Wednesday Reads: Hobby Lobby Loves Them Pre-Cooked

14c4a1ed09743ffd58d8053c7aa93f11Good Morning

You must have heard about the latest from Hobby Lobby, the hypocrisy is so disgusting…Hobby Lobby Allegedly Fired Employee Due to Pregnancy

When a very pregnant Felicia Allen applied for medical leave from her job at Hobby Lobby three years ago, one might think that the company best known for denying its employees insurance coverage of certain contraceptives—on the false grounds that they cause abortions—would show equal concern for helping one of its employees when she learned she was pregnant. Instead, Allen says the self-professed evangelical Christian arts-and-crafts chain fired her and then tried to prevent her from accessing unemployment benefits. “They didn’t even want me to come back after having my baby, to provide for it,” she says. Her allegations—as well as those brought by other former Hobby Lobby employees—call into question the company’s public claims when it comes to protecting life and operating its business with Christian values. Additionally, they highlight a practice by which Hobby Lobby prevents its employees from seeking justice through the courts.

Yeah, you can read more details at the link. But as Eric Loomis, LG&M points out: That Pro-Life Hobby Lobby

And here I thought Hobby Lobby was acting out of very strong principle for life and not because it hates women and wants to punish them for having sex. There’s also this gem:

When Allen applied for unemployment benefits, she says Hobby Lobby’s corporate office gave the unemployment agency a false version of events, claiming she could have taken off personal leave but chose not to. In the end, Allen says she won her claim for unemployment benefits, but she felt she had been wrongly discriminated based on the fact that she was pregnant. In February 2012 she sued Hobby Lobby, but her lawsuit was swiftly dropped because, like most—if not all—Hobby Lobby employees, Allen had signed away her rights to sue the company. Though the multibillion-dollar, nearly 600-store chain took its legal claim against the federal government all the way to the Supreme Court when it didn’t want to honor the health insurance requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the company forbids its employees from seeking justice in the court of law. Allen had signed a binding arbitration agreement upon taking the job, though she says she doesn’t remember doing so. The agreement, which all Hobby Lobby employees are required to sign, forces employees to resolve legal disputes outside of court through a process known as arbitration.

Lying so she couldn’t get unemployment is very special, but forcing employees to sign documents waiving their right to sue the company in order to be hired should be as illegal as the yellow-dog contract. I would ask how something like that is even legal in this nation, but of course I already know why–because corporations control our lives in ways they have not in a century.

I have plenty more links for you, but because I must take the boy to his endocrinologist in Atlanta tomorrow…I will just give it to you in dump fashion. Religious violence in 2013 displaced millions | Al Jazeera America

Millions of people were forced from their homes because of their religious beliefs last year, the U.S. government said Monday, citing the devastating impact of conflicts in Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic. Secretary of State John Kerry called the displacement of families and devastation of communities from sectarian violence a troubling trend in the world, as he launched the State Department 2013 report on religious freedom. The report said that in much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is becoming “a shadow of its former self.” Hundreds of thousands of minority Christians have fled Syria after three years of civil war. It also highlighted more than one million people displaced in the Central African Republic during 2013, amid an upsurge in Christian-Muslim violence. In Southeast Asia, the spread of anti-Muslim violence spread from Myanmar‘s volatile west to central Meiktila, with up to 100 deaths and 12,000 displaced. Kerry further cited the “savagery and incredible brutality” by the al-Qaeda-inspired militant group active in Iraq and Syria, known as the Islamic State, saying it had slaughtered Shiite Muslims and forcibly converted Christians under threat of death. The report, released annually, reviews how religious freedoms are respected and violated in almost 200 countries and territories.

This 19-year-old confessed to killing a woman in 1963. You won’t believe what happened next.

In 1963, a 17-year-old Indiana youth named Robert J. Dowlut reportedly confessed to police — amid a pile of evidence — that he’d killed a local woman. The next year, a jury of his peers heard the case and found  Dowlut guilty. What happened next? A) He died in the electric chair. B) He lived a long life and is currently the chief lawyer for the National Rifle Association.

Read about this here: The NRA’s Murder Mystery | Mother Jones I really don’t know why they bother to research this next item of news,  WASHINGTON: Past-due debt prevalent across U.S., with South the highest | Economy | McClatchy DC What more would anyone expect.  At least there is Good News: Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic Can Remain Open Here is a few health stories: Take Two: Just How Good Are Generic Meds Anyway? | Mother Jones Previously unknown virus that lives in half the world’s population could play a major role in obesity and diabetes – Medical News Today The Challenges of Having Sex as a Little Person – Merissa Nathan Gerson – The Atlantic And let’s not stop with little people sex, what about panda sex: Nixon on Panda Sex – Lawyers, Guns & Money In fact, more of Nixon’s tapes are in the news, as two new books are released,  The Untapped Secrets of the Nixon Tapes – Evan Thomas – The Atlantic From a former president to a former First Lady: The Best “Dear John Letter” Ever Sent | Mother Jones

In 1947, years before she met John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier sent her high school boyfriend what is maybe my favorite Dear John letter of all time.

“I’ve always thought of being in love as being willing to do anything for the other person—starve to buy them bread and not mind living in Siberia with them—and I’ve always thought that every minute away from them would be hell—so looking at it that [way] I guess I’m not in love with you.”

Jackie O. would have been 85 Monday. RIP.

For more fascinating reads, look at this: Read the Notorious RBG at Her Most Blistering

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, teeny tiny goddess of judicial feminism incarnate, has authored many a badass piece of legal writing in her day. Now, thanks to some devoted brainiacs who are better at this sort of thing than I am, you can read the sharpest work of the grand dame in one place.

The folks at People for the American Way (a progressive think tank) have put together a lovely treasury of RBG’s greatest hits. Perfect light reading for the next time you put your head in a big pile of curls on your head and take a bubble bath, or lie out on a Caribbean beach, or a good thing to read to the kids when you’re trying to get them to bed. Yep. Just a little light legal reading.

Meanwhile, Officials Pull Back From Crash Site as the Army Puts Pressure on Rebels – NYTimes.com And if you are worried about the big flood: Climate refugees, DO NOT MOVE TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST | Grist

Many Seattle residents revere Cliff Mass as the Yoda of weather in the Northwest. On his blog and through spots in local media, this professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington helps us process our snowpocalypses and measure out Lexapro for 10 months of the year. Now he’s turning his big-weather brain to something regularly on our minds here at Grist: “As global warming takes hold later in the century, where will be the best place in the lower 48 states to escape its worst effects?” Here’s the short answer from Cliff:

Everyone stay where you are.
Cliff Mass
Everyone stay where you are.

On his blog entry, Mass goes into much more scientific detail on climate effects for the Lower 48 (complete with loads more charts). But even from this map, we can glean a few key takeaways.

  • You’ll notice Mass highlighted most of the Eastern seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico, and sections of California in bright red. Areas of sea-level rise? Ohnonononono. You misunderstand completely. Those are spots where candy will grow on trees — because adaptation! Florida’s famous orange groves will evolve into chocolate orange groves and just work their way up the coast to Connecticut. Delicious!
  • Take a look at all that yellow in the Southwest. Any guesses? Correct: That is precisely where state and local governments are likely to enforce three-day workweeks. And if you worry that moving to Phoenix, Los Angeles, or Austin means you’ll spend every extra-long weekend wearing spikes and riding in a rusty dune buggy on your way to bludgeon the neighbors to death over water resources, here’s a tip: Don’t!
  • Orange! This DOES NOT mean this area gets more oranges (duh, pay attention; that was yellow). It does signify that every day will be Christmas. It also signifies that more Christmases will be wetter, windier, and generally more hurricane-y. P.S. I got you galoshes. (AGAIN, I know. Tee-hee!) Merry Christmas!
  • Purple, purple, purple — Big Purp practically owns the map. Good thing, too, because from Montana to Maine, climate-changed citizenry will THRILL to the incredible cellphone coverage. No more dropped calls in Chicago. No more blips in Butte. Just blazing-fast downloads and crystal-clear audio, from your hot, cracked lips to your heatstroked fingertips. (Caveat: Customers will notice an increase in dropped calls from underground bunkers and heat hovels.)
  • Say what about the green dots? Oh, those are flooding rivers and total shitholes.

Now for the last few remaining links for the day, a couple of stories from Hollywood and two others on digging up the past… Effort to save ‘Tara’ plantation facade before it’s ‘Gone with the Wind’ – NY Daily News Kodak, Studios Negotiating Last Ditch Effort to Keep Film in Hollywood – Hollywood Reporter Traces of Lincoln’s Courthouse Found in Illinois – Archaeology Magazine Erosion Exposes Human Remains on Kwajalein Atoll – Archaeology Magazine Have a good day and hope you share your thoughts in the comments below. A woman waves from a float during the Carnaval des Fleurs…

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Know your Right Wing Christofascists!

Here’s a list of the 10 Most Dangerous Religious Right Organizations in the country.  These folks are determined to undermine the US constitution that prevents mixing of specific religious doctrines with US law.  These people don’t want freedom for their religious practices.  They want the US government to enshrine their petty theocratic agendas into law and to persecute the unbelievers.

1. Jerry Falwell Ministries/ Liberty University/Liberty Counsel

Revenue: $522,784,095

2. Pat Robertson Empire

Revenue: $434,971,231

3. Focus on the Family (includes its 501(c)(4) political affiliate CitizenLink)

Revenue: $104,463,950

4. Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund)

Revenue: $35,145,644 

5. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Lobbying Expenditures: $26,662,111 

6. American Family

Association

Revenue: $17,955,438

7. Family Research Council

Revenue: $14,840,036  (includes 501­(c)(4) affiliate FRC Action)

8. Concerned Women for

America

Revenue: $10,352,628  (includes 501­(c)­(4) affiliate CWA Legislative Action Committee)

9. Faith & Freedom Coalition

Revenue: $5,494,640

10. Council for National Policy

Revenue: $1,976,747

The Christian Right has basically infiltrated the Republican Party and is most evident as “Teavanagelicals”.

ON AN INSTITUTIONAL LEVEL, the merger of Christian Right and Tea Party interests is remarkably advanced. The alliance has served as the very foundation stone of theFaith and Freedom Coalition, the latest venture of that intrepid politico-religious entrepreneur, Ralph Reed, which has sprouted chapters in many states, most prominently Iowa, where it sponsored the first candidate forum of the 2012 cycle. There is even a term to describe this new strain of conservatism: the “Teavangelicals,” a subject of a recent broadcast by Christian Right journalist David Brody, which, among other things, examined the conservative evangelical roots of major Tea Party leaders. Most recently, a host of organizations closely connected with the Christian Right and “social issues” causes have signed onto the “Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge,” the Tea Party-inspired oath that demands a position on the debt limit vote that is incompatible with any bipartisan negotiations.

But this convergence between the two groups goes well beyond coalition politics and reflects a radicalization of conservative evangelical elites that is just as striking as the rise of the Tea Party itself. Indeed, the worldview of many Christian Right leaders has evolved into an understanding of government (at least under secularist management) as a satanic presence that seeks to displace God and the churches through social programs, to practice infanticide and euthanasia, to destroy parental control of children, to reward vice and punish virtue, and to thwart America’s divinely appointed destiny as a redeemer nation fighting for Christ against the world’s many infidels.

As an illustration of this phenomenon, it’s worth unpacking a few lines from a recent missive by televangelist James Robison, the convener of two recent meetings of Christian Right leaders in Texas to ponder their role in 2012, and also of a similar session back in 1979 that helped pave the way for Reagan’s conquest of conservative evangelicals. Says Robison:

There are moral absolutes . No person’s failure reduces or redefines the standards carved in stone by the finger of God and revealed in His Word. We must find a way to stop judges and courts from misinterpreting the Constitution and writing their own laws.

“Activist judges” who have developed and applied protections for abortion rights, non-discrimination, and church-state separation have long been a bugaboo for the Christian Right. But Robison appears to be extending this traditional list of evangelical grievances, adding his blessing to the Tea Party’s objection to the string of Supreme Court decisions that enabled the federal government to enact New Deal programs like Social Security that protect people afflicted by personal “failure” from the consequences of their actions.

They have more impact than just trying to deny the civil rights of GLBT, the reproductive rights of women, and the suppression of religious minorities in the US.  They have a global agenda  that is as much of a terrorist movement as any religious extremist movement abroad.  They support governments that believe in not only persecuting but killing GLBT citizens with money and other resources.  They actively support militia’s that kill and maim GLBT citizens and non-believers and work to keep women’s status as property and breeding chattel.

In recent weeks, police have descended on the Harare offices of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ), seizing the group’s publications and computers as evidence, they claimed, in an ongoing investigation. The police sought to also arrest staff, but the organization’s lawyer has kept them free for now.

The gay rights activist organization is — absurdly — accused of seeking to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government and teaching people to commit acts of sodomy.

This police activity underscores the effort of the Mugabe-led ZANU-PF ruling political party to incite anti-LGBT hatred in mobilizing its base for elections next year. Mugabe faces a challenge from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirayi, who recently adopted a pro-LGBT rights position.

In one raid, police forcibly entered GALZ premises and began arresting advocates gathered to discuss the draft constitution under debate. The draft includes anti-gay provisions shaped with help from the US-based Christian right group American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) through its Zimbabwe office. The proposed provisions explicitly prohibit homosexuality and, mimicking American efforts, define marriage as between a man and woman.

Some activists were injured trying to escape over a security fence armed with an electric razor wire. Those caught — 31 men and 13 women — were arrested, bundled into police vehicles, and kept in filthy cells for what GALZ staffer Miles Rutendo remembers as “a night in hell.” Police beat and stomped on the backs of gay rights advocates forced to lie on the wet floor. One victim passed out and was rushed to the hospital.

The physical and mental abuse did not end with their release. In a country where LGBT people suffer brutal harassment, these activists’ sexual preference was exposed to neighbors, families, and workplaces. Their families forced some from their homes. Whether any lose their jobs remains to be seen.

Additional, rallies have been held through out the US that are well within in the boundaries of first amendment free speech rights but definitely fall into the hate speech realm.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins topped a full day of speakers at “The America for Jesus 2012” prayer rally.

Robertson, a former Republican candidate for president, called the election important, but didn’t mention either major political party or candidate by name.

“I don’t care what the ACLU says or any atheists say. This nation belongs to Jesus, and we’re here today to reclaim his sovereignty,” said Robertson, 82, who founded the Christian Coalition and Christian Broadcasting Network, and ran for president in 1988.

Organizers plan another prayer rally Oct. 20 in Washington, D.C., two weeks before President Barack Obama faces Republican Mitt Romney in the presidential election.

Perkins asked the crowd to pray for elected officials including Obama.

“We pray that his eyes will be open to the truth,” Perkins said.

A number of event organizers, though, have been vocal critics of the Democratic president.

Steve Strang, the influential Pentecostal publisher of Charisma magazine, which was distributed at the rally, recently wrote in a blog post that America is under threat from a “radical homosexual agenda.” He also said Obama “seems to be moving toward some form of European socialism. Speaker Cindy Jacobs has blamed a mysterious Arkansas bird-kill last year on Obama’s repeal of the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allows gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Speakers throughout the day condemned abortion, gay marriage and population control as practiced by Planned Parenthood. Christian rock music filled the historic mall as speakers challenged the crowd to overcome the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and slothfulness.

Yup, these are the same folks we’ve been fighting since the 1980s.  It’s going to be a continual fight to keep theocracy out of our state, local, and federal government and to stop the hate-filled agendas of  these religious extremists.