Daily Archives: November 3, 2009

Louisiana Justice of the Peace Quits After Interracial Wedding Incident

keithbardwell.wafbmid

E. Keith Bardwell

AP/Melinda Deslatte—A Louisiana justice of the peace who refused to marry a couple because the bride was white and groom was black resigned Tuesday.

Keith Bardwell, who is white, quit the post with a one-sentence statement to Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne and no explanation of his decision: “I do hereby resign the office of Justice of the Peace for the Eighth Ward of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, effective November 3, 2009.”

Bardwell refused to perform the ceremony for Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay because they are of different races.

When questioned about his refusal, Bardwell acknowledged he routinely recuses himself from marrying interracial couples because he believes such marriages cause harm to the couples’ children. In interviews, he said he refers such couples to other justices of the peace, who then perform the ceremony, which happened in this case.

mckaycouplenterracial

Newlyweds Beth Humphrey and Terence McKay

Humphrey has said she and McKay received their marriage license from the parish clerk of court, where they also received a list of people qualified to perform the ceremony. When she called Bardwell’s office to ask about the ceremony on Oct. 6, Humphrey said Bardwell’s wife told her that the justice wouldn’t sign their marriage license because they were a “mixed couple.”

Humphrey and McKay have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Bardwell.

More @ Associated Press

blank

Related Articles

Some Unanswered Questions on the Justice of the Peace Who Refuses to Wed Interracial Couples Story

2 Comments

Filed under Law, Politics, Racism, Uncategorized

A world of change in 287 days

It’s been a year since a healthy majority of American voters elected Barack Obama to change the world. Which is precisely what he’s doing.

posted by betsmeier

By Eugene Robinson

Like many people who desperately want to see the country take a more progressive course, I quibble and quarrel with some of President Obama’s actions. I wish he’d been tougher on Wall Street, quicker to close Guantanamo, more willing to investigate Bush-era excesses, bolder in seeking truly universal health care. I wish he could summon more of the rhetorical magic that spoke so compellingly to the better angels of our nature.

But he’s a president, not a Hollywood action hero. Most of my frustration is really with the process of getting anything done in Washington, which is not something Obama can unilaterally change, nimbly circumvent or blithely ignore. One thing the new administration clearly did not anticipate was that Republicans in Congress would be so consistently and unanimously obstructionist — or that Democrats would have to be introduced to the alien concept of party discipline. It took the White House too long to realize that bipartisanship is a tango and that there’s no point in dancing alone.
Step back for a moment, though, and look at Obama’s record.

Cont’d Here:

Leave a comment

Filed under 2010 Elections, Bailout, Change, Democrats, Economy, Editorial, Jobs, Uncategorized

Berkshire Buying Burlington Northern Railroad

posted by GeoT

“An Investemnt in the Future of America”

Geo T Note: This is a play on railroads becoming the “green” mode of commercial transport, supplanting trucking. The near future will see new track laid and faster more efficient shipping methods developed…

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) — Berkshire Hathaway Inc. agreed to buy railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. in the company’s biggest takeover under Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett

Buffett’s firm will buy the 77.4 percent of the railroad it doesn’t already own for $100 a share in cash and stock, valuing the transaction at about $44 billion, including $10 billion in outstanding debt, Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said in a statement today distributed by Business Wire. That compares with the railroad’s closing price yesterday of $76.07.

“It’s an all-in wager on the economic future of the United States,” Buffett said in the statement.

Berkshire has been building a stake in the Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad for more than two years as Buffett looked for what he called an “elephant”-sized acquisition in which he could deploy his company’s cash hoard, valued at more than $24 billion as of the end of June. Trains stand to become more competitive against trucks with fuel prices high, he has said.

“As oil prices go up, higher diesel fuel raises costs for rails, but it raises costs for its competitors, truckers, roughly by a factor of four,” Buffett told shareholders in 2007 at his company’s annual meeting. “There could be a lot more business there than there was in the past.”

Full Story Here:

1 Comment

Filed under Capitalism, Economy, Green, Technology, Transportation, Uncategorized

Maine Question 1: We’re Working too Hard to Lose …

posted by GeoT

by Paul Hogarth‚ Nov. 02‚ 2009 SOUTH PORTLAND – I’m writing this on Monday, November 2nd at 2:00 a.m., and will get up early so I will be brief. This weekend has been intense, as myself and Jay Jonah Cash have placed “No on 1” campaign volunteers from New Hampshire, New York, Boston, Vermont and 20 Yale students in a South Portland hotel for our Drive for Equality program. It’s inspiring to see the passion as we sense this election’s national implications for marriage equality. And we’re still on the phones and sending out e-mails, asking folks to make spur-of-the-moment plans to drive up to Maine. Sign up at our website, and we’ll stuff as many committed volunteers into hotel rooms as we can.

We have a better ground game than our opposition, but it will be close. Literally before going to my bedroom for the night, a new poll came out with us down by 4 points. “We expect there to be almost twice as many voters over 65 as young voters,” said the pollsters, “but if that gap narrows so would the vote on Question 1. With a race as close as this, it all comes down to which side can get its people out to the polls. It could go either way depending on who actually shows up to vote.” We’re working too hard to lose this …

Full Article Here:

Leave a comment

Filed under Gay (LGBT) Rights, Uncategorized

Uncivil War: Conservatives to challenge a dozen GOP candidates

posted by GeoT

In The Conservative Cross-hairs:

"NOT CONSERVATIVE ENOUGH"

In what could be a nightmare scenario for Republican Party officials, conservative activists are gearing up to challenge leading GOP candidates in more than a dozen key House and Senate races in 2010.

Conservatives and tea party activists had already set their sights on some of the GOP’s top Senate recruits — a list that includes Gov. Charlie Crist in Florida, former Rep. Rob Simmons in Connecticut and Rep. Mark Kirk in Illinois, among others.

Scozzafava, Hoffman

But their success in Tuesday’s upstate New York special election, where grass-roots efforts pushed GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava to drop out of the race and helped Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman surge into the lead on the eve of Election Day, has generated more money and enthusiasm than organizers ever imagined.

Activists predict a wave that could roll from California to Kentucky to New Hampshire and that could leave even some GOP incumbents — Utah Sen. Bob Bennett is one — facing unexpectedly fierce challenges from their right flank.

“I would say it’s the tip of the spear,” said Dick Armey, the former GOP House majority leader who now serves as chairman of FreedomWorks, an organization that has been closely aligned with the tea party movement. “We are the biggest source of energy in American politics today.”

“What you’re going to see,” said Armey, “is moderates and conservatives across the country in primaries.”

These high-stakes primaries, pitting the activist wing of the party against the

fighting_elephants

GOP -v- GOP

establishment wing, stand to have a profound impact on the 2010 election landscape since they will create significant problems for moderate candidates recruited by the national party precisely because they appear well-suited to win in places that are not easily — or even plausibly — won by conservative candidates.

The tensions between the two visions threaten to limit the party’s gains in an election year that is shaping up in its favor.

Party strategists worry that well-funded, well-organized challenges from the right could force Republicans to exhaust precious resources on messy primary fights — or force moderate candidates to adopt more strident positions early on that could haunt them during the final months of the campaign.

“For me, what this says is, we need to take a deep breath and decide whether [moderates and conservatives] work together or not,” said Tom Davis, the former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “And if we don’t, it can get very, very ugly.”

Continues @: politicologosmall

1 Comment

Filed under 2010 Elections, Conservative, Democrats, Elections, Uncategorized

NJ, VA, NY elections cast as referendum on Obama

Posted by GeoT
Democrats bracing for the unhappy possibility they could go down to defeat, Obama specter looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans seeking a comeback from recent losses may pick up the governor’s seats in Virginia and New Jersey on Tuesday in campaigns that tested the limits of President Barack Obama’s influence.

Democrats were bracing for the unhappy possibility they could go down to defeat not just in those two states but in a congressional district in upstate New York where a conservative candidate was leading.

The election outcome could give some clues as to the national mood a year after Obama was elected president and a year before 2010 congressional elections that will represent the first clear referendum on Obama’s time in office.

Full Story @:

Related Video:

Related Story:

1 Comment

Filed under 2010 Elections, Democrats, Republicans, Uncategorized

Sarah Palin: Rogue Republican or Democratic Operative?

blogpost by: JUST A GIRL FROM HOMER


“Why do you still talk about Sarah Palin? Maybe if you shut up she’d go away.”

Wrong.

Sarah Palin isn’t going anywhere. Look at her political history. When Sarah ran for mayor of Wasilla, she had to destroy her Republican opponent, John Stein.

The Robo-caller from Wasilla

Once elected, she boasted she was “the first Christian mayor”. Mr. Stein replied, “Really?”

Palin and Wasilla Republican and Alaska Senate President, Lyda Green, often clashed over politics in Green’s district. On a local shock jock talk show, Palin giggled after the host called Lyda Green “a cancer”. Green had just recovered from cancer. Plunk, there went the district.

When Palin filed to run for governor against first term incumbent Frank Murkowski, people took notice. Frank wasn’t loved. His first act as governor was to nepotistically appoint his daughter to fill his vacated US Senate seat. Within the Alaska GOP, a war ensued, including fisticuffs at the Republican Party picnic between rabid Palin supporters and the GOP faithful. Oh, lookie, there went the state…copy

Many people regard Sarah Palin as a punch line. That’s too easy. In fact, she’s more of a threat. If the Republican Party had half a mind, they would look at Palin’s history of party divisiveness, polarization and destruction and take heed. In fact, they’d be smart to take her at her word. She’s a self-proclaimed rogue.

Read More: JUST A GIRL FROM HOMER

6 Comments

Filed under 2010 Elections, Blogging, Republicans, Uncategorized

President Obama’s Saturday Youtube Address 10/31/09

white house gov logo
WhiteHouse.gov—While there is nothing to celebrate until job numbers turn around, the President cites the recent dramatic turnaround in gross domestic product as a sign of better things to come. He also applauds the fact that the Recovery Act has now created or saved more than a million jobs.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 31, 2009

Each week, I’ve spoken with you about the challenges we face as a nation and the path we must take to meet them. And the truth is, over the past ten months, I’ve often had to report distressing news during what has been a difficult time for our country. But today, I am pleased to offer some better news that – while not cause for celebration – is certainly reason to believe that we are moving in the right direction.

On Thursday, we received a report on our Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. This is an important measure of our economy as a whole, one that tells us how much we are producing and how much businesses and families are earning. We learned that the economy grew for the first time in more than a year and faster than at any point in the previous two years. So while we have a long way to go before we return to prosperity, and there will undoubtedly be ups and downs along the road, it’s also true that we’ve come a long way. It is easy to forget that it was only several months ago that the economy was shrinking rapidly and many economists feared another Great Depression.

Now, economic growth is no substitute for job growth. And we will likely see further job losses in the coming days, a fact that is both troubling for our economy and heartbreaking for the men and women who suddenly find themselves out of work. But we will not create the jobs we need unless the economy is growing; that’s why this GDP report is a good sign. And we can see clearly now that the steps my administration is taking are making a difference, blunting the worst of this recession and helping to bring about its conclusion.

We’ve acted aggressively to jumpstart credit for families and businesses, including small businesses, which have seen an increase in lending of 73 percent. We’ve taken steps to stem the tide of foreclosures, modifying mortgages to help hundreds of thousands of responsible homeowners keep their homes and help millions more sustain the value in their homes. And the Recovery Act is spurring demand through a tax cut for 95 percent of working families, and through assistance for seniors and those who have lost jobs – which not only helps folks hardest hit by the downturn, but also encourages the consumer spending that will help turn the economy around.

Finally, the Recovery Act is saving and creating jobs all across the country. Just this week, we reached an important milestone. Based on reports coming in from across America – as shovels break ground, as needed public servants are rehired, and as factories whir to life – it is clear that the Recovery Act has now created and saved more than one million jobs. That’s more than a million people who might otherwise be out of work today – folks who can wake up each day knowing that they’ll be able to provide for themselves and their families.

We’ve saved jobs by closing state budget shortfalls to prevent the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of police officers, firefighters, and teachers who are today on the beat, on call, and in the classroom because of the Recovery Act. And we’ve also created hundreds of thousands of jobs through the largest investment in our roads since the building of the interstate highways, and through the largest investments in education, medical research, and clean energy in history.

These investments aren’t just helping us recover in the short term, they’re helping to lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity in the long term – and they’re giving hardworking, middle-class Americans the chance to succeed and raise a family. Because of the investments we’ve made and the steps we’ve taken, it’s easier for middle-class families to send their kids to college and get the training and skills they need to compete in a global economy. We’re making it easier for these families to save for retirement. And in areas like clean energy, we’re creating the jobs of the future – jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.

In fact, just this week, I traveled to Arcadia, Florida to announce the largest set of clean energy projects through the Recovery Act so far: one hundred grants for businesses, utilities, manufacturers, cities and other partners across the country to put thousands of people to work modernizing our electric grid – the system that provides power to our homes and businesses – so that it wastes less energy, helps integrate renewables like wind and solar, and saves consumers money. And that’s just one example.

So, we have made progress. At the same time, I want to emphasize that there’s still plenty of progress to be made. For we know that positive news for the economy as a whole means little if you’ve lost your job and can’t find another, if you can’t afford health care or the mortgage, if you do not see in your own life the improvement we are seeing in these economic statistics. And positive news today does not mean there won’t be difficult days ahead. As I’ve said many times, it took years to dig our way into the crisis we’ve faced. It will take more than a few months to dig our way out. But make no mistake: that’s exactly what we will do.

For the economy we seek is one where folks who need a job can find one and incomes are rising again. The economy we seek is one where small businesses can flourish and entrepreneurs can get the capital they need to plant new seeds of growth. The economy we seek is one that’s no longer based on maxed out credits cards, wild speculation, and the old cycles of boom or bust – but rather one that’s built on a solid foundation, supporting growth that is strong, sustained, and broadly shared by middle class families across America. That is what we are working toward every single day. And we will not stop until we get there.

Thank you. And Happy Halloween.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, Weekly YouTube Address

Shut Up, “Neo-Progressives!” You’re more like neo-cons than you think.

_______________blogpost by  Ogenec________________

Despite their fevered protestations, the two are like peas in a pod. And their disease is contagious.

In popular discourse, there is a pitched fight between “progressives” and “conservatives.” On just about every issue, you see signs of the partisan sniping: health care, the economy, foreign policy, etc. But as I’ve watched the spittle fly and the rhetoric spiral ever downward, I’ve reached two conclusions. First, the fight is not between progressives and conservatives; it’s between “neo-progressives” and “neo-conservatives.” Second, neo-progressives and neo-conservatives are much closer in thinking than they care to admit.

The Neo-con lineup

The Neo-con lineup

Right now you’re probably scratching your head in abject puzzlement. So let me try to explain. First up, what is a neo-progressive, anyway ? Well, we all know what a neo-con is, right? A neo-con is a person who wraps himself in the mantle of conservatism to advance policy goals — such as the “pre-emptive” war in Iraq — that are a complete perversion of conservatism. That same reasoning applies to neo-progressives: they wrap themselves in the mantle of the progressive moment to advance policy goals that are anything but. And, to the extent their goals are in fact progressive, the means by which they attempt to secure them are positively Roveian.

Let me illustrate the “similarity” point, which will also shed additional light on the first point. Take the inveighing against Wall Street and its bonus payouts.

Both Sides Against The Middle

Both Sides Against The Middle

I’m not so much focusing on the merits of the issue. But only pointing out that factions on both the left and the right share an extreme distaste for the bailouts. How they get there may be substantively different — the Extreme Left is anti Big Business, and the Extreme Right is anti government meddling in Big Business — but the result is the same. Both sides hate it, and both sides resort to the worst kind of economic populism to make their criticism heard. Both are holding the pitchforks. Or instigating others to do so.

How about foreign policy as another example? It’s a matter of record that neo-cons were instrumental in launching the war in Iraq. Progressives opposed that war, and rightly so. However, a more recent incident — the voting irregularities in Iran — shows just how closely aligned the neo-cons and the neo-progressives can be.

iranprotestpictures.com

iranprotestpictures.com

As is their wont, neo-conservatives argued for muscular rhetoric and saber-rattling against the Iranian government. That all-too-familiar drumbeat for “intervention” started up again. See, for example: “Her Name was Neda”. No surprise there, you say. But what was surprising was how closely this rhetoric was mirrored by some on the Left. They argued, just as the neo-conservatives did, that it was time for Obama to toughen his stance.
Neda Protest Sign

Neda Protest Sign


For example: Neda’s Martyrdom and the Pitfalls of Obama’s Chronic Pragmatism
Again, I’m not opining as to whether the Neda incident required greater intervention than the United States government provided. Only that conservatives and progressives found themselves in much the same place on this issue. This op-ed from June by E.J. Dionne makes the point:
The Liberals’ Iran Dilemma.

The last example is the most important one, as it pertains to the process of governing. As such, it pervades every issue.

Click for more information

Click for more information

Neo-conservatives in the Bush era, led by Cheney and David Addington, were fierce advocates of the “Unitary Executive” theory: that every ounce of legislative, political, and policy power should flow from the White House. That position, and the zeal with which Cheney and his underlings acted on it, led directly to such outrages as the doctoring of intelligence for the Iraq war; the shameful outing of Valerie Plame; the Justice Department firings; and the politicization of science education. Given its shameful provenance, you would think that progressives would be the first to disavow such an approach. And, in fact, real progressives do.

But not neo-progressives. They want Obama to act just as high-handedly as Bush-Cheney did. They want all power to flow through the White House, and for Obama to ramrod through their preferred policy prescriptions already. The problem with Bush, it turns out, is not how he implemented policy but the actual policies themselves: if you just changed the policy preferences but kept the Bush method, we’d be golden!!! Oh, they don’t say it quite so blatantly, of course. They hide behind codewords like “spineless” and “gutless,” and they bemoan things like bipartisanship, a word they can barely bring themselves to say without a lip-curling sneer. But that’s what they mean.

So the next time some “progressive” says Obama needs to steamroll the conservatives already, you turn around and say “shut the f**k up, you stupid neo-progressives. We’ve had quite enough of that take-no-prisoners approach, and the adults are back in charge.” And point ’em to this excellent Dkos diary by AZDem, which makes the point that true liberals display “Niebuhrian humility”: “The Myth of Certainty” Certainty, that’s for neo-conservatives. And neo-progressives. Despite their fevered protestations, the two are like peas in a pod. And their disease is contagious, so it’s best to stay away from both types altogether. Especially during flu season.

Related article: Obama and the Left’s Old Schism

19 Comments

Filed under Bailout, Banking, Civil Protest, Elections, Middle East, Partisan Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized, War