Author Archives: DCG

Oh Joy! Lena Dunham announces feminist Lenny Letter tour

lena-dunham2

Lena’s gonna connect with us women in the middle of the country…

This womyn is delusional if she thinks she can really relate to women in the “middle of the country.” Gals, don’t waste your hard-earned $35 – the cost of a ticket to see her show.

From Entertainment Weekly: With HBO’s Girls officially over, showrunners Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner are going to have a lot more time on their hands. So what better way to spend it than taking their weekly feminist newsletter and going on tour with it?

The “LennyLetter: America IRL” tour — which the pair announced on Tuesday morning — will see them embarking on a six-city tour starting May 31, where they will be joined by nine Lenny contributors, including SNL‘s Sasheer Zamata, author Chloe Caldwell, writer Jenny Zhang, author Kaitlyn Greenidge, TV writer Morgan Murphy, comedy writer Charla Lauriston, singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield, poet Rachel McKibbens, and comedian Jaqueline Novak.

“Instead of publishing our newsletter from the comfort of our office we want to engage in a larger conversation across America, with women whose experiences may differ from ours but who share the same essential goals: freedom, self-actualization and the perfect night out,” said Dunham and Konner in a statement.

“We will be talking, reading, playing music, showing films, asking and answering questions for, by, and of the women we meet. Our plan is to create a sense of community in every city we stop in, and to take what we learn from that community with us as we continue our work as a resource for women who love humor without snark, politics without a filter and- above all- learning about each other’s truth.

Tickets for the tour go on sale later this week, with Lenny Letter subscribers receiving a special presale code which will allow them to purchase tickets starting Wednesday, April 26.

According to Breitbart:

“We really wanted to try to be a part of, in our own small way, healing the very big divide that exists in our country right now,” Dunham said in an interview Monday. “We’re trying to look beyond the coastal states and really think about connecting to women, to people, in the middle of the country.”

h/t Breitbart

DCG

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Subpoena alleges police response to Mayor Ed Murray home a cover-up

Ed Murray with husband Michael Shiosaki

The Seattle Times is not allowing comments on this article. Gee, I wonder why…

From Seattle Times: A Seattle police response to the home of Mayor Ed Murray involving an unidentified man last year has become the latest point of contention in a Kent man’s lawsuit accusing Murray of sexual abuse 30 years ago.

Lawyers representing Delvonn Heckard publicized a subpoena filed Monday suggesting Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Maggie Thompson, one of Murray’s staff members, are “involved in cover-up efforts” regarding the police response to a “suspicious person” report at the mayor’s Capitol Hill home on the night of June 24.

A spokesman for Murray fired back late Monday, calling the subpoena “outlandish” and completely unrelated to the lawsuit. “The gossipy account provided is an example of unfounded rumor being peddled as fact. It is easily disproved by numerous eyewitnesses, and by the official police record,” Jeff Reading said in an emailed statement.

The mayor also released a statement from five people who said they were guests at Murray’s home that night. They contradicted an anonymous allegation in the subpoena that claimed the police call was in response to a “shirtless man” who’d left belongings inside the mayor’s house.

Attorneys Julie Kays and Lincoln Beauregard subpoenaed Thompson, Murray’s operations manager and 2013 campaign manager, who was at the house that night. They want Thompson to provide any information she has related to the call and to three men now accusing the mayor of past sexual abuse.

The lawyers’ contentions are based on information Beauregard says comes from an anonymous tipster, who provided them with screen shots of the police log documenting the call.

The court filing contains screen shots of a partial Seattle Police computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) report showing eight officers were dispatched after Murray called O’Toole at 11:23 p.m., saying he “needs police ASAP as unk (unknown) person was on his front door.” O’Toole contacted a dispatcher.

The CAD report, which documented the police’s response to the call, indicates that at 11:27 p.m. O’Toole reported everything was under control. “Per Chief O’Toole: Mayor said ‘Maggie’ is there now,” the entry states. “Everything is UC. Not to rush. Per Chief, Mayor sounded a little confused. She req’d (requested) officers still check on him.

Neither O’Toole nor Thompson responded to calls seeking interviews Monday. Seattle police released a statement and a redacted version of the CAD log late Monday. Officers cleared the call without writing a report, the log shows.

“What I want to know is, what’s the mayor’s campaign manager doing at a call like this and why is the chief of police directly involved in the dialogue,” Beauregard said in an interview. He said the apparent lack of a report suggests police were trying to keep the incident under wraps.

During an unrelated news conference Monday, Murray said he has called police to his home on occasion because of suspicious individuals. “We have had incidents where people have tried to enter our house. We have called our security unit … when those incidents have happened. No one has actually ever physically been able to enter the house,” he said.

The five people who said they were at Murray’s house that night, Lyle Canceko, Joe Loeffler, Adrian Matanza, Roger Nyhus and Thompson, said they’d returned there after a Pride Month event on Capitol Hill.

Their statement said they were enjoying a glass of wine when someone knocked on the door. Two people, “both wearing shirts,” asked to use the bathroom and phone and “grew slightly pushy” when refused.

The two left, and Murray called O’Toole, triggering her request for police response. The statement by Murray’s friends said the couple never entered the house and “the night ended peacefully.”

Heckard, 46, who sued the mayor earlier this month, alleges Murray sexually abused him as a teenager three decades ago. Two other men, Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson, also have said Murray sexually abused them as teenagers while living in Portland in the early 1980s. They have not filed lawsuits.

All three accusers have acknowledged living troubled lives marked by drug abuse, criminal records and prison time. Murray has denied all of the men’s accusations, claiming they are politically motivated.

DCG

New York Times scraps ‘female genital mutilation’ for being ‘culturally loaded’ term

serious

From Fox News: A top New York Times editor decided the paper shouldn’t use the term “female genital mutilation” because the phrase is too “culturally loaded” and widens a divide between the Western world and “people who follow the rite.”

Health and Science editor Celia Dugger said she came to the conclusion to refer to the act of removing the female genitalia of young girls as “genital cutting” during a trip to Africa in the 1990s. She spoke about her decision in a Times mailbag article in response to a reader’s question.

“I never minced words in describing exactly what form of cutting was involved, and there are many gradations of severity, and the terrible damage it did, and stayed away from the euphemistic circumcision, but chose to use the less culturally loaded term, genital cutting,” Dugger wrote. “There’s a gulf between the Western (and some African) advocates who campaign against the practice and the people who follow the rite, and I felt the language used widened that chasm.”

The term “female genital mutilation” has actually been used by the Times in six articles in 2017, according to a website search; however, the instances are extremely restricted. For instance, two of the mentions occur in the context of a quoted speech or statement, two were in opinion columns, one in a book review and one in the mailbag explanation of why the Times didn’t use the term. The abbreviation “FGM” appeared this year only in stories taken from wire services such as The Associated Press and Reuters.

The Daily Caller was one of the first organizations to draw attention to the Times’ practice; however, groups as ideologically opposite as the United Nations Population Fund have also written about the potential danger in referring to genital mutilation as “cutting.”

“UNFPA embraces a human rights perspective on the issue, and the term ‘female genital mutilation’ more accurately describes the practice from a human rights viewpoint,” a question-and-answer section of the UNFPA website says.

UNFPA estimates some 200 million women worldwide have been subjected to FGM, and though the procedure is typically practiced in African or Middle Eastern cultures, it’s spreading westward. Nearly 6,000 reported cases occurred in Britain from April 2015 to March 2016, according to the Health and Social Care Information Center, and, in the U.S., an Islamic doctor in Michigan was charged earlier this month with performing the procedure on a pair of 7-year-old girls.

The New York Times said the doctor had been “accused of performing genital cutting” in its version of the story.

DCG

Seattle socialist council member Kshama Sawant wants to give city employees May Day off

sawant always screaming

Socialist Sawant…always screaming about something.

Of course, it’s a “right.”

Update: The day off was granted. From MyNorthwest.com:

Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant urged her peers to give city employees the option to take May Day off. They obliged Monday afternoon by unanimously voting to make it official.

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant is urging her peers to give city employees the option to take May Day off.

On Monday afternoon, Sawant will introduce a resolution proclaiming that city workers have the “right to take the day off on May 1, 2017, without retaliation.” The resolution also asks that city departments inform non-emergency workers that they have the right to request the day off to attend the “celebrations.”

“I urge councilmembers to approve this May Day resolution, which explicitly recognizes the right of city workers to take the day off and provides protection to city workers who may otherwise worry about retaliation,” a statement from Sawant says. “May Day has historically been an important day of action for worker and immigrant rights. It’s especially significant this year, with immigrants, working people, labor unions, women, and the LGBTQ community under attack from Donald Trump. If Seattle is truly a Sanctuary City that supports immigrants and working people, then it should lead the way by enabling City employees to stand in solidarity with immigrants and all workers on May 1.

“Further, I call on everyone who opposes Trump’s bigoted, anti-worker agenda to participate in peaceful May Day activities, particularly the official May 1 Action Coalition march. Join our growing Resist Trump Coalition to actively organize and build the fightback against the billionaire class.”

Prior to a vote on the resolution, Sawant is calling for a rally at City Hall around 1:30 p.m. The resolution will be voted on during the 2 p.m. city council meeting.

Every year on May 1, a workers’ rights march is held in Seattle as part of International Workers’ Day. The march, attended by thousands, is typically peaceful. Other marches, unrelated to the workers’ march during the day, typically occur in the evening and into the night. Those have become known for antagonism, violence, and damage.

According to the Seattle Times, Sawant’s resolution notes that a state law gives public employees in Washington state the right to request two unpaid holidays per year for a reason of faith or conscience or an organized religious activity.

The law says an employee must be allowed to take off the days he or she wants unless the employee’s absence would impose an undue hardship on the employer, or the employee is necessary to maintain public safety.

DCG

Bill Nye becomes science warrior in Netflix series

bill nye

It’s Hollyweird…a faux scientist can become a real one in the land of make believe.

From CNN: Can Bill Nye really save the world? Probably not by preaching to the choir, which doesn’t make his half-hour Netflix show “Bill Nye Saves the World” any less noteworthy as a breezy blow struck on behalf of science, despite a few structural miscalculations.

The title alone speaks volumes: Premiering more than 20 years after “Bill Nye the Science Guy” started on PBS, the new series is pitched primarily toward adults, casting the bow-tie-wearing Nye as an advocate and science warrior, trying to beat back the anti-scientific thought and quackery that’s prevalent, especially within the political sphere.

Nye turns his attention to a different topic in each installment. They include the need to vaccinate children, the reality of climate change (inevitably) and applying a “Quack-O-Meter” to alternative medicines.

The episodes feature the host engaging in low-key, roundtable discussions with experts, and also taped pieces — dispatching a correspondent to India, for example, to document the success vaccination has registered there in preventing polio. Nye’s explanations are clear, simple and often funny, capitalizing on a sort-of nerd-chic personality that’s well suited to the program’s micro-budget, including perhaps the world’s tiniest studio audience.

The producers, however, apparently felt pressure to up the ante on entertainment value, and rather unfortunately chose to add what amount to little comedy sketches to illustrate their points. Those segments range from celebrity cameos (Zach Braff drops by to rail about the climate) to having different actors portray various diseases, modeling T-shirts with names like “POLIO” and “INFLUENZA.”

These vignettes are harmlessly goofy but also wholly unnecessary, feeling like a form of pandering in a series that seeks to arm its audience with greater scientific knowledge.

Like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nye has a lot to offer at this moment in time, when there’s such a strong, politically motivated culture of science denial. His eagerness to deliver straight talk on these matters — from asking whether vaccinations should be mandatory to lambasting the U.S. for failing to lead on climate change — will surely feel like a tonic to those share his concerns.

While “Bill Nye Saves the World” is a relatively modest enterprise by Netflix’s standards, it is, overall, an admirable addition to its lineup. If it’s not quite a rescue mission, Nye appears to have taken to heart the concept of trying to provide a small beacon of light rather than just cursing the darkness.

DCG

Illinois dems aim high with minimum wage proposals

robot

The future of Illinois…

Despite this proposal stalling, I guess this is one way the demorats can prove they aren’t out of touch with their supporters.

From MyFoxChicago (AP): Amid a national push by unions and worker advocates for a $15 minimum wage, Illinois Democrats hope to pass an ambitious hike during the spring legislative session, despite a warning from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner that he opposes an increase of any kind.

The proposal would lift the state’s minimum wage from its current $8.25 to $15 over the next five years, a more accelerated leap than previous adjustments in Illinois. It also would constitute a larger jump than increases toward $15 approved last year in New York and California, where the rates had been $9 and $10, respectively.

But, as with previous efforts in Illinois, the measure is likely to be tied up in the state’s electoral politics.

Sponsors of the legislation acknowledge Rauner’s opposition but have signaled they want to force him to act on the measure ahead of next year’s gubernatorial election, in which he already faces half a dozen Democratic challengers.

“We will get a really good opportunity to see where the governor stands,” said Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat sponsoring the wage bill in the House. “Does he side with the 2.3 million people in this state who need a raise now or does he side with the big corporations?”

In the past, Rauner has said he supported minor increases in the minimum wage. But he told the audience at a business forum on April 13 that requiring employers to raise pay is out of the question. “That’s not gonna happen,” Rauner said. “Companies will just leave.”

Democrats say they have considerable support for the $15-per-hour measure in the House, and expect a floor vote in May. The Senate is also considering two minimum wage bills, one similar to Guzzardi’s and a less ambitious one that would raise the wage to $11 by 2021.

In 2014, Democrats placed an advisory referendum on the Illinois ballot asking voters whether they supported a minimum wage increase in an effort to motivate their base to go to the polls. The referendum secured 67% of the vote in the same election that Rauner won his first term in office. During the campaign, Rauner was criticized by his rival, former Gov. Pat Quinn, for statements supporting a reduction of the minimum wage.

Illinois has raised its minimum wage above the federal floor, currently $7.25 per hour, twice in recent history – first in 2003 and again in 2006 to $8.25, where it’s remained since 2011. That leaves Illinois with a lower rate than 20 others nationwide, but above every state it borders.

Business leaders claim increasing the rate puts Illinois at a competitive disadvantage, driving companies across state lines or forcing them to reduce staff. Labor unions and other allies of the national “Fight for $15” campaign contend raising the minimum wage boosts the economy by putting more money into pockets of low-wage workers, decreasing reliance on government assistance.

Advocates say anything less than $15 falls far short of the cost of living for millions of Illinoisans. They point to research including a 2016 report from the University of Illinois that shows at least 34 percent of Illinois workers earn less than $15 an hour, many of them while helping to support a family.

The report projects an increase to $15 would result in just a 0.78 percent employment decline while yielding an extra $2.4 billion in tax revenue.

Robert Bruno, a professor of labor relations at the university who co-authored the report, said research on previous increases indicates companies are able to recoup additional labor costs by raising prices a few cents on the dollar and benefit from enhanced worker productivity and purchasing power.

Some business organizations, including the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, oppose any increase above federal levels. Others, like the Illinois Restaurant Association, are willing to consider a more incremental adjustment – something some economics experts also recommend, warning against potential job loss resulting from more substantial leaps.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford of Maywood, the Democrat sponsoring both Senate proposals, has been advocating for a higher rate since 1999 when she first proposed what became Illinois’ 2003 increase. She said if the federal minimum had risen with inflation since its peak in 1968, it would be $11 today. “I cannot sit back and allow millions of working people to receive no wage increase at all because it could not be the $15,” she said.

The bills are HB198, SB1738 and SB2.

DCG

Obama meets with at-risk youth ahead of Chicago speech

obama

I’m back. You got a prob with dat?

31 people shot in your home town over the weekend. Five died. But hey, “optimistic!”

Once a community organizer, always a community organizer.

From ABC News: Former President Barack Obama met Sunday with at-risk young men and boys in his hometown of Chicago before his first major post-presidency speech.

The former president spent time at a roundtable with youth from the organization Chicago Create Real Economic Destiny located in the Roseland/Pullman neighborhood in South Side Chicago where Obama started as a community organizer at age 25.

The CRED program provides job skills and employment opportunities for at-risk young adults.

Spokesman Kevin Lewis says Obama listened to the young men’s stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up. Obama “was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program,” Lewis said.

The program was founded by Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, who also attended the meeting.

“The president and Mrs. Obama look forward to working with similar organizations through the Obama Foundation and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative that are already committed to bringing much needed expansion of opportunities in Chicago neighborhoods,” Lewis said.

Obama will speak Monday to young community leaders and organizers at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library is planned.

Obama’s first public engagement comes as President Donald Trump nears his 100-day mark in office.

DCG