National Shorts

Marijuana Legal in Delaware


(WNS)–Delaware became the 20th state on Thursday to allow people to possess small amounts of marijuana. Under the new law, people 21 and older caught with less than an ounce of the drug would face a civil fine, not a criminal charge. The law goes into effect in six months. “The governor remains committed to reducing the number of people entering the criminal justice system and refocusing resources where they are needed most,” said Kelly Bachman, a spokesperson for Gov. Jack Markell. Selling marijuana remains illegal in the state.

North Carolina Enacts Religious Protections for Marriage Officials


North Carolina Enacts Religious Protections for Marriage Officials


(WNS)–The North Carolina House voted in early June to override the governor’s veto and institute religious freedom protections for state employees who perform marriages and issue marriage licenses. The law creates a legal way for magistrates and workers in register of deeds offices to opt out if they have a “sincerely held religious objection” to same-sex marriage. Under the law, employees with religious objections can refuse to participate in same-sex weddings but also must stop performing all marriages for at least six months. The chief district court judge or the county register of deeds—both elected officials—would fill in on these marriages if needed.


Twitter Account Demands Transgender Pronoun Compliance


(WNS)–Amid the Twitter frenzy about Bruce Jenner’s gender switch, people have begun receiving messages from a Twitter bot called @she_not_he.  The account sends an automatic reply to Twitter users who write about Jenner using a “he” pronoun. As of Wednesday morning, the account sent 2,500 tweets to users who refer to Jenner as “he” instead of “she.” The July cover of Vanity Fair, featuring Jenner with the headline “Call me Caitlyn,” went viral, and Jenner’s Twitter account reached 1 million followers in four hours.


Gates Foundation Pushes Permanent Contraception


(WNS)–An Oregon gynecologist is developing a nonsurgical method of permanent contraception with a $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The foundation claims the grant, awarded late last year, will be used to assist women who have reached their desired family size and no longer wish to have children. But critics argue the Gates-funded project is a continuation of the foundation’s unbalanced focus on contraception and sterilization in the developing world.  The grant is the third from the Gates Foundation to the Oregon Health & Science University. The first, for $1 million, was used to assess whether a foam used to treat varicose veins might also double as a permanent contraceptive. The second, for $295,000, was used to establish the Oregon Permanent Contraception Research Center (OPERM).


New Dating App Claims to “Liberate” People from Monogamy


(WNS)–A new dating app for people desiring non-monogamous, open relationships has drawn 70,000 users since it launched last month. The app’s website bills it as an anti-cheating alternative for members who are “liberated from the confines of conventional, old-fashioned, repressed ways of loving.” The app, called OpenMinded, claims it caters to the growing number of people interested in “unconventional relationship configurations.” OpenMinded founder, Brandon Wade, launched the app in the midst of what he calls a shift in societal ideals: “Society has come to a point where marriage has taken a downward turn because it no longer satisfies the needs of the modern woman or man.”  Conservative social analysts acknowledge a trend towards more casual sex, but they argue Wade’s claims that most Americans are unsatisfied with monogamous marriage don’t hold. Rachel Sheffield, a policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation, notes the vast majority of Americans don’t accept or desire a marriage that allows for extramarital affairs.  Sheffield points to a Gallup survey released last week that found only 8 percent of Americans view married men or women having an affair as morally acceptable. That number increased just 1 percent from 2001 to 2015, while acceptance for other moral issues , like homosexual relationships and having a baby outside marriage, jumped 23 percent and 15 percent respectively during the same time period.



Iowa Cancels Straw Poll


(WNS)–Organizers have called off this year’s Iowa Straw Poll, saying the event that was once a bellwether for the Republican presidential nomination has lost its relevance. Candidates once forked over piles of cash to put their names in the running and bring in supporters to vote in the straw poll, a fundraiser for the Iowa Republican Party. But the poll has declined in prominence, and this year, many of the GOP’s top candidates—including Sen. Marco Rubio, R.-Fla; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—planned to ditch the event. The governing board of the Iowa Republican Party voted unanimously to cancel it. “We set the table and they didn’t come to dinner,” Iowa GOP Chairman Jeff Kaufmann told The Des Moines Register and Radio Iowa.






Leave a Reply