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Mon, 28 Nov 2022
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Kentucky Democrats may overturn governor's veto of 'religious freedom' bill

Democrats in the Kentucky state House voted on Monday to bring an override of Gov. Steve Beshear (R)'s veto of the state's controversial Religious Freedom Act to the floor for a vote on Tuesday. According to the Lexington Herald-Reader, the House's Democratic caucus only arrived at the decision after heated debate.

Amber Duke, communications manager of the Kentucky ACLU told Raw Story that the vote count on the House decision was 27 to 26 in favor of bringing the veto before the House, which is scheduled to convene at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, but has not said when it will vote on the measure.

House Bill 279, known as the Religious Freedom Act would allow Kentuckians to ignore laws that they feel place an undue burden on their religious beliefs. More than 50 rights groups have opposed the bill, arguing that it would undermine anti-discrimination laws.

Gov. Beshear vetoed the law earlier this month after it passed easily in both houses of the state legislature, earning plaudits from the ACLU and other civil rights organizations that, like the governor, felt that the law was so broadly written as to open to door to legalized discrimination.


A note to conservatives eager to draw parallels between same sex marriage and non-consensual criminal acts

© lev radin / Shutterstock
When I think of LGBT people, I think of my dad's best friend, the village's sole male hairdresser who catered to female clients and how he taught my mom and me how to French braid so I could be cooler in my ballet class. I think of the sweet high school boy who kissed me over a screening of "Truth Or Dare" (yes, I know) and later was so worried that I would hate him forever when he told me he liked boys. I think of my friend in high school who, after she came out, had guys screaming "Dyke!" at her as she walked down the hall to her locker, and all the teachers who never came out of their classrooms to have her back. I think of my friend's two mommies, my college roommate who came out as bi, the guys at the goth club who felt they could only there kiss in front of straight people and know no one cared, my friend who found drag at an urban university a world away from Texas, the guy upstairs, the couple across the hall, my cousins, fellow writer friends, artist friends, my family.

You think of sex with children. And sex with animals. And goodness only knows what else (other than butt sex and until what point in life a man's, i.e., your own, sperm is viable, which isn't exactly giving straight marriage the best reputation).


Former Republican candidate handing out dozens of shotguns in Tucson, Arizona

© YouTube
Former mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky
A failed Republican mayoral candidate says that he has raised enough money to give away dozens of shotguns in the same town where former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 18 other people were shot.

Former mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky told Tucson Weekly that he was leading a Tucson chapter of the Armed Citizen Project, which launched in Houston earlier this year to prove that more guns mean less crime. McClusky said that he had already gotten $12,000 in pledges, enough to arm at least three dozen people.

Participants in high-crime neighborhoods "will receive a cleaning kit, they'll receive the shotgun, they'll receive slugs, they'll go through a background check and they'll also go through the training class," McClusky explained.


Never mind Cyprus - look to Germany for causes of the euro crisis

© AFP Photo
Proper analysis suggests Germany is not a wage-productivity paragon but a major cause of the eurozone crisis

Over the course of the last week's tense negotiations over a Cyprus bailout deal, much of the commentary has focused on the role of Europe's finance ministers. But perhaps closer attention should be paid to Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank. On 14 March Draghi made a presentation to heads of state and government on the economic situation in the euro area. His intent was to show the real reasons for the crisis and the counter-measures needed. In this he succeeded - although not in the way he intended.

Draghi presented two graphs that encapsulate his central argument: productivity growth in the surplus countries (Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands) was higher than in the deficit countries (France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain). But wage growth was much faster in the latter group. Structural reforms and wage moderation lead to success; structural rigidities and greedy trade unions lead to failure. QED.

According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which reported the affair approvingly, the impact of Draghi's intervention was devastating. François Hollande, the French president, who had earlier been calling for an end to austerity and for growth impulses, was, according to the newspaper, completely silenced after the ECB president had so clearly demonstrated, with incontrovertible evidence, what was wrong in Europe - or rather in certain countries in the eurozone - and what must be done.


Homeland Security seeks student hackers to help counter cyberthreats

© Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks at a Monitor Breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The need to develop a skilled cyber workforce is a formidable challenge for government, she said.
There are "new and rapidly growing threats" of a cyberstrike to the US homeland - perils that will require hundreds of young, college-age hackers to counter an alarming number of daily incursions into the nation's electrical grid and financial networks, says Department of Homeland Security (DHS) head Janet Napolitano.

This will be "hackers for good," and the DHS currently has a need for about 600 of them, Secretary Napolitano added in remarks Tuesday at a Monitor Breakfast.

The need to develop a skilled cyber workforce has been a common - and formidable - challenge for a number of US government agencies, including DHS and the Pentagon, which is also struggling to build its own cyber workforce.

That's because most skilled "cyber warriors," as the US military calls them, often get recruited by private industry after their service commitments are up.

"That's a big concern, to be honest," says Col. Kiley Weigle, commander of the Air Force's Cyber Training Unit. "We have not, in my opinion, fully cracked that nut yet."


Bill O'Reilly says same sex marriage foes are just a bunch of Bible thumpers

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly knocked opponents of same sex marriage on Tuesday night, claiming they had a weak argument that relied entirely on religious beliefs.

The conservative Fox News host was discussing two cases before the Supreme Court regarding same sex marriage with his colleague Megyn Kelly.

During the segment, O'Reilly remarked that public policy should not be based on religion. Kelly responded by saying that arguments against same sex marriage were not very persuasive when the religious element was removed.

War Whore

Behind the Headlines: Iraq Invasion - Ten years later

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."
The War on Iraq was one of the most brutal events in modern history. Sold to the people on the basis of lies about non-existent WMDs and Saddam Hussein's non-existent ties to non-existent al Qaeda, the above quote from a Bush administration official encapsulates the pathological delusion of grandeur that is US government foreign policy.

On this week's show we'll be marking the 10th anniversary of 'Shock and Awe' by comparing American fantasy with reality and examining the disastrous choices American policy-makers have taken as the economy implodes. 9/11 gave the warmongers their "new Pearl Harbor." Couched in lofty rhetoric about spreading democracy and liberating the world from tyrannical dictators, America's glorious self-image stands in stark contrast to the brutal reality of ten years of bloody mayhem that has left Iraq and its people ripped apart.

But it's not just Iraqis that have suffered. This insane warmongering is having a disastrous effect on the American and European populations, both economically and morally. History shows that when a civilization reaches a certain level of selfishness and depravity, cosmic disaster follows.

Running Time: 02:08:00

Download: MP3


Top 10 excuses for Obama signing the Monsanto Protection Act

Yes, he signed HR 993. It was a bill funding the federal government. There was a rider in it. A Monsanto and biotech rider.

The gist of the rider is: a dangerous ghoulish GMO food crop can't be stopped by a court order. That crop can still be grown, harvested, and sold in the US.

Isn't that wonderful? Isn't it grand?

250,000 people signed an emergency letter to Obama, telling him to send HR 993 back to Congress so the rider could be removed. He didn't.

Of course, there must be some mistake here, because we all know Obama is the radiant messiah. Right? He's constantly assuring us "we're all in this together."


Do you own your genes, or can Big Pharma patent them?

© ExtremeTech
Somebody should check and make sure that Kim Dotcom hasn't started funding any research in genetics. Maybe those guys from the Pirate Bay, too. With a paper that must send chills of fear and vindication down the spine of every internet freedom fighter, researchers from Cornell University this week presented evidence that genetic copyright is a "direct threat to genomic liberty." Could this be the newest, most easily altruistic frontier in copyright banditry?

The study in question looked at existing patented stretches of DNA, notably in the hotly contested BRCA1 gene [1], and set about testing whether these patented sequences might pop up elsewhere due to chance or redundant function. They searched the human genome for small and large sequences patented under just a single diagnostic test, and found that these sequences existed in 689 other places.

This isn't all that surprising. As the researchers point out, take any 15-nucleotide sequence (a '15mer'), check it against the human genome, and you'll always find a match somewhere else. In medicine researchers are generally selecting stretches of DNA for some sort of useful function, and evolution happens to like useful things, too; if we can't construct a 15mer at random and find it only once in the genome, how could we possibly hope a medically useful one, one with a distinct selective advantage, will be unique? The code for several types of protein motifs, most of which are much longer than 15 nucleotides, are repeated literally thousands of times in humans. (See: Your complete DNA genome can now be sequenced from a single cell [2].)

[3]That certainly sounds scary, but doesn't this all seem just a little alarmist?

Bad Guys

Judge in Sarkozy probe receives bullet by mail

© Agence France-Presse
The judge who charged former president Nicolas Sarkozy with taking financial advantage of France's richest woman has received a bullet and a death threat in the post, say lawyers.

Jean-Michel Gentil, the most prominent of three judges investigating the case, received the threatening letter together with blank cartridges on Wednesday, the magistrate's union SM said in a statement published on its website.

One of Gentil's colleagues said the letter, which arrived at the judge's offices in Bordeaux, contained threats against other magistrates. Police had been called in to investigate, the colleague added.

The SM, in its online statement, denounced what it called "insulting statements" made by some of Sarkozy's political allies which it said were designed to undermine the work of the judiciary.

It noted too that Sarkozy's own lawyer, Thierry Herzog, had questioned Gentil's impartiality.

The SM said a number of its members were targeted in the letter. Gentil is not a member of the union, one colleague told AFP.

Sarkozy's lawyers are attempting to overturn last week's decision by three examining magistrates to charge him in a case that threatens to destroy his hopes of a political comeback.