Ken Cuccinelli Wants to Make Me a Class 6 Felon?

That’s a helluva way to get my vote.

I presently live in Virginia. Under the guise of wanting “an important tool that prosecutors use to put child molesters in jail,” Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ken Cuccinelli wants to restore a ban on oral and anal sex in the commonwealth. The ban was struck down earlier this year as unconstitutional following the Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.

From Mother Jones:

Cuccinelli claims he will only use the sodomy law to bring cases involving minors or sexual assault, and argues that Virginians need not worry about him prosecuting “consenting adults,” because the part of the law that would enable him to do so was defanged by the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision. But in 2004, when a bipartisan group of state Senators was trying to fix the sodomy law so that it would only apply to cases involving minors and non-consensual sex, Cuccinelli, then a state Senator, blocked the effort. And in 2009, as my colleague Andy Kroll has noted, Cuccinelli made clear that he objected to oral and anal sex (at least between gay people) on principle, telling the Virginian-Pilot, “My view is that homosexual acts—not homosexuality, but homosexual acts—are wrong. They’re intrinsically wrong. And I think in a natural law-based country it’s appropriate to have policies that reflect that…They don’t comport with natural law.”

If this struggle is really about people who prey on the young and defenseless, why isn’t he merely asking for longer sentences for child sex crimes?

One more thing: If the entire Ken Cuccinelli crew doesn’t realize that most heterosexual voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia have at some point engaged in precisely the kind of consensual adult fun he wants to ban, he and his associates are terrifically boring and I feel damn sorry for the whole lot of them. Really, really sorry.

Let ’em Drop Out


Governor Steve Beshear doesn’t like that so many students drop out of school, so he’s an enthusiastic booster of the recent Kentucky Senate Bill 97, which requires that more young people must seek permission from their local school board before they depart. Once a 55% majority of school districts adopt this as a policy, it becomes mandatory for every young person in the state to seek permission (or turn 18) before departing high school.

There are several reasons why this policy is disrespectful to parents and young people, but the one that jumps out at me most right now is that there appears to be no exception in the law for kids that drop out to go to college or technical school. The exceptions detailed here make no mention of higher education. Say what you will about the value of college or vocational degrees, but they’re easily far more valuable than a high school diploma. Telling young people that they can’t skip high school for the rigors of college or often-just-as-challenging technical school is, at best, insulting.

Disclaimer:

  • I do believe that dropping out of high school is generally a poor decision. Even if you accept the idea that most of what you learn in high school is close to useless, the vast majority of a would-be dropout’s potential future employers use that diploma as a blunt screening device. Don’t get a diploma and you’ve already basically struck out.
  • My experience suggests that the last year of high school is maddeningly close to a total waste of time.

Rand Paul: Two DOMA-Related News Stories

The ABC News story: “Rand Paul: On Gay Marriage GOP Needs to ‘Agree to Disagree’”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told ABC News he believes the Supreme Court ruling on  the Defense of Marriage Act  was appropriate,  and that the issue should be left to the states. He praised Justice Anthony Kennedy for avoiding “a cultural war.”

“As a country we can agree to disagree,” Paul said today, stopping for a moment to talk as he walked through the Capitol. “As a Republican Party, that’s kind of where we are as well. The party is going to have to agree to disagree on some of these issues.”

The comments from Paul, a likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016, highlight how the party’s field could divide over  gay marriage. Many Republicans have been unusually muted in their reactions to the Supreme Court rulings today.

Paul said he agreed with Kennedy, whom he called “someone who doesn’t just want to be in front of opinion but wants government to keep up with opinion.” He said Kennedy “tried to strike a balance.”

The Louisville Courier-Journal story: “Rand Paul suggests gay-marriage ruling a step closer to legalizing human-animal unions”

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul suggested Wednesday that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act moves the country toward accepting marriages between people and animals.

Paul’s spokeswoman, however, said the senator was being sarcastic.

The comment came after radio talk show host Glenn Beck raised questions about whether the law could prohibit polygamous marriages following the ruling that requires the federal government to treat legally married gay couples the same as heterosexual couples.

“Who are you to say, if I’m a devout Muslim and I come over here and have three wives … that I can’t have multiple marriages?” Beck asked Paul.

Paul responded: “I think it’s a conundrum. If we have no laws on this, people take it to one extension further, does it have to be humans, you know?

Bagley said in a statement that Paul’s words were misunderstood.

“Sarcasm sometimes doesn’t translate adequately from radio conversation. Senator Paul did not suggest that striking down DOMA could lead to unusual marriage arrangements,” she said. “What he was discussing was that having no state involvement in marriage could lead to marriages with no basis in reality.”

Chris Hartman, a spokesman for the Fairness Campaign, said Paul’s statement “proves his capacity for bigotry.”

Hartman said Paul is “is talking about a radical redefinition of two people in love” and that he does so out of “bigotry, ignorance and potentially hate.” He said the “right wing is losing its grip” and that Paul’s words remind him of the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, “desperately clawing at a cliff that is not there.”

“If Senator Paul wants to marry his dog, he can work to create the groundswell of support to do something like that, but that is not what this is about,” Hartman said.

Robert Gates Slams James Clapper?

166899433.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-largeEx-CIA chief Robert Gates appears to believe that the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, should be punished for lying to Congress:

The debate over freedom and security is as old as the republic, and it’s a debate that should always continue, but it’s a debate that needs to take place within the rules, because if a single individual within the system can decide for himself or herself that [his or her] judgment overrides all of that of all the institutions I’ve described, then that’s a formula for chaos and anarchy.

Whoops. My bad. He’s talking about Ed Snowden.

James Clapper’s ‘Least Untruthful’ Statement to Congress

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s ‘least untruthful’ formulation of an answer to Ron Wyden made clear that the volume of information stored by the federal government about Americans’ communications has been dramatically understated. Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, argues that an honest debate about the supposed tradeoffs between liberty and security is one that can be had in public without giving over essential information to bad actors.

The NSA: Future Crime Unit

The country that would become the United States fought a revolution to turn back the kinds of abuses that had made King George so despised. One of those abuses was the use of “general warrants,” a kind of police authorization that required no specific goal or purpose. The National Security Agency, in vacuuming up so much of Americans’ communications, has effectively recreated the general warrant. Here’s Jim Harper discussing the implications of maintaining vast databases of Americans’ communications without cause.