While Israelis were preparing for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), marking the unification of the city and renewed Jewish access to the Western Wall, Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky met last Tuesday with the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women, where he presented an outline of his plan to create a section for egalitarian prayer in the southern part of the Kotel (Western Wall).
I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Childs, Artistic Director of 1812 Productions, Philadelphia's All Comedy Theatre Company, about her new comedy, which she wrote and directed, It's My Party: The Women and Comedy Project. It's My Party began in 2010 with two questions: how do women use comedy and how does the usage change as they age. Through collage, cabaret, and stand-up Childs investigates gender stereotypes that lock women into certain roles, such as the ditz, the vamp, and the old maid.
In some ways, the play responds to Christopher Hitchens' provocative comment in a Vanity Fair article years ago, claiming that women aren't funny. The first act of this compelling show had the audience laughing on the opening night last Wedensday. The all-woman ensemble includes comedic veterans of the Philadelphia theatre. The play incorporates original and devised music by the cast and the musical director Monica Stephenson, and features a set by 1812 Productions' designer Lance Kniskern.
On Wednesday, Oklahoma State House Majority Leader Dennis Johnson used the phrase "try to Jew me down" on the House floor. He offered an apology afterward that reportedly included the line "Jews run good small businesses, too." The Tulsa World reported:
In debating in favor of a bill that would repeal a 70-year-old ban on "loss-leader" selling, Johnson, a small business owner, said service and not price were the key to success.
He then acknowledged that some customers "try to Jew me down."
Johnson, R-Duncan — who, with Rep. Fred Jordan, R-Jenks, is the third-ranking member of the majority leadership — immediately apologized, adding that "Jews run good small businesses, too."
"Jew down" is a slang term for haggling and is generally considered derogatory.
New Hampshire Republican Uses "Vagina" As Synonym For "Woman"
Rep. Peter Hansen, an Amherst Republican serving his second term, wrote in an April 1 email to the all-House email list that "children and vagina's" were missing from a fellow representative's anecdotes during the debate over whether to repeal New Hampshire's 2011 "stand your ground" law.
The email was posted Monday on a liberal blog, and Hansen's remark was condemned yesterday by NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire.
"We are shocked and disgusted by this derogatory comment," said Policy and Community Relations Director Sara Persechino in a news release. "Rep. Peter Hansen was elected to represent the citizens of his district and this state; referring to women as 'vaginas' is not in line with New Hampshire's value of equality for all."
Hansen said yesterday his comment was being taken out of context.
It boggles the mind to imagine that there is any conceivable "context" in which it would be vaguely appropriate to refer to a woman as a "vagina". Perhaps the "honorable penis" from Amherst, New Hampshire should apologize to his colleagues, his constituents and all Americans who were shocked by his mysogyny.
Meanwhile in Michigan, Democratic legislators are forbidden to use the word "vagina" to refer to actual vaginae. Details after the jump.
Reports are circulating that the House of Representatives will be voting on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as early as tomorrow. VAWA provides crucial protections to victims of domestic violence and there is no excuse for not reauthorizing this important bill.
Since it was first introduced in 1994 by then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), VAWA had been repeatedly reauthorized with strong bipartisan support — until last year, when Republicans blocked reauthorization because it expanded protections to same sex couples, Native Americans living on tribal reservations, and undocumented immigrants.
When the Senate voted this year to reauthorize VAWA, it received more Republican "no" votes that it did last year — including from 22 male Republicans. Unfortunately, Congressional Republicans have demonstrated that even protections from domestic violence are not exempted from their subservience to the right wing of their party.
Domestic violence is a sad reality for too many women — we cannot afford to let VAWA fail in the House!
As the co-founders of NJDC's Women's Leadership Network, we urge you to take action now by calling your Representative and encouraging them to pass the Senate's version of VAWA.
Too many women are counting on VAWA for us to be silent.
Senators Barbara Boxer (left) and Diane Feinstein (right).
The National Jewish Democratic Council's (NJDC) newly-launched Women's Leadership Network (WLN) proudly announced today that all Jewish Democratic women in the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), have signed on as Honorary Co-Chairs of the new group. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said:
I am thrilled to be an honorary co-chair of the NJDC's new Women's Leadership Network — an opportunity for us to stand up as women, as Jews, and as Democrats for the priorities we share. From safeguarding our civil and reproductive freedoms, to strengthening our health and social safety net, to ending preventable gun violence, and bolstering support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, NJDC's WLN will serve as a valuable resource and powerful voice on the issues that matter to our community.
The Women's Leadership Network of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) urged NJDC's members to call their members of Congress and urge "bold" and "courageous" actions to pass gun control legislation and end the epidemic of gun violence. The Network's co-founder Barbara Goldberg Goldman said:
Last week, NJDC's good friend former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to be 'bold' and 'courageous' to stop the epidemic of gun violence in America. Today, we urge American Jews to echo Gabby's powerful call to action and urge their Senators and Representatives to support efforts to reduce gun violence. Jewish tradition teaches that we must pass along a better world to our children and grandchildren, and one way to do that is by taking steps to prevent the next Sandy Hook, Aurora, Tucson, or Columbine tragedy.
NJDC action alert and a video from the Daily Show follow the jump.
Well-informed, they say, is well-prepared; and knowledge is power. An exception, though — at least in the judgment of some — seems to be when Jewish women in Israel are contemplating ending their pregnancies.
When an Israeli magazine announced it would bestow an award on a group called Efrat, "pro-choice" advocates (seldom have "scare quotes" been so appropriate) howled in outrage.
Efrat provides women with information about abortion, as well as financial support for mothers-to-be who are under economic pressure to terminate their pregnancies. The group's detractors characterize it as preying on women at an emotionally vulnerable time.
The National Jewish Democratic Council's Women's Leadership Network hosted a panel discussion for its first-ever event in Washington, DC. The panel was led by Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) and former White House Communications Director Ann F. Lewis, and featured nonpartisan political analysis from The Jerusalem Post's Hilary Krieger. Representatives Lois Frankel (D-FL), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) attended the luncheon and added their voices to discussion.
Washington Jewish Week reported on the event and featured coverage of the event in its weekly email to subscribers:
In honor of International Human Rights Day, Hiddush released this short film to protest of gender segregation and discrimination against women in Israel. Israeli artists, Ben Ari, Hani Nahmias, Hila Feldman, Dalia Shimko, Einat Shroff, and Yossi, who volunteered for the film, are asking the public to send letters of protest to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling on him to act swiftly to combat gender discrimination on all fronts by ending state-funded gender segregated public transportation (in which women sit in the back of the bus) and by passing legislation that will levy heavy fines to deter those who intentionally discriminate against women in any way.
Examples of gender discrimination in Israel follow the jump.
New Hampshire is the first state to have an all female delegation: Senator Kelly Ayotte (R, not pictured), Governor Elect Maggie Hassan D), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D), Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D).
Maggie Hassan will be the country's only Democratic woman governor.
(TPM) Voters Tuesday elected a record number of women to Congress, thanks largely to gains on the Democratic side of the aisle.
In the Senate, where every incumbent Democrat won re-election, there will be a record 20 women Senators come January - a net gain of three. Women will also set a new record in the House of Representatives with 78 women elected - a number that could rise as a final handful of races are called.
In addition to the 12 Democratic women already in the Senate, Democrats will welcome newcomers Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota and Mazie Hirono from Hawaii. While two Republican women retired — Texas's Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Maine's Sen. Olympia Snowe — Republican Deb Fischer won in Nebraska.
The gains, of course, could have been even higher if not for a few losses. Democrat Shelley Berkley lost an uphill challenge to incumbent Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada. In Utah, Republicans had hoped Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love would become the first black, Republican woman elected to Congress. Love fell short in her challenge to incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson. In addition, both parties a few female incumbents in the House.
— by Sari Stevens and Audrey Ann Ross
HARRISBURG, PA - President Obama's reelection is a historic victory for women's health, driven by a substantial gender gap, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania Advocates and PAC said Wednesday morning.
"This is a resounding victory for women. More than ever before, women's health was a decisive issue in this election. Americans on Tuesday voted to ensure that women will have access to affordable health care and be able to make their own medical decisions," said executive director Sari Stevens.
"This election sends a powerful and unmistakable message to members of Congress and the Pennsylvania legislature that the American people do not want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions, and that politicians demean and dismiss women at their own peril."
Women's health issues played a defining role in the presidential election, with preliminary data showing candidates and advocates nationwide aired broadcast ads 46,141 times highlighting the issues — a 350% increase in spending from 2008. Throughout the campaign, these issues have presented one of the starkest contrasts between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Obama vowed to fully implement the Affordable Care Act and ensure that millions of women get preventive care at no cost, require insurance companies to cover birth control, protect funding for Planned Parenthood and federal family planning programs, and protect access to safe and legal abortion. Romney took the opposite position on all of these issues, and then tried unsuccessfully to cast himself as more of a moderate on women's health in the final weeks of the campaign.
Today, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) released a microsite, The Jewish Voter Test, asking Jewish voters if they agree or disagree with basic questions underlying some of the most pressing domestic and foreign policy issues of our time.
"Every Jewish voter faces a clear choice between two candidates with almost polar opposite stances on so many issues that are vitally important to our community," said David A. Harris, President and CEO of NJDC. "This new website will offer American Jews a fun, easy and factual test to see where they really stand on the political spectrum."
The quiz leads participants through the following "yes" and "no" questions:
Contraception, choice, access to reproductive health care - these are terms synonymous with the all-encompassing phrase "women's issues." And yet, as President Barack Obama eloquently demonstrated in Tuesday's presidential debate, "[t]hese are not just women's issues. These are family issues. These are economic issues." Access to affordable contraception is key if we wish for women to one day achieve equality in the workplace.
How to make a lie look like a reality - take a poll
Say a lie that engenders people to you.
Get a "focus group" to hear your lie during a Debate.
Poll the effect of your lie on their opinion after the Debate.
Declare the lie as insignificant and the Poll representing a shift in women's opinions.
Use the Poll later to sway opinions and discount further examination of the truth.
Has anyone been following this "binders of women" issue on the news? It has begun to have a life of its own hasn't it?
But does pointing a lie out after the fact have the same effect as pointing it out at the time it occurs? Will conservative pundits point out lies by their own kind or just cover them up?
About 65 million people watched the second Debate where Mitt Romney lied about the "binders of women" as being one of his own initiatives to hire and place women in his Cabinet.
Most people who listened to the Debate will never know the truth. The truth that, both candidates during the race for Governor in Massachusetts were given binders and signed an agreement with a woman's action organization to hire women in their administration. They were both given binders of women to draw from in filling positions at a time long before the election occurred. It wasn't Mitt Romney's initiative at all that put women in his administration...
Over 100 Supporters of Women's Health Say "We Are Watching, and We Vote!"
— by Audrey Ann Ross and Sari Stevens
Planned Parenthood held a rally today in West Chester, Pennsylvania, as part of the Women are Watching bus tour, which is crisscrossing the country to educate voters about what's at stake for women's health in November and mobilize them to get out the vote.
Gathering at the Historic Chester County Courthouse, more than 100 voters sent a clear message to candidates and politicians like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and Dan Truitt, who oppose policies that protect women's health — women are watching and they vote. This year, women will decide the outcome of elections across Pennsylvania and the country, and are watching very closely to ensure that they elect candidates who will protect access to women's health care.
In an op-ed published by JTA, Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote that President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — is in lockstep with Jewish values and traditions. Emanuel wrote:
The duty to heal the sick and provide for the poor are deep moral imperatives in the Jewish tradition. Combined with the biblical command to treat the stranger as yourself because you were once a stranger in a strange land, this duty transforms our obligations beyond the worthy interest in promoting the health and well-being of our own community. Our mothers can't just want their children to be doctors to Jewish people, they must heal whomever is sick-Jew and non-Jew.
This element of Jewish philosophy makes the Jews' stake in health care reform enormous. It is not just about providing insurance to millions of uninsured Americans-caring for children who might not get the vaccinations or the checkups they need, or diagnosing cancer or other diseases early, or making sure people don't have to choose between bankruptcy and having a needed surgical procedure. For Jews it is about more; it is about holding true to our tradition.
After 100 years of trying to achieve comprehensive health care reform-an effort that started with Teddy Roosevelt and continued with FDR, Harry Truman and Bill Clinton-Congress finally passed the Affordable Care Act and President Obama signed it into law on March 23, 2010. Once and for all, the Supreme Court affirmed that the law, particularly the individual mandate, is constitutional...
Because of this health care reform, children can no longer be denied care due to pre-existing conditions. Patients can't lose coverage when they get sick. Insurance companies can't impose lifetime caps on care or raise premiums without reason. Medical research will proceed faster, as insurers must cover the cost of participation on clinical trials. And all of this reform comes while still allowing preserving the traditional physician-patient relationship...
These changes will save lives. They will perfect our union and help repair our world. Yet Republican leaders want to reverse course...
This week, Senate Republicans voted unanimously against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have provided protections for women suing employers over gender-based pay discrimination. Before the vote, Senate Democratic leaders expected Republicans to vote down the bill, so the results from the Senate floor left few surprised. However, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney refused — and continues to refuse — to state whether he supported or opposed the bill.
After the vote, Democratic members of Congress sharply criticized their Republican colleagues for their vote against equal pay. But Lilly Ledbetter — whose story inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — targeted Romney specifically for his silence. According to TPM:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the bill's sponsor Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) invited Lilly Ledbetter, the face of the 2009 law, to the Capitol to make the case for the new legislation.
'I'm telling you folks, this is a national epidemic in this country,' Ledbetter said of unequal pay. Flanked by Reid and Mikulski, she criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for refraining from taking a stance on the bill. 'He's scaring me to death,' she said. 'We cannot let [Republicans] take away the few privileges we're earned.'
'Women are mad as hell and don't want to take it anymore,' said Mikulski.
Three prominent leaders in the Jewish community wrote an op-ed in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel endorsing President Barack Obama for reelection. Nancy Ratzan, past president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Millie Sernovitz, past president of Jewish Women International, and Barbara Dobkin, founding chair of the Hadassah Foundation, made it clear that for both women and the Jewish community, Obama has proven to be the right choice.
Women are losing ground in many states on the reproductive rights front. Indeed, women are at risk of losing the choice of whether or not to become mothers by banning common forms of birth control, fertility treatment like in-vitro fertilization, and all abortions (even in case of rape).
Last month, the Senate voted down a bill that would have allowed employers to deny women coverage for birth control and any "objectionable" medical service, possibly even flu shots. Senators Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio's amendment would have allowed any employer — not religious institutions, because they are already exempt — to make this call on behalf of their female employees. That means a woman's boss at a restaurant, retail store, law firm or anywhere would have control over what health care she could receive. After an hour during which he was on the record opposed to it, Mitt Romney said, in typical flip flop fashion, "Of course I support that amendment." Of course he does. And we can thank him for paving the way — he also said he would have supported a "personhood" amendment in Massachusetts, which could have banned abortion in any circumstance, some contraception, and even fertility treatments like IVF.
In the video on the right, Dr. Mildred Hanson explains how she and other U.S. doctors worked around the law to provide abortions before the procedure was legalized in 1973 through Roe v. Wade. We don't want to have to go back to this.
From the very beginning of his administration, President Obama has worked to ensure that women are paid fairly for their work. The President is committed to securing equal pay for equal work because it's a matter of fair play, and because American families and the health of our nation's economy depends on it. April 17 was Equal Pay Day, which marks the fact that, nearly 50 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the average woman still has to work well into the calendar year to earn what the average man earned last year.
In conjunction with Equal Pay Day:
The White House released the Equal Pay Task Force Accomplishments Report: Fighting for Fair Pay in the Workplace. The Equal Pay Task Force brings together the best expertise of professionals at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor and the Office of Personnel Management, who work daily to combat pay discrimination in the workplace. The report details the significant progress that the Task Force has made to fight pay discrimination - including improving inter-agency coordination and collaboration to ensure that the full weight of the federal government is focused on closing the gender pay gap once and for all.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced the winners of the Equal Pay App Challenge. In January of this year, the Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Equal Pay Task Force, launched this challenge, inviting software developers to use publicly available data and resources to create applications that accomplish at least one of the following goals: provide greater access to pay data organized by gender, race, and ethnicity; provide interactive tools for early career coaching or online mentoring or to help inform negotiations. A solution to the pay gap has been elusive, in part because access to basic information — e.g., typical salary ranges and skill level requirements for particular positions, advice on how to negotiate appropriate pay — is limited. Because of the enthusiastic response to the Equal Pay App Challenge and the creative apps that were developed, anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer can access answers to these basic, but important, questions. This challenge represents just one more way that women can empower themselves with the tools they need to make sure they get equal pay for equal work.
Finally, in an ongoing effort to educate employees and employers about their rights and responsibilities under our nation's equal pay laws, the Department of Labor's Women's Bureau today published two brochures that will help educate employees regarding their rights under the existing equal pay laws and enable employers to understand their obligations.
From signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to creating the National Equal Pay Task Force, to proposing minimum wage and overtime protections for home-care workers - 90% of whom are women - President Obama has made clear his belief that there should be no second class citizens in our workplaces and that making our economy work means making sure it works for everyone.
If only women had a coupon like this, they wouldn't suffer from the wage gap!
On April 26, the United States Senate passed S. 1925, a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), by a vote of 68 to 31. S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), ensures a continued federal government response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking while making significant improvements to the law. To celebrate the passage of this critical legislation, Jewish Women International (JWI) Executive Director Lori Weinstein released the following statement:
The Violence Against Women Act is a historic law that has benefited millions of women across the country. Today, the Senate passed a strong, bipartisan reauthorization bill and sent a strong message to victims of violence throughout the country: You are not forgotten. This bill not only continues VAWA's successful programs and services for another five years but also improves access to services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and immigrant victims, and gives American Indian women equal access to justice.
For the last two years, JWI has worked closely with our colleagues on the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and our allies on Capitol Hill to pass a reauthorization bill that strengthens and improves VAWA. After today's victory, we turn our attention to the House of Representatives and call on them to renew and strengthen this lifesaving legislation in a bipartisan manner.
Barbara Weinstein, Legislative Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Since its enactment in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has been an invaluable tool for preventing, investigating, and prosecuting violent crimes targeting women. Studies have shown that incidents of domestic violence have decreased as more women report attacks and law enforcement has improved its investigation and prosecution of the crimes.
The bipartisan Senate vote reauthorizing VAWA will help continue this trend, providing better tools to train law enforcement and victim service providers, focus attention on addressing the high rate of violence in the tribal and LGBT communities, and redirect funds to the most effective programs.
Even as Maimonides reminded men of the imperative to treat women with honor and respect (Sefer Nashim 15:19), our Jewish sages recognized that violence comes in forms that are both physical and emotional. The Violence Against Women Act helps prevent and respond to such tragedies when they occur and is worthy of reauthorization. We call on the House to follow the Senate's lead and swiftly pass the Violence Against Women Act.
Viral Music Video That Every Women (and Man) Should Watch
The video Bad Romance: Women's Suffrage is Soomo Publishing's moving music video parody of Lady Gaga. The video pays homage to Alice Paul and the generations of brave women who joined together in the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote in 1920. (See Lyrics)
This Sunday is Mother's Day when we honor the women in our lives.
However, in politics, the place of women can not be taken for granted. Just as our matriarchs fought for Women's suffrage a hundred years ago, we must continue to fight to ensure the women in our lives the same rights that men enjoy.
Today, the gender war is being fought at a fevered pitch. As I see it there is action on at least three fronts:
Women made gains on the front for pay equality.
Women held off an assault on the Violence Against Women Act.
Women are losing ground in many states on the reproductive rights front.
Indeed, women are at risk of losing the choice of whether or not to become mothers by banning common forms of birth control, fertility treatment like in-vitro fertilization, and all abortions (even in case of rape).
Over the days leading up to Mother's Day, we will publish a series of report showing the progress women are achieving and the setbacks women are contending with on each front.
As Congress debates the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act — which has been passed and reauthorized with bipartisan support several times since it's inception in 1994 — prominent Democrats marked April 17 as "Equal Pay Day," recognizing the importance of continuing to fight for gender equality in the workplace. Several leading Democrats issued statements and penned op-eds in order to raise awareness of the issue, as well as the larger fight for women's rights.
Democratic National Committee Chair Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said:
President Obama and Democrats understand that equal pay is so important for women and their families that one of the first pieces of legislation Democrats passed in 2009 and the first bill the President signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ensures that women can fight for equal pay for equal work, and on National Equal Pay Day we celebrate our continued fight for economic equality, regardless of gender.
The President's commitment to women is in stark contrast to Mitt Romney and the GOP's attitude toward equal pay for women. While Democrats and the President were making equal pay for equal work a priority, nearly every Republican in the House and Senate voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who Mitt Romney has called a 'hero,' recently repealed that state's fair pay law; and Mitt Romney refuses to say if he would have signed Lilly Ledbetter had he been president at the time. His campaign on a conference call last week couldn't even articulate a response when asked his position on the law....
On Equal Pay Day women can rest assured that Democrats and President Obama will continue the fight for equal pay for equal work and will fight for their right to make health care choices for themselves and their families. It's a shame that Mitt Romney and Republicans can't say the same thing.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) — the first female speaker in American history — also said:
I'm proud of the accomplishments of the Democratic-led Congress on behalf of equal pay and fairness. The Lilly Ledbetter Act-the first bill President Obama signed into law-restored the right of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay in court. Further, under the Affordable Care Act, soon women will no longer be charged higher premiums than men for the same coverage and no longer will being a woman be treated as a pre-existing condition.
On Equal Pay Day, we honor all of our nation's women, who through their labor - at home and in the workplace - have made our country strong. And we recommit to opening the doors of opportunity for the next generation of women.
Graph of pay gap by profession, a map of pay gap by state, and op/eds by Senators Gillibrand and Boxer follow the jump.
Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R-MD) appeared on CNN to support Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA). Piers Morgan asked him about recent polls which showed Romney losing support among women. Ehrlich suggested that the gender gap would close once women "see" Romney's "real views" in the general election.
"Nobody thinks Romney's going to win. Let's just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? Let me just say this for everybody at home. The Republican establishment — I've yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won't say it on TV because they've got to go on TV and they don't want people writing them nasty emails. I obviously don't care. But I have yet to meet anybody in the Republican establishment that worked for George W. Bush, that works in the Republican congress, that worked for Ronald Reagan that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election."
What have I ever done to you to make you hate me so much?
I was born female and somehow you want to deny me, and all the other women and girls, things you consider sacrosanct for men. Oh wait, not all men, just those that are straight, white and Christian. But I digress. I look at the abominations of legislation you are trying to pass in state after state, and ask myself what would have become of me had you passed those things when I was a girl.
Luckily for me, I was born into a family that valued education for both sons and daughters. My dad paid for his college education with help from the GI bill. As adults, with children, both my parents earned graduate degrees: a Masters for my mom, and Masters and a PhD for my dad. From the day I started school, it wasn't a question of whether I'd go to college, but where. Same for my brother. And in our generation we too have a slew of degrees.
One of the reasons I was able to get an education, and make great use of said education was because I had access to birth control. If you, as a party, had your way, I wouldn't have educational opportunities: I'd be home raising kid after kid, home-schooling them (how, I don't know since I wouldn't know anything).
I admit, I have trouble sticking with a specific career path, but I've succeeded in a number of avocations. Things I learned in one area have led to accomplishments in another. I used my education to build large-scale transportation projects for the FAA, the FWHA, and in Europe, I built pollution models for the EPA, I've done defense work, and designed, developed and delivered training programs in the fields of medicine, logistics and manufacturing. Above all, I became a doctor and I've saved lives. On the side there has been a slew of volunteer work with functional illiterates, and I was even a Mensa officer. Accomplished, for a blonde girl. And yet, you want me barefoot and pregnant. Why would you condemn me to have either spent my life unaccomplished, or completely devoid of love and sex. I don't get it.
To add insult to injury, now your presidential candidate front runner, Rick Santorum, has decreed that ALL public funding for ALL education should cease. Really. Watch:
So I guess what you're saying is that not only should I have been denied birth control, but my mother should have had to give up HER career to stay home and school my brother and me. And what of my mother's mother, who is currently rolling in her grave after having been a suffragette and having worked with Margaret Sanger on the whole birth control thing back in the teens and twenties.
So let's move this a few decades into the future under the Republican doctrine. Here I would be, an uneducated mother having poorly schooled my children while my husband worked two jobs because in this economy that's pretty necessary. Likely, he would die young from overwork. I wouldn't have a bunch of friends (many of those friendships forged in elementary school and still vibrant today), I'd have no skills, I'd be 75 years old, with no Medicare, no Social Security, having never made a decent contribution to society and I'd be toothlessly pushing a shopping cart around downtown Philly looking for something to eat, an indoor bathroom, and a safe place to sleep at night.
And that IS the logical outcome of a Republican idea set that evokes more the 1850's then anything else. I can only conclude that you hate me, or you'd never want to put me, and all the other women, in that position. Your position shows a lack of foresight, and a lack of character. Character matters.
I stand with Andrew Shepherd. I stand with Barack Obama. I stand with every other American who wants to continue our rise from the economic mess you Republicans put us in, who believes in education, birth control, climate change caused by humans, science, evolution and all that this country stands for. You want to lead this country into darkness. I stand with the light.
The Violence Against Women Act was drafted by Sen. Joe Biden in 1994. It was passed by Congress and signed by Pres. Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994. It needs to reauthorized this year.
Almost 45 Faith-Based Organizations Sign Onto Letter in Support of the Bi-Partisan Legislation
— by Ann Rose Greenberg
Jewish Women International (JWI) is spearheading efforts to unify the faith community in support of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) during this session of Congress. More than 40 national religious institutions and organizations, representing tens of millions of individuals and families across the United States, have signed a letter to Members of Congress to ensure that VAWA — our nation's single most effective tool in responding to the devastating crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking — is reauthorized this year.
"As people of faith, members of the clergy, advocates, and anti-violence professionals, it is critical that we bring our collective voices together to advocate for VAWA's lifesaving programs and services," said executive director, Lori Weinstein. "In these tough economic times, the reauthorization of VAWA is essential and cannot be taken for granted. The faith community will stand strong to ensure the passage of strong, bipartisan legislation."
Jewish Women International (JWI) expresses strong condemnation over a wave of violence and intimidation targeting women and girls in Israel. Recent events highlighted by the media, including the ongoing assault of 8-year-old Naama Margolese by ultra-Orthodox extremists as she attempted to enter a modern orthodox girl's school in Beit Shemesh, have focused international attention on the continued harassment and assault of women and girls and resulted in multiple public protests in Israel.
This year, as every year, Jewish Women International (JWI) honors the 45,000 women and children spending Mother's Day in battered women's shelters through our annual Flower Project. These families, and the shelters that house them, need aid and resources more urgently than ever.
JWI's Mother's Day Flower Project delivers hope — both in the bouquets, gifts and beauty products we send to 200 shelters across the United States on this special day, and through initiatives, supported by Flower Project proceeds, that work every day to educate communities, empower women and break the cycle of abuse. Over 70 synagogues and organizations have signed on to help raise awareness and funds for this important cause. For each $25 contribution, JWI will send a Mother's Day card to any woman the donor chooses, thanking her for the inspiration to help women in need.
Local Participating Synagogues and Partners:
Kesher Israel Congregation, West Chester, PA.
Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County, Uwchland, PA.
Beth El, Allentown, PA.
Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom, Wyomissing, PA.
Women of Vision - Jeiwsh Community Foundation of Central PA, Harrisburg, PA
JWI Chapter 0368, Batim, Union, NJ
JWI Chapter 0941, Springfield, NJ
Congregation B'nai Jeshurun, Short Hills, NJ
Jersey Tribe, Morristown, NJ
String of Pearls Reconstructionist Synagogue, Princeton, NJ
Temple Har Shalom, Warren, NJ
Participating Local Shelters:
Laurel House, Norritown, PA
Alle-Kiski Area Hope Center, Tarentum, PA
Domestic Violence Center of Chester County, West Chester, PA
Women Against Abuse, Philadelphia, PA
The Safe House, Belleville, NJ
Women Aware, Inc., New Brunswick, NJ
Strength Our Sisters, West Milford, NJ
Jersey Battered Women's Service (JBWS), Morris Plains, NJ
-- Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
We commend the Senate for standing up for women's health and rejecting a bill that would have denied all federal funds to Planned Parenthood, a vital health care service provider. Each year, Planned Parenthood's network of more than 800 clinics nationwide provides nearly one million cervical cancer screenings, 830,000 breast exams, affordable birth control for nearly 2.5 million patients, and nearly four million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV testing. Revoking Planned Parenthood's federal funding would have disastrous consequences for all of these services and would not change a fact that has endured for decades: that no federal funds, received by Planned Parenthood or any other organization, can be used for abortion services.
The Senate's action was especially heartening given that the same bill passed the House of Representatives earlier in the day. We have repeatedly condemned such attempts in the House to undermine women's access to critical health care services, including abortion. These attempts violate the U.S. Constitution and core principles of Jewish tradition, which affirms society's obligations to ensure access to health care and the rights of women to make moral decisions about their own bodies and their own reproductive health. Women are commanded to care for their health and well-being above all else, and society is commanded to provide health care for its most vulnerable residents. These dual obligations compel us to advocate for broad access to affordable reproductive health care and support Planned Parenthood in its efforts to reach millions of under-served men and women.
We call on the House to stop its relentless attacks on reproductive choice and women's health, beginning with an end to the campaign to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
Statement from Planned Parenthood follows the jump.
I am deeply disappointed that a minority of Senators have prevented the Paycheck Fairness Act from finally being brought up for a debate and receiving a vote. This bill passed in the House almost two years ago; today, it had 58 votes to move forward, the support of the majority of Senate, and the support of the majority of Americans. As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in history, this bill would ensure that American women and their families aren't bringing home smaller paychecks because of discrimination. It also helps businesses that pay equal wages as they struggle to compete against discriminatory competition. But a partisan minority of Senators blocked this commonsense law. Despite today's vote, my Administration will continue to fight for a woman's right to equal pay for equal work.
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