Because I haven’t in a while, let’s talk politics!
I’ve been following this Hobby Lobby thing, like most people. It was a really weird, narrow ruling (which is not particularly uncommon for this court), which, for the life of me, looks an awful lot like the court saying that certain religious traditions have special status over others – by saying that this ruling applies specifically to this case, and to religious objections to abortion/birth control (and specifically denying it applies to things like blood transfusions that other religious traditions object to) in employer-provided health insurance plans. This is really murky, troubling law, leaving aside the fact that it seems to favor the rights of convenient legal fictions like corporations over the rights of flesh and blood individuals, which it totally does.
The one bright light in all of this was Kennedy’s suggestion in his concurring opionion that the government could cover the cost of birth control in the cases where Hobby Lobby wouldn’t. This is, of course, essentially advocacy for Single Payer health care, which is what many of us on the left really wanted all along, rather than the hodge-podge of corporate health insurance that Obamacare eventually became because conservative elements in the legislative branch wouldn’t even entertain the idea of to begin with. This decision is bad law, but if it eventually leads to a single payer system down the road, bringing the US in line with the rest of the civilized world in terms of health care, it might, eventually, in some distant optimistic future, not be total crap (which, until that bright shining future happens, this decision totally is).
Iraq…yeah. That’s a mess. It’s not going to get better right away – I kind of think the end state here, eventually, is that the old, post-WWI political divisions break down, and “Iraq” and “Syria” and all that fade, and new countries rise from the ashes, for better or worse, along ethnic and religious lines. Kurdistan is there in all but name anyway, and this whole Caliphate thing that IS
IS (who are get closer to sounding like a real-world analogue to HYDRA, SPECTRE, or COBRA the more I hear about them) is trying to make happen could gain some traction, though honestly, claiming to be “THE” Islamic state with worldwide authority isn’t doing them any favors (especially given the fact that Islam is quite variable, and hardly monolithic, same as the rest of Abrhamic faiths. Think of it this way: can you point to a universally recognized spiritual and political leader for *all* the varied denominations and sects of Christianity? I didn’t think so. That’s who these guys are trying to be), nor is issuing statments that read like they were delivered by Doctor Doom after a bender. If such a state eventually gets a real political foothold, I can’t imagine it being a particularly influential one on the world stage. Stay tuned on that one…all I know is that I don’t really want US boots on the ground again over there if we can help it. Land wars in Asia (especially asymmetrical ones) never really work out, as the last however many years have shown.
Otherwise…we haven’t even gotten mid-terms out of the way, and the media’s already starting to try and spin up a horse race for the 2016 Presidential election. Right now, they seem to be focused solely on Hillary Clinton (who’s got the ambition, but hasn’t actually said she’ll run) at the expense of anything else. It’s not really a story yet, as much as they’d like to make it one. Other names floating around include (my personal favorite so far) Elizabeth Warren (imagine, an actual liberal progressive politician – I’m actually swooning), and a few rumblings from my former Senator Jim Webb, who would be far from awful.
That said, it’s pretty much lots of talk about Hillary Clinton, because there’s nobody else out there; the GOP doesn’t have a clear consensus (the last I heard, there was a movement toward running Romney again; they’re more focused on the poorly-handled internal struggle between establishment corporatists and the Tea Party and the fallout resulting from it. But as I said, it’s early; the power dynamics are shifting with the run-up to the mid-terms, and likely whoever ends up with the high ground after that will dictate the future course.
That’s politics and current events, at least the most obvious stuff on my radar. I’m honestly focusing more on internal stuff right now; job, home improvements, summer schedules, learning a stack of new songs…I get my twice-daily news injection from NPR on my commute, but otherwise, I’m not over-indulging.
Why should we, when the best news over the last couple of weeks has been the announcement of the impending release of Mandatory Fun, the new record from “Weird” Al Yankovic. We need to focus on the REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF, after all.