Friday, 4 September 2015

Plain talking and good sense from today's Sarasota Herald-Tribune: "Religious beliefs can't determine civil duties".

Editorial: Kentucky clerk must obey law

Published: Friday, September 4, 2015 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 3, 2015 at 7:18 p.m.

After a federal judge ordered a Kentucky county clerk jailed Thursday for failing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, Rand Paul, a Republican presidential candidate and senator from Kentucky, said it was “absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties.”
Sen. Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born senator from Texas, and other candidates took the same tact — accusing the judge of exercising “tyranny.”
Paul and the others putting forth these arguments have it wrong: The clerk, Kim Davis, was jailed not for her religious beliefs, but for failing to follow Kentucky law and defying a court order.
The distinction is vital.
In this case, Davis is the tyrant. She is the government official unrestrained by law or the Constitution. Davis is the one asserting that she, an elected official, can unilaterally refuse to abide by the law.
What’s more, Davis had options to being jailed.
She could have taken a principled stance and resigned her position as clerk, citing the conflict between her religious view of the definition of marriage and the execution of her civil duties.
She could have allowed her deputy clerks to issue the licenses. The presiding judge offered on Thursday to free Davis if she would agree to allow one of her six deputies to issue licenses to qualified gay couples. Five of those deputies agreed to do so; the only one who refused was Davis’ son. (Apparently there are no anti-nepotism laws that apply to county clerks in Kentucky.)
But Davis refused the judge’s compromise.
That offer from the judge underscores an important point: The jailing of Davis was not the result of an impulsive decision by a temperamental activist jurist. Thanks to the Constitution, Davis has been afforded due process and more.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, Kentucky Gov. Steven L. Beshear told county clerks to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples.
Davis, the elected clerk of Rowan County, refused. She sued in federal court, contending that she should be excused from implementing the Kentucky statute requiring county clerks to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples — including gays.
District Judge David Bunning, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, ruled against Davis. So did the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bunning granted a stay, putting his order in temporary abeyance, but it expired. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling. Judge Bunning then gave Davis at least two chances to avoid incarceration for contempt of court.
We understand that the nation’s laws, court rulings and public opinion on gay marriage have changed relatively quickly. We recognize that many Americans, like Davis, oppose the civil approval of gay marriage on religious grounds.
But Davis is a civil servant. She took an oath to uphold the law and the Constitution.
During the Civil Rights movement, legions of Americans, most of them black, were jailed and mistreated for refusing to follow Jim Crow laws. They paid a high price for their civil disobedience.
But there’s an important difference between those protests and Davis’ actions.
Unlike the laws that discriminated against black Americans, the law Davis refuses to accept doesn’t deny civil rights or equal protection under the Constitution; the gay-marriage law expands those rights.
Davis’ First Amendment right to free speech remains intact. The clerk is free to exercise her religious beliefs, but she may not establish religious-based tests to determine who receives marriage licenses.
The law and constitutional principles at stake are clear, and Davis has been held accountable for violating them.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

I posted incorrect information.

"When life gives you lemons you cannot always make lemonade"  

was the title of a Blog article I wrote last week about the apparent demise of my Veterinarian.  My posting was based on a conversation I had with a person who had sub-contracted for the good animal Doctor.

It transpires that her information was not accurate. 

I regret that I reported on what she said without double-checking, or tracing my sources.

In a 'phone message I received today from the Veterinarian's wife, I learned that his building has indeed been sold,  (to the Humane Society), but  he will shortly re-open his practice in another building.


As one who frequently urges others to be careful about what they post, and  often exhorts them to check with,   lest what they post turns out to be an urban legend  -  (there are a million and one false stories in cyberspace!)  -  I am very sorry that I posted a false or misleading report about my Vet.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The road to hell, and a pathway to "heaven".

Some of you may remember my references to Randie E, the wonderful Swedish born woman I used to  encounter in my morning walks..

I live at Glen Oaks Ridge, and Randie lived at the Glen Oaks Garden Condominiums.  

Our serendipitous meetings were on the walkway around  the pond at Glen Oaks Manor.

I was drawn to her because she would "take time to smell the roses": that is that she would stop walking, and take a long pause to enjoy a tree in bloom, or an Osprey, Hawk,  or and Eagle high above.

She was never in a hurry.  Her walks were graceful and gracious times during which she fed her soul by a deep and careful appreciation of the natural world.

I visited her  a couple of times at her home, there to enjoy good coffee and fine pastries, with
profound conversation.

Came the time that Randie moved from her Condo to a Retirement Community, situated no more than two mies from my home.

I would pass this place at least twice a week, always with the intention to stop by and visit Randie.

But "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", and I never got to visit Randie.

I was careless, but "heaven" had other things in mind.

So it was that when I stopped by my local supermarket this afternoon, to pick up various bits and bobs, lo and behold, there was Randie with her loving gentleman friend,

We indulged in a "sniff-sniff, teary eyed" reunion.

Turns out that Randie has moved from the nearby Retirement Community to an Assisted Living facility some eight miles away.

But her loving gentleman friend is taking such good  care of her, to the extent that he had driven her to the supermarket which she knows well, even as they drove past three other markets in the same chain.

This is the fragile, serendipitous,  and elusive "pathway to heaven" via which Randie and I met again today,

Tehran not Yalta

It was at the Tehran meeting of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin (1943)  that FDR made fun of Churchill, not at Yalta as I stated yesterday.

The account of this is to be found on page 304  of "Citizens of London- the Americans who stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour"  by Lynne Olson, Random House 2010.

Olson's source is the book she wrote with Stanley Cloud "A question of honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II" (Alfred A. Knopf - 2003) (which I am now reading  jmp)