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Posts under ‘National news’

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds marriage equality

That’s two federal appeals courts, to go along with however many federal district courts and state courts. Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional on Monday in the first such decision by a federal appellate court in the South. “We recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not […]

Castro confirmed for HUD

Congratulations, Secretary Castro! The U.S. Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the nomination of San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The nomination was approved 71-26 on a roll call vote. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, voted for the nomination; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, voted against it. Republicans […]

Utah will take same sex marriage fight to SCOTUS

This could be the ballgame. The Utah attorney general’s office announced Wednesday that it will appeal the 10th Circuit Court’s decision last month upholding same-sex marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wednesday was the deadline for the state to seek a full-court review by all 12 judges of the 10th Circuit Court, but, according to […]

Students against voter ID

A new front is opened in the fight against voter ID. Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students. […]

What do the Mayors want?

Action on climate change. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, a bipartisan group that represents the leaders of 1,400 cities, each of which is home to at least 30,000 people, has called on the Obama administration and Congress to “enact an Emergency Climate Protection law that provides a framework and funding for the implementation … of […]

Tenth Circuit upholds same-sex marriage

A huge step forward. A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that states outlawing same-sex marriage are in violation of the U.S. Constitution. By upholding a Utah judge’s decision, the a three-member panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver became the first appeals court to rule on the issue, setting a historic precedent […]

If Louisiana can do it…

By “it” I mean expand Medicaid. What’s Texas’ excuse if that happens? Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter on Monday left open the possibility of expanding Louisiana’s Medicaid program to cover more of the working poor. Vitter, a candidate for governor and ardent critic of the health overhaul championed by President Barack Obama, said he’s not […]

Medicaid expansion: Still a great deal, especially for cities

So many uninsured people could get covered if Medicaid expansion were universal instead of just here and there. Expanding Medicaid under the new health care law would do a lot to slash the number of uninsured people, at least in some of the nation’s largest cities, according to a new report. A review of 14 […]

Texas will do just fine under the new EPA clean air regulations

Unless it wants to fail, of course, which is always an option under the likes of Rick Perry and Greg Abbott. Texas could lead the way into a less carbon-intensive future under the Obama administration’s plans to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Or the state could have trouble keeping the lights […]

Castro gets the nod

As anticipated. Before a packed crowd in the White House’s state dining room, President Obama on Friday nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to become the newest — and youngest — member of his cabinet, as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “I am nominating another all-star who’s done a fantastic job in San […]

Castro to DC?

The hot rumor going around is that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is being vetted for a Cabinet position in the Obama administration. For the second time in two years, President Barack Obama has offered Julián Castro a chance to serve in his Cabinet, and the mayor has signaled his willingness to begin a swift […]

Don’t kill the penny, revalue it

Ryan Cooper proposes a big idea to make coins more useful so that people start spending them again instead of hoarding them in jars for months at a time. Here’s my solution: multiply the face value of every U.S. coin by 10. A penny will be worth 10 cents, a nickel 50 cents, a dime […]

FEC approves Bitcoin for campaign contributions

It’s the right call. The Federal Election Commission on Thursday voted to allow political committees to accept Bitcoin donations and outlined the ways that the virtual currency can be used by federally regulated campaigns. Responding to a request from a political action committee, the commissioners unanimously approved an advisory opinion that defined Bitcoins, which allows […]

Legalize moonshining

You can brew your own beer at home, and you can ferment your own wine at home, but if you try to distill your own spirits at home, you’re asking for trouble from the rev’nooers. The movement to legalize marijuana dominates headlines these days, but another group is laboring in relative obscurity to legalize its […]

And the first open enrollment period comes to an end

Lots of people signed up in the last few days of enrollment. Some tried but came away empty. Some of the hundreds of Houstonians who sought last-minute help enrolling for the Affordable Care Act on Sunday left thrilled to have health insurance for the first time in their lives, while others walked away frustrated by […]

The CFPB is almost ready to roll out payday lending regulations

I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Whenever governments start thinking about cracking down on small-dollar, high-interest financial products like payday loans and check cashing services, a shrill cry goes up from the businesses that offer them: You’re just going to hurt the poor folks who need the money! What do you want […]

Michigan, come on down

You are the next state to have your anti-same sex marriage law thrown out by a federal judge. In a historic ruling that provided a huge morale boost to the gay-rights movement, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman today struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage, making it the 18th state in the nation to allow […]

Add Tennessee to the list

A partial win, but the rest will follow. A federal judge here granted a preliminary injunction Friday against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in certain instances. In October three same-sex couples filed a lawsuit asking the state to recognize their marriages that had been performed in states where gay marriage is legal. The four […]

Pushing marriage equality into new frontiers

I love the idea behind this. Less than two weeks after a federal judge declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, a new effort has been launched in the South seeking to build wider acceptance of gay and lesbian couples in the hope of overturning similar bans across the region. The $1 million effort will […]

Another way to squeeze the payday lenders

I wholeheartedly approve of this. The Postal Service (USPS) could spare the most economically vulnerable Americans from dealing with predatory financial companies under a proposal endorsed over the weekend by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don’t have basic banking services because […]

Cookiecott 2014

Hissyfit 2014 might be a more accurate description. A coalition of anti-abortion groups is trying to crumble Girl Scout cookie sales because of a Twitter post of an online news article that recognized several accomplished women, including gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis, who rose to national attention with a filibuster against anti-abortion legislation in the state […]

Add Virginia to the list

The list of states whose law banning same sex marriage has been struck down. A federal judge ruled Thursday that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, making it the first state in the South to have its voter-approved prohibition overturned. U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen issued a stay of her order while it […]

What the ACA does, Texas has long done

By now you’ve surely heard about the CBO report on the Affordable Care Act and the workforce, which despite some terribly botched reporting does have a lot of political considerations. There’s something I’d like to point out about this before we get too bogged down in attack ads. Let’s start with Kevin Drum putting a […]

On, Wisconsin

From the ACLU of Wisconsin: The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin and the law firm of Mayer Brown filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of four same-sex couples who wish to marry in Wisconsin or are seeking recognition for their legal out-of-state marriages. The plaintiffs include Roy Badger and Garth Wangemann […]

Next stop, Virginia

More lawsuits coming on same sex marriage. Almost overnight, Virginia has emerged as a critical state in the nationwide fight to grant gay men and women the right to wed. This purple state was once perceived as unfriendly and even bordering on hostile to gay rights. That’s changed after a seismic political shift in the […]

Federal judge denies Abbott motion to consolidate same sex marriage lawsuits

From Lone Star Q: A key hearing in a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’ same-sex marriage bans will go forward next month in San Antonio. U.S. District Judge Orlando L. Garcia, of the Western District of Texas, on Wednesday rejected Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s latest effort to transfer the lawsuit from San Antonio to Austin. […]

VRA 2.0

Texas Redistricting: [Thursday] morning, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) introduced proposed amendments to the Voting Rights Act that would rework the section 5 coverage formula invalidated by the Supreme Court in Shelby Co. v. Holder. The text of the bill – styled the Voting Rights Amendment Act […]

Oklahoma!

Where the same sex marriages come whistling down the plains. U.S. Senior District Judge Terence Kern ruled Tuesday that Oklahoma’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. The ruling is stayed pending appeal, meaning marriages will not occur immediately in Oklahoma. In striking down Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage, U.S. District Judge Terrence Kern described it […]

Utah will not recognize same sex marriages

Not until they are forced to. Utah Gov. Gary Herbertannounced Wednesday that the state will not recognize the 1,000-plus same-sex marriages performed in the state since Dec. 20, when a U.S. district judge ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage violated gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional rights. “The original laws governing marriage in Utah […]

Is this the end for the dollar coin?

Fine by me if it is. The dollar wars have raged for years, with various sides battling over what a dollar should look like: Should it be a green piece of paper (cotton, actually) that you can slide in your wallet? Or should it be a metal coin that you put in your pocket? On […]

SCOTUS halts same sex marriages in Utah, for now

Bummer. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday put same-sex marriages in Utah on hold, granting the state’s request for a stay while it appeals a ruling that laws banning such marriages are unconstitutional. The court said the stay would be in place until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver makes a decision on […]

Raising the minimum wage in Texas

It’s all the rage elsewhere, but so far I’ve not heard anything about a movement to raise the minimum wage in Texas. While most of the increases amount to less than 15 cents per hour, workers in places like New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island will see a bigger bump. Earlier this year, […]

Utah appeals to SCOTUS

This was inevitable. Utah took its fight against gay marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, asking the high court to suspend same-sex unions that became legal when a judge struck down the state’s voter-approved ban. The heavily Mormon state wants the marriages to stop while it appeals a judge’s decision, which said banninggay […]

A lot more court action on same sex marriage is coming

One way or another, 2014 is going to be a milestone year for marriage equality. Advocates on both sides of the gay marriage debate predicted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that overturned part of a federal ban on gay marriage would create a pathway for states to act. They were right. In […]