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Supreme Court Rules Animal Cruelty law Violates Free Speech

The Supreme Court ruled that the law making the sale of animals being tortured violates the right to free speech.
An 8-to-1 ruling this week making the federal law that bans the sale of animal-cruelty videos was a victory for Robert Stevens who was sentenced to three years in prison in 2005 for creating and distributing videos of dog fights, according to the BBC.
The law established in 1999 was supposed to deter depictions of animal cruelty and aimed at limiting internet sales of "crush" videos that show women crushing small animals with their hih-heeled soes, according to the BBC.
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., affirmed the essentialness of freedom of expression, even during societal condemnation. NY Times editor commented saying "It was gratifying that the court recognized that the right way to protect animals from abuse is through laws aimed at the abuse itself, not at free expression."
Justice Samuel Alito, who dissented, said the cruelty to the animals was enough to continue the law. Alito said animal cruelty videos should not be protected by the constitution, but treated like child pornography, according to Reuters.

Obama sets new bar for Space Program

Barack Obama has sternly come back at critics on Thursday who said Obama's space plan will end the nation's human spaceflight program.
Obama addressed about 200 attendees at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, telling them of his new "revitalized" space agency plan, according to the NY Times.
"By 2025 we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first ever crew missions beyond the moon into deep space," he said.
"So, we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to earth, and a landing on Mars will follow," Aljazeera reported Obama saying.
Obama argued the space program, flying astronauts to space, would be better served by funding private companies rather than continuing government support for the program.
Obama said the U.S. cannot continue doing the same old things as before.
"In short, 50 years after the creation of NASA, our goal is no longer just a destination to reach. Our goal is the capacity for people to work and learn, operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time, ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite," the Times reported.
Obama said the agency would begin developing a heavy-lift rocket by 2015 and slowly push the boundaries of where people can travel and live.
Obama promised $40 billion to help maintain workers at the Kennedy Space Center who would lose their jobs after space shuttles are retired, according to the Times.

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.-- Easter Sunday, the bodies of two Marinesl who were killed the previous week in Afghanistan were carried off the C-17 aircraft and into the sight of their waiting families.
Two mothers, a widow and a band of kin watched from the tarmac as the bodies of Sgt. Frank J. World, 25, of Buffalo and Lance Cpl. Tyler O. Griffen, 19, of Voluntown, Conn., were loaded into a large van, according to the NY Times.
Marines in camouflage fatigues and white gloves saluted the Marines one final time that dark morning and marched in formation behind the van as it drove slowly to the base mortuary.
In the last year, 462 service members, with nearly 2,000 relatives have gone through Dover.
"You're kind of numb, and getting up that early in the morning, you're even umber," Sgt. World's mother said. Sgt. World left behind a wife, Beth World, a 3-year-old son and a 2-month-old daughter he was due to meet in two months, according to the Post Gazette.
In January, Dover opened the Center for Families of the Fallen, aplace where parents, spouses, children, siblings and other relatives can gather before they are taken to the flight line. Dover officials want a meditiation center, where relatives can pray or be alone.
Troops are supposed to start withdrawing from Afghanistan July 2011, but the 30,000 extra troops Barack Obama ordered to the country are still due there this summer.

7-year-old Gang-raped at Least 7 Times

New Jersey officials announced on Saturday two adults and three juveniles were charged with gang-raping a 7-year-old after her 15-year-old stepsister sold her at a party.

The 15-year-old whose name has not been released went to a party on the 13th floor of the Rowan Towers, according to KDKA, and her younger sister tagged along.
The teen sold sex to men in the room and allowed them to touch the younger girl, which turned into sex by force.
Gregory Leary, 20, of Trenton, was arrested on Thursday, according to the NY Times, and charged with raping the teen.
Tiemear Lewis, 19, of Trenton, was also charged in the case, officials said.
The Mercer County prosecutor, Joseph Bocchini Jr., said his office will likely try at least one of the three juveniles charged, ages 17, 14 and 13, in adult court, according to the Times.
The 15-year-old is accused of having sex for money and accepting cash to let the men touch the 7-year-old; that touching led to the 7-year-old being raped at least seven times, according to KDKA.
Doug Palmer, the Mayor, said he met with the victim and her family on Thursday at his office to offer help and to make sure they were safely moved out of the neighborhood out of safety concerns.
Palmer said the 7-year-old told him "Everybody is staring at me. They know it's me," a quote pulled from the Times.

Obama's Healthcare Bill gets Passed

President Barack Obama signed his milestone healthcare bill into law at a White House ceremony on Tuesday.
"We have just now enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care," Obama said, a quote pulled from the NY Times.
The new bill will allow approximately 32 million uninsured Americans healthcare.
Republicans oppose the bill on the basis that it is too costly, the BBC reported; however, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion in over a decade.
The fight is not over yet. Republicans said they vow to repeal the bill in the Senate, and reconciliation is a way for lawmakers to add changes in a federal policy set by Congress but has a limit of 20 hours for debate.
NY Times quoted John Boehner, the Republican leader, who said Tuesday was no day to celebrate. "President Obama is abandoning our founding principle that government governs best when it governs closest to the people."
Democrats still have to convince Americans of the healthcare benefits of the bill, according to the Times.

7-year-old Hero Saves Family From Armed Robbers

Three armed robbers are still at large after they broke into a California home on Wednesday and threatened the parents of a 7-year-old who immediately called for help.
The 7-year-old, identified only as Carlos, locked himself and his sister in the bathroom and called the police, according to the BBC.
Monique Patino, the 911 dispatcher on the other end of the call, heard Carlos' say,
"There's some guys they're going to kill my mom and dad. Can you come please? Bring some cops, a lot of them. Can you come really fast? Hurry up."
"I felt the fear from the phone," Patino said at a police press conference, and she made the decision that even if it was a prank call she was going to send the police.
"Only a little bit," Carlos said when asked if he was afraid, the Hindu news reported

Female Marines going Door-Knocking in Afghanistan

Female Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., will be sent to Helmand Province next month in an attempt to win over the hearts and minds of Afghan women, according to the NY Times.
The Marines have spent time in "cultural awareness" classes, coached on the do's and don'ts of dealing with the Afghan villagers:
Do not approach Afghan women and fire off questions. As an ice breaker, play with the children and do not let the interpreter dominate the conversation, the instructor told the women.
Next month the first-ever "female engagement teams" will go with men on Helmand Province patrols and meet women in their homes, figure out their need for aid and gain intelligence.
These women are not naïve about the dangers ahead, reported the Times, half of them have been overseas.
"We all know that what you expect is not usually what it's going to end up being," Sgt. Melissa Hernandez, 35, said, a quote pulled from the Times.
Women are not allowed in ground combat, their training prepares them for worst-case scenarios--attacks and ambushes, reported Signonsandiego.
"And one more thing: 'If you have a pony tail,' said Marina Kielpinski, the instructor, 'let it go out the back of your helmet so people can see you're a woman.'"

Art or Indecency?

With snow blowing in horizontally, a model posed, naked, in a gallery window in Greenwich Village.

Megan Hanford, 26, said she's art, and it's her right to free speech and expression to pose nude in a New York gallery's window, according to the NY Post.

Police had Hanford removed on Sunday, but she is not breaking any laws, and the store manager is going to keep her in the window, naked, for the next couple weeks from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., according to the Times.

Hanford stands under a web made of shark eggs, shark teeth, beads and clay pipes. Artist Brian Reed said her nakedness is essential "so she can be fully at the center of that connectivity" of energy, a quote pulled from the Times.

Paul Browne, the department's chief spokesman, said they could not take any legal action because there was no lewd act.

1-year-old Kidnapped and Found

A 1-year-old girl was found in Connecticut after being abducted in Swansea, Mass., Thursday afternoon by a woman with Minnesota license plates, according to WHDH.

Jaylin Boudria was found in Middletown standing in a parking lot and was immediately taken to the children's hospital in Hartford, but she did not need treatment.

The abductor, Kimberly Johnson, 38, is Boudria's half aunt, and police do not believe her kidnapping was random, according to Southcoast.

The 1-year-old, her mother and Johnson were shopping when Johnson asked Boudria's mom to get her a coffee while Johnson and the baby waited in the car.
When the mother came out, Johnson was gone.

Johnson is still at large and may have changed her name to Alyssa, Swansea Police Chief George Arruda said.

Police have urged people with information on Johnson's whereabouts to call 911.

Jackson's Doctor Pleads Not Guilty to Manslaughter

Michael Jackson's personal doctor pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of involuntary manslaughter for the pop star's death.
Dr. Conrad Murray, a Houston cardiologist and Jackson's personal physician, entered his not-guilty plea in a Los Angeles Superior Court, according to the Star Tribune.
Officials said Murray gave the singer propofol, a powerful anesthetic, and two other sedatives to help Jackson sleep.
According to the coroner's report, the drugs Murray gave Jackson, along with other drugs, were the cause of Jackson's death.
Investigators originally hoped to charge Murray with second-degree murder without the presence of a motive, according to FoxNews, but did not think a jury would convict Murray.
Murray is out on bail, but must return for his April 5 preliminary hearing.
If convicted Murray could face up to four years in prison.
The Los Angeles Court judge ordered Murray to turn in his passport so he could not flee the country until then.

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