Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Obama's position on gay marriage needs to evolve a little faster *and so it does*

That's not just my opinion.

On Tuesday night, Jon Stewart delved in to the twilight zone that is Washington D.C. to discuss an issue dominating the news this week: gay marriage. Tracing the chronology — from Joe Biden‘s remark on Sunday, to the reaction that followed, to the subsequent reassessing of President Obama‘s “evolution” on the issue — The Daily Show looked at how far the president has come in terms of supporting marriage equality. He has evolved: from openly supporting gay marriage to becoming, well, a political candidate.

Ron Reagan was even better in describing it.

“This whole evolving thing has really jumped the shark at this point,” Reagan said. “I mean, [Obama's] taking more time evolving on this issue than humans took evolving from apes.” He acknowledged that’s a bit of “hyperbole,” but digressed. We all know it’s a “political calculation,” he added: we could argue whether it’s a correct or incorrect one, but it’s an “obvious” calculation.

Reagan continued: “He’s taking a civil rights issue and he’s trying to kind of, you know, straddle the fence on it, and it’s unseemly. He’s beginning to look ridiculous on this issue. He needs to just get off the fence and just go wherever they know he really is in the first place.”

Matthews asked, “If he loses the election because of this, and Mitt Romney walks into the White House, a man who says he will not evolve — doesn’t evolve, RINO, doesn’t believe in evolution, period — [...] is that good for the cause?” Reagan replied, “It’s not good for the cause, although the cause will continue and will prevail just because of demographics if nothing else.”

He further added: “I understand what the calculation is, but I think the calculation is now incorrect. You can only make this political calculation when people don’t generally see it as a political calculation. If people know that you’re not actually speaking your mind and your heart, if you are inauthentic about this issue – and it is an important issue to some people, a lot of people – then you’re doing yourself harm. You’re actually harming your electoral prospects.” 

What's amazing to me is that this president -- who took the biggest risk possible for his electoral prospects when he ordered the raid on bin Laden's compound -- is so equivocating on a civil rights issue. To me it's more cowardly than his lack of effort stamping the Affordable Health Care Act with a public option, which of course was way watered down from 'universal health care'.

Obama needs to get off the goddamned fence and take a stand on this, and he needs to do it yesterday. Let the conservatives wail and froth, and promptly counter-punch their teeth out. He could give a grand speech invoking Martin Luther King and LBJ and 1964 and call for legislation and out the Republicans in Congress in all their bigoted, hate-filled glory.

Ten-to-one nothing like that happens, though. This president is way too cautious -- way too conservative himself -- to stand up and fight for anything as messy as gay marriage in an election year. He'll probably promise to do something after he gets re-elected, and a whole lot of Democrats will be just fine with that.

That's not leadership; that's management by swing-state polling.

Update: Somebody should have taken my bet.

"At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he concluded.

Steve Clemons at The Atlantic leads the cheers.

Monday, May 07, 2012

John Carona has never said Dan Patrick was gay

This is uproarious. Two Republicans in the state Senate jockeying for the day a when Texas needs a new lieutenant governor are hurling rotten tomatoes at each other.

The Quorum Report scored a scoop highlighting the animosity between Republican Sens. John Carona, of Dallas, and Dan Patrick, of Houston — complete with Patrick accusing Carona of lying about Patrick’s marriage, and Carona not only denying it, but adding that he also didn’t call Patrick gay.

The accusation from Patrick, in part, in an e-mail to fellow senators:

I was in Dallas last week and learned that Senator Carona has told people outside the Senate that Jan and I are separated and may get divorced. He added in a few other negative comments about me in an obvious attempt by him to discredit me for some reason. … There is no excuse or justification for his actions. He could have easily checked the story out to see if it was true. He didn’t care if it was true.

The response from Carona, in part, also in an e-mail to fellow senators:

The email which you blasted to our colleagues and then provided to the media is false and you would have known that had you called or emailed before sending it. …Though I have heard rumors regarding your marital status and sexual preferences for a while now, at no time have I told anyone that you are either separated, divorced, or gay. (emphasis is mine)

Carona went on to blame Patrick’s political ambition for the e-mail.

Carona is a potential candidate for lieutenant governor if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is elected to the U.S. Senate and senators choose an interim replacement, and also in the 2014 statewide election for the seat. Patrick is a potential lieutenant governor candidate in 2014.

Carona also called Patrick “a snake oil salesman” and “a narcissist that would say anything to draw attention to himself.”

Patrick, in response, suggested that Carona is “at a very dark place in his life for some reason” and said:

“I find Senator Carona’s response repulsive and unbecoming of a Senator. I stand by my statement. … He still owes my wife and my family an apology. Now he owes me an apology for his latest smear, another fabrication by Senator Carona.”

Paul Burka is solemn and sober in his judgment. The rest of of us are Laughing Our Asses Off.

Greg Abbott is either incompetent or defiantly ignorant

Or he's playing some kind of long con game that nobody else can decipher.

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a panel of federal judges to postpone the trial in Texas' Voter ID case because of complaints that state Attorney General Greg Abbott continues to stall requests for information.

The inability to get documents and Abbott's fight to keep Republican legislators from having to testify make a July 9 trial date impractical, Justice Department lawyers said in their motion to a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C.

Abbott wanted a quick trial to put the Voter ID law in place for the Nov. 6 general election.

"If Texas wants a speedy trial, then Texas will have to follow the rules. They shouldn't cherry-pick which rules they want to enforce and which rules they want to ignore," Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chair Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, said Tuesday. 

The court agrees with the DOJ.

In a harshly worded order issued this afternoon, the court in the Texas voter ID case reprimanded the state for what it said were “well-documented” discovery violations “that can only be interpreted as having the aim of delaying the Defendants’ ability to receive and analyze data and documents in a timely fashion.”

The court said:

Texas has repeated ignored or violated directives and orders of this Court that were designed to expedite discovery, and Texas has failed to produce in a timely manner key documents that Defendants need to prepare their defense.  Most troubling is Texas’ conduct with respect to producing its key state databases, which are central to Defendants’ claim that S.B. 14 has a disparate and retrogressive impact on racial and/or language minority groups.  The record reflects that these databases are voluminous, complex, and essential to the preparation of the opinions of Defendants’ expert witnesses. Yet, according to Texas, the full production of such databases to the United States was only complete on May 4, 2012 - 35 days after they were initially due.  The production to Defendant-Intervenors is still not complete.

The court told Texas that “[b]ased on the record to date, this Court would be well within its discretion to continue the July 9 trial date, to impose monetary sanctions against Texas, or to keep the July 9 trial date and impose evidentiary sanctions such as an adverse inference upon Texas.”

I simply don't understand what the Attorney General of Texas thinks he's going to accomplish here. His stonewalling might delay the trial he claims to want that he believes will settle the Photo ID business just in time to suppress November voting. But the judges seem more inclined to simply punish him for his sloth, or his deception, or whatever it is.

His refusal to comply with basic rules of discovery -- while attempting to create some kind of long-game legal precedent with this 'legislative privilege' BS that seems designed to produce a victory at the SCOTUS -- actually appears more directed to win in the court of TeaBagger opinion when the GOP finally loses the case. "Oh well, we lost because they forced the legislators to testify, and that's why the Ill Eagles are still able to vote 50 times..."

Greg Abbott is an abject failure at the simplest of tasks of an attorney's practice, and yet the very worst people representing the Republicans of Texas throw rose petals at his chair wheels.

Is this some parallel universe I have stumbled into?

The Weekly Wrangle

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks Mrs. Sarkozy would have been the better candidate than her husband (but probably still would've lost to the Socialist) as it brings you this week's roundup.

Three more Congressional candidate interviews from Off the Kuff: State Rep. Joaquin Castro, the heir apparent in CD20; Bexar County Tax Assessor Sylvia Romo in CD35; and former Bastrop County Judge Ronnie McDonald in CD27.  

BossKitty at TruthHugger is overwhelmed by the disgusting realization that everyone's future will be determined by America UNDER THE INFLUENCE!  

BlueBloggin sees zombies everywhere. Zombies are disengaging common sense and promoting the Great Unlearning of America at the bidding of the Koch Brothers: Zombie Politics Desecrates Science Education and Economy.

Texas GOP House Speaker Joe Straus and anti-abortion groups make nice. WCNews at Eye On Williamson has the skinny: The political calculus is changing in Texas.  

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme hopes the Valley recognizes Filemon Vela for the opportunistic a**hole he truly is.

The Libertarians selected former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as their presidential nominee at their national convention in Las Vegas this past weekend, and then pushed all their chips in on the pivotal issue of 2012: weed. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs doesn't think it's a smokescreen.

Lightseeker explains, over at TexasKaos, how Texas has a shoot-first law and even the bill's sponsor didn't know it. Give it a read.