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#Arizona

“Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.

The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.

After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.

To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before.

Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.

It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.

Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value. So is non-discrimination.”

Republican governor JAN BREWER, vetoing SB 1062, which would have allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based solely on sexual orientation.

She vetoed it, yes.  But read the language in her veto letter and take it for what it’s worth: Brewer and others like her continuing to put the “definition” of marriage before the issue of civil and human rights.

(via The Arizona Republic)

Gov. Jan Brewer’s closest advisers and the Arizona Republican establishment are urging her to veto Senate Bill 1062, the controversial right-to-refuse-service legislation that landed on her desk Monday.

The Republican governor, who was still on the East Coast on Monday, remained noncommittal about how she will act on the legislation.

Meanwhile, a tidal wave of opposition grew, her closest friends and allies echoed that opposition, and three Republican state senators who voted for the bill, including one of its co-sponsors, said they regretted their votes and urged her to nix the legislation.

Brewer said her office had received more than 10,000 calls and e-mails about SB 1062.

“I certainly haven’t made up my mind,” Brewer told The Arizona Republic during a break at the winter conference of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C. “I need to get back (to Arizona) and hear from people.”

Brewer returns to Phoenix today and has meetings scheduled for Wednesday about SB 1062, which would expand religious protections in state law in a way that critics claim would be discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

The governor will meet with people on both sides of the debate before making a decision, although she did not say who was on her schedule: “There are always two sides to a story,” she said.

She has until the end of the day on Saturday to sign the bill, veto it or allow it to become law without her signature.

No one close to her will speculate publicly about how Brewer will ultimately act. However, those with insight into her administration say the groundswell of opposition gives her political cover if she uses her veto on a bill that was overwhelmingly supported by her party in the Legislature.

Over the weekend, Arizona’s U.S. senators came out against the bill.

The major candidates for governor in this year’s election issued statements over the weekend saying they would veto SB 1062.

Business organizations, including tech giant Apple and American Airlines Group, signed onto the veto bandwagon. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, which is overseeing preparations for the 2015 NFL championship game in Glendale, issued a statement on Monday expressing opposition and saying the bill would “deal a significant blow to the state’s economic-growth potential.”

And religious leaders increasingly said they saw no purpose in what supporters call a “religious-freedom bill.”

The Arizona Republic, "Brewer Pressed to Veto SB 1062."

That this asswipe is waiting until the last possible day to do the right thing should tell you she’s probably a fucking hateful homophobe, so whatever.

Arizona cannot enforce its ban on abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancies, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning.

The justice rejected a bid by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery to review an appellate court ruling concluding the 2012 law is likely unconstitutional. The justices gave no reason for their decision in their brief order.

The Arizona law made it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion on a woman who is beyond the 19th week of pregnancy. The only exceptions are when necessary to prevent a woman’s death or “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Last year, however, the 9th Circuit said the law is not enforceable. The judges said Supreme Court precedents have made it clear that women have an absolute right to terminate a pregnancy at any time prior to viability, something that does not occur until around the 23rd or 24th week.

Montgomery, however, contended Arizona lawmakers have a legitimate interest in stepping in.

He cited testimony — disputed by some — that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Montgomery also said the procedure has an increased risk to the mother after that point.

Appellate Judge Marsh Berzon, writing for the 9th Circuit, said all that is legally irrelevant.

"A woman has a constitutional right to choose to terminate her pregnancy before the fetus is viable," she wrote. "A prohibition on the exercise of that right is per se unconstitutional."

In a concurring opinion, Judge Andrew Kleinfeld brushed aside the measure’s stated interest in protecting a woman’s health as a reason to keep her from getting an abortion at or after 20 weeks.

"People are free to do many things to their health, such as surgery to improve their quality of life but unnecessary to preserve life," Kleinfeld wrote. "There appears to be no authority for making an exception to this general liberty regarding one’s own health for abortion."

The ruling was cheered by Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented several Arizona doctors who had challenged the law. She said the high court, by its action, affirmed the 9th Circuit’s “sound decision that Arizona’s abortion ban is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing precedent.”

She also noted that the ruling likely had broader implications, as lawmakers in several other states have approved similar measures.

"Women should not be forced to run to court, year after year, in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights and access to critical health care," Northup said in a prepared statement.

The Arizona Daily Star, "Arizona Cannot Enforce Abortion Ban, Supreme Court Rules"

Evening News Wrap Wednesday 4 December 2013.

(Scientific rendering of the Sima de los Huesos people, who lived 400,000 years ago in what is now Spain, by Javier Trueba / Madrid Scientific Films via NBC News)

Mayer fire department chaplain Rev. Bob Ossler reacts during a memorial service for the 19 wilderness firefighters who were killed on Sunday when when an out-of-control blaze overtook the elite group near Yarnell, Arizona.  (Photo: AP via The Telegraph)

Mayer fire department chaplain Rev. Bob Ossler reacts during a memorial service for the 19 wilderness firefighters who were killed on Sunday when when an out-of-control blaze overtook the elite group near Yarnell, Arizona.  (Photo: AP via The Telegraph)

Nineteen firefighters were killed on Sunday battling a fast-moving wildfire menacing a small town in central Arizona.

The firefighters died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire near the town of Yarnell, about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix. Steve Skurja, a spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, said there were “several fires still active” in the Yarnell area. In a search of the scene, Mr. Skurja said, crews found the bodies of the firefighters.

They were members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a specialist team of wildfire fighters based in Prescott, Ariz., said Mike Reichling, a spokesman for the Tempe Fire Department. He declined to identify the men until their families had been notified.

“This is as dark a day as I can remember,” Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, said in a statement. “It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: fighting fires is dangerous work,” she said. “When a tragedy like this strikes, all we can do is offer our eternal gratitude to the fallen, and prayers for the families and friends left behind. God bless them all.”

President Obama issued a statement Monday as he was ending a visit to South Africa and flying to Tanzania. “Yesterday, 19 firefighters were killed in the line of duty while fighting a wildfire outside Yarnell, Arizona. They were heroes — highly skilled professionals who, like so many across our country do every day, selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens they would never meet.

“Michelle and I join all Americans in sending our thoughts and prayers to the families of these brave firefighters and all whose lives have been upended by this terrible tragedy.”

The firefighters had to deploy their emergency shelters when “something drastic happened,” Fire Chief Dan Fraijo of Prescott told The Associated Press.

The crew killed in the blaze had worked other wildfires in recent weeks in New Mexico and Arizona. The unit was established in 2002.

In a Facebook post, the United States Wildland Fire Aviation Service asked “for prayers for the families and friends of these brave men and women.”

Until Sunday, Arizona had suffered 21 firefighter fatalities in wildfires since 1955, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The New York Times, "Fast-Moving Blaze Kills 19 Firefighters in Central Arizona."

Oh my God.

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down an Arizona law that requires people to submit proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

The vote was 7-2, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the court. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, two members of the court’s conservative wing, dissented.

Several states said that such a law reduces voter fraud, but civil rights groups said it was an effort to discourage voting by legal immigrants. The case was argued and decided at a time when the country is considering how to change its immigration laws.

Citizenship is a requirement to vote in any federal election, and the federal registration form requires people to state, under penalty of perjury, that they are American citizens. States can use their own forms, but they must be equivalent to the federal form.

The Arizona law, known as Proposition 200, adopted by Arizona voters in 2004, went further than the federal form by requiring applicants to provide proof of citizenship.

Challengers to the law argued that it put an extra burden on naturalized citizens. Using a naturalization document as proof would require an applicant to register in person, as opposed to through the mail, because federal law prohibits copying the document.

A federal appeals court said that Arizona had gone too far and essentially rejected the federal form. Arizona said it was not a rejection of the federal form any more than asking for ID at an airport is a rejection of a plane ticket.

Three other states — Alabama, Georgia and Kansas — have almost identical laws and joined Arizona in urging the court to uphold the additional requirements for proof of citizenship.

NBC News, "Supreme Court Strikes Down Arizona Immigration Law Requiring Proof of Citizenship to Vote"

From the March issue of Vogue:

What (former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, seen here with husband Mark Kelly at their Tucson home) can do is help save at least some children from being mowed down by guns and a few parents from a lifetime of grief. It’s an honorable task that, given our politically polarized culture, can actually get you hated. 
After her visit to Newtown, Giffords was assailed on Facebook by a Connecticut politician, who went after her in Wild West language one shouldn’t direct at the survivor of attempted murder. “Gabby Giffords stay out of my towns!” wrote this woman, who went on to accuse Giffords of “pure political motives.” 
In fact, her motives are more pure than political. The gunshot wound that nearly took her life has removed any political aspiration; paradoxically enough, it may have freed her in certain ways. When I ask (New York senator  Kristen) Gillibrand if her friend has changed since the shooting, she pauses in cautious senatorial fashion and then replies, “She was always positive, but now she’s more positive than I’ve ever known her. Some of the cynicism that weighs on your shoulders as a young congresswoman, that’s gone.” 
Giffords will need that positivity in her struggle for sensible gun laws, one that respects the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms but regulates it, as the constitution also says. We have, of course, been here many times before. The U. S. passed an assault-weapons ban in 1994 only to see it expire ten years later when Congress, seemingly cowed by the gun lobby, didn’t renew it. 
…Everyone realizes this will be hard, not least Giffords, who knows intimately the political temperature on Capitol Hill—and in the country. For tens of millions of Americans, there’s a deep-seated attachment to guns; in fact, fearful that new laws may make it harder to get firearms, people have been purchasing them in accelerated numbers. Still, things are happening both in the states (where, for example, New York has passed new gun legislation) and federally, with President Obama taking more than 20 executive actions and proposing tough new laws.
…Are you optimistic? I ask as she, Kelly, and I chat after the photo shoot. “Yes,” she says, “in the long term.” 
And what about the short term? 
Giffords just shrugs and gives me the smile of one who has learned the hard way not to expect too much too soon.

(Photo by Norma Jean Roy / Vogue)

From the March issue of Vogue:

What (former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, seen here with husband Mark Kelly at their Tucson home) can do is help save at least some children from being mowed down by guns and a few parents from a lifetime of grief. It’s an honorable task that, given our politically polarized culture, can actually get you hated.

After her visit to Newtown, Giffords was assailed on Facebook by a Connecticut politician, who went after her in Wild West language one shouldn’t direct at the survivor of attempted murder. “Gabby Giffords stay out of my towns!” wrote this woman, who went on to accuse Giffords of “pure political motives.”

In fact, her motives are more pure than political. The gunshot wound that nearly took her life has removed any political aspiration; paradoxically enough, it may have freed her in certain ways. When I ask (New York senator  Kristen) Gillibrand if her friend has changed since the shooting, she pauses in cautious senatorial fashion and then replies, “She was always positive, but now she’s more positive than I’ve ever known her. Some of the cynicism that weighs on your shoulders as a young congresswoman, that’s gone.”

Giffords will need that positivity in her struggle for sensible gun laws, one that respects the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to bear arms but regulates it, as the constitution also says. We have, of course, been here many times before. The U. S. passed an assault-weapons ban in 1994 only to see it expire ten years later when Congress, seemingly cowed by the gun lobby, didn’t renew it.

…Everyone realizes this will be hard, not least Giffords, who knows intimately the political temperature on Capitol Hill—and in the country. For tens of millions of Americans, there’s a deep-seated attachment to guns; in fact, fearful that new laws may make it harder to get firearms, people have been purchasing them in accelerated numbers. Still, things are happening both in the states (where, for example, New York has passed new gun legislation) and federally, with President Obama taking more than 20 executive actions and proposing tough new laws.

…Are you optimistic? I ask as she, Kelly, and I chat after the photo shoot. “Yes,” she says, “in the long term.”

And what about the short term?

Giffords just shrugs and gives me the smile of one who has learned the hard way not to expect too much too soon.

(Photo by Norma Jean Roy / Vogue)