Daily Kos: Democratic bill would undo the dishonorable discharge stigma many gay veterans still carry -
Before Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, as many as 114,000 service members were discharged because they were gay, and many of those were dishonorable or other than honorable discharges. The damage those dishonorable discharges have done can’t be undone, but the status of the discharges themselves could be, and two House Democrats—Wisconsin’s Mark Pocan and New York’s Charlie Rangel—have proposed a bill to do just that.
Explaining that many states treat dishonorable discharges as felonies, and that service members discharged for being gay may have had trouble getting work or even been prohibited from voting or getting unemployment benefits or veteran benefits, Pocan details the remedies of the proposed bill.
Rachel Maddow Versus Rep. Michael Burgess' "Fetal Masturbation Theory" - Peacock Panache -
The Republican party seems to be churning them out like clockwork these days. First they appointed an anti-science representative to the Science committee - a man who said that evolution and embryology was “straight out of the pits of hell.” Now we have Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) who believes abortion should be illegal because male fetuses masturbate. Yes, you read that correctly. Despite every doctor in the nation collectively shaking their heads in disbelief that someone would actually believe something like that (which is akin to “legitimate rape” in terms of how scientifically accurate it is), Burgress made the comments. And to add insult to injury, Burgess is in charge of the Subcommittee on Health.Rachel Maddow tackled the egregious theory head on last night in a segment about Republican Congressmen and their junk science beliefs. “It is one thing to be a random Texas congressman, Michael Burgess, saying that we should set laws for everybody in the whole country based on when he thinks fetuses masturbate,” Maddow said. “But this guy also is in charge of something. The House Republicans took the fetal masturbation theorist and put him in charge of their Subcommittee on Health. Because, hey, that’s who they got, I guess.”She continued, “And honestly, with these last three or four years with the triumph of anti-abortion activism as the main policy thrust of the Republican Party, both in federal government and in the states, I kind of felt like I had lost the capacity to be surprised — before I heard the fetal masturbation theory from Congressman Burgess today.”
From the 06.18.2013 edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:
h/t: Tim Peacock at Peacock Panache
Anti-Abortion Group In Ohio Is Fundraising By Selling Assault Rifles -
Personhood Ohio, a far-right group attempting to outlaw all abortions by defining life as beginning at conception, is still attempting to get a “personhood” amendment on the state ballot after falling short last year. And the leader of the group, Patrick Johnston, is trying out a few creative fundraising efforts to raise money for Personhood Ohio’s outreach efforts.
In a recent email blast, Johnston asked his fellow Ohioans to help support his personhood cause by buying some assault weapons from his personal collection. “I’m selling some of my favorite things — some powerful rifles and ammo,” the Personhood Ohio director wrote.
“I’m a firm believer that the Second Amendment protects the future of freedom, but not as much as justice for the preborn,” Johnston’s email continued. “The shedding of innocent blood will bring God’s wrath on the land — and then you can wave freedom goodbye. So protecting Ohio’s children is more important than securing your right to keep and bear arms.”
The personhood movement is struggling in states other than Ohio, too. Personhood advocates’ push to endow zygotes with the rights of U.S. citizens hasn’t won support from other Republicans or other anti-abortion groups. The Supreme Court has confirmed that personhood is “clearly unconstitutional,” and it’s failed to take hold in conservative states like Oklahoma and Mississippi. The one notable exception is North Dakota, where the state legislature passed a personhood amendment that will be on the ballot in 2014.
Fixed Noise's Anti-Tax Zealotry Leads To Conclusion That One Should Make Less Money In Order To Avoid Paying Taxes -
Fixed Noise doing their best to misinform the people on taxes as usual.
A Fox Business correspondent claimed that it was better to forgo nearly $3 million in additional prize money than to pay the roughly $400,000 in taxes due on it, representing a continuation of the baseless Fox News narrative that the rich have unduly high tax burdens.
Professional golfer Phil Mickelson placed second at June’s U.S. Open golf tournament. Fox Business correspondent Lauren Simonetti argued on June 19’s edition of Fox & Friends First that it may have been better for Mickelson to have lost the tournament and place second, for he would avoid paying nearly $400,000 in additional taxes.
She explained that had Mickelson won the tournament — and won the $1.44 million first prize — he would have had to pay an additional $76,000 more in taxes than he paid by placing second and receiving $700,000. Mickelson would have also had to pay an additional $300,000 in taxes on $2.5 million in bonuses paid to him by his sponsors, had he won. She concluded it’s better to avoid paying roughly $400,000 in taxes than to win nearly $3 million in after-tax income. Simonetti said this made Mickelson “$400,000 richer.”
Meet Tobin Smith: The Dubious Stock Pitchman Fired From Fixed News and Fake Business -
Fox News has fired paid contributor and market analyst Tobin Smith for receiving compensation to promote the stock of Petrosonic Energy, a violation of network policy. According to a Media Matters review, Smith’s company, NBT Equities Research, also received compensation for promoting numerous other companies through his website and conservative newsletters, and used his Fox News credentials to hawk volatile stocks to conservatives.
MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffe reported that Smith issued “sponsored investment research” to tout Petrosonic’s stock in a 20-page mailer, for which NBT received $50,000. The paid endorsement is against Fox’s policy that “no contributor to FBN [Fox Business Network], nor his/her firm, and/or family members are allowed to accept financial consideration of any kind whatsoever to issue research, advertisements, or to otherwise promote individual stocks or securities.” In a post today on his website, Smith acknowledged that he is “no longer a Fox contributor” but defended his “business of sponsored research for uncovered emerging growth companies.” He also wrote: “For the record, my last contributor agreement with Fox News did NOT include any exclusion from me or my company sponsored research. But that is water under the bridge.”
MarketWatch noted that companies hire people like Smith for sponsored research “to help small stocks find a market using fluff-and-shine hyperbolic chatter” at novice investors.
Smith’s company produces voluminous quantities of sponsored content. In June alone, NBT’s website has featured posts by Smith with compensation disclaimers for GlyEco (“200,000 options of GlyEco”), Petrosonic (“$50,000”), Brazil Minerals ($40,000), Barfresh Food Group (“$35,000 and 75,000 restricted shares”), and Pulse Beverage (“$50,000”).
Smith also regularly pitches paid stock promotions to conservatives through right-wing email newsletters. Media Matters identified at least six recent instances in which Smith’s NBT Group was compensated to promote a company’s stock via Townhall.com newsletters. The companies include Medient Studios in 2013 (“225,000 shares”); BOLDFACE Group in 2013 ($50,000); IceWeb in 2012 ($50,000 via a third-party firm); Plandai Biotechnology in 2012 (“$30,000 monthly and 1.4 million shares for a one year”); Replicel Life Sciences in 2012 (“a fee of over $1000.00 in cash”); and Petrosonic in 2012 and 2013 ($50,000).
Serena Williams causes stir over Steubenville comments
(Photo: Getty Images)
Serena Williams says in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that, while not blaming the victim in the Steubenville rape case, “she shouldn’t have put herself in that position.”
More from NBC Sports
Lisa Murkowski Is The Third Republican Senator To Come Out For Marriage Equality -
Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) became the third sitting Republican senator to support marriage equality on Wednesday, just days before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases that could expand marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Murkowski joins 53 senators, including Republicans Rob Portman (OH) and Mark Kirk (IL), and all but three Senate Democrats in backing marriage. 46 Senators still oppose it.
Award-winning journalist and war correspondent Michael Hastings died in a car accident in Los Angeles at age 33.
Hastings was described by many of his colleagues as an unfailingly bright and hard-charging reporter who wrote stories that mattered.
Read more here
#WarOnWomen ALERT: GOP-controlled US House passes far-reaching anti-abortion bill -
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led House on Tuesday passed a far-reaching anti-abortion bill that conservatives saw as a milestone in their 40-year campaign against legalized abortion and Democrats condemned as yet another example of the GOP war on women.
The legislation, sparked by the murder conviction of a Philadelphia late-term abortion provider, would restrict almost all abortions to the first 20 weeks after conception, defying laws in most states that allow abortions up to when the fetus becomes viable, usually considered to be around 24 weeks.
It mirrors 20-week abortion ban laws passed by some states, and lays further groundwork for the ongoing legal battle that abortion foes hope will eventually result in forcing the Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal.
It passed 228-196, with 6 Democrats voting for it and 6 Republicans voting against it.
In the short term, the bill will go nowhere. The Democratic-controlled Senate will ignore it and the White House says the president would veto it if it ever reached his desk. The White House said the measure was “an assault on a woman’s right to choose” and “a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.”
But it was a banner day for social conservatives who have generally seen their priorities overshadowed by economic and budgetary issues since Republicans recaptured the House in 2010.
Democrats chided Republicans for taking up a dead-end abortion bill when Congress is doing little to promote jobs and economic growth. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called it “yet another Republican attempt to endanger women. It is disrespectful to women. It is unsafe for families and it is unconstitutional.”
Democrats also said the decision by GOP leaders to appease their restless base with the abortion vote could backfire on Republican efforts to improve their standing among women.
“They are going down the same road that helped women elect Barack Obama president of the United States,” said Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate to the House. The bill is so egregious to women, said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., that women are reminded that “the last possible thing they ever want to do is leave their health policy to these men in blue suits and red ties.”
Democrats repeatedly pointed out that all 23 Republicans on the Judiciary Committee that approved the measure last week on a party-line vote are men.
Republicans countered by assigning women to conspicuous roles in managing the bill on the House floor and presiding over the chamber. Republican women were prominent among those speaking in favor of the legislation.
The bill, said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who was assigned to manage the bill despite not being on the Judiciary Committee, would “send the clearest possible message to the American people that we do not support more Gosnell-like abortions.”
After Franks’ remark, which he later modified, Republicans quietly altered the bill to include an exception to the 20-week ban for instances of rape and incest. Democrats still balked, saying the exception would require a woman to prove that she had reported the rape to authorities.
The bill has an exception when a physical condition threatens the life of the mother, but Democratic efforts to include other health exceptions were rebuffed.
The legislation would ban abortions that take place 20 weeks after conception, which is equivalent to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
Some 10 states have passed laws similar to the House bill, and several are facing court challenges. Last month a federal court struck down as unconstitutional Arizona’s law, which differs slightly in banning abortion 20 weeks after pregnancy rather than conception.
Thankfully, the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House’s threat of a veto makes this anti-reproductive choice bill from ever taking effect.
Pill-Popping Liar Rush Limbaugh: "Conservatives Don't Suppress The Black Vote, Restrict Women's Choice, Or Lie" | Blog | Media Matters for America -
Displaying a remarkable lack of self-awareness, Rush Limbaugh tried to convince a caller that ”it’s a pretty safe bet” that liberals always lie and conservatives never do — an assertion he backed up with a series of his own lies on everything from abortion to minority vote suppression and the IRS.
On the June 18 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh addressed a caller who expressed interest in hearing both sides — liberal and conservative — of any given debate before coming to his own conclusion on the issue. Limbaugh chastised the caller for informing himself in this manner, telling him, “The liberals lie. I do not form my opinions on what both sides say. I form my opinions on what I know to be right.” Limbaugh concluded that it’s a “pretty safe bet” that liberals are always lying, while conservatives don’t lie. In his attempts to prove his theory, Limbaugh turned to some misinformation of his own on the subject of abortion and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
On the issue of reproductive choice, Limbaugh claimed that “nobody is taking away a women’s right to choose …. it’s never happened,” which is deceptive, if not an outright lie. Limbaugh pointed to the U.S. Constitution as evidence, and he is correct that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, and thus no Republican is able to restrict this right without meeting a high bar. But Limbaugh conveniently ignored the vast and varied efforts of the Republican pro-life movement to restrict the ability of women and girls to obtain an abortion — laws which have almost certainly resulted in women being denied access to abortion entirely.
Limbaugh continued his defense of conservative integrity by seguing into another common right-wing myth: that no one at the IRS has been fired for applying improper scrutiny of conservative groups. Limbaugh said, “Obama hasn’t fired anybody for what they did in any of these scandals.”
In fact, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew fired Steven Miller. Lois Lerner was asked to resign and was placed on administrative leave when she refused. Her deputy has also been placed on administrative leave.
And Limbaugh’s claim that conservatives never lie didn’t end with a distortion of administrative scandals and abortion myths. He continued with the same caller, next opining on the subject of GOP efforts to suppress minority voters, saying, “there’s no evidence” that Republicans are attemped to suppress the black vote:
Limbaugh’s claim that the GOP has not and is not able to suppress the votes of African-Americans is a lie. The Republican Party has tried — and succeeded — at suppressing the vote of minorities as recently as 2012. In Florida, black and Hispanic voters were disproportionately represented amongst the tens of thousands of individuals whose votes were suppressed due to long lines stemming from Republican legislation that reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to eight during the 2012 elections. Commentators from across the political spectrum have written widely on Republican efforts in numerous GOP-controlled state governments to suppress minority voters — with voter ID laws, administrative changes to election procedure and other similar tactics.
Of course, none of this should come as a surprise to Rush’s listeners. His propensity for pushing conservative misinformation is well-documented.
#IL4M: Equality Illinois launches marriage campaign -
Equality Illinois has announced a half-million dollar FIGHT BACK FOR MARRIAGE campaign leading to the 2014 election.
Equality Illinois (EQIL) has pledged to use half of the fund toward an educational campaign focusing on the collar counties, Downstate areas and Chicago neighborhoods where there is a need to strengthen the advocacy for and defense of the freedom to marry.
The organization’s political action arm, Equality Illinois Political Action Committee (EQIL PAC), has pledged the other $250,000 in order to match marriage opponents dollar-for-dollar on the political battlefield.
The $250,000 political action piece of the Fight Back for Marriage plan, though formidable, is a target set to directly confront an opponent of LGBT equality, the so-called National Organization for Marriage, which threatened to spend $250,000 to oppose particularly Republican legislators who supported the freedom to marry.
Erik Rush, Writing for the Fringe-Right Canada Free Press, Blames Liberals for Trayvon Martin's Murder -
Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt today tweeted a column from Erik Rush about the Trayvon Martin murder, which is about as insane as you’d expect any Erik Rush column to be. He claims that Martin was murdered because liberals turned him into a “thug-in-training” who “accosted” George Zimmerman.
Martin is “more a victim of his lifestyle than a victim of George Zimmerman,” Rush writes, calling him “someone increasingly invested in the unregenerate hedonism, conceit, belligerence, and rebellion of the thug culture.”
“Trayvon also came from a broken home, as does the overwhelming majority of black youth, thanks to liberal policies,” he continues, “This self-destructive lifestyle, which is vociferously defended by liberals, is proffered as a valid and almost sacrosanct reflection of ‘black culture.’”
He further linked affirmative action, welfare programs, the “propaganda of the left” and shows like “MTV’s Jersey Shore television program” to Martin’s murder: “This is the world of chaos and mediocrity to which Trayvon Martin aspired, and I maintain that it went just as far toward killing him as George Zimmerman’s pistol.”
Mugabe promises ‘hell for gays’ in Zimbabwe if he wins -
Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has promised hell for gays and lesbians, if his Zanu PF party wins the upcoming elections, vowing to amend laws that would make ‘offenders’ ‘rot in jail’ for life.
The president stated that current sentences imposed on child rapists, sodomisers and paedophiles are ‘too lenient’.
Mugabe vowed that gay marriage would never be accepted in Zimbabwe and seems to conflate LGBT people with rape.
During a speech at a Roman Catholic Church-run Bondolfi Teachers’ College’s graduation ceremony he said: ‘We do not have a culture of men marrying men or women marrying women.
‘We cannot accept it, no, no, no. These things are taboo in our society,’ he stressed, yesterday (16 June).
The proposed draft constitution of Zimbabwe, which Mugabe says will be ratified if he wins, reads: ‘Persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other.’
The president went on also to say: ‘Some rape minors they are entrusted with in a short space of time, maybe it is for juju. We regret this is happening, big men do it.
‘What is getting into our society?’
Mugabe vowed that if Zanu PF wins the upcoming general elections, he would amend the law imposing stricter punishments.
‘After the polls, we will strengthen the law and make it really punitive and bitterly punishable for such people.
‘At the moment, they get something like three months’ imprisonment.
‘They should rot in jail … We want a nation guided by strong values, we cannot give up our values for money.’
Mugabe also praised the Catholic Church ‘resisting’ gay issues while criticizing the Anglican Church for accepting gays.
He stated: ‘I am glad in the Catholic Church there is stiff resistance to homosexuality, unlike in the Anglicans in Britain where the church accepts it. Where is the church going?’
Male homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe and in 2006 the country’s government amended the law which now states that sodomy is any ‘act involving contact between two males that would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act’, thereby criminalizing even holding hands, hugging, or kissing.
During Zimbabwe’s annual independence celebrations in 1995 Mugabe proclaimed that homosexuality ‘degrades human dignity’, ‘unnatural’ and ‘worse than dogs and pigs.’
Since then, President Mugabe has increased the political repression of Zimbabwe’s LGBT community.
Chesterfield Samba, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe, commented on the president’s anti-gay rant to GSN: ‘Mugabe continues with his vitriolic attacks on gays as part of a strategy to try and cordon off Zimbabwe from the rest of the world and deflect pressure from Zimbabweans for him to embrace pluralism, multi-party democracy and the promotion of human rights culture.
‘Zanu Pf’s instruments of intimidation and electioneering which include the subject of gays remains as strong as ever and is once again being used as a red herring for the real woes in this country around good governance.
‘His outbursts have done much to highlight the dictatorial tendencies of his regime and the difficulties facing LGBT people throughout Zimbabwe.
‘Politically populist and outrageous statements such as these are undoubtedly going to characterize the upcoming elections with consequences to the LGBTI Community in Zimbabwe.’
REPORT: CNBC's Climate Denial Is Bad For Business -
More Than Half Of CNBC’s Climate Change Coverage Was Misleading. Twenty-four out of the 47 substantial mentions or segments on climate change on CNBC, or just over 51 percent of coverage, cast doubt on whether manmade climate change existed.
This count does not include segments that did not deny the existence of manmade climate change, but suggested that we should not make changes in order to address it. For instance, former Hewlett-Packer CEO and Republican advisor Carly Fiorina lamented that President Barack Obama mentioned climate change in his State of the Union address, saying “what [Obama] didn’t say was what scientists also agree on … that no nation acting alone can make any measurable improvement in climate change, in fact it will require a global response, sustained over many decades, and costing trillions upon trillions of dollars.” [CNBC, State of the Union coverage, 2/12/13]
CNBC’s Only Full Segment On Climate Was “In Defense Of Carbon Dioxide.”