Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lilly Ledbetter-All we need now is President Obama's autograph

Yep yep.

Hoyer Statement on Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act


WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which passed the House and is now headed to President Obama for his signature. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“I am proud that one of the very first bills passed by this House in the 111th Congress was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. In passing that bill, we recognized that sexism and discrimination can still cheat women out of equal pay and equal worth—a theft of livelihood and dignity that is especially damaging as families across our country struggle to pay their bills. Within my lifetime, sexism in the workplace could be blatant and unashamed; but today, it does some of its worst work in secret. We can take a stand against it by voting for final passage today.

“It was secret sexism that cheated Lilly Ledbetter out of thousands of dollars, for years. And we repeat her story not because it is unique and shocking, but because it is typical of the experiences of so many American women.

“Ms. Ledbetter was a supervisor at a tire plant, and for years she was paid less than her male coworkers. For years, though, she was left in the dark, and by the time she finally saw the proof, it was too late. The Supreme Court ruled that even though Ms. Ledbetter had suffered clear discrimination, she had missed a technicality—she had failed to file suit 180 days after her first unfair paycheck. Of course, Ms. Ledbetter didn’t even know her paychecks were unfair until years after the fact. But the justices decided that women like her were out of luck for a lifetime.

“The Court’s flawed ruling left many victims of pay discrimination without legal recourse. With this bill, we aim to restore that right to redress by allowing employees to file suit 180 days after each unfair paycheck—because pay discrimination is an ongoing practice that is renewed every time an employer signs an unfair paycheck.

“Opponents of this bill might argue that it will lead to more lawsuits. I’d respond that employers who discriminate could end those lawsuits tomorrow, if they paid their female employees fairly. But until that happens, women who face sexism have every right to get the pay, and the respect, they deserve.

“So I urge my colleagues to support final passage of this bill and send it to President Obama’s desk. It would be fitting if this were one of the first bills he signed—a reminder that, even in hard times, we can always make time for justice.”
And here is the rest of it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

RIP Gag Rule-Don't let the door hit ya in the ass

From the Feminist Majority:

President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that repealed the Global Gag Rule.

This executive order will have a monumental impact by saving the life, health, and suffering of literally millions of women worldwide yearly. In part because of restricted access to reproductive health services caused by the Global Gag Rule, more than 70,000 women annually die from unsafe abortions worldwide and the incidence of HIV/AIDS is skyrocketing.

The Global Gag Rule prohibited family planning programs in other nations that receive US aid from using non-US monies for abortion counseling, advocacy, and referrals. The rule was instituted by President Reagan in 1984, was repealed by President Clinton, and was reinstituted by President George W. Bush.

The Global Gag Rule inhibited women worldwide from access to gynecological exams, AIDS prevention and treatment, and contraceptive options. It also halted shipment of condoms and contraceptives to more than 20 countries.

And here is the rest of it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bishop Gene Robinson's Untelevised Invocation


O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will bless us with tears, tears for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women in many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless this nation with anger, anger at discrimination at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort, at the easy, simplistic answers we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth about ourselves and our world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be fixed any time soon and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility, open to understanding that our own needs as a nation must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance, replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences.

And bless us with compassion and generosity, remembering that every religion’s god judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable.

And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States. Give him wisdom beyond his years. Inspire him with President Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for all people.

Give him a quiet heart, for our ship of state needs a steady, calm captain.

Give him stirring words. We will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.

Make him colorblind, reminding him of his own words, that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.

Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.

Give him strength to find family time and privacy. And help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.

And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we are asking far too much of this one. We implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand, that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace. And here is the rest of it.