Why Alt-Labor Groups Are Making Employers Mighty Nervous

From American Prospect:  http://prospect.org/article/why-alt-labor-groups-are-making-employers-mighty-nervous

Union membership remained steady last year—steady at its near-hundred-year low. A mere 6.7 percent of private-sector workers are union members, as are 11.3 percent of U.S. workers overall, according to figures released last Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.)

Those government union membership statistics, however, don’t capture an entire swath of new, exciting and emerging labor activists—“alt-labor” activists—whom alarmed employers would like to see regulated by the same laws that apply to unions. Yet before we regulate them as unions, shouldn’t we first count them as unions?

Consider those striking fast food workers you’ve been reading about, the ones calling for a $15 an hour wage. Their numbers are not counted in the union membership figures. How about those Wal-Mart workers who struck for Black Friday and just won a key court case? Uncounted. What about the day laborers who joined any one of hundreds of workers’ centers nationwide? You got it, not included.  Neither are the restaurant workers, home health care workers, taxi drivers or domestic workers, all of whom are organizing for workplace power outside traditional unions.

Why are these labor activists uncounted? The BLS bases its union membership numbers on the Current Population Survey (CPS). Every month, the government asks about 15,000 people whether they are union members or members of an employee association like a union. The people who went on strike at McDonald’s for a day, or who joined a local workers’ center, will almost certainly say “no” to this question, because they don’t pay union dues or aren’t covered by a contract. The government’s questions have no place for these workers who are part of a new breed of “alt-labor” groups leveraging workplace power outside the realm of collective bargaining —such as through worker centers, labor coalitions, or the three million members of the AFL-CIO’s Working America. In addition, the government union numbers exclude people who report they are self-employed. In todays’ economy, that could easily mean day laborers and domestic workers who are part of new labor groups.

Continue reading at:  http://prospect.org/article/why-alt-labor-groups-are-making-employers-mighty-nervous

 

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Pete Seeger

I guess everyone has figured out how important Pete Seeger was to me.  He was always like a wise teacher, better than a priest at helping me to choose an ethical moral path through life.

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Conservative groups call for national boycott of Girl Scout cookies

Buy Lots of Girl Scout Cookies!

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/conservative_groups_call_for_national_boycott_of_girl_scout_cookies/

The organization tweeted a link about Wendy Davis, and now all Thin Mints must be thrown into the sea


Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

Conservatives are in a tizzy over the Girl Scouts again.

Remember when pastor and right-wing activist Kevin Swanson called the organization “wicked” and pleaded with the American public to boycott Thin Mints? Well, there’s another boycott happening, this time because a group of anti-choice organizations think the Girl Scouts endorsed Wendy Davis in the Texas governor’s race.

Which, you know, never happened.

As Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress points out, the “endorsement” in question is actually a tweet from December linking to a Huffington Post slideshow naming Davis, Malala Yousafzai, Beyoncé, and others as the “2013 women of the year.” The Girl Scouts’ official Twitter account then asked followers who they thought should be included in the list of “incredible ladies.”

But the tweet was enough to inspire John Pisciotta, an anti-choice activist in Texas, to call for a boycott, and a number of anti-choice groups have agreed to stop eating Caramel DeLites and TagaLongs to prove their point.

“The Girl Scouts were once a truly amazing organization,” Pisciotta told Breitbart. “But it has been taken over by ideologues of the left, and regular folks just will not stand for it.”

The boycott website also warns that the organization’s curriculum for girls celebrates “pro-abortion role models” like Hillary Clinton.

As I’ve written before, the Girl Scouts have inclusive but pretty anodyne policies regarding sexuality, gender and religion, and do not have an official position on abortion rights or reproductive healthcare. Angry speculation about its connection with Planned Parenthood and other issues has gotten so intense that the organization directly addresses these questions on its website.

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Sandra Fluke ‘Strongly Considering’ Run For Henry Waxman’s Seat In Congress

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/sandra-fluke-congress-_n_4697696.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

By Posted: 01/30/2014

Sandra Fluke, the former Georgetown University Law student who became a national figure after conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” said Thursday that she is considering a run for Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-Calif.) seat in the House of Representatives. Waxman announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of this session after 20 terms in Congress.

Fluke, who currently works as a social justice attorney in Los Angeles, said in a statement obtained by The Huffington Post that she is exploring a run for the seat, which lies in a safely Democratic district.

“I’m flattered that I’m being discussed as a potential candidate, especially for Rep. Waxman’s seat, considering his incredible legacy,” Fluke said. “A number of folks I respect very deeply have reached out today and encouraged me to run. I am strongly considering running. I’ll be making my decision soon.”

Fluke, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in September of 2012, is a vocal proponent of reproductive rights. Limbaugh’s comments about her came in response to her advocacy for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

On her personal website, Fluke writes that she’s “devoted her career to public interest advocacy for numerous social justice concerns, such as LGBTQ rights, worker rights, economic justice, immigrant rights, and international human rights, including focusing on the impact to communities of color.”

Hilary Rosen, a Democratic campaign consultant who works for SKDKnickerbocker, which handles Fluke’s press, tweeted Thursday that she thinks Fluke would make a good candidate.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/30/sandra-fluke-congress-_n_4697696.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

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Davis Says Critics Picked on “Wrong Texas Gal”

From The Texas Tribune:  http://www.texastribune.org/2014/01/28/davis-says-critics-picked-wrong-texas-gal/

by
Jan. 28, 2014

Saying she’d “had enough,” state Sen. Wendy Davis unloaded on Attorney General Greg Abbott on Tuesday night, blaming him and his allies for waging a smear campaign against her family and warning he had picked a fight with the “wrong Texas gal.”

Abbott’s campaign could not immediately be reached for comment. A day after the publication of a Dallas Morning News story questioning some of the details her personal story, Abbott campaign spokesman Matt Hirsch said Davis had “systematically, intentionally and repeatedly deceived Texans for years about her background, yet she expects voters to indulge her fanciful narrative.”

Davis’ remarks on Tuesday night were the most direct, personal and sustained criticism the Democratic candidate for governor has leveled at her expected Republican opponent so far.

“They know they cannot defend their public record,” Davis said of the attorney general and his allies. “So they’re attacking my private life.”

Davis was speaking at a boisterous, sold-out fundraiser for the Travis County Democratic Party, serving as keynote speaker at the Johnson-Bentsen-Richards dinner at the tony Four Seasons hotel in downtown Austin.

Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth, rose to prominence last summer after waging an 11-hour filibuster against a restrictive abortion bill. A few weeks later, she announced she was running for governor. Her celebrity helped her rake in millions and raised Democratic hopes that the party can win statewide office after nearly two decades in the wilderness.

But for the last 10 days, her campaign has been rocked by criticism about the way she characterized her early biography, which stressed her struggles as a single mother. Davis acknowledged she got a couple of details wrong, in particular the age at which she and her first husband divorced. It was 21, not 19, as she had previously stated.

On Tuesday night, Davis attempted to forcefully reclaim that narrative while criticizing Abbott on a range of policy issues and promising to change the direction of Texas, where Republicans control every statewide office and both houses of the Legislature.

Continue reading at:  http://www.texastribune.org/2014/01/28/davis-says-critics-picked-wrong-texas-gal/

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Climate scientist’s lawsuit could wipe out conservative National Review magazine

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/30/climate-scientists-lawsuit-could-wipe-out-conservative-national-review-magazine/

By David Ferguson
Thursday, January 30, 2014

The National Review magazine, longstanding house news organ of the establishment right, is facing a lawsuit that could shutter the publication permanently. According to The Week, a suit by a climate scientist threatens to bankrupt the already financially shaky publication and its website, the National Review Online (NRO).

Scientist Michael Mann is suing the Review over statements made by Canadian right-wing polemicist and occasional radio stand-in for Rush Limbaugh, Mark Steyn. Steyn was writing on the topic of climate change when he accused Mann of falsifying data and perpetuating intellectual fraud through his research.

Steyn went on to quote paid anti-climate science operative Rand Simberg — an employee of the right-wing think tank the Competitive Enterprise Institute — who compared Mann to Penn State’s convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky.

Mann, Simberg said, is “the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data.”

Mann sued for defamation. Steyn and the Review vowed to fight the suit, given that defamation is notoriously difficult to prove in court.

“My advice to poor Michael is to go away and bother someone else,” said Review editor Rich Lowry. “If he doesn’t have the good sense to do that, we look forward to teaching him a thing or two about the law and about how free debate works in a free country.”

As the case has played out, however, Lowry’s hubris has proven to be unwarranted.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/30/climate-scientists-lawsuit-could-wipe-out-conservative-national-review-magazine/

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Why the GOP’s civil war is only going to get uglier

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/the_gop_unrest_will_continue_as_long_as_its_bankrolled_by_the_libertarian_koch_brothers_partner/

Again, they misunderstand Econ 101 — and the ride they’re being taken on by the Tea Party and religious right


Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

When it comes to explaining complex political dynamics, the media tends to adopt simple narratives rather than sophisticated commentary. This has been particularly evident when examining coverage of the Republican Party’s ongoing civil war.

The battle for the heart and soul of the GOP is more than social conservatives parrying with establishment Republicans. It is a pantomime that has many actors performing on a number of stages, but with only one clown: libertarians.

Libertarians are a funny bunch. By funny I mean ignorant not only of basic economics but also the ride they’ve been taken on by the Christian Right and the neo-Confederates within the Republican Party.

Nullification is the common cause that drives this anti-establishment triumvirate. Nullification of the federal government is now the weapon of choice for theocrats, libertarians and white supremacists. Since 2010, state legislatures have put forward nearly 200 bills challenging federal laws its sponsors deem unconstitutional. Typically, laws the nullifiers believe challenge “religious liberty,” the Affordable Care Act and gun control.

Recently, Kansas signed into law the Second Amendment Protection Act, which prohibits the enforcement of federal laws regulating guns manufactured and used within the state. Missouri put forward a bill that would have allowed for the arrest of federal agents enforcing gun laws. Similar bills have been introduced in 37 other states.

Of course, the ACA has been a high-priority target for the nullification movement with more than 20 bills introduced in state legislatures to nullify the president’s healthcare law. The Hobby Lobby, with the backing of the right, is attempting to nullify the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate in the Supreme Court. A favorable ruling will mean privately owned businesses are free to discriminate against gays, women and anyone else on the basis of religious liberty.

A report published by Political Research Associates says, “The nullification movement’s ideology is rooted in reverence for states’ rights and a theocratic and neo-Confederate interpretation of U.S. history. And Ron Paul, who is often portrayed as a libertarian, is the engine behind the movement.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/the_gop_unrest_will_continue_as_long_as_its_bankrolled_by_the_libertarian_koch_brothers_partner/

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Pete Seeger: Beating Flagpoles into Ploughshares

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/29

by Michael Winship

Not only was it sad to hear the news this morning of Pete Seeger’s passing but startling to realize that it was 45 long years ago that we first met. It was in 1969, at Georgetown University, when I was a callow college freshman and he already was a legend among folk music lovers and political activists.

I knew his songs, had many of his records and played them all the time, especially a concert album with the great Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and the Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick, the Baptist minister in charge of folk culture for Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

There was another album I loved called “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy and Other Love Songs.” It wasn’t so much the folk music revival of the fifties and sixties that first drew me to Seeger, but that title song. “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” told the story of a captain ordering a platoon to cross a river despite his sergeant’s warning that the water was too deep and treacherous.

It was an explicit metaphor for the quagmire of Vietnam and the escalation policy of President Lyndon Johnson, each verse but the last ending with the bitter, “The big fool said to push on.” When Seeger first tried to sing it on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, CBS network executives censored it from the broadcast but relented under pressure and he returned to perform it in late February 1968; coincidentally, less than a month after the attacks of the Tet offensive took US forces in South Vietnam by surprise and radically changed American public opinion about the war.

In the years after, Seeger and his music would float in and out of my life like a warm summer breeze, that unique combination of laid back and earnest always in his light tenor voice. I’d see him from a distance or we’d talk backstage at concerts and rallies. That first time, at Georgetown, was the Friday afternoon before the massive Moratorium March on Washington on November 15, 1969. Kids from around the country had come to DC for the anti-Vietnam protest and Georgetown had reluctantly opened its dorms and other buildings so they’d have an indoor place to sleep, one of several times in those years that the school would become a de facto Day’s Inn for protesters.

One of the rooms that had been opened to we, the rabble, was a lecture space off the main campus at the foreign service school called the Hall of Nations — so named because the walls were lined with the national flags of UN members. That weekend, the university removed all the flags, apparently fearing theft, desecration or students from Vanderbilt or Ohio State huddled under the banner of Ethiopia for warmth. But they left the shiny metal flagpoles in place, each of which, for some unknown reason was sharpened at the top end to a fine point.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2014/01/29

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Dr. V and the Inescapable Closet

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/dr-v-and-the-inescapable-_b_4671437.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

01/27/2014

Last week a story broke on the Grantland blog and has been burning up the Twitterverse, listservs, Facebook and other social media outlets. It’s a story that is a profound tragedy, with innocent and not-so-innocent victims, culturally reaching back to the ’60s, and spotlighting an all-too-common profound ignorance still present in our society.

I suppose it’s fitting that it began as a story about a “magical putter,” a golf club of interest, I imagine, to the dwindling coterie of avid golfers in our country. A sports story written by a young and hungry sportswriter for a sports blog, a story pursued because, as Caleb Hannan wrote, “strange stories can find you at strange times.”

This “strange story” was clearly a detective story, a mystery that had been perplexing golfers, with twists and turns that made for riveting reading even for those who care little about golf. I came on it, and read the entire 7,700-word story, only after the story blew up online and I was told it had a trans angle. I was also told that the language used on Twitter was fierce, calling for the head of the reporter. Within days a response by the editor, Bill Simmons, was posted, as well as a very thoughtful piece by my friend and colleague, Christina Kahrl. What was immediately clear to me upon concluding the story was that the writer and his editor should have contacted Christina before publication, and preferably as soon as the writer became aware of the protagonist’s “secret.” That it didn’t work out in that manner is indicative of the profound ignorance of so many Americans about the transgender experience, even in 2014.

There are so many layers to this story for me. The first, which stood out starkly, was the tragedy of the life of the protagonist, Essay Anne Vanderbilt. She committed suicide in October, long before the story was published but following increasingly strained interactions with the writer. She had been suicidal before, and clearly had been struggling emotionally through much of her life. People don’t concoct completely new histories, revising and re-revising, to cover themselves while trying to hide in plain sight, without serious underlying emotional fragility. She is representative, unfortunately, of many trans women who have transitioned gender in mid-life and have been so emotionally stressed that they’ve contemplated, attempted or actually committed suicide. The prevalence of serious suicide attempts among trans people has been reported at 41 percent; I can relate, as I’m one of the 41 percent.

When any life is lost, it is a tragedy. When it is lost because of unbearable social pressures, it is an unnecessary tragedy. Her story is, unfortunately, still way too common.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-beyer/dr-v-and-the-inescapable-_b_4671437.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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More Proof Right Wingers Hate Women: Fox’s Martha MacCallum Says Women Get Paid ‘Exactly What They’re Worth’

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What Would Jello Do? Part 41 Super Marijuana Bowl

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Appeals court ruling in California is another sign of conversion therapy industry’s collapse

From Southern Poverty Law Center:  http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/appeals-court-ruling-in-california-is-another-sign-of-conversion-therapy-industrys

01/29/2014

A ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upholds California’s ban on conversion therapy for minors, a discredited practice that claims to “cure” people of being gay, is another sign of the collapse of the conversion therapy industry, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The court reaffirmed its earlier decision upholding the ban Wednesday. The ruling means that the only recourse for the therapists challenging the law is the U.S. Supreme Court. 

“We are thrilled that the federal appeals court has, for the second time, confirmed that states can protect kids from the harmful practices used in so-called ‘conversion therapy,’” said David Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director. “Science proves that it doesn’t work. It harms kids, and it tears families apart.”

In 2012, the SPLC filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit on behalf of four young men who claim they were defrauded by Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH), a New Jersey organization that offers conversion therapy services.

In therapy sessions, the men were instructed, among other things, to stand naked in a circle with other patients and a naked counselor; to cuddle with members of the same sex, including other patients and counselors; to violently beat effigies of their mothers with a tennis racket; to go to gyms and bathhouses in order to be nude with father figures; and to participate in mock locker room and gym class scenarios where they were subjected to ridicule as “faggots” and “homos.”

Conversion therapy has been discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations. In addition, the American Psychological Association has expressed concern that conversion therapy practices “create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.”

“With our lawsuit against JONAH and the collapse of Exodus International and other conversion therapy organizations, it is clear this industry is crumbling,” Dinielli said. “Also, states across the country are taking steps to ban these harmful practices marketed to unsuspecting kids and their families. Soon, conversion therapy and its practitioners will be relegated to the dustbin of history.”

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s ban on conversion therapy for patients under the age of 18 in 2012. Conversion therapy services have been discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.

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Snowden nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

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McCarthy had help: How big business snuffs out political dissent

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/mccarthy_had_help_how_big_business_snuffs_out_political_dissent_partner/

Repression carried out in the name of anti-communism was made possible by the cooperation of the business community


Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

This article originally appeared on Corey Robin’s blog.

Pete Seeger’s death has prompted several reminiscences about his 1955 appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). And for good reason. Two good reasons, in fact.

First, Seeger refused to answer questions about his beliefs and associations—up until the 1940s, he had been a member of the Communist Party—not on the basis of the Fifth Amendment, which protects men and women from self-incrimination, but on the basis of the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech.

While invoking the Fifth was not without its perils—most important, it could put someone on the blacklist; individuals who invoked it frequently found themselves without work—it had the advantage of keeping one out of jail. But the cost of the 5th was clear: though you could refuse to testify about yourself, you could not refuse to testify about others.

So Seeger invoked the First Amendment instead. A far riskier legal position—the Court had already held, in the case of the Hollywood Ten, that the First Amendment did not protect men and women who refused to testify before HUAC—it was the more principled stance. As Seeger explained later, “The Fifth means they can’t ask me, the First means they can’t ask anybody.” And he paid for it. Cited for contempt of Congress, he was indicted, convicted, and sentenced to a year in prison. Eventually the sentence got overturned.

Second, not only did Seeger refuse to answer questions about his associations and beliefs, but he also did it with great panache. When asked by HUAC to name names, he refused—and then almost immediately offered to sing songs instead. Much to the consternation of the Committee chair, Francis Walters, Seeger followed up with a more personal offer.

I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners.

Parenthetically, I should note that Seeger’s hearings were not the only such circus of absurdity.  If you want to treat yourself to an afternoon of giggles, check outAyn Rand’s testimony, where she insisted that no one in Russia ever smiled. Or this wondrous exchange between Zero Mostel and two members of HUAC.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/01/30/mccarthy_had_help_how_big_business_snuffs_out_political_dissent_partner/

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Southern Republican says racism drives GOP opposition to immigration reform

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/30/southern-republican-says-racism-drives-gop-opposition-to-immigration-reform/

By Tom Boggioni
Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Republican lawmaker admitted yesterday that his party is having difficulty moving forward with  immigration reform due to deeply rooted racist animus expressed by a portion of their own constituent base.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, the Southern congressman, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that members of his party felt handcuffed and unable to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package due to fear of push back from hometown constituents.

“Part of it, I think — and I hate to say this, because these are my people — but I hate to say it, but it’s racial,” admitted the lawmaker. “If you go to town halls people say things like, ‘These people have different cultural customs than we do.’ And that’s code for race.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) added , “There will always be people [who have] different reasons for opposing the change. We have a history in this country of demagoguery when it comes [to immigration]. You know, ‘Irish Need Not Apply.’ There’s nothing new going on today that’s gone on before. This isn’t the first time that there’s been some ugliness around the issue of immigration.”

Despite widespread bipartisan support for immigration reform that would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children and immigrants who are already in the United States, progress has been glacial due in no small part to high profile members of the Republican party including Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who often uses incendiary rhetoric to bolster his national ambitions.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/30/southern-republican-says-racism-drives-gop-opposition-to-immigration-reform/

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House Republicans Pass Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/28/no-taxpayer-funding-for-abortion-act_n_4681743.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

01/28/2014

The House of Representatives passed a bundle of abortion restrictions Tuesday that would dramatically reduce the number of health insurance plans that cover the procedure. The vote was 227 to 188, with one lawmaker voting present

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), would prohibit insurance plans sold in the new health care exchanges from covering abortion, and it would eliminate tax benefits for small businesses that purchase insurance plans covering abortion. The bill would also prevent the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to subsidize abortion care for low-income women.

Currently, more than 80 percent of private health insurance plans include abortion coverage, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said after the vote, “This President promised that ‘under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.’ We know now that was a lie, and this bill corrects his broken promise. We should not be taxing Americans and forcing them to fund a violation of their religious freedom. The passage of this bill today is one more step toward restoring respect for the sanctity of human life.”

In fact, the bill would not actually prevent federal taxpayer dollars from funding abortion because the Hyde Amendment has already done that for more than three decades.

Earlier this month, Democratic women lawmakers protested the bill in the hallway outside its House Judiciary Committee hearing. They pointed out that it would raise health care costs for women, drive insurance companies to drop a previously noncontroversial medical benefit and financially penalize small businesses. They also took issue with the fact that an all-male group of Republicans was pushing the bill through the legislative process with very little input from women.

“H.R. 7 is a reflection of a majority that is out of touch with the American people and struggling to understand fundamental truths about reproductive health — and we really mean struggle,” Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said on the floor of the House. “This extreme legislation was originally sponsored by a man, originated from a subcommittee composed of 13 men, and was passed out of the Judiciary Committee with the votes of 21 Republican men. This has been the problem for a long time — men in blue suits and red ties determining what women can and should do when it comes to their own health.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/28/no-taxpayer-funding-for-abortion-act_n_4681743.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003

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MOTHER RUSSIA

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Budweiser Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “Puppy Love”

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Painting Wendy Davis as a bad mother is political sexism at its worst

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/26/wendy-davis-dallas-morning-news-inadequate-mother-false

Davis is a Democrat running for governor of Texas. Opponents are trying to smear her life story, and the media isn’t helping


theguardian.com, Sunday 26 January 2014

Here we go again: sexist tropes being used against a high-profile female political candidate.

A recent article in the Dallas Morning News by the paper’s senior political writer Wayne Slater purported to correct the biography of Wendy Davis, the democratic candidate for Texas governor. Davis made headlines last summer for her pink-tennis-shoe wearing filibuster against a severely restrictive anti-abortion bill. In his piece, Slater charged that he was telling a fuller version of Davis’ life story because “some facts have been blurred” in the version she and her campaign have been telling.

Davis has portrayed herself as a tough single mother who made it through Harvard Law School and went from living in a trailer park to working her way up to a Texas state senate seat. Since Slater’s article was published last weekend, conservative media has jumped on it as evidence that Davis is not the (American) dream candidate.

Most of the attacks against Davis are sexist. As a columnist for Breibart.com tweeted: “Wendy Davis: My story of attending Harvard Law on my husband’s dime while he took care of the kids is a story every woman can relate to.” Talking Points Memo has a plethora of examples of the full-force sexist attacks. And Twitter exploded earlier this week with the #MoreFakeThanWendyDavis hashtag, making fun of Davis for being a liar.

The problem is that the Dallas Morning News article that caused this backlash is questionable at best, and is undeniably sexist in its telling of Davis’ story. Slater implies that Davis was a negligent mother in order to pursue her education and political career, and that she used her husband for his money. He quotes an “anonymous source” that claims that “Wendy [Davis] is tremendously ambitious. She’s not going to let family or raising children or anything else to get in her way.”

The “blurred facts”, according to Slater, were that Davis says she divorced at 19, when in fact she had only separated from his first husband at 19, with the divorce being finalized when she was 21. Slater says that Davis overstates her time living as a single mother in a trailer, explaining that “she lived only a few months in a family mobile home while separated from her husband before moving into an apartment”.

Davis’ bio on her website states that she paid for her tuition at Texas Christian University and Harvard Law School through “academic scholarships, student loans, and state and federal grants,” Slater’s piece says that Jeff Davis, Wendy’s second husband, “paid for her final two years at TCU”. He also says that after Davis was accepted to Harvard, “Jeff Davis cashed in his 401k account and eventually took out a loan to pay for her final year there.” (Jeff Davis has given a statement to CNN clarifying all the reasons behind his decision to cash out his 401k).

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/26/wendy-davis-dallas-morning-news-inadequate-mother-false

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HRC endorses ‘champion for equality’ Wendy Davis for governor

From The Dallas Voice:  http://www.dallasvoice.com/hrc-endorses-champion-equality-wendy-davis-governor-10166472.html

29 Jan 2014

The nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, is endorsing state Sen. Wendy Davis in her gubernatorial bid, the organization announced Wednesday.

“Wendy Davis has been a champion for equality for all, whether it is the working poor or LGBT Texans,” HRC President Chad Griffin said. “Her dedication to the underdog and commitment to fairness for all Texas families make her the right choice for Governor.”

Davis has a proven record on LGBT issues in the state Legislature.

She authored the only LGBT-inclusive version of anti-bullying legislation in 2011. That same year she co-sponsored youth suicide prevention legislation and lobbied to kill an anti-transgender marriage bill.

Last year’s session was just as impressive with her co-authoring the Senate version of a statewide workplace nondiscrimination bill and co-authoring inclusive insurance nondiscrimination legislation. And when a different version of the anti-trans marriage bill came up, she was one of only two senators to vote against it.

HRC endorsed Davis because of her “stellar record on LGBT equality” and ” history of putting Texas’ families first,” compared to anti-gay Greg Abbott, her likely opponent in November.

“Wendy Davis’ energy and courage are needed in Austin,” said Julie Johnson, a Texas attorney and HRC board member emeritus. “I’m proud to be one of the tens of thousands of HRC members in Texas, and I know that Wendy will fight for all our families when elected. Wendy has proven herself an effective leader — and that’s exactly what the people of Texas need.”

But, surprisingly, she wasn’t connected to any of the three pieces of legislation dealing with marriage equality last year, HJR 77, HJR 78 and HB 1300. Davis has never made a public statement in support of marriage equality, and when asked by Dallas Voice during a press conference about how she would approach it as governor, she replied that she would leave it in the Legislature’s hands.

Complete article at:  http://www.dallasvoice.com/hrc-endorses-champion-equality-wendy-davis-governor-10166472.html

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