Posts filed under ‘Laws / Judiciary’

What if Your Mailman Refuses to Deliver Your Mail Based on His “Religious Beliefs?”

In the case of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, heard by the Supreme Court a few weeks ago, the Court must decide whether a corporation, i.e. Hobby Lobby, can opt out of providing insurance coverage to its employees for certain forms of birth control it objects to. The case, in essence, is about whether corporations — who the Supreme Court has already said are “people” — can have religious beliefs.

If the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, the sky’s the limit.  Imagine a dental practice refusing to treat African Americans because of its supposed “religious beliefs,” or a veterinarian refusing to treat dogs belonging to blond people because of  “religious beliefs.”  I mean, it could get really crazy around here really fast.

Not only that, imagine a USPS letter carrier or a FedEx guy incorporating himself and refusing to deliver mail or packages that violate his/her “religious beliefs,” as in this:  On May 22, the United States Postal Service will debut a “forever stamp” featuring openly-gay San Fransisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk who was assassinated in 1978.

Harvey Milk Stamp

Or what about this:  My husband was a letter carrier for 35 years.  He’s retired now but what if he’d incorporated himself and refused to deliver Republican campaign mail to his patrons, based on, ahem, his “religious beliefs?”

Like I said, it could get really crazy, really fast.

 

 

 

 

April 20, 2014 at 6:31 PM Leave a comment

So Do I Get to Ignore Subpoenas Now Too?

This is a horrible, horrible precedent for our so-called leaders to set.  You know, the people who are sworn to uphold the laws of the United States?

I can only imagine what it will be like around here when this “trickles down:”

S  U  B  P  O  N  A

U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s office said Wednesday that he will ignore a subpoena from the United Auto Workers to testify at a hearing next week in Chattanooga.

The latest controversy follows the disclosure of confidential documents by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

The UAW had subpoenaed Corker and two aides to testify at a hearing of the National Labor Relations Board.

The union claims Corker was part of an orchestrated effort to thwart a union election at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga — and they want the NLRB to order new elections.

Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack said in a statement, “Everyone understands that after a clear defeat, the UAW is trying to create a sideshow, so we have filed a motion to revoke these baseless subpoenas.”

He added, “Neither Senator Corker nor his staff will attend the hearing on Monday.”

More…

Say I get subpoenaed for jury duty.  I guess I can now say fuck that!  The trial’s a “sideshow.”  Huh?

OMG, I feel for the little babies who are going to grow up in a country that’s unrecognizable from the one I knew.

Back in my day, nobody but nobody ignored a subpoena.

 

April 16, 2014 at 7:28 PM 1 comment

The Supreme Court Throws the Door Open (Again) for the Wealthy to Buy Politicians

Supreme Court Building via TheTaskForceBlog

I give up.  This is awful:

The Supreme Court took another step Wednesday toward giving wealthy donors more freedom to influence federal elections.

The justices ruled 5-4, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, that limits on the total amount of money donors can give to all candidates, committees and political parties are unconstitutional. The decision frees the nation’s wealthiest donors to have greater influence in federal elections.

The decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission marks the latest round in the bitter national debate over the role of money in American politics. It’s the most important campaign-finance ruling since the high court’s 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts independently to influence elections.

The case pitted the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech – which the justices previously have equated with spending money in elections – against the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.

More…

Poor babies.  We all know how the wealthy have been suffered of late…

April 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM Leave a comment

The Stand-Off Between the Senate and the CIA Is a Very, Very Big Deal

CIA Logo

I don’t usually jump up and down about things but it’s becoming clear to me that the stand-off between the CIA and the Senate is a very big deal.  Here’s an article by Ryan Cooper over at TheWeek explaining it and explaining what’s at stake, as in the whole way in which this country operates.

I’m old enough to remember when Russia was known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (the USSR).  It was a dark place run by our version of the CIA, the KGB.  That’s where we’re headed folks.  Does the Senate oversee the CIA, or vice versa?  In other words, is the CIA going to run the place from now on?

It’s Time for Obama to Take a Side in the Battle Between the CIA and the Senate

Since Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California gave an explosive speech this week charging the CIA with spying on and intimidating members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the U.S. government has been embroiled in nothing less than a full-blown constitutional crisis.

[...]

Coming as this does from a senator who has long protected the agency, such an accusation is staggering. It lays bare just how big a threat the surveillance state has grown to our democratic foundations.

[...]

Feinstein is a Very Serious Person in good standing, and an accusation from her carries a hundred times more weight in official Washington than one from, say, Bernie Sanders. And this controversy cuts right through the comfortable hypocrisies that typically muffle discussions of executive branch abuse, since this time a portion of Washington itself is the victim.

[...]

Second-term presidents are supposed to be concerned with their legacy. Does Obama want to go down as the president who threw the Senate over the side in favor of a bunch of lawless, torturing war criminals — those who perpetrated the kind of abuses he condemned when he first ran for office? If he wants to avoid that, he can start by demanding the torture report be declassified. Now.

I can’t cut and paste this in a way that does it justice.  Here’s the whole thing.  It’s worth your time (it isn’t all that long).

 

March 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM Leave a comment

Army’s Top Sexual Assault Prosecutor Suspended After Allegation of Sexual Assault

Oh for crying out loud:

US Army logo

The top Army prosecutor for sexual assault cases has been suspended after a lawyer who worked for him recently reported he’d groped her and tried to kiss her at a sexual-assault legal conference more than two years ago.

Two separate sources with knowledge of the situation told Stars and Stripes that the Army is investigating the allegations levied against Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, who supervised the Army’s nearly two dozen special victim prosecutors — who are in charge of prosecuting sexual assault, domestic abuse and crimes against children.

[...]

An Army official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter confirmed an investigation was under way.

“We can confirm that this matter is currently under investigation and that the individual in question has been suspended from duties pending the outcome of the investigation,” the official said. “Given that this is still an open case, we are precluded from providing any additional information at this point.”

More…

 

 

March 6, 2014 at 1:41 PM Leave a comment

Inside the U.S. Supreme Court — First Video Ever

The Supreme Court “was subject to an unprecedented security breach when a spectator sneaked a video camera into Wednesday’s proceedings and filmed a protester who disrupted an oral argument,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The clandestine footage… is the first known video footage of a Supreme Court proceeding to be made public.”

More…

Some people acting up and making noise.  Love it.

February 28, 2014 at 10:00 AM Leave a comment

National Hispanic Bar Association Pulls its 2015 Convention from Arizona

Here’s their press release:

ispanic Bar assn

(Image HNBA.com)

The Hispanic National Bar Association Pulls its 2015 Annual Convention From Phoenix in Response to Arizona’s SB 1062

Washington, D.C. – The HNBA announced today that it has pulled its 40th Annual Convention previously scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona in September 2015.

On Monday, February 24th, the HNBA denounced the Arizona legislature’s passage of SB 1062.  The HNBA also called for Governor Jan Brewer to veto the legislation and still hopes that she will do so.  As set forth in its February 24th press release, SB 1062 discriminates against members of Arizona’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.  

The proposed legislation also impacts other citizens that are either traveling through Arizona or that are doing business or have business interests in the state.  Accordingly, the HNBA’s Board of Governors voted unanimously to immediately pull the Annual Convention.

More…

 

February 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM 4 comments

Obama’s Laughable Faux Concern About Freedom of the Press in Venezuela

This is a tweet from the U.S. National Security Council, you know, the folks who are spying on everyone in the world (literally0:

National Security Council Tweet re Press freedom in Venezuela

Hahahahahahaha.

Did you see this:  Thanks Obama!  U.S. 46th in Press Freedom and Dropping Like a Stone.

The United States isn’t the beacon on the hill anymore when it comes to freedom of the press.  As a matter of fact, it’s deviated so much from that standard that it’s paved the way for countries around the world to clamp down on the freedom of speech and the press everywhere.  Not long ago (six, ten years), countries feared the U.S.’s wrath if they strayed too far afield.  Not anymore.

Per Reporters Without Borders, press freedoms are ranked below:

Finland (#1)

New Zealand (#9)

Germany (#14)

Canada (#18)

Slovakia (#20)

Namibia (#22)

Cape Verde (#24)

Ghana (#27)

United Kingdom (#33)

Spain (#35)

France (#39)

Botswana (#41)

Papua New Guinea (#44)

The United States ranks #46 in the world.  Go here for more.

So that NSA tweet above?  Laughable.

 

With POTUS 44, there’s nothing more galling than his shattered promises to make his the most transparent presidency in history, to cherish the public service offered by whistleblowers and to enshrine the American ideal of a free and unfettered press. It was all a lie, and now the people who compile the World Press Freedom Index have made it official: Our 1st Amendment rights are only a monument to American exceptionalism if you mean that we’re barely more exceptional than Haiti:
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Thanks-Obama-US-46th-in-press-freedom-and-dropping-like-a-stone.html#mK741i5GADXTIe5M.99

February 24, 2014 at 9:07 PM Leave a comment

Today Marks Eight Years Since Clarence Thomas Has Asked a Question of Supreme Court Litigants

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas sounds like a profoundly disinterested guy; not what one would expect of a judge, much less a Supreme Court justice.

Clarence Thomas via wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Clarence Thomas’s Disgraceful Silence

As for Thomas, he is physically transformed from his infamous confirmation hearings, in 1991—a great deal grayer and heavier today, at the age of sixty-five. He also projects a different kind of silence than he did earlier in his tenure. In his first years on the Court, Thomas would rock forward, whisper comments about the lawyers to his neighbors Breyer and Kennedy, and generally look like he was acknowledging where he was. These days, Thomas only reclines; his leather chair is pitched so that he can stare at the ceiling, which he does at length. He strokes his chin. His eyelids look heavy. Every schoolteacher knows this look. It’s called “not paying attention.”

[...]

By refusing to acknowledge the advocates or his fellow-Justices, Thomas treats them all with disrespect. It would be one thing if Thomas’s petulance reflected badly only on himself, which it did for the first few years of his ludicrous behavior. But at this point, eight years on, Thomas is demeaning the Court. Imagine, for a moment, if all nine Justices behaved as Thomas does on the bench. The public would rightly, and immediately, lose all faith in the Supreme Court. Instead, the public has lost, and should lose, any confidence it might have in Clarence Thomas.

More…

Bizarre.

 

 

February 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM Leave a comment

Bravo to Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizza in Tucson, Arizona!

I love this:

Rocco's Little Chicago Pizza

(Image via RoccosLittleChicago.com)

 

Arizona Pizzeria Refuses to Serve Legislators

In the wake of Arizona’s legislature recently passing a law that allows for discrimination (under the guise of religious freedom), a pizzeria in Tucson has decided that it will no longer serve Arizona legislators.

Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizza is taking a stand against the politicians who have voted in favor of Senate Bill 1062 which gives Arizona business owners the right to deny service to gays and others on the basis of religious freedom.

On Thursday the pizzeria posted a photo to its Facebook page (seen above) along with the message “”Funny how just being decent is starting to seem radical these days.”

“A customer posted the sign to my Facebook feed, so I printed it up and laminated it,” owner Anthony Rocco DiGrazia told The Huffington Post Friday (via Facebook). “The response has been overwhelming and almost all positive from across the globe. I just want to serve dinner and own and work in a place I’m proud of. Opening the door to government-sanctioned discrimination, regardless of why, is a huge step in the wrong direction. Thanks for all the support.”

More…

If you want to send a note of support to Rocco, the address is pizzarocco@gmail.com.

Good move guys!

 

February 22, 2014 at 10:18 AM Leave a comment

The Guys Who Destroyed the World Economy Are Free But an 84-Year-Old Nun Isn’t

The “smartest guys in the room,” who destroyed the world’s economy are still strutting around, getting  multimillion dollar bonuses, but an 84-year-old nun who tried to bring attention to the danger of nuclear weapons has been sentenced to two+ years in prison:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 18 (UPI) — Three anti-nuclear activists, including an 84-year-old Catholic nun, received jail terms Tuesday for breaking into a nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee in 2012.

Sister Megan Rice received a 35-month term, and her co-conspirators, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed, received 62-month terms, WVLT-TV, Knoxville, reported.

Sister Megan Rice on Facebook

(Image via Sister Megan Rice on Facebook)

Rice, 84, Michael Walli, 64, and Greg Boertje-Obed, 58, were convicted of breaking into the Y-12 Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a nuclear weapons manufacturing facility operated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and considered among the most secure buildings in the world. They defaced a uranium-processing facility with human blood as an anti-nuclear protest.

More…

A “co-conspirator?”  Labels like that are reserved for We the Little People, as in 84-year-old nuns who want to save us from ourselves.  I guarantee the so-called liberal media will never refer to greedy bastards extraordinaire like Jamie Dimon that way.

February 18, 2014 at 8:56 PM Leave a comment

Treating Kids as Adults

My Tweet of the Day.  Think about it.  Makes sense to me.  Kind of like sending kids off to die in the Vietnam War without having the right to vote:

Tweet of the day 2-18=14

February 18, 2014 at 8:08 PM Leave a comment

If You’re a Parent and You Care About the World Your Kid Will Live in, Read This

About spying and a corporate-controlled internet:

Spying What I worry About from Bernie Sanders

 

 

February 11, 2014 at 8:20 PM Leave a comment

Black v. White Arrest Rate for Marijuana Possession

“Post-racial:”

Black v. white Arrest rate psmag.com

(Image via PSMag.com)

(Via.)

 

February 11, 2014 at 12:34 PM Leave a comment

Obama Mulling Executing An American Citizen Without Due Process

Constitution 12-4-10

This is what the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution says:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

It doesn’t distinguish between someone who’s charged with J-walking or someone who’s accused of being part of al-Qaeda. Everyone is supposedly guaranteed the right to be informed of the exact nature of the charges against them, to face their accuser, hear the evidence against them, and to present evidence in their defense (if they wish).  At least, that’s how we’ve operated for the last 230 years until constitutional lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama’s administration admitted last May to killing four Americans in Yemen.

All that said, Obama’s thinking about being the judge, jury and executioner when it comes to another American:

 

U.S. Weighs Lethal Strike Against American Citizen

The Obama administration is weighing whether to approve a lethal strike against a U.S. citizen who is accused of being part of the al-Qaeda terrorist network overseas and involved in ongoing plotting against American targets, U.S. officials said.

The officials said that no decision has been reached on whether to add the alleged operative to the administration’s so-called kill list, a step that would require Justice Department approval under new counterterrorism guidelines adopted by President Obama last year.

U.S. officials have not revealed the identify of the alleged operative, or the country where he is believed to be located, citing concern that disclosing those details would send him deeper into hiding and prevent a possible drone strike.

More…

Got that?  The administration is accusing this person of being part of an al-Qaeda network but again, he has a right, under our laws, to defend himself in court.  That Obama is the first president (that we know of) to murder U.S. citizens, ignoring their rights, is shocking and appalling given, again, his supposed expertise in constitutional law.

Are we really such terrified little people we’re going to flush the Constitution down?

Apparently.

The guy has gone insane in that regard and imho, instead of looking strong, he looks weak and afraid.

February 10, 2014 at 12:13 PM 2 comments

Why Are There So Many People of Color In Private Prisons?

Prisons via avert.org

(Image via Avert.org)

Now that I’ve read the article, it’s obvious why for-profit prisons are stacked with people of color:

It’s well known that people of color are overrepresented in America’s prisons relative to their share of the population. But a recent study finds that they make up an even larger share of the populations of private, for-profit prisons than publicly run institutions.

According to Christopher Petrella, a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley who conducted the study, this is not an accident — it’s about private firms selecting the least expensive prisoners to manage and leaving costlier populations in the hands of state correction systems.

Why would African American and Latino prisoners be cheaper to incarcerate than whites? Because older prisoners are significantly more expensive than younger ones. “Based on historical sentencing patterns, if you are a prisoner today, and you are over 50 years old, there is a greater likelihood that you are white,” Petrella explained to BillMoyers.com. “If you are under 50 years old — particularly if you’re closer to 30 years old — you’re more likely to be a person of color.” He cited a 2012 report by the ACLU which found that it costs $34,135 per year to house a non-geriatric prisoner, compared with $68,270 for a prisoner age 50 or older.

More…

Throw in the relatively new mandatory sentencing/3-strikes laws and that contributes to the equation too.  When judges can’t use their discretion when handing down sentences, voila, you get more prisoners overall.

February 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM Leave a comment

Socialized Law — Something to Think About

I’m a former paralegal who worked at two Legal Services offices — offices that provided legal representation for indigent people here in the US.  I know, through them, what it’s like to be charged with a crime, to be destitute, and unable to afford an attorney.  The feeling?  Helpless.

Someone like Bill Gates would never feel helpless.  Why should people who can’t afford a megabucks lawyer feel that way?  After all, the inscription on the US Supreme Court is “Equal Justice for All.”

Equal Justice Under Law via Wikipedia

(Image via Wikipedia)

Do we have “equal justice for all” when so-called justice can be bought?

No.

And that’s wrong:

Anyone who has ever picked up a tabloid knows full well how the 1 percent flouts the laws that bind the rest of us.

[...]

There are similar inequities in the realm of civil litigation, of course. Pharmaceutical companies and cigarette makers spend hundreds of millions each year beating back billions in legal claims, while the rate at which most working stiffs win judgments is appallingly low.In a typical year, a mere 14 percent of the thousands of miners who seek black-lung claims are successful. Predictably, the very poor fare worst of all in civil cases. They struggle to land legal representation of any kind, and, if they do, their lawyers tend to be massively overworked.

[...]

[W]hen Bill Gates spends hundreds or thousands of times more than I could to defend himself against a criminal indictment, the very act of doing so actually diminishes my status as a citizen. In a democracy, what makes people equal before the state isn’t that everyone has adequate procedural rights. It’s that everyone has the exact same procedural rights. It must be that, in the eyes of the law, there is no difference between rich and poor. If the rich have more rights—if they have fuller status as citizens—then by definition everyone else has fewer rights and lesser status.

More…

 

February 5, 2014 at 8:29 PM Leave a comment

Listen For the Sound of Heads Exploding: Muslim Holiday to Be Observed in NYC Schools

Heads Exploding image via commons.wikimedia.org

(Image via Commons.Wikimedia.org)

Muslim families in New York City have been requesting official recognition for Islamic holidays in public schools for years now, but they may finally see some changes under new Mayor Bill de Blasio.

On Monday he discussed the issue on the Brian Lehrer Show, declaring that he planned to move forward with closing schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, as well as for the Lunar New Year.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said, according to the New York Daily News.

Though Muslims appreciate his efforts, another community is feeling stiffed. De Blasio said on Monday that he hadn’t yet taken a position on whether Diwali should be officially recognized with a day off for public schools. The festival of lights is celebrated in the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh communities and is an important holiday.

More…

Oh my god, I love this!  Finally, finally someone is moving off the dime that says only high Christian holy days can be officially observed (here, in a nation that was built on the separation of church and state).  In my opinion the federal government has no business designating religious holidays of any kind.  Since it’s already gone there, the government shouldn’t favor one religion over another but turn high holy days in all religions into holidays.

See the problem with starting down that road?

Thank goodness Mayor de Blasio is bring this to the fore.  We need to talk about it.

Newly elected NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio is no stranger to controversy. The inauguration of this communist mayor included a prayer from a pro-Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, imam. Additionally, a member of De Blasio’s team received an award from the Communist Party USA.

Now, De Blasio has stated that he plans to close city schools for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year. As reported in the New York Daily News, De Blasio wants to get these holidays in place as quickly as possible.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.

 

- See more at: http://www.tpnn.com/2014/02/04/nyc-mayor-de-blasio-to-close-schools-for-muslim-holidays/#sthash.rjQ0goHa.dpuf

Newly elected NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio is no stranger to controversy. The inauguration of this communist mayor included a prayer from a pro-Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, imam. Additionally, a member of De Blasio’s team received an award from the Communist Party USA.

Now, De Blasio has stated that he plans to close city schools for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year. As reported in the New York Daily News, De Blasio wants to get these holidays in place as quickly as possible.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.

 

- See more at: http://www.tpnn.com/2014/02/04/nyc-mayor-de-blasio-to-close-schools-for-muslim-holidays/#sthash.rjQ0goHa.dpuf

Newly elected NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio is no stranger to controversy. The inauguration of this communist mayor included a prayer from a pro-Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, imam. Additionally, a member of De Blasio’s team received an award from the Communist Party USA.

Now, De Blasio has stated that he plans to close city schools for two Muslim holidays and the Lunar New Year. As reported in the New York Daily News, De Blasio wants to get these holidays in place as quickly as possible.

Appearing on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show” on Monday, the mayor said he hadn’t taken a position on whether Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated in India and other South Asian countries, should be a day off from school.

But he said he’d move forward with closing schools for Lunar New Year and for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Muslim holy days.

“It is complicated in terms of logistics and school calendar and budget. But it’s something I want to get done in a reasonable time frame,” he said.

 

- See more at: http://www.tpnn.com/2014/02/04/nyc-mayor-de-blasio-to-close-schools-for-muslim-holidays/#sthash.rjQ0goHa.dpuf

February 4, 2014 at 3:34 PM 2 comments

Keep the Government of Texas Out of Marlise Munoz’s Hospital Room

ICU via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

This happened today:

For the first time, John Peter Smith Hospital acknowledges that Marlise Munoz, who is being kept on a respirator under Texas law, has been brain dead since November 28 and that the “fetus gestating inside Mrs. Munoz is not viable,” according to court documents released before a Friday hearing.

The woman’s husband has repeatedly made these claims in his efforts to have her removed from the machines so the family can bury her.

More…

Interesting timing. The hospital must have seen the writing on the wall because just an hour or so later, this happened:

A judge on Friday ordered a Texas hospital to remove life support for a pregnant, brain-dead woman whose family had argued that she would not want to be kept in that condition.

Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. issued the ruling in the case of Marlise Munoz. John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth has been keeping Munoz on life support against her family’s wishes. The judge gave the hospital until 5 p.m. CST Monday to remove life support.

More…

Now we wait to see if the hospital appeals, which it has a right to do.

I have a question:  No matter when Ms. Munoz is finally allowed to rest in peace, who pays the bill for the time (going on two months now) the hospital kept her alive against the wishes of her family?  The hospital better the hell eat those costs. If they have the gall to send Mr. Munoz a bill, omg, I can’t imagine.

Bottom line:  This is about religious zealots in Texas passing laws that impose their religious beliefs on everyone, like the Taliban does in Pakistan.  The Founding Fathers were right:  There must be a separation between church and state.

 

January 24, 2014 at 6:47 PM 2 comments

Five Years Ago Today, Obama Ordered That Guantanamo Be Closed Within One Year

President Barack Obama, via Executive Order dated January 22, 2009:

EXECUTIVE ORDER

Sec. 3.  Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo. The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order.  If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities.
More… (pdf)

January 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM Leave a comment

About Those Abortion Clinic Buffer Zones

You probably heard that the Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday for and againa Massachusetts law that mandates a protective buffer zone around abortion clinics to allow patients unimpeded access, indicating they may strike it down as unconstitutional as demanded by anti-abortion protesters.”

To that, I say this — my Tweet of the Day:

Tweet of the Day 1-16-14

January 16, 2014 at 10:59 AM 2 comments

Imagining a Real Liberal Media in the United States

Light Bulb Sarcastic via wikimedia commons

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how the cable “news” networks cycle through so-called news stories roughly every eight, ten, 15 minutes and repeat themselves ad nauseam all day (unless there’s “breaking news” of course, like a high-speed police chase or an apartment fire)?

And maybe its just me but have you noticed how the right constantly screams about how liberal the U.S. media is?

Imagine how this country would change if the media really was liberal and they repeated this kind of thing every day, all day:

–  Giving Employees Paid Sick Leave is Good for Business: A large majority of employers in Connecticut — where paid sick leave has been mandatory since January, 2012 — “reported that the law did not affect business operations and that they had no or only small increases in costs.”

–  The NSA’s Sweeping Surveillance Programs Don’t Stop Terrorism:  On June 5, 2013, the Guardian broke the first story in what would become a flood of revelations regarding the extent and nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs.  Facing an uproar over the threat such programs posed to privacy, the Obama administration scrambled to defend them as legal and essential to U.S. national security and counterterrorism. Two weeks after the first leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were published, President Obama defended the NSA surveillance programs during a visit to Berlin, saying: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany. So lives have been saved.”

[,,,]

However, our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA “bulk” surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading.  An in-depth analysis of 225 individuals recruited by al-Qaeda or a like-minded group or inspired by al-Qaeda’s ideology, and charged in the United States with an act of terrorism since 9/11, demonstrates that traditional investigative methods, such as the use of informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations, provided the initial impetus for investigations in the majority of cases, while the contribution of NSA’s bulk surveillance programs to these cases was minimal.

Climate Change Clouds Philippines’ Dream of Rice Self-Sufficiency

Climate change will complicate the Philippines’ efforts to become self-sufficient in rice, the country’s economic planning secretary said Monday.

Arsenio Balisacan said preliminary data showed that 74% of the estimated damage from natural disasters in the country last year came in the farm sector, primarily affecting rice. The natural disasters include extreme weather caused by global warming, he said.

“We expect these extreme events and unpredictable phenomena to become the new normal,” Mr. Balisican told a workshop on efforts to address the impact of climate change in agriculture.

West Virginia Chemical-Spill Site Avoided Broad Regulatory Scrutiny

No government regulation!  Woo hoo.  A Libertarian paradise (unless you need to take a shower, drink water, wash your clothes, make dinner or wash your face).

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99
oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99

 

oger Ailes doesn’t just run Fox News as a political enterprise. He tried to do the same thing in his weekend community of Garrison, New York. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out quite so well.
Read more at http://www.newshounds.us/roger_ailes_tried_to_disrupt_his_bucolic_community_with_his_divisive_partisanship_01132014#kadLdX6CgpY2UWzG.99

 

 

 

 

January 13, 2014 at 9:04 PM Leave a comment

SCOTUS Could Rule as Early as Tomorrow on Sister Case to Citizens United

Tweet of the Day 1-13-14

This is what McCutcheon is all about:

Before the U.S. Supreme Court today, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. vigorously defended the current overall cap on political contributions as a tool that helps prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.

“Aggregate limits combat corruption,” Verrilli told the nine Supreme Court justices, arguing that should party leaders such as the speaker of the House or Senate majority leader solicit seven-figure checks there is an “inherent risk of corruption” and a “risk of indebtedness” to wealthy donors.

The so-called “aggregate” contribution limits are being challenged in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, named for its lead plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican activist from Alabama.

McCutcheon’s lawyers today argued that such limits, which are indexed to inflation and periodically raised, restrict his First Amendment rights.

If the court were to axe the current overall contribution limits, Verrilli predicted that “less than 500 people” could “fund the whole shooting match,” and then the government would be “run of, by and for those 500 people.”

More…

So, with Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people and the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting their political contributions, as well as those of “associations” and labor unions.  (But, of course, labor unions have nowhere near the money corporations do.)

With corporations free to pour money into campaigns, the last remaining barrier to the wealthiest of the wealthy buying elections could be knocked down if SCOTUS rules in favor of McCutcheon and removes barriers that apply to individuals.  I mean, how can you or I compete with someone who has the means to contribute $70 million in one election cycle?

We were screwed when the Citizens United ruling came down.  We’ll be really, really, really screwed if McCutcheon wins this one.

 

January 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM Leave a comment

SCOTUS Refuses to Affirm Arizona’s 20-Week Abortion Ban

Supreme Court building via smithsonianmag.com

Good:

The Supreme Court has rejected Arizona’s bid to put in place its ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The justices on Monday declined to reconsider a lower court ruling that the law violates a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb.

“Viability” of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks.

More…

It looks like the Constitution is getting in the Tea Party’s and the religious right’s way, though they claim to be its great defenders.

January 13, 2014 at 10:05 AM Leave a comment

Fox: “Masculine” Chris Christie Misunderstood in This “Feminized” World

Brit Hume via Fox News.com

(Image via FoxNews.com)

If it turns out New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was involved in closing three lanes of the George Washington Bridge leading into New York City, for four days (which too few people are emphasizing), causing untold drivers untold headaches, Fox News doesn’t want us to think of their Republican friend as a petty, vindictive, immature, mean, self-centered, two-bit street thug.  No. No. No. No.  They want us to think poor Chris Christie is a “masculine,”  “muscular” man’s man and the poor thing, he’s the victim in all this:

Britt Hume on Sunday’s “Media Buzz:”  “In this sort of feminized atmosphere in which we exist today, guys who are masculine and muscular like that in their private conduct, kind of old-fashioned tough guys, run some risks.”

Co-host Lauren Ashburn: “Feminized?”

Britt Hume:  “Atmosphere.  Men today have learned the lesson the hard way that if you act like kind of an old-fashioned guy’s guy, you’re in constant danger of slipping out and saying something that’s going to get you in trouble and make you look like a sexist or make you look like you seem thuggish or whatever. That’s the atmosphere in which he operates. This guy is very much an old-fashioned masculine, muscular guy, and there are political risks associated with that. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but that’s how it is.”

See the video here.

I swear.  They’ve got some real psychos chained in the basement over there at Fox thinking this stuff up.

January 12, 2014 at 4:53 PM Leave a comment

Supreme Court to Mull Right to Lie in Political Ads

Holy cow:

Scales of Justice via Wikimedia Commons

Supreme Court to Mull Right to Lie in Political Ads

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case delving into the government’s right to police alleged lies in political advertising.

The high court announced Friday afternoon that it will take up a lawsuit filed by Susan B. Anthony List, a national anti-abortion advocacy group that sought to run political ads against then-Rep. Steven Driehaus (D-Ohio).

During the 2010 election cycle, Susan B. Anthony List accused Driehaus of voting in favor of taxpayer-funded abortions by supporting President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Driehaus then complained to the Ohio state election commission, alleging that the proposed billboard campaign ad was false and violated the state law. The Affordable Care Act requires abortion to be paid for through non-ACA accounts and federal law bars taxpayer money from funding abortions.

The proposed billboard would have read: “Shame on Steve Driehaus! Driehaus voted FOR taxpayer-funded abortion.”

More…

Citizens United with a big heap of lies on the side.  Great.

 

January 10, 2014 at 4:34 PM Leave a comment

Republicans Kick a Million+ Lazy Ass Americans Off Their Unemployment Insurance

Got that?  Earlier this month, Republicans refused to extend unemployment insurance to more than a million Americans because they’re lazy a++holes and if we coddle them they’ll just keep on keepin’ on sucking the tit of the American taxpayer.

Dear god of the universe:  If only we really did have a liberal media here in the U.S., they’d be screaming about this<—-  <—-:

—->  —–>

GOP not working-

And if we had Democrats here in the U.S. who made some serious noise, who had guts and a willingness to stand up to the corporatocarcy (thank you Justice Roberts and your ruling on Citizens United), We the People might stand a chance…

 

December 28, 2013 at 8:44 PM 2 comments

The Phil Robertson Thing Isn’t About Freedom of Speech

From the Tea Party News Network:

"Sanity Prevails" via TPNN.com

(Image via TPNN.com)

Sanity? Yeah.  Right.  It’d say this is more about making us more insane if anything.  A&E had a teachable moment here:

Teabaggers claim this is all about free speech and that silencing Phil Robertson goes against the First Amendment of the Constitution.  Problem is, as is so often the case, they’ve apparently never read the one itty bitty sentence that comprises that amendment; they’re misinterpreting something that’s really, really clear and simple:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Translation:  The First Amendment is about our government — as in Congress (hello, see above) — not passing any laws “abridging the freedom of speech.”  It isn’t about being able to say whatever the hell you want or to yell “fire” in a movie theater.

Stupid is the new cool.

December 28, 2013 at 12:02 PM Leave a comment

The Cache County (Utah) Clerk Stops Issuing Marriage Licenses to…Everyone

I  G N O R A N C E

I listened to a radio interview with my local county sheriff the other week.  One of the topics the interviewer touched on was gun control.  My sheriff reminded listeners that there are three branches of government and he isn’t one of them.  He said he’s there to enforce the laws the three branches of government enact.

Pretty darn clear and simple, huh? Oh, and right on.

That said, this is what the Cache County Clerk in Utah is doing in response to courts granting marriage equality there.

County clerks don’t make laws, the courts do.  It’s up to county clerks to abide by them. Period.  And if you don’t like it — Cache County Clerk –  go to Somalia where there’s no organized government and chaos rules.

This is the United States of America and we have a system of government that has stood the test of time pretty well thus far.  If you care about this country, as I suspect you would claim you do, then obey and respect the Constitution you wingnut wackos.  Oh, and take that flag pin off your lapel.  You don’t know what it means.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s school desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Virginia Sen. Harry F. Byrd called for a campaign of “massive resistance” to Brown in an effort to thwart public school integration. One Virginia county even shut down its public school system entirely from 1959 until 1964 in order to prevent black children from attending school alongside white ones. Fifty years after Prince Edward County, Virginia reopened its schools, however, a Utah county clerk has apparently decided to follow its lead.

The Cache County, Utah Clerk’s office is closed on Monday, meaning that no one who visits that office may obtain a marriage license — whether they are gay or straight. Though the county has not explicitly stated that it closed the office in an act of massive resistance to a recent federal court decision calling for marriage equality in Utah, the county attorney’s office released a statement linking the closure to that decision: “Given the status of the pending motion for a stay and the appeal that will be filed by the state of Utah, the Clerk’s Office will be closed until further notice.”

More…

December 23, 2013 at 8:17 PM Leave a comment

Why in the World is Obama Clearing Judicial Nominees With Republicans?

What the hell:

Scales of Justice via Wikimedia Commons

Civil Rights Leaders to Hit Obama on Judges

President Barack Obama has upset Rep. John Lewis and other civil rights leaders by ignoring their input in picking four nominees to fill vacancies on the federal bench in Georgia.

On Monday, Lewis and fellow presidential medal of freedom winners Joseph Lowery and C.T. Vivian are expected to ask Obama to withdraw his nominees — a demand that is unlikely to be met — amid concerns that about the judges’ records and convictions on matters of importance to African Americans, as well as Obama’s process for selecting them.

[...]

The White House cleared three of the judges — Mark Cohen, Eleanor Ross, and Michael Boggs — with GOP Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss as part of a deal to fill two seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, according to reports in a legal journal called the Daily Report and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

More…

Stunning.

December 23, 2013 at 11:00 AM 4 comments

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