Two pieces from the anti-choice hub LifeNews over the past week tell us oh so much about the gender politics of that movement right now: that women should be willing to sacrifice everything, up to and including their lives, to satisfy their ideal of how women should be.
The first, which hits close to home because it’s about me, was graciously brought to my attention by friends on Facebook who were cackling witchily about it. The article, titled “Feminist Writer: ‘I Don’t Particularly Like Babies, If Birth Control Fails I’m Having an Abortion,’” quotes large chunks of a blog post I wrote last year at Raw Story in defense of women who get abortions simply because they don’t want to give birth right now.
Using myself as an example and shoring it up with some cheeky language, I’d argued that women should not feel obliged to give in to conservative guilt-tripping about how we should curtail our own happiness to fit their notion of a “model” woman. The idea that women should have that level of autonomy is treated as so self-evidently evil at LifeNews that the site simply quotes me, at length, and expects its audiences to be horrified.
Saudi Arabia has arrested 93 people suspected of belonging to the Islamic State militant group, including two people who planned a failed suicide car bombing against the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.
The 93 included at least 77 Saudi nationals, a ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency said.
“Activities are ongoing against the deviant group which seeks to undermine the security of this country … They are ceaselessly seeking to achieve this through their criminal plans,” the statement said.
A cell involving two Syrians and a Saudi planned a suicide car bombing against the U.S. embassy in Riyadh but the plot was detected in March. One of the two Syrian suspects and the Saudi suspect were among the 93 arrested, the ministry said.
The criminalization of America’s poor has been quietly gaining steam for years, but a recent study, “The Poor Get Prison,” co-authored by Karen Dolan and Jodi L. Carr, reveals the startling extent to which American municipalities are fining and jailing the country’s most vulnerable people, not just punishing them for being poor, but driving them deeper into poverty.
“In the last ten years,” Barbara Ehrenreich writes in the introduction, “it has become apparent that being poor is in itself a crime in many cities and counties, and that it is a crime punished by further impoverishment.”
A few months ago, the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report revealed how that city has disproportionately targeted its majority minority population with traffic and other minor infractions that heavily support the municipality’s coffers. But Ferguson is far from alone. Municipalities like New York City have greatly increased the number of minor offenses that are considered criminal (like putting your feet up in the subway) or sitting on the sidewalk. Wealthy white people in business attire are rarely targeted for such summonses, and if they are, they can quickly pay the fine or hire counsel to get out of it. The over-punishment of minor offenses is just another way the rich get richer, and as the report says, the “poor get prison.” They also get poorer and more numerous. In one striking statistic, the Southern Educational Foundation reports that 51 percent of America’s public schoolchildren are living in poverty.
Fox News is desperately trying to create a new Congressional investigation of Hillary Clinton even as Clinton Cash crumbles before their eyes.
Video: at link
Fox News Sunday’s interview of Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer, revealed their true agenda.
Transcript via Fox News Sunday:
The Prince of Wales is on the brink of eradicating all fossil fuel investments from his financial holdings, becoming the latest high-profile addition to a fast-growing and UN-backed divestment campaign.
It is calling on investors to sell their stakes in coal, oil and gas because world reserves are already several times greater than can be burned while keeping climate change in check.
Prince Charles has frequently voiced the need for rapid action on global warming, referring recently to the Earth as a “sick patient”. He does not comment publicly on his personal financial dealings, but sources at Buckingham Palace told the Financial Times that “his private investments and his charitable foundation do not have any fossil fuel holdings”.
Many religious conservatives continue to insist that the same-sex marriage debate pits religious Americans against non-religious Americans. That was largely true even as recently as 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage. That year, there were no major religious groups among whom a majority supported allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry. The highest levels of support among major religious groups came from white mainline Protestants, of whom 36 percent favored same-sex marriage, and Catholics, with 35 percent support. Nearly two-thirds of the religiously unaffiliated, by contrast, supported same-sex marriage.
Over the last decade, though, the debate has shifted from one between religious and non-religious Americans to one that primarily pits older, conservative Christians against moderate, progressive, or younger Christians, Jews, and the religiously unaffiliated.
This new terrain is not only lost on conservative religious leaders; opponents of same-sex marriage, more than other Americans, remain convinced that public opinion is on their side. In early 2014—more than a year after national polls began consistently finding majority support for same-sex marriage—Americans who opposed legalizing same-sex marriage were roughly three times more likely to say that most of the country opposed rather than supported same-sex marriage.
Because support for same-sex marriage is higher among religiously unaffiliated Americans, many wrongly believe that the movement of non-religious Americans are primarily responsible for the new battle lines. But in fact, the bulk of the shift in favor of same-sex marriage over the past decade has taken place among religious Americans. While more than three-quarters of religiously unaffiliated Americans favor same-sex marriage today, that number is up only 12 percentage points since 2003.
On Monday, April 27, President Obama welcomed a delegation from Chabad-Lubavitch into the Oval Office to commemorate Education and Sharing Day, USA. Established by Congress in 1978 to honor the life’s work of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson (1902-1994), the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Education and Sharing Day provides an opportunity to focus on education’s importance and recognize the contributions Rabbi Schneerson made during his lifetime in the fields of education and morality, ethics and justice.
Since the establishment of Education and Sharing Day, which occurs on the Rebbe’s birthday, every President has issued an annual Proclamation marking “Education and Sharing Day, USA”. This year’s Education and Sharing Day Proclamation acknowledges the emphasis Rabbi Schneerson placed on the education of girls, noting: “In an era where a woman’s education was not valued the same as a man’s, the Rebbe worked to tear down barriers that stood in the way of girls who wanted to learn.”
In addition to issuing an annual proclamation, every President since the establishment of Education and Sharing Day has invited a delegation from the Chabad-Lubavitch movement into the Oval Office. The delegation included the leadership of American Friends of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbis Abraham and Levi Shemtov; Rabbi Yossy Gordon from Chabad on Campus; Rebbetzin Chave Hecht, a pioneers in girls’ education who has been teaching for more than 70 years; and Menachem Benjaminson and Chaya Goldstein, two children who are leaders in Chabad-Lubavitch children’s service organization, the Jewish Children’s Corps.
President Obama presented the nine-person delegation with a framed, commemorative copy of this year’s proclamation, which was signed on March 31, 2015, noting his appreciation for the Rebbe’s lifetime of work and recognizing that education is among many shared Jewish and American values - values that have shaped and strengthened his own connection to the Jewish community.
The President called combating rising anti-Semitism a moral obligation and emphasized that he will continue to raise the issue with other world leaders.
Finally, the delegation recited the blessing typically made upon meeting a head of state and presented the President with a menorah bearing an inscription, which reads in part:
Mr. President, you represent the middle flame, which stands on a higher plane, dedicated in service to others and the greater good, carrying the dreams and aspirations of an entire nation upon your shoulders.
Worst. Anti-Semite. Ever.
The practice is now legal in a majority of states, and, until recently, marriage equality had won a string of rulings in federal appeals courts.
That changed in November when the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. That ruling conflicted with others, creating a split and inviting Supreme Court intervention.
The high court accepted that invitation the afternoon of Jan. 16. In a brief order, the court announced it will hear arguments in the four cases from the 6th Circuit. The quartet of legal challenges will be consolidated into one case that will most likely carry the name of the Ohio ruling - Obergefell v. Hodges.
In its order, the high court said arguments will be limited to two questions: Does the 14th Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? And does the 14th Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed in another state? (Passed in the post-Civil War era, the 14th Amendment, among other things, guarantees “equal protection of the laws” for all citizens.)
Americans United issued a statement urging the justices to resolve the issue by applying the separation of church and state. For too long, AU opined, the issue of marriage equality has been bogged down by religious fundamentalists making explicitly sectarian arguments that appeal to the Bible or dictates by church leaders.
“At times, the discussion over marriage equality in this country has sounded more like a debate among medieval clerics than deliberations in a modern, secular democracy,” said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn. “Opponents of same-sex marriage too often point to holy books and pronouncements by religious leaders to make their case. That might fly in a theocracy, but it should have no weight in America.”
More: Same-Sex Showdown
If climate change was a game, we’d have racked up quite a score. A fresh study suggests that humans are responsible for a hefty number of today’s extreme hot days and rainstorms.
Weather extremes, such as a Russian heatwave in 2010 and a drought in Texas in 2011, have been blamed on climate change before - but the attribution of individual events to it is still hotly debated.
So Erich Fischer and Reto Knutti at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Zurich, Switzerland, took a bird’s-eye view of how human activity is changing the planet. Using 25 different climate models, they calculated how the odds of unusual events - such as a 1-in-100 day temperature high or a 1-in-10,000 day rainfall event - have changed with the rise in global temperatures.
A judge in Lexington on Monday ruled in favor of a shop that refused to print gay pride festival T-shirts.
The ruling by Fayette County Circuit Judge James Ishmael overturned a decision by the city’s Human Rights Commission. The commission had ruled in 2014 that the print shop, Hands On Originals, violated a city law that bans discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation. The shop says it has refused several jobs because of its Christian beliefs.
Ishmael said the Human Rights Commission went beyond its statutory authority in siding with the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, a gay rights advocacy organization.