Tag Archives: advocacy

Hate Crimes Bill Approved by Congress, Extends Protection to Gay Americans

Posted by Audiegrl

(Artwork courtesy of Unfinished Lives)

(Artwork courtesy of Unfinished Lives)

Associated Press/Jim Abrams—Physical attacks on people based on their sexual orientation will join the list of federal hate crimes in a major expansion of the civil rights-era law Congress approved Thursday and sent to President Barack Obama.

A priority of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., that had been on the congressional agenda for a decade, the measure expands current law to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. The measure is named for Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student murdered 11 years ago.

To assure its passage after years of frustrated efforts, Democratic supporters attached the measure to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill the Senate approved 68-29. The House passed the defense bill earlier this month.

Many Republicans, normally staunch supporters of defense bills, voted against the bill because of the hate crimes provision. All the no votes were Republicans except for Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., who supported the hate crimes provision but opposes what he says is the open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan.

The inclusion of the controversial language of the hate crimes legislation, which is unrelated to our national defense, is deeply troubling,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, with President Obama

Judy Shepard, the mother of Matthew Shepard, with President Obama

Hate crimes law enacted after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 centered on crimes based on race, color, religion or national origin.

The expansion has long been sought by civil rights and gay rights groups. Conservatives have opposed it, arguing that it creates a special class of victims. They also have been concerned that it could silence clergymen or others opposed to homosexuality on religious or philosophical grounds.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, hailed the bill as “our nation’s first major piece of civil rights legislation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Too many in our community have been devastated by hate violence.”

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More @ Associated Press

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Filed under Democrats, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Hate Crimes, Law, Partisan Politics, Politics, Uncategorized, Women's Issues

Rodale and the Obamas Make a Case for Health (and Health Care)

Michelle Obama talks about her family’s diet in Children’s Health.

First Lady Michelle Obama talks about her family’s diet in Children’s Health.


Posted by Audiegrl

Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times reports:

President Obama is taking his argument for a health care plan to a new place: Rodale magazines, where he or his wife appear on coming covers of Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health and the new publication Children’s Health.

The president has been pitching his health care plan without total success in Congress and in town hall meetings nationwide. Now, he makes the argument in the pages of the Rodale publications. Peter Moore, editor of Men’s Health, who wrote a cover article on Mr. Obama in November, approached the White House in the spring with the idea of doing articles focused on health care in four Rodale magazines. Three will run in the October issues, while the Prevention cover is appearing in November.

The Men’s Health and Women’s Health articles publicize the Obama health care plan, with Men’s Health strongly endorsing it. A sidebar to the president’s interview there lists “five reasons you should care” about the health care plan, and each point is positive — your premium may go down, your emergency room care would improve.

Mr. Moore said he approached the article with a very clear point of view. “We’re not bystanders,” he said. “The whole issue of health care in the U.S., it’s something that we have to feel strongly about. We’re health journalists.”

“We know, if anyone does, what’s broken there, and so if this comes off as more of an advocacy piece, it’s because we’re advocates for health.”
Cont’d

I like this outside-of-the-box marketing approach. For many people, reading an article in their favorite (and trusted) magazine is often more persuasive than listening to a speech or watching both pro and con healthcare advocates duke it out on TV. One of the things that hurt the health care debate (food-fight), was that everyday people were not told, in the simplest of terms, why health care reform is important for them. Why its important for people who already have insurance, why its important for our Seniors, why its important to all Americans. If the majority of this country is firmly behind Health Care Reform, convinced that it is in their own best interest, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it.

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