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President Obama: “It’s never too late to say thank you”

On Tuesday, President Obama presented Medals of Honor, posthumously, to two soldiers from World War I , Private Henry Johnson, of Albany, New York, an African-American, and Sergeant William Shemin, of Bayonne, New Jersey, a Jewish man.

We are a nation — a people — who remember our heroes. We take seriously our responsibility to only send them when war is necessary. We strive to care for them and their families when they come home. We never forget their sacrifice. And we believe that it’s never too late to say thank you. That’s why we’re here this morning.

Today, America honors two of her sons who served in World War I, nearly a century ago. These two soldiers were roughly the same age, dropped into the battlefields of France at roughly the same time. They both risked their own lives to save the lives of others. They both left us decades ago, before we could give them the full recognition that they deserved.

Our country did not do a great job with the “caring for them and their families when they come home” part when it came to Private Henry Johnson:

Henry was one of the first Americans to receive France’s highest award for valor. But his own nation didn’t award him anything –- not even the Purple Heart, though he had been wounded 21 times. Nothing for his bravery, though he had saved a fellow solder at great risk to himself. His injuries left him crippled. He couldn’t find work. His marriage fell apart. And in his early 30s, he passed away.

Now, America can’t change what happened to Henry Johnson. We can’t change what happened to too many soldiers like him, who went uncelebrated because our nation judged them by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. But we can do our best to make it right. In 1996, President Clinton awarded Henry Johnson a Purple Heart. And today, 97 years after his extraordinary acts of courage and selflessness, I’m proud to award him the Medal of Honor.

Full transcript below.

SCOTUS Watch – Monday, June 1st

It’s June! Time for legal geeks to look to the Supreme Court for rulings on the cases argued this session before the court adjourns on June 30th for the summer. The calendar calls for orders and decisions to be released every Monday at 10:00am but history has shown that additional “decision days” are often added as the month unfolds.

As always, the Moose News Network will cover the SCOTUS events with the help of SCOTUSblog and Twitter.


All eyes turn to the court

UPDATE

Four cases decided, two that we were tracking:
– EEOC v Abercrombie & Fitch: ruled 8 to 1 that the job applicant was discriminated against for her religion because the employer would not make an accommodation for her religious headgear in their “no head gear” policy. Win for EEOC.

– Elonis v US: ruled 7-2 that “reasonable person would think it was a threat” was not enough, that the court has to show that the defendant meant it as a threat. Remanded.

The Supreme Court will be in session this morning for orders and opinions starting at 10:00am Eastern. SCOTUSblog will liveblog at this link starting at 9:30am Eastern.

Included in the list of cases heard in the current term but not yet decided are these:
DECIDED: The Facebook threat case, Elonis v. U.S.
– The marriage equality cases, listed under Obergefell v. Hodges
– The Affordable Care Act state exchange case, King v Burwell
– The “can citizens redistrict?” case, Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
– A death penalty case related to the drugs used, Glossip v Gross
– Some other First Amendment cases:
    – The Confederate license plate case, Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
    – A signage case Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona
    – DECIDED: A religious liberty case Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) vs. Abercrombie & Fitch
– An assault on the Fair Housing Act, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
– Three suits against the EPA over its regulation of utilities and “failure” to consider costs, listed as Michigan vs. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
– A 4th Amendment case involving hotel guest registries, The City of Los Angeles vs. Patel

A full list of pending cases (with links) is below the fold.

Good Government: The EPA Protects Our Drinking Water

Clean water rules released on Wednesday will give the EPA more power to protect our drinking water:

The Waters of the United States rule, developed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, offers protection to two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that, until now, were not clearly designated under the Clean Water Act. The rule clarifies what tributaries and wetlands are part of the overall water system and will decrease confusion and expense, the EPA and Army Corps said Wednesday.

“For the water in the rivers and lakes in our communities that flow to our drinking water to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them need to be clean too,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Protecting our water sources is a critical component of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, sea level rise, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures – which is why EPA and the Army have finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect these important waters, so we can strengthen our economy and provide certainty to American businesses.”

Weekly Address: President Obama – Honoring Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country.

The President will spend the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Afghanistan at Arlington Cemetery, remembering the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in that conflict, as well as all of our fallen soldiers. The President asked that all Americans spend Monday honoring the memory and sacrifice of those heroes, and remain committed to the cause of freedom and the country for which they fought.

Rhododendron Time

2014-05-19 Garden St.

 

Spring time is Rhododendron time around the world. These prolific bloomers are native to Asia, North America, Australia, and Europe. They are members of the Genus Rhododendron and the Family of Ericaceae (Heaths). The name is derived from ancient Greek (rhódon “rose” or “red“) and déndron “tree”). There are some 800 to 1,000 species and 28,000 cultivars listed by the Royal Horticultural Society. Azaleas are a subgenera of Rhododendron.

President Obama: “Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security”

In an address to Coast Guard graduates, President Obama on Wednesday made his strongest statements yet about the impact of climate change not only on our ability to survive as a species but on the threat it poses to national security:

“I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” he said during the Coast Guard Academy’s graduation ceremony.

Speaking to cadets, who he said were already battling climate change, Obama said, “This is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune.” …

The Pentagon has called climate change “a threat multiplier,” making conflicts more difficult to confront.

Obama said Wednesday that this threat multiplier is not just about the future. The burdens of climate change, he said, are already felt by the U.S. national security apparatus.

He said that in Nigeria and Syria the effects of climate change have given radical groups space to capitalize on existing instability.

The President’s address is below the fold …

Restavek – “One who stays with” is the word for a child slave in Haiti.

 

Ignoring Haiti and its problems is par for the course in the United States, even when the U.S. has played a role in creating them. There was a flurry of concern around the time of the January 2010 earthquake, with monies raised by a variety of charities…some legit and some suspect, but Haiti news fell out of the headlines, and for the most part is ignored. Before the earthquake there were a host of problems and some have worsened since then. Such is the case of the “restaveks“, nearly 300,000 children who work in a state of indentured servitude which has been deemed modern day slavery by international rights organizations.

 

Restavek is a form of modern-day slavery that persists in Haiti, affecting one in every 15 children. Typically born into poor rural families, restavek children are often given to relatives or strangers. In their new homes, they become domestic slaves, performing menial tasks for no pay.