Arizona

10 things you need to know today: July 21, 2014

Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza's Shijaiyah neighborhood.

Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza’s Shijaiyah neighborhood. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

The Week

Israel and Hamas see their deadliest clashes yet, Tehran eliminates sensitive nuclear fuel, and more

1. Fighting intensifies in Gaza
Israel and Hamas on Sunday experienced their deadliest day of fighting since clashes began last week. Ninety-six Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers, including two U.S. citizens, were killed as Israel fought to shut down tunnels in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. In an emergency meeting, the United Nations Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire. Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Egypt on Monday to push for peace. [The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times]

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2. Tehran moves to eliminate sensitive nuclear material
Iran has started getting rid of its most sensitive stockpile of enriched uranium gas under a 2013 nuclear deal with six world powers, according to a monthly report by the International Atomic Energy Agency obtained by Reuters. The interim accord was due to expire on Sunday but has been extended by another four months. Iran argues that its cooperation has earned it some relief from international sanctions. [Reuters]

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3. Security Council meets to discuss downing of jet in Ukraine
The United Nations Security Council has scheduled a Monday vote on a resolution condemning the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with 298 people on board over territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Russia engaged in negotiations with other nations on the 15-member Security Council, although it was unclear Sunday whether Moscow intended to support the resolution. [Reuters]

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4. Judges delay Arizona execution
A U.S. appeals court has halted the execution of an Arizona man, Joseph Wood, until the state gives him more details on the lethal injection it plans to use. The three-judge panel ruled that Wood, who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her father in 1989, had a right to the information, and could suffer “irreparable harm” if he were put to death before obtaining it. [Al Jazeera America]

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5. Emergency responders put on limited duty after chokehold death
New York City officials have placed four emergency workers on desk duty in the latest fallout from the death of Eric Garner, a sidewalk cigarette vendor, in police custody. A cellphone video of Garner’s arrest shows paramedics appearing to violate department protocol by arriving without equipment like an oxygen bag, and failing to put Garner on a stretcher. The officer who used the apparent choke hold, Daniel Pantaleo, has also been placed on desk duty. [The New York Times]

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6. Yum Brands and McDonald’s dump Chinese supplier
Yum Brands and McDonald’s announced Sunday that they had suspended meat purchases in China from a supplier under investigation for allegedly selling expired chicken and beef. The supplier, Shanghai Husi Food Co., had been selling meat to Yum for its KFC and Pizza Hut outlets in China. McDonald’s said it had stopped using the supplier over safety concerns. [MarketWatch]

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7. The Patriot actress Skye McCole Bartusiak dies at 21
Actress Skye McCole Bartusiak, who played Mel Gibson’s youngest daughter in The Patriotdied Saturday in Houston. She was 21. Authorities could not immediately determine the cause of death, but Bartusiak’s mother, Helen McCole Bartusiak, said her daughter had recently suffered epileptic seizures. After The Patriot in 2000, Bartusiak went on to appear in The Cider House Rules andDon’t Say a Word. [CNN]

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8. Two plane crashes kill six in Arizona
Six people died in two small-plane crashes in Arizona on Sunday. The first aircraft, a single-engine plane, went down in rugged terrain near the resort town of Sedona, sparking a wildfire that quickly spread over 25 acres in Fay Canyon. The Federal Aviation Administration said the second plane crashed near the Utah border “under unknown circumstances” a few hours later. [Fox News]

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9. Nation’s first Arab-American governor dies at 91
Victor “Vic” Atiyeh, the nation’s first Arab-American governor, died Sunday night from renal failure. He was 91. Atiyeh, a Republican and son of Syrian immigrants, served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives starting in 1958, and two and a half terms in the state Senate before being elected governor. He served two terms, from 1979 to 1987. [Statesman Journal]

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10. McIlroy makes history with British Open win
Rory McIlroy won the British Open on Sunday, becoming the youngest pro golfer behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to win three different major championships. “I’m immensely proud of myself,” McIlroy, 25, said after a two-shot victory. As a bonus, McIlroy’s father stood to win $171,000 on a bet he placed a decade ago that his son would win the tournament in the next 10 years. [The Associated PressThe Washington Post]

10 things you need to know today: June 28, 2014

No injuries were reported in the border patrol incident.

No injuries were reported in the border patrol incident. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Week

A Mexican military helicopter fires on U.S. border patrol, the Obama administration announces plans to join land mine treaty, and more

1. Mexican military helicopter crosses border, fires on U.S. border patrol
A Mexican military helicopter flew across the border and fired at U.S. border patrol agents on Thursday. Two shots were fired from the Mexican chopper, but both missed the agents.The incident occurred southwest of the Village of San Miguel in Arizona. The U.S. Border Patrol released a statement saying the Mexican authorities were “on a drug interdiction operation” near the border. Luckily, “no injuries or damage to U.S. property were reported,” Andy Adame, a Border Patrol spokesperson said. Mexican authorities contacted the U.S. and apologized for the shots, and the incident is currently under investigation. [News 4 Tucson]

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2. United States announces plans to join land mine elimination treaty
The Obama administration announced on Friday that it will begin reducing and eventually eliminating its antipersonnel land mine stockpile, with the intention of joining the Ottawa Convention. The global, 15-year-old treaty prohibits nations from keeping the land mines, and the U.S. reportedly has between 10 million and 13 million. For that reason, some were skeptical of the administration’s true aims, saying a definitive timeline for the destruction of the stocks should be set. [The New York Times]

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3. Mississippi Tea Party leader found dead in apparent suicide
Mark Mayfield, a Tea Party official and a member of the board of directors for the Central Mississippi Tea Party, was found dead of an apparent suicide on Friday. Mayfield was arrested in May and charged with conspiracy after he allegedly directed a political blogger to photograph Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) ailing wife in a private nursing home. Mayfield’s case was scheduled to go before a grand jury in July. [Talking Points Memo]

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4. European Union votes against Cameron on new Commission president
Having forced a rare vote at this week’s European Union summit, British Prime Minister David Cameron still found himself in the minority, 26-2, as fellow EU leaders nominated Jean-Claude Juncker for Commission president. Cameron had vocally opposed the nomination, saying the former Luxembourg prime minister is too old-fashioned and federalist-minded to lead the EU. Hungary was the only other nation to vote along with Cameron. “The job has got harder of keeping Britain in a reformed EU,” Cameron said. “The battle to reform this organization is going to be longer and tougher, no doubt about that.” [Reuters]

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5. VA clinic in the Philippines used unapproved drugs for two decades
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel released findings this month showing a hospital run by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Philippines dispensed unapproved medications for more than two decades. The only clinic operated by the VA not on U.S. soil, it turned to non-FDA-approved drugs after a U.S. military base stopped supplying medications, in 1991. While the clinic began using a U.S.-approved supplier in May 2013, the findings come in the wake of a larger scandal for the VA, in which investigators say VA hospitals falsified records and delayed treatments, which may have resulted in the deaths of a number of veterans. [The Washington Post]

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6. German parliament announces plans to end Verizon contract
Germany’s lower house of parliament says it will not continue using Verizon telecoms services, as a result of Edward Snowden’s allegations of U.S. surveillance on the country. Germany overhauled its internal communications networks following the NSA scandal, and this is the first resulting action. For its part, Verizon said its German unit follows the country’s laws and did not receive demands from Washington for information. [Reuters]

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7. Golden Gate Bridge officials approve suicide barrier funding
The board of directors for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge voted on Friday to approve a $76 million funding package, meant to develop a net system that will stop people from leaping to their deaths. The money will be a combination of bridge toll revenue, federal and state funding. Since the bridge opened in 1937, more than 1,400 people have committed suicide by jumping from the bridge. Bidding on the project will begin next year, with an anticipated completion date of 2018. [The Associated Press]

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8. Arizona death row inmates sue state over ‘human experimentation’ executions
Citing the botched April execution of an Oklahoma death row prisoner, attorneys for six inmates in Arizona filed a lawsuit alleging “human experimentation” against the state on Thursday. The Arizona Department of Corrections currently uses pentobarbital for executions, but it intends to use a new, two-drug cocktail of midazolam and hydromorphone in the July 23 execution of plaintiff Joseph Wood, saying the state can no longer procure the old drug. “I really think they’re making it up as they go along,” Dale Baich, Wood’s attorney, said. [Los Angeles Times]

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9. New study says people should halve sugar intake to curb obesity
A draft report for England from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition released on Friday says the old target of daily sugar intake needs to be halved. Formerly, researchers said sugar added to food should account for just 10 percent of people’s daily energy intake. Now, they say it should be just five percent. To put that in perspective, just one can of soda would send a typical adult to his or her daily allowance. The study for England, which faces a similar overweight problem to that of the United States, notes that people who consume less sugar lower their risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and bowel cancer. [TimeBBC News]

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10. Legendary soul singer-songwriter Bobby Womack dies at 70
Bobby Womack, a legendary soul singer and songwriter, has died at the age of 70. Womack, who reportedly had battled both cancer and drug addiction, was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee wrote such hits as It’s All Over Now, performed by the Rolling Stones. He also played guitar, backing up stars such as Aretha Franklin. After a 20-year span in which Womack charted 36 singles, he disappeared from the music scene in 1990, only to reappear in 2009 and record a song for the Gorillaz’s third album. Three years later, Womack released an album of his own, titled The Bravest Man in the Universe. [BBC News]

When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of Homophobia

Klansmen file into an Atlanta church in 1949 to attend Sunday evening services…

Interesting and fact-filled article…

Think Progress

“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

– Judge Leon M. Bazile, January 6, 1959

The most remarkable thing about Arizona’s “License To Discriminate” bill is how quickly it became anathema, even among Republicans. Both 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called upon Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto this effort to protect businesses that want to discriminate against gay people. So did Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Indeed, three state senators who voted for this very bill urged Brewer to veto it before she finally did so on Wednesday, confessing that they “made a mistake” when they voted for it to become law.

The premise of the bill is that discrimination becomes acceptable so long as it is packaged inside a religious wrapper. As Arizona state Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R) explained, lawmakers introduced it in response to instances where anti-gay business owners in other states were “punished for their religious beliefs” after they denied service to gay customers in violation of a state anti-discrimination law.

Yet, while LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as “religious liberty,” they are hardly the first. To the contrary, as Wake Forest law Professor Michael Kent Curtis explained in a 2012 law review article, many segregationists justified racial bigotry on the very same grounds that religious conservatives now hope to justify anti-gay animus. In the words of one professor at a prominent Mississippi Baptist institution, “our Southern segregation way is the Christian way . . . . [God] was the original segregationist.”

God Of The Segregationists

Theodore Bilbo was one of Mississippi’s great demagogues. After two non-consecutive terms as governor, Bilbo won a U.S. Senate seat campaigning against “farmer murderers, corrupters of Southern womanhood, [skunks] who steal Gideon Bibles from hotel rooms” and a host of other, equally colorful foes. In a year where just 47 Mississippi voters cast a ballot for a communist candidate, Bilbo railed against a looming communist takeover of the state — and offered himself up as the solution to this red onslaught.

Bilbo was also a virulent racist. “I call on every red-blooded white man to use any means to keep the n[*]ggers away from the polls,” Bilbo proclaimed during his successful reelection campaign in 1946. He was a proud member of the Ku Klux Klan, telling Meet the Press that same year that “[n]o man can leave the Klan. He takes an oath not to do that. Once a Ku Klux, always a Ku Klux.” During a filibuster of an anti-lynching bill, Bilbo claimed that the bill

will open the floodgates of hell in the South. Raping, mobbing, lynching, race riots, and crime will be increased a thousandfold; and upon your garments and the garments of those who are responsible for the passage of the measure will be the blood of the raped and outraged daughters of Dixie, as well as the blood of the perpetrators of these crimes that the red-blooded Anglo-Saxon White Southern men will not tolerate.

For Senator Bilbo, however, racism was more that just an ideology, it was a sincerely held religious belief. In a book entitled Take Your Choice: Separation or Mongrelization, Bilbo wrote that “[p]urity of race is a gift of God . . . . And God, in his infinite wisdom, has so ordained it that when man destroys his racial purity, it can never be redeemed.” Allowing “the blood of the races [to] mix,” according to Bilbo, was a direct attack on the “Divine plan of God.” There “is every reason to believe that miscengenation and amalgamation are sins of man in direct defiance to the will of God.”

Bilbo was one of the South’s most colorful racists, but he was hardly alone in his beliefs. As early as 1867, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld segregated railway cars on the grounds that “[t]he natural law which forbids [racial intermarriage] and that social amalgamation which leads to a corruption of races, is as clearly divine as that which imparted to [the races] different natures.” This same rationale was later adopted by state supreme courts in Alabama, Indiana and Virginia to justify bans on interracial marriage, and by justices in Kentucky to support residential segregation and segregated colleges.

In 1901, Georgia Gov. Allen Candler defended unequal public schooling for African Americans on the grounds that “God made them negroes and we cannot by education make them white folks.” After the Supreme Court ordered public schools integrated in Brown v. Board of Education, many segregationists cited their own faith as justification for official racism. Ross Barnett won Mississippi’s governorship in a landslide in 1960 after claiming that “the good Lord was the original segregationist.” Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia relied on passages from Genesis, Leviticus and Matthew when he spoke out against the civil rights law banning employment discrimination and whites-only lunch counters on the Senate floor.

Bob Jones

Although the Supreme Court never considered whether Bilbo, Candler, Barnett or Byrd’s religious beliefs gave them a license to engage in race discrimination, a very similar case did reach the justices in 1983.

Bob Jones University excluded African Americans completely until the early 1970s, when it began permitting black students to attend so long as they were married. In 1975, it amended this policy to permit unmarried African American students, but it continued to prohibit interracial dating, interracial marriage, or even being “affiliated with any group or organization which holds as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage.” As a result, the Internal Revenue Service revoked Bob Jones’ tax-exempt status.

This decision, that the IRS would no longer give tax subsidies to racist schools even if they claimed that their racism was rooted in religious beliefs, quickly became a rallying point for the Christian Right. Indeed, according to Paul Weyrich, the seminal conservative activist who coined the term “moral majority,” the IRS’ move against schools like Bob Jones was the single most important issue driving the birth of modern day religious conservatism. According to Weyrich, “[i]t was not the school-prayer issue, and it was not the abortion issue,” that caused this “movement to surface.” Rather it was what Weyrich labeled the “federal government’s move against the Christian schools.”

When Bob Jones’ case reached the Supreme Court, the school argued that IRS’ regulations denying tax exemptions to racist institutions “cannot constitutionally be applied to schools that engage in racial discrimination on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.” But the justices did not bite. In an 8-1 decision by conservative Chief Justice Warren Burger, the Court explained that “[o]n occasion this Court has found certain governmental interests so compelling as to allow even regulations prohibiting religiously based conduct.” Prohibiting race discrimination is one of these interests.

My Liberty Stops At Your Body

Ultimately, the question facing anti-gay business owners, even if the bill Brewer vetoed had become law, is why it is acceptable to exclude gay people simply because of who they are, when we do not permit this sort of behavior by racists such as Bilbo or Byrd? And there is another, equally difficult question facing advocates of the kind of sweeping “religious liberty” protected by the Arizona bill — why should we allow people to impose their religious beliefs upon others?

One year before Bob Jones, the Court decided a case called United States v. Lee, which involved an Amish employer’s objection to paying Social Security taxes on religious grounds. As the Court explained in Lee, allowing people with religious objections to opt out of Social Security could undermine the viability of the entire program. “The design of the system requires support by mandatory contributions from covered employers and employees,” Burger wrote for the Court. “This mandatory participation is indispensable to the fiscal vitality of the social security system. . . . Moreover, a comprehensive national social security system providing for voluntary participation would be almost a contradiction in terms and difficult, if not impossible, to administer.”

Just as importantly, allowing religious employers to exempt themselves from the law would be fundamentally unfair to the employees who are supposed to benefit from those laws. “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees.”

Lee, in other words, stands for the proposition that people of faith do not exist in a vacuum. Their businesses compete with other companies who are entitled to engage in this competition upon a level playing field. Their personnel decisions impact their employees, and their decision to refuse to do business with someone — especially for reasons such as race or sexual orientation — can fundamentally demean that individual and deny them their own right to participate equally in society.

This is why people like Theodore Bilbo should not be allowed to refuse to do business with African Americans, and it is why anti-gay business owners should not be given a special right to discriminate against LGBT consumers. And this is also something that the United States has understood for a very long time. Bob Jones and Lee are not new cases. A whole generation of Americans spent their entire professional careers enjoying the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious liberty is an important value and it rightfully belongs in our Constitution, but it we do not allow it to be used to destroy the rights of others.

The argument Gov. Brewer resolved Wednesday night with her veto stamp is no different than the argument Lyndon Johnson resolved when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Invidious discrimination is wrong. And it doesn’t matter why someone wants to discriminate.

Crossfire Explodes over AZ Bill: ‘Wrapping Your Homophobia Around the Bible!’

Mediaite

Crossfire got really heated up Tuesday over the Arizona bill that would allow businesses to refuse service to LGBT individuals. Van Jones posed a provocative question to former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: “What is the difference between a business owner saying no blacks are allowed here versus no gays are allowed here?” Cuccinelli dismissed the comparison, but CNN columnist LZ Granderson insisted the principle is the same because the bill is just “straight-up, plain nothing but discrimination!”

He told Cuccinelli that it’s not a matter of religious principle, it’s always about protecting the Christian faith, and called him and others out for pushing what he deemed institutionalized homophobia.

“Where in the Bible does Jesus say no to people? He’s always bringing people in! So are you really using this as––you brought up your religious faith, or are you wrapping your homophobia around the Bible and trying to find scriptures that justify your homophobia?”

Cuccinelli scolded Granderson for resorting to a personal attack, but Granderson stood on that point, telling Cuccinelli that he’s made “several remarks over the years that I would classify as homophobic, so I would say that you personally are probably a homophobe.”

Newt Gingrich asked if Catholic priests should be “coerced” into performing gay marriages. Granderson said no, because there’s a difference between churches doing what they want and a public businesses “that’s actually utilizing taxpayer dollars to help sustain itself” discriminating against people.

Cuccinelli insisted, “They undercut a fundamental precept of this country and that is religious freedom.”

Watch the video below, via CNN:

Brewer denies she’s decided to veto Arizona anti-gay bill

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer speaks after signing an expansion of the state's Medicaid program into law, at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix June 17, 2013. Brewer signed a law on Monday to expand Medicaid, embracing a key part of Democratic President B

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

Will people call Jan Brewer “The Wicked Witch of the South-West” if she signs the anti-gay bill on her desk?  I know I will…

Daily Kos

Sources close to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer keep saying she’s going to veto the bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against gay customers or basically anyone else they claimed to object to for religious reasons. But Brewer’s office is denying that she’s made any decision at all:

“Governor Brewer hasn’t yet made a decision,” a Brewer spokesperson said in an email to Business Insider Tuesday. “The Senate transmitted its bill to our office yesterday while the Governor was in DC. When she returns, she will take the time necessary to thoroughly review and evaluate the legislation before taking action.”

But don’t worry, she’ll do the right thing:

I assure you, as always, I will do the right thing for the State of Arizona. #SB1062
— @GovBrewer

Even if she ultimately vetoes it, Brewer is intentionally taking time to play footsie with the hardcore bigots, showing that she takes their wishes very, very seriously. This is a two-page bill that’s been pretty thoroughly and publicly reviewed and discussed, and Brewer has a staff for evaluating legislation. This is not one person poring over hundreds of pages of dense legal text by candlelight, needing extra time to know what she’s getting herself and her state into. This is Brewer dragging it out so that the people who are pissed about whatever she does on the bill know that she Listened To Them And Heard Their Concerns. And what that boils down to is that Jan Brewer could not look at a bill that would give businesses the right to deny service to people because they’re gay or Muslim and just say “I’m vetoing this.” That in itself is not “doing the right thing for the State of Arizona.”

Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed similar legislation last year. We can make her do it again—but if you’re a resident of Arizona, she needs to hear from you. Please sign and send a message directly to Jan Brewer’s office.

AZ Senate GOP Pass Wide-Sweeping Religious License To Discriminate Against Gays

This is precisely why voting in every election is important, especially mid-term elections where many of us will opt out of voting.  I’ve learned that passing up mid-term elections result in most GOP wins because their people always come out to vote…especially the elderly.  The good news is that this will be tested in the Courts and ultimately struck down as a civil rights violation  but in the meantime, the kooks that enacted this law will undoubtedly implement it.

The New Civil Rights Movement

On a party line vote, Arizona Senate Republicans this afternoon passed legislation providing people of faith with a religious license to discriminate against gay people. The “get out of jail free card” was sponsored by the conservative Christian Center for Arizona Policy and GOP state senator Steve Yarborough.

Yarborough today defended SB 1062, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, by claiming the legislation “is not about allowing discrimination,” but rather, “is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

Yarborough has been pushing variations of the pro-discrimination bill that gives special rights to people of faith since at least last year, and one so extreme that GOP GovernorJan Brewer refused to sign it.

SB 1062, as The New Civil Rights Movement has previously reported, could also be considered the religious version of a “Stand Your Ground” law, allowing anyone’s practice or observance of religion to be an automatic “out.” In other words, it would give Arizona residents and businesses the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason, including because they are LGBT.

Arizona Senate Democrats issued a strongly-worded statement following the bill’s passage.at

“SB 1062 permits discrimination under the guise of religious freedom. With the express consent of Republicans in this Legislature, many Arizonans will find themselves members of a separate and unequal class under this law because of their sexual orientation,” said Senate Democratic Leader Anna Tovar. “This bill may also open the door to discriminate based on race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability.”

The bill is so broad that it could be used in defense of breaking any Arizona law.

John Becker at Bilerico looks at it this way:

“Because Jesus” could literally become a valid excuse for refusing service to queers in the Grand Canyon State.

But conservative Arizonans should also remember that as there is no state-sanctioned religion in the United States, SB 1062 provides a foothold into Arizona of both Sharia law, and, yes, even Satanism. Believe it or not, “the Devil made me do it” — if the House approves the measure — will become the law of the land in the Grand Canyon state.

SB 1062 works both ways, conservatives.

‘He’s 47 percent Negro’: Anti-Obama Arizona protest turns racist

Anti-Obama protesters in Arizona use racist language [KNXV-TV]

 

So, when does this end?  When he has completed his term?  Perhaps, as some have speculated, those exhibiting Obama Derangement Syndrome will make it their life’s work to discredit every productive act he has been credited for during his time in office.

The Raw Story

A protest against an appearance by President Barack Obama in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday was marked by several instances of racist language directed at Obama, theArizona Republic reported.

“He’s 47 percent Negro,” 77-year-old Ron Enderle shouted at one point, later telling the Republicthat he was “ashamed” to have Obama as Commander-in-Chief.

According to the Republic, at one point critics of Obama sang “Bye Bye Black Sheep” and at least one sign in the crowd read “Impeach the Half-White Muslim.”

While Obama’s appearance at Desert Vista High School dealt with mortgage finance reform, one demonstrator told KNXV-TV that she didn’t think the president could solve that situation.

“I’ve got friends that they had to give their homes up because they have to go to foreclosure, and that’s not right,” Terri Ballway said to KNXV.

But while the demonstration also drew opponents of the Obama administration’s heavy deportation policy against undocumented immigrants and the Keystone XL pipeline, there were also supporters of the president in the crowd.

“He’s already helped me tremendously, personally because my daughter is a freshman in college and she was able to get the one-time money, and also my son is able to continue his health insurance until he’s 26 years old,” another resident, Delia Donlon, told KMSB-TV.

Watch KNXV’s report on the demonstrations both for and against Obama, aired Tuesday.

 

What if we demanded Ted Cruz’s papers?

Furthermore…why haven’t we?

Probably because we’re not as shallow and callous as the people who’ve been asking to see the POTUS’ “papers”.

Salon

What if we demanded Ted Cruz's papers?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R. Tex) is very unhappy about this week’s Supreme Court ruling, which held that Arizona cannot demand “documentary evidence” of United States citizenship as a condition of registering to vote in federal elections. The ruling has opened a “hole” in the law, he says, that will allow “non-citizens to register and thereby encourages voter fraud.” He has therefore vowed to “file a commonsense (sic) amendment to the immigration bill that permits states to require I.D. before registering voters.”

This raises a fascinating question. How would Cruz himself go about providing “documentary evidence” of his own citizenship?

As it happens, he was born in Canada, where his parents were working at the time. Thus, his birth certificate cannot provide any such proof. And because he claims citizenship by birth, he would never have had any reason to obtain a certificate of naturalization. According to Cruz’s official website, however, his mother was born and raised in Delaware, which is quite sufficient under the law to confer citizenship on Ted – if we take his word for it. On the other hand, what if we demanded the fabled documentary evidence?

I suppose Cruz could produce his mother’s birth certificate as well as his own, thus establishing his descent from a citizen.  Alas, things are more complicated than that.  Cruz’s father is a Cuban émigré who was not yet a U.S. citizen when Cruz was born in 1970. Thus, Cruz himself falls under a special section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that governs “Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent.” Under that provision, Cruz only qualifies for citizenship if his mother was “physically present” in the United States for ten years prior to his birth, five of which had to be after she reached the age of fourteen. How is he going to document that?

Now, I do not doubt that Cruz’s mother lived here most of her life. She graduated from Rice University in 1956, so that’s obviously four years right there.  But we’re not talking about things that are obvious – at least if Cruz succeeds in passing an amendment restoring the Arizona law – we’re talking about documentary evidence.  So it would not be enough to assume that Cruz’s mother lived in the United States for at least ten years, we would need some proof.  Maybe school registration records or utility bills.

Or perhaps Mrs. Cruz could simply provide an affidavit, explaining that she lived in either Delaware or Texas until she turned nineteen. While that would be adequate under a system such as the National Voter Registration Act, it would not constitute documentary evidence. Remember, it is the sufficiency of affidavits that Arizona objected to in the first place (and which Cruz calls an invitation to fraud).

Well, what about Cruz’s own passport? Wouldn’t that just cut through the whole mess, since passports are only issued to U.S. citizens. Sorry, but we again run into that sticky evidence problem. Because Cruz lacks a U.S. birth certificate, he could only have gotten a passport by establishing those same complicated underlying facts about his mother’s early life.

And how would he have done that? According to the State Department, he could have provided a statement from his “U.S. citizen parent detailing all periods and places of residence or physical presence in the United States and abroad before [his] birth.” (Cruz might alternatively have submitted a “Consular Report of Birth Abroad,” but that would also have rested on his mother’s statement of residency.)

In other words, Cruz’s passport was supported by one of those suspect affidavits; you know, the sort that are deemed completely untrustworthy for voting purposes by the Arizona legislature. In fact, Cruz’s citizenship-proving passport would only have needed a “statement” from his mother, rather than the stricter averment “under penalty of perjury” as required by the NVRA and the Supreme Court. So sure, a passport is a document, but it can’t be any more reliable than the unsworn statements that produced it.

Sen. Cruz would probably get very upset if anybody questioned his mother’s word, but that is just the point. Eleanor Darragh Cruz is no more inherently credible than an average person. If her simple statement was sufficient to confer citizenship on her foreign born son, then a similar statement ought to be enough to allow an aspiring voter to register in Arizona or Texas.

Of course, there is no real reason to doubt Ted Cruz’s citizenship, and I do not want to suggest otherwise. But that does not mean it would be easy for him to provide actual documentation if anybody demanded that sort of proof – especially if we disallowed the averments of his mother. To be sure, Cruz is a remarkably driven individual – highly successful at a young age – who could no doubt dig up as much accurate evidence as needed to maintain his Senate seat.  Ordinary people, however, will usually lack Cruz’s knowledge, time, and resources.  Even a passport costs $165.  How much effort and expense is it reasonable to demand from folks who only want to vote?

As a legal matter, you might think it is obvious that Congress would set the standards for federal elections, as in fact it did when passing the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). And that is just what the Supreme Court held, in a 7-2 opinion that was written by Justice Antonin Scalia. As Scalia put it, in Arizona v. Intertribal Council,  the Constitution gives Congress the authority “to provide a complete code for congressional elections [including] regulations re­lating to ‘registration.’” And because the NVRA calls only for an affidavit of citizenship, Arizona could not tack on an additional requirement of further documentation.

As for Cruz personally, the fact is inescapable that his citizenship – solid as it is – ultimately rests on his mother’s say-so. That’s plenty good enough for me, and it is evidently quite good enough for the United States Senate. I only wish Sen. Cruz would recognize as much when it comes to letting other people vote.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Arizona Voter Registration Citizenship Requirement

Huffington Post

States can’t demand proof of citizenship from people registering to vote in federal elections unless they get federal or court approval to do so, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a decision complicating efforts in Arizona and other states to bar voting by people who are in the country illegally.

The justices’ 7-2 ruling closes the door on states independently changing the requirements for those using the voter-registration form produced under the federal “motor voter” registration law. They would need permission from a federally created panel, the Election Assistance Commission, or a federal court ruling overturning the commission’s decision, to make tougher requirements stick.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the court’s majority opinion, said federal law “precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself.”

Voting rights advocates welcomed the ruling.

“Today’s decision sends a strong message that states cannot block their citizens from registering to vote by superimposing burdensome paperwork requirements on top of federal law,” said Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “The Supreme Court has affirmed that all U.S. citizens have the right to register to vote using the national postcard, regardless of the state in which they live.”

Under Proposition 200 approved in 2004, Arizona officials required an Arizona driver’s license issued after 1996, a U.S. birth certificate, a passport or other similar document before the state would approve the federal registration application. It can no longer do that on its own authority.

Less than 5 percent of people registering to vote in Arizona use the federal form, said Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett. The rest register through the state, meaning they will continue to be asked to provide proof of citizenship when signing up to vote.

Continue reading here

Another Toddler Dies From Self-Inflicted Gun Shot – This Time Three Year-Old In AZ

I really don’t like the NRA nor its cowardly servants in Congress…

Addicting Info

It seems like an everyday thing now. You get online or turn on the TV and there it is. Another headline of a child/toddler getting hold of a gun, playing with a gun, and dying by a gun.

Some of he public and media seems to getting tired or numb to such stories. The Arizona death of a 3-year old, didn’t even make it to mainstream media news, and it’s been four days. Why? Is this kind of story no longer shiny and sexy news? I’m angry. Children –babies are dying for no good reasons, while pompous NRA advocates are finding more ways to lobby/buy more pro-gun laws. In Arizona, the state where this child died, Governor Jan Brewer passed two anti-safety gun laws this very week. One demands resale of guns that were brought to community gun buybacks events, by citizens, wanting to help get firearms off the street and out of the hands of wrong people. Brewer ignored those citizens and also passed a law making it illegal to gather or maintain background checks on current gun owners. Yes, you read that right.

I wonder if the Arizona governor has any feelings about this toddler’s death. If so, did it cause her to rethink her new laws? At three, many children are still in diapers. How the hell do we live in a country, where a toddler can so easily find a gun, and shoot himself in the face?  How many innocent children, and adults are going to die in this country before all lawmakers start doing the right thing.

3,835 wrongful deaths have occurred by guns, since the Sandy Hook gun massacre. That’s over 75% of the total American deaths in the Iraq war (4,486 U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq)  About 70 of the known gun deaths since Sandy Hook have been children. This means we have basically allowed three more Sandy Hook Massacres to take place, one child at a time.  Here are three very recent tragic child deaths;

This week, in Yuma Arizona,  3-year old, Darrien Nez, shot himself after finding a 9mm pistol in his 35-year old grandmother’s backpack

 April 30, in Kentucky, a 5-year old boy shoots and kills his 2-year old sister with a .22 caliber rifle he received as a gift.

April 17, in Kansas,  a 7-year old, Gavin Brummett,  shot himself in the head while firing a semiautomatic handgun. He was on a family shooting trip.