Show Notes for June 26, 2017

  • Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced the Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act (GEEA) (S.1421), which provides additional resources for schools, school districts, states, and institutions of higher education to fully implement the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (commonly referred to as “Title IX”). Senator Hirono’s bill marks the 45th anniversary of Title IX, which was signed into law on June 23, 1972.
  • “Since it was enacted in 1972, the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, or “Title IX”, has transformed the educational landscape in our country solidifying that sex-based discrimination has no place in our schools,” said Senator Hirono. “Forty-five years later, Title IX has opened doors for women and girls, and created the same opportunities for all students to learn. However, more work remains. This legislation further builds on Patsy’s legacy by providing additional resources to carry out Title IX’s mandate in education.”
  •  Title IX is a federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in federally supported education programs and activities. GEEA would provide resources, training, and technical assistance to fully implement Title IX and reduce and prevent sex discrimination in all areas of education, by:

 

·        Establishing an Office of Gender Equity in the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate activities within the Department and among other federal agencies;

·        Combating discrimination, harassment, bias, and violence based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions;

·        Supporting Title IX coordinators with annual training;

·        Providing competitive grants to K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, or states as the primary applicants, with the option to partner with organizations with relevant expertise;

·        Including evaluation and assessment of how applicants improve on indicators of gender equity; and

·        Disseminating resources and best practices nationwide.

 

  • The Patsy Mink Gender Equity in Education Act is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
  • The bill is supported by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, National Women’s Law Center, Society of Women Engineers, Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, Feminist Majority Foundation, Girls, Inc., National Organization for Women, National Women’s Political Caucus, and Stop Sexual Assault in Schools.
  • "The Patsy T. Mink Gender Equity in Education Act of 2017 provides critical resources, training, and technical assistance to support gender equity work in schools," said Anne Hedgepeth, interim vice president of government relations and public policy at AAUW. "By providing Title IX coordinators with the proper resources, training, independence, and authority to fully execute their responsibilities, we are taking the necessary steps to ensuring all students have equal access to education."
  • “The Gender Equity in Education Act is an important bill to help ensure protections for all students against discrimination in public schools,” said David Stacy, HRC Director of Government Affairs. “The bill provides additional training and resources to educators that would especially benefit LGBTQ youth who disproportionately experience harassment and violence in schools. All students deserve to be treated equally and have a fair chance to learn without fear of discrimination. We thank Senator Hirono for her leadership in reintroducing this important bill and will continue to work with Congress to root out all forms of discrimination in our schools.”
  • "Mahalo to Senator Hirono for carrying on Patsy Mink's mantel of fighting discrimination in our education systems," said Rosemary Scavuzzo, AAUW-Hawaii co-president. "AAUW-Hawaii has been on the front lines supporting gender equity in Hawaii schools and we know firsthand that Hawaii DOE needs additional resources in order to ensure Title IX coordinators know the full scope of their jobs. This legislation is a necessary step in making sure those resources get into the right hands and that our students' access to education is not obstructed."
  • Senator Hirono continues to support efforts that promote opportunities through equity in education. Earlier this week she was proud to cosponsor a resolution (S.Res.201) introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) recognizing the importance of Title IX in improving educational opportunities for women and girls, and working toward the elimination sex discrimination in education, including for LGBTQ and pregnant or parenting students.
  • She was born Patsy Matsu takemoto, in Paia, Maui, on December 6, 1927.  The attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 changed her life overnight.  In the wake of the bombing, she and her family encountered racial bias and Patsy Mink never forgot it.
  • She graduated as the valedictorian of Maui High School and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa for a time.  Then she transferred to the University of Nebraska, with hopes of becoming a doctor.  There she encountered both racial and gender bias. The school placed her in a dorm called the "International House" for "students of color".  Mink's letters of protests resulted in a change of policies at the school.
  • Mink was not accepted at any of the medical schools at which she had applied.  She said, "I wish someone had told me then... Medical schools in the U.S. didn't admit women students.  Except for one all-female school."
  • These early challenges would set the stage for Mink's political career.  Mink returned home, worked briefly for the Honolulu Academy of Arts and eventually applied for law school at the University of Chicago.  She was accepted.  In 1951, she graduated with a law degree.
  • While in school, she met John Francis Mink, who would become her husband.  Together they would a daughter, Gwendolyn.
  • Mink returned to the Aloha State.  Back home, she encountered more gender bias.  She was the first Japanese-American woman attorney and no law firm would hire her.  In response, she opened her own practice and lectured at the University of Hawaii.  During this time, she attended a Democratic Party meeting and started "Hawaii Young Democrats."
  • Her husband convinced her to run for office in 1956.  She handily won a seat in the then-territory of Hawaii's House of Representatives.  In 1959, she became a member of the territory's senate.  Her first try at congress failed.  She lost to Daniel Inouye in1959.  Then, in 1964, she won and became the first Asian-American woman to be elected to Congress.
  • Mink was the first at many things.  She was Hawaii's first Asian female lawyer.  In 1956 she was the Territorial Legislature's first woman Democrat.  Then, in 1965, she became the first minority woman ever elected to the United States Congress.  Last, but not least, in 1972, she co-authored Title 9, a law requiring equal treatment for women athletes.
  • After months of legal to-and-fro, President Donald Trump's second attempt to ban refugees and immigrants from several mostly Muslim countries will now be considered by the country's highest court.
  • The first executive order, which sparked mass protests and confusion at airports, was halted by the courts in February.
  • Just hours before a revised version was due to go into effect at midnight on 16 March, a judge in Hawaii suspended it nationwide.
  • It also hit stumbling blocks in the courts in Maryland, Virginia and California - but now the US Supreme Court has allowed parts of the temporary ban to come into effect before it considers the US government's case later this year.
  • So what is the ban about - and what happens next?
  • Who does the ban affect?
  • The original order barred people from seven majority-Muslim countries - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya - from entering the US for 90 days. It also halted refugee resettlement for 120 days and banned Syrian refugees indefinitely.
  • The revised order removed Iraq from the list, after it agreed to boost co-operation with the US and also the lifted the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
  • Previously, there was confusion about people from the seven countries who were also permanent legal US residents (green card holders), or who already had US visas or dual nationality. The new version makes it clear that visa and green card holders from the countries on the list - now six countries - will still be allowed entry, as will dual nationals travelling on a passport from a country not on the list.
  • Waivers can be granted on a case-by-case basis, if denying entry would "cause undue hardship", in cases such as:
  • People employed by the US government
  • People needing urgent medical care
  • People previously admitted to the US for work or study whose activities would be "impaired"
  • People seeking to live with or visit relatives who are US citizens or permanent residents
  • The number of refugees for the year until October will be capped at 50,000, some 35,000 fewer than the previous 12 months.
  • What happens next - and who is affected?
  • On 26 June, the US Supreme Court said it would hear arguments on the legality of the ban during its next term, which begins in October.
  • In the meantime an injunction on the ban was lifted, allowing parts of it to go ahead, with the ban coming into effect 72 hours after the Supreme Court decision.
  • This means people from the six stated countries can travel to the US only if they "have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States".
  • The Supreme Court went on to say what it meant by a bona fide relationship:
  • "For individuals, a close familial relationship is required."
  • "As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading" the order.
  • This means a student registered at a US university, or a worker who had accepted an offer of employment in the US (or someone invited to, for example, deliver a lecture) would be allowed to enter
  • However, it also means that anyone trying to engineer a connection with a US organisation would be banned. For example, "a nonprofit group devoted to immigration issues may not contact foreign nationals from the designated countries, add them to client lists, and then secure their entry by claiming injury from their exclusion"
  • The Supreme Court's next term runs between 2 October and 21 December, so arguments on the ban will take place between those dates.
  • What is the court likely to decide? The court is currently made up of four liberal and five conservative judges, including Mr Trump's new appointee Neil Gorsuch. That does not necessarily mean that the ban will be reinstated in full, however.
  • Why were those countries chosen?
  • The second executive order states that each of the six countries is either considered a state sponsor of terrorism by the US or "has been significantly compromised by terrorist organisations or contains active conflict zones". This "diminishes the foreign government's willingness or ability to share or validate important information about individuals seeking to travel to the United States," the order says.
  • Critics have noted that major attacks such as the 9/11 New York attacks, the Boston marathon bombing and the Orlando nightclub attack were carried out by people from countries not on the list, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kyrgyzstan, or by US-born attackers.
  • Why was it originally suspended?
  • Judges who first suspended - and then upheld the suspension - of the first order cited several concerns:
  • The speed of the roll-out - judges in San Francisco said the justice department had failed to show the executive order gave enough "notice and a hearing prior to restricting an individual's ability to travel"
  • They said there was "no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order" had committed a terrorist attack in the US
  • The exclusion of Syrians in January's order was also problematic. The Immigration and Nationality Act says no person can be "discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person's race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence"
  • The second order allowed a 10-day lead-in time before it was due to come into effect, in an attempt to avoid the confusion and uncertainty caused by the immediate implementation of the first, where scores of people were detained at airports or in transit.
  • But nevertheless, a judge in Hawaii still suspended the revised order. He concluded that, were the ban to go ahead, there was a strong likelihood it would cause "irreparable injury" by violating First Amendment protections against religious discrimination.
  • His justification focused on comments made by Mr Trump and his advisers that suggested their intention was to ban people on the basis of their religion, even though the administration says this is not the case.
  • The Hawaii court also cited a "dearth of evidence indicating a national security purpose".
  • The justice department said the ruling was "flawed both in reasoning and in scope".
  • A judge in Maryland later also blocked the order, on the basis that the travel ban was likely to be considered a ban on Muslims and therefore unconstitutional.
  • Other legal challenges to the second order:
  • Oregon - said the order hurts residents, employers, universities, health care system and economy
  • Washington - it has "same illegal motivations as the original" and harms residents, although fewer than the first ban
  • Minnesota - questioned the legality of the move, suggesting the Trump administration cannot override the initial ban with a fresh executive order
  • New York - "a Muslim ban by another name", said the attorney general
  • Massachusetts - new ban "remains a discriminatory and unconstitutional attempt to make good on his campaign promise to implement a Muslim ban"
  • California - says order is an attack on people based on their religion or national origin
  • Virginia - "We remain unconvinced [the ban] has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President's promised Muslim ban," an appeals court ruled in May.
  • Is it a "Muslim ban"?
  • This is becoming a crucial question in the legal battle.
  • On 14 February, a US district judge in Virginia ruled the first order was unconstitutional because it had religious bias at its heart - an appeals court in the same state ruled along the same lines on the second ban too.
  • Ruling on the second version, the Hawaii court also dismissed the government's argument that the ban is not anti-Muslim because it targets all individuals from the six countries, regardless of religion, and the countries themselves represent only a small fraction of the world's Muslim population.
  • "The illogic of the government's contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed," the court ruling said, pointing out that the countries' populations were between 90% and 99% Muslim.
  • The court also cites statements made by Mr Trump, such as a 2015 press release calling for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States".
  • But the Department of Justice says that a distinction should be made between things said as a candidate and as president.
  • In a bid to address religious discrimination issues, the second order removes a particular section that said refugees' claims should be prioritised "on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality".
  • Mr Trump previously said priority should be given to persecuted Christians.

-The Supreme Court will hear a case about a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in Colorado, after small businesses across the country have said laws requiring them to not discriminate against LGBTQ couples violate their right to religious freedom.

 

  • A male same-sex couple visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, in 2012 asking for a rainbow-colored wedding cake. The owner refused, citing his religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman.
  • Anti-discrimination laws still allow religious people to speak their minds freely, James Esseks, an attorney for the couple in the case, told The New Yorker. But, he argues, the laws require businesses that serve the public to not discriminate based on sexual orientation.
  • “You can say to whomever, ‘I think gay people shouldn’t be able to get married. It’s a sin.’ You just can’t turn people away because of who they are,” Esseks said.
  • Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian advocacy group representing baker Jack Phillips, was thrilled to see the court taking up the case, according to a blog post published Monday.
  • “For Jack, politely declining to design and create a cake for a same-sex wedding back in 2012 wasn’t an unusual occurrence or some big defining moment (at least so he thought),” the post said. “Jack gave the same answer that he had already given to someone requesting a cake for a Halloween party or bachelor party.”
  • The ADF is also representing Barronelle Stutzman and her Richland, Washington, shop, Arlene’s Flowers. Stutzman refused to provide florals for a same-sex wedding. The state’s Supreme Court ruled against her last month.
  • The case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, has come before the court several times before with no action. Most recently, the court put off any decision in March.
  • The addition of Neil Gorsuch to the court indicates a shift towards conservatism that will likely not bode well for LGBTQ rights.

 

President Donald Trump frequently comes under criticism for tweeting, even from his own advisers. But tweeting is probably the smartest thing he has done as president. He is able to speak directly to the American people without going through the biased mainstream media filter. The media doesn’t get to ask him slanted questions or pick and choose parts of his press releases to publish. Instead, Trump gets immense control over every single sentence he issues, which are then read by millions of Americans.

With almost everyone online these days, it is easy for the average American to follow Trump’s tweets on Twitter. Twitter is free, unlike some mainstream media sites. Many of The Washington Post’s articles — the site is a frequent critic of Trump — are behind a paywall. A Twitter account isn’t even required in order to view Trump’s tweets. And even if left-leaning Twitter artificially buries positive news about Trump, it doesn’t matter, people go directly to his tweets.

Google, Twitter and Facebook control much of the news we see today, but Trump’s tweets get around their dominance. Similar to the Drudge Report website, Trump’s tweets are so well-known that people view his tweets independently of the tech giants. The Drudge Report receives comparable traffic to Google News and The New York Times — despite the fact Google News prominently promotes the Times in search results and on its homepage. Drudge isn’t even carried in Google News, since the site merely aggregates links to articles. Google is the most trafficked site in the U.S. as well as in the world.

Most of the time, Google News is full of articles by the left-leaning media critical of Trump and conservatism. But Trump’s tweets changed all that. Reporters race to report on his tweets, filling up Google News with articles that are far more favorable to Trump, since there is so little room left for spin with his tweets. A quick perusal of Google News right now reveals this headline near the top, “Trump accuses Clinton of colluding with Democrats to defeat ‘Crazy Bernie Sanders.’” The Washington Post article acknowledges, “Trump took to Twitter Sunday morning…” There really is very little way to write the headline to make Trump look bad. There wasn’t any extra information to glean something from outside of one short tweet.

One sign of Trump’s success at tweeting may be diminishing references to the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia to influence the U.S. presidential election. Trump rails on Twitter frequently about the “fake news” media making up his ties to Russia. Although no evidence of collusion has emerged during the months the left-leaning media has made it a top story, the media ran with it for quite a long time. But Trump kept hammering the media over it, never letting up, sometimes with multiple tweets in a row. Finally, after fired FBI Director James Comey told Congress earlier this month that there was no collusion, the media showed signs of backing off. On June 22, CNN retracted a story. Rank-and-file Democrats in Congress are now urging leadership to stop talking about it.

Trump’s tweets repeatedly labeling the mainstream media as fake news, combined with banning their journalists from news events or ignoring them at press conferences when they ask questions, is gradually chipping away at their dominance. Trump attacks CNN probably more than any other news site. Its website traffic has gradually decreased over the past year. In contrast, Breitbart, which is considered by some to be the number one pro-Trump news site, saw a steep increase in traffic right before Trump became president, which has remained at that level. Unlike CNN, Breitbart does not receive top favorable placement by Google News.

Trump’s advisers continue to pressure him to stop tweeting. They are concerned that without a filter, he may tweet something reckless that could harm him. But so far he’s tweeted several things that critics contend were terrible — yet they bounced right off of him. When Trump tweets things that seem inaccurate, he generally clarifies or corrects them later. Critics are exaggerating the negative aspects of his tweets. But the public has the ability to read his tweets unfiltered and can see through the spin. Additionally, it helps that Trump is funny. He’s spent years in entertainment and knows how to drop clever one-liners. He keeps people engaged and coming back. His tweets often receive over 100,000 likes. Consequently, Trump is still fairly well-liked — despite misleading approval polls — which contributed to his ability to accomplish more during his first 100 days in office than any previous president since World War II.

Trump tweeted in 2013, “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault.” It may have been arrogant, but his success with Twitter has proven his tweeting is sheer genius. He will go down in history as the president who figured out how to get around much of the biased media and talk 24/7 directly to the American people.

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