This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

Dec. 9

Conservative law center Liberty Counsel issued a news release Monday noting that citizens of Croatia overwhelmingly -- 66 percent to 34 percent -- passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Support for the amendment was organized by the Catholic Church in response to a bill "that would create homosexual 'life partners,'" the group reports.

"The memories of so-called 'progressive' regimes controlling society are fresh in the minds of Eastern Europeans. They know if the people stand united, they can overcome these 'progressive' ideals that wreak havoc on families and communities," Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said in the release, blasting the Obama administration for "working to undermine marriage and family around the world" with an ideology that "is morally bankrupt and anti-American."

Wait. A. Minute.

Are we looking to Croatia as a model for human rights and values? The nation that saw some of the most savage and deadly ethnic cleaning of the past two decades, and that still celebrates that effort with a national holiday? Because that would be pretty remarkable, wouldn't you say?


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I'm not gonna go all Bob Dylan on y'all, but maybe we shouldn't be taking a page from the Croats on how we do unto others.

Dec. 12

Even as the Federal Communications Commission considered a possible rule change today to allow cellphone conversations on commercial airline flights, one of California's senators helped introduce a bipartisan bill to prohibit it.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., introduced the Commercial Flight Courtesy Act.

"Flying on a commercial airline -- in a confined space, often for many hours -- is a unique travel experience that is, candidly, not conducive to numerous passengers talking on cellphones," Feinstein said. "This bill recognizes the use of cellphones to make calls during flights can be disruptive and irritating to other passengers and would prevent such communications during domestic flights. The bill, however, would not affect the ability to communicate via text and email during a flight."

Alexander spoke more plainly (planely?), saying the bill "is about avoiding something nobody wants: nearly 2 million passengers a day, hurtling through space, trapped in 17-inch-wide seats, yapping their innermost thoughts."

Perhaps air passengers who still want their daily dose of yapping can watch C-SPAN.

As Feinstein said, the bill would prohibit voice communications through cellphones but not texting or other electronic communications, should the FCC approve them. It would also continue to allow use of personal electronic devices such as Kindles and iPads during flight, which the Federal Aviation Administration recently approved.

The bill applies only to commercial airlines, not private charter flights or foreign carriers unless the latter is flying between U.S. airports, and it exempts federal air marshals and flight crews for official business.