· Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson, a black couple, were told by their church, the predominantly white First Baptist Church in Crystal Springs, Mississippi that they could not be married in the church. In 2012, there still remains a racist element that denies fellow congregation members the right to get married in their own church. Then again no one should be surprised about anything in Mississippi after all it finally ratified the 13th Amendment that banished and prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude on March 16, 1995; 130 years after the country ratified it. On the plus side, another church stepped up and allowed the couple to be married and other members of the First Baptist Church have reached out to the Wilsons to welcome back and apologize for the acts of other congregation members.
· Recently elected French President Francois Hollande was irate over California’s recent banning of the French delicacy foie gras. Hollande said “I will not allow any challenge to the foie gras exports.” The ban is due to the process where geese and ducks are mechanically force fed to grow the animal’s liver to 10 times normal size. Now Monsieur Hollande needs to remember that French tradition means nothing to sovereign nations and Americans should realize that the French process is no different than our chicken farmers genetic modifications to our poultry to make the breasts so large the chickens cannot move. Think of that the next time you enjoy your next Chick-fil-A sandwich.
· The government of India announced a plan to spend $80million to send an orbital probe of Mars in 2013. Meanwhile on earth 670million Indians lost power for two days during a nationwide blackout. Sadly, many didn’t notice in India because 300 million Indians do not have electricity. But what the heck, send a probe to orbit Mars in search of Marvin the Martian.
· Florida is on pace to become the 1st state with over 1million concealed weapons permits as the state is issuing over 15,000 new permits every month. Not surprisingly, 80% of the permits are going to middle aged white men. Oxy Express, and now millions of concealed weapons on the street; what could go wrong?
· In 29 states it is legal for companies to fire a worker for being gay according to the Human Rights Campaign. So while unrestricted gun access gains momentum basic human decency and REAL CIVIL RIGHTS are being shoved aside. You’re gay? Want to get married? Too bad. Oh you’re gay? You’re fired. I’m sorry but state’s rights should not supersede the civil rights of US Citizens.
· The Obama administration has been pushing this idea of a reset with Russia while the still authoritarian state readies for admission to the WTO on August 22nd. Not only as the Putin government been a persistent thorn in the side of the U.S. and the UN in dealing with Syria, it has shown its true totalitarian colors when the new boss/old boss passed four new laws: big fines for participating in protests, creates a blacklist of ‘harmful’ websites, defamation criminalization, and declares all NGO’s with overseas funding as ‘foreign agents’. So in the resurgent totalitarian Mother Russia, speaking out against the government will get you fined in the least, jailed in the next, and disappeared in the worst.
· In 2011, Google received 12,271 requests for data from the US government and Verizon claims that requests from the government have increased by 15% over each of the last five years. Nearly all of these requests were fulfilled. In 2011 federal and state courts approved 2,732 wiretap requests while the government made over 1.3million requests for data to mobile phone companies. What is going on? Simply two diverging federal laws: the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act governing access to electronic communications and the 2001 Patriot Act. The former was written when the internet was for mostly academics and the latter in response to 9/11. The law protecting citizens needs to be greatly updated to meet a world where electronic emails should have the same protection as phone conversations and mail while the ability for the government to use a shot gun approach to collect data indiscriminately must be curtailed.