Countering the cynical, neo-fascist histrionics over Indiana’s RFRA law …
Are the claims made against the new Indiana law accurate? Not really. This law, like other RFRAs, merely requires that state laws meet a demanding, but hardly insurmountable, test before infringing upon the religious practice or conscience of religious believers. If the law imposes a substantial burden on religious belief, the law must yield unless the law serves a compelling state interest and is the least burdensome way to advance that interest. Here’s more background on how these sorts of laws work.
RFRA laws are common, as shown by this map. Whether or not such laws are good policy, they are about accommodating religious belief, not authorizing discrimination.
Courts have routinely upheld the application of nondiscrimination laws against RFRA-based challenges on the grounds that preventing discrimination is a compelling state interest. Of course it’s possible that a court in the future would reach a different conclusion, but there’s no reason to think such a result is likely, and there is nothing about the Indiana law that makes it a particular threat in this regard. That is, such a court decision is just as possible in one of the other dozen-plus states that has had its own RFRA on the books for years or in one of the many other states that have equivalent protections for religious belief under their state constitutions.
The Indiana RFRA is not identical to every other RFRA, but the textual differences are not particularly material. Here, for instance, is a useful comparison of the Indiana law and the federal RFRA, as applied in the courts.
Since the Fed RFRA has been in effect since 1993 and most of the states have some form of religious accommodation laws, then the out-of-all-proportion reaction is based on pure political bullying.
If a photographer can be forced to promote a message they disagree with, why not a custom t-shirt shop, or writer, or advertiser?
Indeed, if medical doctors are licensed by the state, why can’t they be forced to provide abortions as part of the “right to reproductive health care” as championed by feminists?
Leftism is the most dynamic religion of the 20th & 21st centuries; it is a jealous religion and seeks to dismiss and destroy all others.
Not Jackie, not yet …
A girl who falsely accused two army soldiers of trying to rape her because she felt ashamed about sleeping with them both has been jailed.
Nicole Richess, 20, had a drunken threesome with the two servicemen at a friend’s house and then her own home at the end of a night out.
The following day her boyfriend heard rumours she had been unfaithful and confronted her.
Richess ‘panicked’ and made up the false claim that the two innocent men, aged 23 and 24, had forced themselves on her because she was too ashamed to tell him she had cheated on him.
Her partner of three years made her go to the police to report the ‘attack’.
Richess even gave a ‘tearful’ account of the co-called crime to officers and ‘illicitly gained their empathy.’
Her ‘deceitful web of lies’ resulted in the arrest of the two soldiers, leaving them ‘distraught and petrified.’ […]
She has now been jailed for two-and-a-half years by a judge who told Richess her lies had an ‘insidious and corrosive’ effect on public confidence and the justice system.
No word on where the two falsely accused men go to get their reputations back …
h/t Glenn Reynolds
And this exercise in being a racist hammer who sees nothing but white nails, is an elected official
Rep. Vanessa Summers was debating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Monday when she speculated that Republican Rep. Jud McMillin’s young son is a fledgling racist.
“I have told Representative McMillin I love his little son, but he’s scared of me because of my color,” Summers speculated. “And that’s horrible.”
“It’s true,” Summers said in response to groans from the legislative body.
“And that’s something we’re going to work on. We’ve talked about it. And we’re going to work on it.”
“I asked him ‘please, introduce your child to some people of color so that he won’t live his life as a prejudiced person.’”
McMillin responded to the attack, telling the Indianapolis Star that the incident was “unfortunate.”
“You’d like to think that we would have professional discussion on the House floor and certainly be able to avoid having 18-month-olds in the discussion,” McMillin said.
“I can tell you that if he reacted the same way he reacts with anybody brand new, he buries his head in his dad’s shoulder. Whoever it is, it’s what he does. He’s an 18-month-old kid; he’s in a new environment up here in the place like the Statehouse but doesn’t know anybody. I honestly don’t remember anything out of the ordinary.”
After Monday’s session, Summers stood by her comments …
I can’t find out if Ms. Summers has any family, but she could be so stupid, even if she never had kids of her own, that she would not know that babies all go through a period where they are terrified of new people, including their own relatives?
The stupidity and maliciousness of her public attack on a toddler should draw a censure if not removal.
Beyond the pale.
Empire actress vows to send him out of cracker California …
In an interview with Uptown magazine, the “Empire” star said she was planning to enroll her 20-year-old son, Marcel Henson, into USC before he was stopped by police. But now, Henson said her son will be going to Howard University, her alma mater.
Henson told the magazine she’s “not paying $50K so I can’t sleep at night wondering, ‘Is this the night my son is getting racially profiled on campus?’”
Cue USC going into full panic mode …
John Thomas, chief of USC Department of Public Safety, said that while it’s not clear which police agencies were involved, allegations of bias or unequal treatment by campus police would trigger an investigation.
“I was deeply disturbed to read news reports about a prospective student who felt profiled on or near campus because of his race,” he said in a statement. […]
The Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated actress also said her son was profiled in Glendale, where he was stopped by police. She told the magazine her son followed police orders even though they allegedly searched his car illegally.
Oh … BUT WAIT …
40-minute video obtained by the Los Angeles Times shows an encounter between Glendale police and the son of “Empire” actress Taraji P. Henson during which she contends he was racially profiled.
The footage from Oct. 18 shows the officer driving in traffic about 10:10 p.m. in Glendale when the actress’ son, who is in a Honda Civic ahead of him, drives through a lighted crosswalk as a person walks across. His race was not apparent in the video as he was driving.
The officer, still behind the 20-year-old, speeds up and initiates a traffic stop.
Watch the dashcam tape to see how awful this cracker treats the poor oppressed young black boy
Then the officer asked whether he had anything illegal in his car, and the young man responded that he had marijuana in his backpack, according to the video. He told the officer he has a state-issued medical marijuana license but couldn’t find it.
“I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed,” the officer said.
During the lengthy traffic stop shown on the video, Johnson was searched and then told the officer he had Ritalin, a prescription pill used to treat hyperactivity, in his car. He admitted he didn’t have a prescription and got the pill from a friend.
“You know you’re not supposed to have that, right?” the officer told him. […]
After checking his car, the officer decided not to cite him for the original infraction because it would have a lasting effect on his driving record. Instead, he cited the young man for possessing marijuana.
“I am not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that would actually put a moving violation on your driving license, and you are going to have to go to traffic school and all that stuff, so I am helping you by not giving you a violation on it. All I am going to do is take the weed from you,” he said.
The officer told Johnson he could go to court, show proof he has a prescription and probably just pay a fine.
“It felt like this was a little better than the other one,” he said. “I am giving this to you too because you smoked weed about two hours ago… and a warning if you have Ritalin on you and you’re not supposed to, don’t do it. That’s a big violation and I wouldn’t want to do that to you.”
Wow, what mistreatment! What profiling!
I have only one question.
Why didn’t the racist, honky pig offer this young man a breath mint before leaving?
Her eyes were not filled with wonder but a growing horror. She looked across a foresaken landscape, emptied of people. Decaying buildings, slouching in shame of their paint-stripped nakedness. It no longer spoke of a community where people once walked, laughed, lived and…
The car. A rusted hulk that mocked her. She could still feel the soft leather against her bare back, his hand sliding up her thigh, his lips against the soft of her neck.
She whirled on him, grabbing fistfuls of his shirt.
“Take me back,” she hissed, “Back. NOW. I don’t want to know the future.”
Now, it’s your turn.
Remember when Obama vowed “verification” would have to be part of any Iran nuclear deal? [Darleen Click]
Obama, March 8:
“Over the next month or so,” Obama said, “we’re going to be able to determine whether or not their system is able to accept what would be an extraordinarily reasonable deal, if, in fact, as they say, they are only interested in peaceful nuclear programs. And if we have unprecedented transparency in that system, if we are able to verify that, in fact, they are not developing weapons systems, then there’s a deal to be had. But that’s going to require them to accept the kind of verification and constraints on their program that so far, at least, they have not been willing to say yes to.”
LAUSSANE, Switzerland—The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations.
U.S. negotiators are said to have given up ground on demands that Iran be forced to disclose the full range of its nuclear activities at the outset of a nuclear deal, a concession experts say would gut the verification the Obama administration has vowed would stand as the crux of a deal with Iran. […]
This type of concession would allow Iran to continue work related to its nuclear weapons program, even under the eye of international inspectors. If Iran removes inspectors—as it has in the past—it would be left with a nuclear infrastructure immune from a strike by Western forces.
“Once again, in the face of Iran’s intransigence, the U.S. is leading an effort to cave even more toward Iran—this time by whitewashing Tehran’s decades of lying about nuclear weapons work and current lack of cooperation with the [International Atomic Energy Agency],” said one Western source briefed on the talks but who was not permitted to speak on record.
With the White House pressing to finalize a deal, U.S. diplomats have moved further away from their demands that Iran be subjected to oversight over its nuclear infrastructure.
Obama’s DoD is passing information on Israel’s nuclear program to Iran.
Our peevish, petulant, and impetuous President has struck again:
In a development that has largely been missed by mainstream media, the Pentagon early last month quietly declassified a Department of Defense top-secret document detailing Israel’s nuclear program, a highly covert topic that Israel has never formally announced to avoid a regional nuclear arms race, and which the US until now has respected by remaining silent.
But by publishing the declassified document from 1987, the US reportedly breached the silent agreement to keep quiet on Israel’s nuclear powers for the first time ever, detailing the nuclear program in great depth.
The timing of the revelation is highly suspect, given that it came as tensions spiraled out of control between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama ahead of Netanyahu’s March 3 address in Congress.
The timing of the disclosure puts to rest any notion that President Obama acted out of spite for Bibi Netanyahu’s election win last week — but this is still a sellout of Israel, and the reason for it is plain.
Bad as that is, it gets worse.
If you want to know why Tehran has been so successful in stalling against Obama and SecState John Kerry, look no further than right here. They — and the rest of the world — were given, courtesy of the Obama Administration and free of charge, some of Israel’s most vital national security secrets.
And that was when there was still six weeks of negotiation time left to go. The mullahs must be drooling at the prospect of what Obama/Kerry might let them have going into the final hours. The March 31 deadline is just days away, and Obama and Kerry are more desperate than ever for a deal, any deal, no matter the cost to Israel’s security.
Never have such two sold out so many for so little.
I suppose much of the honor should go to Darleen, who’s been keeping the site alive and vibrant with quality posts in my absence. So thanks for that. Great job!
Ironically, one of the (many) reasons I decided to halt daily posting — aside from the rhetorical hoarseness that comes from shouting into the abyss day in and day out — was the loss of site revenue when, eg., Newsmax dropped me as one of their newsfeed carriers, and never included me among their network of Twitter affiliates. What was once a labor of love had become merely labor — though I love my readership and continued for several years because of it, long after I’d grown despondent and recognized the futility of my efforts.
So it was a real shock to find (h/t Mike Laroche, via facebook) that protein wisdom had not only broken through to someone’s radar, after years in the wilderness, but that what it produced was being appreciated after so long a time.
A few days ago Newsmax contacted me and let me know they’d like to get me back on the payroll in some capacity. I haven’t responded, first, because when I switched phones I lost emails containing contact info, and second, because I’m not sure I am ready to start writing daily in longish form again right now. The thought gives me the jitters, honestly.
I’ve kept semi-active by posting to Twitter and facebook, but my profile on Twitter, for all I’ve produced, remains relatively low — a product of the same kind of unspoken freeze out that tried to bring protein wisdom down over the last 4-5 years. And thought I’ve been able to pick up some new followers, my abrasiveness, as it’s viewed by many Twitter-famous pundits on the right, keeps me on the periphery, with people who used to chide me and my positions as “extreme” or “unhelpful” now regurgitating the very substance they once used to justify my marginalization as both “unhelpful” and “purist.” Nature abhors a vacuum, I suppose — and opportunists are always looking to fill those voids, even ones they themselves helped nurture if not actively create.
My thoughts on coming back now are this: because I’ve learned the importance of Twitter reach in breaking through as a voice in this latest iteration of new media, I have set a goal to attract 5000 Twitter followers. If I can reach that goal — unlikely, given that I’ve been holding steady in the 3300 + range for a long time now — I’ll make a tentative return to see if I’m once again simply spitting into the wind, or if the winds have changed a bit, and my spittle finds its way to those targets who deserve, desperately, to be covered by it.
— Which reminds me: here’s a story of life in the public (pundit) eye I think might interest some of you. As I noted on Twitter, the backchannel slanders, the bizarre collecting of screen shots and seeming oppo research file of emails, texts, Tweets, etc., to be marshaled — out of context, often — really rang true to me. For reasons many of you will readily understand. CLOWN NOSE ON!
I’m not keen on re-entering this kind of online world. And yet, I still feel — narcissistically, I suppose — that I have something of value to offer the conservative movement. Or at least, that part of the movement not especially interested in procuring some mainstream gig or consultancy contract, but rather interested in saving the republic — and being willing to take on all comers, regardless of political affiliation, when there are legit bones to pick.
One of the things I learned yesterday is that John Podheretz has me blocked. About a week back I found out that some of the writers for Ace’s site had me blocked, as well. Then of course, there’s the Twitchy banishment, and the attacks by Twitter “luminaries” like Ken Gardner, who pronounce on my idiocy to their 30K + followers, citing their number of retweets as proof of their political relevancy.
It’s just another clique farm for would-be pundits, but there are enough rank and file readers — and honest opinion writers — that I still may be able to reach that I feel like maybe I should give it a more concentrated effort once more.
Of course, the fact that I announced that I may return should I collect 5K Twitter followers — which seems to be a baseline before the Twitter-famous will take you seriously or respond to your Tweets — will almost certainly lead to a decrease in followers. Because frankly? Many of the other sites on that Newsmax list — and those who didn’t make it but are closely aligned with several who did — would much rather I not return.
Doing so would ruin all their hard work — much in the same way pw’s making the list must seem to them a gigantic cockslap to the face.
To which I say 1) Thanks, Newsmax. And 2) embrace the mushroom bruise, assholes.
All shall swear fealty to Mother Gaia and repent of how they have caused Her fever …
The Obama administration has issued new guidelines that could make it harder for governors who deny climate change to obtain federal disaster-preparedness funds.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new rules could put some Republican governors in a bind. The rules say that states’ risk assessments must include “consideration of changing environmental or climate conditions that may affect and influence the long-term vulnerability from hazards in the state.”
The policy, which goes into effect in March 2016, doesn’t affect federal money for relief after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. But states seeking disaster preparedness money from Washington will be required to assess how climate change threatens their communities, a requirement that wasn’t included in FEMA’s 2008 guidelines.
The title kind of gives it away, but it’s not like I’m charging anybody for it.
“Everyone knows Beh Yeh has more water than Vhlonn, but it’s 70 million tsigura away. We can’t get there.”
Strif sighed. “Gevir’k, we would only need to send one spacecraft, fill it with water, and bring it back, and the Water Laws would be irrelevant.”
“Long before you got back, everyone who worked with you on such a scheme would have been put to death for destroying water and for removing it from Vhlonn. There is none to spare for launch fuel.”
“Besides,” interrupted Halrar, “how would the spacecraft get off the ground after filling its tanks on Beh Yeh? You would have to destroy more water than you carried. Beh Yeh’s gravity is much stronger than Vhlonn’s.”
Strif nodded impatiently. “I’ve taken all that into account. And the best part is, even with what we carried off, and had to destroy and reconstitute for launch thrust from there — which would of course return to Beh Yeh’s surface anyway — we would only be removing less than one ten-thousandth of Beh Yeh’s total supply.”
“Your launch thrust from here makes it impossible,” insisted Gevir’k. “If you build a big enough spacecraft to achieve your objectives you will only have to expend even more destroyed water just to get into space.”
“So you are content to live under the Water Council’s rule?” asked Halrar.
The eldest of the three snorted. “Don’t insult me. What is called for is a more advanced approach. One that builds on your work, Halrar.”
Halrar, the youngest, stood blinking in confusion.
It took years of work, but at last the experiment was ready. In a secure, reinforced room the three of them gathered around a vault to which were attached thick cables leading from bulky, unvhlonny devices placed nearer the room’s walls. Peering through a window of thick plexiglass, they watched as Gevir’k monitored the powering up of the various devices. When he was satisfied he turned to Halrar. “You shall activate the test sequence.”
Beaming with pleasure, Halrar said, “Thank you, Gevir’k.” He entered a complex code into a keypad, authorizing the computers to carry out the pre-programmed instructions.
The time readout ran down, and at its end the three scientists were huddled at the window.
In the center of the vault, suspended by wires directly above a small heap of fine dust, was what looked like nothing more complex than a diode. A high-pitched tone came from the master computer, and a column of dust rose toward the diode, then past it. Before the first grains could reach the vault’s ceiling, another tone was heard, and the dust fell back to the floor, the grains bouncing in the airless environment.
As the three scientists congratulated each other, a few unknowing passersby outside the building watched a curious plume of dust begin to drift away on the breeze, after having risen like a miniature tornado from the roof. None looked high enough to see the strange cloud formation that had appeared dozens of tsigura above the city.
Years later, after still more work — but even more interference from the Water Council, whose officers foresaw the loss of their power but also knew the people would kill them all if it was discovered the mission had been thwarted by politics — the water tanker was ready to be launched. It was a towering, bulbous construction, large enough to increase Vhlonn’s water supply by nearly one tenth, in one mission. Crowds gathered on the sprawling desert plain to watch the departure.
Strif had volunteered to pilot the craft, and as he busied himself onboard with the pre-launch checks, Gevir’k and Halrar addressed the crowd, explaining what the onlookers were about to see.
“When the launch countdown ends,” Gevir’k said, “the gravity exempter will activate, freeing the Quencher from Vhlonn’s gravity and allowing it to rise into space using only the thrust from the solar-powered ducted fanjets you see mounted around its sides.”
“Once Quencher has risen high enough to be completely free of Vhlonn’s gravity, pilot Strif will reorient the exempter to put the spacecraft on a trajectory toward Beh Yeh, where he will use the exempter on partial power to land softly in one of that planet’s deepest water basins.”
Gevir’k took over again, “When, after many dozendays, the tanks have filled with water, Strif will use the exempter to rise into space again and bring his cargo back here.”
There was much cheering, but eventually all that was heard was the crowd’s unconscious reading of the clock as it counted down.
The countdown ended. The gravity exempter powered up.
To an onlooker in orbit around Vhlonn the sight would have been spectacular — an enormous vortex of dust, stone, magma, water, vegetation and humanoid bodies sucked into outer space as Quencher, locked into an automatic sequence that its pilot couldn’t change, canceled gravity in a column of space from Vhlonn’s core upward. More than half of Vhlonn’s population perished instantly, the rest died for lack of air within moments afterward. Quencher itself was propelled by the vortex into the frigid distant void, far from the warmth of the sun. Ironically, acceleration — unaffected by the exempter — had instantly squashed Strif like a bug.
Millions of years later the planet finally settled, its crust betraying only the slightest hints of something cataclysmic in its past, along with tantalizing evidence of once having liquid water flowing across its surface. Beh Yeh had its own native civilization, which gave the dry, dead neighbor a name that meant the opposite of Vhlonn, the Nurturer.