France’s opposition conservative UMP Party has made big gains in local elections, at the expense of the ruling Socialists.
The UMP, led by ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, boosted the number of councils it controls from 40 to 67 in the vote.
President Francois Hollande’s Socialists and other leftists won 34 councils - down from 61 previously.
Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front (FN) won at least 60 seats but failed to get control of any council.
The elections are seen as a key test of public opinion ahead of the 2017 presidential election.
Here’s the flag case back again, it’s highly interesting because you can find yourself easily arguing both sides of it. On the one hand the school administrators should have the authority to prevent provocation at a school with 30+ interracial fights, on the other hand wearing a flag is a political statement and should be considered free speech.
A California school dispute that arose when students wore shirts emblazoned with the American flag on Cinco de Mayo could prompt the Supreme Court to take a new look at the free-speech rules for high schools.
Ever since students protested the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands, the justices have said the First Amendment protects the rights of students to peacefully protest at school, so long as their actions do not lead to a “substantial disruption.”
In recent years, however, some school officials have moved to curtail political fashion statements such as wearing T-shirts with Confederate flags or anti-gay slogans. They have argued that some limits were necessary to avoid offending other students and possibly provoking violence.
Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program entered a critical phase on Monday with differences still remaining less than two days before a deadline for the outline of an agreement.
With the March 31 target fast approaching, the top diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Germany and Iran were meeting to try to bridge remaining gaps and hammer out the framework deal that would be the basis for a final accord to be reached by the end of June.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have been meeting in the Swiss town of Lausanne since Thursday in an intense effort to reach a political understanding on terms that would curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.
Mohammed Hano and Mobarak Albadawi, refugees from a violent conflict in a distant African country who now live in Anchorage, say they woke Sunday morning to find their cars covered in messages telling them to leave the place that was supposed to be their final, safe home.
“Not Welcome,” “Leave Alaska,” “Move out,” and “Go Now” were among the words scrawled on the Chevy Blazer and Chevy Lumina parked in their Spenard driveway. The tires on both vehicles had also been deflated.
Hano, Albadawi and three other roommates at a Dorbrandt Street apartment complex are refugees from Darfur, a region in the African nation of Sudan that has been embroiled in a brutal, ongoing conflict since 2003.
Image via feelsengine.com
Finally, creationism and anti vaccination on the same webpage! To think I was worried that creationists wouldn’t try anything new. Emil Karlsson, takes on Cornelius Hunter and power owns him to death with science!
One of the more frightening conceptual aspects of pseudoscience is known as the crank magnetism effect. It occurs when someone, who promotes one kind of pseudoscience, becomes more likely of promoting other kinds of crankery. Someone who promotes HIV/AIDS denialism may also promote alternative medicine, someone who promotes conspiracy theories about 9/11 might also believe that chemtrails are real, someone who are against vaccines might advocate for conspiracy theories about condoms and so on. This might occur because of similar core beliefs, such as the alleged severe deceitfulness of the government or because of extreme religious beliefs, or perhaps because of the similar themes and content of many kinds of pseudoscience.
Cornelius Hunter, an intelligent design creationist associated with the Center for Science and Culture (previously named the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture) at the Discovery Institute, is a good illustration of the concept of crank magnetism. In two recent blog post, he promoted a number of classic anti-vaccine talking points, but these were not completely unrelated to his intelligent design creationist activism. Instead, he appears to see both of the conflicts as part of a larger culture war between mainstream science (that he calls “scientism”) and various religious and anti-scientific groups and individuals.
Gov. Mike Pence, scorched by a fast-spreading political firestorm, told The Star on Saturday that he will support the introduction of legislation to “clarify” that Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not promote discrimination against gays and lesbians.
“I support religious liberty, and I support this law,” Pence said in an exclusive interview. “But we are in discussions with legislative leaders this weekend to see if there’s a way to clarify the intent of the law.”
The governor, although not ready to provide details on what the new bill will say, said he expects the legislation to be introduced into the General Assembly this coming week.
We can only hope that Gov. Pence’s inane attempts to tap dance around the inherently discriminatory nature of the RFRA have destroyed any chance that he had to land on the GOP’s national ticket in 2016.
One of my favourite military affairs writers talks about terrorism, Islamists and why the West’s response to them is going to fail.
The annual legislative skits were this weekend in Juneau. That’s a big social event where legislative staff get together to make fun of their bosses. The 2015 Alaska Legislature is certainly a target-rich environment for parody.
For example, there was the amazing spectacle of Republican Sen. Peter Micciche grilling Attorney General Craig Richards about his “conflict of interest.” It happens that Micciche is an expert on conflict of interest. He’s the ConocoPhillips employee who helped write the oil tax bill: you know, the law expected to give ConocoPhillips tax breaks worth billions.
So Micciche, that paragon of ethical rectitude, was “deeply concerned” by the “perceived conflict” of Richards having represented the city of Valdez in a dispute with the owners of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System over the valuation of the pipeline for tax purposes.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I came across this NY Times editorial via Nancy LeTourneau in a piece published at Washington Monthly. Definitely worth a read.
THE surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House, 150 years ago next month, effectively ended the Civil War. Preoccupied with the challenges of our own time, Americans will probably devote little attention to the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, the turbulent era that followed the conflict. This is unfortunate, for if any historical period deserves the label “relevant,” it is Reconstruction.
Issues that agitate American politics today — access to citizenship and voting rights, the relative powers of the national and state governments, the relationship between political and economic democracy, the proper response to terrorism — all of these are Reconstruction questions. But that era has long been misunderstood.
It was not economic dependency, however, but widespread violence, coupled with a Northern retreat from the ideal of equality, that doomed Reconstruction. The Ku Klux Klan and kindred groups began a campaign of murder, assault and arson that can only be described as homegrown American terrorism. Meanwhile, as the Northern Republican Party became more conservative, Reconstruction came to be seen as a misguided attempt to uplift the lower classes of society.
By the turn of the century, with the acquiescence of the Supreme Court, a comprehensive system of racial, political and economic inequality, summarized in the phrase Jim Crow, had come into being across the South. At the same time, the supposed horrors of Reconstruction were invoked as far away as South Africa and Australia to demonstrate the necessity of excluding nonwhite peoples from political rights. This is why W.E.B. Du Bois, in his great 1935 work “Black Reconstruction in America,” saw the end of Reconstruction as a tragedy for democracy, not just in the United States but around the globe.
Man arrested over racist rant on Wellington bus
5:20 PM Sunday Mar 29, 2015
A Lower Hutt man has been arrested after a video of a racist rant on a Wellington bus against two young men who appeared to be Muslim was published online.
The incident happened on an NZ Bus in the Lower Hutt suburb of Naenae on Wednesday morning.
The footage, shot by an Iraqi Muslim woman sitting behind the man, shows the man calling out to the pair and accusing them of being “Islam c***s” and “shooting innocent people”.
“Go back to your own country,” he said.
One woman on the bus stood up for the young men and called out “welcome to New Zealand” to them before telling the man to behave himself.
The man then repeatedly told the woman to “shut your mouth up b****”.
Police today said they had identified and arrested a 66-year-old Lower Hutt man in relation to the incident.
Someone needs to tell the old white man that this isn’t 1960s New Zealand anymore.