Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Last Call

A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit struck down California's Prop 8 ban on gay marriage today, in a ruling that's expected to almost immediately be appealed to the US Supreme Court.  Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog:

Dividing 2-1, the Ninth Circuit Court on Tuesday struck down “Proposition 8,” the ban on same-sex marriage adopted by California voters in November 2008.  The panel majority did not uphold a broad right of gay couples to wed, saying it was enough for now to rule that it was unconstitutional to take away a right to marry only for one minority group.   The 133-page ruling can be read here.

The panel unanimously ruled that the sponsors of Proposition 8 had a legal right to be in the appeals court to challenge a federal District judge’s ruling in 2010 striking down the ballot measure, but also rejected the sponsors’ plea to wipe out that ruling on the theory that the trial judge had a conflict of interest because he is gay and is in a long-term relationship with another man.

The majority summed up its ruling this way: “By using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so, the people of California violated the Equal Protection Clause [of the federal Constitution].  We hold Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on this ground.”

It added: “We do not doubt the importance of the more general questions presented to us concerning the rights of same-sex couples to marry nor do we doubt that these questions will likely be resolved in other states, and for the nation as a whole, by other courts.  For now, it suffices to conclude that the people of California may not, consistent with the federal Constitution, add to their state constitution a provision that has no more practical effect than to strip gays and lesbians of their right to use the official designation that the state and society give to committed relationships, thereby adversely affecting the status and dignity of the members of a disfavored class. The judgement of the district court is confirmed.

So no new arguments or major surprises here.  The panel upheld Judge Vaughan Walker's ruling and his argument that singling out gay and lesbian couples for the express purpose of denying them rights violated the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.  They also threw out the patently ridiculous argument that being gay himself disqualified Judge Walker from making the decision in the first place, any more than being married (or divorced) should disqualify a judge from a divorce proceeding, for example.

In other words, this is a speed bump on the way to SCOTUS.  The ruling doesn't substantively change much of anything.  For now, the ruling vacating Prop 8 will almost certainly be stayed in light of the 99.9999% chance of this being appealed to the Supreme Court (unless for some reason this goes before an en banc full panel of the 9th Circuit instead...but I don't see the pro-Prop 8 side doing that, they want to go for all the marbles instead of getting a similar decision.)

Whether or not the case would be heard before or after this coming election, I couldn't tell you.  But the implications of a Supreme Court ruling on Prop 8 would be broad.  It could strike down such bans in dozens of states...or make them all but permanent should they decide in favor of keeping it.  It's also entirely possible that SCOTUS could punt and effectively say it was a state's rights issue, keeping the status quo in other states but opening same-sex marriage in California.  It's also possible that SCOTUS could make a broad ruling striking down the federal DOMA ban as well as the state ones, clearing the way for federally recognized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

I honestly don't know how this will fall out, only that SCOTUS will certainly get a crack at this and soon.

Your Tainted Love Of Polls

As I mentioned last night on Twitter, Team Romney is furious with this week's Washington Post/ABC poll, because it dares to show President Obama might actually win.

Mitt Romney’s campaign is publicly arguing that the methodology of a WaPo/ABC poll tainted its finding that his national numbers are tanking. However, polling experts who talked to TPM say that the survey is in line with a broad set of evidence that Romney’s general election appeal is declining — even if the poll’s approach is less than ideal.

The poll in question couldn’t have looked much worse for Romney’s presidential hopes. While it indicated he was still strong in the primary, his national numbers showed a rapid fall with Obama leading him 51-45 among registered voters. Romney pollster Neil Newhouse says these top line numbers should be disregarded because the question came after a series of queries referencing various recent stories surrounding Romney, including whether voters think his wealth is a positive or negative, whether they think he did more to create or cut jobs at Bain Capital, whether they feel his 14% tax rate is fair, and whether his Mormon religion affects their views of his candidacy.

“The poll introduced specific negative information about Governor Romney immediately prior to asking the ballot match-up against President Obama,” Newhouse wrote. “While I certainly understand the difficulty of designing a questionnaire to learn as much information as possible about a campaign, and the compromises that sometimes have to be made, the questionnaire design used by the Post/ABC Poll in this case is seriously flawed.”

Only one problem:  the right's favorite pollster, Scott Rasmussen, says President Obama will most likely be re-elected.

Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports predicted on Monday that President Barack Obama would win the 2012 election if the economy continued to improve.

The latest Rasmussen poll showed Obama with a 7 point lead over the Republican frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“The trends are moving in President Obama’s direction,” Rasmussen said during an appearance on Fox Business. “Consumer confidence this morning is at the highest level in more than a year, and by the way it is getting near the highest level of the past four years. A plurality of investors now think the economy is getting better.”

Folks, if even Rasmussen is finding that President Obama has a lead over Romney, the argument that "polls are all biased if I'm losing!" is not only stupid, but delusional.   It's pretty clear that Team Romney is not going to be able to handle the general election with anything approaching competence.

And We Now Have A Data Pipeline

And now, a quick tech rant that has me excited and reading everything I can find (which isn't much at this time):

Scientists at the Universities of Southampton and Penn State have found a way to embed electronic components into optical fibres, in a breakthrough that could lead to the creation of super high-speed telecommunications networks.

Rather than trying to merge flat chips with round optical fibres, the team of scientists used high-pressure chemistry techniques to deposit semiconducting materials layer by layer directly into tiny holes in optical fibres. This bypasses the need to integrate fibre-optics onto a chip, and means that the data signal never has to leave the fibre.

"The big breakthrough here is that we don't need the whole chip as part of the finished product. We have managed to build the junction – the active boundary where all the electronic action takes place – right into the fibre,” said Dr Pier Sazio, senior research fellow in the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC).

“Moreover, while conventional chip fabrication requires multimillion dollar clean room facilities, our process can be performed with simple equipment that costs much less.”

That's a win-win no matter how you slice it. Cheaper, faster, better. Your pron will be delivered at exciting new speeds. Oh yeah, and keep Netflix from sucking the reserves dry.

It's Time For Some Gay Straight Talk

It's not a crime to be gay.

So why is it okay to discriminate and mistreat people who are choose a different lifestyle?  Are we no better than the bullies who drive teens to kill themselves?  It seems like every week, another young person ends their life rather than live in a world that hates them.  And for what?

It's time we demand answers from our government as to why they would allow a class of people to be treated differently based on a legal choice.  Lots of religions believe it is immoral to drink to excess, but they don't get to drive people to kill themselves for it.  So where is the line?

A lot has to change, and quickly.  First, let's stop defining people by their sexual choice.  Or let's make it fair across the board, and discriminate against the promiscuous, those sluts ask for it.  And the prudes as well, shame on them.  The people who dance and wiggle their behinds too much, off with their heads!  If you like to be spanked, I have the right to have an opinion on that and make you stop... right?

Let's get our crap together before yet another teenager takes their own life.

Bachmann Has One Last Final StupidiLeak

Asked by Bloomberg TV's Al Hunt who of the remaining four candidates was the "most conservative," Bachmann responded by including herself in the mix.

"I was. I was the perfect candidate," Bachmann said in the interview, which aired on Friday. "America had their chance with the perfect candidate. But any of our candidates are going to be acceptable to the American people, and more than acceptable, because right now, if you look at the Gallup map that came out this week, President Obama is in big trouble all across the country."

She'll never get it. Do you hear that, America? Michele gave you a chance and you blew it. She was perfect, always right, a victim of the mean boys that she tried to stomp over and failed. Despite the fact that she had terrible ideas, a complete misunderstanding of what her office would allow her to do, and no respect for diversity, we got wrong.

I guess I'll just have to learn to live with that.

Meanwhile, her claim about Obama is lame, considering the way the country is recoiling from the GOP. Even their most rabid followers are feeling the heat when asked common sense questions, which tells me they might finally realize they're full of shit. We kind of guessed that a while back, but better late to the party than a no-show.

Kansas Takes Abortion Stupidity To New Levels

Kansas lawmakers have six days to decide if it's okay for doctors to lie to women who may consider abortion if they knew the truth.

Yeah, roll that around and digest it for a minute, I know I had to. The proposed changes would prevent women from suing doctors for malpractice if they withhold information that they feel might make the woman consider abortion as a viable procedure. A woman would have no rights to claim malpractice if her doctor didn't mention birth defects that the doctor feels may cause her to consider abortion. A woman would have no say in court if she suffered damage to her body from a condition her doctor neglected to mention because in their opinion it might cause her to consider abortion.

The bill includes several other cheap shots and punitive measures aimed at women considering abortion, including hearing the heartbeat and removing tax deductions for "abortion related" health insurance coverage. Those are another topic for another post, a rant about how laws can punish people for taking advantage of a protected medical procedure. My main concern here is the idea that it could ever be right to hold back the truth between doctor and patient.

In a constant erosion of women's rights, the GOP is now trying to intrude on the relationship between a patient and her doctor. They've resorted to telling outright lies, as well.

The Next Target Of GOP "Otherization": Business

I wonder how the US Chamber of Commerce feels about Karl Rove declaring open season on every business that took stimulus money, starting with US automakers.

During a segment with Fox News, the network’s current contributor and the former Deputy Chief of Staff said he was “offended” by Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” commercial which featured a pro-Detroit revival sentiment and a gravelly, rousing Clint Eastwood telling viewers, “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch, we get right back up again.” (Come on Rove, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.)

“I was, frankly, offended by it,” Rove stated about the ad that suggests that America’s “second half is about to begin,” adding, “I’m a huge fan of Clint Eastwood, I thought it was an extremely well-done ad, but it is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style politics, and the president of the United States and his political minions are, in essence, using our tax dollars to buy corporate advertising and the best-wishes of the management which is benefited by getting a bunch of our money that they’ll never pay back.” 

Rove hits all the dog whistles in about 10 seconds there:  "Chicago-style", "minions", "our tax dollars" "never pay back".  President Kenyachurian Comesforyourdaughters will redistribute everything you have to THUG LYFE POSSE.

If the "crony capitalism" message sounds familiar, it's because Rove is channeling his buddy Mittens.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney met with supporters Monday morning and criticized President Barack Obama’s policies relating to health care reform, proposed military cuts and “crony capitalism.

”Romney, speaking to a crowd at Ring Power Lift Trucks on the Southside, also addressed the housing market difficulties that have plagued Florida. 

“Instead of being driven by the market and consumers, it’s driven by politicians,” Romney said, referring to “crony capitalism” and deals the government has given to companies.

On the economy, Romney said he would “restore the free market enterprise” to combat such practices.

Rove is putting American business on notice:  If you tell the truth and admit that the federal government helped you in any way over the last three years, the Republicans will destroy you.  The GOP message has to be "Barack Hussein Otherbama is destroying businesses with SOSHULIZM!"  Anyone who admits otherwise, like Chrysler, immediately becomes a potential target for House Republican subpoenas.

I bet you'll see them drag up auto execs before too long.  And then the message to any corporation who backs the Dems will be loud and clear.  And keep in mind, the GOP will do anything to "prove" that the Obama administration's efforts to help the economy through federal programs were immoral, if not *whispers* illegal.

The GOP is fully vested is America's defeat.  Our economy has to crumble now or Obama might be re-elected.

Oh, and to Clint Eastwood's credit?  He replied to Rove with this:

In an upcoming interview with Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Eastwood responds to Rove’s accusations. ”l am certainly not politically affiliated with Mr. Obama,” Eastwood said. “It was meant to be a message about job growth and the spirit of America. I think all politicians will agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.” Eastwood’s comments will be aired on O’Reilly’s show tonight.

And yeah, Eastwood voted for McCain. But businesses have been pushing ads like this for decades now.  Only with a certain President in the White House is it a problem.


Related Posts with Thumbnails