A gun rights activist from Ohio plans to lead a march through downtown St. Louis on Saturday afternoon. The walk through the heart of the downtown area will start at 1 PM local time and consist of other open carry enthusiasts. Smith has asked those joining him on Saturday to bring long rifles or pistols. He’s asking that those walking either have the long rifles slung or the pistols holstered. Smith is also requesting that those participating not bring ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ flags, other political paraphernalia, camouflage or anything else that will make the group look like a militia.
Per Smith’s Facebook page, he has 159 saying they will attend with 90 maybes. That number will likely fluctuate by the start of the march, so it is hard to say how many will actually show up. The plan is to walk from the Gateway Mall down to the Arch and then back to the mall. It appears this is not an organized event with any permits from the city. Therefore, Smith is urging the participants to follow basic traffic laws and stay on the sidewalks. In fact, he is encouraging them to take their time on the walk so as to draw as much attention as possible. Smith claims that the march is to raise awareness of gun rights.
Now, anti-abortion forces are trying to change that at the ballot box by passing Amendment 1, which states that nothing in the Tennessee Constitution “secures or protects” a right to abortion.
Two other states, Colorado and North Dakota, are also trying to restrict abortion this Election Day with so called “personhood” ballot measures, which would extend extra rights and protections to the unborn. Colorado has previously voted twice against versions of the measure.
Here in Tennessee the ballot fight has taken center stage this political season, and abortion opponents are buoyed by the Democratic Party’s comically poor chances of recapturing the governor’s mansion. The party’s challenger to incumbent Bill Haslam, a Republican, is Charles V. Brown, a retired construction worker and political neophyte best known for his suggestion that Mr. Haslam be strapped to an electric chair.
Alabama’s bill goes a bit further. If enacted, it would require the state’s courts to avoid enforcing or applying rulings from other courts if those rulings are based on foreign law. That could affect contractual obligations from foreign courts (a more than occasional occurrence in international business dealings).
And superficially, the bill’s reasoning appears sound.
“The public policy of this state is to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the Alabama Constitution or of the United States Constitution, including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, assembly, or press, or any right of privacy or marriage,” it asserts.
The amendment’s text never explicitly references Sharia, but as the Greene County Democrat reports, it’s merely the latest incarnation of anti-Sharia legislation in the state. It’s also the brainchild of State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), who sponsored the original, failed version of the bill in 2011. Critics panned Allen for being unable to name any examples of Alabama Muslims attempting to enforce Sharia. His bill received another major blow when the Anniston Star revealed its text had been partially plagiarized from Wikipedia.
Allen is still a fixture in extremist circles. Last month, he received a national security award from ACT! for America, an anti-Islam group founded by Brigitte Gabriel.
To provide some context: Gabriel appears frequently at events organized by Religious Right groups like Christians United for Israel (CUFI). At a 2007 CUFI event, she declared, “It’s the difference between good and evil. This is what we’re witnessing in the Arabic world. They have no soul! They are dead set on killing and destruction.”
Allen’s willingness to accept an award from Gabriel’s organization provides troubling insight into his motivation for doggedly pushing anti-Sharia legislation. His bill has nothing at all to do with existing legal realities, either: it’s already illegal for courts to impose Sharia, and there hasn’t been a single reported instance of a U.S court attempting to do so.
That’s why Americans United has encouraged its Alabama members to reject Amendment One. We object to anti-Sharia bills because they’re unnecessary, their provisions are overly broad, and they unfairly target the nation’s Muslim communities. And that violates the First Amendment.
After a period of inactivity the June 27th flow from the Pu’u O’o crater of Kilauea has resumed a rapid flow, covering about 300 yards in the past day and a half. It’s now less than 150 yards from Apa’a Street, and advancing at about 10 yards per hour. It’s expected to cut the street near the Pahoa Solid Waste Transfer Station within the next day.
The transfer station will be closed shortly. At the current rate of advance, the flow will cut Pahoa Village Road within a week, and then the Highway 130 bypass a few days after that, severing the link between Lower Puna and the rest of Hawaii Island. The two main alternate routes, the reconstructed Railroad Avenue and Government Beach Road will buy residents several weeks more, but they are also in the flow path. If the flow were to continue all the way to the sea, the only way out of Lower Puna would be along Chain of Craters Road and through Volcanoes National Park, turning the 20 minute trip to Hilo into 2 hours and 60+ miles of narrow, winding roads never built to withstand that volume of traffic. Since Pahoa is mostly a tourist town and lower Puna is very rural, many residents of the area work in the Hilo area. Commute traffic on Highway 130 is already pretty bad; if it’s cut those people will be pretty thoroughly screwed.
Maps and photos at Hawaii247.com
A student recently crowned freshman class Homecoming prince walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria Friday and opened fire, killing one person and shooting several others in the head before turning the gun on himself, officials and witnesses said.
Students said the gunman was staring at his victims as he shot them inside the cafeteria at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. The shootings set off a chaotic scene as students ran from the cafeteria and building in a frantic dash to safety, while others were told to stay put inside classrooms at the school 30 miles north of Seattle.
The gunman was identified as student Jaylen Fryberg, a government official with direct knowledge of the shooting told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
As much as I like to drive out to somewhere spectacular in pursuit of good landscape I often find it smart to shoot right at home. It also got me thinking about the kinds of images where most of the consumer cell or point and shoot cameras just can’t quite pull it off. The pinhole/small sensor approach has it’s limits. This time I brought along a spray bottle to spice things up. The time of day was the worst almost noon on a clear day. But that’s the exercise-Use that better gear to pull off a nice shot despite limitations of circumstance. Take a minute to focus on exposure and composition.
What did I learn? in the end this is a pinhole shot, F32 has the aperture closed most of the way. the span from foreground to back on the plant is almost a foot. But it’s a big sensor pinhole shot. It’s a shot that any inexpensive DSLR or full function mirrorless can get. And given a little better than point and shoot cameras you could too.
Shot on my 7D and with a 60mm Canon macro. Stopped down to f32 to get the depth of field. Plenty of light, exposure was 1/30 with the ISO at a clean 400. Camera was mounted on a Manfrotto “Magic arm”. A good accessory for macro. Puts a camera on a table edge or handrail solidly.
Around 8 am this morning my wife started grumbling the TV wasn’t working. I reset the U-verse box as per usual but the problem persisted. It was clear right away this was something beyond a typical glitch because of an emergency message displayed on the screen. According to the message, there was a national emergency and the White House was requesting I stand by for important information. In addition the set was apparently “force tuned” to NBC. There was no way to change channels.
My wife wanted me to call AT&T, but I started by poking around online and soon I discovered a thread on the AT&T customer forums filled with people experiencing the same thing.
By the time I arrived for work, the story was already being pushed by several media outlets.
A couple of hours later, the truth came out:
FEMA issued a statement friday afternoon confirming that a radio station program set off a false emergency alert that froze stations earlier today for AT&T U-verse customers and impacted others in several states including Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Detroit.
“This morning, there was an inappropriate playing of the national emergency alert notification tones on a syndicated radio broadcast,” FEMA spokesperson Rafael Lemaitre said in a statement. “There is not a national emergency. Today’s broadcast triggered alert notification in states where the alert has been played.”
The statement went on to stay that such alerts are designed automatically set off more emergency alerts by other television stations and radio networks. The incident is now being investigated by FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission.
“Certain alerts, like the one broadcast today, are designed to be automatically picked up and rebroadcasted by other radio and TV stations,” the FEMA official said. “FEMA and the FCC are currently working with broadcasters to determine the full scope of the situation.”
Of course since FEMA is involved and the interruption effectively hijacked users TV sets while it was ongoing, it didn’t take long for the conspiracy theorists to jump on the incident.
Two of the more prominent Google search results on the matter are articles titled:
Obama just took over my TV - What the heck?
NSA Collaborator AT&T Throws POTUS Emergency Switch
And there was plenty of Twitter action on the matter:
Alert system, "can only be activated by the President in times of emergency," yet AT&T denies feds involved! http://t.co/dm9znIXTtF
Steven De Gracia 3 mins "TEST RUN!!! SHEEPLE WILL JUST GO BACK TO WATCHING SPORTS!!!" http://t.co/YaQa1BMdKx
Don't worry, friends. We're just testing the Ebola Outbreak messaging system. O.o http://t.co/SN6BSfqT2R
The most common line of the tinfoil brigade is, as you might expect, that the events of this morning were a “test run” of some Obama masterminded plan to take over all media and bring the country to its knees.
There was also frustration expressed at the fact the boxes had “force tuned” people primarily to those evil Liberal networks CBS and NBC instead of letting the patriots of the nation stay on their Fox news.
Others insisted we should take this very seriously since Obama is the ONLY one who could have triggered this signal. A quick Google search shows that is patently untrue and what happened was merely caused by an error. The President has zero involvement in this whole thing, but don’t tell them that, it ruins the narrative,
This situation merely highlights a potential flaw in the Emergency Alert system. Nothing more, nothing less. Certainly not a vast conspiracy or front page news.
Warning - be prepared for a mountain of derp over this one:
First, the published paper by Jesse T. Richman, Gulshan A. Chattha, and David C. Earnest:
• First use of representative sample to measure non-citizen voting in USA.
• Some non-citizens cast votes in U.S. elections despite legal bans.
• Non-citizens favor Democratic candidates over Republican candidates.
• Non-citizen voting likely changed 2008 outcomes including Electoral College votes and the composition of Congress.
• Voter photo-identification rules have limited effect on non-citizen participation.
In spite of substantial public controversy, very little reliable data exists concerning the frequency with which non-citizen immigrants participate in United States elections. Although such participation is a violation of election laws in most parts of the United States, enforcement depends principally on disclosure of citizenship status at the time of voter registration. This study examines participation rates by non-citizens using a nationally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants. We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.
They just conveniently happen to have an article in the WaPo today:
I won’t cut out paragraphs to highlight as the whole thing ought to be read.
Here’s the first thing I notice - no where do the authors state that the non-citizens are here illegally. The non-citizens could well be legal residents (and in their countries of birth legal residents there may have some voting rights and thus they might assume likewise here.)
Secondly, the authors admit that the data sample is small.
Because of that, I think it is irresponsible of them to speculate that the key Senate votes were influenced by these non-citizen voters.
Anyway, consider yourselves forewarned - you will be beaten over the head with this paper by your local xenophobes.
In the WaPo article they suggest that the Minnesota US senate outcome was indeed decided by non-citizen votes. In other words, Franken would not have been elected if the non-citizens had not voted.
This is major fuel for the xenophobic hate-right. Expect a full on voter ID effort, nationally.
Even though the authors point out that non-citizen voters already likely had IDs and used them, so having an ID didn’t stop them.
To me the issue comes down to registering to vote, not putting up hurdles at the polls themselves.
Then again, since half of eligible citizens don’t bother to vote, I’m not sure what sort of moral ground that half could stand on, if they bother to complain about non-citizens voting.