iainpj: (Default)
( May. 7th, 2013 04:55 pm)
I'd have posted this at TUS, but TUS is tossed for the moment, and I think I'm content to let the weblog be moribund for now, so:

Delaware Senate OKs marriage equality; state's governor immediately sign into law

Just after the Delaware Senate passed marriage-equality legislation, Gov. Jack Markell signed the bill into law.

That will make Delaware the 11th state, plus Washington, D.C., to legalize gay marriage...


That does make me even more curious about what's going to happen with the various pending Supreme Court decisions. I really don't think they're going to hit the big picture issues that the administration (and many people) would like, and that there will be some level of turfing/punting/shoving the issue back to lower courts so they can ignore it for a year or two longer. But there may be a shade less of the turfing and punting than there might have been a few months earlier.

Next on the board: Minnesota! (probably) Minnesota House to vote on same-sex marriage proposal Thursday.

Sadly, Illinois will likely not be on the board any time soon. "Illinois GOP chair resigns, cites support for same-sex marriage as a reason." Yep, his own party forced him out, but only in small part because he wouldn't block legislative consideration of same-sex marriage. Mostly, the issue seems to have been that even in traditionally Republican areas, the GOP took a major hit in Illinois. That said, socially conservative politicians on both sides of the aisle in the Assembly are blocking the vote in the lower chamber, while it has already passed the Senate, and the governor has said he will sign it if it reaches his desk. However, the legislature adjourns at the end of next week for the summer, and with no signs that it's going to come to a vote, they'll need to start from scratch when the new session begins.

For what it's worth (very little): seven of the original Thirteen Colonies now allow same-sex marriage: Delaware, Connecticut, Massachussets, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. With the vague possibility of New Jersey, none of the others is even the tiniest bit likely to pass same-sex marriage any time soon. New Jersey's people are relatively liberal, but their governor is not, and may also be considering a run for the roses -- er, that is, the White House sometime in the future, and approving gay marriage is Simply Not Done In the Haut GOPoiserie. Pennsylvania and North Carolina are both in the "moderate, tending to conservative" camps. And the others are bedrock conservative. Virginia is even now getting snotty about the fact that they're not being allowed to keep their sodomy law, which was effectively struck from the books years ago. The state argues that it's needed to govern said acts between adults and undaraged minors. (There is the rather puzzling question of why Virginia would need any sodomy law for that, since they have laws governing such behavior already.)
grim amusements / 13 february 2012 / washington state says yea ... for now

.....I would be astonished if the anti-gay-marriage crowd fails to get enough signatures to put this onto the ballot. That said, if they do succeed, I hope the pro-gay-marriage crowd takes it into court prior to the vote on the grounds that a known hostile majority should not be allowed to vote to recognise the rights of a known-to-be-discriminated-against minority. (Though, to be fair, I'm not sure that argument is precisely a constitutional argument, either under the Washington state or federal constitutions. I would think that you'd be able to get the courts to invoke heightened scrutiny, though.)

What I found interesting, though, was a side comment somewhere: approximately 42% of people in this country now live in a state where gay marriage is legal. Of course, that's primarily due to California and New York, and it's not precisely legal in California at the moment. It's also due to the fact that our population is heavily concentrated in only a few areas; there are only seven states plus DC where gay marriage is legal; another 41 where, one way or another, the state has said, "NO! NO MARRIAGE FOR YOU, ICKY GAY PEOPLES!", either through constitutional amendment or some other law. Weirdly, several of those states grant something vaguely like civil union status. [...] There are also two (yes, TWO), where the state constitutions and any specifically exclusionary laws are, for the moment, utterly silent: New Jersey and New Mexico....
grim amusements / 7 february 2012 / proposition 8 falls ... for the moment

...Assume you have a known four justice block of Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito against broadening the decision to allow gay marriage throughout the land. The remaining justices are Kennedy, Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsburg and Breyer. The decision is assumed to rest on what Kennedy decides to do. (I think it's probably safe to assume that Kagan, Ginsburg and Breyer would vote to strike down Prop. 8 on broader grounds and to allow gay marriage throughout the land. The few decisions that Sotomayor has had to make in this area prior to her Court experience lead one to think that she would probably support this decision, but also support the way in which it has been restricted so that it only applies to California.) It's difficult to imagine the author of Lawrence v. Texas voting to decide that marriage is so different in kind from everything else involved in that decision that he could sustain voting to refuse to allow marriage. It is beyond logically inconsistent, as Scalia went to some pain to point out in his furious dissent in that case.

Thing is, though, if the Court decides that they're not ready for this issue, but that they have no objection to striking down Prop. 8 in a way that's consistent both with Romer v. Evans and with Lawrence v. Texas, all they have to do is decline the case. Frankly, that really does seem the most likely result to me. [...] What I think is really going to be interesting, though, is what happens in Washington state after this. It seems likely that the Washington state legislature and governor are going to sign laws into existence that allow gays to marry in that state in the extremely near future. The Washington state branch of Project Marriage has already said that they plan to get the signatures to put the issue on the next ballot, and barring major disaster, they shouldn't have problems getting enough people to sign. And if it gets onto the ballot, it will pass, probably by a broader majority than Prop 8 passed....
Grim Amusements / 23 January 2012 / illegal search and seizure -- apparently, the concept still exists in this country

...You know ... I'm by way of thinking that if you want to win your case, telling the Supreme Court that you have the authority (as opposed to the ability) to conduct what may be warrantless searches of the justices themselves is not a really good thing to do. [...] if the article is accurate, in a truly confusing maneuver, while the justices all agreed that the prolonged duration of this "search" without a warrant was unreasonable and thus resulted in the overturning of the sentence, they declined to state whether a warrant was required in the first place.

Seriously, an actual lawyer is going to have to go over that to make sense of it to me, because it sounds like the only thing the Court could clearly agree on was that the government had exceeded its authority in this particular case. They then bent themselves into pretzels to avoid telling the government exactly what its authority was....

...The issue, as noted, is that there are works which are foreign and became public domain in the US, but were still copyrighted in other parts of the world. Congress passed legislation to re-copyright some items to bring the US into full compliance with the Berne Convention. [...] In an article at Ars Technica, one of the plaintiff lawyers says that the decision "suggests Congress is not required to pay particularly close attention to the interests of the public when it passes copyright laws." To which, of course, the proper response is, "Well, DUH! When was the last time YOU noticed Congress paying particularly close attention to the interests of the public regarding ... well, anything?"...


I know! Two GA entries in the same week! Don't get used to it or anything.

Grim Amusements / 17 January 2012 / arizona vs its hispanic population -- again
...Apparently, Representative Proud has never heard of Arabic numbers. Which would explain a lot, really. But I digress, already.

So, let me get this straight-ish:

Arizona wants to make teaching the Bible a requirement, which would be illegal under both state and federal law.

In the meantime, they have stripped Tucson of a particular Mexican American literature class, despite being under federal orders to expand the Mexican American studies department specifically at the middle and high school levels. A law rather clearly aimed at that one class, but having broader effects for the entire school district.

...All-righty, then!

I am mildly, if only mildly, surprised that Tucson chose not to challenge the ruling....


It's actually been six months since the last GA entry. Clearly, I need to get the site update moving.
The Histories of Bucky and Jason Todd Explained [Comic] ... honestly, I can't argue with that conclusion. Though it is arguable whether 'tis better to be a brainwashed assassin responsible for the deaths of many who gets shocked back to sanity and then knows what he's done and has to deal, or a seriously cheesed off "anti-hero" responsible for the deaths of hundreds who knows exactly what he's doing at all points and does it anyway. (...OK, more than a hundred, anyway; Jason Todd just killed over a hundred admittedly very nasty criminals in Blackgate Prison a couple issues ago in "Batman and Robin". Granted that nobody not related to them will mourn them, this is still putting Jason into the company of the Joker and Firefly, in terms of being a really prolific mass murderer in the DCU. And for his sins, he gets to head up a new comic!)

"There is a reason that so many horrible things happen in Gotham". (Not a comic.) And let me just say: SQUEEEEEEE! Not just because this title is finally appearing, not just because both Williams and Amy Reeder Hadley make some seriously gorgeous art (I miss her Madame Xanadu), but because they're using a version of La Llorona for the first story arc! You probably have to have been brought up in Mexico or the Southwest US to really get it, but ... well, I was. So, you know. SQUEEEEE!

"Obama's Evolving Position". The first of this week's strips on the topic. Evolution proceeds impressively.

Another on the same topic, only with fewer reptiles.

(In all fairness, there's also this:
Justice Department strongly backs gays on marriage (San Francisco Chronicle, sfgate.com)
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, July 7, 2011

The latest San Francisco court filing on same-sex marriage reads like a gay rights manifesto: It rejects tradition, morals and procreation as justifications for marriage restrictions and concludes that a federal ban on spousal benefits was unconstitutionally based on "animus" - dislike, rooted in prejudice - toward gays and lesbians.

The brief comes not from Lambda Legal or the American Civil Liberties Union but the Obama administration's Justice Department - which, like the president himself, may be tiptoeing toward a wholehearted endorsement of same-sex marriage rights. [...]

-- The law "was motivated in substantial part by animus toward gays and lesbians and their intimate relationship," and rested on "stereotype-based thinking" that offends the constitutional guarantee of equality, the Justice Department wrote.
-- Even sincere moral or religious disapproval of homosexuality "is not a legitimate policy objective" or basis for a law.
-- Laws that penalize or prohibit same-sex marriage do not encourage heterosexual marriage, procreation or responsible child-rearing, but instead deny children of same-sex couples "the benefits of the stable home life produced by legally recognized marriage."
-- Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative banning same-sex marriage, was an example of a "political backlash" demonstrating the relative powerlessness of gays and lesbians - a critical factor in judicial review of all such laws. [...]


I would not, myself, argue that our president is tiptoeing toward any endorsement of same-sex marriage rights. In fact, I would argue that he's tying himself into rhetorical knots to avoid doing any such thing, while also trying to avoid alienating gay and lesbian voters. At the same time, it looks like his administration, between trying to get rid of DADT and its newly articulated position on DOMA, is advancing a surprisingly coherent view of civil rights. Having his personal position appear to be so very different from his administration's position seems very strange sometimes, even allowing that he's doing this because he has to govern people who think very differently about the issue. But I digress. Back to comics!

You can sort of understand why she might think that way. What with all the ducking out on dates and everything.

Yes. Yes, it IS.

That would be probably the most unusual description of Austin, TX, I've ever seen.

Strangely enough, some days, web development works exactly like this.

Well ... you can't argue with the endpoint, some days.

"The Prince and the Sea: a romance." And a fairy tale in the folktale mold. Which means that things will not be quite what you expect.

What. The. HELL! is he thinking!? (Yes, there are two strips after this one, and SHE does the right thing, but I honestly can't understand why he would think that was even necessary.)

And in conclusion, just because of today's title:


Grim Amusements / 24 June 2011 / "New York says yea"

...It will be interesting to see what the effect of this is, and how long it lasts. How long will it be before some conservative organization challenges the law in court? (At the moment, New York does not have an initiative and referendum process, although the Senate approved the draft law this very session, only two weeks ago.[...])

... But still. New York said yea. And that's something, for today.
Grim Amusements / 27 April 2011 / the birth certificate follies

...I will confess, at some level, I do not understand this at all.

Oh, I get wanting to finally put this to rest, to just have it dealt with and over. I get that. What I do not understand is this: both Obama and the Hawaii secretary of state have consistently been saying that the long form birth certificate is not normally issued, that the short certificate of live birth is what Hawaii traditionally uses as a birth certificate for identification, passports, citizenship purposes, all that stuff. All well and good. But ... this issue first came up during the campaign, three years ago and change. If all it takes to get a copy of the long form birth certificate is a simple request for a copy of the long form birth certificate ... then why the hell didn't he do this four damn years ago? Or even two years ago, when those ridiculously annoying court cases started popping up? If he could have done this at any time, why didn't he just do this and be done with it?

Should he have had to do this? No, of course not. There's more than a tiny tinge of racism and religious bigotry involved....
grim amusements / april 11, 2011 / don't ask, don't tell ... especially about THAT

[...]that's ... kind of not how human nature works, unfortunately. Not in the short term, anyway.

"Often, in male-on-male cases, assailants go after those they assume are gay, even if they are not." So what do you think will happen if/when they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the private in the bunk over there actually is gay? Out, proud, just wants to serve their country like all the other soldiers there? What do you think will happen?

In the short term, what's likely to happen is that openly gay people will have a big fat target on their backs. Depending on how well the commanders follow the sexual assault reporting, tracking and disciplinary procedures -- and that's going to be highly variable -- openly gay soldiers may be somewhat less reluctant to report the assaults. After all, they can't accuse you of being gay because you report the assault, which is what frequently happens now. That said, it may also work that some gay soldiers will be less likely to report the assault ... because they're gay. After all, if the idea is that being gay makes you less manly, then the idea that you couldn't protect yourself from being raped by your fellow soldiers only reinforces the point, right? And in either case, in the short term, the likelihood is that actual assaults are going to spike. People who will rape you to put you in your place because they feel you're week, or because you're gay or, well, Just Because They Can aren't any less likely to rape someone who actually IS gay, especially if the idea is to make the person understand just how much they don't belong.

Understand: this isn't a blanket indictment of all male soldiers; of course most aren't rapists, just as most men aren't.....
grim amusements / april 11, 2011 / don't ask, don't tell ... especially about THAT

[...]that's ... kind of not how human nature works, unfortunately. Not in the short term, anyway.

"Often, in male-on-male cases, assailants go after those they assume are gay, even if they are not." So what do you think will happen if/when they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the private in the bunk over there actually is gay? Out, proud, just wants to serve their country like all the other soldiers there? What do you think will happen?

In the short term, what's likely to happen is that openly gay people will have a big fat target on their backs. Depending on how well the commanders follow the sexual assault reporting, tracking and disciplinary procedures -- and that's going to be highly variable -- openly gay soldiers may be somewhat less reluctant to report the assaults. After all, they can't accuse you of being gay because you report the assault, which is what frequently happens now. That said, it may also work that some gay soldiers will be less likely to report the assault ... because they're gay. After all, if the idea is that being gay makes you less manly, then the idea that you couldn't protect yourself from being raped by your fellow soldiers only reinforces the point, right? And in either case, in the short term, the likelihood is that actual assaults are going to spike. People who will rape you to put you in your place because they feel you're week, or because you're gay or, well, Just Because They Can aren't any less likely to rape someone who actually IS gay, especially if the idea is to make the person understand just how much they don't belong.

Understand: this isn't a blanket indictment of all male soldiers; of course most aren't rapists, just as most men aren't.....
grim amusements / March 30, 2011 / in which justice is blind:
The facts are these: lawyers in a district attorney's office, allegedly with certain deliberation, fail to disclose exculpatory evidence in a capital murder case, despite a very clear obligation under the law to do so. Said failure leads to a death sentence for an innocent man. Due to the dogged work of his attorneys, the hidden evidence is discovered, as is the prosecutorial malfeasance. The aforementioned district attorney's office is sued for its failure to disclose exculpatory evidence and its failure to train its attorneys so that they knew they should disclose; that the attorneys already knew that they should do so and didn't because they wanted to win the case is apparently legally irrelevant. The plaintiff more or less wins at lower court levels, and then the case is taken up by the Supreme Court of the land. You'd think that this is an easy decision, wouldn't you? Clear (and admitted, mind you) prosecutorial malfeasance, a man nearly executed because of this misconduct. You'd think this would be an easy 9-0 decision in favor of the plaintiff, wouldn't you?

And you'd be wrong. So very very wrong.
grim amusements / February 23, 2011 / administration to stop defending doma:
"And then a miracle occurred."

Obama Orders End to Defense of Gay Marriage Law - NYTimes.com

By CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON -- President Obama, in a major legal policy shift, has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act -- the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages -- against lawsuits challenging it as unconstitutional...


In gay rights victory, Obama administration won't defend Defense of Marriage Act
By Jerry Markon, Ed O'Keefe and Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, February 23, 2011; 3:16 PM

The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will no longer defend the constitutionality of the federal government's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages, a rare legal reversal and the latest in a series of political victories for gay rights activists....


I wonder what caused the administration to make this sea change. According to the article, it's the fact that the latest DOMA challenge was filed in New York, and that circuit has no case law stating what level of review to use; this automatically triggers heightened scrutiny, which presumes the law unconstitutional until determined otherwise. I'm not sure that I honestly believe that; on the other hand, it could well be that the administration was just waiting for an excuse to abandon a position that was doing it real damage, not only among the LGBT peoples that had supported them in the last campaign, but with liberals of all stripes. This could have provided them with a legal excuse. After all, if they genuinely believed that legitimate acts of Congress that were constitutional, if utterly revolting, should be defended, then the logical thing to do is not to abandon the defense, but to say to the Second Circuit, "We hate this law, but we think it should be defended, and we think you should use a rational basis test for this and here's why." (That said ... seriously, the Ninth Circuit -- the one with California, yes -- uses "rational basis" for this type of case? The crunchy-granola ultra liberal [for the US court system] Ninth Circuit, which gets reversed with wild abandon, glee and possibly malice aforethought by the Supreme Court at almost every chance it gets? Huh. Who knew?)

Congress will have its own lawyer defend its own law, of course....

grim amusements / January 19, 2011 / speech, protected and otherwise:
In which we discover that speech can have unexpected and profoundly undesired consequences. [...] Unfortunately for Mr Corcoran, "provocative and kind of cute" does not seem to be the spirit in which his words wore taken by others, including his local police. [...] words have consequences, after all. You may be allowed to say something, but nothing says that private individuals can't hold you to account in entirely legal ways, such as removing their business from you. That is the sort of price you need to be prepared to pay when you say something that mindbendingly stupid, insensitive, callous and detestable in public.

Police are, quite possibly illegally, confiscating his legally obtained and licensed weapons and trying to get the federal government to investigate him. That seems entirely wrong; words may have consequences, but these are precisely the sorts of consequences that the Constitution says the state may not exact from him. The state may not act against him unless a direct threat has been perceived, and nobody sane should see those words as a direct threat. Unfortunately, Corcoran's words were not only stupid, insensitive, callous and detestable but very very badly timed; something that might have gotten a brief (and probably unknown to everyone) quick look over by the Secret Service -- if it was even brought to their attention at all -- have turned into something all out of proportion to the actual words themselves....



grim amusements / January 19, 2011 / parenting patterns
... So, pardon my French (or appalling lack thereof), but: no fucking shit, Sherlock? Really? The rather large numbers of people in this country that are not "rich white guys" are truly, truly astonished to hear this....
Grim Amusements - 2010/10/12 - one hand gets slapped down, the other slaps back

... Somehow, I didn't realize that a district court judge could order a nationwide injunction.

Regardless, I predict you a prediction. The administration has 60 days to decide what it will do. For ... oh, say, 58 days, the administration will seem to sit on its hands and do nothing. When asked what they plan to do, they'll say they're looking at their options and no final decision has been made. On the 59th day, they'll file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit, asking them to block enforcement of the stay. It may be a bit sooner. After all, they only need to wait about 30 days to get past the election. They can't help themselves with more conservative people by immediately appealing; more conservative people don't like them anyway. More liberal people are already strongly disaffected with this administration, and seem less likely to vote. The administration isn't going to want to alienate any more of them by appealing before the election; there are too many marginal seats at stake this time around. They're already headed for a possibly historic loss in the House, according to all the polls. Why make it worse?

Relentlessly cynical view? Perhaps. This administration has, however, richly earned the cynicism of every gay and lesbian person around....
Grim Amusements / September 7, 2010 / daley decides not to seek re-election:
...The cynical among us may say that this is coming in part because he and the city council and the recession have dug the city into an intractable budget hole. The city is facing three separate and very deep budget deficits: the main city budget itself, the Chicago Public Schools (which is primarily but not purely funded by the state, which is in a budget hole so deep it makes Chicago look like we've got hardly any problems at all), and the Chicago Transit Authority (again, largely but not purely state funded, but the state never gave it the capital budget that was promised in the last two state budgets). Privatization of services at O'Hare and Midway and, most particularly, of the parking meters has not worked out at all the way he'd planned -- the latter brought in a big windfall of funds that the city suddenly finds itself incapable of using, lest the bond rating agencies drop the city's rating even further because it will take the city's reserves lower than some pre-determined threshold. (Apparently, you're not actually supposed to use reserves; you're merely supposed to have them, just in case you want not to use them. Or something like that. But I digress.)

Honestly, I think it may be simpler than that. Or slightly simpler, anyway. Yes, having all those battles to fight might be part of it. But in the end, I kind of think that it's largely that he's not young, that he may not have the energy to fight the fights he must to do what needs to be done ... and finally, that his wife is very ill...
grim amusements / August 18, 2010 / dumping ann coulter:
It's really kind of fascinating watching how political groups eat their own young, so to speak. [...] So apparently, being open minded (if that's quite the right term) enough to speak to gays -- not to, you know, advocate same-sex marriage or their right to exist or something radical like that, but just to accept their money to talk at them about political issues of the day -- that is enough to get the ultra-right wing to decide that you're not ultra ultra enough and dump you.

My.

Well, now she knows how the president feels, some days....
grim amusements / August 12, 2010 / prop. 8 ruling still on temporary hold:
[...] the appeal of the stay itself will probably go all the way up to the Supreme Court. Depending on what's been done, the Court will then either decline to remove the stay or put it back in place -- I cannot see this Court allowing marriages to proceed while the case itself is still in the appeals process. [...]

[...] I have to admit, I am really fascinated to see what the Ninth does in the next week. It really would be astonishing -- and, as a commenter has said, a strong signal of where they were headed with a final decision -- if the Ninth does not continue the hold indefinitely. After all, it's likely to be six months to a year before the appeals court hears the case itself. Just imagine how many marriages could be contracted in the meantime. But there won't be any marriages conducted on or about August 18 anyway; even if the appeals court itself declines to issue an indefinite hold, I should think they would issue another temporary hold in order to allow the Supreme Court to decide whether or not to issue its own hold....
In which I confess to being seriously out of step with just about everyone I know. Again. So what else is new?


grim amusements / prop 8 struck down / August 4, 2010

...In all seriousness, that's all the enthusiasm I can muster for this. It's ... nice. But at the moment, it's only slightly more than symbolic. The judge has already stayed his order; if he decides to allow the stay to remain in place until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules on his decision, then nobody gets married. If he doesn't allow the stay to remain in place -- and the case that people are harmed by not being allowed to marry is at least nominally stronger than the case that they aren't, given the grounds of the decision -- then the stay, or lack thereof, itself will get express appealed through the Ninth and possibly/probably up to the Supreme Court, which is, one suspects, rather more likely to prefer a stay then otherwise, since it will give the process time to work itself out with no change in the status quo....

[...] The thing about Perry is that if this decision stands, logically, it takes all sorts of laws outside California down with it. (To be sure, people will need to launch court cases to get things started, but that will happen.) For example, one logical consequence ought to be to enforce the Full Faith and Credit clause specifically regarding marriage....
grim amusements / June 28, 2010 / supreme court applies second amendment to states and cities ... more or less:
[...] The strange thing about these cases is that they didn't bother to reach the merits of the cases themselves, but only the constitutional issue. They sent the cases regarding the laws themselves back to the lower courts, which almost certainly means that they'll be back in front of the Court itself in two or three years, asking them to adjudicate the merits of the case -- do the laws of Chicago and Oak Park follow the profound lack of guidelines the Court has declined to set forth? Are they constitutional? Souter says that if the Court had bothered to decide the merits of the case, both laws would almost certainly have been struck down -- they are, after all, nearly complete bans on the possession of handguns within the city limits of both communities. You can scarcely abridge the right to bear arms more emphatically than by saying "thou shalt NOT." [...]
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