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Entries for 'Carter Wrenn'

16
Supporters of gay marriage figure it’s time to change two things: First, to change the legal definition of marriage to allow a man to marry another man.
 
The other change is even knottier: Discriminating against a man (or woman) because of race is illegal; gay rights supporters want to make it equally illegal to discriminate against a man because of his sexual orientation. Which, in a way, sounds reasonable. But, in another way, is the legal equivalent of giving government a knife to hold to the throats of people who disagree with gay marriage.
 
Under the current law, even if the state of Indiana changes the definition of marriage, Ms. Crystal O’Connor of Memories Pizza can say no to catering a gay wedding. It’s her choice. It’s not discrimination.
 
But if gays become a protected minority that changes. And not catering a gay wedding becomes illegal. And Ms. O’Connor lands in the soup.
 
Twenty-five years ago two Native American drug rehabilitation counselors who worked for the government got fired for smoking peyote. That sounded logical. But the Indians argued peyote smoking was part of their religion so firing them violated their freedom of religion. That sounded a bit odd. But Congress agreed. And New York Senator Charlie Schumer passed a law saying firing the Indians was wrong.
 
Liberals also like to say government has no business telling people what they can or can’t do in the privacy of their bedroom – but what about government walking into Ms. O’Connor’s pizzeria and telling her what to do?
 
Shouldn’t she be allowed to practice her religion – just like an Indian smoking peyote?
 


 

 

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15
The Reverend William Barber stepped back up onto his soapbox and thundered it’s time that Richard Burr and Thom Tillis left the chains of hatred behind and joined the chorus for justice by voting to confirm Loretta Lynch.
 
The Reverend went on to explain how he’s looked into Ms. Lynch’s heart and how he knows her worth and how she will work to cure racism, sexism, classicism (whatever that is) and homophobia.
 
William Barber’s about as fine a demagogue as has come down the pike in years. And there’s no doubt he has an unmatched penchant for draping himself in holiness.
 
But, then, so did Elmer Gantry.


 

 

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14
When the young woman who runs Memories Pizza in a small town in Indiana told a reporter she wouldn’t cater a gay wedding all hell broke loose – a mob formed on the Internet howling she was an ignorant bigot and a Nazi and there were death threats and threats to burn her business.
 
The mob ruled.
 
The pizzeria closed. The woman fled. The politicians in Indiana did an about face.  
 
Then, unexpectedly, a second mob rose up howling back at the first mob. The Internet posts got ugly. And uglier. Then an unusual thing happened: A man in South Bend, Indiana wrote a post asking people to send donations to the young woman.
 
The Religious Freedom Act is dead in Indiana. But thanks to $842,000 in donations Memories Pizza will remain open.


 

 

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13
Pat’s attacking Phil’s tax cut plan, and the Senate’s Sales Tax Plan, and the Senate’s Religious Freedom Act (about gay marriage) was a mixed bag – after all, voters like tax cuts and are split on gay marriage (with almost all the Republicans agreeing with Phil).
 
But next Pat hit the mother lode, attacking Phil for the Senate’s plan to redraw the County Commissioners’ districts in Wake.
 
There aren’t many lines left in politics. But redrawing districts because you lost an election goes too far. If the Senate’s new districts had been in place last fall, while losing the county by 30,000 votes, Republicans would have won 5 of the 9 seats on the County Commission.
 
Independents, Democrats and all but the most hard-bitten Republicans know that kind of politics crosses the line. And, right now, Pat McCrory’s the only Republican standing up and speaking out for them.


 

 

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08
A young woman wearing a black dress, sitting on a stool legs crossed, speaking with a measured British accent, looked into a camera and told how after Issah Al Qurain’s village was captured soldiers came into his home, took his money, then told him to convert or they’d kill his wife and children. 
 
He converted.
 
A fortnight later the soldiers came back and told him under their law – Sharia Law – his ten year old daughter had to marry.  
 
He fled across the Nineveh Plain, talking his way through three road blocks, following back roads, arriving homeless, penniless and outcast in Kurdistan with his wife and children.  
 
The Monastery St. Michael, sitting on a mountainside above the plain (amid towns and villages where Christians trace their roots back to the time of Paul the Apostle) is, itself, 1600 years old and has survived Mongols, Saracens and Ottomans.
 
After ISIS captured Mosul, six miles away, soldiers painted red letters on the homes of Christians – as Nazis painted Stars of David on the homes of Jews – then gave them three choices: Convert, pay a ransom, or beheading .
 
Mosul emptied. The villages emptied. As Christians fled. Leaving behind seven monks in the monastery.
 
In Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, the young woman, now dressed in a dark shirt and jeans, interviews the Catholic Archbishop, asking, Where are the Christians of the Nineveh Plain today?
 
Looking like a stoic Italian friar instead of an Archbishop born in Baghdad, Basar Wanda says, “Disappearing. It’s dying.
 
The young woman asks about the American airstrikes on ISIS and he explains, “For me, ISIS is a cancer. It’s a disease. So sometimes you take some hard measures, unfortunate measures to treat this cancer.”
 
So you want a major military offensive to retake Mosul, getting rid of the Islamic State, defeating them militarily?
 
He stares back at her with black eyes. “Please God.”
 
A ticking stopwatch replaces the young woman on the screen and the video ends – it was made by 60 Minutes.
 
Four years ago, the night a hundred thousand men filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, when Hosni Mubarak’s government fell, the young woman was sent to cover the demonstration; when her crew turned out the light on her camera to change a battery, in the darkness, a mob of men surrounded her, tore her away from her guards, tore away her clothes – then raped her repeatedly.
 
Twenty-five minutes later the mob shifted driving the men holding her toward a fence on the side of the square where a line of Egyptian women sat – and the women saved her, closing around her, standing in a line between her and the mob.
 
She fled Egypt, returning home, was hospitalized, recovered, then returned to work, covering wars in Libya and Iraq.
 
After her report for 60 Minutes about the lost Christians of the Nineveh Plain, Lara Logan was hospitalized again due to injuries she received in Cairo.


 

 

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03
Roy whacked Pat. Pat then slapped Phil. Phil poked Pat back. And no one laid a glove on Roy.
 
That was last week.
 
This week Roy whacked Pat again. And Pat gabbed Phil three times.
 
Last week Pat said Phil was cutting taxes too much – and this week he said  Phil was ‘raising taxes’ too much. And added Republican State Senators sounded to him a lot like John Edwards talking about ‘class warfare.’
 
Pat also said Phil’s bill saying magistrates don’t have to perform gay marriages – if it doesn’t sit well with their religious beliefs – is wrong-headed. And the Senate’s “Religious Freedom Restoration Bill” (which also relates to gay rights) isn’t needed.
 
And four gay mayors then invited Pat to join their gay rights coalition.
 
It’s been a messy two weeks. But there’s a method in the madness.
 
Roy wants to be Governor so he’s attacking Pat on education.
 
Pat figures Phil is too conservative and attacking Phil will help him defeat Roy.
 
And, well, Phil’s simply for old-fashioned conservative. Who’s for lower taxes and opposes gay-marriage.
 
And that’s the way of things: Take a bit of logic, add politicians, taxes, and gay-marriage – and you end up with a quagmire.  


 

 

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27
After capturing the capital the rebels are now hurtling toward Aden.     
 
The President’s fled. No one knows where he is. Or if he’s in the country.
 
And the rebels have put a $100,000 bounty on his head.  
 
Our Embassy’s been shuttered. Our troops have been evacuated.
 
Saudi Arabia’s making airstrikes but it looks like it’s too late.
 
Last fall, President Obama hailed Yemen as a prime example of his success in the battle to stop terrorists like ISIS.
 
Now, in Yemen, the terrorists have all but won.
 
In Washington, the best President’s press spokesman can do is say, ‘We call on them to stop the instability and violence.’
 
And we’re a pretty long way from the days when Presidents ‘walked softly and carried a big stick.’


 

 

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26
Folks who vote in Republican primaries, if asked, will tell you they’re Conservative and most will firmly add they’re Very Conservative as opposed to A Little Conservative.
 
In the uncompromising depth of his conservative beliefs, Ted Cruz is their cup of tea.
 
But…
 
It’s hard to put your finger on that ‘but…’ but instead of marching onto the Presidential battlefield at the head of an army of Conservatives, Cruz trails Scott Walker and Rand Paul.    
 
National Review published an article by Charles Cooke that may touch on the reason why.
 
Mr. Cooke described the first time he heard Cruz speak: He listened, agreed, admired Cruz’s intelligence, never doubted his sincerity but added, For all his obvious talent Cruz’s rhetorical style frankly makes my hair curl a little.
 
He heard both Cruz and Marco Rubio speak a year later: The audience, he wrote, was more excited to hear Cruz – but after the speeches that changed.
 
Rubio talks to you – Cruz seemed to lecture, one attendee told him.
 
Ted Cruz is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative running in a primary full of two-fisted conservative voters and being tough and smart and sincere may be all it takes at the end of the day. But… how you explain your beliefs matters and a glimmer of conversation, and speaking to people rather than at them, might be the fuel to ignite Ted Cruz’s campaign.


 

 

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25
Yesterday in Mosul, the New York Times reports, a man and woman were handcuffed then stoned by ISIS for adultery.
 
Later in the day ISIS took three young men from their uncle’s home and beheaded then in a public street after hearing a rumor the uncle had met with a Kurdish leader.


 

 

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24
With the Irish Prime Minister sitting beside him, Obama said Republicans are against education. Infrastructure. Research. The things needed to create jobs. National defense. And the middle class.
 
Then having thrown down the gauntlet, and concisely summed up how he felt about the Republican budget, the President rolled out the welcome mat for the Prime Minister.
 
Next I turned to a stack of newspaper clippings about Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker – looking for an answer to Obama.
 
Walker was criticizing unions.
 
Cruz was criticizing Obama’s deal with Iran.  
 
Paul was talking about criminal justice reform.
 
And Bush was saying it’s the President’s job to reweave civility into political discourse.
 
Answering Obama would have been as simple as saying, If you don’t agree with the President about how big the federal government ought to be – he says you’re against the middle class. Now, does that really make sense?  
 
But no voice took up the gauntlet.


 

 

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