Amid Criticism, Indiana’s Republicans To Revisit Religious Freedom Law – MARCH 30, 201511:16 AM ET


Republican leaders in Indiana say they will work to ensure the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, both Republicans, discuss their plans for clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news conference today at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (left) and House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, both Republicans, discuss their plans for clarifying the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act during a news conference today at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Michael Conroy/AP

Republican leaders in Indiana say they will work to ensure the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“This law does not discriminate, and it will not be allowed to do so,” Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long said at a news conference with state House Speaker Brian Bosma.

They said they would “encourage our colleagues to adopt a clarifying measure of some sort to remove this misconception about the bill.” The Associated Press says that the measure “prohibits state laws that ‘substantially burden’ a person’s ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of ‘person’ includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.”

As Indiana Public Media reports, the two Republicans said the state’s GOP governor, Mike Pence, was unclear about the law when he appeared Sunday on ABC’s This Week. (Pence spoke of an “avalanche of intolerance that has been poured on our state” but declined to say whether the law makes it legal to discriminate.)

As NPR’s Scott Neuman reported over the weekend, Pence in media interviews said he supports an effort to “clarify the intent” of the legislation while acknowledging surprise over the hostility it has sparked.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act stoked controversy almost from the moment it was passed by the state’s Republican-dominated legislature and signed by Pence on Thursday. Pushback came not only from Hoosiers and the hashtag #boycottindiana, but also from some of the country’s biggest corporate figures, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle. (Scott has a roundup of the criticism here.)

Pence and other supporters of the measure note that Indiana is not the only state with such a law on the books. But as Scott noted, “Although the law is similar to a federal one and those in 19 other statessexual orientation is not a protected class in Indiana, leaving the door open for discrimination, critics say.”

At today’s news conference, Long said the law “doesn’t discriminate, and anyone on either side of this issue suggesting otherwise is just plain flat wrong.”

Bosma added: “What it does is it sets a standard of review for a court when issues of religious freedom and other rights collide due to government action.”

Democrats want the measure repealed, but Long and Bosma said that was unlikely.

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http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/30/396361058/indiana-republicans-say-they-will-seek-to-clarify-religious-freedom-law?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=us

Open Cases: Why One-Third of Murders In America Go Unresolved – Martin Kaste MARCH 30, 2015 5:04 AM ET


If you’re murdered in America, there’s a one-in-three chance the police won’t identify your killer.

Det. Mark Williams (center), speaks with an officer in Fairfield Court in Richmond, Va. A decade ago, amid a surge in violent crime, police were identifying relatively few murder suspects. So the police department refocused its efforts to bring up its "clearance rate."

Det. Mark Williams (center), speaks with an officer in Fairfield Court in Richmond, Va. A decade ago, amid a surge in violent crime, police were identifying relatively few murder suspects. So the police department refocused its efforts to bring up its “clearance rate.” Alex Matzke for NPR

To use the FBI’s terminology, the national “clearance rate” for homicide today is 64.1 percent. Fifty years ago, it was more than 90 percent.

And that’s worse than it sounds, because “clearance” doesn’t equal conviction: it’s just the term police use to describe cases that end with an arrest, or in which a culprit is otherwise identified without the possibility of arrest — if the suspect has died, for example.

Criminologists estimate that at least 200,000 murders have gone unsolved since the 1960s, leaving family and friends to wait and wonder.

“It’s like the bogeyman,” says Delicia Turner. Her husband Anthony Glover was found murdered — along with a friend — in Boston in 2009. Police never made an arrest. She says the open case preys on her mind. “You don’t know if you’re walking next to the person, if you’ve seen the person … if the person knows you.”

Turner watches a lot of true-crime TV, hoping to see something that could be applied to her husband’s case. She calls her ideas in to the detectives in Boston, who tell her not to be “a TV cop,” she says.

Delicia Turner's husband, Anthony Glover, was found murdered in Boston in 2009. His is one of at least 200,000 unsolved murder cases in the U.S. since the 1960s.

Delicia Turner’s husband, Anthony Glover, was found murdered in Boston in 2009. His is one of at least 200,000 unsolved murder cases in the U.S. since the 1960s. Courtesy of Delicia Turner

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http://www.npr.org/2015/03/30/395069137/open-cases-why-one-third-of-murders-in-america-go-unresolved

 

 

The Struggling Majority – By Susan Milligan March 30, 2015 | 12:01 a.m. EDT`


The GOP hasn’t gotten as much out of being in charge as it would have liked. But is that about to change?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner participate in the ceremony to sign H.R.203, the "Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act." in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.

Republicans retaking the congressional majority hasn’t meant smooth sailing for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.

It was going to be their big chance – the opportunity to get things done, prove they could govern and tighten the reins on President Barack Obama. With historic majorities in Congress, Republicans were perfectly poised to rebrand themselves as the sober legislators ahead of the 2016 elections.

“Serious adults are in charge here, and we intend to make progress,” new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in January.

More than two months in, the GOP has been troubled by internal fissures, an emboldened president and what has been roundly decried as bad judgment, at best, in weighing in on sensitive foreign policy matters. The majority agenda has been thwarted in the Senate by Democrats who (after complaining about filibuster abuse when they had control) have largely stuck together in holding up GOP legislation. In the House, where the rules overwhelmingly favor the majority party, leaving the minority to merely make opposing speeches on the floor, the Democrats have exploited GOP divisions to exert astonishing influence.

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http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/03/30/the-struggling-republican-majority?int=a14709

Elizabeth Warren Meets the Ted Kennedy Myth – By TOM KEANE March 29, 2015


She might be more like the Lion of the Senate than she gets credit for.

Lead image by AP Photo.

Lead image by AP Photo.

Ted Kennedy gets a grand celebration Monday. That’s when crowds of political boldfacers, including Barack and Michelle Obama, will gather in the Dorchester section of Boston for the formal dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Memories of Teddy will be many, gauzy, heartwarming and moving, but the real buzz will be all about his successor, Elizabeth Warren: hero to progressives, nemesis of Wall Street, and a source of consternation to more mainstream pols of both the left and right—not the least of which is Hillary Clinton. “Can Elizabeth Warren be the new Ted Kennedy?” wonders Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi in a recent column. One answer is that she doesn’t have to be; after all, Ted Kennedy wasn’t always Ted Kennedy either. The second answer is that she already is.

Kennedy may have ended his 47-year career billed the “Lion of the Senate” but he didn’t start that way. He was just a 28-year-old kid when his brother was elected president, thereby leaving an empty senate seat in Massachusetts. Teddy wanted it but he was too young; the US Constitution requires senators be at least 30. That problem was easily managed. The White House successfully prevailed on Massachusetts governor Foster Furcolo to appoint a seat-warmer to the position, making sure Ted had a clear run when he was of age.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/elizabeth-warren-ted-kennedy-116492.html#ixzz3VrSVKmcT

Don’t Blame It on Depression – By Anne Skomorowsky MARCH 29 2015 7:31 PM


That’s not what made the Germanwings co-pilot murder 149 people.

Relatives stand at a monument to honor the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in front of the mountains near the crash site on March 26, 2015, in Le Vernet, France. Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Because Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz killed himself when he purposefully drove a plane carrying 149 other people into a mountain in the Alps, there has been an assumption that he suffered from “depression”—an assumption strengthened by the discovery of antidepressants in his home and reports that he had been treated in psychiatry and neurology clinics. Many patients and other interested parties are rightly concerned that Lubitz’s murderous behavior will further stigmatize the mentally ill.

It is certainly true that stigma may lead those in need to avoid treatment. When I was a psychiatrist at an HIV clinic, I was baffled by the shame associated with a visit to see me. Patients at the clinic had advanced AIDS, often contracted through IV drug use or sex work, and many had unprotected sex despite their high viral loads. Some were on parole. Many had lost custody of their children. Many lived in notorious single-room occupancy housing and used cocaine daily. But these issues, somehow, were less embarrassing than the suggestion that they be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

For my clinic patients, it was shameful to be mentally ill. But to engage in antisocial behavior as a way of life? Not so bad.

I think my patients were on to something. Bad behavior—even suicidal behavior—is not the same as depression. It is a truism in psychiatry that depression is underdiagnosed. But as a psychiatrist confronted daily with “problem” patients in the general hospital where I work, I find that depression is also overdiagnosed. Even doctors invoke “depression” to explain anything a reasonable adult wouldn’t do.

The frail, forgotten army from the Amazon – by Juliana Barbassa  March 29, 2015 5:00AM ET


Brazil finally compensates its “rubber soldiers” from World War II, who died in the tens of thousands

(From L to R): Augusto Evangelista de Moraes, João de Oliveira Botelho and José Romão Grande, all survivors of Brazil’s “rubber-soldiers” program.Giorgio Palmera / Echo Photojournalism

PORTO VELHO, Brazil — After nearly seven decades, thousands of Brazilian men recruited during World War II to go into the Amazon and extract the rubber required for everything from airplanes to gun mounts are finally being compensated for their effort.

The Brazilian government is remitting 25,000 reals (roughly $7,800) to the survivors of the “rubber-soldiers” program and their dependents throughout the month of March. But the 11,900 beneficiaries are a fraction of the more than 55,000 men and untold number of family members who participated in the program, which was partly sponsored by the U.S. government to fill a dangerous wartime rubber shortage.

The money is welcome, as the men are elderly and most are frail. But many of them say that this amount is a pittance meant to silence them and does not fulfill the promises made to them when they signed up.

“None of what they told us when we enlisted was delivered,” says José Romão Grande, 92, president of SINDSBOR, the Rubber Soldiers Union of the northern state of Rondônia. “We were used like animals and abandoned once the war was over.”

Politicians who sponsored the legislation defend the payment. It is an attempt to “balance what is fair and what is feasible,” said the amendment’s author, Congressman Arlindo Chinaglia, at a press conference. “This might seem late in coming, but is a way of honoring this segment [of the population],” he said.

The debt to Grande and other rubber soldiers has lingered since 1942, when the United States and Brazil struck a deal to avert a crisis and win the war.

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http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2015/3/brazil-remembers-its-rubber-soldiers.html

​Martin O’Malley: Presidency isn’t a “crown to be passed between two families” – By REENA FLORESCBS NEWSMarch 29, 2015, 3:53 PM


Former Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., wants a change in U.S. leadership come 2016, attacking presidential frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R) stands at the podium as former U.S. President Bill Clinton leaves the stage during the opening plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), on September 22, 2014 in New York City. JOHN MOORE, GETTY IMAGES

 

CBS News poll asks what Americans think of 2016’s potential candidates

“I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives,” O’Malley said Sunday in an ABC News interview. “Let’s be honest here, the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust that to be earned and exercised on behalf of the American people.”

The likely presidential candidate has told reporters that he would decide on a 2016 White House bid by the spring. But O’Malley’s criticisms of Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee and Bush, the current Republican frontrunner, on national television could indicate that the former Maryland governor has already made up his mind.

“I believe that there are new perspectives that are needed in order for us to solve the problems that we face as Americans,” O’Malley said. “And I believe that new perspective and new leadership is needed.”

When asked if he supported Hillary Clinton as a candidate for the White House, he said he remained undecided.

“I don’t know where she stands,” O’Malley said. “Will she represent a break with the failed policies of the past? Well, I don’t know.”