When Obamacare compelled businesses to include emergency contraception in employee health care plans, Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores, fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court. The Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, the company’s owners argued, forced them to violate their religious beliefs. But while it was suing the government, Hobby Lobby spent millions of dollars on an employee retirement plan that invested in the manufacturers of the same contraceptive products the firm’s owners cite in their lawsuit.
Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k)…
These companies include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, which makes Plan B and ParaGard, a copper IUD, and Actavis, which makes a generic version of Plan B and distributes Ella. Other holdings in the mutual funds selected by Hobby Lobby include Pfizer, the maker of Cytotec and Prostin E2, which are used to induce abortions; Bayer, which manufactures the hormonal IUDs Skyla and Mirena; AstraZeneca, which has an Indian subsidiary that manufactures Prostodin, Cerviprime, and Partocin, three drugs commonly used in abortions; and Forest Laboratories, which makes Cervidil, a drug used to induce abortions. Several funds in the Hobby Lobby retirement plan also invested in Aetna and Humana, two health insurance companies that cover surgical abortions, abortion drugs, and emergency contraception in many of the health care policies they sell.
Nice to see primary source acknowledgement of one of my favorite dichos criticizing right-wing scumbags. “Republicans would have invented hypocrisy if Christians hadn’t beat them to it.”
White Americans lean more Republican now than at any time in the past three administrations, a new Gallup poll finds…While the country as a whole trended Democratic under the final years of the George W. Bush administration, it has moved the opposite direction under President Barack Obama.
But the gap between the two groups has not been larger than in 2010, when nonwhite people showed a 43-point preference toward the Democratic party, and white people chose Republicans by a 14-point advantage. At 61 points, Gallup measured the largest gap between the two ethnic groups since it began separately identifying Hispanic voters…
“It is unclear precisely what role Obama’s race has played in these changes,” said Jeffrey Jones, writing for Gallup. “Whites became slightly more Republican during 2009, the first year of Obama’s presidency. However, the biggest movement came during the next year, when Obama signed the healthcare overhaul into law but saw his approval rating sink and his party lose its large majority in the House in that year’s midterm elections…”
“With the U.S. becoming increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, the balance of political power may shift toward the Democrats unless Republicans increase their advantage among a shrinking white majority, or cut into Democrats’ advantage among nonwhite voters,” he said.
Gallup hasn’t been an especially useful resource for Republican planners since they predicted Dewey’s victory over Truman. However – that’s unimportant to those who planned and executed the largest racist infusion into the Republican Party since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. That earlier event was accomplished with the help of the John Birch Society aided by the billionaire brothers who intended that one of them become president. The Republicans ended up running Goldwater instead of one of the Koch Bros. – and either road – it damned near crushed the Republican Party.
This time around, Koch Bros. money was used to manufacture the influx of bigots into the Republican Party to answer the threat of Democrats picking up more Hispanic, Black and women voters. They call it the Tea Party, this time, and had all the literature printed and ready to go when Rick Santelli had his “spontaneous” moment on CNBC.
So, we’re in critical times, again. And I think a face-to-face confrontation with the idjit vote – the whole hatred-of-science crowd – does nothing but good in the long range. It may even stiffen the spines of Democrats. One hopes they’ll stand up and be counted along with the growing majority of working class Americans.
UNHCR officials in Yemen told the BBC Huda’s application was likely to be approved on the grounds that she could face mistreatment, even death, at the hands of her family if returned home.
In Yemen, it is being celebrated as a modern day Romeo and Juliet story.
Huda crossed the border several weeks ago, followed by her boyfriend, Arafat, who was working in Saudi Arabia.
Huda – who is in her early 20s – says she decided they had to elope after Arafat’s marriage proposal was rejected by her family.
The two have been held in an immigration detention centre in Yemen since their arrival.
Huda is charged with illegally crossing the border.
The same charge against Arafat was dropped, but he refused to be freed, wanting to remain with her in prison.
The two get to meet once a week when Huda’s asylum case is heard in court.
At first, her application to do this through the UNHCR was rejected by the ministry of the interior…But UNHCR officials in Yemen say the judge allowed her request last week…
She then filled out a form known as the Refugee Status Determination. While this is being studied, she is under UN protection and cannot be deported.
The UNHCR officials have told the BBC that it is very likely that she will be granted full refugee status in the next few days, which would mean that Huda and Arafat would be freed and able to marry…
For its part, the UNHCR says that if Yemen does for whatever reason bow to Saudi pressure over the case and try to have Huda deported, it has an alternative plan which could see the two lovers united in another country.
Fundamentalist religions of just about any sort drive me up a tree. They seem to exist only to oppress women, stifle love, prevent kindness between human beings and in general make this short life we have as miserable as possible.
My best wishes to the young couple. I hope they manage to find somewhere to marry and continue their love without the interference of state religion.
More than 60 women claimed to have answered their call to get behind the wheel in a rare show of defiance against a ban on female driving in the ultraconservative kingdom…
Saudi professor and campaigner Aziza Youssef said that the group received 13 videos and another 50 phone messages from women showing or claiming they had driven on Saturday. She said they had no way to verify the messages.
If the numbers are accurate, this year’s campaign is the most successful effort yet by Saudi women demanding the right to drive.
Youssef said they had not received any reports of arrests or women being ticketed by police.
A security official said that authorities did not arrest or fine any female drivers on Saturday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media…
Youssef said she and four other prominent women activists received phone calls this week from a top official with close links to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, warning them not to drive on Saturday…
The activists changed the original plan to drive only on Saturday to make the campaign open-ended, in response to the threats.
Though no specific Saudi law bans women from driving, women are not issued licenses…
Clerics who hold far-reaching influence over the monarchy enforce the driving ban, warning that breaking it will spread “licentiousness”.
Brave women. Folks around the world need to let the monarchy in Saudi Arabia hear your support.
Most of us break wind from time to time; it’s a natural function of a healthy body. It’s just a shame that farts generally smell bad enough that people will keep their distance if they suspect you’ve dropped one. The answer to this problem may lie in the material used in your underwear, with a technology used in chemical warfare suits providing the solution.
This is according to Shreddies (no relation to the cereal), a British underwear manufacturer which now does a “flatulence-filtering” range of underpants for men and women. Aimed at anyone suffering from excessive flatulence, but particularly at people with digestive disorders such as IBS and Crohn’s disease, this new line of Shreddies could stop you gassing everyone in close proximity.
The Shreddies filter out farts thanks to an activated carbon back panel made from Zorflex. This material is highly porous, so (the company claims) the odor vapors from the farts become trapped and neutralized before they reach the olfactory glands of any innocent bystanders in close proximity to the offending flatulence…
RTFA for suggested retail pricing. I’m not certain if they can be returned after self-testing or not. :)
The federal air marshal arrested Thursday for allegedly taking cell phone photos underneath women’s dresses and skirts as they boarded a Nashville flight has been relieved of all duties, according to the Federal Air Marshal Service.
Adam J. Bartsch, 28, was charged with disorderly conduct after police said he admitted to the alleged crime…
A police affidavit said a witness grabbed Bartsch’s cell phone during the boarding of Southwest Airlines flight 3132 from Nashville to Tampa and showed it to a flight attendant.
“The Transportation Security Administration does not tolerate that sort of criminal behavior,” said Michael Pascarella, spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service, which is overseen by the TSA.
Pascarella said Bartsch had been relieved of his duties. The TSA is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment.
Bartsch was released from jail Thursday night on a $10,000 bond…He has worked for the TSA for about three years, Pascarella said.
That explains it. I thought the air marshals were actually part of some responsible police body, part of the federal government. So – they’re part of the TSA – and one step above the guys who steal from your luggage and prod your butt looking for explosives while you’re trying to catch a flight.
A conservative Saudi Arabian cleric has said women who drive risk damaging their ovaries and bearing children with clinical problems, countering activists who are trying to end the Islamic kingdom’s male-only driving rules.
A campaign calling for women to defy the ban in a protest drive on October 26 has spread rapidly online over the past week and gained support from some prominent women activists. On Sunday, the campaign’s website was blocked inside the kingdom.
…Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan, the person quoted in the sabq.org report, is a judicial adviser to an association of Gulf psychologists…
“If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards,” he told Sabq…”That is why we find those who regularly drive have children with clinical problems of varying degrees,” he said.
He did not cite specific medical studies to support his arguments.
Religious fundamentalists aren’t about to start invoking peer-reviewed science in attempts to defend the indefensible. Ideology, superstition, cultural hangups are sufficient unto themselves – especially when the questions raised deal with equal opportunity for folks that accepted custom says “should know their place”.
It all sounds the same to those denied opportunity whether in Saudi Arabia or one of our neo-Confederate states.
Two female human rights activists are facing prison sentences in Saudi Arabia for delivering a food parcel to a woman who told them she was imprisoned in her house with her children and unable to get food.
Wajeha al-Huwaider, who has repeatedly defied Saudi laws by posting footage of herself driving on the internet, and Fawzia al-Oyouni, a women’s rights activist, face 10 months in prison and a two-year travel ban after being found guilty on a sharia law charge of takhbib – incitement of a wife to defy the authority of her husband.
…Campaigners argue the women have been targeted because of their human rights work, and fear that the sentences send out a chilling message to other activists who dare to criticise the repressive regime, under which women cannot drive and can only cycle in recreational areas when accompanied by a male guardian.
“These women are extremely brave and active in fighting for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, and this is a way for the Saudi authorities to silence them,” said Suad Abu-Dayyeh, the Middle East and north Africa consultant for Equality Now, which is fighting for the women’s release. “If they are sent to jail it sends a very clear message to defenders of human rights that they should be silent and stop their activities – not just in Saudi Arabia, but across Arab countries. These women are innocent – they should be praised for trying to help a woman in need, not imprisoned.”
The women were arrested in June 2011 after going to the aid of the Canadian national Nathalie Morin, who contacted Huwaider and said her husband was away from their home in the eastern city of Dammam for a week and her supplies of food and water were running out. When they arrived they were immediately arrested and released a day later.
More than a year later, in July 2012, they were called in for further questioning. Huwaider previously said she was repeatedly asked about her involvement in the Women2Drive campaign, which lobbies for women to be allowed to drive in the kingdom. In May 2011 Huwaider and Manal al-Sharif defied Saudi law and gained international media attention by driving a car, posting widely viewed footage on YouTube. She was also asked about a women’s rights protest she organised in 2006 on the King Fahd causeway and her 2009 attempt to cross to Bahrain without the approval of a male guardian…
Following a trial which concluded last month the judge deemed the pair were guilty of “supporting a wife without her husband’s knowledge, thereby undermining the marriage“. Their appeal is to be heard on 12 July and they are asking the Saudi king, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, for a pardon.
Life in a theocracy. Please don’t delude yourself into thinking there aren’t any Christians who would practice the same sort of sharia law in the United States – if they thought they could get away with it.
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry on Wednesday launched another battle to pass sweeping abortion restrictions after a marathon speech by a Democrat lawmaker briefly halted a bill critics say could shut most abortion clinics in one of the nation’s biggest states.
Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, once a teenage mother who went on to earn a Harvard Law degree, was propelled on to the national political stage when she spoke for more than 10 hours to block a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It proved a short-lived victory for women’s groups and abortion rights advocates fighting to stop abortion restrictions across several states. Perry called for another special legislative session to reconsider the proposal on July 1…
I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Texas Republican. They respect the truth even less than they care for women’s rights.
Davis’ filibuster of the Republican supermajority in the Texas legislature was streamed live on some national media websites.
Republicans managed to stop her about two hours before the midnight end to the special legislative session, citing parliamentary procedures, but they were unable to complete voting on the abortion bill before the deadline…
If the measure ultimately passes, Texas would become the 13th state to impose a ban on abortions after 20 weeks and by far the most populous. In addition, the legislation would set strict [phony] health standards for abortion clinics and restrict the use of drugs to end pregnancy.
Republican backers said blah, blah, blah…
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but conservative states have enacted laws in recent years that seek to place restrictions on the procedure, especially on abortions performed late in pregnancy.
The debate rages across the nation. Twelve states have passed 20-week bans, including two states where the bans take effect later this year, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Courts have alreaady blocked the bans in three of the 12 states – Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.
Folks outside the United States have to understand that the rule of law only means obedience to 19th Century ideology for what passes for Republicans, nowadays. Science, honesty, dialogue, consensus, democracy and respect for all citizens – are meaningless words leftover from some time warp when traditional American conservatism valued those standards.