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Agnosticsherbet's Journal
Agnosticsherbet's Journal
March 2, 2015

Law Requiring California Parents To Vaccinate Their Children Likely To Pass

Law Requiring California Parents To Vaccinate Their Children Likely To Pass
(CBS SF) — Last Thursday, a state law was introduced that, if passed, will eliminate the “personal belief” exception to California’s vaccination law.
Right now, under California law there are two ways to get out of having a child vaccinated: one is if you have a medical reason, and two is if you have a “personal belief” that prevents vaccination. The law proposed last week would leave that medical exception in place and get rid of that “personal belief” part.
The lawmaker who authored the bill is State Senator Richard Pan, who is also a doctor. He’s concerned about the outbreak of measles in California since December and the high numbers of people opting out of vaccines using the personal belief exemption.
The law as it is written so far does not have any religious exemption. And one might not be required. According to a 1944 U.S. Supreme Court case, “the right to practice religion freely does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death.” In fact, West Virginia and Mississippi do not have religious exemptions.

An important law wends its way through the California Congress. It looks like it has a good chance of passing and the religous, anti-intelectual anti-vax immunity will go away in california.

Very, very good.
March 2, 2015

House GOP Leader Endorses 'Nuclear Option' In Senate (VIDEO)

House GOP Leader Endorses 'Nuclear Option' In Senate (VIDEO)
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Sunday said that Senate Republicans should change the filibuster rules.

On NBC's "Meet the Press," host Chuck Todd asked if he would support a rules change in the Senate eliminating the filibuster for legislation.

McCarthy said it's not "nuclear" when "57 percent of the Senate voted for the Collins amendment that would take away the president's action."

"That's not nuclear, when 57 percent of the American representation says it's wrong. That's not in the Constitution. I think they should change the rule," he said.

I am not surprised, though some may welcome it, this is actually very dangerous to our Democracy. The founding fathers feared the tyranny of majority, where 50% + one voter could run roughshod over minorities. The filibuster rules when they worked as conceived, were a check on a runaway majority.

If Republicans do this then a majority can pass whatever they want, and only a president willing to wield the veto pen can hold them at bay. If we extend these rules past 2016, which I expect, and they hold the Senate, then the minority party will have no power except to complain. Should we lose the White House then there will be no check on the majority at all.
February 26, 2015

Hillary Clinton lends support to the FCC's net neutrality plan days before vote

Hillary Clinton lends support to the FCC's net neutrality plan days before vote
Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton today came out in support of the FCC's proposal to reclassify broadband as a utility — the cornerstone of its plan to put stronger net neutrality rules into effect. In a conversation today with Kara Swisher from Recode, Clinton said she agreed with classifying internet service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act but also pointed out that there was more that could be done.

"I think that for the FCC to do what they want to do — to try to create net neutrality as the norm — they have to have a hook to hang it on," Clinton said to Swisher. "So, they're hanging it on Title II." When asked whether she agreed with that "hook," Clinton replied that "it's the only one the've got." She went on to say that "I think that if there were another hook, it would come out of a modern 21st century telecom act. And that hasn't happened, and it's not likely to happen."

Regardless of Clinton's desire for a more comprehensive and modern telecommunications act that better accounts for the internet, she still said she'd vote for the FCC's current proposal. "As I understand it, it's Title II with a lot of changes in it to avoid the worst of Title II regulation," Clinton said. "It's a foot in the door ... but it's not the end of the discussion."

Specifically, Clinton wants to see changes enacted around incentivizing competition, something that's sorely lacking in the broadband market right now; more broadly, she hopes to see internet connectivity treated more as an infrastructure problem. "It's not just net neutrality standing alone, end of debate," Clinton said. "And that should be part of a really smart legislative endeavor, but I don't think people believe that could happen in the short term."

Hillary Clinton is on the correct side of this issue.
February 19, 2015

Modern Drunkard Magazine.

Standing up for the right to get falling down drunk.

I was sent this link by a friend, this article is about Carson McCullers, author of "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" and "The Ballad of the Sad Café."

Weened on beer as a child, this gangly southern belle graduated to drinking straight gin from water glasses before she left high school.

The stellar success of her first novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter convinced Carson to move to the literary capitol of New York. Attending a ferocious flurry of cocktail parties thrown in her honor, she took no small amount of pleasure in shocking the gathered intelligentsia — not with boorish behavior (she was generally quite shy), but by showing them how much booze a young lady from the South could put away. Carson possessed a prodigious capacity for liquor and reveled in sending large proud Yankees staggering home while she drank deeper into the night.

February 16, 2015

Tens of thousands of Muslims flee Christian militias in Central African Republic

Tens of thousands of Muslims flee Christian militias in Central African Republic
BANGUI, Central African Republic – Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing to neighboring countries by plane and truck as Christian militias stage brutal attacks, shattering the social fabric of this war-ravaged nation.

In towns and villages as well as here in the capital, Christian vigilantes wielding machetes have killed scores of Muslims, who are a minority here, and burned and looted their houses and mosques in recent days, according to witnesses, aid agencies and peacekeepers. Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled their homes.

The cycle of chaos is fast becoming one of the worst outbreaks of violence along Muslim-Christian fault lines in recent memory in sub-Saharan Africa, tensions that have also plagued countries such as Nigeria and Sudan.

The Conversation is dreven by mosters, ISIS, Boko Haram, Atheists, loan wolves, but we should recognize that there are other monsters comitting crimes against humanity.

What is happening in Euope, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq taks the air from the room, but there are other monsters of different faiths. A friend at facebook brought this to my attention and pointed out that it hasn't gained the attention in the same way as ISIS or even Boko Haram.

I wonder why?
February 5, 2015

A nation filled with robot pastors’: Evangelists plan to convert atheist computers to Christianity

A nation filled with robot pastors’: Evangelists plan to convert atheist computers to Christianity
hristian evangelists said this week that artificially intelligent (AI) computer brains should be converted from atheism to Christianity.

In an article published on Wednesday, Gizmodo’s Zoltan Istvan pointed out that the world was nearing a point where “autonomous, self-aware super intelligences” created by humans would be part of our culture.

And several pastors and theologians told Istvan that there was no reason that a computer could not be saved by Jesus.

“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Providence Presbyterian Church Associate Pastor Dr. Christopher Benek insisted. “If AI is autonomous, then we should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.”

Can a machine that has no sense of self be saved, other than by clicking "Save."

I want to think that this is a joke. I see no evidence of that.
February 5, 2015

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

I would take my moral lead from Labour’s 1945 Election manifesto, which seems to me an ideal blend of hope in a better future and determination to bring it about.

However, we have to deal with things now that were not dreamt of then, so I’d begin by cancelling Trident (an absurdly over-powerful weapon for a medium-sized country to wield) and putting the entire nation on a green pathway. The threat of climate change is the biggest potential danger we face, and we seem to have no idea either how important it is or how to stop doing the things that are causing it.

Then I would call a constitutional convention: a gathering of representatives from every section of the population to take a long hard look at the way we are governed, the institutions that control our lives, and the way we can control them. Our electoral system has now passed beyond a joke. Our governments are effectively appointed by the small minority of voters who live in marginal constituencies.

As an American, buried in the slurry of our own political system, I was amazed at what this man had to say. I have no idea if he has a chance of winning, but he does have some interesting, liberal / progressive ideas.

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