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LAGC

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 5,271

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A Little Friendly LTTE to My Local Newspaper

The primary purpose of a government constitution is to recognize and protect individual rights. Such a sacred document should only be amended when absolutely necessary, and only in the case of expanding rights, not limiting them. This was the case with the Bill of Rights -- the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Every once in awhile, misguided populist sentiment forces constitutional amendments to be rammed through that limit rights, instead of expand them. This was the case with the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allowed for the Prohibition of alcohol, until it was rightfully repealed by the 21st Amendment, some thirteen years later. This was also the case with Article III, Section 28 of the Idaho Constitution, banning certain people from getting married.

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and the Supreme Court of the United States of America has affirmed that it does indeed protect the right of all adults to enjoy all the benefits of marriage. The U.S. Constitution also trumps state constitutions, whenever the latter violate those rights. It's time to remove that obsolete, hateful language from the Idaho Constitution and restore freedom and dignity to Idaho.


Should be published sometime this weekend.

What's with the Huckster and All the Anti-Gay Bigots Comparing Indiana to Saudi Arabia Lately?

I don't get it. Huckabee et. al. on all the news circuits, peddling the same talking points.

Are they trying to say that just because Saudi Arabia treats LGBT folks like shit that Americans should shut up about it when they (social conservatives) do it here?? Because "at least we're not as bad as those evil Muslins??"

Sure seems like they are setting the bar pretty low, and seem so "concerned" with anti-gay treatment abroad all of a sudden...

Either that or it's just one big Freudian slip as to their ultimate end-goals here...

We Could Really Learn A Lot from Oregon Last Night

One of the few states where Democrats actually held their ground.

Put fucking MJ on the ballot, and you guarantee serious turn-out amongst the 18-29 crowd.

Nearly every other state that flipped had abysmal turn-out amongst that age demo.

They'll show up for presidential election years, but if you want to see them show up for mid-terms as well, you need to give them a reason to really care.

Just sayin'...

Vintage Dawkins



Say what you will about this man -- yes, he may be getting increasingly obnoxious in his old age, taking arguing logic to nonsensical extremes, but he certainly knew how to cut through B.S. when he heard it.

Well played, Richard. Well played.

S.E. Cupp Says We are BAD Atheists...

"It seems like there's this idea perpetuated by atheists that atheists are somehow disenfranchised or left out of the political process. And I just don't find that to be the case.

I think in fact that atheists have grown more vocal over the past decade or two than ever before. In fact, in many ways atheists act as a religious body unto themselves.

There's another myth that conservatism is somehow hostile to atheism, I also don't find that to be the case..."


http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/politics/2014/07/29/crossfire-reloaded-athiests.cnn.html

Wow, the mental contortions this woman must go through to sleep at night with all her fundie bedfellows...

Now, quit being BAD atheists and just throw yourself into Rick Santorum's welcoming arms already!

Rolling Stone: Confessions of a Liberal Gun Lover

It's not just libertarians and conservatives who are ready to defend the Second Amendment with a finger on the trigger

Gun nuts aren't always creatures of the political right. Consider your heavily-armed author's position: I say gun ownership is a necessary line of defense against investment bankers, Wall Street lawyers, big business, the corporatized wing of the Democratic Party, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, ALEC, Nazis, gangbangers, meth fiends, cops and politicos who cut welfare and education programs while refusing to downsize the military or raise taxes on the rich. When I was living in New York City, I voted for Bill de Blasio. I was briefly a believer in Obama's hope-change lines. I want single-payer healthcare and free public higher education and a carbon tax and the end of the warfare-surveillance-killer drone state – and I want the Second Amendment protected.

I like my guns. I like the Colt Trooper .357 Magnum, and the FN .40, and the Lee-Enfield .303, and the Remington 12 gauge, and the Ruger Mini-14 with 30-shot clip and the Smith & Wesson Model 39 – this last a gift from my father, a New Yorker and, like me, a liberal who is several planets to the left of President Obama. My dad is a member of the NRA, god help him. He shrugs and by way of excuse says he enjoys the group's monthly magazine, American Rifleman.

The tribe of liberal gun nuts I've gotten to know over the years includes writers, activists, musicians, schoolteachers, professors, rock-climbers, wilderness guides, environmentalist lawyers and at least one shaman. If I'd venture to pin down the unifying ideological bent of these folks, I'd say it's anti-statist socialism – communitarian, decentralist, anarchist. Kiley Miller, a pal who lives in Moab, Utah, and who runs an eco-friendly house cleaning service, keeps guns because "the thought of only the government, police, sheriffs, and military having guns gives me the chills." This is a woman who describes herself as "a radical environmentalist about as far left as one can be" and who busts my balls whenever I miss the daily dose of Democracy Now. Another armed liberal living in Moab, Matt Gross, a friend of mine and of Kiley's, was the man behind Howard Dean's web campaign – as director of online communications he web-fundraised what was then the unprecedented sum of $25 million – and went on to work as chief online strategist for Democrats in two major senatorial campaigns and as John Edwards' senior web adviser during his 2008 run for the White House. "The right doesn't own the flag, guns or the Constitution," Gross writes me in an email. "You can be a progressive champion and still know how to handle a Glock. I support the HRC" – that's the Human Rights Campaign, which lobbies for LGBT equal rights – "but it doesn't mean I'm unarmed."
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Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/confessions-of-a-liberal-gun-lover-20140714
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

Surprised no one else posted this yet, apparently... interesting piece.

Americans' Dissatisfaction With Gun Laws Highest Since 2001

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' dissatisfaction with U.S. gun laws and policies has increased to 55%, nearly matching the high of 57% in 2001. Forty percent are satisfied, down from the historical average of 47% since Gallup began asking this question in this way in 2001.

Overall, Americans' satisfaction with gun laws ranks near the middle of a list of 19 issues measured in Gallup's 2014 update of its annual Mood of the Nation survey. The highest levels of satisfaction were with the nation's military strength and ability to deal with terrorism; the lowest were with poverty and homelessness and the state of the nation's economy.

Americans may be dissatisfied with gun laws because they believe they should be stricter, or because they believe the laws are too strict as they are. Therefore, Gallup asks those who are dissatisfied with gun laws to choose among explanations for their dissatisfaction. Those who are dissatisfied have historically leaned heavily in the direction of wanting stricter rather than less strict laws.

But this year, the gap between those wanting stricter gun laws and those wanting less strict laws narrowed as a result of a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who want less strict laws, now at 16% up from 5% a year ago. Support for making gun laws stricter fell to 31% from 38% last January. The January 2013 poll was conducted shortly after the December 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy, which sparked some state governments to consider new gun laws and a robust national discussion about the issue.




http://www.gallup.com/poll/167135/americans-dissatisfaction-gun-laws-highest-2001.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines

That's odd. I wonder what caused the dramatic uptick this year? Backlash against states cracking down?

On "Gun Nuttery" and SYG

First let me preface this by saying that I'm a pretty strong Second Amendment supporter, and think most gun control laws do more harm than good. Criminals by nature don't obey the law, so most of the time you're only restricting law-abiding citizens and giving the NRA reasons to rile gun owners up and GOTV, as with the recent recalls in Colorado.

But it's hard not to notice the marked increase in news stories of minor altercations escalating into shots fired lately, more often than not without any good justification. But the burning question is: what can be done about it? Most of these incidents appear to involve folks with no prior criminal records, so universal background checks won't solve anything. All of these incidents seem to involve either handguns or old-fashioned bolt-action rifles, so an Assault Weapon Ban won't help, even if it really did ban more than just cosmetic features. As the economy continues to flounder and things get more stressful for more people, I don't see such random acts of violence getting any rarer either.

So what can we do? The "toothpaste is already out of the tube" so to speak, no way to "put the genie back in the bottle," -- guns are here to stay. Expanding access to mental health services might help, but only if the aggressive behavior is detected in time.

I know the statistics show that crimes of violence (including gun violence) are on a 20-year decline, but it sure doesn't feel that way with all these news stories lately. Are we really to the point where such random acts of violence are just the price we have to pay to live in a free society? I mean, I'm not even sure repealing SYG would be effective in those states, unless their self-defense laws were all changed to mandate fleeing from all conflict if at all possible. Just seems like these nutcases don't give a damn about the law anyway, they just shoot first and answer questions later.

Is this really the new "normal?"

Bill Moyers: Can a Left-Right Coalition Bring About Real Prison Reform?

Editor’s note: On Friday, the “Smart Sentencing Act,” which the ACLU calls “the most significant piece of criminal justice reform to make it to the Senate floor in several years,” passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support. You can read the ACLU’s press release here.

There’s not much that Tea Party Republicans and liberal Democrats agree on these days. Surprisingly, one of them happens to be scaling back mass incarceration, the subject of a live-streamed meeting today of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The motives vary among and between key legislative leaders as ideologically disparate as Republican Sens. Mike Lee (UT) and Rand Paul (KY) and Democrats Patrick Leahy (VT) and Dick Durbin (IL). But whether motivated by concern for civil liberties, unsustainable state and federal budgets or a New Testament-inclination for giving second chances, one fact trumps all differences: The US houses by far the largest incarcerated population in the world at 2.2 million people as of year-end 2011. That smudge, as well as unsubtle championing of sentencing reform by attorney general Eric Holder, has galvanized a relatively quiet bipartisan effort over the past five years. Advocates say Congress is taking on mass incarceration one reform at a time. The latest are tucked into the 1,582-page FY2014 omnibus spending bill, and other reforms are coming down the pike. Below, a guide to these new developments.
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http://billmoyers.com/2014/01/31/can-a-left-right-coalition-bring-about-real-prison-reform/

It's not just the Tea Party either, even some "Establishment" neo-cons like Newt Gingrich have been making some gestures lately indicating that America's out-of-control prison growth needs to be reigned in.

(Of course, their motivation is probably freeing up more money from wasteful domestic spending to wage some more wars abroad... but finding some common ground over prison reform would be nice.)

Kalashnikov 'feared he was to blame' for AK-47 rifle deaths

The inventor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle apparently wrote to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church before he died expressing fears he was morally responsible for the people it killed.

Mikhail Kalashnikov, who died last month aged 94, wrote a long emotional letter to Patriarch Kirill in May 2012, church officials say.

He said he was suffering "spiritual pain" over the many deaths it caused.

Kalashnikov had previously refused to accept responsibility for those killed.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25709371

Interesting article... the AK-47 (and its variants) definitely changed the landscape of modern warfare.

Curious that the proliferation of his 65-year-old invention caused him such mental anguish in his final days...

But how much can the inventor truly be blamed? If not the Kalashnikov, surely some other automatic rifle would have filled the void... maybe not as simple and elegant of a design, maybe not as rugged and inexpensive, but equally efficient killing machines none-the-less.

Doesn't it all still boil down to human nature and malicious intent? Or is the tool truly to blame in this case?

It is thought that more than 100 million Kalashnikov rifles have been sold worldwide.

It definitely had an impact, that's for sure...
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