Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Washington (CNN)In the wake of Friday's landmark Supreme Court ruling that allows same-sex couples nationwide to marry, the White House was illuminated in rainbow colors for the evening, a nod to the achievement of the gay rights movement.
Friday, June 26, 2015
WASHINGTON—Ten minutes into oral arguments over whether or not homosexuals should be allowed to marry one another, a visibly confounded Supreme Court stopped legal proceedings Tuesday and ruled that gay marriage was “perfectly fine” and that the court could “care less who marries whom.”
“Yeah, of course gay men and women can get married. Who gives a shit?” said Chief Justice John Roberts, who interrupted attorney Charles Cooper’s opening statement defending Proposition 8, which rescinded same-sex couples’ right to marry in California. “Why are we even seriously discussing this?”
“Does anyone else up here care about this?” Roberts added as his eight colleagues began shaking their heads and saying, “No,” “Nah,” and “I also don’t care about this.” “Great. Same-sex marriage is legal in the United States of America. Do we have anything of actual import on the docket, or are we done for the day?”
Before Roberts officially ended proceedings, sources confirmed that all nine justices were reportedly dumbfounded, asking why the case was even coming before them and wondering aloud if some sort of mistake had been made. Calling marriage equality a “no-brainer,” members of the High Court appeared not just confused but irritated when Proposition 8 defenders argued that gay marriage was not a national issue but a state matter.
Moreover, when Attorney Cooper said that gay marriage could harm the moral fabric of the country and hurt the institution of marriage, Associate Justice Sotomayor asked, “What are you even talking about?” while Justice Anthony Kennedy reportedly muttered, “You got to be fucking kidding me,” under his breath.
“I have to interject, Mr. Cooper,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said as the attorney argued that the government has legitimate reasons to discourage same-sex couples from getting married. “Do you honestly care this much about this issue? Because if you do, you’re a real goddamn idiot. Actually, you sound as dumb as dog shit, and you are wasting our time.”
“Should gay marriage be legal?” Ginsburg continued. “Yes. Done. Case closed. Goodbye. Christ, were we seriously scheduled to spend the next few months debating this?”
Even the typically conservative wing of the court maintained that, despite their personal views, it would be “downright silly” for them to rule that same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
“I’m a strict Originalist, Mr. Cooper, and I’m looking at a 14th Amendment that forbids any state from denying any person equal protection of the law,” Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said. “So, unless we are the most uncivilized society on the face of God’s green earth, I think we can all agree that a gay person is in fact a person. So what I’m saying is, who the fuck are we to tell a person who he or she can get married to? This is dumb. Can we talk about a real case now, please?”
Before adjourning the court, Roberts said there would be no official opinion on the case because it’s just “common goddamn sense,” and then addressed gay men and women directly.
“Get married, don’t get married, do whatever you want,” Roberts said. “It’s the opinion of this court that we don’t give two shits what you do.”
“C’mon, let’s go get some food,” added Roberts, as the eight other justices followed him out the door.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
There were no golden escalators and no paid actors. But even without props, Donald Trump knows how to put on a show.
The billionaire real estate mogul, who entered the race for the GOP presidential nomination this month, told state Republicans in Linthicum on Tuesday night that his background as a negotiator and businessman makes him the most qualified candidate to "take back our jobs," "take back our money" and "take back our country."
His visit to Maryland, which had been in the works months before he announced his presidential bid, came as a new Suffolk University poll put Trump in second place in New Hampshire behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Trump reacted to the poll's findings by attacking Bush.
"I can't believe Bush is in first place. This guy can't negotiate his way out of a paper bag," Trump said. "So I'm in second place to Bush? I hate it!"
More than 600 people attended the annual dinner of the state Republican Party, and a GOP official said the event would bring in more than $100,000, money the party plans to use to support candidates in local and state races.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan did not attend the dinner, and several speakers acknowledged his announcement this week that he had been diagnosed with cancer.
The dinner at the BWI Marriott was quieter than Trump's campaign announcement in New York, when he descended into the crowd on a golden escalator. Still, there was plenty of Trump's characteristic bombast. He reiterated his opinion that the nation's current leadership is "stupid" and "desperate," and he called President Barack Obama "incompetent."
He focused his remarks on the nuclear negotiations underway with Iran — suggesting the Obama administration appeared "desperate" in the talks with Tehran — but also spent significant time arguing that reporters had taken statements from his announcement speech out of context.
In particular, Trump has been criticized for suggesting Mexican immigrants entering the U.S. are rapists.
Asked about the April riots in Baltimore, Trump said he "loved Baltimore," but then said the city was afflicted with "killings on an hourly basis, virtually."
"Baltimore is a very, very special case, and it's a very sad thing that's happened," Trump told reporters. "Baltimore needs jobs and it needs spirit. It's got no spirit. None."
Monday, June 22, 2015
Republican strategist Karl Rove said on “Fox News Sunday” the only way to stop gun-related violence, like the Wednesday massacre at Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston S.C., was to repeal American citizens’ Second Amendment rights.Establishment Republicans frame their "Solutions" to problems in the exact same way as their Democrat counterparts do. In terms of "Legislative Changes", when what is needed is NOT a change in legislation, but a change in actual human behaviour. And even here Rove, et al, makes a fallaciously premised case (that ONLY gun violence need be addressed) that an absolute ban on guns would ABSOLUTELY stop humans from killing each other, as if humans had never used explosives, knives, swords, or even poisons to accomplish their "hateful" ends, as if there weren't a legacy of hundreds of millions of extant guns in homes, arsenals and museums scattered throughout American Society, and that the kid next door couldn't just "print-out" a plastic firearm on his 3-D printer the next time someone made him angry.
When Chris Wallace asked Rove how we can, “stop the violence,” the long-time gun-rights advocate stated that we have made great strides as a nation in empathizing with the victims of these types of shootings, but the only way to guarantee they will stop is to “remove guns from society.”WALLACE: How do we stop the violence?
ROVE: I wish I had an easy answer for that, but I don’t think there’s an easy answer
We saw an act of evil. Racist, bigoted evil, and to me the amazing thing is that it was met with grief and love. Think about how far we’ve come since 1963. The whole weight of the government throughout the South was to impede finding and holding and bringing to justice the men who perpetrated the [Birmingham] bombing.
And here, we saw an entire state, an entire community, an entire nation come together, grieving as one and united in the belief that this was an evil act, so we’ve come a long way.
Now maybe there’s some magic law that will keep us from having more of these. I mean basically the only way to guarantee that we will dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough “oomph” to repeal the Second Amendment, that’s not going to happen.
But perhaps I'm being a bit too hard on Karl. At least he isn't as stupid as his "Ban the Confederate Battle Standard" compatriots, who believe that "erasing/ white-washing" the Nation's history and legacy of racism will prevent future racist acts. Especially as the government ardently embarks upon affirmative action policies that seek to remediate the effects of the very legacy it would now "deny" ever occurred.
Sunday, June 21, 2015
WASHINGTON -- Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley called Thursday for ending the nation's reliance on fossil fuels by 2050 and doubling energy efficiency within 15 years -- making the environment the focus of one of his presidential campaign's first major policy rollouts.
The ideas, outlined in a USA TODAY op-ed, coincided with the release of an encyclical from Pope Francis, who called for a "bold cultural revolution" to address the threats posed by global warming.
"We have come a long way as a nation in making ourselves more energy independent," O'Malley wrote. "Now is the time to take this progress to the next level -- the future of our country and our planet depends on it."
O'Malley, who is staking out positions to the left of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, generally won praise from environmentalists during his two terms as governor. He fought efforts last year to slow a wind energy project planned for Somerset County, vetoing a moratorium on the project approved by state lawmakers who were concerned about the impact on Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
The developer, Pioneer Green Energy, ultimately pulled out of the project this year, citing "unanticipated hurdles and roadblocks."
O'Malley wrote that his administration would expand rules to cover large sources of greenhouses in addition to power plants, would adopt a "zero-tolerance policy" for methane leaks from oil and gas production and would oppose the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
"I would set a national, cross-sector renewable electricity standard so our nation is powered by 100 percent clean energy by 2050, and a national goal of doubling energy efficiency within 15 years," O'Malley wrote.
"Many states like California and Maryland are already leading the way forward for the United States."
The ideas won praise from billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer, who has a long history of supporting Clinton.
"By calling for the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and a transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050, Governor O'Malley is presenting real, concrete solutions to climate change that will secure our country's economic security -- and break with the dirty energy politics of the past," Steyer said in a statement.
"This is exactly the type of leadership on climate change the Pope, military and business leaders are calling for -- and that we need from our next president."
Friday, June 19, 2015
Think Donald Trump’s bid is a joke? The GOP should be worried.The man in the quintessential "establishment" Republican.
So yes, Donald Trump has joined the crowded field of GOP candidates and there are plenty of jokes to be made but there may also be some reasons Republicans should be worried. Politico notes that GOPers laughed at Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential bid but the wacky, loose-lipped candidate was able to draw the most votes of any independent contender in history and likely cost President George H.W. Bush re-election.Tweets of the day: From @annetdonahue: "Donald Trump entering the presidential race is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to Saturday Night Live."
-> From @AdamSmith_USA: "When/If Donald Trump has to drop out, can I be the one to tell him he’s fired?"
-> From @mrchrisaddison: "JEB! TRUMP! The 2016 Republican race is turning into a 1960s episode of Batman."
Sunday, June 14, 2015
If Mitt Romney holds any grudge against Sheldon Adelson for funding the GOP rivals who roiled his 2012 GOP presidential primary campaign, he isn’t showing it.
The failed GOP nominee and the Las Vegas casino magnate are teaming up to see that the 2016 presidential race is not a repeat of the 2012 campaign for Republicans. Politico reports that Romney and Adelson have joined forces to convince donors to rally behind the conservative White House contenders with broad appeal and stymie the sort of long-shot candidacies that wrought havoc in 2012.
According to Politico, that could mean an early endorsement from the former Massachusetts governor.
“There’s the possibility that there might be someone who emerges strong who I agree with on a whole host of issues, and then someone else comes along who I find not as attractive from a policy standpoint or another standpoint,’ Romney told reporters Friday evening. “And at that stage I might jump in and go to work to help the one who’s more in tune with the things I believe.”
To win the support of Romney and his unlikely ally Adelson --- who, according to Politico, have been speaking monthly -- six GOP presidential contenders have flocked to Utah this week for a summit with some of Romney’s top political donors. Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Lindsey Graham, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and former CEO of HP Carly Fiorina were all slated to make the trek to an upscale ski lodge for the summit, which runs through Saturday.
Romney aides tell Politico he intends to stay involved in the 2016 race in the hopes of preventing some of the intra-party chaos that he believes doomed his 2012 run.
While Romney had long been regarded as the presumed GOP nominee in the 2012 race, the Republican primary dragged on as dark horse candidates like then-Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and former Sen. Rick Santorum had bursts of momentum. Adelson was largely responsible for propping up the campaign of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich -- who scored a surprise victory in the South Carolina primary -- before falling in line behind Romney.
Romney said earlier this year he would not run for president in 2016.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Rep. John Delaney, the former financier and two-term lawmaker from Montgomery County, was one of 28 House Democrats on Friday to support granting fast-track authority for the controversial Pacific Rim trade deal -- a vote fraught with politics for members of both parties.
Delaney, whose 6th Congressional District has a higher share of Republican voters than any other in the state, was the only member of Maryland's House delegation to support President Barack Obama's trade effort, which remains in limbo after a series of high-profile votes on Friday.
Democrats have long been wary of trade agreements, which set policies on tariffs, quotas and other trade barriers. Opponents, including powerful labor unions, argue trade deals ship jobs overseas to countries with less stringent labor standards.
All of the state's other Democratic House members -- as well as Republican Rep. Andy Harris of Baltimore County -- opposed the bill. Although the House approved the measure, a procedural road block means the bill will not advance to the White House unless Congress takes another vote next week.
"I support giving President Obama the ability to negotiate and complete new trade agreements with some of the fastest growing economies in the world," Delaney said in a statement after the vote.
"I want our country and this president setting the terms on trade, not China. Getting trade policy right is huge for our economy and huge for Maryland. This is about creating Maryland jobs by selling Maryland products to Asia, moving right from Western Maryland farms out through the Port of Baltimore."
Delaney has a record of casting centrist votes in the House, and he has also long had an uneasy relationship with labor, despite touting the importance of unions prominently in his campaign ads. In that sense his vote was not a surprise.
Delaney on Friday lamented the failure of a concurrent bill that would have expanded the Trade Adjustment Assistance program to help workers displaced by trade agreements.
Still, anyone who thinks Delaney's trade vote won't come up in future elections hasn't been paying attention to the Senate race unfolding in Maryland to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.
In that race, Rep. Donna F. Edwards of Prince George's County has been using past labor votes against her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County. Van Hollen has supported some trade agreements and opposed others. The state's labor unions, meanwhile, have been aggressively pressing the delegation to oppose the bill.
Delaney is still considering a run for Senate, and he is widely believed to also be eyeing a run for governor in 2018.
But how much of an issue anyone would be able to make of the vote remains to be seen. Another potential candidate for governor, U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, has also stated his support for the trade bill as a member of Obama's Cabinet.
"The action today by the House to approve the Trade Promotion Authority bill is an important step forward in our efforts to negotiate the most progressive trade agreement in our nation's history," Perez said in a statement Friday.
Trade is one of the only areas where the Obama administration has been in sync with a majority of House Republicans, most of whom supported the bill Friday. Supporters see the agreements as a way to increase access for U.S. goods in overseas markets. The trade promotion authority bill technically did not constitute support for the trade agreement itself, but rather set the agreement up for an up-or-down vote in Congress, free from amendments.
But Obama has argued that fast-track authority is critical to negotiating a good deal.
That argument, however, did not persuade Harris, who bucked GOP leaders and voted with a small group of conservatives against the measure.
"Today, I voted against the… 'fast-track' process to grant President Obama Trade Promotional Authority," Harris said in a statement. "My constituents spoke loud and clear with their opposition to TPA and there is nothing that is more important to me than representing the views of those in Maryland’s First District."
Friday, June 5, 2015
Touting her background as a "working mom" and "progressive business leader," Kathleen Matthews entered the race for Maryland's 8th Congressional District on Wednesday -- an announcement that could shake up the contest for the open seat.
The longtime television news anchor and former Marriott executive zipped through a list of progressive policies she said she would pursue if elected, including an increase in the minimum wage, pay equity for women, closing gaps in education and supporting Social Security and Medicare.
"I'm willing to do the hard work that it takes to actually take important ideas to this U.S. Congress," Matthews said in front of about a half dozen cameras at the Silver Spring Metro station in the comfortable, smooth voice of a veteran television reporter.
"I have spent a lifetime shattering the glass ceiling, advocating for women and children."
Matthews, a 61-year-old Chevy Chase resident who is married to MSNBC personality Chris Matthews, spent 15 years as an anchor at WJLA-TV before joining the Bethesda-based Marriott International as chief global communications and public affairs officer. She has left the company in order to focus on her run for Congress.
She joins Sen. Jamie Raskin, Dels. Kumar Barve and Ana Sol Gutierrez as well as former White House aide Will Jawando in the race for the Democratic nomination. The seat is being left open by incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Senate.
Barve welcomed Matthews to the race in a statement. "Vigorous debate is healthy and over the course of the coming months we will all be interested in learning about Ms. Matthews' views," he said.
After years on television, Matthews may be as well known as the state elected officials who have announced campaigns. Both she and Chris Matthews are presumably connected to a wide swath of Democrats -- and Democratic donors -- both in Montgomery County and nationally.
She has already received more attention from media inside the Beltway than her competitors.
On the other hand, Matthews has never run for office before, and she will need to distinguish herself from other candidates with better known track records in Annapolis and strong geographic bases of support in their own legislative districts.
"I was inspired by a local congressman where I went to college who fought against the Vietnam War, who looked at the incumbent president, Richard Nixon, and looked at the corruption that was going on and fought for his impeachment," the Stanford graduate said of why she came to the region from California decades ago.
Asked who that congressman was, Matthews named Pete McCloskey, a Republican who ran against Nixon in 1972. In 2007, McCloskey switched parties and became a Democrat.
Matthews has faced some criticism for a $2,600 contribution she made to Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri in 2014. She defended that donation Wednesday by noting her far more extensive support for Democrats. Though the donation will undoubtedly be raised by opponents, it's not an insurmountable issue. Rep. John Delaney of Potomac, for instance, had given money to Republicans before announcing his campaign in 2012.
Matthews demurred on a question about whether she will invest her own money in the race, saying that she "hopes to raise my money from the people who support me." She said she has already met with Emily's List, the Washington-based group that helps to elect -- and raise money for -- Democratic women who support abortion rights, and that she is hoping for that group's endorsement.
The seat is widely considered safe for Democrats, though it was redrawn by state lawmakers in 2011 to include more GOP voters. Still, Van Hollen beat Republican Dave Wallace in the 2014 general with more than 60 percent of the vote.
"I have a lot of energy," said Matthews, who is planning to campaign at events and a fundraiser on Wednesday. "I hope to spend many days like this day today."
Asked if Chris Matthews had offered any advice, Kathleen Matthews had a quick answer: “He said, ‘smile.’”