A town in New York that is awaiting a decision from the United States Supreme Court on the constitutionality of prayers held during its town meetings continues to observe the practice.
Town of Greece, a community whose prayer policy for meetings sparked a major church-state lawsuit, opened their latest monthly meeting with a prayer.
"Leaders of this town of 96,000 outside Rochester say they have no plans to shake up the longtime routine unless, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court orders them to," reported The Associated Press. more >>
Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc case. As virtually everyone is aware, the CEO of Hobby Lobby is contesting the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.
The company's refusal to comply with the mandate stems from a religious objection to birth control and abortifacient drugs, and they insist that the First Amendment protects their right to exclude these prescriptions from their health insurance plans. One of the interesting questions at issue in this case is whether or not corporations are entitled to the same legal protections as individual persons. Supporters of Hobby Lobby are quick to point to the legal precedent set in the recent Citizens United ruling, which concluded that corporations, like persons, are protected by the First Amendment in the area of free speech. Thus, if corporations have the same speech rights as individuals persons, so too should they have the same rights of religious conscience. If Hobby Lobby is owned by a Christian family and governed according to explicitly Biblical principles, then it follows that the company's health care coverage may reflect those principles, and the government may not infringe upon this area of Free Exercise.
There is no question that the law has treated corporations as "people" for various reasons, particularly in the last century. Women- and minority-owned businesses, for example, are often entitled to the same kind of affirmative action and quota policies as individuals in these demographics. This debate has prompted journalists and commentators to engage in a review of the judicial history of corporate personhood, in an attempt to navigate the assertions being made in the Hobby Lobby case. Turns out, despite the popular impact of the Citizens United decision, that the habit of according individual rights to corporations is a relatively new phenomenon. From Slate: more >>
I grew up in a family who had to stretch their money the best way they could. So I understand those in our nation who labor hard to pay their monthly bills. As our economy continues to struggle, the President and his congressional allies are proposing another hike in the federal minimum wage.
I have already written about the racist roots of the minimum wage. The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was intentionally designed to prevent blacks from being hired for federally funded work projects. Raising the minimum wage also raises the cost of all kinds of goods and services for consumers, rich and poor: if the grocery store has to pay more to have its shelves stocked, it will have to raise the price of groceries. And I have also written about how raising the minimum wage will undoubtedly raise unemployment rates among the lowest skilled workers.
This third concern was raised in a recent report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which analyzed the probable effects of the proposed minimum wages increases. The report stated that the changes would most likely eliminate at least 500,000 jobs (or as many as 1 million) by the time they were in full effect. In return, they would raise the annual income of families in poverty by about $300 a year. more >>
While today may be the opening day for baseball, today is the final day for enrollment in the Obamacare exchange.
In trying to navigate healthcare.gov this morning, it was discovered that the website was down for maintenance. The administration was quick to put a headline on the website that said the website would be slow due to a high volume of visitors to the website, but all along this is what the White House claimed to expect during the final days of the enrollment period. Why is it that all the glitches hadn't been worked out before the day of the final deadline?
Day after day there seems to be another issue with Obamacare, it is a far cry from what was sold and pedaled to the American people. What happened to the promise of affordable healthcare, keeping your doctor and your insurance, and a website as simple as kayak.com? As we all know, these three promises, along with many more, were broken. Many visitors to the website have waited hours just to try to enroll, over six million people have lost their coverage, and premiums are skyrocketing due to the lack of enrollment by Millennials. more >>
Persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern asked why U.S. President Barack Obama failed to talk religious freedom with Saudi Arabia King Abdullah during his visit last week, after identifying the issue as a key component of U.S. foreign policy at the National Prayer Breakfast in February.
"This visit was an excellent opportunity for the president to speak up on an issue that affects millions of Saudi citizens and millions more foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia," said ICC Middle East Regional Manager Todd Daniels in a statement Saturday.
"Only last month the president clearly stated that promoting religious freedom is a key objective of American foreign policy, and then reaffirmed that opinion in remarks following his meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday, according to the White House. On top of this, 70 members of Congress specifically asked him to publicly address the issue, as well as other human rights concerns, with King Abdullah today. How, despite all of this, the president could stay completely silent about religious freedom during his meeting is remarkable." more >>
Republicans just can't help reminding blacks why they should not consider voting for them, at least not seriously. In a Fox News interview, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared President Barack Obama to a "trained ape" for his failure to sign an agreement with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on the number of US troops allowed to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to help with security.
"A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius. And we have so mismanaged that relationship," said Rumsfeld.
While I agree Obama's retreat from the world stage has virtually neutered America's influence globally in conflicts like Syria, Iran, and Crimea, comparing the first black president to a trained ape is just in the poorest of taste. Since slavery, racists have compared blacks to monkeys, gorillas, apes and called blacks derogatory names like nigger, coon, and darkies. After Obama's election, more than a few Republican politicians have compared him, his family, and other blacks to animals. more >>