Fake President says this couple’s youngest child isn’t an American


Roee and Adiel Kiviti, holding Kessem and Lev

❝ No parent can ever be fully prepared for the arrival of a new baby. But when Roee and Adiel Kiviti brought home their newborn daughter Kessem two months ago, they figured that they were as ready as they could be. After all, they’d gone through the same process two years earlier with their son Lev, who, like Kessem, was born with the help of an egg donor and a gestational surrogate in Canada.

❝ “It was as straightforward as one can imagine,” Roee told The Daily Beast, recalling the ease of bringing Lev home in late 2016, the infant’s newly printed Canadian passport in hand, soon to be supplanted by an American one…But Kessem was about to become the latest victim of a government policy that effectively de-recognizes her parents’ marriage, granting her no automatic rights to American birthright citizenship despite the fact that both her fathers are U.S. citizens. That policy, Kessem’s fathers told The Daily Beast, poses a unique threat to LGBT families, and could change the decades-old legal understanding of what the word “family” even means.

❝ “This is a very clear attack on families, on American families,” Roee, who married Adiel in California in 2013, told The Daily Beast. “Denying American married couples their rights to pass their citizenship, that is flat-out discrimination, and everyone should be concerned about this.”

The schmuck in the White House has forced the State Department to adopt a policy which declares this child to be “born out of wedlock”, deny this is a legitimate child of the couple, “the child (is not) a U.S. citizen at birth.” That is how far the US government has sunk into the dungeon of religious demagogues.

New Mexico’s Republican Governor wants science education to retreat to the Dark Ages

❝…In an attempt to make it easier for states to handle science education a bit better, a group of prestigious scientific societies banded together to make their own science education standards. The resulting Next Generation Science Standards were offered to the states free of charge, allowing them to be adopted in their entirety or modified to fit a state’s needs.

❝ Last week, it became apparent that New Mexico’s modification of the standards was a bit extreme, eliminating references to climate change, the age of the Earth, and evolution. And this week, some New Mexico legislators are blaming it on a misguided attempt to “politically sanitize” the science…The problems came to light earlier in September, when New Mexico’s Public Education department released a formal notice that it was seeking input on new science standards…Mother Jones decided to have a look at some of the changes, and they were rather striking.

❝ For example, a mention of “Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old geologic history” was chopped down to “Earth’s history,” neatly getting rid of the information about how old it is. A reference to the evolution of life was cut entirely. The clear rise in global temperatures was swapped out in favor of talk about temperature fluctuations. In short, the proposed new standards get rid of basic facts, specifically in areas that are politically or culturally contentious…for Republicans and other anti~science nutballs.

The one thing that was missing was why. This wasn’t a case of local politicians messing with science education as a part of their platform, as has happened in Texas and elsewhere…Two Democratic lawmakers have pointed the finger at the state’s Republican governor, Susana Martinez. The lawmakers, Bill McCamley and G. Andrés Romero…had been supporters of a bill that would see the Next Generation Science Standards adopted verbatim, a course that had been recommended by a panel of education experts organized by the state. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature but was vetoed by Martinez

You don’t have to be trapped by Know-Nothings in the American Confederacy to have children’s education threatened by bigots and superstitious fools. Martinez is governor by virtue of a Democrat Establishment throwing away easy electoral opportunities to satisfy a cabal more concerned with lineage in political power – than issues.

America in the Dark Ages — The cult of kiddie danger

Lenore Skenazy is a public speaker and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids. Her show “World’s Worst Mom” airs on Discovery/TLC international.

The Richland, WA, school district is phasing out swings on its playgrounds. As the district’s spokesman recently told KEPR TV: “It’s just really a safety issue. Swings have been determined to be the most unsafe of all the playground equipment on a playground.”

Ah yes, those dangling doom machines. All they sow is death and despair.

But while this sounds like yet another example of how liability concerns are killing childhood (seen a see-saw anywhere in the last 20 years? A slide higher than your neck?), it’s deeper than that. Insurance underwriters are merely the high priests of what has become our new American religion: the Cult of Kiddie Danger. It is founded on the unshakable belief that our kids are in constant danger from everyone and everything.

The devout pray like this: “Oh Lord, show me the way my child is in deathly danger from __________, that I may cast it out.” And then they fill in the blank with anything we might have hitherto considered allowing our children to eat, watch, visit, touch, or do, e.g., “Sleep over at a friend’s,” “Microwave the macaroni in a plastic dish,” or even, “Play outside, unsupervised…”

What’s more, this is a state religion, so the teachings are enforced by the cops and courts. Those who step outside the orthodoxy face punishment swift and merciless…

We think we are enlightened in this quest to keep kids completely safe. Actually, we have entered a new Dark Ages, fearing evil all around us.

If we want the right to raise our kids rationally, even optimistically, it’s time to call the Cult of Kiddie Danger what it is: mass hysteria aided and abetted by the authorities. But as earlier holy books so succinctly instructed us, there is a better way to live.

“Fear not.”

Bravo!

Lenore Skenazy makes her case with the thoroughness of a pedant. With the heart of a warrior. Which, of course, she must be, every day.

We have added another brick to the wall of state religions. All are considered innocent until proven guilty – unless you are charged with possession of kiddy porn, accused of rape, admit to being an atheist…regardless of charge. More dangerous than someone who cuts those little labels off pillow cases that say “Do Not Remove”. Carrier of an evil more dangerous than the Interwebitubes.

This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine,The Weekly Wonk.

New Mexico county holds man in solitary for 2 years without a trial — found guilty in $22 million lawsuit

A man who was held in solitary confinement for two years and was forced to pull his own tooth because he was denied dental health, has been awarded $22 million for violation of his constitutional rights.

Stephen Slevin, 58, from New Mexico, was awarded the sum of money – one of the largest federal civil rights settlements in history involving an inmate – after accusing Dona Ana County jail of essentially forgetting about him while he was in custody, not giving him the healthcare he needed and treating him inhumanely.

Outside the federal courthouse in Santa Fe today, Mr Slevin said it was never about the money for him but more about sending a message that prisoners should be treated more humanely…

“Prison officials were walking by me every day, watching me deteriorate. Day after day after day, they did nothing, nothing at all, to get me any help.”

The 58-year-old was arrested in August 2005 and charged with driving while intoxicated and receiving a stolen vehicle near Las Cruces. His lawyer said that, due to his history of mental illness, he was placed into solitary confinement. Civil rights attorney Matthew Coyte revealed it was here that his client started to deteriorate.

He said: ‘They threw him in solitary and then ignored him. He disappeared into delirium, and his mental illness was made worse by being isolated from human contact and a lack of medical care…’

While Slevin was in solitary confinement, his toenails grew so long they began to curl around his feet, he developed bedsores, fungus and dental problems and lost a lot of weight, according to the lawsuit…

Mr Slevin was eventually released after 22 months as a pre-trial detainee and the charges against him were dismissed…

The county had recently offered to settle the case for $2 million…despite previously denying there was a lack of medical care and that, as government employees, county officials deserved immunity from liability.

You should know two things about this incident: [1] Don’t judge every part of New Mexico law enforcement by this case; [2] If he had been a serious criminal, DWI-repeater or violent felon – he would have been out of jail in no time at all.

“War on drugs” is a failure in many ways

In a step few politicians would take, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle…declared the nation’s decades-old war on drugs a failure…

“Rather than invest in detaining people in the Cook County Jail at almost $150 a day . . . we need to invest in treatment, education and job-skills training. That’s the only way . . . we are going to reduce crime and stabilize our communities,” she said…

“We all know that the war on drugs has failed to end drug use. Instead, it’s resulted in the incarceration of millions of people around the country, and 100,000 here in Cook County on an annual basis,” she said. “Drugs and the failed war on the drugs have devastated lives, families and communities. For too long we’ve treated drug use as a criminal justice issue, rather than a public issue, which is what it is.”

Academics, religious leaders and social-service providers spoke out, but Preckwinkle was the sole politician to address the crowd, which cheered her on.

Kathleen Kane-Willis, director of Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, kicked off the rally by citing recent statistics indicating Illinois leads the nation when it comes to putting far greater percentages of African Americans behind bars for drug crimes than whites.

The sad thing about the war on the drugs is that most people know it has failed,” added Rev. Alexander Sharp of Protestants for the Common Good. “They just don’t have the courage to say so…”

Preckwinkle’s call for more treatment and less punishment was in keeping with her statements on the campaign trail, when she often talked about diverting drug users into treatment programs. She said she now is working with the courts, prosecutors, defense attorneys and the sheriff’s office to find ways to do that.

“If 70 percent of the people in the jail are there for non-violent offenses, and 83 percent of the people who walk through the door have illicit drugs in their system, clearly the issue we’ve got is around addiction as much as it is around criminal justice,” she said after making her speech. “It is a public health issue.”

American politicians lead the Western World in hypocrisy. Moralizing based upon myth, laws carrying sanctions better suited to the Dark Ages, characterize the unproductive foolishness that our jurisprudence and book of laws has become.

Most drug use should be decriminalized. Take crime and drug cartels out of the equation altogether – and treat simple addictions for what they are. A product of many causes from genetic sensitivity to social and economic despair.

Adoptions by gay couples rise – in spite of bigots


A family around the supper table

Growing numbers of gay couples across the country are adopting, according to census data, despite an uneven legal landscape that can leave their children without the rights and protections extended to children of heterosexual parents.

Same-sex couples are explicitly prohibited from adopting in only two states — Utah and Mississippi — but they face significant legal hurdles in about half of all other states, particularly because they cannot legally marry in those states.

Despite this legal patchwork, the percentage of same-sex parents with adopted children has risen sharply. About 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from just 8 percent in 2000…

That reality has been shaped by what advocates for gay families say are two distinct trends: the need for homes for children currently waiting for adoption — now about 115,000 in the United States — and the increased acceptance of gays and lesbians in American society.

The American family does not look the same as it did 30 years ago, they argue, and the law has just been slow to catch up.

Most of the legal obstacles facing gay couples intending to adopt stem from prohibitions on marriage, according to the Family Equality Council, an advocacy group for gay families. In most states, gay singles are permitted to adopt…

“The reality is we really need foster and adoptive parents, and it doesn’t matter what the relationship is,” said Moira Weir, director of the job and family services department in Hamilton County, Ohio. “If they can provide a safe and loving home for a child, isn’t that what we want?”

RTFA. Lots of details.

Providing a safe and loving home for a child is not – of course – what homophobes and other bigots care about. Ordering a nation to obey moral precepts from the dim and backwards history of religion and laws that pander to such foolishness is the goal of fundamentalist opposition to most civil rights, civil liberties and equal opportunities for American citizens.

“Peace on Earth, good will to all” – is how most organized religion speaks [way too highly] of itself in America. Practice does not follow propaganda. What’s characterized as dissent within these religion/businesses is often a willingness and hope to return to those original values. If they think they stand a chance.

Catholic hospital’s ties to church end over saving mother’s life

The head of the Catholic church in Phoenix has stripped Arizona’s largest hospital of its Catholic affiliation after he ruled that a decision to save the life of a mother by terminating her 11-week pregnancy was morally wrong.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted announced yesterday that St Joseph’s hospital can no longer be considered to be Catholic. The ruling breaks a relationship that stretches back to the hospital’s founding by Catholic nuns 115 years ago.

He has also excommunicated the member of the hospital’s ethics committee that permitted the abortion to go ahead.

The schism brings to a head a dispute that has been building for several months over the termination, performed in November 2009, at St Joseph’s hospital and medical centre.

The case concerned an unidentified woman in her 20s, who had a history of abnormally high blood pressure that was under control before she became pregnant. But doctors were concerned on learning of the pregnancy about the extra burden that would be placed on her heart, and they monitored her closely.

Tests showed that in the early stages of pregnancy her condition deteriorated rapidly and that before long her pulmonary hypertension – which can impair the working of the heart and lungs – had begun to seriously threaten her life. Doctors informed her that the risk of death was close to 100% if she continued with the pregnancy.

Consultations were then held with the patient, her family, her doctors and the hospital’s ethics team, and the decision to go ahead with an abortion was taken in order to save the mother’s life. And no need to invite the Bishop and his church in on the decision!

The hospital’s president, Linda Hunt, said following the bishop’s severing of relations that the operation had been “consistent with our values of dignity and justice. If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case.”

But Olmsted did not see it that way. you can RTFA if you really care about crap doctrine, religious ideology, philosophical systems that place superstition as taking precedence over human life.

I’m not wasting any more time on it than I’ve felt necessary for the last 59 years of my life.

Secret mistresses of Italian priests ask pope to scrap celibacy


Hail, hail, the gang’s all here!
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Dozens of Italian women who have had relationships with Roman Catholic priests or lay monks have endorsed an open letter to the pope that calls for the abolition of the celibacy rule. The letter, thought by one signatory to be unprecedented, argues that a priest “needs to live with his fellow human beings, experience feelings, love and be loved”.

It also pleads for understanding of those who “live out in secrecy those few moments the priest manages to grant [us] and experience on a daily basis the doubts, fears and insecurities of our men”.

The issue was put back on the Vatican’s agenda in March when one of Pope Benedict’s senior advisers, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, said the abolition of the celibacy rule might curb sex abuse by priests, a suggestion he hastily withdrew after Benedict spoke up for “the principle of holy celibacy”.

The authors of the letter said they decided to come into the open after hearing his retort, which they said was an affirmation of “the holiness of something that is not holy” but a man-made rule. There are many instances of married priests in the early centuries of Christianity. Today, priests who follow the eastern Catholic rites can be married, as can those who married before converting to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism.

One signatory, Stefania Salomone, 42, an office manager, said the message to the pope had been endorsed by nearly 40 women registered with an online forum linked to Il Dialogo website. But such was the sensitivity of the issue that only three had published their names…

My family walked away from the Roman Catholic church almost 70 years ago – over the question of freedom to access means of birth control. I think it unlikely that the church is ready to engage intelligent dialogue on an even more demanding subject.

Living in the 21st Century, peering backwards at an ideology, superstition, rooted to the Dark Ages like a tumor clinging to an organ it has already sucked dry of life – I hardly see any reason for this attempt at dialogue except to illustrate the unwillingness of Papal princes to learn and grow into the real world.

Beheaded Vikings found at Olympic site

They were 51 young men who met a grisly death far from home, their heads chopped off and their bodies thrown into a mass grave.

Their resting place was unknown until last year, when workmen excavating for a road near the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue in Weymouth, England, unearthed the grave. But questions remained about who the men were, how long they had been there and why they had been decapitated.

On Friday, officials revealed that analysis of the men’s teeth shows they were Vikings, executed with sharp blows to the head around a thousand years ago. They were killed during the Dark Ages, when Vikings frequently invaded the region.

“To find out that the young men executed were Vikings is a thrilling development,” said David Score, project manager for Oxford Archaeology, which excavated the remains. “Any mass grave is a relatively rare find, but to find one on this scale, from this period of history, is extremely unusual and presents an incredible opportunity to learn more about what is happening in Dorset at this time…”

The burial site was found during work for the Weymouth Relief Road, meant to ease traffic congestion on the highway to Weymouth, on England’s southern coast. Weymouth Bay and nearby Portland Harbor will host the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events during the 2012 London Olympics.

The leader of the Dorset County Council, Angus Campbell, said the construction of the road had already revealed prehistoric and Iron Age finds.

“But we never would have dreamed of finding a Viking war grave,” Campbell said in a statement. “The burial pit took us all by surprise and its story gets more fascinating as the analysis goes on.”

I realize this is intimidating to those who fear history, fear knowledge. This stuff is fascinating, filling in the details of broad strokes of history for large segments of geopolitics, economics and culture.