Video of the day

Turns out that Weird Al is coming to Raleigh next week.  As much as I would love to go, don’t think it’s going to happen.  That said, I enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite Weird Al songs on Youtube today.  And, damn, do I just love Amish Paradise (in large part, because I really love Gangsta’s Paradise).   Much to my dismay, my wife was totally unfamiliar with it.  Anyway, good stuff:

Sorry, mom, I’ve got herpes

Fun conversation that.  Anyway, the latest from the legislature is a bill that requires an unemancipated minor to have parental permission before being treated (or receiving prevention!!) for venereal disease.

No physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina shall perform an 8 abortion upon an unemancipated minor or provide medical health services for an 9 unemancipated minor for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of (i) venereal disease and 10 other diseases reportable under G.S. 130A-135, (ii) abuse of controlled substances or alcohol, 11 (iii) mental illness or emotional disturbance, or (iv) pregnancy unless the physician or agent 12 thereof or another physician or agent thereof first obtains the written consent of the minor and 13 the written consent, acknowledged in accordance with Chapter 10B of the General Statutes, of: 14
(1) A parent with custody of the minor; or 15
(2) The legal guardian or legal custodian of the minor; or 16
(3) A parent with whom the minor is living; or 17
(4) A grandparent with whom the minor has been living for at least six months 18 immediately preceding the date of the minor’s written consent.

Yeah, how’s that for your limited government out of people’s lives.  Why do Republicans have to be so damn obsessed with people having sex?

Photo of the day

From the N&O day’s best:

In this Wednesday, April 3, 2013 photo, an Indian boy jumps into the Ganges River in Allahabad, India. Allahabad, on the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswathi River, is one of Hinduism’s holiest sites. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) RAJESH KUMAR SINGH — AP

NC Voter ID Bill: I’ll take it

To briefly re-cover the necessary ground… No, there’s no evidence at all for anything but the most occassional voter fraud via impersonation at the polls in NC or anywhere else in America.  We simply don’t need any Voter ID bills.  These bills are invariably passed by Republicans as likely Democratic voters (i.e., minorities) are most likely to be lacking an ID.  That said, the NC Republicans have responded to all the Voter ID criticsm so much that it really is quite unlikely that NC”s bill will cause much disenfranchisement.  Here’s the N&O summary of key provisions:

The proposed voter ID bill introduced by the House GOP leadership Thursday would:

•  Require voters to show a government-issued photograph at the polls starting with the 2016 election.

•  Provide free photo IDs to those who claim financial hardship. Would also require the state to provide free birth certificates and marriage licenses for those seeking IDs.

•  Accept driver’s licenses that had expired up to 10 years previously

. Would also allow people who turn 70 years old to continue to use their valid photo ID indefinitely.

•  Allow the use of student IDs for state-supported campuses, but not from private schools.

•  Tighten the restrictions on absentee ballots, beginning in 2014, so that voters would have to fill out a form that would ask for such information as driver’s license, or non-operator photo ID number.

•  Create a Voter Information Verification agency to help the state make the transition to a voter ID system.

•  Directs the state Board of Elections to study the possibility of creating a statewide digital database of photographs that would include facial recognition software.

The most important feature is that all you have to do is attest that an ID creates a hardship and you don’t have to pay for it.  Neither do you have to pay for the birth certificate of marriage license you may need to get your ID.  That’s big and it basically makes the law dramatically less discriminatory.  Also, in allowing expired driver’s licenses it really becomes about simply having a Photo ID, not just another hoop to jump through.   And, hey, college students at state schools get to use their ID’s.  The truth is, given the wackiness we’ve seen, this law is even better than one could have possibly hoped for.  Are some people going to have to go to more trouble/expense to vote than before?  Absolutely.  But given what it could have been and is in other Republican-controlled states, this is a good law.  In all likelihood this will do little, if anything, to actually depress Democratic turnout (you can believe Democratic organizers will see to it that every potential Democratic voter gets that ID).

Time to put the focus on the bills which really will reduce turnout and hurt the democratic process– shortening early voting and most dramatically, ending election-day registration.  Nothing has been shown to increase turnout more than allowing people to register when they vote.  The fact the Republicans are considering eliminating that is very, very disturbing.

American public on marijuana: legalize it

Fascinating Pew report on changing public attitudes towards marijuana.  The headline is the 52% majority support, but what I really love is how they break it down by generation so you can see where this change is coming from:
4-4-13 #2

It’s not just that more pro-marijuana young people are replacing anti-marijuana old people, but that among every generation support for legalized marijuana seems to be increasing (though especially so among young people).

Also found the amount of change on the idea of marijuana as a “moral issue” in just 7 years to be pretty amazing:


4-4-13 #4

Not surprisingly, some pretty big partisan differences, but independents are pretty much the same as Democrats.  Republicans are all on their own:

4-4-13 #5

I do love, though, that even a huge majority of Republicans think enforcement costs outweigh enforcement benefits, but they still want it illegal.  Actually, the idea of making it illegal but not wasting resources on criminal enforcement is a great argument for decriminalization rather than legalization (which is actually pretty much my position).  I don’t see true legalization anytime soon, but there sure seems to be some fertile ground for decriminalization.

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