Free Barbie! Eve Ensler Imagines Liberating the Iconic Doll

N.Y. Archbishop Compares Marriage Equality to Incest

This is pretty fucking rich coming from  the biggest pedophile organization on the planet that is comprised of scam artist men who wear medieval dresses.

From The Advocate:

By Editors

Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan appeared on 60 Minutes Overtime, where he said that same-sex couples are no more entitled to marry each other than he is entitled to marry his mother.

The former Milwaukee archbishop explained the Catholic Church’s opposition to marriage equality to Morley Safer with a baseball analogy.

“I have a strong desire to play shortstop for the Yankees,” he said. “I don’t have a right to, because I don’t have what it takes. And that would be what the Church would say about marriage. We would say marriage by nature, marriage by definition is between a man and woman for life, giving children. Don’t tamper with the definition.”

Pressed by Safer to explain how exactly marriage equality would harm heterosexual marriages, Dolan responded, “Because where then would the tampering stop?”

“I mean, I love my mom,” said Dolan. “I don’t have the right to marry her, okay? There are certain rights and attractions in life that are very beautiful and noble but don’t entitle you to marriage.”

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What’s at Stake for Women in Wal-Mart v. Dukes

From Huffington Post:

Fatima Goss Graves
Vice President for Education and Employment, National Women’s Law Center
Posted: March 24, 2011 01:31 PM

Remembering Women’s History Month and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, New Deal 2.0 tells the surprising story of how women became citizens — and how their economic lives have evolved along with their rights. Fatima Goss Graves shines a light on how the wage gap undermines our meritocracy ideals, and why the class action suit against Wal-Mart must go forward.

No matter how available wage data is sliced and diced, a single truth remains: a wage gap exists between male and female workers. On average, full-time female workers make 23 percent less than male full-time workers. And for women of color, the gap in wages is even larger. African American women and Hispanic women working full-time make far less, on average — 62 percent and 53 percent respectively — compared to white, non-Hispanic men.

There is a gap in wages in every part of the country, with women in Wyoming and Louisiana making just 66 percent of male earnings. Even in the District of Columbia, where the wage gap is the smallest, women make 88 percent of male earnings. And although the Department of Labor has documented a gap in wages in every field, sales occupations are particularly behind the times. Women working full-time in sales occupations earned only 64 percent of their male counterparts’ earnings in 2010 — the highest of any occupation. In fact, the last time the overall wage gap was so large was 1981, when women across all occupations earned just 64.4 percent of men’s earnings.

This gap in wages is not merely the result of women’s “choices” in career or family, as study after study has demonstrated. Even when researchers have controlled for demographic differences between male and female employees, such as worker qualifications, experience, occupation type, and industry, a persistent gap in wages remains. To name results from just a few recent studies, the gap in wages between male and female physicians has only increased over the past decade, even after controlling for medical specialty, hours and practice type. And women with MBAs were paid less than men in their first post-MBA job and experienced less salary growth thereafter. These and many more studies, together with the countless pay discrimination cases filed around the country, show that pay disparities remain an entrenched problem.

Set against the backdrop of widespread disparities in pay, there is a tremendous amount at stake in the pay and promotions discrimination class action that will be argued in the Supreme Court on March 29th. In Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the Supreme Court will determine whether a nationwide class of women workers challenging alleged sex discrimination by Wal-Mart in pay and promotions can proceed. According to the plaintiffs’ evidence, women at Wal-Mart on average earned $5,000 less than men, even though women tended to have higher performance ratings and more seniority. Women also were less likely to be promoted to store manager positions and had to wait significantly longer for promotions than men. The Court’s decision will also effectively determine whether workers can continue to challenge company-wide discrimination by larger employers.

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Maryland GOP Delegate Holds Up Gender Identity Bill, Says She Needs Definition of “Transgender”

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  Lumping everyone under the sun into the category “Transgender” harms both transgender and transsexual people.  I’ve spoken about “framing an argument” .  For clarity’s sake use Transsexual people get SRS/Transgender people live full time as members of the gender not associated with their present sex.  Then use expansive language regarding “Gender identity/gender expression” and/or “perceived gender identity/gender expression”.

Trying to get laws passed is different from a coffee house discussion of philosophy or real life.

From Metro Weekly:

Posted by Yusef Najafi
March 24, 2011 7:35 PM

A bill that seeks to prohibit discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, licensing and commercial leasing against transgender Marylanders was scheduled to be voted on today in the Maryland House’s Health and Government Operations Committee. The vote, however, did not happen due to a “procedural hold” brought forth by Republican Del. Susan Krebs (Carroll County).

According to a staffer from the Health and Government Operations Committee office,  Krebs said she needed a definition of “transgender,” one that was approved by Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (D)
before voting on House Bill 235. That request, according to the staffer, was placed Wednesday, March 23.

A committee vote has been scheduled for H.B. 235 for Friday, March 25, but the office did not have information as to what will happen with the vote if Gansler has not responded by then.

Kreb’s did not immediately return a request for comment. A spokesperson in the attorney general’s office, meanwhile, was unable to provide any immediate information about the status of request when contacted by Metro Weekly this evening.

Speaking to Metro Weekly about today’s developments, Equality Maryland executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets said she is confident that the bill will make it through committee, even without Kreb’s support, and land on the House floor before the end of this year’s legislative session, which is April 11.

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DOJ’s New Scrutiny

From Metro Weekly:

Reposted with author’s consent

Justice Department’s ”historic document” about anti-LGBT police discrimination signals new approach to investigations — and to gender identity

by Chris Geidner
Published on March 23, 2011, 10:01am

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s report on its ”Investigation of the New Orleans Police Department,” which was released on March 16, detailed serious problems regarding racial profiling, excessive and even lethal force and inappropriate treatment of potential sexual assaults.

Briefly noted in initial reports about the year-long investigation’s outcome were the findings that, in addition, ”discriminatory policing” has been occurring against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in New Orleans. As Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, the head of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said on March 17, ”We found regular harassment of LGBT individuals, and the use of the ‘crimes against nature’ statute almost solely against LGBT individuals.”

Although these findings are notable on their own, the underlying reasoning that led to the full inclusion of LGBT people in the investigation in the first place was groundbreaking.

The report represented the first time that DOJ applied its Feb. 23 conclusion that sexual orientation governmental classifications are subject to heightened scrutiny in the course of using its investigatory authority to examine potential constitutional violations by state and local law enforcement.

Additionally – and also for the first time – DOJ announced that the heightened scrutiny that it concluded applies to sexual orientation classifications also applies to classifications based on gender identity.

As Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights told Metro Weekly, ”It really is a historic document in that respect.”

The extensive report address a broad range of problem areas, from use of force; stops, searches and arrests; office recruitment, training and evaluation; misconduct complaint procedures; and more. But it is in the discriminatory policing section of the report that these ”historic” conclusions are noted.

When discussing the legal standards that apply to consideration of when action, inaction or some pattern or practice of police constitutes discriminatory policing, the report stated, ”[W]e note that a number of factors weigh in favor of applying heightened scrutiny in the context of discrimination by law enforcement on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including a long history of animus and deeply-rooted stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (”LGBT”) individuals.”

Click to download the DOJ Investigation of New Orleans Police Dept.

On Feb. 23, when DOJ concluded that it would no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in court challenges, it did so because of the conclusion that Section 3 – the federal definition of marriage – is unconstitutional when subject to the heightened scrutiny that it decided should be applied to sexual orientation classifications.

The ”heightened scrutiny” determination is part of the test used by courts when evaluating claims that a law or government practice violates the equal protection rights of a group or individual. Under the most basic level of scrutiny — rational basis — the government need only show that the law provides a ”reasonable” way of seeking a ”legitimate” government aim.

Contrast this with a ”suspect class,” which receives ”strict scrutiny.” In such a case — involving race or religion, for example — the law is presumed to be unconstitutional and the government must prove that the law is ”narrowly tailored” and the ”least restrictive” way to advance a ”compelling” governmental interest.

In between is heightened, or intermediate, scrutiny. Under this scrutiny, laws in question must be ”substantially related” to ”important” governmental interests.

The Feb. 23 letter, because it addressed a challenge to DOMA, involved discussion only of sexual orientation discrimination and found that heightened scrutiny applied. Now, however, as Minter said, ”I am very happy to see that, in DOJ’s view, that the same considerations that led to the conclusion that heightened scrutiny applies to sexual orientation discrimination also applies to gender identity discrimination.”

Fred Sainz, the Human Rights Campaign’s vice president for communications, noted, ”I think that they rightly called it as they see it. I think that it is incredibly encouraging that the Department of Justice is walking the walk on heightened scrutiny – especially when the language now encompasses gender identity.”

Also, in the Feb. 23 letter, the only question was how DOJ viewed the law. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that the federal government would remain a party to the DOMA cases, and he encouraged Congress to take steps to have its views represented in court – which the House leadership is doing.

In the New Orleans report, in contrast, DOJ spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa told Metro Weekly that DOJ’s authority for investigating allegations of LGBT discriminatory policing came from ”42 U.S.C. Sec. 14141 using the 14th Amendment.”

The Fourteenth Amendment is the provision of the Constitution that guarantees the equal protection of the laws, and the statutory provision referenced makes it illegal for any state or local government ”to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers … that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

With this report, therefore, DOJ has established that it will apply heightened scrutiny not only to federal laws but also to state or local government laws or practices that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity – and that it will investigate, and could potentially prosecute, those claims when it deems warranted.

Looking at the scope and breadth of the report, as well as the underlying conclusions that allowed for the investigation, Minter said, ”I think that what we’re finally seeing is the full integration of LGBT issues into the Constitution, and DOJ is following through on their conclusion that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is subject to heightened scrutiny.”

Sainz looked ahead, adding, ”I think that this is a very, very encouraging development by the Justice Department that we will see repeat itself in very many beneficial ways, that we may not even yet know, in years to come.”

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Hoft Advances Proposal That Congress Defund American Lung Association

From Media Matters:

March 24, 2011

Advancing a proposal that Congress defund the American Lung Association (ALA), Jim Hoft is claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency is paying the ALA to attack Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). In fact, the money given by the EPA to the ALA cannot legally be used for lobbying purposes, and that money represents a small fraction of the total revenue the organization receives.

oft Claims American Lung Association Is Being Paid By EPA To Attack Rep. Upton

Hoft: “The EPA Is Now Paying The American Lung Association To Attack Republicans.” In a March 23 post on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website titled, “EPA Is Now Using Taxpayer Dollars to Pay Lung Association to Attack Republicans,” Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft highlighted an American Lung Association lobbying campaign targeted at Upton:

Your tax dollars at work…

The EPA is now paying the American Lung Association to attack Republicans


The ALA put up four billboards like this one near Rep. Fred Upton’s office in Michigan. Upton is the House Energy and Commerce Chairman. (PlowShareGroup)

The Environmental Protection Agency is paying the American Lung Association to run attack ads against Republican members of Congress. reported:

“The American Lung Association has targeted House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton for his efforts to stop U.S. EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions by placing billboards within sight of his district offices linking climate change with increased childhood asthma,” reports E&E News PM.

But as we reported last week in “EPA owns the American Lung Association,” the EPA has paid the American Lung Association over $20 million in the last ten years, and has paid the ALA many more millions in a symbiotic relationship going back to at least 1990.

The EPA-ALA relationship works something like this: EPA pays the ALA and, in return, the ALA agitates for more stringent EPA air quality regulation, including by lawsuit. Now it’s billboards.

In addition to defunding National Public Radio, the House GOP should look at the EPA’s funding of American Lung Association. [Big Government, 3/23/11; emphasis original]

ALA: Rep. Upton’s Bill Will “Rollback Clean Air Act” Provisions That “Protect Health And The Environment”

ALA: Rep. Upton’s Legislation Will “Rollback Clean Air Act” Provisions “Taken To Protect Health And The Environment.” In a letter to Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Charles D. Connor and Barry Gottschalk of the American Lung Association wrote:

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Things don’t look good for medical marijuana dispensaries fighting IRS, says NORML director

From The Washington Independent:

‘Congress is the best chance we’ve got,’ director says

By Kyle Daly

In a post on Drug War Chronicle, criminal justice journalist Clarence Walker reports that the DEA and FBI are together putting pressure on banks in northern California to report any suspicious activity pertaining to the sale of marijuana. Rather than get involved in messy federal investigations, many banks have opted to simply close the accounts of medical marijuana dispensaries. The news comes at the same time as other recent stories, as reported by The Colorado Independent and The American Independent, have implicated federal efforts to cut the legs off of medical marijuana dispensaries that operate within state laws but are in murky legal territory according to federal drug statutes.

As The American Independent has reported, perhaps the most effective of these tactics is a push within the IRS to audit the books of medical marijuana dispensaries and declare all business deductions ineligible. If the move continues and isn’t overruled in court, it could mean that all but the largest dispensaries in the country could shut down within months.

Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), tells The American Independent that he believes this is phase three in a federal push to stymie medical marijuana that began in 1996, when medical marijuana first became legal in California. St. Pierre says that federal investigators first went after doctors, threatening to convict any who discussed medical uses of marijuana with patients as accomplices in the procurement and possession of marijuana. That tactic was declared unconstitutional in the case Conant v. McCaffrey.

The next tactic was to prosecute landlords. “If you’re renting property to someone breaking federal law, the property can be taken,” says St. Pierre. “Unsurprisingly, a lot of landlords stopped renting to dispensaries.” Eventually, enough landlords found liability loopholes or simply decided it was worth the risk to rent to dispensaries that the government gave up, as the thousands of dispensaries that today populate California alone attest.

Now, the federal government is using a time-honored method that could just cripple the medical marijuana industry once and for all, St. Pierre says.

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