Illinois lawmakers approved a 66 percent increase in the state income tax in the early morning hours of January 12, part of a dramatic effort to address the state�s critical budget crisis. The Democrat-controlled legislature passed the increase at the tail end of a lame duck session, with some lawmakers who supported the measure scheduled to leave office hours later when a new General Assembly was sworn in.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate used the tail end of the lame-duck session to confirm an openly homosexual woman to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Chai Feldblum, a law professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and, according to Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the first openly homosexual person to serve on the EEOC, was confirmed December 22 by unanimous consent on the day the Senate adjourned.
Under the guise of a “driveway fee,” the city council of Mission, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, has imposed a tax on churches based on the numbers that attend worship services. The fee, which is also being charged to non-profit organizations and charities in the community, is similar to a driveway tax that has been struck down as illegal in two other states, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of two congregations in the community.
The Obama Administration is working behind the scenes to overturn a rule, implemented by President Bush in 2008, that re-enforces the rights of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers to refuse on moral or ethical grounds their professional involvement in abortions.
A judge in Alaska has given a back-handed slap to those standing up for life in his state, by letting stand a law, passed by a vote of the people, requiring abortionists to notify parents if their daughter comes to them for the procedure � but by gutting the law of any prison time or penalties if they neglect to follow the law.
Equating homosexual �rights� with the nation�s long and painful struggle for racial equality, former President Jimmy Carter said that it is just a matter of time before America elects a homosexual President.
There is bad news and good news in the front offices of the rock �n' roll franchise known as Bon Jovi. The bad news is that the band failed to make the cut for this year�s Rock Hall of Fame inductees. The good news is that the band�s front man, Jon Bon Jovi, was named by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions, a group of influential individuals from differing walks of life who essentially help think up ways to spend tax dollars on mostly wasteful social programs.
Recently released transcripts from the Nixon White House tapes show President Richard Nixon had a penchant for racist, anti-Semitic, and other prejudicial remarks. Recorded between February and March 1973 and recently released along with thousands of pages of previously classified materials from the Nixon administration, the tapes show a President who harbored pronounced stereotypes about blacks, Jews, and other ethnic minorities.
As a lame-duck Congress winds down and a small army of Democratic legislators prepare to vacate their offices in Washington, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is quietly pushing a bill that would legalize online gambling.
FCC commissioner Michael Copps said the state of television news in America is in an �hour of grave peril,� telling the Betty Kay of the BBC�s World News America that TV is not �producing the body of news and information that democracy needs to conduct its civic dialogue.� In fact, warns, Copps, because of this lack the current state of public discussion could be putting the nation�s �democracy� in serious jeopardy.