Equality in Minnesota

I find this one particularly satisfying given the interactions I’ve had with some bigots from Minnesota:

Minnesota is poised to become the second Midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would allow the practice.

The House had been considered the measure’s toughest hurdle. The bill passed 75 to 59 and heads to the state’s Democratic-majority Senate, which is expected to consider it Monday.

Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, has said he will sign the measure.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest objection to equality came from the religious quarter. Denouncing that they were bigots, many appealed to the fact that their misgiving were premised not in hatred, but rather deep belief. As if the sincerity of the bigotry changes that it is, in stark fact, bigotry.

And down go the dominoes

As more and more Americans begin to realize that sexual orientation and morality have zero connection, more and more states keep making marriage equal:

In the past week, Rhode Island and Delaware became the 10th and 11th states to approve gay marriage. But so far, only legislatures in coastal or New England states have voted affirmatively for gay marriage. Except for Iowa, which allows gay marriage due to a 2009 judicial ruling, same-sex couples can’t get married in flyover country.

Minnesota might go first, but Illinois could be close behind. The state Senate there voted in February to allow same-sex marriage, and supporters think they’re close to securing the votes needed to get it through the House and on to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who says he’ll sign it.

Officially, Maine was the first state to make marriage equal by way of the ballot box, but it soon became officially legal in Maryland and Washington the same night. Not long after, Rhode Island caught up with the rest of New England through the legislative process, and, to the surprise of many, did it with very strong Republican support. Now the states that value liberty the most eagerly await the next moves in the mid-west and west.

The tyranny of the majority

No surprise here:

The Republican-led Minnesota legislature approved late Saturday putting a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to voters in November 2012.

The Minnesota House of Representatives voted 70 to 62 after about five hours of discussion, cementing the amendment’s place on the ballot for 2012. The Senate approved the proposed amendment earlier in May largely along party lines.

Minnesota law already bans gay marriage, but amendment sponsors argued that a constitutional amendment would ensure legislators or a small group of judges could not change that.

In other words, go to hell gays and go to hell civil rights, the majority is afraid of what they don’t understand. Of course, this is the state of Michele Bachmann, so maybe these people actually think the founding fathers thought majorities ought to be able to oppress minorities.

She won’t say yes

Michele Bachmann is stupid, but not stupid enough to take up such a sure loss:

Amy Myers, a high school sophomore from Cherry Valley, New Jersey, has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging the Minnesota Representative to a debate and public test on the constitution, U.S. history, and civics.

Myers says Bachmann’s frequent errors, misstatements and distortions aren’t just bad for civic discourse — they’re bad for women.

“Though politically expedient, incorrect comments cast a shadow on your person and by unfortunate proxy, both your supporters and detractors alike often generalize this shadow to women as a whole,” Myers writes.

So to show that Bachmann isn’t a great representative of her gender’s intellectual capacity, Myers proposes a battle of wits.

Bachmann knows she would be wrecked. Aside from the fact that she doesn’t seem to have even the most basic historical facts correct, she has a Teabagger point of view. That means she holds to the false notion that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that it has its founding in Christianity. (A Teabagger who doesn’t know American history? Weird, I know.) This would be more embarrassing than when Christine O’Donnell asked where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state.

I do hope she accepts, though. Now that Donald Trump is fading, the nation really could use another punching bag.

Want Jesus out of government?

A Jewish lawmaker form Minnesota wants to take Jesus out of legislative sessions. Great, right? Not quite.

A Jewish Minnesota lawmaker is asking Senate leaders to allow only nondenominational prayers to open sessions, after feeling “highly uncomfortable” when a Baptist pastor repeatedly mentioned Jesus Christ and Christianity in one of the invocations.

Democratic Sen. Terri Bonoff says she wants Republican Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch to change the letter submitted to all visiting chaplains to say they are “required,” rather than “requested,” to make prayers nondenominational.

“I’m a very religious woman and believe deeply in God,” said Bonoff, of the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka. “We honor God in public and our political discourse, and that’s proper. But in doing a nondenominational prayer we are honoring him without violating the separation of church and state.”

Uh-huh. It’s not okay to prayer to Jesus because it makes people uncomfortable. But praying to God? Why, that’s just dandy. Who could that possibly offend? What part of the constitution could that possibly violate?

Bonoff is obviously a mental midget, but she still may be able to win this battle. She just needs to look at the system itself.

Koch said Wednesday she wouldn’t support such a requirement. She said the Senate invites leaders from numerous Christian and non-Christian faith traditions to pray, and notifies them that senators come from a diverse background. “I’m not going to get into the process of sort of editing prayer,” Koch said.

If senators can invite leaders from all sorts of organizations, Bonoff ought to invite an atheist leader. It’s Minnesota, get PZ Myers. Or any other atheist. It doesn’t matter. As long as the person proudly wears the label of “atheist”, all these Republican mooks will immediately start backtracking. Get the person to appear over and over; don’t let anyone think it’s just a one-time thing. Show the anti-constitutional Republicans that if they want to violate the separation of church and state by using government resources to promote religion, then they’re going to have to deal with the consequences of promoting views they don’t like. (Actually, the “consequences” would probably be very good, but I’m biased with my positive views of reason and rationality.)

Al Franken is the likely winner

Great news. Al Franken is going to be declared the winner of the Minnesota Senate race today. That means one less backward-thinking Republican destroying the increasing morality of the U.S.

Now if only Rick Warren could go away.

Vermont rated healthiest state; Maine 9th

Vermont tops states in health, Louisiana ranks last.

It was the second straight year that Vermont topped the rankings. It was followed by Hawaii, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Idaho and Maine.

Louisiana fell from 49th to 50th, replacing Mississippi. Rounding out the bottom 10 were South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nevada and Georgia.

California, the most populous state, ranked 24th and New York 25th.

Vermont, with the second smallest population of any state, had the third-highest public health spending and an obesity rate of 22 percent, four points below the national average.

It also had low child poverty and violent crime, a large number of doctors per capita and good high school graduation rates.

Hawaii had similarly low obesity, the highest public health spending, little air pollution, low rates of uninsured people, a low rate of preventable hospitalizations and low rates of death from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Mississippi led the nation in obesity at 33 percent of the population, while Colorado was lowest at 19 percent.

22% is the obesity rate in the healthiest state. That’s absolutely absurd. But let’s keep outspending every nation combined on our military. Health certainly isn’t relevant or important to life.

By the way, is it any surprise the South makes up the whole of the bottom 10?

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