Mississippi’s Modern ‘Jim Crow’ Law Now In Effect

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/2014/07/06/mississippis-modern-jim-crow-law-goes-effect

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT people on religious grounds.

BY Neal Broverman
July 06 2014

Mississippi’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act now allows businessowners to turn away LGBT customers if they claim their existence conflicts with their religion.

The law passed in April and was quickly signed by Republican governor Phil Bryant; it went into effect July 1. Several cities in Mississippi, including Jackson and Hattiesburg, are challenging the insidious law by passing resolutions affirming all patrons are welcome. Equality Mississippi is distributing stickers that proclaim, “We don’t discriminate: If you’re buying, we’re selling.”

The American Family Association has found a way to take umbrage with the stickers.“It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign, and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture,” AFA’s Buddy Smith stated, according to Pink News.

Local merchants and professionals like chef John Currence bristle at the law’s effect on the state’s already inhospitable reputation. “We are not going to sit idly by and watch Jim Crow get revived in our state,” he said, vowing to fight the law. Similar legislation is wending its way through Kansas.

Commentary by Nina Simone and Phil Ochs.  True then, true today.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Mississippi’s Modern ‘Jim Crow’ Law Now In Effect

Why Corporate ‘Negative Speech Rights’ Is as Dangerous as Corporate Free Speech

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/why-corporate-negative-speech-rights-dangerous-corporate-free-speech

Only in America would the First Amendment be twisted like this.

By Simon Davis-Cohen
June 18, 2014

We all know about political free speech. With a few exceptions, you can say what you want, whether people listen or not. But corporations have twisted the First Amendment to claim that their free speech rights as “people” also means that they cannot be forced by government to put warning labels on their packaging. An established and growing body of law elevates private marketing above public health warnings.

It’s called corporate  negative free speech rights, and it falls under one particular area of First Amendment law—commercial speech. It’s been wielded in a variety of for-profit settings. Cigarette companies have used this rationale to avoid photos on warning labels. The dairy industry has evoked it to hide the use of manmade bovine growth hormones in milk production. Cell phone companies have cited it to block radiation warnings on their packaging.

In all these cases, the government’s effort to protect the public health and inform consumers has been trumped by this relatively new form of protected speech. Government is told again and again that it cannot infringe on corporate speech rights. And the cases continue. Today, there are a few to keep an eye on.

The US Court of Appeals struck down on  April 14 a Securities and Exchange Commission rule forcing manufacturers to disclose, on their websites, if their electronics contain minerals mined from the war-torn torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The court ruled that “[b]y compelling an issuer to confess blood on its hands, the [SEC] statute interferes with that exercise of the freedom of speech under the First Amendment.” The government can’t force a company to talk about something so controversial, even if the public is consuming it.

But the SEC  has asked the Court to reconsider its decision. The SEC, with support from Amnesty International, is pointing to a case that could turn the table. The case currently moving its way through the courts is about meat labeling. The American Meat Institute (AMI) has argued that a U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that requires labeling that discloses where cows are born, raised and slaughtered, violates its First Amendment rights. But unlike most of these cases, AMI’s argument  lost in court, on  March 28 .

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/why-corporate-negative-speech-rights-dangerous-corporate-free-speech

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why Corporate ‘Negative Speech Rights’ Is as Dangerous as Corporate Free Speech

Family Research Council makes fool of itself in attempt to refute positive findings of lgbt study

From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters:  http://holybulliesandheadlessmonsters.blogspot.com/2014/07/family-research-council-makes-fool-of.html#.U7wIAmTNuUm

By Alvin McEwen
Monday, July 07, 2014

Reposted with permission

A recently new study confirmed yet again that children do well when raised by same-sex couples.

From ThinkProgress:

The study, conducted in Australia by University of Melbourne researchers “surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children.” The children in the study scored about six percent higher than Australian kids in the general population. The advantages held up “when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income.” The study was the largest of its kind in the world. The lead researcher, Dr. Simon Crouch, noted that in same-sex couples parents have to “take on roles that are suited to their skill sets rather than falling into those gender stereotypes.” According to Crouch, this leads to a “more harmonious family unit and therefore feeding on to better health and well being.” The findings were in line with “existing international research undertaken with smaller sample sizes.”

Just like clockwork, however (I swear you can set your watch by it,) the Family Research Council is crying foul. From an email sent by FRC President Tony Perkins:

 The Washington Post could barely contain its excitement in a new headline, “Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, research shows.” This was double trouble, since the Post got its analysis wrong, and the latest study out of Australia suffers from the same flaws as almost all other pro-homosexual parenting research. The study is not of same-sex couples, but of “same-sex attracted parents,” who may or may not be in a relationship. It found that children with such a parent scored higher on measures of “general health,” “general behavior,” and “family cohesion” — yet lower (by less tha n the margin of error) on “mental health.”

But the data are of dubious value to begin with, because they are based on the parents’ own self-report (“My kid is doing great!”) rather than a more objective measure; and they are drawn from a “convenience sample” (like people responding to an ad in the “gay” media) rather than a genuinely random one. The distortion this introduces is clear from the socioeconomic profile of the sample — 73% of the homosexual parents had at least a college degree (vs. 28% of all Australian mothers), and 59% (79% of the men) had household incomes over $100,000 in Australian dollars (the median Australian household income is only $64,168).

It gets better. Guess what FRC compares the Australian study to:

In his 2012 research, sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas at Austin turned the conventional wisdom of the politically correct academic world on its head by proving that children raised by homosexual parents do suffer disadvantages when compared to children raised by their married mother and father. FRC’s Peter Sprigg analyzed the study — published in the journal Social Science Research. He and others confirmed that it was the most careful, rigorous, and methodologically sound study ever conducted on the issue — which explains why liberals have tried so desperately to discredit it.

Regnerus’s research found numerous and significant differences between these groups — with the outcomes for children of homosexuals rated “suboptimal” (Regnerus’s word) in almost every category. His study remains the gold standard for such research — and it clearly showed children do better with a married mom and dad.

First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way (and I admit I am doing this to be extremely bitchy even though the words I say are true),  Peter Sprigg couldn’t analyze himself out of a paper bag.  He is a former actor and – judging by the anti-gay hate group he chooses to associate himself with, i.e. the Family Research Council – a presently failed Christian pastor.

But I find it so deliciously ironic that the Family Research Council uses the Regnerus study in an attempt to discredit the Australian study. I’m sure that the Family Research Council is aware of the multitude of credibility problems the Regnerus study had in terms of accuracy and partiality as evidenced by the statement “liberals have tried so desperately hard to descredit it.”

Speaking as one of those liberals, we didn’t have to try all that desperately hard to discredit Regnerus.  It was rather easy to refute.

FRC did not mention that Regnerus’s study was discredited by over 200 researchers, the sociology department of his own university, the American Sociological Association, and last but not least Michigan federal judge, Bernard Friedman earlier this year when he struck down that state’s law against marriage equality.  Friedman said the following about the Regnerus study:

“The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 ‘study’ was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it ‘essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society’ and which ‘was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.’ … While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged.”

This sad attempt by the Family Research Council to discredit pro-lgbt study findings reminds me of that old saying “it’s better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” However, it would be fitting to remove the word “fool” and substitute the phrase “ignorantly sputtering homophobes.”

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Family Research Council makes fool of itself in attempt to refute positive findings of lgbt study

Major New Study Finds Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Are ‘Healthier And Happier’

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/07/05/3456717/kids-raised-by-same-sex-couples-are-healthier-and-happier/

By Judd Legum
July 5, 2014

It’s the rallying cry for opponents of same-sex marriage: “Every child deserves a mom or a dad.” But a major new study finds that kids raised by same-sex couples actually do a bit better “than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.”

The study, conducted in Australia by University of Melbourne researchers “surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children.” The children in the study scored about six percent higher than Australian kids in the general population. The advantages held up “when controlling for a number sociodemographic factors such as parent education and household income.” The study was the largest of its kind in the world.

The lead researcher, Dr. Simon Crouch, noted that in same-sex couples parents have to “take on roles that are suited to their skill sets rather than falling into those gender stereotypes.” According to Crouch, this leads to a “more harmonious family unit and therefore feeding on to better health and well being.”

The findings were in line with “existing international research undertaken with smaller sample sizes.”

Family Voice Australia, a group that opposes same-sex marriage, said the study should be discounted because it does not consider “what happens when the child reaches adulthood.”

In the United States, opponents of same-sex marriage routinely claim that children raised by same-sex couple fare worse. The most commonly cited study, conducted by sociologist Mark Regnerus, did not actually study children raised by same-sex couples. Indeed, “most of the subjects in the study grew up in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, long before marriage equality was available or adoption rights were codified in many states”. Instead, Regnerus studied children raised in “failed heterosexual unions” where one parent had a “romantic relationship with someone of the same sex.” It has been condemned by the American Sociological Association. Other frequently cited studies have similar methodological problems.

 

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Major New Study Finds Kids Raised By Same-Sex Couples Are ‘Healthier And Happier’

The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate

From Rolling Stone:  http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-turning-point-new-hope-for-the-climate-20140618

It’s time to accelerate the shift toward a low-carbon future

By 
June 18, 2014

In the struggle to solve the climate crisis, a powerful, largely unnoticed shift is taking place. The forward journey for human civilization will be difficult and dangerous, but it is now clear that we will ultimately prevail. The only question is how quickly we can accelerate and complete the transition to a low-carbon civilization. There will be many times in the decades ahead when we will have to take care to guard against despair, lest it become another form of denial, paralyzing action. It is true that we have waited too long to avoid some serious damage to the planetary ecosystem – some of it, unfortunately, irreversible. Yet the truly catastrophic damages that have the potential for ending civilization as we know it can still – almost certainly – be avoided. Moreover, the pace of the changes already set in motion can still be moderated significantly.

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math

There is surprising – even shocking – good news: Our ability to convert sunshine into usable energy has become much cheaper far more rapidly than anyone had predicted. The cost of electricity from photovoltaic, or PV, solar cells is now equal to or less than the cost of electricity from other sources powering electric grids in at least 79 countries. By 2020 – as the scale of deployments grows and the costs continue to decline – more than 80 percent of the world’s people will live in regions where solar will be competitive with electricity from other sources.

No matter what the large carbon polluters and their ideological allies say or do, in markets there is a huge difference between “more expensive than” and “cheaper than.” Not unlike the difference between 32 degrees and 33 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not just a difference of a degree, it’s the difference between a market that’s frozen up and one that’s liquid. As a result, all over the world, the executives of companies selling electricity generated from the burning of carbon-based fuels (primarily from coal) are openly discussing their growing fears of a “utility death spiral.”

Germany, Europe’s industrial powerhouse, where renewable subsidies have been especially high, now generates 37 percent of its daily electricity from wind and solar; and analysts predict that number will rise to 50 percent by 2020. (Indeed, one day this year, renewables created 74 percent of the nation’s electricity!)

Scorched Earth: How Climate Change Is Spreading Drought Throughout the Globe

What’s more, Germany’s two largest coal-burning utilities have lost 56 percent of their value over the past four years, and the losses have continued into the first half of 2014. And it’s not just Germany. Last year, the top 20 utilities throughout Europe reported losing half of their value since 2008. According to the Swiss bank UBS, nine out of 10 European coal and gas plants are now losing money.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate

Christo-Nazi Todd Starnes Warns Of Anti-Duck Dynasty Violence, Links Same-Sex Marriage To Healthy Food Initiatives

Healthy Food?  WTF?  First Rolling Coal and now they have to be anti-healthy food.

Perhaps we should deny the vote to these people based on their being too fucking stupid to have a valid opinion on anything.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Christo-Nazi Todd Starnes Warns Of Anti-Duck Dynasty Violence, Links Same-Sex Marriage To Healthy Food Initiatives

A left-wing Tea Party may be closer than you think

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2014/06/28/a_left_wing_tea_party_may_be_closer_than_you_think/

A few liberal pols get all the press, but the real work of movement-building is happening in the states


Saturday, Jun 28, 2014

After supposed RINO Thad Cochran relied in part on African-American voters to defeat Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel and win the Mississippi GOP’s nomination to the Senate, FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe was very upset. Kibbe was so angry, in fact, that he was moved to petulantly declare, “If the only way the K Street wing of the GOP establishment can win is by courting Democrats to vote in GOP primaries then we’ve already won.” This Black Knight-like declaration of victory following conspicuous defeat was widely mocked as yet another example of the Tea Party’s preference to curate reality.

Not every Tea Party opponent was so dismissive, though. Calling “the daily vicissitudes” of the battle between the Tea Party and the GOP establishment “beside the point,” the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent wrote that McDaniel’s defeat obscured a more significant truth: “[O]n many key issues, the business community is getting nothing for its investment in the GOP establishment’s picks.” He went on to cite immigration reform, the Export-Import Bank, and federal spending on infrastructure as just three obvious examples. The obvious conclusion to be drawn? Maybe what Kibbe said wasn’t quite so silly after all.

At the very least, those on the American left hoping to push the Democratic Party away from the centrist, neoliberal policies it’s embraced since at least Bill Clinton (and arguably earlier, beginning with Jimmy Carter) and more toward a more populist, redistributionist approach should be lucky to be so silly. Indeed, members of what little there is of an American far left have long admired the Tea Party’s effectiveness, if not its goals. When, during last October’s Tea Party-inspired government shutdown, Jacobin’s Bhaskar Sunkara wrote that “Tea Party-like success … would be a tremendous advance for those looking not just to protect, but to expand, the welfare state,” he wasn’t playing contrarian but rather echoing a sentiment I’ve heard many times from leftist friends over the past four years. (For those unaware, here’s a good rundown as to why Occupy Wall Street, for all its virtues, doesn’t count.)

Some pundits have argued that the rising popularity of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is proof that, even without a left-wing Tea Party, demographic changes are pushing the Democratic Party inexorably leftward. There’s no doubt at least a kernel of truth to this. But it’s important to keep in mind that there’s nothing new about unapologetically liberal politicians coming out of the Big Apple and the Bay State. And the narrative gets even screwier if we keep in mind Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fiscally conservative record, as well as his pending, almost certain, landslide reelection. Above all else, focusing on high-profile pols misses what makes the Tea Party so powerful: its ability to rally American conservatism’s activist troops.

As Ned Resnikoff recently wrote in the Baffler, if there’s to be a true left-wing Tea Party, it’ll have to be a bottom-up affair, one that is driven as much or more by longtime activists, issue-advocacy groups, organized labor and disaffected youth. It will have to be a movement, not a P.R. campaign. And as is the case with the Tea Party, it’ll have to derive much of its power and influence from hard work on the state and local levels, saving the more glamorous — but often less fruitful — work on Congress and the White House for last. As is the case for the real Tea Party, there would no doubt be politicians who seek to align themselves with the movement; but its real power players (at least at first) will have names you’ve never previously heard.

I frame a left-wing Tea Party as a hypothetical because, quite frankly, it right now manifests itself chiefly in tremors and glimmers of something bigger that may one day come. For this piece, I spoke to a handful of state-level candidates who fit that description — politicians whom Howard Dean might describe as coming from “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” But while fondness for the party as it currently exists varied among them, a belief that Democrats need to do a better job pushing for economic justice — and against corporate prerogatives — was universal.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2014/06/28/a_left_wing_tea_party_may_be_closer_than_you_think/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on A left-wing Tea Party may be closer than you think

The GOP wants the ladies to love them (just not enough to need birth control)

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/01/gop-women-birth-control-politics

Don Draper’s psyche is nothing to base a political strategy on


theguardian.com, Tuesday 1 July 2014

So, the announcement that Republicans had formed yet another political action committee targeting female voters – a lady-centric Super Pac named the Unlocking Potential Project – came just as America was digesting the supreme court’s decision to allow certain corporations to deny women birth control coverage based on religious objections. Did Republicans think this was genius counter-programming, or what?

Forget the obvious irony that limiting access to birth control is the definition of denying women their full potential: could launching a women’s outreach program the day we’re reminded of just where the GOP stands on women’s issues – on top of them, stomping down, mostly – ever be genius, or is it just run-of-the-mill tone-deafness?

It is nearly impossible to keep track of the number of times the GOP has rebooted this “outreach to lady people” campaign – there’s already an entirely separate Pac, called RightNOW, aimed at recruiting female candidates (launched this year), and a parallel effort by the National Republican Congressional Committee, Project GROW (from 2013). The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) launched yet another, similar recruitment project this summer – 14 in ’14 – primarily because the number of Republican women running for Congress actually shrank between 2012 and 2014. One presumes the party will keep holding recruitment drives until the number of female Republican candidates reaches zero.

(Republicans’ time and money is probably better spent on the other NRCC project relating to female candidates: workshops for male candidates on how to not to sound like dumbasses when running against them.)

GOP voters have stymied the NRCC’s efforts by rejecting women at the polls almost as fast as the party leadership can put them on stages and point to them as evidence that the party has no problem with women. In the 2012 primary season, female Democratic candidates won their races about 50% of the time, but female Republicans did just 31% of the time. This House primary season doesn’t look to be turning out much better: female Democratic candidates are winning their races about twice as often as Republicans, and some of those losses have been particularly nasty.

Former Miss America and Harvard Law School graduate Erika Harold, running as a Republican against incumbent Rodney Davis in Illinois, found herself the object of dirty tricks and vile slurs: “Rodney Davis will win,” wrote the chair of the county Republicans in an email to a GOP newsletter, “and the love child of the DNC will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.” Denied access to GOP voter data by the party – an invaluable source of information for both fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts – she lost, 55-41%. In other words, a female Republican candidate straight out of We Are the New GOP central casting got slimed by the kind of racist nonsense Republicans continually declare to be a vicious stereotype about Republicans.

Continue reading at:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/01/gop-women-birth-control-politics

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The GOP wants the ladies to love them (just not enough to need birth control)