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U.S. Representative Mike Pence speaks during the National Rifle Association's 139th annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina May 14, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) - RTR2DVYW

One week and one massive public relations disaster after Gov. Mike Pence signed Indiana's license-to-discriminate bill into law, it's being reported that:

Indiana Republican leaders are set to announce a deal Thursday morning that alters Indiana's controversial "religious freedom" law to ensure it does not discriminate against gay and lesbian customers of Indiana businesses.
But does it? According to the report:
The compromise legislation specifies that the new religious freedom law cannot be used as a legal defense to discriminate against patrons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity ... But it doesn't go as far as establishing gays and lesbians as a protected class of citizens statewide or repealing the law outright, both things that Republican leaders have said they could not support.
And bear in mind, this grand bargain was apparently reached after an exhaustive consultation between the Republicans who wrote and voted for the law, Mike Pence's chief of staff and "a small handful of business leaders." Any groups or people missing from that round-table of compromise that may have had some valuable input to offer that you can think of?

Is this "fix" just a pathetic attempt by Mike Pence to stanch the bleeding? Because remember, on Tuesday night, Pence went on Fox News to assure Sean Hannity that:

Well look, I stand by this law, uh, the law doesn't need to be fixed, we need to fix the perception.
Stay tuned.

6:56 AM PT: Language of the "fix" is here. And I have to ask, why does it say "does not authorize" instead of "prohibits"?

Sign the petition: Equal rights for all—stop and repeal religious freedom bills that enshrine discrimination.

U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) (L) and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) arrive for a news conference about their goal of permanently extending Bush-era tax rates at the Capitol in Washington, December 2, 2010.    REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES -
"I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue."
While much has been written about Indiana's new license-to-discriminate law that Gov. Mike Pence gleefully signed last week, the backlash that resulted, along with Pence's pathetic attempts at damage control, there really are only two things to take away from this whole disgusting affair.

First, that Mike Pence is a bigot and a liar, not to mention an idiot who thinks that being gay is a choice. Here he is on Tuesday, during his disastrous press conference:

I abhor discrimination. The way I was raised was like most Hoosiers, with the Golden Rule, that you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And I believe in my heart of hearts that no one should be harassed or mistreated because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe.

And Mike Pence in 2000, from his campaign website:
Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual's (sic) as a "discreet and insular minority" entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.

Congress should ... ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.

And second, that his presidential hopes:
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), a 12-year House veteran with eyes on the White House, has been forced into crisis management mode in the face of mounting criticism against a new religious freedom law that critics say legalizes discrimination against gays and lesbians.
... just went up in flames. Because (leaving aside the bigotry and lies) if this is how Mike Pence deals with a crisis, it's clear that this man should never be allowed anywhere near the launch codes.

So in a glass-is-half-full kind of way, one could say that something good came out of this whole mess. Now repeal the damn law.

U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) looks at his notes before a news conference about the goal of permanently extending Bush-era tax rates at the U.S. Capitol in Washington December 2, 2010. Pence told reporters on Thursday his view on stripping the Fed
"Fix? It don't need no stinkin' fix."
At Tuesday's train wreck of a press conference to defend Indiana's new license-to-discriminate law, Gov. Mike Pence spent nearly 45 minutes alternating between lies, whining and complaints about being smeared, but he also guaranteed that this law would be fixed:
Let me say I believe this is a clarification, but it’s also a fix ... I think it’s important that we take this action this week.
And yet just hours later, Pence scurried over to Fox News to assure Sean Hannity:
Well look, I stand by this law, uh, the law doesn't need to be fixed, we need to fix the perception.
So there you have it. At least until the next time Pence talks to a non-Fox audience.
Word cloud of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's press conference to defend license-to-discriminate law on 3/31/2015
The only thing missing from this word cloud is "big fat liar"
On Tuesday morning, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence held a press conference to once again try and defend his state's new license-to-discriminate law that he eagerly signed last week. And given that Pence has been lying about it repeatedly since then, claiming that the bill he signed was no different than the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) signed into federal law nearly 20 years ago, and that it would not allow businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community, it seemed worthwhile to count up all the times he made those bogus claims during today's presser.

But I must say, in going through the transcript of today's edition of damage control disguised as a train wreck, the enormity of this task was nearly overwhelming because oftentimes Pence managed to lie multiple times in the same answer, making it difficult to decide whether to count it as one lie, two lies, three lies ... so erring on the side of generosity (mostly because reading his words so soon after listening to him was giving me a headache), here's what I came up with:

  • The number of times Pence lied by claiming the Indiana law was no different than the RFRA? A whopping 12 times. (And by the way, who knew that Mike Pence was such a Bill Clinton fan?)
  • The number of times Pence lied by claiming that his new hate-law wouldn't allow businesses to discriminate against gay people? Coincidentally, 12 times.
  • And just for fun, how many times did Pence sob about "misunderstandings," "mischaracterizations," "smears" and (my favorite) "perception problems" over the law? They were the big winner at 17 times.

Pence also spent a fair amount of time whining about the media and waxing poetic about his love for Martin Luther King Jr., not to mention harking back to the good old days in high school when he was a Democrat and cared about injustice. Because today he just "abhors discrimination of any kind." Except when he doesn't.


Front page editorial in the Indianapolis Star, calling for a change to Indiana's
Tuesday's front page of The Indianapolis Star
The backlash over Indiana's new license-to-discriminate law continues to grow, with the state's largest newspaper, The Indianapolis Star, set to come out against this hate legislation on Tuesday morning with a front page editorial demanding "Gov. Pence, fix 'religious freedom' law now."
We are at a critical moment in Indiana's history.

And much is at stake.

Our image. Our reputation as a state that embraces people of diverse backgrounds and makes them feel welcome ...

Only bold action — action that sends an unmistakable message to the world that our state will not tolerate discrimination against any of its citizens — will be enough to reverse the damage.

Meanwhile, Gov. Pence has an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, where he repeats his lies about this "religious freedom" bill and mewls that:
I abhor discrimination. I believe in the Golden Rule that you should "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore.
Uh huh. And yet he signed a bill that could allow that very thing to happen.


U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) looks at his notes before a news conference about the goal of permanently extending Bush-era tax rates at the U.S. Capitol in Washington December 2, 2010. Pence told reporters on Thursday his view on stripping the Fed
"Nah, they'll never call me out on this one ..."
Have you ever wondered why politicians are so willing to lie? The answer is easy: Because they can. Look no further than Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's Sunday appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, where he repeatedly refused to say if his state's "religious freedom" bill was a license to discriminate against gays, and repeatedly claimed that the bill was the same as the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) signed into law nearly 20 years ago. At this point one might think, wow, the media will chew Pence up and spit him out for that pathetic performance. Cue Politico:
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Sunday sternly defended his state’s new religious freedom law from what he called “reckless” and “shameless” media coverage, claiming Indiana has been hit with “an avalanche of intolerance.”
And by "sternly," we can only assume that Politico meant Pence managed to keep a straight face while peddling his lies and avoiding answering yes or no questions. But what about the six or seven times Pence refused to answer the simple question, does Indiana's new law allow businesses to discriminate against gays and lesbians? Surely Politico got around to mentioning that? Nope. Instead they went with rewriting history (well, the transcript anyway):
He also insisted the new law wouldn’t allow bakers or florists to refuse to serve gay couples, something supporters of the legislation have claimed it would allow.
No, he did not. When asked that question directly, over and over again, Pence responded with (in order):
  • "Well, let—let me explain to you, the purpose of this bill is to empower ..." and
  • "George, this is—this is where this debate has gone, with—with misinformation," and
  • "Well—well, this—there's been shameless rhetoric about my state," and
  • "George, look, the issue here is, you know, is tolerance a two way street or not," and
  • "George, the—the question here is if the—if there is a government action or a law that an individual believes impinges on their religious liberty," and
  • "Come on. Hoosiers don't believe in discrimination."

So, can you name even one time Pence "insisted the new law wouldn’t allow bakers or florists to refuse to serve gay couples"? Nope. But that was Politico's take on it.

Why do politicians lie? Because they can. And they get a lot of help from their friends.

U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) looks at his notes before a news conference about the goal of permanently extending Bush-era tax rates at the U.S. Capitol in Washington December 2, 2010. Pence told reporters on Thursday his view on stripping the Fed
"Yes or no, yes or no? That's a tough question ..."
In the annals of damage control that did more harm than good, Indiana's Gov. Mike Pence has truly set the new standard. Appearing on today's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" to defend and "clarify" Indiana's new right to discriminate law that he eagerly signed last week, Pence—and this is putting it kindly—crashed and burned.

Six times Stephanopoulos asked if, under the law, it would be legal to refuse service to gay customers and six times Pence refused to answer. And when asked outright if "you [Pence] think it should be legal in the state of Indiana  to discriminate against gays or lesbians … it's a yes or no question," Pence's astonishing (and eye roll-inducing) answer was, "Hoosiers don't believe in discrimination." So there you go.

And while Pence continued to peddle the notion that he'd support efforts by the Indiana legislature to "clarify" their new license to discriminate, when asked if making the LGBT community a protected class would be considered, Pence said no, that he wouldn't push for that, that it's not on his agenda and that it's "not an objective of the people of the state of Indiana," and then flat-out said, "We're not going to change the law" and that "I stand by this law."

So, given all this, what was the real purpose of Pence's announcement that they'd seek to have this legally-enshrined bigotry clarified? Beyond insisting that Hoosiers were really nice people and that their only concern was to "strengthen the foundation of the Constitution"? Apparently it was to let everyone know that Pence has been reaching out to business leaders and cooperate leaders to "correct the gross mischaracterization of this law." Because that's the real bottom line.



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Demonstrators gather at Monument Circle to protest a controversial religious freedom bill recently signed by Governor Mike Pence, during a rally in Indianapolis March 28, 2015.  More than 2,000 people gathered at the Indiana State Capital Saturday to prot
Mikey never saw this coming ...
It seems that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence thinks the license-to-hate legislation that he eagerly signed last week needs some clarification:
Gov. Mike Pence, scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm, told The Star on Saturday that he will support the introduction of legislation to “clarify” that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians. [...]

Asked if that legislation might include making gay and lesbian Hoosiers a protected legal class, Pence said, "That’s not on my agenda."

Oh. So, what will this clarifying legislation do?
The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week.
Uh huh. And what prompted the governor to suddenly support some vague clarification of this sanctioned bigotry? Recognition that discrimination in any form is wrong? The realization that this vile bill is nothing more than an attack on the gay community? Nope:
... Pence said repeatedly that the intense blowback against the new law is the result of a "misunderstanding driven by misinformation."
O-kay. And did Governor Jackass see the blowback coming?
"I just can’t account for the hostility that’s been directed at our state," he said. "I’ve been taken aback by the mischaracterizations from outside the state of Indiana about what is in this bill."
So, Gov. Didn't-see-it-coming wants clarifying legislation but can't say what it would do (except that it definitely wouldn't protect LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination), he blames "misinformation" for the backlash against this hate legislation and can't understand why there's such "hostility" against his state. And the first thing he's going to do about it? What else? He's going on TV:
Pence also plans to fight back in the state and national media. He’s scheduled, for instance, to defend the law Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos. “I’m not going to take it (the criticism) lying down,” he said.
Poor, poor Gov. Pence. Just another victim of his own hate.
Gay marriage supporter Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in anticipation of U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the cases against California's gay marriage ban known as Prop 8 and the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), outside the court building in Washi
Sinner waving scary flag an in intimidating manner ...
As the backlash against Indiana's new right-to-discriminate law grows, supporters of sanctioned bigotry are having a major sad, but they're just going to keep their heads down and take it because it shows what good Christians they are and besides, they're tired of being bullied. (Seriously. You just can't make this shit up.)
"There is zero interest in gloating over the passage of this religious liberty bill ... we think everyone wins, but our style is not to run this up the flagpole as some type of victory to gloat about." [...]

"I think a lot of people have been bullied into silence," he [Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute] said. [And that] ... the nature of Christianity also may help explain why the reaction appears to be so one sided.

"Some people would say that Christianity itself calls us to meekness. So there's that sort of defining feature, that 'turn the other cheek,'" he explained.

Besides, says Mr. Turn-the-other-cheek:
"Why would you want to engage a bunch of hateful people," Smith asked. "We're always accused of being bigots. Who had the signs (Thursday)? Who was yelling?
So there you have it. People protesting the passage of this odious bill are the real bigots. After all, they did have signs and everyone knows what that means (unless, presumably, the signs include a lot of :'s).
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) arrives to talk to the media, after a weekly Senate party caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 24, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4R0LE
Harry Reid, looking particularly badass
Shocking news to start the day:
Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.

Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

"I understand this place," Mr. Reid said. "I have quite a bit of power as minority leader."

More on this story as it develops, along with the implications for Democrats holding this seat in 2016.

You'll be missed, Harry.

5:09 AM PT:

My life’s work has been to make Nevada and our nation better. Thank you for giving me that wonderful opportunity.

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
"Man, these kids are idiots!"
Here's a little snippet from Ted Cruz's speech to kick off his 2016 presidential run, delivered earlier today to the attendance-was-mandatory throng of students at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University:
Cruz: Five years ago today, the president signed Obamacare into law

Audience: BOO

Cruz: Within hours, Liberty University went to court filing a lawsuit to stop that failed law

Audience: APPLAUSE

Cruz: … imagine in 2017, a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.

Audience: APPLAUSE

And from the Liberty University Student Health Insurance Plan guidebook:
Be advised that you may be eligible for coverage under a group health plan of a parent’s employer or under a parent’s individual health insurance policy if you are under the age of 26.
So the next time a student at Liberty University is bitten by a snake at a prayer meeting, they're covered. Yay! From Obamacare. Boo!


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