Today, the Colorado Senate passed the Civil Unions Act at its second reading. During the discussion, the bill’s sponsors, Sens. Pat Steadman (D) and Lucía Guzmán (D) emphasized how civil unions will provide legal protections for same-sex couples without negatively impacting the “nuclear family” or society’s values. Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R) attempted to add an amendment that would have allowed individuals to deny services to couples in civil unions (similar to the measure that was added to Rhode Island’s civil unions bill last year) but the amendment failed. The bill’s third and final reading will be held later this week. (Gabe Manion contributed to this post.)
Though outnumbered by opponents of SB 1070 at least 20-to-1, supporters made up for their timid numbers with unabashed hate and racism. Among the things SB 1070 proponents said that were overheard by ThinkProgress:
Watch a few of the remarks:
In a new book, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) operations wing discussed publicly for the first time his role in destroying videos of interrogations that involved torture — including 92 videos of the waterboarding of suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah. The former official, Jose Rodriguez, reportedly laces his book with scathing criticisms of President Obama and his administration’s anti-torture policies. “I cannot tell you how disgusted my former colleagues and I felt to hear ourselves labeled ‘torturers’ by the president of the United States,” he writes in ?Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives,” due out next week. Rodrigues was referring to “waterboarding,” which the American people, international law, and even some Republicans consider to be torture.
But for some reviewers, the most eye-catching revelation has focused on Rodriguez’s role in destroying the interrogation tapes that included waterboarding. Upon the closing of one of the CIA’s “black sites” — secret detention centers used to keep so-called “high-level detainees” off the grid and outside even U.S. law — Rodriguez was asked about destroying the tapes, and leaned toward the affirmative. But a memo from his superiors told him to hold off. After his superiors’ wavering between allowing the tapes’ destruction and then backing off, it was finally the Abu Ghraib prison scandal that pushed Rodriguez to order the videos destroyed. According to a review in the Washington Post, Rodriguez wrote:
We knew that if the photos of CIA officers conducting authorized EIT [enhanced interrogation techniques] ever got out, the difference between a legal, authorized, necessary, and safe program and the mindless actions of some MPs [military police] would be buried by the impact of the images.
The propaganda damage to the image of America would be immense. But the main concern then, and always, was for the safety of my officers.
…I was not depriving anyone of information about what was done or what was said. I was just getting rid of some ugly visuals that could put the lives of my people at risk.
In this case, a loyal civil servant ? and the decision-makers above him who blessed these programs ? were not thinking about the larger, longer-lasting damage to the core values of the United States that disclosure of these secrets might cause. They were thinking about the near term. About efficiency. About the safety of friends and colleagues. In their minds, they were thinking, too, about the safety of the country.
I am certain, beyond any doubt, that these techniques… shielded the people of the United States from harm and led to the capture of killing of Usama bin Ladin.
That view is at odds with former interrogators and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein. Amid an extensive investigation of the techniques, Feinsten was asked if the harsh methods played a role in finding and killing Osama bin Laden. “To date, the answer to your question is no,” she replied.
Dr. Robert Spitzer — whose influential 2001 study found that some gay people could change their sexual orientation and significantly bolstered the ex-gay movement — has now officially apologized to the gay community for the flawed science. “I believe I owe the gay community an apology for my study making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy,” Spitzer writes in a letter obtained by Truth Wins Out. “I also apologize to any gay person who wasted time and energy undergoing some form of reparative therapy because they believed that I had proven that reparative therapy works with some ‘highly motivated’ individuals.”
About 93,000 unemployed Californians will be abruptly cut off from unemployment benefits next month, despite the Golden State still having an unemployment rate of 11 percent. Because California’s unemployment rate has improved recently (dropping nearly a full percentage point from this time last year), it is no longer eligible for extended benefits from the federal government. “It’s completely arbitrary,” said Michael Evangelist, a policy analyst with the National Employment Law Project.
President Obama appeared on the Jimmy Falon show and made a pitch for Congress to extend the lower interest rates on student loans. That set off the right who are now demanding Mitt Romney get equal time to, oh, maybe demand Congress double the interest[...]
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The Senate passed S. 1789, the bill generally reported to be aimed at "saving" or "fixing" the postal service, by a vote of 62-37 Wednesday. Less widely reported were the origins of the postal service's problems in a crisis manufactured by Congress and exacerbated less by the shift online than by the recession. The Senate bill buys the postal service some time before the worst proposed post office and processing center closures, cuts to delivery and lengthened delivery times, and jobs cuts can begin to kick in. But while it prevents postal executives from kicking off an immediate death spiral, it doesn't create the conditions for the postal service's success by reversing the conditions that manufactured the crisis to begin with.
The Senate's bill would bar the postal service from ending Saturday mail delivery for two years, keeps overnight first-class mail delivery for some mail sent short distances while allowing longer delivery times over greater distances, prevents pre-Election Day closures in states that vote by mail, and prevents the closure of post offices if there are no other post offices within 10 miles, among other things.
Economist Dean Baker wrote earlier in the week that:
The certain effect of this bill is to cut 100,000 jobs over the next three years. This is somewhat better than the 200,000 job loss that would result from a bill being pushed by Representative Darrell Issa and the House Republicans, but any final bill is likely to end up somewhere in the middle. If we assume 150,000 lost jobs, that is equivalent to more than 5 weeks of job growth at the March rate.Some amendments passed after Baker's writing may slightly blunt or delay those effects, but the bill remains substantially as he described it. The House has yet to take up its own bill.
It?s been awhile since I?ve done one of these. Let?s see if I can keep it going.
Why are people from the future not traveling to our time period? A fascinating Quora thread.
At a certain point, you just have to accept that some people don?t believe in college education for those who can?t afford it.
Maybe Marco Rubio should invest in some teleprompter training.
Homicide and The Wire scribe David Simon has a blog! It?s really, really good.
A nice look into the Marvel movie version of Black Widow, and the role she plays in The Avengers:
Here's Glenn Beck in his own custom-built
Oval Office, which isn't crazy at all.
Speaking with televangelist James Robison, ex-Fox News personality Glenn Beck discusses
being canned from nobly leaving Fox News of his own accord:
On the day he decided to leave, Beck said he walked up to a floor-to-ceiling window in his New York apartment and asked his wife, ?How could this possibly be God?s plan??The Lord works in mysterious ways. Sometimes he speaks to you through your large New York apartment windows. Sometimes he speaks to you by having Roger Ailes walk into your office and fire your crazy ass. It's all good.
?As I stood there, the Lord whispered to me, ?If you do not leave now, you will lose your soul,?? Beck said. ?It was the easiest decision I?ve ever made.?
I don't know what Glenn's been smoking, but apparently he's been sharing:
?The primary reason that he left is because they were not comfortable with him talking about God and Jesus as often and as freely as he did,? said Robison, who participated in Beck?s presentation.Wait, was that the problem? That's not how I remember it. I remember Glenn Beck slowly becoming more and more detached from reality, littering his shows with inexplicable conspiracy theories and crying jags brought on by apparently nothing in particular. I remember anonymous mutterings by other Fox News employees that he was making the already-impossible-to-shame network look even crazier, and reports that Fox head Roger Ailes was making the conscious decision to rein in his network's most inflammatory and crackpot elements in an effort to appear less, um, crackpotty. Oh, and the advertisers were peeved, and the audience was shrinking, and no network is going to keep flushing their own credibility down the toilet unless there's at least some decent money in it for them, which there wasn't.
But now we hear that it was really all about how Fox News hates Jesus, and God spoke to Glenn Beck in his New York apartment and told him he'd lose his
mind soul if he kept working there? Well heck, that's pretty darn convenient. God really helped Glenn out on that one, I guess.