Shark finners sue, Elevator Hijinx, Prop8, and Komen Brouhaha [I read stuff]

Wherein I read things, laugh [or not], and pass them on to you…

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Group of shark fin suppliers sues state over ban:

A San Francisco-based association of shark fin suppliers has sued the state over the Legislature’s recently passed ban on the sale, distribution or use of fins, which are used to make shark fin soup.

The Asian American Rights Committee of California filed the lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, arguing the new law violates Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce.

“By outlawing the acquisition, possession, or sale of all shark fins in California, the shark fin ban not only burdens but entirely eliminates this interstate trade,” according to the lawsuit.

[sfgate.com/The Dorsal Fin/4 Feb 2012]

Firefighter Rescues Man from Stuck Elevator, Both Immediately Get Trapped in Another Elevator:

Getting stuck in an elevator’s rare, but you assume the experience would fall somewhere between the opening of Speed and a late-night Cinemax flick. A Chicago man turn it into Groundhog Day when, after being rescued from one elevator, he promptly got stuck in another on the way back down to safety.

Firefighters initially rescued a man between the 21st and 22nd floors of his 49-story apartment building. To get back to the ground floor, rescuer and rescuee took the building’s other, functional elevator—which proceeded to also get stuck. Because both elevators were now stalled, and everyone probably had less idiotic things to do with their time, rescue crews briefly considered busting through a brick wall to get at the poor guy and the firefighter who was trapped with him. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and an engineer simply reset both death traps elevators from the roof.

Reason stands that it’s probably safe for this guy to take every elevator he encounters for the rest of his life, since the odds of getting trapped in an elevator three times in your life are probably pretty minuscule. Of course, that probably applies to people who live in buildings where every single elevator isn’t broken. [Chicago Tribune via Fark]

[gizmodo/Kyle Wagner/6 Feb 2012]

Good News: Court Rules Gay Marriage-Denying Proposition 8 (Proposition “H8″) Unconstitutional:

Great news out of California. An appeals court has ruled that Proposition 8, the California voter-approved measure that banned same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional. Shy of four years ago, the fact that California had voted in favor of this odious measure was the cloud that marred the excitement of President Obama’s victory.

This isn’t the end of the legal battle, but it’s an exciting and just ruling.

From the LA Times:

A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage as early as next year.

The 2-1 decision by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to one man and one woman, violated the U.S. Constitution. The architects of Prop. 8 have vowed to appeal.

The ruling was narrow and likely to be limited to California.

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

[alternet/7 feb 2012]

Karen Handel, Right Wing VP of Komen Quits Over Planned Parenthood Flap:

Here at AlterNet, we’ve been writing extensively about the ties between Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Karen Handel, the organization’s new Senior VP with right wing ties and an anti-abortion vendetta, and its controversial move to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood–a move that they later apologized for and reversed.

After the strong link between Handel’s hiring and the disastrous policy were revealed, many expected her to resign. An ad for a position that looked suspiciously like hers even popped up on Komen’s site (password protected).

She finally left this morning–a long-awaited victory for the forces of sanity, and an indication that at last, Komen may be reckoning with the seriousness of their mistake.

[AlterNet/Sarah Seltzer/7 Feb 2012]

6 Essential Facts About the Komen Controversy:

1. Yes, Komen reversed itself, but the exact future of the grants to Planned Parenthood remain unclear.

2. The deeper problems with Komen include a lack of checks and balances and a strong connection to Republican politics.

3. Right-wing Republicans Karen Handel and Ari Fleischer both had direct influences on this decision that was so fateful for Komen’s brand.

4. Komen has led lobbying efforts against common-sense healthcare bills for years–even those that would help women.

5. While the PR win of this brouhaha belongs to Planned Parenthood, the backlash has brought up some unfortunate myths — including the myth of abortion having a medical link to cancer.

6. The backlash against Komen was a widespread grassoots revolt, not a conspiracy by the “liberal media” (sorry, Ross Douthat)

[alternet/Sarah Seltzer/7 feb 2012]

Turns Out Komen Vice Pres. Karen Handel is Anti-Gay Everything:

Komen for the Cure Vice President for Public Policy Karen Handel is anti gay everything. She’s “wholeheartedly” agaisnt gay marriage, civil unions, ‘absolutely agaisnt gay adoptions’ and domestic partner benefits.

In a 2010 interview with an NBC affiliate in Georgia—just one year before she took the job at Komen—Handel bloated about supporting Georgia’s constitutional amendment against gay marriage.

“I’ve been very clear. And you know, as a Christian, marriage is between a man and a woman,” she said in the interview with Atlanta’s WXIA-TV.

“And it’s something that I supported wholeheartedly,” she said.

Handel’s staunchly anti-gay comments are surfacing as a number of Komen employees leak information that she’s responsible for cutting ties with Planned Parenthood, a decision the pink-ribbon foundation reversed on Friday.

[ColorLines.com /Jorge Rivas/6 Feb 2012]

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