Friday, May 25, 2012

Last Call

Hopefully another step in the permanent Last Call for DOMA:

Last night, U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken in California ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional in a case called Dragovich v. U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Clinton-appointed federal judge found that DOMA violates the Constitution’s equal protections clause due to the fact that, along with a provision of the state’s tax law, it limits same-sex couples and domestic partners from fully participating in the California Public Employees Retirement System. This marks the first federal court decision on DOMA since President Obama announced his endorsement of same-sex marriage on May 9. Two other judges and a bankruptcy court have similarly ruled DOMA unconstitutional.

Indeed, the equal protection violation clause is a powerful argument that has been used before to attack DOMA.  It's a law which codifies discrimination, plain and simple.   What will SCOTUS decide on this?  Who knows.

All the more reason to keep Mitt Romney out of the White House, if you ask me.

Fire Walker Chronicles: Rolling In The Deep

Team Koch is stomping a dollar sign shaped mud hole in Tom Barrett and then drying it out, with the super-PACs backing GOP Gov. Scott Walker outspending the Democrats by more than 3-to-1 in the Wisconsin recall.

Walker's campaign, which has raised a record $25 million+ for the recall campaign, spent over $7 million for TV buys from March 20 through Election Day, according to a source tracking ad buys in the state. In anticipation of the recall, the governor has been on the air since last December, with spots touting his record, including his controversial budget repair bill curbing collective bargaining for public employees. In total, Walker's campaign has spent over $12 million on recall election campaign ads.

Republicans are apparently absolutely giddy with the thought that Walker's win will usher in a new era of permanent GOP dominance.  If it takes millions of dollars to purchase said dominance, and they have it to spend, why by gum, they're going to do just that.  Thanks, Citizens United!

Walker is the frontrunner in the campaign, but Democrats released two polls this week showing the governor with only a small, single-digit lead. The outcome of the race will largely rest on which side can turn out its base. There are very few uncommitted voters, with nearly everyone holding a firm opinion of Walker. 
The two candidates will debate tonight and once more next Thursday.

It's not over with yet, folks.  It's all about getting people to the polls.  Badger, badger, badger, don't be a mushroom.

Bunch Of Bubble Heads

Conservative Michael Barone has figured out why liberals don't always win, their refusal to accept wingnut framing of arguments means we're "cocooned" away from "reality".  His clever assault begins thusly:

It's comfortable living in a cocoon -- associating only with those who share your views, reading journalism and watching news that only reinforces them, avoiding those on the other side of the cultural divide.

Liberals have been doing this for a long time.

It may be the the least self-aware passage ever penned by a conservative pundit.  It gets worse from there, but the gist of it is since Barone lives in his own impenetrable cocoon of Derp, he argues that because liberals don't choose to accept the perfection of the FOX News reality simulator, they can't win arguments with conservatives.

In other words, liberals can only win in Barone's eyes if they accept the fact they've already lost.  And since they've already lost, why bother winning?  Didn't you know all real Americans go to megachurches and watch Hannity and listen to Rush?  The rest of you people live in a cocoon.  You should try it!

Of course, the outfits that are dedicated to fighting the right's message on their own terms by listening to Rush and watching FOX and going after them?  Yeah, they don't exist in Barone's world, apparently.  Funny how that works, right?

Engagement Lawsuit Raises Questions

Either this is the worst "gold digger" ever, or she has a hell of a defense, returning a ring worth $32,000.

Kendra Platt-Lee decided she no longer wanted to get married to Steven Silverstein.  She broke off the wedding and returned the ring, only to find he was suing her.  Silverstein wants to be compensated for wedding expenses and two years of rent for the time they lived together.

I can only pray he doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to the time living together, but when it comes to legal matters I take nothing for granted.  She lived with him, with his full consent and permission, and owes him nothing (or so one would think).  As far as wedding expenses, she voluntarily returned the ring, worth over thirty grand.  It's going to be hard to portray her as victimizing or taking advantage when she initiated the return.  I found mixed results when it comes to the forced return or compensation for engagement rings, so she by no means had to be so forthcoming with it.  While splitting the wedding costs may be nice, I'm not sure how the law will fall on that one either.

Silverstein does claim she wiped out a joint account.  However, good luck doing anything with that, as it's a joint account for a reason.  It will be interesting to see if she did.  It doesn't at all jibe with the return of the ring.  If she did though, it will give some weight to his claims of greediness and shady play.  It would also be just about impossible to prosecute, so she's either very clever or he's very determined to smear her reputation.

Love hurts, baby.

Crappy News Day

Well, crap.

Three bodies were pulled out of a septic pond (a fancy phrase for poo pit).  They are believed to be those of a father and his two sons.  A tractor was found parked and still running on the scene.

The family had been working at the manure pit, but foul play has not been ruled out.  The obvious question is, who would purposely dive into something that smelled like that?

In other news, we have a woman who beat up her own mother for money.  To make sure the double-amputee could not follow her, she also took her mother's cane, ensuring she would stay put.

Jessica Strahl (Click for crazy-eyed photo goodness) jumped into a truck after assaulting her mother, and has not been seen since she pawned the necklaces she ripped from her mother's neck.

Shocked To Discover Gambling At This Establishment, He Says

Over at Salon, ex-Reagan operative and National Review writer Michael Fumento takes a long hard look at the abyss of the right-wing punditry in America and decides "That's it, I'm outta here."

This is nuts! Literally. As in “mass hysteria.” That’s a phenomenon I wrote about for a quarter-century, from the heterosexual AIDS “epidemic” to the swine flu “pandemic” that killed vastly fewer people than seasonal flu, to “runaway Toyotas.” Mass hysteria is when a large segment of society loses touch with reality, or goes bonkers, if you will, on a given issue – like believing that an incredibly mild strain of flu could kill eight times as many Americans as normal seasonal flu. (It killed about a third as many.)

I was always way ahead of the curve. And my exposés primarily appeared in right-wing publications. Back when they were interested in serious research. I also founded a conservative college newspaper, held positions in the Reagan administration and at several conservative think tanks, and published five books that conservatives applauded. I’ve written for umpteen major conservative publications – National Review, the Weekly Standard, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, among them.

But no longer. That was the old right. The last thing hysteria promoters want is calm, reasoned argument backed by facts. And I’m horrified that these people have co-opted the name “conservative” to scream their messages of hate and anger.

Well, took you long enough.  But welcome to what I've been saying for almost four years now.  We need a better Republican party, because you can't always count on the Democrats to do the right thing.  But the choices in 2012 are between the Democrats and the Insane Party Of Effing Bonkers.  I'll stick with the Dems, thanks.

The Republicans?  Yeah, this house needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up.  They're doing most of the tearing down themselves.  The bad news is they're trying to take the rest of us with them.

The Old Line State Gets A New Line

Yeah, I know, it's a Huffington Post article, but it's actually great news:  the streak of same-sex marriage bans on state ballots may be headed for a huge failure.

In a dramatic shift, Maryland voters overwhelmingly would vote to uphold a law allowing same-sex marriage, according to a survey released Thursday by Public Policy Polling.

Fifty-seven percent of likely voters would vote to uphold the law allowing same-sex marriage, while 37 percent would not, representing a 12-point shift from an identical survey in early March. Fifty-two percent think gay marriage should be recognized, while 39 percent do not. Both polls were commissioned for Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

Maryland passed a gay marriage law, but it doesn't take effect until January 1, 2013. Opponents of the law are seeking to get 55,736 signatures to force a referendum on it by June 30, which is likely to happen. Maine and Minnesota will vote on gay marriage in November.

The poll notes that the shift can be explained "almost entirely" by a change in black voters' attitudes. Previously, 56 percent said they would vote against the new law, with 39 percent saying they would vote for uphold it. Now, 55 percent say they will vote for the law and 36 percent are opposed.

And yes, PPP attributes the shift in Maryland's black voters entirely to President Obama backing same-sex marriage.  The end result is that if this trend continues, Maryland's expected ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage in the state's constitution before the state's same-sex marriage law can take effect in January 2013 will go down to a serious defeat.  Ta-Nehisi Coates sums it up:

It would not simply mean that same-sex marriage held by a majority vote, but that it did so in one of the blackest states in the country. I don't think that says anything distinctive about African-Americans, except that in the climate, it seems exceptional to point out that black people are, in fact, not aliens permanently in the grip of pathology, but Americans.

I was skeptical that Obama would actually influence black opinions. I'm not sure he has. But I can't rule it out. It's clear that the trend was toward support. Maybe Obama gave it the final push. On a related note, preachers who thought they were going to use this to test, for better or ill, the most popular man in black America, should reconsider.



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