Monday, April 10, 2017

All Class

So, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in today, April 10, 2017, as the court's new junior Supreme Court Justice, to fill the seat left empty by the passing of Antonin Scalia, who died on February 13, 2016.  Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate locked arms and refused to advise or consent a justice for Obama for the 342 days he had left in office, and 93 holdings were made by an 8 seat court,  by a seat left empty for 422 days, and Donald Trump announced, "I got it done in the first 100 days!"

All Class.

If there's one thing you can be certain, if the GOP keeps this up, they're going to regret it one day.

Here's a fun rock song from back in the day that I always enjoyed and used to cover regularly.  They get the idea.



  1. I am still stunned that Congress could not get over themselves and get this done without killing the filibuster.

    That's what is really sad.

    Are we going to see a constantly changing set of rules and laws based on the party in power? Probably so, and to a degree we've not seen in our lifetimes.

    1. At this point, I don't see why we bother have a Senate anymore. All they do is over-represent low-population, resource-specific "states," and whoever has the majority will do whatever they want. The only thing stopping them are issues themselves. They can't get rid of Obamacare, the tax "reform" is probably going to fail as well, and I'd get ready for little to nothing getting done besides packing agencies and courts with right-wing goobers, because the American people can't stand what the GOP actually has to offer!


  2. First of all, sorry for posting this here - I couldn't find any contact options on your blog. I saw your comments concerning the FREE WILL debate around Sam Harris on , have been really confused about the topic for quite some time now, and as you seem to have quite some understanding about the topic I would be more than happy if you could share your views on my questions... I would really appreciate it and wouldn't post here if I wasn't kind of desperate now ;)
    I just shoot them out here (of course I understand if you delete this comment, but maybe you can answer to

    - To me, Sam Harris' points make sense and I also witnessed the huge advantages that his theory brings. I always used to judge people quickly for the mistakes they made or if they hurt me - today I'm much more forgiving and "loving" (even though that mind sound kitchy), because I know that eventually it's not their fault.
    However, I think there are some big disadvantages of the denial of free will. Actually, I don't even know how a HAPPY, FULFILLING life without the notion of free will is possible. I understand that determinism must not be confused with fatalism and that I can still set goals, work towards them and reach them. BUT here comes the "thing": without the notion of free will, I am not responsible for my merits. No matter what - success in sports, academic achievement, losing weight and becoming more healthy - I would have nothing to be proud of because ultimately "I just had no choice" and everything depended on outside factors such as upbringing, genes etc. And so I would be deprived of one of the most fulfilling things in life ever. Why should I give my very best in sports or at university if, in the end, any success is not my merit? No matter if I win or lose, nothing is my fault or merit..

    This point goes hand in hand with the next one: in the past, I used to take responsibility and owned up to my mistakes. Now I tend to make excuses ("it's not my fault, due to this and that I couldn't behave otherwise!") and the denial of free will (in my eyes) puts people in a dangerous victim role. Thus, we complain about all those bad circumstances instead of just taking responsibility and fixing what is wrong. (And of course, maybe we could fix it, but again - what incentive do we have if just everything is not our fault or merit? (Harris here only says in his book that being lazy is a choice itself and that it's hard to do nothing - but seriously, that motivates nobody to really go through years of hardship, lots of discipline etc. if the ultimate success is not your own.)

    Nearly each and every psychology guide tells you that in order to be happy, the most fundamental thing in life is to take responsibility for your own actions. However, according to Sam Harris, we have excuses for just everything and don't need to own up to anything, neither bad nor good things we did. How can you be happy with that notion?

    Is there any way out of this dilemma?

    I would highly appreciate any comment.
    Tina :)

    1. Sorry again for all this text. I forgot one more point: while of course it is good to be compassionate towards others and help other people, the denial of free will takes this a bit too far, in my eyes. As apparently nobody is responsible at all for the dire situation he's in, I now feel sorry for EVERYBODY in no matter what bad situation and can't even walk through my neighborhood (which is quite poor) without getting really depressed all the time because of people's problems. In the past, I used to say that everybody is kind of responsible for themselves, but now it just really takes me down and leaves me depressed. That can't be healthy, so I really don't know how a happy, fulfilling life is possible without believing in free will?!

    2. Well, hello, KiwiKiri! That's quite the moniker you have there! ;)

      I don't really email at all, to be honest. I think I have Facebook for JMJ, but I don't even remember. I blog with my friends and anyone interested in interesting subjects. Most all that other communication is just for idle chat and spam.

      I'd be glad to do a post on the subject, but don't see why we couldn't take it up right here.


    3. Okay, you wrote, "To me, Sam Harris' points make sense and I also witnessed the huge advantages that his theory brings. I always used to judge people quickly for the mistakes they made or if they hurt me - today I'm much more forgiving and "loving" (even though that mind sound kitchy), because I know that eventually it's not their fault."

      I have to first correct you here. "Fault" is a heavily loaded term. We have customs and norms and laws for of all sorts of "faults." Let's take a couple examples.

      A child was raised spoiled by wealthy but irresponsible parents. He barely skates through an Ivy League on their wealth, and now grown and unable to make a honest dollar for himself, takes to stealing from his wealthy friends using fraudulent investment schemes. However, those funds include the investments of hundreds of thousands of retirement investors. In the end, the scheme is uncovered, billions are lost, hundreds of thousands lose retirement income, and that spoiled child is now in a safe prison for probably the rest of his life.

      A child was raised in a poor rural area in Appalachia. He never met his father. His mother was a pill head. School was minimally funded and run, mostly with aid from the state and the feds, but it didn't matter because he never finished. Illegally sold prescription opioids were widely available, made his mother happy, and made for the only lucrative business he could see himself doing. After three run-ins with the law over this business, he is finished. He gets life in a hard prison.

      Now, take these two examples. How many "faults" can you find? Tell me how and why you see them as faults. Do you see any?


  3. General thought. People are the product of their environment, which as we know covers a lot of influences. Often individuals born and raised in adversity such as you describe, lacking a strong positive interventing influence, end up poorly and perpetuating the only environment they have ever known.

    Fault... Parents, peers, the system, and, ultimately the individual.

    There's more but perhaps KiwiKiri will weigh in.