U.S. Supreme Court, in yet another 5-4 decision, allows New York town to open public legislative meetings with Christian prayers. Justice Kennedy again writes the majority opinion, showcasing his habit of thinking with his heart that we've found both refreshing and infuriating over the years -- discarding the precedent set by Justice O'Connor that asked whether similar practices constituted an "endorsement" of one religion or another, he writes a paean to the power of prayer and reminds us that the assembled don't have to pray, but can just leave the room if they're so offended, and as we know no legislature in history has ever tried to ram through unpopular legislation by clearing the room first, right? Worse than that is his assertion that Greece, NY didn't discriminate in favor of Christianity because the township "limited its list of clergy almost exclusively to representatives of houses of worship situated within Greece’s town limits," which, we assume, are generally Christian. He is aware that local zoning ordinances can prevent churches from being built within a town's limits, isn't he?
Jesse Eisenger at ProPublica explains why the Justice Department's recent announcement that "the era of 'too big to jail' is over" might merely be bluster. I mean, of course I like to believe the best of people, but the evidence of recent years is hard to ignore: when a Justice Department prosecutor gets a corporation to agree to "change its culture" instead of face formal charges, but then doesn't actually enforce the agreement, you have to wonder if incompetence or malice is at work. And when the money for fines doesn't come from the CEO's pocket but from those of their shareholders', certainly the banksters who authorized/ignored bad conduct have no incentive to change. Federal prosecutors can also charge corporations and their employees at the same time -- but, strangely, they have a habit of throwing up their hands and walking away from the whole thing when they can't get employees to cooperate; again, you have to wonder if incompetence or malice is at work. I'd disagree, though, that it's merely "prudent" to "minimize the damage any charges against companies might inflict on the larger economy" -- if we continue to think that way, we'll be the banksters' hostages forever.
North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis gets caught on film (from 2011) telling folks that we have to "divide and conquer the people who are on the (government) systems," to make the "woman who has cerebal palsy" who had "no choice" but to take Big Gummint help "look down at these people who choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government." In case you're wondering whom he means by "these people," he means women who have babies, not the men who help make them, and certainly not the big corporations soaking up money in undeserved tax breaks so they can redistribute their workers' wealth upward to their CEOs while not creating jobs. He's already said he regrets using the phrase "divide and conquer" in that context, but I think you're going to see it in a million Kay Hagan ads anyway come October -- hopefully, after the ads reminding North Carolina that Mr. Tillis is Speaker of the House in the most radical state legislator in recent state history, a legislature whose reign of horror has inspired the Moral Monday demonstrations.