Shame on the U.S. Senate

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Shame on all 46 Senators–including 4 Democrats–who just voted against requiring background checks for gun purchases–something 90% of Americans support. Four months after the Newtown massacre, they are still kowtowing to the gun lobby instead of protecting our kids and families.

Right now, we need to send a loud message to let these 46 senators know just how disgusted we are with their inability to put our children and families ahead of the NRA. Champions in the Senate are going to keep fighting for this bill and we need put every senator who voted “No” on notice: We’re here, we know what you did, and we’re going to hold you accountable.

Sign the “Shame on you” petition!

Ron Paul losing a fortune from his love of gold

A few weeks ago, we figured out what was happening to the Ron Paul portfolio — the former Texas congressman’s 64% investment in gold and other rocks — and it wasn’t pretty.

His portfolio is comprised of major miners and a handful of juniors, and displays a marked lack of diversification.

Investment manager William Bernstein told the Wall Street Journal that “This portfolio is a half-step away from a cellar-full of canned goods and nine-millimeter rounds.”

We looked at Ron Paul’s most-recently disclosed portfolio. Granted, he may have picked up the stocks at any point in the past several years, so he’s probably still above water on the investments. It’s also conceivable that since he’s left public life he’s pared back a lot on his holdings. So we’re just going based on what’s public.

Still, these have taken a shellacking, and it’s likely that he’s lost a significant percent of his net worth, assuming he’s held on to them over the past six months.

The gory details are here:

All told, the average loss was -40.3% over the past six months

Given that The Wall Street Journal reported that Paul’s portfolio was worth between $2.44 million and $5.46 million — and that 64 percent of his assets were in these precious metal stocks — a very loose estimate is that Ron Paul has lost between $624,640 and $1,397,760 over the past six months, based on the average loss of his mining holdings…

Phew! Buy high and sell low, Ron.

New Zealand lawmakers pass gay marriage bill

Louisa Wall, Labour MP, celebrating the bill’s passage

Hundreds of jubilant gay-rights advocates celebrated at New Zealand’s Parliament on Wednesday as the country became the 13th in the world and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage.

Lawmakers voted 77 to 44 in favor of the gay-marriage bill on its third and final reading.

People watching from the public gallery and some lawmakers immediately broke into song after the result was announced, singing the New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana” in the indigenous Maori language…

In one of several speeches that ended in a standing ovation, bill sponsor Louisa Wall told lawmakers the change was “our road toward healing.”

In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal — it’s a declaration of love and commitment to a special person,” she said. She added that “nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill.”

Lawmakers from most political parties were encouraged by their leaders to vote as their conscience dictated rather than along party lines. Although Wall is from the opposition Labour Party, the bill also was supported by center-right Prime Minister John Key.

“In my view, marriage is a very personal thing between two individuals,” Key said. “And, in the end, this is part of equality in modern-day New Zealand…”

Same-sex marriage is recognized in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark. Lawmakers in Uruguay approved a law last week that President Jose Mujica is expected to sign. Nine states in the U.S. also recognize such marriages, but the federal government does not.

The article notes the usual copouts from fundamentalists whose ideology slanders religious folk worldwide. This post also notes the nations already years ahead of the United States. At the current rate, I expect just about any progressive law to become a fixture outside the US well before Congress gets it right.

Our Congressional conservatives are better characterized as cowards, ideologically corrupt, backwards, only capable of blocking attempts to move this nation into the 21st Century.