A Threat To Women And Workers


By

What you Need To Know About Today’s Supreme Court Rulings

The Supreme Court issued two important rulings this morning: one that makes it harder for women to exercise their right to choose, and a second that effectively eliminates a President’s ability to make recess appointments and could imperil unions down the road as a consequence. The remaining decisions this session are expected to come next Monday, including Hobby Lobby (can owners of a for-profit, secular corporation impose their religious beliefs on their employees?) and Harris v. Quinn (are public sector unions’ fair share fees that ensure all employees, regardless of whether they are members of the union, receive the collectively bargained-for benefits constitutional?)

The decisions today were both handed down unanimously by the High Court. Here’s more on what the implications are for each:

McCullen v. Coakley

The decision: The Court struck down a Massachusetts’ law establishing a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion providers, ruling in favor of anti-choice protesters who argued that being required to stay that far away from clinic entrances is a violation of their freedom of speech. The decision rolls back a proactive policy intended to safeguard women’s access to reproductive health care in the face of persistent harassment and intimidation from abortion opponents.

The argument: The Justices argue that the 35-foot zone in the Massachusetts law restricts “access to ‘public way[s]‘ and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech ac­tivities.” Therefore, the opinion states, the law burdens “substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests.” The justices do not categorically deny the right for states to set up buffer zones protecting abortion clinics, but do effectively remove the Massachusetts law and threaten other similar safety measures around the country.

The implications: The decision is a blow to women. Since 1993, eight clinic workers have been murdered. There have been 6,400 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977. According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF), which closely tracks threats and violence against abortion providers across the country, buffer zones have had a measurable impact improving safety in the areas where they’re in place.

BOTTOM LINE: The Supreme Court itself has a buffer zone around it’s 252-by-98-foot plaza, preventing protesters from demonstrating too close to the entrance. Surely it can see the need for abortion clinics, the subject of frequent and sometimes violent intimidation from their opponents, to have a reasonable buffer zone as well.

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning

The decision: The Court effectively eliminated the president’s power to make recess appointments in all but the most unusual circumstances. It limits the president’s constitutional duty to appoint leaders that keep our country working for all Americans, from making sure our elections are fair to protecting workers’ and consumer rights.

The argument: Prior to Noel Canning, a federal appeals court — the highest legal authority to weigh in on the question — confirmed that a president does indeed have the power to make recess appointments. Specifically, it ruled that sham sessions known as “pro forma” sessions held by the Senate every three days in order to defeat a president’s attempts to make these appointments were in fact not enough to stop him. Every single justice on the Supreme Court, however, disagreed with that ruling and voted against recess appointments today, although the Court split 5-4 on rationale. Five justices, overturning the appeals court, opined that these “pro forma” sessions were in fact enough to block a president from making recess appointments because “the Senate is in session when it says it is.” The four conservative justices went even further, with an opinion that could have retroactively invalidated thousands of recess appointments made by presidents past if it had garnered just one more vote.

The implications: The impact of this ruling goes beyond a legal technicality. President Obama took the risk of making recess appointments in the first place to fill a minimum number of seats on the National Labor Relations Board, a government agency with exclusive authority to enforce much of federal labor law. NLRB members serve five year terms, and unless at least three seats on the board are occupied, it is powerless to act. Therefore, the fullest impact of this decision will likely be felt in 2018, when the five year terms of the NLRB’s current slate of members expire. Even if the president at that time supports allowing federal labor law to function in 2018, he or she will be unable to keep the NLRB functioning if a majority of the Senate is determined to shut down federal labor protections.

More broadly, the decision underscores the importance of the Senate’s action last November to allow executive nominees to receive an up or down confirmation vote. Without last year’s change to the Senate rules, today’s decision would have empowered a small, but vocal minority, to use arcane procedure to block the government from being able to function properly.

BOTTOM LINE: In a technical ruling, the Supreme Court took away the president’s power to make recess appointments. While today’s court decision will have little immediate impact, its long-term effects remain unclear and could threaten the rights of workers across the country if the NLRB is dismantled. The House and Senate must find new ways to ensure that the politics of obstruction and shutdown do not limit the ability of our nation to function properly.

Stay tuned for more Court decisions on Monday. If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, RSVP to join a rally hosted by NARAL in front of the Supreme Court that morning.

Fuel … Bio-fuel Algae


Fuel – A different way of thinking?

Posted on 23. Jun, 2010

by friends


As you may or may not be aware, I don’t feel that Carbon Dioxide is the the villain at the centre of the world’s problems .

I personally believe that is a convenience for Governments to generate revenue amongst other things, a distraction from other more important matters. What I do believe, is that we are extremely wasteful of dwindling resources and are polluting our planet at an alarming rate… More kids are suffering with asthma than ever before. More people have respiratory illnesses than ever before.

We are killing ourselves and the planet with pollution and waste in a thousand different ways.

So I was pleased to find The Fuel Film website

A few pollution information gems to consider:

• The levels of toxic diesel fumes inside school buses are 4 times higher compared with outside the buses.

• According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 2 million premature deaths are caused each year due to air pollution in cities across the world

• A Scottish study has shown that jogging with traffic around results in reduced blood flow to the heart. This is particularly dangerous for people with stable heart disease, because it can trigger off cardiac arrhythmia or even a heart attack

• Every year 335,000 Americans die of lung cancer, which is a direct result of air pollution

And we are not talking CO2 pollution here, just all the other nasties that get pumped into our atmosphere for us to breath.

http://www.thefuelfilm.com

The Fuel Film… Educational, Informative and surprisingly entertaining

The Big question from sceptics is: … That crops for bio-fuel takes away the ability of the world to feed it’s growing population, this is answered in a couple of ways in the film.

One solution of several is in using marginal land, another is algae
For those that don’t know: Marginal land is land that is difficult to cultivate and is not being used for food crops. This land could be used to grow biomass crops to be used for bio-fuels. California has apparently 1 million acres of marginal land that could generate 5 billion gallons of bio-fuels per year.

Now, while not 100% convinced that it is possible to ‘grow’ all our fuel requirements, it nice to know that there are alternative possibilities and people willing to fight to get them heard.

All it needs now is the desire from Government and vested interests to make it happen… Having said all that what is happening in the Gulf is a wake-up call for the world….

But is anybody listening? Because as sure as death and taxes we are not going to give up our love affair with the car easily

For more information click here

Photo courtesy: U.S. Department of Energy. Pretty, isn’t it? …. In case you’re wondering it’s Bio-fuel Algae

 

This is what segregation looks like ~~ Alabama


Right-wing attacks on voting and equal representation are pushing Black Alabamians out of the picture.

Gov. Bentley bill signing

Now the state’s unaccountable government is taking it to the next level. Help stop extreme legislation that mocks and vilifies our history:

Take Action

Aggressive gerrymandering efforts designed to dilute Black Alabamians’ votes have delivered supermajority control of the state’s legislature — and Alabama’s entire executive branch — to the extreme right wing. With Black voters largely blocked from electing their candidates of choice, Alabama’s unaccountable politicians are hard at work shredding the social safety net and attacking federal laws that protect our health.

Demonstrating just how reckless Alabama’s political leadership has become, the GOP is actually invoking Brown v. Board of Education in its latest campaign to harass and vilify Black women and families. Comparing herself to civil rights champions fighting to end school segregation, Rep. Mary McClurkin (R-Indian Springs) just pushed a package of bills through the House that would force women to carry pregnancies to term even where pregnancy results from rape.1

The GOP is appropriating the civil rights struggle to ram through its extreme, unconstitutional policy agenda,2 while depending on massive civil rights violations to win and hold office. And with November’s election already heating up, we can expect the hypocrisy will only get worse — unless national attention makes Alabama’s government’s predatory behavior toward its own Black constituents too difficult to publicly justify.

It’s time to take a stand: Demand Alabama’s Senate leadership and Gov. Robert Bentley recognize the House is committing a repugnant, costly overreach and reject HB 489, HB 490, HB 493, HB 494, and HB 31 now.

While Alabama’s white political bosses mock both the civil rights movement and Deep South’s continuing legacy of chattel slavery to the faces of their few remaining Black colleagues in Montgomery,3 everyday Alabamians are struggling to survive. Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families dollars are consistently diverted to projects that have nothing to do with fighting Alabama’s staggering poverty rates, and the state has flirted with becoming the first to end TANF entirely.4,5

Alabama insists single adults making just $1,332 a year are too wealthy to qualify for Medicaid,6 blocking access to basic medical care for hundreds of thousands of residents. Gov. Bentley could easily expand Medicaid coverage with funding from President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — creating 30,000 much-needed jobs, growing wages, and generating nearly $1 billion in new revenue — but he’s refused.7,8 Alabama’s already low abortion rate could be further reduced under the ACA’s expanded access to contraception, but Attorney General Luther Strange is suing to keep that from happening.9,10

It’s clear the right wing’s retrograde agenda has nothing to do with standing up for families or protecting the vulnerable — it’s about foreclosing opportunity for Black communities and suppressing Black political power. Despite our growing numbers — over 26% of Alabamians identify as Black — and record levels of voter registration, Black voters and elected officials now have less influence than at any time since the civil rights era.

The GOP strategy is to “pack” Black constituents into fewer districts, “crack” up influential communities in non-majority Black districts, and otherwise “bleach” formerly diverse districts prone to cross-racial coalition building. The resulting, unearned Republican wins have stripped formerly influential Black legislators of leadership positions and the ability to move policy or conduct oversight,11 making Alabama’s government increasingly indifferent to Black constituents’ interests. Even before last year’s Shelby County Supreme Court ruling validated Alabama’s “unbroken chain of repetitive discrimination” dating to the early days of the Voting Rights Act,12 this ruthless redistricting push has sought to reinstate the bad old days of political apartheid, when representing Black folks was simply not required of white officials.13

What’s happening in Alabama should be a national scandal. Tell the state Senate and governor to do their jobs representing all Alabamians — and ensuring the state doesn’t fall farther behind — instead of finding new ways to victimize Black families and communities.

Thanks and Peace,

–Arisha, Rashad, Matt, Kim, Johnny, Hannah and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
April 1st, 2014

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.

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References

1. “Alabama House Passes Extreme ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban, Three Other Anti-Choice Bills,” RH Reality Check, 03-05-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3386?t=9&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

2. “Alabama Lawmakers Propose Near-Total Abortion Ban, Other Severe Restrictions,” RH Reality Check, 02-20-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3398?t=11&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

3. “Equating Slavery and Abortion: Where are the Women in this story?” Feministing, 01-24-2011
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3387?t=13&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

4. “Alabama Voters to Decide Whether to Save Poor Kids,” Mother Jones, 09-18-2012
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3389?t=15&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

5. “Alabama: The sixth poorest state in America,” AL.com, 01-16-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3390?t=17&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

6. “As Alabama Cuts Benefits, Desperate Man ‘Robs’ Bank To Get Food, Shelter In Jail,” ThinkProgress, 07-11-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3388?t=19&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

7. “Study: Expanding Medicaid would create 30,700 jobs,” AL.com, 10-09-2013
blog.al.com/wire/2013/10/study_expanding_medicaid_would.html

8. “Senate Democrats Remind Governor Bentley that Alabama Must Expand Medicaid,” Alabama Political Reporter, 10-12-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3391?t=21&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

9. “Alabama joins EWTN in new lawsuit against Obamacare contraception mandate,” AL.com, 10-28-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3392?t=23&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

10. “Study: Abortion rate at lowest point since 1973,” Washington Post, 02-02-2014
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3393?t=25&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

11. “The Decline of Black Power in the South,” New York Times, 07-10-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3394?t=27&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

12. “What Is Alabama’s Problem With the Voting Rights Act?” The Nation, 02-26-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3395?t=29&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

13. “Keeping Black Voters in Their Place,” New York Times, 11-05-2013
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/3396?t=31&akid=3341.1689899.mOw4eJ

 

Vote for Shenna Bellows … #Midterm2014Matters


Republican Senator Susan Collins has a dirty secret.

Collins voted to shut down the government over Obamacare. Twice. She voted against raising the minimum wage and the Paycheck Fairness Act but supports building the Keystone XL Pipeline and spying on Americans without a warrant.

Sen. Collins likes to pretend that she’s an old-school moderate, but one look at her actual voting record tells a different story. When the stakes are high, the dirty secret is, Susan Collins votes with the Tea Party every single time.

Here’s the thing: This November, we can defeat Senator Collins — and help save the Senate from GOP control.

Enter Shenna Bellows, the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, who is running to unseat Collins this November. Shenna has deep Maine roots and a long history of fighting for justice, and she’s been proud to fight alongside progressives like Elizabeth Warren on issues of economic security.

Shenna Bellows is the perfect candidate to finally get rid of Susan Collins and save the Senate from GOP control — that’s why Democracy for America endorsed her and why we’re excited to share with you the fantastic new 30-second ad Shenna is now airing in Maine.

Click here to watch Shenna’s inspiring new TV ad, then pitch in $3 to help this Elizabeth Warren Democrat defeat Susan Collins and save the Senate.


Susan Collins has consistently missed the mark when it comes to the greatest challenge of our time: income inequality. She was instrumental in killing a federal minimum wage hike and she has been a consistent opponent of expanding the right to collectively bargain.

That’s why Shenna Bellows is the perfect antidote to Collins’ bland, pro-corporate Republicanism.

Recently, Salon called Shenna “America’s most progressive Senate nominee” — and her positions back that statement up, from supporting higher wages and getting money out of politics to cracking down on big banks.

That’s why Shenna reminds us of Elizabeth Warren — and why we need your support to get her elected. Check out her excellent ad and donate $3 to keep it on the air.

Thanks for helping us send more true progressives to Washington.

- Charles

Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director
Democracy for America

#Mid-terms Matter ~~ Packing & Cracking


Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman

Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), American statesman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1st posted over a year ago 4/2013

Time for the DOJ to deal with this nonsense! old outdated complicit relationships that need to change

It is time to take Republicans onto the floor of Congress and wipe up the floor with their ideologies.

just another rant …

The things on my mind while Congress continues to take a few days here there … everywhere ~ off …

 Hopefully members of Congress have heard their constituents voices about Gun Safety, understand that  ACA is the law of the land,  respect Women and their reproductive rights, find courage to end governmental shutdowns, find the compassion to implement save or reform Paycheck Fairness, Immigration and Medicaid just to name a few. Lest we forget that Republican Governors continue to pass, ridiculous Family Values bills while squashing social service programs for the poor.

I also hope the constant racial comments by people voted into Public Office, which, sadly is slurped up by people who seem to be listening and following like lemmings  not only affects people of colour ends. It shows the World how primitive we truly are while our constitution, civil and human right achievements seem like documents and sensibilities with absolutely no value or power.  The public needs to stay informed; elections suffice it to say have consequences. The fact is midterm elections are just as important as the National Elections … especially in years when gerrymandering or as they say when redistricting goes into full effect that lumps, separates, destroys diverse communities and robs some of their voting rights allowing more extreme tea party members onto the Congressional floor.

~~ Nativegrl77

The information below is a history and timeline regarding the Census and Gerrymandering ~ Packing & Cracking

In December 1975, the Congress passed Public Law (P.L.) 94-171. This law requires the Census Bureau to make special preparations to provide redistricting data to the 50 states no later than April 1 of the year following a census (so April 1, 2011, for the 2010 Census). P.L. 94-171 specifies that within 1 year of Census Day, the Census Bureau must send each state the small-area data the state will need to redraw districts for the state legislature.

P.L. 94-171 sets up a voluntary program between the Census Bureau and those states that wish to receive population tabulations for voting districts and other state-specified geographic areas.

Under this program, those responsible for the legislative apportionment or redistricting of each state may devise a plan identifying the voting districts for which they want the specific tabulations and submit it to the Census Bureau.

Beginning in 2005, the Redistricting Data Office of the Census Bureau met with state officials in 46 states. These meetings explained the timeline and programs available for the 2010 Census, providing states the time to prepare and allocate resources in advance of the census. The states also provided the Census Bureau with valuable feedback on census program planning.

The 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program is a five-phase program. During Phase 1 (2005–2006), the Census Bureau collected state legislative district boundaries and associated updates to tabulate legislative districts. This phase also included an aggressive 2010 Census communications plan, with visits to state capitals, to make sure the states were informed and prepared for the upcoming census.

Phase 2 (2008–2010) consisted of the Voting District/Block Boundary Suggestion Project (VTD/BBSP) in which states received TIGER/Line® shapefiles and the MAF/TIGER Partnership Software (MTPS) to electronically collect voting district boundaries, feature updates, suggested block boundaries, and corrected state legislative district boundaries. Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 are voluntary programs that include a step where the state verifies the submitted data.

Phase 3 constitutes the delivery of the data for the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau will deliver the geographic and data products to the majority and minority leadership in the state legislatures, the governors, and any designated P.L. 94-171 liaisons. Once bipartisan receipt of the data is confirmed, the data will be made available online to the public within 24 hours through the American FactFinder. For this census, the P.L. 94-171 data will include population counts for small areas within each state, as well as housing occupied/vacancy counts.

After the Census Bureau provides the data, the states will begin their redistricting. States are responsible for delineating their own congressional and legislative boundaries and their legislatures. Legislatures, secretaries of state, governors, and/or redistricting commissions carry out the process.  

Go to www.census.gov for the complete article …

Republicans on the floor of Congress continue to stall, block, scale down bills, and or add nasty amendments no one could vote for in good faith while providing misinformation and misinterpretation to the public any chance they can. We the People, cannot afford to vote for politicians who put Political Party over doing the People’s business; though Republicans would have the public believe it is in our best interest.  Remember Speaker Boehner said, his main concern was jobs jobs jobs among other things… the question is how many jobs bills did Republicans bring to the floor, how many Senate jobs bills were rejected and last how many awful amendments were attached. Yes, biased, but I don’t think it’s in the best interest of Americans to side with the party of no; people need to make the effort to listen to what and how bills are handled by Republicans.

We need and must move into the 21st Century if we plan to get back on track and to do so Republicans must accept that PBO won a second term has earned the right to govern … Americans … 53% of us said YES to his ideas, policies and desire to move forward.

For your information wiki states, “Gerrymandering is effective because of the wasted vote effect.

So, what does Packing and Cracking mean to you …

~~ Nativegrl77

~ Packing opposition voters into districts (concentrate as many voters of one type -( maybe party&race ) means they already win and by …

~ Cracking the remainder among districts where they are moved into the minority (increasing votes for eventual losers), the number of wasted votes among the opposition can be maximized. Similarly, with supporters holding narrow margins in the unpacked districts, the number of wasted votes among supporters is minimized.

The Etymology

First printed in March 1812, the political cartoon above was drawn in reaction to the state senate electoral districts drawn by the Massachusetts legislature to favour the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry over the Federalists.

The caricature satirises the bizarre shape of a district in Essex County, Massachusetts as a dragon-like “monster.”

Federalist newspapers editors and others at the time likened the district shape to a salamander, and the word gerrymander was a blend of that word and Governor Gerry‘s last name.

Resources: www.Census.gov
 and Wiki
Voters who believe in Equality in all its forms …
We Must Stand & Stay in LINE
Mid-term Elections Matter
~~ Nativegrl77
written 4/7/2013