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Source: New York Times
Congressional Democrats said Tuesday that they had developed legislation to override the Supreme Court decision on contraceptives. The bill would ensure that women have access to coverage for birth control even if they work for businesses that have religious objections.
The bill, developed in consultation with the Obama administration, would require for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby Stores to provide and pay for contraceptive coverage, along with other preventive services, under the Affordable Care Act.
The measure could be on the Senate floor as early as next week, Senate Democrats said.
“Your health care decisions are not your boss’s business,” said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, who led efforts by Senate Democrats to respond to the court ruling. “Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women’s access to health care, I will.”
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/us/politics/democrats-draft-bill-to-override-contraception-ruling.html?_r=1
Democrats Fast-Track Bill To Override Hobby Lobby Decision
video: Harry Reid Vows Fast Vote On Hobby Lobby Bill
Senate Democrats are expediting legislation that would override the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby case and compel for-profit employers to cover the full range of contraception for their employees, as required by the Affordable Care Act.
The bill, which is co-authored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), would ban for-profit companies from refusing to cover any federally guaranteed health benefits for religious reasons, including all 20 forms of contraception detailed in the Affordable Care Act. It would preserve the contraception mandate's current exemption for churches and accommodation for non-profit religious organizations, such as certain hospitals and schools.
Murray and Udall's bill would override the Supreme Court's decision and state that no federal law, including RFRA, permits for-profit employers to refuse to comply with federal health coverage requirements. The senators worked with the Obama administration, other Democratic lawmakers and reproductive rights advocates to draft the legislation.
Even if the bill passes the Senate, it is unlikely to get a vote in the Republican-controlled House. But Democrats hope it will at least force senators to go on record supporting or opposing universal birth control coverage.
Senate Dems Ready To Unveil Bill Reversing Hobby Lobby Ruling
Senate Democrats are poised to introduce legislation as early as Tuesday to reverse the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling which exempted for-profit corporations with religious owners from the Obamacare mandate to cover emergency contraceptives in their insurance plans.
The legislation will be sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO). According to a summary reviewed by TPM, it prohibits employers from refusing to provide health services, including contraception, to their employees if required by federal law. It clarifies that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the basis for the Supreme Court's ruling against the mandate, and all other federal laws don't permit businesses to opt out of the Obamacare requirement.
The legislation also puts the kibosh on legal challenges by religious nonprofits, like Wheaton College, instead declaring that the accommodation they're provided under the law is sufficient to respect their religious liberties. (It lets them pass the cost on to the insurer or third party administrator if they object.) Houses of worship are exempt from the mandate.
Posted by cal04 | Tue Jul 8, 2014, 03:32 PM (22 replies)
A new study released by two Alberta First Nations communities in partnership with the University of Manitoba reports that certain carcinogens released in tar sands operations are being found in high levels in local wildlife. The study also reports a higher incidence of cancer among study participants, many of whom work in the tar sands industry, adding to evidence that these local communities suffer from higher rates of cancer.
The Mikisew Cree Chief Steve Courtoreille said, “This report confirms what we have always suspected about the association between environmental contaminants from oil sands production upstream and cancer and other serious illness in our community… We are greatly alarmed and demand further research and studies are done to expand on the findings of this report.”
The University of Manitoba study done in collaboration with the Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations adds to growing body of scientific evidence that people living near tar sands operations are showing that serious health risks and problems. Projects like the proposed Keystone XL pipeline which will help the ramp more tar sands production posing even greater health risks should be rejected by the U.S. government. And despite these documented dangers, the province of Alberta and the federal Canadian government have done too little to protect the local community’s health. Now is the time for more rigorous health monitoring and a follow up investigation into elevated cancer rates.
The report, Environmental and Human Health Implications of the Athabasca Oil Sands for the Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations in Northern Alberta, was prepared by Dr. Stephane McLachlan of the University of Manitoba’s Environment Conservation Laboratory. Dr. McLachlan and his colleagues found elevated levels of the environmental contaminants arsenic, cadmium, mercury and selenium, as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the foods traditionally harvested by the First Nations in the region including moose, ducks and beavers. PAHs often present serious risks to human health—some are known to damage DNA, others are carcinogens and many impact human development. PAHs also typically bioaccumulate and remain present in the environment over long periods of time. The levels of PAHs found in the wildlife collected by local communities were higher than expected and occurred in higher concentrations than those found in similar studies conducted around the world that focused on contaminants in food.
Posted by cal04 | Tue Jul 8, 2014, 03:30 PM (1 replies)
Here's Pelosi's statement below:
The American people should take notice. Tonight, the Tea Party defeated Republican Leader Eric Cantor who is one of the most extreme Members of Congress.
Eric Cantor has long been the face of House Republicans’ extreme policies, debilitating dysfunction and manufactured crises. Tonight, is a major victory for the Tea Party as they yet again pull the Republican Party further to the radical right.
As far as the midterms elections are concerned, it’s a whole new ballgame.
Posted by cal04 | Tue Jun 10, 2014, 11:02 PM (62 replies)
So today, Mosul fell. Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq. The Iraqi government we "installed", has now lost Fallujah, Ramadi, Mosul and other large swaths of the country we invaded at the cost of thousands of American lives, tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and a couple trillion dollars. (What could your school district do with a trillion dollars?).
One more maddening day in this 11-year illegal, immoral, greedy and stupid war. Today in Mosul, that Iraqi Army YOU pay for, freaked out, threw down their guns, and literally RAN away. I have friends and acquaintances who lost sons in all three of those cities. I can only imagine what they're feeling tonight. FOR WHAT? FOR WHAT! I am so sorry we couldn't do anything to stop this when it started. A few million of us tried. Last week, Richard Clarke, Bush's former head of counter-terrorism, said he now believes that his fellow members of the Bush administration committed "war crimes."
I continue to await the perp walk.
Posted by cal04 | Tue Jun 10, 2014, 07:56 PM (6 replies)
The Republican Party in Virginia has resorted to what appears to be outright bribery in its ongoing effort to deny low-income residents in the state access to the Medicaid expansion authorized by Obamacare.
The Washington Post is reporting that Republicans offered to move Democratic state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett and his daughter into prestigious jobs in exchange for Puckett's resignation, which will flip the chamber into Republican hands. Pucket will officially accept the offer on Monday, the paper reported.
The Senate was on course to pass an expansion of Medicaid, as the law allows, while the House of Delegates, in GOP hands, aimed to block it. In such a scenario, Democrats hoped that Republicans would be blamed for the resulting government shutdown. With Republicans in control of both chambers, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) must now veto the GOP budget in order to force a showdown over Medicaid.
The apparent quid pro quo has sent Democrats railing.
“It’s astounding to me. The House Republican caucus will do anything and everything to prevent low-income Virginians from getting healthcare… They figure the only way they could win was to give a job to a state senator,” Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) told the Washington Post. “At least they can’t offer Terry McAuliffe a job. I hope Terry continues to stand up to these bullies.”
Va. lawmaker to resign, paving the way for state jobs for daughter, self
Posted by cal04 | Sun Jun 8, 2014, 10:07 PM (15 replies)
In an analysis of employee feedback shared on Glassdoor over the past year, just one retailer comes in the top 25 for top marks on pay and benefits: Costco.
In fact, the company is ranked at number two on the list, although has the same rating — 4.4 — as the top rated company, Google. It also beats out some big tech companies, which are often thought of as paying well and giving workers good perks, like Facebook, Adobe, and Microsoft.
Costco has become known for paying its workers more than is typical in the retail sector, where median pay is $10.29 an hour. Its starting pay is $11.50 an hour and even the lowest paid positions report on Glassdoor that they make $11.80 on average. Across all positions, its average pay is nearly $22. It also offers benefits, with 88 percent of employees enrolled in company-sponsored health insurance.
On top of that, it offers significant room for advancement: 70 percent of its warehouse managers, who can expect to make about $22 an hour on average, started in the company’s lower ranked positions. This engenders high levels of worker loyalty, as its turnover rate is just 5 percent for those who have been there for more than a year.
Posted by cal04 | Sun May 25, 2014, 12:59 PM (2 replies)
Source: White House
In this week’s address, the President discussed actions to expand opportunity for more Americans, with or without the help of Republicans in Congress, including his Administration’s efforts to cut red tape for major transportation infrastructure projects. In the coming days, the President will meet with business leaders to highlight the importance of bringing jobs back to America and will also discuss the economic benefits of making it easier for tourists to visit and spend money at attractions in the U.S., which in turn helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone. The President has called 2014 a year of action, and he will continue to do whatever he can to continue to strengthen our economy, create jobs and restore opportunity for all.
Here’s the problem: If Congress doesn’t act by the end of this summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out. States might have to put some of their projects on hold. In fact, some already are, because they’re worried Congress won’t clear up its own gridlock. And if Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year.
That’s why I put forward a plan to rebuild our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way. It would support millions of jobs across the country. And we’d pay for it without adding to the deficit by closing wasteful tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.
Now, the Republicans in Congress seem to have very different priorities. Not only have they neglected to prevent this funding from running out, their proposal would actually cut by 80% a job-creating grant program that has funded high-priority transportation projects in all 50 states. And they can’t say it’s to save money, because at the very same time, they voted for trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, weighted towards those at the very top.
Think about that. Instead of putting people to work on projects that would grow the economy for everyone, they voted to give a huge tax cut to households making more than $1 million a year.
Read more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/17/weekly-address-working-when-congress-won-t-act
Posted by cal04 | Sat May 17, 2014, 09:04 AM (10 replies)
Pope Francis called for “the legitimate redistribution of economic benefits” on Friday, arguing that the Bible demands an economic system that cares for the “poorest and those most excluded.”
Francis made the comments while speaking before a gathering of several United Nations agency leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. As he reflected on the U.N.’s target for Future Sustainable Development Goals, the first Latin American pope asked those present to resist participating in an “economy of exclusion” and to strive to have “a real impact on the structural causes of poverty and hunger.”
“In the case of global political and economic organization, much more needs to be achieved, since an important part of humanity does not share in the benefits of progress and is in fact relegated to the status of second-class citizens,” Francis said.
Francis grounded his argument in biblical the story of Zacchaeus, a rich (and likely corrupt) tax collector who dramatically altered his economic behavior after encountering Jesus Christ. According to Luke 19:1-10, Zacchaeus was overcome by Jesus’ kindness, prompting the wealthy man to publicly proclaim that he would give half his possessions to
Posted by cal04 | Fri May 9, 2014, 04:45 PM (13 replies)
Bill Maher tore into the Supreme Court's decision invalidating aggregate campaign contribution limits on an individual during an election cycle.
"They say the Constitution was created by geniuses so idiots could run it," the comedian and liberal political commentator said Friday on his HBO show "Real Time With Bill Maher." "I need to amend that. I think the idiots have found a way to break it. I do. I think the idiots have finally won over the geniuses."
He took particular aim at Chief Justice John Roberts for decreeing in the 5-4 controlling opinion that giving large sums of money to politicians doesn't give rise to quid pro quo corruption.
"Either he is a liar or he is too naïve to hold any important job, including -- and especially this one," he said. "This is like a legal ruling written by the Little Mermaid. Are you crazy?"
Bill Maher RIPS Supreme Court Ruling On Campaign Finance
Alex Wagner you rock!!
Posted by cal04 | Sat Apr 5, 2014, 04:13 PM (38 replies)
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) should know better.
That's the argument of a group of over 200 students, faculty and alumni of Yale Law School and Yale Divinity School, who wrote a letter to Coons on Monday asking him to change his surprising vote against Debo Adegbile, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. Coons got his J.D. from Yale Law and an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School in 1992.
Coons voted against Adegbile because Adegbile's former organization helped with an appellate case involving Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer over 30 years ago. Because of constitutional issues with jury instructions, Abu-Jamal's death sentence was downgraded to life in prison.
"As students, professors and practitioners, your vote alarmed us," the group wrote to Coons. "It signaled a lack of respect for the fundamental American legal principle that all parties have a right to zealous representation, and sent a message that young people considering public service careers should avoid work on behalf of unpopular or marginalized communities and clients."
Posted by cal04 | Mon Mar 17, 2014, 10:47 PM (2 replies)