The Spectacle Blog

Supreme Court Rules Against Forced Union Dues for Home HealthCare Workers

By on 6.30.14 | 10:37AM

In the less-widely covered opinion released today in Harris v Quinn, a 5-4 Supreme Court ruled that home health care providers cannot be forced to pay union dues to a union (in this case SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana) of which they are not members. Lower courts had ruled in favor of the union, “concluding that the (Personal Assistants) were state employees” for purposes of forced contribution to a union which has a collective bargaining agreement with the state.

The Court’s plain-language ruling:  “The First Amendment prohibits the collection of an agency fee from Rehabilitation Program PAs who do not want to join or support the union.” The opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, notes that “PAs are almost entirely answerable to the customers and not to the State, do not enjoy most of the rights and benefits that inure to state employees, and are not indemnified by the State for claims against them arising from actions taken during the course of their employment.”

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Representation Before Law: Immigration Law

By on 6.28.14 | 2:38PM

New York City and immigration go together. Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, cab drivers, and ethnic neighborhoods all point to the city’s role as a leader in immigration. As Democrats pressure Republicans to act on immigration reform, threatening executive action if legislation is not passed soon, over 180,000 illegal immigrants, many of them children from Central America, have poured over the Texas border, overwhelming facilities there.

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Mississippi GOP Needs to Find Its Soul

By on 6.27.14 | 1:59PM

After a brutal month of fighting between the Tea Party and the establishment in the hotly contested Mississippi Senate race, tragedy has struck. According to the Clarion-Ledger, sources have confirmed that Mark Mayfield, a Mississippi Tea Party leader, has taken his own life. The paper reports:

Mayfield is vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, and is one of the three men charged with conspiring with Clayton Kelly to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home and create a political video against Cochran.

It continues:

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Hillary: From Foggy Bottom to the Remainder Table

By on 6.27.14 | 1:44PM

It may take a village. But such of the villagers who still read (see Dan Flynn’s “Lazy Machines” on the website this morning) have caught on to the Clintons. Their books are BORING.

And now that the news is out about how “dead broke” the Clintons are and how they have to “work hard” delivering speeches at about $200K per hour, even those who share the Clinton’s leftist delusions no longer feel obligated to help the cause by buying the latest Clinton door-stopper and displaying it on their coffee tables.

Mz. Hillary’s Hard Choices sold about 85,000 copies in its first week, placing it on the NYT bestsellers list for about as long as it takes a David Price fastball to reach home plate. During its second week, her overlong screed sold just 48,000 copies, and was lapped by the usual diet and self-help books

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ThinkProgress Tries to Figure Out This Whole Minimum Wage Thing

By on 6.27.14 | 1:35PM

ThinkProgress would like you to know that Ikea will be raising its average minimum wage to $10.76 an hour for its American employees. The company has said it will calculate base pay by considering the cost of living at each of its store locations. In other words, Ikea’s goal is to provide a living wage. ThinkProgress helpfully points out that other companies have also raised their minimum pay recently, and that “these companies usually cite the same reason: they expect it to help them attract and retain better employees, which will help their bottom lines.”

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Morning Round-Up 6-27

By on 6.27.14 | 11:05AM

Feature of the Day: What’s the Matter With Eastern Kentucky?

Morning Headlines


Associated Press

  1. NYC Creates Public Defender System For Immigrants
  2. More Countries Adding Graphic Warnings to Smokes


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Two Pro-Liberty Decisions From the Supreme Court

By on 6.26.14 | 6:23PM

Besides the United States' loss to Germany in the World Cup, today was a good day for liberty. The Supreme Court ruled to restrict the power of government in three recent Supreme Court cases.

In the first case, Riley v. California, the petitioner Riley was charged in connection with a shooting after officers stopped him for a traffic violation and then seized and searched his cell phone. The Court ruled that “the police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested.”

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Search Lois Lerner’s Blackberry

By on 6.26.14 | 5:57PM

In a large-scale document dump, the IRS handed over thousands of emails from Lois Lerner, the key figure in the ongoing investigation of the IRS’s targeting of conservative Tea Party groups. The documents, obtained by multiple news organizations and the committees investigating the matter, appeared to show that Lerner intended to target Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a statement released by Republican Congressman David Camp, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee:

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Sectarian War Across the Middle East: A Matter of Semantics

By on 6.26.14 | 4:01PM

There is something going on that I may not have told you about.

It is really a matter of semantics, but it has turned out to be rather significant. You may have noticed the multiplicity of English translations for ISIS, the extremist Sunni group that has been terrorizing Syria and especially Iraq in recent weeks. The varied translations exist because the Arabic name—الدولة الاسلامية في العراق و الشام—contains a word, "the Sham," that only roughly translates into English. It refers to a geographic area that has not existed since the Ottoman era, but which includes all the land we now call Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel.

This helps to explain the worrying scope of ISIS's ambition. Evidence of this was reported by Reuters:

The al Qaeda-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades had urged Lebanese Sunni Muslims to attack the Iranian-backed Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah a day before Wednesday's suicide bombing in central Beirut.

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Obama Orders NASA to Prioritize Climate Change

By on 6.26.14 | 3:39PM

NASA is becoming just another tool in President Obama’s climate agenda.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s climate change speech in which he raged against greenhouse gas emissions. He proposed a series of executive actions on climate change and blamed Congress for failing to act on his fearmongering agenda. The executive actions sidestepped Congress by invoking the Clean Air Act, a broad-based law that gives the EPA the power to regulate carbon emissions on a commercial scale.

The budget for Obama’s seventy-five-point climate action plan includes $909 million to the State Department for clean energy and $1.8 billion to NASA for earth-oriented satellite and research efforts, among other expenditures involving twelve of the fifteen other departments and agencies.

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