January 22, 2013
Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that women had a constitutional right to an abortion. This one sweeping decision transformed abortion from what was often a secret, illicit and dangerous act, sometimes crudely self-inflicted, into a generally legal and safe procedure. But it also turned abortion, always an emotional issue, into one of society's most divisive. Unlike many landmark Supreme Court cases that have become accepted parts of our culture - such as Brown vs. Board of Education, which declared school segregation unconstitutional, or Loving vs. Virginia, which overturned state bans on interracial marriage - Roe did not lead to a clear national consensus on abortion.
January 11, 2013
Re "Survival 101," Jan. 9 What madness is this? Like a "Twilight Zone" story, we fear a handful of people who threaten our children and families with death just because of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. Even conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said that reasonable gun regulations are constitutional. The death rate from homicides in the United States in 2011 was 4.7 people per 100,000 residents, according to the FBI. That same number is less than two in Canada, and in 2008, Britain had fewer than 40 homicides committed with firearms.
January 11, 2013 |
"Happiness is a warm gun," wrote John Lennon, 12 years before being gunned down in front of his New York apartment building by a madman armed with a .38 special. Lennon, of course, was being ironic, but there's no trace of irony being exhibited by another group of Americans in love with the power, beauty and mystique of their powder-heated death tools: The sponsors of Gun Appreciation Day on Jan. 19. Event chairman Larry Ward warmed up the blogosphere Friday morning when, during an appearance on CNN , he proclaimed that if all African Americans had been included under the 2nd Amendment from the beginning, it might have meant the end of slavery.
January 11, 2013 |
Japan's new prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has announced plans to revise his country's famous pacifist constitutional provision, Article 9, which renounces "war as a sovereign right of the nation. " On the surface, Abe's proposal may seem merely symbolic, suggesting that he simply wants to add an explicit recognition of the country's right to military self- defense. Since Japan has long maintained "self-defense" forces, the predictable expressions of concern in foreign capitals may seem overblown.
January 5, 2013 |
CARACAS, Venezuela - The nerves of Venezuelans are sure to be tested in the coming week as the country seeks answers not only to the mystery of President Hugo Chavez's medical condition and prognosis but also to the debate over constitutional requirements should he be unable to take the oath of office Thursday to start a fourth term. On Saturday, Chavez confidant and former army comrade Diosdado Cabello was reelected as National Assembly president, a key position that would make him the leader in any process to call a new election to replace Chavez if the fiery socialist dies or is deemed "permanently incapacitated.
January 2, 2013 |
The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago this week, has often been criticized by blacks, by radicals and also by mainstream historians who doubt its significance as a turning point in the Civil War and in American history. The skeptics range from conservatives in Lincoln's time, to Howard Zinn and Gore Vidal more recently, and include Richard Hofstadter, who wrote in his classic 1948 book "The American Political Tradition" that the Emancipation Proclamation "had all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading.
December 23, 2012 |
CAIRO - Egypt's opposition on Sunday charged that fraud was committed during a referendum on the nation's Islamist-backed constitution, which preliminary results indicated had been approved by voters. The dispute augured more ill will and public confrontation between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and their opponents. The constitution, which went before voters Saturday in a second and final round of balloting, was approved by 64%, according to an initial count, the state news agency reported.
December 22, 2012 |
CAIRO - President Mohamed Morsi apparently secured a victory at the polls Saturday for a new Egyptian constitution, locking the country into a bitter contest between his ascendant Islamist camp and his secular opponents. Morsi managed to push the controversial document through after a political crisis brought on by his declaration a month ago giving himself wide-ranging emergency powers. Although Morsi rolled back much of that decree - amid massive protests and street clashes - he insisted on bringing the new constitution to a referendum.
December 22, 2012 |
CAIRO -- Egyptians cast ballots Saturday in the final phase of their voting on a controversial constitution draft that has sown dissension between the country's Islamist and secular political camps. Some voters embraced the likely constitution as a chance for stability, while others warned darkly of a power grab by President Mohammed Morsi and his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood. In preliminary results from last weekend's first round, 56% of voters supported the new constitution.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 21, 2012 |
A federal appeals court Friday put a hold on a new state law intended to prevent therapists from trying to change a minor's sexual orientation, dealing a setback to gay rights groups. A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to block the law, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, pending a decision on its constitutionality. "This is a very good sign for our clients," said Mathew Staver, found of Liberty Counsel, a religious liberties group that sued to block the law, arguing that it violates free speech rights.