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Sun Oct 12, 2014 at 04:17 PM PDT

Requiem for civil unions

by noplot

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week made a ruling that was about as expected as the sun rising in the east, overturning laws in Idaho and Nevada banning marriage equality (and likely having the same effect in Arizona, Montana, and Alaska as well).  In a week where marriage equality spread to a wide variety of unexpected places, from Main Street in Moscow, Idaho to Pack Square Park in Asheville, the start of weddings in Nevada was, well, a bit anticlimactic to outsiders.  Aside from the discussions of Elvis impersonators and drive-through marriage equality, it's all been seen before in many places across the country--and most likely, will be seen in those places still holding out quite soon.

But the start of marriage equality in Nevada marked the end of a different form of legal recognition for same-sex relationships:  the final state granting civil unions as a substitute for marriage now had full marriage equality, less than fifteen years after the first civil unions were established, with much controversy, in Vermont.

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At first glance, the two items--our current shutdown/debt ceiling fight with Republicans in general and the Tea Party/conservative movement in particular--has almost no resemblance to a doctors' strike.  Indeed, the only doctors seen during the current congressional fight have been a few Republicans dressed in lab coats trying to look like they were the ones not at fault for the shutdown.  (In reality, they kind of looked like rejects from L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N.)

As we all know, though, the shutdown/debt ceiling fight isn't about the budget, or deficits, or compromise.  It's about the desire of conservatives to stop, delay, or squash like a bug the Affordable Care Act, no matter the method or the cost.  It's an attempt to overturn law via nondemocratic methods, threats, and blackmail, and it was unprecedented in this country until the debt ceiling fight two years ago.

But it's not exactly unprecedented in the history of health care politics, which is what made me think of Woodrow Lloyd recently.

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Remember Won't Back Down?

If you don't, don't feel bad; it's been two weeks since it came out in theaters, with heavy backing from anti-union and anti-public education groups, to bad reviews and historically bad box office numbers.  (A quick estimate from those numbers would indicate about 600,000 viewers nationally total over the last two weeks.  On Wednesday and Thursday, it averaged roughly one attendee per show nationally, which at least probably made it easy to sleep if you happened to be the one viewer.)

Usually when this happens, two things occur after two weeks:  one, theatres dump the film for something (anything) that'll draw better, and two, the studio moves on to planning for its release on DVD or cable or streaming or whatever can get people to see this dud.

(More after the orange puff pastry...)

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With apologies to new Congressman-elect John Hall, the song going through my head today wasn't one of his old Orleans hits, but one of similar vintage from the Little River Band.

We all know now that the Dems had no losses in Governorships, none in the Senate, and none in the House (though a couple in Georgia were pretty darn close), the first time that's happened to any party in decades (not sure how long).  

Even in good years, though, there are the unlucky ones...

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About four weeks ago, I posted a diary late at night concerning my personal boycott of cable news and asked DK readers Is it time to end the boycott?, focusing on specifically modifying it to allow watching of Keith Olbermann's "Countdown".

It got 14 comments--more than any diary I've ever had--but I never had time to respond to it and, well, one doesn't think of 14 as many when one sees diaries with hundreds of comments daily.  I figured not many people noticed.

Apparently somebody did.

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How long will it take for Keith to match Bill O'Falafel in 18-49 age group ratings?

40%121 votes
14%43 votes
10%32 votes
8%25 votes
3%11 votes
1%5 votes
21%64 votes

| 301 votes | Vote | Results

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They do, actually.  More than you'd think.  

This weekend has been amazing to watch.  The Mark Foley (not necessarily the best term for it, since it's rapidly expanded beyond Mark's behavior to the cover-up thereof, but I'm not coming up with a better one) scandal has suddenly opened up possible political gains in unexpected places.  It's not just Foley's Florida seat that is at issue; suddenly, it's not only seats that were previously vulnerable like Tom Reynolds' NY-26 but also John Shimkus' IL-19 and even solidly Republican districts like John Boehner's OH-08 and even the Speaker's home district of IL-14.  These guys now have to focus not only on campaigning for others, not only on productive policy (which was probably about 271st on their list of to-dos, right after taking that course in yak hypnosis), but on their own survival.

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So, who wins the Series?

6%3 votes
6%3 votes
0%0 votes
4%2 votes
0%0 votes
40%20 votes
10%5 votes
4%2 votes
6%3 votes
0%0 votes
22%11 votes

| 49 votes | Vote | Results

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It's been heartening to read about Keith Olbermann in multiple diaries and discussions, both here and elsewhere.  These days, finding people to speak out against this abject disaster of an administration and their politicization of everything from the 9/11 attacks to proposed new regulations is still not easy, and finding people with a media platform who do so is even more rare.  His statements the last few weeks I've seen highlighted here are quite eloquent and just the sort of thing I'd like to see more of.  

But that brings up a problem.  It's not that I don't have cable; indeed, the local cable system seems to have everything from channels the spouse loves (like HGTV) to several particularly doofy religious stations to, I believe, the All-Yodeling Channel (it's somewhere in the 130s, I know it!).  I know Keith has a show on MSNBC and it runs in early evening (8pm eastern, I think?) and maybe it runs later for when I get home from work after midnight, but darned if I know (still, everything reruns sometime, right?).  No, it's more of a question of principle...

Poll

Should the boycott door open for Keith?

83%125 votes
5%8 votes
0%0 votes
1%2 votes
2%4 votes
0%1 votes
6%9 votes

| 149 votes | Vote | Results

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The tentative delegate slates are now public for the March 2nd presidential primary in New York.  

Why is this important?  Well, besides the huge number of delegates available in New York that day (236 total; another 49 "unpledged" superdelegates come from NY for a total of 285 total delegates), New York is notoriously difficult in terms of ballot requirements.  Candidates have to get signatures not only at the state level, but in each of the 29 congressional districts, to be eligible to get delegates at the district level.  (Not a small number of signatures either--about a thousand per district--and registered Democrats only, thank you.)  So a candidate who gets enough signatures to make the statewide ballot (where 82 delegates are at stake), but who misses out in some districts misses the chance to get the delegates available (either five or six; a total of 154 statewide) in that district.  

In fact, only one candidate of the nine on the statewide ballot managed to fill out all 154 delegate slots.  And you're guessing wrong if you think you know who it is...

Poll

So, what's the strangest upstate locality name you read in this?

0%0 votes
22%2 votes
66%6 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
11%1 votes

| 9 votes | Vote | Results

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