Monday, April 27, 2015

Last Call For A Brave New World

SCOTUSBlog's Lyle Denniston previews tomorrow's Supreme Court oral arguments on same-sex marriage and the Constitutional issues before the justices.

Assuming that the Supreme Court moved forward to a decision on the constitutional controversy, it probably must choose between two contrasting interpretations of what right is at stake. It would be harder for gays and lesbians to win — though not entirely beyond their reach — if one of those versions were accepted by the Justices. 
Gay and lesbian couples insist that they are not asking the Court to declare, for the first time ever, that gays and lesbians have a right to marry — that is, a new and very specific right to marry the person of one’s choice, when that person is of the same sex. 
Rather, they contend that there is an existing right to marry, well established in every state, and they simply want equal access to it. It is their exclusion from a right now open to opposite-sex couples that they argue denies them legal equality and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. 
There are two variations of that claim. 
One is that the Fourteenth Amendment forbids denial of equal legal rights based upon a constitutionally forbidden category. In this situation, that category is sexual orientation or, as it is sometimes called, gender identity. 
The other is that the Supreme Court has declared that marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution, and that the right may not arbitrarily be denied to a couple that — except for their same-sex characteristic — would be eligible to enter it. 

And the argument against same-sex marriage:

Many lawyers for states, in defense of their bans, have made a contrasting argument. They contend that gays and lesbians are, in fact, asking the Court to create a brand-new constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex. 
The Court, of course, very seldom establishes a previously non-existent constitutional right. It can extend an existing right to new groups — for example, give women legal equality — but it does so by finding that the underlying constitutional concept has simply evolved. The recognition of a new right is simply an interpretative alteration, not a new creation, done from scratch. 
Even less often, lawyers for the states have contended, does the Supreme Court recognize a new “fundamental right.” To exist at that most important level, there must be a history behind the right, something that is so evidently a part of constitutional understanding that it is only natural to formally acknowledge it. 
In the same-sex marriage cases, then, gay and lesbian couples would confront a major obstacle to winning their case if they had to persuade the Court to create a new right of gay marriage, as such, and, especially, if they had to make the case that such a right is fundamental in the constitutional sense

So the outcome is actually fairly simple if the plaintiffs are victorious:

If the couples win on the first point, then equality would be mandated nationwide, and recognition would seem to lose its separate significance. It is possible that the Court, if it were to examine the recognition issue wholly apart from its obvious link to marriage access, might find it fairly easy to assure equality in recognition. That, in effect, is what it required the federal government to do when, in the Windsor decision, it opened federal marital benefits to already married same-sex couples as a matter of constitutional equality. 
Much of the written briefing in the four cases seems to proceed on the assumption that the two rights being claimed are not distinct, but closely intetwined. It is difficult, indeed, to imagine how the Court might rule in favor of one but not the other.

So the bottom line is that the pro side believes the federal right to marry already exists and is being expanded by the Fourteenth Amendment.  The con side believes the right does not exist, because it is a state issue, and that a federal mandate cannot be created wholesale by the courts (and therefore must fall to the states).

Again, as Denniston says, it seems very difficult to say there's no federal mandate to recognize same-sex marriage nationally without, well, recognizing same-sex marriage nationally.  The clues are there that indicate that there are at least five justices willing to say there is (and possibly six, if you think the Chief Justice wants his fingerprints on this legacy.)

We'll have more data to pore over tomorrow.

Ferguson: Economic Violence 101

Charles Warren details in The Atlantic how Ferguson, Missouri spent years using its police as a taxation force, harassing the (mostly black) citizenry to raise money to run the local government despite Ferguson being the home of a $24 billion Fortune 500 corporation.

Take a walk along West Florissant Avenue, in Ferguson, Missouri. Head south of the burned-out Quik Trip and the famous McDonalds, south of the intersection with Chambers, south almost to the city limit, to the corner of Ferguson Avenue and West Florissant. There, last August, Emerson Electric announced third-quarter sales of $6.3 billion. Just over half a mile to the northeast, four days later, Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown. The 12 shots fired by Officer Wilson were probably audible in the company lunchroom. 
Outwardly, at least, the City of Ferguson would appear to occupy an enviable position. It is home to a Fortune 500 firm. It has successfully revitalized a commercial corridor through its downtown. It hosts an office park filled with corporate tenants. Its coffers should be overflowing with tax dollars. 
Instead, the cash-starved municipality relies on its cops and its courts to extract millions in fines and fees from its poorest residents, issuing thousands of citations each year. Those tickets plug a financial hole created by the ways in which the city, the county, and the state have chosen to apportion the costs of public services. A century or more of public-policy choices protect the wallets of largely white business and property owners and pass the bills along to disproportionately black renters and local residents. It's easy to see the drama of a fatal police shooting, but harder to understand the complexities of municipal finances that created many thousands of hostile encounters, one of which turned fatal.

The familiar convention of the true-crime story turns out to be utterly inadequate for describing the social, economic, and legal subjection of black people in Ferguson, or anywhere in America. Understanding this requires looking beyond the 90-second drama to the 90 years of entrenched white supremacy and black disadvantage that preceded it.

The key to Ferguson's plight is nothing less than decades of a regressive "race to the bottom" taxation system designed exclusively to benefit white property owners and businesses at the expense of black tenants and renters.

Like most of the rest of St. Louis Country, mid-century Ferguson was defended by exclusionary zoning codes and whites-only collusion in the real estate market. In the 1960s Ferguson was known as a “sun-down” community: African Americans, mostly from neighboring Kinloch, came in to work in the houses of wealthy whites in Ferguson during the day, but were expected to be out of town by the time the sun set. To this day, the adjacent cities are joined by only two through streets, the Ferguson city line runs down a neutral zone lined on either side with mirror-image three-way intersections. If you have been to St. Louis, you likely landed in Kinloch. Over the last three decades, the vast majority of that city’s black residents have been displaced to accommodate the expansion of Lambert-St. Louis Airport. Over the same period of time, a small number of African American homeowners and a much larger number of African American renters have gradually replaced whites in Ferguson. Ferguson, which was almost entirely white in 1970, today has a black majority. 
In 1981, a federal judge in Missouri declared that the “severe” residential segregation of the St. Louis metropolitan area had produced a constitutionally impermissible degree of segregation in the region’s schools. The court tasked the East-West Gateway Government Council and the Missouri Housing Development Commission with developing a plan to desegregate the metropolitan area, but they simply ignored the ruling. At the turn of the 21st century, almost one-half of St. Louis County’s 90-odd municipalities had black populations under 5 percent.

And that brings us to Emerson Electric.

For tax purposes, Emerson’s Ferguson campus is appraised according to its “fair market value.” That means a $50 million dollar solar-powered data center is only worth what another firm would be willing to pay for it. “Our location in Ferguson affects the fair market value of the entire campus,” Polzin explained. By this reasoning, the condition of West Florissant Avenue explains the low valuation of the company’s headquarters. 
In fact, the opposite is true: The rock-bottom assessment value of the Ferguson campus helps ensure that West Florissant Avenue remains in its current condition, year after year. It severely limits the tax money Emerson contributes to the Ferguson-Florissant district’s struggling schools (Michael Brown graduated from nearby Normandy High School, a nearly 100 percent African American school that has been operating without state accreditation for the last two years), and to the government of St. Louis County more generally. On the 25 parcels Emerson owns all around St. Louis County, it pays the county $1.3m in property taxes. Ferguson itself receives far less. Even after a 2013 property tax increase (from $0.65 to the state-maximum $1 per $100 of assessed value), Ferguson received an estimated $68,000 in property taxes from the corporate headquarters that occupies 152 acres of its tax base—not even enough to pay the municipal judge and his clerk to hand out the fines and sign the arrest warrants. 
St. Louis County doesn’t just assess Emerson a low market value. It then divides that number in three—so its final property value, for tax purposes, ends up being one third of its already low appraised value. In some states, Ferguson would be able to offset this write-down by raising its own percentage tax rate. Voters would even be able to decide which services needed the most help and raise property taxes for specific reasons. But Missouri sets a limit for such levies: $1 per $100 of property. As Joseph Pulitzer wrote of St. Louis during the first Gilded Age, “millions and millions of property in this city escape all taxation."

A $24 billion company generates just $68,000 in taxes for the city in which it resides.  One percent of assessed value.  Put the $50 billion data center in a place like Ferguson and it becomes nearly worthless to tax.

America is broken.

Warren, No Peace, Brown, Won't Back Down

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown continue to go directly after President Obama over fast track authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and they let fly again over the weekend calling on the president to immediately declassify all terms being negotiated for the deal.

Obama equated that argument to the “death panels” floated during the ObamaCare debate, as a claim so far-fetched as not to be taken seriously, adding that members of Congress have been frequently briefed on the talks.

“Someone coming up with a slogan like ‘death panels’ doesn’t mean it’s true,” he said Thursday. “The same thing is true on this. Look at the facts, don’t just throw a bunch of stuff out there.”

In response to those claims, Warren and Brown told Obama to release the text of the negotiations to the public. While members of Congress can review documents, it is illegal to release them to the public or discuss specifics.

And if, as Obama says, the trade deal is his best effort to carve out good terms for the working class, they argued there is no reason not to let the public review it before it is finalized.

“The American people should be allowed to see for themselves whether it’s a good deal for them,” they wrote.

“Characterizing the assessments of labor unions, journalists, members of Congress and others who disagree with your approach to transparency on trade issues as ‘dishonest’ is both untrue and unlikely to serve the best interests of the American people,” they added.

Brown at least has re-election to try an win in 2016 in Ohio. But Warren is safe and in a safe seat. Going this hard after President Obama didn't exactly work in 2014, so I'm wondering what Warren's game is. Cover for Hillary? Playing the foil to help the President? I'm not sure.

But the argument that negotiation terms need to be disclosed while the negotiations are still ongoing is ridiculous. That is Warren and Brown scoring cheap points, and they know it. If you're going to argue that the deal is bad, but can't tell us as to why, then have a seat.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Last Call For Memento Mori

People seem to thing Hillary Clinton is doomed by the "revelations" in the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer.  And some Republicans remember that the Clintons are if anything, survivors who are hard to put down.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson cautioned members of his party Sunday against overconfidence when it comes to Schweizer's blockbuster claims.

“Republicans need to be careful not to overstate the case,” Hutchinson said on Meet the Press. “There’s no evidence of quid pro quo."

Schweizer made the political talk show rounds arguing just the opposite on Sunday, likening the donations made Clinton Foundation during the time that Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state to insider trading.

Hutchinson countered that all the Schweizer's book really shows is "evidence of mistakes" made by Clinton Foundation. Furthermore, Hutchinson said that, ultimately, those mistakes would not end up swaying a majority of votes. “It doesn’t impact her base or the Republican base,” Hutchinson said of the allegations. “It impacts the voters in the middle.”

There are few voters "in the middle" when it comes to Hillary Clinton.  She's been in the national political spotlight for nearly 25 years now, and the notion that there are still enough people in 2016 who are mulling over Hillary Clinton versus the GOP is laughable. People have already formed their opinions about her, and those opinions have been held for years.

That this hit job of a book is going to change an election 18 months from now is silly.  But it shows how terrified Republicans are of losing to yet another Clinton for the White House. The Clintons have a lot of old friends in the business.

Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer appeared on This Week and faced a very skeptical George Stephanopoulos, who argued that his accusations that Hillary Clinton exchanged favorable treatment from the U.S. State Department for multimillion dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation were unsubstantiated.

The most significant of the allegations center on a Russian company that was approved by the State Department to purchase a Canadian uranium company, giving Russia a sizable stake in the world’s uranium market, after a $2.3 million donation to the Clinton Foundation. But Stephanopoulos pointed out that the State Department was one of nine agencies that signed off on the deal, and that “there’s no evidence at all that Hillary Clinton got directly involved at all in this decision.” (A smiliar argument was made by Clinton surrogate Lanny Davis over on Fox News Sunday.)

“There were nine different agencies who approved it,” Stephanopoulos said. “Doesn’t that suggest that that was because there was no national security concern, not because of some nefarious influence by Hillary Clinton?”

“We don’t have direct evidence,” Schweizer said. “But it warrants further investigation because, again, this is part of the broader pattern. You either have to come to the conclusion that these are all coincidences, or something else is afoot.”

And by dragging out this nothingburger early in the fight, the Clintons now have the ability to defuse this long before it becomes a problem.

The White House Correspondents (Were) Dinner

President Obama ate everyone's lunch at the WHCD last night, saving the best dishes of revenge for last with comedian and actor Keegan-Michael Key (of Comedy Central's Key and Peele) joining him at the podium as Luther the Anger Translator, and boy did he ever serve those dishes cold.

I honestly don't think I've ever seen President Obama this lethally funny. He decimated the Village, the GOP, Senate Democrats, Hillary Clinton, and just about everyone else who took a swipe at him over the last 12 months, and it was glorious

Unfettered, doesn't need to run again President Obama just keeps getting better and better, folks.

Sunday Long Read: Does Anyone Here Speak Jive?

It's time for a bit of lighter fare this week for your Sunday Long Read.  It's the 35th anniversary of one of my favorite movie comedies of all time, the classic Abrahams/Zucker Brothers riot, Airplane! The AV Club has an oral history of the movie from its creators and stars, and it's just hysterical to see how this film was put together.  The guy that saved the film? Disney head Michael Eisner, wh was at Paramount Pictures at the time with Jeffrey Katzenberg.

J. Zucker: It was a major struggle to get Airplane! greenlit. There was a little bit of interest here and there, but nobody was biting. And then we made Kentucky Fried Movie. As soon as the check cleared for that, we stopped doing the live show and we got a little bungalow up in Santa Monica and wrote Airplane! And then we took it out and shopped it, at which point we got turned down by all the studios until we finally got to Paramount.

Abrahams: We were sort of credible after Kentucky Fried Movie, but we attached ourselves as directors, so that was a dealbreaker in most places. But we shopped iteverywhere. Somebody told me that they’d read a copy of the screenplay. I said, “Oh, yeah? Where’d you find it?” And they said, “I found it on a bus.” [Laughs.] I think that’s probably actually a true story, because there were copies all over the place.

D. Zucker: It was really only one person who saved us and got Airplane! made, and that was Michael Eisner at Paramount.

J. Zucker: Well, Eisner and [Jeffrey] Katzenberg.

D. Zucker: Eisner and Katzenberg, yeah. Eisner heard about the script, called Katzenberg, and asked him to call these guys who did this Airplane! script, whatever it is, and have them in the office on Monday. And that’s how we ended up at Paramount.

J. Zucker: Eisner was having dinner with a woman named Susan Baerwald, who at the time was a reader for United Artists, and they were friends. And he asked her, “So what have you read that you liked?” And she said, “Well, there’s this one script that United Artists passed on, but I thought it was really, really funny.” And she told them a little bit about it, and I think Eisner just thought, “A comedy on an airplane? That’s a good idea!” So they immediately had it tracked down, and then we got a call from Katzenberg, saying, “Come on in, we want to hear about this.”

Abrahams: Even when Paramount were expressing interest and were willing to take a shot on us as directors, at the same time there was a company called Avco Embassy—I think Bob Rehme ran it back then—and they were equally interested and actually offered us a little more money for it. So one weekend, David and Jerry and I kind of decided we’d take off in order to make the decision whether we were going to go with Avco and Paramount, and we just anguished over it.

We spent a lot of time weighing pros and cons of both the companies. In fact, at one point, we said, “We’re definitely going with Avco.” It just seemed like the better decision. So we called up Jeffrey Katzenberg to tell him, and I don’t think the conversation was five minutes. But at the end of the conversation, we were at Paramount. He was really good. [Laughs.] And, of course, we’re forever grateful that he changed our minds.

The whole thing is nearly as amusing as the movie itself.  It's a good read should you be on a flight this weekend.

Or...maybe not, come to think of it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Last Call For Changing Climate Change

Slate writer and meteorologist Eric Holthaus argues that, given his political constraints, President Obama has been largely successful in getting the ball rolling on dealing with climate change, even though there's a long, long way to go.

On Wednesday, as the president spoke in the Florida swamp, diplomats were gathering in Bangkok to discuss a possible global deal to phase out hydroflorocarbons (HFCs), one of the fastest growing contributors to climate change. This deal wouldn’t be possible without help from the Obama administration.

HFCs, which are used primarily as refrigerants in air conditioning, were phased in as a replacement for CFCs in the 1980s and 1990s in an attempt to stop the growth of the hole in the ozone layer. Since then, they’ve become a big problem in and of themselves—even though viable alternatives are readily available.

A pound of HFCs has up to 14,000 times the global warming potential as a pound of carbon dioxide. U.S. emissions of HFCs are the largest of any country in the world,and they’re rising—but they’re soon to get dwarfed by demand for cooling in places like India as the climate warms and the global middle class of people who can afford air conditioning expands. The proportion of humanity’s total impact on the climate by HFCs is projected to grow rapidly in the coming decades—and could amount to28 to 45 percent of all human-induced global warming by 2050 if the world cracks down on carbon dioxide in the meantime.

So what’s the good news? Air conditioning is a life-and-death issue in India, where its use is projected to grow at a whopping 20 percent per year for the foreseeable future. India had been opposing a transition to HFC alternatives to allow the greatest access to cooling possible. But a big breakthrough on HFCs came earlier this month when India unexpectedly submitted a plan for their global phase-out using the existing Montreal Protocol—the same treaty used to phase out CFCs decades ago. Lead U.S. climate diplomat Todd Stern claimed victory, crediting a bilateral meeting between Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi in January. The U.S. and China had previously agreed to a similar deal on HFCs in 2013, and the Obama administration announced a voluntary deal with American cooling-intensive companies, like Coca-Cola, last fall.

Because the structure of this year’s first-ever global agreement on climate change is also voluntary—with each country effectively trying to peer-pressure others into greater cuts—it matters that the Obama administration is emerging as an effective negotiating force. India hasn’t yet announced its overall economy-wide goal for cutting carbon, but is rumored to be leaving the door open for more significant cuts should wealthier countries agree to fund them.

Considering Republicans refuse to even acknowledge climate change exists still, it's a victory.  The alternative is a Republican administration that with either do nothing or in fact make things worse by increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and saying "God will sort it out."

There is a difference between the two parties, and climate change action is definitely one of those differences.

The Clinton Rules, Con't

What Hillary Clinton actually said on Thursday's speech at the Women in the World summit, via Steve M:

All the evidence tells us that despite the enormous obstacles that remain, there has never been a better time in history to be born female. Think about that. A girl born twenty years ago in Tanzania could not hope to one day own or inherit property. Today she can. If she were born in Nepal, there was a tragically high chance that her mother and even she would die in childbirth. Today, thankfully, that is far less likely. A girl born twenty years ago in Rwanda grew up in the shadow of genocide and rape. Today she can be proud that women have led the way out of that dark time, and now there are more women serving in her country's parliament than anywhere else in the world.

But the data leads to a second conclusion: that despite all this progress, we're just not there yet. Yes, we've nearly closed the global gender gap in primary school. But secondary school remains out of reach for so many girls around the world. Yes, we've increased the number of countries prohibiting domestic violence. But still, more than half the nations in the world have no such laws on the books, and an estimated one in three women still experience violence. Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half. But far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth.

All the laws we've passed don't count for much if they're not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will, and deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.

What The Clinton Rules says that she said, starting with The Hill:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday said "deep-seated … religious beliefs" have to be changed before the world's women will get full access to abortion.
Daily Caller:

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a feminist tone on Thursday. She told attendees at the sixth annual Women in The World Summit that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” for the sake of giving women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”

“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton said.

The Week:

Building on her decidedly feminist campaign message, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton took a forceful stance on abortion rights Thursday when she called for a change in "deep-seated" cultural and religious standards.

Clinton made the comments while delivering the keynote address at the annual Women in The World Summit in New York. "Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper," she said. "Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed."

Bobby Jindal figures this line of "Hillary hates Christians!" attack is the way back to relevance.

It's ridiculous to see this in action, yet there it is.

Breakfast Of Champions

So, Bruce Jenner's interview with Diane Sawyer was illuminating to say the least.

Bruce Jenner was once hailed as the greatest athlete in the world and later became a reality television star with one of the world’s most famous families. Now, the former Olympian is revealing a secret that has caused him turmoil for decades. 
“For all intents and purposes, I’m a woman,” Jenner told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview that aired Friday in a special two-hour edition of ABC News’ “20/20.” 
“People look at me differently. They see you as this macho male, but my heart and my soul and everything that I do in life -- it is part of me,” Jenner, 65, said. “That female side is part of me. That’s who I am.” 
In hours of interviews with Sawyer in New York and California, Jenner detailed his internal struggles with being transgender, which he said he has wrestled with since childhood. 
During the interview, Jenner referred to himself using male pronouns and ABC News has chosen to follow his lead, though he also referred to himself as “Bruce” and “her.” 
“I look at it this way—Bruce always telling a lie. He’s lived a lie his whole life about who he is. And I can’t do that any longer,” Jenner said. 
“My brain is much more female than it is male,” he added. “It’s hard for people to understand that, but that’s what my soul is.”

Bruce also identifies as a Republican.  That may be the toughest part of this for the Jenners to deal with. He seems to honestly think the GOP can be more accepting. Part of me actually hopes he changes a few minds.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Last Call For Cruz Mess-ile

The Ted Cruz 2016 Campaign, in one tweet:

"Please give me money while I push for a Constitutional Amendment to stop you from marrying the person you love."

If this doesn't neatly sum up the last 15 years of Republican dogma, I don't know what else would.

The System Is Corrupt

In the small town of Kinloch, Missouri (which happens to be right next door to Ferguson) the city has a new Mayor, Betty McCray.

Or, Kinloch would have a new Mayor, except for the fact that the rest of the town's employees have apparently banded together to stop McCray from ever taking office, accusing her of voter fraud.

Betty McCray, Kinloch’s newly elected Mayor, arrived at City Hall on Thursday morning with an entourage and the intention to fire multiple city employees. 
But before she could enter the building, McCray was told she was the one who was out of job. 
In the parking lot, McCray was met by a half-dozen police officers and City Attorney James Robinson, who held a manila envelope under his arm containing articles of impeachment
“You can’t come in as mayor,” Robinson said. “You have been suspended.” 
McCray refused to take the envelope, saying, “You may be the attorney now, but I promise you, you won’t be later.” 
Robinson also told Alderman Eric Petty, an ally of McCray’s, that the board had drafted articles of impeachment against him. Petty, too, refused to accept them. 
“We won,” he said. “It’s time for them to move on.”

The reason?  A very shifty story about voter fraud in a town where actual registered voters maybe number in just the dozens.

According to documents obtained by the Post-Dispatch through a records request, the city has raised concerns to the St. Louis County Board of Elections and the Missouri Secretary of State about people being registered to vote in Kinloch who no longer live there. On April 2, the city gave the Election Board a list of 27 names of people who it claimed were illegally registered; many of those individual addresses were listed at city-owned apartments. 
McCray said that the concerns about people’s being illegally registered were “absurd.”
“It never came up until I ran for mayor,” she said, adding that people were still living at the addresses the city claims are empty. 
At least two of the apartments in question on Tuttle Street, where six people are registered to vote, according to the city, appeared this week to have been unoccupied for some time. Both were stripped of furniture and appliances. In one, a jar of pickles and two spent oxygen tanks sat amid other debris on the floor. 
Petty said the homes were vacant because the city began evicting people behind on rent shortly before the election because the tenants were supporters of McCray. 
But City Manager Justine Blue said that wasn’t true. The only people who the city is evicting still live in their apartments, she said. The city did file lawsuits to evict some residents, but that was on Thursday, court records show. Blue said those residents have yet to be formally served with eviction notices. 
“Besides, we would have no idea who would be supporting Ms. McCray,” Blue said.

This story is getting truly strange if you ask me.  Somebody's clearly guilty of massive fraud and laying, but I couldn't tell you who.

But here's a hint as to which side I believe is on point: When you have twenty cops for a town of 300 people and the new mayor decides to make fixing that her top priority?  Things will play out as evidenced above.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Eighteen more months of this, people. Eighteen more months.

Jeb Bush is eating like a caveman, and he has literally shrunk in size.

The former Florida governor, expected to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, is on the popular Paleo diet, which is based on what are believed to be the eating habits of the Paleolithic hunters and gatherers.

For Paleo practitioners, lean meat and fruits and vegetables are in and processed foods, dairy products and sugary delights are out.

For Bush, the results have been noticeable. Late last year he was something of a pudgy doughboy with a full face and soft jawline. Today the 6-foot, 4-inch-tall Bush sports a more chiseled look. His campaign-in-waiting would not say how much he had lost, but he looks to have shed 20 or 30 pounds.


(On the other hand, it is fair to see Jeb Bush treated like, say, Hillary Clinton by the jackasses in the press.)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Last Call For Bigotry Today, Bigotry Tomorrow, Bigotry Forevah!

GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal takes to the pages of the NY Times to write an opinion piece on how Louisiana will never, ever, ever, ever, ever allow same-sex marriage, and shame on you for trying to make them accept it, you awful intolerant hatemongers in the corporate wing of the GOP!

THE debate over religious liberty in America presents conservatives and business leaders with a crucial choice. 
In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty. It was disappointing to see conservative leaders so hastily retreat on legislation that would simply allow for an individual or business to claim a right to free exercise of religion in a court of law. 
Our country was founded on the principle of religious liberty, enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Why shouldn’t an individual or business have the right to cite, in a court proceeding, religious liberty as a reason for not participating in a same-sex marriage ceremony that violates a sincerely held religious belief? 
That is what Indiana and Arkansas sought to do. That political leaders in both states quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all. 
As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.

Louisianans will have the God-given right to hate some gay people, Goddammit.

I hold the view that has been the consensus in our country for over two centuries: that marriage is between one man and one woman. Polls indicate that the American consensus is changing — but like many other believers, I will not change my faith-driven view on this matter, even if it becomes a minority opinion.

A pluralistic and diverse society like ours can exist only if we all tolerate people who disagree with us. That’s why religious freedom laws matter — and why it is critical for conservatives and business leaders to unite in this debate.

Sure, we all have to tolerate people who disagree with us, except I'm the governor of this effing state and I'm going to sign this bill that makes my minority opinion into law. Tolerance, you see, is you dealing with discrimination and accepting it.

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