Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Liberty Belles and Beaux

Well, there you have it. Pennsylvania finally straggles in behind the rest of the U.S. Northeast in marriage equality. A federal judge today joined the great wind of marriage equality today.

Among the several intriguing aspects is the per-state decisions as well as the court-driven conversion.

It was only a couple of years ago that equality advocates feared the state-by-state process. They figured it too risky, too likely to see differing results, and too likely arouse negative reaction by locals. Instead, it has become the accepted norm. The MSNBC article linked above notes that "Just three states – North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana – currently have no marriage equality lawsuits pending in either state or federal court. "

In the childish and paranoid preemptive panic following VT's civil unions, then MA's same-sex marriage, that U.S. map was foreboding and very anti-gay. Old times.

Now we face the whining and duplicity. Wingers and anti-LGBT folk are in high activist-judges mode. That is, when the co-equal third of democracy, the courts, rules in ways they don't like, they are evil and immoral. In contrast, when they go for Citizens United approving unlimited money-as-speech or OK guns in schools and bars, they are stewards of America.

We lefties have much to carp about in the court system, particularly the Supremes. Yet, in marriage equality, life is good.

Mark Fisher Gets Shout Down Instead of Shout-Out

Like the old man in Moonstruck, "I'm confused." Not only did I get sucked into a winger radio show embedded in a RedMassGroup diary, but here I pass it along.

You can go to The Kuhner Report page for the audio show. You can catch it on Red Mass Group, replete with sniping comments from its readers. It is over 40 minutes of fast-paced accusations, counter-accusations, bluster, innuendo, and calumny.

H/T to RMG's Rob Eno. I had never heard Kuhner's show and would have been unaware of this high theater had Eno not featured it.

Guest for Jeff Kuhner's show yesterday was Mark Fisher, the Tea Party GOP candidate for MA governor. As he was when he joined Left Ahead, he started and remained calm and rational throughout the show. In stark contrast, a couple of caller- in said he was a liar, that he misrepresented him involvement in the GOP, and worse.

The gist of Fisher's contentions includes that a couple GOP Poobahs and moneyed types asked him to drop out of the gubernatorial race, giving nearly certain nominee Charlie Baker a clear field with no primary. In return, Fisher said, he would get a shot at a more winnable office, plus funding toward such a race.  He named the Grand Poobahs in the show.

There have been he-says/he-says disagreements on who offered whom what when. To us with clean hands, those seem like quibbles. Some Baker folk may imply Fisher tried to extort up to $1 million from the party bigs to get out. Fisher's competing implication is that they wanted to bribe him.

Regardless, the consensus among GOP functionaries seems to be avoiding the primary is essential for Baker's November victory. As an aside, I'm with various righties and lefties thinking a primary can only strengthen Baker's hand, particularly with unenrolled voters.

The lowest ring of his Kuhner-show hell featured Boston Herald columnist and GOP consultant Holly Robichaud. She is the show.

Robichaud plays the drama queen and is even worse than Chris Matthews and at least as bad as Bill O'Reilly in screaming, in shouting down other speakers, in raw, abrasive emotion in lieu of logic. She is unbelievable in multiple senses of that term.

Her basic refutation of Fisher relies entirely on ad hominem ploys. Again and again, she screams that she knows this or that person Fisher says was involved in proposing the deal. She knows, she just knows (without evidence) that what he said is impossible. She was as far as possible from demonstrating anything in her QED. She just knows, like a parent who just knows her son would never steal a car.

The show fascinates me. There's the circled-wagons aspect. There's the crazed shouting lady, bordering on sociopathy.  Mostly there's the raised curtain revealing the motley GOP crew backstage.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fully Baked Charlie Baker on Gay Folk

There's a disarming, charming big-lug quality to Charlie Baker, candidate for MA Gov. You see him, as well as his brother Alex mirroring him, in the new ad off his campaign site.

Click below for a worthwhile two minutes. It's not going to make you cry or touch you deeply. Both guys are stiff, but hell, they're from New England. Yet, regardless of what you think of Charlie, you are likely to feel more positive about him...unless you hate and disrespect gay folk.

The head on his site page featuring the video is Charlie Releases New Video, "Brothers" To Mark 10 Year Anniversary Of Marriage Equality. That shows at least a bit of guts for an otherwise personally timid Charlie. It has not been news to Charlie that Alex is gay for quite some time. Alex married a man 10 years ago when MA was just gearing up for same-sex marriage.

Nevertheless, even in blue MA where SSM has been the law of the land for a decade, being openly LGBT friendly takes a bit of courage for a Republican. After all, the official state GOP platform claims on the one hand to " reject all forms of discrimination, intolerance and exploitation" and right below that " We believe the institution of traditional marriage strengthens our society." That passive-aggressive crap is just barely shy of overt anti-gay lingo.

So Charlie lets the exchange with Alex humanize him, in a big-lug, fraternal way. The arch conservatives and anti-homosexual types weren't going to vote for him anyway. As a political ploy, this can only help, In particular, unenrolled voters and wishy-washy Dems, particularly those who buy into the fantasy that we just have to have a Republican governor to keep balance in our government, are likely to feel good about the socially liberal Baker. That puts him in the mold of his mentor and former boss, GOP Gov. Bill Weld. That's good company around here.

Many around here though also know that the state house is full of registered Democratic legislators who are fiscally conservative, may also be somewhat socially conservative, and really were they honest and not afraid of losing their seats would swap registration to Republican. I've long held that most Republican pols in MA are Dems.

This ad can only help Baker get more undecided voters liking him. Nicely done at low risk, Charlie.

Kissy Kissy in Boise

Surely it's only coincidence that Idaho is one of two states shaped like a handgun. It is extreme — extremely gun rights, Republican, socially conservative, and no pathfinder in LGBT rights.

Now reduced to quivering yet angry wingers, the folk in the land of potatoes hear that they can't even delay homosexual couples marrying there. Yesterday, U.S.Magistrate Candy (yes, Candy) W. Dale rejected the state's request to delay implementation of marriage equality. (This link is to the Idaho Statesman, which has the best coverage of the issue. Click around there for more.)

This truly is the state of the art of same-sex marriage law.

It's been five or more years since anti-SSM/anti-gay types began admitting that the other side had one, that it was just a short time until marriage equality was the norm and the law. As Idaho and other recent cases have shown, you can't have federal and state laws that forbid discrimination while allowing discrimination in marriage. That conflict only resolves one way, in fairness and honesty.

Following the paranoia and panic from Vermont's civil; unions and Massachusetts gay marriages, the states with the dumbest legislators and most easily swayed voters did their worst. One-man/one-woman marriage laws and amendments sprung up like spring dandelions. They have delayed the inevitable but were a fool's fantasy, as useful as a picket fence in keeping out the winds of change.

So Magistrate Dale provided the bad news, news no petitioning bigot wants to hear. She rejected the request to stay the implementation of marriage equality in Idaho saying it "is not likely to succeed." She had previously noted that the state could not show damages if the marriages were allowed. Moreover, denying same-sex couples marriage "irreparably harms" them. Take that Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (yes, Butch and Otter) and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.

The state GOP spokesfolk iterate that this decision will cause further disintegration of its society. Over a decade of refuting evidence in the U.S. and worldwide makes little difference to little minds. At least Idaho law still lets bigots fire any homosexuals who work for them. So there.

All around the country, judges federal and state agreed with the winger seers who foretold this trend. You can't have it both ways. You can't claim you don't discriminate and then discriminate against a whole class of people. Meanwhile, a few states have gotten ahead of this, enabling marriage equality by law. Collectively, they remove themselves from the little-brain group.

Idaho is in fact the way it works. Standing at a podium or sitting in a bar screaming about how unfair it is to have to be fair may give you a self-righteousness fix, Otherwise, it's like urinating in a Depend diaper. It gives you a nice, warm feeling but doesn't do anything meaningful.