It’s Mid Term Election Day, “NO”vember 4th, 2014.


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United States Mid Term Elections, 2014

 

Elections in the United States are being held throughout 2014, with the general elections scheduled for Tuesday, November 4th, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

 

2014 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election day November 4
Senate elections
Seats contested 33 seats of Class II
and various mid-term vacancies
Color coded map of 2014 Senate races
Map of the 2014 Senate races
Light red: Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Gray: no election
House elections
Seats contested All 435 seats to the 114th Congress
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested 38
Color coded map of 2014 Gubernatorial races
Map of the 2014 gubernatorial races
Light red: Term-limited or Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Term-limited or Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Green: Incumbent Independent
Gray: no election

 

Issues

Unlike some other elections, the 2014 election has lacked a “dominant national theme,” with no one issue standing above the others. Some of the major issues of the election include income inequality, net neutrality, the effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”), and immigration.

 

The environment is also a major issue in the election. Although it generated much debate in early 2014, the Keystone Pipeline ultimately received little attention in the election, with environmentalists instead focused on fighting climate change and supporting the EPA’s proposed regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

 

According to the political commentator Stuart Rothenberg, foreign policy crises in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia are likely to hurt the Democratic Party’s chances in 2014.

 

Federal elections

 

Congressional elections

Senate elections

All seats in Senate Class II will be up for election. Additionally, special elections will be held to fill vacancies in the other two Senate Classes.

 

House of Representatives elections

All 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives will be up for election. Additionally, elections will be held to select the delegates for the District of Columbia and four of the five U.S. territories. The only seat in the House not up for election will be the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, who serves a four-year term.

 

On March 11, there was a special election for Florida’s 13th congressional district.

 

State elections

 

Gubernatorial elections

Elections will be held for the governorships of 36 of the 50 U.S. states and three U.S. territories.

 

Local elections

 

Numerous elections will be held for officeholders in numerous cities, counties, school boards, special districts and others around the country.

 

Mayoral elections

 

Various major American cities will hold mayoral elections in 2014, including the following:

 

  • San Jose, California: Incumbent Chuck Reed is term-limited out of office. A primary election was held on June 3, and a run-off will be held on November 4.

 

 

Did You Miss These:

 

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Your Vote, Your Voice Has Never Been More Important. The Best Thing About Today Is NO More Election Ads.

 

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Sometimes: “Just An Image Says It All™”


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Hobby Lobby In YOUR Bedroom: The Birth Control Statistic Nobody Is Talking About.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Right now, the Supreme Court is deciding a case that could let right-wing bosses deny birth control to women. If craft retailer Hobby Lobby–a company headed by evangelical activists–wins, the precedent this case could set is frightening. We’re talking about HIV treatment, vaccines, blood transfusions, and more.

 

Today, a lot of people will be talking about the case, but not a lot of people know why it’s so important. We need to spread the word so Americans everywhere understand that birth control is a vital health care need for millions of women and that 1 in 3 women have a hard time paying for it.

 

That’s why we put together this timely infographic. Can you take a second to share it with your friends?

 

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Birth Control Rally at Hobby Lobby Case

 

Published on Mar 25, 2014

Defenders and protesters rally outside the Supreme Court as Justices tackle a case that allows businesses to object to health law’s birth control coverage. (March 25)

 

 

 

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Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

 

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, is a United States Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act‘s requirement for large businesses to offer insurance for contraception and other reproductive healthcare to their female employees. It was consolidated with Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

 

 

Background

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division v. Smith (1990) that neutral laws of general applicability are not violations of religious freedom that would have required a strict scrutiny assessment of whether they are the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest. The court wrote that “the right of free exercise [of religion] does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability…” The meaning of neutral law of general applicability was elaborated by the court in 1993. The US Congress responded by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), requiring strict scrutiny when a neutral law of general applicability “substantially burden[s] a person’s exercise of religion”. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the federal RFRA as applied to federal statutes in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal in 2006.

 

 

Conestoga Wood Specialties is a furniture company founded by the Mennonite Hahn family. It has about 1,000 employees.

 

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts company owned by the Evangelical Christian Green family with about 13,000 employees.

 

 

State of the law

The Affordable Care Act fines $100 per employee per day for companies that refuse to offer coverage for birth control.

 

 

Lower court history

Three federal appeals courts ruled against the contraception coverage rule, while two have upheld it.

 

 

U.S. Supreme Court consideration

 

Acceptance and briefs

On November 26, the Supreme Court accepted and consolidated the two cases. Two dozen amicus briefs support the government, and five dozen support the companies. Two of the briefs oppose each other on the constitutionality of the RFRA. Two briefs that do not formally take sides oppose each other on whether the right to religion applies to corporations.

 

 

Argument and deliberation

Oral arguments were scheduled for March 25, 2014 for 30 minutes more than the usual one hour.

 

 

Decision

A ruling is expected in late June, 2014.

 

 

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Supreme Court Weighs Birth Control Mandate

 

Published on Mar 25, 2014

The Supreme Court seemed divided Tuesday over whether employers’ religious beliefs can free them from a part of the new health care law that requires that they provide coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge. (March 25)

 

 

 

 

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From CBS News:

 

Some of the most politically divisive themes and issues of the 2012 election –Obamacare, the left’s “war on religion,” the right’s “war on women,” and the notion of corporate personhood – all come into play in two cases that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

 

Two privately-held, for-profit companies — Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. — are suing the United States government over a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires large employers to offer their workers comprehensive health coverage, including contraception, or pay a fine. Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green of Oklahoma, say they have strong objections based in their Christian faith to providing health care coverage for certain types of contraception. The Pennsylvania-based Hahn family, the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties, have the same complaint.

 

For Christian conservatives, the cases represent the threat of government overreach.

 

“This case will decide whether a family gives up their religious freedom when they open a family business,” Lori Windham, a senior counsel for the Becket Fund, which is representing Hobby Lobby, told CBS News. “The question here is whether the Green family can be forced to do something that violates their deeply held religious conviction as a consequence of the new health care law.”

 

Reproductive rights advocates, meanwhile, consider the notion that some businesses could pick and choose which contraception methods to cover “out of touch [and] out of line,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, told reporters.

 

Contraception is “integral with our economic security and our ability to hold jobs for our lifetime,” Hogue said. “We’ve had enough of this idea our reproductive health is somehow separate from our economic well being… Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.”

 

The two cases, however, have implications that go well beyond the so-called “wars” on women or religion. If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga prevail, it would prompt “a fundamental shift in the understanding of the First Amendment,” David Gans, the civil rights director for the Constitutional Accountability Center, told CBS News.

 

That shift in thinking could open the floodgates for unprecedented protections for corporations that some say amount to a license to discriminate. The ramifications could be felt nationwide, in states that are enacting laws to shield businesses from regulations that may violate their “religious beliefs.” Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., last month vetoed one such bill, which would have allowed Arizona businesses to refuse to serve gays on religious grounds. A number of other states across the country have been considering similar legislation.

 

The ramifications could theoretically go further than that. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in a brief to the court that siding with Hobby Lobby “would entitle commercial employers with religious objections to opt out of virtually every statute protecting their employees” — such as laws that ban gender discrimination, minimum wage and overtime laws, the collection of Social Security taxes, or mandated health coverage for vaccinations.

 

 

Corporate personhood

The basis for Hobby Lobby’s case is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which dictates that an individual’s religious expression shouldn’t be “substantially burdened” by a law unless there is a “compelling government interest.”

 

The court must first decide whether this law even applies to for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby — in other words, whether corporations have the freedom to exercise religion that’s granted to individuals under the First Amendment. In this sense, the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases are the next iteration of Citizens United, the case 2010 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same freedom of speech guarantees afforded under the First Amendment as individuals.

 

“I do think the question of corporate personhood is at the heart of the case,” Gans told CBS. “Do corporations have these fundamental rights of human dignity and conscience that they’ve never tried to claim in the past?”

 

There are, however, noteworthy differences between these cases and Citizens United. Before Citizens United, there was a body of precedent granting corporations freedom of speech in advertising, Gans said.

 

“The theory was when corporations were selling a product — or as in the case of Citizens United, trying to influence the outcome of elections — that sort of act of expression helped shape public debate, helped shape consumers’ understanding of products,” Gans said.

 

By contrast, there’s no precedent that the Supreme Court can rely on to find a freedom of religion right for corporations. “The fundamental idea of the religious right is one of conscience, human dignity — human attributions that don’t really apply well to corporations.”

 

The Supreme Court took up a similar case in the early 1980s, after an Amish farmer argued that paying Social Security taxes on his employees’ wages violated his beliefs. The court unanimously ruled against the farmer in United States v. Lee. Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote for the court, “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”

 

On the other hand, Windham of the Becket Fund points out since the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the court has recognized the religious rights of religious corporations. For instance, the court ruled unanimously in 2006 that the federal government could not confiscate a hallucinogenic tea from a New Mexico religious corporation (which considered the tea a sacrament), even though the tea was barred under federal drug laws.

 

The key difference between that case and those before the court on Tuesday is that the court is now dealing with for-profit corporations — not nonprofits. In fact, nonprofits with religious affiliations, such as Catholic universities, arealready exempt from the Obamacare contraception rule.

 

“The government says that nonprofit versus for-profit is the dividing line — that is a really bad dividing line,” Windham said. “That would mean the NFL, which is a nonprofit, has religious rights but Mardel Christian Bookstores does not.” (Mardel, a bookstore chain that the Greens own along with Hobby Lobby, is also challenging the Obamacare mandate.)

 

 

Is full contraception coverage a “compelling interest”?

If the court buys that Hobby Lobby has rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Hobby Lobby would then have to prove that it has been “substantially burdened” by a law for which there is no “compelling government interest.”

 

The court could cite a number of reasons why the Obamacare rule doesn’t amount to a substantial burden. For one thing, the court could point out that in lieu of providing insufficient health care coverage to its employees, Hobby Lobby could simply pay a fine to the government.

That fine would, in fact, cost less than the expense of providing health coverage to Hobby Lobby’s employees. The government would then use that money to support the new Obamacare marketplaces, where Hobby Lobby employees could then find comprehensive coverage.

 

This rationale would be similar to the logic the Supreme Court put forward when it upheld the Obamacare individual mandate in 2012 – in that case, the court ruled that the rule requiring all Americans to obtain insurance or pay a fine did not amount to a “mandate” but to a tax.

 

Windham said it’s illogical that “a company that complies with 99 percent of the Affordable Care Act — just because it doesn’t comply with 1 percent — should drop their coverage altogether.”

 

Hobby Lobby’s owners would feel compelled to compensate its employees for those lost benefits, which would be an additional burden on top of the fine, Windham said.

 

Even if there is a substantial burden on Hobby Lobby, compelling government interests could overrule that.

 

Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said there’s a clear government interest in ensuring that women have full contraception coverage.

 

“Studies show what common sense tells us,” she said. “Access to birth control increases women’s participation in the workforce and contributes to an increase in women’s wages.”

 

The Supreme Court said as much in 1992 in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey: “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”

 

Thank you CBS News.

 

 

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Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson Suspended By A&E Over Anti Gay & Racist Comments


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Hat Tip/Shout Out to  Dr. Rex …. Blogging for change and her blogIt Is What It Is.

 

Not only does “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson fail to understand what it’s like to be gay, but he also thinks homosexuality is a sin comparable to bestiality.

 

In a shocking new interview with GQ’s Drew Magary, Robertson — the 67-year-old patriarch of the Duck Commander kingdom that earned his Louisiana family a fortune and a hit A&E series — opened up about “modern immorality” and the gay community.

 

“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” Robertson told GQ. “That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

 

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,” he later added. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

 

To read the full interview, visit GQ.com.

 

Robertson was once a substance abuser, but in the 1970s he turned his life over to Jesus, according to the Christian publication, The Southeast Outlook. He has since been a devout Christian and strives to be a scholar of the Bible.

 

Robertson’s anti-gay comments did not sit well with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates. GLAAD called his comments some of “the vilest and most extreme” uttered against the LGBT community, “littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”

 

In a statement obtained by The Huffington Post, GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said:
Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe. He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans — and Americans — who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples.

 

Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.

 

Recently, Robertson and his family were named on Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People of 2013″ list. He snubbed Walters’ interview to go duck hunting instead.

 

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UPDATE at 12:33 pm ET: A representative from A&E sent the following statement to The Huffington Post from Phil Roberston in response to the controversy:

 

“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

 

NOW thats what I call a down home Christian apology….

 

 

A&E said it was troubled by Robertson’s statements.

 

 

 

Then of course the ever dumbass Sarah Palin weighs in with her superior intellect…..

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Amy Jehle mentioned:  She never disappoints, which is to say she always disappoints.

 

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‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Suspended Indefinitely Over Homophobic & Racist Comments

 

‘Duck Dynasty’ star suspended over anti-gay remarks. Phil Robertson, a star in the A&E hit series, ‘Duck Dynasty,’ has come under fire for comments about homosexuality during a magazine interview.

 

 

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Native American Heritage Month 2013


 

By Jueseppi B.

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National American Indian Heritage Month

 

On August 3, 1990 President of the United States George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month, thereafter commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month

 

The Bill read in part that “the President has authorized and requested to call upon Federal, State and local Governments, groups and organizations and the people of the United States to observe such month with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities”. This was a landmark Bill honoring America’s Tribal people.

 

This commemorative month aims to provide a platform for native people to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life. This gives native people the opportunity to express to their community, both city, county and state officials their concerns and solutions for building bridges of understanding and friendship in their local area.

 

About Native American Heritage Month

Information courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior

 

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What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S., has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose.

 

One of the very proponents of an American Indian Day was Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, who was the director of the Museum of Arts and Science in Rochester, N.Y. He persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day for the “First Americans” and for three years they adopted such a day. In 1915, the annual Congress of the American Indian Association meeting in Lawrence, Kans., formally approved a plan concerning American Indian Day.

 

It directed its president, Rev. Sherman Coolidge, an Arapahoe, to call upon the country to observe such a day. Coolidge issued a proclamation on Sept. 28, 1915, which declared the second Saturday of each May as an American Indian Day and contained the first formal appeal for recognition of Indians as citizens.

 

The year before this proclamation was issued, Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, rode horseback from state to state seeking approval for a day to honor Indians. On December 14, 1915, he presented the endorsements of 24 state governments at the White House. There is no record, however, of such a national day being proclaimed.

 

The first American Indian Day in a state was declared on the second Saturday in May 1916 by the governor of New York. Several states celebrate the fourth Friday in September. In Illinois, for example, legislators enacted such a day in 1919. Presently, several states have designated Columbus Day as Native American Day, but it continues to be a day we observe without any recognition as a national legal holiday.

 

In 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

 

The following images of notable Native Americans or subjects of similar interest are a sampling of the exhaustive image resources available from the National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

 

Please note: This list represents only a selection of the digital and physical holdings of the participating agencies.

 

Image Collections (Library of Congress)

 

 

National Archives

 

National Endowment for the Humanities

 

 

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