Category: Political Correctness


Supreme Court upholds prayer at government meetings

Supreme Court upholds prayer at government meetings

Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

On November 6, 2013, the Court heard oral arguments in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway dealing with whether holding a prayer prior to the monthly public meetings in the New York town of Greece violates the Constitution by endorsing a single faith.

by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Updated today at 9:13 AM

 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the centuries-old tradition of offering prayers at the start of government meetings, even if those prayers are overwhelmingly Christian.

The 5-4 decision in favor of the any-prayer-goes policy in the town of Greece, N.Y., avoided two alternatives that the justices clearly found abhorrent: having government leaders parse prayers for sectarian content, or outlawing them altogether.

It was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, with the court’s conservatives agreeing and its liberals, led by Justice Elena Kagan, dissenting.

The long-awaited ruling following oral arguments in November was a victory for the the town, which was taken to court by two women who argued that a plethora of overtly Christian prayers at town board meetings violated their rights.

While the court had upheld the practice of legislative prayer, most recently in a 1983 case involving the Nebraska legislature, the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway presented the justices with a new twist: mostly Christian clergy delivering frequently sectarian prayers before an audience that often includes average citizens with business to conduct.

The court’s ruling said that the alternative — having the town board act as supervisors and censors of religious speech — would involve the government far more than Greece was doing by inviting any clergy to deliver the prayers.

“An insistence on nonsectarian or ecumenical prayer as a single, fixed standard is not consistent with the tradition of legislative prayer outlined in the court’s cases,” Kennedy said.

Kagan, joined by the court’s other three liberal justices, said the town’s prayers differed from those delivered to legislators about to undertake the people’s business. In Greece, she said, sectarian prayers were delivered to “ordinary citizens,” and their participation was encouraged.

“No one can fairly read the prayers from Greece’s town meetings as anything other than explicitly Christian — constantly and exclusively so,” Kagan said. “The prayers betray no understanding that the American community is today, as it long has been, a rich mosaic of religious faiths.”

The legal tussle began in 2007, following eight years of nothing but Christian prayers in the town of nearly 100,000 people outside Rochester. Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, a Jew and an atheist, took the board to federal court and won by contending that its prayers – often spiced with references to Jesus, Christ and the Holy Spirit — aligned the town with one religion.

Once the legal battle was joined, town officials canvassed widely for volunteer prayer-givers and added a Jewish layman, a Wiccan priestess and a member of the Baha’i faith to the mix. Stephens, meanwhile, awoke one morning to find her mailbox on top of her car, and part of a fire hydrant turned up in her swimming pool.

The two women contended that the prayers in Greece were unconstitutional because they pressured those in attendance to participate. They noted that unlike federal and state government sessions, town board meetings are frequented by residents who must appear for everything from business permits to zoning changes.

 

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MoyersandCompany MoyersandCompany

Published on Aug 23, 2013

Bill Moyers says the parody and satire of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert pay Washington the disrespect it deserves, but in the end it’s the city’s predatory mercenaries who have the last laugh

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Tomgram: Bill Moyers, Covering Class War

If you’ve heard the phrase “class war” in twenty-first-century America, the odds are that it’s been a curse spat from the mouths of Republican warriors castigating Democrats for engaging in high crimes and misdemeanors like trying to tax the rich.  Back in 2011, for example, President Obama’s modest proposal of a “millionaire tax” was typically labeled “class warfare” and he was accused by Congressman Paul Ryan, among others, of heading down the “class warfare path.”  Similarly, in 2012, Mitt Romney and other Republican presidential hopefuls blasted the president for encouraging “class warfare” by attacking entrepreneurial success. In the face of such charges, Democrats invariably go on the defensive, denying that they are in any way inciters of class warfare.  In the meantime, unions and the poor are blasted by the same right-wing crew for having the devastatingly bad taste to act in a manner that supposedly might lead to such conflict.

In our own time, to adapt a classic line slightly, how the mighty have risen!  And that story could be told in terms of the fate of the phrase “class war,” which deserves its Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart moment.  After all, for at least a century, it was a commonplace in an all-American lexicon in which “class struggle,” “working class,” and “plutocrat” were typical everyday words and it was used not to indict those on the bottom but the rich of whatever gilded age we were passing into or out of.  It was essentially purged from the national vocabulary in the economic good times (and rabidly anti-communist years) after World War II, only to resurface with the Republican resurgence of the 1980s as a way to dismiss anyone challenging those who controlled ever more of the wealth and power in America.

It was a phrase, that is, impounded by Republicans in the name of, and in the defense of, those who were already impounding so much else in American life.  All you have to do is take a look at recent figures on income and wealth inequality, on where the money’s really going in this society, to recognize the truth of Warren Buffet’s famed comment: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Recently, Bill Moyers (who needs no introduction) gave a speech at the Brennan Center in New York City in which he laid out what class warfare really means in this society.  The first appearance of the host of Moyers & Company at TomDispatch is a full-throated call to save what’s left of American democracy from — another of those banned words that should come back into use — the plutocrats.  Tom

The Great American Class War
Plutocracy Versus Democracy
By Bill Moyers

I met Supreme Court Justice William Brennan in 1987 when I was creating a series for public television called In Search of the Constitution, celebrating the bicentennial of our founding document.  By then, he had served on the court longer than any of his colleagues and had written close to 500 majority opinions, many of them addressing fundamental questions of equality, voting rights, school segregation, and — in New York Times v. Sullivan in particular — the defense of a free press.

Those decisions brought a storm of protest from across the country.  He claimed that he never took personally the resentment and anger directed at him.  He did, however, subsequently reveal that his own mother told him she had always liked his opinions when he was on the New Jersey court, but wondered now that he was on the Supreme Court, “Why can’t you do it the same way?” His answer: “We have to discharge our responsibility to enforce the rights in favor of minorities, whatever the majority reaction may be.”

Although a liberal, he worried about the looming size of government. When he mentioned that modern science might be creating “a Frankenstein,” I asked, “How so?”  He looked around his chambers and replied, “The very conversation we’re now having can be overheard. Science has done things that, as I understand it, makes it possible through these drapes and those windows to get something in here that takes down what we’re talking about.”

That was long before the era of cyberspace and the maximum surveillance state that grows topsy-turvy with every administration.  How I wish he were here now — and still on the Court!

My interview with him was one of 12 episodes in that series on the Constitution.  Another concerned a case he had heard back in 1967.  It involved a teacher named Harry Keyishian who had been fired because he would not sign a New York State loyalty oath.  Justice Brennan ruled that the loyalty oath and other anti-subversive state statutes of that era violated First Amendment protections of academic freedom.

I tracked Keyishian down and interviewed him.  Justice Brennan watched that program and was fascinated to see the actual person behind the name on his decision.  The journalist Nat Hentoff, who followed Brennan’s work closely, wrote, “He may have seen hardly any of the litigants before him, but he searched for a sense of them in the cases that reached him.”  Watching the interview with Keyishian, he said, “It was the first time I had seen him.  Until then, I had no idea that he and the other teachers would have lost everything if the case had gone the other way.”

Toward the end of his tenure, when he was writing an increasing number of dissents on the Rehnquist Court, Brennan was asked if he was getting discouraged. He smiled and said, “Look, pal, we’ve always known — the Framers knew — that liberty is a fragile thing.  You can’t give up.”  And he didn’t.

The Donor Class and Streams of Dark Money

The historian Plutarch warned us long ago of what happens when there is no brake on the power of great wealth to subvert the electorate.  “The abuse of buying and selling votes,” he wrote of Rome, “crept in and money began to play an important part in determining elections.  Later on, this process of corruption spread in the law courts and to the army, and finally, when even the sword became enslaved by the power of gold, the republic was subjected to the rule of emperors.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have the Roberts Court that consistently privileges the donor class.

We don’t have emperors yet, but we do have a Senate in which, as a study by the political scientist Larry Bartels reveals, “Senators appear to be considerably more responsive to the opinions of affluent constituents than to the opinions of middle-class constituents, while the opinions of constituents in the bottom third of the income distribution have no apparent statistical effect on their senators’ roll call votes.”

We don’t have emperors yet, but we have a House of Representatives controlled by the far right that is now nourished by streams of “dark money” unleashed thanks to the gift bestowed on the rich by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case.

We don’t have emperors yet, but one of our two major parties is now dominated by radicals engaged in a crusade of voter suppression aimed at the elderly, the young, minorities, and the poor; while the other party, once the champion of everyday working people, has been so enfeebled by its own collaboration with the donor class that it offers only token resistance to the forces that have demoralized everyday Americans.

Writing in the Guardian recently, the social critic George Monbiot commented,

“So I don’t blame people for giving up on politics… When a state-corporate nexus of power has bypassed democracy and made a mockery of the voting process, when an unreformed political system ensures that parties can be bought and sold, when politicians [of the main parties] stand and watch as public services are divvied up by a grubby cabal of privateers, what is left of this system that inspires us to participate?”

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Medical Marijuana

Published by Jan

Bell’s Palsy-

Bell’s palsy, or idiopathic facial paralysis, is a form of facial paralysis resulting from dysfunction cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve) that results in the inability to control facial muscles on the affected side.  Several conditions can cause facial paralysis, e.g., brain tumor, stroke, and Lyme disease.  However, if no specific cause can be identified, the condition is known as Bell’s palsy.  Named after Scottish anatomist Charles Bell, who first described it.  Bell’s palsy is the most common acutemononeuropathy (disease involving only one nerve) and is the most common cause of acute facial nerve paralysis.
Bell’s palsy is defined as an idiopathic unilateral facial nerve paralysis, usually self-limiting.  The hallmark of this condition is a rapid onset of partial or complete palsy that often occurs overnight.  In rare cases (1%), it can occur bilaterally resulting in total facial paralysis.
It is thought that an inflammatory condition leads to swelling of the facial nerve.  The nerve travels through the skull in a narrow bone canal beneath the ear. Nerve swelling and compression in the narrow bone canal are thought to lead to nerve inhibition, damage or death.  No readily identifiable cause for Bell’s palsy has been found.
Corticosteroids have been found to improve outcomes while anti-viral drugs have not.   Early treatment is necessary for steroids to be effective.  Most people recover spontaneously and achieve near-normal to normal functions.  Many show signs of improvement as early as 10 days after the onset, even without treatment.
Often the eye in the affected side cannot be closed.  The eye must be protected from drying up, or the cornea may be permanently damaged resulting in impaired vision. Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Bell’s palsy affects about 30,000 – 40,000 people a year in the United States.
Bell’s palsy involves damage to the seventh cranial (facial) nerve. This nerve controls the movement of the muscles of the face.
Bell’s palsy is thought to be due to swelling (inflammation) of this nerve in the area where it travels through the bones of the skull.
The cause is often not clear.  A type of herpes infection called herpes zoster might be involved.  Other conditions that may cause Bell’s palsy include:
? HIV infection
? Lyme disease
? Middle ear infection
? Sarcoidosis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

.
Symptoms

Sometimes you may have a cold shortly before the symptoms of Bell’s palsy begin.
Symptoms most often start suddenly, but may take 2 – 3 days to show up.  They do not become more severe after that.  Sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the face that causes it to droop.
Symptoms are almost always on one side only.  They may range from mild to severe.
The face will feel stiff or pulled to one side, and may look different.  Other symptoms can include:
? Difficulty eating and drinking; food falls out of one side of the mouth
? Drooling due to lack of control over the muscles of the face
? Drooping of the face, such as the eyelid or corner of the mouth
? Hard to close one eye
? Problems smiling, grimacing, or making facial expressions
? Twitching or weakness of the muscles in the face
Other symptoms that may occur:
? Dry eye or mouth
? Headache
? Loss of sense of taste
? Sound that is louder in one ear (hyperacusis)
? Twitching in face

Treatment

Often, no treatment is needed.  Symptoms often begin to improve right away.  However, it may take weeks or even months for the muscles to get stronger, and this may be frustrating.
Your health care provider may give you lubricating eye drops or eye ointments to keep the surface of the eye moist if you cannot close it completely.  You may need to wear an eye patch while you sleep.
Sometimes medicines may be used, but it is not clear how much they help.  If medicines are used, they should be started right away.
• Corticosteroids may reduce swelling around the facial nerve
• Medications can fight the virus that may be causing Bell’s palsy
Surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve (decompression surgery) is controversial and has not been shown to routinely benefit people with Bell’s palsy.
The goal of the treatment is to eliminate the source of the nerve damage.  Patients with less nerve damage have better chances of recovery.
Medications are often used as part of the treatment:

• If  infection is the cause, then an antibiotic to fight bacteria (as in middle ear infections) or antiviral agents (to fight syndromes caused by viruses like Ramsay Hunt) may be used.

• If swelling is believed to be responsible for the facial nerve disorder, steroids are often prescribed.

• In certain circumstances, surgical removal of the bone around the nerve (decompression surgery) may be appropriate.

Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy can be beneficial to some individuals with Bell’s palsy as it helps to maintain muscle tone of the affected facial muscles and stimulate the facial nerve.   It is important that muscle re-education exercises and soft tissue techniques be implemented prior to recovery in order to help prevent permanent contractures of the paralyzed facial muscles.   Muscle re-education exercises are also useful in restoring normal movement.   To reduce pain, heat can be applied to the affected side of the face.   In individuals with unresolved facial nerve paralysis, transcutaneous electrical stimulation can be an effective treatment strategy(TENS).

• Exercise the facial muscles in front of a mirror.
• Massage the face.
• Apply gentle heat to reduce pain.
• Using a finger, regularly close the eye to keep it moist.
• Tape the eye closed for sleeping.
• Use protective glasses or clear eye patches to keep the eye moist and to keep foreign materials
from entering the eye.
• Use doctor-recommended artificial tears or an ointment to keep the eye moist.

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Medical Marijuana – Cerebral Palsy (Jacqueline Patterson)

Luke Slisz Luke Slisz

Published on Jul 2, 2011

Cerebal Palsy is an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement – Wikipedia

At some point very early in life, either while a baby is still growing in the womb, during birth or shortly after, something happens to interfere with the normal development of the brain or to injure the brain tissues. This abnormal development or injury disrupts the nerve signals between the brain and the muscles, leading to problems with movement, posture and coordination as the child grows up. While some people are severely affected, others have only minor disruption, depending on which parts of the brain are not functioning properly. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in every 400 children may have cerebral palsy. – BBC Health

After Jacqueline was reported for cannabis possession, she moved to California after succeeding in a court case that the consumption was strictly for medicinal purposes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y–pjK…

These clips are taken from the documentary ‘In Pot We Trust’ which displays a range of medical, social and political views and the medical purposes of marijuana in relation to Glaucoma, Leukaemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Multiple Exostoses and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qTsS6…

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Dr Sanjay Gupta Apologizes For ‘Systematically Misleading Americans’ About Marijuana Cannabis

MrCensorMe3

Published on Aug 7, 2013
Aired May ,2013

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In Pot We Trust – Marijuana Cannabis

thepotroast thepotroast

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Jessica Maher
Denver Post
Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:12 CST

© screengrab via KDVR

A 7-year-old Mary Blair Elementary School student says he’s confused about getting in trouble for trying to save the world from evil, though Thompson School District officials contend that the boy broke one of the school’s “absolutes.”

Parent Mandie Watkins said Mary Blair principal Valerie Lara-Black called her Friday afternoon to inform her that her second-grade son, Alex, had been suspended for throwing an imaginary grenade during recess on the playground.

Alex did not have anything in his hand at the time and made no threats toward other people, Watkins reportedly was told.

Watkins said Alex’s story matched up with the principal’s account: He threw the pretend grenade at an imaginary box that had something evil inside.

He was going to save the earth this way, and when he threw the grenade he pretended that the box exploded, in apparent success.

“He is very confused,” Watkins told the Reporter-Herald on Tuesday. “I’m confused as well, so it makes it hard for me to enforce these rules when I don’t even understand them.”

The rules are laid out by Mary Blair Elementary School in a list of “absolutes” that are posted on the school’s website and are aimed at making Mary Blair a safe environment.

Read Full Article  Here

Press TV’s documentary program “Untold Truths” reveals documentary film about the life and experiences of former White House Middle East policy adviser, Gwenyth Todd, who has escaped to Australia to keep safe from FBI prosecution.

Matthias Schrader / AP

Sen. John McCain

By Domenico Montanaro, Deputy Political Editor, NBC News

Updated 12:52 pm ET. Always one to speak — or Tweet — his mind, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) Monday made a joke comparing Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a monkey, something one Republican congressman charged was “racist.”

“So Ahmadinejad wants to be first Iranian in space – wasn’t he just there last week?” McCain said in a tweet that also linked to a story about Iran launching a monkey into space.

Some didn’t take so kindly to the not-so-diplomatic quip, prompting McCain, 76, to respond: “Re: Iran space tweet – lighten up folks, can’t everyone take a joke?”

Seeing that, Michigan congressman Rep. Justin Amash, 32, shot back.

“Maybe you should wisen up & not make racist jokes,” Amash tweeted.

 

Read Full Article  and  Watch Video Here

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