Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rights for Same-Sex Couples

The California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Thursday. ruled that sexual orientation "does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights." This ruling will take effect in 30 days. This was brought to court when several gay couples, the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups filed a lawsuit claiming unlawful discrimination when a lower court ruled it illegal that San Francisco was issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Many people, including myself,  believe that this is a just ruling and it will cause broader acceptance for people who are homosexual. However, many people who do not agree with this ruling claim that a constitutional marriage amendment should be placed on the November ballot, and that a federal marriage amendment should be created. Although I know that the majority of the students in this class believe in establishing rights for same-sex couples, do you agree that this decision should be made by the public? Is it fair that something constitutional in one state is banned in the next? Could this ruling have national effects on marriage rights for people who are homosexual?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Natural Disasters: China or U.S.?

A friend of mine brought up a very good point following the earthquake disaster in China--why were we so quick to send them relief but took forever to get relief within our own country for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina? Don't get me wrong, of course it's wonderful that we're doing anything we can to help in such a situation! But, something just seems really weird with our response to Hurricane Katrina (that most of us can agree was an almost total failure) against our immediate attention to this out of country earthquake.

This definitely needs more information, but anyone with any facts about how we've helped either situation, I'd love to see the research unfold!

Charges Approved For Accused 9/11 Terrorists

On Friday, May 9, a military judge approved charges against five men accused for plotting September 11, including the alleged mastermind, and rejected charges against a man suspected of planning to be the "20th hijacker." If they are convicted, the Guantanamo Bay detainees will face the death penalty. The sixth man, Mohammed al-Qahtani, will remain in custody as an enemy combatant because the charges against him were not approved. The civilian lawyer for al-Qahtani says that he had been tortured at Guantanamo Bay. She was not surprised that the charges against him were rejected because she believes that the military does not want him to be tried because military interrogators abused him. I think it is very good news that the men who took part in 911 are being brought to justice, but was it done so at the cost of torture? Although the claims of torture are not yet proven to be true, how far is too far? Are we willing to have questionable imprisonment methods in order to carry out justice and to possibly enhance national security?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Can Israel Survive for Another 60 Years?

Here's an interesting article by the reliably provocative Christopher Hitchens that I'm sure some of our more regular commentators will find interesting.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

California's Huge Step to Preserve its Wildlife

The owners of a large stretch of land have reached a deal with a group of environmentalists to set aside the largest parcel of land for conservation in California's history. After many legal battles, the Sierra Club has finally come to the agreement that they would not challenge proposed development on the Tejon Ranch, which is a huge piece of land north of Los Angeles, in exchange for almost 240,000 acres to be preserved. This area is 375 square miles or desert, woodlands and grasslands. It is eight times the size of San Francisco and almost the size of Los Angeles. This land sits atop the Tehachapi Mountains and is home to many very diverse wildlife and plants. After nearly two years of negotiations, it is finally agreed that almost 90 percent of the ranch will be protected. Do you think this is a promising option for protecting our wildlife? Could it illustrate a stronger push in the future to protect the environment? How significant is this preservation?

Please Go To Class!!

I think most of us would agree that it would suck if we had to take an Economics final so please, please go to class!!