Voters in eight states go to the polls today with the main event focused on California where voters choose the top two candidates, regardless of party, who will face off in November. Californians call it the “jungle primary” which was instituted back when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was governor. Arnold thought that it would bring …
Aug 31 2016
2016 Primaries: State and Local
Bet you thought the silly season ended with the last presidential primary. Wrong. It just continues at the state and local levels. Yesterday Arizona and Florida held theirs. Here are some the more notable results. Arizona: Republican Sen. John McCain has also won the primary race for his Senate seat. His main opponent in this …
Jul 24 2014
The Death Penalty: When Do We End State Sponsored Barbarism?
In the barbaric custom of using secret drugs to execute prisoners, the state of Arizona botched another state sponsored murder taking nearly two hours for convicted murder Joseph R. Wood III to die.
In another unexpectedly prolonged execution using disputed lethal injection drugs, a condemned Arizona prisoner on Wednesday repeatedly gasped for one hour and 40 minutes, according to witnesses, before dying at an Arizona state prison.
At 1:52 p.m. Wednesday, one day after the United States Supreme Court overturned a stay of execution granted by a federal appeals court last Saturday, the execution of Joseph R. Wood III commenced.
But what would normally be a 10- to 15-minute procedure dragged on for nearly two hours, as Mr. Wood appeared repeatedly to gasp, according to witnesses including reporters and one of his federal defenders, Dale Baich. [..]
Arizona officials said they were using the same sedative that was used in Oklahoma, midazolam, together with a different second drug, hydromorphone, a combination that has been used previously in Ohio. Similar problems were reported in the execution in Ohio in January of Dennis McGuire, using the same two drugs. He reportedly gasped as the procedure took longer than expected.
Capital punishment by lethal injection has been thrown into turmoil as the supplies of traditionally used barbiturates have dried up, in part because companies are unwilling to manufacture and sell them for this purpose.
A court order was issued to preserve Mr. Wood’s body and anything that was used during the execution. The medical examiner was also ordered to take blood and tissue samples by 11 PM last night but he refused to comply with the deadline.
While Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has ordered the State Department of Corrections to review the execution, Mr. Wood’s attorneys have called for an independent inquiry:
“There has to be a thorough and independent review of what happened here and the Arizona execution protocol,” Dale Baich, a member of Wood’s legal team, told the Guardian.
Wood’s death reignites controversies about state secrecy and the suitability of drugs used to execute prisoners. It was the third time this year that a lethal injection procedure has gone wrong, following problems in Ohio and Oklahoma. [..]
“We were concerned that the mixture of midazolam and hydromorphone had only been used in one prior execution and that did not turn out well, so we were very concerned about that and that’s why we asked as one of our requests: how did the state come up with the formula that it was using?” Baich said.
This is an experiment by people who have no clue about what they are doing and is barbaric. It just needs to stop.
Mar 16 2014
Arizona’s Religious Freedom Bill & Self-Professed Gays
Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette
The gay-stream media compares Arizona’s refusal of service bill to Jim Crow laws, but Rep. Steve King argues that “self-professed behavior” doesn’t qualify for civil rights
Mar 22 2013
Contrasts in equality
On Wednesday the Canadian House of Commons approved a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgender people. The bill passed without the support of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, but eighteen Conservatives, including four cabinet members, joined with the opposition New Democrats and others to pass the third reading of the bill 149-137. The private member’s bill was sponsored by New Democrat MP Randall Garrison.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has been pressing for LGBT rights in his travels abroad. Baird, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, and Heritage Minister James Moore split with Harper to support passage.
Today, New Democrats are proud to have contributed to ensuring equal protection under the law from discrimination and hatred based on gender identity.
Transgender and transsexual citizens are among the most marginalized and are too often victims of harassment and acts of violence.
Jun 27 2012
SCOTUS Ruling Limited Free Speech
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
The latest session of the US Supreme Court is coming to a close with several decisions handed down since last Thursday, that peaked today with several rulings handed down. The “grand finale” will be this Thursday when the court announces its decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The media has been focused mostly on today’s ruling that gutted three quarters of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070. The overturn of a 100-year-old Montana state law that banned corporations in that state from spending any of their corporate cash to support or oppose a candidate or a political party and the ruling that struck out any requirement that life without parole be the mandatory penalty for murder by a minor got second and third billing.
What the media chose to ignore was last Thursday’s 5 -4 decision in Knox v. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that dealt a blow against public sector labor unions and in favor of employees who are represented by a union but are not members:
The case has three holdings: (1) When a public-sector union imposes a special assessment or dues increase, the union must provide a fresh Hudson notice (the Court’s vote on this issue was seven to two); (2) the union cannot require nonmembers to pay the increased amount unless they opt in by affirmatively consenting (vote of five to four); and (3) the case was not rendered moot by the union’s post-certiorari offer of a full refund (unanimous).
So what you say? Why is this an important ruling? It’s important because it requires Unions to do something that corporations aren’t. It requires unions to get permission from their non-members, who pay fees so they are covered by SEIU-negotiated contracts, before that money can be used for political spending. Instead of the traditional “opt-out”, the now have to “opt-in.” Corporations are not required to get share holders permission to spend millions on a political campaign. This could significantly impact on labor’s ability to fight back against corporations in the political arena. It restricts the union’s First Amendment rights to spend unlimited amounts under the 2010 Citizens United ruling:
“The court’s opinion makes clear its displeasure with 60 years of precedent on the dues issue, which have placed the burden on employees who object (to political spending) to opt out,” said William Gould, who from 1994 to 1998 chaired the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency that governs labor relations in the private sector. “This decision is an invitation to litigate this issue.”
Although the Knox case involved special assessments on non-union members, Gould said, the Supreme Court’s reasoning suggests that it could be applied to all union dues that fund political spending paid by non-members. The next time that a union goes through the standard process of notifying non-members they have the ability to opt out, the union may well be met with a legal challenge, warned Gould. “(This decision) indicates that if these five (justices) are there when these cases come back to the Court, that the Court will decide these cases adversely to unions,” he said.
That thought has the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which represented the plaintiffs in the case, and similar groups celebrating — and labor advocates fearing the worst.
Patrick Semmens, vice president of the foundation, said via email that while some justices have used similar language in the past, the Knox decision confirms that now a majority believe “compulsory unionism” is a violation of First Amendment rights.
SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina pointed out that while this complicates matters for unions it is “doable”. But he also noted that this decision was one sided in that “There is nothing in this [Knox] decision that even speaks to the question of shareholders, or corporations having to tell shareholders about any of the contributions they make, [..] “The language, to me, signals what has been the rightward drift of the Supreme Court … Now they’ve come up with a decision to make it more difficult for workers to be able to effectively participate in the [political] process.”
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow and her guest, legal correspondent and senior editor for Slate Dahlia Litwick discussed all of these rulings with emphasis on the Knox ruling.
As was expressed in it opinion on June 23, the New York Times rightly noted:
The conservative majority strode into the center of the bitter debate about right-to-work laws preventing unions in 23 states from requiring nonmembers to pay any union expenses, including those supporting collective bargaining that benefits nonmembers. It used this narrow case to insert itself into that political controversy when there was no reason to do so.
Jun 28 2011
SCOTUS Strikes Down AZ Campaign Finance
Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
Once again the corporate owned, conservative Supreme Court has struck down the 1998 Arizona Campaign Finance Law provided escalating matching funds to candidates who accept public financing. How the Roberts’ court decided that law violates the First Amendment rights of these corporation is truly a backbreaking twist if logic and the constitution.
The vote was again 5-to-4, with the same five justices in the majority as in the Citizens United decision. The majority’s rationale was that the law violated the First Amendment rights of candidates who raise private money. Such candidates, the majority said, may be reluctant to spend money to speak if they know that it will give rise to counter-speech paid for by the government.
“Laws like Arizona’s matching funds provision that inhibit robust and wide-open political debate without sufficient justification cannot stand,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. Justice Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. joined the majority opinion.
What about the under funded candidate’s right to be heard under the First amendment? The reason for the law, which was written after a corruption scandals rocked the state’s election financing during the 90’s, was to foster free speech:
The idea was to encourage candidates to forgo the scramble for money, with all its inherent invitations to corruption — to spend more time speaking to the electorate, and less time speaking to potential funders.
In that sense, its goal was very much to increase genuine political speech. But to the Roberts court, money as speech takes precedence over speech as speech.
The court’s majority clearly telegraphed its antipathy to the Arizona provision during oral arguments in March. The only real suspense was whether they would go further, and use the case to cast doubt on public financing generally.
So there was a sense of relief in the good-government community Monday.
“This is not the death knell of public financing. This ruling affects only one mechanism of public financing, and there are numerous ways to fix it,” said Common Cause president Bob Edgar in a statement. “Today, in the wake of Citizens United, it is more critical than ever that we change the way we pay for our elections by moving to a small donor system that gives the public a voice back in our government. Nothing short of our democracy is at stake.”
Well, thank these corporate shill justices for that.
Jan 08 2011
AZ Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Has Been Shot in Tuscon This Am at Constituent Event
Saturday, January 8, 2011 Representative Gabrielle Giffords, (D, AZ-08 ) was shot this morning at a “Congress on Your Corner” constituent event in a Safeway grocery store at around 10am local mountain time.
At 11:07 am PST her condition is unknown, she has been hospitalized at the University Medical Center in Tuscon, along with other staffers, people and bystanders who were wounded. (at least 6 others wounded )
The attempted assassin ran up to her and fired at point blank range, hitting her in the head, and then ran off, but he was tackled by witnesses and brought down and taken into custody. (per what I am hearing now on MSNBC as they are talking to a sheriff on a phone line)
Rep. Giffords, 40 years old, was elected to a 3rd term on Nov 2. http://www.npr.org/2011/01/08/…
Oh, my God, a witness on the phone to MSNBC says there are bodies laying all over the place, at least 3 killed. Sheriff says 5 killed, 6 wounded.
Arizona has been a hotbed of hostility towards Democrats since Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the racial profiling law targeting Latinos and Indigenous peoples, and both Giffords and Rep. Raul Grijalva have previously received death threats from the extreme right wing.
UPDATED According to a spokesperson for the hospital at a recent news conference on MSNBC, the Congresswoman remains in critical condition, but he is optimistic that she will survive her wound. She is said to be out of surgery. The bullet is said to have gone completely through her head.
A Federal Judge died in the attack.
A nine year old child taken to the hospital did not survive.
5 people are in surgery, 5 people are in critical condition.
The name of the suspected shooter is Jared Laughner, and it is unknown at this time if he was acting alone or in concert with others.
Updated #2 spelling correction. suspect Jared Lee Loughner. Age 22, Tuscon, AZ
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/… (see creepy youtubes at link, the last one is “my final thoughts” )
I’m a sleepwalker – who turns off the alarm clock
All conscious dreaming at this moment is asleep
Jared Loughner is conscious dreaming at this moment
Thus Jared Loughner is asleep
If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism,
especially as a political weapon
I define terrorist
Thus, a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon
If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem
you call me a terrorist
thus the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad Hominem
you don’t have to accept the federalist laws
nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws
You’re literate, listener ?
the property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution.
thus, the revolutionary’s from the revolution are in control of the land and laws
In conclusion, reading the second United States Constitution, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.
No ! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver !
No ! I won’t trust in God !
What’s government if words have no meaning ?
-Jared Loughner 3
The above quotes were from the #3 video of a youtube account of a “Jared Loughner” which is at the HuffPo link.
This is Tea Party – Libertarian theme babbling.
The Federal Judge who was murdered, along with 5 others so far, was US District Court Judge John Roll.
Update #3. Law enforcement are looking for a second suspect, who is believed to have come to the store with the shooter, a white male in his 50’s, whom they are not otherwise releasing any news on, other than they have pictures they are not releasing. http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c…
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says Rep. Giffords was the intended target of the shooting, and was “not convinced” that the suspect had acted alone. http://www.13wmaz.com/news/bre…
Nov 16 2010
Monday: Welcome Back From Your Trip, Mr. President of the Republican Party
President Obama is back from his Pan Pacific – Asian debt sales trip, and the Lame Duck session of Congress is now officially underway.
Lt. Dan Choi and 12 other Get Equal civil rights activists handcuff themselves to the White House fence on Monday, Nov 15, 2010, to protest the military’s discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (photo of murky screenshot from video was highlighted. )
Aug 04 2010
DREAM Now Letters: Stop The Deportation of Marlen Moreno
The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, S. 729, would help tens of thousands of young people, American in all but paperwork, to earn legal status, provided they graduate from U.S. high schools, have good moral character, and complete either two years of college or military service. With broader comprehensive immigration reform stuck in partisan gridlock, the time is now for the White House and Congress to step up and pass the DREAM Act!
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Marlen Moreno and I am undocumented. I am also a possible beneficiary of the DREAM Act. On Sunday, August 8, I will be deported.
Aug 04 2010
The Week in Editorial Cartoons (Part I) – Dropping the Ball
Crossposted at Daily Kos and The Stars Hollow Gazette
Due to the unusually high number of editorial cartoons published over the past week or so (I literally have another 300+ cartoons saved), I’m going to try and post another edition of this diary by Friday, August 6th. It something I’ve never done before.
Jul 17 2010
Arizona: Neo Nazis Patrol Border
Is it chickens or is it eggs? Is it that Governor Brewer’s immigration extremism gives cover to Nazis? Or is it that Neo Nazis give cover to the ugliness that is SB 1070? Is it that Joe Apraio was thought to be as extreme as anyone could be, but people have emerged in Arizona who are even further beyond the Pale?
This from AP:
Minutemen groups, a surge in Border Patrol agents, and a tough new immigration law aren’t enough for a reputed neo-Nazi who’s now leading a militia in the Arizona desert.
Jason “J.T.” Ready is taking matters into his own hands, declaring war on “narco-terrorists” and keeping an eye out for illegal immigrants….
But local law enforcement are nervous given that Ready’s group is heavily armed and identifies with the National Socialist Movement, an organization that believes only non-Jewish, white heterosexuals should be American citizens and that everyone who isn’t white should leave the country “peacefully or by force.”…snip
But Ready, a 37-year-old ex-Marine, ,,, and his friends are outfitted with military fatigues, body armor and gas masks, and carry assault rifles. Ready takes offense at the term “neo-Nazi,” but admits he identifies with the National Socialist Movement.
“These are explicit Nazis,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. “These are people who wear swastikas on their sleeves.”
And so, today, running around in the desert where it’s dangerously hot are a bunch of heavily armed Nazis. And Sheriff Arpaio continues to humiliate immigrants while failing to prevent crime. And the Governor of Arizona continues to insist that SB1070 is not preempted. And not racist. And a waste of money.
My revulsion overflows. I’m not advocating violence. I’m just noticing the strong, negative feelings all of these creeps evoke. I hope that the people of Arizona will find a way to be free of these demagogues.
simulposted at The Dream Antilles and Stars Hollow Gazette and dailyKos