Monday, June 24, 2013

Waiting for the News to Break

Today is Monday, June 24, 2013. 

There is a sort of lull right now before several big-time news stories break.  

Right now, Nelson Mandela, 94, former president of South Africa, and before that, a long-time political prisoner, is in critical condition with a lung infection.  He was brought to the hospital on June 8 in a military ICU ambulance that broke down while it was transporting him.  That seems horrible to Americans, but from what I understand, cars break down a lot in Africa.  The doctors traveling with the convoy insisted that the breakdown and resulting wait for another ambulance did not compromise Nelson's condition, and that seems to be true, given that his condition was fairly stable for several days.  Nobody really expects a 94-year-old to fight off a lung infection, and I suspect that Nelson will leave us soon, having lived an exemplary life of service and benefit to all of humanity.  While his body clings to life, the news organizations are no doubt busy in the background, putting together tribute after tribute to this great man. 

As if to compensate for the eventual loss of Mandela, a baby will be born soon who will be in line for the throne of England.   Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is due to deliver a child sometime in July, according to reports.  The cheap tabloids had her due the same day as Kim Kardashian, but since Kardashian has already had her bundle of joy, we all know that couldn't have been true.  

The birth will follow protocol for announcements.  There will be one announcement when the Duchess leaves for the hospital, and another when the baby is born, but not until the royal family has had their chance to see the baby.  

Meanwhile, the press has us all on pins and needles, and while waiting, they are doing stories on the items that the mother-to-be has bought at various trendy – and very pricy – stores, as well as some of the plans already in place for the birth.  

Apparently, Prince William plans to be present for the birth, as most modern fathers do.  The couple has chosen not to find out the sex of the baby, but with the legal changes in protocol that have been made recently, the child seems destined to be a monarch of England whether it is a boy or a girl. 

At least one of the things we're waiting for will occur on schedule.  On Tuesday, President Obama is due to announce his policy on climate change.  I, for one, hope that he will announce that he is not going to allow the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built, but at this point, I wonder if that is too much to hope for.  We'll see what the president says.  No matter what it is, Republicans will no doubt waste no time in putting up roadblocks to whatever it is the president wants to do. 

The Supreme Court will be meeting for the last time before their summer recess today.  They have eleven cases, several of them very high-profile, to rule on.  Some of the legislation being considered in Congress will depend on these rulings. 

There are two cases involving gay marriage being considered right now.  One case challenges California's ban on same-sex marriage, and the other deals with federal laws that deny legally-married gay couples from receiving various tax, health, and pension benefits. 

There is also – in this day and age – a voting rights case. They have already struck down  Arizona's voter ID law.  The case they have yet to rule on involves the constitutionality of having to get federal approval before making changes to voting procedures.  

A case that is making headlines in my home state of South Dakota is one involving Native American adoption.  A Native American father is suing the couple who adopted his daughter for custody.  The case involves the interpretation of a 1978 law intended to prevent American Indian children from being taken from their homes and typically placed with non-Indian adoptive or foster parents.  This case probably represents just the tip of the iceberg, because the Sioux tribes are accusing the state of South Dakota of taking away children whose parents are perfectly capable of raising them, and the Native Americans here are watching this particular case very closely. 

There is a case involving generic drugs,  a case having to do with private property and two cases dealing with racial discrimination in the workplace.  It will apparently take a while for the opinions of the court to become public.  Meanwhile... we wait.  :-/

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