Saturday, October 11, 2014

Last Call For Kansas Torna-derps

Looks like Kansas Republicans are going to fight until the end over stopping same-sex marriage, which they can't legally stop for much longer.

On Wednesday, a judge in Johnson County, which borders Kansas City and is the state’s most populous county, ordered court clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Kansas bans same-sex marriage by state law and its state constitution, a position expected to be overturned following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday.

The high court decided not to review a U.S. appeals court decision striking down bans in Oklahoma and Utah, which are in the same U.S. appeals court circuit as Kansas, meaning the state is bound by that court’s rulings.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said the attorney general’s petition would ensure an orderly process and avoid confusion created by inconsistent judicial rulings.

“An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman,” Brownback said in a statement. “Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas.”
Johnson County has announced that it would issue marriage licenses and Shawnee County is accepting applications for license while awaiting court action before issuing licenses.

The ACLU of Kansas plans to file a federal lawsuit early next week challenging the ban on same-sex marriage, Doug Bonney, its chief counsel and legal director, said on Friday.

And I expect in short order that the ACLU's lawsuit will swiftly result in Kansas having same-sex marriage recognized the way North Carolina did on Friday when a judge overturned the ban in that state.

A federal judge in North Carolina struck down the state's same sex marriage ban Friday, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately.

U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., in Asheville issued a ruling shortly after 5 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional.

Cogburn's ruling follows Monday's announcement by the U.S. Supreme Court that it would not hear any appeal of a July ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond striking down Virginia's ban. That court has jurisdiction over North Carolina.

"North Carolina's laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law," wrote Cogburn, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama. "The issue before this court is neither a political issue nor a moral issue. It is a legal issue."

 But it's okay.  Sam Brownback most likely won't be governor of Kansas for much longer.

Rand On Race, Regretfully

Not even Washington Post columnist Nia-Malika Henderson buys Rand Paul coming to Ferguson as the Kentucky senator being "helpful".

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made one of the boldest and most memorable statements on the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., going a place members of his party wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. 
Now, he's literally gone to the place -- as in, Ferguson -- where he's meeting with the NAACP, the Urban League and other church and business leaders about criminal justice. 
A cynic would say that Paul, a likely 2016 presidential contender, is simply trying to expand his appeal. 
That cynic wouldn't be entirely wrong.

Look, Rand Paul seems genuinely baffled as to why black voters vote Democratic, in the same way that Rep. Paul Ryan seems genuinely baffled as to why poor people vote Democratic.  There are some problems that Paul admits still exist, namely the black cradle to prison pipeline, but like Paul Ryan, Rand Paul's solutions actually would make things even worse.

“I am a politician, and I do recognize that [Republicans] haven’t done very well with people who live in cities -- primarily African Americans -- and I do think we need to do better,” he said in a phone interview from Ferguson. “The thing I found is that you might interview 20 people, and you find that they are not ready to vote for a Republican yet, but they are interested in Republicans competing for their vote and showing up in their communities.” 
Paul has been on something of an urban America tour, meeting with leaders all over the country. He is the closest thing the GOP has to a race man, unafraid to put himself in the shoes of African Americans and to talk about disparities 
But at the same time, this is a relatively new effort for him. And for a guy who in his first campaign struggled with questions about the Civil Rights Act, the discovery does coincide with his increasing national political ambitions. 
"I think I’ve discovered more of urban America from being elected than not being elected. I grew up in a small rural town, so from a firsthand experience, I wasn't as aware," he said. "But as a senator ... I’ve tried to learn about problems that I frankly didn’t know as much about. And as I met with community leaders, I’ve discovered that there were things like … many people didn’t have the right to vote, and I wasn’t aware of that. And since that time, I’ve become more active in those issues."

The thing is that the standard in the GOP, that is that belief that the 90% plus of black America that votes Democratic are nothing but stupid, savage animals who live on government largess, is so unrelentingly awful and incredibly racist that Rand Paul's slightly less insulting approach of relatively cynical pandering comes across as making him look like a "civil rights leader" by comparison.  It's like trying to tend poison ivy as the only living thing in a field of blackened, scorched, and salted earth and telling your friends how awesome your garden is.  Here's where Henderson really makes a complete fool out of herself.

But in steadily talking about race, about hopelessness and a sense of powerlessness -- as well as what the federal government can do to help -- Paul is up to something entirely different. He is becoming the closest thing the Republicans have to an Al Sharpton or a Jesse Jackson, a comparison that prompted laughter from the man himself
"I will leave that to others I don’t know," he said. "I am trying very hard to show that Republicans do have policies and plans and do care about trying to fix problems in our nation's cities."

Look, just because Rand Paul admits that black Democratic voters are actual human beings, putting him several steps ahead of your average Republican, people are fawning all over the guy.  It's great that Rand Paul admits black Democratic voters may in fact be actual human beings.  If that's your bar for why we should vote Republican, please kindly go screw yourself.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

"Hey Zandar, you're in IT and stuff. Is there really a lack of qualified software engineers and computer programmers out there that necessitates us importing qualified tech workers from Asia? If so, and the Obama administration doesn't increase these H-1B visas, will US tech firms will continue to threaten expand overseas instead?"

Well I'm glad you asked.

What engineer shortage are you talking about?  It doesn't exist.

A compelling body of research is now available, from many leading academic researchers and from respected research organizations such as theNational Bureau of Economic Research, the RAND Corporation, and the Urban Institute. No one has been able to find any evidence indicating current widespread labor market shortages or hiring difficulties in science and engineering occupations that require bachelors degrees or higher, although some are forecasting high growth in occupations that require post-high school training but not a bachelors degree. All have concluded that U.S. higher education produces far more science and engineering graduates annually than there are S&E job openings—the only disagreement is whether it is 100 percent or 200 percent more. Were there to be a genuine shortage at present, there would be evidence of employers raising wage offers to attract the scientists and engineers they want. But the evidence points in the other direction: Most studies report that real wages in many—but not all—science and engineering occupations have been flat or slow-growing, and unemployment as high or higher than in many comparably-skilled occupations.

"Wait a minute.  Unemployment is higher among engineers and college-level tech workers? But why are we insisting on importing foreign engineers when we produce more engineers now than we need?  What could possibly be the reason, Zandar?"

Hispanics, Asians and blacks are not getting equal pay for equal work in the high-tech industry. 
That's the finding of new research that shows Hispanics earn $16,353 a year less on average than their colleagues who are not Hispanic. 
In the same high-skilled positions such as computer programmers and software developers, Asians make $8,146 less than whites and blacks $3,656 less than whites, according to the report from the American Institute for Economic Research
"What this tells us is that race and ethnicity matter, and they matter a lot," said Nicole Kreisberg, the senior research analyst who conducted the research. "Simply increasing diversity is not enough. We also have to talk about money."

Gosh, you mean Asian and Hispanic tech workers make $8-16k less per year than white ones?  I can't imagine why huge Silicon Valley tech firms would be so keen on hiring foreign employees then.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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