In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Links of the Day 3/22/2008 Action Alert Saturday

Action Alert Saturday

Lets start today by talking about sex. Abstinence only does not work in fact it is down right dangerous and life threatening.

I recently told you 1 in 4 teen girls has a STD. Well I know the one. She’s my neighbor, she’s single, 19 years old has a 3 year old daughter and she is pregnant again. She’s unemployed, under-educated, and HIV positive. Her boy friend has been in ICCU since March 11 on a ventilator dying of Aids, he’s 23 years old.

I’ve known this young women since she was 10 years old. Yesterday while talking to her she seemed almost ignorant about the HIV diagnoses. I do not think her health care providers have been honest with her on what it means to be HIV positive.

I don’t think she even realizes how and why she got it. Her sex education class in school here in Jesusland may as well not even be taught. Being much older than her I received better information from my Chicago jr high 31 years ago than she did just six years ago.

My son also went to the same jr high sex education class as she did. But he had me. I looked at his sex ed book and was appalled to read all the misinformation and outright lies. I had to talk to him about how to use a condom and HIV, Aids.

As a single Mother I had to take it upon myself to warn my child of the dangers to unprotected sex. Using a condom was not just for stopping an unwanted pregnancy but also for saving your life.

Stupid superstitious bible thumpers are not only endangering their own children’s lives with their backward abstinence only ideology but every child in the country. My taxpayer dollars are being used to kill our children with ignorance. Over 1 billion dollars in the last decade has been used for abstinence only until marriage programs.

Abstinence only - only until marriage programs must END!

HIV, AIDS is forever!!! There is no shot or bill to cure it.

Abstinence only programs should be abolished! Ignorance of sex is as dangerous as giving a loaded gun to a 3 year old. I blame my neighbors contracting HIV on her parents, her school, her state, her country and the bible thumbers who demand all children be denied a real sex education program.

We all are responsible because we allow such programs as abstinence only programs to be funded without comprehensive sex education to be taught along side.

The last time religion ruled the earth they called it the Dark Ages.

So today’s Action Alert is to call, email or fax that bone head House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey to stop funding abstinence only programs. Aids unlike other diseases, cancer etc can be prevented. And I do not care what anyone says it is a death sentence. It might be held in check for awhile but many will die prematurely and young.

Contacting Rep David Obey:

http://obey.house.gov/HoR/WI07/Contact+Dave/

OR

On Monday you can call him toll free at 1-877-851-6437 ( let it ring, sometimes the capital operators refuse to answer it and also ignore this number is no longer in service, try again, it is a working number ).

When you contact Rep Davis Obey give him these numbers:

The public prefers comprehensive sex education to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs by a wide margin.

According to a poll, conducted in 2003 by the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Public Radio, and Harvard University, only 15 percent of Americans believe that schools should only teach abstinence from sexual intercourse and should not provide information on condoms and other contraception.

A 2007 poll of voters conducted by the National Women’s Law Center and Planned Parenthood Federation of America yielded remarkably similar results, with more than three out of four respondents preferring comprehensive sex education curricula, while only 14 percent favored an “abstinence-only” approach.[11]

Our we going to allow 15% of the country to dictate to the rest of us?

Americans expressed support for a broad sex education curriculum that teaches about abstinence as well as the “basics of how babies are made.” In addition,

99 percent of Americans wanted programs to cover other STIs as well as HIV.

98 percent wanted youth to learn all about HIV and AIDS.

94 percent wanted youth to learn how to get tested for HIV and other STIs.

93 percent wanted youth to be taught about “waiting to have sexual intercourse until married.”

83 percent wanted youth to learn how to put on a condom.

71 percent wanted youth to know that “that teens can obtain birth control pills from family planning clinics without permission from a parent.”[1]

The Kaiser poll also found that that a substantial plurality (46 percent) believes that the most appropriate approach is “abstinence-plus.” These Americans felt that schools should emphasize abstinence but should also teach about condoms and contraception. Thirty-six percent of those polled believed that abstinence is not the most important thing, and that sex education should focus on teaching teens how to make responsible decisions about sex.[1]

http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/PUBLICATIONS/policybrief/pbabonly.htm

And then let Rep David Obey know you know about this:

Lawmakers Ask Obey to End Ab-Only Spending

Amie Newman, RH Reality Check on March 20, 2008 - 1:37pm

Seventy-six members of Congress are saying enough is enough. Failed abstinence-only programs do not deserve to be funded through tax-payer dollars any longer.

Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) led a group of 76 lawmakers in sending a letter (pdf) to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (also a Democrat) urging him to delete any funds for “failed abstinence-only sexual education programs” from FY’09’s Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), one of the signers of the letter, said, "In a country with the highest teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates in the industrialized world, we have a responsibility to ensure that our youth has access to medically accurate, comprehensive sex education with a history of success. Study after study has proven that abstinence-only education simply does not work and we cannot afford to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on programs that we know to be a failure."

There are now 17 states to have turned down federal abstinence-only funding simply because state leaders, legislators and public health departments in those states have determined that abstinence-only programs are ineffective at teaching our young people about how to care for their sexual health and bodies.

The evidence that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have completely failed our young people is staggering. Our federal government’s own report offers conclusive information that these programs do not work. Leading scientists and academics from across this country have offered their years of expertise and research in this letter to plead with our government to stop funding programs that endanger our young people’s health. Finally, despite having poured more than one billion dollars into these programs we must face this recent news: one out of every four young women is infected with a sexually transmitted infection in this country.

Is this the direction we want to continue heading? Rep. Jim Moran and his colleagues say no:

You can also read the PDF of this letter.

March 19, 2008

Dear Chairman Obey:

As you begin work on the Fiscal Year 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, we urge you to reconsider funding for the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program, and to devote those dollars to other, more effective programs. We thank you for granting the program no new increase in last year's final bill; that was an important first step.

As you know, more than $1 billion has been spent on "abstinence-only" programs in the last decade and annual funding for these programs now stands at an all-time high of $176 million. The CBAE account alone has grown from $20 million appropriated in FY'01 to $113 million appropriated this year.

However, numerous reports have found that the "abstinence-only" approach simply does not work. For example, in April 2007, the independent research firm Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. released a study - commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - concluding that students in "abstinence-only" programs are no more likely to abstain from sex, delay initiation of sex, or have fewer sexual partners than students who did not participate. Moreover, 13 states have evaluated their federally funded "abstinence-only" programs and not a single one found positive, long-term impact. In fact, in some cases young people who participated in the programs actually increased their sexual activity. As a result of these and other evaluations, at least 15 states have rejected federal "abstinence-only" funding.

Not only do these programs not help our teens abstain from sex, many are rife with scientific inaccuracies, factual errors, and troubling biases that put our teens at greater risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. A 2004 House Government Reform Committee report found that more than two-thirds of CBAE grantees used curricula that "contain false, misleading or distorted information about reproductive health," such as that condoms fail more often than they actually do, that sweat and tears can transmit HIV, and that women need "financial support" while men need "admiration." Furthermore, a 2006 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that HHS provides little oversight of federally funded "abstinence-only" programs in regard to medical accuracy. The GAO also found that, by censoring important health information about condoms, CBAE grantees do not comply with section 317P(c) (2) of the Public Health Services Act.

In addition, the nation's leading medical and public-health organizations - including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine - do not support the "abstinence-only" approach. The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine has even criticized the federal government's investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in the programs as "poor fiscal and public health policy." We could not agree more.

For all these reasons, we urge you to reconsider the appropriation for the CBAE program for FY'09. With your help, we made great progress in holding the funding line level last year. Now, as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, we must continue the effort and scale back our nation's investment in this ineffective program. Our teens - and our taxpaying constituents - deserve nothing less.

Sincerely,

X

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/03/20/lawmakers-ask-obey-to-eliminate-ab-only-spending

__________________________________________________________

On going ACTION ALERT for TIBET!

PROTEST AT THE UN IN NYC

FREE TIBET BOYCOTT THE OLYMPICS!

DOWN WITH OPPRESSION!

FREE TIBET!

BUY NOTHING MADE IN CHINA!

LETS FLOOD THE CHINESE EMBASSY WITH EMAIL, FAXES AND PHONE CALLS!

DEMAND FREEDOM FOR TIBET!

Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America

Ambassador: Mr. Zhou Wenzhong
Address: 2300 Connecticut Avenue, N. W., Washington D.C. 20008, U.S.A.
Tel: +001-202-3282500, 3282501, 3282502
Fax: +001-202-3282582
Email: chinaembassy_us@fmprc.gov.cn
Website:
http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/
http://us.china-embassy.org/eng/
http://us.chineseembassy.org/eng/

Consul General: Mr. Zhang Yun
Address: 443 Shatto Place, Los Angeles, CA 90020, USA
Tel: +001-213-8078088
Fax: +001-213-8078091
Email: webmaster@chinaconsulatela.org
Office Hours: 09:00-12:00, 13:30-17:00, Monday-Friday (except holidays)
Website:
http://losangeles.china-consulate.org/eng/
http://losangeles.chineseconsulate.org/eng/


Chinese Consulate Consular Districts

San Francisco Alaska, Nevada, Northern California, Oregon, Washington

Houston Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas

New York Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Chicago Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin

Los Angeles Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, Southern California

DEMAND THE UN UPHOLD THEIR OWN HUMAN RIGHTS DECLARATION!

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE TO MEET IN NEW YORK 17 MARCH – 4 APRIL

FLOOD THESE NATIONS WITH PHONE CALLS AND FAXES!

The Human Rights Committee is composed of 18 independent experts who are persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.

Membership of Committee

The States parties to the Covenant elect the Committee’s 18 expert members who serve in their individual capacity for four-year terms. Article 28 of the Covenant requires that “they shall be persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights”. They are: Abdelfattah Amor (Tunisia); Yuji Iwasawa (Japan); Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati (India); Jose Luis Sanchez Cerro (Peru), Christine Chanet (France); Maurice Glèlè-Ahanhanzo (Benin); Edwin Johnson Lopez (Ecuador); Walter Kälin (Switzerland); Ahmed Tawfik Khalil (Egypt); Rajsoomer Lallah (Mauritius); Michael O’Flaherty (Ireland); Elisabeth Palm (Sweden); Rafael Rivas Posada (Colombia); Sir Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom); Ivan Shearer (Australia);Zonke Zanele Majodina (South Africa); Ruth Wedgwood (United States); and Iulia Antoanella Motoc (Romania).

United Nations
Telephone Directory Services

To obtain telephone numbers for staff members of the UN Secretariat in New York or of specific offices, please call: (212) 963-1234.

******************

What good is it to protest the current occupation of Iraq if we ignore this???

Even if your like me and cannot go to DC there is still a lot you can do. So at least go check out this very informative site.

Come to Washington DC this April to urge Congress to respond to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. Millions of innocent Iraqis have been uprooted by war. Many fleeing Iraqis have no legal status beyond Iraq's borders. Inside Iraq, they need food, jobs and a safe place to live. Meet other concerned citizens and learn from experts, government officials, Iraqi refugees and aid groups working directly to provide protection and assistance in the region. Join us in pressing our leaders to action. Click to register now.

http://www.iraqactiondays.org/

******************

The violence in Darfur is getting worse

Right now, China should be focused on getting peacekeepers on the ground in Darfur.

Instead they appear to be monitoring our computer systems.

We cannot let China turn away from the genocide in Darfur. China must use its influence to pressure the Sudanese government to stop the violence.

Tell China not to turn its back on genocide

The violence in Darfur is getting worse. More than 80,000 Darfurians have been displaced in recent months and increased fighting has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

We cannot let China turn away from the genocide in Darfur. China must use its influence to pressure the Sudanese government to stop the violence.

Fill out the form below to tell Liu Guijin, China's "special representative to the Darfur issue," to use his power to help deploy UNAMID peacekeepers and end the genocide before more lives are lost.

As a member of the UN Security Council, China has enormous leverage over the peacekeeping mission. However, instead of using its leverage to advance peace, China continues to defend Sudan's interests, expand trade, and bolster the Sudanese government's military capacity.

We can't be fooled by the aggressive propaganda campaign launched by China in advance of the 2008 Olympics. While China has made a few modest steps forward, these efforts have not improved conditions in Darfur.

China's "special representative on the Darfur issue," Liu Guijin, must do everything in his power to push the Sudanese government to allow the swift, full and effective deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force.

Click here http://action.savedarfur.org/campaign/china_liu

Thank you for your continued work on behalf of the people of Darfur.

Best regards,

Colleen Connors
Save Darfur Coalition

******************

Lucy Liu reports on the water crisis in the Ivory Coast

As people across the country dine out in support of the Tap Project and UNICEF's efforts to bring clean water to children in need everywhere, UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu delivered this video report on her recent mission to the Ivory Coast:

As people across the country dine out in support of the Tap Project and UNICEF's efforts to bring clean water to children in need everywhere, UNICEF Ambassador Lucy Liu delivered this video report on her recent mission to the Ivory Coast:

Visit tapproject.org to find a participating restaurant or make an online donation.

A single glass of water can make a difference for children around the world…

Thank you for your interest in the Tap Project, a campaign that celebrates the clean and accessible drinking water available as an every day privilege to millions, while helping UNICEF provide safe drinking water for children around the world. Last year, hundreds of restaurants and thousands of customers supported the Tap Project on March 22, 2007, the UN's official World Water Day.

This year, the Tap Project is expanding nationally, and we invite you to dine at Tap Project participating restaurants around the country during World Water Week, from March 16 - March 22. Join the movement to do whatever it takes to save children's lives by participating in the Tap Project!

Sign up for our Tap Project Newsletter to stay up-to-date on all the exciting Tap Project activities!

http://www.tapproject.org/

******************

I did a little googling on the choices Russ Feingold has given us and I’m suggesting the most progressive candidate might be either one of the Udall’s but I like Tom a lot more. 1) he filled out the Political Courage Test from Project Vote smart ( Mark Udall did not) and Tom belongs to the: Congressional Progressive Caucus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_Progressive_Caucus

But do your own research and decide. While the Udall family is a powerful political family they have mostly supported my causes. We cannot always have 100% of what we want as progressives but Tom is pretty damn close when compared to the other candidates.

I base my decision www.opensecrets.org

www.projectvotesmart.org

www.wikipedia.com

and this link that shows how much they really love the troops. http://www.vawatchdog.org/old%20newsflashes%20MAY%2006/newsflash05-14-2006-1.htm for those candidates were in the House in 2005.

Dear ________

I wanted to make sure you saw the note from Russ earlier this week. Our latest installment of 'Pick a Progressive Patriot' will end this Monday at 5 PM central time.

Don't Forget: Vote Today!

Thank you, as always, for your continued support.

George Aldrich
Progressive Patriots Fund

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Russ Feingold, U.S. Senator
Sent: Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Subject: RE: Pick a Progressive Patriot: Don't Forget to Vote

Thousands of people have already cast their vote in our latest "Pick a Progressive Patriot" event featuring seven great Senate challengers. With such a close race and the deadline fast approaching, these candidates need your vote today.

Vote today!

"Pick a Progressive Patriot" is your chance to vote for whom we will support with early financial help, giving them the ability to build strong grassroots programs that will enable them to be successful on Election Day. Please take a moment to vote for your favorite candidate today!

Vote today!

Our latest installment of "Pick a Progressive Patriot" will end next Monday at 5 PM central time, so don't forget to vote. If you aren't familiar with these great candidates, you can learn more about them on our Meet the Candidates page. Thank you for your support and I look forward to announcing our winner next Monday.

Sincerely,

Russ Feingold
United States Senator
Honorary Chair, Progressive Patriots Fund

******************

Send a Personal Message to Women in the Congo

Just 2 minutes of your time is all that’s required. Won’t you send a message that we know they exists?

Throughout the recent war in the Congo, tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped, brutally assaulted and abducted into servitude. As a result, survivors of sexual violence live with many challenges including medical and psychological consequences. They also face extreme stigma and rejection from their family and communities.

The IRC is working hard to make a difference in the lives of Congolese women and girls. The IRC works with rural health clinics and local groups so women and girls can receive essential medical services, counseling, and long-term peer support throughout their healing process.

You can make a difference by reaching out to women and girls in the Congo. Show your support by sending a message of solidarity to survivors of sexual violence and the courageous community workers who serve them on a daily basis.

Your words will be delivered through a network of community-based organizations supported by the IRC.

Dear women and girls in the Congo,

I want to express my heartfelt compassion to you for the extreme violence that you and other Congolese women and girls are facing on a daily basis. I send my words of support and encouragement to you - along with the local women's groups and community activists who are working to stop violence against women in the Congo.

http://ga3.org/campaign/survivors

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This is an FYI post on that rebate check we have heard so much about. You should check it out.

Email from the Nation Women’s Law Center

Dear

As you know, this spring, millions of people who are usually exempt from filing tax returns — including low-income retirees, disabled veterans, and low-wage earners — are eligible for an economic stimulus payment from the IRS. These payments can give an extra financial boost to families in need during these tough economic times.

Yesterday, the National Women’s Law Center hosted a webinar on what families need to know about the economic stimulus payments. The presentation slides and a recording of the session are available for you to download.

In addition, our website offers several resources you can use to help make sure families know how to file for economic stimulus payments. Highlights include:

Links to Q&As on the economic stimulus payments from the IRS, AARP, and other organizations

Simple flyers that you can download and distribute

Links to step-by-step guides to helping people claim their economic stimulus payments

Information to help your clients and constituents get help claiming their stimulus payments from volunteers or the IRS

Please feel free to download these resources, and share them with your colleagues.

Sincerely,

Joan Entmacher
Vice President for Family Economic Security
National Women's Law Center

******************

Wow Sharia Law works in favor of women, incredible.

Muslim Leaders Defend Marriage by Choice

Deepali Gaur Singh, RH Reality Check, Asia on March 13, 2008 - 8:48am

In traditional societies like India, arranged marriage is as inherent to the social fabric of the nation as is the institution of marriage itself. This is why, often, choosing one's own partner constitutes the worst form of rebellion against a parent, and, for women, the urn-bearers of the family reputation, a choice that crosses the line from rebellion to dishonor upon the family.

Even celluloid love stories of the past decade have shown a shift from the rebellious love stories of the eighties to more accommodating, docile renditions where instead of challenging the system -- the parents and the arranged marriage -- you go along with the system, embracing ‘tradition' in all its splendor. But unfortunately, reel life has not aped real, or vice versa, which is evident in the numerous violent incidents against couples who chose to challenge the traditional shackles of marriage and the unwritten code for ‘acceptable' alliances. These unacceptable alliances have been met with violence against the couple, whether it is the forceful confinement of the girl by her own family, threats of (and actual) violence against the couple, panchayat decrees ordering the stripping of the woman or female relatives of the ostracized couple, murders and suicides, or murder in the garb of suicide. And this is a trend that appears to be as common in urban as in rural India - and even overseas, as evidenced in kidnappings and killings linked to marriages amongst the expatriate Asian community.

In the Indian context (and the larger South Asian context of countries that are similarly tradition), with women in general and girls in particular hardly enjoying the space to make life changing decisions themselves, it is hardly surprising that curbs on a woman's right to choose whom to marry manifest themselves in a multitude of ways, irrespective of the religion they conform to. So while child marriages are brazenly practiced, marriages to pay off family debts do exist, forced marriages are employed to prevent girls from marrying the men of their choice, widows are coerced in to marriages with the brother-in-law (or other male relatives) or into polyandrous marriages and such seemingly endless situations, women - viewed as either the husband's or father's property - do not have the choice to make decisions on their own marriage.

Religion, culture and value systems and the abundant use of prevailing customs in many parts of the country thwart the protection of this right of choice to marry. And the noise is not always only about inter-religious marriages but even over marriages that violate caste or sub-caste distinctions and specific cultural, regional sanctions. Additionally, those wanting to get out of a bad marriage through divorce invite further violence from not just the marital home but often from the paternal side too. And even as 'honor' crimes occur against women, honor killings themselves are not listed as a crime against women and hence, continue unabated in various forms and disguises as an inherent part of any patriarchal structure.

It is in this context that Muslim bodies and Islamic scholars at a meeting, in the national capital of New Delhi unanimously decided that "in Islam, the girl has every right to marry the boy of her choice and her parents cannot impose their decision on her since the Sharia (Muslim law) gives the girl right to choose her future husband." This meeting, attended, amongst others, by members of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), and Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband under the banner of Islamic Fiqh Academy (IFA) made truly a land mark decision - even if it remains to be tested.

It was further reiterated that Islam does not condone forced marriages and if a girl is forced in to such an alliance she has every right to declare her marriage null and void "because such a marriage will also be against Sharia."

While the Sharia law decision is not legally binding, and Sharia is open to interpretation, the decision is an important and progressive way of looking at women's rights within the Muslim context. It has not been disputed as yet -- though that have more to do with its non-binding nature and that it was within the Indian context.

What makes this particularly important is that not only are girls (irrespective of their religious faiths) married off very early, but they are also often married to men much older than they are. No matter the age of the girl's husband, it's an extremely dangerous situation: the girl's education is aborted (for those of whom who even get an education) and they are thrust in to the adult demands of a marriage when their bodies might not be ready for the same.

With the long-standing, rigid, social demands for women in place, any challenge to them is bound to extract its price. With the denial of choice for women disguised in the elaborate garb of tradition, it is decisions like this - like using the Sharia to actually hand over agency to the women especially with regard to choices that impact their bodily autonomy and their life - that might prove to be the most sustainable and have the deepest impact.

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2008/03/10/muslim-leaders-defend-marriage-by-choice


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