Posted by Audiegrl
Texas Governor Rick Perry goes full-on-bat-sh*t-crazy with his anti-Obama rhetoric. Is this his plan to hold on to Governor’s mansion?
As Josh Marshall of TPM says, “Really crazy, lurid stuff. Dangerous times.”.
Posted by Audiegrl
538/Nate Silver—The outcome of all seven contests that we were tracking tonight appears settled, or very nearly so:
Virginia Governor: Republican Bob McDonnell wins by 17 points, toward the upper end of the range predicted by the pollsters, although not to anybody’s great surprise. Democrats had major turnout problems here; exit polls show that the electorate which turned out in Virginia supported McCain in last year’s election 51-43, almost exactly the opposite of the actual margin.But Deeds also appears to have been the weaker candidate. The electorate was roughly spit on approval of Obama, but 20 percent of those who approved Obama nevertheless voted for McDonnell, while just 5 percent of those who disapproved Obama voted for Deeds.
New Jersey Governor: Republican Chris Christie wins 49-45. We had (somewhat tentatively) characterized the race as leaning Christie on the basis of superior enthusiasm and the incumbent rule. Corzine never polled at better than 44 percent in any individual poll of the race. It looked for a time like 44 or 45 percent might nevertheless have been enough to win him the election, but support for the third party candidate Chris Daggett collapsed, leaving him exposed.Obama approval was actually pretty strong in New Jersey, at 57 percent, but 27 percent of those who approved of Obama nevertheless voted for someone other than Corzine. This one really does appear to be mostly about Corzine being an unappealing candidate, as the Democrats look like they’ll lose just one or two seats in the state legislature in Trenton. Corzine compounded his problems by staying negative until the bitter end of the campaign rather than rounding out his portfolio after having closed the margin with Christie.
NY-23: Democrat Bill Owens prevails in a result that will be regarded as surprising; the final tally isn’t in yet but it appears as though it will be something on theorder of 50-45 over Conservative Doug Hoffman. I don’t think I’ve ever hedged more on predicting the outcome of a race; the main issue is that there was a rather large discrepancy between the polling, which heavily favored Hoffman, and what I perceived to be the facts on the ground. NY-23 is solidly Republican but not especially conservative (it voted for Barack Obama last year), and Hoffman was a relatively uncharismatic candidate with poor command of the local issues.
If New Jersey was a win for the incumbent rule, then NY-23 may have ben a win for the Median voter theorem, as Owens — a conservative Democrat — was actually much closer to the average ideology of the district than the capital-C Conservative Hoffman. It was also a reminder that all politics is local (sometimes). More than 95 percent of Hoffman’s contributions came from out-of-district, and the conservative activists who tried to brand him as a modern-day Jefferson Smith never bothered to check whether he resonated particularly well with the zeitgeist of the district. In any event, this is a Democratic takeover of a GOP-held seat and they expand by one their majority in the House.
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.
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.
Posted by AudiegrlIt’s ironic that last Wednesday Louisiana was visited by the President of the United States, who just happens to be a biracial child of a interracial marriage. It was also the day that the story broke about the Louisianan Justice of the Peace who refused to marry a interracial couple. We all thought that in 1967, in the case Loving vs. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government cannot prohibit marriages simply because of the race of the spouses. But E. Keith Bardwell has other ideas.
Bardwell said the State Attorney General told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.
“I told him if I do, I’ll resign,” Bardwell said. “I have rights too. I’m not obligated to do that just because I’m a justice of the peace.”
The 44 Diaries has contacted the Louisiana State’s Attorney’s office to get further clarification. We contacted Jennifer Roche, the Public Information Officer for the Louisiana Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell. We specifically asked if the LSA office had any official statement on this incident. We also asked if the LSA office had any comment on Bardwell’s claim that a “State Attorney General told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.” If a previous AG knew he was doing something illegal, then why was he allowed to run for and serve as justice of the peace all these years? We contacted the office Friday afternoon by both phone and email, and have not recieved a reply yet. We will gladly provide an update once those questions have been answered.
CNN/AP—A justice of the peace in Louisiana who has drawn widespread criticism for refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple says he has no regrets about his decision.
“It’s kind of hard to apologize for something that you really and truly feel down in your heart you haven’t done wrong,” Keith Bardwell told CNN affiliate WAFB on Saturday.
Bardwell, a justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish’s 8th Ward, refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her then boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.
Bardwell’s actions have elicited reactions from some top officials, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who called for Bardwell’s dismissal.
“This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. … disciplinary action should be taken immediately — including the revoking of his license,” the Republican governor said Friday.
AP—Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.“I’m not a racist. I just don’t believe in mixing the races that way,” Bardwell told the Associated Press on Thursday. “I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else.”
“There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” Bardwell said. “I think those children suffer and I won’t help put them through it.”
AP—Bardwell has said he always asks if a couple is interracial and, if they are, refers them to another justice of the peace. Bardwell said no one had complained in the past and he doesn’t marry the couples because he’s worried about their children’s futures.“Perhaps he’s worried the kids will grow up and be president,” said Bill Quigley, director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice, referring to President Barack Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas.
Obama’s deputy press secretary Bill Burton echoed those sentiments.
“I’ve found that actually the children of biracial couples can do pretty good,” Burton told reporters aboard Air Force One as it flew to Texas.
Bardwell maintains he can recuse himself from marrying people. Quigley disagreed.
“A justice of the peace is legally obligated to serve the public, all of the public,” Quigley said. “Racial discrimination has been a violation of Louisiana and U.S. law for decades. No public official has the right to pick and choose which laws they are going to follow.”
A spokeswoman for the Louisiana Judiciary Commission said investigations were confidential and would not comment. If the commission recommends action to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the matter would become public.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said in a statement Bardwell’s practices and comments were deeply disturbing.
“Not only does his decision directly contradict Supreme Court rulings, it is an example of the ugly bigotry that divided our country for too long,” she said.
Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess said Bardwell’s views were not consistent with his or those of the local government. But as an elected official, Bardwell was not under the supervision of the parish government.
“However, I am certainly very disappointed that anyone representing the people of Tangipahoa Parish, particularly an elected official, would take such a divisive stand,” Burgess said in an e-mail. “I would hope that Mr. Bardwell would consider offering his resignation if he is unable to serve all of the people of his district and our parish.”
Louisiana’s Gov. Jindal calls for ouster of judge who refused marriage license to interracial couple
Louisiana Justice of the Peace Denies Marriage License to Interracial Couple
Interracial Couple Denied Marriage License By Louisiana Judge
Groups Upset Man Wouldn’t Marry Interracial Couple
WhiteHouse.gov—In his weekly address, President Barack Obama praised the progress that has been made on health insurance reform, and spoke out against those who defend the status quo in order to score political points and protect their profits. With reform the closest it has ever been to becoming law, the insurance companies are rolling out deceptive ads, paying for misleading studies, and flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists. Now, Washington needs to serve the American people, not the special interests.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
October 17, 2009
Over the better part of the past year, a great debate has taken place in Washington and across America, about how to reform our health care system to provide security for people with insurance, coverage for those without insurance, and lower costs for everyone. From the halls of Congress to the homes of ordinary Americans, this debate has helped us to forge consensus and find common ground. That’s a good thing. That’s what America is all about.
Now, as the debate draws to a close, we can point to a broad and growing coalition of doctors and nurses, workers and businesses, hospitals and even drug companies – folks who represent different parties and perspectives, including leading Democrats and many leading Republicans – who recognize the urgency of action. Just this week, the Senate Finance Committee approved a reform proposal that has both Democratic and Republican support. For the first time ever, all five committees in Congress responsible for health reform have passed a version of legislation. As I speak to you today, we are closer to reforming the health care system than we have ever been in history.
But this is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. This is not the time to grow complacent. There are still significant details and disagreements to be worked out in the coming weeks. And there are still those who would try to kill reform at any cost. The history is clear: for decades rising health care costs have unleashed havoc on families, businesses, and the economy. And for decades, whenever we have tried to reform the system, the insurance companies have done everything in their considerable power to stop us.
We know that this inaction has carried a terrible toll. In the past decade, premiums have doubled. Over the past few years, total out of pocket costs for people with insurance rose by a third. And we know that if we do not reform the system, this will only be a preview of coming attractions. A new report for the Business Roundtable – a non-partisan group that represents the CEOs of major companies – found that without significant reform, health care costs for these employers and their employees will well more than double again over the next decade. The cost per person for health insurance will rise by almost $18,000. That’s a huge amount of money. That’s going to mean lower salaries and higher unemployment, lower profits and higher rolls of uninsured. It is no exaggeration to say, that unless we act, these costs will devastate the US economy.
This is the unsustainable path we’re on, and it’s the path the insurers want to keep us on. In fact, the insurance industry is rolling out the big guns and breaking open their massive war chest – to marshal their forces for one last fight to save the status quo. They’re filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads. They’re flooding Capitol Hill with lobbyists and campaign contributions. And they’re funding studies designed to mislead the American people.
Of course, like clockwork, we’ve seen folks on cable television who know better, waving these industry-funded studies in the air. We’ve seen industry insiders – and their apologists – citing these studies as proof of claims that just aren’t true. They’ll claim that premiums will go up under reform; but they know that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that reforms will lower premiums in a new insurance exchange while offering consumer protections that will limit out-of-pocket costs and prevent discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. They’ll claim that you’ll have to pay more out of pocket; but they know that this is based on a study that willfully ignores whole sections of the bill, including tax credits and cost savings that will greatly benefit middle class families. Even the authors of one of these studies have now admitted publicly that the insurance companies actually asked them to do an incomplete job.
It’s smoke and mirrors. It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, “Take one of these, and call us in a decade.” Well, not this time. The fact is, the insurance industry is making this last-ditch effort to stop reform even as costs continue to rise and our health care dollars continue to be poured into their profits, bonuses, and administrative costs that do nothing to make us healthy – that often actually go toward figuring out how to avoid covering people. And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exception from our anti-trust laws, a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.
Now, I welcome a good debate. I welcome the chance to defend our proposals and to test our ideas in the fires of this democracy. But what I will not abide are those who would bend the truth – or break it – to score political points and stop our progress as a country. And what we all must oppose are the same old cynical Washington games that have been played for decades even as our problems have grown and our challenges have mounted.
Last November, the American people went to the polls in historic numbers and demanded change. They wanted a change in our policies; but they also sought a change in our politics: a politics that too often has fallen prey to the lobbyists and the special interests; that has fostered division and sustained the status quo. Passing health insurance reform is a great test of this proposition. Yes, it will make a profound and positive difference in the lives of the American people. But it also now represents something more: whether or not we as a nation are capable of tackling our toughest challenges, if we can serve the national interest despite the unrelenting efforts of the special interests; if we can still do big things in America.
I believe we can. I believe we will. And I urge every member of Congress to stand against the power plays and political ploys – and to stand up on behalf the American people who sent us to Washington to do their business.
Posted by Audiegrl
Once again President Obama proves that he out classes his Republican opponents by a mile. Earlier today during a town hall held in Nola, the president mentioned the name of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The audience replied with a resounding chorus of boos. So did the president agree with them (like his right-wing opponents would have) or did he show some real class by discouraging the booing?
“No, no, Bob is doing a good job,” the president told the crowd at the University of New Orleans. “Bobby, if it makes you feel any better I get that all the time,” he continued, and the crowd laughed. More seriously, he added, “Even though we have our differences politically, one thing I will say is that this person is working hard on behalf of the state, and you gotta give people credit for working hard.” This time, the audience cheered.
That’s how this President rolls…
Posted by Audiegrl
The Dessert Sun/Nicole C. Brambila—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a bill recognizing gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk and another recognizing the rights and benefits of legally married same-sex couples.
Schwarzenegger signed the two pieces of legislation as he dealt with nearly 700 bills on his desk. Sunday was the deadline to sign legislation passed in regular session.
Schwarzenegger attached the following statement to the same-sex couple law:
“As required by Proposition 8, California will not recognize such couples as ‘married.’ However, Senate Bill 54 will provide the same legal protections that would otherwise be available to couples that enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships out-of-state. In short, this measure honors the will of the People in enacting Proposition 8 while providing important protections to those unions legally entered into in other states,” Schwarzenegger wrote.
The Harvey Milk Day bill calls for a day to honor of the slain, gay civil rights leader. It also seeks to educate Californians about the former San Francisco City Supervisor, the nation’s first elected openly gay person.
Advocates considered both necessary for advancing gay civil rights.
Associated Press/Don Thompson— Slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk will get a special day of recognition in California, making him only the second person in state history to gain such a designation.Penn spoke out in favor of the bill last spring, saying he didn’t want to insult Schwarzenegger’s intelligence by assuming the governor would again oppose creating Harvey Milk Day.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signing of the bill establishing “Harvey Milk Day” each May 22, Milk’s birthday, was announced Monday.
The Republican governor vetoed similar legislation a year ago. In the interim, Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in August and was the subject of a movie for which Sean Penn won the Academy Award for best actor.
“He has become much more of a symbol of the gay community than he was a year ago because of those things,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said. “That may be the difference from last year: he’s really come to symbolize the gay community in California”