From the New York island to California

PUT the statehood IN ORDER: OK, CA, NE

CaliforniaContinuing with US states, Canadian provinces and territories of both. The letter is C.

CA California – first two letters. The tradition abbreviation was Calif., though Cal. and Ca. were also used. Capital: Sacramento; largest city: Los Angeles. In fact, the state has three of the ten largest cities in the country: LA (#2), San Diego (#8) and San Jose (#10).

Famously, gold was discovered in Sutter’s Mill in Coloma. This lead to the migration known as the California Gold Rush. The National Football League team, the San Francisco 49ers, was named for this phenomenon.

When I was on JEOPARDY! in 1998, there was a clue in the category PUT ‘EM IN ORDER, in which we had to put the elements of the clue in chronological order. The choices of Oklahoma statehood, California statehood, Nebraska statehood. I knew that California rapidly became eligible, and in fact, became a state in 1850. Nebraska became a state in 1867, Oklahoma not until 1907.


The United States population has been moving south and west for a number of years. But in 1957, all 16 Major League Baseball teams were in the Northeast and Midwest: MA: Boston (AL); PA: Philadelphia (NL) and Pittsburgh (NL); MD: Baltimore (AL); Washington, DC (AL); OH: Cincinnati (NL), Cleveland (AL); MI: Detroit (AL); IL: Chicago (AL and NL); WI: Milwaukee (NL); MO: Kansas City (AL), St. Louis (NL).

Plus there were three teams in New York City. The New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers were in the National League, while the New York Yankees were in, and usually dominated, the American League. The Giants and Dodgers stagger the sports world by relocating to California – to San Francisco and LA, respectively – “where growing metropolises greet them with record-breaking attendance figures…while millions back in New York City are numbed with betrayal.”

CO Colorado – first two letters. The traditional abbreviation was Colo. or Col. Capital and largest city: Denver.

CT Connecticut – first and last letter. the traditional abbreviation was Conn. ot Ct. Capital: Hartford; largest city: Bridgeport.

For ABC Wednesday.

States’ rights, double jeopardy, dual sovereignty

“Republicans, always talk a good game about promoting the sovereign right of states … so long as what the states are doing agrees with them. But here Orrin Hatch is willing to take a power away from every state. And why would that be? Two words: Mueller investigation.”

dual sovereigntyWhen I was growing up, I was fascinated by the fact that the United States government could, in certain narrow circumstances, prosecute people who had been acquitted in state courts.

These cases often involved white people in the southern United States who had been accused of grave assault or even murder of black people. The local, often all-white jury may have let the alleged perpetrators go. But the feds would charge the same people with some crime such as “violating” the victims’ “civil rights.”

I’ll admit that I appreciated the outcome, with those victims finally receiving a modicum of justice. At the same time, my political science major part of me was asking, “Isn’t that double jeopardy?”

Double jeopardy is a procedural defense “that prevents an accused person from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges and on the same facts, following a valid acquittal or conviction.” It is a feature in many countries’ jurisprudence. In the United States, “The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides: “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…”

Here’s the odd American twist: “Under the dual sovereignty doctrine, multiple sovereigns can indict a defendant for the same crime. The federal and state governments can have overlapping criminal laws, so a criminal offender may be convicted in individual states and federal courts for exactly the same crime or for different crimes arising out of the same facts.”

Suddenly, Republicans are very, very interested in double jeopardy law. “At this moment, a case making its way through the court system is garnering an unusual amount of attention. It’s a case about a convicted robber in Alabama who was found in possession of a gun and charged by both state and federal authorities.

“For 150 years, the Supreme Court has held that these kinds of cases… don’t violate the Constitution’s prohibition against double jeopardy… But The Atlantic reports: “Utah lawmaker Orrin Hatch, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed a 44-page amicus brief [in September] in Gamble v. United States, a case that will consider whether the dual-sovereignty doctrine should be put to rest.

“Republicans, always talk a good game about promoting the sovereign right of states … so long as what the states are doing agrees with them. But here Hatch is willing to take a power away from every state. And why would that be? Two words: Mueller investigation.”

Go see what Arthur has to say about this angle because there’s another example I want to show.

Per the Los Angeles Times, California lawmakers passed a net neutrality proposal at the end of August, responding to the repeal at the federal level. The bill “would prevent broadband providers from hindering or manipulating access to the internet, bringing the state closer to enacting the strongest net neutrality protections in the country.” It was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

“Justice Department officials… announced soon afterward that they were suing California to block the regulations. The state law prohibits broadband and wireless companies from blocking, throttling or otherwise hindering access to internet content, and from favoring some websites over others by charging for faster speeds.”

The federal government has also pushed back against California’s more stringent car pollution standards.

However you feel about dual sovereignty, there’s little doubt that it’s under attack.

Waste of time and money: dividing California

Creating MORE members of Congress, with the requisite expense, does not seem like a winning scenario.

California6I read, from Evanier, but also elsewhere, that some joker has promoted a ballot initiative to split the Golden State into six states. Even if the ballot initiative somehow won in November – and I have relatives there (sister, niece – Don’t Vote for This Nonsense!) – it still wouldn’t go into effect. Evanier noted, in a conversation about whether Texas, which had been its own country briefly, and would theoretically have the right to splinter:

“You have to consider Article IV, Section 3 of a little document called the United States Constitution. That particular section says…”

New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

If you are a US Senator from a small state, populationwise, such as Delaware or Alaska, would you want there to be 12 US Senators from CA when there were two? And if you were from a large state, say Florida or Illinois, why would you want them to have many more Senators than your state?

BTW, Chuck Miller, my fellow blogger with the Times Union, came up with what a divided up New York State might look like. It was a highlighted blog for that day.

Given the disdain with which most of the American people see Congress, creating MORE members, with the requisite expense, does not seem like a winning scenario.

Scott Walker, Gray Davis: The Recall Question

Let me tell you a secret: I was not happy about the Wisconsin recall vote that attempted, unsuccessfully, to get rid of Governor Scott Walker. I’m not referring to the OUTCOME of the vote; I’m talking about having the vote in the first place. Walker was duly elected in 2010 for a four-year term and started fulfilling his campaign pledge to make draconian cuts to the budget and state personnel. Just a year into his term, a movement to unseat him began.

It reminded me of the California recall of Governor Gray Davis (pictured) in 2003, mere months after he was re-elected in 2002, tied to an electricity price crisis manipulated in part by the failed business, Enron. Davis was replaced by some actor from Austria.

It is said that the idea of recall is “pure democracy”, with the people able to right wrongs. Then why does it feel so undemocratic to me?

There has been a lot of talk about what the Wisconsin vote MEANS. It may not MEAN anything. “Folks were polled at 60 percent voting against this recall because they think leadership change ought to occur via regular elections and not recalls and that a majority of those polled voted against recall while still expressing supports for unions.”

It seems to me that one should limit the recall to an official who has committed a grievous crime or betrayed the office in some way. New York, which not have the recall option, managed to get rid of its governor, Eliot Spitzer, through threats of legal action after his prostitution addiction came to light.

And the propositions that are allowed on the ballot in California seem to contradict each other every other year, making it an even more difficult state to govern.

The Wisconsin situation does show, yet again, how much money controls politics more than ever before, and that is most unhealthy for democracy, as the person in this video suggests.

But what say you?



Please someone explain to me, how does gay marriage supposedly threaten heterosexual marriage?

I went to a wedding last weekend, a lovely affair. But a couple weeks earlier, there was a party, and at least one of the guests used that “ball and chain” language that I THOUGHT went out of fashion last century.

It seems to me that marriage IS under attack, usually by people who are in it. The standard, now a cliched statement from straight people in “support” of gay marriage is something like: “Why shouldn’t they have a chance to be as miserable as we are?” Meh.

I’m curious about how this Prop 8 case will work out. If it is not appealed, then gay marriage would be permissible in California. If it IS appealed, and Prop 8 is ruled unconstitutional, then gay marriage would likely be permissible in all of the Ninth Circuit. And if the case goes to the Supreme Court, which most people think is inevitable -though I’m not sure, and Prop 8 loses, gay marriage could be legal across the country. BTW, you can read the transcript of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger HERE.

My thought about the case NOT going to SCOTUS is that if the Prop 8 supporters thought they were going to fail there, perhaps they would cut their losses earlier. Also, there’s the matter of standing; as Arthur and Jason noted in their 2Political podcast recently, only certain parties are allowed to appeal. As the named defendant, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could appeal, but based on his support for gay marriage, that’s unlikely to happen.

In the “it would upset me if it weren’t so predictable” department, Human Rights Campaign reports that at one of their rallies on their anti-equality summer tour, the president of the far-right National Organization for Marriage (NOM) had the gall to compare their bigoted cause to that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “What if Martin Luther King, Jr. would have listened to those who tried to silence him and tell him that his faith has no place in the public square?” he asked. He then told the crowd they were “part of a new civil rights group.”

Conversely, here’s a tongue-in-cheek literal reading of Leviticus 20:13 making gay sex Biblically OK.

So, my questions:
1) Is the culture hostile to marriage? This could be anything you have in mind, from inflexibility in the workplace to tax laws.
2) Would it be better if marriage were separated as a legal function of the church, allowing churches the ability to give their religious blessing, similar to what is being espoused here? I appreciate the point, but, as a matter of strategy, I’m very much against it. Removal of the state function of marriage – and is IS a state function, as in “By the powers invested in me by the state of New York” – runs so contrary to centuries of embedded precedent that it will inevitably be perceived as an attack on the church, even by many who are supportive of gay marriage.
3) Please someone explain to me, how does gay marriage supposedly threaten heterosexual marriage? Seriously. Not how you feel, but what the argument is. Is it that…no, I really don’t know.
4) Will the Perry case make it to the Supreme Court? If so, how will the court rule? I’ve convinced that they will rule to overturn Prop 8.

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