A new law in Argentina will make life much easier for people who are transgender. Under new gender rights legislation approved yesterday, people who are trans will be guaranteed access to hormone therapy, sexual reassignment surgery, and any other related treatment without being charged extra under their public or private health care plans. In addition, they will not have to seek a judge’s approval to legally change their gender documentation. These sweeping protections won’t necessarily end discrimination against the trans community, but will certainly help alleviate the consequences they face when they can’t access the care necessary to authentically realize their identities.
Florida and Ohio are again living up to their reputations of being the big presidential swing states. Two new polls show that in both states President Obama and Mitt Romney are currently tied.[...]
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Republicans might not offer a comprehensive plan to replace President Obama?s healthcare law if the Supreme Court strikes it down this summer. [...]
?I don?t want to go that route,? said Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), a doctor and a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. [...]
[S]ome Republicans, including Gingrey, now say a comprehensive bill isn?t the right approach. They argue it would be foolhardy for Republicans to put forward broad healthcare legislation after sharply criticizing the length and scope of Obama?s bill.
?I don?t believe we need to have another big omnibus bill that we?re going to roll out,? Gingrey said. ?I don?t think that we need to make the same mistakes that the Obama administration and the Democrat Congress made.?
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is making the same case to Republicans on the other side of the Capitol.
?Whether the courts strike it down or Congress repeals it, Republicans shouldn?t repeat the Democrats? mistake of rushing through our own big bill,? DeMint said.
It could also be that they have no comprehensive ideas for health reform. They've talked about trying to preserve some of the more popular parts of Obamacare, for example the ban on insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, but without the larger framework?a mandate or a public option?it wouldn't work. They have their little ideas: tort reform, allowing insurance purchases across state lines (a logistical nightmare for states trying to regulate the industry which would likely have an end result of minimal regulation). It would insure just a fraction of those currently uninsured and cut the deficit by about half of what the Affordable Care Act would.
Ultimately, though, they just don't want to bother with it because Republicans don't perceive health care as a problem. For them, the only health care crisis that exists in America is too many people having access to it on Medicaid and Medicare. The uninsured? Let 'em die.
In 2011, PPP asked 11,995 registered voters their opinion on gay marriage on behalf of DailyKos and SEIU. With this many responses, we can answer some questions about where public opinion stood last year, where it might be going, and what the political implications of Obama's announcement yesterday may be?based on data.
Republicans and conservatives have really painted themselves into a corner on marriage equality, as they stand out as the demographic groups in this country that are far off from everybody else and NOT evolving much on this issue. That is, they seem less likely to change in the future?they're stuck being anti-equality?they've made their bed. Meanwhile, Obama's announcement has a limited ability to change people's minds on who to vote for in November (no, not even African-Americans), but may swing a few percent on whether to vote at all. And, there is some evidence that Obama's act of leadership may, well, lead the country towards more liberal positions.
We'll first look at where the country is a whole and how to read the charts I will present:
Join me below for more explanation.
In the primary race for the Democratic nomination to serve in the United States Senate, I support Sean Hubbard. (Above is Mr. Hubbard with a group of people who just realized that somebody is pointing a camera at them.) Mr. Hubbard is running for the seat left open by the retirement of Republican Kay [...]
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Mitt Romney: Most likely to still be
a homophobic thug in 48 years
Looks like it's time to shake shake the Etch A Sketch again.
This morning, the Washington Post ran a sickening story about how Mitt Romney, as a teenager, led a posse of his friends in an assault on a classmate presumed to be gay because Mitt didn't like his haircut (petty much, Mitt?). Contacted for comment, Mitt's campaign first tried to make it go away by suggesting it didn't really happen:
[T]he former Massachusetts governor has no recollection of the incident.Funny how that didn't make people stop talking about the story. So now Mitt Romney has offerend an "apology" that isn't an apology at all:
?Back in high school, I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that,? Romney said in a live radio interview with Fox News Channel personality Brian Kilmeade. Romney added: ?I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.?But Romney doesn't really apologize because then he goes back to trying to dismiss the whole thing, since he doesn't remember it. Except that he does remember it wasn't about attacking his classmate for being gay. That part he somehow remembers:
?I don?t remember that incident,? Romney said, laughing. ?I certainly don?t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s, so that was not the case. [...] But as to the teasing or the taunts that go on in high school, that?s a long time ago. For me, that?s about 48 years ago. Again, if there?s anything I said that is offensive to someone, I certainly am sorry for that, very deeply sorry for that.?Yes, he's so "deeply sorry" about it that he's laughing (and you can listen here) as he insists he doesn't even remember it happening. But hey, he's sorry if anyone was offended?because that's what you say when you're supposed to apologize for something for which you are not in any way sorry.
But Romney's complete lack of remorse for this incident isn't the worst of it. It's his dismissal of this brutal attack as mere "hijinks and pranks" that is truly sickening. Let's review again just what Mitt Romney did to a classmate because he didn't approve of his classmate's hair:
?He can?t look like that. That?s wrong. Just look at him!? an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann?s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber?s look, Friedemann recalled.Think about that. Let it sit in for a minute. Smug prep school, son-of-a-governor thug Mitt Romney was so incensed by his classmate's haircut that after obsessing about it for days, he appointed himself the vigilante of his prep school, rounded up a posse of his friends, and attacked this poor kid. Mitt Romney stood over him, ignoring his tears and screams, chopping away at his classmate with a pair of scissors because "He can?t look like that. That?s wrong."
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school?s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber?s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. [...]
?It was a hack job,? recalled Maxwell, a childhood friend of Romney who was in the dorm room when the incident occurred. ?It was vicious.?
Haha. Funny prank, Mitt. Hilarious. So hilarious that three decades later, the boy who was attacked said, "It was horrible ... It?s something I have thought about a lot since then."
Here's the thing that's most remarkable of all: Mitt wants to brush away this "prank" as some silly little unmemorable incident that happened 48 years ago, but Mitt Romney hasn't changed at all. He's still going around with his posse?the right-wing extremists?bullying and taunting and attacking the people he doesn't like. He's still so incensed at the thought of people being gay that he wants to amend the Constitution to outlaw their relationships.
In almost half a century, Mitt Romney hasn't learned a damn thing. And it's still not funny.
I think that the President's announcement yesterday on marriage equality is worthy of praise. Yet I also see John Cole's point that, at the end of the day, the President merely expressed an opinion. Presidents expressing an opinion matters more than,[...]
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Ordinarily this segment would be sort of a "meh" segment. After all, Sean Hannity and Frank Luntz gleefully celebrating Americans for Prosperity's dishonest ad is more or less de rigueur for the likes of Fox News. It gives AFP a free airing of their ad for the Hannity audience and then gives Luntz a chance to reinforce the lies. We've seen it a thousand times before and we'll see it a thousand times before November has come and gone.
But when you look at this segment and the ad in concert with the FEC ruling I received this morning, it really does shed some light on how these organizations who are not supposed to lobby, but only spend money on "issues", get away with what they do.
FEC ruling 2012-11 (PDF) was requested on a rush basis by Free Speech, an "unincorporated non-profit organization" in Wyoming. At least one of the three people who comprise this organization are affiliated with the Wyoming Liberty Group. Free Speech wants to run ads with scripts like this:
Across America, millions of citizens remain uninformed about the truth of President Obama. Obama, a President who palled around with Bill Ayers. Obama, a President who was cozy with ACORN. Obama, a President destructive of our natural rights. Real voters vote on principle. Remember this nation's principles.
President Obama supported the financial bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, permitting himself to become a puppet of the banking and bailout industries. What kind of person supports bailouts at the expense of average Americans? Not any kind we would vote for and neither should you. Call President Obama and put his antics to an end.
The FEC could not come to an agreement on the first script as to whether it fell under the definition of "express advocacy." They determined that the second script did fall under that definition specifically because of the sentence "Not any kind we would vote for and neither should you," which they determined to be a call to vote against President Obama. That is specifically prohibited.
The fact that they couldn't make a determination on the first one should tell you everything you need to know about why Americans for Prosperity and other organizations get away with what they do, and why people like Frank Luntz are so valuable to the effort. Any ordinary listener would clearly understand that an ad that uses language like "palled around with Bill Ayers" or "Real voters vote on principle" is calling for viewers to vote against the President. But because they do not actually use the words "vote for," the ads are in limbo at worst, or permissible at best.
There's something wrong with this picture. Let's have a look at the Americans for Prosperity ad, which Luntz and Hannity crow is the most "tested ad" of the current election cycle thus far. I take that to mean that they've run it a few zillion times across YouTube, Facebook and in GOP mailing lists to see what the reception is.
Factcheckers have already debunked the ad, but facts don't matter in ads like these. If they did, John Kerry would have been President in 2004. Here's the script for this ad:
"Washington promised to create American jobs if we passed their stimulus, but that's not what happened. Fact: Billions of taxpayer dollars went to green energy jobs in foreign countries. The Obama Administration admitted the truth, that $2.3 billion of tax credits went overseas while millions of Americans can't find a job. 1.2 billion dollars to a solar company that's building a plant in Mexico. Half a billion to an electric car company that created hundreds of jobs in Finland. And tens of millions of dollars to build traffic lights in China.
President Obama wasted $34 billion dollars on risky investments. The result: failure.
American taxpayers are paying to send their own jobs to foreign countries. Tell President Obama American tax dollars should help American taxpayers.
Anyone with half a brain understands that this is simply an anti-Obama ad intended to paint him as President who used taxpayer funds to bolster crony companies and waste money however possible while sending jobs overseas. Anyone with half a brain understands that the message of the ad is "Vote Republican in 2012" or "Vote against Barack Obama."
But because the FEC can't get past their partisanship, this ad will stand, lies and all, and AFP will not be accused of abusing their tax-exempt status to air it, because it does not actually SAY what it implies.
This is the world we inhabit. It's going to be a long election season.
Romney: "Back in high school I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by that I apologize."He further said: "I certainly don't believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in[...]
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Why are so many of these TSA mistakes keep happening only to hear the TSA is reviewing the experience? This poor kid could have died due to their mistake which is ironic since the TSA is supposed to be protecting Americans. Common sense doesn't appear to be a consideration for a job with the TSA.