Arizona lawmakers have passed a bill to ALLOW discrimination of a specific group of people.
In another edition of our long-running feature, "At Least They're Not Your Legislators," we take you to Arizona, where…well, we'll let CNN explain:
Arizona's Legislature has passed a controversial bill that would allow business owners, as long as they assert their religious beliefs, to deny service to gay and lesbian customers.
The bill, which the state House of Representatives passed by a 33-27 vote Thursday, now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican and onetime small business owner who vetoed similar legislation last year but has expressed the right of business owners to deny service.
"I think anybody that owns a business can choose who they work with or who they don't work with," Brewer told CNN in Washington on Friday. "But I don't know that it needs to be statutory."…
…In a statement, Anna Tovar, the state senate Democratic minority leader, said: "With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation. This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability."
The Greater Phoenix Economic Council, in a letter to Brewer on Friday, urged the governor to veto Senate Bill 1062, saying the "legislation will likely have profound, negative effects on our business community for years to come."
"The legislation places businesses currently in Arizona, as well as those looking to locate here, in potentially damaging risk of litigation, and costly, needless legal disputes," council President Barry Broome wrote, adding that four unidentified companies have vowed to locate elsewhere if the legislation is signed.
You know you've gone a bit too far off the deep end when your ultra-conservative, Tea Party-loving Gov. Jan Brewer can't even support you. Partisan politics aside, this is an absolutely disgusting piece of legislation; the very idea that you would specifically allow someone the right to discriminate against a particular group of people is incredibly sad. This is no different than saying business owners have the right to have separate "Whites Only" bathrooms.
Utah sheriffs created this sketch of a federal law enforcement vehicle spotted in the forest
We didn't want to let this week get away from us before passing along some incredible, though sadly believable, news from our neighbors in Utah. As the Salt Lake Tribune reported earlier this week, the Utah legislature is doing everything it can to try to get rid of that pesky federal govm'nt and its so-called "laws" (well, except for the 2nd Amendment — they like that one):
Agents in tactical gear and armed with assault weapons asking for your fishing license. Others appearing in camp at night to peer into your cooler, pulling you over for trivial traffic infractions, and arresting you for maintaining a trail.
Confrontations such as these, instigated by federal employees with minimal law-enforcement training and accountability, are common on Utah’s public lands, according to testimony given last week in the Legislature’s latest installment of an anti-federal campaign that appears to be gaining momentum.
Three southern Utah sheriffs leveled these allegations in support of HB155, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, which would bar U.S. Forest Service officers and Bureau of Land Management rangers from enforcing the law in Utah except in emergencies or when a sheriff has given prior approval under cooperative agreements. [Pols emphasis]
In Puerto Rico, Lajas Mayor Marcos Irizarry is supporting a local farmer’s efforts to build a UFO landing strip on his property, which has not made folks in America’s 51st state very happy. From CNN:
Lajas Mayor Marcos Irizarry’s support for the idea has provoked outrage among islanders who complained it would be a waste of money at a time when the government is encouraging thousands of employees to shorten their work week to cope with a staggering fiscal deficit.
“What nonsense,” said Luis Arocho, 47, sipping coffee with friends in a cafe in historic Old San Juan. “This country is in crisis, and since politicians are incapable of creating jobs, they create fantasies.”
Irizarry quickly clarified that his municipal government would not invest in the project. Instead, he has promised to help Rios get the proper building permits.
Maybe they’re on to something. Why waste money exploring the universe when you can just invite the universe to come to you?
Libya has sent to prison for 18 months a blogger who criticized the government on the Internet, Human Rights Watch says in a report that inspired a series of Web tributes to the dissident Friday.
A Tripoli court convicted Abdel Raziq al-Mansuri of illegal possession of a handgun and sentenced him to 18 months’ imprisonment on Oct. 19, the New York-based rights group said in an e-mail to The Associated Press in Cairo. “The gun charges are a ruse,” said the Middle Eastern director of HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson. “The authorities went after al-Mansuri because they did not like what he wrote.”
Al-Mansuri, 52, was detained in Tobruk, his hometown, in January after publishing about 50 articles critical of Libyan society and government on a dissident Web site based in Britain, http://www.akhbar-libya.com, the rights group said Thursday. Libyan government officials were not available for comment Friday as the country was celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday that follows the holy month of Ramadan.
In another edition of our long-running series, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislator,” we take you to the U.S. Capitol, where Republican members of Congress apparently don’t have enough work to do to keep them busy.
As NBC San Diego reports, at least four members of Congress — including Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) — have literally been spending time carrying a painting around the building:
[Congressman Duncan Hunter] personally removed the painting last week from an area designated for finalists in the annual Congressional Art Competition. The piece by David Pulphus, an 18-year-old from Missouri, depicts police officers as pigs, with one aiming a gun at a black panther.
The piece won first place in the Congressional Art Competition in Missouri’s First District. But Hunter said he found the piece offensive, and believes it violates the rules of the art competition.
U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., and members of the Congressional Black Caucus hung the painting back in place in a hallway in the Cannon Office Building basement Tuesday.
“I do not agree or disagree with this painting but I will fight to defend this young man’s right to express himself,” Clay said. “He is entitled to that protection under the law.”…
…After the painting was put back in its position Tuesday, another member of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., removed it. Clay confirmed to NBC News the piece was put back minutes later. [Pols emphasis]
We’re not going to get into an argument about whether or not this painting by a high school student — which won first place in a Congressional Art Competition in Missouri — is appropriate to hang in the U.S. Capitol. There’s a larger point to address here: Multiple Members of Congress took time out of their day to literally remove this painting from the walls and return it to the office of Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri).
We can only guess at the number of conversations that took place surrounding this topic, and the amount of time spent lugging said painting around the Capitol, at the same time that the Senate is holding confirmation hearings on Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments and plotting a strategy to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. If you are a constituent of Rep. Lamborn who might have been trying to contact the Congressman today, you cannot rest assured that he was busy doing something important.
In another edition of our regular feature, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislators,” we take you to KyrzakhistanKryzgystuhn Kyrgyzstan, where they seem to have misplaced their constitution. From The Independent (the international one):
Politicians in Kyrgyzstan have lost the country’s constitution.
It emerged during a debate over planned changes to the law that nobody in the central Asian country knew where the original document was.
The most recent version of the constitution was approved by referendum in June 2010, when changes were made to give more authority to parliament and diminish the power of the president.
On 19 October members of the Kyrgyz parliament queried the exact location of the original copy of the document during a debate on whether to allow another referendum to take place in December, which could result in the consistution being amended again.
For anyone here in Colorado unhappy with the “Raise the Bar” ballot measure (also known as Amendment 71), things could be a lot worse.
UPDATE: See House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino noting for the record how manifestly stupid this was, as highlighted by Media Matters’Political Correction blog this afternoon (right):
As the body’s minority leader, Democrat Mark Ferrandino, explained, without cooperation from the Democrat-dominated state Senate, whose approval is needed to make Colorado’s call for an unprecedented constitutional convention official, the resolution amounts to “a letter to Santa Claus.”
State House members used their first vote of the year to pummel each other over a politically heated issue – repeal of President Barack Obama’s national health-care law.
House Resolution 1003 calls for a constitutional convention – America’s first since the days of Ben Franklin [Pols emphasis] – in order to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare…
The fight – the first floor debate of the 2012 session – was purely symbolic. It was a House-only resolution and did not seek approval from the Democratic-controlled Senate.
But, with at least four legislators running for Congress, the vote served as a reminder of how national politics will color the session. Minutes after the vote, the conservative group Compass Colorado was out with a news release headlined “Sal Pace Reiterates Support for Obamacare.”
We’ve already covered a number of utterly useless time-wasting pieces of legislation introduced this year by Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly–there’s Majority Leader Amy Stephens’“Hickenlooper Gun Confiscation Prevention Act,” Sen. Greg Brophy’swelfare whiz-quiz bill, and the bid to reinstate the archaicArveschoug-Bird spending limits of yesteryear. As silly and backward as these proposals may be, they at least affect some part of actual Colorado law–that is, the stuff Colorado legislators have some authority over.
This nonsensical resolution, asking for nothing short of a federal constitutional convention to repeal “Obamacare,” places the absurdity we can expect from this year’s General Assembly into a higher orbit. Even if you oppose the federal health reform bill passed in 2010, as some do, this is the kind of bug-eyed crazy talk you normally get from supporters of Lyndon LaRouche. And even if they had not envisioned a completely wacky “solution” in their resolution, didn’t we just reject a statewide “Obamacare repeal” initiative in 2010? So much for “the will of the voters?”
Anyway, here’s proof positive that those of you who predicted a session full of thoughtless partisan grandstanding over substance this election year…well, you’re right so far!
For good measure, a release from Protect Your Care Colorado follows debunking some of the wilder claims made yesterday about the Affordable Care Act. But this wasn’t about facts.
Hyper-partisan Hyperbole Dominates House Debate on Health Care Repeal Resolution
(Denver) – After a torrent of misleading statements about health care reform, the House passed a resolution today which called for a national constitutional convention to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Today’s resolution demonstrates how hyper-partisanship drowns solid facts and analysis about how health care reform is already helping thousands of Coloradans gain access to quality care.
What will Rep. Balmer and Speaker McNulty tell the 291,000 children who can no longer be denied coverage based on a preexisting condition? Or the 620,000 Colorado Medicare beneficiaries who now have access to free preventive care services like cancer screenings and mammograms?” said Courtney Law, spokesperson for Protect Your Care Colorado.
Top Five Misleading Statements Made Today about the Affordable Care Act
STATEMENT: Rep. Looper: Seniors will be hit hard by the Affordable Care Act.
FACT: 3.8 million Americans who hit the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” received $250 tax-free rebates, and will likely receive a 50% discount on brand name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole this year. By 2020, the law will close the donut hole completely. Taken together, the changes in the law will save seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare more than $3,500 over the next 10 years.
STATEMENT: Rep. Balmer: Federal health care reform will lead to job loss.
FACT: According to a 2011 Colorado Trust study, “In 2019, state economic output should be nearly 1% higher than it would be without reform and there will be roughly 19,000 new jobs as a result of the coverage expansion.”
STATEMENT: Rep. B. Gardner: The Affordable Care Act will lead to the rationing of health care.
FACT: Page 490 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act states,”(ii) The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care.”
STATEMENT: Rep. Holbert: The Affordable Care Act will mean fewer people are covered.
FACT: The Congressional Budget Office estimated that 32 million more people will have insurance in 2019 because of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act has already helped 2.5 million additional young adults get health insurance
STATEMENT: Rep. Stephens: Families cannot afford the Affordable Care Act.
FACT: A recent study done by Families USA stated that, “On average, each household in Colorado will be $995 better off in 2019 due to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”
The Congressional Budget Office said the Affordable Care Act would save over $100 billion over the next ten years, and over $1 trillion in the following decade.
In another edition of our long-running “At Least They’re Not Your Legislators” posts, we take you to Nevada, where, well, according to a post from “The Fix” yesterday:
Nevada Sen. John Ensign has acknowledged that his parents paid his mistress and her family $96,000 in April 2008, according to a statement made by his attorney moments ago.
“After the Senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time,” said Paul Coggins, counsel to Ensign…
…Ensign’s acknowledgment comes less than 24 hours after Jon Ralston, the king of Nevada political reporters, sat down with Doug Hampton — the husband of Ensign’s mistress — and made a string of allegations including that Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn had tried unsuccessfully to force Ensign to end the affair.
Ensign has insisted he has no plans to resign his office, telling the Las Vegas Sun today that “I always planned on serving and working hard — working harder than I ever worked — and I’m going to continue to do that.”
As we have written before (in relation to one Mark Sanford), stories like this one often spiral out of control of the person at the center of the storm. Ensign had weathered the initial bad press surrounding his affair but this detail may be too much.
We hadn’t really said much about Ensign’s affair(s) here before, but this is too much to pass up because of its sheer weirdness. His parents paid his mistress? How does that conversation even get started?
Utah County GOP Chairwoman Marian Monnahan says District 65 Chairman Don Larsen’s resolution – asserting that illegal immigration is the devil’s plan to destroy the nation by “stealth invasion” – “in no way” is endorsed by the Republican Party…
…Party faithful will get the chance to discuss Larsen’s resolution Saturday at the county’s GOP convention. Monnahan notes Larsen, not the party, paid to print and distribute 1,300 copies of it for the gathering.
Larsen, who did not return a phone call or an e-mail seeking comment Thursday, is urging the closing of national borders to illegal immigrants to “prevent the destruction of the U.S. by stealth invasion.”
“In order for Satan to establish his ‘New World Order’ and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the Scriptures, he must first destroy the U.S.,” his resolution states. “The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nations the way open warfare does, but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness.”…
…Satan has popped up in Utah County politics before. Last year, failed congressional candidate John Jacob of Eagle Mountain blamed the devil for his flagging campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo, says he hasn’t yet read Larsen’s resolution, but he, too, expects it to fizzle. “The majority of Republicans believe that illegal immigration is probably the most critical issue facing Utah today,” said Bramble, who will chair Saturday’s convention. “I don’t think there is going to be a great deal of people attributing the problem to Satan.”
Loretta Nall, the Libertarian Party’s write-in candidate for governor of Alabama, is campaigning on her cleavage and hoping that voters will eventually focus on her platform.
“It started out as a joke, but it blew up into something huge,” said Nall, a 32-year-old with dyed blond hair.
Her campaign is offering T-shirts and marijuana stash boxes adorned with a photo of her with a plunging neckline and the words: “More of these boobs.” Below that are pictures of other candidates for governor _ including Republican incumbent Bob Riley and Democratic Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley _ and the words: “And less of these boobs.”
Her Web site has a cartoon of someone stuffing bills down the front of her low-cut top. And for $50 donation she apparently offers to show a cartoon of herself flashing her breasts.
And now, for another edition of “At Least They’re Not Your Legislators,” we take you to the Philippines, where a judge was disbarred for consulting imaginary mystical dwarfs (or is that dwarves?) The best part…it took THREE YEARS for an investigation to determine that this guy was, you know, a sandwich short of a picnic.
MANILA, The Philippines – A Philippine judge who claimed he could see into the future and admitted consulting imaginary mystic dwarfs has asked for his job back after being sacked by the country?s Supreme Court.
?They should not have dismissed me for what I believed,? Florentino Floro, a trial judge in the capital?s Malabon northern suburb, told reporters after filing his appeal.
Floro was sacked last month and fined $780 (40,000 pesos) after a three-year investigation found he was incompetent, had shown bias in a case he was trying and had criticized court procedure, a ruling showed.
He told investigators that three mystic dwarfs — Armand, Luis and Angel — helped him carry out healing sessions during breaks in his chambers.
Yesterday I added the name of Jonathon Sharkey to the lengthy list of candidates running for Minnesota Governor in 2006. Sharkey — the candidate of the Vampyres, Witches and Pagans Party — previously was a political activist and GOP congressional candidate for office in New Jersey and elsewhere under his former semi-pro wrestling name of Rocky “Hurricane” Flash. Anyways, I had mistakenly described Sharkey on the Minnesota page as a “Wiccan Dark Priest.” Because of this I quickly received the following email from Sharkey’s campaign: “Thank you very much for placing Jonathon’s name for the race for Governor. However, he is a Satanic Dark Priest, not a Wiccan. Wiccan’s do not believe in Christianity at all. Satanist are against the Christian God … Can you please update this as soon as your time allows, to avoid the Wiccan Communities becoming angry at Jonathon.” We certainly don’t want to offend the Wiccans, do we. FYI: Sharkey has also filed paperwork with the FEC to run for President in 2008 as the VWP nominee.
The hits keep on coming in our ongoing feature, “At Least They’re Not Your Legislators.” From the Associated Press:
The mayor of Las Vegas has suggested that people who deface freeways with graffiti should have their thumbs cut off on television. “In the old days in France, they had beheadings of people who commit heinous crimes,” Mayor Oscar Goodman said Wednesday on the TV show “Nevada Newsmakers.”
Goodman said the city has a beautiful highway landscaping project and “these punks come along and deface it.”
“I’m saying maybe you put them on TV and cut off a thumb,” the mayor said. “That may be the right thing to do.” Goodman also suggested whippings should be brought back for children who get into trouble.
Well played. Here’s the best part, however:
Another panelist on the show, state university system regent Howard Rosenberg, said cutting off the thumbs of taggers won’t solve the problem and Goodman should “use his head for something other than a hat rack.”
Cutting off taggers’ thumbs “won’t solve the problem.” How about cutting off taggers’ thumbs is crazy? Who are you, and how did you get on TV?
State Rep. David Graves, charged with drunken driving for a second time, was denied by a judge Tuesday in his contention that his position as lawmaker means he cannot break the law while the Legislature is at work.
Graves, a Republican from Macon, Ga., tried to use a centuries-old provision in the state constitution to argue that he should not be prosecuted for a DUI he received in Cobb County in February. The arrest was made during Georgia’s 2005 session of the General Assembly.
Cobb State Court Judge Irma B. Glover denied Graves’ request to use the “legislative immunity” defense. Graves’ attorney, William C. “Bubba” Head, immediately filed a motion to appeal the decision to the Georgia Supreme Court.
Graves – chairman of the House committee overseeing laws governing the alcohol industry – has said that on Feb. 15, he and other committee chairmen went from the Capitol to a dinner meeting, where they conferred about the status of legislation and plans for the next legislative day. His lawyer argued that Graves should have been granted immunity from arrest because he was leaving a gathering that was tantamount to a committee meeting, according to legal filings…
…The provision, which dates back to 1789 and was written to protect lawmakers from political intimidation, holds that a lawmaker cannot be arrested during sessions of the General Assembly, legislative committee meetings or while they are in transit. It does allow arrests for “treason, felony, or breach of the peace.”
Graves also is awaiting trial on another DUI charge from March 2004, when authorities said he ran a red light. If convicted on one or both charges, Graves could face fines, jail time and perhaps the loss of his House committee chairmanship.
Poor guy. That’s probably the kind of defense you get when you hire a lawyer named Bubba Head.