Posts Tagged ‘Shepard

12
Oct
11

matthew shepard died 13 years ago today

Politicususa: … On October 7th, 1998, Matthew Shepard accepted a ride from Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson … they drove Matthew into the country, tied him to a fence post and beat him severely … they attacked Matthew because he was gay. They left him there in the cold dark, bleeding and unconscious until a cyclist found him, almost 18 hours later. Matthew died from his injuries on October 12th, 1998…

Eleven years after Matthew’s death, President Barack Obama signed into law The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act … this bill makes it a federal crime to assault people based on their gender, sexual orientation and gender identity … Judy Shepard had visited President Obama in the Oval Office and he had made her a promise that this day would come. By signing The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Act into law, President Obama kept his promise to Matthew’s family.

…. I asked many people to share their memories of Matthew Shepard with me, including Captain Stephen Snyder-Hill … the Army officer who was booed at the Republican debate…

Joshua Snyder-Hill: … A year later I was taken to DC for my first equality event. I was still not out to my family or friends. The one thing I remember most were the people picketing the concert hall cheering Matthew’s death and celebrating it as a victory. I remember all my fear of coming out melted away. I had spent three days in DC seeing nothing but hope and activism until that moment; it was then and there I decided, I had to be part of the fight for equality. Matthew’s death and the energy behind it, made me want to be proud of who I was and show love conquered hate.

Full article here

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, 2009:

Rest in peace, Matthew Shepard

18
Dec
10

wow, a proud few days for the gop

Washington Post: …. The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act failed to pass last night. Despite unanimously passing the Senate, it only garnered a 241-166 majority in the House. Since House rules were in suspension, the bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who sponsored the bill, had a blunt response in a late-night press release:

“The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world. These young girls, enslaved in marriage, will be brutalized and many will die when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth. Those who voted to continue this barbaric practice brought shame to Capitol Hill.”

His frustration makes sense: the corresponding House Bill had 112 co-sponsors! What the heck happened?

In the hours before the vote, Republicans circulated a memo to pro-life members of Congress alleging that the bill could fund abortions and use child marriage “to overturn pro-life laws” …. when it came time for a vote, a number of the bill’s pro-life supporters in both parties abandoned ship.

Time for the facts. First of all, the act is short – the body of the bill is around ten pages long – and does not mention abortion … a quick read suffices to show that the bill is not dealing with abortion.

Second, it does not appropriate any additional funding. It requires that the President and the State Department make child marriage a core part of American international development strategy. One more time: this means that this bill can’t provide funding for abortion. It’s not a appropriations bill. Nonetheless, some Republicans appear determined to showcase their conservative credentials at all costs –  even when the facts make it unnecessary, even when the world’s most vulnerable children bear the bill.

At this point, the bill’s future is uncertain, but the ongoing bizarre misrepresentation of a bill designed to empower young girls and women is the worst sort of political gamesmanship. Why play politics with their lives at stake?

And on Thursday:

Senate Republicans blocked the long-awaited 9/11 health care and compensation bill, making good on a pledge to reject all legislation until the Bush-era tax cuts are passed.

The 9/11 health bill, known as the Zadroga bill, would continue health care funding for tens of thousands of 9/11 emergency responders, construction laborers and downtown residents, workers and students. It would also potentially compensate people with post-9/11 health conditions and the survivors of those who have died.

Thursday’s vote went even worse than expected. The Democrats need 60 votes to open debate — and 60 to close it. Democrats had thought they had 59 votes and a few possible centrist Republican contenders for the 60th vote. But GOP discipline held strong, and the Democrats only hit 58. Newly-elected Illinois Republican Senator Ron Kirk stayed with his party. Kirk, who was elected to President Obama’s former seat voted for the House version when he was there in September. He had assured Democrats he would again now that he is in the Senate.

Republicans are concerned the Zadroga bill would create a new entitlement program. The Democrats say they can fund it without raising taxes by closing a loophole on international companies that locate in offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes. Republicans, however, say that amounts to a new tax on companies that operate here and employ American workers.

9/11 responder John Feal lashes out Friday at GOP politicians holding up theJames Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
New York Daily News: Lawmakers stung by the failure of the 9/11 health bill returned to Ground Zero Friday in hopes of breathing life into the measure.

Republicans filibustered the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act on Thursday, blocking the start of debate on the bill because they want to see tax cuts passed first.

Manhattan Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney ripped the move as “immoral” and “truly sad.” “Health care for Americans who are ailing because of 9/11 should not be held hostage to partisan politics,” Maloney charged.

Dozens of responders who showed up for the press conference were still in disbelief over the potentially fatal setback. “I was a registered Republican. I have no idea what I am now,” said Ray Simons, 60, a retired FDNY ambulance worker who said he’s ill from two weeks at The Pile. “For senators to turn this down, it’s like, oh, my God, it’s the ultimate betrayal.”

NBC NY: Arizona Sen. John McCain is under fire from his Democratic counterparts for a remark on the Senate floor yesterday, where he said lawmakers who support a health care bill for Ground Zero workers are “fooling around.”

The bill, which would provide up to $7.4 billion in aid for workers sickened by World Trade Center dust after the 9/11 attacks, was shot down by Republican lawmakers this month after they refused to consider the legislation until tax cuts were extended.

On Friday, McCain said Democratic leaders needlessly stalled a vote on a missile treaty with Russia “after all of the fooling around we’ve been doing” by holding loose votes on immigration and the Ground Zero health-care legislation.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), one of the main supporters of the bill, took to the Senate floor, saying “To call helping (first responders) fooling around is saddening and frustrating.”

And today, they defeated the DREAM Act:

ThinkProgress: Forty-one mostly Republican senators voted against a bill which would have provided young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents a path to legalization by pursuing a college education or serving in the military. 55 voted in the affirmative.

Immediately before the vote failed, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) took the Senate floor to tell the young DREAMers who have come to his office that they were “wasting their time” because the border hasn’t been secured:

“…to those who have come to my office — you’re always welcome to come, but you’re wasting your time. We’re not going to pass the DREAM Act or any other legalization program until we secure our borders. It will never be done as a stand-alone. It has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform.”

What Graham didn’t mention is that though he has supported immigration reform in the past, he and his party are largely responsible for blocking it in 2010. First he held it hostage to health care reform, pitted it against climate change legislation, and then turned his back on it altogether. This summer, he declared his support for changing the 14th amendment to deny the U.S.-born children of immigrants citizenship.

And as we speak, they’re still trying to block the repeal of DADT and the passing of the START Treaty in the Senate

McCain? **** you, you bitter bigot 😉

 

06
Dec
10

happy christmas, president o’bama

Shepard Fairey’s poster of Barack Obama is decorated with a white ‘Father Christmas’ beard and eyebrows in a cafe on Wexford Street, Dublin, Ireland December 6

03
Dec
10

where’s the change?

Right here:

Hate Crimes after Obama

From BoomanTribune.com:

Many people (primarily Republican politicians) objected to the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act last November, for a variety of reasons. The principle opposition to the bill didn’t want sexual orientation added as a protected class.

However the law that Congress passed and President Obama signed did much more than extend federal protection to the victims of crimes committed because of their sexual orientation. It also expanded the scope of the prior 1969 federal hate crimes law, which previously was restricted only to hate crimes committed against victims “engaging in a federally-protected activity, like voting or going to school.”

The Matthew Shepard Act as it has been come to be known also gives the Department of Justice and the FBI “greater ability to engage in hate crimes investigations that local authorities choose not to pursue.”

That last point is critical, and we are starting to see the results of increasing federal protections for the victims of these acts of terror.

For one example, consider the case of Ronald Pudder. Pudder committed arson against a small African American church. When confronted by videotape evidence of his actions Pudder confessed his guilt. Evidence that his crime was racially motivated was not hard to find:

Read about the case here

The two-count indictment against Pudder was detailed at a news conference Friday with the nation’s top civil rights attorney, Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He said the government was determined to deter a rash of copycat crimes.

“Hate crimes reflect a cancer of the soul,” Perez said. “They are designed not only to injure the particular victim or victims, but to send a message to the community: a message of fear, an effort to divide communities along racial or religious lines.”

On Monday, Pudder pled guilty as part of a plea bargain in which Federal authorities will seek a sentence of 41-51 months.

Hate crimes do indeed leave scars, whether the crime is the directed against Christians, Jews or Muslims, members of the LGBT community or members of racial or ethnic minorities like this disabled Navaho man who had a swastika burned into his arm with a coat hanger, among other things done to him in Farmington New Mexico.

Read about the case here

Federal prosecutors say they were able to bring the case because the 2009 law eliminated a requirement that a victim must be engaged in a federally protected activity, such as voting or attending school, for hate crime charges to be levelled.

In the past many local authorities simply refused to prosecute such violent acts as hate crimes even if their state had an adequate hate crimes law on the books.

Now we don’t have to rely upon local authorities to bring these charges when they are appropriate.

And that, my friends, is progress, small though it may seem to some.

Thank you for the link BlackWaterDog

President Obama with Louvon Harris, her sister Betty Byrd Boatner (both sisters of James Byrd, Jr) and Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, after he spoke in honor of the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr, Hate Crimes Prevention Act during a reception at the White House, October 28, 2009




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