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It took a week (more, really) for New York Governor Cuomo to negotiate, with conservative GOP members, the "religious exemptions" which are now part of the marriage equality law of New York.

No doubt, absolutely critical to this compromise, was an "inseverability" clause, which says that if any part of the act is struck down by a court, the entire act is invalidated.

My question: is this legal?

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Before the comparisons with Rep. Chris Lee -- who resigned from Congress after shirtless pictures he had distributed via Craigslist emerged -- get out of hand, let us remind ourselves of the differences between Rep. Lee's situation and that of Rep. Weiner.

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Barack Obama lost the state of South Carolina in 2008, by a wide margin, to John McCain, about 1.03M to 862K votes. It's a very simple process to show that Barack Obama, although he lost in SC, benefited from disproportionate support from the black population.  

It goes like this: some counties in SC have as little as 8.6% non-white (mostly black) registered voters, while others have as great as 71%.  There's a simple statistical test (called a Pearson test) which takes two columns of numbers and determines if they are likely to be corrlelated (or, rather, if they are unlikely to be uncorrelated, which is almost the same thing).  

So I checked this for the Presidential General Election of 2008 in South Carolina, and find Obama received disproportionate support from non-white voters (surprising, probably, nobody).  But I also checked this, for the Democratic Primary Election of 2010 in South Carolina, where Alvin Greene inexplicably and unexpectedly won.  And guess what the results show?

Analysis after the jump.

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Unless you've been under a rock, you've heard about the surpise win by political nowhere Alvin Greene, victorious on Tuesday in the Democratic primary in South Carolina, winning the right to go up against incumbent Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC).  Greene was on nobody's radar.  The NYTimes asked in response "Who is Alvin Greene?"  

Greene's opponent was not a political unknown: Vic Rawl was elected to the South Carolina State House of Representatives 4 times, serving 1977-78 and 1980-86.  With the law degree he earned from University of South Carolina School of Law in 1973, he also served as a circuit court judge from 1991-2003.

It's been suggested that Greene won, because black voters recognized his name as belonging to a black person, and voted overwhelmingly for him. I show here that that's not possible.

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John Boehner took the floor to rail against the HCR bill, and, for a man who was preaching to his party to "act like grown ups" he near threw a temper tantrum.    

"Did you read this bill!  No!!"

At the time, I thought -- gosh, he seems kinda faking passion, or mad or something.  Angry, like he hasn't before, like he just found out something which he didn't previously know.  Like everybody in the room was laughing at him, and he couldn't muster an argument back.

And then I read the section on how revenue is being raised to pay for HCR.  In it, I find the biggest legislative middle finger -- aimed right at John Boehner -- I think has ever occurred in the history of democracy.

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Last summer, AT&T fired a salvo in the net neutrality war, by using a flimsy excuse to shut out an objectionable website (4chan), so that AT&T subscribers could no longer access the website through their network.  The internet erupted, and they stopped immediately.

Last night, Verizon joined the war, by shutting out the same website from access by Verizon's subscribers.

UPDATED with link to Verizon's statement on their Policy Blog  

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In the modern filibuster, the minority party leader simply informs the Senate Majority Leader of a filibuster, and a vote for cloture is taken, requiring 3/5 of all sworn senators (60) to vote "yea" in order to get cloture -- a vote to end debate.  

Without cloture, the measure on the floor can't proceed, and the bill is set aside.  

That's not the way it's always been.  That's not the way it has to be this time.  Reid should demand the Republicans debate, and Democrats should stay awake to vote for quorum calls.  

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Would you believe that a movie about a hard-luck black woman -- perhaps the best Black American film in years -- is advertising on Glenn Beck, when it doesn't have to be?

Would you believe the movie being advertised was produced by Oprah Winfrey, who famously supported Barack Obama, who Glenn Beck has called a racist, with a deep seated hatred of white people?

Would you believe that, as described, here that Lee Daniels of Lee Daniels Entertainment (the director and production company) was told last week about this, he was shocked, didn't know, and said he'd take care of it, and yet obviously hasn't?

It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not.  Because that's precisely what's happened.


How long can advertising run on Glenn Beck, before it can no longer be claimed to be an "accident", and instead be a media strategy?

26%10 votes
5%2 votes
13%5 votes
55%21 votes

| 38 votes | Vote | Results

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Yesterday, I diaried that the movie Precious is advertising on the Glenn Beck Show, with an ad running during the December 15 broadcast.

This is strange, given Glenn Beck's race baiting of our President, calling Obama a racist, and saying he has a "deep-seated hatred for white people."

Precious, on the other hand, is one of the strongest Black American films of the year (and longer).  Brought to us by Lee Daniels Entertainment, which also brought us Monster's Ball; Lee Daniels himself is one of the most important Black American producers working today. Executive producers on the film include Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.

Well, the phones were working nation-wide yesterday; but apparently, neither Lee Daniels, nor Oprah Winfrey, nor Tyler Perry called Fox News to cancel the ads; Precious bought advertising time on the Glenn Beck show again on December 16th.

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Glenn Beck, just a few months ago, called Barack Obama a racist, with a "deep seated hatred of white people".  This outrageous slander of our first black President was met by advertiser backlash.  Led by Color of Change, more than 80 companies demanded Fox drop advertising their products on Glenn Beck's show,  one by one.  No respectable company wants to be associated with Glenn Beck's race baiting.

So why is Lee Daniels Entertainment advertising its film "Precious" on Glenn Beck's show?

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This just up at WaPost

House ethics investigators have scrutinized the activities of more than 30 lawmakers and several aides in inquiries about issues including defense lobbying and corporate influence peddling, according to a confidential House ethics committee report prepared in July. The report appears to have been inadvertently placed on a publicly accessible computer network, and was provided to The Washington Post by a source not connected to the congressional investigations.


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I was happy to see the headlines this morning in the New York Times (For First Time, AIDS Vaccine Shows Some Success in Trials), the Washington Post (AIDS Vaccine Experiment Yields Unanticipated Positive Results) even my hometown paper the Montreal Gazette (AIDS breakthrough as vaccine cuts infections for first time).

As a scientist, I always scan these articles for the statistics. The statistics can tell you the difference between "WOW! This changes everything!" and "Huh.  Interesting.  We should look into that more."  Turns out, this is another example of "Huh. Interesting. We should look into that more" being blown up into "WOW!  This changes everything!".   I wouldn't bet a night's winnings at the craps table on this result.

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