February 18th, 2009

  • bispo

How To Speak Obama

When Barack Obama speaks, novelist Zadie Smith hears in him Whitman-esque multitudes. Part of Obama's oratorical appeal—as she explains in a December speech printed in the current New York Review of Books—is his ability to voice almost anybody, which he repeatedly demonstrates in his autobiography Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. She writes:
Obama can do young Jewish male, black old lady from the South Side, white woman from Kansas, Kenyan elders, white Harvard nerds, black Columbia nerds, activist women, churchmen, security guards, bank tellers. …
He can even do the 40-ish British traveler named Mr. Wilkerson, whom he remembers looking up at the night sky in Africa and saying, "I believe that's the Milky Way."
Obama's gift—or skill—isn't mimicry. "He can speak them," Smith writes, because he possesses an ear that can really hear them, the way that George Bernard Shaw heard the variants of English and captured them for the page.

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source: Slate
  • bispo

"Without Immediate Intervention Our Loved One Will Die"

In the past 24 hours, the California legislature has witnessed a triumphant visit from U.S. Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger, a daring rescue of two people from a burning car in Sacramento by a Republican assemblyman moments before the car exploded, and an apparent palace coup in the Republican leadership of the state Senate. What it still has not produced (though rumors abound), as of 11:30 p.m. Pacific time on Tuesday night, is a state budget--prompting the (only slightly overwrought) quotation above, from Democratic state Senator Alan Lowenthal.
The background here is that California is one of three states that require a supermajority vote to approve the state budget. The way this usually works, at least for the past several years, is that all the Democrats vote for the budget and after protracted theatrics manage to beg, threaten, or bribe however many Republicans they need to join them. The process is difficult enough in normal years, but with a $40 billion deficit to fill, this year it's on the verge of impossible. Democrats and Arnold Schwarzenegger have settled on a package that combines $14 billion in new taxes with $16 billion in spending cuts and $11 billion in borrowing. They've been able to round up the three Republican votes needed in the state assembly to pass the package, but have spent the past few days trying to find one more GOP senator to go along. Without a budget agreement, all state infrastructure projects are set to grind to a halt (a perfect anti-stimulus package!), including much-needed earthquake retrofits to bridges and roads. One assumes the legislature will get its act together just in the nick of time, since it would effectively waste $400 million to stop the projects and then start them up again later, but it's essentially a game of chicken with two players who have sworn that this time they won't swerve off the road, so a mutually destructive and irrational outcome is certainly a possibility.
There are a few lessons to be learned from this latest debacle in Sacramento. The first is that Arnold Schwarzenegger's mission to pull the state GOP to the center has pretty clearly failed. Bizarrely enough, one of the Republican holdouts on the budget is state Senator Abel Maldonado, from Santa Maria. Maldonado is the only Latino Republican in the Legislature and the only real GOP moderate in the state Senate. During the 2007 budget stalemate, he cast one of the critical crossover votes in favor of the budget. So why is he voting against it now? In large part, it seems, because he holds a grudge against Schwarzenegger for not coming to his aid during his 2006 campaign for state controller, in which Maldonado lost the Republican primary to a ring-winger. Since 2005, Schwarzenegger has tried to walk a fine line, governing from the center without declaring all-out war on recalcitrant conservatives, which is supposedly why he stayed on the sidelines during Maldonado's race. He's given nice-sounding quotes to the press, but hasn't been willing to do the grunt work of building a centrist infrastructure from the ground up.
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'Clearly politicians are smarter outside New Zealand'

What does this law actually mean?  I can only work out the gist of it from the article.

Guilty by accusation copyright protestors paint it black

Tuesday Feb 17, 2009
Pat Pilcer

A protest campaign against the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act appears to be gaining momentum as protesters, including high profile UK celebrity Stephen Fry, black-out photos on Twitter, Facebook and various other social networking sites.

The Creative Freedom has called Feb 16 to 23 Internet Blackout Week NZ they seek to protest against the controversial 'Section 92A' due to come into force at the end of February.

Fry, who has thrown his support behind internet Blackout Week, has blacked his out, and now his Twitter site is awash with tweets asking the comedian why.

High profile mapping service provider, Zoomin.co.nz has also weighed in with support for the Blackout campaign by blacking out their maps, placing NZ in a perpetual state of virtual darkness.

Section 92A requires that ISPs must develop a code of conduct to deal with copyright infringement. So far the Telecommunications Carrier Forum (TCF) has proposed a draft code of conduct for its membership (which mostly consists of medium to large ISPs) that uses a four strike system consisting of three warnings and a final disconnection notice to penalise repeat copyright infringers.

To ensure that malicious copyright infringement accusations are kept to a minimum, and that the costs of complying with the new laws are not passed onto internet subscribers, the TCF has sensibly proposed that each infringement notice issued carry a processing charge met by the party lodging the infringement notice.

Since the TCF's draft code of conduct was launched, there has been significant amount of lobbying by all concerned parties. If industry scuttlebutt is to be believed, the various copyright industry organisations have been particularly busy, and are said to be pushing for any codes of conduct required by the pending copyright laws to be toughened up.

Central to this, they argue, is getting processing charges removed for lodging copyright infringement notices and, worryingly, giving copyright holders the ability to decide if any disputes to copyright infringement and disconnection notices are valid - effectively making copyright holders both judge and jury.

If alarm bells are going off in your head, you're not alone. Investigating the validity of any copyright infringement claims is likely to be a resource-intensive and costly undertaking for ISPs.

If the various copyright industry groups are exempted from any processing charges associated with lodging a copyright infringement, internet subscribers will probably suffer as ISPs are forced to pass the costs onto internet users' broadband plans.

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Epic Fail in Austin.

Perry: Texas may turn down billions

Governor wary of money from federal government stimulus

Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

Feb. 17, 2009, 10:42PM

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday he’s not sure the state should accept all of its projected share of federal stimulus money — $16.9 billion and counting by preliminary estimates — because of the “mile-long” strings that might be attached.

“In Texas, we actually know it is a good idea to look a gift horse in the mouth. If we don’t, we may end up with an old nag,” said Perry, who has been critical of such federal spending and voiced concern over whether the state could afford federal strings.


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Ugh, this is so my divine punishment for making fun of Bobby Jindal doing the same thing in Louisiana. Texas is doing relatively well compared to most states, but we're nowhere near in the black. To quote Rep. Dunham  who the hell would turn down 20 billion dollars in aid given the current economic crisis? And how much do I love that one of his major sticking points is that it might help more unemployed people? Way to care about your constituents, Gov. Good Hair. Now I see why he and Sarah Palin are such BFFs. They're both fucking morons.

I hope the Lege goes over his well coifed head on this matter. Make him look even more out of touch and useless than he already is. I wonder if Hutchison will attempt to make political hay out of this? Considering that she didn't vote for the stimulus, any attempts would be mucho amusing.


The Far Right's All Out Offensive Against Medical Research

The Far Right's All Out Offensive Against Medical Research

Opponents of fixing our broken health care system are at it again, attempting to use their same old scare tactics and falsehoods to kill a common-sense health care provision is the economic recovery package. Fortunately Congressional leaders have recognized these tactics for what they are and have wisely kept this provision in the legislation.

Under attack is a provision that is in the package that will help your doctor be better informed and more effective at the job they signed up to do in the first place - taking care of you and your family.

Comparative Effectiveness Research:
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cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?
  • biichan


Remember when somebody posted a list of the top twenty-five conservative movies as decided by the National Review and everyone was all WTF? AND THESE MOVIES ARE CONSERVATIVE HOW? Well, the National Review finally decided to explain their moon logic to the internets.

The Best Conservative Movies

Once in a blue moon, Hollywood releases a conservative movie, or at least a film that resonates with conservatives in a particular way. Because conservatives love movies — and especially debates about movies — we decided to produce a list of the 25 best conservative movies of the last 25 years. Our approach in selecting them doesn’t rise to the level of an actual methodology, but there was a method to it. We asked readers of National Review Online to submit nominations. Hundreds of suggestions came in, along with explanations and arguments. We considered each one, tallied them up, and consulted a number of film buffs and professional movie-makers.

We do not claim that the writers, directors, producers, gaffers, and key grips involved with these films are conservative. We certainly make no such assertion about the actors. Yet the results are indisputable: Conservatives enjoy these films because they are great movies that offer compelling messages about freedom, families, patriotism, traditions, and more.


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Popcorn sauce

What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck.

This time last year, 15-year-old California eighth grader Lawrence "Larry" King was killed in his junior high English class. Two bullets to the head. Classmate Brandon McInerney, now 15, allegedly pulled the trigger after King asked him to be his Valentine. And while McInerney is on trial (as an adult) for first-degree murder and committing a hate crime, he's not the only one facing possible punishment. That's because King's parents have filed a wrongful death suit against the school district, a shelter, and a gay rights organization — for a total of two dozen defendants — for failing to protect their kid from McInerney's alleged threat to kill King the day before it actually happened. And because, get this, they didn't urge King to tone down his effeminate ways.

Yup. Mom and dad are suing everyone who came into contact with their son because none of them told King it wasn't okay to be gay. If the defendants failed to act when McInerney made the alleged threat, then that's pure negligence, and perhaps they should be at fault. But for not telling the kid to tone down his flamboyance? And keep his sexuality in the closet? I can't imagine that's punishable.

The 18-page lawsuit filed by King's parents and brother names nearly two dozen defendants. It claims that everyone from King's teacher to his social worker failed to urge the effeminate teen to tone down flamboyant behavior. The suit also claims they failed to heed McInerney's alleged threat to kill King a day before the shooting.

In addition to his teacher and principal, the suit names McInerney and his parents; the nonprofit Casa Pacifica, a shelter for troubled children where King had been living; counselors; a county social worker, and the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance.

The school and shelter knew that King's behavior was "sexually assertive" and
threatening but failed to take action, the suit contends.

The shelter gave him "cross-dressing clothes and makeup and women's boots," and the Rainbow Alliance encouraged King to make sexual advances on McInerney, the suit claims.

Alliance Executive Director Jay Smith denied the allegation.

"No facilitator or mental health therapist would say anything even remotely like that," Smith said. "This whole thing is just frivolous."

Casa Pacifica did nothing to contribute to the boy's death, administrator Steve Elson said.

The Hueneme School District earlier denied responsibility for King's death. [AP]

Here is Ellen DeGeneres last February speaking about King's murder.



[conan] - HP

N. Dakota House Passes Abortion Ban

Feb 17 2009 7:37PM
North Dakota's House of Representatives has passed a bill effectively outlawing abortion.

The House voted 51-41 this afternoon to declare that a fertilized egg has all the rights of any person.

That means a fetus could not be legally aborted without the procedure being considered murder.

Minot Republican Dan Ruby has sponsored other bills banning abortion in previous legislative sessions - all of which failed.

He also sponsored today's bill and says it is compatable with Roe versus Wade - the Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion.

(Rep. Dan Ruby, -R- Minot) "This is the exact language that's required by Roe vs. Wade. It stipulated that before a challenge can be made, we have to identify when life begins, and that's what this does." But Minot Democrat Kari Conrad says the bill will land North Dakota in court, trying to defend the constitutionality of a law that goes against the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

(Rep. Kari Conrad, -D- Minot) "People who presented this bill, were very clear that they intended to challenge Roe versus Wade. So they intend to put the state of North Dakota into court defending Roe vs. Wade"

The bill now goes to the North Dakota Senate.


(no subject)

McCain's Daughter To Address Log Cabins, RNC Head Michael Steele Invited Too


Meghan McCain, the flashy socialite daughter of Sen. John McCain, will address the opening session of this year's Log Cabin Republicans convention.
John McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, 24, has agreed to headline the annual convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP group which advocates on behalf of gays and lesbians. "Her willingness to reach out to organizations like ours shows her commitment to growing the Republican Party," Log Cabin convention manager Christian Berle told ABC News. "The title of Meghan McCain's speech is 'Winning the Next Generation -- How can the Republican Party attract more young voters.'" Joining Meghan McCain at the conference will be Steve Schmidt, her father's top 2008 strategist. The topic of Schmidt's address is "Moving Forward." The Log Cabin Republicans are scheduled to meet in Washington, D.C., on April 17th at a time when the GOP is seeking to rebound from an election which left the party out of power on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Newly-elected RNC head Michael Steele has been invited too, but hasn't yet responded. Americans For Truth About Homosexuality spokesdouche Peter LaBarbera has been losing his shit about Steele's LCR invite in post after post for the last week, saying, “If the Republican Party is to turn itself around, it must reach out aggressively to real, pro-family minorities like Steele himself — not homosexual activists whose agenda would restrict our precious religious and First Amendment freedoms by using the government to promote aberrant sexual lifestyles.”


wooosh faraday

Arkansas, 5 Other States, Ban Atheists from Public Service. Seriously

Can it be constitutional to exclude from public service or service as a witness in a state court any and all atheists? Such a practice is so throw-back in nature, that it reminds one of the Spanish Inquisition. And yet, when I read the first part of this Washington Post piece, I was flabbergasted to find that Arkansas is one of a half-dozen states that does so. Read on and be flabbergasted (or not) yourself. But know in advance that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled illegal all such laws in 1961:

Hard to say what was more remarkable about the resolution that was read into the record and referred to committee Wednesday by a member of the 87th Arkansas General Assembly.
Or the fact that it was submitted by the Green Party's highest-ranking elected official in America, state Rep. Richard Carroll of North Little Rock, who was elected in November winning more than 80 percent of the vote in his district.
Arkansas is one of half a dozen states that still exclude non-believers from public office. Article 19 Section 1 of the 1874 Arkansas Constitution states that "No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.

There is a special place in heaven for atheists who have to endure such nonsense. Yes, I'm kidding.
I would like to point out that the US Supreme Court ruled Atheism a religion so I am confused

  • bispo

White House: Obama Opposes 'Fairness Doctrine' Revival

President Obama opposes any move to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine, a spokesman told FOXNews.com Wednesday.

The statement is the first definitive stance the administration has taken since an aide told an industry publication last summer that Obama opposes the doctrine -- a long-abolished policy that would require broadcasters to provide opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.

"As the president stated during the campaign, he does not believe the Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated," White House spokesman Ben LaBolt told FOXNews.com.

That was after both senior adviser David Axelrod and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs left open the door on whether Obama would support reinstating the doctrine.

"I'm going to leave that issue to Julius Genachowski, our new head of the FCC ... and the president to discuss. So I don't have an answer for you now," Axelrod told FOX News Sunday over the weekend when asked about the president's position.

The debate over the so-called Fairness Doctrine has heated up in recent days as prominent Democratic senators have called for the policies to be reinstated. Conservative talk show hosts, who see the doctrine as an attempt to impose liberal viewpoints on their shows, largely oppose any move to bring it back.

Fueling discussion, a report in the American Spectator this week said aides to Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, Calif., met last week with staff for the Federal Communications Commission to discuss ways to enact Fairness Doctrine policies. The report said Waxman was also interested in applying those standards to the Internet, which drew ridicule from supporters and opponents of the doctrine.

Both the FCC and Waxman's office denied the report.

The Fairness Doctrine was adopted in 1949 and held that broadcasters were obligated to provide opposing points of views on controversial issues of national importance. It was halted under the Reagan administration.

FOXNews.com's Judson Berger contributed to this report.
  • bispo

Palin owes tax on per diem, state says

Gov. Sarah Palin must pay income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her Wasilla home, under a new determination by state officials.

The governor's office wouldn't say this week how much she owes in back taxes for meal money, or whether she intends to continue to receive the per diem allowance. As of December, she was still charging the state for meals and incidentals.

"The amount of taxes owed is a private matter," Sharon Leighow, Palin's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. "If the governor collects future per diem, those documents would be a matter of public record."

The revelation about Palin comes as U.S. senators, including Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, are under scrutiny over back taxes. A survey by the political newspaper and Web site Politico (www.politico.com) found that Begich was one of seven senators who acknowledged having paid back taxes.
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Another Atheist Bus story...opinion piece from Australia

Fear of God, or fear of a difference of opinion?

'WHAT do you say?" the mother said as the toasted sandwiches were put down in front of her twin boys. The boys placed their hands together in a prayer position and said, "Thank-you, Lord." I laughed. We were in a cafe. I laughed because they thanked God but they didn't thank the woman who made the sandwiches and brought them to the table. They didn't tip either.

My second-best laugh recently was at the news that Australia's largest outdoor advertising agency, APN Outdoor, rejected an attempt by the Atheist Foundation of Australia to put slogans on buses.

British atheists have 800 buses around Ol' Blighty emblazoned with: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." So the Little Aussie Atheists decided to do their bit for the cause. The cause being freedom of speech, rational thought, intelligent discussion and consciousness-raising. In the same way religious groups try to spread the good news to help ease people's existential pain, so too are the atheists. One man's good news is another man's harmful propaganda defacing public spaces.


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' jules
  • schmiss

Hell yeah, it's a slow news day!

Hitchens Beaten by Lebanese Thugs, In Lebanon?

Here’s some Hot International Gossip that’s just weird enough to be true, because it’s about Christopher Hitchens drinking while on assignment in some Foreign Land, so it’s already 100% credible: The beloved Washington journalist was supposedly out for a night of boozing in Beirut when he chanced upon a political propaganda poster from the not-so-beloved Syrian Social Nationalist Party, the right-wing turned left-wing turned pain-in-the-ass Syrians always fucking around with Lebanon. Obviously, Hitchens needed to deface this poster, while some SSNP thugs were watching from across the street.

Hitchens, whose political views are about as steady as the SSNP’s, was reportedly out for a night of Journalistic Research when he came across this too-tempting poster and was compelled to scrawl “Fuck the SSNP.” And then he (reportedly!) got his ass kicked.

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  • bispo

Ifill: The GOP Does Not Have Any ‘Breakthrough’ Candidates, They ‘Seem To Have Gone Backwards’

Last night, the Center for American Progress hosted a discussion between PBS’s Gwen Ifill and CAP President John Podesta about Ifill’s new book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” After the event, Ifill sat down for an interview with ThinkProgress, where we asked her about the Republican party’s efforts to reach out to African-American voters.
During her talk with Podesta, Ifill said that she didn’t believe that RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s race was the motivating factor behind why Republicans elected him. In the interview, Ifill said that “they weren’t so caught up with the idea of Barack Obama being black that they were going to sacrifice their need to come back just to elect a black guy.”
“They needed someone that could articulate what the Republican brand still is,” said Ifill. “And he did that better than the other guys running for office.” Asked if she saw any “breakthrough” candidates in the Republican party, Ifill responded bluntly, “not yet”:
IFILL: In fact, we seem to have gone backwards. I mean, we used to have J.C. Watts in the House, but now there are no black Republicans in Congress. At all. That’s a step back. In order to change that direction, there has to be recruiting going on. I think there is recruiting going on at some lower levels, but they’ve got some ground to make up.
Watch it:

Former Oklahoma representative J.C. Watts, whom Ifill mentioned, retired from Congress in 2002. Since then, no African-Americans have been elected to Congress on the Republican ticket. According to Pew Research in March 2008, the share of African-Americans identifying themselves as Republican has stayed steady this past decade at around 4 percent.

  • bispo

Coleman needs a miracle

Three months after Election Day, the Minnesota showdown between Al Franken and Norm Coleman continues, and the ever-changing storyline has now settled on a central question:
Does Coleman have any real chance of retaining his Senate seat?
The answer, according to state political and legal analysts, is that it would take a miracle. Miracles do happen in politics — but four weeks into a court case that will decide the winner of Minnesota’s tortured Senate race, the GOP incumbent is facing just-about-insurmountable hurdles to overcome the 225-vote deficit he was saddled with at the end of the official recount.
The court itself has not yet counted a single vote. Instead, a three-judge panel is considering a pool of disputed ballots and steadily ruling which are legitimate and should be counted, and which should be thrown out.

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Human Rights Groups Fight Criminalization of Homosexuality in Burundi

BurundiFinally, score one for the human rights community.

A month ago, hardline politicians in Nigeria introduced a bill that will give license to the authorities to raid public or private gatherings of any group of people they suspect to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  Two months ago, nine gay men were jailed in Senegal simply on the basis of their sexual orientation -- and they were sentenced to eight years in prison.

And earlier this week, it looked as if Burundi might be ready to enact harsh criminal penalties on homosexuality, adding to the list of African countries clamping down on LGBT people.  But today, the Burundi legislature struck down efforts by conservative religious groups to criminalize homosexuality in the country.  It's a victory for international human rights groups, who spoke out forcefully this week saying that efforts to criminalize homosexuality in Burundi would violate the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Burundi is a party.

Burundi's democracy is only four years old, and it's one of the ten poorest countries in the world.  But as it transitions from an unstable country torn apart by war to a fledgling democracy, it's great to see its legislators not cave in to religious fundamentalism and write criminalization of homosexuality into the country's legal codes.


Higher Education Gay Witch Hunt In Georgia

It appears as though the state's budget shortfall is being used as the excuse for a campaign by legislators and religious right-wingers to "purge" Georgia's higher education system of sociology professors who teach on LGBT subjects:

Byrd"State Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock, took the House well on Friday to announce a 'grassroots' effort to oust professors with expertise in subjects like male prostitution, oral sex and 'queer theory.' ... 'This is not considered higher education,' Byrd said. 'If legislators are going to dole out the dollars, we should have a say-so in where they go.' Byrd and her supporters, including state Rep. Calvin Hill, R-Canton, said they will team with the Christian Coalition and other religious groups to pressure fellow lawmakers and the University System Board of Regents to eliminate the jobs. 'Our job is to educate our people in sciences, business, math,' said Hill, a vice chairman of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee. He said professors aren't going to meet those needs "by teaching a class in queer theory.' The regents, who oversee the state's colleges and universities, has bristled at attempts by legislators to dictate who they should hire. A regents spokesman said the university system's mission - teaching, research and service - is a broad field. He said the state's schools hire faculty with expertise in a range of subjects as part of 'a tradition of investigating the human experience.' And he noted that they aren't teaching 'how-to' courses, but rather they are experts on the sociological trends and risks."


California Assembly Committee Passes Resolution Opposing Prop 8

Yesterday, the California Assembly Judiciary Committee passed a resolution on Proposition 8, calling the measure an improper revision to the state constitution:

Ammiano"Today the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee passed House Resolution 5 (Ammiano, D-San Francisco) by a vote of 7 to 3, which resolves that the Assembly opposes the implementation of Prop 8. H.R. 5 states that Prop 8 is an improper revision of the California Constitution. 'I am proud of my colleagues and their unequivocal support of equal treatment for all Californians. This resolution speaks directly to the fundamental rights of same-sex couples to have equal protection under the Constitution, rights that cannot be taken away by popular vote. I am confident that the Assembly will support the repeal of Proposition 8 and confirm the basic rights of all Californians,' said Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), author of HR 5."

A similar resolution, authored by Mark Leno, has been introduced in California's senate. The Supreme court is scheduled to hear arguments on the legality of Proposition 8 on March 5.


Gay Republican Minnesota Lawmaker Opposes Gay Rights Bill

Minnesota gay Republican lawmaker Paul Koering says he will not vote for a marriage equality bill which was reportedly "gaining traction" and attracting sponsors in the state senate last week.

KoeringThe Minnesota Independent reports: "State Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, told KLKS on Friday that he will not vote for the Marriage and Family Protection Act, a bill that would make Minnesota’s marriage laws gender-neutral, allowing same-sex couples many of the rights currently denied by Minnesota statute. Koering, who is gay and a Republican, said he would vote against it because the state faces bigger problems."

The paper adds: "Koering came out in 2005 after voting against a constitutional amendment to ban civil unions and same-sex marriage pushed by then-State Sen. Michele Bachmann. He is one of very few openly gay elected Republicans in the United States and was re-elected by his conservative Brainerd-area constituents in 2006, despite a hard push by religious right activists to defeat him for his votes on gay rights."

Last week the bill had 5 sponsors, and 23 co-sponsors.

As part of Freedom to Marry week, hundreds of activists rallied at the state capitol in Minnesota last week in support of the Marriage and Family Protection Act. Openly gay Minnesota state senator Scott Dibble spoke at the rally.


biggie aretha
  • bispo

Utah State Sen. Compares Gays To Alcoholics, Terrorists; ‘They’re The Greatest Threat To America’»

Today, the Utah state legislature “dealt a final blow” to the last of five gay rights bills taken up under the Common Ground Initiative, when it defeated a bill that would have granted gay couples rights of inheritance and medical decision-making. Yesterday, the state House rejected bills that would have allowed gay adoption and protected gays from housing and employment discrimination. Last night, Utah’s local ABC station received leaked portions of an interview with state senator Chris Buttars (R), which will be highlighted in an upcoming documentary on Proposition 8. Buttars is an outspoken opponent of gay rights; in the latest interview, he compares gays to alcoholics and Muslim terrorists, and warns that gay people are “probably the greatest threat to America.” Some excerpts from the interview:
To me, homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion. And you say that around here now and everybody goes nuts! But I don’t care.
– They say, I’m born that way. There’s some truth to that, in that some people are born with an attraction to alcohol.
– They’re mean! They want to talk about being nice — they’re the meanest buggers I ever seen. It’s just like the Moslems. Moslems are good people and their religion is anti-war. But it’s been taken over by the radical side. And the gays are totally taken over by the radical side.
– I believe that you will destroy the foundation of American society, because I believe the cornerstone of it is a man and a woman, the family. … And I believe that they’re, internally, they’re probably the greatest threat to America going down I know of. Yep, the radical gay movement.
Listen here:
Buttars bragged that he “killed” every piece of gay rights legislation in Utah, and said that President Bush — “like him or love him” — “saved” America “for the foreseeable future” by appointing conservatives to the Supreme Court.

Buttars discussed how the Mormon church would never give in on gay rights. Indeed, Mormons contributed nearly 40 percent of the more than $40 million raised to defeat marriage equality in California. He helped kick out Gay Straight Alliance clubs in Utah schools, claiming they were “criminal” and threatening that gay people’s “greatest target is your kids.”


(no subject)

California: One Vote Short of Averting Catastrophe

By Kevin O'Leary / Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

It's becoming a mantra: California lawmakers again fail to reach agreement on a budget. As California engages in a budget battle that has left the government of the world's eighth largest economy slipping toward insolvency, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic legislative majority continue to search for one last Republican vote to pass a budget. But the complex negotiations hit a snag Wednesday when Republican state senators ousted their leader, who had dared agree to a plan involving a tax hike, and replaced him with a staunch anti-taxer. To avoid a collapse of state finances, legislators are attempting to pass a $42-billion budget-balancing plan that includes $14.4 billion in new taxes, an action anathema to the rank-and-file Republican minority. "I don't want to see a tax increase passed," said Sen. Dennis Hollingsworth, the new Republican leader who replaced Sen. Dave Cogdill.

The economic free fall is causing budget difficulties in other states, but California faces the deepest crisis. With the budget talks stalled, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sent layoff notices to 10,000 state workers and ordered a halt to the last 275 state-funded public works projects still under construction. Call it shovel-ready in reverse.


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The two-thirds rule to pass a budget means that fixing the yawning $42 billion gap in California's $143 billion budget requires three Republicans in both the Assembly and the state Senate to join with Democrats. Because the California GOP is deeply conservative, opposes taxes on principle and holds sway in home districts gerrymandered sharply to the right, Republican moderates feel as if they are dead men walking, politically. Republican incumbents who break ranks are ferociously opposed in the primaries. And if a renegade chooses to run statewide, raising funds is as easy as a bullfrog finding water in the Mojave.

Having a budget process depend on political suicide is not a good system. The other alternative is for the Republican Party to stand firm on its no-tax pledge and solve the crisis by only cuts and shutdowns. George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times recently pointed out that the no-tax solution offers two dire options: first, fire all the state workers and shut down the University of California and the state colleges; or, secondly, eliminate all state money for healthcare and social services — all the monies that help the blind and disabled, aged, homebound, poor, mentally ill, welfare, emergency rooms, etc. Either way, without a tax hike, the wheels come off the bus and California's government — and life as many people experience it in the Golden State — grinds to a halt. On Wednesday afternoon, Schwarzenegger spoke to GOP intransigency saying, "If you think you can do this budget without any increase in revenues then you have a big math problem."

Thus far, a series of all-nighters by legislators and the governor's actions shutting down the state government piece-by-piece have not shaken loose the one remaining GOP vote needed to pass the spending plan.


CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS, seriously.  WHAT THE FUCK.  Do you really want to hold the state hostage?!  I understand being against some of the tax hikes, but to honestly think that we can get out of this mess by just shutting down services and not, you know, getting more money, then you have no business running the fourth largest economy in the world.  And I can't believe they're insisting on a tax cut for large fucking corporations.  A TAX CUT.  URGH.  We're 42B in the red and they want a tax cut.  The stupid!  It burns!

(There is a similar story below, but this one is more op/ed-y.)

God's Army

"Oh what a vision, to invade the earth with mighty sons and daughters who have been trained and prepared for God's divine purposes." -- Nancy Campbell, Be Fruitful and Multiply

In late January, when Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, parents to eighteen children and stars of a TLC reality show about their twenty-member family, came onto The View with their newborn daughter, Jordyn, Barbara Walters asked the couple what their motivation was in having such an immense family — was it their religion?

 The camera-seasoned couple, well known as the friendly face of the conservative pro-natalist movement Quiverfull, gave a credible pause of consideration before answering.

"Well, it's amazing," Jim Bob began, and retold the story of Michelle's use of birth control in their early marriage and the later miscarriage they attribute to it. Michelle chimed in: "At that point, we were just brokenhearted, because here we were holding one baby in our arms, enjoying being parents, and then realized we had lost that baby. And so at that point, that was when we really just searched the scriptures and we found that God says that children are a gift, and a blessing, and a reward from him." Michelle's voice lilted into sing-song as she smiled down at baby Jordyn. "At that point," she continued, "we said, Lord, give us a love for children like you love children." Then, said Michelle, God gave them twins, and more than a dozen more, and still counting.

Quiverfull, as a number of people have learned over the past several years from endless TLC and Discovery channel specials on the Duggars and their palatial Arkansas home, is a conservative Christian conviction to have as many children as God gives a family, accepting each child as an unqualified "blessing" and a demonstration of radical faith in God. It's a movement of pro-life purists seeded by the separatist strain of the conservative homeschooling community, who fight what they call the "contraceptive mentality" by refusing to limit their family size. Couples who follow the conviction forgo almost all birth control options, usually considering contraception a form of abortion and viewing even natural family planning as an attempt to control a realm, fertility, that should be entrusted to divine providence.

The rest of the article is at the source.

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' jules
  • schmiss

I can't even find a Blair Waldorf GIF to describe my disdain for this fuckery.

Kansas Governor Is Top Choice for Secretary of Health

President Obama has settled on Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, a key ally with a record of working across party lines, as his top choice for secretary of health and human services, advisers said Wednesday.

Should she be nominated, Ms. Sebelius would bring eight years of experience as her state’s insurance commissioner as well as six years as a governor running a state Medicaid program. But with Mr. Obama about to begin a drive to expand health coverage — an issue on which the parties have deep ideological divisions — her strongest asset in the White House view may be her record of navigating partisan politics as a Democrat in one of the country’s most Republican states.

Ms. Sebelius resolved a state budget crisis on Tuesday and plans to be in Washington from Saturday through Tuesday for a meeting of the National Governors’ Association. Asked about the cabinet job, her spokeswoman, Beth Martino, said the governor “is focused on the economic challenges currently facing Kansas, including our state budget and the impacts of the federal stimulus package.”

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Just to refresh our memories, let's count all the ways this sucks:

- taking a popular Democratic governor out of a red state

- which is in a financial crisis

- and in which she could run for Senate and actually win

- when you have plenty of qualified candidates

- including one that has already passed healthcare reform through a bipartisan congress in his own state who you are just ignoring because of your Chief of Staff's insecurities (which was confirmed by the Hill today as the biggest reason Dean is getting the cold shoulder).

cookie monster
  • capthek

Woman hates Obama so much she literally goes nuts, hat tip to Urbanik

February 09, 2009

Needed: anti-Obi gestures

Joyce Capron
Today at tennis, after I made a hard point, my partner offered the Obama fist bump.

"I don't do that," I said, and I gave her a stern look. It's not the first time I've run into Obamabots on the courts; the game attracts argumentative, competitive types (of which I may be one). I didn't stop and lecture the O'Bot, because Wasting Indoor Court Time is a Sin. I just high-fived her with my racquet, and went on playing.

I'm into civil disobedience these days, now that we Right-Thinkers are in the minority, living in fear of Obamification. In small ways, I resist.

1) I refuse to do the fist bump. We Right Thinkers need our own hand jive, a nonverbal way to say, ‘I'm Anti-Obi'. I'm open to suggestions.

2) I turn His face around. Whenever I'm standing in line in a store, and find coverboy Obambi staring at me, I turn the offensive magazines around to face backwards. During Inaugural week, there was commemorative ideoporn everywhere. Obama market penetration has receded somewhat, but it's still hard to visit a Target or a grocery store without having to look at The One. By hiding His image, I may be slightly interfering with commerce, but if I can prevent one more person from being suckered into socialism, I'll do it.

3) I send e-mails to mainstream media, urging them to wake up from their Kool-Aid stupor and report what's going on. Sometimes, I link AT essays, the ones where Larrey gets really wound up.

Living in the bluest of blue states, e-mailing my Congresspersons seems like a waste of time.

4) I have my talking points ready. The best AT essays I collect in a Rhetorical Ammunition file. If someone needs to hear what's wrong with the deficit or with federalizing healthcare or with failing to support Israel, I can tell them.

The O'Bot I played tennis with today seemed like a Nice Person Who Just Doesn't Get It. There's a lot of those types running around, a fact I believe is cause for Hope, because, while there's no point in trying to talk politics with hard-cord left-wingers, Nice Person types will listen, and perhaps can be swayed. If the Fist Bumper shows up next Monday, and asks why I don't do the crypto-fascist hand jive, I'll give her an earful.

5) I send my kids out armed with ideas. They and some friends are co-founders of the Conservative Club at their high school, a public school of over three thousand students, most of them future O'voters. The faculty is overwhelmingly liberal, to the extent the Conservative Club had trouble finding a sponsor. A social studies teacher finally agreed to sign on as sponsor, although he said he does not share their views.

6) If there was a mass protest against the Porkulus bill about to be foisted upon us, I'd go. Even if it snowed.

What else can I do?

GOP Governors Consider Turning Down Stimulus Money

GOP Governors Consider Turning Down Stimulus Money

A handful of Republican governors are considering turning down some money from the federal stimulus package, a move opponents say puts conservative ideology ahead of the needs of constituents struggling with record foreclosures and soaring unemployment.

Though none has outright rejected the money available for education, health care and infrastructure, the governors of Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alaska, South Carolina and Idaho have all questioned whether the $787 billion bill signed into law this week will even help the economy.
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Some GOP-Governed States Wary Of Stimulus

It may look sunny in California, but there are stormy days ahead, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports.

After a three-month marathon budget session - the last push had legislators sleeping at their desks - no agreement on how to close a gaping $41.6 billion deficit. The impass has brought construction projects to a halt, state workers are being laid off.

"If we do not pass this budget and tax increase today, the California dream will turn into the California nightmare," said state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach.

With Democrats seeking tax increases, Republicans spending cuts, the only relief on the horizon is the federal economic stimulus money.
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