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As usual, Jon Stewart says it best.

October 10th, 2013 [Editorial, Law & Politics]

I’m sick to death of people trying to pass themselves off as “impartial” or “independent” by stating that both sides of the political battle are responsible for this government shut-down mess. It is simply not true. If you want proof, imagine how it would look if the Democrats decided that they were going to shut down the government until Republicans stopped enforcing the 2nd Amendment. Is that a good way to get your way? No. But that is what’s going on here. The Tea Party Republicans couldn’t win via election and they couldn’t win via Congressional votes and they couldn’t win in the Supreme Court – so now they are deciding to take what they want whether it’s theirs or not. And it’s coming at the expense of the American public.

You don’t negotiate with terrorists, you don’t reward children for temper tantrums, and you don’t agree to defund or delay existing law based on obstructionist tactics. If the Democrats give in on this Tea Party hissy fit, I guarantee you that shutting down the government will become the preferred way to get what you want from Congress. Capitulating on this issue will only harm the country in the long run.

Jon Stewart says it best:


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Thoughts on a shooting

June 8th, 2013 [General, Law & Politics, News, US]

I could go off on a long rant about gun control here, but I’ll just share some scattered thoughts on yesterday’s shooting in Santa Monica, which hit way too close to home in every respect.

How come people only freak out and demand gun control legislation after one of these massive shootings in a usually-quiet neighborhood? Isn’t gun violence also terrible when it happens on a daily basis in cities across the nation? At our old house, we used to hear gunshots fairly frequently. The first time it happened, we tried calling the police. They brushed us off. And it really sucked when a guy was murdered in a drive-by shooting a few houses down from us because some gang members thought he was a member of a rival gang. He wasn’t. But nobody made any demands for gun control then. I don’t even think they published the guy’s name in the newspaper. You had to try really hard just to find the inch of column space the shooting received. This happens every day. Why are we letting this happen every day?

Why is it that the same people who bitch and moan about the constitutional notions of “separation of church and state” and “fundamental right to privacy” do a full flip-flop when it comes to the alleged unequivocal constitutional right to personally own military-style weaponry with virtually no governmental regulation or interference? Have they read the full 2nd Amendment?

How many more mass shootings is it going to take for us to make a change? When is enough enough? If a classroom full of murdered kindergarteners wasn’t enough… what is?

If we can regulate and track the sale of pseudoephedrine, why can’t we regulate and track ammunition sales? As with ammunition, mere purchase of pseudoephedrine is not illegal, nor is possession. But if somebody lives in the middle of a densely-populated city with virtually no open land for hunting and they suddenly start stockpiling ammunition meant for semi-automatic weapons, it seems like we ought to care as much as we do if somebody goes to four different pharmacies and buys out their supply of Sudafed. And yet somehow we don’t.

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What you need to know about wealth distribution in America

March 5th, 2013 [Financial, Law & Politics, US]

Required viewing.

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This should be required reading for everybody before the election.

September 22nd, 2012 [Election 2012]

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital | Rolling Stone

The incredible untold story of the 2012 election so far is that Romney’s run has been a shimmering pearl of perfect political hypocrisy, which he’s somehow managed to keep hidden, even with thousands of cameras following his every move. And the drama of this rhetorical high-wire act was ratcheted up even further when Romney chose his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – like himself, a self-righteously anal, thin-lipped, Whitest Kids U Know penny pincher who’d be honored to tell Oliver Twist there’s no more soup left. By selecting Ryan, Romney, the hard-charging, chameleonic champion of a disgraced-yet-defiant Wall Street, officially succeeded in moving the battle lines in the 2012 presidential race.

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Maggie Gallagher offers up some “very special talking points”

November 23rd, 2011 [General, Marriage Equality]

While GLADD is urging folks to come out to their families at Thanksgiving, Maggie Gallagher of NOM fame (you remember – the gathering storm that brought us some of the best commercial parodies of all time?) offers up some helpful tips on smacking down your gay relatives if they try to talk about their own lives at the dinner table.

Summary: Step 1: Tell them marriage is between a man and a woman for a reason (procreation argument, yadda yadda yadda). Step 2: Refute the charge of bigotry by saying that it’s not bigoted to treat different things differently; it’s just common sense. (I’m sure that argument will go over well). Step 3: Demand mutual toleration of each others’ sincere moral opinions (even though you have the moral high ground), and then state that it’s unkind and intolerant to suggest that you’re a bigot or a hater. Repeat Step 3 incessantly until your gay relative shuts up or until there is pie.

Now I’m sure there is an argument to be made (most likely by Ms. Gallagher herself) that these same steps might apply (with obvious content edits) to gay people talking to their relatives about their own lives – i.e. state the point, refute claims of narrow-mindedness against opponents, and then request mutual tolerance and respect in light of differing opinions. But I would argue that mutual tolerance and respect is not the compromise in this situation. It merely maintains the status quo of discrimination and asks us to be accepting of our own oppression. You don’t get to say, “Can’t you just respect that I believe you are inferior and will legislate to the extent I am able to keep you in a legally-inferior position?” and expect me to say, “Oh, sure, that sounds like a fair compromise.”

Mutual toleration and respect require that individuals be on equal footing. If you want mutual toleration and respect, let us get married and then disagree with it. Don’t funnel money and manpower into passing discriminatory laws to strip us of our civil rights and then expect us to be respectful and tolerant of your “moral” stance.

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ProtectMarriage.com releases predictable press release

November 17th, 2011 [General, Marriage Equality]

The CA Supreme Court held today that the proponents of Prop 8 have standing to defend the initiative on appeal in the 9th Circuit.

This is a technical ruling on standing, and has no bearing on the substantive arguments for or against same-sex marriage. Predictably, however, ProtectMarriage.com has claimed the ruling as a monumental victory that deals a fatal blow to supporters of marriage equality:

“This ruling is a huge disaster for the homosexual marriage extremists. The Court totally rejected their demands that their lawsuit to invalidate Proposition 8 should win by default with no defense. Their entire strategy relied on finding a biased judge and keeping the voters completely unrepresented. Today that all crumbled before their eyes.”

Let’s get one thing straight (so to speak): The only thing that crumbled before our eyes today was the barrier that prevented the 9th Circuit from deciding this case on the merits. The CA Supreme Court’s decision today only gives the ProtectMarriage people their day in court – a day which they already had and, let’s be honest, squandered. It’s now up to the 9th Circuit to determine whether Prop 8 violates federal constitutional protections.

Speaking of courtroom farce, oral arguments will be heard in early December as to whether or not the Prop 8 trial videos will be released to the public. The Prop 8 supporters have fought tooth and nail to prevent the public from seeing these footage – so you know it must be worth watching. So long as the videos remain suppressed, ProtectMarriage.com can continue to claim that Prop 8 was overturned based on judicial bias in the face of hard evidence against same-sex marriage (e.g. the admission by their own star witness that this nation would be more American the day we allowed marriage equality). That they fight the release of the videos is proof that they don’t want the public to see what the judge saw. Will update on that proceeding as well.

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Great book!

September 24th, 2010 [General]

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Amazon Student

July 14th, 2010 [General]

Join Amazon Student now and get free one-year subscription to Amazon Prime. I LOVE this service and feel it’s totally worth the cost, so if you can get it free, go for it! All you need is a valid .edu email address!

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Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas retiring – CNN.com

June 7th, 2010 [Middle East]

Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas retiring – CNN.com.

Wow. I had no idea. Does she realize that many Jews never left Israel, or never left the Middle East, or did not move to Israel from Europe but from Africa or Asia, or that Germany and Poland were never our true home? We were always from the Middle East. When we were in Europe, most people there hoped we would go back to where we came from, if not simply perish. So to say we should “go back to Germany/Poland” is to completely misunderstand the Jewish people as a whole. I don’t know if “Go back to Africa” is really an accurate analogy; that would be closer if she had said Jews should get out of America and go back to Israel. A better analogy would be if a community of freed slaves – or even their ancestors today – returned to their homes in Africa only to be told to “Go back to Virginia.”

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Iran ready to protect Gaza-bound ships – UPI.com

June 7th, 2010 [Middle East]

Iran ready to protect Gaza-bound ships – UPI.com.

Faaaantastic. So now Iran gets to do what it’s been DYING to do for years, with an excuse that makes it look like it’s not the aggressor. If Iran hadn’t been supporting Hamas financially and militarily all this time, perhaps there wouldn’t be a need for a blockade in the first place.

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Iran Red Crescent to send aid to Gaza – CNN.com

June 7th, 2010 [Middle East]

Iran Red Crescent to send aid to Gaza – CNN.com.

If I never hear the word “flotilla” again it will be too soon. If Israel wouldn’t allow ships from a friendly nation to break the blockade, what makes them think it’s going to allow “aid” from Iran without inspection? Doesn’t Gaza get enough “aid” from Iran through its underground tunnels? In any event, Hamas has alrea…dy announced that it is holding all flotilla aid itself hostage by refusing to allow it into the country unless Israel meets demands. All that aid from those other ships is just sitting there because Hamas refuses to touch it.

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I <3 Jon Stewart (but not like that)

May 5th, 2010 [General]

“I’m beginning to think ‘the American people’ is a meaningless phrase, cravenly used as a cudgel to project whatever provincial concerns any particular interest group may want to advance, and as such, perhaps should be struck from public utterance, along with such other false monolithic projections as ‘The Founders int…ended,’ ‘Our children deserve,’ and ‘Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee!'” ~ Jon Stewart, May 5, 2010

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Myth of the ‘gay lifestyle’ justifies bias – CNN.com

April 6th, 2010 [General]

Myth of the ‘gay lifestyle’ justifies bias – CNN.com.

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Growth of Unpaid Internships May Be Illegal, Officials Say – NYTimes.com

April 6th, 2010 [General]

Growth of Unpaid Internships May Be Illegal, Officials Say – NYTimes.com.

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Insurer targeted HIV patients to drop coverage | Reuters

March 17th, 2010 [General]

Insurer targeted HIV patients to drop coverage | Reuters.

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Op-Ed Columnist – Learning From the Sin of Sodom – NYTimes.com

March 7th, 2010 [General]

Op-Ed Columnist – Learning From the Sin of Sodom – NYTimes.com.

In all fairness, I think a lot of the liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations is precisely the result of evangelical sanctimony… but otherwise, the guy really has a point.

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Meanwhile in Texas: “American Taliban” Isn’t Hyperbole Anymore | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle’s Only Newspaper

March 2nd, 2010 [General]

Meanwhile in Texas: “American Taliban” Isn’t Hyperbole Anymore | Slog | The Stranger, Seattle’s Only Newspaper.

Maybe somebody needs to build a website to identify members of this group by name, photo and workplace.

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Kenyan Police Disperse Gay Wedding – NYTimes.com

February 15th, 2010 [Civil Rights, LGBT, World]

Kenyan Police Disperse Gay Wedding – NYTimes.com.

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenyan police officers broke up a gay wedding on Friday and arrested several wedding guests, saying they had to intervene before an irate mob could stone the wedding party to death…

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YouTube – Woman’s Last Stand: Dodge Charger Commercial Spoof

February 15th, 2010 [General]

YouTube – Woman’s Last Stand: Dodge Charger Commercial Spoof.

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‘Valentine’s Day’ promotion gets ‘de-gayed’ – CNN.com

February 12th, 2010 [General]

‘Valentine’s Day’ promotion gets ‘de-gayed’ – CNN.com.

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Backhanded compliments, FTW!

February 11th, 2010 [General]

Sarah Palin Populism: Savvy Speech to Tea Party Movement – TIME.

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Case Stokes Haiti’s Fear for Children, and Itself – NYTimes.com

February 2nd, 2010 [General]

<a href=’http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/world/americas/02orphans.html?th&emc=th’>Case Stokes Haiti’s Fear for Children, and Itself – NYTimes.com.

Srsly? Little kids are not stray animals – you can’t just pluck them off the street without regard to their status, assuming it’s all okay because they’ll be better off in good [white] Christian homes. They thought they didn’t need papers because of the earthquake? Really? I’ve heard of other people who think they can just help themselves to anything after a natural disaster… we call them “looters.”

I understand the desire to help the kids… but this approach crosses a line. A big one.

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ProtectMarriage misses the point on women’s suffrage

January 28th, 2010 [Marriage Equality]

ProtectMarriage completely misses the point. I’m shocked. Or not.

Outside the courtroom, the plaintiffs’ attorneys sharply criticized the notion that redefining marriage to include homosexual relationships would contribute to the deinstitutionalization of marriage. That argument, they said, is like saying that extending the right to vote to women “deinstitutionalized” the voting process.

Nice sound bite, but the analogy fails. Securing women’s right to vote didn’t do a thing to change the meaning and importance of voting. By contrast there is no doubt that re-defining marriage to include homosexual relationships would ipso facto divorce the institution itself from its fundamental, biological foundation. Nice try.

I think that’s kind of the point. Before the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, politicians and pundits argued that extending voting rights to women would de-legitimize the political process, destroy homes and families, lead to double-voting, create crime, injure women, result in military ruin, and generally destroy the world. It didn’t. And neither will same-sex marriage.

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ProtectMarriage hopes you never took Civ Pro

January 28th, 2010 [General]

ProtectMarriage is now furious at, um, well, let’s take a look:

Despite supposedly winning our appeal in the Ninth Circuit to protect the privacy of our internal Prop 8 campaign records, the trial judge has still forced us to hand over literally tens of thousands of pages of sensitive campaign memos, emails and other documents to the plaintiffs. After sifting through our internal documents for facts they think aid their case, they had them labeled as trial exhibits and added to the court record.

Yeah, we’ve all read the testimony. The Court was pretty good about keeping out the genuinely sensitive / private stuff, and much of what was admitted was redacted substantially. But as for the general process of the opposing side forcing you to hand over personal documents (also known as discovery), sifting through those documents, labeling them as trial exhibits, and adding them to the court record? I’m pretty sure that’s a hefty component of what experts esoterically refer to as LITIGATION.

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Raining on the parade…

January 25th, 2010 [General]

How a Bad Expert Witness Can Ruin A Case « Prop 8 Trial Tracker.

At any moment of optimism, however, I go back to the basic lay of the land on this case. Due to the level of scrutiny in the case, Olson, Boies, et al. are playing on an uneven playing field. They have to roll the boulder up the hill. While Prof. Miller seems to be struggling to push it down the hill, they are still the ones pushing the easy way.

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