The Catastrophe June 21, 2010March 18, 2017 GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE What a day for those of us up North. Where I sit, the day will be 15 hours, 5 minutes, 51 seconds long – a full second longer than yesterday and three seconds longer than we can expect tomorrow.* (And nearly six hours longer than the nine-and-a-quarter we had December 21.) Happy summer! RUSSIAN JUSTICE — NOT This is the story of how the state imprisoned and ultimately killed an honest lawyer. One cries – and fears – for the long-suffering Russian people. AMERICAN JUSTICE – IN PROGRESS Here is Maureen Dowd’s account of last week’s closing arguments in the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage equality. (Civil marriage. We all agree religious orders should be free to discriminate against anyone they want.) It’s pretty clear that the team of Ted Olson and David Boies (opponents in Bush v. Gore) will win this case, and highly likely that, on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, they will win again. Then it will presumably go to the Supreme Court, perhaps as early as next year, where everyone assumes that four of the five Catholic male justices will find some reason to overturn the Appeals Court, leaving the fifth – Justice Kennedy – to be the determining vote. I’m not so sure. I share the cautious optimism that Kennedy will uphold the verdict – and 5-4 will certainly suffice. But – call me naïve – I think some or all of the other Justices might just surprise us. For one thing, as Dowd’s column recounts, even the opposing counsel doesn’t seem to have his heart in it. He can come up with no evidence or logical argument to deny equal rights in this case. And the merits – even with the Justices who appointed George Bush president – should count for something. But for another thing, the conservative position is to keep government out of the bedroom, is to allow individuals the freedom to pursue happiness in their own way, even if that way offends some sensibilities. Surely Justice Thomas will be mindful that mixed-race marriages – like his own – offend some sensibilities; and yet became legal throughout the land in 1967 as a result of a Supreme Court ruling. Might he not write some sort of concurring opinion that begins, “As abhorrent as I personally find homosexuality, I nonetheless can find no Constitutional basis for . . .” And for a third thing, wouldn’t this be an easy place for someone like Justice Roberts – who surely knows gay people he respects – to show he’s not reflexively anti-liberal? Because, as I say, this is an issue on which liberals and conservatives actually agree – witness the odd couple, Olson and Boies, who would be returning to the Court as allies to make the case. And wouldn’t it be a great day for America to have the Court affirm that all of us are entitled to equal rights under the law, and the pursuit of happiness where it does not impinge on the happiness of others? THE CATASTROPHE For the latest info: Here is the official site of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, with links to information, claims filing, volunteer opportunities, and the suggestion process. (Add yours to the 20,000 received to date, of which 100 or so, the site says, have thus far been selected by the 30-person “suggestion triage” team for further review and possible adoption.) Here is the White House web site page, which is similar. And here is the White House Deepwater blog. Lastly, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – has launched a site meant to be a “one-stop shop for detailed and near-real-time information about the response,” including technical and scientific information such as the oil spill’s trajectory, fishery areas closed, pinpointed locations of oiled shoreline, daily position of research ships. To all those who say the government is too big (but needs to solve this problem) . . . or that government regulation is bad (but was too lax here) . . . or that government should keep its hands off Medicare (somehow not understanding that Medicare is a government program) . . . or that we owe BP an apology (as Joe Barton, the ranking member of the House Energy Committee, emphasized last week – a “tragedy” is how he described what BP has been subjected to*) . . . I want to say this: Of course you are right to be concerned about deficits (that’s why President Clinton raised taxes moderately on those making the most and handed George W. Bush what so many called “surpluses as far as the eye could see”), and of course you are right that government regulation shouldn’t go too far (be reassured that business has thousands upon thousands of lobbyists working to prevent corporate interests from being trampled). But if you vote Republican this November, you are voting to hand the keys back to the team who drove us into the ditch . . . and to put the chairmanship of the House Energy Committee in the hands of BP-apologist Joe Barton. REGISTER TO VOTE Here’s the new DNC website to make it easy, no matter where you live. Forward to your kids? *Barring something VERY unusual. **Yes, I know he retracted that. But watch the original clip and tell me if you don’t think it’s a more genuine reflection of his world view than the retraction.