's another:

Read more about In the garden: Pollinators at last!

#BlackLivesMatter sprayed on Confederate statue in Charleston

Post and Courier:

A statue near The Battery memorializing Confederate defenders was found vandalized Sunday with the message “Black lives matter.”

Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch received a call just after 12:30 p.m. informing them of the spray-painted damage to the allegorical monument, “To the Confederate Defenders of Charleston — Fort Sumter,” placed by The United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Fun with the Sunlight Foundation API

Here's a chart of who uses the word "socialism" in Congress:

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