Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative heart of the Supreme Court for more than a decade, died Saturday. He was 79.

His death was confirmed to the Associated Press by the U.S. Marshall’s Service.

Scalia was the current court’s longest-serving justice, having been nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

Texas media outlets reported that the justice was found dead of apparent natural causes in a West Texas resort while on a hunting trip.

A representative of the Cibolo Creek Ranch, where Scalia was reported to have died, told BuzzFeed News she was unable to comment on the incident, citing guest confidentiality.

In a statement that the Texas governor released “following the news of Justice Scalia’s passing, Gov. Greg Abbott remembered the Supreme Court justice as a “man of God, a patriot, and an unwavering defender of the written Constitution and the Rule of Law.” [x]

Happy Valentine’s Day! Nothing says love like these two cute owls snuggling in a heart-shaped hole. Photo from Grand Teton National Park by Jon LeVasseur ( 🐦💓

And don’t forget to check out our Valentine’s Day video:

being friends w/ my high school gov teacher on facebook is a great thing because whenever something happens in Politics he writes like a 2 paragraph status explaining it and what it means so i never have to actually make an effort to stay informed about anything 

Map of 2nd Marine Division plan of assault on Kuwait City, 2/14/1991

Series: Combined Military Service Digital Photographic Files, 1982 - 2007Record Group 330: Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 - 2008

Operation Desert Storm began 25 years ago with a combined aerial and naval bombardment of Iraqi forces, on the evening of January 16, 1991, following a National Security Directive authorizing military action, and as announced by President George Bush in a televised address.

A close-up of an active region shows how quickly huge spirals of loops can jut out from the Sun.  The image, taken in extreme ultraviolet light, offers a clear view in profile of magnetic particles spinning along criss-crossing arcs of magnetic field lines (taken in the AIA 171 wavelength but colorized red) from Aug. 14 at 20:48 UT to 19:00 UT on Aug. 15.  So, the video covers almost one full day’s worth of activity. The active region on the left of the image shows its own loops as well as streams of plasma jumping back and forth.  Earth could easily sit inside any of these loops.


Human forecasting?

NSF-funded geographer Paul Torrens and his team at the University of Maryland, College Park​ use big data techniques to better predict how people react to snowstorms and such, and what that does to transportation and other infrastructures. Catch his interview on “Weather or Not,” featured podcast Science360 Radio:

Above: This is a map of tweet density for location-reconciled and geo-referenced tweets in the Washington D.C. area. The map illustrates the general motif of community response in space and time per topic and thread on social media.;

Credit above & below: Paul Torrens and Cheng Fu, Center for Geospatial Information Science, Department of Geographical Sciences and UMIACS, University of Maryland

Above: This is a map of the geographic spread of Tweets categorized as relevant to the January 2015 first snowfall event in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area. Tweets are color-coded by hashtag. The diffusion of threads can be tracked dynamically, showing the initial origins, diffusion, dissipation, and reoccurrence of particular topics. Of particular relevance to the January 2015 first snowfall was the rapid diffusion of Tweets through communities in D.C. and northern Virginia, where some critical interdependencies between snowfall response and school openings were revealed.

Above: This is output from a massively dynamic and visually immersive computer model of individual and crowd response following a simulated earthquake and related building collapse in Salt Lake City, UT. Paths represent individual escape vectors for each and every occupant in the downtown area during the evacuation event, color-coded by the building from which they left. Collectively, the visualizations show physical “pinchpoints” created by the building corridors, obstacles that collapsed building material present, and congestion in collective evacuation paths.

Credit: Paul Torrens, Center for Geospatial Information Science, Department of Geographical Sciences and UMIACS, University of Maryland
Indiana GOP Lawmaker Calls Democrat ‘Out of Order’ for Daring to Mention LGBT Rights
This week both GOP lawmaker Robert Behning (above) and Indiana's Republican governor cut short talk of LGBT rights in the name of religious liberty.

A Democratic Indiana lawmaker and LGBT ally got shut down by the Republican majority when she tried to make a point on civil rights on the House floor Thursday. And it happened just as Gov. Mike Pence tried to ride the fence on the issue, declaring that while no citizen should be fired “for who they are or who they love,” he would still fight for “religious freedom” — which some conservatives think would be endangered by LGBT nondiscrimination protections.

The lawmakers clashed at a meeting of the House Education Committee Thursday, The Indianapolis Star reports. Rep. Terri Austin, a Democrat, spoke up during a discussion of a bill on charter school student data, seeking to add an amendment stipulating that charter schools could not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was in keeping with a Democratic pledge to keep pressing for LGBT rights legislation, after lawmakers recently killed one such bill, albeit a flawed one.

The Republican chair of the committee, Robert Behning, chuckled as Austin tried to offer her amendment and said, “I’m just making it clear before we start that it’s going to be out of order,” according to the Star.


sayheyala asked:

What happens if there's a tie vote in the supreme court?

In a nutshell, when there’s a tie, the Lower Court’s decision stands. (This is the decision appealed to SCOTUS).

Other questions: What does this mean for [specific cases] this term (clean air, abortion rights, immigration, unions, voting, Paris Climate Convention, affirmative action, ObamaCare birth control coverage, etc.)

I’m gathering the sources as I write, so for the time being, here’s an excerpt from a Vox article (with links to Gov Docs). I’ll post the official sources later tonight.

via Vox

In the case of a tie, the lower court’s decision is upheld and no precedent is set. The court traditionally does not issue an opinion.

Here are some of the most consequential cases still pending before the court. It’s not clear that all of them were likely to result in 5-4 splits, but here’s what could happen if they end up as a 4-4 tie:

  • Whole Women’s Health v. Cole: A challenge to the Texas law that has closed about half of the state’s abortion clinics since 2013, and the first major abortion case in nearly a decade. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled largely in favor of the law, meaning a tie would leave it in place without setting a new precedent on abortion.
  • US v. Texas: The challenge to President Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration, which would protect about 4 million people — including unauthorized immigrants who’d come to the US as children and are now older than 30, as well as some parents of US citizens or permanent residents  — from deportation. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Obama administration in November; a tie would uphold that decision.
  • Evenwel v. Abbott: A case considering whether all residents or only eligible voters should be counted when drawing state legislative districts. Counting those who are not eligible to vote — convicted felons, immigrants who are not citizens, and children, among others — generally helps Democrats; not counting those people would give a bigger voice to white and rural voters. The lower court, the US District Court for the western district of Texas, held that everyone should be counted; a tie would uphold that.
  • Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association: A case challenging whether public employees who are not members of a union can be required to pay an “agency fee” or “fair share fee” to cover the cost of collective bargaining for the contract that also applies to them. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the California nonunion teachers who argued they should not have to pay, but they did so for the case to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which would have to overturn a precedent to find in the nonunion teachers’ favor.
  • Zubik v. Burwell: A challenge to the Obama administration’s accommodation for religious nonprofits who object to being required to offer health insurance covering birth control. (The nonprofits themselves are not required to pay for the coverage, but they must submit a form so that the insurers themselves will do so.) The Third Circuit Court of Appeals found the accommodation is not a burden on religious freedom.
  • Fisher v. Texas: A challenge to Texas’ use of affirmative action in admissions that the court has already decided once before, in 2013, and sent back to a lower court. Justice Elena Kagan has recused herself because she dealt with the case as solicitor general, meaning only seven justices will be voting on the final opinion and a tie is not possible. Anthony Kennedy is the swing vote, with the decision likely to be 4-3.

anonymous asked:

Today in my gov class, I started telling everyone about the research that proved the wage gap myth was just that, a myth, and some of the girls got really pissed at me, especially when I started stating rights females have that men don't (though that could be because I mentioned rape and circumcision)

Ideological people don’t like being faced with facts that contradict their predetermined stance.

The Problem with Conservative Christians and “Religious Liberty”

When it comes down to it, conservative Christians just don’t want to follow the laws they don’t like. They won’t come right out and say that, though. That’s why, when you listen to people like Gov. Mike Huckabee defending Kim Davis, you’ll see how self-contradictory their arguments really are.Here’s an excellent look at this kind of flawed logic:

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This will only take like 5 minutes of your time - my friend was born in Canada, but has spent most of his life (from first grade on) here in the US. His visa will be expiring soon, but he’s lived here for about 15 years. The US is all he knows. He needs 10,000 signatures to reach the White House (it’s an ambitious number, I know) but if you could just sign the petition it would mean so much for him!!!
Also, PLEASE reblog, this needs to pick up! He has until March!!!!!

My friends and I are playing Tour Of Darkness, which is like a weird (supernaturally so) take on the Vietnam war. My guy is a heroin-addicted RTO hippie-activist, but he’s also got the weird science in him so he uses this to make radios that tap into frequencies unknown to then-modern minds. Fear, mind reading…!

Anyway, our group is part of this secret Gov’t operation called Phoenix Program (a different take on an actual government program) and though I have NO IDEA what their patches would look like - well, they probably wouldn’t outright say the program’s name because everything they do “doesn’t exist or else” - I painted up one for my guy last night. Pretty self explanatory, but the ohm/omega especially is meant to signify resistance (as it is they unit of electrical resistance), a throwback to David Harris’ anti-war movement around that same time.