Duckworth Dresses Down IRS Contractor

Ken AshfordRandom MusingsLeave a Comment

It is one of those rare Congressional exchanges that's both dramatic and compelling: Yesterday during a House Oversight Committee hearing, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost her legs and use of her right arm when she served in Iraq, dressed down an IRS contractor who used his military disability status to receive government contracts reserved for disabled vets. The catch? The … Read More

DOMA and Prop 8 Decisions

Ken AshfordConstitution, Gay Marriage, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Pretty much like I predicted: DOMA overturned, and Prop 8 booted because plaintiffs lacked standing. What happens next: Since the Court ruled that the federal government cannot discriminate against same-sex marriages under the Equal Protection Clause, all the remains is for that same reasoning to be applied to the states.  After all, states cannot violate the federal constitution either.  So … Read More

That Didn’t Take Long

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, Race, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

TPM: Texas is wasting no time capitalizing on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act. Shortly after the high court issued a sweeping 5-4 decision Tuesday striking down a centerpiece of the historic 1965 law, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott vowed to immediately implement a controversial voter ID law in the Lone Star State that was blocked last year by the now-gutted … Read More

Where’s Cable News?

Ken AshfordEnergy and Conservation, Environment & Global Warming & Energy, Right Wing and Inept MediaLeave a Comment

Today, Obama made a very major environmental speech.  Here are the bullet points: Curbing carbon pollution • Directs the EPA to establish carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants. • Promises $8 billion in loan guarantees for fossil fuel projects. • Directs the Interior Department to permit 10 gigawatts of wind and solar projects on public lands … Read More

Supreme Court Cuts Voting Rights Act of 1964

Ken AshfordConstitution, Race, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Today, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling, struck down key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.  Basically, they eliminated the requirement that jurisdictions with a history of discrimination pre-clear election and voting law changes to ensure they do not disenfranchise minority voters. While the remaining provisions will still ban outright racial discrimination, those states and localities previously covered will now be … Read More

IRS Didn’t Single Out Tea Party Groups

Ken AshfordPolitical ScandalsLeave a Comment

Ooops: The Internal Revenue Service’s screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed, the new head of the agency said Monday. An internal IRS document obtained by The Associated Press said that besides “tea party,” lists used by screeners to pick groups for close examination also included the terms “Israel,” ”Progressive” and … Read More

DOMA and Prop 8: A Prediction

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, Gay Marriage, Sex/Morality/Family Values, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

This week — probably Thursday — the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will release its opinion on two cases dealing with same-sex marriage. One case challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Section III of DOMA prevents the federal government from treating same-sex couples (those legally married under state law) as "married" for the purpose of … Read More

SCOTUS Punts on Changing Affirmative Action

Ken AshfordConstitution, Race, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Big week for SCOTUS this week, with most eyes awaiting the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions.  Nothing happened with those today.  The Court scheduled more opinions for tomorrow (although I suspect there will be one more day after tomorrow, and that's when we'll get the gay marriage cases). Interest was also high on what the Court would do regarding affirmative action in … Read More

Republican Legislatures Still Stupid About Women’s Bodies

Ken AshfordWomen's IssuesLeave a Comment

On Sunday night as the Texas legislature pushed through a series of stringent restrictions on abortion and women’s health.  Typical of conservative state legislatures, the event was filled with myths about abortion and women's health.  One of the most egregious examples?  One state representative tried to argue on the State House floor that rape kits are a form of abortion. Texas … Read More

Monday at 10

Ken AshfordSupreme CourtLeave a Comment

With the session coming to a close, some thought the Supreme Court might announce its opinions today in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases.   It did not. So it looks like Monday at 10, the last scheduled opinion-reading of the Court for the term, and maybe not even then.  There are still several outstanding opinions, and it is likely … Read More

Fake “Pray The Gay Away” Church To Close Its Doors

Ken AshfordGodstuff, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

I guess reality caught up: Exodus International, the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality announced tonight that it’s closing its doors after three-plus decades of ministry. The Board of Directors reached a decision after a year of dialogue and prayer about the organization’s place in a changing culture. “We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus … Read More