Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, is the latest victim of Sharia law and the denial of basic rights to women in some Muslim countries. Ghavami has been in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for over 40 days after committing the unpardonable sin of try to enter a stadium to watch the Iranian national men’s team was playing Italy. She was part of a large group of women who simply wanted to be able to watch a soccer game but under Sharia law in Iran it is a crime for women to even be at a sporting match with men. The world community has gone to Facebook and other social media sites to demand her release but she continues to languish in a prison known for its torture and raping of inmates.
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There are renewed questions about how the line is drawn between hate crimes and conventional criminal cases this week after a group of black teens beat a white Kroger employee into unconsciousness as part of a “fan mob.” We recently discussed similar objections in the Utash case where a group of black men also beat a white driver to death. Critics are comparing these and other cases to the rapid deployment of federal lawyers and investigators in the Fergusan case and the recent opening of a civil rights investigation as a possible hate crime. However, the distinction in this case is that police have noted that there was an African American victim even though you can hear references to the race of the first victim. The controversy is only the latest over the use of hate crime charges and how the line is drawn in launching investigations into racial elements of certain crimes. The distinction between race or rage as a motivating element can be difficult to discern in criminal cases.
Things appear to be getting worse by the day after the arrest of “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden, 49, for alleged forcible rape of a juvenile. First, the show itself was recently cancelled after Hayden’s arrest. Now another woman has reportedly come forward with additional charges against Hayden from when she was a 12-year-old girl staying with his family. Hayden has the distinction of being arrested twice with two different celebrity mug shots on charges of rape, including reported allegations from his daughter that she was raped at age 11. Two daughters are now making allegations of rape.
My colleague, George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf, has entered the fray over the Redskins name with the filing of a complaint to oppose the renewal of a radio station’s license due to its use of the team name. The filing comes at a time when recent polls show that almost three out of four people polled still believe that the Redskins should keep its name and do not view the name as racist. Another poll shows that almost 60 percent of NFL players believe that the team should keep its name. The radio station, WWXX-FM, is an ESPN affiliate owned by team owner Dan Snyder.
Egypt has continued its crackdown on social and religious minorities under Sharia law with the arrested of seven men for debauchery, “incitement to debauchery” and “publishing indecent images” after they were shown taking part in a “gay marriage” video on social media networks. The prosecutor declared that the video was “humiliating, regrettable and would anger God.”
By Charlton Stanley, Weekend Writer
Last year, in a virtually unprecedented move, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Aerospace Medicine ordered that all pilots who applied for a medical certificate would have their Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated. If the BMI was 40 or greater, a sleep study became mandatory in order for the medical certificate to be granted. In other words, the pilot has to prove he or she does not have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
This announcement of new rules bypassed completely a request for comments from the public, which is mandated by law. One day the rule did not exist, the next day there was a new rule requiring horrendously expensive and intrusive testing by a board certified specialist in sleep studies.
It got worse. The policy, published in the Federal Air Surgeon’s Medical Bulletin, Vol. 51, No. 4, goes on to say, “Airman applicants with a BMI of 40 or more will have to be evaluated by a physician who is a board certified sleep specialist, and anyone who is diagnosed with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) will have to be treated before they can be medically certificated.” The kicker? The order makes it clear the standard will eventually be expanded to include pilots with an even lower BMI, whether they have any history of daytime sleepiness or sleep disorder. The order is based on BMI alone.
The FAA does not provide any accident or statistical data to justify this extraordinary rulemaking at all. Why? Because there isn’t any.
There is a fascinating political shift occurring in Washington this weekend after President Barack Obama walked back from this pledge to act by the end of summer on his unilateral immigration actions and said that he will now wait until after the elections. The move has been openly discussed as an effort to support struggling Democratic candidates who are facing huge opposition to the immigration proposals and are leery of the President taking any action given his own record low polling numbers (which now stand at 38 percent according to Gallup). Various Democratic candidates have been complaining that they are losing ground due to the immigration proposal and that Obama’s pledge could further worsen the currently bleak picture for losses in Congress (and possibly losing both houses to the GOP). While the White House originally saw the proposal as a no-lose proposition and popular with the base, it has proven far less popular around the country, particularly in battleground states. Polls show far greater opposition than support for the proposal. Immigration advocates are denouncing the delay as putting “politics over people.”
The thrust of the decision is that the changes will be made but not until after voters are no longer able to express their opposition in the upcoming elections. That would seem to be a highly insulting proposition for voters, but it has not been treated as anything other than politics as usual by the media. It is a curious approach for a President who ran on the change slogan like “Time for A Change” and “Change You Can Believe In.” It is a “change you can count on [but not vote on]” approach to politics.