ONTD Political

(Sorry, the Image source is from the Hillary Clinton campaign but I couldn't find a better graphic to display the ernomity of this decision.)

Gay Marriage Backers Win Supreme Court Victory
Story source NYT
WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in the 5 to 4 decision. He was joined by the court’s four more liberal justices.

The decision, the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of same-sex marriage.

Justice Kennedy said gay and lesbian couples had a fundamental right to marry.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family,” he wrote. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage,” Justice Kennedy said of the couples challenging state bans on same-sex marriage. “Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

Read more at the New York Times.

Two women were arraigned Wednesday on charges stemming from an incident last week that they say was sparked by racism and capped off by excessive force from police.

Sisters Krystal Dixon, 33, and Maya Dixon, 34, both of whom are black, were involved in a June 9 altercation with police at a Fairfield, Ohio, public swimming pool. Both women are now facing charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, and two children at the scene, ages 12 and 15, have also been arrested and charged in connection with the incident. The family is also claiming that a police officer broke a 12-year-old family member's jaw and ribs as he tried to restrain her. The Dixons have suggested that race played a factor in how pool staff and law enforcement treated the family.

In a news conference Tuesday, Bishop Bobby Hilton, a member of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network who is now serving as a representative for the family, said that the confrontation began shortly after Krystal Dixon dropped off a group of eight kids at the pool. (It's not clear how many of the kids were relatives of either Krystal or Maya Dixon.) Staff reportedly asked the group to leave because one of the kids wasn't wearing a proper swimsuit. A park ranger was called when they refused. According to a police report, the kids told the ranger that their mom had said they didn't have to leave.

Hilton said that Krystal Dixon went to get appropriate swimwear for the boy in question, but when she returned, she was told that he wouldn't be allowed back in. The situation escalated when Dixon went to retrieve the other kids from the pool area.

A set of videos posted on Tuesday by Hilton appear to show the progression of the incident. In the first clip, Dixon is seen arguing with pool staff. She can be heard asking for a refund, which is denied. A park ranger and a police officer confront both Dixon and the person filming the events. The video ends with an officer asking for Dixon's identification and appearing to grab her wrist.

The second clip starts after the altercation has already gotten physical. More officers have arrived, and one white officer can be seen grabbing a young girl around the neck and pushing her against a police car as she screams. An unidentified white male dressed in a swimsuit appears to be pressing a black male against a fence, alongside a police officer. Police officials have said they used pepper spray during the episode. It's unclear when, but someone in the clip claims to have been Maced.

The final video shows the aftermath of the incident. In the video, a handcuffed Maya Dixon claims that Krystal Dixon is pregnant and that one of the officers punched her 12-year-old daughter.

Everything’s going crazy and they’re videotaping, trying to make it look like a racist thing and it’s not at all,” said the caller, a pool employee. “They were breaking our policy and we told them they couldn’t be here anymore and it’s really scary and I don’t feel safeCollapse )

By Nick Wing. Posted: 06/17/2015 3:29 pm EDT.

A Wisconsin state Senate committee advanced an abortion restriction on Thursday that prioritizes the health of the fetus when the pregnant woman's life and health are in danger, The Cap Times first reported.

The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest, except when the woman is undergoing a medical emergency. In an emergency situation, the bill "requires the physician to terminate the pregnancy in the manner that, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive" -- not in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the woman to survive.

During a committee debate on the bill Thursday, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D) asked a representative from Legislative Counsel to clarify whether the bill requires the doctor to focus on the mother and the fetus, or just the fetus, in emergency situations. The counsel explained, "The statute is silent on the mother, and includes that provision related to the unborn child."

Most 20-week abortion bans that have passed in states include language protecting the mother, because in an emergency situation, the procedure that is most likely to save the fetus may put the mother's life further at risk. But the Wisconsin bill says only that the doctor is not "required" to employ a method of abortion that increases the risk to the woman.

"That provision is different than what we normally see," said Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization. "Usually the legislation requires the provider to use the method that is best for fetal survival unless that method puts the woman’s life or health further at risk. These bills are missing the part that takes into consideration the woman’s health and life."

One of the bill's sponsors, state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R), told The Huffington Post in an email that the bill does not prioritize the fetus' health over the mother's. "The truth is, there is nothing in the bill that requires a doctor to 'ignore the health of the mother,'" Sanfelippo said. "Under this bill, both lives will be treated equally."

Erpenbach tried on Thursday to attach an amendment to the bill that would require doctors to prioritize the mother's health in emergency situations, but the Senate Health and Human Services Committee rejected it on a party-line vote.

"Even offering a simple change to apply current law protections to women, to mothers, was unacceptable to Senate Republicans
," Erpenbach said in a statement after the vote. "Let me be clear, today the Republicans on the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services refused to guarantee women across the state of Wisconsin lifesaving protections
, and increased confusion for the doctors providing their care.”

The 20-week ban is scheduled for a vote in the full Wisconsin Senate next week, and Gov. Scott Walker (R) has indicated that he will sign it if it reaches his desk.

By Laura Bassett. Posted: 06/05/2015 3:39 pm EDT. Updated: 06/05/2015 3:59 pm EDT.


Also read: Wisconsin Abortion Ban Would Allow Father To Sue For Emotional Distress

Paris (AFP) - Nearly one in three cases of depression among young British adults may be traced to having been bullied as adolescents, a study said Tuesday.

Researchers published figures in The BMJ journal to back anecdotal evidence that victimised teenagers often go on to struggle later in life.

They had trawled through the findings of a large project in Bristol, western England, that has tracked the health of 14,500 residents since the early 1990s.

In one phase of the project, nearly 4,000 participants completed a questionnaire at the age of 13, and were assessed again five years later for symptoms of depressive illness.

Out of 683 people who reported they had been bullied at least once a week at the age of 13, nearly 15 percent were depressed at 18.

This was nearly triple the rate for teenagers who had not been picked on.

Examples of bullying included kids being excluded by their peers, having lies spread about them, their belongings stolen, and being threatened, blackmailed or even beaten.

When other possible causes were added to the mix -- such as behavioural or mental problems or family difficulties -- the statistical link with adult depression weakened, but the rate was still twice as high as for non-bullied peers.

Among those frequently victimised, 10 percent experienced depression symptoms for more than two years, the study found. In the non-bullied group, only four percent suffered a depression lasting so long.

The team calculated that as many as 30 percent of depression cases identified in their study may have been the result of bullying, though the study could not show direct cause-and-effect.

Anti-bullying programmes in schools have been disappointing, noted the researchers.

"Interventions during adolescence could help to reduce the burden of depression later in life."


No pay, no play! Poor kids banned from school carnival

No party for the poor.

PS 120 in Flushing held a carnival for its students Thursday, but kids whose parents did not pay $10 were forced to sit in the auditorium while their classmates had a blast.

Close to 900 kids went to the Queens schoolyard affair, with pre-K to fifth-grade classes taking turns, each spending 45 minutes outside. The kids enjoyed inflatable slides, a bouncing room and a twirly teacup ride. They devoured popcorn and flavored ices. DJs blasted party tunes.

But more than 100 disappointed kids were herded into the darkened auditorium to just sit or watch an old Disney movie while aides supervised — the music, shouts and laughter outside still audible.

The must-pay rule excluded some of the poorest kids at the elementary, where most parents are Chinese immigrant families crammed into apartments and “struggling to keep their heads above water,” staffers said.

More...Collapse )

On May 11, Justin Way was drinking and threatening to kill himself. His father, George Way, said his son was a recovering alcoholic and had been alcohol-free for five weeks.

“He just lost his job, and he had a setback,” he said.

Way’s live-in girlfriend, Kaitlyn Christine Lyons, said she’d caught Justin drinking a bottle of vodka, which she took away from him to pour out. She said he was drunk, lying in their bed with a large knife, saying he would hurt himself with it. She called a non-emergency number in an attempt to get her boyfriend to a local St. Augustine, Florida, hospital for help—and told them she did not feel threatened.

“My brother has been Baker Acted three times because he was threatening to hurt himself so I figured that would happen with Justin,” said Lyons. Florida’s Baker Act allows the involuntary institutionalization of an individual, and it can be initiated by law-enforcement officials.

“The only person Justin threatened was himself and I honestly don’t think he wanted to die.”

Minutes later, two St. Johns County Sheriff’s deputies, 26-year-old Jonas Carballosa and 32-year-old Kyle Braig, arrived at the home, armed with assault rifles, and told Kaitlyn to wait outside.

“I thought they were going into war,” she remembered thinking when she first saw the large guns. Within moments, Justin was shot dead.

George Way said the initial report he received from Det. Mike Smith detailed an incident wherein his officers said they were attacked by Justin with a knife. Way said Smith told him Justin had threatened Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn denies this.

Denise Way, Justin’s mom, said that the detective relayed to her that “they told Justin to drop the knife and he didn’t—so they shot him because that’s what we do.”

Denise said Smith then told her about “this new trend in law-enforcement now—it’s called suicide by cop.” She said Smith explained “suicide by cop” is when suicidal people provoke the police in an effort to end their own lives.

She said Smith wouldn’t tell her family where or how many times their son was shot.

Justin’s parents do not believe their son was a threat, because they think Justin was shot while still lying in bed.

“If Justin was coming after them with a knife, at 6-foot-4, wouldn’t there be blood splattered all over the room?” George said.

Way’s parents brought Justin’s mattress to the curb after his death. George says he believes there was a bullet dug out of the bed from a hole found in the middle of it. He also said the blood was contained entirely within the mattress, and that it did not hit the walls or the floor.

“If the deputies feel that that is the appropriate weapon system to use, then yes,” said Mulligan.In a phone interview with Commander Chuck Mulligan of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, The Daily Beast asked if it was standard procedure to bring assault rifles, but not mental-health professionals, to a scene where someone is suicidal.

If the deputies used tasers and one prong missed, Mulligan said, they might be left in a difficult and potentially dangerous situation.

“They were in a very tight space within a residence,” he said.

Mulligan added that the difference between an assault rifle and a handgun would not have affected the outcome in Justin Way’s case.

“Whether it’s a rifle or not, in many senses, is a non-issue,” he said. “A bullet comes out of a handgun, a bullet comes out of a rifle.”

This wasn’t the first time that law enforcement in the area had been involved in a fatal shooting. One of the two officers that went into Justin Way’s home, Kyle Braig, was involved in a fatal shooting with a knife-wielding man five months ago. A few days after Way was killed, another suicidal man was injured by St Johns County deputies.

On Facebook, Jonas Carballosa, the second deputy involved in the Justin Way shooting, once posted the following quote: “Most people respect the badge. Everyone respects the gun.”

Way’s parents said they do not ever want to call the police again—for anything.

Kaitlyn Lyons said she hopes the police rethink how guns are used in cases where people are calling about those who are suicidal or seeking help.

“I think they should come in using other things,” she said. “And I think they definitely need to figure out how to handle suicidal people.”


An African-American family in Long Island was left disgusted after receiving an anonymous letter in the mail asking them to leave town.

Suffolk County Police's hate crimes unit is investigating the letter, which was sent to the home of Darcell Copes, who lives with her three grown children and five young grandchildren.

'Attn: African-American family. This is coming from Lindenhurst community. Lindenhurst is 84% white population. You don't belong here!!!,' read the letter, which the family received on Tuesday. It continued: 'Please leave Lindenhurst as soon as you can. It will be better for all of us. Find the town where there are more people like you. Sorry if this is rude, but it's the truth.'

'I went from being fearful, protecting my family, to being totally confused, and wanted to know who and why,' she told NBC 4 on Friday. 'Today, it becomes even deeper: is it someone in the school district, is it the guy at the corner store, is it my neighbor down the street? Where?'

Her daughter, Ronica Copes, posted the letter on Facebook and dozens of commenters have expressed their outrage by the letter.

'Sooooo, I'm checking my mail and when I come across this I can't help but laugh... wait, it's not funny though,' Ronica Copes wrote on her Facebook page. 'Where they do that at? Oh yeah Lindenhurst. Unbelievable but then it's not ... our daily reality, I've just never seen it in this form.'

The Copes family has lived in their hope for two years and this is the first time they have experienced overt racism.

Babylon Town and Lindenhurst Village said in a joint statement on Friday that the letter contained 'racist hateful views'.

'The best way to fight bias is with solidarity and we stand with all of our residents in declaring that there is no place for this type of intolerance and hatred in the Village of Lindenhurst, the Town of Babylon, or anywhere in our community,' the statement said, according to the Patch.

It continued: 'We are, and always will be, a strong diverse community that does not cede ground to hostility, ignorance, or hatred, wherever it may appear.'

The Copes family said that they are not shocked by the letter, because it proves that racism is still very much alive.

Darcell Copes called the letter writer a 'coward', but says her family is not intimidated and will not be leaving Lindenhurst. She added that she would be praying for the person who sent the letter.


The image above represents all of the content ever posted on
Walmart.horse. Think about the money wasted on legal fees to
have this site taken down the next time the price of bread goes up.

You’ll have to excuse us if we’re not in the greatest spirits today, as we’re in mourning for the loss of Walmart.horse, the nonsense website that Walmart spent actual time and money to shut down and acquire.

We told you about Walmart.horse back in March after its creator, Jeph Jacques, a source of Questionable Content [Jacques has posted about the revocation], was hit with a cease-and-desist order from Walmart’s “Brand Protection” team.

Even though the site was literally nothing other than a photo of a horse crudely overlaid on a picture of a Walmart store and there is no possible way a reasonable human being would think this was something created by the retailer, the letter says the use of the Walmart name “suggests Walmart’s sponsorship or endorsement of your website and correspondingly, your activities,” and that this infringes on retailer’s trademark “because it weakens the ability of the Walmart mark and domain name to identify a single source, namely Walmart.”

Jacques — who described the site as a “piece of postmodern Dadaism — nonsense-art using found objects” and contended that it was “an obvious parody” which falls under the umbrella of fair use — did not heed the company’s takedown demand and the site remained live and unchanged.

But the Guardian reports that the site so rankled Walmart that it wasted additional time and money by taking its complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organisation and sought to take over Walmart.horse under the WIPO’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

“The UDRP is a domain name dispute resolution process that was designed to address cybersquatting issues,” trademark lawyer Roberto Ledesma explains to the Guardian. “This is reflected in the elements needed to prevail in a UDRP, which requires that the domain name has been registered in ‘bad faith’ and without rights or legitimate interests in the domain.”

But the matter never actually went before a UDRP panel, as Jacques decided it wasn’t worth fighting Walmart anymore.

And though Walmart.horse does not redirect to Walmart.com, or even a section of Walmart.com related to horses, the Guardian reports that the company is indeed the proud owner of the URL.

Generic top-level domains (like .horse and .bike) are expected to be somewhat of a legal battlefield in the coming years. This is especially true of domains like the new .sucks, which is currently in the process of being doled out to interested buyers. However, anyone looking to register a URL like Walmart.sucks is going to have to pay top dollar.

The Consumerist
Kate Williams was 21 weeks pregnant in 2011 when she had an ultrasound anatomy scan to check on the progress of her baby. The news was not good: Her unborn son had Potter syndrome, a fatal condition in which the kidneys fail to develop in the womb.

The doctor told Williams, then 31, that her baby had no kidneys and no bladder and would not develop lungs, and there was very little amniotic fluid left to support his life. She was told she could either choose to induce labor right then and go through a full delivery, only to have the baby die in the process, or she could undergo anesthesia and have an abortion procedure.

"I was absolutely devastated to get that news," Williams told The Huffington Post in an interview. "I called my regular OB-GYN to discuss with her if there was any chance this might not be true. But she looked at the ultrasounds and told me, 'No, this is the situation.'"

Williams, a retail store manager with a 9-month-old son at the time, decided to have the abortion procedure to avoid having to go through the labor and delivery. Because she lives in Philadelphia, where there are abortion providers who are trained to perform the second-trimester procedure, and because the abortion was covered by her insurance, she could afford to make that choice. "If I wasn't in Philadelphia, who knows where I would have had to go," she said.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that bans the procedure Williams chose to have. The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act aims to prohibit doctors from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in danger. There is no exception for severe fetal anomalies, and the bill requires a neonatal doctor to try to save the fetus if there is any chance it could survive outside the womb.

Republicans claim the 20-week limit is based on the disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain at that point in their development.

Anti-abortion activists hope the 20-week abortion ban will be their opening to challenge and ultimately overturn Roe v. WadeCollapse )

By Laura Bassett. Posted: 05/13/2015 1:36 pm EDT.

Oklahoma Man Denied Pro-LGBT License Plate Files Court Petition Against State's Tax Commission

An Oklahoma man has filed a court petition after he was reportedly denied a vanity license plate intended to express his support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

John P. Keefe of Edmond, who identifies as straight and is married, is appealing the Oklahoma Tax Commission's decision to reject his request for a license plate that reads "LGBTALY," which is intended as an abbreviation of LGBT ally, The Oklahoman reports.

In their rejection, the Oklahoma Tax Commission said the plate carries a sexual connotation, which is against the agency's rules, KFOR reports. But Keefe, a certified minister who performs wedding ceremonies for both heterosexual and same-sex couples, shrugged off that claim, telling the news station, "It’s not sexual. It’s about who people are as human beings."Read more...Collapse )


Dear Oklahoma, your homophobia is showing, and so are your ignorance and stupidity. Please educate your state employees as to what the term "sexual connotation" means and (especially) what it doesn't mean. Thank you. No love, Me
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