Discussing the April 3 Iowa Supreme Court ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, Glenn Beck falsely asserted on the April 13 broadcast of his Fox News program, "I believe this case is actually about going into churches and going in and attacking churches and saying you can't teach anything else." In fact, the unanimous court ruling explicitly states that constitutional principles "require that the state recognize both opposite-sex and same-sex civil marriage. Religious doctrine and views contrary to this principle of law are unaffected."
The Iowa Supreme Court further stated that the ruling does not affect religious institutions' definitions of marriage:
A religious denomination can still define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and a marriage ceremony performed by a minister, priest, rabbi, or other person ordained or designated as a leader of the person's religious faith does not lose its meaning as a sacrament or other religious institution. The sanctity of all religious marriages celebrated in the future will have the same meaning as those celebrated in the past. The only difference is civil marriage will now take on a new meaning that reflects a more complete understanding of equal protection of the law. This result is what our constitution requires.As Media Matters for America noted, media figures advanced similar falsehoods about the 2008 decision by the California Supreme Court that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry. That ruling was reversed by Proposition 8, the ballot measure that amended California's constitution to ban same-sex marriage in that state....(Click for remainder.)
The Huffington Post
This poor dude. First he started a grassroots campaign to support the conservative tea bagging movement, only to discover "tea bagging" meant something vastly different than what he expected.
Then he signed on to support NOM (the National Organization for Marriage), the group behind the "gathering gay storm" video. They launched a campaign called "2M4M" aka two million for marriage. On the Interweb this too has other connotations as the video's creator notes on his YouTube page:
If "m4m" is "man looking for a man, "2m4m" is "two men looking for a man." It could, however, also refer to a man looking for another man twice. Or two men times four men.
(Click for original.)
This past Sunday in the Sydney Morning Herald, Australian counter-insurgency specialist David Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer who was a specialist adviser for the Bush administration and is now a consultant to the Obama White House, warned that Pakistan could collapse within months.
The warning comes as the US scrambles to redeploy its military forces and diplomats in an attempt to stem rising violence and anarchy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.Reading the Indian and Pakistani press, the sense I get from the Indian press is that Pakistan refuses to confront the obvious and the sense that I get from the Pakistani press is that India is the problem which only confirms the former. Even as the Baitullah Meshud claim responsibility for recent attacks in Lahore and promise more, Pakistani authorities continue to cast blame on India's intelligence agency, RAW. Too many Pakistani still just don't see the problem. Until the Pakistanis themselves realize in full the scope of their problems, it seems foolhardy to believe that Pakistan is capable of tackling its problems. And this, of course, presents a problem for the United States....(Click for remainder.)
"We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we're calling the war on terror now," said David Kilcullen, a former Australian Army officer who was a specialist adviser for the Bush administration and is now a consultant to the Obama White House.
"You just can't say that you're not going to worry about al-Qaeda taking control of Pakistan and its nukes," he said.
As the US implements a new strategy in Central Asia so comprehensive that some analysts now dub the cross-border conflict "Obama's war", Dr Kilcullen said time was running out for international efforts to pull both countries back from the brink.
When he unveiled his new "Afpak" policy in Washington last month, the US President, Barack Obama, warned that while al-Qaeda would fill the vacuum if Afghanistan collapsed, the terrorist group was already rooted in Pakistan, plotting more attacks on the US.
"The safety of people round the world is at stake," he said.
Rachel Maddow: Dana “I Don't Know the Difference Between Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis” Perino to Do Crisis Communications for AIG?
CQ Politics via Yahoo! News
A Minnesota trial court unanimously ruled Monday that Democrat Al Franken is the winner in Minnesota's long-running Senate race, rejecting Republican Norm Coleman's lawsuit challenging the results of a recount.
"Franken is entitled to receive the certificate of election," naming him the winner, the three-judge panel ruled, after dismissing all of Coleman's major claims for a lack of evidence.
The Coleman campaign said it would appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court, something it pledged to do after a court-sanctioned count of previously rejected absentee ballots extended Franken's lead last week to 312 votes out of 2.9 million cast.
"This order ignores the reality of what happened in the counties and cities on Election Day in terms of counting the votes. By its own terms, the court has included votes it has found to be 'illegal' in the contest to remain included in the final counts from Election Day, and equal protection and due process concerns have been ignored," Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg said in a statement.
"For these reasons, we must appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court so that no voter is left behind."
Franken addressed supporters in front of his home in Minneapolis Monday evening, saying he was "honored and humbled by this close victory."...(Click for remainder.)
The Daily Beast
Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.
The six defendants—in addition to Gonzales, Federal Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith—are accused of having given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S. detention in “the war on terror.” The case arises in the context of a pending proceeding before the court involving terrorism charges against five Spaniards formerly held at Guantánamo. A group of human-rights lawyers originally filed a criminal complaint asking the court to look at the possibility of charges against the six American lawyers. Baltasar Garzón Real, the investigating judge, accepted the complaint and referred it to Spanish prosecutors for a view as to whether they would accept the case and press it forward. “The evidence provided was more than sufficient to justify a more comprehensive investigation,” one of the lawyers associated with the prosecution stated.
But prosecutors will also ask that Judge Garzón, an internationally known figure due to his management of the case against former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and other high-profile cases, step aside. The case originally came to Garzón because he presided over efforts to bring terrorism charges against the five Spaniards previously held at Guantánamo. Spanish prosecutors consider it “awkward” for the same judge to have both the case against former U.S. officials based on the possible torture of the five Spaniards at Guantánamo and the case against those very same Spaniards. A source close to the prosecution also noted that there was concern about the reaction to the case in some parts of the U.S. media, where it had been viewed, incorrectly, as a sort of personal frolic of Judge Garzón. Instead, the prosecutors will ask Garzón to transfer the case to Judge Ismail Moreno, who is currently handling an investigation into kidnapping charges surrounding the CIA’s use of facilities as a safe harbor in connection with the seizure of Khalid el-Masri, a German greengrocer who was seized and held at various CIA blacksites for about half a year as a result of mistaken identity. The decision on the transfer will be up to Judge Garzón in the first instance, and he is expected to make a quick ruling. If he denies the request, it may be appealed....(Click for remainder.)
71% of Americans Have Confidence in Obama To Do The Right Thing on The Economy. Most Have Little or No Confidence in the GOP Congress
By Joe Sudbay
The economy is the dominant issue in American these days. And, the American people trust their president to deal with it:
Over two-thirds of Americans -- 71% -- have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in President Obama to do or recommend the right thing for the economy, a much higher level of confidence than is given to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, or the Democratic or Republican leaders in Congress.
(Click for remainder.)
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - A Minnesota court panel ruled on Monday that Democrat Al Franken beat Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the long-fought contest for a U.S. Senate seat and said the comic turned politician should be certified as the winner.
The contest, however, is far from over. Coleman has already said he would appeal the widely anticipated ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court and possibly to federal courts.
It may be months before the U.S. Senate knows if Democrats will control a crucial 59th seat in the body, strengthening their chances of putting together a controlling 60-vote bloc to cut off debate.
"I am honored and humbled by this close victory, and I'm looking forward to getting to work as soon as possible," said Franken.
The ruling from a three-judge panel of state court judges who examined absentee votes in question said Franken had won and should be certified.
The panel concluded its work last week after finding Franken had a 312-vote lead. But Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has said he would not certify a state winner until all legal challenges are exhausted....(Click for remainder.)
The Financial Times
President Barack Obama on Monday took a big step towards relaxing sanctions on Cuba, lifting all travel and remittance restrictions on Cuban-Americans and permitting US telecoms companies to offer services directly to the island.
The end of the restrictions, which Mr Obama promised during his campaign, means Cuban-Americans will be able to travel to the island state when they like, as opposed to once a year, and send as much money as they want to relatives, as opposed to $75 a month. Mr Obama also said he would permit Cuban-Americans to pay for US-provided telecoms services to relatives living in Cuba.
“Clearly, the Obama administration is re-examining US policy towards Cuba,” said Peter DeSchavo, analyst at the Centre for Strategic International Studies. “It would be an understatement to say that the embargo has not achieved what it was supposed to achieve.”
Monday’s executive order, which comes as Mr Obama prepares for the Organisation of American States summit in Trinidad this weekend, is likely to fuel conservative criticism that Mr Obama is treating dictatorships too softly. Last week, he came under fire after the US said it would fully participate in multilateral talks with Iran....(Click for remainder.)
The Colorado Independent
Invoking the brutal murders of Matthew Shepard and Angie Zapata, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall called on Congress "to finally pass" federal hate crimes legislation in an opinion column published Sunday in the Boulder Daily Camera.
Days before the trial of Zapata's accused killer is set to begin in Greeley, the Boulder County Democrat lamented that "vile prejudice based on sexual orientation still plagues our society" a decade after Shepard, a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student, was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die in the cold.
Prosecutors charge that Zapata's accused killer, Allen Andrade, beat her to death last summer after discovering she was a transgender woman. In addition to first-degree murder and other felony charges, Andrade faces prosecution under Colorado's bias-motivated crime statute, which could add three years to his sentence if jurors decide he killed Zapata because she was transgender. It's the first time in the nation a hate-crime charge has been prosecuted in the murder of a transgender victim.
From Udall's column:
I was elected to Congress a month after Matthew's murder. And for every year thereafter, I supported federal hate crimes legislation that would later be renamed in honor of Matthew — The Matthew Shepard Act. Sadly, that legislation has yet to pass Congress.(Click for remainder.)
Ten years later, in 2008, I asked voters to send me to the United States Senate. During that campaign, I was deeply saddened to learn about another tragic murder — right here in Colorado.
The Daily Beast
Republican resistance to gay marriage goes against conservative values—and our own self-interest.
This week, I will be speaking at the Log Cabin Republicans' national convention in support of the gay community and its role in the future of the Republican Party. Of all the causes I believe in and speak publicly about, this is one of the ones closest to my heart.
The Log Cabin Republicans’ mission "is to work within the Republican Party to advocate equal rights for all Americans, including gays and lesbians." The group is centered on core Republican values, such as limited government, individual liberty and responsibility, an economy based in free markets, and a strong national defense. And in the spirit of the GOP’s founding beliefs—personal freedom and liberty—they are dedicated to securing full equality for gays and lesbians in America to create a stronger, larger, and more-unified GOP.
What I found most interesting about the Log Cabin Republicans is where and when they got their start: in California, during the late '70s. At the time, much of the progress made in securing equal rights for gays was drawing a backlash. A successful movement to overturn antidiscrimination laws in Dade County, Florida, was led by singer Anita Bryant. States like Arkansas and Oklahoma prohibited gays from teaching jobs. And a California Republican state senator suggested a proposition for voters to keep gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. (At one point, the initiative was leading in polls with more than 60 percent of voters supporting it.) In the end, voters rejected the proposition in November 1978, by a margin of more than a million votes. While several prominent Democrats and Republicans rallied to secure its defeat, one Republican in particular helped turn the tide—former California Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan....(Click for remainder.)
Washington, Apr 13 - In response to recent reports of the death and persecution of gays in Iraq, Congressman Jared Polis (CO-2) called for an investigation into “egregious human rights violations” carried out against gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender (GLBT) Iraqis while meeting with US and Iraqi officials on a Congressional Delegation visit to Baghdad, Iraq this week.
“The United States should not tolerate human rights violations of any kind, especially by a government that Americans spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year supporting,” said Polis. “Hopefully my trip and letters to US and Iraqi officials will help bring international attention and investigation to this terrible situation and bring an end to any such offenses.”
CNN and the New York Times have recently reported the increased violence against GLBT Iraqis and that Iraqi police have begun a crackdown on homosexuals — whose status is illegal in Iraq — and that influential clerics have urged that they be sought out and killed.
The first openly gay male elected to Congress as a freshman, Polis has been investigating human rights violations against GLBT Iraqis since before coming to Congress.
Prior to his trip, an Iraqi human-rights advocacy group contacted Polis and forwarded him a letter written in jail by a man who said he was beaten into confessing he was a member of the gay-rights group Iraqi-LGBT. The group said the man had been sentenced to death in a court in Karkh, Iraq and executed. (The group and the author's names are omitted for their protection.) Polis also spoke through a translator by phone to a transgender Iraqi man who said he had been arrested, beaten, and raped by Ministry of Interior security forces.
In Baghdad, Polis met with the Iraqi Charges D’Affairs, members of the Iraqi Parliament's Human-Rights Committee, and US State Department officials in Baghdad, and gave them a letter outlining the allegations and urging their immediate investigation. Thus far, the Charge D'Affaires has requested more documentation and the chance to speak with witnesses and victims.
"We will now wait and see whether the Iraqi government is serious about protecting the human rights of all Iraqis and what role our own State Department can play in helping to protect this minority in Iraq," said Polis. “I am most disturbed by allegations that Iraqi government itself may be involved in the persecutions. This warrants an immediate investigation from both American and Iraqi governments.”
Polis’ letter is available at http://polis.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Iraqletter.pdf.
The Republicans really don't think there is a problem with the economy. They just don't think we're in a crisis. They're living in some kind of alternate universe. That's why the all vote NO and want Obama to fail. And, that's why two of their leaders, RNC Chair Michael Steele and House GOP Whip Eric Cantor, dismissed the idea that we're in an economic downturn.
John and I have both been writing this about the Republicans for awhile. There's no other way to explain the GOP's behavior. They just don't think it's a really a problem. The DNC cut an ad that explains the GOP's denial:
(Click for original.)
How Christian Fundamentalism and Social Darwinism Brought about the Collapse of the American Economy
"Decisions on compensation and other actions taken and not taken, particularly at banks that rapidly lost a lot of shareholder value, look self-serving and greedy in hindsight".
Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd C. Blankfein recently stating that that the "appearance" of greed and self serving may not have been good. It is, however, just the "appearance" of greed and self serving that Chairman Blankfein sees as the problem. The Chairman of Goldman Sachs knows that it was the love of money that made this country what it is today.
It was Ronald Reagan, Milton Freedman, and TV Evangelists like Pat Robertson, Tammy Fae and Jim Baker, and Jimmy Swaggert that taught Americans to really Love Money. It was a marriage made in hell. Free Market big business, or modern day Social Darwinians, and Fundamentalist Christians joined forces in one common interest--money. Together they helped bring about another terrible event in disaster capitalism.
Wait a minute.
You might be wondering how it is that the Social Darwinians and Fundamentalist Christians joined forces to bring about our present calamity.
Americans have always loved money but over the last several decades it became an all consuming desire brought on by something seemingly more powerful than God--Greed. Or in the view of Fundamentalist Christians, it was the power of greed that served God....(Click for remainder.)
A recent article in the Los Angeles Times described the latest absurdity in the never-ending search to quench the thirst for water: ownership of rainwater and, more precisely, the illegality of rainwater harvesting. Residents and communities in parts of Colorado are turning to this ancient practice of collecting and storing rain to fulfill their domestic water needs, including flushing toilets and watering lawns. Using this “grey” water, as it is called, relieves pressure on water resources and can be extremely efficient.
Many long-time water users, however, object to the practice.
These so-called water buffaloes argue that people who collect rainwater are taking away from their water by collecting the water before it has a chance to flow into a river from which they obtain water. Effectively, they argue, the rainwater belongs to them – they own the rain that falls from the sky as part of their water allocation, even though 97 percent of the rainfall that falls on soil does not reach a river. The bad news? The law in Colorado stands behind those water buffaloes.
Like most states west of the one-hundredth meridian, Colorado follows the doctrine of prior appropriation to allocate water. For all water uses that are non-domestic, a person must have a water right. Water rights are assigned a priority date, which is the date that the water use was initiated.
Under prior appropriation, these senior water users – many of whom have rights dating back to the 1800’s – have priority in times of water shortages based on the date of their initiation. Their water allocation is fulfilled before any junior users, who are often left with a nominal amount of water. People who harvest rainwater are “interfering” with the priority system by jumping ahead of all the senior users, who have the first right to use the water.
This dogmatic adherence to temporal priority blocks efforts to acquire water rights for newer or more efficient uses, such as in-stream conservation and recreation. These uses, initiated relatively recently, will always be subordinate to older, more consumptive uses.
Ownership of water has always been a tenuous proposition. Water and water rights linger on the perimeter of traditional property rights, eluding the solid “property” categorization of items like land or salad bowls. Individual water molecules cannot be marked or identified, and water is in constant motion, swirling below, above, and around the earth in the global hydrologic cycle. More significantly, water is survival for the vast array of living creatures on this planet, so privatizing the world’s most precious liquid would necessarily create a divide between haves and have-nots....(Click for remainder.)
Evan Wolfson points out in this Huff Post piece that the anti-gay-marriage crowd is now not just targeting gays, they're trying to undermine all civil rights laws affecting blacks, Latinos, and every other person covered by civil rights law in this country.
[B]eware: the NOM campaign is bait-and-switch. The real agenda here is not just resistance to marriage rights, it's undermining the broader civil rights laws that ensure that we can all participate equally in society, even if other people don't like us. Though they wrap it in marriage, the opposition is actually about gay - and they are attacking the idea that civil rights laws should protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation at all.Evan's larger point is that the anti-gay groups are challenging the entire underpinning of civil rights law. If we permit far-right bigots to be exempt from civil rights laws that they find morally, or "religiously," offensive, then that carves an exemption for any extremist religious group, and worse, any member of that group working in the private sector, and even the public sector, to discriminate against anyone he or she wants.
For example, if a Mormon working at a pharmacy doesn't have to sell condoms to a gay couple, what's stopping that same Mormon from refusing to sell condoms to an inter-racial couple? After all, the Mormons discriminated against blacks up until the 1970s, and the church teaches that African-Americans have black skin because God is punishing them for being evil. If a Mormon doesn't want to serve an African-American, he can easily just quote his religion....(Click for remainder.)
It's really hard to cut through the incoherence of the tea party protestors and figure out exactly what they are protesting about. Something about taxes, maybe?
Well, whatever size the protests, fueled by Fox channel shilling:
You see, Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Neil Cavuto, and Greta Van Susteren are all scheduled to broadcast live from tea parties in different cities across the country, and they've wasted little time in diligently working to boost attendance levels for the April 15 events.It turns out the American people have a different idea about taxes than the teabaggers:
A new Gallup Poll finds 48% of Americans saying the amount of federal income taxes they pay is "about right," with 46% saying "too high" -- one of the most positive assessments Gallup has measured since 1956. Typically, a majority of Americans say their taxes are too high, and relatively few say their taxes are too low...(Click for remainder.)
The poll also finds 61% of Americans saying they regard the income taxes they have to pay this year as fair. There has been very little change on this measure in the last six years...
As the remaining U.S. tax filers prepare to send their income-tax returns before the April 15 deadline, Gallup finds Americans' views of their federal income taxes about as positive as at any point in the last 60 years. This may reflect the income-tax cut that was part of the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, as well as a continuing sense of patriotism with the country fighting two wars.
By Rachel Weiner
The Huffington Post
The rescue of a ship captain from Somali pirates Sunday night was largely viewed as a foreign policy victory for President Obama. But Rush Limbaugh saw something different. The talk show has quickly capitalized on the hostage crisis as a new line of attack on domestic liberals.
Limbaugh described the pirates as having "entitlement mentality. I could have sworn they were originally Americans ... maybe they were illegal immigrants ... fled the scene because Republicans drove them out of the country."
"We've got -- we've got -- call them what they want to call themselves -- we've got the Somali pirates and the Beltway pirates," Limbaugh continued. "The Beltway pirates are led by Pelosi and Reid. The Beltway pirates, I tell you -- you think $2 million? That's chump change. The Beltway pirates are demanding a $10 trillion ransom not just from us, but from our kids and our grandkids and their grandkids."...(Click for remainder.)
The Huffington Post
Tea doesn't get much respect in America. This historical snubbing will continue Wednesday, with protests across America meant to evoke the Boston Tea Party, a seminal event in the foundation of our county. How effective these protests will be is going to be open to interpretation, however.
But first, some sympathy for tea itself. Americans consume far more coffee than tea, and don't even realize that the reason they do so can be traced back to the Boston Tea Party itself. Tea is such a quintessentially English drink that during and after the Revolution, not drinking it was a simple political statement: "We're not British, we're Americans." Even today, tea is held to be somewhat suspect, rather feminine, and not as red-blooded American as drinking coffee. A quick observation of any Denny's in the country at breakfast will confirm the ratio of coffee drinkers to tea drinkers among today's Americans. If you don't believe that patriotic feelings get attached to food, then you must not remember "freedom fries" from a few years back. Such feelings sometimes get so ingrained in society that the reason behind them is lost in time. As happened with tea in America.
So tea's an easy target for a protest, once again. The fact that it has absolutely nothing to do with the protest itself is immaterial to the protestors. They mean to evoke a certain historical revolutionary glow to the event by their choice of scapegoat.
When you look closely at even the original event, tea wasn't even central to the debate back then, either. It was symbolic from the beginning, from both the British side and the American side. We all learn a very simplified version of this as schoolchildren, which could best be summed up as: "Americans were protesting higher British taxes on tea."...(Click for remainder.)
The apocalyptic consequences of same-sex marriage are too terrifying to imagine. But you can help. Join the Brownbow Coalition. United by our shared intolerance, we will Restore Integrity to Marriage. www.wakeupworld.tv
The Huffington Post
A growing number of political scientists, analysts and strategists are making the case for a realignment of political power in the U.S. to a new Democratic majority based on two trends: 1) the increasing numbers of black and Hispanic voters, and 2) a decisive shift away from the Republican Party by the suburban and well-educated constituencies that once formed the backbone of the GOP.
Arguments supporting a Democratic realignment are based on well-researched population and voting data. Nonetheless, at a time when the economy remains in crisis and when international tensions are intensifying across the globe, any claim that Democratic (or Republican) ascendance is inevitable should be viewed with caution.
In a March, 2009 51-page paper [PDF] "New Progressive America: Twenty Years of Demographic, Geographic, and Attitudinal Changes Across the Country Herald a New Progressive Majority," Ruy Teixeira makes a strong case that "progressive arguments are in the ascendancy," that demographic and geographic "trends should take America down a very different road than has been traveled in the last eight years. A new progressive America is on the rise."
To further buttress his case, Teixeira has put together "a very cool interactive map that includes 7 levels of exit poll demographics and county-level vote shifts going back to 1988."
Teixeira is by no means alone. The New Republic's John Judis, who collaborated with Teixeira on the 2001 book The Emerging Democratic Majority, wrote an article titled "America The Liberal" the day after the November 4, 2008, election. Judis made a similarly well-argued case that the election of Obama "is the culmination of a Democratic realignment that began in the 1990s. ... The country is no longer 'America the conservative.' And, if Obama acts shrewdly to consolidate this new majority, we may soon be 'America the liberal'."...(Click for remainder.)
By Max Blumenthal
The Daily Beast
While priming her political machine for a likely 2012 presidential primary run, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has fomented a scandal that threatens to further erode her reputation in the Last Frontier. In March, Palin nominated Wayne Anthony Ross for attorney general. Ross, a colorful far-right lawyer and longtime Palin ally who sports his initials, W.A.R., on his Hummer’s vanity plates, was once considered a shoo-in for confirmation. However, his nomination was thrown into grave peril when his opponents presented evidence that he called homosexuals “degenerates,” leveled invective against an African-American student offended by a statue of a Klansman, vowed to undermine the sovereignty of Native American tribes, and allegedly defended men who rape their wives. According to two sources close to the confirmation hearings, Palin may ask Ross to withdraw before his appointment comes to a vote.
Palin’s hopes for a swift confirmation process were dashed April 10 when Leah Burton, a veteran lobbyist on children’s issues and domestic violence, submitted a letter to the Alaska State Judiciary Committee claiming that Ross publicly defended spousal rape. According to Burton, who detailed the allegations for me, Ross allegedly declared during a speech before a 1991 gathering of the “father’s rights” group Dads Against Discrimination, “If a guy can’t rape his wife, who’s he gonna rape?” (In a subsequent letter, Ross denied the remark and claimed, “I don’t talk like that!”)...(Click for remainder.)