Monday, January 20, 2014

Time is asking "Can Anyone Stop Hillary Clinton?"

People were asking the same question in 2008 remember? We all know how that worked out.

The candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton will be the candidate that can focus the country on financial issues and keep the social issues, like gay marriage and abortion access, off the table or at least very far in the background.

I suspect by 2016 the Stock Market will have "corrected" and there won't be much economic improvement. That makes any candidate that can be associated with the "current administration" vulnerable, which is probably why Hillary bailed out. She'll be less vulnerable.

Let's understand the country as it is today and will probably be in 2016. You need a reasonably center of the road candidate who (1) doesn't scare Blacks and Latinos, (2) single women can live with, (3) can't be branded as a complete kook because of things he or she has said or done in the past.

Hillary Clinton meets that profile but who else?

The profile pretty much lets out Joe Biden as well as far left people such as Bill DeBlasio and Mario Cuomo of New York on the Democratic side and just about all of the extreme Right Wing types such as Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry on the Republican side.

The Democrats wouldn't be able to win the nomination and the Republicans wouldn't be able to win the general election.

Chris Christie looked like an interesting possibility but he might be self-destructing. Besides, exit polls in 2013, an election Christie won easily and in which many Democrats didn't even bother to vote, showed he would LOSE New Jersey to Hillary Clinton.

Jon Huntsman would probably have a good chance in a national election but look how well he did in the Republican primaries last year.

So who's left? I don't know but I didn't think Barack Obama could pull off what he did in 2008 either.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oklahoma Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down

A federal judge (activist judge?) has struck down the Oklahoma ban on gay marriage but has stayed the decision pending appeal which means, at least for now, there won't be any gay marriages in Oklahoma.

US District Judge Terrance Kern described the Oklahoma ban as "an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit."

Gee, ya think?

This is further fallout from the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Not only are we talking about an abstract right, we're talking about concrete measurable benefits.

I can hear the howling from the Conservative pig sties already.

We're heading toward a collision in the US Supreme Court. They're the only ones that can resolve this.

Either states can, or cannot, prohibit gay marriage. That the states regulate marriage is not at issue. But that regulation is not unlimited. State regulations cannot deny rights and benefits that people are otherwise entitled to under the US Constitution.

The good news is the Conservative dream of a national prohibition on gay marriage is dead. That means either rapid legalization, if the Supreme Court says a state cannot prohibit it, or a slow painful legalization state by bloody state.

I cannot believe, given the mood in the country, that the SCOTUS is stupid enough to allow this slow agonizing conflict to continue. Better to legalize it across the board and get the screaming and yelling over with.

Besides, it's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Cold Weather and Global Warming

No, really cold weather or major snow storms DO NOT disprove Global Warming.

There is a difference between CLIMATE and WEATHER.

Not only that, Global Warming is expected to produce greater extremes. That means the possibility of unusually frigid weather at times in the winter or larger, more brutal blizzards.

Conservatives who deny Climate Science are just like the Conservatives that deny Evolution. They don't make any effort to understand the science and base their opinions on how they want things to be rather than how they really are.

Is it possible the Climatologists are wrong and this is just a passing phase? Yes it is but it's looking less and less likely that's the case.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The Latest Poll on Evolution

While I find it terrifying that we still have to ask this question in the 21st Century, Pew Research released a new public opinion poll on Evolution on December 30th.

Overall 60% of the public accepts the Evolution of humans while 33% reject it and say we've existed in our present form since the "beginning" (whenever that was).

What's interesting is the variation based upon political affiliation. Democrats by 67%-27% and Independents by 65%-28% accept Evolution. But that's a minority position among Republicans where only 43% accept Evolution while 48% reject it.

I've always said the Republicans were stuck in the 1950s. Guess I'm wrong, most are stuck in the 1850s.

The good news is that rejection of Evolution, like rejection of Gay Marriage, appears to be a literally dying position. While in all age groups a majority accept Evolution, the amount decreases by age as follows:

Age 18-29:  68%-28%
Age 30-49:  60%-33%
Age 50-64:  59%-35%
65 & Older: 49%-36%

Education makes a big difference. Those with at least a college degree accept Evolution by 72%-24%; those with at least some college accept it by 62%-33 and those with HS or less by only 51%-38%.

By religion, White Evangelical Protestants, also known as the village idiots, REJECT Evolution by 64%-27%, as do Black Protestants by 50%-44%. At the other extreme White Mainline Protestants accept Evolution by 78%-15%, the Unaffiliated by 76%-20% and White Catholics by 68%-26%. Hispanic Catholics accept it by 53%-41%.

Someone should tell Catholics that Evolution is the "accepted" position of the Catholic Church. I put "accepted" in quotes because I suspect that 83% of Jesuits are working night and day to keep it that way.

One surprising difference is that while men accept Evolution by 65%-28%, women only accept it by 58%-38%.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Utah Man on Hunger Strike

A gentleman by the name of Trestin Meacham has been on a hunger strike since December 20th to protest gay marriage in Utah.

Apparently Meacham is an advocate of "nullification," the Right Wing idea that somehow the states can refuse to obey federal laws or court decisions.

According to Meacham, and others, the courts are packed full of "activist judges" that don't obey the constitution.

First let's talk about "nullification."

Article III of the US Constitution states "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

On top of this the 14th Amendment guarantees the "privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States" against actions by the states.

Meacham might want to ask Orval Faubus how well ignoring a court order to integrate schools in Little Rock Arkansas worked out for him in 1957. The idea that "nullification" by the states might be legal died with slavery in the Civil War.

Given how much Conservatives claim to revere the US Constitution, perhaps they should actually READ it to understand what it actually says rather than basing everything upon what they wish it said.

Now let's consider Meacham's claim that the courts are filled with "activist judges" that don't obey the constitution.

This is by definition false. The courts decide what the law is and the Supreme Court of the United States is the final arbiter of the constitutionality of laws and lower court decisions.

Allow me to quote Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, "It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is."

Meacham is within his rights to disagree with the court decision, exercise his right of free speech to criticize that decision and take any legal action, including starving himself, to emphasize that disagreement. However, the officials of the state of Utah can't ignore the court order; they can only appeal it.

So, as usual, Conservatives have their heads up their asses. After they read the Constitution to see what it says, they might want to read the case law to understand what it means.