One month ago today, George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But Zimmerman has not been arrested in the case because he says he shot in self-defense. Since then, Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law — allowing use of deadly force if there is a ?reasonable belief? it is necessary to ?prevent death or great bodily harm” — has come under fire. The National Rifle Association lobbied heavily for the Florida law, which passed in 2005, and has continued to push for similar laws across the nation.
So far, 25 states have approved Florida-style “Stand Your Ground” measures, and the NRA is not backing down from its support for such laws even after Martin’s tragic death. This legislative session, legislators in another five states are considering turning the self-defense legislation into law in their own states:
ALASKA: After the state House approved the bill, the Alaska Senate is now debating the measure that would expand the right to use lethal force as a means of self-defense — just like the Florida law. An assistant district attorney spoke out against the bill during a hearing earlier this month, telling senators that it is a “bad idea.” “It will do nothing to enhance the safety of law-abiding gun owners,” said James Fayette. What it will do is make it more difficult for me and my colleagues to convict violent criminals.”
IOWA: The state House has approved a Florida-style bill that’s now pending in the Senate. Before the House passed the bill earlier this month, Democrats fled the Iowa Capitol ahead of the vote to protest Republicans bringing the bill up for a vote. It’s likely the legislation will be blocked on procedural grounds, but state Rep. Matt Windschitl (R) says he will reintroduce it.
MASSACHUSETTS: A legislator in Massachusetts introduced a self-defense bill that would allow people to use “guns, knives, baseball bats or other deadly force if they feel threatened or think someone else is endangered.” Sen. Stephen Brewer (D), who introduced the bill, said it’s a matter of allowing people to protect themselves, but another state Democrat, Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, said he fears it would become a “shoot first and ask questions later law.”
Along with the NRA, the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has pushed for these “Stand Your Ground” laws across the country. In response to ALEC’s role, a coalition is pressuring the organization’s corporate sponsors to stop funding ALEC’s “reckless agenda” that harm communities.
At least five lawmakers in Florida will wear hoodies today in solidarity with Trayvon Martin and against people saying Martin is partially responsible for daring to wear a hooded sweatshirt outside. African-American State Senators Eric Adams, Kevin Parker and Bill Perkins will make the sartorial statement today, joined by members Karim Camara and Hakeem Jeffries from the state Assembly side.
- Sunday's comic was The art of flexibility, by Matt Wuerker
- When men were free, by Hunter
- How does Mitt Romney make it to 270, by Steve Singiser
- You will get a lot of emails this week, by Chris Bowers
- A preview of Supreme Court arguments on the Affordable Care Act, by Armando
- Women of color in women's history. Part four: Asian and Asian Pacific American, by Denise Oliver Velez
- The battle over MPAA's "R" rating of the documentary film "Bully," by Scott Wooledge
- An interview with Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate, by Dante Atkins
For a guy who keeps insisting he has no interest in being vice president, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio appears to be feverishly positioning himself for the job.
"We want our freedom back," former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain told hundreds of ralliers standing in the rain in Upper Senate Park, a few hundred yards from the steps of the Supreme Court. "That's what this is about, the freedom to choose our own doctors ? the freedom to choose our own health insurance plan."
On Wednesday night, Reid had nothing but warm fuzzies for his counterpart in the minority. All that sparring with McConnell on the Senate floor isn?t what it seems, Reid, a boxer back in the day, insisted.
?We are friends. We do things for each other,? Reid told a crowd ... "And we?re working on that in our own way.?
But in a story today by Manu Raju about McConnell gunning for Reid?s job, Reid?s office was back to a much more familiar tune.
?Unfortunately for the American people and those Republicans still interested in bipartisanship,? Reid?s spokesman, Adam Jentleson, said, ?Sen. McConnell has proven far more interested in promoting his personal political ambitions than working across the aisle to create jobs.?
After Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera was pilloried Friday for saying that black and Latino kids are basically asking to get shot if they go outside wearing a hooded sweatshirt, BuzzFeed jokingly noted that FoxNews.com sells branded hoodies. But after their report went up, Fox apparently removed the hoodies from their online store. A search for ?sweatshirt? and ?hood? returns zero results.
With the emergence of warm spring weather comes the return of the Mexican Freetail bats under Congress Bridge and the remote possibility that a feared and foreign species of bat could make its way into Texas.
The increase in global climate temperatures has raised concerns about the vampire bat species travelling from Mexico and South and Central America into the southern and central regions of Texas.
Organizers of an annual Easter egg hunt attended by hundreds of children have canceled this year's event, citing the behavior of aggressive parents who swarmed into the tiny park last year, determined that their kids get an egg.
That hunt was over in seconds, to the consternation of egg-less tots and their own parents. Too many parents had jumped a rope set up to allow only children into Bancroft Park in a historic area of Colorado Springs.
A high school student recently posted over 600 Twitter messages in an attempt to get a porn star ? almost any female porn star, really ? to be his prom date.
He got lucky and found one who'd happily attend the dance with him, but then his school's administration banned the adult entertainer from the venue. Now the young man and his date are taking to Twitter together, this time in an attempt to arrange an alternate (and more open-minded) prom.
From the first impressions that leaked out of the Court, the transcripts show that the justices didn't really buy the argument that the mandate is a tax. Whether or not you think that the Court should be more restrained and let the other two branches[...]
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Knucklehead wannabe gangsters Bill O'Reilly
and Geraldo Rivera risk being shot for their
wardrobe choice at a 2007 Mets' game.Geraldo Rivera kicked up some dust last week when he remarked "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin?s death as George Zimmerman was." The response has been almost uniformly negative. Even Geraldo's son said dad was off-base with his victim-blaming. At a demonstration in New York City and in rallies and churches across the nation, Americans have shown up in hoodies as expressions of solidarity with Martin's family and pushback against the stereotype of what kind of person wears a practical garment than can be found in millions of closets from coast to coast, including Geraldo's.
But on "The Factor," another hoodie wearer, Bill O'Reilly, came to the aid of his Foxaganda colleague:
?If you dress like a wannabe gangster, some knucklehead is going to take you at your word and a tragedy is going to result.?If Bill-O really cared about the effects of hoodies, he would stop raking in the cash from selling them. But hypocrisy is Bill-O's No. 1 product, so no surprise there. More importantly, this isn't the first time he has flipped the bird at victims.
In 2006, he said of Jennifer Moore, an 18-year-old who was raped and murdered in New York City:
She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning.Of Shawn Hornbeck, who was abducted at the age of 11, held for four years and repeatedly raped by the guy who took him before he was discovered by police in 2007, Bill-O said:
"[T]here was an element here that this kid liked about this circumstances" [...] "The situation here for this kid looks to me to be a lot more fun than what he had under his old parents. He didn't have to go to school. He could run around and do whatever he wanted."Asking for it. In the twisted mind of the no-spin man, that's what all these kids had in common. So, y'know, they kinda, like, deserve to have what happened to them happen. Sort of the way a multi-million-dollar-a-year TV personality deserves to be mugged for wearing expensive suits on the street. Just asking for it. Secretly thrilling in it.
Can political scientists predict winners and losers with high levels of accuracy? Since 1992, some of their forecasts have been better than others, but their track record as a whole is very poor.
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Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!Did you know that the Affordable Care Act, being argued this week before the Supreme Court, is all about Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student whose name no one knew until about a month ago? No, really, it's true!
Via Evan McMorris-Santoro at TPM:
Fluke was a central topic among the several dozen tea party protesters who gathered outside the court Monday. As a much larger crowd of organized pro-reform activists from labor and other Dem-friendly groups marched in support of the law, one tea partier yelled, ?Real women pay for their own birth control!? ? a clear reference to Fluke and the fight over contraception access she embodies.Riiiiiiiight. So even though teabaggers have been bitching and moaning since 2009 about how unfair it is of President Obama to expand their access to affordable health care, the real reason they're opposed to it now is because that slut Sandra Fluke explained at an unofficial House hearing that the cost of birth control can be hugely burdensome for students whose insurance doesn't already cover it. Never mind that Fluke never asked anyone to pay for her birth control. Or that not one of the "dozens" of teabaggers convened outside the court house have been asked, or are being forced, to pay for her birth control. Their hero Rush Limbaugh told them she's a slutty slut who wants them to pay her for her slut pills, so according to teabagger "logic," no one should have health care.
Others were more direct. One protester carried a sign that said, ?Sandra Fluke I don?t want to pay for your birth control[.]? [...]
Seattle Tea Party Patriot Kelli Carrender told me Fluke is a natural part of the debate as the HCR battle moves to the Court.
?She made herself relevant,? Carrender said. ?She?s asking for free birth control.?
Somehow, I don't think the Supreme Court justices will base their decision on that argument.
Rep. Paul Ryan introducing his not new, not bipartisan plan. (Jose Luis Magaua/Reuters)The big sell job House Republicans are trying to do on their budget continues, with a special focus on their Medicare "reform." The new sell job seems to amount to, "Now with more Ron Wyden!" with the word "bipartisan" included in every statement.
Republicans enter the debate armed with new polling from a conservative firm that surveyed 50 battleground House districts and shared the keys to winning with the House leadership.The only problem (both for the Washington Post reporter here and for the House Republicans) is that Wyden isn't supporting the current Ryan plan. He's stubbornly not backing away from the "white paper" he developed with Ryan, but this isn't that plan and he doesn't support it.
First, they should label their effort ?bipartisan??no longer a stretch given that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is supporting the latest Ryan Medicare plan. About 46 percent of voters, the poll found, supported a plan to ?fix Medicare,? as long as it provides choices and preserves the program.
Those key words have been echoed repeatedly by Republicans defending the plan in the past week.
But a single disgruntled Democrat, still smarting from having many of his ideas ignored in the final health reform bill, does not make a bipartisan plan for Medicare. And slowly starving the program of funding, passing more and more of the costs onto seniors, isn't by any stretch of the imagination "saving" Medicare.
There's nothing new in the House Republicans' political strategy, and there's very little new in Ryan's plan for Medicare.
One of the big arguments against Gretchen Morgenson's quasi-defense of Ed DeMarco and the implications of principal reductions on Fannie and Freddie loans was that surely nobody is suggesting that the GSEs write down their primary loans while the second[...]
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It turns out Mitt Romney's past record on energy policy is about as GOP friendly as his past record on health care reform. [...]
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