Monday, August 26, 2013

A Quiet Revolution

Gay marriage seems to have come to New Mexico. Under the radar, and buoyed by a force no stronger than a simple reading of the law.

In July, State Attorney General Gary King noticed something that state Republicans would have preferred to keep hidden away. New Mexico law does not prohibit gay marriage. Of course, it doesn't specifically authorize it, either, but up until now, nobody has banned it. And any attempts to do so appear to be unconstitutional.
The Associated Press reports that King made the argument after the court asked him to weigh in on a lawsuit filed by a gay Santa Fe couple who were denied a marriage license. In his filing, King urged the court to approve more broadly of gay marriage rights in a ruling in favor of the men.

"New Mexico’s guarantee of equal protection to its citizens demands that same-sex couples be permitted to enjoy the benefits of marriage in the same way and to the same extent as other New Mexico citizens," King said in the filing.
On the strength of that, on Wednesday, Dona Ana County clerk Lynn Ellins, began issuing marriage certificates to gay couples in Las Cruces, NM. Nobody told him that he could - he simply noted that nobody could tell him that he couldn't.

And today, in Albuquerque, a judge ordered the county clerk of the most populous county in New Mexico to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, stating that any seeming prohibitions in New Mexico statutes against same-sex marriage "are unconstitutional and unenforceable."

In his ruling, Judge Alan Malott quoted Article II, Section 18 of the New Mexico State Constitution, which is pretty straight-forward (so to speak).
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall any person be denied equal protection of the laws. Equality of rights under law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.
So now, with roughly a hundred same-sex couples legally married in the state of New Mexico, any action by the state government (or our Republican governor Susana Martinez) will be met with an almost-unwinnable lawsuit.

So it would appear that gay marriage is here to stay in New Mexico. Not through what the GOP will undoubtedly be calling "judicial activism," but simply through strict adherence to the law.

That's gonna leave a mark - a big, rainbow-colored one.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Daily Race-Baiter

So, there's this internet "news" site out there going by the name the Daily Caller. It was started by Tucker Carlson, a bow-tied right-wing twat-weasel who was once famously savaged by Jon Stewart.

Now, despite the fact that he staffed his little paper with GOP advisors and got most of his funding from Foster Friess, who famously bankrolls presidential candidates like Rick Santorum, Carlson likes to claim that "we're not enforcing any kind of ideological orthodoxy on anyone."

Which might even be true, except... well, they ran with this story on Monday. A fluff piece, about Obama buying a new dog. Another Portuguese Water Dog named Sunny, to give First Dog Bo a playmate. Cute, right?
Well, kind of. It's a story that means absolutely nothing to anybody. Man buys dog. Until, not even 50 words in, you come across the following sentence.
Apparently it’s a girl and it was born in 2012 in Michigan, where the unemployment rate was 8.8 percent last month.
OK, motherTucker, define "non sequiter" for me, will ya?

What exactly is that little factoid doing in the second paragraph of a human-interest fluff piece? Is it, maybe, to show that "Obama reigns over a failed presidency"? "Obama doesn't care about poor people"? How does that even belong there?

But that's not the gold. Oh, no. Here's the gold - the last two sentences in the piece.
With the addition of Sunny, the Obamas now have two black Portuguese water dogs.

The Obamas do not have any white dogs.
Yes, that's right. They aren't even trying to hide it anymore.

We now officially have a new definition for "dog-whistle politics."

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Developments in Iran

There's a little story out there which isn't getting a lot of play in the American press, possibly because the corollary to the journalistic axiom would be "if it doesn't bleed, it doesn't lead." It's not a story of death, or destruction, or anything other than a possible hope for the future.

See, there's this country called Iran, and the Iranian president for the last eight years has been a fiery little Holocaust-denier named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Now, a lot of people don't understand how little power (comparatively) the Iranian president has, but he does have a certain amount of influence, and Ahmadinejad is now out of office.

His replacement is a reform-minded moderate named Hassan Rouhani, who, from 2003 to 2005 under former President Mohammad Khatami, was chief nuclear negotiator with the European Union. He campaigned on promises to improve human rights in Iran, restore the economy, and improve relations with the West.

Now, there are certain factions in America (and Israel) who believe that it's in their best interests to keep stirring up fear of Iran, and who will never believe that there are peaceful Muslims - Fox "News," for example, is trying to spin him as a Smiling Warmonger on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

One of the fears that the Islamophobic crowd wants to keep alive is the terror of a "nuclear Iran!" Because that would lead to immediate nuclear annihilation of Israel!

(Despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has found no evidence that Iran has been building nuclear warheads, but that they have a history of "failure in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) Safeguards Agreement... with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, its processing and its use, as well as the declaration of facilities where such material had been processed and stored...")

Despite the strident screams of the Rush Limbaugh's and Pam Geller's of the world, the White House today declared that they're willing to engage with Iran "to resolve the international community's deep concerns over Iran's nuclear program."

So, we might just be seeing the Middle East inching toward peace - expect the right wing to start pushing back against it as hard as they can.