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Condon OR News

Jan 12, 2017

Why Refusing To Design Gay Wedding Flowers Was Barronelle Stutzman's Act Of Love

Unlike other challenges to friendship, however, the power of government intruded into this one. You can’t be hauled to court for declining to condone an affair. But you can for this. Washington enacted a Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). Barronelle was told that she had violated it. Whether she has or hasn’t the Washington State Supreme Court will decide. And whether the Washington law passes constitutional muster, the U.S. Supreme Court could decide. But I am interested in their friendship. The whole point of law is to help people live in harmony, not monotone. The whole point of discimination law is to ensure all people are treated with dignity. What about Rob and Barronelle? Has WLAD helped them? Is Rob being treated with more dignity as a result of it? Is Barronelle? The answers to these questions are obvious. Rob has not entered her shop since that day. The harmony is gone. Has his dignity been increased? Barronelle not only lost a friend, but finds her dignity and livelihood attacked in open court. What saddens me the most is that their friendship is broken. It would be sad enough if Rob took such great offense to her words that he broke off the friendship without trying to talk it through. Heaven knows that happens all too often with each of us. But what saddens me even more is the thought that he was encouraged to break off the friendship by WLAD itself. Did the ACLU convince him that it was worth losing a friend in order to help others? Did the attorney general convince him that he needed to sue Barronelle to advance the dignity of others? Who knows. Whatever went on behind the scenes, Rob no longer talks to Barronelle, and the only thing that changed was applying WLAD. Hide Your True Feelings and Stop Having Friends When the law was debated and passed, the state of Washington didn’t even contemplate that a denial of same-sex marriage would violate WLAD. After all, same sex-marriage remained illegal in Washington for three years after WLAD was on the books. Nor was it that Ingersoll finally learned the truth about his florist’s beliefs, or that Barronelle suddenly became a bigot after ten years of friendship. Consider also the millions of Americans watching this case unfold. Had Barronelle not treated her customer with care and love in the first place, he would never have asked her for this gift, and she would be off the hook. What do we expect other shop-owners and artists to learn from this? Hide your affection. Treat everyone the same. Leave your personal expression at home. Sell your goods without thought for your customers. Above all, hide your religion. This is not a recipe for love, dignity and unity. It is a recipe for impersonal relationships, distrust, and loneliness. Not only has Washington’s Law Against Discrimination been at the center of destroying one friendship, it will also make friendships and love more difficult across the board. In Shakespeare’s famous play, the feuding Montagues and Capulets destroyed both the love and the lives of Romeo and Juliet. Now that play has come to life. When the government weighs in on love and friendships, lovers and friends are crushed under it. We see it in the case of Barronelle and Rob, and we can predict the prevention of countless other friendships in its wake. Unless the Washington Supreme Court overturns the lower court, a 72-year-old woman will not only lose her business of nearly 40 years, she will also lose her house and retirement savings. That’s because, in an unprecedented move, the ACLU and state attorney general have sued not only her business, but her person for attorney fees estimated at more than a million dollars. One could hardly blame Barronelle if she were angry and embittered. But she’s not. Blogger Monica Bonewitz-Boyer privately talked to Barronelle, and here’s how she describes the conversation: “I then asked her how I could pray. Do you know what she said? She said, ‘Pray for Rob. He needs Jesus.’ She didn’t ask for me to pray for a win in court. She didn’t ask me to pray that she wouldn’t lose her home and a href=" (The Federalist)

Nov 3, 2016

Green Party's Margaret Flowers Challenges US Senate Debate in Maryland as Undemocratic

Black youth, intentionally exposes communities, like Flint, Michigan, to poisoned water, promotes drone warfare and the pilfering of the natural resources of Africa and South America.  The system, however is finding it more difficult to block out the voices of dissent. Such was the situation this week at the University of Baltimore College of Public Affairs where Dr. Margaret Flowers, the Green Party candidate for the Maryland US Senate seat, was refused the opportunity to participate in the only televised debate alongside Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Republican state Del. Kathy Szeliga.  The corporate media and the political duopoly collaborated to ensure that the Green Party message would not be heard. The sham excuse used to exclude Flowers was that her poll numbers had not reached 15%.  But, of course it is difficult to reach the magic number of 15% in the polls when one is systematically excluded from debates and public events. This is the revolving rigged system that Black people know so well. “When the police came to escort her off the stage neither candidate provided a meaningful protest of the anti-democratic process unfolding.” When the rigged debate started, audience members called for Dr. Flowers to join Van Hollen and Szeliga. Shouts of “let her speak” could be heard from the audience. Responding to the audience, Dr. Flowers took her place on the stage shaking hands with both candidates.  Standing on the stage, she turned her attention to the audience and said: “I think it’s important for voters to understand the differences between myself and Congressman Van Hollen and Delegate Szeliga.”  With the police moving on stage to remove her, she said, …”I mean, you say you’re a public university and you want to educate the public, but without having a full public discussion, that doesn't actually happen.” While Van Hollen and Szeliga seemed to agree with Dr. Flowers participating in the debate, when the police came to escort her off the stage neither candidate provided a meaningful protest of the anti-democratic process unfolding.  Delegate Szeliga noted that a third podium was available... (Black Agenda Report)

Jul 27, 2016

Devlin: Roadside flowers have different meaning for some

Understand this next sentence. I am not condoning violence: I am saying I understand that natives of the Middle East haven't forgotten the Crusades. Peter J. Devlin is a retired radio newsman who lives in the first house south of the county line. Contact him at (920) 487-3778 or at Read or Share this story: ... (Green Bay Press Gazette)

May 3, 2016

May flowers at Kahakai as elementary school hosts May Day/Lei Day production

May Day Court, including Princes and Princesses representing each island and, of course, the May Day King and Queen — Noah Condon and Taimane Luisa Ku’ualoha Alo. “Being the May Day Queen is being the perfect role model,” wrote Alo in a prepared statement that was read over the loudspeaker during her procession and printed in the May Day program. “(It) is special to me because it gives me the opportunity to honor my ancestors, my Hawaiian culture and my parents.” Following the procession were several choreographed performances, including one from ninth grade students at Seisa Gakuen Hokuto Junior High School in Japan. The Japanese students, who danced and played taiko drums, were visiting as part of an exchange program set up between Kahakai principal Jim Denight and Japan’s SEISA Group, run by Yasuo Miyazawa. The SEISA Group, which has been sending middle-school-aged students to Hawaii for 10 years, was started four decades ago with only a few students and a special focus on helping children with special education needs. Since then, the private school organization has expanded and now educates tens of thousands of both special and general education students alike from kindergarten through college. Japanese students make the trek across the Pacific to Kahakai twice yearly, and in 2016, a group of Hawaiian students made the first ever trip to Japan. Five Kahakai fifth-graders, all of whom are a part of Nagai’s after school Japanese class, spent five days in Japan immersing themselves in the culture. “It was to help them become a little more insightful of the culture and history of Japan, and get a little bit of the language,” Denight said. “They really got to feel the culture. Miyazawa has a good friend ... (West Hawaii Today)

Apr 22, 2016

What In Sam Hill?

Between us and the Columbia River some 65 miles ahead lies two towns. Condon (pop. 700), the seat of Gilliam Co., and Wasco (pop. 400), a shabby crossroads now being reborn as an equipment depot for the wind, grain, dairy and beef farmers. Condon is named after a man whose influence in Oregon is akin Luther Burbank’s influence in California: you learn about him in the 1st Grade. Here’s a wonderment: residents of Condon have won three Nobel Prizes. While the town has seen much better days, it’ll be there so long as the crops and the county are. When we reach the crown of the highlands, we see the slow moving blades of the planet’s largest wind farm with its mills lining the gorge in scattered formations. Finally we can see the exact crease that hides the Columbia and we know we’re getting close. We’d come the long way mostly so we could cross back over the John Day at a place called Cottonwood Canyon. The site of a storied old 14,000 acre cattle ranch’s HQ with its own (long-gone) log bridge over the river, it’s now Oregon’s newest and largest State Park. As usual, there’s no hint of the canyon until we see a yellow highway sign warning of curves ahead backed by another highway sign with a silhouette of a truck heading down a 45 degree grade. Down and down we go. We cross over the ultra-modern, subtly banked and gracefully sweeping concrete blast-walled river bridge and stop at the State Park to eat our homemade picnic lunches, soak in the scenery and listen to the sun-loving songbirds. The canyon is very beautiful and its scale impressive, but about all the State has done is put in a RV parking lot, a little tent campground, made “people friendly” the riverside cattle trails, hung lotsa watch out for this and that signs and, fronting the park HQ and the city park-like Day Use Area, laid down a giant painted blacktop parking lot. The idea being that if you build a giant parking lot then cars and land-yachts will come and fill it up for you. As it was, we had the DUA/HQ all to ourselves (Park Rangers, whose love of nature is blasphemous, have gone the way of the Indians). Although in their State Park brochure, and on their Official website, they advertise magnificent canyon top views with photographs, there are no parking lots, roads, designated trails, viewpoints or shaded picnic tables up on the rims. Since we’d been looking forward to strolling some up there, after enjoying our picnic, we split. * * * In my bit “Dalles City” I described the 19th Century railroad baron named Sam Hill as being “fabulously rich and genuinely crazed.” I was wrong about him being genuinely crazed. Turns out Sam Hill was a Quaker pacifist and a progressive social visionary, which made him at least a little bit crazed but not genuinely so and not at all in a bad way. Visionaries are very goal-oriented—visions demand to be realized—and being real sociable is rarely one of their gifts (Rarely an item in anybody’s complimentary gift package, come to think of it). Then if you’re out, in some small way, to improve the sorry lot of humankind, then the cynics will think you’re a phony and the peasants will think you’ll bring them bad luck; you always poking your nose where it don’t belong and stirring up trouble. Besides, ain’t this here great country of ours greater than any other country in the whole history of countries? Well, ain’t it? What passes for “Conservatism” is Traditionalism, and Tradi... (Anderson Valley)

Jan 8, 2016

Amid other police killings and murder cases, bail for Michael Slager not unusual

Daniel Hiers, who’s also suspected of shooting his 24-year-old wife in the head while she slept, remains missing 10 years later. To Charlie Condon, a Mount Pleasant attorney and past state attorney general, the judge’s decision to allow Slager’s release was “sensible” and “defensible.” It centered on the trial delay caused by another judge’s intent to try Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine at Emanuel AME Church, before Slager. The same lead prosecutor, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, is handling both. “You have a speedy trial motion filed and the (court) setting the trial after another major case, so that impacts the rights of the defendant,” Condon said. “But I have complete respect for why people would be upset.” Scott’s death in North Charleston, perhaps, provided a more vivid example than the other police-involved deaths. The bystander’s footage of the shooting was singed into the minds of many who have watched it. It fueled a nationwide discussion on the use of police force against black men. But Slager plans to use it, too, in his own defense when he is tried Oct. 31, contending that Scott had fought him and grabbed his Taser before he fired eight times as Scott ran away. $500,000 bail Until he gets that chance to clear his name of a murder charge, Slager will remain on house detention. In setting Slager’s release conditions, the judge sealed the location of the home at a defense attorney’s request. The lawyer cited safety concerns. Defendants who get bail typically must pay a bonding agent 10 percent of their total amount. In Slager’s case, that would be $50,000. The bondsman, backed by an insurance company, would be on the hook for the entire $500,000 bail if Slager didn’t show up for court. But in some cases, especially when a defendant or a family cannot afford the 10 percent, a bonding company will work out a lesser amount or come up with a payment plan. The details of Slager’s bond agreement were not immediately available. Sinkler Southeast Bail Bonding, backed by Palmetto Surety Corp., posted the bail. Slager has been deemed indigent, or unable to pay for his trial expenses with his own income and assets. Slager’s attorney, Andy Savage, has represented him for free but has asked for public money to pay for expert witnesses. The judge said he wouldn’t grant that request unless Savage formally asks to be Slager’s court-appointed lawyer, which could free up the funds. Even with Slager’s personal financial situation, a relative or a supporter could step in to pay his bond. “That’s what you have to do sometimes when they don’t have the money,” said Jim Robinson, owner of Robinson Bail Bonds in North Charleston. “A lot of time, it’s family.” ‘Some support’ In this week’s bail hearing, Newman did not indicate any change in the thoughts he expressed three months ago that Slager posed a danger to the community and a risk of fleeing prosecution. Before granting bail, though, he alluded to “excruciating” issues that he had to weigh and cited Slager’s family ties, his past employment and his lack of criminal history. Slager briefly pleaded his own case, asking the judge to give him a shot to “clear my name.” Scott’s father also stood, again labeling Slager as a threat to the community who still gets to see his family. All Walter Scott Sr. sees of his son is a “pot of flowers” at a graveyard, he said. The same emotion was apparent the next day, as the activists appeared in front of the jail. The crowd at a news conference grew to 30 people, including members of the NAACP, The Coalition: People United To Take Back Our Community, the S.C. Progressive Network and Black Lives Matter Charleston. “There’s a murderer on the loose,” one woman cried from a bullhorn, followed by unified chants of “we want Slager back in jail.” In the distance stood West Ashley resident Scott Garland, a counter-protester, with a “Blue Lives Matter” sign. Below the words was an image from the video that captured Scott’s dea... (Charleston Post Courier)