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Thousands Pour Into Austin, Texas Abortion Fight | Gabby Gifford Fires Gun & Presses On For Gun Control

An estimated 5-6,000 abortion rights supporters converged on Austin, Texas yesterday, as lawmakers returned for a second special session called by Texas Governor Rick Perry. The Republican majority body is expected to pass abortion legislation that galvanized American women last week, after Fort Worth Democrat state Sen. Wendy Davis led an 11-hour filibuster against the bill. The Texas Tribune reports that a group of about 100 backers of the bill held a press conference inside the capitol.

The Texas Tribune also shares an important article How Public Opinion Fueled Senate’s Abortion Fight, interpreting recent polls in Texas as AOC analyzed them.

Taken together, these polling numbers convey broad support for some specific restrictions focusing on procedures. We don’t find more than token support for drastically reducing or eliminating access. In June 2013, 79 percent of Texans indicated that abortion should be available to a woman under varying circumstances. As for Davis’ core constituency, 59 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of liberals think that it should always be legal and available. As for the GOP: 20 percent of female Republicans think that abortion should always be legal, compared with 11 percent of male Republicans. But maybe more important for future electoral fortunes, there exists a 19-point gap among female and male independents regarding the opinion that abortion should always be available, 41 percent to 22 percent; and one of the most supportive groups of all is suburban women, 45 percent of whom think the procedure should always be legal.

1. Former Arizona Reb. Gabrielle Giffords aimed and fired a gun at a Las Vegas target firing range yesterday. Giffords sent the firing shot of her seven-day “Rights and Responsibilities Tour” as a proud gun owner who seeks sensible gun legislation in America. Giffords and husband Mark Kelly are trying to revive stalled background-check legislation, which failed in the US Senate in April. 

“Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting,” Giffords wrote in an Op-Ed published Monday in USA Today. “But I’m a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage.”

2. Jeep leads a list of America’s most patriotic brands, writes USA Today. Jeep beat out Coca-Cola, Levis, Harley-Davidson and Disney in the top 25 list, in a survey of 4,500 consumers.

“As marketers traditionally operate on the Independence Day theory that a patriotic, flag-waving call-to-emotion will motivate consumers to behave more positively toward their brands, we wanted to see which brands actually led when it came to that particular value,” says Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, in a statement.

Jeep resonates deeply as a symbol of American ruggedness and sense of adventure.

3. Records of the actions of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan as archbishop of Milwaukee in 2003 suggest that he had a full understanding of the seriousness of sex abuse cases in America. Dolan moved to protect church assets from any future claims, while moving to push out problem priests and even paying them to leave the priesthood. 

“The impact on his various victims has been significant,” Dolan wrote then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI. “The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has yet to even locate all of the potential victims that could come forward for assistance. Our new found awareness of the severity of damage caused by sexual abuse at the hands of clergy makes it impossible for us to ignore this situation.”

575 sex abuse plaintiffs are suing the archdiocese in bankruptcy court.

4. Twelve-year-old Maddy Paige had a very respectable season, playing football as a defensive end at Georgia’s Strong Rock Christian private school in Locust Grove, Ga. Paige was excited to return next fall, until the school ended her football future, saying “Our official policy is that middle school girls play girl sports and middle school boys play boy sports. “

Maddy’s mother says private conservations with school officials told another story. “In the meeting with the CEO of the school, I was told that the reasons behind it were… that the boys were going to start lusting after her, and have impure thoughts about her,” she said. “And that locker room talk was not appropriate for a female to hear, even though she had a separate locker room from the boys.”

Facebook is on the move for Maddy Paige.

5. The human brain’s ‘garbage truck’ could hold a key to treating Alzheimer’s and other health disorders. What scientists do know is that the body’s lymphatic system performs the task of ridding it of toxic and damaging molecules. However, the lymphatic system doesn’t extend to the brain.

Researcher Maiken Nedergaard, M.D. and her team used new imaging technology called two-photon microscopy that allows us to peer deep within a living brain. They observed an extensive plumbing system responsible for flushing waste using cerebral spinal fluid.


Will Hillary Clinton's Women's Agenda Survive? | Allyson Schwartz PA Governor's Race Heats Up | Caroline Kennedy to Japan

‘Tendance Brute’ starring Agnes Nabuurs by Maria Burns. Interview writes:

Tendance Brute, the new digital short by Swiss-born, New York-based filmmaker Maria Burns, begins in the dark. Hands creep into the frame and a model appears, Agnes Nabuurs. She is beautiful, certainly, but also fierce and feral looking, as if a cat had metamorphosed into human form and is exploring its newfound long limbs. As the film progresses, Nabuurs’ outfits become more developed and á la mode, but she does not lose her wildness. Instead, the extremity of her look—the horned shoulders, her spike-soled boots, artfully unkempt hair, kohl-rimmed eyes, and, later, her elaborate headpiece—make her seem even more alien. An exploration of fashion’s constant search for an abnormal beauty.  

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

Writing for The Daily Beast, Kathleen Parker asks: Will Clinton’s Agenda Survive?

“Let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

These critical words uttered by then First Lady Hillary Clinton brought international women’s rights into the public dialogue. 

Now that Hillary Clinton has left the State Department, many worry around the world — what will the US policy be on women? 

“It’s a totally open question,” says Dee Dee Myers, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton and the author of Why Women Should Rule the World. “Under Hillary, everyone knew that the global women’s issue was a strategic priority, an organizing principle. She was completely committed. How do you re-create that?”

New Secretary of State John Kerry has no strong history on women’s issues. In fact, before Hillary, DC’s state department was rather clueless about the importance of empowering women worldwide as a primary deterrent to terrorism and global insecurities. It was former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who backed Hillary on this issue. 

The good news is President Obama’s decision to make permanent the Office of Global Women’s Issues and the women’s-ambassador-at-large position, which Hillary created. The sad news is that Melanne Verveer, the first ambassador left her position to run the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. 

The newly appointed ambassador, Cathy Russell, is Jill Biden’s former chief of staff, “an unexpected choice to some veterans in the field.” In March 2012, Hillary issued a directive advising American embassies and posts of the “strategic imperative” of advancing women’s equality: “The department is focusing across all of our work to reduce disparities and proactively promote gender equality.”

The question is: will Kerry care? And will President Obama — or Michelle — stand tough if he doesn’t.

Allyson Schwartz for PA Gov

Anne’s friend Liz Forrest was candid in her lead-in to today’s Philadelphia Inquirer story Allyson Schwarta’s political baggage worries some Democrats. 

“People always ask, ‘Will she play outside Philadelphia? Is she too liberal?’ ” Forrest said Thursday night during the monthly dinner meeting of the Pike County Democratic Committee. “Who cares? Philadelphia and Pittsburgh produce enough votes to win it.”

Forrest cites Schwartz’s “money and political chops” to send Republican governor, close-your-eyes ultrasound Jim Corbett packing.

Her great liability? The five-term congresswoman in not only prochoice, but she founded a Philadelphia women’s health cllinc — the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center in 1975. It provided prenatal, care, a birthing center and other health services including abortion. It’s alleged in some circles that Schwartz hasn’t sufficiently promoted other women candidates in PA politics. Why support her in return, say the women?

She’s an established fiscal moderate, lessening her appeal to some progressive Democrats. Keystone Politics writes today Is Allyson Schwartz Too Conservative To Be the Nominee for Governor? 

That’s not our issue at AOC, where we are already on record committed to electing Alysson Schwartz as the first woman governor of the state. PA ranks about 46th in the country in electing women to political office. 

Most polls show Schwartz ahead of the pack in a state that went for Obama with a 16-point gender gap with women. The state was very energized in 2012, electing Kathleen Kane as the first woman attorney general. Kane wasn’t supported by the state Democratic party boys either, but the Clinton machine stepped in to help her. 

For Emily’s List, Schwartz, an established political figure with a strong record as a fund-raiser, represents a prime opportunity to pick up a governorship in big state.

MSNBC writes that former Pennsylvania Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, who represented parts of Schwartz’s district in the 1990′s, is eager to see a woman fill one of the Pennsylvania’s top jobs. “Kathleen Kane and Catherine Baker Knoll proved that women can run just as well as men in Pennsylvania,” Margolies said.  “I want more women at the table.”

Lynn Yeakel, the founder and co-chair of Vision 2020, a national initiative for women’s social and economic equality, based at Drexel University, was the last female statewide nominee in Pennsylvania to run at the national level, and only the second woman in Pennsylvania’s history to become the nominee for the U.S. Senate.  In 1992 she came up short in her challenge to incumbent U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. “If anyone can do this, Allyson can,” Yeakel said.  “She’s a very tough campaigner.”

Just In

1) PA Democratic Senator Bob Casey today publicly announced his support for same-sex marriage. Previously, the devout Catholic Casey — who voted against America’s women in supporting the Blunt Amendment slamming President Obama’s contraception mandate —was one of nine Democratic senators not in support of same-same marriage.

The second-term Democrat had previously backed civil unions and LGBTrights legislation, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He also co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but he had not voiced support for full marriage rights.

“After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that DOMA should be repealed,” Casey said in the release. “If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way?”

2) Connecticut legislators announced today a bipartisan agreement on gun control, initiatives they called “the most far-reaching gun-legislation in the country.”

Writes the New York Times: “It would require new state-issued eligibility certificates for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or ammunition; mandate that offenders convicted of any of more than 40 weapons offenses register with the state; require universal background checks for the sale of all firearms; and substantially expand the state’s existing ban on assault weapons.”

The legislation bans the future sale of high-capacity magazines of more than 10 bullets. All assault weapons — past and future — must be registered. 

Although negotiations became protracted in a Democratic-controlled state, it’s hoped now that the bipartisan agreement could become a model for other states. 

3) The Washington Post writes that Caroline Kennedy is set to be ambassador to Japan. Kennedy was a key early supporter of President Obama. 

4) Catholic women are hoping for stronger roles for women in the Francis papacy, writes NPR

A group of American women pilgrims visited the many inscriptions and images on tombstones, frescoes and mosaics showing images of early Catholic women in roles of leadership, holding roles identical to men as prophets, priests and deacons. 

“Certainly in the first two centuries, we see women — at least parts of the early communities — holding co-equal roles with men,” says Sister Chris Shenk, executive director of the Catholic group FutureChurch, which organized the pilgrimage.

Related: The Death of Jesus and the Rise of the Christian Persecution Myth The Daily Beast


Senate Passes Violence Against Women Act With Trouble Ahead in the House | Women Gun Owners Soar

The US Senate today passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act by a vote of 78-22. The act expired in 2011 and has languished in the House of Representatives. The bill promoted by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt is cosponsored by Idaho Republican senator Mike Crapo. The bill garnered 23 Republican votes. 

Republican men senators who voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act include John Barrasso (Wyo.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Cornyn (Texas), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wisc.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Jim Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kansas), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Thune (S.D.) and Tim Scott (S.C.).

Intact in the Senate bill is a provision that allows tribal courts to prosecute non-Indians accused of assaulting Indian women on reservations. This provision is regarded as being unconstitutional by many Republicans and is a key stumbling block in the House. 

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who chairs the Indian Affairs Committee, said Indian women are raped and assaulted at 2½ times the national rate, and less than 50 percent of domestic violence cases on reservations, often far from federal courts, are prosecuted. “This is about the life and death of women who need a better system to help prosecute those who are committing serious crimes against them.”

A 1978 Supreme Court decision denies Indian tribes the right to try non-Indian citizens unless an exception is granted by Congress. In the House, Reps. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Darrell Issa of California are trying to negotiate a compromise that would give defendants the right to request that their trial be moved to federal court if they aren’t getting a fair trial, writes USA Today. 

The White House says that intimate partner violence declined by 67 percent between 1993 and 2010, due to the VAWA, with an increase in victims reporting domestic and sexual violence to police, resulting in more arrests. 

The Senate bill carries a reduction of 17 percent in costs from the last reauthorization in 2005. Provisions also promise to speed up the analysis of DNA evidence and a rape kit backlog impacting an estimated 400,000 cases unable to proceed. 

1. In today’s Lady Parts News: Arizona Planned Parenthood secure. A federal judge has permanently blocked Arizona from cutting off Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood. Judge Neil Wake was appointed to the court in 2004 by President George W Bush, on the recommendations of US Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl. In Arkansas, Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe has signed into a law a bill that will ban insurance exchanges created under Obamacare from covering abortion. In Virginia, a similar plan for insurance exchanges is in play, but word is that some Republicans are skeptical of the exception.  Good news out of Colorado where Democrats defeated a Republican-backed bill that would have required doctors to investigate why a woman was seeking an abortion. Kansas is considering a similar bill and it’s seen as likely to pass, reports The Maddow Blog.

2. Hillary rules. A Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday found Hillary Clinton to be the most popular national political figure, with a favorability rating of 61 percent that tops President Obama’s 51 percent. The poll also showed that Clinton was viewed more favorably as a possible presidential candidate in 2016 than Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee, reports UPI

Writing for The New Yorker, George Packer dismisses criticisms of the lack of an encompassing “Clinton doctrine” or even “Obama doctrine” on the subject of foreign policy. Not everyone respects Clinton’s endless listening tours, where “thousands of ordinary people got to question the US Secretary of State” on matters of clean water or women’s rights. 

3. Penny Pritzker for Commerce Secretary? Huffington Post reports that unions and labor activists are very unhappy at the thought that Obama fundraiser Penny Prizker could become the president’s next secretary of commerce. Granted, the prospect is just chatter — but the chatter is everywhere.

“In addition to heading the Pritzker Realty Group, Pritzker is a board member of Hyatt Hotels and the daughter of Donald Pritzker, co-founder of the international hotel chain. Hyatt and the hospitality workers union Unite Here have been locked in a long and at times ugly contract battle, with the union accusing the company of implementing “crushing workloads” at its hotels and literally hurting its housekeepers. The company, in turn, has defended its treatment of workers and accused the union of carrying out a smear campaign. ”“

4. As Congress tries to determine what — if any — reasonable gun control laws can be passed in America, the voices in the debate are largely those of men. In fact, it’s women’s participation in shooting sports that has driven their participation by 51.5 percent for target shooting from 2001 to 2011 to just over 5 million women. 

Fire arms manufacturers are marketing pink guns to the ladies with leather handbags and leopard shooting gloves to match, writes The New York Times. 

“Tina Wilson-Cohen, a former Secret Service agent who founded She Can Shoot, a women’s league with 10 chapters and 3,000 members across the country, said 90 percent of women who joined did so because “they’ve been a victim at one point of their life, of stalking or date rape or domestic violence, or they have just felt so vulnerable, and they want to feel competent and like they can protect themselves.””

5. Understanding narcissism and envy together. Ziatan Krizan of Iowa State University turns upside down the belief that narcissists feel envy. People who think they’re the greatest don’t feel envy, says Krizan. It’s individuals who think they are special and destined to be great, but they just can’t do it. They feel vulnerable, perhaps taken for granted or discriminated against with the world just not recognizing their special natures. 

“It’s these vulnerable individuals who are in some sense more worrisome because they are quiet, sort of festering in anger out there in a corner. And it’s just a matter of time before they get frustrated and lash out and verbally assault somebody, maybe even an innocent party, because of some provocation that they felt,” Krizan said.

In the simplest terms, the individual becomes violent as a form of power grab, a move to take control and drive the outcome of results.  via Science Daily