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.

Facebook icon Twitter icon

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

 

Republicans … say one thing and continute to do another


 

just another rant …

TumblrOrcasIslandThe 113th Congress is about to call it a day with fewer days worked than the people they seem to keep voting against …some Republicans call lazy

Today, is a day to take a deep Breath as the Peoples business is up against some deadlines as Republicans choose to keep facing off with the Democratic Party and looks childish to me … President Barack H Obama Won Election2012, his 2nd term! Some conservatives in Congress act like Mitch McConnell’s statement to make PBO a one term President or that Waterloo comment are still valid. … Yes, breathe in slowly then slowly release your breath …be still then repeat the process when needed as insanity in the News, Weather, Sports and Politics begins

I have to ask …  since when did Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham or their small group of teabag members have control over the governing party ,because they certainly act like it every time they get a chance to be on cable TV; these men, who say one thing while planning take downs have tossed their title of Public Servant down the nearest sewer. Now,  I wonder how we will ever pass VRA, immigration reform and other bills For Americans kept off the floor of Congress because of those poison pill amendments.  Again, how childish and how tough is it to understand the Republican Party needs to be more inclusive, though trust, respect and future votes are not seasonal or easily earned nor should they be. It makes a voter wonder, can’t Republicans stop flip-flopping for just a minute so Congress can get the People’s business done.  Yet, the tantrums continue … okay, stop and take a deep breath as the talking points/meme disguised as debates, votes and amendments begin on the floor of Congress.

If you listen to Republicans, they act … remember (act) like they plan to be in bipartisan mode but they have shown themselves to be less than trustworthy less than bipartisan and their votes … proof of how they actually feel cannot be denied or overlooked.

Congress has taken the time to bring issues like Student Loan Rates Gun Safety and Immigration to the floor of Congress … all are connected to jobs. It is important to call your member of Congress because the Republican tactic to stall or quietly throw poison pills in amendments is happening right this very moment. I ask you to please call your member of Congress and tell them to pass a Climate Change bill, respect reproductive rights, VRA , immigration reform and pass #theAmericansJOBsACT , as all Americans need a path toward Stability not Austerity, which is what Republicans seem to keep pushing.

  I want America to wake up, push back, and demand all members of Congress do the People’s business before #Midterm2014

Republicans see themselves as stewards of the purse strings in the House of Representatives and they are but it does not give them the right to act  or do what they want as if their party is governing.

#Midterm2014 will decide what kind of life we all want our next generation to navigate through

They fought for our vote


NAACP
Just over 50 years ago, African-Americans made up 45% of Mississippi’s population, but fewer than 7% of  Mississippians were registered to vote.In June of 1964, civil rights groups came together to kick off Freedom Summer, a 10-week campaign to dramatically increase the number of registered black voters in the state. More than 1,000 volunteers of all races and colors, from all over the nation, traveled to Mississippi to do this important work.While there, youth volunteers and their black Mississippian supporters suffered unimaginable levels of vitriol and violence, but they did not stop fighting for what was right. In the end, Freedom Summer emerged as a defining moment in the civil rights movement, pushing our country one step closer to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.The best way we can honor the work, bravery, and sacrifice of the Freedom Summer volunteers is to exercise the right they fought for so diligently.Honor the mission of Freedom Summer by pledging to vote in this year’s midterm election.

Pledge to vote in November
The extremely low levels of black voter registration in the South were fueled by generations of discriminatory elections practices. States were legally able to hold whites-only primaries, collect poll taxes, and administer literacy tests. When legal barriers weren’t enough, lynchings and bombings—threats and fulfilled promises—kept even more African-Americans away from the polls.

Fifty years later, legislators are attempting to take us back toward 1964, weakening the VRA, making it ever harder for the poor and people of color to have their voices heard at the polls.

Don’t allow these lawmakers to roll back history. They can only win and keep their seats in office when people like you and I stay home during midterm elections.

Raise your voice against those who seek to violate civil rights and human rights. Make a pledge to vote this November:

http://action.naacp.org/My-Vote-2014

In solidarity,

Lorraine C. Miller
Interim President and CEO
NAACP

 

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.

When Sunday Shows Ignore The News


 John Whitehouse, MMFASome other things I’ve read this week: Andrew Crumey on how myths live on in our language, Audrey Quinn and Jackie Roche on how climate change contributes to Syria’s conflict, Megan Finnerty on indigenous people fighting stereotypes, and Derrick Clifton on a T-shirt that debunksLGBT myths.John Whitehouse
Twitter: @existentialfish

Wait What?

AblowShortly before the United States qualified for the elimination round at the World Cup, A Fox News host lashed out at supporters of the team, saying that he was suspicious that the World Cup craze was just a distraction form President Obama: http://mm4a.org/1my8muT

When Sunday Shows Ignore The News

Sunday ShowsThe Sunday shows have hosted countless discussions of the attack on the American diplomatic facility in Benghazi. But when the alleged ringleader was captured, not one of the Sunday shows mentioned it: http://mm4a.org/1itGokp
Related: When faced with long-debunked Benghazi myths, David Gregory said nothing: http://mm4a.org/1lJOGDu

Right-Wing Radio Enraged

Ingraham Hannity Limbaugh BeckWhen Thad Cochran won the Mississippi Republican primary for Senate over tea party darling Chris McDaniel by appealing to African-Americans and Democrats, right-wing radio hosts were enranged, with Limbaugh even calling Cochran’s supporters “black Uncle Tom voters.” http://mm4a.org/1v6ZLzY

FEATURED VIDEO

MacCallumAs the Hobby Lobby decision grew near, Fox’s deceit went into overdrive: a Fox anchor actually told four lies about the case in just 17 seconds. http://mm4a.org/1v6ZMny

BEHIND BOEHNER

BoehnerSpeaker of the House John Boehner announced plans to sue President Obama. Boehner is taking this step because of the pressure from the fringe right-wing media: http://mm4a.org/1iwxqmu

THIS IS CNN!?

JonesWhy did CNN repeat a conspiracy theory started by Alex Jones that said that the U.S. government is paying to escort child migrants across the border? http://mm4a.org/1pOdZGj

IMAGE OF THE WEEK

CNBC
A CNBC Chyron About “Wealth Problems”