Archive for January, 2011

United States District Court Judge Roger Vinson has struck down the entirety of the National Health Care law (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) as unconstitutional. What is most interesting is his decision that the entire act had to be struck down because of the individual mandate provision’s unconstitutionality. Vinson grants declaratory relief but declines to grant injunctive relief.

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New Hampshire Rep. Gregory Sorg (R- Grafton County) is being accused of trying to prune the voter rolls of presumed liberal voters by barring college students from voting. His “Voters Attending Institutions of Learning” would tell students to vote back home.

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Russian officials are now saying that the suicide bomber called the Black Widow who died on New Year’s Eve was the result of an unexpected text message that set off her bomb too early. It may be the first case of death by spam ever recorded.

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Stephanie Jean Came, 21, is accused of not only being ruthless but decidedly cheap. Came allegedly wanted to kill her boyfriend but didn’t have the scratch for hit, so she arranged for a guy to cripple her boyfriend instead for $500 — preferably from the neck down.

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Who needs real birds when you can simply pipe them in? Lancaster (CA) mayor R. Rex Parris has announced his desire to have bird sounds played on loudspeakers around the city to make people happier.

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Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) joined the ranks of leading Republicans condemning evolution last week.   On Bill Maher’s show, Kingston was asked directly if he believed in evolution and announced “I believe I came from God not from a monkey so the answer is no.”

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Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

 

After a great afternoon playing with my grandsons, it is time to get back to “work”.  One of the news items that flew under the radar this week was the report that the Pentagon has established a start date for its training to prepare troops for the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that made it through the recent Lame Duck Congress.  I was pleasantly surprised that Defense Secretary Gates has moved quickly on the repeal, but I am confused as to why the troops have to be trained to treat everyone equally? (more…)

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

The new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is moving to make changes in abortion law. The new No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H. R. 5939) has 173 co-sponsors—most of them Republicans. According to The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape, an article in Mother Jones that was written by Nick Baumann, John Boehner (R-OH) considers the bill a top priority for the new Congress. The bill, reportedly, includes a provision that rewrites the definition of rape.

Federal laws that have restricted the use of government funds for abortions have contained exemptions for pregnancies that resulted from rape and incest and for pregnancies that could endanger the lives of women. Evidently, the new legislation proposes that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.”

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Last February, the U.S. Congress passed a one-year extension of three provisions of the Patriot Act that were due to expire. Although there were bills pending in the House and the Senate to amend those provisions—as well as other sections of the Patriot Act—Congress chose to reauthorize the act without making any changes.

This February, the three “sunset” provisions of the Patriot Act are due to expire again. On January 26th, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced legislation that calls for reauthorization of the three provisions. Sensenbrenner’s legislation would extend the “sunset” provisions through December 8, 2011.

Sensenbrenner said: “As the author of the USA PATRIOT Act and its reauthorization in 2005, I fully understand the intense legal scrutiny these provisions have undergone over the last several years and support making them permanent. These three provisions have helped thwart countless potential attacks since the bill was signed into law and are critical to helping ensure law officials can keep our nation safe from attack.”

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Jeopardy champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter faced off against IBM’s Watson supercomputer in a practice bout.

 

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-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Although Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) was being pushed to run for President in 2012, he appears to favor a likely run for Governor of Indiana. Many on the Right consider Pence the candidate to unite the evangelical and social conservatives and the Tea Partyers.

How shallow is the Republican pool of candidates if this is the best they can come up with?

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Walmart Pitches Woo

-Submitted by David Durmm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Woo, a term used by scientific skeptics for pseudoscience, alternative medicine and New Age beliefs, or a person who holds such beliefs.

Walmart, through their website, is selling Oscillococcinum, manufactured by Boiron, to be used “for flu-like symptoms.” Their image of the package shows that the product “Reduces [the] Duration and Severity of Flu Symptoms,” including “Fever, Chills, Body Aches and Pains.”

It does no such thing.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Rep. Curtis Oda, a Republican member of the Utah House of Representatives, says he wants “to protect people from getting in trouble for doing the right thing.” And the “right thing” according to Oda is killing feral animals. Oda does not think that feral animals should be protected by a law that makes cruelty to animals a felony. He  feels that feral animals can pose health risks.

Oda is chief sponsor of House Bill 210 that would change the current law in order to allow the humane killing of feral animals. Two of the killing methods that Oda considers to be humane are clubbing and decapitation.

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Wake up Minnesota

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

The other day I came across an article about Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has a big idea to save money in the Federal budget.  When I read the article I was disappointed because Rep. Bachmann’s idea to save $4.5 Billion from the Federal budget is to take it away from Veterans disability payments.  “The Air Force Times reports her plan would slice $4.5 billion from the VA, including reducing 150,000 veterans’ disability compensation and the amount they receive in Social Security Disability Income.”       http://thinkprogress.org/2011/01/28/bachmann-veterans/   Now, I am all for saving money from waste and inefficiencies, but Rep. Bachmann’s idea would take it from our wounded heroes! (more…)

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Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

California professional golfer (and former police officer) Lana Lawless is challenging the LPGA’s rule requiring tournament participants to be “female by birth.”  The LPGA has ruled, according to Lawless, that as a transgender woman, she is ineligible to compete. The rule seems to fly directly in the face of California’s Unruh Law which holds that all people in the state are “free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”

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