Women's Health · Women's Rights

Republicans just don’t get it

President Obama greets the audience at the White House Forum on Women and the Economy on Friday.

Joan Walsh – Salon

As the GOP continues to repel women voters, can you blame President Obama for opening his arms to greet them?

Just as Mitt Romney was making  the case to Newsmax, that paragon of journalistic integrity, that the so-called Republican war on women is entirely concocted by Democrats, Republican Scott Walker was quietly signing a law that repealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement law, which made it easier for women to seek damages in discrimination cases. Driven by state business lobbies, the repeal passed the GOP-dominated Legislature on a strict party line vote, and Walker signed it, with no comment, Thursday afternoon.

President Obama, meanwhile, was hosting a White House summit on women and the economy Thursday. Predictably, Republicans howled that the president is merely courting another “interest group” and playing politics. There was no doubt some politics at play during the summit; at one point participants chanted, “Four more years!”

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Current TV Files a Blistering Countersuit Against Fired Anchor Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann Poor Keith Olbermann, he even admitted that he “screwed up” just taking the job over at Current TV.  The saga continues…

The Daily Beast

The network excoriates its fired anchor by painting him as an arrogant and uncooperative slacker. Howard Kurtz on the latest round in the legal war.

Moving a day after Olbermann sued the network for up to $70 million, the suit says that he “completely shut himself off from the rest of the network”—and backed it up with a series of intemperate-sounding emails from its former star.

For instance, after a problem with an unspecified employee during an appearance by Michael Moore on his show, Olbermann wrote Joel Hyatt, Al Gore’s cofounder at Current: “Give me a name so I know which of them to kill with my bare hands.”

After learning that a photo of the Countdown set had been given to the press, Olbermann wrote Hyatt about the leaker: “Can you assassinate him please?”

Even allowing for comedic overstatement, Olbermann’s tone is often harsh. When Current president David Bohrman asked about the unauthorized purchase of a $5,300 desk for the program, Olbermann responded: “When you are prepared to act like an adult you are welcome to contact us again.”

In response, Olbermann said in a statement: “The Mets put Andres Torres on the DL today. That seems to have as much relevance to my lawsuit as the Current counterclaim I just read.”

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Trayvon Martin Shooting

Armed neo-Nazis patrol the streets of Sanford, looking for race riots

NSM rally in 2009 in California via Flickr

The original issue in the Martin-Zimmerman kerfuffle is simple, why is George Zimmerman not in jail?

For armed “neo-nazis” to incite a “race riot” is absurd…

The Raw Story

Heavily armed neo-Nazis are said to be patrolling the streets of Sanford, Florida to protect “white citizens in the area” in case of race riots.

According to a blog at the Miami New Times, the patrols were initiated by Jeff Schoep of the Detroit-based National Socialist Movement in response to the shooting of African-American teen Trayvon Martin by self-appointed neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman.

“We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody,” Schoep insists, “but we are prepared for it,. We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over.”

“Because nothing diffuses racial tension,” blogger Michael Miller comments wryly, “like gun-toting racial separatists patrolling an already on-edge commnity.”

Schoep is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist hate groups, as “a neo-Nazi true believer since age 10 who has managed, largely by luck, to end up heading one of the largest explicitly Hitlerite groups in America. Schoep’s group is known for the crudeness of its propaganda, the violence it works hard to provoke, and the faux SS outfits that have caused many other neo-Nazis to deride NSM members as ‘Hollywood Nazis.’”

Schoep’s group is best known for the rally it staged against “black crime” in an inner-city neighborhood of Toledo, Ohio in 2005. NSM members had to be rescued from an angry crowd by the police, and the day ended with some local residents attacking police and 100 being arrested. The NSM considered this outcome a great success.

Schoep asserts that he and the Florida residents he has recruited are acting “totally within the law” and that their patrols “wouldn’t intimidate anybody” and are simply meant as a “show of solidarity with the white community down there.”

He says he decided to launch the Sanford patrols following an offer by the New Black Panther Party to pay a $10,000 bounty for a citizen’s arrest of Zimmerman, which he took as proof that “the possibility of further racial violence… is brimming over like a powder keg ready to explode into the streets.”

“We are a white civil rights organization,” Schoep said of the National Socialist Movement, describing himself as a while equivalent of Reverend Al Sharpton. He added that he wasn’t even taking sides on the shooting because Zimmerman is “half Hispanic or Cuban or something. He certainly doesn’t look white to me.”

Photo of NSM rally by Josh LaClair via Flickr

GOP Malfeasance

Activists promise to challenge Houston’s ban on feeding homeless

A line of homeless children being fed by a charitable group. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

“God comes to the hungry in the form of food…” ~ Ghandi

Where is the soul of the GOP?  What’s happened to “the party of Lincoln”?

The Raw Story

The Houston City Council voted this week to require prior permission before any citizen may distribute food to five or more people on public property, but local activists are preparing to fight back — and hard.

While the ordinance passed Wednesday night by an 11-6 vote was drastically stripped down from the version supported by Houston Mayor Annise Parker, activists say they’re going to challenge it in court and attempt to gather 20,000 signatures over the next month, which should be enough to trigger a city-wide vote on the ordinance in November.

It turns public property into private property,” Chris Carmona, a civil rights attorney in Houston and volunteer with the charitable group Noah’s Kitchen, told Raw Story on Friday. “We already have trespassing laws on the books. We have loitering laws. We have littering laws. But to take public property and turn it private… That’s our local government’s recent mood. That’s our biggest concern.”

The ordinance that passed Wednesday night requires groups to obtain permission from the city before handing out any food, and imposes a fine of $500 for anyone who defies the rule. It also allows the city to designate certain organizations as “recognized” charitable food providers, which would have to adhere to certain rules mostly pertaining to cleanliness.

The disjointed groups opposing the city on public food distribution are being led by the local chapter of Food Not Bombs, which boasts that they have been serving Houston’s homeless community four nights a week over the last 18 years. They helped lead the charge against the original proposal, which would have required food handlers’ licenses and special permits from the city to serve food in a public place.

“This will make it a crime to pull over to the side of the road and hand out food to five or more people,” Nick Cooper, spokesman for Houston Food Not Bombs, told Houston newspaperThe Memorial Examiner.

Carmona added that his group, Noah’s Kitchen, would be restricted to operating at only very specific locations, and likely far away from the less-seen populations they try to serve. He pointed to the city’s wealthier land and business owners as having been influential in the city’s thinking on the ordinance, which he claimed essentially says that the city owns all public property.

And Randall Kallinen, a civil rights attorney who has worked with Occupy Houston, absolutely agrees with Carmona. “A few of the downtown moneyed interests have been able to exert their influence to prevent people from giving and sharing food,” he told the local Fox affiliate.

Kallinen and Carmona, along with other associated groups, have released petition forms online for distribution across social media, hoping to generate the 20,000 signatures required to force the issue onto a city-wide ballot this November. Other groups are reportedly pursuing a restraining order against the ordinance, which would otherwise take effect on July 1 — but Carmona told Raw Story that may not even be necessary.

“Under city charter, if we get our signatures in a timely manner, once you submit them to the city secretary, that should stop any action on the ordinance until it can be voted on by the citizens of Houston,” he said.

U.S. Politics

Friday Blog Round Up

The Danger Of Political Dogma

Cop Who Killed Retired Black Marine Is Named

RNC Chair: GOP ‘War on Women’ Fictional Like ‘War on Caterpillars’

Rep. Darrell Issa drags Robert F. Kennedy into his war on workers

Obama and Cantor are all smiles as JOBS Act is signed into law

Wingnut Judges Get Two Single-Spaced Pages From Obama, Not Three

Republicans Threaten Judges, Accuse Obama of Judicial Intimidation

 Remedial First Amendment For Conservatives (And Bill Maher)

 Romney Mocks Obama’s Harvard Ties Despite His Own (and His Sons)

Turning On A Dime, Conservative Media Recoil At Obama’s Remarks About “Unelected” Judges