Saw the movie "Captain Phillips". It's a good demonstration of how
efficiently and effectively our government lies whenever it needs to. The
military did an outstanding job of lying to the Somali pirates. The NSA
does an outstanding job of lying to all America.
Here lies the truth.
1) Do same-sex couples have right to wed? Appeals court hears first
2) UMass basketball player announces he's gay
3) Mississippi Sex-Ed Law Permits Teachers To Instruct Students That
Homosexuality Is Illegal
4) Jimmy Carter: Southern White Men Turn To The GOP Because Of 'Race'
5) Man cleared of NYC murder after 25 years in prison
6) Here's What Happened When Antigay Photographers Took Their Case to the
7) Greenwald, Poitras, and Snowden
8) Mormon theological mythology
As I said, theres an extraordinary ugliness of spirit abroad in todays
America, which health reform has brought out into the open.
couples have right to wed? Appeals court hears first post-DOMA case
landmark case from Utah testing whether same-sex couples enjoy a constitutional
right to marry arrives Thursday before a federal appeals court panel in
By Warren Richey, Christian Science Monitor, Thursday 10 April 2014
Currently, 17 states and the District of
Columbia recognize same-sex marriages. In contrast, 33 states restrict marriage
to one man and one woman through bans enacted by statute or constitutional
Thursdays hour-long argument at the Tenth
US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver involves a challenge to a 2004 constitutional
amendment in Utah banning gay marriage. It won 66 percent of the
On Dec. 20, US District Judge Robert Shelby
declared the Utah amendment unconstitutional. His was the first such ruling
since the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
in a landmark decision last June.
The states current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental
right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples
for no rational reason, he ruled.
Judge Shelby said the state had no
justifiable reason to treat same-sex couples differently than heterosexual
couples in Utah. And the judge went substantially further. He declared that the
US Constitution itself requires that Utah
allow same-sex couples to marry.
If upheld by the Tenth Circuit and then the
US Supreme Court, Judge Shelbys decision would mean that every same-sex
marriage restriction and ban across the country must fall.
Since the Utah decision, federal judges in
Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, and Ohio have issued
nearly identical rulings that same-sex marriage bans in those states violate a
fundamental right to marry protected by the US Constitution. All are under
In addition to hearing the Utah case Thursday, the same three-judge panel on
the Tenth Circuit is set to hear an Oklahoma marriage case on April 17. The
other four appeals are also underway in the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth
These cases are only the tip of a
litigation iceberg involving nearly 60 lawsuits filed in state and federal
courts in 27 states and Puerto Rico challenging same-sex marriage bans.
This inundation tactic is part of a
national strategy by gay rights groups to flood the country with cases and build
a sense of momentum and inevitability for national recognition of same-sex
marriage and gay rights.
Many states and traditional marriage groups
are fighting back, hoping to preserve the status quo view of marriage in their
own states. They argue that the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the issue and
that it is premature for federal judges and appeals courts to opine on a US
constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Supporters of the traditional definition of
marriage also say that states are entitled to restrict marriage to male-female
unions as long as their citizens and elected representatives deem them
acceptable and appropriate.
These supporters say that if, or when,
states embrace broader definitions of marriage it should come about through
debate, public campaigns, and popular votes, rather than being imposed by
unelected federal judges.
At its most basic, the Utah case is a fundamental test of who gets to decide
how the same-sex marriage debate is to be resolved. Will it be decided by judges
and justices, or by the states and voters?
Gay rights advocates insist that the right
to marry is a fundamental right that all citizens enjoy. They are not asking for
creation of a new constitutional right, just a broader application of the
existing right, they say.
Lawyers for Utah counter that there is no fundamental right to same-sex
marriage. They say regulation of marriage is within the traditional authority of
each state to decide. Under principles of federalism, the national government
has no business imposing its view in areas reserved to the states.
Rather than trying to impose a solution through the courts, they say,
allowing the issue to proceed on a state-by-state basis through democratic means
is more likely to result in compromise and accommodation.
Public opinion is apparently in flux,
Washington appellate lawyer Gene Schaerr wrote in his brief to the Tenth Circuit
on behalf of Utah.
No one knows what the ultimate outcome
will be, either nationally or in any given state. But the fact that different
states have thus far chosen different paths is not a sign of political weakness;
it is a sign of a healthy and diverse national republic, he wrote.
The constitutional structure of government is designed in part to foster
experimentation and democratic participation within the states during times of
rapid social change, Mr. Schaerr said. The federal judges decision in Utah, if
affirmed, would bring that activity to a screeching halt, he said.
Federal imposition of a one-size-fits-all
solution, the lawyer said, would alter the balance of power between the states
and the national government.
Schaerr said that such an approach would
destroy any opportunity for the kind of democratic compromise and accommodation
that could otherwise ultimately produce, in each state, a peaceful and
relatively harmonious resolution of what is now, in many places, a highly
The state respectfully asks this court to
allow the people of Utah to choose for themselves how to strike the proper
balance, Schaerr said in his brief to the Tenth Circuit.
Lawyers for same-sex couples in Utah
counter that principles of federalism do not exempt states from the requirement
that they uphold the constitutional rights of their citizens.
A states power to legislate, adjudicate,
and administer all aspects of family law are subject to scrutiny by the federal
judiciary, they say.
Even when regulating in areas that are
properly subject to their regulatory authority, states must respect fundamental
constitutional rights, Kathryn Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian
Rights wrote in her brief to the Tenth Circuit.
Indeed, the entire purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment is to prohibit states
from exercising their traditional authority in ways that deprive their citizens
of liberties guaranteed by the federal Constitution, she added.
Ms. Kendell quoted Judge Shelby as having correctly framed the question: The
issue the court must address in this case is
not who should define marriage,
but the narrow question of whether Utahs current definition of marriage is
permissible under the Constitution.
Much of this posturing is based on a few paragraphs written by Justice Anthony Kennedy in last summers
Supreme Court decision in US v. Windsor invalidating DOMA.
In that case, the court ruled 5 to 4 that
the federal government had improperly intruded into the states traditional
authority to regulate marriage. At issue was the fact that same-sex couples who
had legally married in their home states were nonetheless barred under DOMA from
receiving the same federal benefits as opposite-sex spouses.
The court said the federal government had
to respect the decisions of the states in conferring equal status and dignity to
same-sex married couples.
But what the court did not do is decide the
larger, more basic question of whether same-sex couples have a right under the
US Constitution to marry or whether that is a decision to be left to each state
That hasnt stopped federal judges and
lawyers on both sides of the issue from drawing from portions of Justice
Kennedys decision in the Windsor case to support their legal arguments.
Now the task falls to a three-judge appeals
court panel in Denver to assess and judge their work.
The case is Kitchen v. Herbert
UMass basketball player
announces he's gay
AP, Wednesday 09 April 2014
Derrick Gordon had kept his secret for too
He couldn't be himself. He considered
giving up the sport he loved. Because he was gay, he distanced himself from
"I was living life in shame," the UMass
guard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It took a toll
Gordon became the first openly gay player
in Division I men's basketball on Wednesday, making the announcement on ESPN and
Outsports. Now he hopes to inspire others in similar situations.
"It's crazy that I'm the first," he told
the AP. "I didn't know that it would be this long, but if I'm the first, then
I'll start it off."
Previous announcements by NBA player Jason
Collins and Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam made his decision
easier. Gordon said he talked with Collins several times before making his
--- click on URL to continue ---
Mississippi Sex-Ed Law Permits Teachers To Instruct Students
That Homosexuality Is Illegal
Under Mississippis mandated sex-education curriculum, teachers are permitted to
instruct students that homosexual activity under the "unnatural intercourse" statute is illegal, while enforcing that a "monogamous
relationship in the context of marriage is the only appropriate setting for
While the law allows teachers to opt out of presenting programs related to
the states anti-gay sex policy, any instruction contradicting the statute is
prohibited under the states sex-ed curriculum.
Since 2012, Mississippi has required all school districts to offer an
abstinence-centered sex-ed curriculum, although 12 percent of
districts have not yet implemented any sex-ed courses, according to a recent study by the Center for Mississippi Health
The law also requires male and female students to be instructed in separate
classrooms and prohibits condom demonstrations in schools.
Despite the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating all
state laws against gay sex as unconstitutional, several states maintain various anti-sodomy laws on the books, including
Alabama, Louisiana and Utah.
A November 2013 Public Policy Polling survey found that Mississippi probably
continues to be the most conservative state in the country when it comes to same
sex marriage." Only 22 percent of Mississippi voters said they support marriage
equality, with 69 percent thinking it should be illegal.
On Thursday, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed a contentious bill potentially
legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination throughout the state under the auspices of
"It's the first time in my life that I've actually considered moving out of
Mississippi," Jeff White, a founder of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Lesbian and
Gay Community Center, said on Thursday. "It made me physically ill
the past few days, realizing what they're trying to do."
Sex education stumbles in Mississippi
Even a law requiring schools to teach sex ed is falling short in a state
with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the U.S.
April 2, 2014
TUNICA, Miss. Marie Barnard was delighted when, after decades of silence
on the topic, Mississippi passed a law requiring school districts to teach sex
education. But the lesson involving the Peppermint Pattie wasn't what she had in
mind for her sons.
--- click on URL to continue ---
Jimmy Carter: Southern White Men Turn To The GOP
Because Of 'Race'
04/10/2014 11:12 am EDT Updated: 04/10/2014
11:59 am EDT
Race is the primary reason white Southern men support the Republican Party,
former President Jimmy Carter told Salon in an interview posted Thursday.
Carter also pushed back against using the Bible to trample human rights.
When asked why white male Southerners have turned to the GOP, Carter said:
"Its race. Thats been prevalent in the South ... . Ever since Nixon ran -- and
ever since Johnson didnt campaign in the deep South, the Republicans have
solidified their hold there."
Republican proposals, such as cutting food stamps and assuming the guilt of
minorities and the mentally ill who are in jail, appeal to the rich, he
"Those kind of things just exalt the higher class, which is the whites, and
they draw a subtle, but very effective racial line throughout the South," Carter
Carter also rejected interpretations of the Bible that
are used to oppress women. He said individuals can find verses that belittle
women but also many that pronounce the equality of all people.
"So, you know, you could find verses, but as far as Jesus Christ is
concerned, he was unanimously and always the champion of womens rights," he
said. "He never deviated from that standard. And in fact he was the most
prominent champion of human rights that lived in his time and I think theres
been no one more committed to that ideal than he is."
Carter has railed against religious groups using sexist interpretations of
the Bible to trample human rights in other interviews as well. Carter's
Thursday comments come on the heels of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R)
statement that his opposition to same-sex
marriage is on "the right side of the Bible."
Read more at Salon.
How / why was he convicted?
Man cleared of NYC murder
after 25 years in prison
Wednesday 09 April 2014
NEW YORK (AP) From the day of his 1989 arrest in a deadly New York City
shooting, Jonathan Fleming said he had been more than 1,000 miles away, on a
vacation at Disney World. Despite having documents to back him up, he was
convicted of murder.
Prosecutors now agree with him, and Fleming
left a Brooklyn court as a free man Tuesday after spending nearly a
quarter-century behind bars.
Fleming, now 51, tearfully hugged his
lawyers as relatives cheered, "Thank you, God!" after a judge dismissed the
case. A key witness had recanted, newly found witnesses implicated someone else
and prosecutors' review of authorities' files turned up documents supporting
"After 25 years, come hug your mother,"
Patricia Fleming said, and her only child did.
"I feel wonderful," he said afterward.
"I've always had faith. I knew that this day would come someday."
The exoneration, first reported by the
Daily News, comes amid scrutiny of Brooklyn prosecutors' process for reviewing
questionable convictions, scrutiny that comes partly from the new district
attorney, Kenneth Thompson. He said in a statement that after a monthslong
review, he decided to drop the case against Fleming because of "key alibi facts
that place Fleming in Florida at the time of the murder."
From the start, Fleming told authorities he
had been in Orlando when a friend, Darryl "Black" Rush, was shot to death in
Brooklyn early on Aug. 15, 1989. Authorities suggested the shooting was
motivated by a dispute over money.
Fleming had plane tickets, videos and
postcards from his trip, said his lawyers, Anthony Mayol and Taylor Koss. But
prosecutors at the time suggested he could have made a quick round-trip plane
jaunt to be in New York, and a woman testified that she had seen him shoot Rush.
He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison and was due to have his first
parole hearing soon.
The witness recanted her testimony soon
after Fleming's 1990 conviction, saying she had lied so police would cut her
loose for an unrelated arrest, but Fleming lost his appeals.
The defense asked the district attorney's
office to review the case last year.
Defense investigators found previously
untapped witnesses who pointed to someone else as the gunman, the attorneys
said, declining to give the witnesses' or potential suspect's names before
prosecutors look into them. The district attorney's office declined to comment
on its investigative plans.
Prosecutors' review produced a hotel
receipt that Fleming paid in Florida about five hours before the shooting a
document that police evidently had found in Fleming's pocket when they arrested
him. Prosecutors also found an October 1989 Orlando police letter to New York
detectives, saying some employees at an Orlando hotel had told investigators
they remembered Fleming.
Neither the receipt nor the police letter
had been provided to Fleming's initial defense lawyer, despite rules that
generally require investigators to turn over possibly exculpatory material.
Patricia Fleming, 71, was with her son in
Orlando at the time of the crime and testified at his trial.
"I knew he didn't do it, because I was
there," she said. "When they gave my son 25 to life, I thought I would die in
Still, she said, "I never did give up,
because I knew he was innocent."
Thompson took office in January, after
unseating longtime District Attorney Charles "Joe" Hynes with a campaign that
focused partly on questionable convictions on Hynes' watch. Hynes had created a
special conviction integrity unit to review false-conviction claims, but some
saw the effort as slow-moving and defensive.
Thompson has agreed to dismiss the murder
convictions of two men who spent more than 20 years in prison for a triple
homicide. He also dropped his predecessor's appeal challenging the 2013 release
of another man who had served 22 years in prison on a questioned murder
On Tuesday, Jonathan Fleming left court
with an arm around his mother's shoulders and the process of rebuilding his life
ahead of him.
Asked about his plans, he said: "I'm going
to go eat dinner with my mother and my family, and I'm going to live the rest of
Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter
One of the comments ---
My comment ---
Prosecutors should be charged.
Happened When Antigay Photographers Took Their Case to the Supreme
By Hayley Fox,
Takepart.com, Tuesday 08 April 2014Takepart.com
With gay marriage legal in 17 states, same-sex couples face a new series of
court battles as business owners across the country attempt to invoke religious
freedom as a basis for discrimination.
The owners of Elane Photography, Elaine and
Jonathan Huguenin, refused to shoot a gay commitment ceremony in 2006 because it clashed with their beliefs. They said their decision was
protected under religious freedom laws and the First Amendment and claimed that
taking photos is expressive and a form of free speech.
But New Mexicos Human Rights Commission and
the states supreme court disagreed. Elane Photography, artistic business or
not, is still subject to the regulations and antidiscrimination laws of any
commercial business. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the appeal upholds that
It's hardly the first time religious freedom
has been used as a defense for discrimination, said Ross Murray, director of
news at GLAAD. What was once invoked to support anti-integration efforts is
being used years later to put up impediments and barriers for lesbians and
gays, he said.
Its not just trying
to exploit the lack of protections for someone but actually sort of trying to
carve out a new loophole, said Murray.
Antigay groups fear they cant stop the
tide of marriage equality, so theyre proposing state legislation and filing
lawsuits. Just last week in Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant
approved a measure that allows residents to sue the government over laws that
hinder their ability to practice their religionmaking the state one of
18 with such "religious freedom" laws.
In a brief statement that made no mention of the controversy,
Bryant said the law would "protect the individual religious freedom of
Mississippians of all faiths from government interference."
But advocates fear laws like Mississippis
could open the door for unabashed discrimination against gays and lesbians. This
was a concern in Arizona earlier this year, when the state legislature passed a
bill that would have allowed business owners to cite their religious beliefs as
reason to refuse service to gay customers. Protests spread, and conservative Arizona Gov. Jan
Brewer vetoed what many called an antigay bill.
"Discrimination has no place in Arizona, or
anywhere else," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of
Arizona. "We're grateful that the governor has stopped this disgraceful law from
In addition to state legislation, court
cases across the country have been setting precedents for where religious
freedom ends and discrimination begins. In December, Colorado baker Jack
Phillips was ordered to cease and desist from discriminating against gay couples
after he refused to make a wedding cake for two men. Last year in Washington, a
florist was sued after she said she could not provide wedding arrangements for a
gay couple because of her relationship with Jesus
This year, Oregons Protect Religious
Freedom Initiative could land on the fall ballot. According to a statement from
the Oregon Family Council, the initiative was filed in
order to safeguard religious freedom in Oregon and to allow conscientious
objectors or persons with deeply held religious beliefs to decline to
participate in same-sex ceremonies.
That means it's going to play out in terms
of a campaign instead of a legislation process, said Murray.
Many religious freedom lawsuits revolve
around the refusal of wedding services. But they indicate a dangerous trend,
said Murray, one that could affect individuals ability to live and do business
in their own town.
First its flowers and wedding cakes, he
warns, but if someone can cite religion as a reason to refuse service, next it
could be groceries or gas or other everyday needs.
Related stories on TakePart:
Home Is Where the Hate Is: When Homophobic Parents
Young Republicans Buck GOP's Stance Against LGBT Marriage
Gay-Friendly U.S. Companies: Shop and Work the LGBT Way
Watch a Brilliant Senior Citizen Call Out the NFL's Ridiculous
Awesome Gay Dads Instagram Their Way to LGBT
Original article from
Greenwald, Poitras Enter US Freely, But This Is No Time to
Snowden, Greenwald urge
caution of wider government monitoring at Amnesty event
Karl Plume, Reuters, Saturday 05 April 2014
Theological mythology used to hide the man behind the curtain --->
By BRADY McCOMBS, Associated
Press, April 6, 2014 5:34
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) A top Mormon leader
reiterated the church's opposition to gay marriage Saturday during the church's
biannual general conference.
"While many governments and well-meaning
individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not," said Neil L. Andersen of
the Quorum of the Twelve. "He designated the purpose of marriage to go far
beyond the personal satisfaction and fulfillment of adults, to more importantly,
advancing the ideal setting for children to be born, reared and nurtured."
In the October 2013 church conference,
Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum said human laws cannot "make moral what God has
The church sent a letter to local leaders
that includes that message, Andersen said Saturday. "As the world slips away
from the Lord's law of chastity, we do not," he said.
During the first of five sessions held over
the weekend, LDS leaders on Saturday also encouraged missionaries to stay strong
amid the inevitable personal abuse they will encounter and parents to shelter
their children from the damaging effects of pornography.
The conference brings more than 100,000
Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City to find out church news and soak up words of
guidance and inspiration from the faith's top leaders. Thousands more will
listen or watch from around the world in 95 languages on television, radio,
satellite and Internet broadcasts. More than half of all 15 million Latter-day
Saints live outside of the U.S., church figures show.
The conference is widely followed and
analyzed on social media, with many using the Twitter hash tag, "#LDSconf."
Gay marriage has been an especially hot
topic in Utah since December, when a federal judge overturned Utah's
voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. More than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples
married until the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on marriages pending a ruling
from a federal appeals court in Denver. A hearing is set there for Thursday.
Andersen encouraged church members not to
buckle under the pressure of a growing movement on social media and elsewhere by
advocates who want to make gay marriage legal. He offered the example of a woman
who articulated her support for "traditional marriage" on Facebook and refused
to take it down despite backlash.
Andersen is a member of the church's Quorum
of the Twelve, which is the second-highest governing body of the church. Modeled
after Jesus Christ's apostles, the 12 men serve under the church president and
his two counselors.
Andersen said church members who "struggle
with same-sex attraction" should be of special concern. He said he admires
people who confront this "trial of faith and stay true to the commandments of
"But everyone, independent of their
decisions and beliefs, deserves our kindness and consideration," Andersen
The church teaches that while same-sex
attraction itself isn't a sin, succumbing to it is.
The church's message on homosexuality has
evolved since it was one of the leading forces behind California's Proposition
8, a ban on gay marriage. A website launched last year encouraged more
compassion toward gays, implored them to stay in the faith and clarified that
church leaders no longer "necessarily advise" gays to marry people of the
opposite sex in what used to be a widely practiced Mormon workaround for
In May, church leaders backed the Boy
Scouts' policy allowing gays in the ranks. Some gay Mormons who left or were
forced out of the church say they are now being welcomed back even though they
remain in same-sex relationships.
It may seem like negligible progress to
outsiders, but Mormon scholars said 2013 was landmark year for the religion on
gay and lesbian issues.
Jeffrey Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve
delivered a message Saturday directed at the faith's nearly 85,000 missionaries,
more than any time in church history.
He relayed the story of a young woman who
was spit on and had food thrown at her during her mission by a man who didn't
want to hear their message. He highlighted the fact that she resisted the urge
"If you haven't already, you will one day
find yourself called upon to defend your faith or even endure some personal
abuse," Holland said. "Such moments will require both courage and courtesy on
The spike in missionaries was triggered by
the lowering of the minimum age for missionaries in the fall of 2012. Men can
begin serving at 18, instead of 19, and women at 19, instead of 21. That has led
to new, younger missionaries joining older ones.
Holland told missionaries that it's worth
it to serve and remain faithful despite a world around them where many people
are drawn to comfortable gods who demand little of them.
"It is obvious that the bumper-sticker
query, 'What would Jesus do,' will not always bring a popular response," Holland
Church president Thomas Monson opened the
morning session by talking about the progress of temple construction around the
world. He said a new one in Gilbert, Ariz., became the 142nd temple and that
there will be 170 when construction is completed on all the current
No new temples were announced.
Linda Reeves, one of the three
highest-ranking female leaders in the church, urged parents and leaders to help
prevent children from falling into "Satan's trap of pornography." Reeves is the
second counselor in the general presidency of the church's Relief Society, the
organization for women.
"They need to know the dangers of
pornography and how it overtakes lives, causing loss of the spirit, distorted
feelings, deceit, damaged relationships, loss of self-control, and nearly total
consumption of time, thought and energy," Reeves said. "Pornography is more
vile, evil and graphic than ever before."
A Mormon's women group
pushing the church to allow females in the priesthood plans to demonstrate
outside an all-male meeting Saturday afternoon, reprising a similar protest from
Church leaders have
asked the group to reconsider or gather in a zone designated for protesters that
is off church property. Church leaders have also barred
media from going on church property during the demonstration.
Follow Brady McCombs at https://twitter.com/BradyMcCombs