Lethal injection upheld


The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday to uphold a procedure used by states to carry out executions by lethal injection.

The justices were considering a challenge brought by death-row inmates in Oklahoma, who allege that the use of a sedative called midazolam has resulted in troubling executions that violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Problematic executions in Oklahoma and elsewhere have captured national headlines since early last year.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority that included Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

That’s the long and short of it.   Part of the problem is being able to obtain lethal injection drugs because of the European community.  I have a few questions;

Why can’t we make our own lethal injection drugs?  What do we use to euthanize our pets?  Why can’t those drugs be used on those being executed?  It’s a lot kinder than what they did to someone.  One of the criminals in question raped and killed an 11 month old.  That that is one sick, depraved bastard.  Who cares if he writhes around a little.  Oooops.

Good job on this one, Supremes.

Same-sex marriage, Obamacare, the flag–It’s been quite a week


The Supreme Court on Friday delivered an historic victory for gay rights, ruling 5-4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.

The court’s action marks the culmination of an unprecedented upheaval in public opinion and the nation’s jurisprudence. Advocates called it the most pressing civil rights issue of modern times, while critics said the courts had sent the country into uncharted territory by changing the traditional definition of marriage.

“The court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. No longer may this liberty be denied to them,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

The country’s first legally recognized same-sex marriages took place just 11 years ago, the result of a Massachusetts state supreme court decision. Now, more than 70 percent of Americans live in states where same-sex couples are allowed to marry, according to estimates.

Holy cow, what a week.  Lots of change.  All of it was just a matter of time.  Now everyone can marry who they love, all over the nation.

Looking back, the end result of all these changes is that people have more rights.  This should be seen as a good thing.

Same-sex marriage was only a matter of time and is definitely a civil rights issue.  The LGBT community still has a long way to go to have full rights.  There still is no job protection, for example.  It’s been less than 50 years since Loving v. Virginia codified interracial marriage in Virginia.  At the turn of the century, there were places were homosexual sex was illegal.  Imagine the number of lives that have been ruined because former respected members of communities across the country were somehow discovered.  That is no longer an issue.

Just as a perspective, when I was a young psych major in college, homosexuality was by the  AMA  and the American Psychiatric Association as a mental illness.  We have come a long way, in so many respects.  The wheels of social justice march on.    Limbaugh has something to bitch about for decades.

Former Senator Jim Webb on the Confederate Flag and the Civil War


From Jim Webb’s Facebook page:

This is an emotional time and we all need to think through these issues with a care that recognizes the need for change but also respects the complicated history of the Civil War. The Confederate Battle Flag has wrongly been used for racist and other purposes in recent decades. It should not be used in any way as a political symbol that divides us.

But we should also remember that honorable Americans fought on both sides in the Civil War, including slave holders in the Union Army from states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland and Delaware, and that many non-slave holders fought for the South. It was in recognition of the character of soldiers on both sides that the federal government authorized the construction of the Confederate Memorial 100 years ago, on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

This is a time for us to come together, and to recognize once more that our complex multicultural society is founded on the principle of mutual respect.

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McAuliffe orders Confederate flag off of Va license plates


RICHMOND — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Tuesday that he will phase out a state-sponsored license plate featuring an image of the Confederate flag.

At an appearance in Richmond, the city that served as the capital of the Confederacy, McAuliffe (D) called the symbol “unnecessarily divisive and hurtful.”

The announcement comes in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of nine members of a historically African American church in Charleston, S.C., allegedly by Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man who, according to police, wanted “to start a race war.”

It comes just one day after South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called for the flag to be removed from the grounds of that state’s capitol — and the week after the Supreme Court ruled that Texas is free to reject a specialized license plate featuring the Confederate flag.

We all know that I am a creature of contradiction. This issue is no exception.  I happen to think Terry McAuliffe is simply jumping on the band wagon.  The targeted group here is a fairly revered group–Sons of Confederate Veterans.  The one and only person I know who is a proud member is a man named Bob Perry.  Bob is one of the kindest, most genteel gentlemen I know.  He is one of the least racist people I have ever known.  He honors his ancestors.

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Ben Bernanke defends Alexander Hamilton on the 10 spot


From CNN.com:

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said he is “appalled” by the treasury secretary’s decision to have Alexander Hamilton split his duty as the face of the $10 bill with a woman.

Though he said secretary Jack Lew’s decision to put a female face on the ten is a “fine idea,” Bernanke made it clear he doesn’t think it should be at Hamilton’s expense.

“Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, would qualify as among the greatest of our founders for his contributions to achieving American independence and creating the Constitution alone,” Bernanke wrote in a blog post.

Bernanke argued that Hamilton also helped stabilize and strengthen the U.S. financial system in the early days of America, paving the way for a strong economy.

“The importance of Hamilton’s achievement can be judged by the problems that the combination of uncoordinated national fiscal policies and a single currency has caused the Eurozone in recent years,” he wrote, adding that Hamilton’s efforts to consolidate state debts and to create a strong federal fiscal system helped America avoid some of the eurozone’s current issues.

Bernanke added that he supports Lew’s historic decision to put a woman on U.S. paper currency for the first time in more than a century.

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GOP candidates need to be wary of the CSA flag issue



If there’s one subject on which you just can’t win as a Republican politician these days, it seems to be the Confederate flag.

After the racially motivated Charleston shootings this week and a Supreme Court case regarding the flag, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is facing pressure to take down the flag, which is still flying high at a Confederate War memorial on state house grounds. She hasn’t heeded the calls, and her staff says it’s up to the general assembly. Her fellow South Carolinian and GOP presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, defended the flag flying in his home state by telling CNN on Friday that it is “part of who we are.”


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Time to retire the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia in South Carolina

For starters, the flag I see flying over the capital grounds of South Carolina isn’t THE Confederate flag. Having said that, it doesn’t really matter.

I have not one problem with any southern state incorporating its history during the Civil War within its current state flag. That part of history clearly impacted that state. What most of us do object to is flying the lone flag thought of as the “Rebel Flag,” standing beside the state flag and the United States flag. I simply do not see why it is necessary. It just looks redneck.

What I did not realize is that flag wasn’t flown in South Carolina until the 60’s as a symbol against integration and the Civil Rights movement. This display of the “Rebel Flag” is not time-honored tradition. It appears to be an open “in-your-face” display of defiance and intolerance.

I don’t think this is the time to make any changes, however. The “Rebel Flag” was no more cause of the Charleston Massacre than the Rising Sun was the cause of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Change needs  to come to South Carolina because it is time.  That flag has been hi-jacked and used outside its historical context.  It has been to reinforce and prop up the notion of racial superiority and power.  I would have no problem if the flag was in some way supporting history and used in that context.  It is not.  The history and culture excuse is pure bull crap.

The change needs to come from the South Carolina General Assembly. They need to retire that display once and for all and get on with life.

Hate crime at historic black church in Charleston–9 dead


When a gunman opened fire on Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church Wednesday, spraying bullets into a group of worshippers gathered for a mid-week prayer meeting, it was as though history repeated itself.

This historic congregation, the oldest of its kind in the South, had already seen more than its fair share of tumult and hate. It was founded by worshippers fleeing racism and burned to the ground for its connection with a thwarted slave revolt. For years its meetings were conducted in secret to evade laws that banned all-black services. It was jolted by an earthquake in 1886. Civil rights luminaries spoke from its pulpit and led marches from its steps. For nearly two hundred years it had been the site of struggle, resistance and change.

On Wednesday, the church was a crime scene — the street outside aglow with the flashing red lights of police cars and echoing with the screech of sirens. Nine people had been killed there, reportedly including the church’s pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, though police had not confirmed his death.

Rev. Pinckney has been confirmed as dead. What would possess a person to commit such a horrible act? he people were worshipping. What makes this a hate crime? Was it because it was in a church? Was it racially motivated? Was there past history with one of the victims?

This case seems very dreadful and very scary.

Open Thread…………………………………………………….Monday, June 1

tree frog 2

What is all that racket outside every night, once the sun goes down?  Why its tree frogs!  They are singing their hearts out, looking for a mate.

Tree frogs are definitely a sign of warm weather.  They are also a sign that all is well and right with the world.  In the forest, when tree frogs get quiet, it means that they are aware of danger.  Their silence becomes an anti-alarm of sorts.

Near my house, nothing shuts them up.  Their sound can be deafening.  Oddly enough, they sound isn’t coming from Bull Run Creek but rather the opposite direction.  So much for the bull frog theory.  If there are bull frogs in the mix they must be ones who have taken over someone’s swimming pool.  Croakers’ rights or something like that.

Papal encyclical blames climate change on human activity

pope climate


A draft of a major environmental document by Pope Francis says “the bulk of global warming” is caused by human activity — a perspective aligned with most climate scientists but still highly controversial to some Americans.

In the draft, portions of which were translated by The Washington Post, the pope takes climate change deniers to task and calls on “humanity” to take steps — including changing manufacturing and consumption trends — to turn back the clock on global warming. He backs the science behind climate change, citing “a very considerable consensus that points out we are now facing a worrisome warming of the climate.”

Although he states that there may be some natural reasons for global warming, he blasts those who claim it is unrelated to human activity, saying “plenty of scientific studies point out that the last decades of global warming have been mostly caused by the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and others) especially generated by human action.”

The greatly anticipated encyclical, which surfaced Monday three days before its official release, set off a global scurry by environmentalists, theologians, reporters and others attempting to translate the teachings that many predict will influence policy around poverty and climate change worldwide.

The much awaited papal encyclical clearly blames climate change on human activity.  This decree must present quite a dilemma for Catholics world-wide who happen to be climate change deniers.  Catholics are taught that the Pope is infallible.

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In Louisiana, creationism enters the science class surreptitiously

evolution cartoon

Americans United:

A Louisiana school district that lets teachers use the Bible to teach creationism is doubling down on its sectarian instruction, claiming such lesson plans are permissible as long as the school does not provide that material.

Bossier Parrish schools are under fire thanks to some stellar investigative work by science education activist Zack Kopplin, an Americans United ally. Through an open records request, Kopplin obtained scores of emails proving that creationism runs rampant in Bossier Parrish’s public schools. One such email, from Airline High School science teacher Shawna Creamer to her principal, was particularly eyebrow raising.

“We will read in Genesis and them [sic] some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present,” Creamer wrote.

In response to Kopplin’s investigation, a spokesperson for Bossier Parrish schools told the Christian Post that there is nothing to see here because the district doesn’t endorse creationism – it’s just something individual instructors are free to explore as part of “academic freedom.”

“[The] district does not provide Creationist literature as supplements in our courses,” but does permit “use [of] the Bible as supplementary material in presenting alternative viewpoints to evolution,” the spokesperson said. “We support our teachers in engaging their students in dialogue regarding Creationism and evolution and allowing students to express their views.”

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Video shots only tell part of the story?



A police officer slams an unarmed 15-year-old girl in a bikini to the ground, pulls his gun and kneels on her as teens on either side of him shout and, of course, record the encounter. Within hours, millions watch the video: Some see a defenseless black teen being manhandled by an out-of-control white cop; others see a lone, scared officer in the crowded, chaotic aftermath of a fight he doesn’t yet understand.

In theory, video sends a message of certainty: This is what happened, and we can all see it. Recorded snippets of an encounter between police and the public can reveal the crushing, life-or-death stress that officers face —

Cellphone video has become as much a part of policing as tickets and handcuffs. Video images of police shootings have sparked national turmoil. But Friday’s ugly, cacophonous scene in McKinney, Tex., at first seemed like something more routine — a call about misbehaving teens at a pool party on a hot Texas afternoon.

Then it went awry, at least in the seven-minute version of reality that a local teen posted on YouTube. The clip is the classic kind of video that can crush public trust in police. Yet paradoxically, police chiefs are pushing for more video, in the form of body cameras, to repair relations with those they serve.

In theory, video sends a message of certainty: This is what happened, and we can all see it. Recorded snippets of an encounter between police and the public can reveal the crushing, life-or-death stress that officers face — and the overwhelming power an officer can wield.

The first time I saw this video I thought that this was a cop in fear for his life.  Kids, regardless of age, can kill you just as quick as a 30 year old.

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D-Day: June 6, 1944

Every D-Day I am humbled by the accomplishments of those who served our great nation and their allies.  They performed what many thought was the impossible.  I am humbled by the bravery of our troops, many who lost their lives that day.   I am humbled by those who served on the home front by sacrificing those daily comforts that we who came after them accept as routine necessities.

How could the Allied Forces get that many men, that many vehicles, that many supplies and support services across the English channel to begin the nearly year-long trek towards victory?   The risk involved seems almost insurmountable.

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Democrats vie for opportunity to run for the 29th


NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has announced that all three contenders for the opportunity to run as the Democratic  candidate for the 29th Virginia Senate seat are 100% pro-choice.

That is good news.  Those nasty TRAP laws that keep popping up (Remember Ken Cuccinelli’s diabolical building code intrusions?) came into being because of a vote from the current senator from the 29th.  Virginia Democrats want to make sure those ridiculous parking lot rules aren’t used to stomp out reproductive rights for the women of Virginia.

Having three well-qualified candidates presents another problem.   I have had a very difficult time deciding who gets my vote on June 9.  All 3 candidates are strong.  All have worked hard for my vote.  The real question becomes which candidate has the best chance of beating Republican challenger Hal Parrish who has lost the pro-choice votes in the 29th by casting a tie-breaker vote for very restrictive zoning rules within the City of Manasssas.  His vote would restrict future reproductive care within the City of Manassas.

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