Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Good News in Gay Rights

France legalized gay marriage.

Rhode Island is about to pass gay marriage.

Delaware is getting close as well.

We live in interesting hopeful times.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Senatorial Misfire

As expected, the Senate failed to move forward on any firearms legislation.

The most popular proposal--toughening penalties for straw purchasers and weapons traffickers--failed by a vote of 58-42, with only Republicans voting against it.

The second-most popular proposal--a Republican plan to gut states' rights by mandating reciprocity for concealed-carry permits issued in any state, whether that state required an extensive training course or that the applicant collect three box tops from Remington products--failed 57-43.

The weakened background checks proposal from Sens. Manchin and Toomey, which was already a compromise of a compromise, failed 54-46.

Reinstating the ban on high-capacity magazines failed with no Republicans supporting it. Same with the Assault Weapons Ban.

No matter how the issues may split us, we are all united in the common belief that Congress is overpopulated with cowards and idiots.

Also, what he said:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tragic irony strikes again.

This time at the NRA 500.

A medical examiner says a man who died in the infield during a NASCAR’s NRA 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway shot himself in the head. The event was the first NRA-branded race in NASCAR’s premier series.

The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office on Sunday said the death of 42-year-old Kirk Franklin of Saginaw was a suicide.

Fort Worth police have said a man who was camping in the infield died of a “self-inflicted injury” after getting into an argument with other campers. The incident happened late in the Sprint Cup race.

In related news, an 11 year-old carried an assault weapon at a rally at the New Hampshire state house, and a gun nut who declared he was "gonna start killing people" if gun control passed had his concealed carry permit restored after its previous revocation.

But at least the King of England can't come in here and push us around.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wait...CNN did investigative reporting?!!

AC360 does the obligatory "how easy is it to buy a gun at a gun show without showing ID?" hidden-camera investigation.

The answer, as it has always been, is "really damn easy."

And yes, for the record, these were all illegal purchases under federal law, since they were made outside the buyer's home state. So if someone tells you that they don't want new gun laws but do want to see more enforcement of the laws that we have, remind them that we need to expand background checks for precisely that reason.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Manchin-Toomey: A major misfire

The AP reports that, an hour from now, Sens. Joe Manchin (Sad about being a D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) will present their compromise on background checks. If the details that have leaked thus far are accurate, it's nowhere near acceptable:

The emerging deal would expand required background checks for sales at gun shows and online but exempt transactions like face-to-face, noncommercial purchases, said Senate staffers and lobbyists, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks. Currently, the checks are required only for sales handled through licensed gun dealers.

Though many details of the emerging agreement were unclear, Manchin and Toomey are among their parties’ most conservative members and a deal could make it easier for some hesitant senators to support the background check measure, at least for now.

Some Republicans might vote to begin debate on the legislation but eventually oppose the measure on final passage. Other parts of Obama’s gun effort already seem likely to face defeat, including proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

This might be useful for breaking a filibuster, but it's pretty useless otherwise.

I accept that the assault weapons ban is dead on arrival (and said as much to Time Magazine), and I'm resigning myself to the idea that the high-capacity magazine restriction is probably going to be defeated as well. After all, those measures only enjoy around 58-59% public support.

Universal background checks--criminal history and mental health checks for every gun purchase, whether made at a dealer or a gun show or out of the back of a Subaru--consistently poll around 90% support. I can't think of any active legislation that's more popular.

Yet here come Manchin and Toomey, exempting a huge number of face-to-face transactions. I could live with exempting gifts between immediate family, but to say that I can sell a gun to a stranger in a parking lot and not have to run a background check is to leave one huge goddamn hole in the background check system.

Years ago, people conflated the "gun show loophole"--a rule that allowed licensed dealers to move inventory into their "private collections" and then sell those guns at gun shows without conducting background checks--with the problem of face-to-face sales conducted by non-dealers. So now, all Manchin and Toomey have to do is include sales at gun shows in their bill, and people will think the problem is solved.

It isn't. This might be useful for getting past the filibuster, but this would make terrible, weak law, in an area that's begging for real reform. Every sale needs a check, and any bill that falls short of that is inadequate.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Important Collegiate Sports News

The New College [] defeated the Ringling Clowns (I don't know what their actual mascot is, but this works), by a score of 19-18.

Okay, that's not the greatest score for a football game, but hell, a win's a win.

NCF Football: Still Undefeated! Fight on, null set!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Article 3:16

I can't wait until the North Carolina legislature tells us the proper interpretation of the 13th Amendment, too!

A bill filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights, and seeks to nullify any federal ruling against Christian prayer by public bodies statewide.

...

House Bill 494, a resolution filed by Republican Rowan County Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, would refuse to acknowledge the force of any judicial ruling on prayer in North Carolina – or indeed on any Constitutional topic:

"The Constitution of the United States does not grant the federal government and does not grant the federal courts the power to determine what is or is not constitutional; therefore, by virtue of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the power to determine constitutionality and the proper interpretation and proper application of the Constitution is reserved to the states and to the people," the bill states. "Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion."

...

The bill goes on to say:

SECTION 1. The North Carolina General Assembly asserts that the Constitution of the United States of America does not prohibit states or their subsidiaries from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

SECTION 2. The North Carolina General Assembly does not recognize federal court rulings which prohibit and otherwise regulate the State of North Carolina, its public schools or any political subdivisions of the State from making laws respecting an establishment of religion.

The North Carolina General Assembly may assert that if it wishes, but then the North Carolina General Assembly will affirm it's run by witless, illiterate buffoons who should by all rights be drafting legislation with Crayolas on construction paper.

Someone needs to remind these fine Southern scholars that, when it comes to the federal-state relationship, the courthouse they should be remembering is Appomattox.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In the Memphis city rain

Protest in Memphis features 61 Klansman, 47 teeth.

It's good that only 61 racist twits were willing to show up, even with a massive police presence there to keep them from getting their hoods shoved up their asses.

It's bad that any Klansmen were anywhere, because they are all massive assholes.

It's interesting that they chose to protest because parks named for Jeff Davis, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and the Confederacy were being renamed. The obvious conclusion is that having stuff named for Jeff Davis, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and the Confederacy makes the Klan happy. So, you know, DON'T HAVE THINGS NAMED FOR SLAVERY-LOVING RACIST JERKS WHOSE VERY EXISTENCE IS A BLIGHT ON AMERICAN HISTORY. Because having stuff like that makes the Klan happy. And they shouldn't be happy. Because they are all massive assholes.