bullshit with icing

I have a friend — an artist (by which I mean an actual, no-shit, serious artist who not only makes art, but thinks about art and the nature of art and what is meant when we use the term ‘art’) — who recently said he wasn’t sure how he felt about the whole Masterpiece Cakeshop situation. To which I have two responses.

First, what the fuck does that even mean? How can you not know how you feel about something? I can totally understand having mixed feelings. I can understand having contradictory feelings. But surely it’s pretty obvious how you feel about any given thing at any given moment because you’re actually in the process of feeling it.

Second, stop over-thinking the Masterpiece Cakeshop situation. Which probably leads a lot of folks to this question: what the hell is the Masterpiece Cakeshop situation? It’s your basic situation in which a Christian doesn’t want to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. There’s a good chance you already think this crap has already been settled, and you’d be mostly right. The law is pretty clear. If you’re providing goods or a service to the public for commercial reasons, then you have to provide those goods and that service to ALL the public. Even if you don’t like or approve of them.

If you run a rental agency, you can’t refuse to rent a folding table to a Muslim just because you hate Muslims. If you run a landscaping business, you can’t refuse to landscape the lawn of a Thai family just because you dislike Asians. And if you bake cakes for a living, you can’t refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex couple just because you think homosexuality is evil.

A baker can refuse to bake a cake if the customer is requesting a personally objectionable decoration. You can refuse to bake cake in the shape of a penis. You can refuse to decorate a cake with I ♣ My Wife. You can probably refuse to bake and decorate a cake if the customer behaves like an asshole. But you can’t refuse to bake a cake simply because you object to the customer’s race, gender, marital status, religion, and all that.

Jack Phillips, cake artist

But here’s why the Masterpiece Cakes situation is a situation — and why my artist friend and his feelings are so confused. A baker named Jack Phillips, who owns a bakery called Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused, for religious reasons, to bake a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He also refuses for religious reasons to make cakes that celebrate Halloween or a divorce, and he won’t bake a cake that includes alcohol. What makes this situation a situation, though, is that Phillips is NOT claiming he won’t bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because they’re gay, but because they’re getting married. His religion states marriage should only be between a man and a woman. He says,

“I’m being forced to use my creativity, my talents and my art for an event — a significant religious event — that violates my religious faith.”

In other words, Phillips sees his custom cakes as works of art, and he shouldn’t be required to make art that offends his personal sensibilities (in this case, it’s his religious sensibilities). His lawyers argue that forcing him to create a custom cake for a same-sex wedding threatens the “expressive freedom of all who create art or other speech for a living.” And let’s face it, the law wouldn’t force a Jewish painter to accept a commission to paint a portrait of Hitler. The law wouldn’t force a Mormon sculptor to accept a commission to sculpt a giant stone dildo with the face of LDS founder Joseph Smith. So why should the law force Christian Jack Phillips to accept a commission to create a cake celebrating a marital union his religion opposes?

It’s because of this free expression argument that the Masterpiece Cakeshop situation is a situation. This is why four of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have agreed to hear arguments on the case at some point in this term. And hey, if we agree that art is protected by the free expression clause of the First Amendment (and it is), and if we agree that decorating a cake can be a work of art (and sure, it can be), then that sounds like a solid argument in favor of Phillips.

But it’s not. It’s just bullshit with vanilla icing.

Happy birthday!

It’s bullshit for this reason: it’s still about the wedding. it’s about the purpose of the cake, not the decoration. Let’s say the gentlemen who wanted the cake asked Phillips to create a three-tier wedding cake decorated with rainbow hearts and with two tuxedoed male figures arranged side by side on top. Phillips refuses, saying he shouldn’t be required to use his talents to create a custom wedding cake because his religious views oppose same-sex marriage. Now let’s say those same gentlemen asked Phillips to create a three-tier birthday cake decorated with rainbow hearts and with two tuxedoed male figures arranged side by side on top. Unless his religious views forbid him from celebrating birthdays, he’d be required to make the cake.

It’s the same damned cake using the same ingredients with the same decorations created using the same artistic skills. The only difference is the purpose, and the purpose in the Masterpiece Cakeshop situation is to discriminate against folks having a same-sex marriage.

It’s not about art and it’s not about free expression; it’s about refusing to obey laws against discrimination.

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pissing on the constitution

How’d that happen? How the hell did that happen? How could those flannel-wearing meshback motherfuckers be acquitted of crimes they so obviously committed?

Simple. It’s called jury nullification. Basically, that means a jury decides to acquit the defendants even though they’re factually guilty of violating the law because the jurors believe the law itself is wrong or that it’s been wrongly applied.

It’s infuriating sometimes — and this time in particular — but in the long run, jury nullification is mostly a good thing. The most famous case on American soil was that of Peter Zenger, a journalist for the New York Weekly Journal back in 1734. That’s right, 1734, when this country was still a British colony. Zenger published some snarky shit about the Royal Governor of colonial New York, for which the governor had him arrested and charged with seditious libel. This was a pretty heavy crime back then. Seditious libel is when somebody prints snarky shit about the Queen or her officials.

Remember, Zenger had very clearly published snarky shit about a royal governor. He’d committed the crime. That boy was dead guilty. But the jury acquitted him after about (and I’m not making this up) ten minutes of deliberation. This was the case that set the precedent on which the First Amendment rests — which is that publishing snarky shit isn’t a crime if the snarky shit is true.

Jury nullification in defense of free speech

Jury nullification in defense of free speech

Before the U.S. Civil War, jury nullification was used to acquit defendants charged with harboring slaves in violation of the Fugitive Slave Laws. People were clearly guilty of hiding fugitive slaves, but juries found them not guilty anyway. The same thing happened during Prohibition in the 1930s — juries acquitted defendants who were obviously guilty of breaking both Federal and State alcohol control laws.We also see jury nullification used in some ‘mercy killing’ cases. And, of course, we’ve seen the practice at its worst in cases where all-white juries in the South acquitted white defendants of lynching black men.

So what happened in Oregon yesterday is part of an American tradition. It still makes me completely fucking furious to see these yahoos skate, of course. I’m fairly certain this verdict will encourage more of this sort of shit. It especially saddens and disgusts me that a group of armed fuckwits who seized a government facility will mostly walk while Native Americans peacefully attempting to prevent the physical (and, to them, the spiritual) desecration of their land by a goddamn oil company are being arrested. And we know with mathematical certainly what would have happened if folks associated with Black Lives Matter had pulled the same idiotic shit that the Bundyistas pulled.

Jury nullification in defense of armed seizure of federal property

Jury nullification in defense of armed seizure of federal property

But there it is. The Bundy lawyers were able to convince a sympathetic jury that their clients should be acquitted even though they were factually guilty. It’s true, the Bundys are still in jail and will be tried for other crimes committed in another state — but that doesn’t change the fact that yesterday they successfully pissed all over the Constitution.

The only good news to be found in this is that the Constitution is strong enough that it permits people to occasionally piss all over it.

defending the wrong people

I have a Twitter account that I completely neglect. I have friends, though, who sporadically alert me to Interesting Stuff That Happens On Twitter. It didn’t take long for them to inform me that the Republican National Committee tweeted this:

Exclusive: Republicans Launch Willie Horton-Style Attack on Kaine

Kaine, of course, is Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine. But there are probably a lot of folks who aren’t familiar with the name Willie Horton. He was featured in a racist campaign advertisement used by George H.W. Bush against Democrat Michael Dukakis in the 1988 election. Here’s the original ad:

This is unquestionably one of the most notorious political attack ads in US election history It was the brainchild of Bush campaign manager, Lee Atwater, one of the most vile and venomous political ratfuckers of modern political history. That’s not an exaggeration. You want proof? Here’s something Atwater said in a 1981 interview:

“You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘Nigger, nigger, nigger.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘Nigger, nigger.'”

Atwater was a sort of evil genius. He gave a lot of serious, creative thought about ways to encode racism into political speech. He was an early adopter of ‘dog whistle’ campaigning, devising methods for emphasizing race that non-racists might not even hear. For example, Atwater shortened Horton’s given name, William — the name he went by — to Willie. Why? Because he thought Willie sounded more black. Atwater said this about the Horton ad:

“By the time we’re finished, they’re going to wonder whether Willie Horton is Dukakis’ running mate.”

And hey, it worked. Bush won the election. At the end of his life, however, when he knew he was dying, Atwater apologized to Dukakis for the “naked cruelty” of the campaign he ran. A lot of people doubt the sincerity of that apology.

Lee Atwater, with Strom Thurmond and Ronald Reagan.

Lee Atwater, with Strom Thurmond and Ronald Reagan.

Atwater died in 1991. This is 2016, and in 2016 the Republican National Committee is seemingly proud to return to the naked cruelty of Atwater and the Willie Horton style of campaigning. The RNC quickly deleted their tweet about running a Willie Horton ad. The ad is still out there, of course. And the message is still the same: associate your opponent with the ‘wrong people’ — but do it in a coded way that doesn’t appear hateful.

Here’s the anti-Kaine advert:

The ad concludes by stating: “Tim Kaine, he has a passion for defending the wrong people. America deserves better.”

I spent seven years as a criminal defense investigator, working to defend the ‘wrong’ people. I helped defend murderers, rapists, arsonists, armed robbers, gun traffickers, and child molesters. I helped defend them knowing that almost all of them were guilty. They weren’t always guilty of the crime they were charged with, but most of them were guilty of something — sometimes guilty of something not as bad, sometimes guilty of something even worse.

Some of you — maybe most of you — are asking the obvious question: how could you defend somebody you knew was guilty of a heinous crime? It’s a valid question. There’s an answer that I believe is valid, though not everybody agrees — and even those folks who agree with the answer in the abstract find it uncomfortable to accept in practice. I often found it uncomfortable too. Here’s the answer:

Sometimes the police make mistakes.

That’s it, basically. Sometimes the police arrest an innocent person. I like to believe that most often the police are truly certain they’ve arrested the right person — but sometimes they’re just flat-out wrong. And in order to protect the folks who are truly, factually innocent of the crime they’re charged with, it’s necessary to force the police and the prosecutor to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt every single time. Every single time. Even if the defendant is clearly, blatantly, obviously guilty, we have to hold the prosecution to a high standard of proof. Because if we don’t — if we fail to protect the legal rights of every person every single time — then it becomes easier for them to convict those who are truly innocent.

Tim Kaine defended accused murderers — defended guilty murderers. Nobody does that because they support murder. They do it because the believe in — and are willing to do ugly work to defend — the legitimacy of the Constitution of the United States. That may not be popular, but it’s patriotic.

When the Republican National Committee attacks Tim Kaine for defending accused criminals, they’re actually undermining the U.S. Constitution. They’re basically suggesting there are citizens who are the ‘wrong people’ and as such, they don’t deserve the same rights as ‘decent’ people.

Of course, they’ve been suggesting that for a long time. They suggest the wrong people shouldn’t be allowed to marry, they shouldn’t be allowed to adopt, they shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military or receive food assistance if they’re poor or be guaranteed safe working conditions or receive financial assistance if they’ve lost their job or become citizens of the United States.

They’ve become very good at suggesting stuff about gays and Muslims and women and poor folks and people of color. Because 2016 and you can’t say ‘nigger nigger nigger’ out loud anymore.

time to close the militia fantasy camp

Okay, I’m pretty much sick of those swag-bellied motherfuckers who are still parking their pale, pasty, spongy asses on public land in Oregon. And I’m pretty much weary of waiting for Federal law enforcement to do their fucking job.

I’m a peaceful guy. A patient guy. I have been told patience is my only redeeming quality. But Jeebus in a tea-cup, people, there’s a point at which patience ceases to be a virtue. And we passed that point a week ago. At this point, we’re only encouraging them. We’re only inviting more of this shit.

They call it a peaceful event. That’s a lie. Here’s how you can tell it’s a lie: you don’t bring guns to a peaceful protest. You bring guns to a gunfight. They keep saying that IF there’s violence, it’ll be initiated by LEOs — and they say it in the same way a wife-beater tells his battered wife “Don’t make me do this.”

Not a peaceful protest.

Not a peaceful protest.

What that basically says is these tunaheads don’t believe they should be held accountable for their behavior. Tell me, does that work for any group other than armed white guys wearing cowboy hats? Never mind, I know the answer. The answer is hell, no.

They say they want a peaceful resolution. That’s also a lie. Here’s what Ammon Bundy, the bull goose loony of the occupation, told an FBI negotiator yesterday:

“I want to make sure that you understand: The resolution is the Constitution of the United States. How we get there, I realize there’s some steps and some things we need to do. But we’ve compromised that supreme law long enough.”

What they mean by ‘resolution’ is capitulation to their fuckwitted interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. That leaves absolutely no room at all for real negotiation. And let’s face it, at this point the only thing that should be negotiated is how these toads should surrender themselves to law enforcement.

Not looking for a peaceful resolution.

Not looking for a peaceful resolution.

Again, I’m a peaceful guy. I don’t want to see anybody get hurt, including these guys. I don’t want to see this situation end in a gunfight. Gunfights are bad news for everybody. But I want to see these jamokes held accountable. Right now, they’re basically allowed to come and go as they please, attending town meetings, stocking up on snacks. Just as bad, their supporters are allowed into the wildlife refuge to resupply them. These guys are acting like they’re at Militia Fantasy Camp. Seriously, what the fuck, FBI?

There are some basic steps the Feds could take to apply pressure. Isolate the bastards. Turn off their goddamn electricity. Jam their cell phones. Stop their supply runs. Arrest anybody who tries to enter the wildlife refuge, and arrest any of the occupiers who leave. Treat these fuckwits like the criminals they are.

Don’t just stand around with your thumb up your ass; do something.

dude, c’mon. alabama

— I don’t understand what’s going on in Alabama.

— That’s okay. The people of Alabama don’t always understand what’s going on in Alabama. Nobody has ever quite understood what’s going on in Alabama. When Hernando de Soto first passed through the area, the Choctaw Indians who lived there are quoted as saying “Who the hell ARE these people. What the hell are they up to? We just don’t understand.”

— I mean this whole same-sex marriage thing. What’s up with that?

— Oh, right, that. Well, back in 2006 Alabama added a Sanctity of Marriage Amendment to their State Constitution.

— What’s a Sanctity of Marriage Amendment? What does it do?

— It said marriage was “a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman.” It basically told same-sex couples they could go fuck themselves.

— Really?

— Yeah. Well, no…not literally. I mean, it’s only been about seven months…yeah, that’s right, months…that Alabama’s anti-sodomy law was finally kicked to the curb. Alabama law doesn’t much like gay folks. The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court thinks gay sex is icky. Back in 2002 he wrote a legal opinion saying homosexuality was “a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.”

Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court -- thinks gay sex is icky.

Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court — thinks gay sex is icky.

— Lawdy. Defies one’s ability to describe it? You know, it’s really not that hard to describe gay sex.

— I know, right? Anyway, a couple weeks ago a federal judge said the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment was unconstitutional, and Alabama couldn’t use it to deny a marriage license to same-sex couples.

— Oh, well that should settle it, right?

— Dude, c’mon. This is Alabama. The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court told the federal court it could go fuck itself. Again, not literally. On account of that would be icky, and all that.

— Can the Chief Justice of anyplace actually do that?

— Nope.

— Is that the same Chief Justice who wrote that earlier opinion?

— It surely is. He’s a yahoo named Roy Moore. He told the folks who issue marriages licenses at the county offices to ignore the federal court ruling. Told them they should refuse to issue licences to same-sex couples.

— They ought to kick that guy out of office.

— They actually did. Back in 2003. Kicked his ass right out of office.

Jusge Roy Moore with two-and-a-half tons of Commandments

Judge Roy Moore with two-and-a-half tons of Commandments

— Because of the gay thing?

— Nope. It was another thing. Judge Moore commissioned a two-and-a-half ton monument to the Ten Commandments, which he put in the central rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court.

— That’s pretty much a violation of the separation of church and state, isn’t it?

— Pretty much.

— So what happened?

— Somebody sued. A federal judge said the monument had to be removed. Judge Moore told the judge to go fuck himself.

— Not literally.

— No, not literally. Anyway, Moore refused to remove the monument, and eventually an Alabama judiciary commission booted his ass out of office.

— But he’s back now? He’s the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court again?

— Yep. Again.

— Why? How?

— Dude, c’mon. Alabama.

— Right. Okay, so what’s going to happen?

— Damned if I know. Some Alabama counties are issuing marriage license to same-sex couple, some are refusing to issue licences to same-sex couples, some have stopped issuing marriage licenses to anybody.

Alabama couple refused a license to marry

Alabama couple refused a license to marry

— That doesn’t make any sense, does it?

— Nope.

— That judge, Moore…he’s going to lose again, isn’t he? Eventually?

— Almost certainly. He might be able to drag this fuss out until later in the year when the U.S. Supreme Court issues a final ruling about same-sex marriage. But yeah, he’s almost certainly going to lose. Again.

Alabama couple granted a license to marry

Alabama couple granted a license to marry

— So he’s causing all this trouble and confusion because of some religious principle?

— That’s what he says. The Bible, and all that.

— But the Bible isn’t the law. The Ten Commandments aren’t the law.

— Nope.

— I mean, there’s all that coveting business. We’re pretty much free to covet whatever the hell we want in America, aren’t we?

— Pretty much.

— I mean, this is America. We’re all about coveting, aren’t we.

— Totally about the coveting.

— So why is all this happening?

— Dude, c’mon. It’s Alabama.

UPDATE 9/27/2017

— I see your boy Roy Moore is back.

— Not my boy, but yeah. Year and a half later and he’s back. Just won the Republican primary to run for the United States Senate representing the great state of Alabama.

— So what happened back then about that gay marriage business?

—  Glad you asked. A couple of months later Moore was suspended from the Alabama Supreme Court for the second time.

— So that settled that.

— You’d think. But nope. Moore told the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to go fuck itself.

— Not literally, right?

— Right. He sued them. Said it was unconstitutional to suspend him from the court just on account of he refuse to obey the law.

— You’re making that up, right?

— Nope. But then a couple of months after that, same sex marriage became legal everywhere. Including in Alabama.

— Right. So that settled everything, right?

— Dude, c’mon. It’s Alabama. Moore’s suit against the Judicial Inquiry Whatsit dragged itself on like a damned zombie until just a few months ago. April, 2017. That’s when a special Alabama court told Moore to go fuck himself. No, not literally. They upheld his suspension.

— Suspension.

— Bingo. He wasn’t kicked off the court this time. He was just suspended from ever sitting at the bench and hearing a case or doing anything remotely supreme courtish.

— What did Moore do?

— He told the special Alabama court to go fuck itself. He resigned and said he’d run for the U.S. Senate.

— Which he did.

— Which he totally did. And yeah, last night he won the nomination. I think it was the thing with the gun that sealed his win.

— Thing with the gun?

Former judge Roy Moore says hello to his little friend.

— On Monday, the day before the election, Moore was giving a speech and he pulled out a handgun.

— Onstage? Why?

— To show he loves guns. It was just a little silver revolver, kind of a girly gun, but still. Some folks love that stuff.

— So he’s going to be the next United States Senator for Alabama?

— Well, he’ll have to face a Democrat in the next election, but yeah, he’s the Republican nominee.

— Lawdy.

— I know, right?

— But this guy’s completely horrible. He can’t possibly win, can he?

— Dude, c’mon. It’s Alabama.

a complicated densely-packed clusterfuck

A friend asked me why I hadn’t written anything about the clusterfuck taking place in Ferguson, Missouri. I’m a criminologist, after all — or used to be. I’ve taught undergrad courses in policing, in deviance, in criminological theory, and all that other criminal justice and sociological stuff. Surely, my friend said, I had to have thoughts and opinions about what’s going on in Ferguson.

Ferguson confrontation

And he’s right, I do have opinions and thoughts. But here’s the reason I haven’t written about them: it’s complicated. I don’t mean the reason is complicated; I mean the clusterfuck itself is complicated. In fact, it’s not one clusterfuck. It’s an entire cascade of clusterfucks, each of which is also complicated. Not complex, complicated.

Complexity is intrinsic; a system is complex if it involves a lot of moving parts, even at its most basic level. There’s nothing wrong with complexity. Complication, though, is extrinsic; a system is made complicated by external factors, by stuff that’s non-essential to the system. Complication is always fucked up. And what we have in Ferguson is a collision of several different complicated social systems.

ferguson looter

If you want to understand what’s happened in Ferguson — and I mean actually understand it, not just be outraged by it — then there’s a whole buttload of other related stuff you need to understand first. You need to understand police culture, and the notion of the operative assumption of guilt (which isn’t, in itself, a bad thing). You need to understand how three or four hundred years of legitimized violence by white folks against black folks has shaped the perspectives of both groups. You need to understand how gender shapes the police response to confrontation. You need to understand how four decades of federal grants to local law enforcement agencies militarized policing — accidentally at first, and then more deliberately. You need to understand how ‘fair housing’ laws essentially forced black families into working class ghetto neighborhoods, then routinely undermined actual attempts at home ownership — which perpetuated a semi-rootless culture more attached to a community than to home and family. You need to understand how television helped turn policing from an occupation grounded in community service and job security into one grounded in car chases and kicking ass. And you need to understand the terrible pleasure that comes from releasing fear through an act of violence.

ferguson tear gas

And after you begin to understand all that, you need to understand that each of these issues is related to all the other issues. All of them. This is a densely-packed clusterfuck. We’d like to believe it can be fixed. It can’t.

It can’t be fixed because it’s not a problem that’s reducible to its component parts. You can’t ‘fix’ any of these issues without fixing them all. It’s not a problem that can be solved; it can only be unraveled.

ferguson hands up

We may have seen the beginning of that unraveling last night. Missouri State Police took control of security in Ferguson. They got rid of the riot gear, got rid of the gas masks, got rid of the helmets, got rid of the fucking military vehicles. They wore their regular uniforms, they met the angry but peaceful demonstrators in the streets, and they stepped aside.

Will it last? Maybe. In Ferguson, probably. For a while. For a while. But don’t expect much. Because it’s complicated. It’s complicated and, obviously, not localized. The conditions that created the densely-packed clusterfuck of Ferguson exist all over this nation. It’s complicated. Complicated and self-perpetuating.

chortling curtailed

You guys, today I totally sorta kinda feel bad for Republicans (okay, no, not really). I mean the day started out SO well for them. A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Affordable Care Act (better known as Obamacare, or the Kenyan Usurper’s Completely Socialist Plot to Destroy These United States by Giving Health Care to Poor People) was “a plate of absolute bullshit with special bullshit sauce, served with a side of bullshit salad” (actual quote from the ruling, as interpreted by me).

Basically, the court said the Federal gubmint can’t pay subsidies to help poor and working class folks get health insurance. Why? Because there was an editing error in the final draft. It said the subsidies would be paid through exchanges “established by the State”, which two of the three judges decided meant the individual state instead of the federal state. And no, I’m not making that up. That’s actually the basis of their decision. I think. Or something equally absurd.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Potterville) chortling

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Potterville) chortling

Republicans were all “Yay! Millions of poor folks will be denied health care! Democracy works!” House Speaker John Boehner (Hapless Orange-faced Republican Windbag from Ohio) celebrated the decision. He said: “Today’s ruling is also further proof that President Obama’s health care law is completely unworkable. It cannot be fixed.” Senator Ted Cruz (Batshit Crazy Republican from Where Else?) issued a mildly lunatic statement commending the appeals court.

“The D.C. Circuit’s decision today in Halbig v. Burwell is a repudiation of Obamacare and all the lawlessness that has come with it…. This is a significant victory for the American people and the rule of law.”

Completely unworkable, you guys! Lawlessness! A significant victory! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Boehner and Cruz chortled in their joy. For like maybe five minutes. Then…blammo! (Actual sound made by appeals court rulings.) The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously on the same issue, saying “Are you fucking kidding me? Jeebus, it’s pretty clear from every other goddam word in the Act that they’re talking about the Feds, you morons. Are you guys off your meds?” (Actual quote from the ruling, as interpreted by me.)

Senator Cruz, post-chortle

Senator Cruz, post-chortle

The Fourth Circuit ruling included an analogy:

If I ask for pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch but clarify that I would be fine with a pizza from Domino’s, and I then specify that I want ham and pepperoni on my pizza from Pizza Hut, my friend who returns from Domino’s with a ham and pepperoni pizza has still complied with a literal construction of my lunch order. That is this case.

Seriously, you guys. That’s actually from the decision. Not interpreted by me or any of my personalities. Honest, no shit, directly verbatim from the ruling. Boehner and Cruz did not chortle.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, chortle-free

Speaker of the House John Boehner, chortle-free

I really truly almost sorta kinda (not really) feel bad for those guys. The DC Circuit gave them a piece of candy and the Fourth Circuit took it away. Jill Greenberg could make a photo series out of these guys.

President Obama, on the other hand…