|—||Tim Tucker, reporting in The Journal-Constitution: Ad man pitches AL team for Turner Field | www.myajc.com|
Calling laws against same-sex marriage the last vestige of widespread discrimination in America, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway told TIME Tuesday he refused to continue defending his state’s ban on gay marriage because he feared he’d regret it for the rest of his life. “I know where history is going on this,” he said. “I know what was in my heart.”
“From a legal standpoint I draw the line at discrimination,” Conway said in an extensive interview shortly after he announced that he would not appeal a judge’s order that Kentucky recognize same-sex marriages. “If you think about it, in the long arc of history of this country, at one time we discriminated against women, at one time we discriminated against African-Americans and people of color, we discriminated against those with disabilities.
“Where we are as a country now, this really seems to be the only minority group that a significant portion of our society thinks it’s still okay to discriminate against.”
Sue Sturgis of Facing South reports:
At the same time Duke Energy is facing scrutiny for a coal ash spill from one of its North Carolina power plants that’s polluted the Dan River and Kerr Lake, the company is getting attention for avoiding federal taxes.
This week Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released “The Sorry State of Corporate Taxes,” a comprehensive five-year study of 288 consistently profitable Fortunate 50 companies that found 26 of them — including North Carolina-based Duke Energy — paid no federal corporate income taxes during that time.
In fact, Duke — the nation’s largest electric utility — had a negative effective tax rate of -3.3 percent during the five-year period. The investor-owned company earned over $9 billion in profits during those years but received tax rebates totaling $299 million.
Carl Hulse reports:
When Democrats changed Senate rules last year to limit the filibuster against White House nominees, it raised hopes among some liberals that President Obama would use his new power to reshape the federal judiciary. Now, just over three months later, some Democrats and progressive groups are instead trying to stop two of the president’s latest nominees to the federal bench on the grounds that they are too conservative.
Black lawmakers, civil rights advocates and abortion rights groups are challenging two Georgia nominees put forward by the White House under an agreement with the state’s two Republican senators. The two Republicans were given a say in picking candidates for district court in exchange for allowing a stalled nominee to a federal appeals court to advance.
It seems unions are having a little too much success in Tennessee for the comfort of Republicans there, so the state legislature is planning to do something about it. Spurred by the fact that Tennessee added 31,000 union members last year, state Rep. Jeremy Durham has introduced a bill that would create a new “mass picketing” misdemeanor specifically aimed at labor activists: “I feel like if that’s such a growing part of our economy, we need to take preemptive measures to make sure our businesses have the rights and protections they should be entitled to.”
Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina state House and a Republican challenger to U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, isn’t quite saying he wants to abolish the minimum wage outright. But only because “you can’t unring that bell.” As for raising the minimum wage, Tillis is obviously opposed. But this is the best part:
Asked what he considered a living wage, Tillis dodged. He pivoted to say private industry ought to answer the question. “I think for the most part the market needs to define that,” he answered.
A federal judge on Thursday ordered the state of Kentucky to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The order, by Judge John G. Heyburn II, means that gay couples who were legally married elsewhere but live in Kentucky can change their names on state documents and obtain other benefits of married couples.
The legally blind Florida man who shot and killed his friend after a drunken argument and was let free under the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law has been given his guns back.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that on Feb. 20, Judge John Galluzzo reluctantly ruled that John Wayne Rogers, 40, had a right to have the .308 caliber rifle he killed James DeWitt with and a 10mm pistol returned to him.
"It’s my constitutional right to bear arms," Rogers told the newspaper. Rogers, who reportedly lost most of his sight in a 2001 industrial accident, cannot drive.
|—||Alex Padilla, a California state senator who is sponsoring legislation for a statewide ban on plastic bags: California Endangered Species: Plastic Bags - NYTimes.com (via tartantambourine)|