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How many parents make a family?

Here’s an interesting thing a friend pointed me to, California Senate Bill 1476. The short of it is that this bill would allow for a child to have more than two legally recognized parents.

Here’s a link to a summarized text of the bill, where you can also find a link to the latest version of the complete bill.

The implications of this are pretty interesting. At first I was thinking of things like “who can make medical decisions if a kid’s legal parents are married, but not to each other?”, but on reflection I kinda figure that has to be already addressed somewhere, or maybe the non-parents can act as a legal proxy for their spouses. Reading the bill and the article linked above it looks like it’s mostly intended to allow judges more leeway in cases where parenthood is being contested. So, a judge could give parental rights & responsibilities to spouses without stripping any away from biological parents, for example.

It sounds like a good idea to me. So naturally, people are opposing it on religious terms. Read the rest of this entry

Rights and citizenship

Not doing well with the writing today. Here’s a link to a transcript of yet another Republican debate. Reading this, I wonder why they bother. It strikes me as nothing but empty pageantry, mere spectacle to get people applauding, not a debate in any sense that I’m familiar with. But there’s some weird stuff going on in there, and one bit of weirdness jumped out at me.

Here’s a quote from Michele Bachmann:

This is one thing we know about Barack Obama. He has essentially handed over our interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. He has outsourced it to them. Our CIA has no ability to have any form of interrogation for terrorists.

When the bomber — or the attempted bomber over Detroit, the underwear bomber was intercepted, he was given Miranda warnings within 45 minutes. He was not an American citizen. We don’t give Miranda warnings to terrorists, and we don’t read them their rights. They don’t have any.

It would be unfair to suggest that this is typical for a Republican candidate, Bachmann is out there by anyone’s standards. The idea that the ACLU controls interrogations… I haven’t the slightest idea what she’s saying there. “They aren’t letting us torture suspects anymore”, perhaps? But there’s some stuff in there that’s pretty common thinking and I want to address it. Read the rest of this entry

Exiled to the Undiscovered Country

This should be fun. Here’s the topic suggestion from the Daily Post that I found in my email this morning:

Topic #268:

Do you agree with the death penalty? Is it ever right to kill? And under what circumstances? Is it worth the risks of being wrong?

For an interesting and surprising history ready Wikipedia’s entry on Capital Punishment (Only 58 nations actively practice it anymore).

Of course my first thought is, “I don’t know, what’s the death penalty been saying? We might have to agree to disagree.” Probably just the latest evidence of my continuing progression of becoming a pedantic old fart. Anyways, let’s talk about this.

The thing about death is that it’s kinda permanent. There’s really no changing your mind after you’ve executed someone. And nobody would claim our justice system is flawless except a fool or a campaigning politician. (Do I repeat myself?) With this in mind, the only way I can really condone execution is if someone sentenced to life imprisonment waives their rights to appeal and requests a quick death instead. Read the rest of this entry

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