After tough early questioning by the justices, marriage equality supporters heartened by outcome

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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Johno Espejo and Matthew Mansell, a plaintiff couple from Tennessee, outside the Supreme Court on April 28.

Johno Espejo (left) and Matthew Mansell, a plaintiff couple in the marriage equality case, being interviewed outside the Supreme Court.

For Matthew Mansell, one half of a plaintiff couple in Tuesday’s same-sex marriage cases, he will never forget walking into the Supreme Court as the court watchers, attorneys and reporters looked on.

“It just seemed like all eyes were on us,” said Mansell, who was walking alongside his husband Johno Espejo. “It was just awe-inspiring to think that people are staring at us and we’re the ones who are involved in this case.”

It was Mansell’s first trip to the Supreme Court. But below are a few reflections from Jenny Pizer, director of Lambda Legal’s Law and Policy Project, and Evan Wolfson, executive director of the Freedom to Marry, both of whom have been part of the marriage equality movement for decades and also attended the Supreme Court arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.

To Pizer, it felt like the entire marriage movement had relocated to Washington. Waiting in line outside the courthouse to secure a good seat was like “a nonstop series of happy reunions” of people who have worked toward the same goal from different parts of the country.

But when the opponents of marriage equality arrived, Pizer said it was a very different story.

“This morning, when the antis showed up, the signs got bigger and their numbers had gotten smaller. They amplified their volume not by having lots of people, but by having a tiny number of people and megaphones.”

Inside the courtroom, Pizer was initially taken aback by the line of questioning from some of the more liberal justices. In particular, Justice Stephen Breyer queried the proponents’ lawyer, Mary Bonauto, about whether the question of marriage bans should be left to state voters. Pizer recalls:

“We went in thinking, ‘We’ve seen these issues argued before, and the decisions tell us something about how each of these justices think about some of these issues, at least.’ But at the beginning, the questioning was vigorous enough and the unexpected intensity of it … raised the question of, ‘Well, have we been wrong about what we understood about the jurisprudence of some of the justices?’ I don’t take anything for granted with any case and certainly not a case of this magnitude.”

For more courtroom takeaways, head below the fold.

Ted Cruz: Obama Has ‘Inflamed Racial Tensions’

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz said Wednesday that President Barack Obama has “inflamed” racial tensions rather than unify the country.



The Lid: Clinton Backlash Coming for Criminal Justice Reform?

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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We can’t help but wonder if there’s larger backlash lurking from traditional tough-on-crime Republicans



Martin O’Malley’s Record Comes Under Fire

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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His involvement in the crisis is receiving mixed reviews especially because his previous role with community policing is highly controversial.



Ferguson protesters stand with Baltimore in wake of Freddie Gray death, unrest

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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Protesters block the intersection of West Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Mo., Tuesday night, April 28, 2015. Looting, fires and gunfire broke out overnight in Ferguson during protests in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP) EDWARDSVILLE INTELLIGENCER OUT; THE ALTON TELEGRAPH OUT; MANDATORY CREDITProtesters in Ferguson took to the streets to support the African-American communities of Baltimore in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death.

Republican budget seeks to boost defense spending, ease repeal of Obamacare

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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U.S. Senator Bob Corker walks inside the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonBy David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans unveiled the first joint House-Senate budget plan in six years on Wednesday, aiming to boost defense spending, eliminate deficits by 2024 and ease a repeal of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law. Their prescription to slash domestic spending by more than $5 trillion over 10 years appeared headed for final passage by Friday or early next week after endorsement was secured from Republican Senator Bob Corker. The document directs the two Senate committees and three House committees with jurisdiction over the law to find savings of at least $1 billion each. Repeal or replacement of Obamacare has long been a goal for Republicans, and budget procedural tools allow them to pass such legislation with only a simple majority in the Senate, rather than a nearly impossible 60-vote threshold.

Majority of Republicans would attend a loved one’s gay wedding: poll

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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A box of cupcakes are seen topped with icons of same-sex couples at City Hall in San FranciscoBy Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A majority of U.S. Republicans would attend the same-sex wedding of a loved one, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday, highlighting the political risks for Republican presidential candidates who stake out positions against gay marriage. Though some Republican White House hopefuls have tried to insert nuance into their positions on gay marriage – something that polling shows most Americans back – their opposition is clear. The question of whether or not a candidate would attend the gay wedding of a loved one has become an increasingly common litmus test for candidates on the issue. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush said on Tuesday he would attend the same-sex wedding of someone he cared about.

Delicious irony: Ted Cruz dodged chance to argue against gays in landmark case, Lawrence v. Texas

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) pauses to look at the crowd as he confirms his candidacy for the 2016 U.S. presidential election race during a speech at Liberty College in Lynchburg, Virginia March 23, 2015. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who frequently clas

It appears that the champion of all that is sacred and true about “traditional marriage” has a teeny weeny hole in his resume: Ted Cruz ducked when faced with the opportunity to argue against LGBT rights in the 2003 Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, which ultimately struck down sodomy laws and paved the way for future LGBT legal advances.

At the time, Cruz had just become solicitor general of Texas, the state’s top litigator and the most likely candidate to argue a critical Supreme Court case. Heidi Przybyla reports the juicy details, starting with Mitchell Katine, the local attorney for the defendants in the case:

“Cruz remained absolutely silent,” Katine said. The case remained assigned instead to a Harris County district attorney.

Through a spokesman, Cruz said he didn’t step in because the case was criminal in nature and his office primarily handled civil cases. Yet six of the nine cases Cruz argued before the nation’s highest court were criminal in nature. Cruz also was just beginning a new job, and his advisers say he wasn’t in a position to take over. Cruz started the solicitor general’s job Feb. 10, 2003 and the Texas brief was filed on Feb. 17. Yet Dellinger notes that the court argument wasn’t until March 26, which gave “plenty of time to prepare.”

“One would expect the state solicitor to argue a case of this magnitude,” said [Walter] Dellinger. 

Dellinger, a former Justice Department official during the Clinton administration, has argued numerous Supreme Court cases and knows a little something about etiquette and protocol.  

Maybe Cruz didn’t want to take on sodomy laws back in the day because he knew LGBT donors could be a real asset to his candidacies. Sure enough, Cruz’s turn with gay donors last week wasn’t the first time he’s taken money from gays or people who support LGBT causes.

He accepted $250,000 [in 2009] from gay donor Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, who is also a top contributor to the national gay conservative group GOProud. Thiel also gave $2 million to Club for Growth, a super political action committee that put $705,657 toward Cruz’s Senate run.

Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire whose son married his partner and who pushed for legalization of same-sex marriage in New York, gave Cruz $25,000 in 2009.

How’s that for ideological purity? Straight from the guy who, over the weekend, encouraged Iowa Christian conservatives to pray away the big gay threat to traditional marriage at the Supreme Court.

“I have to tell you one thing that I think all of us are called to do between now and then and especially on Tuesday – is fall to our knees in prayer.”

Midday open thread: GDP growth 0.2%, Nevadans back ‘net metering’ that boosts rooftop solar

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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  • Today’s comic by Matt Bors is Satire to die for:
    Cartoon by Matt Bors -- Satire to die for
  • GDP: 1Q 2015

    GDP growth tumbles in first quarter—again: A drop was expected in the growth of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2015, but the seasonally adjusted expansion of just 0.2 percent on an annual basis came in well below the consensus of experts surveyed ahead of time. It’s an old story in the aftermath of the Great Recession. A couple of reasonably good growth quarters followed by a disappointing one. Justin Wolfers has written a piece on the subject of bad first quarters that is worth considering.

    Last year’s negative first quarter was blamed on the weather and, as the year progressed with better GDP reports, that assessment seemed to be an accurate one. This year, there was also rough weather in parts of the nation in the first quarter, but other factors also were at work, including cheaper oil and the West Coast port protests. Consumer spending rose 1.9 percent, according to the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, but that was well down from the 4.4 percent of the fourth quarter. Without the 0.74 percent increase in inventory, first-quarter growth would have been in negative territory. An important measure, real final sales of domestic product—which leaves out inventory changes—fell 0.5 percent. In the fourth quarter, it rose 2.3 percent. Core inflation at 0.9 percent was at the lowest level since 2010.

  • Nepal death toll now more than 5,000.
  • Study says the most racist Americans live in rural Northeast and South. Christopher Ingraham writes:

    “For the PLOS ONE paper, researchers looked at searches containing the N-word … It’s also important to note that not all people searching for the N-word are motivated by racism, and that not all racists search for that word, either. But aggregated over several years and several million searches, the data give a pretty good approximation of where a particular type of racist attitude is the strongest.”

  • Fewer Americans identify as “middle class.”
  • These Daily Kos community posts were the most shared on Facebook April 28:

    The Dominant White Response to Baltimore Shows Why Black Residents are Justified in their Anger, by Grizzard

    “Why do they burn down their own neighborhood?”, by antifa

    Baltimore Protest, Elite Ripping Off America More Important Than Baseball: Baltimore Baseball Owner, by Tasini

  • AT&T fires president over sending of racist images:

    AT&T has confirmed that it has fired Aaron Slator, a president who became the subject of a $100 million discrimination lawsuit for using his work phone to send racially offensive images.

    AT&T said in a statement that Slator has been terminated, saying that there is no place for demeaning behavior within the company. The company says it regretted not taking the action earlier.

  • Saudi king signals tougher foreign policy with new line of succession:

    Saudi King Salman appointed a new heir and made his young son second in line to rule on Wednesday, a major shift in power toward two princes who have overseen a more assertive stance at a time of almost unprecedented regional turmoil.

    By making Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, crown prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman, 30, deputy crown prince, King Salman has effectively decided the line of succession for decades to come in the world’s top oil exporter.

  • Nevadans strongly behind “net metering” for rooftop solar:

    Industry advocates have purchased TV ads and billboards, made media appearances, organized a 700-person rally and most recently released a poll to help garner support for increasing a limit on how many consumers can participate in a policy known as net metering. The policy offers consumers a credit for installing solar panels on their rooftops, powering their homes and providing energy to the grid. Nevada, with its 300-plus days of sunshine per year, is fast gaining a national reputation for its growing solar industry. But solar advocates say the 5,900 jobs and carbon-free energy to the grid it currently provides are poised to hit a road block.

    The poll found 70 percent of respondents in favor of net metering.

  • Team Blackness discussed Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis who posted a plea on Facebook saying that Freddie Gray’s death was unjust and symptomatic of larger issues: “We know there’s injustice but rioting in our streets is wrong!” Specifics would be helpful. Also discussed were more reactions to #BaltimoreUprising and its upcoming trip to the city, updates on Nigeria and Boko Haram, and more words of ignorance from Donald Trump.

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  • On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin rounds up the crazy, SCOTUS, and 2016 news. Joan McCarter on the headlines, budget hang-ups, the Gop’s fix-vs-repair puzzle, and Rick Scott’s Medicaid drama. Bates brags about using Sheriff’s Dept. as his playground.

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Clinton dives into debate on police tactics, urges justice reform

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 29-04-2015-05-2008

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Democratic presidential candidate Clinton appears at Georgetown University in WashingtonDiving into the debate over police use of force, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on Wednesday urged police departments throughout the country to use body cameras and urged an end to excessive prison sentences that burden black communities. In a speech at New York's Columbia University, Clinton called on America "to come to terms with some hard truths about race and justice" in the aftermath of this week's Baltimore riots. "There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison during their lifetimes," said Clinton, the front-running Democrat in the 2016 race for the White House. The former U.S. senator called on Congress to help "end the era of mass incarceration," tapping into growing bipartisan efforts in Washington to lower America's sky-high rates of imprisonment.