The classic example used to illustrate the sandbox effect is Catholic Charities, which stopped providing adoptions in Massachusetts after a law was passed requiring adoption agencies to serve gay and lesbian families. The lesson here is supposed to be that a religious exemption would have allowed Catholic Charities to continue operating and saved the children, in some general pathos-inducing way. This new AA story fits right into that neat little narrative.
The problem is that the story is basically false. Catholic Charities, for example, didn’t close because it was not willing to place children with gay and lesbian couples-in fact, it already had been placing children with gay and lesbian couples. The problem was that once Massachusetts started to consider a law requiring that it do so, the church hierarchy started paying attention, realized that Catholic Charities had already been doing it, and then closed the branch down rather than allow them to continue doing what they had already been doing anyway.
So yes, in some sense Catholic Charities ceased operating because of the law, but not in the way the story implies-not in a way that actually tells us all that much about the impact of religious exemptions.
No one ought to be expected to just put up with death threats directed against Blizzard for the graphics in “Diablo III” or against Bioware for the ending of “Mass Effect 3″ or against a “Call of Duty” developer for a weapons patch. No one ought to have to apologize for giving “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” a slightly worse grade than its fans thought it deserved. No one should receive tens of thousands of abusive messages within 24 hours just for a Kickstarter campaign proposing videos to criticize games. No one should have to discuss and defend their sex life in public because they once dared make a free game people didn’t like.
And Felicia Day shouldn’t come under attack for admitting that the hatred filling gaming today, for the first time ever, made her cross the street to avoid a couple of guys wearing gaming T-shirts because being around gamers made her afraid.
For a candidate, being able to name a good, safe book when asking about reading habits should be as knee-jerk as enjoying a small-town slice of apple pie. Or kissing a baby. Or being in an ad with puppies prominently featured.
It’s a shame that Domenic Recchia is the best the Democrats could come up with. Staten Island has long been a Republican stronghold in NYC but Grimm’s seat should be easy pickings with him going on trial in about a month.
Banking on far-flung publicity surrounding a Kentucky political candidate’s campaign slogan, “With Jews We Lose,” the anti-Semitic website Daily Stormer has announced plans to distribute fliers with the phrase in New Hampshire ahead of Election Day.
The website is calling the plan an “anti-Jew propaganda offensive” with plans to buy larger signs with a variety of different messages “exposing the Jewish power structure that is destroying America.”
“Even though the Internet is an effective way to spread the message about Jewish control of America, it is also important that we spread this message in the real world,” the Daily Stormer said. About 150 signs will be distributed in southern New Hampshire in the coming weeks “near Jewish institutions and memorials, schools and a variety of other places that will hopefully get people’s attention,” the website reported.
It is not entirely clear why Daily Stormer is targeting New Hampshire. A request for comment were not returned.
Muslim Civil Liberties Group Calls on Mesa High School to Cancel Event Featuring Anti-Islamic Speaker
Bigot issues gun threats before speaking.
“Islam is the most anti-Semitic, genocidal ideology in the world,” she once commented. Geller famously re-posted controversial cartoon images of the prophet Muhammad from a Danish newspaper on her Atlas Shrugs blog, and was involved in the campaign to stop the building of a community center—which she called a “victory mosque”—near Ground Zero. She has claimed that Hitler was inspired by Islam, and she’s bragged about using a copy of the Quran as a doorstop, CAIR says. Geller’s blog was cited by the Norwegian man who killed 69 people in an anti-Muslim attack in 2011. The two organizations Geller founded, Stop the Islamization of America and the American Freedom Defense Initiative, are both on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of designated hate groups, and she has been banned from entering the United Kingdom because of her expressed views.
But CAIR has raised another issue in calling for the event’s cancellation: student safety.
In a blog post yesterday, Geller invited fans to attend her talk, which she calls “an evening of education about Islam, the Islamic State, the Middle East and more.” But the invitation wasn’t quite an open one.
“As for the troublemakers and those threats from Islamic thugs and goons—we have armed security, plus it’s a gun state—plenty of patriots with protection, including me,” Geller wrote, adding “Trust me — you are going down first [emphasis Geller’s].”
“Conditions today are not met to deliver the Mistral,” the French finance minister has announced.
Michel Sapin’s comment echoes earlier statements from Paris concerning the sale to Russia of the two controversial warships.
On October 28, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian implied that a decision had yet to be made.
“If the political conditions do not change I can’t imagine the delivery being authorised. The French president will make his decision at the moment of delivery,” he said.
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Many millions of people worldwide live with a disabling hearing loss. Now a team of deaf entrepreneurs is using motion-sensing tech to help the deaf and those who can hear communicate. CNET’s Kara Tsuboi reports.
His exasperation was understandable. On Saturday, Don Surber, the West Virginia paper’s lone editorial columnist, took to his personal blog to offer his thoughts on “police brutality” and the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
“This summer I had an epiphany as I watched packs of racists riot in Ferguson, Missouri, in support of a gigantic thug who was higher than a kite when he attacked Ferguson Police Department Officer Darren Wilson, who unfortunately had to put this animal down,” Surber wrote.
By Sunday morning, Surber appended an update to the top of the post and crossed out the final phrase of the sentence.
famous anecdote from 19th century New England involves Margaret Fuller, an early feminist and ardent exponent of the spiritual movement of transcendentalism. Besotted by her emotions, she once blurted out, “I accept the universe!” When he heard of this, the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle remarked dryly, “Gad—she’d better.”
While the story may be apocryphal, if you replace Fuller with Pope Francis and “the universe” with “evolution,” then Carlyle’s feelings are identical to mine. For, according to many media outlets (for example, here, here, and here), Pope Francis has just declared that he accepts the fact of evolution.
Gad, he’d better. Evolution has been an accepted scientific fact since about 1870, roughly a decade after the theory was proposed by Darwin in 1859. And there are mountains of evidence supporting it, as documented in my book Why Evolution is True, and no evidence for the religious alternative of divine creation. As Pope Francis tries to nudge his Church into modernity, it wouldn’t look good if he espoused creationism.
The first year of the Affordable Care Act was, by almost every measure, an unmitigated disaster in Mississippi. In a state stricken by diabetes, heart disease, obesity and the highest mortality rate in the nation, President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law has barely registered, leaving the country’s poorest and most segregated state trapped in a severe and intractable health care crisis.
In fact, it’s hard to find a list where Mississippi doesn’t rank last: Life expectancy. Per capita income. Children’s literacy. “Mississippi’s people do not fare well,” wrote Willie Morris, a seventh-generation native son who grew up in Yazoo City, once a bustling trading center perched on the southern edge of the cotton-rich Delta. Today, nearly half of Yazoo City’s residents live in poverty; its people, like the Delta’s vast swamps, have largely been drained away, along with the farming and factory jobs that used to support them. In a state with a population that is still half rural, signs of impoverishment are everywhere: irrepressible kudzu vines pressing into the glass door of an abandoned building; tipsy wooden shacks that look neglected and forlorn are instead occupied with life. “The Depression, in fact, was not a noticeable phenomenon in the poorest state in the Union,” Eudora Welty wrote of Mississippi in the 1930s. It remains the poorest state today.
None of which bodes well for health coverage in Mississippi. Small businesses that dominate the economy typically don’t offer health insurance, and Mississippi’s public health program for the poor is one of the most restrictive in the nation. Able-bodied adults without dependent children can’t sign up for Medicaid in Mississippi, no matter how little they earn, and only parents who earn less than 23 percent of the federal poverty level—some $384 a month for a family of three—can enroll. As a result, one in four adult Mississippians goes without health coverage. For African-Americans, the numbers are even worse: One in three adults is uninsured.
Mississippi has the highest rate of leg amputations in America and one of the lowest rates of hemoglobin H1c testing, used to monitor and prevent diabetes complications. Amputations on African-Americans are even more startling: 4.41 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees versus 0.92 for non-blacks. The state also has high breast cancer death rates, even though it has low breast cancer incidence rates. The cancer often isn’t detected until it’s too late.