Apparently, tax cuts for the wealthy are more important.
Apparently, tax cuts for the wealthy are more important.
Please signal boost widely!
This is the easiest way to register to vote in the U.S. that I’ve found.
If you don’t have access to a printer or a car (like me), you can go to this website (TurboVote.org - translations in English or in Spanish), fill out your information, and they will mail you the printed forms AND a stamped envelope addressed to your county clerk’s office. All you have to do is pop it in the mail box once you receive them and you’re registered.
You can also sign up to do an absentee ballot/vote by mail so you don’t need to find transportation (or take the time off work) on election day.
It’s definitely legit because I just received and sent off the forms today. I’m not affiliated with the site in any way, I’m just excited to find such a great resource.
Please share the site on facebook, tumblr, twitter, and tell your friends and family about it.
You Know That TED Talk You Weren’t Supposed To See? Here It Is. (by WatchExtraVideo)
Nick Hanauer, self-described “super-rich” entrepreneur, gave a pretty compelling TED Talk about how the middle class—not the super-rich—are the real job creators. But TED, which has released over 100 different political videos in the past, thought this one was too partisan and chose not to release it.
If you’ve got student loans, you’re going to want to watch this video.
President Obama just took two major steps to make life easier for people with student loans, and there’s a good chance you or someone you know will benefit from them really soon. After you’ve watched, tweet/re-blog/Facebook it to get out the good word.
Was that really that hard? Nice job. So far, loans from the government are approaching 1 trillion dollars. Any work we can do to help mitigate that can help. This is pretty huge. Maybe we can bring back economic hardship deferment? :-D
President Obama shouldn’t be afraid of a little class warfare - Washington Post, 9/23/11
- This article offers solid historical analysis of the economic situation, and some interesting guidance for creating social change.
here is your daily WTF????
Worst. Bill. Ever.
“The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child.”
The basics: Egypt is a large, mostly Arab, mostly Muslim country. At around 80 million people, it has the largest population in the Middle East and the third-largest in Africa. Most of Egypt is in North Africa, although the part of the country that borders Israel, the Sinai peninsula, is in Asia. Its other neighbors are Sudan (to the South), Libya (to the West), and Saudi Arabia (across the Gulf of Aqaba to the East). It has been ruled by Hosni Mubarak since 1981.
What’s happening? Inspired by the recent protests that led to the fall of the Tunisian government and the ousting of longtime Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egyptians have joined other protesters across the Arab world (in Algeria, notably) in protesting their autocratic governments, high levels of corruption, and grinding poverty. In Egypt, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets. Here’s a photo of one of the protests in Cairo, the capital (via Twitter):
Why are Egyptians unhappy? They have basically no more freedom than Tunisians. Egypt is ranked 138th of 167 countries on The Economist’s Democracy index, a widely accepted measure of political freedom. That ranking puts Egypt just seven spots ahead of Tunisia. And Egyptians aresignificantly poorer than their cousins to the west.
How did this all start? This particular round of protests started with the protests in Tunisia. But like their Tunisian counterparts, Egyptian protesters have pointed to a specific incident as inspiration for the unrest. Many have cited the June 2010 beating death of Khaled Said (warning: graphic photos), allegedly at the hands of police, as motivation for their rage. But it’s also clear that the issues here are larger.
Why is this more complicated for the US than Tunisia was? The Tunisian regime was a key ally for the US in the fight against Al Qaeda. But the US government’s ties to Tunisia’s Ben Ali pale in comparison to American ties to Egypt. Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Institution, a centrist think tank, explains:
Predictions that a Tunisia-like uprising will soon topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are premature—the Egyptian regime, with its well-paid military, is likely to be more unified and more ruthless than its Tunisian counterparts were… The U.S. is the primary benefactor of the Egyptian regime, which, in turn, has reliably supported American regional priorities. After Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel, Egypt is the largest recipient of U.S. assistance, including $1.3 billion in annual military aid. In other words, if the army ever decides to shoot into a crowd of unarmed protestors, it will be shooting with hardware provided by the United States. As Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations points out, the Egyptian military is “not there to project power, but to protect the regime.” [Emphasis added.]
What’s the latest?
UPDATE: This video of a “Tiananmen Square moment” is being widely circulated on Twitter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtTUsqra-MU&feature=player_embedded
UPDATE 10, 11:45 a.m. EST Thursday: Lots of news to round up from today. The big takeaway, though, is that the protests continue. Tomorrow may be a major day of reckoning: protest organizers have called for huge demonstrations (expected to be the largest since Tuesday), and if protests happen as people leave Friday prayers at Egypt’s 90,000+ mosques, the regime could be in real trouble. Anyway, here’s some of what you should know about:
- In Yemen, thousands of protesters called for the ruler there to step down.
- With regards to Egypt, the BBC asks the question on everyone’s mind:Can Mubarak be toppled? (Sultan Al Qassemi says “#Yes.”)
- Protesters in Suez reportedly threw Molotov cocktails (improvised incendiary grenades) at police.
- The BBC reports that ex-IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says he is “ready to lead the transition” in Egypt if Mubarak falls. (He made the comment as he was preparing to leave Vienna for Cairo.)
- Shadi Hamid notes that the US State Department is now using the #Jan25 hashtag embraced by Egypt’s protesters, and Bloomberg reports that President Barack Obama is “poised to intensify US criticism” of Mubarak, especially if the Egyptian regime’s crackdown on protesters becomes more violent. (Meanwhile, Al Jazeera is reportingthat Egyptian authorities are trying to bury deceased protesters quietly so as to not turn their funerals into rallies.)
- The Egyptian Football Association has postponed all games until further notice.
- More than 1,000 people have been arrested so far.
- The Awl notes that “even the Cairo papers” are showing front-page photos of the protests.
- Egypt’s stock market has fallen dramatically and trading has been suspended.
- Tom Malinowski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch, argues in Foreign Policy that WikiLeaks really was crucial to the Tunisian revolution. Here on our site, Evgeny Morozov argues that the internet does not weaken authoritarian power, and claims that Twitter and Facebook and WikiLeaks helped trigger protests across the Arab world are overblown. The Guardian and our own Kevin Drum also have good takes.
UPDATE 11, Thursday 6:15 p.m. EST: Arabist just posted a claim that Egypt has “shut off the internet” entirely. I don’t know how seriously to take this, but Arabist is a generally reliable site and a full shutdown is something that is theoretically possible. Arabist also notes the alleged shutdown happened “just after AP TV posted a video of a man being shot.” If the shutdown is real, it’s a huge sign that the regime is very, very worried about the protests scheduled for tomorrow (well, today Egyptian time). As Sultan Al Qassemisays, “the Egyptian regime seems willing to do anything to stay in power, including plunging Egypt back into the dark ages if necessary.” UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Arabist notes that “it’s not everywhere,” and that a foreign journalist working at a hotel in Cairo has reported to them that he still has internet access.
UPDATE 12, Thursday 6:45 p.m. EST: The Arabist report that the internet is down throughout Egypt (see previous update) is looking increasingly well-founded. Alec Ross, a State Department spokesman, has tweeted in Arabicthat the US “call[s] upon the Egyptian gov to allow unrestricted access to the internet & peaceful protests.” In addition, Arabist’s Issandr El Amrani (follow him! @arabist) has “confirmation from a person in a position to know at one Egypt’s mobile phone operators that the phone companies have been ordered by the authorities to shut down SMS services (which has been the case for at least an hour) and Blackberry Messenging in Cairo (and perhaps elsewhere in Egypt).”
UPDATE 13, Thursday 7:15 p.m. EST: Associated Press: “A major service provider for Egypt, Italy-based Seabone, reported early Friday that there was no Internet traffic going into or out of the country after 12:30 a.m. local time.” 12:30 a.m. in Egypt is 5:30 p.m. the day before EST, so that fits with our timeline and the Arabist report.
FYI. A must read to keep up with what’s going on now.
Just in case any of you were wondering, this site answers all your questions. Well, just one question, really.
Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.
For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.
With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith’s spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)
Given that the bill also would forbid the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, that 13-year-old’s parents wouldn’t be allowed to use money from a tax-exempt health savings account (HSA) to pay for the procedure. They also wouldn’t be able to deduct the cost of the abortion or the cost of any insurance that paid for it as a medical expense.
There used to be a quasi-truce between the pro- and anti-choice forces on the issue of federal funding for abortion. Since 1976, federal law has prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and when the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. But since last year, the anti-abortion side has become far more aggressive in challenging this compromise. They have been pushing to outlaw tax deductions for insurance plans that cover abortion, even if the abortion coverage is never used. The Smith bill represents a frontal attack on these long-standing exceptions.
“This bill takes us back to a time when just saying ‘no’ wasn’t enough to qualify as rape,” says Steph Sterling, a lawyer and senior adviser to the National Women’s Law Center. Laurie Levenson, a former assistant US attorney and expert on criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, notes that the new bill’s authors are “using language that’s not particularly clear, and some people are going to lose protection.” Other types of rapes that would no longer be covered by the exemption include rapes in which the woman was drugged or given excessive amounts of alcohol, rapes of women with limited mental capacity, and many date rapes. “There are a lot of aspects of rape that are not included,” Levenson says.
As for the incest exception, the bill would only allow federally funded abortions if the woman is under 18.
The bill hasn’t been carefully constructed, Levenson notes. The term “forcible rape” is not defined in the federal criminal code, and the bill’s authors don’t offer their own definition. In some states, there is no legal definition of “forcible rape,” making it unclear whetherany abortions would be covered by the rape exemption in those jurisdictions.
The main abortion-rights groups despise the Smith bill as a whole, but they are particularly outraged by its rape provisions. Tait Sye, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, calls the proposed changes “unacceptable.” Donna Crane, the policy director of NARAL Pro-Choice America, says that making the “already narrow exceptions for public funding of abortion care for rape and incest survivors even more restrictive” is “unbelievably cruel and heartless.”
“This bill goes far beyond current law,” says Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), a co-chair of the congressional pro-choice caucus. The “re-definition” of the rape exception “is only one element” of an “extreme” bill, she adds, citing other provisions in the law that pro-abortion rights groups believe would lead to the end of private health insurance coverage for abortion.
“Somebody needs to look closely at this,” Levenson says. “This is a bill that could have a dramatic effect on women, and language is important. It sure sounds like somebody didn’t want [the exception to cover] all the different types of rape that are recognized under the law.”
Call your representatives IMMEDIATELY to let them know how disgusting you find this. I am at a loss for words. Both of my senators have gotten an earful and now I’m starting on my representatives. I had to write out what I was going to say first because the anger is making it impossible to form coherent thoughts right now.
I hate all of this. I hate Chris Smith especially. I don’t know why NJ-4 keeps voting him in; he wants to criminalise the birth control pill for fuck’s sake.
I’m enraged. I’m so enraged.
“Hey, Illinois appellate court? Blllllpppphfft!”
You stay classy Rahm.