Tag Archives: Government

Opponents Ready Themselves to Fight NC Gay Marriage Amendment

Current marriage amendments to US state consti...

Current marriage amendments to US state constitutions, by type Constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage, civil unions, and any marriage-like contract between unmarried persons Constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage and civil unions Constitutional amendment bans same-sex marriage Constitutional amendment grants legislature authority to ban same-sex marriage No constitutional amendments (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After North Carolina approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, opponents began to explore their next options.

North Carolina voted to outlaw same-sex marriage, which was already prohibited. Supporters said the amendment was needed to ward off legal challenges.

Voters approved the amendment by a 61% to 39% margin.

The amendment alters the constitution to say that “marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.”

Via CNN.

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Filed under Civil Rights, If You Were Gay, Politics

Those Who Criticize Government Programs Rely on It Most

Many residents who describe themselves as self-sufficient and as opponents of government largess are drawing deeply on the government.

Benefits programs provided an average of $6,583 for each person in the county in 2009, a 69% increase from 2000. The government provides almost $1 in benefits for every $4 in other income.

The government safety net was created to keep Americans from poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive most of the government benefits. The share of benefits flowing to the least affluent households, the bottom fifth, has declined from 54% in 1979 to 36% in 2007.

As more middle-class families land in the safety net, anger at the government has increased. People are angry because the government is giving money to people who do not deserve it, but more than that, they are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it, and resent the government for providing it.

Government benefits are an issue in the Presidential campaign. Rick Santorum has warned of “the narcotic of government dependency.” Newt Gingrich has compared the safety net to a spider web. Mitt Romney has said the nation must choose between an “entitlement society” and an “opportunity society.” All the candidates, including Ron Paul, have promised to cut spending and cut taxes.

Politicians have expanded the safety net without an increase in revenues, expanding the government’s mushrooming debt. In 2000, federal and state governments spent about 37 cents on the safety net from every dollar they collected in revenue. A decade later, after one Medicare expansion, two recessions, and three rounds of tax cuts, spending on the safety net consumed nearly 66 cents of every dollar of revenue.

Americans are divided about the way forward. Seventy percent of respondents to a New York Times poll said the government should raise taxes, 56% supported cuts in Medicare and Social Security, and 44% favored both.

Via The New York Times.

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Filed under Economy, National, Politics, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

BREAKING: SCOTUS Rules for Man with Tracking Device on Car

U.S. Supreme Court building.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously for a drug suspect who had an electronic tracking device attached to his car by police, who did not first get an extended warrant.

The Justices said secretly placing the device and monitoring his movements for weeks constituted a government “search,” and the man’s constitutional rights were violated.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Law, The Supremes

Edwards Trial Delayed Because of “Life-Threatening” Heart Condition

John Edwards official Senate photo portrait.

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A federal judge disclosed that former presidential candidate John Edwards has a life-threatening heart condition.

Edwards had sought a delay in his criminal corruption trial, scheduled to begin later this month.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Health, Politics

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Private Prisons Can Be Sued Like Government Prisons

Supreme Court of the United States Seal

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The Supreme Court ruled three decades ago in Carlson v. Green that a federal prisoner could sue for damages from prison employees who abused his constitutional rights. On Tuesday, in Minneci v. Pollard, the court heard the government contend that a prisoner held in a facility operated by a private contractor cannot bring this kind of action.

If the Court accepts this argument, it will allow the government to contract away prisoners’ constitutional rights.

While incarcerated for twenty months in a private facility, Richard Lee Pollard fell and broke his elbows. When he sought medical treatment, he was refused a splint and forced to wear a handcuff-like device that caused him tremendous pain.

If he was in a government prison, he could have sued those who mistreated him. The private facility where Mr. Pollard was imprisoned was different only in ownership. It operated under federal authority and functioned as a government facility. Those who worked there were operating “under the color of federal law,” a critical test.

The Pollard case matters because one of every six federal prisoners is held in a private facility. Private facilities also house half the federal immigration detainees.

Bad as government-run prisons are, private prisons may be worse. Private prisons pay guards less, have smaller staffs, and give limited training, reducing the level of care and exposing prisoners to greater threats to health and safety. The prisons and people who work there must be held accountable when they badly perform this role of government.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, National, The Supremes

Rick Perry and the Death Penalty

"The Honorable Rick Perry (front right), ...

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As Rick Perry picks up his campaign, his home state is set to add six more executions (including a controversial one) to the record tally he amassed during his years as governor.

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On This Day…

19th Amendment

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In 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became law, and women were granted the right to vote. Just one sentence long, the amendment represented decades of struggle:

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

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