I get to do what I want: Huckabee vows to replace White House rainbow lights with nativity scene

 | Raw Story | June 28, 2015

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee said that the Supreme Court’s ruling affirming same-sex marriage may force Christians to practice Martin Luther King-like civil disobedience and that, if elected president, he would replace the rainbow lights shining on the White House with a nativity scene at Christmas time.

Huckabee drew attention to President Obama’s decision to light the White House with rainbow colors to celebrate the ruling, saying it was fine but for people not to complain when he becomes president.

“When the president lit up the White House the other night with rainbow colors, I guess that’s his prerogative.,” Huckabee said. “If I become president, I just want to remind people that please don’t complain if I were to put a nativity scene out during Christmas and say, you know, if it’s my house, I get to do with it what I wish despite what other people around the country may feel about it.”

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Katie Couric interviews Ted Cruz



In just his first term in the United States Senate, Ted Cruz has made a name for himself. The Texas Republican and presidential candidate joins Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric to discuss his campaign, his record and his new book, “A Time for Truth.” Watch the live stream here at 9:00 a.m. ET on Monday, June 29th.


Bernie Sanders Was Ahead of the Curve on Gay Rights

Bernie Sanders. (photo: The Hill)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: The Hill)


Mark Hensch | The Hill | Readers Supported News | Jue 28, 2015

en. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Saturday he has been waiting for the nation to catch up to his support for same-sex marriage.

Sanders’ remarks come a day after Friday’s landmark 5-4 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

He argued he was well ahead of the historic decision, unlike Hillary Clinton, his main rival for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

“Back in 1996, that was a tough vote,” Sanders said of his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

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How Bravo TV Is Helping End Racism in America

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (photo:  Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar | TIME | Reader Supported News | June 28, 2015


It’s fighting against cultural racism like that shown by defenders of the Confederate flag


lot of people look at Bravo TV’s lineup of table-flipping, backstabbing, wig-wearing, felon-making reality shows as a clear sign of the cultural apocalypse. If people are actually watching these shows, they warn, End Times are clearly upon us. I think it’s the opposite. The unrelenting pettiness of most cast members stewed with raw chunks of desperation for fame at the cost of personal dignity may seem unappetizing at first. But the harsh truths about our society that simmer beneath the frothy surface provide a tasty and hearty diet of insight and inspiration. That’s why Bravo may be one of America’s best hopes for the elimination of racism.

Go ahead, take a breath. You’ll probably want to reread that last sentence just to make sure you saw it correctly. Did Kareem just say that We Shall Overcome by watching NeNe Leakes’s ranting in Louis Vuittons and a weave? Here’s what I mean: America has two kinds of racism—institutional and cultural. Institutional racism has been welded to the infrastructure of our society in our basic institutions of law enforcement, the judiciary, education, and politics. The rules of the game and the people who interpret and enforce those rules have perpetuated an uneven playing field regarding opportunities for people of color. That’s a fact supported by pretty much every recent study as well as daily news stories. The only way to get rid of institutional racism is through legislation. Each rule, law, provision, and hallowed tradition that undermines the constitutional mandate for equality must be legislated out of existence. That’s the political arena, and we have many dedicated patriots of all colors fighting every single day to make sure that happens.

Cultural racism is trickier to fight. We can’t legislate biased attitudes, corrupt upbringing, unsound reasoning, or self-destructive behavior. These personal flaws are guaranteed by the Constitution, as long as one doesn’t act on these flaws to the detriment of others. This kind of racism is insidious in that it subliminally suggests the inferiority of one group while not stating it overtly. We get enough of these subliminal messages, and it aligns our prejudices accordingly. It’s how magicians manipulate audience members to do or say what they want them to, as demonstrated in the movies Now You See Me and Will Smith’s Focus.

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Voting Laws Roundup 2015

Women are demonstrating at the White House demanding voting rights in 1918. (AP Photo/Files)


Staff | Brennan Center for Justice | Tuthout | June 28, 2015

As the early stages of the 2016 presidential race begin, state legislatures are already considering hundreds of laws that could determine voters’ access to the ballot. Since the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, and as of May 13, 2015, at least 113 bills that would restrict access to registration and voting have been introduced or carried over in 33 states. Over the same time period, at least 464 bills that would enhance access to voting were introduced or carried over in 48 states plus the District of Columbia.

For the third year in a row, bills to expand voters’ access to the ballot box outpace those to restrict voting, both in terms of introduction and enactment. This strong show of support for making the ballot accessible has not necessarily put voters ahead of where they have been in recent years, because some recent restrictive legislation continues to make it harder for citizens to participate.

Voting Restrictions

Of the 113 bills restricting access in this legislative session (including bills carried over from last session), 6 of them are active in 5 states, in that there has been legislative activity beyond introduction and referral to a committee in 2015 (such as hearings, committee activity, or votes).

The Disparate Impact of Climate Change

Coal power

The Pope’s new encyclical illuminates a concept we should all get to know better: disparate impact. (Image: Coal power via Shutterstock)


Sheila Suess Kennedy | Inequality.org | Truthout | June 28, 2015

Constitutional lawyers who work on issues of equal rights use the term “disparate impact,” a term describing laws that—despite being facially neutral—have a very different effect upon citizens who are differently situated. Sometimes that different impact is intended; often it is not.

What brought that bit of “legalese” to mind was this recent headline in the New York Times: “Pope Francis to Explore Climate’s Impact on the World’s Poor.”

The article began by discussing a recent meeting between high-level representatives of the U.N. and the Pope:

Mr. Ban, the United Nations secretary general, had brought the leaders of all his major agencies to see Pope Francis, a show of organizational muscle and respect for a meeting between two global institutions that had sometimes shared a bumpy past but now had a mutual interest.

The agenda was poverty, and Francis inveighed against the “economy of exclusion” as he addressed Mr. Ban’s delegation at the Apostolic Palace. But in an informal meeting with Mr. Ban and his advisers, Francis shifted the discussion to the environment and how environmental degradation weighed heaviest on the poor.

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Leave No One Behind: Gay Marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges and the March Forward

Participants march in Chicago’s 2014 Dyke March. Organizers of the annual event work to create a space that is radical, inclusive, and safe for criminalized individuals. (Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee) Participants march in Chicago’s 2014 Dyke March. Organizers of the annual event work to create a space that is radical, inclusive and safe for criminalized individuals. (Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee) Kelly Hayes | Transformative Spaces | Truthout | June 28, 2015 I think this excerpt from an exchange with a friend best explains my feelings, as a queer woman of color, about the Supreme Court decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges:

“I hope it [marriage] eventually ceases to exist as a legal construct, and that we all have the rights it affords by virtue of our humanity, but today, I’m really glad for my gay friends, and I know you’re not one of those people who would ever stop fighting for those left behind by such victories, and I love you for that.”

But to add to those thoughts… I appreciate that my friends who will benefit from the decision are not the kind of people who would leave anyone behind, and as much as the exclusionary language SCOTUS opinion offends me, I am happy for those of you who will now have the same rights that I was afforded by virtue of choosing a man as my primary life partner. I’m glad that if you become seriously ill, like I did years ago, you may now be able to seek the benefits of each other’s health insurance – a privilege that literally saved my life. I’m glad that you may get the chance to claim other benefits that have been wrongly channeled toward a select segment of society, and I’m glad that you will be able to put a little more space between yourselves and the dark history, and for some, current realities, of how this country has treated you. Read more

Women’s Prisons as Sites of Resistance: An Interview With Victoria Law

Victoria Law (Photo: PM Press)

Victoria Law. (Photo: PM Press)


Maya Schenwar | Truthout | June 28, 2015

In Resistance Behind Bars, regular Truthout contributor Victoria Law provides much-needed documentation of collective organizing and the daily struggles inside women’s prisons. This second edition inscludes powerful new sections examining the challenges facing trans, intersex and gender-variant people in prison as well as their acts of resistance. Order this award-winning book today by making a contribution to Truthout!

When we think of protest behind bars, what comes to mind? For many people, that list would include the Attica uprising, the work of George Jackson, the struggles of the Angola 3 activists, the 2013 California prison hunger strike and other crucial instances of resistance – mostly organized by incarcerated men.

Too often, organizing work done by incarcerated women goes wholly unrecognized. In her book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, Victoria Law focuses on the many forms of activism happening inside of women’s prisons, most of which never reach the dominant media.

In the following interview, Law shares stories of little-known actions, insights into what constitutes “activism,” and ways in which individual acts of resistance are building toward a transformational new reality.

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Some Southern Officials Are Already Dragging Their Feet On Marriage Equality

John Gallagher | Queerty | June 26, 2015

When the Supreme Court makes a ruling, governors ignore it at their own peril. But there are a handful of Southern officials–governors, attorneys general, judges–who are not willing to accept marriage equality as the law of the land–at least not yet.

Rather than bow to the inevitable, they are relying on delay tactics and angry rhetoric to stop marriages in their state. In doing so, they are trying to make a point to conservative Christians who are a key part of their Republican voting base. Here’s a roundup of state’s where governors are trying–often unsuccessfully–to pretend today never happened.

Mississippi. Attorney General Jim Hood is in no hurry to allow marriages in his state, preferring instead to wait until he absolutely has to. “The Supreme Court’s decision is not immediately effective in Mississippi,” Hood said. “It will become effective in Mississippi, and circuit clerks will be required to issues same-sex marriage licenses, when the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge [Carlton] Reeves’ order.” Hood offers the wan hope that the court may not lift the stay but issue an order, which would take considerably longer.

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Military Sexual Assault Reform Stalls Again

s.e. smith | Care2 | Report | Truthout | June 27, 2015

Yet another attempt at addressing the epidemic of military sexual assault just failed in Congress, illustrating the vicious partisan divide on the subject that’s making it nearly impossible to enact needed legislation to protect servicemembers across the United States and abroad. The Pentagon itself, along with numerous third party organizations and government agencies, has identified military sexual assault as a pernicious problem that needs to be addressed with fundamental changes to the reporting and prosecuting process, but attempts by members of Congress like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to address this problem have run up against brick walls.

The issue has become a hallmark cause for Senator Gillibrand, who wants to take the authority for handling rape cases out of the chain of command and make it the responsibility of outside military prosecutors. She, and many supporters, argue that this would resolve many of the issues that are making it difficult for rape survivors to come forward and receive fair treatment in their cases. Advocates argue that in addition to increasing the chances of seeing a positive outcome in the wake of sexual assault, the legislation will also protect the careers and livelihoods of victims and survivors.

Pentagon estimates suggest that tens of thousands of “unwanted sexual contacts” happen every year in the military, including sexual harassment, assault and rape. More than half of the victims are men. Many male victims of rape in the military are reluctant to speak out because they fear being mocked or stigmatized in addition to facing the litany of problems all sexual assault victims in the military have to weigh before coming forward.

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