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Maine Approves Gay Marriage

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Reich-Wing Radio Host Peter Boyles: DHS Sec. Napolitano is "Starting to Resemble Mrs. Potatohead"


Jeff Sessions is a Disgrace to His Race

By John Aravosis

Who do the Republicans choose to replace Arlen Specter as the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, in charge of approving judicial nominations? Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a man from the deep south with a troubling racial past. The "new" Republican party, it's a lot like the old Republican party.  (Click for original.)


David Letterman Slaughters the 'Evil' Dick Cheney


GOP Survivor


Durbin and Whitehouse Raise Concerns About Pending OPR Report

By Daphne Eviatar
The Washington Independent

More than a year ago, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill..) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) asked the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the conduct of lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel, whose work provided legal justifications for waterboarding and other abusive interrogation tactics.

Since then, the two senators (and many others) have been asking about the progress of the investigation, which they learned was completed by the end of the last administration. The OPR’s report, however, which was not released publicly at the request of Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

On Tuesday, Durbin and Whitehouse received assurances from the department that although the subjects of the report — including former OLC head Steven Bradbury, who signed several of the recently released OLC memos authorizing waterboarding and other “extreme” techniques — were allowed to review and comment on the draft, “this opportunity for review and comment was fair and reasonably correlates with the process usually applicable to OPR investigations relating to former employees. . . .Any revisions to the report thereafter will be based upon OPR’s best judgments about the accuracy and fairness of the document.” The comments from the report’s subjects were due on Monday.

The letter from the Justice Department to Durbin and Whitehouse sent yesterday also indicates that the CIA was given a copy of the report to review, both for classification purposes and to comment....(Click for remainder.)


The Baby Jesus, Hannity, Whines About Being Snubbed by Joy Behar

By Ellen
News Hounds

Sean Hannity spent a lot of time during last night's show whining about liberal Joy Behar, of The View, snubbing him and calling him “dangerous.” In his innocent voice, Hannity claimed he merely has policy differences with President Obama and holds nothing against him personally. But in a later segment, Hannity ranted that Obama is a “radical activist” who won't select a qualified Supreme Court justice who will follow the rule of law and the Constitution. Earth to Hannity: Statements like that are a good example of why Behar feels that way about you. With video.

Early in the show, near the end of his interview with The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Hannity said, “I try to reach out to Joy (Behar)... I don't understand why Joy's calling me dangerous, attacking me all the time. I've always liked Joy. She's funny.”

Hasselbeck either disingenuously or cluelessly said she thought it was because Hannity's conservative. “You can't be conservative right now.” (Hasselbeck, whom I've always felt is living proof that you don't need to be intelligent to succeed on television, must have forgotten that Behar puts up with her every working day. So, gee whiz, Elisabeth, do you think just being conservative might not be the problem?)

Hannity continuing, said with his sincere voice, “But to call me dangerous because I don't like Barack Obama's policies? I have nothing against the Obamas personally.”...(Click for remainder.)


Socialism's Comeback

The return of socialism to the political debate shows the possibility of reviving the mostly hidden but rich tradition of working-class struggle and resistance in this country.


SOCIALISM IS back--in the media, in political debate, and, on May Day, in the streets.

May Day is International Workers Day, a socialist holiday marking the struggle for the eight-hour workday in the U.S. more than a century ago. Since then, it's traditionally been a day of celebrations for the labor movement and the left.

In recent decades, May Day in much of the world has become a kind of ritualized demonstration with little political impact. But this year, it was a day of angry protest in Europe against anti-worker policies carried out by governments amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Hundreds of thousands of workers marched in Paris behind socialist and trade union banners. Greece, too, saw mass protests.

Demonstrations in the U.S. on May 1 were far smaller. Nevertheless, May Day, long ignored in this country, has been re-established on the U.S. political scene thanks to the immigrant rights movement. That's an important achievement, because for decades, May Day was seen through the lens of the Cold War--it was a foreign, "communist" holiday that had nothing to do with U.S. workers.

In reality, May Day is as American as apple pie. The first May Day protests in 1886 were led by anarchists and socialists in Chicago--four were hanged in the political witch-hunt that followed a bombing in Haymarket Square. So it's entirely appropriate that May Day 2009 once again finds socialism back in the political mix....(Click for remainder.)


The Oxy-Moron, Limbaugh, Claims "[W]e've Got Literally a Thugocracy That is Operating Out of the White House"

By Media Matters


Mike Pence Descends Into Gibberish After Evolution Questions From Chris Matthews

By Rachel Weiner
The Huffington Post

The conversation started off with a rather simple question. "Do you believe in evolution, sir?" Chris Matthews asked Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), a leading House conservative.

"Um... I, do I believe in evolution? Ah, I, I, ah... I embrace the, uh -- the, uh -- the view, ah, that God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that's in them..."

Matthews interrupted. "Right, but do you believe in evolution as a means to get there?"

The sparring continued for the next several minutes, as Matthews demanded the Republican congressman own up to his party's continued skepticism over theories and facts that have broad support from the scientific community, such as evolution and climate change.

At one point, Matthews had Pence confirm for the record that he "accepts the scientific method." Pence said he did, but argued that the mainstream media was ignoring alleged growing skepticism among scientists over global warming....(Click for remainder.)


Maine House Passes Marriage Bill


The Maine house of representatives approved a bill 89-58 on Tuesday that would extend marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples, following a 22-14 vote by the senate on Thursday.

The bill must still go to Gov. John Baldacci, who opposes same-sex marriage, for approval. David Farmer, a spokesman for Balducci, told the New York Times that the governor is "listening to what people have to say. But at the end of the day, I think it will come down to what he believes is the right thing to do."

If Baldacci does sign the legislation, the Portland, Maine Catholic Diocese and other groups are already pushing for a "people's veto," forcing a referendum vote on the issue before it can become officially legal. The effort would require 55,087 signatures.

The house vote came after hours of emotional testimony, including personal stories about the people in their lives, and their own marriage struggles.

Rep. Veronica Mangan said that her choice to support the bill conflicts with her Pentecostal faith, but in the end, "this is more of a choice of conscience than Constitution. I support this bill because it's the right thing to do."

Charles Priest, chairman of the house judiciary committee said one of his two daughters is a lesbian, and has a son with her partner. "I want that child to grow up so her civil rights are recognized. I want my granddaughter to live in a stable, civil marriage."

Representative Sheryl Briggs, however, said that she opposed same-sex marriage even though her daughter is a lesbian....(Click for remainder.)


Beck Calls Government "Lucifer...the Devil"


Beck Moans That Republicans Are Too Far Left

By Ellen
News Hounds

Glenn Beck opened his discussion about whether or not the Republicans have really been shifting to the right by moaning, “I can't take the media anymore saying that the Republicans are moving too far right. The Republicans haven't moved! And the reason why they're losing their base is because they're too far left!” But the evidence which suggests otherwise was not given to the "we report, you decide" network. With video.

Guest Andrew Klavan said, “This is the media's agenda... tempting the GOP to become what it once was, a minority party basically there to sort of trim the edges off the radicalism of the left... Whenever anybody runs on a true conservative agenda, he wins.” (You mean like Steve Pearce in the swing state of New Mexico? He called himself a “consistent conservative" and lost the Senate race by more than 20 percent.)

Klavan groused, “The media is in the business of enticing people like John McCain into the middle.”

So McCain's positions are due to being “enticed” by the media?

Beck asked why there aren't more “true conservatives.” He said he couldn't think of a real “conservative contender out there.”

Klavan admitted they were “harder to find” (though he cited Republicans Eric Kantor and Jim DeMint). Klavan said that being a conservative takes courage. “In order to step up for conservative ideals, which means American ideals, which means Constitutional ideas... you're going to have to take an onslaught of media attacks."

Beck, always ready to offer his own life as parable for something significant, compared Republicans to his distaste for drinking “lite” chocolate milk. “I'm not gonna go for “lite” chocolate milk and that's what the Republicans have become. It's progressive lite.” He challenged Republicans to offer “a real solution.”...(Click for remainder.)


Homophobic Hate-Monger Maggie Gallagher Adopted False Claim That Dems Used "Threats" in NH

By Media Matters

In a May 4 post on the National Review Online blog, The Corner, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, claimed that "gay-marriage advocates ... got the national Democratic party to threaten [New Hampshire Democratic] state senators with retaliation if they didn't toe the line" by supporting the state's same-sex marriage bill, and that these "threat[s]" included "primary opponents, or even moving the presidential primary date out of NH." Gallagher sourced the claim to an April 30 entry on the Now! Hampshire blog by former GOP consultant Patrick Hynes, who cited anonymous "Democratic State House sources" in alleging that New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Ray Buckley "played [the] primary card" during "closed-door negotiations." However, Gallagher did not note that Buckley has disputed Hynes' allegations, calling them "fabricated lies by the NH Republican party."

In an email posted on the blog DemConWatch, Buckley wrote of Hynes' claims:
The lie of any pressure by me or the lie of any connection to the primary are fabricated lies by the NH Republican party. The source is a new website created by the NH Republicans to spin lies, it is their latest effort as they flail away as they sink lower and lower into total irrelevancy. Patrick Hynes (, a NH mudslinger operates (Google Hynes and you will be fascinated with his efforts).

The reason for the lie is they refuse to believe the truth: the state senators chose to support marriage equality because they felt it was the right thing to do. Each of the senators came to that conclusion on their own. Two of the senators have gay children and three have gay nieces or nephews. Others who have faced discrimination for one reason or another in their lives felt compelled to support the legislation others heard from hundreds of their constituents supporting marriage equality.

The Republicans are trying to make the vote into something sinister and ugly. Don't let them get away with it.
As Media Matters for America has noted, Hynes was reportedly hired in May 2006 by Straight Talk America, Sen. John McCain's political action committee, but failed to disclose his involvement with the McCain campaign until July of that year. During those two months, Hynes wrote several posts on his now-defunct blog promoting McCain's candidacy and criticizing McCain's opponents in the 2008 Republican primary. According to National Review Online blogger Jim Geraghty, Hynes wrote Geraghty an email acknowledging that he should have disclosed his ties to McCain....(Click for remainder.)


Mormons Lying For The Lord

By John Aravosis

It's a Mormon thing. It's called Lying for the Lord. And it's a tenet of the Mormon faith that, Mormons think, gives them to the right to tell you a bald-faced lie, so long as it's a lie that somehow furthers the Mormon cause.

What else to call the Mormon's laughable statement today that their posthumous baptism last year of President Obama's mother was a "rare" mistake that might have been done by "pranksters."

Yes, we're to believe that the Mormons, just by coincidence, forcibly converted a presidential candidate's deceased mother, 13 years after her death, and only months before the presidential election. And we're also to believe no warning bells went off at Mormon Central when they saw that the woman's husband, whose name is clearly listed on her "baptismal record," is "Barack Hussein Obama." (Obama's father has the same name.) Yes, all one big unfortunate "rare" mistake. Kind of like a clerical error. Except instead of giving you the wrong change, they just stole your mother's soul.

The Mormons would have you believe that this kind of thing - forcibly converting the dead of other faiths to Mormonism, without their families' permission - is something that only happens once in a blue moon. Tell that to the families of Holocaust victims who have been trying to get the Mormons to stop baptizing their dead for over a decade. The Mormons even promised to stop forcibly converting Jewish Holocaust victims, back in 1995, only for it to be revealed a few months ago that - surprise! - they didn't really stop....(Click for remainder.)


Cali. Pageant Eyes Prejean for Contract Violations

By Lisa Leff
Associated Press via San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN FRANCISCO — The directors of the Miss California USA pageant are looking into whether title holder Carrie Prejean violated her contract by working with a national group opposed to gay marriage and by posing semi-nude when she was a teenage model.

Pageant spokesman Roger Neal said Tuesday it appears Prejean has run afoul of several sections of the 12-page contract that all prospective contestants were required to sign before competing in the November state contest.

The detailed document prohibits the titular Miss California from making personal appearances, giving interviews or making commercials without permission from pageant officials. In the last 10 days, Prejean has made televised appearances at her San Diego church and on behalf of the National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to same-sex marriage.

The contract also contains a clause asking participants to say whether they have conducted themselves "in accordance with the highest ethical and moral standards." As an example, it asks if they have ever been photographed nude or partially nude.

"As you can see from the contract, she violated multiple items," Neal said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

A photo of Prejean wearing only pink panties with her back turned to the camera appeared Monday on the gossip blog She issued a statement early Tuesday saying she posed for the shot when she was a 17-year-old model and objected to its release as an attempt to belittle her religious faith: "I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos."...(Click for remainder.)


The Ecuadorian Battle to Sue Chevron for Dumping Oil


Specter Says Coleman Should be Seated, Even Though He Lost the Vote

By John Byrne
The Raw Story

A new interview with The New York Times magazine, Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) — who recently became a Democrat — is sure to raise hackles with a comment in which he said that the Senate should seat a Republican who by most accounts has lost his reelection bid.

“With your departure from the Republican Party, there are no more Jewish Republicans in the Senate,” the interviewer asked. “Do you care about that?”

“I sure do,” Specter replied. “There’s still time for the Minnesota courts to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner.’

Specter’s comments are notable in light of recent comments by Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, who may challenge Specter in his bid for the Democratic nomination. They sparked amusement from the Senate Republican campaign committee.

Spokesman Amber Wilkerson told Talking Points Memo: “First he voted against President Obama’s budget, then he said he wouldn’t be a loyal Democrat, now he wants Norm Coleman to win. We’ve never agreed so much with Arlen Specter. You just have to wonder whether Joe Sestak agrees with the positions of his fellow Pennsylvania Democrat?”...(Click for remainder.)


Wash. Times Omits Reason Sessions' Own Judicial Nomination Was Blocked

By Media Matters

In a May 5 article noting that Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will replace Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- the committee responsible for approving judicial nominees -- The Washington Times wrote that "Sessions, who fought vociferously on behalf of former President George W. Bush's conservative judicial nominees, brings a unique perspective on nominations to the committee: His own 1986 nomination to a federal court was blocked by Democrats." However, Sessions was not only "blocked by Democrats"; his nomination as a federal district judge was rejected 10-8, with two Republicans -- including Specter -- voting against him. Moreover, the article did not note that, according to reporting at the time, Sessions was blocked amid accusations that his 1985 pursuit of voter fraud charges against three African-American civil rights activists during his tenure as United States attorney were racially motivated and that he had made racially insensitive comments.

According to a June 17, 1985, Chicago Tribune article (accessed via Nexis), headlined, "Alabama Torn By Vote-Fraud Charges," Sessions' office obtained indictments in Perry County, Alabama, accusing three African-American civil rights leaders of voter fraud. According to the article, "The most critical charge in the 29-count indictment is that Albert Turner; his wife, Evelyn; and Spencer Hogue Jr., while registering and assisting absentee voters in a Democratic primary last September, did 'open and fraudulently change those ballots that had not been marked for candidates (they) supported and endorsed.' " The article quoted Maryland state Sen. Clarence Mitchell, chairman of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, saying, "This is a blatantly racist investigation, no question about it. ... The Justice Department has vigorously pursued this action in Alabama counties where blacks have gained political control while ignoring calls for vote-fraud investigations in neighboring counties where whites hold political control." The article reported that Sessions "denied that his office was selectively prosecuting blacks rather than whites for vote fraud."

After a jury acquitted the three activists -- "in four hours," according to a New Republic article -- a July 5, 1985, Associated Press article (accessed via Nexis) reported that "Turner said after the verdict that the Justice Department brought the case because the growing black vote in Alabama was a threat to 'the power politicians.' Hogue said it was because 'I stand in the way of the white power structure.' "...(Click for remainder.)


Maine Just Might Be the Antidote to California

By Shenna Bellows, Betsy Smith and Mary Bonauto
ACLU via Daily Kos

Marriage just passed in Maine 89 to 57! The mood here in the state house is euphoric. The House vote today is the culmination of three years of planning and hard work. It's a testament to the power of a thoughtful and long-term strategy that has included strong grassroots organizing, aggressive coalition building and extensive communications and public education.

We had strong support in the legislature, including the House Speaker and the Senate President. All of the  Senate Democrats but one voted in favor of our bill. Remarkably, one-third of the House signed on to the bill as co-sponsors. We had the support of key Republicans on both the Senate and the House side.

The bill now goes to the Governor for signature — and he needs to hear from supporters of marriage equality. You can e-mail him here.

Now, our neighbors in Vermont beat us to the punch in passing  marriage through their legislature just a few weeks ago, but Maine is cursed or blessed with something Vermont doesn’t have — a citizen-initiated referendum process. Our opponents have 90 days from the date of adjournment of the legislature to gather just over 55,000 signatures in opposition to the marriage equality legislation. If they are successful, the issue goes to the ballot in November of 2009 or June of 2010, depending upon the speed of signature collection and processing by the Secretary of State.

We see it as an enormous opportunity. We believe Maine voters can and will support marriage for gay and lesbian couples. And that this vote in Maine will be significant in terms of the national movement for equality. Already, we’ve brought together a coalition of over 34 organizations and over 150 Maine clergy working alongside us toward the  goal of full equality. At the public hearing on marriage, we outnumbered our  opponents by 4 to 1. Already, we’ve identified 25 percent of the voters we need to win a referendum. Now is our chance to make history. And we need your help....(Click for remainder.)


Whack-a-Doodle Bachmann Says Obama's Policies are Fitting America's 19 And 20-Year-Olds ‘With Shackles And Chains’

By Matt Corley
Think Progress

This past weekend, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on the Northern Alliance Radio Network show, hosted by conservative bloggers John Hinderaker and Brian Ward. During the interview, Bachmann said she was "concerned" that debt resulting from President Obama's policies are fitting "the current 19 and 20-year-olds" with "shackles and chains."

To support this, Bachmann then claimed that today's youth will face a tax rate of "65 percent or higher" because of Obama:
BACHMANN: Well, I tell you what I am concerned about are the current 19 and 20-year-olds that are going to hold this debt. And it's the mother of all ironies, John and Brian, that the kids who voted en masse for Barack Obama are the ones being fitted with shackles and chains. And they're going to wake up one morning and find out that their tax rate is 65% or higher. Who is going to get out of bed in the morning if you realize that two-thirds or more of your day is spent earning money? You are working for Uncle Sam and you keep very little.
(Click for remainder.)


Al Jazeera Strikes Back at Pentagon, Releases Unedited Footage of US Soldiers' 'Bible Study' in Afghanistan

A day after the Pentagon accused Al Jazeera of being ‘irresponsible and inappropriate’ for broadcasting the ‘hunt for Jesus’ in Afghanistan footage, the network releases unedited tapes.

By Jeremy Scahill
Rebel Reports

Hours after Al Jazeera first broadcast a video showing US soldiers in Afghanistan being instructed by the military’s top chaplain in the country to “hunt people for Jesus” as they spread Christianity to the overwhelmingly Muslim population, the Pentagon shot back. It charged that Al Jazeera had “grossly misrepresent[ed] the truth.” Col. Greg Julian, told Al Jazeera: “Most of this is taken out of context … this is irresponsible and inappropriate journalism.”

Now, Al Jazeera and the man who filmed the controversial material are striking back. The network has just released unedited and unaltered footage (see below) of US soldiers in ‘bible study’ in Afghanistan. Jazeera describes it as “Extended footage shot by Brian Hughes, a US documentary maker and former member of the US military who spent several days in Bagram near Kabul.”

In Al Jazeera’s original report, Hughes addressed the fact that soldiers had imported bibles translated into Pashto and Dari. “[US soldiers] weren’t talking about learning how to speak Dari or Pashto, by reading the Bible and using that as the tool for language lessons,” Hughes told Al Jazeera. “The only reason they would have these documents there was to distribute them to the Afghan people. And I knew it was wrong, and I knew that filming it … documenting it would be important.”

Regarding allegations that the sermon of the military’s top chaplain in Afghanistan, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, where he instructs soldiers to “hunt people for Jesus” was taken out of context, Hughes said in a statment, “Any contention by the military that his words are purposefully taken out of context to alter the tone or meaning of his sermon is absolutely false.”...(Click for remainder.)


Media Myths and Falsehoods About the Supreme Court

By Media Matters

With Supreme Court Justice David Souter's recently announced retirement, Media Matters for America presents the following list of media myths and falsehoods about the High Court.


MYTH: Liberals -- but not conservatives -- engage in "judicial activism"

Media frequently suggest liberal judges, but not conservative judges, engage in "judicial activism" -- which media figures often characterize as legislating from the bench. For example, Fox News contributor Fred Barnes said of the process of replacing Souter, "Republicans do have a role here, and it's to talk about judicial activism and the dangers of it"; Barnes also stated that "liberal judicial activism" is "entirely results oriented." And radio host Laura Ingraham recently asserted that Judge Sonia Sotomayor, whom media have cited as a possible Supreme Court nominee, has "been described as judicially liberal, which means you don't favor the principle of judicial restraint." Ingraham later added that Sotomayor is "a traditional liberal and does not believe in, I think, a strict adherence to separation of powers."

But a 2005 study by Yale University law professor Paul Gewirtz and Yale Law School graduate Chad Golder showed that among Supreme Court justices at that time, those most frequently labeled "conservative" were among the most frequent practitioners of at least one brand of judicial activism -- the tendency to strike down statutes passed by Congress. Those most frequently labeled "liberal" were the least likely to strike down statutes passed by Congress.

A recently published study by Cass R. Sunstein (recently named by President Obama to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs) and University of Chicago law professor Thomas Miles used a different measurement of judicial activism the tendency of judges to strike down decisions by federal regulatory agencies. Sunstein and Miles found that by this definition, the Supreme Court's "conservative" justices were the most likely to engage in "judicial activism" while the "liberal" justices were most likely to exercise "judicial restraint."...(Click for remainder.)


Jay Bybee's Tortured Logic

By Jonathan Chait
The New Republic

Photo by Getty Images.
Remember the Rule of Law? In the late 1990s, it was all the rage in conservative circles. Having maneuvered Bill Clinton into a position where he could either lie under oath or suffer massive personal and political embarrassment, conservatives reasoned that Clinton must be held accountable for perjury or the basic underpinnings of democracy would be shattered. The Republican sensibility was best reflected by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, which not only crusaded for impeachment but demanded, in 2001, that Bill Clinton be indicted even after leaving office. The Journal rejected the logic of promoting healing and insisted that a post-presidency indictment would uphold "the principle that even Presidents and ex-Presidents are not above the law."

Over the last decade, though, the right's thinking on this question has evolved. Today, the administration malfeasance consists of illegal torture, a crime I'd argue is no less serious than lying under oath about fellatio. Yet Republicans now believe that the Rule of Law is not only consistent with letting administration crimes go unpunished but actually requires it. To prosecute the departed administration would make us (to use their new catchphrase) a "banana republic"--the premise being that banana republics are defined not by their use of torture but by their overly zealous enforcement of anti-torture laws.

The GOP line is once again reflected by the Journal editorial page, which now thunders against "a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements." The editorial notably fails to even address the question of whether the previous administration complied with the law, which is apparently no longer an important element of the Rule of Law....(Click for remainder.)


Help Pass Hate Crimes Legislation Once and For All



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