Thursday, April 17, 2014

CONTEST DEADLINE: TWO WEEK WARNING!

Two weeks away from my deadline, and I haven't received any submissions yet! No one wants that $100 prize? Are you new and need more info?


I created a whole separate tab just for the contest details, so no one has to surf the site to find it! 

Have questions? Please let me know! 

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Tuesday! Things You Should Know

In an attempt to be a little more active again, I'll be posting an alternating Tuesday-Friday schedule. Today is the inaugural issue of "It's Tuesday! Things You Should Know". Next Friday will be the next edition of "It's Friday! Inform/Mislead - Real Stories" Hope that clarifies what I'm attempting to do here. Thanks!


Realigning Priorities: What should you actually care about today?
One of the most frustrating parts of, well, living in this country is watching how well the mainstream media -- television, newspaper (hey, people still read them!), internet -- manipulates the masses and inundates them with what is 'important' relative to ratings.

How can we call ourselves informed if we seek out only media sources that regurgitate our personal world view on things? How can we possibly do anything about the real problems in this country, when we are bombarded by what they, the Mysterious They, determine is 'newsworthy', despite the clear evidence that that word is not synonymous with, oh, actual journalism?

Ahem. Anyway, my intent with Tuesday posts is to bring you stories that aren't making the front page of your favorite news outlets. Some happy. Some interesting. Some heartbreaking. But all worth reading. Enjoy.

A 13-year-old eagle huntress in Mongolia Coolness aside -- I mean it's a teenager with a golden eagle as her hunting buddy! -- she is probably the first girl to do so in her community, and you can tell from the pictures that she loves it.

A great video from Robert Reich that talks plainly about the problem we have with how taxation is determined by the government and the significant difference between what we minions pay in taxes and what the super rich pay.



The White House has a provided an interesting tool, in case you were wondering where your tax dollars go. I found it rather interesting. You should check it out.

In the big GMO-labeling fight, there is a new bill introduced by Representative Pompeo that would basically block mandatory GMO-labeling:

"The companies say the crops are safe and cite many scientific studies back those claims. Pompeo on Wednesday reiterated those claims, stating GMOS are safe and "equally healthy" and no labeling is needed.


"It has to date made food safer and more abundant," said Pompeo. "It has been an enormous boon to all of humanity.

But there are also many scientific studies showing links to human and animal health problems, and many indicating environmental damage related to GMO crops."
As someone who can see the advantages of GMO'd crops (growing sustainable crops in terrain that wouldn't normally grow them), it is frustrating to no end to hear, "But they're safe." Well, gentlemen of Monsanto, all your pocketed government officials, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, if it's so goddamn safe, what is the hold up with the labeling? The best defense against the anti-GMO crowd is more actual fact and less hidden agenda.

(Don't even get me started on Monsanto not letting farmers harvest seeds...)

Want to do something? Check out this online petition from JustLabelIt.com. Make your voice heard. It's the only way we change anything.

And that's all for this edition of "It's Tuesday! Things You Should Know!"

Image credit: belchonock / 123RF Stock Photo



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Governor Brewer: VETO HB 2284

Read the bill here

Planned Parenthood's Statement

Dear Governor Brewer, 

As an Arizonan woman, it concerns me greatly that we are wasting time and tax payer dollars on the continued infringement on women's health choices. Worse, that we're doing it in the name of preventing abortions. Instead of treating women like second class citizens who don't know any better, how about we refocus our attentions on actual pressing matters, like the education of the children who will grow up and make these choices or the number of hungry children in our great state?

I ask that you veto the measure. It is redundant and has the potential to cause great harm. The idea that women should expect a diminished expectation of privacy, because of a private decision they made for whatever reason they made it, is ridiculous.

I'm honestly tired of being in the news for discriminatory issues. We need to be a leader in human rights and women's equality, not giving in to the illegitimate fears of the overly nosy few who are certain they know what's best for the people of Arizona but continue to push their personal and faith-based agendas regardless of what we voters want.

So, please, veto this bill. 

Thank you.

A Concerned Citizen

Write the Governor

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bumpersticker Design Contest!

HELLO, CREATIVE CONSTITUENTS!

I am looking to update my bumpersticker! Won't you help a future POTUS out?
 
These are my current bumperstickers:




HOW THIS WILL WORK:

You may provide up to three bumperstickers for consideration. Must include:

My name:
Connie Roberts-Huth or CL Roberts-Huth

My web address:
clrhuth2016.com or clrhuth2016.us

My motto:
Community vs Hostility
Time for Something Better
Connie Roberts-Huth 2016
(Or something similar! I'm open to ideas!)


I'm using Vistaprint, so concept must be presented in one of the following sizes:

Rectangular Dimensions:                      Oval Dimensions:
Full Bleed Size                                           Full Bleed Size
11.20" x 3.20"                                             5.20" x 3.20"
285 x 81 mm                                               132 x 81 mm
3360 x 960 pixels                                        1560 x 960 pixels
Document Trim Size                                   Document Trim Size
11.00" x 3.00"                                              5.00" x 3.00"
279 x 76 mm                                                127 x 76 mm
3300 x 900 pixels                                         1500 x 900 pixels

WINNER GETS:
  • $100 cash!
  • Hard copy of their chosen work  
DEADLINE:

Email concept(s) to clrhuth@gmail.com NLT April 30, 2014, with the following information:

Name (legal name):
Pen name (if you have one):
Snail Mail Address or PayPal address (so I can mail your winnings!):
Link to your art page (if you have one):
And the following statement:

I, [insert full legal name], acknowledge and agree to the terms of this contest. The attached entry is my own work. If my design is chosen, I agree that CL Roberts-Huth will pay full ownership rights in one flat payment of $100 with no future royalties given or expected. I will not use this entry for any additional commercial use, should I win, as it will no longer belong to me. Personal gallery use is acceptable.

There is no entry fee.

VOTING:
All entries will be displayed in an album on my Facebook page and opened to voting until May 14th. The photo with the highest number of likes will be the winner and announced on May 15th. So I definitely encourage you to share with your friends and family!

Friday, February 28, 2014

It's Friday! Inform/Mislead - Real Stories 2/28/14

You always have a choice: Inform or Mislead?
You know I'm terrible about upkeep, but I would really like to do this every Friday.

JAN BREWER VETOED SB 1062: Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed this piece o' crap. While I am saddened that the voices that changed did so purely for business reasons (and not because, as Jon Stewart said, it's morally repugnant), I am glad that it is done for now. I am glad that we as Arizonans have spoken out and been heard. I hope and pray that we all remember in November.

And the bill in Georgia died, too.

UGANDA PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW: And while we're arguing about whether or not we have to make cakes for gay couples, the President of Uganda signed into law that nasty, nasty anti-homosexuality law that at best can put you in prison for life for being gay, doing 'gay' things or providing outreach to gay citizens. But you know, nothing bad comes from legislating against one specific group of people in your country.

SENATORS DON'T CARE ABOUT ALZHEIMER'S: Seth Rogan took the time to come to a hearing about the seriousness of Alzheimer's, which afflicts his mother in-law. Too bad only two Senators decided it was important, and worse, one of them walked out during his testimony. Anyone who believes that our government really does care about us isn't paying attention.

SUPREME COURTS RULED ON POLICE ENTRY: So now, according to the Supreme Court, if anyone in the house says the cops can come in, then the cops can come in. While I can see the usefulness of this--domestic violence calls--are they clarifying who is allowed to make the decision? If the cops convince a child to let them in, despite the fact that the parent is saying 'no', does that count?

Oh, and while we're talking about the Supreme Court, they arrested a man this week when he stood up to say:
“I rise on behalf of the majority of the American people, who believe that money is not speech, corporations are not people, and our democracy should not be for sale to the highest bidder. Overturn Citizens United. Keep the cap in McCutcheon. The people demand democracy,” said Kai Newkirk of the organization 99Rise, before being hauled out of the courtroom and handcuffed. Occupy.com
GOP BLOCKS VETERANS BILL: As per the link --

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) bill, S. 1982, would have expanded veterans' healthcare programs, given veterans in-state tuition rates at all schools across the country and provided advanced appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Republicans in the Senate specifically voted against it, because there was no allowance for Iran sanctions, because 1) Iran is such a threat right now, and 2) sanctions have so much to do with veterans' affairs. They also didn't like where the money for the advanced appropriations was coming from, but like always had not alternate plan. Oh, wait, they did, just not for veterans.

Cos you know, priorities.

 There's more, if you're interested:

Ukrainian civil war
Principal drags kindergarteners down the hall
Obama opens up about dad, drugs and race

What did I miss this week where you are?


Image credit: stuartphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Disney's "Frozen" Heart

This image released by Disney shows Elsa the Snow Queen, voiced by Idina Menzel, in a scene from the animated feature "Frozen." (AP Photo/Disney)
I, like most of the nation, am enamoured with Disney's newest epicness, Frozen. This fantastic tale is not only artfully drawn, it contains within its many layers a lesson, well, actually several profound lessons in it.

Spoilers abound. You've been warned.

NO ONE ASKS TO BE BORN DIFFERENT.

As a parent, one of the things I've heard the most (and honestly, what I remember the most about being a kid) is wanting to be just like everybody else.

Elsa is born (as far as we know) with her powers. She didn't ask for them, and it really looks like no one thinks very much of it until her 'difference' causes--and unintentionally so--an issue in her family. As little Anna is being healed, the troll and the parents come up with a plan to help Elsa hide her gift.

I believe everyone involved had the best intentions, but in the process of 'protecting' her little sister from herself, they instilled in Elsa a sense that she was wrong, that she was dangerous, and that the only way to ensure nothing ever happened again was she never be true to herself again. And again, I believe they meant well, but the isolation, from servants in the house to moving her out of the girls' shared room, and the mantra-like 'Don't feel it, conceal it' only reinforces the notion that this part of her, this not-so-small part of her very being should never be shown.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, only breeds fear and self-loathing, which is contrary to what I think they were attempting to do. Which is why, when it finally does come out...

FALL OUT CAN BE EXPLOSIVE

Inevitably, when you ask someone to suppress something long enough, they eventually act out. I'm certain there's a clinical psychiatric name for that, but it basically boils down to emotional fall out. For some people, it's excessive promiscuity. For others, drug use and/or suicidal tendencies. But it always happens, and if you're not paying attention, you're not going to see it bubbling on the surface. 

Elsa's coming out gives her the opportunity to embrace her gift, because she's moved away from the people she's convinced her gifts would hurt. What she doesn't realize until later, of course, is that her isolation isn't exactly an isolated event, and she's left the very people she was trying so desperately to protect in quite the predicament.

And in the midst of that are people like the Lord of Weaseltown who are certain, and loudly so, that her newly (but not new to her) gifts are instantly a danger. Even when he slips on the ice that is created as a barrier between Elsa and her detractors, he blames it on her, that it's her ice that caused him injury, and he takes no responsibility that his negative reaction to her unexpected show of power directly caused that spray of ice he fell on.

(In fact, he spends the duration of the movie being a loud, whiny martyr. All the way up to the end, where he claims his neck hurts and he needs a doctor.)

LOVE, LOVE IS ALL WE NEED

Is there a love story? Most indubitably. Is it the end all be all, following the stereotypical Disney Princess is a damsel in distress formula? In part, yes. But does it save the day?

Nope. Not one iota. In the story of Frozen, Anna is saved by none other than, well, Anna. Despite the fact that true love's kiss was just a sprint away (and he was sprinting towards her!), when it came down to braving the backlash or standing up for her sister, who was rather ready to die, thinking that she had already killed her sister, Anna broke her icy fate by demonstrating that an act of true love is accepting and loving Elsa just the way she was.

There was no "I'm going to stop this power-hungry crazy guy, but you have to promise to never use your powers ever again". No, Anna, who spent the entire movie trying to reconnect with her sister, stands before the not-so-nice guy, away from the ice guy, with the understanding that this is most certainly doom, be it by sword or curse.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is true love, indeed.

It's in the aftermath of that show of love that Elsa figures out that love was still hers to have. And without sacrificing that part of her that made her different. Even better? They celebrate her difference in a giant finale!

THE POINT?

The point is simple. Different isn't bad. And we need to find a way to celebrate the differences, not draw lines to keep us apart.  If nothing else, understanding that other people may not think, believe or act the way you do does not mean you have to condone their differences. Just means you understand that they are as different to you, as you are to them.

And if we'd approach each other with grace and love, instead of anger and hate, just think of the world we could build.

Just sayin'.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Dammit, Arizona!

Unless you're gay? Not in my state, folks. Not if I can help it.
***UPDATE 2/27***Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed this piece o' crap. While I am saddened that the voices that changed did so purely for business reasons (and not because, as Jon Stewart said, it's morally repugnant), I am glad that it is done for now. I am glad that we as Arizonans have spoken out and been heard. I hope and pray that we all remember in November. 

So imagine my ire this morning to see that Republican State Senator Steve Yarbrough's bill SB 1062 had passed through our legislature here in Arizona. Yet another state in the ongoing 'battle' to save people from being--I dunno--Christ-like and doing unto others as they have done unto themselves?

All bc of that photographer being sued in 2006. In New Mexico. Yup, we haven't even had any issues remotely involving this issue in Arizona, but because New Mexico which has a Human Rights Act that includes sexual orientation, we are scrambling to ensure our Christian businesses here are 'safe'?

THE PROBLEM

Let's start out by reminding everyone of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. As per LegalZoom.com:
The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to "full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."

(That it doesn't say 'sexual orientation' speaks more to the year it was written than any modern blase attempt at 'see? It's not in the law!'.)

Let's also remember that these businesses are public entities and as such are subjected to the existing public anti-discrimination laws. That means that technically they cannot, even with a right to refuse service sign, discriminate based on religion, race, color or national origin. And being a public business means you understand that.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's discuss why this is even an issue.

The law states:
E. A person that asserts a violation of this section must establish all of the following: 
1. That the person's action or refusal to act is motivated by a religious belief. 

2. That the person's religious belief is sincerely held. 

3. That the state action substantially burdens the exercise of the person's religious beliefs.
And it's #3 that gets me. If baking a cake or taking photos of a loving celebration burdens your religious beliefs, I'm not certain that you should have a public business, but I have a few qualifying questions for your burden:

1. Are you also not taking providing services to people with tattoos?
2. Are you asking folk if they eat shellfish?
3. Oh, and those of you who still think mixed race couples are against God, are they now allowed to discriminate against them?

Side note: It always interests me in the world of 'all sins are sins' how people cherry pick their sins. After all, Leviticus 11:7-8 does not allow you to eat bacon, but I don't see that happening. Nor do I see much care about many of the rest (see here for just 11 that are routinely broken by people talking about gay marriage)

Ahem.

The answer, of course, in the vast majority of cases is no. And the specific wording that this legislation is overtly targeting one facet of our society is wrong. Hands down. That we even have to have this discussion proves that we are no closer to actual equality in this country, no matter what we'd have the rest of the world believe.

And if any of these people were to be denied services, because of their faith, they'd be all up in arms about it, so how is this okay to do to other people? Oh, I forgot, only your brand of Christianity is allowed, moral and right.

My cynicism (and sarcasm) aside, clearly we need to devise a solution to make such legislation moot.

THE ANSWER

1. Contact our representation. Let them know how you feel about this legislation. Here are the people who voted for it:
Nancy Barto nbarto@azleg.gov 602-926-5766
Andy Biggs abiggs@azleg.gov 602-926-4371
Judy Burges jburges@azleg.gov 602-926-5861

Chester Crandell ccrandell@azleg.gov 602-926-5409
Adam Driggs adriggs@azleg.gov 602-926-3016
David Farnsworth dfarnsworth@azleg.gov 602-926-3020
Gail Griffin ggriffin@azleg.gov 602-926-5895
John McComish jmccomish@azleg.gov 602-926-5898
Al Melvin amelvin@azleg.gov 602-926-4326
Rick Murphy rmurphy@azleg.gov 602-926-4444
Steve Pierce spierce@azleg.gov 602- 926-5584
Michele Reagan mreagan@azleg.gov 602-926-5828
Don Shooter dshooter@azleg.gov 602-926-4139
Kelli Ward kward@azleg.gov 602-926-4138
Bob Worsley bworsley@azleg.gov 602-926-5760
Steve Yarbrough syarbrough@azleg.gov 602-926-5863
Kimberly Yee kyee@azleg.gov 602-926-3024
And click here to directly contact our governor, Jan Brewer.

Need some words? Try these:
Dear Person Elected to Serve the Actual Interests of Arizonans,

I am aware of SB 1062. I know you were hoping I wasn't paying attention. I want to take this moment to remind you:

You serve the constituents, and you are overreaching when you use fearmongering of an incident that happened in another state in 2006 to push your personal agenda. It is not up to you to regulate the morality of the people in this state based on your personal beliefs.

Religion has no place in legislation. There are more than evangelical Christians in this state, and the vast majority of us wish you'd quit trying to push an entire section of our population into second class citizenry under the guise of 'freedom of religion'. What you're actually doing is creating a state that promotes the 'persecution by religion'. Is that Godly? Is that just? I think not. 

And these people you are so interested in protecting, aren't they public entities? And isn't part of that public business to do business with the public? I realize we don't have an anti-discrimination law in this state that includes sexual orientation (though some of our progressive cities do), but it is bad business for these businesses, for our state, for our communities to allow such blatant discrimination.

Honestly, we have bigger issues in this state--the education of our children, the better funding and equiping of our fire crews, police officers and hospitals, and did you forget about our border problems?--and we the constituents would prefer you actually put all this time and effort towards those things that would actually benefit our state and encourage economic growth versus detracting from it with corporations and other states shaking their heads in dismay over our continued backwards movement when it comes to civil rights. 

Please consider withdrawing your support of this action. Think of the people you are actually hurting.

Thank you,
Concerned Citizen

P.S. Your position is up for re-election this year. I will be spending a great deal of time reminding people of what you've done, good or bad. The choice is up to you.
2. Rethink suing. We do enough needless suing in this country, and honestly, who benefits from this? The gay couple? Now they have negative memories surrounding what should be one of the happiest day of their lives. 

Does the cause benefit? Nope. In fact, it's more divisive, as the people we're trying to win over (and if you don't believe that's part of the process, then you're naive) see us being as big of bullies as they are.(Yes, yes, I know, we shouldn't care what they think, but since they are continually pushing legislation against us, it would not kill us to compromise on occasion, too.)

Does the business that did the discriminating?  In most cases, no, but I'm okay with that, it's called dealing with the consequences of your actions, which leads me to my next point:

3. Money talks. Take yours elsewhere. Promote the businesses you love. If we build up the businesses that provide their services without the need to see if you're a gay couple, then it won't matter about the ones who do.

And those businesses that decide to discriminate? They will wither away and die. (This isn't to say you shouldn't let people know when a business does discriminate. I am all for dissemination of information. But you can do this, too, without being a dick.)

3. Vote. All of the people in our state's legislative process are up for election in November. There are honestly enough of us that we could make a significant difference, if we'd just get up and voted on these issues. And I know November is a long way off, but I promise to remind you.

And you can register to vote now! Heck, you can register and ask for a mail-in ballot and not even have to leave your house!


AM I WORRIED?
Nope, because bills like these are dropping dead everywhere they're popping up. Check it out:

Kansas - dying

South Dakota - dead
Tennessee - dead
Idaho - withdrawn
 

No one wants them, and legislators need to get to work on actual important things, like the education of our children and the nationwide hunger problem. Or maybe how to help the homeless? Or actually supporting veterans? I don't know about you, but I think these are way bigger fish than preventing the so-called 'gay agenda'.

Final thought:
When you pass legislation that creates in our country a second class of citizens, it is wrong.

Period.

What side of history do you want to be on?

Linkage:
Arizona Senate OKs bill boosting service refusal
BREAKING: AZ Senate Passes 'Right to Discriminate' Bill
Restaurants: Right to Refuse Service
The Right to Refuse Service or Discrimination?