A new defense secretary has just been confirmed and already he has a big issue to address: sexual assault in the military. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Full disclosure: I used to work in her office), and Senator Janeane Shaheen (D-NH) recently sent a letter requesting Chuck Hagel immediately review a decision by an Air Force Lieutenant General to dismiss all charges against an officer who had been convicted of sexual assault.
Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson, a fighter pilot, had been charged with aggravated sexual assault on former colleague Kimberly Hanks at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Hanks had been socializing with Wilkerson and his wife at their home and stayed the evening in their guest bedroom; in the middle of the night, she woke up to find Wilkerson on top of her. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in the brig (AKA military prison). But he never served any time in prison because his superior, Lieutenant General Craig A. Franklin, dismissed the jury’s conviction and reinstated him. Senators Boxer and Shaheen and others are rightfully concerned that a troop charged with sexual assault was let off scot-free.
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It wouldn’t be a day at The Frisky if I didn’t get to write about a sleazy politician! Today’s subject: New York Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, a Democrat from Brooklyn.
According to The New York Daily News, the 71-year-old complained to a fellow staff members about statutory rape laws in New York, because he thought his 14-year-old intern was “sexy.” The intern in question had only been working there six days and is the daughter of a Brooklyn judge he helped elect. There is currently a police probe into whether any criminal actions were committed.
Alas, this is not the first accusation of sexual harassment against Vito Lopez. (Sadly, it usually isn’t.) Keep reading »
The Supreme Court is preparing to take up the Defense of Marriage Act—and the very president who signed it is urging justices to strike it down. DOMA came at “a very different time” in US history, writes Bill Clinton in a Washington Post editorial. No state recognized same-sex marriage, and just 81 of 535 members of Congress opposed the measure’s passage. Some senators, Clinton notes, saw the law as a way of preventing a more extreme constitutional amendment against gay marriage.
The Supreme Court will examine whether DOMA supports “freedom, equality, and justice above all.” Since signing the measure in 1996, “I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution,” Clinton writes. Read more…
Last week Connecticut State Rep. Ernest Hewett (D) creeped out America with his lewd and inappropriate comment to a 17-year-old girl about the “snake” under his desk. (He meant his dick.) Now Hewett has explained to the Hartford Courant that this was not his typical behavior. How has he kept his record clean? Keep reading »
Texas State Representatives Jodie Laubenberg (
D R) and Jeff Leach (R) have introduced a so-called “fetal pain” bill called The Preborn Pain Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, claiming that a fetus, which is called an “unborn child” in the bill, can feel pain. The bill, if passed, would shorten the window of time that a woman can terminate an unwanted pregnancy by seven weeks.
The Texas Right To Life has claimed that fetuses feel “torturous pain” in abortion. But that claim holds no ground in, well, science. The Journal of The American Medical Association‘s 2005 review doesn’t show evidence of fetuses feeling any pain before the third trimester at the earliest. Additionally, the bill doesn’t require a woman to be absolutely positively 20 weeks pregnant. If the woman is unsure of how many weeks along she is, but it’s probable it could be 20 weeks, she will still be unable to terminate her pregnancy.
And that’s not even the worst part of the bill. Keep reading »
Ashley Judd was compared to Todd Akin by conservative writer for The Daily Caller, Alex Pappas. Seriously?
Ashley Judd’s name has been floated around as possible Democratic candidate to run Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky in 2014. But haters have already come out swinging, with a writer for conservative blog The Daily Caller comparing the actress/humantarian/women’s rights activist to Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin. No, seriously. He did:
“Judd runs the risk of being portrayed as a Todd Akin-esque candidate — meaning voters simply decide she’s unqualified to serve as a senator, because her comments are so outrageous.”
They both have the initial “A” in their names and when people talk about them the word “senate” is thrown around, but that’s where the similarities end. Judd’s comments may be on the liberal end of the spectrum, but they are not “outrageous” in the way that Akin’s uneducated comments were. Last I checked, Ashley Judd understands actual biology. Keep reading »
Keep your fingers crossed: Politico is reporting that the Violence Against Women Act is expected to pass in the House of Representatives this week.
VAWA was originally championed by then-Senator Joe Biden back in 1994 and gets renewed very six years. The bill allocates funds to help victims of rape and domestic violence, including money to process rape kits, and prosecute men accused of abusing women. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Well, it’s not. Apparently violence against women is A-OK for some of our politicians. Last year, VAWA hit a snag in the House, which refused to pass a Senate version of the bill allocating funds to undocumented women, same-sex partners, and Native American women who are abused by non-Native American men. Keep reading »
Big Bird flew up from Sesame Street to help Michelle Obama hunt for healthy snacks in the White House kitchen as part of her Let’s Move! campaign.
Another video about how much fun (?) it is to exercise, after the jump… Keep reading »
In shocking news to everyone, as a fetus you were your mother’s largest organ! Or at least that’s what Alabama State Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R) is now claiming.
The bill she introduced this week requires a series of demanding requirements of abortion clinics who perform this “big surgery.” According to the Huffington Post, these regulations could potentially close the sparse five remaining abortion clinics in Alabama. The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the bill:
“Would require physicians at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals; require clinics to follow ambulatory clinic building codes and make it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for a nurse, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to dispense abortion-inducing medications”
Rep. McClurkin’s reasoning for such harsh new regulations: the removal of an organ is a serious surgery, and by her estimation a child is an organ. Rep. McClurkin’s assertion is ridiculous for so many reasons.
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