As the nation waits for the Supreme Court to decide whether same-sex marriages should be legal nationwide, another, more mundane front has opened in the wedding wars: the offices of the state and local officials who perform civil marriages and issue licenses.
Republican state legislators in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have introduced bills this year that would prohibit state or local government employees from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, despite federal court rulings declaring bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in those states and questions about the constitutionality of the proposed state laws. The bills would also strip the salaries of employees who issued the licenses.
A second South Carolina bill would give some government employees the ability to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they objected on the basis of a “sincerely held religious belief.” In Utah, a bill would allow officials like judges, mayors and county clerks who solemnize marriages to opt out on religious grounds. In North Carolina, the president pro tempore of the State Senate, Phil Berger, a Republican, filed a similar bill Wednesday that would apply to “magistrates and registers of deeds.”
California health officials on Wednesday declared electronic cigarettes a health threat that should be strictly regulated like tobacco products, joining other states and health advocates across the U.S. in pushing back against the fast-growing device.
Other states, including Oklahoma, Tennessee and Arkansas, already have issued advisories cautioning the use of e-cigarettes.
The California Department of Public Health report says e-cigarettes emit cancer-causing chemicals and get users hooked on nicotine, although there is still more research to be done on the immediate and long-term health effects.
esident Obama will revive his push to reverse billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts that took effect in 2013 as part of a last-resort deficit deal, the White House said Thursday as officials began to tease out pieces of the president’s 2016 budget due out next week.
Obama is slated to make his case for restoring the spending Thursday night in a speech to House Democrats meeting in Philadelphia for an annual strategy session.
As he has in past spending plans, the president will call for undoing the across-the-board cuts, known as the sequester, that hit the military and domestic programs.
“The president’s budget will fully reverse those cuts for domestic priorities, and match those investments dollar-for-dollar with the resources our troops need to keep America safe,” a White House official said.
The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 an accident and has said that there were no survivors.
No trace of the Beijing-bound aircraft has been found since it disappeared on 8 March 2014.
Officials said that the recovery operation is ongoing but that the 239 people onboard are now presumed dead.
The plane’s whereabouts are still unknown despite a massive international search in the southern Indian Ocean.
…in related news, water found to be wet.
It’s become common for politicians and companies looking to puff up their social profiles to “buy” followers from shady-ass sploggers. Which works when you’re starting up, but after you start to get some traction, usually, you start to weed out the fakers, if for no other reason than to cut down on the monthly bills to buytwitterfollowers.com.
I hereby offer 500 quatloos to the first creature to bring me the virtual head of these infidels!
(OK, OK, I’m guessing this is old news. BUT - that hasn’t stopped CCJ in his efforts to dredge up old bullshit and parade it around as though it were something earth-shattering. Karma=bitch, homie.)
Matthew Yglesias, Vox: The Average American Household Was Poorer in 2013 Than It Was in 1983 - Vox
US net worth rose considerably over that period, which is what you would expect to see. Technology has improved and productivity increased, so society has a greater capacity for wealth building. America was also quite a bit older on average in 2013 than it was in 1983, so average wealth should have gone up.
But all of these gains went to the top 20 percent of the population. It’s worse than that, actually. Over 100 percent of the gains went to the top 20 percent, because the bottom 60 percent of the population got poorer.
Decades of union busting and outsourcing have made the 1% fabulously wealthy by screwing almost everyone else. Its far past time that some of that wealth be shared with the people working for it.
If any candidate could run a rigid campaign of polarization—aimed at winning as many white voters as possible—it’s Walker. His language is already there. In his Iowa speech, he touted voter-identification laws and portrayed disadvantage as a pure product of personal failure. “In America the opportunity is equal for each and every one of us but … the ultimate outcome is up to each and every one of us individually.”
Walker, in other words, represents the other path: The chance to win without broadening your base or changing your priorities. Victory, but at the price of greater racial polarization. It’s a seductive vision—and an inherently divisive one.
But do you really want to hand the police your phone if you don’t have to?
Delaware is aiming to be the first state to offer virtual driver’s licenses accessed through a secure smartphone app.
“We’d like to go first,” said Jennifer Cohan, director of the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles and the governor’s nominee for secretary of transportation.
“If it works for Delaware, then it will be a new option for Delaware citizens to show proof of driver’s license and identification.”
The Legislature last week adopted a resolution directing Cohan’s agency to study and consider digital licenses for motorists.
Remember all of that wingnut outrage over the Katie Couric interviews? Don’t expect any retractions from right wing punditry, but,.. you can sure see signs of buyer’s remorse now.
By Karen Tumulty
The Washington Post
January 28, 2015
Sarah Palin’s odd, rambling speech last weekend before an audience of committed conservative activists in Des Moines, Iowa, has many influential voices on the right saying that the time has come to acknowledge that the romance has gone cold and the marriage is dead.
This is despite the fact that the 2008 GOP vice-presidential nominee told reporters upon her arrival at the event that she is “seriously interested” in running for president in 2016.
Her address was a 34 1/2-minute roller coaster ride of cliches, non sequiturs and warmed-over grievances. One line that stood out: “GOP leaders, by the way, you know, ‘The Man,’ can only ride ya when your back is bent. So strengthen it. Then The Man can’t ride ya.”
After last week’s reports that Google had entered into an agreement with T-Mobile and Sprint to sell wireless service directly to consumers, it wasn’t exactly clear why the company would strike deals with both carriers.The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Google’s service would look for the best available cellular or Wi-Fi signal to route calls, texts, and data.
The search giant’s aim is to provide the best and fastest wireless service without users having to worry about a long-term relationship with a carrier, the report notes, adding that the MVNO service could be launched in the first half of this year and would likely be offered nationwide.
While it was earlier being speculated that the service would be inexpensive, the new report says that lowering prices isn’t the goal. However, it also added that Google’s technology for switching between services based on quality could be used to consider price in the future.