Bozeman Area Community Foundation Searching For A Director

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A chance to do some good in the Bozeman Area:

 

A job description for the Foundation Manager is below. Those interested to apply should submit a cover letter, resume and three references to info@bozemanfoundation.org. Electronic submissions only. The Foundation will begin reviewing applications June 15th, and the position will remain open until filled.

 

Click here for more info: BACF_FdtnMgr_Position_FINAL

 

 

Montana Legislature: Taking Its Sweet Time Removing Archaic Hate Language

Last week, I wrote about the inability of the Montana legislature to simply remove outdated hate language from the books:

montanawelcomeThe Montana Senate can’t even take an up-or-down vote on whether or not the law should say gays and lesbians deserve ten years in prison and/or $50,000 fines – simply for being gays and lesbians.

Word is they’re sending the bill back to committee to attach bad amendments to it requested by a Bitterroot-based anti-gay activist, Dallas Erickson. This motion would happen during the Senate floor session, possibly as soon as Wednesday (today).

Why back to committee? If it comes up quietly during an executive action, which can happen at pretty much any time, maybe there won’t be network television news cameras in front of them. Maybe the Associated Press and USAToday will miss it.

Maybe, just maybe, some members of the legislature can get away with labeling gay and lesbian Montanans as “deviates” and “felons” for another year and avoid the national embarrassment that will surely come with such an unfortunate decision.

Yeah, well…. They sent it back to committee on Friday.

Stay tuned.

Montana Legislature: Actively Working To Shame Gay People

Updated. See below….
Things seemed hopeful at the start of this session. From the Great Falls Tribune:

SHAME

SHAME (Photo credit: BlueRobot)

The Montana Supreme Court in 1997 ruled as unconstitutional the portion of the deviate sexual relations law that includes “sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two persons of the same sex” in the definition that also includes bestiality.

Senate Bill 107, carried by Sen. Tom Facey, would remove it from state code. The Missoula Democrat said the time has come to strike a law that is unenforceable and offensive.

“Words do matter. I hope you can pass this bill to get the unconstitutional words out of our code,” Facey said.

Groups opposed to the law have tried for years to get the Legislature to formally strike language they argue is hurtful. Two years ago, a similar proposal to repeal the law cleared the Senate only to die in the more conservative House.

But since then, the Montana Republican Party has removed from its platform the position that it seeks to make homosexual acts illegal. The party remains opposed to gay marriage.

Freshman Republican state Rep. Nicholas Schwaderer, of Superior, said he is co-sponsoring the measure because it “respects the rights of Montanans.”

But that was then, this is now. Jamee Greer, lobbyist for the Montana Human Rights Network said this yesterday:

The Montana Senate can’t even take an up-or-down vote on whether or not the law should say gays and lesbians deserve ten years in prison and/or $50,000 fines – simply for being gays and lesbians.

Word is they’re sending the bill back to committee to attach bad amendments to it requested by a Bitterroot-based anti-gay activist, Dallas Erickson. This motion would happen during the Senate floor session, possibly as soon as Wednesday (today).

Why back to committee? If it comes up quietly during an executive action, which can happen at pretty much any time, maybe there won’t be network television news cameras in front of them. Maybe the Associated Press and USAToday will miss it.

Maybe, just maybe, some members of the legislature can get away with labeling gay and lesbian Montanans as “deviates” and “felons” for another year and avoid the national embarrassment that will surely come with such an unfortunate decision.

Maybe, just maybe.

Maybe they’ll knock it off if we get enough attention on this issue. Anyone have Rachel Maddow’s number?

Update From Jamee: The Senate has not moved SB107 back to committee during floor session today- to amend or “kill” the bill “quietly” in committee….

This can still happen during any floor session, so until they finally give the bill an up-or-down vote, it is in play.

It is a simple question: do you think gays deserve to be associated in the law with those who molest animals, and punished by fines of $50,000 and ten years in jail?

JUST VOTE ALREADY!

Catholics And The “Kill The Gays” Bill

From New Ways Ministry Blog:

Uganda’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill, which would impose the death penalty on certain people convicted of having sexual relations with a person of the same sex, seems poised for passage soon.

The Associated Press reports that Rebecca Kadaga (pictured, left), Uganda’s Parliamentary Speaker, announced yesterday that the bill will be going forward for a vote in the next few weeks:

“Ugandans ‘are demanding it,’ she said, reiterating a promise she made before a meeting on Friday of anti-gay activists who spoke of ‘the serious threat’ posed by homosexuals to Uganda’s children. Some Christian clerics at the meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, asked the speaker to pass the law as ‘a Christmas gift.’

“ ‘Speaker, we cannot sit back while such (a) destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,’ the activists said in a petition. ‘We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament … so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.’ ”

report in The Advocate notes that the bill can be put to a vote in a matter of two weeks.

news story in the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News provides some background on the criminal status of homosexuality in Uganda, as well as what the proposed law would mandate:

“Even without the law, Uganda already has laws that criminalize homosexuality and is one of 76 countries where it is illegal to be gay. The proposed law would broaden existing laws, and includes the death penalty to those convicted of aggravated homosexuality and life imprisonment for those convicted of the offense of homosexuality.

“Aggravated homosexuality is defined as gay acts committed by parents or authority figures, HIV-positive people, pedophiles and repeat offenders.

“Offense of homosexuality is defined as same-sex sexual acts or being involved in a same-sex relationship.”

Shamefully silent on this bill have been the Catholic bishops of Uganda, a heavily Catholic nation.  Indeed, earlier this summer it was reported that the Catholic bishops reversed their position from quiet opposition to the bill to outright support for it.

Catholic leaders in the U.S. have spoken in opposition to the bill, including Ambassador Thomas P. Melady, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican.  President Barack Obama has called the bill “odious.”

More Catholic voices will be needed to defeat this horrendous law.  Indeed, in July Ugandan LGBT rights advocatescalled on the international community, including religious leaders, to lend their voices to oppose the bill.

Catholic bishops here in the United States and Vatican leaders in Rome need to lend their voices to international opposition to the proposed law.  Silence is not an option at this point.  Too many innocent lives hang in the balance.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

State Tells Yakima Diocese “No Collection” For Anti-Marriage Equality Group

From New Ways Ministry:

Last week, we reported that Bishop Joseph Tyson of the Diocese of Yakima, Washington State, had instructed parishes to distribute collection envelopes in its parishes to raise money for Protect Marriage Washington, the state’s main organization working to defeat Referendum 74, a ballot initiative to uphold a law guaranteeing marriage equality.

This week, however, the Associated Press reports that the state’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has ruled that for parishes to collect the envelopes would be illegal and has informed the diocese of its decision:

“. . . Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the state’s Public Disclosure Commission, says no organization can be an intermediary for a contribution. She says the church can hand out envelopes, but either a member of Preserve Washington has to be on hand to collect them or parishioners must send them in individually.”

The diocese appears to be ready to dispute the PDC decision. Diocesan Chief of Staff Monsignor Robert Siler claims that the procedures are not a “collection” :

” ‘As far as I know, the procedures we sent to the parishes meet the requirement of state law,’ he said, noting that the envelopes are preaddressed to the campaign.

” ‘We’re not collecting and counting money,’ he said. ‘We’re just collecting envelopes and forwarding them.’ “

KIMATV.com quotes Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson’s comments on the PDC decision:

“Bishop Tyson says it’s just one big misunderstanding. In fact, he told KIMA that he has yet to see one of the donation envelopes.

“In the letter, where the Bishop specifically asked parish staff not to open the donation envelopes, but instead place them into the addressed security envelope and mail them directly to Preserve Marriage Washington. It says the collection is supposed to take place September 8th and 9th.

“ ‘It’s not our collection, we’re not collecting the money, it’s not our envelope. We’re not banking the money, we’re not rolling the money, we’re not collecting the money and we’re not taking the money. Preserve Marriage Washington is doing that…we’re going to follow the state law and I’m going to make sure that we’re doing that,’ said Bishop Tyson”

Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington State, the statewide Catholic organization working to support marriage equality in the referendum, praised the PDC’s decision.  Spokesperson Barbara Guzzo said:

“We are delighted by this ruling because we represent so many Catholics in those pews who not only find political fund raising inappropriate for their Sunday services, but also strongly disagree with the Bishop’s stance.

“We believe we should all be able to practice our faith without pressure from our Bishop or our parish priests to support an effort we oppose. “

Legal questions aside, the moral question remains:  why are church institutions raising money for a political organization?

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Tester Meets with Constituents, Rehberg Continues Invisibility Plan

From The Montana Democrats:

While multimillionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg continues to hide from the public (see ‘Related Articles’ below), Jon Tester  hosted his 10th public small business workshop, following months of meetings with Montanans across the state.

Denny Rehberg - Caricature

Denny Rehberg - Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

As for Congressman Rehberg?  He cancelled his latest scheduled appearance–at a Republican Party fundraiser he was supposed to headline Sunday in Havre.  And Congressman Rehberg has held virtually no public meetings with Montanans since November.

After 35 years in politics, Congressman Rehberg no longer thinks he’s accountable to Montana,” said Ted Dick, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Congressman Rehberg gave himself five pay raises in Congress, but he votes to cut funding for our public schools, cut Pell grants, and cut health care for our veterans.  His 35-year career in politics is marked by irresponsible decisions like tax breaks for fellow millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas—at the expense of Montana families, education, Medicare and Social Security.”

Congressman Rehberg has avoided accountability for the last year, hiding the donations he takes from lobbyists, refusing to meet with Montanans, and giving his full endorsement to the Citizens United ruling that allows big corporations to spend unlimited money on dishonest political attack ads.  Here’s more:

Hiding Campaign Cash from Lobbyists:  An investigation by the Associated Press found Congressman Rehberg refused to disclose the identities of 189 lobbyists on his financial disclosure reports. Rehberg hid more than $20,000 he took from Washington lobbyists.

Dodging Public Meetings with Constituents:  Congressman Rehberg went 6 months without holding a public townhall meeting, and when he finally scheduled one, he watched a Sheriff removed someone from the meeting.

Siding with Anonymous Corporate Cash in Elections:  Following his endorsement by Citizens United, Congressman Rehberg gave his full endorsement to the secretive organization’s Supreme Court Ruling, which allows big corporations to spend unlimited to buy elections.

Rehberg’s “Year Of Disaster”

One day after an Associated Press investigation found that Dennis Rehberg hid tens of thousands of dollars in cash from lobbyists, today the millionaire Congressman marks the one-year anniversary of his U.S. Senate campaign.

And what a year it’s been.
The Montana Democratic Party today released a video highlighting Rehberg’s most memorable, out-of-touch moments from the past year.  
“From calling Pell Grants ‘welfare’ to supporting an unpopular federal land-grab bill that undermines our rights, Congressman Rehberg has shown all of us how out of touch he is with Montana values–over and over again,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “Montanans deserve someone who stands for their values in Washington–not Dennis Rehberg, who was forced to drop a lawsuit against Billings firefighters.”
2011: A year of blunders for Congressman Dennis Rehberg:
February 6, 2011: Congressman Rehberg announces his candidacy for United States Senate alongside controversial presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann.  Bachmann had just proposedcutting $4.5 billion in veterans’ benefits.
February 8, 2011:  Rehberg makes national headlines for suggesting that judges should be on theEndangered Species Act.
April 1, 2011: Rehberg calls Pell Grants “the welfare of the 21st century.”
April 28 2011: Congressman Rehberg tells the Missoula City Club that although he is one of thewealthiest members of Congress, he is “struggling like everybody else” and “cash poor.”
September 2011: Montanans of all political backgrounds criticize Rehberg’s controversial sponsorship of his unpopular HR 1505, legislation that would give one federal agency the power to seize public lands in Montana.
October 8, 2011: The Associated Press notes that Rehberg has held “far more infrequent” public events in Montana.  Shortly thereafter, Rehberg stood by as a uniformed sheriff removed a Montana Democratic Party employee from Rehberg’s so called “public” event.
November 11, 2011: Amid a sea of controversy, Rehberg is forced to drop his wildly unpopular, 15-month lawsuit against Billings firefighters.
February 5, 2012: An Associated Press investigation finds that Rehberg hid tens of thousands of dollars campaign contributions, even as he criticizes others for taking campaign contributions.

Komen Foundation Cuts Funding To Planned Parenthood

In a surprising (or maybe not) press release yesterday, The Susan G Komen Foundation announced it is cutting off funding to the breast cancer screenings and education programs run by Planned Parenthood. The New York Times:

The move will halt financing to 19 of Planned Parenthood’s 83 affiliates, which received nearly $700,000 from the Komen foundation last year and have been receiving similar grants since at least 2005.

Planned Parenthood contends that the Komen foundation is yielding to longstanding pressure from anti-abortion groups, which Komen denies.

A spokeswoman for the Komen foundation, Leslie Aun, told The Associated Press that the main factor in the decision was a new rule adopted by Komen that prohibits grants to organizations being investigated by local, state or federal authorities. Ms. Aun told The A.P. that Planned Parenthood was therefore disqualified from financing because of an inquiry being conducted by Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, who is looking at how Planned Parenthood spends and reports its money.

After the A.P. article was posted on Tuesday afternoon, the Komen foundation declined to make Ms. Aun or another staff member available to discuss the Planned Parenthood decision. The foundation issued a statement saying it was seeking to “strengthen our grants program” and had “implemented more stringent eligibility and performance criteria.”

The statement added, “While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission.”

Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said that the decision “came so abruptly in the face of a long, good, working relationship with Komen” and that the change in financing criteria “was written specifically to address the political pressure that they’ve been under.”

Planned Parenthood’s press release on the action stated that

Planned Parenthood’s quality, accessibility and affordability make it a leader in identifying breast cancer early when there is the best chance of successful treatment. Nationwide, Planned Parenthood doctors and nurses provide nearly 750,000 breast cancer screenings annually, offering risk assessments, breast exams, breast health information and education, and diagnostic and surgical referrals.

Led by a generous $250,000 gift from Amy and Lee Fikes’ foundation, Planned Parenthood has established a Breast Health Emergency Fund to provide immediate funding to ensure that Planned Parenthood health centers can continue to provide breast cancer screenings and care that had previously been supported by Komen.

Amy and Lee Fikes said: “Our family is saddened that the far right has relentlessly and successfully pressured the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation to cut funding for breast screening, referral, and education support to low-income women who, until now, have been able to depend on the partnership between Komen and Planned Parenthood for their health. In response to this disappointing news, our family foundation has granted $250,000 to establish a Breast Health Fund at Planned Parenthood, so that their health centers across the country can continue to put the real needs of women ahead of right wing ideology. We encourage others to join us in replacing the funds lost, so that no woman’s health is imperiled by Komen’s unfortunate decision.”

Some have seen a connection between the hiring of Karen Handel, a Georgia gubernatorial candidate who ran on an aggressively anti-abortion platform and the cut of funding to Planned Parenthood- which also provides abortions at some of its sites. Laura Bassett writes that

 Handel wrote in her campaign blog that she “do[es] not support the mission of Planned Parenthood.”

“During my time as Chairman of Fulton County, there were federal and state pass-through grants that were awarded to Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screening, as well as a ‘Healthy Babies Initiative,'” Handel wrote. “Since grants like these are from the state I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor.” She also wrote that she opposes stem cell research and supports crisis pregnancy centers, which are unregulated, Christian-run operations whose main mission is to convince pregnant women not to have abortions.

After Handel lost the gubernatorial primary, Susan G. Komen for the Cure named her to be its senior vice president in April 2011.

Komen’s Race For The Cure has become one of the most successful fundraising events in the U.S., with races in virtually every market. On the blogosphere and Twitter, there is chatter about boycotts, protests and closer scrutiny of Komen’s funds. We’ll see if it has any teeth.

Rehberg Tax Plan Increases Deficit by $25 Billion

Denny Rehberg - Caricature

Millionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg yesterday voted for a GOP tax plan that adds $25.3 billion to the federal deficit, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Here’s what Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick had to say about Congressman Rehberg’s latest contribution to the federal deficit:

“Congressman Dennis Rehberg has yet to explain why he voted to irresponsibly raise our debt by $25 billion and hike Medicare premiums in order to protect fellow millionaires. The fact is Dennis Rehberg increased the debt ceiling ten times during his ten years in office, all while giving himself five pay raises.”
More on how Rehberg’s vote for the House payroll-tax bill will add $25.3 billion to the deficit from The Hill:
“The CBO released a score Friday saying the GOP bill would add $25.3 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years under the CBO’s traditional rules for scoring legislation.””The CBO said under its rules, it could not consider the cuts to discretionary spending in its official score because they are contingent upon enactment of future legislation.”
As reported yesterday, The Associated Press said that the same Rehberg plan will increase Medicare Premiums for 1 in 4 seniors.

Rehberg Supports Raising Medicare Premiums

Millionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg is throwing his support behind a controversial proposal that will raise Medicare premiums for one out of four seniors.

Denny Rehberg - Caricature

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

After voting twice this year to force major cuts to Medicare, Rehberg falsely claimed he was the “only member of Montana’s delegation who has consistently voted to protect Medicare and Social Security.” [Lee Newspapers, 12/4/2011]

Now he’s poised to hurt Medicare again by supporting the controversial House payroll tax holiday.

According to the Associated Press, Rehberg’s plan will be paid for by raising Medicare premiums on seniors, a proposal that would “expand over time to include the highest-earning one-fourth of seniors.”

Both Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus have voted for alternative plans to extend the payroll tax holiday for middle class families, through higher taxes on only millionaires.

According to the Associated Press:

“Raising taxes on millionaires may be a non-starter for Republicans, but they seem to have no problem hiking Medicare premiums for retirees making a lot less.” [Associated Press, 12/13/2011]

“This couldn’t be a more clear example of Dennis Rehberg sticking up for his fellow multimillionaires while sticking it to middle-class Montana seniors,” said Ted Dick, Executive Director of the Montana Democratic Party.  “Dennis Rehberg has forgotten who he’s working for, and it’s clear whose side he’s on: the special interests who have bankrolled his 35-year career in politics.”

Rehberg recently touted the controversial House payroll tax plan after he inserted a rider in the legislation, despite his promise last year to abandon the practice of inserting irrelevant riders to bills.