Romney: ‘Some Gays Are Actually Having Children. It’s Not Right on Paper. It’s Not Right in Fact.’

From Huffington Post:


We’ve witnessed many Mitt Romneys, but the one unearthed by the Boston Globe‘s Murray Waas yesterday is perhaps the most vicious and cruel: a zealot who, as Massachusetts governor, became hellbent on stigmatizing the children of gay and lesbian parents, labeling these kids as outcasts and causing them to suffer hardship throughout their lives.

Waas reveals how, after gays and lesbians in Massachusetts won the right to marry in 2003, Governor Romney wouldn’t allow the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics to revise birth certificate forms for babies born to same-sex couples. The plan was to have the box for “father,” for example, relabeled “father or second parent.” But according to documents obtained by Waas, Romney rejected the plan, demanding the agency continue using old forms. Romney then demanded hospitals get permission from his office each time a child was born to a same sex-couple in order to cross out, with a pen, the label “father” or “mother,” and write-in, with a pen, “second parent.” (Romney also required gay male parents to get a court order before any birth certificate was issued.)

Those children would then go through life with birth certificates that marked them as strange, abnormal, less than everyone else, punished because Romney didn’t approve of their parents. As a Department of Health attorney warned Romney, the children would be disadvantaged and would have trouble applying to school or getting drivers licenses as adults, particularly in a post-9/11 world where they might be considered security risks, having birth certificates that appeared altered. It was a “violation of existing statutes,” the attorney warned Romney. But Romney waved off the warnings, not caring about the the legal, psychological or personal ramifications.

Romney hadn’t even previously fathomed that gay people had children. Boston Spirit magazine reported last month that when gay activists met with him in his office in 2004, as Romney was backing a failed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state, Romney remarked, “I didn’t know you had families.” Julie Goodridge, lead plaintiff in the landmark case that won marriage rights for gays and lesbians before the Supreme Judicial Court, asked what she should tell her 8-year-old daughter about why the governor would block the marriage of her parents. According to Goodridge, Romney responded,”I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”

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Women Who Use Surrogates Not Entitled To Same Parental Rights As Men Who Use Artificial Insemination, Court Holds

From Think Progress:

By Nicole Flatow
on Oct 25, 2012

New Jersey’s highest court has denied parental rights to an infertile woman who arranged with her husband to a have a child carried by a surrogate. A 3-3 tie voteforced the court to accept the opinion of the lower court, and reject arguments that a New Jersey law unconstitutionally discriminated against women when it granted rights only to infertile men.

The New Jersey Parentage Act (N.J.S.A.) allows infertile men parental rights to a child carried by their wife via artificial insemination, even though the sperm come from a different man. It does not, however, grant parental rights to infertile women like the plaintiff, who similarly seek to have children through alternative means using their husband’s sperm.

In distinguishing between the two scenarios, the majority opinion noted that surrogates also have a stake in the outcome, with the option to seek parental rights. In a famous New Jersey case involving “Baby M,” the same court found that a surrogate carrying a child with her own egg could not be forced to relinquish her parental rights, even though she had already agreed to give the baby away. But as the New York Times points out, couples rarely now use the egg of the surrogate, instead relying on an anonymous egg donor and the sperm of the father in what is called “gestational surrogacy.”

The surrogate in this case had already relinquished her parental rights, and was not disputing that issue. Instead, it was the state’s Department of Health and Human Services that intervened, claiming the woman’s name had improperly been included on the child’s birth certificate, and that the wife (A.L.S.) would have to go through the time and expense of the adoption process.

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Harris-Perry to Mourdock: Assaults on choice are assaults on women

From Raw Story:

By David Ferguson
Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday on MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry,” host Harris-Perry directed an open letter to Indiana candidate for U.S. Senate Richard Mourdock, the latest Republican candidate to go on the record saying that there should not be an exception in abortion laws for victims of rape and incest, but rather that women should look at rape-induced pregnancies as a “gift from God.”

Harris-Perry wrote her letter to Mourdock from the perspective of a survivor of sexual assault, informing him that to women like herself, his words are worse than insulting.

“Dear Mr. Mourdock,” she wrote, “Sometimes I still flinch when I’m touched a certain way, even if it’s the loving embrace of my husband.”

“Those of us who are sexual assault survivors call these triggers. We spend our lives — the lives we lead after the attack — avoiding and managing these triggers,” she continued.

Harris-Perry said that she has never known a Congressional debate to require a “trigger warning,” but Mourdock’s remarks last week during a debate in Indiana needed exactly that.

“Rape and sexual assault are complicated experiences for survivors. Some of us fight, kick, scream, and resist at every moment. Some of us eventually give in to save our own lives or to manage the horror,” she said.

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Women who give up smoking before the age of 30 can cut 97 per cent of health risks, says study

From The Independent UK:

Jeremy Laurance
Friday 26 October 2012

Smoking is more dangerous than previously thought but the benefits of giving up are much greater than expected, according to a study of 1.3 million women.

Those who give up smoking before the age of 30 can avoid 97 per cent of the health risks associated with the habit, researchers say.  Even giving up before 40 cuts the risk by 90 per cent.

But women who don’t give up and continue smoking into middle age lose at least 10 years of life.

The study, by researchers at Oxford University, is published to mark tomorrow’s 100th anniversary of the birth of Sir Richard Doll, the physician who arguably has saved more lives than anyone else. He was the first, with his colleague Austin Bradford Hill, to make the link between smoking and cancer in the early 1950s, when four out of five men and two out of five women in the UK smoked. Now, thanks to campaigns highlighting the risks of smoking, the proportion is down to one in five in both sexes. Even so, smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in the UK, US and other countries.

The findings, from the Million Women study published in The Lancet, show that smokers who continue with the habit after 40 have 10 times the risks of those who stop at 40. The risks are highest among the heaviest smokers, but even light smokers, who consume between 1 and 9 cigarettes a day, have twice the risk of dying prematurely compared with non-smokers.

Although the figures are drawn from women smokers, experts said men faced a similar risk.

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The Formula for ‘Equal Opportunity’: Why Affirmative Action Isn’t Enough

From In These Times:

By Michelle Chen
Thursday Oct 25, 2012

Once again, affirmative action is on trial in the Supreme Court.The pending case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, challenges U.T. Austin’s admissions policy, which aims to bring in more students of color by considering race among other factors. The case is driven by the misplaced racial anxieties provoked by affirmative action, but it might offer a platform for truly grappling with the nature of institutional racism and the oft-politicized, seldom-understood concept of “equal opportunity” in schools and workplaces.

The backlash against affirmative action—and more broadly against institutional efforts to desegregate schools and workplaces—has been accompanied by straw-man accusations of “reverse racism,” heard in debates about everything from President Obama to high school textbooks. Meanwhile, affirmative action’s detractors paper over the persistent inequities across our workplaces and classrooms.

A new book, Documenting Desegregation, sheds light on how racial inequity really works and why it’s so pernicious. The book traces the evolution of equal opportunity policies under the Civil Rights Act since its implementation in the mid-1960s. The authors, sociologists Kevin Stainback and Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, tell Working In These Times that effective enforcement of civil rights depends on both strong pro-integration policies and, more importantly, grassroots political movements that can hold institutions accountable.

At the height of the civil rights movement, activists and progressive politicians crafted affirmative-action policies aimed at fostering desegregation, particularly in government-sponsored enterprises. At first, they worked. Using data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Stainback and Tomaskovic-Devey explain in an email to Working In These Times:

Our analysis of more five million private sector workplaces since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 reveals that Affirmative Action appears to have been successful at increas[ing] employment and even some coveted managerial jobs for African American[s] in the 1960s and into the 1970s.

However, that progress halted in the Reagan Era. Affirmative action, the authors say, “appears to have provided some benefits for racial minorities and women prior to 1980, and stalled in the 1980s. Many indicators of equal opportunity for blacks and women indicate some worsen[ing] since the 1990s.”

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Bill Maher: If Romney Wins, The ‘Anti-Intellectual, Anti-Science Freak Show’ Comes To DC

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
on October 27, 2012

Bill Maher last night warned that if Mitt Romneywins the White House, he’ll bring to Washington “the whole anti-intellectual, anti-science freak show.”

The abstinence obsessives, the flat earthers, home schoolers, the holy warriors, the anti-women social neanderthal, the closeted homosexuals, and every end timer who sees the Virgin Mary in the grass over the septic tank.

You’ve been warned!

New Rule: America, before you get in bed with Mitt Romney, remember, he may seem like a nice fella, from what we know about his core beliefs (nothing), his tax plan (nothing), his faith (off-limits), and his donors (anonymous), but a compulsive liar whose whole life is secret can get you a lot worse disease than ‘Romnesia’.

Now, when I talk about getting into bed with Mitt Romney, obviously I don’t mean that literally.  Please, Mitt Romney doesn’t even know what a blowjob is!  He thinks it’s something the Pep Boys do to clean out your carburetor.  No, what I’m trying to do is make an analogy to that old public service announcement about how when you go to bed with one person, you’re not just sleeping with them, you’re….  Well, it’s like that with Mitt. When you elect Mitt, you’re not just electing him, you’re electing every right-wing nut he’s pandered to in the last ten years.

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Why Don’t the Democrats Go After Non-Religious Voters?

From Alternet:

Soul-searching by the Democratic Party led some of its leaders to a natural conclusion: the future of the party lay in the hands of church-going voters, and the party had better win them back. They were wrong.

By Adele M. Stan
October 22, 2012

 For the better part of the decade that followed its bitter loss to George W. Bush in 2000, soul-searching by the Democratic Party led some of its leaders to a natural conclusion: the future of the party lay in the hands of church-going voters, and the party had better win them back. The only problem with that was that it was wrong.

Not only was it a wrong conclusion, but it was one that saw Democrats ignoring a key constituency: the growing numbers of voters with no religious affiliation — voters whose values tend to fall naturally in line with the party’s professed goals.

A new survey released on Monday by the Public Religion Research Institute confirms just what a mistake that was: Nearly one-fifth — 19 percent — of Americans now say they are unaffiliated with any religion, and 63 percent of them lean Democratic. But the survey also shows they’re significantly less likely to turn up at the polls than religious voters. Perhaps that’s because they feel left out of the dialogue, as leaders of the Democratic spent the last eight years trying to show the public that they love Jesus as much as anybody.

In 2007, I attended a breakout session at progressive conference on how to win religious voters. Afterwards, I asked one of the presenters what kind of outreach was being made to the then-14 percent of voters who identified as “unchurched.” He seemed flummoxed by the question. He’d never thought about it, he said.

Around December 2004, Democrats found themselves in a quandary, as Karl Rove and Ralph Reed marshalled the votes of evangelical Christians for George W. Bush, partially through the strategy of getting anti-gay referenda placed on the presidential ballot in battleground states. The strategy was to drive up turnout among the so-called “values voters,” and Rove later claimed that he brought greater numbers of evangelicals to the polls than had voted in previous elections.

Democrats had already been talking among themselves, after 2000, about how to counter the foot soldiers commanded by Rove, and thinking inside the box, began listening to power-mongers like the anti-gay, anti-choice Rev. Jim Wallis and Rev. Sam Rodriguez about the need for religious outreach to build a church-going Democratic base. In 2004, a group of religious leaders came together in Washington, D.C., to lay the foundation for an organization that would address those concerns, which in 2006 was launched as Faith and Public Life.

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Can the company fire you for the way you vote?

From The Guardian UK:

Very likely, yes. When it comes to employees’ political views, the free market, not free speech, is the power that rules America, Friday 26 October 2012

So many stories of employers pressuring their workers to vote for Romney have come out that you might think workplace intimidation was invented just for this election.

Romney certainly hasn’t done much to dispel this perception. In a conference call to the National Federation of Independent Business, the GOP candidate was recorded encouraging business owners to:

“[M]ake it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections.”

A number of Romney backers took it upon themselves to spell out more clearly to their workers what “the best interest for their job” really means. David Siegel, CEO of Florida‘s Westgate Resorts, emailed his employees that a second term for Obama would likely give him “no choice but to reduce the size of this company”. Republican donor-activists Charles and David Koch were no less subtle when they sent 45,000 employees of their Georgia Pacific paper company a list of whom to vote for, warning that workers “may suffer the consequences” if Obama is re-elected.

Florida-based ASG Software CEO Arthur Allen informed his employees that he was contemplating a merger that would eliminate “60% of the salaries” of the company – should Romney lose. In Ohio, coal mine owner Robert Murray left employees in no doubt that they were expected to attend a Romney rally – off the clock and without pay. In Cuba, at least they pay workers for show demonstrations.

Democrats are apoplectic. But as Romney assured those who have the power to hire and fire thousands of people, there is “nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business”. He’s right. Heavy-handed? Yes. An abuse of authority? Probably. Against the law? Not likely.

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Bain Capital and the Race to the Bottom in Manufacturing and Wages

From The Center For Media and Democracy:

by Mary Bottari
October 24, 2012

On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney wants to have his cake and eat it too. “Governments do not create jobs,” a stern Romney told CNN’s Candy Crowley twice during the second debate. Here in Wisconsin, however, he is running ads promising to “crack down on China” and create 12 million new jobs.

When attempting to square the circle, a look at Bain Capital’s investment strategies might be helpful. In 1984, Romney co-founded Bain Capital, a spin-off from Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm. A new accounting details Bain Capital’s history in shipping some 15,865 manufacturing jobs overseas (see chart below). Using a conservative multiplier, which takes into account other jobs in the supply chain or community dependent on those manufacturing jobs, Bain is responsible for some 31,730 lost jobs.

According to the analysis by Dr. Raymond Lenzi of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, “Bain has followed a consistent pattern of buying American manufacturing plants and, within one to four years, shipping equipment and jobs to China, Mexico, and India. While Bain may have added some jobs in service companies in which they have invested (Burger King and Staples office supply for example) these jobs have little or no positive impact on the American economy since they pay much less than manufacturing jobs.”

What may be most shocking is the diversity of jobs that firms like Bain have decided the nation can do without. Bain has not only offshored Mr. Coffee, it is in the process of offshoring profitable high-tech, high-wage manufacturing jobs, the type of jobs that American workers were told would be the upside of terrible trade deals like the 1994 NAFTA and the 2000 China pact.

“Bainport” Illinois

Bain’s recent decision to close the Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Illinois is particularly galling. The plant, which employs some 170 workers, is high-tech, highly profitable, and efficient. It makes sophisticated sensors needed for vehicles including domestic General Motors and Ford cars. In 2011, the company had a net revenue of $1.8 billion and adjusted net income of $355 million. This represents “record levels for the company,” Sensata said in a financial report.

But blockbuster profits are not good enough for Bain who apparently can make more money by shipping the entire firm overseas. So they are.

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The Case Against the Looters of the American Economy, and a Mission for Occupy Wall Street

From Truth Out:

By Darwin BondGraham
Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A little-known lawsuit advancing in federal court has the potential to change the moral and legal balance of power between private equity and the public good. But analysts say it may take the Occupy Movement to bring about needed regulatory reforms.

The secretive industry of private equity, mostly lauded in press in the 1990s and mid-2000s for executing daring buyout deals of ever-increasing proportions, is facing enormous skepticism these days.The fact that the Republican Party has chosen to nominate a co-founder of one of America’s largest and most controversial PE firms as its presidential candidate, in the midst of the most severe economic downturn since The Great Depression, is an obvious cause of some of the increased attention. Even so, private equity’s record was a story long overdue to be told.

Besides this raft of media attention, including some serious journalistic scoops, there are more serious investigations into the morally and legally dubious activities of companies like Bain Capital that could have reverberating impacts on the industry’s future. What’s interesting about recent government and shareholder investigations is that in years past, these parties mostly looked the other way, or even cooperated through inaction, allowing PE firms to literally commit crimes, or at least to conduct their business in morally dubious ways, unabashedly preying on the wealth of public companies, less powerful investors and local communities.The lack of moral sanction, and the near absence of law enforcement action, only served to reinforce private equity’s greed.

Now, however, one lawsuit has partly pried open the black box of private equity. The case has the potential to not only provide yet unseen data and documents recording some of PE’s biggest possible crimes, but also to set the stage for the taming of finance capital’s most aggressive and destructive creatures. It’s a moon shot of a chance, and will take popular political pressure and aggressive regulatory and legal action to capitalize on, say lawyers and experts watching the proceedings. Even so the case is worth following.

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