Supreme Court Staying Out of Photographer’s Same-Sex Client Case


The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up an appeal from a photographer who refused to shoot a same-sex commitment ceremony.The court’s action leaves a lower court ruling in place, finding that the photographer violated a state anti-discrimination law.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Obama To Sign Executive Orders On Equal Pay


President Barack Obama will sign two new executive orders on equal pay for women Tuesday, Politico reports. The executive actions coincide with “Equal Pay Day” — the date that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn the same amount of money men earned last year.
Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share their salary information with each other. The provision is inspired by Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the first bill Obama signed on equal pay in 2009, who worked for nearly 20 years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. before discovering that men in her same job with equal or lesser experience were earning significantly more money than she was.
The second executive order will instruct the Department of Labor to create new regulations requiring federal contractors to report wage-related data to the government, in the hope that it will hold them more accountable for salary differences based on sex or race.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Bill Maher: John Roberts’ McCutcheon Ruling Could’ve Been ‘Written By The Little Mermaid’

In this case, I believe Bill Maher has been uncharacteristically generous to the Supreme Court Chief Justice. This ruling is a sham and will go down in the annals of history as a crossroads that is going to make it hard for this country to follow the right direction. AVB


Bill Maher did not mince words about his dismay surrounding the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign contributions.

Maher blasted the court’s McCutcheon v. FEC ruling on his show Friday night. He specifically went after Chief Justice John Roberts’ reasoning that large donations are not reflective of “quid pro quo corruption.”

“Either he is a liar or he is too naïve to hold any important job including, and especially, this one,” Maher said. “This is like a legal ruling written by the little mermaid.”

As HuffPost’s Paul Blumenthal explained Friday, the McCutcheon decision expanded the realm of ramifications for campaign finance reform. Previously, the 2010 Citizens United ruling had only addressed the “potential corrupting influence of independent political spending by corporations and unions.”

“[I]ndependent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in 2010. “That speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that those officials are corrupt. And the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.”

Now, that definition of corruption has been extended to independent campaign contributions. Republicans were pleased with the decision, with the RNC calling it an “important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees.” Several Democrats, headed by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), paralleled Maher’s sentiments on the ruling.

“This is a court that knows essentially nothing about elections. It’s the first court in a long time on which no one has ever run for office,” said Whitehouse, comparing the five justices who ruled for businessman Shaun McCutcheon to “the ultimate amateur … who says, ‘I know how to eat, so I can open a restaurant.'”

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

GOP Senate Candidate Jack Kingston Fakes A Call From Obama In New Ad

As if, this is ridiculous and the congressman should be up to driving to President Obama and shamed of himself. AVB

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican running in Georgia’s seven-way Senate primary released Friday an ad featuring a fake phone call from President Barack Obama.

Rep. Jack Kingston, an 11-term member of the U.S. House seeking to replace retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, includes audio of an Obama impersonator asking Kingston to stop trying to repeal the president’s signature national health care law. The ad comes as polls show a close race ahead of the May 20 primary. “Kingston, this is the president. You’ve got to back off Obamacare,” the fake Obama says in the ad while black-and-white photos of the president appear on the screen.

“Kingston, let me be clear: I do not want you in the Senate. Call me back, Kingston, please,” the fake Obama adds.

Kingston then appears on screen in color. “A call to stop fighting Obamacare is one call I’ll never answer,” he says into the camera.

The ad comes as voters start to pay closer attention to a race that lacks a clear front-runner.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Feds Say 3 Million Now Have Medicaid Through Obamacare

That’s 10.1 million people who now have Medical coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Put that into your calculator Senator Rubio. AVB


The Obama administration declared another victory Friday, saying that 3 million extra people have signed up for Medicaid or the related Children’s Health Insurance Program since the new health insurance exchanges opened in October.That’s on top of the 7.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

I slept with a gay man for six months in Afghanistan.

Those who today block the path to marriage equality will be looked upon by History and the same way that those that blocked the doors of schools in the South in order to stop African American children from getting an education are looked upon today. AVB


by teacherken
Apr 04, 2014 5:00am PDT

No one asked. He did not tell.

So begins A Marine silent no longer on gay marriage, a Washington Post op ed by Roger Dean Huffstetler, a former Marine Corps sergeant, who is also a serious Southern Baptist
He talks about TWO men who he thought he knew well who are gay, a fellow Marine Sergeant and a childhood friend.

Of the first, Sergeant Santiago, he writes 

    I believed I knew the men in my B-hut better than I knew most of my friends at home, yet the man sleeping next door had a secret he dared not reveal for fear of being removed from active duty. It never crossed my mind that he was gay — or that I could have done so much more to be his friend.

And of the second, he offers this in the  next 2 paragraphs:

    Even as a kid, Andy was exceptionally affable, the kind of person who could talk to a trash can. He never met a stranger, and he unfailingly seemed to know where he was going. Andy was surrounded by a close group of friends, always together, always laughing. It’s fair to say everyone enjoyed being around him.

    In our teens, Andy and I would go on mission trips around the country, helping to clean or build homes, with a little vacation Bible school on the side. Perhaps Andy knew then that he was gay — it seems likely — but he flirted with girls, same as the rest of us. If he did know, he kept it to himself, and I lived in ignorance about it.

I am going to push fair use a bit – please follow me beneath the cheese doodle.

    No, I never gay-bashed. I didn’t bully, I didn’t hate, I didn’t torment.

    But I did say “fag” to a fellow Marine in front of Sgt. Santiago. I did stay seated in the pew when my minister challenged, “Don’t let anyone tell you that this church is soft on homosexuality.” Silence is a most powerful consent.

Reading those words reminded me of these by Edmund Burke:  All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

They also reminded me of these by Martin Luther King Jr.:  Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter

Hyffstetler writes that he had imagined had he lived in the time of the Civil Rights movement he would have been the exceptional White Southerner who would have spoken out, that he would have taken action, even it if put himself at risk.

    But I didn’t do those things. I watched the fight right in front of me without question, inactive and accepting — just like the generations before me.

    Well, no longer.

By now you are getting a sense of why I consider this op ed so powerful.

He writes about how he sought out both men to apologize.  You will want to read that.  In his penultimate paragraph he points out

    We don’t need to look backward for a chance to stand up for principles. Life isn’t about always being right — I was wrong for a long time — but about learning from mistakes and making amends. So I started with those conversations and writing about the effect these two men had on me, about how someone raised a Southern Baptist can love everyone equally and can advocate marriage equality.

I remind people of three notable former Southern Baptists who have spoken out on issues like these – their names are Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Al Gore.

We all may hesitate to do the right thing.

We can always make amends.

We can, as Huffstetler opines,

    Write. Speak out. Find the Andys and Sgt. Santiagos in your life and make amends.

This is an issue that those here understand.

There are enough in this community for whom this is very personal, even if they themselves are “straight,” because it affects those for whom they care deeply.  I count myself among them.

Which is why I will end with the final words of the op ed, offered in bold:

There is still time to be on the right side of history.


I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

GOP Senator Shows Up At Wrong Hearing

This would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. AVB
This Is How Awkward It Is When A Senator Shows Up To The Wrong Hearing
Chris Gentilviso
The Huffington Post
04/03/14 04:35 PM ET

There’s a first time for everything.

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) suffered one of those unfortunate moments on Wednesday when he showed up to the wrong Senate hearing.

The Washington Post pointed to video of the incident, which shows Coats delivering a long opening on a letter he sent about the Indiana National Guard. Then, a staffer slipped him a piece of paper, breaking the news.

“I just got a note saying I’m at the wrong hearing,” Coats said.

Coats, who served in the Senate from 1989 to 1999 before returning in 2011, later admitted that he had never done such a thing before. While he does serve on the overall Senate Appropriations Committee, Coats was talking at the wrong subcommittee hearing.

“Well, this is the first time this has ever happened to me, but I hope it’s not a precursor of what (inaudible),” he said.

“You’re always welcome in our committee,” said. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), who serves as chairman of the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Both men and scattered members of the audience chuckled, before Coats joked: “Well, thank you. I saw some familiar faces and I thought this is where I should be.”

Watch the exchange above, via the Senate Appropriations Committee website.

(h/t The Washington Post)

UPDATE (5:15 p.m. ET): Coats took to Twitter Thursday, quipping that “the Russians” may have had something to do with the mixup.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

State Dept. says Iran’s pick for UN ambassador ‘troubling’ amid outrage over hostage crisis link

They seem to be run by the same mentality that North Korea is, complete schizophrenia. AVB

The State Department is raising “serious concerns” over Iran’s new nominee for ambassador to the U.N., who was involved with the group that took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran for 444 days and held American diplomats hostage in 1979.

Read full story

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Supreme Court strikes down overall campaign contribution cap

I’m not sure how I feel about this decision. Does it even the playing field or does it make rich people more powerful. AVB

The court says Americans have a right to give the legal maximum to as many federal candidates, parties and PACs as they choose
For full story

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Official: Deal emerging on Mideast talks extension

I hope for the sake of my family living in Israel that there will be a just and lasting peace in the region. AVB

JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is closer to a deal that would rescue the faltering Mideast peace talks, pushing a formula that would include the release of convicted U.S. spy Jonathan Pollard and freedom for hundreds of Palestinians held by Israel, an official close to the negotiations said Tuesday.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil