Category Archives: lawmaking

Okay now the GOP’s just blatantly being anti-woman

How could a bill intended to expand protection against domestic violence possibly be controversial? When Republicans are on an anti-vagina crusade, that’s how.

Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.

Only the GOP could “defend” an anti-woman stance by admitting to being anti-immigrant and anti-gay. “No no,” they say. “We’re not anti-woman! We just don’t want immigrants and queers to get help!”

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Okay, I need to stop doubting Obama, I think

Via a bit of executive branch magic, he effectively pulled out the worst bits of the NDAA. Read the entire article. It’s mandatory.

The thing to really point out is that had he vetoed the original bill (remember, there’s no line-item veto any more), then it almost assuredly would have gone back to Congress and passed again. In effect, the veto would have been purely symbolic and accomplished nothing. Instead, Obama once again played the long game and we ended up all the better for it.

The perfect president? Of course not, but I really do need to stop assuming the worst whenever he takes what appear to be terrible positions on things.

Wisconsin state senator: a single-parent household is “child abuse”

That’s not an exaggeration. It’s in the damn text of the bill.

“In promoting those campaigns and materials, the [Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board] shall emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”

Actually I don’t think the article has it right. “Nonmarital parenthood” could mean any situation where the parents aren’t married. So… single parents, a divorced mother with a new boyfriend, homosexuals.

Blunt “Conscience” amendment dies in Senate

Another victory for the good guys.

This makes me embarrassed to be from Pennsylvania

When the PA House unanimously passes a bill declaring 2012 to be the “Year of the Bible”, it makes me wonder how many of these people actually read. Judging from the brevity and the contents of the thing, my guess is “not many”.

WHEREAS, Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil 
government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence
 and the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Many of our great national leaders, among them
 President Washington, President Jackson, President Lincoln,
 President Wilson and President Reagan, paid tribute to the 
influence of the Bible in our country’s development, as 
exemplified by the words of President Jackson that the Bible is 
“the rock on which our Republic rests”; and

These are people who don’t seem to understand that the only “Biblical” teachings found in the Declaration and Constitution are generic notions that show up in every religion worldwide (“Be good to each other”, holy crap what a novel idea), but God does not show up whatsoever in either document, to say nothing of the famed Treaty of Tripoli passage.

Say what you will about their religion (many of the founding fathers were deists, if not atheists, but they weren’t all non-believers), what the men who founded this country believed in above all else was separating Church and State. You’ll notice that these nutbaskets never bring up Franklin, Adams, or Jefferson because those guys were emphatic about keeping God the fuck out of government. So they have to pick a couple who were respectful toward Christianity and use some vague statements to make it sound like they were the kind of theocrats that we have breeding around today.

Pennsylvania, I am disappoint.

Did the House "cave" on the payroll tax bill?

That’s how it’s being framed, by multiple members of the press as well as some angry freshman republicans. “Cave” is this cycle’s buzzword, and I don’t like it.

You often hear me complaining about the adversarial nature of current politics, and language is a big part of it. The word “cave” implies defeat, that Republicans allowed Democrats to win this battle. But as I said at the beginning, the Senate was fairly bipartisan in passing the thing, so we’re not talking about a Democratic dream bill here.

Obviously I’m rocked that the payroll tax cut is sticking around, because who couldn’t use an extra $40 every payday? But it shouldn’t be flaunted as a winners and losers situation politically. All that does is foment resentment and cause the “cavers” to want to avoid such embarrassment in the future by not reaching across next time.

I’ll be the first to dance and shout when the Dems ram an awesome bill through despite GOP opposition, but this is one of those cases where the two dudes should shake hands, not fists.

Our maybe I’m just feeling all warm and fuzzy from xmas nog, who knows.

So about that "no more Bill of Rights" bill…

In case you’re wondering, the reason it took me so damn long to get into S 1867 is that before I’m willing to join the alarmist sabre-rattling, I insisted on actually reading the gaw damn bill. So I fired up the Library of Congress and tried sifting through the 687 pages of the thing to see what all the fuss is about. To put it mildly, this is a dense, difficult read, and finding anything pertinent was difficult.

To start things off, again, the bill is nearly 700 pages, and we all know how the Senate is about reading things fully. Secondly, the vast majority of this is an appropriations bill, talking about budgetary matters and the allocation of funds. So when people start yammering about how these and those Democrats voted for it, and how it passed 97-3, there’s a good chance that they were simply not aware of this earth-shattering matter. Follow the Razor, folks.

Now then, the pertinent part of the bill, insofar as I can tell, is Title X Subtitle D, “Detainee Matters”, and its seven sections. In there, it discusses the rules about detaining terrorist suspects on American soil. I read through that section a few times, looking up everything in the bill relating to detainees, and in there I found the following bits:

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

(e) Authorities- Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

Among others. Unless there’s something in this bill I have yet to find, I don’t know why this has suddenly been turned into the bill that decimated the Bill of Rights. The slight ambiguity of “requirement” as opposed to “authority” may be the difference here, but the reason for that is that the bill now states that foreign combatants must be held as per this bill’s wording, and that this does not apply to American citizens or lawful aliens. There is nothing in here, anywhere, that expands the power of the military to declare American citizens “enemy combatants” and throw them into the gulags.

Is the bill worded optimally? Maybe not, but thus far, in none of the articles about this thing where they sound the sirens do they point out specific sections and refer to the text of the bill. Rather, the echo chamber has caused everyone to go berzerk based on a few contortions of language.

Besides, Bradley Manning was held without trial for how long, now? Not only didn’t this bill change anything, but it’s not like we were doing so well without it.