Panhandle Progressive

The Framers Never Intended to Bind Us Forever to 1789

The essence of the doctrine of originalism is that the only proper way to interpret the Constitution is to determine the original intent of the Framers. But what if the original intent of the Framers was actually that the Constitution should live and breathe in each period of our history and not be limited to what it meant in 1789? There is considerable evidence that this is exactly what the Framers intended. They knew that without a supple Constitution, that very document risks creating the conditions for its own replacement, and how that happens may not be pretty.

Our Supreme Court in the Grip of Originalism

Our Supreme Court is in the grip of a doctrine that is having a profound, pernicious effect on the whole country and there is no end in sight. That doctrine is originalism. Originalism is a political tool to being used to achieve the political goals of the conservative right. It is merely dressed up as a serious doctrine of Constitutional interpretation.

The Hot Air About Methane

When President Biden left for the COP26 meeting in Glasgow recently, his primary plan for reaching the greenhouse gas reduction goals in the Paris Accords was in disarray.  The cause of this disarray was mainly the opposition of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.  But Biden had Plan B, which involves a two-pronged approach to sharply reducing methane emissions. 

The Big Lie Conspiracy

The Declaration of Independence was based on a conspiracy theory. That theory was that the King of England and his high ministers had secretly agreed to deprive the American colonists of their rights as English citizens and to impose tyrannical rule. This type of conspiracism, which tries to make sense of a disorderly world by asserting that powerful people are controlling events behind the scenes, can be quite useful in a democracy. But this useful type of conspiracism has been replaced today by an insidious type not concerned at all with facts. The leading example is the Big Lie -- that Joe Biden was not legitimately elected President in 2020 because the election was stolen from Trump.

Higher Registration Fees For Hybrid Vehicles – What’s Up With That?

Awhile back, a good friend of mine spent half an hour complaining to me about having to pay an additional $100 when he registered his Prius hybrid vehicle. That caused me to wonder why West Virginia would want to discourage the ownership of these vehicles with a whopping big tax.  Hybrids consume lots less gasoline and emit proportionately less greenhouse gasses from the tailpipe. That’s a good thing, right?  The answer, of course, is not so simple.

Industry To West Virginia: We Can’t Be Bothered

They’re at it again. Under the cover of the Covid pandemic, when citizens can’t rally in numbers, the West Virginia legislature is poised to gut one of the key protections of the Aboveground Storage Tank Act enacted after the 2014 water crisis that left 300,000 West Virginians without safe drinking water. The bill is pushed by tank owners and backed by industry. The reason? As Charlie Burd of the Gas and Oil Association of WV says, the regulation is too burdensome. Translation: We can’t be bothered.

Can Trump Pardon Himself?

The stink from the pile of Trump’s pardons is palpable – it is the stink of corruption and abuse of power.  A high percentage of these pardons have gone to those with a personal or political connection to him. Those receiving his favor include murderers, dishonest politicians, fraudsters, thieves, and liars. The question of the moment is whether a president can pardon himself. The power to pardon has been exercised by presidents over 20,000 times and never once has anyone attempted to pardon himself. We may be about to witness a president try to absolve himself of his own criminal conduct for the first time. Can Trump get away with this?