Denied a passport on grounds of midwifery

The Washington Post reports that the US State Department has been systematically denying passports to US citizens delivered by midwives.  The ACLU filed a case on behalf of nine citizens, and is seeking class-action status.

The State Department’s actions follow cases in the 1960s through 1990s in which, according to a State Department list last updated in 2002, at least 65 midwives were convicted of fraudulently registering births that they did not deliver.  The cases mostly affect South Texas residents.

Changes in cross-border travel agreements affecting passage between Mexico and the United States mean that US citizens will need a passport to cross the border and come back, where up to now a driver’s license has been sufficient.

In one case that looks like an instance of excessive zeal, one David Hernandez was denied a passport despite presenting his birth certificate, his baptismal certificate, state immunization records, US Army discharge certificate, and affidavits by witnesses to his birth.  His mother is a permanent legal resident and her mother was a US citizen.

JK Rowling wins Harry Potter Lexicon case, Steve Vander Ark to publish new book

The Guardian is reporting that Steve Vander Ark, who yesterday lost a key copyright case brought against him in Manhattan by JK Rowling, plans to write another Harry Potter-based book.  “Obviously I do a lot of research on Harry Potter, And the more research I did the more I realised that the places in the books were places in the world, particularly those in the west country, because she went to university in Exeter.”  He plans to publish In Search of Harry Potter, a book based on this research, next month.

I wish him well, though I agree that his Lexicon was a blatant breach of Rowling’s copyright.  The Potter books will enter the public domain sooner or later.  Until then the author and her estate have a right to protect a rich capital resource, to which Vander Ark has as yet contributed nothing of lasting value.

Gay agenda is winning

Ed Brayton reports in his blog on the Human Rights Campaign‘s progress in maintaining its Corporate Equality Index.  He observes that American corporations are well ahead of the government in recognising the rights of sexual minorities in the workplace.  This year the index jumped by one third.

As Ed observes, if an American homophobe or religious nutter wants to make his mark in reversing this success, “You can’t fly on American Airlines, Continental or US Airways, both of which scored a perfect 100. You might also want to avoid United, Southwest, Delta, Northwest, and JetBlue; all scored above 80. In fact, Sarah Palin is gonna have a difficult time flying anywhere since Alaska Airlines also got a perfect score. Who can you fly? Well, you could try Nepal Airlines, the faith-based airline that sacrifices goats to appease God. On second thought, that won’t work either. Nepal Airlines has two planes, both of them made by Boeing; Boeing got a perfect 100 too. Go Greyhound!”

In Europe, the effects are felt all the more strongly because the governments here are mostly behind these advances in human rights.  Since 2001, all Western European nations except Portugal have given official government recognition to some kind of non-heterosexual civil union or marriage.  Of course religious people are stupidly complaining these advances infringe on their putative right to treat some people in a different way because of their feelings about homosexuality.  That’s one more ancient and dishonorable bit of vileness dispelled from the world.

headcrabs lol

Gordon Freeman spotted at Large Hadron Collider

Gordon Freeman spotted at Large Hadron Collider

The Combine is coming for you

From My[confined]Space