As the United States has grown older, it has expanded the right to vote to nearly every group of[...]
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Ok, before anyone feels the need to tell me so, yes, this was an exercise in futility. I know it and anyone who happens to read it will know it. But when you get to where I am, sometimes you just gotta go with what you've got and if it does nothing but make you feel a little better, it's worth it. I do apologize for not being as articulate and knowledgeable as some others who post here but again, I am what I am and that's all that I am.
So what I did was, I went to that phony site where you can supposedly send an email to the governor's office and either he or someone connected to him will read it and take your concerns very seriously... you know how they work. I know full well that Mr. "I'm not a governor on TV but I play one in real life" will never see it and that he couldn't care less if he did.
Anyway, here's what I sent. I thought a little first person perspective from one of the lowest on the food chain might be at least moderately interesting to someone... somewhere.
How cute. All those subjects to choose from and I find myself in the OTHER category. Kind of like being WHITE on all those idiot ethnic surveys.
If there was a subject category in that list that had anything to do with issues affecting the elderly, I guess I missed it. If there wasn't, maybe it wouldn't hurt to add one so senile old codgers like me don't have to rack their few remaining brain cells trying to figure out which bag they belong in. Just sayin' ya know?
Anyway, my message is more in the way of a question or two rather than a pro or a con so my apologies if I clicked the wrong little button up there. I chose con because I am definitely con in regard to what you people have done to me and people like me over the past year and are threatening to do over the next one, and I want to know... and I don't want one of those damned form replies full of gobbledygook that has nothing to do with the question... just what else is in store for people like me, who are the first that people like YOU start flailing at in order to avoid inflicting any burden on your good friends who pay the bills for your own extravagant lifestyles.
Let me put this in simple third grade terms and then, if you bother to answer at all, you can do the same and just possibly, that way we'll understand each other.
I'm a 66 year old former state firefighter suffering from progressive congestive heart failure, COPD, partial paralysis... a few other things but you get the idea. I am no longer able to serve in the army of serfs and vassals that you, the entitled nobility in this new version of feudalism someone seem to have established when nobody was looking in order to help you attain and maintain the luxurious lifestyles to which you have come to feel entitled.
In other words, after a total of 47 years of working for a living, I no longer serve a purpose as far as you're concerned. So... because you millionaires and billionaires all hate progressive income taxes and don't want to pay taxes TO the community in proportion to the amount you take FROM the community, you have... just in the past year alone done the following to just me:
Taken away my renter's credit...$347
Cut my SSI by $37 per month....$444
AFTER THOSE TWO HUD raised my rent $11 a month based on my OLD income so:
Net loss due to rent increase....$132
That's just the big stuff... this could go on all day, actually. But I'm not even going to try to start explaining to you how the cost of living increases... which I figure have added at least another 200-300 bucks to my annual decrease in discretionary income... affect your victims, those of us to whom $100... a mere tip to the wait staff in the fancy places you frequent if you're feeling in a particularly expansive mood... is 10% of our total monthly income.
Just those major cuts listed above have already produced a net loss of over $900... roughly 9%... which exceeds even the pay cuts you're inflicting on rank and file state employees... of my meager annual income which had just crossed the $10k a year line.
And now, I'll be dipped if you aren't telling me that I'm going "need" to suffer even MORE losses because you "nobles" need even MORE money and MORE power to do whatever it is you nobles do with all that money and power you already have and you're perfectly content to once again ignore or pretend to misread the will of the majority because they voted down your phony propositions last month.
I told you all that your lordship, so I could ask you this: Just how much more are those that have virtually nothing going to have to give up simply so that you and your yacht club friends... who already have more than they or ensuing generations of their larva could possibly spend in several lifetimes... can have more.
"The rich get richer and the poor get poorer", already an insult to poor working people everywhere that had to have been penned by some rich, useless flipping parasite... maybe a stock broker or financial adviser... is being taken to some rather major extremes here, don't you think? Or do you even think about it at all? That's the billion dollar question, eh?
I DO think about it. I think about it every time I look in my pantry or open my electric bill or get put on yet another medicine to prolong my "useless" life. But I think about it in ways that would never occur to you and he Sacramento Mafia
I think about how I'm sick and tired of being a pawn in the rich people's games that you and your friends seem to love to play among yourselves. You're not doing zip for 95% of the people in this state... you're simply serving yourself and your 5% friends at the expense of that 95% and you might as well drop the BS and "The people have spoken" rhetoric... because you're obviously either lying or you totally misinterpreted what the"people" were saying. Just admit it... you people play these games with the rest of us just because you can and it "amuses" you to do so.
And give us a category of our own for sending these totally useless messages that will never be seen by anyone but some clerk or intern monitoring the email and most of all... do NOT send that canned flipping email thing that says the "governor is very concerned, yadayada" . Those things are a total flipping insult to anyone above about the second or third grade. If you're going to ignore me again, have enough respect NOT to lie to me about it, OK?
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From the Wichita Eagle ...George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death Sunday morning as he walked into church services.[...]
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The Right believes humankind is sorted naturally upon a ladder. The Left believes we walk together upon a bridge. Aparthood, enforced hierarchy and separation, is the goal of the Right.[...]
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In a May 30 article, the Associated Press reported that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's 2001 statement that "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life" "has emerged as a rallying call for conservative critics who fear she will offer opinions from the bench based less on the rule of law and more on her life experience, ethnicity and gender." But the AP did not note that such conservatives as Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas have made similar comments. Nor did the AP note that Sotomayor's comments came in the context of discussing the importance of diversity in adjudicating race and sex discrimination cases.
As Media Matters for America has noted, Thomas and Alito have each acknowledged the significant impact that their personal background and experiences have had on their judicial thinking. Alito asserted during his 2006 confirmation hearing:
ALITO: I don't come from an affluent background or a privileged background. My parents were both quite poor when they were growing up.
And I know about their experiences and I didn't experience those things. I don't take credit for anything that they did or anything that they overcame.
But I think that children learn a lot from their parents and they learn from what the parents say. But I think they learn a lot more from what the parents do and from what they take from the stories of their parents lives.
And that's why I went into that in my opening statement. Because when a case comes before me involving, let's say, someone who is an immigrant -- and we get an awful lot of immigration cases and naturalization cases -- I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't that long ago when they were in that position.
And so it's my job to apply the law. It's not my job to change the law or to bend the law to achieve any result.
But when I look at those cases, I have to say to myself, and I do say to myself, "You know, this could be your grandfather, this could be your grandmother. They were not citizens at one time, and they were people who came to this country."
When I have cases involving children, I can't help but think of my own children and think about my children being treated in the way that children may be treated in the case that's before me.
And that goes down the line. When I get a case about discrimination, I have to think about people in my own family who suffered discrimination because of their ethnic background or because of religion or because of gender. And I do take that into account. When I have a case involving someone who's been subjected to discrimination because of disability, I have to think of people who I've known and admire very greatly who've had disabilities, and I've watched them struggle to overcome the barriers that society puts up often just because it doesn't think of what it's doing -- the barriers that it puts up to them.
So those are some of the experiences that have shaped me as a person.
During Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) asked, "I'd like to ask you why you want this job?" Thomas replied in part: "I believe, Senator, that I can make a contribution, that I can bring something different to the Court, that I can walk in the shoes of the people who are affected by what the Court does."
Former Bush Justice Department lawyer John Yoo has similarly stressed that Thomas "is a black man with a much greater range of personal experience than most of the upper-class liberals who take potshots at him" and argued that Thomas' work on the court has been influenced by his understanding of the less fortunate acquired through personal experience.
From the AP article:
"I am certain that she is the right choice," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address in which he scolded critics who he said were trying to distort her record and past statements. Those include her 2001 comment that a female Hispanic judge would often reach a better decision than a white male judge.
On Friday, Obama personally sought to deflect criticism about Sotomayor's comment in a 2001 lecture that "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."
The quote in question from Sotomayor has emerged as a rallying call for conservative critics who fear she will offer opinions from the bench based less on the rule of law and more on her life experience, ethnicity and gender. That issue is likely to play a central role in her Senate confirmation process.
"I'm sure she would have restated it," Obama told NBC News, without indicating how he knew that.
Obama also defended his nominee, saying her message was on target even if her exact wording was not.
"I think that when she's appearing before the Senate committee, in her confirmation process, I think all this nonsense that is being spewed out will be revealed for what it is," Obama said in the broadcast interview, clearly aware of how ethnicity and gender issues are taking hold in the debate.
A veteran federal judge, Sotomayor is poised to be the first Hispanic, and the third woman, to serve on the Supreme Court She appears headed for confirmation, needing a majority vote in a Senate, where Democrats have 59 votes. But White House officials also want a smooth confirmation, not one that bogs down them or their nominee.
Sunday morning news from the sanctity-of human-life front:
"George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who was one of the few doctors in the nation to perform late-term abortions, was shot to death on Sunday as he attended church, city officials in Wichita said.
"Dr. Tiller, who had performed abortions since the 1970s, had long been a lightning rod for controversy over the issue of abortion, particularly in Kansas, where abortion opponents regularly protested outside his clinic and sometimes his home and church. In 1993, he was shot in both arms by an abortion opponent but recovered."
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Big campaign news is not ordinarily made mid-week. In May. In the year BEFORE the election.
And yet there we were this week, watching one of the leading national figures in the GOP as he endorsed a conservative alternative to the establishment choice for the Senate in Florida, who happens to be the state's moderate governor.
Then, within hours on the same day, we found out that one of the most recognizable names in the U.S. Senate, who became national front page news by changing parties to the Democrats last month, had drawn a primary challenge, and a prominent one, at that.
Both of these stories are bigger than the individual headlines would suggest. To use a sports analogy, both of these events have the potential to be game changers.
Joe Sestak's decision to force newly-minted Democratic incumbent Arlen Specter into a primary is not a decision borne of political expediency. It would be in defiance of party leaders, who seemed intent on clearing the primary for the new member of Team Blue.
Ironically, Democrats may be the biggest beneficiary of yesterday's move by Sestak. To the incredible frustration of many in the Democratic base, Specter made a rather inauspicious entrance into the Democratic party, insisting on his independence from his new party.
However, Joe Sestak's decision to enter the Democratic Primary may well have put the brakes on Specter's self-avowed Independent streak. Now, to be fair to the senior senator from Pennsylvania, there were already signs that he was already settling in to his new surroundings. However, having a well-funded, well-known primary challenger means that Specter will pay an incredibly steep price for any future apostasy.
For one example, this may have changed the calculus on labor issues and health care issues. Consider this statement yesterday from AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale:
"When it is time to make an endorsement decision it will be made by Pennsylvania's workers based on the issues that are important to them including the Employee Free Choice Act and health care reform"
Hmm...Did you say health care reform?
"It's whether Arlen will fight for the right issues," Sestak said. "Democrat or Republican. He helped derail health care plans without an alternative in the '90s. Maybe he's changed, but I'm not sure we can take that chance. We have to ask the question, ‘Will he be with the right policy that our president presently has put out there to retool our economy and health care and education through 2016.’"
If nothing else, Sestak's presence is an insurance policy against Arlen Specter becoming a Ben Nelson Democrat. Ben Nelson can survive as a Democrat in Nebraska, where political realities clearly override ideological considerations. In Pennsylvania?? It is a totally different ballgame.
Sestak's primary bid is not an unalloyed good. It opens up a U.S. House seat, albeit one that has been trending Democratic over the last few elections. Going one step further, the likely Democratic entrant for Sestak's House seat (state Rep. Bryan Lentz) opens up a state House seat in a chamber that is only held by the Democrats by a scant few seats. Of course, it is possible for Democrats to run the table in all of these races. But open seats are often more expensive, and their outcome considerably less certain, than the re-election of an incumbent.
It also goes without saying that a contested primary will drain resources from whomever emerges from the Specter-Sestak showdown. However, Pennsylvania is reasonably early on the primary calendar (unlike...say...New York or Florida, both of whom typically hold their primaries within 10 weeks of the general election). Any damage inflicted in the primary will almost certainly be survivable. It will also guarantee that it will be quite some time before the public conversation in Pennsylvania focuses on Pat Toomey.
Wednesday's news that Mike Huckabee (along with Jeb Bush Jr.) was casting his lot with insurgent conservative candidate Marco Rubio in Florida was swallowed up a bit by both the Sotomayor announcement that preceded it and the Sestak decision that followed it.
But don't overlook it. It is a pretty big deal.
Marco Rubio has cast this race in very stark terms--his candidacy against the establishment candidate, Governor Charlie Crist, is an attempt to save the soul of the Republican Party. To hear Rubio tell it, he is on a one-man crusade to save the conservative base of the GOP from the clutches of RINO rule.
This week, one of the most visible figures in the current Republican Party, a guy who is seen as one of the top three frontrunners for his party's presidential nod in 2012, seems to have bought into the meme.
Looking at the 2008 Presidential campaign, it makes a great deal of sense that Huckabee buys into concept of the "war for the soul of the GOP."
Make the parallel--Charlie Crist is John McCain, a well-known figure in the party whose reputation is based almost as much on his rebellion from the party than his adherence to the party. A political figure who the establishment embraces, almost entirely on the argument of ELECTABILITY.
Of course, John McCain is a very sore subject for many on the right-wing. They stood by him out of necessity during the general election, but they did not hesitate to pile on the second the polls closed out West and Obama was projected the winner.
To hear the right-wing tell it, the GOP got crushed in 2008 because they nominated a guy that was too much like the Democrats. If only they had adhered to conservative principles...things would have been DIFFERENT. Therefore, a lot of true-believing conservatives are leery of a guy like Crist, and they don't necessarily buy the argument that they should get in line because he is better suited to win the seat for the GOP. They have heard that one before. And thanks to John Cornyn's best (worst?) efforts, they are hearing it again.
Meanwhile, in our extended analogy, Marco Rubio is...Mike Huckabee. The underdog who worked his way into the argument by making full-throated appeals to the base of the party. The guy who took years to become an overnight sensation. Ideologically, the two are cut from the same cloth, which might explain why Rubio was an early endorser of Huckabee's presidential campaign. It might also explain why Huckabee is apparently returning the favor.
Rubio's declaration that there is a war for the soul of the GOP may not merely have been the rhetoric of an underdog desperately trying to wedge his way into the race. Huckabee's decision to endorse Rubio in the race gives Rubio instant credibility, and Huckabee's status as one of the primary spokesman for the right-wing (particularly the Religious Right) gives instant credibility to Rubio's campaign rationale.
We will know in less than two months if Rubio's candidacy is more than a nuisance candidacy. Here is the simple test: come mid-July, watch Rubio's FEC reports. There is no doubt that Crist will outraise him. The governor's ability to raise cash is well established. The question is how much Rubio brings in. If it is in the seven-figure range, this may well surpass Pennsylvania as the primary campaign to watch.
ESPECIALLY if Jeb Bush follows his sons into the Rubio camp.
The bottom line is that even though Huckabee did not tear it up as a Presidential candidate in Florida last winter, his endorsement of the underdog has the potential to be a game-changing moment.
Another potential game changer in Election 2010 is John Cornyn, for reasons that have nothing to do with Rush or Newt. More on him later.
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(h/t David E)
Can I just say for the record that the whole Republican meme on Sonia Sotomayor shows perfectly their fragile little egos and pathetic logic pretzels to try to convince America that the poor little privileged white man just can't get a break in today's America?
Cry me a river. Case in point: Sen. Lindsey Graham on FoxNews Sunday and his intellectually dishonest (not that anything the GOP does as opposition is intellectually honest) threats of not voting to confirm Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
GRAHAM: (S)he said was that based on her life experiences, that she thought a Latina woman -- somebody with her background -- would be a better judge than a guy like me: a white guy from South Carolina. And it is troubling, and it's inappropriate. I hope she will apologize. And if I had said something like that--or someone with my background and profile--we wouldn't be talking about this nomination going forward.
At this point, we'll break from the "Southern guy with a huge chip on his shoulder diatribe" to actually quote EXACTLY what Sotomayor said:
Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O'Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases. I am not so sure Justice O'Connor is the author of that line since Professor Resnik attributes that line to Supreme Court Justice Coyle. I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor Martha Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.
Let us not forget that wise men like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Justice Cardozo voted on cases which upheld both sex and race discrimination in our society. Until 1972, no Supreme Court case ever upheld the claim of a woman in a gender discrimination case. I, like Professor Carter, believe that we should not be so myopic as to believe that others of different experiences or backgrounds are incapable of understanding the values and needs of people from a different group. Many are so capable. As Judge Cedarbaum pointed out to me, nine white men on the Supreme Court in the past have done so on many occasions and on many issues including Brown.
However, to understand takes time and effort, something that not all people are willing to give. For others, their experiences limit their ability to understand the experiences of others. Other simply do not care. Hence, one must accept the proposition that a difference there will be by the presence of women and people of color on the bench. Personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see. My hope is that I will take the good from my experiences and extrapolate them further into areas with which I am unfamiliar. I simply do not know exactly what that difference will be in my judging. But I accept there will be some based on my gender and my Latina heritage.
I also hope that by raising the question today of what difference having more Latinos and Latinas on the bench will make will start your own evaluation. For people of color and women lawyers, what does and should being an ethnic minority mean in your lawyering? For men lawyers, what areas in your experiences and attitudes do you need to work on to make you capable of reaching those great moments of enlightenment which other men in different circumstances have been able to reach. For all of us, how do change the facts that in every task force study of gender and race bias in the courts, women and people of color, lawyers and judges alike, report in significantly higher percentages than white men that their gender and race has shaped their careers, from hiring, retention to promotion and that a statistically significant number of women and minority lawyers and judges, both alike, have experienced bias in the courtroom?
Each day on the bench I learn something new about the judicial process and about being a professional Latina woman in a world that sometimes looks at me with suspicion. I am reminded each day that I render decisions that affect people concretely and that I owe them constant and complete vigilance in checking my assumptions, presumptions and perspectives and ensuring that to the extent that my limited abilities and capabilities permit me, that I reevaluate them and change as circumstances and cases before me requires. I can and do aspire to be greater than the sum total of my experiences but I accept my limitations. I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies and prejudices are appropriate.
So for those who actually employ critical thinking skills and not just cherry-picked quotes (which obviously is beyond the ken of Newt, Rush, et al.,) Sotomayor is cautioning against relying on those life experiences and advocating constant checking against assumptions.
GRAHAM: I do know this: that statement is not about talking about her life experiences, it's getting from her life experiences a superiority based on those experiences versus somebody else in society. And I don't want that kind of person being a judge in my case, but I don't think she?s a racist. I think she should be proud of what she's accomplished in life. But to lead to the conclusion that all the hardships she has gone through makes her better than me is inappropriate.
My, my, someone here has some clear issues and insecurities. There are no assumptions of superiority in Sotomayor's speech. It's a caution against that.
Personally, I don't think Sotomayor owes anyone an apology, but she sure as hell deserves one from partisan crap like this from Graham.
Full transcript (h/t David E)
WALLACE: Let's start with Judge Sotomayor?s controversial speech back in 2001 in which she hoped that wise Latina woman judge more often than not will reach better conclusion than a white male judge. On Friday, President Obama tried to walk that back. Let's watch.
[video Barack Obama] I'm sure she would have restated it, but if you look in the entire sweep of the essay that she wrote, what is clear she was simply saying that her life experiences would give her information about the struggles and hardships that people are going through that will make her a good judge. [end video]
WALLACE: Senator Graham, does that clear it up for you?
GRAHAM: No, she didn't say that at all. What she said was that based on her life experiences, that she thought a Latina woman-- somebody with her background-- would be a better judge than a guy like me: a white guy from South Carolina. And it is troubling, and it's inappropriate. I hope she will apologize. And if I had said something like that--or someone with my background and profile--we wouldn't be talking about this nomination going forward. But we'll listen to what she has to say. She has to prove to me if I found myself in court with a Latina woman, in front of her, I'd get a fair shake. That's up to her to do.
WALLACE: Well, let me follow up. Newt Gingrich says that she's a racist, Rush Limbaugh compares her to former Klansman David Duke. Are they right?
GRAHAM: No, they interject themselves in the debate. They got an audience to entertain. Newt?s a political commentator. I?m a United States senator. But I do know this: that statement is not about talking about her life experiences, it's getting from her life experiences a superiority based on those experiences versus somebody else in society. And I don't want that kind of person being a judge in my case, but I don't think she?s a racist. I think she should be proud of what she's accomplished in life. But to lead to the conclusion that all the hardships she has gone through makes her better than me is inappropriate.
Monday morning at 9AM CDT, the Minnesota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Senate Election Contest. For those wanting to see and hear the argument, the Uptake has indicated that they will have live coverage. I am not sure if the Minnesota Supreme Court will have live coverage, but they will have the argument in their archive later. The Minnesota Legislature had live coverage of the canvassing board. As they are now out of session, they might have coverage of this argument.
For those who have never seen or heard an oral argument before an appellate court before, oral argument is substantially different from what most people see in a trial court when they are a juror, a party, or a witness. In a trial court, judges tend for the most part to let lawyers try their cases with minimal interruption from the bench -- especially in a jury trial. Oral argument is about the judges on the court making sure they understand what the parties are saying. As such, there tends to be questions from the judges to the parties. How much those questions dominate depends on the judges with attorneys frequently talking about a hot bench (in which the judges have a lot of questions and take over the argument) and a cold bench (in which the lawyers get few questions).
Questions during oral argument tend to fall into four questions.
The first category are questions about the evidence supporting the claims of the party. As an appellate court reviews the decision of the trial court based on the evidence presented at the trial court, the judges need to know what evidence was presented to the trial court in support of the arguments being made on appeal.
The second category is questions about the law. The parties are asserting legal principles. The judges want to know what case or statutory provision provides the strongest support for that argument. For a party seeking to stretch the law a bit, these can be dangerous questions that can trap them unless they are clear that a case is only somewhat close and that they are asking the court to go the next step.
The third category is questions designed to clarify the argument. What might seem obvious to the attorney for a party who has been involved in the case for 8 months may not be obvious to the five judges who just got the case four weeks ago.
The final category is about the rules that the party seems to be proposing. Judges want to know that if we agree with you on what the rule is for this type of case how will that impact the system. When there are two equally reasonable interpretations of a statute or prior case, judges tend to shy away from the one that would cause major disruption. (To some extent, this is what Judge Sotomayer meant when she said Appellate Courts make policy.)
So what to look for and listen for on Monday:
First and foremost, take a look at who is asking which questions and whether or not the questions on a particular issue seem to have the same slant from all of the justices. There will be five justices hearing this case (as the two who were on the canvassing board have recused themselves from the case). If the justices all seem to have the same concerns, then you are looking at a unanimous decision (maybe). If one justice seems to be suggesting resolution X to issue 1 and another justice is suggesting the exact opposite resolution to that issue then a unanimous decision is probably unlikely. Sometimes, justices ask questions to make a point to their fellow justices.
Second, the questions will suggest which issues are problematic for each side. For example, do the justices ask about how to take improperly counted absentee ballots out of the count? That would seem to indicate that they are taking that issue seriously.
Third, are the questions curious or skeptical. To keep on the improperly counted absentee ballots issue, there is a difference between asking whether a remand is necessary for more evidence on this issue and questions indicating the impossibility of accurately determining how those people voted in the Senate race.
So what topics might we see in the questions:
A. Invalid Counted Absentee Ballots -- If asked, are the questions pointed on the issues of preservation and ability to accurately how those people voted (good for Franken) or are they seeking a method to fairly remove such votes from the count (good for Coleman).
B. Local differences on absentee ballots (equal protection) -- If asked, do the questions suggest that such differences are inherent in having local election judges (good for Franken) or that some localities may have ignored the rules (good for Coleman).
C. Double counting/missing ballots -- If asked, do the questions seek what further information is needed to determine what happened (good for Coleman) or whether there is adequate evidence to support this claim (good for Franken).
D. Uncounted Absentee ballots -- Will the questions be focused on why particular rules should be ignored (good for Franken), the evidence showing that particular ballots are valid (good for Franken) or on the desirability of counting all ballots (good for Coleman).
It is unclear when we will have a decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court. It took about four weeks to get an opinion on the election certificate. That was a simple issue on a minimal record. My hunch says that the Minnesota Supreme Court will take its time to get it right (and make sure there is no issue for the U.S. Supreme Court). I think we will have a decision before the Senate returns from its August recess, but I am doubtful about having one before they leave for the August recess.
For the past several months, Kerry Eleveld has the Advocate's D.C.-based correspondent. She was detailed here a couple months ago. In that very short period of time, she's become an astute observer of the workings of D.C. She's the reporter at the White House briefing who asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about Obama's intentions on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was a campaign promise. He didn't have an answer:
video details and more
In addition to her regular reporting, every week, Eleveld writes a column, "View from the Hill," which captures the week's legislative and political news as it relates to LGBT issues. It's becoming a "must read." This week's column is titled "Obama's Silence" -- and captures what many in D.C. don't seem to grasp:
When the administration?s LGBT announcements come, I will be watching what the Amy Ballietts of the nation think, not what those in Washington say. Why? Because a cultural and generational shift is taking place that Washington politicians and even our LGBT organizations seem to be either missing, dismissing, or ignoring.I think she's spot on. I'd just add one thing. Many gay baby boomers and Gen-Xers, who had been somewhat complacent, have become much more radical and intense after the Prop. 8 debacle. It's one thing to think we're working towards achieving rights. It's another to have newly secured rights taken away. More and more, I hear gay people talk in the same language I've heard NRA-types use for years. And, our straight allies are equally as fired up. We're engaged like never before -- and I don't think that's fully understood here in D.C.
Here?s my thoroughly unscientific, crude analysis: Gay baby boomers typically stayed in the closet because they didn?t want their lives to be ruined; LGBT Gen-Xers expected that we (I'm an Xer) could be mostly visible without fearing life, limb, and job loss (depending on where one lived) but figured there might be some trade-offs in rights even if we knew it was unfair; a majority of millennials, LGBT and straight, just don?t get why we all pay the same taxes, work the same jobs, make the same contributions, but queer people don?t enjoy the same legal rights and protections in the military, civil marriage, employment, or anywhere else for that matter.
So while Washington tinkers around the edges of LGBT rights -- maybe trying to get gay couples counted in the Census, strengthening federal hate-crimes protections, or providing same-sex partner health benefits to federal workers -- our nation?s young may simply wonder why their best friends can?t get married or why their sisters and brothers died cloaked in the closet of our country?s uniform.
I?m quite confident that is not the ?change? they envisioned at the ballot box last fall, and I do wonder, what will be the price of President Obama?s silence among the ranks of our nation?s future?