Sochi, Russia – The 2014 Winter Olympics is just weeks away, and this spectacle to be hosted by Russia is gaining all the publicity plus a lot of controversy. Among other things, there have been numerous attempts to organize a boycott of the Sochi Olympics because of laws enacted by the government of Vladimir Putin criminalizing the public display of homosexuality within Russia. And just last month, the White House announced that the official U.S. delegation won’t include a member of President Barack Obama’s family or an active cabinet secretary, but it will include openly gay athletes including Billie Jean King, the tennis legend; and figure skater Brian Boitano.
Today, in a statement that stunned the sports and political world circles, the U.S. National Olympic Committee (USNOC) said that it has chosen the U.S. flag bearer for the February 7 Opening Ceremonies. It will be none other than Edward Snowden, the American accused of espionage in connection with leaks of top-secret information from the National Security Agency. Snowden is now living in Moscow and has been granted political asylum by the Putin government – another stickler in the hot and cold diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia.
In justifying its selection, the Olympic Committee said that regardless of the charges against him, Snowden represents the true spirit of strength, courage and perseverance which are among the prime ideals of Olympic sports. The Committee also admitted that using a controversial and recognizable figure like Snowden would generate a lot of buzz and would add to the popularity of the U.S. Olympic team. It is also part of the USNOC’s continuing strategy at cost savings. “Since Snowden is already in Russia,” we won’t have to pay for any travel expenses,” a USNOC spokesperson said.
Salt Lake City, Utah – The U.S. Supreme Court just handed down an order staying a Utah lower court’s decision recognizing that the Constitution forbids marriage discrimination . Though Utah requested that Justice Sonia Sotomayor issue the stay on her own, the Court’s order indicates that she referred the decision to the full Court. No justice indicated a dissent, although that does not necessarily mean that all nine justices would have granted the stay.
Today’s decision which put same-sex marriages in Utah on hold, upset many in the lgbt community and activists in the marriage equality movement, especially because they always thought that Sotomayor, an Obama appointee, was an ally and considered her one of the radical justices on the Supreme Court.
In a statement issued late today, Sotomayor admitted that she is actually a closeted conservative and that she regrets having misled those in the U.S. Senate who voted for her confirmation thinking she was pro-women’s rights, pro-gay rights, pro-abortion, and pro-everything radical.
The presumptive lgbt lead organization, the Human Rights Campaign, is still crafting its response to the Sotomayor announcement. Stay tuned.
New York, New York – If pets can have it, why can’t humans? With this common sense-question before it, a top-level immigration sub-committee of the United Nations is busy drafting an international code that would all but eliminate passports as we know it.
Currently, most countries issue and require machine-readable passports as part of their immigration laws. These passports have greatly facilitated entry procedures worldwide by a simple scan of the travel documents.
The new code will instead require travelers and citizens to have their citizenship and residency information stored in microchips implanted in their forearms. It would be similar to microchips implanted in pets.
The sub-committee members said that this technonogical change would not only reduce long lines at ports of entry at airports, border checkpoints and disembarking piers worldwide, but also reduce the incidence of fake passports which continue to be a big problem.
Visa information, if required, would also be incorporated into the microchips. Any updates or change in personal information and status can be easily changed by logging on to the Internet with a unique password provided by the issuing government agency.
The new rules are expected to be in effect by January 1, 2016. Have a microchip? Will travel!