Monday, November 29, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: I'm Thankful That Bush Can Only Run Twice.

Hot Gay News The U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on the Massachusetts State Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage, turning it down without comment. This upholds the decision, leading many in favor of gay marriage to cheer: Not so fast, friends. This could be a signal that the Supremes are going to leave the whole question of gay marriage up to the states, which means that while gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts, other states could ban it without fear of judicial review, as 11 states did in November.

You're Retired! In more Supreme Court news, 60 percent of Americans favor a mandatory retirement age for justices on the nation's highest court. This is something I've long favored: I think it's bizarre that we have a robed priesthood of nine people who are the only ones capable of a definitive interpretation of the sacred scriptures (er, I mean, Constitution) and that they keep their jobs until they die. What kind of primitive bullshit is that? Less inspiring for my cause, though, is that an almost equal number of Americans in the survey could not correctly identify what job William Rehnquist does (he's a spokesman for Avis).

Never Have Cattle Been So Eager For the Ring Through Their Noses Evangelical Christian voters who have lately been spraining their arms while patting themselves on the back for getting Dubya an actual election victory apparently haven't gotten the memo: The base's role is to win elections, then get ignored for four years (Black Democrats can tell you all about it). These hoppin' mad evangelicals think that "it's payback time": they want, among other things, a Supreme Court ban on gay marriage and abortion (well, you already lost the first one, folks). Actually, Rove's post-election analysis shows that the biggest growth in GOP voters was among married white women with children whose main concern was "security," and that's who's going to get pandered to (aside from the top 1 percent of the income-earners, of course). Note to evangelicals: Will you ever get tired of being hoodwinked?

The Argentina Parallels Just Keep Coming The Bush administration has a foolproof plan for financing its risky privatization of Social Security: first, the costs of the operation will be taken "off-book," meaning they won't show up in the annual budgets approved by Congress. This doesn't actually, you know, do anything, but it makes people feel better. Next, they plan to pay for the huge costs of privatization by BORROWING the money, which will do two things: It will increase the national debt-to-GDP share by an astonishing 23.6 percent, and it will increase the national debt, in real terms, by about $4.7 trillion. In the private sector, this would mean two things: ruin and jail (you can't take expenses "off-book" unless you're the federal government). In the public, it means a greater chance that foreign investors, panicky about that astonishing debt-to-GDP, will stop buying t-bills, which happen to keep the budget deficits afloat. The possible result of that would be that the U.S. would be forced to default on its loans, with a corresponding devaluation of bonds and hyperinflation. But, you know, anything for the free market.

So THIS is What They Meant By "Moral Values" In Redder-than-Red Alabama, the God-fearing voters went to the polls on Nov. 2 and did two things: they voted to elect George W. Bush, and they voted in favor of racial segregation. There was a constitutional amendment on the ballot there that would have eliminated language from 1901 still in the state constitution that mandates separate schooling for "white and colored children" and allowing poll taxes. This amendment was defeated by voters, although by such a slim margin that there's currently a recount. Opponents of the amendment argued, bizarrely, that repealing racist language in the constitution would allow "federal judges" to institute income tax hikes. The heat's off ya, Ohio: This is officially the dumbest result of an election on Nov. 2.

-Consider Arms