Friday, May 29, 2009

California Supreme Court Ruling on Prop 8

The California Supreme Court issued its ruling on Proposition 8 (the ban on gay marriage that was approved by California voters in 2008) this week. The decision upheld the amendment to the California Constitution and ruled that all of the marriages that had occurred while gay marriage was legal in the state were valid. For an interesting analysis of the ruling, take a look at "In defense of the prop 8 ruling, but not defending prop 8."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Schweich to run for Senate in Missouri?

Word is that Thomas A. Schweich is considering a run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Missouri. If he runs, he will be challenging Roy Blunt in the Republican primary. The Missouri media blogs have been buzzing about this over the last couple of days, including the Beacon Backroom, the Political Fix, and at least four posts at KY3. A big part of the story are the two major Missouri Republicans that are encouraging Schweich to run (former Senator Danforth and Sam Fox).

Update: Schweich has decided not to run for the U.S. Senate and is backing Roy Blunt. See KY3: "Schweich Is Out" for more detail.

P-D LTE "Internet: A safe haven for hate speech"

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a letter to the editor today that I fully agree with. David Grone articulates a problem that I have seen all too frequently on-line. With the anonymity provided by the internet people are sometime much more hurtful, hateful, and harsh that they ever would be in person and it has degraded the discourse.
Internet: A safe haven for hate speech

As a long-time reader of the Post-Dispatch and, I am disturbed by the behavior of some commentors on online news stories. Unfortunately, this behavior is rampant on the Internet.

Have we regressed so much that it is OK to post the sorts of things some people do on these stories? Whether it is mocking the deceased in a tragic death, condemning someone for a crime long before any evidence comes to light, spewing racist hatred at any story involving a particular part of town or simply attacking fellow commentors with hateful insults, it makes me sick to think these things come from the minds of fellow citizens of this community.

Would any of the people who do this anonymously ever say such things directly to a person's face — or even out loud in public? I hope not, and I doubt they would. If people spoke in a forum that required them to show their face and/or have their real name attributed to it, one of two things would happen. Either a lot of simple-minded, Internet "tough guys" would disappear or we would get a real glimpse into what is happening to our culture when a me-first, too-cool-for-the-room, smart-aleck attitude is the rule of the day. It seems like the Internet has become a safe haven for hate speech that in any other medium would be punishable by law.

Human nature is to "think before you speak." I recommend we extend that rule to include "think before you type."

I shudder to think how hateful and self-centered we will be years from now if these opinions and exaggerations are allowed to flow freely.

David Grone — St. Louis County
There have been some who have advocated for an internet in which all communication is tied to a person's real name in an attempt to address this. Regardless of the appropriate solution, it is clearly a problem.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Two new Macomb Aldermen seated

Congratulations to Clay Hinderliter and Ryan Hansen, the two newly elected Aldermen (7th district and 1st district respectively) who were sworn into office at last night's Macomb City Council meeting.

Full coverage of the meeting at the Macomb Journal.

Monday, May 4, 2009

MO Dems to target state House

The Missouri Democrats have the state House of Representatives in their sights for the 2010 election.
"'If there's one present you all could give me here in the state this year, it'd be a speaker of the House,' Gov. Jay Nixon declared at Truman Days, the annual gala of the Jackson County Democratic Party." From Prime Buzz
With nearly a third of the state House races having open seats in 2010 (and the entire House up for election), this may be within the grasp of the Democrats. The Democrats only need eight seats to get the majority, but in 2008 (a very good year for the Democrats) they actually lost seats in the Missouri House.

Justice Souter's Retirement

The big political news from late last week (it was a big news week for politics last week) was the announcement that Justice David Souter was going to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court. This will give President Obama his first appointment to the high court, and only the third vacancy on the court since 1994. Any significant change to the ideological make up of the court is unlikely, as Justice Souter was generally a more liberal member of the court. Also, the Senate confirmation should not be that difficult, as the Democrats have a nearly filibuster proof majority (as long as they can hold ranks).