Friday, April 3, 2015

Last Call For Still Not Equal

You know what? At least North Dakota is honest about having no desire to protect LGBTQ community from discrimination. Sure, they simply pretend it doesn't exist, but hey, at least that's not using religion as an excuse.

In the wake of numerous bills bubbling through state legislatures focusing on LGBT rights, a North Dakota newspaper decided to call out the legislators who voted against a bill that would have extended anti-discrimination laws .

According to The Forum, the Fargo-based paper that published the attention-grabbing cover, the bill would have explicitly prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation, but was rejected by a two-to-one vote, sparking outcry both among Democrats and the dozen Republicans who voted in its favor. Even Governor Jack Dalrymple (R), likely mindful of the recent backlash against a religious freedom law in Indiana, spoke in the bill’s favor: “I’m concerned that we have missed an opportunity to affirm what North Dakotans already believe, which is that discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation is not acceptable.”

But the bill’s opponents perceived it as largely unnecessary.

It's not discrimination, see.  It's just treating people differently from a legal, economic, employment and social standpoint because of their sexuality.

Rep. Robin Weisz, R-Hurdsfield, who carried the bill from the House Human Services Committee with an 11-2 do-not-pass recommendation, said the committee listened to a lot of testimony on the “perceived” idea that discrimination is rampant in North Dakota, but “did not receive any testimony that showed any outright discrimination going on.”

“If we’re going to add this as a protected class, we need to be sure that we’re solving a problem,” he said.

That drew a sharp response from Democrats, who referred to the more than 20 people who testified in favor of the bill, including some who traveled across the state to share stories of being mistreated at work because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

But there's no evidence.

Oh well.


Not so good numbers this month on the jobs report front.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added 126,000 jobs in March, way less than the expected gain of 245,000 jobs.

This ends the 12-month streak of payroll gains over 200,000 and is the lowest number of monthly job gains since December 2013.

The unemployment rate held steady at 5.5% in March.

Wage growth, however, was better than expected, with earnings rising 0.3% month-on-month in March and rising 2.1% against the prior year.

The report showed that jobs gains continued to trend up in most industries, though jobs in the mining sector — which included oil-related jobs — saw a decline of 11,000 jobs in March. This sector has lost 30,000 jobs this year after adding 41,000 jobs in 2014.

Payroll gains in January and February were also revised lower, with February's gains falling to 264,000 from 295,000 and January's additions falling to 201,000 from 239,000.

Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 197,000 per month.

So 126k jobs, minus 69k downward revisions, is 57k jobs this month.

That's pretty bad.  If that's one bad month like December 2013, that's one thing.  If it's a start of a string of bad months, that's another.  We'll see how April comes in, but March was pretty sucktastic.

You Walker Right Into This One

GOP Gov. Scott Walker is showing the country once again exactly why he'll never be President as he's too macho for diplomacy, y'all.  Greg Sargent:

Today negotiators from Iran, the U.S., and other major powers announced the framework for a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, laying the groundwork to draft a final agreement by the end of June. The preliminary deal would limit continued operation of centrifuges to one site, while converting a second one — which had been the subject of controversy — to a research facility. The Arak nuclear reactor could no longer be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium.

In exchange, sanctions against Iran will be lifted by the U.S. and European countries, after the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies Iran has taken those steps. It’s anyone’s guess whether a final deal will be reached, and in the interim, plenty of hard questions will be asked about it.

The 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls are all but certain to oppose the emerging framework, and Congressional Republicans (with the help of some Democrats) will probably try to scuttle any deal before it is signed. But staking out a position against the deal — and trying to sink it — could prove a bit more complicated than it appears.

This is driven home by a new interview that Scott Walker gave to a Wisconsin radio personality, in which he said that not only would he undo any deal with Iran on his first day as president; he would do so even if our European allies wanted the deal to continue.

Well, that certainly shows respect for diplomacy and our allies, especially after conservatives were screaming that President Obama showed no respect for our "ally" Israel by daring to negotiate with Iran in the first place.

I asked Peter Juul, a Mideast analyst for the Center for American Progress, to explain what the consequences of that might be. He told me:

“The big questions would be, How would Europeans and Iranians react? It’s hard to believe that the Iranians would stick to their end of the deal. That would leave Iran open to take their nuclear program as far as they want.

“The Europeans would probably try to keep their portion of the deal in place and try to salvage it. This would place the burden of having blown up the deal on us. This would be particularly ironic, considering that a major Republican and conservative talking point is that the Obama administration is breaking faith with our allies. We would be alienating and breaking faith with our European allies right out of the gate. You’d be irreparably damaging our transatlantic relationships for however long Scott Walker were in office.

“Putin is not going to leave power anytime soon, unless he keels over. For all the talk about the Russian threat, it would be odd to throw our European allies under the bus on Iran at the same time they are facing down a Russia that is not particularly friendly.

“There would be a lot of ripple effects around wherever the U.S. and Europe have security cooperation. This is a reckless, irresponsible, shoot first, don’t-ask-questions-ever approach. It’s just not a viable strategy if your goal is to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.”

Remember, we're still in the primary phase of the 2016 GOP clown car game, which means there's no governance, only idiotic macho bluster.  Walker will fit right in, and he'll lose just like Republicans have for the last two presidential contests.

Course, we could just sell weapons to Iran like Reagan did, right?


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