Boxer Calls on Department of Justice to Protect Americans from Voter Intimidation

Press Release Senator Barbara Boxer:  http://boxer.senate.gov/en/press/releases/092712.cfm

Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

Boxer Calls on Department of Justice to Protect Americans from Voter Intimidation  

Widespread Efforts to Suppress the Vote, Particularly in Low-Income and Minority Neighborhoods, Threaten the Right of Americans to Cast Ballots

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today wrote a letter to Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the head of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, calling on the agency to enforce voting rights laws following new reports of widespread efforts by Tea Party-linked groups to intimidate voters and suppress the vote, particularly in low-income and minority neighborhoods.

“The right to vote has been the result of a long and difficult struggle in America,” Senator Boxer said. “It has taken generations to ensure full voting rights for minorities, women, and young people. No group can be allowed to intimidate or interfere with this fundamental right that is essential for American democracy.”

Boxer added, “The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 prohibit persons from knowingly and willfully intimidating or attempting to intimidate, threaten or coerce another person for voting, attempting to vote, or registering to vote.”

Senator Boxer highlighted a disturbing account in the Los Angeles Times today of an Ohio woman recovering from cancer who received a letter questioning her residence and right to vote in this election – even though she had lived at that location for seven years. In the letter, Boxer said, “This type of intimidation must stop. I don’t believe this is ‘True the Vote.’ I believe it’s ‘Stop the Vote.’ ”

You can read the full text of Senator Boxer’s letter to the Department of Justice below:

September 27, 2012
Hon. Thomas E. Perez
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Assistant Attorney General Perez:I have enclosed a very disturbing article from the Los Angeles Times, which details an organized effort in Ohio to question the voting rights of thousands of Americans.As you know, an organization called “True the Vote,” which is an offshoot of the Tea Party, is leading a voter suppression campaign in many states.The article highlights a woman recovering from cancer who received a letter questioning her residence and right to vote in this election. She was astounded by this outrageous charge as she had lived in that location for seven years.This type of intimidation must stop. I don’t believe this is “True the Vote.” I believe it’s “Stop the Vote.”The right to vote has been the result of a long and difficult struggle in America. It has taken generations to ensure full voting rights for minorities, women, and young people. No group can be allowed to intimidate or interfere with this fundamental right that is essential for American democracy.The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 prohibit persons from knowingly and willfully intimidating or attempting to intimidate, threaten or coerce another person for voting, attempting to vote, or registering to vote.Please let me know if you are investigating voter suppression incidents such as the type described in the Los Angeles Times and the steps you are taking to enforcing voting rights laws across the country to ensure free and fair elections.Thank you for your attention. I look forward to your immediate response.

Sincerely,Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

For Immediate Release:
September 27, 2012

Contact:
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

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Catholic archbishop: If you disagree with church on marriage, don’t bother with communion

From America Blog:  http://gay.americablog.com/2012/09/catholic-archbishop-if-you-disagree-with-church-on-marriage-dont-bother-with-communion.html

by
9/25/2012

How about if you disagree with the church aiding and abetting pedophilia?

And what a surprise that the Catholic church is again trying to usurp our democracy only one month out of an election. And these are the same folks who tell us not to worry about uber-religious candidates, they won’t let their church control them in office – until their church tries to control them office.  (There’s a bit of a “deny me three times” element to the ongoing denial of uber- people of faith on this point – your faith is your number one guidepost but you won’t legislate based on it.  Right.)

What a mean-spirited faith. And the Catholics wonder why they have such a hard time getting new priests and followers.  Perhaps because no one wants to wake up early on a Sunday to get yelled at.

Complete article at:  http://gay.americablog.com/2012/09/catholic-archbishop-if-you-disagree-with-church-on-marriage-dont-bother-with-communion.html

Polling Shows That Bishops’ Campaign Failed

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-obrien/polling-shows-that-bishop_b_1920832.html


09/28/2012

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that Catholics are strongly supporting President Barack Obama in the coming election. Obama leads his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, by a significant margin, 54-39 percent — a 15 percent lead for the president. This is up from a slim two percent margin in favor of President Obama in a similar poll in June.

A lot has happened since June. On the Catholic front, in between those two polls, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) organized a major campaign, the Fortnight for Freedom, from June 21 to July 4, trying to draw attention to alleged violations of religious freedom in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. During the Fortnight, the USCCB characterized the requirement that employee insurance plans must cover preventive medications, including birth control, as an affront to American Catholics.

But the bishops’ protest has not done much to unite Catholics behind this latest crusade against women’s health and rights in this country. Among Catholics who heard about the bishops’ protest and disagree with them, 78 percent support President Obama. Putting that together with this week’s polling leads one to speculate that not only isn’t the bishops’ campaign working — it’s backfiring.

The 2012 election is the first time that both presidential tickets feature a Catholic candidate. This led many to speculate that the mythical, courted, supposedly monolithic Catholic vote was going to be an even bigger factor than before. However, the reality is that the Catholic vote has mirrored the popular vote in almost all of the presidential elections since President Nixon was in office. Despite this evidence, there is a presumption that Catholic voters are particularly conservative on social issues, and that their religion and the views of their religious leaders play an important role in Catholics’ political decisions. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Continue reading at:   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-obrien/polling-shows-that-bishop_b_1920832.html

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Conservatives Stoop To Slut-Shaming Obama’s Dead Mother

From Slate:  http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/09/28/obama_conspiracy_theory_movie_dead_mother_s_sex_life_is_target_in_dreams_from_my_real_father_.html

By Friday, Sept. 28, 2012

The most surprising thing is that it took this long. Frustrated Obama obsessives, unable to believe that the rest of the country doesn’t share their paranoid suspicion that the president has dark secrets lurking under his amiable exterior, have finally stooped to slurring his mother through the time-honored method of calling her a slut.

Michelle Goldberg reports for the Daily Beast on this new round of rumor-mongering about Obama’s origins, which comes mainly from two sources: Dinesh D’Souza’s best-selling book Obama’s America and a pseudo-documentary Dreams From My Real Father that is currently being mailed out to voters in swing states.

Dreams From My Real Father peddles a conspiracy theory so convoluted that more traditional birthers must be envious of its creativity. The director, Joel Gilbert, argues that Obama’s real father is Frank Marshall Davis, a labor activist and poet, and that Davis took bondage photos of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, that he then sold to nudie magazines. Naturally, these questionable photos are prominently displayed in the documentary, and a short clip from the movie with the photos is available for embedding on every two-bit birther blog on the Internet. Gilbert claims to have mailed out a million copies to voters in Ohio, and in this post-Citizens United era, it’s quite possible he does have anonymous donors who made that kind of mail push possible.

D’Souza is slightly less conspiracy-minded, but still subjects Dunham to the same icky, dirty old man treatment conservative pundits seem to have perfected. He accuses Dunham of neglecting her son so she could sleep around Indonesia, painting her as a sexual predator and pretending to be amazed that she supposedly got it on so often despite being a heavy woman. Ginning up sexual hysteria appears to be its own reward for D’Souza; any connection between his accusations and Obama’s political leanings is tenuous at best. The book really serves no other purpose than to promote the notion that Obama is the dreaded Other and imply that the nerdy family man exterior is simply a front for a subversive America-hating radical.

Complete article at:  http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/09/28/obama_conspiracy_theory_movie_dead_mother_s_sex_life_is_target_in_dreams_from_my_real_father_.html

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Care – Obama for America

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D’oh! What We Don’t Know About the White Working-Class

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/doh-what-we-dont-know-about-white-working-class

One of the strongest biases in America is that college-educated whites are very different than working-class whites.

By Simon Greer
September 27, 2012

Remember Archie Bunker, the bigot everyone could relate to? He created and conformed to our expectations.

And while none of us believe we are one-dimensional, understanding we contain multitudes, as Walt Whitman once said, we often accept one-dimensional caricatures of other people, stereotypes reinforced in the American media.

It is unfortunate but true that it is often easier to deal with the predictability of a black-and-white world than to grapple with contradictions and ambiguities. They make our lives complex and sometimes unpredictable. We like security, and some of us don’t like surprises.

But if we keep our eyes and minds open, surprises are inevitable, even desirable. In my many years working in the social change sector with people of all backgrounds, I am often surprised as my assumptions about an individual or group of people are proven wrong. The reality is almost always far more complicated and interesting than my stereotypes.

Given my experience, I’m suspicious of the clichés about the white working-class — their biases and conservatism; how they don’t vote in their own interests – clichés reinforced in much of the literature popular on the left.

One of the strongest biases is that college-educated whites are very different than working-class whites. A recent survey by the Public Religion Research Council , funded in part by the Nathan Cummings Foundation, shows that on many issues, it is not true. Take one striking example: there is virtually no difference between whites who are working-class and college-educated in identifying with the Tea Party, 10 and 13 percent, respectively. Equal numbers from these two groups identify Fox as a trusted source of news (27% and 28%).

And as Joan Walsh, author of What’s Wrong with White People wrote on Salon , the survey’s results “confounds those who believe that white working-class people vote against their own interests. For example, those who ‘receive food stamps in the last two years’ preferred Obama to Romney 48%-36%.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/election-2012/doh-what-we-dont-know-about-white-working-class

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General Strike in Greece Says “We Won’t Submit!”

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11844-general-strike-in-greece-says-we-wont-submit

By Lefteris Kretsos
Saturday, 29 September 2012

Greek workers carried out a 24-hour general strike this week as 50,000 people demonstrated in Athens against austerity. The conservative coalition government is proposing $15 billion of further cuts to pensions and salaries.

Police responded with tear gas when some demonstrators hurled Molotov cocktails at the finance ministry and parliament.

The strike was called by the country’s two biggest unions, which between them represent half the workforce. It was the latest of at least 10 general strikes since 2010.

A survey conducted by the MRB polling agency last week found that more than 90 percent of Greeks believe the planned cuts are unfair and a burden on the poor.

Official unemployment in the country runs at 25 percent; fully half of young people have no work. Those Greeks still working would labor six days a week under the new plan.

Already this year the minimum wage was cut by 22 percent, and for those under 25, by 32 percent. In January, the public electricity company raised rates 15-20 percent. The government has ordered an expiration date no later than February 2013 for all collective bargaining agreements.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11844-general-strike-in-greece-says-we-wont-submit

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Consciousness Beyond Chemtrails – Jeffrey M Smith on GMO’s

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Nuclear power is the Betamax of the energy world

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/sep/28/nuclear-power-betamax-energy-world

We need to stop being distracted by this techology and focus on promoting and investing in renewables

Posted by
Friday 28 September 2012

In my first month as the new Green party leader, I’ve spent lots of time talking about pressing economic and social issues – the need for the minimum wage to be a living wage, how benefits should be available to all who need them, and how costly and destructive the privatisation of the NHS will be.

But with the government’s energy bill on the horizon, serious questions around the coalition’s wobbly-looking commitment not to subsidise new nuclear, and an anti-nuclear protest at Hinkley Point on 8 October, I’ve also spent lots of my time explaining why I think renewable energy – wind, solar and, in the future, tide and wave – combined with energy conservation, provide an excellent way forward for British energy.

I talk about the fact that the first two are technologies that are ready to scale up right now, providing jobs and affordable supplies for Britain. And about the fact that we know exactly what all of their “fuel” supplies will cost indefinitely into the future – ie nothing.

I talk about the way they can provide a decentralised, resilient energy system that is able to withstand climate or other shocks. And I discuss how nuclear is a distraction from the need to promote and invest in renewables.

Fuelled by a fierce and well-funded industry lobby claiming that nuclear would address the dire, if exaggerated, warnings about “the lights going out”, as well as the urgent need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the nuclear idea has gained some traction recently in the UK.

So I think it is worth spending a little time talking about why nuclear power is the Betamax of the energy world – a technology that was briefly in the hunt, but now could be ready to fade away into a museum curiosity. And you don’t have to just believe me on this – consider this recent front page from the Economist.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/sep/28/nuclear-power-betamax-energy-world

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Importing Nations Feel the Squeeze as Global Oil Exports Steadily Decline

From Oil Pricehttp://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Importing-Nations-Feel-the-Squeeze-as-Global-Oil-Exports-Steadily-Decline.html

By Kurt Cobb
Mon, 24 September 2012

It is with trepidation that independent petroleum geologist Jeffrey Brown has watched global oil exports decline since 2006. With all the controversy in the past several years over whether worldwide oil production can rise to quench the world’s growing thirst for petroleum, almost no one thought to ask what was happening to the level of oil exports. And yet, each year a dwindling global pool of exports has been generating ever greater competition among importing nations and has become a largely unheralded force behind record high oil prices.

Even though the trend in oil exports has been evident in the data for some time, the analyst community was caught by surprise when a Citigroup report released earlier this month forecast an end to oil exports in 2030 from Saudi Arabia, currently the world’s largest oil exporter.

Brown, as you might expect, wasn’t surprised at all. His own forecasting model, which he calls the Export Land Model, has been predicting more or less the same thing for some time. He doesn’t think the Saudis will actually let exports to go all the way to zero because they’ll probably want at least some revenue from exports. But “one to two million barrels per day of exports [from Saudi Arabia] between 2030 and 2040 will not be a big deal in the world,” said Brown, who runs a joint venture exploration program based in Ft. Worth.

Brown estimates that worldwide net exports of petroleum liquids–a number that includes both crude oil and refined products such as gasoline and diesel–declined from 45.6 million barrels per day (mbpd) in 2006 to 43.7 mbpd in 2011. He uses the net exports number because importers such as the United States export some of their imported crude back into world markets in the form of refined products such as gasoline and diesel. Even so, the United States remains the world’s largest net importer of petroleum products.

The decline in global net exports may seem small for now. But it is persistent and comes in the face of growing demand among the rapidly expanding economies of Asia, particularly China and India. And the trend lines, if they were to continue, would mean that China and India alone would consume all the world’s available petroleum exports by around 2030. Something’s bound to give before then, but it’s not clear exactly what.

Continue reading at:  http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Importing-Nations-Feel-the-Squeeze-as-Global-Oil-Exports-Steadily-Decline.html

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Climate Change Takes a Bite Out of Global Food Supply

From Inter Press Service:  http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/climate-change-takes-a-bite-out-of-global-food-supply/

By Stephen Leahy
Sept. 29, 2012

MONTEREY, California, Sep 29 2012 (IPS) – Humanity’s ability to feed itself is in serious doubt as climate change takes hold on land in the form of droughts and extreme weather, as well as on the world’s oceans.

Less well known to many is the fact that emissions from burning oil, coal and gas are both heating up the oceans and making them more acidic. That is combining to reduce the amount of seafood that can be caught, according to a new report released here.

Seafood is a primary source of protein for more than a billion of the poorest people in the world, said Matthew Huelsenbeck, report author and marine scientist at Oceana, an environmental NGO.

“For many island nations like the Maldives, seafood is the cheapest and most readily available source of protein,” Huelsenbeck told IPS.

The Maldives, Togo and Comoros top the list of nations whose food security is threatened by climate change, according to the report, “Ocean-Based Food Security Threatened in a High CO2 World”, which ranks the vulnerabilities of nations. Surprisingly, Iran is fourth on that list. This is the first-ever look at how climate change may affect food security for countries that are dependent on fish and seafood.

The report was released this week at the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World: Ocean Acidification, where nearly 600 scientists from around the world presented their research.

Rising ocean temperatures are pushing many fish away from the tropics towards the poles where waters are cooler, researchers have documented. And in a well-understood process, human emissions of CO2 have increased the acidity of oceans by 30 percent, threatening fish habitats such as coral reefs and thinning the shells of shellfish like oysters, clams and mussels.

Continue reading at:  http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/climate-change-takes-a-bite-out-of-global-food-supply/

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Tammy Baldwin And Tommy Thompson Debate Marriage Equality: She Supports Equality/He Believes in Discrimination

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in Iowa: Vote Early

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BOMBSHELL: Regnerus Anti-Gay Scandal: Clear Evidence Of Misconduct

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/bombshell-regnerus-anti-gay-scandal-clear-evidence-of-misconduct/politics/2012/09/28/49886

by Scott Rose
on September 28, 2012

Reposted with permission

We have been reporting on a politically-motivated hoax “study” of supposedly gay and lesbian parents, funded through the National Organization For Marriage (NOM) linked Witherspoon Institute and carried out by Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin (UT).

Regnerus and Witherspoon repeatedly have alleged that Witherspoon had no involvement in the design, conduct or analyses of the study.

Regnerus makes that false claim in his published study.

Witherspoon makes it in the stand-alone site created to promote the study:

One element of evidence we already had, proving that the claim is false, is a Regnerus study consulting contract — for data analysis — issued by UT and signed by Witherspoon’s Brad Wilcox; Wilcox’s contract is the second one viewable at this link.

As a follow-up to the discovery of Wilcox’s Regnerus study consulting contract for data analysis, this reporter sent an Open Records Act (OPA) request to UT for all Regnerus study-related communications between Regnerus and Wilcox.

In response to that request, UT sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, asking for  OPA exceptions to get out of having to comply with the document request.

In that letter, UT revealed that Regnerus’s funding agency representative — Witherspoon’s Wilcox — collaborated with Regnerus not only on study data analysis but also on data collection.

The first two pages at this link are UT’s letter to Attorney General Abbott, with the description of Wilcox’s involvement in Regnerus study data collection and analysis highlighted on the second page; the third page shows Regnerus’s shameless lies about his funders not being involved in data collection and analysis for his study.

Wilcox is Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and Regnerus in his published study says that a “leading family researcher” from the University of Virginia was on his study design team.

Regnerus’s deliberate lie — written into his published study — wherein his funders were said not to be involved with the conduct of his study, irrefutably constitutes misconduct.

Be sure to note that the UT letter to the Texas AG states that the Open Records Act request should not be fulfilled because the data of the Regnerus study “can be used to validate the original survey instrumentation,” in other words, it can be used to determine whether Regnerus and Wilcox committed fabrication and/or falsification.

To sign a petition telling Elsevier to retract the Regnerus study from publication in that company’s journal Social Science Researchgo here.

New York City-based novelist and freelance writer Scott Rose’s LGBT-interest by-line has appeared on Advocate.com, PoliticusUSA.com, The New York Blade, Queerty.com, Girlfriends and in numerous additional venues. Among his other interests are the arts, boating and yachting, wine and food, travel, poker and dogs. His “Mr. David Cooper’s Happy Suicide” is about a New York City advertising executive assigned to a condom account.

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Atheist Giving More Compassion-Driven than Giving By the Religious

From The Center for Inquiry: http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/atheist_giving_more_compassion-driven_than_giving_by_the_religious/

By Tom Flynn
September 27, 2012

Don’t know how I missed this before, but a study appearing in the July 2012 issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science finds that atheists are more motivated by compassion than givers with strong religious beliefs. This was not a study of whether atheists give more or less than churchgoers — that’s a whole other controversy — but rather a study of why religious and nonreligious givers give.

A May 1 MSNBC story reported the key point in these words:

Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” study co-author and University of California, Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer said in a statement. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns.

That would seem to support a suggestion I made in my op-ed “Are Secularists Less Generous?” in the August / September 2010 FREE INQUIRY:

Remember, Christianity strongly encourages charity-sometimes past the point of good sense. Prosperity preachers urge the poor to send in their rent money and hope God will provide. Granted, many Christians look down their noses at prosperity preachers. But I have yet to meet a Christian who doesn’t think highly of Jesus, and he praised the widow for giving the temple her last money in the world (Mark 12:42–44; Luke 21:1–4). Beyond doubt, Christianity demands and praises charity. Close-knit congregations can be hotbeds of social pressure to contribute, the pressure coming from clergy and fellow congregants alike.

In light of that, suppose for the sake of argument that churchgoers do give more generously than seculars. Far from demonstrating that they are more virtuous or caring, it may instead show that, driven by expectation and community pressure, they give too much. Some may be giving more than is compatible with their families’ financial well-being. And if churchgoers are giving too much, it might be us seculars, free from slick-talking ministers and prodding, prying pewmates, who are making more rational giving decisions and contributing at sustainable levels.

Continue reading at:  http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/atheist_giving_more_compassion-driven_than_giving_by_the_religious/

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Sarah Silverman on Yetta Kurland Live!

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Marriage at the Supreme Court

From Ms Magazine: http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/09/24/marriage-at-the-supreme-court/

by
September 24, 2012

Are you or someone you love in a committed same-sex relationship, hoping to get married?

The national debate over marriage equality is about to enter a new phase, as multiple cases make their way to the United States Supreme Court. SCOTUS begins a new session next Monday, and today, in private conference, the Court will decide which new cases to review. The Proposition 8 case and several cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are among those the Court may decide to take up, and their choices today—which could be announced as early as tomorrow but certainly by the start of the session on October 1—will have wide-reaching effects.

Take the Proposition 8 appeal. So far, California’s ban on same-sex marriage has not fared well in court and has been ruled unconstitutional, first by Judge Vaughn Walker, and then by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which  upheld his ruling. Proponents of marriage equality successfully argued that rights shouldn’t be put up to a vote, and that the marriage ban treats lesbians and gays as second-class citizens. Supporters of Prop 8 want the Supreme Court to re-affirm it, and in doing so keep marriage bans around the country intact. If the Court does decide to take the case, the decision could be quite narrow—only concerning California and, perhaps, only concerning situations in which marriage rights were granted prior to a public vote, or it could be a sweeping decision in one direction or the other.

What if the Court decides NOT to hear the Prop 8 case? That would be a disappointment to those on both sides who want to see the case set precedent, but the immediate effect would be hugely positive for same-sex couples eager to marry. Proposition 8 would be removed from the books, and marriage equality would then be legal in the most populous state in the union. Here come the bride-brides and the groom-grooms!

Continue reading at:  http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2012/09/24/marriage-at-the-supreme-court/

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Illinois Court Permits Religious Pharmacists To Refuse To Dispense Emergency Contraception

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/26/909341/illinois-court-permits-religious-pharmacists-to-refuse-to-dispense-emergency-contraception/

By Nicole Flatow
Sep 26, 2012

An Illinois appeals court upheld a ruling Fridaythat exempted pharmacists with religious objections from prescribing emergency contraceptives, finding that the medical professionals were protected by state law. The plaintiffs, both individual pharmacists and corporations that own pharmacies, had challenged an order by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich requiring that pharmacists sell “Plan B,” a brand of the contraceptive also known as the “morning-after pill.”

The court rejected the ACLU’s argument that prescribing emergency contraceptives fell under an exception in the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience for “emergency medical care,” even though doctors testified that the contraceptive was most effective when taken immediately after unprotected intercourse.

The three-justice panel did narrow the scope of the lower court’s ruling, which had entirely blocked the governor’s requirement to provide contraceptives. The appeals court held instead that the state law merely prohibits enforcement of the order against plaintiffs who claim a religious exemption.

The court’s decision to allow individual pharmacists to claim the protection of the law is not particularly surprising, given the Illinois statute’s broad wording: “No physician or health care personnel shall be civilly or criminally liable to any person, estate, public or private entity or public official by reason of his or her refusal to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, recommend, refer or participate in any way in any particular form of health care service which is contrary to the conscience of such physician or health care personnel.”

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/26/909341/illinois-court-permits-religious-pharmacists-to-refuse-to-dispense-emergency-contraception/

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Todd Akin Suggests Employers Should Be Able To Pay Women Less

From Talking Points Memo: http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/todd-akin-suggests-employers-should-be-able-to


Friday September 28, 2012

Todd Akin appeared to endorse allowing employers to pay women less than men at a town hall on Thursday.

Gender discrimination in compensation has been illegal in the United States since the passage of the 1963 Equal Pay Act. But in video provided by Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign, Akin responded to a question about the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — which made it easier for workers to sue over unequal pay — by suggesting that employers shouldn’t even be barred from paying women less in the first place.

Complete article at:  http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/todd-akin-suggests-employers-should-be-able-to

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This Presidential Race Should Never Have Been This Close

From Rolling Stone:   http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/this-presidential-race-should-never-have-been-this-close-20120925

Matt Taibbi
September 25, 2012

The press everywhere is buzzing this week with premature obituaries of the Romney campaign. New polls are out suggesting that Mitt Romney’s electoral path to the presidency is all but blocked. Unless someone snags an iPhone video of Obama taking a leak on Ohio State mascot Brutus Buckeye, or stealing pain meds from a Tampa retiree and sharing them with a bunch of Japanese carmakers, the game looks pretty much up – Obama’s widening leads in three battleground states, Virginia, Ohio and Florida, seem to have sealed the deal.

That’s left the media to speculate, with a palpable air of sadness, over where the system went wrong. Whatever you believe, many of these articles say, wherever you rest on the ideological spectrum, you should be disappointed that Obama ultimately had to run against such an incompetent challenger. Weirdly, there seems to be an expectation that presidential races should be closer, and that if one doesn’t come down to the wire in an exciting photo finish, we’ve all missed out somehow.

Frank Bruni of The New York Times wrote a thoughtful, insightful editorial today that blames the painful, repetitive and vacuous campaign process for thinning the electoral herd and leaving us with only automatons and demented narcissists willing to climb the mountain:

Romney’s bleeding has plenty to do with his intrinsic shortcomings and his shortsightedness: how does a man who has harbored presidential ambitions almost since he was a zygote create a paper trail of offshore accounts and tax returns like his?

But I wonder if we’re not seeing the worst possible version of him, and if it isn’t the ugly flower of the process itself. I wonder, too, what the politicians mulling 2016 make of it, and whether, God help us, we’ll be looking at an even worse crop of candidates then.

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