Evening News Reads 020612: Black and Unwanted and Prop 8 RulingPosted: February 6, 2012
So many newsy links for you today, I don’t know where to begin. I guess we will start with the news out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The long anticipated appeals court ruling is expected to address three issues: (1) whether former U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself from hearing the case because he is gay and had a long-time partner with whom he was not married; (2) whether the proponents of Proposition 8 have the right to appeal Walker’s decision striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional when none of the state defendants chose to do so; and (3) whether, if Walker did not need to recuse himself and the proponents do have the right to appeal, Walker was correct that Proposition 8 violates Californians’ due process and equal protection rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
You can read the background at that link above. Here is a bit of information on what will happen when the decision is published.
On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit is expected to rule on the questions of Walker’s recusal and the proponents’ standing. The court, if it holds that recusal was not necessary and that the proponents do have standing, will address the constitutionality of Proposition 8. As the public information office is not the court’s judges, its words are not law, but today’s notice does gloss over the standing question, which would make it appear that the court is likely to find that the proponents do have standing — which was to be expected in light of the California Supreme Court’s decision on that matter.
[UPDATE @ 5:30P: As the Ninth Circuit previously had issued a stay of the trial court's judgment pending appeal, there is no reason to think that the court's opinion -- should it affirm the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 -- will take effect immediately. The judges almost certainly will issue a stay of their decision to allow the proponents to decide whether they will appeal such a decision.]
It is a rather long piece so give it a look.
I am going to stick with Federal Appellate Court rulings for a moment. Specifically the recent decision regarding sonograms prior to abortion in the state of Texas. Judge lets songram law take effect – Houston Chronicle
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks declined to stop a new sonogram law from taking effect in a ruling Monday that indicates his hands were tied by an appellate court.
“There can be little doubt that (the law) is an attempt by the Texas Legislature to discourage women from exercising their constitutional rights by making it more difficult for caring and competent physicians to perform abortions,” Sparks wrote in his decision.
“It appears the (three judge appellate court panel) has effectively eviscerated the protections of the First Amendment in the abortion context,” and “in no other medical context does the government go so far in telling doctors what they must, and must not, do,” Sparks said in the ruling.
Sparks granted a temporary restraining order last fall, which kept the law from taking effect, but three judges from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month overturned Sparks, who was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush.
The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit last summer…
“It is a terrible injustice that Judge Sparks could not rule in favor of protecting the constitutional rights of Texas doctors because of the Fifth Circuit panel’s decision,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We urge the full Fifth Circuit to consider Judge Sparks’ sound legal analysis when reviewing our request for a new hearing.”
Aside from the utter ridiculous nature of these laws and legislation against women, the frightening thing is that courts are upholding them. WTF?
Then you have crap like this: House GOP Memo: “Abortion Is the Leading Cause of Death in the Black Community” | Mother Jones
You may remember the billboards in ATL last year…
Well check out the latest GOP memo…
A House GOP memo obtained by Mother Jones argues for a controversial “prenatal discrimination bill” by referring to “black abortions” as distinct from abortions in general and claiming that “abortion is the leading cause of death in the black community.” The memo (PDF) was circulated by Republicans on the House judiciary committee on Monday in advance of Tuesday’s markup of Rep. Trent Franks’ (R-Ariz.) Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act.
Franks’ bill, which is also known as H.R. 3514, didn’t make it out of committee when it was introduced in the last Congress. But the fact that it’s now receiving a markup—a key step on the way to a floor vote—and that 78 cosponsors have signed on suggests that it could proceed to a vote of the full House before November’s elections. In addition to banning abortions based on the race or gender of the fetus, H.R. 3514 would give a woman’s family members the ability to sue abortion providers if they believed an abortion was obtained based on race or sex. Critics warn that it would be next to impossible to prove that an abortion was obtained on the basis of race or gender and fear the provision could lead to nuisance suits against abortion providers by family members who are opposed to abortion on principle.
In Georgia, they tried to pass a bill that made abortion a crime due to race…fortunately, it ran into problems.
Stephanie Mencimer reported:
The campaign started with controversial billboards, which began popping up in the state after President Obama was elected. They featured a photo of a beautiful, sad black baby boy and the line: “Black children are an endangered species.” Anti-abortion activists claimed to be out to save the black community from genocide at the hands of Planned Parenthood.
“The most pernicious part was, they’re trying to hijack the civil rights legacy in the service of conservative causes, trying to appropriate the mantle of the civil rights movement in a really despicable way,” says Loretta Ross, the national coordinator of SisterSong, a reproductive justice organization for women of color in Atlanta. She says the effort even featured white people singing “We Shall Overcome” at black women as part of a pro-life “freedom ride” bus tour that stopped at Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. Center.
The MoJo article has an update, as follows:
Adam Serwer notes that the essay the Republican memo cites as evidence that “a thorough review of the American family planning movement reveals a history of targeting African-Americans for ‘population control’” is actually a thorough debunking of arguments like those in the memo that argues the opposite point. Here’s a choice excerpt:
Activists are exploiting and distorting the facts to serve their antiabortion agenda. They ignore the fundamental reason women have abortions and the underlying problem of racial and ethnic disparities across an array of health indicators. The truth is that behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy. This applies to all women—black, white, Hispanic, Asian and Native American alike. Not surprisingly, the variation in abortion rates across racial and ethnic groups relates directly to the variation in the unintended pregnancy rates across those same groups.
Also, it’s worth noting, as Jill Lepore did in her excellent New Yorker essay on Planned Parenthood in November, that prominent black Americans such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. were supportive of birth control and family planning, and the history of race and abortion in America is more complicated than the GOP memo would lead you to believe.
Go to the link to read the memo in its entirety, sigh…
Last week, the Obama Administration launched the Equal Pay App Challenge. We’re inviting software developers to help women ensure that they’re being paid fairly — which in turn will help restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.
Right now, if you’re a woman in the workforce, it can be surprisingly difficult to answer basic questions about equal pay: what’s the typical salary for someone in your position? Should you be asking for more at the negotiating table? What are your fundamental legal rights?
Blah Blah Blah, sorry but until Hillary Clinton starts her full-time advocacy for women…this is all talk, and nothing else.
President Obama envisions an America where his daughters are never limited by their gender. That vision is not yet a reality, and we still have a long way to go. But if we work together — and we invite America’s most creative innovators to join us in tackling this challenge — then I am confident that we will get there.
You honestly believe we will “get there” when all the crappy anti-women legislation is getting passed or upheld. Get real!
Since there are so many links for you tonight, I will just give you a list…
The use of drone warfare is becoming more and more popular, and with that, comes the use of drones in civilian situations. Civilian drones to fill the skies after law shake-up – tech – 03 February 2012 – New Scientist
The FAA is planning to unveil a new set of rules this summer regarding these UAVs.
Speaking of the FAA: Senate sends FAA bill to Obama’s desk – The Hill’s Transportation Report The House previously approved the bill…
There is a disturbing story about a teenager’s journal entry after she murdered a young neighbor: Missouri teen describes killing girl, 9, as ‘enjoyable’ experience _ before heading to church – The Washington Post
A Missouri teenager who admitted stabbing, strangling and slitting the throat of a young neighbor girl wrote in her journal on the night of the killing that it was an “ahmazing” and “pretty enjoyable” experience — then headed off to church with a laugh.
In world news:
The United States closed its embassy in Syria on Monday and withdrew its staff in the face of escalating mayhem for which American officials blamed the Syrian government’s unbridled repression of an 11-month-old uprising.
Barack Obama has ordered the freezing of Iranian government assets in the US, including transactions by the Iranian Central Bank, in tightened sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The White House said the executive order by the president “re-emphasises this administration’s message to the government of Iran – it will face ever-increasing economic and diplomatic pressure until it addresses the international community’s well-founded and well-documented concerns regarding the nature of its nuclear programme”.
The new sanctions, which also include the threat of prosecution for foreign financial institutions if they do certain kinds of business directly with Iran, also appeared timed to fit in with measures introduced in other countries, including Britain which has already moved against Iran’s banking system by cutting it off from London’s financial sector.
This next link is fascinating: BBC News – Transplant jaw made by 3D printer claimed as first
A 3D printer-created lower jaw has been fitted to an 83-year-old woman’s face in what doctors say is the first operation of its kind.
The transplant was carried out in June in the Netherlands, but is only now being publicised.
The implant was made out of titanium powder – heated and fused together by a laser, one layer at a time.
Technicians say the operation’s success paves the way for the use of more 3D-printed patient-specific parts.
One more “science” link for you: Mating call of an extinct bush-cricket rings out again after 165m years | Science | The Guardian
A love song that carried on the wind through the ancient forests of the late Jurassic has been reconstructed by scientists in Britain.
Researchers pieced together the staccato mating call of the long-gone creature, a distant relative of the modern bush-cricket, from fossilised remains unearthed in Mongolia.
The audio file is there at that link…cool isn’t it?
Monkeys are closely related to us and their brains have long served as an indispensable model for understanding how our own brain works. But we’re separated from each other by millions of years of evolution, so there are some major differences between their brains and ours. On the one hand, we can’t assume that the results from experiments on their brains can be generalized to humans. But on the other, a better understanding of our differences can provide important clues about the evolutionary forces that shaped the human brain.
A new method may help to overcome some of the difficulties in comparing the human and monkey brains. To test the method, researchers scanned the brains of humans and macaque monkeys while they watched Sergio Leone’s classic spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Their results, published in the journal Nature Methods, reveal a number of surprising differences between the functional architecture of the human and macaque brains.
Oh, I think those PLUBs that are pushing all the anti-woman crap down our throats need to read this article.
In a 2004 study, Uri Hasson and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance to scan the brains of five participants as they watched a 30 minute clip from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. They found that the film activated widespread regions of the cerebral cortex, especially in the visual and auditory parts of the brain, and that the activation patterns were remarkably similar in all of them. This high degree of synchronicity led the researchers to the conclusion that films can make their viewers’ brains tick collectively; it also led to a new field called “neurocinematics,” which aims to assess the similarities in participants’ brain responses during film watching.
Based on these earlier findings, Hasson and his colleagues therefore hypothesized that this might hold true not only for comparisons between humans, but also across species. The new method – called interspecies activity correlation – therefore builds on these earlier findings, and extends the approach to examine the extent to which the brain activation patterns observed in humans correspond to those of monkeys.
They recruited 24 human participants, and used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan their brains as they watched the same film clip. This confirmed that the film clip evoked the same pattern of brain activity in all the participants, as in the 2004 study. They then did the same with four macaque monkeys, each of which was shown the same clip six times, and found that all four animals also exhibited the same activity patterns as each other across multiple viewings. Next, the researchers compared the activity patterns they observed in the human participants with those of the monkeys, focusing on 34 distinct regions the visual cortex.
In both species, visual information is processed in a hierarchical manner. The earliest stages of visual processing take place in the primary and secondary visual cortical areas, often referred to simply as V1 and V2, which contain cells that respond to the simplest features of a scene, such as contrast between adjacent areas of the visual scene and the orientation of edges. Each successive stage of processing encodes increasingly complex features, with higher order visual regions encoding complex features such as object categories.
The article is way to detailed for me to break it down..so just go and read it.
Tonight at 8PM EST, TCM is showing a great Alfred Hitchcock film called, Foreign Correspondent…from 1940. Foreign Correspondent (1940) – Overview – TCM.com
If you can, watch it…cause it is one damn good movie!
Catch y’all later…