African American Church In South Carolina, Once Burned Down By The KKK, Again On Fire

CREDIT: TWITTER/@MBOUGHTONPC By JUDD LEGUM, ThinkProgress – The Mt Zion AME in Greelyville South Carolina was ablaze on Tuesday evening. Photos were posted by local firefighters and journalists on social media. The prominent African American church was burned down by the KKK in 1995. The cause of this latest fire is unknown. There have been a string of fires at African American churches throughout the south since 9 people were gunned down at Emanuel A.ME. Church in Charleston, allegedly by a 21-year-old tied to white supremicists. At least three of the incidents have been determined to be the result of arson. From Twitter: Carter Jones‏@SCFireCarter Heavy fire at Mt Zion AME church near Greeleyville in Williamsburg County. Mutual aid dept’s on scene. Reprinted with permission from Think Progress, a branch of The Center for American Progress 

Read More...


Alabama Bans Same-Sex Marriage Licenses In Disgraceful Defiance Of Supreme Court

by STEPHEN D FOSTER JR – Once again, Alabama is standing in front of progress, yelling “stop!” in a disgraceful defiance of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Alabama is literally repeating its bigoted history after all probate judges were ordered not issue any marriage licenses to same-sex couples for 25 days in a desperate ploy to drag out and delay their compliance with the law. Last week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, therefore legalizing same-sex marriage across the nation in all 50 states. In response to the decision, Alabama Probate Judge Wes Allen of Pike County effectively ended marriage licenses for everyone in a temper tantrum against same-sex marriage. If gay people can get married across the nation, then nobody can get married in his county. Other judges have followed Allen’s bigoted lead, while some have adhered to...

Read More...


Ted Cruz Defends Donald Trump’s Comments On ‘Rapist’ Mexicans

by JAMESON PARKER – Perhaps a bit jealous that fellow Republican candidate got all the glory of defending a child molester, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has leapt to Donald Trump’s defense after the billionaire blowhard claimed Mexicans were “rapists” who were “bringing drugs crime” into the United States. Then walked back his comments by saying he didn’t mean just Mexico, it was really all of Latin America. Republican Latino outreach at its finest! On what is becoming Cruz’s almost daily visit to Fox News, the senator told Fox and Friends that Trump is “terrific” and his comments would have been fine if it weren’t for those meddling kids in the PC police. “I like Donald Trump. I think he’s terrific, I think he’s brash, I think he speaks the truth,” Cruz told the group. “And I think NBC is engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong.”...

Read More...


The Surprising Environmental Reason Weed Should Be Legal

by SAMANTHA PAGE – Marijuana has a strange legal status. In California, it’s been medically legal for almost two decades, but growing it and selling it for recreational purposes is in a gray area of law enforcement, with federal law prohibiting it altogether and state and local laws cobbled together in a patchwork of regulation. But according to a new study, this pseudo-legalization is bad news for the environment. The $31 billion marijuana growing business is draining local streams and allowing pesticide runoff to poison fish and wildlife, and it’s “high time” to include environmental regulations in the legalization conversation, states the report, published this week by a team of scientists from the Nature Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and University of California Berkeley. “Illegal marijuana production in California is centered in sensitive watersheds with high biodiversity,” the authors write in the report, which appeared in the...

Read More...


After 13 Years of Hell, Man Held Without Charges Has One Question for US

by Jon Queally – Moath al-Alwi, who has been a prisoner of the U.S. government and detained at the offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 without ever being charged with a crime or afforded a trial, has a simple yet urgent question for the American people and the U.S. government: Why am I still here? If the war in Afghanistan is now over, as he has heard President Obama and other lawmakers say many times, the Yemeni national wonders what possible reason could the U.S. have in keeping a man like himself—guilty of no crime—locked away on an island prison for nearly thirteen years. Despite the protests of dedicated human rights and legal activists in the U.S. and around the world, the fact that the U.S. government continues to justify the “indefinite detention” of human beings for a war that has become detached from geographical boundaries and has no...

Read More...


Feds Say Police In Ferguson Violated Protesters’ Rights And Unnecessarily Escalated Violence

by CARIMAH TOWNES – Almost one year ago, the shooting death of Michael Brown sparked a wave of protests over the teen’s death and the general mistreatment of black lives in Ferguson. Police responded with riot gear and tear gas, leaving many demonstrators wounded — including an 8-year-old boy. Now, a DOJ document obtained by the Post-Dispatch faults Ferguson police for their aggressive response to protesters last August. In a summary of its third Ferguson report, which is soon to be released, the DOJ contends officers from Ferguson, St. Louis County, St. Louis and Missouri Highway Patrol “violated citizens’ right to assembly and free speech, as determined by a U.S. federal court injunction.” According to the document, “vague and arbitrary” orders, combined with a “highly elevated tactical response,” including the use of military-grade equipment, resulted in “limited options for a measured, strategic approach.” For instance, several tactics exacerbated tensions during...

Read More...


ISIL ‘Beheads Women for the First Time in Syria’

Monitor says ISIL killed two women and their husbands in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province after they sought health remedies The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has beheaded two women and their husbands in eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, a monitoring group said. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that ISIL beheaded the couples after accusing them of using “magic for medicine”. It is not known what non-traditional health remedy the two couples had sought. “It is the first time that the beheading of women, by the use of sword in public, has taken place in Syria,” the Observatory’s chief, Rami Abdel Rahman, told Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera cannot confirm whether the executions represent the first time that women have been beheaded in Syria. Last year, ISIL reportedly beheaded at least three women who were Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Kobane. The more recent...

Read More...


Justice Kagan’s Blistering Response To The Supreme Court’s Ruling On Mercury Pollution

by NATASHA GEILING – In a 5-4 ruling Monday, the Supreme Court found fault with the EPA’s regulation of toxic heavy metal pollution from coal and oil-fired plants, claiming that the agency failed to prove the regulations “appropriate and necessary” because they did not initially take costs into consideration. To Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the Court’s dissent, that reasoning failed to acknowledge all the other times the EPA took cost into consideration throughout the regulatory process. As Kagan wrote: That is a peculiarly blinkered way for a court to assess the lawfulness of an agency’s rulemaking. I agree with the majority — let there be no doubt about this — that EPA’s power plant regulation would be unreasonable if ‘he Agency gave cost no thought at all.’ … But that is just not what happened here. Over more than a decade, EPA took costs into account at multiple stages...

Read More...


Justice Delivered: A Week That Changed a Nation

by William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed – “And Lord, we lifted over the delta, feelin’ alright, carried together on the broad, unbroken back of the blues.” —Rebecca Meredith A couple of weeks ago, I was on a planet called Earth, a citizen of the United States, and a prisoner of sorry judgments levied by fools whose political existence is funded through the extravagant largesse of those who sup on hate and greed. That was my Earth, and my country, and if I despised the manner in which the pieces of what passes for “culture” and “justice” and “government” came together like a jigsaw puzzle left out in the rain, at least I recognized it. It was familiar. …and then something like last week happens, and all of a sudden, I don’t know what planet I’m on anymore. In a small space of days, this nation’s highest court confirmed...

Read More...


The Kids Are Alright As Washington Judge Delivers Youth Climate Win

‘We may have won a battle, but we’re still fighting a bigger war,’ says 14-year-old petitioner By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – Citing what she called the “historical lack of political will to respond adequately to the urgent and dire acceleration of global warming,” a judge in Washington state handed a group of eight young petitioners a landmark win this week, ordering the Department of Ecology (ECY) to consider statewide reductions in carbon dioxide emissions based on best available science. “The effect of this decision is that for the first time in the United States, a court of law has ordered a state agency to consider the most current and best available climate science when deciding to regulate carbon dioxide emissions,” said Andrea Rodgers of the Western Environmental Law Center, attorney for the youth petitioners, who are in elementary, middle, and high school. The kids acted with the help of a...

Read More...


The Supreme Court’s Obamacare Decision Is The Biggest Possible Win For The Obama Administration

by IAN MILLHISER – The Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in King v. Burwell is not simply a victory for the Obama administration — and for the millions of Americans who depend upon the Affordable Care Act for their health coverage. It is a sweeping, crushing blow for conservatives who seek to use the courts to undo what President Obama and a Democratic Congress accomplished. “In a democracy,” Chief Justice John Roberts implicitly scolds the activists behind this litigation, “the power to make the law rests with those chosen by the people.” He then offers a broad statement to future judges called upon to interpret the Affordable Care Act: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible, we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter.” The message here is clear:...

Read More...


Governor Chris Christie Wants To Be President. Here’s How He Hurt New Jersey

by KIRA LERNER – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will announce on Tuesday at his former high school in Livingston, New Jersey that he will enter the already-crowded pool of Republican candidates vying for the presidency. While the two-term governor and former chair of the Republican Governors Association gained a national reputation early in his tenure for his brash demeanor and tendency to say whatever comes to mind, his leadership of the Garden State should be a better indication of how he would lead the country. Christie’s administration drew widespread criticism when it closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge as an act of retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee who refused to endorse the governor’s re-election bid. Christie continues to maintain that he was not involved, although aides have said he was aware of the incident that caused massive traffic jams and impeded public safety for...

Read More...


Reprieve in Texas, But Assault on Reproductive Rights Continues Nationwide

by Jon Queally – US Supreme Court orders stay against Texas law, but host of anti-abortion laws in states around the country leave defenders of reproductive freedom fighting battles in multiple states with no end in sight Advocates for reproductive rights welcomed the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday which put a block on a Texas law that would have shuttered nearly every abortion clinic in the state. In a 5-4 decision, the ruling came in the form of a stay that will delay enforcement of the law—originally passed in the Texas legislature as H.B. 2 and signed into law in 2013—until a full challenge to it is taken up by the court. The stay, in effect, suspends a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this month which upheld specific provisions of the law that would have likely resulted in the closure of all...

Read More...


Lindsey Graham: GOP Needs to Drop Anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment from Platform

by Ed Krayewski – Says he’d defend religious freedom as President S.C. Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of more than a dozen Republicans running for president, told NBC’s Meet the Press this morning that he believed the GOP should drop a plank supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman from its national platform. Via NBC News: “What I want to do is protect the religious liberties of those who believe that opposing same-sex marriage as part of their faith. So no I would not engage in the Constitutional amendment process as a party going into 2016. Accept the Court’s ruling. Fight for the religious liberties of every American.” Graham says not changing the platform would hurt Republicans’ prospects in 2016. Graham was already staking out this position on the day of the gay marriage ruling, when he said he would respect the Supreme Court’...

Read More...


NYPD Officer Gets Fabulous Instead Of Furious At Gay Pride Parade

By SHANNON BARBER, Addicting Info – Here lately, it seems all we hear and read about police officers is negative. We see horrific stories of brutality, sexual assault, and even murder, on a regular basis. To that end, the general public’s view of law enforcement is currently less than favorable, and that is putting it mildly. However, there is a good police story to be had from New York City’s Gay Pride celebration – a fun one of a cop dancing with a pride partier. A priceless video was shot and uploaded to YouTube by Paige Ponzeka, who was marching with the Big Apple Softball League, which is an LGBT sports group in New York City, according to Buzzfeed.  In the clip, an otherwise unemotional New York City police officer can be seen dancing with an enthusiastic Pride-goer, Aaron Santis, who says he had been trying to get the many...

Read More...


Pope Francis vs. Washington

by John Cavanagh – Lawmakers and the White House are at odds with the pope’s vision for protecting the planet Pope Francis, the humble yet bold leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, has offered an inspiring 21st century vision to all people. It’s a vision that’s been sorely missing in the halls of power. In an encyclical focused on the environment, he details how we can save the planet while helping billions of the world’s poor in this life — not just in heaven. The letter isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s a wake-up call that if we continue fueling our lifestyles with oil, gas, and coal, we’ll end life as we know it. He asks us all to think and act big, to replace our dig, burn, and dump economy with one that creates dignified work for people who can rebuild our inner cities, retrofit our buildings to make them energy-efficient, and...

Read More...


Meet the Bionic Lens: This 8-Minute Surgery Will Give You Superhuman Vision

By Jay Syrmopoulos, The Free Thought Project – An optometrist from British Colombia, Dr. Garth Webb, is currently developing a bionic lens, that once implanted would give a person 3x 20/20 vision, regardless of their age. The bionic lens, called the ‘Ocumetics Bionic Lens’, would end the need for glasses, contact lenses, driving glasses or progressive lenses and would allow for optimal eyesight regardless of an individual’s age or health, according to CBC. Additionally, those that elect to get the bionic implant will be assured of never getting cataracts, as the new lens actually replaces that of the natural eye. Webb developed the lens as a means of optimizing eyesight, and says that anyone over 25 is a good candidate for the procedure, as that is when the eye has become fully developed. “This is vision enhancement that the world has never seen before,” he says, “If you can...

Read More...


Religious Group Hires Mexican Laborers To Protest Pride Parade To Avoid Seeing Gay People

By JAMESON PARKER, Addicting Info – Anti-gay Christian organizations like the Family Research Council have gotten the lion’s share of the mockery in their ongoing meltdown over the national recognition of gay marriage; however, an orthodox Jewish group may have just taken the cake. In the middle of New York’s Gay Pride Parade, a massive celebration of gay rights and the recent victory at the Supreme Court, a group of Hispanic men held up signs saying things like “G-D created Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve” and “Judaism prohibits homosexuality.” There was only one problem: These men weren’t Jewish, they were Mexican day laborers hired by the orthodox Jewish group calling itself the “Jewish Political Action Committee” to protest gay rights so impressionable Jewish people wouldn’t have to. Heshie Freed, a member of the political action committee, an Orthodox Jewish group based in Brooklyn, said that the men were supplementary troops,...

Read More...


It’s ‘The Chemical Equivalent Of Being Burned At The Stake.’ And Now It’s Legal

by CARIMAH TOWNES – By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the use of the lethal injection drug midazolam does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling comes more than a year after the botched executions of several inmates who remained conscious and experienced pain as they were put to death. According to the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, “petitioners have failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the use of midazolam violates the Eighth Amendment. To succeed on an Eighth Amendment method-of execution claim, a prisoner must establish that the method creates a demonstrated risk of severe pain and that the risk is substantial when compared to the known and available alternatives. Petitioners failed to establish that any risk of harm was substantial when compared to a known and available alternative method of execution. Petitioners...

Read More...


On This Day, June 30, 1962 – Sandy Koufax Pitches His First No Hitter

1962 – Sandy Koufax strikes out 13 batters and walks five to lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to victory over the New York Mets 5-0 with his first career no-hitter. Koufax went on to throw three more no-hitters, including a perfect game on September 9, 1965, in which he allowed no hits and no walks. Sandy Koufax was a talented all-around athlete from Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York. His first love was basketball, and he attended the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. His impressive left arm, however, attracted the attention of major league ball clubs and in 1954 he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite his promising talent, Koufax won just 36 games to 51 losses from 1955 to 1961, and was incredibly inconsistent, blowing hitters away one game and walking runs in the next. Finally, advice from veteran catcher Norm Sherry turned Koufax around. As...

Read More...