Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume LXXXV

-A bit of news regarding my state senate district.

Local Republican leaders last week rescinded the formal admonishment of Sen. Brendan Petersen they had approved last year in the wake of his vote to legalize same-sex marriage.

"Sen. Petersen had a lot of other positive things going for him," said Don Huizenga, a deputy chair of the Senate District 35 Republicans. "We wanted him to go into session with a clear conscious."

Leaders said and the time and Huizenga reiterated this week, that the vote of 'no confidence' his district leaders took last June had less to do with Petersen's vote on marriage itself and more to do with him not be upfront about his plans.

In the spring of 2011, while a member of the MN House, Petersen voted "yes" to place the marriage amendment on the ballot for Minnesota voters to decide the issue. He was on my radio program shortly thereafter and I asked his reasoning behind that vote. From what I recall, he felt that marriage was a religious institution, thus there being no theological basis for same-sex marriage. However, he was adamant in his belief that two adults should be able to have a contract with the state, so he was very open to supporting civil union legislation if it ever came forward that session.

But just after last year's legislative session began, Sen. Petersen was proactive in engaging the gay marriage issue (the amendment to define marriage as one man-one woman failed a few months earlier) to ensure religious protection was included in any bill. Since the DFL had complete control of state government, Petersen knew where was a strong possibility that legislation would be brought forth that would make only necessary tweaks to the state statute that made gay marriage illegal. Said tweaks likely would not have included a provision safeguarding churches from violating their core beliefs and thus having to capitulate to allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies. While I opposed gay marriage (and still do), I supported Sen. Petersen's actions. To me, he had his constituents in mind when crafting this legislation. He knew the majority of his SD opposed gay marriage, so he found the most workable solution.

In the end, the folks in our district were not 100% satisfied. But I guarantee that had our state senator not stepped into the fray, our satisfaction level would have been significantly less.

- It was announced that Fox News guy Bill O'Reilly will interview President Barack Obama on Super Bowl Sunday. Said interview will air during the pregame show.

This isn't something I'm particularly interested in watching on what is one of my favorite days of the year. In one chair will be an insufferably arrogant, narcissistic, thin-skinned individual. And in the other chair will be the President of the United States.

- Texas Democrat Wendy Davis, a state senator most famous for a long filibuster while donning pink tennis shoes, is looking to be the next governor of the Lonestar state. Since she's a Dem, she had little chance of prevailing in a general election in the first place. However, the seemingly minuscule chance seemed to dissipate with the revelation that her personal bio may have been exaggerated.

While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography — a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement — that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising.

The basic elements of the narrative are true, but the full story of Davis’ life is more complicated, as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves. In the shorthand version that has developed, some facts have been blurred.

Davis was 21, not 19, when she was divorced. She lived only a few months in the family mobile home while separated from her husband before moving into an apartment with her daughter.

A single mother working two jobs, she met Jeff Davis, a lawyer 13 years older than her, married him and had a second daughter. He paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her time at Harvard Law School, and kept their two daughters while she was in Boston. When they divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support.

In an extensive interview last week, Davis acknowledged some chronological errors and incomplete details in what she and her aides have said about her life.

“My language should be tighter,” she said. “I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.”

Naturally, many of Davis's detractors pounced on this, asking why she felt the need to omit some of the key facts. Davis then responded with an epic stream of tweets.

This one has to be my favorite (if not most ironic):

"Abbott" is Greg Abbott, her prospective GOP opponent in the gubernatorial race. Yes, that Greg Abbott, the gentleman who was paralyzed nearly thirty years ago upon an oak tree falling on him, thus confining him to a wheelchair. Yeah, what possible insight could he have into any kind of struggle?


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