Posted by: Ken R | July 9, 2014

LGBT Organizations Drop Support For ENDA


OMAHA, NE -  The National Center for Lesbian Rights went on record against supporting ENDA a few weeks ago. It was joined Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Transgender Law Center, Lambda Legal,Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund.

The Equality Pledge Network officially launched last week to push for one-bill strategy for full federal equality, calling for Congress to “Add4Words” to existing statutes as a solution to LGBT inequality issues. The American Equality Bill would add Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to existing laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 1972 Education Amendment Act, Fair Housing Act and Fair Credit to name a few which would affect areas of Employment, Education, Public Accommodation, Public Facilities, Housing, Federally Funded Programs and Credit to name a few.  ENDA only covers employment, and LGBT groups now balk at ENDA’s expansive religious exemptions, basically codifying discrimination for religious excuses. Time to move on to bigger and better ideas for full equality.

“What has really shifted critically in the last year is a view among many people that efforts to misuse religious liberty to discriminate against LGBT people is not acceptable,” says Ian Thompson, a legislative representative in the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. LGBT groups have expressed their discomfort with the religious exemption clause at every step of the way.  Now the ACLU and other groups are citing a few key developments in recent months that pushed them to change their positions. Examples,  an attempt by Arizona lawmakers to pass a law that would have allowed people and businesses to discriminate in hiring and service practices on the basis of religion. The bill, known as SB 1062, was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer under extreme pressure not only from LGBT activists, but the business community and national politicians. Mississippi’s freedom to discriminate law went into affect July 1st.  The straw that broke the camel’s back is quite possibly the recent SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision.
See more: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/09/why-lgbt-groups-turned-on-enda

While some groups, including “Big Gay Inc” HRC still support ENDA, the recent announcement from dissenting LGBT groups is a huge blow to the struggling legislation and a big boost to supporting the idea of an all encompassing one bill strategy that would add four words to current statutes with existing protected classes. HRC did come out Wednesday voicing ultimate support for comprehensive full equality legislation.
See American Equality Bill info: http://nebraskansforequality.org/pledge

This situation has been a long time coming as grassroots activity has been growing in recent years to support a one-bill strategy that would add 4 words (sexual orientation gender identity) to existing statutes. ENDA only covers employment discrimination, but existing statutes cover more areas. Existing statutes like Civil Rights Act of 1964, Fair Housing Act, Fair Credit Act and 1972 Education Amendment Act cover areas of employment, public facilities, public accommodation, federally funded programs, education, housing and credit to name a few. A one bill strategy would identify and add to those existing protected classes in existing statutes these four words: sexual orientation gender identity.

The best birthday present ever is handfuls of LGBT groups dumping ENDA on the same day . Time for better, broader and bigger pro-LGBT legislation folks!!! Don’t give these religious bigots an inch, (ie Hobby Lobby, Mississippi LGBT discrimination law)  because they ARE taking the full mile!!

 Resources:

NGLTF Retracts Supports for ENDA
http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/07/ngtlf-retracts-support-for-enda.html

HRC Stuck On ENDA
http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/hrc_standing_alone_reiterates_support_for_enda_despite_religious_exemptions

Pull the Plug on ENDA
http://www.joemygod.blogspot.com/2014/05/matt-foreman-pull-plug-on-enda.html

Why LGBT Groups Turned on ENDA
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/09/why-lgbt-groups-turned-on-enda

Why Large Group Turned Against ENDA
http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2014/07/08/op-ed-why-one-biggest-lgbt-orgs-has-stopped-supporting-enda

Major LGBT Groups Abandon ENDA
http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2014/07/08/major-lgbt-groups-abandon-enda

HRC Holds on Dearly to ENDA
http://www.towleroad.com/2014/07/as-aclu-glad-lambda-legal-nclr-and-transgender-law-center-pull-support-for-enda-hrc-holds-on.html

Top Civil Rights Organizations Drop ENDA
http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking_after_hobby_lobby_six_top_lgbt_and_civil_rights_orgs_drop_support_for_enda

Three Reasons Groups are Dropping a Bill
http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/three-reasons-lgbt-groups-are-fighting-over-a-bill-that-isnt

Queer Nation NY urges HRC to Drop ENDA
http://queernationny.org/post/91286310321/queer-nation-to-hrc-ditch-enda

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Posted by: Ken R | July 8, 2014

Support Better Wages in Nebraska.


OMAHA, NE – Earlier in 2014, the Unicameral voted down LB 943, a measure to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $9.  The fight to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska has left legislature and is now in petition signature verifying mode. Over 130,000 signatures are now waiting to be validated by the Nebraska Secretary of State. The petition proposes a vote on raising the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8 January 1, 2015 and $9 on January 1, 2016. The legislative attempt to raise the wage,  LB943 failed on a 20-20 vote, and not one opponent stood up to speak on why they opposed it. “I’m disappointed, and I think the biggest thing that I’m disappointed in is that no one who was an opponent to the bill stood up and said why they’re opposed,” said Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha, the bill’s lead sponsor.
See more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/nebraska-minimum-wage_n_5069923.html

Like many Americans, many Nebraskans are working hard and not making enough to make ends meet. While average CEO pay in Nebraska ranks it 5th in the nation, the average worker pay only puts Nebraska in 40th place.  Nebraska has the 2nd largest pay gap in the nation, behind only Michigan. There is no excuse for this pay gap. While conservatives claim raises the minimum wage will lead to higher prices, they don’t make similar claims when executives receive million dollar bumps in their pay. A fact I find that only discredits their “minimum wage increase leads to higher prices” claim. If you work full time in America on a minimum wage, you should not be struggling.

The following two charts were created from info found at this link: http://www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/Paywatch-2014/CEO-Pay-by-State In the chart immediately below, you can clearly see Nebraska ranks #5 in average CEO pay.

Nebraska 5th in Average CEO Pay.

Top 10 States Average CEO Pay.

In this next chart immediately below, you can clearly see Nebraska ranks #40 in average worker pay.

Nebraska 40th in Average Worker Pay.

Bottom 10 States Average Worker Pay.

I’d love to hear what Pete Ricketts wants his Big Government Handouts for. I wonder what TD Ameritrade’s shareholder payout is like these days.

McDonald's Raise For ShareHolders.

McDonald’s Gives Raises to ShareHolders, but can’t do same for Workers?

Elizabeth Warren in the video below wonders why Minimum Wage isn’t at $22 like it should be if it kept up with production.  One of the panel members points out it could be at $33 if it kept up with executive pay.

Many opponents of a minimum wage increase argue it will raise prices, hurt jobs and hurt the economy overall.  I do not see any credibility in those claims, because no one complains executive pay increases and $20 billion payouts to shareholders will raise those same prices.  What people need to realize is that labor is why any corporation has any capital at all. It is long overdue for corporations to think better of the very people who make the filthy rich, filthy rich.

 


OMAHA, NE  – Norfolk’s Independence Day Parade contained a large display of disrespect for President Barack Obama, some even calling it blatantly racist. Many residents of Norfolk, Nebraska and the Nebraska Democratic Party called foul.  The controversy even made its way to national news. The float featured a zombie-face dummy in overalls portraying Obama standing in front of an outhouse with Obama Presidential Library on the side. See more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/06/obama-outhouse-float_n_5561568.html

Obama Presidential Library

Obama Presidential Library –      Norfolk Parade

The offensive float is a  slap in the face to a sense of decency and The mission of the Odd Fellows Lodge: Specifically, IOOF today are dedicated to the following purposes:  To improve and elevate the character of mankind by promoting the principles of friendship, love, truth, faith, hope, charity & universal justice. To help make the world a better place to live by aiding each other, the community, the less fortunate, the youth, the elderly, the environment and the community in every way possible. To promote good will and harmony amongst peoples and nations through the principle of universal fraternity, holding the belief that all men and women regardless of race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, rank and station are brothers and sisters. See more: http://www.ioof.org/IOOF/About_Us/Mission/IOOF/AboutUS/Mission.aspx?hkey=836e4547-847f-466f-a9f1-0b67deb0b125

For the record, the City of Norfolk denies any involvement with the float being in the parade. Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman told KMTV-3 News  the city has no involvement, even though she later admitted she granted approval for the Odd Fellows Lodge to use city streets for the parade. KMTV-3 News http://www.jrn.com/kmtv/news/City-Of-Norfolk-Denies-Parade-Involvment-265963471.html

A FaceBook page was created that is dedicated to demanding an apology from Norfolk’s Odd Fellows Lodge. The Page currently has over 260 FB likes in just 24 hours.  The page will be a hotbed of activity for folks upset over the parade float.
Please like and share the page if you agree.  https://www.facebook.com/NorfolkApology

Norfolk, Nebraska was in the national news before for passing a housing ordinance to ban renting to illegal immigrants.  The ordinance was ultimately upheld in a court challenge. See more: http://www.newstalkradio.net/news/us-supreme-court-upholds-fremont-immigration-ordinance

To the Odd Fellows Lodge and your allies, I must ask, what’s next, a parade where the participants wear white robes and hoods? A racial lynch mob? Public Stoning of Queers along the Parade route?  The Obama Float is the perfect example of what Nebraska Nasty is all about.

 


OMAHA, NE – Recently, a concerned Omaha Atheist expressed his concerns to a Nebraska Mayor about the presence of religion in a city sponsored event. The Mayor responded with some Nebraska Nasty by saying, “Take me to f*cking court, because I don’t care… Minorities are not going to run my city.”  According to KETV, Mitch Beaumont, La Vista community relations coordinator, released the following statement on Kindig’s behalf Monday: “I am truly sorry that my response to this representative caused backlash against the City. I was coming out of a very emotional event at which local veterans who were killed in action were recognized, and my reaction was certainly emotional in nature. It is my hope all sides can move forward together,” said Kindig.

Nebraska Nasty

“Take me to f*cking court, because I don’t care…      Minorities are not going to run my city.”                   Pic from American Atheists

As a result, the Omaha Atheists group is hosting a rally on Monday, June 2nd at 5:30pm at La Vista City Hall, 8116 Park View Blvd., La Vista, NE 68128. The following day, members of Omaha Atheist will have a discussion with La Vista Mayor Douglas Kindig. The rally is scheduled to feature a diverse program of brief remarks from representatives of various minority groups in the Omaha metro area. Immediately after the rally, a “Meet the Atheists” potluck, open to all, is planned at Central Park a half-mile away. According to the press release from American Atheists, “The rally protests some of La Vista’s recent Memorial Day activities, which included a “Prayer Walk” and a “Faith and Freedom Day,” including an official “Service” led by a local Christian pastor. The activities, promoted on the city’s official website, included songs praising “Jesus” and overtly Christian prayers.”

http://www.ketv.com/news/atheists-group-says-la-vista-mayor-defended-bigotry/26179258

Links to National articles:
Rawstory article: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/26/ne-mayor-challenges-atheists-over-faith-based-event-take-me-to-f-cking-court-i-dont-care/
Washington Times:http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/27/neb-mayor-rails-atheists-who-decry-faith-event-tak/
The Daily Beast: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/27/should-atheists-pay-for-a-prayer-day-a-nebraskan-town-s-crisis-of-faith.html

Link to FaceBook Event, Minorities Matter: https://www.facebook.com/events/246540582205028/

Omaha Atheists Link: http://www.omahaatheists.org/

American Atheists Press Release: http://news.atheists.org/2014/05/29/press-release-atheists-to-host-minorities-matter-rally-after-nebraskan-mayors-outburst/

Links From American Atheists.

Become a member at http://www.atheists.org/membership
Support the cause at http://www.atheists.org/donate
Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/AmericanAtheist
Subscribe to our quarterly magazine at http://www.atheists.org/magazine
And subscribe to our NEW YouTube channel at http://www.YouTube.com/atheistsdotorg
And our NEW Instagram feed at http://instagram.com/americanatheists

Posted by: Ken R | May 29, 2014

Painful Memories – The Normal Heart


Ken R:

A nice write up about the HBO special The Normal Heart.

Originally posted on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different - Santa Fe, NM:

imageI got around to watching The Normal Heart which I had recorded on my DVR. I had been putting it off because the AIDS crisis was traumatic for me as it was to almost any gay man who lived through the 1980s and ’90s. As I feared, the scenes of people with later stages of the disease really brought memories flooding back. I had already started a longer post on some of the friends I lost and the experiences I had during the time I was involved – this made me determined to finish it. Expect it in a week or so. In the meanwhile I want to recommend The Normal Heart for those that haven’t seen it.

It was written by Larry Kramer and was quite autobiographical. You can clearly see Larry’s famous righteous indignation on display by the lead character, Ned Weeks played brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo. It…

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