Day: 2015.03.08

Redeemingly Irresistible

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 9 March 2015.Just so we’re clear, it’s Jesus on the Cross … being a sarcastic shit … in bug form.

Resistance is futile.

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Huber, Adam. “Birthdaymas”. Bug Martini. 9 March 2015.

Something to Look Forward To

Phyllis Schalfly of the Eagle Forum speaks in this uncredited photo from December, 2011.

Michelangelo Signorile brings the least unexpected newsα from the rear guard (ha!) of the Conservative Culture Wars:

Amid battles that have erupted over states banning local anti-discrimination ordinances and moving forward on “religious liberties” laws targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people — seemingly catching some LGBT activists off-guard — Phyllis Schlafly has a message for the LGBT community: Don’t believe for a minute that the Supreme Court’s decision in June on marriage equality, no matter how positive, will diminish the crusade against LGBT equality. In fact, she says, it will only serve to reinvigorate the anti-gay movement ....

.... “The gays have their argument about inevitability,” the 90-year-old author of 25 books told me in an interview for SiriusXM Progress at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, over the weekend, during a book-signing including her new book, “Who Killed the American Family?”

“I don’t think that’s so,” Schlafly continued with a smile, rejecting the “inevitability” argument. “I’m extremely disappointed that the Republican Party, the conservative movement, even the Democratic Party and the churches, have been saying, ‘Well soon the court will decide, and that will be it.’ Well, a lot of people thought that about Roe v. Wade, and we’ve seen the whole abortion movement turned around in the last ten years.”

Suffice to say, madam, we look forward to it. You know where to find us; we’ll be here.

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About On Schedule

Contemplation of Justice

The marriage bans challenged in these cases impermissibly exclude lesbian and gay couples from the rights, responsibilities, and status of civil marriage. These facially discriminatory laws impose concrete harms on same-sex couples and send the inescapable message that same-sex couples and their children are second-class families, unworthy of the recognition and benefits that opposite-sex couples take for granted. The bans cannot be reconciled with the fundamental constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the laws,” U.S. Const. Amend. XIV.

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.

Or perhaps simply an overview from Ryan J. Reilly of Huffington Post:

The Obama administration thinks the Supreme Court should rule that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, according to a brief filed by Justice Department lawyers on Friday. The administration takes the position that those laws violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

The amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to find such bans “incompatible with the Constitution” because they “exclude a long-mistreated class of human beings from a legal and social status of tremendous import.”

The court will hear oral arguments in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges in April.

Honestly, the only surprise here is that now we need to figure out whence came the notion this one was going forward under DeBoer, the case out of Michigan.

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Verrilli Jr., Donald B. “Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae Supporting Petitioners”. Obergefell v. Hodges. Supreme Court fo the United States. March, 2015.

Reilly, Ryan J. “Gay Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional, DOJ Tells Supreme Court”. The Huffington Post. 6 March 2015.

The Bouncing Boehner Blues (Monkeydelica Mix)

Don’t let the hug and kiss between House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) at the first session of the 114th Congress fool you. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Follow the bouncing ball: Despite looking much like other failures of John Boehner’s leadership, what happened with the recent DHS standoff is actually rather quite rare, and even still in comparison to the rarity of the frequency with which the Speaker of the House absolutely botches his job.

Close enough.

Jeffery A. Jenkins, in explaining how that works for the Washington Post, brings what for most of us is a vocabulary lesson:

Boehner’s ongoing struggle with the conservative wing of his caucus is well known. But Friday’s vote was unusual. In fact, it almost never happens. Here’s why.

During his time as Speaker, several majority party failures have occurred, as Boehner has ignored the informal “Hastert Rule” and allowed legislation to go forward when he didn’t have a majority of GOP support. This resulted in what is known as a “roll” — when a majority of the majority party opposes a bill that ends up passing. Notable examples of rolls since the beginning of 2013 have included the revision and extension of Bush-era tax cuts (bundled into the “fiscal cliff” deal), Hurricane Sandy Relief, and the Violence Against Women Act. These examples have been written about extensively. Rolls also feature prominently in political science scholarship, such as the book “Setting the Agenda” by Gary Cox and Mathew McCubbins.

In ignoring the Hastert Rule, Boehner bucked conservative opposition and relied upon Democratic support to pass legislation – which hurt his reputation as a party leader in the short run but preserved (in his estimation) the overall Republican brand name in the longer run.

But what happened Friday was different. It wasn’t a roll, but what we might call a “disappointment.” That is, Boehner had the support of a majority of his majority, but the bill ended up failing. This was because he lost more than 50 members of his caucus and was unable to corral more than a handful of Democrats to help pass the legislation.

Perhaps this is an occasion to make the pedantic point about the state of civics education in these United States. In order to be fascinated by Jenkins’ subsequent discussion of disappointments―he and colleagues Andrew Clarke and Nathan Monroe have apparently figured out that they are “extremely rare”―one must first comprehend the basic components; most are out of their depth well before they ever get to learning what a roll is. That such occasions are remotely significant? Well, that is complicated, or something, so why can’t the oppositional politicians we all voted for just get along?

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More Fun with Bill

Detail of cartoon by Brian McFadden, 6 March 2015, via Daily Kos Comics.“Bill O’Reilly was caught in a lie. No, not that one. Or that one. Or the whole sexual harassment loofah thing. This is not really news. Brian Williams being a fabulist was a little more surprising, but not really. Network and cable news are pretty much infotainment anchored by narcissists.”

Brain McFadden

It is unfortunate, as Brain McFadden notes, that “there’s been no comeuppance for the liars that got us into the Iraq War”, an aspect of these weird chapters of the American press that seems strangely lost on all the right people. Wrong people. Right people. Whatever. What more and more seems like the inevitable fall of Brian Williams has its tragic aspects. That there really isn’t much for comeuppance in Bill O’Reilly’s case is hardly unexpected. But it makes for great comedy vérité.

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McFadden, Brian. “America at War: with Bill O’Reilly”. Daily Kos. 6 March 2015.