So my brother got to interview Hugh Keays-Byrne about his role as Immortan Joe.
The kicker: He did the interview in character as Immortan Joe
So my brother got to interview Hugh Keays-Byrne about his role as Immortan Joe.
The kicker: He did the interview in character as Immortan Joe
Once again, the GOP shows how much they love the Constitution by having Steve King introduce a bill which would remove the ability for Federal Courts to hear any case involving marriage equality and other conservative issues:
“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution.” King said in a news release. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These Unenumerated, so-called constitutionally-protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”
King’s bill strips way Article III of the Constitution, which gives federal courts the jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage. The bill also prohibits federal funds from being used for any litigation in, or enforcement of any order or judgment by, any federal court.
It should come as no surprise that King didn’t come up with this on his own:
The actual idea for the bill comes from virulent homophobe Janet Porter.
But how can we affect the Supreme Court? Good question. Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution provides the answer: “The Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction…with such exceptions…as the Congress shall make.”
The marriage case before the Supreme Court is an appellate case-that means Congress can make exceptions-or remove jurisdiction before they can redefine marriage!
We have a sponsor in Congress drafting the legislation right now to restrain the judges.
The lengths these people will go to deny people their basic rights and push their theocratic dogma is sickening.
The Kincannon saga continues…
Unlike California, which a two-party state when it comes to secretly recording people, (unless one feels one’s life is in danger) the State of South Carolina is a one-party state. Meaning only one party needs to be advised taping is happening. Generally, that would be the person taping. :)
Turns out Ashley Kincannon has been secretly recording her husband. More specifically, her husband’s threats to make her miserable because she’s not doing what he wants.
One of many earlier Todd Kincannon freakouts was reported a few day’s ago, (here) which brought an official police response.
But an official police response is also the bad news
South Carolina’s husband - wife murder rate is quite high. Second in the nation, high. (Only Alaska is higher.)
So while Lexington County Sheriff officials might have a wide-range of choices to consider charging Todd Kincannon with, and although the original report listed an assault; the question is: police work is not considered a given.
However, at least Todd provided the ground work with their previous fight, ending with Ashley’s escape, covered earlier.
Justin Harris is requesting to step down from his committees, but is not resigning
Rep. Justin Harris, R-West Fork, requested to leave his position as the vice chairman of the House Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Committee and the Joint Performance Review Committee, House communications officer Cecillea Pond-Mayo said.
Pond-Mayo said she could not confirm whether Harris’ decision to step down would be effective immediately or if it had to be approved.
Meanwhile, more info about the Harris adoption has been uncovered:
It appears the Harrises did not retain the foster/adoption subsidies from the state of Arkansas, as explained below. However, the Harris family may have received another, more significant financial benefit as a result of adopting the girls: A one-time, nonrefundable federal adoption credit of $12,970 per child in 2013. The couple might have also claimed a federal Child Tax Credit of up to $1,000 per child, which means the Harrises may have saved some $27,970 in federal income taxes as a result of the adoption. Additionally, Justin and Marsha Harris’ overall taxable income may have been lowered by claiming the girls as dependents. In 2013, a dependency exemption was $3,900 per dependent.
Last week, the Times asked Rep. Harris (via Wells, the attorney) whether the Harrises claimed the adoption tax credit and whether the children were claimed as dependents for any portion of tax years 2012, 2013 or 2014. We have not gotten a reply to those questions so far.
Emails received by a FOIA requests show Harris was willing to block funding to the agency if he did not get his way:
…emails between Rep. Justin Harris, R-West Fork, and Department of Human Services officials, and video from the 2013 House legislative session, also show an at-times confrontational legislator willing to block routine appropriations legislation when he didn’t get his way.
Harris declined Friday and Saturday to be interviewed for this article. An attorney for him, Jennifer Wells, said Harris’ relationship with DHS, and the head of its Division of Children and Family Services, Cecile Blucker, was an “on again, off again” type of relationship.
Harris was happy to work with the agency as long as he got his $4.2 milllion is state and Federal funding. On the other hand, if he felt DHS was acting too slowly, he would attempt to cut funding to them.
An analysis of emails obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette through the Freedom of Information Act found an often collegial working relationship between Blucker and Harris, replete with favors and offers for assistance from both sides.
Many of the emails regarded Harris’ West Fork day care center Growing God’s Kingdom, which has received nearly $4.2 million in state and federal funding since 2010.
At least 30 emails, according to DHS spokesman Amy Webb, were withheld because they dealt exclusively with individual adoption and custody cases. It was unclear how many of them might cast light on Blucker’s role in the Harris adoptions.
The emails that were provided to the Democrat-Gazette show that in one instance, Harris emphasized his ability to stop DHS funding in its tracks.
Several of the emails are from March 2013, when Harris was pushing to get the adoptions approved.
That month, Harris asked for a meeting with DHS officials and indicated that his wife might attend as well.
The meeting didn’t get scheduled as quickly as Harris wanted. He later blocked legislation that DHS needed.
The routine bill shepherded through the Legislature by fellow Republicans had already passed in the Senate 34-0. It eventually passed 88-0 in the House, with Harris not voting.
But the first time it came up in the House, Harris sunk it.
Interviews with other foster parents show how Harris would abuse his position to get what he wanted:
…Craig and Cheryl Hart, a former Fayetteville couple who had been foster parents for the girls the Harrises later adopted, said front-line social workers may have resisted Harris’ plans to adopt, but the legislator had support from Blucker and the agency’s Little Rock office.
Craig Hart said the Harrises tried to ram the adoption through, and that whenever there was a roadblock presented by someone in the process, he’d call Little Rock and talk to Blucker.
The Harrises, Craig Hart said, weren’t the only couple seeking to adopt the girls.
“It wasn’t aboveboard,” he said. “We all went through the hoops and waited our turn. It takes a vetting process. We all have to wait our turn. They have to do what everyone else has to do.”
Cheryl Hart said it was clear that Blucker was pulling strings for Harris from Little Rock despite objections from caseworkers involved on the ground level.
“Whenever he didn’t get his way … he would call Little Rock. The next thing we know … at court and different meetings, he’d say he’d called Cecile, or Cecile is OK with it, and Cecile said this is what you need to do,” Hart said. “He dropped her name in every conversation.”
Craig Hart said that Harris rushed through one meeting because he was going to be late for an appointment in Little Rock. He said Harris told him he’d have to speed to get there on time, but it was OK because he has special legislative plates and the Arkansas State Police would look the other way.
“That’s the kind of statement he would make to make us think he was special,” Craig Hart said. “He gave the impression that rules didn’t apply to him.”
Meanwhile, State Legislators are attempting to address the practice of “rehoming”
The bills on re-homing are House Bill 1648 by Leding; HB1676 by Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway; and Senate Bill 874 by Sen. Bobby Pierce, D-Sheridan.
HB1648 is being fleshed out, and a more comprehensive version should be ready by Tuesday, Leding said. The bill as filed is a short prohibition against sending a child to live with someone who is not a relative of the child.
Meeks’ bill would prohibit an adoptive parent from placing a child in a home “to avoid permanent parental responsibility” but includes exemptions for placing the child in the home of a relative or step-parent. It also includes provisions against human trafficking, such as selling children.
SB874 is largely blank, filed just before the session’s deadline for filing new bills. Pierce will fill in the details later. The bill can be amended as long as the Legislature is in session.
The Legislature will probably agree on a bill to restrict re-homing this session, but other issues related to adoption, such as how much the state Department of Human Services should track the statuses of foster children adopted from the state, will probably remain for future legislative sessions, Leding said.
The legislative session is expected to end in less than a month.
Jennifer Ferguson, deputy director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, confirmed that lawmakers are aware of the need for more protection of children in adoption cases and were working on the issue before the Harris case came to light after Francis’ conviction. Arkansas Advocates is a nonprofit group concerned with family and child welfare issues.
Lawmakers in Arkansas also have the experiences of other states to build upon, Ferguson said. Meeks’ bill is modeled after a Louisiana law, she said.
“You’re going to see some amendments to these bills pretty quickly as the issues they raise are addressed,” Ferguson said. “A lot of what’s being enacted will put teeth into policies we already have.”
For instance, DHS has a clause in a contract with adoptive parents that they will not let the child be raised by others, but the state imposes no penalties for ignoring that provision, she said.
The Vice President’s Response to the GOP’s sabotage of American diplomatic efforts:
I served in the United States Senate for thirty-six years. I believe deeply in its traditions, in its value as an institution, and in its indispensable constitutional role in the conduct of our foreign policy. The letter sent on March 9th by forty-seven Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting President in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere.
This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American President, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States. Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.
Around the world, America’s influence depends on its ability to honor its commitments. Some of these are made in international agreements approved by Congress. However, as the authors of this letter must know, the vast majority of our international commitments take effect without Congressional approval. And that will be the case should the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany reach an understanding with Iran. There are numerous similar cases. The recent U.S.-Russia framework to remove chemical weapons from Syria is only one recent example. Arrangements such as these are often what provide the protections that U.S. troops around the world rely on every day. They allow for the basing of our forces in places like Afghanistan. They help us disrupt the proliferation by sea of weapons of mass destruction. They are essential tools to the conduct of our foreign policy, and they ensure the continuity that enables the United States to maintain our credibility and global leadership even as Presidents and Congresses come and go.
Since the beginning of the Republic, Presidents have addressed sensitive and high-profile matters in negotiations that culminate in commitments, both binding and non-binding, that Congress does not approve. Under Presidents of both parties, such major shifts in American foreign policy as diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China, the resolution of the Iran hostage crisis, and the conclusion of the Vietnam War were all conducted without Congressional approval.
In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country—much less a longtime foreign adversary— that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments—a message that is as false as it is dangerous.
The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine.
There is no perfect solution to the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. However, a diplomatic solution that puts significant and verifiable constraints on Iran’s nuclear program represents the best, most sustainable chance to ensure that America, Israel, and the world will never be menaced by a nuclear-armed Iran. This letter is designed to convince Iran’s leaders not to reach such an understanding with the United States.
The author of this letter has been explicit that he is seeking to take any action that will end President Obama’s diplomatic negotiations with Iran. But to what end? If talks collapse because of Congressional intervention, the United States will be blamed, leaving us with the worst of all worlds. Iran’s nuclear program, currently frozen, would race forward again. We would lack the international unity necessary just to enforce existing sanctions, let alone put in place new ones. Without diplomacy or increased pressure, the need to resort to military force becomes much more likely—at a time when our forces are already engaged in the fight against ISIL.
The President has committed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He has made clear that no deal is preferable to a bad deal that fails to achieve this objective, and he has made clear that all options remain on the table. The current negotiations offer the best prospect in many years to address the serious threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It would be a dangerous mistake to scuttle a peaceful resolution, especially while diplomacy is still underway.
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Last updated: 2015-04-18 5:26 pm PDT
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