Category Archives: Obama

Court rules that Florida doctors can ask patients about guns and gun safety

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Circuit Court Judge Adalberto Jordan

Guns, what guns?

From Fox News: A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Florida doctors can talk to patients about gun safety, declaring a law aimed at restricting such discussions a violation of the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law does not trespass on patients’ Second Amendment rights to own guns and noted a patient who doesn’t want to be questioned about that can easily find another doctor.

“The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” wrote Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan (appointed by Obama and born in Cuba) in one of two majority opinions covering 90 pages. “There is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients.”

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a finalist in President Donald Trump’s search for a Supreme Court nominee, said in a separate concurring opinion that the First Amendment must protect all points of view.

“The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it,” he wrote. “The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority.”

The law was passed in 2011 and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott with strong support from the National Rifle Association. It was the only one of its kind in the nation, although similar laws have been considered in other states.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted it was necessary because doctors were overstepping their bounds and pushing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

The law was challenged almost immediately by thousands of physicians, medical organizations and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of free speech in what became known as the “Docs v. Glocks” case. A legal battle has raged in the courts since then, with several conflicting opinions issued.

“We are thrilled that the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

The 11th Circuit noted that Florida lawmakers appeared to base the law on “six anecdotes” about physicians’ discussions of guns in their examination rooms and little other concrete evidence that there is an actual problem. And doctors who violated the law could face professional discipline, a fine or possibly loss of their medical licenses.

“There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients’ firearms or otherwise infringed on patients’ Second Amendment rights,” Jordan wrote for the court.

The NRA and Florida attorneys had argued that under the law doctors could ask about firearms if the questions were relevant to a patient’s health or safety, or someone else’s safety, and that the law was aimed at eliminating harassment of gun owners. But the 11th Circuit said there was no evidence of harassment or improper disclosure of gun ownership in health records, as law supporters also claimed.

“There is nothing in the record suggesting that patients who are bothered or offended by such questions are psychologically unable to choose another medical provider, just as they are permitted to do if their doctor asks too many questions about private matters like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, or drug use,” the court ruled.

The ruling did determine that some parts of the law could remain on the books, such as provisions allowing patients to decline to answer questions about guns and prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for people who lawfully own guns.

The case will return to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami for a ruling that follows the 11th Circuit’s direction. The case could, however, also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

DCG

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680 Cubans returned home since end of ‘wet foot, dry foot’

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Via Fox News: About 680 Cubans have been returned to the island from various countries since then-President Barack Obama ended a longstanding immigration policy that allowed any Cuban who made it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident, state television reported Friday.

Cuba’s government had long sought the repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which it said encouraged Cubans to risk dangerous voyages and drained the country of professionals. The Jan. 12 decision by Washington to end it followed months of negotiations focused in part on getting Havana to agree to take back people who had arrived in the U.S.

Cuban state television said late Friday that the returnees came from countries including the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas, and were sent back to the island between Jan. 12 and Feb. 17. It did not break down which countries the 680 were sent back from.

The report said the final two returnees arrived from the United States on Friday “on the first charter flight especially destined for an operation of this type.”

Florida’s El Nuevo Herald newspaper reported that the two women were deemed “inadmissible” for entry to the United States and placed on a morning flight to Havana.

Wilfredo Allen, an attorney for one of the women, says they had arrived at Miami International Airport with European passports. The women requested asylum and were detained.

The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy was Obama’s final move before leaving office in the rapprochement with the communist-run country that he and Cuban President Castro began in December 2014. The surprise decision left hundreds of Cubans stranded in transit in South and Central America.

Before he assumed the presidency on Jan. 20, Donald Trump criticized the detente between the U.S. and Cuba, tweeting that he might “terminate” it.

DCG

Humana to quit Obamacare exchanges in 2018, providing fuel for Trump’s ‘repeal’ efforts

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From Yahoo:  While Republicans continue to grapple with plans to repeal and replace Obamacare and stabilize health insurance rates, Humana (HUM) is the first major insurer to say it is dropping out of the individual market for 2018.

“Based on our initial analysis of data associated with the company’s health-care exchange membership following the 2017 open enrollment period, we continue to see further signs of an unbalanced risk pool,” said Humana CEO Bruce Broussard, on a conference call with analysts Tuesday. “Therefore, the company has decided that it cannot continue to offer this coverage for 2018.”

In the wake of the news, President Donald Trump tweeted that the insurer’s decision was another example of the failure of the Affordable Care Act, and he reiterated his plan to “repeal, replace & save healthcare for ALL Americans.”

The health insurer made the announcement with its earnings update, following the mutual termination of its $34 billion merger agreement with Aetna (AET) earlier in the day. The two insurers agreed to part ways , after a federal court judge blocked the deal on antitrust grounds.

Humana now expects to earn $10.80 to $11.00 per share for 2017, excluding anticipated losses on its exchange business.

Humana cut back its Affordable Care Act exchange participation to 11 states last July, when the Department Of Justice sued to block its deal with Aetna. The insurer said that despite efforts to mitigate losses on its exchange plans in 2017 through narrower networks and selective market participation, it is seeing early signs of high pharmacy utilization among its new members.

Right now, the insurer estimated that it will lose a modest $45 million on ACA exchange plans, but it cautioned that this is an early estimate and “a number… that we’re going to have to evaluate.”

Other health insurers have threatened to pull out of the individual market if there is no clarity from Capitol Hill or Trump’s health officials on stabilizing the markets, but Humana is the first to say that it will pull out altogether.

Leading up to 2017 open enrollment, the exchange markets experienced tremendous turbulence last year, after most major insurers, including Humana, cut back on participation after suffering big losses on exchange plans.

Humana is a leading Medicare Advantage plan provider, and executives said that they don’t believe that they can achieve the same kind of health-care models on the Obamacare exchanges that they achieve with health plans for seniors.

The company does not hold out hope for more detail on Republican “repeal and replace” plans in the near term.

“We’re really feeling that this organization needs to stay focused on what we do well,” Broussard said, and the company can’t do that with Obamacare plans. “I think with that particular program, the way it is designed today and most likely the way it is designed in the future, will limit our ability… to get back into that marketplace.”

DCG

 

 

Fourth Muslim group rejects federal grant to fight extremism

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Jihad Turk: Has a vision to serve his community

You know what side they stand for when their Trump Derangement Syndrome tops any desire to fight extremism.

From Sacramento Bee: A California Islamic school wanted to keep an open mind before Donald Trump took office (yeah, riiiiiight). But less than a month into Trump’s presidency, the school rejected $800,000 in federal funds aimed at combatting violent extremism.

The decision made late Friday night by the Bayan Claremont graduate school’s board to turn down the money — an amount that would cover more than half its yearly budget — capped weeks of sleepless nights and debate. Many there felt Trump’s rhetoric singling out Islamic extremism and his travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries had gone too far.

It also made the school the fourth organization nationwide under the Trump administration to reject the money for a program created under President Barack Obama known as countering violent extremism, or CVE, which officials say aims to thwart extremist groups’ abilities to recruit would-be terrorists.

Bayan Claremont had received the second-largest grant, among the first 31 federal grants for CVE awarded to organizations, schools and municipalities in the dwindling days of the Obama administration. The school had hoped to use the money to help create a new generation of Muslim community leaders, with $250,000 earmarked for more than a dozen local nonprofits doing social justice work.

But the fledgling school’s founding president, Jihad Turk, said officials ultimately felt accepting the money would do more harm than good.

It’s “a heck of a lot of money, (but) our mission and our vision is to serve the community and to bring our community to a position of excellence,” Turk said. “And if we’re compromised, even if only by perception in terms of our standing in the community, we ultimately can’t achieve that goal,” he said, adding that accepting the funds would be short-sighted.

The school’s internal debate is also emblematic of handwringing among grassroots and nonprofit organizations involved in the program in the last couple weeks.

At Unity Productions Foundation of Potomac Falls, Virginia, officials said they would decline a grant of $396,585 to produce educational films challenging narratives supporting extremist ideologies and violent extremism “due to the changes brought by the new administration,” according to a private message to donors reviewed by The Associated Press.

And in Dearborn, Michigan, Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities said last week it was turning down $500,000 for youth-development and public-health programs because of the “current political climate.” Ka Joog, a leading Somali nonprofit organization in Minneapolis, also turned down $500,000 for its youth programs.

The Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

A U.S. official said the Trump administration has been discussing changing the Obama administration program’s name, established as a presidential strategy in 2011, to an iteration of “countering Islamic extremism.” The official, who has knowledge of the discussions, was not authorized to speak publicly about the proposal and spoke on condition of anonymity.

All told, more than 20 percent of the roughly $10 million awarded by the Homeland Security Department has been rejected (well, sounds like some savings for the tax payers). And other groups have signaled they may follow suit, should the name change.

Turk said school officials already had reservations about the CVE strategy under Obama because they felt there’s no clear or proven pathway to violence for someone with a particular extreme ideology. The group went ahead, despite worries by some activists that the program equated to a government surveillance program, because it believed the previous administration wasn’t hostile to their faith.

But amid what Turk called Trump’s “fixation on the American Muslim community,” it became clear that the president’s actions were more than campaign-trail rhetoric, he said. “It was becoming more and more apparent,” Turk said of Trump, “that he’s actually looking to carry out all the scary stuff he said.”

DCG

Over 680 arrested in U.S. immigration raids -homeland security secretary: 75% had a criminal background

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From MSN: U.S. immigration officers have arrested more than 680 people in recent operations, 75 percent of whom have criminal records, the homeland security chief said on Monday of actions that have alarmed immigrant rights groups.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the operations were routine and consistent with regular operations carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Immigration rights advocates say agents are deporting migrants indiscriminately and that the operations, which they describe as raids, do not take into account an immigrant’s threat level or family ties to the United States (obviously the advocates did not take into account the criminal records of these illegal aliens) .

Kelly said in a statement that crimes committed by the illegal immigrants ranged from homicide to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Some of the immigrants arrested had ignored final orders of deportation, according to ICE, the agency responsible for immigrant arrests and deportations. The agency did not specify its reasoning for a handful of immigrants other than that they were in the country illegally.

Former Democratic President Barack Obama was criticized for being the “deporter in chief” after he deported over 400,000 people in 2012, more than any president in a single year. In 2014, Obama’s homeland security chief issued a memo directing agents to focus on deporting a narrow slice of immigrants, namely those who had recently entered the country or committed serious felonies. Immigrants who were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, for example, were treated as lower priorities for deportation.

President Donald Trump promised to deport 2 million to 3 million migrants with criminal records on taking office.

At a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, Trump said his administration had “really done a great job” in its recent arrests of immigrants. “We’re actually taking people that are criminals, very, very, hardened criminals in some cases with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems,” Trump said.

ICE said in a statement on Monday that the operations targeted immigrants in the Midwest, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and San Antonio.

Not every immigrant arrested had a criminal record or prior order to leave the country, according to the data released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In Los Angeles, for example, 151 out of the 161 immigrants arrested had criminal records, but the agency did not give a reason for the arrests of the 10 migrants with no criminal record.

The immigrants’ arrests followed Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order temporarily banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries and all refugees from entering the United States. That order was suspended by a U.S. district judge, in a ruling upheld by a federal appeals court.

DCG

Meryl Streep’s snake tongue

Before you read the rest of this post, please take this poll:

Human beings don’t flick their tongues out. Snakes do, like this garter snake:

eastern_garter_snake_flicks_tongue

I can honestly say I’ve never flicked my tongue out when I speak, not even to lick my lips, and I’ve done countless public speaking — as a professor lecturing in class, presenting papers at conferences, and as a lector at Mass. Nor have I ever seen anyone flick their tongue out when speaking.

The first time I noticed a public person doing what snakes do was Anita Dunn, Obama’s White House communications director from April through November 2009. While delivering a speech at a high school graduation, Dunn disconcertingly and repeatedly flicked out her tongue in lightning speed, just like a snake. Here’s a screenshot I took:

Anita Dunn

The next time I noticed a public person doing the snake-tongue thing was then secretary of state John Kerry speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on September 3, 2013, on Obama’s proposed war against Syria. Here’s a screenshot I took:

Kerry tongue

You can see the videos of Dunn and Kerry by going to “Why does John Kerry flick his tongue like a snake?

On January 8, 2017 at the Golden Globe Awards, actress Meryl Streep, 67, who endorsed Hillary Clinton for the presidency at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, used the occasion of her award acceptance speech to trash then President-Elect Donald Trump.

During her speech of nearly 6 minutes, Streep repeatedly flicked out her tongue, which you can see for yourself in the video below, at the 0:18, 2:56, 3:15, 3:50 and 4:49 marks. (I recommend that you slow down the video by clicking the wheel icon in the bottom right of the video. I also muted the sound because I don’t want to subject myself to Streep’s voice.)

Here are screenshots I took from the video:

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After staring at her thin-lipped mouth to catch her tongue-flicking, I’ve now developed an intense revulsion to Meryl Streep’s mouth. Yuck.

She is altogether a deeply unattractive woman. Notice how preternaturally thick her neck is. There’s a reason why she wore the deep-V neckline gown.

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Reportedly, Streep moved many of the Hollyweirdos in the audience to tears. One actress actually stuck her tongue out (4:05 mark):

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From their facial expressions, Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn did not find Streep moving, LOL (5:10 mark):

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During her trial in 2013 for the murder of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, convicted killer Jodi Arias repeatedly stuck her tongue out. Alexander died from 27 to 29 stab wounds, slit throat, and a gunshot to his head.

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See also:

UPDATE (Feb. 15, 2017):

FOTM reader Lana pointed me to a very disturbing video from which I made a GIF of the late “Charismatic” Evangelical pastor Kenneth Hagin flicking his tongue. Hagin is said to be the mentor of pastor Kenneth Copeland. Here’s the GIF:

pastor_kenneth_hagin_flicks_tongue_like_a_snake

For the full video, go here.

~Eowyn

Disney Princesses Show the Terrifying Reality Facing Women in Trump’s America

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From mindsaymohan Instagram

Trump Derangement Syndrome on steroids.

From Glamour: Just days into his presidency, President Donald Trump began to take steps toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). After a midnight Senate vote left the road clear for Trump to gut the health care plan, millions of Americans stand in limbo—uncertain if they stand to lose the coverage they gained under the Act, and even more unclear on what plan Trump has to replace it. What is certain, however, is that the effects of repealing Obamacare will be devastating, especially for women (nevermind the fact that because of Obamacare, my health insurance premiums went up 80% this year and I have a crazy high deductible).

To help drive this point home, illustrator Maritza Lugo and writer Danielle Sepulveres employed their “god-given talents” to combat the “GOP’s war on women,” Lugo writes on Instagram. The Latina duo revamped their series of illustrations featuring Disney princesses attempting to go to the gynecologist (which first debuted last year as part of cervical cancer awareness month)—and it now includes the new, terrifying realities these princesses would face if the Affordable Care Act was repealed.

They include Elena of Avalor being turned away from Planned Parenthood, Aladdin and Jasmine forced to hold a funeral for their miscarried child, Belle having to pay out-of-pocket for birth control, Pocahontas being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, and Tiana having trouble getting her HPV vaccine. Lugo draws the Disney illustrations, Sepulveres writes the captions, and the results are poignant, to say the least.

The picture above is of Elena of Avalaor, Disney’s first Latina princess, “going to Planned Parenthood to stand against the evil stepsisters of the GOP.” Belle “was super happy to get birth control. As someone who was dependent on it, finding out she was denied her refill will only make Belle’s life a little harder.”

Read the rest of the hyperbole here.

DCG