Entries Tagged as 'Politics'

Proposition 8 – aka The Mormon Proposition

Two Ideological Foes Unite to Overturn Proposition 8
By Jesse McKinley
Published: January 10, 2010; The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — The last time David Boies and Theodore B. Olson  battled in a courtroom, the presidency hung in the balance as they represented opposite sides arguing the fate of the 2000 election.

So Mr. Boies, who worked for Al Gore  in the 2000 case, says he has some perspective on their latest fight. It finds him and Mr. Olson, one of the nation’s most prominent conservative litigators, working together in an attempt to overturn Proposition 8, the 2008 California ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriage.

“About nine years ago, people accused me of losing the whole country,” said Mr. Boies, a Democrat. “But this time, Ted and I are together.”

Opening statements were expected Monday in Federal District Court in San Francisco, in a case that is being anxiously watched by gay rights groups and supporters of traditional marriage nationwide.

“It’s not just a trial of gay marriage,” said Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, a backer of Proposition 8 and other measures to forbid same-sex marriage nationwide. “It’s a trial of the majority of the American people.”

The case comes at a time when gay groups have suffered several setbacks, including the defeat of same-sex marriage legislation in New York and New Jersey and a vote last fall that overturned such unions in Maine. Efforts to overturn Proposition 8 with another ballot measure in California also face uncertain prospects, with most major groups having decided to wait until at least 2012 to go back to the voters.

All of which has heightened expectations for the Boies and Olson case, filed in the spring after the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote after a bruising and costly campaign.

Groups advocating equal rights for gay people were planning to rally in front of the courthouse here on Monday morning, and officials were expecting large crowds in the courtroom and in a separate viewing room. Live video and audio were to be piped into federal courthouses in California, New York, Oregon and Washington.

In addition, under a decision last week by Judge Vaughn R. Walker, the district court’s chief judge, who is hearing the case, the trial was to be videotaped and distributed online. Supporters of Proposition 8 have objected to that, and they appealed to the United States Supreme Court on Saturday to keep cameras out of the courtroom.

“The record is already replete with evidence showing that any publicizing of support for Prop. 8 has inevitably led to harassment, economic reprisal, threats and even physical violence,” Charles J. Cooper, the lead counsel for the defense, wrote in a brief to the court. “In this atmosphere, witnesses are understandably quite distressed at the prospect of their testimony being broadcast worldwide.”

Indeed, several of the figures who helped pass Proposition 8 are expected to be called to testify under oath, something that gay rights advocates hope will play in their favor.

“It has the potential to be an extraordinarily powerful teaching moment because it’s going to be televised,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and national marriage project director with the gay civil rights group Lambda Legal in Los Angeles. “This is usually just bandied about on attack TV shows. But this promises to be a serious examination of the arguments in a trial setting, with evidence and cross-examination.”

During the trial, which is expected to last three weeks, Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies plan to argue that Proposition 8 violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and due process.

“The biggest challenge with any of the judges we’ll face is simply to get them to focus on the law and the facts and not on the inertia of history,” Mr. Boies said. “I think the only real argument that the other side has is, ‘This is the way its always been.’ ”

But supporters of Proposition 8 say that California voters were well within their rights to establish marriage as between a man and a woman, as voters in more than two dozen other states have done.

“There are very sound public policy reasons to define marriage as one man and woman, including the inevitable fact when you put men and women together, they produce children,” said Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Arizona-based group that will argue for Proposition 8. “To put that under the microscope of a compelling state interest test is the wrong thing for the court to be doing.”

Some gay rights groups were also initially skeptical of the case, fearing that Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies lacked expertise in the issue and that a loss in federal court could set back efforts for years to come. But most have since rallied behind it.

“I think that having Olson and Boies lead this effort is phenomenal because it’s not just gay rights activists pushing,” said Geoff Kors, the executive director of Equality California, a gay rights group. “It shows that this is not a partisan issue and not an ideological issue. It’s a clear constitutional issue.”

The case is being financed by a recently established nonprofit advocacy group, the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Chad Griffin, the president of the group’s board, said he had been cheered by the surge of support for the case. “We’re all on the same page,” he said “We all have the same goals.”

Mr. Griffin, a communications specialist who served in the Clinton administration, hired Mr. Boies and Mr. Olson, who are ideologically opposed but are friendly outside the courtroom. On Friday, both men were ensconced in a suite of legal offices in downtown San Francisco, prepping witnesses and getting ready for trial.

And while anticipation was running high, Mr. Boies said that much of the testimony would probably “be a little boring,” even if it were televised.

“You don’t get the drama in the presentation,” he said, “that exists in the importance of the issue.”

Originally posted 2010-09-10 02:00:03.

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street
By Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

Originally posted 2011-10-10 02:00:28.

What’s Happening to MY $700B?

Oh, that’s right, we all spend seven hundred billion dollars so often I should be more specific… that would be the $700B “we” Americans authorized under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act

The October 29, 2008 report is up on the US Treasury Site now — you should take a look at it to see who’s getting your money.

Some comments:

  • You’ll notice the list includes several financial institutions who have purchased or are attempting to purchase the distressed assets of smaller banks; I guess we know where they’re getting the money.
  • It’s really convenient that they were able to get just the right number of mortgage instruments together to be valued at an even billion each (hell I can’t remember the last time my credit card bill was an even dollar).

If I sound a little leery of what the “usual suspects” are doing with my money — I am… I want to make sure I get it back (with INTEREST), and I certainly don’t want anyone to expect me to pay for any of these financial institutions mistakes and poor judgment — I’ve already lost 36% of my retirement account, and I haven’t seen any government bailout for that!

http://www.ustreas.gov/initiatives/eesa/transactions.shtml

Originally posted 2008-11-14 08:00:52.

Nothing but the necessities…

In a school district that is struggling to keep teacher’s it’s amazing that that the Santa Rosa County Florida School District can find the money (and need) for 90 iPad2s for administrators (it’s also amazing that there are 90 administrators in a  county with only about 150,000 residents).

I’m glad to see that my tax dollars are well spent on essential items to insure that today’s school children will be properly educated and that the administrators responsible for overseeing that education will have new toys at the disposal to sit mostly unused in their desks — after all, an edict has been issued by the school district that these devices are only to be used in a professional capacity.

I wonder, will it be grounds for immediate termination the first time a games is played on,, a facebook post is made from or personal email is sent via one these essential educational tools — inquiring minds want to know.

My personal feeling would be this money would be better spent offsetting the $4.4 million dollar shortfall for the 2011-2012 school year that is necessitating the layoff of teaching staff — of course, why should I be surprised about iPad2s for administrators, after all most of them just got raises to address the inequities in their pay (I guess they couldn’t afford their own iPad2s — though they seem to expect teachers to buy a great deal of supplies for their classrooms out of their considerably smaller salaries).

Originally posted 2011-08-15 02:00:22.

Michele Bachmann – an ideological loony tune

Rep Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) made a statement on CNN’s “The Situation Room” (hosted by Wolf Blitzer) that’s being reported by virtually every news outlet today.

She’s saying she lost her health care coverage (because of Obamacare — but she didn’t provide any hard reason) and refuses to use the exchange because it’s glitchy — but here’s the interesting thing: she states in her argument that it’s the DC exchange (that’s not the same thing as HealthCare.gov — the national exchange for states that didn’t want to invest in their own exchange — DC actually operates it’s own exchange).

If you watch the video (linked below), you’ll also notice she’s obviously reading from a teleprompter — her eyes are fixed on something other than the hosts she’s talking to.

The best quote:

I’m not gonna waste an hour on that thing.
· Michelle Bachmann

That’s fine with me; she can just pay the IRS fines for not complying with the new law (the law that the Supreme Court has already ruled is constitutional) and continue to be a burden on society (something she appears to be very good at).

While I’ll be one of the first to rant on how botched the roll out of the national health care exchange has been; I’ll also quickly point out that states had the option of coming up with their own exchanges, and the ones that did aren’t having anywhere near the number of issues.  I personally didn’t care for the health care reform, my feeling was that we needed to implement a single payer system much more like what Canada has (but that didn’t happen because health care dollars line the pockets of too many senators and representatives).

I’ll be honest, I think Michele Bachmann is crazy (and probably should be in a padded room), but this is just absolutely ridiculous — get over it, and vent on your insurance company, they’re the real villains in all this.

Bachmann: I lost health insurance

Originally posted 2013-11-15 13:00:25.

Frightful Halloween

Obmacare - Dilbert

Mike Luckovich / Cartoonist Group/Creators Syndicate

Originally posted 2013-10-31 00:00:34.

When American big business is behind something…

I’ve been around the block a few times, and I tend to pay attention.

One thing that’s almost an invariant in the world is that if American big business is behind legislation it’s because it serves their own interest and greed — not the public interest.

The only thing American big business cares about the public for is finding new ways to milk money from them and insure that the public pay more than their share of taxes.

With very few exceptions American business (and the ultra-rich American’s that run those businesses) are self-serving, and only looking out for their interests and profits.  They are motivated by greed.

So when the pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, large hospitals, and health care industry get behind a plan that doesn’t seem to improve anything for the American public it should be clear to everyone who they’re looking to improve things for.

The real problem in America is that special interest groups run the country; and almost all politicians who’ve been in office more than two terms (and most presidents) cater to their interests and don’t want to really change the status quo.

Those who are elected to serve the public interest actually serve no interests but their own!

– Caveat civis –

Originally posted 2010-03-13 02:00:48.

Occupy movement removed from it’s home…


Occupy movement removed from it's home...

· Jimmy Margulies / The Record of Hackensack

Originally posted 2011-11-18 02:00:41.

The Dawn…

And now the dawn of a new day and with it a new year…

Once our collective head ache clears I’m sure the future will seam sunny and bright; even though today is overcast and bleak.

Originally posted 2010-01-01 01:00:22.

Go Green — Goes Slow

1 April 2010 the US (by the hand of Barack Obama) sets new standards requiring automobile manufacturers to increase their fleet average MPG by about 5% per year starting in 2012, moving up a goal set three years ago to meet a 35 MPG average by 2020.

Also, the waiver request California filed to have more stringent emission standards than the federal standards that was blocked by George W Bush (who obviously needed to serve his friends interests in the oil and auto industries) was reversed; allowing California to require automobiles sold in that state to further improve MPG and reduce emissions.

Nearly four decades after the oil embargo; and almost as many decades since emissions have been linked to air quality and climate change the US makes a small move forward to require the carbon foot print of every automobile sold in the US is reduced to a standard that could have easily been met years ago — and further encouraging the development of alternative energy.

So little, so late, so slowly — while it might seem like an event to applaud, it really is something to hang your head in shame and ask why was this not done sooner — why aren’t we doing more?

Oil companies still report record profits and push to drill off shore of our pristine beaches while sitting on thousands of parcels of lands they already have leases for.

Originally posted 2010-04-13 02:00:46.