Friday, August 30, 2013

Bill O'Reilly Forced to Apology

Responsible Gun Ownership #4

The first man was holding a handgun inside his apartment when the gun discharged and he was shot in the leg, police said. He dropped the gun and left, headed for the hospital. As the man left the apartment, witnesses told officers, they heard another shot from inside the apartment -- the second man had also been shot in the leg, police said. The circumstances surrounding the second shooting remain under investigation.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

GOP Leadership Was Invited, But Chose Not To Speak

From Roll Call

Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the House’s two most senior Republicans, were invited to speak at the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington — but declined.

That wasn’t a wise choice, said Julian Bond, a renowned civil rights activist, in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday afternoon.

“What’s really telling, I think, is the podium behind me, just count at the end of the day how many Republicans will be there,” Bond told news anchor Alex Wagner. “They asked senior President Bush to come, he was ill. They asked junior Bush, he said he had to stay with his father.

“They asked a long list of Republicans to come,” Bond continued, “and to a man and woman they said ‘no.’ And that they would turn their backs on this event was telling of them, and the fact that they seem to want to get black votes, they’re not gonna get ‘em this way.”
“This was truly a bipartisan outreach effort,” said a spokesperson for the event in an email statement to CQ Roll Call. “All members of congress were invited to attend and the Republican leadership was invited to speak. Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office was very helpful in trying to find someone to speak at the event. Making this commemoration bi-partisan was especially important to members of the King family, too.”

IRS Announcement For Married Same-Sex Couples

From Forbes Magazine: 

The IRS has taken lots of hits lately, but this is welcome news for same-sex couples, those considering marriage, and the tax preparation community that has long been scratching its collective head. Now it’s official. The IRS says anyone who is legally married is married for federal tax purposes. See Treasury Department Press Release.

It doesn’t matter whether you live in a jurisdiction that recognizes your marriage. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said, “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.” See Treasury and IRS Recognize Same-Sex Marriages for Tax Purposes.

The IRS will apply this sea change September 16th, though you can actually amend for prior years as noted below. To see the text of Revenue Ruling 2013-17, click here. For Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

While all marriages are covered, the ruling doesn’t cover registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law. For registered domestic partners who live in community property states, click here.

For more details, you can find the full article HERE.

Rapist of 14 Year-Old Gets 30 Day Sentence

Cory Booker's Best Response to Gay Rumors EVER!!!

Maine Republicans Ditch the Party

Alcohol vs Marijuana: Which Is Worse For You

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Fails...Again


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah has spent more than $30,000 to screen welfare applicants for drug use since a new law went into effect a year ago, but only 12 people have tested positive, state figures show.

The data from August 2012 through July 2013 indicates the state spent almost $6,000 to give 4,730 applicants a written test. After 466 showed a likelihood of drug use, they were given drug tests at a total cost of more than $25,000, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, which administers welfare benefits and the tests.

Kaysville Republican Rep. Brad Wilson and South Jordan Republican Sen. Aaron Osmond sponsored the legislation last year and did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday. 
 In Florida, 108 people tested positive for drugs among the more than 4,000 tested. Florida's law was temporarily halted by a federal judge, and a federal appeals court upheld the ban in February. Gov. Rick Scott has said he's planning to appeal the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Michigan instituted a random drug-testing policy on welfare recipients that was stopped by a judge after five weeks. A four-year court battle followed before a federal appeals court ruled the policy unconstitutional. 

Minorities Bleach-Bombed at University of Texas

Chelsea Manning's Letter Requesting a Pardon

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tweet of the Day: August 27, 2013

Wal-Mart to Cover Domestic Partners Health Care

From Reuters

Wal-Mart is the single biggest U.S. employer outside of the federal government. More than half of its 1.3 million U.S. employees are on its health-care plans. The company said it does not know how many workers would use either of the new benefits.

Wal-Mart's extension of health insurance to domestic partners comes after the U.S. Supreme Court in June forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal. The Supreme Court also paved the way for same-sex marriage in California.

"Since we operate in all 50 states, we thought it was important to develop a single definition for all Wal-Mart associates in the U.S.," spokesman David Tovar said.

Employees' domestic partners can be covered if they are legal spouses, not legally separated; or a domestic partner of same or opposite gender in an ongoing, exclusive relationship similar to marriage for at least 12 months with the intention to continue sharing a household indefinitely, he said.

Ken Cuccinelli Turns on Bob McDonnell

Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA)

A new Quinnipiac poll that has Cuccinelli down 6 points to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, seems to have spooked The Cooch. After weeks of hitting McAuliffe with one brutal attack ad after another, McDonnell and the Virginia Republican party seemed to have decided Governor McDonnell’s ethics scandal has become a drag on the ticket. We all know what that means, it’s under-the-bus time.

Late last week Cuccinelli released a new TV ad called “Facts”, in which he claimed credit that he “personally launched the investigation into Bob McDonnell and called for reform to strengthen ethics laws.” The ad fails to mention Cuccinelli also took $18,000 from Bob McDonnell’s sugar daddy. No doubt just an oversight.

“Cuccinelli’s actions tell me he knows he has a problem.” Chuck Todd said. He added that four months ago, Cucinelli planned on using his close relationship with Bob McDonnell to persuade moderates he was not as conservative as they might think.

Michael Steele, past chairman of the RNC, analyzed Cuccinelli’s old McDonnell problem. “The voters of Virginia know that the governor is not going to be on the ballot. They can’t show their disgust, disdain, dislike for what he’s done at the ballot box. The next best thing is to take it out on the leading candidate for the GOP.”

Retaining Profitability With a Living Wage

Conservatives Attack the Man Who Saved Rep. Giffords


How is a guy who saved someone who has just been shot not a "real man?"

GOP Governors Flip-Flop on Obamacare

Monday, August 26, 2013

Marriage News Watch: August 26, 2013

Sen. Cruz Thinks Obama Might Defund Obamacare

The key remarks mentioned in the title are just after 4:45, but I recommend watching the whole clip.

The Worst Argument(s) Against Wind Turbines

Responsible Gun Ownership #3

From the Virginian-Pilot

An 18-year-old man faces charges after police say he pointed a gun at two elementary school students Monday.

Shortly before 3 p.m., a bus was unloading students at the intersection of Brian Avenue and Rachel Street when two students told the driver that someone behind the bus had pointed a gun at them, police said in a news release. The person was in a blue pickup.

The driver returned the students to Pembroke Elementary and notified school authorities and police.

An investigation determined that a dispute had broken out between the 18-year-old and several students at a bus stop over a rebel flag in the pickup.

Neocon John Bolton Backs Marriage Equality

Bolton is seriously considering running for president. It was during an interview with the National Review about what political positions we could expect a Bolton campaign to espouse, that he let it be known he is now pro same-sex marriage. Bolton:
On gay marriage, I support it, at both the state level and the federal level. Gay marriage is something I’ve thought about at length as I’ve looked at my future. I concluded, a couple years ago, that I think it should be permissible and treated the same at both levels.”
The line that jumps out and does a tap dance in that announcement is “I’ve looked at my future.” I think Bolton has made the calculation that marriage equality will soon be necessary for political viability. He has studied the landscape of the next presidential contest and concluded by the time the 2016 election comes around, the voters will reward those who stand for gay equality and punish those who don’t.

Know what? If Bolton changed his position because he’s all about Bolton, and not out of a newfound empathy for the LGBT community, I’m ok with that. Nothing could spread LGBT equality faster than politicians who think it’s in their own best interest to embrace their inner gay. I hope Bolton’s way of thinking spreads through Washington. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.) Because even if it is all about themselves, I’ll gladly welcome all the conservative trolls out from under the discrimination bridge and into the land of liberty and justice for all. (And maybe a little glitter on special occasions.) 

Guess Who Actually Has a Gun Registry

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How the IRS Enables the Breach of Church & State

From Raw Story

The Internal Revenue Service was unable to suppress a lawsuit over its failure to audit thousand of churches that allegedly violated federal tax law by engaging in partisan advocacy.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman of the Western District of Wisconsin on Monday denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation against the IRS.

“If it is true that the IRS has a policy of not enforcing the prohibition on campaigning against religious organizations, then the IRS is conferring a benefit on religious organizations (the ability to participate in political campaigns) that it denies to all other 501(c)(3) organizations, including the Foundation,” Adelman wrote.

The Internal Revenue Code prohibits tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches, from intervening or participating in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate.

But many churches have openly defied the ban without consequences. In an annual event called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday,” pastors from more than 1,000 churches have challenged the regulation by preaching about political topics. Some pastors even record their overtly partisan sermons and send them to the IRS.

Catholic Bishop Calls Homophobia "Mental Illness"

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Tea Party's Birther Hypocrisy

Cognitive dissonance rears its ugly yet again.

Sen. Boxer Writes to Putin on Human Rights

Published in Buzzfeed

August 23, 2013

The Honorable Vladimir Putin
Russian Federation

Dear President Putin:

As the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee dedicated to the protection of human rights, I urge you to work to repeal recent laws and policies that severely infringe upon the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in Russia. These efforts—including legislation you recently signed banning “homosexual propaganda”—are not only an affront to fundamental principles of equality, but also contradict the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a party.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
I support a strong United States-Russia bilateral relationship and believe we must work to strengthen this important relationship whenever possible. However, I cannot stay silent while your country works to put in place deeply discriminatory laws and policies undermining the rights of LGBT individuals, which have already had tangible and dangerous consequences. I have been shocked by images of Russian LGBT individuals—including young men and women—being harassed, threatened and severely beaten. If these laws and policies are not repealed, the consequences for human life and human dignity could get even worse.

Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about the significant detrimental impact of these laws on the Winter Olympic Games that Russia is scheduled to host next year. The United States—like many other countries—will be sending both LGBT athletes and spectators to the Games. I firmly expect Russia to support the Charter of the Olympic Games, which refers to sport as a human right that should be practiced without “discrimination of any kind.” Any attempt at discrimination will be met with significant protest and will leave a dark stain on Russia’s international image for decades to come.

I look forward to your favorable reply and action.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator"

Virginia GOP Advisor Favors Terry McAuliffe (D-VA)

McAuliffe (left) & Cuccinelli (right)
From Washington Post

"Re: St. Petersburg International Film Festival / "Guest of Honor" Invitation
Dear Ms. Averbakh:
- See more at:

Boyd Marcus, a veteran Republican political consultant whose client list has included U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and former Gov. Jim Gilmore, is endorsing Democrat Terry R. McAuliffe and advising his campaign against GOP nominee Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia’s neck-and-neck race for governor.

The announcement by McAuliffe’s campaign, confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday in a phone interview with Marcus, rocked Virginia politics and exposed the clearest sign to date of bad blood within the GOP between its establishment and the tea party conservatives who comprise Cuccinelli’s ardent army and control the state Republican Party machinery.

Marcus, who most recently guided the aborted gubernatorial campaign of Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, became a paid adviser to McAuliffe knowing it would sever many longtime GOP ties for him. But he felt it necessary.

“I was looking at the candidates, and I saw Terry McAuliffe as the guy who will work with everybody to get things done,” Marcus told the AP in a telephone interview...

"Chelsea" Manning Isn't New News, But Is A Hero

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tweet of the Day: August 21, 2013

Well, That's One Way To Come Out

"Re: St. Petersburg International Film Festival / "Guest of Honor" Invitation

Dear Ms. Averbakh:

Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes.

However, as a gay man, I must decline.

I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.

Perhaps, when and if circumstances improve, I'll be free to make a different choice.

Until then.

Wentworth Miller

Member, HRC

Member, GLAAD

Member, The ManKind Project"

Virginia Gubernatorial Race: MacAuliffe Leads Cuccinelli

Terry MacAuliffe

Democrat Terry McAuliffe has a 6-point lead over Republican state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, with McAuliffe taking 48 percent to Cuccinelli's 42 percent among Virginians likely to vote in this year's election.

Neither candidate is especially popular, and both have faced a spate of unflattering headlines: Cuccinelli received thousands of dollars in gifts from a controversial political donor, while an electric car company McAuliffe helped to found is under investigation by the SEC.

Voters were torn on McAuliffe, with 34 percent viewing him favorably, 33 percent unfavorably, and 31 percent saying they hadn't heard enough. Cuccinelli had more detractors, with 35 percent rating him favorably, 41 percent unfavorably, and 22 percent undecided.

Few believe the race has focused on the issues: only 32 percent said Cuccinelli spends more time outlining his ideas than attacking McAuliffe, and just a quarter thought McAuliffe spent more of his time explaining his platform.

Republicans Helping WITH Obamacare

In June, two stalwart conservatives, Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), announced that their offices would not help constituents who phoned in with questions about Obamacare, such as how to enroll or take advantage of subsidies that are available.

Republicans are doing everything in their power to hinder the new health law’s implementation, and refusing to help constituents who were trying to figure out how Obamacare can work for them is one way to accomplish that.

ThinkProgress spoke with three congressmen this month about whether they would be following Huelskamp and Chaffetz’s lead. Though all three made clear they opposed Obamacare, they unanimously confirmed their offices would “help every constituent that calls our office,” as Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) declared. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) agreed, explaining, “I’m not going to send our constituents out the door just because I may not like it.” Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) said helping guide constituents who call with questions about federal programs is “one of the primary functions of our office.”

Fox News is Too Liberal...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Gov. Christie (R-NJ) Signs Ban on Reparative Therapy

From Huffington Post:

Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a law on Monday barring licensed therapists from trying to turn gay teenagers straight, the latest example of the potential 2016 presidential candidate steering a moderate course.

The governor said the health risks of trying to change a child's sexual orientation, as identified by the American Psychological Association, trump concerns over the government setting limits on parental choice. "Government should tread carefully into this area," he said in the signing note, "and I do so here reluctantly."

The decision marked the third time this month that Christie has staked out a moderate position on a hot-button social issue as he seeks a second term in a Democratic-leaning state. It also offers more evidence that the popular governor is positioning himself as a pragmatist who shuns more conservative elements within his party.

Christie said on "issues of medical treatment for children we must look to experts in the field to determine the relative risks and rewards," citing a litany of potential ill effects of trying to change sexual orientation, including depression, drug abuse and suicide.

"I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate," he said.

Gay, Disabled Vet Booed By Homophobic Protesters

Eric Alva, a gay Marine veteran who lost a leg during combat in the Iraq War, faced an unfriendly reception from anti-LGBT protesters in San Antonio, Texas, this week, while testifying in favor of an anti-discrimination ordinance.

In a Facebook post after addressing the city council on Wednesday, Alva described the response he received from a large group rallying against a measure that would expand anti-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status.

“Well I just left city council chambers and I feel like crying," he wrote. "I have never seen a city so divided and hateful towards each other. All of mankind should be ashamed. I already spoke and even some of the religious groups even booed me as I spoke. Such disrespect as they preach the word of God."

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the bigotry. Stay classy Lone Star state!

Rep. Gohmert (R-TX) Blames Obama for Racial Tension

Archbishop: "Persecuted" Christians Should Grow Up

From The Guardian
A Russian lawmaker has said the ‘gay propaganda’ law will remain enforced during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the ‘non-traditional relationships’ bill, said the government cannot decide when to selectively enforce the law.
It comes as the International Olympic Committee said the Russian government had ‘assured’ them all athletes and spectators will be safe from arrest.
Speaking to Interfax and as translated by GSN, Milonov said: ‘I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law.
‘If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.’
- See more at:

Christians in Britain and the US who claim that they are persecuted should "grow up" and not exaggerate what amounts to feeling "mildly uncomfortable", according to Rowan Williams, who last year stepped down as archbishop of Canterbury after an often turbulent decade.

"When you've had any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word very chastely," he said. "Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable. 'For goodness sake, grow up,' I want to say."

True persecution was "systematic brutality and often murderous hostility that means that every morning you wonder if you and your children are going to live through the day". He cited the experience of a woman he met in India "who had seen her husband butchered by a mob".

A Russian lawmaker has said the ‘gay propaganda’ law will remain enforced during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the ‘non-traditional relationships’ bill, said the government cannot decide when to selectively enforce the law.
It comes as the International Olympic Committee said the Russian government had ‘assured’ them all athletes and spectators will be safe from arrest.
Speaking to Interfax and as translated by GSN, Milonov said: ‘I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law.
‘If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.’
- See more at:
A Russian lawmaker has said the ‘gay propaganda’ law will remain enforced during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the ‘non-traditional relationships’ bill, said the government cannot decide when to selectively enforce the law.

It comes as the International Olympic Committee said the Russian government had ‘assured’ them all athletes and spectators will be safe from arrest.
Speaking to Interfax and as translated by GSN, Milonov said: ‘I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law.
‘If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.’
- See more at:
A Russian lawmaker has said the ‘gay propaganda’ law will remain enforced during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the ‘non-traditional relationships’ bill, said the government cannot decide when to selectively enforce the law.
It comes as the International Olympic Committee said the Russian government had ‘assured’ them all athletes and spectators will be safe from arrest.
Speaking to Interfax and as translated by GSN, Milonov said: ‘I have not heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation but I know it is acting in accordance with Russian law.
‘If a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.’
- See more at:

Why a GOP Staffer Left the Party

From Think Progress:

Clint Murphy, now a real estate agent from Savannah, Georgia, who’s been involved with Republican campaigns since the 1990s, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000 when he was 25 years old. Four years and four rounds of chemo treatment later — all of which was covered by insurance — Murphy was in remission. Insurance wasn’t a problem in his subsequent political jobs — he worked on John McCain’s election campaign in 2008 and Karen Handel’s Georgia gubernatorial run in 2010 — but when he quit politics in 2010 and entered real estate, he realized just how difficult obtaining insurance with a pre-existing condition could be.

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Murphy said he thought after 10 years since his cancer diagnosis, the insurance companies might cut him some slack — instead, they found something else to charge him for.

“I have sleep apnea. They treated sleep apnea as a pre-existing condition. I’m going right now with no insurance,” he told the AJC.

That’s why Murphy had this to say to his Republican friends who oppose Obamacare on Facebook last week: “When you say you’re against it, you’re saying that you don’t want people like me to have health insurance.”

Murphy says Republicans’ insensitivity towards the health care debate has made it so that he can’t in good conscience call himself a Republican anymore — he now identifies as an independent. He doesn’t think Obamacare is perfect, but he thinks it’s a start, and he says he’s tired of Republicans “not even participating in the process” of improving America’s health care system. Still, he says he’s supporting Karen Handel for Georgia Senate, despite her promise to defund Obamacare, because he thinks she can find a way to improve America’s health care system. Handel says she thinks a proposal from Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), which would provide coverage by incentivizing individuals to purchase coverage through tax credits and deductions, would work in place of Obamacare.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Americans Clueless About the FALLING Deficit

States Pass Pro-Glass-Steagall Resolutions

From Think Progress:

These resolutions are non-binding and symbolic. Only the federal government has the ability to reinstate the wall between commercial and investment banking. The idea behind the resolutions, however, is to help Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) put pressure on the rest of Washington by demonstrating state-level anger over the lack of accountability for the financial collapse. Warren, along with a bipartisan group of Senate allies, is currently pushing a “21st century Glass-Steagall” bill aimed at limiting the ability of commercial banks to engage in risky speculation.

So far, Glass-Steagall resolutions have only passed in Maine and South Dakota, the pairing of one very progressive and one very conservative state reflecting the odd political alliance Cirilli finds to be responsible for the rise of Glass-Steagall resolutions. Relatively progressive Democrats furious about inequality and predatory banking have joined up with libertarians angry about government bailouts to push for a new commercial/investment division.

Whether reimposing Glass-Steagall restrictions could head off another financial crisis is a complicated question. Arguably, the repeal of Glass-Steagall opened the door to a much broader range of financial speculation with a greater amount of assets, creating the sort of concentrated and interlinked risk that led to the domino collapse of banking institutions in 2008. Skeptics, however, note that the most significant 2008 collapses were either not commercial banks or commercial banks that collapsed for reasons other than their own investment banking department’s bets.

It’s also possible Glass-Steagall’s effects were less direct. Economist Joseph Stiglitz believes that the 1999 repeal changed the corporate culture of commercial banks, causing them to think and operate more like investment banks. This new culture led to riskier loan practices of the sort that really did bring down the big banks.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tweet of the Day: August 16, 2013

The DNC Calls Out the RNC

A statement from the DNC:

“After last year’s electoral losses, the RNC pledged to do a better job reaching out to the voters they had systematically alienated – like women, African Americans, LGBT Americans, Hispanics, and more. But instead of modifying their policies to actually present smart solutions for middle class families, the only thing the GOP can unite behind is a plan to continue to limit the audiences—and voters—to whom they will communicate.

"Now with reports that they are looking to have Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin moderate their debates, it raises questions about whether the RNC will ever be serious about outreach, or if they will continue to speak to -- and for -- the fringes of their party.

"It seems that Republicans don't get it. If they truly want to connect with a broader audience, they need an agenda that fights for the middle class and is inclusive. Sadly, it appears that with today's vote, their approach is to actually speak to even fewer voters.

“While the Republican Party and the RNC continue to have side-show debates, Democrats will continue to fight for a better bargain for middle class Americans.”

Rush Limbaugh: From Slut-Shaming to Fat-Shaming

Has this ass-clown not looked in the mirror lately...or ever?

An Internet Bill of Rights

Sexual Orientation on Medical Records

From Queerty:

When you go to the doctor, you want him or her to know everything about you that might affect your health. That’s why a new study says that medical records should include the patient’s sexual orientation. Without that information, the study says, medical groups will not be able to recognize disparities in care based on sexual orientation and take the necessary steps to correct them.

The authors of the study, published in the journal LGBT Health, note that data shows that lesbians are less likely to get screened for cervical cancer and that there is a higher incidence of mental health issues related to stress among LGBT patients. But without routine collection of data about sexual orientation, addressing those issues and identifying others will remain a problem.

“Given the outward invisibility of LGBT people and their history of invisibility in the health-care system, it is critical for clinicians to address and screen for health conditions disproportionately affecting LGBT people and have frank discussions with patients about sexual identity and behavior and gender identity,” the authors write. “However, most clinicians don’t ask questions about these topics; many are uncomfortable discussing sex with patients. Gathering data on sexual and gender identity in EHR [electronic health records] will improve our understanding of LGBT disparities and help improve clinicians’ conversations with patients about LGBT issues.”

Thursday, August 15, 2013

How Gays Are Destroying America

In all seriousness, great for Vicco, Kentucky. Breaking stereotypes and spreading equality; two birds, one stone.

Responsible Gun Ownership #2

From Raw Story

A woman in Arizona has told police that she accidentally killed her husband with his own shotgun after he insisted that she pick it up even though she told him she was uncomfortable around guns.

The Daily Courier reported that Prescott Valley police responded to reports of a shooting on Gentle Winds Road Monday afternoon, where 56-year-old Gary Wingate was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement, the Prescott Valley Police Department said that Wingate’s 54-year-old wife had not been comfortable around firearms, but he asked her to pick up his 12-guage shotgun and hand it to him anyway. The weapon discharged while she was in the process of handing it to him, striking him in the upper torso.

“It seems like they meant to take [the shotgun] out this weekend on a trip and he wanted her to get more familiar with it,” Sgt. Brandon Bonney explained. 

Rick 'Holier Than Thou" Santorum Faces FEC Charges

From Huffington Post:

Former 2012 Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) broke campaign finance rules by directing a $1 million check from a donor to a super PAC backing his candidacy, according to a complaint filed on Wednesday by government watchdog groups.

The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a joint complaint with the FEC against Santorum for allegedly directing a $1 million contribution from energy executive Bill Doré to Red White And Blue Fund, a super PAC run by former Santorum staffers. While a candidate like Santorum can ask a donor to give money to a super PAC, it is a violation of campaign finance laws to direct or solicit a contribution above the legal limit of $5,000.

Red White And Blue Fund was instrumental to Santorum's unexpected success in the Republican presidential primaries. Santorum's campaign was short on money for most of the primary season, but the super PAC -- powered by contributions from Doré and Wyoming investor Foster Friess -- was able to spend enough money to help Santorum eke out a win in the Iowa caucuses and to push him into position as eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney's chief competition.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Conservatives Once Ridiculed Ayn Rand

From Salon
The late Gore Vidal would not have been surprised by the former Republican vice-presidential candidate’s choice of a patron saint. After all, it was Vidal who observed, in a 1961 article for Esquire:
She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the ‘welfare’ state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you’re dumb or incompetent that’s your lookout.
Vidal might be dismissed as a biased leftist. But the late William F. Buckley Jr., the founder of post-1945 conservatism who engaged in a famous televised spat with Vidal during the 1968 Democratic convention, shared Vidal’s contempt for Ayn Rand. After her death in 1982, Buckley wrote in the New York Daily News: “She was an eloquent and persuasive anti-statist, and if only she had left it at that, but no. She had to declare that God did not exist, that altruism was despicable, that only self-interest was good and noble.” In 2003, Buckley described his encounter with Rand’s interminable propaganda novel “Atlas Shrugged”: “I had to flog myself to read it.”
For once, conservatives going back to the "good ol' days" wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Canada to Favour Asylum For LGBT Russians

From the Globe & Mail
Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favourably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, the Immigration Minister says. 
Chris Alexander said Monday in Surrey, B.C., that Russia has taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, and that any refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.” 
Russia has passed a new law banning gay “propaganda” – a catch-all that prohibits gay pride events and providing information to minors on “non-traditional” relationships, and exposes those who express pro-gay views to prosecution. Foreigners can be hit with fines of about $3,000, and 15 days in a Russian jail. 
Lawyer Rob Hughes, who is representing two gay Russian men claiming refugee status in Canada, says he expects more Russians to make claims based on sexual orientation.
Canada accepts gay asylum-seekers in the same way as it accepts members of any other persecuted group, like a religious or ethnic minority. Asylum-seekers can file a claim after they arrive in Canada because they face persecution by their government, or because they are persecuted by others and the government does not offer protection.

Mike Huckabee Calls Muslims "Uncorked Animals"

Actual Journalism on Fox?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Marriage News Watch: August 12, 2013

Former GOP Candidate Convicted of Voter Fraud

In the midst of his 2012 GOP primary campaign for a Massachusetts state House seat, Jack Villamaino changed the party affiliation of nearly 300 people in his town of East Longmeadow. Days later, the same number of absentee ballot requests were dropped off at the town clerk’s office, a list that was almost a “name-for-name match” for those whose registration information Villamaino had altered. 
Earlier this week, Villamaino pleaded guilty to felony charges of stealing ballots and changing the party affiliation of 280 Democrats during his campaign for state representative. A judge sentenced him to a year in jail, only four months of which he'll be forced to serve behind bars. 
The remainder of that sentence will be suspended, and Villamaino will also be required to serve a year of probation. Villamaino's defense attorney had hoped the judge would throw out the felony conviction, while Hampden District Attorney Mark Mastroianni had sought additional felony charges for forgery and perjury.
Another example of Republican projection. Republicans are running around saying the oppressive laws restricting voter access is because they fear voter fraud. Why are they afraid of Democrats performing voter fraud? Because that is what they, the Republicans, do, so they assume Democrats would do the same (that's not to say Democrats never defraud voters, but it seems that most of the stories in the past year have been about the GOP). A similar story happened here in Virginia last year where a Republican campaign operative committed voter fraud.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rivals Beating Wal-Mart on Prices & Wages

WinCo, a small, employee-owned grocery store chain based in Boise, Idaho, is able to beat Walmart’s prices on goods while providing its employees with good benefits. 
The company, which will soon have close to 100 stores with the latest openings in Texas, has almost 15,000 employees. Those who work at the store long enough qualify for a pension plan into which the company puts an amount equal to 20 percent of their yearly pay. More than 400 “front-line” workers — clerks, cashiers, and others who are not at the executive level — have retirement accounts that are worth at least $1 million, according to a company spokesman. 
It also provides full health benefits for those who work at least 24 hours a week, beyond the requirements in the Affordable Care Act. While the company is private and hasn’t made wage information available, Glassdoor reports that cashiers and clerks make more than $11 an hour. Thanks to these benefits and wages, the company has low turnover. An industry analyst estimated that the average hourly worker stays with the company for more than eight years...
Other rivals are also able to offer cheap goods and good working conditions. Costco, which competes with Walmart’s Sam’s Club, pays employees $21.96 on average and nearly all of the workers who are eligible for benefits are enrolled. Its bottom line is strong, with profits up 19 percent in the first quarter of the year. It also gets much more revenue and profit per employee and generates a higher return for investors than Walmart...
The article goes on about how Wal-Mart's sales have been hurt by its failure to hire enough employees to get shelves stocked and pays them so poorly they do not provide decent customer service. Given how terribly Wal-Mart treats its workers, this is no surprise.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Religious Wrong: Gays "Should Be Discriminated Against"

Obama Isn't the One Starting a Race War

Why Bisexuals Stay in the Closet

"The coming out process is very different for bisexuals," [Kyle Schickner, a filmmaker and outspoken bisexual activist of 20 years] said. "I probably have to come out every day of my life whether it’s to gays, lesbians or straight people." 
Constantly coming out and explaining one’s identity can get exhausting, and that exhaustion means some bisexuals would rather not even bother. Bisexual men and women not only have to worry about the judgments from their straight friends, but also what their gay and lesbians will think of them as well. They are often stereotyped as really being just gay, stuck in a phase, confused, promiscuous or unfaithful. 
"The people setting the agenda in the LGBT community are mostly gay or lesbian and so the bisexual thing becomes secondary," Schickner said. "There’s still sort of distrust or anger towards bisexuals because they have the ability to enjoy a lot of straight privileges that gay and lesbians don’t enjoy. I think there’s a resentment and sort of a fear. And there’s always an anecdote about getting screwed over by someone who was bisexual and scapegoating bisexuality as the reason the relationship failed." 
He wonders if another reason people aren’t coming out as bisexual is because they’re coming out as newer terms like fluid, polysexual or pansexual. 
"We haven’t defined what it means to be bisexual, really," he said. "And there’s been a lack of really strong leadership in the bi community since the late ’90s."

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: I Was Wrong About Weed

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tweet of the Day: August 8, 2013

Obama Cancels Putin Meeting Over Snowden/Human Rights

What We Do/Don't Know About GMO's

Racist Attack on Jackie Robinson Statue

Marijuana Stops Little Girl's Violent Seizures

Rick Perry Doesn't Know Where He Is

Rainbow Flags Could Get Olympic Athletes Disqualified

...That beautify fantasy, above, is the beginning of New York Times‘ opinion writer Frank Bruni‘s Monday column, “Striking Olympic Gold.” What Bruni leaves out is that that act of political defiance would disqualify each participating Olympic athlete from the Games. In short, they would each be sent home. 
And the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could very well be sending home a great many Olympic athletes from the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia six months from now, if any of them show support for LGBT civil rights. While they IOC has not made a public statement, their 103-page charter (published below) is very specific:
No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.
The bylaws clarify this rule:
No form of publicity or propaganda, commercial or otherwise, may appear on persons, on sportswear, accessories or, more generally, on any article of clothing or equipment whatsoever worn or used by the athletes or other participants in the Olympic Games, except for the identification – as defined in paragraph 8 below – of the manufacturer of the article or equipment concerned, provided that such identification shall not be marked conspicuously for advertising purposes.
So, if any Olympic athlete pulls out a gay flag, as the Times’s Frank Bruni suggested, or of they wear the tiniest rainbow pin on their uniform, they could be disqualified from the Games and sent home.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tweet of the Day: August 7, 2013

Canada, America, and everyone else that it takes for Russia to get the point.

Anti-Obama Rally Turns Racist

As President Barack Obama spoke in Phoenix Tuesday about responsible home ownership, hundreds of people stood outside protesting his policies, many shouting and carrying racially charged chants and signs. 
"Bye Bye Black Sheep," the protestors shouted at one point, a reference to the president's skin color, according to the Arizona Republic
Another protestor carried a sign that said "Impeach the Half-White Muslim!" 
“He’s 47 percent Negro,” one protestor shouted. 
“We have gone back so many years,” Judy Burris told the Republic. “He’s divided all the races. I hate him for that.”
While I'm sure not everyone that is against President Obama has a racial animus, there is definitely a demonstrable contingent of conservatives who are racially motivated against him. There have been people wearing shirts saying "It's called the White house for a reason" and numerous images abound comparing him to an ape/chimpanzee, not to mention many racially coded statements that have been made about him.

Also, I would like to know how exactly Barack Obama has single-handedly divided ALL races.

Obesity Rates Drop in Low Income Children

From Think Progress:

Young U.S. children from poor families are seeing an unprecedented drop in their levels of obesity, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The findings represent the first time ever that the government has witnessed a widespread reduction in low-income children’s obesity rates and may bode well for America’s public health at large. 
The obesity rate for poor children aged two to four fell in 18 states and the Virgin Islands between 2008 and 2011. Only three states witnessed a rise in obesity, while 19 others — as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — experienced no significant changes. That’s a far cry from a similar analysis conducted in 2009, when 24 states saw higher childhood obesity rates among low-income families and only nine states or territories underwent a decline.  
Although the reductions themselves are modest — averaging around one percent — scientists consider them widespread enough to be significant. “[W]e’ve seen isolated reports in the past that have had encouraging trends, but this is the first report to show many states with declining rates of obesity in our youngest children after literally decades of rising rates,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden during a press conference.
Better nutritional and public health regulations may also be a factor. Mississippi saw its childhood obesity rate plummet by 13 percent between 2006 and 2011 thanks to aggressive school nutrition and physical education programs that were passed in 2007. First Lady Michelle Obama has led a national campaign to fight childhood obesity through better food and exercise — a movement that 10,000 child care centers in America have embraced. Those nutritional policy reforms may become more widespread thanks to Obamacare funding for local preventative health care efforts and regulations taking effect this year that force public schools to trade in junk food in cafeterias and vending machines for healthier alternatives.