Friday Reads Over the Rainbow

Good Morning!

111024013319-gilligans-island-story-topJust a few notes on some passings of folks near and dear to childhoods every where.

Ruth Robinson Duccini died at age 95.  She was the last surviving woman munchkin from the movie “Wizard of Oz”. Only one man survives now of the 124 little people cast in the movie.

One of my favorite sitcoms as a kid was “Gilligan’s Island”.  Russell Johnson, the professor, passed yesterday at the age of 89.

The third death was that of Dave Madden who played the manager of “The Partridge Family”. pic01fleming-leroy&munchkins

I am happy to announce that the outrage over the proposed noise ordinance in New Orleans led to its withdrawal last night. Maybe the proximity to February’s elections had something to do with it?  I sent a letter to the one council woman that was most likely to opt out and whose election is more iffy.  She indicated she would vote no on Wednesday.  The Mayor also said he had an issue with the proposal.

Councilwomen Stacy Head and Kristin Gisleson Palmer have withdrawn a controversial proposed noise ordinance that was set to be discussed at a council meeting Friday.

In a joint statement, Head and Palmer acknowledged there has been “much public consternation” over the ordinance.

Palmer said the council will work to craft a different ordinance that has “an even more limited focus” on the Vieux Carré Entertainment District.

Nathan Chapman, a lead supporter of the ordinance, said he supports the decision to “take a breath and focus first on solutions for the French Quarter.”

“At some point, the general public became greatly confused in a negative campaign of disinformation and personal attacks. If the volume of the rhetoric had been turned down a bit, we could have heard each other more, and made progress for the entire city.”

A draft form of a new ordinance will be presented to the next Special Housing and Human Needs Committee meeting on Jan. 27.

The meeting set for Friday has been cancelled.

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A bipartisan group of senators have reintroduced a New Votings Right Act fix to over come the SCOTUS ruling last year. 

Today Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and John Conyers (D-MI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation to strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision last June invalidating a critical section of the VRA. The legislation, known as “The Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014,” represents the first attempt by a bipartisan group in Congress to reinstate the vital protections of the VRA that the Supreme Court took away.

In the Shelby County v. Holder ruling on June 25, 2013, the Court’s conservative majority struck down Section 4 of the VRA, the formula that compelled specific states with a well-documented history of voting discrimination to clear their voting changes with the federal government under Section 5 of the VRA. The two provisions were always meant to work together; without Section 4, Section 5 became a zombie, applying to zero states.

Section 4 covered nine states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia) and parts of six others (in California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota) based on evidence of voting discrimination against blacks and other minority groups dating back to the 1960s and 1970s. Since the Shelby decision, eight states previously covered under Section 4 have passed or implemented new voting restrictions. This includes onerous new laws in states like North Carolina and Texas, which the Justice Department objected to under other provisions of the VRA (Sections 2 and 3).

The Sensenbrenner-Conyers-Leahy bill strengthens the VRA in five distinct ways

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein says he will produce blockbuster movie starring Meryl Streep to direct confront the power of the NRA.  He broke the news on Sirrius radio on Howard Stern’s show.

Weinstein said he plans on making a movie that will make the NRA “wish they weren’t alive after I’m done with them.”

During a discussion about Weinstein getting into the directing game, the issue of guns weaved its way in. Weinstein admitted that if something like the Holocaust was happening again, “I’d find a gun if that was happening to my people.” That being said, Weinstein doesn’t think “we need guns in this country” and called the NRA a disaster area.”

Oklahoma has become the latest state in the battle ground for Marriage Equality.  Discriminatory marriage laws are collapsing all over the country.

The victories keep coming, from unexpected places: A federal judge in Oklahoma today ruled that the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Terence Kern’s ruling is on hold pending appeal, so same-sex couples in Oklahoma will not be able to marry immediately, reports theHuman Rights Campaign.Nonetheless, the national LGBT rights group welcomed Kern’s decision with a statement issued by its president, Chad Griffin.

“Judge Kern has come to the conclusion that so many have before him — that the fundamental equality of lesbian and gay couples is guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” Griffin said. “With last year’s historic victories at the Supreme Court guiding the way, it is clear that we are on a path to full and equal citizenship for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Equality is not just for the coasts anymore, and today’s news from Oklahoma shows that time has come for fairness and dignity to reach every American in all 50 states.”

Two couples — Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, and Gay Phillips and Susan Barton — filed the case,Bishop v. Oklahoma, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma in November 2004, the same year the largely conservative state adopted the antigay amendment. Their legal team is led by Don Holladay and James Warner of the Oklahoma City law firm Holladay and Chilton.

With this decision, 19 states and the District of Columbia have approved marriage equality either through legislative action or court decision. This number includes two states with rulings on hold — Utah and Oklahoma — and one state, Illinois, whose law has yet to go into effect. The Illinois marriage equality law is effective June 1, although couples in which at least one partner has a serious illness can apply to receive a marriage license earlier.

It seems Utah may actually be warming up to the idea of Marriage Equality.

Utah is split down the middle on the question of same-sex marriage, indicating a sharp decline in support for the state’s 2004 constitutional ban, according to a new poll.

A Salt Lake Tribune poll by SurveyUSA shows that Utahns are evenly split on the issue with 48 percent in favor of legalizing gay marriage and 48 percent against it. This marks a massive shift in opinion in the strongly conservative state, where 66 percent of voters who participated in the 2004 election approved of the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in Utah.

According to the survey, 36 percent of Utah adults have changed their views of same-sex marriage over time, further complicating an already-tricky legal battle in the state.

There’s one more happy example of marriage equality in Houston Texas!  Mayor Parker has married her long time partner.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and longtime partner Kathy Hubbard are now married – at least in the eyes of 18 states, including California, where the couple formally exchanged vows Thursday in a sunset ceremony in Palm Springs.

“This is a very happy day for us,” Parker said in a news release issued from her office. “We have had to wait a very long time to formalize our commitment to each other. Kathy has been by my side for more than two decades, helping to raise a family, nurture my political career and all of the other ups and down and life events that come with a committed relationship. She is the love of my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life married to her.”

The wedding included family and friends, including the mayor’s mother and Hubbard’s sister, according the mayor’s press office. The Rev. Paul Fromberg, a family friend from San Francisco, presided. Two other close friends from Houston, Judge Steve Kirkland and Mark Parthie, were attendants and formal witnesses. Parker and Hubbard chose Jan. 16 for their wedding because it marks the 23rd anniversary of the start of their lives together, her office said.

 

That is quite a positive change!

So, that’s a little bit to get us started today.  So, what’s on your reading and blogging list this morning?


53 Comments on “Friday Reads Over the Rainbow”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Great news about the defeat of the NOLA noise ordinance!

  2. ANonOMouse says:

    You can intimidate and shame women entering Planned Parenthood Clinics, but you can’t caution other drivers about looming speed traps? Freedom of speech?

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/on-trial-over-speed-trap-warnings-161025708.html

  3. Y’all see that Obama is giving cred to Snowden?

    • RalphB says:

      If this is “cred” then the definition is one I’ve never heard before 🙂

      Obama Still Not A Fan Of Snowden’s ‘Sensational’ Disclosures

      President Barack Obama announced Friday his administration’s plans to reform the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, but he made it clear that his opinion of Edward Snowden hasn’t changed.

      “Given the fact of an open investigation, I’m not going to dwell on Mr. Snowden’s actions or motivations. I will say that our nation’s defense depends in part on the fidelity of those entrusted with our nation’s secrets,” Obama said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. …

      • I don’t think my comment came across like I wanted it to…what I meant was we knew this shit was going on for years before snowden…snowden should not have been the catalyst of the outrage. People should have been pissed when the shit started in the first place.

    • Fannie says:

      I did hear that the Target Hackers were thought to be much larger and by a group of Russian hackers being involved in much more than Target. They are dubbing this “KARTOKHA”……….mean Potato in Russia……………..hell let’s just call it what it is “Hot Potato One, Hot Potato Two, mine’s bigger than yours, run, run, run.”

  4. bostonboomer says:

    He mentioned him. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “credit.”

  5. bostonboomer says:

    How arrogant can one man get?

    • RalphB says:

      That must be a rhetorical question. Even Charlie Pierce is completely batshit about the NSA. I think he buys everything Greenwald/Snowden are selling and then makes up some of his own bullshit to make it even worse. Charlie keeps bringing up J. Edgar Hoover and I’m not sure he knows he’s dead now.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Well, Hoover wasn’t in intelligence. The FBI is still pretty bad, but probably not as bad as under Hoover.

        • RalphB says:

          Conflating COINTELPRO and all that old stuff with the contemporary NSA doesn’t make a lick of common sense to me. But, that’s what you have to do to make a real scandal out of anything now. If they want me to get all excited, they gotta show me some proof that the NSA has actually done something terrible and, so far, I haven’t seen it.

          • bostonboomer says:

            There were serious abuses under Bush with the National Security Letters, torture, etc., but none of that has anything to do with the people who work for NSA. And the FBI commits abuses with their terrorism stings, but again that’s not NSA.

          • RalphB says:

            My pointy exactly. The outrage is completely misdirected.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Who GAF what Snowden has to say? Really!!!!! He’s not a whistle blower, he’s an opportunist who had delusions of grandeur. He fancies himself as some sort of Superhero. In the words of my long deceased grandfather, “he thinks he’s shit on a stick and he’s not even a turd on a twig”,

  6. dakinikat says:

    and the GOP in Arizona is doing it again:

    Chandler legislator pushing for law that allows businesses to discriminate against homosexuals, other groups

    http://m.eastvalleytribune.com/arizona/capitol_media_services/article_01815792-7e26-11e3-bcc0-0019bb2963f4.html?mode=jqm

    A veteran state lawmaker is pushing legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against gays — and maybe even women and Jews — as long as they were acting on sincerely held religious beliefs.

    SB 1062 would allow those sued in civil cases to claim that they have a legal right to decide not to provide their services to any individual or group because it would “substantially burden” their freedom of religion. That specifically means doing something that the person feels is contrary to their religious teachings.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      If you follow these “freedom of religion” claims to their logical conclusion, you can see that business owners could literally discriminate against any potential customer or employee by claiming that person lives or believes in a way that violates the employers/business owners conscience.

      The Little Sisters of the Poor are challenging the contraception coverage mandate in healthcare. They are already exempted from paying for the contraceptive coverage, but they want an exemption from signing a release that would require that coverage to be paid for by the Health Insurance provider. In other words they are claiming that signing the release is the same as endorsing the use of contraceptives. That is so wrong and my challenge to them would be why is signing a release that allows the employee to use their own discretion different than signing a employees paycheck? When they pay their employees they have no control over how the employee is using the money they’re paid. They could be engaging in a million activities that violate the “Sisters” sense of morality or religious beliefs.

      IMHO we need less freedom of religion and more FREEDOM FROM RELIGION.

      • RalphB says:

        they want an exemption from signing a release that would require that coverage to be paid for by the Health Insurance provider

        The insurance provider is a church sponsored company so they wouldn’t get coverage in any case. It’s just a bogus lawsuit all around.

  7. bostonboomer says:
  8. bostonboomer says:

    Medical Records Confirm The Pregnant Texas Woman On Life Support Is Actually Dead

    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/01/17/3179811/medical-record-marlise-munoz/

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Freedom Industries files for bankruptcy after contaminating water and soil in several states.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/01/17/3181821/freedom-industries-bankruptcy/

  10. bostonboomer says:
  11. Okay, this is what I was trying to get across…check out the HuffPo headline:

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I see exactly what you’re saying JJ.

      Here’s how I see Mr. Snowden. He DELIBERATELY went to work for and stole 1.7 documents from an agency that everyone on the planet, including Snowden, recognizes as a spy agency. 1.7 million documents seems excessive and it’s hard for me to believe that he would steal so much classified data without some sort of subversive intent that reaches well past what we already know. To my mind he’s a saboteur.

      Maybe I’ve become jaded in my old age, but I’m not surprised by anything that a spy agency does or might do and I can’t imagine why anyone else would be. You know what I mean? 🙂

  12. ANonOMouse says:

    ‘Duck Dynasty’ ratings down 28 percent after Phil’s homophobic, racist rant (and sexist)

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/17/duck-dynasty-ratings-down-28-percent-after-phils-homophobic-racist-rant/