The Ides of March are Upon You

Does the fight over Prop 8 diminish the court it occurs in? Note that while I disagree with most of the points this article makes, it does offer keen insight into what the California legal system is going through and being – in some cases – reduced to. Just remember that it tends to be the reactionary conservative elements that want to define everything (marriage, what’s human, when conception occurs) so that they can punish anything that diverges. Liberty is quantum in that it exists only as cloud of undefined but guessable probabilities that flee when you try to nail them down. (Which includes taking the previous statement too literally.)

On a related note – Obama is now under the spotlight. Will he move to grant federal insurance benefits to same gender partners of government employees? Government obstruction is citing the Defense of Marriage Act.

In separate, strongly worded orders, two judges of the federal appeals court in California said that employees of their court were entitled to health benefits for their same-sex partners under the program that insures millions of federal workers.
But the federal Office of Personnel Management has instructed insurers not to provide the benefits ordered by the judges, citing a 1996 law, the Defense of Marriage Act.
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama said he would “fight hard” for the rights of gay couples. As a senator, he sponsored legislation that would have provided health benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
Now, Mr. Obama is in a tough spot. If he supports the personnel office on denying benefits to the San Francisco court employees, he risks agitating liberal groups that helped him win election. If he supports the judges and challenges the marriage act, he risks alienating Republicans with whom he is seeking to work on economic, health care and numerous other matters.

From the look of things, this may get shot down not out of implicit discrimination, but out of not wanting to pay the estimated 670 million dollars over the next ten years. We’ll see if President Obama gets involved with this or not – I’m not so convinced that it will happen as the author of the above linked article. If he doesn’t, then I’m going to say Bill Clintion six times under my breath and be done with him. If he does I will be pleasantly surprised. I’m not laying down odds on that however.

On the bright side, Obama is moving to abolish Bush era restrictions placed on the Department of Health and Human Services. These are the restrictions Bush put in place just shortly before leaving office (coward!) which allow a wide definition of ‘health care worker’ (including insurance claim adjusters, receptionists, the doctor’s golfing buddies, anyone) to site religious or ethical grounds to refuse a woman care of certain varieties. What’s sad is that this is old news, this went out in late February and I’m only now getting wind of it.

In the state of New York – until just recently women serving in the National Guard were required to undertake mandatory pregnancy tests (!), facing dismissal if they were found to be pregnant. (Which would be fair and equitable if the father was also drummed out of the service. It tends not to work that way.) Women also faced having all of their insurance benefits cut off should they be separated from the Guard. The office of Governor David A. Paterson initiated an investigation that ended this practice, though I do have to wonder how many other states’ Guard have this or similar on the books.

Apparently, GOP Chair Michael Steele has just stopped reading from the script. In a moment of not being a Republican Droid, he told GQ magazine that he thought abortion was “an individual choice.” Almost immediately, the cortex implant from CONTROL seems to have kicked in and he “clarified” his remarks (that’s his trademark you know) saying that it should be left up to the states. Which, as we’ve covered before, is GOP code for “We hate it.”
Rumors that he was being given the new role of Fresh Prince of the GOP have proven inconclusive.

Speaking of CONTROL, The Robot himself, Dick Cheney, says that Obama’s policies are making the US less safe which is nothing new, it’s what he says when The Robot suffers a Hard Disk Read Error and goes into diagnostic. It’s also the same tired nonsense that alleges that Freedom somehow threatens Security. I’ll take Freedom over Security any day. Always.
In particular, the Cheney series Mastermind C-01 was reacting to “President Obama’s call to close Guantanamo Bay, close CIA black sites, make CIA interrogators abide by the Army field manual, define waterboarding as torture, suspend trials for terrorists by military commission, and eliminate the label of enemy combatants.” Yes, all of which a grave threats to the fucking police state that Cheney and his cronies attempted to instigate here for anyone who wasn’t an upper class straight white male christian.

I’m sure Dick would be happy to know that SLA militant Sara Jane Olsen is due to be released from a California prison next week. This is after Olsen, having served for a total of seven years was accidentally released last year. (The parole board had an attack of “let’s give John Hinckley a weekend pass!” and failed to carry the two, thus letting her out early.) She is due to be released Tuesday.

On the other side of the aisle, Maxine Waters defends her actions, suggesting that she was not as influential as the media has made her out to be, while at the same time claiming she was going to do everything she could to help minority banks.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said in an interview Thursday that he advised Waters last fall to “stay out of it” because he knew her husband had served on the bank board.
Frank said Waters was concerned about the plight of minority-owned banks, as was he.
“She acknowledged that ‘Sidney had been on the board. I could have a conflict here,’ ” Frank said. “I said, ‘Fine, just stay out of it, I’ll deal with it.’ ”
Noting that OneUnited is based in Boston, he said, “I wasn’t, as chairman of the banking committee, not going to do all I could to keep the only black-owned bank in my area alive.”

Sure, be concerned about “the plight of minority owned banks” – no one is saying don’t do that. Just don’t break the law to do it. And if you’re going to sway my opinion, having Barney Frank come to your rescue probably isn’t the way to go about it.

Fearing that she will attempt to flee the country or move her 70 million in assets, the SEC is to target the assets of Ruth Madoff – evidently, the SEC is scurrying to build a case against Madoff, hoping to freeze her accounts which is believed to be filled with monies resulting from her husband’s crimes.

And finally, word has it that AiG are still a bunch of assholes – AiG which has received (documented) 170 million dollars in bailout money, is looking to pay out 165 million in bonuses. Still calling them “retention payments” (of course), AiGs actions have actually gotten Tim Geithner’s knickers in a wad – which is refreshing rather than being treated to another pointless droning round of “the stimulus is working, all is well.”
And in another about face, Barney Frank is suddenly looking to see if some of that money can be recalled.

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~ by Auntie Ranty on March 15, 2009.

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