Litigation in perpetuity?

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s 6-3 majority opinion Monday in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County found that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 barring workplace job discrimination on the basis of sex also covers homosexuals and transgendered, not just males and females.

The devil is in the details, which this ruling apparently leaves up to future litigation.

From the AP account:

But Monday’s decision is not likely to be the court’s last word on a host of issues revolving around LGBT rights, Gorsuch noted.

Lawsuits are pending over transgender athletes’ participation in school sporting events, and courts also are dealing with cases about sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms, a subject that the justices seemed concerned about during arguments in October. Employers who have religious objections to employing LGBT people also might be able to raise those claims in a different case, Gorsuch said.

“But none of these other laws are before us; we have not had the benefit of adversarial testing about the meaning of their terms, and we do not prejudge any such question today,” he wrote.

Then there is the question of whether biological males could declare themselves transgender and compete against women in sporting competition.

Justice Samuel Alito addressed this in his dissent:

Another issue that may come up under both Title VII and Title IX is the right of a transgender individual to participate on a sports team or in an athletic competition previously reserved for members of one biological sex. This issue has already arisen under Title IX, where it threatens to undermine one of that law’s major achievements, giving young women an equal opportunity to participate in sports. The effect of the Court’s reasoning may be to force young women to compete against students who have a very significant biological advantage, including students who have the size and strength of a male but identify as female and students who are taking male hormones in order to transition from female to male. … Students in these latter categories have found success in athletic competitions reserved for females.”

Reality vs. delusion? Let the arguments begin.

Supreme Court building. (AP pix)

 

Rep. Susie Lee pushed for small casino loans and her husband’s company got two

A story — first reported by 360newslasvegas.com on the day before primary election day — about how Nevada Democratic Rep. Susie Lee pushed for federal pandemic loans for small casinos, resulting in her husband’s company getting two such loans worth $5.3 million, doesn’t seem to be getting much traction in the rest of the Nevada media.

The account reports, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lee’s husband Daniel Lee, the CEO of Full House Resorts, used the funds to rehire several hundred employees at two of his casinos, the Rising Star Casino Resort in Indiana and Bronco Billy’s Casino in Colorado, but not at its casinos in Nevada.

The story does quote a Lee spokesperson as saying, “She had no influence over the decision to file the application, and she had no influence over whether or not that application was approved or denied. The conditions and details under which Full House Resorts received its PPP loan are entirely between Full House Resorts and regulators.”

Without the change in loan eligibility, there would have been no such loans.

On primary election day, The Daily Beast reported that Lee and her husband’s finances were hard hit by the coronavirus shutdown of casinos.

The online media reports that Full House laid off or furloughed nearly its entire staff and its stock price fell by more than 83 percent, from $3.59 per share to just $0.53.  According to Rep. Lee’s personal financial disclosure filing covering 2018 through early 2019, the couple owned millions of dollars in Full House stock and stock options.

Since the loans, the stock is now priced at $1.80.

Rep. Susie Lee (Pix at 360newslasvegas)

Inspector general fired

Did you hear the news? The White House fired an inspector general. I didn’t think so.

Gerald Walpin

Gerald Walpin, inspector general of the government service program AmeriCorps, was canned while he was investigating whether a major Democratic donor tried to use AmeriCorps funds as hush money to keep female students at a charter school in Sacramento from complaining about sexual advances from the donor.

In addition to the possible use of hush money, Walpin had concluded that the misuse of AmeriCorps funds by the charter school was serious enough for him to press for criminal prosecution of the donor. Instead, the chair of AmeriCorps, also a major Democratic fundraiser, cut a deal to allow the man to repay much of the money.

The chair then led a campaign to have the inspector general fired on trumped up charges, according to news accounts.

Did I mention that the year was 2009 and the president was Barack Obama?

Did I mention that the firing probably violated a 2008 law meant to protect inspector generals from political payback and that then-Sen. Obama was a co-sponsor of the law? Obama’s stated rationale for the firing was he no longer had “the fullest confidence in” him as an inspector general. Congress showed no interest in pursuing the matter.

President Donald Trump has recently fired several inspectors general, which has angered some congressional Democrats.

“It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspectors General. That is no longer the case with regard to this Inspector General,” Trump said in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, using the “fullest confidence” line.

Congressional Democrats have launched an investigation of the latest firing by Trump.

 

 

 

Bill to counter virus shutdown woes has an aspect that would cost Nevadans

The so-called Heroes Act — allegedly meant to stanch the financial hemorrhaging caused by the lock down intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus and being pushed by House Democrats — has more ornaments than a Christmas tree.

Among other things, if passed, the bill would extend the $600 a week unemployment bonus through the end of the year, paying those thrown out of work by the government-imposed business shutdowns more to stay home than to return to work, incentivizing prolonged joblessness.

It also would bailout state and local governments, even those whose financial problems predated the coronavirus pandemic. It would forgive students, even for those capable of making repayments. It also would bailout the Postal Service.

Perhaps the most egregious aspect, again, is the proposed repeal of the $10,000 cap on IRS deductions for state and local taxes (SALT) that was part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017.

According to the Tax Policy Center, three-quarters of any benefit from repealing the SALT deduction cap would go to households making $153,000 or more. The top 1 percent of households, those making $755,000 or more, would receive more than 56 percent of the benefit. The Center calculated repeal would cut federal tax revenues by $620 billion over the coming decade.

More importantly, the SALT cap stops forcing the residents of low-tax states like Nevada from subsidizing high-tax states like New York and California. Prior to the cap Nevadans were able to deduct about 1 percent or less of their adjusted gross income, while those in high-tax states could deduct more than 5 percent.

Calculated on a per capita basis using 2010 tax data, Californians claimed $2,116 in federal income tax deductions, while Nevadans claimed only $166 per person for sales tax deductions.

If the Heroes Act passes, Nevadans would again be paying a disproportionately higher proportion of federal taxes. This has nothing to do with remedying the woes created by the virus panic. It is just another sop to Democratically-controlled, big spending states.

Spending like there is no tomorrow

House Democrats have unveiled a $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus package and expect to vote on it by Friday, according to an AP account.

The so-called Heroes Act proposes almost $1 trillion for states, cities and tribal governments, $200 billion in “hazard pay” for essential workers, as well as $1,200 direct cash aid to individuals, up to $6,000 per household. There is also $75 billion more for virus testing.

The plan was unveiled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who urged Congress to “go big.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill is a “big laundry list of pet priorities.”

For perspective, the FY 2020 federal budget calls for $4.7 trillion in spending with revenues of only $3.6 trillion for a deficit of $1.1 trillion this year, according to the CBO. The current debt is $17.8 trillion. This bill would push that over $20 trillion.

The current GDP is just over $20 trillion.

Nancy Pelosi (AP pix)

Recipe for voter fraud

Clark County has caved to the Democrats and agreed to mail primary ballots to inactive voters, according to The Nevada Independent. This is a recipe for voter fraud.

An inactive voter is one whose address was found to be invalid when voter registration forms are returned in the mail. According to the Clark Country Registrar of Voters, as of February there were 39,517 inactive voters in the county.

This means nearly 40,000 ballots will be sent to addresses at which the intended recipient probably no longer lives. How many will land into the hands of unscrupulous people who might dare to forge a signature and mail it back?

Two Democratic groups had sued demanding more in person voting locales and the mailing of ballots to inactive voters, as well as not rejecting ballots when the signature does not match the one on file. The county apparently agreed to a review of all mismatching signatures by at least two reviewers of different parties, as well as attempting to contact those voters within 24 hours. How many could slip through?

The Democrats also demanded an end to a state law against ballot harvesting, in which a non-family member collects and mails in ballots. They said they may still pursue the effort to overturn that law.

I remember going door to door with morning paper columnist John L. Smith in 2002 in search of people who had registered to vote via absentee ballot at a North Las Vegas biker bar. Every home was long deserted. In that case the bar owner bragged about his misdeeds and eventually was convicted.

Smith quoted the bar owner as saying, “Yes, I did say I got her (a county candidate) 100 votes, but I didn’t say I voted for her myself. I had 100 people I knew were voting for her. But I didn’t fill out the ballots. They came in (to his bar) and asked me who to vote for and I helped them. That’s all.”

 

 

Governor double talks, waffles and punts … or does he?

Governor talks out of both sides of his mouth and doesn’t say much specific from either side.

According to the morning newspaper, Gov. Steve Sisolak at a press conference Thursday talked about reopening some businesses — which he has ordered closed due to the fear of the coronavirus overwhelming the health care system, though it hasn’t — in some manner after certain unspecified criteria have been met by a date to decided in the future.

The third graf reads: “But Nevada will follow a ‘state managed, locally-executed roadmap’ that flexibly accounts for vast differences between the state’s urban and rural areas and allows for local decision-making and control, the governor said.”

Toward the bottom of the account, the paper quoted the governor as saying it “would be a disservice” to residents and businesses “to pretend like Esmerelda County is the same as Nye County or that Clark is the same as Elko.” It said Sisolak was forming a Local Empowerment Advisory Panel, or LEAP, which will “serve as a resource for counties as they work through the necessary requirements to reopen and share best practices and guidelines for local communities.”

What will be the authority and powers of this panel with the cute acronym?

A couple of grafs later the governor is quoted as saying the panel doesn’t mean counties will open at different times, “All counties will open in Phase 1 at the same time.”

Then why bother?

So, when will casinos open? Sisolak reportedly said that will be determined by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, adding, “Here’s what I can tell you today: Gaming will not be opening at the start of Phase 1.” Why? Didn’t say. But apparently that is not to be determined by the Control Board either.

Over in the newspaper insert, Sisolak was quoted as saying the Nevada Restaurant Association and the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology will be asked to come up with plans for opening restaurants and personal care shops. Whether he will pay any heed was not stated.

Gov. Sisolak at press conference Thursday. (R-J pix)

 

 

There are a few Nevada contrarians after all

The Nevada Independent

Not everyone is singing the praises of Gov. Steve Sisolak’s statewide shutdown of the economy and ridiculing the mayor’s calls for reopening.

Writing at The Nevada Independent Orrin Johnson accuses Sisolak of not even having a plan to have a plan for reopening.

“Humans aren’t built to be isolated from one another for this long, and we all recognize that life must still go on,” Johnson writes. “We have to feed ourselves, pay for our homes and utilities, preserve our livelihoods for the future, and do all the things that make life worth living. Americans in particular don’t put up with boredom or confinement well, and we definitely don’t like being bossed around, at least not quite so overtly, and certainly not so arbitrarily. Under the best of leaders, where we knew what ‘victory’ over this virus meant and where goalposts weren’t being moved, maybe we’d stay hunkered down for another month if clearly necessary, but even then it wouldn’t have lasted. And we don’t have that best-case leadership scenario.”

He suggested the people of the state will begin to reopen whether the governor has a plan or not.

Norman Rogers, writing at American Thinker, says the governor’s shutdown is killing the state economy.

Rogers declares:

Tourism is the base of Nevada’s economy. Hundreds of thousands of tourist industry workers have been laid off. The state unemployment benefits office is apparently helpless in the face of the flood of applicants.

Closed businesses

The governor sees this as a medical problem. It does not seem to bother him that destroying the Nevada economy will devastate the citizens of Nevada. Not only will they lose their jobs, they will also lose their savings and assets.

What exactly is the purpose of the house arrest? The disease is going to spread through the population until enough people are recovered and immune, so that herd immunity develops, and the virus fades away. That is the typical pattern for the spread of a new disease. Placing everyone under house arrest will slow the spread of disease but prolong the time it takes for herd immunity to develop. The justification for house arrest is that it is necessary to flatten the curve and avoid spikes that will overwhelm the medical resources.

Debra Saunders, writing in the opinion section of the morning paper, takes issue with the ridicule heaped on Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman by CNN interviewer Anderson Cooper:

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper gave Goodman, who sees her role as a “cheerleader,” 25 excruciating minutes of airtime. Let’s be clear about the intent of that sitcom-length allotment. The idea wasn’t to explore how a tourism mecca could open for business — as an actual news story might do. This was

CNN screen shot at R-J

pure theater, reality-TV dressed up as journalism — with Cooper mugging on camera, calling Goodman “ignorant” and at one point taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes in a pose of exasperated disbelief, which made for a viral Twitter screenshot.

What’s especially irritating about Cooper’s preening-not-probing is his apparent belief that it’s his job to ridicule anyone who wants to open America for business.

If you’re worried about businesses never reopening, if you think about low-wage workers who don’t know how they’re going to make the rent and buy groceries, if you fear what’s next in this economic free fall, beware. You lack the due reverence owed to what CNN anchors refer to as “the science,” and you will be pilloried.

Chuck Muth, writing at Muth’s Truths, also came to Goodman’s defense:

Under grilling by Cooper, Mayor Goodman said she “wanted” everything to open back up – including hotels, casinos, conventions and restaurants – “so our people can go back to work.”

How is that controversial – unless you DON’T want people to go back to work?  Is that what all the Stage 4 sufferers of Goodman Derangement Syndrome are saying?

Pretty Boy then declared that opening the state back up to tourism sounded like Goodman wanted to create “a virus petri dish.”

So professional.  So unbiased.

To which the Mayor responded, “No, what it sounds like is you’re being an alarmist.”

Nailed it.  And got Pretty Boy’s hackles rankled.

“I’m being an alarmist?” he asked with that patented smirk on his face.

Posted at Muth’s Truths, a photo of R-J front page

 

Then there is this Ramirez cartoon to sum it all up.

 

Why go back to work when you can make more on the dole?

We wondered aloud whether the congressional bailout bill giving the unemployed $600 a week would be a disincentive to return to work for many low-income workers laidoff due to the coronavirus shutdown orders. For many that will mean they will receive more income for staying home than they were getting while working.

The morning paper recently ran an op-ed by a Henderson businessman who calculated that his company was paying employees — now laidoff as non-essential — $12 an hour, but their unemployment benefits amount to about $300 a week plus the $600 a week from the federal government. He said this works out to $22.50 an hour. “So if we keep them on the payroll, they earn $12 per hour, and if we lay them off, they earn $22.50 per hour with no taxes owed. What would you do for your employees?” he asked.

How many would come back to work if his business reopens?

A man in the restaurant business in Oregon has the answer in an op-ed today in The Wall Street Journal. He writes that the takeout and delivery business has worked better than expected and the company started making calls seeking to get former workers to return. “When we asked our employees to come back, almost all said, ‘No thanks.’ If they return to work, they’ll have to take a pay cut,” he writes.

With unemployment and the fed bailout, he calculated that former workers at getting $1,016 a week, or $376 more than he or she made as a full time employee. “Why on earth would he want to come back to work?” he writes. The checks will keep coming until July 31. Reopen?