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A liberal legal advantage? With many Supreme Court justices aging, the next president likely will get to name one or two new justices. But who can win Congressional approval, given the frayed relationship between the two major political parties? Wat if there’s a stalemate?


A recent Washington Post Outlook suggests that this situation would strongly favor the Democrats.  The article notes that 13 generally-conservative states are under “liberal” Federal appellate courts.   In contrast, in only six liberal states are under conservative Federal courts.


As a result, allowing the Court to sit with eight justices would favor liberals.    Why? Because – when a tie arises –standard Supreme Court practice is to leave the judgment of the lower court stand.   And that would highly favor the liberals, given geography and Federal circuit court appointments.


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Great language regarding PTSD.  In the detective story “The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent,” Susan Elia McNeal writes about a character named Maggie Hope and her adventures in England in World War II.  Maggie had PTSD – she experienced “a mixture of shame, anger, guilt, and brief” which became a “miasma of depression which followed her everywhere.”    In the book, she learns a name for this condition, supposedly created by Winston Churchill – he called PTSD “the black dog.”


The author movingly writes:


The black dog of depression is dirty and scarred, feral and rabid. He looks on the night with yellow eyes gleaming, waiting for a chink in the armor, a weakness, vulnerability, a memory; and then, jaws wide and fangs deep, he would leap….


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Army Col. Thomas Hundley, a doctor, hoped to inspire the troops with motivational messages on a DOD-run health website   He suggested that soldiers could improve their fitness through prayer.   This drew a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group claiming more than

40,000 service-connected adherents.   The head of the organization, Mikey Weinstein, suggests that Col. Hundley inappropriately used his senior position for “missionary duties.”


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Who are “We the People?”   The school board in Howard County, just outside Washington DC, recently took an interesting stand on religious diversity. They voted unanimously to expand the schedule of religious and cultural holidays. Recognizing growing diversity, students will get off for two Jewish holy days, the Muslim holiday of Eid el-adha, the eve of the lunar New Year, and the Hindu holiday of Diwali.


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The Confederate battle flag – hate or heritage?  The Southern Poverty Law Center magazine, Intelligence Report, has some interesting statistics about the Confederate battle flag.   Almost 6 in 10 Americans view it as primarily a symbol of Southern pride; however, 72% of African-Americans see it as a symbol of hate. Interestingly, white reaction to the old Rebel flag seems to be affected by respondents’ level of education, the magazine reports.  The more the education, the more discomfort with the Stars and Bars.


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Unfair!   Military personnel accepting involuntary separation pay cannot receive VA compensation, according to the website Task & Purpose.


The website tells the story of a 31-year-old Marine veteran named Tim Foster; he received a 50% disability rating from the VA.  Soon, he was shocked to learn that compensation benefits would be withheld until he returned his separation pay. The website suggests that there are over 23,000 involuntarily separated veterans.   The government is seeking to recoup some $576 million dollars from them.   The website comments this is a true hardship – many of these veterans have long since spent the separation pay


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We heard an interesting story while stationed in England a few years back. At the start of World War II, the Brits feared a German invasion.  So they set up a Sentry system to warn the population.  Astonishingly, in one village, they found the program already well in place – it had been there for over a century, handed down from father to son!   The assignment:    Look out for Napoleon and his ships.  If you see him, ring the bell, and then run like hell. J  

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