Wednesday, February 2, 2011

San Francisco: Board Of Supervisor Member Refuses To Say Pledge Of Allegiance

Posted: 8:12 pm PST February 1, 2011
A controversy was brewing at San Francisco’s City Hall Tuesday night over one of the new members of the Board of Supervisors who refuses to recite the pledge of allegiance.District Six Supervisor Jane Kim said she has been surprised by the criticism since she came to city hall as a supervisor.While Kim rises with her fellow supervisors for the Pledge of Allegiance at each session of the Board of Supervisors, she does not recite the pledge and hasn't since taking office last month.Kim said it's a personal decision of how to honor the flag and country."I don't think our flag represents a nation where there's liberty and justice for all," argued Kim. "And I reserve my right to disagree or to even protest when I think our government isn't representing the best of our ideals or principles."Kim said she hasn't recited the pledge since high school and stayed silent during her previous tenure as the Board of Education President.Instead, Kim said she prefers to let her actions speak louder than those 31 words.UC Hastings Law Professor Calvin Massey said no law requires elected officials to recite the pledge."Jane Kim is completely within her constitutional rights," said Massey. "The cultural perception is if you're an elected official, you're a part of American representative democracy [and] you probably shouldn't have a problem pledging allegiance to the United States."Kim’s position has incited criticism from some people who wonder why she has taken this stand.

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Cyclone Hits Australia

A massive cyclone crashed into northeastern Australia on Thursday, ripping roofs from buildings and cutting power to thousands of homes but leaving the scale of disaster unknown as officials and residents holed up while the tempest raged.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the destructive core of Cyclone Yasi hit the coast a few minutes after midnight at the small resort town of Mission Beach in Queensland state. Dozens of other cities and towns in the region -- known to tourists worldwide as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef -- were being battered by heavy rain and winds forecasters said could reach gusts of 186 mph.

Witnesses reported seeing roofs ripped off, buildings shaking and trees flattened under the power of the winds. Officials said the storm would cause the sea to surge inland and flood some places to roof level.

The storm will compound misery in Queensland, which has already been hit by months of flooding that killed 35 people and inundated hundreds of communities. The storm struck an area north of the flood zone, but the weather bureau said it would bring drenching rains that could cause floods in new parts of the state.

More than 10,000 people fled to some 20 evacuation centers set up in a danger zone stretching some 190 miles (300 kilometers), amid strong warnings in the past two days. Many others moved in with family or friends in safer locations. Still, authorities were preparing for devastation, and likely deaths.

The storm's front was about 300 miles across, and the worst of the winds were expected to lash the coast for up to four hours, although blustery conditions and heavy rain could last for 24 hours.

"This is a cyclone of savagery and intensity," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a nationally televised news conference as the storm moved toward the coast. "People are facing some really dreadful hours in front of them."