Good job, Indiana

The Indiana House has passed a bill that I think is just dandy:

Hoosiers could legally defend themselves against police officers who enter their home under a measure that the Indiana House approved on a 74-24 vote, moving it another step toward becoming law, on Thursday.

The measure would overturn last year’s Indiana Supreme Court decision. The court ruled that homeowners do not have the right to use force against law enforcement officials who they believe are illegally entering their homes.

When I originally heard about this story it was from a biased source, so I was led to believe that Indiana was in the process of explicitly telling homeowners they could shoot police officers for the least of reasons. Of course, this bill would allow a homeowner to shoot a cop, but it would need to be for a damn good reason. Moreover, the use of force being discussed here is more about physically forcing an officer out of one’s home (provided the entry has been illegal) rather than just shooting him. In other words, it’s common sense. The police shouldn’t be granted the right to enter a person’s home illegally anymore than a grocery clerk should be granted that right.

Well done, Indiana. Well done.


Well, isn’t Indiana just silly

A bunch of kooks in the Indiana state senate have decided to go ahead and try to bring an expensive lawsuit to their doorstep:

On January 31, 2012, the Indiana Senate voted 28-22 in favor of Senate Bill 89. As originally submitted, SB 89 provided, “The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.” On January 30, 2012, however, it was amended in the Senate to provide instead, “The governing body of a school corporation may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.”

In other words, these people recognize the fact of evolution – that fact that is supported so thoroughly, overwhelmingly, and wonderfully – is in direct conflict with their religious dogma, so instead of adjusting to the evidence, they want to ignore it, even promoting ideas that are blatantly false. It’s a good thing it is so well established that they cannot use government to do this. Not that bill sponsor Dennis Kruse knows this:

Kruse acknowledged that the bill would be constitutionally problematic but, he told the education blogger at the Indianapolis Star (January 31, 2012), “This is a different Supreme Court,” adding, “This Supreme Court could rule differently.”

It’s true that there is a reckless disregard for the constitution amongst some of the justices and political figures on the Supreme Court, but with the possible exception of worst-court-members-in-history Scalia and Thomas, no one is going to uphold the teaching of creationism in public schools. Kruse doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

If these religious zealots are so anxious to promote their doctrines and dogmas, then they can do so through dispassionate courses such as comparative religion and philosophy. That would enable them to spread their views without actively promoting them; it is active promotion that is the problem here. Of course, students will also have to deal with competing ideas, something which is antithetical to religious thought, but it’s the best that these kooks are constitutionally allowed to do with public funds – thank goodness.

Medicaid patients get screwed

And now they have no birth control to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies:

Thousands of low-income Planned Parenthood of Indiana patients were left fending for themselves Tuesday to pay for birth control, breast exams, Pap tests and other medical services while a court battle continued over a new state law that eliminated the organization’s Medicaid funding…

Nicole Robbins, a 31-year-old single mother who has been a Planned Parenthood client for six years, said she had intended to visit a Planned Parenthood clinic in Indianapolis on Tuesday to pick up a 2-month supply of birth control pills. Then, the Medicaid recipient learned that the more than $100,000 in private donations the group had raised since May 10 had dried up.

Given that we know what Planned Parenthood actually does, this law has been designed in a way that is primarily going to hurt the poor for no good reason. In fact, why wouldn’t this increase abortions? If a person can hardly afford birth control, the rate of protected individuals is going to drop. And when some of those women get pregnant, it’s often going to make more sense to scrape together the cash in order to get an abortion. Think about it. In the first situation the choice is birth control and no or little cushion money or no birth control and a little money. People will take the latter risk. In the second situation the choice is pay for a child for the next 18 years or pay for an abortion. Some women who otherwise would not be pregnant will take the second option. This increases abortion.

And I’m fine with that. Cells with potential are not humans. If that were the case, sperm and eggs would be humans – That people wish to pick an arbitrary level of potential does not a human make. But it looks like Indiana wants to interfere with science:

The Medicaid de-funding measure took effect the same day that Gov. Mitch Daniels signed the law. But other provision of the law that gives the state some of the nation’s tightest restrictions on abortions won’t take effect until July 1.

Those include a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy unless there is a substantial threat to the woman’s life or health and a requirement that doctors ensure women seeking an abortion are told that life begins at conception.

Oh, well, if Indiana lawmakers declare something to be so, then clearly it is. This reminds me of that myth of some state legislature, perhaps Ohio, declaring that Pi equals exactly 3.14. Except this time the scientific intrusion is real.

Court: U.S. constitution invalid in Indiana

At least that’s the only reasonable interpretation to this awful ruling:

Overturning a common law dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Hoosiers have no right to resist unlawful police entry into their homes.

In a 3-2 decision, Justice Steven David writing for the court said if a police officer wants to enter a home for any reason or no reason at all, a homeowner cannot do anything to block the officer’s entry…

The court’s decision stems from a Vanderburgh County case in which police were called to investigate a husband and wife arguing outside their apartment.

When the couple went back inside their apartment, the husband told police they were not needed and blocked the doorway so they could not enter. When an officer entered anyway, the husband shoved the officer against a wall. A second officer then used a stun gun on the husband and arrested him.

Despite a couple of bad political justices, I see this getting overturned when it surely gets to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shai Warfield-Cross sings the national anthem

This sounds like a fine version of The Star-Spangled Banner to me. The singer, a 16 year old Indiana high school student, has her own stamp on it, but that her style is unique can hardly be called offensive.

Unless you’re an idiot.

Principal Jeff Henderson told The Herald-Times in a statement that people had complained that while the words to the anthem were the same, the tune was unrecognizable. He declined to comment to The Associated Press.

Some who complained after the game in Martinsville – a predominantly white community about 30 miles southwest of Indianapolis – also said they felt the rendition was disrespectful to current and former members of the military, Henderson said.

I have no idea how Warfield-Cross’ rendition can possibly be considered offensive. It is certainly within the realm of traditional versions when one considers all the different renditions that are out there. Besides that, so what if it isn’t traditional? Uniqueness does not make something bad. If anything, I would rather hear a version like Warfield-Cross’ before a sporting event than some of the other versions I’ve heard – and I’m talking about some extremely well done versions I’ve heard at major sporting venues such as Fenway.

As for the race issue, I’m not willing to buy it. Maybe that was the motivation, but no news story has identified the chief whiner in all this. Surely that person has some illegitimate reason for the complaint, but it isn’t clear that race is at the heart of it.

And as for the school, an apology was issued.

The formal apology by Principal Jeff Henderson was made public Thursday after a nearly two-hour meeting with student Shai Warfield-Cross, 16, her family and other supporters.

Maybe next time the school and Jeff Henderson will know to stand up to the whiners out there.