The U.S Constitution was mostly composed by future president James Madison in late 18th Century English.
Too bad he had no flair for early 17th Century Shakespeare.
In the long-running sit-com “Two and a Half Men,” screwoff urchin Jake Harper (played by Angus T. Jones) protests that his school assignment, Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” is not written in English.
If only the Constitution were so arcane, we might not have the likes of madcap Aamon Bundy freezing his buns off in Oregon and asserting that the federal government has no power over him unless the local sheriff grants it.
That’s the same doofus constitutional scholarship that landed actor Wesley Snipes in prison for tax evasion.
In addition to Madison’s text, there are more than two centuries of amendments, legislation, court decisions, regulations, treaties and presidential executive orders which impact every aspect.
Bundy is a sideshow compared to the union-busting case currently in front of the U.S. Supreme Court (Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association). The plaintiff asserts that public employees don’t have to pay for union services even if they receive union benefits in states that have passed “agency shop” laws.
Republican State Controller Ron Knecht, proving that college degrees don’t guarantee depth, recently wrote in the Elko Daily Free Press that it’s like a magazine subscription. If you don’t re-subscribe, you don’t have to pay.
Actually, in Nevada, which has no agency shop law, about four in 10 workers get a free ride courtesy of dues-paying union members. The chiseling minority receive union pay, benefits and representation for nothing, the equivalent of getting Knecht’s magazine for free.
Union busters assert a First Amendment right to freebies on grounds of freedom of speech and assembly (free association).
OK, two can play that game. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments mandate that no person may be deprived of property without due process of law. Taking union member dues to service non-members certainly fits that description.
That’s two amendments for the good guys vs. one for the bad guys.
Perchance to dream.
MAJ. JOHN ARTHUR RIGGS, 1946-2016. The longtime Sparks resident, holder of a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, died Jan. 12. His was a lifetime of service to America and Nevada. The UNR grad established full-time schools in the state prison system and was also a longtime parole and probation officer.
He served as state president of the Nevada Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) and commander of Reno Camp 25 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. My friend John will be memorialized at 10 a.m. on Jan. 26 at Mountain View on Stoker Avenue in northwest Reno.
HAPPY TALK. “The happiest human activity is sex and the second-unhappiest is Facebook.” So reports the venerable Harper’s Magazine in its February edition.
I would have guessed right on one of out two.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <email@example.com> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.