Texas Legislator: ‘Get That Fetus a Lawyer!’

March 9, 2015

Texas Legislator: 'Get That Fetus a Lawyer!'

Texas State Representative Matt Krause (R-District 93, Tarrant County) wants legal representation for fetuses, and has introduced a bill to that effect in the Texas House of Representatives. Rep. Krause was one of the first graduates of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law, and ran the Texas branch of Liberty Counsel, a “legal ministry” which, by a remarkable coincidence, is headed by a professor from the Liberty University School of Law.

More:

“New Texas Plan Would Assign Lawyers To Fetuses,” Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress

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More Daylight. Less Sleep.

March 7, 2015

More Daylight. Less Sleep.
At 2:00 AM this Sunday morning people in most of the United States will set their clocks ahead one hour as we begin began Daylight Saving Time. Many households will also change changed the batteries in their smoke detectors. In Arizona, where they don’t believe in Daylight Saving Time, people mark the day by putting fresh ammunition in their handguns.

The continental United States observes DST beginning on the second Sunday in March; the European Union on the last Sunday in March. Tunisia, Bangladesh, and Fiji have joined Arizona and no longer observe Daylight Saving Time. We do not know if these counties also concur with Arizona’s denial of Climate ChangeWater FluoridationInternational Law, and Evolution.

Why does Arizona reject Daylight Saving Time? Perhaps the state’s many retirees can’t figure out how to change the time settings on their old VHS machines.

So “Spring Ahead,” even if Spring won’t be here until March 20th. And your lost hour of sleep? You’ll get it back on November 1st.

More on Daylight Saving Time here. And change your batteries and stuff.

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Circus Puts Pachyderms Out to Pasture

March 7, 2015

Circus Puts Pachyderms Out to Pasture
Asian elephants have been imported to the USA for exhibit as curiosities since 1794, and menageries soon became part of American entertainment. Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, elephants were paraded from train yards to show sites, publicizing the traveling circus’ arrival in each city and town, and performing elephants became essential to circus entertainment.

Now Feld Entertainment has announced that the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus will phase out elephant acts by 2018. The remaining pachyderm performers will retire to Florida, to the Shalom Sunset Leisure Community the Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City.

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Scott Walker Worships Ronald Reagan

March 6, 2015

Scott Walker Worships Ronald Reagan

Scott Walker worships Ronald Reagan, which must be disconcerting to Mr. Walker’s minister father. Anyway, each year, on President Reagan’s birthday, Governor Walker eats Mr. Reagan’s favorite foodsmacaroni and cheese casserole, and red, white, and blue Jelly Belly jelly beans.

Scott Walker even got married on Ronald Reagan’s birthday. This surely makes for a very romantic anniversary dinner.

Governor Walker thinks that the most important foreign policy move of his lifetime was Reagan busting the air traffic controllers’ union. What? Hey, maybe he was thinking about all those international flights.

More: 

“Scott Walker loves Ronald Reagan more than seems humanly possible,” Andrew Prokop, Vox

“Scott Walker: Records show Soviets treated Ronald Reagan more seriously after he fired controllers,” Tom Kertscher, Politifact

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Capitol Hill: Small Victory for the People

March 5, 2015

Capitol Hill: Small Victory for the People
Kids have a snow day and want to sled on their neighborhood’s only hill. That’s winter in America, right? Wrong, if you’re one of the 600,000 American citizens who lives in the District of Columbia, and the the hill in question is Capitol Hill.

One Capitol Hill neighbor, Eleanor Holmes Norton, asked the Capitol Hill Police to let the kids go sledding on The Hill. You’d think that would count for something, since Ms. Norton is a duly-elected member of the U.S. House of Representatives, elected to 13 terms by DC voters whose federal income taxes help pay the Capitol Police. Nope. But then again the U.S. House of Representatives doesn’t let Ms. Norton vote on behalf of those taxpayers, either.

So sledding on Capitol Hill remains officially forbidden. But do you want to tell that to the neighborhood kids? Neither did the Capitol Hill Police. Kids: “Wheee!

More:

“Children bravely defy sledding ban on Capitol Hill, because freedom,” German Lopez, Vox

“Heroes Defy Cops, Sled on Capitol Hill,” Daily Beast

“Children Defy Police, Sled On Capitol Hill Grounds,” Matt Cohen, DCist

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Alabama Supreme Court Secedes From Union Over Same-Sex Marriage

March 5, 2015

Alabama Supreme Court Secedes From Union Over Same-Sex Marriage

On Tuesday the Alabama Supreme Court ordered the state’s probate judges to stop issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, adding yet another wrinkle to a messy situation. The story so far:

On January 23rd Federal District Judge Callie Granade struck down two Alabama state laws banning same-sex marriage.

On February 8th Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered state probate judges to ignore the Federal court ruling.

On February 9th the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the District Court’s decision, and on February 12th Judge Granade ordered the Mobile County Probate Judge to issue licenses to same-sex couples, and he and most Alabama judges complied.

On March 3rd, on a 7-1 ruling, with Chief Justice Roy Moore recusing himself, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a 138-page order for probate judges to cease granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

So why are Alabama judges standing in the courthouse door to prevent same-sex marriage, in defiance of a Federal court order? Is it … Jesus? Is it the Klan? Is this an echo of Alabama’s 33-year refusal to allow interracial marriage or some kind of nostalgia for the Confederacy?

Maybe. Mostly, it’s just politics. Alabama Supreme Court Judges are elected partisans, and their election depends on symbolic appeals to the state’s Republican Party base.

 More:

“Alabama Supreme Court Throws Tantrum, Defies Federal Judge, Halts Gay Marriages,” Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

Related:

“I Was Alabama’s Top Judge. I’m Ashamed by What I Had to Do to Get There.” Sue Bell Cobb, Politico Magazine

“John Oliver digs into the ‘horrifying spectacle’ of judicial elections,” Sarah Gray, Salon

UPDATE: 

“Alabama GOP proposes bill to let judges opt out of marrying gay couples — and Jews and Muslims too!” Jenny Kutner, Salon

“Ala. Bill Would Let Judges Opt Out Of Performing Gay Marriages,” Caitlin MacNeal, TPM Livewire

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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DC: Snow, Then Cherry Blossoms

March 4, 2015

DC: Snow, Then Cherry Blossoms

The DC Metro Area will get more snow this week, but we’ve been promised signs of Spring. The National Park Service predicts peak cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin between April 11th and 14th. Of course the National Cherry Blossom Festival ends on April 12th, but what the heck, lots of stuff will be happening in DC anyway, not just pollen allergies.

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Photo: (“Cherry Blossoms in the Snow, St. Patrick’s Day 2014″) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Petraeus Pillow Talk Plea

March 3, 2015

Petraeus Pillow Talk Plea

David Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director after 2012 revelations that he’d shared classified information with Paula Broadwell, his mistress and biographer, will plead guilty to a single count of unauthorized use of classified material, and faces up to a year in jail. Perhaps General P. can continue to advise the White House on Middle East policy from prison, since that’s a pretty secure location.

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Let’s Hear it for Good Old Nebraska

March 3, 2015

Let's Hear it for Good Old Nebraska

Judge Joseph F. Bataillon of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska has issued an injunction ruling that Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, and that as of March 9th, “all relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage.”

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson has filed an appeal with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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Leonard Nimoy: “Zayn oder nit zayn? Ot vos s’iz di frage.”

March 2, 2015

Actor Leonard Nimoy (1931 — 2015) recites Hamlet’s soliloquy in Yiddish, his family’s first language, during a 2013 interview with Christa Whitney. From the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project.

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