June 18th, 2013

David Thewlis - Deer in headlights

Push for gay rights makes strides in Missouri Senate

JEFFERSON CITY — Steve Urie believes he lost his job because he’s gay.

For years he taught certified nursing assistants in southwest Missouri, and the fact that he was gay was no secret. Since coming out of the closet in his 20s, the 63-year-old now says he refused to hide who he is.

But one day, his human resources director summoned him. There were concerns about some of the questions Urie was asking and procedures he was teaching, even though the textbooks and other materials he relied on were approved by state regulators
. A colleague who wasn’t gay used the same material, Urie said, but didn’t appear to face similar questions.

Urie was let go, and says the reason he was given was that he brought “homosexuality into the workplace.”

“I was fired for being gay,” he said. “If I was straight, it wouldn’t have been an issue.”

Urie’s former employer said in a statement that it does not discuss personnel matters, but added that sexual orientation of an employee is never a factor in hiring or firing.

Whatever cost Urie his job, no law would prevent an employer from legally firing him for being gay.

No state law explicitly protects workers from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That means people can be fired from their job, evicted from their apartment or thrown out of a restaurant for being gay or being perceived as gay.

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oh holy shit
  • chaya

Texas Congressman: Masturbating Fetuses Prove Need for Abortion Ban

As the House of Representatives gears up for Tuesday’s debate on HR 1797, a bill that would outlaw virtually all abortions 20 weeks post fertilization, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued in favor of banning abortions even earlier in pregnancy because, he said, male fetuses that age were already, shall we say, spanking the monkey.

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” said Burgess, a former OB/GYN. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”

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Source couldn't make this up if it tried.


Migration and Islamophibia is Turning Europe (more) Secular.

How to hobble religion
Contrary to popular belief, migration from Muslim countries is one reason why Europe is becoming more secular, not less

The European relationship between religion, law and politics is a strange creature. Religious influence over political life is weaker in Europe than in almost any other part of the world. To adapt the phrase first used by Alastair Campbell when he was spokesman for the British prime minister Tony Blair, politicians in Europe generally ‘don’t do God’. The EU’s Eurobarometer surveys of public opinion suggest that religion has a very limited impact on the political values and behaviour of European voters. Europe has no equivalent to the politically powerful religious right in America, nor to the theological debates in the political arena that one sees in many Islamic countries.

Recently, however, this long-standing distance between religion and politics has been threatened. Migration is one factor that has helped religion to return to centre stage in public life. While Muslim minorities have protested over questions of blasphemy and free speech, Catholic leaders have intervened in political debates about gay marriage and abortion, and conservatives have lamented that European societies are losing touch with their Christian past. The political scientist Eric Kaufmann has argued that religious believers have a demographic advantage in birth rates that will see Europe's secularisation reversed by the end of this century.

Religious justifications for terrorism might be the most visible and dramatic threat to liberal states from increased religiosity, but the separation of religion and politics has recently been challenged in multiple ways and in many countries, not just in Europe. Both the US and Canada have experienced controversies over the attempted use of religious law in family arbitration, while Islamic leaders in Australia have provoked intense debate after giving sermons denouncing gender equality. However, the renewed visibility of religion in public affairs provokes particularly intense challenges in Europe since it undermines well-established, but often tacit, conventions on the limits to religious influence on public life.

Secularism in Europe has been in part influenced by the original recognition in Christian theology of separate secular and religious realms (the Bible’s injunction to ‘render unto Caesar’). But the distinctive European ‘settlement’ on religion stems from the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. The suffering caused by these conflicts across western and northern Europe brought a strong desire for political norms and structures that could end the misery and instability caused by religious contestation for political power. The Peace of Westphalia — a series of treaties concluded in 1648 — established the principle that sovereign states would respect each other’s boundaries and differing state religions. This acceptance of the permanence and legitimacy of religious diversity between (if not within) European states combined with the work of thinkers such as Grotius, Hobbes, Locke and Hume to provide Europe with ways of thinking and speaking about politics that were separate from religion.
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David Thewlis - Deer in headlights

Trigger warning: Alleged rapist seeks custody of child

Pyper Grogg, now 17, became pregnant with baby Noah at age 14. The Grogg family is now seeking to terminate the parental rights of Noah’s father, Alexander Nelson. Nelson was tried in military court on counts of sexual assault, statutory rape and committing an indecent act but was acquitted of the charges.

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Woman, 36, bears child of 11-year-old boy

Case prompts minister to ask why women can't be charged with rape

An 11-year-old boy fathered a child after sex with a school friend's 36-year-old mother.

Both the father and child are now understood to be in care after the principal at the boy's school raised the alarm.

The case has caused counsellors working in the area of child sexual abuse to highlight the lack of attention given to women as potential offenders.

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Did Vladimir Putin steal Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring?

Best sports story ever? New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft has accused Russian Premier Vladimir Putin of stealing his 2005 Super Bowl ring.

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin maintains that the Russian President received Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring in 2005 as a gift and said the New England Patriots' owner's claims that Putin took it without permission is "weird."

Kraft, who was honored at Carnegie Hall's Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria on Thursday, told the crowd at the event that Putin took his Super Bowl XXXIX ring when the Patriots' owner visited St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2005, even though he released a statement at the time saying he gave the ring to Putin as a gift.

"I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, 'I can kill someone with this ring,' " Kraft told the crowd, according to the New York Post. "I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out."

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Hermit Crab

Kim Jong Un Gave Out Hitler's Mein Kampf To Senior Officials In Honor Of Birthday

Is Kim Jong Un starting an Adolf Hitler book club?

The North Korean leader reportedly gave out copies of Hitler's ideological tome Mein Kampf to select senior officials recently, according to North Korean watchdog news site New Focus International.

The so-called Nazi bible, written by Hitler while in prison in 1924, was given out in honor of Kim's birthday in January, the site claims.

“Kim Jong-un gave a lecture to high-ranking officials, stressing that we must pursue the policy of Byungjin (Korean for ‘in tandem’) in terms of nuclear and economic development," an anonymous source told New Focus International by phone. "Mentioning that Hitler managed to rebuild Germany in a short time following its defeat in WWI, Kim Jong-un issued an order for the Third Reich to be studied in depth and asked that practical applications be drawn from it."

The gift might be part of a campaign to create a more intimidating persona for the young leader, Shirley Lee, New Focus’s international editor, told the Washington Post. The Post also noted that leadership and nation-building -- not anti-Semitism -- seemed to be the intended significance of the gift.

Many books are banned in North Korea, according to the Washington Post, and the consequences for owning a banned book can be quite severe. In 2009, a Christian woman who was accused of distributing copies of the Bible was allegedly executed, according to the Associated Press.

While possibly startling to Western countries that opposed Hitler's actions during World War II, North Korea is not the first country that maintains a healthy appreciation of the German's leadership skills.

In India for example, Mein Kampf is printed by multiple publishers and is popular among business school students, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Source (no Kim Jong-un tag?)