On Nov. 6, Americans voted to return Barack Obama to the White House; then on Nov. 7, some folks in Louisiana petitioned the White House to peaceably withdraw their state from the Union.
According to the White House website, the petition was created by Michael E. (full last name not provided) of Slidell, La., the day after the election and has since been electronically signed by a few hundred people, most – but not all – of whom hail from the Pelican State.
“We petition the Obama administration to: Peacefully grant the State of Louisiana to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government,” the petition reads.
It continues, “As the Founding Fathers of the United States of America made clear in the Declaration of Independence in 1776: ‘When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.’”
The petition concludes with a further quote from the Declaration of Independence: “‘Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and institute new Government.’”
The petition has until Dec. 7 of this year to gather 25,000 signatures, at which time, the White House pledges, it will be placed on a queue for response from the administration.
The White House created the “We the People” petition site ostensibly as a way of giving all Americans “a way to engage their government on the issues that matter to them.”
“The right to petition your government is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the page reads. “We the People provides a new way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. We created We the People because we want to hear from you. If a petition gets enough support, White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.”
The page also explains, “You have just 30 days to get 25,000 signatures in order to get a response from the White House.”
Once the White House does draft a response, it has pledged to send it via email to everyone who has signed the petition (registration on the site with a valid email address is required to sign petitions).
To view or even sign the petition, click here.
The family of a man who died suddenly on his front porch in Denver are lashing out at the neighborhood mailman who ignored the corpse because, he claims, he thought it was part of a Halloween display.
Dale Porch, 46, was coming back from working the overnight shift at the Regional Transportation District in Denver on Nov. 2, when he collapsed on the porch steps, his sister-in-law, Kimberly Cordova, told ABC News affiliate KMGH.
“My brother-in-law walked up these steps, got to this step here and collapsed,” said Cordova. She pointed to the mailbox just a few feet away. “So, the mailman literally was right here, and he (Porch) was right here collapsed on this step.”
Porch’s family is upset because, they say, the mail carrier must have walked by Porch’s body in order to deliver the mail, but failed to report anything to authorities or call for help, according to KMGH.
“I don’t know how he sleeps at night,” said Hedy Porch, the man’s wife.
Porch’s family did not return calls from ABC News for comment.
The U.S. Postal Service said in a statement that the worker felt terrible about ignoring Porch’s body, but thought that it was part of a Halloween display. Halloween was Oct. 31.
“We do know the carrier delivered mail to the house that day, and he remembered seeing something he thought was related to Halloween. When the carrier learned that was not the case, he was shocked and extremely upset,” the statement read.
Porch’s wife told KMGH the mailman told her, too, that he believed Porch was part of the Halloween decorations.
Mexico should legalize the export of marijuana after voters in two U.S. states opted to allow possession and sale of the drug for recreational use, an ally of incoming Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said.
Cesar Duarte, governor of Chihuahua, one of the Mexican states worst hit by drugs violence, said the decision on Tuesday by voters in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington offered a “very clear” hint for Mexico on how to approach marijuana.
“It seems to me that we should move to authorize exports,” Duarte told Reuters in an interview. “We would therefore propose organizing production for export, and with it no longer being illegal, we would have control over a business which today is run by criminals. And which finances criminals.”
Source: Yahoo! News. Read full article. (link)
A slim majority of Puerto Ricans sought to change their ties with the United States and become the 51st U.S. state in a non-binding referendum that would require final approval from Congress.
The two-part referendum asked whether the island wanted to change its 114-year relationship with the United States. Nearly 54 percent, or 922,374 people, sought to change it, while 46 percent, or 786,749 people, favored the status quo. Ninety-six percent of 1,643 precincts were reporting as of early Wednesday.
The second question asked voters to choose from three options, with statehood by far the favorite, garnering 61 percent. Sovereign free association, which would have allowed for more autonomy, received 33 percent, while independence got 5 percent.
Source: Fox News. Read full article. (link)
A Platte City, Neb., woman said police inappropriately aimed a surveillance camera at her back yard and bedroom window.
Stephanie Santos, who lives in an apartment with her two children, said her father, who lives in an adjacent apartment, noticed the camera Friday, camouflaged in a nearby tree. A policewoman acknowledged the camera was installed by police to monitor activity in nearby woods and was mounted on city property, but Santos said the land is privately owned.
Source: UPI. Read full article. (link)
Los Angeles County voters passed a ballot initiative mandating that pornographic film actors wear condoms during sex scenes, prompting a trade group on Wednesday to threaten to sue and take production elsewhere.
Measure B, which was sponsored by the group AIDS Healthcare Foundation, won approval on Tuesday by a margin of 56 per cent to 44 per cent, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s office.
“This is what democracy looks like; we took this to county government, and they didn’t act so we took it directly to the voters, and they spoke conclusively,” AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said.
The law requires adult film actors filming in Los Angeles County to use condoms during sex scenes. Most U.S. pornographic productions are made in the county’s San Fernando Valley.
Diane Duke, chief executive for the industry group Free Speech Coalition, told Los Angeles County supervisors in a letter on Wednesday that the law was unconstitutional and that it fell under state jurisdiction, not that of local government.
“Therefore, we will file suit and challenge this intolerable law in court,” Ms. Duke said in the letter. A copy was provided to Reuters.
She said the adult filmmakers had been approached to move elsewhere, adding: “In the upcoming weeks and months, we will provide a roadmap for adult production to move its over a billion-dollar industry and its accompanying 10,000 jobs to these welcoming communities.”
A New Mexico policeman Tasered a 10-year-old child on a playground because the boy refused to clean his patrol car, the boy claims in court.
Guardian ad litem Rachel Higgins sued the New Mexico Department of Public Safety and Motor Transportation Police Officer Chris Webb on behalf of the child, in Santa Fe County Court.
Higgins claims Webb used his Taser on the boy, R.D., during a May 4 “career day” visit to Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School.
“Defendant Webb asked the boy, R.D., in a group of boys, who would like to clean his patrol unit,” the complaint states. “A number of boys said that they would. R.D., joking, said that he did not want to clean the patrol unit.
“Defendant Webb responded by pointing his Taser at R.D. and saying, ‘Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.’”
Webb then shot “two barbs into R.D.’s chest,” the complaint states.
“Both barbs penetrated the boy’s shirt, causing the device to deliver 50,000 volts into the boy’s body.
“Defendant Webb pulled the barbs out [of] the boy’s chest, causing scarring where the barbs had entered the boy’s skin that look like cigarette burns on the boy’s chest.
“The boy, who weighed less than 100 lbs., blacked out.
“Instead of calling emergency medical personnel, Officer Webb pulled out the barbs and took the boy to the school principal’s office,” the complaint states.
Higgins says the Tasing gave the boy post-traumatic stress syndrome, and that “The boy, R.D., has woken up in the middle of the night holding his chest, afraid he is never going to wake up again.”
She adds: “No reasonable officer confronting a situation where the need for force is at its lowest, on a playground with elementary age children, would have deployed the Taser in so reckless a manner as to cause physical and psychological injury.”
She seeks punitive damages for the boy for battery, failure to render emergency medical care, excessive force, unreasonable seizure, and negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention.
Higgins and R.D. are represented by the Kennedy Law Firm, of Albuquerque.
At a polling location in Philadelphia, where Republican election officials were reinstated by a judge earlier today, via Fox News:
Workers at a Philadelphia polling place, after being ordered by a judge to cover up a mural of President Obama “in its entirety,” slapped up a few pieces of paper that only partially covered his image — while leaving the Obama campaign logo and a quote from the current president in full view for voters.
The judge’s order followed a wave of complaints from Republican officials concerned the giant image of the president could influence voters at the site, a school in Ward 35.
The mural, positioned behind the voting machines, contains the words “change!” and “hope,” along with a quote from the president and painting of him. Poll workers only covered up part of the mural, though, leaving the Obama campaign logo and other parts of the image visible, as well as the Obama quote.
Poll workers claimed only the face had to be covered.
Republicans quickly drew attention to the image Tuesday morning, with one Mitt Romney spokesman tweeting: “Voters in Philly’s Ward 35 are being forced to cast their ballots next to this.”
“It is an absolute disgrace,” said Shannon Royer, deputy secretary for external affairs and elections in Pennsylvania. “Election materials and electioneering inside the polling place are prohibited by state law. This can be interpreted as trying to influence voters inside the polling place. I am told discussions are going on now about covering the mural.”
Pennsylvania election law states “no person within a polling place may electioneer or solicit votes for any political party, political body, or candidate, nor may any unauthorized written or printed materials be posted within the polling place.”
School district spokesman Fernando Gallard told FoxNews.com the mural was “inspirational” and one of two that went up in 2009 following a student vote. “Not our call,” he said.
Also from Philly:
A Pennsylvania judge issued an order Tuesday to reinstate Republican election officials across Philadelphia who allegedly were ejected or refused entry by on-site Democratic voting chief judges.
One Republican official claimed that “just under 70″ Republican election officials were blocked from Philadelphia polling sites Tuesday morning by Democrats on site. One of them, the official claimed, “was shoved out of the polling place.”
Source: Fox News. Read full article. (link)
HOUSTON, TX -Friday afternoon at an early polling place located at 6719 W. Montgomery Road in Houston, NAACP members were seen advocating for President Barack Obama according to volunteer poll watchers on location at the time.
According to Eve Rockford, a poll watcher trained by voter integrity group True the Vote, three NAACP members showed up to the 139 precinct location with 50 cases of bottled water and began handing bottles out to people standing in line. While wearing NAACP labeled clothing, members were “stirring the crowd” and talking to voters about flying to Ohio to promote President Barack Obama.
After watching what was occurring, Rockford approached Polling Supervisor Rose Cochran about what she was seeing.
“I went to the polling supervisor and let her know that it was not appropriate that they were in the building handing out water. She ignored me. I repeated my statement. She told me that she would handle it. She did nothing. I then went to the assistant supervisor and he stood up, walked over to another table and then sat down. I then walked into the waiting room and they were reloading another dolly with more cases of water,” Rockford said in a True the Vote incident report.
After handing out water and advocating for President Obama, the NAACP members started handpicking and moving people to the front of a long voting line inside the polling place according to the incident report. After multiple complaints from voters about the line cutting, Rockford received a phone call from downtown telling her to “stand down.”
“All of the sudden one of the clerks, Dayan Cohen, said that someone wanted to speak to me on the phone. It was someone from downtown. I got on the phone and she said she was from downtown and that I needed to stand down and that it was okay for the NAACP to be within 100 ft. and they could hand out water. I told her that the NAACP was inside the building, wearing the NAACP clothing and caps and were handing out water and moving people from the back of the lines to the front of the lines,” Rockford said.
At this point, NAACP members were instructed to turn their clothing inside out, which they refused to do and said they weren’t going to stop their actions inside the polling place. Their behavior and actions to move people to the front of the line continued for the rest of the evening. Texas State Representative Sylvester Turner, a former Texas NAACP leader, was also seen outside the building talking with voters.
“The NAACP basically ran this poll location and the judges did nothing about it,” Rockford said.
A Texas woman claims that a polling place forced her to cover up her “Vote the Bible” shirt she was wearing or she would not be allowed to vote.
Texas Values is representing Kay Hill after Williamson County election workers told her that her shirt was deemed “offensive” and that she either needed to change her shirt or cover the words up in order to vote at Taylor City Hall on Oct. 24.
“This is obviously a religious free expression and no one should be put in a position having to choose religious freedom over deciding to vote,” Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, told KTBC-TV.
Hill eventually complied with election workers and covered-up the words in order to vote.
Williamson County officials say Hill’s shirt violated electioneering laws.
“Electioneering or loitering within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling place or inside the polling place is not allowed,” Connie Watson, public affairs director for Williamson County, told KTBC. “Electioneering would cover wearing a hat, a pen, a T-shirt or a sign that would indicate a position for a political party, candidate or a proposition.”
Saenz disagrees that Hill violated any sort of electioneering law.
“Electioneering only prohibits supporting or opposing a candidate, measure or political party,” Saenz told the Austin American-Statesman. “The Bible is not candidate or a ballot measure.”
Saenz is calling on the county to apologize to Hill, but officials say they won’t because what they did was right.
“We back the actions of our appointed elections workers at the county and precinct level,” Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis told the American-Statesman. “If a citizen does not agree, they need to follow the proper channels to complain.”
Hill is expected to file a complaint Friday with the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
Against whom? Who did what to merit revenge?
Alex Kindopp says a teacher at Iowa’s Shenandoah Elementary School had students spit on her 9-year-old son after he stuck his tongue out and blew a raspberry at another student. Superintendent Jeff Hiser told local media he could not comment on the claim since it involves a personnel matter, but he said the teacher has been placed on leave.
What is going on when a dog alerts and no drugs are found? Police and prosecutors want us to believe these are not really false alerts at all: Either the drugs were so cleverly hidden that the cops could not find them, or the dog detected otherwise imperceptible traces left by drugs that were recently in the vehicle or by contact with drug users’ hands (which is what the prosecution claimed in Harris). But these explanations are completely unfalsifiable and amount to nothing but self-serving speculation. Furthermore, the “residual odor” excuse weakens rather than strengthens the case for probable cause, since the traces could have been left by someone other than the driver: a passenger, a previous owner, even (as the defendant’s lawyers inHarris suggest) a cash-strapped addict who tried to open the vehicle’s door while looking for stuff to steal. In addition to residual odors, dogs can be confused by the smells of food, other dogs, and legal chemicals they have been trained to associate with drugs. But perhaps the biggest source of error is the cues that dogs pick up from their handlers, whose expectations can influence the animals’ behavior.
A 2011 study led by University of California at Davis neurologist Lisa Lit shows how powerful this effect can be. Lit and her colleagues had 18 handlers walk their police dogs through four rooms where they were told drug or explosive scents might be hidden but where in fact there were no target substances to be found. Each team went through each room twice, for a total of 144 sweeps, and generated 225 false alerts. The alerts were especially likely near markers that the handlers were told indicated the presence of scents—even more likely than at unmarked locations where the researchers had hidden Slim Jims and new tennis balls. “Human more than dog influences affected alert locations,” Lit et al. concluded. “This confirms that handler beliefs affect outcomes of scent detection dog deployments.”
In a new Huffington Post column, Radley Balko describes a couple of incidents that further illustrate this point:
A couple months ago, a U.S. Customs dog trained in drug detection somehow managed to find a package containing counterfeit passports. While dogs can be trained to detect drugs or explosives, they can’t tell a fake passport from the real thing—no dog is that good. Rather, what likely happened is that her handler noticed something suspicious about the package. The dog picked up on her handler’s body language, then alerted to please her handler.
Earlier this year, a HuffPost review of a police dog team with the Illinois state police found an instance in which the dog alerted to a trunk full of illegal (untaxed) cigarettes. Even the smartest of police dogs can’t determine with a sniff whether a trunk-load of Marlboros was purchased in or out of state. (Not to mention that the dog wasn’t trained to detect tobacco.) The dog likely was merely reflecting whatever suspicions its handler had about the driver.
Reason rightly concludes:
A dog’s sensitivity to its handler’s cues (whether conscious or subconscious) means that a suspicious cop who wants to search a vehicle (as in Harris) or a home (as in Florida v. Jardines, the other canine case the Supreme Courtheard on Wednesday) can essentially get permission from a dog, regardless of what it actually smells. As Balko observes, “drug dogs have become little more than a way of converting…hunches into probable cause.” In the case of a home search, the cop will have to take the additional step of obtaining a warrant, but if courts are to treat an alert by a supposedly well-trained dog as the equivalent of probable cause, that is a mere formality. The upshot is that a police officer armed with an obedient dog can search wherever he wants.
So dogs have become a tool in police tyranny.
Parents whose swim team daughters use the locker room at a Washington college are expressing concern following the continued refusal of school officials to stop a crossdressing man from stripping naked along with the girls — many of whom are young children.
According to reports, because of the non-discrimination policy of Evergreen State College, the educational institution feels that it must protect the “civil rights” of the man to use the female locker room. Children from a variety of schools and swim teams are said to use the facility, such as the Aquatics Academy, the Evergreen Swim Club, and the Capital High School and Olympia High School swim teams. The youth range from ages 6-18.
The 45-year-old man, who goes by the name “Colleen Francis,” was recently reported to the police following complaints from parents whose daughters have witnessed the man exposing his body parts by sitting naked in the sauna. One report states that police were contacted by a mother whose 17-year-old daughter was “upset because she observed a person in the women’s locker room naked and displaying male genitalia.”
“[She] felt that her daughter shouldn’t have been a victim to this type of situation and wanted something done about it,” the report, written by Chief Ed Sorger, stated.
Sorger then continued to explain that the previous day, another complaint had been lodged by swim team officials.
“Officers Brewster and Koppenhaver responded to the Campus Recreation Center on a report of a man in the women’s locker room,” he wrote. “Apparently Colleen Francis’ friend … had a conversation with someone at the CRC and was upset that Colleen’s identity was being questioned.”
Sorger outlined that after a teenage girl told her instructors that she had seen a man in the girl’s sauna, the coach for the Evergreen Swim Club confronted the naked man.
“[S]he observed Colleen sitting with her legs open with her male genitalia showing, and Tiffany said to ‘her’, ‘You need to leave,”” he explained.
The pastor who prayed and delivered the benediction at President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration has caused controversy by reportedly suggesting that every black person should vote for Obama on Nov. 6, and that white people are going to hell.
Pastor Joseph Lowery’s comments, made at St. James Baptist Church at a rally in Forsyth, Ga., as part of a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), were covered by the Monroe County Reporter, which reported:
“Lowery praised Obama’s commitment to the poor and said politicians should quit saying ‘middle class’ and go ahead and say ‘poor.’ Then he urged individuals to look at their own character and conduct.
‘We’ve turned our backs on the faith,’ said Lowery. ‘America is going to hell in a hand basket. We need to straighten up so God can use us.’
Lowery said that when he was a young militant, he used to say all white folks were going to hell. Then he mellowed and just said most of them were. Now, he said, he is back to where he was.
‘I’m frightened by the level of hatred and bitterness coming out in this election,’ said Lowery.’”
In Ohio, Canton South High School officials have given Zachery Aufderheide two days of in-school suspension for refusing to cut his hair. Zach is growing his hair out to donate to Locks for Love, the second time he’ll make such a donation. But offiicals say he’s in violation of the dress code, which says male students can’t have hair below the shirt collar.
In the climax of Robert Altman’s 1975 film Nashville (not sure you can “spoil” a film this old, but if you’ve still never seen it and don’t want to know how it ends, don’t read the rest of this paragraph), a country music diva is assassinated on the steps of the city’s most eccentric civic landmark, a scale replica of the Parthenon. A red swatch of blood staining his immaculate white suit, her stunned duet partner bellows: “This isn’t Dallas! This is Nashville!”
The new ABC series Nashville is a lot like Dallas, the nighttime soap that began its popular run in 1978, substituting country music for oil as the industry framework around which revolves steamy interlocking subplots of lust, envy and political intrigue. Still it shares more than a name with the Altman classic. While Dallas was filmed mostly on L.A. soundstages, ABC’s Nashville follows the movie’s example by shooting almost entirely on location in its early episodes. Incommensurate though they may be in terms of artistic aspiration (Altman’s film is a self-consciously avant-garde political parable, and the ABC series a sudsy entertainment), each manages to illustrate the link between the physical city and popular music, then and now.