The Politics of Animal Cruelty

  by Walter Brasch   Pennsylvanians can still butcher, braise, and broil their pet cats and dogs because a murky mixture of politics has left a critical bill on the table in the state senate. Residents may also continue to use cats, dogs, and other animals as targets for what some erroneously call “sporting events.” Although there are no documented cases of cats and dogs being thrown into the air at these shoots, there is a long history in Pennsylvania of pigeon shoots. Pennsylvania is the only state where such shoots occur legally. The remaining shoots are in the southeastern part of the state, in Berks and Bucks counties near Philadelphia. However, this past week, an undercover investigator for SHARK, … Continue reading

NY Times Editorial: Federal Government Should Repeal Ban on Pot

In an editorial in today’s NY Times, the editorial board called on the federal government to repeal the ban on pot, citing that in the “more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana,” the ban has inflicted “great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.” The NY Times editorial board noted that they reached the conclusion that the federal government should repeal the ban, “after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.” The editorial states, “There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use.” But neither are there such answers about … Continue reading

Federal Judge in California Rules State’s Death Penalty is Unconstitutional

I’ve never been a fan of the death penalty. Needless to say, today’s ruling by a federal judge in Orange County, California, that the death penalty is unconstitutional, comes as good news in my opinion. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said today that “the state’s death penalty has created long delays and uncertainty for inmates, most of whom will never be executed.” He noted that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed. “For the rest, the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution,” Carney wrote. An interesting aside on … Continue reading

Governor Patrick Offers to Help Children Crossing South Western Border

Unlike governors in some states who are turning their backs on the child refugee crisis in the south west, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stepped up today and said he wanted to help the child refugees that have been crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico.  In comments to a reporter today, Patrick recalled a situation during the Holocaust when the U.S. turned away a ship full of Jewish children: “My inclination is to remember what happened when a ship full of Jewish children tried to come to the United States in 1939 and the United States turned them away, and many of them went to their deaths in Nazi concentration camps,” Patrick said when a reporter asked how he … Continue reading

Supremes Uphold Nuns Habits

Per the Supremes… Nuns won’t have to pay for libidinous employee’s bad habits. The Supreme Court extended an injunction in place since Dec. 31 preventing several religious nonprofit organizations from needing to fill out paperwork in order to be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. In order to receive the benefits of the injunction, the Friday court order detailed, however, that applicants must “inform the Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services.” With so many health reasons connected to why so many women take birth control, I find this so disheartening:  

Springsteen and Fallon Mock Christie as He Struggles to Distance Himself from Scandal

On Tuesday, Bruce Springsteen released “High Hopes,” his 18th studio album. Springsteen also took to the stage on “Late Night” with Jimmy Fallon on Tuesday to mock New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the wake of Christie’s BridgeGate Scandal: Christie’s intial explanation, “that it was a move to punish a Democratic mayor who had refused to endorse Christie’s reelection bid,” is being met with a lot of skepticism as “two special legislative committees” begin investigations into the scandal on Thursday. The panels will have subpoena power, which means that in the coming weeks and months, a parade of former and current Christie administration officials — as well as many of the governor’s closest political associates — will be called to testify. … Continue reading

The New Yorker Hits Christie with Hard Cover

Governor Christie is getting hit on all sides, including Barry Blitt’s hard hitting political cartoon on the cover of the new issue of the New Yorker: “I’m hoping this cartoon diverts a lot of traffic to my Web site,” Barry Blitt says about “Playing in Traffic,” the image of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that he penned for next week’s cover. Read the latest from the NY Times on the Christie scandal: Bridge Scandal Documents Indicate Effort to Hide Political Motive: Officials loyal to Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey went to elaborate means to make it appear that the September closing of lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., was part of a traffic study, even though … Continue reading