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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Political Milestones, Tin Can Edition

Frank Rich's column is so au point that I couldn't stop laughing.

Add in Andrew Sullivan's caught-on-tape observations.

And people took umbrage when Krugman wrote that grown-ups are back in charge or something similar.

Black Adder Update: Scozzafava has endorsed her non-party rival, the Democrat in the race.

Christianist Watch Update, Party Purges and Purity edition: NOM puts out press release pointing to their $150,00 NY-23 boost as the second largest in the district and lauding Scozzafava's abandonment as a defeat of "the first pro-gay marriage GOP congressman".

Thursday, October 29, 2009

'Save the Children', 2009 version/re-mix


Now that the tactics of the NOM cabal are once again shown to be ... about winning a vote with knuckles, not making a case, I wonder why gay activists didn't have a ballot initiative of their own, to split the vote. Maybe it is forbidden under Maine law? Its slyness would certainly help combat the ugliness of NOM's approach.

Anyway, the response to this ad should be "Leaving our children in darkness". I can think of a pretty hard hitting script. Afterall, schools are places of learning and churches are places of indoctrination.

What you need to know about the Senator from Aetna

"NEW YORK (AP) -- Health insurer Aetna Inc. says its third-quarter profit rose 18 percent on gains in both commercial and Medicare enrollment."

In the middle of a recession ...

It's true.

Guaranteed enrollment is very, very valuable. Are Democrats getting enough for mandating insurance, which is really not at all like car insurance? Could Obama walk away from a bad bill, saying 'no bill is better than a bad bill'?

What's more, the fight over the public option, which is key, is also masking some of the other controversial aspects of the legislation, which seem to be getting less airtime because of the big struggle to not pass out a mandate without getting something really, really valuable in return...

Hate Crimes - The Long War

For the record, the final tally in the Senate, on the pertinent, controlling amendment. Orin Hatch, true to form, submitted his 'more study' proposal, once again. It was defeated.

Voting against are the usual suspects, except Arlen Specter, now D-PA, who voted with the majority.

Senator John McCain joined his freakishly non-mainstream colleague from AZ to vote against. Senator Grassley is on the wrong side, here. Coupled with his stance on healthcare, one wonders if Iowa will continue to be enamored of their lLinkongtime warrior Senator...


"Brief History of the HCPA

Hate crimes legislation was initially introduced in the House and Senate in 1997. During the subsequent 12 years, Congress passed various versions of the HCPA, but was ultimately unsuccessful in advancing the bill for the President’s signature.

This changed during the 111th Congress, when versions of the HCPA were introduced by Representatives John Conyers (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in the House and Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Arlen Specter (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in the Senate. On April 29, 2009, the House of Representatives passed hate crimes legislation (H.R. 1913) by a vote of 249-175. On July 16, 2009, the Senate voted 63-28 to proceed with hate crimes legislation (S. 909) as an amendment (S. Amdt. 1511) to the Department of Defense (DoD) authorization bill (S. 1390). The DoD authorization bill then passed the Senate with hate crimes legislation attached as an amendment on July 23, 2009.

As part of the final negotiations between the House and Senate, the conferees honored the memory of two victims of hate crimes by naming the hate crimes provision of the Conference Report the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Matthew Shepard was a gay college student who was tortured and murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, and James Byrd, Jr., was an African-American man who was dragged to death in Jasper, Texas.

The final version of the DoD authorization bill, containing the HCPA, passed the House on October 8, 2009 and the Senate on October 22, 2009. The legislation was signed into law by President Obama on October 28, 2009 (Public Law No. 111-84).

The legislation was endorsed by more than 300 law enforcement, civil rights, civic and religious organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National District Attorneys Association, Presbyterian Church, Episcopal Church, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Young Women’s Christian Association and National Disability Rights Network."

The other federal crimes ...

Some commentators appear to have been caught flat-footed, bemoaning the hate crimes legislation enacted to cover, at last, 'sexual orientation'. How?

Well, the senate, spurred by the irksome Senator Sessions, voted overwhelmingly to federalize crime against service members. ...AND any of their property ... OR their family or any of their property.

From the "small government" crowd, crickets, leaving one to conclude, once again, that it really is all about the gay ...

From the so-called "libertarians", who might cast a wary eye on the wide net of 'conspiracy to harm' written in the legislation as a militarization of sorts, crickets.

Monday, October 26, 2009

DADT and Upping the Standing Army in Afghanistan

So, who thinks that any effort next year on Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell will fall by the wayside, if there is a 'right sizing' of the effort in Afghanistan that involves tens of thousands of troops, either from Iraq or from the growth in the U.S. standing army approved under Bush?

As long as there are tens of thousands of troops deployed, there is an 'excuse' in the Senate to delay action ....

This is why "the deal", with the military and/or with the Senate, on DADT should be part of any 'surge' authorization ...