This Saturday, Australians will head to the polls for the country's 2016 federal election. For most people, it will be a choice between the incumbent Liberal party or the opposition Labor party, but it's possible or even quite probable (scroll down to 'What Vote Will Others Get?') that this election will see a record vote for parties other than the two aforementioned majors. Chief amongst these are the environmentalist-left Australian Greens, who have designs on several seats in Melbourne, and the emergent populist centrist party Nick Xenophon Team, who look poised to pull off a major coup in the state of South Australia—potentially causing a hung parliament, something neither major party wants. Complicating this further is the fact that this election is a double dissolution, meaning that minor parties and independents need a lower vote share than usual to snatch a seat in the Senate. Indeed, this appears likely. (WARNING: ANDREW BOLT.) Whatever the results may be, you will be able to stream them free on ABC News 24, which will have its geoblock lifted from 6 am to midnight AEST for election night coverage. [more inside]
This morning, the Obama administration sent a letter (PDF) to all public schools in the United States, signed by the Department of Justice and and Department of Education, issuing guidance (PDF) that discrimination against transgender students’ rights violates schools’ legal obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. All students must be allowed to use the restroom and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, and "schools are prohibited from publicly disclosing a transgender student's birth name or biological sex, and are required to change the gender on school records and directories when asked." [more inside]
Happy Vintage Pyrex Addiction / Rare Vintage Pyrex (Pinterest) | Vintage Pyrex Kitchenware (article, Collector's Weekly) | Pattern Reference and This Is NOT Pyrex (blog posts from Pyrex Love) | How to Tell Old Pyrex from Really Old Pyrex (blog post, Cara Corey) | 3 Reasons I Love (and Collect) Vintage Pyrex (The Kitchn) | Previously: now we're cooking with glass, American Pyrex Less Resistant to Thermal Shock
"Demaryius Thomas has just sent his mother a picture of the most unlikely Super Bowl ticket of all, the one intended for her, and now Katina Smith has a few days to decide whether she's prepared to take it."
House Speaker John Boehner will give up his House seat and resign from Congress at the end of October. Boehner has been Speaker since January 2011, and has been a member of the House since January 1991. Boehner made the announcement this morning in an emotional meeting with fellow Republicans, according to the New York Times, which says that his resignation throws Congress and the federal government "into chaos" as Congress faces an imminent government shutdown, the first since 2013.
Once a Pariah, Now a Judge: The Early Transgender Journey of Phyllis Frye.
Useful resources for participating in the discussion: Ohio U's Trans 101* : Primer and Vocabulary guide; and GLAAD's Transgender Media Program [more inside]
Useful resources for participating in the discussion: Ohio U's Trans 101* : Primer and Vocabulary guide; and GLAAD's Transgender Media Program [more inside]
The New Mexico Law Review just published an issue dedicated entirely to Breaking Bad. It features eight articles that analyze the illegal acts committed on the show, their real-world parallels, and the consequences attached:
Given the array of legal issues raised, our editorial board was excited to take the opportunity to present analysis of Breaking Bad by scholars and legal practitioners. In April 2014 we issued a call for papers requesting abstracts on topics including the application of the Fourth Amendment to drug crimes under the New Mexico and/or U.S. Constitutions; the War on Drugs; ethical duties of lawyers; drug-offense sentencing; drug enforcement in rural, urban, and/or Tribal areas; and substance abuse and the law.Some of the greatest legal minds in New Mexico (and the country) came together to examine how Walter White would look to a jury, how the war on drugs affects peripheral citizens like Skyler, and whether Heisenberg could have stayed legit by fighting for his stake in Grey Matter in the courts. [via] [more inside]
An estimated "40 percent of all Long Island [grade] 3-8 students refused to take last week’s ELA Common Core state tests. Numbers in some districts reached well over 70 percent, with at least one district exceeding 80 percent....It seems clear that the final 2015 tally will well exceed 200,000 students. New York State will likely not make the minimum 95 percent federal requirement for testing.... What will happen to New York schools then? " [more inside]
Transgender Woman Cites Attacks and Abuse in Men’s Prison (trigger warning: descriptions of sexual assault) [more inside]
Yesterday, twenty three Columbia University students filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the school "allows accused perpetrators of sexual assault to remain on campus, has too-lenient sanctions for perpetrators, discourages victims from reporting assault and denies accommodations to students with mental health disabilities (which they say result from their attacks)." The complaint is the first of its kind, linking Title IX and Clery complaints with alleged violations of Title II, part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides that schools must provide accommodations based on disability status. [more inside]
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia has ruled that Texas' ban on the recognition of marriage equality is unconstitutional. The ruling comes days after the launch of Freedom To Marry's Southern Campaign, and almost a week after a judge in Illinois ruled that gay and lesbian couples there had the right to marry immediately, rather than June 1, as the legislature had previously passed. The Texas ruling has been stayed pending appeal.
"Our nation's uneven but dogged journey toward truer and more meaningful freedoms for our citizens has brought us continually to a deeper understanding of the first three words in our Constitution: we the people. "We the People" have become a broader, more diverse family than once imagined." In the case of Bostic v. Rainey, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia's Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen has declared Virginia's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional [more inside]
Attorney General Eric Holder will announce tonight at the annual HRC gala that the United States federal government will treat lawful same-sex marriages sweeping equal protection under the law in every program it administers, from courthouse proceedings to prison visits to the compensation of surviving spouses of public safety officers. [more inside]
Robina Asti was born in 1921. She used to take the subway to the airport when she started flying in 1936.She fought in World War II, and at the age of 92 is now fighting the government she served to obtain Social Security benefits following the death of her husband, Norwood. The Social Security Administration states that she is ineligible because her legal 2004 marriage was not legal.
28 year old Chauncey Wright, brain damaged, with an IQ in the 50s, had trouble holding a job. Seeing some men handing out flyers at a Walmart parking lot, Wright asked if they needed a helper. Soon, Wright found himself handing out flyers on his bike, eventually procuring drugs and firearms for his employers. And inidicted on several drug and gun charges after finding out his employers were undercover ATF officers running a sting operation in a curious Milwaukee storefront. During which the storefront was burgled, damaged, the owner stiffed on repair costs, and several guns stolen from ATF vehicles, including a machine gun that has yet to be recovered. This wasn't an isolated incident. [more inside]
If the Federal Government shuts down on October 1st, the DC city government is supposed to shut down as well. In a bid to keep the city functioning, Mayor Vince Gray has declared all city employees "essential." Non-voting Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton and the DC GOP are also petitioning Congress to keep the city open. The District's budget comes from local taxes, but needs Congressional approval to spend it's own money.
How we prioritize federal spending in America... National Priorities Project is a national non-profit, non-partisan research organization dedicated to making complex federal budget information transparent and accessible so people can prioritize and influence how their tax dollars are spent.
our highly speculative proposal for the reconfiguration of the political geography of the United States to better conform to the spatial distribution of various water resources, such as rivers, aquifers, and man-made infrastructures.[more inside]
On appeal, the Federal Circuit has upheld Ultramericial's patent on the process of users viewing video ads online in order to view content. The court ruled that the abstractness of the patent does not invalidate it. [more inside]
Earlier this year, six scientists and doctors filed a lawsuit against the US Food and Drug Administration alleging that the FDA had secretly monitored their personal e-mail accounts after they (legally) warned Congress that the "agency was approving medical devices that they believed posed unacceptable risks to patients." The agency said it had done so to "investigate allegations that the employees had leaked confidential information to the public." At the time, the FDA indicated their computer monitoring was limited to five scientists. But now, the New York Times is reporting that "what began as a narrow investigation" "quickly grew in mid-2010 into a much broader campaign to counter outside critics of the agency’s medical review process.". [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
The Feynman Files. For the first time, FBI records for Dr Richard Feynman have been released to the public. They document the Bureau's apparent obsession in the 1950's with outing him as a communist sympathizer, and include notations from several background checks as well as interviews with his colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense: Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform [Full Report (PDF)] [Executive Summary (PDF)] [more inside]
Verisign today seized control of a .com domain belonging to a Canadian online gambling business operating in Canada (inasmuch as an online business can be said to be operating in Canada), on behalf of Federal Authorities. [more inside]
In August Bloomberg News Reported Secret 1.2 Trillion Dollar Loan To Banks. How much "secret" money was printed and given to the banks? Congressman Dennis Kucinich accuses the Federal Reserve of secretly giving domestic and international banks nearly 8 trillion dollars. Ben Bernanke denies. John Stewart educates and satirizes in the first segment of his show. Congressman Alan Grayson grills the (apparently clueless) Federal Reserve Inspector General regarding their accounting.
"Believe it or not, Twinkies have an expiration date. Some day very soon, Life's little Twinkie gauge is gonna go... empty."
Taxpayers in the San Francisco area spend $2,762,295 each year in junk food subsidies, but only $41,950 each year on apple subsidies. [LATIMES] A new report released this week has found that, among the billions of dollars spent each year in federal subsidies for commodity crops, a steady flow of these taxpayer dollars are going to support high fructose corn syrup and three other common food additives used in junk food. The report, “Apples to Twinkies: Comparing Federal Subsidies of Fresh Produce and Junk Food” by CALPIRG and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, studies the interesting question of whether the nation's problem with obesity is fueled by farm subsidies.
Americhrome: The color that has come to signify America in today’s combat theaters isn’t the red, the white, or the blue picked by Betsy Ross, but an ignoble sandy hue commonly referred to as desert tan and officially identified as Federal Standard 595 Color No. 33446. The official swatch of desert tan is housed in Franconia, Va., just outside Washington’s beltway, in a warehouse filled with the rest of the federal government’s certified color chips. From there, for $625, you can purchase a complete set of the 650 three-by-five-inch cards that define the colors covering the vast majority of items purchased by the Federal Acquisition Service, a $50 billion subsection of the General Services Administration, which acts as a kind of equipment manager for federal agencies around the country...
The US House of Representatives has voted to cut all federal NPR funding. To take effect, this would still need to make it through the senate, which most likely would not succeed. [more inside]
The Government Accountability Office discovered that "23% [of for-profit university graduates] default [on their student loans] after four years compared to fewer than 10% of public-university grads." Unless for-profit universities can prove at least 45% of their students repay their debts (one among a number of benchmarks,) said universities may lose federal funding.
If you hire illegal aliens at your business, the federal government can seize your property. In a rare move, the U.S. government is seeking to confiscate the property of an iconic San Diego restaurant that allegedly had a practice of knowingly hiring illegal aliens.
Ever wanted a visual tally of the computers, personal data, and other property lost by or stolen from the US federal government? Presenting the Government Lost & Found Map, via OhMyGov!.
In response to the 2005 lawsuit, ACSI v. Stearns, a federal court has upheld the decision of the University of California to deny college credit for science courses that utilize texts with a religious slant. Official statement from the UCOP (PDF).
Federal Court rules Drug-Free Workplace Laws are unconstitutional. A federal appeals court ruled Thursday a city can't require all job applicants to be tested for narcotics and must instead show why drug use in a particular job would be dangerous. Decision here (warning PDF)
Google launches a site dedicated to the upcoming Australian Federal Election with Youtube channels from each party, electoral boundaries integrated into Google Maps, a search engine to allow you to view what each candidate has said on a range of issues, from immigration to interest rates, news from your electorate, and graphs of media activity on candidates and issues. Australians have been lacking a comprehensive political resource like the UK's The Work For You, and Google has brought it one step closer. Unfortunately, many of the resources are in the form of gadgets you add to your iGoogle homepage, rather than standalone applications.
Nice work if you can get it. Bloggers are an increasingly important part of modern elections -- something that becomes immediately obvious when you look at FEC filings. Bloggers are increasingly starting to rake in the campaign cash. Initially inspired by this feature from The Hotline, Bill Beutler combed through the FEC records and broke down what candidates were paying what bloggers how much in the current election.
17 year old kid gets 2 years for selling 20 dollars of pot, enough for 1 joint. The entire town is basically a "No Drug Zone" so they used federal law to give the kid the mandatory 2 years. The Drug Policy Alliance has put together a video that really hits home on the war against the American people.
Federal Appeals Court opinion "We respectfully disagree and reach a different conclusion... Possession of a large sum of cash is 'strong evidence' of a connection to drug activity." Even if no evidence of a drug related crime is provided, you are guilty until proven innocent. BTW, they wont return the money.
Proposed Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1. Proposed Rule 32.1 [.pdf] is an attempt to resolve a dispute in federal court practice over the propriety of citations to unpublished opinions. It is an argument that has been played out in academic papers and Circuit Courts. Judge Richard Arnold of the 8th Circuit, writing for the majority, held that local rules which declare that unpublished opinions are not precedent are unconstitutional under Article III. Anastasoff v. United States, 223 F.3d 898, 900(8th Cir. 2000), vacated as moot on reh'g en banc, 235 F.3d 1054 (8th Cir.2000). Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit disagreed, holding that nonprecedential decisions are not inconsistent with the exercise of the judicial power. Hart v. Massanari, 226 F.3d 1155, 1163 (9th Cir. 2001). The proposed Rule would resolve the circuit split, but the debate rages on.
The White House nominates Ben Bernanke to replace Alan Greenspan. Works at Princenton, got his doctorate at MIT, currently has several economic related papers out. Apparently actually has a job relating to economics, and wants to drop dollar bills out of a helicopter Well, cut taxes if we enter a deflationary period -- which is just as sexy.
we may not know where they are - but here's where they've been... An incredible amount of information - current and historical - well indexed and with about a billion options for searching through it. pretty impressive for what is at least unofficially a quasi-federal government site despite protestations to the contrary.
The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot is an option for the many American citizens overseas who have not yet received an absentee ballot, and therefore will not be able to mail ballots prior to Election Day. There is also additional information on how various states handle the ballot, and further information from the two main parties at Republicans Abroad and Democrats Abroad.
Bush Wants $60B for 2004 Fed IT Budget. It's the only area aside from defense that is going to have an increase in spending when Bush releases his budget on 2/3. Mitchell E. Daniels said federal IT projects contain "tons of overlap and redundancies" and "far too many plans for which we do not have good business cases." And here I thought that was just the proper definition of our government.
George Bush: Union buster. 500 federal employees (including US Attorneys' offices, Interpol's U.S. branch, the Criminal Division, the National Drug Intelligence Center, and the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review) fired because the presence of unionized workers would not be "consistent with national security requirements and considerations." [via bb]
juan garza was executed in indiana this morning, in the same room where timothy mcveigh died. why no hullabaloo this time?
Finally, in the upcoming federal election, Canadians will have a chance to do what Americans have been doing for decades: elect an American leader.