Perry Pledges To Openly Defy A Supreme Court Decision Striking Down An Anti-Choice ‘Personhood’ Law

From Think Progress:    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/12/28/395595/perry-pledges-to-openly-defy-a-supreme-court-decision-striking-down-an-anti-choice-personhood-law/

By Ian Millhiser
Dec 28, 2011

At a radio forum sponsored by the anti-abortion and anti-birth control group Personhood USA, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that he would refuse to obey a Supreme Court decisionstriking down the group’s signature anti-choice proposal:

QUESTION: You have agreed to “endorse legislation making clear that Fourteenth Amendment protections apply to unborn children” . . . . What happens if the U.S. Supreme Court attempts to strike down this legislation, and replace it with one of its own edict denying the inalienable right to life for all persons born or unborn? Would you enforce the inalienable right to life or the Court’s opinion as the law?

PERRY: Well, obviously you enforce the right to life opinion.

Perry’s promise to openly defy the Supreme Court is disturbing, but it is also far from original. Fellow candidates Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have also pledged to treat binding Supreme Court opinions as if they were merely optional, and Gingrich even supports legitimizing his radical view of the Constitution through a campaign of intimidation against judges who disagree with him.

Complete article at:  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/12/28/395595/perry-pledges-to-openly-defy-a-supreme-court-decision-striking-down-an-anti-choice-personhood-law/

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Chimpanzees seem to know what’s on other chimps’ minds

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/dec/29/chimpanzee-chimps-minds

Humans may not be alone in having insight into the minds of others, a chimpanzee study suggests

, science correspondent
guardian.co.uk
, Thursday 29 December 2011

Chimpanzees moving through the forest take into account other chimps’ ignorance or knowledge of a threat when they raise the alarm.

The apes were more likely to make warning calls when they spotted a venomous snake if others in their troop had not seen the danger, researchers found. As chimps in the know arrived at the scene, they passed the warning on to others who lagged behind but were still within earshot.

Video footage of wild chimps foraging in Uganda’s Budongo forest show apes at the front of their groups jumping with surprise on spotting a model snake lying camouflaged in the undergrowth.

When the chimps regained their composure, they called out with repeated “hoos” to alert those behind them that a threat lay ahead. They made calls less often when other chimps already knew of the danger.

The behaviour suggests the animals knew what their fellow apes knew and made decisions over what warnings to give based on the information.

“Lots of animals give alarm calls and are more likely to do so if there’s an audience, but these chimps are more likely to call if the audience doesn’t know about the danger. It’s as if they’re picking up on differences in ignorance and knowledge in others,” said Dr Catherine Crockford, who studies ape communication and social interaction at the University of St Andrews.

Continue reading at:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/dec/29/chimpanzee-chimps-minds

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Cosmetic Animal Testing: The Horrifying Reality

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Leaving Animals Out of the Cosmetics Picture

From The New York Times:      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/fashion/expanding-efforts-to-keep-cosmetics-testing-from-animals.html

Even the ‘cruelty-free’ label doesn’t have a universal meaning.

By ABBY ELLIN
Published: December 28, 2011

THE actress Kristin Bauer, of “True Blood” fame, has an annual ritual when she visits her family home in Racine, Wis.: She takes a black marker and scribbles on the sides of specific products and cosmetics, “Tested on animals.”

“It’s so simple for me: we shouldn’t be torturing another living being for mascara when we don’t have to,” said Ms. Bauer, a vegetarian who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Abri van Straten, two dogs and two cats. “It seems so odd when you think of shaving cream and a bunny, or mascara and a guinea pig. We’re not saving a life.”

As a spokeswoman for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit health organization whose goals include promoting animal-free testing, Ms. Bauer has a mission: to get more people to use makeup and toiletries that have not been tested on rabbits, guinea pigs, mice or rats. And while “cruelty-free” has been a basic mantra of certain earthy lines like Aveda, the Body Shop and Kiss My Face, for decades, it’s increasingly been taken up by new and glamorous proponents.

The models Josie Maran (josiemarancosmetics.com) and Christie Brinkley (christiebrinkleyskincare.com) and the designer Stella McCartney (Care by Stella McCartney) are among those who have started cosmetics lines developed without animal testing.

Companies like Clinique, Tarte and Almay have stopped the practice. Other lesser-known brands, like Pixi, Organic Male OM4 (a skin-care line for men) and Dr.’s Remedy, an all-natural nail polish, never started it.

“It was important for us to know that there would not be any animals harmed in the development or testing of our product,” said the co-founder of Dr.’s Remedy, Adam Cirlincione, a podiatrist in New York.

Consumers seem to agree, said Nancy Beck, a former science and policy adviser for the physicians’ group, who conducted a report on the topic while working there. “Part of it is awareness about the issue in general,” said Dr. Beck, who has a doctorate in microbiology and immunology. “Science has evolved, and we have the technology now that maybe we didn’t have 30 or 40 years ago to do safety assessments without using animals. So having the methods in place, and companies bothering to take the time and making the investment into developing new methods, has a lot to do with it, too.”

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/fashion/expanding-efforts-to-keep-cosmetics-testing-from-animals.html

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Has America’s Stolen Election Process Finally Hit Prime Time?

From Common Dreams:      https://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/30-2

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Published on Friday, December 30, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

It took two stolen US Presidential elections and the prospect of another one coming up in 2012.

For years the Democratic Party and even much of the left press has reacted with scorn for those who’ve reported on it.

But the imperial fraud that has utterly corrupted our electoral process seems finally to be dawning on a broadening core of the American electorate—if it can still be called that.

The shift is highlighted by three major developments:
1. The NAACP goes to the United Nations

In early December, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the largest civil rights organization in America, announced that it was petitioning the United Nations over the orchestrated GOP attack on black and Latino voters.

In its landmark report entitled Defending Democracy: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America, the NAACP directly takes on the new Jim Crow tactics passed in fourteen states that are designed to keep minorities from voting in 2012.

The report analyzes 25 laws that target black, minority and poor voters “unfairly and unnecessarily restrict[ing] the right to vote.” It notes “…a coordinated assault on voting rights.”

Continue reading at:    https://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/30-2

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Laura Nyro

When I was first coming out I used to smoke weed with my friends at night and then go to my room and listen to Laura Nyro before I crashed.

Her music was a real friend those first few months when I felt alone and scared.

It’s about time she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Keeping Students From the Polls

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/opinion/keeping-college-students-from-the-polls.html

Editorial
Published: December 26, 2011
Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote.

Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.

Seven states have already passed strict laws requiring a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) to vote, which many students don’t have, and 27 others are considering such measures. Many of those laws have been interpreted as prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses from being used for voting.

It’s all part of a widespread Republican effort to restrict the voting rights of demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic. Blacks, Hispanics, the poor and the young, who are more likely to support President Obama, are disproportionately represented in the 21 million people without government IDs. On Friday, the Justice Department, finally taking action against these abuses, blocked the new voter ID law in South Carolina.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/27/opinion/keeping-college-students-from-the-polls.html

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