Monthly Archives: May 2008

Colorado Democratic Delegate Totals

Ever since Super Tuesday the assemblage of dumbasses collectively known as the mainstream media has been reporting on how many delegates Colorado will be sending to the Democratic National Convention, along with who they’re pledged to vote for. Trouble is, there were no such delegates until the conclusion of the Colorado Democratic Party’s State Assembly and Convention last weekend.

On Super Tuesday we held our precinct caucuses. Those began with a preference poll for presidential candidates. The results of the preference poll formed the basis of the media’s blatherings about delegate totals. Trouble is, the preference poll doesn’t mean much in Colorado’s rather Byzantine delegate selection process.

At the caucuses we selected delegates to attend county party conventions and separate conventions held in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts. At the county conventions we elected delegates to the state party convention. The preference polling at the various levels determines how many delegates will be sent to the next level and how many of those delegates will be “pledged” to particular candidates. However, the pledges aren’t binding. For instance, the precinct sent me to the county convention as an Obama delegate, but I was free to change my mind and vote for Clinton upon showing up at the convention. (I didn’t, of course, but I could have.)

The process culminates in the state party convention, held last weekend in Colorado Springs. Only when that event ends do we know how many delegates Colorado will send to the national convention and who they’re pledged to support.

In addition, Democrats in each congressional district hold separate Congressional District Conventions. At those events we elect delegates to the national convention over and above those elected at the state convention.

So now, at long last, the totals are in. You’ll find the information here on the homepage of CDP’s website.

From the state convention, Obama got 13 delegates and 2 alternates to the national convention. Clinton got six delegates and no alternates. From the seven congressional district conventions, Obama got 23 delegates and 7 alternates, while Clinton tallied 13 delegates and no alternates. Final tally: Obama – 36 delegates (and 9 alternates); Clinton – 19 delegates.

Of course, now that accurate totals are available, the mainstream media has long since lost interest in Colorado. That state of affairs will no doubt continue until the national convention itself, which takes place in Denver.

Hagee: Jews were askin’ for it

This story is all over the intart00bz. I first saw it at Esoteric Dissertations, so Codesmithy gets the hat tip.

Click on the above link and you’ll find audio of right wing evangelical lunatic John Hagee waxing insane about how the Jews were to blame for the Holocaust and Hitler was simply doing the Lord’s work.

Other notable Hagee sputterings include referencing the Catholic Church as “The Great Whore,” an “apostate church,” the “anti-Christ” and a “false cult system.” And then there was the whole Hurricane Katrina was God’s punishment for New Orleans hosting a gay pride parade thing. My personal favorite is Hagee’s call for a joint U.S.-Israeli military strike on Iran “to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.”

Republican presidential candidate Walnuts McCain remains “very honored” to have Hagee’s endorsement. Walnuts claims to repudiate Hagee’s statements “that are anti-semetic or anti-Catholic, racist, any other,” but there’s really nothing to repudiate because the good pastor’s comments “were taken out of context[.]”

As always, Lord save me from your followers.

More: Illusory Tenant links to this appropriately derisive article from Salon:

These psycho Christians make Robert Mitchum’s sociopathic traveling preacher in “The Night of the Hunter” (the guy with “love” tattooed on one hand and “hate” on the other) look like St. Francis of Assisi.

Go tell it on the mountain, brother!

Still More: It looks like the Hitler-was-God’s-agent-on-earth comment was too much even for Walnuts: McCain officially rejects Hagee endorsement

Moar Boy Scouts Welfare Queenage

Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 600 (2000) is one of my top ten all time favorite U.S. Supreme Court cases. The Court ruled by a 5-4 vote that a New Jersey statute prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination violated the BSA’s First Amendment right of expressive association by forcing it to accept gays as scoutmasters. The result isn’t especially enthralling, but the method is revealing as hell. Chief Justice Rehnquist’s majority opinion is a superb example of how alleged “conservative” practitioners of “judicial restraint” will do damn near anything, up to and including violating the canons of judicial conduct, to reach a desired result. To see how it works, check out the majority opinion, then read Justice Stevens’ dissent to find out how the majority ignores, distorts and flat-out lies about the record evidence in the case.

Perhaps the most odious bit of nonsense regarding the Boy Scouts is the notion that they’re a purely private organization and for that reasons shouldn’t be subject to nondiscrimination laws applicable to public entities. In truth, the Boy Scouts have enjoyed and benefited from a lengthy, close and exceptionally profitable relationship with the federal government.

Chris Rodda reports on the latest Congressional give-away to the Boy Scouts here. The current bit of largess comes in the form of House Bill 5872 (pdf, 8 pages). The bill’s purpose is “[t]o require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America, and for other purposes.”

Commemorative coin issuance is hardly a big deal in and of itself. That’s been going on since 1892. The intriguing part is the “other purposes” statement. Just what are those “other purposes” anyway?

Check out Section 7 of the bill, which mandates that “[a]ll sales of coins issued under this Act shall include a surcharge of $10 per coin” and directs that the Secretary pay all surcharges collected to the National Boy Scouts of America Foundation. Rodda calculates that bill could result in a windfall of up to $3.5 million for the Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts themselves tout their status as a de facto religion here. A few highlights:

Q. Can an individual who states that he does not believe in God be a volunteer Scout leader or member?

A. No. The Scout Oath represents the basic values of Scouting, and it addresses the issue of “duty to God” before duty to country, others, and self.

. . .

Q. What allows the Boy Scouts of America to exclude atheists and agnostics from membership?

A. The Boy Scouts of America is a private membership group. As with any private organization, Boy Scouts’ retains the constitutional right to establish and maintain standards for membership. Anyone who supports the values of Scouting and meets these standards is welcome to join the organization.

Naturally, the Scouts’ focus on YHWH and the need to be “morally straight” dictates exclusion of gays as well as atheists and agnostics:

Q. Don’t Boy Scouts discriminate against gays and atheists?

A. Boy Scouts of America is one of the most diverse youth groups in the country, serving boys of every ethnicity, religion, and economic circumstance and having programs for older teens of both sexes. That Boy Scouts also has traditional values, like requiring youth to do their “duty to God” and be “morally straight” is nothing to be ashamed of and should not be controversial. No court case has ever held that Boy Scouts discriminates unlawfully, and it is unfortunate here that anyone would characterized Boy Scouts’ constitutionally protected right to hold traditional values as “discriminatory.” That is just name-calling.

Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a volunteer Scout leader?

A. No. The Boy Scouts of America is a private membership organization; leadership in Boy Scouting is a privilege and not a right. Boy Scouts believes that homosexual conduct is not compatible with the aims and purposes of Scouting and that a known or avowed homosexual does not present a desirable role model for the youth in the Scouting program. Boy Scouts will continue to select only those who meet Boy Scout standards and qualifications for membership.

The Scout are, of course, correct about their right to practice mindless troglodytic bigotry. I’m fine with that. I don’t want to make the Aryan Nation admit African-Americans or require the American Nazi Party to admit Jews either.

The problem lies in using the U.S. government as a fund raising tool for what amounts to an uberconservative church. Once again we harken back to the words of Justice Hugo Black, the strict constructionist’s strict constructionist:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between Church and State.”

Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 15-16 (1947).

You want the benefits associated with being a private organization? Fine and goddamn dandy. But don’t you fucking dare expect the rest of us to pay for it.

The unconstitutionality of this horseshit seems obvious, but you’d never be able to tell from the goings-on in Congress. H.R. 5872 sailed through the House of Representatives and passed on a vote of 403-8. On May 19 the bill was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Senate proceedings figure to be equally smooth.

So, then, the next time some piggish Boy Scout muckity muck starts blabbering about how being “morally straight” requires belief in God and keeping one’s weiner away from the No-No Boxes of other men, heap some Reaganesque derision on him. Call the prick a welfare queen. The term fits like the proverbial glove.

Va. “partial birth infanticide” law still unconstitutional

Last year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal law proscribing “partial birth abortion,” holding that the law was neither facially void for vagueness nor an “undue burden” on the right of choice recognized in Roe v. Wade and its progeny. Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. ____ (2007).

In light of Carhart, SCOTUS vacated the judgment of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond Medical Center for Women v. Hicks, 409 F.3d 619 (4th Cir. 2005), in which the court of appeals held that a Virginia state law criminalizing “partial birth infanticide” was unconstitutional because it contained no exception to allow for protecting the mother’s health. SCOTUS ordered the Fourth Circuit to reconsider its decision in light of Carhart.

The Fourth Circuit issued its ruling on remand yesterday, holding 2-1 that the Virgina statute is still unconstitutional despite Carhart. Richmond Medical Center for Women v. Hicks (pdf, 61 pages). Looks like good news for the constitutional right of choice, but appearances can and often are deceiving.

Carhart was based in large part on the Supreme Court’s finding that the federal “partial birth abortion” statute imposes criminal liability only where a doctor intentionally performs an “intact dilation and extraction” procedure. Thus, no liability attaches where the doctor intends to perform a “standard D&E” — the most common method of second-trimester abortions — that “accidentally” ends up becoming an intact D&E. That, said the Court, precluded a finding of facial unconstitutionality; the federal act did not impose an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose by placing doctors in fear of “accidental” criminal liability.

Yesterday’s decision in Hicks centered on whether the Virgina statute included the same sort of intent requirement as the federal law at issue in Carhart. The majority concluded that the Virginia statute contained no such requirement and thus imposed an undue burden via the threat of “accidental” criminal liability. The dissenting judge disagreed.

This is what the constitutional right recognized in Roe has come to: squabbling over scienter requirements and the grisly details of various medical procedures. That, of course, is likely what Justice Kennedy had in mind when he wrote the majority opinion in Carhart, one of the most paternalistic pieces of work ever to fall from a judge’s pen. You wimmins are all emotional and ill-informed, ya see, so Justice Kennedy tells you exactly what’s going to happen after you climb onto that gurney. After Carhart pretty much all challenges to restrictive abortion laws must be made on an as-applied basis, so what we saw in yesterday’s Fourth Circuit decision will be rule rather than the exception.

And it won’t be long before the Supreme Court starts talking about how “cumbersome” and “unworkable” Roe analysis has become. That’s the first step in doing away with Roe altogether, so please forgive me if I’m not all that pleased over yesterday’s developments.

Fulla YECs

No leading economic power has ever maintained itself on the cutting edge of innovation and development with a political coalition that panders to biblical inerrancy.

So wrote Kevin Phillips in his 2006 book American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.

If Phillips is correct, and it’s hard to believe he’s not in this regard, this survey indicates that we’re well on our way to falling off the “cutting edge of innovation and development.” Seems that a disconcertingly high 16% of public high school biology teachers are young earth creationists.

On the plus side, our health care crisis is well on its way to being solved. Someday the practice of medicine will consist exclusively of a gaggle of biblical inerrantists standing around the bed of a sick or injured person gibbering uncontrollably (speaking in tongues). If the patient gets better, God’s will. If not, also God’s will. No right-thinking person would ever call that a “crisis.”

Caplis: Liar, Ignoramus or Both?

Colorado radio has no shortage of half-sentient, bird brained, right wing screaming heads. Take Dan Caplis of KHOW-AM, for instance. Colorado Media Matters reports here on Caplis’ tirade against the California Supreme Court’s recent gay marriage ruling.

As is true of all his compatriots, Caplis gets no points whatsoever for originality. He gives us the usual half-cooked gruel of “liberal activist judges . . . stripping our democracy of any real meaning, because these judges are unelected, they’re essentially unimpeachable, they’re unaccountable.” And, of course, “everybody knows that conservative appointees are not gonna create some constitutional right to gay marriage[.]”

Predictably, Caplis is fulla shit about everything. First of all, what’s this “our democracy” business? California and Colorado are separate sovereigns, Cochise. Their democracy isn’t ours and our democracy isn’t theirs. The California Supreme Court based its decision on provisions of the California Constitution. Thanks largely to the fact that farting too loudly in this state amends the Colorado Constitution by operation of law, we have Article II, Section 31, which provides that “[o]nly a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.” So cheer up, Danny. Colorado is safe from the liberal scourge of equal protection under the law.

Conservative appointees would never do such a thing? Try telling that to the Republican California governors who appointed six of the seven current California Supreme Court Justices.

Unaccountable? Bitch, please. “Justices are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. The appointments are confirmed by the public at the next general election; justices also come before voters at the end of their 12-year terms.”

Unimpeachable? Okay, so they don’t call it “impeachment.” But California state officers are subject to recall, and “state officer” includes “Justices of Courts of Appeal and the State Supreme Court.”

So, Mr. Caplis, if you’re truly as outraged as you claim to be, I suggest that you cash in your chips at KHOW, head west and get those recall proceedings under way. Otherwise, people might think you’re nothing but a grandstanding pussy, and they’d be correct.

Finally, since this is a good a spot as any, REPUBLICAN SPACE RANGERS

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McCain Kinda Like Jesus

The John McCain Isn’t Religiously Insane Enough for the Republican Party Era came to its de facto end when Mike Huckabee cashed in his chips and endorsed the Arizona senator’s presidential campaign. That Era met something of a de jure demise over the weekend with this statement by Georgia Republican Party chair Sue Everhart:

Georgia Republican Party chairwoman Sue Everhart said Saturday that the party’s presumed presidential nominee has a lot in common with Jesus Christ.

“John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross,” Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. “He never denounced God, either.”

Yep, it’s all about t3h unitah now. The wagons are circled and the GOP appears poised to wield the tripartite bludgeon of God, guns and gays to full effect yet again. Oh, how I adore this country.

More: H/T to Wonkette for linking this lovely assemblage of McCain video clips. In all likelihood, Jesus is more than a little honked off over being compared to someone who can’t decide whether his principal strength lies in laughable incompetence or outright fraud. No rapture for you, Sue Everhart.

Feingold Rocks

Colorado’s current representatives in the U.S. Senate are Bush administration rubber stamp Wayne Allard, who earned the distinction of being named one of Time magazine’s Five Worst Senators in 2006, and Ken Salazar, whose first official act was introducing Attorney General nominee and craven liar Alberto Gonzales to the Senate.

Things figure to get better for the Colorado delegation with Allard’s retirement and the substantial possibility of five-term congressman Mark Udall winning the open seat, but Salazar will be DINOing his way through the Senate until at least January 2011.

By contrast, our friends in Wisconsin have Sen. Russ Feingold. One could write volumes on Feingold’s impressive qualities and voting record, but for present purposes I’ll limit my fawning affection to Feingold’s stance on arbitration.

Feingold had this editorial published at last week in which he discusses the evils associated with the mandatory binding arbitration clauses that corporate America buries in contracts covering everything from nursing home care to cellphone use. Sen Feingold correctly notes:

There’s nothing fair about some of the arbitration proceedings that consumers are forced into. A major arbitration firm actually advertised its services by pointing out how arbitration favors its corporate clients because arbitrations are secret, and consumers or employees have very limited rights to discovery and might even have to pay the costs of the arbitration if they lose.


The text of Feingold’s Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 is available here. Long story short, the bill would amend the Federal Arbitration Act to render pre-dispute arbitration agreements unenforceable as to certain consumer and employment disputes.

Does the AFA stand any chance of meeting a fate other than a quiet death in committee? I suspect not. The insurance, credit card and nursing home industries have too much to lose, and their lobbyists are spending money hand over fist to defeat the bill.

Even so, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. The average Joe has no idea whatsoever that he’s subject to multiple onerous arbitration “contracts” to which he never agreed. If nothing else, Feingold is spreading the word, and that’s gotta be a good thing.

How conservative is SCOTUS? Pretty damn conservative.

Federal court of appeals judge and law professor Richard Posner has done a ton of collaborative writing over the years with fellow University of Chicago lawprof William Landes. Now Posner and Landes have turned their considerable analytical talents to assessing the political ideologies of U.S. Supreme Court Justices from 1937 to date.

Of the ten most conservative Justices by voting record over that time, five (Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Alito and Kennedy) are on the Court today. By contrast, the ten Justices who Posner and Landes identify as the “least conservative” are all long gone. [CORRECTION: A commenter pointed out that current Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the Posner/Landes “least conservative” top 10.]

Posner’s and Landes’ paper — Rational Judicial Behavior: A Statistical Study — is available for download here courtesy of SSRN.

H/T – Wash Park Prophet