Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Texas Attorney General accused of ‘stalling’ same-sex marriage appeal

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has been accused of deliberately stalling his appeal, after the state’s same-sex marriage ban was struck down.

Judge Orlando Garcia struck down the state’s marriage ban in February, but stayed the ruling, meaning it will not come into effect until Abbott’s appeal is concluded.

However, over five months later, Abbott and Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell have sought a second extension to the final deadline for the submission of their legal brief, because it is purportedly still not ready.

The deadline for his office’s submission was initially on July 9, but he has received an extension to July 16, and now July 28.

Even if he keeps to the new July 28 date, the protracted legal process means final briefs won’t have to be submitted until September, at which point couples will have been banned from marrying for seven months without a single appeal hearing.

Applying for the second extension, Abbott’s office wrote: “Applicants do not seek this extension for purposes of delay, but rather so that appellate counsel Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell has sufficient time to prepare a brief that is thorough, accurate, and helpful to the Court.

“The issue in this case, the constitutionality of Texas’ same-sex marriage laws, is important and complex. The additional time would allow Mr. Mitchell to give this case the attention that it deserves.

We Have Enough Land To Feed Our Growing Population, We Just Have To Use It Right, Study Finds

By some assessments, the human population will require twice as much food in 2050 as we do now. Some have estimated that an area the size of South Africa or Canada would need to be planted to produce enough food to meet these needs. But a new study says that may not be the case.

According to the study, published in the journal Science, growing more food doesn’t always require more cropland -- just a change in the way we use resources. The authors looked at 17 of the most important crops to analyze specific strategies to meet the needs of an additional three billion people. It's not all about increasing growing efficiency either -- the study targets food waste and the amount of crops used to feed animals.

The study makes specific suggestions about a few key “leverage points” and Paul West, the study’s lead author, said in a press release that they are giving “funders and policy makers the information they need to target their activities for the greatest good.”
west study 2


The majority of environmental effects of agriculture are concentrated in a few countries, driven by select commodities, the study says. Targeting efforts in these areas offers the greatest opportunity for building a sustainable global food system by decreasing greenhouse gas production, improving irrigation efficiency and reducing excess fertilizer use.

Increasing food production while decreasing environmental impact won’t be easy, the authors say. The study points to the idea of increasing yield in countries that are not at their maximum potential yield. Bringing low-performing countries up to just 50 percent of their full potential could help feed 850 million people. Increasing production while protecting the environment would entail reducing the amount of wasted resources, such as nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers. It would also require a reduction in the amount of water wasted. Cutting down on food waste is a must as well, since upwards of 30 to 50 percent of food is wasted.

Shockingly, the researchers also point out that we could increase the amount of food calories available by 70 percent if we diverted crops used to feed animals directly to feeding humans, enough to feed four billion people. The authors do recognize the cultural and political barriers to this route, but note that it could be used as a safety net in food production.

One of the main points of this study is that these changes could occur in a geographically limited area and focus on a small number of worst offenders. Three countries -- China, India and the United States -- are responsible for 64 to 66 percent of excess nutrient application and globally. Reducing food waste in these three countries alone could be enough to feed an additional 400 million people. At the same time, just three crops account for almost a third of excess nutrient application, while two crops, rice and wheat, account for the vast majority of water use.

Making food production more efficient can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing deforestation and nitrous oxide emissions from excess fertilizer and manure use, the study says. That’s not to mention the habitat saved by reducing the amount of land cleared for new agriculture.

The researchers conclude, “These leverage points in the global food system can help guide how nongovernmental organizations, foundations, governments, citizens’ groups, and businesses prioritize actions.”

Boys of Summer!

Minister: Methodist Church Appeals 'Refrocking'

Rev. Frank Schaefer
Rev. Frank Schaefer  (Source:AP Photo)
A Methodist minister ousted and then reinstated after presiding over his son's gay marriage says the church is appealing his refrocking.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer says he is disappointed by the appeal, but not surprised.

Schaefer is moving to a California diocese this week after his decision to officiate his son's 2007 marriage thwarted his church career in Pennsylvania. He has since become a gay rights activist.

In a statement Friday, he says he hopes the church's Judicial Council will decline to take up the appeal from the counsel for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.

The Rev. Christopher Fisher of Schuylkill Haven is the church counsel. He did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Schaefer says he prays for an outcome that would help "heal ... the wounds of homophobia."

Driver Says God Told Her ‘I’ll Take It From Here,’ So She Let Go Of Wheel; Promptly Runs Over Motorcyclist

Depending on how you look at it, either God drove a car into motorcyclist Anthony Oliveri or – more likely – a woman took a leap of faith and the laws of physics did the rest.

While driving along the roads of Fort Wayne, Indiana, a car suddenly and inexplicably swerved directly into Oliveri. Police say the car not only ran over his bike, but also over Oliveri, leaving him badly injured on the road. The car kept on driving.

Speaking with WANE, Oliveri said he thought he was dead.
“I remember it happened and I didn’t quite know what was going on for a split second. As I grabbed the handle bars as the bike was losing control and I looked back around my left shoulder, all I see is her tire and the left bumper getting ready to run my face over. Literally I was inches from that bumper and I just said to myself today is the day I die. I just shut my eyes and said if this is the way that God wants to do it then I guess that this is the way we’re going to do it,” Oliveri said.
His injuries were severe, but just being alive was enough.
“She rolled over the bike and she rolled over me and everything and I just figured that was it. Then, when I felt the pain of my bike of sliding on the back of the road. I was like, wait, I feel pain, that means I’m still alive. I look up and look down at my feet and think well my legs are still connected. When I felt the pain as funny as it is, at that point in time, I was happy because not ten seconds earlier I thought I was dead. At that point I was just ecstatic to be alive to be honest with you,” Oliveri said.

NEW JERSEY: Attacker Of Gay NYC Bartender Has Yet To Be Extradited

Two weeks ago New York City Eagle bartender Paul Martone was left in critical condition after a Hell's Kitchen street altercation involving his dog. Martone's attacker, Corey Pohan, 32, fled to his mother's home in suburban New Jersey where he remains in jail pending a hearing on local disorderly conduct charges for climbing onto the top of the Lincoln Tunnel toll plaza after leaping from the car of the NYPD detectives who were transporting him back to Manhattan.
During his appearance on a disorderly conduct charge, no-nonsense Judge Karen Boylan asked the surfer dude if he knew when he was going to be extradited to New York to face an assault rap. “No, I just walked up this ramp and sat here. I haven’t talked to anyone other than the public defender, and he said no,” Pohan whined. Boylan then told him she didn’t have enough information on the Jersey charge to proceed with the case. “It looks like we’re going to have to hold you over until next week“ she said, news that also sent the bruiser’s mom Barbara Pohan into hysterics. “Next week? Can’t we handle this today if he pleads guilty?”she cried out. “Mrs. Pohan, he has criminal contacts in Colorado. He has an extradition here to New York. He hasn’t spoken to the detectives who made the arrest here in Jersey. I have no discovery, so we’ll see you on the screen next week,” the judge replied. Pohan, dressed in green prison scrubs, sobbed uncontrollably as he left the chair in the video room in another section of the courthouse and walked out of view of the monitor.
The judge did not elaborate on Pohan's "criminal contacts" in Colorado. The NYPD has not yet disclosed what charges Pohan may face in Manhattan. Martone remains hospitalized. The incident spawned international headlines and a social media furor on whether Martone instigated the fight.

Ok! Now I'm ready to start the day!


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