Archive for the ‘Law’ Category
Plans to legalise gay marriage in England and Wales are to proceed unimpeded in Parliament after ministers reached agreement with Labour…MPs backed a Labour plan to consult on changing civil partnerships – a move criticised by some Tory MPs.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Culture Secretary Maria Miller thanked other parties for their “unwavering support” for the principles of the same-sex Marriage Bill and said a review of civil partnerships could take place “very swiftly”.
Labour said the review could potentially take place within the next few months – enabling its findings to be reflected in the final legislation…
MPs gave their support in principle to gay marriage in February but are now discussing proposed amendments on Monday and Tuesday amid calls from some Conservatives for the government to focus on other priorities.
The bill is being debated over two days, with its third reading – the final hurdle in the Commons – on Tuesday. If approved, it will go to the House of Lords on Wednesday, where it is expected to face further opposition.
David Cameron has said equal marriage would help build a stronger and fairer society but nearly half of all Tories voted against it in February and many party activists remain deeply opposed to it in principle…
It does’t seem to matter which Western nation moves forward on civil rights for all. There always are conservatives who apparently feel equal opportunities for all somehow diminishes their tiny little lives.
While failing in their attempts to amend the legislation in any form, Conservative MPs voiced their concerns in large numbers on a range of issues. Blah, blah, blah.
Stonewall, which campaigns for equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, said it would be a “terrible pity” if the legislation got “bogged down” and urged MPs from all parties not to “play politics” with it.
Under the bill, the Church of England and the Church in Wales would be banned from offering same-sex marriages because of their strongly stated opposition, unless they changed canon law.
Other religious organisations would be able to “opt in” to holding ceremonies. There are currently no plans for similar legislation in Northern Ireland, but there are already plans for a bill to allow same-sex marriage in Scotland.
The UK debate comes the week after France became the ninth European country, and 14th in the world, to legalise gay marriage. Earlier this month Rhode Island became the 10th US state to allow same-sex marriages.
I wonder if the United States will join the ranks of nations with full civil rights, say, below number 50?
It’s been dubbed the most expensive prison on Earth and President Barack Obama cited the cost this week as one of many reasons to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which burns through some $900,000 per prisoner annually.
The Pentagon estimates it spends about $150 million each year to operate the prison and military court system at the U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, which was set up 11 years ago to house foreign terrorism suspects.
With 166 inmates currently in custody, that amounts to an annual cost of $903,614 per prisoner.
By comparison, super-maximum security prisons in the United States spend about $60,000 to $70,000 at most to house their inmates, analysts say.
And the average cost across all federal prisons is about $30,000, they say.
The high cost was just one reason Obama cited when he returned this week to an unfulfilled promise to close the prison and said he would try again.
Obama…said that the prison, set up under his Republican predecessor George W. Bush and long the target of criticism by rights groups and foreign governments, is a stain on the reputation of the United States.
‘It’s extremely inefficient,’ said Ken Gude, chief of staff and vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, who has followed developments at Guantanamo Bay since 2005.
‘That … may be what finally gets us to actually close the prison. I mean the costs are astronomical, when you compare them to what it would cost to detain somebody in the United States,’ Gude said…
Obama pledged to close the prison within a year after first taking office in January 2009 but his efforts ran aground, partly because of congressional opposition, from both Republicans and some in his own Democratic Party, to transferring prisoners to the United States.
Inmates started a hunger strike in February that has swelled to some 100 prisoners and has led to force-feeding of 23 of the prisoners.
With the camp back under a critical spotlight, Obama told a news conference on Tuesday he would renew efforts to shut it down. He has an array of options, some of which would be more achievable than others…
Above the annual operating cost, capital spending on the prison could rise again if the Pentagon receives the funding it says it needs to renovate the place.
General John Kelly, the head of Southern Command, which is responsible for Guantanamo, told a House of Representatives panel in March that he needed some $170 million to improve the facilities for troops stationed at the base as part of detention operations.
Kelly said the living conditions were ‘pretty questionable’ and told the panel, ‘We need to take care of our troops.’
Or we could act like we have functional brains – put the convicted into mainland supermax prisons, send the unconvictable, unindicted back to their home countries or a helpful surrogate country and go back to at least a pretense of being a law-abiding civilized nation. Close down Gitmo and give the land back to the Cubans.
A transgender woman in Hong Kong has won a groundbreaking court appeal allowing her to marry her boyfriend and forcing the government to rewrite the city’s marriage laws.
The woman in her 30s, known in the Court of Final Appeal as “W” under anonymity rules, successfully overturned earlier verdicts that said marriage is only allowed between couples who were of the opposite sex at birth.
W, who underwent sex realignment surgery more than five years ago, argued that her post-operative gender was recognised by the law and that previous rulings were a violation of her constitutional rights…
She also said that her reassignment surgery had been government-subsidised…
“It is contrary to principle to focus merely on biological features fixed at the time of birth,” the court said in a written judgement by the panel of five judges.
It added that existing laws “impair the very essence of W’s right to marry“.
One more place in the world we might send some of our out-of-date politicians to learn something of changing civil rights.
There is more than a simple wry note to be taken that some jurisdictions that our nation depicts as backwards and lacking all-American freedoms are changing faster than we are.
Vermont will become the fourth state to make it legal for a physician to prescribe lethal medication to a terminally ill, mentally competent patient who wants to end his life. It has also become the first state to approve the practice through legislation, instead of via a public referendum (as in Oregon and Washington) or a court decision (in Montana).
The Vermont House of Representatives approved the measure by a 75-to-65 vote on Monday night, after 17-to-13 approval in the Senate last week. Gov. Peter Shumlin has said he will sign it into law…
Supporters of what advocates call “death with dignity”…have been introducing similar legislation in Vermont since the mid 1990s. In the only previous vote, a bill went down to defeat in the state house in 2007.
Given polls that consistently show broad support among Vermont voters, a referendum might well have passed years ago, said Michael Sirotkin, one of the lawyers representing the group Patient Choices at End of Life Vermont. But the state doesn’t permit ballot initiatives, so organizers turned to the legislature.
“I’d say this is actually a harder path, because often the public is ahead of legislators on controversial issues,” Mr. Sirotkin said…
…When the law takes effect after the governor signs it, it will initially closely follow the Oregon model, with numerous statutory procedures and safeguards meant to protect patients against coercion or changes of heart. It adopts the same 15-day waiting period between the patient’s first request for medication and the second, for example, and requires a second physician’s evaluation.
But three years later, those requirements drop away, and a lethal prescription for a mentally competent patient expected to die within six months becomes largely a private matter between doctor and patient.
I guess I’ll never wear out using the word, “overdue”. As much as I tease folks here in the Southwest that what I miss most about New England are legislators with backbone and brains – there aren’t a whole boatload of progressive laws being passed that I wouldn’t have voted for fifty years ago.
I honestly believe that a culture of fairness and knowledge could have instituted an end to bigoted laws dividing civil rights, use and possession of mood-altering substances, the right to a death with dignity – decades ago. And ordinary folks would have voted against sending our military off to fight wars all over the globe for the glory and advancement of corporate America.
The Vermont Legislature gave final approval…to a bill that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and hashish, clearing the way for the bill to be signed into law by a supportive governor.
The legislation would do away with criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and five grams of concentrated hashish derived from cannabis for people at least 21 years-old. Instead, those of legal age who are charged with possession within those amounts will face civil fines akin to a speeding ticket.
Alex Bullett, a 25-year-old who is originally from Maine but has been living in White River Junction for more than a year, described the law as a “step in the right direction toward legalization,” which he said would be “really good for everybody” as a revenue generator for the state…
Bullett…pointed to Colorado and Washington’s recent legalization of the recreational drug, estimating that the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana would soon be coming to an end.
“Within the decade, (the federal government) is going to have to give in on their sort of obscene war on drugs,” he said. “It hurts us more than it helps us.”
The legislation approved yesterday would align Vermont with other nearby states that have decriminalized marijuana possession, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It leaves New Hampshire as the last hold-out in New England when it comes to stricter marijuana possession laws.
Overdue. RTFA for all the right reasons. But, then, if you made it this far on my blog – you probably already know the right reasons.
Police do not anticipate filing charges against the Cumberland County mother of a 5-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister, a Kentucky State Police spokesman said Wednesday.
“We don’t see that there was neglect on anyone’s part,” said Trooper Eric Gregory, spokesman for the Columbia post.
Cumberland County Coroner Gary White said Tuesday that the shooting would be ruled accidental.
No neglect with a loaded rifle sitting in the corner?
Caroline Sparks, 2, was pronounced dead Tuesday at Cumberland County Hospital, where she was taken after the 1 p.m. shooting on Lawson’s Bottom Road, White said…
The 5-year-old brother was identified as Christian Sparks in a statement released by Cumberland County Judge-Executive John Phelps Jr…
“The mother was home at the time, cleaning house, and stepped out to empty a mop bucket and heard a pop,” Trooper Gregory said. “She ran back in and found it had happened.”
The gun was a gift to the boy last year, White said. The gun was kept in a corner, and the family did not realize that a shell had been left in it, he said.
The Crickett rifle involved is “not 3 feet long,” Gregory said. It is manufactured by Keystone Sporting Arms, a Pennsylvania manufacturer of single-shot firearms, which advertises the Crickett on its website as “my first rifle.”
“Burkesville is the type of community that when something like this happens, everybody comes together,” Burkesville resident Vickie Temple said. “That’s just how our community is when something tragic happens.”
Something tragic happens – and no one takes responsibility.
Giving a pre-schooler a loaded weapon to play with is a disaster waiting to happen. Failing to supervise that child has nothing to do with responsibility? That he killed his sister with an “unloaded gun” is the icing on the All-American cake of predictable excuses.
I shouldn’t have to expand on this – I think – but, this is no different from the dumb motor vehicle accidents we witness or read about every day. I watched the local news, tonight, about a drunk who crashed her van killing 2 of her 4 passengers. She was 3 times the legal limit for DWI. Dumb enough? But all 4 of her passengers were thrown out of the van because none of them used their seat belts. That’s how 2 were killed. We have regulations which enforce penalties on people who do stupid deadly acts – trying to discourage others from the same. I don’t drive my pickup unless everyone has their seatbelts fastened. That’s my responsibility. My driver’s license.
Guns should have the same level of enforced responsibility. Especially in a society at least as careless with their guns as their cars.
A major survey of religious opinion shows that large majorities of believers are in favour of legalising assisted dying.
The poll, carried out by YouGov for the Westminster Faith Debates and involving nearly 4,500 people, reveals that only among Muslims and Baptists are there majorities against a change in the law that prohibits assisted suicide.
Majorities of Anglicans, Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Methodists and Pentecostalists are in favour of changing the law.
Christian groups reacted with dismay to the results. Austen Ivereigh, of the lobby group Catholic Voices, said: “It shows how little exposed even practising religious people are to the teachings of their church…”
A Church of England spokesman said: “This study demonstrates that complex discussions on topics such as assisted suicide and euthanasia cannot be effectively conducted through the medium of online surveys.”
Demonstrating that dumbthink about surveys isn’t limited to members of our Republican Party.
The poll shows that the proportion of believers who say they make up their minds with the help of “local or national religious leaders” is 2% among Anglicans and 9% among Catholics. Most people rely on their own judgment or on reason when making moral decisions, and among those groups there is overwhelming support for a change in the law.
Aye, there’s the rub. That part about relying on your own judgement.
American Catholics, Baptists, fundamentalist True Believers in general accept no free will, self-education or self-reliance for critical decisions. The Father or Big Brother in charge tells you to obey his rules preferably as writ in the 14th Century. Whichever rationale is offered – your role is to obey.
Police officers believed to be members of an anti-government extremist movement have been disciplined, an official with the Jersey City Police Department said.
The group of men from the Emergency Services Unit were “Three Percenters,” a movement that believes the federal government must be resisted because it is taking away Americans’ rights, the Jersey Journal reported…
Followers “engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing,” including the notion that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States were carried out by the federal government, said the non-profit Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
The “Three Percenters” take their name from the idea that only 3 percent of American colonists took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War, a Facebook page says.
Deputy Police Chief Peter Nalbach did not identify the officers who were disciplined.
The department took action after a letter sent to the Jersey Journal said some ESU officers wore a patch saying “One of the 3 percent.” A photo of a patch accompanied the letter.
Nalbach confirmed the officers were wearing a patch and that it was removed “because we don’t allow unofficial patches.”
Fitting for clowns using 3% of their brains.
Attempts to establish fascist cells inside police departments are nothing new in the United States or abroad. Whether recruiting is done from “natural talent” in the forces or cadres entering departments with the goal of building a presence – is unimportant.
Their goals are the same, individually and collectively. The task of civilians, the appropriate response from the body politic, is to root out racists, the stormtrooper mentality that always accompanies cowards and fear-mongers trying to redirect the armed branch of civil service into vicious, reactionary policies.
A man has died after being shot with a police Taser while dowsed in flammable liquid…Andrew Pimlott, 32, turned into a human fireball after he was zapped by officers called to his home to investigate a domestic incident.
They found Andrew in the back garden covered in liquid and holding a can of fluid…An officer deployed the Taser and Andrew immediately burst into flames…
Andrew suffered serious burns and was rushed to hospital after the incident in Honicknowle, Plymouth, last Thursday.
Police initially said his injuries were not life-threatening…But the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed today that Andrew died from his injuries in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, on Tuesday…
IPCC Commissioner Sarah Green said…“Our investigation will be looking at what information was known to the officers attending the scene, the officer’s rationale for discharging a Taser on a person known to be dowsed in flammable liquid, whether the discharge of the Taser caused the fuel to ignite, and we will look at training and policies.”
How do you get to be ignorant of the explosion or fire danger coincident to firing a Taser at a flammable liquid?
Saudi Arabia expelled three Emiratis for being too handsome…The Emirati men were expelled from the country on Sunday, by Saudi religious police while attending an annual culture show — the Jenadriyah Heritage and Culture Festival — in the capital of Riyadh, according to the website of Arab language Elaph newspaper.
“A festival official said the three Emiratis were taken out on the grounds they are too handsome and that the Commission members feared female visitors could fall for them,” the newspaper said. The commission referred to is for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices.
The three men were immediately deported to Abu Dhabi.
Dubai-based Emirates 24/7, however, has reported that the expulsion was promoted by the presence of an Emirati woman artist at its exhibition at the festival, which would suggest Saudi officials were upset by a mixing of the sexes at the event.
Under Saudi custom and law, unrelated men and women are forbidden to interact.
Religions, cultures, states governed by such archaic foolishness are destined to wither and die on the vine of history. They may have sufficient gold to buy themselves extra time; but, as life progresses and education manages to accumulate even among the least of us, the corrupt and kingly who rely on walls of ignorance to prop up their rule – will fall.