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Casino Gambling Web | Best Online Gambling News and …

 Gambling  Comments Off on Casino Gambling Web | Best Online Gambling News and …
Jun 242016
 

The Top Online Casino Gambling News Reporting Site Since 2002! Latest News From the Casino Gambling Industry

Cheers and Jeers Abound for New UK Online Gambling Law May 19, 2014 The new UK betting law is expected to be finalized by July 1st and go into effect by September 1st. However, many are concerned the law could create another wild-west situation in the UK… Speculation on Casino Gambling Legalization in Japan Continues May 13, 2014 LVS owner Sheldon Adelson continues to create gambling news across the world, this time in Japan as he salivates at the possibility of legalization before the 2020 Olympics… LVS Owner Adelson Pulling the Strings of Politicians in the US May 8, 2014 Las Vegas Sands is playing the political system, and its owner, Sheldon Adelson, is the puppet master behind the curtain pulling the strings, according to new reports… New Jersey Bets Big on Sports Gambling, Loses – So Far… May 5, 2014 Governor Chris Christie may need a win in the Supreme Court to justify his defense for his initiative to legalize sports betting in the state… Tribal And Private Gaming Owners Square Off In Massachusetts April 28, 2014 Steve Wynn and the Mohegan Sun are squaring off in a battle for a casino license in Massachusetts, and the two have vastly different views of how regulations are being constructed…

Below is a quick guide to the best gambling sites online. One is for USA players, the other is for players in the rest of the world. Good luck!

As laws change in 2012 the internet poker craze is set to boom once again in North America. Bovada, formerly known as Bodog, is one of the only sites that weathered the storm and they are now the best place to play online. More players gamble here than anywhere else.

The goal of Casino Gambling Web is to provide each of our visitors with an insider’s view of every aspect of the gambling world. We have over 30 feeds releasing news to more than 30 specific gaming related categories in order to achieve our important goal of keeping you well updated and informed.

The main sections of our site are broken up into 5 broad areas of gambling news. The first area of news we cover is about issues concerning brick and mortar casinos like those found in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, the Gulf Coast Region, and well, now the rest of the USA. The second area of gambling news we cover concerns itself with the Internet casino community. We also have reporters who cover the international poker community and also the world of sports gambling. And finally, we cover news about the law when it effects any part of the gambling community; such legal news could include information on updates to the UIGEA, or issues surrounding gambling petitions to repeal that law, or information and stories related to new poker laws that are constantly being debated in state congresses.

We go well beyond simply reporting the news. We get involved with the news and sometimes we even become the news. We pride ourselves on providing follow up coverage to individual news stories. We had reporters in Washington D.C. on the infamous night when the internet gambling ban was passed by a now proven to be corrupt, former senator Bill Frist led congress, and we have staff constantly digging to get important details to American citizens. We had reporters at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas when Jamie Gold won his ring and changed the online gambling world, and we have representatives playing in the tournament each and every year.

It is our pleasure and proud duty to serve as a reliable source of gambling news and quality online casino reviews for all of the international gaming community. Please take a few moments to look around our site and discover why we, and most other insiders of the industry, have considered CGW the #1 Top Casino Gambling News eporting Organization since 2002.

The United States changed internet gambling when they passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), so now when searching for top online casinos you must focus your energies on finding post-UIGEA information as opposed to pre-UIGEA information. Before the law passed you could find reliable info on most gambling portals across the internet. Most of those portals simply advertised casinos and gambling sites that were tested and approved by eCogra, and in general you would be hard pressed to find an online casino that had a bad reputation. However, now that these gambling sites were forced out of the US they may be changing how they run their business. That is why it important to get your information from reliable sources who have been following the industry and keeping up with which companies have remained honorable. So good luck and happy hunting!

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), in short, states that anything that may be illegal on a state level is now also illegal on a federal level. However, the day after Christmas in 2011, President Barrack Obama’s administration delivered what the online gaming industry will view forever as a great big beautifully wrapped present. The government released a statement declaring that the 1961 Federal Wire Act only covers sports betting. What this means for the industry on an international level is still unknown, but what it means in the USA is that states can begin running online poker sites and selling lottery tickets to its citizens within its borders. The EU and WTO will surely have some analysis and we will keep you updated as this situation unfolds. Be sure to check with state laws before you start to gamble online.

The UK was the first high-power territory to legalize and regulate gambling online with a law passed in 2007. They allow all forms of betting but have strict requirements on advertisers. They first attracted offshore companies to come on land, which gave the gambling companies who complied the appearance of legitamacy. However, high taxes forced many who originally came to land, back out to sea and the battle forever rages on, but on a whole, the industry regulations have proven greatly successful and have since served as a model for other gaming enlightened countries around the world.

Since then, many European countries have regulated the industry, breaking up long term monopolies, sometimes even breaking up government backed empires, finally allowing competition – and the industry across the globe (outside of the USA) is thriving with rave reviews, even from those who are most interested in protecting the innocent and vulnerable members of society.

We strive to provide our visitors with the most valuable information about problem gambling and addiction in society. We have an entire section of our site dedicated to news about the subject. When a state or territory implements new technology to safeguard itself from allowing problem gamblers to proliferate, we will report it to you. If there is a new story that reveals some positive or negative information about gambling as it is related to addiction, we will report it to you. And if you think you have a problem with gambling right now, please visit Gamblers Anonymous if you feel you have a gambling problem.

In order to get all the information you need about this industry it is important to visit Wiki’s Online Gambling page. It provides an unbiased view of the current state of the Internet gambling industry. If you are interested in learning about other issues you may also enjoy visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling, a righteous company whose sole purpose is to help protect and support problem gamblers. They have a lot of great resources for anyone interested in learning more.

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Casino Gambling Web | Best Online Gambling News and …

Atheism – RationalWiki

 Atheism  Comments Off on Atheism – RationalWiki
Jun 242016
 

Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.

Atheism, from the Greek a-, meaning “without”, and theos, meaning “god”, is the absence of belief in the existence of gods. Theos includes the Abrahamic YHWH(s), Zeus, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and every other deity from A to Z[1] (and 0-9,!, “, #, $ or any other character, obviously). For the definition of atheism, the terms “God” and “a god” are used interchangeably as there is no difference between a monotheistic deity and a polytheistic pantheon of deities when it comes to complete disbelief in them. This also has the deliberate intent of ignoring the privileged position Yahweh has held in English grammar. Most atheists also do not believe in anything supernatural or paranormal (someone like this would be considered a naturalist).

We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.

Tied up with some of the more awkward aspects of defining the term “atheist” is the question of what god, or type of god, is being denied. This is particularly important for those who claim that atheism is supported by evidence (more specifically, the lack of evidence for a theistic case).

If the god being denied is the interventionist God, which most theists hold to exist, then the argument against the existence of this being is easy; the lack of any demonstrable interventions demonstrates the god’s lack of existence. In this case, absence of evidence is evidence of absence. However, if the god being denied is of a less interventionist, or deist, type god, then the above argument regarding evidence doesn’t work. Indeed, the only possible “evidence” for a deist god is the very existence of the universe, and most sane people don’t tend to deny the universe exists. On the other hand as said “evidence” is simply asserted and isn’t testable in any way, it is a lot less than wholly convincing and we return to “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

Whether atheism also requires a person to disbelieve in all other forms of magic, or ghosts, or psychic powers is also a question. These are not “gods” in the conventional sense at all, but they are still supernatural entities or powers. More “hardline” atheists would insist that disbelief in all things supernatural is mandatory for the label of “atheist.” They would argue that this follows from the fact that atheism is a rational position, and that therefore atheists should take rational positions on other matters also. What does and what does not constitute a “god” in the case of atheism can often be very subjective; the definition could be restricted to monotheistic “creator” gods, or expanded to include all supernatural entities, or used to describe only things that are worshipped or idolised. The variables that arise when trying to perfectly codify “atheism” are numerous, and this is fitting with its position as specifically a lack of belief.

However, atheism only makes sense in the context of the ubiquity of religion and theistic belief worldwide. If religions didn’t exist, atheism wouldn’t exist and any discussion of the subject would be inherently meaningless – the world doesn’t feature books, internet debates and billboard campaigns saying that it’s fine to disbelieve in Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot precisely because few, if any, people believe in the teapot. Therefore a working, albeit still slightly subjective, definition of what constitutes a “god” can be developed based on the beliefs of self-declared religions of the world. As a thought experiment we can conceive of a religion that achieves literal overnight success by promoting some god, Athkel,[3] who will become a worldwide phenomenon tomorrow. An atheist would simply not believe in Athkel tomorrow, despite the fact they had no belief in him/her yesterday because it is a self defined religious deity.

There are many ways to describe different types of atheism and some of these are explained below. These shouldn’t be read as factions or sects within atheism in the same way as denominations and sects within religion, Protestant/Catholicism in Christianity, Sunni/Shiite in Islam, and their multiple sub-groups for example. One does not “join” a group of implicit atheists. Instead of being sects that dictate people’s beliefs, these should be taken as models to, at least roughly, describe people’s beliefs and their attitudes towards belief itself. There are many similarities, all of which are included in the blanket term “atheist.” However – as is typical in atheist thought – not all atheists consider these divisions particularly relevant, worthwhile, or meaningful.

The commonality among these various modes of atheism is the statement that no god or gods created natural phenomena such as the existence of life or the universe. Instead, these are usually explained through science, specifically without resort to supernatural explanations. Morality in atheism is also not based on religious precepts such as divine commandments or revelation through a holy text – many alternative philosophies exist to derive or explain morality, such as humanism.

Implicit atheism is simply the state of not believing in any gods.

Explicit atheism is a conscious rejection, either of the belief in gods or of their existence. Explicit atheists can be weak or strong atheists, but all strong atheists are explicit atheists.

Weak atheism (sometimes equated with “pragmatic atheism” or “negative atheism”) describes the state of living as if no gods exist. It does not require an absolute statement of God’s non-existence. The argument is based on the fact that as there is no evidence that gods, spatial teapots or fairies exist, we have no reason to believe in them. This argument could also be classified as extreme agnosticism, or “agnostic atheism” – as it is an acknowledgment of the lack of evidence but acting as if there were no gods.

Pragmatic atheists however are frequently reluctant to make outright statements like “Gods (or fairies) do not exist”, because of the great difficulties involved in proving the absolute non-existence of anything – the idea that nothing can be proved is held in the philosophy of pyrrhonism. Consequently many pragmatic atheists would argue that the burden of proof does not lie with them to provide evidence against the extraordinary concept that gods exist. They would argue that it is up to the supporters of various religions to provide evidence for the existence of their own deities, and that no argument is necessary on the atheist’s part.

Christopher Hitchens put it another way when he said: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

Strong atheism (sometimes equated with “theoretical atheism”) makes an explicit statement against the existence of gods. Strong atheists would disagree with weak atheists about the inability to disprove the existence of gods. Strong atheism specifically combats religious beliefs and other arguments for belief in some god (or gods), such as Pascal’s Wager, and argument from design. These arguments tend to be geared toward demonstrating that the concept of god is logically inconsistent or incoherent in order to actively disprove the existence of a god.[4]Theological noncognitivism, which asserts the meaninglessness of religious language, is an argument commonly invoked by strong atheists.[5] In contrast, weak atheist arguments tend to concentrate on the evidence (or lack thereof) for god, while strong atheist arguments tend to concentrate on making a positive case for the non-existence of god.

An apatheist has no interest in accepting or denying claims that a god or gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist considers the very question of the existence or non-existence of gods or other supernatural beings to be irrelevant and not worth consideration under any circumstances.

In short: they simply don’t care. (Well, OK, they care enough to give themselves a name – so that people explicitly know what it is they don’t care anything about. But that’s it.)

Antitheism is, perhaps surprisingly, technically separate from any and all positions on the existence or non-existence of any given deity. Antitheism simply argues that a given (or all possible) human implementations of religious beliefs, metaphysically “true” or not, lead to results that are harmful and undesirable, either to the adherent, to society, or – usually – to both. As justification the antitheists will often point to the incompatibility of religion-based morality with modern humanistic values, or to the atrocities and bloodshed wrought by religion and by religious wars. Religious moderation as compared to religious extremism is an example of theistic anti-theism, also known as dystheism. Dystheism also encompasses questioning the morals even of a deity you believe in, e.g. chosing to obey commandments on nonviolence over calls to violence from God, despite them both being clearly put forward by this alleged giver of all morals.

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

Not all atheists are “disaffected with religion” some were just never raised with or indoctrinated with religious beliefs in the first place. Hence a substantial number have nothing to become disaffected with. However, in areas where religious belief is essentially taken as normal, there is a high chance that a person will have been religious before “coming out” as an atheist. As the term “atheist” only really means something in the context of ubiquitous religious belief, being disaffected or unconvinced by religion is certainly a factor in most, if not all, people who declare themselves as an atheist. As has been said previously, there is debate in the atheist community and not all atheists would agree with all of these reasons or even consider them relevant to atheism.

One of the major intellectual issues regarding disenchantment with religion is the fact that most world religions insist that all other faiths are wrong. While some moderate believers may like to take a stance that “all religions are right, they’re just different interpretations”, it’s undeniable that heresy and apostasy are looked down upon very harshly in many faiths. This suggests the possibility that no religion is right, and further suggests that, because the vast majority of believers in any faith are born into it, being a member of the “correct” group or “the elect” is merely an accident of birth in most cases. There is also historical evidence that organized religion, while professing a peaceful moral code, is often the basis for exclusion and war as well as a method to motivate people in political conflicts. The enmity among different religions and even among sects within the same religion adds credibility to this idea.

Other reasons may be more directly to do with a religion or its specifics – namely (1) the evils that the concept of religion has produced over the ages, (2) the hypocrisy of professed believers and religious leaders who exhort their followers to help the poor, love their neighbors and behave morally but become wealthy through donations to the church and carry love for certain neighbors to an immoral extreme as defined by their own professed religious beliefs, and (3) the contradiction between talk of a loving god and a world in which children starve to death and innocent people are tortured and killed. Issues with religion may arise due to the nature of fundamentalists – insisting that their holy texts are literally true. This leads to attempts by such fundamentalists to undermine education by censoring scientific knowledge that seems to contradict their beliefs. Intelligent design is a prominent case of this (see Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District). Often this doesn’t sit well with moderate believers and especially those who may be on the verge of losing their faith, especially when the evidence provided by daily experience suggests that there may be no events that cannot be explained by common sense and scientific study.

Other issues that atheists have with religion involve the characteristics of supposed gods. Atheists sometimes view the idea that a supreme all-knowing deity would have the narcissistic need to be worshiped, and would punish anyone for worshiping a different god (or none at all), to be perverse.

Lastly, formerly religious atheists often report to have had their belief system unsettled by lack of evidence supporting the notion of the supernatural.

Arguments related to the burden of proof deal with whether atheists must disprove theism or theists must prove theism. Conventionally, the burden of proof lies with someone proposing a positive idea – or as Karl Popper fans would put it, those who are proposing something falsifiable. By this standard, atheists have no need to prove anything, and just need to render arguments for the existence of God as non-compelling. However, the ubiquity of religion in society and history have often shifted the burden of proof to atheists, who must subsequently prove a negative. Assuming that God exists is known as presuppositionalism and has always been a key tenet of Christian apologetics but is usually rejected by more sensible scholars. The absurdity of being asked to prove a negative is demonstrated in Bertrand Russell’s teapot thought experiment – where no matter how hard you look, you can’t thoroughly disprove the belief that a teapot is out there in space, orbiting the sun somewhere between Earth and Mars. This sort of presuppositional thinking is illogical, so asking an atheist to disprove God is an unreasonable request.

Occam’s razor can also be invoked as a guide to making the fewest assumptions, and assuming God exists a priori is a major assumption that should be avoided. Combining these thoughts to lay the burden of proof on theists indicates that without supporting evidence, the default position on God must be either weak-ish atheism or agnosticism rather than theism. Proponents of atheism argue that the burden of proof has not been met by those proposing that a god exists, let alone the specific gods described by major religions.

If someone doesn’t value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesnt value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?

Logical arguments try to show that God cannot possibly exist (at least as described). Barring any escape hatch arguments like Goddidit, some properties of God are not compatible with each other or known facts about the world, and thus a creator-god cannot be a logically consistent and existent entity. These arguments are heavily dependent on the use of common descriptions of the Abrahamic God as a target: things such as omnipotence, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence. As a result, they are not as useful in trying to refute the claims of, say, Neopaganism, and are also vulnerable to the tactic of moving the goalposts by changing the descriptions of God.

The omnipotence paradox postulates that true omnipotence is not logically possible or not compatible with omniscience. This is primarily a logical argument based on the general question of whether an omnipotent being could limit its own power – if yes, it would cease to be omnipotent, if no, it wouldn’t be omnipotent. Hence the paradox that shows, through contradiction, that God cannot exist as usually described.

Other logical arguments try to prove that god is not compatible with our scientific knowledge of reality. The Problem of evil states that a good god wouldn’t permit gratuitous evil, yet such evil occurs, so a good god does not exist.[6] The argument from design is often given as proof of a creator, but it raises the following logical question: if the world is so complex that it must have had a creator, then the creator must be at least as complex and must therefore have a creator, and this would have to have had a more complex creator ad infinitum. Also, the argument from design does not offer evidence for any specific relgion; while it could be taken as support for the existence of a god or gods, it doesn’t argue for the Christian God any more than, say, the Hindu pantheon.

While believers hasten to point out that their gods don’t need to follow logic, let alone the known laws of physics, this is really a case of special pleading and doesn’t so much prove anything itself. Atheists therefore tend to reject these counters to the logical arguments as they mostly beg the question of a creator’s existence and, very arbitrarily, plead that a creator can be exempt from the same logic that was used to “prove” its existence.

I know of no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence in support of their core beliefs.

At the root of the worldview of most atheists is evidence, and atheists point out that sufficient evidence for the existence of gods is currently very lacking, and thus there is no reason to believe in them. Evidential arguments are less ambitious than logical arguments because, rather than proving that there is reason not to believe in a god, they show that there is no reason to believe in a god (See Burden of proof above). It is important to remember that what constitutes sufficient evidence can be quite subjective, although rationalism and science do offer some standardization. Various “holy books” exist that testify to the existence of gods, and claim that alleged miracles and personal experiences all constitute evidence in favor of the existence of a god character of some sort. However, atheists reject these as insufficient because the naturalistic explanations behind them (tracing authors of the holy texts, psychological experiments, and scientific experiments to explain experiences, and so on) are more plausible – indeed, the very existence of plausible naturalistic explanations renders the supernatural explanations obsolete. In addition these books make claims for a variety of faiths, so to accept the Bible’s stories as evidence, one would also have to accept as evidence the miracle stories from other religions’ holy books.

Atheists often cite evidence that processes attributed to a god might also occur naturally as evidential arguments. If evolution and the big bang are true, then why would a creator god have needed them?[7]Occam’s razor makes theistic explanations less compelling.

Many atheists argue, in similar vein to the born-again Christian who “just knows” that God exists, that the day-to-day experience of the atheist demonstrates quite clearly that God does not. This is because they have an image in their heads of what this “God” would have to look like, viz., an entity in the vein of the God of the Old Testament who runs around zapping entire cities, turning people into pillars of salt, and generally answering people’s prayers in flashes of fire and brimstoneor, answering prayers for the victory of a given football team, but not answering those made on behalf of starving children in disadvantaged parts of the world.

Nobody knows for sure how many clergy members are secretly atheists (or are secretly on the fence, with serious doubts about their religion). But almost everyone I’ve spoken with in Clergy Project strongly suspects that the numbers are high.

Studying religion in depth during training for clerical work can lead a person to examine religious ideas critically. The study of Christian theology will include the whole of the Bible, and include historical background which can lead to rational doubt. [9][10]

In 2011, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason launched a confidential support group for clergy who no longer believe, the Clergy Project, and by December 2012 the group had almost 400 members. One of the founders of Clergy Project is Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who was an evangelical preacher for nineteen years before becoming an atheist.[11]Gretta Vosper is openly atheist as a minister and her congregation supports her. Former Methodist pastor Teresa MacBain received online support from Clergy Project before coming out as an atheist dramatically at an atheist convention in spring 2012. She became Public Relations Director of American Atheists. [12] MacBain currently works helping atheist groups to build communities with what she sees as the positive aspects of religion like music, ritual and community service without God.[13]

Freethought Blogger Greta Christina articulates a possible effect of clergy openly leaving Christianity on their parishioners’ beliefs. The more traditional position of clergy is that they are somehow endowed with answers to all questions of faith. If these trained religious authorities start saying they have no answers to normal “Crises of Faith”, even more if some of them suggest the most reasonable answer is atheism, lay Christians will find continuing with their belief more difficult. [14] It is worth noting, however, that modern clergy trained in most US or UK universities are discouraged from claiming to be exempt from such crises of faith, and to encourage people to share a “journey of spiritual discovery”. Perhaps atheism must simply be accepted as an outcome of that endeavor.

Because atheism is effectively a lack of inherent religious or political ideology, there is very little that unifies all atheists.

That said, atheists do tend to fit a certain profile.

Specific research on atheists conducted in 2006 suggests that the true proportion of atheists is 2%[15][16][17] to 4% in the United States, 17% in Great Britain and 32% in France. A 2004 Telegraph poll found that 44% of Britons believed in a god, 35% did not, and 21% did not know.[18]

According to a 2012 WIN-Gallup International poll, 13% of the world identifies as “atheist”, 23% identifies as “not religious”, and 59% identifies as “religious”; these results were 3% more “atheist”, 9% less “religious”, and 6% more “non-religious” than 2005. Of note, in the United States 13% fewer people identified as “religious”.[19]

Many studies have shown that groups with higher intelligence or more education have significantly more atheists.[20] A recent meta-analysis of 39 eligible studies from 1927 to 2002 was published in Mensa Magazine, and concluded that atheists are more likely to be of higher intelligence than their religious counterparts.[21] According to an article in the prestigious science journal Nature in 1998 the belief in a personal god or afterlife was very low among the members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Only 7.0% believed in a personal god as compared to more than 85% of the general U.S. population.[22] A 2012 WIN-Gallup International poll found that people with college education were 16% less likely to describe themselves as religious than those without complete high school education.[19] A survey conducted by the Times of India in 2015 revealed that 22% of IIT-Bombay graduates do not believe in the existence of God, while another 30% do not know.[23] According to a Harvard survey, there are more atheists and agnostics entering Harvard University, one of the top ranked schools in America, than Catholics and Protestants. According to the same study, atheists and agnostics also make up a much higher percentage of the students than the general public.[24][25]This may suggest that the more intelligent subjects are more unlikely to believe in god or supernatural powers. An alternative interpretation is that having completed the kind of education that makes you likely to do well in IQ tests is also likely to have either divested you of religiosity or at least made you less susceptible to the kind of beliefs in a personal god which characterise Christian fundamentalism. Yet another possibility is that those with more education are simply more likely to have thought seriously about religion and scrutinized the things they were brought up to believe; the higher intelligence among atheists may simply be because those who achieve high levels of education tend to be smarter than average (meaning that it’s not so much that smart people are atheists as that atheists tend to be smart people). If so, then if atheism were to become mainstream, we could expect the average age of atheists to go down, eventually approaching the average age of religious people.

The Programme for International Student Assessment notes that the best education is present in China and Singapore, while the poorest is present in Peru, Colombia, Qatar and Indonesia.[26] China is noted for having an atheist majority[27] and Singapore is noted for having a religious majority of Buddhists.[28] Peru and Colombia have an overwhelming religious Catholic Christian majority[29][30] and Qatar and Indonesia have an overwhelming religious Islamic majority.[31][32]

Education professor Yong Zhao asserts that the reason why countries with such differing religious attitudes succeed, while countries with other differing religious attitudes fail is simply due to the excessive workload and testing present in the Confucian cultural circle, the students within which make for outstanding test takers.[33]

Studies have shown that groups with more income have significantly more atheists. A 2012 WIN-Gallup International poll found that people in the highest quintile of income were 17% less likely to describe themselves as religious than the bottom quintile.[19] This is likely because those with more education tend to have higher incomes.

A recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine suggests that, despite what some may think, religiousness does not appear to have a significant effect on how much physicians care for the underserving.[34]

The Pew Research Center (2014) reports that in the US:[35]

The Pew report also reported that 57% of “unaffiliated” were male and 43% were female.

Atheists are becoming more numerous but also more diverse. White middle-class men such as Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens no longer define the movement. One blogger argues that

Other atheists [Who?] strongly disagree and want to see the atheist movement focus on philosophical arguments against religion and pseudoscience.[36]

African American atheists are a small minority (2% of the American population) facing severe prejudice.

In most African-American communities, it is more acceptable to be a criminal who goes to church on Sunday, while selling drugs to kids all week, than to be an atheist who … contributes to society and supports his family.

Despite this black atheists are getting together in online groups and giving each other confidence, also online groups progress to arranging offline meetings. [37] Atheists of color frequently feel they have different priorities from white atheist groups; they may be allied to faith groups that help poor blacks and fight racial discrimination. Atheists of color also form their own groups focusing more on economic and social problems their communities face and hope general atheist groups will focus more on these issues in the future. Sikivu Hutchinson is one of many atheists of color campaigning against injustice faced by poor people, black people, LGBT people, women and other oppressed groups. [38][39]

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it, too?

There has been a long history of rational people who have not accepted superstitious or magical explanations of natural phenomena and who have felt that “gods” are not necessary for the working of the world. The Eastern philosophy of Buddhism is broadly atheistic, explicitly eschewing the notion of a creation myth. In the Western world, there have been atheists almost as long as there has been philosophy and writing. Some of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world have been critical of belief in deities or eschewed religion entirely – many favouring logic and rationality to inform their lives and their actions, rather than religious texts. Democritus, who originally conceived of the atom, hypothesized a world without magic holding it together. Critias, one of the Thirty Tyrants of Athens, preceded Marx when he called religion a tool to control the masses.

Perhaps the best example of an explicitly atheistic ancient philosophy is the Carvaka school of thought, which originated in India in the first millennium BCE. The Carvakas posited a materialistic universe, rejected the idea of an afterlife, and emphasized the need to enjoy this life.[43]

Modern atheism in the Western world can be traced to the Age of Enlightenment. Important thinkers of that era who were atheists include Baron d’Holbach and Denis Diderot. The Scottish philosopher David Hume, though not explicitly avowing atheism, wrote critical essays on religions and religious beliefs (his most famous being a critique of belief in miracles), and posited naturalistic explanations for the origins of religion in The Natural History of Religion as well as criticizing traditional arguments for the existence of God in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Not until recently, however, did the term known as “atheism” begin to carry its current connotation. In an increasing number of countries around the world it is a neutral or unimportant label. The nation of New Zealand, for example, has thrice elected an agnostic woman (Helen Clark) as Prime Minister, followed by its current agnostic leader (John Key). Several Prime Ministers of the UK have been atheists, including Clement Attlee, and the current deputy PM, Nick Clegg. Also, the former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, is openly atheist, and at least one other former Australian PM was atheist. However, in more religious areas such as the United States or Saudi Arabia the term carries a heavy stigma. Indeed, prejudice against atheists is so high in the United States that one study found that they are America’s most distrusted minority.[44]

The reason for such attitudes towards atheists in these nations is unclear. Firstly, there is no stated creed with which to disagree (except perhaps for “strong” atheists, whose only belief is that there are no gods). Nor are atheists generally organized into lobbies or interest groups or political action committees (at least none that wield massive power), unlike the many groups that lobby on behalf of various religions. And yet an atheist would be the least likely to be elected President of the United States. According to the American Values Survey, about 67% of all voters would be uncomfortable with an atheist president, and no other group including Mormons, African Americans, and homosexuals would lose so much of the potential vote based on one single trait alone.[45][46] One potential reason for this is that in the United States, Christian groups have managed to push and implant the concept that without religion there can be no morality – often playing to people’s needs for absolutes and written rules – absolute morality is presented as something inherently true and achievable only by believers.

The mistrust of atheism is often accompanied by snarl words, straw man arguments and various other myths and legends in order to denigrate the idea of disbelief in established gods. Some misconceptions about atheism should be addressed:

Atheism is a religion in the same way as ‘off’ is a television station.

One of the widest misconceptions, often used as a strong criticism, is that atheism is a religion. However, while there are secular religions, atheism is most commonly defined as “no religion.” To expand the definition of “religion” to include atheism would thus destroy any use the word “religion” would have in describing anything. It is quite often pointed out that if atheism is a religion it would be akin to stating that the act of not collecting stamps is a hobby, or that being unemployed is an occupation. Following from this, atheists do not worship Charles Darwin or any other individual. Although some think that atheism requires evolution to be a complete worldview,[49] there is no worship of anything or anyone in atheism, and acceptance of evolution isn’t exclusive to atheists – for that matter there is no necessity for an atheist to accept the evidence for evolution (Stalin is a good example: he rejected Darwinian evolution, promoting Lysenkoism instead, and he consistently purged evolution biologists in favor of Lysenkoists). By definition, if atheists worshiped Darwin as a god, they wouldn’t be atheists. Basically, “atheism” is a word for a negative. However, this leads to a few semantic issues.

This confuses the religious because they are used to terms of religious identity being a declaration of allegiance to a view, rather than of separation from. This confusion then leads them to assert that a denial of their religion must be an avowal of another. They then do things like declare the so-called New Atheists as hypocrites for denigrating religion while sticking to an unstated one of their own, or declare that because science has an epistemology and religion has an epistemology, therefore science is just another faith (when religion’s problem is that science’s epistemology provably works much better than religion’s).

Atheism is actually a religion – indeed, much like “not collecting stamps” might be called a hobby, or “not smoking” might be called a habit.

A standard response is to note that if atheism is a religion, then “bald” is a hair color, “not kicking a kitten” is a form of animal abuse, and so on. Another is to note that if the definition of religion was expanded enough to legitimately include atheism – say, by defining a religion as “any philosophy on life” – then practically everything in the world would be a religion, such as socio-economic policies or views on equality. (British law has come close to finding this in employment discrimination cases.)

A new movement of atheist churches appears to be developing (such as Sunday Assembly), but what they do is not worship; rather, they are places where like-minded people get together on Sunday mornings to have fun, celebrate life and whatever. This is a relatively new phenomenon, and its prospects for the future are unclear.[51]

Atheists, as a whole, are not a unified group, so accusation that “atheists” are doing x, y and z hold little water. In fact, a disaffection with organized religion, and the potential for groupthink, is what causes many believers to abandon faith and come out as atheists. It doesn’t follow that such individuals would happily join another organised group. Debate within the atheistic community is robust – debates even about whether there is even an “atheistic community” at all, for instance – and the fact that this debate exists presupposes no dogmatic mandate (or at least not a widely followed one) from an organized group. It does follow from this lack of organisation that there is no atheist equivalent of the Bible, Koran, or other holy text. There are, of course, atheist writings, but one does not need to adhere to opinions held by, say, Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens to be considered an atheist. Some atheists will actively oppose what these kinds of authors do and say. In fact, some atheists wish they could believe.[52]

Believers sometimes denigrate atheists on the grounds that they “hate God.” This, however, makes no sense. People who make such assertive claims towards atheists are confusing atheism with misotheism.

What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives.

Morality is one of the larger issues facing the world, and many religions and believers openly express the notion that they have the monopoly on deciding, explaining, and enforcing moral judgments. Many religious people will assume that since morals rise from (their) god, without (their) god one cannot have morals. Contrary to the claims of such people, “no gods” does not equal “no morality.” There are strong humanistic, cultural, and genetic rationales for the existence of morality and ethical behavior, and many people, not just atheists, recognize this fact.

Some atheist groups are doing charitable work traditionally done by religious organizations like funding scholarships as an alternative to faith based scholarships [53] and at least one atheist group volunteers to do environmental protection work.[54]

In the US, where criticism of atheism is common, it often works well for politicians and evangelists to compare atheism to the “evils” of communism, or even to Communism itself. These “evils” are not inextricably fused with the values of atheism in reality. Although most orthodox Marxists are atheists (Marxism treats religion as a “false consciousness” that needs to be eliminated), the atrocities wrought by Stalin and others were not on account of their being atheists, but on account of their being totalitarians and authoritarians. Additionally, there have been many anti-communists who were atheists or agnostics, such as Ayn Rand and the computer pioneer John von Neumann. In North Korea, one of the only 4 countries where communism still exists (the others being China, Vietnam and Cuba), it is mandatory to believe that the Kim-dynasty consists of supreme omnipotent deities.

Atheism and agnosticism are not entirely mutually exclusive, and atheists are not “actually agnostic because no one can ever know whether God exists.” This is a highly contested point among religious believers and atheistic philosophers alike, as most, if not all, thinking atheists would happily change their minds given the right evidence, and thus could be considered “agnostic” in this sense. However, this conflates the ideas of belief and knowledge. Atheism is a statement of a lack of belief, and not a lack of knowledge – which is often accepted on all sides of the theistic debate. Atheism takes the position that it is rational to think that gods don’t exist, based on logic and lack of evidence. Agnostics, on the other hand, state that the lack of knowledge cannot inform their opinion at all. There are agnostic atheists, who can be either weak or strong. It is at least logically possible for a theist to be an agnostic (e.g., “I believe in a pantheon of lobsterish zoomorphic deities, but cannot prove this with evidence, and acknowledge and embrace that my belief is rooted in faith”)but it is markedly difficult to find anyone who will fess up to such a position.

Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.

One difficulty with the term “atheism” is that it defines what its adherents do not believe in, rather than in what they do believe in. The lack of positive statements of belief has led to the fact that there is really no overarching organisation that speaks for atheists (some would regard this as a good thing, keeping atheism from becoming an organised religion) and has led to the comparison that organising atheists is like “herding cats”, i.e., impossible. It is possible that the only thing which does really unite atheists is a lack of belief in gods; thus an overarching organisation to represent them would be physically impossible.

Primarily because of the prevalence of extreme discrimination against atheists, people have tried to come up with more positive terms or campaigns to get the godless philosophy noticed and respected. This allows atheists to feel more united and happy with their beliefs (or lack of), but has also led to organisations that will help them in situations, such as legal cases, where individuals couldn’t do it on their own. The most prominent examples:

To date, none of these alternative descriptions seems to have taken hold a great deal and the term of choice for most people remains “atheist.” “Freethinker” is probably the term with most support, as it dates back at least to the 19th Century. “Naturalism” may be the second most popular, although the name may lead people to confuse it with naturism or with some kind of eco-hippy ideal. “Bright” is the most recent term invented, and as a result is currently the most controversial and divisive. Supporters of the Brights movement see it as a positive and constructive redefinition (on par with the re-branding of homosexuality with the word “gay”, which until then primarily meant “happy” or “joyous”) while its detractors see it as nothing more than a shameless attempt to turn atheism into an organized religion, and the use of “bright” as a cynical attempt to appear more intellectual.

In some contexts words such as “rationalist” and “skeptic” may also be code words for “atheist.” Although not all atheists need to be rationalists, and not all rationalists need to be atheists, the connection is more in the method a person uses to derive their beliefs rather than what their beliefs actually are.

As in the quote above, some who have expressed criticism to religion, among them Richard Dawkins, have pointed out that the word atheism enforces theism as a social norm, as modern languages usually have no established terms for people who do not believe in other supernatural phenomena (a-fairyist for people who do not believe in fairies, a-unicornist, a-alchemist, a-astrologer, etc).

With the existence of deities being central belief of almost all religious systems, it is not surprising that atheism is seen as more threatening than competing belief systems, regardless of how different they may be. This often manifests in the statement that “freedom of religion” doesn’t include freedom from religion. It is also important for theists that the political hierarchy, the priesthood, should do their utmost to discourage dissent – as true believers make better tithe givers. Most religious codes are more than a bit irritated with those who do not believe. The Bible, for example, includes clear ad hominem attacks on non-believers, The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm14:1 and Psalm53:1), while the penalty for apostasy in Islamic law is death – and this is still endorsed today. One author has proposed a correction to Psalm 53, as follows:[57]

In the USA the increased public visibility of atheism – what some commentators call the “New Atheism”, seen in the popularity of books like The God Delusion – has brought renewed energy to the debate between believers and non-believers.[58] As part of that debate, some believers have put considerable effort into trying to stop what they think of as the irresponsible promotion of atheism. Their efforts range from material that has academic pretensions to arguments that are plainly abusive, focusing on “smacking” atheists with PRATT arguments regarding how great the Bible isn’t is – and, of course, a heavy bias towards their own religion being true.[59] What these arguments tend to have in common is that they are less about providing arguments for religious belief and more about keeping atheists quiet, with questions such as “don’t you have anything better to do than talk about the God you don’t believe in?” or arguing that “faith is better than reason so shut up”.[60] It’s not entirely unexpected that this would be the thrusts of several anti-atheist arguments – after all, according to several Christians in influential positions, mere knowledge that atheism exists can be dangerous.[61]

Atheists may view the Bible and other religious works as literature, fiction, mythology, epic, philosophy, agit-prop, irrelevant, history, or various combinations thereof. Many atheists may find the book repulsively ignorant and primitive, while other atheists may find inspiration from certain passages even though they don’t believe in the supernatural events and miracles mentioned in the Bible. Many atheists see religious works as interesting historical records of the myths and beliefs of humanity. By definition atheists do not believe any religious text to be divinely inspired truth: in other words, “Dude, it’s just a book” (or, in fact, a somewhat random collection of different books).

There are several types of evidence to support the idea that “it’s just a book.” Textual analysis of the various books of the Bible reveals vastly differing writing styles among the authors of the individual books of the Old and New Testaments, suggesting that these works represent many different (human) voices, and not a sole, divinely inspired voice. The existence of Apocrypha, writings dating from the time of the Bible that were not included into official canon by Jews or Christians (and peppered with mystical events such as encounters with angels, demons, and dragons), further suggests that “divine authorship” is not a reliable claim. Within Christianity, there are even differences among sects regarding which books are Apocrypha and which are included in the Bible, or which are included under the heading “Apocrypha”, indicating that they constitute holy writings but are not meant to be taken as literally as the other books. The Book of Tobit, for example, is included in the Catholic Bible but considered Apocrypha by Protestants and is wholly absent from the Jewish Bible.

Another problem with the “divine authorship” of the Bible is the existence of texts that pre-date it but contain significant similarities to certain Biblical stories. The best-known among these is the flood story, found in numerous versions in texts from across the ancient Middle East, including the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, which bears textual similarities with the Biblical account. Another such story with apparent Babylonian origin is that of the Tower of Babel. It has been suggested that some of these stories were appropriated by the Jews during the Babylonian Exile.

Studies of the history of the Bible, although not undertaken with the intent of disproving it (in fact, many Biblical historians set out to prove the Bible’s veracity), shed light on the Bible’s nature as a set of historical documents, ones which were written by humans and were affected by the cultural circumstances surrounding their creation. It should be noted that this type of rational discourse neither proves nor requires an atheistic worldview: one can believe that the Bible is not the infallible word of God either because one adheres to a non-Judeo-Christian religion or because one is a Christian or Jew but not a Biblical literalist. These criticisms of Biblical “truth” serve mainly to counter the arguments of fundamentalists, who are among atheism’s most vociferous critics.

Atheists and the nonreligious face persecution and discrimination in many nations worldwide. In Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan and Jordan, atheists (and others) are denied free speech through blasphemy laws. In Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan being an atheist can carry the death penalty. In many nations citizens are forced to register as adherents of a limited range of religions, which denies atheists and adherents of alternative religions the right to free expression. Atheists can lose their right to citizenship and face restrictions on their right to marry. [62][63] In many parts of the world atheists face increasing prejudice and hate speech like that which ethnic and religious minorities suffer. Saudi Arabia introduced new laws banning atheist thought in any form; there a Muslim expressing religious views the government disliked was falsely called an atheist, sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. In Egypt young people talking about their right to state atheist ideas on television or on YouTube were detained.[64]

I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Research in the American Sociological Review finds that atheists are the group that Americans least relate to for shared vision or want to have marry into their family. [66]

From the report’s conclusions

To be an atheist in such an environment is not to be one more religious minority among many in a strongly pluralist society. Rather, Americans construct the atheist as the symbolic representation of one who rejects the basis for moral solidarity and cultural membership in American society altogether.

A 2012 Gallup poll shows presidential candidates who are open atheists are the least likely demographic to be voted into office. [67]

In some parts of the United States people who are openly atheist may be attacked, spat on, turned out of the family home, sent to Bible camp and forced to pretend religiosity. [68]

In the US, atheists are the least trusted and liked people out of all social groups, possibly because of their cracker-stealing banana fetishes and their superior knowledge[69] of actual religious content. They top the charts when people are asked “who would you least trust to be elected President” or “who would you least want to marry your beautiful, sweet, innocent Christian daughter.”[70][71] It probably doesn’t help that the U.S. is one of the most religious developed countries in the world.[72]

Many have lost jobs and been harassed out of their homes for what is essentially a lack of any belief that could act as motivation to cause harm. Chuck Norris infamously claimed that he would like to tattoo “In God We Trust” onto atheist foreheads before booting them out of Jesusland[citationneeded], possibly to work as slaves in the Mines of Mora (he claims this is a joke, but few actually laughed). More extreme fundamentalists seem to want them outright banned from existence; blogger Andrew Schlafly seriously considered banning them from his website and George H. W. Bush declared “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God,” questioning whether anyone who disbelieves in God should even be allowed to vote (or at least be allowed to vote themselves out of persecution).[73] A creationist group has refined this way of thinking, stating that atheists and other “evolutionists” should be disenfranchised, as anyone who believes the theory of evolution is clearly mentally incompetent.[74]

Six US states have laws on the books that prohibit atheists from holding public office.[75] This despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling — Torcaso v. Watkins (1961)[76] — that prohibits discrimination against atheist officeholders.[77] These states are:

If atheism isn’t a hanging offense in these places, they probably wish it were.[citationNOT needed] (Ok, maybe not Maryland, but you get the point.)

In some European countries being an atheist is unremarkable.

France has an entirely secular culture, with a suitably large proportion of the population declaring “no religion.” In Scandinavia, while the majority of the population are members of their respective national churches, irreligiosity is nevertheless widespread and being openly atheist is completely unremarkable.[78] In the UK, Tony Blair’s spin-doctor Alistar Campbell was led to declare that “we don’t do god”[79] and Tony himself said that he kept quiet about religion because people would think he was “a nutter”. The previous deputy Prime Minister was an atheist, while the Prime Minister himself has said that his Church of England faith “comes and goes”. Overall, atheists in Europe aren’t demonized as they are in America and other countries led by fundamentalists. Despite this, British Muslims who become atheists can face ostracism, threats and even physical abuse.[80]

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The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on The Second Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and the …
Jun 242016
 

In 1803 a distinguished Virginia jurist named St. George Tucker published the first extended analysis and commentary on the recently adopted U.S. Constitution. Though it is mostly forgotten today, Tucker’s View of the Constitution of the United States was a major work in its time. In the early decades of the nineteenth century, generations of lawyers and scholars would reach for Tucker’s View as a go-to constitutional law textbook.

I was reminded of Tucker’s dusty tome in recent days after reading one liberal pundit after another smugly assert that the original meaning of the Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with individual rights. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, for example, denounced the individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment as a “a hoax” peddled in recent years by the conniving National Rifle Association. Likewise, Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson complained that “the NRA’s politicking has warped the Constitution itself” by tricking the Supreme Court into “recast[ing] the Second Amendment as a guarantee of individual gun rights.”

Old St. George Tucker never encountered any “politicking” by the NRA. A veteran of the Revolutionary war and a one-time colleague of James Madison, Tucker watched in real time as Americans publicly debated whether or to ratify the Constitution, and then watched again as Americans debated whether or not to amend the Constitution by adopting the Bill of Rights. Afterwards Tucker sat down and wrote the country’s first major constitutional treatise. And as far Tucker was concerned, there was simply no doubt that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to arms. “This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty,” Tucker wrote of the Second Amendment. “The right of self-defense is the first law of nature.”

The individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment was widely held during the founding era. How do we know this? Because the historical evidence overwhelmingly points in that direction. For example, consider the historical context in which the Second Amendment was first adopted.

When the Constitution was ratified in 1789 it lacked the Bill of Rights. Those first 10 amendments came along a few years later, added to the Constitution in response to objections made during ratification by the Anti-Federalists, who wanted to see some explicit protections added in order to safeguard key individual rights. As the pseudonymous Anti-Federalist pamphleteer “John DeWitt” put it, “the want of a Bill of Rights to accompany this proposed system, is a solid objection to it.”

Library of CongressJames Madison, the primary architect of the new Constitution, took seriously such Anti-Federalist objections. “The great mass of the people who opposed [the Constitution],” Madison told Congress in 1789, “dislike it because it did not contain effectual provision against encroachments on particular rights.” To remove such objections, Madison said, supporters of the Constitution should compromise and agree to include “such amendments in the constitution as will secure those rights, which [the Anti-Federalists] consider as not sufficiently guarded.” Madison then proposed the batch of amendments that would eventually become the Bill of Rights.

What “particular rights” did the Anti-Federalists consider to be “not sufficiently guarded” by the new Constitution? One right that the Anti-Federalists brought up again and again was the individual right to arms.

For example, Anti-Federalists at the New Hampshire ratification convention wanted it made clear that, “Congress shall never disarm any Citizen unless such as are or have been in Actual Rebellion.” Anti-Federalists at the Massachusetts ratification convention wanted the Constitution to “be never construed…to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable, from keeping their own arms.”

Meanwhile, in the Anti-Federalist stronghold of Pennsylvania, critics at that state’s ratification convention wanted the Constitution to declare, “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and their own State, or the United States, or for the purpose of killing game; and no law shall be passed for disarming the people or any of them, unless for crimes committed, or real danger of public injury from individuals.”

One of the central purposes of the Second Amendment was to mollify such concerns by enshrining the individual right to arms squarely within the text of the Constitution. Just as the First Amendment was added to address fears of government censorship, the Second Amendment was added to address fears about government bans on private gun ownership.

Like it or not, the idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right is as old as the Second Amendment itself.

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War-On-Drugs.net

 War On Drugs  Comments Off on War-On-Drugs.net
Jun 212016
 

US Admits Failings As Afghan Poppy Output Doubles (And A Staggering 36 Times More Than The Taliban)

by Arianna Huffington, April 2, 2002

In an infuriating blow to reason, logic, fairness, compassion and equal justice, the Supreme Court ruled last week that people living in public housing can be evicted for any drug activity by any household member or guest — even if the drug use happened blocks away from the housing project and even if the tenant had no inkling that anything illegal was taking place.

Chew on that for a second. The highest judicial body in the land has said –unanimously — that it’s OK to toss people who the court acknowledges are innocent out of their houses for crimes they didn’t commit and didn’t even know about. The generals in the drug war are getting mighty desperate –and silly.

The justices did not just uphold the constitutionality of the “One Strike and You’re Out” eviction policy, first implemented by the Clinton administration in 1996; they also rushed to its defense, calling it “reasonable,” “unambiguous” and “not absurd.”

But try to tell Pearlie Rucker that the law’s not absurd. She was the named defendant in the case the court ruled on, a 63-year-old great-grandmother who found herself and everyone living with her facing eviction when her mentally disabled daughter was caught possessing cocaine — three blocks away from Rucker’s apartment. Or to co-defendant Herman Walker, a disabled 79-year old man, who now stands to lose his home because his full-time health care worker was found with drug paraphernalia in the apartment. You’d think that if the Supremes didn’t understand the hardship of poverty, they’d at least understand the hardships of old age.

When the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had struck down this draconian policy, it ruled that it perverted the intent of the law, which was meant to improve the lives of public housing residents — not destroy them.

The high court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist no less, tried to buttress its cold-hearted argument by claiming that so-called “no fault” evictions are justified because drug use leads to “murders, muggings, and other forms of violence.” But he failed to point out how locking up innocent people solves that. Or what social ills will be avoided by Pearlie and Herman being cast out on their innocent rear ends. Surely even the most brutal and utilitarian calculus would at least balance the cost of punishing so many blameless victims against whatever perceived good is achieved.

But, no, the justices couldn’t be bothered. In adopting such one-sided reasoning and hyperbolic “Reefer Madness” rhetoric the Supreme Court is following in the fear-mongering footsteps of the administration, whose latest whacko anti-drug ad campaign tried to draw a link between teenage drug use and violent acts of terrorism.

In reality, two of the four plaintiffs in the case before the court were elderly women whose grandchildren were caught smoking pot in a housing project parking lot. I have a feeling the grandkids were far more interested in the munchies than in murder and mayhem.

The ruling is not only a galling example of drug war lunacy, but also a gut-wrenching reminder of just how differently America treats its rich and its poor. The multi-million dollar homes of Beverly Hills or the Upper East Side of Manhattan have more than their share of kids struggling with drug problems. But as concerned as these kids’ parents are, you can bet that their problems are not compounded by the additional worry that the entire family will be tossed out onto the street because their kid is seen smoking a joint three blocks away. Why should we hold poor people to a standard of accountability most of us could never meet?

“A tenant who cannot control drug crime,” wrote Justice Rehnquist in the majority opinion, “is a threat to other residents and the project.” I wonder if the Chief Justice would apply the same condemnatory logic to Gov. Jeb Bush, who also lives in public housing and was also unable to control his troubled daughter.

Indeed, our political establishment, whether ensconced in plush public housing or not, is filled with people unable to “control drug crime” by a household member. But none of them — including Sens. Ted Kennedy, Richard Lugar, and Richard Shelby, and Reps. Dan Burton, Spencer Bachus, John Murtha, Duke Cunningham and Maurice Hinchey — were punished for the sins of their kids. What’s more, unlike the thousands of poor and minority drug offenders who have had the book thrown at them, these lawmakers’ lawbreaking offspring were frequently granted special treatment.

Take the amazing case of Rep. Burton’s son, Dan II, who, in 1994, was arrested for transporting seven pounds of marijuana across state lines with the intent to distribute. He pleaded guilty and received probation, community service and house arrest. Soon after, he was discovered growing 30 pot plants in his apartment but skated on the charges once again — a federal felony carrying a mandatory-minimum sentence of five years in jail having been miraculously transformed into a state level misdemeanor.

It’s not surprising that poor kids are routinely sent to jail while rich kids are given a slap on the wrist and a ticket to rehab, or that poor parents are thrown out of their houses for not knowing what their kids are doing while powerful parents are given our sympathy and understanding. But it is unjust. And isn’t that ultimately what the Supreme Court is supposed to be about: dispensing justice?

Since Rehnquist and company were too busy taking hits from their double-standard bong, it’s now up to Congress to undo this discriminatory policy. Here’s a thought: Why don’t Ted Kennedy and Dan Burton call a joint Senate-House hearing on “One Strike and You’re Out” no-fault evictions. They can call Jeb Bush, Pearlie Rucker and their respective daughters (one taken to rehab, one taken to jail) as the first witnesses.

Source: http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12747

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The Second Amendment Is About Revolution

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on The Second Amendment Is About Revolution
Jun 212016
 

Last week, Rolling Stone published an article by David S. Cohen, a law professor who thinks the Second Amendment should be repealed. The Second Amendment needs to be repealed because it is outdated, a threat to liberty and a suicide pact, writes Cohen. When the Second Amendment was adopted in 1791, there were no weapons remotely like the AR-15 assault rifle and many of the advances of modern weaponry were long from being invented or popularized.

In the wake of the Orlando massacre, Cohen reasons, now is the time to acknowledge a profound but obvious truththe Second Amendment is wrong for this country and needs to be jettisoned.

This isnt the first time liberals have mused out loud about whether the Second Amendment is really necessary, or whether it really means individuals have a right to own guns. But tragedies like Orlando seem to revive all the old arguments. Not that commentators are very knowledgeable about the weapons theyd like to ban. An AR-15, for example, cant fire 700 rounds per minute, nor can any guy whos taken a shop class modify a semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic in five minutes, as Michael Moore seems to think.

But even if an AR-15 only fires once every time you squeeze the trigger, even if it cant be easily converted into an automatic, just taking the rifle for what it is, liberals want to know: who needs a gun like that? How many rounds do you need to be able to fire per minute to kill a deer, or ward off a burglar? Does anyone really need a 25-round magazine? Isnt the only reason for such firepower to make killing people as efficient as possible? Isnt this a weapon of war? Why would American civilians need to own weapons of war?

Turns out, thats precisely the right question to ask. The Second Amendment, after all, doesnt recognize our right to hunt deer or protect ourselves from criminals. Owning guns certainly makes doing those things easier, but its not why the Founders bothered to codify gun rights. They were getting at something elsethe right of revolution.

Simply put, the purpose of the Second Amendment is to give the people the means to overthrow the government in the event it becomes tyrannical.

Most gun control advocates scoff at this. Indeed, its an argument that even some conservatives are hesitant to make. How could the people, armed with rifles and pistols, overthrow the government? On its face, it seems absurd.

More on that in a minute. But first, consider that the Second Amendment is unique among the amendments enumerated in the Bill of Rights because it contains a kind of explanatory preamble: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Edward J. Erler, a political science professor at California State University, San Bernardino, and an expert on the Second Amendment, has argued that the right of revolution is asserted in the Declaration of Independence, which states that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governednot every power, only just powers, which the people delegate to a government that is by definition limited to the purposes for which it was established, the Safety and Happiness of the people. Furthermore, the Declaration states that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. Erler says this is what has come to be known as the right of revolution,

an essential ingredient of the social compact and a right which is always reserved to the people. The people can never cede or delegate this ultimate expression of sovereign power. Thus, in a very important sense, the right of revolution (or even its threat) is the right that guarantees every other right. And if the people have this right as an indefeasible aspect of their sovereignty, then, by necessity, the people also have a right to the means to revolution. Only an armed people are a sovereign people, and only an armed people are a free peoplethe people are indeed a militia.

In recent years an argument has become popular on the American Left that the Second Amendment means only that a well regulated militia has the right to bear arms, not individuals. The idea is that, say, the State of Texas can form a militia and arm it accordingly, but individual Texans have no inherent right to the private ownership of firearms.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court repudiated this idea in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. The late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the opinion for the majority and quoted Blackstones Commentaries on the Laws of England, which recognizes the natural right of resistance and self-preservation. Scalia insisted that the Second Amendment acknowledges rights that predate the Constitution, such as the right of revolution.

But Erler argues that Scalia was wrong to imply that Second Amendment rights were codified from the common lawthey were, in fact, natural rights, deriving their status from the Laws of Nature and of Natures God. Like the right to revolution, the right to self-defense or self-preservation can never be ceded to government.

So what does this mean in practice? Are we to conclude that the Founders imagined a day when civilians armed with AR-15s and Glocks might one day march on Washington DC if the government ever became tyrannical? If the Second Amendment guarantees our right to the means of revolution, does that mean civilians should also be allowed to own tanks and artillery?

Not quite. The Founders thought standing armies were a threat to liberty, which means they surely would have thought that standing private armies constituted the same threat. Self-preservation and self-defense might be natural right, but even in Heller the Supreme Court indicated that there could be reasonable limitations on gun ownership.

To answer the scoffers on the Left, though, imagine what an American revolutionthe exercise of first principlesmight look like in the twenty-firstcentury. The government, or a branch of it (most likely the executive) becomes destructive to the ends for which it was established. It tyrannizes the people, takes their property, deprives them of their rights, destroys their lives. A revolution, or an abolishment of that government, would likely not be a civilian undertaking but a military one. Working in conjunction with other branches of the federal government and perhaps some state governments, the military would effect a coup dtat.

It would likely be a kind of civil war, and civilians would likely be caught up in it at some point. Perhaps they would form local militias to defend their homes and businesses. Perhaps they would volunteer their services to military commanders or state police forces. Perhaps they would simply want to ensure the safety of their families.

To do any of that, they would need to be armed. Just as the Founders envisioned.

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The Second Amendment Is About Revolution

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Psychedelics: LSD, Mushrooms, Salvia | Facts | Drug Policy …

 Psychedelics  Comments Off on Psychedelics: LSD, Mushrooms, Salvia | Facts | Drug Policy …
Jun 192016
 

Psychedelic drugs include LSD (acid), psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline (found in peyote), ibogaine, salvia, and DMT (found in ayahuasca). Psychedelic substances have been used for thousands of years for religious and therapeutic purposes.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, psychedelic drugs such as LSD were considered promising treatments for a broad range of psychological and psychiatric conditions. Tens of thousands of people were introduced to them in clinical studies, as an adjunct to psychotherapy, or as part of a religious or spiritual practice.

By the late 1960s, however, as millions of people experimented with them, psychedelics became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent. By the early 1970s, the government had halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy. The ban persisted for decades, but has gradually been lifted over the past decade.

Today, there are dozens of studies taking place to evaluate the medical safety and efficacy of psychedelics, and the Supreme Court has ruled that psychedelics can be used as part of the practices of certain organized religions.

Facts

Sources:

Grinspoon, Lester and James B. Bakalar. 1997. Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered. New York: The Lindesmith Center.

Grob, Charles and Roger Walsh, ed. Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Expore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics. SUNY University of New York Press, 2005.

Stamets, Paul, Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1996.

Stolaroff, Myron. The Secret Chief. Sarasota, FL: MAPS, 2006.

Strassman, R. J. 1984. Adverse Reactions to Psychedelic Drugs: A Review of the Literature. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 172: 577-95.

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Psychedelics: LSD, Mushrooms, Salvia | Facts | Drug Policy …

 Posted by at 2:39 pm  Tagged with:

Yeah, About That Second Amendment

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Yeah, About That Second Amendment
Jun 192016
 

Source: Jim Jesus / YouTube.com

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

While there have been countless debates, tests and judgments that have defined and re-defined how to interpret this amendment, the current prevailing interpretation and belief in America is that individual gun ownership is a constitutional right. As a result, America has seen a steady and consistent stream of deregulation around gun ownership, even as mass shootings appear to be on the rise. As progressives get increasingly concerned about the gun culture in America, as a tactic, they try to make their case by comparing gun ownership to other safety-related, common-sense laws:

While certainly humorous while making a practical point, this tweet burn completely misses the larger point: people don’t have a constitutional right to buy Sudafed. You simply cannot compare a constitutional right to anything else not on the fundamental rights playing field.

This lack of focus on the constitutional argument is where progressives have lost their way. They have been so focused on the practical utility of public policy that they end up losing the larger fights that define America. Constitutional interpretation lends itself to a more strategic (and philosophical) debate platform than arguing the facts and stats on how laws can and should protect people. Constitutional theory is the debate platform that conservatives have been playing on for decades while progressives get frustrated and lose ground.

The remarkable irony is that the wording and intent within the Second Amendment is actually on progressive’s side. In fact, the Second Amendment is a progressive’s dream: the third word in the amendment is “regulated” for heaven’s sake.

No matter the interpretation of every other word and phrase after the first three words, the entire context of the amendment is that it will be a regulated right. Through this lens, the Second Amendment is barely even comparable to the First Amendment in terms of what rights it enables. There is simply no language in the First Amendment that regulates the right to free speech… and yet we still regulate speech despite the unassailable strength of the the First Amendment constitutional language

The upshot? Even in today’s hardcore gun rights environment and culture, the Constitution itself provides the guidance — and mandate — to not just regulate militia (i.e., groups of people) and arms, but to regulate them well.

How our culture defines “well” can and will certainly evolve over time, but we shouldn’t let gun rights ideologues and arms industry special interests continue to convince the public that they’re the only ones who have the Constitution on their side in this debate.

Yes, current Supreme Court interpretation is that every citizen has the right to bear arms. But it’s also constitutionally mandated that we regulate these armed people (i.e., militia) and their arms well. Seeing as the right to bear arms has been implemented pretty effectively in America, perhaps now it’s time to start implementing regulation well too, as the Constitution also mandates.

Editor’s note: On 6/18, I revised the article to include people (i.e., militia)” as well as arms, because I originally mistakenly linked regulation only to arms, not the people who have the right to own them

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Eugenics and You Damn Interesting

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Jun 172016
 

When Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking theory of Natural Selection in 1859, it was received by the public with considerable vexation. Although the esteemed naturalist had been kind enough to explain his theory using mounds of logic and evidence, he lacked the good manners to incorporate the readers preconceived notions of the universe. Nevertheless, many men of science were drawn to the elegant hypothesis, and they found it pregnant with intriguing corollaries. One of these was a phenomenon Darwin referred to as artificial selection: the centuries-old process of selectively breeding domestic animals to magnify desirable traits. This, he explained, was the same mechanism as natural selection, merely accelerated by human influence.

In 1865, Darwins half-cousin Sir Francis Galton pried the lid from yet another worm-can with the publication of his article entitled Hereditary Talent and Character. In this essay, the gentleman-scientist suggested that one could apply the principle of artificial selection to humans just as one could in domestic animals, thereby exaggerating desirable human traits over several generations. This scientific philosophy would come to be known as eugenics, and over the subsequent years its seemingly sensible insights gained approval worldwide. In an effort to curtail the genetic pollution created by inferior genes, some governments even enacted laws authorizing the forcible sterilization of the insane, idiotic, imbecile, feebleminded or epileptic, as well as individuals with criminal or promiscuous inclinations. Ultimately hundreds of thousands of people were forced or coerced into sterilization worldwide, over 65,000 of them in the country which pioneered the eugenic effort: The United States of America.

From the beginning, Sir Francis Galton and his league of extraordinary eugenicists were concerned that the human race was facing an inevitable decline. They worried that advances in medicine were too successful in improving the survival and reproduction of weak individuals, thereby working at odds with natural evolution. Darwin himself expressed some concern regarding such negative selection:

[We] do our utmost to check the process of elimination. We build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. [] Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. [] Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.

The early proponents of eugenics were also distressed over the observation that the poor segments of an industrialized society tend to have more children than the well-off, an effect now known as the demographic-economic paradox. It was feared that this lopsided fertility would dilute the quality of the human gene pool, leading to the deterioration of socially valuable traits such as intelligence. Indeed, this reversion towards mediocrity was suspected by some historians to be a major contributor to the fall of the Roman Empire. The gloomy prediction of mankinds decline was dubbed dysgenics, and it was considered to be the antithesis of the eugenics movement; but it was not considered inevitable. It was believed that a society could reverse its own genetic decay by reducing breeding among the feebleminded and increasing fertility of the affluent.

The cornerstone of eugenics was that everyone has the right to be well-born, without any predisposition to avoidable genetic flaws. The 1911 edition of The Encyclopdia Britannica looked fondly upon the philosophy, defining it as the organic betterment of the race through wise application of the laws of heredity. Prominent people gravitated towards the idea and engaged in vigorous intellectual intercourse, including such characters as Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, H.G. Wells, Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, and US presidents Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge. Supporters popularized eugenics as an opportunity to create a better world by using natural processes to elevate the human condition, both mentally and physically.

The eugenicists concerns regarding a falloff in average intelligence were not entirely unreasonable. It had long been observed that intelligence is inheritable to a large degree, and history had illustrated that science and culture owe much of their advancement to the contributions of a few gifted people. Ingenious composers such as Beethoven and Bach advanced the art of music, thinkers such as such as Pascal and Newton improved the power of mathematics, and insights from scientists such as Einstein and Hawking have furthered the field of physics. Deprived of any one of those men, todays world would be a measurably poorer place. Even before modern IQ tests existed, it was evident that a populations intelligence adheres to a Gaussian distribution, or bell curve. Consequently, even a small decline in average IQ causes a sharp reduction in the number of geniuses. For instance, if the average intelligence of a community were to decline by five IQ points, the number of individuals in the 130+ Gifted category would drop by 56%. A ten-point decline would result in an 83% drop. Although IQ testing is far from perfect, it is clear that even modest erosion of average IQ could severely compromise the long-term progress of a society.

As a cautionary measure, many US states enacted laws as early as 1896 prohibiting marriage to anyone who was epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded. But in 1907, eugenics truly passed the threshold from hypothesis into practice when the state of Indiana erected legislation based upon the notion that socially undesirable traits are hereditary:

it shall be compulsory for each and every institution in the state, entrusted with the care of confirmed criminals, idiots, rapists and imbeciles, to appoint upon its staff, in addition to the regular institutional physician, two (2) skilled surgeons of recognized ability, whose duty it shall be, in conjunction with the chief physician of the institution, to examine the mental and physical condition of such inmates as are recommended by the institutional physician and board of managers. If, in the judgment of this committee of experts and the board of managers, procreation is inadvisable and there is no probability of improvement of the mental condition of the inmate, it shall be lawful for the surgeons to perform such operation for the prevention of procreation as shall be decided safest and most effective.

Although this particular law was later overturned, it is widely considered to be the worlds first eugenic legislation. The sterilization of imbeciles was put into practice, often without informing the patient of the nature of the procedure. Similar laws were soon passed elsewhere in the US, many of which withstood the legal gauntlet and remained in force for decades.

Meanwhile the founders of the newly-formed Eugenics Record Office in New York began to amass hundreds of thousands of family pedigrees for genetic research. The organization publicly endorsed eugenic practices, and lobbied for state sterilization acts and immigration restrictions. The group also spread their vision of genetic superiority by sponsoring a series of Fitter Families contests which were held at state fairs throughout the US. Alongside the states portliest pigs, swiftest horses, and most majestic vegetables, American families were judged for their quality of breeding. Entrants pedigrees were reviewed, their bodies examined, and their mental capacity measured. The families found to be most genetically fit were awarded a silver trophy, and any contestant scoring a B+ or higher was awarded a bronze medal bearing the inscription, Yea, I have a goodly heritage.

The eugenics movement took another swerve for the sinister in 1924 when the state of Virginia enacted a matched set of eugenics laws: The Sterilization Act, a variation of the same sterilization legislation being passed throughout the US; and the Racial Integrity Act, a law which felonized marriage between white persons and non-whites. In September of the same year, this shiny new legislation was challenged by a patient at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Eighteen-year-old Carrie Buck child to a promiscuous mother, and mother to an illegitimate child refused her mandatory sterilization and a legal challenge was arranged on her behalf. A series of appeals ultimately brought the Buck v. Bell case before the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Courts ruling was delivered by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.:

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubesThree generations of imbeciles are enough.

With the apparent vindication of these myopic eugenics laws, sterilization procedures were ordered by the thousands. Carrie Buck and her daughter Vivian were among them. It was later discovered that Carrie had been become pregnant with Vivian after being raped by her foster parents nephew, and that her commitment into the Colony had been a gambit to preserve the familys reputation. It seems that Carrie was neither feebleminded nor promiscuous, she was merely inconvenient.

These sorts of negative eugenics policies enjoyed widespread adoption in the US and Canada throughout the 1920s and 30s, with some lawmakers contemplating plans to make welfare and unemployment relief contingent upon sterilization. In the years leading up to the Second World War, however, the eugenic philosophy received the endorsement of the Nazis, and their racial hygiene atrocities rapidly dragged the eugenic philosophy from public favor. When Nazi leaders were put on trial for war crimes, they cited the United States as the inspiration for the 450,000 forced sterilizations they conducted. The eugenic laws in the US remained in force, however, and sterilization programs continued quietly for many years thereafter. One by one the state laws were repealed, and by 1963 virtually all US states had dismantled their sterilization legislation but not before 65,000 or so imbeciles, criminals, and fornicators were surgically expelled from the gene pool. As for the legal precedent of Buck v. Bell, it has yet to be officially overruled.

Even with the shifts in public opinion, concerns regarding the decline of the species still remained. It was believed that certain undesirable diseases could be reduced or eliminated from humanity through well-informed mate selection, including such maladies as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and certain types of cancer. In an effort to improve general quality of life, some scientists hypothesized that the ideal way to save humanity would be for healthy and attractive women to breed with men of science. Unfortunately, no orgy of intellectuals ensued.

In 1980, millionaire inventor Robert Klark Graham took a similar positive eugenics approach when he established the Repository for Germinal Choice in an underground bunker in Escondido, California. His goal was to procure and propagate the crme de la crme of genius DNA. It was his earnest hope that this institution would spawn thousands of gifted children to offset the unbridled copulation among the retrograde population. For nineteen years he courted the semen of Nobel Prize laureates, prosperous scientists, Olympic gold medalists, or anyone with a proven high IQ. Even as news reports decried Grahams scheme to produce a master race of superbabies, hundreds of pre-screened women made the pilgrimage to his fortress of fertility. Owing to the popularity of the Repository and the stiff requirements demanded of the donors, there was never quite enough sperm on hand, and the founder was forced to spend much of his time seeking brilliant men to come to his aid.

Graham died in 1997, aged 90, and within two years his reservoir of super-sperm dried up due to lack of funding. Reports vary regarding the exact number of babies produced by the Repository for Germinal Choice, but at least 215 were born in almost two decades of operation. Only a few of the offspring have since come forward as products of the Repository, and though they tend to exhibit intellectual and physical excellence, the sample is too small to draw any concrete conclusions. Time will tell whether these superbabies are secretly plotting to enslave humanity for their own diabolical ends.

The breeding behaviors of humans remains of utmost interest to geneticists today. In Israel, the Dor Yeshorim organization was founded to provide genetic screenings for couples considering marriage. If it is discovered that both the man and woman carry the recessive gene for Tay-Sachs disease a genetic defect which causes a slow, painful death within a childs first five years the couple are advised against marrying. The same process screens for several other hereditary diseases which are common among Jews, and owing to this eugenic guidance, the number of affected individuals has been reduced considerably. A similar screening system has been successful in nearly eradicating the disease thalassemia on the island of Cyprus. Such applications align with the original vision of eugenics before it became distorted by misguided minds: voluntary, altruistic, and based upon scientifically measurable criteria. Unfortunately the imperfections in screening methods have occasionally led to bizarre wrongful life lawsuits, where disabled individuals seek compensation for their unprevented afflictions.

It is only a matter of time until advances in genetic engineering place true designer babies within our grasp, and because the offspring of such offspring would receive a complement of tweaked genes, they fall well within the realm of eugenics. It seems that the eugenic philosophy of intelligent evolution is inseparable from humanitys future and we have only just begun to open the massive ethical worm-cans. Historian Daniel Kevles from Yale University suggests that eugenics is akin to the conservation of natural resources; both can be practiced horribly so as to abuse individual rights, but both can be practiced wisely for the betterment of society. There is no doubt that the forced sterilizations in the name of eugenics were an indefensible trespass upon the rights of individuals; but considering the value of programs like Dor Yeshorim, and the potential of ideas such as the Repository for Germinal Choice, one must be careful not to throw out the superbaby with the bathwater.

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Eugenics and You Damn Interesting

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Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …
Jun 172016
 

If you think the Supreme Court is poised to expand or restrict gun rights sometime soon, don’t hold your breath.

As handwringing continues over what might have prevented the Orlando massacre– an old-time filibuster sparked by it even broke outin the Senate on Wednesday — the justices are about to consider a state gun control law enacted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

According to its docket, the court on Thursday will weigh whether to take up Shew v. Malloy, a case with all the elements that could make it emblematic for the battle over the Second Amendment’s meaning.

It’s a dispute between a host of gun rights groups, businesses and individual gun owners against Connecticut over the constitutionality of a sweeping regulatory regime that bans so-called “assault weapons” — semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity magazines of the very sort used in Newtown and Orlando.

Back in October, an appeals court in Manhattan said the Connecticut law and a similarly restrictive law in New Yorkwere constitutional –and the plaintiffs vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court.

Tom King, the head of New York’s biggest gun rights group, even said he was “happy” to have lost the case because that meant his organization could now ask the highest court of the land to decide the issue once and for all.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

But then Justice Antonin Scalia died. And suddenly,the gun lobby’s calculations changed — including King’s, who told the New York Daily News weeks after Scalia’s death that it was “just the wrong time” to continue the fight in the absence of a reliable conservative vote at the Supreme Court.

That might explain why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) glowingly pointed to the National Rifle Association’s opposition to Merrick Garland, the president’s high court nominee, to rationalize his own refusal to hold a vote and a hearing for Garland.

None of this matters, and yet it matters a great deal.

Because despite the pleas from gun rights advocates who still want the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to the weapons ban, the justices could wield all kinds of reasons not to touch the case with a 10-foot pole.

It’s not that they aren’t interested in clarifying the scope of the Second Amendment in the wake of Scalia’s magnum opus in District of Columbia v. Heller, which for the first time recognized a fundamental right to gun ownership in the home. But to echo King, it’s just not the right time — not with a short-staffed Supreme Court, a volatile political environment, and a nomination fight that may very well continue after President Barack Obama’s successor takes office.

As things stand now, all signs point to an extremely quiet and uncontroversial Supreme Court term beginning next October — a dry season that will stand in stark contrast to the current term’s constitutional blockbusters on affirmative action, abortion and immigration, to name only a few.The court just isn’t taking many new cases.

This paucity of potential big decisions aside, the courthassent some signals that the Second Amendment is safe, even as it has rejected dozens of cases challenging gun control measures across the country, leaving lower courts as the final decision-makers.

Over the protest of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court refused in December to review an appeals court decision that effectively upheld an assault weapons ban in a small Illinois town. Thomas said that decision treated the Second Amendment as a second-class right.

But in March, a month after Scalia’s death, the justices tipped their hand the other way, ruling that a Massachusetts ban on stun guns may violate the right to bear arms, quietly but forcefully endorsing the late justice’s Heller decision.

The Second Amendment extends … to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” the court said in a very brief rulingthat no justice signed his or her name to.

But writing separately, Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have gone further, asserting that indeed, gun ownership for self-defense is a “fundamental right” while making clear that Americans’ safety shouldn’t be “left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.”

Fighting words, as well as fodder for debate about where the court may go next on guns.

It is precisely this seeming tension within the Supreme Court — plus the political fallout from Scalia’s vacancy and all the work that other courts are doing to make some sense of the Second Amendment — that indicates why the justices probably won’t pull the trigger on the next big gun rights case soon.

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Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

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Seychelles – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Seychelles  Comments Off on Seychelles – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 122016
 

Coordinates: 435S 5540E / 4.583S 55.667E / -4.583; 55.667

Seychelles (i say-SHELZ; French: [sl]), officially the Republic of Seychelles (French: Rpublique des Seychelles; Creole: Repiblik Sesel), is an archipelago and country in the Indian Ocean. The 115-island country, whose capital is Victoria, lies 1,500 kilometres (932mi) east of mainland East Africa. Other nearby island countries and territories include Comoros, Mayotte, Madagascar, Runion and Mauritius to the south.

Seychelles, with a population of roughly 93,000, has the smallest population of any independent African state; however, it does have a larger population than the British overseas territory Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.[4]

The Seychelles were uninhabited throughout most of recorded history. Some scholars assume that Austronesian seafarers and later Maldivian and Arab traders were the first to visit the uninhabited Seychelles. The earliest recorded sighting by Europeans took place in 1502 by the Portuguese Admiral Vasco da Gama, who passed through the Amirantes and named them after himself (islands of the Admiral). The earliest recorded landing was in January 1609, by the crew of the “Ascension” under Captain Sharpeigh during the fourth voyage of the British East India Company.

A transit point for trade between Africa and Asia, the islands were occasionally used by pirates until the French began to take control starting in 1756 when a Stone of Possession was laid by Captain Nicholas Morphey. The islands were named after Jean Moreau de Schelles, Louis XV’s Minister of Finance.[5]

The British controlled the islands between 1794 and 1810. Jean Baptiste Quau de Quincy, French administrator of Seychelles during the years of war with the United Kingdom, declined to resist when armed enemy warships arrived. Instead, he successfully negotiated the status of capitulation to Britain which gave the settlers a privileged position of neutrality.

Britain eventually assumed full control upon the surrender of Mauritius in 1810, formalised in 1814 at the Treaty of Paris. Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903. Elections were held in 1966 and 1970.

Independence was granted in 1976 as a republic within the Commonwealth.[6] In the 1970s Seychelles was “the place to be seen, a playground for film stars and the international jet set”.[7] In 1977, a coup d’tat by France Albert Ren ousted the first president of the republic, James Mancham.[8] Ren discouraged over-dependence on tourism and declared that he wanted “to keep the Seychelles for the Seychellois”.[7]

The 1979 constitution declared a socialist one-party state, which lasted until 1991.

In the 1980s there were a series of coup attempts against President France-Albert Ren, some of which were supported by South Africa. In 1981, Mike Hoare led a team of 43 South African mercenaries masquerading as holidaying Rugby players in a coup attempt in what is known as the Seychelles affair.[7] There was a gun battle at the airport, and most of the mercenaries later escaped in a hijacked Air India plane.[7] The leader of this hijacking was the infamous German mercenary D. Clodo, a former member of the Rhodesian SAS.[9] Clodo later stood trial in South Africa (where he was acquitted) as well as in his home country Germany for air-piracy.[10]

In 1986, an attempted coup led by the Seychelles Minister of Defence, Ogilvy Berlouis, caused President Ren to request assistance from India. In Operation Flowers are Blooming, the Indian naval vessel INS Vindhyagiri arrived in Port Victoria to help avert the coup.[11]

The first draft of a new constitution failed to receive the requisite 60% of voters in 1992, but an amended version was approved in 1993.

In January 2013, Seychelles declared a state of emergency; the tropical cyclone Felleng caused torrential rain, and flooding and landslides destroyed hundreds of houses.[12][13]

The Seychelles president, who is head of state and head of government, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term of office. The cabinet is presided over and appointed by the president, subject to the approval of a majority of the legislature.

The unicameral Seychellois parliament, the National Assembly or Assemble Nationale, consists of 34 members, 25 of whom are elected directly by popular vote, while the remaining nine seats are appointed proportionally according to the percentage of votes received by each party. All members serve five-year terms.

The Supreme Court of Seychelles, created in 1903, is the highest trial court in Seychelles and the first court of appeal from all the lower courts and tribunals. The highest court of law in Seychelles is the Seychelles Court of Appeal, which is the court of final appeal in the country.[14]

Seychelles’ previous president France Albert Ren came to power after his supporters overthrew the first president James Mancham on 5 June 1977 in a coup d’tat and installed him as president. Ren was at that time the prime minister.[15][16][17]

Ren ruled as a strongman under a socialist one-party system until in 1993, when he was forced to introduce a multi-party system. During his tenure, he was accused of involvement in criminal activity. US Ambassador to Seychelles (198285) David Fischer has stated publicly that Ren was complicit in money laundering and murder, among other things. He stepped down in 2004 in favour of his vice-president, James Michel, who was re-elected in 2006 and again in 2011.[15][16][17]

The primary political parties are the ruling socialist People’s Party (PP), known until 2009 as the Seychelles People’s Progressive Front (SPPF), and the socially liberal Seychelles National Party (SNP).[citation needed]

Seychelles is a member of the African Union, the francophone Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), La Francophonie, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Commonwealth.

Seychelles is divided into twenty-six administrative regions that comprise all of the inner islands. Eight of the districts make up the capital of Seychelles and are referred to as Greater Victoria. Another 14 districts are considered the rural part of the main island of Mah with two districts on Praslin and one on La Digue which also includes respective satellite islands. The rest of the Outer Islands (les Eloignes) are the last district, recently created by the tourism ministry.

An island nation, Seychelles is located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar and about 1,600km (994mi) east of Kenya. The archipelago consists of 115 islands. The majority of the islands are uninhabited, with many dedicated as nature reserves.

The islands as per the Constitution are divided into groups as follows.

There are 45 granite-based islands known as the Granitic Seychelles. These are in descending order of size: Mah, Praslin, Silhouette Island, La Digue, Curieuse, Felicite, Frgate, Ste-Anne, North, Cerf, Marianne, Grand Sur, Thrse, Aride, Conception, Petite Sur, Cousin, Cousine, Long, Rcif, Round (Praslin), Anonyme, Mamelles, Moyenne, Eden, Ile Soleil, Romainville, le aux Vaches Marines, L’Islette, Beacon (le Sche), Cache, Cocos, Round (Mah), L’Ilot Frgate, Booby, Chauve Souris (Mah), Chauve Souris (Praslin), le La Fouche, Hodoul, L’Ilot, Rat, Souris, St. Pierre (Praslin), Zav, Harrison Rocks (Grand Rocher).

There are two coral sand cays north of the granitics: Denis and Bird.

There are two coral islands south of the Granitics: Cotivy and Platte.

There are 29 coral islands in the Amirantes group, west of the granitics: Desroches, Poivre Atoll (comprising three islandsPoivre, Florentin and South Island), Alphonse, D’Arros, St. Joseph Atoll (comprising 14 islandsSt. Joseph le aux Fouquets, Resource, Petit Carcassaye, Grand Carcassaye, Benjamin, Bancs Ferrari, Chiens, Plicans, Vars, le Paul, Banc de Sable, Banc aux Cocos and le aux Poules), Marie Louise, Desnoeufs, African Banks (comprising two islandsAfrican Banks and South Island), Rmire, St. Franois, Boudeuse, Etoile, Bijoutier.

There are 13 coral islands in the Farquhar Group, south-southwest of the Amirantes: Farquhar Atoll (comprising 10 islandsBancs de Sable Dposs le aux Golettes Lapins le du Milieu North Manaha South Manaha Middle Manaha North Island and South Island), Providence Atoll (comprising two islandsProvidence and Bancs Providence) and St Pierre.

There are 67 raised coral islands in the Aldabra Group, west of the Farquhar Group: Aldabra Atoll (comprising 46 islandsGrande Terre, Picard, Polymnie, Malabar, le Michel, le Esprit, le aux Moustiques, Ilot Parc, Ilot Emile, Ilot Yangue, Ilot Magnan, le Lanier, Champignon des Os, Euphrate, Grand Mentor, Grand Ilot, Gros Ilot Gionnet, Gros Ilot Ssame, Heron Rock, Hide Island, le aux Aigrettes, le aux Cdres, les Chalands, le Fangame, le Hron, le Michel, le Squacco, le Sylvestre, le Verte, Ilot Dder, Ilot du Sud, Ilot du Milieu, Ilot du Nord, Ilot Dubois, Ilot Macoa, Ilot Marquoix, Ilots Niois, Ilot Salade, Middle Row Island, Noddy Rock, North Row Island, Petit Mentor, Petit Mentor Endans, Petits Ilots, Pink Rock and Table Ronde), Assumption Island, Astove and Cosmoledo Atoll (comprising 19 islandsMenai, le du Nord (West North), le Nord-Est (East North), le du Trou, Golettes, Grand Polyte, Petit Polyte, Grand le (Wizard), Pagode, le du Sud-Ouest (South), le aux Moustiques, le Baleine, le aux Chauve-Souris, le aux Macaques, le aux Rats, le du Nord-Ouest, le Observation, le Sud-Est and Ilot la Croix).

The climate is equable although quite humid, as the islands are small,[18] classified by Kppen-Geiger system as tropical rain forest (Af). The temperature varies little throughout the year. Temperatures on Mah vary from 24 to 30C (75 to 86F), and rainfall ranges from 2,900mm (114in) annually at Victoria to 3,600mm (142in) on the mountain slopes. Precipitation is somewhat less on the other islands.[19]

During the coolest months, July and August, the average low is about 24C (75F). The southeast trade winds blow regularly from May to November, and this is the most pleasant time of the year. The hot months are from December to April, with higher humidity (80%). March and April are the hottest months, but the temperature seldom exceeds 31C (88F). Most of the islands lie outside the cyclone belt, so high winds are rare.[19]

Environmental legislation is very strict, and every tourism project must undergo an environmental review and a lengthy process of consultations with the public and conservationists. Seychelles is a world leader in sustainable tourism.[according to whom?] The end result of this sustainable development is an intact and stable natural environment, which attracts financially strong visitors (150,000 in 2007) rather than short-term mass tourism. Since 1993 a law guarantees the citizens the right to a clean environment and at the same time obliges them to protect this environment. The country holds a record for the highest percentage of land under natural conservationnearly 50% of the total land area.[citation needed]

Like many fragile island ecosystems, Seychelles saw the loss of biodiversity when humans first settled in the area, including the disappearance of most of the giant tortoises from the granitic islands, the felling of coastal and mid-level forests, and the extinction of species such as the chestnut flanked white eye, the Seychelles parakeet, and the saltwater crocodile. However, extinctions were far fewer than on islands such as Mauritius or Hawaii, partly due to a shorter period of human occupation (since 1770). Seychelles today is known for success stories in protecting its flora and fauna. The rare Seychelles black parrot, the national bird of the country, is now protected.

The granitic islands of Seychelles are home to about 75 endemic plant species, with a further 25 or so species in the Aldabra group. Particularly well-known is the coco de mer, a species of palm that grows only on the islands of Praslin and neighbouring Curieuse. Sometimes nicknamed the “love nut” because of the shape of its fruit which, with the husk removed, presents a “double” coconut resembling buttocks, the coco de mer produces the world’s heaviest seed pods. The jellyfish tree is to be found in only a few locations on Mahe. This strange and ancient plant in a genus of its own (Medusagynaceae) has resisted all efforts to propagate it. Other unique plant species include the Wright’s gardenia (Rothmannia annae) found only on Aride Island Special Reserve.

The freshwater crab genus Seychellum is endemic to the granitic Seychelles, and a further 26 species of crabs and 5 species of hermit crabs live on the islands.[22]

The Aldabra giant tortoise now populates many of the islands of Seychelles. The Aldabra population is the largest in the world. These unique reptiles can be found even in captive herds. It has been reported that the granitic islands of Seychelles supported distinct species of Seychelles giant tortoises; the status of the different populations is currently unclear.

There are several unique varieties of orchids on the islands.

Seychelles hosts some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. The outer islands of Aldabra and Cosmoledo are home to the largest numbers. In granitic Seychelles the largest numbers are on Aride Island including the world’s largest numbers of two species.

The marine life around the islands, especially the more remote coral islands, can be spectacular. More than 1,000 species of fish have been recorded.

Since the use of spearguns and dynamite for fishing was banned through efforts of local conservationists in the 1960s, the wildlife is unafraid of snorkelers and divers. Coral bleaching in 1998 has damaged most reefs, but some reefs show healthy recovery (e.g., Silhouette Island).

Despite huge disparities across nations, Seychelles claims to have achieved nearly all of its Millennium Development Goals.[citation needed] 17 MDGS and 169 targets have been achieved.[citation needed] Environmental protection is becoming a cultural value.[citation needed]

Their government’s Seychelles Climate Guide describes the nation’s climate as rainy, with a dry season with an ocean economy in the ocean regions. The Southeast Trades is on the decline but still fairly strong.[23] Reportedly, weather patterns there are becoming less predictable.[24]

When the British gained control of the islands during the Napoleonic Wars, they allowed the French upper class to retain their land. Both the French and British settlers used enslaved Africans, and although the British prohibited slavery in 1835, African workers continued to come. Thus the Gran blan (“big whites”) of French origin dominated economic and political life. The British administration employed Indians on indentured servitude to the same degree as in Mauritius resulting in a small Indian population. The Indians, like a similar minority of Chinese, were confined to a merchant class.[25]

Through harmonious socioeconomic policies and developments[citation needed] over the years, today Seychelles is described as a fusion of peoples and cultures. Numerous Seychellois are considered multiracial: blending from African, Asian and European descent to create a modern creole culture. Evidence of this harmonious blend is also revealed in Seychellois food, incorporating various aspects of French, Chinese, Indian and African cuisine.

As the islands of Seychelles had no indigenous population, the current Seychellois are composed of people who have immigrated. The largest ethnic groups were those of African, French, Indian and Chinese descent. French and English are official languages along with Seychellois Creole, which is primarily based upon French, yet nowadays is often laced with English words and phrases.

The median age of the Seychellois was 32 years.[26]

According to the 2010 census, most Seychellois are Christians: 76.2% were Roman Catholic, pastorally served by the exempt Diocese of Port Victoria or Seychelles (immediately dependent on the Holy See); 10.6% were Protestant, (Anglican 6.1%, Pentecostal Assembly 1.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.2%, other Protestant 1.6%).

Hinduism is practiced by 2.4%, and Islam by 1.6%. Other non-Christian faiths accounted for 1.1% of the population while a further 5.9% were non-religious or did not specify a religion.[26]

During the plantation era, cinnamon, vanilla and copra were the chief exports. In 1965, during a three-month visit to the islands, futurist Donald Prell prepared for the then crown colony Governor General, an economic report containing a scenario for the future of the economy. Quoting from his report, in the 1960s, about 33% of the working population worked at plantations, and 20% worked in the public or government sector.[27][28] The Indian Ocean Tracking Station on Mah was closed in August 1996 after the Seychelles government attempted to raise the rent to more than $10,000,000 per year.

Since independence in 1976, per capita output has expanded to roughly seven times the old near-subsistence level. Growth has been led by the tourist sector, which employs about 30% of the labour force, compared to agriculture which today employs about 3% of the labour force. Despite the growth of tourism, farming and fishing continue to employ some people, as do industries that process coconuts and vanilla.

As of 2013[update], the main export products are processed fish (60%) and non-fillet frozen fish (22%).[29]

The prime agricultural products currently produced in Seychelles include sweet potatoes, vanilla, coconuts and cinnamon. These products provide much of the economic support of the locals. Frozen and canned fish, copra, cinnamon and vanilla are the main export commodities.

Since the worldwide economic crises of 2008, the Seychelles government has prioritised a curbing of the budget deficit, including the containment of social welfare costs and further privatisation of public enterprises. The government has a pervasive presence in economic activity, with public enterprises active in petroleum product distribution, banking, imports of basic products, telecommunications and a wide range of other businesses. According to the 2013 Index of Economic Freedom, which measures the degree of limited government, market openness, regulatory efficiency, rule of law, and other factors, economic freedom has been increasing each year since 2010.[30]

The national currency of Seychelles is the Seychellois rupee. Initially tied to a basket of international currencies it was depegged and allowed to be devalued and float freely in 2008 on the presumed hopes of attracting further foreign investment in the Seychelles economy.

In 1971, with the opening of Seychelles International Airport, tourism became a significant industry, essentially dividing the economy into plantations and tourism. The tourism sector paid better, and the plantation economy could only expand so far. The plantation sector of the economy declined in prominence, and tourism became the primary industry of Seychelles.

In recent years the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and other services. These incentives have given rise to an enormous amount of investment in real estate projects and new resort properties, such as project TIME, distributed by the World Bank, along with its predecessor project MAGIC.[citation needed] Despite its growth, the vulnerability of the tourist sector was illustrated by the sharp drop in 19911992 due largely to the Gulf War.[31]

Since then the government has moved to reduce the dependence on tourism by promoting the development of farming, fishing, small-scale manufacturing and most recently the offshore financial sector, through the establishment of the Financial Services Authority and the enactment of several pieces of legislation (such as the International Corporate Service Providers Act, the International Business Companies Act, the Securities Act, the Mutual Funds and Hedge Fund Act, amongst others).

During March 2015, Seychelles allocated Assumption island to be developed by India.[32]

Although multinational oil companies have explored the waters around the islands, no oil or gas has been found. In 2005, a deal was signed with US firm Petroquest, giving it exploration rights to about 30,000km2 around Constant, Topaz, Farquhar and Cotivy islands until 2014. Seychelles imports oil from the Persian Gulf in the form of refined petroleum derivatives at the rate of about 5,700 barrels per day (910m3/d).

In recent years oil has been imported from Kuwait and also from Bahrain. Seychelles imports three times more oil than is needed for internal uses because it re-exports the surplus oil in the form of bunker for ships and aircraft calling at Mah. There are no refining capacities on the islands. Oil and gas imports, distribution and re-export are the responsibility of Seychelles Petroleum (Sepec), while oil exploration is the responsibility of the Seychelles National Oil Company (SNOC).

Seychellois society is essentially matriarchal.[33][34] Mothers tend to be dominant in the household, controlling most expenditures and looking after the interests of the children.[33]Unwed mothers are the societal norm, and the law requires fathers to support their children.[34] Men are important for their earning ability, but their domestic role is relatively peripheral.[33]

Until the mid-19th century, little formal education was available in Seychelles. The Catholic and Anglican churches opened mission schools in 1851. The Catholic mission later operated boys’ and girls’ secondary schools with religious Brothers and nuns from abroad even after the government became responsible for them in 1944.

A teacher training college opened in 1959, when the supply of locally trained teachers began to grow, and in short time many new schools were established. Since 1981 a system of free education has been in effect requiring attendance by all children in grades one to nine, beginning at age five. Ninety percent of all children attend nursery school at age four.

The literacy rate for school-age children rose to more than 90% by the late 1980s. Many older Seychellois had not been taught to read or write in their childhood; adult education classes helped raise adult literacy from 60% to a claimed 100% in 2014.

There are a total of 68 schools in Seychelles. The public school system consists of 23 crches, 25 primary schools and 13 secondary schools. They are located on Mah, Praslin, La Digue and Silhouette. Additionally, there are three private schools: cole Franaise, International School and the Independent School. All the private schools are on Mah, and the International School has a branch on Praslin. There are seven post-secondary (non-tertiary) schools: the Seychelles Polytechnic, School of Advanced Level Studies, Seychelles Tourism Academy, University of Seychelles Education, Seychelles Institute of Technology, Maritime Training Center, Seychelles Agricultural and Horticultural Training Center and the National Institute for Health and Social Studies.

The administration launched plans to open a university in an attempt to slow down the brain drain that has occurred. University of Seychelles, initiated in conjunction with the University of London, opened on 17 September 2009 in three locations and offers qualifications from the University of London.

Staple foods include fish, seafood and shellfish dishes, often accompanied with rice.[35][36] Fish dishes are cooked in several ways, such as steamed, grilled, wrapped in banana leaves, baked, salted and smoked.[35] Curry dishes with rice are also a significant aspect of the country’s cuisine.[36][37]

Additional food staples include coconut, breadfruit, mangoes and kordonnyen fish.[38] Dishes are often garnished with fresh flowers.[38]

The music of Seychelles is diverse, a reflection of the fusion of cultures through its history. The folk music of the islands incorporates multiple influences in a syncretic fashion, including African rhythms, aesthetic and instrumentationsuch as the zez and the bom (known in Brazil as berimbau), European contredanse, polka and mazurka, French folk and pop, sega from Mauritius and Runion, taarab, soukous and other pan-African genres, and Polynesian, Indian and Arcadian music.

A form of percussion music called contombley is popular, as is Moutya, a fusion of native folk rhythms with Kenyan benga. Kontredans (based on European contredanse) is popular, especially in District and School competitions during the annual Festival Kreol (International Creole Festival). Moutya playing and dancing can often be seen at beach bazaars. Their main languages are Seslwa Creole of The French Language, French and English.

The main daily newspaper is the Seychelles Nation, dedicated to local government views and current affairs and topics. Other political parties operate other papers such as Regar. Foreign newspapers and magazines are readily available in most bookshops and newsagents. The papers are mostly written in Seychellois Creole, French and English.

The main television and radio network is operated by the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation which offers locally produced news and discussion programmes in the Seychellois Creole language. Broadcasts run between 3pm and 11:30pm on weekdays and longer hours during the weekends. There are also imported English and French language television programmes imported on Seychellois terrestrial television and international satellite television has grown rapidly in recent years.

The most popular sport in the Seychelles is basketball, which has particularly developed in this decade.[41] The country’s national team qualified for the 2015 African Games, its greatest accomplishment to date. There, the team competed against some of the continent’s largest countries such as Egypt.

The Military of Seychelles is the Seychelles People’s Defence Force which consists of a number of distinct branches: including an Infantry Unit, Coast Guard, Air Force and a Presidential Protection Unit. India has and continues to play a key role developing the military of Seychelles. After handing over 2 SDB Mk5 patrol vessels namely INS Tarasa and INS Tarmugli to Seychelles Coast Guard, built by GRSE which were subsequently renamed SCG Constant and SCG Topaz, India also gifted a Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.[42] India also signed a pact to develop the Assumption Island, one of the 115 islands that make up the country. Spread over 11km2 (4sqmi), it is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar. The island is being leased for development of infrastructure, a euphemism for developing strategic assets by India.[43]

Seychelles has the highest incarceration rate in the world, having edged out the United States in 2012. As of June, 2014, Seychelles had 868 prisoners per 100,000 people. [1].

Seychelles has become a key participant in the fight against piracy, which is perhaps the cause of their out-sized incarceration rate. President James Michel said [2] that piracy costs between $7 and 12 million a year to the international community; the pirates cost 4% of the Seychelles GDP, including direct and indirect costs for the loss of boats, fishing, and tourism, and the indirect investment for maritime security; and between 2008 and 2009, local fishing suffered a 46% loss.

Help has arrived from abroad. The United Arab Emirates sent five patrol boats, the United States gave a drone, the PR China offered two patrol planes, Luxembourg provided a speedboat and Italy continues to send Navy boats to patrol the coasts.

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Harvard’s eugenics era | Harvard Magazine

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Jun 062016
 

In August 1912, Harvard president emeritus Charles William Eliot addressed the Harvard Club of San Francisco on a subject close to his heart: racial purity. It was being threatened, he declared, by immigration. Eliot was not opposed to admitting new Americans, but he saw the mixture of racial groups it could bring about as a grave danger. Each nation should keep its stock pure, Eliot told his San Francisco audience. There should be no blending of races.

Eliots warning against mixing raceswhich for him included Irish Catholics marrying white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, Jews marrying Gentiles, and blacks marrying whiteswas a central tenet of eugenics. The eugenics movement, which had begun in England and was rapidly spreading in the United States, insisted that human progress depended on promoting reproduction by the best people in the best combinations, and preventing the unworthy from having children.

The former Harvard president was an outspoken supporter of another major eugenic cause of his time: forced sterilization of people declared to be feebleminded, physically disabled, criminalistic, or otherwise flawed. In 1907, Indiana had enacted the nations first eugenic sterilization law. Four years later, in a paper on The Suppression of Moral Defectives, Eliot declared that Indianas law blazed the trail which all free states must follow, if they would protect themselves from moral degeneracy.

He also lent his considerable prestige to the campaign to build a global eugenics movement. He was a vice president of the First International Eugenics Congress, which met in London in 1912 to hear papers on racial suicide among Northern Europeans and similar topics. Two years later, Eliot helped organize the First National Conference on Race Betterment in Battle Creek, Michigan.

None of these actions created problems for Eliot at Harvard, for a simple reason: they were well within the intellectual mainstream at the University. Harvard administrators, faculty members, and alumni were at the forefront of American eugenicsfounding eugenics organizations, writing academic and popular eugenics articles, and lobbying government to enact eugenics laws. And for many years, scarcely any significant Harvard voices, if any at all, were raised against it.

Harvards role in the movement was in many ways not surprising. Eugenics attracted considerable support from progressives, reformers, and educated elites as a way of using science to make a better world. Harvard was hardly the only university that was home to prominent eugenicists. Stanfords first president, David Starr Jordan, and Yales most acclaimed economist, Irving Fisher, were leaders in the movement. The University of Virginia was a center of scientific racism, with professors like Robert Bennett Bean, author of such works of pseudo-science as the 1906 American Journal of Anatomy article, Some Racial Peculiarities of the Negro Brain.

But in part because of its overall prominence and influence on society, and in part because of its sheer enthusiasm, Harvard was more central to American eugenics than any other university. Harvard has, with some justification, been called the brain trust of twentieth-century eugenics, but the role it played is little remembered or remarked upon today.It is understandable that the University is not eager to recall its part in that tragically misguided intellectual movementbut it is a chapter too important to be forgotten.In part because of its overall prominence and influence on society, and in part because of its sheer enthusiasm, Harvard was more central to American eugenics than any other university.

Eugenics emerged in England in the late 1800s, when Francis Galton, a half cousin of Charles Darwin, began studying the families of some of historys greatest thinkers and concluded that genius was hereditary. Galton invented a new wordcombining the Greek for good and genesand launched a movement calling for society to take affirmative steps to promote the more suitable races or strains of blood. Echoing his famous half cousins work on evolution, Galton declared that what Nature does blindly, slowly, and ruthlessly, man may do providently, quickly, and kindly.

Eugenics soon made its way across the Atlantic, reinforced by the discoveries of Gregor Mendel and the new science of genetics. In the United States, it found some of its earliest support among the same group that Harvard had: the wealthy old families of Boston. The Boston Brahmins were strong believers in the power of their own bloodlines, and it was an easy leap for many of them to believe that society should work to make the nations gene pool as exalted as their own.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.A.B. 1829, M.D. 36, LL.D. 80, dean of Harvard Medical School, acclaimed writer, and father of the future Supreme Court justicewas one of the first American intellectuals to espouse eugenics. Holmes, whose ancestors had been at Harvard since John Oliver entered with the class of 1680, had been writing about human breeding even before Galton. He had coined the phrase Boston Brahmin in an 1861 book in which he described his social class as a physical and mental elite, identifiable by its noble physiognomy and aptitude for learning, which he insisted were congenital and hereditary.

Holmes believed eugenic principles could be used to address the nations social problems. In an 1875 article in The Atlantic Monthly, he gave Galton an early embrace, and argued that his ideas could help to explain the roots of criminal behavior. If genius and talent are inherited, as Mr. Galton has so conclusively shown, Holmes wrote, why should not deep-rooted moral defectsshow themselvesin the descendants of moral monsters?

As eugenics grew in popularity, it took hold at the highest levels of Harvard. A. Lawrence Lowell, who served as president from 1909 to 1933, was an active supporter. Lowell, who worked to impose a quota on Jewish students and to keep black students from living in the Yard, was particularly concerned about immigrationand he joined the eugenicists in calling for sharp limits. The need for homogeneity in a democracy, he insisted, justified laws resisting the influx of great numbers of a greatly different race.

Lowell also supported eugenics research. When the Eugenics Record Office, the nations leading eugenics research and propaganda organization, asked for access to Harvard records to study the physical and intellectual attributes of alumni fathers and sons, he readily agreed. Lowell had a strong personal interest in eugenics research, his secretary noted in response to the request.

The Harvard faculty contained some of nations most influential eugenics thinkers, in an array of academic disciplines. Frank W. Taussig, whose 1911 Principles of Economics was one of the most widely adopted economics textbooks of its time, called for sterilizing unworthy individuals, with a particular focus on the lower classes. The human race could be immensely improved in quality, and its capacity for happy living immensely increased, if those of poor physical and mental endowment were prevented from multiplying, he wrote. Certain types of criminals and paupers breed only their kind, and society has a right and a duty to protect its members from the repeated burden of maintaining and guarding such parasites.

Harvards geneticists gave important support to Galtons fledgling would-be science. Botanist Edward M. East, who taught at Harvards Bussey Institution, propounded a particularly racial version of eugenics. In his 1919 book Inbreeding and Outbreeding: Their Genetic and Sociological Significance, East warned that race mixing would diminish the white race, writing: Races have arisen which are as distinct in mental capacity as in physical traits. The simple fact, he said, was that the negro is inferior to the white.

East also sounded a biological alarm about the Jews, Italians, Asians, and other foreigners who were arriving in large numbers. The early settlers came from stock which had made notable contributions to civilization, he asserted, whereas the new immigrants were coming in increasing numbers from peoples who have impressed modern civilization but lightly. There was a distinct possibility, he warned, that a considerable part of these people are genetically undesirable.

In his 1923 book, Mankind at the Crossroads, Easts pleas became more emphatic. The nation, he said, was being overrun by the feebleminded, who were reproducing more rapidly than the general population. And we expect to restore the balance by expecting the latter to compete with them in the size of their families? East wrote. No! Eugenics is sorely needed; social progress without it is unthinkable.

Easts Bussey Institution colleague William Ernest Castle taught a course on Genetics and Eugenics, one of a number of eugenics courses across the University. He also published a leading textbook by the same name that shaped the views of a generation of students nationwide. Genetics and Eugenics not only identified its author as Professor of Zoology in Harvard University, but was published by Harvard University Press and bore the Veritas seal on its title page, lending the appearance of an imprimatur to his strongly stated views.

In Genetics and Eugenics, Castle explained that race mixing, whether in animals or humans, produced inferior offspring. He believed there were superior and inferior races, and that racial crossing benefited neither. From the viewpoint of a superior race there is nothing to be gained by crossing with an inferior race, he wrote. From the viewpoint of the inferior race also the cross is undesirable if the two races live side by side, because each race will despise individuals of mixed race and this will lead to endless friction.

Castle also propounded the eugenicists argument that crime, prostitution, and pauperism were largely due to feeblemindedness, which he said was inherited. He urged that the unfortunate individuals so afflicted be sterilized or, in the case of women, segregated in institutions during their reproductive years to prevent them from having children.

Like his colleague East, Castle was deeply concerned about the biological impact of immigration. In some parts of the country, he said, the good human stock was dying outand being replaced by a European peasant population. Would this new population be a fit substitute for the old Anglo-Saxon stock? Castles answer: Time alone will tell.

One of Harvards most prominent psychology professors was a eugenicist who pioneered the use of questionable intelligence testing. Robert M. Yerkes, A.B. 1898, Ph.D. 02, published an introductory psychology textbook in 1911 that included a chapter on Eugenics and Mental Life. In it, he explained that the cure for race deterioration is the selection of the fit as parents.

Yerkes, who taught courses with such titles as Educational Psychology, Heredity, and Eugenics and Mental Development in the Race, developed a now-infamous intelligence test that was administered to 1.75 million U.S. Army enlistees in 1917. The test purported to find that more than 47 percent of the white test-takers, and even more of the black ones, were feebleminded. Some of Yerkess questions were straightforward language and math problems, but others were more like tests of familiarity with the dominant culture: one asked, Christy Mathewson is famous as a: writer, artist, baseball player, comedian. The journalist Walter Lippmann, A.B. 1910, Litt.D. 44, said the results were not merely inaccurate, but nonsense, with no more scientific foundation than a hundred other fads, vitamins, or correspondence courses in will power. The 47 percent feebleminded claim was an absurd result unless, as Harvards late professor of geology Stephen Jay Gould put it, the United States was a nation of morons. But the Yerkes findings were widely accepted and helped fuel the drives to sterilize unfit Americans and keep out unworthy immigrants.The Yerkes findings were widely accepted and helped fuel the drives to sterilize unfit Americans and keep out unworthy immigrants.

Another eugenicist in a key position was William McDougall, who held the psychology professorship William James had formerly held. His 1920 book The Group Mind explained that the negro race had never produced any individuals of really high mental and moral endowments and was apparently incapable of doing so. His next book, Is America Safe for Democracy (1921), argued that civilizations declined because of the inadequacy of the qualities of the people who are the bearers of itand advocated eugenic sterilization.

Harvards embrace of eugenics extended to the athletic department. Dudley Allen Sargent, who arrived in 1879 to direct Hemenway Gymnasium, infused physical education at the College with eugenic principles, including his conviction that certain kinds of exercise were particularly important for female students because they built strong pelvic muscleswhich over time could advantage the gene pool. In giving birth to a childno amount of mental and moral education will ever take the place of a large well-developed pelvis with plenty of muscular and organic power behind it, Sargent stated. The presence of large female pelvises, he insisted, would determine whether large brainy children shall be born at all.

Sargent, who presided over Hemenway for 40 years, used his position as a bully pulpit. In 1914, he addressed the nations largest eugenic gathering, the Race Betterment Conference, in Michigan, at which one of the main speakers called for eugenic sterilization of the worthless one tenth of the nation. Sargent told the conference that, based on his long experience and careful observation of Harvard and Radcliffe students, physical educationis one of the most important factors in the betterment of the race.

If Harvards embrace of eugenics had somehow remained within University confinesas merely an intellectual school of thoughtthe impact might have been contained. But members of the community took their ideas about genetic superiority and biological engineering to Congress, to the courts, and to the public at largewith considerable effect.

In 1894, a group of alumni met in Boston to found an organization that took a eugenic approach to what they considered the greatest threat to the nation: immigration. Prescott Farnsworth Hall, Charles Warren, and Robert DeCourcy Ward were young scions of old New England families, all from the class of 1889. They called their organization the Immigration Restriction League, but genetic thinking was so central to their mission that Hall proposed calling it the Eugenic Immigration League. Joseph Lee, A.B. 1883, A.M.-J.D. 87, LL.D. 26, scion of a wealthy Boston banking family and twice elected a Harvard Overseer, was a major funder, and William DeWitt Hyde A. B. 1879, S.T.D. 86, another future Overseer and the president of Bowdoin College, served as a vice president. The membership rolls quickly filled with hundreds of people united in xenophobia, many of them Boston Brahmins and Harvard graduates.

Their goal was to keep out groups they regarded as biologically undesirable. Immigration was a race question, pure and simple, Ward said. It is fundamentally a question as towhat races shall dominate in the country. League members made no secret of whom they meant: Jews, Italians, Asians, and anyone else who did not share their northern European lineage.

Drawing on Harvard influence to pursue its goalsrecruiting alumni to establish branches in other parts of the country and boasting President Lowell himself as its vice presidentthe Immigration Restriction League was remarkably effective in its work. Its first major proposal was a literacy test, not only to reduce the total number of immigrants but also to lower the percentage from southern and eastern Europe, where literacy rates were lower. In 1896the league persuaded Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, A.B. 1871, LL.B. 74, Ph.D. 76, LL.D. 04, to introduce a literacy bill. Getting it passed and signed into law took time, but beginning in 1917, immigrants were legally required to prove their literacy to be admitted to the country.

The league scored a far bigger victory with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924. After hearing extensive expert testimony about the biological threat posed by immigrants, Congress imposed harsh national quotas designed to keep Jews, Italians, and Asians out. As the percentage of immigrants from northern Europe increased significantly, Jewish immigration fell from 190,000 in 1920 to 7,000 in 1926; Italian immigration fell nearly as sharply; and immigration from Asia was almost completely cut off until 1952.

While one group of alumni focused on inserting eugenics into immigration, another prominent alumnus was taking the lead of the broader movement. Charles Benedict Davenport, A.B. 1889, Ph.D. 92, taught zoology at Harvard before founding the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, in 1910. Funded in large part by Mrs. E.H. Harriman, widow of the railroad magnate, the E.R.O. became a powerful force in promoting eugenics. It was the main gathering place for academics studying eugenics, and the driving force in promoting eugenic sterilization laws nationwide.Davenport explained that qualities like criminality and laziness were genetically determined.

Davenport wrote prolifically. Heredity in Relation to Eugenics, published in 1911,quickly became the standard text for the eugenics courses cropping up at colleges and universities nationwide, and was cited by more than one-third of high-school biology textbooks of the era. Davenport explained that qualities like criminality and laziness were genetically determined. When both parents are shiftless in some degree, he wrote, only about 15 percent of their children would be industrious.

But perhaps no Harvard eugenicist had more impact on the public consciousness than Lothrop Stoddard, A.B. 1905, Ph.D. 14. His bluntly titled 1920 bestseller, The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, had 14 printings in its first three years, drew lavish praise from President Warren G. Harding, and made a mildly disguised appearance in The Great Gatsby, when Daisy Buchanans husband, Tom, exclaimed that civilizations going to piecessomething hed learned by reading The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard.

When eugenics reached a high-water mark in 1927, a pillar of the Harvard community once again played a critical role. In that year, the Supreme Court decided Buck v. Bell, a constitutional challenge to Virginias eugenic sterilization law. The case was brought on behalf of Carrie Buck, a young woman who had been designated feebleminded by the state and selected for eugenic sterilization. Buck was, in fact, not feebleminded at all. Growing up in poverty in Charlottesville, she had been taken in by a foster family and then raped by one of its relatives. She was declared feebleminded because she was pregnant out of wedlock, and she was chosen for sterilization because she was deemed to be feebleminded.

By an 8-1 vote, the justices upheld the Virginia law and Bucks sterilizationand cleared the way for sterilizations to continue in about half the country, where there were similar laws. The majority opinion was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., A.B. 1861, LL.B. 66, LL.D. 95, a former Harvard Law School professor and Overseer. Holmes, who shared his fathers deep faith in bloodlines, did not merely give Virginia a green light: he urged the nation to get serious about eugenics and prevent large numbers of unfit Americans from reproducing. It was necessary to sterilize people who sap the strength of the State, Holmes insisted, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. His opinion included one of the most brutal aphorisms in American law, saying of Buck, her mother, and her perfectly normal infant daughter: Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

In the same week the Supreme Court decided Buck v. Bell, Harvard made eugenics news of its own. It turned down a $60,000 bequest from Dr. J. Ewing Mears, a Philadelphia surgeon, to fund instruction in eugenics in all its branches, notably that branch relating to the treatment of the defective and criminal classes by surgical procedures.

Harvards decision, reported on the front page of The New York Times, appeared to be a counterweight to the Supreme Courts ruling. But the Universitys decision had been motivated more by reluctance to be coerced into a particular position on sterilization than by any institutional opposition to eugenicswhich it continued to embrace.

Eugenics followed much the same arc at Harvard as it did in the nation at large. Interest began to wane in the 1930s, as the field became more closely associated with the Nazi government that had taken power in Germany. By the end of the decade, Davenport had retired and the E.R.O. had shut down; the Carnegie Institution, of which it was part, no longer wanted to support eugenics research and advocacy. As the nation went to war against a regime that embraced racism, eugenics increasingly came to be regarded as un-American.

It did not, however, entirely fade awayat the University, or nationally. Earnest Hooton, chairman of the anthropology department, was particularly outspoken in support of what he called a biological purge. In 1936, while the first German concentration camps were opening, he made a major plea for eugenic sterilizationthough he emphasized that it should not target any race or religion.

Hooton believed it was imperative for society to remove its worthless people. Our real purpose, he declared in a speech that was quoted in The New York Times, should be to segregate and to eliminate the unfit, worthless, degenerate and anti-social portion of each racial and ethnic strain in our population, so that we may utilize the substantial merits of its sound majority, and the special and diversified gifts of its superior members.Our real purposeshould be to segregate and to eliminate the unfit, worthless, degenerate and anti-social portion of each racial and ethnic strain in our population, so that we may utilize the substantial merits of its sound majority.

None of the news out of Germany after the war made Hooton abandon his views. There can be little doubt of the increase during the past fifty years of mental defectives, psychopaths, criminals, economic incompetents and the chronically diseased, he wrote in Redbook magazine in 1950. We owe this to the intervention of charity, welfare and medical science, and to the reckless breeding of the unfit.

The United States also held onto eugenics, if not as enthusiastically as it once did. In 1942, with the war against the Nazis raging, the Supreme Court had a chance to overturn Buck v. Bell and hold eugenic sterilization unconstitutional, but it did not. The court struck down an Oklahoma sterilization law, but on extremely narrow groundsleaving the rest of the nations eugenic sterilization laws intact. Only after the civil-rights revolution of the 1960s, and changes in popular views toward marginalized groups, did eugenic sterilization begin to decline more rapidly. But states continued to sterilize the unfit until 1981.

Today, the American eugenics movement is often thought of as an episode of national follylike 1920s dance marathons or Prohibitionwith little harm done. In fact, the harm it caused was enormous.

As many as 70,000 Americans were forcibly sterilized for eugenic reasons, while important members of the Harvard community cheered andas with Eliot, Lowell, and Holmescalled for more. Many of those 70,000 were simply poor, or had done something that a judge or social worker didnt like, oras in Carrie Bucks casehad terrible luck. Their lives were changed foreverBuck lost her daughter to illness and died childless in 1983, not understanding until her final years what the state had done to her, or why she had been unable to have more children.

Also affected were the many people kept out of the country by the eugenically inspired immigration laws of the 1920s. Among them were a large number of European Jews who desperately sought to escape the impending Holocaust. A few years ago, correspondence was discovered from 1941 in which Otto Frank pleaded with the U.S. State Department for visas for himself, his wife, and his daughters Margot and Anne. It is understood today that Anne Frank died because the Nazis considered her a member of an inferior race, but few appreciate that her death was also due, in part, to the fact that many in the U.S. Congress felt the same way.

There are important reasons for remembering, and further exploring, Harvards role in eugenics. Colleges and universities today are increasingly interrogating their paststhinking about what it means to have a Yale residential college named after John C. Calhoun, a Princeton school named after Woodrow Wilson, or slaveholder Isaac Royalls coat of arms on the Harvard Law School shield and his name on a professorship endowed by his will.

Eugenics is a part of Harvards history. It is unlikely that Eliot House or Lowell House will be renamed, but there might be a way for the University community to spare a thought for Carrie Buck and others who paid a high price for the harmful ideas that Harvard affiliates played a major role in propounding.

There are also forward-looking reasons to revisit this dark moment in the Universitys past. Biotechnical science has advanced to the brink of a new era of genetic possibilities. In the next few years, the headlines will be full of stories about gene-editing technology, genetic solutions for a variety of human afflictions and frailties, and even designer babies. Given that Harvard affiliates, again, will play a large role in all of these, it is important to contemplate how wrong so many people tied to the University got it the first timeand to think hard about how, this time, to get it right.

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Harvard’s eugenics era | Harvard Magazine

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Second Amendment – lawbrain.com

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May 192016
 

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms.

The Second Amendment, a provision of the U.S. Constitution, was ratified on December 15, 1791, forming what is known as the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution[1] reads:

The subject matter and unusual phrasing of this amendment led to much controversy and analysis, especially in the last half of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, the meaning and scope of the amendment have long been decided by the Supreme Court.

Firearms played an important part in the colonization of America. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, European colonists relied heavily on firearms to take land away from Native Americans and repel attacks by Native Americans and Europeans. Around the time of the Revolutionary War, male citizens were required to own firearms for fighting against the British forces. Firearms were also used in hunting.

In June 1776, one month before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Virginia became the first colony to adopt a state constitution. In this document, the state of Virginia pronounced that “a well regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State.” After the colonies declared their independence from England, other states began to include the right to bear arms in their constitution. Pennsylvania, for example, declared that

The wording of clauses about bearing arms in late-eighteenth-century state constitutions varied. Some states asserted that bearing arms was a “right” of the people, whereas others called it a “duty” of every able-bodied man in the defense of society.

Pennsylvania was not alone in its express discouragement of a standing (professional) army. Many of the Framers of the U.S. Constitution rejected standing armies, preferring instead the model of a citizen army, equipped with weapons and prepared for defense. According to Framers such as Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts and George Mason of Virginia a standing army was susceptible to tyrannical use by a power-hungry government.

At the first session of Congress in March 1789, the Second Amendment was submitted as a counterweight to the federal powers of Congress and the president. According to constitutional theorists, the Framers who feared a central government extracted the amendment as a compromise from those in favor of centralized authority over the states. The Revolutionary War had, after all, been fought in large part by a citizen army against the standing armies of England.

The precise wording of the amendment was changed two times before the U.S. Senate finally cast it in its present form. As with many of the amendments, the exact wording proved critical to its interpretation.

In 1791 a majority of states ratified the Bill of Rights, which included the Second Amendment. In its final form, the amendment presented a challenge to interpreters. It was the only amendment with an opening clause that appeared to state its purpose. The amendment even had defective punctuation; the comma before shall seemed grammatically unnecessary.

Legal scholars do not agree about this comma. Some have argued that it was intentional and that it was intended to make militia the subject of the sentence. According to these theorists, the operative words of the amendment are “[a] well regulated Militia shall not be infringed.” Others have argued that the comma was a mistake, and that the operative words of the sentence are “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Under this reading, the first part of the sentence is the rationale for the absolute, personal right of the people to own firearms. Indeed, the historical backdrophighlighted by a general disdain for professional armieswould seem to support this theory.

Some observers argue further that the Second Amendment grants the right of insurrection. According to these theorists, the Second Amendment was designed to allow citizens to rebel against the government. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying that “a little rebellion every now and then is a good thing.”

Prior to the courts ruling in Heller v. District of Columbia[2], 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008)(see infra), the Supreme Court had made the ultimate determination of the Constitution’s meaning, and it defined the amendment as simply granting to the states the right to maintain a militia separate from federally controlled militias. This interpretation first came in United States v. Cruikshank,[3] 92 U.S. 542, 23 L. Ed. 588 (1875). In Cruikshank, approximately one hundred persons were tried jointly in a Louisiana federal court with felonies in connection with an April 13, 1873, assault on two AfricanAmerican men. One of the criminal counts charged that the mob intended to hinder the right of the two men to bear arms. The defendants were convicted by a jury, but the circuit court arrested the judgment, effectively overturning the verdict. In affirming that decision, the Supreme Court declared that “the second amendment means no more than that [the right to bear arms] shall not be infringed by Congress, and has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government.”

In Presser v. Illinois,[4] 116 U.S. 252, 6 S. Ct. 580, 29 L. Ed. 615 (1886), Herman Presser was charged in Illinois state court with parading and drilling an unauthorized militia in the streets of Chicago in December 1879, in violation of certain sections of the Illinois Military Code. One of the sections in question prohibited the organization, drilling, operation, and parading of militias other than U.S. troops or the regular organized volunteer militia of the state. Presser was tried by the judge, convicted, and ordered to pay a fine of $10.

On appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Presser argued, in part, that the charges violated his Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Court disagreed and upheld Presser’s conviction. The Court cited Cruikshank for the proposition that the Second Amendment means only that the federal government may not infringe on the right of states to form their own militias. This meant that the Illinois state law forbidding citizen militias was not unconstitutional. However, in its opinion, the Court in Presser delivered a reading of the Second Amendment that seemed to suggest an absolute right of persons to bear arms: “It is undoubtedly true that all citizens capable of bearing arms constitute the reserved military force or reserve militia of the United States,” and “states cannot prohibit the people from keeping and bearing arms.”

Despite this generous language, the Court refused to incorporate the Second Amendment into the Fourteenth Amendment. Under the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in 1868, states may not abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States. The privileges and immunities of citizens are listed in the Bill of Rights, of which the Second Amendment is part. Presser had argued that states may not, by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment, abridge the right to bear arms. The Court refused to accept the argument that the right to bear arms is a personal right of the people. According to the Court, “The right to drill or parade with arms, without, and independent of, an act of congress or law of the state authorizing the same, is not an attribute of national citizenship.”

The Presser opinion is best understood in its historical context. The Northern states and the federal government had just fought the Civil War against Southern militias unauthorized by the federal government. After this ordeal, the Supreme Court was in no mood to accept an expansive right to bear arms. At the same time, the Court was sensitive to the subject of federal encroachment on states’ rights.

Several decades later, the Supreme Court ignored the contradictory language in Presser and cemented a limited reading of the Second Amendment. In United States v. Miller,[5] 307 U.S. 174, 59 S. Ct. 816, 83 L. Ed. 1206 (1939), defendants Jack Miller and Frank Layton were charged in federal court with unlawful transportation of firearms in violation of certain sections of the National Firearms Act of June 26, 1934 (ch. 757, 48 Stat. 12361240 [26 U.S.C.A. 1132 et seq.]). Specifically, Miller and Layton had transported shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches long, without the registration required under the act.

The district court dismissed the indictment, holding that the act violated the Second Amendment. The United States appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the decision and sent the case back to the trial court. The Supreme Court stated that the Second Amendment was fashioned “to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of militia forces.”

The Miller opinion confirmed the restrictive language of Presser and solidified a narrow reading of the Second Amendment. According to the Court in Miller, the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to own a firearm unless the possession or use of the firearm has “a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

However, in Heller v. District of Columbia, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008), the Supreme Court reviewed a case where D.C. residents challenged an ordinace which banned the possession of handguns. The Supreme Court held that the constitution protects the right of individuals to possess a firearm.

The legislative measures that inspire most Second Amendment discussions are gun control laws. Since the mid-nineteenth century, state legislatures have been passing laws that infringe a perceived right to bear arms. Congress has also asserted the power to regulate firearms. No law regulating firearms has ever been struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the Second Amendment.

Historically, the academic community has largely ignored the Second Amendment. However, gun control laws have turned many laypersons into scholars of the Second Amendment’s history. The arguments for a broader interpretation are many and varied. Most center on the original intent of the Framers. Some emphasize that the Second Amendment should be interpreted as granting an unconditional personal right to bear arms for defensive and sporting purposes. Others adhere to an insurrection theory, under which the Second Amendment not only grants the personal right to bear arms, it gives citizens the right to rebel against a government perceived as tyrannical.

In response to these arguments, supporters of the prevailing Second Amendment interpretation maintain that any right to bear arms should be secondary to concerns for public safety. They also point out that other provisions in the Constitution grant power to Congress to quell insurrections, thus contradicting the insurrection theory. Lastly, they argue that the Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with a changing society and that the destructive capability of semiautomatic and automatic firearms was not envisioned by the Framers.

In response to the last argument, critics maintain that because such firearms exist, it should be legal to use them against violent criminals who are themselves wielding such weapons.

In the 2000s, federal courts continue to revisit the scope and detail of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. In particular federal courts have recast much of the debate as one over whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective” right or an “individual” right to bear arms. If the Second Amendment protects only a collective right, then only states would have the power to bring a legal action to enforce it and only for the purpose of maintaining a “well-regulated militia.” If the Second Amendment protects only an individual right to bear arms, then only individuals could bring suit to challenge gun-control laws that curb their liberty to buy, sell, own, or possess firearms and other guns.

Not surprisingly, courts are conflicted over how to resolve this debate. In United States v. Emerson,[6][7] 270 F.3d 203 (5th Cir. 2001), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that the original intent of the Founding Fathers supported an individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, while the Ninth Circuit came to the opposite conclusion in Nordyke v. King,[8] 319 F.3d 1185 (9th Cir. 2003). Although no court has concluded that the original intent underlying the Second Amendment supports a claim for both an individual- and a collective rights based interpretation of the right to bear arms, the compelling historical arguments marshaled on both sides of the debate would suggest that another court faced with the same debate may reach such a conclusion.

Becker, Edward R. 1997. “The Second Amendment and Other Federal Constitutional Rights of the Private Militia.” Montana Law Review 58 (winter).

Bogus, Carl T., ed. 2000. The Second Amendment in Law and History: Historians and Constitutional Scholars on the Right to Bear Arms. New York: New Press.

Dolan, Edward F., and Margaret M. Scariano. 1994. Guns in the United States. New York: Watts.

Dunlap, Charles J., Jr. 1995. “Revolt of the Masses: Armed Civilians and the Insurrectionary Theory of the Second Amendment.” Tennessee Law Review 62 (spring).

Hanson, Freya Ottem. 1998. The Second Amendment: The Right to Own Guns. Springfield, N.J.: Enslow.

Hook, Donald D. 1992. Gun Control: The Continuing Debate. Washington, D.C.: Second Amendment Foundation.

Hoppin, Jason. 2003. “Ninth Circuit Upholds Controversial Ruling on Second Amendment.” Legal Intelligencer (May 8).

. 2003. “Second Amendment Fight Steals Show in Gun Ban Case: Panel Enters Fray over Individual Rights.” San Francisco Recorder (February 19).

McAffee, Thomas B. 1997. “Constitutional Limits on Regulating Private Militia Groups.” Montana Law Review 58 (winter).

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Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution – Simple …

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May 072016
 

Created on December 15, 1791, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights. This amendment establishes a number of legal rights that apply to both civil and criminal proceedings.[1] It contains several clauses: It guarantees the right to a grand jury. It forbids double jeopardy (being tried again for the same crime after an acquittal).[1] It protects a person against self-incrimination (being a witness against himself).[1] This is often called “Pleading the Fifth”. The Fifth Amendment requires due process in any case where a citizen may be deprived of “life, liberty, or property”.[1] Any time the government takes private property for public use, the owner must be compensated.[1]

The language of the Fifth Amendmend is:

The Fifth Amendment requires the use of grand juries by the federal legal system for all capital and “infamous crimes” (cases involving treason, certain felonies or gross moral turpitude[3]).[4] Grand juries trace their roots back to the Assize of Clarendon, an enactment by Henry II of England in 1166. It called for “the oath of *twelve men from every hundred and four men from every vill” to meet and decide who was guilty of robbery, theft or murder.[5] It was the early ancestor of the jury system and of the grand jury. The United Kingdom abolished grand juries in 1933.[6] Many of their former colonies including Canada, Australia and New Zealand have also stopped using them.[6] The United States is one of the few remaining countries that uses the grand jury.

The Double Jeopardy clause in the Fifth Amendment forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges in the same case following a legitimate acquittal or conviction. In common law countries, a defendant may enter a peremptory plea of autrefois acquit or autrefois convict (autrefois means “in the past” in French).[7] It means if the defendant has been acquitted or convicted of the same offence and cannot be retried under the principle of double jeopardy.[1] The original intent of the clause is to prevent an individual to go through a number of prosecutions for the same act until the prosecutor gets a conviction.[1]

In a criminal prosecution, under the Fifth Amendment, a person has the right to refuse to incriminate himself (or herself).[1] No person is required to give information that could be used against him. This is also called “taking the Fifth” or more commonly “pleading the Fifth.”[8] The intent of this clause is to prevent the government from making a person confess under oath.[a] A person may not refuse to answer any relevant question under oath unless the answer would incriminate him. If the answer to a question on the witness stand could be used to convict that person of a crime, he can assert his Fifth Amendment rights.[8]

The authors of the Fifth Amendment intended the provisions in it apply only to the federal government.[10] Since 1925, under the incorporation doctrine, most provisions of the Bill of Rights now also apply to the state and local governments. Since the landmark decision Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), when they arrest someone, police are required to include the “right to remain silent” as part of the legal Miranda warning (the wording may vary).[11]

The Due Process clause guarantees every person a fair, just and orderly legal proceeding. The Fifth Amendment applies to the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, among other provisions, forbids states from denying anyone their life, their liberty or their property without due process of law[12] So the Fourteenth Amendment expands the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment to apply to the states. Due process means the government must follow the law and not violate any parts of it.[13] An example of violating due process is when a judge shows bias against the defendant in a trial.[13] Another example is when the prosecution fails to disclose information to the defense that would show the defendant is not guilty of the crime. [13]

The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment states “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.”[14] The Fifth Amendment restricts only the federal government. The Fourteenth Amendment extended this clause to include actions taken by State and local governments.[14] Whenever the government wants to buy property for public use, they make an offer to the owner. If the owner does not want to sell the property, the government can take them to court and exercise a power called eminent domain.[14] The name comes from the Latin term dominium eminens (meaning supreme lordship). The court then condemns the property (meaning say it can no longer be occupied by people). This allows the government to take over the property, but must pay “just compensation” to the owner. In other words, the government body must pay what the property is worth.[14]

A case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), was decided in favor of allowing the use of eminent domain to transfer land from one private owner to another private owner.[15] The court upheld the city of New London, Connecticut’s proposed use of the petitioner’s private property qualifies as a “public use” fell within the meaning of the Takings Clause.[15] The city felt the property was in poor condition and the new owner would improve it. This extension of the Takings Clause has been very controversal.[b]

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Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution – Simple …

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The Fourth Amendment – Privacilla

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on The Fourth Amendment – Privacilla
Apr 222016
 

Home > Privacy and Government > Privacy Law Governing the Public Sector > The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment is the primary, essential limit on the power of governments in the U.S. to inquire into people’s lives, arrest them, and take their property. It is also what prevents governments and their agents from invading citizens’ privacy.

The Fourth Amendment says:

The Fourth Amendment requires a search to be based on probable cause. That is, government investigators must have a rational belief that a crime has been committed and that evidence or fruits of the crime can be found. The question courts will ask when a citizen claims to have been unconstitutionally searched is whether that person had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the place, papers, or information that government agents have examined or taken.

In a society that both deplores crime and values liberty, there will always be a tension between law enforcement interests and the privacy of individuals. The modern age has increased the ability of criminals to hide crime and its proceeds, and law enforcement sometimes struggles to keep up. This sometimes inspires investigative methods that trample on the privacy expectations and Fourth Amendment rights of innocent citizens. The U.S. Supreme Court has not been a powerful guardian of the Fourth Amendment in recent years, further eroding some Fourth Amendment protections.

In addition, the growth of both the U.S. and state governments during the 20th century vastly increased the amount of information that governments collect. When information is collected for “administrative” purposes, like issuing licenses and benefits or collecting taxes, the government does not have to satisfy the Fourth Amendment. Unfortunately, sometimes this information is used by investigators, released or sold by government agencies, or just misused by rogue government employees. This invades citizens’ expectations of privacy and violates their Fourth Amendment rights.

Links:

Rescuing Search and Seizure by Stephen Budiansky, The Atlantic Monthly (October 2000)

Comments? comments@privacilla.org (Subject: FourthAmendment)

[updated 10/30/00]

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Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Apr 192016
 

Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,568. The 2014 census estimates an increase to 79,047.[2] Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the “City of Seven Hills” or the “Hill City”.[3] Lynchburg was the only major city in Virginia that was not captured by the Union before the end of the American Civil War.[4]

Lynchburg is the principal city of the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Lynchburg, near the geographic center of Virginia. It is the fifth largest MSA in Virginia with a population of 254,171[5] and hosts several institutions of higher education. Other nearby cities include Roanoke, Charlottesville, and Danville. Lynchburg’s sister cities are Rueil-Malmaison, France and Glauchau, Germany.

A part of Monacan country upon the arrival of English settlers in Virginia, the region had traditionally been occupied by them and other Siouan Tutelo-speaking tribes since ca. 1270, driving Virginia Algonquians eastward. Explorer John Lederer visited one of the Siouan villages (Saponi) in 1670, on the Staunton River at Otter Creek, southwest of the present-day city, as did Batts and Fallam in 1671. The Siouans occupied the area until c. 1702, when it was taken in conquest by the Seneca Iroquois. The Iroquois ceded control to the Colony of Virginia beginning in 1718, and formally at the Treaty of Albany in 1721.

First settled in 1757, Lynchburg was named for its founder, John Lynch, who at the age of 17 started a ferry service at a ford across the James River to carry traffic to and from New London. He was also responsible for Lynchburg’s first bridge across the river, which replaced the ferry in 1812. He and his mother are buried in the graveyard at the South River Friends Meetinghouse. The “City of Seven Hills” quickly developed along the hills surrounding Lynch’s Ferry. Thomas Jefferson maintained a home near Lynchburg, called Poplar Forest. Jefferson frequented Lynchburg and remarked “Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be useful to the town of Lynchburg. I consider it as the most interesting spot in the state.”

Lynchburg was established by charter in 1786 at the site of Lynch’s Ferry on the James River. These new easy means of transportation routed traffic through Lynchburg, and allowed it to become the new center of commerce for tobacco trading. In 1810, Jefferson wrote, “Lynchburg is perhaps the most rising place in the U.S…. It ranks now next to Richmond in importance…” Lynchburg became a center of commerce and manufacture in the 19th century, and by the 1850s, Lynchburg (along with New Bedford, Mass.) was one of the richest towns per capita in the U.S.[6] Chief industries were tobacco, iron and steel. Transportation facilities included the James River Bateau on the James River, and later, the James River and Kanawha Canal and, still later, four railroads, including the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad and the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad.

Early on, Lynchburg was not known for its religiosity. In 1804, evangelist Lorenzo Dow wrote of Lynchburg “… where I spoke in the open air in what I conceived to be the seat of Satan’s Kingdom. Lynchburg was a deadly place for the worship of God.” This was in reference to the lack of churches in Lynchburg. As the wealth of Lynchburg grew, prostitution and other “rowdy” activities became quite common and, in many cases, ignored, if not accepted, by the “powers that be” of the time. Much of this activity took place in an area of downtown referred to as the “Buzzard’s Roost[citation needed].”

During the American Civil War, Lynchburg, which served as a Confederate supply base, was approached within 1-mile (1.6km) by the Union forces of General David Hunter as he drove south from the Shenandoah Valley. Under the false impression that the Confederate forces stationed in Lynchburg were much larger than anticipated, Hunter was repelled by the forces of Confederate General Jubal Early on June 18, 1864, in the Battle of Lynchburg. To create the false impression, a train was continuously run up and down the tracks while the citizens of Lynchburg cheered as if reinforcements were unloading. Local prostitutes took part in the deception, misinforming their Union clients of the large number of Confederate reinforcements.

From April 610, 1865, Lynchburg served as the Capital of Virginia. Under Governor William Smith, the executive and legislative branches of the commonwealth escaped to Lynchburg with the fall of Richmond. Then Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, roughly 20 miles east of Lynchburg, ending the Civil War.

In the latter 19th century, Lynchburg’s economy evolved into manufacturing (sometimes referred to as the “Pittsburgh of the South”) and, per capita, made the city one of the wealthiest in the United States. In 1880, Lynchburg resident James Albert Bonsack invented the first cigarette rolling machine. Shortly thereafter Dr. Charles Browne Fleet, a physician and pharmacological tinkerer, introduced the first mass marketed over-the-counter enema. About this time, Lynchburg was also the preferred site for the Norfolk & Western junction with the Shenandoah Valley Railroad. However, the citizens of Lynchburg did not want the junction due to the noise and pollution it would create. Therefore, it was located in what would become the City of Roanoke.

In the late 1950s, a number of interested citizens, including Virginia Senator Mosby G. Perrow, Jr., requested the federal government to change its long-planned route for the interstate highway now known as I-64 between Clifton Forge and Richmond.[7] Since the 1940s, maps of the federal interstate highway system depicted that highway taking a northern route, with no interstate highway running through Lynchburg, but the federal government assured Virginia that the highway’s route would be decided by the state.[8] A proposed southern route called for the Interstate to follow from Richmond via US-360 and US-460, via Lynchburg to Roanoke and US-220 from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, then west following US-60 into West Virginia. Although the State Highway Commission’s minutes reflected its initial approval of the northern route, the issue remained in play,[9] proponents of the southern route ultimately succeeded in persuading a majority of Virginia Highway Commissioners to support the change after a study championed by Perrow demonstrated that it would serve a greater percentage of the state’s manufacturing and textile centers. But in July 1961 Governor Lindsay Almond and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges announced that the route would not be changed.[10] This left Lynchburg as the only city with a population in excess of 50,000 (at the time) not served by an interstate.[11]

For several decades throughout the mid-20th century, the state of Virginia authorized compulsory sterilization of the mentally retarded for the purpose of eugenics. The operations were carried out at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, now known as the Central Virginia Training School, located just outside Lynchburg in Madison Heights. An estimated 8,300 Virginians were sterilized and relocated to Lynchburg, known as a “dumping ground” of sorts for the feeble-minded, poor, blind, epileptic, and those otherwise seen as genetically “unfit”.[12]

Sterilizations were carried out for 35 years until 1972, when operations were finally halted. Later in the late 1970s, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Virginia on behalf of the sterilization victims. As a result of this suit, the victims received formal apologies and counseling if they chose. Requests to grant the victims reverse sterilization operations were denied.

Carrie Buck, the plaintiff in the United States Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, was sterilized after being classified as “feeble-minded”, as part of the state’s eugenics program while she was a patient at the Lynchburg Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded.

The story of Carrie Buck’s sterilization and the court case was made into a television drama in 1994, Against Her Will: The Carrie Buck Story.

“Virginia State Epileptic Colony,” a song by the Manic Street Preachers on their 2009 album ‘Journal For Plague Lovers,’ addresses the state’s program of eugenics.

Downtown Lynchburg has seen a significant amount of revitalization since 2002 with hundreds of new loft apartments created through adaptive reuse of historic warehouses and mills. Since 2000, there has been more than $110 million in private investment in downtown and business activity increased by 205% from 2004 – 2014.[13] In 2014, 75 new apartments were added to downtown with 155 further units under construction increasing the number of housing units downtown by 48% from 2010 – 2014.[14] In 2015, the $5.8 million Lower Bluffwalk pedestrian street zone opened to the public in downtown which has seen a significant amount of residential and commercial development around the zone in recent years.[15] Notable projects underway in downtown by the end of 2015 include the $25 million Hilton Curio branded Virginian Hotel restoration project, $16.6 million restoration of the Academy Center of the Arts, and $4.6 million expansion of Amazement Square Children’s Museum. [16][17][18][19]

Over 40 sites in Lynchburg are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[20]

Lynchburg is located at 372413N 791012W / 37.40361N 79.17000W / 37.40361; -79.17000 (37.403672, 79.170205).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.6 square miles (128.5km2), of which 49.2 square miles (127.4km2) is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3km2) (1.0%) is water.[21]

Lynchburg has a four-season humid subtropical climate (Kppen Cfa), with cool winters and hot, humid summers. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 35.1F (1.7C) in January to 75.3F (24.1C) in July. Nights tend to be significantly cooler than days throughout much of the year due in part to the moderate elevation. In a typical year, there are 26 days with a high temperature 90F (32C) or above, and 7.5 days with a high of 32F (0C) or below.[22] Snowfall averages 12.9 inches (33cm) per season but this amount varies highly with each winter; the snowiest winter is 199596 with 56.8in (144cm) of snow, but the following winter recorded only trace amounts, the least on record.[23]

Temperature extremes range from 106F (41C), recorded on July 10, 1936, down to 11F (24C), recorded on February 20, 2015.[22] However, several decades may pass between 100F (38C) and 0F (18C) readings, with the last such occurrences being July 8, 2012 and February 20, 2015, respectively.[22]

As of the 2010 census,[31] there were 75,568 people, 25,477 households, and 31,992 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,321.5 people per square mile (510.2/km). There were 27,640 housing units at an average density of 559.6 per square mile (216.1/km). The racial makeup of the city was 63.0% White, 29.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 25,477 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.6% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.92.

The age distribution of the city had: 22.1% under the age of 18, 15.5% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 84.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,234, and the median income for a family was $40,844. Males had a median income of $31,390 versus $22,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,263. About 12.3% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.

Lynchburg ranks below the 2006 median annual household income for the U.S. as a whole, which was $48,200, according to the US Census Bureau.[32]

The city’s population was stable for 25+ years: in 2006, it was 67,720; in 2000, it was 65,269; in 1990, it was 66,049; in 1980, it was 66,743.[33]

In 2009 almost 27% of Lynchburg children lived in poverty. The state average that year was 14 percent.[34]

Lynchburg features a skilled labor force, low unemployment rate,[35] and below average cost of living. Of Virginia’s larger metro areas, Forbes Magazine ranked Lynchburg the 5th best place in Virginia for business in 2006, with Virginia being the best state in the country for business.[36] Only 6 places in Virginia were surveyed and most of Virginia’s cities were grouped together by Forbes as “Northern Virginia”. Lynchburg achieved the rank 109 in the whole nation in the same survey.

Industries within the Lynchburg MSA include nuclear technology, pharmaceuticals and material handling. A diversity of small businesses with the region has helped maintain a stable economy and minimized the downturns of the national economy.[37][38] Reaching as high as 1st place (tied) in 2007, Lynchburg has been within the Top 10 Digital Cities survey for its population since the survey’s inception in 2004.

The Lynchburg News & Advance reports that while more people are working than ever in greater Lynchburg, wages since 1990 have not kept up with inflation. Central Virginia Labor Council President Walter Fore believes this is due to lack of white-collar jobs. According to the Census Bureau, adjusted for inflation, 1990 median household income was about $39,000 compared to 2009 median household income of $42,740. As of 2009 Forbes has named Lynchburg as the 70th best metro area for business and careers, ahead of Chicago and behind Baton Rouge. The reason for the decent ranking was due to the low cost of living and low wages in Lynchburg. In other areas, the region didn’t come in as strong. It ranked at 189 for cultural and leisure and at 164 for educational attainment.[39]

Virginia Business Magazine reports that Young Professionals in Lynchburg recently conducted a study that clearly showed how much of its young workforce has been lost.[40]

According to Lynchburg’s 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[41] the top private employers in the city are:

The city is served by the Lynchburg City Public Schools. The school board is appointed by the Lynchburg City Council.

The city is also home to a number of mostly religious private schools, including Holy Cross Regional Catholic School, James River Day School, Liberty Christian Academy, New Covenant Classical Christian School, Appomattox Christian Academy, Temple Christian School, and Virginia Episcopal School.

Lynchburg is also home to the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science and Technology located in Heritage High School. This magnet school consists of juniors and seniors selected from each of the Lynchburg area high schools. As one of eighteen Governor’s Schools in Virginia, the Central Virginia Governor’s School focuses on infusing technology into both the math and science curriculum.

Further education options include a number of surrounding county public school systems.

Colleges and universities in Lynchburg include Central Virginia Community College, Liberty University, Lynchburg College, Randolph College, Sweet Briar College, and Virginia University of Lynchburg.

The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC) operates the local public transport bus service within the city. The GLTC additionally provides the shuttle bus service on the Liberty University campus.

The GLTC has selected a property directly across from Lynchburg-Kemper Street Station as its top choice of sites upon which to build the new transfer center for their network of public buses. They are interested in facilitating intermodal connections between GLTC buses and the intercity bus and rail services which operate from that location. The project is awaiting final government approval and funding, and is expected to be completed around 2013.[42]

Intercity passenger rail and bus services are based out of Kemper Street Station, a historic, three-story train station recently restored and converted by the city of Lynchburg to serve as an intermodal hub for the community. The station is located at 825 Kemper Street.[43]

Greyhound Lines located their bus terminal in the main floor of Kemper Street Station following its 2002 restoration.[43] Greyhound offers transport to other cities throughout Virginia, the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Amtrak’s long distance Crescent and a Northeast Regional connect Lynchburg with Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Charlotte, Atlanta, Birmingham, New Orleans and intermediate points.

In October 2009, Lynchburg became the southern terminus for a Northeast Regional that previously had overnighted in Washington. The forecast ridership was 51,000 for the 180-mile extension’s first year, but the actual count was triple that estimate, and the train paid for itself without any subsidy.[44] By FY 2015, the Regional had 190,000 riders. The Lynchburg station alone served a total of 85,000 riders in 2015. It is located in the track level ground floor of Kemper Street Station.[45]

Lynchburg has two major freight railroads. It is the crossroads of two Norfolk Southern lines. One is the former mainline of the Southern Railway, upon which Kemper Street Station is situated. NS has a classification yard located next to the shopping mall. Various yard jobs can be seen. Railfans who wish to visit the NS Lynchburg yard are advised to inquire with an NS official. CSX Transportation also has a line through the city and a small yard.

Lynchburg Regional Airport is solely served by American Eagle to Charlotte. American Eagle, a subsidiary of American Airlines, is the only current scheduled airline service provider, with seven daily arrivals and departures. In recent years air travel has increased with 157,517 passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2012, representing 78% of the total aircraft load factor for that time period.

Primary roadways include U.S. Route 29, U.S. Route 501, U.S. Route 221, running north-south, and U.S. Highway 460, running east-west. While not served by an interstate, much of Route 29 has been upgraded to interstate standards and significant improvements have been made to Highway 460.

In a Forbes magazine survey, Lynchburg ranked 189 for cultural and leisure out of 200 cities surveyed.[39]

The following attractions are located within the Lynchburg MSA:

Lynchburg is home to sporting events and organizations including:

The first neighborhoods of Lynchburg developed upon seven hills adjacent to the original ferry landing. These neighborhoods include:

Other major neighborhoods include Boonsboro, Rivermont, Fairview Heights, Fort Hill, Forest Hill (Old Forest Rd. Area), Timberlake, Windsor Hills, Sandusky, Linkhorne, and Wyndhurst.

Notable residents of Lynchburg include:

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Lynchburg, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

 Misc  Comments Off on First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times
Mar 192016
 

Latest Articles

Arguments in the jury trial start Monday in a case the celebrity wrestler says is about privacy, but the defendant, Gawker, argues is about the First Amendment.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

The state is one of eight that are considering blanket legal protection for discrimination on religious grounds. Its bill is one of the most alarming.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The company, in its fight with the F.B.I., is defending its phones on grounds that its code represents free speech, and there is some precedent.

By STEVE LOHR

Crisis pregnancy centers in California are in a battle with the state over a new law requiring them to post a notice that free or low-cost abortion care is available.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A judges order to release secret documents raises questions about how much involvement courts should have over settlements related to corporate wrongdoing.

By PETER J. HENNING

Mr. Kennedy defended John Gotti Sr., Huey P. Newton and Timothy Leary and won freedom for Jean S. Harris, who killed the Scarsdale Diet doctor.

By SAM ROBERTS

In recent years, the Supreme Court has waved the First Amendment banner ever higher to undermine long-accepted governmental regulatory authority.

By LINDA GREENHOUSE

In a California case, the justices are considering whether government workers who choose not to join a union may still be required to pay for collective bargaining.

By ADAM LIPTAK

A federal judge has warned that prosecutors may be going too far when they ask witnesses to keep quiet about receiving a subpoena.

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Some legal scholars are asking whether it is time to reconsider the clear and present danger standard for curbing the freedom of speech.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A federal appeals court, in a case involving an Asian-American dance-rock band, struck down part of a law that let the government reject trademarks it deemed offensive or disparaging to others.

By RICHARD SANDOMIR

An array of leading hip-hop artists, including T.I., Big Boi and Killer Mike, filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a high school student punished for posting a rap song that drew attention to complaints about sexual harassment.

The Alabama lawyer opposed The New York Times in a case that resulted in a Supreme Court decision establishing greater leeway for criticism of government officials and other public figures.

By BRUCE WEBER

On university campuses, First Amendment rights are colliding with inclusivity.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Religious Arbitration Used for Secular Disputes | Soros Withdraws $490 Million From Janus Capital

A University of Michigan professor writes that many see this as yet another way the First Amendment is being hijacked.

A new class-action lawsuit says that New York City has a policy and a history of violating protesters constitutional rights.

Congressional Republicans are pushing a bill that would deliberately warp the bedrock principle of religious freedom under the Constitution.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

As a county clerk, Kim Davis is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married, which includes same-sex couples.

By JESSE WEGMAN

An appeals court upheld restrictions on protesters First Amendment rights to gather and wave signs on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court.

By JACKIE CALMES

Arguments in the jury trial start Monday in a case the celebrity wrestler says is about privacy, but the defendant, Gawker, argues is about the First Amendment.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

The state is one of eight that are considering blanket legal protection for discrimination on religious grounds. Its bill is one of the most alarming.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The company, in its fight with the F.B.I., is defending its phones on grounds that its code represents free speech, and there is some precedent.

By STEVE LOHR

Crisis pregnancy centers in California are in a battle with the state over a new law requiring them to post a notice that free or low-cost abortion care is available.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A judges order to release secret documents raises questions about how much involvement courts should have over settlements related to corporate wrongdoing.

By PETER J. HENNING

Mr. Kennedy defended John Gotti Sr., Huey P. Newton and Timothy Leary and won freedom for Jean S. Harris, who killed the Scarsdale Diet doctor.

By SAM ROBERTS

In recent years, the Supreme Court has waved the First Amendment banner ever higher to undermine long-accepted governmental regulatory authority.

By LINDA GREENHOUSE

In a California case, the justices are considering whether government workers who choose not to join a union may still be required to pay for collective bargaining.

By ADAM LIPTAK

A federal judge has warned that prosecutors may be going too far when they ask witnesses to keep quiet about receiving a subpoena.

By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

Some legal scholars are asking whether it is time to reconsider the clear and present danger standard for curbing the freedom of speech.

By ERIK ECKHOLM

A federal appeals court, in a case involving an Asian-American dance-rock band, struck down part of a law that let the government reject trademarks it deemed offensive or disparaging to others.

By RICHARD SANDOMIR

An array of leading hip-hop artists, including T.I., Big Boi and Killer Mike, filed a Supreme Court brief in support of a high school student punished for posting a rap song that drew attention to complaints about sexual harassment.

The Alabama lawyer opposed The New York Times in a case that resulted in a Supreme Court decision establishing greater leeway for criticism of government officials and other public figures.

By BRUCE WEBER

On university campuses, First Amendment rights are colliding with inclusivity.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Religious Arbitration Used for Secular Disputes | Soros Withdraws $490 Million From Janus Capital

A University of Michigan professor writes that many see this as yet another way the First Amendment is being hijacked.

A new class-action lawsuit says that New York City has a policy and a history of violating protesters constitutional rights.

Congressional Republicans are pushing a bill that would deliberately warp the bedrock principle of religious freedom under the Constitution.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

As a county clerk, Kim Davis is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married, which includes same-sex couples.

By JESSE WEGMAN

An appeals court upheld restrictions on protesters First Amendment rights to gather and wave signs on the plaza in front of the Supreme Court.

By JACKIE CALMES

See more here:
First Amendment (U.S. Constitution) – The New York Times

The Rutherford Institute :: Free Speech

 Free Speech  Comments Off on The Rutherford Institute :: Free Speech
Feb 212016
 

Defending this fundamental right of free expression is a central theme of The Rutherford Institutes work because we believe that all other liberties spring forth from this right.

The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the opportunity to freely express themselves. This fundamental freedom includes the right to distribute literature and discuss a multitude of viewseven views distasteful to most people. It also protects the right of the people to engage in lawful picketing and the right to peaceably assemble. It is critical that a free society value and honor a free marketplace of ideas, a diversity of opinion, and free expression. Without free expression, no democratic society would be possible.

It is for these reasons that The Rutherford Institute is dedicated to preserving these fundamental rights for all Americans. The Institute responds to hundreds of complaints of free speech violations each year. From environmental activists peaceably protesting on public property to preachers relaying their message in a public forum, The Rutherford Institute believes that all people, regardless of their personal beliefs, are entitled to speak freely.

Free Speech Double Standard: Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Declare Unconstitutional Its Own Ban on Expressive Activity on Plaza

First Amendment Victory: Appeals Court Rejects Government Attempt to Deny Trademarks for Names That Might Cause Offense, e.g., ‘The Slants’

Rutherford Responds: City Officials, Police Ask Federal Court to Dismiss First Amendment Lawsuit Over Violation of Street Preachers Free Speech Rights

‘Government Cannot Discriminate Against Offensive Speech’: Rutherford Institute Argues for First Amendment Protection for Redskins’ Name

Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Reconsider Decision Upholding 60-Year-Old Ban on Expressive Activity on U.S. Supreme Court Plaza

The Rutherford Institutes petition for review in Clary v. Virginia DMV

Rutherford Institute Challenges Virginia Over Its Cancellation, Revocation and Recall of License Plates Displaying the Confederate Flag

The Right to Tell the Government to Go to Hell: Free Speech in an Age of Government Bullies, Corporate Censors and Compliant Citizens

Fear of the Walking Dead: The American Police State Takes Aim

Sheep Led to the Slaughter: The Muzzling of Free Speech in America

The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech

Free Speech, Facebook and the NSA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11

Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past

Voter ID Laws: Silencing the American People

Criminalizing Free Speech: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

Read more here:
The Rutherford Institute :: Free Speech

Internet Free Speech – American Civil Liberties Union

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Internet Free Speech – American Civil Liberties Union
Feb 212016
 

The digital revolution has produced the most diverse, participatory, and amplified communications medium humans have ever had: the Internet. The ACLU believes in an uncensored Internet, a vast free-speech zone deserving at least as much First Amendment protection as that afforded to traditional media such as books, newspapers, and magazines.

The ACLU has been at the forefront of protecting online freedom of expression in its myriad forms. We brought the first case in which the U.S. Supreme Court declared speech on the Internet equally worthy of the First Amendments historical protections. In that case, Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, the Supreme Court held that the government can no more restrict a persons access to words or images on the Internet than it can snatch a book out of someones hands or cover up a nude statue in a museum.

But that principle has not prevented constant new threats to Internet free speech. The ACLU remains vigilant against laws or policies that create new decency restrictions for online content, limit minors access to information, or allow the unmasking of anonymous speakers without careful court scrutiny.

See original here:
Internet Free Speech – American Civil Liberties Union

Free Speech v. – Federal Election Commission

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Free Speech v. – Federal Election Commission
Feb 212016
 

On June 14, 2012, Free Speech filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming challenging the constitutionality of the Commissions regulations, policies and practices regarding the determination of when a communication constitutes express advocacy, whether a communication is a solicitation, and whether a group is a political committee. The group sought injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that the rules are unconstitutional, on their face and as applied.

Free Speech is a Wyoming-based, unincorporated association with a stated purpose of promoting and protecting free speech, limited government, and constitutional accountability.” The political organization plans to use individual donations to finance $10,000 in Internet, newspaper, TV, and radio ads during the months leading up to the 2012 election. Free Speech states that it will not coordinate any of its advertising expenditures and will not accept donations from foreign nationals and federal contractors. Nor will it contribute to federal candidates, political parties, or political committees.

The lawsuit follows the Commissions May 8, 2012, response to the groups advisory opinion request. In AO 2012-11, the Commission concluded that two of the 11 ads Free Speech planned to run expressly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate under the Act; four of the proposed advertisements do not; and two of the four proposed donation requests are not solicitations. The Commission could not approve a response by the required four votes with respect to the five remaining ads and the two remaining donation requests, nor could it approve a response as to whether Free Speech would have to register and report as a political committee. 11 CFR 100.22 and 100.5(a).

Free Speechs suit focuses primarily on the regulatory definition of express advocacy at 11 CFR 100.22(b). The suit argues that this regulation and related FEC rules, policies and practices abridge Free Speechs First Amendment freedoms. It also questions the Commissions interpretation and enforcement process regarding political committee status, solicitation tests, the major purpose test, and express advocacy determinations. See 2 U.S.C. 431(4), 431(8), 441d; 11 CFR 100.5(a), 100.52(a), 110.11(a).

The groups main argument consists of three parts. First, it states that the Commissions definition of express advocacy is put forth in unclear terms leaving those who guess wrong [to be] subject to criminal or civil penalties. Secondly, it argues the Commissions political committee registration and reporting requirements are burdensome for all groups whose expenditures aggregate more than $1,000 in a calendar year. See 2 U.S.C. 431; 11 CFR 100.5. Lastly, Free Speech disputes whether independent expenditures must include disclaimers and be reported to the Commission. See 2 U.S.C. 434; 11 CFR 104.4.

On March 19, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming dismissed Free Speech’s case. The court denied the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction in a telephonic ruling on October 3, 2012.

Express Advocacy

Commission regulations define express advocacy communications as those that: (a) use explicit words of advocacy; or (b) in context, can only be interpreted by a reasonable person as advocating a candidates election or defeat. 11 CFR 100.22(a) and (b). Communications that meet either of the regulatory definitions and are not coordinated with a candidate or party are independent expenditures and must be disclosed. See 2 U.S.C. 434(c) and 11 CFR 109.10.

Free Speech argued that the Commissions interpretation of express advocacy at 11 CFR 100.22(b) is vague and offers no clear guidelines for speakers to tailor their constitutionally protected conduct and speech, and that the regulation fails to limit its application to expenditures for communications that in express terms advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate (i.e., through use of the so-called magic words such as vote for, elect, support, etc.).

The district court noted that the Supreme Court has ruled in several cases that the definition of express advocacy may also include, in addition to use of the magic words, communications that are the functional equivalent of express advocacy. See McConnell v. FEC, 540 U.S. at 193 (2003) and FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (WRTL), 551 U.S. 449 (2007).

In WRTL, the Supreme Court stated that other courts should find that a communication is the functional equivalent of express advocacy only if the ad is susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate. WRTL, 551 U.S. at 460-470. The district court noted that the functional equivalent test is closely correlated to the Commissions regulation at 100.22(b), which provides that a communication is express advocacy if it could only be interpreted by a reasonable person as containing advocacy of the election or defeat of one or more clearly identified candidate(s).

The Supreme Court also addressed the issue of express advocacy in Citizens United v. FEC (2010). The court found that a communication at issue in that case was the functional equivalent of express advocacy and further upheld the disclosure requirements as they applied to all electioneering communications.

As a result, the district court held that the Supreme Courts ruling in Citizens United directly contradicts the plaintiffs argument that the definition of 100.22(b) is overly broad with respect to disclosure requirements: if mandatory disclosure requirements are permissible when applied to ads that merely mention a federal candidate, then applying the same burden to ads that go further and are the functional equivalent of express advocacy cannot automatically be impermissible.

Solicitation Standard

Commission regulations require any person who solicits a contribution through any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mailing or any other type of general public political advertising to include an explicit disclaimer on the solicitation. 2 U.S.C. 441d(a).

The Commission determines whether a request for funds amounts to a solicitation based on whether the request indicates that the contributions will be targeted to the election or defeat of a clearly identified federal candidate. See FEC v. Survival Education Fund, Inc., 65 F.3d 285, 293 (2d Cir. 1995). The plaintiff challenged this approach, arguing that it is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad.

The court disagreed with the plaintiff and noted that the plaintiff is free to spend unlimited funds on its solicitations and to solicit unlimited funds for its express advocacy activities. Communications that amount to solicitations merely trigger disclosure requirements; they do not prevent the plaintiff from speaking. Since disclosure serves an important governmental interest in insuring that the voters are fully informed about the person or the group who is speaking, the court held that the plaintiff had failed to establish any constitutional deficiency in the Commissions approach to determining whether a communication is a solicitation for contributions.

Political Committee Status

The plaintiff also challenged the Commissions method of determining when an organization meets the definition of political committee. The Act and Commission regulations define a political committee as any committee, club, association or other group of persons that makes more than $1,000 in expenditures or receives more than $1,000 in contributions during a calendar year. 2 U.S.C. 431(4)(A). In Buckley v. Valeo (1976), the Supreme Court concluded that defining a political committee only in terms of contributions and expenditures could be interpreted to reach groups engaged purely in issue discussion. As such, the Court limited application of the Commissions political committee requirement to organizations either controlled by a candidate or those groups whose major purpose is the nomination or election of candidates.

The Commission has adopted a case-by-case analysis of an organizations conduct and activities for evaluating whether an organizations major purpose is the nomination or election of federal candidates. See Political Committee Status, 72 Fed. Reg. 5595, 5601 (Feb. 7, 2007).

The district court held that the Commissions method of determining political committee status is a permissible approach that is consistent with Supreme Court precedent and does not unlawfully hinder protected speech. The district court granted the Commissions motion to dismiss. On March 25, 2013, Free Speech appealed the district courts dismissal of the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

On June 25, 2013, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district courts dismissal, holding that the district court correctly resolved each of Free Speechs constitutional challenges. The Court of Appeals adopted the district courts opinion in its entirety.

On May 19, 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear Free Speechs constitutional challenge to the FECs process for determining whether an organization qualifies as a “political committee.” The Courts denial of certiorari lets stand the June 2013 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to affirm the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyomings dismissal of the suit.

Source: FEC Record — June 2014; August 2013; April 2013; August 2012

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Free Speech v. – Federal Election Commission

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Harv.L.Rev.: Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Harv.L.Rev.: Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment
Feb 152016
 

ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 (2015)

by John Wesley Hall Criminal Defense Lawyer and Search and seizure law consultant Little Rock, Arkansas Contact / The Book http://www.johnwesleyhall.com

2003-16, online since Feb. 24, 2003 real non-robot URL hits since 2010; approx. 18k posts since 2003

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Fourth Amendment cases, citations, and links

Latest Slip Opinions: U.S. Supreme Court (Home) Federal Appellate Courts Opinions First Circuit Second Circuit Third Circuit Fourth Circuit Fifth Circuit Sixth Circuit Seventh Circuit Eighth Circuit Ninth Circuit Tenth Circuit Eleventh Circuit D.C. Circuit Federal Circuit Foreign Intell.Surv.Ct. FDsys, many district courts, other federal courts, other Military Courts: C.A.A.F., Army, AF, N-M, CG State courts (and some USDC opinions)

Google Scholar Advanced Google Scholar Google search tips LexisWeb LII State Appellate Courts LexisONE free caselaw Findlaw Free Opinions To search Search and Seizure on Lexis.com $

Research Links: Supreme Court: SCOTUSBlog S. Ct. Docket Solicitor General’s site SCOTUSreport Briefs online (but no amicus briefs) Curiae (Yale Law) Oyez Project (NWU) “On the Docket”Medill S.Ct. Monitor: Law.com S.Ct. Com’t’ry: Law.com

General (many free): LexisWeb Google Scholar | Google LexisOne Legal Website Directory Crimelynx Lexis.com $ Lexis.com (criminal law/ 4th Amd) $ Findlaw.com Findlaw.com (4th Amd) Westlaw.com $ F.R.Crim.P. 41 http://www.fd.org FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (2008) (pdf) DEA Agents Manual (2002) (download) DOJ Computer Search Manual (2009) (pdf) Stringrays (ACLU No. Cal.) (pdf)

Congressional Research Service: –Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Overview of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (2012) –Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping (2012) –Federal Laws Relating to Cybersecurity: Discussion of Proposed Revisions (2012) ACLU on privacy Privacy Foundation Electronic Frontier Foundation NACDLs Domestic Drone Information Center Electronic Privacy Information Center Criminal Appeal (post-conviction) (9th Cir.) Section 1983 Blog

“If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. It isn’t, and they don’t.” Me

I still learn something new every day. Pete Townshend, The Who 50th Anniversary Tour, “The Who Live at Hyde Park” (Showtime 2015)

“I can’t talk about my singing. I’m inside it. How can you describe something you’re inside of?” Janis Joplin

“Love work; hate mastery over others; and avoid intimacy with the government.” Shemaya, in the Thalmud

“A system of law that not only makes certain conduct criminal, but also lays down rules for the conduct of the authorities, often becomes complex in its application to individual cases, and will from time to time produce imperfect results, especially if one’s attention is confined to the particular case at bar. Some criminals do go free because of the necessity of keeping government and its servants in their place. That is one of the costs of having and enforcing a Bill of Rights. This country is built on the assumption that the cost is worth paying, and that in the long run we are all both freer and safer if the Constitution is strictly enforced.” Williams v. Nix, 700 F. 2d 1164, 1173 (8th Cir. 1983) (Richard Sheppard Arnold, J.), rev’d Nix v. Williams, 467 US. 431 (1984).

“The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its disregard of the charter of its own existence.” Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, 659 (1961).

Any costs the exclusionary rule are costs imposed directly by the Fourth Amendment. Yale Kamisar, 86 Mich.L.Rev. 1, 36 n. 151 (1987).

“There have been powerful hydraulic pressures throughout our history that bear heavily on the Court to water down constitutional guarantees and give the police the upper hand. That hydraulic pressure has probably never been greater than it is today.” Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 39 (1968) (Douglas, J., dissenting).

“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property.” Entick v. Carrington, 19 How.St.Tr. 1029, 1066, 95 Eng. Rep. 807 (C.P. 1765)

“It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed by the Fourth Amendment.” United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 69 (1950) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting)

“The course of true law pertaining to searches and seizures, as enunciated here, has notto put it mildlyrun smooth.” Chapman v. United States, 365 U.S. 610, 618 (1961) (Frankfurter, J., concurring).

“A search is a search, even if it happens to disclose nothing but the bottom of a turntable.” Arizona v. Hicks, 480 U.S. 321, 325 (1987)

“For the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection. … But what he seeks to preserve as private, even in an area accessible to the public, may be constitutionally protected.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967)

Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Governments purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438, 479 (1925) (Brandeis, J., dissenting)

Libertythe freedom from unwarranted intrusion by governmentis as easily lost through insistent nibbles by government officials who seek to do their jobs too well as by those whose purpose it is to oppress; the piranha can be as deadly as the shark. United States v. $124,570, 873 F.2d 1240, 1246 (9th Cir. 1989)

“You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes / You just might find / You get what you need.” Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for meand by that time there was nobody left to speak up.” Martin Niemller (1945) [he served seven years in a concentration camp]

You know, most men would get discouraged by now. Fortunately for you, I am not most men! “The point of the Fourth Amendment, which often is not grasped by zealous officers, is not that it denies law enforcement the support of the usual inferences which reasonable men draw from evidence. Its protection consists in requiring that those inferences be drawn by a neutral and detached magistrate instead of being judged by the officer engaged in the often competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime.” Johnson v. United States, 333 U.S. 10, 13-14 (1948)

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Harv.L.Rev.: Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution