And for fans of intelligent design, here's a little bonus:
Lauri in York
According to court records, Foster had been prosecuted for more than two dozen crimes in Bucks County alone. Most, officials said, were property crimes - burglaries or thefts of tools or merchandise that he could fence for heroin money.
“At the core of this is that it’s difficult for the borough officials to wrap their mind around the concept that church use is more than a Sunday service,” said Witold J. Walczak, the organization’s legal director. “This entire church is set up to help the least fortunate.”
“I’m a small-town lawyer, and I’m not using that as an excuse, but I had not read those 2007 and 2008 federal decisions on this law,” Mr. French said. “The way I see it, it’s an abuse of federal power to override our zoning laws.” (my bold)
Enter the American Civil Liberties Union, often unfairly derided as an enemy of religion. It filed a lawsuit and request for a temporary order arguing that a town cannot use its zoning regulations to prevent a church from engaging in its religious ministry. That's a violation of the church's rights under the Constitution and federal and state law. Further, the ACLU argued that the prohibition shouldn't be applied in this case because the group home classification refers to a "licensed care facility" such as a nursing home.
On the eve of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, wisdom won the day.
...the Internet is without doubt the most vital and active such forum around today – a place where citizens can publish their views to be seen by a few close friends, or spread around the world; where citizens can engage with others on thousands of bulletin boards and chat rooms on nearly any topic, create new communities of interest, or communicate anonymously about difficult topics. It is one of our top entertainment mediums. It is the nation's most comprehensive, flexible, and popular reference work. It is the closest thing ever invented to a true "free market" of ideas.
...providers can "slow or block access to certain sites on the Internet, such as those without financial arrangements with the cable company's ISP, or those with content considered objectionable for political or competitive reasons," even while they "speed transmission to an affiliated site (or a site that has paid the operator for the privilege of special treatment)." That is like the phone company being allowed to own restaurants and then provide good service and clear signals to customers who call Domino's and frequent busy signals, disconnects and static for those calling Pizza Hut. Outrageous? It would be entirely possible if the telephone system wasn't regulated under the common carrier framework. At a time when many cable providers have assembled far- flung business empires on the premise that cross-promotion and other "synergies" will yield big profits, they will come under strong pressure to do the equivalent. And what can be done in the commercial context could be done just as easily to political content.
Even in famously liberal San Francisco, we had to go through the process of trying to pass a simple domestic partnership law five times, and we lost twice. If you run up an unbroken string of victories in any battle for civil rights, that simply means you waited too long to get to work. Change that matters is never smooth or easy.
If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.
WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party.
Civil-liberties groups were among those outraged that the White House sanctioned the use of harsh intelligence techniques -- which some consider torture -- by the Central Intelligence Agency, and expanded domestic spy powers. These groups are demanding quick action to reverse these policies.
Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.
President-elect Obama's advisers are crafting plans to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and prosecute terrorism suspects in the U.S., a plan that the Bush administration said Monday was easier said than done.
Under the plan being crafted inside Obama's camp, some prisoners would be released and others would be charged in U.S. courts, where they would receive constitutional rights and open trials. But, underscoring the difficult decisions Obama must make to fulfill his pledge of shutting down Guantanamo, the plan could require the creation of a new legal system to handle the classified information inherent in some of the most sensitive cases.
Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and Obama legal adviser, said discussions about plans for Guantánamo had been "theoretical" before the election but would quickly become very focused because closing the prison is a top priority.
"President-elect Obama said throughout his campaign that the legal framework at Guantanamo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists, and he shares the broad bipartisan belief that Guantanamo should be closed," McDonough said in a statement.
Day One: Stop Torture, Close Guantanamo, End Extraordinary Renditions
The next president will have a historic opportunity -- on day one -- to take very important steps to restore the rule of law in the interrogation and detention of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in secret prisons around the globe. Every action taken pursuant to an executive order of President Bush can be reversed by executive order of the next president.
Therefore, on the first day in office, the next president should issue an executive order directing all agencies to modify their policies and practices immediately to:
- Cease and prohibit the use of torture and abuse, without exception, and direct the Attorney General immediately after his or her confirmation to appoint an outside special counsel to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute any violations of federal criminal laws prohibiting torture and abuse;
- Close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and either charge and try detainees under criminal law in federal criminal courts or before military courts-martial or transfer them to countries where they will not be tortured or detained without charge;
- Cease and prohibit the practice of extraordinary rendition, which is the transfer of persons, outside of the judicial process, to other countries, including countries that torture or abuse prisoners.