This is a 5th Sunday, so for this one, this is related to a news event from the first half of 2013. Good luck!
Archives for June 2013
So you and your descendants must never eat any fat or any blood, not even in the privacy of your own homes. This law will never change.
Susie Sampson’s Tea Party Report: GOP Invades Netroots Nation.
Behind the Scenes with The President & The First Lady at Gorée Island:
Same old party: Part 1.
Sam Seder and Cliff Schecter: Justice Scalia’s hypocrisy.
- John Oliver: DOMA, Prop-8, and Filibuster (via Slog).
- Stephen mourns DOMA’s death
- Chris Hayes: Massive DOMA reverberations
- Same old party: GOP on DOMA.
- Young Turks: Bert and Ernie…together at last!
- Justice Scalia’s DOMA dissent.
- Chris Hayes: GOP gay marriage foes going through stages of grief
- John Fugelsang: Gay love exists in over 1,500 species — gay hate exists in one:
- Stephen: Big Gay Round-up
- John Oliver: Republican’s reaction to DOMA
Ann Telnaes: Shooting the messenger.
White House: West Wing Week.
Darrell “Grand Theft Auto” Issa’s “Scandals”:
- Thom: Darrell Issa, “Fool me once!”.
- Bashir: ‘Car-thief’ Darrell Issa’s millions can’t buy the IRS scandal he wants
- Sam Seder: Issa’s IRS scandal turns out to be totally fake.
Adam Burke: The death of political comedy.
John Fugelsang and friends: Rick Perry & Chris Christie.
Ann Telnaes: Aiding and abetting journalism.
Where is Jon Stewart?
Mark Fiore: Wiretapping Saves!
Kimmel: The week in unnecessary censorship.
Killing the Voting Rights Act
- John Oliver blasts SCOTUS Voting Rights Act decision.
- Bashir: An outrageous display of judicial arrogance
- Sam Seder and Ari Berman: How the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.
- Stephen on Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act Decision
- Zina Sauners: Thomas Voting Rights
Susie Sampson’s Tea Party Report: Fetal masturbation .
WA’s “pot czar”: Federal govt. should sign a treaty with state.
- Young Turks: Does Rick Perry hate women?
- Sam Seder: #StandWithWendy is just the beginning
- Maddow: Texas’ ‘BLUE’ future seen in GOP abortion bill backlash
- Young Turks: Gov. Rick Perry’s diss of Wendy Davis.
- Pink Sneakers: Texas Sen. Dem. single handedly blocks GOP abortion bill
- Sam Seder: The power public figures have when they stand up….
- John Fugelsang: Dear Texas legislature, Jesus wasn’t anti-abortion, but he was anti-death penalty:
- O’Donnell: Unbelievable! GOP State Rep. explains the magic of “rape kits”
- Young Turks: Politician called ‘terrorist’ for heroic defense of women’s rights.
- Sam Seder: Rick Perry attacks female politician for being a teen mom
- Young Turks: Is Texas becoming a blue state?
Pres. Obama: sweeping climate change plan
Mental Floss: Drinks.
Last week’s Friday Night Multimedia Extravaganza can be found here.
Just a reminder that the Trans* Pride folks are assembling at Seattle Central now, and the march is at 6:00. It’s a lovely day for a march and an outdoor event.
…The parade just turned up Pine. I didn’t bring my camera since I didn’t know if I was going to be here this morning. I’m also terrible at estimating crowds, but I’d say there were a couple hundred people marching. It took about 10 minutes for the crowd to pass walking at a regular pace for a march down the street.
I’m still trying to process what’s in the budget (.pdf). It was a rolecall on its way to passage in the Senate when I started writing this, and will pass the House shortly.
The fact that the loopholes are mostly still in place is problematic. And there is more money for education, but I’m not sure it’s enough for the McCleary Decision. Still, without structural reform, the best we can hope for is to put off the tough decisions until the next recession. So far from what I can tell, it could have been worse, but it still isn’t good.
Unlike the last dozen or so non-starts, I think this budget is actually going to be a budget.
Gov. Jay Inslee joined state lawmakers Thursday in announcing they had reached a deal on a $33.6-billion two-year budget, allowing the state to avoid a government shutdown on Monday.
Inslee issued a statement saying he expects the budget to pass and arrive on his desk before 5 p.m. Friday.
‘Course, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame that all those state workers will be temporarily laid off. I still haven’t seen the details. And oh God are we going to have transit? So many questions. I’m heading out to dinner, and will be away from my computer for several hours. But if we actually have something that looks like details after I get back, I’ll put up another post.
… In the Comments Roger has the Seattle Times article on it. Still, I don’t see the actual bill on the legislative website.
– Pam Roach loves herself some junket.
– A budget framework is not a budget, the Senate.
– The AP is sure a news outlet.
– Ana Mardoll’s piece on #StandWithWendy is a work in progress, but I’m looking forward to coming back.
– And I hope that it’s a reminder to lefties everywhere, myself included, not to write off the South.
– Those of you on Instagram who want to follow Patty Murray, now you can.
Last night, like hundreds of thousands of other people, I watched from a thousand miles away as Wendy Davis spoke and spoke and spoke. She was amazing, and I’m sorry to say, I couldn’t help but contrast it with the cowardice you’ve shown all session. From your declaration that this session won’t have social issues, to your refusal to have a vote on pro-choice legislation you say you support, to your attempts to pry the safe leave from women who work in Seattle and are stalked or raped.
I’m afraid you don’t stack up very well. It turns out that state legislators can garner a lot of attention and support, but not when they’re for the powerful. That’s what people expect in these cynical times. They can garner attention when they help make people’s lives better.
I guess what I’m saying is, you were a sniveling asshole before. Now, you’re a sniveling asshole in the light of what a decent state legislator looks like, and that’s much worse.
Following last night’s remarkable events in the Texas Senate chamber—an eleven hour actual filibuster followed by public disruption right down to the last second–Rick Perry has called for another special session. This one may have but a single piece of legislation on the table—the highly restrictive abortion bill the Republicans were unable to pass yesterday.
As I recently discussed, restrictive abortion laws translate into deaths of more women and teenage girls. It is not opinion, it is long established fact. In the U.S., restrictive abortion laws are also illegal—the Supreme Court has ruled them unconstitutional. The Texas law, besides restricting abortions to before 20 weeks, will effectively shut down most of the abortion facilities in the state.
If it passes, women and teen girls in Texas will die—because of the law.
What can Texas Democrats do about it? A filibuster is out of the question. Special sessions can be as long as 30 days!
But a Democratic walkout could work–that is, they can engage in a quorum block. The Texas Senate has 32 members, the Lt. Governor plus 31 Senators. The two-thirds quorum requirement means that the absence of 11 members shuts down voting. Currently the Texas senate is composed of 12 Democratic and 19 Republican Senators. This means that a group of 11 Senators is sufficient to shut down voting.
They might even flee the state like they did in 2003 during a highly unusual “mid-decade” redistricting move by Republicans. Eleven Democratic Senators fled Texas during a third special session:
…the minute it became clear the GOP was going to force the issue in the Senate by voting on a rule change, he said, the 11 executed their escape plan and broke the quorum. They grabbed bags already packed in their offices and boarded SUVs that took them to the airport, where two jets were waiting to fly them to Albuquerque.
The Democrats checked into a Marriott hotel in Albuquerque. The senators didn’t hide. They decided to call themselves the Texas Eleven, and even developed a logo – a silhouette of Texas inside the symbol for New Mexico under the words, “Never, Never, Never Quit.”
Eventually, one Democratic member, Senator John Whitmire, relented and returned solo to the chamber. The quorum block failed.
Sen. Whitmire is still in the Texas Senate (in fact, he is the longest serving member). So, Democrats would need a solid block of the other 11 Senators to pull off a shut down.
But Democrats were successful in blocking a quorum in 1979 that prevented a change in the Texas primary that would have benefited a Republican candidate. The story is told by former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby (R):
The whole thing was a fiasco. In protest, twelve “Killer Bee” senators flew the Capitol to break a quorum. The “Worker Bees,” who stayed behind, spent each session haranguing the absentees, since we didn’t have the quorum necessary to transact any business. And we were in the very last weeks of the session with lots of legislation in the pipeline.
Before long, the Worker Bees put a call on the Senate. This action required all absentees to return. The Worker Bees sent the Texas Rangers to net the Killer Bees wherever they had flown. The fact was, for several days the Killer Bees had been hived up in Dora McDonald’s small garage apartment. Dora McDonald, Sen. Carl Parker’s chief of staff, lived only blocks from the Capitol. Her guests passed the time playing cards, arguing, and listening to each other snore. The Worker Bees continued to harangue them from the Senate floor.
One senator, Gene Jones, left the hive — he wanted to see his granddaughter. The Rangers heard that Jones was home in Houston. Photo in hand, they knocked on his door. A man who looked a lot like the picture opened the door. The Ranger asked him if he was Jones. He said yes. They arrested him and took him to Austin. He was Jones all right, but not Gene Jones. They had arrested Gene’s brother, Clayton. When the knock came at the door the senator had jumped over the back fence and stayed lost for another day.
The other possibility is for the House Democrats to flee the state. In fact, 52 Texas House Democrats fled the state earlier in 2003 during the regular session, as well. Of the 150 member House, a 2/3rds quorum is required, so that if 51 members are absent, the House shuts down. Currently there are 55 Democratic members and 95 Republicans. So…this isn’t out of the question.
Ultimately, it would be great if the Senate and House joined forces and every Democratic legislator left the state. They would likely endure fines and ridicule, but they would be saving lives of women and teen girls.
That kind-a makes it worthwhile.
Well, this is great news.
That is, until today, when the Supreme Court overturned section 3 of the 1996 law as unconstitutional, so now the Starling-Littlefields can enjoy all the financial benefits and equal dignity of a recognized marriage.
“I’m in tears,” Starling told ABCNews.com right after the decision was rendered. “Today’s ruling means the federal government will no longer be allowed to treat some American families differently. Now all same-sex couples who are married or who have the freedom to marry will be able to provide their children the necessary legal and economic protections they need in life.”
The 5-4 decision read: “DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government. Under DOMA same sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visisblt and public ways.
“By its great reach DOMA touches many aspects of married life from the mundane to the profound”
They’ve also dismissed the Prop 8 appeal. So yay, and there’s more work to do.
The Texas Tribune has the scoop on the incredible happenings in the Texas Senate on Tuesday evening. Essentially, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, engaged in an 13 hour filibuster of a draconian anti-abortion law. The Texas Senate rules allow such filibusters, but they can be stopped if the person doing the filibuster wanders off topic or leans too much on the desk (really!). With less than two hours to go in the special session, another Senator objected to Davis’ speech, which had “wandered” to the seemingly unrelated topic of the implications of Texas’ 2011 abortion sonogram law for this new law.
Sure seems like bullshit to me, but the advantage of being the majority party is you get to push almost everything in your favor.
From there, it didn’t go well for Republicans. There were a long series of procedural moves, the gallery onlookers periodically disrupted proceedings, and finally Senators engaged in a chaotic series of exchanges.
As the midnight deadline approached, protesters started screaming, effectively shutting down the ability to communicate on the floor. In the final minutes, Republicans hustled to conduct a vote that most Democrats weren’t even aware was happening. The final votes appeared to occur after the midnight deadline. (The deadline is not just a Senate rule, but a legal deadline for the special session, as I understand it).
This brought new issues to resolve:
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, told the press, “we started voting before midnight,” and therefore, it counted. But state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, said, “the session is over with…it’s over with at midnight,” and so, the vote didn’t count.
Okay…I suppose it could be true that a vote started before midnight might be legally able to continue until after the midnight deadline. Fine…they win in a legal overtime, I suppose.
Not so fast. Despite Sen. Patrick’s confidence in being able to conclude a vote started before midnight, apparently not every Republican was convinced. Here are screenshots of the Senate log (click to enlarge image):
The first one [right] shows the last actions on SB 5 taking place after midnight. And the second [left], taken 9 minutes later, shows the dates changed to 6/25:
You’re fucking kidding me! Those fucking Texas Republicans fraudulently manipulated the time stamp to make it appear as if voting was complete before the Midnight deadline?!!!?!! In Texas, such actions might go by some folksy euphemism like , “cow paddy fence mendin’.” To the rest of us, this sure looks like organized voting fraud bullshit!
Why am I not surprised by Republicans fraudulently manipulating the election record in their favor? (Whenever you hear a Republican talking about voting fraud, it’s projection.)
And why am I not surprised the Party of Stoopid™ thought they could get away with this fraud without anyone noticing?
Update: Perhaps recognizing they were busted by screenshots, the Republicans fold…
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst stepped down from the dais after ruling that time had expired on SB 5, telling the senators, “It’s been fun, but, um, see ya soon.”
The Supreme Court has struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. The act empowered the Justice Department with a veto (pre-clearance) over changes to voting laws in a handful of states and some localities with a history of discrimination in voting. This act was most recently renewed by Congress and signed into law by George W. Bush in 2006:
…every single Senate Republican and the vast majority of House Republicans voted for it. But today SCOTUS asked Congress to take another crack at regulations that would backstop states or counties if they passed laws that discriminated against the voting rights of any racial group.
So…that’s one thing. Superficially, it seems there is wide support in Congress to put into place some type of enforcement power in the Voting Rights Act. In theory, it should be easy for this Congress—even with a powerful obstructionist agenda motivating Republicans—to pass a new version of the law. But “theory” cannot really be trusted with the current crop of right wing Congressional nut jobbers. But…if they did rewrite the law, they could well improve it.
How can it be improved? Besides “updating” the outdated formula specified in Section 4, they could broaden the law to all states. Over the last decade, we have seen an alarming increase in state laws that disproportionately disenfranchise minorities, the poor, and non-native English speakers. Remember Karl Rove? The man was either delusionally paranoid or politically cunning in pushing the meme (with a big assist from intellectual fraudsters Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund) of widespread “voter fraud!” In reality, voter fraud is extremely rare, rarely organized, and in the rare instances it is organized, it’s usually committed by Republicans. (Okay…I made up the last “fact”…in reality, we cannot know because the sample sizes are tiny).
The result of Rove’s “fraudulent” fantasies is that Republican groups developed “model laws” that, if enacted, would disenfranchise minorities disproportionately. These model laws have been introduced in a number of non-Voting Rights Act states controlled by Republicans. Essentially, we are in a new era where many states not covered by the Voting Rights Act are at risk of disenfranchising minority voters—state like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The solution is for Congress to put some teeth into the 15th amendment and pass a Voting Rights Act that covers all states equally and significantly broadens protections for disadvantaged persons.
Yeah…whatever…that’s all pie-in-the-sky. Within hours of the SCOTUS decision several states have indicated they would go forward with their blocked or stalled voter ID laws. This does not mean they”ll succeed—after all, the 15th amendment is pretty fucking clear! But it means the Justice Department must now sue states to get the laws blocked. That process takes substantially more effort, so it is an imperfect solution.
In the long run, this court decision may well hurt Republicans. By further disenfranchising minorities, Republicans will fail at “winning the hearts and minds” and VOTES of minority and disadvantaged voters. It is a medium-term demographic disaster for Republicans. Related to that, Joshua Green points out:
Many of the GOP’s current problems stem from the fact that it is overly beholden to its white, Southern base at a time when the country is rapidly becoming more racially diverse. In order to expand its base of power beyond the House of Representatives, the GOP needs to expand its appeal to minority voters. As the ongoing battle over immigration reform demonstrates, that process is going poorly and looks like it will be very difficult.
The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a central provision of the Voting Rights Act will […] intensify the Southern captivity of the GOP, thereby making it harder for Republicans to broaden their appeal and win back the White House.
That is…we have years of “Republican amateur hours” to look forward to in the House.
The final implications I want to discuss are the Constitutional ones. A reading of the ruling turns up very few specifics on why the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional:
…[I]n Shelby, five conservative justices gutted the Voting Rights Act anyway, deeming it inconsistent with Constitution because, well, they said so. These jurists said the same law used to be perfectly constitutional, but somehow morphed into being unconstitutional without anyone noticing, and without violating anything specific in the Constitution itself.
That leads to the question, “When did it become unconstitutional to subject states to pre-clearance??
Oh wait…That was Scalia’s question about same-sex marriage…
If time can morph things from constitutional to unconstitutional because “things change” couldn’t today’s ruling have implications for, say, the first amendment. I mean, they didn’t have the intertubes, high speed laser printers, Twitter, wireless phones, or even electronically-enhanced megaphones when the First Amendment was ratified. “Free speech” was more akin to a lowly musket compared to the GG-95 PDW that is today’s high powered speech technology.
Hmm. Speaking of muskets and modern personal defense weapons…shouldn’t this ruling provide “ammunition” (doh!) for those who argue that the rights conveyed in the second amendment no longer apply because of technological change in weapons technology?
Holy shit…I think the conservative Justices have given us a living Constitution! Fucking judicial activists!
Still no state budget. So….join us for an “imminent budget” edition of the Seattle Chapter of Drinking Liberally. Maybe by the time we go home….
We meet every Tuesday evening at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Starting time is 8:00pm. Some people show up earlier than that for Dinner.
(Ummm…this one is a little NSFW….)
Can’t make it to Seattle tonight? Check out another DL meeting over the next week.
The Tri-Cities chapter also meets tonight. On Wednesday, the Burien and Bellingham chapters meet. And on Thursday the Woodinville chapter meets. And next Monday, the Aberdeen, Yakima, South Bellevue and Olympia chapters meet.
With 207 chapters of Living Liberally, including seventeen in Washington state, four in Oregon, and three more in Idaho, chances are excellent there’s a chapter meeting near you.
– The Supreme Court strikes down part of the Voting Rights Act.
– This is a bit old, but a hearty cheer to the people who got the Alpine Lakes Wilderness & Rivers Bill out of the Senate.
– Speaker of the House under the GOP is the worst job ever.
– The publicly financed election bill is now in the Seattle voters’ hands.
– Super Fast Internet is coming to some neighborhoods.
– Still riveted by SB5 in Texas.
– Still no budget. Maybe by the time we get off work?
Maybe there will be one when we wake up.