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Americans United Criticizes California Supreme Court Ruling Allowing Ban On Same-Sex Marriage To Stand

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

By Americans United for the Separation of Church and State

Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed disappointment with the California Supreme Court ruling upholding Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the state.

“Marriage is a civil right and should not be subject to majority rule or a religious litmus test,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United.

“It is a decision at odds with both the Constitution and basic decency,” Lynn continued. “History will judge that this was a step backward for religious freedom and civil rights.”

After a divisive campaign led largely by conservative religious groups, California voters narrow approved Proposition 8 in November of 2008. The vote had the effect of nullifying a May 2008 ruling by the state high court legalizing same-sex marriage.

Gay-rights groups subsequently challenged the vote in court, arguing that fundamental changes to the California Constitution can be made only through a deliberative process that begins in the legislature, not ballot initiatives.

Americans United, the Anti-Defamation League and 30 other civil rights and civil liberties groups joined the effort, filing a friend-of-the-court brief asserting that a bare majority of voters should not be permitted to remove fundamental rights from a minority group.

“If Proposition 8 can strip fundamental rights from gay and lesbian people by a 52 percent majority, future amendments can strip away fundamental rights from other disfavored groups based on race, national origin, gender or religion,” read the brief....(Click for remainder.)


On the Nomination of Sonia Sotomayor

By Sen. Patrick Leahy
The Huffington Post

While visiting with our troops in Afghanistan today, President Obama called to inform me that he will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor has a long and distinguished career on the federal bench. She has been nominated by both Democratic and Republican presidents, and she was twice confirmed by the Senate with strong, bipartisan support. Her record is exemplary. Judge Sotomayor's nomination is an historic one, and when confirmed she will become the first Hispanic Justice, and just the third woman to sit on the nation's highest court. Having a Supreme Court that better reflects the diversity of America helps ensure that we keep faith with the words engraved in Vermont marble over the entrance of the Supreme Court: "Equal justice under law."

The Supreme Court is the final arbiter in the federal judiciary, with a fundamental role in our system of government and a fundamental impact on Americans' everyday lives. One need look no further than the Lilly Ledbetter and Diana Levine cases to understand how just one vote can determine the Court's decision and impact the lives and freedoms of countless Americans. I believe that Judge Sotomayor will be in the mold of Justice Souter, who understands the real-world impact of the Court's decisions, rather than the mold of the conservative activists who second-guess Congress, and who through judicial extremism undercut laws meant to protect Americans from discrimination in their jobs, their access to health care and education, and their privacy from an overreaching government. I believe Judge Sotomayor understands that the courthouse doors must be as open to ordinary Americans as they are to government and big corporations.

As he promised, President Obama has handled this selection process with the care that the American people expect and deserve. The Senate in good faith should match the president's confidence-building steps in the way we now proceed with this nomination. Some groups in the Republican base have said they are 'spoiling for a fight,' no matter who was nominated. Republican Senators up to now have generally shown more responsibility than that, and the American people will want the Senate to carry out its constitutional duty with conscientiousness and civility.

Among the most serious constitutional duties entrusted to Congress is the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices. President Obama has announced his choice, and the Senate will now prepare for fair and thorough confirmation proceedings. There are more than 300 million Americans; only 100 Senators will vote on this nomination. We have a solemn duty to the Constitution and to the American people. This will not be decided by the interest groups on the left or the right. I trust that no Senator will seek to apply a different standard to this nominee than was applied just four years ago when the Senate considered President Bush's nominations to the Supreme Court....(Click for remainder.)


President Obama Nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor For SCOTUS


An Open Letter to Jesus: My God Would Torture to Save Lives

By Grant Lawrence
OpEd News
There are a lot of things Jesus wouldn’t do because he’s the son of God. I can’t imagine Jesus being a Marine or a policeman or a bank president, for that matter. The more appropriate question is, ‘What is a follower of Jesus permitted to do?’

I think if we believe the person we have can give us information to stop thousands of Americans from being killed, it would be morally suspect to not use harsh tactics to get that information.
~Gary Bauer: Former Head of "Christian" Coalition~

Dear Jesus,

A lot of your followers are into torture.

They say, Jesus, that you wouldn't want to do it. But they say it is good for your followers to torture because it saves lives.

But I am a little unclear on this, dear Jesus.

Since you are the Savior and want to Save lives then why wouldn't you grab gallons of water and torture suspected terrorists. If you can really save thousands of lives by a lot of water, beatings, and sleep deprivation then, Jesus, you should be all for it. To put it in the words of your righteous follower Gary Bauer, it would be morally suspect for you "to not use harsh tactics to get that information."

Jesus, another thing that doesn't make much sense about your holy subject's words is that if being a Marine or a Policeman saves lives then why wouldn't you want to do it. Wouldn't it be immoral for you not to grab a gun and get busy in saving the lives of Americans.

So dear Jesus, I want a Savior that really gets down and dirty trying to save others. I don't want some Savior that will have others do his dirty work. I want a God that will grab that gun or those gallons of water and get busy saving lives.

I really don't like it when the Christian right tries to you into "a morally suspect" God. I want a God that is not troubled by conscience or ashamed to torture. I want a God that will torture with the best of the torturers because, after all, we are saving thousands of lives.

I want a God that is ruthless in the "War on Terror" and knows haw to smite the enemies of America....(Click for remainder.)


Shhhhhh...It's Still a (State) Secret

By William Fisher
The Public Record

“My Administration is also confronting challenges to what is known as the ‘State Secrets’ privilege. This is a doctrine that allows the government to challenge legal cases involving secret programs. It has been used by many past Presidents - Republican and Democrat - for many decades. And while this principle is absolutely necessary to protect national security, I am concerned that it has been over-used. We must not protect information merely because it reveals the violation of a law or embarrasses the government.”
Thus spoke President Obama in his national security speech last week.

Which makes an odd coincidence ever odder. The odder coincidence is that in the same week as the President was arguing for more transparency in government and railing against the idea of protecting information “merely because it reveals the violation of a law or embarrasses the government” – he was invoking it yet again.

In a bid to squelch a U.K. court case involving alleged British complicity with the CIA in the rendition, imprisonment and torture of a British resident, the Foreign Office presented a letter urging continuing secrecy from – yes, you guessed it -- the Obama Administration.

From an ‘unnamed official’ in the Obama Administration.

The Foreign Office refused to disclose to the British High Court judges who the letter was from or to whom it was written, to say nothing of its contents, which were heavily redacted. The Foreign Office refused to explain why. They simply said their reasons for secrecy must also remain suppressed.

Here’s the back-story:

In 2002, an Ethiopian citizen and British resident named Binyam Mohamed became one of the CIA’s “frequent flyers.” He was arrested in Pakistan, allegedly stripped, blindfolded, shackled, dressed in a tracksuit, strapped to the seat of a plane and flown to Morocco where he was secretly detained for 18 months and interrogated and tortured by Moroccan intelligence services....(Click for remainder.)


Right-Wing Rhetoric, Still Shrill and Mindless

By Ann Davidow

The dictionary defines the word "huckster" as "a person who employs showy methods to effect a sale, win votes etc. ..." and notes "the crass methods of political hucksters." Today the Republican Party is trying to sell a story rejected in several election cycles, yet the media is providing it with endless opportunities to intone its effete message.

One of the sillier issues that animates some discussions is the so-called "defense-of-marriage" stand by people who feel "opposite marriage" is endangered by marriage-minded gays, although why this should be so is puzzling. To be drawn into this debate is to deflect attention from matters of far greater import. At some point, the disrupters should be made to understand they are free to think as they will, but if marital partners feel threatened they should seek out the offices of a good marriage counselor and leave serious problems to serious problem solvers.

Although this issue seems to be losing steam among younger, more progressive voters who tend to ignore extreme ideological positions, many conservatives refuse to accept any challenge to their partisan set of 'values.' When party leaders say they understand the needs and hopes of 'the people' but are unwilling or unable to come up with anything more than excuses for eight years of policies that have brought the country to its current state of disrepair, who can trust them?

But as the Republican leadership addresses what it regards as critical elements that will propel it back into power, what does it come up with - - an attack on Nancy Pelosi for comments about what the CIA told members of Congress, though others have complaints similar to hers. Utah's Republican Representative Bishop wants a 4-person bi-partisan panel to get to the bottom of Pelosi's charges. But be careful what you wish for Mr. Bishop, because if callers to the Washington Journal are any indication of how the country feels, people of all political persuasions would like to know a lot more about how our intelligence agency operates including how we ended up invading Iraq, for starters.

As for one of its "new" approaches the party has begun airing a remake of the infamous "daisy commercial" from the sixties to assail President Obama's decision to close the prison at Guantanomo. His decision has become a cause celebre for people on the right who think they have found a way to revisit what they see as Obama's Achilles heel and their favorite wedge issue - - national security. Recent polls show, however, that Republicans are losing ground on that front as well....(Click for remainder.)


Fox Nation's Front Page News: Obama's Slip of the Tongue

By Ellen
News Hounds

File this under the "No Obama Smear Is Too Trivial" file at Fox News. The latest political "top story" at Fox Nation is Obama's slip of the tongue when referring to his Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, calling him "William" and "Ronald" by mistake I know it's a slow news day but still... Maybe those America lovers at Fox are using it as filler until they finalize their theories for blaming him for the North Korea nuclear test and Iran's warships going to the Gulf of Aden. Screen grab after the jump.

(Click for original.)


Dumb-as-a-Sack-of-Hammers, Andrew Breitbart, Says Oprah is Running Obama White House

Is this really the level of the punditocracy on the right?  I mean come on!  William F. Buckley is rolling over in his grave.  Could this bloviating jerk be any more racist?  Because that's what this all boils down to; total unadulterated racist.  Glenn Beck, along with Andrew Breitbart, are nothing more than mouthpieces for the neo-Nazi, White Power movement in this country.  Isn't it about time that the sheeple one the right wake up, and see these people for what they are?  Merchants of hatred and bigotry.

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Now, that's what I call a conspiracy theory: Andrew Breitbart told Glenn Beck on Friday that he thinks that Oprah Winfrey is the real power behind the Obama throne:
Breitbart: Well, this doesn’t surprise me. Does it surprise you? This is the Oprah Winfrey presidency. She was his biggest supporter, and I think that she’s been behind the scenes orchestrating this presidency as a media presidency, photo ops, giving billions of dollars of gifts away to people and to companies like General Electric, and until the mainstream media starts realizing --

Beck: Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that Barack Obama walks into a room and goes, "GE CEOs, look under your seat!"

Breitbart: I think that's exactly what it is.

Beck: You've got a bailout. Is that what you're suggesting?

Breitbart: That's exactly what I'm suggesting. It is the Oprah Winfrey presidency.
You know, it's funny: Fox never featured hosts who were upset about Fox' cozy relationships with the Republicans who made Rupert Murdoch's massive American media acquisitions possible for the past decade.

It never featured reports or talk-show hosts who even talked about former GE CEO Jack Welch's cozy relationship with the GOP and the Bush administration earlier this decade....(Click for remainder.)


Obama's Center-Left Two-Step

How much longer can the president keep sending different messages to different audiences?

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
The New Republic

WASHINGTON--Bill Clinton tried to create a Third Way. President Obama is doing it. This is exciting, but also disconcerting.   

Over the last week, the true nature of Obama's political project has come into much clearer view. He is out to build a new and enduring political establishment, located slightly to the left of center but including everyone except the far right. That's certainly a bracing idea, since Washington has not seen a liberal establishment since the mid-1960s.

"Liberal establishment," of course, sounds terrible to many ears, and Obama would never use the term. But those who led it in its heyday accomplished a great deal, from Medicare to food stamps to Head Start to federal aid for schools. Its proudest achievements were civil rights laws that paved the way for the election of our first African-American president.   

But the liberal establishment was also resolutely tough-minded in its approach to foreign policy and national security. Not for nothing was the phrase "cold war liberalism" coined.

And it is no accident that the Vietnam War was that philosophy's undoing. Fearful that a communist victory in Vietnam would revive the far right's critique of alleged liberal weakness, Lyndon B. Johnson -- whose aspiration was to be a great domestic social reformer -- went into Southeast Asia with guns blazing. We know the result.   

The disturbing aspect of Obama's effort to create his new political alignment is that building it requires him to send rather different messages to its component parts. Playing to several audiences at once can lead to awkward moments....(Click for remainder.)


President Obama's Memorial Day Remarks

This Memorial Day weekend, Americans will gather on lawns and porches, fire up the grill, and enjoy the company of family, friends, and neighbors. But this is not only a time for celebration, it is also a time to reflect on what this holiday is all about; to pay tribute to our fallen heroes; and to remember the servicemen and women who cannot be with us this year because they are standing post far from home - in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world.

On Friday, I traveled to Annapolis, where I spoke at the Commencement of the United States Naval Academy. It was an honor to address some of America's newest sailors and Marines as their Commander-in-Chief. Looking out at all of those young men and women, I was reminded of the extraordinary service that they are rendering to our country. And I was reminded, too, of all of the sacrifices that their parents, siblings, and loved ones make each day on their behalf and on our behalf.

Our fighting men and women - and the military families who love them - embody what is best in America. And we have a responsibility to serve all of them as well as they serve all of us.

And yet, all too often in recent years and decades, we, as a nation, have failed to live up to that responsibility. We have failed to give them the support they need or pay them the respect they deserve. That is a betrayal of the sacred trust that America has with all who wear - and all who have worn - the proud uniform of our country.

And that is a sacred trust I am committed to keeping as President of the United States. That is why I will send our servicemen and women into harm's way only when it is necessary, and ensure that they have the training and equipment they need when they enter the theater of war.

That is why we are building a 21st century Department of Veterans Affairs with the largest single-year funding increase in three decades. It's a commitment that will help us provide our veterans with the support and benefits they have earned, and expand quality health care to a half million more veterans.

That is why, this week, I signed a bill that will eliminate some of the waste and inefficiency in our defense projects - reform that will better protect our nation, better protect our troops, and save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

And that is why we are laying a new foundation for our economy so that when our troops return home and take off the uniform, they can find a good job, provide for their families, and earn a college degree on a Post-9/11 GI Bill that will offer them the same opportunity to live out their dreams that was afforded our greatest generation.

These are some of the ways we can, must, and will honor the service of our troops and the sacrifice of their families. But we must also do our part, not only as a nation, but as individuals for those Americans who are bearing the burden of wars being fought on our behalf. That can mean sending a letter or a care package to our troops overseas. It can mean volunteering at a clinic where a wounded warrior is being treated or bringing supplies to a homeless veterans center. Or it can mean something as simple as saying "thank you" to a veteran you pass on the street.

That is what Memorial Day is all about. It is about doing all we can to repay the debt we owe to those men and women who have answered our nation's call by fighting under its flag. It is about recognizing that we, as a people, did not get here by accident or good fortune alone. It's about remembering the hard winter of 1776, when our fragile American experiment seemed doomed to fail; and the early battles of 1861 when a union victory was anything but certain; and the summer of 1944, when the fate of a world rested on a perilous landing unlike any ever attempted.

It's about remembering each and every one of those moments when our survival as a nation came down not simply to the wisdom of our leaders or the resilience of our people, but to the courage and valor of our fighting men and women. For it is only by remembering these moments that we can truly appreciate a simple lesson of American life - that what makes all we are and all we aspire to be possible are the sacrifices of an unbroken line of Americans that stretches back to our nation's founding.

That is the meaning of this holiday. That is a truth at the heart of our history. And that is a lesson I hope all Americans will carry with them this Memorial Day weekend and beyond.

Thank you.


Dick Cheney is America's #1 Terrorist

By Andy Ostroy
The Huffington Post

During the eight miserable years of the Bush administration, then-vice president Dick Cheney lied, deceived and stretched the truth as he and the president sought to ram their extreme right-wing war-mongering agenda down our collective throats. And heaven help anyone who got in their way:

"If you're against the president and his policies, you're unpatriotic and rooting against America."

"If you're against the Iraq War, you're against the troops."

And now in the face of President Obama's plan to shut down the controversial prison at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, Cheney's classic irresponsible and reprehensible partisan rhetoric is running on overdrive. He's an un-lean, mean 24/7 Obama-bashing machine who's giving us "If you're against the Bush/Cheney torture and Gitmo policies you're rooting for the terrorists." This posturing is beyond despicable. And if it's at all possible, he's an even bigger dick than ever.

What Cheney's trying to do, and perhaps successfully, is set the stage so that in the event a terrorist attack does occur again on U.S. soil, he and the other shameless partisan hacks can place the entire blame on Obama's reversal of several Bush/Cheney "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding. As a precursor to that, Cheney's ratcheting up the rhetoric that Obama is a weak commander-in-chief, incapable of keeping America safe. Forget the fact that the worst terror attack occurred on Bush/Cheney's watch. Forget the fact that it was eight years between the first and second World Trade Center attacks, yet the Busheviks boasted of anti-terror success after just 6 or 7 years as if passing that mark somehow meant the threat was beyond us. Forget the fact that just three months into his presidency Obama deftly ordered Navy snipers to kill Somali pirates who had held an American cargo ship captain hostage. But as in the past, the truth doesn't matter to Cheney, as he marches on to redeem himself from his perch as the most unpopular vice president in history....(Click for remainder.)


Be Afraid...Be Very Afraid


Day of Decision: What to Expect From the California Supremes

By Teddy Partridge
The Campaign Silo

Tuesday is the Day of Decision for the California Supremes on marriage equality. The High Court will announce its decisions at 10am Pacific Time. Will Proposition 8 be upheld or overturned? Will the Rainbow Window marriages stand, or will they be invalidated?

No one knows quite what to expect from the Court; many marriage equality proponents are pessimistic that Proposition 8 will be overturned.  To help people understand the decision when it is announced on Tuesday, I've explained the two questions before the Court and outlined the three possible scenarios.

You know my explanation will be biased, since you know where I stand on Proposition 8.  But I'll do my best to explain how the Court can rule.  You also know I'm not a lawyer, so this explanation is in layman's terms.  Very layman.

There are two questions before the Court with regard to marriage equality.  The first question is whether or not Proposition 8 is such a sweeping change to the California constitution that it should have been handled differently; fundamental rights of a minority should not be put to a vote.   Because the Court previously ruled that marriage is a fundamental right, it's conceivable that they will rule that this right cannot be taken away from a minority of the citizenry by a popular vote.

Prop 8 is a sweeping revision to the California constitution, this logic goes, and therefore needs to be legislated and then presented to the electorate for a vote.  Because Prop 8 was never voted on by the California Assembly and Senate, but made it onto the ballot via the signature-gathering referendum process, it short-circuited the proper mechanism and should be overturned. 

Of course, those who favor Prop 8 have a lot of will-of-the-people, activist-judges, majority-rule mumbo-jumbo on their side, but it's really hard to argue that a majority can vote away minority rights, at least in America.  But the pro-Prop 8 folks do argue this, and the Court has upheld referendums before on the basis that California citizens are entitled to do what they want with their constitution....(Click for remainder.)


For Every Death, a Hole in the World

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

This is something I wrote for Memorial Day 2005 and I run it every year:
Soldiers are not chunks of identical clay; each of them has a story, their own reasons for being caught in a war.

Brave? Maybe - sometimes, under some conditions. Scared, mostly. The younger they are, the more likely their presence had to do with restlessness, cockiness. The need to be part of a winning team, the desire to even a score. Kick ass, take names. Kill them all, let God sort them out.

The older they are, the more realistic they are. This was a steady paycheck, or a way to supplement the one they already had. When they join, it's with their eyes on the future benefit. When they're in the middle of a war, they think only of surviving the next five minutes. Please, God, please. Let me see my family again.

And when they die in the war, each death leaves a hole in the world. It's important to remember that, to not see them as a monolithic casualty list or as an acceptable loss.

No loss is acceptable. Ask the parents, the spouses, the children. They try. They tell themselves stories of nobility, sacrifice, a greater cause. They cover it up with the ritual rhetoric. But deep down, they must wonder.

Here is how to count the cost: In high school graduation pictures that will never be replaced with wedding pictures. In wedding rings that will never be worn smooth by years. By the daughters who will walk down the aisle with an uncle or brother instead of Dad. By the sons who will find themselves angry and lost, not understanding why. The children who will hear about their mother's eyes, their father's chin but won't ever see themselves reflected in that face.

By the parents who now understand the quiet obscenity of outliving their own children.

Each and every one of these deaths left a hole in the world. That is why we count them.

They mattered.
(Click for original.)


Psycho Right-Wing Hate Monger Pastor Charged in $300k Theft

By Electra Draper
The Denver Post

The conservative Colorado Springs pastor who broke away from the Episcopal Church to form a new Anglican congregation in May 2007 now is accused of stealing $291,000 from Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish.

The Rev. Don Armstrong was indicted on 20 counts of felony theft by an El Paso County grand jury Wednesday. He surrendered to authorities Thursday but was soon free on bond, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Armstrong's spokesman did not return calls Friday.

Police and a special prosecutor conducted a two-year investigation into allegations of Armstrong's financial wrongdoings at the church.

In the indictment, Armstrong, 60, is accused of using the Clarice Bowton Trust, a scholarship fund for new ministers, to pay his own children's college expenses, including rent and tuition bills.

The trust was activated after Bowton's death in the late 1970s, and its terms were never amended.

The indictment further states that Armstrong's use of the trust was eventually questioned by a trust officer, who terminated its distribution to the church as of December 2001....(Click for remainder.)


UN Condems N. Korea Nuclear Test

By Al Jazeera English

The UN Security Council has unanimously condemned North Korea's latest nuclear missile test, labelling it a "clear violation" of a 2006 resolution passed after Pyongyang's first atomic test.

"The members of the Security Council have decided to start work immediately on a Security Council resolution on this matter," the body said in a statement after holding crisis talks on Monday.

At the White House the US president also condemned the test as "reckless" and pledged to take action in response to the underground blast, which was said to be 20 times more powerful than the 2006 test.

"North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes pose a grave threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action," Barack Obama told reporters.

Obama called the test "a blunt violation of international law" and said Pyongyang had reneged on its commitment to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

In a further escalation of tensions on Tuesday, South Korea's defence ministry said it had intelligence North Korea was preparing to test fire short-range missiles off its coast.

The missiles, based on China's Silkworm weapons system, are believed to have a range of about 160km....(Click for remainder.)


UN Condems N. Korea Nuclear Test

By Al Jazeera English

The UN Security Council has unanimously condemned North Korea's latest nuclear missile test, labelling it a "clear violation" of a 2006 resolution passed after Pyongyang's first atomic test.

"The members of the Security Council have decided to start work immediately on a Security Council resolution on this matter," the body said in a statement after holding crisis talks on Monday.

At the White House the US president also condemned the test as "reckless" and pledged to take action in response to the underground blast, which was said to be 20 times more powerful than the 2006 test.

"North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes pose a grave threat to the peace and security of the world and I strongly condemn their reckless action," Barack Obama told reporters.

Obama called the test "a blunt violation of international law" and said Pyongyang had reneged on its commitment to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

In a further escalation of tensions on Tuesday, South Korea's defence ministry said it had intelligence North Korea was preparing to test fire short-range missiles off its coast.

The missiles, based on China's Silkworm weapons system, are believed to have a range of about 160km....(Click for remainder.)


Ben Nelson: Now More Conservative Than Ever

By Brian Beutler
Talking Points Memo

If you read this site fairly regularly, you might be thinking that President Obama is having some issues with the Senate. And you'd be correct. Here's an abbreviated list of hurdles: Dawn Johnsen can't be confirmed to head the Office of Legal Counsel; health care reform may have to do without a public option--if it happens at all; and Obama's goal of shuttering the Guantanamo Bay detention center by early 2010 is suddenly imperiled by the common cousins of conservative demagoguery and Democratic sheepishness.

The examples are manifold. And the voices of opposition are united.

"No way I can vote for her," says a senator of Dawn Johnsen.

Seeking to protect health insurance companies, which would be hard pressed to compete with a government provider, one senator called the idea of a publicly run insurance option a "deal breaker."

And on Guantanamo, the voice of the opposition in the Senate can be summed up thusly: "I think they need to be kept elsewhere, wherever that is. I don't want to see them come on American soil."

These aren't the idle protestations of embattled Republican leaders, though. They're the proclamations of the Democratic senator from Nebraska.

That's not entirely surprising. Ben Nelson is conservative and pro-life and has always been something of a spoiler for liberals. But since he took the lead in watering down the stimulus bill in the early days of the 111th Congress, he's been, if anything, more invested in the idea of blocking the progressive agenda than ever--and Senate math is on his side....(Click for remainder.)



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