The State Department yesterday released its annual report on the status of religious freedom around the world. And the results are not particularly encouraging: The report concludes that the right to practice religion (or the lack thereof) freely, and without reprisal, is under threat around the globe.
In many cases, religious liberty is threatened by government actions.
“Restrictive policies included laws criminalizing religious activities and expression, prohibitions on conversion or proselytizing, blasphemy laws, and stringent registration requirements or discriminatory application of registration requirements for religious organizations,” the report explained.
It added, “When governments choose not to combat discrimination on the basis of religion and intolerance, it breeds an environment in which intolerant and violent groups are emboldened, even to the point of physically attacking individuals on the basis of their religious beliefs.”
The report documents the extensive consequences of such policies—and the rising influence of America’s Religious Right is easily discernible.
Case in point: it criticizes Russia for a recent official shift toward privileging the Russian Orthodox Church, and enshrining its doctrine on sexual orientation in law, even though the country’s constitution ostensibly includes protections for religious liberty. This shift effectively criminalizes the country’s LGBT community—and American activists deserve much of the credit. The World Congress of Families, a U.S.-based group that campaigns against LGBT rights, actively supported Russia’s anti-gay laws, as did Scott Lively, who called Russia his “greatest success” earlier this year.
The Religious Right’s global ambitions aren’t exactly news to anyone who follows the movement’s activities. Frustrated by a lack of success in the U.S., activists are beginning to look overseas for potential growth, which means that Russia isn’t an outlier. It’s merely a symptom of a growing global problem.
As Rob Boston reported on this blog last week, America’s Christian soldiers are also targeting Ukraine, pushing the same anti-LGBT agenda they’ve pushed in Russia—and Uganda, and elsewhere.
I know we keep saying it’s just a matter of time before this guy pops off again, but it may be sooner than we think!
To me the article below sounds a lot like that Comedy Central show Nathan For You, in which the comedian (Nathan Fielder) cold-calls businesses and cons them into suggestions to improve their revenue that actually piss off all of the customers in hilarious ways. Except in Zimmerman For You, he just shows up to offer his vast experience as a “freelance” security guard…. lolz ensue - along with death threats!
Police: George Zimmerman says he’s doing security work in DeLand
by Claire Metz
DELAND, Fla. —George Zimmerman said he is doing security work for the owner of a motorcycle shop, according to the DeLand Police Department.
Police said they spotted Zimmerman sitting in a pickup truck with his dog in the back of the Pompano Pat’s Motorcycles store on Woodland Boulevard around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
Zimmerman said he was helping protect the store for the owner, Pat Johnson, who is running for mayor in DeLand, according to police.
Police said the store was broken into recently.
Johnson told WESH 2 News that he befriended Zimmerman after his acquittal in the the death of Trayvon Martin last summer, but did not hire him to do security work.
Johnson said Zimmerman has sat outside of his store several times on his own lately.
Johnson said he has received death threats after false reports that he hired Zimmerman.
More at WESH-TV Orlando
This reminds me of the Louisiana legislator who was horrified to learn that her school voucher bill would benefit Muslim schools as well as her pet fundy ones.
I learned a long time ago to be careful what you wish for. When the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby could use its religion to violate parts of a federal law, anyone with half a brain knew that the floodgates had just been opened.
Because that ruling wasn’t just about Hobby Lobby being given the right to deny four different types of birth control to their employees, it essentially established the precedent for people or businesses to use their religion to try to get their own way and ignore federal laws.
Similar to how a woman in Florida is suing a health clinic for religious discrimination because she admitted during her interview that she wouldn’t prescribe birth control to patients because it was against her religion.
Well, in a very interesting take on this whole situation, The Satanic Temple is urging women to print out a letter they’ve drafted to present to their physicians that exempts them from having to comply with several of the anti-choice laws that have been passed in many states around the country.
They’re calling this push, “The Right to Accurate Medical Information.”
Many states have anti-choice laws that require things like women to have a sonogram performed, or basically be subjected to conservative “pro-life” propaganda, before having an abortion.
Finding someone more right-wing than the Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia may have seemed impossible. Conservative group the Madison Project gushed, “It is not an exaggeration to say that Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) has sustained the most conservative voting record over the longest period of time of any sitting Republican in Congress.” But as ThinkProgress reports, Georgia’s 10th District voters did it on Tuesday, booting Broun and awarding Baptist minister and bizarro talk-radio host Jody Hice the Republican nomination to Congress instead.
Hice has many colorful opinions, such as arguing that Americans should be allowed to own bazookas, Islam isn’t a religion deserving of First Amendment protections, and immigration is a “threat to our liberties” and therefore should be met by citizen-organized armed resistance.
He also has opinions about women. In a 2004 Athens Banner-Herald story about the influx of women into politics, Hice said, “If the woman’s within the authority of her husband, I don’t see a problem.” How very generous of him.
Amanda Marcotte, Slate: Jody Hice Is Running for Congress, Thinks a Woman Can Do the Same With Her Husband’s Permission.
After all these years advocating for science, and hammering away at those who deny it, I’m surprised I can still be surprised at how bad anti-science can get.
Yet here we are. Babies across the U.S. are suffering from horrific injuries—including hemorrhages, brain damage, and even strokes (yes, strokes, in babies)—because of parents refusing a vitamin K shot. This vitamin is needed to coagulate blood, and without it internal bleeding can result.
Vitamin K deficiency is rare in adults, but it doesn’t cross the placental barrier except in limited amounts, so newborn babies are generally low in it. That’s why it’s been a routine injection for infants for more than 50 years—while vitamin K deficiency is not as big a risk as other problems, the shot is essentially 100 percent effective, and is quite safe.
Mind you, this is not a vaccine, which contains minuscule doses of killed or severely weakened microbes to prime the immune system. It’s a shot of a critical vitamin.
The majority of devices running Google’s Android operating system are susceptible to hacks that allow malicious apps to bypass a key security sandbox so they can steal user credentials, read e-mail, and access payment histories and other sensitive data, researchers have warned.
The high-impact vulnerability has existed in Android since the release of version 2.1 in early 2010, researchers from Bluebox Security said. They dubbed the bug Fake ID, because, like a fraudulent driver’s license an underage person might use to sneak into a bar, it grants malicious apps special access to Android resources that are typically off-limits. Google developers have introduced changes that limit some of the damage that malicious apps can do in Android 4.4, but the underlying bug remains unpatched, even in the 5.0 preview.
The Fake ID vulnerability stems from the failure of Android to verify the validity of cryptographic certificates that accompany each app installed on a device. The OS relies on the credentials when allocating special privileges that allow a handful of apps to bypass Android sandboxing. Under normal conditions, the sandbox prevents programs from accessing data belonging to other apps or to sensitive parts of the OS. Select apps, however, are permitted to break out of the sandbox. Adobe Flash in all but version 4.4, for instance, is permitted to act as a plugin for any other app installed on the phone, presumably to allow it to add animation and graphics support. Similarly, Google Wallet is permitted to access Near Field Communication hardware that processes payment information.
According to Jeff Forristal, CTO of Bluebox Security, Android fails to verify the chain of certificates used to certify an app belongs to this elite class of super privileged programs. As a result, a maliciously developed app can include an invalid certificate claiming it’s Flash, Wallet, or any other app hard coded into Android. The OS, in turn, will give the rogue app the same special privileges assigned to the legitimate app without ever taking the time to detect the certificate forgery.
New York is known to be home to many of the world’s top hospitals. There are top doctors in every specialty and plastic surgery is no exception. However, did you know that any practicing medical doctor can try his hand at plastic surgery?
All that’s needed in New York to practice plastic surgery is a shingle saying you’re a licensed physician. That means you can get a gynecologist doing tummy tucks, face lifts, and breast augmentation surgeries in their offices as PIX11 found:
In New York, it is legal for any type of doctor to do any type of cosmetic procedure. And they can do them in non-inspected operating rooms, provided they only use local anesthesia and “mild sedation.”
Liposuction amounts must be kept below 500 ml, or about 2 cups.
But there is absolutely no inspection of these sites, no enforcing of the drug or lipo rules, by anyone.
Shahine, who does liposuction, breast implant and other surgeries has never had his OR inspected or accredited as safe or sanitary, according to the New York State Health Department.
“Office-based surgery suites that do significant operations should be accredited,” said Dr. Hector Vila, a board-certified anesthesiologist who is part of one of the accrediting agencies that inspects office-based surgery centers.
Vila is sounding the alarm about uninspected OR’s, warning that doctors can be putting patients’ lives at risk.
“Surgical offices are trying to do the bigger operations by skirting around the rules by using large doses of local anesthesia, doing multiple surgeries,” he said. “Those large doses of local anesthesia can result in toxicity … there’ve been deaths here in Florida.”
You read that bit right. There’s no need for a surgical suite. There’s no need for anethesiologists, particularly when the law specifies that procedures can be done that way unless you use more than a given quantity of anesthetic (but who’s checking?). There’s no requirement that plastic surgeons have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and the location where the doctor does his procedures does not have to be equipped as one would expect a surgical suite to be.
All of these revelations are troubling enough, but compare the outrage generated by the lack of regulation on plastic surgery with the vitriol and harsh restrictions put in place by the pro life movement on abortion clinics and the people who work there.
There were 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgeries performed in 2012, which includes 1.6 cosmetic surgical procedures like breast augmentation, face lifts, or tummy tucks. More than 13 million were minimally invasive procedures that include botox, soft tissue fillers, and chemical peels.
For 2011 (the most recent year I could find), there were 1.06 million abortions performed.
The Pro-Life movement has repeatedly claimed that they’re enacting laws that protect the lives of the women by requiring that facilities be equipped in the same fashion as hospitals, that doctors have admitting privileges, and other onerous requirements that have the effect of shuttering abortion clinics in states that have adopted TRAP laws.
Yet, none of these TRAP requirements have been extended to plastic surgery mills where facilities are loosely regulated, the doctors can do tremendous damage, and the death rate for the women seeking out these procedures is far higher than the complication rate from the abortion clinics.
Proponents of the TRAP laws claim that these restrictions are necessary for the health and safety of the women seeking abortions in the state. As I’ve previously noted (in relation to the Texas TRAP law SB 5 debate), abortion procedures are exceptionally safe - and far safer than plastic surgery.
Based on CDC statistics, there were six fatalities out of 827,609 abortions reported to the CDC in 2007 (the last year for which I had figures), which translates to a fatality rate of 1 per 137,000 procedures. Natural childbirth or c-sections have a fatality rate of 12.7 per 100,000. That’s nearly 13 times worse (and there are parts of the country and demographic breakdowns where the fatality rate is even higher than that).
The fatality rate from plastic surgical procedures is nearly 20 times higher than the rate for abortions at 19.1 per 100,000 procedures.
So, if the pro-lifers really cared about the women who seek out medical care, they’d focus on improving the care and facilities that do plastic surgeries, often by doctors who are not even board-certified for plastic surgery.
But as we’ve seen time and again, the TRAP laws and claims of enacting these laws for the health and safety of women have little to do with the safety and well being of women, and everything to do with forcing abortion clinics to shutter and making it impossible to carry out abortions that are legal. They are more concerned with the fetus (or embryo or zygote, depending on how extreme the anti-abortion position - where they consider life to start), and see the woman as merely the vessel for carrying the fetus to term, with no support once the woman gives birth. While the pace of new TRAP laws has slowed this year, the cumulative effect of the recent spate of TRAP laws has been to restrict access to abortions in those states that have enacted them. 26 states have some form of TRAP laws on their books. Of those 26 states, 13 specify the size of procedure rooms, 13 specify corridor width, 11 states require facilities to be a certain distance from a hospital, 9 states require the facility to have an agreement with local hospital to transfer patients should complications arise, and 15 states place unnecessary requirements on doctors who perform the procedures, including requiring admitting procedures or an alternative arrangement or one that requires the clinician to be a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist or eligible for certification.
There are things that women can do to protect themselves from unscrupulous plastic surgeons by checking credentials with American Board of Plastic Surgery or similar credentialing groups - they require periodic re-certification.
Elect enough of these secessionist bozos and we can be just like the Ukraine…
Video has surfaced of a Maryland Republican nominee for Anne Arundel County Council singing “Dixie” as the national anthem at a secession conference in Alabama.
Over the weekend, Grove City College psychology professor and blogger Warren Throckmorton uncovered video of Michael Peroutka speaking to the 2012 League of the South national conference in Wallsboro, Alabama.
Peroutka generated controversy after winning the GOP nomination because he believes that the current U.S. and state governments are no longer valid, and should be destroyed by secession or other means.