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Supreme Court To Decide Scope Of Civil Rights Law For Gay Americans

April 23, 2019

The news Monday was expected, and yet it seemed like every legal move takes forever to occur.  The process does move in a methodical fashion.

News that the the Supreme Court will decide whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees protections from workplace discrimination for gay and transgender people–in a presidential election year–will be nothing short of a barometer reading concerning how this newly formed set of conservative justices view the rights of gay Americans.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said the 1964 act does guarantee protections for gay people.  My readers will not be surprised that the Trump administration has pushed for the Act to be viewed as not applying to sexual orientation or transgender status.

So bring in the justices to weigh in on the law of the land.   And also bring up the stress level for gay Americans who seek equality and protection under the law.

The cases come down to a central general concept.  Anyone is free to have an opinion, but that person is not free to discriminate on the basis of it.  That seems a very basic and easy to digest summation.

The cases range from a skydiving instructor who said he was fired because he was gay, a  Georgia case being brought by a child welfare services coordinator who said he was fired for being gay, and an employee who was fired from a Michigan funeral home after she announced in 2013 that she was a transgender woman and would start working in women’s clothing.

How we are still doing battle for the rights of people over sexual persuasion and identity is, on the one hand baffling, while on the other hand offensive.  In 2019 when the cases are heard, and in 2020 when the cases are ruled should already be a time when it is most clear that such discrimination is not only illegal, but also immoral and inhumane.   What is wrong with people who think their bigotry should rule?

From a legal perspective I do find credibility with the argument raised last night on a talk show that trying to interpret Title VII, a law passed some 55 years ago, might be problematic when dealing with the issues at hand today–such as with transgender people.   I understand the legal and political jockeying that such a line of thinking takes us.   Because with that line of reasoning comes the need for another new law to prohibit anti-gay discrimination.

That would be a long political chapter to watch unfold.  But it would be far better in the long run to do the hard work and pass legislation than to allow for bigots to discriminate against gay and transgender people, and do so in a ‘legal’ fashion based on some tortured ruling from this conservative court.

And so it goes.

“Greg Humphrey, Man Of Courage”

April 22, 2019

I am not sure how to post this and make it look humble.  Perhaps there is no way to achieve it.  But I post the following with sincere gratitude.

I have tried with the best of my ability to call the balls and strikes regarding the issues of the day on this blog.  Sometimes people agree with my opinion pieces, other times they vehemently disagree.  Reading history proves why our nation moves forward with far more reasonableness when we seek out issues to work together on, and strive for consensus.   The recent spring election is a case in point.

David Blaska was a Madison School Board candidate who ran a tough race as a conservative in a very liberal city.  I firmly believe the issues he talked about, and the ideas he advanced regarding our schools and students, were what voters needed to hear.  His stances were in the best interest of education.  I supported him with an endorsement and was proud to have his lawn sign up for the election season.   I have written on this blog how that sign allowed for discussions that might otherwise have not occurred.

This morning Blaska wrote, in part, the following on his blog.

But if you want the Policy Werkes’ nomination for Courage Under Political Fire, read the name of Greg Humphrey. Greg is an openly gay man living on Madison’s isthmus in the Wil-Mar neighborhood represented by Ald. Marsha Rummel, Progressive Dane.

Early on, the proprietor of the Caffeinated Politics blog backed Blaska’s candidacy. What’s more, he stuck a Blaska campaign yard sign in his front lawn, within sight of Lake Monona. He did something that a great many other liberals told the candidate personally that they wanted to do — “but my neighbors would …”

But I am still scared of spiders.

Madison Police Need More Discerning Advocates

April 21, 2019


I wrote recently about the quieter voices in this city who are liberal and vote Democratic, but also support our police and want to see common sense policies applied to issues impacting the school district.  As I stated there are many of these types of people who wish not to take stands about issues or personalities that can, at times, run counter to the prevailing views in Madison.

One of the reasons these citizens are hesitant to step forward regards not wishing to be viewed as being aligned with the local advocacy group in support of the Madison Police Department.  Time and again the political biases of The We Support The Madison Police Department proves to be stronger than any desire to promote or discuss local police matters.  This weekend a prime example of what I am talking about was posted on their Facebook page.

A link was posted concerning Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx “colluding with alleged assailant in a ‘punch and kick’ to his police victims”.   A photo of Foxx, along with an African -American male, made the link look most incriminating.   The link used for this gripping news story came not from the Chicago Sun-Times, WGN radio, or the Chicago Tribune.  It did not come from any credible news operation.  Instead the link which the Madison advocacy group chose came from PJmedia.   If you had to read that twice–well–join the rest of us.

When one starts to look at the content on this ‘stellar’ website it becomes clear that it is a bottom-feeder operation.  Riveting articles range from “How Long Before the Fate of Benedict’s Church Is the Fate of the West?” to “Transgender Privilege: Why Must We All Be Forced to Bow to It?” and of course “Watching Bernie at the Fox News Town Hall: Memories of the Soviet Union”.

This is why the quieter voices in Madison hunker down and stay silent when it comes to certain issues we face as a city.   If the choice is to stand with a local group that shows its true political colors with every posting, or stay muted so not to be confused with the far-right there really is no choice.

To read the pleadings and passion from this local advocacy group would make one believe they care about Madison police. At some level I believe they do. But the manner they operate, and the levels they stoop to when it comes to conservative rot, makes it clear the real intent is something other than lifting up the men and women who wear blue.  And that concerns me.

Following the Tony Robinson shooting in Madison those who oppose the police attempted to frame our force as akin to other departments nationwide which have landed in the headlines.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, in a number of national interviews, proved his communications skills while outlining why Madison is a department that is head and shoulders above others.  Statistics also make the case why Madison police can not be summed up in pointless rhetoric from the anti-police crowd.

But on the flip side the local pro-police advocacy group has jumped in bed with the far right and their agenda.  Never once thinking that putting all their eggs (it is Easter weekend, after all) in one political party is not just as wrong-headed as the anti-police zealots who paint all police with the same brush.  The tactics from the anti-police and pro-police groups are very similar.   And that is very disturbing.  Middle ground be damned—man the barricades!

Police officers are far too often used as pawns in political discourse.  We hear and read that from candidates for office, be it the school board or all the way up to the White House. That is shameful enough.   But when Madison police are used as political pawns by an advocacy group, which is supposed to be working to bridge difference with the department and the community, it leaves me shaking my head in bafflement.  

There is nothing to be gained for Madison police by using a conservative operation’s web site to poke at Chicago law and politics.  For what absurd end?  That low-brow linking may allow for the advocacy group to snicker among themselves.  But that does nothing to bring the larger Madison community together to support our police.  And was not that the goal of the pro-police group in the first place?

This is one reason why, dear readers, the quieter voices in Madison shy away from public statements and commitments when it comes to some matters impacting our city.   The anti-police crowd gain ground when incompetents run the show at We Support The Madison Police Department by getting their ‘news’ from an organization which has a headline reading“Who’s Worse—Julian Assange or the New York Times and Washington Post?

And so it goes.

Happy Easter!—Your Blogger Returns Monday!

April 19, 2019

Mueller Report, Trump Corruption, With Political Cartoons

April 18, 2019

Only reasonable way to view the travesty of justice perpetrated by Trump Administration is through the skilled hands of political cartoonists.

Mueller Report Says Much About Trump Base

April 18, 2019

What our nation is watching play out, as a redacted version of the Mueller report has been released, is the power given to the ones trying to control the narrative.  Attorney General Barr has taken the report and molded it to fit the partisan contours of the Trump White House.   Since it is about time in my home for coffee to be made, let me put it another way which matches up with the San Francisco blend which is about to be brewed.  The pure water is the report, the coffee in the filter is Barr and the White House, and the liquid result is the process of what happens when spin and politics is added to the mix.

Once brewed today, how will I look at my carafe?!

The interpretation of the Mueller report will not stand.   No one is going to replace my own eyes and logic with a performance in front of the national press.   Everything the Trump Administration has come in contact with has been tainted with varying degrees of dishonesty, fabrication, and untruthfulness.    It has been proven repeatedly that nothing can be taken for fact in this administration, everything needs to be checked and verified.

Since we are talking about Republicans and Russia today it might be the time to step back into the history books and recall what President Reagan had to say in this regard.  There is a Russian proverb which reads “Doveryai, no proveryai”.  Reagan made it easier for the American people by translating “Trustbut verify”

Not only has the GOP in large part forgotten the words of Reagan, but they have also given up an ability to think for themselves.   As seen by the performance of Barr this morning, and Trump over the past many months, there is an expectation that the conservative base will fall over and accept anything they are told.

Historians decades from now will need to examine and explain for the nation how Trump supporters were so willing to leave their morals and foundations taught to them by parents and grandparents, and cave for the lowest forms of deportment and highest levels of unethical chicanery.

It would seem to me that regardless of party affiliation there would be a deep curiosity about what the report contains.  When the Starr Report dealing with President Clinton was released in paperback I was in line at Borders Books the first day it became available—and early enough to make sure the supply did not run out before one was in my hand!  Why should the GOP be any different with the Mueller Report?

Perhaps the Trump base is afraid that if they were able to read the un-redacted report they would discover unethical and unpatriotic activities and behavior from Trump and his crew.  What would they think then about being duped?  What would that then say about their ability for judgement?

That quandary too, is a job for historians to wade through in the decades to come when the Trump supporters will be judged by history.

Now for that cup of coffee.

Thursday At UW-Madison Memorial Union

April 17, 2019

The iconic chairs come back to the Memorial Union at UW-Madison on Thursday—April 18th.  The view in the photo is of Lake Mendota, with the university sitting on the isthmus with Lake Monona being its sister lake.

Many a romance has started on these hundreds of chairs, philosophical arguments unfold here as undergraduates start their journey in life, beer is enjoyed, ice-cream is one of the must eats right after the brats which are sold off to one side.

When in Madison make this a stop—and plan for a sunset to capture why this is such a special location.

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