Hometown: Missoula, MT
Home country: USA
Current location: Deep in Red State Hell!
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 4,885
Hometown: Missoula, MT
Home country: USA
Current location: Deep in Red State Hell!
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 4,885
Godless democratic socialist, look towards northern Europe for inspiration on what role-models our economy should aspire towards. Love the ACLU and donate heavily to them each year, wish they'd get with the program and defend the Second Amendment with as much fervor as they do the rest of the Bill of Rights. Proud member of the 99%.
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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian authorities said Tuesday that they've been frustrated in their attempts to file criminal charges against the young father of a baby born two weeks ago to a 10-year-old ethnic Wayuu girl.
That's because the Wayuu people have their own justice system and rarely cooperate with agents of the Colombian state in such matters, said Maria Gladys Pabon, chief prosecutor in Riohacha, the regional capital.
The girl, who cannot be identified by law, gave birth on March 29 via Caesarean section and is one of the youngest mothers on record.
The world's youngest mother in a medically documented case was Lina Medina of Peru, who in 1939 produced an infant at the age of 5 years, 8 months, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
I'm sorry, but tell me how this could possibly be by design? A 5-year-old capable of producing a baby? A fetus won't even fit through the pelvis at that age! Short of performing surgery to remove the baby, its a death sentence for both the fetus and the mother, as I'm sure it was many times in our distant past, before modern medicine made such success stories possible.
What kind of sick freak would design his own creations to be capable of such things?
Surely God didn't think this procreation thing through very well...
Posted by LAGC | Wed Apr 11, 2012, 03:20 AM (52 replies)
Students from a strict Mormon college that prohibits "homosexual behavior" have launched a Web video aimed at reassuring other gay and lesbian youth struggling with their faith and sexual orientation.
The video recently posted to YouTube by 22 Brigham Young University students is the first of its kind with ties to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which forbids gay sex and marriage. By posting the video, the students could face excommunication from the church and expulsion at BYU, where gay students are prohibited from touching or kissing.
The campaign is part of columnist Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project, which seeks to give voices and hope to bullied gay and lesbian teenagers. In the video, several BYU students confess that they considered suicide because they didn't think they could be Mormon and gay.
"In our religion, there is a lot of misunderstanding and ugliness about homosexuality," said Kendall Wilcox, a former BYU faculty member who produced the video and serves as an adviser to the school's unofficial gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender support group. "We wanted to send this message that God loves you just as you are."
Living in a heavily Mormon state (Idaho), I can't imagine how tough it is for these brave souls to come out like that and risk excommunication from their church and total rejection from their extended families.
But the Mormon Church is never going to change if believers from the inside don't speak up and make their voices heard.
Posted by LAGC | Sat Apr 7, 2012, 09:08 PM (9 replies)
(NewsCore) - US Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan surprised a Wisconsin audience this week with news that she has recently taken to hunting with her ideological opposite, fellow justice Antonin Scalia.
"He's made a huntress out of me," Kagan revealed at a Marquette law school panel in Milwaukee on Tuesday.
The liberal justice revealed she and her ideological foe had shot quail and pheasant together and planned to hunt bigger game in the future.
"He insists I'm going to shoot myself an antelope," the New York City native said, adding that she had come to view hunting as "really good fun."
He might just convert her into a pro-gun justice yet...
Posted by LAGC | Thu Apr 5, 2012, 11:34 PM (16 replies)
I was just reading up on the Wiki for the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and was kind of surprised by what I found:
Effective by January 1, 2014
- Insurers are prohibited from discriminating against or charging higher rates for any individuals based on pre-existing medical conditions.
- Impose an annual penalty of $95, or up to 1% of income, whichever is greater, on individuals who do not secure insurance; this will rise to $695, or 2.5% of income, by 2016. This is an individual limit; families have a limit of $2,085. Exemptions to the fine in cases of financial hardship or religious beliefs are permitted.
- Insurers are prohibited from establishing annual spending caps.
- Expand Medicaid eligibility; all individuals with income up to 133% of the poverty line qualify for coverage, including adults without dependent children.
- Two years of tax credits will be offered to qualified small businesses. In order to receive the full benefit of a 50% premium subsidy, the small business must have an average payroll per full time equivalent ("FTE") employee, excluding the owner of the business, of less than $25,000 and have fewer than 11 FTEs. The subsidy is reduced by 6.7% per additional employee and 4% per additional $1,000 of average compensation. As an example, a 16 FTE firm with a $35,000 average salary would be entitled to a 10% premium subsidy.
- Impose a $2,000 per employee tax penalty on employers with more than 50 employees who do not offer health insurance to their full-time workers (as amended by the reconciliation bill).
- Set a maximum of $2,000 annual deductible for a plan covering a single individual or $4,000 annual deductible for any other plan (see 111HR3590ENR, section 1302). These limits can be increased under rules set in section 1302.
- The CLASS Act provision would have created a voluntary long-term care insurance program, but in October 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the provision was unworkable and would be dropped, although an Obama administration official later said the President does not support repealing this provision.
- Pay for new spending, in part, through spending and coverage cuts in Medicare Advantage, slowing the growth of Medicare provider payments (in part through the creation of a new Independent Payment Advisory Board), reducing Medicare and Medicaid drug reimbursement rate, cutting other Medicare and Medicaid spending.
- Revenue increases from a new $2,500 limit on tax-free contributions to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which allow for payment of health costs.
- Establish health insurance exchanges, and subsidization of insurance premiums for individuals with income up to 400% of the poverty line, as well as single adults. Section 1401(36B) of PPACA explains that the subsidy will be provided as an advanceable, refundable tax credit and gives a formula for its calculation. Refundable tax credit is a way to provide government benefit to people even with no tax liability (example: Earned Income Credit). The formula was changed in the amendments (HR 4872) passed March 23, 2010, in section 1001. According to DHHS and CRS, in 2014 the income-based premium caps for a "silver" healthcare plan for family of four would be the following:
- Members of Congress and their staff will only be offered health care plans through the exchange or plans otherwise established by the bill (instead of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program that they currently use).
- A new excise tax goes into effect that is applicable to pharmaceutical companies and is based on the market share of the company; it is expected to create $2.5 billion in annual revenue.
- Most medical devices become subject to a 2.3% excise tax collected at the time of purchase. (Reduced by the reconciliation act to 2.3% from 2.6%)
- Health insurance companies become subject to a new excise tax based on their market share; the rate gradually raises between 2014 and 2018 and thereafter increases at the rate of inflation. The tax is expected to yield up to $14.3 billion in annual revenue.
- The qualifying medical expenses deduction for Schedule A tax filings increases from 7.5% to 10% of earned income.
While its far from perfect, I'm starting to think that it might actually be a step in the right direction, better than the status quo of currently skyrocketing premiums at the very least.
I'd qualify for Medicaid, which while not as good as Medicare, would still be better than nothing. And even for well-off workers, insurance premiums would be capped at 9.5% of income. A lot less than many folks are paying for insurance now.
Best of all, it gets rid of the "Cadillac" insurance plans that Congress gets for free, and forces all Congresscritters to buy into the same plans as the rest of us. No wonder the Republicans don't want this to go into effect. They'll lose out on their sweet "superior healthcare for me, but not for thee" situation that exists today.
Too bad we have to wait until June to find out whether the SCOTUS strikes it down or not. Chief Justice John Roberts has said that he doesn't like the idea of an "activist court" going against what Congress passes for law, so maybe he'll side with Kennedy and let it stand.
Because truth is, if ObamaCare is struck down, it will probably be another generation until health care reform is attempted again. But if it passes, we may actually see Medicare for all in our lifetimes, a single-payer plan like other civilized Western countries, once people get tired of private insurance companies profiting off of human misery.
Have any of you guys done the math? How much do you pay for health insurance now, compared to how much it will be capped at once ObamaCare goes into full effect in 2014?
Posted by LAGC | Sun Apr 1, 2012, 05:38 PM (4 replies)
So I'm sitting here in my hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia, trying to print my boarding passes so I don't have to mess around with checking in at the ticket counter in a few hours -- I want to be able to just head straight to my gate without having to trek clear across the entire fucking airport.
Turns out the pieces of shit just completed their merger with Continental Airlines, so their whole user database just got converted, so my old MileagePlus frequent flier number no longer works. (This must have happened within the past 5 days, because everything worked fine on Wednesday.)
While I can still access my United account via e-mail, I need access to a printer to print off the boarding passes. Only place I can do that is at the hotel's business center, but they have a bunch of questionable software installed on it, I don't trust that no spyware or keyloggers aren't installed on there, so I don't feel comfortable logging into my e-mail from there.
So I called their toll-free customer service number to find out what my new user name is and I've been on hold for over 15 minutes due to "higher than expected call volume over the past few days." Due to the merger, no doubt. These dumb-asses obviously didn't think this thing through very well. It's the same story whenever one big corporation gets bought out by another -- customer service goes straight to hell.
CORPORATE BASTARDS!! Some day I will own my own plane so I don't have to put up with this bullshit every time I want to fly somewhere.
Posted by LAGC | Mon Mar 26, 2012, 10:42 AM (9 replies)
Bottom line for me is, even if Zimmerman really did get beat down by the kid, he should have just taken his lumps and accepted the ass-whoopin' for stalking the kid in the first place. If I were a 17-year-old being followed by some strange older man, especially one of a different race, I'd be wary as fuck and tempted to confront him myself.
You can't blame the kid for getting physical with him, when this self-appointed vigilante decided to play hero and take the law into his own hands. I mean, if the dude had just stayed in his car and the kid had pulled him out and started wailing on him that would be one thing, but it sounds like this creep flat-out stalked the kid and moved in on him, escalating the situation unnecessarily and provoking the beat-down, then escalating it even further by drawing his gun and shooting the kid.
It's really hard to claim self-defense when you go out of your way to look for trouble. CCW permits don't automatically make you a deputy of the law. They are only for defending yourself if trouble finds YOU. Not the other way around.
He really should have been arrested at least for voluntary manslaughter and forced to post bail. Can't really blame the black community for feeling slighted when, if the roles were reversed, you know damn straight the black kid would have been arrested and tried as an adult.
A real sad situation, all the way around.
Posted by LAGC | Sun Mar 25, 2012, 11:40 PM (42 replies)
Just got back from the rally today, and what a rally it was!
Never before have so many atheists gathered in one place to promote secular values. We were really tempting God's fate, as He sent some rain our way, but no one got struck by lightning, so I guess He decided not to smite us heathens after all.
They said during the peak of the rally around 1pm that the park service said that our numbers eclipsed Glenn Beck's rally a couple years ago, but I'd have to see the aerial shot to believe that. (As our rally took place on the EAST side of the Washington Monument, not the west side near the Lincoln memorial along the reflecting pools.)
It was mostly apolitical, trying to cast a wide umbrella over all non-believer/skeptic groups, but they did have a couple conservative speakers like Penn Gillette (of Penn and Teller fame) and of course a couple outspoken liberals like Bill Maher. But over-all, the message was mostly positive, uniting all non-believers regardless of political leanings, in support of separation of church and state and science over superstition.
Here are some pics:
This is the empty rally grounds an hour before the event officially started, you can see the Washington Monument in the background.
Here you can see people beginning to fill in near the staging area. We were able to stake out a pretty close spot.
Around a quarter till 10 o'clock, it started getting crowded.
Darth Vader says: "I Find Your Lack of Faith Refreshing"
2:30p was about the peak of the rally, we were all sandwiched in real good, endless crowds in every direction.
People, people everywhere.
There were lots of great signs, but my shitty cell-phone camera couldn't zoom in, so I missed some good shots.
After around 3pm the crowd started to thin out, but the merchandise tents were packed when we checked them out around 4:30p.
We ended up leaving by 5pm to beat the crowds jamming the Metro (subway), the only thing we missed was the band Bad Religion jamming it out, but I saw pretty much all I wanted to see, namely Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers.
It was great!
Posted by LAGC | Sat Mar 24, 2012, 10:02 PM (5 replies)
I just got summoned for Federal jury duty next month (first time I've ever been called to serve), and after I got online and submitted my questionnaire electronically, I spent the next hour following links reading up on what is to be expected of me.
So I started reading the Jury Handbook and stumbled across this gem, under the sub-section "The Jurors' Solemn Oath":
After the voir dire is completed, the jurors selected to try the case will be sworn in. The judge or clerk will state to the jury: "Members of the Jury, you will rise, hold up your right hands, and be sworn to try this case."
The jurors then rise and hold up their right hands. The jurors face the judge or the clerk who is to administer the oath. That official slowly, solemnly, and clearly repeats the oath. The jurors indicate by their responses and upraised hands that they take this solemn oath.
Jurors not wishing to take an oath may request to affirm instead of swear. In some districts the jury is sworn upon the Bible and not by uplifted hand.
WTF?! Are there really still any jurisdictions that really require you to swear your oath on a BIBLE? I mean, its the 21st Century not the 19th anymore! How is this not a blatant violation of separation of church and state? I mean, MAYBE, in certain parts of the Deep South I could see it, but even then, why hasn't the Department of Justice put its foot down and brought this practice to an end already? There really should be just one uniform standard for all Federal courts, and it should NOT involve bringing anyone's religious paraphernalia into it. I mean, do they have Korans and Bhagavad Gītās in stock just in case a non-Christian dare affront the courtroom with their presence? Or do they just embarrass and publicly shame them when they politely refuse to place their hand on that particular Book of Atrocities and Genocides?
Kind of reminds me of the only time I attended a local city council meeting 10 years ago and they opened with a sectarian Christian prayer. Completely caught me off-guard. I believe they finally ended the practice with much complaining by the Christ-in-Your-Face crowd, but I can't believe its still happening in FEDERAL courts of all places!
Have any of you been in a situation where you were "asked" to place your hand on a Bible in order to somehow prove you are trustworthy and honest?
I just can't believe it.
Posted by LAGC | Fri Mar 9, 2012, 03:30 PM (10 replies)
As I noted last Fall, Colorado courts have treated the Colorado Constitution’s right to keep and bear arms provision as substantially protecting felons’ rights to keep guns for self-defense — an approach quite different from that used by the U.S. Supreme Court in interpreting the Second Amendment, or by other states’ courts interpreting those states’ constitutions. Today’s State v. Carbajal (Colo. Ct. App. Mar. 1, 2012) reaffirms that. An excerpt:
In 1876, the new State of Colorado adopted a constitution that included a provision in its bill of rights establishing a right to keep and bear arms in defense of one’s home, person, and property:
The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called into question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.
Colo. Const. art. II, § 13 (section 13) (emphasis added). This provision has never been amended.
Really, if a convict is deemed safe enough to be released from prison, he/she really ought to have all rights of citizenship back, including being able to vote, serve on jury duty, and yes, even RKBA.
It shouldn't be a long, hard process to get all your civil rights restored like it is now in many states. Nothing tells an ex-con that he/she is unwelcome back in civil society than continuing to deny him/her their basic civil rights. If we want people to change and be productive members of society, we should treat them as full citizens, not second-class citizens their whole lives.
Posted by LAGC | Thu Mar 8, 2012, 10:12 AM (45 replies)
Mitt Romney may finally be shaking a memory regarding gun control legislation that has haunted him since he was governor of Massachusetts by picking up a critical endorsement from hard-rocking pro-gun outdoorsman, author and gun rights icon Ted Nugent.
The “Motor City Madman” threw his considerable weight behind Romney’s campaign Friday, hours after this column was tipped that the endorsement was imminent, during Thursday evening’s Romney fund raiser at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center. This column discussed that gathering and the importance of sportsman and gun owner attendance at Saturday’s Republican caucus gatherings.
Nugent issued a one-sentence comment:
“After a long heart and soul conversation with Mitt Romney today, I concluded this good man will properly represent we the people (and) I endorsed him.”—Ted Nugent
Is it that surprising? Nugent and Romney both hail from Michigan. Romney was also recently endorsed by Rob Keck, who spent some time hunting with the former governor and presidential hopeful last fall in Montana.
Heads are going to freakin' EXPLODE over on FreeRepublic.com! They already turned on Ann Coulter months ago for endorsing Romney.
NUGE: What a total sell-out!
Now all we need is for the NRA to get behind Mitt Romney, and we'll know the wool has been completely pulled over everyone's eyes.
Mitt Romney is really no better than Obama on gun rights. Anyone who thinks he'll nominate pro-gun justices if elected is drinking the Kool-Aid.
This Republican primary season has just gone from crazy to bat-shit insane!
Posted by LAGC | Sat Mar 3, 2012, 11:43 AM (17 replies)