The Anoka-Hennepin School District in Minnesota is in the process of overhauling its bullying policies after a Department of Justice investigation found that it had allowed anti-LGBT harassment to persist. Despite the model plan the district has agreed to implement, it still faces the demands made by the newly anointed conservative hate group the Parents Action League (PAL), which has been largely responsible for influencing the school’s history of anti-LGBT policies. School Board Chairman Tom Heidemann responded to PAL this weekend, and though he did reject most of the group’s demands, he did not condemn them for their factual inaccuracy or offensive intent:
The Star Tribune has provided a full copy of Heidemann’s response. While it is promising that the school is finally showing its capacity to withstand PAL’s influence, Heidemann’s reluctance to defend gay students and object to PAL’s smears suggests the process of creating an LGBT-welcoming environment in the district will be a slow one.
Written by the immortal James Brown in the aftermath of Martin Luther King's assassination.
Rep. Donna Edwards (D)If you haven't been following the race, here's the capsule background: Maryland's 6th Congressional District, long represented by Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, was targeted by Democrats in redistricting last year and made significantly bluer. That attracted several Democrats into the race, including state Sen. Rob Garagiola and financier John Delaney. Delaney's won endorsements from the likes of Bill Clinton (he was a big Hillary supporter in 2008, natch) and the Washington Post, but Garagiola has earned the support of a number of unions and is generally considered to be labor's preferred candidate.
Fast forward to late last week, when Democrat Rep. Donna Edwards, often lauded as a progressive hero, unexpectedly endorsed Delaney over Garagiola in the primary. It's not exactly clear why. One unnamed operative suggested Edwards was taking a shot at her rival Steny Hoyer, who is backing Garagiola. My own speculation (not mutually exclusive) is that Edwards, who was very unhappy about the outcome of redistricting, was miffed at Garagiola, who was one of the lawmakers most closely involved in the line-drawing process.
Whatever the reason, some of Edwards' most important allies are not at all pleased with this latest move:
"She was well aware of who the Maryland state and District of Columbia AFL-CIO's endorsed candidate is," Fred D. Mason Jr., president of the state AFL-CIO, wrote in a memo that was blasted to local unions on Thursday. "She had been asked to endorse Rob Garagiola, and barring that to endorse no one."Why should labor expect to have any influence over whom Edwards endorses? Because last year, when well-connected former prosecutor Glenn Ivey initiated a challenge to Edwards in her own primary in the 4th District, unions circled the wagons and made it amply clear they were willing to go to the mat to make sure she got re-elected. Indeed, this message was so effectively sent that Ivey unexpectedly wound up dropping out of the race after just a few months.
Mason wrote that he was "greatly disappointed" by Edwards' move and that it would "certainly be considered in our future relationships."
So I can understand why some unions would be frustrated with Edwards here. This is little different than voting the wrong way on a piece of legislation of importance to labor. Edwards obviously is free to do what she wants, and indeed she did. But she'll also have to live with the potential consequences.
Today the Virginia Senate will likely pass a budget. After weeks of deadlock, that's quite a feat in itself. But for Senate Democrats?who had already voted down two previous budgets and prompted a special session?the latest document is a much bigger victory.
For weeks, Senate Democrats had engaged in a risky game of political chicken, demanding both more committee leadership positions and more spending on both state infrastructure and government programs. While the GOP dominates the state House, the upper chamber is divided evenly. However, in split decisions, it falls to Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling to cast the deciding vote?and guess which side he favors. That means that despite a having 50 percent of the seats, the Senate Dems have little committee leadership positions and have been powerless to stop a series of measures, including most famously the state's pre-abortion sonogram measure.
When it comes to the budget, though, Bolling can't vote, and Democrats decided to flex some muscle. They presented their demands to the governor and stuck together in rejecting two other budgets. They forced a special session. I had my doubts that the political risk was worth it. After all, if even one Democrat cracked, the whole plan was kaput, leaving the manuever open for Republican charges of obstructionism. Meanwhile, local governments were getting more and more skittish about uncertainty over their budgets, and at least a partial government shutdown was in the cards if things didn't start to move forward.
But it turns out the Dems' game plan worked. When they agreed to divorce their committee demands from the budgetary ones, it seems Republicans had to show some flexibility as well?and gave the Democrats much of what they wanted. The new Senate budget proposal, approved Thursday by the Senate Finance Committee, includes funding for Dulles rail as well as more money for government programs like pre-K, teen pregnancy programs, and nursing homes. The Washington Post notes the plan pays for the increases through cuts in other areas, including $20 million from Governor Bob McDonnell's proposed rainy day fund and $60 million from other aid for schools.
Assuming the bill passes in Senate today, negotiators from the House and Senate will then proceed to hammer out differences between the chambers' budgets. The House, unsurprisingly, passed a more austere version of the budget during the regular session, and the final bill will likely not include all the measures the Senate Democrats wanted. Still, it certainly looks like their gamble will pay off.
We all know about the Paul Ryan budget, which will get a vote on the House floor this week, because both sides feel they have a story to tell about that budget: Republicans because they're passing a budget at all, Democrats because that budget is[...]
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It's all the fun of a tea party rally.
Supporters of the law, who had a small brass band marching in circles with them, embraced the term ?Obamacare.? [...]Compassion has never been a feature of the Republican mentality, full on display today. Of course, neither has rationality. To wit:
?We love Obamacare!? they called out.
Opponents countered with, ?We love the Constitution!? [...]
Marlys Cox, a substitute teacher from St. Petersburg, Fla., stood before the crowd with a microphone to share how through a freak accident ? she?d been bitten by a barracuda as a teenager ? she?d contracted hepatitis C. She went on from there to describe a divorce that left her without health insurance, $40,000 annual in medication costs, a breast cancer diagnosis, and no way to pay for her care.
?President Obama was throwing me a lifeline,? she said.
Or throwing out the Constitution, according to opponents who kept up their ?We love the Constitution!? while Cox spoke.
Marco Rubio has some great TelePrompTer jokes (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Why Marco Rubio is a great United States senator, according to Marco Rubio:
"I think I've been able to have some influence on it for someone who just got here," he said. "I ran on a very clear platform and that was I believe this president isn't taking us in the right direction."So, basically, Marco Rubio's big accomplishment is ... saying that President Obama sucks. And as his political team is eager to document, conservatives love him for it:
Following a rousing Rubio speech loaded with anti-President Barack Obama lines at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, Rubio adviser Todd Harris escorted a video crew through the crowd to tape activists gushing over Rubio.And now you can see what his real big accomplishment has been: setting himself up to be Mitt Romney's vice presidential pick. After all, the only thing Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate is going to be asked to do is attack President Obama. And that's exactly what Rubio is best at doing.
Crusader vs. the PiratesCrusader Rabbit Crusade 2 Episode 17Open Thread [...]
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Madonna declared on her Facebook page that she will speak up against a new stringent anti-LGBT law in St. Petersburg, Russian which calls for fining anyone who promotes the false perception that traditional and non-traditional relationships are socially[...]
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"I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare:
and I dare a little more as I grow older."
- Michel de Montaigne (influential writer of the French Renaissance)
This Friday finds me sleeping later than I planned … in the lounge at the airport in Stockholm, on my way to Paris. To the great applause of readers all over the world this may be the shortest letter in 12 years. I will write here and on the plane and quit when I land so I can be with friends this evening. No time for exhaustive research, so we will march through random topics that caught my attention this week until it . . . → Read More: A Random Walk Through the Data Minefields
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