Liberals Are Cool
They never seem to want to discuss the “well-regulated” part of this archaic and obsolete amendment…
There should also be different rules for rifles and handguns/pistols. The NRA and the 2nd Amendment were for 18th century rifles and hunting. Powerful handguns and armor-piercing ammunition were not a part of the ‘founding fathers’ intentions. The gun lobby should not be writing the laws.
9TH JULY 2015
Oponents of Maine Gov. Paul LePage ® said that they were delighted this week after the governor and his staff misunderstood the veto process for nearly 20 bills, destining them to become law.
The Bangor Daily News reported on Wednesday that LePage had attempted to use a “pocket veto” maneuver to kill at least 19 bills. Under “Maine’s Path of Legislation” rules, a governor may effectively veto a bill by declining to sign it in a 10-day time frame after the bill has passed.
The catch is that the “pocket veto” only works if the Legislature has adjourned. Otherwise, the bill becomes law, according to the rules. And in this case, Maine’s Legislature is still in session.
“I can’t even process this right now, that this is his latest move,” House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D) told the Daily News on Monday. “It’s very clear, as far as the role the governor has, when it comes to bills — whether he signs them, not signs them or vetoes them. To hold them for an arbitrary period of time doesn’t really work. He can’t rewrite the rules.”
“We were expecting him to act on these last Thursday when he was hanging out with [Republican presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie, but he seems to have gotten distracted by that,” McCabe added.
Included in the 19 or more bills is LD 369, which would permit asylum seekers to apply for assistance from the General Assembly. It was considered to be the most contentious bill of the legislative session.
LD 1013 seeks to prevent the shackling of pregnant women at Maine detention facilities, LD 1108 would ban electronic vaporizers in areas where traditional tobacco cigarettes are banned and LD 1185 would establish a municipal fund to support broadband development.
On Wednesday, the Daily News reported that the window for LePage to veto the bills had expired, “ensuring the bills become law.”
ACLU of Maine Legal Director Zach Heiden pointed out in a statement that the state Constitution was clear on the matter.
“The governor had 10 days to veto the bills, he did not veto them, and now the bills will become law. We do not have a government of one, and the governor cannot make up the rules as he goes along,” Heiden wrote.
Although most Republicans have reportedly had little to say about the botched vetoes, GOP consultant Lance Dutsoncalled the mistake a “substantial screw up.”
“Thanks to the gov’s screw up, asylum seekers will now receive GA [assistance]. Love to see the base’s reaction to this,” Dutson wrote on Twitter.
“Oops…knew I forgot something…”
“We were expecting him to act on these last Thursday when he was hanging out with…Chris Christie, but he seems to have gotten distracted by that,” McCabe added.
THURSDAY, JUL 2, 2015
She was confused by different constitutions being different things despite having “a lot of similar words”
SCOTT ERIC KAUFMAN
On “The Kelly File” Wednesday night, host Megyn Kelly spoke to the Satanic Temple’s Lucien Greaves about the decision not to erect a statue of Baphomet at the Oklahoma state capitol now that the state Supreme Court ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments monument.On Tuesday, Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s argument that the monument was “historical in nature” was shot down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled that the Ten Commandments were “obviously religious in nature and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.”
The Satanic Temple had planned on placing a statue of Baphomet next to the monument in order, as Greaves told The Washington Post, to “complement and contrast the 10 Commandments, reaffirming that we live in a nation that respects plurality, a nation that refuses to allow a single viewpoint to co-opt the power and authority of government institutions.”
However, “[g]iven the Court’s ruling, The Satanic Temple no longer has any interest in pursuing placement of the Baphomet monument on Oklahoma’s capitol grounds.”
Megyn Kelly was clearly baffled by the reasonableness of the Temple’s decision — as well as by its existence, not to mention everything else about it — when she spoke to Lucien Greaves last night.
“So, is it like ‘Lucien’ as in ‘Lucifer’?” she began. “Is that why you’re called that?”
“Sure, as you like,” Greaves replied.
“No, as you like,” Kelly said. “Is that your birth name?”
“No, it’s not,” replied Greaves — whose birth name, Doug Mesner, is easily discovered via Google, as is the fact that he co-founded the Satanic Temple.
But Kelly didn’t know that either, asking him what drew him to the organization. When he informed her that he co-founded it, she simply asked him, “Why?”
Greaves said that it is “an embodiment of my deeply held beliefs” and that there “needed to be a counterbalance to the dominant religious privilege today.”
“What are the deeply held beliefs that drew you to the Satanic Temple?” Kelly asked, the seconds-earlier conversation about his co-founding it apparently already forgotten.
“We have seven tenets, you can look them up online,” Greaves replied. “But essentially, we view Satan as a a symbolic embodiment of rebellion against tyranny.”
“So,” Kelly said, “now you’re happy because you got the Ten Commandments taken down — but are you still pushing to have the goat with the horns put on the state capitol grounds?”
“No,” he replied, “the whole point of the statue was to complement the monument and reaffirm that we live in a pluralistic nation that respects diversity and religious liberty.”
Kelly attempted to get Greaves to acknowledge the validity of Attorney General Pruitt’s argument that the Ten Commandments have “historical meaning,” but he parried, saying that he would do so only if she acknowledged that Baphomet had a similar significance. “The image [of Baphomet] goes back to the 19th Century,” he said, “so it’s at least as old as Mormonism.”
She attempted to trip him up again later, noting that the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that a monument at the Texas state capitol was constitutional because “a reasonable observer, mindful of history, purpose, and context, would not conclude that this passive monument conveyed the message that the State endorsed religion.”
“That’s different,” Greaves said, “because this case was about the Oklahoma state constitution.”
“It’s not that different,” Kelly asserted.
“It’s entirely different,” he replied. “Texas is a moot point. You’re talking about two different constitutions.”
“I know, I’ve looked at them both,” Kelly replied before resorting to all she had left — a bald argument from authority. “You know, I practiced law for a decade,” she said, “so I read them and saw a lot of similar words.”
SUNDAY, JUL 5, 2015
It will take generations to do what Pat Buchanan fears: Purge the nation’s birth faith of power. It’s a worthy goal
JEFFREY TAYLERA poll conducted a couple of years ago showed that 41 percent of American adults believed the End Times were upon us. Now, that same segment of our fellow citizens – those who have surrendered their common sense to stubborn faith in a cock-and-bull collection of ancient scribblements (i.e., the Bible) — must feel triumphantly, even gleefully, vindicated. The Supreme Court’s recent 5-to-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in favor of same-sex marriage surely affirms we’re living through a rerun of the “days of Noah” (times of widespread fornication and sodomy) that are supposed to precede the Apocalypse. The seventh trumpet, as they would have it, is a-blowin’, the Rapture nigh.The Court found that the 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection of the law to all; hence, all states have to recognize same-sex marriages. In the opinion explaining the decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy sounds fair-minded enough. Aware of the controversy to come, he displays magnanimity toward the faithful, recognizing that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate, with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” However, he goes on to say, “[T]he Constitution . . . does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.” Churches and other religious institutions may refuse to wed gay people; states must not.
The dissenters, led by Justice John Roberts, presented their counter-argument. Roberts worried that “stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.” This could be true. Obergefell v. Hodges might well end up outraging the religious right for a long time to come, just as Roe v. Wade still does, 42 years after it made abortion the law of the land. And Roberts expressed another concern: “why would there be any less dignity in the bond between three people, who, in exercising their autonomy, seek to make the profound choice to marry?” He actually has a point. If society, through reasoning, debate and consensus, someday arrives at the conclusion that polyamorous unions should be made licit, then what, theoretically, would be wrong with that? Laws, made by man, come and go. Things change.
Justice Antonin Scalia, a hard-line Roman Catholic, joined Roberts in objecting to the ruling. In his telling, “The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.” Well, to a rationalist, talismanic reverence for his cult’s holy book looks a lot like belief in fortune cookies. No one should take either seriously.
Justice Clarence Thomas bizarrely reasoned that “human dignity cannot be taken away by the government” – even by, say, chattel bondage. “Slaves,” he held, “did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved . . . . The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.” This from a justice so faith-deranged he isn’t sure the First Amendment should do what it is supposed to do – prevent the government from establishing an official religion. Thomas also made a statement that will, one day, likely be brought up in court by those refusing to marry gays: the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling “threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.”
Finally, Justice Samuel Alito announced that, “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed.”
Perhaps Alito got this idea from Republican presidential candidate (and onetime Baptist pastor) Mike Huckabee, who had, before the ruling, told Americans they could just ignore the Court, if it came down on the side of gay marriage. Afterward, Huckabee urged us not to “acquiesce immediately without review, without the other branches of government” or risk countenancing “judicial tyranny.” The justices are, after all, just “five lawyers.” And who needs judges and lawyers in a law-based republic?
The governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, also spoke in this vein. Declaring that “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” he warned that, “The Supreme Court is completely out of control” and suggested we “just get rid of the court.” (For the record, God also “established” the stoning of rape victims and those who pick up sticks on Saturdays, as well as the murder of those who eat shellfish.)
There you have it: Both Jindal, a sitting governor, and Huckabee are advocating lawlessness and disavowal of the Constitution, and in particular, its Article III, which proclaims that the “judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”
No overview of the religious right’s tantrum over Obergefell v. Hodges can fail to note ex-pastor Rick Scarborough’s announcement (and subsequent retraction of said announcement) that he would set himself ablaze if the Court ruled in favor of gays. Also worthy of mention: a retired Methodist minister, Charles Moore, 79, did set himself on fire (and lethally so, unfortunately), but in protest against anti-gay discrimination and the United States’ lack of repentance for its slaveholding past.
Conservative commentators naturally could not keep quiet about Obergefell v. Hodges. For some of their grosser gurgitations, take your pick among these (frequently uproarious) exemplars of religion-inspired dementia published by Glenn-Beck cohort Matt Barber.
Moving away from the fringe, Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, took to the Washington Post to publish what amounts to a strategy paper for religious institutions in our new reality. Yet, being himself faith-addled, he cannot help, if only inadvertently, penning a sad sort of satire.
Moore believes that, though the Supreme Court ruling “will ultimately hurt many people and families and civilization itself . . . the church should not panic. The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back in that tomb. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive” – this, and there is no evidence whatsoever he even existed. “He is still calling the universe toward his kingdom.” Moore asks Christians to return to the Lord’s definition of marriage, which according to the passage of Ephesians he refers to (but, tellingly, does not dare cite), mandates that a “wife . . . reverence her husband.” Make marriage, Moore says, “serve as a light in a dark place,” and ready yourselves to accept those like the thirsting “sexually wayward Woman at the Well of Samaria.” (One wonders, “accept” in what way? As, say, disgraced pastor and just-convicted “guilty-on-all counts” sex criminal Geronimo Aguilar “accepted” women into his “tax-free harem”?) Moore counsels against “scream[ing] at those who disagree” or “[lashing] out at the world . . . with a narrative of decline,” but urges them to stand proudly “on the wrong side of history.”
How is it that this ill-conceived missive to disgruntled Christian cultists appeared in the Washington Post, the capital’s paper of record? In fairness to the editors there, they also printed George Will’s denunciation of those GOP candidates who loudly refuse to recognize gay marriage as “unhinged,” and his message to them: essentially, get over it.
Time saw fit to publish Rod Dreher’s melancholy yet foreboding dirge for Christians now roaming astray in a world where “the ground under [their] feet has shifted tectonically.” God-coddlers, or those worshiping His never-having-existed offspring, must accept “how weak [their] position is in post-Christian America.” (Here here!) The First Amendment will offer only “the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.”
“If marriage,” Dreher warned, “can be redefined according to what we desire — that is, if there is no essential nature to marriage, or to gender — then there are no boundaries on marriage.”
Correct. Marriage, a man-made convention, must ever and always remain what man makes of it. If we, again through reason, debate and consensus, arrive at a definition differing from that which has obtained for the past millennia, so be it.
The upshot, à la Dreher? The faithful should be prepared to follow Benedict of Nursia’s example, depart the “chaos of Rome to go to the woods to pray,” and thereby keep the “light of faith burning through the surrounding cultural darkness.” (At last, a plan for the faith-deranged we rationalists can get behind!) Dreher predicted that, “The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions.”
We can only hope. A couple of days later, Time published an essay advocating just that.
In a tone as elegiac as Dreher’s, longtime Catholic pundit Pat Buchanan lamented homosexuality’s progression from an American Psychiatric Association “mental disorder” that was regarded as “perverted and even criminal” to “a new constitutional right.” Buchanan bemoaned progress in LBGT rights, that “a new generation” has “come to embrace what their fathers would have resisted to the death.” What is ahead, he asked? A “total purge of the nation’s birth faith, Christianity, from America’s public life and educational institutions.”
As desirable as such an outcome would be, and as beneficial to society as northern European countries have already shown it is, this seems unlikely any time soon. But that, without a doubt, should be our aim. People have the First Amendment right to profess whatever religion – or no religion – they want, but their beliefs, once made public, should enjoy no protection whatsoever from criticism, satire and outright ridicule. We should not be shy about condemning faith. After all, the Bible calls nonbelievers “fools,” “corrupt” and “disorderly,” and much more, and commands its followers to shun us. The monotheistic Abrahamic creeds are by their very nature divisive. By keeping silent about their obvious ludicrousness, we do nothing more than pay them unmerited respect and help them survive.
What ultimately transpires through all the Christian objections to the Supreme Court’s decision is their mean-spiritedness. Recourse to rancid old myths and “divine” injunctions that would be laughable were they not so pernicious only makes our days on Earth less pleasant, less livable. Some context: In some 5 billion years, our sun is destined to die in a supernova, which will incinerate whatever life remains on our planet. In the extremely improbable event that we humans still exist then, we will have evolved beyond anything recognizable as human today; evolution never stops, never slows. Our habits, customs, and laws need to evolve too.
It will take a few generations (at least) to effect Buchanan’s “total purge of the nation’s birth faith … from America’s public life and educational institutions.”
Obergefell v. Hodges is a step in that direction.
Jeffrey Tayler is a contributing editor at the Atlantic. His seventh book, “Topless Jihadis — Inside Femen, the World’s Most Provocative Activist Group,” is out now as an Atlantic e-book. Follow @JeffreyTayler1 on Twitter.
TDS, June 29, 2015
by Jim Hightower
From 1956 until 2010, CBS television’s daytime lineup included America’s longest-running soap opera: “As the World Turns.” But times change, and now a real-life human drama of profound importance has debuted in America: “As the Generations Turn.”
It’s the inspiring story of our society’s continuing struggle to evolve toward dignity and mutual respect … as well as love. The moment came on June 26, 2015, when Justice Anthony Kennedy proclaimed from the ornate chamber of the Supreme Court: “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment couples of the same sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty.”
Kennedy and Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor voted to make this higher level of inclusiveness the law of the land, but they are not the producers of it. Indeed, while the court’s ruling debuts a new day, it is the culmination of generations of painful struggle by brave gay and lesbian activists and advocates. And it is particularly the product of a defiant and determined LGBTQ movement for equality that arose from the brutal police riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York on June 28, 1969.
This democratic evolution from rank inequality literally came out of America’s closet, rising through only a few neighborhoods at first, but then entering the consciousness of today’s youth. Rejecting the shibboleths, ignorance, fears and bigotry that previously permitted such intolerable discrimination, young people have, in a remarkably short amount of time, created a generational shift in the nation’s consciousness.
The true Supremes are the people themselves, and it’s their awakening enlightenment that has transformed marriage equality from taboo to simple justice.
It is unfortunately true, however, that not everyone has evolved on the issue of equality in our Land of the Free.
The Supreme Court’s ruling that states can no longer ban same-sex marriage has set off a cacophony of howling hyperbole by the GOP’s far-out presidential wannabes.
“I will not acquiesce to an imperial court,” blustered Fox News political huckster Mike Huckabee. “Resist and reject judicial tyranny,” he bellowed. Huck even couched his cry for continued discrimination against gay people by likening it to Abe Lincoln’s principled refusal to honor the court’s 1857 ruling that African-Americans could not be citizens. Sure, Mike, you’re a modern-day Lincoln — except that he was opposing discrimination, while you’re demanding that government enforce it!
Then came the wild hair of the GOP’s presidential menagerie, Donnie Trump, trumpeting his keen insight that the court’s gay marriage decision is Jeb Bush’s fault. Really. The Donald explained that Jeb’s brother George appointed Chief Justice John Roberts to the court, so … there you have it. Shhhh — let’s not spoil Trump’s hallucination by telling him that Roberts actually voted against letting gays marry.
Now on to Scott Walker, widely touted by the GOP’s billionaires as the “serious” contender. Yet, he is seriously pushing a constitutional amendment to allow states to keep prohibiting same-sex marriages. “No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience,” said Walker, apparently oblivious to the fact that state governments have long been coercing LGBTQ people to do exactly that. And now Walker is promising, if elected, to coerce them right back into a life of unconscionable injustice.
Every one of the 13 Republican presidential candidates is marching backward into the bigoted past, piously thumbing their noses not only at millions of gays and lesbians and their families, but also at the ever-growing majority of Americans — especially young people — who support marriage equality.
To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
Ring of Fire RadioPublished on 30 Jun 2015
The Confederate Flag is finally coming down all over the South – and it should. The flag is a symbol of oppression and bigotry, and it only gained popularity once white supremacist groups began to use it as their symbol. But doesn’t it seem a little weird that these die hard Southern Republicans were suddenly so willing to remove the flag? They’ve fought for years to keep the flag flying, and for a group that refuses to admit that the South Carolina shootings were racially motivated, they all jumped at the opportunity to remove the Confederate Flag.
Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Democratic Strategist and president of New Heights Communications, Christy Setzer.
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JUNE 28, 2015 – JESSICA TAYLOR
On the final day of the Supreme Court’s term on Monday, they will issue a ruling that could affect as many as one-third of congressional districts — possibly dramatically remaking the partisan makeup of the next Congress ahead of the 2016 elections.
The case at hand, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting, was brought by the Arizona legislature to try to be able to redraw their congressional districts. That task was instead given to an independent redistricting commission after a state referendum passed in 2000 in an effort to try to take political and partisan concerns out of the map-making process.
But because other states also use similar commissions to redraw their congressional lines after each decennial reapportionment, states and districts far beyond the borders of Arizona could be affected.
Here’s an explainer on what could happen after the ruling on Monday:
Why is Arizona suing?
In 2011, Arizona was awarded an additional House seat because of population growth in the 2010 census, largely due to the state’s Hispanic growth. The state’s independent commission — created by a referendum in 2000 that was designed to take politics out of the redistricting process — was tasked with redrawing the new lines. But much to the frustration of the GOP-controlled state legislature, the new nine-seat map included four safe Republican districts, two safe Democratic districts and three swing districts — both currently held by Democrats.
The map GOP lawmakers would have liked to have enacted, according to National Journal, would have given Republicans an additional fifth safe House seat, making Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s district now a GOP stronghold.
There has long been tension between the legislature and the commission, made up of two Republicans, two Democrats and chaired by an independent. In 2011, when the new district lines were first approved, the legislature and then-Republican Gov. Jan Brewer actually moved to remove the commission’s chairwoman, charging she hadn’t been transparent and had skewed the resulting lines toward Democrats. The state Supreme Courtreinstated her just days later. Now the Supreme Court will decide the legality of the independent commission.
What is the legal argument?
The Elections Clause of the Constitution says that the “times, places and manner of holding elections” for Congress “shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.” The question is whether the legislature referenced there only gives the state legislature the power to draw congressional boundaries, whether they simply need to have some hand in it, or if a legislature could also be interpreted as any voter referendum.
The latter is the point the lawyers for the redistricting commission made earlier this year, to a somewhat skeptical Supreme Court. NPR’s Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg had the full breakdown of the arguments before the court back in March.
What other states would be affected?
California also adopted an independent redistricting commission thanks to a 2008 statewide referendum. Their commission included 14 members — five Democrats, five Republicans and four members from neither party. According to election law professor Rick Hasen of the University of California-Irvine, who runs ElectionLawBlog.org, further legal action would likely have to be taken for California’s to be struck down, too.
That could be the case for other states that have commissions involved in their redistricting process, too. According to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, five states — Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Washington and New Jersey — legislators appoint at least some of the commission members, but aren’t involved in drawing district lines. In Indiana and Connecticut, backup commissions draw maps if the legislature deadlocks on how to redraw lines.
And in Iowa, Maine and New York, commissions submit maps to legislatures for approval, while in Ohio the commission helps the legislature with the lines.
How expansive or narrow the ruling on Monday is could impact some or all of these states as well — up to as many as 152 districts.
Does this mean these districts could become more GOP-leaning or Democratic-leaning?
It’s not clear yet. For Arizona, its GOP legislature would likely try to pass through a similar redistricting plan that they had envisioned in 2012 that would have put at least one more seat solidly in their column. In California, however, where Democrats are in power, they could try to use the advantage, if theirs is struck down as well, to draw a friendlier 53-district map for their members. But that might be hard to do with the map essentially already maxed out for Democrats.
If the ruling is more expansive and endangers other states’ advisory commissions too, additional legal action could come, too. But for many legal scholars and good-government groups, the biggest fear is that if the court strikes down Arizona’s commission, it could be a death blow to hopes of removing politics and gerrymandering from the redistricting process.
“The more important thing,” Hasen said, “is that what it would be doing is taking away a tool that tries to deal with the problem of self-interest in redistricting.”