Mississippi attempts to define the start of personhood

From The LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/la-na-mississippi-abortion-20111105,0,5838417.story

A state initiative would ban all abortions. But opponents of the ballot measure say it would also ban many birth control pills and hamper popular infertility treatments, claims proponents are calling ‘scare tactics.’

By Richard Fausset, Los Angeles Times
November 4, 2011

Reporting from Clarksdale, Miss.

Gail Giaramita was walking door-to-door in this old cotton town on a recent afternoon, genially informing voters about the simple choice they faced when it came to Initiative 26, the statewide ballot measure that would define personhood as beginning at the moment of fertilization.

“If you believe that the unborn are human beings, you need to vote yes,” Giaramita explained to W.L. Wilkins, proprietor of Big Mama’s grocery store. “If you believe that women should continue to have the right to abort their babies, you need to vote no.”

If that’s all there was to it — if Initiative 26 would simply ban all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest — this proposed amendment to the state Constitution would be controversial enough. But opponents of the measure are warning of other potential consequences, including a ban on many birth control pills and a severe hampering of popular infertility treatments.

Proponents call these charges untrue “scare tactics.”

Either way, the measure’s passage would count as an unprecedented attempt to nullify the abortion right granted under Roe vs. Wade. Personhood USA, the main supporter of the Mississippi measure, says a victory here could “change [the] abortion debate,” as part of a “larger, global movement to define when life begins in an effort to undercut the case for legalized abortion.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/la-na-mississippi-abortion-20111105,0,5838417.story

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Thom Hartmann: Your Take/My Take – I want my Representative Democracy!

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Defense of Marriage Act Under Fire in Courts and Congress

From Truth Out:   http://www.truth-out.org/defense-marriage-act-under-fire-courts-and-congress/1320427106

by: Mike Ludwig
Friday 4 November 2011

A steady, legal assault on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is underway in Washington, DC.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) led 132 Democrats in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in a federal court in Boston where civil rights groups are challenging DOMA on behalf of two married couples who want the military to recognize their marriages.

DOMA prohibits gays and lesbians who work for the military to receive the same marriage benefits ensured to same-sex couples by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The same federal court ruled DOMA unconstitutional last year.

“These couples are in long term, committed, and legally recognized marriages, and the military should not be forced to turn its back on them because the federal government refuses to recognize their families,” said Aubry Sarvis, the director of plaintiff group the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday began debating the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would overturn DOMA. All ten Democrats on the committee are co-sponsors of the bill, and debate will continue next week.

The 1996 law defines marriage as between a man and a woman and prevents states and government groups from being required to recognize same-sex marriages. A dozen lawsuits against DOMA are underway in several states.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/defense-marriage-act-under-fire-courts-and-congress/1320427106

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Dirty Freaking Hippies Were Right!

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‘Occupy Philly’ storms Romney fundraising event

No Economic Justice, No Peace!


From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/05/occupy-philly-storms-romney-fundraising-event/

By Andrew Jones
Saturday, November 5, 2011

As developments with Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland have garnered the most headlines from the 99 percent protests of late, Occupy Philadelphia demonstrators made sure to create their own newsworthy event Friday afternoon.

Over 100 people made their voices heard when they arrived to protest a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in downtown Philadelphia, according to The Philadelphia Enquirer. Expecting Romney to enter through the back entrance of the Rittenhouse hotel, the location of the fundraiser, protesters chanted, “Hey Romney, picture this, no more greedy politics.” One notable protester held up a sign reading, ”Greed is Good! Romney-Gekko 2012.”

Complete article at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/05/occupy-philly-storms-romney-fundraising-event/

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OccupyMN Wins Free Speech Battle With Hennepin County

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Texas Censors Science

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/05-6

by Christopher Brauchli
Published on Saturday, November 5, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Religious feeling is as much a verity as any other part of human consciousness; and against it, on the subjective side, the waves of science beat in vain.
— John Tyndall, Professor Virchow and Evolution

Just when you think that science may have a fighting chance in Texas, its governor’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, something comes along to suggest, once again, that science may be happier finding a home in a different state.

Its struggles to be recognized in textbooks have been well documented. One of its recent struggles involved evolution, a concept taken by some Texans to be more theory than fact, a position with which it is difficult to argue when examining its proponents. When the 10-year review of science textbooks that was concluded in 2010 was taking place, evolution was a hot topic. The Texas Board of Education said that students must examine all “sides of scientific evidence” when it comes to evolution, including the scientific evidence that the earth is only 6000 years old, give or take a few years. The Discovery Institute that promotes “intelligent design” rather than evolution, said the revised standards were a “huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution. When the Board of Education agreed to include both sides of the evolution debate in text books the president of the school board said: “Our science standards are light years ahead of any other state when it comes to challenging evolution.” The Board of Education’s successful challenge to evolution, as it were, has now been joined by a less noted, but nonetheless Texas sized challenge, to global warming. Not that Texas is stopping it. It is just keeping it out of a recent scientific study.

The recent and successful assault on global warming (not its cause but its concept) came from an agency with the promising name of The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ.) The uninformed would think with a name like that it would have a lot going for it. The uninformed would be disabused of that notion upon learning that all its members were appointed by presidential hopeful, but climate change (and evolution skeptic), Texas governor Rick Perry. Members of the commission share his skepticism about global warming.
In 2009 TCEQ’s Galveston Bay Estuary Program commissioned a scientific study entitled “State of the Bay 2010 ” the purpose of which was to focus on the health of the Bay of Galveston. TCEQ retained the Houston Advanced Research Center to produce the report and the Center asked John Anderson, the Maurice Ewing professor of oceanography at Rice University to write a chapter for inclusion in the report dealing with rising sea levels. Dr. Anderson completed his report and gave it to the commission. Then a strange thing happened. In the part of the report that includes Dr. Anderson’s chapter, the Commission deleted references to climate change, the rise in sea level and the effect of humans on the environment. When Dr. Anderson learned of this he shared the chapter he had written with reporters. His conclusions, including references to the human causes of climate change that had been censored, were reported by assorted media outlets. In response, the Commission deleted his entire chapter from its report. This does not, of course, alter his conclusions. What it does is plant the Commission squarely in the camp that does not believe climate change is attributable to human activities or that climate change has caused a rise in the sea level.

Complete article at:   http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/05-6

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