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PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

Politics, PMS, and Prop 8

Welcome to March. Have you gotten an email asking you to sign a "Make St. Patrick's Day A National Holiday!" petition yet? I have... twice.

Today's Things To Read has a slightly political bent... but stick with me to the end... when I jump from the political bandwagon over into the bus headed for CrazyTown. (Or just skip ahead, I won't mind... much.)

Anyhow.... Today is the birthday of our Constitution which went into effect on this day in 1789.

Speaking of the Constitution… have you been keeping up on the latest drama regarding State’s Rights?

If you are like me, when you hear the phrase “State’s Rights” you think Civil War, Robert E Lee, bloodshed, and maybe randomly an old Calvin and Hobbs strip. (Calvin attempted to secede from the family at one point and in the process lost Hobbes in the snow…. A fitting allegory if there ever was one, but I digress.)

What’s the big deal with State’s Rights?

As I understand it, the Federal Government is supposed to the be the “supreme law” (from the Constitution) and can make overriding laws that everyone must follow but each state is allowed to regulate itself for smaller things, or things that aren’t regulated at the Federal level.

So, in state 1 it might be illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving, but in state 2 there isn’t a law against it (yet). This is all well and good until the Federal Government decides it needs to get involved and if it makes a Federal law saying “no cell phone use while driving” then it doesn’t matter what State 2 thinks… they are overwritten.

There are a few cases where this makes sense. When it was decided that there should be a Federal Drinking Age, it went for all the states. When it was determined that women should have the right to vote… it was a Federal thing and this kept any backwater states from backwater shenanigans.

Right now you are probably aware of the State’s Rights issue of Gay Marriage. Some states want to allow it… others don’t. The problem besides the fairness or “rightness” of this is that if you get married in State 1, you should be allowed to have your marriage recognized in State 2. right?

Ok, anyway… there seems to be some other State Rights things at issue currently.

The Stimulus.

Some states are saying they don’t want any part of it… it will raise their taxes and they think it is a bad idea. So, there are resolutions being passed that would let the states not obey the Federal provisions in the Stimulus package.

My question: Where do we draw the line? If the states have the right to cherry pick which Federal laws they are going to follow… then doesn’t that totally negate the power of the Federal government? At the same time, when the Federal government wants to pass things like DOMA (or the Stimulus package) when do the States have the right to say “no!”? And who gets to decide?

Where is the cut off between the slippery slope of “too much government” and “needs of the many”/”protect the minority”?

It isn’t just the stimulus that has people freaking out.

The (New Hampshire) House is scheduled to vote on Rep. Daniel Itse's resolution asserting state sovereignty, or the right to ignore any federal law or policy that violates the U.S. Constitution. Itse says many policies fit the bill, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal stimulus package and any new assault rifle ban.

And in South Carolina : “A Senate panel approved it,a measure asserting state sovereignty, Tuesday. The House has already passed a similar measure.”

Now, it is unclear if these resolutions will have any affect over in Washington DC… or if bloggers everywhere will just use these as further examples of the death throes of a bitter and angry Republican party… but the issues being discussed here do bear looking into. (again I will bring up DOMA)

Because State Rights affect us all. Right now the biggest example that comes to my mind is the whole Prop 8 debacle.

Speaking of Prop 8, here is an update: The CA Superior Court meets tomorrow: “The issue this time is different: not whether the marriage limitation is discriminatory or intrudes on personal freedom, but whether a majority of the voters, by amending the state Constitution, can eliminate minority rights that the court has recognized.”

If you are like me and you won’t be able to take the day off of work to go show your support, you do have other options:

How to watch:
--The hearing is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at the court's chambers at 350 McAllister St. in San Francisco . It can be viewed live on the California Channel, which is carried on Comcast cable systems in the Bay Area. The channel number varies from city to city, so check local listings.
--A group favoring same-sex marriage will sponsor a public viewing of the oral arguments on a JumboTron in San Francisco 's Civic Center Plaza .
-- A live Webcast will also be available


And just so you don’t think my blog has gone all political… here is something special, something right out of the “WTF?” box:*


The PMS Buddy“a free service created to keep you aware of when your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter, or any other women in your life are closing in on "that time of the month" - when things can get intense for what may seem to be no reason at all….there is no reason to ever be blindsided by PMS again.” That’s right folks.. get “Threat level alerts” sent to you iPhone or uploaded on your Facebook profile… Because apparently this is what society needs.



And now that my brain is all sorts of numb, it is time for me to head to work.




*I want an actual “WTF?” box… Meg gets a stamp… why can’t I have a box?

6 comments:

Jay said...

I'm one of those people who definitely believes in a limited reach of the federal government. But, I'm not sure where that line should be. I think it changes with each issue.

Basically I think the federal government should be there to ensure that people's civil liberties aren't encroached upon. Which means that I believe that the feds should guarantee each citizen's right to marriage.

None of the people who are screaming state's rights now said a word about the Patriot Act.

Also, I find it quite hilarious that so many people and politicians who simply laid down during the 90's while the Bush admin was running roughshod over state's rights and civil liberties are suddenly asserting state sovereignty. Weird huh?

Anthroslug said...

It seems that State's Rights is usually brought up by people opposed to a specific peice of legislation rather than as a basic principle. So, currently, many Republican lawmakers are in favor of banning gay marriage federally, ignoring the state's rights issue UNTIL a state bans it, at which time the same lawmakers are all in favor of states rights.

Works the same on most other issues as well.

maryt/theteach said...

Kay, what about abortion rights? We can't have them going to the states now can we? But there are some who would want that... I want a WTF box too! I'm all for gay marriage!

Pagan Sphinx said...

Thanks for the write-up on tomorrow's proceedings in CA, Kay.

On the topic of PMS: that service is for truly stupid men, who can't relate to anyone on an emotional level. Their growth is stunted; like that of trolls.

Rystefn said...

Actually, there's no federal minimum drinking age. That is entirely in the hands of the individual states. The federal government just passed down a mandate that blocked federal funding of interstate highways if your state didn't individually mandate a drinking age of 21. Some states managed to hold out longer than others, but eventually, everyone buckled in the face of a frankly underhanded and probably criminal tactic by the feds.

Important thing to remember - the United States was not founded as one nation. It was founded as thirteen tightly knit nations with a broad framework of loose overarching policies at the federal level. The word "state" means the same thing as "nation." The word "federal" derives from "confederation," which is how the U.S. began. In the almost two and a half centuries since then, the feds have been steadily seeping power from the individual states by means legal and illegal at a fairly steady rate.

It's true most people cry for states' rights when it's over an issue they care about. It's human nature to ignore the infringement of rights of others when it backs your own ideas... and that's how everyone's rights wind up taken away.

JayRod said...

As far as the reach of states rights vs federal gov't, my understanding is that the federal government and federal laws that the states can't override ever are those in the US constitution or anything overturned by the US supreme court (usually after having being tried in many state or federal courts). As someone else here said, our federal government as it stands is a collective of colonies that became states and they like to have some things to themselves so as not to have things be like they were in England with the dictatorship that they had. Again, this is all I recall from my high school history & government and pol sci in college. As to my opinion, states need their abilities to govern themselves or else the wonderful state of california might have some of the backwards laws that alot of the other states have. Anyways, enough of a government lesson.