Can crowds be curated? Ask the author of Data: A Love Story .
On DOMA's definition of “marriage,” court finda “that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision.”
Janet Geller & Joanne Marquis, two of the plaintiffs in the Connecticut case.
U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa L. Bryant today held in a federal case in Connecticut that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal definition of marriage — is unconstitutional.
Bryant, in a case brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, follows several other federal judges over the past two years to have reached the same conclusion. Federal judges in Massachusetts, California and New York also have found DOMA's provision defining "marriage" and "spouse" as only being unions of one man and one woman in all federal laws unconstitutional.
Bryant found that laws that classify people based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny by courts — as the Department of Justice and plaintiffs argued in the case — but found the provision of the 1996 law unconstitutional "even under the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny."
In her decision in the case, Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, Bryant found:
Having considered all four factors, this Court finds that homosexuals display all the traditional indicia of suspectness and therefore statutory classifications based on sexual orientation are entitled to a heightened form of judicial scrutiny. However, the Court need not apply a form of heightened scrutiny in the instant case to conclude that DOMA violates the promise of the equal protection as it is clear that DOMA fails to pass constitutional muster under even the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny.
She later concluded:
In sum, having considered the purported rational bases proffered by both BLAG and Congress and concluded that such objectives bear no rational relationship to Section 3 of DOMA as a legislative scheme, the Court finds that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision. The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The ruling comes as the Supreme Court is facing requests in several cases to decide the question of DOMA's constitutionality once and for all.
Is that Mr. Death, or an Ewok?
That's, maybe, a tad inappropriate for an official government logo, yes?
Though, it's not nearly as silly as the CIA's War on Terror logo during the Bush administration (see below).
Via Wired national security writer Spencer Ackerman.
Tampa strip clubs are gearing up for a busy stretch during the Republican National Convention. Here (seriously) are the important logistical details for delegates and reporters.
Mons Venus is owned by Joe Redner, an important figure in local politics and the subject of a documentary titled The Strip Club King of Tampa. The club charges a $20 cover, with dance prices negotiable, and features fully nude women (which means it doesn't serve alcohol). It's something of an institution in the Tampa strip club circuit, and is a mere 12-minute drive from the convention center in good traffic.
The question: can such a big-time maintain the same kind of down-home personal connection that a mom-and-pop-and-rebellious-daughters strip clubs are known for? Some reviewers say yes. (reviews via Yelp):
This place has been consistently great for the past 15 years, except the lack of alcohol. I kept reading about the girl's personalities, wondering what that had to do with anything. They were actually great, personable, and higher class than most places. Shelly and Angel were both incredible. There are a few dancers who are quite literally contortionists. Go here, it's better than any club in Miami or Ft Lauderdale.
But others strongly disagree.
This place is an emotionless lap dance factory. The dancers rarely spend anymore than 2-5 minutes sitting with you before moving on to the next customer if you don't want a dance right away. I felt no emotional connection to any of the dancers (guess this is a good thing but I still like the chat and flirt before dance)
You'll have to decide for yourself (by paying a woman to take her clothes off and rub herself against you and then trying to make conversation).
Distance from convention center:
A stark contrast with the negative tone of his 2008 campaign.
Obama campaigning Waterloo, Iowa in 2007. (AP)
President Obama's reelection campaign has taken criticism for the negative tone of 2012 campaign. One of President Obama's deputy campaign managers, Stephanie Cutter, suggested that his Republican rival Mitt Romney might be a felon. And while some the attacks seem to be a dig into the candidate's personal lives — such as a DNC ad featuring Mrs. Romney's horse — in 2008 the candidate Obama promised to fire anybody on his staff who did such negative attacks.
“I have been very clear to my campaign. I do not want to see research that is involved in trying to tear people down personally,” then Senator Obama said at a press conference in Waterloo, Iowa in December 2007. “If I find out that somebody is doing that, they will be fired. And I have been absolutely crystal clear about this, and I have been clear about this for a very long time.”
“That’s not what I believe in, that’s not who I am,” Obama continued about oppo research into a candidate's personal life."It’s contrary to the kind of message of change that I’ve been talking about on this campaign.”
The pinkest candidate in America is hard at work on the stump. She does plan to endorse Mitt Romney.
Mindy Meyer, the 22-year-old Orthodox Jewish "diva" running for state Senate in Brooklyn, is not just a flashy website. She's been hitting the streets of her home district to campaign, haranguing her prospective constituents into listening to her policy positions and views on the opposition.
On her opponent, incumbent Kevin Parker: "He doesn't give a damn about you."
Later: "My message to my opponent is, it's time for you to get out because if you really cared about your people like you say you do you'd leave office and let me come in there, because usually when you care about someone you care about what's best for them, and because I'm what's best for them, Kevin Parker's got to go."
On stop-and-frisk: "What I am against is racially motivated stop-and-frisk. If they have probable cause they can stop and frisk you whether you're white, whether you're orange, whether you're black, whether your purple."
On the presidential race: "I'm a Republican and I'm not happy with Obama so I'm definitely going to endorse Mitt Romney in the presidential election."
via Animal New York
After a weekend of Olympic festivities and aggressive campaigning by the veep hopefuls, the speculation ramps up again.
Welcome to BuzzFeed Veepstakes, your daily guide to Mitt Romney's search for a running mate.
Questions? Comments? Contributions? Email email@example.com.
CNN: With Romney away, possible VP picks defend home turf
"As Mitt Romney makes waves overseas, his campaign has deployed a crowd of possible vice presidential picks to continue hammering home the Republican candidate’s message on American soil. The slew of high-profile surrogates covered the country over the weekend hounding President Barack Obama for what they say is a failed economic and foreign policy, all the while singing Romney’s praise."
Huffington Post: Ann Romney's Horse A Factor In Mitt Romney's VP Selection Process?
"When Mitt Romney returns from his week-long trip to Europe this week, the media's obsessive coverage over who the Republican will pick as his running mate will kick into overdrive. One clue to consider as the press seeks to figure out not just who he'll choose, but when he'll announce it, is Ann Romney's schedule."
New York Magazine: John Heilemann on Morning Joe: Romney Looking for a VP Who Can Rev Up the Right Flank
"On today's Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough said former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would be the best fit for Mitt Romney's running mate because "he is every bit as human and relaxed as Mitt Romney seems politically to be stiff and awkward." But while our own John Heilemann said T-Paw is certainly still "in the mix," he's not yet ready to rule out other potential candidates."
Politico: Rob Portman’s ‘genteel’ conservatism
"Sen. Rob Portman is a Bush man, all right. But just not the Bush you may be thinking of. In both his political education and political identity, Portman is much more closely aligned with the 41st president than with the 43rd. The Ohio senator and GOP vice-presidential finalist got his start in national politics on George H.W. Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign and partly owes his first congressional victory to former first lady Barbara Bush, who recorded a radio ad name-dropping Cincinnati’s Skyline Chili and Portman in the same sentence. And overall, his views and political style are more reminiscent of the first President Bush: center-right, bipartisan, results-oriented and gentlemanly, if not terribly charismatic."
AP: Portman: Boring in the Beltway, not on the rapids
"CINCINNATI (AP) — A few months before becoming a fixture in political speculation about Mitt Romney's search for a running mate while often being referred to as boring, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman was in a way-too-thrilling situation on a river in South America. He credits remembering a move he saw in a Mel Gibson movie with helping him survive."
NBC: Portman predicts Pennsylvania will turn red in Nov.
"LANCASTER, PA -- Even though a Republican presidential candidate has not won the Keystone State since 1988, one of Mitt Romney's top surrogates who just happens to be a potential vice presidential pick said he has "a feeling" Pennsylvania will turn red this November."
Slate: Bobby Jindal’s Science Problem
"It’s an election year, and plenty of things seem to matter to voters, including health care, the budget, unemployment, and women’s rights. But this year, as always, one of the things that doesn’t seem to matter is science. That’s particularly troubling because just about every challenge that America faces today has a scientific component, from revitalizing the economy to dealing with climate change to managing health care."
Univision: Bill Richardson: I’m “afraid” of Marco Rubio
"Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says that he is afraid of Marco Rubio’s ability to cut into President Obama’s Latino support. Richardson, a Mexican-American who ran against Obama in 2008 for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that the freshman Florida senator is one of the Republican Party’s fastest-rising stars who could make the GOP more appealing to Latino voters both in this election and in future ones."
The Hill: Sens. McCain, Ayotte warn against defense cuts ahead of town halls
"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday that the approaching automatic defense spending cuts would cause significant job losses and undermine national security. 'It's a very serious situation. Congress should sit down, Republicans and Democrats, and work this out, but we also need the president's leadership to call us together and avoid these cuts, again, that Secretary [Leon] Panetta said would be 'devastating' to our national defense,' said McCain on CNN's "Starting Point."
Is it me, or have they gotten dumber? A comparison of the same thirty-day period in both cycles.
2008 Obama campaign emails: June 24 - July 24
Back then, the Obama campaign's emails often had data, strategy and an air of knowingness.
2012 Obama campaign emails: June 24 - July 24
The poll numbers and strategy videos are gone. Now, the campaign's emails are often hectoring, manipulative and full of angst, and there are just way more of them.
Romney campaign VP picker Beth Myers recently tweeted a shortlist of contenders for Romney's running mate. Pictured below are some of those candidates along with a few others which are sure to spice up the campaign and distract from bad headlines.
After Lech Walesa endorses Romney, the trade union co-founded by the former Polish President says he doesn't speak for them.
Mitch McConnell talks to BuzzFeed about the Web, the election, and his plans to let Democrats take a few votes if he becomes Majority Leader. “I kind of like this new environment.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told BuzzFeed that while many of his generation mourn the fall of newspapers, he is celebrating the rise of social media — precisely because of the havoc it has wreaked on an old media landscape that, in his view, favored the Democrats.
“Let me tell you, I think the New York Times monopoly is over,” McConnell said. “Arthur Sulzberger used to have the biggest megaphone in America. And all you have to do is look at the dwindling size of newspapers, even one as big as his.”
McConnell, 70, spoke to BuzzFeed in his office overlooking the National Mall; he had tweeted of his plans for the interview earlier in the day from his iPad.
“To the extent that there isn’t media domination like there was in the days NBC, ABC, CBS the New York Times, the Washington Post, particularly since most people on my side of the aisle feel they had a pretty obvious bias … those days are over,” he said. “I kind of like this new environment. I think its much more competitive, much more balanced."
“From a conservative point of view we have a better chance of competing in the marketplace of ideas,” he said.
McConnell noted that the same disruption roiling the national media landscape has been felt in his home state of Kentucky, and particularly at the Courier-Journal, once the state’s most dominant source of political news. The paper “recently hired a business type guy. With a tech background. Totally a nontraditional type of publisher,” McConnell said, adding that, “the message is pretty clear. They’re trying to figure out how to save the business and position it for the future.”
The four-term senator, who prior to coming to Washington served as Jefferson County’s top executive, has watched as technology has shaped not only how politicians communicate with the public but also its basic operations over his 28 years in office.
“Let me tell you about 1984. We called collect. We went to a pay phone, and we called collect. And in those days, you know, you could not only get your quarter or whatever it was back, you had enough time to give ‘em the number. So we’d stop at a pay phone and call in collect, get the quarter back, leave ‘em a number and they’d call back,” McConnell recalled.
“On commercials, If you wanted to look at a rough cut, they had to overnight it you. And you’d put it in the VCR and see what you thought about it, call ‘em up and say ‘this part works, this part doesn’t seem to work.’ When they finally got the rough cut turned into a final product, they had to then overnight it to the station,” McConnell said of the multiday process.
“In the 1990 reelect, we had a car phone. But it didn’t work in most parts of the state and we were still using fax machines,” McConnell said with a laugh. “By 1996, it was sort of the beginning of some kind of use of the internet, the car phone was working better by 1996, we were still using fax machines and the way in which you transmitted your commercials to the stations still had not really changed.”
After his 1996 victory, the changes accelerated.
HuffPost - Russell Brand began his panel at the 2012 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour basking in some good news: his stream-of-consciousness FX talk show"Brand X With Russell Brand" had been renewed for an additional 7 episodes. But Brand being Brand, he couldn't let the session pass without issuing a vulgar proclamation about Sarah Palin that immediately overshadowed a discussion about his re-tooled show.
Pontificating on her popularity, Brand mused, "People want to fuck her. That's why they tolerate the other stuff."
Brand's Palin jokes have gotten him into hot water before. In 2008, after hosting the MTV Video Music Awards, he admitted that the network had cut a joke from the telecast involving Palin's then-pregnant daughter Bristol, abortion and the electric chair. "I wanted to say she was forcing her teenage daughter to have a baby because she is so anti-abortion. But also, as a Republican she is pro-execution so she is going to give her the electric chair for being a little slut," Brand told The Telegraph.
Brand also spoke out against Chick-Fil-A at the panel, the fast-food chicken restaurant that's come under fire after its CEO made comments disparaging gays. Brand called the restaurant "a racist chicken dispensary." Later, he clarified his remarks. "Didn't Chick-Fil-A say that they're racist now? Or homophobic? I get mixed up with the prejudices."
(CNN) – Sen. John McCain made a mistake in 2008 by picking then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, former Vice President Dick Cheney said in an interview that aired Sunday.
Cheney led the vice presidential search for Gerald Ford in 1976, and again for George W. Bush in 2000. That last search resulted in Cheney himself being selected, and he served as Bush's number two for eight years.
On Sunday, Cheney said Palin failed to meet the number one requirement for a vice president: a readiness to step into the top job if needed.
"Based on her background, she was only governor for two years, I don't think she passed that test of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake," Cheney said in an interview with ABC News.
Cheney, who said he knows and likes Palin, argued that considerations about which demographic a potential candidate could help pull in clouded the 2008 decision to put Palin on the ticket.
"Those are important issues but they should never be allowed to override that first proposition and I think that's one of the problems that McCain had," Cheney said.
The magazine revives the “wimp factor” cover line they famously used to needle George H.W. Bush in 1987.
2012 Newsweek cover
1987 Newsweek cover
The Bush cover was accompanied by this story. (The Romney profile isn't available online yet.)
The 911 call Justin Bieber made when paparazzi were following him on Friday has been released, and in it the teen singing sensation can be heard telling a dispatcher that photographers were again pursuing him recklessly on a Los Angeles freeway.
He also says police who ticketed him earlier — when he had been trying to evade the pursuing paparazzi — were “not nice” when he was trying to explain what was going on.
In the recording, which was obtained by radio station LA96.3FM and posted on TMZ, Bieber sounds tentative as he tells the dispatcher: “Um, I have like, five cars following me,” he said.
The dispatcher asks the 18-year-old star his name, and he replies: “Justin.”
When she asks for his last name, he pauses, then answers, “Johnson.”
Bieber made the call after he was ticketed earlier that day for speeding, and he’s said he was driving fast to evade the aggressive paparazzi.
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