Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26

The North Pole might be underwater by the time Santa finishes reading it.

Peeking under the Senate hood and into the engine, there appears to be a large red obstruction blocking the thing from going anywhere, and it's going to be a real pain to dislodge.

Here's what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering: banning filibusters used to prevent debate from even starting and House-Senate conference committees from ever meeting. He also may make filibusters become actual filibusters — to force senators to carry out the nonstop, talkathon sessions.

Republicans are threatening even greater retaliation if Reid uses a move rarely used by Senate majorities: changing the chamber's precedent by 51 votes, rather than the usual 67 votes it takes to overhaul the rules.

"I think the backlash will be severe," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the conservative firebrand, said sternly. "If you take away minority rights, which is what you're doing because you're an ineffective leader, you'll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we'll do what we have to do to fight back."

"It will shut down the Senate," the incoming Senate GOP whip, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, told POLITICO. "It's such an abuse of power."

To recap, if Harry Reid tries to stop the GOP from shutting down the Senate, the GOP will shut down the Senate.
Insert your own "well then clearly the opposite of progress" joke here.
NYT to Obama: "Now that you've been re-elected, please commit political suicide"
Sometimes you have to wonder if they purposefully put political idiots onto the editorial board of the Times. For only those kind of fools could come up with this:
[I]n his first term, Mr. Obama did nothing to cross the gun lobby, and he actually signed legislation allowing loaded firearms to be carried in national parks. Let's hope Mr. Obama shows more courage on guns in his second term.
Even those oxygen-deprived morons on West 43rd know that nothing would be done without Congress and that the House is in Republican hands. Not to mention that there are Democratic senators from states where passing new gun control legislation would be a sure-fire guarantee of defeat the next time they ran.

But hey, those knuckleheads on the editorial board probably live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It's a good bet that unless they were in the service, none of them has ever seen a gun that wasn't either in a cop's holster or in a thug's hand. They likely suffer heart palpitations at the notion of anyone having a concealed carry permit.
Heads will explode over this: Major Pediatric Group Supports Easing Teens' Access To Emergency Contraception
Neil deGrasse Tyson: The end of the world as we know it ... or not
The New York Times reports on Kathryn Lehman, a recently out Republican lawyer who in 1996 played a role in the creation of DOMA.
Today, Ms. Lehman, 53, no longer has a husband, and no longer identifies as straight. And she is a lobbyist for Freedom to Marry, which is devoted to overturning the very law she helped write, the Defense of Marriage Act. But Ms. Lehman is still a fervent Republican. "I'm trying to break the stereotype that all gays and lesbians, especially lesbians, are Democrats," she said. [snip] Ms. Lehman said she felt no guilt over her role in the law banning federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Her motivation, she said, is her gratitude for those who fought for gay rights decades before she knew the cause was her own. If it were not for them, "I would not be living the wonderful life that I am right now with Julie," Ms. Lehman said, referring to her partner, Julie Conway, a Republican fund-raiser, with whom she lives in Alexandria, Va.
The most-liked comment on the above-linked story reads:
If Ms. Lehman professes to feel no guilt in her participation of the creation of DOMA then it would appear she is unable to take responsibility for the fact that she has at the very least, aided in the impediment of, if not prevented entirely, the pursuit of happiness in the lives of many, many American citizens. Her personal circumstances, her late blooming awareness of her sexual orientation or her religious beliefs offer no excuse and should at no time, in the 1990s or the present day, have any impact on the personal freedoms to which all American citizens are equally entitled. Everyone is free to express his or her opinion, and that opinion may change over time, but no one has the right to suppress the freedoms of others and her actions in the 1990s did exactly that.
Bryan Fischer Cheers Uganda

Homosexuality is just as illegal in Uganda today as it ever was, but don't let pesky little facts interfere with the American Family Association's crusade to see every LGBT American thrown in prison.
Breaking news! Rampant voter fraud in Iowa!
And by "rampant" I mean "practically nonexistent."

There were over 1.5 million votes cast in Iowa on election day. And Iowa's Secretary of State, Matt Schultz, has discovered exactly… eight cases. Eight out of 1.5 million.

That's .00053% of the vote. None of them appear to be malicious. But if you calculate voter fraud cases based on convictions, the fraud percentage of the vote is 0%. Zero. None.

So, naturally, Schultz is using these seven cases to push for the passage of a Voter ID law in Iowa, which would, like every other state that's passed one, disenfranchise Democratic voters.

Shocker: Schultz is a Republican. Again, your Republican Party seems to be tenaciously pursuing a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.


The average effective tax rate for the wealthiest Americans
dropped from 22.4 percent in 2009 to 20.7 percent in 2010 according to the IRS.

Because socialism.


Dawn of a New Day for Marriage Equality


When election returns began pouring in on Tuesday, progressives were quick to declare the election a resounding victory for President Obama, Democratic candidates, and progressive ideals such as marriage equality and the DREAM Act. A deeper look at Tuesday's results reveals that the 2012 election season was also a resounding defeat for the political engine that has long catapulted the GOP to power: The Religious Right.

Here five ways the Religious Right imploded during the 2012 election:

1) Evangelicals failed to produce a viable candidate. While Rick Perry looked to be the evangelical darling in the early days of the Republican primary, his various "oops" moments forced evangelical Protestants to flock to Rick Santorum, a conservative Catholic. But while Santorum won the support of many evangelicals, his passionate embrace of evangelical positions on abortion and contraception made him unappealing to many women voters. In the end, the machinery of the Religious Right failed to produce a candidate that fired up conservative Protestants, forcing the Romney campaign to work twice as hard to excite the GOP's evangelical base.

2) Conservative efforts to shift the Catholic vote flopped. After the Obama administration announced the HHS contraceptive coverage requirement earlier this year, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops launched a "Fortnight for Freedom" campaign criticizing the Obama administration and urging Catholics to cast their votes in support of "religious freedom." The effort failed miserably: Not only did Obama win the Catholic vote overall in 2012 (50% of Catholics voted for Obama while 48% supported Romney), but Pew Research found that the vast majority of American Catholics (78%) knew little to nothing about the bishop's expensive campaign. Instead, Catholic voters appeared more supportive of the efforts of Sister Simone Campbell and the Nuns on the Bus who spoke out against Paul Ryan's budget.

3) Evangelical voter turnout efforts fell short. Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Coalition targeted Ohio this year in an effort to increase evangelical turnout, promising to go "all in" by sending voter guides to churches and launching a "major push" to get evangelicals to the polls through a robust get-out-the-vote effort. But when the results came in on Tuesday, Obama had actually performed better among white evangelicals in Ohio than he did in 2008: White evangelicals in Ohio favored John McCain by a 71%-27% margin in 2008, but favored Romney by a smaller margin – 69%-30% – in 2012. Despite all the energy expended by the Religious Right, their turnout efforts failed to have any marked impact on the most crucial state of the general election.

4) Traditionally evangelical candidates lost en masse because of radical views and bad theology. Conservative Christian and then-Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin caused a stir within the Republican Party when he spoke about "legitimate rape," but evangelical leaders were quick to come to his aid. But when Indiana GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who attends an evangelical church, referred to women impregnated through rape as having been given "a gift from God," voters across the country – including many evangelicals – began asking questions about this new breed of politician. Ultimately, voters decided that Akin and Mourdock's radical theology was simply too extreme: They and several like-minded candidates suffered a series of staggering defeats all across the country on Tuesday.

5) The efforts of anti-gay religious leaders didn't stop voters from supporting marriage equality. When marriage equality amendments were put on the ballot in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington this year, conservative Christian groups moved quickly to try and dissuade people from supporting the freedom to marry. Famed evangelist Billy Graham even launched a massive "Vote Biblical Values" ad campaign, which, among other things, urged voters to oppose candidates who supported marriage equality. Undaunted, pro-marriage equality activists capitalized on groundswells of support among religious groups and ran ads featuring pastors and other religious leaders passionately endorsing same-sex marriage. In the end, Americans voted in favor of marriage equality in three (and probably four) states, dealing a resounding defeat to the anti-gay bastions of the Religious Right.

The 2012 election season appears to have been an ominous one for the Religious Right, and – if the trend continues – may very well signal the end of their traditional dominance of Republican politics. Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, has already voiced the opinion that the Religious Right is hemorrhaging support across the country, and should put less focus on abortion and gay marriage and give more attention to issues such as immigration reform, poverty, and increasing adoptions and foster care opportunities. Whether or not religious conservatives can make that shift remains to be seen, but, in the meantime, the Religious Right looks to have already lost persuasive power with many American voters.


No comments: