Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeREUTERS/Kerek Wongsa

Buddhist monks pray at the Wat Phra Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani province, north of Bangkok on Makha Bucha Day February 25, 2013. Makha Bucha Day honors Buddha and his teachings, and falls on the full moon day of the third lunar month.

Human composition, pattern recognition.

Prominent Republicans sign on to supporting gay marriage

Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

…The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions…But the presence of so many well-known former officials — including Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, and William Weld and Jane Swift, both former governors of Massachusetts — suggests that once Republicans are out of public life they feel freer to speak out against the party’s official platform, which calls for amending the Constitution to define marriage as “the union of one man and one woman…”

In making an expansive argument that same-sex marriage bans are discriminatory, the brief’s signatories are at odds with the House Republican leadership, which has authorized the expenditure of tax dollars to defend the 1996 marriage law. The law defines marriage in the eyes of the federal government as the union of a man and a woman.

Congressional Republicans still have no qualms about spending taxpayer dollars to support a baseless law. One, in fact, that doesn’t represent the advancing position of the whole nation. That’s criminal compared to moderates who have decided to support a libertarian position on marriage now that they don’t have to run for re-election.

Mind – it’s not that I don’t think progressive Americans should deny their support. Hey, I wouldn’t even mind a Cardinal or two disagreeing with Rome about something as sensible as contraception. It’s just worth a chuckle at the hindsight that seems to appear when the pressure of appeasing the most ignorant and backwards members of a political party is removed.

Federal Court decides there is no right to conceal a firearm

A federal appeals court has ruled that permits allowing people to carry concealed weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit was issued Friday in a case involving a Washington State resident, Gray Peterson.

A federal judge in 2011 tossed out Mr. Peterson’s lawsuit filed against Denver and Colorado’s Department of Public Safety. He claimed that being denied a concealed-weapons permit because he was not a Colorado resident violated his Second Amendment rights to bear firearms.

According to gun rights groups, Colorado is one of about two dozen states that do not honor concealed weapons permits from Washington State.

Colorado recognizes weapons permits issued by other states, but only for states that recognize Colorado permits. Washington State does not recognize Colorado permits…

In its ruling, the three-judge panel cited a Supreme Court ruling that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms is not infringed by laws prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons.”

“In light of our nation’s extensive practice of restricting citizen’s freedom to carry firearms in a concealed manner, we hold that this activity does not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment’s protections,” the judges ruled.

Bravo! In all my days as a commercial traveler, I always had a handgun with me – in my car or taken into whichever cheap motel my budget allowed for. If you ever lived much on the road in America, you might note this as a necessity – but, I won’t go into all the reasons.

Point being, in the states I most often traveled – Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Texas – my car was treated like a home as was my motel room. Nary a problem with the law. And I never felt I needed to carry a concealed handgun.