Skeptikai Notices (October 6) – Not-so-United States of America

The last few weeks have been considerably disconcerting from the United State of America. They may as well start calling it the States of America, because the political climate in the country seems to be polarizing that “unity” is now practically a foreign word. The excerpts that follow are from stories that were in the news over the last few weeks; stories that may be as shocking as they are dumbfounding. But then again, this is America we’re talking about – the land of the free and the home of the brave. After all, it takes a brave man to yell at people from a street corner. And he’ll be damned if you take away his right to do so.

 

Pointless Hatred

New Orleans Pastor Sues the City for His Right to Shout Gay Slurs on Bourbon Street

Pastor Paul Gros filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday claiming that a New Orleans city ordinance making it a crime to “loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise” has infringed upon his and other religiously aggressive individuals’ right to make hate screeds in front of large groups of shirtless men.

Arizona immigration: ‘Show me your papers’ enforcement to begin

“The motivating factor of this law was discriminatory in its intent,” Linton Joaquin, a lawyer for the  National Immigration Law Center, told The Times. “It’s clear that this is unconstitutional.”

STUDY: Anti-Abortion Legislation May Inspire Anti-Abortion Harassment

A new study examines the connection between the states with the most restrictive anti-choice laws and the states with the most aggressive levels of harassment against abortion doctors, providers, and clinics. Although the researchers couldn’t point to causation, they did find an association between more restrictive state-level abortion legislation and increased harassment of abortion providers.

Oklahoma judge bars trans people from changing names:

‘To grant a name change in this case would be to assist that which is fraudulent,’ [the honourable judge] Graves added.

‘It is notable Genesis 1:27-28 states: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.”

‘The DNA code shows God meant for them to stay male and female.’

Obama chair lynchings in Texas and Virginia

Two people may have single-handedly set back civil liberties by nearly 100 years by hanging Obama effigies in their yards. The chairs, on display at two Centreville, Va., and Austin, Texas, homes, are a reference to Clint Eastwood’s chair speech, and conjure memories of mob lynchings once common in the South. [. . .]

Burnt Orange reports that when one woman complained to the Texas homeowner, he said, “I don’t really give a damn whether it disturbs you or not. You can take [your concerns] and go straight to hell and take Obama with you. I don’t give a shit. If you don’t like it, don’t come down my street.” The man has since added an American flag to the chair.

UPDATE: KEYE TV in Austin has uploaded a reluctant interview with the Texas home owner, who took down the chair and moved it because, “Does anybody else that’s got a chair sitting out receiving the same harassment that you guys are giving?”

Study suggests that prejudice among potential employers prevents homeless from getting work

A report suggests that “perceived prejudice among potential employers” is one of the main reasons why long-term homeless people are unable to get work.

In the survey Cork Simon Community also found other significant barriers to the homeless finding work such as being out of work for a long time, having poor mental and physical health, and low self confidence, are significant.

 

Totally unfortunate

Teen hospitalized with dehydration after 4-day Xbox marathon

 Jesse Rawlins tells the NBC affiliate in Columbus that her son, Tyler Rigsby, emerged from his bedroom Tuesday morning after a marathon round of game-playing, and collapsed three times.

She says he became very pale and his lips turned blue.

“I was very scared. I thought he was going to die,” she tells WCMH. “He just fell over three times.”

Good Samaritans stop the crime, but mistake victim as mugger

Two motorists who rushed to defend a woman from an apparent mugging in Plainfield, N.J., found out too late that the woman was the assailant and the man was the victim.

By restraining the man, the pair inadvertently let the female mugger get away early, The Courier News of Bridgewater reports.

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