Showing posts with label legislation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label legislation. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Dozens of demonstrators converged on New Orleans City Hall on Monday for a second day of demonstrations against President Donald Trump's far-reaching executive order halting the admission of new refugees from war-torn Syria and suspending immigration from several other Muslim-majority countries.

The rally, the second in two days, came as some local religious leaders, including Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond, expressed outrage at the president's directive, condemning it as antithetical to humanitarian and American principles.

U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, called the order "immoral," while City Councilman Jason Williams described it as "unconstitutional."    

"President Trump's discriminatory travel ban will make our country less safe because it will further alienate us from Muslim allies in the fight against terrorism and extremism," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.

"New Orleans will remain a welcoming city because we know that our diversity is a strength," he said. "We also know all too well what it feels like to seek shelter and refuge in a place that is not your home."
I'm proud of the people in New Orleans who are out there on the barricades, and I'm grateful to the Democratic political leaders and to Archbishop Aymond for speaking out against the despicable executive order.

And then our brave Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) weighs in:
Sen. John Kennedy said the United States has the "right to control its border," adding that it would be "stupid to let people who want to hurt us into our country."

"We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws," Kennedy said. "I support the following rule: If you want to come to America, you have to be rigorously vetted to make sure you are not a terrorist, regardless of your religion or country of origin."
Perhaps Kennedy does not know the US already has the most rigorous vetting process for refugees in the entire world.

Does the senator believe that translators and intelligence agents from countries in the Middle East who put their lives and the lives of their families at risk to support the members of our military stationed in those countries are "people who want to hurt us"?  Does Kennedy approve of putting our troops the Middle East at greater risk, because people in those countries will no longer be willing to help our military fight ISIS?  Does he approve of putting our country at greater risk by providing ISIS with an excellent recruiting tool to say, "Look! The United States hates all Muslims."

Does Kennedy think citizens with dual citizenship in the US and another country should be barred from reentering the country if they travel outside our borders?  Does he think people who have green cards for permanent residence in the US should be barred?  Students from countries in the Middle East who went to their native countries for a visit?  So many questions, but no answers.

Ever since Trump signed the executive order, I've been calling Kennedy's office, along with the office of Sen. Bill Cassidy to express my opinion, but I can't get through.  Either the line is busy, or I receive a message that the voice mailbox is full.  I spoke to a person in Rep. Garrett Graves office, but I could not get answers to my specific questions, only a vague statement that he supports the order, because he wants to keep us safe, which, of course, the executive order does not do.

There's no point in writing my GOP members of Congress, because they use my letter as an excuse to respond with a spiel about the great things they are doing.  Invariably, their responses have nothing to do with the subject of my message.

I may not be able to reach my GOP senators, but it's good therapy for me to put the questions in writing, outside of myself.

Monday, January 30, 2017


Military veterans were dumbfounded and furious when it became clear over the weekend that President Donald Trump’s executive order barring the admission into the United States of people from seven majority-Muslim countries keeps out interpreters who’d risked their lives helping U.S. forces in Iraq.

“They better make a damn exception, because we are here because of them,” said Andrew Biggio, a former Marine sergeant who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our lives, our families, we have everything to thank for our interpreters. We owe them, we owe them, we owe them.”

Biggio, who voted for Trump, said he and other Marines he served with are waiting for a clarification from the White House. Many of them personally pushed for years to obtain visas for their interpreters and then raised funds to help them settle in.
Andrew Biggio, why are you surprised at the executive order? Good for you that you're speaking up now about what you know is wrong and cruel. My only surprise is that the Bannon/Trump administration is moving so swiftly with a number of executive orders that are signed without the normal vetting process.

It's understandable that a new president will want to change policies, but the ban on immigrants from seven countries with Muslim majorities, and the attempt by the administration to link Obama to the executive order is despicable.  Man up, and take responsibility for your own actions, Mr Bannon and President Trump.  Refugees coming to the US are already subject to the most rigorous vetting in the entire world.
Veterans said that honoring the implicit promise made to those who risked their lives to help the United States has nothing to do with politics, and that they can’t believe it would be up for debate.

“You will find military veterans unified in support of this; it’s not partisan,” said Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq. “This order demonstrates that we don’t have their backs. It’s totally un-American.”  
Who is vetting the Bannon/Trump administration's executive orders?  Apparently, no one who knows anything about the process is included.
Veteran officials who normally would have reviewed the order’s language to ensure smooth implementation and avoid potential litigation have been cut out of the typical process by the Trump administration — or simply overruled, current and former officials told FP [Foreign Policy].
As one of my friends asked, is the administration trying to incite ISIS to attack the United States? The executive order is probably unconstitutional, and it will not make the people in the country safer.  It will increase the danger of a terrorist attack, and, worst of all, US members of the military serving in the Middle East will be put at risk.  To ask troops to put their lives on the line, even as the presidential order puts their lives at greater risk is abominable.
President Donald Trump is getting blasted for reorganizing the National Security Council to oust the director of intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [James Mattis] from always attending the Principals Committee -- and installing one of his top political advisers on the key panel.
Trump's order makes his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, a regular member of the Principals Committee. The committee is a Cabinet-level group of agencies that deal with national security that was established by President George H. W. Bush in 1989.
Does anyone on Trump's team know what they're doing?  What's going on in the White House?  What is Vice-President Pence doing?  Standing like a potted plant to watch Trump sign executive orders?

Is Bannon/Trump in the middle of an attempted coup to govern by fiat, with no regard for the other two branches of government?  Where is the leadership from the GOP?  Democratic Senators are expected to introduce legislation as early as Monday that aims to overturn President Trump's executive orders on immigration.  Democrats will need cooperation from Republicans to pass a bill to put an end to the madness of the executive order through legislation.  And Trump will have to sign the legislation into law.  What are the chances for an override of a Trump veto?  Probably zero, but Democrats must go on record loudly and proudly in opposing the ban.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Adolphus Busch IV, heir to the Busch family brewing fortune, resigned his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association on Thursday, writing in a letter to NRA President David Keene, "I fail to see how the NRA can disregard the overwhelming will of its members who see background checks as reasonable." (My emphasis)

"The NRA I see today has undermined the values upon which it was established," wrote Busch. "Your current strategic focus clearly places priority on the needs of gun and ammunition manufacturers while disregarding the opinions of your 4 million individual members."
How much more insane commentary will the members have to hear from Wayne LaPierre before there is a stampede out of the National Rifle Association?  How many more cowardly retreats from voting for background checks by members of Congress before they awaken to the fact that 90% of the citizens of the US favor background checks?  For whom do the craven Congress critters work?  The citizens or the NRA?  I think we know. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I have not done a post on the amendments from the Church of England House of Bishops' meeting (all male, of course!) to the legislation on women bishops which will be presented at General Synod, because I could not understand the meaning of the amendments from the poorly-written press release.  As I've said elsewhere, my initial reaction was that it appeared the writer(s) of the press release attempted to send out a double message to soothe both sides, with the result that the release does not make much sense.

Bishop Alan Wilson courageously provides a priceless explication for us, titled "Swimmin with the Wimmin part 94".  The title alone is worth noting.  A brief quote, and you can read the rest over at Alan's blog.
The result, in true C of E fashion, is a curate’s egg, but probably not such a rotten one as to send the whole process around again in five years time.
From Thinking Anglicans:
WATCH (Women and the Church) is deeply disappointed to hear that the all male House of Bishops has, in a closed meeting, decided to make two amendments to the draft legislation on women bishops that had been so carefully crafted after years of debate and scrutiny from all sides and had commanded the support of 42/44 dioceses across the Church of England.
Read the rest of their press release, which makes much more sense to me than release from the House of Bishops meeting.

I remain in the dark as to how the amended legislation will play out in practice if it passes all three houses of GS with a two-thirds vote.  We shall see.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


The crowd celebrates outside the Stonewall Inn.

From the New York Times:
Supporters of the same-sex marriage bill danced in the streets of the West Village after the State Senate approved it on Friday night.

Crowds gathered, screamed and embraced in Sheridan Square near the Stonewall Inn, where the gay-rights movement began more than 40 years ago. Many stood on park benches to get a better view. Gay and lesbian bars in the neighborhood were packed with patrons, and the neighborhood had the feel of jubilant celebration.

“Equality is what this means; this is our right as people,” said John Huls, 52, standing in the Stonewall with his partner, Jay Hoff, 50. “It’ll be our same relationship. We’re the same people as when we met, except now it’s proper in the eyes of the state, and I’ll be able to look at people and say, ‘This is my husband.’ ”

Jen Morera and her partner, Rio Morera, who were married in Boston last year and live in Queens, spent hours glued to the television screen in the Stonewall on Friday night. On their fingers were matching diamond wedding rings.
Great news! As a friend said last night, "No turning back. No turning back."

Congratulations, New Yorkers! Thanks to the people in New York who pushed and pushed and did not give up the fight until marriage equality became law. Thanks to the legislators and the governor. Thanks especially to the law-makers for whom the vote in favor of the bill was a difficult choice and who may pay a price at the next election.

Enjoy your celebration, New Yorkers!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Support for the effort to repeal Louisiana's anti-evolution law is mounting. The American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the Louisiana Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Society for the Study of Evolution together with the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of Naturalists have all endorsed Louisiana's Senate Bill 70, which if enacted would repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17.285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008. All of these statements are posted at the Louisiana Coalition for Science's website.

That should be enough to get the attention of the legislators who passed the stupid bill, but who can tell?

A real hero in the fight for repeal of the bill is Zack Kopplin, a high school student from Baton Rouge. His website is Repeal Creationism.

The Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008 should be renamed to the Louisiana Non-Science Education Act. The law disgraces and embarrasses all but the ignorant amongst us.

The text of the act may be found here.
D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

And the above statement from the text is nothing more than a load of BS.