September 30, 2015

In Michigan Gay Marriage gets more than Marriage it got No Fault Spousal Benefits



                                                                   




When the US Supreme Court ruled that states could not ban gay marriage earlier this year, it did more than just given them access to marriage certificates. The legal designation of "spouse" opens LGBT couples up to rights and benefits in many areas of the law. That includes Michigan no-fault auto law and third-party negligence actions.

The Resident Relative Provision

Michigan law provides for no fault auto insurance coverage for passengers even if they do not carry individual auto insurance policies. While the first recourse is always a person's own insurance, if she is uninsured, she can look to her immediate family. Pursuant to MCL 500.3114, an auto insurance policy "applies to accidental bodily injury to the person named in the policy, the person's spouse, and a relative of either domiciled in the same household, if the injury arises from a motor vehicle accident."

Before the decision in Obergefell v Hodges, if a gay man was injured he would not be able to turn to his partner's insurance policy for help. Even if they had been married in one of the many states that had legalized same-sex marriage prior to the court ruling, Michigan would not recognize his partner as his legal spouse.

This result was particularly harsh when it came to the children of those uninsured gay residents. Under Michigan law, if two men or two women wanted to raise a child together, only one of them could be the legal parent. Whether this was by way of natural child birth using a donor or adoption, Michigan would only grant parental rights to, and therefore the child could only benefit from, one legal mother or father within the couple.

Imagine a case where Joe and Tom are raising Lily, who is Joe's biological daughter. Until Obergefell, there was no way for Tom to become a legal father to Lily. Now imagine that Joe is not insured but Tom is. If Lily were in a car accident, she would not be able to receive benefits from Tom's insurance policy as a resident relative. Instead the claim would progress down the order of priority to the owner of the vehicle in which she was riding.

Now that the court has required states to grant marriage certificates to gay couples and recognize the same-sex marriages celebrated elsewhere, the Joes and Lilys in Michigan can take advantage of spousal benefits and resident relative benefits of their loved ones' insurance policies. All they need to do to cement protection for their family is get married.

The Legal Significance of a Spouse

A person's spouse has a lot more rights than just auto insurance benefits, though. Under negligence law, a spouse can be the next friend of an incapacitated individual and file suit on his or her behalf. This means that, continuing with the same example, if Tom were to suffer a traumatic brain injury and be unable to file a lawsuit on his own, under Obergefell, Joe is now authorized to file it for him.

Before, as a legal stranger, Joe would have had to turn to Tom's family members for help. Because of the social stigma and the beliefs of certain religions, many members of the LGBT community are not able to rely on their biological family to help them. For this very reason, gay and lesbian couples will often go through added burden and expense to name their partners as health care decision makers. But that does not affect the partner's legal standing to bring suit on behalf of the injured person. The partners need to be legally married to do that.

Spousal Benefits in Third Party Cases

If the injuries resulting from a car accident are serious enough to allow a Third Party lawsuit against the at-fault driver, being the legal spouse of that injured person becomes even more important. That is because spouses have access to a special class of non-economic damages: loss of consortium (or companionship). This damage claim legitimizes the lost emotional and physical support that couples provide one another.

Before Obergefell, if a woman in a same-sex partnership was severely injured, the support she provided to her partner would go unrecognized and uncompensated. The couple would be treated as legal strangers. Once that lesbian couple is legally allowed to marry, however, they are also allowed all of the litigation awards traditionally available to spouses.

Spousal Benefits in Wrongful Death Cases

The most tragic of auto accident cases involve estates, not injured parties. Just like in incapacity cases, the natural person to bring a wrongful death action on behalf of a person's estate is his or her spouse (unless a different personal representative is identified in estate planning documents). No matter how many assets a gay couple owns jointly—homes, cars, boats, even bank accounts—the surviving partner will not have any authority to file a wrongful death action without either a personal representative designation or the legal identity of "spouse."

If a same-sex couple does marry (or their out-of-state marriage is recognized under Obergefell), and an accident later takes one partner's life, the surviving spouse can move forward with a wrongful death action to recover his or her spouse's medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and non-economic pain and suffering awards. The spouse is also entitled to certain survivor benefits including loss of financial support in the form of lost wages. All of these rights are connected to the word "spouse" and were not available to same-sex couples in Michigan just a few months ago.

Protecting the Family Under Obergefell

The Plaintiffs in Obergefell, and its Michigan counterpart DeBoer v Snyder (which was consolidated into the Supreme Court case), were not just suing for dignity and equality. The lawsuit that changed the way this nation defines marriage was not just about a label. It was about the thousands of state and federal rights that connect to the word "spouse." The Obergefell decision said the state law protections for families and children were "material." Justice Kennedy wrote:
"By giving recognition and legal structure to their parents' relationship, marriage allows children 'to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.' Marriage also affords the permanency and stability important to children’s best interests."
                  
Under Michigan auto law, that stability comes in part from a child’s ability to collect benefits from both parents and for the child's surviving parent to be able to go to court to recover damages available only to a spouse.

As family lawyers, magistrates and ministers across the Michigan do the hard work of legalizing and legitimizing the committed relationships of thousands of LGBT couples living in Michigan, auto accident attorneys need to be aware of the effect of this decision on the lives of their clients. By being clear on the rights of same-sex spouses and inquiring into the details of their clients' marital history, car accident lawyers can better protect clients and their families from missing out on important spousal benefits and survivor damage claims based on legal marital or parental status.

David Christensen is an experienced personal injury attorney with Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He specializes in helping victims with traumatic brain injury from motor vehicle accidents.

Suggested Citation: David Christensen Gay Marriage and Michigan No-Fault Spousal Benefits, JURIST - Professional Commentary, September 29, 2015, http://jurist.org/professional/2015/david-christensen-spousal-benefits.php.


JURIST Guest Columnist David Christensen froChristensen Law discusses the impact of spousal benefits on the LGBT community. 

Gay Actress Ellen Page plays a Closeted Lesbian in “Freeheld” and That’s personal




                                                                     

Ellen Page plays Stacie Andree (out.com pic)




"I know what it's like to be in a closeted relationship," says actress Ellen Page. "It's sad, and it sucks."

And therein lies the basic premise of the 28-year-old’s new film "Freeheld," which hinges on marriage equality, gay rights and the pain of living a secret life.

In the based-on-fact film, Page plays Stacie Andree, the domestic partner of Ocean County detective Laurel Hester (played by Julianne Moore). But when Laurel gets cancer, Stacie learns that she can’t be named Laurel’s beneficiary because they are not wed — because in 2005 New Jersey, they could not be.

"Basically, it's a film about someone just saying no to you because you're gay," Page says. "Saying no to someone who'd spent her entire life protecting the citizens of New Jersey.

"Obviously as an out gay woman I connected to the material," Page adds with a smile.

The real-life women didn't listen to "No." Page doesn't either. The self-described "tiny Canadian" is big enough to stand up for herself, whether it's arguing LGBT issues with Sen. Ted Cruz at the Iowa State Fair ("I thought I was really polite!") or helping push the completion of "Freeheld," which took more than six years.

"I really wanted their story to be told," Page says of her decision to sign on not only as Stacie, but as a producer. "I've been acting since I'm 10, and I love it, but this gave me something new to learn. And I like learning."

I'm a woman who loves women, and that's a huge part of who I am.
Perhaps the most important thing Page ever learned was something the movies helped her discover.

"I remember seeing 'But I'm a Cheerleader' when I was 14, and there's this scene where Natasha Lyonne's boyfriend kisses her and walks away and everyone around her is 'Oh, you're so lucky!' and she's like, ‘I don't get it,'" Page says. "And I remember watching that and thinking, man, that's how I feel, too. Boys — I don't get it. I totally don't get it."

Eventually Page got "that I'm a woman who loves women, and that's a huge part of who I am." Still, once she became a quirky star in 2007 with "Juno," she felt she had to keep that part of herself private.

Asked about her teenage years in interviews, she used codewords like "tomboy." If writers assumed she was straight, she didn't correct them. She never took anyone she was dating to a premiere.

But when "Freeheld" debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, Page walked the red carpet with her girlfriend, artist Samantha Thomas, for the first time.

Page came out publicly just last year, on Valentine's Day. Looking back, she said she’s glad she can finally be honest.

"Has it affected my career?" Page asks. She shrugs. "I'm not a naïve person. Already as a woman you've lost opportunities as an actor - that's just statistically true. And as an out gay actor? I don't know, it's a ‘we'll-see' kind of thing.

“It's not totally cool," she adds. "But I couldn't be happier living my life."

She obviously hails the Supreme Court’s recent decision legalizing gay marriage — "Totally amazing, right?" — but isn’t convinced that the struggle for equality is over.

"You should be able to grow up gay and grow up no differently than a heterosexual kid," Page says. "There's still prejudice, even among people who don't think they're prejudiced. They'll say, 'I don't mind gay people as long as they don't flaunt it.' Oh, so you're not homophobic as long as we're not visible?"

The important thing, Page says, is for all sorts of gay people to be seen, and all kinds of gay stories to be told. She hopes, in a small way, "Freeheld" can be a part of that.

"Movies are an empathy machine," she says. "We see stories about people we thought were different from us, and then we realize they're really not. And that’s the only way progress is made.”



Economic Report: LGBT Inclusion is Good for Economic Growth, Productivity and Profitability



                                                                      
                                                                   


Open, inclusive and diverse societies are better for business and better for economic growth. This report presents the evidence base that supports this: it demonstrates that businesses thrive in tolerant societies and that the spread of anti-LGB&T policies runs counter to the interests of business and economic development.

The report draws upon the global perspectives of the companies supporting Open For Business, and they have contributed their experience and expertise on the business case for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) inclusion. It also incorporates the perspectives of activists in countries that are on the front-line of LGB&T discrimination, to ensure it is grounded in local country realities.

There are many strands of work which have studied the subject from different angles, including economic growth and development, business performance and productivity, and human resources and talent management. This report brings these together for the first time. As a result, this report represents the most comprehensive evidence base yet published on this subject.

The report begins with an overview of the Global Situation: in many parts of the world, recent years have seen a growing a culture of respect for LGB&T individuals, and their ability to fully participate in society is protected by law. In other parts of the world, there is rising antagonism towards LGB&T people, who are suffering discrimination at the hands of politicians and lawmakers.

The report then looks at the economic opportunities associated with LGB&T inclusion, and the business risks of operating in territories that practice discrimination against LGB&T individuals. These opportunities and risks can be summarized as follows:

Economic opportunity

A. Economic performance
Stronger growth and higher levels of entrepreneurialism
B. Business performance
Superior performance, innovation and profitability.
C. Individual performance
Greater employee productivity and contribution.

open-for-business.org

September 29, 2015

Bad News for Social Security and Medicare Recipients in 2015-16

The latest report from the Social Security Trustees Report assumes that for just the third time since the automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975, people who receive Social Security payments will not receive a cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) in 2016.
COLAs only kick in when the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the official gauge of inflation, goes up. The CPI is not expected to increase in the base period used to determine the COLA.
report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says this would have an unintended consequence that would sock some Medicare recipients with a significant Medicare premium hike.
“Cause a flap”
“The anticipated lack of a Social Security COLA will cause a flap in the Medicare program because, by law, the cost of higher Medicare Part B premiums cannot be passed on to most beneficiaries when they do not get a raise in their Social Security benefits,” the authors write.
 This unintended consequence also highlights the complicated interaction between Medicare premiums, which are generally deducted automatically from Social Security benefits, and the net benefit – the money available for non-health care expenditures.
 According to the report, the Social Security COLA does not fully reflect the increase in health care costs faced by the elderly because the net Social Security benefit does not keep pace with inflation. While many seniors rely on the inflation adjustment in Social Security, “the rise in Medicare premiums undermines the ability of beneficiaries to maintain their purchasing power for non-health-care items.”
 Medicare recipients are accustomed to paying more each year in premiums. The report finds that, barring any complicating factors, the premium would increase from $104.90 in 2015 to $120.70 for 2016. 
Hold-harmless provision
But here's the rub; the law contains a hold-harmless provision that limits the dollar increase in the premium to the dollar increase in an individual’s Social Security benefit. This provision applies to roughly 70% of Part B enrollees. They have nothing to worry about. 
The remaining 30% aren't covered by the hold-harmless provision. They include new enrollees during the year; enrollees who do not receive a Social Security benefit check; enrollees with high incomes (who are subject to the income-related premium adjustment), and dual Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries - whose full premiums are paid by state Medicaid programs. 
Because 70% of Medicare recipients would see no increase in the absence of a Social Security COLA, the Part B premiums for the remaining 30% must be raised enough to offset the rising costs. 52% premium hike
“Under the intermediate economic assumptions, the estimated monthly premium in 2016 for these other beneficiaries is $159.30,” the authors write. “That means that, unless the Administration figures out some workaround, the base Part B premium would rise from $104.90 to $159.30 – a 52% increase.” For higher income participants, the premiums would rise even higher, based on multiples of $159.30. “Clearly, political pressure will build for some kind of work-around,” the report concludes. 
For those of you being affected or having a love one or close person affected:
Start contacting your Senators and Congressmen now! 

By Mark Huffman
Mark Huffman has been a consumer news reporter for ConsumerAffairs since 2004. He covers real estate, gas prices and the economy and has reported extensively on negative-option sales. He was previously an Associated Press reporter and editor in Washington, D.C., a correspondent for Westwoood One Radio Networks and Marketwatch. 

Putin Defends Russia on LGBT Rights “More Progressive than U.S.”


 
I am just going to post this page from Dominic Preston on frontiersmedia.com on which he describes part of the interview that President Vladimir Putin gave to 60 Minutes. I watched last sunday and I ‘m going to let another blog describe the part in which Putin talked about LGBT rights in Russia.
 I laughed, smirked  and got tears on my eyes during the interview so I think is better I let someone without my passion to the issue post it just for today.

                                                                        
 Young Gay Russians get beaten attempting to hold Pride last year
  
Russian President Vladimir Putin challenged the suggestion that his country’s laws persecute LGBT people during an appearance on CBS last night, arguing that the issue has been “deliberately exaggerated.”

Putin appeared on 60 Minutes for a two-part interview on a range of issues, including LGBT rights. The Russian leader surprised many viewers by insisting that he supports equal rights.

“I believe there should not be any criminal prosecution or any other prosecution or infringement of people’s rights on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religious or sexual orientation,” he told Charlie Rose. “The problem of sexual minorities in Russia had been deliberately exaggerated from the outside for political reasons, I believe, without any good basis.”

“We have no persecution at all. People of non-traditional sexual orientation work, they live in peace, they get promoted, they get state awards for their achievements in science and arts or other areas. I personally have awarded them medals.”

He even went so far as to suggest that Russia is more progressive than the U.S., drawing attention to the states that still have laws on the books criminalising same-sex relations – though he neglected to mention that those laws were invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2003.

Pushed on Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ law, which makes it illegal to promote ‘non-traditional sexual relationships’ to minors, the president insisted that it was simply to allow young people to make up their own minds.

“I don’t see anything un-democratic in this legal act,” Putin said. “I believe we should leave kids in peace. We should give them a chance to grow, help them to realize who they are and decide for themselves. Do they consider themselves a man or a woman? A female? A male? Do they want to live in a normal, natural marriage or a non-traditional one? That’s the only thing I wanted to talk about. I don’t see here any infringement on the rights of gay people.”

The interview follows the recent announcement that Putin phoned singer Elton John and proposed a face-to-face meeting in the future, as the Kremlin appears to be trying to rehabilitate Russia’s homophobic international image. Though as the author of the ‘gay propaganda’ law, Vitaly Milonov, has just been awarded one of the country’s highest honors, Putin’s actions seem to tell a different story.

Putin Loves Syria-can help to make Russia Cold again but Putin Hot





                  Syria (pic .by newsweek)   
     
Nature abhors a vacuum, but Vladimir Putin really loves one. The Russian president clearly sensed a big power void in Syria, where the civil war has intensified and where the United States has neither committed ground forces nor devised a compelling strategy to settle the conflict or defeat the Islamic State. Although the Islamic State has rampaged through Iraq, its headquarters is in Syria.

Into that vacuum, Putin has sent a substantial force of tanks, armored personnel carriers, air defense systems and upward of two dozen combat aircraft over the past several weeks. Russia is also building enough housing for 2,000 people, U.S. officials have said. What to make of Russia’s muscling into the war-torn country? For Putin, there are essentially five reasons, moving from the broadly strategic to the purely tactical.


                                                                    



Making Russia a Great Power Again. Gaining a pivotal role in the Middle East would be an important way station on the road to Putin’s overarching goal — restoring Russia to great-power status. The Syria problem allows him to vividly contrast Russia’s activism with what many see as Washington’s hesitation and timidity. Count on Putin to present himself as the regional peacemaker when he speaks at the U.N. today.

Shoring Up Assad … or His Successor. The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, has been Russia’s only real ally in the region; Syria hosts Russia’s sole warm-water seaport at Tarsus. But Assad is weakening, particularly under assaults from the Islamic State, and now controls only about a sixth of the country. By establishing a ground presence, Russia hopes not only to increase Assad’s chances of surviving but also — equally important — to be in a position to influence the succession if he does not. More on this in a minute.

 Syria’s Assad and Putin
  
This clear Russian interest contrasts with the more complex calculus the U.S. has faced. By virtue of opposing both Assad and the Islamic State, Washington has been paralyzed by the simple reality that opposing one of them inevitably helps the other. The U.S. has yet to devise a strategy that avoids this Hobson’s choice.

Regional Influence. Military intervention gives the Russians an opportunity to tighten relations with Iran, which shares Russia’s desire to prop up the Assad regime. Already Iran has military advisers and proxy forces — Hezbollah militia fighters from Lebanon — on the ground in Syria. Not that Putin is depending solely on Iran: Russia has played regional power broker for months in the run-up to the Syria deployment, hosting consultations in Moscow with leaders from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Palestine and Iran.

Hammering on the Islamic State. Putin genuinely wants to defeat the Islamic State. Russia says about 2,400 of its nationals are fighting with the IS; chances are, many of them are from Russia’s Caucasus region, which has a large Muslim population and hosts a number of separatist movements. Returning Russian fighters would pose a direct threat to Russia’s control in key parts of its southwest.

When in Doubt, Distract. Activism in Syria gives Putin a way to distract attention from Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. At the same time, it obliges the Western coalition opposing the Islamic State to work directly with Russia. At minimum, the U.S.-led coalition has to de-conflict military operations with Russia, but inevitably, that will begin to draw it into a cooperative relationship with Moscow. That will only muddy the waters when it comes to the West’s Ukraine grievances.

Although Russia’s broad objectives are clear, its precise plans in Syria are not. Its major fear is probably that the Assad regime will fall to some combination of extremists dominated by the Islamic State, thus depriving Moscow of its closest ally in the region. Faced with that fear, Russia could pursue one of two paths. Together with Iran, it could go all out to preserve Assad in power, concentrating its firepower on the Islamic State — and perhaps even on the more moderate rebels the West tends to favor.

On the other hand, Russia may have concluded that Assad’s crumbled legitimacy — due to the horrors his regime has inflicted on his own people — makes it unrealistic to preserve the regime in its present form. It may thus settle on a more modest objective: Prevent a total breakdown of order by preserving the rough form of the Syrian state while easing Assad out gradually in favor of some other, more acceptable ruler. The latter scenario is not far off from what the United States and the United Nations have been trying unsuccessfully to achieve in Syria. So if events move in that direction, there could be scope for cooperation between Russia and the West on a phased strategy, working first to destroy the Islamic State and then deciding what to do about the Assad regime.

In the end, the main thing Russia gains from its deployment is enhanced leverage over what becomes of Syria. At the same time, the limitation of U.S. efforts to an air campaign and the failure of its program to train a large force of moderate rebel fighters mean that the U.S. has lost leverage and will have less influence over the course of events in Syria. In short, Putin is forcing the U.S. to work with him and ensuring that he will have a large voice in determining the future of the Middle Eastern capital that means the most to Russia.



The author was acting director and deputy director of the CIA from 2000 to 2004 and now teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Possible New Speaker {Kevin McCarthy}Interest Groups-Interactive



September 28, 2015

15 Yr Old boy and 9 others Executed by Isis Accused of being Gay



                                                                     
                                                                     


The Islamic State is at it again – brutally killing men accused of being homosexuals. Their latest victim was just a teenager, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In a recent report, the group said ISIS militants executed a 15-year year boy and nine other men in two separate locations in Syria but on the same charges of being homosexuals.

 Director Rami Abdel Rahman of the monitoring group said the boy and two other men were killed in the town of Hreitan in northern Aleppo while the seven alleged other homosexuals were executed in Rastan, Homs province in central Syria.

Rahman told MailOnline that the boy had been arrested and locked up since last year. He said those killed in Rastan were shot in front of a large crowd that had gathered to witness the executions.

As of August this year, the ISIS has executed at least 30 people for being gay, the UN Security Council said. The group has deemed homosexuality punishable by death. It has also been persecuting other minorities throughout Iraq and Syria, especially Christians and Yazidis.

Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said accused homosexuals are being eliminated through stoning, firing squads, beheadings and pushing them off tall buildings.

The execution of alleged gays and the gruesome propaganda photos and videos earlier released by ISIS appear to be an attempt by the group to reinforce its rule of fear, Mail Online reported. Alleged gay people have also reportedly been stoned to death by crowds carrying out death sentences as directed by ISIS commanders.

The inhumane death sentences were done in different areas, including in the Iraqi city of Falluja and the ISIS de-facto capital Raqqa in Syria.

"At the executions, hundreds of townspeople, including children, cheered jubilantly as at a wedding," said Subhi Nahas, a refugee from the Syrian city of Idlib. "If a victim did not die after being hurled off a building, the townspeople stoned him to death. This was to be my fate too."

Another activist identified as Adnan from Iraq, bared that ISIS uses social media to hunt down gay people. "They are professional when it comes to tracking gay people. They hunt them down one by one. When they capture people, they go through the person's phone and contacts and Facebook friends.''

US Ambassador Samantha Power said at a recent UN meeting that it is time for the spotlight to be placed on ISIS treatment of gay people. "It's about time, 70 years after the creation of the UN, that the fate of LGBT persons who fear for their lives around the world is taking centre stage," Power said. “This represents a small but historic step,'' she said.

The Pope in New York City { with pictures and tweets}


The Pope Instructs The Bishops on Gay Marriage without mentioning it


“sounds a little bit like an Argentine tango” 
                                                                     



 In a powerful rebuke to the culture war mentality that has often marked the public witness of the Catholic hierarchy, Pope Francis told bishops gathered for a major church meeting on families not to blame others for the changes to marriage today, and said a church that constantly explains doctrines without providing real support to families “is dangerously unbalanced.”

“We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family,” Francis told bishops gathered at a seminary here on Sunday morning (Sept. 27), the final day of the pontiff’s grueling nine-day visit to Cuba and the U.S.

“A Christianity which ‘does’ little in practice, while incessantly ‘explaining’ its teachings, is dangerously unbalanced,” Francis told dozens of churchmen from around the world. “I would even say that it is stuck in a vicious circle.” 

At the start of his 30-minute talk, Francis made a brief reference to the legalization of same-sex marriage that the American bishops have made a centerpiece of their public ministry and policy battles, with many of them casting the acceptance of gay relationships as the beginning of an era of exclusion and even persecution for Christians.

Francis, as he has done in his speeches to church leaders throughout this visit, his first to the U.S., refused to take that bait.

Without mentioning gay marriage, he noted that civil marriage and Christian sacramental marriage no longer share a common meaning, as they once did. Yet while recognizing the profound changes taking place, he warned bishops against pointing fingers at their flock or wallowing in nostalgia.

“Should we blame our young people for having grown up in this kind of society? Should we condemn them for living in this kind of a world?” Francis said. “Should they hear their pastors saying that ‘it was all better back then,’ ‘the world is falling apart and if things go on this way, who knows where we will end up?’ No, I do not think that this is the way.”

He said the church’s shepherds must accompany and help people, and he said they must be converted first to this approach: “For all the obstacles we see before us, gratitude and appreciation should prevail over concerns and complaints.”

“A pastor watches over the dreams, the lives and the growth of his flock. This ‘watchfulness’ is not the result of talking but of shepherding. Only one capable of standing ‘in the midst of’ the flock can be watchful, not someone who is afraid of questions, contact, accompaniment,” Francis said, joking at one point that it “sounds a little bit like an Argentine tango.” 

Francis is a native of Argentina and the first Latin American pope in history, and he spoke to the bishops in Spanish, adding occasional observations and asides as he went along.

For example, in talking about the problems of young people not leaving home to marry, Francis looked up from his prepared text, smiled and said:

“In Buenos Aires, many women would tell, ‘Me my son is thirty, thirty-four, and isn’t married. What should I do?’ I tell them, “Don’t iron his shirts anymore!”

In explaining the changes in marriage and family life, Francis compared them to the shift from the local neighborhood shop to the rise of supermarkets.

Today’s mega-store culture thrives on offering a huge selection of every option, “cleverly displayed” and encouraging consumerism in every aspect of life, but without a personal bond of trust or permanence, he said. Everything is devoted to increasing sales, and “the most important thing nowadays seems to be to follow the latest trend or activity,” Francis said.

“This is even true of religion. Today consumerism determines what is important. Consuming relationships, consuming friendships, consuming religions, consuming, consuming … Whatever the cost or consequences.”

“Running after the latest fad, accumulating ‘friends’ on one of the social networks, we get caught up in what contemporary society has to offer,” and that leads to “loneliness with fear of commitment in a limitless effort to feel recognized.”

Yet again, the pontiff stressed that the church’s leaders should not blame young people:

“Are today’s young people hopelessly timid, weak, inconsistent? We must not fall into this trap. Many young people, in the context of this culture of discouragement, have yielded to a form of unconscious acquiescence. They are paralyzed when they encounter the beautiful, noble and truly necessary challenges which faith sets before them. Many put off marriage while waiting for ideal conditions, when everything can be perfect. Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full.”

While Francis was speaking to bishops from around the world who were attending the World Meeting of Families, a triennial event held in different cities around the globe, his approach stood in especially stark contrast to the public profile of the American bishops in recent years.

Notable among those culture warrior bishops is Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has been Francis’ host for this final leg of the trip. But Chaput is also a bishop closely associated with conservatives in the hierarchy who have voiced reservations or even strong opposition to the pope’s new course for the church.

In brief remarks at the start of his talk, Francis told the prelates that earlier that morning he had met privately with five adults who had been sexually abused as children by priests, teachers or relatives. The meeting had been anticipated but details were kept under wraps. Many victims’ advocates were strongly critical of the meeting, and said the steps Francis has taken to fight abuse and hold bishops accountable are insufficient.

But in his remarks to the bishops, Francis vowed to hold accountable bishops who allow priests to abuse children, and he hailed the “survivors,” as he pointedly called them, as the real heroes of the abuse crisis and “heralds of hope and ministers of mercy.”

September 27, 2015

Resuscitation! I want this monkey as tech if an Ambulance is needed


                                                                   
                                                                   
 Bullfighter’s remorse



The power of love towards of those like us is believed by many as a gift only humans posses. Actually some would say that to be a major test point to see if someone is really human; This is because some humans will kills others without hesitation and without any signs of guilt or just feeling sorry for their victims. Some in the Psychiatric field call these type of humans, as psychopaths.


I wonder what those same people would say about this film. It has been established that some species of animals not many, would try to help their fellow animals if they are in trouble. How much trouble and time one of those animals would spend on a task of helping another is been documented as temporary and not after death seems to have occurred. Only the human species and usually only by those trained in resuscitation would attempt to bring someone back after he or she is been hit by a car, heart attack, shock or is been electrocuted.

During past times before we became knowable of the medical actions we could take to help someone who seems to be dead or dying of an accident, people would let their conciseness or the memory of something they had seen in the past as the driving engine in throwing themselves into this task. Not an easy thing to attempt. One needs to be beyond brave and only care about bringing this life back regardless of what is going on around them. Now a days in certain areas you could be charged with manslaughter if the coroner testifies that the person was unconscious and it was probably the actions of the helping hand that might have cause death.

I want to show you this video that will probably touch you. You know if something happens once chances are that it’s happened before. I would like you to think about animals we call dumb or lower than us. The animals we use in  labs, zoos and cabins with their paws or head hanging as trophies and as entertainment for a more advanced species. There are even books some call holy that openly ask for the sacrifice of innocent animals.  With what purpose, as a symbol? Then why not lets do it symbolically without killing anything? I hope it brings everyone down a peg or two and instead will make people think of protecting those that we call inferior or lower than us in the chain of the world and human evolution.

Adam Gonzalez  







 

September 26, 2015

Who Lives, How Educated and How Much They make in NYC



                                                                   





Polls Show Kim Davies Have helped the Same Sex marriage Issue she fights



                                                                     


Acts of plain unfairness and undue harshness of actions to any cause makes no friends on either side of any argument. When people like the obese guy with a cigar on a radio show with the RamRod initials or a so called Doctor which she is not, nor people in congress expressing outlandish religious view points that sometimes they don’t believe themselves but are branded out for shock value and for the benefit of the more vocal but conservative side of their audience. Such actions makes no new friends and they loose the fair-minded people in the middle and make the case against them from the undecided people trying to weight the issue in a fair way more squeamish of their views. 

I truly believe these crazies on the right have been of help in giving us a broader audience of more fair-minded people. The same holds true of this publicity seeking town clerk  Kim Davies in not allowing new marriage licenses to be issue. She knew that this would not stop same sex couples from getting married else where in the state and not even on her own county. She weighted greedily the way the publicity was to be vast and the money would be forthcoming for her and her cause. The money part has come through but not in vast amounts for her on the other hand the publicity certainly came the way it was device to do. 

The problem for her is that if she meant to sway opinions to her cause the opposite has happened.  I don’t think Clerk Davies is sophisticated enough to think that this would irk many fair minded people and people that know the difference between taking an oath to do a job and refusing to accomplish it the way its supposed to but the oath is taken seriously in this country. Americans and their Oaths go way back since the time of the continental Congress and George Washington. As we know on those days your word of oath was as seriously as a video of an oath taker today. Sometimes paper and ink was not available so a shake of hands or your right hand up and left on your heart or the bible was as good as a signer on a document today with a notary present and a video rolling to record the transaction.

There are a couple of polls that would shead a brighter side on what I’m talking about. Mark Joseph Stern writes the following about these two polls on Slate:

Shortly after the Supreme Court brought marriage equality to every state, the AP released a troubling poll: 49 percent of respondents believed local officials with religious objections should be exempt from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while just 47 percent thought they should be required to follow the law.

That, of course, was before the Kim Davis brouhaha. Over the last month, Davis’ refusal to issue marriage licenses—on account, she says, of her religious opposition to same-sex marriage—has dominated the news cycle. Davis appeared to be a terrible poster girl for the cause of anti-gay “religious liberty”: Even principled conservatives turned against her after she violated a federal court order and displayed brazen contempt for the rule of law. In early September, I hypothesized that Davis’ stand might be a gift for the gay rights movement, since she so insolently revealed the raw animus that lies beneath the cynically misleading “religious liberty” campaign. But others, like the Atlantic’s Emma Green, speculated that Davis might actually bolster the “religious liberty” movement by giving it a sympathetic martyr.

On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll revealed the most significant post-Davis data point yet—and the results don’t look good for Davis and her admirers. An overwhelming 74 percent of respondents believed that when a conflict arises between religious beliefs and equal treatment under the law, equality should win out. Moreover, 63 percent of respondents said that Davis should be required to issue marriage licenses despite her sincerely held religious beliefs. (That tracks an earlier Rasmussen poll, which found that 66 percent of Americans think Davis should follow the law and issue licenses.)

Notably, a majority of only two groups thought Davis should be exempted from issuing licenses: evangelical white Protestants and self-identified “strong conservatives.” That view was also more common among Republicans, less well-educated people, and lower-income Americans. Democrats, well-educated people, and higher-income Americans widely believed Davis should not defy a federal court order and refuse to do her job.

September 25, 2015

Putin Calls Elton John for Real and Russian Readers are Back



                                                                   
 Putin whispers to then president. Bush-Bush the man who saw Putin’s heart (statement from Bush) and saw he had a good heart.

On Sept. 17, 2015 we reported at this blog that all of our Russian readers had disappeared overnight. [adamfoxie.blogspot.com/2015/09/putin-closes-door-on-small-ny-blog-mr.html].
The Russian readers had become for many days the number two audience after the United States. There was no reason for this except that someone had turned off the flow somewhere. It was easy for me to assumed it had to come from President Putin’s government. Not that Putin himself would even know of us but there are always zealots in every government who feel personally offended when the head of their government is harshly criticized. President Putin wa criticized because he had brought homophobia to Russia like never before. He has picked a minority of Russian citizens and made them scape goats because of the way they are and how were they were born. People that are being abused everyday by humiliating cat calls, beatings and cannot come out as who they are, gay.

President Putin was also criticized for going into the Ukraine which he denies and the rest of the world knows it to be true. Based on that criticism I had a very educated guess of where the closure of our flow to Russia was coming from. Who would have the power to cut off an audience of readers in a nation? I asked.

It is now I happily report this situation has changed. Russian readers again are popping up as sudden as they disappeared . We could not be happier!

This incident is in the past and now we look forward hopping that even if we are no longer here the Russian people would be free to have access to a free internet.

Welcome to those Russian readers we love you and we hope you find our stories interesting wether they are about their land or New York City where this blog is published.

 радушный прием

                                                                        
 Elton John, gay singer and father

On another note from dealing from president Putin and an English gay singer who wants to see gay Russians be free.

 UPI is reporting Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned music icon Elton John Thursday to discuss gay rights in his country—this time for real.

The news comes a week after John admitted that he was the victim of a hoax after expressing that he wanted to talk to the Russian leader about his "ridiculous" attitude towards the LGBT community.

Two Russian comedians, Vladimir Krasnov and his sidekick Alexey Stolyarov had prank called the singer acting as Putin. This prompted John to celebrate the news on Instagram and caused Russian officials to deny the conversation ever took place.
Now however, the Kremlin decided it would be a good idea to get into contact with the 68-year-old veteran crooner.

"Putin spoke with Elton John," the president's spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told The New York Times on Thursday after Mr. Putin held a meeting at Russia's agro-industrial complex in Semikarakorsk. "Putin called and said: 'I know that you were pranked by the telephone guys — don't be upset with them, they're harmless, although that, without doubt, does not justify them.'"

Mr. Peskov added: "Putin said that he knows what a popular performer Elton John is, and in the future, if their schedules coincide, he will be ready to meet with him and discuss any questions that are of interest."

Gary Farrow, a spokesman for Elton John, declined to comment on the matter. (UPI)

‘F*You White Trash I’m from here’ [New York City]



                                                                   
New Yorker  holding a photo of himself and his mother in Greenwich Village (Scott Heins / Gothamist)


The man who was recently caught on video berating a couple after their stroller hit his leg has not yet watched the video of himself shouting about how he "settled" Downtown Brooklyn for other white people. "I’m not gonna watch it, I understand it’s probably ugly, and I’ll feel embarrassed about it," the man told Gothamist. “I can’t stand to watch that stuff."

The 46-year-old man, who we'll call B.A., invited us into the modest Fort Greene studio he shares with his 10-year-old pit bull and asked us to withhold his name for fear that he'll lose clients—B.A. is a self-employed personal trainer. He’s also a native New Yorker.

"I was born in St. Vincent's, I grew up on West 4th Street, I’ve been here from day one," B.A. told us.
"I have a temper, when I start seeing red it’s like I lose it, I admit to that. I lose it. I start screaming," he said of his reaction to being hit with the stroller, which he said left a nasty gash on his leg.
"The woman is talking over her shoulder to her husband, and doesn't notice," he said. "So I said a snarky thing, which the brothers say to me when I bump into them, which is 'excuse you.' We all know that's acceptable in New York. It's a little dicky, but that's what people say."
Instead of apologizing or acknowledging the faux pas, B.A. says the woman "starts screaming at me, 'Fuck you! Who do you think you are?' Then the guy starts screaming at me, 'Fuck you,' and starts coming at me with his fists like this. Now as soon as the guy comes at me with his fists, I'm telling you, if you come at somebody with your fists, be prepared that [the other person] is going to put their fists back up."

Eventually, the confrontation was diffused by a security guard, who B.A. says "deserves a medal."
"I didn’t want him to be in that situation. But nobody’s asking about golf shirt and Coke bottle glasses, why is he coming at me?"
We suggested it was possible that he was judging the man in the video the same way that the Internet is now judging him.
"You right, I don’t know his story, but I did see his pink Izod, his glasses, I know the story of the Bell Tower," B.A. replied, referring to the BellTel Lofts (on the video, the man's shirt appears to be dark blue).
"Oh you live in the Bell Tower, you’re walking around in your polo shirt, you’re pushing your stroller into me and you don’t say 'excuse me.' You must be some kind of transplanted white trash. They don’t think they are because they’ve got money, but they act like it, you know?"
Still, B.A. says he can't excuse his behavior on the video. "I agree: It’s not really fair to go around screaming ‘I’m a native New Yorker no one can do anything.’ But I’m not that person."
Yet B.A., who was quick to produce the acting credits, modeling spots, and martial arts trophies he's accrued over the years, says he frequently finds himself in these situations: chastising a "Wall Street guy" in Fort Greene Park for berating park regulars, chiding a couple laying on a blanket for not picking up their trash ("I said, 'I pick up my dog’s shit every day so you can fuck your girlfriend in this park at night.' That made sense to him!”), and lecturing a woman whose dog was killing squirrels while she stared blankly at her phone.

"My friend who’s a cop said, 'stop losing your temper, call the police every time, just let them handle it and it’s out of your hands.' And he’s right about that, the only problem is, I don’t have a cell phone, I’m the last person who doesn’t carry a cell phone, because I don’t give a fuck," B.A. says. "Calm down with that shit already. Talk to me, like people. I’m old school."
So how could B.A. have claimed to have "settled" Fort Greene when he moved there in 1997? Isn't he just as much of a "colonizer" as the man he was shouting at? Aren't we all?
"When I came down here, Myrtle Avenue here, it was abandoned. When I used to go down to the liquor store down there, the black people would all run, because they thought I was a cop! So when I tell you I’m having a fight about white privilege with this man, I’m slightly guilty because I’m moving in to gentrify a neighborhood, except I’m the first one here when nobody wants to live here."
We asked B.A. to react to a man offscreen who sarcastically shouted, "Thank you, white guy!" after he claimed to have "settled" Downtown Brooklyn.
"My street cred, especially in the black community, in this city, is huge. I grew up on the West 4th Street basketball courts. I grew up multicultured. I grew up with Stonewall, I grew up on the laps of drag queens,” he said.

B.A. explained that one becomes a native New Yorker when they feel a sense of ownership about the city.
"When you feel you have ownership of something, you cherish it and you take care of it. As soon you feel like you’re just working here or just visiting, you don’t treat it the same way. So what I have in this city is ownership. When I look at the concrete I think, oh my blood mixes with the concrete.”

CHRISTOPHER ROBBINS IN NEWS
GOTHAMIST


September 24, 2015

If The Donald were to quit, the GOP would be in Worse dirty waters



                                                     
 The only outsider about them is their out of the logical realm outsiders
Wayne Besen who is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.” wrote on the Falls Church news Press about how bad the GOP is doing with the Donald but how worse it will be doing if the two candidates below him were to come to be on top. You have pure racism, bigotry and stupidity to follow the runaway train of the Donald. As much as I always disliked this man even before his outrageous remarks about immigrants and his demands for President elect Obama to produce some other Birth Certificate besides the one the state of Hawaii had made public. I do know that below him Are even worse candidates. 

I’m dumb founded this political party of the GOP continues to have its hand on its ears and eyes and continue to offer ideas from the fifties when McCarthyism was running ramped in the GOP Congress. They have gone from a commie under every american bed to substituting the commie for gay, immigrant and scientist warning about global warming.
                                                                             -*-
The Republican establishment’s collective delusion is that if The Donald exited the presidential race, the party’s adults would reclaim the limelight. In reality, the candidates trailing him are even worse.

The week began with apoplectic GOP talking heads eviscerating Trump for allowing a yahoo at a New Hampshire rally to attack all Muslims, as well as claim that President Obama is Muslim.

However, before the full weight of the party could land on The Donald’s head, the second place candidate, Ben Carson, out-Trumped Trump.

On MSNBC’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Carson about Islam. “So do you believe Islam is consistent with the Constitution?” Todd inquired.

“No, I do not,” said Carson. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson tried to clarify his remarks on Sean Hannity’s show, but only made matters worse.

“We do not put people at the leadership of our country whose faith might interfere with them carrying out the duties of the Constitution,” implying that any Muslim that would run for President was either a radical Islamist who supports Sharia Law or a “heretic” for rejecting extremism.

While Carson’s remarks further branded the GOP with the stain of bigotry and alienated, yet another, minority, at least the somnolent surgeon confirmed that he still had a pulse.

Just a week earlier, Carson managed to insult the African American community. On Fox’s MediaBuzz Carson told host Howard Kurtz that the GOP should court neglected” black voters. Carson thought that African Americans might be ready to leave the Democrats and not “just blindly follow someone because they say do what I tell you do to.”

Carson essentially called African American Democrats black sheep who follow the flock without thinking. The truth is, the rejection of the Republican Party comes from witnessing the prolific prejudice that has defined this campaign, as well as GOP voter suppression efforts. In terms of outreach to African Americans, the hyper-religious, long-shot candidates that the GOP has fielded for president – Alan Keyes, Herman Cain, and now Carson – has backfired and, if anything, further alienated black voters from the Republican Party.

The latest flavor of the week in the “anyone but Trump” sweepstakes is Carly Fiorina. For most of the campaign Fiorina has been practically invisible. The one time she briefly emerged was for the sacrilegious praise she once showered on both Islam and Hillary Clinton.

As the CEO of Hewlett-Packard in the aftermath of 911, Fiorina expressed concern for her Muslim staff members. She made sure that Islam wasn’t distorted and put the religion in historical perspective:

“There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world. It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts…its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things…the civilization I’m talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600.”

This raised the ire of former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann who Tweeted: “Carly Fiorina delivered this speech in MPLS praising Muslims 2 weeks after 911.”

To complicate Fiorina’s connection with the modern GOP voter, Mother Jones reported that in her 2006 book, Tough Choices, Fiorina described the soothing effect of listening to Muslim prayers when she was a teen and her family lived in Ghana. (Her father was a law professor then on a teaching sabbatical at the University of Ghana).

And there is the H-bomb, as in Hillary. In 2008 Fiorina gave an interview with BuzzFeed:

“I have great admiration for her (Hillary Clinton) because I know what it takes in some small measure to do what she has done. She is obviously incredibly intelligent, focused, tough, determined, empathetic of all the tens of millions of people that she was trying to represent in her quest to become the first woman president of the United States. Her run for the presidency was historic.”

Now that Fiorina is riding high on the hog, look for the struggling swine in the next GOP debate to use this information against her.

I salivate at the prospect of Fiorina receiving the GOP nomination. Her awful record at Hewlett Packard, which led to her getting canned, ensured that she was unable to defeat a vulnerable Sen. Barbara Boxer in 2010 – losing by 10-points. There are now reports that staff she had laid off are lining up to appear in Democratic ads trashing her record at HP.

Trump, for all his flaws, is a far superior candidate to Carson and Fiorina. While the Donald may be a runaway locomotive, at least he’s not off track, like the rest of the GOP presidential wannabes.



Clerk Kim Davis Looses Another One in Trying to Stall Marriage Licenses



                                                                     


Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis has lost her latest effort to stall issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, one of a fast-growing collection of rejected appeals.

Davis, fresh out of jail for defying a federal judge, again asked the judge to postpone his mandate that she license all couples.

Davis, elected as a Democrat in rural Rowan County, sparked a fiery debate about religious freedom and the rule of law when she refused to issue any licenses after a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit against Davis on behalf of four couples, two straight and two gay. U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses, not only to those four couples but also to any other qualified to be married.

Davis ignored him, lost a string of appeals then spent five days in jail. Her deputies began issuing altered documents while she was behind bars, including to both gay couples who sued her.

Her attorneys with the Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based firm that opposes gay rights, asked the appeals court to toss Bunning's order that expanded the licensing mandate to all couples, arguing that because the couples who sued her received a license, she should not have to issue any more while the case is pending.

The appeals court denied the request last week on the legal technicality that her lawyers did not first ask the district judge for a delay, as federal court rules require. Davis' legal team redirected the appeal to Bunning, who rejected it Tuesday.

"It would essentially allow her to reinstate her 'no marriage licenses' policy during the pendency of the appeal and likely violate the constitutional right of eligible couples," the judge wrote.

Mat Staver, her attorney, called the request with the district judge "a formality" that had to be completed before asking the appeals court to consider it again.

He said they will soon file the same motion with the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The ACLU, meanwhile, has asked the judge to order Davis to reissue the licenses, which were altered to remove Davis' name, job title and county. Both Davis and the couples who sued her questioned the validity of the edited documents.

The ACLU has asked Bunning to consider penalizing Davis again if she continues to refuse to issue the licenses, including placing her office under a receivership, which would allow another person to oversee the marriage licensing process.

The judge has not yet responded to that request.

Bunning on Wednesday dismissed Davis' arguments that she is likely to suffer irreparable harm by having to issue the licenses.

“This argument is unpersuasive because Davis has created her own risk of harm by violating a valid order issued by this court," Bunning wrote, adding: "As for the public interest, the court simply notes that the public has an interest in the enforcement of valid court orders."

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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