Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.


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Friday, September 30, 2011

Jesus in the Garden?

Please don't tell me that this is what Jesus was doing in the Garden of Gethsemane. Oh well, so much for rational thought in "higher" education, which is clearly not what's happening at Louisiana College.  Besides, if you watch carefully, it looks as if he actually palms the worm and drops it on the floor when he opens his hand.


From "Tweed," part of The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Warning: This Video NSFW (Not Safe for Worms)

CLICK ON  http://chronicle.com/blogs/tweed/warning-this-video-nsfw-not-safe-for-worms/29025?sid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en
September 26, 2011, 11:35 am
Thanks to a report in The Town Talk, of Alexandria, La., our colleague Jack Stripling ran across this video of Joe Aguillard, president of the Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College, eating a live earthworm during a recent chapel service on the campus.  Tweed cautions readers without college-leadership experience not to try to replicate this stunt.

Come Clean on the Patriot Act

Take action!

A message from CREDO Action:  We oppose the PATRIOT Act and support its full repeal. But until we can repeal it, we need to curb its abuse by the Department of Justice.
Last week, Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committees with access to classified information, charged the U.S. Department of Justice with misleading the public about the scope of its powers under the PATRIOT Act.1
Until we can repeal the PATRIOT Act, Americans at least have the right as citizens in a democracy to understand the legal limits of government power to collect our personal information, and to hold government officials accountable for the decisions they make regarding our civil liberties.
Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act was written to allow the government to obtain evidence as a part of a national security investigation, but the New York Times reports that government agencies have utilized a classified interpretation of Section 215 as a justification to retrieve personal information not linked to espionage or terrorism cases.2
The Department of Justice has previously claimed that Section 215 gives power that is equivalent to a Grand Jury subpoena. But shockingly, Sens. Wyden and Udall say that statement is highly misleading and that a classified interpretation from a national security court is being used as a justification to collect private information that would not be admissible in a regular court of law.3
While the exact interpretation of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is classified, there is no reason that Department of Justice officials should be misleading the American public about the way that public statute is used to collect private information.
This is a clear violation of our civil liberties and we have a right to know the truth about this secret interpretation.
Attorney General Holder has listened to public pressure before. We know that he cares about the opinion of Americans, and that is why it is so important that we join Sens. Wyden and Udall in calling on the Department of Justice to stop issuing misleading statements about their secret collection of private information.
Thank you for speaking out.
Ali Rozell, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. "Letter to Attorney General Holder," Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, 09-21-2011.
2. "Public Said to Be Misled on Use of the Patriot Act," Charlie Savage, The New York Times, 09-21-2011.
3. "Letter to Attorney General Holder," Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, 09-21-2011. 

Thank Elizabeth Warren

Take Action!Finally, a progressive who knows how to fight back hard against the ridiculous "class warfare" charges from the GOP. In one fell swoop, Elizabeth Warren delivered a powerful knock-out blow against this GOP nonsense.



Warren's point was simple: Nobody gets rich on their own. You can watch the video here, but here's the key part:
"I hear all this, you know, 'Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever,'" Warren said. "No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.
"You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.
"Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."1
Progressives take note: THAT is how it is done. THAT is how you fight back hard. And THAT is how you defeat Fox News talking points.
We will deliver the "thank you" note, along with your comments, to Elizabeth Warren.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Airline Pilots March on Wall Street

Now, where are the fire fighters, the nurses, the machinists, the teachers, the farmers, the secretaries, the rest of us?

photo

Airplane pilots march on Wall Street

Hundreds of pilots from United/Continental 
showed up in full dress and made a show in 
support for their union during an ongoing labor 
dispute. They stood in an area on Broad 
Street, near Wall Street and the Stock 
Exchange.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recycling Is Not Enough


Want to Help the Post Office?



If you want to help our postal system in an inexpensive and fun way, consider joining a website called "Postcrossing.com." 
       This site exists to do just what the name implies: provide a way for individuals (not businesses) to exchange postcards with other people around the world. It costs nothing to join, although if you want to donate to the upkeep of the site, you may.
       The steps to setting up a Postcrossing profile and registering are simple, and you immediately receive five addresses to get you started. Once your first postcard arrives at its destination and the recipient logs it into the website, you can get another address, and the process continues. For every postcard you send, your address is given to another member of Postcrossing, who then reads your profile and sends a postcard to you.
Randomness is one of the best aspects of Postcrossing. My first postcards went to Russia, China, The Netherlands, Croatia, and Germany. After about a week, I received my first postcard, from a Chinese student who was living in Edinburgh, Scotland.
       Once you receive a Postcrossing member's address, you may read her/his profile. This gives you an idea of the person's interests and preferences for the type of postcard she/he would like to receive.


I derive a lot of pleasure from choosing a postcard that I hope will please the recipient. For example, I sent this postcard to a woman who has two small dogs on whom she dotes.



To see the variety of postcards that you can receive, take a look at my favorites, which I post at the end of each month on my personal blog at http://myturntodayyourstomorrow-cheryl.blogspot.com
       Last year, Postcrossing.com turned five years old. Here's a message from the site:
"On 14th July 2005, the Postcrossing project started its first steps in spreading smiles through postcards. It was a small project done for the love of sending and receiving postcards from all over the world, and the hope was that there would be more people sharing the same love and interest for snail mail. 
       Fast forward 5 years and this same project is now responsible for over 4.5 million postcards connecting about 200 countries. It binds together people from different cultures of all ages and genders, with different political and even religious beliefs. Few other hobbies can claim to have achieved the same results, and we are quite proud of this! Throughout these years, Postcrossing has gone through several milestones, thanks to the work of a team of volunteers as well as the precious support of its members who helped it reach what it is now. 
       Postcrossing is sending out a bold message to the world today: postcards are not something from the past. In fact, we feel like we are starting a postcard revolution and proving that no technology will ever replace the intimacy of a handwritten postcard. Thank you everyone who made this possible. Let's make the next five years even greater!"
To join Postcrossing, go to: http://www.postcrossing.com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Stop the Tar Sands Pipeline - What's Next?


What's next in the fight to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline?
There's a lot going in the next few weeks as President Obama nears a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline.
And after recruiting dozens of CREDO action members to literally get arrested with us, delivering over 200,000 petition signatures to the president, making over 4,000 calls to the White House, and sending 14,000 letters and 30,000 online comments to the State Department — there's no way we're done fighting.
We know you care about stopping this disastrous dirty oil pipeline, so we wanted to let you know about everything that's happening, and how you can help build pressure on the president.
Next week, the State Department is holding public hearings in each of the six states along the proposed Keystone XL route. We're recruiting local CREDO activists to attend and tell the State Department that this pipeline is NOT in our national interest.
We're also organizing nearly 20 meetings at the offices of Representatives whose districts fall in the proposed pipeline route. CREDO activists will ask their Representative to join the call of elected officials like Nebraska's Republican Governor, who sent a letter asking President Obama to reject the pipeline.1
If you live in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas, you may have received an email about a hearing or meeting. (If you didn't receive an email about a hearing, it might be a long drive from you, but you can find the event in your state.)
The final State Department hearing will be on October 7th in Washington, DC. Our friends at Tar Sands Action are organizing a rally outside the final hearing, and another big rally on November 6th — one year from the 2012 election — outside the White House.
Until a decision gets made, we'll need your help to escalate pressure at key moments with phone calls to the White House, and actions aimed at the State Department, President Obama, and others who may influence the President's decision. But the bottom line is, this is the president's decision.
As public hearings are ongoing next week, the State Department is also collecting final public comments on whether the pipeline is in our national interest.
These comments are especially important right now, because of major revelations this week about a shockingly cozy relationship between State Department officials and lobbyists for the Canadian pipeline company TransCanada.
On Thursday, our friends at Friends of the Earth published documents they obtained through the Freedom of Information Act request (and a subsequent law suit). These documents include emails from a TransCanada lobbyist named Paul Elliot, who previously served as the Deputy Campaign Manager on Hillary Clinton's 2008 Presidential campaign.2
State Department officials appear to have coached Elliot and other TransCanada staff about how to build their case for approval, and even how to respond to questions and concerns about pipeline safety and environmental impact.
The State Department has a solemn obligation to the people of this country to conduct an impartial evaluation of the impacts of this pipeline. Instead, officials appear to be acting in cahoots with the foreign company they are supposed to be evaluating.
These emails, combined with the woefully inadequate environmental impact statement finalized a few weeks ago despite numerous concerns from the EPA,3 make it abundantly clear that the State Department is putting the interests of TransCanada ahead of our national interest.
Even if the State Department drops the ball, President Obama has no excuse. This final public comment period is an opportunity to send him the message that we expect better from his State Department. And that he still has the opportunity to lead, and reject this pipeline.
We have a lot of work to do in the coming months. Thanks for standing with us against Keystone XL.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Heroes and Villians

John Boehner and his Republican cronies have had one very clear mission this whole year: to stand in the way of Democrats and protect their millionaire bosses at all costs. All year we have had to fight tooth and nail against the Boehner agenda -- it's been tough.

Now, it's time go on the offense.

Today we're launching a nation-wide grassroots campaign to keep the Senate and take back the House in 2012. We're calling the campaign "Beat Boehner." 

Help us start off strong by telling us the progressive Heroes in Congress you think we should work to defend -- and who the Villains are in Congress that we should defeat.

Find your Heroes and your Villains and cast your vote right now.

The members of Congress that get the most votes as "Heroes" will win DFA's endorsement and will be our top electoral priorities in 2012. We'll send the campaign 2,500 new grassroots donors and 500 pledged volunteer hours to help them win.

On the other hand, the members that get the most votes as "Villains" will win our "anti-endorsement." We'll run a TV ad against them in their district, and we will work to defeat them on Election Day.

Who should we help? Who should we defeat? Vote now.

Is your hero Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who led the fight to pass marriage equality in New York and is working hard to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress? Or how about Rep. Raul Grijalva who fought this year for a budget that would make corporations pay their fair share?

Who do you think is a villain? Is it Paul Ryan, who had a plan this year to destroy Medicare as we know it? Or is it Michele Bachmann, who actively campaigned to de-fund Planned Parenthood and said the organization engages in sex trafficking?

We're ready to win in 2012. We're ready to beat Boehner and all his cronies. Now all we need is your help.

Vote now for your Heroes and Villains, and tell us where to begin.

Let's win.


- Gregg Ross, Political Campaign Manager
Democracy for America


Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

With our generations-long commitment to education, AAUW knows affordability is one key to ensuring access to higher education for women and girls. That’s why we’re pleased to see the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is looking at some of the issues surrounding student loans and soliciting stories and input about student loan experiences.
 
The purpose of this special edition of AAUW Washington Update is to bring you up to speed on the CFPB, why it matters for students, and how you or the students in your life can use the CFPB and its resources to ask questions, tell stories, or submit complaints about student loan practices. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the bureau and to forward this information on to anyone who would benefit from it.
 
What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?
The CFPB is a nonpartisan, third-party federal agency tasked with making sure financial products and services, including student loans, work for ordinary Americans. Established by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act (S. 3217/H.R. 4173) passed last year, the bureau has an opportunity to streamline and clarify regulations surrounding student loans and other financial tools, and help shine sunlight on the complex world of financial services.
 
Why does the CFPB matter for students?
Student loans are a critical tool for bringing the promise of higher education within reach for Americans of all ages. The CFPB will take a threefold approach to helping students and their families make informed decisions about loans and protecting them from unfair practices. First, the bureau will educate the public so they know the prices and risks of financial tools and student loans upfront. Second, it will gather, analyze, and disseminate data about loans so the government understands the needs of the public. Third, the CFPB will be engaged in enforcement of consumer protection laws, both to prevent abusive or unfair lending practices and to provide resources for victims.
 
Two student financial protection tools available on CFPB’s website:
Tell Your Story – Use the page found here to tell the CFPB about your experience with student loans. Collecting stories of both good and bad experiences helps to provide context to Americans’ borrowing habits and informs the bureau’s future data collection priorities.
Submit a Complaint – Use this helpful tool to submit a complaint when possible or to find the contact information for the correct agency in your state.
 
Make sure you’re subscribed to AAUW Washington Update, the weekly AAUW members-only digest email providing you all the political, legislative, and regulatory news you need. Remember, AAUW members must proactively sign up – you’re not automatically subscribed!
 
Remember: You can always help strengthen AAUW’s efforts to ensure access to higher education by making a tax-deductible donation to AAUW’s Public Policy Fund!
 
 
Follow AAUW on Twitter, and read our award-winning AAUW Dialog Blog for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls! 
 
General AAUW questions? Please contact connect@aauw.org or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Why Republicans Hate Social Security

A message from Bernie Sanders:
Republicans hate Social Security because it has been an extraordinary success and has done exactly what it was designed to do. It is the most successful government program in our nation's history and is enormously popular.

When Social Security was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, that number is 10 percent -- still too high, but a testament to the success of Social Security.

Republicans have spent years demonizing Social Security and spreading lies about its sustainability. They want to scare Americans and build support for making drastic cuts to the program or privatizing it entirely. Their long-term goal is to end Social Security as we know it, and convert it into a private account system which will enable Wall Street to make hundreds of billions in profits.

The truth is that, today, according to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.

Further, because it is funded by the payroll tax and not the U.S. Treasury, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit.

Now -- in a prolonged recession that has decimated the poor and middle class and pushed more Americans into poverty than at any point in modern history -- we need to strengthen Social Security. That's why I, along with nine co-sponsors, have introduced the "Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act." This legislation would lift the Social Security Payroll tax cap on all income over $250,000 a year, would require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share into the Social Security Trust Fund, and would extend the program for the next 75 years.

Join me now as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.
For 76 years, through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American. The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the next 76 years is to scrap the payroll tax cap for those earning $250,000 a year or more.

Right now, someone who earns $106,800 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is because today, all income above $106,800 is exempt from the Social Security tax. As a result, 94% of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6% do not.

That makes no sense.

The "Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act" will ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age or raising taxes on the middle class.

Join me and Democracy for America in fighting to strengthen Social Security -- Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.

Social Security is keeping tens of millions of seniors out of poverty today. I can think of no more important issue facing our country today than making sure that Social Security remains strong for generations to come.

Thank you.

-Bernie

Senator Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator from Vermont

Presidential Wing-Nuts

Keep Them OutPerhaps the only thing scarier than the Republican presidential candidates are the right-wing crowds at their debates. At last night's Fox News debate, the crowd actually booed a gay soldier who asked a question about Don't Ask Don't Tell! At the first debate, mention of Rick Perry's record-setting number of state executions as governor drew huge applause. And the crowd at the first official Tea Party debate cheered just as raucously for the suggestion that the way to deal with a sick person without health insurance is to "let him die." Of course, in all these instances, the candidates said nothing to dissuade the crowd.

Don't let these people pick the next President! We need your help now to keep Perry, Romney and Bachmann OUT of the White House. Renew your support today and your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar, DOUBLING your impact!
--Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager
From: Michael Keegan
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2011
Subject: President Perry
Irrational, delusional, nihilistic or just plain scary — all are valid descriptors for the GOP’s top three Presidential Candidates for 2012.
Can you imagine Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, or Michele Bachmann in the White House next year? One of them WILL be the GOP’s candidate and WILL be running against President Obama. We only have 12 months until the 2012 election which is why we need your renewed support today to gear up for the fight now.

A generous PFAW donor who knows what a real threat this is has offered to match your gift dollar-for-dollar when you renew with a contribution before midnight Friday, September 30!
You know, People For is on the front lines combating right-wing extremism every day, and each nominee seems more extreme than the next.
  • Mitt Romney recently railed against raising corporate taxes asserting, “Corporations are people!” And he’s appointed Robert Bork who was famously rejected by the Senate for a Supreme Court seat because we was such a far-right radical — as his chief adviser on judicial nominations! If that’s not a clear signal to both the Radical Religious AND Corporate Right that Romney is willing to do their bidding on judicial nominations and a host of other issues, I don’t know what is.
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry has written that Social Security is unconstitutional and called it an “outrageous lie” and a “Ponzi scheme.” This summer, Perry hosted an exclusionary prayer rally with some of the most bigoted leaders on the Religious Right and he’s such a shill for Big Oil that he said of the BP Oil Spill, “from time to time, there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented.”
Renew your membership in People For the American Way with a generous gift today and it will be matched — doubling YOUR impact against whichever of these candidates the Tea Party nominates to challenge the president.
  • Michele Bachmann perhaps more than any other candidate is a product of the Religious Right, and she has certainly done the most to appeal to the Tea Party. Before she was using virtually every breath to accuse the president of “socialism” and completely distort the meaning of the U.S. Constitution, Bachmann was crusading against gay rights saying it would essentially lead to students being encouraged to “try it” and said LGBT people were the victims of sexual identity disorders.
One of these three politicians WILL be the GOP Presidential candidate. Due to this heightened level of extremism, we need the support of all our members today. So don’t miss this chance to have your renewal gift DOUBLED, you only have until midnight on September 30.
Sincerely,
Michael B. Keegan signature
Michael Keegan, President

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anti-Gay Bullying

Meeting at
Michele Bachmann's officeOn Thursday, I delivered more than 145,000 CREDO Action signatures — including yours — to Rep. Michele Bachmann's Minnesota office, calling on the congresswoman to denounce anti-gay bullying.

And together, we are already making change! Several newspapers and television stations covered our story, putting additional pressure on Rep. Bachmann to respond. Then we found out that Michele Bachmann's press secretary told reporters that the congresswoman would review the petition signatures and issue a formal response.
Here's what happened. After delivering the petitions, I met with Michele Bachmann's district director and told her Justin's story. I told her about my son, a kind and talented 15-year-old, who faced malicious bullying on a daily basis. And I told her about that horrible day, a day I'll never forget, when I discovered that my son had taken his own life.
It wasn't until after Justin's death that I first heard about the torment he endured each day at school. And because Anoka-Hennepin School District enforces a dangerous "neutrality policy," Justin's teachers were barred from adequately addressing the fact that he was being bullied because he was gay.
This is simply unacceptable. No student, gay or straight, should feel threatened or unsafe in school, or hopeless enough to take their own life.
That's why I felt compelled to answer CREDO's call to action, and ask Rep. Bachmann to denounce the anti-gay bullying that's devastating her district. In fact, as a congresswoman, former Anoka-Hennepin student and a mother, it seems as though this is the very least that Michele Bachmann could do. By remaining silent, she's condoning this violence.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I was a bit nervous walking into that meeting on Thursday. But having the support of more than 145,000 people — activists like you — made all the difference.
Together, we are making real progress! And your petition signatures helped make it happen.
Thank you for standing with me and helping me share Justin's story. I really appreciate it.
Tammy Aaberg
Mother and anti-bullying advocate

Reject New GMO Corn

No Monsanto GMO sweet corn!Right now, Monsanto, the corporation responsible for producing roughly 90% of genetically modified seeds around the globe, is working to bring their new, GMO sweet corn to a grocery store aisle or farmer's market near you.1

Unlike Monsanto's other GMO crops — which are primarily fed to animals — this sweet corn is intended for direct human consumption.
This is the first time Monsanto has engineered a vegetable that could be served straight to your dinner table. And if this unlabeled, and potentially toxic crop succeeds, Monsanto is sure to bring us even more.
As an activist and consumer, you are in a powerful position to pressure leading U.S. grocery stores to reject Monsanto's new GMO corn.
Monsanto's GMO sweet corn is engineered to tolerate the herbicide Roundup, and to produce the insect-killing pesticide Bt.
If that sounds dangerous to eat, there's good reason.
A past study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that Monsanto's GMO corn led to organ failure in mammals.2 This GMO corn has also recently been linked to a new pathogen causing crop failure and a sharp spike in livestock infertility — as high as 20% — which could potentially pose a health threat to humans as well.3
But shockingly, just as other GMO foods are not required to have special labeling, consumers will have no way of knowing if they're purchasing Monsanto's new genetically modified sweet corn.
Some of Monsanto's GMO corn is already in human food — used to make additives in processed food products — and even in small quantities it's having scary effects.
This past spring a Canadian study found that the GMO toxin inserted in Bt corn was found in the bloodstreams of 93 percent of pregnant women4 — just from its presence in processed grains and highly processed food products.
Now, grocery stores could be on the verge of delivering up this toxic corn, and its toxic effects, in much higher doses and without processing, and we wouldn't even know what we were eating.
We must raise our voice as consumers and urge grocery stores to reject Monsanto's potentially dangerous new product, and stop this dangerous trend of Monsanto-made, straight to table products.
Thank you for standing up to Monsanto and its dangerous GMO products.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Pass the American Jobs Act Now

jobs
The jobs crisis is hurting Americans and holding back our country. 
Now is no time to play politics, it's time to create jobs and put Americans back to work! 
Tell Congress to PASS THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT NOW!
 
President Obama's American Jobs Act is a vital piece of legislation to put Americans back to work and get our economy moving. Republicans and Democrats alike have no business putting the politics of next year's election ahead of the dire needs of jobless Americans and their families, or for that matter, the need of ALL Americans to get our economy growing again. 
The American Jobs Act should be passed in its entirety. It's fair, it's effective and most importantly, it is urgently needed. 
Make sure you weigh in and tell YOUR members of Congress: Don't play politics with the economy; act swiftly to pass the American Jobs Act.
 
THANK YOU for stepping up and speaking out when America needs your activism the most. 
--Diallo Brooks, Director of Field Mobilization

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Too Pretty for Homework?

Take action!Just yesterday, retailer Forever 21 began offering for sale a shirt for girls emblazoned with the slogan "Allergic to Algebra." And a few weeks ago, JC Penney offered similar girls' shirts with the slogan "I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me." 
Sexist slogans like these play into and perpetuate the offensive stereotypes that women are innately bad at math or that being pretty is more important than being smart. By selling these shirts, the stores give their implicit support of these efforts to convince girls that, to be stylish and fit in, they must be bad at math or less interested than boys in academic achievement.
After backlash from outraged customers, the both shirts were pulled from the shelves and online stores.1 But how did the sexist shirts get there in the first place? Clearly, something is totally broken within the corporate culture of these retailers. There is no effective review process for the clothing sold at JC Penney and Forever 21 if offensive clothing like this that demeans young girls makes it to their shelves.
These retailers are clearly sensitive to public pressure, as evidenced by how quickly they pulled the shirts after a public backlash arose. But that's not good enough. We must pressure JC Penney and Forever 21 to make the changes necessary at corporate headquarters to ensure sexist shirts like these never even come close to making it to the shelves.
Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people at JC Penney and Forever 21 encountered these shirts before they were made available to the public. Why didn't employees of these retailers at some point say, "Hey, are we really going to sell shirts to young girls that say 'I'm too pretty for homework' or 'Allergic to Algebra'?"
It's obvious that these shirts perpetuate offensive and harmful stereotypes about the ability of women to achieve academically relative to men. Of course, many studies have confirmed that these stereotypes are baseless, and that women's minds are just as well suited to performing academically as men's.
But, because popular culture is so powerful, many women and girls will conform to negative stereotypes of what a woman is supposed to achieve if they are continually reinforced. Stores like JC Penney and Forever 21 help shape that culture through the clothing they sell.
It's clear that these stores listen to public pressure, but we must pressure JC Penney and Forever 21 to take concrete steps to ensure that clothing this sexist never even comes close to making it onto shelves again.
Thank you for standing up to sexism.
Ali Rozell, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Marriage Equality Thwarted?

sign the petition 3-d
A message from PFAW:
This weekend we demanded that the Town Clerk of Ledyard, New York, Rose Marie Belforti, sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples looking to marry -- as the law dictates she must do -- or resign.

Belforti had previously stated that she would not sign licenses for same-sex couples and refused to do so for one couple on August 30. Even after numerous residents voiced their objections to the clerk's position at a town meeting just last night, it was clear that Ms. Belforti is sticking to her refusal to issue licenses and has no intention of resigning.

PFAW Foundation is stepping up the pressure with a petition to Town Clerk Belforti that will help us focus more attention on this issue. Please add your name to it right now!

Marriage equality is THE LAW in New York State, and couples like Katie Carmichael and Deirdre DiBiaggio, whom Belforti refused a marriage license, have the RIGHT to wed.

Public officials can't pick and choose what laws they want to follow. And Ms. Belforti has no place putting her personal prejudices over the hard-won legal rights of New York's same-sex couples. We'll pursue all necessary legal action to make sure those rights are protected and are working with the global law firm Proskauer Rose, LLP to achieve a swift remedy. We've also brought the issue the attention of New York's attorney general.

This year the State of New York made the decision to recognize the fundamental rights of gay and lesbian New Yorkers by finally allowing all couples to have equal access to the protections only marriage provides. We must be able to trust in our elected officials to uphold the people's laws.

Please join us in this fight. Sign the petition to Ledyard Town Clerk Belforti now telling her to do her job, follow the law and sign ALL legal marriage licenses, or else resign.

After you take action, it's critical that you help spread the word. We can't let elected officials at any level get away with illegally denying Americans' their rights because of their own personal prejudices.

Thank you for standing for Equality -- the American Way.
 

Sincerely,
 People For the American Way Foundation (c3) Logo
Michael Keegan 

P.S. Please notify us if you or someone you know has experienced the same problem in New York State. Email legal@pfaw.org.

Join Mayors Against Illegal Guns

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A message from Democracy for America:
If the gun lobby and their far right allies in Washington, D.C. get their way, Idaho will no longer be able to make its own decisions about who can legally carry a hidden gun. 
Domestic abusers, drug addicts, stalkers, people with violent arrest records and even people with absolutely no training who have never held a gun before could be granted a concealed gun permit in another state, and Idaho would have to honor it -- no matter what.

A coalition of more than 600 mayors from across America is mounting an aggressive campaign to stop this dangerous legislation before it becomes law, and I’m asking you to step up and help out.

Join Democracy for America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns in telling Congress -- When it comes to carrying guns in our communities it’s OUR STATE and OUR LIVES, so we should decide OUR LAWS. 
Every signature we collect will be hand-delivered to the U.S. House during an important hearing on September 13th -- when the extremists who support the gun-lobby will try to argue for the proposed concealed carry law. 
Before that happens, we need to organize as much opposition as possible from real Americans in communities nationwide.

Our petition is about protecting states’ rights and the lives of people in our communities. To make sure Congress hears us, we need you to speak out against this mandatory hidden-gun immunity.

Add your name to stop Congress from trampling your state’s rights and putting police and average citizens at risk right now. 

Washington ideologues want to call the shots on local laws that just aren’t their business. Let’s tell them that to protect OUR LIVES, let us decide OUR LAWS.

Thank you for taking action today, 
Charles Chamberlain, Political Director 

Democracy for America 

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