February 18, 2017
The woman known as “Jane Roe” in the landmark 1973 abortion case Roe vs. Wade has passed. Norma McCormey, who later became a staunch pro-life advocate, was 69. [MORE]
February 17, 2017
[Public Discourse] Human embryos show autonomy—even outside womb
Washington—After perennially challenging the EPA, Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt has been put in charge of it. Pruitt had filed 14 lawsuits against the EPA in his six years as the state position, which he resigned today. [MORE]
February 16, 2017
Olympia, Washington—The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that Christians can be compelled to participate in gay weddings. Baronelle Stutzman, a florist who declined to participate in a wedding involving long-time homosexual clients, has lost in Washington and will now take her case to the nation’s Supreme Court.
After being forced to pay all attorney’s fees as well as penalties, Stutzman’s life savings are jeopardy.
Mutterings: What rights, exactly? The right to force others to approve of your actions and legitimate them? And why do people think it’s a court’s job to determine who is “on the right side of history”?
February 15, 2017
Syria—A U.S. Central Command spokesman has confirmed that the military used depleted uranium weapons in strikes against ISIS in Syria in 2015, despite earlier vows not to use the ammunition. Although studies on depleted uranium are not complete, it is thought to cause cancer and an array of health and environmental problems, and is considered officially by the EPA as a radiation health hazard inside the body. It is not, however, banned by U.N. conventions. Its density helps ammunition to penetrate armored vehicles such as tanks, but the 2015 instances are puzzling because they primarily targeted unarmored oil tankers.
February 14, 2017
Washington—Upon the request of President Donald Trump, national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned Monday. The essential dismissal comes in the wake of revelations that he allegedly discussed economic sanctions with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December, prior to confirmation to his post. The White House Trump lost trust in Flynn because he denied to Vice President Mike Pence that sanctions or policy matters had been discussed with the ambassador.
February 09, 2017
[Telegraph] Ultrasounds in 3D?
[Reuters] Trump promises impending tax reform
Both Virginia houses have passed bills that would protect religious organizations and their representatives from being forced to perform same-sex “marriages.” Democrat governor Terry McAuliffe, who signed an executive order requiring LGBT compliance from all state contractors and employees, has vowed to veto.
San Francisco/Washington—The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a Washington judge’s suspension of President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban. The administration’s options include appealing to the entire 9th Circuit, or to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The appeals court acknowledged the weight of national security, but ruled that the U.S. government had not demonstrated national security concerns which would justify the ban, adding that no evidence had been given that anyone from the seven affected nations had committed any terrorist activity within the United States.
Mutterings: Trump’s ban may in fact be a terrible idea, but the courts are arguing on the wrong premise. The real question is who has constitutional authority to make foreign policy decisions of this nature. Weighing the pros and cons of Trump’s policies does not belong within the purview of the courts.
February 08, 2017
[WKBW Buffalo] Buffalo Mom arrested … for deciding to homeschool?
Washington—Alabama senator Jeff Sessions has been confirmed as the incoming administration’s Attorney General. The vote passed 52–47, largely along party lines.
The process, however, was bitter, as Elizabeth Warren attacked the nominee for alleged racist tendencies, ultimately getting booted from the discussion by way of a little-used measure.
February 07, 2017
San Francisco/Washington—The Trump administration is making its case to a U.S. appeals court in San Francisco, seeking to re-engage an executive order for a travel ban from seven majority Muslim countries. The executive order was blocked Friday by a Seattle court. [MORE]
Washington—Two Republican senators voted with the opposition today, creating a deadlock, but Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie in favor of confirming Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. Critics complained that DeVos has neither the experience nor knowledge to run the federal Department of Education, [MORE]
February 05, 2017
Houston, TX—For two and a half quarters of football, the Atlanta Falcons looked unstoppable and the New England Patriots looked dispirited. But with the Falcons up 28–3, the Patriots began to chip away, ultimately piecing together far and away the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, winning 34–28 in overtime.
In what will go down as one of the most memorable games in NFL history, there were a number of historic firsts. Among them:
- First Super Bowl to be decided in overtime
- Quarterback Tom Brady became first four-time Super Bowl MVP
- Coach Bill Belicheck became first five-time Super Bowl winner
- First time any team has been down by more than 10 points and won
- Most passing yards by one quarterback: 466
- Most pass attempts by one quarterback: 62
- Most completions by one quarterback: 43
- Most points by a player: James White had 20 on three touchdowns and a two point conversion.
It was a particularly remarkable turnaround for Brady, who looked increasingly frustrated as the game wore on as the speedy Falcons were shredding his offensive line, leading to rushed plays and ultimately, the quarterback’s first ever pick-6 in postseason play. But when the tide turned it turned decisively; in the fourth quarter alone Brady amassed 196 yards through the air, ending with a total of 466.
While New England’s running game faltered for most of the game, running back James White emerged as Brady’s key aerial target late, amassing a Super Bowl record 14 receptions, and finishing with three touchdowns (two on the ground and one through the air).
February 04, 2017
Washington—A Seattle judge has blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven countries into the U.S. considered hotspots. Judge James Robart made the decision in a case that claimed the state had suffered harm from the ban. The State Department and Homeland Security both suspended enforcement of the ban in accordance with the ruling.
Trump said the judge’s opinion “is ridiculous and will be overturned,” and a White House statement assured, “the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order.”
Travelers are scrambling to reach the United States while the blockage is still in effect.