Saturday, December 21, 2013

An interesting take on  RIGHT TO WORK STATES

The past 24 hours have seen a flurry of activity around the continued employment of one man, a Phil Robertson, who is employed by the network A&E in the state of Louisiana. Mr. Robertson, in a very high-profile venue, made personal statements that are inherently contradictory to the established statements of his employer. In relatively short order he was suspended from his position indefinitely. I have seen Internet petitions that he be suspended, countering ones that he retain his job; posts praising A&E for their decision, and posts disavowing any future relationship with the network. In the midst of all this, I have found myself somewhere between mystified and flabbergasted. This is the case of employment injustice that scandalizes America?

Mr. Robertson lives in Louisiana. A&E could walk into his office (or equivalent) any day and fire him, for any number of reasons. Louisiana is a "right to work" state; employers do not need any reason to suspend a person's employment in that state. However, in light of the fact that Mr. Robertson's statements were in regard to the LGBTQ community, let's be clear on the case of the employer's rights in regards to sexuality and gender definition in Louisiana.

An employer in Louisiana has the right to fire an individual solely because of his or her sexuality. A&E has the legal right to tell Mr. Robertson, "On account of your heterosexuality, and your inability to keep it an appropriately private matter, we are terminating your employment." A&E also has the legal right to tell Mr. Robertson, "On account of your cis-gender expression (that you define your gender with the one you were assigned at birth), we are terminating your employment." That in Louisiana, and across the nation, employers have the ability to terminate an employment based on a person's sexuality or gender definition is a true travesty of justice.

Everyone deserves gainful employment, Mr. Robertson included. Everyone deserves advocates to ensure a termination is a just and appropriate action. In the eyes of the law of Louisiana, A&E has more than sufficient legal right to suspend Mr. Robertson's employment. Advocates for Mr. Robertson's continued employment and advocates for LGBTQ equality should find equal issue with the current employment laws which are inherently unjust to all the citizens of Louisiana.

Benjamin Garren, Integrity Blogger, is a seminarian at Bexley Hall and a candidate for ordination in the Diocese of Maine.  A native of North Carolina, he did his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Richard Gilmore is running for the Iowa Senate and needs your help. 

Please take 2 minutes to read this and I think you will agree with me that he is someone you can support.

Richard has always had passion for fixing things---solving problems. He has made a good living, fun hobbies and valuable community work out of that passion.

Who is Richard Gilmore?
· Resided with his wife Dr. Robin Plattenberger-Gilmore in Washington, Iowa since 1997.
· Grew up on an Iowa farm in Monticello-Anamosa Iowa area.
· Graduated from Anamosa, Iowa HS in 1970.
· Attended electrical trade school in Des Moines.
· Employed by Motorola, Archer TV and Xonics Medical troubleshooting repair solutions.
· Worked at Des Moines VA hospital as an essential employee for CAT and x-ray equipment.
· Married grade school sweet-heart Robin in 1973.
· Adopted two children, 3 year old Michelle and 5 year old Matt.
· Chose Washington for their future by purchasing a home to restore as a bed and breakfast in 1995 and operating it 1997-2007
· Worked to improve family housing quality in Washington since 2008 by buying homes to improve, rent to families and eventually sell.Other information:
· Traveled abroad to Mexico City dumps, Spain and Bosnia and has seen how governments fail.
· Helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity in Washington and does volunteer repair work throughout the community for those in need.
· Assisted with multiple community boards and projects.
· Served as trustee chair and finance chair for the United Methodist Church of Washington and works with the Furniture Ministry to collect good used furniture for distribution through HACAP.
· Served as a volunteer on mission trips to Appalachia, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
· Grew up as a Republican but switched parties during the Reagan era when they dropped support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).
· Worked on bikes from a young age and is an avid bike rider/racer licensed in US Cycling Assoc. since 1993.
· Rode 17 days San Diego to Savannah in 2007 at age 56, 175 miles per day 16-18 mph.

Political Philosophy
· Believes government is about solving problems, making things work properly and for the benefit of the common good.

Richard is at a stage in his life where he has valuable time and experience that he can share and we hope you will join us in supporting him.

Gilmore for Iowa Senate contact
1201 South Iowa Ave

Washington, IA 52353

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December event

Washington County Democrats   6:30 December 11 2013    1201 South Iowa Ave


 If you support the freedom of religion (as per our Constitution), and my church recognizes gay marriage, isn’t your support for the banning of same-sex marriage an attack on my religion’s First Amendment rights? 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Elizabeth Warren's letter

Dear Mr. Dimon, Mr. Moynihan, Mr. Corbat, Mr. Stumpf, Mr. Blankfein , and Mr. Gorman:
Five years ago, the "Too Big to Fail" status of America's largest financial institutions led to the near-collapse of the economy and massive government bailouts.  That crisis was the result of reckless activity on Wall Street and regulatory failures in Washington.  As Wall Street loaded up on risk, regulators failed to identify and to respond to warning signs in the mortgage market and across the financial system.
To avoid repeating those mistakes, and to prevent future crises, policymakers need access to objective, high-quality research, data, and analysis about our consumer and financial markets. As you know, private think tanks are extremely well-suited to provide this research and analysis, but for it to be valuable, such research and analysis must be truly independent. If the information provided by think tanks is little more than another form of corporate lobbying, then policymakers and the public should be aware of the difference.
As you know, your institutions are free to express your views to lawmakers and regulators through your lobbying efforts and those of the trade associations that represent you. But the law requires that there be transparency around your direct efforts to influence policymaking through lobbying, with disclosures about your lobbying expenditures.  Under current law, however, your institutions are permitted to make financial contributions to think tanks without any similar public disclosure. This means that you can make enormous contributions that threaten both the independence and public credibility of the work of think tanks out of the public view.
I am writing to encourage you to voluntarily disclose financial contributions your institutions make to think tanks.  In my view, policies by your institutions to conceal those contributions from public view are wrong.  Greater transparency will benefit your shareholders, policymakers, and, ultimately, the public.
As the CEOs of public companies, you have an obligation to expend corporate resources only in ways that advance the interests of your shareholders.  For that reason, I believe your shareholders have a right to know both which think tanks your companies are supporting and the extent of that support so that they can assess for themselves whether they benefit from these contributions.
When you use corporate resources to support think tanks, there are only two possible outcomes from public disclosure-those contributions do not influence the work of the think tanks or those contributions do influence the think tanks' research and conclusions. Either way, shareholders have a right to know how corporate resources are spent, and, even more importantly, policymakers and the public should be aware of your contributions and evaluate the work of the think tanks accordingly.
To be clear, your institutions have every right under the law to give financial support to think tanks, and think tanks have every right to accept that support. But just as there is transparency around your direct efforts to influence policymaking through lobbying, the same transparency should exist for any indirect efforts you make to influence policymaking through financial contributions to think tanks.
I very much hope that your institutions work to set a new standard in this area by voluntarily disclosing the contributions you make to think tanks.  I am confident that by increasing public disclosure, your companies can generate goodwill from shareholders, policymakers, and the public that will serve your long-term interests and the long-term interests of the American people.
I would be happy to discuss this issue with you further, and I hope you reach out to my office if you are interested in doing so.
Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator

Thursday, December 5, 2013

FCNL Priorities are Progressive Priorities

FCNLThe Friends Committee on National Legislation recently re-released their 113th Congress legislative priorities as agreed at their general committee meeting on Nov. 12, 2012. It’s hard to argue that these priorities are not progressive. Your comments are welcome.
  • Reduce the influence of money in political and electoral processes.
  • Increase U.S. government capacity for peaceful prevention and resolution of deadly conflict. Promote regional and international diplomacy, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Prevent war with Iran.
  • Promote nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. Eliminate drone attacks.
  • Reduce U.S. military operations and bases around the world. Cut military spending while supporting programs for veterans.
  • Restore and strengthen programs that prevent or mitigate poverty and that improve access to education, training, health care and jobs.
  • Support progressive tax structures to address poverty and economic disparity.
  • Promote fair, humane and demilitarized immigration policies.
  • Safeguard the natural world. Support solutions to counter and mitigate global climate disruption and assist threatened human populations at home and abroad.
  • Transform U.S. energy policy to support the development and use of safe and sustainable energy sources.
  • Support efforts that respect the tribal sovereignty of Native Americans and indigenous peoples, enhance their well-being and honor treaty commitments.
  • Promote civil liberties and human rights, especially those undermined in the name of combating terrorism. Eliminate torture and suppression of dissent.
  • Reform drug policies that have led to mass incarceration and contribute to institutionalized racism.