For the past weeks we have been reproducing the “Law and Politics” index lost from MJYoung.net, thus far covering all of 2012 and 2013 in an early and a late page. Although the original was restored, it was lost again and its restoration is not entirely certain–and since nothing on the Internet is exactly permanent, it seemed best to continue the duplication here as backup. This page continues with articles published in the early half of 2014.
Subjects addressed in the first half of 2014 included:
- Church and State
- Freedom of Expression
- Health Care
- Gun Control
- Election 2014
- Marriage Law Articles
- Drug and Alcohol Laws
Church and State
Church and State
See also Marriage Law Articles, Freedom of Expression, Health Care, Discrimination.
Although my biases in this area might be impugned, it is sometimes necessary to address the arguments advanced by some in the name of freedom from religion. Some are no doubt well-meaning, but still misunderstand the sense of the First Amendment.
- A Happy Birthday, appeared 1/7/14: returns to the issues of holiday greetings by asking why anyone should be offended at being wished a good day for any reason, or no reason at all.
- Evangelicals out-of-touch?, appeared 4/29/14: responds to the charge that Evangelical Christian leaders are not voicing the opinions of the majority of Americans on key issues.
It is a topic that arises occasionally, and certainly will be revisited.
Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression
See also Church and State, Discrimination.
While the Church and State articles are certainly part of this, these articles are more about freedom of speech and of the press.
- Freedom of Expression: Foundations, appeared 1/14/14: looks at the origins of our notions of freedom of opinion both in its religious roots and in the Supreme Court definitions of it, and discusses the meaning and nature of “tolerance”.
- Freedom of Expression: Hate speech, appeared 1/21/14: explores the concept of “hate speech” and the danger it poses to our freedom of speech.
- Freedom of Expression: History, appeared 1/28/14: asks whether it really is so bad to make it illegal to claim the Holocaust never really happened.
- Freedom of Expression: Epithets, appeared 2/4/14: looks particularly at the use of the “N-word” in recent cases, and the issue of under what circumstances we are protected against abusive language.
- Freedom of Expression: Facebook “Likes”, appeared 2/11/14: hits a case that asked whether you can be fired for “liking” a political candidate.
- Freedom of Expression: Racism, appeared 2/18/14: hits the issue raised of whether objecting to President Obama’s policies is itself a racist attitude.
- Freedom of Expression: Prejudice, appeared 2/25/14: gets personal, looking at the way in which some have discriminated against this author for his faith.
- Freedom of Expression: Copyright, appeared 3/4/14: considers whether an actor has sufficient interest in his own performance to prevent a film from appearing in a particular venue.
See also Gubernatorial 2013.
The rumor has been floating for a while that our New Jersey Governor Christie is one of the best candidates the Republican Party could field in the upcoming 2016 Presidential race. That of course does not mean that they will; but the race is going to be of interest in New Jersey whether Christie ever declares himself a candidate or not. So here’s to considering the race.
- 2016 Presidential Election: Running?, appeared 3/11/14: looks at the issue of whether a Christie bid for the presidency means abandoning responsibilities in the state.
- 2016 Presidential Election: Scandal, appeared 3/18/14: considers the impact that the George Washington Bridge traffic mismanagement might have on Christie’s popularity as a Presidential candidate.
We’ll be looking at this well into 2016, so this will gradually become a relatively large section.
See also Discrimination.
The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has made health insurance a big issue in The United States. Some say that it is a mistake, that privatized medicine gives us the best medical care in the world, the best drugs, the best doctors, the best hospitals; others say that the mistake is in the other direction, that the United States lags behind in medical care because it is a rich man’s benefit, and that we need to follow the lead of dozens of other advanced countries into socialized medicine, providing equal access to all–which again is not what this program provides.
That should probably be the beginning of one of the articles in this section, but that is not where the discussion begins for us. Rather, we are starting with what might be considered peripheral matters, problems created by the fact that the massive legislative package attempts to do so much that not even its sponsors were certain of its contents.
- The Hobby Lobby argument, appeared 3/25/14: considers what is probably being presented to the Supreme Court in the issue of whether a publicly owned corporation that happens to be closely held by a group with strong religious views can be said to have a protected religious belief.
- The New healthcare inequity, appeared 4/15/14: explains why the rich will be able to get better health care under the A.C.A. that was not so readily available to them before.
This is another hot issue bound to raise more points in the months and even years ahead.
Laws are made by politicians elected to office, through a political process that involves negotiation and compromise–usually. Here we include articles about laws being considered.
- Republicans and unemployment, appeared 4/1/14: as the Senate passes a bill that would relieve the financial stress on many of our unemployed, the questions surrounding whether the House will approve it may impact the November elections.
- Taxing the sun, appeared 5/6/14: considers a proposed law in Oklahoma that would impose taxes on those who generate electricity from home solar and wind systems and sell some of the power back to the grid.
- Taxing the drillers, appeared 5/20/14: looks at a law in Pennsylvania that would tax the petroleum produced by fracking in that state.
A political satirist once said that elections were always a problem for him, because it was usually the case that one candidate would be good for his country and the other good for his business. That’s not always the case, but we know that the circus we call the legislature can be very entertaining, and will undoubtedly produce more articles in the future.
See also Church and State, Marriage Law Articles, Freedom of Expression, Health Care.
There are of course articles in other categories that deal with discrimination; these are specifically aimed at that issue.
- Ham and religious discrimination, appeared 4/8/14: considers the fact that some because of their religious beliefs consider it immoral to eat ham, or to serve ham, and how that should fit into our present questions of discrimination.
- Opposing Michelle Obama, appeared 4/22/14: considers the objections raised by Topeka high school graduates and their families to having the First Lady speak at their graduation ceremony.
There are additional articles included in the second half of the year.
Gun Control Articles
Gun Control Articles
Quite a few articles were published on this subject in previous indices, and there is at least one more on the next.
- Gun control: A Contrast, appeared 5/13/14: puts the conflict over the Bundy cattle ranch against the war in Syria to illuminate the point of the Second Amendment.
Gun control has been a hot topic as long as I have been aware of the political process, and is not likely to go away, so there will surely be more of these to come.
See also Senatorial 2013, Gubernatorial 2013.
It may not seem like a major election year, but with a Senate race and every seat in the House of Representatives contested, New Jersey voters needed some background. In puruit of that, I also attempted to contact each of the major party candidates, and those who responded are covered in articles covering those interviews, all of which fall in the latter half of the year covered in the next index.
- New Jersey 2014 Senate Primary, appeared 5/27/14: looks at the candidates running for Senator this year, including incumbent Cory Booker.
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary District 1, appeared 5/27/14: looks at the congressional (House of Representatives) candidates for New Jersey’s Legislative District 1, which covers most of Camden County, the northern half of Gloucester County, and a small piece of southern Burlington County, where Democratic incumbent Rob Andrews resigned in February under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary District 2, appeared 5/27/14: continues looking at congressional candidates with district 2, covering all of Salem, Cumberland, Cape May, and Atlantic Counties plus a southern section of Ocean County and a small southeast corner of Burlington County, served presently by Republican incumbent Frank Lobiondo.
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary District 3, appeared 5/27/14: continues looking at congressional candidates with district 3, covering most of Burlington County and that part of Ocean County not covered in the first two districts, where Republican incumbent Jon Runyan is retiring.
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary Districts 4, 5, 6, appeared 5/27/14: continues looking at congressional candidates with districts 4 (most of Monmouth County, the western section of Ocean County, and the southern portion of Mercer County, incumbent Chris Smith), 5 (much of the northern portions of Warren, Sussex, Passaic and Bergen counties, incumbent Scott Garrett), and 6 (northern Monmouth and eastern Middlesex Counties, incumbent Frank Pallone).
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary Districts 7, 8, 9, appeared 5/28/14: continues looking at congressional candidates with districts 7 (Hunterdon County plus southwestern portions of Warren and Morris Counties and western sections of Union and Somerset Counties, incumbent Leonard Lance), 8 (small portions of Hudson and Union Counties surrounding but not including Jersey City, incumbent Albio Sires), and 9 (sections of southern Bergen County, eastern Passaic County, and northwestern Hudson County, incumbent Bill Pascrell).
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary District 10, appeared 5/28/14: continues looking at congressional candidates with district 10, comprised of small densely populated sections of Hudson, Union, and Essex Counties, including Newark and Jersey City and presently served by Donald Payne.
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary District 11, appeared 5/28/14: continues looking at congressional candidates with district 11, containing most of Morris County, southeastern Passaic County (but not Patterson), western Essex County, and southeastern Sussex County. The current incumbent is Rodney Frelinghuysen.
- New Jersey 2014 Congressional Primary District 12, appeared 5/28/14: finalizes looking at primary congressional candidates with district 12, comprised of northern Mercer County including Trenton, most of Middlesex County, and the southeastern edge of Somerset County, where Rush Holt is retiring.
- Voting in the New Jersey 2014 Congressional primary, appeared 6/3/14: does not exactly encourage everyone to vote.
- New Jersey 2014 Primary results, appeared 6/3/14: gives the tally of winners in the Senate and Congressional races.
There are more articles on this subject, including interviews with several of the candidates, in the second half of the year still to be indexed.
Marriage Law Articles
Marriage Law Articles
See also Church and State, Freedom of Expression, Discrimination.
The Examiner editorial staff requested that political columnists address the issues surrounding the homosexual marriage debate. With some trepidation I began, and found that I had quite a bit to say reaching from 2012 and beyond this index, hopefully in the name of amicable dialogue.
- Romantic love and the nuclear family, appeared 6/10/14: looks at the results of a recent study of with whom women fall in love, and finds questions related to the notion that men and women are interchangeable as parents.
This will undoubtedly be a hot topic; please be certain to read the first article, and to make all responses civil and amicable for purposes of discussion.
Drug and Alcohol Laws
Drug and Alcohol Laws
See also Miscellany, Search and Seizure Issues.
The legalization of marijuana in two states has changed the climate in American politics on this issue. We attempt to address a few points.
- Marijuana legalization and the popular vote, appeared 6/17/14: notes that in the wake of legalization of recreational marijuana support for that policy has fallen, and most precipitiously in one of the states that embraced it. The benefits of a conservative attitude are considered against the advantages of experiments in law.
- Drug testing and legalization, appeared 6/24/14: raises the question of whether employees can be terminated for drug use in states in which such use is legal.
More articles are indexed in the latter half of the year, including the answer to the question raised in the latter of these two.
That is the list of all articles published during our first calendar year as Political Buzz Examiner; additional indices will cover the subsequent years.