NPF: I AM A CAMPFIRE AND YOU ARE THE SUN

Posted in No Politics Friday on September 23rd, 2010 by Ed

One of the most frequent questions I get, be it from readers I know personally or random internet strangers, is "What does 'FJM' mean?" It stands for Fire Joe Morgan, a defunct blog about baseball written by a trio that remained anonymous for years but finally revealed their identities a short while before throwing in the towel ('Ken Tremendous' turned out to be Michael Schur, who is one of the head writers for The Office…and Dwight Schrute's cousin Mose). While very little Ginandtacos content is baseball-related – believe me, I resist the temptation almost weekly – I regularly borrow the classic FJM format of inserting smart-assed responses and profane comments into the text of an opinion column.

I've sent a few Ginandtacos FJMs to the original FJM troika but, being Hollywood Types, I assume they have better things to do with their time, or at least more important people to waste it with, than to read this thing or respond to random emails. With all due respect, I believe I've gotten pretty good at their art form with time and practice. I am no "dak" or Ken Tremendous, nor am I ready for employment at Fremulon Insurance, but I feel like I have gotten to the point at which I can FJM some pile of journalistic shit effectively enough that I wouldn't embarrass myself if compared to the masters.

Then I received with great delight the news of deadspin.com's FJM Reunion. Seeing the trio back at work again is a wonderful if somewhat humbling reminder of how far I have to go to reach their level of excellence. Just…go there now. Read. Drink it in. Unfortunately (and I think this is one point in favor of the G&T FJM) their pieces will not make sense to non-baseball fans. To limit such brilliance to a small subset of American sports fans is a shame. Without understanding Juan Pierre, VORP, Derek Jeter, the verbal diarrhea of Joe Morgan himself, and the occasion Plaschke op-ed, one cannot really appreciate what they are doing.

I hope the reunion becomes an annual event. In the meantime I will continue to use FJM as both a verb and a noun to pay homage to the original site. Guys, if you ever stumble across Ginandtacos while Googling "FJM", rest assured that I have done my best to uphold the guiding principle of FireJoeMorgan.com: to point out mercilessly – in the most profane and amusing way possible – retarded arguments made by nitwits in the vain hope of making our world more hospitable to logic and hostile to demonstrably false folk wisdom and "common sense."

Now go. Learn from the elders.

FAITH AND CREDIT

Posted in Rants on September 23rd, 2010 by Ed

My 60 year-old father, the man who took me to a Reagan/Bush 84 rally at the ol' Madhouse when I was 5, is a judge. No weepy liberal is he, but he is fond of pointing out that gay marriage is coming and all of the Falwellian hand-wringing in the world isn't going to stop it. This is so not because it is possessed of inherent moral "rightness" or any such nonsense but because the law is firmly on its side. Civil law, that is (religious definitions of marriage being another story altogether). Gay marriage is in fact the most perfect example of how poorly conservatives understand the Constitution. If only they devoted as much time to reading the damn thing as they do to "defending" it.

Most legal arguments over gay marriage, especially at the state level, tend to revolve around equal protection claims – 14th Amendment stuff. However, Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution (available here, TeaTards) contains something more relevant called the Full Faith and Credit clause. It states:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

The FFC is the reason why it is not necessary to get a new driver's license to drive in a different state. Every state in the union accepts my Georgia-issued license as valid, as valid as if their own state issued it. I am legally married in Marion County, Indiana. I did not have to get re-married to be legally married in Georgia. Georgia is required to respect and give credit to the public "acts and records" of Indiana. Similarly, if I legally adopt a child in Georgia, said human is legally my child in every state in the union. States are not required to give Faith and Credit to laws passed in other states. For example, a gun can be legal in Idaho and illegal to own in California. Buying fireworks in a state in which doing so is legal will not keep you out of trouble if you bring them into a state in which they are illegal. So laws can differ by state but respect for the "acts" and "records" is guaranteed among states. This is quite clear.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) explicitly contradicts Art. IV, Sec. 1 of the Constitution. Anti-gay marriage groups always pull back on their legal challenges of pro-gay marriage laws because they have no illusions about how the Supreme Court is likely to rule on DOMA. Sure, Clarence Thomas will engage in some mental gymnastics and Activist Judging to justify the law, maybe Alito too. But who else? To argue that the law is constitutional requires one to accept the validity of the FFC clause while allowing Congress the authority to define what is an is not an "act" of state government. But from where does Congress derive this authority? If we read that ol' Teabagger favorite the 10th Amendment – Seriously guys, try reading this thing at some point! All kinds of wild shit in here! – we notice that:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

If anyone can find the part of Article I that delegates the power to define what is an is not an Article IV "act", please bring it to our attention. Other than some weak-ass recourse to the Elastic Clause, there is none…which explains the non-Libertarian right's hesitance to appeal DOMA challenges in the Federal courts. They prefer the mob rule approach, seeking to outlaw gay marriage by ballot referendum or by amendments to state constitutions. Legally, a state has every right to declare gay marriage illegal or unconstitutional. What they do not have is the right to ignore or nullify legally constituted acts of another state absent the ridiculous DOMA law that can't hold its own in any court except the court of mid-1990s public opinion.

If a single state is issuing gay marriage licenses, those licenses must be recognized by every state. The Full Faith & Credit clause is clear on that point and wingers are ever so fond of reminding us that they follow the Constitution literally. For the same reason that quickie divorces used to be a major industry in Nevada – those divorces had to be recognized by states with much more complex divorce laws – one state with legal gay marriage is enough. This is what any Federal court deciding a DOMA challenge on the basis of the law and not moral/political hysterics will say, which in turn is exactly why Rev. Dobson and his ilk always stop their legal challenges just short of being told what they can't accept and don't want to hear.