Pick Wayne's Brain

March 29, 2015

Indiana Wasn’t First, Connecticut Was, But Not For The Reasons You Think

Indiana Governor Mike Pence made headlines this past week when he signed into law Indiana’s version of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Proponents say the bill is necessary to protect the rights of Christians to practice their beliefs freely. There is a growing belief (entirely misplaced IMHO) on the right that Christians who wish to discriminate against certain customers on religious grounds are being denied the right to practice their religion under the First Amendment. Opponents say that’s precisely why the bill should not be passed, because it will be used as an excuse to discriminate against the LGBT community on alleged religious freedom grounds (even though there’s no evidence that Jesus said to discriminate against “teh gays”, but we’ll get to that later.) The opposition has been calling for a boycott of Indiana ever since, and there is speculation about how this would affect the NCAA March Madness Men’s Basketball Tournament, whose Final Four competition is to take place in Indianapolis, Indiana. The NCAA says it isn’t sure right now. (Fun Fact: Indianapolis is one of only four state capital names that begin with the same letter as their states. Can you name the other three? The answer is at the end.) The push for the boycott spread to other cities, as the mayors of Seattle and San Francisco joined in the boycott. The news came that Angie’s List, based in Indianapolis, announced it was cancelling its $40-million headquarters expansion project because of the RFRA.

Writing for The Washington Posts’s column, The Fix, Hunter Schwarz observed that nobody has been calling for a boycott of the nineteen (possibly more) states that previously passed some version of the RFRA. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), there are nineteen states that have (more…)

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March 22, 2015

It’s Clearly Not A Budget

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 10:26 PM

It’s supposed to be a budget, but clearly it’s not. Sure, it’s got some numbers in it, but it also has places where there are no numbers, just huge assumptions about money that even a high school student would find obviously wrong. For example, they want to repeal Obamacare (because, what, 57th time’s a charm?) but they make no provision for where the tax revenue the ACA generated will be raised. The other major problem with that thing with numbers is that it calls for cutting a trillion dollars in spending without specifying the programs being cut. The likely candidates are “food stamps, disability payments for veterans, the earned income tax credit, and Pell grants for college students,” but even cuts there won’t make up for the money Republicans claim they won’t be spending. In short, there is no way this Republican budget can have any connection to Reality.

That’s putting it more kindly than Paul Krugman. He called Republicans (more…)

March 15, 2015

Again With The Benghazi?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 11:12 PM

On November 24, 2014, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (or NAMBLA) issued a report with the sexy title “Investigative Report on the Terrorist Attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012.” If you’re a Conservative, you probably just had an orgasm reading that sentence. Whether it was over the word “Benghazi” or the word “NAMBLA” I won’t say, but I’m sure you’re titillated. Benghazi. Say it loud and the games start playing. Say it soft as you sit there while praying. Benghazi. You’ll never stop saying “Ben-gha-ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.”

Anywho, this report from this Permanent Select Committee, was to be the “definitive” report on what happened. “Definitive.” So if you were the type of person who understood what words mean, you would think (more…)

March 7, 2015

The Spring Forward Position

Filed under: Commentary, Science — Tags: , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:05 AM

“Spring Forward, Fall Back.” It seems we learned that one before we learned the Lord’s Prayer. (Some of you may have learned that one faster than the rest of us.) But why do we do it? Wasn’t Daylight Savings Time something Ben Franklin thought up? Wasn’t it supposed to be for the benefit of the farmers, so they would have more daylight to harvest their crops and work their fields? Don’t they have alarm clocks now? Can’t they just let the rest of us sleep?

The answers are: (more…)

March 1, 2015

How The Right Gets Net Neutrality Wrong

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 9:16 PM

This past Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to change the way the nation’s internet service providers are regulated. After their proposed regulation, Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet, is published on the federal register in a few weeks, it will take effect sixty days later. This has some prominent right wing luminaries upset, even though it’s apparent they have absolutely no understanding of what net neutrality is. All it means is that all internet content must be treated equally by the internet service providers (ISPs). Comcast can’t slow down your Netflix streaming video just because they would prefer you use their subsidiary company’s product, Hulu. The ISPs aren’t happy, but you should be overjoyed. Don’t listen to these people.

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