Marriage Equality USA interviews Edith Windsor on her historic victory last year against DOMA before the Supreme Court of the United States. Click here for the previous segments.
Marriage Equality USA interviews Edith Windsor on her historic victory last year against DOMA before the Supreme Court of the United States. Click here for the previous segments.
Above, Jonathan Capehart (subbing for Steve Kornacki) discusses the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling with Gabriela Domenzain, Justin Snow and Chris Geidner. Below, Evan Wolfson joins the discussion.
Metro Weekly reports.
I heard the same yesterday from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who was interviewed by Atlantic Editor-at-large Steve Clemons at a Women of Washington event at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. She criticized the bill's LGBT critics for insisting on perfection, and described the religious exemption as moderate and reasonable, while acknowledging that ENDA (which has passed the Senate) only has 9 Republican co-sponsors in the House.
Sorry, Congresswoman, but nine Republicans do not a surge of bipartisan support make. As for a reasonable religious exemption, why should the standard be any different for LGBT people than for the groups protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act? I am sorry, but ENDA only focuses on employment discrimination to start with, and to have an overly broad religious exemption on top of that gives us little to rally around.
Ros-Lehtinen also mentioned she is pro-life. If one of her fellow Republicans is elected president in 2016, and has a chance to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she will doubtless be pleased at the likely loss of women's reproductive rights. The gay rights movement gained a great deal from the women's rights movement. Indeed, the 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas that overturned remaining state anti-sodomy laws grew out of a string of constructive-due-process rulings starting with Griswold v. Connecticut and continuing through Eisenstadt v. Baird and Roe v. Wade.
I would love to know how Ros-Lehtinen squares supporting my rights while pulling out one of the foundations of our movement. But given the glib political answers she gave to several questions, it wouldn't leave me any more enlightened. I thanked her afterward for her support of gay rights, but given that, the last time I checked, she was the only member of the Republican caucus to have gotten a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign, if this is the best the GOP can do, we shouldn't get our hopes up.
(Photo of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen courtesy The Washington Post)
Sierra Mannie is a senior at the University of Mississippi, in whose student newspaper she wrote a strong article that has been picked up by Time. It is titled, "Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture," and here's how it opens:
I need some of you to cut it the hell out. Maybe, for some of you, it’s a presumed mutual appreciation for Beyoncé and weaves that has you thinking that I’m going to be amused by you approaching me in your best “Shanequa from around the way” voice. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming — you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you.
She then explains. She makes legitimate points. But then I read a response on Tumblr by my friend David Mariner, Executive Director of The DC Center for the LGBT Community. Here are a few excerpts from his thoughtful and eloquent piece:
The second thing I need you to know is that I can’t change who I am. I know you may suggest, as you did in your article, that gay men can simply ‘hide’ who they are. Perhaps I should lower the pitch of my voice artificially? Butch it up? Let me assure you, I tried that for the first twenty years of my life, and it came very close to killing me. I can’t hide who I am, nor should I....
Fourth up, and I really need you to hear this one, many of the expressions, sayings, mannerisms, and culture that you claim white men have appropriated from black women.... well a lot of it never really belonged to to straight women to begin with. It originated from LGBT culture, and predominately the Black and Latino Gay scene. Do a little research and look into Ball Culture. Watch Paris is Burning or Tongues Untied. Learn where all those expressions come from.
I encourage you to read both pieces. In a diverse society, respect and understanding must be reciprocal.
John Oliver gave an excellent take on the Hobby Lobby ruling the day before it was issued.
The fact that court observers saw this one coming is no comfort. Building on the corporations-are-people ruling in Citizens United, SCOTUS on Monday effectively ruled that a closely held corporation has more rights of personhood than a woman does. The notion that a company's religious views (what an absurd phrase) trump the religious rights of its employees is not only topsy-turvy, it threatens to turn every shop into a law unto itself.
Here is an excerpt of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's scathing dissent:
Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. … The distinction between a community made up of believers in the same religion and one embracing persons of diverse beliefs, clear as it is, constantly escapes the Court’s attention. One can only wonder why the Court shuts this key difference from sight.
Our friend Jonathan Rauch has an interesting take on Hobby Lobby's religious liberty claims:
Religious folks are pushing the envelope really far when they say it’s a major intrusion on their religious conscience to have to buy an insurance policy that covers choices that other people make. To me that’s kind of picking a fight. And I am very sympathetic to religious liberty claims.
I agree with the dissenting opinions in the Hobby Lobby ruling, which say, “If you find your religion being burdened by something so indirect then when does it end?” If religious folks try to withdraw too much from practices of ordinary society—if they push too hard for the right not to participate—it will backfire. It sends a bad message about their inclusivity and their willingness to engage with society.
The untold, real-life story of the prison in "Orange is the New Black." Excerpt:
Now, Families for Justice as Healing is looking beyond Massachusetts to the mass incarceration of women nationwide. On June 21, the group is organizing a FREE HER rally in Washington, D.C., an idea that emerged during those very first meetings in the prison yard at Danbury.
A graceful and wise address by Jill Abramson to the graduating class at Wake Forest University, days after she was fired as executive editor of The New York Times.
Transgender activist Ruby Corado was interviewed in Sunday's Washington Post as part of a Mother's Day series that asks, "How is your life different than your mother's?" Here is an excerpt from Ruby on her mother, who died in 2001:
I think I have it harder [than my mother]. She didn’t have to deal with her identity being questioned. Oh, she is just a lovable Latina mother. Sometimes even though people like what I do, there is still a brick wall. The people I am serving come with so much stigma. I work with the immigrants, with the “lowest” of the LGBT, the gender non-conforming and the trans people. Sometimes my work, it gets seen as, “Oh, I’m also supposed to discard these people.” So I know it’s a little harder.
(Photo of Ruby Corado's mother)
The depravity of abducting over 200 girls and attributing your crime to Allah is as hard to fathom as the laxity of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in seeking to find and rescue them. AP reports above. CNN reports here.
Right Wing Watch reports:
On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton explained that women were not given the right to vote when the Constitution was written because the Founding Fathers were trying to protect the institution of the family by giving every "family" a right to vote through the male head of the household.
Responding to a question from a listener who argued that the Founding Fathers denied women the right to vote not out of sexism but rather based on the biblical principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand, Barton said that this interpretation was exactly right because not allowing women to vote was designed "to keep the family together":
Those who think Mr. Jefferson did not entertain the idea of a "wall of separation" should try reading Mr. Jefferson. His January 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists includes this:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
Check out Charles Krauthammer's latest column.
I hardly know where to start with Krauthammer's attempt to turn liberals into totalitarians. He blames "activists" for a grassroots effort by Mozilla employees and developers. He ignores the legal and constitutional issues at the core of the marriage equality fight and pretends it is all moral and philosophical -- because the religious bullies on his side of the aisle are determined to cast themselves as victims. He pretends that Obama had the same position as Brendan Eich in 2008, but Obama opposed Proposition 8. I was not happy with Obama's position back then, and criticized his slowness to "evolve" on the issue; but ballot measures were a key battleground, and Obama opposed their use to attack gays.
Krauthammer's argument on climate change is not with Obama but with scientists, who (despite his tendentious cherry picking) overwhelmingly agree that human activity played a role in it. And he mocks the reference to "change" instead of "warming" as if it is an evasion, when it more accurately reflects the science, which does not claim uniform effects. Here Krauthammer flirts with those who confuse weather and climate, though he knows better.
What is the point of all this furious and smug propagandizing? It is to make the relentless assault on gay families look like a mere dinner table argument, and to make those defending themselves look like the aggressors. It is to deflect attention from plutocrats like the Koch brothers who use fights on social issues to distract people from the harm being done to their own interests, as with Art Pope hijacking North Carolina and installing minoritarian government.
Just get everyone arguing over free contraceptives and women being sluts, and somehow the women whose reproductive freedom is under aggressive assault become the aggressors. All of this would be hilarious were it not so pernicious.
Mike Huckabee caused quite a furor with his reality-challenged rant against birth control the other day:
If the Democrats want to insult women by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it. Let us take this discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be.
My favorite comment was by Lizz Winstead:
Where on the doll did Uncle Sugar touch you?— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) January 24, 2014
This image (click here and scroll down for the un-cropped version) has an entirely different vibe than the misogynist one to which it responds. It reminds me of a lyric by my late friend Michael Callen from his album Purple Heart:
"I’d like to be your music
I’d like to be your chair
I’d like to be the food you eat
and be the clothes you wear"
With a small gesture -- a Catholic cardinal at an ecumenical worship service asks a woman to bless him -- a prince of the Church opens a tiny window of hope.
At a hearing on January 9, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, denied Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) the courtesy of testifying on his bill, H.R. 7, which would, among other things, permanently prohibit the District of Columbia from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women, and define the D.C. government as part of the federal government for the purposes of abortion. (At present, the prohibition against the District spending its own locally-raised tax revenues on abortions for poor women is prohibited by a rider to the District's annual appropriations bill.)
It is a standard courtesy for a member whose district is targeted by a bill to be allowed to testify on it. All Rep. Franks would do was to point out that the single witness the Democrats were allowed at the hearing could be Norton (the Republicans were allowed three witnesses), despite the fact that the bill also had nationwide implications and the Democrats needed a witness to discuss those provisions. The normal practice would be to allow the affected member to testify over and above the witness allocation. But Franks, in addition to being opposed to women's reproductive freedom and to the District's right to govern its own affairs, is opposed to basic courtesy toward a colleague.
I attended the Congresswoman's news conference on Thursday morning protesting the action by Franks. Speaking at the news conference, in addition to Congresswoman Norton, were Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), ranking member of the subcommittee, and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. The District of Columbia government is not part of the federal government. That is a fact that no law can change. The law, however, can make a mockery of itself, and can cause injustice. Fortunately, H.R. 7 has no chance of passing in the U.S. Senate. This bill is but one example of the mischief that we can expect from Congress if Republicans take control of the Senate in this year's midterm elections.
The Congresswoman's statement, and the testimony she would have given against this egregious infringement on the rights of the District and of its women, can be read here.
Laura Bassett reports at HuffPo:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the United States unless the woman is a victim of rape or incest or her life is in danger.
Graham said that while reproductive rights advocates claim the bill will have a negative effect on women's health, he thinks it would only result in more people being alive.
"Nothing bad is going to happen," Graham said. "Good things will happen. Babies will be born that wouldn't have made it otherwise, and only God knows who they will grow up to be."
Thanks to Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) for her firm statement shown above.
I realize that what I am about to say is not an argument. But as I lay here before dawn checking my Twitter feed, I found this story. And Lindsay Graham is just an unscrupulous little overcompensating turd.
(Photo of Lindsay Graham by Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)
Think Progress reports a bit of good news.
That's it. I will not marry any woman who does this to herself. Oh, wait.
Rod Parsley and Perry Stone agree that "we're on the verge of legalizing abominations that have destroyed empires."
How many times can these guys mis-predict the Rapture, and all that other shroom-dream stuff from Revelations, and keep cleaning out the wallets of their gullible followers? Easy pickings.
The outcome of the harsh Texas anti-abortion bill is unclear this morning, as GOP officials try to steamroll over the rules and declare the bill passed despite the vote going past the midnight deadline. (Slate reports.) Expect a court fight. But women's rights advocates have a new hero in state senator Wendy Davis, whose filibuster was halted just after 10 pm, setting off procedural wrangling and loud chanting from the senate gallery. Whatever the outcome, the Republicans have awakened a sleeping giant, as General Yamamoto would say.
Adele M. Stan writes for RH Reality Check:
Despite its bipartisan support and 27 co-sponsors, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the committee chairman, struck from the [Defense Authorization] bill a measure offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that would have moved the adjudication of all serious crimes (such as murder, rape, and sexual assault) into the hands of independent prosecutors in order to create a safer environment and more impartial judicial process for those who have been the targets of assailants in the military ranks.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said:
"I don't personally believe that you can eliminate the command structure in the military from this process because it is the culture," he said. "It is the institution. It is the people within that institution that have to fix the problem, and that's the culture. The people are the culture, so I don't know how you disconnect that from the accountability of command."
The action by Senator Levin and the statement by Secretary Hagel make them unfit for their jobs. There were more than 26,000 military sexual assaults reported last year. The current approach to dealing with the problem is not working. Thank God there are women like Kirsten Gillibrand and Barbara Boxer in the Senate to fight this outrage; but all of us need to back them up.
Laura Clawson at Daily Kos slams Senator Carl Levin:
Thanks to Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Carl Levin (D-MI), top military officers will substantially get their way: Solving the problem that's bigger than they imagined will continue to be up to their imagination. Levin is removing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's proposal to make trained legal experts in the form of military prosecutors in charge of decisions about prosecuting sexual assaults from a defense spending bill....
Basically, the old white men in charge of the military said "trust us, we'll start taking sexual assault seriously and we'll make it stop even though we've done neither to date" and the old white man in charge of the Senate Armed Services Committee said "sounds good to me. How about if we make a cosmetic change that leaves you guys still completely in charge but pretends to add accountability?"
I was screaming at the TV. This is outrageous beyond words.
Anthony Rivas reports at Medical Daily:
The Obama administration has decided it will not appeal a judge's orders allowing the morning-after pill Plan B One-Step to be sold over the counter without age or point-of-sale restrictions.
Justice Department attorneys wrote in a letter to US District Judge Edward Korman on Monday afternoon that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services would make the single-pill form of the levonorgestrel drug available without restrictions, according to CNN.
"It is the government's understanding that this course of action fully complies with the Court's judgment on this action," the letter says. "Once the Court confirms that the government's understanding is correct, the government intends to file with the Circuit Court notice that it is voluntarily withdrawing its appeal in this matter."
Someone on Facebook this morning said, "Is it really that much for parents to have some say in their child's lives?" Here is my reply:
We are not talking about ideal family situations. In the event of a teen pregnancy, the parental role has already failed for whatever reason. Forcing the girl to wait until she can muster the courage to tell her parents only makes sense if preventing abortions trumps her welfare. For the government to intervene at such a moment by blocking access to the pill amounts to an attempt to solve one wrong by committing another. If need be, I will fight you on that.
A coerced pregnancy is just wrong. Of course the ideal is for unwanted pregnancies not to occur. But the answer to "Who decides?" can never be the government. Restricting access to Plan B One-Step was an illegitimate governmental intrusion. Anyone old enough to become pregnant needs to make her own reproductive choices, whether her parents like it or not. Blocking access to the pill only makes things worse. Of course, an anti-abortionist has no problem with coercion. But I do. That is why I am glad that Obama is accepting the judge's ruling. He was wrong to press this in the first place.
This is simply depraved. Gawker reports.
Forget about secession. Can we expel Texas?
Tara Culp-Ressler reports in ThinkProgress:
Not content with attempting to impose his anti-abortion agenda upon the women who live in the nation’s capital, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) now intends to push for a nationwide bill to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. Franks, who invoked the illegal abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to justify his decision to re-introduce a 20-week abortion ban in DC, now says that Gosnell’s crimes have compelled him to amend his bill so it applies to women across the country....
However, that’s a gross mischaracterization of the state of legal abortion services throughout the country. Abortion opponents have repeatedly attempted to twist the facts surrounding Gosnell’s high-profile murder trial to make it appear as if his crimes are rampant throughout legal abortion clinics. But that’s simply not the case. The Philadelphia-area abortion doctor was guilty of much more than simply breaking Pennsylvania’s law that criminalizes abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy; he was also able to offer discounted prices for his services because he didn’t employ medical professionals or adhere to safety standards. Gosnell’s “house of horrors” isn’t analogous to the way that legal, sanitary late-term abortion clinics provide care to the women who need it.
I can't believe we have to fight this all over again, 40 years after Roe v. Wade. I am so tired of the religious fanatics and bullies in this country.
This has to be one of the best breaking news interviews ever.
PS: No, Mister Ramsey doesn't look a thing like D.C.'s former police chief of the same name. But he is one upstanding citizen. As he was eating McDonald's takeout when the rescue incident started, he got the following tweet from the fast food giant:
WaPo's Jonathan Capehart posted an item on Thursday titled, "Obama was right about Kamala Harris":
President Obama prides himself on telling the truth. And when he reportedly said that California Attorney General Kamala Harris is “by far, the best looking attorney general,” he spoke the God’s honest truth. But that wasn’t the only thing he said about the talented attorney with a national future. In fact, it was the last part of what he said.
“She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, she’s tough,” Obama said at a fundraiser this morning in Atherton, Calif. “She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general.” The president’s compliment was greeted with laughter as he added, “It’s true! C’mon.” Yep, all true.
What’s also true is that Obama and Harris are longtime friends.
I hate to disagree with Jonathan, but the feminists who called out President Obama for his objectifying (though politely worded and not crude) comment about CA AG Kamala Harris's looks have a point. They acknowledged his pro-women policies. They were not calling him the enemy. But it's just the case that men are not commonly objectified in a similar fashion. In Ft. Worth in his last public speech, JFK noted good-naturedly the attention his wife Jackie was getting, and quipped, "Nobody wonders what Lyndon and I wear."
Can't we acknowledge the double standards at play in these situations without being accused of setting the place on fire? Hillary Clinton has had to put up with endless discussions of her hair and clothes in a way that her male counterparts do not. Come on, folks. It won't kill us to reflect on this.
Now that that's taken care of, when is Hillary going to get her pre-campaign makeover? Will she do Botox? What about those frumpy jackets? And that hair-- what was she thinking?
BTW, I loved the response to this controversy by my friend Walter: "The President overlooked Beau Biden."
Also: in addition to having a Pulitzer Prize to his credit, Jonathan Capehart is completely adorable and is always immaculately dressed. And Chris Christie should apply for his own zip code. And ....
Pam Spaulding tweets:
Three Cheers For Feminist Bloggers Who Called Out Obama’s Objectifying Comment About Female Politician | Mediaite http://bit.ly/XuXV10
"This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stumps bank regulators with the simple question of when they last took a Wall Street bank to trial. She talks about ordinary citizens who are aggressively prosecuted "to make an example of them," while the megabanks that do vastly more harm get off with settlements in which they pay fines out of their ill-gotten gains. "I'm really concerned that 'Too Big to Fail' has become 'Too Big for Trial.' That just seems wrong to me."
Thank the Goddess and the voters of Massachusetts that this woman is in the Senate. (BTW, love the Valentine's red.)
In case your brain went missing and you thought we were living in a post-sexist society, take a gander at this New York Post cover. Bullett Media comments.
My comment: The Secretary of State ate their lunch, and they're not man enough to admit it.
Paul Ryan is at it again. It's not just that the radical right learned no lessons from their defeat in the 2012 election. They are absolutely determined not to learn any such lessons. It is important for the rest of us to keep in mind that the fanatics who lost have not disappeared and are not giving up their efforts to control women's reproductive choices.
My look back at 2012 is now online at Huffington Post. It ranges from our NFL allies Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe to President Obama and NAACP President Ben Jealous to Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin to our sweep of statewide ballot measures in November to the GOP's self-destructive year to Africa's raised LGBT voices to family affirmation. 2012 was quite a ride!
Excerpts from a news conference criticizing unfair attacks against U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice. Above is D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. Below is Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11).
To be fair to young Luke Russert, his question was not just about Nancy Pelosi, but also about Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn. It may be ageist, but the cries of sexism seem pretty outlandish given what Russert actually asked. Also, he had not thought it up himself, but was relaying the privately stated views of other members of the House Democratic caucus.
Incidentally, whether Russert's question was legitimate or offensive of whatever does not depend on what one thinks of his having benefited from being the son of a famous journalist. He has struck me as sharp and capable. Personally, I have a great deal of respect for Pelosi, whose tenure as Speaker was quite productive. And I don't care at all how old she or Hoyer or Clyburn is. Ben Franklin was old when he pulled off some sly diplomatic maneuvers in Paris. Pelosi is quite effective at pulling together the House Democrats. I also like and respect Hoyer, who wants the top Democratic job (and the Speakership) himself. I have about a thousand concerns that matter more to me than their rivalry.
In tribute to our new women senators-elect, and to all those who answered the Republican Party's attack on women with a resounding electoral defeat on November 6, here is the great Aretha Franklin, in a performance in Stockholm in 1968. All she wants is a little respect.
Going into this election, I didn't think we could have another moment to compare with Grant Park in Chicago four years ago as the election was called for Obama. But tonight brought victory and vindication on so many fronts, reminding ourselves, our fellow citizens, and the world that Americans will not accept government by fanatics and bullies, we will not tolerate their war against women, and we will not continue to deny gay and lesbian couples and their families equal respect and protection.
I was taking a taxi home after congratulating D.C. Council reform candidate David Grosso on his upset victory against ethically challenged incumbent Michael A. Brown, and passed along U Street past Ben's Chili Bowl, the Lincoln Theater, and the Republic Gardens. People were dancing in the street and chanting, "Four more years!" in celebration of President Obama's victory. But this is about so much more than the top of the ticket. What a glorious moment for this country's rich diversity, which has defeated the angry voices of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia. Deepest gratitude to every activist and community worker, living and dead, who helped pave the way for this moment.
Update: Mara Keisling wrote on Facebook:
Had it not been for the aggressive and immoral (and effective) redistricting process the Republicans did after the 2010 census, last night would have been more clearly a generational repudiation of the increasingly extreme Republican Party. The Republicans only held the US House because they redrew the maps to solidify their extremism. Everything else went the Dems way. Republicans need to get their adults back in charge and just knock it off.
Amen to that.