Saturday, November 22, 2014

Executive Order Could Affect Up to 900,000 Florida Immigrants

Photo: President Obama works on his immigration speech with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan and Senior Presidential Speechwriter David Litt in the Oval Office. Photo credit: Pete Souza, WhiteHouse.gov
Photo: President Obama works on his immigration speech with Director of Speechwriting Cody Keenan and Senior Presidential Speechwriter David Litt in the Oval Office. Photo credit: Pete Souza, WhiteHouse.gov


"What's next?" is the question on the minds of thousands of Floridians today after President Obama's announcement Thursday night of an executive order regarding the future of as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

As many as 900,000 people living in Florida could be affected, according to the Urban Institute.

While the order delaying deportations isn't a permanent fix, said Cheryl Little, executive director of Americans for Immigrant Justice, it's at least a temporary reprieve.

"Those who are eligible will be able to apply for a work permit," she said. "In Florida, they can get a driver's license and, at least for some time, won't have to worry about whether or not there's going to be that knock on the door."

Obama said he will work with lawmakers on a bipartisan, comprehensive bill of permanent changes for the immigration system. He is being criticized by some who feel this executive order is an abuse of power, with some Republicans in Congress vowing to do what they can to impede the president's action.

Even as advocates for the immigrant community welcomed some progress, they said they're also seeking more permanent answers to keep families together, said Kica Matos, director of immigrant rights and racial justice for the Center for Community Change.

"We will celebrate this victory. We will welcome it with open arms, and so, we will be out of the streets today," she said. "And guess what we're going to do on Monday? We're going to go back to the hard work of continuing to fight for a permanent solution."

Little said she believes the next hurdle for immigration reform will be actually enforcing the protection offered by the president's order.

"My concern," she said, "is that, while this announcement I think is going to be great news to a lot of people, are we going to live to see the day when it's actually able to move forward in a fair and timely manner?"

The Urban Institute estimates that Florida's population of undocumented workers accounts for about 10 percent of the total in the United States. The institute's research is online at urban.org.

Friday, November 21, 2014

16 Reasons Obama will be the best President since Franklin Roosevelt

1. We've now had 63 straight months of economic expansion.

That’s right, for 63 consecutive months the US economy has gotten progressively better. That includes 54 consecutive months of private sector job growth. Forbes magazine, no fan of President Obama, crunched the numbers and demonstrated how the economic recovery under President Obama has been better in just about every measurable way than the recovery under President Reagan.

2. We are currently enjoying the longest period of private sector job creation in American history.

Again, this statistic comes from the Forbes Magazine article listed above. In fact, we have now had 54 straight months of private sector job creation. That is the longest period of job creation since the Department of Labor has been keeping statistics. See the link below.

3. Unemployment has dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.9% and projected to reach 5.4% by summer of 2015.

Not only has the unemployment rate dropped significantly, but since the recession ended, our economy as added over ten million new jobs. You can refer to the Forbes article above or check this article on PoliticsUSA.

4. The stock market continues to set new records since President Obama has been in office.

Since early 2009 there has been a steady trend in stock market growth. The Dow Jones Industrial averages reached an all-time high of 17,098 in August, 2014. Since most Americans have 401K retirement investments in the stock market, this stock market growth benefits millions of middle class Americans.

5. The Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It’s been reduced by two-thirds since 2009.

The $1.4 trillion federal budget deficit that Obama inherited in 2009 was in a large part due to the high rate of unemployment. When millions of people were put out of work in 2008 and 2009, it resulted in far less income taxes and less economic activity to generate federal revenue. As ten million people have been put back to work, there have been billions more tax dollars generated. As a result, the deficit has been shrinking each year. The 2014 deficit is projected to be around $500 billion, the smallest deficit since 2007 and roughly 1/3 of what it was in 2009.

6. Under President Obama, spending has increased only 1.4% annually, the lowest rate since Eisenhower was president.

You may have heard critics say that President Obama is spending money wildly and running up our debt. According to this article from Forbes, Obama has increased spending by 1.4% annually, far less than President Reagan (8.7%) or George W. Bush (8.1%). In fact, Obama has increased spending less than any president since Eisenhower.

7. For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are lower now than just about any time in the previous 50 years.

After President Obama took office, thousands of Tea Party members all over the country held rallies protesting Obama’s tax increases. At that time, President Obama had actually passed several tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Most of the Tea Partiers who were protesting had only seen their taxes decrease under Obama. Yet polls indicated that most Tea Party members wrongly believed their taxes had gone up.
In fact, the only people whose income taxes have gone up during Obama’s presidency are those making $400,000 per year or more. That's less than 2% of the population. Today, for the vast majority of people, tax rates are exactly where they were when Obama first took office or lower. The article below from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains this in greater detail.

8. Our dependence on foreign oil has shrunk due to record domestic oil production and improved fuel efficiency standards.

While some people claim that oil production has declined under President Obama, the truth is just the opposite. Oil production has reached record highs. The United States now produces so much oil that we export more oil and gasoline than we import.

9. At least 7 million more Americans now have health insurance than before.

Depending on whose numbers you use, between 7 and 10 million Americans acquired health insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. Now that those 7 to 10 million Americans have insurance, the rest of us are no longer on the hook to pay for their health care when they get sick. This saves the American people billions of dollars in the long run.

10. The Affordable Care Act has added years to the life of Medicare.

The Medicare trust fund had been on course to run out of money by the end of 2016. But due to cost savings from the Affordable Care Act and lower healthcare expenses, Medicare’s trust fund is now stable until the year 2030 without cutting benefits.

11. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing the slowest rate of increase in healthcare costs since 1960.

Contrary to the predictions from Republicans, health care costs have increased at a much slower pace since the passage of the ACA.

12. We currently have fewer soldiers, sailors and airmen in war zones than any time in over 10 years.

With the end of the Iraq war and the steady withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, we have fewer people in war zones now than any time since 2002.

13. There have been zero successful attacks by al Qaeda on US soil since Obama became president.

Despite Dick Cheney’s claim that if voters elect a Democrat as president, we’ll be “hit again and hit hard” by al Qaeda, we have actually been far safer from terrorist attacks on US soil in recent years than we were under the previous president. There have been several unsuccessful attacks against the US under both presidents, but under Obama, al Qaeda has been largely unsuccessful in striking the US on our home soil.

14. We now successfully catch and deport more illegal immigrants than ever before.

Despite the publicity from busloads of children who illegally entered the country, the numbers prove that President Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any other president.
All of the facts stated above can be confirmed through multiple sources, yet most Americans are not aware of all of this positive news. I invite you to do your own research and check these facts for yourself.
The truth is, most other presidents would envy President Obama’s record despite the fact that he inherited the worst economic crash since the Great Depression.
Here's a bonus. If you feel particularly ambitious, feel free to research these additional facts.
  1. Since Obama became president, our economy has gone from losing 800,000 jobs per month to adding 200,000 jobs per month. That’s a net improvement under Obama of about 1 million jobs per month!
  2. Before Obama became president, our financial system was in ruins and millions of people were at risk of losing their life savings. Now, the financial loopholes have been fixed and we are no longer at risk of another financial collapse.
  3. In 5 years under Obama the economy has created twice as many jobs as were created in 8 years under George W. Bush.
  4. President Obama passed credit card reforms that protects consumers from excessive fees, rate hikes, deceptive marketing and unreasonable due dates.
  5. Thanks to “Obamacare”, senior citizens have saved billions of dollars on prescription drugs.
  6. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of your premiums on health care. As a result millions of Americans have received refunds from their health insurance companies.
Despite the unprecedented obstructionism and record number of filibusters used by Republicans to kill even the most routine legislation, the fact remains, in almost every measurable way, the American people are profoundly better off today than they were before President Obama took office.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Immigration Accountability Executive Action

obama.The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable, and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.  Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.

These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation.

These are common sense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

Three critical elements of the President’s executive actions are:

·         Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border:  The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally will be caught and sent back.  Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s actions will also centralize border security command-and-control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration. 

·         Deporting Felons, Not Families: The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.

·         Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes:  The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents.  By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair share of taxes and temporarily stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and will promote naturalization for those who qualify. 

For more than a half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration.  President Obama is now taking another commonsense step.  As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the bipartisan Senate bill that: continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents; cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers; creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to the back of the line; and boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.

CRACKING DOWN ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AT THE BORDER

Under the Obama Administration, the resources that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) dedicates to security at the Southwest border are at an all-time high.  Today, there are 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents along the Southwest Border and our border fencing, unmanned aircraft surveillance systems, and ground surveillance systems have more than doubled since 2008. Taken as a whole, the additional boots on the ground, technology, and resources provided in the last six years represent the most serious and sustained effort to secure our border in our Nation’s history, cutting illegal border crossings by more than half.

And this effort is producing results. From 1990 to 2007, the population of undocumented individuals in the United States grew from 3.5 million to 11 million people.  Since then, the size of the undocumented population has stopped growing for the first time in decades. Border apprehensions—a key indicator of border security— are at their lowest level since the 1970s.  This past summer, the President and the entire Administration responded to the influx of unaccompanied children with an aggressive, coordinated Federal response focused on heightened deterrence, enhanced enforcement, stronger foreign cooperation, and greater capacity for Federal agencies to ensure that our border remains secure.  As a result, the number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the Southwest border has declined precipitously, and the Administration continues to focus its resources to prevent a similar situation from developing in the future. 

To build on these efforts and to ensure that our limited enforcement resources are used effectively, the President has announced the following actions:
·         Shifting resources to the border and recent border crossers. Over the summer, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to the Southwest border, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reordered dockets in immigration courts to prioritize removal cases of recent border crossers.  This continued focus will help keep our borders safe and secure.  In addition, Secretary Johnson is announcing a new Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan which will strengthen the efforts of the agencies who work to keep our border secure.  And by establishing clearer priorities for interior enforcement, DHS is increasing the likelihood that people attempting to cross the border illegally will be apprehended and sent back.

·         Streamlining the immigration court process. DOJ is announcing a package of immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to more quickly adjudicate cases of individuals who meet new DHS-wide enforcement priorities and close cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.

·         Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking as well as workers.  The Department of Labor (DOL) is expanding and strengthening immigration options for victims of crimes (U visas) and trafficking (T visas) who cooperate in government investigations.  An interagency working group will also explore ways to ensure that workers can avail themselves of their labor and employment rights without fear of retaliation.


DEPORTING FELONS, NOT FAMILIES

By setting priorities and focusing its enforcement resources, the Obama Administration has already increased the removal of criminals by more than 80%.  These actions build on that strong record by:
·         Focusing on the removal of national security, border security, and public safety threats.  To better focus on the priorities that matter, Secretary Johnson is issuing a new DHS-wide memorandum that makes clear that the government’s enforcement activity should be focused on national security threats, serious criminals, and recent border crossers.  DHS will direct all of its enforcement resources at pursuing these highest priorities for removal.

·         Implementing a new Priority Enforcement Program. Effectively identifying and removing criminals in state and local jails is a critical goal but it must be done in a way that sustains the community’s trust.  To address concerns from Governors, Mayors, law enforcement and community leaders which have undermined cooperation with DHS, Secretary Johnson is replacing the existing Secure Communities program with a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to remove those convicted of criminal offenses.  DHS will continue to rely on biometric data to verify individuals who are enforcement priorities, and they will also work with DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons to identify and remove federal criminals serving time as soon as possible.

ACCOUNTABILITY – CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS AND TAXES

Every Democratic and Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration.  Consistent with this long history, DHS will expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include more immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.  DHS will also create a new deferred action program for people who are parents of U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and have lived in the United States for five years or longer if they register, pass a background check and pay taxes. 

The President is taking the following actions to hold accountable certain undocumented immigrants:
·         Creating a mechanism that requires certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check to make sure that they start paying their fair share in taxes. In order to promote public safety, DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. Citizens or LPRs who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5 years.  Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for three years at a time if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass background checks, pay fees, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement.  By providing individuals with an opportunity to come out of the shadows and work legally, we will also help crack down on companies who hired undocumented workers, which undermines the wages of all workers, and ensure that individuals are playing by the rules and paying their fair share of taxes.

·         Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers. Under the initial DACA program, young people who had been in the U.S. for at least five years, came as children, and met specific education and public safety criteria were eligible for temporary relief from deportation so long as they were born after 1981 and entered the country before June 15, 2007.  DHS is expanding DACA so that individuals who were brought to this country as children can apply if they entered before January 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.  Going forward, DACA relief will also be granted for three years.

The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:
·         Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting LPR status and their spouses.  Under the current system, employees with approved LPR applications often wait many years for their visa to become available.  DHS will make regulatory changes to allow these workers to move or change jobs more easily.  DHS is finalizing new rules to give certain H-1B spouses employment authorization as long as the H-1B spouse has an approved LPR application.
·         Enhancing options for foreign entrepreneurs.  DHS will expand immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs who meet certain criteria for creating jobs, attracting investment, and generating revenue in the U.S., to ensure that our system encourages them to grow our economy.  The criteria will include income thresholds so that these individuals are not eligible for certain public benefits like welfare or tax credits under the Affordable Care Act.
·         Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S universities. In order to strengthen educational experiences of foreign students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at U.S. universities, DHS will propose changes to expand and extend the use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program and require stronger ties between OPT students and their colleges and universities following graduation.
·         Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting American workers. DHS will clarify its guidance on temporary L-1 visas for foreign workers who transfer from a company’s foreign office to its U.S. office. DOL will take regulatory action to modernize the labor market test that is required of employers that sponsor foreign workers for immigrant visas while ensuring that American workers are protected.
·         Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status. Due to barriers in our system, U.S. citizens and LPRs are often separated for years from their immediate relatives, while they wait to obtain their LPR status. To reduce the time these individuals are separated, DHS will expand an existing program that allows certain individuals to apply for a provisional waiver for certain violations before departing the United States to attend visa interviews.
·         Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin. DHS will clarify its guidance to provide greater assurance to individuals with a pending LPR application or certain temporary status permission to travel abroad with advance permission (“parole”).
·         Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization. There are many ways in which our legal immigration system can be modernized to reduce government costs, eliminate redundant systems, reduce burdens on employers and families, and eliminate fraud. The President is issuing a Memorandum directing an interagency group to recommend areas for improvement.
·         Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans. The President is creating a White House Task Force on New Americans to create a federal strategy on immigrant integration.
·         Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness: DHS will launch a comprehensive citizenship awareness media campaign in the 10 states that are home to 75 percent of the overall LPR population. USCIS will also expand options for paying naturalization fees and explore additional measures to expand accessibility, including studying potential partial fee waiver for qualified individuals.
·         Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve: To further our military’s needs and support recruitment efforts, DHS will expand an existing policy to provide relief to spouses and children of U.S. citizens seeking to enlist in the military, consistent with a request made by the Department of Defense.

Florida Gets a "D" in Premature Birth Report Card from March of Dimes



PHOTO: It’s World Prematurity Day, and efforts are under way in Florida to raise awareness about the frequency of prematurity, its consequences and the need for continued research. Photo credit: Northeast Florida Health Start Coalition
PHOTO: It’s World Prematurity Day, and efforts are under way in Florida to raise awareness about the frequency of prematurity, its consequences and the need for continued research. Photo credit: Northeast Florida Health Start Coalition








Premature birth is the leading cause of infant mortality, and with more than 13 percent of Florida babies being born premature, the state gets a "D" from the latest March of Dimes report card on premature births

About one in eight infants is born prematurely, and the rates are higher in the United States than in many other parts of the world.

Dr. Louis Muglia, a professor of pediatrics with the Center for the Prevention of Preterm Birth at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, says says they are working with  local and state groups to build better understanding and prevention. 

"There are things we can do to minimize the likelihood of a pregnancy ending early," Muglia says. "There is an obvious need for further understanding of the mechanisms of preterm birth so we can devise even better methods of prevention."

A premature birth is a delivery before 37 weeks of gestation. Muglia says these infants face a multitude of issues, including problems with lung development, cognitive impairment, gastrointestinal issues and hearing loss. Preterm birth also is linked to problems in adulthood, such as hypertension and diabetes. 

Muglia says mothers who had a previous preterm birth are more than two times more likely to be preterm in their second pregnancy. He adds, ethnicity also appears to play a factor.

"There is about a twofold increase rate of preterm birth in African-American moms, even when you take into account their relative level of wealth, their education level and other health behaviors," he says. "So it's unclear really what the drivers of that are."

There are interventions now that were not available a decade ago to prevent premature births. Muglia says the use of progesterone supplements in women who had a prior premature birth can cut down the risk of a second by almost half. He says current research efforts continue to help identify new ways to optimize pregnancy outcomes.

"Relatively new genetic studies show association of specific genetic variance with risk for preterm birth," says Muglia. "There is some exciting new data on the role of bacteria that colonize our bodies in shaping our risk for preterm birth that is just beginning to emerge."

Adequate prenatal care and the health of the mother are believed to be two key factors in whether a baby is born prematurely. Play Audio in Browser Window

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Equality Florida’s 2014 Broward Gala

  By Carol Porter
Equality Florida’s 2014 Broward Gala was held on Sunday, November 16, in the beautiful Waterfront Panorama Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, November 16th, from six p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
 The highlight of the event was the presentation of the Voice for Equality award to South Florida resident Jazz Jennings, a transgender advocate, who was recently announced as one of the “25 Most Influential Teens of 2014” by Time magazine. Four hundred people filled the ballroom in strong support of Equality Florida and its supporters with the event raising over $400,000. Another highlight of the event was the plaintiff couples who stood together at the front of the room and who were fighting for marriage equality in the State of Florida. Also speaking were Equality Florida’s Deputy Director Stratton Pollitzer and Equality Florida Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan. Their message was clear: Love is louder and stronger than hate. Photos of Mark Haines, founder of Mark’s List, also were prominently displayed in the room in honor of Haines’ advocacy and hard work over the years. Haines had been killed in the Keys after taking part in the SMART Ride event, an annual event that raises money for those affected with HIV and AIDS.





























Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Palm Beach County Commission Votes to Support Marriage Equality

Palm Beach County Commissioners joined the statewide marriage equality debate by voting 6-1 to sign on to a court brief opposing Florida's constitutional ban on same-sex-marriage. The action was taken at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local non-profit organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Commissioner Hal R. Valeche, a Republican from Palm Beach Gardens, cast the sole "no" vote.

The brief, initially filed by the cities of Miami Beach and Orlando in June, argues that in addition to bringing legal, financial and psychological harm to families, marriage inequality makes it difficult for the governments to recruit talented employees and hurts tourism.
        
"There should be no room in the Florida Constitution for the discriminatory marriage ban," said Palm Beach County Human Rights Council President Rand Hoch.  "By signing on to the brief, the Palm Beach County Commissioners are acknowledging that the marriage ban is harmful to Floridians and is detrimental to the efficiency and effectiveness of Palm Beach County as a public employer." 


Today's vote puts Palm Beach County on the opposite side of a legal battle in which Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi continues to defend the marriage ban in several pending appeals in state and federal court.  

While several state attorneys general across the nation have declined to spend taxpayer dollars to defend the marriage bans which have been declared unconstitutional, Bondi remains steadfast in her efforts to use public funds to preserve the state's discriminatory ban on same-sex marriages.

In addition to the Cities of Miami Beach and Orlando, Broward and Orange Counties, the cities of Gainesville, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Wilton Manors and the Village of Biscayne Park have also signed on to the brief.

On November 24, West Palm Beach City Commissioners will consider signing on to the marriage equality brief

ALACHUA COUNTY TO FILE AMICUS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF FLORIDA MARRIAGE EQUALITY LAWSUITS

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners has taken a public stance in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, by voting to sign on to an Amicus Brief that was drafted and filed by a growing list of local governments in all marriage equality lawsuits in Florida.
 
Literally translated from Latin as a “friend of the court,” an amicus brief may be filed by someone who is not a party to the litigation, but who believes that the court's decision may affect its interest.  
 
The filing of the amicus brief comes on the heels of Attorney General Pam Bondi’s November 14th and November 17th appeals to Florida court judges’ rulings declaring the State’s ban on marriage equality unconstitutional. The amicus brief details how the ban on same-sex marriage hurts Florida’s residents, harms local governments as employers, and denies Florida’s taxpayers hard-earned tourism revenue.
 
Alachua County joins the City of Miami Beach, Broward County, Orange County, the City of Orlando, the City of Tampa, the City of St. Petersburg, the City of Gainesville, the City of Tallahassee, the City of Key West, the City of Wilton Manors and the Village of Biscayne Park in speaking in a clear and unified voice of local governments in support of marriage equality in Florida. The brief will be filed in all of the marriage cases making their way through the Florida courts.

"Equality Florida applauds Alachua County as the first North Florida county to sign on to the amicus brief in support of marriage equality,” said Mallory Garner-Wells, Public Policy Director of Equality Florida.  “Five Florida judges have already ruled the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.  With every passing day, the denial of marriage equality causes irreparable harm to our families.  Once again, we call on Attorney General Bondi and Governor Scott to stop the senseless appeals.”
 

Link to Amicus Brief:  http://bit.ly/14G1TbI

Sunday, November 16, 2014

THE LAZY FREAKS WHO DON’T VOTE



On Real Time, Bill Maher offered up another of his New Rules: instead of “I voted” stickers, how about stickers for non-voters that say “I couldn’t be bothered.”
Watch the full New Rules segment.

Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20, 2014

Thursday November 20th, 2014 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
TDOR

November 20, 2014
7-9 PM
pride center at equality park
2040 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors, FL 33305
954-463-9005 

For More Info CLICK HERE 




Annual candlelight vigil and remembrance of several hundred people documented as hatefully murdered this year because they are transgender.  This includes a slide show with pictures and the recitation of the several hundred names on the list of our brothers and sisters murdered since the last TDoR on November 20, 2013.  The event will be at The Pride Center, 2020 N Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors beginning around 7 PM (and we may be fashionably late…)  The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved. This is the list of those transgender people murdered in hate from November 21, 2012 to November 20, 2013.  http://www.transgenderdor.org/memorializing-2013.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events ofSeptember 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Services For Former Wilton Manors Police Chief and Captain for BSO Rick Wierzbicki

UPDATE: Rick Wierzbicki  Former Wilton Manors Police Chief and Captain for BSO,  passed away. His service will be held on Friday, November 21st, 2014, at 5pm at Kraeer-Fairchild Funeral Home, 4061 North Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale.

Rick Wierzbicki  Former Wilton Manors Police Chief and Captain for BSO,  passed away. 
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the CHILDREN'S DIAGNOSTIC & TREATMENT CENTER
In Memory of Captain Richard "Rick " Wierzbicki (Ret) BSO
www.childrensdiagnostic.org

Celebration of Life Service
Kraeer-Fairchild Funeral Home
4061 North Federal Highway
Oakland Park, Florida 33308
(954) 565-5591

Thursday, November 13, 2014

In Memory Of Captain Rick Wierzbicki (BSO) Retired


UPDATE: Rick Wierzbicki  Former Wilton Manors Police Chief and Captain for BSO,  passed away. His service will be held on Friday, November 21st, 2014, at 5pm at Kraeer-Fairchild Funeral Home, 4061 North Federal Hwy., Ft. Lauderdale. 



i Am sad to report that Commander (RT) Captain Rick Wierzbicki Of The Broward Sheriff's Office and Former Chief Of Police for Wilton Manors, FL passed away at 2:10pm today
Funeral arrangements will be TBA.

Rick stated this " You can judge a Society on how it treats its unfortunate "; this is what Rick lived by as you know all the giving he has done to make this world a better place.

He is no longer in pain.