Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal For Majority Of The U.S.

For more than 165 million Americans — more than half the US population — Same-Sex Marriage Equality is now very real.

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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday to decline hearing a series of appeals cases on same-sex marriage will have the effect of immediately legalizing gay marriage in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. When combined with the 19 states (and the District of Columbia) that had previously legalized same-sex marriage, these states have a collective population of roughly 165 million, according to 2013 census figures.

For the first time, same-sex marriage is legal for the majority of the U.S. population. The 26 states where the practice is not legal have a total population of about 151 million.

The Supreme Court’s decision will also lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Those states have an additional 25 million people combined. When these states follow suit because they fall under federal circuit courts that have ruled same-sex marriage restrictions unconstitutional, 30 states and the District of Columbia — totaling about 60 percent of the U.S. population — will allow same-sex marriage.

Two years ago at this time, same-sex marriage was legal only in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District, which together have about 11 percent of the U.S. population.

Progress marches onward.

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Hands Up, Don’t Shoot! — America

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Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014.

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Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

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Demonstrator Keisha Gray cries while protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri


Reiner-Burchill Residence — SILVERTOP — Lautner’s Domestic Spaceship for Modern Terrestrials

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2138 Micheltorena St, Silver Lake 90039 – “The Reiner-Burchill Residence” (Silvertop), John Lautner, architect, Construction: 1956-1976 – Built for Ken Reiner, Sold 1974 to The Burchills, For Sale 2014 at $7,500,000

Silvertop — the Reiner-Burchill Residence — was originally commissioned in 1956 by Kenneth Reiner, an entrepreneur who became wealthy with industrial designs for a spring-loaded ladies hair clip and a self-locking lightweight aircraft nut. “Silvertop” is named for its expansive concrete domed ceiling over the living area, which seems to rest on walls of glass, as it peers down upon the Silver Lake Reservoir.

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Focused on technology and engineering, Reiner and Lautner made excellent collaborators. The two set out to accomplish an advanced home design, featuring faucet-less sinks that automatically filled with water, a dining table with a hydraulic pedestal that lowered for cocktails and elevated for meals, a system for heating and cooling that could not be seen or heard (Reiner wanted to feel only the ambient temperatures rise or fall), controls for lights and appliances that were discreetly set into walls and doors jambs, lights that pivot into the ceiling, and electrically-controlled skylights.

Lautner built such novel innovations into the home specifically according to Reiner’s specifications; in the event that the equipment didn’t exist to meet those specifications, Reiner would design, engineer, and manufacturer the necessary parts in his own factory for Lautner.

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The two men brought in master structural engineer, Eugene Birnbaum to execute the challenging build with a cantilevered driveway up to the residence and a massive concrete domed ceiling over walls of glass that are slotted into concrete. The City of Los Angeles’ building codes couldn’t keep up with Lautner and Reiner, and the city denied permits for the cantilevered drive… until both men created irrefutable engineering plans and constructed a demonstration project.

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The home was originally budgeted at $75,000, but rose to $1,000,000 after many refinements of the design throughout its build. Unfortunately, Reiner never lived in his wondrous home. Due to a lawsuit with his business partner and a divorce, Reiner filed bankruptcy and lost the nearly finished house. The project then sat for several years, while Reiner moved to Long Beach. Associates said the pragmatic Reiner never looked back with regret.

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Dr. Philip and Jacklyn Burchill bought the home in 1974. The Burchill’s turned to Lautner to complete the home. The Reiner-Burchill Residence was finally realized in 1976, when the Burchill’s became live-in stewards of the architectural phenomenon until 2014. Mrs. Burchill has decided to sell the home she has maintained with stewardship toward authenticity for 40 years.

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The Reiner-Burchill Residence is located at 2138 Micheltorena St in the Moreno Highlands area of Silver Lake and is being offered for $7,500,000.

The 3 bedroom and 4 bathroom design of the main house is made up of a series of interlocking circles, half-circles and ellipsis, creating geometric pattern for which Lautner was known. The infinity pool, a first of its kind, mimics the shape of the roof line. With a massive, arched concrete roof over the living area, the spacious 4,721 of interior living space with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, in proportion to the site on which it is built. “Silvertop” situates on 1.26 acres, comprised of six lots, on the crest of a hill. The home is approached by vehicle up one side of the hill and is exited down the other side of the hill via the cantilevered curved concrete driveway that wraps around a circular guest house, called the Round House, which contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a photography darkroom.

The home consists of three general areas including the living area, sleeping quarters and guest house. From the entry, one passes through an atrium filled with plants and before entering into the expansive light-filled open living space. The sleeping quarters are located somewhat perpendicular to the living area as it bows away from the central living area.

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Justice — Benjamin Franklin Style

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Strange Yet Familiar — House VDV

At once familiar and strange, this single family home — House VDV by Graux & Baeyens Architects — is located just outside the town of Ghent, in Destelbergen, Belgium. The land is part of a site where once stood a castle destroyed in WWII. Part of the surrounding wall remains standing and is a silent reminder of this history.

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Are American Christian Conservative Bible-Toting Gun-Slinging Jihadists Any Different Than The Muslim Kind? Hobby Lobby Reaction Puts It To The Test

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Holly Fisher is a right-wing online agitator who posted a Twitter photo on the left above last week as an in-your-face image in support of the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision.

Her pose was soon compared to the image at right of Reem Riyashi, a mother of two from Gaza who killed four people and herself with a suicide bomb in 2004.

As was so correctly posited by online news editor Ben Mathis-Lilley… Holly Fisher isn’t a suicide bomber, but even so, after an American holiday in which we use huge explosions to celebrate a country that has and still does regularly kill people abroad with drones, missiles, and bombs, perhaps even the non-extremist patriots among us might see the aesthetic overlap between the two images above and engage in some self-reflection about the potential consequences of aggressive conservative nationalist pride.

I know, I know. It’s only a photo of an enthusiastic youngster (uh, “Millennial”). She is a cliché come to life: gun, bible, and flag. All that’s missing is the apple pie.

But each “cute” and thoughtlessly acceptable step forward in extremism is another step toward the dangerous extremism.

Someday, someone will cross the line and stand draped in the flag and embrace the bible to righteously justify using the rifle on innocent citizen lives who just happen to disagree, or live a life just a bit differently, or look just a little less white christian, or maybe just were some minimum wage workers riding public transit to work one tragic day.

We already have had Tea Partiers wanting the US to default on its debt obligations. We already have had Tea Partiers gather in protest groups fully armed with exposed automatic weaponry just outside Washington DC. We see American Conservatives wanting to impose a Christian version of Sharia Law on US Citizens.

How long until our radicals become activated like “their” radicals? I hope, never.

Chills…


Boehner Issues Op Ed Justifying Suing President; Rational Voice Says “Boehner: Do Your Job Instead”

I get that Republicans are frustrated with President Obama.

Hey, I’m frustrated with him, too, and I voted for him! Unlike Reps, though, I find he’s not liberal enough (on the Political Spectrum charts, Obama is nearly identical to Romney). More importantly, I find Obama doesn’t lead “from the front” enough, hasn’t built a relationship with even his supporters amongst the citizenry, and has remained too stoic and isolated.

I get that Boehner is stunned by the primary election defeat of his lieutenant, Majority Whip Eric Cantor, and needs to build up his “bona fides.”

Hey, I’m stunned, too — Cantor is a conservative through and through… he simply tried to govern, which was his job. But I shouldn’t have been. I know Tea Party members who have shut out non-conforming family members. I know Tea Party parents who have disinherited their adult children who refused thought allegiance. My little fraternity brother from college has ostracized me for my differing views. Tea Partiers are the most cruel and ruthless people, as a group — though I have some good friends who are nominal Tea Party advocates (I say they are “nominal;” they say “adherent”) that are more than accepting of me and supportive of me, though I am a liberal gay man partnered to a man-of-mixed race for a couple decades and who is non-religious if nominally anti-religious establishment… everything Tea Party folk loathe. Yet, they remain my friends, so exceptions wonderfully prevail at times.

So, now we have Boehner attempting to build his bona fides, or rather attempting to show Tea Partiers he has balls made for obstructionism. We all know this is a show, a sham. Still, Boehner makes the effort to add a semblance of credence at every turn, recently by issuing an Op Ed in CNN, where he assails the “utterly beneath the dignity of the office” President Obama. Really? You guys who wanted to have the nation default on its financial debt obligations talk about being beneath the dignity of one’s office? Get real. Such a sad lot.

After reading Boehner’s Op Ed, I felt the urge to write, but before I could get there, I read the most perfect rebuttal completely bathed in revealing truth. I could do no better. So with that I offer a word to Boehner expressed by Sally Kohn.

Sally Kohn is a progressive activist, columnist and television commentator.

Dear Speaker Boehner,

President Theodore Roosevelt enacted 1,081 executive orders during his presidency. President Dwight Eisenhower had 484. President Ronald Reagan had 381. And President George W. Bush had 291.

President Barack Obama has enacted 182 executive orders — yet the GOP accuses him of being an “imperial president,” and Republican members of the House of Representatives are preparing to sue him for violating the Constitution.

With all due respect, Speaker Boehner, it’s as though the fog of extreme partisanship that has colored your dealings with President Obama since day one has suddenly turned into a full-on fever of irrationality.

Think about this for just a second: House Republicans are using taxpayer dollars to fund a lawsuit against a President who has literally done not only what every president before him has done but has done it less often and is doing so now only because House Republicans repeatedly refuse to even vote on legislation, let alone pass anything.

And you have the gall to accuse the President of being the one in violation of the Constitution?

Even more frustrating is how your repeated attacks on the President fall factually flat. In your essay for CNN, you write: “After years of slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama, they are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?'”

This is a particularly laughable assertion given last week’s jobs report, which noted our economy added 288,000 jobs in June, marking 52 straight months of continuous job growth. Overall, under President Obama’s leadership, the private sector has added 9.7 million jobs and an economy that was in free fall when he was elected is now in a steady recovery.

Don’t think that recovery is fast enough, Speaker Boehner? Then pass laws to help rather than jeering from the sidelines and rooting for America to fail so you can blame it on President Obama.

You assert that you have passed jobs bills that President Obama and the Democratic Senate are ignoring, but frankly the word “jobs” as you use it there is questionable. Your “jobs” bills include legislation to repeal Obamacare, through which 20 million Americans now have health insurance, cut food stamps for poor Americans and reduce government regulations on fracking.

Meanwhile, President Obama proposed an actual jobs bill that would have created construction jobs to modernize our deteriorating roads and airports, provided tax credits for employers that hired returning veterans, extended unemployment benefits, which also spurs spending, and cut payroll taxes for 98% of American businesses. But that jobs bill was killed by Republican opposition in Congress.

You also accuse President Obama of ignoring the law, of acting like “a monarch or king.” Yet the same article of the Constitution that vests power and authority in Congress vests executive power in the President. Since the founding of our country, that power has been interpreted to allow presidents to enact executive orders and determine how the duly passed laws of Congress should be prioritized and deployed.

If you’re looking for an example of stretching that authority to the point of breaking it, perhaps you shouldn’t scrutinize a former Constitutional law professor but instead his predecessors. “I believe in a strong, robust executive authority,” Vice President Dick Cheney said in 2005. “The president of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired.”

Cheney, for instance, described the War Powers Act — in which a president must gain the approval of Congress before launching armed conflict — as an unconstitutional “infringement on the authority of the presidency.” In both number and scope, President Obama’s use of executive actions simply pales against this and other actions one could compare.

Franklin Roosevelt, the last president faced with a massive economic recession, ultimately enacted 3,522 executive orders. Even though his own party controlled both houses of Congress, FDR wasn’t sued. He was elected to a third term. And his policies, including his executive orders, helped rescue America from the recession.

In the face of obstructionist Republicans in Congress, President Obama’s executive actions also enjoy broad public support.

Some 57% of Americans supported his administrative relief for young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States when they were children. And according to a poll conducted by the LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, 73% of Americans support an executive order to ban discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

If House Republicans don’t like these executive orders, then pass immigration reform and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Don’t sue the President. Passing laws that our nation wants and needs is doing your job. Suing the President just because you don’t like him is irresponsible partisan petulance.

Speaker Boehner, you write: “If you look back over American history, there has always been a tension between the inherent powers of the executive branch versus the inherent powers of the legislative branch.”

Yes, that’s true, and President Obama is simply exercising those inherent executive powers. Now please exercise yours and pass some laws to help America instead of wasting taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit that is nothing more than a flagrant partisan stunt.obama-boehner


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