Judge reverses order to take baby from lesbian couple — will obey the law


Republican governor tells judge to follow the law

A Utah judge has reversed his decision to take a baby away from her lesbian foster parents and place her with a heterosexual couple, after the initial ruling led to widespread backlash.

Judge Scott Johansen signed an order, which was released Friday, that will allow the 9-month-old baby to stay with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce, a married couple who live in the city of Price.

Johansen had said in court Tuesday that the baby would be removed from the couple’s home. Utah officials and the couple filed court challenges demanding the judge rescind the order.

In his first decision, Johansen cited [crap] research that allegedly showed children do better when raised by heterosexual families. However, the American Psychological Association has said there is no scientific basis to the belief that same-sex couples are unfit parents based on sexual orientation…

Hoagland and Peirce are among a number of same-sex married couples who were allowed to become foster parents in Utah after last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal across the country. State officials don’t keep an exact count, but estimate there are a dozen or more foster parents who are married same-sex couples.

The move to take the baby away generated widespread criticism, including from national gay rights groups and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert…Herbert said Thursday that Johansen should follow the law and not inject his personal beliefs into the decision.

Groups including the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union called the order shocking, outrageous and unjust.

Life might also be more just for the whole nation if bigots and reactionaries got around to obeying laws instead of circumventing progress and imposing their petty ideology on others. BTW, I include phony libertarians and papier mache conservatives in that clot of ignorance, selfishness and egregious anarchy.

CIA said, Al Qaeda “attacks will be spectacular” — Bush said, “Huh? Wha?”


What, me worry?

“Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” The CIA’s famous Presidential Daily Brief, presented to George W. Bush on August 6, 2001, has always been Exhibit A in the case that his administration shrugged off warnings of an Al Qaeda attack. But months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming.

By May of 2001, says Cofer Black, then chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center, “it was very evident that we were going to be struck, we were gonna be struck hard and lots of Americans were going to die.”…

The crisis came to a head on July 10. The critical meeting that took place that day was first reported by Bob Woodward in 2006. Tenet also wrote about it in general terms in his 2007 memoir At the Center of the Storm…But neither he nor Black has spoken about it publicly in such detail until now—or been so emphatic about how specific and pressing their warnings really were…

The drama of failed warnings began when Tenet and Black pitched a plan, in the spring of 2001, called “the Blue Sky paper” to Bush’s new national security team. It called for a covert CIA and military campaign to end the Al Qaeda threat…And the word back,” says Tenet, “‘was ‘we’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.’”

That morning of July 10, the head of the agency’s Al Qaeda unit, Richard Blee, burst into Black’s office. “And he says, ‘Chief, this is it. Roof’s fallen in,’” recounts Black. “The information that we had compiled was absolutely compelling. It was multiple-sourced. And it was sort of the last straw.” Black and his deputy rushed to the director’s office to brief Tenet. All agreed an urgent meeting at the White House was needed. Tenet picked up the white phone to Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. “I said, ‘Condi, I have to come see you,’” Tenet remembers. “It was one of the rare times in my seven years as director where I said, ‘I have to come see you. We’re comin’ right now. We have to get there.’”

Tenet vividly recalls the White House meeting with Rice and her team. (George W. Bush was on a trip to Boston.) “Rich [Blee] started by saying, ‘There will be significant terrorist attacks against the United States in the coming weeks or months. The attacks will be spectacular. They may be multiple. Al Qaeda’s intention is the destruction of the United States.’” [Condi said:] ‘What do you think we need to do?’ Black responded by slamming his fist on the table, and saying, ‘We need to go on a wartime footing now!’”

“What happened?” I ask Cofer Black. “Yeah. What did happen?” he replies.

The critical part is, of course, what didn’t happen? Bush sat on his rusty dusty and achieved nothing that resembled the responsibilities of his office.

RTFA for lots of detail. Sooner or later, take the time to see the documentary this article references. I will.

Many benefits for bilingual kids

We live in a world of great linguistic diversity. More than half of the world’s population grows up with more than one language. There are, on the other hand, language communities that are monolingual, typically some parts of the English-speaking world.

In this case, bilingualism or multilingualism can be seen as an extraordinary situation – a source of admiration and worry at the same time. But there are communities where bilingualism or multilingualism are the norm…

On a smaller scale, we all know families where bilingualism or multilingualism are the norm, because the parents speak different languages or because the family uses a language different from that of the community around them.

How difficult is it for a child to grow up in such an environment? And what are bilingual children capable of? Well, they are capable of quite a lot, even at a very young age. They can understand and produce expressions in more than one language, they know who to address in which language, they are able to switch very fast from one language to the other.

Clearly we are talking here of a range of different skills: social, linguistic and cognitive. Social skills are the most known: bilingual children are able to interact with speakers of (at least) two languages and thus have direct access to two different cultures.

But they also have linguistic skills, some very obvious, such as understanding and using words and expressions in different languages. A less obvious aspect is that bilingual children have a raised awareness for how language “works”. For example, bilinguals are better than monolinguals of the same age at pinpointing that the sentence “apples growed on trees” is bad, and “apples grow on noses” is fine, but doesn’t make sense.

Less known are the cognitive skills developed by bilinguals, an issue of great interest for research at the moment, as seen, for example, in work by Ellen Bialystok and colleagues. Probably due to the practice of switching languages, bilinguals are very good at taking different perspectives, dealing with conflicting cues and ignoring irrelevant information. This skill can be applied to domains other than language, making it an added value of bilingualism…

Research has shown regular patterns in code-switching, influenced by the languages concerned, by community norms and by which language(s) people learn first or use more frequently. Very often, code-switchers are very highly proficient in the languages concerned. Code-switching also follows social rules: bilingual children only use it if they know the interlocutor knows the “other” language.

All typically developing children will learn one language. To learn more than one they need the opportunity and the motivation. Growing up with more than one language is an asset well worth the investment.

I second that emotion. I’ve known families with bilingual kids back in New England. I know families with bilingual kids here in New Mexico. Generally, English is their second language.

Strictly a subjective observation, no science in the equation, they seem to me to race ahead of their monolingual peers. True, I’m one of those strange old codgers who only speaks to children who seem advanced for their years, able to hold a conversation like an adult. But, the conclusions in the article seem to hold true.