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Nearly 400 Anti-Abortion Bills Were Introduced Last Year

States passed nearly as many anti-abortion laws over the past five years as in the entire 15 years prior

By Lauren Kelley

State legislatures around the country last year passed dozens of anti-abortion laws, and considered hundreds of others, according to an analysis by a leading reproductive rights research group.

The Guttmacher Institute found that, all told, 17 states enacted 57 anti-abortion laws in 2015. But lawmakers in nearly every state in the nation – all but four – considered passing at least one anti-abortion law last year. A total of 396 anti-abortion laws were considered.

Guttmacher put those numbers into a political context: "Including the 57 abortion restrictions enacted in 2015, states have adopted 288 abortion restrictions just since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country.... tates adopted nearly as many abortion restrictions during the last five years (288 enacted 2011–2015) as during the entire previous 15 years (292 enacted 1995–2010)."

Driven in part by the efforts of anti-choice groups like Americans United for Life, which writes model legislation frequently used by lawmakers around the country, trends often emerge in anti-abortion laws: In any given year, a certain type of legislation – often the bills are similarly worded – will suddenly pop up in state legislatures around the country. In 2015, the anti-abortion bills most frequently passed by state lawmakers focused on mandating counseling and waiting periods for individuals seeking abortions, and restricting access to medication abortion (as opposed to surgical abortion) and abortions after the first trimester. In addition, a number of states passed so-called TRAP, or targeted regulation of abortion providers, laws – which make it more difficult for doctors who provide abortions to do their job by subjecting them to onerous and medically unnecessary rules.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/nearly-400-anti-abortion-bills-were-introduced-last-year-20160104

Sanders on Clinton: ‘Too late for establishment politics, economics’

MANCHESTER, N.H. —With former President Bill Clinton about 25 miles away in Nashua stumping for his wife, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders told high school and college students from three dozen states Monday that while he respects Hillary Clinton, it is time for the country to part ways with what he called establishment politics.

“I’ve known Hillary Clinton for 25 years,” Sanders told about 500 students at the 2016 New Hampshire Primary Student Convention, hosted by New England College at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester. He said he has “an enormous amount of respect” for her and considers her a friend.

But, responding to a question posed by a student, he said, “When you look at the major issues facing our country today -- the issue of income and wealth inequality, the issue of a corrupt campaign finance system, the issue of climate change, the issue of Wall Street and the incredible power that Wall Street has over the economic and political life of this country, I think if you look at those issues, what you conclude is that at this moment in our history, it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics.

“What we need now is leadership that’s going to stand up to the billionaire class, stand up to corporate America and Wall Street, and stand up to the (conservative billionaire) Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry, stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and say, ‘You guys cannot have it all,’” Sanders said.

“At this moment in history we need proven leadership that’s prepared to stand up to the wealthiest and most powerful people in this country.”



Paul Krugman- Academics And Politics

Via Noah Smith, an interesting back-and-forth about the political leanings of professors. Conservatives are outraged at what they see as a sharp leftward movement in the academy:

But what’s really happening here? Did professors move left, or did the meaning of conservatism in America change in a way that drove scholars away? You can guess what I think. But here’s some evidence. First, using the DW-nominate measure — which uses roll-call votes over time to identify a left-right spectrum, and doesn’t impose any constraint of symmetry between the parties — what we’ve seen over the past generation is a sharp rightward (up in the figure) move by Republicans, with no comparable move by Democrats, especially in the North:

So self-identifying as a Republican now means associating yourself with a party that has moved sharply to the right since 1995. If you like, being a Republican used to mean supporting a party that nominated George H.W. Bush, but now it means supporting a party where a majority of primary voters support Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Being a Democrat used to mean supporting a party that nominated Bill Clinton; it now means supporting a party likely to nominate, um, Hillary Clinton. And views of conservatism/liberalism have probably moved with that change in the parties.

Furthermore, if your image is one of colleges being taken over by Marxist literary theorists, you should know that the political leanings of hard scientists are if anything more pronounced than those of academics in general. From Pew:



Monday Toon Roundup



The Issue



Krugman: Elections Have Consequences

You have to be seriously geeky to get excited when the Internal Revenue Service releases a new batch of statistics. Well, I’m a big geek; like quite a few other people who work on policy issues, I was eagerly awaiting the I.R.S.’s tax tables for 2013, which were released last week.

And what these tables show is that elections really do have consequences.

You might think that this is obvious. But on the left, in particular, there are some people who, disappointed by the limits of what President Obama has accomplished, minimize the differences between the parties. Whoever the next president is, they assert — or at least, whoever it is if it’s not Bernie Sanders — things will remain pretty much the same, with the wealthy continuing to dominate the scene. And it’s true that if you were expecting Mr. Obama to preside over a complete transformation of America’s political and economic scene, what he’s actually achieved can seem like a big letdown.

But the truth is that Mr. Obama’s election in 2008 and re-election in 2012 had some real, quantifiable consequences. Which brings me to those I.R.S. tables.



What’s at Stake This Election Year? Ending the Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Power

By Robert Reich

What’s at stake this election year? Let me put as directly as I can.

America has succumbed to a vicious cycle in which great wealth translates into political power, which generates even more wealth, and even more power.

This spiral is most apparent is declining tax rates on corporations and on top personal incomes (much in the form of wider tax loopholes), along with a profusion of government bailouts and subsidies (to Wall Street bankers, hedge-fund partners, oil companies, casino tycoons, and giant agribusiness owners, among others).

The vicious cycle of wealth and power is less apparent, but even more significant, in economic rules that now favor the wealthy.

Billionaires like Donald Trump can use bankruptcy to escape debts but average people can’t get relief from burdensome mortgage or student debt payments.

Giant corporations can amass market power without facing antitrust lawsuits (think Internet cable companies, Monsanto, Big Pharma, consolidations of health insurers and of health care corporations, Dow and DuPont, and the growing dominance of Amazon, Apple, and Google, for example).

But average workers have lost the market power that came from joining together in unions.



And yes, he does get to Bernie...

CNN to host President Obama town hall on guns in America

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama is mounting a final-year push to make gun control part of his legacy despite Republican opposition and is expected to announce unilateral action soon.

He will join CNN's Anderson Cooper Thursday for an exclusive one-hour live town hall on gun control in hopes of mounting a final pitch to the public.

It's an issue he has had zero success on so far in his presidency, despite his repeated, emotional appeals for change. Congress has remained a roadblock even in the face of widespread public support for Obama's past calls for universal background checks or bolstered mental health support, with near uniform opposition from Republicans and a split on the issue among Democrats.

Obama will sit down with Cooper at 8 p.m. ET for the event, titled "Guns in America." The event's timing coincides with the fifth anniversary, next Friday, of the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, in a rampage that left six dead and 13 others wounded.


Double standards cited amid armed protest in Oregon

Social media mocks light treatment of group which occupied a US federal building in protest of judge ruling.

Anealla Safdar

When the occupation started, many decried the lack of coverage across the media...
jeremy scahill ✔@jeremyscahill
Not a single cable network is covering this Oregon militia situation
11:34 PM - 2 Jan 2016

Sahand @Sahand_1
150 domestic terrorists take over a fed building. Can only assume there's wall-to-wall cable news coverage, right? Oh. #OregonUnderAttack
11:41 PM - 2 Jan 2016

and later on, social media users lashed out at what they called double standards in the media's narrative and characterisation of the armed protest compared to other recent events.

Kim Kane @KimKane1
Pay close attention to what mass media decides to cover - and "how" they cover it. It matters #OregonUnderAttack
1:38 AM - 3 Jan 2016

TariqTouré @TariqToure
Hey @ABC I fixed that typo for you #OregonStandoff #OregonUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/9gcTDUCVjh


In Chicago, distrust toward mayor has turned ‘personal’

By William Wan and Mark Guarino

CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut short a family vacation this past week and returned to a city in crisis: On the North Side, more than a dozen people stood outside his house, hurling insults. On the West Side, a close aide was punched and kicked while attending a prayer vigil for a police shooting victim. And all week long, there were protesters, haunting one of Emanuel’s biggest political donors, haranguing his police force, beating a papier-mâché likeness of his face at City Hall.

More than a month has passed since a judge forced Emanuel (D) and other city officials to release a graphic video of a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times.But public anger over the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in October 2014 has not dissipated. Instead, it has grown bitter and more personal.

“Oh, it’s personal, all right. We’re making it personal,” yelled Ja’Mal Green, 20, a former Emanuel supporter who spent hours in bone-cold weather on the sidewalk outside the mayor’s spacious Ravenswood home, mocking him and urging him to resign.

The protests reflect frustration with chronic problems Emanuel inherited in Chicago, a city long plagued by police brutality, failing schools, rampant gang violence and dire ­finances. But as Emanuel enters his second term, critics say he has deepened distrust in City Hall through a string of scandals affecting his administration, a lack of transparency and his abrasive personal style.

More anger may be on the way.



Poll: Whites and Republicans Rank as Angriest Americans

Nearly half of Americans are angry, and no groups are angrier than whites and Republicans, according to a new NBC News/Survey Monkey/Esquire online poll about outrage in the country.

Overall, 49 percent of Americans said they find themselves feeling angrier now about current events than they were one year ago. Whites are the angriest, with 54 percent saying they have grown more outraged over the past year. That's more than Latinos (43 percent) and African-Americans (33 percent).

Seventy-three percent of whites said they get angry at least once per day, compared with 66 percent of Hispanics and 56 percent of blacks.

The poll also found Republicans are angrier than Democrats. Sixty-one percent of Republicans say current events irk them more today than a year ago, compared to 42 percent of Democrats.

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