Saturday, January 5, 2013

Last Call

We leave tonight with an interesting and disturbing point from Steve M. on "crisis pregnancy centers" and the right's virtual nullification of abortion in a growing number of states spreading to other things they don't like:

It makes me wonder what will happen if, someday, the Supreme Court decides that there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Will couples seeking marriage licenses (straight and gay, or maybe just gay) be required to undergo counseling that warns of the evils of homosexuality and the describes heterosexual marriage as the bedrock of civilization? Will some state actually try to compel gay couples seeking marriage licenses to at least undergo one session of gay-conversion therapy? And will conservative federal judges conclude that these are "reasonable" hoops to jump through in order to get married? 

Conservatives are doing this with voting laws that make voting as difficult and as time-consuming as they can to lower the number of people voting,  laws to make programs to help the poor as shameful and as onerous to qualify as possible, and everything having to do with women's health as awful as possible. Why wouldn't they make gay marriage as difficult as possible too?

Like A Five Alarm Fire(arm)

President Obama and the Democrats see an opportunity here with the GOP still reeling from the fiscal cliff foolishness and the new 113th Congress just seated to pivot to new gun control laws.

While the fiscal cliff has dominated Washington’s attention in recent weeks, lawmakers and activists are laying the groundwork for their big push. Vice President Joe Biden, tasked with heading a commission to investigate gun violence, has been quietly meeting with experts, interest groups, and public officials and is expected to release a set of recommendations within weeks. Boston mayor Thomas Menino, co-chair of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told the Boston Herald this week that an optimistic Biden had assured him that Obama would sign legislation “by the end of January.”

“We had been led to believe their report would come by end of January, but we’re hearing they may want to have something out by January 15, even quicker than expected,” Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told TPM.

House Democrats are moving ahead with their own plans as well. On Friday, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), chair of the newly created Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, announced the appointment of 12 vice chairs, including Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), the body’s leading voice on gun control. According to a Democratic aide, the group plans to release its recommendations in early February and is already organizing public hearings on the issue.

Obama has personally identified an assault weapons ban and limits on ammunition magazine size as top priorities. Other possible reforms could include background check requirements for purchases at gun shows, a loophole that’s helped create a huge market of off-record arms purchases. 

In addition to public hearings and new legislation, Vice President Biden's task force and a big push from gun control groups, the United States Conference of Mayors in DC later this month is expected to be a pretty big platform for the country's mayors to have a say in the matter.

We'll see what becomes of this blitz, but I'm betting this will dominate the news starting next week, especially given today's latest shooting tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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