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Member since: Tue Mar 8, 2005, 07:39 PM
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Ten Years Later, 85 Percent Of Massachusetts Voters Say No Harm From Marriage Equality

Which begs the question, can the 15% remaining tell us what harm was done to them.


When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that same-sex couples had a right to marriage equality under the state’s constitution, critics claimed the ruling would have chilling effects on society. But ten years later, a new poll shows that 85 percent of Bay State voters say the ruling has had either a positive or neutral effect on their lives.
One Massachusetts resident told the Boston Globe after the 2003 ruling, that it was “four judges basically turning society inside out with no input from anybody else.” Catholic League president William Donohue warned that the decision opened the door to incestuous marriage and polygamy.
But marriage equality has not turned society inside out, nor has the promised parade of horribles has not come to pass. Massachusetts now has the lowest divorce rate in the nation, same-sex families now enjoy full legal protections, and the Boston Red Sox have the best record in Major League Baseball.
And even 66 percent of Massachusetts Republicans concede marriage equality has had no negative effect on them. According to the PPP poll, Massachusetts voters now support same-sex marriage by an overwhelming 60 to 29 percent margin.

No surprise there. Even our Republican candidates are for the most part enlightened on this issue, as the next few Republican candidates for statewide office show (Scottie excepted, of course).

Jared Bernstein - What is needed in the new Fed Chair

Bubble watcher: Neither Mr. Bernanke nor his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, believed that the Federal Reserve could identify asset price bubbles or do much about them, especially with interest rates (“a blunt tool” for that purpose, as Mr. Bernanke said). Yet in both of their cases, we know that they were warned of the housing bubble by (a precious few) colleagues. The economist Dean Baker was showing me graphs of home prices diverging from rental prices in a novel and scary pattern back in 2002!

Bank regulator: Here’s something I learned during my stint at the White House during the financial crisis. To bail out banks invokes deep moral hazard, which makes such moves both deservedly unpopular and bad economics (“moral hazard” exists when an economic actor or institution doesn’t face the cost of its actions, like when you bail out a bank that screwed up). But given the global interconnectedness of financial institutions — and connectedness, not size, is the relevant and threatening factor here — the Fed (and Congress) could easily be back in the bailout business unless proactive steps are taken.

In other words, avoiding moral hazard is a luxury you often don’t have once the implosion has begun. So your best move is to avoid it.
Consumer ally: The next Fed chief must learn to love and work closely with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I’d recommend a standing lunch date with Richard Cordray, the agency’s first director and someone with sharp antennae for credit irregularities that can serve as early warnings for bubbles.

Macro-manager: This is huge, of course, and the challenges here are well known. Mr. Bernanke, aided by Ms. Yellen, has been consistently strong in using both traditional interest rate policy and creative asset purchasing and forward guidance methods in the pursuit of closing persistent output gaps.

Better forecaster:

Meanwhile, in the Refugee Crisis (Not posting this as a call for intervention)

It is just that, in fiery discussions about policies, too often the humans who are the subjects of these discussions are summarily dismissed if they do not help the arguments.



Two million refugees from Syria. The figure was announced last week and easily missed amid headlines about the Tomahawks that would or would not be fired at targets dear to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Refugees are less dramatic than cruise missiles, less dramatic even than wrangling about a Security Council resolution on Syria's poison-gas arsenal.

Yet the exodus from the civil war-torn country represents a humanitarian crisis no less stark, a moral demand no less pressing, than the use of chemical weapons. It is a crisis which has policy responses that do not involve bombs, that do not require a debate about America and Europe re-entering the Middle East's wars. They do, however, demand spending money and a willingness to take in refugees on a new and much larger scale. In the end, these costs pale in comparison to the costs of war.

Two million refugees, in truth, is a careful understatement. It's the number of Syrians who have registered as refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), or whom the UNHCR has counted as "awaiting registration." The agency only uses the term refugee for people who left their country. It acknowledges its tally may be low. For instance, UNHCR lists 730,00 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The Lebanese government's estimate is 1 million. And then, to the refugee figures, add 4.25 million Syrians described by the United Nations as "displaced"—people who have fled their homes but are still inside Syria. Let's make this simpler: Think of a country, your own country perhaps, and then think about more than a quarter of its people uprooted by civil war to another town or another country.


None of this will make much difference to those Americans who see America's interests and moral obligations as stopping at the shore. Those with a more progressive view of the world could pause in the debate about military invention in Syria. If you oppose the use of arms, surely providing aid and refugee visas on a new scale are a necessary alternative. If you support the use of force, surely much larger humanitarian intervention must complement it.

Exceptionalism in display... (SARCASM)

Frankly, even with the lack of respect I have for Bachman, this was still below my expectations.


Here's your exceptionalism, on full display in living color, in a foreign country:
Tea party-backed Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Steve King (R-IA) on Saturday held a press conference in Egypt to thank the country’s military for overthrowing the elected government, and at one point even seemed to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood had been behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
My God. That is so bad that if I were in Egypt I'd be compelled to apologize to every Egyptian I saw on the street for the stunning, over-the-top condescension of these morons.

Jon Stewart handled this the only way possible:
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