Support for Bradley Manning
A 5 p.m. rally at Westlake Park today will protest the 35-year sentence given to Bradley Manning for leaking massive amounts of classified government information. Gerry Condon, one of the speakers for the rally and a national Veterans for Peace board member, said, "We are outraged that he has been given such a harsh sentence." He also expressed concern that the sentence would deter military personnel concerned about war crimes from objecting, an international legal obligation.
Condon, a former Seattle resident, noted that Manning's attorney hopes that Manning could be eligible for parole in as little as seven years. The Veterans for Peace will campaign for a reduced sentence and a presidential pardon, and it will support Manning's legal appeals. Of the overall finding, Condon said, "The government thinks that it has the right to know everything about us, even read our emails. But yet, as they show with Bradley Manning, they don't think we have the right to know what they are doing with our money and our tax dollars." Condon said he expects a couple hundred people for the rally with more possibly joining for a march afterward to Seattle Community College on Capitol Hill.
Abortion requirements at public hospitals
Attorney General Bob Ferguson today issued a formal opinion saying that hospitals operating with public funding have obligations to provide contraception or abortion to women. The opinion finds that public hospital districts providing any kind of maternity care must also offer "substantially equivalent benefits, services or information" in other areas of reproductive care. The legal obligation comes from Initiative 120, a 1991 voter-approved abortion law, according to AG's finding.
State Sen. Kevin Ranker of Orcas Island raised the question about affiliation agreements between a public hospital district and religious health care institutions opposed to abortion. The opinion, which isn't legally binding, notes that there is no obligation for a hospital district to provide maternity benefits. But it says that, even under a contract with an outside health care institution, a public hospital must provide fuller reproductive services if any maternity care is offered. The opinion doesn't deal with how "equivalent benefits" are to be provided and it doesn't address purely private hospitals, a press release said.
Bus nap app
A Cornell University student, Peter Zieske, won a contest among Microsoft interns with an app to wake up napping bus riders before they miss their transit stops. As GeekWire reports, his app "is designed to wake users up when they arrive at their stop — using integrated public transit routes and GPS technology. Just type a bus route, select a stop, and zone out for the rest of the ride." The application is available on the Windows Phone Marketplace.
There's at least one similar application for iPhones, Androids and Blackberry devices. Zieske would really deserve his Seattle chops if he'd integrate his app with OneBusAway and The Stranger's Cocktail Compass — which has probably caused a few hundred thousand instances of folks nodding off on the bus.
Fire near Leavenworth grows again
The Eagle Fire near Leavenworth grew overnight to 1,500 acres and now has forced authorities to issue Level 2 (Leave soon!) and Level 3 (Leave now!) evacuation orders for residents of more than 60 houses. The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Icicle River Middle School in Leavenworth, and authorities have scheduled a public meeting at Leavenworth's Cascade High School at 7 p.m. A fire status report updated around 2:45 p.m. said the fire, which is as close as five miles from Leavenworth, has a high potential for further growth. Another fire, the Manastash Ridge blaze, covers about 400 acres and is visible from Cle Elum, Ellensburg and Naches. No evacuations have been ordered, but authorities asked visitors to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest to be alert to fire dangers.
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