In related news, our fab Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton stirs the pot:
Republicans: Follow principles in your new budget, support DC home rule. http://t.co/iH4rE3pRfi— Eleanor H. Norton (@EleanorNorton) March 17, 2015
In related news, our fab Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton stirs the pot:
Republicans: Follow principles in your new budget, support DC home rule. http://t.co/iH4rE3pRfi— Eleanor H. Norton (@EleanorNorton) March 17, 2015
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following news release on March 10 (and pardon my tardiness):
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today reaffirmed her commitment to defend two anti-discrimination bills that the District of Columbia transmitted to Congress on March 6, after the Heritage Foundation and other conservative organizations once again called on Congress to pass disapproval resolutions to overturn these two bills during the congressional review period. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act would prohibit D.C. employers from discriminating against employees based on their personal reproductive health decisions, and the Human Rights Amendment Act would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender D.C. students from discrimination.
“The Heritage Foundation and its social conservative allies are trying to start a new social issues war using District of Columbia local laws in a Congress that has yet to show it can govern the nation,” Norton said. “They picked the wrong jurisdiction, and they picked the wrong issues. We are not going to have our local citizens answering to employers on their personal reproductive health care decisions. And we are not going to have our LGBT students stigmatized and denied by their own universities and schools. We are already working with a broad coalition representing local and national organizations to defend D.C.’s local anti-discrimination laws from congressional interference.”
Bill 20-0790, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014, was transmitted to Congress on March 6 for its congressional review period. The projected Law Date is April 17.
Bill 20-0803, the Human Rights Amendment Act of 2014--which was written at the request of GLAA and (among other things) repeals the congressionally-imposed Armstrong Amendment--was transmitted to Congress on the same date, and has the same projected law date of April 17.
The right-wing group Heritage Action issued an alert attacking these two bills on January 29. Its characterization of the bills is inaccurate. GLAA is working with Congresswoman Norton and allied groups to defend both bills from congressional interference.
Just saw this absurd month-old piece touting Carly Fiorina as the GOP answer to Hillary Clinton. This is the sneering fraud who ran Hewlett-Packard into the ground before exiting with a golden parachute ten years ago, and five years ago ran for Senate with the notoriously idiotic "demon sheep" ad. Republican voters have done a lot worse, the article says. This fails the laugh test.
Today, 77 rights organizations sent a letter to Democratic Leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to thank them for opposing the use of religion to discriminate. GLAA is proud to be among them. The letter was coordinated by the Inter-Coalition Religious Refusals Working Group of the National Women’s Law Center. The text is as follows:
Dear Minority Leader Pelosi and Minority Leader Reid:
The undersigned organizations have come together to thank you for your strong stand protecting people from those who would misuse religion to harm others. Your continued leadership is critical to stopping any new legislative initiatives in this area in the 114th Congress. In fact, Congress has begun to consider these issues already, with a House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee for the Constitution and Civil Justice Hearing on “Oversight of the Religious Freedom Restoration Action and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act” on February 13, 2015.
The groups that have signed onto this letter include those working on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities; women; communities of color; youth; reproductive health; individuals facing issues around aging and end of life concerns; health care; people of faith and religious communities; secular beliefs; religious liberty; civil rights; labor; those affected by domestic violence; those living with HIV/AIDS; and a variety of other issues. Together, we represent many millions of Americans across this country.
Our nation’s laws have long protected the freedom of religion and belief – but not the right to impose those beliefs on others. The American people agree; 83 percent of adults believe that “people are entitled to their religious beliefs, but this does not give them the right to harm other people.”
The 77 organizations that have signed this letter, despite our different missions, hold in common the core principle that religion should not be used to discriminate. We thank you for doing the same. We, and the many millions of people we represent, stand with you in opposing any efforts to pass legislation that would allow religion to be misused in this way.
My column this week looks at clashes over gender politics that are testing the civil rights community. Here is an excerpt:
For years, some radical feminists have vociferously opposed transgender people. An example is Janice Raymond, a lesbian ex-nun who wrote in her 1979 book, The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male, that trans women, whom she regarded as male predators, were the "avant garde of the patriarchy invading women's spaces." As a liberal feminist and a supporter of trans equality, I very much disagree with Dr. Raymond. Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, explains, "[G]ender identity (the sex of one's brain) drives trans persons to transition, regardless of genital anatomy."
For the LGBT advocates with whom I work in Washington, D.C., that ship has sailed. We do not sit around discussing gender theory. We take it as a given that trans people are citizens entitled to equal protection. We work in coalition to ensure that the "T" is included in legislation, data gathering, and public services (and D.C. is among the top states in the Human Rights Campaign's State Equality Index). Science is on our side: the American Psychiatric Association declassified transgender identity as a disorder in 2012, as it did homosexuality in 1973.
For some, this is not enough. There is a movement to "no-platform" trans-excluding radical feminists (TERFs), that is to bar them from campuses and deny them a platform for their views. This is part of a broader and distinctly illiberal trend whereby universities are seen not as centers for the robust exchange of ideas, but as frightening places full of triggers and micro aggressions....
@Pontifex If the people you are winning back to the Church find the same old policies regarding women and gay people, they won't stay.— Richard Rosendall (@RickRosendall) January 20, 2015
I figure someone at the Vatican reads the papal Twitter feed. So I offer my two cents.
@Pontifex You have brought people hope. But Catholic schools fire gay teachers and you say gay marriage is threat to family. That's no help.— Richard Rosendall (@RickRosendall) January 20, 2015
WKBT-TV reports on the latest howler from Cardinal Raymond Burke, in which he blames women for what he calls the Church's "man problem," including priest sexual abuse. I suggest you tweet your comments directly to @Pontifex (Burke's boss, Pope Francis).
Bill Cosby has entertained generations of Americans with his comedy. He is an educator and has created memorable children's programming. His creation "Little Bill" always says "Hello friend" because that's what Ennis, his murdered son, always said. Cosby is a great philanthropist. One does not want to believe that such a beloved and respected figure is a serial rapist. But 14 alleged victims, one of whom he settled with out of court, coupled with his silence, make it hard to credit his lawyer's dismissals. Sadness is all over this; but the seriousness of the accusations raises troubling questions about wealth and fame putting someone above the law. I sure could have done without this news.
Here are several relevant items:
Update: A thoughtful essay from Katie McDonough at Salon.
This is very disturbing, even though you would have to be living under a rock to be surprised. Kelsey McKinney writes on Vox:
This video wasn't made for women facing harassment. It was made for men who remain blissfully unaware of how women are treated when they walk down the street. But instead of listening, instead of taking the time to realize how women might feel when men yell at them, these commenters — backed by their anonymity and privilege — have threatened to rape Roberts for daring to talk about it.
Let's lay this out in plain terms. Women are forced to feel uncomfortable and scared for walking down the damn street. Then, when one woman takes the time to show just how uncomfortable those interactions are, people threaten to physically assault her. If the video reminded us that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they leave the house, the response is a reminder that women are constantly made to feel unsafe when they simply turn on their computer.
The problem here isn't just that men are ignorant of how women are treated. The problem is that many know exactly what they're doing to women, and will try to intimidate and silence women who try to fight back.
Harassment is not a compliment. It is easy to dismiss complaints of this kind of treatment if you are not routinely subjected to it. We need to check our privilege.
I was about to copy a tweet from @Hollaback, the producer of the video, but its Twitter account has been suspended. This appears to illustrate the reality of our misogynistic culture: Men who are called on their sexist and harassing behavior often react angrily and try to silence those who call them on it. Claims of fraud etc. are part of their arsenal. We are so far from done in pushing for equality. We need to defend our sisters.
Now this: Catcalling video edited out the white guys.And this parody.
Reaching across gulfs of age, gender, faith, nationality and even international celebrity, the Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday awarded the 2014 peace prize to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India, joining a teenage Pakistani known around the world with an Indian veteran of campaigns on behalf of children.
At age 17, Ms. Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the $1.1 million prize since it was created in 1901. Mr. Satyarthi is 60.
A fine bit of news.
Media Matters shares this. Here's the transcript:
BOLLING: A personal comment before we go to break. Earlier this week I made a comment that was wholly inappropriate, and I apologize for it. The comment became during K. G.'s One More Thing honoring UAE bomber pilot Major Miriam al-Mansouri, who bombed ISIS. My remark was not intended to be disparaging of her, but that's how it was taken. I should have known better and used better judgment.
Yesterday I made an apology on this show, but it was inadequate. Fox News has received letters from viewers including from women in the military, and I have taken them to heart. Therefore, let me speak clearly and sincerely. I'm sorry for what I said, I believe that Major al-Mansouri is a hero, she's courageous, brave, and she deserves our praise, not inappropriate jokes. I appreciate that she is fighting the extreme radicals that threaten all of us. She has my admiration and my very, very sincere gratitude.
He didn't mean to offend. Pardon me, but fuck you, Mr. Bolling. Some men will die before they honestly confront their male privilege and disrespect of women.
Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed has the story.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a lower court ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages and on the recognition of such marriages from other jurisdictions is unconstitutional, Justin Snow reports in Metro Weekly:
A federal appeals court found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in a ruling handed down Monday.
With a 2-1 decision, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling finding Virginia law prohibiting same-sex marriage and recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states in violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The ruling is here. The attorney general of North Carolin said after the ruling that he will no longer defend that state's same-sex marriage ban, as it will not hold up in court. Lyle Denniston discusses the ruling at SCOTUSblog. As he notes, the county clerks who defended the ban have a right to seek an en banc review by the full 4th Circuit; stay tuned on that.
Ari Ezra Waldman at Towleroad analyzes the lone dissent by Judge Paul V. Niemeyer, who during oral arguments kept calling gay relationships "new" and "different," echoing Justice Byron White's notorious opinion in the 1986 Bowers decision in which he framed the dispute over sodomy laws as whether the constitution guarantees a right to have gay anal sex. Of course the constitution lays out broad principles, and was never set up to be a list of permitted activities. Indeed, it specifies the powers of the three branches of the federal government, leaving all others to the states and the people. Conservative judges like Niemeyer were effectively rebuked in 2003 by Justice Anthony Kennedy's Lawrence decision, but they persist in their discredited, biased approach.
The celebrity superlawyer team of Boies and Olson, touted in NYT reporter Jo Becker's much-criticized book on the Prop 8 case, Forcing the Spring, were involved in the Virginia case. Be assured that they will be fighting like alley cats for the right to do the oral arguments if the Virginia case is taken up by SCOTUS.
The Catholic Bishops of Virginia slammed the 4th Circuit's decision, saying, "This action reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the intrinsic nature of marriage and is an injustice to Virginia voters." Their arguments, based on "natural law" and other doctrine dressed up in pseudoscientific drag, have been refuted many times -- as has their suggestion that voters should be able to deny a fundamental right like marriage to people they don't like. These bullies are losing, and the final blow at the Supreme Court, likely in the coming term, cannot come soon enough to suit me.
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?