Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Supremes, Sarah Smiles, Nixon on Abortion

David Brooks
Dana Milbank
Keri Huus
Jonathon Chait

"No, it's sad about Iran, but what do you expect about a country with a government that's propped up by oil, that's led by a religious wacko? Kind of like Alaska." --Bill Maher

In a weirdly nostalgic scene, we have Dana Milbank covering a press conference by Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah of Iran, and an interview from Paris with his mother by Keri Huus. David Brooks gives insight on how Congress sucks at working together, and Mr Chait explains the Obama mind, separated from the rest of the man, ouch.

The US Supreme Court left intact one of the signature legacies from the civil rights movements, from an op ed in the NY Times:  "The Supreme Court decided on Monday not to strike down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a protection for the right of minorities to vote. That was very good news. The less good news is that the court, which has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of Section 5, said it raises serious constitutional concerns. The ruling may signal that the court will be tempted in a future case to strike down this important safeguard.
Congress enacted Section 5 to clamp down on election officials who use tactics like gerrymandering and closing polling places to suppress and dilute minority votes. It requires states and local governments to “preclear” changes in voting rules with the Justice Department or a federal court to determine whether they would harm minority voting rights."  Hard to believe that we still produce election fraud in our country, but it happens too often. I wonder what would happen if we, too, engaged in protests over election fraud. Oh, yeah, there were protests after Bush defeated Gore and nothing happened...

The Supreme Court then is actually going to look at a tough case after all. Perhaps all of the recent media focus has finally fortified their Metamucil. The Christian science Monitor reports: "The US Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality of a law that allows the federal government to indefinitely detain a person deemed "sexually dangerous," even after that person has finished serving a full prison sentence. The issue arises in the case of a man who has been confined to a North Carolina federal prison for more than two years after completing his three-year sentence for receiving child pornography. The man, Graydon Earl Comstock, has no firm release date.

In January, a federal appeals court panel declared the law unconstitutional. "The Constitution does not empower the federal government to confine a person solely because of asserted 'sexual dangerousness' when the government need not allege (let alone prove) that this 'dangerousness' violates any federal law," wrote Judge Diana Gribbon Motz of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Richmond.

The provision in question was passed as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. It authorizes the attorney general to seek the court-ordered, open-ended civil commitment of any "sexually dangerous person" already in US custody. The measure is controversial in part because it relies on anticipation of future dangerousness to society, rather than actual or planned violations of law."

Nobody really knows what to do with child molesters. They are predators who can't stop even when they try to, it's a sickness that confounds medical science, and so the best way that we can come up with is to keep them in jail. On the other hand, we have gone overboard in accusing folks of being molesters, the definition has broadened, and once accused, you rarely get the chance of mending your reputation. If you go to the web site of your local law enforcement, you would be surprised to find how many people considered sexual predators are living in your neighborhoods, and those are just the ones that follow the law and register when they move...

Poor Sarah Palin, she is becoming poorer. As reported by MSNBC: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says her political enemies are abusing state law with a flurry of frivolous ethics complaints against her, putting her more than $500,000 in legal debt.

Those filing the grievances — there have been at least 18 cases so far — say it's their legal right to hold the Republican governor accountable for what they see as abuses of power."

Sarah herself asks: "Are Alaskans outraged, or at least tired of this yet — another frivolous ethics charge by a political blogger?"

But the number of filings may also reflect a broader awareness of ethics law in Alaska, where any citizen can send in any number of complaints. Some say they're taking Palin up on her own challenge to Alaska voters.

"She said she was going to be open, transparent and wanted people to hold her accountable," said Kim Chatman, an Eagle River resident whose complaint against Palin is among the few still pending. "I took her for her word."

Finally, recent tapes released by the Nixon library reveal his stance on abortion, as reported by the NY Times: "Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases, such as interracial pregnancies.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding: “Or a rape.”  
I've spent many years asking why my father's generation was so inherently racist. Never have been able to figure it out...

late night jokes:

"The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, said this election was not rigged, the results are final, and you can protest all you want, but if you keep doing it, we're going to start cracking heads. Now if we could only get this guy to call Norm Coleman." --Bill Maher

"The silver lining in this dark cloud is that Twitter found a reason to exist." --Bill Maher

"Don't you know that this could be the first revolution brought to you by Twitter? Because that's how people are communicating to go of the rallies and so forth, and show the pictures of what's going on. Authorities, of course, in Iran shut down cell phone networks. They shut down the internet. Calls are absolutely not getting through or they're dropped immediately. Or as T-Mobile calls it, normal service." --Bill Maher

"And I think what's interesting, is with all this going on in the world, the top news on the Fox News website was a recall of Tollhouse cookie dough. I'm not kidding. Forget Iran, forget healthcare, for the average Fox viewer, the most important question for them was, is my lard safe?" --Bill Maher

"Have you been following the John Ensign scandal? He's the senator from Nevada who got his penis caught in the cookie jar. It turns out he was screwing the wife of his chief of staff, they say. And I love this guy. He's a piece of work. Because John Ensign was a promise keeper. He was a big proponent of the Defense of Marriage Act. And a loud voice calling for Clinton to resign during the Lewinsky scandal. So he has hit the hypocrisy trifecta." --Bill Maher

"He told the Washington Post some years ago, that as a Christian politician, listen to this, he refused to be alone with a strange woman inside of a car. But apparently, being inside of a strange woman without a car that's okay, that's all good." --Bill Maher

"They said his chief of staff, the guy who's wife he was screwing, he threatened to go public unless Ensign, the senator, paid his mortgage. Apparently this guy had a big-ass house in Las Vegas. I know the economy is tough, but using your wife as collateral on your mortgage? That's a new one, even for the Republicans. And how do you broach that? 'Look, senator, I'm upside-down on my mortgage, you've been upside down on my wife...'" --Bill Maher

"This is all very ironic, because this is the week that the gay people in America finally really had it up to here with Barack Obama, because he won't come out for gay marriage. He threw them a ball with federal benefits. They didn't like that. They said, we are not satisfied and we are feeling neglected. He said, well that's almost like being married." --Bill Maher

"In other news, the world's oldest man died, he was 113, and a leading voice of the young Republicans." --Bill Maher

"And finally, I'm saving the big story for last. Have you heard this? We are preparing for a big high seas showdown with North Korea. You heard that? They may be transporting nukes. We're going to intercept their ships. It's going to be fun stuff! That's right, we're going to be intercepting their ships. The winner of the round meets the Somali pirates. And the loser has to fight the Carnival cruise line." --Bill Maher

"The big news, the Iranian government is trying very hard now to legitimize their election. That's the big story in the world right now. Today, Iran's supreme leader declared last week's presidential election 'an absolute victory.' That's what he said. Yep. Yeah, then he went on to congratulate the Clippers on winning the NBA championship." --Conan O'Brien

"President Barack Obama spoke on the phone with Lakers coach Phil Jackson and with Dan Bylsma, coach of the Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins. That's cool. Yeah. And in a related story, Joe Biden had a conference call with Tito Jackson and an actual penguin." --Conan O'Brien

"On Wednesday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton broke her elbow, so yesterday, she worked from home. Mm-hmm. Yeah, which explains why Bill Clinton spent the day in the backyard forming the words 'Help Me' with garden gnomes." --Conan O'Brien

"This is weird. The state of New Hampshire is projecting an additional $55 million in revenue, now that they've legalized gay marriage. Yeah, as a result, the state motto has been changed from 'Live Free or Die' to 'These Blueberry Scones are to Die For.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Today, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, said there's no fraud in the election, and the results will stand. That was the word from the supreme leader. I don't know, I wouldn't mind a second opinion from the other supreme leaders: Burrito Supreme, Taco Supreme, and of course, Diana Ross." --Jimmy Fallon

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