Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

210px-flag_of_washington_dcsvg220px-CriminologygunglockUnited States District Court Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. has finally handed down a ruling in Palmer v. District of Columbia overturned the city’s total ban on residents on carrying firearms outside their home. The litigants repeatedly went to court to try to force Scullin to rule during the five year wait for a decision. They probably now feel it was worth the wait. The court held the D.C. law was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. The D.C. Attorney General’s Office and city council has continued to resist the rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010) and have spent copious amounts of money and time defending this law. The city could have drafted more tailored laws but seemed intent to re-fight aspects of its historic loss in Heller. The Office of Attorney General continues to dig a deeper hole both legally and financially for the citizens in such litigation.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro

Much has happened in my life in the past few years. In July of 2010, my daughter, who is my only child, got married. A few months later, Jonathan asked me to be one of the three original guest bloggers at Res Ipsa Loquitor. In 2011, I became a grandmother…and a nanny granny. That year, I also signed my first book contract with Chronicle Books. In 2012, my husband and I bought a house that had an in-law apartment with my daughter and son-in-law. We did this so it would be more convenient for me to provide daycare for my granddaughter Julia. In 2013, my husband and I sold the house where we had lived for nearly forty years and moved into our new home.

Moving was not an easy task. I own thousands of books—many of which are books for children and young adults. A great number of those children’s books are poetry collections and anthologies. Although I donated hundreds of books to the Reach Out and Read program at a local health clinic and to some of the kids in my old neighborhood, I couldn’t bear to part with my poetry books. I wanted to share them with my granddaughter Julia in hopes that she will also develop a love of poetry like her “Gammy.”

Julia "Reading" a Book of Children's Poems

Julia “Reading” a Book of Children’s Poems

Julia "Reading a Book Written in Verse

Julia “Reading” a Book Written in Verse

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220px-AlfedPalmersmokestacksWhile the United States continues to spend billions on foreign wars above the $4 trillion spent on Iraq and Afghanistan, we continue to receive new studies showing how the country is failing behind in education, science, and other programs needed for future growth. The latest is the study of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, which found that we have now dropped to 13th out of 16 major nations in energy efficiency — a key economic factor for future growth.

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Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

Forty-five years ago today—on July 20, 1969—astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. Michael Collins, the other member of the Apollo 11 crew, orbited above them. As Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon, stepped down from the Eagle, he said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” I remember the excitement and pride of the people of this country on that historic day. We Americans also felt great relief and exultation when those three astronauts returned to Earth safely following their successful mission.

Apollo 11 in 100 Seconds

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HobbyLobbySubmitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

Back in March of this year—during oral arguments in the Hobby Lobby case—Sahil Kapur (Talking Points Memo) said he thought that the conservative Supreme Court Justices “appeared broadly ready to rule against the birth control mandate under Obamacare.” He added that “their line of questioning indicated they may have a majority to do it.” Kapur reported that Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia and Alito “expressed no sympathy for the regulation while appearing concerned for the Christian business owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood who said the contraceptive mandate violates their religious liberty and fails strict scrutiny standards under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”

During oral arguments, Justice Scalia said, “You’re talking about, what, three or four birth controls, not all of them, just those that are abortifacient. That’s not terribly expensive stuff, is it?”

There are a couple of things I think Justice Scalia should know. First, the four contraceptive methods that Hobby Lobby objected to paying for—Plan B, Ella, and two intrauterine devices—are not abortifacients. They do not prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus—which the owners of Hobby Lobby consider to be abortion. Instead—according to the Food and Drug Administration—the four contraceptive methods in question prevent fertilization of an egg. Second, the cost of intrauterine devices can be quite considerable—especially to a woman working for minimum wage or for a company like Hobby Lobby.

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Elephant Tears

By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

rajuRaju got freed from an imprisonment in India last week after a 50 year sentence. Shackled with iron bindings studded with spikes and starving, the captive at first winced then cried tears of joy when his rescuers finally relieved him of the pain. That wasn’t the first time Raju cried. He cried when he was caught and then throughout his ordeal when he was sold and beaten. He cried when he was forced to stand outside of temples begging for food.

Raju’s story isn’t unique in a part of the world where life is cheap, especially non-human animal life. Raju, you see, is an elephant and elephant’s don’t have emotions were are taught. They are chattel in the mind of the law and any similarity between them and the dominant species on the planet is purely coincidental.

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man-dies-in-eating-contest-walter-eagle-tail.jpg-665x385Hot Dog with MustardWe have previously discussed the liability issues surrounding eating and drinking contests. Those concerns were raised again with the death of Walter Eagle Tail, 47, who choked to death during a Fourth of July hot dog eating contest in Custer, South Dakota.

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Sam_Brownback,_official_Governor's_portrait

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In these post Recession days, we have seen various stories of state and municipalities economies make positive strides toward recovery.  According to economist Paul Krugman, the state of Kansas is not one of those success stories.  If you don’t recall, the Republican Governor, Sam Brownback, signed legislation granting huge tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.

Brownback crowed that these tax cuts would lead Kansas into the promised land of economic nirvana.  Unfortunately for regular, non-wealthy Kansans, the recovery has not materialized.  As Krugman states, the economy in Kansas tanked.

“Sam Brownback, the governor, proposed the legislation — in percentage terms, the largest tax cut in one year any state has ever enacted — in close consultation with the economist Arthur Laffer. And Mr. Brownback predicted that the cuts would jump-start an economic boom — “Look out, Texas,” he proclaimed.

But Kansas isn’t booming — in fact, its economy is lagging both neighboring states and America as a whole. Meanwhile, the state’s budget has plunged deep into deficit, provoking a Moody’s downgrade of its debt.” New York Times  (more…)

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Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma

Rep. Frank Lucas of Oklahoma

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

Frank Dean Lucas, a Republican, is the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma’s 3rd congressional district. Prior to representing the 3rd district, he served the 6th district from 1994 to 2003. Lucas currently chairs the House Committee on Agriculture. He also serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Last Tuesday, Rep. Lucas won his Republican primary easily—garnering more than 80% of the vote. His primary opponent Timothy Ray Murray—who received only 5.2% of the vote—is planning to contest the election. Murray’s reason for contesting the election: He claims that Lucas was executed three years ago by the World Court and that the Congressman has been replaced by a body double. Murray even suggested on his campaign website that the “Frank Lucas” who bested him in the primary might be an artificial look alike or a man-made replacement.

In a press release posted on his website, Murray wrote, “The election for U.S. House for Oklahoma’s 3rd District will be contested by the Candidate, Timothy Ray Murray. I will be stating that his votes are switched with Rep. Lucas votes, because it is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike.”

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By Charlton Stanley, Weekend Contributor

Mark Mayfield Jackson Attorney Photo by Jackson, MS police department

Mark Mayfield
Jackson Attorney
Photo by Jackson, MS police department

As I write this, the news is still coming in, and the full story is far from being told. I will provide breaking news as I hear it, but our intrepid bloggers should consider the comments an Open Thread. If you have solid news to report, please do so, and source the information. Otherwise it is just gossip.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that conspiracy theorists are breaking out the tinfoil hats.

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ROSESubmitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

I fell in love with the poetry of Li-Young Lee when I read his debut collection Rose. Published in 1986, the book won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Poetry Award. In the foreword that he wrote for Rose, Gerald Stern said that when he first came across Li-Young Lee’s poetry, he “was amazed by the large vision, the deep seriousness and the almost heroic ideal “reminiscent more of John Keats, Rainer Maria Rilke and perhaps Theodore Roethke than William Carlos Williams on the one hand or T.S. Eliot on the other.” Stern added that what characterizes Lee’s poetry “Is a certain humility, a kind of cunning, a love of plain speech, a search for wisdom and understanding…”

Stern also wrote in his foreword that the “father” in contemporary poetry “tends to be a pathetic soul or bungler or a sweet loser, overwhelmed by the demands of family and culture and workplace.” He said that the father in Lee’s poems isn’t anything like that. He said the “father” in Lee’s poetry is “more godlike”–and that the poet’s job “becomes not to benignly or tenderly forgive him, but to withstand him and comprehend him, and variously fear and love him.”

 

 

 

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LER 1 ID Card Front _ADJ

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Weekend contributor

This is a personal story that I need to share with you.  For many years before I became a Dad, Fathers Day always gave me mixed emotions.  Growing up without knowing my Father always made me uncomfortable on this special day.  While I always considered that my Mother did a masterful job handling being both a Mother and a Father to me and my siblings, there was still something missing.  My Dad would have turned 93 this past week and his birthday went by with only a few Facebook posts and comments from my siblings and relatives.  I am sure that my Mother was thinking about him on that day, but when I was young, Fathers Day was not a holiday in our house.

My Dad was born in 1921 and was one of 11 children born to Alex and Min Rafferty.  He grew up in Northern Lake County, Illinois and his father and my Grandfather, ran a moving and storage business that kept the entire family busy.  My Dad was named Lawrence, but was called Sonny by his Mother and Father and his siblings because he was born after a few girls in a row so my Grandfather was happy to have another Son.  I was never able to personally wish him a Happy Fathers Day because he was killed in the Service in March of 1951, just a few short weeks before I was born.  However, in the last several years I have thought about him often and written about him and his life, but I still have never wished him a Happy Fathers Day.  (more…)

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Diane Ravitch Education Historian

Diane Ravitch
Education Historian

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University, a historian of education, and author of more than ten books—including The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn (2003) and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education (2010). Ravitch served as Assistant Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993 during the administration of George H. W. Bush. When she was Assistant Secretary, she led the federal effort to promote the creation of voluntary state and national academic standards. “From 1997 to 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. She was appointed by the Clinton administration’s Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1997 and reappointed by him in 2001. From 1995 until 2005, she held the Brown Chair in Education Studies at the Brookings Institution and edited Brookings Papers on Education Policy. Before entering government service, she was Adjunct Professor of History and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.”

Ravitch, once a champion of charter schools, supported the No Child Left Behind initiative. After careful investigation, Ravitch changed her mind and became one of our country’s most well-known critics of charter-based education. She believes that “the privatization of public education has to stop.” In late March, Ravitch sat down with Bill Moyers on Moyers & Company to discuss the subject of privatizing of public schools—which has become “big business as bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity investors are entering what they consider to be an ‘emerging market.’” You can view a video of that program, Public Schools for Sale?, below the fold.

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Mountain Home National Cemetery at Dawn (photo by Charlton Stanley)

By Charlton Stanley, Weekend Contributor

As I wrote on this blog a year ago, Memorial Day is the misunderstood “holiday.” Many people confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day began as Armistice Day, commemorating the Armistice signed at the eleventh hour, eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. In our political and military naivete, the Armistice was meant to be the end of the, “War To End All Wars.” Two decades later it started all over again. Veteran’s Day is on November 11 in the US. Veteran’s Day is meant to honor those who served in the military in both peacetime and war, both living and dead.

Memorial Day has a history predating Armistice Day by a half century. On May May 5, 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War, Decoration Day was established. It was named Decoration Day because the day was set aside for the living to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. May 30 was chosen as Decoration Day because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The tradition somehow spread to honor non-veterans as well. As a youngster, I remember churches and communities where we lived celebrating Decoration Day by placing flowers on graves in all the local cemeteries. I remember attending some of these solemn rituals as a child,. I helped out the adults by placing at least one flower on each grave. Every grave needed at least one flower. It was important to decorate the graves of those who had no relatives left, otherwise, there would be no remembrance of them. The flower was a token of remembrance, even if we didn’t know who they were. Why? Because every life needs to be remembered and honored. In 1971, Memorial Day was established by an Act of Congress. Officially, Memorial Day differs somewhat from Decoration Day as I knew it as a youngster, because it was meant by Congress to remember those who served the country in uniform and have now passed through that mysterious veil.

Now? Nothing says “honor the dead” quite like a mattress sale.

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Weekend Contributor

Yusef Komunyakaa, the author of the poem Facing It, was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana on April 29, 1947. He “served in the United States Army from 1969 to 1970 as a correspondent, and as managing editor of the Southern Cross during the Vietnam war, earning him a Bronze Star.” Komunyakaa began writing poetry in 1973.

Here is a video of Komunyakaa reading his poem Facing It, which is about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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