Posted by: Donna
If you worship the concept of “states rights” and revere the 10th Amendment, this proposed resolution in the North Carolina General Assembly/a> should be no problem for you at all.
SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools, or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.
Of course right wingers love the idea of states being able to establish a religion if they can’t get the federal government to do it (since their commitment to “states rights” is only invoked when convenient). But you know, it would seem to me that even if you are not a rabid social conservative but do think that controversial culture war issues ought to be “left to the states to decide” in the interest of national tranquility, then you should definitely be fine with states (including yours) deciding whether or not to establish an official religion!
If that sounds ridiculous to you then perhaps you should remember how religion can be a very touchy and emotional subject. Some people get terribly upset that other people refuse to join them in practicing what they believe is the one true faith. Since they tend to be people who make a lot of noise and have power and influence behind them, isn’t it only reasonable to accommodate them so that we can all get along? And isn’t it awfully generous to allow the states to determine whether or not you have to observe an official religion rather than getting in a big, messy national fight over it that distracts from more important issues? I mean, that’s what people have been telling me about abortion and gay rights for years. Sauce for the gander, and all.
Posted by: Donna
In 2006 Prop 107 would have added the following words to the Arizona State Constitution:
“To preserve and protect marriage in this state, only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage by this state or its political subdivisions and no legal status for unmarried persons shall be created or recognized by this state or its political subdivisions that is similar to that of marriage.”
It was defeated by nearly three points in the election that year, a result that was quite a rarity at that time. Opponents to the Protection of Marriage Act, as it was called, shrewdly and successfully persuaded the majority of Arizona voters that the proposed amendment went too far with the “no legal status for unmarried persons shall be created or recognized” language. That meant that all same sex partners, in addition to many opposite sex couples, could be denied a host of benefits and legal protections.
So the conservatives came back with a “marriage only” amendment two years later. Prop 102 added the following words to the state constitution:
“ONLY A UNION OF ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN SHALL BE VALID OR RECOGNIZED AS A MARRIAGE IN THIS STATE.”
And they swore up and down they were only interested in protecting the precious, holy institution of straight marriage from same-sex interlopers and did not intend to use it to attack civil unions. I had more than one prominent supporter of Prop 102 make that claim right to my face. Of course, the second the 2008 election was over the opponents of marriage equality forgot all about that. One of the first things Governor Brewer did when she was appointed in 2009 was sign a Center for Arizona Policy bill that would have yanked domestic partnership benefits from state employees in same-sex relationships. In the meantime, CAP has made it abundantly clear that they believe so-called “marriage counterfeits” are a threat to society and should be fought vigorously. Since they’ve not had much luck trying to get Phoenix and Tucson to roll back their domestic partnership benefits, Cathi Herrod is now turning her sights on the little hamlet of Bisbee. The Bisbee City Council will be voting tonight on legally recognizing the civil unions of same-sex couples.
They will be the first city in Arizona to give full legal status civil unions, short of marriage which is prohibited in the constitution, if the ordinance passes. CAP is clearly planning to sue if it does:
But a conservative Christian advocacy group says Bisbee can’t legally recognize civil unions that would include same-sex couples.
A letter from the Phoenix-based Center for Arizona Policy says an ordinance would violate the Arizona Constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage and would be the subject of a costly legal fight.
Again, this is NOT what they were telling voters about what Prop 102 did back in 2008. Here’s what Peter Gentala, Chairman of Arizona for Marriage, said in support of the measure in the Secretary of State’s publicity pamphlet:
Get the facts. Opponents of marriage will say anything to get you to vote against protecting marriage. Here are some of their distortions:
Myth: Arizonans have already rejected this marriage amendment.
Fact: Proposition 102 is very different from the amendment that was proposed in 2006, and does one thing only: it preserves marriage as between a man and a woman. This amendment sets the issue of domestic partnerships aside and focuses where Arizonans agree: on the meaning of marriage.
Looks like the leaders behind Prop 102 deliberately perpetrated a fraud on the voters of Arizona. Which I doubt troubles their consciences in the slightest, since they’re all about availing themselves of useful lies to advance their cause.
Posted by: Donna
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Arizona House of Representatives Appropriations Committee made a large group of people wait several hours before they could hear testimony and comment on committee chair John Kavanagh’s “bathroom bill”. Kavanagh’s bill is basically retribution for the recent Phoenix City Council vote to include gender expression and disability in the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance, which gave Cathi Herrod of Center for Arizona Policy a big old conniption fit.
The vast majority of the audience were there in opposition to the bill. When it was finally brought up for hearing, they filed up to the dais one after another to tell their stories as best they could in the short time each were permitted. Many were transgender individuals describing what a harrowing ordeal using restrooms and other public spaces is for them. One speaker reminded the committee that transgender people are the minority group most likely to be murdered in hate crimes. But there were touching expressions of hope and dignity and humor in much of the testimony too. Also, I’m pretty sure this hearing was the first time the word “cisgendered” was ever heard in the Arizona Legislature, which I have to say was very cool.
There was one speaker in support of the bill, small business owner Nohl Rosen, who felt that Phoenix’s ordinance trampled on the freedom of business owners. Fun fact about Mr. Rosen: Last November he signed a petition along with thousands of others disgruntled about the results of the Presidential election to have Arizona secede from the union.
Nohl Rosen describes himslef as an Independent, disappointed in the Obama Administration, and he is one of more than 14,000 Arizonanas who want some space.
“This is not the country I was born in and grew up loving. It’s turned into something completely different,” Rosen said.
They’ve signed this petition on the White House Web page, asking that Arizona peacefully secede from the Union. And we’re not alone, thousands of people 40 states, from Rhode Island to California, have signed petitions for their state to separate. Texas has more than 82,000 signatures alone, each one saying ‘”I want out.”
“When we decided to break off from England people thought those people were nuts. These people were the forefathers of our country!” said Rosen.
With that, I’ll give Mr. Rosen’s opinions on this matter the full consideration they are due. Here’s his business, in case you don’t want to patronize it. (I will give him points for being a big cat lover, though.)
Sadly, Kavanagh’s bigoted bill passed the committee 7-4, with the four Democrats (Campbell, Alston, Mach, and Sherwood) voting no and speaking eloquently against it. Republican Representative Kavanagh made a spectacular jerk of himself at the hearing. He condescendingly referred to “so-called transgendered people” at one point, suggesting that trans people are faking their identities (for what reason I cannot imagine). He claimed he wasn’t accusing transgender people of being predators but was concerned that male predators would pretend to be trans-women so as to gain access to women’s restrooms (oh wait, maybe that’s why he thinks transgender people are faking it?). When Kavanagh explained his yes vote he made this astonishing statement: “This is not about civil rights, it’s about civility.”
I grew up reading the columns of the wonderful Judith Martin, AKA Miss Manners, in the Washington Post. Contrary to what you may assume about Miss Manners if you’re not familiar with her work, she is not a fork-obsessed snob. She abhors using conventions of decorum to assert one’s social superiority at the expense of others. Miss Manners has always stressed that the point of etiquette is to increase happiness and to make social interactions as uncomplicated and comfortable as possible. This is why so many of the calls for “civility” in politics today leave me cold. All too often it’s what John Kavanagh and Cathi Herrod are doing, which is using “civility” to do the exact opposite of promoting happiness and comfort.
As for the forks, use the one farthest from your plate for each course.
Posted by: Donna
As the Supreme Court hears arguments in the California Prop 8 case today, Center for Arizona Policy president Cathi Herrod lectures us moral degenerates with a My Turn column about the wonders of straight marriage, while dumping on single parents of all orientations.
That may sound a little overstated, but it is in the union of one man and one woman that you’ll find the ideal environment for personal independence, wealth creation and, most importantly, the nurturing of future generations, or in other words, our kids…
…The data back this up. According to a study from Princeton University, kids raised in an intact household with a married mother and father do better in school, are less likely to live in poverty, are less likely to depend on government assistance and are less likely to get in trouble with the law than children from any other environment.
As I’ve said before, marriage equality opponents distort data by conflating correlation with causation. It is just as likely (probably far more likely) that marriage follows educational attainment and financial stability, not the other way around. No one who pushes the argument that marriage creates prosperity out of a vacuum has ever explained how this magic works. I’ll grant that being legally bound to someone else through a marriage license may increase some people’s sense of responsibility but that doesn’t conjure up a job in a labor market where there are still three available workers to every job opening. And it really is despicable to suggest, as Herrod does, that single parents are deliberately harming their children by refusing simply to marry someone.
Herrod says “children from any other environment”, which is supposed to make you think that same sex partner headed households have been found to produce inferior outcomes for children. But if we’re looking at research on families in general, there aren’t enough same sex households raising children to be statistically significant. When same sex parents are compared with straight parents, however, research shows that children raised by gay couples fare at least as well (if not better) than those raised by straight couples. Even if that weren’t the case, Herrod offers not one shred of evidence that gay people being able to marry threatens those idyllic man-woman marriages she prefers in any way. She hides behind “the children” but you don’t see her calling for banning divorce or single parenthood (at least not yet).
What I did love about Herrod’s column was this little bitterness-tinged tidbit:
This isn’t a blockbuster story, nor something that would get a lot of ratings on prime-time TV. But the truth is, more than any great battle, historical document or pivotal court decision, stories like theirs have sustained and strengthened our nation through the generations.
She’s referring to a couple she knows, “Joe and Sara”, who have apparently lived exemplary lives being straight-married and raising two children and then becoming proud grandparents. Which is great for them. I’m glad following the conventional Father Knows Best life script suited them and worked out well. No skin off my nose. But I guess it skins Cathi Herrod’s nose that Godly and clean living people like them aren’t getting the kind of attention and adulation she believes that debauched deviants all over TV today are getting. I often get the sense from social conservatives that if they can’t force us all to live the way they want us to then, by god, we could at least be gracious enough to applaud them for following the rules so well! Herrod wants credit for America’s success to go to a type of family structure that was only really prevalent for a couple of decades in the mid-20th century. And it’s bad enough that many straight people aren’t inclined to go back to that nuclear family model but now here are gay people wanting legal recognition for their families too! It’s like we’re trying to take Cathi’s trophy away from her. Of all the rationales for taking rights away from people, none of which are good, the need to lord something over other people is perhaps the most pathetic.
Posted by: Donna
I am speaking, of course, of Arizona Republic columnist Bob Robb patiently white man-splaining race relations to us.
Racism is ugly and has been a searing experience in American history. It undoubtedly still exists.
Unjustified accusations of racism are perhaps less ugly, but intolerably ugly nonetheless. And a decent case can be made that the false claim of racism is at least as prevalent in today’s politics as is racism itself.
Take the reckless accusations in Arizona about supposed attempts to suppress the Latino vote.
Let’s not sugarcoat this charge. Voter suppression isn’t an accusation that well-intentioned people are taking actions or making proposals that might have the unintended consequence of reducing the number of Latinos who vote. It’s a charge that reducing the number of Latinos voting is the intended purpose. It’s a charge of racism.
Well, if anyone is the foremost expert on what racism is and isn’t, it would be noted sociological expert Bob Robb. By Robb’s reasoning, if racial discrimination is simply an “unintended consequence” of a voting law, then it cannot be considered racist because the people passing the law aren’t overtly stating that such a consequence is their intention. Which means that all the Jim Crow voting laws passed after the ratification of 15th Amendment in 1870, which expressly forbids denial of the vote due to race, until the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of the mid-20th century could not have been racist either.
Such disenfranchising laws included poll taxes, literacy tests, vouchers of “good character,” and disqualification for “crimes of moral turpitude.” These laws were “color-blind” on their face, but were designed to exclude black citizens disproportionately by allowing white election officials to apply the procedures selectively. Other laws and practices, such as the “white primary,”, attempted to evade the 15th Amendment by allowing “private” political parties to conduct elections and establish qualifications for their members.
As a result of these efforts, in the former Confederate states nearly all black citizens were disenfranchised and removed from by 1910. The process of restoring the rights taken stolen by these tactics would take many decades.
Back to his column, here’s noted legal scholar and voter felony watchdog Bob Robb defending Republican Arizona lawmakers in their attempt to stop activist groups from collecting and delivering ballots:
In the last election, the county recorders became concerned about people dropping off large numbers of early ballots at polling places and reports that people were canvassing neighborhoods collecting early ballots, in some cases posing as county election officials.
Honest elections are fragile things. Politics attracts cheats. This practice is pregnant with potential abuse.
State law currently says that if you need help filling out an early ballot, you and the person who assists you sign the ballot attesting as to the assistance. SB 1003 would simply require the same thing when you ask someone to return your early ballot for you.
That also is supposedly racially-motivated voter suppression.
Yes, politics indeed attracts cheats. But of course Robb isn’t talking about Republican consultant Nathan Sproul. Robb is instead repeating specious accusations about Latino voting activists: “people were canvassing neighborhoods collecting early ballots, in some cases posing as county election officials”. But that allegation makes no sense in light of the voter fraud allegations Rep. Kimberly Yee (R) made to the Republic last month – “I know voter fraud is real” – because she saw boxes full of delivered ballots. In other words, groups picking up ballots need to be banned from doing that because shady characters are misrepresenting themselves and making off with people’s ballots, which they then do what with? Or is it that the votes themselves, having been delivered to the county recorder, are fraudulent as Rep. Yee alleges? People defending the bill might want to get their story straight on why it’s necessary because from here it’s looking pregnant with racially motivated voter suppression, to borrow some phrasing from Robb.
But let’s assume the motivations behind the controversial voting bills going through the Arizona Legislature right now are benign and colorblind. So what? When people make the reasonable prediction that these efforts could disenfranchise certain groups of voters, it is profoundly disrespectful and disgraceful to dismiss their concerns and accuse them, as Robb does, of “reckless accusations” of racism.
Posted by: Donna
Pity poor Glenn Hamer, President of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, for he’s feeling terribly hurt and confused by how mean some of (well, a lot of) his Republican compatriots are being to Governor Brewer over the Medicaid expansion.
Time for adult leadership at county GOP
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus just released a 100-page report on how the Republican Party can attempt to win back the large swaths of the electorate that has abandoned it over the last few election cycles.
The report contains discussion of the party’s posture towards women and minority voters, how young voters view the party and where the party has been deficient in its use of technology and social media.
But no matter what the party does on Twitter and Facebook, it will continue to be viewed as a bastion of angry cranks if outbursts like the one that occurred in yesterday’s state House Appropriations Committee are tolerated.
Apparently Maricopa GOP Chairman A.J. LaFaro didn’t get the Priebus memo. He needs to be consigned to the kiddie table.
For a county party chairman to use his platform for what was supposed to be a discussion on policy to instead blast a Republican governor is offensive enough. But to use such outrageous, unhinged rhetoric is an embarrassment to the entire party structure.
I commend House Speaker Andy Tobin for swiftly condemning LaFaro and calling for his resignation. Gov. Brewer is a good and decent person. No one deserves that sort of treatment, especially her.
Aside from LaFaro’s rhetoric, the hearing was five hours of substantive, thoughtful discussion.
I know the GOP (I am a Republican for those keeping score at home) is better than what was displayed yesterday by one barely-relevant party poo-bah. But that will become an increasingly more difficult case to be made if scenes like the one yesterday are not forcefully condemned.
Hmm…it’s a such a huge mystery why this bastion of angry cranks is so enraged about the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, isn’t it? Couldn’t have anything to do with the twin shibboleths of conservatism today: white-hot hatred of President Obama and the near-religious certainty that poor people are lazy moochers who deserve to suffer, could it? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that this expansion, which as far as they are concerned is literally the Kenyan Usurper handing free stuff to welfare queens, is never going to be acceptable to them. It’s so deeply offensive that it has rendered Jan Brewer from their SB1070 Savior almost three years ago to the “Judas” angrily denounced by the Maricopa GOP Chairman the other day.
As I’ve said before, I applaud Hamer and the Chamber for throwing their support behind the expansion. It’s good economic and human policy. But any hope I might have had for Glenn Hamer doing some honest reflection on what is wrong with his party evaporates when he cites Reince Priebus’s “autopsy” of the election as his guiding star. If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, I’ll sum it up for you: “We lost in 2012 because not enough voters bought our lies. Let’s lie better!” But even if the GOP managed to craft a perfect line of b.s. to make their policies palatable to the majority of voters who find them repugnant, they still won’t be able to corral the angry cranks who speak more candidly about them. The cranks tend to be present and pontificating at water coolers and backyard barbeques far more often than the glib political surrogates the GOP wants to deploy to explain things nicely to the voting public. And cranks are abundant in the state legislature. And on the internet. Yes indeed, Republicans have a social media problem.
Of course, oftentimes it’s not the unwashed cranks who get caught spilling the beans. The polished “moderate” 2012 Republican Presidential nominee couldn’t even stop himself from cold dissing half the country, right in front of the catering staff. Looks like the lack of adult leadership might go a whole lot farther up the chain.
Posted by: Donna
I keep being told there are some Republicans in the Arizona legislature who are so gosh darn nice and reasonable and moderate deep down inside. They really, honesty, truly want to do well by the people of Arizona! But they are forced – forced! – to vote badly by the evil menace of Grover Norquist and the ever-present threat of primary challenges. In the end this means that these mild-mannered closet moderates have voting records that closely resemble those of their enthusiastically crazypants colleagues on a variety of looney tunes bills such as this recent one that would, I’m not kidding, allow gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender in the state of Arizona. (Paging Stephen Colbert to the black courtesy phone!)
The measure is Arizona’s latest jab at the federal government, which prohibits states from minting their own money. It also reflects a growing distrust of government-backed money.
“The public sees the value in it,” said Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa.
“This is the type of currency we have had over the history of mankind.”
What do you think our Biblical forebears bought their dinosaur chariots with? Fiat dollars? Don’t be silly. The bill passed the Senate on a party line vote of 17 to 11.
I have helpfully circled the names of five Senators often described as “moderate”. Worsley is a freshman who beat Russell Pearce in their primary last year. Driggs, McComish, and Reagan all won open Senate seats in 2010, having previously served in the House. In 2010, the only one of those three to have a primary was Driggs, who won it fairly easily. Driggs was not primaried in 2012 and neither were McComish or Reagan. Pierce has not faced a primary challenger in his past three Senate races. But wait, you may say! Aren’t they safe from primaries because they inoculate themselves by voting for stupid crap like this gold and silver coin bill? My problem with that theory is that if it’s such common knowledge that these Senators are moderates yearning to be reasonable the second they are given a chance, don’t you think uber-righty primary voters in their districts would have figured that out a long time ago? Why haven’t Driggs, McComish, Reagan, and Pierce been 86ed and replaced with some True ConservativesTM by now? I don’t buy it. Like I’ve been saying, the more likely explanation is they vote that way because they want to, they believe that stuff themselves, and they don’t expect to be held accountable for those votes by anyone who is supposed to be holding them accountable i.e., Arizona Republic columnists or general election voters in their districts. See, it’s not the primary elections that are the problem with these Republican lawmakers, it’s the general elections.