Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

Sally Kern condemns campaign for workplace fairness

( – promoted by peacearena)

Saying that GLBT activists have revealed that they indeed do have an “agenda,” Sally Kern has returned to her own: promoting anti-gay bigotry in the guise of Judeo-Christian values.

In a statement reminiscent of the secretly recorded speech that got her global attention earlier this year, Kern warned Oklahomans about the dire consequences of the “Clock In for Equality” Day organized by Lambda Legal. The national group asks workers to pledge to support a fair environment for gays and lesbians. The event takes place May 15.

She urged Oklahomans who support traditional families to become more active in social policy fights “or we will cede the victory to groups seeking special rights based on changeable homosexual behavior.”

“Those of us who believe in preserving traditional marriage and upholding Judeo-Christian values cannot afford to simply stand on the sideline,” Kern said in a prepared statement. “The groups committed to undermining those ideals remain active and if we do nothing, they win by default.”

Kern insists that she is against discrimination, but that this  campaign (and of course any other that seeks to end or prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation) involves giving “special rights” to gays and lesbians.

Kern’s “confusion” about political action agendas, and who’s allowed to have them is noted by Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin.

So Sally isn’t for discrimination, she just doesn’t want anyone to organize against it. And she wants people to “become more active in social policy fights” to fight against an agenda with which she finds a common goal.

In Oklahoma, Kern’s antics are getting tiresome. She is facing multiple Democratic challengers for her seat in the state House. The first to announce, Ron Marlett, is having a fundraiser on May 20.

Due to the publicity Kern garnered by her outrageous statements from last winter, her religious-themed legislation has generated far more public protest than in the past. A bill to allow religious expression in public schools passed 70 – 28, and efforts are underway to ask the Democratic governor to veto it.

Cross posted at Pam’s House Blend

Something you (probably) don't know about the late Charlton Heston

( – promoted by peacearena)

Charlton Heston (1923 – 2008) passed away at his home on Saturday.



I wasn’t a fan of Charlton Heston the actor. I didn’t agree with his stance on gun rights. So, frankly, I didn’t have more than a neutral regard for him — until I found out something in his past that he humbly didn’t mention, but maybe should have. That he didn’t throw it in his critics’ faces says something quite positive about his character, regardless of any of his other political positions or character traits.

Because Charlton Heston was a great American, and was willing to put his career and reputation on the line at a moment in our history when it really mattered and made a difference.

And one of those those moments occurred right here in Oklahoma.

From Chapter 9 of The History of African Americans in the West by Professor Quintard Taylor, Department of History – University of Washington:

CHARLTON HESTON MARCHES IN OKLAHOMA CITY

Today Charlton Heston is known primarily for the politically conservative causes and candidates he publicly supports. However in 1961 Heston was one of the first Hollywood celebrities to join the picket line established by Clara Luper to protest racial discrimination. Here is a brief description of his presence in Oklahoma City.

It was the last Saturday in May 1961, and Charlton Heston, Hollywood’s Oscar-winning Biblical actor, was on his way to Oklahoma City where he, Dr. Jolly West, nationally-known psychiatrist, and Dr. Chester M. Pierce, black scientist on the staff of the Veterans’ Administration Hospital, were scheduled to lead a protest march against Segregation in public accommodations in Oklahoma City.

The news had spread like wild fire and large crowds had assembled on Main Street to get a quick glimpse of the star.

Charlton Heston was met by the NAACP Youth Officers led by the president and about one-hundred black and white demonstrators, six policemen, a number of newsmen and Trudy, the black dog that took part in all the marches.

I was stationed with a large crowd of NAACP workers, friends, well-wishers and people of all ages, creeds and colors.

I have never seen anything more dramatic, more historical as those three handsome, dignified, successful men walking down the streets carrying signs that they had prepared themselves. The blue and black sign that Charlton Heston carried said, “All men are created equal–Jefferson” on the front and “Racial discrimination is Un-American” on the back.

The crowd was caught up in the unbelievable realities of the moment and when the trio reached our group, wild applause went up in the air. Oklahomans sounded like they do when the Big Red football scores against Texas or Nebraska. We waved flags, sang songs and in a military sounding voice, Dr. West issued a command. The trio marched with the crowd following. Charlton Heston stopped, shook hands, talked and marched.

A few hecklers yelled, “Go back to Hollywood, you Jew!!” “West, you are no psychiatrist, you’re a damn fool!”

But the march continued. We marched slowly by the John A. Brown’ Department Store, Anna Maude’s Cafeteria and Bishop’s Restaurant–the three strongholds of Segregation. There was no violence.

Elliott Tyler, Jerry Nutt and John Fast carried anti-Heston signs which read, “Is Beverly Hills integrated?”

Charlton Heston’s face was lighted with love and understanding of an oppressed people. He told the group that he sincerely believed that most Americans agreed with Thomas Jefferson.

This was his first demonstration. He said that a great many of us have only paid lip service to the equality of man and this is a very bitter thing for me to do.

Every step that Heston, West and Pierce took was adding tons of Freedom vitamins to our tired bodies that had been protesting for three years.

Heston took pictures with NAACPers, car hops, and the three got into a waiting automobile after the hour’s march and went to Calvary Baptist Church where a large crowd was waiting. There he told the crowd, “I was very pleased with the march and I was prepared for some hostility at the start of the march. I’m used to taking part in marches and chariot races only when they’re fixed, but today I didn’t have a script!” he said, smiling.

He explained that as far as he knew Beverly Hills was integrated, however, he had been in Spain making a movie… The audience went wild and Charlton Heston looked as if he was enjoying every moment…

Source: Clara Luper, Behold the Walls, (Oklahoma City, 1979), pp. 134-136.

This image of the Hollywood icon taking the kind of hostility he could easily avoid should give those of us on the left who continue to fight injustice pause before criticizing the man who, in his later years, suffering from Alzheimer’s in addition to the usual pitfalls of age, was gratuitously picked on by Michael Moore (in my opinion, a scene that Bowling for Columbine could well have done without), and regularly ridiculed by leftists (including me).

People –and their political beliefs — are seldom as simple and one-sided as our society (particularly the media) try to paint them.

Charlton Heston was a man who had strong principles and put them out there publicly despite the possible negative consequences that might ensue. He did it it at the height of his career, and at its lesser ebb. He took plenty of shots for his politics, mostly from those with nothing to lose by them, and stood up pretty well to those as well.

What could be more righteous, more transcendently human and, dare I say, more patriotically American than that?

[Cross posted at my blog, peacearena.org, and at okimc.org]

Rally Monday 4/7 for Steffanie's Law (insurance reform)

( – promoted by peacearena)

 

Monday, April 7th at noon

Location: State Capitol – South Steps

Andrew Rice will join Rep. Kris Steele (R-Shawnee), Monty Collings, and representatives from the health care industry in a rally for Steffanie’s Law (SB1521).

The bill, which would mandate insurance coverage of routine medical procedures for patients enrolled in a clinical trial, passed the Senate by a large margin. However, it is in danger of not being heard by the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee, and therefore not having a chance to go to a floor vote.

Please join Sen. Rice, Rep. Steele, and the family of Steffanie Collings (for whom the bill is named) to encourage the House of Representatives to set aside partisan games and allow this important legislation to be heard.

A message from Sen. Rice about the bill is after the jump, as is a list of the committee members. Please contact them and let them know you support Steffanie’s Law.


A message from Sen. Andrew Rice:

The life of Steffanie Collings will always be remembered and honored by her family and friends – I know I will never forget her. But the bill that bears her name, which I introduced in the Oklahoma State Senate and that she and her family have fought to pass, is in critical danger of not being heard by my colleagues in the House of Representatives.  We urgently need your help.

Steffanie’s Law (SB1521) would help families who find themselves in an unfortunate situation similar to the Collings. Though Monty and Tracy Collings played by the rules and paid their health-insurance premiums in a timely manner throughout their daughter’s battle with cancer, their insurance company denied coverage of routine medical costs after Steffanie enrolled in a clinical trial.  The Collings had to make a decision between cutting-edge treatment that offered the best chance of saving Steffanie’s life, or avoiding financial ruin. They chose to help Steffanie and quickly accrued over $400,000 in medical debt.

My bill would require insurance companies not to deny their level of basic coverage for patients enrolled in clinical trials – the actual costs of which are most often paid by research facilities or pharmaceutical companies. Steffanie’s Law received overwhelming and bipartisan support in the Senate, passing 31-13. Sadly, we lost Steffanie only hours later.

This legislation is now supposed to be heard in the House Economic Development and Financial Services committee. But Republican partisanship is blocking its path. The committee chair is has already killed a similar bill affecting children with autism and told the Daily Oklahoman on Friday he is “uncertain” if Steffanie’s Law will even get a committee hearing. Of course, he is the same Representative who introduced HB 3111 to protect insurance companies by making it harder for elected legislators to pass mandated coverage for their constituents.

This kind of game is not democracy, and it’s not good government. Almost half of the 50 states have required insurance companies to continue paying for routine medical costs for patients who enroll in clinical trials. When the stakes are as high as they are for families like the Collings, petty partisanship should not be a barrier to good laws.

I urge you all to help now to get this law heard in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives. On Monday, I’ve been invited by the Collings family and other health care advocates to participate in a rally to demonstrate to the leadership of the House of Representatives that they should to put the needs of Oklahomans ahead of the interests of insurance companies. Join us Monday at noon and show your support for the Collings and for families in similar situations. Join us to hold the insurance companies to their word and not play games with people’s lives. Join us to stand up for good governance and an end to partisan games.

Committee members:

Rep. Peterson, Ron – Chair

Rep. Faught, George – Vice Chair

Representative Auffet, John

Representative Brown, Mike

Representative Cannaday, Ed

Representative Collins, Wallace

Representative Derby, David

Representative Hickman, Jeffrey W.

Representative Hoskin, Chuck

Representative Jordan, Fred

Representative McPeak, Jerry

Representative Peters, Ron

Representative Piatt, Greg

Representative Sears, Earl

Representative Shelton, Mike

Representative Wesselhoft, Paul

Representative Winchester, Susan

Links to contact info for each member can be found on the committee page, here.

"For the Bible Tells Me So" Screening in Bethany (OKC) 4/45

This award winning documentary will be shown tomorrow in Bethany — Sally Kern’s district of OKC.

Bethany Public Library, 3510 N. Mueller

(2 blks E. of Rockwell)

also just west of the police/city hall building.

Free Admittance, all are welcome

2:30pm Open Seating

3:00pm FILM SHOWING.

“This superb award-winning documentary chronicles the the stories of prominent families who love their LGBT sons and daughters … including gay Episcopal priest (now Bishop) Gene Robinson, and daughter Chrissy, of US House Speaker Dick Gephardt who ran for President having Chrissy speak for him in many cities.

Also featured are stories of LGBT people who invested years “trying to change” through “ex-gay ministries,” and a mother who was unable to fully love her gay daughter till it was too late.

Sponsored by:

PFLAG-OKC, The Peace Education Institute, and Peace House

www.PeaceHouseOK.

SB 1878, the Omnibus Abortion Bill, may come to vote this week

( – promoted by peacearena)

The following was posted on Pro-Choice Oklahoma, a relatively new and obscure blog that covers reproductive choice issues in Oklahoma (duh). Anyway, this so important, I’m taking the liberty of copying it here in full. (I don’t know who runs that blog, or I’d ask permission. I’ve been unsuccessful in previous contact attempts — if anyone knows the blogger, please have them get in touch.)

Please contact your rep on this, as the post asks. If you want to connect with other pro-choice activists in Oklahoma, join this email discussion list.

Call to Action on SB 1878 after the jump.

CALL TO ACTION

SB 1878 may go to a vote this week. This bill includes:

An ultrasound provision requiring a woman to endure an invasive medical procedure and listen to a description provided by the doctor with the ultrasound screen facing the patient. “They don’t have to look”, is the statement from authors Rep. Peterson and Rep. Billy;

Under the so-called “wrongful life” provision, a medical professional who intentionally fails to perform available tests, even when requested, or who intentionally fails to accurately report to the parents of a fetus the results of such a test, would be totally immune from legal consequences;

The so-called “Freedom of Conscience” provisions shatters the boundary between the conscience of the healthcare provider and the conscience of the patient;

The requirement of posting signs in abortion clinics stating that a patient may not be coerced into having the procedure is yet another scare tactic by legislators to bully women; and

The language regarding Mifepristone, aka RU-486 which was approved by the FDA nearly six years ago, is legislating how physicians practice medicine. Doctors, not politicans should decide what information and care is best for their patients.

Please contact your Representative today and ask them to vote no on SB 1878!

Click here to find out who your legislator is for your district.

That script on the page linked above didn’t work for me, so try this one to find your state rep (enter your zip+4 and then click the “State” tab).

4000th death marked in OK with virtual candlelight vigil

( – promoted by DocHoc)

Oklahoma Peacemakers,

You are invited to light a virtual candle for the troops and peace in Iraq

http://peacearena.org/4000candles

Peace activists across the country will be marking the sad milestone of the 4000th US combat death in Iraq with vigils and other displays of sorrow and rededication to bringing the troops home as soon as possible.

In Oklahoma, a “virtual vigil” on the Web has been created where anyone can post a message and have a “candle” added to the page.

There is no charge or requirement for participating. The site includes links to other sites where news and resources about antiwar activism can be found. A separate page on the site offers the opportunity to sign up for an email list for Oklahoma peace news and action alerts.

http://peacearena.org/4000candles

Please share the link with other Oklahoma peacemakers who may be interested in joining the virtual vigil.

GLBT and friends protest of Kern set for Friday

( – promoted by peacearena)

Via email from OGLPC:

Community Protest Rally – Friday, March 14, 5:30 to 6:30

Memorial Park – Classen sidewalk, NW 35th St at N Classen Blvd, OKC

Join Us Friday with a large group of LGBT community people and supporters to protest the outrageous remarks of State Rep. Sally Kern – and the refusal of the Speaker of the House to denounce her!  Oklahoma is in the national spotlight, but now for an ugly side.  By Friday we’ll also know the fate of proposed hate crimes laws.  O.G.L.P.C. is a sponsor, with many other community groups.  Come make your voice heard!

(See our website – www.oglpc.com)