A massive, 60-page omnibus bill that drastically limits abortion access and could shut down all abortion clinics in the state is being rushed through the Michigan State House of Representatives on Thursday.
Black clergy from the Conference of National Black Churches ("CNBC") joined forces with the Congressional Black Caucus ("CBC") in Washington, DC for a first ever summit last week to discuss new voting laws, voting registration strategy and empowerment of the black vote. What Republicans call voter protection to prevent voter fraud is disguised as voter ID laws that actually prevent voting by blacks and other segments of the population, according to a panel of voting rights experts speaking at the conference.
These new GOP voter ID laws are intended to prevent voting by African Americans, Hispanics, senior citizens and young adults. Limiting early voting days, ending Sunday voting before Election Day, dissuading voter registration at Motor Vehicle Administrations offices and placing onerous burdens on voter registration groups, have no bearing on voter fraud. And requiring already registered voters to obtain new ID to vote is like beginning a race and then changing the rules in the middle.
The shame of the Wisconsin recall is that even the side that came out on top knows it did so with money, strategy, and motivation from everywhere in the country, and the world for that matter, except Wisconsin.
This not only proves that the “States’ Rights Party” IS NOT, it also proves that the money agenda trumps the democracy agenda in today’s political theatre.
I am posting this video on Coffee Party Feminists because it brings home so powerfully what I hold in my heart of hearts: that life is a team sport. This makes democracy a team sport, therefore the fulfilment of the feminist cause, a subset of both, is also a team sport. Mr. Gilliam draws this line personally on a universal, almost holy, scale. Enjoy. [THE VIDEO]
Today, Republicans in the Senate blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act by filibustering the bill. The legislation would have strengthened protections for women who are being paid less because of their gender by creating larger penalties for employers who discriminate, creating more transparency of salaries so that women know whether they are being paid less, and protecting those who sue for pay equity.
Republicans framed the measure as a useless bureaucratic roadblock that would have hindered free enterprise and helped trial lawyers. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) called the bill a “war on free enterprise.” But Heller’s record on women’s issues is far from stellar: He previously voted against Paycheck Fairness when he was in the House of Representatives and also voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair pay act, another pay equity bill.
Pay discrimination isn’t some fantasy of the left — it actually prevents families from higher earnings. On average, women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar. And that’s happening while more women are becoming the primary breadwinners or dual-earners in their family and a larger number of women with high degrees entering the job market.
Over her lifetime, the average woman loses enough in wages to feed a family of four for 37 years.
The Paycheck Fairness Act has become an election issue, as well. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), who is challenging Heller, cited his opposition as a sign that he is one of the warriors in the ongoing battle to destroy women’s rights. In Missouri, the Senatorial candidates have also butted heads on Paycheck Fairness (all three Republican candidates opposed the bill). And in the Presidential election, President Obama has come out strongly in favor of the bill, while Mitt Romney has kept silent on the issue.
UPDATE: The measure was blocked by a 52-47 vote. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) was absent for medical reasons. Majority Harry Reid switched his vote so that the bill could come up for another vote at some point down the road.
BREAKING NEWS - As voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, reports out of the state suggest that robocalls are being placed informing voters, falsely, they don't have to vote if they signed the recall petition.
There have also been reports of mailings going out to voters telling them they can't vote unless they did so in 2010, and of people going door-to-door telling voters they don't have to go to the polls if they signed the recall petition, both of which are also untrue.
WHEN public employees lose their jobs, more women than men lose their jobs. When people fall off the unemployment benefit cliff, most of the unemployed single parents are women. When those we elect turn their backs on Americans crushed by the so called recession, they are turning their backs on more women than men. If women vote as strongly as they are wronged, some good will have come of their challenges: the politicians that allowed their mass abuse and neglect will no longer serve the people, and the country will be better for it.
(Reuters) - Louisiana is embarking on the nation's boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.
Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will get vouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.
The following year, students of any income will be eligible for mini-vouchers that they can use to pay a range of private-sector vendors for classes and apprenticeships not offered in traditional public schools. The money can go to industry trade groups, businesses, online schools and tutors, among others.
Every time a student receives a voucher of either type, his local public school will lose a chunk of state funding.
Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.
At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.
"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.
Other schools approved for state-funded vouchers use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don't cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution. [MORE]
A funny thing has already happened in the 2012 election -- women's needs are being written off as unimportant in both the media and in campaigns. Despite the growing evidence that women voters are key to victory, their concerns are continuing to be played off as not vital issues to consider.
This election is about women. Women at home, women at work, women who have retired, women who live alone, or with families, or partners, women living in homes that are underwater, in apartments in areas that might not be safe, in nursing homes that lack regulation or in their cars with their children in their arms because they have no place else to go.
If that isn't clear, it's because the media, as well as many of the candidates, are trying to distract from these issues.
The U.S. appeals court in Boston ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, reported the LA Times May 31. While the ruling did not argue that there is a right to same-sex marriage, it said that the federal government cannot deny benefits to those couples who are married in states that have legalized it. The case has set the stage for a Supreme Court ruling next year.
The anti-choice group Live Action released the first of its so-called “sting” operation videos, which shows a Planned Parenthood employee talking with a woman who wants to have a sex-selective abortion, theHuffington Post reported May 29. Planned Parenthood was likely not surprised by the video, as last month it noted suspicious and unusual incidents of women asking about sex-selective abortions. The staffer in the video was let go after the video was released and Planned Parenthood said in a statement that she did not follow protocol for a “highly unusual patient scenario.”
College students who are single parents with dependent children--almost 12 percent--have less money to contribute to the cost of college, have a much greater unmet need after receiving financial aid and amass higher levels of student debt than other students, according to data from the federal government analyzed by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
The American nuns who were harshly condemned by the Vatican in April as failing to uphold Catholic doctrine finally responded on Friday in their own strong terms, saying the Vatican’s assessment was based on “unsubstantiated accusations” and a “flawed process,” and has caused scandal, pain and polarization in the Roman Catholic Church.
The nuns issued a statement after six weeks of virtual silence, during which their religious communities across the country mulled over the Vatican’s startling pronouncement, and Catholics across the country rallied to support the nuns. The Vatican had announced it would dispatch three American bishops to lead a complete makeover of the sisters’ principal organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the nation’s 57,000 nuns.
After three days of discussion and prayer in Washington this week, the 21 national board members of the group decided they could not accept the Vatican’s verdict, and would send their president and executive director to Rome on June 12 to open a dialogue with Vatican officials. [MORE]
by KRISTIAN FODEN-VENCIL, OREGON PUBLIC BROADCASTING
The things that Amy Vance does for James Prasad are pretty simple: She calls doctors with him, organizes his meds, and helps him keep tabs on his blood pressure, blood sugar and weight.
These simple things — and the relationship between a health coach like Vance and a chronically ill Medicaid patient like Prasad — are a big part of a $2 billion health care experiment in Oregon.
Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat and a former emergency room doctor, has convinced the federal government that he has a way to make Medicaid treatment better, and cheaper, by completely changing the way the sickest people in Oregon get health care.
This week, the War on Women in Michigan moved from low-intensity combat to a full-scale firefight. Without warning, three anti-choice zealots in the Michigan Legislature, sponsored by state Rep. Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City), have launched a package of three anti-choice bills (H.B. 5711, 5712 and 5713) representing an unprecedented assaulton reproductive rights.
Among other things, the bills would turn conscientious health care providers of late-term abortions into felons and force most of the state’s reproductive health care centers to close.
“We’ve never seen such a stealthy introduction,” says Rana Elmir, communications director of the Michigan ACLU. In a blitz executed with cold precision, the Health Policy Committee introduced the bills on May 31 and held an unusually short 1-1/2 hour hearing today before calling a vote. The conversation was cut off before more than 80 representatives from major pro-choice organizations across the state had the opportunity to voice their dissent, according to a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan.
“We were just shut down,” said Meghan Groen, director of government relations for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
All three bills passed committee. Although the state’s legislative session is scheduled to end June 28th, anti-choice politicians are pushing these bills through the legislature hard and fast. If the bills end up before a full House vote, they are expected to pass, due to Michigan’s current anti-choice majority.
How dramatic will the bill’s effect be? Here’s how Pollock of NOW breaks it down:
HB 5713 makes it a 15-year felony to abort a fetus that is “pain capable” and defines that as occurring at 20 weeks of gestation. The effect would be to prevent abortions at 20 weeks or more unless it was to save the life of the mother with no exception to preserve the health or future fertility of the pregnant woman. Often fetal anomalies are discovered at about this time in a pregnancy, or health-threatening conditions for the mother are detected. Michigan women facing this situation would have to leave the state for treatment.
Requires that offices providing six or more abortions per month be considered freestanding outpatient surgical facilities subject to extensive licensing and regulatory requirements. The effect will be to close down most Michigan clinics that provide abortions and make the remaining ones charge higher fees to pay for the over-regulation.
While closing many Michigan clinics through onerous and unnecessary regulations, the bills would also prohibit use of new telecommunication technology to provide medical abortion access to women not living near an abortion facility.
Requires elaborate and more expensive procedures for disposition of fetal remains, creating a new 3-year felony for violating the fetal remains procedures and permitting a civil action against anyone who violates the new fetal remains procedures.
Creates a new crime called coercion to abort, linking it with the concept of domestic violence, and making abortion providers become domestic violence screening facilities rather than women’s reproductive health care providers.
Prohibits doctors from using their professional judgment in the use of medical abortion drugs.
Requires abortion providers to carry one million dollars in liability insurance when abortion is actually one of the safest medical procedures women experience.
State Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clark Lake) told a local television station on Wednesday that he supports the bill and hopes it will end abortion in Michigan. “This [abortion] is nothing short of infanticide. Until we completely eliminate abortions in Michigan and completely defund Planned Parenthood, we have work to do,” he said.
The bill is expected to pass the House later today.
If democracy is a team sport, we all have a role to play. If votes are to replace dollars as the currency of our democracy, then it is our job to redefine the game to one that cannot be bought and sold. This change may be awkward, but I happen to believe in American ingenuity. GAME ON!
646-929-2495 to listen live or talk to Jeanene and Debilyn. Click the link to listen in or pod cast later. Brought to you by THE 99% MEDIA, the way we roll today in Coffee Party USA.
Matthew Stoller, a writer and fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, sticks around to talk more with 'TYT' about the role of money in politics and why Americans actually need to be more power-obsessed, not less.
"The focus on the race is a good way to distract people from the underlying lack of power that voters have,” Stoller says. “The question is not who to vote for, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama… The question should be, how can the public re-establish a way to block the stream of profit and commerce — that they could do when they could strike — and thereby establish leverage with policy makers and economic elites… We should put the question of the election aside, because this is almost a meaningless spectacle.”
[Our eye on the prize: WHAT is as important as WHO. Hold all candidates to account for the issues that matter to you because they matter to us all. jkl]
Today, women are paid just 77 cents for every dollar a man is paid - that's an average of over $10,000 in lost wages every year. For the typical woman and her family, ending the wage gap would buy four months of groceries, five months of child care, and three months of rent, with almost $3000 left over. It's time to stop discounting women's paychecks. Help us support policies that work for women. It's time to take action.
“Jay Townsend has offered, and I have accepted, his resignation from his position with my campaign,” Rep. Hayworth said Monday in prepared text. “Now let’s return to talking about issues that really matter to families: job creation, spending restraint and economic development.”
Pay discrimination is real, and it seems to be a market failure that's not fixing itself. The convergence of male and female wages that we saw in the 1980s slowed down significantly in the 1990s and has seemed to plateau to a gap that's budged very little since (Blau, Kahn 2006). This "unexplained gap" has been the subject of much discussion, and now, finally, legislation to follow up the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. That's the Paycheck Fairness Act.
What's the bill say?
Basically, the Paycheck Fairness Act makes it harder for employers to prevent employees from discussing their wages amongst themselves. The idea is to make wages more transparent and hold companies accountable for discrepancies in pay between employees that have little distinguishing them other than gender.
The average American woman earns only $0.77 to every full dollar that the average American man earns. What do statistics fail to capture about the lives of women of color? A Black woman in the US earns only $0.62 to every full dollar that a white man in the U.S earns. A Hispanic woman earns only $0.52 to that dollar. When you compare earnings by gender within race, the pay gap closes; Black women earn 95.5% of what Black men earn. Although that statistic is lauded as hopeful, in reality, it demonstrates that the wage gap is just as affected by race as it is gender. The Paycheck Fairness Act is not only a white woman’s issue – pay discrimination extends across boundaries of race and gender, and feeds off of existing and historic systems of racism and sexism.
Critics of the Paycheck Fairness Act, who say the bill is unnecessary, cite women’s “life choices” as a reason why the pay gap exists. These life choices include leaving work to have children or working in the female dominated education or health care fields, which have lower salaries than many male dominated professional fields. Simply labeling these moves as “life choices” erases the histories of tracking and discrimination that encourage women to choose fields lower in salary and farther from the sciences, business, technology, etc. Women are three times more likely to occupy office and administrative support positions than men.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who is running in his party's primary to face off against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) in the June recall election, is out with a new ad blasting the governor for his "war on women."
"Scott Walker has torn our state apart waging an ideological civil war in Wisconsin, and Walker's war extends to women," Barrett said. "No decision underscores that more than Walker's move to take away enforcement teeth of the state's equal pay law. As the father of three daughters I am deeply concerned with the effect that this will have not only on my daughters, but also the women of Wisconsin."
A spokesman for Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) is facing criticism after advocating violence against female Democratic senators in a Facebook post.
Jay Townsend, the official campaign spokesman for the freshman representative, went on a vicious online rant on Saturday, which he began by taunting a constituent who voiced criticism about an earlier post on gas prices. "Listen to Tom. What a little bee he has in his bonnet. Buzz Buzz," Townsend wrote.
"My question today... when is Tommy boy going to weigh in on all the Lilly Ledbetter hypocrites who claim to be fighting the War on Women? Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector."
Comments from outraged constituents quickly followed. "'Hurl some acid' Jay Townsend? Do you realize what that means?" wrote one person. "Acid attacks are particularly brutal, aimed almost solely at women, with the intent to maim and disfigure. I couldn't imagine a worse piece of invective from someone who puts the Republican war on women in quotes."
Another commenter: "Mr. Townsend, do you think we live in Afghanistan?"