New York has a stop and frisk practice that has just been deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge. Not to mislead you, this practice has not been eradicated, well not yet at least. The female judge, Shira Scheindlin, stated that reasonable suspicion must be supported by criminal activity. It’s a slippery slope and is quite difficult to discern what is considered reasonable suspicion.
The NYPD has taken it to a new level by arresting thousands of law abiding citizens, focusing more on quantity than quality of persons of interest stopped. Much of this is due to racism and prejudice, due to location and skin color. The Center for Constitutional rights believes that this type of search and harass mentality leads to human right abuses, illegal profiling, inappropriate touching, sexual harassment, improper arrests, violence and humiliation at the hands of New York;s finest.
The difference in race among those who are stopped vs those who are not is troubling. 83% of the people stopped are either African American on Latino. Most of the people stopped had done no wrong, did not carry concealed weapons or drugs. Those stopped have their 4th amendment right thrown out the window when officers, use their power to intimidate and threaten cooperation with unjustifiable violence. To read the complete article, please click here.
Where is the line drawn? When do we decide to set a standard? To what degree to we punish those who go against the norm? Bradley apologized for his actions, saying that he “did not mean to hurt people, just help them”.
This 26 year old is sentenced to over his age in prison time. He is being charged under the Patriot Act of releasing the largest amount of sensitive documents that belonged to the Army to the general public. He had access to protected information, then in 2010 it was found that he had leaked sensitive information to WikiLeaks. He was charged with 22 offenses -
This sentence is 17 times more than other previous convictions. In this article it mentions how this similar to being paid for espionage. The idea behind such a harsh sentence was that setting a precedent will deter others from doing the same. This is a serious mater, because it is a very controversial subject – what with the whole NSA, Edward Snowden etc.
Read the full article here. Image courtesy of : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
San Francisco is a lucky city because their Mayor does what he can to provide universal coverage for the city workers. Ed Lee is concerned with the wellbeing of his constituents and those he was elected to represent. The law states that the central idea behind the groundbreaking universal healthcare which requires that most employers contribute to their workers’ medical care.
The issue now is that with Obama’s healthcare which will be commencing in October, what is the city to do? These thoughts are positive though, according to some business leaders who do not want something of this scale decided for them. Mayor Ed Lee wants to keep options open.
The real issue is this – this new law which is passed at a federal level sets a higher amount of employees a company must employ, hours worked by said employee before the benefits kick in. An issue that would affect about 68,000 employees of smaller businesses in the city. So where does that leave all the smaller business?
The San Francisco Law is states that employers with over 20 employees have a minimum to pay – which is $1.55 an hour per each employee. To read the full article, please click here. Image courtesy of http://asianweek.com/
We need to determine a few factors before we can accurately answer this question. First of all, what is “Positive Law”? When does it or is it believed it should apply?!
Positive Law – When the government believes in enforcing laws that as citizens we must do. Pay into taxes.
Negative Law – Stipulates what the state/government says we shall not do. Rob a bank.
Understanding these differences is most crucial. A lot of this is stirred in the news due to the National Association of Manufacturers v.The National Labor Relations Board or NLRB, which was struck down by the D. C. Circuit of Appeals back in May. A law which the NLRB wanted pass to require businesses to display pro-union posters in the workplace.
For centuries there have been thoughts behind the responsibility of the state and government over its citizens. Where is the line drawn, what can be the consequences either way? Two hundred and twenty years ago, this was a topic of debate when the Constitution was written those questions were being asked. When the First Amendment was written, allowing us to think, say and publish ideas, opinions or political ideals. But this is a one sided allowance, or is it? Has the government come to believe that they have the power to make citizens say or publish messages by governments, with their agendas?
Check out the entire article - here -
If you own a Television, have access to the internet or have not been literally living under a rock for the last few months, you will know that there is trouble-a-brewing in Russia. Here is the gist -
Russia is a VERY conservative nation, with its politicians and heads of state, who stand hand in hand with the belief system of the Orthodox Church. There have been riots at gay pride demonstrations, those who are sympathetic toward this cause, literally get beat down. There is a reason for that – I suppose as far as the majority is concerned. The amount of people who believed that homosexuality was either “licentiousness” or “a sickness resulting in some psychological trauma” – went from 68% in ’98 - 78% in ’13 – according to a poll conducted by an independent source.
This anti-gay attitude has caused quite a backlash in other countries, in the west for example, Russian vodka is being banned in gay bars as well as straight ones as a form of protest.
The main reason for this conservative attitude could be attributed to the hard faced ideals as to what is deemed acceptable. There is a driving force behind this demise of non-tradtional way of life, Yelena Mizulina is her name. She is the morality crusader – who is doing what she can to ban gay rights, punishing online cursing and even imposing a tax on divorce. She is a member of parliament and is head of the Committee on Family, Women and Children.
Her no nonsense attitude resembles that of the Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter. With a sweet smile and a hard attitude on what the moral order should be.
(Images courtesy of: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Dolores_Umbridge, http://news-russ.ru/20611-chairman-of-the-committee-on-family-affairs-minister-yelena-mizulina.html)
To read the entire story, please click here.
In the state of Pennsylvania, there is a rebellion afoot. Governmentally appointed politicians and state officials are standing up for their belief in equality. Pennsylvania officials are defying legislation – they have decided not to wait for the federal court ruling to catch up to their beliefs.
Mayor John Fetterman officiated this past Monday the first same-sex marriage in Allegheny County. The Mayor proudly admits that it is an act of civil disobedience – Pennsylvania is one of 35 states that prohibits gay couples from marrying. The Mayor talks about the message that this act sends, and that this needs to be removed from the constitution.
There are bigger issues here and those in power are doing what they can to right what they believe are wrongs. The question is that these marriages are not entirely legal -as far as the state and law are concerned but those he is marrying don’t care. They feel a need to have their rights equally represented, a right that is denied to them because of whom they choose to marry.
The couple who Fetterman married have been together for a decade. To read the complete article, please click here. (photo courtesy of http://www.123rf.com/).
Bullying is something that has plagued elementary schools, middle schools and high schools for a very very long time. It used to be that parents, teachers and administrators would chalk it up to kids being kids. People would say that kids are mean, its a phase and they grow out of it. That is what I was told growing up anyways. It seems that times-they-are-a-changing.
There are dozens of anti-bullying movements, schools are now even dedicating an entire week to no-bullying. There are websites such as stopbullying.org, kidpower.org, dosomething.org, apa.org, pacer.org/bullying – All of these sites talk about the severity of bullying. The causes and more importantly the effects.
In the state of Massachusetts, they are learning that it can be costly to stand aside and not do anything. To the tune of $2 million dollars- that is what the lawsuit is for one girl in the Concord-Carliste high school. Belle Hankey was a student there, who has recently filed a federal lawsuit that says that she was the subject of bullying for nearly two years.
Things were scrawled on the walls of the locker room-bathroom, saying that she would be killed – her vehicle was vandalized, over ten times, in the school parking lot and outside of her work. Feces were spread all over it repeatedly and when she and her parents reported this to the school officials, nothing was done. Matters actually got worse, to the point that she graduated early to physically remove herself from this situation. Please click here to read the entire article. (image courtesy of www.pyrblu.com)
The state of Turkey is divided, especially now that there was a failed coup to overthrow Islamic-rooted conservative Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 275 defendants have been “tried” and sentenced, some to life behind bard for their role to overthrow the current radical party. This attempted coup is being known as the Ergenekon conspiracy -
Some of the other defendants include academics, journalists and other military figures, including former Chief of Staff of Turkey’s military, Ilker Basbug – with sentences ranging from 12-25 years. There have been 64 life sentences for some of the defendants. There are those who say that this is just a strong powered means of quieting down the opposition. This is all in lieu to the riots and demonstrations that have been all over the news worldwide. To learn more about this issue, please check out the full article.
(Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk)
There is no surprise that there is a lot of pressure when you decide to enter into politics. In most cases you are chosen by the people to represent their interests at a higher level. You are their voice. The pressure, could be the reason that so many politicians get into so much trouble once they make it to the big time. Scandals, money and women are abundant. There is no denying that scandal has gone hand in hand with politics, we have some notable examples such as John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and now we have Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer who seem to repeatedly be in the hot seat.
In 2011 Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress due to a sex scandal and in 2008 Eliot Spitzer did the same when he resigned from Governor of the great state of New York. Then, it would stand to think then that once they get caught with their hand in their cookie jar – that they would stop. But it seems that there is a lack of shame or a lack of caring what the public opinion of them is. Kennedy’s alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe, who was and by some still is the most beautiful woman in the world made him a legend.
Bill Clinton was idolized for his impeachment and was seen as a hero to many. Then why do other political candidates continue to parade with almost pride – at their indiscretions, being caught and doing the same mistake over and over again. There is something a miss, there is a lack of respect for their official posts. To gain the full perspective, please read the full article, here. (Images thanks to: jfk- calbuzz.com, bill beedajuice.com, anthony theweek.com ,eliot www.thehollywoodgossip.com)
There seems to be a divide, among people who believe that after the horrific events of 9/11 and the subsequent passing of the patriot Act that the U.S. government should have Carte Blanch to by any means – get the information that will prevent terrorist attacks. There are those who are for this – and as any coin, there is a flip side – those who wish for proof that these tactics are yielding some sort of positive results. That the ends justify the means.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, is one who believes that if this is not yielding results, it has to end. There are published records, reports, indicating that secret courts had met and approved the unlimited access of the NSA to collect data from sources such as: Verizon, Facebook, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.
The NSA is gathering e-mails, phone records, everything it can get its hands on, from everyone to try and prevent terrorist attacks.
Lawmakers are under scrutiny as to how to apply the laws that govern us, and the House almost cutting the funding of said surveillance – the current administration is trying desperately to seem more forthcoming to regain support from Congress.
To read the full article, please click here.