Today, the Maryland Senate passed marriage equality legislation with a vote of 25-22. Opponents proposed numerous amendments in an attempt to derail the bill, including several that failed in the House last week. Sen. Bryan Simonaire (R) even read the full text of the children’s book King & King on the floor, expressing concern that schools will teach that same-sex couples exist ? one of many “filibusters” that delayed the vote. All the proposed amendments failed, which means the passed bill now proceeds to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who has promised to sign it. The law is set to take effect January 1, 2013, but will likely be challenged in a referendum before then.
O’Malley celebrates the vote with a tweet:
Less than a week after the Maryland House of Delegates narrowly passed a law giving gays and lesbians the same right to marry as straight citizens, the Maryland Senate has followed suit.
The Maryland Senate voted 25-22 to give final approval Thursday evening to legislation legalizing same-sex marriages, sending the Civil Marriage Protection Act to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his signature.Last year O'Malley said he would sign, but no bill got to his desk. This year, he actively promoted it. While there has been much rejoicing from supporters, this won't be an end of the issue. Supporters say they expect there to be an effort to put a referendum on the ballot for the November election.
The vote makes Maryland the eighth state to approve gay nuptials ? and the fourth state legislature to do so in the past 12 months.
The approval in Annapolis caps years of failed attempts by gay rights advocates to gain equal access to marriage, and the hundreds of legal protections that accompany the union. The governor, a Democrat, plans to sign the bill "within a week," a spokeswoman said.
Give credit to Jake Tapper, senior White House correspondent for ABC News, who in a press conference challenged the Obama Administration for celebrating aggressive journalists that have died in Syria as it simultaneously goes after similar journalism in[...]
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Rick Santorum's position in Michigan has deteriorated somewhat in the past week, but it's not clear whether he's continuing to slide or has leveled off.
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Feministing?s Chloe Angyal makes her Prospect debut.
Alyssa Rosenberg on the ?woman politician trend? on television.
Every single iPhone ad ever aired, in one place.
Tumblr has announced new content policies which bans sites that promote self-harm. Good for them.
Like everyone other person, it seems, I am excited for The Hunger Games movie. This happens to be one of my favorite scenes from the book:
Two happy surprises in two days. First the requirement for pre-abortion transvaginal ultrasound gets shot down and now this:
In a stunning turn of events, the Virginia Senate has voted 24-14 to scuttle a bill that would have given fertilized eggs the same legal rights as people.The bill, HB 1, stated that life begins at conception and that fertilized eggs have all the rights and privileges of a person, which could effectively have banned abortion and some forms of contraception. In committee, the bill passed on 8-7 on strict party-line vote on the Republican-controlled committee. But when it got to the Senate floor, the vote was 24-14 to take it off the docket until next year.
Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax, proposed that House Bill 1, which had passed the Senate Education and Health Committee earlier today on an 8-7 party line vote, be sent back to the committee and carried over to the 2013 legislative session for further discussion and deliberation. [...]
The vote effectively kills the bill for the year.
"We are a laughingstock of the world because of things like this," said Sen. Mamie E. Locke, D-Hampton, who opposed the bill. "The individual rights of women are being challenged continuously," she said, calling the issue of a woman's pregnancy a matter between "them, their family and their doctor and their God."The impact of local and national opposition to the wacked-out proposals was appreciated by legislative Democrats:
A number of Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates tweeted their responses. Via Blue Virginia:
? Del. Mark Keam: "Very controversial GOP HB 1 "personhood" bill stopped in Senate on 24-16 bipartisan vote. #WinForWomen! Thanks to the public who spoke out!"
? Del. Scott Surovell: "VA Senate just killed "personhood' amendment for the year - glad they listened to The People."
? Del. Charniele Herring: "So, #personhood bill was re-referred to committee and carried over for the year. Thanks everyone & grassroots nation!"
After a year of seeing anti-abortion, anti-choice, anti-privacy, anti-woman bills pass again and again in 2011, it's a relief to see at least a couple of small victories. May they be replicated everywhere.
Back in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in a pair of cases emanating from the University of Michigan (Gratz, Grutter) that the Constitution did not prohibit public universities from implementing narrowly tailored programs intended to create a racially diverse student body. You can give each student an individualized consideration to see if he or she personally would help you build a critical mass of representative students (Grutter), but you can't give every every underrepresented minority applicant a +20 on your admissions matrix automatically (Gratz). Moreover, as Justice O'Connor warned in her majority opinion in Grutter:
It has been 25 years since Justice Powell first approved the use of race to further an interest in student body diversity in the context of public higher education. Since that time, the number of minority applicants with high grades and test scores has indeed increased. We expect that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.Well, it's only nine years later, but Justice O'Connor has been replaced by Justice Alito, and apparently it's soon enough to look again.
Abigail Fisher and Rachel Michalewicz are white students who were denied undergrad admission at the University of Texas in fall 2008. Each claims that UT's consideration of race as a factor in its admissions policy discriminated against her and should be deemed unconstitutional. So, what is UT's admission's policy, and why should the composition of the Court be a concern?
A sex tape allegedly featuring former Sen. John Edwards (D-SC) with former presidential campaign videographer and mistress Rielle Hunter will almost certainly never see the light of day thanks to a legal settlement that makes the tape her property.
Hunter had sued former Edwards aide Andrew Young to gain possession of the tape, which was allegedly filmed in 2006. A spokesperson for Hunter told ABC's Raleigh affiliate that the "disputed property" would be returned to Hunter and declared the settlement a victory. The settlement says the video will destroyed.
Edwards, meanwhile, is fighting in federal court to preclude testimony in his upcoming trial on campaign finance violations that he maintains would amount to hearsay. The government suggested in a filing this week that Edwards is only seeking a "mini-trial" over the issue of whether two individuals could testify because his team would like "an extra opportunity to cross-examine Andrew Young." They maintain a separate hearing would give Edwards an unfair preview of the government's case.
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During what could be the final Republican debate of the 2012 presidential primary season, Mitt Romney decided to double down on his prior statement that Iran will attain a nuclear weapon if President Obama is re-elected. More fearmongering straight out of the Johnson playbook from back in 1964.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney doubled down on his claim that a second Obama term will bring a nuclear Iran.
"We must not allow Iran to have nuclear weapon. If they do, the world changes. America will be at risk. And some day nuclear weaponry will be used. If I'm President, that will not happen. If we re-elect Barack Obama, it will happen," he said at the CNN Republican debate on Wednesday night.
Rick Santorum was right there with Romney but we happily got some push back from Rep. Ron Paul who reminded the audience that somehow we've managed to negotiate with countries that were much more of a threat than a country surrounded by our military bases that has yet to attain a single weapon.
Over the past couple of weeks, I?ve watched all four seasons of Sons of Anarchy. And while shotgunning the show?s episodes may not be for the faint of heart (so much grotesque violence!), it?s given me a lot to think about with the show. So every day this week, I?ll be considering another aspect of life in Charming, California. The previous posts in this series appear here and here.
While Sons of Anarchy is deeply immersed in a conversation about institutions, one of the things that distinguishes it from a show like The Wire is that it’s not equally interested in all of the interlocking institutions whose friction produces most of the show’s drama. The focus is always on the MC, and U.S. Attorneys, cops, and businessmen are only important when they wander into the frame that Kurt Sutter’s set up. That’s an interesting choice, and it means the show has, thus far, left a central question unaddressed: how do the citizens of Charming feel about the deal Police Chief Wayne Unser struck with SAMCRO? And about the presence of the MC in their midst in general?
We meet a fairly narrow band of Charming residents who have no formal involvement with the MC or their various rivals: in law enforcement, we’ve got Wayne Unser, David Hale, and Eli Roosevelt; in the business community, we’ve got Jacob Hale, Elliot Oswald, and Mrs. Roosevelt; and in the medical establishment, we have Margaret Murphy. In other words, we have no broad-based sense of how much the ordinary citizens of Charming interact with SAMCRO, or what they feel about their town’s entanglement with a deeply criminal enterprise. Do you bring you minivan to the MC’s shop if you’re a mom with engine trouble? Are you angry about crime on the fringes? Do you think the relationship is worth it to keep the drug trade away from your kids? And if it’ll create jobs and increase property values, would you support the development of Charming Heights?
The people whose perspectives we do have tend to to provide more personal insight than institutional narratives. We understand that Chief Unser is personally entangled with Gemma Teller Morrow, and that he benefits personally from his relationship with the Sons of Anarchy. But given the timing of the club’s founding and its formalized relationship with Charming law enforcement, it makes sense that Charming might have accepted SAMCRO’s protection as service cuts took a toll on California in the wake of the passage of Proposition 13, which severely limited California’s ability to raise additional tax revenue, in 1978. If Sutter does make a First Nine spinoff of Sons of Anarchy, it would be fascinating to explore how SAMCRO burrowed in to its position in Charming. It’s not just that decision that’s obscured: killing David Hale deprived the show of a legitimate counterweight to Unser’s understanding with the Sons and the opportunity to see a Charming native, who perhaps represents more mainstream citizens, work out a new relationship with SAMCRO. Eli Roosevelt’s arrival in Charming could have been an opportunity to see how the Sons responded to a law enforcement structure that wasn’t solely concerned with the crime rate in that one town. But Lincoln Potter’s arrival again derails the development of a new dynamic. I understand that having a single representative of a threat makes for more economical storytelling, but it does deny us the opportunity to see a show balanced between SAMCRO and the cops, and to fully explore the implications of that shifting relationship.
The business community are similarly stand-ins for positions rather than entirely developed individuals. Jeff Kober, who plays Jacob Hale, Jr., is a marvelous avatar of malevolence as a rapacious developer and mayoral candidate?he played Willow’s magical drug dealer Rack in the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But he’s not exactly a fully-developed character. We have no real sense of how he’s seen in the community, or how his father’s reputation reflects on him. And it doesn’t make sense that Lincoln Potter’s play to reveal that Hale’s partners in developing Charming Heights are sex toy manufacturers and pornographers would derail the project: if Charming has no problem with SAMCRO, do we really think they’d be turned off a major economic development just because some of the people involved are semi-unsavory? Not knowing the real temperature of your community may streamline your story, but it can lead you into logical inconsistency.
And it’s for that reason that Gemma’s relationship with Mrs. Roosevelt is so interesting: she’s perhaps the only genuine representative of Charming citizenry we get in the show. And we know that she is invested in at least one thing?the park. And in her exchange with Gemma, we get our first sense of the actual deals that Charming’s residents work out with the MC, the circumstances in which they’re willing to admit SAMCRO members into their midst as full residents. The price, it turns out, is fairly low?Clay can stand among the town fathers, the doctors and cops, if it’ll save the park. And that’s interesting to know: could SAMCRO lay down roots in Charming because the soil of the town is inherently a little devious? Or has the town got mean to match its protectors?
Certainly one person who’s gotten meaner over the course of the series, and better for it, is Margaret Murphy, who may be my favorite secondary character on Sons of Anarchy. Where she was once bullied by Gemma and beat up by Tara in an act of overcompensating-at-pretending-to-be-Gemma, Margaret’s stood up for herself?and become the one person who seems to be able to judge the Sons from outside and get away with it with her dignity, her life, and her career intact. When she slugs Tara after Gemma’s escape from the hospital on the grounds that no one will believe there was a struggle unless Tara has a black eye, it’s a witty way for her to get justice. But it doesn’t mean she has to give up her convictions, the punch is not a waystation on the journey to Old Ladydom. What it does mean is that she’s proven she’s tough enough to tell Tara what she thinks of what Charming is doing to her, to help her get out and to hell with what Gemma thinks of it, to reach a rapport with Gemma where, post-beating, Gemma can tell Margaret ” I flew my broomstick into a brick wall.” These two strong women know what they think of each other, and we’re at a point where Gemma’s taking more from Margaret than she’s dishing out in return. It would be fascinating to see these conversations writ large, and often. And perhaps with SAMCRO’s internal disputes settled, they’ll start to happen.