Virginia mulls ConCon effort to rein in federal powers

Virginia is one of the latest states involved in a new push for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution in a bid to rein in the federal government — part of a nascent campaign on an issue states have been grappling with since at least the 18th century.

National and state GOP leaders are supportive of the idea, saying that a convention of the states is needed to stop an out-of-control federal government, but some conservatives say such a gathering could end up as a free-for-all and risk radically altering the founding document.

Resolutions calling for a convention to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and impose term limits on members of Congress recently advanced out of committees in Virginia’s House and Senate, along with separate resolutions calling specifically for a balanced budget amendment.

Michael Farris, a former GOP nominee for Virginia lieutenant governor, is helping spearhead the push for a convention of the states, a project of the group Citizens for Self-Governance.

The movement is nothing new, but Mr. Farris said he got the idea for a renewed effort after the 2012 election. He said it made sense legally and politically to start fresh rather than try to build on prior disparate efforts that have seen mixed results.

At least 34 states, or two-thirds, must pass applications for a convention and ultimately would need a sign-off from Congress….

Article V of the U.S. Constitution allows Congress to propose amendments, but it states that “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, [Congress] shall call a convention for proposing amendments.”

Rather than calling for a specific amendment, this particular movement is calling for a convention of the states to reduce the power and scope of the federal government. The language in Virginia’s proposals specifically call for a convention to pass amendments “that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”

The Republican-controlled House of Delegates voted down a similar resolution during last year’s session, and the fate of this year’s effort is still very much up in the air.

Three states — Alaska, Georgia and Florida — passed the group’s convention of states application last year, and lawmakers in a dozen states are considering them this year….

By David Sherfinski – The Washington Times –

Florida courthouses stop all weddings to avoid performing gay ceremonies

Several counties in Florida have put the kibosh on performing any weddings as a sort of duck and dodge against serving gays — the logic being that clerks with religious objections to homosexual marriage aren’t breaking any laws if they don’t offer services to anyone.

Among the counties taking part in the quasi-protest: Duval, Clay and Baker, The Associated Press reported.

Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage expires in the coming days, but rather than abide by the new cultural order, clerks — in conjunction with other county officials — have announced the discontinuance of courthouse wedding services for all, AP said.

“It was decided as a team, as an office, this would be what we do so that there wouldn’t be any discrimination,” Duval County Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell told The Florida Times-Union. “The easiest way is to not do them at all.”

He also said that marriage “is between a man and a woman” and that “personally, it would go against my beliefs to perform a ceremony that is other than that,” AP

By Cheryl K. Chumley – The Washington Times –

Florida pastor shoots man in self defense

The pastor of a church in Central Florida shot and critically wounded an employee in self-defense Tuesday morning, after the employee allegedly opened fire upon learning he was out of a job.

Benjamin Parangan Jr., a member of the maintenance crew at Living Water Fellowship in Kissimmee for eight years, allegedly began shooting shortly after 8 a.m. when the pastor told him he was fired, Osceola County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain said, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Pastor Terry L. Howell Sr., 61, allegedly dodged the gunfire and drew his own pistol, critically wounding Mr. Parangan, 47, the paper reported.

Mr. Parangan’s condition was reportedly upgraded to stable Tuesday evening. He will be taken to jail when he is released from the hospital and charged with aggravated assault with intent to kill, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Mr. Howell and Mr. Parangan both reportedly had concealed-weapon permits. Mr. Howell’s involvement is being investigated as self-defense, the Sentinel reported.

By Jessica Chasmar – The Washington Times –

Proposal to Release GM Mosquitoes in U.S.

Last Thursday, a town hall meeting at Harvey Government Center in Key West drew a large crowd that erupted in opposition to a proposal to release genetically modified mosquitoes this coming Spring. It’s a proposal from a seemingly strange choice – the United Kingdom.

British company Oxitec is petitioning the U.S. Government for permission to release male GE Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that contain a gene whereby they die unless receiving an antidote in the form of antibiotic tetracycline. The males released will live long enough to mate, but the offspring will die before maturation. The proposal that is now gaining ground has been in preparation for three years, with significant involvement by Wellcome Trust. In 2012, the plan to go through was thwarted when a resolution didn’t pass.

Of course the company insists that the technology is totally safe.

The expressed idea behind using Key Haven for the trial run is to eradicate the possibility of dengue and chikungunya viruses – yet, the area hasn’t experienced dengue since 2010. The FDA, CDC, USDA, and EPA are in tandem reviewing the process.

Among the most vocal opponents is Mila de Mier, whose massive petition caught a lot of attention.

She says:

There are lots of questions that need to be answered. This is bigger than a couple people raising objections; the government is trying to do an experiment with the people of Florida.
Residents have listed several concerns:
•The Aedes aegypti mosquito is not native to the Keys.
•Future resistance problems when certain mosquitoes don’t actually die off [and what problems would that pose for potential disease too]?
•The mosquitoes’ effect on the bat population that feeds on them.
•Where are the peer-reviewed safety studies to support Oxitec’s safety claims?
•Could other disease-carrying mosquitoes fill in the void left by a dwindled Aedes aegypti population?

….But a big question remains unanswered – why now? Why the urgency? Why did the wheels for this trial project keep turning after dengue disappeared from the Keys? Why is Oxitec (and Wellcome) so willing to generously finance the entire operation?

I think a look at the people behind the company is revealing. Syngenta, Bayer, biotech and pharma alums top the list.

A final comment from the Oxitec spokesperson who pointed out to dengue outbreaks in the Caribbean Islands as a reason for prompt release.

The situation is, can we afford to do nothing? Prevention is the best defense.

In other words, this is a vastly uncharted and extreme preemptive move – where no threat currently exists. Where no other options have been placed on the table for future possibilities. Where no benefits exist except for a trial run to test their work on insects, a human population and the ecosystem.

By Heather Callaghan – Natural Health News –

Politicians Walk Out On Atheist’s “Secular Prayer”

A politician in Lake Worth, Florida, is breaking her silence one week after she joined others in abruptly and silently walking out of a city meeting before an atheist delivered his secular invocation.

Mayor Pam Triolo was joined by three commissioners in exiting the room in protest last Tuesday after Preston Smith stood up and took the podium to deliver his brief remarks.

It wasn’t until Monday, though, that Triolo offered an explanation to WPTV-TV.

“I didn’t leave because Mr. Smith is an atheist, I left because of his alleged tweet,” she said, referencing an offensive social media message that Smith is said to have sent over the summer. “Free speech works both ways. You can say what you want and I can choose to leave.”

But commissioner Christopher McVoy, who stayed through the invocation, said that he disagreed with his peers’ decision to exit the room, calling it “very un-American.”

By Billy Hallowell – The Blaze –

Holidays from hell: Satanic Temple to erect ‘fallen angel’ display in Florida

The Satanic Temple is claiming a religious freedom victory after winning the right to erect a fallen angel holiday display in Miami. Now it wants to put up a statue of pagan idol Baphomet in the Oklahoma state capitol next to one of the 10 Commandments.

The cardboard display in the Florida state capitol consists of a diorama of an angel falling from the sky into hell and an inscription, “Happy holidays from the Satanic Temple” atop of it. The stand is scheduled to be put up on Dec. 22, together with a “Happy Winter Solstice” banner from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and an entry from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All the displays have been approved by the state government.

“We hope that, this holiday season, everybody can put their religious differences aside and respect that the celebratory spirit of responsible hedonism is available to all,” Lucien Greaves, spokesman for the Satanic Temple, said in an email to CBS Miami.

Last year the Florida Department of Management Services rejected the proposed holiday display from the New York-based Satanic Temple (not to be confused with Anton Szandor LaVey’s Church of Satan) because, according to the agency, the proposal was “grossly offensive during the holiday season.”

The temple continued demanding equal representation, with legal backing from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State threatening to sue the state of Florida for violating the temple’s free speech rights. This year a Satanic display appeared in the capitol largely because “this time around we arrived with lawyers,” Greaves wrote in an email.

“In a nation that respects religious liberty, viewpoint discrimination is simply intolerable,” Greaves said in a statement. “For that reason, we feel our holiday display sends a very important, affirmative message that goes above and beyond that of superficial season’s greetings.”

From Russia Today –

Florida charity worker, 90, arrested for feeding the homeless again

A 90-year-old man who was arrested for feeding the homeless in his Florida city was back at it on Wednesday, despite being apprehended by police on Tuesday.

Arnold Abbott has helped to prepare hundreds of meals a week for countless hungry homeless persons in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since 1990, but a new ordinance now makes this illegal in the city.

As a result, Abbott and two ministers from the Sanctuary Church were arrested while dishing out hot food on Tuesday night.

That, however, is not stopping them, and they were back at it again on Wednesday night as if nothing had happened.

And after they finished serving food, police again arrested Abbott.

 
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Local Governments Prohibiting “Off-the-Grid” Living in Florida

From IndieGoGo.com –

Currently, statutes and ordinances make it illegal to disconnect a Florida home from local utilities. Last year, those laws were used to jail Cape Coral, Florida resident Robin Speronis for five weeks, including two weeks in solitary confinement. Her crimes? Collecting rainwater and using solar power to meet her daily utilities needs. Speronis’ story has made international headlines.

We are funding a grassroots ballot initiative to help Florida voters amend their state’s constitution during the Fall 2016 elections…. Contributions will be used to collect the tens of thousands of signatures required to place our amendment on the 2016 ballot. In addition, we will hire attorneys to prepare for mandatory legal proceedings before the Florida Supreme Court. Contribute to this campaign if you agree that individuals should have the right to select reasonable alternatives to monopolized local utilities services.

You may think such bullying could never occur where you live. Unfortunately, it probably already has. Last year in Texas, for example, S.W.A.T. teams were deployed to the peaceful Garden of Eden Community as a Gestapo-style intimidation tactic. Officers arrested only one individual, based on unrelated traffic tickets, and issued a handful of citations for city code infractions. Officials found absolutely no drug-related violations, and all inhabitants of the community were unarmed.

Each of the community members present in the group’s house were initially handcuffed at gunpoint by heavily armed S.W.A.T. officers. This included the mother of a toddler and a two-week old baby. As part of the raid, many of the community’s edible crops were destroyed. Officers removed a variety of materials the community had planned to use in sustainability projects.

Garden of Eden is a sustainable community which lives outside of the confines of the ‘average lifestyle.’ The community believes in coming together to produce the basic necessities of life, and members support one another through each step. They grow their own food and live quietly. Since 2009, the group has been providing food, shelter and sustainability education classes to the public for free.

 
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Satanic Information Given To Children in Florida Schools

By Chris Carrington – FreedomOutpost.com –

A group called the Satanic Temple is to start distributing information about their practices and beliefs to school children in Florida.

Last month the authorities decided that they would permit the distribution of religious materials in Florida schools, and the Satanic Temple claim to be a religion so they can legally give out the pamphlets to kids.

The information will include advising the kids of their legal right to practice satanism, the philosophy of satanism and the way the Satanic Temple works.

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/09/satanic-information-given-children-florida-schools/#0DJS2YsC7ybvOEfa.99

 
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