maxomai: dog (dog)
The anti-gay Oregon Family Council apparently decided that Oregon United for Marriage is likely to not only get their get their initiative to legalize same-sex marriage in Oregon onto the 2014 ballot, but is likely to win that election. To fight back, they have submitted a proposal for an initiative that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian weddings. ThinkProgress has the scoop.

The language of the initiative reads as follows:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if doing so would violate a person’s deeply held religious beliefs, a person acting in a nongovernmental capacity may not be:

(a) Penalized by the state or a political subdivision of this state for declining to solemnize, celebrate, participate in, facilitate, or support any same-sex marriage ceremony or its arrangements, same-sex civil union ceremony or its arrangements, or same-sex domestic partnership ceremony or its arrangements; or

(b) Subject to a civil action for declining to solemnize, celebrate, participate in, facilitate, or support any same-sex marriage ceremony or its arrangements, same-sex civil union ceremony or its arrangements, or same-sex domestic partnership ceremony or its arrangements.


Ostensibly, this stems from two incidents where Oregon bakeries (Sweet Cakes and Fleur Cakes) refused service to lesbian couples who wanted cakes for their weddings. (Same-sex marriage is presently illegal in Oregon, but legal just across the Columbia River, in Washington.) The couples filed complaints with the State that the bakeries violated Oregon's anti-discrimination law, which says, among other things, that a public business cannot refuse service to LGBT customers. Sweet Cakes responded by shutting its doors and moving to a private kitchen, probably so they would no longer be a public business.

On the face of it, this initiative is intended to shield Christian businesses (such as bakeries) from having to compromise their beliefs and serve same-sex couples. There are two other intentions here that are less obvious:


  1. Rally support against the Oregon United for Marriage initiative. It's not just enough to say, "we're against this." They also have to frame this as a fight to prevent real people from real harm. Like it or not, being forced to choose between your business and your religious beliefs is a compelling story of victimhood.

  2. Rally support against Senator Jeff Merkley. He's up for re-election in 2014, at the same time that both this initiative and the Oregon United for Marriage initiative should be on the ballot. He was also critical in passing SB2, which became the Oregon law banning LGBT discrimination. This initiative helps to frame the case for defeating him in the next election.



I have no doubt that the Oregon Family Council measure will make it to the ballot. Oregon's liberal, blue-state reputation comes mostly from the Portland metro area and Eugene. Outside of those areas - including in Salem - it's more like Idaho. Ergo, there's certainly enough signatures to qualify the initiative. Whether it will succeed in the polls is another matter. It's not just anti-gay bigots who are going to vote for this measure, but also libertarians who don't want the State telling bigots that they have to violate their morals or close their businesses. Oregon doesn't have enough of the religious right to pass this measure, but it could have enough libertarians to pass this law. Those same libertarians, by the way, are likely to also vote for the same-sex marriage statute. The principle in both cases is that government shouldn't be the arbiter of moral behavior.
maxomai: dog (dog)
Earlier today, I linked to this post by Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian regarding possible gun legislation in this legislative session. His read on it was that something was in the works, based in part on Senator Betsy Johnson's remarks:

But senators are continuing to talk about the issue behind the scenes, and it appears that Johnson is amenable to a compromise, particularly on what she calls, in a recent Facebook post, "reasonable gun background check legislation."


This got the Oregon Firearms Federation all riled up.

Senator Betsy Johnson, who until now has been a solid “no” on new gun restrictions, appears to be changing her mind.

After a stint away from the Capitol due to a car accident, she has said she is open to a “reasonable background check bill.”

NY billionaire Michael Bloomberg just dropped over a million dollars in Nevada to ram through this kind of new attack on gun rights. And we know he’s planning to spend heavily here in Oregon.


Well, Senator Betsy Johnson has responded with an email, and her answer, basically, is that it's all bullpucky.

Read more... )

It's possible, of course, that Johnson is lying here. After all, she's a politician, and such persons are known to bend the truth a bit. But odds are, now, that further legislation is off the table, and that Jeff Mapes and the OFF are making much ado about nothing.
maxomai: dog (Default)
The Oregon Ducks Mascot's workout:



Contrast against Willie the Wildcat's workout:



In summary, Go Ducks.
maxomai: dog (Default)
A year ago - December 27, 2011 - I gave my predictions for what would happen in 2012. Unlike most other political pundits, however, I score myself on my predictions a year later.

My predictions for last year were:


  1. Barack Obama will be re-elected to a second term as President.

  2. John Boehner will be ousted as Speaker of the House.

  3. Democrats will just barely hold on to the US Senate

  4. The US unemployment rate will dip below 8%.

  5. The European Union will hold on .. barely.

  6. Inflation will remain below 10%.

  7. Protest movements in the US, Russia, Europe and MENA will accelerate.

  8. The US will substantially reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan.

  9. Oregon will win the Rose Bowl.



Let's see how I did!

Read more... )
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First read this: The Slow Death of the Oregon Republican Party.

Now consider the potential to do the following for kicks:


  1. Vote for Rick Santorum just to keep his one-man wrecking crew alive a bit longer

  2. Write in progressive Democrats for the Republican primary elections for both Attorney General and State Treasurer



    1. Admittedly, I wouldn't be sincere in my conversion to the GOP, and would probably switch back before the end of the year. But it wouldn't be the first time I voted for a Republican, either. The last time was in the 1990s, when I voted against Pat Quinn for something.
maxomai: dog (Default)
First read this: The Slow Death of the Oregon Republican Party.

Now consider the potential to do the following for kicks:


  1. Vote for Rick Santorum just to keep his one-man wrecking crew alive a bit longer

  2. Write in progressive Democrats for the Republican primary elections for both Attorney General and State Treasurer



    1. Admittedly, I wouldn't be sincere in my conversion to the GOP, and would probably switch back before the end of the year. But it wouldn't be the first time I voted for a Republican, either. The last time was in the 1990s, when I voted against Pat Quinn for something.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Today the State of Michigan holds its primary elections. Polling is all over the map - not only on who's ahead (between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum) but in which candidate is in the midst of a surge. Nate Silver gives Romney a 55% chance of victory in his model, which as far as he's concerned makes this race too close to call.

The narrative has shifted for Michigan. This used to be the state that Romney had to win or his inevitability would turn into a steaming wreck, and that Santorum had to win of else his campaign couldn't continue. Well, that's changed. Romney is no longer inevitable, Santorum's campaign will continue, and now Michigan is a test of organizational strength coming into "Super Tuesday" next week. A close win for either candidate isn't going to signal much other than this is still a two-horse race. Only a big win by either candidate - 15 points or more - is going to pose an existential threat to either Romney's or Santorum's campaign. If either candidate loses big, they have to find a way to come back next week, or their opponent takes sole possession of the first tier. That's what's at stake coming up.

And yes, this implies that, in all likelihood, this primary season is going to continue well into summer. Which means Oregon's primary might actually matter.
maxomai: dog (Default)
Today the State of Michigan holds its primary elections. Polling is all over the map - not only on who's ahead (between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum) but in which candidate is in the midst of a surge. Nate Silver gives Romney a 55% chance of victory in his model, which as far as he's concerned makes this race too close to call.

The narrative has shifted for Michigan. This used to be the state that Romney had to win or his inevitability would turn into a steaming wreck, and that Santorum had to win of else his campaign couldn't continue. Well, that's changed. Romney is no longer inevitable, Santorum's campaign will continue, and now Michigan is a test of organizational strength coming into "Super Tuesday" next week. A close win for either candidate isn't going to signal much other than this is still a two-horse race. Only a big win by either candidate - 15 points or more - is going to pose an existential threat to either Romney's or Santorum's campaign. If either candidate loses big, they have to find a way to come back next week, or their opponent takes sole possession of the first tier. That's what's at stake coming up.

And yes, this implies that, in all likelihood, this primary season is going to continue well into summer. Which means Oregon's primary might actually matter.
maxomai: dog (Default)
This is going to make a lot of heads explode.

An Oregon sheriff has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to block a concealed handgun license for a medical marijuana patient.


The sheriff has federal law on his side here. Medical marijuana is illegal in the United States regardless of its legality in Oregon. The Brady Bill prohibits marijuana users (of any kind) from owning firearms. The sheriff can make a convincing argument, I think, that the state should not permit someone who is forbidden to own firearms to carry those firearms.

However, this court might not be very sympathetic to this argument. First of all, the Brady Bill and the 1968 Gun Control Act both justify their constitutionality through the Interstate Commerce Clause, and SCOTUS has been somewhat skeptical of this lately. Secondly, the Court has been more sympathetic of late to Second Amendment causes (viz. Heller and McDonald) with respect to local restrictions. Whether they do the same to federal restrictions, I think, will depend on how eager they are to attack the commerce clause argument. I'm not inclined to hold my breath because this court has also been very sympathetic to drug prohibition; but you never really know with Scalia.
maxomai: dog (Default)
This is going to make a lot of heads explode.

An Oregon sheriff has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to block a concealed handgun license for a medical marijuana patient.


The sheriff has federal law on his side here. Medical marijuana is illegal in the United States regardless of its legality in Oregon. The Brady Bill prohibits marijuana users (of any kind) from owning firearms. The sheriff can make a convincing argument, I think, that the state should not permit someone who is forbidden to own firearms to carry those firearms.

However, this court might not be very sympathetic to this argument. First of all, the Brady Bill and the 1968 Gun Control Act both justify their constitutionality through the Interstate Commerce Clause, and SCOTUS has been somewhat skeptical of this lately. Secondly, the Court has been more sympathetic of late to Second Amendment causes (viz. Heller and McDonald) with respect to local restrictions. Whether they do the same to federal restrictions, I think, will depend on how eager they are to attack the commerce clause argument. I'm not inclined to hold my breath because this court has also been very sympathetic to drug prohibition; but you never really know with Scalia.
maxomai: dog (Default)
The Good News: NBC has given the green light to Grimm, a prime time series that takes place and is filmed in Portland, Oregon. The series will generate jobs and pump money into the local economy.

The Bad News:

"Grimm" is a fantasy-crime series, about a Portland homicide detective who learns he's descended from a line of hunters known as "Grimms." Their mission is to combat supernatural creatures of the kind described in the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.


Yup, it's your typical NBC one-season bomb. Get in on it while you can, kids!
maxomai: dog (Default)
The Good News: NBC has given the green light to Grimm, a prime time series that takes place and is filmed in Portland, Oregon. The series will generate jobs and pump money into the local economy.

The Bad News:

"Grimm" is a fantasy-crime series, about a Portland homicide detective who learns he's descended from a line of hunters known as "Grimms." Their mission is to combat supernatural creatures of the kind described in the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.


Yup, it's your typical NBC one-season bomb. Get in on it while you can, kids!
maxomai: dog (Default)

Incoming Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) campaigned on, among other things, creating jobs and killing a huge federal high speed rail project that ran through Madison and Milwaukee. Since he won election, he’s now finding out that it’s going to be very tough for him to do both: contractors working on the high-speed rail project have already laid off hundreds of workers, and a major rail manufacturer that opened up a plant in Milwaukee specifically to work on this project is now talking about relocating. The total effect could cost the state thousands of jobs that the line would have otherwise created. (More on this comedy of dumbasserie here.)


Andrew Cuomo has gracefully offered to take the $810 million off of Wisconsin’s hands and use it on their own high-speed rail project to connect Buffalo to NYC. Frankly, I think Illinois would do well to make their own bid for that money to connect Chicago to East St. Louis. Oregon and Washington would also do well to take some of that money for a high-speed connector linking Eugene to Seattle. It’s not like we can’t use the jobs.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Incoming Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) campaigned on, among other things, creating jobs and killing a huge federal high speed rail project that ran through Madison and Milwaukee. Since he won election, he’s now finding out that it’s going to be very tough for him to do both: contractors working on the high-speed rail project have already laid off hundreds of workers, and a major rail manufacturer that opened up a plant in Milwaukee specifically to work on this project is now talking about relocating. The total effect could cost the state thousands of jobs that the line would have otherwise created. (More on this comedy of dumbasserie here.)


Andrew Cuomo has gracefully offered to take the $810 million off of Wisconsin’s hands and use it on their own high-speed rail project to connect Buffalo to NYC. Frankly, I think Illinois would do well to make their own bid for that money to connect Chicago to East St. Louis. Oregon and Washington would also do well to take some of that money for a high-speed connector linking Eugene to Seattle. It’s not like we can’t use the jobs.








Originally published at maxomai.org

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The Oregon Ducks are now officially number one in the BCS and the Coaches’ Polls.


As they should be. The only team that kicked more ass that day was The Roots.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

The Oregon Ducks are now officially number one in the BCS and the Coaches’ Polls.


As they should be. The only team that kicked more ass that day was The Roots.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Election day is next Tuesday, and we’re coming up on the point where it’s pretty easy to see what will happen. With that in mind, here’s what I’m predicting will happen on Nov. 2nd.


THE HOUSE is going to go Republican. I’m not really out on a limb in saying this: pretty much every poll watcher out there predicts that about 50-60 seats will switch hands. Daily Kos front-pagers like to point out that Nate Silver gives the Democrats a roughly one-in-six chance of holding on to the House. Those numbers are not what I’d call confidence-inspiring.


More recently, SUSA has started polling races including households that are cell-phone-only, and they are picking up a small but measurable difference from polls that are land-line only. This difference could be worth two points — enough to greatly improve the Democrats’ chances of holding the House. Again, I wouldn’t hold my breath.


As far as specific races go, I think Democrats will hold OR-1, OR-4, OR-5, ND-AL and NH-2. I’ll also go out on a limb and predict that they hold FL-8, with Alan Grayson motivating Democrats in his district far beyond national levels. I think the GOP will win WA-3.


THE SENATE Recent polling in California and Washington gives the Democrats much better chances there. Nate Silver gives the GOP about a 10% chance to take control of the Senate, and both he and the polling averages predict the Democrats holding 52 seats. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Democrats will have 54 seats next year, winning two of the following four by a narrow margin: Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania. I had hoped that Rand Paul would implode in Kentucky, and it looked like that might happen when late September polling showed a statistical dead heat. Rand Paul has pulled ahead, however, and I think it’s because Conway’s Aquabuddha ad fell flat. Apparently, not being a dyed-in-the-wool Christian is also Okay If You’re A Republican. As for the three-way races in Alaska and Florida, those are going to Murkowski (I) and Rubio (R), respectively. My guess is that Murkowski will continue to caucus with the Republicans even after they stripped her of her committee assignments.


GOVERNOR’S RACES Here the Democrats are going to get clobbered. Nate Silver predicts that the GOP will control 30 seats next year, and I think that’s a safe bet. The Democrats will win in California, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. I think Rick Scott (R) will win in Florida after African American voters, angry at stories that Bill Clinton allegedly tried to get Kendrick Meek to drop out, punish the Democrats by declining to vote for Alex Sink (D). Lincoln Chafee (I) is going to win in Rhode Island; his opposition is a blue dog Democrat and a teabag Republican, and Chafee, although a former Republican, is easily more liberal than either one of them. Finally, I don’t think Pat Quinn (D) will be able to pull it out in Illinois. (I admit that part of my pessimism about Quinn stems from my strong dislike of his antics in the 1970s and 1980s.)


Feel free to offer your own predictions in the comments.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

Election day is next Tuesday, and we’re coming up on the point where it’s pretty easy to see what will happen. With that in mind, here’s what I’m predicting will happen on Nov. 2nd.


THE HOUSE is going to go Republican. I’m not really out on a limb in saying this: pretty much every poll watcher out there predicts that about 50-60 seats will switch hands. Daily Kos front-pagers like to point out that Nate Silver gives the Democrats a roughly one-in-six chance of holding on to the House. Those numbers are not what I’d call confidence-inspiring.


More recently, SUSA has started polling races including households that are cell-phone-only, and they are picking up a small but measurable difference from polls that are land-line only. This difference could be worth two points — enough to greatly improve the Democrats’ chances of holding the House. Again, I wouldn’t hold my breath.


As far as specific races go, I think Democrats will hold OR-1, OR-4, OR-5, ND-AL and NH-2. I’ll also go out on a limb and predict that they hold FL-8, with Alan Grayson motivating Democrats in his district far beyond national levels. I think the GOP will win WA-3.


THE SENATE Recent polling in California and Washington gives the Democrats much better chances there. Nate Silver gives the GOP about a 10% chance to take control of the Senate, and both he and the polling averages predict the Democrats holding 52 seats. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that the Democrats will have 54 seats next year, winning two of the following four by a narrow margin: Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania. I had hoped that Rand Paul would implode in Kentucky, and it looked like that might happen when late September polling showed a statistical dead heat. Rand Paul has pulled ahead, however, and I think it’s because Conway’s Aquabuddha ad fell flat. Apparently, not being a dyed-in-the-wool Christian is also Okay If You’re A Republican. As for the three-way races in Alaska and Florida, those are going to Murkowski (I) and Rubio (R), respectively. My guess is that Murkowski will continue to caucus with the Republicans even after they stripped her of her committee assignments.


GOVERNOR’S RACES Here the Democrats are going to get clobbered. Nate Silver predicts that the GOP will control 30 seats next year, and I think that’s a safe bet. The Democrats will win in California, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. I think Rick Scott (R) will win in Florida after African American voters, angry at stories that Bill Clinton allegedly tried to get Kendrick Meek to drop out, punish the Democrats by declining to vote for Alex Sink (D). Lincoln Chafee (I) is going to win in Rhode Island; his opposition is a blue dog Democrat and a teabag Republican, and Chafee, although a former Republican, is easily more liberal than either one of them. Finally, I don’t think Pat Quinn (D) will be able to pull it out in Illinois. (I admit that part of my pessimism about Quinn stems from my strong dislike of his antics in the 1970s and 1980s.)


Feel free to offer your own predictions in the comments.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

KATU has the news:


Dr. John Kitzhaber (D) 48

Chris “The Dud” Dudley (R) 41

MOE 4.2


Those of us who dreaded the prospect of Chris Dudley, a plutocrat who made his name as a basketball player, becoming the next Governor of Oregon, might be breathing a sigh of relief at these numbers. I know I sure am, especially because they come from Survey USA. That doesn’t erase three important facts:



  • This is still a statistical dead heat

  • The Tea Party is still very, very motivated

  • There’s still a lot of GOTV to be done before now and Tuesday.


So please, don’t take this poll as a sign that Kitzhaber has won. Make sure to vote and make sure that your friends and loved ones vote. This race is close, and it matters for Oregon.








Originally published at maxomai.org

maxomai: dog (Default)

KATU has the news:


Dr. John Kitzhaber (D) 48

Chris “The Dud” Dudley (R) 41

MOE 4.2


Those of us who dreaded the prospect of Chris Dudley, a plutocrat who made his name as a basketball player, becoming the next Governor of Oregon, might be breathing a sigh of relief at these numbers. I know I sure am, especially because they come from Survey USA. That doesn’t erase three important facts:



  • This is still a statistical dead heat

  • The Tea Party is still very, very motivated

  • There’s still a lot of GOTV to be done before now and Tuesday.


So please, don’t take this poll as a sign that Kitzhaber has won. Make sure to vote and make sure that your friends and loved ones vote. This race is close, and it matters for Oregon.








Originally published at maxomai.org

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