Two more – Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Idaho and Nevada Marriage Bans

Read the ruling here.

I may be mis-remembering but I think this ruling has the clearest smack down of the reproduction argument I’ve seen in any of these rulings:

Additionally, as plaintiffs argue persuasively, Idaho and Nevada’s laws are
grossly over- and under-inclusive with respect to procreative capacity. Both states
give marriage licenses to many opposite-sex couples who cannot or will not
reproduce—as Justice Scalia put it, in dissent, “the sterile and the elderly are
allowed to marry,” Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 604–05—but not to same-sex couples
who already have children or are in the process of having or adopting them.14

A few of Idaho and Nevada’s other laws, if altered, would directly increase
the number of children raised by their married biological parents. We mention
them to illustrate, by contrast, just how tenuous any potential connection between a
ban on same-sex marriage and defendants’ asserted aims is. For that reason alone,
laws so poorly tailored as those before us cannot survive heightened scrutiny.
If defendants really wished to ensure that as many children as possible had
married parents, they would do well to rescind the right to no-fault divorce, or to
divorce altogether. Neither has done so. Such reforms might face constitutional
difficulties of their own, but they would at least further the states’ asserted interest
in solidifying marriage. Likewise, if Idaho and Nevada want to increase the
percentage of children being raised by their two biological parents, they might do
better to ban assisted reproduction using donor sperm or eggs, gestational
surrogacy, and adoption, by both opposite-sex and same-sex couples, as well as by singe people.

My favorite part of this discussion is the footnote:

14Defendants acknowledge this, but argue that it would be unconstitutionally
intrusive to determine procreative capacity or intent for opposite-sex couples, and
that the states must therefore paint with a broad brush to ensure that any couple
that could possibly procreate can marry. However, Idaho and Nevada grant the
right to marry even to those whose inability to procreate is obvious, such as the

Page after page, the ruling smacks down the various arguments offered to defend marriage bans. Almost everyone of Utah’s much touted arguments gets smacked around pretty persuasively.

The ruling is fun to read and is worth your time.

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Well that was less dramatic than expected

I’m not sure there’s much to say that hasn’t already been said. The Supreme Court’s decision this morning not to review the various marriage equality cases is both surprising and unsurprising. Surprising in that the Court had an opportunity to settle the issue once and for all and unsurprising in that there’s no current reason for the Court to rule. Thus far the lower courts are in agreement.

Indiana started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples almost immediately. Virginia will apparently start issuing marriage licenses later today. The 10th Circuit has lifted the stay for Oklahoma, meaning OK will soon start issues licenses.

Marriage licenses will be issued to same-sex starting this morning in Utah. Colorado’s AG has already said:

“We have consistently maintained that we will abide by the Supreme Court’s determination on the constitutionality of marriage laws. By choosing not to take up the matter, the court has left the 10th Circuit ruling in place. We expect the 10th Circuit will issue a final order governing Colorado very shortly. Once the formalities are resolved, clerks across the state must begin issuing marriage licenses to all same-sex couples.

We will file motions to expedite the lifting of the stays in the federal and state courts and will advise the clerks when to issue licenses.”

The broad outline remains the same – equality in some states, not in others. It’s just marriage equality exists in more states now than it did yesterday.


Supreme Court Quietly Gives US Marriage Equality

Becoming increasingly difficult to see a way forward for the bigots after the Supreme Court simply says they won’t bother.

As befits a conservative and slow to react to reality court, this quiet victory comes well after a majority of Americans have already accepted the idea. But still, glad they could catch up. Should only be about 15 more years before they realize that companies are not people…

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Teabagger Constitutional Scholar NFL Fans Unclear on First Amendment

And we pray to our Lord
Who we know is American
He reigns from on high
He speaks to us through middlemen
And He shepherds His flock
We sing out and we praise His name
He supports us in war
He presides over football games

-The Eagles

Those of you actually watch football may have seen this news much earlier, but there was some controversy over public prayer at an NFL a little while back. When the Kansas City Chiefs safety intercepted a pass a returned it for a touchdown, he seemed to have been flagged for a prayer after scoring. Which is clearly just a part of the war on religion by that bastion of liberal thinking, the NFL!
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Grover Norquist Absent at ALEC Debate

I don’t know if he got a note from his mother or not, but Grover Norquist was scheduled to be on the “Diane Rehm Show” on Thursday to defend ALEC. If he chickened out, it looks bad because the panel would have been stacked by 2.5 in his favor – two and a half because the American journalist for the Washington Post is only allowed to give lies and truth equal consideration.

It was a hard order for Norquist, because Google had announced it was not going to give funds to ALEC, a week earlier on the Rehm peogram, after an online petition promted the mega-corporation to reconsider it’s association with that organization. Thanks Google!

I’m not so sure it was a bad thing the panel was stacked in favor of ALEC. It would have looked bad to finish off a wounded animal on a forum devoted to friendly, but incisive, discussion.

You have to hand it to the new chief executive officer of ALEC; She didn’t call in sick and proceeded to praise ALEC for passing tons of legislation. All of the legislation that ALEC has passed is pro-business/anti-worker-voter, but heck!

And thanks to NPR and KUER for giving us information instead of just football. There is a place for everything though, and every Wedensday they feature a great sports commentator in the morning who always makes me laugh.

Listen or read the program here. Two important callers involved in this story near the end of the show.


American Middle Class Poorest In 25 Years, Now Underemployed

Middle class

Annie Lowrey, New York magazine:

Labor-force participation has declined — partially because the baby boomers are retiring, but also because prime-age workers are fleeing the job market. Churn has remained slow, with workers too timid to quit their jobs. The middle class is poorer than it was when the recession started, poorer than it was when the recession ended, and poorer than it was in 1989. In real terms, wages are stagnant even though the jobless rate has dropped.

At the same time, the earnings of the wealthiest Americans have surged higher. Corporations are rolling in profits. Growth has strengthened. And the stock market has gone on an extraordinary tear.

The headline (U-3) unemployment rate for September was 5.9 percent, however the seasonally-adjusted real (U-6) unemployment rate was 11.8 percent, down from 12 percent in August. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report estimates that 97,000 people dropped out of the labor force. Because you can’t be officially “unemployed” if you’re not looking for work, having a bunch of people give up looking for work makes the BLS unemployment rates lower.

As Forbes contributor Louis Efron pointed out last month, the U.S. has around 7.5 million underemployed workers. Most of the new jobs in this recovery have been low-wage and part-time jobs, which were taken by Americans just trying to survive while looking for a “real” job.


The Unknown Knowns Redux


Former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld famously ruminated on the difference between “known knowns,” “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns” in the intel business. It seems to me that our intelligence services (all 17 of them) have the most difficulty with sorting out the unknown knowns (i.e. things widely reported, whose significance is apparently unknown to the government). The news media told us about the the capture of Fallujah by ISIS 9 months ago. (At that time, ISIS was best known as the employer of fictional spy Sterling Archer). Ought to have been a wake-up call, don’t you think?

President Obama, unlike the last one, is at least able to acknowledge and take responsibility for a mistake:

America failed to recognize the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists and mistakenly relied on the hapless Iraqi army to combat them, President Obama admitted in an interview broadcast Sunday night.

In an about-face from earlier remarks that likened ISIS to a terrorist “JV team,” Obama told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he agreed with National Intelligence Director James Clapper’s recent assessment that “we underestimated the Islamic State.”

“Jim Clapper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated . . . what had been taking place in Syria,” Obama said.

The president also called it “absolutely true” that the United States put too much faith in the Iraqi army, whose soldiers turned tail rather than wage war against ISIS fighters invading from Syria.

Obama’s comments marked his bluntest acknowledgment that the United States bungled the initial response to ISIS, which American-led planes began bombing inside Syria this month.

More info: ISIS Fast Facts

UPDATE: Tom Engelhardt: The Massive Failure of American Intelligence

[F]rom the Egyptian spring and the Syrian disaster to the crisis in Ukraine, American intelligence has, as far as we can tell, regularly been one step late and one assessment short, when not simply blindsided by events. As a result, the Obama administration often seems in a state of eternal surprise at developments across the globe.


Fuck cancer

Just in case you’re curious.

Fuck cancer.

I just read an article about a woman who said, “I will die in a few weeks, but life is still beautiful.” She has two daughters, 5 and 9, and a loving husband. She’s 38. She’ll be dead in a few weeks.

Seriously. Fuck cancer.

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Posted Sans Comment part something or other, the revenge

Posted sans comment: the never ending series. This time, since I don’t comment, the quoted commentary is provided by some of the rightwing blogs that I read each week. Enjoy….

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Colorado students learned their civil disobedience lessons…

Colorado students and teachers alike have been staging walkouts over the new conservative version of history that is being forced on schools by the rightwing school board. And this story is just full of irony. For one thing, among the subjects being removed is all mention of civil disobedience. Thus the students are teaching the topic to the school board. At least a thousand students walked out of class Tuesday, at three separate schools. More followed Wednesday and still more were planned for today.
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Bombs Away in Syria

Syria strike
An F/A-18E Super Hornet and an F/A-18F Super Hornet prepare to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush

The Obama administration has ramped up the air war against ISIS by attacking bases in Syria. The operation – which employed Tomahawk missiles, B1 bombers, fighter-bombers and drones – was supported by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the UAE. According to reports, the $139 million F-22 stealth fighter jet saw combat for the first time ever during the strikes over Raqqa. The U.S. also carried out separate raids on the little-known al-Qaeda group Khorasan near Aleppo, possibly killing Muhsin al-Fadhli, a veteran al-Qaeda operative.

Gareth Evans points out the obvious fact that strategic bombing isn’t going to succeed where the 8-year U.S. occupation of Iraq failed.

The competence of Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces — crucial if territory is to be taken and held — will take time to build up, and may never be achievable with the so-called moderate forces within Syria. Airstrikes anywhere risk civilian casualties — and thus the possibility of inflaming the very sentiments one is trying to counter.

Moreover, airstrikes in Syria without the government’s consent or Security Council authorization will be manifestly in breach of the United Nations Charter.


Proof: I’m a Communist!

me and kruchev

I have no idea what sort of fowl play was going on there, but that’s me on the left; a dead ringer for Nikita Khrushchev.

Later in life:
trib photo me

The jury is in.


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