Racist Tacos — South Carolina spreading joy

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Just once, just once I would love for my home state to make the national news for something that wasn’t embarrassing.

In West Columbia, on the route to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, nestled between a nail salon and a bingo joint, there is a tiny taco restaurant called Taco Cid.  I’ve never been, but I might have to go now, just to see if I can get a glimpse of the racist t-shirt making the national “make fun of South Carolina” rounds.

This shirt is worn by the employees and sold by the restaurant to any interested buyer (via Corey Hutchins of the Free Times):

taco-cid

How to catch an illegal immigrant — a rabbit trap with a taco

What they have to say about the t-shirts on their website:

Our t-shirts were created as a witty and comical statement regarding ILLEGAL immigrants. There are NO racial nor hate remarks towards any specific ethnic group.

Taco Cid and its employees are not racist. We will serve EVERY individual with the same quality of service, respect in a friendly and welcoming manner.

Our food is fresh and prepared and served in the SAME QUALITY and QUANTITY, regardless of your race, religion or political views.

As most tax paying Americans, we do believe ILLEGAL immigrants are taxing the system we support and live under, thereby, causing us to work harder and pay more taxes in support of their illegal activities which our government has simply chosen to look the other way. Is it racist to disagree with those who are not supporting the American system?

We are an equal opportunity employer and will hire anyone who meets our needs and is a legal citizen or immigrant. We do not hire illegal immigrants. Our employees pay taxes.

We are open Monday through Saturday and closed Sundays — in observance of a day of worship.

If you do not agree with our views on ILLEGAL immigrants, please do not visit our establishment. If you agree with our view on American Equality in citizenship and tax fairness, then show your support and come join us for lunch or dinner.

The thing is, though, that immigrants in this country without permission are committing a civil offense, not a criminal one — calling an undocumented immigrant illegal is inherently marginalizing.  So the site just really compounds racist comment upon racist comment.  Not to mention the fact that immigrants bring a workforce that SC farms need to function, and thereby generate revenue.  Something that SC, which languishes as one of the most impoverished states in the nation, desperately needs.

Even better, the shirt isn’t even original — they’ve apparently lifted it from some offensive t-shirt website.  Awesome job, South Carolina.  Keep up the good work.

(More at Palmetto Public Record)

A National Database of the Mentally Ill

Subtitled: Has Anyone Here Heard of Client/Patient Confidentiality? No? No.

Today, the National Rifle Association had a press conference.

Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President spoke, and I, recently relocated back to Texas for the holidays, slept through it.

Then I saw the transcript, sat bolt upright in my bed, and got ranty on the internet.

The relevant bit (emphasis mine):

 The truth is, that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters. People that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons, that no sane person can every possibly comprehend them. They walk among us every single day, and does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school, he’s already identified at this very moment?

How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame from a national media machine that rewards them with wall-to-wall attention and a sense of identity that they crave, while provoking others to try to make their mark.

A dozen more killers, a hundred more? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill? The fact is this: That wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger, more lethal criminal class — killers, robbers, rapists, gang members who have spread like cancer in every community across our nation.

So, since the NRA seems long on rhetoric and short on facts, I thought I’d clear some stuff up for them.

Patient confidentiality exists even if you have mental illness.

Funny how that works, where you have rights still, when you have mental illness. Psychiatrists still have to follow HIPPA rules. In fact, notes on psychotherapy that are kept separate from medical charts are given even more protection. Was the NRA suggesting that we trounce all over patient confidentiality and require all diagnoses to be reported? Just the “dangerous” ones? Would someone like to clarify for me which ones those are?

Therapists are already required to report anyone who makes a credible threat, and warn any possible targets.

This is largely based on the Tarasoff Rule, which came out of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California. In essence, when a psychologist or therapist hears a client threaten harm, they are obligated to warn those people who may be in danger. “Protected privilege ends where the public peril begins.” This is one of several exceptions to confidentiality, which can be summed up as confidentiality except in instances of harm to self or others. (Which includes reports of child abuse while another child is in the home, risk of suicide, elder abuse, and any threats or injury or death to another.)

So, say there was a high correlation between being mentally ill and being violent. (There’s not.) And then say the Connecticut shooter was mentally ill and in treatment (As far as we know, he wasn’t.) And then, say he’d confessed his plan… oh wait, there’s already methods in place to deal with that. So your database does what now, NRA?

Not everyone with mental illness is diagnosed. 

So would you be requiring everyone to be tested for mental illness then? I mean, I’d be all over that if you didn’t then require that  the mentally ill be registered in a database à la sex offenders. 

Mental illness isn’t exactly uncommon. 

Twenty six percent of American adults meet criteria for a diagnosable disorder in a given year. That, for those of you inclined towards fractions, is one quarter of the population. Since I’ve noticed that it’s somewhat less than a quarter of the population that’s having trouble committing violent crimes with guns, I’m going to posit the radical notion that having mental illness and being near weaponry does not a killer make. Of course, there are some mentally ill people who shouldn’t be near guns. I’ll agree to that easily. There’s also some mentally sound people that we’d rather not have near guns.

Discrimination against the mentally ill is actually a problem. 

Nifty research here. (Abstract only if you’re not at a university, sorry.) Basically, the neurodiverse are more likely to be discriminated against by their employers and coworkers, as well as facing disadvantages in competing for jobs. So maybe we could try to avoid making that worse? Like say, by avoiding the creation of a searchable database of those with mental illness?

Note: I’m fully aware that some people with mental illness are violent. So are some neurotypical people. I’d be all over a psychometrically sound test of impulse control/aggression/etc, that tested abilities related to using a gun responsibly. Using science to determine safe gun owners–great! Using a highly stigmatized population to avoid discussing gun control–jerk move.

NRA Press Conference — More Guns in Schools!

The NRA has finally spoken on the tragedy last week in Connecticut and how I wish they hadn’t.  Not because it isn’t telling to hear how crazy they are, but because it is depressing to know how much they hold sway over the people in the government.  The amount of money they have to push their agenda is obscene.  As is the agenda itself.  As is their unwillingness to take questions after their press conference.  But I digress.

There has been a big push in response to the shootings to tighten gun laws, but the NRA, unsurprisingly, doesn’t think guns are the problem.  In fact, they think guns are the solution.

I have spent much of the last week trying to find good, solid information on gun policy in the US, but I’ve had a lot of difficulty.  Everything has been done by a special interest group or just written in political blogs and forums.  There appear to be no studies of the efficacy of things like the Gun Free School Zones, just arguments that mass shootings happen in Gun Free Zones.

To use a cliché here, the plural of anecdote is not data.  Yes, a lot of public shootings have happened in Gun Free Zones, but that’s partially because so many public places are Gun Free Zones.  Statistically, it’s not surprising.  But if we’re using anecdotes to make points, let’s look at a couple of things that don’t survive the bad things don’t happen if someone armed is in the audience, people don’t shoot there — just from the last few years.

2009 Fort Hood Shooting

If there’s any argument against the idea that trained people with weapons have the ability to stop this sort of thing, it’s the Fort Hood Shooting.  One gunman killed 13 people and wounded another 29 on a military base. Almost everyone he shot was a trained member of the military or police force.  He had a shoot out with police, which he won, and continued to shoot more people.

2011 Tuscon Shooting

Gabby Giffords was shot at a public event in a gun-friendly state and one of the men who helped subdue Loughner was carrying a gun.  You know how they stopped the shooter?  He had to reload, at which point there was an opening for people to tackle him.  He was not shot, he was tackled and held down by several people in the crowd.  If that’s not an argument for smaller clips, I don’t know what is.  And it certainly doesn’t support the evil people hear “gun free zone” as a smorgasbord opportunity.

2012 Empire State Building Shooting

11 people were shot — one by the gunman, one was the gunman himself, and 9 people who were shot by the police trying to get the gunman.  Yes, more guns are clearly the answer to keeping people from being hurt.

And, of course, the mother in the most recent shooting was well-armed and well-trained and she didn’t managed to stop her son from killing her and the kindergarteners.  This is not victim blaming, it’s the reality of the power-differences between someone who is crazy and wants to shoot people and even the most well-trained person who finds themselves suddenly faced with insanity in the middle of their routine day.

And then there are all the other incredibly wrong-headed things that the NRA said, I’ll just put them here for you, but feel free to read the whole thing yourself.

A dozen more killers? A hundred? More? How can we possibly even guess how many, given our nation’s refusal to create an active national database of the mentally ill?

Yes, I think every person who ever took a Xanax should be in a registry to stigmatize them and make them seem like killers despite the fact that this would be such a huge registry that it would be useless and it would only serve to make sure people who needed mental health care would avoid seeking it out to avoid being on the registry.  GREAT IDEA.

 And the fact is, that wouldn’t even begin to address the much larger and more lethal criminal class: Killers, robbers, rapists and drug gang members who have spread like cancer in every community in this country. Meanwhile, federal gun prosecutions have decreased by 40% — to the lowest levels in a decade.

You know what else is at the lowest levels?  Crime.

With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can’t afford to put a police officer in every school?

The average police officer makes $50,406, there are 138,925 schools in the US, which makes the budget of doing this just over $7 billion, without including the extra budget of training and oversight or the fact that most schools would probably need more than one officer.  I’m not saying it’s not worth the money to send to education, but is it the best use of the money and is there any way, in this fiscal cliff landscape, that it’s possible to approve an increase in spending of that magnitude?  It’s certainly not such a small number that you can ignore the cost as thought it’s negligible.

There’ll be time for talk and debate later. This is the time, this is the day for decisive action.We can’t wait for the next unspeakable crime to happen before we act. We can’t lose precious time debating legislation that won’t work.

But what is the point of acting before we have any reasonable expectation that it will work?  I don’t understand why they expect us to understand why their legislation will work?  Or why they think questioning that is a bad thing?  Can we lose precious time implementing a program that is expensive and completely ineffective?.

And then there’s the question that the NRA didn’t address, one that is an important one — why are people who aren’t well-trained public servants allowed to get their hands on these weapons when we know even the well-trained people don’t always do a good job with them?

Robert Bork, scariest almost Supreme Court Justice, dead at 85

bork-timeRobert Bork, the intensely conservative failed Supreme Court nominee from 1987, has passed away after a heart ailment. Bork was a sort of bogeyman from the right, destroyed by Joe Biden in the senate hearings for his nomination for being absolutely insane and who Mitt Romney made head of his judiciary appointments in an attempt to gain conservative credibility.

Thanks to the failure of the Bork nomination, we got Kennedy, who will occasionally vote in favor of things like equality and gay rights.  He is, in fact, our best hope that the court will overturn DOMA and Prop 8.  So, the borking of Robert Bork was quite fateful.

From my speech about the war on women earlier this year:

The Supreme Court has four justices over 70 and Mitt Romney’s chair of judiciary appointments is Robert Bork.

Robert Bork, the man Reagan failed to get on the Supreme Court 15 years ago.  Robert Bork who doesn’t believe in the right to contraception, much less abortion, who thinks discriminating against women is QUOTE “not possible”, who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  I know who I don’t want putting people on our already too anti-woman court.

The thing about Bork, though, is that he was very smart and very funny. I actually have a lot of respect for his intellect, but it’s hard to respect someone who fought for Nixon during Watergate and would repeal equal rights laws if he had the opportunity — and he very nearly did have the opportunity.

More here: http://www.startribune.com/nation/184098181.html?refer=y

10 Sensible Gun Policy Changes

1. Acknowledge that, in a time of modern weapons, the Second Amendment makes no sense.

Until we are OK with individuals having tanks and nuclear weapons, we have to accept that the ability for the people to overthrow the government is not going to come from individual possession of guns.

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2. Take some lessons from how we treat driving and apply this in ALL states to ALL sales

A citizen who wants a gun and a concealed carry permit should go through exactly the same training and recertification as a cop would… it’s easier to get a gun as a citizen than as a cop.

  • Pass written test that includes safety instruction and horror stories
  • Pass practical test that includes safety test
  • Pass psychological test, screening for violence
  • Punish swiftly and harshly for having a loaded gun on you while being under the influence
  • Require gun insurance
  • Require yearly registration updates
  • Tax

3. Limit magazines to six bullets and don’t let them be detachable

Is there a single legitimate use of firearms that requires more than six rounds of continuous fire? Certainly not hunting. And not any sort of self-defense that’s realistically imaginable, unless you’ve recently antagonized a Mexican drug cartel

4. Code guns so that they can only be used by the person they are registered to

I saw it in Skyfall, it must be possible and Wikipedia confirms!  The technology is imperfect, but if there was a push, it could undoubtedly be effective very soon.  Adapt all guns, except those that are being kept as historical relics, to be adapted so that they can only be shot by the person with matching the fingerprints or biometrics of the person to whom it is registered.  No more easily stealing guns from your mother to mow down kindergarteners.

5. Limit gun purchases to one every thirty days

Ponder, for a second, the fact that I cannot walk into a C.V.S. today and purchase half-a-dozen packages of Sudafed, but I can walk into a gun dealership and purchase a .50 caliber rifle of the sort that U.S. snipers use in Afghanistan. In fact, I can buy six or ten—there is no limit imposed by law. Should the gun dealer think it fishy that I might want to acquire a weapon capable of downing a small aircraft (much less six of those weapons) he may report the purchase to the A.T.F. But in most states, he’s not required to.

6. Recognize that gun control is about reducing the chance of gun violence and it is impossible to eliminate it entirely

We are never going to eliminate gun deaths, there’s just no way to do that.  In the same way we cannot eliminate all car deaths, but we can make it safer and there are no good reasons not to.  When someone protests that an individual law isn’t going to completely end gun violence it needs to be recognized that this is a useless argument.

7. Recognize that most gun policy is (and should be) about how to prevent the routine daily deaths from gun violence, accidents, and suicides not just how to prevent massacres.

What happened last week was a horrific tragedy, but the number of gun deaths on a daily basis is just as much of a tragedy.  In 2010, 180 children under the age of 11 were killed by guns.  As tragic as 20 children being taken in one incident is, where’s the outrage for the other children?

Sandy Hook reminds us that we have about five times the murder rate of any other advanced country, and that most but not all of the difference is guns, and in particular concealable guns… But Sandy Hook is utterly atypical of our homicide problem.

8. Accept that people love shooting guns that are incredibly dangerous, and keep those guns many of us would like to ban at special gun ranges where they can be stored and taken out onto the range

Here’s an idea: If people really have a need to shoot Glocks and Sig Sauers at a firing range, how about the firing range own them and keep them, and enthusiasts drop in and rent the firearm of their choice for an hour or whatever? I know this violated the capitalist principle of ownership, and yes, it impinges on “freedom,” but it seems to me to slake the thirst in a way that maybe people could get accustomed to over time.

I think it’s important here that people could still own their guns, they just would have to store them in a safe place.  In the same way that Israel requires guns to be left behind by soldiers rather than taken home  – the implementation of that policy reduced soldier suicides dramatically.

9. Teach the actual statistics of gun crimes and gun control

I know this is a difficult and intractable problem of part of the public being resolutely uninformed and denying reality, but to have a real discussion about fixing the problem, people on both sides of the debate need to talk about the actual facts and what has and has not worked in the past.  There have been hundreds of example cases of gun control policies — instead of knee-jerk saying we need to ban guns or that gun control couldn’t possibly work, both sides need to look at the actual facts on the ground.  Let’s recognize that gun control more obviously affects suicide rates than homicide rates and recognized that reducing suicide rates is also a worthy goal, not a reason to ignore policy.

The NRA promotes myths about gun control that need to be countered with actual facts.

10. Let’s stop talking about “bans” and “control” and start talking about “regulation” and “safety”

Gun control is not gun elimination — it is about regulating the use of guns and who can have them.  In the same way the name of the “pro-life” movement has framed the abortion debate, the idea of “bans” and “controls” are language that is used by the NRA and other gun-enthusiasts to frighten people away from sensible ideas that are really gun “regulation” and gun “safety measures”.  Surely if we are OK with drugs being regulated, we can be OK with guns being regulated — and drugs are designed to save lives, not to destroy them!

11. Create ammunition policy as well. License, regulate, and track bullets.

What Prop 8 and DOMA rulings from SCOTUS could mean

Today SCOTUS agreed to hear two of the gay marriage cases that had been submitted to them, and they were the two big ones — Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, and DOMA, a law passed by Congress to prevent the federal government from granting federal benefits to those who are gay married.

The gay marriage court cases are a bit complicated because they are dealing with a few different issues.  I’ve noticed a couple people on Facebook confused about what exactly the court will be ruling on and I thought I would explain it a bit.

It should be noted that I am not a lawyer nor have I been to law school, I’m just really interested in constitutional law and prop 8.  I covered it somewhat obsessively when I lived in California.  I haven’t covered DOMA as obsessively.

PROP 8

Officially known as: HOLLINGSWORTH, DENNIS, ET AL. V. PERRY, KRISTIN M., ET AL.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following question: Whether petitioners have standing under Article III, §2 of the Constitution in this case.

In 2008, California legalized gay marriage through the court system and began performing gay marriages in the state.  That fall, a constitutional amendment saying marriage was one man and one woman was passed by the general population, making gay marriage illegal again.  Immediately, the state was sued by several gay couples who wanted to be able to get married.

The original ruling, by Judge Vaughn Walker decided that the amendment was unconstitutional for several reasons, some narrow and some quite broad.  He declared gay people to be a population that had been historically discriminated against and deserving of heightened scrutiny when laws applied to them.  What that means is that, if you make a law concerning creating a “separate but equal” status or targeting a minority group in particular, the government must have a compelling interest in doing so that cannot be served by other means.  In this case, civil unions were not the same as marriage — historically we know “separate but equal” is not equal — and any denial of gay marriage was unconstitutional.

The district court issued a much more narrow ruling, saying that none of the broader things mattered to the case, but the fact that California allowed some gay people to get married during a specific period of time and then REVOKED access to that, the very specific case of Prop 8 meant that only California’s anti-gay marriage amendment was unconstitutional, but other states with anti-gay marriage amendments would not be affected by the decision.

As the decision is written, if the Court simply upholds the district court’s decision, gay marriage will become legal in California and nowhere else.  Historically, the court has tended towards narrow decisions, but because of the amount of cases it has been given and the complications of some states allowing gay marriage and others not and the general wave of public opinion it is possible that SCOTUS will write a broader opinion that will legalize gay marriage in general.

The other complication is that there is a suit also to determine whether the people participating in the suit have the right to do so, and if they don’t it can mean that none of the courts had the right to make decisions.  Basically, the government in California was like “I want nothing to do with standing on the wrong side of history, I’m not defending the amendment, it’s toxic” so other people stepped in.  California ruled that this was fine, but it’s still being brought before SCOTUS.  According to the release, SCOTUS is also considering the problem of “standing” so there is also a chance that the case will be more or less thrown out.

THREE POSSIBILITIES

1. Gay marriage is made legal in all states (Broadest ruling)

2. Gay marriage is made legal in California (What I think will happen)

3. The entire case is thrown out and who knows what happens then, it’s complicated, probably gay marriage would be legalized in California but I’m not entirely sure

DOMA

Officially known as: UNITED STATES V. WINDSOR, EDITH S., ET AL.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted. In addition to the question presented by the petition, the parties are directed to brief and argue the following questions: Whether the Executive Branch’s agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the United States House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case.

This case is a little more straightforward than Prop 8, if only because it’s not dealing with the minutiae of state law in addition to the question of gay rights.  DOMA states that people who are gay married do not have access to federal marriage benefits.  This has been ruled unconstitutional and, like in Judge Walker’s opinion, gay people have been declared a minority deserving of special consideration.

Like Prop 8, however, SCOTUS has to consider the issue of standing and could decide that the people participating in the suit don’t have the right to do so and could then throw the thing out entirely.

I think it most likely, however, that the court will be unable to find a constitutional justification for treating some marriages granted by states as federally acceptable while others are not.  I also think that, if California will have gay marriage, it will be incredibly difficult to justify not recognizing them federally, simply because California represents such a large portion of the US population.

DOMA is not my area of expertise, though, so I’m happy to hear other feedback.

Ron Paul: Corrupt

Ron Paul, hero of wackaloons everywhere, was just determined to be one of the most corrupt Congressmen according to a new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The report says Paul “double-billed” his travel expenses a number of times over the last decade, meaning he may have been reimbursed for the same flights both under his official allowance as congressman, and by either non-profit groups under his control or his campaign committee.

The revelation would be ironic in part because Paul made fiscal responsibility a central tenet of his 2012 presidential campaign. The congressman celebrated a major victory in July when his bill to audit the Federal Reserve for greater transparency passed the House.

Apparently Roll Call has been on the Paul double-billing money-making scheme since last February, but apparently people have been noticing since 2004.  Paul and his team, unsurprisingly, have not responded.  Paul was getting money from both the official allowance given to him by Congress and by Liberty Committee, the libertarian group which is run by one of his relatives but parted ways with Paul in 2006.

Now, if cronyism and self-paychecks are his deal, that is what it is, but it seems rather absurd that he would then also make the American people give him money for no reason.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” Liberty Committee President David James told Whispers of the double-billing.

James and the Liberty committee apparently first noticed 8 years ago, when Paul didn’t provide copies of his travel tickets — at which point Paul stopped billing them, apparently realizing he was caught or going to be.  60% of his travel was double billed, the committee discovered when they did an audit.

“We have contacted Congressman Paul to look at the records and repay the amount,” James told Whispers. “But our last communication was not even responded to.”

Despite the money he owes them and the fact that they aren’t working together, Liberty Committee still supports Ron Paul as the bringer of the best message in politics — probably because they’ve had the Kool-Aid.

 

Election: Good News from Around the Country (and some bad)

Same-Sex Marriage:

Maryland and Washington voted to uphold laws that legalized gay marriage, Maine voted by referendum to legalize gay marriage, and Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment to define marriage as one man, one woman.

California Criminal Law

California failed to end the death penalty, but revised it’s overly harsh and prison-crowding three strikes rule to only apply to serious crime.

Marijuana Legalization

I don’t smoke pot, but boy do I approve of taxing it and ending the war on drugs.  Medical Marijuana was rejected in Arkansas, but approved in Massachusetts and Montana.  Full legalization and taxation was rejected in Oregon, but approved in Colorado and Washington.

Rape Gaffes Kill Campaigns

Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, John Koster, Linda McMahon, and Tom Smith were easily defeated in their races, some of which weren’t even close before their mistakes.  Steve King unfortunately managed to win his race.

Puerto Rico to Become a State?

Currently the vote to become a state is in the lead, and Obama has said he will accept a decision with a clear majority.  The US could have 51 states soon!

Unhappy News:

Bachmann and Paul Ryan won their races.  Pete Stark, the first open atheist in congress, lost his seat.

Happy News

Elizabeth Warren won!  Tammy Baldwin will be our first LGBT senator.  West Virginia elected an LGBT person to their state government.  Kyrsten Sinema, atheist, looks like she’s going to win her election.  Amendment 8 in Florida, which would allow government funded religion, was rejected.  Big Bird is safe.

NATE SILVER IS A WITCH and the rest of the world loves him as much as I did back when he was lowly dude on DailyKos.

Election Liveblog

I give up on trying to get real work done, I’m just going to have to give in to the election addiction. Updates will be here!

12AM Some are too close to call, but it appears right now that all the pot and gay things are going the right way.

11:38 Colorado legalizes pot yeyah

11:17 There are other races I care about — the pot and gay stuff — but i feel safe walking away from the race now.  <3

Fox News is calling it.

11:13 NBC called Ohio, Obama has won the election.

11:11 “Where Cubans go to live, and Jews go to die.” – Florida according to TDS

11:10 McCaskill to audience: “you wanted nothing more complicated than your government to reflect your values”

Iowa to Obama — in my opinion, that’s the election.

11:08 Kyrsten Sinema (atheist from AZ) has a slight lead

11:06 Right now gay marriage, pot initiatives across country all winning (for now)

I wonder how horrified Dick Morris is at how wrong he was.  Oh wait, he’s always wrong.

11:03 Denver Post calls CO for Obama, one more state and he’s got it.

11PM CA, Hawaii, WA going to Obama; ID and Montana to Rmoney.

10:57 NC finally going to Rmoney; Tim Kaine (D) wins VA

10:56 Elizabeth Warren acceptance speech.  So happy for her.

10:54 11PM is going to make this look better.

10:50 David Axelrod gets to keep his mustache.  This is important.

10:43 Obama in Minnesota official.

10:39 Rape publicans have all lost their seats. I would feel sorry for them but they kind of asked for it.

10:37 zefrank ‏@zefrank

you know what would be a funny prank? if romney wins we should all go on unemployment…right?

10:36 FOX still talking about how it seems the Dems focusing on women seems to have worked.

10:34 AZ officially to Rmoney

10:30 Megyn Kelly: “Is this just math you do as a Republican to make you feel better, or is it real?”

NOW FOX news reporting illegal voting in Ohio

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, petition candidate Katrina Shealy is holding onto her 51-44 percent lead over incumbent S.C. Sen. Jakie Knotts (R-SC).

10:25 New Hampshire elects America’s only female Democratic governor, Maggie Hassan

10:23 If I understand this map correctly, if Obama wins Ohio, where he’s ahead, he will be at 269 in electoral college.  Meaning tie at worst.

10:18 A Scientologist is interviewing Sarah Palin on Fox News right now. Their conversation is as rational as you might expect. – Guy Adams

10:16 

Dear Todd Akin, don’t worry, your state has ways of shutting you down in a legitimate election. #ThankYouMissouri

Some great exit polling on ending marijuana Prohibition in Colorado 57 – 43. Yay! http://thebea.st/U7LdNo

10:14 Emmett:

FOX: There are a lot of liberal moderates in this country and people overplay the idea of Obama as a Socialist/Marxist.
Sarah Palin on FOX: Bain Capital / auto bailout ads seem to have been bad for Romney
my McCaskill post the most popular of the night
Sarah Palin is so so sad.

10:07 FUCK YOU TODD AKIN CLAIRE MCCASKILL YOU DA BEST GARL

(MSNBC projecting her win)

10:05 Massachusetts approves Medical Marijuana!

10:04  FOX saying 246 – 187 to Obama and then map out how Romney can come back and win #fairandbalanced?

Lieberman loss. HA.

10:02 Utah, Montana, to Mitt.  FL, OH, NC, VA, CO, AZ, MN, MO too early/close to call

9:58  FOX literally just said….”sure Elizabeth Warren won but you can’t compare her to some of the rising stars in the Republican Party like Rubio and Paul Ryan”

wow.

9:55

9:53 Favorite FB friend update: 10,000 people in Florida voted for Roseanne Barr. Wat.

9:50 NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTHER FUCKER

9:48 Twitter touching my heart a little here.

9:47 FOX calling Tammy Baldwin. Say she comes out of liberal stronghold of Madison. Then quickly talk about Republicans keeping control of House.

FOX: Big night for Dems in the Senate

9:45 Ohio still up in Ohio.  John Courson beating Robert Rikard handily (59-38).

Fits: BREAKING. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has just been elected the second president of the Confederate States of America.

9:41 Nate Silver: On The Wall, The Writing.

Nate Silver: In every presidential election since 1960, the candidate who prevailed in Florida’s Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, has also prevailed in Florida. More than 80 percent of the vote has been reported in Hillsborough, and President Obama leads Mitt Romney by five percentage points.

Best I’ve felt all night.

9:39 From Palmetto Public Record

Voters returned approximately 400,000 absentee ballots this year, surpassing the 2008 record of 342,000 absentee ballots. Voters showed the same enthusiasm at the polls today, with anecdotal reports from across the state indicating heavy turnout. The State Election Commission expects total voter turnout to be similar to the record-setting 76 percent turnout of 2008.  Participation may even surpass the 2008 record.

“The passion and dedication of South Carolina citizen for the electoral process was on display at the polls today,” said Marci Andino, executive director of the South Carolina State Election Commission. “We’re grateful to voters for their patience as they waited to cast their ballots, and we want to thank the 20,000 poll workers and election officials across the state for their tireless work to ensure that every vote counts.”

9:36 With Wisconsin going to Obama, Romney has 24 ways left to win. Obama has 230. Romney-Ryan becomes first presidential ticket to lose both candidates’ home states since McGovern-Shriver, 1972.

9:30 Really good news out of Florida regarding separating church and state

9:28 O’Reilly be racist: “Obama wins because it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is the minority. People want things.”

9:27 AP miscalled Baldwin, Warren still not called by NBC is the current update.

Megyn Kelly: Auto industry bailout “apparently important to some folks there.” In Michigan, she’s saying. You see.

9:25 People are still in line to vote in the already called state of South Carolina.  I’m just a little bit proud of the people in my state right now.  Now that is news.

9:24 Twitter tells me we have our first LGBT Senator: Tammy Baldwin.

9:23 New favorite tweet of the night:

9:22 Nate Silver saying that, if Obama wins in Florida, it will be largely due to the fact that Cubans and Hispanics generally like him better than they did in 2008.

9:20 The state of disenfranchisement in the state of Florida is horrific, according to HuffPo:

A stunning 23 percent of African Americans, the highest figure in the nation, cannot vote due to laws on felon disenfranchisement in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott (R) has made it harder for ex-felons to restore their eligibility and in 2011 signed a law cutting early voting days nearly in half. The result has been chaos during early voting in places like Miami-Dade County, where people have waited in line for as many as eight hours. Florida also has a photo ID law.

9:18 Emmett says we are going to win Florida.  He is confident.  That is why I love him.

9:16 11 point lead for O in OH

Ohio polling places ran out of provisional ballots

9:15 PA is officially Obama’s. Electoral college avenues closing for Rmoney.

9:14 Home states Massachusetts and Michigan go Obama instantly. To know Mitt Romney is to dislike Mitt Romney. – pourmecoffee

9:13 I’m hearing that Massachusetts called for Elizabeth Warren. SOOO EXCITED

9:12 Think it’s bad news for Rmoney that NC hasn’t been called.  I was *certain* he would win that handily.

9:11 Obama up to 85 percent on InTrade. http://bit.ly/e5QnYA  Romney 7/1 Betfair http://bit.ly/RfyrhA

9:10 FOX now talking about how married women and religious people vote for Romney and single women and heathens vote for Obama. This is making my heart hurt. I want to change the channel.

FOX PEOPLE STILL TALKING ABOUT ABORTION AND HOW THEY CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE CARE!!!

9:08 FOX talking about how Romney needs more white male voters than he’s getting!!

NJ officially projected for Menendez and Obama.

9:07 Chris Matthews excited about the accuracy of polls and the fact that those still in line in VA may well decide the election.  Rachel Maddow telling people they HAVE TO STAY IN LINE.

Fox can’t understand why abortion is an issue for anyone when some people aren’t employed. -_-

9:04 Wisconsin ran out of ballots.  WHAT

9:03 NBC officially projecting the House will be controlled by Republicans.  Boehner continues.

9:01 MI to O; WI, MN, CO too close to call on FOX

8:54 In Maryland, same-sex marriage referendum is currently up 58-42!!!

8:52 Laura Ingraham: the Republican Party should be beating Obama handily, and if not, WE need to take a long look at ourselves.

8:46 Florida writer and blogger Joy Reid tweets: “Long lines and poor management of all three South Florida counties will be a major storyline in this election. #election2012″

FOX: Exit polls are often turned around by actual vote which will be great for Romney

8:39 Arkansas going Republican in both houses for first time since Reconstruction. FOX lady seriously talking about how white people voting for MItt, all people of color for Obama…Huckabee saying Rebublicans have not reached out well enough to people of color

FOX saying that Romney crushing amongst people who go to church. Huckabee saying Obama is trampling over Americans religious liberties
8:34 All reports are saying that Bill O’Reilly is near tears.

Exit polls show 74 percent of Asian-Americans voting for Barack Obama

8:33 Former mayor of Miami emails BBC and says Miami Dade County margin for Obama has exceeded what he won the state with in 2008.

8:28 Nicol: There is an app for the Washington State election results, I just downloaded it. It is called “Washington State Election Results”.  There you go.

8:26 Nicol: electoral votes getting closer. Btw, electoral votes are still dumb.

Local news is interviewing Jim Clyburn (who won 96% of the vote) who says the Obama camp is fairly comfortable right now.

8:23 Huge turnout in Virginia. Bigger than 2008.

8:22 Emmett: Joe Donnely crushing Mourdock!!! Donnelly winning the not-dick vote

8:21 Angus King wins Maine = good news for Dems; Bill Nelson Senator in FL wins

Friends on Facebook claim there’s nothing on TV tonight and/or they’re stress-baking.

8:20 Mitt Romney says he didn’t write a concession speech.  Interesting.  Does he write any of his speeches though, I mean really.

8:17 Obama has taken an early lead in Ohio with a strong showing with early voters. Romney will need a very strong showing with election day voters. by Nate Cohn 8:12 PM

8:15

Erin Burnett saying this about OH…..
Obama leading early voters in OH by 100k
CNN Official: GA to Rmoney

8:13 Twitter keeping it real.

Rocky Anderson posting sweet and futile updates on FB.

8:10 Andrew Sullivan is now officially liveblogging.  Life is good again.

8:08  Emmett: FL making me feel very very good. As does the late voters in VA who are mostly in Northern VA…might as well be in DC.  Obama people seem to be very worried about the popular vote

My old ward, at Dreher High School, had 75% turnout!

8:06 Nicol: I feel like if I had nails to bite, I would be biting them.

Mom: I don’t even think it’s going to be close.

Stepdad: I still think Romney’s going to win, unfortunately.

8:04 CNN saying Obama people saying O doing very well in Pennsylvania and Candy Crowley’s hair looks great!! O still crushing in FL. CNN projection wall is all Obama!!! all predictable… right now 64-40 Obama from CNN exit polls….. O 50-49 in FL MO 53-44 R New Hampshire 50-48 O NJ 53-45 O PA 52-47 O

Wolf Blitzer is required to remind us that exit polls mean nothing after every exit poll number he gives. (Update courtesy Emmett)

8 PM Rachel Maddow’s calls: Illinois, Massachusets for Obama; TN for Romney; Maryland for Obama; Alabama for Romney; Oklahoma for Romney; Conn. for Obama; Miss. for Romney; Maine for Obama (interesting); Rhode Island for Obama, also Delaware; DC for Obama; Jersey too early to call, because of extenuating circumstances, won’t call until Friday (what?!); Ohio and Missouri also too early (poor Ohio); (Update courtesy of Blog Reporter Nicol)

7:58 From NPR: Virginia elections officials say they’ve paused releasing vote results because “many voters remain in lines in certain areas of the Commonwealth.”

7:53 Tweet of the night

7:51 Pete Strom, former US Attorney for SC, “I have been made privy to national exit polling from a Republican. If they are accurate, Obama is going to win the electoral college decisively…but exit polling has been wrong before.”

7:47 HuffPo fixes it’s prediction without changing the numbers. Oh Huffpo.

7:45

Huffington Post is calling SC for Obama… what?

7:44 Emmett: “51-48 O in FL with 29% in.”

Even though Virginia is reddish right now, Obama looks to be outperforming in the counties compared to 2008.

7:39 Ohio, NC, and WV are now closed.  AHHHHH AHHHH. I think I should have more insightful comments, but I’m pretty much just freaking out right now.

Record voting turnout is exciting at least.

7:36 They’ve called SC to Rmoney, even though it’s currently at 75% for Obama here.  Lulz.

7:33 According to blog reporter Emmett Williams, CNN has NC as dead heat, OH and FL leaning Obama

7:30 Latino vote is up in Florida, white vote is down.  Interesting.

7:27 LOOK AT THIS LOOK AT THIS

7:26 Dick Harpootlian (real name) is the head of the dem party in South Carolina — right now they’re reporting 86% OBAMA – 13% in South Carolina.  Got to be the place that is reporting, but holy hell that’s awesome.

7:25 I’ve gotten votes all over the country from my half-hearted digital campaign against Joe Wilson.  It’s kind of amazing.

I love Rachel Maddow.  That’s not strictly related.

My stepdad is calling it for Rmoney.

5 mins til the end of Ohio.

7:20 Virginia is the focus on MSNBC, where they are currently putting it at 3 – 19.  Some people are more willing to call based on exit polls and state history than others.  As much as I dream of a day of a blue SC and Georgia, I don’t think calling them for Rmoney is particularly risky.

7:15 They are starting to count the votes and calling them for people based on exit polls.  Weirdly, people are still in line and they’re calling already.

NPR has it 3 – 44, Romney leading.

7:00 PANIC PANIC PANIC OH GOD ELECTION OH GOD

6:50 More Exit Poll info:

On immigration, AP reports, 3 in 10 voters surveyed in early exit polls “said that most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be deported. Nearly two-thirds said such people should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.

“Six in 10 voters said that taxes should be increased. … Just over one-third said taxes should not be increased for anyone.”

And I appear in this local news story about how much SC has flubbed the election process!  Hurray I’m in the FreeTimes!

6:45 Stole this from local SC right-wing libertarian site Fitsnews liveblog:

Looking for a place to follow tonight’s returns/ results?  Here’s a comprehensive listcourtesy of our friends at Gigaom …

6:40 Interesting information here at CBS: more voters want to keep/expand Obamacare than repeal it, majority of voters think that Romney’s policies favor the rich.

I am going to have to change locales, so I will be offline for more than 10 minutes in the near future.  Meanwhile, results slowly trickling in from Indiana and Kentucky.  At 7pm we’ll start getting Virginia and Florida.  And my home state of South Carolina — which no one is concerned about doing anything but going red.  I wonder if I’ll ever be able to find out how many people wrote me in?

6:30 Why early voting news is often more harmful than good, look at how many votes they’re counting:

6:25 Fact of the day: 22 percent of African-American adults in Kentucky cannot vote because of felon disenfranchisement laws.

JT is doing a live-blog as well, over on Patheos.

In other interesting fact news, The New York Times reported that, on Monday, 20% of the traffic was to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight

6:20 Virginia turnout is higher than in 2008, and the counties Obama depended on for his win then are seeing high turnout as well.  Not great news for Romney, Virginia is not a must win necessarily, but as a bellwether for the rest of the election it is grim.

6:15 Here is my favorite liveblog that I am following: Policymic.

Two images here, early exit polling and a picture of what Mitt will look like if he loses.

6:10 Lindsey Graham (Sen, SC, R) recognizes the problem his party has is due to demographics more than anything else.  Sometimes I find myself tempted to really like Butters.

We’re not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.

6:05 Terrible news — Rachel Maddow is sounding a bit hoarse.  Palmetto Public Record did an excellent job covering the election debacle in South Carolina, where people were waiting in lines so long you’d think we were a swing state.  I’m quoted throughout.

6:02 To start with, this is Nate Silver’s prediction for the day, which is in our favor…

SC District 2: Vote for me

So, a couple of my friends have been saying they’re going to write me in against Joe Wilson, you officially have my invitation and permission to do so.

I promise to be awesome and, if I get enough votes that the media notices me, I will be even awesomer.  If I get elected, I promise first and foremost not to be Joe Wilson.

Thank you.