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Ms. Sarah Slamen: Women’s Rights Activist Dragged Out Of Texas State Senate


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Sarah Slamen, Texas Woman, Dragged Out Of Senate Amid Fiery Testimony Against Abortion Bill

 

The Huffington Post  |  By 

 

Published on Jul 10, 2013

By the time Sarah Slamen finally got to testify against a restrictive anti-abortion bill in front of a Texas state Senate committee this week, her plans had changed, she told Daily Kos in a recent interview.

After a long drive to Austin from Central Texas and an hours-long wait in the state capitol, it was 11 p.m. on Monday, and the 28-year-old no longer wanted to talk about the ways Gov. Rick Perry‘s (R) sister could stand to benefit financially from the legislation. Instead, Slamen took the opportunity to voice her frustration over a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and shutter almost all of the state’s abortion clinics. Before she could finish, however, she was surrounded by state troopers and forcibly removed from the chamber.

 

 

 

 

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TEXAS state legislators knew they were in for a rocky ride when they convened this week to tighten the law on abortion. But they didn’t know just how difficult things would be until a young woman called Sarah Slamen took the floor.

 

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By the time Sarah Slamen finally got to testify against a restrictive anti-abortion bill in front of a Texas state Senate committee this week, her plans had changed, she told Daily Kos in a recent interview.

 

After a long drive to Austin from Central Texas and an hours-long wait in the state capitol, it was 11 p.m. on Monday, and the 28-year-old no longer wanted to talk about the ways Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) sister could stand to benefit financially from the legislation. Instead, Slamen took the opportunity to voice her frustration over a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and shutter almost all of the state’s abortion clinics. Before she could finish, however, she was surrounded by state troopers and forcibly removed from the chamber.

 

Abortion rights activists demonstrate outside the floor of the House after the HB2 bill restricting abortion rights passed in Austin, Texas

 

 

Here’s the bit of Slamen’s testimony that apparently upset state Sen. Jane Nelson (R), who was overseeing the proceedings:

“Thank you for being you, Texas legislature. You have radicalized hundreds of thousands of us, and no matter what you do for the next 22 days, women and their allies are coming for you,” Slamen said. “Let’s start down the line. Senator Campbell, you’re an ophthalmologist. So I won’t be making you the expert on reproductive health. We can give you all the children with chlamydia and herpes in their eyes, since we don’t have Sex Ed in this state.”

 

Sen. Jane Nelson (R), who was overseeing the proceedings.

Sen. Jane Nelson (R), who was overseeing the proceedings….and had Ms. Slamen “dragged out of chambers.”

 

Nelson slammed her gavel and accused Slamen of being disrespectful. Slamen shot back, “Excuse me, this is my government, ma’am. I will judge you.”

 

As the state troopers began to drag her out of the room, Slamen left with some parting words.

 

“This is a farce. The Texas legislature is a bunch of liars who hate women,” she said.

 

Lawmakers in the Texas House are expected to pass the controversial abortion restrictions in a final vote on Wednesday. It will then go to the state Senate for final passage. State Sen. Wendy Davis (D), who successfully blocked an earlier version of the bill two weeks ago, has said it will likely be approved this time around.

 

 

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Interview with Ms. Sarah Slamen conducted by Horace Boothroyd III for The Daily KOS:

 

Feel free to ignore any questions you would not care to respond to no explanation needed. Also feel free to add anything you would like to say that I don’t cover or ask about.

 

First off, what was your prepared statement?

I’d prepared a statement outlining Milla Perry Jones, sister of Governor Rick Perry’s involvement as head lobbyist for allied surgical centers and doctor-owned hospitals. As the Texas Observer explained its Dec 2012 “Sister Act” article, doctor owned facilities are notorious for driving up costs because of financial incentive to overcharge for tests, procedures, services. They’ve thrown over $4,000,000 dollars at Texas politics and now HB2/SB1 would mandate upgrades that benefit yet another industry the Perrys have ties to.

 

Did they explain why you were forcibly removed?

There was no explanation. Senator Jane Nelson tried to say I was being disrespectful but how would she know? I barely got to give the complete performance review of every member on the committee. Pointing out that Sen. Donna Campbell is an ophthalmologist is not disrespectful when she asserts in a state hearing that she should be THE expert on reproductive health. What was disrespectful was the parade of anti-choice zealots and misogynists who got up for 13 hours and called women murderers, killers, promiscuous, thoughtless, and selfish. Not a peep from committee chair Nelson on those.

 

Are you going to pursue legal action for the First Amendment violation involved in removing you and stopping you from petitioning your government for redress?

I haven’t decided yet, I am currently talking with people in Austin about that possibility.

 

What has your reception been like after speaking in your community?

The first reaction was a true shock. And that was the hundreds of people who applauded me as I was escorted out of Capitol and who stayed with me so police couldn’t isolate me. You can see some of it here. Parade as girl is escorted out of testimonyNext, I came home to hundreds of new followers on social media. And finally, the texts, tweets, emails, and phone calls haven’t stopped from friends and family alike. Texans are as angry as I sounded. We don’t benefit at all from the polite oppression of Texas legislature “decorum”. Dissent and rebellion continue to drive this fight.

 

Would you like to share the process of getting to the microphone to speak?

I drove from Central Texas at 5:30 am and testified at little after 11pm.  It was a long day but I and many others have been used to it since our first citizen’s filibuster on June 20th. Hours of watching antichoicers insult and talk to women, watching awful pseudoscience continued to enrage me. Finally, after I saw a woman named Vanessa (@lochnessa) testify angrily about the heartbreaking medically necessary abortion she had to have after countless IVF attempts, I knew I had to rewrite. Their baby had rare form of spina bifida and a 20 week ban would have hurt them. After she spoke an antichoice next to her cruelly said “I know people who adopted two children with spina bifida”. Not a word from the chair. I scrapped my speech and began a rewrite that would call out each member of committee for their lack of expertise or past bad record on women’s health. Took about 5 more hours until I was finally called along with the rest of Group 6.

 

Are you intending to run for office in the future?

I have worked on 2 gubernatorial campaigns and one presidential campaign. I haven’t really liked what I’ve seen of the candidate life but if any group of people felt I could help, I’d consider it.

 

Thank you The Daily KOS.

 

 

Back in Texas, it seems that the conservative forces have the upper hand, at least for now. Yesterday, the Texas State House formally passed the Bill by 96 votes to 49. The Texas State Senate is expected to vote on the companion Bill as early as Monday.

Back in Texas, it seems that the conservative forces have the upper hand, at least for now. Yesterday, the Texas State House formally passed the Bill by 96 votes to 49. The Texas State Senate is expected to vote on the companion Bill as early as Monday.

 

Hope Phillips, an opponent of HB 2, an abortion bill, yells with others outside the Texas House. Source: AP

Hope Phillips, an opponent of HB 2, an abortion bill, yells with others outside the Texas House. Source: AP

 

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A mother and her two daughters hold signs at an abortion rights march in Austin

 

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When Gang Rape In America Becomes A Joke….”Boys Will Be Boys”…..


By Jueseppi B.

 

 

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Kat Barr, UltraViolet:

 

 

“They raped her… They raped her quicker than Mike Tyson raped that one girl… she is so raped.”

 

 

That’s what a local man, who has been identified and is known to the media and police, said on camera about the now-infamous gang rape of a teenage girl by members of the Steubenville, Ohio high school football team last August. In the 12-minute video he is barely able to speak through his laughter.[1] He also tweeted that night that “Song of the night is definitely Rape Me by Nirvana.”[2] The girl was carried, unconscious, to different parties and raped at multiple locations throughout the night. And the dozens of teens who were there didn’t try to stop them, get help or call the police–instead they took photos and posted jokes about the attack on Twitter.[3]

 

 

Now, months later, local police are still dragging their feet and a special prosecutor has taken over the case. But only two people were arrested, and none of the teens who photographed or tweeted jokes about the crime have been held accountable. Despite the petitions, the protests, and the media attention, the sheriff announced that nobody else will be charged.[4] The city even released a statement claiming that Ohio law gives them no recourse against people who took photos or posted comments online while the girl was attacked.[5]

 

 

But under Ohio law, failing to report a felony is a crime.[6] And based on his 12-minute video, this man not only knew about the rape, but witnessed it.[7] It’s outrageous that local authorities are sweeping this under the rug–but it’s not too late for the special prosecutors to charge him and others involved. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is paying attention to the media coverage and public outrage about this case, and UltraViolet has joined with NOW, Justice for Children, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to call on him to prosecute the man. Can you sign our petition that demands that DeWine prosecute anyone who knowingly failed to report the crime?

 

 

Add your name.

 

 

Last August, the 16-year-old girl and her parents found out she was raped the next day by reading about it on social networks and the local news.[8] In recent weeks, Steubenville has been under a media spotlight while photos, videos, and posts to sites like Twitter and Instagram have surfaced. The crime was documented online in real time by teens on their phones.[9] It’s painfully clear that people were there, they knew about it, and some have even tried to cover it up after the fact.

 

 

But months later, only two boys have been charged with the rape. More than 70,000 UltraViolet members have signed a petition to Attorney General Mike DeWine demanding that everyone involved be held accountable. And just this Saturday, hundreds of people rallied in downtown Steubenville to demand justice for the survivor–the third rally since December. But the town is divided, and many people are supporting their local football heroes and blaming the survivor for the crimes committed against her.

 

 

We know the Attorney General is paying attention to the media scrutiny–just a few weeks ago, Ohio State University students delivered petitions to his office. He personally met with them to discuss the case and accept the 70,000 signatures from UltraViolet members. But we’re running out of time to make sure that others involved are charged. The law is clear–in Ohio, it’s a crime to knowingly fail to report a felony.  Can you sign the petition to demand justice for the survivor?

 

 

Add your name.

 

 

Thanks for speaking out,

 

Nita, Shaunna, Kat, and Karin, the UltraViolet team

 

 

Sources:

 

1. The Steubenville Gang Rape – A Timeline *Slight Update*, DailyKos, January 3, 2013

 

 

 

2. How An Alleged Rape Involving Ohio High School Football Players Unfolded On Twitter, Instagram, And YouTube, Deadspin, December 17,2012

 

 

3. Rape Case Unfolds on Web and Splits City, New York Times, December 16, 2012

 

 

 

4. Steubenville Rape Case: Ohio Sheriff Confronts Protesters, Huffington Post, January 7, 2013

 

 

 
5. Online outrage over Ohio rape case prompts city website, CNN, January 5, 2013

 

 

 

6. 2921.22 Failure to report a crime or knowledge of a death or burn injury, Ohio Revised Code

 

 

 

7. The Steubenville Gang Rape – A Timeline *Slight Update*, DailyKos, January 3, 2013

 

 

 

8. Rape Case Unfolds on Web and Splits City, New York Times, December 16, 2012

 

 

 

9. The Steubenville Gang Rape – A Timeline *Slight Update*, DailyKos, January 3, 2013

 

 

 

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Liebster Blog Awards: Paying It Forward


By Jueseppi B.

Today I was surprised to learn I received an award for this newly started blog, The ObamaCrat.com. I was honored by Ms. Coco Rivers, owner and blogger of Streams Of Consciousness – Coco Rivers.

Ms. Coco, as I call her, is a woman who speaks her mind, and her mind is always right on the money. Ms. Coco is intelligent, savvy, well informed, insightful and helpful to us less experienced bloggers who are just starting out and need a helping hand.

I was very impressed by her style when I finished reading her work: And They’re Off: This Week In The Political Hemisphere, being I am a political addict and What Are We Thinking: The Politics of Immorality. For the non political, I loved her movie review: Review: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and her videos of the week: Videos of The Week #4: Christmas Past… and Videos of The Week #5. Unlike my blog, Ms. Coco has a broad variety of things she wants to say, and she says them magnificently. Again I am honored and thrilled to receive my very first blogger award for The ObamaCrat.com.

I am presenting The Liebster Award to five bloggers and their blogs that inspire me, makes me laugh, and are insightful.

The first recipient of the Liebster Award goes to Ms. Alyssa, owner & blogger at Weaselgal’s Haven….

Okay, so my name isn’t Weaselgal, it’s Alyssa. I see myself as pretty much a social misfit. I’m socially awkward, as in that I don’t really have any friends to speak of. I have absolutely no social life. I’m quite serious, no joke. I have a lot of interests that most people consider strange, such as the paranormal, collecting semiprecious stones and minerals, big fantasy/sci-fi geek. I love cats and most animals. I HATE spiders with a passion.
I’m an artist by hobby and I enjoy sketching for my own personal relaxation. Costume design is another interest of mine; though I can’t sew worth beans I love coming up with ideas for costumes. I’m big into Renaissance Faires, though I haven’t been to one in ages and am dying to go back to one. I love attending in full costume (which I have to thank my sister for making). I would have to say I am brutally blunt in these blogs, especially the ones dealing with life and my issues.  I don’t like lying about myself, because it just serves no purpose for me. I know I’m a bit confrontational in them, but that’s because I WANT people who read them to think about what I’ve said. What I’ve gone through is not a comfortable thing; it’s not supposed to be ‘happily ever after’, because that will never ever happen to me. Maybe what I’ve written will cause you to think about your own actions in regards to others. I’m not out seeking pity, or to be an emotional parasite. I don’t really expect anyone to take a serious interest in what I say, because I’m just one of gazillion other bloggers here. If you do find my words have meaning, I am grateful they bring meaning to you. If you take the time to read them, even better, and what makes me happy is when I get feedback on them. If you have taken the time to read what I’ve posted, then something caught your eye. Please, don’t feel shy to reply to me, because that’s what I hope to do through my posts here.

My second recipient of The Liebster Award goes to Ms. Gabrielle Daniels, aka blksista owner & blogger at ThisBlackSistasPage….

I’m known as blksista on the pages of DailyKos, Jack and Jill Politics, and Booman Tribune, among others. If you don’t readily know who I am, you probably heard that I wrote a series of blog articles about the drowning of New Orleans, my birthplace. It took a long time for me to find my voice blogging, and these articles basically made my rep on DK.
I finally realized that I wanted my own blog to continue to talk about New Orleans, black people, culture, gossip/public intellectualism, politics, Buddhism, journalism and ethics, looksism, cooking, fiction, history, womanism, writing, race, fashion, music and other topics of interest during this rather fractious time in American life and the life of the Republic.
Finally, I would like to say that I have a patron saint of blogging, and that, for all intents and purposes, is the late Steve Gilliard. I discovered Steve’s blog while I was living on 132nd Street in Harlem, New York between 2003-2005. Through him, I got a real introduction to New York politics. We talked privately online here and there, but I never got to meet him. I’m sure we even passed by each other while at I-HOP without knowing it. I am so sorry he is gone, because he would have truly enjoyed seeing Obama in the White House, although I think that he could have been disgusted regarding our FBP’s capitulation to Big Pharma and the Republican Agenda. I know that I could never be as audacious or as knowledgeable as Steve was during his short career, but he did teach me a few things. One: to be yourself and two: to say what is real. Then you’ll never be alone.

My third recipient of The Liebster Award goes to Mr. Grant Williams owner & blogger at My2bits4u….

Mr. Williams has no bio, but his blog is just starting out but I like his style.

My fourth recipient of The Liebster Award goes to Jeff Winbush owner & blogger at The Domino Theory by Jeff Winbush

The Domino Theory. Because there’s no such thing as too much information.

Jeff Winbush is an award-winning (honest!) freelance journalist.  I was the editor of The Columbus Post newspaper and I have written for The Columbus Dispatch, ALIVE, Urban Trendsetters, The Daily Voice, allaboutjazz.com, The Root and more publications and websites that are no longer around than I care to count or remember.

The fifth & final recipients of The Liebster Award are Ms. Midge & Mr. Tom owners & Bloggers at FloridaKeysSeaSalt….

Earth and Sea Salt farm:

We are a small family farm specializing in artisanal grade 100% solar evaporated sea salt sourced directly from the waters of the fabulous florida keys, near key west, and harvested under the tropical skies of Upper Sugarloaf Key on the edge of the remains of the wilderness.

As salt farmers, we are regular folks who survived many hurricanes and the big financial meltdown and are creatively re-inventing our lives in order to produce an income while doing no harm and re-connecting with the source of where our food comes from. We are also test growing various little known food stuffs with high nutritive value with the goal of participating in more local food markets, CSA, etc… We are on the leading edge of another back to the land, reduce, reuse, recylce movement that could go a long way toward also reducing the dependence of our county on non-renewable fuels from any source. Not to mention producing future more healthy generations of humans. We are continually seeking ways to improve, increase our very special products and keep our eyes on the prize … being of benefit to all beings. We participate in wwoofusa, localharvest and AATRA internships programs to promote future generations of families eager to work on the land. We are members of  Slow Food, Second Harvest, Dinner Garden and other.

Salt farmer Midge: Lived in the Keys since 1981. Raised children, wore many different hats; now responsible for ‘hands on’ particulars of the of sea salt farm, raising bees and rarely cultivated tropical and sub tropical vegetables and fruits, social networking, now blogging :) and arranging for our wwoofers and other interns who come during the less hot months. (Raised in VA; traveled the country until settling in the Keys, home birth midwife, no longer catching babes, still offering advocacy and support, master gardener)

Salt Farmer Tom: Lived in the Keys since 1975. Raised children, wore many different hats; now responsible for wide ranging facilities support for the salt farm and field management for the land, driving for Dynamic Transportation to help keep the bills paid. (Born and raised in PA; farm life was his joy in summers on the 7th generation family farm, Vietnam Veteran, master gardener and retired arborist/irrigation specialist)

Liebster is a German word that means beloved or favorite. This is an award from fellow bloggers given to blogs that have less than 200 followers.

These are requirements that you need to fulfill should you accept this award:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  • Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  • Give your top 5 picks for the award
  • Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Post the award on your blog.

Thank you again to Ms. Coco, and a big congratulations to the five new winners of The Liebster Award.

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