Conservatives have been outraged about the passage of California’s FAIR Education Act (SB 48) last year, which mandates that schools develop curricula that are LGBT inclusive. Last year, they attempted to challenge it with a referendum, but failed. Now, they have failed again to overturn the law with a ballot initiative. LGBT-inclusive education isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
It’s important to remember the significance of SB 48. Anti-gay forces in this country regularly allege that homosexuality is a threat to children, encouraging parents to feel like they need to protect their children from learning about even the existence of gay people, lest they be “indoctrinated” or even molested or “recruited.” Consider the situation in Erie, Illinois, where parents objected to a children’s book that on one page pointed out that some families include same-sex parents. The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) argued that through GLSEN’s inclusive curriculum, students could be “indoctrinated into homosexual behavior.” Here is a quick recap of other negative responses to the FAIR Education Act:
- RANDY THOMASSON: “Realize that the raft of school sexual indoctrination mandates imposed on all children in California government schools amounts to mental molestation.”
- Signature collectors said that overturning SB 48 would protect children from child molesters.
- The campaign to overturn the law argued that kids will learn about Chaz Bono instead of George Washington.
- NOM’S JOHN EASTMAN: Evil will be with us always, and it requires constant vigilance to defeat… We need to be involved in the immediate defense of threats against marriage, but also take a long-range view by educating the next generation about the importance of the issues we?re confronting.
But despite the backlash against the law, which hasn’t even been implemented in all school yet, research has shown it will make an important difference. GLSEN analyzed data from its 2009 school climate survey and found that having LGBT-inclusive curricula helped students feel safer, experience less victimization, miss less school, and define their peers as accepting. The California Safe Schools Coalition similarly found that inclusive curricula helped students perform better academically and feel more connected to their schools. Conservatives know that learning the basics about sexuality is the key to ending anti-gay stigma, which is why they stand opposed at every opportunity.
Peter V. Lee, the head of the California Health Benefit Exchange — the organization that will lead the state’s effort to implement the federal health care overhaul under Obamacare — said he dreams of a day when Americans will be able to log onto a computer and shop for health insurance in the same way as they shop for products on Amazon.
After President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, California was the first state to set up a health care exchange under former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). Now, under the California Benefit Exchange, the state is working to attract new subscribers, build out the enrollment system, and select the health insurers and the plans that will be provided. In addition to crafting policy, the California Benefit Exchange is also working on a PR campaign to more fully educate residents about their health insurance options.
As Lee explained to the Sacramento Bee, the political controversy surrounding Obamacare didn’t delay his state from taking the necessary steps to work toward a health exchange program that will benefit uninsured and low-income Californians:
LEE: We’ve been moving ahead full-throttle even before the Supreme Court decision. This doesn’t really change things for us. It changes things in the eyes of others, who are now saying, ‘Wow, this exchange thing is going to be real.’
This is a departure from lawmakers’ attitudes in states like Florida, South Carolina, and Wisconsin — whose governors have pledged to hold off on setting up health exchanges until after the presidential election, in case Mitt Romney takes office and works to repeal Obamacare.
States have to turn in their exchange plans to the federal government by November so that the state programs can be approved by Jan. 1, 2013, and California is already well ahead of the curve.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a new “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign, aimed at reducing stigma against infection but also to tackle complacency about the epidemic. In the ads, people with HIV join their friends and family to talk about their diverse experiences and help raise awareness about the ongoing spread of the virus and risks of infection. Many Americans still have irrational fears about HIV and visibility for the virus has decreased dramatically over the past decade. Check out the graphic ads and watch the “Let’s Stop HIV Together” campaign video:
Colbert: It's like Obama is "hellbent on making the word 'Bain' synonymous with a source of harm or ruin."...[...]
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From the July 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
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As expected, Republicans filibustered the DISCLOSE Act last night, as the legislation that would have forced disclosure on political campaign expenditures failed 51-44. Republicans who voted all united against the bill, and they were joined by West[...]
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Carlisle Rainey discusses a potential reason political scientists and political reporters have different views of campaign effects: they use different underlying counterfactuals, in two senses:
First, political scientists tend to discuss the effects of small changes in campaigns, while journalists tend to imagine big changes. Second, political scientists construct counterfactuals in which campaigns are responding to each other and cancelling out, while journalists tend to hold one campaign constant and vary the other.
The first means that political scientists imagine a world in which, say, a candidate did not commit a gaffe or air a particular ad, but journalists imagine a world in which that candidate did not campaign at all. The latter counterfactual leads journalists to infer big effects but the former leads political scientists to infer small effects.
I disagree with this characterization, because I don?t think it accurately represents the thinking of journalists. I think journalists do have an implied counterfactual that is similar to that of political scientists. Journalists are interested in measuring the effects of specific new events, new messages, and so on because that is what they are writing about every day. It?s not at all newsworthy to muse on what the world would be like if Mitt Romney, the RNC, and GOP-affiliated super-PACs and 501c?s raised no money. It is newsworthy to speculate on what the attacks on Romney?s time at Bain Capital will mean in November.
Similarly, I think journalists are highly attuned to the ways in which campaigns respond to each other. Indeed, the back-and-forth between campaigns?Obama attacks Romney on Bain, news outlets report on whether Romney really retired in 1999, Romney surrogates go on Sunday shows and talk about ?retroactive? retirement, Romney surrogates bring up Teresa Heinz Kerry?s tax returns, etc., etc.?is also what reporters cover every day.
The difference between many political scientists and many journalists?I say ?many? to mitigate the tendency to over-generalize in these sorts of posts?is not the counterfactual, but everyone?s priors about the causal effect implied by the counterfactual. I think the prior of many political scientists is that many discrete campaign events or activities don?t have a net effect on the outcome?because the events are not well-known to persuadable voters, because the events are not persuasive for whatever reason, because events ?cancel? out as Rainey suggests, and so on. I think the prior of many journalists is different. Most wouldn?t assume implausibly large effects of events in the average presidential campaign; few would say, I imagine, that Romney?s record at Bain threatens to turn the election into a 1964-style landslide. But I think they do imagine that such events could make the difference between winning and losing, whereas political scientists are more skeptical or at least more cautious. And I think journalists imagine that events cancel out less frequently than political scientists believe because journalists are constantly judging whether one candidate?s message is better than the others, or whether one candidate is winning the news cycle but the other isn?t?even though persuadable voters may not arrive at the same judgment or indeed make not make any judgment at all.
To be clear, I agree with Rainey that political scientists could be clearer about the counterfactuals underlying our claims about campaign effects, but I am not sure that those counterfactuals distinguish us from political reporters all that much.
We now face a much more dangerous power grab that could actually meltdown the entire financial system of the country if it isn’t brought under control
When former five-star general Eisenhower . . . → Read More: ‘Banking industry/regulators’ time-bomb
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House GOP continues to block hearings on climate change....[...]
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