Category Archives: Activism

The Effects of Citizens United Need to End

It’s almost a year until the next election, and Super PACs and special interest groups are already airing ads all over the country. As we inch closer to election day, they’re going to get worse.

Citizens United is threatening to reduce our elections to a game of “who has the biggest wallet.”

Our campaign finance system can’t take another hit — and with the McCutcheon case looming, ready to strike another blow to our campaign finance safeguards, we all need to take action. Tell Congress to take action to reverse the effects of Citizens United.

The only way we can win this fight is if we continue to work together.


Filed under Activism, Politics

Why the Vodka Boycott Won’t Actually Help Russia’s Gays

Stolichnaya vodka

Stolichnaya vodka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

America’s “only advice columnist,” Dan Savage, has called for a boycott of Russian vodka to protest attacks on gays by anti-gay legislation backed by President Vladimir Putin. Over at The New York Times, Mark Lawrence Schrad has written about why the boycott might backfire.

First, boycotting vodka does nothing for Russia’s LGBT population. It’s totally symbolic . Symbolic boycotts are important, but so is knowing the effects of your actions.

Second, a boycott allows Pres. Putin to portray America as a specter intent on violating Russian sovereignty and morals. Polls show that two-thirds of Russians consider homosexuality unacceptable. This conservative context, Schrad argues, allows Pres. Putin to portray himself as the defender of traditional Orthodox Christian values fighting off a threat from the liberal West.

Third, the Kremlin’s reliance on vodka is largely over, making efforts to enforce the boycott ineffective. (For example, Stolichnaya, which is distilled in Latvia and owned by the SPI Group in Luxembourg, has been the primary target. In fact, the owners of SPI fled Russia years ago.)

Have you participated in the boycott of Russian vodka?

Via NYT.

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Filed under Activism, Civil Rights, Economy, Entertainment, If You Were Gay, Sick Sad World, World

Call on Congress to Take Action to Avoid School Shootings

English: Columbine High School in Columbine, C...

English: Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel was a smart, quiet kid. He’d become a straight-A student, and he was a new member of the debate team.

On April 20th, 1999, the bright 15-year-old was killed by two teenagers with guns in the library of Columbine High School. He was one of twelve kids who lost their lives for no reason.

These tragedies keep happening, and Congress has failed to take any action to stop them, even though nine in ten Americans have agreed that expanding background checks would help close the loopholes that put guns in the hands of dangerous people and prevent future violence.

Tell Congress to act:


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Filed under Activism, Crime and Punishment, Sick Sad World

Washington Post Locks Down During Anti-Muslim Brotherhood Protest

Washington Post is sold

Washington Post is sold (Photo credit: vpickering)


On Thursday, The Washington Post made news of its own.


An anti-Muslim Brotherhood protest that started at the White House ended at the Post‘s building, which then went on lockdown.


Foreign policy blogger Max Fisher tweeted  a photo of the protesters right outside the lobby doors, writing “Wash Post lobby on lockdown with giant pro-Sissi/anti-Morsi protest out front,” and “this never happened at @TheAtlantic.”


Via Politico.



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Filed under Activism, International Justice, News, Politics, War and Peace, World

Cooch Reiterates: LGBT People are “Soulless” and “Self-Destructive”

English: Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cucc...

English: Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ken “Cooch” Cuccinelli, the candidate for Governor of Virginia, recently said that LGBT people are soulless and “self-destructive.”

If Cooch wins, he’d be leading one of our nation’s most critical swing states. Even worse, a Cooch victory would send a message to both parties for the 2014 elections that voters don’t care that much about equality. We can’t let that happen.

That’s why the Human Rights Campaign is putting organizers on the ground in crucial Virginia districts and mobilizing tens of thousands of HRC supporters in the state.  We need to make a statement at the ballot box. Join HRC to help expand equality across the country.

Here’s the thing about Cooch: he’s not alone. Elected officials across the country share his views, and they’re working every day to end or gut hard-fought protections for LGBT Americans.

Laws can be undone in a heartbeat. It took years to win thirteen states with marriage equality and a DOMA-free country. We can’t afford to turn back the clock.

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Filed under Activism, Civil Rights, If You Were Gay, Politics, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

McDonnell Urges Every Governor to Help Keep Mentally Unstable People from Having Guns

Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell speaking at...

Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell speaking at CPAC. Please attribute to Gage Skidmore if used elsewhere. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pay attention, because this might be the only good thing I have to say in favor of Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

Gov. McDonnell just sent a letter to every Governor, urging them to close the gaps that allow mentally unstable people to buy guns.

Since the tragic Virginia Tech shooting, Virginia has made this issue a top priority. Their progress has set an example for the nation.

As head of the Republican Governors Association, NRA-endorsed Gov. McDonnell shows that keeping guns from dangerous people is more important than politics.

It’s a huge moment, and you can help make sure every Governor in America reads this letter and takes action.

Sign Gov. McDonnell’s letter and make sure your Governor takes action to prevent the next Virginia Tech tragedy.

Too many states haven’t closed the gaps that five years ago allowed a mentally unstable man to buy a gun and murder thirty-two people at Virginia Tech.

Governor McDonnell writes in his letter:

I believe that we can all work together to help prevent these acts from occurring again anywhere in our Nation. I write to ask for your support in providing critical information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Nearly half the states have submitted fewer than 100 mental health records into the system. Four have submitted none at all. That means millions of records are missing, and every missing record is another tragedy waiting to happen.

Please sign Gov. McDonnell’s letter and call on all states to get their records of prohibited gun purchasers into our national background check system:

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Filed under Activism, National

Urge Washington to Protect LGBT Employees

U.S. LGBT employment discrimination law. Sexua...

U.S. LGBT employment discrimination law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In twenty-nine states, you can be fired for being gay. You can be fired in thirty-four states for being transgender.

One member of Congress, Steve King (R-IA), recently suggested a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” style policy, where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people stay closeted at work, so their bosses “won’t know who to discriminate against.”

In the face of offensive right-wing rhetoric like this, there are two things we can push for: the White House must make sure federal contractors aren’t discriminating, and the Senate must hold hearings on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Tell our leaders in Washington there can be no excuses for inaction on vital workplace protections. Now is the time for a full-fledged federal response.

The President can expand the reach of non-discrimination policies by telling all companies that do business with the federal government that they can’t discriminate against LGBT employees. Such an order would bring these companies’ policies in line with the best practices of major American businesses.

We also need to break the logjam on Capitol Hill that has left the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) languishing. The bill, which has the support of a supermajority of Americans and the Administration, affirms the idea that employees should be judged on performance, not personal characteristics. Nothing should matter at work except how you do your job.

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Filed under Activism, If You Were Gay, National, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Large American Companies Fund Voter Disenfranchisement

For years, the right wing has tried to stop people of color, young people, and seniors from voting. Now, America’s biggest companies are helping them.

These companies have passed voter ID legislation by funding a right-wing policy group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC’s voter ID bills have passed in seven states and have been introduced in twenty-seven.

Supporters of discriminatory voter ID laws claim they want to cut voter fraud, but fraud almost never occurs. Voter ID laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot and could disenfranchise up to 5 million people.

ALEC’s voter ID laws are undemocratic, unjust, and part of a longstanding right-wing agenda to weaken the voting blocs that oppose Republican candidates.

Tell these companies to stop funding ALEC and its attempts to disenfranchise millions of voters. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Voter ID laws are discriminatory; African-Americans, Latinos, seniors, students, and the poor are less likely to have the photo IDs necessary to vote under these laws.

In many states, it is expensive and time-consuming to secure the proper ID. Even when the ID is free, it often requires supporting documents, like a birth certificate, which cost money. There are already stories of voters who have been eligible to vote for years who are struggling to navigate a bureaucratic maze to vote.

Requiring ID to vote amounts to a modern-day poll tax, and that’s the purpose of voter ID laws.

Some of the companies supporting ALEC may simply be unaware that the group is involved in voter suppression. Others might think that voter suppression will benefit their political interests.

Tell these companies to stop funding ALEC and its attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters. Click below to automatically sign the petition:

Thanks to Sourcewatch: ALEC Corporations.

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Filed under Activism, National, Sick Sad World

Supreme Court Has Record Amicus Briefs in Health Law Case

U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Supreme Court has three days this week scheduled to hear the arguments about President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care law.

Everyone wants a say in the arguments.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has helped lead opposition to the law, has been hosting moot court sessions to prepare lawyers involved in the case. Advocates on all sides of the issues are planning rallies. Many groups, like the American Constitution Society, are setting up war rooms and daily briefings on the Supreme Court steps.

A record 136 organizations  have filed amicus curiae or “friend of the court” briefs to urge the court to either strike down or uphold the law. The groups filing amicus briefs include the usual heavy hitters like the AARP and obscure groups that have rarely, if ever, been involved in a Supreme Court case.

Economists are wading into the debate with briefs that offer clashing views of the benefits and harms that they believe the health care law brings.

Catholic and anti-abortion groups are opposing it because of concerns about federal financing for abortion services.

Massachusetts, which approved a similar insurance model under Governor Mitt Romney, argues in its amicus brief that its experience “confirms that Congress had a rational basis” to impose minimum insurance requirements.

Via The New York Times.

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Filed under Activism, Law, Sidebar, The Supremes

Pop Five: Comments Left by Women on Rick Perry’s Facebook Wall

During the birth control debate, many non-uterus-having, non-medical-doctorate-having politicians have shown that they have intimate knowledge of the female body. In response, dozens of women have gone to menstruation expert and Texas Governor Rick Perry (via Facebook) asking for medical advice.

The questions have been deleted from Gov. Perry’s Facebook page, and Gov. Perry’s people have barred anyone from posting to the wall, but many websites captured the comments before they were deleted.

Here are some of the best/most pressing questions women pitched to Gov. Perry.

5. “Hi there, Rick. I was wondering if you had any advice about what to do about mid-cycle cramping. Since my healthcare decisions are OBVIOUSLY better understood by politicians, I thought maybe I could get your advice. Thanks bunches!”

Mirena IntraUterine System Deutsch: Mirena Hor...

Mirena IntraUterine System Deutsch: Mirena Hormonspirale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. “I need help quickly and I heard you are a better expert on women’s health than an OB/GYN. Since I don’t have medical insurance I can’t afford a doctor so I’m really grateful that you’ve taken on this additional task, even though I am sure you are busy running the state of Texas. Please get back to me immediately; I had an IUD inserted and now I have an ugly bloody discharge with mucous and I’m running a fever and am shaky. I have no insurance. What should I do and where should I go?”

3. “Hey rick – I was wondering if you could recommend a tampon brand for me since you seem to know so much about female necessities?”

2. “Rick, since you seem so concerned about my nether regions, I kindly request that you remove your head from my uterus. I don’t think your wife would approve!!”

1. “I had a tubal ligation when my husband was in the military at a military hospital. I’m not realizing that tax payers shouldn’t have paid for my birth control. Should I have the procedure reversed or find a way to pay back the tax-payers? Please advise.”

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Filed under Activism, Health, National, War on Women