Another win for same-sex marriage and gay rights as another homophobic, backwards, discriminatory attempt to legally keep loving couples apart bites the dust. The Texas ban on marriage equality has been ruled unconstitutional. So there.
Here's the Los Angeles Times breaking news email alert:
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia today ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage in Texas is unconstitutional because it deprives gay couples of due process and equal protection.
The ruling does not allow same-sex couples to immediately marry because the judge stayed the injunction pending any appeal.
The score: Same-sex marriage a Zillion, sad little ignorami Zero. Or something.
Two tweets came across my Twitter stream immediately after the news broke, and they must be shared. They come via two of my favorite Twitter pals, Igor Volsky and Ali Davis. Once you read them, you'll understand why I follow them:
Another Twitter buddy tweeted this:
"The Court finds same-sex couples can be just as responsible for a child's welfare as the countless heterosexual couples across the nation"
— Joe Sudbay (@JoeSudbay) February 26, 2014
It's wonderful how so few words can speak volumes. Sometimes less is so much more. Thank you Igor, Ali, and Joe.
One of my longtime Twitter pals, @Lolly_Jean, is desperately trying to raise the profile of what health care insurance companies are doing in the employer provided field; maybe shaming Blue Cross into allowing her husband to continue the care they have already approved, the care her husband was receiving until he became sick, will help.
She has tried tweeting to news and cable outlets to no avail. Any suggestions anyone might have to help her raise the profile of this devastating issue--for her husband and the others in employer-provided health care policies that will likely follow-- would be greatly appreciated.
Here is her story in her own words (bolding is mine):
My husband has a brain tumor and has been under care of Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan, and receives his radiation treatment from Memorial Sloan Kettering in Commack, Long Island, New York. He became ill from side effects, was taken to our local hospital on January 28th, where he remains today.
We have been fighting Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield for the past 2.5 weeks, as they refuse to allow him to be transferred to Memorial Sloan in Manhattan (MSK) for acute care and resumption of his remaining radiation treatments to the brain. We receive our insurance through my husband's employer, and we pay an additionally for Direct Point of Service care, which allows us choice of doctors and facilities. To note, my husband has been under the care of Memorial Sloan Kettering for the prior 4 years.
Blue Cross, at first, wanted to transfer my husband to a hospice facility with a standing DNR (do not resuscitate) order. My husband is not in end stages of his illness.
They fought us for a precious week of treatment time until they agreed that my husband did not warrant end of life care. They still refuse to allow us to take him to MSK, where his doctors know him, have knowledge of the rare form of tumor he has, and where until 5 weeks ago, he was receiving his treatment.
As I mentioned, this is employer-provided health care. My husband's employer is advocating he be moved to MSK for the remainder of his treatment, and has been very helpful in contacting Blue Cross in advocacy of his case.
MSK is 'in network' on our plan. They accept the negotiated payment as per their contract with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. And as I stated, we do have a Direct POS plan which allows us to go outside of network, should we choose.
To force us to change our doctors at this stage is unconscionable, immoral and dangerous.
To force us to go to a facility that cannot provide the same level of cancer care would not allow for the outcome that MSK feels my husband's condition should have.
And the more time we fight Blue Cross, my husband becomes weaker. This truly is a death panel, one run by the actuaries in Empire Blue Cross.
Please, help us by lending your voice by advocating for my husband.
By the way, here's the @AskAnthem Twitter profile. Notice the link they provide at the bottom:
Here's what you see when you follow the "customer support" link they provide, because, you know, they CARE:
I'm sure Anthem's "improving your online experience" and apologizing for "any inconvenience" are a huge comfort to Lolly Jean and her ailing husband.
You can get the ball rolling by tweeting this post to @empirebcbs (Sally Kweskin, their PR director in New York) and @askAnthem.
I don't know about you, but I'm not letting up until we get more action than a pleasant, solicitous response.
Apparently the Heritage Foundation and Scott Walker are bound and determined to dig their heels into that heap of elephant dung they've created. They're clearly oblivious to the world around them, as well as to Albert Einstein's definition of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
And apparently #2, they are bound and determined to lose elections. Running to the right? Really, GOP? As President Obama would say, "Please proceed."
Here are two headlines from today's Los Angeles Times:
President and Michelle Obama visit hunger strikers near the Capitol and discuss possible ways forward on the stalled immigration overhaul.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, met with the group for about 30 minutes in a heated tent near the steps of the Capitol to discuss the immigration bill that has stalled in the House.
Despite the importance of the Latino vote, divisions among Republicans leave immigration reform at a standstill.
Changing the way the party talks about immigration is about all House Republicans have to show for their efforts over the last 11 months — and even that effort has notable exceptions. [...]
In fact, the House's most visible immigration-related action was a measure to defund an Obama administration program to defer deportations of young immigrants, a vote that increased Latino animosity even though it failed to become law.
Now stop and think about that contrast, GOP. Who do you think Latino voters will overwhelmingly support... again? Take a wild guess.
Republicans furrow their collective brows and write Very Important political autopsies about softening nothing but their words, and then their (in)actions continue to speak volumes.
So does their timing.
I'm trying my best to follow Doctor's orders, I really am. I'm staying away from the computer for a good part of the day, I write 90% fewer posts than I used to, and when I do write, I concentrate on more upbeat news stories.
For months-- no, make that years-- it's been impossible to escape from the tea party style, trolly behavior of many so-called "Democrats" on Twitter, in TPC Comments, and on Facebook. And yes, many of these people are really, truly left leaning, not conservatives in blue sheep's clothing.
Let's start with this old chestnut: Over the years, I've been called an "EmoProg," which is supposed to be some kind of terrible, poison dart insult, the ultimate slur that can be hurled at you by a fellow Dem. My pal over at FreakOutNation, @Anomaly100, and I have mocked this lunacy by calling our selves MEmos ( adding "me" to "emo" to fake-narcisstically own our apparent evil EmoProgitude).
I've never been quite sure what EmoProg means, but per Urban Dictionary, in part:
Emo Progressive (or "emoprog") is a self-described liberal or progressive, often with libertarian leanings, whose political orientation is to be angry, dissatisfied and unhappy with the state of the nation at any given time, because in their view, liberal policies are not being implemented quickly or forcefully enough. They have particular contempt for Democratic presidents.
Emoprogs are ideological purists who disdain compromise and incremental change, which they see as "selling out" liberal ideas like full employment, an end to all wars, state secrets, and liberal social policy...
Emoprogs have a strong affinity for 3rd party politics as a way to punish Democratic presidents. They are especially hostile to President Obama and deem anyone who expresses a lack of ill will toward him to be "Obamabots" and enemies of liberalism.
I've also been called an "Obamabot," which as you can see is the opposite of an EmoProg, so go figure. That's how utterly inane and infantile these labels are. They're also destructive, damaging to party unity, toxic, and resolve nothing. In fact, for those who claim to be so "inclusive," this kind of name-calling is sure a funny way of displaying their "tolerance" of others.
There can be disagreement within a party without resorting to this kind of immaturity. We share the same goals, ultimately, so zinging hostile labels at political allies, alienating them instead of working together whenever possible, is at best self-defeating.
Next, and I'm putting this in all caps because I want to scream this loudly, and a few words on a page won't suffice:
PLEASE STOP USING THE WORD "RETARD" AND STOP USING "TARD" AS A SUFFIX.
Again, so-called "inclusive" Dems using that word as a slur is utterly counterproductive, very offensive, and plain stupid. Or ignorant. Or both. Even readers/followers I adore use it. Most stop when I explain what I'm about to write next:
I worked with special ed students for years when I taught high school theater classes. I challenge anyone who uses the R Word or suffix to look any of those dear, innocent kids in the eye and say that directly to them or within earshot of them, and then not feel like a total ass as they see the hurt and bewilderment on the sweet faces that stare back.
Are "liberal" vocabularies so limited that no other words are accessible? Words that don't sting? Words that don't devalue people with real feelings who matter and take things to heart just as you and I do? Really?
And finally, there's this: Yesterday I had a very pleasant Twitter exchange with a *gasp!* Republican TV and print commentator who shall remain nameless. In fact, I have a few far right followers who I get along with, but who I never ever discuss politics with. Our conversations are strictly goofy or personal or about movies, TV, dogs, vacations, that kind of thing. But not politics. Our mutual heads would explode if we did that.
In fact, I detest their politics at worst, and strongly disagree with them at best. But we get along, and one extremely conservative pundit in particular was the very first to "be there" for me (privately in Direct Messages) when my dad first became ill and then supported me all the way through to my father's death. I value that in a person, no matter what their beliefs or politics.
After my quippy back and forth with Mr. GOP Commentator, a follower (who I am happy to say I never followed back) called me "self-righteous" and "muted" me because I dared to engage someone who he (and I) vehemently disagreed with about the Affordable Care Act.
Call me EmoProg-- or is it Obamabot?-- but I am able to compartmentalize and remain friendly with people who are kind to me, who enjoy tweet talk now and then, who have a sense of humor, and who give me no reason to block them. If I eventually find them to be offensive or distasteful, I unfollow or block, that is my choice.
But come on, "Dems" or "liberals" or "Progressives" or "Obama supporters" or whoever you are, grow up. Throwing insults out of the blue, initiating convos only to be rude because I occasionally chat with someone whose point of view we both find objectionable is not exactly true to our Big D Democratic values.
In fact, it's more tea party than it is Dem. And that kind of behavior is intolerable.
Every step of the way, Republicans have sabotaged President Obama's efforts: the Affordable Care Act, judicial and cabinet nominees, jobs bills, immigration reform, you name it. And once the sabotage, smears, and obstruction take their toll, they have the balls to scatter all over the airwaves and blame the president for the failure to effectively implement his programs. The programs that they, the GOP, impeded or thwarted.
Last night I took part in a "call" (it was actually a broadcast online) during which the president spoke to 200,000 listeners. He seemed different (in a good way) than he does when we see him on TV. He was more soft-spoken, personal, heartfelt, approachable, and somehow reached me, despite my bad mood after a long day of covering dirty politics. I've been a critic as well as a supporter, and after this call, I was easily switched to supportive mode.
I livetweeted a few things he said. He began with a general overview of the benefits of "Obamacare" along with the following (some are paraphrased, most are direct quotes):
This one really resonated on Twitter:
As did this one:
He then pivoted and had a couple of things to say about Republican lawmakers:
We've had problems with Senate Republicans blocking judicial nominees. It's not the way the Constitution was designed, but that's what happened. Today, Republicans filibustered my fourth judicial nominee. All four of my nominees got the highest ratings from the Bar Association, but Republicans filibustered every one. This is unprecdented obstructionism.
He ended with this:
I'm proud of you. Let's go out there and get this done.
After hearing him speak, I tweeted:
How can someone succeed if there is an organized effort to block, sabotage, smear? How about covering THAT, news shows?
Many Americans have been feeling awfully discouraged lately, me included. But then *birds chirping, sun ray music* I woke up to this headline in my morning Los Angeles Times: Healthcare enrollment rises sharply.
You sure wouldn't know that by watching or listening to news reports. So here is a dose of some long overdue good news:
[E]nrollment is surging in many states as tens of thousands of consumers sign up for insurance plans made available by President Obama's health law.
A number of states that use their own systems, including California, are on track to hit enrollment targets for 2014 because of a sharp increase in November, according to state officials. [...]
Several other states, including Connecticut and Kentucky, are outpacing their enrollment estimates, even as states that depend on the federal website lag far behind. [...]
In addition to better-functioning websites, many states that are running their own marketplaces also have significantly more resources to help consumers sign up for coverage. Many of the states that have declined to run their own websites have also refused to expand the joint federal-state Medicaid program, as the new law allows. [...]
State officials believe enrollment through Covered California has been depressed by media reports of problems with the federal site [...] But while politicians in Washington, D.C., have been fixated on the website problems, many state officials are feeling considerably more optimistic about the law's long-term prospects. [...]
Enrollment has been even stronger in many Medicaid programs.
What?! Come on! That's crazy!
You can enroll up through March 31, so as President Obama said, "This isn't a one-day sale."
Of course, we'll just continue to hear about what a disaster this is because the website had such a rocky start. And of course, President Obama is a lying crook who did everything he could to fool you into buying...
... a more affordable plan with more comprehensive coverage with far fewer restrictions.
Yeah, what a villain he is. Meanwhile, it's the GOP that has lied, cheated, obstructed, and failed on every level, but we don't hear much about that, now do we? Well, we do now: A video anthology of #GOPcruelty and obstruction.
The president said he fumbled the rollout. But the GOP continues to fumble democracy and equal rights.
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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