The Other Fourth

The Amendment That Ascertains
Power to This Independence Day

Dispensing all pomp and circumstance, national birthdays have a way of turning into numbing occasions for grandstanding patriotism and overindulgent gluttony. It’s no different in the U.S., even as Independence Day marks a moment of rebellion and self-sacrifice.
That being said, flags and (non-military) parades are ok, but it can’t hurt to focus on the constitutional side of that storied statement signed by the 13 colonies, which Congress adopted 243 years ago today, and whether it still holds sway as the highest law of the land.
As such, after almost two and a half centuries, it’s held up pretty well. As the nation went through its growing pains, it managed to extend the original liberal slant of its founding documents, even as it amended them, while also adding some truly lofty goals as far as individual rights are concerned. Yes, that can, and it seems to be already changing. Still.
The paradox about those high standards is that they’ve made the U.S. Constitution both an example of steely idealism committed to a set of amendments, and also a pragmatic tool, vulnerable to be waged against the very principles it vows to defend. Take now, for instance.
Despite having enjoyed a full century of world economic and military domination, without stealing land or doing away with its institutions, the past decades have presented serious challenges to its tradition of constitutionality and the rule of the law. Need to say more?
It brings no joy to mention this today, but with two long, unjust wars, thousands of American and foreign lives lost, billions of dollars wasted into the buildup of a scary military complex, the U.S. is more than ever perceived globally as a bully, with no respect to its own legal precepts. How did it come to that? Well, way before that rotten orange stench took over the White House’s lawns, that’s for sure.

(BOUNCED) CHECKS & IMBALANCES
The framers of the Constitution ‘did not want to rely on the promises of good motivations or good intents from the government,’ Professor of Law Jonathan Turley told the actor John Cusack in a 2013 interview. ‘They created a system where no branch had enough authority to govern alone, a system of shared and balanced powers.’
Turley blasted the Obama administration’s efforts to block prosecution of CIA operatives accused of torture during the Bush era as a flagrant infringement of international law. ‘Soon after 9/11, government officials started to talk about how the Constitution is making us weaker, how we can’t function by giving people due process.’ He was right, of course; some of them are indeed back in power.
Remember, that’s when Edward Snowden offered proof that the NSA had been spying on Americans and even foreign dignitaries for years. But as it happened with rumors (more)
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Read Also:
* Natural Law
* Pleading the Fifth

Continue reading

Dog Fare

Why the Large Fares Poorly
at Competitive Eating Shows

It’s always the skinny ones. No matter how poised to win, or driven to dominate their opponents, with a massive whale of a body to match the hype, the winner of the infamous Nathan’s Fourth of July hot-dog eating competition​ at Coney Island, New York City, has been always a size 30-32 regular type of body. The old Coney may be gone, but the winner of this or any year could fit right into its old glorious photos.
Hell, a diminutive Japanese man won it several times, and the former champion, whose family name is a nut, no less, won it eight times straight, only to be dethroned this year by, you guessed it, a smaller-sized man. What gives? The answer scratches dangerously close on the body stereotypes some use to put others down.
But if you can forget the PC etiquette for just a minute, you may wonder why this happens, that is, if a eating competition has even the clout to reflect the alimentary habits of the society at large which surrounds it, and promotes it as some kind of Roman circus, year in and year out. For more info on the subject, check Island, Coney, New York, et al.
Wouldn’t it be that fat people have already a ‘natural’ tendency to eat more than anyone else? And I mean, the ‘minority’ ones that are fat because indeed they love food as much as anybody else but can’t quite control the moment when hunger and food satisfaction switch to something more pathological and psychologically-tilted as a five-hour late night snacking binge and such.
Wouldn’t it be logical to expect that someone with a larger body type would be able to store more food at any moment’s notice, than a smaller person? Are we too far out of our depths to be puzzled at the fact that practice should make it at least more perfect the act of consuming calories and carbons and fat and proteins at a higher rate than those not er endowed with a larger stomach? We are.

EAT YOUR TROUBLES & SHAME AWAY
Finally, wouldn’t it be at least reasonable to expect that anyone with a taste for regularly downing a few burgers on a single sitting, along with several ounces of sugary soda, and maybe a pint or two of ice cream and cake, be somehow more capable of digesting it all at a quicker rate and, therefore, theoretically, be faster at getting ready for seconds?
Shouldn’t we be entitled to wonder that, at least for that reduced segment of fat people who do enjoy eating, or rather, eat it first, and maybe enjoy it after, and who seem capable to eat through happiness and grief at equal measures, would produce formidable professional eaters, impressing all those around them with the gargantuan amount of food that they can consume?
Well, apparently, not. As the fancy-named ‘industry’ of competitive eating has been showing, almost at the same Continue reading

The Other Fourth

The Amendment That Ascertains
Power to This Independence Day

Dispensing all pomp and circumstance, national birthdays have a way of turning into numbing occasions for grandstanding patriotism and overindulgent gluttony. It’s no different in the U.S., even as Independence Day marks a moment of rebellion and self-sacrifice.
That being settled, flags and parades are alright, but it can’t hurt to focus a bit on the constitutional side of that storied statement signed by the 13 colonies, which Congress adopted 237 years ago today, and whether it still holds sway as the highest law of the land.
As such, after almost two and half centuries, it’s held up pretty well. As the nation went through its growing pains, it managed to extend the original liberal slant of its founding documents, even as it amended them, while also adding some truly lofty goals as far as individual rights are concerned.
The paradox about those high standards is that they’ve made the U.S. Constitution both an example of steely idealism committed to a set of amendments, and also a pragmatic tool, vulnerable to be waged against the very principles it vows to defend. Take 2013, for instance.
Despite having elected its first African-American as President, and enjoyed a full century of world economic and military domination, without having to steal land or do away with its institutions, the past few decades have presented serious challenges to its tradition of constitutionality and the rule of the law.
It brings no joy to mention this today, but after two long, unjust wars, thousands of American and foreign lives lost, billions of dollars wasted into the buildup of a scary military complex, the U.S. is more than ever perceived globally as a bully, with no respect to its own legal precepts. How did it come to this?

(BOUNCED) CHECKS & IMBALANCES
The framers of the Constitution ‘did not want to rely on the promises of good motivations or good intents from the government,’ says Professor of Law Jonathan Turley in an interview to John Cusack. ‘They created a system where no branch had enough authority to govern alone, a system of shared and balanced powers.’
Turley blasts efforts by President Obama and his administration to prevent the prosecution of CIA operatives accused of torture during the Bush era as a flagrant infringement of international law. ‘Soon after 9/11, government officials started to talk about how the Constitution is making us weaker, how we can’t function by giving people due process.’
The administration’s most recent self-inflicted black eye has been caused, of course, by revelations that the NSA has been spying on Americans and even foreign dignitaries for years. But as it happened with rumors of a Continue reading