Monthly Archives: March 2016

RT @OlivierAwards: .@HamiltonMusical has a special message from The King! #olivierawards
https://t.co/KhATazAHqm

RT @michaelianblack: It must be exhausting for Trump supporters to be constantly explaining what he really meant.

What Crap Came From Donald Trump Today?

Oh fucking hell.  This guy has a 70% unfavorable with women already.  Is he doing this on purpose?

Ah, but here comes Uday to the rescue:

Noted, although that’s non-sensical.  If performing abortions is illegal, then the performer of the abortions is the one who should face consequences.  But the women???

UPDATE: Aaaaaand he does the full retreat, adding that his position “has not changed”

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P.S. But note that everyone has moved on from the story about his campaign manager committing battery

Governor McCrory Keeps Digging Deeper

The Governor takes to Youtube:

Notes as I watch this:

  • He’s talking out of the corner of his mouth and has that fakey politician smile
  • The lip service offered to “respecting each other’s beliefs and values” is unnerving, given what he is defending here.
  • He responds to politicians who have “demonized” North Carolina.  Yeah, they’re the problem — these outside agitators.
  • McCrory: “Frankly what is embarrassing is politicians not respecting each other’s positions on complex issues”.That’s a breathtakingly bogus statement.  First of all, McCrory and others are feeling the heat because they didn’t respect the position that Charlotte politicians took when it permitted transgender people to use restrooms that match up with their self-identity.  Not only did HB2 disrespect that Charlotte ordinance by killing ir, but it also prevented ALL municipal governments from coming up with the same kind of ordinance, forever.  “Politicians not respecting others’ positions”?  He went there?
  • And when did this become a “complex issue” to McCrory and his cronies?  A few days ago, they claimed to addressing a simple problem with their “common-sensical solution”.   You know, if it was so complex, maybe the General Assembly should have allowed more public debate and discussion on HB2 so that they could be better informed — rather than keep the text of the law a huge secret and then pass and sign it within a 12 hour span.
  • He goes back to the “expectation of privacy” argument.  He still doesn’t explain how anyone’s “expectation of privacy” is threatened when a transgender person uses the restroom with which he/she identifies.
  • He takes a swipe at Attorney General Ray Cooper for not “defending the laws of this land”.  Look, I don’t know the Attorney General’s oath of office is when he gets sworn in, but I do know what all attorneys (including Cooper) must swear to, and that song goes a little like this:oathRoy Cooper’s allegiance — his JOB, if you will — is not to the Governor of North Carolina NOR the North Carolina Assembly, but to the Constitution of North Carolina to the extent that it is “not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States”.  McCrory may not agree with Cooper’s assessment that HB2 is unconstitutional, but can’t he concede that Cooper at least has an argument?  It is not outside the realm of possibility that Cooper is right on this.  So this isn’t political — it’s legal — which is what Cooper’s JOB is.UPDATE:  Found it.  The NC Attorney General’s oath is actually the same as the governor’s and every elected official.  And it is pretty much what I thought it was.  He cannot act inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States.

    § 11-7. Oath or affirmation to support Constitutions; all officers to take. Every member of the General Assembly and every person elected or appointed to hold any office of trust or profit in the State shall, before taking office or entering upon the execution of the office, take and subscribe to the following oath: “I, ___________, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of North Carolina, and to the constitutional powers and authorities which are or may be established for the government thereof; and that I will endeavor to support, maintain and defend the Constitution of said State, not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, to the best of my knowledge and ability; so help me God.”

  • Governor McCrory then states, regarding Cooper, “as the state attorney, he cannot select which laws he will defend….”.  Well, he can actually.  Look, every state official involved in law enforcement has a certain degree of discretion.  They just do.  That’s how you get off with a warning rather than getting a speeding ticket (I’m told).  That’s why there are such things as plea deals where state attorneys work outside the letter of the law in order to reach a just conclusion.  You even hear people invoke the term “prosecutorial discretion” surrounding this incident with Trump’s campaign manager, and how he shouldn’t face charges for such a minor crime.  So this discretion things exists and has been around a long time when it come to enforcement of the law (something different than administration of the law).But setting that aside, McCrory ignores the problem.  Even if the state attorney “cannot select which laws he will defend”, there is a problem when one of the laws he is supposed to defend is, in the state attorney’s opinion, in direct conflict with another law (or Constitution) that he is supposed to defend.  He simply cannot defend an unconstitutional law while at the same time defending the Constitution.  So, yes, he has no choice  put to select which law to defend, and if you look at his oath, the U.S. Constitution takes precedence.  McCrory’s argument would be more valid if the issue at hand was settled law — like gay marriage was when the Kansas law clerk Kim Davis tried to buck it.  But transgender bathroom issues have not been definitively settled on a national level.  I guess we’re about to find out.
  • McCrory says that the AG is inventing “a conflict that simply does not exist”. Again, it is one thing to claim that the other side is wrong, but it is laughable to say that there isn’t any “conflict” over this.  Clearly there is a conflict — a difference of legal opinion — over the discriminatory effects of HB2.
  • He keeps going back to this expectations of privacy thing.  But what he won’t do (because he can’t) is draw a direct line from the Charlotte ordinance to HOW that ordinance affects a person’s expectation of privacy in the restroom or locker room. If McCrory thought that the Charlotte law would make it easier for male-looking dudes to go to the women’s locker room, guess what?  There’s no evidence that problem would have happened.  Moreover, HB2 didn’t fix that problem.  In fact, it may have ended up creating that problem.

Trump is KNOWN for discarding people!! Remember “you’re fired”? It’s his fucking catchphrase!!

Scalia’s Absence Already Having An Impact

If Scalia was alive, this case would have ended up differently:

A case that had the potential to weaken public sector unions across the United States ended with a somewhat unexpected victory for unions on Tuesday, as the Supreme Court divided 4-4 on the question of requiring nonmembers to pay a fee to the public sector union that negotiates the collective bargain agreement that covers them as well.

The split vote in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association means a lower court verdict in favor of the union stands.

If Justice Scalia had been around to weigh in on the anti-union side, which he assuredly would have, then all 50 states would almost certainly have magically become “right to work” states.

This shows the power that one person can have on the court.  And the significance of Obama’s current nominee.  Or indeed, the upcoming Presidential Election.

FBI Quietly Drops Lawsuit Against Apple

Remember that thing last month that I wrote about where the FBI wanted to force Apple’s help to break into an iPhone of the San Bernadino terrorist?

It was controversial in part because many thought that the FBI didn’t really need Apple’s help. Those people include Richard Clark. The former U.S. counterterrorism official and security adviser to the White House told NPR he believed the NSA could do it, no problem, but that the FBI was “not as interested in solving the problem as they are in getting a legal precedent.” Edward Snowden said the same via Twitter.

The FBI just proved them right (the Guardian):

The US government dropped its court fight against Apple after the FBI successfully pulled data from the iPhone of San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook, according to court records.

The development effectively ended a six-week legal battle poised to shape digital privacy for years to come. Instead, Silicon Valley and Washington are poised to return to a simmering cold war over the balance between privacy and law enforcement in the age of apps.

Justice Department lawyers wrote in a court filing Monday evening that they no longer needed Apple’s help in getting around the security countermeasures on Farook’s device.

No work on the third party that helped the FBI find the security breach.

Donald Trump Campaign Manager Charged With Assault (Or “It’s Tuesday”)

Today Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was charged with battery against former Breitbart “News” reporter Michelle Fields.  There was some controversy a few weeks ago when the incident happened as to whether or not it actually did happen.  The videos from smartphones were (arguably) inconclusive.  But a newly released surveillance video clearly shows Lewandowski grabbing Fields by the arm and roughly pulling her aside exactly as she claimed.

You need to look in the lower right hand corner — not in the box, but above and to the left of the box.  She is in white, he is in a black suit.

The Trump campaign launched into another denial of the attack…

What is interesting is that the surveillance video just released was actually in possession of the Trump campaign while they were issuing all their denials.

And of course…

CevF8BfWsAEhynG

RIP Patty Duke

Another 69 year old dies.

As a teen, she won an Oscar for The Miracle Worker.  Duke became best known in later life as an advocate for mental health issues, after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982

Her last two tweets:

I looked into it, and the author of this article writes “existential fantasy novels” on the side.

On the side. https://t.co/ZcVAlWO2XF
i-looked-into-it-and-the-author-of-this-article-writes-existential-fantasy-novels-on-the-side-on-the-side-httpst-cozcvalwo2xf 

RT @irin: The time @hillaryclinton ran into Justice Sotomayor at Costco https://t.co/2Dx5vqwzQ7
rt-irin-the-time-hillaryclinton-ran-into-justice-sotomayor-at-costco-httpst-co2dx5vqwzq7 

Governor McCrory Attempts To Clarify HB2 . . . But Obfuscates Even More

Responding to worldwide disgust at the passage and signing of HB2, which discriminates against transgender people (and does lots of bad stuff in general), NC Governor McCrory put some shit on his website, entitled “Myths vs Facts: What New York Times, Huffington Post and other media outlets aren’t saying about common-sense privacy law”

Catchy title.

Can we dispense with the notion that this is a privacy law at all?  It doesn’t make the public bathrooms any more or less private.  It just changes who can go where.

And don’t get me started on “common-sense”.

So let’s look at this McCrory thing.  He starts off with this:

1. Does the new bill limit or prohibit private sector companies from adopting their own nondiscrimination policies or practices?

Answer: No. Businesses are not limited by this bill. Private individuals, companies and universities can adopt new or keep existing nondiscrimination policies.

That’s a nice way of saying that private individuals, companies and universities can still discriminate on the basis of gender identity or orientation.  In other words, the bill didn’t make things worse when it comes to the private sector bathrooms. You can be fired for being gay. You can be demoted for being gay. Employers can refuse to hire you for being gay. They can refuse to promote you for being gay. Businesses can refuse to serve you for being gay.

2. Does this bill take away existing protections for individuals in North Carolina?

Answer: No. In fact, for the first time in state history, this law establishes a statewide anti-discrimination policy in North Carolina which is tougher than the federal government’s. This also means that the law in North Carolina is not different when you go city to city.

This is not true.  At the time the bill was passed, there was a brand new *existing* anti-discrimination policy in Charlotte.  Now there isn’t.

It’s sort of disingenuous to say that nothing has changed when in fact, the NC government convened in a special session specifically to make a change.

The next two questions are basically a re-phrasing of Question Number One

5. Does this law prohibit towns, cities or counties in North Carolina from setting their own nondiscrimination policies in employment that go beyond state law

Answer: No. Town, cities and counties in North Carolina are still allowed to set stricter non-discrimination policies for their own employees if they choose.

Ah, “in employment”.  Subtle little caveat there.  Thanks for addressing something that wasn’t an issue.

6. Does this bill mean transgender people will always have to use the restroom of the sex of their birth, even if they have undergone a sex change? 

Answer: No. This law simply says people must use the bathroom of the sex listed on their birth certificate. Anyone who has undergone a sex change can change their sex on their birth certificate.

But if you can’t afford the sex change OR if you there are medical risks to sex change OR if you can’t afford the legal hurdles to get a birth certificate change OR if you were born in a state that doesn’t permit changes to birth certificates (Kansas, Tennessee, among others), you’re out of luck.

8. Does this bill affect people with disabilities?

Answer: No. Statewide law also bans discrimination based on disability.

What McCrory doesn’t tell you here is — yes, although statewide law bans discrimination based on a disability, you can’t — thanks to the new law — sue in state courts if someone discriminates against you (like, say, your boss).  And it is not just disability.  It is religion, color, national origin, biological sex and sometimes age.

So you have to go to federal court, which sometimes is impossible, or take longer, and is definitely more expensive.  So basically, North Carolina still bans discrimination; it just won’t do anything to protect you from it.

9. Why did North Carolina pass this law in the first place?

Answer: The bill was passed after the Charlotte City Council voted to impose a regulation requiring businesses to allow a man into a women’s restroom, shower, or locker room if they choose. This ordinance would have eliminated the basic expectations of privacy people have when using the rest room by allowing people to use the restroom of their choice. This new local regulation brought up serious privacy concerns by parents, businesses and others across the state, as well as safety concerns that this new local rule could be used by people who would take advantage of this to do harm to others.

Boy, this is insulting.  The Charlotte City Council most certainly did NOT vote to allow a MAN into a women’s restroom, etc.  The ordinance was meant to allow a WOMAN into a women’s restroom.  That’s why this HB2 is so offensive.  It assumes, rather stupidly and contrary to both reality and common sense, that a person’s actual gender is what is on the birth certificate.  And that a trans person will act in accordance with what some doctor said X number of years ago.

And then it assumes, in a nonsensical way, that others in the restroom would have their “expectations of privacy” invaded by the woman in the women’s restroom.  Is there any evidence for this?  Of course not.  In fact, most transgender men use the men’s restroom and nobody is none the wiser.  And same with transgender women.  So whose privacy gets “invaded”?   Name them, Gov. McCrory.  I want to meet them.

11. Will this bill threaten federal funding for public schools under Title IX?

Answer: No, according to a federal court which has looked at a similar issue.

It would be nice if he cited his work.  Because I wonder if the “similar issue” is in fact “similar”  Or how old the case is.  Because on April 29, 2014, the United States Department of Education (DOE) specifically states “Title IX’s sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.”

And in fact, when public schools have tried to get away with what NC us tryng to do, THEY LOSE.

13. Will this bill affect North Carolina’s ability to create or recruit jobs?

Answer: This bill does not affect companies in North Carolina. North Carolina was one of the top states to do business in the country before this law was passed, and preventing Charlotte’s bathroom ordinance from going into effect on April 1 won’t change that.

Well, true.  Nothing in the language of the bill specifically hurts jobs.  But given the response from business leaders all over the country, clearly it will have an impact on companies coming here, which effects job creation.

And the rest of it is bullshit.  Kind of like… well, nothing has happened to North Carolina YET as a result of HB2.  Ooookay.

 

 

 

The Lawsuit Begins

Two transgender people and a lesbian law school professor, along with the ACLU of North Carolina and Equality NC, filed a federal lawsuit today to challenge the new North Carolina law that blocks local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules and requiring transgender students to use bathrooms assigned to their biological sex.

While I would have preferred that the lawsuit take on the broader issues of the law besides the bathroom assignments, I can understand that the harm on those other issues is speculative at this point.

So… the bathroom issues it is.

Lahore, Pakistan. Suicide bombers kills as many as 65; hundreds wounded. Many children. Such a tragedy #PrayersForPakistan

I cannot imagine a major party candidate thinking he can win the general election with a 70% unfavorable with women https://t.co/snm1UmEx27
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RT @tbogg: I’d have more respect for the timeless wisdom of millennials if they voted in midterm elections. It’s not Quadrennial Coachella,…

RT @google: We believe in equal rights and equal treatment for all. This North Carolina law is misguided & wrong. #WeAreNotThis https://t.c…
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The Cuban Mistress Crisis

The National Enquirer is reporting that Ted Cruz is hiding five different mistresses.

Before you scoff, remember that the National Enquirer was right about Gary Hart’s affair, and John Edwards.  Others in (somewhat) more respectable media outlets seem to think it is accurate.

Brietbart News is claiming the story was peddled to them some time ago by “Rubio allies”

The bombshell report, published in the magazine’s March 25th issue, includes pixelated photos of the women allegedly involved with the first-term senator, but doesn’t give their names.

However, several reports in online journals and on Twitter — where the hashtag #CruzSexScandal is trending worldwide — identify one of the women as Katrina Pierson, a former Cruz aide and tea party congressional candidate who now works for GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

screenshot_2016-03-24_21.23.11

Pierson identified above rejected the allegations on Twitter:

Yet she made her Instragram account private last night:

ted-cruz-sex-scandal-katrina-pierson_grande

Another of Cruz’s purported lovers outed by the Internet is Sarah Isgur Flores, who worked for former Republican presidential contender Carly Fiorina. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO briefly challenged Trump for the lead in the race, but she dropped out of the campaign in February.

Last July, a Cruz-affiliated super PAC donated $500,000 to Fiorina’s campaign, without explanation — a highly unusual move that is being reexamined in light of the Enquirer’s report about Cruz’s indiscretions. And Fiorina made a highly publicized last-minute endorsement of Cruz in the final days before the Florida primary, helping him come in a respectable second to Trump and keeping his White House hopes alive.

A third woman has been identified as Amanda Carpenter who denies as well

Cruz himself denies it, of course.  He posted this on his Facebook page:

I want to be crystal clear: these attacks are garbage. For Donald J. Trump to enlist his friends at the National Enquirer and his political henchmen to do his bidding shows you that there is no low Donald won’t go.These smears are completely false, they’re offensive to Heidi and me, they’re offensive to our daughters, and they’re offensive to everyone Donald continues to personally attack.

Donald Trump’s consistently disgraceful behavior is beneath the office we are seeking and we are not going to follow.

But THEN there is a story which I was GOING to blog about a long time ago, but I figured there was no there there.  It’s this, a Texas state police report from 2005 claiming that Heidi Cruz was a “danger to herself” as she was found sitting aside an Austin expressway.  Jilted?

heidi-cruz-police-report-ted-cruz-sex-scandal_grande

Trump, a longtime friend of the Enquirer’s CEO, says he has nothing to do with the Enquirer story.  And actually, I believe him.  He’s ahead.  Why attack Cruz now?  Or was their little spat about their wives what prompted this?

So far, a lot of speculation and nothing solid.  But in the weirdest of campaign seasons, who knows if it is possible?

RELATED:  Ted Cruz using the word “copulate” is just as bad as him using the word he was trying to avoid.

RT @RaleighReporter: Mayor of San Francisco bans publicly funded city employee trips to North Carolina following #HB2: https://t.co/aBFrllW…

Is ISIS On The Ropes?

Don’t look to the Republican presidential candidates for an honest answer to that question.  They want ISIS to be flourishing because it gives them a plank to campaign on.

But if you look at my tweets, you’ll see that Paris and Belgium are sweeping out the network with arrests, and that the Number 2 ISIS guy was killed, US officials believe.

And now, according to the Washington Post, ISIS may be on retreat on multiple fronts.  The paper reports that both Palmyra and a string of villages in northern Iraq are being overrun by US-backed forces:

These are just two of the many fronts in both countries where the militants are being squeezed, stretched and pushed back….Front-line commanders no longer speak of a scarily formidable foe but of Islamic State defenses that crumble within days and fighters who flee at the first sign they are under attack.

….Most of the advances [] are being made by the assortment of loosely allied forces, backed to varying degrees by the United States, that are ranged along the vast perimeter of the Islamic State’s territories. They include the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, in northeastern Syria; the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq; the Iraqi army, which has revived considerably since its disastrous collapse in 2014; and Shiite militias in Iraq, which are not directly aligned with the United States but are fighting on the same side.

The U.S. military estimated earlier this year that the Islamic State had lost 40 percent of the territory it controlled at its peak in 2014, a figure that excludes the most recent advances.

….In eastern Syria, the seizure late last month of the town of Shadadi by the Kurdish YPG — aided by U.S. Special Forces — was accompanied by the capture of nearly 1,000 square miles of territory….The operation was planned to take place over weeks. Instead, the town fell within days, said a senior U.S. administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.

“Shadadi was going to be a major six-week operation,” he said. “The ISIS guys had dug trenches and everything. Instead, they completely collapsed. They’re collapsing town by town.”

Emphasis mine.

Is this true?  Maybe, or maybe it is Defense Department spin (it wouldn’t be the first time).  But if this reporting is true, it represents a self-sustaining dynamic: rumors of ISIS collapse inspire Iraqi forces to fight harder, which in turn contributes to ISIS collapse. At this point, the issues in the way of further progress are as much diplomatic as military: “We could probably liberate Mosul tomorrow, but we would have a real mess on our hands if we did,” says Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Something to be cautiously optimistic about.

RT @nickconfessore: The irony of this dead-of-night NC bathroom law is that it is going to result in people who look like men turning up in…

RT @AFP: #BREAKING: Suspect arrested, slightly hurt in Brussels anti-terror raid: mayor

When You Don’t Think

The backlash and fallout against North Carolina’s HB2 law continues, and what is getting a lot of attention are pictures and tweets from transgender people like Michael Hughes, a 45-year-old trans man in Rochester, Minn.

Take a look at this picture:

Hughesx633_0_0

That’s Michael Hughes and two of his female friends in a womens’ bathroom.  Under the new law passed by the GOP-controlled North Carolina legislature and Republican Governor, Michael Hughes — who WANTS to use the male restroom — MUST use the female restroom, because he was born female biologically.

I wonder how that makes the wives and daughters of the North Carolina legislators feel.  But that’s what the new law forces him to do.

Again, the legislature was trying to supposedly protect women from transgender men going into women’s restrooms and sexually assaulting women — a solution to a problem WHICH IS NOT HAPPENING.  Don’t get me wrong — sexual assaults ARE a serious problem, but there is not a problem of men pretending to be women and using public facilities to launch their assault.  As I’ve written before, it hasn’t happened in other states which are accommodating to transgender issues. Not even a little bit.

Let me talk about what else happens when you don’t think things through.  The Mike Smerconish program is killing it this morning; the topic is the North Carolina law which everyone is upset about. Some Chapel Hill attorney called in and pointed out something about the new law which I hadn’t heard before. I checked it out and she’s right. Aside from the awful bathroom access thing, the new law makes it impossible to sue your employer in state court for wrongful discharge based on ANY discrimination.

In other words, prior to the new law, if your employer fired you because you were handicapped, or a certain race, or a certain religion, or a certain gender (and so on), you could sue in state court. Not anymore.

It’s true that you can still bring these wrongful discharge cases in federal court BUT there is a shorter statute of limitations, it takes longer, more hoops to jump through, is more expensive, etc. Sometimes a wrongful discharge case in state court is the only possibility a person has. Uh…. HAD.

The odd thing is this: this aspect of the new law might have been completely unintentional. The NC legislature might not have known they were actually doing this — something that happens when you throw together a new law quickly in the dark of night. Or maybe they really are dicks.

RT @HRC: Director Rob Reiner pledges to halt film productions in North Carolina until fairness & equality are restored https://t.co/bVX37vV…
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RT @Lin_Manuel: Interdisciplinary Nerd Summit in The sketchiest corner of Port Authority https://t.co/jwb9p0a4lo
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RT @marcmaron: Dammit. He was the best. So sad. RIP Garry Shandling

RT @amyschumer: Goodbye Gary Shandling thank you for your kindness and your generosity and for making me laugh so damn much

RT @AlbertBrooks: R.I.P. Garry Shandling. I am so saddened to hear this. Brilliantly funny and such a great guy. He will be so missed.

RT @rickygervais: RIP the great Garry Shandling. Surely, one of the most influential comedians of a generation.

RT @ChrisWarcraft: And in case you were wondering, you’re more likely to be propositioned by a Republican lawmaker in a bathroom than a tra…

RIP Garry Shandling

This one hurts.  And it is very sudden.  TMZ:

Comedian Garry Shandling died at an L.A. area hospital on Thursday … TMZ has learned.

The 66-year-old star was not suffering from any illness … as far as we know … so, it appears this was sudden. A source connected to Shandling says he was healthy and speaking to people on Thursday morning.

Yeah, I saw this tweet recently too

UPDATE: This was a nice tribute

RT @Lavernecox: I am so disappointed in the governor and legislature of North Carolina. Overturn #HB2. #translivesmatter

How Can Any Woman Vote For Trump After This?

I get the schtick.  Trump tries to get media attention and he usually gets it, provided he is outrageous enough.

But the things he does.  Oy.

This got started when one of those super-PACs, in this case not even one that supports Cruz but just one that opposes Trump, put out a picture of Melania Trump in a semi-naked form.  Trump vaguely threatened Cruz directly, saying he would “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife.  Cruz responded with indignation and a threat not to attack his wife.

Then Brussels. And now that that is done, this:

Yup. He’s comparing how their wives LOOK. Not their accomplishments, charitable goals, intelligence, kindness, goodness, values, etc. It’s about – and ONLY about — how these women LOOK.

It’s misogyny at its worst.

So again I ask, how can any self-respecting woman vote for Trump after this?

UPDATE… well fuck me.  Now I have to admit that Cruz has a classy response:

On the other hand, he did call Trump a “snivelling coward” over the incident, which also happens to be true.

Repercussions

I know the Republican lawmakers don’t give a damn about non-straight people, but they’re supposed to give a damn about business.  Apparently, they didn’t think about the effect on the economy:

American Airlines and other major businesses across the state and nation are taking a stand against a bill signed into law Wednesday by N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory that invalidates Charlotte’s new legal protections for LGBT individuals.

The NCAA, which is scheduled to hold men’s basketball tournament games in North Carolina in 2017 and 2018, said it’s monitoring events in cities where it plans to hold its sporting events.

At a time when North Carolina is trying to recruit companies to expand and grow in the state, some business leaders said the new measure will jeopardize employee recruitment and economic development in the state.

“We believe no individual should be discriminated against because of gender identity or sexual orientation,” American Airlines spokeswoman Katie Cody said in a statement. “Laws that allow such discrimination go against our fundamental belief of equality and are bad for the economies of the states in which they are enacted.”

American Airlines operates its second-biggest hub at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, where it just reached a new 10-year lease agreement.

***

American has previously joined other major U.S. companies, including Wells Fargo, Apple and Microsoft, in signing a statement opposed to “anti-LGBT” legislation.

Read the whole thing.  American Airlines and the NCAA are just the tip of what I hope is a larger iceberg.

There’s Paypal, which announced plans last week to hire 400 in Charlotte for a new operations center,

And Biogen, the biotech company and one of the biggest employers in the Triangle:

Bank of America Stadium, where the Panthers play, has in the past encouraged transgender men and women to use the facilities in which they feel the most comfortable.  Similarly, BB&T Ballpark and Charlotte Motor Speedway allow transgender individuals to use the restroom of their gender identity.

The NCAA has first- and second-round games in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament in Greensboro in 2017 and in Charlotte in 2018.  They put the pressure on Indiana to amend a similar discriminatory law.

UPDATE — More reax:

President and CEO of Red Hat News:

and

and former editor of News & Record

and Activist and Orange Is the new Black actress Laverne Cox voiced her opposition as well

Gov McCrory Signs HB2 Into Law

Here’s why he did it:

… which kind of reminds me of when Edith Bunker of “All in The Family” couldn’t understand how a man could be in love with another man, and therefore didn’t understand the concept of gay rights.  The ordinance only defies common sense if you are blind to the problem it seeks to remedy.

Speaker Jim Moore also defended the law, saying:

“One of the biggest issues was about privacy. . . The way the ordinance was written by City Council in Charlotte, it would have allowed a man to go into a bathroom, locker or any changing facility, where women are — even if he was a man. We were concerned. Obviously there is the security risk of a sexual predator, but there is the issue of privacy.”

The final bill is attached below the fold.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, a Democrat, released a statement saying she was appalled by the bill’s passage.

“This legislation is literally the most anti-LGBT legislation in the country,” she said Wednesday.

So how did we get here?

North Carolina, like most states, legally permits discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public accommodations. In comparison, discrimination based on race and religion, for example, in public accommodations is forbidden by federal and state laws.

Charlotte was essentially trying to fix this gap in civil rights laws. By expanding the city’s existing civil rights protections, the city council hoped to make it clear that LGBTQ people should be able to go to a bar or hail a taxi without the fear of legally allowed discrimination.

And so on February 22, Charlotte came forward with an ordinance which did just that:

The changes mean businesses in Charlotte can’t discriminate against gay, lesbian or transgender customers, in addition to long-standing protections based on race, age, religion and gender. The ordinance applies to places of public accommodation, such as bars, restaurants and stores. It also applies to taxis.

The most controversial part of the ordinance would allow transgender residents to use either a men’s or women’s bathroom, depending on the gender with which they identify.

And that’s when state lawmakers jumped into action, quickly proposing the new state law which was signed by the governor yesterday.

Here’s what the state’s law does:

  1. The statute overturns and bans local laws (including Charlotte’s) that don’t conform to the state’s nondiscrimination laws for the workplace and public accommodations (hotels, restaurants, and other places that serve the public). Since the state doesn’t ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace or public accommodations, this effectively forces all cities and counties to keep it legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in these settings.
  2. It prohibits transgender people from using bathrooms or locker rooms in schools and government agencies based solely on their gender identity. Instead, they’re forced to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on the gender noted on their birth certificate, which can be changed through an arduous process after gender-affirming surgery but not before then. Public facilities can still build unisex single-person bathrooms to accommodate trans people, but it’s not required.

The governor and bill sponsors want the focus to be on the bathroom issue — it is something everyone can relate to — but that will involve a lot of silly fearmongering that has little basis in reality.  Sexual predators can exist regardless of the sexual orientation of the predator OR victim.  You don’t reduce incidents of sexual predators simply by discriminating against people of a certain sexual orientation.  The one has nothing to do with the other.  And in fact, we know from experience in places which permit transgender accommodation that the fears of heightened sexual assault or invasion of privacy are unfounded.

Cambridge, Mass, for instance:

Back in 1984 Cambridge enacted an ordinance that established the Human Rights Commission. The purpose of the ordinance was to protect the human rights of all citizens of the City. In 1997 this ordinance was amended to specifically include gender identity and expression. Much like the Transgender Equal Rights Bill proposal, the City of Cambridge sought to offer protection to transgender individuals from being harassed, fired from a job, denied access to a public place, or denied or evicted from housing. Since this 1997 amendment there have been no incidents or issues regarding persons abusing this ordinance or using them as a defense to commit crimes. Specifically, as was raised as a concern if the bill were to be passed, there have been no incidents of men dressing up as women to commit crimes in female bathrooms and using the city ordinance as a defense.

No incidents in almost 20 years.

But the bathroom thing is partly a diversion.  What is at stake here is LGBT rights and non-discrimination laws in a broader sense. This is the new battlefront after the gay marriage victories.

Already, two states have passed laws that preempt local non-discrimination provisions. In 2011, Tennessee passed such a law, and Arkansas passed one in 2015—both in responses to cities adopting or considering ordinances.

North Carolina’s law us like the Tennessee and Arkansas law.  This is the first time that a law has been passed at the state level which mandates that students use the bathroom corresponding to their “biological sex” or some similar phrase.  In February, South Dakota lawmakers passed a similar bill, but Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed it, saying the law did not answer any pressing need and that local authorities were better-equipped to handle the issue than state lawmakers.

The student-restroom laws in North Carolina and elsewhere raise other questions, most notably whether schools fall afoul of federal Title IX regulation and thus endanger federal funding. It would be ironic if the North Carolina’s attempt to preempt Charlotte’s ordinances was itself preempted by federal law, but that’s certainly a highly possible outcome.

The other problem with the new state law is the notion that municipalities must conform to the state’s nondiscrimination laws.  While that is generally true, “conformity to nondiscrimination laws” has never meant that municipalities had to be as discriminatory as the state.  Rather, it has always meant that municipalities must be at least as NONdiscriminatory as the state.  Put another way, the purpose of non-discrimination laws is, to stop discrimination.  If a municipality wants to do better than the state at stopping discriminating, it has always been free to do that. That’t the way it has been in every state in the country.  Charlotte WAS conforming to North Carolina’s non-discrimination laws.  AND it added a few non-discrimination laws of its own.

But the rationale of North Carolina’s new state law turns the whole idea of non-discrimination on its head.

Another rationale for the new law is the specious argument that state laws regarding non-discrimination should be consistent throughout the state — that this will somehow help intra-state commerce.  Sounds good and legal and rational…. until you actually think about it.  How is intrastate commerce affected at all if taxis can ignore LGBTQ people in Raleigh, but can’t in Charlotte?  Intrastate commerce isn’t impacted at all.  Nor is it affected if the bathroom rules are different in different municipalities.

And if Charlotte wants to prevent businesses from engaging in wage discrimination against LGBTQ workers — well, that doesn’t impact intrastate commerce either.  Yes, it makes Charlotte a more appealing place to work than Raleigh if you are a member of the LGBTQ community (or, you know, the human race), but that’s Raleigh’s problem.  It doesn’t affect THE STATE or intrastate commerce.  So this “conformity of nondiscrimination laws throughout the state” is just a bullshit rationale.

And so the next fight begins.  Personally, I am not worried about the final outcome.  I’ve been around long enough to see the arc of justice, and which way it bends.  In the 1970s and 1980s, when transgender discrimination issues started poking up, they almost universally failed.   Not so anymore.  Courts are beginning to recognize that that a person could bring a claim under Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination because an employer views an employee’s sexual orientation as “not consistent with … acceptable gender roles.”  The U.S. Department of Labor has acknowledged the ruling in Macy v Holder — so now, if you are a business that wants a government contract, fat chance of getting that contract if you discriminate on the basis of gender identity or transgender status.  [UPDATE:  I’m going to list some federal court decisions which support coverage for transgender Individuals as sex discrimination]

But it is just frustrating to have to continually have these battles for civil rights and, indeed, common decency.  I just wish the haters would get tired of losing and give it up already.

RT @WRAL: Just In: Gov. McCrory signs Charlotte transgender ordinance bill https://t.co/MnAIp4leY5 #wral

Even the polluters of NC’s waters can’t swallow the discrimination bill. That’s how bad it is.

Dems who voted yes:

Larry Bell
Elmer Floyd
William Brisson
Ken Goodman
Charles Graham
Garland E. Pierce
Robert Reives II
Michael H. Wray

Okay, If morality doesn’t change your mind, what about $? Wait until businesses stop moving to NC #WeAreNotThis https://t.co/DsOSRDA3XN
okay-if-morality-doesnt-change-your-mind-what-about-wait-until-businesses-stop-moving-to-nc-wearenotthis-httpst-codsosrda3xn 

RT @WillMcAvoyACN: Ken Howard, ‘White Shadow’ Star, SAG-AFTRA President, Dies at 71 https://t.co/tlkqz5TWDu

RT @Richard_Schiff: In Theater lobby woman says: “you’re the reason I became a speechwriter! You’ll love this – it’s my 32nd time!” @Lin_Ma…

North Carolina General Assembly’s Horrible LGBT Discrimination Bill

A draft version of the bill that the legislature is set to consider during the special session confirmed the worst fears of the LGBT community and anyone remotely interested in civil liberties, or even municipal governance, in North Carolina: Speaker Tim Moore and the Republicans are going to destroy the ability of local governments to govern themselves.

First reported by WRAL, the bill, if it looks anything like this one, is set to revoke the ability of local governments like Charlotte to extend their non-discrimination protections to not only LGBT people, but disabled people as well. The bill cleverly is introduced under the guise of a new non-discrimination ordinance statewide, but one that only extends protections based on “race, religion, color, national origin, or sex.”

The draft bill is here:

Not only would it disavow protections for LBGT groups, but it would also prevent any cities or local governments from raising the minimum wage, creating a “livable wage” ordinance, or creating stricter labor laws than the state’s. Effectively, this bill would “supersede” all local laws regarding non-discrimination and labor that aren’t as draconian as the state of North Carolina’s.

It appears that in addition to cities and municipalities, schools would lose this authority as well, given that North Carolina is forcing schools to adopt single-sex bathrooms as a concrete policy. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools decided to implement gender-neutral bathrooms back in February; that appears to be in jeopardy now.

The cost of the special session to consider bills like this is $42,000 per day.

This is nothing new from the legislature. Back in October, they passed a bill aimed at ending “sanctuary city” ordinances for undocumented immigrants, and they’re continually attempting to strip local governments of the power to draw their own districts after they lose elections.

It is something we are seeing in other states as well.  But fortunately, Republican South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard recently vetoed a similar restroom restriction for students, while Tennessee’s Republican-led state House tabled a similar measure Tuesday.

Sadly, North Carolina’s version is even a more extreme, anti-LGBT bill than others proposed in other states.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory see this as a political hot potato; on Monday, he declined to call lawmakers back to consider the proposed bill, saying that, while he believes the restroom issue must be addressed, the rest of the legislation is too broad to be considered in a special session unlikely to have time to accommodate public input.

But House and Senate leaders used a rarely invoked power to call themselves back instead.

This morning in a special session, General Assembly is slated to hammer out the final bill, which should come out sometime today.

Brussels Attacks: Silver Lining Edition

The death toll stands at 31 from yesterday’s coordinated ISIS-terrorist attacks in Brussels.

We’re getting some details from the Belgian prosecutor.

There were three explosions. Two explosions hit the Zaventem airport in Brussels around 8 am local time (3 am Eastern) in the departure area. One was in the entryway and the other near the American Airlines ticket counter. Both were suicide bombings. 10 people were killed and 100 wounded. A third bomb was left at the airport and safely deactivated, according to the Associated Press. The bomb, in a suitcase, contained the biggest explosive charge; it exploded right after the bomb squad arrived.

Another explosion followed at 9:11 am local time (4:11 am Eastern) in the Maelbeek metro station near central Brussels.  The explosions at Maelbeek were on a metro car, part of a three-car train that had just pulled out on its way to the next station. The metro explosion alone killed 21 people and injured 106, 17 of them seriously

Belgium’s federal prosecutor identified two suspects as two brothers with criminal records, Khalid el-Bakraoui, 27, and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, 30, as well as a third man, who they did not identify, who is still at large. Ibrahim el-Bakaraoui was killed in the suicide bombing at the airport, and Khalid el-Bakraoui was killed in the suicide bombing in the metro.

Belgian police released video from the airport that showed three men, allegedly the attackers, pushing luggage carts. The man in the center is Ibrahim el-Bakraoui. The man to his left has not been identified but is thought to be another suicide bomber.  They are searching for the man who is wearing a dark hat and light jacket in the photo.

160322130113-01-belgian-police-photo-exlarge-169TERRORISME   Suspect à identifier  1

The cab driver who took the bombers to the airport was able to help Belgian police find the apartment where the men stayed. Investigators found a nail bomb, chemical products and an ISIS flag during a house search in the northeast Brussels neighborhood of Schaerbeek, Belgium’s federal prosecutor said in a statement.

They also found a laptop computer which contained a will/suicide note from Ibrihim El Bakraoui in which he wrote: “Being in a hurry, I don’t know what to do, being searched for everywhere, not being safe, if it drags on it could end up with me in a prison cell next to him”, which French media have reported is a reference to suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam.”

This suggests a couple of things to me.  The rapid unraveling of the ISIS network on Brussels, culminating in the arrest of one of the Paris terrorist late last week, forced the hand of ISIS.  Obviously, it would have been preferable to bring down the net on the entire operation before these attacks, but we can take some solace in the fact that they were panicky and running.

Also, it looks like the Brussels attack and the Paris attack may have come from the same network, maybe even the same cell or extended cell.  There are some reports that the bombmaker in both attacks may be the same person.  If so, then it is gratifying to know that the problem — while serious — may not be as widespread as the fearmongers suggest.

 

RT @JuddLegum: New national poll asks voters to say one word about a possible Trump presidency.

“Amazing” didn’t make the list https://t.…
rt-juddlegum-new-national-poll-asks-voters-to-say-one-word-about-a-possible-trump-presidency-amazing-didnt-make-the-list-httpst 

Just wondering if Mrs. Trump or Mrs Cruz have any thoughts about being the newest GOP battleground

RT @tedcruz: Pic of your wife not from us. Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you’re more of a coward than I thought. #classless

RT @KristinSalaky: Trump deleted a Cruz attack tweet then tweeted it again to add “Lyin’ Ted” https://t.co/sd335lLn3m

What about the photo is a lie?

I’ll reveal it…. She married a complete sleaze.