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Comment: Filming police in Texas may soon be illegal (Score 2, Informative) 489

by MillionthMonkey (#49441279) Attached to: The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record"
Speaking of Texas, a bill has just been introduced there (HB 2918) that prohibits filming the police within a radius of 25 feet, unless the person filming is a member of the "news media"- defined as an employee of 1) a newspaper that publishes at least once a week, 2) a magazine that publishes on a regular interval, or 3) a TV or radio station that is licensed by the FCC. Filming the incident yourself and forwarding the video to a newspaper, magazine, or TV station would make you guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a 180 day jail term and a $2000 fine.

Comment: Re:Curiously (Score 4, Insightful) 49

The government isn't simply "too big" or "too little", as if it's either one or the other. Some parts of the government have atrophied while others have expanded and become tumorous. Dealing with health care and commerce is usually a government's job anyway, unless you want to live in Somalia.

Comment: Re:Wrong profession (Score 1) 201

But, if a teacher isn't teaching and improving their students, they should be fired.

They *are* teaching and improving the students. Just not as well as ones in higher percentiles. That doesn't mean they should be fired. You can't just keep firing people and gutting public schools for being below average. Just teach the kids, and stop concentrating on smoking out bad teachers and shutting schools down.

Comment: Re: Saudi Arabia, etc. (Score 1) 653

Well, the most militant ones seem to be the most surprising- they seem to honestly think they're straight as they scream and scream about homosexuality (a topic I don't really obsess about that much, since I'm not gay). Then once in a while you hear about them getting caught doing things like soliciting undercover cops for sex. Even more amazingly, they'll view their action as a mere sin- they pray to God, get forgiveness, and then carry on as if they haven't revealed anything about themselves- as if any of us might have goofed up and done that. Maybe they think that it's the sort of thing that we're all tempted to do, but that we refrain from because of our morality. But if you're *actually* straight, hanging out with the opposite sex doesn't involve forcing moral restraint on yourself at all- it's a visceral response. If I saw two guys having sex, I might want to vomit, but I also wouldn't *judge* them for it, because I don't think they ever chose to be gay, and I wouldn't see their behavior as indicative of some sort of moral failing. And I'm not afraid of being in their presence and getting "recruited". People who think gays can be recruited, and bitch about gay people's "chosen behavior", must be imagining that they feel tempted to make the same choice- but that all of us feel those temptations, whether gay or straight.

Comment: Unintended consequences (Score 1) 653

There is not a blanket refusal of services to "Christians," "Atheists" or what ever other classification we can come up with. What is being discusses is a very narrow good/service to something that some people find distasteful, so they would prefer not to take part in one.

That's what's being discussed, as if this were a narrow law for protecting religious cake-bakers. Maybe that's what they have in mind when they write this stuff. But it also will protect doctors who refuse to see adopted children of gay couples (this has already happened in Michigan thanks to the federal RFRA). The law they passed in Indiana goes further than the RFRA and other religious freedom laws across the country, which prohibit intrusions on religious freedom by the government. This one extends that policy to include not only to protection from government, but similar "intrusions on religious freedom" by private parties., which necessitates the removal of the "anti-discrimination" window dressing that the prior religious freedom laws have. Before Indiana passed the law, it was sent a letter by 30 law professors, pointing out the likely consequences:

The proposed law seeks to override this reasoned balance among rights by bluntly and categorically granting religious liberty rights a special status. In so doing, the proposed law jeopardizes parallel compelling state interests such as public health and safety, equality, and other fundamental liberties. What is more, without language that prohibits the shifting of the costs of religious liberty rights secured under the state RFRA to third party rights-holders that do not share the religious beliefs of the claimants, the proposed RFRA risks exposing the state to valid claims that it has violated Article 1, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution, a provision that prohibits the law from preferring religious over non-religious policies and practices. Further, adopting a measure such as the proposed RFRAs, one that creates a legal mechanism by which the costs of religious liberty may be shifted to third parties, raises serious Establishment Clause concerns under the federal Constitution insofar as it risks governmental endorsement or support of religion, and can be reasonably read as the state advancing religious interests. The use of state power in the services of religion or religious interests clearly runs afoul of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment and of Article 1 of the Indiana Constitution.

In our expert opinion, the clear evidence suggests otherwise and unmistakably demonstrates that the broad language of the proposed state RFRA will more likely create confusion, conflict, and a wave of litigation that will threaten the clarity of religious liberty rights in Indiana while undermining the stateâ(TM)s ability to enforce other compelling interests. This confusion and conflict will increasingly take the form of private actors, such as employers, landlords, small business owners, or corporations, taking the law into their own hands and acting in ways that violate generally applicable laws on the grounds that they have a religious justification for doing so. Members of the public will then be asked to bear the cost of their employer's, their landlord's, their local shopkeeper's, or a police officer's private religious beliefs. As we have learned on the federal level, RFRAs do not "open a door" to conversation, but rather invite new conflict that takes the form of litigation. This collision of public rights and individual religious beliefs will produce a flood of litigation, whereby Indiana courts will be asked to rebalance what has been a workable and respectful harmony of rights and responsibilities in a pluralistic society.

They also pointed out the wave of litigation that has already followed the federal version of the RTFA:

As of mid-February, 2015, 100 lawsuits have been initiated under the federal RFRA challenging terms of the Affordable Care Act. Similarly, scores of cases have been filed in which employers have sought an exemption from sex or sexual orientation based discrimination protections; business owners have sought to justify refusals of service to members of the public on the grounds that doing so would violate their religious beliefs; employers have terminated employees because the employeeâ(TM)s private conduct offends the employerâ(TM)s religious beliefs; and licensed medical providers have refused to treat some patients, in violation of professional standards, because such treatment would violate their religious beliefs.

After the Indiana law was passed, the "First Church of Cannabis" immediately filed paperwork and successfully gained state approval as an official religion- theoretically protecting its "religious sacraments" [*cough cough*]. That's surely something the authors of the law weren't thinking about, but cake-bakers across Indiana will stand to benefit yet again.

Comment: Re:Wrong profession (Score 4, Insightful) 201

By inflating their grades, the students were denied the education they deserved, many of which were special needs students.

This would have been true 15 years ago, before we decided to go test crazy in an effort to identify and defund the schools that are wasting taxpayer money simply by being below average. That created a perverse incentive. Nowadays, when they don't help the kids unwittingly cheat, teachers will get laid off or not replaced, funds get diverted to charter schools, and class sizes eventually balloon to more kids than can fit in the room. The fact that we're now charging teachers with "racketeering" for merely trying to keep the schools funded (which wasn't a concern when I was growing up) shows how drastically we've destroyed the country's 170-year-old public education system in just a few years.

Comment: Re:Please ready Hobby Lobby before commenting (Score 1) 1168

They don't (and shouldn't) have the "right" to have Hobby Lobby buy them contraception.

Their employer doesn't "buy them contraception", it just buys them health insurance. And at that point, they can start minding their own business about their employee's personal lives. Why should details about your health care still be under the influence of your employer's religion? Your employer has no business deciding if you shouldn't get insurance coverage for a circumcision.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson