OH FFS

A brief round up of the amazingly stupid and awful…

Rally to keep the Confederate flag flying (Mashable/Twitter)

Rally to keep the Confederate flag flying (Mashable/Twitter)

Mississippi governor Phil Bryant recently proclaimed April to be Confederate Heritage Month , adding an official flourish to a longstanding tradition in his state and several others. April, he wrote in the proclamation, is “the month in which the Confederate States began and ended a four-year struggle”.

Bryant’s proclamation does not mention the central cause of the struggle – slavery – but instead announces the month as a chance to “gain insight from our mistakes and successes” and to “earnestly strive to understand and appreciate our heritage and our opportunities which lie before us”. It also sets aside 25 April as “Confederate Memorial Day”.

Full Story Here.

 Beata Szydło supports the motion to ban abortion. Photograph: East News/REX/Shutterstock

Beata Szydło supports the motion to ban abortion. Photograph: East News/REX/Shutterstock

The Polish prime minister, Beata Szydło, said she backs moves towards a total ban on abortion, in a sign the nationalist government may be set to turn its attention to the nuclear family.

A campaign against abortion is due to be launched this Sunday in the country’s Roman Catholic churches. Priests have been asked to read out a letter from the bishops’ conference calling for Poland’s existing, limited abortion rights to be scrapped.

[Read more…]

The importance of pets

Naeila El Shatir considers her cat Sherry to be part of the family. (CBC)

Naeila El Shatir considers her cat Sherry to be part of the family. (CBC)

Thanks to Tim Gueguen for the heads up. Naeila El Shatir, a Syrian refugee, was very happy to be going to Canada, but she also had a great need to ensure another refugee made it with her, her cat Sherry.

“This cat suffered as we suffered in the war. He was always afraid,” she explained. “He spent a very difficult time with us. He always looked at me to ask, ‘When will all of this end?'”

[…]

For El Shatir, who counseled refugee children with psychosocial issues, taking care of Sherry became a form of therapy and a way of honouring her sister’s memory.

In February, El Shatir and her elderly mother were accepted as government-sponsored refugees in Canada, but pets were not allowed.

“There is no chance,” El Shatir said. “There is a big list of what you can bring and can’t bring. I can’t bring cats or plants.”

El Shatir was torn over whether to leave Sherry behind. In the end, she entrusted Sherry with her brother who promised to complete the extensive medical screening and paper work required to ship a cat to Canada.

[…]

“I thank Canada, its people, its government for giving the Syrian people a chance to restart our lives again. To have a chance to live in a normal way and a safe way. Also for giving my cat another chance to live.”

There seems to be a prevailing sense that any refugee should be damn glad to be out of a bad situation, who cares if they are treated like human beings floating about. It’s good to see there are people who do understand how difficult it is for refugees, and something like a beloved pet can make all the difference to a person, especially one who has been subjected to ongoing trauma. You Canadians are serious nice.

Washington D.C.: travel ban to NC

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

Washington D.C. Bans Employees From Traveling to North Carolina

The mayor of Washington, D.C., has banned all nonessential employee travel to North Carolina after the state passed an anti-LGBT law that bars transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity and eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted out the executive order banning travel for government employees, saying, “We stand with the LGBTQ community and against discrimination.”

[…]

D.C. joins Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Chicago,Vermont, and Washington State in barring employees from traveling to North Carolina.

When Indiana passed a so-called religious freedom bill last year, a similar backlash had entire states clamping down on travel. The governors of Connecticut, New York, and Washington all issued orders banning nonessential travel to Indiana until that law was amended.

[…]

The consequences to North Carolina, its economics, and its reputation as an inclusive state are piling up. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit. The entertainment company Lionsgate has relocated a television series. The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, is asking North Carolina businesses to move to the Windy City in order to avoid controversy.

Full story here. It’s good to see people pouring on the pressure. Sooner or later, the message that hate is not to be legislated must hit home, and hard.

Georgia: Special Session Call to Override Veto

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor's veto of the antigay "religious liberty" bill.

State Sen. Mike Crane is calling on his fellow lawmakers to meet for a special session to override the governor’s veto of the antigay “religious liberty” bill.

Right-wing Georgia politicians are seeking a special session in an attempt to override Republican Gov. Nathan Deal’s veto of a controversial antigay “religious freedom” bill today.

Only minutes after Deal announced the veto in a press conference, Republican State Sen. Mike Crane called for the special session , reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Crane, currently running for Congress, released a statement on his website,  saying, “Our government needs committed conservatives who never stop fighting to protect the constitution.”

He also made a statement that appeared to refer to business opposition to House Bill 757 and threats from entertainment companies to boycott Georgia if the bill became law. “The announcement by Governor Deal is another example of how the political class is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists,” Crane said. [Except for when those corporations and lobbyists are doing something in their favour, then it’s just dandy!]

[…]

But lawmakers who supported the measure are not giving up yet. The Journal-Constitution reports that Sen. Josh McKoon told Boston NPR station WBUR, “The question we have to resolve is whether or not government is going to be used to punish people with a particular point of view [Oh how I wish irony poisoning was a real thing]. … I fully expect we’ll be back next year debating this again.”

Full Story.

NC may lose federal funding

pat-mccroryx750

Governor Pat McCrory

North Carolina has faced intense pressure to repeal House Bill 2 from major businesses such as Apple and Facebook, but now, they may lose billions of dollars in federal funding for passing the anti-LGBT bill.

The Obama administration is in the process of considering whether HB2 makes the state ineligible for federal funding for schools, highways, and housing, reports The New York Times. House Bill 2 bans transgender people from accessing public facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, eliminates all existing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances in the state, and prohibits cities from adopting any new ones.

The Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development all told the paper that they are currently reviewing the law to determine whether the state will continue to be eligible for federal funding.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Education told The Times on Friday that they “will not hesitate to act if students’ civil rights are being violated.” Last year, they provided the state with $4.3 billion dollars in funding for kindergarden through 12th grade, and for colleges, reports The Times.

If states are going to insist on legislating hate and bigotry, I think it’s a fine idea for them to lose all federal funding. Then they can see how much it is worth to them to continue embracing their hate. The full story is at The Advocate.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

On the Mississippi bill, considered to the be the worst one yet, passed the senate and is now poised to hit the governor’s desk:

Mississippi’s sweeping anti-LGBT “religious freedom” bill is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who has indicated his potential support for the legislation.

A final concurrence vote took place in the state’s House of Representatives this morning, following a final Senate vote Thursday in favor House Bill 1523, reports BuzzFeed News. Full story: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2016/4/01/mississippis-anti-lgbt-bill-headed-governor

What May Be Worst Anti-LGBT Bill Yet

Rev. Chris Donald calls for the Senate to defeat HB 1523 on March 23.

Rev. Chris Donald calls for the Senate to defeat HB 1523 on March 23.

Mississippi is one vote and one signature away from enacting what may be the strictest anti-LGBT law yet.

The state Senate passed House Bill 1523, the so-called Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, Wednesday by a vote of 32-17, The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson reports. Thursday morning the Senate took a second vote, sending the bill on to the House for concurrence, as the version passed by the Senate differs slightly from the one adopted by the House in February, reports BuzzFeed. If the House votes to concur, which is expected next week, the bill will go to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature.

The act states that the government cannot penalize an individual, organization, or business for acting according to the following “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions”: that “marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman”; that “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage”; and that “male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.”

The bill would therefore allow businesses to turn away customers or prospective employees by citing such beliefs, without repercussions. It would allow employees of county circuit clerks’ offices, which issue marriage licenses in the state, to refuse service to same-sex couples if they object to the marriage on religious grounds, also without repercussions. It could be used to discriminate against single parents and even conceivably allow employers to fire female workers for wearing pants, as it protects employers’ and schools’ right to maintain “sex-specific standards or policies concerning employee or student dress or grooming.”

Sen. Jenifer Branning, a supporter of the bill, argued to her colleagues Wednesday that the measure was designed to protect providers of wedding goods and services who oppose same-sex marriage, and denied that it had broader implications.

There’s more on this monstrosity of a legislation at Buzzfeed.