The Mormons, for all the cheery optimism of their present state, were birthed in brutal theocracy, first in Nauvoo, Ill., and later in the State of Deseret, as their settlement in present-day Utah was called. The Constitution, separating church from state, press from government, had no place in either stronghold. And it took a threat to march the United States Army out to the rogue settlement around the Great Salt Lake to persuade Mormon leaders that their control did not extend beyond matters of the soul.
Santorum is itching to add another chapter to this book. Last weekend, he seemed to question President Obama’s faith, alluding to a “phony theology” that supposedly guides his presidency. Who knew there was a religious test through the gates of the White House?
He also used his Biblical beliefs to deny climate change, saying, “We are put on this earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the earth.” You may think he’s running for chief deacon, and should swap his sweater vest for a clerical collar.
But his followers know exactly what he’s talking about. In Wednesday night’s debate in Arizona, Santorum defended his religious-themed campaign: “Just because I talk about it doesn’t mean I want a government program to fix it.” But in fact, he does. Santorum has long tried to get his Biblical principles taught to children in public schools — insisting that “creationism” should be in every American classroom, and trying to enforce that through riders to education bills when he was a senator. Better yet, the kids should read about Roger Williams, a man of faith, and of reason — the American model that will prevail long after Santorum has left the pulpit.
A University of Colorado economics professor has co-authored a study, just released by the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany, that concludes that suicide rates among young males decline markedly after states legalize medical marijuana. Professors at Montana State University and San…
The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. Unless police have strong evidence (probable cause) to believe you’re involved in criminal activity, they need your permission to perform a search of you or your property.
You have the right to refuse random police searches anywhere and anytime, so long as you aren’t crossing a border checkpoint or entering a secure facility like an airport. Don’t be shy about standing up for your own privacy rights, especially when police are looking for evidence that could put you behind bars.
(2) Refusing a search protects you if you end up in court.
It’s always possible that police might search you anyway when you refuse to give consent, but that’s no reason to say “yes” to the search. Basically, if there’s any chance of evidence being found, agreeing to a search is like committing legal suicide, because it kills your case before you even get to court.
If you refuse a search, however, the officer will have to prove in court that there was probable cause to do a warrantless search. This will give your lawyer a good chance to win your case, but this only works if you said “no” to the search.
(3) Saying “no” can prevent a search altogether.
Data on police searches are interesting, but they don’t show how many searches didn’t happen because a citizen said no. A non-search is a non-event that goes unrecorded, giving rise to a widespread misconception that police will always search with or without permission.
I know refusing searches works because I’ve been collecting stories from real police encounters. The reality is that police routinely ask for permission to search when they have absolutely no evidence of an actual crime. If you remain calm and say no, there’s a good chance they’ll back down, because it’s a waste of time to do searches that won’t hold up in court anyway.
(4) Searches can waste your time and damage your property.
Do you have time to sit around while police rifle through your belongings? Police often spend 30 minutes or more on vehicle searches and even longer searching homes. You certainly can’t count on officers to be careful with valuables or to put everything back where they found it. If you waive your 4th Amendment rights by agreeing to be searched, you will have few legal options if any property is damaged or missing after the search.
(5) You never know what they’ll find.
Are you 100 percent certain there’s nothing illegal in your home or vehicle? You can never be too sure. A joint roach could stick to your shoe on the street and wind up on the floorboard. A careless acquaintance could have dropped a baggie behind the seat. Try telling a cop it isn’t yours, and they’ll just laugh and tell you to put your hands behind your back. If you agreed to the search, you can’t challenge the evidence. But if you’re innocent and you refused the search, your lawyer has a winnable case.
Feb. 23 - Workers at the former Republic Windows factory have occupied their plant for the second time in four years after the owner announced today it would shutter the plant immediately.
Managers from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Serious Energy met with leaders from the United Electrical workers this morning to tell them the factory would halt production at the end of the day, said union organizer Leah Fried. Sixty-five workers responded by occupying the factory at the end of their shifts.
“It’s like deja vu,” Ms. Fried said.
Phone calls to Serious Energy were not immediately returned.
The workers first occupied the Goose Island window manufacturer in December 2008 when Republic Windows & Doors Inc. abruptly closed without paying workers their legally owed severance. Eventually the workers won health benefits and $1.75 million in wages.
More than half (54%) of Americans are aware of the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited independent expenditures on political ads and made Super PACs a big factor so far in the 2012 presidential campaign.
Among this group, 65% of all Americans believe that the new rules have had a negative impact on the 2012 presidential campaign. This issue is one of few in which there is no substantial partisan divide. Roughly half of Republicans, Democrats and independents alike have heard about the Citizens United decision. Among those who have heard about it, 60% of Republicans, 63% of Democrats and 67% of independents see its impact as negative.
Sometimes I scroll through my dash or the Atheism tag and I’m reminded of the past. I remember when I first started this blog. I was brand new to Atheism. Some Christians were very aware of that. Because of my new found Atheism, they found it easy to corner me with…
Just when you thought the Arizona legislature was out of bad ideas.
SB 1467, newly introduced in the Arizona State Senate, would force schools and universities to suspend, fine, and ultimately fire any teacher or professor who “engage[d] in speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the federal communications commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio.”
For the first offense, you’d get a one-week suspension without pay. For the second offense, two weeks. For the third, a pink slip.
As Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, this law would not only block the teaching of such classics as Ulysses, The Canterbury Tales, and Catcher in the Rye, it’d prohibit historians and law professors from competently discussing campus free speech regulations, since the most important Supreme Court case in that field hinged on a jacket with the slogan “Fuck The Draft” written on it.
It’s also worth noting, as Lukianoff does, that the bill would regulate professors’ actions outside the classroom, which means that merely writing the paragraph above — in a blogpost, a scholarly article, even a private email — would get you suspended.
But it’s even worse than that.
Note the language of the bill: You’re violating the law if you engage “in speech or conduct” that would violate FCC standards if “broadcast on television or radio.” Not public speech or conduct. Speech or conduct, full stop.
If this law passes, it will be illegal for any “person who provides classroom instruction” in the state of Arizona to have sex.
The struggle for social inclusion is being fought on many fronts at the moment, and one group that tends to take a backseat is atheists. Of course, the other groups seeking inclusion deserve all the attention they get, especially because the direction is not…
Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.
The changes are tectonic, a result of social and economic processes unfolding over many decades. The data from most of these studies end in 2007 and 2008, before the recession’s full impact was felt. Researchers said that based on experiences during past recessions, the recent downturn was likely to have aggravated the trend.
“Our nation is moving rapidly towards racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity, and American Christianity is bearing witness to these dramatic changes. Workplaces, congregations, conferences, and readerships are all changing to reflect this reality, but Christian leaders are lagging behind in attaining the cultural intelligence they need in order to navigate through this multi-cultural reality. Cultural intelligence is not merely gaining intellectual knowledge about another culture. Just because you like samurai/ninja culture and have seen Kung Fu movies does not mean that you possess cultural intelligence. Instead, a leader with a high cultural IQ has developed a sensitivity to other cultures and handles those cultural contexts with honor and respect.”—Eugene Cho (via azspot)
The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee over possible violations of insider-trading laws, according to individuals familiar with the case.
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who holds one of the most influential positions in the House, has been a frequent trader on Capitol Hill, buying stock options while overseeing the nation’s banking and financial services industries.
If there’s one thing the fractious Republican field agrees on, it’s that personal religious devotion is central to their campaign message.
Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and even Ron Paul stress their faith on the stump; Romney plays up his religion, though he downplays his Mormonism because of lingering evangelical suspicion toward his church.
But a new survey indicates that such a liberal use of “God talk” may actually be more likely to hurt rather than help a candidate’s chances with voters.
According to an online poll conducted last September by the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, only 1 in 6 Americans (16 percent) said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who regularly shares their religious beliefs.
The poll by LifeWay Research showed that 30 percent of respondents indicated they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who prominently touts their religious beliefs and practices; 28 percent said it would have no impact, and 21 percent said it would depend on the candidate’s religion.