Tuesday Twitter roundup

Good questions:

Unfortunately, they're too busy serving their fossil fuel overlords:

Oh, please do move forward with a vicious attack on Republicans who (very wisely) derailed efforts to gut our REPS program. The sooner the GOP figures out AFP is merely a tool of the Koch Brothers and just as toxic, the sooner this astro-turf organization will fade into obscurity.

At first I thought this was a faux Twitter account. But this douche is actually bragging about his vote...

Scott Walker is an idiot, and he's one of the most un-Democratic politicians that has emerged in recent decades. But go right ahead and stack your convention with nut-jobs. We'll be here waiting to publish the inevitable embarrassing quotes.

Since this story first broke, I've been uncomfortable with the idea of using Jesse Helms as a tool to block NC's RFRA. First of all, it's *never* a good idea to resurrect Senator No, because of the massive wedge he drove between people of this state. Some things, and people, are best forgotten. But more important than that, a closer examination of the 1993 law reveals how it was passed with an overwhelming bi-partisan majority, with Democrats (some who are still serving) opening the door for future discriminatory practices:

Prior to RFRA, in defining religious freedom under the Constitution, the Supreme Court was much more restrictive, usually using what was known as a “balancing test” in analyzing free exercise claims. In the case of Braunfield v. Brown(link is external), for example, the court refused to find that Sunday closing laws infringed on the religious freedom rights of Jewish merchants (who were already closing on Friday night and Saturday, and thus were burdened by having to close on Sunday as well). But in the case of Sherbert v. Verner(link is external) the balance tipped the other way, as the high court allowed a claim for unemployment compensation by a Jewish man who lost his job because he refused to work Saturdays.

RFRA was passed in 1993, mainly in response to another case involving unemployment benefits. Two men were denied benefits after they were fired from their jobs as drug counselors because they had used the hallucinogen peyote. Because the peyote was used in connection with a religious practice, the men argued that constitutional religious freedom protections prohibited the denial of unemployment benefits. The court, however, in Employment Division v. Smith(link is external), disagreed, saying the unemployment compensation law involved was “neutral and of general applicability” (i.e., on its face it was not hostile to any religion, and it was not passed with the intent of burdening any particular religious group) and therefore didn't violate anyone's religious freedom.

Seeing the Smith outcome as an injustice (especially when contrasted with Sherbert), many liberals joined conservatives in pushing for RFRA, to make clear that the government should be more accommodating toward religious freedom claims. The RFRA bill passed almost unanimously (the notorious conservative North Carolina senator, Jesse Helms, was one of only three “no” votes).

The court repeatedly emphasized that its decision results from the higher standard of religious freedom required by RFRA. “By enacting RFRA, Congress went far beyond what this court has held is constitutionally required,” Justice Alito wrote. (Alito, p. 17(link is external)) “RFRA was designed to provide very broad protection.” The definition of religious freedom under RFRA, Alito said, should be understood as “an obvious effort to effect a complete separation from First Amendment case law.”

Thus, those outraged by the Hobby Lobby ruling should understand that the outcome is not the result of constitutional interpretation, but statutory interpretation. Why is this important? Because changing a statute is much easier than changing the Constitution.

Some of you may not agree with me on the following, but I'm confident in my liberal leanings nonetheless: The Court was right in ruling the denied unemployment benefits for the drug counselors was acceptable. If they had been in another occupation, it might be iffy depending on the timing of the drug use and the occupation itself. But people supposedly dedicated to helping drug addicts get and stay clean while taking hallucinatory drugs themselves, however natural in nature?

Firing them for cause was not an "injustice," but paving the way for the Hobby Lobby decision was. Democrats have to learn to fight the right battles, to address the real problems people are suffering from, if we want to reclaim our rightful place on the moral high ground.

It's not a public records request, it's a massive fishing expedition, designed solely to paralyze the office of NC's highest law enforcement officer. Which makes me wonder if the NC GOP has some other reason for obstructing justice in such a manner. It might be worth the time to take a look at current investigations the AG's office is conducting...

Also, there's this:

Hypocrisy on parade...

You're kidding, right? Even if they weren't adamantly opposed to it, there are way too many punishments waiting to be doled out to the people to waste time with something that might give them more representative power.

You better believe they do, and even more so here in NC, where Republicans threw them under the bus. You make your bed, you lie in it.

You know what's really funny about this? It's not the conspiracy-theorist vague connect-the-dots approach, but the fact this Twit is trying to push this in-bed-with-terrorists story to Fox News, which is co-owned by a Saudi businessman. ;)

Yeah, he was probably distracted by looking at nude pictures of you on his I-Phone. If you follow this hashtag, you'll notice that periodically certain weird issues pop up, this time it appears to be an all-out attack on Uber. Probably 95% bullshit, and probably being subsidized by lobbyists for Big Yellow Taxi. Before that song gets stuck in your head, here's your Onion:

:) I hate when that happens...