Tag: legislation

Surprise, surprise, surprise! NY Times endorses transgender equality

see There are surprises in life.  One happened wednesday.  At least I never expected to see the Editorial Board of the New York Times endorse best online price propecia Civil Rights for Transgender People.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=rx-generic-free-viagra Note:  The original title of the opinion used transgender as a noun ( viagra generico 100 mg in farmacia senza ricetta pagamento online a Bologna http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=cialis-generico-acquisto-sicuro-online Civil Rights for Transgenders).  The paper has acceded to complaints by changing it.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=prednisone-pets-no-prescription New York stood for equality by approving same-sex marriage two years ago.  It is time now for state lawmakers to extend basic civil rights protections to transgender people.  The 2002 state statute that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit and public accommodations does not explicitly cover transgender people.

comprare viagra generico 100 mg spedizione veloce a Verona There’s more about the effort to bring that equality to transgender people on the inside.

Obama’s Jobs Plan in 90 Seconds

comprare viagra online generico a Roma Sign up for our email alerts and be the first to know when we release new episodes.

On September 8th, President Barack Obama introduced his plan to create jobs and curb unemployment; The American Jobs Act.

A tough road lies ahead for the American Jobs Act, with Republicans lining up against it and some conservative Democrats publicly expressing concerns. But behind the political chatter there is a bill and whether you like it or not it is important to know what is actually in it.

You’ve got 90 seconds, so please check out this week’s episode. And as always, more information below the fold.

Starving the Beast: Cut, Cap and Balance

cross-posted from Main Street Insider

The debt limit is a largely symbolic check on excessive borrowing which in the past has been frequently raised with little to no controversy. Such periodic increases are necessary to keep the government running and paying its bills, regardless of ideology.

However, Congressional Republicans are now demanding that certain conditions must be met in order to win their approval of a debt ceiling increase. They have termed their list of demands Cut, Cap and Balance, and claim it is a necessary measure in order to keep the government debt from spiraling out of control, and thus keep the country functioning.

Yet the Cut, Cap and Balance Act scheduled to reach the House floor this week is anything but necessary to keep the country functioning in its . Rather, it is the crown jewel, the final step of conservatives’ long-pursued “Starve the Beast” strategy to downsize government. It would radically limit the flexibility of the federal government to provide a social safety net, buttress the economy in tough times and respond to great national challenges, now and into the future.

But don’t take my word for it. Check out this week’s 90 Second Summary and decide for yourself:

Alabama’s Brain Drain

The state of Alabama on Thursday passed the strictest illegal immigration legislation imaginable.  In November, Republicans took formal control of both the state House and Senate for the first time since Reconstruction.  However, this by itself was not necessarily the determining factor to ensure passage.  Until this session, a majority of very conservative Democrats by in large peopled both chambers.  But, back then, there were enough voices present who held other ideological views to push back against reactionary bills like this one.  Even with the prior legislative balance of power, sentiments like these often found political favor.  In an economically poor state desperate to find a scapegoat to explain recent financial woes, it was only a matter of time before migrant Latino workers were targeted.  When all else fails, find someone different than you to blame.          

WikiLeaks and What It Says About Us

It is easy to be cynical in light of the Wikileaks revelations.  The automatic believers in the worst case and the perfidious have had confirmation followed by confirmation in the past few days.  An intelligence community and a President promising greater transparency has not followed through on its lofty promises.  Do as I say, not as I do, would seem to be its modus opperandi.  While I recognize that having the strongest hand at the bargaining table is considered the key to diplomacy, the behind-the-scenes sausage factory present here only confirms the fears of many Americans.  The timing could not be worse, especially when a strong anti-government sentiment swept the GOP to power in the House.          

90 Second Summary: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

For Episode 7, we look ahead to next month’s lame duck session and preview a bill likely to be examined in the Senate in the first week back. The “food safety bill” enjoys strong bipartisan support and is likely to receive over 90 Senate votes if it gets that far, but is being blocked from consideration by Sen. Coburn for budgetary reasons.

Its fate at this point will be determined almost entirely by the amount of floor time Democratic leaders are willing to spend on it. But in case you’d like to nudge them one way or the other and want to learn more beforehand, here’s the skinny on S. 510, The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

One-page summary below the fold…

S01E05: H.R. 2521 – National Infrastructure Development Bank Act

Cross-posted from Main Street Insider

Check back on Wednesday for our first Sponsor Special with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT3). One-page summary below the fold…

S01E04: H.R. 1751, The DREAM Act

This is cross-posted from Main Street Insider

One page summary below the fold…

90 Second Summaries

A while back, a couple of us here at Sum of Change got involved in meetings with a great group of folks about working together to provide insider reporting of Capitol Hill with an outsider perspective. In time, we became Main Street Insider. Today, Main Street Insider released a new show, 90 Second Summaries.

The purpose of 90 Second Summaries is simple, provide citizens on Main Street with a quick synopsis of what a bill is all about. The first three episodes come out today, tomorrow and Thursday, with new ones every following Monday. Each video comes with a one-page summary (which you can view online or download as a pdf) containing everything you will need to learn even more about any piece of legislation.

Without further ado, presenting Season 1, Episode 1: H.R. 4790, Shareholder Protection Act

The following is cross-posted from Main Street Insider:

On Taming The Financial Beast, Or, Sausage Gets Made, You Get To Watch

While we’ve all been busy watching the “oil spill live cam”, a similar uncontrolled discharge has been taking place in Washington, DC

In this case, however, it’s lobbyists that are spilling all over the landscape as the House and Senate attempt to merge their two visions of financial reform.

They’re trying desperately to influence the outcome of the conference in which House and Senate negotiators have been engaged; this to craft the exact language of the reconciled legislation.

There’s an additional element of drama hovering over the events as eight House members, including one of the most vocal of the Republican negotiators, face ethics questions related to this very bill.

The best part: if you’re enough of a political geek, you can actually watch the events unfold, unedited and unfiltered, from the comfort of your very own computer.

So far, it’s been amazing political theater, and if you follow along I’ll tell you how you can get in on the fun, too.

“The Winter of America’s Discontent”

Our leaders have offered excuse after excuse to try to explain why they won’t can’t pass social legislation.  Not since the time of LBJ have they passed any social legislation of significance.  Why could LBJ get such landmark legislation pushed through Congress as the following, and in such a very short time frame, while the Democratic majority of both Houses of Congress and a Democratic Administration is mired in self-inflicted gridlock?  Here’s a reminder of what was accomplished in two short years a few decades ago (and these are just the really big ones–there were many more also passed, and worth a few minutes to check them out  here : (all emphasis mine)

The Mental Illness Stigma Takes a Sexist Dimension

As I myself struggle with a chronic disease of the brain best known as mental illness, I am constantly aware of discriminatory practices towards those who suffer with the same disability as I do. To make a long story short, some years back I befriended a woman who attended the same support group as I did.  She and I have maintained close contact ever since then and I frequently serve as a sympathetic ear when she needs someone to talk to about how her illness complicates her daily life and complicates her understandable desire to be the best mother that she can to her kids.  At times she is deeply reluctant to share with me the issues most pressing and more distressing, but today she opened up and talked at length about a matter that had been troubling her for quite some time.

My friend deals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and depression, two conditions I struggle with myself. For many reasons, money being one of them, she’s been off her meds for the past several months and is unwilling to seek further treatment. Since she has recently separated from her soon-to-be ex-husband, she is reluctant to go to a psychiatrist and be prescribed new meds because she fears losing custody of her three children.  I believed her worry to be justified, but it wasn’t until I did some research to bolster my argument that I realized just how commonplace a problem this is.  The below passage spells out the matter in detail.

Some state laws cite mental illness as a condition that can lead to loss of custody or parental rights. Thus, parents with mental illness often avoid seeking mental health services for fear of losing custody of their children. Custody loss rates for parents with mental illness range as high as 70-80 percent, and a higher proportion of parents with serious mental illnesses lose custody of their children than parents without mental illness. Studies that have investigated this issue report that:

   *

     Only one-third of children with a parent who has a serious mental illness are being raised by that parent.

   *

     In New York, 16 percent of the families involved in the foster care system and 21 percent of those receiving family preservation services include a parent with a mental illness.

   *

     Grandparents and other relatives are the most frequent caretakers if a parent is psychiatrically hospitalized, however other possible placements include voluntary or involuntary placement in foster care.[1]

The major reason states take away custody from parents with mental illness is the severity of the illness, and the absence of other competent adults in the home.[2] Although mental disability alone is insufficient to establish parental unfitness, some symptoms of mental illness, such as disorientation and adverse side effects from psychiatric medications, may demonstrate parental unfitness. A research study found that nearly 25 percent of caseworkers had filed reports of suspected child abuse or neglect concerning their clients.[3]

The loss of custody can be traumatic for a parent and can exacerbate their illness, making it more difficult for them to regain custody. If mental illness prevents a parent from protecting their child from harmful situations, the likelihood of losing custody is drastically increased.

Having mental illness is bad enough, but for women with mental illness, the repercussions are far more severe.  A lethal combination of sexism and Paternalism is to blame.  Recent history records the most extreme cases, instances which were blown out of proportion and sensationalized to such a degree that they tainted our understanding of brain disorders, particularly regarding women with children.  The image in most peoples’ minds likely flashes back to the negative publicity surrounding the Andrea Yates case, in which a mother suffering from post-partum depression and psychosis drowned her children.  A second example is Dena Schlosser, who, suffering from postpartum psychosis, killed her eleven-month-old daughter believing she was sacrificing her to God.  A less well known example is that of Assia Wevill, Ted Hughes’ second wife, a depressive, who killed herself and her four-year-old daughter in a murder/suicide.  Extreme cases like these have led many to believe that children must be uprooted and taken away from mothers who suffer from any degree of mental illness, no matter how minor.  If only it were that simple.  Yet again, women are deemed not responsible enough to handle their personal lives, the state (and we, by proxy), jump the gun and assume that keeping children safe is more important than understanding the crucial nuances of the situation.

I severely dislike the term “mental illness” because the phrasing makes it seem as though all brain disorders are similar.  Mental illness is an umbrella term, but it is not a precise diagnosis.  Brain disorders vary in severity and in their physical manifestation.  Many assume that mentally ill means psychotic or schizophrenic, when those are merely the most severe forms of a vast spectrum of related, but not identical disorders. I cannot emphasize enough that many people who are treated properly with medications lead otherwise normal lives with the need for a few modest changes in lifestyle here and then as the case may be.  This goes for mothers in the same way as for fathers.  In being so draconian about custody rights, government overreaches, assuming a child must be protected from a parent who is likely to abuse her child.  

I wish we would learn that policies implemented out of a fear of bad publicity and a resulting media firestorm have many times created major problems often more severe than the ones they’ve sought to address.  To be fair, while specific legislation has been passed to address this matter, laws are only as effective as those who follow them and those who enforce them properly.  The letter of the law does not address the stigma which exists in the minds of those who do not understand the peculiarities and particulars of a still very misunderstood and still taboo subject.  To best address this travesty of justice, it will take more exposure and more visibility to bring an end to this.

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