Archive for February, 2012

On gay question, Georgia legislators side with Sharia

A bill proposed in the Georgia House of Representatives would make it illegal for public employers, such as schools, universities and state government itself, to discriminate against Georgians on the basis of their sexual orientation or identity.

At this point in history, you might think that protecting school teachers and others from being fired solely because of their sexual orientation would be pretty uncontroversial. In fact, the legislator who sponsored the bill, state Rep. Karla Drenner of Avondale Estates, is herself gay. In a subcommittee hearing this week, every witness but one testified in favor of House Bill 630.

The sole exception was Tanya Ditty, a teacher and state director of the conservative and anti-gay Concerned Women of America, which claims 12,000 members in Georgia. Among other things, the group also campaigns against the imposition of Sharia law, which it describes as “a threat to America as we know it.”

Here is an excerpt from Ditty’s testimony.

For …

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’50s flashback! Ga. Senate leaders back nullification

Ladies and gentlemen, I guess it’s time to break out the butternuts from the attic, grab the shotguns and rally the local militias at the county courthouse again, because our fine leaders in the Georgia General Assembly apparently ain’t quite ready to forgit.

It’s time to nullify:

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889b

The passages above are from Senate Resolution 889, which would create a special legislative panel and empower that panel to declare that certain federal laws shall be null and void within the boundaries of Georgia.

According to its language, “this resolution shall serve as a notice and demand to the federal government to cease and desist any and all activities outside the scope of its constitutionally designated powers.”

And if the federal government, like Lincoln at Fort Sumter, chooses to ignore said resolution?

“… It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to adopt and enact any and all measures that may become necessary to prevent the wrongful enforcement of any federal laws or regulations …

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Swing-state voters just don’t like Romney

UPDATE 12:45: Fresh numbers out of Rasmussen:

Obama 49%
Romney 39%

A 10-point lead is impressive, but Romney below 40% may be the telling number. And again, that’s from Rasmussen.

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In a normal presidential political cycle, fatally flawed politicians such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would not be viable candidates for a major-party nomination this late in the process. So what explains their continued presence, not to mention Santorum’s current status as a fragile frontrunner in the polls?

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In effect, they are filling a large and growing vacuum, as the latest Purple Poll documents in startling fashion. The poll surveys voters in 12 swing, or purple, states* that are expected to decide the 2012 election, and the telling numbers are in the table to the right.

Look at the favorability numbers for the supposedly inevitable GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. Just 27 percent view him favorably, while 57 percent view him unfavorably. Again, these are the states likely to decide the …

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Mitt in Wonderland: Shrink the debt AND cut taxes by 20%?

Rick Santorum points to the GOP's 2012 nominee to be president of the United States

Rick Santorum points to the GOP's 2012 nominee to be president of the United States

Prior to last night’s debate, Mitt Romney released an updated version of his tax plan, which now calls for a 20 percent reduction in marginal tax rates across the board. And while the top tax rate would drop from 35 to 28 percent, Romney pledged yesterday afternoon that he would take steps to ensure that the top 1 percent wouldn’t reap huge benefits.

“And by the way, I want to make sure that you understand, for middle-income families, the deductibility of home mortgage interest and charitable contributions, those things will continue, but for high income folks, we are going to cut back on that so we make sure the top 1 percent keeps paying, paying the current share they’re paying or more. We want middle-income Americans to be the place we focus our help, because its middle-income Americans that have been hurt by this Obama economy.”

However, a few hours later, after Rush Limbaugh went on the …

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Santorum a symptom of the GOP’s very deep ills

For those who don’t have video access, here’s what Rick Santorum has to say in the interview above:

“In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly. And the bracelet is: ‘Do not euthanize me.’ Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized — 10 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don’t go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.”

A few quick points:

1.) The remarks above come from the frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a man who in late February is still leading the race by some 10 percentage points nationwide.

2.) This statement was made not five years ago or 10 years ago, but earlier this month.

3.) …

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Georgia anti-abortion bill strikes at heart of personal liberty

Georgia state legislators seem likely to pass a bill that would outlaw almost all abortions once a pregnancy has advanced beyond 20 weeks. (The current legal limit is 26 weeks). The rationale behind the bill is scientifically fraudulent, and its potential impact is tragic.

Let’s deal first and quickly with the ungrounded premise behind House Bill 954, which claims that “by 20 weeks after fertilization there is substantial evidence that an unborn child has the physical structures necessary to experience pain.”

No, there isn’t.

Although a relative handful of scientists claim otherwise — and many of those scientists are pro-life activists — the overwhelming scientific consensus is that the neural connections needed to feel pain do not exist in a fetus until at least 24 weeks into gestation and even beyond that. A 2010 review of all research in that area by Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes the science behind the question quite clear.

Now, let’s …

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How Rick Santorum could win Georgia

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Who will win Georgia’s GOP primary on March 6?

I don’t know, and if you’re looking to the polls for answers, you’re probably looking in the wrong place. At this point, they can reveal trends but they cannot predict outcomes.

So let me go ahead and offer two possibly foolish observations:

1.) The stars may be aligning to make Georgia a pivotal state in the nominating process, and to make Rick Santorum the prime beneficiary.

2.) Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, could see his political career end right here, in the state where it began.

First, why aren’t the polls much help in predicting the outcome? Because this race has been all about momentum, and Big Mo could shift decisively before Georgia voters go to the polls.

For proof, look at how swiftly the numbers have moved in just the past two weeks. In a Mason Dixon poll conducted Feb. 6-8 for the AJC and other Georgia newspapers, Gingrich drew 43 percent of likely Republican voters, Mitt Romney 29 percent and Santorum just 12 …

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A little Tuesday night travelin’ music, peut-etre?

It’s only Tuesday, but then again, it’s not just ANY Tuesday. It’s Fat Tuesday, célèbre sous le nom de Mardi Gras!

– Jay Bookman

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Top economists overwhelmingly back stimulus

Two important questions with relevance to the 2012 presidential campaign:

1.) Did the 2009 stimulus bill create jobs and lower the unemployment rate, or was it a waste of taxpayers’ money?

2.) In the final accounting, will the benefits of the Obama stimulus package end up outweighing its costs and risks?

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business put those questions to more than 40 of the top economists in the country, representing a wide range of viewpoints.

(The Booth School itself, one of the most respected business schools in the country, has long been associated with a more conservative emphasis on free markets).

questiona

Here’s what they found:

“Question A: Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus bill. Agree or disagree?”

Eighty percent agreed. Four percent disagreed. And the two who disagreed acknowledged that they were far from certain in their …

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Israeli assault on Iran is contrary to U.S. interests

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Senior Pentagon officials are making no secret of the fact that despite the apparent stepped-up drumbeat to war with Iran, they believe a strike on the country is “not prudent” right now.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, put this view – held by many in the Department of Defense – in perhaps the strongest terms yet this week.

True, Israel could bomb Iran and delay the country’s ability to create nuclear weapons “probably for a couple of years,” General Dempsey told CNN Sunday.

The problem is that many of the Iranian targets – buried deeply underground – would be “beyond the reach” of the Israeli military, in what Dempsey called a “zone of immunity.”

… Equally important, senior defense officials emphasize, while it’s clear that Iran aspires to nuclear technology, it is far from certain whether the country is intent on actually weaponizing this technology,

This was the finding of the Director of National …

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