Saturday, September 26, 2015

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings supports LGBTs on twitter, trashes them on TV

GLAAD will probably give him an award for the nice tweet!

Below, some samples of the gratuitously nasty treatment relentlessly heaped on LGBTs in this season's Netflix-underwritten Narcos, easily the most homophobic miniseries we've seen this year:

'Stonewall' docudrama gets raked by gay reviewers

     Queerty said the film unfairly portrayed the Mattachine Society and Frank Kameny, "standing history on its head,"calling it "no credit to the history it purports to represent" and went on, in a caption, to call it "the year's most insulting film" and a "future camp classic."
     Towleroad's movie critic ended his review with, "Stonewall may have birthed Gay Pride but this Stonewall is a shame."

Bill Maher weighs in on Kim Davis, other GOP folk heroes

A few weeks ago, America met Kim Davis, the Kentucky court clerk who was sent to jail for her principled belief that marriage is a sacred union between one woman and one scarecrow.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nebraska: GOP Gov. Ricketts' administration is listing gay spouses as 'friend' on birth certificates, prompting another expensive lawsuit against state

ALSO: Homophobic NE AG Don Peterson is denied an en banc hearing he requested in order to deprive a dying woman legal fees after she was forced to sue the state to recognize her legal same sex marriage.

Last summer, Nebraska Gov. and death penalty aficionado Pete Ricketts, who attended his sister's gay wedding in Chicago but opposed gay marriage in Nebraska, told two apparent lies in a press release following the landmark Supreme Court ruling declaring gay marriage bans unconstitutional:
“The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken and ruled state same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional. While 70 percent of Nebraskans approved our amendment to our state constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, the highest court in the land has ruled states cannot place limits on marriage between same-sex couples. We will follow the law and respect the ruling outlined by the court.”
     The first lie was the assertion that 70% of Nebraskans disapproved of gay marriage. The actual figure, of course, was 70% of the people who went to the polls in 2000 to vote on the issue. Ricketts' second lie was his pledge to follow the law and respect the ruling.
     From today's Omaha World-Herald:
     The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union asked a Nebraska federal judge on Thursday to issue an injunction ordering the state to list both same-sex spouses as parents on birth certificates of children born to same-sex couples.
     The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has refused to “provide married same-sex couples birth certificates for their children on the same terms and conditions as married different-sex couples,” the ACLU wrote in court records.
     Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in late June that same-sex couples could marry, at least two same-sex couples in Nebraska — including the Wagners — have been unable to list both of their names on the birth certificates of their newborns.
     In the high court’s ruling, the ACLU said, birth certificates were listed as one of the many marital protections that must be provided equally to married same-sex couples.
     On Thursday, the Nebraska Office of Vital Records and Statistics confirmed the birth certificate form is still the same as it was before the same-sex marriage opinion.
     “We continue to evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court decision on programs within our agency,” Leah Bucco-White, a spokeswoman for DHHS, wrote in an email.
The request is being reviewed by the Nebraska Attorney General's office.

Researching an affliction on the Internet? 'WebMD is basically calling up everybody in town and telling them...'

Links to ABC's story about WebMD and the Mayo Clinic's web site
no longer seem to work.
And it's not just WebMD. The Mayo Clinic, the CDC, Planned Parenthood, and others all "share" your searches with 3rd parties. ABC did a segment on this, focusing on WebMD and the Mayo Clinic but links to the video seem to have stopped working.
     Here's more from Motherboard:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

GOP capitulation to Big Pharma has enabled ruinous drug price spikes

The former hedge fund manager and cofounder of the Turing Pharmaceutical company has received the lion's share of publicity for recent, outrageous drug price increases, but the problem is much larger.
     Consider these recent increases in important life-saving drugs:

Cycloserine (used to treat multidrug-resistant TB)
Price increased from $500 $10,800
Heart drugs:
Isuprel : 5x price increase by Marathon; subsequent 525% increase by Valeant
Nitropress: 5x price increase by Marathon; subsequent 212% increase by Valeant
Doxycycline: $20 per bottle in October 2013 to $1849 in April 2014

A subsequent Times story explained that drug consolidation even affects generic formulations:
For many generic drugs, industry consolidation has left only one or two companies making a particular medicine. That's led to lengthy shortages for an increasing number of crucial medicines, driving up prices, particularly for drugs for infections, blood pressure and seizures. Even without shortages, prices have jumped tenfold or more for generics only made by one or two companies.
The blame for the status of the U.S. status as the most expensive place on earth to get medicinal drugs lies squarely at the threshold of the GOP and the pharmaceutical lobby. Said the Times in an editorial on Tuesday:
     At Republican insistence, that law barred the federal government from negotiating with drug manufacturers. It relied on bargaining by private insurers that manage drug benefits for Medicare patients, like UnitedHealth, Aetna and CVS Caremark, to wring discounts from the drug makers.
     That wasn’t enough.
     The Congressional Budget Office has long concluded that curbing Medicare drug spending requires that federal officials have stronger tools, like the power to offer preferential treatment to drug makers that offer big discounts... Congressional Republicans would no doubt balk at having the federal government negotiate Medicare drug prices, but the public is clamoring for action, and it’s the right thing to do.

How VW software cheat figured out when EPA test was being run — and how VW got busted

It was a group of West Virginia academics and students working for the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions (CAFEE), contacted by the International Council on Clean Transportation to conduct real-world tests on light-duty diesel vehicles who first smelled a rat when they took several cars on a road trip to evaluate the tailpipe emissions of diesel cars manufactured for the U.S. market by European auto makers, something on which no published academic research existed. They then alerted the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), who then did what government agencies should: due diligence. From Pete Bigelow at Autoblog:
     The road trip was Volkswagen's undoing. When the West Virginia team returned to Los Angeles, they were befuddled by the test results. In theory, the Passat should have spewed the lowest levels of pollutants among the three cars. Equipped with the more modern selective catalytic reduction technology, the team expected to find minimal levels of nitrogen oxide. But the car, which had been certified at a California Air Resources Board facility prior to the start of the road trip, had elevated levels of NOx that were 20 times the baseline levels established beforehand.
      The researchers, comprised of professors Gregory Thompson and Dan Carder and students Marc Besch and Thiruvengadam, knew their on-board equipment functioned properly because, early in their research, they had double-checked its accuracy after recording sky-high NOx readings from the Jetta that showed 30 times the level of its baseline testing at the CARB facility. It was particularly noteworthy because the Jetta contained the first-generation Lean NOx Trap technology, not the more efficient SCR, yet both produced large discrepancies. The BMW, on the other hand, performed as expected.
And how did the software know the vehicle was subjected to an EPA test so it could turn on the vehicle's emissions control equipment just for the test? ComputerWorld described how easy that would be:
     ...modern cars can sense when a hood is open for dynamometer testing, "so a smart hood switch could double as a defeat device."
     Or, another sensor could detect when a vehicle's traction control unit was disabled, which is required during emissions testing, and place the emission system into a different mode.
     "The possibilities are almost endless," [Arvind Thiruvengadam] told Autoblog. "I'm pretty sure that if you're one of the largest car manufacturers, you could do a lot more."
     According to the EPA's violation letter to Volkswagen, dated Sept. 18, "the position of the steering wheel, vehicle speed, the duration of the engine’s operation, and barometric pressure" -- all very specific indicators of an emissions test -- acted as the activation switch for the "defeat device".  
Below, a 1997 VW ad for its Golf, aired during the coming out episode of Ellen. VW denied that the actors in the ad were depicting a gay couple and that settled any such suspicions because HEY! — would Volkswagen lie to you?

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mutual of Omaha won't comment on latest suit alleging antigay discrimination

Truvada is a form of PrEP, a pre-exposure prophylaxis designed to prevent HIV infection.
     A 61-year-old gay Boston attorney who is on Truvada and is HIV negative, has been denied long term care insurance by Mutual of Omaha. He's planning to sue Mutual and as a preliminary step, filed a complaint Wednesday with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination.
     From the Associated Press:
      He [the attorney] said he received a letter in April from a chief underwriter for Mutual of Omaha denying his appeal. "We do not offer coverage to anyone who takes the medication Truvada, regardless of whether it is prescribed to treat HIV infection, or is used for pre-exposure prophylaxis. This in accordance with our underwriting guidelines," the letter said, according to the complaint.
     Doe alleges that Mutual of Omaha discriminated against him based on sexual orientation and disability, in this case, an assumption that Doe will in the future contract HIV, a health condition covered by the state's antidiscrimination law.
      Dr. Kenneth Mayer, a professor at Harvard Medical School and director of HIV Prevention Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said he doesn't understand why Mutual of Omaha would reject an applicant for long-term care insurance because he is taking Truvada.
     "The last thing we want to do is discourage people from using this preventive mediation," Mayer said. "The goal is to eradicate the number of new HIV infections."
     From Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD):
     “Mutual of Omaha’s denial is nonsensical,” said Bennett Klein, Senior Attorney and AIDS Law Project Director at GLAD. “If our client were not taking Truvada, not protecting his health and the health of others, he would have received the insurance.  We should be well beyond the days when insurers make decisions based on fear and stereotypes about HIV. The assumption is that gay male sexuality is inherently risky and unhealthy, and that’s just wrong.”
     In 1998 Lambda Legal and the AIDS Legal  Council of Chicago sued Mutual for capping HIV-related care at a fraction of the amount allowed for other illnesses or conditions.    
     In March of 2010, Mutual "amicably" settled a trademark lawsuit against the production company of Oprah Winfrey over the use of the phrase "Aha Moment."
     For decades, Mutual of Omaha sponsored a nationally-televised animal program entitled "Wild Kingdom," in which hosts Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler relentlessly plugged the security of Mutual's Life Insurance products via awkward seques.
     However a Mutual occupational underwriting guide in use well into the 1990s revealed that it was against company policy to underwrite life insurance for "wild animal handlers."

Like this post? Share it via social media icons below.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Matt Baume looks at all the Kim Davis pandering at the GOP debate

Huckabee, who dropped out of preacher school to break into radio, gets schooled by a GOP candidate with a law degree and Rick Santorum gets schooled by a GOP candidate about his personal bogeyman, "judicial supremacy."

Busted: Millionaire GOP NE Gov.'s sponsorship of death penalty restoration not disclosed in initiative

TD Ameritrade scion Pete Ricketts, now Nebraska's GOP governor, didn't like the fact that the Nebraska Unicameral overrode his veto of its removal of the state's death penalty, so he spent $200,000 (and his father kicked in another $100,000) to a paid petition drive to put the law on hold and reinstate Nebraska's death penalty on the next election's ballot as a constitutional amendment.
     Now his organization, Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, faces a lawsuit seeking to negate the signature drive because the organization played fast and loose with requirements of Nebraska's initiative statute, which requires that there be a sworn list of every sponsor.
     Nebraskans for the Death Penalty calls the just-filed lawsuit by Nebraskans for Public Safety (a opposing group) over the violation "frivolous" and a "technicality," despite the fact that in 2003 the Nebraska Supreme Court quashed an initiative which would have legalized video keno games for exactly such "frivolous" reasons.
     The World-Herald  notes that Ricketts is also alleged in the lawsuit to have violated his oath of office by seeking to overturn a state law, rather than working to uphold it.
     “The governor’s sponsorship of the referendum would show formally that rather than prepare to support, enforce and execute this duly passed law, he has instead aligned himself, his political allies and persons directly controlled and organized by him and sponsored this referendum,” stated the lawsuit, filed in Lancaster County District Court.
     “He has with his personal and family fortune largely financed the attempt to do away with a law he disfavors.”
    The lawsuit said the governor told state lawmakers that if they didn’t uphold his veto of the death penalty repeal, a referendum would be launched.
     Ricketts was unavailable for comment as he is absent from the state again on a "trade mission" to China and Japan, shortly after returning from a similar jaunt through Europe.
     Here's the press release from Nebraskans For Public Safety:

Nebraskans for Public Safety files lawsuit challenging death penalty referendum

September 17, 2015 - For Immediate Release   
Contact: Alan Peterson, General Counsel, Nebraskans for Public Safety, 402-416-3633 NEBRASKANS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY FILES LAWSUIT CHALLENGING DEATH PENALTY REFERENDUM
LINCOLN, Neb – Nebraskans for Public Safety filed suit in Lancaster County District Court today challenging the legal sufficiency of the death penalty referendum petition. The suit was filed on behalf of Lincoln residents and longtime death penalty opponents Christy and Richard Hargesheimer who are taxpayers concerned about the petition process. The named defendants are Secretary of State John Gale in his official capacity, Aimee Melton, Bob Evnen, Judy Glasburner, and Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, Inc. Click here to view a copy of the initial filing:
     The legal team representing the Hargesheimers include some of Nebraska’s leading and experienced attorneys: Alan Peterson, Jerry Soucie, Amy Miller, and Christopher Eickholt.
     “All Nebraskans support our robust tradition of direct democracy-including referendum campaigns. However, all Nebraskans also want a fair process where everyone plays by the rules. In the case of the death penalty referendum it is clear that Governor Ricketts and his supporters failed to do their due diligence and appeared to have cut corners. That undermines the integrity of the referendum process and that has legal consequences,” said Alan Peterson, lead counsel.
     “We look forward to having our day in court and defending a fair process for everyone. Nebraskans know the death penalty is broken beyond repair and belongs in our past. Powerful interests like the Governor are not entitled to their own set of rules to pursue their own political objectives. We are looking forward to having these issues decided outside of the political arena and before an impartial judiciary,” said Christy Hargesheimer.
     Nebraskans for Public Safety is a campaign committee organized to oppose the death penalty referendum. It is a statewide coalition conducting public education on smart alternatives to the death penalty -- such as life in prison without parole -- that put public safety first. Members include fiscal conservatives, faith leaders, victims’ families, and traditional death penalty opponents. Visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Stothert administration can't keep its stories straight about jacking up parking meter fees

Mayor Jean Stothert insisted before God* and KETV that doubling some meter rates, extending hours to 9 from 5 pm and charging people to park on Saturday was NOT a "money grab." (Unlike, perhaps, her administration's recent annexation binge.)
     She claimed it was because parking administration costs the city more than it brings in.
     Begging the Republican question: "Well, then, why don't you rip up the meters, sell Omaha's parking garages to private enterprise, and get the city out of the parking business?"
     But we digress. While Stothert said one thing in her press conference, Ken Smith, the city's Parking Division manager, said something else to the World-Herald: "Our goal is to increase turnover outside businesses and free up spaces so that customers and visitors to the downtown area can more easily find parking spaces."
     And what about people who work downtown?
     Many downtown employees, such as wait staff at restaurants, are likely to be less than thrilled about the changes. Asked about that Wednesday, Smith predicted that the changes will benefit restaurant workers, because easier parking would generate more customers.
     Hi! We're Republicans from the government Stothert administration and we're here to help you get more customers!
     Readers will note Stothert's exquisite sympathy for the flawed cognition of drivers circling the Old Market who might disagree with her assessment: “We have enough parking spaces downtown,” Stothert said. “It’s just that people perceive we don’t.”
*We don't know if Stothert actually goes to church regularly on Sundays, but she was so conspicuously pious while on Omaha's City Council in reciting prayers before meetings that you might have thought she mistook the governmental chamber for a chapel.

Like this post? Share it via social media icons below.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Walt Disney hanging with the boys on a South American beach

This photo will do nothing to throw cold water on persistent rumors about Uncle Walt's supposed bi- or homosexuality. The picture was taken during a cartoonist's strike in 1941 during which Disney took out a full page ad in Variety attributing the malcontentedness on the Disney plantation to "communistic" influences and not the fact that some Disney artists made $12 a week with no overtime while others made hundreds. In his absence, Walt left union negotiations to his brother Roy, who gave the union commies nearly everything they asked for. When Walt returned, he had his secretary separate the strikers' files from those who didn't picket, for future retribution. The screencap is from this week's American Experience two-part bio on Disney.
    One priceless moment from the documentary is film of Walt doing the voice-over for Mickey Mouse. Trust us, the clip is hilarious. We bet Walt was a riot in the sack with whomever he may or may not have slept with besides his wife.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sens. Sasse and Fischer target LGBTs with fraudulent law New York Times calls attack on 1st amendment

In the Senate, the so-called First Amendment Defense Act is called S. 1598. The House version, H.R. 2802, is sponsored by Jeff Fortenberry. Like much of what Sasse and Fischer and Fortenberry do and say, the bill is completely bogus. Here's what the New York Times wrote:
     It would do many things, but one thing it would not do is defend the First Amendment. To the contrary, it would deliberately warp the bedrock principle of religious freedom under the Constitution.
     The bill, versions of which have been circulating since 2013, gained a sudden wave of support after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. It is being hawked with the specter of clergy members being forced to officiate such marriages. This is a ploy, as the bill’s backers surely know: There has never been any doubt that the First Amendment protects members of the clergy from performing weddings against their will.
Attacking LGBTs in House:
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry
     In reality, the act would bar the federal government from taking “any discriminatory action” — including the denial of tax benefits, grants, contracts or licenses — against those who oppose same-sex marriage for religious or moral reasons. In other words, it would use taxpayers’ money to negate federal anti-discrimination measures protecting gays and lesbians, using the idea of religious freedom as cover.
     For example, a religiously affiliated college that receives federal grants could fire a professor simply for being gay and still receive those grants. Or federal workers could refuse to process the tax returns of same-sex couples simply because of bigotry against their marriages...

Like this post? Share it via social media icons below.

The 44-year-old Swede responsible for more hits than Phil Spector, Michael Jackson or the Beatles

If you thought the Wrecking Crew and the Funk Bros. dominated pop music in an unprecedented way in the 1960s, you haven't been paying attention to pop music today. From The Atlantic:

     The biggest pop star in America today is a man named Karl Martin Sandberg. ...Sandberg grew up in a remote suburb of Stockholm and is now 44... He is responsible for more hits than Phil Spector, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles.
     Ater Sandberg come the bald Norwegians, Mikkel Eriksen and Tor Hermansen, 43 and 44; Lukasz Gottwald, 42, a Sandberg protégé and collaborator ...and another Sandberg collaborator named Esther Dean, 33, a former nurse’s aide from Oklahoma who was discovered in the audience of a Gap Band concert, singing along to “Oops Upside Your Head.” They use pseudonyms professionally, but most Americans wouldn’t recognize those, either: Max Martin, Stargate, Dr. Luke, and Ester Dean.
     ...Millions of Swifties and KatyCats—as well as Beliebers, Barbz, and Selenators, and the Rihanna Navy—would be stunned by the revelation that a handful of people, a crazily high percentage of them middle-aged Scandinavian men, write most of America’s pop hits. 
     ...A short-attention-span culture demands short-attention-span songs. The writers of Tin Pan Alley and Motown had to write only one killer hook to get a hit. Now you need a new high every seven seconds—the average length of time a listener will give a radio station before changing the channel. “It’s not enough to have one hook anymore,” Jay Brown, a co-founder of Jay Z’s Roc Nation label, tells Seabrook. “You’ve got to have a hook in the intro, a hook in the pre, a hook in the chorus, and a hook in the bridge, too.”

Monday, September 14, 2015

Procter & Gamble mocks heterosexual supremacists

UPDATE: The ad below is not real.

But hey, why should the soap behemoth worry about offending fundies—they already think the company's moon and stars logo is the mark of the devil... or Islam.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Twitter disgust at IA Rep. Steve King's comparison of Kim Davis and Rosa Parks is so fierce even the Des Moines Register is covering it

The Des Moines register is covering the backlash on twitter over Rep. Steve King's tweet saying "In 1963, we should not have honored SCOTUS decision to creat a wall of separation between prayer & school. Kim Davis for Rosa Parks Award." They have printed some of the milder comments. Us, we'll opt for the fiercer sass:

Monday, September 7, 2015

Fox News turns on diva Christian KY county clerk
who stopped issuing all marriage licenses because
she disapproves of gay marriage

“She’s a hypocrite,” said criminal defense attorney Sharon Liko. “She’s applying for the job of a martyr. She wants to practice her faith by not issuing marriage licenses. Yet, she will not agree to let the deputy county clerks issue marriage licenses even if it’s okay with their faith.”
     It didn't end there. Davis's legal defense, by Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel was called "ridiculously stupid."
     And it didn't end there either because even America's most famous redneck political commenters are now cheerfully mocking Kim Davis.

Father of gay student stripped, beaten at ND Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity: You don't know what I want to see happen to them

“What do I want to see happen? I am a parent, you don’t want to know what I want to see happen to them.” said Dan Grissvold to KVLY. Police and the University are investigating.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rednecks now mocking Kim Davis even better than the gays are

Move over, Betty Bowers. You just got owned by Travis and Jonathan, who, we found out from @Blabbeando, are back to making viciously funny videos. "Herzogian!"

Like this post? Share it via social media icons below.

An ode to Christer diva Kim Davis

Actually Davis's husband #4 is the same guy as Davis husband #2.

(Via TampaDink/JMG)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

KY County Clerk Kim Davis jailed for contempt of court; deputy clerks may join her if they don't agree today to issue marriage licenses to gay couples

Lex18 has a video report here.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

In Rowan County, KY, it's all about Kim Davis

Today, County Attorney Cecil Watkins said, in an interview with Kentucky Trial News, that KIM DAVIS has been coercing deputy clerks who are willing to issue same sex marriage licenses, into not doing so. Her rationale is, apparently, that it's all about her. Since her name appears on the certificate, no one else can issue one either, regardless of their religious convictions. And opposite sex couples can't get married either, because then KIM DAVIS would be discriminating solely against gays and it would (slightly) weaken her court defense. Today, Thursday, is martyr-palooza day as it is KIM's federal contempt of court hearing.

After forcing dying gay woman to sue for marriage recognition, NE AG Don Peterson wants to make sure she can't recover legal expenses

Even the U.S. Supreme Court has not ended Nebraska Attorney General Don Peterson's scorched earth policy toward LGBTs in the state. He has spent freely to stall gay marriage in Nebraska, forcing a dying woman to sue Nebraska, spent freely to support efforts by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (now under indictment for securities fraud)  to cut off family medical leave for legally marriage gay couples, and now he's spending even more to ensure the folks he forced into suing for their rights cannot recover legal costs after the Ricketts administration's complete failure to stave off what has been obviously inevitable since last year's Windsor decision: equal treatment of LGBTs in the granting of civil marriage licenses.
     From SCOTUS BLOG:
     Couples who sued in many states are now pursuing further orders, including an award of lawyers’ fees.  In response, Nebraska’s lawyers have now gone further than other states have, seeking en banc review of the dispute by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
     A three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit on August 11 rejected Nebraska’s argument that the Nebraska case, Waters v. Ricketts, was now moot and should be dismissed without a final order in the couples’ favor.  The panel said that the Supreme Court had only struck down four states’ bans specifically — not including Nebraska’s — and did not rule on any couples’ right to state benefits that go with marriage.  Like other couples, the seven couples in that state had sued not only to get the chance to marry, but to gain its benefits.
      While noting that state officials had assured the Eighth Circuit that they stopped enforcing that state’s ban as soon as the Supreme Court had ruled, the panel said the state had not yet “repealed or amended” its ban.  “Nebraska’s assurances of compliance…do not moot the case,” it declared...
     Nevertheless, Peterson now wants an en banc review of the three-judge, Eighth Circuit panel's rejection of his arguments, meaning that he wants to waste the time of eight judges, not just three.
     And you'll be footing part of the bill for Peterson's never-say-die, money-is-no-object, radical right wing agenda, Nebraska taxpayers. 

UPDATE: Peterson's en banc request has been denied.
Courtesy of Equality Case Files

AFL-CIO LGBTs fed up with HRC Walmart gaywashing; urge union members not to contribute to HRC

The AFL-CIO gay subgroup Pride at Work has had it with what it sees as the Human Rights Foundation's relentless indulgence of two-faced corporatism in respect of the treatment of LGBT employees via HRC's Corporate Equality Index. From the Advocate:

     Although Pride at Work leaders tell The Advocate that several companies with anti-union practices and demonstrated hostility toward LGBT employees continue to receive high scores on HRC’s CEI, the resolution calls out one particularly egregious example: Walmart, which received a score of 90 (out of a possible 100) on the most recent CEI, the same year the retail chain’s policies were ruled unlawfully discriminatory in a case filed by a lesbian employee after Walmart refused to allow her to add her cancer-stricken wife to her company insurance plan. That suit, initially filed by Jacqueline Cote, has now become a class-action lawsuit alleging that Walmart systematically discriminated against its employees in same-sex relationships. 
     ...Pride at Work executive director Jerame Davis explains to The Advocate. “Union contracts that include LGBT nondiscrimination policies not only require a company to have a policy on the books, but they also force a company to adhere to those policies in a real way. A union collective bargaining agreement gives workers a process by which they can address discrimination and unfair work practices with their employer that other workers simply don’t have. When more than half of the states in the union do not protect workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, union-busting is very much an LGBT issue, but HRC apparently doesn’t see it that way.”
     ...“What’s more, the CEI doesn’t account for a corporation’s compliance with their own policies,” continues Davis. “HRC will readily admit they have no ability to verify that the policies they grade in the CEI are actually followed by the company. So, not only do they not grade employers on their willingness to let workers organize a union, they have no actual means of ensuring these companies they give high marks are actually treating their LGBT workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
You can read Pride At Work's anti-HRC resolution at the Advocate by clicking on the top link. We were unable find it Wednesday on Pride At Work's website, if it exists there at all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The New York Times eviscerates Kim and Casey Davis for refusing to issue LGBT marriage licenses

Read the entire piece at the New York Times' editorial page editor's blog here.
     To quote Justice Antonin Scalia in a recent case involving another First Amendment claim of religious freedom, “This is really easy.”
     In short, Ms. Davis has no right, constitutional or otherwise, to refuse to do the job Kentucky pays her to do. As a municipal official, she is required to issue marriage licenses to anyone who may legally get married. Since June 26, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution forbids states to ban same-sex marriage, that population includes April Miller, Karen Roberts, David Ermold and David Moore — the two couples she rebuffed on Tuesday.
    The Davises don’t seem to understand the two-sided game they’re playing, appealing to the Constitution even as they violate it. Perhaps they forgot that the First Amendment protects the people from the government, not the other way around... it’s worth repeating once again: No one is telling Ms. Davis what she may or may not believe, or how to live her own life in accord with the dictates of her conscience and her God. What they are saying is that as an employee and representative of the government, she lives under the law, not above it.
Over at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern wonders if the well-heeled Liberty Counsel isn't hanging Kim Davis out to dry while milking her case for publicity and donations.

Video: incensed gay man pounds counter after Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan Co., KY, denies him marriage license for 4th time in defiance of law

KY Atty Gen. Jack Conway, who said in 2013:“I know where
history is going on this...From a legal standpoint
I draw the line at discrimination.
The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that James Yates and Will Smith on Friday asked Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins to prosecute Davis for official misconduct due to her recent refusal to issue ANY marriage licenses, a request he referred to Attorney General Jack Conway’s office because Watkins is defending two suits filed against the county. Also:
A motion was filed Tuesday, asking U.S. District Judge David Bunning to hold Davis in contempt. Bunning scheduled a contempt hearing for 11 a.m. Thursday in Ashland. At that time, the gay couples will have to present evidence, which could include testimony from Davis herself. Bunning would then decide on punishment. That could include fines, jail time or both, but the motion asks the judge
Below, a second couple, David Moore and David Ermold, whose marriage license application also was rejected a fourth time this morning by Kim Davis' office, demand that Davis issue them a marriage license.

Public opinion, according to WKYT's nonscientific poll, is not running in favor of County Clerk Kim Davis, the devout traditional marriage advocate who has been married four times.

Like this post? Share it via social media icons below.