Seemingly from the moment Cuban refugee Yasiel Puig showed up at Dodger Stadium out of nowhere, arriving last June unwilling to discuss his unknown background, the talk behind the batting cages has been rife with unprintable rumors.
There were rumors Puig was smuggled out of Cuba by members of a Mexican drug cartel. There were rumors he still owed the smugglers money, and that his life could be in jeopardy. There was talk about Puig being essentially owned by a Miami businessman with a criminal record who hired those smugglers in exchange for 20% of the ballplayer’s future earnings.
Who knew that all those rumors could actually be true? According to a richly researched and chillingly written story by Jesse Katz in the May issue of Los Angeles Magazine, Puig’s journey to Los Angeles was even more harrowing than realized, and continues to be more frightening than imagined.
An employee at a leading Republican consulting firm used by lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick, Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sen. Donna Campbell, among others, registered a political action committee with the state by the name of “Boats ‘N Hoes PAC” earlier this month.
Shaun Nowacki, listed as comptroller for Blakemore and Associates consulting firm, registered the PAC with the Texas Ethics Commission on April 1, according to state records.
Allen Blakemore, the principal for the firm, is the “senior strategist” for Patrick’s lieutenant governor campaign and was hired by Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor, for eight different campaigns beginning in 1991, according to Blakemore’s website.
Nowacki and Blakemore each did not immediately return calls requesting comment.
Patrick, a Houston Republican, is in a heated runoff with incumbent David Dewhurst and drew statewide attention Tuesday for his immigration debate with San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.
The PAC’s name is likely a nod to a popular phrase coined in the 2008 movie “Step Brothers.”
“That’s a horrible name,” said Jessica Luther, a writer and activist in Austin. “Why would you use the word ‘hoes,’ which is obviously derogatory toward women, in a PAC name? The Texas GOP rarely surprises me, but this one actually does.”
Ben Mathis-Lilley, Slate: New York Electoral College: State Joins National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Instead of pushing for a Constitutional amendment, which would have to be ratified in 38 states, advocates ask individual state legislatures to pass an agreement: that they’ll pledge all their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote as soon as enough other states pass the law to ensure that the candidate who wins said vote would have the 270 electoral votes required to become president.
The best case for passing the law might be this map from the National Popular Vote group, which shows how many 2012 presidential campaign events were held in each state between the party conventions and the election:
This map effectively refutes the argument that the electoral college is necessary to prevent small states from being ignored during presidential elections; except for New Hampshire, they were ignored anyway. How can anyone argue that an electoral system which effectively causes presidential candidates to run like they want to be the Governor of Ohio is the best way to go?
When looking at this data, it’s important to remember that gender equality isn’t just about women working more paid hours or doing less housework. It’s also about men cutting back their work hours to pitch in more around the house. Countries that have lighter workweeks, in fact, tend to have a more equal distribution between men and women in the home.
The OECD compiled data from national surveys of men and women ages 15 - 64, both single and married. Hours spent on childcare were included as unpaid work for the few countries that had comprehensive statistics.
Green hopes the program — which will be overseen by Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative — will be placed in “hundreds” of high schools by 2016, and “thousands” by 2017. It is a four-year elective course in which students will study the narrative, history, and impact of the Bible on Western Civilization. Because the book is being taught within an academic purview, it does not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Abington School District v. Schempp.
“Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible,” the Court decided, “when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may not be effected consistently with the First Amendment.”
Statements made by Green when he received the 2013 Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities strongly suggest that the material in the Museum of the Bible Curriculum will neither be “presented objectively” nor “part of a secular program.”
In the speech, Green refers to the Bible as a “reliable historical document” that’s had a “great impact on the world,” but that people don’t understand that impact. “It’s our job to point that out,” Green said, “to show that whether it be our government, education, science, art, literature, family, on and on in every area of our life.”
A planned anti-gay rally that would have made Ethiopia the latest African country to demonize gays has been cancelled, officials said Wednesday.
In addition, plans by the legislature to add gay sex to a list of crimes not eligible for presidential pardons has been dropped, said Redwan Hussein, a government spokesman.
Hostility toward gays across Africa is high. Uganda and Nigeria increased penalties against gay acts this year. Homosexuals in other countries face severe discrimination and harmful physical attacks.
Gay Ethiopians still face severe penalties for living in the open. Same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A 25-year jail term is given to anyone convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts.
“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited.”
— Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Comissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). He continued, “Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law.” The statement was made in response to Brunei’s new penal code, which permits the punishment of death by stoning for a range of offences, including same-sex sexual relationships, adultery, rape, extramarital affairs and publicly declaring oneself to be non-Muslim.
Becker makes it clear that both Obama and his team were deeply conflicted about whether he should announce his support for gay marriage before the 2012 election, to the point where its unresolved, internal debate had resulted in a kind of paralysis. “His political advisers were worried that his endorsement could splinter the coalition needed to win a second term,” Becker writes. In the excerpt, Chad Griffin, the head of a group fighting Prop. 8, recounts a conversation that he had with First Lady Michelle Obama, during the summer of 2011: “Her message, he told his team, was clear: ‘Hang in there with us, and we’ll be with you after the election.’”
Even though Axelrod says that Obama “has never been comfortable” opposing same-sex marriage, it was not until Biden made some unscripted remarks in support of gay marriage on “Meet the Press,” in early May, 2012, that the President decided that he could no longer stay quiet, no longer occupy a permanent middle ground.
Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, one of about a half-dozen Republicans running in the Peach State’s open Senate contest, will hit the airwaves Monday with a new ad that prominently features former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
The 30-second ad, which is narrated with audio from the April event where Palin endorsed Handel, will air statewide on cable and broadcast, according to Handel’s campaign.
“You know her background, you know her record, the conservative who has walked the walk cutting budgets,” Palin says of Handel in the ad.
Among the other top Republicans in the crowded field are three members of Congress and a businessman. They will all compete in a May 20 primary. If no candidate garners more than 50 percent of the vote, the race will head to a July 22 runoff.
Jamelle Bouie had a great piece at Slate last week explaining the long strange journey of Protestant Evangelicals from pressing for the expansion of abortion rights to vehement opposition to nearly every aspect of women’s reproductive choices. Bouie correctly identifies the trend, but he misses an important pivot point that calls the rest of his analysis into question.
Bouie correctly points out that political conservatives and Protestant evangelicals were relatively warm toward pro-choices causes until the ‘70’s. The nation’s most liberal abortion rights legislation prior to Roe v. Wade was signed into law by California Governor Ronald Reagan. Sen. Barry Goldwater was staunchly pro-choice across his entire career.
In 1971 the Southern Baptist Convention endorsed abortion rights for women in a remarkably bold statement for the time. The Baptists responded to Roe v Wade in 1974 by re-affirming their previous statement in favor of abortion rights.