THE LUNATICS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE ASYLUM (AND THEY BROUGHT KOCH!): “In the spring of 2012, Spenser Johnson, a junior at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kansas, was unpacking his acoustic bass before orchestra practice when a sign caught his eye. "Do you want to make money?" it asked. The poster encouraged the predominantly poor students at Highland Park to enroll in a new, yearlong course that would provide lessons in basic economic principles and practical instruction on starting a business. Students would receive generous financial incentives including startup capital and scholarships after graduation. The course would begin that fall. Johnson eagerly signed up. In some ways, the class looked like a typical high school business course, taught in a Highland Park classroom by a Highland Park teacher. But it was actually run by Youth Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit group created and funded primarily by Charles G. Koch, the billionaire chairman of Koch Industries. The official mission of Youth Entrepreneurs is to provide kids with "business and entrepreneurial education and experiences that help them prosper and become contributing members of society." The underlying goal of the program, however, is to impart Koch's radical free-market ideology to teenagers. In the last school year, the class reached more than 1,000 students across Kansas and Missouri. Lesson plans and class materials obtained by The Huffington Post make the course's message clear: The minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth. Low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper. Public assistance harms the poor. Government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.” (via Huffington Post)
GET HIGH SCHOOL, BABY!
DEATH TO THE DEATH PENALTY IN CALIFORNIA: “A federal judge in Orange County ruled Wednesday that California’s death penalty violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, ruled on a petition by death row inmate Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to die nearly two decades ago. Carney said the state’s death penalty has created long delays and uncertainty for inmates, most of whom will never be executed. He noted that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed. “For the rest, the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution,” Carney wrote. Carney’s ruling can be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Carney, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, said the delays have created a “system in which arbitrary factors, rather than legitimate ones like the nature of the crime or the date of the death sentence, determine whether an individual will actually be executed,” Carney said. In overturning Jones’ death sentence, Carney noted that the inmate faced “complete uncertainty as to when, or even whether" he will be executed. The “random few” who will be executed “will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary,” Carney said. “No rational person,” Carney wrote, “can question that the execution of an individual carries with it the solemn obligation of the government to ensure that the punishment is not arbitrarily imposed and that it furthers the interests of society.” (via Los Angeles Times)
YEP, BECAUSE “GOD” REALLY WANTED YOU TO CARRY GUNS, ASSHOLE: “A proposal to limit the District of Columbia's ability to enforce its gun laws passed the House on Wednesday. Rep. Thomas Massie's (R-Ky.) amendment to the fiscal 2015 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, which includes a $637 million federal payment for the District of Columbia, would prohibit funding to enforce its handgun ban and other gun laws. The amendment passed 241-181. Massie said the District's gun laws ran counter to the Supreme Court's ruling on the issue. "Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia v. Heller that struck down the D.C. handgun ban, as well as the unconstitutional gun lock provision, it's still difficult for D.C. residents to exercise their God-given rights to bear arms," Massie said. Massie also argued that gun control laws would not prevent firearm violence. "Does anyone actually believe that strict gun control laws will prevent criminals from getting guns? Strict gun control laws do nothing but prevent good people from being able to protect themselves and their families in the event of a robbery, home invasion or other crime," Massie said. But Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), the District's nonvoting representative in Congress, blasted the proposal from the Kentucky Republican. "It's a flagrant abuse of democracy by a member who comes here with a Tea Party principle that says power should be devolved to the local level," Norton said. "He is playing with the lives of the American citizens who are not accountable to him and live in my city." (via The Hill)
YOU GUYS! IT’S GETTING HARDER AND HARDER TO BELIEVE HOW DUMB JOHN BOEHNER IS!: “It’s getting more and more difficult with each passing day to view John Boehner’s long-shot lawsuit against Barack Obama as anything but a ridiculous political stunt. Boehner’s own arguments for suing the president are illogical and it’s impossible to escape the fact that he’s trying to force implementation of a law he wants repealed, but there was always a chance that backers of the suit would try and put together a coherent case for why it should be taken seriously. That apparently was too much to ask as well. Boehner’s suit began its slow march through the legal system today as the House Rules Committee convened a hearing to deliberate the matter and hear testimony from a panel of constitutional lawyers. In practice, the panel testifying before the Rules Committee was equally divided: two legal minds in support of the lawsuit, two against. On paper, however, the split wasn’t quite so equal. Jonathan Wiesman of the New York Times reported earlier today that one of the witnesses testifying in support of the House’s ability to sue the president, law professor Elizabeth Price Foley, wrote an Op-Ed for the Daily Caller just few months ago arguing that Congress cannot sue the president because it does not have standing. She was unambiguous about it, and specifically cited Obama’s move to delay enforcement of the employer mandate – the exact issue she’s now arguing the House has standing to sue over: When a president delays or exempts people from a law — so-called benevolent suspensions — who has standing to sue him? Generally, no one. Benevolent suspensions of law don’t, by definition, create a sufficiently concrete injury for standing. That’s why, when President Obama delayed various provisions of Obamacare — the employer mandate, the annual out-of-pocket caps, the prohibition on the sale of “substandard” policies — his actions cannot be challenged in court. So the pro-lawsuit side weren’t just arguing against precedent and established legal principles, they were arguing against themselves.” (via Salon)