By Robert A. Vella
The passing of Senator John McCain saddens me immensely. The nation has lost a dutiful, principled, and independent public servant of the highest order. Such character traits are severely lacking these days, and I fear that America’s heart and soul will be forever lost without them. McCain was not a perfect man nor a perfect politician, and he often admitted so; but, when the chips were down, when the situation demanded courage and responsibility, he could be counted on to do the right thing. I’ll leave the final remarks to McCain’s 2008 presidential opponent. From: McCain requested Obama, George W. Bush deliver eulogies at funeral
“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did,” Mr. Obama continued. “But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt.”
Here are some other important stories to catch-up on this Sunday:
From: New Australia PM rewards allies, keeps rebels in cabinet (clarification by The Secular Jurist)
New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison rewarded supporters and extended an olive branch to rebel right-wingers as he unveiled his “new generation” cabinet Sunday after taking power in a party-room coup.
Morrison, the former treasurer (finance minister), was sworn in as prime minister Friday after winning a Liberal Party [this is a conservative political party] leadership challenge against incumbent moderate Malcolm Turnbull.
The challenge had been instigated by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, whom Morrison — also to the right of the party — defeated in a secret ballot. He sought to heal the wounds exposed by the infighting.
Environment and energy policies were key bones of contention between Turnbull and the right-wingers, who wanted him to prioritise older electricity generation sources such as coal over renewables and emissions mitigation.
Wind-farm critic and Dutton supporter Angus Taylor was chosen as energy minister, tasked with the job of lowering soaring electricity prices.
MP Melissa Price, who represents major mining and agriculture centres in Western Australia state, picked up the environment ministry.
Unions representing federal workers on Saturday declared victory in what they have described as an assault by the Trump administration after a federal judge struck down key provisions of a set of executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire employees and weaken their representation.
The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in Washington, was a setback to the White House’s efforts to rein in federal unions, which have retained significant power over working conditions even as private-sector unions are in decline.
California’s legislature passed two bills this week that would ban employers from taking a number of steps that activists inspired by the #MeToo movement say help employers hide instances of sexual abuse.
The bills, which have been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for a signature, would ban secret settlements that require victims to stay quiet about crimes as well as mandatory arbitration clauses and nondisclosure agreements in employment contracts, reports.
The bill focusing on mandatory arbitration is supported by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who was fired by Fox in 2016 after she says she was sexually harassed by then-CEO Roger Ailes.
CUTHBERT, Ga. —Some residents of this town are old enough to remember when government officials would intimidate and punish black residents for trying to exercise the right to vote. Others, having come of age when an African American man was president of the United States, thought the days of such brazen discrimination were long past.
But nearly everyone saw a recent proposal to close more than two-thirds of the polling places in Randolph County, a predominantly black community in southwestern Georgia, as a reminder of the lingering traces of the state’s history of voter suppression.
After a week of ferocious pushback — including two packed town-hall meetings in which residents berated local elections officials, as well as warning letters, threats of lawsuits by civil rights groups and national media coverage — county officials fired the consultant who came up with the plan.
Three men who took part in a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year were sentenced this week to several years in prison in connection with a couple of the event’s most violent episodes.
On Thursday, two of the men received prison time for participating in the beating of a black man in a garage. Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, was sentenced to serve eight years in prison, and Alex Michael Ramos, 34, received a sentence of six years.