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Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Of vaccines and resistance

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 06:30
making fun of Jim Carrey, antivaxxer Reuters: Opponents of California's new law tightening school vaccination rules said on Wednesday they had put together a team of attorneys to challenge the measure, which was prompted by a measles outbreak at Disneyland that sickened more than 100 people.

The lawyers are strategizing ways to seek an injunction against the law, signed on Tuesday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, said Melissa Floyd, a spokeswoman for the California Coalition for Health Choice.

“The California Legislature just created a brand new group of second class citizens, innocent healthy children who will permanently be barred from schools and day care because they haven’t received all doses of the vaccines on the schedule," Floyd said. "This is discriminatory."

The new law eliminates exemptions from vaccine requirements based on parents' personal beliefs, but allows unvaccinated children to attend school with medical waivers.

It prompted a vociferous response from parents who fear side effects from vaccinations, including a now-debunked theory that inoculating children against childhood diseases can lead to autism.

Because why shouldn't debunked theories and nutters like Jim Carrey determine public health policy?

Harold Cook:

I get it – you’re really really PO’ed that gay people now have a Constitutional right to have, or be, an ol’ ball and chain too, and now you’re pretty much just impatiently awaiting the rapture with great annoyance.

Believe me – when it comes to the Supreme Court, I’ve been there. I was dismayed at the Citizens United decision that gave your ilk all that dark money to play with. I was downright angered when they handed George W. Bush the Presidency by halting the Florida recount. I was disgusted when they gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. There is no doubt that no matter where one is on the political spectrum, we can all agree that the Supreme Court makes mistakes. We might disagree on which specific decisions constitute those mistakes, but we would all agree that they make them.

You have every right to whine and rant. We are a proud nation of whiners and ranters. I fully support your rantitude and your whinarrhea. It’s the American way.

But what you don’t get to do — and I’m talking primarily to you, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and US Senator Ted Cruz — is advise people to feel free to disregard a United States Supreme Court decision. It is unpatriotic, and it’s un-American.
Let that sink in: what you are doing is un-American.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Open thread for night owls: NPS shuts down District effort to woo NFL team with the racist name

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 22:00
Protest at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Sorry, Dan Snyder. The District of Columbia has been attempting to woo back a certain NFL franchise by proposing a shiny new stadium on their old stomping grounds, the spot where Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium stands today. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, however, has told them that's not going to fly. And yes, it's at least in part because of their name.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser this spring that the National Park Service, which owns the land beneath Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, was unlikely to accommodate construction of a new stadium for the [Washington Redacteds] unless the team changes its name.

Jewell oversees both national park land and America’s trust and treaty relationships with Native American tribes.

Since joining the Obama administration two years ago, Jewell has repeatedly echoed the president’s concern that the name is offensive to Native Americans. Last fall she called the name a “relic of the past” that should be changed.

Team owner Dan Snyder and supporters may or may not find more support in the next administration. In the meantime, however, a deal to bring the franchise back to the District looks dead, or at least severely concussed.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2014What will the Kochs do with Hobby Lobby decision?

Some 14,000 people work for Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods, the two companies who brought this suit. But those are by far not the only employees whose healthcare choices can now be limited by the beliefs of their employers. For one thing, there are still 46 pending challenges to the contraceptive mandate in the law out there.

A total of 71 companies brought those cases, but Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods got to the U.S. Supreme Court first. Even if all those cases are now dismissed as being settled by Hobby Lobby, there are 71 companies that want to take away healthcare choices from their employees. That ranges from Trijicon, "a military contractor specializing in optics equipment for weapons," to  Joe Holland, "a born-again Christian who owns a local car dealership," and "is taking on the contraceptive mandate in court even while publicly touting his company's support for women." Here's a surprising one to go on boycott lists: "Eden Foods, the Michigan-based organic food company."

Don't worry, many pundits are saying—this is a "narrow" ruling. (Note: Perhaps only people who have uteruses should be allowed to weigh in on whether and how this is really "narrow.") It only applies to "closely held" corporations, so really you won't have tons of employers claiming this exemption. Closely held, though, doesn't necessarily mean "small."

Tweet of the Day
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Pro-Bobby Jindal PAC invites Twitter to #AskBobby. It doesn't go well.

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 20:00
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) at CPAC 2013. How are you still unaware how these things work out? #askBobby At some point in the distant future, widely unpopular political candidates will realize that soliciting feedback from the good and gentle people of the internets will never, ever go well. We have not yet arrived at that day.

Have questions for Bobby Jindal? Tweet us with #AskBobby and he might answer it at our town hall event tonight.

— Believe Again (@BelieveAgainGOP) June 30, 2015

That would be Jindal's pro-Jindal PAC, asking Twitter for possible questions that Jindal might want to address while Jindal is at their most recent pro-Jindal Iowa event. It went about as well as you'd expect, because you, dear reader, are smarter than every member of the pro-Jindal political machine combined. Nobody particularly cares how the Iowa town hall went, but the news is abuzz with stories on the carnage that unfolded online.

Some of the highlights (cough), below the fold.

Spotlight on green news & views: More on the Pope's encyclical and more on carbon-cutting pledges

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 17:30
otter baby  5
See Wood Gas's post.

Many environmentally related posts appearing at Daily Kos each week don't attract the attention they deserve. To help get more eyeballs, Spotlight on Green News & Views (previously known as the Green Diary Rescue) normally appears twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The most recent Spotlight can be seen here. More than 23,050 environmentally oriented diaries have been rescued for inclusion in this weekly collection since 2006. Inclusion of a diary in the Spotlight does not necessarily indicate my agreement with or endorsement of it.

"World's First Climate Liability Suit" Succeeds - Could Be "a Game Changer"—by sfinx: "In what is being called a landmark ruling that that could have worldwide effects, a Dutch court has ordered the government of the Netherlands to reduce the country's emissions by 25% within 5 years to protect its citizens from harm. [...] The question is whether courts and legal systems in other countries will enable such suits to succeed: 'It's a sea change if other courts follow the lead of the Dutch court,' said Michael Gerrard, who directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. 'It's sort of a break in the dyke, appropriate coming from the Netherlands. And we'll see how big the flow is that follows from it.' In the U.S., the Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit like this one. But Gerrard said other major countries like India have legal systems more likely to to rule in favor of the environmentalists. And if this does catch on, he said, it could become an entirely new front for addressing climate change. The suit was filed by the Urgenda Foundation, an organization promoting sustainability, and 900 co-plaintiffs. It was launched in 2013."

Breaking: Big, BIG Positive Climate Change News!—by John Crapper: "On Tuesday, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill issued a landmark decision in Zoe & Stella Foster v. Washington Department of Ecology, the climate change case brought by eight young citizens of Washington State. (emphasis mine) In her decision, Judge Hill ordered the Washington Department of Ecology ('Ecology') to reconsider the petition the eight youth filed with Ecology last year asking for carbon dioxide reductions, and to report back to the court by July 8, 2015, as to whether they will consider the undisputed current science necessary for climate recovery. Last June, the young petitioners filed a petition for rulemaking to Ecology requesting that the agency promulgate a rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions in Washington according to what scientists say is needed to protect our oceans and climate system. The youth also asked Ecology to inform the Legislature that existing statutory greenhouse gas reductions must be revised based on current climate science. On August 14, 2014, Ecology denied the petition without disputing the underlying scientific bases for petitioner’s plea. Arguing that they have a fundamental right to a healthy environment, and that they are faced with increasing harms posed by climate destabilization and ocean acidification, the young petitioners filed an appeal of the denial to vindicate this right on behalf of themselves and future generations. 'The effect of this decision is that for the first time in the United States, a court of law has ordered a state agency to consider the most current and best available climate science when deciding to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,' said Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center, attorney for the youth petitioners."

You can find more excerpts from green diaries below the orange spill.

Cartoon: Down and out in the South

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:50
Social change has come fast and hard to the U.S. lately, especially the approval of same-sex marriage in all 50 states. And in the South, the Confederate flag went down fast in many public places, and won't be sold at Wal-Mart or flown at NASCAR. But not everyone in the South was completely bummed about all the developments. Congrats and condolences Clem & BillyBob!

Louisiana, once a Democratic bastion, has completed its transformation into a Republican stronghold

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:08

Louisiana State House

We make our way back to Louisiana for a look at the state's 2014 Senate race. We have the results calculated by state House, Senate, and congressional district for the December runoff between defeated Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu and now-GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy, as well as the 2012 presidential contest. As a bonus, we also have the November jungle primary between Landrieu, Cassidy, and tea partying Republican Rob Maness. You can find our master list of states here. We've included Stephen Wolf's interactive state legislative maps for the Pelican State, and be sure to check out the rest here.

While Landrieu had a reputation as a formidable campaigner, she faced long odds winning a fourth term during a GOP wave in a state that Romney carried 58-41. Landrieu's 56-44 loss only delivered her the heavily Democratic LA-02, with the state's other five congressional districts backing Cassidy. The closest seat was LA-04, which backed Cassidy 58-42 two years after giving Romney a similar 59-40 margin.

Landrieu carried 36 of the state's 105 state House seats, five more than Obama carried two years before. Landrieu improved on Obama's margin in 93 House districts, and showed the biggest gain in HD-54, one of the reddest-Democratic held seats in the nation. Romney carried this district, located on the Bayou southwest on New Orleans, 81-17, while Cassidy took it 66-34.

Head below the fold for a look at the state Senate.

Maine legislature opens investigation of LePage's threat to cut off charter school funds

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 16:04
Governor Paul R. LePage gave the opening remarks at his Governor's Conference on Education, Putting Students First., March 22, 2013. Maine Gov. LePage (R) The Paul LePage situation has quickly ramped up to ludicrous speed. As you may know, Maine's Republican governor threatened to cut off half a million dollars worth of funding for a charter school for at-risk youth if they didn't rescind an offer they made to the state House speaker (Democrat Mark Eves) to serve as their president. The school promptly buckled, Eves cried foul, and LePage ... well, he admitted it all!
"Yeah, I did," he said. "If I could, I would. Absolutely. Why wouldn’t I? Tell me why I wouldn’t take the taxpayer money, to prevent somebody to go into a school and destroy it. Because (Eves’) heart’s not into doing the right thing for Maine people." So lawmakers, of course, just launched an investigation, and you know they mean it: One of those leading the call for an inquiry is a Republican state senator.

LePage, though, insists that the legislature's Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability doesn't have the constitutional authority to dig into his actions, so you know he's going to make this as difficult as possible. But his obstinacy scarcely matters. Legislators most certainly are empowered to conduct an investigation to determine whether LePage should be impeached, which is exactly where all this could wind up.

FCC Republican doesn't think the internet is all that necessary

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 15:10
Woman checks her tablet at a coffee shop Unless you are Amish or a hermit, the internet really is a necessity Someone drag this jackass into the 21st century, please.
Federal Communications Commission member Michael O’Rielly yesterday argued that "Internet access is not a necessity or human right" and called this one of the most important "principles for regulators to consider as it relates to the Internet and our broadband economy." In other words, since he thinks the internet is totally optional in this day and age, regulators should basically ignore the needs of people to have access to it.
[P]eople do a disservice by overstating [the internet's] relevancy or stature in people’s lives. People can and do live without Internet access, and many lead very successful lives. Hermits can live successful lives, sure, but that's not what the modern economy is built on. It should go without saying that those without access to the internet are economically disadvantaged. Indeed, one of the problems with the digital divide (in which communities of color were less likely to be online) was the widening economic gap between those with access and those without. This is not controversial stuff. If you aren't online, you aren't part of modern society.

What chafes Republicans like O'Rielly is that the needs of people are being put ahead of the desires of Comcast, Verizon, and the rest of the industry heavyweights. That is deeply offensive stuff to conservatives, a violation of their very core philosophy.

Midday open thread: Twitter fails on diversity; Hobby Lobby's Bible museum; tasing raffle in Iowa

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 14:00
  • Today's comic by Matt Bors is  White culture's thug youth: Cartoon by Matt Bors -- White culture's thug youth
  • Old white men are the overwhelming majority among the top 500 campaign donors: Of the top 500 donors to federal campaigns and committees in 2014, only 12 were nonwhite by the broadest possible definition, and none of those 12 cracked the top 100. With no people of color among the very largest donors, that means that just over 99 percent of the money from the top 500 donors came from its white members. While nonwhite voters lean heavily Democratic and have for decades, the 12 mega-donors among their number are evenly split, with six backing Republicans and six Democrats.

    Only two of the top 200 donors are nonwhite, and both are of South Asian descent, meaning that the United States’ largest racial and ethnic minorities are the most underrepresented among major donors. Just one of the top 500 donors is black, and one Hispanic.

  • Michelle Obama says you can take photos on White House tours now.
  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook June 30:
    It's Time To Look Away, Dixieland, by countrycat

    Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, SC is Currently on Fire, by Grizzard

    Oklahoma Supreme Court: Public Ten Commandments Monument Must Come Down, by ericlewis0

  • Oregonians can now possess marijuana legally. Sales coming next year: As of Wednesday, Oregon's Measure 91 allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana outside their homes, eight ounces inside their homes, and four pot plants. Adults can also gift and receive pot, but public smoking remains illegal.

    The initiative will eventually allow production and sales of marijuana, which the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will regulate. The agency expects rules to be ready for retail sales during the fall harvest of 2016, although there's some talk in the legislature of starting sales through existing medical marijuana dispensaries this October.

  • Jim Carrey tweets unfunny anti-vaccine bullshit.
  • Iowa city officials raffling off $5 chances to tase a public official: For the price of a $5 raffle ticket, Van Meter is offering its residents a chance to use a police Taser on a city official.

    City Hall is selling the tickets as part of a public safety fundraiser. The raffle winner will get the chance to use a Taser on City Administrator Jake Anderson or Councilman Bob Lacy at the Van Meter Fire Association Street Dance on July 18.

  • Sad photos of abandoned venues of 2004 Athens Olympics.
  • The inside story of Hobby Lobby's Museum of the Bible just off the National Mall: The museum will be a living, breathing testament to how American evangelicalism can at once claim it is under siege from secularists, the LGBT rights movement, or feminism—yet also boast of acquiring a prime private perch, strategically located at the nation’s epicenter of law and politics, and nestled among its iconic public monuments. If you ask its creators, it’s meant to protect American Christianity from persecution. But it may be the most strident example yet of how that expression of religion, which in many ways is running counter to trends in American public opinion, continues to flex its political—and financial—muscle.
  • Macy's dumps Trump over "rapists" line.
  • Twitter doesn't quite get diversity: Twitter employs just 49 black people out of a total US workforce of 2,910. The tiny number of African American staff—35 men and 14 women—represents just 1.7% of Twitter’s US staff.

    The stark lack of black employees comes despite the company’s repeated pledges to make its staff better reflect the diversity of its 302 million users – and as Twitter actively exploits its large number of minority users to bring in more advertising revenue.

  • Team Blackness discussed the six recent black church fires in the South. Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center said, "It's not unreasonable to suspect that what we're seeing [now] is a backlash to the taking down of the Confederate flag, the determination of our country to face its racial problems." Also discussed was Chris Christie's entering the presidential clown race, the CNN case of the ISIS dildo flag at gay pride, and the Supreme Court taking up a case that could ban affirmative action. Subscribe on iTunes | Subscribe On Stitcher | Direct Download | RSS
  • On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Bad ideas: iPhone pistol grips; Cruz constitutional amendments; ISIS cakes. Armando on TRUMP, Jeb! & the also-rans; latest Hillary “bombshell”. Crass Dick Harpootlian, SCOTUS as litmus test. Conference reports, holds & the filibuster.
    Find us on iTunes | Find us on Stitcher | RSS | Donate to support the show!

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'Data journalism' run amok: The Confederate flag vs. the rainbow flag

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 13:49
Rainbow flag Washington Post headline: "Which is more taboo: The Confederate flag or the rainbow flag?"

Oh, boy.

The piece is written by two political scientists and reports on survey data, done before the church shootings in South Carolina or the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, showing who was and was not offended by the two flags.

Most Americans said they were at least “slightly offended” by the Confederate flag (13% said slightly, 20% said moderately, 12% said very, and 15% said extremely offended). About 39% said that they were “not offended at all.”  Fewer people took offense at gay pride flag — 56% said they were not offended at all — as of November of last year. This is a case where data journalism desperately needs context to save it from total inanity. As interesting and relevant as it might be to know how many Americans find these things offensive, and how those views change over time, a nothing-but-the-numbers write-up of survey data, promoted as stand-alone journalism, is ... lacking.

The thing is, there's no straight comparison to be made between the two flags. The implication is that it's a racism vs. homophobia question, but things are a lot more complicated than that. It's more like how many people are offended by the existence of out LGBT people vs. how many both are offended by racism and connect the Confederate flag to racism. The rainbow flag is just a simpler symbol as a relatively recent creation with a straightforward association with gay pride. By contrast, the Confederate flag has a Civil War history and a history, growing out of that Civil War history, as a symbol of resistance to integration and the civil rights movement. Both those histories are racist, but the long "heritage not hate" PR campaign, however false, complicates the flag's status as a direct proxy for racism. How the different historical associations with the Confederate flag break down in survey responses isn't clear, and it's not made any more clear in this write-up.

It's a great example of how statistics don't always tell us anything. But I don't think that's what the Post thought it was doing here.

Obama moves on from failed Cuba policy, angering Republicans

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 13:21
Republican presidential candidate U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) waits to speak at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 2015.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RTX19U83 Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is not happy. The United States is formally re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, President Obama announced Wednesday morning. "There have been very real, profound differences between our governments," Obama said, "and sometimes we allow ourselves to be trapped by a certain way of doing things."
For the United States, that meant clinging to a policy that was not working. Instead of supporting democracy and opportunity for the Cuban people, our efforts to isolate Cuba despite good intentions increasingly had the opposite effect—cementing the status quo and isolating the United States from our neighbors in this hemisphere. The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don’t have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn’t working, we can—and will—change. Predictably, Republicans are coming out against change and for the old, failed way of doing things. According to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the move is "the most recent example of this president’s foreign policy that ignores reality in exchange for surface level political 'wins.'" Jeb! Bush similarly suggested that Obama is most concerned with whether his "legacy is burnished with dubious diplomatic achievements and photo-ops" and not the substance of the agreement. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, meanwhile, called the decision "dead wrong."

Sen. Marco Rubio said he wouldn't support diplomatic relations with Cuba unless his human rights concerns were addressed, and to that end:

“I intend to oppose the confirmation of an ambassador to Cuba until these issues are addressed,” the Cuban-American lawmaker said in a statement Wednesday. “It is time for our unilateral concessions to this odious regime to end.” And Sen. Ted Cruz elected to link the decision to Israel, tweeting that "It's unacceptable and a slap in the face of a close ally that the United States will have an embassy in Havana before one in Jerusalem." The United States does of course have an embassy in Israel, it's just in Tel Aviv rather than Jerusalem; there is also a consulate in Jerusalem. Canada, the country where Cruz was born, also has its Israeli embassy in Tel Aviv—and has had a Cuban embassy all along.

Notably absent from the Republican statements: Any serious argument that anything in Cuba would change if the United States kept doing the exact same thing it's been doing for more than 50 years. No, these are arguments for digging in and following a failed policy no matter what. And they're not convincing very many people: polls show a solid majority of Americans in favor of re-establishing relations with Cuba.

Benghazi Committee carrying out a 'political charade,' says Clinton campaign

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 13:17
U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) talks to reporters before deposing Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Hillary Clinton friend who was an unofficial adviser while she was secretary of state, in a private session House Benghazi Czar Trey Gowdy (R-SC) A new Clinton campaign video accurately labels the House Benghazi Committee a "political charade." As it begins, onscreen text points out that:
After 7 prior congressional investigations ...

32 hearings ...

2780 questions asked in those hearings ...

and 40,000 pages of documents turned over ...

The Benghazi Select Committee is spending $8,000 a day in taxpayer money to keep digging.

The video relies heavily on Fox News reports on the Benghazi committee's work:
The Fox News anchors point out that the committee’s report will be delayed until the election year of 2016 and ask committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) why questions to former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal about Clinton's 2008 campaign were “relevant.”

When asked whether he knows more about the attacks now after hearing from Blumenthal, Gowdy says on Fox News that “No, but I never expected Sidney Blumenthal to be able to tell me that anyway.”

What did Gowdy expect Blumenthal to be able to tell him? Good question, but since he's refusing to release a transcript of the interview, we don't know in full. Which takes us full circle to the "political charade" business.

Video below the fold.

Jeb! trashes Obamacare in public, but privately made a cool half million off it

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 13:14
Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush pauses as he formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during a kickoff rally in Miami, Florida June 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper TPX IMAGE Jeb! has called Obamacare "flawed to its core" on several occasions, but apparently it wasn't too flawed for him to make a handsome profit from. Josh Barro reports.
According to tax returns released by Mr. Bush’s campaign on Tuesday, he sold $1,103,424 worth of stock in Tenet Healthcare in September and October of 2013, yielding a capital gain of $556,283. It hadn’t taken Mr. Bush long to double his money — he was selling shares he had acquired in 2010 and 2011.[...]

Mr. Bush served as a director of Tenet from 2007 to 2014, and like other directors, he was required as a condition of his employment to hold a significant investment in Tenet.

Mr. Bush’s tax returns reflect a gain of 105 percent on Tenet stock he acquired in May 2011 and sold in October 2013. Tenet shares actually gained 68 percent over that period; Mr. Bush’s higher gain may be related to his receipt of restricted stock grants. Still, Tenet’s 68 percent gain was much stronger than the 26 percent overall gain for the S.&P. 500 index over the same period.

And why did Tenet's stocks outperform other stocks? Because investors anticipated that Obamacare would make hospitals more profitable, with increased usage and fewer payment defaults by uninsured patients.

Iowa poll: Walker losing steam, Trump vying for second place

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 12:30
Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he arrives onstage to address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Theiler   Yes, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is losing his Iowa mojo—dropping to 18 percent this week from 25 percent in February. But let's face it, the REAL news is that Donald Trump is duking it out with Ben Carson for second place in the latest Quinnipiac poll. And no, I'm not messing with you.
Jostling for second place are Donald Trump and Ben Carson, at 10 percent each, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 9 percent each, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida at 8 percent and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 7 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has 5 percent. No other candidate is above 4 percent and 5 percent are undecided.

Trump and Bush top the "no way" list as 28 percent say they would definitely not support Trump and 24 percent say no to Bush. Christie is next on this negative list with 18 percent.

Speaking of Chris Christie, if you're wondering how he's running amid the other candidates, he's in last at one percent.

Indispensable chart of how many counties in each state are issuing gay marriage licenses

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:44
Gay rights supporters celebrate after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, June 26, 2015. The court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution's guaran Ballotpedia has been keeping track of how many counties are issuing same-sex marriage licenses as of July 1, 2015, in each of the 14 states that had not previously legalized same-sex marriage. They're updating regularly, but here's the latest.
Who's issuing gay marriage licenses county-by-county.

Roy Moore's top lawyer: Alabama officials who follow court marriage rulings serve 'Satan'

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:23
A same-sex marriage supporter holds a sign referring to Alabama's Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, during a protest outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama February 9, 2015. Same-sex couples began marrying in Alabama on Monday I think it's more than "drunk" and I think he's sharing it with the staff
I suppose it's no great surprise that Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore has taken pains to make the court system he is in charge of as nutty and belligerent and proto-fascist as he is. Here are some of the chunks of an actual letter sent by his top staffer, Administrative Office of Courts Director Win Johnson, telling Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley that "Public Officials" like him will all be going to Hell if they do not ignore the U.S. Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling. Here's how it opens.
Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He came to save the world by His death and resurrection. That world includes you, me, the family, the civil government, all the institutions of life. He came to advance His Father's kingdom, not watch man run rampant upon the earth as if Christ had never come. As if it were the days of Noah! It does not get better.
You cannot serve two masters; you must pick – God or Satan. [...]

Public official, what will you do? Will you stand up for the law of Alabama, for the people, for the weak and vulnerable, for the law of God? Or will you capitulate? Will you become complicit in the takeover by the wicked?  

"I must follow the law," you say. Law? What law? There is no law anymore, there's just opinion. One day this, one day that. When the law becomes merely the opinion of a handful of people on the courts, there is no longer any law. There is tyranny. There is chaos. But there is no law. [...]

Don't use the Nazi war-crimes trial defense: "My superiors (or the courts) told me to do it." You're not standing for the rule of law when you capitulate to a law that defies God and exposes people to the wicked. You're just a coward making excuses! [...]

On Judgment Day, you won't stand in front of the media, the advocates of "Equality," or even the federal courts; you'll stand before the King of Kings, the Judge and Ruler over the Kings of the Earth, Jesus Christ. His law is not subject to the vote of man, and He, as the good and loving author of that law, does not exempt any nation from it. [...]

Don't acquiesce to the takeover (actually the takedown)! Use your authority and every legal angle to oppose the tyrants!

As you can see, Moore's top man on the job is ravingly insane. (The letter may also break a record for number of exclamation points in a missive between two government figures, and is only one all-caps phrase or two away from being an internet chain mail forwarded on to you by your creepiest and always two-notches-too-loud aunt.)

So that's the legal advice Alabama public officials are getting from Roy Moore's office. Deny gay marriages regardless of what the Supreme Court says or you are a Nazi complicit in this "takeover by the wicked" who is going to straight to Hell as if it were the days of Noah. There you go.

Mississippi attorney general, governor butt heads on how to proceed after marriage ruling

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:15
Gay rights supporters celebrate after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, June 26, 2015. The court ruled 5-4 that the Constitution's guaran Mississippi's Democratic attorney general, Jim Hood, wants to get out of the marriage case that GOP Gov. Phil Bryant is pressing forward. Just one more case of a Republican failing to move forward with the times. Caitlin MacNeal reports:
The Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to allow his office to withdraw as counsel to Gov. Phil Bryant (R) in the case regarding the state's ban on same-sex marriage, according to Buzzfeed News.

The plaintiffs in the Mississippi same-sex marriage case asked on Friday that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lift the stay on its ruling striking down the state's ban following the Supreme Court ruling. Hood's office supported the plaintiff's request, but Bryant opposed the motion, according to Buzzfeed.

Following Bryant's opposition, Hood's office asked to withdraw as counsel to Bryant in the case "because [Hood and Bryant] have differing views regarding how to respond to the [same-sex couples]’ motion," according to the filing obtained by Buzzfeed.

Marriage licenses are already being distributed to same-sex couples in Mississippi per Hood's instructions. What's crazy is that all Hood is asking the 5th Circuit appeals court to do is lift its hold on a ruling it already made that overturned the state's marriage ban. That doesn't seem so hard.

Top Hillary Clinton email bombshells include struggles with fax machine

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 11:02
U.S. former Secretary of State, and now a Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, attends a Georgetown University luncheon to deliver remarks and present awards for the Advancement of Women in Peace and Security in Washington April 22, Could there possibly be a bigger "move along, nothing to see here" moment on the giant scandal of Hillary Clinton's email than a Politico article headlined "The 12 Hillary Clinton emails you must read" in which all 12 are along these lines?
Colin Powell Jokes About Richard Holbrooke

After Clinton tripped and fractured her elbow in June 2009, one of her predecessors at the State Department sent her an email wishing her well. “Hillary, Is it true that Holbrooke tripped you?” Colin Powell wrote to Clinton, referring to Richard Holbrooke who at the time was serving as President Barack Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Just kidding. Get better fast, we need you running around.”

Who Would Criticize Gen. James Jones?

The New York Times’ Mark Landler published an article in May 2009, only a few months into Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, referring to tension between President Obama’s National Security Adviser, retired Gen. James Jones, and the secretary of state. Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines wrote an email to Cheryl Mills, which was forwarded to Clinton, saying that no one in the secretary’s circle could have possibly been Landler’s source. “Someone in her circle is someone like you, or a Jake, or me. And none of us would ever say anything like that,” Reines wrote. “Mark conceded that point and let me know he will be changing the sourcing…It’s a small consolation, but I think a very important one.”

They picked through 3,000 pages of email and this is the kind of bombshell stuff they came up with. Also: emails about scheduling and about how to get the fax machine to work. In short, using email like people use email.

Every time a few percent of people in a poll cite this story as diminishing their confidence in Hillary Clinton, the media makes a giant deal of it. But how has it affected public confidence in the media to have weeks of screaming headlines followed revelations about ... Colin Powell joking that Richard Holbrooke tripped Hillary Clinton.

McConnell: Marriage equality is 'the law of the land,' and forget about a constitutional amendment

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:37
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media on Capitol Hill in Washington June 17, 2014. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3UAWO Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell isn't running for president and won't face re-election until 2020, so he doesn't need to posture for the base too aggressively. No, McConnell can afford to admit that marriage equality is a done deal without worrying about a primary challenge from the right.
“I’ve always felt that marriage is between one man and one woman and the Supreme Court has held otherwise. That’s the law of the land,” McConnell said. Asked if Congress can do anything, he replied: “I don’t think so. I think the courts have pretty well spoken.” While he said the Senate will "be taking a look at whether religious liberty needs to be enhanced," i.e. whether the right to discriminate will be written into law, McConnell poo-pooed the idea of a constitutional amendment against marriage equality:
“It isn’t going to pass. You know It’s one thing to talk about a constitutional amendment; we’ve only done that 27 times in the history of our country,” McConnell said. “It’s not going to pass.” That's about the size of it. But try telling that to members of McConnell's party like Mike Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz.

Anti-equality probate judges and county clerks make their stand in the courthouse door

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 10:02
On June 11, 1963, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama, blocking the enrollment of two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach confronted him long with federal m
Marriage equality may be the law, and probate judges and county clerks may be the officials tasked with issuing marriage licenses in many states, but some of them say they're putting personal bigotry (admittedly that's not what they call it) above the law:
[Pike County, Alabama, Probate Judge Wes] Allen says that he believes marriage "is one man, one woman."

"It's a deep-rooted conviction; my conscience won't allow me" to grant gay-marriage licenses, [Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim] Davis told The Associated Press. "It goes against everything I hold dear, everything sacred in my life."

But it's other people who will pay the price for the beliefs of these fine upstanding Christians and public servants; they themselves aren't prepared to sacrifice their jobs for their beliefs. Some may ultimately have to make the choice:
Two things can happen if a Kentucky clerk won't issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple: They can resign, or go to jail, said Sam Marcosson, a constitutional law professor at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

"If it means that you simply cannot fulfill your duties because of your religious beliefs, what is required of you is that you can no longer hold that office," Marcosson said. "That applies to a judge, that applies to a senator, that applies to anyone who holds public office."

If and when that happens, look for screaming and wailing on the right about how these poor people are being oppressed. But this is not that uncommon! Vegetarians who work in restaurants and grocery stores don't get to refuse to serve or sell meat. Environmentalists may have to go on business trips that increase their carbon footprints. Bigoted motel staff can't refuse lodging to couples because they're interracial. Yes, in a radical utopia we might each be guaranteed never to have to violate any of our beliefs to earn a living, but it's not actually one of capitalism's greater outrages that sometimes you have to choose between upholding a specific personal belief and working at a specific job. The idea that these people should be seen as some kind of oppressed martyrs because they want to deny other people their legal rights and hold public office and not face any consequences is absurd. It's also the right's big strategy for continuing to fight marriage equality.