Another Pro-Gay Marriage Ruling From A Federal Judge

There was yet another case where a ruling from a federal judge regarding attempts to deny gay people the right to marry.  Keep in mind that every federal ruling has stated there is no legal avenue to discriminate, or treat gay people as second-class citizens.

A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled that part of a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and denies federal benefits to married gay couples is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford ruled Tuesday that the provision in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violates the Fifth Amendment right to equal protection.

In her decision in the case, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, Bryant found:

Having considered all four factors, this Court finds that homosexuals display all the traditional indicia of suspectness and therefore statutory classifications based on sexual orientation are entitled to a heightened form of judicial scrutiny. However, the Court need not apply a form of heightened scrutiny in the instant case to conclude that DOMA violates the promise of the equal protection as it is clear that DOMA fails to pass constitutional muster under even the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny.

She later concluded:

In sum, having considered the purported rational bases proffered by both BLAG and Congress and concluded that such objectives bear no rational relationship to Section 3 of DOMA as a legislative scheme, the Court finds that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision. The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Governor Scott Walker’s ‘Saul-Moment’, Now Finds Negative Ads Troubling

Hypocrite, much?

One has to smirk over the news story regarding ‘the Saul-moment’ that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is now experiencing.

After a highly expensive and mean-spirited recall election conducted by Walker and Company comes word that negative ads are indeed troubling–when conducted by others.

It is enough to wonder if Scott Walker is having strokes on the installment plan.

There is no way that Walker–with a straight face–can concoct this schlock.  Let us recall that Walker and Company outspent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and his allies by $58.7 million to $22 million.  Much of the money was spent on the creation and airing of vile ads.

While it is true that everyone finds negative ads damaging to the political process, they nonetheless continue to be created, and money found by the dump truck load to air them.  Walker was a master at leaving his statehouse duties to fly around the nation looking for every dollar that could be slipped into the lining of his jacket. 

Once he had the cash he allowed the most wretched ads to be aired and used against his political opponent.

But now there seems to be a limit to the style of campaigning that Walker so lustily embraced.

Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he wished the candidates in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate would turn toward positive messages instead of attacking each other.

“I haven’t dropped the flag yet, but it’s getting pretty close,” he told reporters. “I think there are four outstanding candidates in the primary and I think they would be well served, not just in the primary but in the general election, if they would stay focused on the differences between themselves and Congressman Baldwin because I think the differences are substantial and they’re important.”

It is remarkable how someone who has been able to play at the lowest levels can pretend to be a statesman.  If only anyone believed that Scott Walker was able to become a better man.

President Obama Descended From First African Enslaved For Life In America

Most interesting.  

A  research team from Ancestry.com (NASDAQ:ACOM), the world’s largest online family history resource, has concluded that President Barack Obama is the 11th great-grandson of John Punch, the first documented African enslaved for life in American history. Remarkably, the connection was made through President Obama’s Caucasian mother’s side of the family. 

The discovery is the result of years of research by Ancestry.com genealogists who, through early Virginia records and DNA analysis, linked Obama to John Punch. An indentured servant in Colonial Virginia, Punch was punished for trying to escape his servitude in 1640 by being enslaved for life. This marked the first actual documented case of slavery for life in the colonies, occurring decades before initial slavery laws were enacted in Virginia. 

In the 372 years since, many significant records have been lost – a common problem for early Virginia (and the South in general) – destroyed over time by floods, fires and war. While this reality greatly challenged the research project, Ancestry.com genealogists were able to make the connection, starting with Obama’s family tree. 

President Obama is traditionally viewed as an African-American because of his father’s heritage in Kenya. However, while researching his Caucasian mother, Stanley Ann Dunham’s lineage, Ancestry.com genealogists found her to have African heritage as well, which piqued the researchers’ interest and inspired further digging into Obama’s African-American roots. In tracing the family back from Obama’s mother, Ancestry.com used DNA analysis to learn that her ancestors, known as white landowners in Colonial Virginia, actually descended from an African man. Existing records suggest that this man, John Punch, had children with a white woman who then passed her free status on to their offspring. Punch’s descendants went on to be free, successful land owners in a Virginia entrenched in slavery.

How Does The GOP Prepare For The Republican National Convention?

Love to see this type of footage.  Hope my readers do as well.

Who Needs Civics Education?

Appalling.

A new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll finds just 40% of Americans know that there are nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Among college graduates, 52% answered correctly while 40% got it wrong and 8% say they don’t know. Of those without a college degree, 35% got it right, while 52% answered incorrectly and 13% said they don’t know.<!–

Gun Shootings Prove Why Individual Mandate Needed In America

Bingo!

I was hoping that the nation would read words like the following from The Salt Lake Tribune.

The mass shooting in Colorado has hospitalized dozens of victims, many of them young adults. Because one of the largest groups of Americans without health insurance is young adults between the ages of 18 and 34, chances are high that many of these victims are uninsured.

Hospitals treating 22 of those people announced the other day that they would limit or forgive many of their medical bills. That’s a wonderful thing.

But the situation highlights a gap in health insurance coverage that the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, is designed to address. It also helps to make the case for the individual mandate.

Federal law requires hospitals to stabilize patients who require emergency care without regard to their ability to pay. But if they are uninsured and cannot afford to pay their bills, the money must come from somewhere. Hospitals use financial reserves derived from the payments of people who are insured to cover those losses. Eliminating that cost-shifting is one reason for the individual mandate, the requirement that everyone have insurance.

By broadening the insurance pool, the mandate also should help to make insurance more affordable. Medicaid will be expanded to cover more low-income single adults, and new taxes will subsidize individual insurance. Cost is one reason why young adults don’t buy insurance now.

But will it work? The truth is that no one really knows, though Romneycare in Massachusetts, which is the model for Obamacare, has worked passably well. One of the supreme ironies of the current presidential campaign is that both candidates championed essentially the same plan, one in a state, the other for the nation.

Yet Mitt Romney insists that Obamacare will cost the country trillions of dollars, exacerbate the federal deficit and weigh on the economy. Obama claims it won’t. Romney has vowed to repeal Obamacare.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees with Obama, at least on the deficit. It estimates that if the Repeal of Obamacare Act, passed by the U.S. House earlier this month, became law, it actually would make the federal budget deficit worse by $109 billion over the 2013–2022 period. That’s because repeal would save $890 billion in spending but also eliminate $1 trillion in revenue.

But by any measure, a system that requires everyone to carry insurance makes sense. When Romney campaigned for it in Massachusetts, he called it personal responsibility. He was right.

No Link Whatsoever At Country Level Between Private Handgun Ownership And Liberal Democracy

For those who need to know…

The idea that, in the modern world, a country full of people with private handguns, shotguns and AR-15s in their households is more likely to remain a liberal democracy than a country whose citizens lack such weapons is frankly ridiculous. Worldwide, there is no correlation whatsoever at the country level between private handgun ownership and liberal democracy. There are no cases of democratic countries in which nascent authoritarian governments were successfully resisted due to widespread gun ownership. When authoritarian governments come to power in democracies (which is rare), they do so at the ballot box or with heavy popular support; where juntas overthrow democratic governments, as in Greece, Brazil, Chile or Iran, popular gun ownership is irrelevant. Once authoritarian governments take power, if they decide they don’t want citizens to own guns, they take them away, easily crushing any isolated attempts at resistance. When, on the other hand, authoritarian governments are overthrown in military uprisings (as opposed to peaceful revolutions, which are more common), the arms that defeat them come from defecting soldiers or outside aid. Widespread gun ownership among the common folk may conceivably have been an important obstacle to centralised government control in 17th-century Britain, just emerging from feudalism; but since the universalisation of the modern nation-state in the 19th century, the degree of force that governments can bring to bear has overwhelmed any conceivable popular defence of localised rights and privileges by companies of yeoman musketeers. To stack up against police, the National Guard or the US Army, private gun enthusiasts would, at a minimum, have to be packing an arsenal that would be illegal in any state in the union, even Arizona.

Mitt Romney Fails To See Ruthless Israeli Policies Reason In Large Part For Palestinian Economic Woes

It is most disappointing to read that Mitt Romney has again placed both feet into his mouth.  Over the past days his mouth has housed his feet more often than not.

The latest–and largest–blunder took place during the Israeli leg of his overseas journey.  If the trip was to showcase Romney’s brain-power on the world stage–lets just say the idea floundered.  Badly!

What Romney proved was that racism and small-mindedness continue to be hallmarks of Republican thinking.  No one–and I mean NO ONE–can look at the last 60 years of history in the region and not see the destructive policies of Israel has severely impacted the Palestinian people.  To then pretend that there is a culture difference as to explain the economic plight of the Palestinians is absolutely numbing.  To use a clearly racist context of rationalizing the end result of what Israel has to be held accountable for is unforgivable.

There are many in this nation who fail to grasp the need to concentrate on the foreign policy views of the candidates running for president.  Too many voters think that everything related to the economy is all that matters.  That thinking is clearly wrong, and Romney’s statement in Israel proves the case.

Is it any wonder that Palestinians often wonder about America, and the leadership that if offers the world?  Is it any wonder there is anger and resentment in the Middle East after hearing the racist words of Mitt Romney?

At a fundraising breakfast Monday morning in Jerusalem with some of his largest donors, including casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Romney remarked that he saw the “power” of “culture” at work in the large disparity between living standards in Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.

Palestinian spokespeople, asked about the remark, initially by the Associated Press and then by other American reporters, reacted angrily, saying Romney had ignored the impact of Israeli government policy, which for years has favored economic development in Jewish areas, and the continued Israeli occupation of parts of the West Bank, which has disrupted commerce and communications in Palestinian areas.

“Oh my god, this man needs a lot of education,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. “What he said about the culture is racism.” The “Israeli occupation” is “the reason” for the income disparity, Erekat added.

To Palestinians, even posing the question the way Romney did is likely to give offense. In their eyes, Israeli tanks, checkpoints and years of under-investment in roads, water lines and other infrastructure in Palestinian areas explains much of the difference in the economic status of Israel and the West Bank. Many Palestinians believe that Israel has deliberately hampered their economic growth in the hope of encouraging Arabs to leave the Palestinian areas for other countries, as many have done. Israelis, of course, see the matter differently, arguing that the measures they have taken are necessary for their security.

“Every extremist in the region is going to use what he’s said for ammunition for a long, long time,” Erekat said, referring both to the “culture” remark and Romney’s statement Sunday referring to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, language that departs from the long-standing U.S. position that the final status of the city is a matter for negotiations between the Israelis and Arabs.