American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Your Lede of the Day (Tool Time)

#PutiToots | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Her plan is to penetrate us … (Detail of frame from FLCL episode 4, 'Brittle Bullet')

“U.S. intelligence has collected information that Russia is considering turning over Edward Snowden as a ‘gift’ to President Donald Trump―who has called the NSA leaker a ‘spy’ and a ‘traitor’ who deserves to be executed.”

Cynthia McFadden and William Arkin

NBC News explains:

That’s according to a senior U.S. official who has analyzed a series of highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations and who says a Snowden handover is one of various ploys to “curry favor” with Trump. A second source in the intelligence community confirms the intelligence about the Russian conversations and notes it has been gathered since the inauguration.

Snowden’s ACLU lawyer, Ben Wizner, told NBC News they are unaware of any plans that would send him back to the United States.

“Team Snowden has received no such signals and has no new reason for concern,” Wizner said.

Snowden responded to NBC’s report on Twitter and said it shows that he did not work with the Russian government.

“Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel,” Snowden said. “No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.”

We would simply note:

• “Team Snowden”.

• So this is the occasion a thin, unverifiable report from unnamed sources coming through mainstream media counts as irrefutable proof?

• No country trades away spies? But what about throwing away old tools?

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Image note: Detail of frame from FLCL.

McFadden, Cynthia and William Arkin. “Russia Considers Returning Snowden to U.S. to ‘Curry Favor’ With Trump: Official”. NBC News. 10 February 2017.

What Justice Says

VIII. Adjustment.

James D. Esseks reminded last week:

… two courts reaffirmed that religious beliefs can’t justify discrimination against lesbians and gay men. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have the same freedom to marry that straight couples do, a few opponents of marriage equality continue to try to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against us and our marriages. In both of these ACLU cases, courts have said nope, that’s not okay.

The rest is worth your time, a reasonable survey of the post-Obergefell legal landscape. No matter how many times we might tell people religious freedom does not include the power to discriminate, they just need to keep trying. Anyone running an office pool on how long it takes these Christian supremacists to get over it?

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Esseks, James D. “Another Day, Another Victory: Courts Are Weighing Religious Claims to Discriminate and Finding Them Wanting”. The Huffington Post. 13 August 2015.

Evil (Snyder Michi-Mix)

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), ca. 2015, in Associated Press photo.

God save the children of the Great Lake Beast.

The Michigan Legislature is playing a dangerous game of chicken with the children in its care — and now Gov. Rick Snyder has exacerbated the danger by signing cynical legislation into law.

On Wednesday, Republican majorities in both chambers approved a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies — including those who take taxpayer dollars to place children who are in the state’s custody — to discriminate in the practice of their work. They can deny services to families that violate the agency’s religious beliefs, including unmarried couples, same-sex couples and those who hold different religious beliefs.

The legislation is a craven attempt to cloak discrimination in faith, and it leaves the best interests of the 13,000 children in the state’s care — entirely out of the equation.

Even worse, it sends Michigan in the exact wrong direction just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court could invalidate all legislative or constitutional provisions that permit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Should that happen, this statute, along with bigoted laws in states around the country, would fall like their predecessors — Jim Crow-era laws and regulations — after landmark rulings in the 1960s.

(Detroit Free Press)

Nothing hurts.

Actually, that’s wrong.

Something hurts.

Perhaps this is why people believe in souls. Because sometimes something hurts and it is hard to explain just what.

No, I cannot tell you where it hurts.

It just does.

(more…)