Indiana SB101: Legalized discrimination?

March 31st, 2015 160 comments


Indiana Senate Bill 101, titled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,[1] is a law that mandates that religious liberty of individuals and corporations can only be limited by the “least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest.”[2] The bill has been controversial. Opponents of the law claim that is targeted against LGBT people and other groups. The bill is similar to the controversial Arizona SB 1062 vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer in 2014, which expanded Arizona’s existing RFRA to include corporations.[3][4]

The bill was approved by a vote of 40-10[5] and on March 26, 2015, Mike Pence signed SB 101 into law.[6] The law’s signing was met with widespread criticism by such organizations as the NCAA, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, the gamer convention Gen Con, and the Disciples of Christ. Technology company Salesforce said it would halt its plans to expand in the state.

Pence is speaking now.  He started off his speech by comparing himself to Clinton.  What a nerve.  He has probably spent a good portion of his life spitting on Bill Clinton.

Pence continues to make excuses.  He says he and the general assembly will craft legislation that makes it clear that businesses don’t deny services to anyone.  Then why have the law?

Meanwhile, Gov. McAuliffe has told Indiana corporations to come to Virginia.  I like a guy that sees opportunity.

Categories: diversity, Gay/Lesbian, General, Religion Tags:

Colonel Morris Davis: Guantánamo’s Charade of Justice

March 28th, 2015 24 comments

Colonel Davis’s op-ed piece appeared Friday in the New York Times.

Guantánamo’s Charade of Justice

LAST week, we learned that, only months into the job, the official in charge of the military courts system at Guantánamo Bay was stepping down, after judges ruled he had interfered in proceedings. The appointment of an interim replacement was the sixth change of leadership for the tribunals since 2003.

This is yet another setback for the military commissions, as they tackle two of their highest-profile cases: the joint trial of the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and four alleged co-conspirators, and the trial of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused in the bombing of the American destroyer Cole.

That’s not all. Besides the revolving door at the convening authority’s office, six military attorneys have served as chief prosecutor for these courts over the same period. (I was the third.)

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Paradoxical mental health expectations: not so enlightened?

March 28th, 2015 Comments off

mental illness

Americans like to think that they are enlightened as far as mental illness goes.  They no longer keep crazy old Aunt Sally locked in the attic.  People are encouraged all the time to seek mental health treatment.  “Go for professional help” is code for get a shrink.   People confess to taking Zoloft and other anti depressants like they are popping an aspirin.   Some folks even discuss what their psychiatrists tell them as a conversation piece at cocktail parties.   Is all this feel-good talk about our national mental health simply window dressing?

Yes and no.  Actually, our treatment of mental illness is, if you will pardon the pun, schizophrenic.  On the one hand, mental illness is treated like its just one of the conditions that affects the human body, like heart disease, TB,  diabetes or chicken pox.  Our HIPAA laws protect mental health conditions like any other disease, in fact often times more than other diseases.

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Categories: health care, Social Issues Tags:

Inventing your own demons when none exist

March 26th, 2015 26 comments

A 67-year-old Roswell man claimed he was only trying to be a “patriot” when he planted a bomb at a local park, according to a federal complaint against him.

Michael C. Sibley, 67, was arrested Saturday for allegedly leaving an explosive device at Vickory Creek Park in November, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“The defendant allegedly placed a bag containing what appeared to be pipe bombs in Vickery Creek Park,” Horn said in an emailed statement. “This arrest should reassure the community that serious crimes like this will be investigated thoroughly and all leads followed to identify the perpetrator.”
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Categories: Terrorism Tags:

Rogue Pilot: Plane crash becomes mass murder investigation

March 26th, 2015 5 comments

In an international press conference, a French prosecutor  reported that the 28-year-old co-pilot of  the crashed plane deliberately brought down the Germanwings flight.

The co-pilot, identified as Andreas Lubitz,  had 630 hours of flight experience and had joined Germanwings in 2013, straight out of flight school.

The French prosecutor reported that the co-pilot “had a desire to destroy this plane.”  Those listening to data from the black box said that they could clearly hear normal breathing from the co-pilot while the pilot desperately attempted to get back into the cockpit by pounding on the door and shouting, then communicating by intra-cabin communications.    It is also reported that it was the co-pilot who deliberately pushed the button to bring the plane down.

A French prosecutor said Thursday that the co-pilot of the doomed Germanwing flight appeared to want to “destroy the plane,” in a stunning twist to the investigation that shifted attention to a possible suicide dive that killed all 150 people aboard.

The statement came after reports that the recovered cockpit voice recorder indicated the pilot was locked out of the cockpit before the A320 slammed into the French Alps on Tuesday.

The French prosecutor said flight recorder showed the co-pilot — identified in media reports as Andreas Lubitz — did not say a word once the captain left the cockpit, the Associated Press reported.

“It was absolute silence in the cockpit,” the prosecutor was quoted as saying.

The New York Times quoted an unidentified investigator Thursday as saying the audio depicts someone knocking with increasing urgency — and force — on the cockpit door. The Times quoted the source as saying: “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”

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Categories: General Tags:

Virginia college transcripts to note misconduct

March 24th, 2015 29 comments

A bill on the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe would require Virginia schools to mark the transcripts of students involved in misconduct, in hopes of stopping sexual predators from transferring to unsuspecting schools.

The bill was informally named after Jesse Matthew, the man charged in the death of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Graham was last seen leaving a downtown Charlottesville restaurant with Matthew last September; her remains were discovered a few weeks later.

McAuliffe introduced a similar bill. An earlier version would have required a prominent notation on the transcripts of students who withdraw while under investigation for sex crimes.

The version on the governor’s desk, however, broadened the language to include a transcript notation for any student “who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the institution while under investigation for a violation of the institution’s code.”

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Categories: sexual issues Tags:

The Confederate Flag visits the Supremes

March 23rd, 2015 9 comments


The U.S. Supreme Court is tackling a question of great interest to America’s auto-loving public: Whose speech is that on your specialty license plate? Specifically, when the government issues specialty tags at the behest of private groups or individuals, can it veto messages deemed offensive to others?

The specialty plate at the center of Monday’s case was proposed by the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). The tag design features a square Confederate battle flag, along with the organization’s name. Texas produces specialty plates for a fee, but the design must first be approved by the state Department of Motor Vehicles board.

The SCV plate generated considerable controversy.

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Categories: General Tags:

Chris Borland to return much of his signing bonus

March 23rd, 2015 Comments off

Chris Borland, who sent shockwaves through the NFL with his retirement last week after one season with the San Francisco 49ers due to fears of future brain injuries, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning that he was giving back part of his signing bonus.

Borland, 24, made the comment after he was asked if he had any buyer’s remorse.

“Absolutely not. To play one year, it’s not a cash grab as I’ve been accused of. I’m paying back three-fourths of my signing bonus. I’m only taking the money I’ve earned,” he said.

“This to me is just about health and nothing else. I’ve never played the game for money or attention. I love football. I’ve had a blast and I don’t regret the last 10 years of my life at all. I’d do it over the exact same way. From here on I’m looking forward.”

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Categories: Sports Tags:

Bill to return voting rights to convicted felons introduced

March 23rd, 2015 26 comments


Millions of Americans whose past felony convictions forbid them from casting ballots may regain voting rights under a bill introduced this week in Congress.

The Democracy Restoration Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), would allow all former inmates to vote in elections for federal offices. Currently, the bill notes, nearly 6 million Americans are barred from voting. Three-fourths of them are finished serving their sentences and would have their voting rights restored if the bill becomes law.

“Disenfranchising citizens who have been convicted of a criminal offense and who are living and working in the community serves no compelling State interest and hinders their rehabilitation and reintegration into society,” Conyers writes in the bill. He adds: “The United States is the only Western democracy that permits the permanent denial of voting rights for individuals with felony convictions.”

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Categories: voting/elections Tags:

Open Thread…………………………………………Tuesday, March 10

March 20th, 2015 114 comments

daffs 2

Almost.  Just another week or two of warm weather and we will have daffodils, those harbingers of spring.

Everyone is sick of winter.  I like winter and I am tired of being cold.  Many western states have had the warmest weather on record.  Not us.

How are you going to usher in spring?

Categories: General Tags: