Texas attorney general and gay marriage: Clerks must provide equal treatment.

Monday we learned that the Texas attorney general had informed county clerks with religious objections that they could refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. My first reaction was to ask:

Over/under: How long, in minutes, would a Texas county clerk last in the job if he or she refused to issue hunting licenses because of a personal religious objection to killing animals? Or refused to issue a gun permit because of a personal religious objection to gun violence?

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King v Burwell–Keeping It Real

Can we stop for a moment now that it’s over and gaze in wonder at the fact that this was ever in question? That the plain meaning of this law could be overturned by four inartfully chosen words?

If I cast my mind back, I can remember the incredulity with which the cases that eventually became King v Burwell were received at the time. These were the acts of dead enders, a judicial grasping at straws.

And yet we as a nation were forced over the course of several years to stare into the abyss of conservative bad faith and consider this as a real possibility.

During that time, as you have pointed out, a great deal of revisionism occurred, to the point where GOP lawmakers actively recast the debates that took place to suggest that an interpretation that was flatly unthinkable to anyone who was involved with the debate was actually the intended purpose of the law.

The accumulated possibility that up might actually be down, that the charade perpetrated by these fraudsters might actually mean the end of health insurance for millions of people, has taken a psychic toll on us as a nation.

“It all sounds so reasonable,” my wife said to me while reading the majority opinion this morning. I had to agree. The measured tones of Roberts, spelling out what I had hoped was obvious but had come deeply to doubt, was very reassuring. A big relief.

Because it was, for a time, not at all obvious.

It feels like we narrowly escaped being sucked as a nation into a black hole of conservative epistemic closure.

Nothing has changed and yet great calamity has been avoided.

It’s true. This is a great day, great news. But this case was an almighty crock from the beginning. It’s a travesty and simply absurd that the country was ever put through this.

via TPM–Keeping It Real.

Why Conservatives Still Won’t Admit That Charleston Was A Racist Crime

We live in an age where mass shootings are so common that there is now a template for politicians to plug in the victim’s names, the date and location of the massacre, and synonyms for words like “tragedy” and “horror.” In the last 36 hours, we’ve heard ersatz condolences filled with hollow words, anodyne phrases about “unimaginable” horrors.

But the Charleston church shooting that left nine African-Americans dead while they prayed is not an inexplicable tragedy. It simply took white rage and racism and conservative political race-baiting to their logical conclusions. It echoes a disturbing trend in right-wing media inflaming fringe factions, encouraging maximum armament, and then turning around after a tragedy and saying “we had no idea this would happen.”

On Wednesday night, South Carolina’s governor Nikki Haley trotted out a boilerplate statement, calling the shooting a “senseless tragedy.” One could excuse this choice of words as a rushed assumption issued in real time, but as more and more details about Dylann Roof surfaced, conservatives refused to face the music. One by one, politicians and pundits acted like this terrorist act was one of life’s great unsolvable mysteries.

More via Why Conservatives Still Won’t Admit That Charleston Was A Racist Crime.

The Duggars, Duck Dynasty, And The Irrational Tribalism Of Conservatives

Kudos to whatever trickster thought it wise to poll Romney voters, asking them to rate how they feel about the Duggar family from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting and how they feel about President Obama. The result—67 percent of Romney voters like the Duggars better than they like Obama—perfectly encapsulates one of the most troubling aspects of modern conservatism: the way that it’s ultimately about irrational tribal politics over everything else.

No doubt conservatives will bristle at that, but it’s hard to deny it in the face of this polling data. Recent months have shown that the Duggars are, not to put too fine a point on it, not nice people. They covered up for their son’s child molesting and encouraged him to go out there and present himself as a moral authority who lectures other people on how to conduct their consensual sex lives that involve absolutely no children at all. Whatever issues you may have with Obama’s policies, it’s safe to say he’s never held himself out as a moral scold about your sex life while covering up for a child molester.

But such is that nature of 21st century right-wing tribalism. The Duggars are religious cultists with downright weird ideas about hair styling, but because they’re white, sanctimonious and Republican, they inspire “one of us!” feelings in the conservative base. Add to it eight years of relentless fear-mongering from righ-twing media about Obama, who is treated like an interloper and a harbinger of the apocalypse, and you get creepily immoral poll answers like this.

via The Duggars, Duck Dynasty, And The Irrational Tribalism Of Conservatives.

Tom Tole cartoon: Trans-fat farewell – The Washington Post

Thursday’s cartoon: Trans-fat farewell – The Washington Post.

Tom Toles cartoon: Jeb Bush’s shock and awe – The Washington Post

Monday’s cartoon: Jeb Bush’s shock and awe – The Washington Post.

Tom Toles cartoon: Very high-stakes testing – The Washington Post

Thursday’s cartoon: Very high-stakes testing – The Washington Post.