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Entries in gay rights (13)

Thursday
Jul112013

Senate Promises New Abortion Bill DOA | Immigration Reform & Taxes | PA's Kane Won't Defend Gay Marriage Ban

1. Republicans around America have made abortion the nation’s biggest political issue. Anticipating that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) will sponsor the Senate verson of the House-passed bill that limits abortions at 20 weeks, a key date when a woman first has reliable sonograms about the health of her fetus, Democratic Senators went on the offensive yesterday, portraying the proposed abortion limits as ‘political showboating’.

“I can tell you this: No matter who introduces it, it is not going anywhere in the Senate,” Sen. Patty Murray said. “We are not going to let it come up in the Senate. There is no reason for it. This is settled law. We are not going to be sidetracked by a debate on women’s health yet again.”

Rubio is in a tight spot with social conservatives, who are angry with his support of immigration reform. Sponsoring the bill in the Senate is one way of appeasing those same social conservatives.

2. Immigration reform would boost state and local tax contributions by an estimated $2 billion annually, concludes a new study conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan research organization. If allowed to work legally, undocumented immigrants would participate fully in all the federal, state and local tax systems. Presently undocumented immigrants contributed $10.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.

- The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concludes the immigration reform bill would shrink the deficit by $197 billion over the next decade.
- Rather than lower wages for US workers, a study by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project that found an increase in immigrant workers may lead to a boost in wages for U.S-born workers.

75 percent of Americans agree that immigration reform will benefit the economy.

3. Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane (D) says she will not defend the state in a federal lawsuit filed this week by the ACLU that challenges the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, reports the Washington Post.

“Kane is named as a defendant in the suit, along with the state’s governor Tom Corbett (R-Penn.). Kane is the first woman and the first Democrat ever elected to the position of Pennsylvania state attorney general, which became an elected office in 1980.”

When a similar occurrence happened in Ca. with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and then attorney general Jerry Brown (D), a third party stepped in to defend the law.

A new survey focused on the re-election of Gov. Tom Corbett is in serious jeopardy, with only 24 percent of all voters and 43 percent of Republicans believing that he deserves a second term. AOC supports Rep. Allyson Schwartz in her bid for to become the first woman governor of Pa.

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4. Americans are split pretty evenly on whether the decline in religious affiliation in America is a good thing, bad one or generally irrelevant, reports Pew Research. The more religious persons polled in a nationwide survey of 4,006 adults with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points felt the strongest about the trend being a bad one for society.

At a top level analysis, 48 percent of US adults surveyed say that America’s declining religiosity is a bad thing. Eleven percent say it’s a good thing, with 39 percent saying it doesn’t matter.

One segment worth noting is Hispanic Catholics, with only 36% saying the trend is bad for society and 48% saying the trend does not matter.

5. Despite the title of Brian Resnick’s ‘How Power Corrupts the Mind’ and it often does — one shouldn’t conclude that it always does, says Pamela Smith, a power researcher at the University of California San Diego.

“There is a tendency for people to assume power holders are uncaring, they’re cold, they don’t care about the little people,” says Smith. But it depends on who has the power.

“You put someone in an experiment, temporarily, in a high-powered role, and what you find is that people who say they have pro-social values, the more power they have, the more pro-social they are. The people who say they have more self-centered values tend to be more selfish the more power they have.”

Read Smith’s ‘You Focus on the Forest When You’re in Charge of the Trees’.

Wednesday
Apr172013

GOP Ices Sanford Campaign | Judge Keeps Jackson Abortion Clinic Open | Teen Sex Primarily Uses Contraception

1. GOP ices Sanford Campaign. The House GOP’s campaign committee announced Wednesday that it will no longer have any involvement in the comeback bid for Congress from former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford.

The decision comes after yesterday’s news that Jenny Sanford, the former governor’s ex-wife, has accused him of trespassing at her home more than once and in violation of their divorce settlement. The couple is due in court two days after a special House election on May 7 between Sanford and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Busch is a businesswoman and older sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, who is helping her campaign.

The couple divorced in 2010 after Mark Sanford admitted to having an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. The then governor disappeared for days, leaving his wife, staff and voters clueless as to his whereabouts. Sanford is now engaged to Maria Belen Chapur. Jenny Sanford has custody of the couple four sons.

“I am doing my best not to get in the way of his race,” Jenny Sanford told the AP this week about her ex-husband’s race. “I want him to sink or swim on his own. For the sake of my children, I’m trying my best not to get in the way, but he makes things difficult for me when he does things like trespassing.”

2. Judge keeps Jackson abortion clinic open. The Jackson Free Press reports that a celebratory mood turned quickly to panic yesterday at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization “when a young bearded man wearing a military-style waist pack entered the abortion clinic unescorted and without an appointment.” After putting his hands in the air, proclaiming that he was unarmed, a police officer escorted him out of the clinic.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III halted a process that seemed likely to close JWHO, making Mississippi the first state without an abortion clinic. Jordan ruled that the state cannot close the clinic before the conclusion of a pending federal lawsuit over a 2012 state law requiring all abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital.

The Republican-appointed judge Jordan said that Mississippi was attempting to create a patchwork of law in which constitutional women’s rights apply in some states and not others. JWHO is owned by Diane Derzis, who finds herself engaged in a similar lawsuit in the state of Alabama.

Leslie Hanks, a pro-life demonstrator from Colorado, says she recently helped put Personhood on the ballot for the fourth time in Mississippi.

3. CA Gay Conversion Ban in Court. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is hearing arguments for and against a new California law banning gay ‘conversion therapy’ for minors. The new law which is the first of its kind in America, bars licensed therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation of people under the age of 18.

A small group of therapists — frequently conservative Christians — challenge scientists, arguing that reparative therapy intervenes where gender confusion is caused by childhood trauma, resulting in reshaping one’s sexual orientation.

Large numbers of gay men say they suffered deep harm over reparative counseling that left them guilt-ridden and anguished.

The lawsuits to be argued on Wednesday were brought by two conservative legal groups, the Pacific Justice Institute, based in Sacramento, and Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Liberty University in Virginia, reports the New York Times.

The state of California’s brief argues that the law “prohibits licensed mental health professionals from treating children and teenagers with a discredited, ineffective, and unsafe therapy in a misguided effort to change their sexual orientation.” 

Similar bills have been introduced in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

4. Women = ‘vaginas’. New Hampshire state rep Peter Hansen is under severe criticism after referring to women as ‘vaginas’in an email sent on New Hampshire House internal email. Hansen was arguing with Republican Rep Steve Vaillancourt, who defended retreating from violence, rather than confronting the force with force. Hansen said that his colleague hadn’t considered the case of women and children. Choosing not to use those words, Hansen initially wrote:

‘What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s [sic] of course,’ he wrote. 

The comments were imemdiately picked up by Democrat State Rep Rick Walrous, who wrote: ‘Are you really using ‘vaginas’ as a crude catch-all for women? Really? he wrote.

‘Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve.’

Local political blogger Susan the Bruce reported the exchange adding ‘That the representative chose to describe women as ‘vagina’s’ is certainly an affront to half the population. That he failed to properly pluralize the word adds insult to idiocy.’

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5. Teen Sex Survey. “Policymakers and the media often sensationalize teen sexual behavior, suggesting that adolescents as young as 10 or 11 are increasingly sexually active,” writes lead author Lawrence Finer, about his new study of sexual activity in America’s youngest adolescents. “But the data just don’t support that concern. Rather, we are seeing teens waiting longer to have sex, using contraceptives more frequently when they start having sex, and being less likely to become pregnant than their peers of past decades.”

Among adolescents were did report having sex said that it was coerced. Sixty-two percent of females who had sex by age 10 said it was coerced, as did 50% of those who experienced sex by age 11.

Contraceptive use is common among teens, according to the study, with use among girls as young as 15 similar to that of older teens. More than 80% of 16-year-olds used a method at first sex. A year after having first sex, 95% of those teens had used contraceptives. via Guttmacher Institute

Related: 2008 State-Level Teen Pregnancy Data Now Available. (Yes, 5 yrs. later)

Tuesday
Apr092013

Rep Allyson Declares PA Governor Run | Republicans Say Americans Have No Stake In Educating Any Kids But Their Own

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

FEMEN Strikes Again

Russian President Vladimir Putin had a bad day with the ladies yesterday. Standing next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin was chastised with Merkel’s government’s disapproval of the way nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are treated by the Kremlin. The New York Times writes that Merkel’s comments make her the first Western leader to have confronted Putin publicly on this issue.

Two of Germany’s most important and respected foundations have been searched by Russian police.

“I made it clear that a vibrant civil society can only exist when the individual organizations can work without fear or concern,” Merkel said.

To emphasize the growing frustration with Russia’s crackdown on free expression, a group of female protesters bared their breasts while shouting that the Russian leader was a ‘dictator’. 

The well-known, principled activist group Femen posted a picture of the ‘sextremist’ attack on the group’s Facebook page at 10.00 am GMT. The same post said that activists had been shouting “F*ck you dictator!”. The message written- in Russian- across the back of the single topless activist visible, reads: “F*ck off Putin!”. The women were two Germans, two Ukrainians and a Russian. 

(Read: FEMEN & SlutWalks: Body Politics Is On The Move)

The Kremlin has called for the women to be punished as Putin traveled on to The Netherlands, where rainbow flags were flying in protest against a bill pending in the Russian Parliament that would make public events and the dissemination of information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities subject to fines up to $16,000. The Netherlands legalized same-sex marriage over a decade ago. German politicians have also criticized the bill. 

“Thank god, the gays didn’t strip naked here,” Putin joked at a press conference in Amsterdam. 

Melissa Harris-Perry’s Hot Seat

Are Kids Private Property?

MSNBC chost Melissa Harris-Perry’s recent Lean Forward ad for MSNBC has caused a dust up among Republican right-wing pundits. 

If you thought having a civic interest in properly educating America’s children so that our kids are properly prepared to continue America’s legacy as strong nation in the future, you are probably a communist, according to right-wing pundits like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. If you are a single professional believing that you have a civic obligation to contribute to the educating of America’s kids, you are probably targeting the destruction of America.

So call me a communist, but I am simply stunned by the right’s outrage over Harris-Perry’s comments. 

Glenn Beck told listeners that the Tulane University teacher’s comments reveal the United Nations’ plans to use mind control to establish a communist dictatorship in America. Beck also asserts that the Obama administration is using school testing standards for ‘leftist indoctrination.’ 

Beck doesn’t mention that these testing standards were introduced by the Bush Administration, not Obama, as part of Bush’s No Child Left Behind strategy. 

Sarah Palin tweeted that Harris-Perry’s remarks were ‘Unflippingbelievable’.

The National Catholic Register writes in the headline Proof that Progressives Hate Catholic Schools and Homeschooling Families:

“The media and the public school systems are the greatest vehicles of indoctrination for the progressive worldview. How long do you think they’re going to be ok with homeschoolers? How long will they be ok with Catholic schools filling kids heads with hate about traditional marriage and life beginning at conception? Not too much longer, right?”

Call me dumbfounded. Christianity embraces Aristotle as a founder of Western thought and principles. Note that Aristotle expunged women from being participants in civic society. But all free men brought a collectivist mentality to the concept of civic engagement in creating a thriving society. 

Rep. Allyson Schwartz Files

Rep. Allyson Schwartz will run for governor of Pennsylvania against Republican incumbent Tom Corbett in 2014.US Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) will run for governor of Pennsylvania against Republican incumbent Tom Corbett in 2014. 

Schwartz has established a state campaign committee, “Pennsylvania for Allyson,” which will allow her to raise money for her run and transfer the $3.1 million she’s already amassed from her Congressional account to the new one.

Like Alysson Schwartz Facebook page

“I am running because I can’t sit on the sidelines when I have a proven track record of getting results on the issues that matter — growing jobs in the private sector, investing in education, and making the tough choices on budget issues,” Schwartz said in a statement.  “That’s what our campaign will be about.”

Keystone Research Center wrote in July 2012:In 2010, Pennsylvania ranked 12th out of the 50 states in job growth by percentage, but the state’s ranking has dropped to 36th over the past year (May 2011-May 2012) and 39th over the past six months (December 2011-May 2012), just as state budget cuts have begun to take a toll on the economy.”

The report compares Pennsylvania’s policies under Corbett to those of next-door neighbor New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie. In New Jersey, public-sector job growth has fueled New Jersey’s resurgence, lifting if from 49th in 2010 to 13th between May 2011 and May 2012.

Allyson Schwartz will not run unopposed for the Democratic nomination to beat Corbett, who is one of the most unpopular governor’s in America. Her most viable challenger presently is wealthy York businessman Tom Wolf, who announced he will put $10 million of his own money and raise another $5 million into the campaign. 

Emily’s List is gearing up in a major way to support Schwartz. “Not only would she make history as Pennsylvania’s first female governor, she would provide a clear contrast to Gov. Corbett, who has led a crusade against women and families while putting job-creation on the back burner,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List.